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How to optimize your nutrition with Alan Aragon

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One of the most common questions I get is: “How do you optimize my nutrition for…”.

Whether it is for weight loss, building muscle, or performing better, there are many factors. In his book, Flexible Nutrition, Alan Aragon answers this with what science tells us.


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Let's Say Hello

[00:03:03.680] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:03:04.890] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:06.630] – Allan

I'm doing all right.

[00:03:07.920] – Rachel


[00:03:09.310] – Allan

Been a busy week. We had that flood here in the gym, and so we've been trying to work on the roof and keep that going. So that's been pretty massive. And then, of course, they took the holiday break, took a couple of days off, and it rained for two solid days. Which was great. No, it actually ended up being great. We were like in a rainforest and a tree, like almost like a Treehouse thing. And it wasn't really technically a tree house, but it felt like it based on where it was on the Hill and then just sit there. I read two fiction book novels.

[00:03:42.650] – Rachel

How nice. What a nice change.

[00:03:46.140] – Allan

Yeah. I mean, I don't hardly ever read fiction anymore because I'm constantly reading nonfiction. In fact, I think I've got a book I've got to read today. But, yeah, it's kind of crazy. I sat down, I brought two books with me because I just wasn't sure how far I would get into the first book, and I ended up finishing both of them.

[00:04:05.070] – Rachel

That's awesome. Would you recommend either of what you read?

[00:04:09.160] – Allan

Well, one of them, yes. I suppose. I don't know if you get on Amazon and prime and the Netflix kind of stuff, but on Amazon Prime, there's a show called The Man from High Castle.

[00:04:22.730] – Rachel

Oh, I've heard of that.

[00:04:24.050] – Allan

Okay. And it was a really good series. And so this was the book that basically was the basis for that television show. And obviously when you have a television show with all the episodes and all that, there was a lot more into the plot of the show than there was in the book. But it was really interesting because particularly since I knew the characters from the show to get into their head, because now this was told from basically the Omnipotent perspective where you're in his head, each of these characters head. So that was good. But it's a good book. It's interesting. And then the other one was called Bocas del toro. But oddly enough, none of the action in the book actually happened in Bocas del toro.

[00:05:15.050] – Rachel

So I wonder what the inspiration was for that name.

[00:05:18.660] – Allan

Well, that's where the guy ended up. The main protagonist, I guess, of the book. He ended up in Bocas del toro at the end of the book, but it was kind of he said it was based on some actual facts and things that had happened to people. So you have to assume that this was a person that actually dealt with this.

[00:05:38.330] – Rachel

Cool. Very cool.

[00:05:40.260] – Allan

So how are things with you?

[00:05:41.800] – Rachel

Good. I actually just finished a book myself. I read this book probably once a year or so. I just finished reading The Old Man in the Sea by Hemingway.

[00:05:51.730] – Allan


[00:05:52.340] – Rachel

It's a classic tale. It's a quick read. And I've been thinking about why I was so drawn to it. And it's about endurance. It's about a man holding onto this fish for as long as he could and after several days of holding the line. But one of the things in the very beginning of the book that amuses me so much is that the old man is in Havana in the, gosh, when was that? Prior to the 1950s, I think. And he liked baseball like a lot of Cubans did. And probably still do. But his favorite player was DiMaggio and he was talking with one of his friends about baseball, and he said he needs to watch the Tigers of Detroit as well as the Indians of Cleveland, who have changed their name recently to Guardians. But it was just interesting to hear him talk about the Detroit Tigers, which is our team. So it was just really a fun little twist at the very beginning of the book, but great book. I would always recommend it.

[00:07:01.930] – Allan

Cool. Well, you ready to have a conversation with Alan Aragon?

[00:07:05.820] – Rachel



[00:07:53.730] – Allan

Alan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:56.610] – Alan Aragon

Hey, Allan, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

[00:08:00.210] – Allan

Now your book is called Flexible Dieting: The Science-based, Reality-tested Method for Achieving and Maintaining your Optimal Physique Performance and Health. I've read a lot of books. You're probably my I want to say close to 330th interview over the time I've been doing this podcast and I read every single book and there's at least I would say 100 citations that I earmarked or just made notes of that I want to go back and read because this was so well researched, so well organized and put together in a way that when you get through it and you would kind of admit this yourself, there's points where it feels a little trudgy because there's science and it's hard not to. But when you get done, you're like, this is what science is supposed to be, not some of the stuff we've been doing for the last few years, not what nutrition science has been doing for the last several decades. This is how you do science. And I really appreciate the way you put this book together.

[00:09:16.990] – Alan Aragon

Oh, cool. Yeah. Well, thank you. The book's title is kind of misleading. I was asked to do the book and then I said to myself, you know, this is my opportunity to leverage the powers of a large publishing house to write the ultimate evidence-based nutrition book that covers how to optimize body composition and athletic performance and just go fully science-based with that and try to make it readable for the mass audience. And so calling the book Flexible Dieting, it sounds like some almost like a pop diet book that has some sort of a hook. But then when you go through it, it's like gosh, if I wanted to learn about all the macronutrients, if I wanted to learn about different ways to enhance various sports, and if I also wanted to kind of learn what flexible dieting is that's in there, too, among a million other things? It's an interesting book, man. I commend you for getting through it. It's like an encyclopedia.

[00:10:38.330] – Allan

Well, it is and it isn't. Yes, it is. It is. From the perspective of when I have a question about when is the best time for me to take my protein? I have a chapter on that. I've took a couple of chapters. Whether I'm dealing with performance, whether I'm dealing with strength, whether I'm dealing with fat loss, whatever my goals are, I literally now have a reference book to go back and say, okay, at least from a baseline of what science was in 2022. So this is one of those books where I'm sorry, but in about five to ten years, you're going to have to I think you've tied yourself into a second and third edition or something like that. I think there's a rule. Yes, but at least what we know today. Yes. We're going to start with because it is important flexible dieting, because that's the hook, if you will. But that is a part of the fact that there is so much information out there, and there are what a lot of people call the hard and fast rules, the rigid. You must do this. You must do that. And a lot of us really struggle with that.

[00:11:51.820] – Alan Aragon


[00:11:52.720] – Allan

And what we're talking about is the continuum of dietary control. Could you kind of go over what that is and why that's really important for us to understand because particularly weight loss or muscle gain and they're kind of on other sides of each other. But if we're really looking at changing ourselves and we want to eat the right way, common sense would say, well, find a rigid plan and just do it, grind it out, even if you don't like it. And that's going to get you the best results. But for a lot of people, that's not true.

[00:12:26.650] – Alan Aragon

Yes. Diets are all effective as long as you stick to them. And the $64 million question, well, in Elon's case, the $44 billion question would be how do you stick to a diet? And so what I feel is the magic answer to that is you have to find an approach that works for you. You have to find methods that work for you as an individual. And this is going to be different from everybody. It just varies from person to person. And there are certain immutables. Like, for example, if you wanted to lose weight, you have to impose a net caloric deficit by the end of the week, technically, not necessarily by the end of the day. If you want to gain weight, you have to sustain the opposite hyper caloric conditions or caloric surplus conditions. And as is the major public health issue of obesity, there is a problem with the general public eating too much by the end of the day, the week, the month, and you can take anybody on the planet and give them a script and say, hey, follow this 100% and they are going to lose weight as long as that script imposes a caloric deficit.

[00:14:09.650] – Alan Aragon

Now, the minute that deficit gets swallowed up or just gradually stamped out over time, then the diet will stop working. And so flexible versus rigid dietary control, that concept attempts to capture the difference between on one far end, handing somebody a specific menu with very specific foods and the timing of the foods and the exact grams and gosh, even whether the foods are organic or not, you hand them that script and you say, okay, just follow this. And on the very far end of flexible control would be telling somebody, Eat less of this stuff and maybe more of that stuff and you'll be fine. So somewhere along that continuum is the proper approach for the individual. This is the most non hookish hook ever. But flexible dieting is really the flexibility of the approach that you take to accomplishing the goals. Because honestly, some people do really well with rigid dietary restraint. You tell them, okay, this is what you need to eat. And then they're just most comfortable doing it. And they're comfortable and they actually have fun plugging numbers into a God forsaken app. You know what? That is that particular individuals psychographic, if you will, and that's perfectly fine for them.

[00:15:59.590] – Alan Aragon

Whereas if you take somebody who hates that idea and you tell them, okay, you're going to need 100 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 60 grams of fat a day. Here's your app, plug it in. Here are the allowable foods. And then just make sure you accomplish this every day. If they don't like to do that, they'll honestly, they'll last like two weeks doing that, and then they'll just throw their phone out the window and say, screw this, I'm going to try Keto or Paleo, see how that works. Flexible dieting. The approach as sort of an overarching principle is that everybody needs to establish their own personal approach to dieting. And the concept of rigid dietary control versus flexible dietary control is sort of a sub concept where rigid control involves dichotomous concepts like good and bad foods. And you have to either be precise or it's all or nothing. And flexible dietary control is the idea where it's not black and white, there's not absolute good and absolute bad foods, particularly when you think of how they fit into a diet. You can create a good or a bad diet, but the good diets can still contain a margin of in quotes, naughty foods, bad foods.

[00:17:34.630] – Alan Aragon

So, yeah, it can get a little bit intricate when I attempt to explain flexible dieting. But yeah, that's it one thing flexible dieting is not. And this is what everybody kind of gets wrong because of how the diet culture ten years ago propagated this idea. But flexible dieting, and if it fits your macros, those are not the same thing. People just kind of conflate those terms, which is false, because if it fits your macros, A IIFYM is not a diet to begin with, and B IIFYM is not what people have been led to believe it is, which it was propagated as a junk food diet or eat whatever you want as long as you hit your macronutrient target. So that's not flexible dieting. Counting macros is not necessarily flexible dieting, but everybody calls it that because a rumor got started and then it just spread across the Internet. And then that was the end of that. And I watched it happen. And I knew with the flexible dieting research and the literature what that attempted to get across. And it has nothing to do with counting macronutrients. It has everything to do with not seeing dietary approaches as an all or nothing thing with good or bad foods and flexible dieting as a protocol.

[00:19:11.170] – Alan Aragon

It really just says, look, if you're one of these people who likes to be more rigid with the type of restraint they apply to the diet, then good that's you if you're somebody who likes a more qualitative or habit based approach and you don't want to crunch numbers and you don't want to weigh stuff and measure stuff all day long, great. And that's the approach that you take. Keeping in mind, regardless of your approach, if you want to lose weight or body fat, the approach you take has to default you to eating less calories, or somebody will correct me fewer calories by the end of the week, month, year, et cetera, in order to lose weight.

[00:20:01.690] – Allan

One of the reasons why the IIFYM kind of concept really took off, I think, is one you're on a message board. So anything on the message board or Twitter, the fewer characters you use, the better. So it's quick and it answers a question like, well, here, but it doesn't answer it exactly. There's another concept that you've got into in the book that I really do. I think this will take a lot of people further down into understanding this concept of flexible dieting because I think at times we might sit there and say, I really kind of want to have a beer with my dinner or I'm going out with friends on Saturday and I know we're going to go to my favorite Italian place. And so you start looking at what your food plan is and how you're planning on going about your day. It's the concept of discretionary calorie allowance, and I like that because it keeps you aware of the goal line. It just doesn't tell you what every step you have to take is.

[00:21:09.070] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, that's true. And the concept of discretionary calories is basically it's organized moderation, I guess you call it. It's moderation with a plan. So how do we execute moderation? This is an observation. It's not, amazingly, there hasn't been any controlled research comparisons of one approach to moderation versus another approach to moderation, but it's been a long standing observation over the decades that up to about 20% of total calories can come from basically whatever you want. And as long as the other minimum 80% of the diet is from wholesome stuff, whole foods, minimally refined foods, the inquote good stuff, clean stuff, I guess you could call it. Then you will be perfectly fine, and you will get as good results as somebody who attempts to be 100% perfect with their diet all the time. And it may even be more sustainable to keep a diet going in the long term if you allow this 10-20% margin of Yolo foods or foods like desserts, alcoholic beverages, deep fried stuff, and things that would normally be taboo on a stereotypical clean diet. So as long as 80% to 90% of the diet is wholesome, then you're doing great.

[00:22:59.770] – Alan Aragon

And then that 10 to 20% discretionary calorie allotment will provide you a respite or a margin of sanity. If you want to let your hair down once in a while and eat some fun stuff or some naughty stuff, and then you can sustain the program a lot better than thinking you have to just kind of grit your teeth through the whole thing for weeks and months until you reach your goal. And it just doesn't work like that. I want to throw in a little wrinkle here for folks kind of confused about the idea that we need to add naughty foods into the diet. If you're the type of person who doesn't like those kinds of foods, if you're the type of person who just hates the idea of eating cakes, candy, cookies, ice cream, alcoholic beverages, fried foods, et cetera, then you don't have to. Eat 100% Spartan if that's what makes you happy. And that's what you want to ride into the sunset with. But we have to be aware that the vast majority of us are going to be able to sustain the diet for a lifetime more successfully if we allot discretionary calories.

[00:24:28.010] – Allan

Yeah. And the cool thing is you are paying attention to your nutrition, so you're getting the nutrition your body needs, and you're keeping your calories in line with what you need to hit your goal, whether that's to lose weight, gain weight, all of that's in line because you know what you're supposed to be doing and you're staying within kind of this flexible, okay, pivot here. I need to be a little bit more rigid. I can be more rigid because my wife's not here for the next two weeks. So I can be really rigid if I want to. Where she's going to come back and want to socialize and go out to dinner and do things. So there I know for the next two weeks I'm probably going to have a lot more of those discretionary calories hitting my palate. And as long as that doesn't trigger me and cause me to kind of say, okay, one beer becomes two and then two becomes four. As long as I'm not triggered by what's going on, then that can be a really good way to sustain this. Now I'm looking at my notes, and this is sad because this is more about me.

[00:25:28.720] – Allan

It says a lot about your book, but it just looks like a hodgepodge of things. I was having so much time reading the I'm like, I want to talk about everything. But the core of it is there were a couple of concepts that were in the book that I've never talked about here. We've talked about the importance of eating protein and getting enough protein, but I've never talked about the reason why we need enough protein. And that relates to protein turnover, muscle protein turnover, and the fact that being over 40, our ability to maintain and retain our muscle and maybe even gain muscle is that formula is changing for us as we age. And so the importance to me, the importance of protein goes up substantially over the age of 40. I think that's what was one of the thoughts that was in my head. And then in the book, you talk about the protein intake hierarchy of importance. Can you talk about those and again, one, why is protein what is this turnover thing that's happening? Why do we need protein? And then how do we get our protein? What's the hierarchy of intake? Okay, a lot of ideas.

[00:26:47.030] – Allan

I know, but it was like as I was reading, I was like, this is so good. And I kept doing it. So pardon the question not being a question, but I'm asking for an essay.

[00:26:59.390] – Alan Aragon

That's cool. It's funny, because when I answer these questions, it hits a point in my answer where I'm somewhat self aware that, oh, gosh, I've been rambling for about five minutes now for one question.

[00:27:11.210] – Allan

I'm totally cool with that. You guys need to take a potty break and come back in the middle. That's also good. It's here at the podcast. You can hit pause.

[00:27:19.910] – Alan Aragon

Great. Yes. Dear audience, you may take a break. Yeah. The concept of muscle protein turnover. You have two sides of this cycle. One side is muscle protein synthesis or the build up side, and then muscle protein breakdown, which is the catabolic side. So this cycle is a perpetual thing that goes on in the body on a 24 hours basis. And so when muscle protein synthesis is equal to muscle protein breakdown, then you're basically just maintaining your muscle, which is a good thing. And then you've got muscle protein synthesis exceeding muscle protein breakdown, and then you've got muscle growth. And then you have the loss of muscle when the breakdown side of the cycle exceeds the synthesis side. So that's kind of the idea of muscle protein, what we call turnover. And so for the older population, there is a phenomenon called sarcopenia, and there's even a related phenomenon called sarcopenic obesity, which is sort of a combination of pathology. So sarcopenia is an age related loss of lean body mass. And sarcopenia is underneath the umbrella of a larger phenomenon called frailty, which happens with advanced age, with just a general loss of function that's related to undue weight loss, specifically the loss of lean tissue mass throughout the body.

[00:29:11.450] – Alan Aragon

And under frailty, we've got the loss of muscle tissue, which is sarcopenia. And this is a major problem in the aging population. And a lot of people don't realize that getting enough protein is crucial to successful aging. And that's because as people age, there's not only a tendency to not move around as much, but there's also a tendency to not push and pull and squat as much. So non-exercise activity goes down. Exercise activity goes down as well. And this can be a gradual sort of insidious thing that sneaks up on people where they're just sitting a lot more, lying around a lot more and just not moving as much and certainly not making formal visits to the gym or the track or the field or the pickup basketball game. And what happens is a phenomenon called disuse of the muscle tissue. And there's an interesting thing that can happen where you can take young people and put them on bedrest, and their muscle structure and function will just start to resemble somebody who has aged muscle or almost sarcopenic muscle because you can create muscle that resembles muscle, that is of somebody of an advanced age if you just impose disuse on the muscle.

[00:30:57.990] – Alan Aragon

And so this can happen at the macro level where you're just looking at muscle mass. And it can also happen at the micro level where you impair the so called muscle protein synthetic response, the MPS response to feeding. So in bedridden muscle muscle protein synthesis in response to protein feeding is actually lowered after a relatively short period of disuse. And in older people, this just happens more gradually. And it happens over time because of a gradual progression of disuse. And there are other factors too involved with aging muscle and the deterioration of its structure and function. So protein's role is to make sure that you minimize these age related muscle losses. But just as importantly, protein intake synergizes with resistance training to create an environment that prevents a physiological environment that is not the interior decoration of your home office, but it creates this physiological environment, the combination of protein intake or enough protein intake and resistance training. That combination will prevent muscle loss and can even oftentimes cause muscle gain in folks who really need it. The good news about preventing sarcopenia is that it is possible and it is even possible to reverse the earmarks of Sarcopenia.

[00:32:55.730] – Alan Aragon

And anybody at any age can just start performing resistance training, as long as you do it safely and gradually enough. And then you can get muscle structure and function back. And protein plus resistance training is the recipe for that. And there are other factors, too. You can't just do it on no calories. You have to be eating enough calories, because the recipe for muscle growth really is enough protein, enough calories, and then make sure your resistance training. So that is the role of protein and the importance of it. When we're talking about muscle protein turnover and how it relates to aging and with the older population, their dietary habits are really kind of crappy in terms of achieving enough total daily protein. So it usually begins at the first meal of the day where a significant amount of protein or any real amount of protein at all is basically neglected. And then lunch has a moderate ish amount of protein, and then dinner will contain a substantial hit of protein. But by the end of the day, you're really looking at sort of like one and a half meals that have enough protein to total by the end of the day in order to make sure that this particular population is getting enough protein, let alone are they resistance training.

[00:34:32.770] – Alan Aragon

So let's imagine they are resistance training. There are still challenges to getting enough protein in the older population because the total amount that you need to consume is usually about 50% to 100% more than what's typically ingested. And it's not the easiest thing to tell somebody who's in his fiftys. Sixty s, seventy s. Hey, bro, you need to double your protein intake and you need to start weight training.

[00:35:03.090] – Allan

I have that conversation all the time. So yeah, okay. That's why we're having this conversation. Now, your publisher, because you brought it up. I'm familiar with your publisher because I've had lots of their authors on they tend to be in the Keto space. They tend to be in the low carb space, from my experience. And you did start talking about Keto. So I was actually when I got this book, I was like, oh, flexible dieting. And then this being a predominantly Keto publisher, maybe they're branching out and that's good. But I was almost expecting a Keto book, to be honest with you. So I was kind of surprised we didn't get into Keto. But then you did. And then I was not surprised why we didn't get into Keto, particularly if you start looking at what the goals are here, which is to gain muscle, to increase strength, to improve endurance. As you said in the subtitle, was it optimal physique performance and health? And you pretty much did in the book talk about how Keto works within all of those realms. Could you kind of go through that with us?

[00:36:13.920] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, sure. And before I go into that, I just realized I needed to quickly answer the hierarchy of importance with protein. So with respect to protein intake, there is a hierarchy of importance that's worth touching upon. And of most importance with protein intake is total daily amount. That's tier number one. And then the next tier down is the distribution or the pattern of protein doses throughout the day. That's of secondary importance to the total amount that you have by the end of day. And of least importance, there is the timing of protein relative to the training bound. And so, Interestingly, we could go into an hour on each one of those tiers.

[00:37:07.140] – Allan

Yeah. And you do. And that's the cool thing in the book is you literally do talk about the science behind, because I get the question, should I be doing a protein shake after my workout? Do I have that 1 hour window? All those questions are actually answered in your book with citations, lots of citations, lots of evidence, lots of science. Again, you've answered the question and you answered over and over, depending on what the goals of the person training are. So the hierarchy is important, but the core of it is get enough, get enough throughout the day, and then the rest of it will take care of itself, particularly for those of us over 40, if our training volume is not professional caliber, those other two tiers actually mean a little bit less than they would otherwise, in my opinion. But the sign says get enough. That's the first tier. Get that done. And for a lot of us, that's a struggle because it's in our food. But many of people are trying to do multiple things at once, trying to lose weight, trying to eat a certain way, trying to live our lives, and having ready protein when packaged snacks are a little bit easier.

[00:38:24.030] – Allan

Sometimes not so easy. But you do dive into this deep. That's why we're scratching the surface here and get into the book, because the science is there. The advice is there. The actual grams are there. It's all in there.

[00:38:40.720] – Alan Aragon

Yes. If anybody listening to this episode wanting to know, well, then how much protein do I take? I can give you a gram number, but do you know how to translate those grams into chunks of food? Well, some of you do. And for those who do the gram amount, that kind of encompasses what most people require to optimize their total daily protein intake is somewhere between .7 to 1.0 gram/lb in quotes, ideal body weight or target body weight. And I say that because if somebody is obese and they base their protein intake on their total body weight, they will be consuming an unnecessarily high amount of protein in a lot of instances. So protein targeting would be based on target body weight or goal body weight. So that's zero, .7 grams to 1.0 target body weight. So for those of you listening who are dying to know what's the sweet spot? Total daily protein. Well, that's it.

[00:39:52.660] – Allan


[00:39:54.410] – Alan Aragon

Okay. So on the keto.

[00:39:55.710] – Allan

Yeah. Let's jump into keto.

[00:39:57.200] – Alan Aragon

With keto. Keto is an interesting thing because it works very well for weight loss. And the caveat to that statement is it works very well for a temporary period for most people who try it. And that's because there appears to be a general inability to sustain strict keto, which by most definitions is 50 grams or less a day of carbs. Most people cannot sustain that for the long term. And the people who try to, their carb intake ends up roughly tripling over the course of a year of attempting keto. So it ends up tripling from the original assignment of eating less than 50 grams a day. And so that is the main issue with keto is that it works really well for fat loss and weight loss. And the way that it works for those things is that it removes a lot of options, a lot of food options. And the options it removes usually are foods that are hyperpalatable carbon fat combination foods that are very easy to over consume. And so when you remove those options, you simply are defaulted to eating less total calories by the end of the day, end of the weekend of the month.

[00:41:35.570] – Alan Aragon

And so there's a lot less variety in the diet. There's a lot less opportunity to overeat in the diet. There's a lot less motivation to sit there and overeat your fatty piece of meat. So that's how keto works. Of course, the problem is most of the majority and I can't put an exact number on what that exactly means. But more than half of the subjects who get on keto end up reaching the upper limits of keto by six months, certainly by twelve months. So for those of you who are on keto and have been on it for a few years and love it, and that's the way you do it. I don't care, man. That's great. You found what works for you. That's wonderful. But my issue with keto is when people go around saying that keto is the best keto superior, keto does special things, and it's actually a double edged sword to keto. When you look at long term health and when you look at the optimization or the protection of cardiovascular health, because with keto being a high fat diet, you're looking at 65% to 85% of the diet coming from fat, then you better be pretty Dang careful about the type of fat that you're eating because that's the predominant source of calories in your diet.

[00:43:04.050] – Alan Aragon

And if all you're eating is land animal fats all day mixed with there are other crappy kind of vegetable based fats as well, then you're setting yourself up for dyslipidemia and then the development of cardiovascular disease and then potentially cardiovascular events. So it can be a double edged sword but the thing about keto and the good thing about keto is while you're on it, you're probably going to be losing weight.

[00:43:36.170] – Allan

And I kind of put this in that continuum of dietary control as keto fits in the kind of the rigid range. And it is something that you do have to manage because from a nutritional perspective, if you're not eating certain vegetables, as you mentioned, if you're eating certain foods and excess to try to make that happen because keto didn't get the nickname of being the bacon diet for no reason, people were like, oh, sure, you can eat all the bacon you want. And that's not really the right way to do keto. And keto is a way of eating. I use it. I use it as a tool. It's a temporary tool. Like I said, for a period of time I can get over into the rigid mind frame and mindset, and it works fine for me. But when it comes to wanting to put on muscle to get stronger, keto might not be the best approach for us. And surprise, endurance athletes might not do well on keto either.

[00:44:32.690] – Alan Aragon

Yeah, that's definitely true. And that definitely is what the research evidence shows. So the collective literature on keto and performance is that it's a bad bet for that. But that's not too far fetched when you consider that athletic performance is really a carbohydrate based thing. It's based on the availability either from what you ingest around training or from what you store in your muscles. So glycogen being the stored form of carbohydrate, if you are under fueled from a carbohydrate perspective, that will always compromise the potential for maximally performing. Now there are alter endurance athletes who try to lowball their carbs, and that's fine. But they are more the exception than the rule in terms of the elite in that area and even the ultra endurance athletes who have done really well and claim to be low carbing when you look at their actual programs, they're consuming carbs throughout the race, so they just happen to be consuming less than what's normally recommended by the major organizations. So keto is something that if you have a lot at stake in terms of trophies or medals or endorsements and stuff, then you're not going to be a keto athlete who is compromising or jeopardizing his or her potential for maintaining that elite status.

[00:46:22.910] – Alan Aragon

It just doesn't happen. Now, if you're a weekend warrior or a regular guy just trying to look good at the pool or the beach or at the high school reunion, then under carving is not an issue. If you want to do good at the weekend soccer game, you might be compromised a little bit by being on keto, and you might not make the score the most amount of points out of the rest of your buddies. But it's not that big of an issue. Where keto becomes an issue with athletics is at the elite level and the professional level, you're not going to see many pro athletes at all even going near Keto because it's a liability.

[00:47:07.430] – Allan

Yeah, I think where you kind of hit the road, the rubber hit the road for me when we were talking about endurance was I think a lot of us look at endurance and think of it as a, oh, I'm going to start with this pace and I'm going to run that pace for the entire part of the race. But for most people that have done any competing at all, they know there are periods of time when you're going to try to go a little bit harder, a little bit faster. For a lot of us that are just recreational athletes, that's once you see the finish line and it's right there, you're going to try to sprint to the end. And the reality of it is you may not have the kind of gas you wanted to have during some of those sprints or faster bits of work because you don't have the muscle likage and necessary to make it happen.

[00:47:52.130] – Alan Aragon

Yes, that's correct. And it's those moments that separate the top finishers from those who don't place. It's the so called race winning moves being climbing uphills either running or cycling, passing that ending sprint towards the finish line is going to be a high intensity effort. And so those who are under carb simply do not have the biochemical reserves required to power those race winning moves. And, yeah, it can make the difference between winning and losing.

[00:48:32.870] – Allan

Now, there was one other thing that you had in the book that I could not leave without talking about because to me, this solved kind of a question I had because you're trying to work with a client or someone's trying to work with themselves. And they're like, well, I'm trying to chart my calories and my macros and my food. And like you said, they've got that app. And they're like every day, every day they're in the app. And then in the end you're like, okay, well, How'd you do today, How'd you do today, How'd you do today and one bad day, then kind of can become this bad cycle, particularly for individuals who've struggled in the past. So if you've gone through something and you struggle and fail, you work and fail, and now you're trying this again. But this quick single digit adherence rating system, I think this could be the key for a lot of people that have struggled with that start and fail cycle that they go through every time. So if you get nothing else from this flexible dieting book, I think this system is key. Could you tell us about this system?

[00:49:44.290] – Alan Aragon


[00:49:44.700] – Allan

How it works?

[00:49:46.190] – Alan Aragon

Yeah. This is something that I put together and started implementing back in 2005, 2006. And it first appeared in the self published book I did in 2007. And I used to call it the calendar method, where you just write a number down from one to ten where you're basically rating your performance or your adherence or compliance to the program, with ten being perfect. And so when the calendar is up on your wall and you're seeing a bunch of eights and nines and tens, and inevitably you see progress at the end of the month. So you are marching towards your goals. Whereas if you see just a bunch of five, six, and seven s littering up the month, then you have a sense of self accountability and a sense of awareness of why your progress is not happening. And so this real quick self grading system on a scale of one to ten, how good did you do? The fact that it takes like 1 minute to think about and write down the number was kind of a big win because people, well, clients who hated taking detailed records, they loved this method as long as they could be honest with me and honest with themselves about their performance.

[00:51:12.120] – Alan Aragon

On a scale of one to ten, it just took them 1 minute or less. It took them 10 seconds to think about how they did and write down the number and send it over. And nobody's going to be sending over nines and tens and then at the end of the month wondering what the hell happened. It just doesn't work like that. When you can establish a certain level of trust with yourself or with your clients, then they really can't. Once they're familiar with the program, they know whether they're following it or not. A lot of times with people that they're very honest about why they're failing at programs, they're like, I know what to do, I just don't do it. And you know what? That's true. So let's see if we can establish some accountability here that you can either have with yourself or with your coach or your practitioner, your dietician, your trainer, and let's just do a self grading system. I call it the accountability rubric, where it's one to ten. And over the years towards the 2010, I developed a way to make that rubric, that one to ten scale a little bit more concrete.

[00:52:36.840] – Alan Aragon

So it's more of a checklist. It evolved into being a checklist where there's ten specific points or tasks that you need to have completed throughout the day in order to grant yourself that number. And if you hit all ten of those things, which could be drink enough water, get enough sleep, get enough protein, eat two to four fruits a day, two to four servings of vegetables a day down the line, ten things, ten healthy things, then give yourself the ten if you got all ten and so on and so forth. And so that made the accountability rubric a little bit more real and a little more concrete for people to kind of think about. But at the same time, it still took about 25 seconds to look down the list and see whether you hit all those checkpoints, and then you can take a look at the month. If it's littered with eight, nines, and ten s, you're going to be reaching your goal. I'm glad that you found that system helpful, and there's a bunch of different things like that in the book that I hope that the readers will resonate with at least one of them.

[00:53:51.510] – Alan Aragon

But yeah, this is something that I've used pretty extensively in my practice.

[00:53:58.810] – Allan

Cool. Even doing it for yourself. It's just to say if I want to start implementing a new habit, a new action, I want to get better sleep, more sleep. It's a one to ten. It's a simple thing. You wake up in the morning, how is my sleep? And guess what? They still sell paper calendars. You can still buy them. You can still have one of them, and you can still sit there and look and say, okay, if I'm not doing better than a six or seven, what's going on? You can catch yourself pretty early in the month. As you start seeing that slide, it's like, okay, what am I doing here? That's not helping me do this, because I know this action gives me the result that I want. Like I said, I really appreciate that tool. And there's like you said, a lot of that just good stuff in there. I told you before the call, I could spend two, three days talking to you about this.

[00:54:55.420] – Allan

Thank you

[00:54:57.490] – Allan

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

[00:55:08.330] – Alan Aragon

The first one, this might be really cliche Allan, but get enough sleep, get enough good quality sleep. And per the scientific literature, it is a low probability that you're going to be optimizing your health if you consistently dip far below 7 hours. And I know a lot of healthy people and people who are just very vigorous getting five, 6 hours a day. But that's them. And that's how they're wired. And that's how they're built. And per the scientific evidence, they're not in the majority. So statistically, at the population level, you would want to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night or at least try to. And if you're not one of these people who can and you feel amazing with that 6 hours a day, great, fine. But just know that statistically people sleep is optimized at seven and up. And so that would be the first. The second thing would be, for God's sake, lift stuff if you can. And it doesn't have to be Olympic lifting and powerlifting and bodybuilding and flexing in the mirror between sets like you and me, people can do activities that do involve resisted joint movements that aren't necessarily at the gym.

[00:56:42.770] – Alan Aragon

They're not necessarily in the weight room where you're fighting for spots with the gym Bros. A lot of people are intimidated by the word resistance training. They're just picturing barbells and dumbbells flying around. But any kind of movement that you can just involve your joints with resisted movement. There's a million resources and ways to do it. You can go outside and do it. You can go to a park and do various things. It doesn't have to be at the gym. Get resistance training in your life. Get enough sleep. Make sure you get resistance training as a foundation, as a non negotiable part of your training. Some people think that all you need to do is go for a bunch of walks throughout the week and you're good. Well, okay, as good as walking is, that's not going to save you from sarcopenia. That's not going to save you from the ravages of aging. That's not going to allow you to age, amazingly like Allan Misner. So what people need to realize they have to do a certain amount of pushing and pulling and maybe some squatting or some at least leg extension and hip extension and things to stimulate the lower body on a resist basis, whether it's more primal and organic type of movement outside or whether it's in the gym.

[00:58:08.330] – Alan Aragon

So I'll be number two. The third one, eat the foods that you personally like most. Forget about whatever diet book is telling you are the super foods that everybody needs to eat. That's just a load of baloney, really. If you take a survey of all the centenarians in the world and super centenarians, they all eat different foods. They all have a different list of favorite foods, and almost all of them list a bunch of crap they include in their diet every day too. But yes, stick with the foods that you enjoy personally, because there's psychological and physiological signature reasons why you gravitate towards those foods. And we as humans are not completely devoid of any instinct. We have a feel for what we like, and there's good reasons for that. So you will be able to stick to your diet long term if you stick to the foods that you like within a healthy eating pattern. Right? I'm talking about foods within the food groups and you should be getting the food groups. So those would be my three if I could boil it down to three. And I guess maybe if I may add a little sub thing under the eat the foods that you like.

[00:59:35.220] – Alan Aragon

Eat them in the pattern that fits your personal preference and schedule. There's a lot of color blue going around about when you should eat your foods. How much should time restrict the eating window? Can we only eat from 08:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. in order to maximize? That's all majoring in the minors. That's not going to make somebody freaking awesome at 70 compared to maintaining their exercise program and a decent overall food selection of the foods that they love. When you eat your foods in the day, that should be determined by how you prefer it. Do you like to eat dinner at 08:00 P.m. Instead of 06:00 P.m.? Cool. Eat it now. Do you like to have a pre bed snack? Great. Have that. Do you like to skip breakfast? Is that how you function best?

[01:00:31.400] – Alan Aragon

Cool. Skip the hell out of breakfast. It's not going to make or break you. There are very silly books going around saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you have to stop eating, x foods or stop eating carbs that you have to make sure you don't eat like 3 hours before bed. That's a load of crap, Allan. And I can't emphasize that enough how trivial that advice is in the big picture.

[01:00:59.390] – Allan

Thank you.

[01:01:00.100] – Alan Aragon

My advice is do what you can stick to within the context of an overall healthy selection of foods.

[01:01:09.800] – Allan

Great. Thank you for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book Flexible Dieting, where would you like for me to send them?

[01:01:18.410] – Alan Aragon

AlanAragon.com. And then we've got the various links to my stuff. So I have a research review as well, a monthly research review for the nerdy types who like to really dig into the details. And then I've got my book Flexible Dieting, that's going to come out on June 7, but it's available for preorder, as you and I are speaking.

[01:01:46.430] – Allan

But this episode is going to drop on June 7th. So, yeah, the book is available now wherever you want to get books. You can also go to his website alanaragon.com, if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/541 I'll be sure to have links there. So, Alan, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:02:05.030] – Alan Aragon

You got it, Allan. And you as well. Thank you so much.

Post Show/Recap

[01:02:15.930] – Allan

Hi, Rachel. How was that interview?

[01:02:18.070] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh, it was great. It was really interesting because right at the very beginning you drew me in with the title of the book Being Flexible Dieting. But the $64,000 question, how do you stick to a diet? Isn't that the question of the year?

[01:02:34.560] – Allan

Yeah. Well, he went to a publisher and sometimes publishers want to change the name of a book. You might think this is the name of the book. So there was discussion about flexible dieting in the book. In all fairness, it was a part of it part of the conversation, which is an important part of, like you said, sticking to a diet. But really, what this book is about is about nutrition for performance or physique.

[01:02:59.760] – Rachel


[01:03:00.760] – Allan

And health. So it was science based, meaning he went to the science, the studies that were out there. He didn't pick a side of a conversation and say this is what it is based on his beliefs. He literally went through and said, okay, what is out there? Everything that's out there. And then based on what's there, can we draw a conclusion? And in some cases, he didn't really feel like we could. But for a lot of it, he literally would go through and say, okay, based on all these studies, this is what it says. And this is the bet if you want to perform well at strength training, this is what you eat, literally giving you the calories, giving you the macro breakdowns, all of it. The flexible dieting comes around and, okay, that's all good and fine if I know what I'm supposed to eat, but can I stick to it long enough to see that performance improvement? And that's where the flexible dieting comes in of saying, okay, if you're getting the nutrition you need and you've got a little bit of buffer calories in there that you have maybe 90, ten, you say, so 10% of my calories.

[01:04:13.530] – Allan

So I'm going to eat 2000 calories as I'm trying to cut weight of that. Or 200 calories can be, for lack of a better word, crap. It could be chips. It can be a candy bar or maybe half a candy bar, depending on how many calories are in it. But you see where you can go and say, okay, I don't have to eat perfect all the time to see these things. If I go in and I at least know that I'm getting the nutrition that I need, that's the first one. And then second, I'm not just overeating because of these lack of a better word, empty calories. And then the way I would say it is, enjoy the heck out of it. So don't make it just any old candy bar. Make it your favorite candy bar, or make it something higher class, higher end stuff. Don't just drink just any beer. Make it a beer that you're really going to enjoy. That kind of mindset makes it a lot more sustainable.

[01:05:15.120] – Rachel

Well, the other thing that really attracted me was that he said that your calorie deficit doesn't have to be a daily thing as long as you have a calorie deficit over the week or the month or the year that it takes for you to get to your goal weight, if that was the main goal. But yeah, you don't have to be really rigid with your eating rules day by day. So I like that approach.

[01:05:39.610] – Allan

Yeah. Even though there's a lot of things about the human body that are built into the rhythms of a day or a month or a year, the reality of it is there's nothing magic from the calories in a day. You can gain weight in a day. You can lose weight in a day, but you're not going to lose a whole lot, and you're not going to gain a whole lot. If you do notice the scale move any at all really much on a day to day basis, that's mostly just water shifting around. You went pee one more time than you did the day before, you weigh less simple. And so I think the key of what he's talking about there is just know that there's sort of a target of what you're burning doing the work that you're doing. And you don't have to create an accounting system like it's General Electric. You can go through and say, I know these foods. I know this is how my body reacts to it. I know what a serving size looks like. I know about how much. And for many of us, we do eat the same foods as staples on a fairly regular basis.

[01:06:53.050] – Allan

So if you know, okay, this is my dinner. I have it probably once a week. You don't have to look it up every time. You don't have to say, okay, what are my macros? What are my calories? You just know. I'm getting a third of my protein in this meal. I'm getting half of my carbs in this meal, and I'm getting 35% of my calories in this meal. And if you just know those kinds of things, it's just plug and play and enjoy your food and then occasionally flexible. If something happens and you need to be flexible, then just let it go. You're not destroying yourself in a day.

[01:07:27.830] – Rachel

Yeah, right.

[01:07:29.160] – Rachel

The other thing I really enjoyed was the part about protein and how usually people 40 and over or maybe even 50 and over or even 60 and over have a strange relationship with protein in their diet. It seems like they skip it for the morning and maybe have a tiny bit at lunch and then throw it all at dinner hour when it seems more appropriate to spread it throughout the day.

[01:07:51.510] – Allan

It's easier to get if you spread it. That's absolute truth and unfortunate. Food guidelines, foods that's available, they're highly dense in carbs and not the nutritionally dense carbs, but bread. So there's pizza, there's hamburgers, all those foods. And you say, okay, what's the protein? And they have some protein. But you look at the protein in the cheese and the pepperoni, assuming you even got that on there. How much protein is in a pizza? And I'd say, probably not a lot. I haven't looked it up, but I would say less than 20% of the total calories is coming from protein breakfast cereal. Maybe there's some in your milk if you're even drinking regular milk, because maybe you're doing the soy milk or maybe you're doing the oat milk and you start looking at the protein of that and the protein that was in the cereal. And you're kind of like, okay, 75% of my calories are coming from carbs, 20% from fat, and now 5% protein. So it's almost devoid of protein.

[01:09:06.690] – Rachel


[01:09:07.490] – Allan

And most of us should be eating more protein than we are. It's hard to shift over until you actually make a concerted effort to get protein into every meal.

[01:09:20.170] – Rachel

Well, yeah, exactly. I don't think we don't pay that close attention to how we eat, our habits of our eating. And if you're in a habit of having cereal for breakfast or a sandwich or something at lunch, you just don't notice that you're not getting the adequate amount of protein probably. The other thing he mentioned, too, was the ratio for how many grams of protein per body weight. He mentioned that it's not the body weight that you're at, it's at your goal body weight for the purpose of weight loss, which that is something I don't know that I paid attention to. I don't know that I've heard it like that before.

[01:09:59.850] – Allan

Well, yeah, because what they would typically base it on is they would say your lean mass. So what you're thinking in terms of this, let's say you're at 30% body fat and you want to get down closer to say 20 or 15. Okay. Then you're going to want to lose the body fat. And if you were to do that, you lose that amount of body fat to get down to, you're going to be closer to your lean body mass weight. So realizing now you're carrying less fat. So the way you are is closer to lean body mass weight, particularly if you're like a bodybuilder and you're trying to get down into the single digits, you're carrying very little fat and most of the mass that you have is your lean body. So that's where that number comes from is really just a function of saying rather than think about it from lean body mass. Because for a lot of us, that's hard. Unless you go get a DEXA scan and they tell you your body mass is this amount of fat, you don't know. So it's easier to just base it on where your goal weight would be and just use that.

[01:11:08.140] – Allan

Now that's going to overstate it a little bit from the numbers, but it's not significant. Again, if you're just thinking unless you're trying to go from 50% body fat to 40%, then if 40% is your target, you're going to probably be overeating some protein because that's not really a lean body mass. But you see, for most of us, it's like we want to get down to that 20 to 15 range. So that's where that number is coming in.

[01:11:35.080] – Rachel

Yeah, that was great. It was a great discussion. Really interesting.

[01:11:37.930] – Allan

Yeah. This goes down is so far my favorite book in 2022.

[01:11:43.270] – Rachel


[01:11:44.020] – Allan

If anyone is really looking at improving their performance, I would strongly encourage them to read this book because it's going to give you a formula for how you can eat to optimize your performance. And whatever you're trying to do, get stronger, run further, faster and just look better.

[01:12:02.260] – Rachel

Awesome. Great discussion.

[01:12:04.400] – Allan

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

[01:12:06.330] – Rachel

Great. Take care.

[01:12:07.510] – Allan

You too.


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

Another episode you may enjoy


May 31, 2022

How to lose your middle-age spare tire with 3 simple tactics

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On this episode, Coach Allan shares three of his favorite tactics to break a plateau or lose those last 5 – 10 lbs.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:31.450] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are you?

[00:02:33.360] – Rachel

Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:02:35.000] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I'm pretty excited. As we record this, I'm about to go on a two day staycation. My wife and I are going to go to this resort here. It's in Bocas del Toro, it's on a different island. No WiFi, no cell signal, no phones. Two days of being completely off the grid. And even though we take an annual trip and we did take a week off last year. Really? Since early September, I haven't had a break.

[00:03:07.550] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[00:03:09.610] – Allan

Almost seven days a week every week since then. And so this is just kind of time for me to take a couple days, just a quick little mini vacation. It's on our anniversary, so that's a good thing to (worked out). So we're going to do that. And I'm pretty excited. We're packed up, ready to go, and later today, I get on a boat, and I'll come back 48 hours later, having been off the grid and unplugged for a full 48 hours.

[00:03:35.570] – Rachel

That sounds so wonderful. Well, happy anniversary. Early anniversary. But also, how wonderful to be off the grid for a little while. It sounds great.

[00:03:42.960] – Allan

Yeah. And so next week, I'll talk about what that feels like and what that's all about.

[00:03:47.400] – Rachel

Cool. Yeah.

[00:03:48.500] – Allan

No Twitter, no Facebook, no drama, no anything. So guys, don't blow up the world while I'm gone?

[00:03:56.410] – Rachel

We'll do our best

[00:03:57.650] – Allan

I'm sitting there looking on the horizon? All these mushroom clouds. I guess I missed it.

[00:04:01.420] – Rachel

Yeah, you missed something. Must have missed the headline. Well, I'm sure it sounds like a wonderful vacation. It's nice that you can finally get away after such a long time. My goodness.

[00:04:11.020] – Allan

All right. How are things up there?

[00:04:12.820] – Rachel

Good. We are also planning some vacations for the summer, but we've been a little bit sidelined. I told you earlier, but we haven't shared with listeners that my husband was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer. And I wanted to share that for a couple of different reasons.

[00:04:29.830] – Rachel

The first reason I want to share it is that it was an incidental finding, and it was a strange finding at that. We're both 50, so I feel like it's still a little young, although not unheard of to have cancer at this age. But he noticed some blood in his urine right before our marathon weekend back in April. And I mentioned that because it is unusual. I mean, you should definitely go to the doctor anytime you have blood in places that doesn't belong, even in your urine. And so when we got home from our marathon, he did go in and urine test blood work, and a CT scan revealed that he had a pretty significant size tumor in his right kidney.

[00:05:14.170] – Rachel

So the good news is that it seems to be contained. It hasn't metastasized, which is great. The type of cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer. Almost 50% of the people that get kidney cancer get this particular variation, and it does respond very well to treatment.

[00:05:31.370] – Rachel

He started chemo, and he's doing okay with the chemo right now. He's not having any ill effects so far. And then after a couple of weeks on this, he'll be starting an immunotherapy, which sounds super cool, but that will help to keep it from spreading. And he might be on this for a year after he has his kidney removed in order to teach the body to fight it should it come back. So it's definitely boosting his immune system. That's the whole purpose of it.

[00:06:00.630] – Rachel

So a couple of months, chemo, hopefully the tumor will shrink enough so that it's able to be removed through surgery. He'll lose his kidney, but that's okay. His other kidney is untouched and just as healthy and he will be just fine. So hopefully by the end of the year he'll be one kidney down and cancer down.

[00:06:20.100] – Allan

Yes, absolutely. You know, we're there, we're thinking and praying for him. So thank you.

[00:06:24.030] – Rachel

Yes, thank you. Thank you so much.

[00:06:26.510] – Allan

All right. Are you ready to get into weight loss?

[00:06:30.630] – Rachel

Yes, definitely.


How to lose your spare tire with three simple Tactics I wanted to talk about this topic in particular, because a lot of times I will have people come to me and say, I'm doing this, I'm doing that, and I just can't lose this last 10 lbs or I've plateaued and I really don't know what else to do to get my fat loss going. So if you have just a little bit to lose and or you're kind of plateaued and looking for some things that will kind of boost your weight loss, this is the episode for you. I'm going to talk about three basic tactics that you can incorporate into your day to day that are going to help you be more successful at weight loss.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

The first one is high-intensity interval training, and I know that scares a lot of people, but this is really a simple and effective way to get a really good workout in in a short period of time and really boost your metabolism to make some things happen faster. Okay. Now, for a lot of people, they believe a HIIT training is 45 minutes to an hour and you'll have people bragging about their 45 minutes HIIT training.

And I'm here to tell you that, isn't it? It's a very specific thing, a certain thing that you need to do if you actually want to get the benefits of it. What most people are talking about, if they're going for more than 20 minutes, is called interval training and it is effective. It's not as effective as high-intensity interval training, so let's talk about the difference. Interval training is something that you can just keep doing. So there is a work phase and a rest phase, but you just keep going. You're not pushing at 100% during your work phase, so you have more juice in the can, if you will. You can keep going for longer and longer. And there's nothing wrong with interval training. It is quite effective. But HIIT training is very different in that with HIIT training, you're running really hard, you're moving really hard. So whatever movement patterns you're doing with HIIT training, they need to be really intense. That high intensity is the key, because if you're doing the high-intensity intervals, you're going to experience what's called excess post exercise consumption. EPOC and EPOC is the key for why this is effective for weight loss.

It raises your metabolism for a period of probably up to 12 hours after you do the work. And so it's basically requirement that you work as hard as you possibly can for a period of time usually no more than 30 seconds, and then you can have a rest phase, which can be anywhere up to four times the work phase. So usually when I'm programming for someone new and we're going to do some basic HIIT training, it's 20 seconds on and then 60 seconds off. That's a three times rest to work phase. So going through several rounds of that, the person is working really hard. The way I like to emphasize the work is I want you to think about carrying your baby through the forest and you see a bear and you have to run as hard as you can to get away from that bear or else you and the baby are done. If you're a little older, maybe it's your grandbaby, but you're moving as hard as you possibly can for that period of time, so be it. 20 seconds, 30 seconds, whatever your work phase is. And then you allow yourself to rest.

You've gotten away from the bear and you're able to recover. You won't recover all the way. So you go through your rest work, and if you find that you're not recovering enough to do another work, that program is over. That workout is over. When you first start this, you might only be able to do four or five rounds, and that's fine. That's a good workout. If you've gotten yourself up to a point where you're fatigued and exhausted and you're not recovering, you need to go ahead and stop. You've done enough. In no cases should you be doing more than ten rounds. If you're doing more than ten rounds or you're able to do a work phase that's longer than 30 seconds, you're not working at 100%. You're not pushing yourself hard enough for it to be HIIT training. It's all right. It's interval training. It's still something to do. But just realize that almost no one except potentially an elite athlete is going to be able to do true HIIT training for more than eight to ten rounds. It's just not going to happen. So for us, we want to basically try to target doing eight rounds, but we're not looking at the number of rounds as a measure of how good this workout is.

We're looking at how hard we can push ourselves and then recover as much as we can. The better performance you're going to see typically with his training is that you're recovering better as you go along. So if you're doing the work now and then you look at yourself six months later, you might find that your heart rate, if that's how you're going to measure your recovery, is dropping back down into a good zone for you to get started again quicker. And so you're seeing better recovery. You can do more work. And that's really where the benefit of it is. It affects you. It improves your cardiovascular fitness, your Vo two Max, as they say. And with that epoch, it's helping you burn calories. Well, after your workout now I'd be remiss to talk about high-intensity interval training without talking about Tabata. Tabata was developed by a doctor. Izumi Tabata. He's a scientist, and he was studying how high-intensity interval training can be used to improve cardiovascular fitness and particularly improved metabolism. And so he did some experiments, and he has come up with a process. It's a 20 seconds of work, ten-second rest. So again, this is not a multiple one.

This is the 50%. So 20 seconds as hard as you possibly can, 10 seconds rest. And for eight rounds, that's his structure. Now, in his structure in his workout, he has eight specific exercises, and these exercises are put together. All eight of them make a very robust, very hard full body workout. You have to be pretty athletic to be able to do most of these movements, and they're very metabolically challenging each and every one of them. So if you see someone who says they have a Tabata workout and it's not pulling those other exercises various extras or you're doing the same exercise over and over, what you have is an adaptation. When I'm programming for my clients, I'm very clear it's a Tabata style workout, which just means we're going with his formula of 20 seconds of work and then 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds. The last thing I want to say as far as HIIT training, because it is so intense, start out with just once per week. And I know it's inviting to try to do this every day or do this all the time. And that's too much. That's too much volume for most people.

At some point, you might be able to put in a second. And if your fitness level gets up to a point, you may actually be able to do high intensity interval training for three times a week. But if you're doing it right, which I mean 100% all you got, like there's no other rounds to do. Each one is your last one. You're working that hard. If you're working that hard to get away from the bear, then your recovery is going to be slow. It's going to take a little while. And that epoch that's happening. Your body's not recovering while that epoch is going on. It's still in a work phase well after your workout. So don't try to put too many of these in there. A little bit goes a long way. So make sure you do one. You get good at it. You keep doing maybe once a week. And again, if you look at it about it, it's four minutes. I mean, you got to warm up, and then you got four minutes of hard work. So these are easy to fit in, but it's not something you want to do every day.

So time it out. Pay attention to your recovery. See how much these high-intensity interval training affect your other workouts. You might notice your cardiovascular strength gets better, but it might also adversely affect the workout that you are planning to do the next day if you haven't fully recovered. So pay attention to your recovery. But this is a really good way to get your metabolism up and keep it up for an extended period of time. And if you're doing it regularly, once a week, you will see an increase in your overall calorie burn. And that's going to help you cut some of that fat.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

The next topic I want to talk about is called NEAT. It's Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Now, NEAT is a term that is kind of neat because it's not exercise. It's just a way for you to help your body burn a little bit more and stop being as sedentary. Now, if you've ever sat down on the floor, you may notice that it's difficult to just sit in one place unless you're on a pad. You just sit on the hard floor. You start squirming and moving around.

So if you can imagine, our ancestors, they didn't have comfy couches in their living room. They didn't sit in front of the computer all day. So there was constant some form of movement most of their day where there was just moving around, walking, doing things, tapping your feet. Any movement that your body is doing is going to require some energy. Now is it a lot of energy? No. But put together, if you work to do some things that increase your needs, you will actually start burning some calories. And a little difference of even 20 calories a day over a period of time can be quite significant. So what are some things Besides tapping your feet and dancing that we can do that are non exercise activities that would get us there? The first thing I would say is recognize how our lifestyles have become easy and convenient. We get in the car, we drive to the grocery store, we try to find the closest spot to the door. We may even wait for a car to pull out. To get to that closest space, we go to work in our car, we sit at our office, things are brought to us, delivered to us.

We live a very convenient life for the most part. So try to avoid easy. Try to avoid convenient. Park a little bit further away at the grocery store. Park a little bit further away in the employee parking lot. Don't ask for someone to bring something to you. Get up and go get it. Avoid convenient. Make life less convenient. So you're moving around a little bit more. Instead of someone saying, I'm going to the break room to get a coffee, do you want one? It's like, sure, I'll walk with you and you walk that type of thing. So avoid the easy, convenient stuff that's keeping you sedentary and make sure you're adding a little bit more movement. And then the final bit I'll say on this is create opportunities for me, like I said, sitting on the floor instead of sitting in a chair. By the nature of that, you can still watch your program or do what you were doing, but you're going to move around more because it requires it for comfort sake. It's really hard to sit on a hard floor for any period of time. And it's more work getting up than it would be from a chair or a couch.

So look for opportunities to make your life a little bit more uncomfortable and you'll be moving more. You'll be less sedentary. And that little bit over time is going to be significant. So that's the second one Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis look for opportunities to move.

Don't Drink Your Calories

The final one, and this is probably going to be the hardest one for most people is to not drink calories. When we drink our calories, they go into our system almost immediately. Most of the digestive process has already occurred, and as a result, they don't really fill us up. And there's a lot of calories. Eating an orange is better than drinking orange juice. For example, the orange is already processed and chewed and ready to go, and you're absorbing it, and you're losing a lot of the fiber from that orange. So eating the orange is better than drinking the juice. And that goes for everything. So try to avoid drinking your food, even if it's protein, even if it's something else. Even if you're putting whole fruits and vegetables in there, yes, there's some fiber. Yes, you're getting some of the nutrients, most of the nutrients in a smoothie.

But the reality of it is it's going to go through really quick. It's not going to keep you full, and as a result, you're going to get hungrier sooner. So eating whole food, it's better to eat a chicken breast than it is to do a protein shake. It's better to eat a fruit than it is to drink the juice. So milk, juice, and then the final one, alcohol. Alcohol contains calories. Even if you're going with the low sugar, drink the vodka with the club soda and a little bit of lime, which is not a bad choice for alcohol consumption. A little bit a good wine, a dry wine, not a bad choice. But you're drinking calories, and they're not nutrient-dense calories. So as a result, it's just additional calories. And if you're working really hard with HIIT training and you're doing the NEAT and you're working out and you're doing your thing, you're putting calories in that aren't adding value to you unless it is having a drink is not a problem. But if you're trying to cut that last bit and you found yourself plateauing, this is something to consider. Should you abstain or significantly reduce the amount of alcohol that you're drinking?

And then the final bit I'll talk about is shakes and smoothies. Anyone that trains with me knows that protein, protein, protein. We've got to make sure we're getting our protein. And if you're training hard, which you're doing the training, you're probably training pretty hard. Then you're going to need enough protein. And sometimes it's just really hard to get that from whole foods unless you have specific strategies to make that happen. For a lot of people, those strategies involve drinking protein shakes. Some people are in the habit in the mornings of having a smoothie so that they're getting their Greens and a lot of the nutrients that they need. It's quick and easy, that type of thing. We talked about convenience earlier. This is another situation where we might want to look to strategies that are a little less convenient. So I might have to say my snack is not going to be the. Nuts and seeds and things that I would normally eat.

I'm going to eat chicken breast for snack just to get the protein. I'm not going to drink a protein shake after my workout. I'm going to eat my protein. By doing that, you're causing your body to have to do the work. And here's one of the interesting things. Digestion uses energy. So if we are eating chicken breasts, there's a thermogenic effect to food that is going to happen. And as a result, that protein grams or the grams of protein that I'm eating aren't going to give me the full calorie load that they would if I drank, say, whey protein. So I'm getting the same nutrition, so to speak, at a fewer calories. So it's less calorie-dense. It's more nutrient-dense food. So all the way across the board, if you know you're drinking calories, look for ways to reduce that. So if you have cream in your coffee, try to reduce it, try to use less or try to avoid it if you can. Again, drinking calories, it's a zero sum game. You're not digesting that. So all those calories are just pure calories into your system. And even if there's some nutrition involved in them, they might be slowing down your weight loss.


So to kind of recap these, these are three of my favorite tactics and strategies for how I go about. If I want to cut or help someone cut some body fat or if they've plateaued, we're going to do high-intensity interval training that is as hard as you can go for the work period. Get your rest. Stop when you can't recover. Or if you're doing a Tabata, push yourself. Grind through those eight rounds. It's four minutes so you can do this. Make sure you're recovering. Make sure you're not trying to do this too often, and do exercises that you're comfortable you can do and go full speed. So work hard, rest, and then give yourself adequate recovery, knowing that you're going to have EPOC. And that's going to help you burn more calories than you would have otherwise. Next is NEAT. The near Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and this is just basically where we look for opportunities to be a little more active, to move our bodies a little bit more. We're not scheduling exercise, we're just saying I can move my arms more. I can tap my feet. I can dance while I'm brushing my teeth rather than just stand there.

I can park further away. I can make my life a little less convenient and burn more calories as a result. And then the final bit is don't drink your calories. If you want to lose weight and you want to really lean out, you want to avoid drinking calories because those calories are not being digested. You're losing the thermic effect of food if you were getting those nutrients from whole food. So try to avoid drinking calories. So those are my three top tips. If you have any questions, you should join us on our group. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and we have a Facebook group there. I post challenges and other things over the course of the week and we can have discussions there. If I see something cool, I tend to put it out there. So I'd love for you to come join our group. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. I'll see you there.

Post Show/Recap

[00:24:12.710] – Allan

Hey, Rachel, how's it going?

[00:24:14.170] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Good. I love having these extra tips. We all get through our weight loss journey in different ways, but I'm sure everybody has had a plateau or has stagnated in some form and just needs some boost to get through it. And these are all great tips.

[00:24:32.350] – Allan

Yeah. A lot of people will set a weight loss goal and, you know, it's not a linear journey. It's never a linear journey. And particularly when you're at that last stages, most of us are going to plateau. We're going to have this set point. We're going to be like, I'm at this weight and I really want to be maybe 10 pounds lighter. And it doesn't seem like the things we're doing are working and it can get kind of frustrating. So I wanted to put out a few tips for folks that are in that position of things that they can do or not do that would help them kind of push that journey going, whether it's a plateau or just kind of that last five or ten pounds you're trying to cut.

[00:25:12.860] – Rachel

Yeah, right. All of them are great tips, but I've never tried HIIT training. And I suppose maybe it's because I'm a little bit intimidated about how intense that it could be. But after listening to you talk about it, I feel a little less intimidated.

[00:25:27.300] – Allan

Now, probably as a part of your running training, you've done a fartlek before.

[00:25:31.060] – Rachel

Yeah. Lots of speed drills.

[00:25:33.270] – Allan

Okay. So far is basically a speed drill where you run a little faster and then you run a little slower. It's an interval, interval training and it's good because it actually builds VO2 Max and allows you to run a little faster. This is a similar thing. Although the difference between standard interval training and HIIT training is that in a fire like you don't want to get gas. You want to run right at your threshold and hold at that threshold and slow down when you need to. Whereas with high-intensity interval training all the ropes are off, all the bets are off. We really want to push ourselves past that point. We want to actually gas ourselves in a sense and run as many as we can and still recover. And if you do that, you're boosting your metabolism like nothing else you could do. No long, slow anything is going to compare to what you can do with a HIIT session.

[00:26:27.170] – Rachel

Well when you mentioned that you're on for 20 seconds and off for 60 seconds, I didn't put two and two together until you just mentioned the fartlek training. Because one of the first things that I did in my marathon training and that I have my runners do as well is some 20 second strides. So it's kind of funny. It's the exact same thing. You go out full force for 20 seconds and take a minute or so to recover and then do it again. So that's funny that we do those things.

[00:26:56.520] – Allan

Yeah, there's some science behind it because we have different energy sources. Our body uses different energy sources. So when you first start movement you're on one energy source. Okay. It's basically the ATP that exists in your muscle at that point in time that's going to last you maybe 20 seconds. Okay. And then you start getting into anaerobic and you're using oxygen past that which is shortly after like 30 seconds. Then you're at this point where now you're going to have to slow down.

[00:27:30.210] – Allan

You're going to have to start being able to pull on the blood sugar and other things because you've burned all that ATP, you burned all that energy and you'll just feel yourself naturally just not be able to keep sprinting. That's why they tell you if you're going to get into a race, pace yourself. But in training it's the exact opposite. We want to actually reach that threshold. We want to get to a point and so we do multiple rounds of this and we have to then yes, allow enough time for recovery which for most people is going to be three times. Sometimes you want to go four times.

[00:28:02.840] – Allan

It seems like a long time. But I promise you if you go out there and push as hard as you can for 20 seconds, a minute does not feel like a minute.

[00:28:11.580] – Rachel


[00:28:11.960] – Allan

Any other time you experienced a minute. This is not an experienced minute. This is really quickly. And then particularly as you start getting towards the end of what you can do, when you're not recovering all the way, you'll want to sit longer, you won't want to do another round and that's your body talking to you and that's maybe a good time to quit. But really the easiest way to know whether you're recovering or not is to actually look at your heart rate and find out what that base level is for you.

[00:28:38.220] – Allan

The 220 formula can work for some people. It doesn't work for me because my heart rate will naturally go higher when I'm pushing and I can handle that. And when it comes down, it's going to stay at a higher base. So I'm not going to get down to like for a lot of people, you might get down to 120. I'm not going to get down to 120, but I'm also not going to stop at 175, which is what my age formula would say. It's probably stopped somewhere in the 170s.

[00:29:04.630] – Allan

My heart rate can get up to 190 on a good push. I can't stay there again because I'm out of ATP and everything else. So I HIIT that and then I watch my recovery. If I get down below 145, then I know I have it in me to do one more round. But it's a mental game and it's a push game and it does wonders.

[00:29:26.610] – Rachel

It does, I think in running, I think that was a big crux of how successful I was at my marathon, because I just felt really cardiovascularly strong for that. And I'm sure it was because of some of those speed drill type of activities. Yeah, HIIT training sounds like a great thing.

[00:29:44.000] – Allan

It can be. You can do it very easily. It's a body weight movement for the most part. Sprinting or something like body weight squats with jumps maybe, burpees. Just anything that's really going to get your body moving and moving most of your body, particularly your legs, which are some of the bigger muscles. But the more you're moving, the more energy you're expending. Sprinting is good.

[00:30:09.220] – Allan

I would encourage you not to do it on a treadmill, even though I said running is good only because treadmills have the safety devices in them to slow down slowly and speed up slowly. So it's not going to work for the change that you're going to want to have a full out and then fall off, or at least very slow to allow recovery. Treadmills don't work very well for that, but elliptical machines, stationary bicycles, versa climbers, those things can be very effective for HIIT training.

[00:30:39.070] – Rachel


[00:30:39.600] – Allan

You're pushing yourself. Now with the treadmill, you can do more, just basic interval, slow it down, speed it up, change the angle, but at the same time, it's not going to be HIIT and it's very hard to do it safely on the treadmill.

[00:30:54.670] – Rachel

Sure, that makes sense. And then the Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). As we're talking right now, I'm standing and I'm kind of rocking back and forth because I can't stand still very much. I don't sit down very much either, but I do love all those tips about parking farther away and taking the stairs all the things that we hear all the time. Just introducing a few more of those types of energy uses throughout the day could add up over time.

[00:31:24.020] – Allan

It does. You could sit down and do the math and just say, what if I burned an extra ten calories each day?

[00:31:32.530] – Rachel

Sure doesn't sound like a lot, but.

[00:31:34.660] – Allan

It does not sound like a lot. But that's a whole pound in a year.

[00:31:38.810] – Rachel


[00:31:40.910] – Allan

And I can tell you, like, when I was doing the rower, I could burn an entire calorie in one pull if I pulled really hard. So it's not hard to burn an extra ten calories with a short walk, doing things that are a little bit more work than they have to be. And just even things like yard work, things that would make your job easier, like a wheelbarrow, you load it all in a wheelbarrow and go, well, no, just grab a clump and walk and then go back and get another clump. There's that extra walking around while you're doing yard work. Those things, they can add up. And like I said, just an additional ten calories that you're burning each day, it adds up to at least a whole pound of body fat in a year.

[00:32:29.910] – Rachel

That's fantastic. But there are three tips I have to say that number three is my favorite. And to not drink your calories. My goodness.

[00:32:38.610] – Allan

Yeah. A lot of people, they don't want to give up alcohol.

[00:32:42.190] – Rachel


[00:32:42.720] – Allan

They're looking for convenience. Again, convenience. So if I can get a protein shake, is that the easiest way for me to get my protein in? Absolutely. Get through workout, go over, put some whey protein or vegan protein or even beef or egg based protein into a shaker, shake it up and drink it. And you're getting your protein quickly. But the problem is it's just not going to help you if your goal is weight loss because you've thrown calories at yourself, that your body is going to digest really quickly because you've done most of the work for it and doesn't have to do the work. So we talk about NEAT. Chewing food is NEAT is the digestive process.

[00:33:27.580] – Allan

There's a thermal effect of food that's going through digestion. So eating a chicken breast is going to be so much better for you than taking a protein powder because your body has to digest that and pull it in and use it. It just takes time. So you stay full longer and your body is burning more energy to obtain that protein from what you just ate.

[00:33:50.360] – Rachel

Yeah. The other day I fixed myself a nice bowl of a keto friendly yogurt, and then I put on there some blueberries and raspberries. And then just because I like the taste of coconut, I put shredded coconut on top of it. And it was a delicious dessert for me the other night, especially now that we've got almost 80 degrees here in Michigan. But a lot of people would throw that in a smoothie and drink it down, which I'm sure would taste just as good in smoothie form. But I just got a lot more out of it. And it's full food, proper form, taking my time eating it, taking my time, chewing it. And the blender would have done all that work for me. Yeah, eating your food is a lot more enjoyable than drinking it.

[00:34:35.820] – Allan

And had I done a fourth tip, the slowing down would have been my fourth tip. So I'm glad you brought that up. Being more mindful of the food that you're eating and the nutrition that you're getting. Slowing down so you can feel the sensations of getting full. So you stop eating.

[00:34:58.970] – Allan

An experiment, that someone's doubting this. Try this. Make a smoothie in the morning. Go ahead and make a smoothie and get a bag of the spinach. You can put half of that bag in your smoothie, about two and a half ounces of spinach. It's good nutrition. You get it in there. You drink that 32 ounce smoothie really quickly, and then you're still going to be hungry an hour or two later. Sit down and try to eat a salad that has two and a half ounces of spinach. You put a nice dressing on it. You put other stuff in there.

[00:35:33.250] – Rachel

That's a lot

[00:35:34.730] – Allan

that's a lot. Big honking bowl of salad. And it's going to take you a long time to chew and eat that salad. And that's where this all comes from is the speed with which you put it in, the speed with which it leaves your stomach and the signals that your body is going to give you that it's no longer full.

[00:35:51.370] – Rachel


[00:35:52.610] – Allan

You still put in the same amount of calories, but because it didn't take as long to digest it, you're going to feel full sooner. So slowing down absolutely is how you feel when you're starting to get there and over and over. The advice, blue zones, everything else all the way through is if you feel you're starting to get full, stop, because you'll end up overeating, past almost every time.

[00:36:18.370] – Allan

So 80% is where a lot of people like to target it. If you feel like where you are eating is about 80%, give it a break. Don't throw your plate outright yet, but just give it a break. Slow down and just feel how you feel. And then if you start feeling full, then if you've gotten the nutrition your body needs, full stop. No reason to eat the rest of it.

[00:36:39.220] – Rachel

So funny, Allan, you and I both I'm sure we're raised as kids where you need to finish everything on your plate.

[00:36:44.640] – Allan

Everything on that plate, everything brought out to the table… leftovers? Who has leftovers?

[00:36:53.530] – Rachel

I know

[00:36:55.410] – Allan

Now I'm famous here in our house for we'll fix dinner and I'll be halfway through with dinner. And then I'm like, okay, done. And I'll set my plate down. I'll go get up, get some foil or a bowl or something. And I'll put my food in the bowl.

[00:37:11.010] – Rachel

There you go.

[00:37:11.690] – Allan

And that's my lunch tomorrow and probably about a third of what my dinner would have been like ten years ago.

[00:37:19.420] – Rachel

Sure, it's funny. It's a hard habit to break, but it's definitely a good one. Save it for later.

[00:37:25.260] – Allan

Yeah. All right. Well, I'm going to go get on a boat and take my holiday here. Give Mike my best and I'll see you guys next week.

[00:37:35.700] – Rachel

Thanks. Take care, Allan. Have fun.

[00:37:37.670] – Rachel

You too.

[00:37:38.300] – Rachel

Bye bye.


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Let's Say Hello

[00:03:27.790] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:03:29.230] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, how are you today?

[00:03:31.110] – Allan

I'm doing all right. How are things with you?

[00:03:33.360] – Rachel

Good. As we recorded this, we're leading up to my race day, which is this weekend. This is my final week of taper, so I'm just going to enjoy myself this week.

[00:03:43.580] – Allan

Good, good. And unlike a lot of people that would be in your position, you're not carving up. You're not really changing anything about your nutrition. And that's a different take than what you'll read elsewhere of what you do for a long race like this. But you know, your nutrition, you're set, you've done the training, so you're set. And you have a plan. You have an actual plan for approaching this race, which I think is outstanding.

[00:04:15.850] – Rachel

Yeah. My trainer only suggested that I not changed my eating habits this week, that I eat, get in enough calories. I may not be as hungry as I would be as I'm running tons of miles and doing tons of drills, but just to maintain my standard way of eating. And in the past, I would do something very similar, and I just prefer to play it safe this week. So no restaurant eating, no crazy spicy dinners, nothing that I think could even possibly upset my digestive system. I just want to keep it status quo as I lead into race day.

[00:04:56.590] – Allan

Yeah, it's funny. There was this article they were talking about how they opened up a Popeye's restaurant in UK, and nobody was complaining that the mild was too spicy.

[00:05:09.430] – Rachel

Oh, boy.

[00:05:10.500] – Allan

Good. Don't get me wrong. I love the spicy stuff. I love it, love it, love it. In fact, I had been to Lou this weekend, and I have the sauce in there so I can put it on my eggs. So I love spicy foods. But it was just they were complaining that Popeye's chicken was too spicy in the UK.

[00:05:31.270] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[00:05:32.250] – Allan

Well, they might not make it over there, which is probably just the better because it's not the best food for you to be eating so good. You've got control. Yeah, well, things here are going pretty good. We're winding down to our big season for Bocas, so Lula's will start to probably wind down. We've been fully occupied pretty much for the whole time since we opened in November, which has been good. But it's just that point we're like, okay, go. Hopefully we're going to get a little bit more of an opportunity here to settle down. Tammy is planning a trip to Ireland, and then we're going to have our anniversary break, which will just be a kind of a staycation for us. So we're planning those things. Nothing huge. And then just being I am looking at launching my six week program again. I'm kind of going back and forth of whether I do it as a group thing, like where we literally have everybody come through together or whether I do it at their own pace over a six week period of time. So that's kind of where I am planning it. But I am planning on going live again.

[00:06:45.970] – Allan

I only take clients during certain periods of time, and that's really just to fit my lifestyle the way I want to. So if you are wanting to work with me, this is a good time to send me an email, allan@40PlusFitness, I'm sorry, coach@40PlusFitness. It's coach@40PlusFitness. And let's get you on the list. Let's make sure you're aware of what I'm going to be doing as I figured it out. But it is a six week program. The intention is to teach you what you need to know to lose weight, to get fit, to figure out where you need to be. And so it's an educational thing in addition to the direct coaching. So it's a very direct, intensive coaching for you about what you need, where you are with what you have to do, what you want and be who you need to be. So if you're interested in that, coach@40Plusfitness.com and we can start that conversation.

[00:07:41.830] – Rachel

Sounds great.

[00:07:42.980] – Allan

All right. So are we ready to have another conversation with Dr. Cabeca?

[00:07:47.680] – Rachel



[00:08:23.660] – Allan

Dr. Anna, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:26.950] – Dr. Cabeca

It is great to be here with you, Allan. Thanks for having me.

[00:08:30.910] – Allan

Initially, you brought up the concept for me anyway. I mean, I talked to some other people, but in general, how there's pulls and pushes and there's a keto community and there's a plant-based community. And never, ever should we go between the two. You got to pick your tribe and you got to get on one side or the other. And then you come out with Keto-Green, which is basically saying, yes, you can have your meat and your vegetables, too, and you can do it in a way that promotes health. Your new book, MenuPause: Five Unique Eating Plans to Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau and Improve Your Mood, Sleep and Hot Flashes. Love the title.

[00:09:12.710] – Dr. Cabeca

Thank you.

[00:09:13.820] – Allan

But it takes a lot of the concepts from your previous two books, and it kind of lays it out in a way to say, okay, food is medicine, so let's use it that way.

[00:09:25.310] – Dr. Cabeca

Absolutely. And bringing in these different pauses in our life. And I say there's magic in the pause. Right, Allan? We really have to look at it that way, and especially when it comes to a hormonal shift, whether we're talking about menopause or andropause or whatever. But there is magic in the pause. There's a rewiring or reshifting. And where I was, I certainly had fun with the title Menu Pause. So I thought that was great. My editor came up with that title as we were looking for a new title, and I just love it. So I laugh every time I say it. And the five different eating plans to each pause, something different. And that came out of women in my online communities doing keto green and me now keto green since 2014, 2015, and how that's changed my life, especially with hormone balance and seeing the changes. But sometimes we had a roadblock. Why isn't it working for this person or why did it stop working? And so that had me really looking at, okay, well, what are some of the pauses that we have to make that we've had to make or adjust to break through some of the plateaus that we can hit?

[00:10:37.560] – Dr. Cabeca

Because when what we're doing stops working or we stop seeing those improved benefits, we start seeing continued improvements or some of the problem, we need to look a little bit deeper, change things up, bring some variety as a spice of life, right?

[00:10:54.840] – Allan


[00:10:56.150] – Allan

And there's a lot of good reasons for this book. But I want to say before the men tune out and I always say this in the preamble and I'll say it again to them is that this is first and foremost a weight loss book and a hormone shifting book, but not just for females. If a man uses these five eating plans as a way to structure their eating, they will lose weight too. So if you're in a relationship, not in a relationship, it doesn't matter. These eating plans will help you. And what you were saying about the pause is I think that's right. In Dr. Fung's book, The Obesity Code, one of the things he says is all diets work and all diets fail, and it's because our body will adjust to the way we're eating. So you start eating a certain way, a keto diet, and then something happens and your body just stops responding to it. You go vegan and your body's doing great, you're losing weight, and all of a sudden your body stops responding to it. So this ability to have these different eating plans, that structure pauses for various different things for various different reasons gives you a structure to say, okay, I'm going to go in, check this out, see if it serves me.

[00:12:05.420] – Allan

If it does, then I'll stick with it till it stops serving me. And if it doesn't serve me, I move on.

[00:12:11.690] – Dr. Cabeca

Absolutely. And we give it enough time to figure out every plan is designed to be safe. And we give enough time, the six days to just be the shortest, essentially amount of time to really get a benefit. And then also to see to be able to check in with yourself. How are you feeling now with this lifestyle, with this diet plan, it's always more than what we eat too. And I really established with my whole Keto Green approach, it's the keto green way, it's the lifestyle, it's the hormone oxytocin becoming more oxytocin rich in our lives. And that joy connection, that important physiologic effect of joy connection. Right. Pleasure and becoming more insulin sensitive. So when it comes to guys too, we'll see an improvement in their adrenal hormones, their testosterone, a decrease in blood pressure and sugar management and blood sugar as well in the short amount of times. And I expect it pretty much with every plan because again, there's a shift, there's a change up, except for maybe the carbohydrate up plan that I put in as plan number five.

[00:13:26.630] – Allan

Yeah. Now, I think a lot of women and maybe even men when they're going through some of these changes, obviously a woman's change is drastically different. So I'm going to try to compare what we guys go through, through what women go through. Not even close. So don't think it does, guys. I guess it feels bad, but not even close.

[00:13:46.820] – Dr. Cabeca

He's a wise man, right, ladies? He's a wise man.

[00:13:50.200] – Allan

But as they go through this, I think the knee jerk reaction today is what supplement do I need to take? What pill can I take? What surgery do I have to fix this problem? Why is food the better answer?

[00:14:10.910] – Dr. Cabeca

Definitely. Because how we nourish, our body is a whole framework for how we nourish other aspects of our lives. Right. And we have to give our body the fuel. We are designed to work with our environment, to interact and to respond to the energies of the food we eat. So beyond the micronutrient and macronutrient breakdown of what we're eating, there's a lot more to it than that. And I think when we set up, as we set up our eating plans, the key aspect is diversity. And I always tell clients, I interview a lot of people and selling when someone says, yeah, I eat a chicken salad every day for lunch, I just want that hand emoji to the top of your head. Like, I want that hand emoji because it is like, okay, we're eating the same thing every day, and that's just not good for you. I don't care how good of a health food you're eating. If you're eating the same thing every day, you can create a food sensitivity to it. So the importance of how we nourish our bodies, how we're going to do everything, and that sets the tone for hormonal balance.

[00:15:25.730] – Dr. Cabeca

Our behavior is affected by our physiology. So a balanced nourishing eating plan is key for willpower, brain power, love power, whatever it may be that we're working towards. So for physical and mental, wellbeing, how we nourish our body is key. And so having that as food, as medicine, it's absolutely true.

[00:15:53.510] – Allan

Yeah. Now the other aspect of this that I thought was really interesting and you brought science to bear. So this wasn't just you saying this is how you solve this problem or this is why this problem might be worse for you than someone else. I think we know is if you have a knee problem, you go to your doctor. Your doctor is going to say if you need to, you might want to lose some weight because the excess weight is causing knee pain. That's why part of the reason why you have the pain. So he encourages or she encourages you to go lose some weight. Why is weight loss part of a solution to the menopause symptoms that many women suffer with?

[00:16:30.390] – Dr. Cabeca

Yeah, because our fat is inflammatory and two of the things that cause worsening symptoms in menopause is inflammation and hormone imbalance, those two things. And fat is a contributor to both of those things. We naturally become more insulin resistant as we age, and that's why we can develop diabetes or prediabetes in menopause. And we've been doing really well up until then. And post menopause, that's because we're becoming more insulin resistant. And so type two diabetes becomes very prevalent in our age group, and that's got to stop. And that's why that's, again, why keto green eating is so critical for this. But fat holds inflammation and it creates basically cytokines storms within our body and inflammation creates increased hormonal imbalance. So what we see as people clear this up decrease inflammation through how we're nourishing the body, providing appropriate nutrients and not feeding it junk and sugar and inflammatory foods. We also see an improvement in hot flashes tremendous. Within two weeks, we can see 80% reduction in hot flashes through these lifestyle and nutritional changes. The other big thing I want to mention is, like, women will say, oh, I can't fast 13 hours. I'm hungry when I go to bed.

[00:17:58.480] – Dr. Cabeca

I'm hungry when I wake up. That's just how you've trained your body. Your body is not designed to be like that. And so let's retrain it into a healthier way that's actually going to serve you. And we know this really important factor. So built into the plan, I do at least 13 hours of intermittent fasting between dinner and breakfast, but you start where you're at. But the reason I do that is because research has shown in women with breast cancer that if you have at least twelve and a half hours between dinner and breakfast, you have a significantly reduced risk of recurrent breast cancer. So that should be number one health guideline, all the initials that you want, but really should be promoting that intermittent fasting is a key component of our lifestyle. And that improves insulin sensitivity and then improves really all of our symptoms and age related diseases that can occur. So the hot flashes, the mood swings, the night sweats, difficulty sleeping will improve with these shifts and how we're nourishing our body.

[00:19:02.530] – Allan

Yeah. And the same is true for men. If a man is obese, it's affecting their insulin sensitivity and therefore, it's affecting their hormones. And so it's creating a similar effect to us, we call it Andropause but it's basically a very similar approach, similar thing happening in our body. If we can reduce our fat stores, we're going to improve all of that and improve our health. And weight loss is often a side effect of better health. But basically what we're showing is the main symptom we see is when we step on that scale.

[00:19:38.540] – Dr. Cabeca

Yeah. And we want the weight loss, but we want in a way that we don't gain Yoyo dieted from my teens through my 20s and into my 30s. And I think that especially others, I went to high school and College in the 80s. So that's when the low carbohydrate craze was in place and we would do all these crazy things like Apple juice fasting and just nut stuff, like you're fasting on sugar. What the heck? If you're going to fast anyway, now we fast on bone broth a little bit better or just fast on water. But the key thing is and what we know is that calorie restriction decreases your metabolism more than fasting does. And that's a really important concept for people to understand. So you're not going to Yoyo diet back. And being of the, I would say of the warrior body type because there's an epigenetic component. We know this just from observing friends, family, colleagues, et cetera. Some of us are designed to be empowered to be very conservative with our nutrient use. I would say I could survive in the Sahara for six months without food or water, and I'd still be fine.

[00:20:47.780] – Dr. Cabeca

I'm thriving. And I see that among many of my clients, I say they have Pocahontas or Warrior, Viking heritage or Amazonian. Right. Because you're designed to be metabolically conservative, so you're at higher risk. However, you're designed to live through a famine, right? Live through deprivation cycle. But in America, we don't have that right. And so then we think, oh, I just have fat genes. I have obesity and diabetes on both sides of my family. And I want that mind shift to switch to say, no, you've got Warrior genes, you've got Survivor genes. You're amazing. You've got leadership genes. Let's use them. Part of what I really want to empower people to understand this epigenetic component. So it's kind of built in into my plans and into my program. And that's where that whole individual bio individuality comes in, like, what's right for you right now based on what you've been doing up till now and the state of life you're in, how your hormones are, are you burned out? Is your DHA estrogen, testosterone progesterone? Are you tanked in your hormone levels? Are you pretty resilient? And I think with this, with changing up and my goal with this, with cross training in the gym, cross training in your diet is to improve your resilience.

[00:22:11.080] – Dr. Cabeca

So you improve the diversity of your gut microbiome, and with that, you improve your immune system and you improve your overall longevity and quality of life.

[00:22:22.590] – Allan

Yeah. Now you have in the book five plans, and each of them starts out with kind of a six day approach. And I like the six day approach because it gives you that opportunity to check in with yourself to see how it's going. And I think anyone can agree you can do anything for six days if you put your mind to it. So it kind of gives them that finish line, even though it's not intended to truly be a finish line. But it's just give it six days, see if it works. And I like all of that. Obviously, if we've gotten ourselves obese, it's not going to fix itself in six days. So don't think that these are magic pills that are going to make everything great in six days. But each of them gives you a kind of a phase. A pause is the way you like to put it, gives you a pause on something so you can start to see the results and move forward. I want to go through each one of them because I think each of the one of them is really important, but I think it's important for them to know why would they use this plan and what is the plan entail?

[00:23:21.590] – Allan

So the first one and it has extreme in the title because it is kind of an extreme one, is the Keto Green Extreme. Can you talk about that one? Why we would want to use it?

[00:23:33.320] – Dr. Cabeca

Yeah, definitely. First want to say why six days? And six days if we consider that the gut gastrointestinal mucosal lininging of the intestines of our intestinal tract, GI tract regenerates in 72 hours. So that's three days. So incorporating two, three day cycle should be very healing and restorative to our GI tract, certainly in the cleanse. But even as we remove some of these inflammatory triggers or these pauses, as we take these pauses, it gives our body those two full 72 hours cycles to regenerate, respond, react. I think that's where some of this checking in, checking in with yourself can really be powerful. So with Ketogenic Extreme, because I definitely have clients who have had autoimmune diseases and have reactions to night shades. I mean, I was sitting at dinner with Dave Ashbury the other day and he sent his plate back twice because one time it had peppers and one time they had mushrooms in it. So anyway, some people are super sensitive to nitrates. Right. And so I removed that. It's really an autoimmune, kind of following some of the autoimmune protocol dietary changes with restriction of nightshades and peppers and some of those other inflammatory foods, if we're sensitive to that.

[00:25:02.410] – Dr. Cabeca

So checking in on that one is the number one reason to do that, especially if you have an autoimmune issue.

[00:25:08.970] – Allan

Okay. The next one is and you're using a word, well, there are two words that you use in two different ones, and I'm talking about each of those, but it's not exactly what it would mean to somebody else. Is the keto green plant based detox. Now, a lot of us will look at detoxes and thinking, oh, this is one of those where I'm going to take this supplement thing, and I'm going to be going to the bathroom for three days really bad and then not feel good. But this is a detox, but it's not a normal detox. Can you talk about this one and why we would want to use it?

[00:25:40.410] – Dr. Cabeca

Yeah. This is a grain free plant based plan. So it's more of a keto green plant based plan. So again, low in carbohydrates also. And I wanted to address my plant based eaters because my keto green 16th book, I did a 16 day omnipresent, a 16 day plant based plan. So I got a lot of feedback. Right. And then people who are omnivores did the 16 day plant based. And they loved it, too. So being able to again, do that periodically, and this is why I put it in for all of us to just detox from meat. And that's where that comes in. Detox from meat. And plus, one of the biggest problems that keto eaters and diet and diabetics and et cetera have is constipation. And the number one thing I want to clear from your system without, ideally, additional drug support vitamins, et cetera, is having regular bowel movements. So I put it after ketogenic stream. You can do them in any order. Certainly. But I did have a method to my madness, as usual. So putting it there because right now we've just reduced a lot of inflammation. But it's been pretty ketogenic. And I want to make sure your bowels are resuscitated to 72 hours of a low inflammatory diet.

[00:27:04.020] – Dr. Cabeca

But let's work on this to add in fiber support the gut microbiome. To add gut microbial diversity. We know the more plant diverse foods you have, the higher diversity in the gut, the better your immune system, the lower your risk of all inflammatory diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease. And that goes again for men and women and all the menopausal symptoms. So that's why I incorporated a six day plant based diet, because we all need to do it periodically.

[00:27:31.290] – Allan

Okay. And now we're going to go to the other extreme because you have this carbohydrate pause. Can you talk about that? Because this is going to get some attention. It's like, wait, are we plant based or are we meat eaters? So where are we here? Can you talk about that?

[00:27:45.620] – Dr. Cabeca

Like I said, variety is the spice of life. And this is one of the things that I definitely had tried carnivore being keto green for a while and wanting to switch thing up, tried carnivore. And again, same thing felt good for a little bit, but then started gaining weight. I was like, wait, what's going on? Actually connected with another perimenopausal woman in the carnivore community. And she had run across this issue, too, again with women. Again, we talked about this before we started recording. It's really awesome to have diversity. There are certain plants that work for a short time and not for the long time. And that's why disruption. We want to disrupt what we're doing. And it's so good for us. But the carnivore knows to tail. And I wanted to show people how a healthy way to eat carnivore number one. Also, again, after I've just increased the microbial diversity of the gut that was powering you up. You're taking a break from all plant foods pretty much in the carnivore plan in just a healthy way, very carbohydrate restrictive. And again, we're pausing plants in this cycle.

[00:28:59.670] – Allan

And I can say this, if you go through the carbohydrate pause, when you finish it, you're going to be in the deep cut ketosis, which is going to help with your sensitivity. Whichever direction you go after this is going to make that next plan that much better for you.

[00:29:18.870] – Dr. Cabeca

Yeah, exactly. Right.

[00:29:22.720] – Allan

Okay, now the fourth one. And again, this is using one of the words that I typically don't like to see in any kind of eating plan is the cleanse, because it usually involves buying some very expensive juices and spending a lot of money and not getting many calories and rebounding after. But yours isn't going to do that. It's called the keto green cleanse. Can you talk about that?

[00:29:45.580] – Dr. Cabeca

Yeah, absolutely. And actually ran my pre release permission from my publisher to run my selected group, my girlfriend doctor club, through the six day cleanse. And the reason for the cleanse, too, right, we're in high ketosis number one from our carnivore for going in this order. And then so we're not hungry. We are not hungry. We're chewing. We've had good protein. The other part of carbohydrate pause the carnivorous plan is to give us more protein. Women, we don't get enough protein. And protein is so important for our muscle. And muscle is magic and menopause. So then going into cleanse number one, you're not hungry. And now we really want to detox the liver and detox your gallbladder and really work to support your body so the cleanse, we did this six days. I start you with an oil, lemon juice, olive oil, lemon juice, shot in the morning. And believe me, I had objections. They're very intelligent group of women, but they're like, okay, you're recommending it. So by day three, they're like, I can't wait. Can I stay on this forever? Can I do this? I'm like, no, just six days. We have to change things up.

[00:30:56.630] – Dr. Cabeca

So this liver, gallbladder flesh and very much it is a cleanse. So it is smooth, smoothies. It is teas, it is alkaline broth or bone broth. And making sure ideally you're getting enough protein and healthy fats during this. But it is a cleanse. So you are continuing to give your GI tract rest. You will see glowing skin, glowing complexion. You will feel higher energy. You'll start checking things off on your to do list that have been on your to do list. And so it's cleansing off the things that are weighing you down, as well as really working on an internal system. So, yeah, I'm excited for that. And honestly, you're not hungry. You're doing great. You're very supportive advice from my girlfriend doctor club because some of them were used to extended intermittent fasting. They're like, just follow the plan, as Dr. Anna says it, and you're not going to get hungry. And that's really key.

[00:31:57.210] – Allan

And then the final one is and I think this is really kind of a critical piece of all of this is at some point you're going to fit a level of health and maybe a level of weight loss where you're like, okay, this is a weight I feel comfortable. And maybe it was a weight that you were when you were 29. Maybe it was a weight you were when you graduated high school. And now you could wear the same size jeans, you were wearing then. But you get to a point. And now it's like, okay, I don't want to Yoyo, I don't want to go back to where I was because it worked so hard to get to where I am. So the last plan you have is the carbohydrate modification plan. Can you talk about that and how that works?

[00:32:36.810] – Dr. Cabeca

Yeah, and I love it. And I just opened my book to one of the recipes in the Carb modif. My Texas Rodeo Skillet. Skillets are big in Texas and everything's bigger in Texas. That's where I'm living now in Dallas. And so this is a modification for some of the beautiful skillet breakfast. So this has sunny side up eggs, Sriracha sauce, avocados and sweet potatoes and bacon mixed in. I mean, it's just so yummy. I'm getting hungry thinking about this plan. But the reason is because being in the keto green community for so long, sometimes we've been so restricted that we need the additional carbs. And when some of my clients have added in a sweet potato in the evening, they're sleeping better. Right. And I think it's really important to understand that. And some of them will lose weight once they do that because they have been really conservative and adding in a carb, at least it's a beautiful thing to do. And I think once you get through the plans, it's the principles of the plant and how balancing the fats, but also for flavor, the salts and the citrus that just makes things so much better, addressing your full taste palate so that you're really looking forward to your meals and even better.

[00:33:58.990] – Dr. Cabeca

So these concepts that have been built into the recipes that are all outlined in the book have really been designed to balance and nourish and set. You enjoy them, too. So I think that a lot of times we'll do a carb up, we'll do a carb up day periodically. That's absolutely okay. And it can be very good for you unless it triggers eating disorder. Unless it triggers an eating disorder.

[00:34:30.650] – Allan

Yeah. And just as you mentioned, you mentioned the recipe. So I'll kind of jump into that. You believe in variety. You talked about that several times today. And so this cookbook is really built on a massive variety of different foods. And each plan has some foods that fit. And some of the foods some of the recipes you have actually fit multiple plans. And you put that in there. In fact, last night for dinner, my wife and I had your egg roll soup because I love egg rolls. And I walked by the Chinese we have one Chinese restaurant here on the island, and I walk by there all the time. And I'm like, I just love to go in there and order their egg rolls. And I was just like, no, I won't do it. That's not what I'm doing right now. But I was able to make your soup and it was delicious. And I actually had a second serving of it because it was that good. So these are really good recipes. They fit each plan. So it's not just that. Here's a plan and go figure it out. It's like, here's how this works.

[00:35:30.100] – Allan

Here's a plan. Here's some tips. Here are some recipes. And so you build out recipes to pretty much fill the six days. And you give guidelines if you want to do it yourself. So it's really kind of a cool way that you're not going to get bored because it's not like a lot of plans. You're eating the same foods every day. In this case, I think the most I saw you like, you Cook something one day, and then maybe the third day you have it again as a leftover for lunch or something like that. But it's not eat the same food every day all the way through. You work through these plans, and maybe other than the cleanse, you're doing fairly similar things through the cleanse. But for the others, there's great recipes that are going to keep you interested. And you even give them a shopping list, which I think is also pretty cool.

[00:36:18.670] – Dr. Cabeca

Thank you. You know, my mom raising kids, was making things early. Sometimes having leftovers is just a one less meal I have to Cook. Right. So that's always definitely an option in the plan, too. And maybe if there's adding something a little bit more interesting, too, but to create as much simplicity and shopping as possible. But it's six days. So I want this diversity. I want this experience. I want it to be an experience.

[00:36:48.970] – Allan

Yeah. It is. That's what I'm saying.

[00:36:51.980] – Allan

Mine, it's something I would order at a Chinese restaurant. I'm like, I want egg rolls. So it's like cabbage. And I did it with pork and went through the whole process of making it. And I think it took me less than an hour to make the soup. And that included prep. And I'm a slow prepper. So I didn't even get to watch a whole TV series. I was watching a TV show. I didn't get to watch the whole thing because I had the meal ready before I finished. So really good recipes. You should check that out.

[00:37:22.400] – Allan

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

[00:37:31.510] – Dr. Cabeca

Thank you. Well, definitely get keto green. So incorporate the lifestyle, the nutrition into your lifestyle. That concept, that is by design, a number one way, certainly for me and for women going through menopause, and I think for so many, my kids are doing it. The second thing is make oxytocin the most powerful hormone in your body and so not stress. Really think, where do I see love today? Where am I loving, giving, grateful? What am I grateful for? Really focusing on that. How am I showing love to those I love? How am I receiving love? Sometimes that's even harder. So make oxytocin the most powerful hormone. And the third is just smile. Really smile, really genuinely feel good about yourself. And for women, oftentimes we have this, like I would say the negative, that nasty bitch on your shoulder talking down to you. So like, knock that nasty bitch off your shoulder and enjoy yourself. And that concept of truly, genuinely being happy in your own skin with whatever is in your life at this moment, it's a really powerful concept.

[00:38:43.750] – Allan

Well, thank you, Dr. Anna. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about MenuPause or your Girlfriend's Doctor club, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:38:54.220] – Dr. Cabeca

Definitely, just come to my website dranna.com. We have a MenuPause book page and some great bonuses to go along with the MenuPause book. So some trackers, some additional handouts and recipes and good things to support you in the videos, cooking videos, all this good stuff is there for you. So, dranna.com, and then join me on social media at the Girlfriend Doctor.

[00:39:19.120] – Allan

Awesome. You can go to fortyplusfitnesspodcast.com/533 and I'll be sure to have the link there. Dr. Anna, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:39:29.970] – Dr. Cabeca

Thank you for having me, Allan. I love what you're doing. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:39:40.850] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:39:42.380] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a fun interview with Doctor Anna Cabeca. Anytime I hear anything having to do with menopause, my ears peek up. So her book, MenuPause sounds like a really good book.

[00:39:55.130] – Allan

It is good. Obviously, I will not experience menopause, can't and won't. And so for me, it's really just about understanding what my wife, with my clients, with my friends, with my family, what they may experience as they're going. And I think there are periods of time when we really have to ratchet in our nutrition. For the most part, most of us can go through life and not really think about what we're eating. But there are particular periods in a woman's life where I think it becomes really important. Obviously, when you're trying to get pregnant and you are having a baby, there are times when your nutrition is tantamount to having a healthy baby, dealing with any kind of major illness or recovery. So cancer surgery, something like that. Nutrition is going to be really important to make sure that you're addressing your body's nutritional needs so that it can heal properly so that you have a good, strong immune system, really important. And then, of course, during menopause, when you're going through significant, significant hormone changes, and those changes, the perimenopause process, if you will, can take minutes where they're actually pulling out your ovaries and uterus, or it can take decades as you're going through those.

[00:41:24.750] – Allan

This is month to month, day to day, week to week. All of it changes in your hormones. And if you are just eating about doing your thing, you don't have information. What you have is a symptom. And you don't know if it was directly affected by what you're eating, what you're feeling, the movement or, yeah, you're just going through a huge hormone shift that you really couldn't deal with otherwise. Those are important. And within approach, you literally can sit down and look at a swath of time, the six day plans and say, okay, I'm going to do this thing over six days and see if my symptoms abate. And if they do now you have data, now you have information to say, hey, if I cut out this food, yes, my body screaming at me, eat more chocolate, but I don't eat more chocolate. Instead, I eat more vegetables, I eat more meat. I make sure that I'm eating whole food, and you feel better. You didn't need the chocolate. And I know that's hard to hear. Sometimes you need the chocolate. I understand. But sometimes your body is telling you something, and the answer is actually the exact opposite.

[00:42:54.060] – Rachel

That's so true. And what's interesting, how Anna put it, is that instead of turning to supplements or surgery or something, that a lot of doctors will suggest a pill for this or for that, it's turning to food. And food can actually really be true medicine for you. And I appreciate how she created these five different eating patterns or these five different types of eating for a six day window of time. Six days isn't that long. You can get through some sort of change, and you never know how you might feel afterwards. If it works for you, then it's a tool in your toolbox for all these different times in our lives when our hormones will fluctuate. Like I mentioned earlier, all of us have different symptoms as we approach menopause. Perimenopause is kind of tricky. That way our hormones can fluctuate day to day, week to week, month to month symptoms could be different from another. But by trying food as medicine, at least you have another tool in the toolbox that you can pick out later on.

[00:43:55.880] – Allan

Yeah. The only caution I put out there is if you're making a fairly drastic change. So let's just say you're eating the standard American diet today or something close to it, and you immediately say, okay, well, I'm going to go to the hardcore, intense low carb thing. Six days might not be enough time for you to fully adapt to that change. And so just recognizing that if you find that this food is affecting you and maybe even in a negative way, you may need to lean in instead of pulling back and saying it's not working. The six days is a great trial. And for a lot of people that don't have, say, insulin resistance or some other health issues going on, they're going to start seeing some potential positive change, weight loss and some other things will be happening during that period of time. But you might not feel really good. And there's a couple of reasons for it. One, yes, could be that you're going through the change into keto, and they call it keto flu. I prefer to call it carb withdrawals because your body used carbohydrates for fuel and now it doesn't have as many it's got to shift fuel systems.

[00:45:12.710] – Allan

That can be a little disruptive for most of us it is. But there's also other things. Our body stores toxins in our fat. So if you're starting to lose body fat, your body now has to deal with those toxins that it shuttled away earlier and didn't deal with. And if you're under a toxic load at home or at work or whatever, now you're adding more toxins to the mix. You might feel worse before you feel better. So just recognize six days is a good rule of thumb because as you said, you can do just about anything for six days.

[00:45:46.600] – Rachel


[00:45:47.630] – Allan

People can go without eating for six days and be fine. But that said, if you're feeling bad, you're making a change. If it's hard, just consider whether this is something you need to lean into or whether it is okay. You did your six days and it just didn't work. And let's say you tried that and it didn't work. That doesn't mean that tool is useless. If you needed to screw in a screw and the first thing you grabbed was a hammer, the hammer didn't work, but you get a screwdriver and it works. Later on, you got a nail. The hammer is going to be just fine. So just recognize that time and space and where you are now is different than where you will be later. So a tool today that's not useful can be a useful tool later. But there's really good eating plans in there. Really sound advice from Dr. Cabeca. And if hormones are an issue for you as you go through these changes, food will affect your hormone levels. What you think will affect your hormone levels, what you physically do will affect your hormone levels. All of that input, all of that information and it will affect how your body expresses hormones.

[00:47:06.550] – Allan

So while you can't fix this change because it is what it is, it's coming, you can reduce the impact of it with the right foods.

[00:47:16.740] – Rachel

Yeah, well, you both were discussing bio individuality and what is right for you right now is going to be different from what is right for you later. And that's just the way our hormones fluctuate. I think every woman understands and agrees with me that like I said, week to week, month to month, our hormones, our symptoms, the way we feel just changes so greatly. So what works for you today may not work tomorrow, but the point is that you get to try something new and it sounds like Dr. Cabeca offers several different meals that you get ways to try to eat in order to satisfy those changes. It's a great idea.

[00:47:56.510] – Allan

And if you're listening to this and the guys have tuned out, they can eat this way too.

[00:48:02.710] – Rachel

Oh, for sure.

[00:48:04.670] – Allan

These are healthy, good ways to eat. This is not like, oh, well, here's an estrogen pill. I'm going to give it to my husband too. No, it's not like that. This is food. This is really good. These are really good meal plans. They're very easy. She gives you the shopping list, the whole set. So it's really simple for you to kind of go in and say, okay, this is my meal plan for the week. It's the meal plan for my family for the week.

[00:48:25.090] – Rachel

I love that.

[00:48:26.110] – Allan

And so they're getting what they need to be healthy. You're getting what you need to heal and be healthy. Just recognize this is not a woman's eating plan this is an eating plan that anyone can do and be more healthy for doing it.

[00:48:42.500] – Rachel

That sounds great. Sounds like a great book.

[00:48:45.040] – Allan

Yeah, it is. All right, well, Rachel, we'll talk next week.

[00:48:48.120] – Rachel

Sounds great.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to fix your relationship with food | Amy Freinberg-Trufas

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Food is an important part of our lives, but many times we end up with a very bad relationship with food. This dysfunctional relationship is very hard to change. In her book, Food: Eat with Ease Every Day, Amy Freinberg-Trufas shows us how to approach this with self-love and self-compassion.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:12.910] – Allan

Hello, Ras. How are things?

[00:01:15.190] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:17.480] – Allan

Doing okay. I guess as this comes out, we'll be hitting the prime of tax season. And today I went ahead and said, okay, well, I got a new computer. I'm going to go ahead and move my files over and start my tax return because I got my accounting done for this and that I can't find my tax file from last year. So I'm a little bit of a freak out as we came into this call of I can't lose that file. It should be backed up somewhere. So hopefully that was backed up. I know my head backup is going. So I just got to go back somewhere and find something in the history and say, okay, Where's this file? Because it has to be out there somewhere. But it's not on my hard drive. And when I open up the old TurboTax, it doesn't find the file I filed with them. So I don't know, I don't do the online thing. I've always had it on my desktop because I don't always again, not always having connectivity. Sometimes web based apps are just not all that cool. Sometimes I just like having the application on my computer because again, if I went out there and tried to open up an old year's tax return, they'd say, oh, this is an old year.

[00:02:26.940] – Allan

You can't whatever. I like having the application on my computer. And I've been using TurboTax forever, so I should have all those returns. But we'll see what I got to do. I may have to request a transcript from the IRS just to do my damn taxes.

[00:02:42.970] – Rachel

Well, I hope it shows up. I'm sure it'll turn up somewhere.

[00:02:46.000] – Allan

Yes. How are things up there?

[00:02:47.870] – Rachel

Good. Spring is here, getting busy this season. My son graduates from College. And so we're planning all those types of celebrations. And it's really a beautiful time of year up here.

[00:03:00.340] – Allan

All right. Yeah, you showed I saw some pictures on your Facebook frogs and whatnot things that are coming out of there all of hibernation.

[00:03:10.630] – Rachel

They're all defrosting right now.

[00:03:13.450] – Allan

Frog man. I'd so be going south. They have it so made down

[00:03:18.910] – Rachel

Yeah, that's for sure. Yes. Beautiful. A lot of new animals are coming through. The birds are migrating. It's really a fun time of year to be outside.

[00:03:28.690] – Allan

Enjoy all six weeks of it.

[00:03:32.170] – Rachel


[00:03:33.430] – Allan

And in about a week or so, you're going to be doing your run. I mean, I think we're listening to this. You've done it probably, I guess, or you're close to doing it and then you're going to be on your way back. And so we'll know more. But you're in your taper.

[00:03:49.990] – Rachel

Yes, in the taper taking the mileage down, but not the intensity. And I've got a meeting with my coach coming up to talk about goals. I've surpassed what I had expected. So my five hour goal is pretty much in the bag. I just need to maybe tune into a better time goal, I think for me. So it should be interesting to have that conversation.

[00:04:13.570] – Allan

Yeah. All right. Well, so you'll have your pacing down and all that and kind of know a plan going into the right.

[00:04:19.580] – Rachel

Yeah, I'll have a race plan, hopefully in the next week or so.

[00:04:22.880] – Allan

Cool. Well, we'll talk about it next time we're on and we can get into your well, next time we're actually going to record two episodes and then the following time. So it will be a few weeks before you hear how Rachel did on her trial. Five hours is the goal. She's going to blow that out of the water, I'm pretty sure, but

[00:04:41.990] – Rachel

I hope so.

[00:04:42.840] – Allan

You will.

[00:04:43.790] – Rachel

That's the plan.

[00:04:45.490] – Allan

Don't play courts. Yeah. But anyway, we'll talk about it in a few weeks.

[00:04:52.280] – Rachel

All right. Great.

[00:04:53.310] – Allan

Are you ready to get into a conversation with Amy?

[00:04:56.120] – Rachel



[00:05:37.150] – Allan

Amy, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:40.100] – Amy

I'm so happy to be here, Allan. Thank you. Thrilled.

[00:05:43.130] – Allan

So your book, Food, one of my favorite topics, Food: Eat with Ease Every Day. Like you, I'm kind of a foodie, too. I love food and it's a big part of my life as well. I love cooking. I love having that as a part of my life. And for you it was. But then it became kind of a darker part of your life. We're going to get into that in a bit about what you went through a little bit. And some of the feelings and things that you had around food and dieting and exercise and all the stuff we're told, just move more, eat less kind of conversations and why that wasn't necessarily the way you needed to do this. And I think the message that you're going to bring out that you brought out in this book is a good message for a lot of people to hear.

[00:06:30.730] – Amy

Wonderful. Yeah. I'm a foodie, too. I love food. And I think one of the things that was so difficult was as a child, some of the things I went through, I turned to food to move through it. It was the only thing I had that was consistent, that I felt like I was in control of that was, quote, there for me all the time, no matter what. But what happened over time was constantly turning to food brought more problems, which for me was severe obesity, body pain, not being well, not being strong in my body. And then internally I say in the book, the bigger I got on the outside, the more I shrunk on the inside. Until honestly, I was a shadow of myself, trapped in a huge body, saying no when i desperately wanted to say yes and just not showing up the way I want to show up. And I know that's such an overused term now showing up. But for me, that truly was it, because I was just saying no to things. And Amy inside was like, please, I wish I could do that. I wish I could water ski.

[00:07:32.150] – Amy

I wish I could put on a bathing suit and go to the beach. I wish I could say yes. I don't know if the movie seat is going to be too tight on my hips. These are all things. That's how bad it got for me, so that I was just completely retreated within myself. And then there was always food. So I think Irene Pace summed it up really beautifully in the forward. She's a nutritionist. When she said what had once been adaptive for me and brilliant because it helped young Amy get through difficult things, ultimately became maladaptive. And she was quick to say, that doesn't mean we're bad or broken. It means in a way, we're brilliant. So I thought that was such a beautiful way to start the book because so many of us live with this hyperactive critic just beating us down all the time. And if you think about it as a moment of brilliance that got you through so that you're here today to make a new decision, it's really pretty powerful.

[00:08:31.810] – Allan

It is. I really want to ask you the question about the gorilla and your mother and the child.

[00:08:41.330] – Amy

You're the first person who brought that up. And I knew when I dropped that I was like, someone is going to ask me about this.

[00:08:49.130] – Allan

If you want to talk about it, we can. I've got another direction. We can go. We can talk about it offline or whatever. So.

[00:08:55.570] – Allan

Yeah, go ahead

[00:08:56.820] – Amy

tell the story?

[00:08:57.900] – Allan

Yes, please.

[00:08:58.870] – Amy

Okay. My mother was kind of a tough customer, and she took a bunch of us to a local game farm. That was, I think, by today's standard, probably illegal. There were like, Panthers there roaming around with basically a dog leash. They were riding around on the back of sort of like half car, half trucks with a little rope. And she brought a bunch of us kids. And I think I was six or seven, and my best friend's little brother was five. And they had this chain link fence with a full grown male gorilla inside and pulley system. So you dropped you pulled like a clothesline pulley system. You pulled the bucket. There was a bucket hanging off of it. You pull the bucket over to you. You dropped the food in. And the gorilla was so smart that it pulled the pulley back. It ate the food out of it. And that was the fun. Well, my friend's little brother somehow got up on the chain link fence and leaned his head over it so that the chain link was here somehow the rope got slipped behind his neck and the gorilla started pulling.

[00:10:12.590] – Amy

And what that did was trap him in between the chain link fence and the rope behind his neck. And he was hanging there. He wasn't dead or dying at that moment, he wasn't, but he was definitely in distress and he was definitely stuck. And then the gorilla started pulling, and then he was in big trouble. His face was red. He was hanging off the ground. He was literally trapped there. And my mother dropped what she was doing ran over. There was no help because this was like a really makeshift outfit here. And I remember her, she had long fingernails and she got natural. She got her fingernails under the rope between the rope and my friend little brother's skin. So she had to use so hard that she did scratch him and it did bleed. But she got just enough room between his skin and that rope. And she pulled and the gorilla started pulling and she pulled and he pulled and she pulled. And she got open enough that Kyle dropped to the ground while she was PO. She was furious. So she took Kyle and she went to the owner's office. And it really is kind of like a funny image.

[00:11:20.600] – Amy

And I still remember it. He had, like a Safari outfit on these big alligator skin boots, and he has them up on his desk and a big ten gallon cowboy hat on the desk. And she went in there, like raising hell. And she said, this is unacceptable. This child was injured. Look what happened to him. He was trapped. The gorilla had him pinned against the chain link fence. And I had to pull him out. And he said, hold on a minute, lady. What are you telling me here? Are you telling me that you had a tug of war, basically with a gorilla and you won? And she said, yes, I won. This child would have died. And he said that gorilla had the strength of ten men.

[00:11:56.760] – Allan

Yeah. Well, when you're in that kind of mindset, strange things, interesting things can happen. So thank you for sharing that story. In all fairness, it was just one sentence in the entire book. But I did have to ask.

[00:12:11.730] – Amy

I thought it was better to leave it as one sentence because it got your question like what?

[00:12:16.650] – Allan

It did get the question. Absolutely. Good.

[00:12:19.200] – Amy

Thank you for asking.

[00:12:20.460] – Allan

Yes. But there's one other story that I think is actually much more important, particularly of what we want to talk about today. And that was towards the end of your father's life, and he was talking to your son, and you were fortunate to be an observer in that conversation because he could have just as easily said, no, I want to talk to him alone. And you wouldn't have been in the room, but you were. And he said something that changed your life. And I'll let you say the quote because again, I think it means a lot to you, and I think it's going to mean a lot to our listeners if they hear you say this. But go ahead and say what you heard him say to your son.

[00:13:01.110] – Amy

Make the life you want, be happy.

[00:13:05.370] – Allan

And that's powerful. That is hugely powerful. I'm so glad your son heard that. I'm so glad you heard that because it really did change the direction of your life.

[00:13:16.530] – Amy

It absolutely did. And there's a simple sort of brilliance in it. There's no arguing with the logic for me. I do believe that we have the ability and actually taking it a step further, the responsibility to fashion a life that best suits us and those that we love in this life. And if you step into that responsibility and you make choices that align with it, amazing things happen.

[00:13:50.550] – Allan

Now, a lot of folks want to lose weight. And one of the ways they know to do this, and it's the way they try and they don't succeed. I'm not going to use the other word. They try and they don't succeed. They try and they don't succeed. And eventually even the word diet and dieting becomes synonymous with punishment.

[00:14:15.090] – Amy

I agree 100%. I'm nodding my head furiously here. When I was on just about every diet known to man and woman here. And none of them worked for me because the minute I started to diet, I felt I was being deprived. It was about deprivation. Now I can't have my favorite thing. Now I have to go to bed hungry. I have to eat small portions. And keep in mind, up until this point and including this point, actually, food is my go to coping mechanism. So without the ability to go to food, when I'm feeling an uncomfortable emotion, what do I do now? I'm not a drinker, I'm not a smoker. What do I reach for? What do I do? And that's I think for me why I always didn't succeed, to use your words, because I felt like I was deprived. I felt like I was being punished. Food is now my enemy. The thing that got me to live as long as I did is now my enemy. And I don't know how to be right with it. I couldn't make heads or tails of it up to that point.

[00:15:24.610] – Allan

We're going to get into some of those in a minute. But I did want to take one more step and have this conversation because this is the other side of it. You go to your doctor and they say, well, you need to go on a diet and you need to move more. And if you've ever been out of shape, like really out of shape, the concept of moving more is painful. The concept of doing these things, particularly around people at all, there's a lot of stuff going on in there in your head and what you're telling yourself. And so in a sense, it's another punishment.

[00:16:05.770] – Amy

You're exactly right. I didn't feel I belonged in a gym, a 320 pound woman getting on equipment. Am I going to hurt myself? The first thing I used to think was, am I going to break this? Is this thing going to hold my weight? Because I had been on things that didn't hold my weight. I was in a patio chair that collapsed. It's horrifying, it's mortifying, it's embarrassing. And I also knew that I wasn't tremendously fit. I think I always had sort of a strong structure under my body. First of all, I carried all that extra weight, so I had to be pretty strong, but I wasn't traditionally fit. You know, I sort of bullied my way through things. Bullied meaning in my own mind, I'll just do it. I just have to get that done with. Let me just get that done and then check it off. So for something like going to a gym, that's the mindset I would have. It was not enjoyable and it was scary and embarrassing because you know that if you're really and the really big people listening to this know what I'm saying, to put yourself in a spot where there's predominantly very healthy people, you feel like you're sort of an object of glances at the kindest and ridicule at the worst.

[00:17:28.950] – Amy

So it's nothing pleasant or fun about that proposition.

[00:17:33.490] – Allan

Well, I will say this, and it won't make any sense or it won't really necessarily change how you feel about this. But I can tell you that most of us at the gym are happy to have you there. We're happy to see you doing things that are positive for yourself.

[00:17:53.650] – Amy

Now that I'm a person who is a little more fit, who goes to the gym. I agree with you. But my experience as a 300 plus pound person, that was the critic in my head. Saying I didn't belong there. I was going to break something. I was going to hurt myself. And also, Allan, I had no confidence in my body's ability to do this. And as soon as my heart rate got a little faster, I was frightened, I'm going to die. I'm going to blow up my heart can't handle this weight. Just a lot of things. It means to your point, all internal within my head, I was so used to being ridiculed that I expected it. Everywhere I went, I said, oh, I'm asking for it. Going in here.

[00:18:38.410] – Allan

The way I like to couch this is you found a tool chest. Okay. You didn't have that tool chest when you started, when you heard the message from your father, make the life you want, be happy. You knew that's what you had to do, but at that point, you really didn't have even a plan, which in the end, I'm going to tell you to your benefit, because so many people throw tactics and strategies out there without actually figuring things out for themselves first. Now you call them the eat with ease commitments. And I love that word. That's a very important word in my vocabulary as well.

[00:19:22.870] – Amy

Which one? Ease or commitments?

[00:19:25.090] – Allan

Well, ease is not necessarily work commitment, for sure. And we'll get a little bit into it. You've talked a lot about your why and things like that. But to me, commitment is the marriage of the vision of where you're supposed to be, who you're supposed to be, that happy person living a life they're supposed to be living. And the commitment is the why you got to get there. You had a young boy, I had a daughter. There were reasons for us to decide, okay, I'm not going down this path. I need to get on a different path. My aging path. I see it's in front of me. If I keep doing this, then this there was no other thing but to change it because I made the commitment to be different. And predominantly at the time, it was my daughter that was the driving force emotionally for me, of why I did it. That's where I come up with commitment as a basic phrase. Now yours are these kind of steps, and they're tools, as I like to say, of how to get there, quite literally. Yeah. Listen to this part again. She's going to say these, but I want you to listen to it time and time again because these are not easy.

[00:20:38.410] – Allan

But when you have these in your tool chest, you've got the magic key, you've got the formula sitting right in front of you. So, Amy, if you would take us through the nine, eat with ease commitments.

[00:20:51.230] – Amy

Yes, I would love to and exactly what you said. I knew what I had to do, and that was aligned myself with now my new mantra, which is, make the life you want. Be happy. That's all I thought about. Like, how am I going to flip this and get to the point where I feel happy? I didn't know how to do it, and if I had to know how to do it, I never would have started. So what I realized when I sat down to write the book was that I owed it to the reader to sort of dissect what was my path in retrospect. So I want to just reiterate that you don't have to know how to get all the way to the end. It boils down to one choice, and that one choice can unfold and lead you to the next choice.

[00:21:36.630] – Amy

So the nine that I came up with in retrospect are the first one was patience. I had to accept. I'm a pretty intense person. I want to make a decision, make my life. I want to be happy. Now, I'm going to be happy, and I'm going to do it yesterday and I'm going to lay my head on the pillow and I don't have a check Mark on it.

[00:21:57.500] – Amy

I'm a big checker offer. I'm a total type A, but this weight owned me, so I couldn't type A it. So I had to take a breath and realize that it's okay. I don't have to know right now. I gave myself permission, and I trusted in myself enough that if I got really patient about it, time would work in my benefit. I, over time, will be able to figure this out. So that was the first step. Rather than looking for the quick fix, the shakes, all the things that I had not succeeded at in the past, let me be patient and see what unfolds and what I can figure out. Let me get my brain in on this and work through it. That was the first.

[00:22:38.020] – Amy

The second one was be curious, which goes right along with be patient, because you can be patient all day. But if you don't wonder about things, the answer may or may not start to unfold for itself. So I decided to, once I realized that I'm going to give myself time to figure it out, I realized how much I absolutely didn't know. I didn't know about my body.

[00:22:58.950] – Amy

I didn't know about metabolism. I didn't know about macronutrients. I didn't know about hey, here's the funniest thing. I didn't know that what you drink counted as calories. I don't know why I thought that. I thought that because it went right through. It was a zero. A lot of things I didn't know about my own body as a grown woman who'd given birth was, like, amazing, right? So I got curious about all the things that I didn't know about, and that came out in time. And what I realized looking back was that allowing myself to be curious really let me start to find things that worked for me. And I don't think this is a one size fits all, no pun intended proposition. I think people have to get curious and wonder about what really feels right to them, even for now, and that we can adjust as we go on because this has to work long term or else it absolutely falls apart.

[00:23:52.850] – Amy

Next one was I absolutely refused to punish myself around food. That was done because my whole life I suffered around being severely overweight or around food. It was time to give that whole thing hard stop done.

[00:24:09.870] – Amy

So I made that commitment. No more punishment, no more suffering around food. That means no starving, no going to bed hungry, no depriving myself of my favorite thing if I feel like having a little piece of dark chocolate that is not going to gnaw away at my head, that I can no longer have dark chocolate for the rest of my life, because, news flash, I'm going to quit. If you tell me I can't have dark chocolate, I'm out. It's a no deal thing. So I had to solve that, too. And then once I started to realize the things that would start to work and not work with me, I realized I needed to meet with some experts. That was someone who could help me move safely. A trainer or Pilates instructor, in my case, a nutritionist, somebody you know, who was right on my insurance plan that I was able to go speak with. And she taught me about my resting metabolic rate, why proteins and carbs and fats are different, how they work in the body. I had no idea about this level of chemistry or nutrition in the body and the cellular level and what your body actually needs to function well.

[00:25:18.120] – Amy

And I also didn't know, like, breaking down muscle and how you build it back up using protein. No idea. So once I started to meet with people who are experts, it sort of informed me. And then with the information they gave me, I was able to say yes and no to some things that fit that I knew I could commit to long term.

[00:25:37.550] – Amy

And then the next, speaking of committing, the next one was I promised to move my body. And my promise to myself was I wouldn't go to bed. I wouldn't put my head on the pillow that night unless I moved. I had to do something. It could be a couple of hours of housework. It could be walking around the village. It could be going to the gym. It could be a Pilates session, it could be yoga, it could be a stretching session. I was so disconnected from my body at that time. The Amy inside was so shrunken that I didn't inhabit my body. I didn't want to inhabit my body. So I had to mend that break. Again, I know this now. Back then, what I just could muster was I think I need to move my body.

[00:26:23.030] – Speaker 4

I need to feel like it's under me when I'm walking up a flight of steps. I know I have to get healthier because in the back of my mind, I'm going to be this 400 pound woman in a wheelchair in a nursing home sooner rather than later. And I didn't like that idea at all. So I knew I had to start to move a little bit.

[00:26:38.470] – Amy

And then we're up to number six. Number six was super helpful and I still do it today. I have a tracker on my smartphone and I enter everything I eat and I treat it like my trusted accountant. A friend of mine is like, oh, I don't want to track all day. I don't think of it as the negative. I think of it as like a really important tool in my to use your words, my tool chest. This thing is helping me to be successful with my food budget every day. And I know I really love food, right? We talked about this and I don't want to be deprived. So I'm having to find and get curious about ways to eat food that I really enjoy and still feel satisfied so that I can do this long term.

[00:27:23.500] – Amy

So the food tracker for me is the key. Also, because it tracks the nutrition, the nutrients, it really helps me try to look for that balance.

[00:27:33.130] – Amy

Number seven. I love this one. Discover my love tribe, which again, in retrospect, along the way, I had really nice people supportive. When you said there's people in the gym who are really happy to see you there, I did come across those people. I had this three mile route around my house and one day a woman pulled over and said, you don't know me and I don't mean to startle you, but I've been watching your transformation and you're amazing and you're inspiring me to do this too. So it's these people who will show up in your life and cheer you on, or more than that, become a partner in it and a buddy in it and really help you. And you don't have to know them now, just trust if you're ready to take this step that they're going to show up in your path for sure. I think of it like Dorothy and the wizard of Oz. Come across all these characters who help you get to the Emerald City.

[00:28:23.230] – Amy

Really cool. And then commitment eight, utilize new tools. For me, that was like weighing my food with a kitchen scale, getting a digital scale. These are the physical things that helped me. The food track around my phone, a good pair of sneakers. Just some basic things that helped me to get through. Not too expensive either. Affordable for most people.

[00:28:42.850] – Amy

And then nine, I committed to writing from what I call right from the spirit, which is I kept a Journal and I shared my trials and my tribulations and my love tribe started to get in on it and cheer me on or jump into and share their struggles around food. And we sort of like put our heads together and figure out, all right, is there a smart way that we can get through this and still maintain what we're trying to do for ourselves? So those were the nine with these commitments.

[00:29:12.370] – Allan

Yeah. And like I said, those are really great tools as you go through, and you don't have to have all of them. When you start this, over time, you're going to develop the things and develop in the way that's important, particularly if you're doing the first tip. You've got patience, which is maybe the hardest one. And then you add curiosity from there. The rest of it is just solving problems and putting it all together in a way that's sustainable for you as you go. It's not going to happen overnight. And it didn't happen overnight, but it was happening. And as it happened, you got momentum. You started snowballing. You met the right people. You brought the right people into your life. And over time, it just gets better and better and better.

[00:29:56.080] – Allan

Now, you mentioned Dorothy, and so I'm going to play off of that a little bit now. In the whole story of Dorothy, she always had what she needed to get home with her. Okay. And that's kind of the message that you brought up towards the end of the book is that this is all born out of self love. This is already in you.

[00:30:21.890] – Allan

And while you said the bigger you were on the outside, the smaller you felt on the inside first became true. And I'm going to say as you got bigger on the inside, you got smaller on the outside, because as I read the story, that's kind of how I interpreted it. You started getting bigger on the inside through self love and your health and your weight took care of themselves.

[00:30:51.650] – Amy

I love that. And I think there's some truth to that, although I didn't feel that way during the process, if that makes sense. And there's this sort of this push out there, oh, you just have to love yourself. You just have to love yourself. Well, my experience when I was so overweight, I didn't feel that I loved myself because I was at such disk ease with my body. It didn't feel good, Allan. I mean, I was painful. I was compulsively eating. I was saying no to things because of this vehicle didn't allow me spiritually to get out and do what I wanted to do. And that didn't feel very loving. But what I realized is that even by just choosing patience, that's a huge loving gesture. And wouldn't we do that with someone that we loved around us? Of course, if your child comes to you and they're really upset the first thing you have to do is be patient and listen to them hear them out, try to help them arrive to their own solution right? Be a sounding board yet the old Amy was overly critical and I wasn't patient with myself so I think the biggest step in starting the whole idea of self love to your point is that moment where I decided I'm going to do it differently now let me just start by being patient and I think you're right that was the creation of the whole thing. I have to say I didn't say let me love myself, I love myself and look myself in the mirror and say I love you Amy, none of that was happening, none of that but what was happening was I was exerting a sort of kindness to myself that I had

[00:32:44.460] – Amy

never done in the past and I didn't intellectualize it as I'm being extremely kind with myself. I intellectualized it as I'm going to make the life I want yeah, I was holding on to that mantra boy with white knuckled love that made such impact on me that I held onto that for literally my dear life.

[00:33:16.890] – Allan

And good.

[00:33:19.950] – Amy

Thank you, Dad.

[00:33:22.170] – Allan

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

[00:33:31.350] – Amy

This is a great question. Obviously, I'm going to have to go back to a couple of the commitments in the book the first one is we talked a lot about patience and curiosity and wondering about what feels good and what fits best for us but the next thing I want to add on to that is just expressing a level of kindness to ourselves. If someone out there wants to get started but they feel like they have to do it perfectly there's many of us who are perfectionists and that whole idea that I don't know what to do therefore I won't start I would just invite them to be beautifully imperfect, you know. There's a type of perfection in embracing our imperfection because it allows us to step forward and sometimes that's all we have to do the second thing that I would offer is that any journey, any decisions and actually everything and anything we do every day boils down to one choice at a time. So if you came to me, Allan and five years ago and said you know what, Amy? You have to lose 150 lbs and you have to know how to do it right now and you have to stick to it and you're going to do it, I would be out of my mind because I didn't have any of that skill set but what I did have was that mantra in my mind and that why so having the why for me was a way for me to put 1ft in front of the other and just try the next choice and also realize that if the choice wasn't perfect.

[00:35:01.340] – Amy

I could make another choice. So that was the second one. And the third thing I would say is start. Every day is a clean slate. And if we break it down even more, every moment is a clean slate. And there's so much opportunity in that.

[00:35:19.790] – Allan

Thank you, Amy. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Food: Eat with Ease Every Day. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:35:30.230] – Amy

If they want to learn more about me, they can jump on my website, which is amyfreinberg.com, and I'll spell it out. It's www.amyfreinberg.com. And if they want to grab the book, they can go to Amazon and it's Food: Eat with Ease Every Day.

[00:35:49.820] – Allan

Right? You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/532 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Amy, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:36:00.670] – Amy

Thank you. This was a blast. Love it.

[00:36:03.870] – Allan

Me, too. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:36:13.050] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:36:14.790] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was really an interesting conversation with Amy. And food addiction is one of those really hard topics to tackle. But she seemed to get her situation together pretty well. And her nine rules, Eat with Ease Commitments, were a really nice guideline for her.

[00:36:32.960] – Allan

Yeah. You know what I really took away from this conversation, and I've had similar people on in the past, and I've had people that were on the exact opposite of this paradigm is that we all have this relationship with food, and some of them become, for a lack of better word, abusive relationships. We're using food at the time maybe for the right reasons. It helped her get past a very hard time in her life, but then it becomes a problem. And food is not something you just stay away from. You can sit there and say, okay, well, that's abusive. Stop it. This is not something you can just stop. You have to deal with it in your own way. And we had Susan on a few weeks ago, and she had a very clear I have to set my lines. I have to stay within the boundaries. And if I stay within the boundaries, then I'm successful and I feel good that I'm doing the right thing. Now, again, she knows because of the testing she's done that she's addicted to food, and therefore, there are certain foods that are going to trigger her. She knows those foods.

[00:37:38.790] – Allan

She's taking the time to do that, whereas Amy comes at it for more of a I'm going to have compassion for myself. I'm going to find my way through this because I believe in myself. That whole make yourself do your thing, be happy, which again, I misquoted that. But again, it's the concept of she deserves to be happy and recognizing that she deserves that she's doing the things that are necessary to care for herself, not all the time. She doesn't have to have those bright lines that Susan had to have, but she's doing her thing.

[00:38:15.450] – Rachel

Well, Amy mentioned her dad had mentioned make the life you want and be happy. And so that sounds like the foundation for what she needed to build on her plan to get healthy. Whereas Susan, like you said, she had some very hard lines with the flour and sugar, I think, were her triggers to send her spiraling out of control, whereas Amy had some different situations that she was able to navigate instead. But one of the couple of the top rules that she had for her eat with ease commitments was be a patient and be curious. And those are two great rules. You just need to be patient with yourself, and you need to learn how to live a different lifestyle, how to change your eating habits, and how to view food as fuel or for a different reason and not just coping from the hard situations in life.

[00:39:11.950] – Allan

Yeah, it's a big part of self awareness. And I've talked about this over and over again that you do have to know yourself because in this space, in this diet and exercise space, there are so many absolutisms. I just want to say, you have to go keto, you have to go vegan. You can't eat this. You must not do that. You have to abstain from these foods, all those different things. I tend to be a lot more holistic and agnostic about all this stuff and say if you're eating whole food, you've solved 99% of the problem. And then it's just making decisions on your day to day. When you're put into situations where something else is there and maybe the whole food option isn't available, you find yourself stuck. And now here you are in an airport, and it's like, okay, you're walking through the airport to try to find something healthy to eat, and they don't make it easy. You got to walk by six McDonald's and a subway to get to a place where you might find something that's a little bit more to your liking and fit what you're looking for. That's really hard going to dinner when 90% of the menu is not your menu.

[00:40:33.520] – Allan

It's not meant for you at this point. And so the absoluteisms of avoiding the word diet, avoiding these other things. I'm like, no, for some of us, it is a diet. It's a temporary thing. We do it and then we stop doing it. And that's okay. For others, it's the bright lines rope yourself off and you do your thing within those parameters. And we were talking before we came on. It's sort of like some of the laws that are out there, but I know it's okay with the traffic law, the speed limit. You're like, oh, well, if I go about 7 miles over the speed limit, no harm, no foul. Right? Whereas you say, well, I sort of Rob a bank.

[00:41:18.920] – Allan

yeah. Sometimes you need the bank robber rules of don't Rob banks, don't kill people, don't do these things. These are rules. They're specific and some of us really need those rules.

[00:41:30.130] – Rachel


[00:41:30.580] – Allan

And then other people if you tone it down a bit you're just a little over the speed limit. It's okay. So you say yes, I can have this temporarily or occasionally I can enjoy this detour and get back on the road and I really haven't lost any ground. For some people, that's fine. For others, it's like, no, these are bank robber rules and I've got to stay on my road. Yeah, exactly. And this is how I'm going to do it. So as I go into my tough mudder training it was okay, this is my food and I wouldn't normally do this but I step on the scale every single day. Every morning when I wake up, the scale is literally right beside my bed. I roll off the bed, I weigh myself every single morning and so I know how I'm tracking because I know that if I'm able to lose a certain amount of weight that is going to make my race better. Easier, more enjoyable. There's zero reason for me to try to carry 228.6 lbs on this race When I know I can get myself down to 200 or less. So for many of us, it is hard, fast rules.

[00:42:49.270] – Allan

For others, maybe a little softer approaches, a little bit more self compassion, a little bit more speed limiting type stuff where you give and take across time. But you have to know yourself. You have to have that self awareness.

[00:43:04.330] – Allan

All right, well, it looks like we had some internet issues on my side. Third world country issues. But it is what it is. Anyway, Rachel, I appreciate having you here. Good luck on your run and we'll talk next week.

[00:43:18.960] – Rachel

Thanks, Allan. Take care.

[00:43:20.430] – Allan

You too.


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

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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to become a fit mess with Jeremy Grater and Zack Tucker

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Getting your mind right is so important toward getting healthy and fit. On episode 530 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we bring on Jeremy Grater and Zach Tucker, the hosts of The Fit Mess Podcast and discuss their weight loss journeys.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:19.630] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things going?

[00:01:21.690] – Rachel

Great, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:24.250] – Allan

As always.

[00:01:26.950] – Rachel


[00:01:27.950] – Allan

Busy. Yeah. And just a lot of things coming together at the same time and this and that and things outside your control. Things in your control. But I do want to say something. I want to apologize. A couple of weeks ago, I put out an episode I didn't realize my new computer. I put all the settings for my recordings exactly the way they were on the old computer. Didn't realize how bad the quality was until I actually had to do the work to put it together because I got behind. So I didn't send that off for audio processing. I did this one myself and realized how terrible it was and I couldn't fix it. And I didn't have time to send it off or do anything else. I needed to get it published. It's the first time I've missed a Monday published date in over six years. I published it on a Tuesday, and I feel bad about that. But at the same time, it kind of opened up my eyes saying, okay, one, I'm not going to work through the weekend to try to solve a problem about a podcast episode. I'm just not going to do it.

[00:02:34.520] – Allan

Two, maybe Tuesdays are better days for releasing podcasts. Now, I'm not going to do it straight away because I do have a sponsor and I told them I'd be doing these episodes on Mondays. So bear with me as I deal with the sponsor and I get that done. But probably like starting in April, I'm going to start releasing episodes on Tuesday mornings. What that will do is that will give me Monday to get the episode finished up and done. So if I've missed something or need to do something, it's a work day. It's a podcast day. It's when we do normally, we do our recording for things. So I'm going to start making Monday put podcast together day. I don't know that I'll get all the interviews done on Mondays, but I'm going to start kind of trying to push things to certain days to try to make my schedule make more sense. And most of the books, the big books that I have authors on, they publish on Tuesdays. That's a standard publication date for books. Also when they release music. By the way, it's Tuesdays, but so I'm going to start releasing my podcast on Tuesdays.

[00:03:46.420] – Allan

That'll align me with what the publicist and the writers authors of the books like, because the episode will go live on the day it goes and therefore goes into their sales for best seller stuff. If it happens before like pre sales actually don't count towards your best seller status, which is kind of odd. But yeah, what sells that first week is what's going to get you into New York Times. So a lot of them want these episodes live the first week that the episodes out. But I also have a longer tail on my podcast. So I think releasing on a Tuesday will make them happier because I can release on the same date for a lot of these folks if I'm ahead. I think they'll like that anyway. So that's going to be my approach going forward. I'm going to start moving these to Tuesday. It's going to be a hit or miss for the next few weeks, like I said. And then boom, there you go, Tuesday release dates. And I'll try to stay consistent on that because consistency is really important as we'll get into in a few minutes. But how are things up there?

[00:04:50.980] – Rachel

Good. Really good. Well, our weather is a little inconsistent these days, warm and cold, but it's worked out over the weekend. We did our first Maple syrup boil. So up here when the weather is above freezing during the day but below freezing at night, we collect the SAP out of our Maples. And this last weekend we did a boil and yielded almost a gallon, just shy of a gallon of syrup. So we'll be collecting again because the weather continues to be inconsistent and we're going to do another collection and another boil pretty soon. But yeah, and hopefully after that, it might be spring.

[00:05:29.750] – Allan

Good for you. Spring is no different than any other season except for one thing. Except for one thing. And I do have to say this, we're recording this now before this happens. But this episode will go live after it happens is that we don't do daylight savings time here. And so we end up flipping. So the way you have to look at it from our perspective is when we're in the fall. So when we fall back, we end up in Eastern time zone, which means things that I do like client calls with a group and things like that, they're happening for me at 08:00. Well, if you guys will follow me for any amount of time at all, you know that I like to be in bed by nine. That doesn't happen when I have a group call at 08:00, which I do from November to March. And now we're going to do the spring forward, which puts me on central time zone until next November. And I'm so happy about that. I wish at least somebody would just stop doing that. We don't do it here and I'm so glad we don't. Plus, our days and our nights are generally about the same the 12 hours because we're closer to the equator.

[00:06:48.930] – Allan

So it's just kind of one of those things. It's like, okay, every day kind of can be the same if you want it to be. But then, yes, that whole flip flop of the United States. So as you're listening to this, we are now into the simple time zone and I'm getting to bed earlier every night, at least as far as the clock says it is. So, yeah, I'm going to be glad to do that because then I tell my wife it's like, oh, no, it's central time zone, 07:00. I got my call, 08:00. I'm in bed, hopefully.

[00:07:24.510] – Rachel

How funny.

[00:07:25.530] – Allan

Yeah. So that's my spring. The thing I look forward to with spring as we get back on a time that I'm much happier because everywhere I've lived, I've lived most of my life in the central time zone. I've lived in 13 different States, I've lived in four different US time zones. I'm just happy to be back into the central time zone as we do this, as you guys do this crazy spring forward thing. And I'm sorry you're losing an hour sleep, but make sure you go to bed an hour earlier so you don't actually lose that. And it might be harder to fall asleep, so kind of play yourself into it over the weekend. But yeah, there you go. All right, you're ready to have this conversation with Jeremy and Zack?

[00:08:09.750] – Rachel

Sounds good.


[00:08:31.410] – Allan

Jeremy, Zack, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:34.690] – Jeremy

Thank you so much for having us.

[00:08:37.050] – Allan

You have the podcast called The Fitness. And I'm assuming again, maybe I shouldn't assume because I've learned my lesson about that in the past. Is that's kind of a build off of the Hotness that we would say, but more related to fitness.

[00:08:51.510] – Jeremy

Your assumption is close but incorrect. It actually was more just a play on how much of a mess it can be trying to figure out how to stay fit mentally, emotionally, physically. And so it was really just more of that trying to share that struggle with our listeners and with our community that we wanted them to know that they're not alone. We're here with them, learning right along with them, maybe a few steps ahead, maybe a few steps behind. But that's what we're there for, to be a resource to people that are going through all this together.

[00:09:18.510] – Allan

Yeah, it definitely gets messy. There's not a lack of information out there. And it seems kind of odd that we have these podcasts where we're putting information out there. But I try to think like, I'm a Sherpa. I've gone up the Hill. And while I can tell you my route won't be necessarily your route, I'm a Sherpa that's willing to go up that route with you again and again and again. And that's why I'm really glad to have the two of you on the show, because each of you have stories about how you change things for yourself. You went from and I'm actually going to call it normal, because being overweight, being obese in the United States is more and more becoming the norm versus the abnormal. And now you've found yourself pushing towards, I guess, no other way to say it, but being the outlier, the one that's in the not obese, not overweight category and actually pushing your fitness up to higher levels. So I do want to get into that. Both of you have really great stories. So, Jeremy, can you kind of start back with your origin story of what you did to fix your fitness, fix your health, fix your mind as you went through this process?

[00:10:37.350] – Jeremy

Yeah, I was definitely one of those guys that sort of needed external factors to make it happen and rock bottom to sort of be thrown at me. It was probably about ten years ago. I was 70lbs heavier than I am now. I was deeply depressed, stuck in an unfulfilling job, and I knew there had to be more, but I didn't know how to get there. And ultimately I ended up doing just like the dumbest knee injury that you've ever heard of. And that led me into a physical therapist office. And that physical therapist said, you should really get on a bike, otherwise your knees are going to just deteriorate and you're going to need to replace them later in life. And that sounded fine and good, but I hadn't ridden the bike since I was eight, so the whole idea of getting on a bike seemed ridiculous. I started talking to my brother about it and he said, look, man, if you want to do this, if you're going to be serious, you just have to decide you're that weird guy that rides your bike to work now, so go buy some cheap bike and start riding.

[00:11:32.500] – Jeremy

And so something about him saying that just about that making a decision totally clicked for me. He's like. And I was like, yeah, I can totally do that. I got on Craigslist within a week I had a bike and I started doing my bike commute and it was amazing how transformative it was because the need to be present in that moment, when you're on a bike, riding through city streets, there's nothing like it to force you to concentrate on the next you're going to die, right? If you don't do this right, you're going to die. And I found this weird peace in that and just, like letting all the stuff, I had no idea how much my mind was just dragging me from thing to thing. And when I was there, that was where I found peace. And I just decided I want more of that in my life. And that led me into my therapist's office. And fortunately, he was a well practiced meditator and he introduced me to meditation and that just kicked open all kinds of doors where I just started finding more and more ways to just be present in the moment, be at peace with who I was.

[00:12:34.020] – Jeremy

And that led to the massive weight loss. I lost 70lbs through a combination of just exercise and keto. And a lot of that came from talking to Zack. Zack was a couple of years ahead of me on the path. And so a lot of the things that I was starting to get curious about, I ended up sitting at a campfire next to him and he was saying, Well, here's what worked for me. Maybe it could work for you too.

[00:12:53.610] – Allan

So, Zach, you are his Sherpa.

[00:12:58.170] – Zack

It is, in many ways.

[00:13:00.930] – Allan

Tell us a little bit about your story.

[00:13:04.170] – Zack

So my story really started the day I was born. I was not set up for success in any way, shape or form. I had a fairly traumatic childhood. I didn't think it was a traumatic childhood. I thought it was normal. But in telling people they're surprised that I'm actually alive or not in jail, just really bad parenting, left to my own devices, no education on how to do anything to the point where when I was 21, 22 years old, I was about 300lbs of my really good friends was a manager at McDonald's. I ate there every single day because it was free. Drink two liters of Mountain Dew every day. Didn't move at all. Just smoked cigarettes. Smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. And one day I got my first real job out of College and my boss looked at me and said, you smoked cigarettes? I would have never hired you if I had known you smoked. And I was like, Whoa, like, mind blown, that's crazy. So I quit smoking. I started running. I started sign up for 5K and that was kind of the start of it. I was like, wow, I can run a 5K.

[00:14:17.050] – Zack

And I started to lose a whole bunch of weight. And then I started running all the time. And like Jeremy was mentioning, when you're running, you're like, in that mode, it's not quite like riding a bike. I know I was a little bit aggressive when I rode my bike in City Street, so I wasn't as worried. But I just started running. The weight started melting off, and then I started working on going, wait a minute. Well, my mind is clear. I like this feeling of being focused. I like this. It's not muddy up there anymore. So I started exploring all the different ways to continue to exercise in a way that would clear up my mind. And then that led me down the path of keto and nootropics and biohacking and all of these things. And fast forward many, many years now, and I'm at a good weight. I'm relatively healthy mentally, emotionally. And like Jeremy was saying, we were at a campfire one day. I was telling him about all this stuff, and that's actually how the show was born. Was we kind of looked at each other and said, guys need to be having this conversation right here. So let's normalize it.

[00:15:28.590] – Allan

Yeah. I mean, things you guys are saying definitely resonates with my story. I consider myself the fat bastard. Hated my job, hated my life, hated everything about it, was overweight, was unfit, and quite literally was just disgusted with myself. And anyone else that would have looked at me would have said, well, this guy has a perfect life. He's got this great salary, he's taking this vacation, he's doing these things. But no, I really didn't like who I'd become. And it was that wake up of, I can't keep going this way unless I'm going to keep going this way. And the end is close. It was almost like, okay, I'm not going to fulfill whatever I was here to be. There's something deeper that needs to go on. And it was being a great dad. It was hopefully eventually being a great grandfather. It was living a life I deserve to live, which I wasn't, despite the income and how good I was doing in my job. And so beyond decision, I had to take even a deeper step. For me, the word I use is commitment, because in a sense, it was not just okay.

[00:16:47.880] – Allan

I decided I'm not going to do something. I mean, you quit smoking, so that's not something you just decide to do. There's a lot more to that.

[00:16:59.570] – Zack

I still look back at that as the of all of the things I've ever had to do in my entire life, that is the number one hardest thing I ever did.

[00:17:09.570] – Allan

And then if your experience was like my experience, once you do that first thing. So the first day, Jeremy, that you rode your bike to work, how far was that?

[00:17:21.020] – Jeremy

The first day I did it. So it was a nine mile ride. The first day I only rode half of it because I just thought, I can't just get on a bike and ride 9 miles. And I was shocked because actually I did really well and after that, I did start doing the full 9 miles, but it was terrifying. It was scary, but exhilarating at the same time, for sure.

[00:17:39.660] – Allan

So you do that first thing, that first hard thing, that first scary thing, and it creates something. 

[00:17:45.470] – Jeremy

And that's what I was going to say is that so many of these things that are constantly in the back of our mind, the things that we're waiting for motivation to do that we're going to start doing that thing on Monday. We're going to think about doing that thing on the New Year or whatever, all that stuff. None of it matters. You really just have to decide and take the action today. You can't put it off because if you put it off, you're really just still sitting with indecision. Even by saying, I'll do this on Monday, you're still sitting in the indecision even if you can. For example, this year I hadn't been to a gym in months. I hadn't done any real physical workout in months. I'd done some running now and then. But at the start of this year, I decided that I was going to go to the gym every day and I couldn't figure out when it was going to work. So I got on my calendar and I put in a time to go every day. The whole first week I didn't go, but I took the first step of putting it on my calendar so that I could see and go.

[00:18:40.490] – Jeremy

I'm neglecting this time like I have the time. I have no excuse. The second week I went and I haven't missed a day since because I know I have the time now that I've gone and I feel good, I'm going in with a plan. I know what I'm doing when I get there and everything's falling into place from there. When I take that action, that action leads to another one. I'm eating better because I don't want the work I'm doing there to be for no reason. That's the way that so many of these things work is it's just such a domino. You have to just kick open that first door and you'll be amazed at how many more doors you'll find on the other side that lead to a better, happier life.

[00:19:15.850] – Sponsor

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[00:21:17.170] – Allan

Yeah, I think so many people will sit back and they know the first door they have to kick through, they know the first domino, but there's something holding them back. Can we talk a little bit about how you went through a mind shift change to just really do that? Because quitting smoking or riding a bike in city traffic for most of us, because what we're not talking about is some fit guy who can pedal at the same speed as the cars that can maneuver and do all these things. I mean, you're at this point overweight, not completely comfortable on a new bike you just bought off Craigslist, right? There's something there something has to click in your brain to make that happen. What is that? What was your mindset?

[00:22:15.850] – Jeremy

For me, I know enough about myself to know that I am motivated by external factors. I can sit here and tell myself I need to do this, to be a good dad and I want to live a healthy life and all that. But that stuff is so it's just a figment of my imagination. There's nothing there tangibly that I can hold on to getting on the bike. My mom had just had at least one, if not both of her needs replaced by then. And to hear a physical therapist say, if you want that, keep doing what you're doing. If you don't want that, go buy a bike. And that was scary enough for me. I was shocked into action and I took the action. This year we have our own podcast. We were going to interview Tony Horton, the creator of the P90X workout. I had never done the P90X workout, and I just thought, I have to have some integrity here. I have to have at least done his workout to know what I'm doing. So I went and did his workout for a few days just so that I knew what I was talking about.

[00:23:08.720] – Jeremy

And then it turns out I fell in love with it. I'm like, oh, this is great. I'm going to just do this every day because this guy, I like his speed, I like his tempo. And so that's been pushing me. So for me, I have to look for is there an accountability system? Is there a friend? Can I call Zack and say, hey, Zack, I need you to text me every morning at seven and say, Get your ass to the gym, whatever it is. I know that I'm driven by something external. Something has to be bigger than me. And so I have to find what that is for whatever action is that I want to take.

[00:23:36.680] – Zack

Yeah, I'm kind of the same way. It's the external motivation. But in the last few years, I've been really trying to shift that mindset into external motivation. But for my future self. So my 60 year old self, I'm doing this for him. So I'm going to go to the gym, I'm going to go not eat pizza today, even though I work for a company where I get free pizza. So it's really hard. I'm doing all of this stuff for the future me. And that was a good shift for me because I was always external motivated or needed that external motivation in order to get something done. And just pretending in my head of like, all right, when I'm 65, living my retirement dreams, do I want to be stuck in the easy chair that my dad was stuck in? Or do I want to be out exploring, riding my bike, still doing things? Okay, I'm going to be driven for my future self.

[00:24:34.020] – Jeremy

And I want to jump on that too, because I was doing the same thing. I was following that advice that we picked up along the way. And I kept telling myself, Would the future version of me walk by this basket of laundry and just leave it undone with the future of me not do the dishes, whatever things I would normally let slide? And I was talking to my therapist about that, and my therapist reminded me, he said, that's a cute trick. And if that works for you, go for it. But keep in mind, there is no future you that doesn't exist. All that exists is this you. So if that you can do this, then this you can do this. If you can just own that identity that you are now the person who tidies up, who does the laundry, who does the dishes, who goes to the gym every day, who eats well, just own that identity. Put that on every day. Stop worrying about the future you and just know that that is who you are now. And when I think back, that's what happened on the bike. And so the more that I sort of incorporate that way of thinking into whatever challenges I'm taking on, the easier it becomes to do them, because I just own them as who I am rather than it being this thing I have to do.

[00:25:39.910] – Allan

Yeah. And I think kind of a bounce between what the two of you have said is that there is this concept of extrinsic reward or acknowledgment. So you have someone holding you accountable, and then there's this intrinsic drive. And the intrinsic drive is unique to you very much like what you've said, I like having something in front of me that's a big, scary, hairy deal. I'm doing a Tough Mudder. The difference is, the first time I did a Tough Mudder, I was 47 years old. Now I'm 56. So for me, 60 means I'm doing Tough Mudders. It doesn't mean sitting in a lounge chair, hanging out, although I will sit in a lounge chair probably after I do the Tough Mudder because I'm going to be sore as heck. But that said, I'm training towards something that's that. But the other side of it, what I do is I like to take those events, if you will, those kind of those intrinsic scary things. And I like to line them up in a way that is cohesive with who I want to be when I'm older. So when I have grandchildren, we didn't have Tough Mudders when I was younger.

[00:26:56.410] – Allan

We did the 5Ks and that kind of thing. And then as I got a little older, I got into marathons and ultras and lifting weights to see how much I could do that kind of thing. Those were what we did for fun. Now there's Tough Mudders and there's these other types of events, like the Ragnar and those types of things that I'd love to try and do. I don't know what they're going to be doing in 10, 15, 20 years from now, but I want to be able to at least make an effort of doing it. You know, I'm going to be the 75 year old guy that's out there with his grandkids doing whatever crazy little thing it is. And that kind of excites me from a future perspective. So I can kind of get hard to wrap your mind around it. But it's like I'm looking at it from a perspective of what I enjoy doing today, and it aligns with what I know that I'm likely going to enjoy in the future. You're talking about riding a bike and how immediately once you got on it, it became a part of you, a part of driving your whole existence.

[00:27:59.240] – Allan

You ride your bike every day. You were the weird guy who rode his bike to work every day, and then people probably watched you lose 70 lbs. It's like, I probably should buy a bike.

[00:28:10.210] – Jeremy

That is one of the surprising side effects of this whole thing. When you do start taking care of yourself, it is amazing how people suddenly just start asking questions like, oh, wow, what are you doing? What happened? And it's so funny how I've done this a few times. I've been up and down the scale enough to know how it goes. But it's so funny how almost every time it's just that I ate better and I worked out and they're like, oh, that's it.

[00:28:35.830] – Allan

I wanted an easy, but I didn't want to actually have to work for it.

[00:28:39.320] – Jeremy

You didn't just drink some magical drink in the morning and it just melted away. No, of course not.

[00:28:44.080] – Allan

That's what the commercial said on Sunday, the whole 60 Minutes, and then just didn't call that 800 number, which back in the day, that's how Tony sold those on those infomercials on a Sunday. And yes, I actually had it and did it back when it was the first ones and then actually tried to do insanity when it came out. But I was way too old and out of shape. And that left me.

[00:29:15.350] – Allan

Sean, I love the insanity work out.

[00:29:19.130] – Allan

I get it. I tried to be 20 when I wasn't, and my body reminded me. So I felt like I had basically been beat to death by being beat up with a baseball bat while I was asleep. And the next morning I said to call in sick for work because I couldn't get out of the bed because again. No, this was the Fit test. This was just that little test they do at the very beginning. And I'm like, go as hard as you can. Go as hard as you can. I'm like, I'm going as hard as I can. And then the next morning, it's like I can't get out of bed. So there is that. Don't let yourself get over excited. Let your mind understand where you are and start from there. Like you said, Jeremy, you knew potential. You might not be able to ride the whole 9 miles to and fro to do your ride. And so as a result, you had a plan B. And then you realized, okay, I can actually do this. And then you were on it. And I imagine after that, you're probably looking at your time and say, okay, I can get to work in six minutes. I can get to work in five minutes.

[00:30:28.790] – Jeremy

When I got down to like 33 minutes, I was like, awesome, actually, when it was shorter than riding the bus.

[00:30:37.080] – Allan


[00:30:37.410] – Jeremy

That was when I knew this is it. I'm never riding the bus again.

[00:30:41.050] – Allan

There you go.

[00:30:43.310] – Zack

I do want to just say it really quickly, like on the your future self and my motivation. I have actually an example from yesterday that I do think forward of, like, myself 20 years from now, but I also think forward of myself tomorrow and being ready for things tomorrow. I told Jeremy about this earlier, but yesterday I went to a 6:30 workout at a CrossFit gym, and it was a partner workout. So of course, I worked a little bit harder than I normally do. And then my friend is opening up a new gym. So I went to an 8:30 class there and did that. And then I went home and I did manual labor of like fixing a room for like six more hours. And 20 years ago I would have been dead. Like done. And I woke up this morning, I was a little stiff, but I was fine. That's for me, that's where the benefit comes in, like thinking about your future self. I am doing all this stuff so I can be okay tomorrow and I can go do anything that I want, whenever I want.

[00:31:50.290] – Allan

Yeah, well, we're moving the gym and so that's kind of one of the things is the concept of moving weights around, moving these horse mats away 100 lbs and are awkward and just getting those things in place and knowing I'm probably going to have to move them a dozen times to get them where I want them to be. And that's going to be about five days of my life next week. If I've been 47 when I first started this journey, there's no way in heck, there's no way. And then when I actually bought the gym three years ago, about two and a half years ago, actually, I used to do all the deep cleans by myself. So every piece of equipment at gym I would move out of the way, move all those mats out, wash all those mats myself, put all of them back in, put all the weight back on top of it over the course of a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday. And at that point I was a beast. And then covet happened and I came out of covid and I'm like, I'm not quite at that fitness level. I'm okay with where I am, I just have to realize who I am and where I am.

[00:32:53.640] – Allan

And so part of the vision is, okay, I can get back there and I will. But right now, yeah, I'm going to hire strong, healthy people to help me move some of those horse mats and some of those weights because there's no reason for me to try to kill myself to do those things. So it's a balance and it's having the right mindset of knowing what you're capable of and pushing yourself and pushing those comfort zones. And then the other side of it is not going nuts like I did with insanity. Or now maybe going nuts and thinking I can do the whole gym by myself, not going there. So it is a back and forth with yourself to not give yourself excuses and also know, okay, I can push I'm going to go do this work out because this is my friend, I'm going to go do these things around the house because I have those desires and those obligations. So those are really good drivers. And then like you said, you're fit enough, you've set yourself up to be able to do those things. That's really cool.

[00:33:49.750] – Zack

But I know that today is a rest day. I pushed it yesterday, so I went to yoga this morning, and that's it. That's all I'm doing today.

[00:33:59.850] – Allan

And recording this podcast.

[00:34:02.250] – Zack

Yes. The physical exertion of recording a podcast doesn't quite get to me.

[00:34:06.480] – Allan

yeah, I know. I tend to move my hands. So even though you might not see that on the camera, I'm working out here.

[00:34:14.670] – Allan

So we talk about motivation. And every time I see objections to the keto diet, because every year they do the I think it's US News and Roll Report, they do the best diets and worst diets out there. Keto is consistently at the bottom of the list. But I can tell you that I know more people who have lost weight and maintained that weight loss using keto than I do that have used any other diet, period. Even the Mediterranean diet, which I agree is probably the actual the best diet out there. But the keto diet, if you can do it, is really effective at weight loss, and it's not something you have to do forever. I've had guests on I do what I call seasonal ketosis. So I have off seasons and on seasons, some people are keto all the time. You guys use keto as a tool to lose weight. How did you motivate yourself to stick with what most experts would say is impossible?

[00:35:23.370] – Zack

Well, there was a couple of things. One, so I tried keto before Jeremy, I think. Once I figured out that I was not doing keto necessarily to lose weight, it was an added benefit for me, but I was doing it to try and help with inflammation in my body and brain fog and some of those things which were really important to me because my job required a lot of mental work and I just needed to try that. I also set myself up to so Shaunty was coming to town, and I was going to do a live workout. And I also signed up to do a go rock 50 miler star course. It's just a 50 miles of walking with a weight in your backpack. And probably four or five months before I started keto or before that, I started keto with the intention of being keto through all of these events. And so I set myself up like that to keep myself on track because keto, it can be really tough. And all the products that are on the market today that are marked keto are technically keto if that's the only thing you eat for the entire day.

[00:36:34.810] – Zack

But it is tough if you're going to stay in ketosis. If you have one day where you eat more than what your carbohydrates requirement is, you're out and you need a couple of days to get back in. So it is very binary. It's tough to get all of those things. But honestly, it was like meat and vegetables. And I found some really good dairy hacks with some protein powder that was keto friendly as well. So it's definitely possible. But the motivation for me was to find good food that I really liked and just eat the same thing over and over and over again and set something up for later on. So you have a goal that you're marching towards.

[00:37:16.690] – Jeremy

In my case, you know, it goes back to that campfire sitting with Zack, and he was showing me the chart of how much weight he'd lost on keto and some ridiculously short amount of time. And I was like, whatever that is, I want in. Show me how you did that. And so he told me about it, and I thought, well, that sounds insane. There's no way I can do that. Keep in mind, I'm a vegetarian, so doing keto as a vegetarian is nearly impossible. It's not impossible. It's very hard. But I took to heart what he said, and I just sort of broke it down in a way that made sense for me. And I thought, I'm going to just try. I'm just going to limit my carbs to 100 grams a day. Just start there and see what that does to my life. And I immediately was feeling better because just the food choices that I had to make have to be better. And so I don't even know that I ever really went full keto. I mean, I did the test strips, and I was in ketosis in and out. But for the most part, I really just cut out a lot of carbs and introduced a lot more protein and fat to my diet.

[00:38:12.930] – Jeremy

But again, that's the vegetarian. It was tricky because there aren't a lot of options for that. So I was relying heavily on the processed fake chickens and the fake meats to make sure I was getting the protein that I needed. I would not recommend that somebody do that, because we know that all that process stuff is not good for you to do on a regular basis by any means. But anything that just encourages you to eat fewer ingredients and real whole foods is what your body is craving. In terms of the motivation, the motivation came again from the external reward that Zack was dangling in front of me with the weight loss. But it really was how I felt and how the weight came off. And my entire relationship with food changed. There were days where coworkers would be sitting there eating cheese and crackers, and they would offer me some. And in the past, of course, free food, why would I say no? But when I would look at it, it wasn't even food anymore. It just didn't even register as food to eat a wheat then or whatever it was. So again, the motivation followed the action.

[00:39:18.210] – Jeremy

By taking the action, my body went, I like this, do more of this. And I had really no choice but to keep going because that was what my body was demanding of me.

[00:39:27.080] – Allan

So let's take a little bit deeper in that because I think what you said. There is super important. Your body told you, this is good. Okay, how do we open ourselves up to that conversation?

[00:39:44.350] – Jeremy

That, to me, goes back to the meditation topic. Any time that you can set aside every day to just shut the hell up and get out of your own way for a minute is going to just open your doors again, going back to the door analogy. But I just find that in quiet, I find all of the answers that I sit here racking my brain trying to come up with. So whether it was diet or last year, I moved to Canada, I moved to a new country, and I was Hemming and hawing and didn't know what to do. And, oh, man, how do I make this a tough decision? I got kids. Is this the right thing? And I finally just got quiet and just meditated. And I just kept verbally saying, Show me home. And I literally saw the home that I'm in now, like, it just appeared in my head. So that doesn't happen without my meditation practice. That doesn't happen without just taking time to get quiet and just listen to God, universe, energy, whatever your thing is. I don't subscribe to any of them. But there is something in me that gives me the answers, that gives me a path to follow.

[00:40:48.010] – Jeremy

If I can just get quiet enough to hear it.

[00:40:51.310] – Allan

Shut up and listen.

[00:40:53.770] – Jeremy

That's where all the answers are.

[00:40:57.310] – Allan

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

[00:41:06.610] – Zack

Move your body. That's number one for me. I know if I'm not moving in some way, shape or form, everything else kind of crumbles and falls apart. I go to the gym every single day for something. I'll either go for, like shoulder PT or do a full workout or go to power yoga class or something like that. But that is the number one thing for me. And then second is the mindfulness bit, which is why I go to yoga quite a bit. Unlike Jeremy, I can't actually sit still. I can't stand it. So sitting on a pillow meditating, saying, home is not my jam. I can't do it. So I do a lot of gentle yoga classes where you're not moving physically all that much. The whole point is the breathing. It's the meditation, but it's just enough movement where I'm comfortable with it. And then the third thing for me, and this actually ties into what we were just chatting about, was I read Tim Ferriss's Four Hour Workweek book a long time ago, and there was one piece in there about doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing and you'll find your way.

[00:42:19.000] – Zack

And I did that for nutrition one day, and I decided to just stop eating for a couple of days and fast. And I uncovered all of my emotional eating in that moment. So the number three thing for me is like eating in a way that's nourishing your body, not emotional eating, figuring out what your patterns are, why you eat, what you eat, and to Jeremy's point, right, like listening to your body and understanding that message. So for me, it was fasting unlocked a lot of that stuff. So moving my body, mindfulness and eating the right things to nourish your body.

[00:42:56.050] – Allan

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

[00:43:06.490] – Jeremy

I'm going to Echo Zach said just on the mindfulness thing. As I said, I just feel that any big answer, any big question I'm asking myself, it's in here somewhere and I just have to get out of my own way and listen to it. So meditation, mindfulness, however you can approach it, it's only going to help you. I also think that curiosity is just a huge tool to hang on in your toolbox because when you do find that you are emotionally eating or you're angry about something or you're just frustrated or whatever is going on, if you can again get into that moment and just get curious, why do I feel this way? Why am I opening this bag of Oreos? Why am I doing this thing? So often when I ask myself those questions while I'm doing the thing that I'm upset about or that I know I shouldn't be doing, I find that I no longer want to do that thing or that feeling dissipates because I can just shine this big bright light on it and make it really small and it goes away. So curiosity is huge. And then just kind of in terms of the bio hacking world, I can't get enough of the cold.

[00:44:04.230] – Jeremy

I wear shorts year round. My family teases me because I'll walk my kids to the bus stop in shorts and they're like, why are you wearing shorts? I feel at home in the cold. I always have. Even before I knew that cold exposure was a thing. I live next to a gigantic, beautiful Lake and as much as I can, I go and just sit in it for at least two minutes and just get cold because I just feel like it's this connection with nature, it's a reset. My whole body just reacts to it in a way that, again, makes me very present. When you're trying to stay alive for two minutes in twelve degree water, there's nothing quite like it. So to me, it's just all of that just kind of comes back to finding a way to just be in the moment and really know why you're doing what you're doing so that you can make the right choice to do the next right thing.

[00:44:50.260] – Allan

Okay. Thank you. Yeah, I'm going to go for the heat shock proteins. You can go for the cold.

[00:44:54.740] – Jeremy

All right. I've heard of hot yoga and I don't ever want to be anywhere near it. No, I can't do the heat.

[00:45:02.410] – Zack

I'll flip flop in between them. I love my cryo-chamber, but I also love the sauna.

[00:45:07.450] – Allan

Awesome. So guys, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your podcast, The Fit Mess, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:45:16.990] – Zack

We've got a website, thefitmess.com, all of our shows, all of our information is right there. We're also on social media all over the place as fitmess guys. And we are on every place you could download a podcast from. We're there.

[00:45:34.380] – Allan

Okay. Well, I'm going to put the link in the show notes. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/530. And I'll be sure to have those links there. Jeremy, Zack, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:45:47.950] – Jeremy

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

[00:45:49.580] – Zack

Yeah. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:45:57.650] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:45:59.180] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a fun conversation with Jeremy and Zack. They both have really good stories to share. It was interesting to hear how they got to where they are today.

[00:46:08.160] – Allan

Yeah. There's a lot to unwrap. Someone does something like this and in a few weeks I'm going to be a little while. I have another guest. I'm reading her book now and she lost over 150 lbs. You get these individuals that have this exceptional weight loss and you want to think they're superheroes, they're often famous people or they become famous. And so we like to kind of put this hero moniker on them. And the reality is Zack and Jeremy are just normal guys with normal jobs, but they did something exceptional for themselves. And there was a trigger for each of them that kind of made that happen. And from that, I think one of the key takeaways is that they didn't just decide one day they're going to do something, something happened or they really got serious. But it wasn't just a decision. I made the decision and it was eight years before I really got to doing something, anything important. And that's when I learned that I needed to be committed. I needed something in front of me, I needed a commitment, I needed to be serious about it. And I think if it's not happening for you, you've got to go back and do that check in and you've got to be brutally honest with yourself.

[00:47:36.170] – Allan

Are you really in it? Are you really trying? Because it may seem like you're trying when I tried this diet, did you and I don't mean that in a bad way, but really self exploration, it's like well, yeah, it was good Monday through Friday and then the Saturday and Sunday while I was off plan. Okay. Well, then you weren't on.

[00:48:03.610] – Rachel

Well, I think that people often expect overnight success or if not overnight, then a week of changing your diet and seeing success or a week of exercise and seeing some success. But it's a multifaceted thing, and it requires more than just a week to kind of test the waters with something new or a change that you've tried to implement.

[00:48:27.830] – Allan

And it's this consistency thing, and it's a consistency of being outside your comfort zone. So you can look at Jeremy. Okay, what does Jeremy decide he needs to do? Because he's talking to a physical therapist, and it's like, okay, you need to use your legs or you're going to lose them. It's like, okay, well, I'm going to buy a bike on Craigslist and get on that bike and ride it to work.

[00:48:55.480] – Rachel

Be the weird guy that rides his bike to work.

[00:48:59.420] – Allan

Exactly. Be the weird guy. Okay. I'm the weird guy who goes out and doesn't drink beer or alcohol right now. Okay. If I go out, I'm not drinking. And everybody's starting to accept it. That don't even bother. He's not going to because he has a commitment, he has a goal. He's got something in front of him that he's charging toward, and that's outside your comfort zone. It'd be so easy for me to sit there and say, everybody's having beer. I'll have a beer, too. Everybody's having a drink. I'll have a drink, too. But what I know is that that step off of the path for me is not just a step off. It's not just a little detour that I'd be taking. It would be a complete derailment of what I've accomplished. And it would take me a good, long time to mentally fix myself and get back on that trail. You have to be uncomfortable. There's no comfortable way to change.

[00:50:05.810] – Rachel

Well, committed. Committed is a key word here, too, Jeremy, like you had said, or he had said that he had a knee issue just like his parents. And he was on track to get in that same position and be a little bit worse off in the future. And once he committed to riding his bike to work, other things fell into place as well. And he had a friend that helped describe what a possible diet he could try the keto diet, and he found some success with that. And it kind of snowballs into a good area once you get rolling on it, as long as you stay committed to it.

[00:50:43.330] – Allan

Yeah, it will. But it doesn't start snowballing the first day, if you can imagine. Okay, we're not talking about just riding your bike down a park path. We're talking about literally he decides he's going to get on a bicycle and he's going to ride on the bike Lane in a city with traffic and everything else going. And he's quite literally maybe just probably was because he said he was terrified, which I would probably be, too. I'm not going to die of a heart attack. I'm going to die of a car hitting me.

[00:51:20.870] – Rachel


[00:51:22.130] – Allan

But he had to put himself uncomfortable. And he put some safety things in there because he knew, okay, riding 9 miles the first day might not be something he could actually accomplish. It turned out it was. But he was not just dumb and saying, okay, I'm going to do 9 miles the first day. He said, okay, I'm going to start and I'm going to figure out if I can ride my bike to work. And I will ride my bike to work. And yes, I'll be weird, I'll be uncomfortable, I'll be outside of the norm. I will do all those things that are outside my comfort zone. And he did that. And he had a friend, Zack, that had done Keto to lose a lot of weight. And so he said, okay, tell me about this. And I tell people about things all the time. Every week you're on here and we're having this conversation or these conversations about health, about taking care of yourself and giving you actionable items every single week. I asked the question at the end of an episode. Tell me your tricks. Tell me your tactics. Tell me your strategies. Can you imagine hundreds of episodes now that I've asked that question?

[00:52:31.080] – Allan

How many tactics and strategies have been mentioned on this podcast? Yours is there. The ones that will work for you are in those podcasts. They're out there. Now, the question then is, are you going to do it? People know I run the gym. I run the gym. Hey, Allan. Gym is open, right? You moved. Yeah. That's awesome. I'll be by there on Monday to join. Okay. Hey, Allan, I hear you're training for this tough Mudder. You've lost some weight. You're looking great. You're really doing this. I'm aghast. So tell me what you do to lose weight. And I tell them. End of conversation. Crickets. Not even crickets. It's quieter than crickets. I think we do have crickets here, I think. But it's quieter than crickets. I'm they're not going to do it. They don't do it. They don't want to do it. It's not the magic pill. It's not the easy button. It seems impossible. How can someone not eat cake?

[00:53:40.650] – Rachel

I've been listening to your podcast since you started, and it was very early on that you introduced the idea of Keto. And I listened to those podcasts for a long time, and I thought, Keto is another fad diet, which it is. And I just didn't see the sense. I didn't see the logic, and I just sat on it for a while. But when I did try it, it agreed with me. I mean, not right away. I certainly had the Keto flu like a lot of people do. But over time, it really does agree with me. That particular way of eating does agree with me. But it did take me a while to come to terms with it and at least the parts of it that I can easily agree with. And then a lot of people would no sugar because I really believe sugar is not good for you. We've talked about that. And no refined grains, no white flour, no white rice, no white pasta and any such thing. There's just no nutrients in it. And over time it works with me and I'm very committed because I feel good when I eat well and healthy foods, whole foods, real foods, and it works for me.

[00:54:55.200] – Rachel

And other people might find similar success with the vegan diet or vegetarian diet or any other diet that has the name that's out there. But the point is that you have to try something and you have to give it a chance. Changing your diet for a week is not going to yield any sort of livable, useful results. You need to try something for a long time to be committed to it for some time.

[00:55:20.190] – Allan

Well, before we got on here, you used a word and I think it's a really important word for us to put out there. And the word is gap. There are gaps, if you will, in this path. It's not a straight line. There's gaps. There's bits that aren't there that you have to fill in those gaps and you have to make it happen. You have to do the work to get there. The very first gap is the start. You've got to get momentum and you get momentum by actually starting. If you've ever tried to push a stalled car when you first start pushing, it's heavy, even if you're going slightly downhill, it's still heavy to get the car going. Once you get going, you get some momentum. Okay, same way with anything, that one thing that you're going to do. Just pick one thing. For Jeremy, it was riding his bike. For me, it was eating whole food. It was literally okay if it didn't walk this Earth or grow in the ground, if it was not alive at some point and I can't recognize it as being something alive and I mean really alive, there was not any of this.

[00:56:33.770] – Allan

Oh, well, these were oats. So I eat oatmeal. No, not even close. If it did not resemble something that was alive, meaning I could not pick it out of the ground and it be what it was, I didn't eat it. Okay. That strenuous. That's the paleo I did. And as a result of eating that way and trying to stay satiated, I went into ketosis. Okay, then there's the gap. When it starts getting hard, when things Plateau that first weekend where you say, okay, I'm not going to drink alcohol. That's going to be one of my main things. And I'm going to eat whole foods. And those are my two those are my two biggies the two rules. And then you get to the weekend and it's like, oh, we'll come over to my house, we've got the ball game coming on and they've got all the food and all the stuff set out and you're kind of like, okay, and they got the beers and all, have yourself a beer. And before you know it, you're digging into the cheese and chips and all that, and you're drinking the beer and it's like, oh, I'm over here making these hamburger and hot dogs.

[00:57:43.930] – Allan

You want one? And yeah, you end up with one of each or both or more. But you see, it's the gaps. There's those things that you've got to get past. And then the snowball starts to happen. It's like, oh, I have more energy, I feel better. I've lost 15 lbs. Now, my knees don't actually hurt when I get out of bed in the morning. So I could actually go for a walk. And you go for that walk and you're like, oh, that felt pretty good to go for that walk before I got ready for work. Kind of woke me up, got me going. I could listen to Allan's podcast, maybe not the whole thing in one walk yet, but you'll get there because we go a little longer now. But the whole point being is going to have these gaps. You can have these things that happen. And that's what for the first eight years of my journey was the problem. Was I had made the decision I wanted to do something and then I would start and I would either not get momentum or I would. And then something would trip me up, something would come in between me and what was going on.

[00:58:54.380] – Allan

There would be a lack of success, there would be an event and that event would completely throw me off. And if you've ever sat down and said, okay, well, so far I've lost 20 lbs and that's awesome. And then you go do something silly over a weekend and you step on the scale and it's 6 lbs more.

[00:59:17.150] – Allan

It's easy to just quit.

[00:59:19.980] – Allan

It's easy to walk away. So you've got to have that commitment. And then above all, you just have to be open and honest with yourself, who you are, what you're doing, and you show up. You don't say, I'm going to get that gym membership on Monday, it's Tuesday. You're listening to this. Maybe on a Tuesday, I'll get the gym membership on Monday. Well, guess what I'm going to tell you right now. You probably won't. I mean, you might do it now to prove me wrong, but no, you had no intention. You had no real intention because you had no commitment. And that's a hard thing to hear and it's actually a hard thing to say to people. But when someone tells me they're going to meet me at the gym on a certain day, unless they've paid me the money to be there and show up, they're not going to be there. 99% of the time someone tells me they're going to do something at the gym on a certain day if they haven't already paid the money to do it, they won't be there.

[01:00:32.990] – Rachel

Yeah. It's about making that decision to make a change and then committing to it.

[01:00:38.340] – Allan

Committing to it and then doing it. Those are gaps. There's a decision gap. It's not like pushing a button and it's instant gratification. There's a gap and it's the doing. So, yes, you can walk in a gym and you can give that gym you can sign a paperwork to sign up for that gym for a year, and you can give them the $10 and you can go in there and they'll show you all the stuff. And then tomorrow maybe you wake up bright and early and you put on your workout gear and you get down there. Where are you three weeks later? Are you still there? Are you still showing up? You're still doing your thing? Because if you do, then you're going to start looking at other things. The riding the bike leads to wanting to eat better. And then wanting to eat better means you're doing the research and you're following the path that we've helped you set forward. And again, as you said, Rachel, it's not just choosing a path I took or that you took or that Zack and Jeremy took. That's our path. It worked very well for us. It may or may not work out for you.

[01:01:47.320] – Allan

But here's the key. Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, carnivore, keto, all of it. One thing in common, low if none processed foods, you cannot. I have yet and you guys can help me. There's a lot of you out there. Find me someone who got fat eating whole food. No, seriously, this shouldn't be that hard, right? If you eat meat, fish and vegetables and fruit and that's all you eat, did you get heavy doing that? The answer is no. I mean, I'm just telling you right now, you're not going to find that person. And the reason all their diets are great is because that's what they're made up of. And the reason they think every other diet is terrible, because they think every other diet, they're eating the terrible foods. So vegan thinks all we keto people eat is bacon. And unfortunately, we sell that because you get to eat bacon, but you don't live on it at all.

[01:03:06.100] – Rachel


[01:03:06.910] – Allan

Bacon can be a part. I don't eat much bacon at all. I don't need it anymore. I eat whole food. I eat non processed food. In fact, the day I went grocery shopping, I bought four chicken thighs, a salad, premade salad and some broccoli. That's my dinner. And so every bit of it was something that I could have picked or killed. It was alive. And I know it was alive because it's in the form it was in when it was not a lot anymore. After it's picked, the processing on the chicken was to cut the thigh off. That was it. The processing for the plants. They washed and cleaned it a little bit and chopped it up for the salad. And the broccoli is a whole big sprout thing of broccoli. So slice it in the bucket, wrap in plastic and give a Talon charging $2.40 because broccoli is expensive here. I paid less for the chicken. But you get the idea is that every one of these diets, they work because they're whole food. That's it. Now to do that is challenging because what do I have to do to walk into a grocery store to get to the places where I needed these things?

[01:04:33.510] – Speaker 1

I had to walk by the chips, I had to walk by the dips. I had to walk by the cookies. I had to walk by the sodas. I had to walk by. You get the idea? All the breaded meats that are in the freezer section, all the processed meats that are in the freezer section. And I shop hungry, which you're not supposed to do, but still hungry. What does hungry mean? Hungry means I bought four instead of two. That's what it means. And I could have bought two chicken because they were all together. I mean, individuals. So I literally could have just said, okay, well, tonight for dinner I'll buy three or buy two. But I was like, no, I'm going to want two of these and I'm going to eat two of these and I'm going to enjoy the heck out of them. Baked chicken thigh. I'll season it with a little something, but basically that. And then I'll have a salad. I'll probably put some beets on it and some cucumber and tomato and then make a vinaigrette and boom, and then I'll Cook the broccoli and I may have a little bit of it, but most of that when I bought it for my wife because when I say 240, literally, that's enough for one and a half meals.

[01:05:39.270] – Allan

One and a half thing of broccoli. So it's not a lot of broccoli. It is quite expensive when you consider that broccoli, but it is where we are. So a little bit getting it here and I didn't buy the cauliflower because it was even more expensive. But that's what I eat. That's leafy Greens, cruciferous, vegetables and meat.

[01:06:01.650] – Rachel

That sounds delicious.

[01:06:02.790] – Allan

Every meal, all my meals, I have some nuts and seeds. I eat occasionally I will eat cream cheese or sour cream occasionally. I may put a little feta on my salad tonight. So a little bit of cheese here and there, but not a lot. But that's it. And that serves me very well. Now, of course, I didn't. I don't always because I have my on season and off season. But if it's not happening, you got to go deep and you got to be honest with yourself. And I'm pretty certain you're going to find the answer is no, you're actually not committed. You're not doing the things that you should be doing and you know it. Don't lie to yourself. Don't lie to anybody else if it's not happening. You're not flawed, physically or otherwise. You just haven't made the commitment yet. You're not emotionally where you need to be to make this happen. And that's okay. Except that you're not there. That's cool. You're learning things. These are tools. Build your tool chest. But don't pretend you're doing the right things and be disappointed with the results. If you're not. 80 20 is not Monday through Friday.

[01:07:23.050] – Allan

That's not the math. So let's be honest with ourselves. Let's make the right decisions. And we've gone long on this, but quite literally, this is going to be something we're showing episode 530. Yeah. It's nothing new in the sun, really. People going to ask, how do you do 530 episodes? It's like just finding one more person to listen that gets it and changes today. This is, you know, you're right. I haven't really gotten uncomfortable yet. I really haven't gotten out of my comfort zone and said, this is important. And it's not that you can't ever have a piece of cake. You can't ever have a piece of candy or whatever it is, whatever your thing is or can't ever have another beer. It's not what we're saying because you can you can manage that back in at some level, either as a sometimes thing or like I do a cycle in and out kind of thing. But you got to figure out what works for you first. But if you don't do the big thing to get where you want to be, then there's no off ramp you never got on. You might not even be driving down the frontage road.

[01:08:42.440] – Rachel

Yeah, well, like Jeremy, he had a scared straight situation. He was told that he's going to have problems in the future if he doesn't make a change. And Zack had a tough childhood. He had a long ways to go with his health as well. And it's when you are made aware of a situation, you need to figure out how you're going to change it and commit to that change and bridging that gap between learning you need to make a change and committing to it and actually doing it. It's hard sometimes, but there's a lot of resources out there. There's a lot of people that can help. And even us on this podcast, reach out to Allan's website and ask a question if you need help or support. That's what we're here for.

[01:09:26.620] – Allan

Yes, absolutely. That's the big thing. Just reach out, get this thing started. Because he had a scared straight moment. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people their first heart attack is not our last heart attack because they're not alive to have another one. People are dying at ages of 40 and 30 with heart attacks. It's their only heart attack. It's the last one. It's the only one, and it's the one that ends their lives. And so the whole point being is not that that's your fate, but just recognize that some people wake up calls are also their good night calls. So don't let that be the case. We know that your health is where it is. If you want to change it you don't have to have that huge health scare. You know it's there. You know it's there. Have it mentally go through it. Get yourself together and make the change.

[01:10:23.340] – Rachel

Yes. Absolutely.

[01:10:25.650] – Allan

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

[01:10:29.140] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[01:10:30.510] – Rachel

You too. Bye.

[01:10:31.550] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye.


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

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

Another episode you may enjoy


January 31, 2022

How to lose weight, feel great, and enjoy food freedom with Lisa Moskovitz

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Weight loss seems hard, especially when we don't have a good relationship with our bodies or food. In her book, The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan, Lisa Moskovitz shows us how to change our approach toward food in a simple, structured way.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:25.690] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things going?

[00:02:27.980] – Rachel

Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:02:29.950] – Allan

Doing all right. Doing all right. Tammy took a weekend off with a friend to go to Boquete, which is another task town here in Panama. They were having some kind of festival, so she didn't know that when they booked it. But then she was going to go and we had our deep cleaning at the gym. So for me, it was a very busy weekend running Lula's and pushing the team at the deep clean to get that all done and walking back and forth between the two because I think they're about a third of a mile apart. Get up in the morning and get everything going. At Lula's, everything's good. Then walk over to the gym, get things going there, walk back to Lula's, make sure everything's where it needs to be, and then back to the gym, make sure the crew is doing everything, help them a little while, then back to Lula's.

So, yeah, I did all this walking one third mile increments back and forth. But we got everything done, got the gym clean and reopened this morning. So that's all good. And Lula's is doing well. We've got some guests that are having a good time and check in, check out. Things are going well.

[00:03:39.320] – Rachel

Good. Glad you got your mileage in, too. That's awesome.

[00:03:42.610] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:03:44.890] – Rachel

Good. I mentioned a while back that one of my non fitness resolutions for the year was to read a book, a non health and fitness related book. And I just finished The Radium Girls by Kate Moore. Have you read that one yet?

[00:03:58.840] – Allan

I have not.

[00:04:00.620] – Rachel

It's a good book. It's an easy read, but it's also a difficult read. But back in the twenties, these girls were painting, using radium and watch faces for the military. And then we at that time didn't know that radium was as dangerous as it really is. And so these girls developed all these terrible health problems from eating radioactive material.

[00:04:25.990] – Allan

I thought you said this was fiction. Is this actually a historical fiction or actual fiction?

[00:04:31.120] – Rachel

Okay, it's a historical, legitimate book. And in fact, it wasn't until 2011 that a monument was put in Ottawa, Illinois, where one of these radium facilities were to memorialize these girls. Because really what they did was sadly the earliest days of learning what radioactivity was, how to measure it and what it does to the body and so a lot of what we know today about radium and radioactive material is from the work that these girls did, sadly. But it was a good book. I definitely would recommend it.

[00:05:07.760] – Allan


[00:05:08.630] – Rachel


[00:05:09.090] – Allan

Well, are you ready to have a conversation with Lisa?

[00:05:11.790] – Rachel



[00:06:00.190] – Allan

Lisa, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:02.750] – Lisa

Thank you for having me.

[00:06:04.230] – Allan

So the book is the Core Three Healthy Eating Plan: Discover the Simple, Sustainable Way to Lose Weight, Feel Great and Enjoy Your Food Freedom. I like those last two words, food freedom, because I think so many of us, the relationship we have with ourselves, the relationship we have with our body and the kind of the way we look at food and the way we classify food, it really sets us up to kind of almost have this master-servant relationship. And it's not a good one. It's a mean master because food doesn't care about you. It's either going to serve you or not. It's about the nutrition you get because that's one of the things. As I started going and different times that I've been eating, it's like, well, how do you avoid eating this or doing that? I don't even think of that. When I walk in a grocery store, I don't go in the middle aisles because there's no food there. It's like, why would I walk down the diaper aisle? I don't need diapers.

[00:07:03.670] – Lisa

Maybe not yet, right?

[00:07:07.390] – Allan

I'm almost 56 years old. I'm two days away from my 56th birthday as this one comes out. So no, the kids are done. In fact, my daughter just turned 29, and we have another daughter who's 28. Those are our babies. Our babies are 28 and 29. So, no, our days of worrying about diapers is sort of over, at least from this perspective. Now, there might be some grandparenting situations where I'm in the diaper aisle, but on a normal day, I don't find myself on that aisle. I don't find myself on the crackers aisle. I don't find myself on the chips aisle. I don't find myself in the candy aisle. They're just not places that I find myself. So I really appreciate the word food freedom. I think that's one of the key takeaways that I got from this. And you had something else. I wrote it down, but I'm going to use it because that's me not being on this.

[00:08:02.840] – Lisa

Yes. And even while you're looking for that food freedom, I just want to say too, is kind of used a lot, sometimes even misappropriated. And it's very important to understand when we're talking about food freedom, what we're really referring to. And that's just the unconditional permission to eat. That you could eat without any stipulations, without any caveats, without any compensation later and without any punishment. And a lot of times I hear and I do honestly cringe, and I try not to cringe, but people say, oh, that was so bad that I ate that I need to go for a five mile run tomorrow morning to burn that off. And I just think that, sure, exercise and exercise does burn fuel and burn calories. But by looking at, first of all, exercise that way, you're looking at it as a punishment and by thinking that you need to punish yourself for enjoying food, it just doesn't bode well. And I think that does set people up for this very dysfunctional, chaotic relationship with food and connection to it. And it kind of sets the precedent for other issues down the road. So that's why I thought it was very important to touch upon that.

[00:09:10.400] – Allan

Yeah. And what I think is, again, why I think that's important is that because of the way things have worked out with what the foods that are available and the way we think about foods and what we've been taught about foods and the calories in calories out, let's do this diet. Let's try that diet. We have distorted looks at food, and we're going to talk about that in a minute. But this is not something that's intrinsic to us now. It would have been as Huntergatherers, because what did you get today? Well, I got a rabbit. Well, what did you get? I got some blueberries. Hey, let's sit down and have dinner.

[00:09:43.450] – Lisa

That's delicious.

[00:09:44.330] – Allan

Yeah. But we've lost that talent or whatever it was that that's how it worked. And we were okay with it. And you put in a book, just pull this little quote, wellness is a skill. We've got to relearn these things

[00:10:01.820] – Lisa

totally. And that's what I really wanted to touch upon that specifically and highlight that. And I use that when I counsel clients one on one, too, because people just think there's a magic wand or a magic potion or give me a meal plan and I'll follow the plan or give me an exercise plan and I'll follow it and all of these things. But it's a skill that you have to practice. If anybody could just go on a diet and lose weight, but to really sustain it for long term and to reap all the benefits, that's something you have to practice. It doesn't just land in your lap. It's not just, oh, I'm going to pick up this book and my life is going to be changed. I mean, that's the hope. Right. And I hope this book does change people's lives, but there is some work that goes into it, but it's very rewarding. Anything that's worth in life achieving, we have to work towards.

[00:10:54.390] – Allan

Right. And the first thing and I'm glad you put this first, because I say this over and over. It's kind of a mantra when I'm working with someone is you have to think about how you look at yourself, your relationship with your body, your relationship with your mind, how you think about yourself, that voice in your head that tells you different things. And sometimes that voice is actually mean. If we don't start with ourselves, then really a lot of this other stuff just wasn't really going to stick. And so I'm glad you started with your relationship with yourself. Can you talk about some signs that someone would know that they have an unhealthy relationship with their body?

[00:11:39.410] – Lisa

Sure. And I think that's very important. I think a lot of people don't even realize that they don't have a healthy relationship with their body and with food. And so when you look at what makes a healthy relationship with your body, it means that you show signs of respect. It's almost like a relationship with another person. What is the fundamentals and the foundation of any health relationship? It's trust. It's respect, it's enjoyment, and it's feeling satisfied that you're getting something in return for what you're giving. And it's just like mutually beneficial. And so it's really important that you think of you and your body as a team and you work together. And it's not this constant needing to change or fight against it or deny and deprive and again, punish when you feel like it's not living up to either your expectations or society's expectations. Because let's face it, that's a big part of the reason people struggle with specifically body image issues is that there's that comparison to this person, this celebrity, this person on social media, this friend or neighbor or family member. And it's really hard not to compare. But the more you do that, it gets to the point of no return, diminishing return, because you just kind of feel worse and worse and worse and worse.

[00:12:58.460] – Lisa

And it's hard to get out of that phone. So I start off with talking about healthy relationship with your body, because if you don't have a healthy relationship with your body, inevitably it's going to affect your relationship with food. And if you don't have a healthy relationship with food, that's going to affect how you eat. So you can know everything there is to know. And believe me, coming not that I know everything there is to know at all. There's still so much to learn in the world of nutrition, but you can everything there is to know. But if you don't have that ability to listen to your body, trust your body, trust food. It takes knowledge, hunger, and fullness. So many people do mindless eating and they overeat and portion issues and they don't realize that they're looking externally. But it's got to start internally or intrinsically and we need to practice that. So when you have this unhealthy relationship with your body, some signs and symptoms are maybe you avoid social situations because you're afraid of putting on a bathing suit or you don't have anything to wear. Or maybe you do spend a ton of time trying to find ways to change it or alter it.

[00:14:08.140] – Lisa

Maybe you spend a lot of your paycheck trying to do the same. Maybe it interferes with your relationships in life or with putting yourself out there with getting a new job or finding a romantic partner. If you feel like almost that it affects your mental health, you feel down, you feel depressed. So those are just a few of the things that might come up if you don't have that healthy relationship with your body. And it brings on a lot of negative thinking, a lot of negative feelings. And those feelings and thoughts turn into very firm beliefs. And you don't realize a belief is just reoccurring thoughts. So you might believe that you're not good enough or you don't look good enough or you're not going to find someone that you can love you back and love you just as much as you love them because of your body. But that's stuff that you implanted and it's not your fault. But I think it's very empowering to know that that might not be true. It's just stuff that you've told yourself and told yourself or maybe other people have told you, which also is another whole conversation.

[00:15:11.190] – Lisa

But now all of a sudden you believe that to be the case and you haven't really given yourself a chance. So it's very important to work on that relationship with your body, especially for really everything, especially wellness, fitness and overall health.

[00:15:26.810] – Allan

Yeah. The way I like to look at it is if this was your friend, so you're sitting next to your best friend on a park bench and you notice that your friend is down and they're like, what's going on? It's like, well, I'm not really happy with how much I weigh and with my weight, my health. What conversation would you have with your best friend? How would you word it? What words would you use? And my guess is they'd be encouraging, they'd be coming from a place of love. And really, yes, you can acknowledge that they've got some work to do, but it's not acceptance in the way that you would say, okay, we're just going to live this way. It's like, okay, well, what's your plan? How can I help you? What do we need to do to make this work? So it's coming from self love. It's coming from that position of help, of being there, and we need to do the same thing for ourselves. We need to step up and say, I love myself and I want this to happen.

[00:16:29.750] – Lisa

Yes, I love that advice. And I've given that, too, for people that have a really tough time with negative self talk, and it's just constantly putting themselves down or putting a lot of pressure on themselves and just feeling like they never live up to that. I'll say, what would you say to your friends? Sometimes I hear, well, I would just and I hope none of my friends will do this right now, but sometimes I'll just tell my friends something to make her feel better. And I don't necessarily, but I still think that's important for ourselves. Even if you don't believe it in that moment, even if you're not really feeling it, you have to still talk to yourself and practice that positive self talk and those positive affirmations, because over time it's not going to change overnight. But over time, they will replace the negative thoughts, and that can be the only thing in your way. Sometimes people are like, oh, I don't have the motivation to go to the gym or I don't have the motivation to eat healthy, and I don't have the motivation to do all these things for myself. And they don't realize the biggest obstacle is themselves and their thinking patterns.

[00:17:34.410] – Lisa

And that's why I love psychology and I'm not a psychologist, but I believe that food can be very psychological and health and wellness can be very psychological. And that's why I really wanted to incorporate that in the book, because it's not something I see all the time is diet talking about the psychology. It's okay to want to lose weight, but you really have to focus on your relationship with food and your body first. It's paramount.

[00:18:00.020] – Allan

Yeah. And that's why I'm glad you put this in here, because I do read a lot of diet books and a lot of them are just like, okay, here's what we're going to eliminate, here's what we're going to include. And this is how you're going to eat. And here's the plan. And it's 28 days and you're going to lose to 12 pounds and you're going to feel great and you can like, well, you skip the step. You skip the big step of not knowing ourselves and our relationships and why we got where we got. Because if we don't address that first, then we're going to come back around after we finish this wonderful diet and we're going to start punishing ourselves again, we're going to start doing the things that we used to do. We're going to fall back on those messages.

[00:18:38.990] – Allan

Now, the next step then is looking at your relationship with food. And in the book you identified four distorted eater archetypes. Can you talk about those four? Because I think anyone that's ever had issues with food and with their weight is going to find one of these that just like, oh, that hit me in the gut because that was me.

[00:19:02.850] – Allan

And I think that's important for self awareness.

[00:19:05.560] – Lisa

Yes, absolutely. Part of the reason I did that was because I wanted to resonate and I wanted it to feel relatable. And it's also not uncommon to identify with more than one. And that's not an accident. There is a reason for that. So what I ended up doing after writing this chapter and really thinking about the things that I see in my practice is I was able to come up with a lot of the most common traits I see when people have these distorted or dysfunctional or even disordered views of food. And it ended up just falling into these four groups, these archetypes, like you said. So we have the erratic eater, the dependent eater, the judgmental eater, and the obsessive eater. The erratic eater might have a very hectic lifestyle. They might even thrive under stress, having a very busy schedule. Food could often be an afterthought. There is probably very little structure in the day. And for that reason, some of the pitfalls could be overeating later in the day or not eating enough, not eating enough food groups, not eating mindfully. And so that was a very important part of this, because I want people to say, oh, this is me, these are my issues, and this is how I can resolve or remedy them.

[00:20:32.280] – Lisa

And all four of these, too. I'm jumping ahead a little bit. But all four of these also, they're not all negative. It's okay that you're not someone that eats all day long and you don't constantly have food on you and you're not maybe like thinking about food until your body asks for it. That actually can be beneficial, because maybe in that sense you don't just eat for any reason. You're not someone that's, like more of a dependent eater. And that's the next archetype. The dependent eater is somebody who's almost the exact polar opposite. Food is a focal point. There might be thinking about dinner before lunch even comes. Plans and traveling plans and holiday plans and any social events might all revolve around food. There might be more emotional eating. There might be more eating for not just emotions and comfort, but stress to sort of enhance any type of experience. Like you go to the movies, you might not be hungry, but a big bowl of popcorn would make the movie more enjoyable. So you get the popcorn. So again, like the Erratic eater, yes, there's clear pitfall, but also that's not a bad thing either, to enjoy food.

[00:21:44.020] – Lisa

It's just the amount that you're doing it. And if you don't have anything else to look forward to, you don't have any other coping mechanisms to deal with emotions and stress. That's when it becomes problematic. That's when people can feel like they are overeating. And weight gain, of course, is one side effect of that. But other issues, too digestion issues and high cholesterol, high blood sugars. So all of those can also follow suit. And then we have the judgmental eater. This is the type of eater that I find has the most experience on diets. They kind of go from a cereal dieter. They just go from one diet to the next, always looking for the next best thing. And that's not anyone's fault. They're just looking for something that they can feel is working for them. That gives them some kind of hope, that makes them feel productive again, like they're doing something about their weight. But what happens is they end up kicking up on some of these what I like to call food rules. Where this is good, this is bad, you can't eat this at this time. You can't eat fruit with anything else.

[00:22:45.760] – Lisa

It's got to be by itself. No eating after 06:00 p.m.. And I included that in the book, too. I kind of break down those food rules. The most common ones I hear. Why they are quite kind of I don't want to say, like fully irrational, but some of them are kind of irrational and they come from places that make sense, but they just get just blown up and they snowball into these actual fears that people develop too, around food and then everything else unravels after that. So the judgmental eater, they might even do some food policing, not just of themselves, like oh, don't eat that or don't eat that. Or if you eat that, there's consequences. They might even do it. Project those judgments onto others as well. So those are some pitfalls of the judgmental eater. And like I said, they're not all bad. That comes out of them. With a judgmental eater, you might be somebody that knows a little bit more. You might know all the ins and outs of healthy eating and balanced eating and what foods are going to be more health promoting and what aren't going to be as health promoting.

[00:23:46.510] – Lisa

So that can work in your favor. You just have to know how to use that, what to do with it, and have more of a flexible approach with food as well. And then the fourth and final type is the obsessive eater. And this is someone who just spends an exorbitant amount of time looking at food labels, researching diets, feeling afraid. This is when the food fears come out. The obsessive eater really is meant to be the type of eater that's most at risk for developing a full blown eating disorder. And I had a big Disclaimer, and I wanted to make that very clear. This is not a book for anyone with an eating disorder. This is not to diagnose anyone with an eating disorder, but eating disorders are very prevalent and continue to be. And a lot of people that have them tend to go for diet books. I don't want to use this word term specifically, but it's kind of like the low hanging fruit a little bit with diet books is the ones who have the most issues with food might be the ones reading. And that's why I thought it was so important that I make that very clear that this might need a higher level of care intervention, because it's kind of running that thin line between what's distorted and what's actually distorted and what's actually an eating disorder.

[00:25:07.190] – Lisa

So those are the four main types. And then in that chapter, I do specifically focus on those strategies like mindful eating, which, let's face it, nobody's going to eat mindfully all the time. It's just not happening. We can't unless you have absolutely nothing in your day other than to sit with your food and pay attention to it and check in with yourself, it's not going to happen. But we eat mindlessly when we're not paying attention, when we're distracted, and we also eat mindlessly for a distraction. Some people will eat so that they can distract themselves from something else. And so those are the two different ways that that mindful eating can exist. And it's really important to address that, at least to be a less mindless eater, not a fully 100% of the time mindful eater, but a less mindless eater.

[00:25:53.290] – Allan

Yeah. And I think you'll find when you are focused more on your food, it tastes better, you know, when you're full and you stop. So it solves a lot of problems that we would otherwise have of picking something up and eating all of it versus going through. Like I said, I saw a few things on myself. I used to like Girl Scout cookies, the Thin Mints. And I say, okay, well, what's the serving of Thin Mints? You look on the box, and I think it's like three cookies or something like that. So I take the two or three cookies, whatever it was, put the package in the freezer, go sit down, eat the three cookies, get up, walk back to the freezer, get another three cookies, and put the package in the refrigerator. And then by the third trip, I'm just standing in the freezer, right with the freezer open, eating the rest of the pack of cookies. I was judgmental, but I set a rule for myself. And then I immediately say, okay, well, I'll have another serving. And then at that point, I was like, well, screw it, Allan, you want the rest of the cookies?

[00:27:01.310] – Lisa

I hope I'm saying it right. But if you're going to eat standing up in front of the fridge, you might as well pull up a seat, something to that effect. And it's just funny because I think everybody is at some point finds themselves doing that, eating over the counter, eating from the refrigerator, or eating a small serving or what they hoped would be enough. And it's just not. And there's other reasons behind that. But sometimes it's okay to just I ate a little bit more. But that's okay. Maybe I needed it. Maybe I need to get it out of my system. Maybe I'm done with the Girl Scout cookies for now. And I can put that to bed

[00:27:36.160] – Allan

because the box is gone. So, yeah, at that point.

[00:27:39.590] – Lisa

One way or another.

[00:27:42.050] – Allan

Yeah. And they only do that once a year at that point. Okay, now you have the plan, the core three healthy eating plan. Can you just give us an overview of how the plan works and why you think it's, because I saw a lot of great things in there. I'm like, yes, okay, so I understand the structure of it, but can you go through it and then explain the structure and how it works?

[00:28:05.510] – Lisa

We talked a lot about the psychology, but I really wanted to Hone in on the physiological parts of it. Can't talk. Sorry about that. And the science behind it, because it is very much a science based approach. And again, one of the things, one of the issues I've noticed over the years, counseling clients who try different plans is it's just not personalized. And that's very important when you are finding a plan. There are no two people exactly the same, and we all are going to have at least slightly different nutritional needs. So I really wanted to respect that bio individuality. So the premise of the plan and one of the reasons that three is in the title is because I touch upon three major macronutrients. Literally anything on your plate that you are eating is going to fall under a carbohydrate, a protein and a fat. And they're essential because our body needs them for different types of functions. So I go into the importance of carbohydrates and specifically higher fiber or fiber rich carbohydrates, and explain why fiber is very important in your diet, why it's very beneficial to focus on slower digesting food in general.

[00:29:22.040] – Lisa

And I really circle in the what I think really helps people with health in general and even weight loss and even gut health and immune system is blood sugar stability. So I try to loop that in and make it very clear that the plan's premise is to eat to stabilize blood sugar. And as a result, you can feel not only more energetic, better mood, but also notice that you are potentially losing weight if you have weight to lose, which is a whole other conversation. So then I go into protein. And again, why protein is important. I find people fall into two major categories. Either they don't eat enough protein or they eat way too much protein. And so I thought it was important to touch upon that it is a little bit more of a higher protein diet. And then I go into fats and the types of fats to pay attention to, specifically the anti inflammatory fats and the fats that are not bad and not to avoid, but the ones that can potentially be more pro inflammatory. And the other part that I really wanted to emphasize and really make clear is that there is no food off limits, that the healthiest diet is an all inclusive diet.

[00:30:37.490] – Lisa

Carbs, specifically, are the most demonized. There is a war against carbs. I see that in most diets, they cut them out one way or another. They're cutting out carbs, whether they're telling you you can eat grains or you can eat so much fruit or, you know, just eat more meat and fat. And the keto diet is 5%, I believe, calories from carbohydrates. That's very, very low carbohydrate. So this is a low carb, but it's not very low. And then what happens is you are given a very clear formula that you can use to personalize it to find out how many carbs can I eat? For my specific goals, how much protein should I be focusing on? And fast. But again, even though there is a plan in there and you're given amounts and there's even tons and tons of food charts where it will list out the types of carbs, proteins and fats, what I consider to be one serving and how many servings to have in a day, I do want to emphasize the importance of flexibility. And some days you might feel a little hungrier, and some days you might be okay to eat a little less.

[00:31:49.460] – Lisa

And that's also part of listening to your body. So you are given a clear idea of how much to aim for every day, but it's also very flexible. And then, of course, it is a higher fiber diet, like I mentioned. And I do talk also about the importance of some plant based eating not only for ourselves but for the environment, because I do think that's becoming increasingly important right now is the welfare of our planet.

[00:32:15.810] – Allan

Right. Now, you also included a requirement in there. I guess I should call a requirement a recommendation. But to at least try to get 3 hours of exercise per week. And you had an acronym in there to help someone who is exercise challenged from a motivation perspective. And I love acronyms, so that's why I had to include it in this episode. And the acronym is MOVE appropriately. Can you tell us what the acronym Move means and why each of those are important?

[00:32:56.190] – Lisa

Absolutely, yes. There's a whole chapter on exercise, and I'm not that person that some people are anti exercise, believe it or not. And exercise makes you hungrier, it's not going to help you with weight loss. I believe exercise is very beneficial for a lot of reasons. Weight loss can be a bonus because we're not exercising just for weight loss. It's definitely not a punishment. In fact, the chapter is that it should be a reward and a celebration, not a punishment. So it's very important to understand that. And I think indirectly it can help with weight management, because if you're someone who is stress eating, it can help you with that. It can help you manage that stress level better. If you're someone that's not sleeping well, guess what? It can improve your sleep, and that can be helping with what you put in your body during the day. So there's a lot of indirect benefits. So I thought it was very important to touch upon that. And strength training I'm all about, I think combination of cardio, strength training and more mindful movement is really important, especially for body image. So looping back in that first part of the book.

[00:33:52.980] – Lisa

So Move is supposed to be an easy way to, like you said, get people motivated to kind of make it more simple and more approachable. The M stands for Making it More Sociable. So it's important to have we often want to do things in life and everything is more fun when we do it with people. And not to mention being with people and having more plans with people that don't revolve around drinking. And not that eating out is bad, but eating at a restaurant, it's nice to have other things you can do together. So why not kill two birds with 1 stone and make it something that's more fun for you by recruiting some friends and family and people that you enjoy? The second part is to have obtained the accountability to have somebody there. We often do things the most successfully when we stay honest with ourselves when we have somebody looking back at us and saying, have you been doing this? Where are you at with these goals? I know you really wanted to work on this, so let me remind you of that. And that can come in the form of a personal trainer and a person.

[00:34:57.060] – Lisa

But not everybody has access to personal trainers for different reasons. So it could even be like a Journal or an app or just even a friend or family member who is also wanting to feel healthier and get in shape and improve their fitness levels. So those are the first two very important parts. And then the third part is to make sure that you find something that you love. So it's really important that you aren't just doing the treadmill because you think that's how you're supposed to lose weight. People become overwhelmed. They don't want to go to the gym because they don't like the cardio machines. They don't like the weight training. They don't even like being in a gym period because there's a lot of pressure. Maybe there. So walking is an example where if you enjoy walking and you're at nature and you can listen to a podcast and you can listen to good music on your phone, you want to make sure it's something you like doing. If you do not like doing it, you probably won't keep up with it. So it doesn't have to be one specific thing. There are plenty of ways to move your body and to actually enjoy it, and then you want to ease into it.

[00:36:05.620] – Lisa

So I hear a lot from people who come to me as clients one on one and say, I just started this new workout routine and I'm going to the gym seven days a week, really, seven days a week, every single day, not even one day in between? And my response is always, that's great, I'm so happy you're doing that. But how sustainable is that? And I'm afraid I want to encourage you to keep going because you're clearly in that mindset, which is amazing, but I don't want you to burn yourself out. And that burnout is such a thing with everything we do in life, especially with taking care of ourselves and fitness. So ease into it, create some small goals. That's another reason why I said those 3 hours, because I think it's fair. I think it's achievable. I think it's something that most people aren't overwhelmed with, like 30 minutes, five days a week, or even a little less than 1 hour, three days, 1 hour, three days a week. So I just feel that when you make it very small and achievable, then we're more likely to want to do stuff. And that's again, bringing back in that like psychology, behavioral science.

[00:37:13.710] – Lisa

And so it's important that you sort of ease into it slowly. Don't jump in with both feet, because you might find that after a short period of time you're like, this is too much. I have other stuff in my life that I need to do in the gym routine. This exercise routine is not going to fit into my lifestyle. And that's a shame.

[00:37:34.410] – Allan

And the other thing about that 3 hours when we talked about it, I think what's important to know is that it doesn't have to be an hour long three times a week or 45 minutes four times a week. It could be I'm going to park further away from the office and I'm going to walk up and that's a five minute walk. Okay, you've logged five minutes. You're going to walk back to your car. That's another five minutes. You do some of that at the grocery store. You say, okay, I'm going to walk over here. And then you stop at the park and you have a nice little 15 minutes walk during your lunch hour. All those little bits, they add up. It doesn't have to be this grueling 1 hour that you're just dedicating and losing your life, feeling like you're losing your life or not being a good parent or spouse. You're just investing 3 hours per week. However, it needs to be spread out, taking a voice call, you're going to be on a conference call, just taking a walk while you're on a conference call. You might be able to get your whole 45 minutes in just during that conference call if you don't have to participate.

[00:38:35.830] – Allan

So there's lots of ways to make this happen. I love to make it social. I love the account obtain accountability, because that's really how we make things stick because sometimes we won't do it for ourselves. But if someone else is counting on us to be there at the park after work, then we're at the park after work most of the time. And the two those kind of join each other a little bit because you have a social buddy that you're meeting to go to the park and walk. You got the social aspects of it and you got someone counting on you to be there. And I agree with varying it up and finding the things that you love, because that's really to me, fitness is about being fit for task. So if you want to be a hiker and you love going out in the nature and doing hikes, well, then going out and doing hikes is maybe the workout you need. If you can't do the hikes, at least do some walks around your neighborhood because you know you're making your hikes that much more enjoyable because you've got the fitness level to do it.

[00:39:32.290] – Lisa

Exactly right. And I think the other part of it, too that I really want to emphasize because I see this being a big deterrent, is that people who and I don't know if you find this too with the people you work with, but people that do get engaged in exercise, the motivation I would say the predominant driving force is I feel like weight loss, calorie burning. And I think that's the biggest reason why people do not have a healthy relationship with exercise, which I talk about healthy relationship with food, healthy relationship with your body. And so I thought it was very important to touch upon this because it really does affect everything. And I see that being the biggest issue. And if all you're focused on is the calorie burning, then sure, five minutes isn't going to feel like a lot. It's not going to feel like it makes a dent. 20 minutes even isn't going to feel like it makes a dent, or even worse, you give up because you're not noticing the results enough with the way you look and not paying attention enough to the real benefit, which is even five minutes can boost your mood, can increase those feel good neurotransmitters that can make your afternoon so much easier at work.

[00:40:34.690] – Lisa

It can actually and this is all science based, and I do include some studies in here of why I recommend those 3 hours. It could also increase creativity. So if you're really stuck on a project and you can't get past or you can't type out that email or you can't figure out what to say or something that you're trying to create, going for a little walk around the block can really boost that. It gives you a break that can really boost that. And then guess what, not only are you doing better and performing better, but you're logging those hours of exercise too, which is going to help in so many other areas. So just know that every little bit we're not just saying that to trick you into exercising more. It really does make a big difference. Just that little bit of movement can make you feel so much better. And again, for me, one of the biggest reasons I wanted to talk about it is because I think it drastically improves the way you feel about yourself and your body image and feeling your confidence to make other changes in your life.

[00:41:27.450] – Allan

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

[00:41:40.710] – Lisa

I love that question. And I think most people would expect me to start talking about like certain foods to eat. But, you know, I do touch upon a lot of that in the book. And I think it's very important to focus on what you're eating and how you're eating and the why behind your eating, which is something we didn't talk about today. But I fully think the intentions are the most important thing. Why are you eating those foods? But I'm going to go in a little bit of a different direction with my first big tip, which is to stop trying to make everyone happy. You're never going to feel your best if you're trying to make everyone else feel their best. And I think it's important to consider respect everyone else's feelings. Obviously, we all want to be decent humans to each other and respect each other. But you also have to put yourself first. If you try to make everybody else happy, you're never going to be happy. And that's going to affect other areas of life. Like you're not making that time to get movement and you're not making that time to grocery shop and prepare meals and focus on foods and eat mindfully because you're doing so many things to make everyone else happy, that's going to take its toll.

[00:42:45.290] – Lisa

So I really think that's super important, especially myself as a mother with a business and kids. Once I go down that path, it's really, really hard. Nobody wins because you're never going to make everybody happy, unfortunately. So that's my number one. My number two is to practice self awareness. I think it's so important to be aware of what you're doing. If you have a specific goal, if you want to feel your best, you want to be your healthiest, you want to improve your cholesterol levels, your blood sugar levels, or lose weight, you have to be aware of your habits and behaviors. What are you doing every day that's getting you there? And what are you doing every day that's not getting you there? And just kind of even if you have to Journal it for a day just to write it all down. So that awareness is incredibly important, especially that emotional awareness. Check in with yourself. How are you physically feeling today? Because whatever you do from eating and exercising standpoint, if it's not addressing some other needs, you're still going to feel like something's missing there. And then my third one is that self compassion.

[00:43:49.770] – Lisa

Nobody is perfect. We're not going to do everything that we always want to do. Some days are going to be easier than others. You might have a week where you felt like this was a great week. I got in my exercise. I feel as though I was listening to my body. I was able to do some food journaling. It was just a good week. And then some weeks are going to be a mess. And as we head into, well, I know it's not going to be the holidays, but when holidays come up, when vacations come up, when family events that are not planned come up, it's going to make things harder. And if you beat yourself up, if you make yourself feel bad for feeling bad, because that's what we do so well as humans, as we make ourselves feel bad for feeling bad, you're just going to again spiral. And it's going to be hard to get out of that funk and start making those positive changes you want to make. So I'm all about the compassion, and I'm going to cheat and add one more thing in there, which is just to have that cheating on just to have that gratitude in your life.

[00:44:45.230] – Lisa

I think that it's hard to feel positive all the time, and I think too much positivity can quite honestly feel toxic sometimes. But having that gratitude, counting your blessings, being grateful for the little things in life can instantly boost the way you feel about yourself, your mental health, and your physical health as a result.

[00:45:02.430] – Allan

Great. Lisa, if someone wanted to learn more about you or the book The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:45:11.250] – Lisa

Thank you so much. It's being sold at most major retailers online. So you have Amazon, Barnes and Noble. You can go right to the Simon and Schuster website. And then you can find me at my group practice. I'm in New York City, New York nutrition group. Or you can follow me on social @LisaMNutrition.

[00:45:35.400] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/523 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Lisa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:45:45.990] – Lisa

So much fun being here. Thank you, Allan.

Post Show/Recap

[00:45:55.090] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:45:56.770] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a really neat book and a fun discussion you guys had. I'd like to start off with food freedom and what a nice concept that would be to give yourself permission to eat.

[00:46:09.850] – Allan

Yes. You know the whole point. Almost every diet, almost every single diet is some form of punishment, if you will. You can't have this food. So it's like what food can I have and what foods can I not have? A few of them will say, okay, well, you can eat everything you want, but you still have to log and do that. But that's still hard because. Okay, well, I have to keep up with all of this versus just saying I want some simple rules, but most of them are going to tell you, maybe even an entire food group or several different types of food groups you have to avoid and not do. And when you're not in total control of your schedule or where you live or where you are, that can be very hard. I'm in Panama. We have access to all the tropical fruits. All of them. I can buy fresh pineapple, papaya, mango, banana. All of that is just readily available every single day here. So if I was keto all the time and be like walking by the fruit stands every day because there's four or five of them between even here in the gym, they're all over the place.

[00:47:17.440] – Allan

So if I can't have fruit occasionally, then there's a struggle. And so the question you have to ask yourself is well, one, we got to get past the first pit, which we'll talk about in a minute. But what is food for me?

[00:47:35.050] – Rachel


[00:47:35.740] – Allan

And once you define food for yourself and so for me and what I define food predominantly is it was alive, it was running around or it's a product from something that was running around or it was growing in the ground. But at some point or another, it resembles something we know was alive. So that means I don't eat pancakes and syrup, I don't eat triskets and stuff like that. For the most part, I try to avoid things that are in a bag, box, jar or can, because most of them you can't trace back to it being alive. I can know that flour came from wheat, but it doesn't look like wheat. It's just a powder. And so from that perspective, I know it's ultra processed. I know it's just going to turn to sugar when it gets in. Things that are made out of wheat are delicious, don't get me wrong. But you have to find your line, you have to find those things that are going to work for you. And when you do, then anything that's within that realm is food. And there's a tremendous amount of freedom when you're not having to make decisions every single time you run into the grocery store and you walk in and the very first thing you see is the produce section.

[00:48:59.660] – Allan

But you're like, okay, that's going to require cutting and cooking. And I don't really want to mess with that. Yeah, there's some prewashed salads and wow, they even put the dressing right there with it. I could run back and grab some chicken, grill that up real quick and have a really great dinner. Or I walk right through that produce section, right over to the aisle that sells the Hamburger Helper and look on the box. It says, okay, for this to feed six people, I need to have 2 pounds of hamburger. They run back there, they grab 2 pounds of hamburger, they got their Hamburger Helper, they start to walk out, they get to the counter, oh, they're selling my favorite candy bar. They grab a candy bar, then they check out. Their home, yes, 30 minutes. They've got a cooked meal, the chili Mac for dinner, and the two of them eat six portions between them. And for a lot of people, that's there all the time. So they're following one of the distorted eating principles that Lisa talked about and there is that they're erratic. They don't really have a plan. They haven't really defined food.

[00:50:06.900] – Allan

And not defining food then means you have no freedom. You eat what is available, you eat what is convenient, you eat quickly. Instead of going into the grocery store, you just stop at McDonald's, you're on the phone, you're texting your significant other. Okay, I'm at McDonald's. What do you want? You know, and it's quick, it's easy, and you're already eating their fries before you get home.

[00:50:37.310] – Rachel

That doesn't do anything for you. Eating that type of food and choosing healthier options takes time. It takes planning. And like you said, you got to eat what's around you. But also you need to find out what works for you. What makes you feel good.

[00:50:54.570] – Allan

Yeah. So once we get there and we know, okay, these are the foods that serve me. These are the foods I enjoy occasionally, yeah, you can go ahead and order your dessert. And you're fine with that because you've done the groundwork to have a good relationship with food. You've done the groundwork to have a good relationship with yourself and your body. And when you do that groundwork now it's like, okay, if I occasionally want to have some cake, I can have my cake. But I know what my general rules are. Once you kind of have that mapped out, and then you start putting plans in place, strategies and tactics and say, okay, my cupboard is full of this. If I get really hungry and I want something, well, here Brazil nuts right here on my desk. So you have a freedom of saying I eat when I need to, and when I'm hungry, I eat the foods that I want to eat. So I'm not a victim of food.

[00:51:50.090] – Rachel

You know, the other thing she mentioned to that wellness is a skill and that it takes practice. And I really wanted to mention that because it does take time to figure all this stuff out. It's not like you can go and buy a book and here's the diet that I'm going to follow, because I know this is going to work for me. It's not like you can choose an exercise regimen. I know this is going to make me lose weight and be a healthier person. It takes time. We need to learn these things and implement them and try them. And there's going to be some wins and there's going to be some failures. But it's something that is a skill and it does take practice.

[00:52:25.140] – Allan

It does. Pretty much every diet works until it doesn't. Almost every exercise program is going to help you get better until it doesn't. And so there's this basic Bell curve. Whenever you get a book and they're like, okay, I want you to follow the Mediterranean diet. Here's how you do it, and here's your movement principles, and you follow that book to letter. For 80% of us, the vast majority of us, it's going to work for a period of time. There's a Bell curve there's outliers that basically aren't going to respond, but most of us are going to be able to do it. And sometimes we have issues. Something comes up. Now I'm staying over at my mother's, taking care of her. And so I don't have access to what I had before. And she doesn't like the food I Cook and I have to Cook for her. So now it's like, well, do I Cook two meals or how do I put this together? That's that figure out this thing. I said, okay, my mother is not going to eat this, and she's not going to eat that. But she wants this and she wants that so what do we do?

[00:53:25.120] – Allan

I'm like, I make a modular meal. I do some batch cooking on Sunday. So I have my proteins and my vegetables ready, and then she's going to want to starch and she's going to want a dessert. Then I have those available to her. As soon as we finish, I'm like, you're going to eat a protein and you're going to eat vegetables and you're going to have a starch. And that's what we're going to have. No, I'm not going to deep Fry and no, I'm not going to buy the TV dinners and stuff like that. Occasionally. Yeah. If you want a TV dinner, I'm in shopping on a Saturday, and I go in and say, hey, can you give me one of those Hungry Man? I'm like, sure, here you go. You can have Hungry Man first. Sunday afternoon, I'm going to be eating some of the batch cooked food that I made, and we're good popping in microwave. Four minutes later, she's got her molten lava cherry bomb cake thingy. It's fine. But just recognize that. Yeah. There's a skill involved in putting together strategies and tactics, because a lot of people will start with the strategies and tactics.

[00:54:27.240] – Allan

Like, oh, I'm going to go on the Mediterranean diet and I'm going to start walking every morning for 45 minutes, seven days a week, and that works until it's snowing on Saturday and like sleeping and probably pretty dangerous for me to be out. Are you still going to go? And if you miss one day, is that your excuse? Is that the crack in your ice that says, oh, well, there's still some snow on the ground, so I'm not going to do it on Sunday either. And now on Monday, you're off, you're not doing it. So there's a skill to it, and it's setting up reasonable expectations for yourself based on that. And the other side, we talk about food freedom or exercise freedom and all that. It's just recognizing that nothing ever goes exactly to plan. As Tyson has said, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. And so it's kind of having that expectation that things might not go the way you want them to. And you have to forgive yourself for these interruptions, for these detours, for these things happening, and do what's reasonable through self compassion and self love to get yourself back on the path, the most reasonable and expedient way possible.

[00:55:46.430] – Rachel

Yeah. She also mentioned that knowing what your relationship is with yourself and with food like we've talked about in the past, having a mindset is really the starting point. And that she even mentioned you need to respect yourself and love yourself and enjoy yourself to be successful in any of these endeavors.

[00:56:05.880] – Allan

Yes, I wish that was a book. I have a series of four books, guys. And the first book is just going to tell you how to Fallen Back in love with yourself. The second book will start talking about falling in love with food. And then we'll start talking about exercise and diet and sleep and other stuff because so many people want to skip to chapter three. What's the eating plan? What's the eating plan that's going to work for me in 21 days. And I'm like, no, spend the first month, maybe even the first year just saying, who am I and how can I fall back in love with who I am, who I was and who I will be? Because you can always look back and you can find things about yourself that you really are proud of that you did and were capable of doing. You can look at yourself today and find things that you're very proud of about who you are and who you've become. And then when you look ahead, as one of my clients said, she wants to be that little old lady that everybody is like, how does she keep going there's this way about looking at yourself with compassion and hope.

[00:57:21.770] – Allan

And many of us lose. We don't have that hope. Our hope is sort of this wish. It's not really what the word hope. It's like I wish I were thinner. I wish I could do these things. I wish my knees and ankles didn't hurt. Those are wishes. And a wish feels like you don't have control, whereas hope is inside you. It's like I have hope that I can get stronger. I have hope that I can rebuild my immune system. I have hope that I can take care of me and live a long, healthy life. So I'm hopeful that I'll be then I'm not me, but her, that little old lady that everybody's like, well, she just doesn't slow down. So the first part is falling in love with yourself. Full stop. That's the end of the book. Don't go to the second book until you finish this book. You're going to miss the plot. The big part of the plot starts in this first book of the series, and you don't go to the second book of the series and start reading it because you haven't gotten the fundamentals. And then the same thing happens with food.

[00:58:36.130] – Allan

How do you really feel about food? What are your limitations? What are your capacities? How do you really feel and think about food? And she put in some great archetypes in the book for you to really just sit there and say, you know, am I erratic? Am I really structured? Am I someone who's dependent on food? I use it as a crutch, the pint of ice cream at night to set myself up for getting past the stress of the day. Or is it worse? Is a point where I'm right on the edge of obsessive and maybe even struggling with an eating disorder. And so until you break those things down and say, okay, do I love myself? And then how do I feel about food? And what's my relationship with food and just realizing that it's nourishment, it's enjoyment, it's fuel, it's building materials and all those things. And it's information. It's information for your body. And so it's very important. Just like you need to have self compassion, you need to be compassionate with food and say, okay, what's going to nourish me, what's going to build me better? What do I enjoy but the ways I can make it?

[00:59:53.880] – Allan

Maybe you don't like Brussel sprouts. Tammy never liked Brussel sprouts until we found a way to cook Brussel sprouts that she actually liked them. It took her a while. So just recognize that you take your time and you find that relationship. And honestly, that building the skill thing you talked about. That's what this process is that so many people want to move on before they have the skills. It's like walking out on the NFL football field and thinking, okay, I got a chance of not dying out here. That linebacker is going to lay you out because you don't have the skills and not that you'll ever have the skills to be an NFL running back. But that said, if you are working on the skills to be the best you then you will be. But you've got to get the skills first. And that is that self love, self compassion, having a great relationship with food and then strategies and tactics.

[01:00:52.890] – Rachel

Absolutely. Just perfect. Be patient. You'll get there.

[01:00:57.060] – Allan

Yeah, definitely take some patience, because it's not a straight line. It's never a straight line.

[01:01:02.630] – Rachel


[01:01:03.320] – Allan

But every day you can take a breath is a day you can move in the right direction. So you woke up, you're listening to this. You want this. Take that first step. Just take a step today. Talk to yourself about love, compassion. How do you really feel? And then when you feel like you've gotten to a point where you're good with who you are and where you're going, then you start talking about your relationship with food and do those two things. Really, then the plan makes sense. Then her plan. I'll just step in here's a plan. I'm going to stick with this plan. And when that plan works and then maybe it stops working, you still fall back on that self love and self compassion and relationship with food. And then you tweak and you pivot and you find the way. So we talked in that episode about quitting. And sometimes to quit is a good thing, but sometimes it's quit and pivot and sometimes just grind it out. Just keep doing it. But until you get to a point where you're not blaming yourself, you're not gorging on foods that you know you shouldn't eat just because you want to punish yourself.

[01:02:11.590] – Allan

In a sense, until you get past that kind of behavior, then you're not going to be able to pivot effectively. You're not going to be able to deal with a Plateau. And those are going to set you back and they're going to happen. They always happen. So recognizing that you have control over who you are in the future and then starting that journey.

[01:02:31.930] – Rachel

Yeah, all great information. Sounds like a great book.

[01:02:36.400] – Allan

It is a good book. Yeah. Absolutely. But like I said, just read the first couple of chapters, get to working on that, then go back to the book and worry about the plan.

[01:02:46.710] – Rachel


[01:02:48.270] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you and everyone next week.

[01:02:52.130] – Rachel

Great. Take care.

[01:02:53.530] – Allan

You too.

[01:02:54.360] – Rachel

Thank you.


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

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

Another episode you may enjoy


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

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

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

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


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:55.750] – Allan

Ras, how are you doing?

[00:03:58.400] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:04:00.970] – Allan

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

[00:04:25.550] – Rachel

Is that right? Congratulations. How exciting.

[00:04:29.950] – Allan

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

[00:04:55.570] – Rachel

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

[00:05:01.910] – Allan

That'll change.

[00:05:04.850] – Rachel

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

[00:05:11.330] – Allan

How are you doing?

[00:05:12.680] – Rachel

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

[00:05:31.090] – Allan

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

[00:05:58.820] – Allan

Wash your hands. Avoid sick people.

[00:06:02.270] – Rachel

Yes. Do the best you can.

[00:06:04.910] – Allan

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

[00:06:10.590] – Rachel



[00:06:50.830] – Allan

Susan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:53.810] – Susan

Allan, so good to be here with you.

[00:06:56.010] – Allan

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

[00:07:34.540] – Allan

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

[00:07:45.050] – Susan

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

[00:07:49.370] – Allan

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

[00:07:55.500] – Susan

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

[00:08:43.710] – Susan

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

[00:09:17.430] – Susan

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

[00:09:33.380] – Allan

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

[00:10:04.850] – Susan

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

[00:10:36.930] – Susan

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

[00:11:10.210] – Susan

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

[00:11:34.530] – Susan

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

[00:11:51.750] – Allan

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

[00:12:03.380] – Allan

That makes sense for me because..

[00:12:05.120] – Susan

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

[00:12:16.170] – Allan


[00:12:16.420] – Susan

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

[00:12:22.660] – Allan

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

[00:12:53.150] – Allan

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

[00:12:57.230] – Susan

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

[00:13:37.900] – Susan

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

[00:14:16.660] – Susan

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

[00:14:44.400] – Susan

It's the hardest.

[00:14:45.140] – Allan

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

[00:15:09.960] – Susan

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

[00:15:43.470] – Susan

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

[00:16:30.780] – Susan

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

[00:17:06.270] – Susan

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

[00:17:46.110] – Susan

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

[00:18:25.970] – Allan

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

[00:18:57.430] – Allan

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

[00:19:30.630] – Allan

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

[00:19:50.450] – Susan

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

[00:20:33.330] – Susan

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

[00:21:18.670] – Susan

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

[00:21:50.750] – Allan

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

[00:21:59.050] – Susan

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

[00:22:36.990] – Susan

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

[00:23:28.230] – Susan

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

[00:23:46.990] – Allan

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

[00:24:18.800] – Allan

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

[00:24:37.430] – Susan

sort of archetypes. Yeah.

[00:24:41.090] – Allan

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

[00:24:53.940] – Allan

They're just doing it from their own paradigm.

[00:24:56.460] – Susan

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

[00:25:42.050] – Susan

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

[00:26:11.790] – Susan

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

[00:26:53.350] – Susan

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

[00:27:27.500] – Susan

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

[00:27:36.330] – Allan

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

[00:27:52.310] – Susan

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

[00:28:23.570] – Allan

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

[00:28:54.970] – Allan

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

[00:29:32.930] – Susan

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

[00:30:10.590] – Susan

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

[00:30:38.340] – Susan

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

[00:31:09.760] – Susan

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

[00:31:35.080] – Susan

And here's what I'm eating tomorrow.

[00:31:38.570] – Allan

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

[00:32:05.210] – Allan

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

[00:32:16.910] – Susan

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

[00:32:23.570] – Allan

healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be

[00:32:25.990] – Susan

Healthiest, fittest, happiest.

[00:32:28.170] – Allan

In my mind, you have to have all three.

[00:32:30.710] – Susan

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

[00:33:08.270] – Susan

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

[00:33:37.080] – Susan

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

[00:34:09.320] – Susan

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

[00:34:29.640] – Allan

over 40. Yes.

[00:34:31.080] – Susan

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

[00:35:10.630] – Susan

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

[00:35:48.300] – Susan

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

[00:36:02.510] – Susan

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

[00:36:26.660] – Susan

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

[00:37:05.430] – Susan

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

[00:37:43.370] – Susan

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

[00:38:23.980] – Susan

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

[00:39:02.010] – Susan

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

[00:39:09.510] – Allan

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

[00:39:20.690] – Susan

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

[00:39:54.070] – Susan

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

[00:40:15.270] – Allan

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

[00:40:26.190] – Susan

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

Post Show/Recap

[00:40:35.950] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:40:37.580] – Rachel

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

[00:40:51.850] – Allan

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

[00:41:23.050] – Rachel

No, thank you.

[00:41:28.370] – Allan

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

[00:42:10.140] – Allan

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

[00:42:54.670] – Rachel

Wow, that's interesting.

[00:42:56.580] – Allan

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

[00:43:23.980] – Rachel

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

[00:44:03.840] – Rachel

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

[00:44:40.170] – Rachel

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

[00:45:18.560] – Rachel

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

[00:45:52.990] – Allan

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

[00:46:35.010] – Allan

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

[00:47:05.760] – Allan

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

[00:47:43.690] – Allan

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

[00:48:05.630] – Rachel

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

[00:48:09.800] – Allan

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

[00:48:25.170] – Rachel

Sure, that's wonderful.

[00:48:26.380] – Allan

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

[00:48:58.470] – Allan

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

[00:49:31.030] – Allan

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

[00:50:08.980] – Allan

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

[00:50:17.230] – Rachel

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

[00:50:49.870] – Rachel

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

[00:51:19.770] – Allan

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

[00:51:51.850] – Allan

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

[00:52:27.400] – Allan

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

[00:52:46.150] – Rachel

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

[00:53:01.420] – Allan

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

[00:53:03.750] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:53:04.700] – Allan


[00:53:05.320] – Rachel

Bye now.


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