Category Archives for "weight loss"
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I entitled today’s show “Breaking a Weight Loss Plateau”, but the lessons that I’m going to teach you today can actually be used for any plateau that you’re on, whether it’s a plateau on strength, on mass-building, on losing weight, or even a plateau on improving your diet, because every one of those things ends up in a plateau. I use an acronym called POPP, and I’m going to discuss that and show you how each element of POPP will help you pop your plateau. Let’s first start out with why we end up in plateaus.
It’s one of those things where we’ll start a diet, we’ll change some things and almost immediately we’ll see some reward, some benefit from making that change. I know when I cycle back into ketosis, literally I could lose six pounds overnight. It happens time and time again. If I’m a little bloated, a little inflamed, haven’t been taking care of myself or eating as well as I need to, I start that low-carb, and the next day the weight just washes out of me. I know a lot of that’s water. I have the head to know what’s actual fat loss and what’s just water loss. So I’m not getting all crazy about it, but there is going to be a point, even when you’re doing ketosis, where you are going to plateau. I know a lot of people think, “I’m losing 15 pounds a month. I want to stay in ketosis, but if I keep losing 15 pounds a month, I’m going to dwindle down to nothing.” That’s never going to happen, because your body is really, really smart. It does this thing called “homeostasis”.
Homeostasis is basically balance. It’s a fancy word that scientists like to use and it just means they balance out. So, you’ve gotten your body used to eating a certain amount of food or a certain type of food. Your body has adapted. It’s been using body fat for a while, but then it says, “We’re in a long-term bit of famine here. We’re not getting as many calories as we’re burning. We’re getting some great fat and we’re feeling full. Things are good, the nutrition is great. I don’t need anymore, so I’m not going to be hungry just for the sake of being hungry.” And then your body says, “Let’s stop shedding this body fat, because we kind of like it. We’re going to stay here.”
That’s what I call your body’s “happy weight”. It’s not your happy weight necessarily, but your body is happy with it. So, how do we break this weight loss plateau, or any plateau? That’s where the acronym POPP comes in. So POPP stands for Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression. And I’m going to take a few minutes here to unwrap what each of those means and how you can use each of these and all of these to help you break this plateau.
The first one is patience. You knew this was coming. I’ve taught you already that homeostasis is just something that’s going to happen. It’s going to be there. So, just know that the journey to wellness is ever going. It’s your entire life. You’re always going to be in this mode. The first thing I hope that you haven’t done is that you haven’t looked at this whole process as temporary, as, “I’m going to go on a diet, and then I’m done.” Really to take care of your health for the long term, to include weight loss, which is really a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle.
That’s exactly what you want to do – you want to make it a lifestyle. Is this a way that you can live your life going forward? So, with the patience aspect of this, start exploring the things that are serving you and what are the things that maybe aren’t serving you. This is truly a good lifestyle that you want to maintain. As long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then you use patience to say, “I know this is working. I know that I’m doing the right things for my body. If my body is at its happy weight at this point, maybe for the time being I need to be happy with that and accept that this is a long-term process. And over time I’ll probably see some progress, but I’m not going to see it at the rate I was perhaps expecting to.”
So, patience comes in regardless of how you look at plateaus, regardless of what you want to do about a plateau. You just have to recognize you’re going to have one now, you’ll probably have another one later, and another one after that, and another one after that. Before you get to your happy weight, your body’s going to find several of its own set points, its own happy weight, so just recognize this is a part of the game, a part of life. Make your eating choices, your workouts and everything you’re doing – make it lifestyle, make it sustainable for the long term, and you’ll see the benefits over time.
Now, that takes us to other measures. If I am looking at taking care of my health, then I’m going to see improvements elsewhere. So, maybe my skin looks a lot better, maybe your hair looks a lot healthier. Maybe some things that were happening to you before – you maybe had some eczema or irritable bowel problems, other things going on in your life that were making you uncomfortable and unhappy – and now because you’ve made a lifestyle change, you’re starting to feel a lot better there.
Maybe your waist size is going down. If you have a waist size over 40, that’s a strong, strong, strong indicator, direct correlation that you probably are at risk of cardiovascular disease. If you continue to see your waist get smaller, you’re onto the right track. A lot of women will tell me they get into this whole thing, they want to lose weight because they know if they lose 25 pounds, they’ll be able to fit in that dress that’s two sizes smaller.
But sometimes they’re not losing the weight. How are your clothes fitting? They’re fitting better. Okay, you’re getting smaller.
So, you can fit in that dress. Maybe the weight you thought you needed to be isn’t the weight you need to be, because now you’re shedding fat and maybe putting on a little bit of muscle, or maybe now you’re fully hydrated and before you were dehydrated. So, we’re not dehydrated; we’re in a healthy state. We’re seeing a lot of other markers, other health measures, other things going great for us. Turning your focus away from the weight and focusing on these other measures – my waist size getting smaller, my skin looking good, getting good night’s sleep, and maybe I’m not having problems going to the bathroom. All of those things matter. They add to the quality of our life.
Focusing a little bit more on these other health measures that are going your way will let you know that you’re on the right track. That goes back to patience. That’s going to feed your patience, because it’s going to say, “It’s working. I can’t get tied up on what that scale is saying to me right now. If my body’s at a happy weight, but other things are going good for me, I need to take that and accept that and understand this lifestyle is working. So I need to stick with it.”
The next one is persistence, and that’s the “stick with it” part. Sometimes it’s very easy to sit there and say, “This isn’t going to work. It stopped. I’ve lost it.” And many people do. They get frustrated and they regress. So, the persistence aspect of this is to keep going. It’s to not let yourself get deflated that things aren’t going exactly the way you want them to. It’s continuing to do your batch cooking on Sundays, it’s continuing to do your 30 minute walks each morning.
Maybe it’s continuing to keep your sugars as low as you possibly can and making sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. All of these healthy lifestyle changes that you’ve made that are now habits – you just need to be persistent and keep doing them, because they are working. If you’re looking at these other measures and you’re seeing improvement from where you were – that’s work. That’s good stuff. That’s what a healthy lifestyle will do for you, so keep persistently pursuing good health, wellness. Wellness is health, fitness and happiness. So, be looking for joy, be looking for the things that are going to help you. That’s the persistence of constantly taking this and going and moving and doing. Stay persistent in the battle, because it’s working.
And then the final P is progression. We talk about progression a lot when we’re looking at training, exercise, because we say, “I’m going to add an extra five pounds to my squat” or, “I’m going to add an extra 15 minutes to my walk” or, “I’m going to try to run a little bit faster, so my progression is to try to increase my speed.” All of these different progressions basically mean you’re adding a little bit more effort. Typically in training, like I said, it works out as volume. The way we explain it as trainers is your training volume increases, either because you’re working out longer, you’re adding more training sessions, or you’re adding more weight.
Whatever’s making that resistance harder, you’re doing more of that. So, progression is the adding more, and it needs to be done gradually. If you’re doing gradual progression on all the training things you’re doing, it’s time to maybe think about a progression for your food.
And here’s how that looks. It’s an approach I take when I go off of what I call my “seasonal feasting period”. And we’re just now about to roll out of that because we’re approaching Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and Christmas end up being my feasting period. I’m in my feasting period, so what’s going to happen is I’m going to get into the new year and I’m going to say, “Not a special birthday; I don’t have to worry about it. This year coming up in February.
So now it’s time for me to go in my famine mode.” I’ll start into my famine mode with a very set approach of really, really low-carb, but the foods I like. I make sure I’m now doing my batch cooking and the different things I need to do to make sure I stay on plan. And then I start to shed the body fat. I’ll get to a point where the amount of fat I’m eating and the total calories I’m eating, I plateau. Like you, I will plateau. Now, I am much more focused on trying to add muscle and I’m much more focused on trying to lose fat. I might actually see my weight go up. So my measurement is not weight loss, but it’s the same concept – I’m trying to change my body composition.
Then I need to progress. And what that means to me is, I need to reduce my calories. What I’ll typically do is I will look to my percentages. I’m already fairly low-carb, so typically less than 20 net grams when I start. I look at my protein, and if my protein is where I need it to be and my carbs are where they need to be, then I slowly start trying to reduce the amount of fat in my daily intake. So I may cut another 100 calories off of my daily intake from where I was. Maybe I started at 2,100 calories and I’m going, going, going. I know I’m exercising, I’m going eat back some of those calories. On a given day, I might be eating 3,000 calories. If I had a really tough cardiovascular workout and burned 700-800 calories, I’ll eat those calories back. And then I’ll end up with maybe, like I said, close to 3,000 calories that day.
What’ll happen is I’ll say, “I need to tomorrow get it down to 2,900, or 100 less than what I would normally eat, plus what I would use.” That progression is just 100 calories. You shouldn’t think that 100 calories means that much, but 100 calories over the course of a year, is 10 pounds. So, it is a big number. It just doesn’t feel that big that day, because I’m not looking to say I’m cutting another 500, which I would typically then expect to see about a pound per week. My body’s going to plateau again really, really quickly. My energy levels, I’m not going to be able to do what I’m doing. For me, I just shave 100 off, and that 100 typically is enough for me to start seeing things moving a little bit more, not fast, but I see it, I feel it. It’s happening. That little bit of progression in my nutrition is typically enough to get me there.
The one thing I don’t sacrifice on or skimp on is, I still make sure I’m getting high-quality whole food, and I always try to make sure that I’m getting all of my nutrients. If I feel like my calorie load is not where it needs to be and I’m not eating as many carbs – so maybe I’m not getting as many vegetables or fruits – I may start taking a multivitamin supplement. I’ll probably start, because again, it’s typically in the early winter, late winter time period when I’m going through this plateau.
Often I’m not getting enough sun, so I’ll probably take a vitamin D supplement. I’m definitely taking some fish oil supplements and I’m calculating that as a function of my fat intake. As I look at all this, you can see I’m still making sure that I’m covered nutritionally. I’m only reducing a little bit of my fat calories and I’m trying to tell my body, “If you want that fat you enjoy, you’ve got to get it from the body. You’ve got to get it from me, because I’m not going to give it to you through my mouth.” And my body typically responds to that.
And now you wrap the whole POPP together, and it works like this: I’m patient enough to know that I can do this. I’m patient enough to know that my lifestyle is right and I just need to be there. I just need to have the patience to work with my body to get it where I want it to be – my happy place, not necessarily its happy place. I need to look at other measures to make sure that I’m on track with my health, and not just trying to chase after a single goal.
There was a time when I was training for a Spartan and I really wanted to be ready for that Spartan. So I was going to get stronger and I was working on my endurance. I had a strength coach; his name was Dave. And I was meeting Dave and my strength was just off the charts, going up. My deadlift when I started with Dave, was I think at 410. I was pulling 450-460 after about three months and I was like, “I could get to 500.” Suddenly I got this really, really focused mind on that singular thing, and I just started pushing. What happened was, my strength in my squat went down, my strength in my overhead press went down, and my strength in my bench press went down. My deadlift was going up, but some of the others were plateauing or stopping, and I just didn’t see it. Afterwards I looked at my journal and I was seeing over the course of a month 5% increase in strength in the deadlift, but I wasn’t seeing 5% in the other lifts, which told me I wasn’t balanced, I wasn’t focusing on the whole me. And I needed to be.
Unfortunately, during that period of time, that’s when I tore my shoulder – rotator cuff tore – so, some of the other exercises, like bench press, went down. I just dropped that. No overhead pressing. And I thought I’m still doing the deadlift, but after a while I realized I’m not there, I’m not going to make that 500. And I don’t need to be doing that 500, because now I need to be thinking about this Spartan race, and having a 500 pound deadlift is really not going to help me. I have a problem with my shoulder, and I need to make sure that I can get through this race without hurting myself any more than I need to. So, I got back on track. It took me a little while.
But you can’t get singularly focused on weight loss either. You need to be looking at these other health markers and making sure that they fit your life. Then there’s persistence, which means we should just stick to it. If you have good “stick to it-ivness”, you’ve made this a sustainable lifestyle, you now have the broad perspective of, you’re doing healthy things for yourself. That’s totally cool. Then you can sit down and have a basis for saying, “What’s the progression? If I really want to push myself out of this plateau, what are the things that I need to do to get out of that plateau?” So, you put all four of these together – POPP – Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression, and now you have a model. You have a structure to approach every one of your plateaus with a plan – the last P here. So, have a plan. And that plan has to include POPP – Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression.
The Wellness Roadmap is available now for pre-order. I’m offering it as a Kindle edition at a very, very steep discount price. You’re not going to get this book for this price after the pre-launch and the first few days of the launch. Once the book is live, I’m going to put the prices back up where they belong. But I’m basically giving the book to you. So if you’ll go to the Amazon page, look it up – it’s The Wellness Roadmap book, or you can look it up under my name, Allan Misner. You’ll find the book there.
The Kindle book edition is going to be as low as Amazon will let me put it, so basically as close to free as I could get it. I want it in your hands, and as soon as it goes live, you’ll be able to download it to your Kindle Reader. But I do ask one thing – once you’ve read the book, please do go give me an honest rating and review. Amazon loves those things. Amazon feeds off those things. Amazon will not show my book to anyone not looking for it, unless it sees these ratings and reviews are coming in, that people are seeing substance in the book.
All I ask is when you get the book and you’ve read it and you feel good about it, please do go out and give me an honest rating and review. It’s going to help propel the book and get it where it needs to be, which is in the hands and on the e-readers of people around the country and around the world.
Please do go to Amazon, look for the book The Wellness Roadmap, or search under my name, Allan Misner, and you’ll find the book there. Buy it at the steep, steep, steep discount. Like I said, it’s close to free as Amazon would let me put it. And then boom, there you go. Thank you for that.
In her new book, Think Yourself Thin, JJ Smith gives us tips for weight loss success. She also shows us how to eat a balanced diet, and look and feel our best.
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Allan (1:21):JJ, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
JJ Smith (1:25): Hello! It’s so great to be here today.
Allan (1:27): I want to thank you first for putting this in audiobook, because that’s actually how I ended up reading your book. I was thinking I’ve got to read these books, and I want to read it, and I wanted to make sure I got it done in time. So it was like, “Great, it’s an audiobook.” So I did want to let people know that this book is one of the few books, because there’s not many that come out and immediately have an audiobook. I wanted to thank you for that. That’s how I actually read your book.
JJ Smith (1:52): You are most welcome. It was fun reading it. It actually took a couple of days, but it was a lot of fun.
Allan (1:58): It took me almost no time to listen to because I had it on double speed. I really appreciated that you read the book and it really felt personal, effectively having a conversation with you through the audiobook. The book is called Think Yourself Thin, and I love the title, because I think a big part of what is missing on the market is how hard the mental game is when you start talking about health and wellness.
JJ Smith (2:27): Yeah. Not just hard; it’s not talked about enough. I say the mental mastery, the ability to get your mind right is the most overlooked factor in dieting and weight loss. I believe it’s the missing piece as to why people can’t actually get to their goal weight.
Allan (2:46): I completely agree. In fact, I have a book that’s coming out in about a month and a half. I spend 90% of that book talking exactly about that – how do we get our mind right, how do we set strategies that keep us on track? You’ve already done a lot of that grunt work for me here, because a lot of what I was talking about is actually now in your book. I’m really glad to see something like this out there that helps someone walk through and set up a mental framework to be successful.
JJ Smith (3:14): That’s right. So you and I are like minded. We are definitely on the same page.
Allan (3:18): We are here for sure. You use the term “SUCCESS”. I love acronyms and I love that you were able to use that acronym specifically. In SUCCESS you have seven mental strategies for weight loss. Could you take the time to share each of those and dive a little bit into what each one means and how we can use it to be successful in weight loss?
JJ Smith (3:41): Sure. What we’ve learned is that people actually like systems or regimens or things that they can actually follow. And what we did was put together the SUCCESS systems, which are the seven mental strategies that will give people new habits, new behaviors, a new mindset around how to think about weight loss. So the first one, “S”, is “slay resistance”. This is about stopping procrastination once and for all, but really giving a name to that lethargic, apathetic feeling of just not wanting to do what we know we need to do or we should be doing. The second is “use visualization”. We have to change the conversation we have with ourselves, and what visualization exercise does is allow you to engage your body and your mind, and set your intentions and say them out loud, so that everything can move in the direction of what your intentions are. The next is “C”, which is “commit”. I always say there are a lot of people interested in losing weight, but there are very few people interested or committed to losing weight. When you’re committed to doing something you make the necessary sacrifices in order to get to the goal. And a lot of people are not willing to make the sacrifices, but that’s the difference between being interested and committed. Number four – “control emotions”. I would say, don’t eat your heart out. We have to tackle emotional eating head on – the boredom, depression, loneliness, heartbreak, all those things that are causing us to use food instead of us being able to process through our emotions and feelings. Number five – “establish success habits”. This is one of my favorites, because this is so applicable in all areas, not just on your health and weight loss journey, but anything you can do to not have to rely on self-control. You want to be able to put success habits, you want to be able to put things in your environment that keep you away from temptation or allow you to have some consistency over anything you’re trying to develop as a habit. Number six is “support from others”. Studies show that those who have a support system have a lot more success than that don’t. We teach you about accountability partners, doing buddy contracts and other creative ways to have a real support system, and it’s not always your family and friends. And number seven – “supercharge your spiritual life”. A lot of us believe in a higher power, believe in God, but we have to be able to tap into our belief and our faith, and engage our spirit in our weight loss efforts. And that chapter goes into that in great deal.
Allan (6:25): What I really like about those is, every one of those is a piece of getting your mind right. And to me, even though this wouldn’t make any sense from an acronym perspective, it really does start with the commitment. When you make that commitment, it really does set the foundation for you to build all of these other things on top of.
JJ Smith (6:49): I agree. You have to be able to commit and understand what commitment looks like. In that chapter we delve into different types or ways to stay committed, different ways to put together a plan to make sure that you are executing. You have to be able to demonstrate and show commitment. It’s not just words.
Allan (7:06): Absolutely, and I think that’s where the other things come in. You have the accountability, because you’re reaching out to others. But the one I really want to dive into just a little bit deeper – again, I do think commitment is the most important to start, but for a lot of people it is that emotional control. I think for a lot of us it’s really the hardest thing to recognize when it’s happening, because it’s emotion-based.
JJ Smith (7:35): Yeah. The interesting thing about emotional eating – we delve deep into this with the 30-day mental mastery challenge. It’s a series of habits, behaviors and exercises that really gives you a foundation, so that when you run into challenges or you’re dealing with emotional eating, you now have new tools in your toolkit that you can rely on. One of the exercises in particular is called the Food Mood Diary. Why I like that one is, for the entire day, everything you eat, you write down how you felt when you ate it and how you felt after, because what you’re looking for are those emotional triggers, the things that actually cause you to eat, even if you’re not physically hungry. Physical hunger comes on every three to four hours. Emotional hunger comes on quickly, it’s urgent. You could have just eaten a half hour ago, but all of a sudden you want something to eat right now. So, you have to be able to identify your unique emotional triggers, because so much of making change is being aware. So when it happens again you’ll be like, “I’m not really hungry. I’m really bored, so let me get out of the house and go do something different.” So the exercises are intended to allow you to have new habits and new tools that you can rely on to actually make a change.
Allan (8:53): That’s what I like – beyond giving us these principles, there’s practice in this. Your 30-day plan literally goes through and explores these various things. The way I read it as I went through the plan was that these are meant to be stacked, so each day you’re learning a new tool and now that’s there, but you keep using it throughout the month.
JJ Smith (9:13): One per day. For some people, a single exercise can literally transform the way they think. As a matter of fact, there was a woman in our private VIP group. She said she only got to page 45 because she had an “A-ha” moment reading the book. Literally she had a change of thought about the way she was viewing her entire weight loss journey. She said, “After page 45, I got it. It clicked. I put the book down. I started the 10-day green smoothie cleanse and I’m back on this journey again.” So sometimes you’re actually just looking for a different way to think and see things.
Allan (9:50): I agree. As I talk to a lot of people, if they’ve committed, which I find a lot of people who were struggling really need to go back and review that – whether they truly have this innate commitment and the self-love aspect of that commitment, the same way that they would commit to, say, Jesus or how they would commit to a spouse. There’s this emotion, this deepness to it that goes beyond who you are as a human. I think once we kind of get that commitment down, the tactics that you have, like you said, those tools in your tool chest that are going help you get through these harder times are the times that you would have failed in the past.
JJ Smith (10:31): I totally agree.
Allan (10:33): Now, in the book… And I love this, because I like action. I just love action. You put in 12 principles for clean and balanced eating, and I really like that. Would you mind sharing those 12 principles?
JJ Smith (10:48): Okay. Do you want me to go through all 12?
Allan (10:50): if you don’t mind, because I think every one of them is extremely valuable.
JJ Smith (10:54): Alright. Number one is, choose nutrient-rich foods, not empty calories. Give your body nutrition, and not a lot of junk. Sometimes we can be full, but we haven’t given our body any real nutrition. The second one is, eat protein with every meal. Even if you eat carbs and fat, protein is what’s going to balance them out to minimize blood sugar spikes. And that will minimize how much fat we store in the body. Number three – always balance carbohydrates with protein. This is more about the balancing of how you eat foods. I always say if you only eat one thing, make it protein, but if you are going to eat carbs, make sure to balance it with some protein. Number four – don’t overeat carbs. Almost any weight loss or diet plan you follow, one thing is going to be common – low carbs. Minimize carbs, minimize sugar, breads and pasta. That’s never going to change. Number five – avoid excess sugar, salt and trans fats. Basically there are enough studies to show that sugar makes us fat, unhealthy and sick. Need I say more? And then too much salt has its own challenges, as well as trans fats, which are in a lot of fried foods. Principle six is, eat four to five servings of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables do the body good. A lot of times if we just make sure to get those in our diet, they can still give us healthy nutrition throughout the day. Number seven – limit your intake of red meat. A lot of people don’t like to eat red meat, but the reality is, it is the healthy protein when it is lean. And there are lots of people who enjoy red meat. What you don’t want to do is be eating red meat every single day, but just once or twice; a few times a week is perfectly fine. Number eight – eat two healthy snacks per day. This is just a method to keep the metabolism revved up throughout the day. Number nine – eat at least 30 grams of fiber. There are lots of studies that show that fiber’s good for the body and it has a lot of heart health benefits. Why I like it is, studies show that if you eat at least 30 grams of fiber per day, it will significantly reduce the amount of weight you can lose per year. I am a green smoothie drinker, so I always put a scoop of fiber in my smoothies. Principle 10 – drink plenty of water. Most places will say, drink half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds, that’s about 100 ounces. But honestly anytime you’re trying to lose weight, detox, or get healthy, proper hydration is key. It is what keeps all the systems in the body functioning well. Then number 11 – eat four to five times a day. A lot of studies say to eat more small meals, but eat more frequently throughout the day. And then principle 12 – buy organic as much as possible. Anytime you can avoid hormones, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics in foods, that’s always going to be better and healthier for your body.
Allan (14:05): Yeah. That’s why I liked all 12 of them. I think if you try to just apply one or two, you would see some benefits. Obviously, if you’re eating whole foods, you’re going to see benefits. But really, if you take all 12 of those and you wanted to roll them up, it basically says, just make sure you’re getting your fiber, keep your carbs in a moderate zone, stay off the sugar, the salt, the trans fats and fat fried foods, and drink plenty of water. So, you take those together and that gives you the rules. You can take this and walk through your house and figure out what’s in your cupboard that doesn’t belong, because it doesn’t fit these criteria. And then print this out and put it on your refrigerator, so that you’ve constantly got that front of mind. I think if you follow these 12 principles, you are going to be successful in your weight loss.
JJ Smith (14:55): Yeah. I always tell people, focus on getting healthy and the weight loss will follow. What these principles do is they allow the body to get healthy, and you’ll find that weight loss will be less of a struggle for you based on how you live.
Allan (15:07): I’m going to flip things around a little bit. Normally I would ask the question and then I would say a couple of other things, but I’m going to let you. When we get done, I want you to close out with your 10 commandments of looking young and feeling great. But I want to flip it around a little bit and have one little side conversation that I would have used to close out. Obviously the book is Think Yourself Thin, and you’ve done this green smoothie cleanse thing and a lot of people have seen success. And it’s in your book. You have all of these success stories. They’re wonderful stories. Every one of them by itself should motivate you. If you just went back and read one of them a day, I think it would be one of those things to keep you fired up as you start your day. I wanted to thank you for sharing those stories and thank the ladies that let you, because those were just awesome.
JJ Smith (15:58): Yeah. They are great stories. People on the weight loss journey sometimes need inspiration. And you read someone’s story and you’ll say, “That is me. I’m experiencing the same thing.” And then we also wanted you to know you don’t have to get to your goal weight to have some success. A lot of women there had success, they’ve lost a lot of weight. They’re still on their journey, but their progress deserves to be celebrated as well.
Allan (16:23): Yes, absolutely. They’re all celebrations and they’re all wonderful. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book and your programs and what’s going on, where would you like for me to send them?
JJ Smith (16:37): They can go to JJSmithOnline.com, and they’ll be able to get more information about this book and some of the other products and books that I offer.
Allan (16:45): Great. I want to thank you for being on the podcast, but before you leave, because this is one of the things you said when you do your talks – you like to close out with your 10 commandments of looking young and feeling great. Would you mind sharing those with us?
JJ Smith (16:58): Absolutely. So, whenever I do a keynote or write a book, I always share the 10 commandments for looking and feeling great. The first one is, “Thou shalt love thyself.” Self-love is essential to survival. There are no successful, authentic relationships with others without self-love. Number two: “Thou shalt take responsibility for thy own health and wellbeing.” If you want to be healthy, take the time to learn what is involved and apply it to your own life. Number three: “Thou shalt sleep.” Sleep is the body’s way of recharging the system. I always say it is the easiest, yet most underrated activity for healing the body. Number four: “Thou shalt detoxify and cleanse the body.” Detoxifying the body gets rid of poisons and toxins that have built up over the years, and it can really speed up weight loss and restore great health. Number five: “Thou shalt remember that a healthy body is a sexy body.” Where do women’s bodies look beautiful? It’s about being healthy, having style, being confident and comfortable in your own skin. Number six: “Thou shalt eat healthy, natural, whole foods.” Healthy eating can really turn back the hands of time and put your body in a more youthful state. What’s the fastest way to slow the aging process? Watch what you put into your mouth. Number seven: “Thou shalt embrace healthy aging.” I always say I don’t mind aging, as long as I look and feel great. The goal is not to stop the aging process, but to embrace it. Number eight: “Thou shalt commit to a lifestyle change.” No more bad diets. Commit to making changes in your mindset and your lifestyle for life, and you will have more success with your health and weight loss journey. Number nine: “Thou shalt embrace the journey.” This journey will change your life. It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle, so be supportive, applaud yourself for every small accomplishment. You might slip up, but you do not have to be perfect to get great results. And number 10: “Thou shalt live, love and laugh.” Laughter is good for the soul. Live your life with passion. Never give up on your dreams. And most importantly – love, because love never fails.
Allan (19:22): I adore every one of those. Thank you for sharing that. I really do; I love that. And again, I can’t thank you enough for sharing that. Thank you, JJ, for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. This has been an awesome conversation.
JJ Smith (19:34): My pleasure.
Allan (19:36): The book is Think Yourself Thin. I encourage you to get this, because this is going to help you get your mind right and get yourself on track. And like you said, it might be something as simple as reading a certain passage in this book that just flips the switch and you’re there. And beyond that, you have the actionable 30-day plan that walks them through getting these things incorporated in their life, so they will be successful in weight loss.
JJ Smith (20:01): Absolutely. Thanks for having me today. It was absolutely fun.
Allan (20:05): Thank you.
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Our guest today has authored many books, including the one we’re going to talk about today, Ketogenic Catastrophe. He found a passion helping others after he cured his own IBS, gum disease and insomnia using the Paleo Diet and ketogenic eating. Really cool guy; I know you’re going to enjoy this interview.
Allan (1:08): Eric, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Eric (1:12): Thanks for having me on. Great to be here.
Allan (1:14): The title, Ketogenic Catastrophe, I really could take that one of two different ways. One is disaster pants kind of style. What you were going after was, what are some of the mistakes that we make when we’re trying to get into ketosis and why do most people fail doing this? Then the other would be, are people having bad experiences with keto? The truth of the matter is keto is not for everybody, but it is a tremendous tool for weight loss, and what I’ve found, for dietary freedom.
I got into ketosis on accident. For those that aren’t fully familiar with what ketosis is, it’s basically where your body starts learning how to burn fat rather than sugar for energy. And because you’re eating predominantly a higher fat diet and not many carbs, your body just gets more comfortable with that and using ketones as a fueling system. I stumbled on it because I was doing Paleo. My version of Paleo was eating more of the healthy fats, so I was eating a lot of avocado, fish and beef. As a result of filling up on the fat, wasn’t eating a lot of anything else. Most of the vegetables I was eating were wholefood, fibrous vegetables like asparagus, broccoli and spinach. So I wasn’t getting a lot of carbs. And then I noticed that my breath was a little sour, more so than not. And I noticed that my body was burning a lot of body fat all of a sudden. I had plateaued – in Paleo dropped about 15 pounds, and then keto took off about, I’d say 45 pounds in just a few weeks. So I fell into it. I figured out what it was. I’m like, “What’s going on with my body? Why am I suddenly losing all of this fat and why am I smelling this way?” Then I got into it and I was like, “Okay, that’s what that is and that’s why that’s happening.”
It’s become more of a seasonal lifestyle for me now, because I’ve lost most of the weight that I wanted to ever lose. I got my body where I wanted to for what I wanted, and then I’m good. But in the book you’re actually talking about the mistakes that keep people from doing this, and I think that’s really important. I was reading a study, and it was a Harvard doctor that had done this study, and they found that the high fat, low carb diet helped people lose more weight than the people who ate the low fat, high carb diet. But in the end his conclusion was, it’s so hard to eat this high fat diet that we’re just going to keep prescribing the low fat diet. My hands hit my head and I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” But it’s not simple; there are some mistakes people make. And that’s what your book is getting into is, what are those mistakes that most people make that would keep them from being successful with this? And what are the tips and tricks and things that we can do to get past them?
Eric (4:12): Yeah, that’s basically what I’ve covered. I had a lot of stumbling when I first started with this whole keto diet thing. This was basically my attempt to share with whoever wants to read it, all of the mistakes that I went through. I think it was Warren Buffett who said, “You can learn from your own mistakes, but you don’t have to. You can learn from other people’s mistakes.” So, my goal with this whole thing was to just share everything that I personally went through in hopes that it will help others become more enlightened about the whole keto thing and just get through it, because it can be difficult. Like you said, it’s not the easiest thing to start. But what people should definitely take from this whole thing is that after you do it for a while, after you get comfortable with it, it becomes much easier too. You can do it seasonally, like you do as well, where you don’t have to do it all the time. So this was my attempt to really help people feel better in the long run.
Allan (5:14): I think that’s the thing. I don’t have any kind of resistance, insulin resistance, any metabolic problems. So for me, keto is just a way to have clarity, to feel better, to have freedom from food, because I can go a day without eating and I don’t panic because my blood sugar’s going to crash or something. So, keto is very comfortable for me, but I don’t do it all year round because there are periods of time when I want to drink beer and go tailgating and enjoy my life and the things that I’m going to do. I’m going to go to Thanksgiving with my mother, I’m going to go do New Year’s Eve with my wife. So, since I know I’m going to have that period of time, I just plan around it and say, “That’s my time to go off keto. I’m not going to feel as good. I’m going to have as much fun as I can and I’m going to make good selections.” So, I do drink the higher quality beers. But beyond all that, when it’s time to go back into my season of famine, so to speak, I get into it. I think a lot folks think it’s a lifestyle, yes. Once you get into it, then you have to stay in it, and that’s not entirely true for everybody. That’s why I think this book is particularly poignant because if you go in and out of ketosis on a regular basis, you’re going to deal with these things. The first one is what you call the “biggest mistake”, and I agree with you. Do you mind talking about what you think the biggest mistake is that most people will make when they’re trying to get into ketosis?
Eric (6:38): Sure. The biggest mistake by far – it’s very simple – it’s just giving up. If you can imagine training for a marathon, let’s say. You do all this prep work, and you get up to the race day, you’re feeling great. You start the marathon, you get through the first mile, 7th mile, 12th mile. You’re getting through it and all of a sudden you get to mile 25, right before the finish line, and you just give up. That’s what a lot of people do, is they get so close to the finish line, building this metabolic flexibility, this ability to burn fat instead of sugar, and right before they get there they just say, “You know what? I’m done.” To put it back to the marathon runner – it’s not like the marathon runner couldn’t finish. No, he just decided, “Well, I’m just not going to finish the race today.” So many people run into that because it’s difficult to get going in the beginning. It’s difficult because your body needs to produce the enzymes and all the wiring that’s required to burn fat for fuel. There’s an adjustment period, but once you get good at it, it becomes much, much easier, and over the long run obviously works out a lot better.
The biggest mistake that people make is they just can’t sack up and get through the first little part. And to give most people more credit here – a lot of keto diet books and a lot of keto diet advice is not the greatest advice out there. They tell people, “Cut your carbs down to 20 grams of carbs, even if you’re eating buckets of sugar each day, and then just do keto.” And you’re going to run into huge problems if you just make an abrupt switch like that. So, to give credit to everybody that’s tried and failed before – maybe you got some bad advice too. But absolutely the biggest mistake is just not pushing through and getting to the other side, because once you get to the other side, then it becomes much easier, even if you have those cheat days, like you say, go have a couple of beers. Once you get back on the train, it’s not nearly as hard to get going again, if that makes sense.
Allan (8:53): It does. I think the difference and the way I look at it is, when you’re talking about the marathon – the runner knows that there’s only 1.2 miles left to go in this race. They’re at mile 25 and there’s only a 1.2 to complete the race. Unfortunately with ketosis you don’t have that mile marker to tell you that it’s that close. I think that’s where that “quit” comes in. I remember I was in the army and I was going through air assault school. And at the end of air assault school you do this 25-mile run. And you’re carrying your M16 and you’re in boots and you do this 25-mile run. Each of the units has people in there, so my unit was there and they were cheering us all on. I was a front runner. I knew there was one guy in front of me, I just didn’t know how far he was in front of me. So I asked one of the guys, “How far is he ahead of me? Just tell me.” And they said, “Oh, he’s too far. You’re never going to catch him.” And I come around the corner and realize that I’ve got maybe half a mile to go and he’s only a hundred yards ahead of me. But by that time I had shut my mind down to the possibility that I could do this, and therefore I ended up coming in second.
I only say that because it’s probably closer than you think it is. Once you get into this and you’re starting to really have that struggle, look for the things that are going to motivate you to keep going. You talk in the book about measurement, and I do think that’s important. The urine strips are really good when you first get started, because they’re going to allow you to see the ketones are starting to build up in there. And they’re color coded so you can see it happening. Since your body doesn’t know how to use the ketones effectively, you’re peeing them out. Eventually the urine sticks won’t be any good for you because your body’s using those ketones and now you’re going to have to be looking to your blood and your breath to understand if you’re in ketosis. But for the most part you are, and you can feel it and you know it. I agree with you – as people are going, just push to the next step. Just take that next step. Keep at it just a little bit longer and you’ll get there. It’s a dip, and once you get past that dip, you’re going to enjoy what you’ve done.
Eric (11:04): Sure. And you can always test and tweak things all along the way too. You don’t have to stick yourself into a rigid structure. Now, if something’s not working for you, you can always pivot and try something new – maybe increase your exercise a little or decrease your exercise a little if you’re working too hard. You can always play with the different approaches and find out what works for you. But keep pushing forward, absolutely.
Allan (11:31): I think that’s another important thing. You’ve got this as mistake number 8 in the book, and it’s bio individuality. You talked about how the basic advice is 20 grams of carbs, and then they kind of stop there. I know from experience working with clients that if you get down to 20 and you stay at 20, you will get into ketosis, but there are some people that can go as high as maybe even 100 grams of carbs, because they’re athletic and they’re doing things. And there are other people that can get to 50. You’re going to have a carb threshold in there and it’s going to be individual to you. You’re going to have nutritional needs that are based on your environment and everything else. Can you talk a little bit about bio individuality and how you’ve seen it work for or against people who are trying to get into ketosis?
Eric (12:23): Sure. That phrase actually was originally coined by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. They’re the folks that came up with that. Basically at a high level, it just means we’re all different. Some people can eat a vegan diet, and they feel great and it seems to work really well for them. Some people, like myself, feel awful. I’ve tried to do the vegan thing and it doesn’t work for me at all. I had no energy. It just was not something that really worked for me. And we’ve always got to think about where we came from. What has our family’s bloodline been eating for the past 10 generations? That’s going to play a role in how we metabolize things, what we’re used to eating, what our genetics are used to. So, everybody is so different, and this is especially true for the carbohydrate threshold. I’ve talked to people who could not get into ketosis until they got down to that 20 grams of carbohydrate. Now me personally, I was more along the lines of, I could get back into ketosis after eating 80 to 100 grams of carbs for dinner one night, and then the next day around lunchtime be back into a ketogenic state. All the books that I was reading about this, they said, “That’s impossible. It’s going to take you days. You have to do this, you have to do that.” And really, it’s just about finding where you fit, where you feel best and what works for you. And the mistake that people make is having this mindset that everybody’s the same. It’s like this cookie cutter thing, and it’s definitely not true.
Actually there’s a great story. One of my roommates from many years ago, he and I lived together, and this is right around the time when I was trying to clean up my diet and try to lose the weight that I had been gaining. And living with him, I watched him every day just eat fast food. And it was constant drinking sodas, drinking beers all the time and doing whatever he wanted, and he stayed lean. I had no idea. Here I was, even trying to eat healthier at the time, but I was still gaining and gaining and gaining, and I just watched him not gaining a pound. It was very frustrating and really killed a lot of my motivation because it’s like, “Why me? Why can’t I be like him?” At the end of the day, bio individuality means that none of us are going to be the same. Individual results may vary. That phrase is so perfect for many different things in life, but especially people who are trying the ketogenetic diet. You’ve got to really look at yourself and what you’re going through, because everybody’s going to be different. Somebody might lose 30 pounds in a month doing the keto diet and you may sit there and lose a pound and a half. But it could be just because your body is working on fixing other things first, or whatever reason genetically that you’re going to be slower to lose the weight. We have a lot of similarities, but at the base level we have a lot of differences as well.
Allan (15:48): Part of it is genetics, part of it is your hormone mix. I know a lot of people are coming at this metabolically damaged. I was reading another book that actually said the Baby Boomers, which I’m just short of – I’m an X Gen – but 50% of Baby Boomers have some form of metabolic syndrome. I’m just trying to wrap my mind around that.
Eric (16:12): That’s a big number.
Allan (16:13): It’s a huge number. So, we’re approaching this because we want to get healthy. Like you said, your roommate may have had no problem whatsoever. You might run into him today and it may have caught up with him.
Eric (16:29): It did.
Allan (16:32): Okay. It’s not a happy story, but it’s a story. I think the core of this is, there’s that individual that smoked cigarettes from the time they were 14 years old and they’re 104 and they still smoke. And then there’s the individual who got lung cancer in their 40s after smoking only 20 years. So we’re all going to have our own individual path. I think the good thing about knowing that is if you can stop comparing yourself to others and just recognize that what you’re doing is positive for yourself, you’re going to have a lot better mindset going into this whole thing.
Eric (17:08): Yeah, you nailed it right there. The comparison to others is a very difficult thing. It’s something I struggled with tremendously when I first started out on this journey. You definitely want to be sure to remember that what you’re doing is for yourself, and you’re going to be different than everybody else. There are probably people that are going to react the same, but just keep in mind what you’re doing it for.
Allan (17:36): Another big area where mindset comes to play is what you call mistake number 5, “The Social Trap”. I know when I first started this and realized I was eating this way and wanted to keep eating this way, my wife thought I was out of my mind. She was like, “There’s no way.” She’d seen me try other things, and when she saw me try this she said, “I understood the Paleo thing. I do not understand this. I can’t do that.” But she has since turned around. I took her to Ketofest and she met some people and she listened to a few talks. She now knows about keto and for the most part will eat keto most of the time. But that’s not always the case; some people are going to look at you like you’re insane. How do I deal with that going into this? Like you said in the book, I go to order my burger and I say, “Just wrap mine in lettuce. I don’t want the bread.” And you see that look in their eyes.
Eric (18:37): The looks come to you. It can depend on the group of people you’re with as well. Me personally, I had some ruthless friends. We would kind of joke with each other and make fun of each other, but then it can be difficult when you continue to do this thing, you pass up on the beer. I remember sitting at a table at a restaurant and doing the lettuce-wrapped burger and just getting that, “What are you doing? Why are you doing that?” What that elicits in a lot of people, and I know this because it happened to me, is almost a fear to do it. The next time you hang out with everybody, you want to just be like everybody else. You don’t want to be out of the crowd. As humans, we want to be a part of the group. It feels safe. We want to be like everybody else.
So, to have that situation where you’re walking into a wedding or something or you’re going out with your friends and maybe you go to an Italian restaurant and the bread bowl comes around somewhere, and you’re put in that precarious situation where you have to make your decision now. The bread’s coming to you, and you have to make the choice and the people are looking at you. The mistake that people make is falling victim to that social pressure, because it’s, again, going back to being worried about what other people are thinking of you. It’s a very real mistake that most books that are written about the keto diet just kind of glaze over. But it’s such an important piece of this, because we are social creatures, we thrive on being social. I personally love being social. But it was a difficult transition to get over that fear of what other people are thinking of you. It can be one of the most difficult things. It can be actually the one thing that will stop you.
Maybe you have a group of friends, there’s like six of you and everybody’s overweight, let’s just say. All of a sudden you guys are going out to dinner and you start passing on the bread bowl. People are going to look at you funny and they might not even want you to do that, because it’s like, “Hey, where do you think you’re going? We’re all in this together”, that kind of thing. The social aspect of it is such a huge piece. I recommend that people, before they go somewhere like dinner or a party, and you know the temptation is going to be there but you’re not ready to start doing the cheat days yet – visualize it. Walk yourself through the scenario. Imagine yourself passing as the bread bowl comes to you. And then you’re going to have a lot higher chance of success, because you’ve already got the mental rep. You’ve already done it once in your head: “No, thank you”, so it’s going to be easier when game time comes around. The social aspect of it is such a huge piece, especially if you’re an extrovert, you like to go out, you have a lot of friends. People can be judgy. It’s very powerful to know going into this why you’re doing it, the reasons you’re doing it for yourself, and to understand that it’s okay for other people to have opinions. It’s okay for other people to think what you’re doing is crazy. Some people even say it’s dangerous, if you can believe that. So just remember why you’re doing it, and when the time comes and you have that social pressure, to be prepared for it is going to make you more successful.
Allan (22:18): You just hit on something I want to emphasize here – this is your “why”, this is why you’re doing this, and you need to keep that top of mind as you go into this. Yes, the bread bowl comes around and you just pass the bread without taking a piece and someone comments on it. Fairly simple – you can say, “I just got my A1C in and it’s high. I’m prediabetic, and I need to change how I eat.” And when they recognize this is not about you being thinner and more attractive than them, this is actually something you’re doing for your health, it does change the conversation. You can tell them, “I can’t have the simple carbs anymore. I can’t have the beer anymore, because my A1C is too high and I need to get it down. I don’t want to use medication to do that.”
Eric (23:07): Just to touch on one thing that came to my mind – a lot of people, once they’ve done keto and lost weight, want to continue to do it. You can still run into situations where you’re not prediabetic, you don’t need to lose any weight. It becomes easier to say, “I just feel better. I feel better not doing this. I feel better passing on the bread bowl.” Down the road when you don’t have those things to lean on, like, “I need to weight” or “I’m not feeling well. I’m sick for some reason”… There are other aspects of the social trap that can come up, but like you said, keep in the front of your mind why you’re doing it.
Allan (23:56): I call that the “crabs in the bucket”. If you’ve ever seen crabs, none of the crabs can get out of the bucket because the other crabs are pulling the crab down to get on top of it. So the crabs can’t get out of the bucket. Just realize that’s what’s going on. If people keep harassing you about what your choices are, you know what’s working for you. You know why you’re doing this. At that point just stop participating in the food conversation with them, because they’re not looking out for your best interests. I know that’s easier to say than to do, but you have to have this mindset, as I said, going into this to say, “This is what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.”
Now, the other thing that I wanted to get into – you mentioned this earlier and this was one you called mistake number 17. So much advice out there tells people, particularly during the adaptation period, to not exercise. And I don’t entirely agree with this. We talk about bio individuality. I think some people can continue to do their workouts. I know I did and didn’t have a problem in the world. Maybe I’m unique, and that’s great. But I believe people can still get the benefits of exercise during that period of time. They don’t have to forgo it. Your thoughts?
Eric (25:08): I think it probably goes back to that bio individuality thing. I was reading Mark Sisson’s book, The Keto Reset Diet, and I was listening to one of his podcasts. He was talking about how he recommends people not exercise during the adaptation period, because for some it can be difficult. If you’ve been consuming a lot of sugar and you’re metabolically damaged, the process of adaptation can be difficult. He recommends that you just rest through it, which there’s validity there. I think everybody needs to take a look and see how they’re feeling. I personally think it’s a huge mistake to not exercise while you’re doing the keto thing, because having personally gone through it, exercise is so much more enjoyable when you’re doing keto. I have more strength and more energy than I know what to do with when I’m in that keto state. That being said, if you’re just looking at this for, “I just need to lose some weight”, you don’t have to exercise. But I think it’s a huge mistake to not add on this component of it to get your blood flowing. Even if it’s the most basic exercise, like power walking or going up and down some stairs, doing some body weight stuff, push-ups, sit-ups, cleaning your house vigorously. We think of exercise as it has to be in a gym, but there are so many different ways to get your heart pumping, get your body moving. It’s just going to only compound the results that you get.
So, you can do the keto thing and not exercise, but again, I think it’s a big mistake to not do that. And when you realize it too, when you actually get into that keto state – you’re burning ketones for energy – you’ll have this incredible outpouring of motivation too. You will want to go exercise, and you’ll have more energy. I know it sounds funny. People think that if they exercise, they’re going to be tired and have less energy, and it’s actually the opposite. You exercise and you will have more energy – kind of that, “You don’t use it, you lose it” thing. Along with that I’ve noticed that the more you exercise, the greater the mental clarity that you’ll get as well. I’m not sure exactly the mechanics behind why, but I’ve noticed that I’ve become much more mentally clear. It’s almost like you’ve been wearing a pair of prescription glasses your whole life that weren’t even supposed to be yours, like they were the wrong prescription. You suddenly take them off and the world just looks clear. Or you get in your car in the morning and the window’s fogged up, and you turn the defroster on. That’s what happens as you keep going through this. And exercise I think is just a tool to accelerate these benefits and really compound them for everybody.
Allan (28:20): I agree with you. I don’t think there’s a reason to forgo exercise, unless you’re metabolically damaged and you know that this could be a problem for you. Then take it easy and don’t stress yourself. But the reality of life is our muscles and our liver hold roughly about 90 minutes to two hours of moderate intensity work. So when folks are running marathons, they bonk it at mile 18 because that’s about the time that the glycogen that’s in their muscles and their liver starts to run out. You have that in your muscles and your liver all the time. That glycogen’s there all the time to fire off for energy. So, doing moderate intensity work, lifting weights, doing bodyweight work, walking, maybe even some jogging – that’s going to use that glycogen. Now, you are still taking in some carbs. We’re not complete carnivores, zero carb here. You are taking in some carbs and your body has the capacity to take some of the protein you eat and some of the fat and actually turn it into glycogen that you can then use to restore what you need for your muscles and your liver. Your body’s going to still do that. I just think what you force your body to do if you do keep your activity at a good steady pace is you actually force the adaptation a little bit faster. That’s my opinion. Again, I don’t have any scientific proof that that’s the case, but I do know when I have clients cut their sugar back and I have them walk in a fasted state, they lose weight faster. That’s happening in their bodies because it’s forcing them to use more of the glucose that they are eating. It’s forcing them to use the glycogen in their muscles, they’ve got to restore that, so that process just starts working for them.
On the mental clarity note, I don’t know if you’ve read the book Spark, but this was an excellent book that talked about exercise and cognitive health. They found that just having the kids do a PE class in the morning before school helps their grades immensely. Their test scores went up, they had more clarity in class, they were more focused in class. So, there is an exercise–neurological connection that you’re going to get clarity from exercising and yes, you’re going to get mental clarity from powering your brain on ketones. So I think there can be a multiplicative effect there if you’re doing both.
Eric (30:47): Yeah, absolutely. That makes perfect sense. That’s very interesting to hear about the kids. I’m just seeing my path and how my mental state has changed over the years now. I think that would be brilliant to make sure that kids did PE before school and didn’t get rice crispy cereal before school.
Allan (31:14): That’d be a lot better.
Eric (31:17): I look back on my upbringing. That’s what I had.
Allan (31:21): It was the standard American diet, what our government was telling us to eat. That goes to this whole thing, that ketogenic diet is not new. It’s been around for a long time, but it’s just starting to get to a point where people are recognizing they can get great health benefits from it, they can get weight loss from it. And the people that are on it become evangelists for it. It’s a growing trend as a way of eating. It’s not that it’s better than being a vegan or a vegetarian or anything else; it’s just a way of eating. It can benefit you, but it’s not for everybody, as I said earlier. I think if you’re wanting to lose some weight or you’re concerned about your metabolic numbers – your A1C is high, you’re prediabetic – there have been some great results using this. And again, most people that get onto it just feel great.
Eric (32:14): Absolutely.
Allan (32:16): The book is called Ketogenic Catastrophe. Eric, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, learn what you’re doing, because you and your wife are doing a lot of great stuff over there – where would you like for me to send them?
Eric (32:29): My wife and I run a blog called AncestralJunkie.com, and that’s where we’ll be posting some articles. We’ve been a bit inactive lately. We have our son now and things have been a bit hectic, but we’re back on AncestralJunkie.com. And then you can find my other books – I’ve written a few others – on Amazon. If you search for Ketogenic Catastrophe, my name will pop up and there’s a couple of other things. If you go to the blog, you can get a free meal plan, a free grocery guide and some other goodies for just visiting. And we have a nice little newsletter that goes out. Today’s Friday, so Friday we send out a weekly newsletter where we’ll give you our top five articles and neat products that helped us or quotes that were motivating us, that kind of stuff. So you can get us at AncestralJunkie.com or on Amazon, is where my other books are located.
Allan (33:27): Okay. This is going to be episode 337, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/337 and I’ll be sure to have links to all of those available there. So again, Eric, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Eric (33:43): Thank you, Allan. I really appreciate you having me on, and thank you so much for what you’re doing for the health community and just the world at large here. You’re really making a difference, so thank you for that.
Allan (33:52) Thank you.
Thank you for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. I’m really glad you’re here. I hope you enjoyed the conversation we had with Eric. Anyone that’s trying to use the ketogenic lifestyle as a way of eating often finds that they make mistakes, and Eric’s put together a really good book to talk you through how to manage those mistakes. So do check that out – Ketogenic Catastrophe. I have a link to that in the show notes, if you’re interested. And if you enjoyed today’s show, I really would appreciate if you would go to the “Review” section on your app, or go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review, which will take you to the iTunes page. Leave a review for the podcast. I really read each and every one of these reviews. The ratings and reviews help us get noticed out there. So really, really important – please do take the time to give us a review; takes you a few minutes, and it can mean the world to someone finding the podcast and finding health. So, 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Review. Thank you for that.
A little bit on a personal note, I’ve kind of indicated over the course of the last few episodes that my wife and I are traveling around looking for potential retirement / downscaled life. It looks like we’re going to settle on Panama. That’s not set in stone at this point and it might not be a permanent move, but we are looking to potentially within the next six months sell our house and move out of the country, which will be a very different lifestyle. It’s a change that I’m doing because it will reduce risk from stress and will keep me kind of a in a lower keel, slow things down. I’m really looking forward to something like that. In looking at my health and fitness, that’s the one area where I can get the most bang for the buck. That’s my big rock. If you get into The Wellness Roadmap book once I get that issued, you’re going to learn a lot about how to identify those big rocks. For me, stress is the next big rock that I need to deal with.
I wanted to mention that I am setting up a mini Ketofest. I know I talked about going to Ketofest in July and doing a talk there. I’m going to do that talk again here at my home in Pensacola Beach, and that’s going to be on October 5th. Right now we’re looking at probably having it between 4:00 and 8:00 PM on October 5th. There will be food provided, there’s a small charge to cover off some of the costs of that food. Carl Franklin from 2 Keto Dudes is coming down here and he’ll also be giving a talk, and you’ll be able to meet him here at the mini Ketofest in Pensacola Beach. So do check that out – you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest. There you’ll find a link to the Eventbrite page. We can only handle a certain number of people. I do have a nice size house, but we still are going to have to limit the number of people that come so everybody can enjoy the food and the talks. So, you do want to go ahead and make sure you get yourself on that list. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Ketofest.
Now on the book, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it, but it’s gone very, very well so far. I’m getting some blurbs back from folks which basically are just reviews. They’ve seen the book and they felt compelled to help me market the book by writing some really cool, really nice things. And I’m humbled by that. It’s really coming together. The next week I should get the proofs back from the editor and at that point I’ll be able to sit down and batten down and spend some quality time on the book to get that final finish in there. But we’re getting really close to having everything locked down and ready to go, so I’m pretty excited about that. If you want to be a little bit more in the know, get a little bit more detail on how the book is going, you can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. You can join the list and become a part of our launch team. That launch team is my go-to group, they’re the folks that I’m going to share the most information about the book. I’ll tell you a little bit about it on the podcast, occasionally I’ll mention it in the groups, but really if you want to be in the know about the book, when it’s coming live, discounts, bonuses, all kinds of stuff that I’m going to be putting out there – you need to join the launch team. So go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join the launch team today. Thank you.
One of the biggest struggles people have with sticking with an eating plan is the effort it takes to cook meals. In her book, Easy Keto Dinners, Carolyn Ketchum gives us some great tips and recipes to make eating ketogenic much easier.
Allan (03:42): Caroline, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Carolyn (03:45): Thank you. Allan. How are you?
Allan (03:46): I'm doing very, very well. Your book is Easy Keto Dinners. This is going to be really cool because it's hard to be prepared. It's hard to always be cooking and even though we can do certain things like batch cooking, or just keep things very simple, like a steak and Broccoli. Some nights it is a struggle. You've put together a cookbook that makes some of our favorite meals available to us in a fairly easy way. Can you explain the concept of easy for us a little bit?
Carolyn (04:29): Yeah. It's interesting. A lot of people ask, does this mean everything's under 30 minutes and I can make it quickly? Well, yes and no. There are plenty of easy fast recipes in the book and then there are plenty of easy, slow recipes in the book because sometimes if you have a 30 minute meal, that means that you're staying ending. They're chopping and cooking and sorting and doing everything, you know, standing there for 30 minutes actually working. And then there's recipes where it takes you 10 minutes of prep time and you throw everything in a pot or a slow cooker and you walk away and you know, a couple, three or four hours or up to eight hours and then it's done, but you're not actually cooking the whole time. So my concept of easy is just, it's really the minimal prep time and the minimal work and the minimal sort of having to create everything yourself.
Allan (05:17): Yeah. Some of the recipes are so simple and they are very quick. Some of these you'll have done in almost no time. Others, you are going to spend a little time on the prep and then you're setting it free and you can go about your life. You're not right there. It's a good mix of both. Do you mind if we take a step back a little bit and talk about why you're writing keto cookbooks?
Carolyn (05:51): Well, yes. I have not ever had weight to lose. That's lucky me. A lot of people come to keto for weight loss. But I had gestational diabetes at ease with my third child and after she was born it seemed to go away. All my blood tests seem to be saying I was good to go. I kept testing every so often. I started to see the numbers creep back up and I got concerned. I went to my doctor and we agreed that I had prediabetes and needed to do something about it. I did my research. Very few people in the medical world are actually suggesting low carb, although it's becoming more and more common. Thank goodness. I decided after doing some research and having known when I had gestational diabetes how much work it took to keep my blood sugar under control when I was on a standard American diet. I just knew something had to change. So I just started cooking and baking low carb.
Allan (06:58): Even though I eat keto most of the year. That's not something that I really try to push on anybody else because I don't want to be that guy. It's funny. Not Funny. It's actually kind of sad. My sister and I were having a conversation this morning about her having the same issue. She had gestational diabetes and then after her third child, she now has to be very careful. She'll notice her blood sugar going way, way up. I don't think she's as diligent at checking it and managing it and doing those things. At least this week when I'm feeding her, she's gonna be eating low carb
Carolyn (07:40): Good. And maybe she'll see. I think the thing for me and the reason I write cookbooks and write a blog is I've fallen in love with this lifestyle, but it took awhile. When I decided I had to go low carb and gluten-free. I basically sat on my kitchen floor and cried because I'd always been a passionate baker and I thought that was over for me. I've discovered it's not, which is fabulous. I've discovered there are so many wonderful ways to cook and eat and be keto. I think people are very much afraid of it and I understand why. Because I'm going to have to give up all my favorites, but you're not going to have to. You're just going to have to make them in a very different way. And sometimes you do have to change your taste, but it does happen. And then you start to love it. Why would I ever do anything else?
Allan (08:27): My wife was getting into it. She was doing the shopping on Saturday. I took a picture of your cookbook, the ingredients list, and I told her to get these things. One of the recipes I sent her was for the cheesy biscuits that I planned to make for breakfast this morning. When I went up in the pantry, started looking around like, there's no coconut flour. She didn't get it. She thought we had some. No. I said, and you don't get any cheesy biscuits. No cheesy biscuits for you. But I will probably go shopping this afternoon and buy some coconut flour so she can have cheesy biscuits tomorrow.
As you get into these things and you start learning more and more about the kind of recipes and stuff that's out there, you do realize there are adaptations. It's not as convenient as going to the grocery store. And the freezer section and there being a whole keto section. Paleo kind of took off and now there's that. They advertise that they're Paleo dishes and that's wonderful. There aren't that many low carb stuff convenience foods. There are diabetic sections and stuff where they'll have the candies and the other stuff. But now we're using real whole food and prepping it ourselves. This is really cool because you've, you've made it really easy.
Can you give us some tips? For me, it's always been batch cooking. That way you're getting a lot of value out of the amount of time you're investing. I could see taking some of these recipes, adapting them times four, times five and putting those away. Can you kind of give us some of your tips on how to have an efficient and effective kitchen?
Carolyn (10:31): Yeah, I have a lot of tips. One of the things is you say batch cooking and I'm just not good at that. I never have been. I know it's a great way to do things and if I'm making something like Carnitas or pulled pork or that kind of thing, it always ends up being a whole bunch and then we put some in the freezer. That's great. It's just never been my style. Part of the reason is that I like a lot of variety. I don't want to have to eat the same thing within two days of each other. There are not a lot of keto convenience foods out there, but it's growing. But I would say be careful there because a lot of people are calling things keto and they have a lot of junk in them.
Be careful if you purchase some of those things. But one of the things for me is these days grocery stores are making things really easy on us so you don't have to make all your own bone broth. Maybe it's not quite the same. Maybe it's not quite as nutritious. But buying, Pacific Foods bone broth or a Whole Foods brand bone broth is going to save you a lot of time and energy. Things like we were talking about cauliflower rice earlier. The grocery stores are now putting out rice cauliflower, whether it's in the fresh section or the freezer section. I make a lot of my own tomato sauce. But then there are times when I've blown through my stash from the summer. I go to the store and I check the labels to find the lowest carb one that I can.
So one of the things that I did in this book was a resource guide for store-bought options. You don't have to reinvent the wheel and make everything yourself. I think that that saves you a lot of time. Try prepping ahead sometimes if you know you're going to be having a busy week prepping things ahead, like cutting things up or you were saying cauliflower, you do sometimes just sort of sit there in front of the TV and rice your cauliflower. Sure. Why not? That's a great idea. And one of my favorite tips though is rotisserie chicken. Almost every grocery store has a rotisserie chicken section. You grab one and you can make easily two to three meals out of that. Or you can just cook your own chicken ahead and have it shredded and in the freezer and then you pop it into a recipe.
Allan (13:01): When I say batch cooking, it's not always dishes. I'm going to grill, you know, a lot of chicken quarters because I'm out on the grill cooking steak and then I'll grill a bunch of chicken. I'm doubling up on my time. And then another, another thing is if I, if I know I'm going to be making a crockpot meal that day when I get back from the grocery store or the farmer's market, I've got all fresh vegetables and fresh meat and as I'm unpacking, I'm washing, cutting and putting it in a crockpot rather than putting it in the refrigerator. So, by the time I finish unpacking my groceries, I've already got the meal started.
Carolyn (13:56): I think that's fabulous. If you have an instant pot you can do some of that stuff too. That's always fun. I'm getting used to mine and trying to do more recipes with it. When you talk about going to the farmer's market or the grocery store, you have to have a stocked pantry. I mean if your cupboard's bare and you come home from work and there's nothing to make, then even my recipes won't help you. You have to pick a day of the week where you go and you have your list of what I might probably make this week. It can change a little as you go and you have to stock things. Keeping some proteins in your freezer like ground beef and chicken thighs. I'm, I'm a fan of chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts personally. I think they have more flavor. Just having them on hand, and even if you forget to take them out of the freezer, there are ways to quick thaw them. There is a section on that in the book with tips like that to save you some time.
Allan (14:57): Yeah. It's really about having it all stocked. In the future, I will have coconut flour on hand to make those cheesy biscuits. I didn't have it and like you said, if you're missing that one ingredient, then you're now looking for option number two, which is probably the same thing you ate yesterday, that the eggs and bacon or the eggs and sausage. But that's unsatisfying when you want to change things up a little bit. Um, and you said yourself, you, you don't like to eat the same thing, so you like to change things up.
One of the things I like about the Easy Keto Dinners cookbook it has a lot of variety in flavors. Some of them are very interesting flavors and others I know have particular health benefits. Can you talk a little bit about what spices you're using in here, some of the reasons why you're using them, either from a pairing of flavors or a health benefits?
Carolyn (16:03): Well, I have a lovely large spice drawer that I keep pretty much totally stocked at all times. Another question that I get from people is, do these recipes have five ingredients or less? And I'm like, well, maybe if you don't count the spices, because I think, again, people confuse easy with fewer things and if you have a good spice cabinet, you've got tons of things in there to help flavor your foods. I like spicy stuff.
One of my favorite recipes in the book is the one pot jerk chicken and rice because I really love those jerk flavors. I faked it in this one because a real jerk seasoning a has brown sugar. We're not going to do that. It also has scotch bonnet peppers, which are hard to find and at any time of year. So I made it spicy without the Scotch bonnets. It's a dry rub too, whereas a real jerk seasoning mix would be sort of a wet paste. You can fake flavors and get really close to the real thing.
There's tons of health benefits to so many spices. I know turmeric fights inflammation, but you have to eat a lot of it to do that. It's flavor that gives us a sense of safety. So along with the fat from the keto diet, we need flavor for us to be like, wow, now I'm full. I don't need anymore. And I think knowing when we're full is part is one of the benefits of the keto diet. Knowing when we're satiated and stopping.
Allan (17:55): Yeah. And I think that's another thing cooking, is you can be proud. I don't mean this in a bad way, but if you can take pride in the fact that you prepared a really good dish, even if it was easy, the fact that it tastes good and you really are enjoying it, you're probably going to slow down. You're going to make eating a lot more mindful, right? Which is going to make everybody's life better.
Carolyn (18:22): I learned that early in college. I remember being in my dorm and the food was so bad that everybody would eat a meal but they wouldn't feel full or they wouldn't feel satiated and they'd head to the convenience store afterwards and get chips and chocolate bars. I remember doing that too. And feeling like, wow, you know, food needs to have an impact on your taste buds for you to feel satiated.
Allan (18:45): Yeah. You've got things in here like the chicken Parmesan casserole, spicy pork and cabbage stir-fry. So there's, there's variety and you've organized it based on the protein source a throughout the book. Then you have a little guide at the back that's really cool because if you're wanting to manager your prep time, which ones are fast, which ones are slow. It has a food allergy and sensitivity guide as well. It is great to have this little guide where you broke down to make it even easier to know what you're doing.
Carolyn (19:19): I made sure that 50 percent, it's a little more than 50 percent of the book is dairy free or can be made dairy free. And there aren't a lot of recipes with nuts in them. So if you're a nut allergy person then you're good to go with most of these recipes. I think that that's important too because somebody needs to know at a glance whether something's going to have something that they're intolerant to
Allan: (19:44): And you flag those. So it's very easy for us to go through and know which ones would impact us.
Then the other thing is, because a lot of a lot of recipe books don't do this, you actually have the breakdown of the macros. I think is very important for someone when they're first coming on to keto. They're trying to get their fat intake up to a certain level and keep their carbs low. You've put that together in a way where I know this is going to put me in the right macro profile for the day. I'm maintaining my ketosis.
Carolyn (20:24): I think everybody needs that. I calculate them all myself on a program that I have downloaded on my computer. It's a paid program. So it's not like My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal has tons of errors because it's user inputted data. But even my paid software will have errors since it pulls from the USDA web database. The problem is they are using averages. My chicken thighs weren't as big as the average chicken thigh. I get a lot of pasture raised chicken. My chicken thighs are not that big because they were not plumped up by all the grains. I had to do some hand calculating, which was exhausting.
Allan (21:11): I built a spreadsheet when I first started going keto. When I would cook a Chili it would be without the beans. I would use about a third, maybe a half of the tomatoes I would have used otherwise to cut back a little bit. And I got a lot more meat in there and when I browned it I put all the fat back in there and even put some more fat in there. And so now based on everything I added, I'm like, I've got the calorie counts and they've got the macros of all of the ingredients. I added them up and divided to make a serving around 500 calories. How many servings does this make? And man, that spreadsheet was like the banking records for GE,
Carolyn (21:55): I kind of find the math a little fun. And sometimes I would go, whoa, that's way too much protein for this recipe. And I would have to dig and do some research and figure out. Because in my database it will also have, you know, five different chicken thighs in there, based on like whether the bone isn't it or whether the skin is still on or whether it was enhanced (the step where they shoot it up making them look plumper and juicier). I had to find the right one that was more like my chicken breasts. I feel obligated to say that all of those are provided as a courtesy. But if somebody is very, very specific, then they should probably be doing their own calculations because as, like I said, things are pulling from averages and it's very hard to do. And if you're very specific and you weigh everything. I know a lot of people when they first start keto, they're weighing everything they eat. Then they should probably try to calculate it a little bit themselves.
Allan (23:06): Yeah. Once you get comfortable with the way that you're preparing your dishes it actually gets easier and easier. The higher the quality of the food, That's again, that's another reason why I'm such a big proponent of cooking for yourself. You know what you're putting in your body and your family's bodies. The food we eat is health. If we're not doing food right, then we're not taking care of ourselves.
Carolyn (23:43): That's why I say to a lot of people, beware the keto products, because there have been several instances recently where companies have been accused of erroneous nutrition labels. They overstate the amount of carbs. And they'll call themselves keto. I would have rather make that cookie myself than have bought your cookie and possibly put myself out of ketosis having done so. Even when the supermarket has the keto section, which they eventually will, because the tide is turning, I feel like you're going to have to read the label and be smart about it.
Allan (24:23): Yeah, absolutely. So the book is Easy Keto Dinners. If someone wanted to learn more about you, get to your blog or learn more about this book or your other books, where would you like for me to send them?
Carolyn (24:35): All Day I Dream About Food is my blog because I really do dream about food all day and I enjoy doing that. I also have a second cookbook, which is my first cookbook and the Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen, which is a more lengthy cookbook that covers everything from breakfast to dessert. It also has sort of my story a little more and how keto works and things like that. That's a great resource and Easy Keto Dinners is almost like a companion guide. You're adding more dinner recipes to your repertoire.
Allan (25:07): Absolutely. This is going to be episode 318. You could go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/318, and I'll have the links there. Carolyn, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.
Carolyn (25:20): Thank you. It was wonderful to talk to you.
Allan (25:29): If you're enjoying the 40+ Fitness Podcast, would you please go out to itunes and leave us a rating and review. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/review. That will take you the itunes page and you can leave us a rating and review right there. Thank you.
I don't think I'm much of a writer, but I did want to share 4 Reasons Most People Struggle to Lose Weight.
Are you struggling to lose weight? You're not alone. Most of us have experienced this. I have lost and gained the same 10 – 20 lbs so many times. That was until I came to understand I'd been doing it all wrong. The harsh truth is… 4 Reasons Most People Struggle to Lose Weight.