Category Archives for "weight loss"

September 13, 2022

The 7 Weight Loss Mistakes people over 40 make

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Throughout my years as a personal trainer, I've talked to a lot of people over 40 who were trying (unsuccessfully) to lose weight. On episode 555 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the 7 most common weight loss mistakes that people over 40 are making.



Today I want to share with you the seven weight loss mistakes that I see most people over 40 make. And these are really important because if you're making these mistakes, it's going to make weight loss much harder. So let's go through these seven weight loss mistakes and see if you're doing any of these. Okay?

Cutting Calories Too Much

The first one is cutting calories too much. A lot of people will drop their calories down to some drastic number in the hopes that they're going to lose the weight faster or begin losing weight again if they've stopped. And so I want you to think of body fat in the same terms that we would look at like our country's strategic reserves of oil.

OK? We keep those barrels of oil and gasoline. We keep that stuff in reserve because we know at some point we might need it. Okay? And what happens when you cut your calories too much is you're signaling to your body that you're going to war. And if your body believes that you're going to war, it's going to cling on to its energy reserves as much as possible, meaning it's going to hold on to that body fat. And so you actually are training your body to lower your metabolism and thereby not release that fat because it's afraid it's going to starve to death. And so while you're not really going into a starvation mode, that doesn't happen for many days. You are telling your body to function on less and your energy levels will go down whether you recognize it or not. When you work out, you're not working as hard, so it really cuts back on a lot of things and it keeps you from optimizing your health. So instead what I recommend is, yes, cut your calories a little. Your calories should never go below 1200. 1200 is the basics of what your body needs to survive.

Just with basic function, if you're down around the 1200 or below 1200, your body is going to struggle to function, right? It's going to turn certain things off and that's not a good thing. So if you just cut back your calories a little bit from what you would normally eat and then just move a little bit more than you normally move, you're going to create a slight deficit for a while. Your body will adjust. But you just rinse and repeat this. Instead of dropping down to say, 1500 calories, take a look at what you're eating today. And if you find that you're eating about 2000 calories, drop it down to 1800. And then just try to add a little bit of extra walking, a little extra movement into your day and see if that works for you. Give it a couple of weeks and see where it goes. But you have to make sure that you're not hungry because if you let yourself get hungry all the time, you're going to fall out of it. This is not going to work and it's not going to be sustainable in the long term. You're going to train your body to function on fewer calories and then you're not going to want to eat fewer calories because you're going to be hungry, and that's going to create a problem for weight loss.

Being a Scale Fanatic

The second mistake that I see people making is being a scale fanatic. Okay? Your worth is not determined by the number on that bathroom scale. It just isn't. That's not who you are. And the scale is measuring more than just body fat. So even if the weight is going down is not a good thing all the time. You could be losing muscle. If the weights going up, that could be a good thing, because now you're rehydrated instead of being dehydrated. So the scale is not you, and it's measuring more than body fat. And then the other things happen. You may step on the scale and weigh a pound more than you did yesterday. But I can tell you, I know you didn't eat enough food yesterday to gain a pound. That's 3500 calories. And you know you didn't eat 3500 calories. So if you let yourself believe that you're getting fatter, that's a huge mistake because it's not true. The other part of this truism stuff, when we're looking at this being a scale fanatic, is that it's never going to be a straight line. You're not going to consistently lose half a pound every day, each week.

It's just not going to happen. There's going to be spikes up and spikes down based on body water, hydration, and just things are sticking around in your system. Yeah, the poo is going through your system. If you didn't have your regular break, then maybe you have some of that in you. That's why you weigh slightly more or didn't lose weight. So it's not going to be a straight line. And so if you find when you step on the scale, that number is hurting your feelings, or that number is how you are now going to live your day, you really need to change your relationship with your scale. I don't recommend people weighing themselves every day if they feel they have an unhealthy relationship with the scale. I encourage you to weigh yourself about every four days, maybe once a week. Give it a little bit of time so you're seeing a trend over a few days and a week or four days, something like that, gives you enough time to make some course corrections. If you go through two weeks and what you're doing isn't working, then you might want to tweak it a little.

Not a lot, but a little. So don't be a scale fanatic. The scale is not the number you're interested in. It's body fat. And if you want to lose body fat and you want to measure that, start measuring your body in the places where you carry body fat. And that's when you're going to see that you are actually getting smaller. Might not show up on the scale, but then, you'll know.

Cardio and More Cardio

The third weight loss mistake that I see a lot of people making is they become cardio bunnies. They're cardio and more cardio. It happens every year in January. You go into any fitness place and you're going to see all these newbies that just joined the gym and they're all on the cardio equipment and that's all they're going to do. And then they're just going to do more of that and more of that until they finally fall out. You've probably heard the statement that abs are built in the kitchen and that's the true fact. You're not going to lose weight just by doing cardio. I mean, I've seen people come to the gym and stick with it and they're there five days a week on the cardio equipment.

And over a year you don't see any change in them at all. They're literally the same size as they were a year ago and they're doing the cardio. So the cardio is not going to get you there. What you eat and how much you eat is what's going to move your weight. It's what's going to help you lose the weight and lose the body fat. So we want to eat whole food and we want to make sure that we're getting adequate nutrition and we're eating just enough to stay healthy and lose some weight. Okay, so cardio is a tool. If you want to have more stamina, cardio is a great tool for that and it can help you with your weight loss goals, but it is not the way to do it. And just doing ever more cardio is not the answer to weight loss.

Drinking Your Calories

Weight loss mistake number four is drinking your calories. Now this could be juices, smoothies, protein drinks, alcohol. We drink a lot of calories and some people don't even want to count those calories, but they can be quite significant. One of the problems that happens when you're drinking calories is one, a lot of the things that we drink are calorie dense and not nutritionally dense.

So alcohol is just empty calories. That's all it is. You might enjoy it, but it's not helping you lose weight. A lot of people will take these shakes as a way of losing weight and their meal replacement shakes, but again, they're not going to satiate you long enough for them to be effective over the long haul. And what's going to happen when you stop drinking those shakes? You're probably going to put the weight back on again, even if it did work for you. So avoid drinking your calories whenever you can. Eat whole food, chew it up. Make sure your body is going through the digestion process because there's an energy cost to digestion. And if we are drinking our calories, it's already digested practically just goes straight into our system. And you want to slow the process down so you feel full longer and your body burns energy, digesting the proteins and the fats and the fiber. You want that. You want that slow steady burn of calories over time and not just the big hit dose of boom here it is.

Going it Alone

Number five, going it alone. Now there are people that can, there have been people that do but most don't.

Okay? Now that doesn't mean you're a bad person and it doesn't mean that you lack what you need willpower and motivation. But what you do is bring on a team. And when you have team members with you it makes your success better. It makes it easier. It makes it sustainable. It makes it a part of you. So having a workout buddy or a walking friend, hiring a coach, having these team members, having these partners and coaches they're all going to help you be more successful. They're going to help hold you accountable. And accountability is one of the most significant motivators out there. Some of us are self motivated and that's great. That intrinsic motivation is really good. But if you don't find yourself 100% intrinsically motivated to do your workouts every day, to do your movement every day, to do your eating the right way every time then you're going to struggle. But having an accountability partner is really really important and a lot of programs including my own are built on the structure of accountability. Okay? The other thing that going it alone means that sometimes you just don't know what the next step is.

I mean you know you're on a diet you're going to try this diet but how do you transition off of that way of eating after you've lost the weight and not getting it all back again? So having someone there to provide a little bit of guidance and support can also be very important on your journey. Otherwise you might find yourself chasing after all the snake oil salesmen that are trying to get you to do something else besides having a healthy diet. And that leads me to the next one.

Looking for an Easy Button

Weight loss mistake number six is using the easy button. Okay? There are pills, there are shakes, all kinds of things out there that are sold to help you lose weight because it's a multi billion dollar industry to help you lose weight. The problem is that most of the time these things don't even work and many times they're quite dangerous. There was a drug on the market called Finfloramine. Okay? So they call it FinFan and basically FinFan was a drug and it was quite effective but it was also quite effective at destroying people's hearts and the heart valves in particular. And the sad part of this was that there have been supplement companies selling weight loss supplements and putting some of these banned substances in their products so they would be effective.

And so when you start trying to go down this road of trying this pill or trying that thing just buyer beware. They may not have your best interests at heart. They want to sell product and if they can give you a product that shows it's working but in the long term it's hurting you. They're going to sell a lot of product, they just are. Okay? So just realize that these guys are out there trying to sell you something. There is no easy button. There just is no easy button.

Not Getting Your Mindset Right

And then the 7th weight loss mistake is not getting your Mindset work done first. Too many people approach this with a strategies and tactics first model. They're going to go on this particular diet, they're going to exercise this many days per week on the treadmill. They got it all planned out, all these strategies and tactics. But then they stop. And why do they stop? They stop because they didn't get their mind right first. So you want to start your process by thinking about your why. Why do you want to lose this weight? If it's not important to you, not important enough, not emotionally important to you, then you're going to struggle.

You just are. So getting your why together, being very specific about why this is important to you, to get off your medications, to be healthier for your children and grandchildren, to not be in a nursing home when you get older. Those are all very compelling why's that I and some of my clients use every single day to make sure that we stay on track. Okay? The other thing that Mindset brings to the table is it helps you have the patience and for you to have the right pace in mind as you go forward. Because too many people want to lose the weight fast. And fast is not good when it comes to weight loss. It's not sustainable and it's not something that's going to stick long term. So having the mindset that this is going to take a while and I'm just going to keep chipping away at it and this is the pace I'm going to be able to go because I've got all of these other things going on in my life and I can't just diet and exercise all day long. The folks that are on the Biggest Loser program, that's all they do for the whole time they're in the camp.

They just work out and they don't eat much and that's how they lose that much weight. But most of them go home and they don't have that structure and they have to go back to work and you have to get back to normal lives and they gain the weight right back. So having the patience and going at the right pace makes it sustainable for the long term. Also, Mindset helps you deal with Pitfalls and Saboteurs. Now I talked a little bit about Saboteurs a few weeks ago and we can talk about some of the Pitfalls, but every one of us is going to have something happen or some struggle. Someone brings donuts to the office and God forbid I ate one of them. We're going to have those without the right mindset, a lot of people will go completely off the rails and say, hey, I blew it. I blew it with the doughnut, so I may as well go eat lunch with the group, and I may as well have a terrible dinner and some drinks tonight. They ruin the whole day instead of having one bad incident. So having the right mindset helps you maneuver and get where you need to be, even when you have a slip up.

And then the other thing Mindset gets you to do is it helps you keep the weight off because now you're thinking in terms of developing a healthy lifestyle, and you're not thinking about a temporary diet. You're not thinking about this as I'm going to diet because my daughter is getting married in November, and I want to weigh a certain weight and be a certain size by November. You're not thinking in those terms. You're thinking in terms of, okay, my daughter's getting married. Grandkids might be coming up within the next three to five years. I need to be fit to be the best grandfather I can be, right? I want to be able to spend time doing active things with them. And so that's my motivation. That's my why, that's my mindset. And that has to become a lifestyle and not a diet. I'm not going to diet for three to five years. I'm going to have a lifestyle for three to five years. It's going to help me ready, and that lifestyle is going to stick with me for the rest of my life. So the right mindset work done first is so important to this process. I put it number seven, but it's really in my mind, number one.


So to kind of summarize these a little bit, the seven weight loss mistakes most people over 40 make:

  • Cutting calories too much.
  • Being a scale fanatic.
  • Cardio and more cardio.
  • Drinking calories.
  • Going it alone.
  • Using the easy button.
  • Not getting your mindset work done first.

Now, in my opinion, and a lot of people believe this as well in this industry, a lot of them don't. They want to sell you something that's not going to help you. But I believe that a healthy lifestyle is what you should charge after, and that weight loss will end up being a side effect of doing the right things for your body. Movement, food, and stress are all information to your body. Your body is looking for information on how to operate for you. And if you're giving it the right food and you're moving the right ways and you're reducing your stress, the bad stress, your body is going to respond by making you healthier. And when it's healthier and it gets the information that this is going on good, you're getting a good communication in your body, then your body can sit there and say, you know, it's probably okay for us to get rid of this strategic reserve body fat that we have here, because we don't really seem to need it.

There's plenty of food. I'm satiated most of the time. We're moving, we're active, and we're getting enough. We're getting the nutrition our body needs. It's going to let go of that body fat. It will.

I want to finish with a quote by Michael Pollan. He wrote the book, In Defense of Food, and I think this kind of wraps up weight loss advice into seven words and one sentence. Three sentences, okay, but seven words. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Okay. So if you start putting the right food in your body and the right amount of food in your body, and you're moving and you're managing stress, the weight will come off. So don't fall for one of these seven mistakes. And if you are, it's time to make the change. So check us out. Come to 40plusfitness.com and see what's going on there. I have some challenges. I have my be fit for task program. Check it out at 40plusfitness.com/bfft.

Post Show/Recap

[00:21:09.110] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, your seven weight loss mistakes are really perfect. I think I've made every single one of them at some point or another, and we might as well start with number one. Cutting calories too much. I know that I have done that.

[00:21:25.200] – Allan

Yeah. No one really knows how many calories your body needs, but we do know that there's a lower limit. We know there's just some point where your body is not getting the nutrition it needs to survive. Now, where is that line? Well, Ansel Keys did a study in 1944 called the starvation diet, or starvation. They want to study starvation. They wanted men to lose 25% of their body weight. And so they cut their calories down to 1570. And these men went nuts. They were doing self inflicted injuries. They couldn't let them leave. They kept them locked up in the University of Michigan stadium. If they left, they had to go with a buddy, and they do the buddy system to make sure that neither one of them cheated, and they needed them to lose 25% of their body weight. It was insane. These guys went insane. And that's at 1570.

[00:22:23.780] – Rachel


[00:22:24.830] – Allan

For a normal person. And the point being, though, is food today is very different. It's not just that you're not getting the energy that your body might need to function well. It's that you might not be getting the other nutrients that your body needs because you're just not eating enough food. And so, you know, yes, you can cut your calories down and lose the weight very fast. But the problem is other systems, other things start to shut down. And so people will talk about extended fast and things like that, and those can be done and managed. But almost every person that does an extended fast gains every one of those pounds back as soon as they stop the fast. So it's not an effective way to lose weight and keep weight off. The main point being is find the right level by experimenting. But don't just go on and say, well, this little formula says I should be eating this many calories. Therefore they didn't calculate that formula for you. They calculated the formula based on average people with normal functioning, this and that, wanting to lose weight. And there is no straight line to any of this.

[00:23:43.040] – Allan

There is no formula. Your body will burn more calories one day than it does the next and then more the day after. And there's no rhyme or reason exactly, other than hormones and the types of foods that you ate and when you ate them and your activity level, all those different things play into this. This is like trying to use plus and minus to deal with calculus. And there's a lot more operators out there in calculus than just plus and minus. So you can't just go at this and say, I'm just going to do the calories and calories out. It'll help you cut a little bit of body weight. It will, it'll work. It does work. The math makes sense in the short run. But if you're looking at making this sustainable and doing this over the long run, just cutting calories down to some very low number is not going to be sustainable. And unfortunately, as soon as you go back to eating the way that you ate, you're going to gain that weight back.

[00:24:43.470] – Rachel

Well, it's important to notice too. I mean, ages and ages ago when I used one of those food diaries, those online apps that you can use nowadays, I plugged in. I wanted to lose five or £10 and it set me at a 1200 calorie day for dieting. And at the time, I didn't know any different. Like I didn't know that 1200 calories was probably way too low. And I did my best to eat appropriately. But there's a lot of things wrong with this picture. It's just not enough calories. I was getting fatigued. I wasn't choosing the most nutrient dense foods. Number four is drinking your calories. Those diet shakes that you can drink are low calorie and they're supposed to be these meal replacement things, but those certainly aren't satiating. I mean, just a snowball of mistakes that happened and I really didn't get anywhere with it, to be honest.

[00:25:45.210] – Allan

And here's the point where I can empirically show you that the math doesn't work. Because that same company that puts out those same numbers who won't be named here, there's value to what they do, but it's not as valuable as a lot of people think is. They will tell you you had a great day. If you eat like this every day for the next six weeks, you will be down to your goal. Okay? But you notice as you weigh yourself, you're not losing that weight the same every day, or even every week, or even every month. There's declining results. And so what's happening is you're breaking the formula. And unfortunately, once you break that formula, what, are you going to recalculate the formula? Well, okay. Again. Now we're starting to get into calculus.

[00:26:43.230] – Rachel

Oh, jeez.

[00:26:45.390] – Allan

If you just try to cut your calories and that's all you're going to do. I can just tell you overall, that doesn't work for 99% of the people. It might work for you, but that's only if you're going to be doing it very smart. Cut a little, move a little bit more. That might and can be sustainable. But you're not giving your body the nutrition it needs. You are destroying your health. You are not helping yourself.

[00:27:11.580] – Rachel

Well, I think that you just hit the nail on the head is that you can't just cut calories. You can't just say, I'll eat less of a salad, or less vegetables with dinner, or less this and that. You really need to focus on what less nutrient foods you can cut out of your diet. Drinking less calories and pops or teas or extravagant coffees. Can you swap out a cereal, sugar laden cereal, or donut at breakfast or maybe some eggs instead? You really need to focus on the nutritional part of it and what nutrients your body needs versus the fun to eat stuff. It's an easy place to cut.

[00:27:52.650] – Allan

Yeah. And sometimes it's not about eating less. It just isn't. It's about finding the right foods that your body needs so your body can actually feel cared for. If your body is in a mode where it feels like there's no food because realize your internal organs. Your body doesn't have eyes. When you stop feeding it food, the signal it gets is there's no food. That's the one signal, no food. She's not eating. There's no food. Okay. You stop moving. It's like, oh, we're in danger. We're hiding. All these signals are bad signals. Whereas if you're out and about doing things and you're eating good nutritious food, the signals are all clear. We don't need to hunker down. We don't need to hold on to this extra body fit. We just don't. We're storing it because we're afraid of what might happen. That's the body's control and protection. So you start teaching your body, we're in a good place. I'm not stressed, I'm sleeping good. I'm getting movement, and I'm eating well. Your body will say, oh, okay, well, maybe we don't need this body fat, and it starts to shed it. And if you keep feeding at those signals good.

[00:29:14.670] – Allan

The side effect is it will say, okay, we don't need to store this much body fat.

[00:29:19.330] – Rachel

Yeah, I like that. I like that approach. The weight loss is a side effect. If you take good care of your body, then your body will do what it needs to do and you'll be healthier and more fit for it.

[00:29:32.940] – Allan

And then in the end, is being skinny the answer is weighing lesser, because you could be skinny and unhealthy. You could be skinny and frail. You can be skinny and diseased, or you can be healthy and vibrant and likely still be able to get to a comfortable body fat percentage that way. And so I will always err on the side of the healthy, improving your wellness over what you weigh any given day, for sure.

[00:30:08.820] – Rachel

My goal is not to be skinny or to be focused on the number that's on that scale. My goal is to be healthy and fit and able to do the things that I want to do to live a happy life.

[00:30:21.400] – Allan

Yeah, but the problem is, if I had written the title, the Seven Health Mistakes People Make over 40, no one would have paid attention. But I put that word weight loss, and suddenly ding, ding, ding, everybody's clicking everybody's.

[00:30:34.910] – Rachel

That is so true. We've all been there, though. Like I said, I gained a lot of weight with both of my pregnancies, and I spent a lot of time trying to lose it. And like I said, I have made every single one of these seven weight loss mistakes in that attempt to lose that extra weight. So if we could steer people to realize that these are mistakes, that cutting calories drastically is not the answer, that doing tons of cardio is not the answer, and to please don't focus on your scale all the time, 24/7. That is definitely not the answer. Then we've probably cut some corners that people can focus on what they can do to lose a little weight, but primarily get healthier.

[00:31:17.740] – Allan

Yeah. I just came up with a million dollar product idea.

[00:31:21.770] – Rachel

What's that?

[00:31:22.950] – Allan

Sneakers with scales in them.

[00:31:25.160] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:31:28.850] – Allan

Bluetooth to your phone. Tell you what you weigh at any point in time in the day.

[00:31:32.410] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. I don't want to know, Allan. I just don't want to know.

[00:31:38.270] – Allan

I just said that out loud on the podcast, so I'm sure it's going to show up on Indiegogo soon.

[00:31:42.900] – Rachel


[00:31:46.070] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, I know you've got your hike to do. Tell Mike I said good luck to both of you. Thank you. I wish you well on that. I'm looking forward to in a few weeks when we get back together for this, having that conversation and understanding how your trip went, the good, the bad, and probably some funny interesting stories.

[00:32:07.320] – Rachel

I'm sure there will be.

[00:32:09.590] – Allan

And then, of course, I'll be driving around the United States and enjoying my time there with family. So even though you guys are listening to this on September 13th, Rachel and I will probably about that time, be talking to each other again for around the first time in a few weeks. So it's been great talking to you, Rachel, and then I'll talk to you in a few weeks. For everyone else, it'll seem like I'm talking to you next week. So be safe, enjoy yourself, and we'll talk then.


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Another episode you may enjoy


August 9, 2022

The 7 best weight loss hacks for people over 40

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

For many people, turning 40 marks a point where weight loss seems so much harder if not impossible. On this episode, I share the 7 best weight loss hacks for people over 40.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:21.070] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:03:23.410] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:25.750] – Allan

Well, a little good, a little bad. I have an injury oh, no, I've done something to injure my mid back. Most back injuries you hear is lower back tends to be a big thing for a lot of people, and the neck tends to be so this is kind of an unusual thing. I can't point to anything acute. I can't say I was doing this lift and I felt uncomfortable. I can't say anything odd was going on other than it happened during a time when I was running Lula's and Tammy was away, so I spent a lot of time sitting at her desk and not a lot of time walking around town doing the normal things that I do in a day because I'm usually everywhere in the gym. I'm out and about. I go grocery shopping. I do everything on foot. But for that week or so that she was gone, I didn't get up and move around as much. And I was sitting at the desk. I was doing my workouts. So I can't point to anyone thing, but it is pretty intense and I can't really twist or lift or do anything, and it's been like that for a few weeks, so I've given it a few weeks to say, okay, if this is a muscular issue, it will resolve itself with rest and good nutrition and more rest.

[00:04:43.880] – Rachel


[00:04:44.500] – Allan

It hasn't really resolved itself. And so the worst part is I'm just about a month away from the Mudder and I'm detraining. Instead of training at a time when you want to hit a peak, I'm in a detraining mode, and so it's not looking good for the mudder because the last thing I'm going to do at 56 years old is go out there and injure myself.

[00:05:07.920] – Rachel


[00:05:09.190] – Allan

I did the Spartan. In hindsight, I knew what I was doing. I knew why I was doing it, but I didn't win any money. There wasn't a new car at the end of the finish line. I did it and it hurt and I didn't injure myself anymore. But with the back injury, I am not comfortable that it wouldn't be worse. And so I'm not winning any money. No one is paying me any money to do this. No one's threatening me. No one's threatened my family. So there's no upside to doing it if there's the risk that I could hurt myself even more.

[00:05:51.580] – Allan

So I'm thinking I'm going to have to bow out of the Mudder. And it's disappointing. It is disappointing. But that's part of this journey is being true to yourself, and we're going to talk about checking in with yourself, listening and making the right decisions for yourself. And sometimes the right decision is not to push forward, but to pause and breathe and find that alternate route to better health and fitness.

[00:06:20.850] – Allan

And so I'm disappointed. I'm probably going to be pulling out of the Tough Mudder here in a little bit, and I'm sad that I won't be able to do it, but I got other things that are more important to me than getting muddy and maybe hurt.

[00:06:37.930] – Rachel

We've been in the same position, having to not start a race or defer it to another year or something. We've been through this for a while, and it's just better that you heal yourself and feel better and then you'll be able to tackle the next race stronger than today. So I hope you figure out what you could do for your back. I hope some more rest and maybe some PT might help. I don't know.

[00:07:02.940] – Allan

Yeah, there's a physical therapist here. I'm setting up an appointment with him just to look it over. He doesn't have any equipment or anything. And yes, I could go to the hospital and get an X-ray, a self-directed X-ray.

[00:07:18.590] – Rachel

Oh boy!

[00:07:18.590] – Allan

But yeah, there's not really an orthopedic sky here. So if I'm still hurting when I do go back to the States next month, I probably will set up an appointment with someone there to just really get a good thorough check over to try to see if we can figure out what it is. Because at that point, it would have been two months in that condition, and that's not muscular anymore. Something is more serious. So I'm hopeful it's not I'm hopeful that this was just a momentary something, and it's healing. It's just taking its time to do so.

[00:07:50.330] – Rachel


[00:07:51.510] – Allan

No, it is, but it doesn't mean I can't do things, and it doesn't mean that I can't continue to focus on sleep and stress management and nutrition and mobility and stretching and balance and cardio if I'm not tweaking it doing that. So I'm going to stay active, I'm going to get things done. It's just good. I won't be lifting tons of weight and throwing it over my head and running around like a wild animal.

[00:08:22.370] – Rachel

Good idea.

[00:08:24.350] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:08:25.800] – Rachel

Good. We just had a wonderful weekend. A lot of birthday celebrations, a lot of family time, a lot of traveling. So I'm a little bit tired today. And then poor Mike, he's flying to a job. He's got to work this week, so he's flying out of State. So he also had an early morning. He's probably sleeping on the plane. I hope to take a nap later.

[00:08:47.360] – Allan

There you go.

[00:08:47.920] – Rachel

It was a great weekend. We had a wonderful time with our family and some friends. So it was a good weekend. Worth being tired.

[00:08:55.550] – Allan

Yes. That social connection is so important, and it's often something we overlook until we get that dose. And they were kind of like, even though I'm exhausted, I needed that connection, I needed that social thing. I'm glad you all had a wonderful birthday.

[00:09:12.970] – Rachel

Thank you.

[00:09:13.320] – Allan

And a wonderful weekend. And you want to talk about some of the weight loss hacks that I shared?

[00:09:18.710] – Rachel

Yes, I do.

[00:09:20.200] – Allan

Let's have that conversation.


So today I want to share with you seven weight loss hacks that I found useful for helping myself and my clients lose the weight they want to lose. I recently did kind of an outreach study to try to figure out what were some of the main issues that people are dealing with in regards to weight loss and getting healthy and came back with really kind of two clear winners.

The first one was about motivation. In some cases it was worded as being lazy. The second was time. And so these are the two biggest issues and I wanted to share with you some hacks that will help you deal with low motivation or just not having enough time. So here are my seven weight loss hacks.

Weight loss hack number one: Get momentum.

Okay, now you start by starting and with food. That means just buying better food, having the food close by. Starting means starting a walking program or just movement that you're capable of doing, even if it's just for five minutes a day. Now, I want you to think back to times when you've been successful. We do that because when we think back to the reasons that we struggle and the reasons that we succeed, it gives us some clear indicators that we can succeed when we put our minds to it.

And it gives us some things to look at avoiding as we go forward. So the summary for weight loss hack number one is get started. It's the hardest thing you'll do, but once you get there and you start feeling that momentum, the motivation will come.

Weight loss hack number two: Understand why you're doing what you're doing.

So often I see people walk into the weight room, and this is typically in January, and they don't really know what they're there to do. And as a result, they don't really do the things that would make them the most benefit. They actually avoid those things because they find them intimidating or they don't know why those things are so important. So things you're going to do if you start lifting weights, which I highly encourage, or doing some form of resistance training, you might actually gain a little bit of weight. If you do a little bit of research to figure out why nuts and fruit are better choice than maybe the packaged protein bar or the sports drink, these are all ways for you to understand the things that you're doing and why you should be doing them and the things that maybe you need to stop doing.

So do a little bit of research, ask some questions. The Facebook Group we have is a really good place to do that. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group that will take you to our Facebook group. And I'm always answering questions in there, so if you have a question about why something is or why people recommend a certain thing, just go ahead and ask. So the summary is this understanding what you're doing is going to make you more motivated to do it because you'll know why you're doing. So you'll be able to use not only the emotion of getting yourself in better shape or doing something, you can use the logic behind it. So both of those are powerful tools, particularly when they're put together, it's harder to say no to something that you know is really good for you. So take some time to understand why you're doing what you're doing. Don't just do something without understanding why.

Weight loss hack number three: Check in with yourself.

It's important for you to be aware of how you feel about certain things, particularly nutrition and movement, and then understand how good you feel when you're getting good nutrition and better movement.

The way you feel can hamper your ability to do things or keep you from doing things. But then once you start paying attention to how you feel when you do them, that's a very powerful feedback mechanism to tell you what's working and what's not. And when you find that emotionally, you're just not charged up to do something, start looking for the triggers that caused that. Were you stressed out? Were you tired? Did you not get good sleep? Did something happen in your life that caused you to be off of kilter? So paying attention and checking in with yourself regularly is going to give you those tools.

So, the summary for weight loss hack number three is that this is about mindset. And if you haven't figured that out, a lot of what I'm talking about is about mindset I would consider journaling. So you can really put your finger on the pulse of what's happening, how you feel, what's working, what's not. You can break habits by understanding those triggers. And if you're interested, I have a worksheet at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/habit. So if you find there's a certain bad habit that you keep doing and you just want to figure out what that trigger is, you can use this worksheet 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/habit, and that will walk you through the process of documenting what's going on with your habits, where those triggers are coming from, and what you might be doing about them. So again, weight loss hack number three, make sure you're checking in with yourself regularly.

Weight loss hack number four: Listen to your words.

Back in episode 546, we talked about words, Rachel and I did, and we tend to use words in our head that we would never use with other people, and we call ourselves things or say things to ourselves we would never say to other people. That's where when some people said they were lazy instead of saying they were unmotivated, those are different words. Lacking motivation is something, but saying you're lazy is quite a different thing. So if you're using the wrong words, try to catch yourself doing it so it goes back a little bit to weight loss hack number three checking in. But just pay attention to the words you're using and then look for ways to add more positive words and or affirmations. I'm going to share with you the affirmation that I use each morning. It's part of my morning ritual. I go through a series of things that I talk about to myself every morning as a part of my morning routine, morning meditation.

So here's my affirmation: “I now have the ability to release whatever held me back in the past and I'm now taking the necessary actions to achieve my goals.”

Now, that might not mean a whole lot to you, but basically this statement which I make a few times in the morning, each morning, really helps me set my intention for the day and know that my actions are there to serve my goals, not the other way around. So I have the actions that drive to goals and I make sure that I start the day with these positive statements about myself, about where I'm going, about what I can do. And I use those as kind of my leaping board in the morning to get a lot done during the day. So weight loss hack number four, listen to your words.

Weight loss hack number five: Prioritize you.

You can't afford to put yourself at the bottom of your priority list all the time. Your family needs you. Sure, your work needs you, life needs you. But you can't let that be everything. And when you're not able to be there for them, how's that going to feel? So we've got to do some things to take care of ourselves first. Now, everybody likes to throw out the put your mask on before you help other people.

I'll put it a whole other way. If you can't swim, you're not going to be saving many lives. Fall in the water. So teach yourself to swim. Get out there and start doing things that are good for you. It will increase your energy, it will increase your drive. But you've got to be a priority because if you don't make yourself a priority, you'll never make the time to do it. You need to set yourself up as your priority.

Make this important to you. Make it emotional. Have a good why and a good place you want to go, good vision, and that will give you the commitment. Once you start prioritizing yourself, you're going to be in a lot better shape to help others. So weight loss hack number five, prioritize yourself.

Weight loss hack number six: Get some skin in the game.

Free things feel like they're a great value. You can bookmark a YouTube video and have it for later. It cost you nothing. But do you do that workout again? And so even though it's free, you're not using it, it's not much value to you at all. Now, paying a little bit of money or some money gets you some skin in the game.

And what I found when I have a paid challenge versus a free challenge is compliance for my paid challenges goes up astronomically. People who pay for a challenge get about 80% compliance whereas people who don't pay, we're looking at closer to ten to 20%. Why is that? They've got some skin in the game.

And I'll give you an example for myself. When I was trying to start getting myself in shape, I had three gym memberships. I had a payroll deduction for my gym membership that was close to my work. Because they did that, they would pay part of your feet and do a payroll deduction for the rest. I had a direct debit for a second gym so that went directly against my checking account. Each month they billed me and then I own thousands of dollars worth of fitness equipment that I put into a storage shed that I paid rent on every month and I paid that rent with my credit card. So as I was going through and looking at my finances each month I could see each and every one of those deductions, each and every one of those payments. So I knew I was investing in my health and fitness and it really felt like I needed to use that investment as best I could.

So I got rid of all the excuses and I put some skin in the game and that really helped a lot. I saw them coming out, I saw the investment and I wanted to do better. So weight loss hack number six get some skin in the game. Don't be afraid to invest in yourself. It's the best investment you can ever make.

Weight loss hack number seven: Accountability.

The best accountability you can have is being accountable to yourself. That's called intrinsic motivation and it's the strongest kind of motivation you can have. But not all of us are going to have full on intrinsic motivation all the time. Some of us are just not going to get there without some help. And many times we have saboteurs in our life that are holding us back and making it harder for us to get the things done and stay true to ourselves.

Now, when I talk about saboteurs, I want you to understand that there are some bad intention saboteurs and there are some goodihearted saboteurs.

So I'll talk about the bad intention ones first. They don't want you to change. Now that might be because your success makes them feel bad or your success might scare them. Okay? So sometimes a loved one doesn't want you to lose all that weight because then you're not the same as them. They don't want you to stop eating and doing the things that you used to do because it feels like it's changing them and their lives. Or they just don't want you to succeed at all because it makes them feel bad. Those are the kind of people that you need to get away from where you can. Obviously, some of them are going to be family. Deep, deep friends. But just recognize the saboteurs.

Now there are some good-hearted saboteurs out there too. And these are a little harder to find or understand what's going on. They seem very supportive and they want to guide you, but they're often either misinformed or under-informed about health and fitness. A perfect example of that is the folks that are like, you should just eat salads, take this diet pill, don't eat fat, you'll have a heart attack.

They were told a lesson a long time ago and they just can't get away from it. So you tell them you're going keto, and they're like, “Oh my God, you're going to have a heart attack. You can't eat bacon all the time. You have to eat vegetables and fruit and you have to get the grains in.”

They're going on old information, but it's their information. They think they're doing you a favor. They think they're saving you. They've seen someone else take that pill and lose weight, so they believe it will work for you. They're good-hearted, but they're still sabotaging the work that you're trying to do. So you need to be aware of your saboteurs and make life decisions on how you communicate with them and what you share with them so that you can do the right things for yourself.

Now, for most of us, our family is our why. And they don't want you to be sick and frail. They really don't. But they're also probably not the right people to hold you accountable and for the very reasons that they don't necessarily want to change their life. And if you're changing yours and it's going to impact theirs, they're not always going to be in your corner. Even though they want the best for you, they're not always going to be there.

So what I recommend doing is finding people that can keep you grounded. Find people that are more like what you want to be and start surrounding yourself with them. You can find these people at the gym. If you start going to the gym at a certain hour most days, you're going to see the same people in that gym that same hour most days. It's just how it works. I was 05:00am guy. Same three guys in the gym every morning at 05:00am and I was one of them.

You can meet someone on a Facebook Group. There's a lot of Facebook groups out there, but the 40+ Fitness Podcast Group is really one that's designed for support. It's not designed to brag about how fit we are. It's designed to support you and help you. You can post and ask for an accountability buddy there. So finding a buddy that's online that can keep you on track, keep you on task, can hold you accountable, can go a long way towards keeping you fit and happy and progressing.

Another one is find another friend that could already be a friend that also wants to get healthier and more fit and is committed to the task. They've got skin in the game, they've got the right mindset, they've gone through all these other things that we talked about and they're going to stick with you. They can be your walking buddy, they can meet you at the gym. You guys can just trade recipes or batch cook together on Sundays so you guys have healthy meals for the whole week or you can hire a coach.

Now most of my clients stick with me because they like the accountability. They like the way I go about it. Now they might like me a little, but it's really the accountability that keeps them on task and keeps them here. Now I've hired a coach in the past when I was training for Spartan, I had strength coach and I knew he'd be at the gym every morning at 5:00am. So there was no hitting the snooze, there was no calling out. I was at the gym every single morning at 5:00am. I think he hit the snooze on me a couple of times. But at any rate, I still got a good workout in. I was still motivated. I had that accountability. So I was still going to tell the coach, hey, you weren't there, but I got the workout and here's my recorded results.

So having someone to hold you accountable, whether it's someone in a Facebook Group, rather it's someone you meet at the gym, whether it's just another buddy that wants to get in shape or you hire a coach, get some accountability, you don't have to do this alone. So the summary of weight loss hack, number seven, accountability, is everybody's going to need help from time to time. Don't be afraid to ask for it. Don't be afraid to ask for accountability and find the right people to surround yourself with so you can be successful.

So I shared the seven weight loss hacks and you might have picked up on something. These are not really weight loss hacks. They'll work and they'll work for you, but you have to do the work. So these are not easy button things. There's no easy buttons in weight loss. You've got to find these tasks and these actions and these tactics and these habits and you implement them and you work on them and you keep pushing through. And if you need accountability, you find accountability. If you've got saboteurs in your life, you put them on mute or you go away from them.

If you're dealing with some mindset issues, the way you talk to yourself, the other things that are going on in your life, you have to pay attention to that. You have to check in with yourself, you have to pay attention. The answers are there. Now if any of this resonated with you, I'd love to hear what's holding you back and see if there's something we can do to help again, you can catch us at the group, the Facebook Group, 40PlusFitnesspodcast.com/group. It's a very supportive and helpful environment. I have weekly challenges, I share cool things. I find it's a good group and a lot of questions come up and we're answering those questions and we're helping people there and it's a great place to find yourself an accountability buddy or at least understand what's working for other people. Or you can email me directly. Allan@40 Plusfitnesspodcast.com. I'd love to hear from you. These weight loss hacks are not hacks, but they're action steps that you can incorporate that will help you be successful, help you stay motivated, and help you find the time to get healthy and fit.

Post Show/Recap

[00:27:15.930] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:27:17.370] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. I really loved every single one of these 7 weight loss hacks, but I'd like to start chatting about number six with getting skin in the game. And I just loved how you pointed out that free is great and I love free. The Internet is wide, it's vast, and it's full of all sorts of videos and blogs and all sorts of data that we can use in our weight loss journey and fitness journeys, but we just don't we choose not to.

[00:27:46.310] – Allan

Yeah, someone will sit there and see this great workout on YouTube. It looks like fun and they bookmark it and then they never go back to it.

[00:27:55.990] – Speaker 2

Right. There's a gap between what we want to do and the action it takes to actually do it. There's a big gap there.

[00:28:04.870] – Allan

Yeah. So I would do these free challenges and to me that's the best example. Someone would sign up for a 28-day challenge and they're really excited about it. Now, one of the things, I try to deliver most of these with email campaigns because it does a couple of things. One is it's got an automated a little bit so it's in your mailbox. Okay. And then it gives you a direct connect to come right back to me if you have a question. So you literally respond to that email and it comes back to me.

[00:28:31.960] – Allan

But another thing that it does is it lets me see who's opening the emails and who's clicking the links. So why is that important? Because that is the way that I'm holding people accountable in the challenge. Now, do I email someone and say, hey, you did an open day three, what the heck is going on? No, I don't. I probably should, but I don't. But at least at that point, I have some information. So what I'm saying is, the data I have, after running dozens and dozens of challenges with thousands of people that have gone through these challenges, some of my challenges had as many as 300 people and I see the open rates.

[00:29:13.600] – Allan

And 100% opened the first email because that's how they got on the list. They had to confirm their email address and 100%. And then the emails go out, and by day three, we're already in the eighties.

[00:29:28.170] – Rachel


[00:29:28.960] – Allan

And by the end, if we're in the 20% range, that's awesome.

[00:29:34.650] – Rachel

Okay, incredible.

[00:29:36.870] – Allan

Now 20% of people opened the last email, which means 20% of people were still doing the challenge, they were still paying attention. So at least they open the email. Are they still keeping their sugar where they wanted to? Are they doing their squats? I don't know. Now, another thing I would do is I'd use the Facebook group as kind of some accountability. Tell me about your squats, tell me you're finished. And now some accountability, which is another one of the hacks that I talk about here. But what I found was if I charge a little bit of money, like $7, even $28, whatever, doesn't have to be a lot. The rate of people that do it goes up to 80%.

[00:30:14.490] – Rachel

That's incredible.

[00:30:15.810] – Allan

And it's $7, literally. I don't even know if that right now that would cover a drink at Starbucks. I mean, the way prices have gone up. The drink you used to drink is $7, and you would spend that on one latte thing, and that's what I'm asking for. And I get 80% of the people do the challenge. Now, obviously it's not 300 people that are signing up to the challenge now. It's a subset of those that'll pay.

[00:30:44.350] – Allan

So the basic gist is this if you're willing to spend a little bit of money to have the support and then also have the accountability,

[00:30:53.850] – Rachel

That's a good piece

[00:30:55.500] – Allan

Then that's what you're paying for. That's what I pay for. These challenges at $7 means that, you know, I'm sitting on the other side of that email paying attention. Who's opening them? How many people are opening them? Are they opening all of them, and when are they opening them? So I can kind of see, okay, I send out email number 16. Today is day 16 and people are opening day 16. Then I see someone just open day twelve. And I'm like, okay, well, maybe they stopped and they're starting back.

[00:31:24.670] – Allan

And then I see they don't open anymore. I'm like, okay, maybe that was just a mistake. The cursor was on twelve, day twelve email, they clicked on it, it looks like it was open. So again, I only say that because finding out what works for you is really important, and paying for some of these other things that happen, the accountability, the guidance and support, you can't overlook that.

[00:31:48.360] – Allan

The YouTube video doesn't mean it knows. Person knows. Like 1000 people watch my YouTube video, they don't know you, and they're not sending an email or something directly to you. And knowing that, because I see your name, I know the people participating, I see your names, I see your email addresses. Some of them are quite creative, and I love that. And so you're doing the challenge, and I know you're doing the challenge, and I see you opening the emails. And that makes me very happy as a coach to see people doing this and then to get the feedback back. This is really great. I've lost 3 pounds. I lost 6 pounds. Just in the 28 days of doing something as simple as cutting sugar. And I put the sugar challenge out there.

[00:32:32.090] – Allan

It's out there on my website right now. If you go to 40 Fitness, you can get in the Sugar Challenge. The Functional Fitness Challenge is out there, and I'm looking at putting a couple of the other ones that I've done before, reworking them, resetting them, and setting them out there for you to do at your own pace. But again, you do still have the accountability, you still do have the support. And yeah, you've got a little bit of skin in the game, but I think it's worth it if it's going to be something that keeps you on track.

[00:33:00.800] – Rachel

It's an investment if you're going to invest in this knowledge and this activity, plus having the support and the gentle nudges to do your squats or Sugar Challenge or whatever, you're going to do it, you're going to put it on your calendar and you're going to commit to it. So, yeah, I think having skin in the game is a pretty important weight loss hack.

[00:33:19.230] – Allan

Yeah. And then there's another one you wanted to talk about.

[00:33:23.520] – Rachel

Oh, the checking in weight loss hack. Number three, check in with yourself and how you're feeling about the nutrition you're choosing or the exercises you're choosing. I think this is really important because at least in my world, in the running world, some people think that running is the best cardio out there and that's how they're going to lose weight, but they don't like it. So if you don't like the activity, then why do it? And the same thing with choosing a diet. There's a lot of propaganda out there about the vegan or what we do is low carb or keto or carnivore. If you don't like to eat vegetables, then a vegan diet is not your choice. So I think giving it some thought about what you're doing, what you're choosing and why you're doing it is important.

[00:34:09.350] – Allan

Yeah. And again, these are all interrelated. So you literally just talked about one, two, and three.

[00:34:16.200] – Rachel

I think I did, yes.

[00:34:17.200] – Allan

With that one paragraph but …

[00:34:19.390] – Rachel


[00:34:20.470] – Allan

He core of it is this. There are going to be days when we feel really good and there's going to be days when we feel really bad. Like right now, I am training some live clients at the gym. And so I had a girl and she came in. She couldn't make the workout that was scheduled. It was a little group training, so she missed the workout. But I had written up her program. I told her to come in. She said, okay, one of my staff was there. You could spot her on some of the lifts and all that. So she was good. She did it. She wrote all these little notes to me how she was feeling and how it was going, just the same question she knew I would be asking her.

[00:34:51.560] – Rachel

If I was awesome.

[00:34:52.790] – Allan

And so then I get through and she says, you know, I came in for that workout. I felt really good and energetic and I did really well. I really pushed it myself. And I'm like that's. Great. And she says, Today I just don't feel that same energy level. And I said, that's fine. I said, you're aware you're not going to beat yourself up if you can't match that workout. But you do have the guidance and support. You have someone sitting here, you know, why you're doing this. She's going to Italy and she kind of wants to lighten up a little bit so there's a little bit of body fat and just kind of get a better, more athletic look to herself as she goes on this holiday in Italy.

[00:35:30.850] – Allan

And that's what her goals are. And so that's what we're working or toward. So she knows when I come in, I might be more challenged with this workout and I'm okay with that. If my energy level isn't here, I know why. And I know why this workout isn't as good as the last one. And I'm not going to beat myself up. I'm not lazy. I'm not all these other things. It's just where I am and what my body is capable of today.

[00:35:55.230] – Allan

And so what ends up happening is I'm in there and I'm putting weights on the bar and she's working out and she's doing a better workout this time than she was the time before. And it was all because she got her mind right first. Okay. And if you can get your mind ahead of reality, okay, here I am. I understand the world. I check in with myself. I know my energy level. I check in with the world. And 60 pounds weighs 60 pounds. Okay, same 60 pounds three days ago. It's still just 60 pounds.

[00:36:32.680] – Allan

And I've done it before. I know I can do it again.

[00:36:35.640] – Rachel

Yeah, that right there is powerful.

[00:36:37.950] – Allan

Yeah, that's the checking in that's rewarding yourself with the knowledge of what you're capable of and understanding that you're capable of so much more. So it's like she asked the question because they're new to some of these weightlifting and things. So they're getting into it and they're like, okay, I don't understand. I can bench press 60 pounds. And I'm squatting 60 pounds. Aren't I supposed to be squatting a lot more? And I'm like, yes, you are. And you're capable of doing it. And I've told you that about a half a dozen times over the last couple of weeks.

[00:37:10.980] – Allan

But I said here's what's going on. The squat is a much more complex exercise, meaning there's a lot more moving parts and you haven't mastered those yet. So we're not going to put a heavy load on a body that's not with good form, okay? That's the support and guidance and stuff I'm providing. Now, she could load 120 on that bar and easily squat it. Now she'd probably hurt herself by not doing it with good form. So we're easing into that. So the self awareness of I'm learning form, and once I learn the form, I can actually maximize the strength because I'll start actually using my glutes instead of my quads.

[00:37:51.980] – Allan

And then so again, back to which I said, you kind of went through all three of them. Two is understand why you're doing what you're doing. Why is Allan holding me at 60 pounds on the squat and I'm already at 60 pounds on the bench press? And the reality is I'm doing that on purpose because we don't want to get hurt. The form when the form comes. This lady, I told her when she started to do this quiet, I said, you could throw that bar through the ceiling. If you just use your glutes and the power that you have, you could easily just launch that thing through the roof. When you figure it out, when you fire those glutes at the bottom and you figure that out, you're going to see that weight just lighten up, like just melt, and you're going to be able to do a lot more.

[00:38:32.920] – Allan

So just realize that the investment in yourself, understanding what you're doing and why you're doing it and then checking in with yourself, I mean, those are all critical to doing it right, keeping yourself on path. But to me, the number one on all of these is you just have to get started.

[00:38:51.740] – Rachel


[00:38:52.610] – Allan

If you're not starting, you're not finishing.

[00:38:56.230] – Rachel


[00:38:56.870] – Allan

Okay. I know that's the hardest part, but it's that mindset of, oh, I have to do something.

[00:39:05.720] – Speaker 2

Please, just take that step and do something. I think sometimes we get paralyzed with fear because we don't know what to do or where to start. And then we get paralyzed with the vast internet and all the data that surrounds us, and we know even less where to go and what to start and what to do. But I think if you listen to yourself and try and figure out what your strengths are, then you can just branch out and try something.

[00:39:33.050] – Allan

Yeah. It's as simple as this. I had a client that she was really out of shape, I mean, really deep conditioned. And she said, Allan, I get winded walking to my car in the driveway. OK? That's where her conditioning was at that point in time. And I said, okay. I said, here's what I want you to do. I want you to go to your car in the morning and I want you to do one lap around your car.

[00:40:00.310] – Allan

And she said, what's that going to do? I said, you're going to end up taking about 30 more steps than you took to get to your car. And I said, after a week, let's talk about it. And she's like, well, okay, I can do a lap around my car. I said, okay, now do two. Okay. Within a few weeks, she's walking around the neighborhood. She's dropping weight. Now, because she's moving, she's starting to look at nutrition differently. It really creates this environment of, oh, if I'm improving my health by walking, then I probably shouldn't be eating those Doritos for dinner. True story. It happens, but the math starts to hit in your head. It's like, oh, well, if I'm doing this, I should do that.

[00:40:48.170] – Allan

The crux of all of this is there are no hacks.

[00:40:51.350] – Rachel

No shortcuts.

[00:40:52.230] – Allan

Okay? You can hack a computer because it's a language, it's a functions. You can hack a human. You can sit there and say, hey, I'm from AT&T, and we're noticing there's a problem with your credit card bill. Could you give me your credit card number, your Pin code, and I need your Social Security number? And before you know it, people are hacked, and they're giving all that information. They're talking to the AT&T person because they've been having trouble with AT&T, and then they're like, oh, they're calling me to fix it. I'm going to give them all the information to fix it. You can be hacked.

[00:41:23.450] – Allan

Science cannot be hacked. And so weight loss and fitness and all that biology, it's chemistry, it can't be hacked. But your brain is a powerful function over the way the body works. And if you get your mindset right, then motivation, finding time, those vanish.

[00:41:52.370] – Rachel

Yeah. And you get committed, and you enjoy the change, and it just propels you further forward.

[00:42:00.710] – Allan

So if you don't take anything from all of this that we've talked about, here is one. Just get started, and all the rest of these things will start to make sense to you as you find yourself at a different point in the journey. But if you don't take the first step, you're not on the journey.

[00:42:20.210] – Rachel

Yeah, great advice.

[00:42:23.270] – Allan

All right, well, anything else, Rachel?

[00:42:25.580] – Rachel

No, this is fantastic.

[00:42:27.250] – Allan

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

[00:42:29.240] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:42:30.070] – Allan

You too.


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

– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
– Deb Scarlett– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


August 2, 2022

Frequently asked weight loss questions

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Trying to lose weight when you're over 40 brings a whole new set of challenges. On episode 549 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, Rachel and I answer the most frequently asked weight loss questions.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:21.070] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:03:22.360] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:24.790] – Allan

I'm doing all right.

[00:03:26.300] – Rachel


[00:03:29.870] – Allan

If you kind of followed the news outside the United States, then you know that there's a lot of countries, particularly countries that have a large proportion of their people that are living right at or below the poverty line. And Panama is one where they have some individuals here that are really rich and there's a lot of individuals that are pretty much hand to mouth. What they make today, they eat today kind of people. And so with the way prices and inflation has been going up, it's making it really difficult for these folks. And so there's basically strikes/ protests going on around the country. And what that means is their favorite way to protest is to basically just shut down roads. So all across the country you have various industries that are completely going on strike. Transportation is one of the key ones. And then, yeah, they block all the roads. So what that means is that fuel, for example, isn't getting to this island because it can't get through the roadblocks. And what that means is that our power is run by generator. They're due to run out of power today. In fact, while we're recording this, my power might just go out.

[00:04:51.040] – Rachel

Oh, no.

[00:04:53.090] – Allan

But I do have a backup power. My computer is plugged in and charging, so I should be able to finish the podcast in the dark. But if it happens, it also means that people traveling around the country are getting stuck. So they get one place and then they run into a roadblock. And then before they can really turn around and come all the way back, there's another roadblock behind them and they're literally trapped on the road. It's making travel very difficult, making plan, anything. So Tammy is due to take our granddaughter back and it's like, well, I can't chance the bus because we might get stuck and spend a couple of days on the side of a highway with no services. She's concerned about that and so she's got to reconfigure her travel. They're going to have to fly to Panama City and hope that they can get to took them in the airport because that road has been blocked off a few times too. And then, yeah, I've got a trip in August, so I'm hopeful that they take care of some of this stuff and get some of these things out of the way.

[00:05:54.200] – Allan

But it is what it is. It's kind of tense, but it's not like burning down cities and stuff like that. That sometimes happens. So at least at this point, it's relatively peaceful. And yeah, there have been a few fist fights because if you're sitting on the road trying to get somewhere and you've been stuck for hours and there's just people just sitting on the road, it can kind of upset some people. So there have been some fights, fist fights and things like that, but nothing major so far. But I think as it gets going, it could blow up and be bigger. Wherever you are, be safe. It's not that this won't happen in the United States. So just realize take care of yourself, take care of your family, and the best thing you can do is take care of your health and make sure that you're in good shape that way because you just never know what's going to happen in the world for us. The Chinese proverb, may you live in interesting times. I'm there, baby.

[00:06:59.170] – Rachel

Yeah. That is very interesting. Well, I hope it gets to be a little more peaceful. I hope things resolve soon.

[00:07:06.240] – Allan

Yeah. Because the meat market where I buy most of my meat, she says she hasn't gotten a shipment. She doesn't know when she's going to get in the shipment. So we could easily run out of food on the island. In addition to running out of fuel, we capture our water. So it's been raining, so we're going to have water. But the food thing might actually start to be a problem for us. But I'm sure they'll figure something out.

[00:07:30.480] – Rachel

But my fingers are crossed.

[00:07:32.950] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:07:34.390] – Rachel

Good. For this early morning podcast, I had to get up a little bit earlier than normal, so I got to see the sunrise this morning and enjoyed a wonderful morning run and have a coffee sitting here with me while we chat today. And I'm just in a good place. It's going to be a good day.

[00:07:52.640] – Allan

Yes, it's going to be a good day. And the reason we're recording this early is we want to have a little extra time. And so we pushed our recording to a different day and then all of the conflicts and things that I had, this was the only time we could record. But this is a special episode because this is going to be one of our question and answer episodes and we want to have these more regularly. So if you have questions about anything, you can join us on our Facebook Group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. And in the group occasionally I will post for questions like I did this time.

And then you also, Rachel, you posted in your page, Strong Souls. Strong Souls?

[00:08:34.820] – Rachel

Yes, Strong Souls.

[00:08:36.770] – Allan

I don't know why I can't stick that in my head. I know it's you. When I see the post. I said, okay, that's Rachel.

Weight Loss Questions

[00:08:45.770] – Allan

This week we are going to discuss frequently asked weight loss questions. We had a few people that did submit some questions, and then some of the other questions that I put in here were questions that I get all the time from my clients or questions that I've seen regularly either on the group or just in other forums.

[00:09:05.630] – Allan

So I wanted to talk about those. So today we're going to talk about weight loss questions. Now, the first question comes from Melissa, and I believe Melissa is a client of yours and she's in your Strong Souls page group. She posted the question, what should be the number one thing to focus on? And she said macros, water, exercise. I'm going to add calories because a lot of people ask about whether they should do calories in, calories out and all of that. And you're not going to like the answer to this, Melissa, but the answer is it depends.

[00:09:43.150] – Rachel


[00:09:44.750] – Allan

it depends. I've seen people be extremely successful just by focusing on their calories. They do the calories in, the calories out, and the formula just seems to fall in place for them. They eat a little bit less, they lose some weight, and they feel good. So there's that. If you decide you want to try to do some macros based stuff like keto or low carb, then obviously now you're focused on the macros a little bit more. We all know that drinking enough water is important to stay hydrated and sometimes full. So you start feeling a little hungry, drink some water, you kind of lose that.

[00:10:27.980] – Allan

You get that fullness sensation and the hunger kind of goes away. So if it's binges and kind of urges and things like that, water can be a great tool. And then exercise. And we're going to talk a little bit more about exercise. There's another question on this later, a few questions on this later because we talk about exercise. But exercise should not be your weight loss plan. It seldom works. Yes, you're increasing your calorie usage, but there are reasons why sometimes your body still won't lose the weight. So exercise is important. It's important for a lot of reasons. It can be a tool, just a tool in your tool chest that makes losing weight a little easier. And mentally it probably helps a lot because I've noticed as I get people moving, they suddenly start paying a lot more attention to the other things that can make them healthy. They actually start eating better because it's kind of like, well, I went for that run this morning and now I'm in the drive thru at McDonald's. That feels kind of weird. And so you start maybe eating a little bit better, you start working out, you get more energy, and you have more energy now cooking, batch cooking, doing the things to have healthy food, putting a little bit energy, more energy into that you're able to.

[00:11:47.340] – Allan

So from my perspective, you have to pick a strategy that you know will work for you that can be focused on macros, that can be focused on calories. And then the water and the exercise are tools that you carry along with you regardless of the way you choose to do this, that then become ways that you can make sure that the weight loss is consistent. And yeah, if you find yourself plateauing, well, put a couple of hit workouts in your month and that might be just the thing to trigger it. But the other thing I'd caution is, I think sometimes when people do macros, they forget the calories count.

[00:12:24.430] – Rachel


[00:12:25.730] – Allan

And I've got lots of friends in this industry that are keto, and they've been keto for five years, six years, seven years, and they are still obese. And I can kind of tell them why they don't like the answer, but the answer is that they're overeating. Their macros are fine. Their body knows how to use the fat for energy. They're just eating too much and they're not moving enough.

[00:12:54.040] – Rachel


[00:12:56.030] – Allan

Both yeah. Go ahead.

[00:12:57.550] – Rachel

So that's where I was going to go, too, is one of the things I like to say, is, if you can measure it, you can monitor it. And with the apps nowadays, like Fitness Pal and there's a number of different food diary apps you can use, I think that we are not fully aware of how many calories we're eating and in what macros specifically, it's just easy for our mind to think, yeah, we're only having a half a cup or a quarter cup of nuts. When you really go down to measure it, you're eating a full cup or something or cereal or a glass of milk or whatever it is that you're eating. We just have this way of not really recognizing the true volume of what we're eating, and in that case, we're not really recognizing the true number of calories that we're eating. So that's what I would have suggested. If you can measure it, you can monitor it and then find your weak points. If you start measuring what foods you're eating and paying attention to any trends, you might notice that maybe you're having too many carbs in a day or too much fat in a day or too much of something else in a day, in which case, if you're eating too much of something, then you're lacking in something else.

[00:14:08.280] – Rachel

So it's really good to keep some sort of a food diary and observe any trends in your habits and see what you can do better.

[00:14:16.320] – Allan

Yeah. And just what you said. Your example of half a cup of nuts that then turns into a full cup of nuts, let's break that down. A serving of nuts is about 2oz. Ounce or 2oz. So you could be having anywhere from four to eight servings of nuts. And you look on there and it's like, oh, well, it's 160 calories for a serving of nuts. Well, guess what you just did. You ate 800 calories of nuts.

[00:14:44.090] – Rachel

I'm good at this. I know this trend very well because this is what I do. I'll measure my food, a quarter cup of nuts, and it looks like a little bit of a hill in the palm of my hand. I can fit this much ounces of nuts in my hand. And so then I put the measuring cup away and I start pouring the nuts in my hand, and the pile gets a little bigger and a little bigger. Oh, it's just a few more nuts. It's just a few extra calories, but it snowballs it can be a lot more calories, and it's just easy for our minds to kind of overlook that. So it's important to measure and monitor.

[00:15:18.390] – Allan

Yeah, because an almond is about 16 calories,

[00:15:22.610] – Rachel

so they add up really fast

[00:15:24.450] – Allan

really fast. A couple extra in there, and over time that's more calories. And so, again, they both matter. Your body is going to react to different foods, different ways. Certain things are going to be inflammatory for you. Inflammation causes you to weight more. Even though it's not fat, it causes some other problems. And you do retain water and all this stuff with inflammation. So you're going to weigh more. You just naturally are just having a balance to this and looking for what does work for you is going to be the key for this.

[00:15:59.810] – Rachel

You know, a good point on the inflammation. Right now it's the middle of summer and we should be chugging water like it's going out of style. We're sweating a lot. If we're working outside, we need to replace that. But if you're eating a lot of carbs and drinking a lot of water, you're going to feel a little bloated. You could see that scale change a little bit, and you just have to recognize that you're drinking a lot of water for a reason. It's important to have this in you, and it might cause a little inflammation. It might cause you to bloat up a little bit. And so just don't be so hard on yourself if you're going on a run like I did this morning, I sweated buckets, but I also drank a ton of water when I got home. And so if I step on the scale, it's not going to reflect what I'm really doing on a day to day basis.

[00:16:45.300] – Allan

Yeah, I typically ask my clients to weigh themselves first thing in the morning, get up, do your little potty break, and then step on the scale. And typically that's the lightest weight we're going to weigh that day because overnight we've kind of dehydrated a little bit. We haven't drink any water, we haven't eaten any food. And then if we just went to the bathroom, we've gotten rid a little bit.

[00:17:09.650] – Rachel

Yeah, right.

[00:17:10.560] – Allan

Okay, now you weigh yourself, and then I also recommend that you not weigh yourself every day if you're someone who's going to kind of get yourself a little put back. Because what could happen is on day one, you lose a pound and you're really excited. That's a whole pound in a day, that's great. And then the next day you gain half a pound. The third day you gain a pound, and the fourth day you lose a pound. Now if you sat there and weighed yourself every day, you had a loss and then you had two gains. And for a lot of people that early in there, they're going to sit there and say, oh, my God, I'm gaining weight. I wanted to lose weight. And then what they do is if you weigh yourself out every four days, you've lost a pound and a half in four days, and that's good. You're targeting about a pound to a pound and a half, maybe 2 pounds in a week. You're three quarters of the way there, baby. You're there or three quarters of the way there for a max loss of 2 pounds. You've done really good, and you should be proud of that.

[00:18:16.420] – Allan

But if you let yourself get disgruntled or want to quit because the scale didn't go down every day, because guess what? It won't ever go down every day unless you just start cutting off body parts, if you're cutting off body parts, then absolutely, you can lose weight every single day until you can't. But that's kind of the whole part of this is to say, okay, I have to be reasonable about it. How does my mind work? And don't necessarily weigh yourself every day. Weigh yourself for trends. Don't track your food every day if you don't feel like doing it, track it for trends one day and say, okay, I'm going to track what I'm eating. I'm going to weigh it. I'm going to look at it. I'm going to make sure that I got all my servings right. I've got my calories right. My fitness pal is great for that because it's a very big database. But some of the items on the database aren't 100% correct. They do need you to pay attention, because I couldn't tell you what 100 grams of steak looks like.

[00:19:19.820] – Rachel

Oh, gosh no.

[00:19:20.730] – Allan

but that's not what you pop up 100 grams of steak, and they make out like that's a serving. I'm like, okay, I look at steak by ounces, and I know that the palm of my hand, just the palm, is about a serving size of steak. So for dinner, I might sit down and have two servings of steak, and I know that's what I'm having, because about the size of two palms. If I'm going to have chicken, I know that's my full hand. Okay, fish my whole hand, 5oz. 4oz for steak, 4oz for pork. And when you start getting that down, you know what it looks like. You talked about the palm of your hand and the almonds. Yes, that's exactly what we're talking about. You start understanding what a serving is just because you spent a little time studying it, what it looks like. And so with some of my clients, instead of doing my fitness pal and tracking, I just say, send me photographs. Just take a picture of your meals and send them to me, and then if I see something, I'll say something. But for them, they'll think, okay, well, that was a serving of chicken.

[00:20:23.140] – Allan

I'm like, when you went to that restaurant, they gave you three servings of chicken. You thought that was one serving of potato. No, that was probably three servings of potato. And so you got to get that and understand that. But however you go about that, that's really important. So it does depend and you just have to find a way of eating that really works for you. And these other tools, get them in your tool chest and it will happen.

[00:20:50.910] – Rachel

Yes. Perfect.

[00:20:52.190] – Allan

All right. Now, the second question is kind of related. Is low carb better than low fat?

[00:20:59.260] – Rachel

That's a good one.

[00:21:00.600] – Allan

So I'm going to let you start on this, Rachel, because you do you and what you do works. So I want to hear your side of it first.

[00:21:09.160] – Rachel

Well, all of us are different, so again, I'll wave the flag of it depends on who you are, but for my personal opinion is that low carb is better than low fat. I think we need the healthy fats in our diets because they deliver so many important nutrients and energy that we don't get. But it's the carbs that I definitely keep an eye on, because not all carbs are good for you. And it's not just bread carbs that we think of, although those are the ones that we tend to overdose on, and I use that word specifically. We have cereal grains at breakfast and toast and sandwiches with giant submarine sandwich buns at lunch and then dinner rolls for dessert and cakes and things, cookies for desserts. We get so many carbs each and every single day and they all taste good, but they actually do nothing for us. There's very few nutrients in these types of products. So when I think of carbs, I think of the carbs that I'll get in the fibrous fruits and vegetables that I choose to eat. So my opinion is you just got to keep an eye on those carbs and just don't overdose on them.

[00:22:27.590] – Rachel

I'm not going to say everyone needs to go keto or any such thing, but I am saying again, if you measure it, you can monitor it. And I just think that we get way too many carbs in our day to day diet than we need. We can't use all the energy and then it just turns into fat later on.

[00:22:43.570] – Allan

Yes, I do also tend towards low carb with most people because what I found is you can feel satiated longer with fewer calories.

[00:22:55.310] – Rachel


[00:22:56.250] – Allan

But where I would caution on either of these is realize how smart the food industry is and when we start having these things like low fat, when low fat came out, all the products hit the market. Low fat, you walk into a grocery store now, sometimes it is hard to find full fat yogurt.

[00:23:16.630] – Rachel

It is. And I'm looking

[00:23:18.830] – Allan

and literally, you go to the milk place and it's like they'll have one little space for the whole milk and then skim milk and semi skimmed milk, low fat milk and all of that and all the other stuff where they're taking out the lactose so you'll find more milk that's not whole milk than milk. And so just be cautious that they do that. And then now with low carb, as that started, really kind of getting some traction, you're seeing the same thing. They're making products that are higher in fat and lower in basic carbs or a lot more fiber. So your net carbs are lower, which fiber is good, but a lot of what they're putting together is not food. And so it's easy to get trapped into the well, this is a keto friendly snack. This is a keto friendly meal. I go in there and there's a TV dinner, and it says keto man. And there's your toss it in microwave. It's processed stuff.

[00:24:21.240] – Rachel

It's still processed

[00:24:22.490] – Allan

and your body is not good. So the true answer is whole food. Now, rather, that has a lot more fat in it. It should have the right fats in it.

[00:24:34.430] – Allan

So you're trying to get your omega threes. You're trying to get the healthy fats from nuts and seeds and olives and avocados and those types of things, and you can find what works. The reason low fat is a diet thing at all is because fat has more calories than carbs, but it also has a higher energy requirement to use it. And it stays in your system longer, so you stay fuller longer. Protein has the same number of carbs calories as carbs, but it's going to stay, takes a lot more energy to burn it and use it. That's called the thermal effect of food. And it's going to stay in your system longer and you'll stay fuller longer. So a high fat, medium protein food stuff is going to take longer. You're going to burn more energy burning it than you would with carbs. Some carbs will hit your system like a sugar freight train.

[00:25:34.840] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:25:36.170] – Allan

And your blood sugar is going to spike up. You have all this energy. You're going to feel great, but you're not burning it. So what's going to happen immediately thereafter is your insulin is going to kick in. It's going to pull it out, it's going to put it where it puts it, which if you haven't burned it out of your muscle and liver, it's going to put it in fat for short term storage, it thinks. But we know it stays there a lot longer. And then you're going to sugar crash. And so you had that high carb, low fat breakfast. You had the juice, you had the cereal, and it's fortified. And it's fortified, so it's healthy. And then your blood sugar plummets at 10:00 and you find yourself snacking. And if you didn't bring a healthy snack to snack on you're at the vending machine or yeah, and then boom, another sugar rush. And then lunch comes and you can kind of see how this roller coaster of up and down with your blood sugar is not serving you at all.

[00:26:34.200] – Rachel

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:26:35.340] – Allan

Now, low fat makes it easier to be sustained for longer. When you get to where your body is comfortable burning a good amount of fat, it'll start looking at your body as food. I've got body fat here. I've got enough energy to last the rest of my life. I never have to eat again. And you might actually find that you're not as hungry and you forget to eat. I know that sounds weird in the culture, but you can forget about food. You cannot think about food. 24/7. But it does take understanding what real food is. And just because you go low carb does not mean you're not eating vegetables. Okay? And it does not mean you're not eating fruit. I want to put that out there. There are ways for you to include fruit in your diet and still be low carb or keto. There are ways for you to make sure you're getting adequate vegetables and a good variety of vegetables and the fiber and things that they bring. I just did an interview. It's going to air in a few weeks. When we talk about this, we talk about this very thing. Food is medicine and how having what we would call more of a plant based diet is actually better for you.

[00:27:48.200] – Allan

And guess what? You can be plant based and low carb.

[00:27:51.950] – Rachel

Well, you also mentioned real foods, real fruits, real vegetables, real protein sources, things that didn't come out of a box or a jar. And since you mentioned that, too, if you're eating like that, then you're also keeping an eye on sugars. And that, I think, is even more hideous than anything else, because if you're looking at a low fat or a low carb food or low calorie food, what they do is they put a ton of sugar in it, and there's probably 30, 40, 50 different names for the word sugar. And it just is hidden in all these foods. And you don't realize how much sugar you're getting throughout the day. And if you start reading labels and watching for how many sugars are in a product and not even added sugars are the worst, but just all of the different sugars that are in products, you would be so surprised how much sugar you're getting in a day. And that's probably worse than anything else.

[00:28:47.370] – Allan

Yeah, I'm running a sugar challenge. I set it up, kind of, to run Evergreen now. So if you want to take the Sugar Challenge, you can go to 40plusfitness.com/sugar. It's a low cost program. It's 28 days. It'll teach you how much sugar you're eating. It'll teach you why you don't want to be eating that much sugar. And I set goals for various levels of sugar. And it's interesting. People will come back and say, there's no way I can keep my sugar below 25 grams. And, like, people do it all the time, and they lose weight and they feel great. But the thing is, this is, you don't know how much you're eating, but the average person, I want you to think average person is eating 152 pounds of sugar per year

[00:29:38.460] – Rachel

and no one thinks that. And because it's hidden. It's hidden in all these foods. And you just don't think it's not just candy bars, it's not just ice cream, it's hidden, it's in pasta sauces and pizza sauces and just all the things that we add to our foods. It's ridiculous.

[00:29:56.130] – Allan

Yeah. So if you're interested in cutting your sugar back or paying attention to it, I think this is a really good challenge to take you through 28 days to get sugar out of your life, or at least get it down to a manageable level, and you're going to feel a lot better for it.

[00:30:11.730] – Rachel

I think that'll be great.

[00:30:13.230] – Allan

Okay, so the next question in our weight loss questions is what exercises are best for weight loss?

[00:30:20.330] – Rachel

That's a good one.

[00:30:21.310] – Allan

Okay. And I'm going to go ahead and push this one also over to you, Rachel.

[00:30:25.270] – Rachel

Really? You're not going to believe what I'm going to answer.

[00:30:27.810] – Allan

You're the runner. You're the runner.

[00:30:29.930] – Rachel


[00:30:30.720] – Allan

Come on, run those pounds off, lady.

[00:30:33.720] – Rachel

The best exercise, the absolute best exercise is the one you're going to do. Honestly, just find something that you love to do and start doing it. Walking, running, hiking, going to the gym, lifting, hit classes. If you're going to do it and stick to it, you have some consistency, then it's going to work for you. But everyone is different. Everyone has different preferences, everyone has different abilities. But there are some exercises that are probably better and more calorie burning than others. But honestly, if you're not going to go do it, then what good is it?

[00:31:08.870] – Allan

As I said in the first answer to the first question, it was, okay. Exercise should not be your strategy for weight loss to start with. Okay. You're not going to burn enough exercising to do any sizeable weight loss. I think a Snickers bar has, what, 350 calories?

[00:31:29.640] – Rachel


[00:31:30.160] – Allan

I'm guessing. Okay, if you eat a Snickers bar, you'll eat that Snickers bar in less than two or three minutes.

[00:31:35.740] – Rachel


[00:31:36.560] – Allan

In most cases, people are not savoring a Snickers bar, they're scarfing the Snickers bar. Okay. And you eat that Snickers bar, it's 350 calories. It will take you an hour of moderate exercise. So that whole fitness class, that whole hit class you did where you sweated your butt off for an hour, that's just the Snicker bar.

[00:31:57.040] – Rachel


[00:32:00.570] – Allan

Go ahead.

[00:32:01.520] – Rachel

What I like to say is you cannot run away from your diet. You can't. And as a runner, I'd rather run than do anything else every day, but I can't outrun the diet. It's just impossible.

[00:32:15.770] – Allan

And so, yeah, I agree with you on doing the exercises

[00:32:18.950] – Rachel

it's important.

[00:32:20.320] – Allan

Like to do, that's important. But also, I want you, as you start thinking about your overall health and fitness journey, to think about exercise as a different way. We use words like exercise, workout, that kind of stuff. I prefer to think of it in terms of training, and so it's trained to be who you want to be. So when you're 80 years old, do you want to be frail and weak? Do you want your bones to be brittle and weak? And I think for most of us, the answer would be no. I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. Call me weird, but I want to be independent, and I want to live in a good, long, healthy life. So exercise is important for that, and that includes weight training. So I have strong muscles and dense bones, and so I think resistance training needs to be in there. I think having stamina work, which can include running, biking, hiking, classes, all of that is great for building stamina. And then you can also work on other things like balance and mobility and agility and other things for what you enjoy in life.

[00:33:33.920] – Allan

Now, exercise does burn calories, so it can be a tool that will help. And what I've also found and I said this before, was when people start exercising, they start paying attention. When they start paying attention, they start eating better, they start trying to get better sleep. They try to work on stress management. And in many cases, exercise becomes a part of their stress management process. I used to love not love, but if I got really stressed out at work or really angry at work happening a lot, I would throw around really heavy weights in the gym. It's like suddenly I'm going beast mode in the gym because I need to get that negative energy out of my body. And I'm not talking to anybody. I'm just in there. Okay, I got the bar loaded. Deadlifts. Kill it. I can put 20 more on there because I'm just that mad. And the thing about exercise that I also want to caution is sometimes exercise can be counterproductive to weight loss. When I was training for marathons, I ate more, and I didn't realize how much more I was eating. And I was eating runner food, which at the time was pasta.

[00:34:52.280] – Rachel

Oh, boy.

[00:34:52.980] – Allan

So I was the pasta theme. I was eating pasta every day, carb up and be able to run further and faster and all that. And I would put on weights. I'd start training, I'd be about 185 pounds, and then boom. By the time I was running the marathon, I'm over 195. They have a category for that called Clydesdales. So, yeah, I'm standing there with all these skinny people about to do a marathon, and they're all looking at me like, dude, you don't need to be doing this. You need to be doing something with of course you're lifting weights, your body might retain water, you're going to put on muscle. And so all those things will say, maybe you're not going to lose weight because of your exercising. But if your training is important enough for what you want to be, the weight loss will come. And that's the other side of it. Exercising, stress management, sleep, those are ways to manage your health. And a healthy body realizes it doesn't need the body fat anymore. There's nothing scary going on. If you're feeding your body the standard American diet, you're sending out a constant signal, we're going to die.

[00:36:00.710] – Allan

We're eating poison because there's nothing else to eat. And there is. It's all over the round, the outside of the grocery store. When you start putting whole food in there and you're doing these other things, your body starts feeling healthy. And then it says, you know what, I don't need to hold on to this extra bit of body fat. I can safely let it go. Okay.

[00:36:22.610] – Rachel

The other thing is, ads are made in the kitchen, right? We've all heard this, and it is important. And as far as if your focus is on weight loss, the kitchen is where you want to start. But exercise enhances that weight loss. If you're out there moving and have an active lifestyle, you are going to shed a few more calories maybe than what you're taking in. But it's something that it goes hand in hand. You've got to watch and do the other. The other thing with exercise, specifically with running, like I like to do, and most of my clients are athletes, are runners, we learn really quickly what not to eat really quickly. The stomach ailments that runners get are really fun. And so you learn, like you mentioned the drive thru at McDonald's or something. If you go for a run after having that, you might end up with heartburn, you might end up with the runners tracks. I think again, you start to realize, well, this food isn't serving me. It's not helping me not only in the weight loss health realm, but it's also not helping me be better at the exercise that I'm choosing.

[00:37:27.720] – Rachel

Running, lifting weights. I'm sure you've been in the gym feeling, oh, I probably shouldn't have had that for lunch, as you're trying to lift the weight, I think the two things go very well hand in hand.

[00:37:39.110] – Allan

Yeah, I prefer to exercise faster, so typically if I'm doing anything I didn't eat that day, or like, I'm going to do the tough mudder, I'm going to have a breakfast. I start the tough mudder at ten, so I'm probably going to get up a little early and I'll go have a breakfast. And it'll probably be what I normally eat, lots of eggs. So I'll have some eggs for breakfast and depending on where I am, maybe bacon with that. But for the most part, it's just going to be eggs. And so it'll be the weird guy who walks in and says, okay, I want five to six eggs and then I'll eat them all. But then I'll digest them, and they won't be in my stomach. They'll probably be somewhere around my small intestine or large intestine before I start the run. And it's something I eat every day, almost every day. So I know my body tolerates it. And then I'll do my tough mudder. I won't eat during the Tough Mudder because I don't have to. I don't have to feel it that way. But I know, and it's somewhat happening now, is that I'm not losing weight because I'm training for a Tough Mudder.

[00:38:46.910] – Allan

I wanted to lose weight. I started trying to lose weight, and I did lose some. I lost a bit, but I haven't hit my goal. And now I'm realizing I may not. And I'm okay with that because I know that I'm in a condition to be able to complete the Tough Mudder, and that was the goal. So it's setting your mind and understanding that if you have these competing things, you have to take a step back. And I would never prioritize weight loss over fitness. I would never prioritize weight loss over health.

[00:39:26.190] – Rachel

Perfect. It's important.

[00:39:29.550] – Allan

All right, the next question is, I haven't changed my diet, but I stopped losing weight. Why?

[00:39:36.930] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Are we at a plateau?

[00:39:40.710] – Allan

We may be at a plateau. I think some people call the plateau way early. Well, if you're weighing yourself every day and you go two days without losing weight, I'm at a plateau. What am I going to do? Now, the way I like to think of plateaus is this, if what you're doing is good for you, good for your health, and it may not be like a plateau. It may just be a ledge on the side of the mountain. So you've been climbing this mountain and doing really well and feeling really good about what you did, and now you get up onto a ledge, and it's flat or maybe even feels like it's going sloping down a little bit. Well, if you stop there and say, I'm not climbing anymore, then you're not going up the mountain anymore either. So you have to walk across that ledge. You got to spend some time there until you get to the point of the mountain where you can start climbing again.

[00:40:40.290] – Rachel


[00:40:40.980] – Allan

Okay. So you're doing the right things, and sometimes just all you need to do is just hang in there, keep moving forward, keep eating the way you're eating, keep training the way you're training, keep doing the things you've been doing for your health, and then your body will get past this set point, past this plateau. I can tell you that's for a lot of people, it's really hard. Well, it is, because you just don't see that progress, which is why I'm also a big fan of not just measuring weight loss as a metric, measuring other things, like your waist circumference, your hip circumference, looking at your blood work. I mean, if your A1C is dropping and you're no longer prediabetic or diabetic when the doctor is saying, I can take you off of your blood pressure medicine, or I can lower the amount of medication that you're taking for blood pressure, that's a huge win, okay? And if you can fit in a smaller dress size, even though you weigh the same big win, who cares, right?

[00:41:43.680] – Rachel


[00:41:45.030] – Allan

So there is that and then there are other things you can do to jump set this. Okay? So the plateau is important for one core reason, and this is why your body likes consistency. Your body wants to stay the same, same is safe. Change is scary, and we feel that way about everything else we do. Our body feels the same way. So you'll notice that your heart rate resting heart rate stays about the same. Unless you train up, it'll change a bit. Your blood PH stays the same. It's in a certain range. Your body temperature stays in a certain range. Those are healthy ranges. Your body wants to keep your blood sugar within a safe range. And so your body is constantly fighting to make those things happen. And all these processes throughout this very complex system, multiple systems on top of systems, is going to cause your body from time to time to want to stop losing weight, just like it would stop everything else. It wants to stay the same. So you're going to have these set points that are going to happen. Everybody has them, everybody hits them. And then just for one reason or another, the scale does not want to budge.

[00:43:08.260] – Allan

Now, what we didn't realize is we also had set points on the way up, and some of those we blew right past, and some of those we saved. Someone will tell me, for five years, I stayed at 230 pounds and they were like, then it's like someone hit a switch and I'm at 269 and gaining, I got to do something. I'm like, yeah, okay, so you had a set point and you broke that set point and now you're at another set point going up. This is a great time to say, okay, let's go back down. But there's a set point. So you have to start working your way down and you might get back down to that 230 and find, yeah, that's another set point I'm going to struggle to get past. So just recognize those are normal. Your body's not angry?

[00:43:51.750] – Rachel

No. I think that we hit a lot of plateaus, like you had mentioned, because we don't give what we're doing enough time to work. We're not very patient people and we want to see overnight success. So first sit in, like you said, sitting, and do what you're doing for a while and see if results come after that. But then when we do hit a plateau again, or we're not making any progress, maybe it's time to switch it up. Maybe it's time to do something different. Reevaluate remeasure what you're doing food wise and exercise wise and really dive deep into what you're doing to see what can you do to change. And I do want to point out, too, that a lot of people decide that this is a good time to cut calories, and cutting calories may not be the answer.

[00:44:39.600] – Allan

Yeah, I agree with you. I think it's really important to kind of reiterate one of the things you said. This is a good time to start measuring. And what you may find is you've let some carbs slip in there, you didn't really realize what was happening, and now your body's acting like it's in maintenance and it's running in maintenance. It's not wanting to lose that weight. So that's really important. This is a good time to get the scale out, get the measuring cups out for a few days, pay attention to what you're eating and what your portion sizes are and kind of rebate yourself. So then the next step would be yes. What tools and what things have I used that have done this for me in the past? So some people it can be. I'm going to implement an additional hit class this week, and I'll do that for the next three or four weeks and see if that helps me break this plateau. It could be unless you mentioned water. It could be. Okay, I'm really not drinking enough water. I'm going to start drinking a little bit more water and see how I feel.

[00:45:42.690] – Allan

And then again with the measuring, if you find okay, yeah. Let some carbs in there. Tap them back down. Get them back down. Increase your fiber intake. Increase your protein intake. Good, too. You might need to lower your fat intake. So you might have your macros nailed down, and you're in ketosis, and you're still not losing weight. As I mentioned, I have friends that have been doing keto for years and still obese. Start thinking about what the food you're eating is. They like to make those keto pizzas and the keto pies and the keto cakes and all that, and those are regular things they're eating. Almond flour is still a processed food. Okay? And while it's not going to give you the insulin spike and the sugar spike and all of that, your body is still digesting it and using it. It's there. And so you just got to think about how whole food am I? And am I doing the right thing? Am I eating enough vegetables? Am I getting enough protein? And if the fat's out there and just you're eating a ton of fat, your body doesn't really need to burn body fat because you're doing that.

[00:46:51.990] – Allan

It could be that you cut back on a macro like fat, and maybe you bump up your protein a little bit, and that could be the change that makes it happen. But it's normal to be at that point, and you need to sit in it, and you need to walk across that ledge. You got to get back to the mountain climbing. You're still moving forward, and that's the other side. If you know what you're doing is good for you, you're still moving forward, even if you don't see it on the scale. So keep doing what you're doing and then reevaluate to see if you need to do something perfect.

[00:47:27.290] – Rachel

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:47:28.420] – Allan

All right. And we have one more question, and this comes from Hope in our Facebook group. How do you lose weight around the mid section? And I hear similar questions like this. How do I lose weight in my hips or my neck or my arms? Like the behind the arms, the tricep area, they got the wings and that type of thing. So Rachel I'll let you kind of jump on this one a little bit.

[00:47:54.350] – Rachel

Yeah. I wish I had the answer. That question probably make a million bucks off of that. But fat doesn't come off that way when you're eating well and exercising a lot, it just sheds evenly all over your body. So you really can't target one specific area with weight loss, but you can target specific areas in the gym with weight training.

[00:48:19.650] – Allan

Yeah, you're absolutely right. We can't really target this, but we can look at what are some reasons that this happens, particularly for women. So for men, it's a natural thing for us to store body fat around our body, but then it'll predominantly be in the stomach area as we're gaining weight that we really don't need. So once we start getting past the healthy BMI, the body fat is likely to accumulate in the stomach. And I'll say if you eat a lot of bread, you drink a lot of beer and maybe even some other alcohols, that's where it's going to want to store that fat. So a lot of it can be the foods and the drinks that you're choosing to put in your mouth that could be causing the fat to be there. Other issue, and this is where it more affects women. Is it's hormones baby. Hormones are going to tell your body where to store fat. So when you're young and your estrogen was awesome and your progesterone was awesome, your body said, well, stored in the butt and stored in the boobs, because that's what guys like. That's going to help us procreate and get their attention.

[00:49:34.750] – Allan

And that's where our body would tend to store that fat. As our estrogen goes lower, as our progesterone goes lower, our body says, well, you're more like a man now. I'm sorry. That's what it says. And so it's going to start wanting to store the fat more in the mid section. So if you're in perimenopause, some women and I'm not proposing this at all. I'm not diagnosing at all. Okay. I'm not a doctor. But some women will go on hormone replacement therapy. And that does help them not put as much fat in their mid section because. Again. The hormone replacement is telling them they're a younger woman and so they can replace the hormones safely if they work with your doctor. There's a particular window when it's really safe to do this and other times it's not. And you may have some other medical issues where it's not right for you, but that's one way that you can look at this problem and say, okay, I can delay the problem or prevent the problem there. The other thing is just realizing that you're going to lose the weight in the mid section when the body is ready to get rid of that weight.

[00:50:39.070] – Allan

Again, hormones, so you can cut your calories, you can do everything else to lose weight. The mid section should go down over time. Now you might find I lose the body. Like me, I lose body fat, my face, my arms and my legs first. The mid section will be darn last to benefit. Regardless of what I do, I'm going to have that in the middle all the way until I get down to really low body fat. So I just know that's where it's going to be and there's not really anything I can do about it. It's a visceral fat. So even going into a plastic surgeon and saying, hey, look at this, they're like, can't help you there. I could do a tummy tuck, but I can't really pull that fat out of there because it's all around the liver and we really don't want to play with the liver. So short of surgery, short of hormone replacement, it's really just about trying to get yourself healthy. Not drinking beer, not eating certain carbs that are going to cause body fat gain. And that, over time should shrink your midsection. But there's really no way to spot lose outside of surgery.

[00:51:59.940] – Allan

And again, if it's a mid section fat, then most likely even surgery won't really do you any big good. And no one should think surgery is an answer to a problem like weight loss. Again, there are people that need bariatric surgery and things like that, that's fine. If it's something you need to do for your health, by all means do it. But as far as just trying to lose the body fat in the mid section, just do healthy stuff and your body will drop it as it needs to.

[00:52:32.920] – Rachel

Yes, for sure.

[00:52:34.210] – Allan

All right, so that's the end of our weight loss questions. Rachel, I appreciate your time today going through this with me. I really appreciate your take on most of these, all of them actually. Anyway. Okay. So if you have additional weight loss questions, go to our group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. You can ask your questions there. Rachel and I, we pretty much live on that page.

[00:53:04.030] – Rachel

Yes, we're there.

[00:53:05.300] – Allan

If you post something on there, you're going to get an answer from us. And if you're struggling with something and even if it's not weight loss. We're talking about weight loss questions today. But if you have exercise questions, if you have running questions, if you have lifting questions, if you have sleep questions, stress management questions, anything to deal with health and fitness and over 40 years old, we want to have you in the group, and we want to add those questions out there. And if we get a good collection of questions in other areas, we'll have another episode like this.

[00:53:36.700] – Rachel


[00:53:37.160] – Allan

And share your questions, and we'll answer them in more detail then.

[00:53:40.540] – Rachel

That would be fun.

Post Show/Recap

[00:53:41.730] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, it's great to see you again today. This early. Finish up your coffee.

[00:53:46.850] – Rachel

Thank you.

[00:53:47.270] – Allan

You've already done your run, so you're going to have an awesome day.

[00:53:50.340] – Rachel

It's going to be an awesome day.

[00:53:51.840] – Allan

All right, so you, too, have an awesome day, and we'll talk to you next week.

[00:53:56.520] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:53:57.350] – Allan

You, too. Bye

[00:53:58.390] – Rachel



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Another episode you may enjoy


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.


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


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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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to use food to manage your menopause symptoms with Dr. Anna Cabeca

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

As we age, our hormones make some drastic changes that can lead to some difficult symptoms. We all experience this, although women suffer the most with weight gain, sleep issues, and hot flashes. In her book, MenuPause, Dr. Anna Cabeca provides 5 unique eating plans to help you address these symptoms. 


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

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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.


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