How diet culture is keeping you from losing weight – Abby Langer

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In her book, Good Food Bad Diet, Abby Langer, RD explains how diet culture and the way we think about food is keeping us from losing the weight we want.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:16.080] – Allan
Hello, Ras, how you doing?

[00:02:18.570] – Ras
Good, how are you today, Allan?

[00:02:20.310] – Allan
I'm doing I'm doing good. I'm doing really good. We're I think we're we're turning a corner here in Bocas and they're starting to put some things out there that they're willing to do what they call an asynchronous opening to the country.

[00:02:35.560] – Ras
Oh, boy.

[00:02:36.540] – Allan
This means that they're going to have different rules for different parts of the country, which is good and bad. I feel bad for the parts that are going to stay more encumbered and more closed. But it looks like Bocas has done really well with keeping the virus tamed on the islands. So they've said things can open and to my knowledge, I should be able to open the gym. So when this goes live, it's February 1st.

[00:03:00.690] – Allan
Hopefully the health department will let me open. I've expanded the gym, I've brought in new equipment, and I've set up some things that'll spread everything out. I'll have some protocols. I'll have tons of cleaning materials. I'll have a thermometer. I'll have all this stuff. So we should be able to convince them that it's the right time for us to open the gym.

[00:03:22.230] – Ras
Wonderful. That would be so exciting. I'm sure all your clients will be very excited to get back to the gym.

[00:03:28.470] – Allan
I get asked every single day. Tammy gets asked several times a day. So, yes, it's a thing. Yes, people do want the gym open on the island. So I'm working towards that end and it's good. I feel really good about what we've done here at the gym to get ready. A lot of work went into it, a lot of money. Sometimes you know, sometimes when things are tough, you just invest. You invest yourself. You invest in the things that are important to you. It's not necessarily a time to hang back and just let things ride. Sometimes you have to go ahead and take the bull by the horns and barge on in and get this done.

[00:04:06.240] – Ras
Absolutely. That's exciting.

[00:04:08.740] – Allan
How are things up there in the Great White North

[00:04:11.820] – Ras
Snowy. Yeah, we've got some snow. It's beautiful up here. But like you just said, a lot of us up here are runners and we're investing in ourselves, getting ready for some spring runs. Hopefully, races will come back again. If not, I'm sure they'll be virtual. I myself actually am training for a 50 miler. It's in the summer, so it's still kind of hard to tell whether it's going to go or not. So not only am I ramping up my miles, I'm doing all the other things I need to do to be strong and healthy when I get ready for this race.

[00:04:47.430] – Ras
So my runners' workout, which your listeners can find on my website, strong-soles.com is a great bodyweight workout. I do it two or three times a week and I'm already feeling pretty good, pretty strong. So pretty excited for what this year holds.

[00:05:03.780] – Allan
Well, good. You can go to fortyplusfitnesspodcast.com/471 and I'll be sure to have that link there. Links to the book we're going to talk about today. Links to everything. So if we ever talk about a link, you can always go to the show notes and this is episode 471. So good. That's cool. That's great to hear. Rachel, I'm excited, too, because I know for most people are running, they want to run and runner's run and lifter's lift. And that really is a place for us to do a little bit of both so that we're balancing out our training and not overtraining and make ourselves more resilient.

[00:05:42.600] – Ras
Absolutely. It's good to be well balanced, cross-trained, you know, do all the different things that keep your body as a whole in good shape.

[00:05:50.700] – Allan
Yeah, well, we got a review from a listener. We get one every once in a while. So if you want to go give us a rating and review wherever you listen to this podcast, that would just be awesome. But he said we were too touchy-feely. No one's ever said that about me before, but which I think is actually good. That was part of the reason why I brought you on the show is to kind of personalize this a little bit more. And so I think that's a success.

[00:06:19.400] – Ras
Oh, well, that was nice. OK!

[00:06:22.650] – Allan
He didn't like that we were touchy-feely, but that's fine. You know, we are who we are. And like I said, I wanted to get some more balance on the show. So, Rachel, it looks like you've helped me meet that objective. So thank you for that.

[00:06:35.520] – Ras
Good. Well, thanks for letting me chat with you about all the stuff. I love this. This is great.

[00:06:41.490] – Allan
All right. Well, our guest today is a registered nutritionist, so let's go ahead and have a conversation with Abby Langer.


[00:07:19.160] – Allan
Abby, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:22.070] – Abby
Thank you. So good to be here.

[00:07:24.230] – Allan
So today we're going to talk about your book, Good Food, Bad Diet, The Habits You Need to Ditch Diet Culture, Lose Weight and Fix Your Relationship with Food Forever. I really like that title and I really like kind of the tone of the whole book because I think so many of us, we see the stuff that's going on Instagram or Facebook. I'm not even on Instagram. And it's because everyone that does what I do on Instagram is really kind of gloryizing a look, a thinness, a physique that's really probably not attainable by 90 percent of the human beings walking this earth.

[00:08:01.370] – Allan
And many of them started that way. And they've been that way their whole lives. And now they're in their 40s and 50s and look great. And that's good for them. I'm very happy for them. But it creates a culture that I think is really dangerous. And, you know, in the book, you call it diet culture. Can we can we talk a little bit about that and why this is such an insidious problem?

[00:08:21.140] – Abby
You know, it's funny that you are saying that because I was just actually on my Facebook with my daughter, who's 10, and as I was scrolling, there were these ads for yoga clothes two separate companies, actually, and the women in them were so thin. And being thin is not a bad thing, you know, but they only portray they only have thin models on these ads. There's no women in larger bodies or, you know, even average-sized bodies. As I would say.

[00:08:55.130] – Abby
It's just these extreme reed thin women advertising yoga clothes. And I said to my daughter, this is so harmful because it shows little kids that there's only one standard of beauty and certainly diet culture follows along the same way. Diet culture is something that is a philosophy, if you will, in our society that, says thin is best. That is the worst thing that you can be. And you should be thin at any cost. No matter what, because if you were thin, you'll have a great life, your life will be transformed. Which we all know is not true.

[00:09:37.990] – Allan
Well yeah, it's a hard sell. I mean, you know, it's kind of one of those things. I had Rosie Mercado on the show not long ago, and she's a plus-size model. And even within the plus-size modeling department, they have a line, they have a thinness, if you will. And so, you know, she was looking at her career and she was also looking at her health. She had young children and she was just trying to figure things out.

[00:10:05.290] – Allan
But even within that paradigm of the plus-size model, which you would think in a general sense would be, OK, we're going to let women experience and be themselves. And that was supposed to be the messaging behind that movement, if you will. And it just didn't happen that way.

[00:10:25.020] – Abby
No, it still has like you said, it's lies, I mean, plus-size, what passes for plus-size now is… I hate that word plus-size anyway. What does that even mean? But it's like a size 14, 16. It's average now.

[00:10:45.120] – Allan

[00:10:46.320] – Abby
And so it's just so awful. Like why do we have to use these labels? Women and people, in general, come in all shapes and sizes. Why is that bad?

[00:10:56.760] – Allan
You know, I think one of the reasons why we we accept some of that is that we kind of build into ourselves these core beliefs. And you talk about negative core beliefs, because we have we have a lot more negative core beliefs than we do positive, even our most optimistic people. You know, I'm a I'm a fairly optimistic person, but every once in a while, I catch one of these trolls, if you will, coming out and feeding my brain bad food or bad information.

[00:11:25.380] – Allan
In the book, you went through five top negative core beliefs. Can you can you go through that? And then you have a process that in business we would call it a root cause analysis where you just keep asking why, why, why can you walk us through that? Because there's five very important ones that I agree. I see them all the time with my clients, and I think them going through this process would be quite valuable.

[00:11:48.060] – Abby
So let's do the first one, which is thin equals lovable and thin equals attractive. So first of all, actually, before we get started, I want to talk about what a negative core belief is, because I think there might be some listeners who don't know what they are. So we all have core beliefs, whether they're negative or positive. These are beliefs that are most likely established in early childhood, and they basically govern every decision we make, including how we feel about ourselves and what we decide to eat and how many diets we want to go on among other things.

[00:12:27.420] – Abby
But they're basically how we see ourselves in the world. And so my one of the first core beliefs that I talk about is thin equals lovable and and thin equals attractive. In other words, people who have this negative core belief because it is a negative, believe that unless they weigh a certain amount or are at a certain weight, they're ugly or they're not worthy of love. And so I see this all the time. And, you know, a lot of the time it comes from having a parent who cited a lot around you when you're young and because you see your mother or your father getting on the scale or berating themselves in the way they look at.

[00:13:17.610] – Abby
And a child. I mean, I am I'm a mom and, you know, I know children pretty well. They see everything. And even though they might not say anything, they're internalizing those messages, even the subconscious messages they get. So when a child see their parents dieting, they tend to think, well, what if I'm bigger, what if I'm in a bigger body? Am I not going to know who am I? You know, and I worthy of love.

[00:13:48.820] – Abby
So it's just it's pernicious in that way because you grow you you have that negative core belief when you're younger. But unless you bother to find it and and expose it and work with it, you tend to, people to grow up with that belief into adulthood. And I've seen people in their 50s and 60s who still have these negative core beliefs in childhood. And they they don't make that connection like, oh, that actually from when I was really young. So when someone identifies their negative core beliefs, I always ask them to do a couple of things.

[00:14:29.190] – Abby
So the first thing is asking themselves if the core belief is true. Is this really true? Like, you know, where did you learn this from? And whose voice are you hearing? And is this a rational thought? Do you really believe that if you weigh one hundred and twenty five pounds, you're more worthy of love than you are at one hundred and seventy five pounds? Like, where did you learn that from? And I get them to ask themselves questions like the why ask yourself why until you're blue in the face.

[00:15:06.130] – Abby
Why. Like why do I believe this. OK, well why. And then after that happens and they expose that negative core belief for what it is, OK, maybe, you know, I actually acquired this negative core belief, like when I was young and this is my mother's voice I'm hearing in my head every time I think that. OK, lets flip this negative into a positive. So and this is the way you get rid of those negative, core beliefs. Negative core beliefs are trolls they hate the light. I think they hated the water, but they hate the light too.

[00:15:44.790] – Allan
No, you don't get them wet. You don't get them wet. But I think they were they did have an aversion to bright lights. They didn't like bright lights. And you don't get them wet.

[00:15:55.240] – Abby
OK, well, negative core belief hate the light because if it takes their power away, so we spend so much time as adults going on diets and doing everything we can to ignore these negative core beliefs, they are painful to expose. You can like I mean and I say several times in my book, you may need the help of a therapist to do this because its tough. But you can uncover some pretty tough situations or stuff. But it's important to do this work because if you've been covering them up with diets and just negative thoughts for your whole adult life, it impacts a lot and it's unhealthy.

[00:16:42.800] – Abby
So taking the core belief's power away by exposing it, turning it around in your hands and really looking at it where it came from, what it is and how it's affecting you and then switching it to a positive. So, for example, the core belief of I'm not worthy or I'm not attractive enough or thin. You know, you might want to tell yourself or write down that everybody is worthy of affection and love regardless of their weight. And it seems like intellectually we know that. Right. But emotionally, it's such a tough concept to grasp. And it takes a while because you've told yourself something different.

[00:17:27.960] – Allan
Well, yeah, with something like that… To me and again, this is this is easier said than done because we are dealing with emotions. We are dealing with some of our internal wiring. So I'm not going to say this is this easy. But from a conceptual perspective, I have to ask myself. “Would I feel that way about someone else.” As you kind of mentioned, like if I'm thinking, OK, well, I put on a little bit of weight and I'm not attractive to people, nobody's going to love me. The question I ask is, if I were with someone or interested in someone and they put on an extra 20 pounds, would I just decide they weren't worthy of love. And the answer is, that's silly. Of course, I wouldn't.

Of course not.

[00:18:11.590] – Allan
But to reverse that and say, well, that's how I expect other people to feel about me. Realize that that kind of just took all the air out of that. It's like, no, that's not how people are. And if you're with or around someone, that is get that person out of your life. I'm sorry.

[00:18:29.020] – Abby
Well, yeah. And I get people to actually in the process of turning that negative core belief into a positive, I get people to write down the proof that they're negative core belief isn't true. And that is something about, you know, people might say something like what you just said, you know, I would never do that to somebody. You know, it's the same as I talk about negative core beliefs, but I also talk about peoples hate. Because your tape is basically the negative stuff that you play in your head over and over and over again all day.

[00:19:04.270] – Abby
And I always say to people, would you say these things to someone you love? Would you say to your kids? You know, I'm so fat, I'm not worthy. I have no willpower. Which, by the way, is totally BS. Like willpower does not exist in terms of dieting. And I explain all of that in my book. But you would never say that stuff to someone. You never say, oh, yeah, Martha, you're so fat and ugly. I don't want to be your friend anymore. So like would you say to yourself? And you know, like that it's important to realize how you treat yourself and to flip it around.

[00:19:44.230] – Allan
Yeah. So we've got the thinness equals love. Negative core belief. Where are the other four?

[00:19:51.280] – Abby
So the other so the next one is food is love and food is safety. So when someone comes to me and feels like they have to eat at a certain time of day to make themselves feel better or like they tend to binge eat certain comfort food, I always ask them about, well I always ask people about their childhood anyways. But a lot of the time these people grew up in an unsafe situation, whether their parents were fighting or something along that line and those lines.

[00:20:30.400] – Abby
And they were given food as a babysitter or given food to assuage their anxiety. And as adults, they still use food as a coping mechanism because food helps them feel safe. And you know what, and food helps them feel loved. Now, I'm the first one to tell you that you can show love through food. So this is not what I'm saying, because I'm going to have people saying, you know, but food is love. OK, fine.

[00:20:59.860] – Abby
But it should never be your only tool in your coping toolbox. Right? And certainly, food does not replace love and it doesn't make you safe. So you have and it's sort of like you have the power within you to deal with tough situations without using food. But this negative core belief makes you feel as though you don't.

[00:21:26.650] – Allan
Yeah. It's easy enough to say, OK, this is not just exactly like, OK, there's a bad breakup and the girl goes and gets the Häagen-Dazs and sits with a bowl of ice cream or the guy goes to the bar with his buddies and drinks a few beers.

[00:21:42.190] – Abby
This is like chronic overeating, because you don't want to face what is making you feel unsafe inside. And it's horrible. It's sad. But you know I always tell people you know, this is tough work. My book is not like, oh, here's what to eat. And here's a grocery list and it's a meal plans and go see you later. It's like, OK, I truly believe that there is no long-lasting, meaningful change in nutrition, if you don't clean out your closet first. You've got to work out your stuff around food. And so many pretty much all the books on the market don't do that.

[00:22:24.040] – Abby
They're just like, OK, yeah. You know, like your keto diet. But OK, why do you feel this way about your body? What about your relationship with food? Are you going to destroy it? Are you going to be part of the problem or you'll be part of the solution? This is book part of the solution. You're not going to continue to destroy your relationship with food and your body.

[00:22:42.970] – Abby
You're going to fix those things forever by exposing these core beliefs by looking at your tape, by dealing with all of your stuff around food and your body and then in the in the second and third parts of the book, we're going to put all of the nutrition stuff into the works there.So, yeah.

[00:23:05.580] – Allan
OK, so that's two down. We got three more to go.

[00:23:09.600] – Abby
Thin equals a better life. That's the third one. Listen, I see this I review on my website all of the nutrition MLMs, the multilevel marketing like Prexis, Arbon and Isogenics, all of them are on my website at abbylangernutrition.com. And I'm brutal. But the one thing that I notice about all of these companies is that they promise a transformation. That once you follow their program and you lose weight, you're going to be a different person.

[00:23:46.330] – Abby
But guess what? You're not you're not going to be a different person. You're still going to have the same boss who you hate and all of the issues, you're just going to be a thinner person. And it's not realistic to believe that. So that's a negative core belief. And the other part of that core belief, number three, is thin equals worthy. If you're fat, you're not worthy. You have to put yourself last.

[00:24:19.640] – Abby
You're not worthy of health, you're not worthy of happiness. I've seen this with clients. They come to me and they want to make changes to their diet, but they sabotage themselves. They just don't feel like they're worthy of doing it. They're not worth it. They're not worth the effort. Thinis an effort, right? And we work on that because I end up telling them, you know, you're worthy of good things. You deserve good things no matter what your size is.

[00:24:54.170] – Abby
What does your size has to do with anything? But this is a damaged self-worth. And a lot of the time, again, it comes from growing up in a house where you didn't feel valued, unfortunately.

[00:25:10.620] – Allan
You have to start this journey with self-love.

[00:25:13.580] – Abby
You have to learn self-love.

[00:25:18.410] – Allan
You have to get in there. But you have to get to that point, because any time I've found someone that that wasn't truly in love with themselves, at some level they did. They came back and sabotaged, they self-sabotage.

[00:25:31.970] – Allan
All right. So we have two more of the negative core beliefs.

[00:25:36.890] – Abby
Number four is I can't be trusted and neither can my body. This is sort of like the saying that the wellness culture and diet culture feed off of. There is something wrong with you and we're going to fix it for you by putting you on a diet because you can't trust your body to tell you what it needs and you can't trust yourself around certain foods. That is complete and utter nonsense. Absolute nonsense. And people who have been chronic dieters truly believe this. A lot of them do. Not everybody, I guess. It all comes from… Sometimes kids grow up in a family where parents tried, didn't let the kids self regulate.

[00:26:26.390] – Abby
They really tried to regulate everything. So kids, if they were hungry, they weren't allowed to push it or they had to finish everything on their plate even though they weren't hungry. So they didn't grow up trusting their body to tell them what it wants. And this is a negative core belief that leads people to followed the wellness culture and diet culture down the guarded path and tell them what to eat and how to eat and when. It's just not good for them.

[00:27:02.870] – Allan
Yeah. You see this a lot, particularly with some of the bigger programs. I won't mention the names, but, you know, you have a weekly meeting and you weigh in and it works well for a little while and it doesn't. I'm talking to someone and they've been in that program for three years.

[00:27:18.260] – Abby
They have lifers.

[00:27:21.020] – Allan
How is this going and how is this working for you? And they're like, oh, well, I'm about the same as when I started. And I'm like, OK.

[00:27:30.740] – Abby
No, because here's your relationship with food and your body is worse, actually. Get on the scale and front of everybody, although now it's a pandemic.

[00:27:40.430] – Allan
And then the fifth core belief is I am my diet. And I see far too often this is when people say, you know, talk constantly about good food, bad food and clean eating and all of that, which I just it's like the worst, putting morality based on labels, on food, because what ends up happening is people, this is also very traditional. People don't realize it's happening when it's happening, but they end up associating themselves with their diet. And it sounds intellectually like whatever I like, I don't do that. But emotionally, it happens where if you're constantly eating foods that you deem as bad food, then you're going to believe that you're a bad person.

[00:28:32.900] – Allan
Yeah, I had Dr. Alan Buchanan on and we got to talking about tribalism.

[00:28:39.290] – Abby
Oh, no. It's the worst.

[00:28:40.350] – Allan
Yeah, but that's what's that's where a lot of what's happening here is that someone will go on to say, I eat vegetarian or I eat Carnivore, I eat or paleo. And like you said, that get into the bad food, good food. And then once they start doing that, then they're in a tribe. And so, there's a social cost to them. You'll have someone who was a vegan and they'll get caught eating meat.

[00:29:07.010] – Abby
Oh yeah, I like that girl who had the fish and then…

[00:29:08.990] – Allan

[00:29:10.190] – Abby

[00:29:11.750] – Allan
So then when they try to cross culture lines, these, these, these tribal lines, it becomes this huge thing because they've not only identified themselves with that, they've now they've they basically put it out there. They're an evangelist. So they've gone beyond tribal. They're a chief in the tribe. And so if you're following that down and you're not really experiencing life, you're letting food run your direction like the people.

[00:29:42.390] – Abby
You're in an echo chamber.

[00:29:44.450] – Allan

[00:29:45.950] – Abby
I see this all the time, it's the Diet Wars. So you're in an echo chamber of people just repeating the same incorrect facts. Most of the time they're incorrect about certain diet and people wrong. People are so lonely, we're so connected, but we're lonelier than ever. And research shows that and people are looking for community. And so they find it online with these different diets.

[00:30:15.290] – Abby
And it's like against the. I've written about it and been interviewed about it several times, actually. And it's scary. It's really upsetting. It's concerning that people really place all of their value into their diet, it's like your diet. Is you?

[00:30:36.600] – Allan
Yeah, that's scary,

[00:30:39.480] – Abby
It is scary.

[00:30:39.930] – Allan
Yeah. Let's go ahead now, and we've kind of put together the concept of “get to know you.” Start the process of healing, start the process of self-love, get past some of these negative core beliefs, or at least recognize what the tape in your head. And we'll go with tape because I'm of the generation where we used tapes

[00:31:00.930] – Abby
Me too!

[00:31:00.930] – Allan
Not MP3s or whatever's coming down the line. But people still want to know what to eat, how to eat, what not to eat, because everything we've been directed has been said. Don't eat this, eat that, eat that. Don't eat that.

[00:31:19.200] – Abby
It's either don't eat this and eat that or eat whatever you watch and listen to your body. But I. I've been a dietitian for 21 years, and I'm telling you, it's like there's this huge spectrum one end of it is like intuitive eating or be very permissive. And the other end is be very restrictive. And I believe that most people will do far better in the gray area between those two poles.

[00:31:48.780] – Allan

[00:31:49.260] – Abby
And so my book is a gray area.

[00:31:52.710] – Allan

[00:31:53.190] – Abby
I give you some guidelines, but really to try to self manage.

[00:31:58.350] – Allan
And I think that's what's so cool here, is that you're, I think a lot like me in that I'm I call myself diet agnostic, try something and see how it works for you. If it didn't work, it's not you. It's not your fault that it didn't work. It wasn't the right way for you to eat. You weren't feeding your body the right way for your body to respond the right way.

[00:32:21.990] – Allan
The relationship between carbs, protein and fat, obviously we know that. Give us what our body needs for energy building to put our body together with the fats and the proteins being most fat. Can you kind of go through the process of explaining the relationship between carbs and protein and fat and how we should view that as we're looking at building the way that we want to eat?

[00:32:43.120] – Abby
What I recommend to everybody is to build their meal around a protein. So select the protein first and then fill it in with plants and a little bit of carbohydrate. Most of us will do the reverse of that, but we'll fill a plate with carbohydrates like the ton of rice on our plate and then put a little bit of protein and maybe vegetables after that.

[00:33:05.200] – Abby
My theory is that, first of all, we don't eat enough vegetables and so we need to try to put them in at least two meals a day. But also we tend to stuff all of our protein into the evening meal and breakfast we skip if we're doing intermittent fasting. But which is fine if that works for you. But if we don't get skip it or if we don't skip it intentionally, we end up overeating carbs or we also if we don't skip breakfast at all, we tend to eat a heavy breakfast.

[00:33:45.080] – Abby
What happens is protein releases hormones that help us feel fuller for longer and protein also digests lower and it also burns more calories at rest because your body has to work harder, the thermaic effect of food is what it's called, to break those amino acids down. I know it's very popular right now to put protein into everything. And it's because protein is so valuable because it does affect the satiety levels so much. And it also helps me to build and maintain muscle, especially as we age. So protein first, vegetable, and then a little bit of carbs.

[00:34:35.120] – Allan
Right. It's funny, I had a comment on one of the blog posts today, one of the podcast posts. The podcast about seasonal ketosis. And that's where you go into periods of ketosis for weight loss. And then you say, OK, I know Christmas is coming up or Thanksgiving is coming up or New Year's is coming up. And I know I'm going to want some of the pie or some of the cake or some of this.

[00:35:00.530] – Allan
I think the strategy you're you're proposing there is you kind of go through this is you could still think about those meals, you still think about those opportunities and still follow something like this where you're saying, OK, I'm going to focus on the protein and then again, vegetables and then

[00:35:15.920] – Abby
It's basically setting priorities. They prioritize the protein, number one, and then the vegetables. Yeah, but no food is off-limits. I really don't think there's any food I would ever say you shouldn't eat. I mean, there are foods that are not very nourishing physically. But my point in the book is also to nourish yourself physically and emotionally.

[00:35:43.160] – Allan
I'm just going to throw out there, the only thing I disagree with is transfats even said this in the book, to stay away from transfats. Those aren't…

[00:35:50.150] – Abby
We all agree on that.

[00:35:51.770] – Allan
Tranfats are not food.

[00:35:53.420] – Abby
It's really not. We know that, like, one hundred percent know it.

[00:35:59.180] – Allan
Yeah. And you're right. I think that's the point. We know these things and it's not rocket science, it's food and it's not as complex as people want to make it out to be.

[00:36:09.440] – Abby
People micromanage their diet. And it makes me crazy. Yes, of course there's people who eat to live. I do not. I live to eat. I love food. And I really, truly believe that there's no shame in finding pleasure. Which, again, diet culture tells us is not OK. But food is community. Food is pleasure. I like it fine. You should love what you eat. You don't need to punish yourself by force-feeding your self a choking down the stuff like, green juice or whatever that you are just consuming because it's healthy. So that's why you're doing it. Like no!

[00:36:49.550] – Allan
Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up because one of the things that a lot of people will get into because they're like, oh, I want to feel good. I want to get all the energy. I want to get all those carbs in there, get all that good stuff in there. They'll do smoothies or they'll do juices, the green juice, the fruit juice, and 90% of the time, because that's when they have the time to actually do this. They do this for breakfast

[00:37:16.280] – Abby
And then there's no protein in there.

[00:37:17.120] – Allan
Yeah. Let's talk about why that's not a good strategy and how they should be looking at this a little bit differently, because I think you hit on something really key. There's protein. We're not it's not happening. And even if it is it's a scoop of this or a scoop of that.

[00:37:33.020] – Abby
Yeah, I see. A lot of people, thy'll make a smoothie out of fruits and vegetables and almond and it's like, OK, there's no protein in that. You're going to be hungry an hour later, not even. Or they'll use almond milk and then they'll put a scoop of whey powder. Why don't you just use milk? Why are we overcomplicating this? Whey is so engineered. It's fine. It's the gold standard for protein powder if you want to eat a protein powder. But there's really no reason to do that. You want to eat as food as close to their whole state as possible, whenever possible.

[00:38:14.180] – Abby
And of course, like you're going to want to eat Oreos or Doritos every once in a while. That's fine, too. But if it's the bulk of your diet should be whole or minimally processed foods wherever possible, even if it means that you're buying canned vegetables, you're buying frozen fruits. We have to be inclusive of everybody, not necessarily just people can afford these things.

[00:38:39.140] – Allan
Now, I'll have to full, full admission here. At one point in my journey to try to lose weight. I did a fruit juice cleanse. It was a very expensive one. You buy this for the three days. And basically, it's a juice fast. I think, you know, they said it was like 600 calories a day, some of them were lemon juices and some of them were a little bit more simple, one almost cashew milk. So there was a little bit of fat in there, a little bit of protein, but not not much.

[00:39:11.840] – Abby
Not even close.

[00:39:12.860] – Allan
I was ready to chew my arm off by the second day.

[00:39:17.060] – Abby
And that's what happens. When you finish, you just overeat. It's so silly. Like, there's no reason, no physiological reason why you need to do a cleanse at all. Like your body, your kidneys, your liver. They do the work for you. And really it sucks that all this culture at its very finest.

[00:39:40.370] – Allan
It was. And the only thing I can say is, was it successful. Yes, if you only looked at the scale because I did weigh about five pounds less after that weekend was over.

[00:39:49.750] – Abby
How long did it take you to gain it back?

[00:39:51.620] – Allan
Until I ate something.

[00:39:53.000] – Abby

[00:39:53.000] – Allan
Anything. Because all that was was stuff that was in my digestive tract that was no longer there and maybe even a little bit of muscle mass.

[00:40:02.960] – Allan
It was just three days. I didn't do it for very long. But it was just one of those things to say, OK, I'm going to try this and see what it does. It was an interesting experience because it would make someone feel good when they saw that the scale went down after three days of doing this. But I knew I hadn't lost any fat and I knew that it would just basically yes, I was starving all weekend and it was punishment. I literally look back at it and say that was self-punishing. That was diet culture, at its best. Right. And it really didn't do me much good at all. And you're right, I was starving the whole time.

[00:40:39.560] – Abby
These juice companies are just making a bundle on people. It makes me so upset because, they prey on vulnerable people who want a solution. But this isn't the solution.

[00:40:51.620] – Allan
Well, the good thing is because you're listening to this podcast, you're not one of those folks that's going to easily fall for stuff like that. You're educating yourself and trying to understand more about nutrition, more about fitness, more about health in general. And so when those companies tell you, you can lose five pounds in a weekend, true, true statement, you will likely lose that weight. But it's not fat. It's not the weight you want to lose. As soon as you come back after you eat something, as soon as you start eating after the second day, I gained every single ounce of that back.

[00:41:23.150] – Allan
It was it was frustrating to a point, but it was educational because now I know this doesn't work for me. So if you look back at and say, OK, I've done this thing, I've done the diet yo yos over and over and over and over, and I always end up in the same place or worse off. It's not you, it's the diet. The diet is bad, but you learn something. So don't take those bad experiences as failure. Don't think of this as a failure. In a general sense. You learned something.

[00:41:51.530] – Abby
My dad used to say there is no failure, there are no mistakes in life because you learn from everything. And he was right.

[00:41:59.870] – Allan
Yes, absolutely. Now in the book you use this term and I love this term, it's called high-value eating. I love that. I actually do. Now there's ten there's ten tenets to that. Could you go through those ten tenets really quickly?

[00:42:14.630] – Abby
Yes. So the first one is a pencil, not an eraser. And this is like my number one recommendation since forever, because we're so inundated with do not eat this and do not eat that. We shouldn't do that, we shouldn't do that in terms of diet. And I believe that people respond so much better to positive changes rather than negative ones. And because we are taking so much out of our diet unnecessarily, the usual suspects are gluten, wheat and dairy. So many people tolerate those. And like some nutrition guru tells them to take them out so they do and they don't enjoy. You know, people can enjoy their favorite food. I add these things back to diet. And I and I want readers to know that unless there is some compelling reason for them to have these out of their diet, that they can add them back. So add foods back into your diet, then you will feel deprived or punished.

[00:43:19.140] – Abby
The second one is eat whole or minimally processed foods as much as possible, and we did go through that. And keep in mind that this high-value eating is the last part of my book. And this is where people get to put all of the stuff they learn about nutrition into practice. So this is the last part.

[00:43:41.210] – Abby
Number three is understand your lifestyle. How many times have I seen someone building their life around their way of eating instead of the opposite way? Your way of eating, I say diet, but I don't mean diet and restrictive way. I mean it. And, you know, diet is what you eat. Your diet should fit your lifestyle, not the other way around.

[00:44:05.850] – Abby
Number four, make peace with your preferences. Why are you talking down that green juice if you hate it? There are so many things to eat and drink on this world, on this earth that, you know, if you don't like something, don't eat it. And so many people say, well, I have to eat the broccoli, I hate it, but it's healthy. OK, there are so many vegetables. Why are you punishing yourself? So make peace with your preferences.

[00:44:33.570] – Abby
Replace the replaceable. So as you go to the grocery store, do not just shop out of habit. If you are habitually buying sugar-sweetened beverages or three different packs of cookies, take those out of the cart and buy them only when you really, really want them. So in other words, shop mindfully. And if you have a lot of people say, you know, well, I buy them for my kids and my husband loves that. But no everyone in your household's habits should be tweaked like it's not just about you, it's about the support that you get from everyone else as well.

[00:45:19.170] – Abby
Number six is be intentional and quiet that diet voice. So when you reach for something and a little voice inside you says, oh, that's bad. You know, you need to quiet that voice and eat in a consistent way, sustainable way. You want to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. And we do go through hungry and fullness cues in my book and the difference between fullness and satisfaction, because they're two different things.

The seventh tenent is all about balance. So I did mention Oreos and Doritos earlier. Those might not be your vices, but everything is valid. And one word that we like to use, which I can't stand moderation because it's so subjective. But there are going to be days where you eat a lot of other processed food and you need to just move on. It's fine, nothing that's going to happen, I promise

[00:46:20.410] – Abby
Numer eight is be flexible, I'm not a rigid sort of person. I won't give you meal plans or anything. You need to learn how to put things into practice, but be flexible. If you're on vacation are you really going to want to follow some sort of diet? Maybe you won't have vegetables twice a day, but you have to be flexible. Sometimes you go to someone's house and they're serving something that you might think it's so high in fat, I don't want to eat macaroni and cheese. You just eat it like. It's fine. Open your mind and just take a breath.

[00:47:00.970] – Abby
Number nine is for you, not for everybody else. These changes that you're making are for you, these tweaks to your diet are for you, because when you make changes to your diet for somebody else or you eat something because somebody else wants you to, it's not a happy situation and it's not productive. You know?

[00:47:22.630] – Abby
And then number 10 is eating eat according to your hunger, not the clock. So a lot of us will be like, oh, it's noon and I'm not hungry. But, I guess I should eat. I don't think so. Unless you have to because you have a fixed schedule. Many of us don't right now because of the pandemic. You really want to become in tune with your hunger and fullness cues. And one way to do that is to really think whether you're hungry before you eat. It's a basic thing. Because if you're a chronic dater, you may feel like you don't have those cues anymore, but I teach you how to get them back. In my book.

[00:48:09.220] – Allan
Great. Abby, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay and stay well?

[00:48:18.880] – Abby
I think the first is to understand that wellness is not only physical, but it's emotional. And I think too often we shove our emotional wellness to the back burner because we only want to focus on how much weight we can lose or how we look. And so we put that physical wellness first. And but wellness is it's not only what you eat and what you do. It's also how you feel and how you think about food and eating into your body.

[00:48:49.840] – Abby
The other two are, you know, enjoy food. Listen, you're going to grab life by the you know what? Give it a swing because we're here for a very short time. And so don't spend time punishing yourself to be someone you're not. And along the same vein, number three don't send a set unrealistic goals for yourself. I see that far too much. You're chasing a unicorn man. Like be the best you can be for yourself and stop compare yourself to others.

[00:49:22.840] – Allan
Abby, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Good food, Bad Diet where would you like for me to send them

[00:49:32.650] – Abby
You can go to my website at abbylangernutrition.com. My Facebook at Abby Langer Nutrition. And I'm also on Instagram and Twitter at Langer Nutrition.

[00:49:44.920] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/471 and I'll be sure to have the links there.

[00:49:51.040] – Abby
Abby, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:49:54.640] – Abby
You're so welcome, it was a joy to be here.

Post Show/Recap

[00:50:01.670] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.

[00:50:03.150] – Ras
Hey, Allan, another great interview, a lot of stuff to unpack here.

[00:50:08.410] – Allan
Yeah, you know, one of the cool things with my job is that I get to talk to people from all over the world. Abby happens to be from Canada. From a nutrition perspective, their standards are different than the United States. And so some of the things that she's doing and talking about are something you're going to hear. They're not built on. What we have is a U.S. standard. It's a lot less political. There's a lot less lobbying involved. And so in a sense, she has an advantage over dietitians that you might meet from the United States. And so that's why I really like that cross polonization of different places in the world. So you can just hear what's going on with what the opinions are outside of the dogma of the United States.

[00:50:55.480] – Ras
Yeah, that is actually particularly fascinating what other countries think about the common dietary habits for that area. So different from what we do here in the States.

[00:51:06.130] – Allan
And then the other side of it… I was having this conversation recently with someone is that most of the problems that we have when it comes to weight loss and weight gain and all that, it's in our head. It's mental. We've put up these mental barriers, limiting beliefs that are holding us back. And so when you're talking to a dietician and the very first thing that she puts in place is how important mindset is, you have to pay attention to that because that. You have a personal trainer and you have a dietician on the phone saying it's not how much you move. It's not necessarily even the foods you put in your mouth. Most of it's starting in your head.

[00:51:54.370] – Ras
Isn't that something? The attitudes that we have towards food and and they can be so strong without us even knowing it. Really!

[00:52:04.020] – Allan
Yeah. And that's why it's easy to go off-kilter and it's easy to, you know, have addiction problems or just be looking at food as something other than nourishment to an extreme, to a point where it's actually a problem.

[00:52:25.090] – Allan
She is the breakup, I think that's actually probably a good one, because that's one of those emotional things I think most of us have gone through. And yeah. So you're going through a breakup and it's Valentine's. And, you know, Candy went on sale on the 15th and now you're having a Haagen-Dazs and Valentine candy. Weekend. And all that is, is just comfort. You're you're seeking comfort in your food. And that's not a healthy approach.

[00:52:59.020] – Ras

[00:52:59.770] – Allan
It's not to say food shouldn't be a part of it because, a healthy approach would be to call up someone that, you know, loves and cares about you, that you trust their judgment and to have dinner with them, have a reasonable good dinner, dine, talk, get it out. that's a healthy approach to food, being comfortable and being a part of a solution that's healthy. Not a weekend of Haagen-Dazs.

[00:53:30.940] – Ras
Right. You just touched on it. We have an emotional situation like a breakup or maybe we lost our job or something tragic in our lives. And the more often we just turn straight to food, the worse it's going to get. Where in your example, you take your best friend out for dinner and chat through the stress, then you'll deal with that problem a lot more healthier in that one moment. And then it just becomes one night of terrible eating instead of a repeating process. And it becomes a bad habit over time. If you're constantly reaching for food, then you're not dealing with the problems that you're facing.

[00:54:10.090] – Allan
So having some tiramisu with a good friend after dinner is going to be a lot better than an ice cream over a weekend by yourself watching what is it, the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime?

[00:54:24.380] – Ras
Sure, sure.

[00:54:25.880] – Allan
Whatever's on now. I know what was there at one time. But anyway.

[00:54:32.050] – Allan
The other thing I get caught in because of my accounting background or maybe it's just time wired. But when I see numbers, I'm going to bounce on that one right away. Oh a list. I love lists. And so she had the tenets of health, right?

[00:54:52.030] – Ras
Ten tenets of high-value eating.

[00:54:54.160] – Allan
High-value eating, that's what it was. I love the high-value eating. That's a big part of it. So what was one of your favorites?

[00:55:00.880] – Ras
Let's see. I think be flexible is one of them. I think being flexible with what you choose to eat is important because life happens. You know, like she had said, having birthday cake at a birthday celebration is not a terrible situation, but having birthday cake every single day becomes a problem. But, you know, we go on vacations, we have holidays, we have celebrations. Be flexible as best you can and then get back to healthier eating the next meal. The very next meal.

[00:55:34.510] – Allan
The way I like to think about that is, that's a detour. And like I said in the book, you know, The Wellness Roadmap, if you're driving down the road and you see a sign for the world's largest wooden carved beaver and you want to see that, that's great. Plan to pull over and make it the most valuable trip it can be. So there's a gas station you're going to fill up. Everybody going to the bathroom. You're going to go see the Beaver, take the picture and the selfie, and then you're going to get back in the car and get back on the road.

[00:56:04.900] – Ras
That's right.

[00:56:05.360] – Allan
But if you pull off on that detour and then after you get off the exit, you see a sign for the white alligators a mile down the road. And now your detour is a longer, unplanned detour. That's not adding value to your life. It's not high value. I mean, granted, you might really enjoy seeing the albino alligators. Don't get me wrong, they're cool. Look at the little pink guys and yeah, they're cool, but is that detour worth it?

[00:56:37.810] – Allan
The way I like to put that in real terms with us is, OK, let's say you've decided you're going to eat low carb and you've been doing this for a few months and your significant other tells you, hey, we're going on a business trip for this conference and it's in Hawaii and I get to take you and we're going to go to Hawaii for a week. Paid in full.

[00:56:59.470] – Ras
Whoo! Wouldn't that be nice?

[00:57:00.520] – Allan
You're going to eat the pineapple. You're going to drink the mai tais. You just are. You're going to enjoy a luau. You're going to have the Hawaiian bread. You're going to eat the chocolate covered macadamia nuts. You're going to do those things. That's a good detour. That's a part of the happiness mix of make sure you're doing for yourself things that make you happy, not just looking at food as this restrictive, horrible thing you've got to keep yourself on and punishing yourself. So when you find the detours that are worth it, you take the detours.

[00:57:38.570] – Ras
Mm hmm. That sounds great.

[00:57:40.660] – Allan
You know, we had Dr. Lou and Dr. Rob on and in their book, I guess they gave that at the more technical term. I call it detours, they call it tactical indulgences.

[00:57:49.970] – Ras
Oh, right. Yeah, I remember that. I like that term.

[00:57:54.710] – Allan
And so, you know, just if you're going to take a detour, understand why you're doing it, that's the core of it. And then for the rest of the time, and this is the tenet that I liked the most was whole food. We were designed to eat things that were living. They're not living while we eat them, except some things are, I guess, but for the most part we were designed to eat things that were alive and we're taking the essence of that living thing into ourselves for sustenance. I've never seen a Twinkie tree.

[00:58:30.410] – Ras
No, I have not seen one.

[00:58:31.880] – Allan
I've never seen a Twinkie. I've seen an apple tree. So will I occasionally indulge in an apple? Absolutely. It's a living thing, even though maybe I'm not high on the fruit. I'll have a peach. And sometimes, yes, I'll eat the mango or the pineapple, but that's still whole food. And so, you manage your diet the way you want to manage your diet. You eat the things you want to eat, but in the end, you know, recognize that the more you're eating the whole food, the healthier you're going to be.

[00:59:01.810] – Ras
Absolutely. Another one of her tenets was, be the pencil, not the eraser. And she meant instead of focusing on what you can't eat, erasing things out of your diet, focus on what you can eat. So pencil those things in. And I like that a lot because after a while you'll realize that you feel better when you are adding in more vegetables or more fruits or more whole foods, then taking out some of that processed junk and after a while you won't crave the junk foods anymore. I like that one too.

[00:59:38.140] – Allan
Yeah, my wife used to hate brussel sprouts until she had and prepared a certain way and now she craves them like I do, you know. So she likes the Brussels sprouts now. Be willing to try things because your taste buds do change over time. I used to hate mustard. I used to hate cream cheese. I don't anymore. I love those things. Just give something a try, particularly if you know that it's got what you need. If, you know, it's got the vitamin C, if you know it's got the minerals that you need, give it a shot. Try it prepared a different way. Okra, if you let it get all slimy, I hate it. But if you let me if you make it crispy I love it! Especially ocra in a gumbo. But anyway, it's real food. Be willing to try something else. Yeah, that's absolutely right. Pencil it in. I like that.

[01:00:35.890] – Allan
And then the only other thing that I would, I would put out there is that if food is stressing you out, OK, if you're like constantly stressed out not knowing what you should be eating or stressed out, that eating this is going to cause a problem, you're doing it wrong.

[01:00:56.020] – Ras

[01:00:57.400] – Allan
Food should not be stressful. We go back to that mindset thing. If your choices for food are really causing you some grief and concern, if it's a constant conversation point of, are you going to eat that or am I going to eat that? You've got to work on that relationship.

[01:01:19.150] – Ras
Absolutely. She had mentioned that we are not what our diet is. We are not defined by our diet. And if you obsess too much about it, then it's taking away from your life instead of giving to it and nourishing it.

[01:01:36.490] – Allan
Yeah. And that's why I will throw out some things like you should eat Whole Foods. But what happens like you said, you go over to someone, it's their birthday and they have a birthday cake. You have a taste of cake, you know, not a half a pound of cake, but…

[01:01:53.890] – Ras

[01:01:54.700] – Allan
Have a little cake. Enjoy yourself. If someone goes somewhere, like you said, it's a friend, maybe it's your friend that's really stressed out and she wants to order the tiramisu and share it with you. You're going to tell her no because you're on a diet? No, you're not. You're going to have tiramisu with your friend and you're going to comfort her, just as you would hope that later on she's going to do for you.

[01:02:17.380] – Ras
That's right.

[01:02:18.280] – Allan
And so she's not spending the weekend with the buckets of ice cream.

[01:02:23.590] – Ras

[01:02:28.780] – Allan
The whole big takeaway of all this is you've got to build a good relationship with food if you want to maintain a healthy weight. That's what they do. We talked to Dr. Taubes. I mean, he's not a doctor but he should be a doctor. But Gary Taubes a while back. Our body is going to listen to what we feed it. We put food in our body. It's signaling, and then the hormones are signaling. And then our body is doing what it does. And if we're signaling to our body that we should be eating more because we're not getting the nutrition we need and our relationship with food is bad, the cortisol is higher, the cortisol causes the spike in insulin. And so you end up with this whole cascade of problems that didn't start with the food.

[01:03:18.180] – Allan
It started in your head. It started with your hormones. So relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy your food. In the end, that's the difference, the fundamental difference for people that want to lose weight and those that don't have to lose weight is they just have a better relationship with food overall.

[01:03:41.870] – Ras
I think that's a perfect place to start to, to get to know your body a little better and to understand your food choices a little better.

[01:03:50.260] – Allan
Absolutely. All right. Well, Rachel, I guess with that, I'll let you go and we'll see you next week.

[01:03:55.810] – Ras
All right. Take care.

[01:03:57.010] – Allan
You, too.


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

– Anne Lynch– John Somsky– Margaret Bakalian
– Deb Scarlett– Judy Murphy– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– Leigh Tanner– Tim Alexander

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


Share because you care.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: