October 11, 2021

How to shift into weight loss with Dr. Gary Foster

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On episode 507 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we talk to Dr. Gary Foster about his book, The Shift: 7 Powerful Mindset Changes for Lasting Weight Loss.


Let's Say Hello

[00:00:49.580] – Allan
Hey, Raz, how are things going?

[00:00:52.190] – Rachel
Good. Allan, how are you today?

[00:00:54.220] – Allan
I'm doing well. As this goes live, I'll actually be back in Bocas. We're finishing up our trip right now as we're recording this. But by the time this goes live, in a few weeks, we'll be back in Bocas, trying to run Lula's now as a full bed breakfast. And I'm now becoming the tech guru to run the computer systems and things like that. It's not been easy. So that's been the hardest part. Just figuring out what you've got to do to run a restaurant and getting the rules for Panama

[00:01:27.400] – Allan
is one thing. But then you're like, okay, here's the booking engine. And now we have to find a credit card processor that will work out of Panama. Tammy's trying to start a bank account, but it's like, is almost impossible. The banker traveled to our island from the mainland and met with my wife, and there was all these papers that Tammy needs to fill out or needed to fill out. And so I think Tammy is going to have to take a trip to the mainland and then spend hours with them to just try to get a bank account open so we can take money in and run our credit cards.

[00:02:03.800] – Allan
So a little bit, a little missing pieces as we go about that. So it'd be really busy the first few weeks once we get back, because there's just so much to do.

[00:02:15.080] – Rachel
Yeah, sounds like a lot. It's all those little behind the scenes things that tend to eat up your time. But I hope you've had a good vacation while you've been here in the States.

[00:02:24.880] – Allan
I did. We realized because we went to Mexico first, and then we came to the States that we were just beat. And it sounds weird, but the vacation you're at different kind of tired. So it's almost like a lot of people say I need a vacation from my vacation, but, no, we put over 4000 miles on this car. And we're not even done. So it'll be abouti'm, guessing right now probably closer to 4500 miles that will put on the car total before we turn it back in.

[00:03:00.890] – Allan
And that's just a lot of time. It's a lot of driving. We broke the trips up, and we were able to see everybody we could see it was a really productive trip, but productive in vacation don't typically go together in the same Senate. So I'll probably need some time to kind of decompress when I get back. Vacation from a vacation.

[00:03:24.160] – Rachel
For sure, traveling can be very exhausting, especially all the places you've seen.

[00:03:29.980] – Allan
So how are things up there?

[00:03:32.100] – Rachel
Good. Really great. Our weather is starting to change, and here in Michigan our leaves are starting to change colors. It's just the beginning of our fall season. So it's about to be gorgeous up here. But over the weekend, Mike and I ran a half marathon, and I just want to brag on him a bit because he set a new half marathon PR. And I just want to remind everybody we just turned 50. We're not spring chickens anymore, but he just set a new PR. So this year, he has a new PR for the 5K, the 10K, and the half marathon.

[00:04:05.890] – Rachel
He has just gotten so much faster in the last couple of years, and I'm really proud and excited for him.

[00:04:12.540] – Allan
And he's in that real sweet spot of the 50 to 55 range. So he's the young and running in the group, running some of his best. He's probably winning medals and having some really good races.

[00:04:24.450] – Rachel
I think we have won some metals in our age bracket so far, but he came in 4th in his age division in this half marathon. He needed to shave nine more minutes off his time. And I want to say his time was 1 hour and 42 minutes for the half. And so I think the guy was in the 130s that just beat him off the podium. So there's some fast people in our age brackets. Seriously fast.

[00:04:53.980] – Allan
Maybe they'll age out before he does.

[00:04:56.400] – Rachel
I hope so. Yeah. Fingers crossed. We can catch up.

[00:05:01.920] – Rachel
That's so exciting.

[00:05:02.880] – Allan
All right. Well, when the weather changes, it's time for me to fly south. This year, we did the traveling to see family earlier because in September is the downtime in focus. And so this when we decided to just go ahead and try to shut down, but we actually had monthly renters in there. But this is the thing where it's like, okay, we're going to shut down and we're not going to worry about this. And we'll go. And so we're going to be traveling more during this time in September.

[00:05:31.940] – Allan
And I can just tell you going to Indiana, North Carolina and Miami. It's a much nicer time of the year. Weather wise to be there. It wasn't cold. And in fact, I think I might have put on a sweatshirt once.

[00:05:44.420] – Rachel
Oh, wow. Good.

[00:05:45.410] – Allan
I was able to wear jeans. I don't wear jeans.

[00:05:47.980] – Allan
I wore jeans a couple of times, and I was thinking when I got here I might have to buy more of it now the weather stayed nice the whole time. And so I'm still wearing shorts.

[00:05:58.210] – Rachel

[00:05:59.830] – Allan
looking forward to kind of getting back to my bocas routine, starting the training for that tough Mudder in August. It's August 27th. If you're interested, you can go to 40PlusFitnesspodcast.com/Chicago and they used to call it a classic, and they made some changes to their website since last time I looked at it. So now it's a 15K. So there's a 15K and some of the children's runs on Saturday and then on Sunday they're doing a 10K and a 5K.

[00:06:30.090] – Allan
And so there are different distances in this. If you don't think you're up to the 15K, which was the classic, I think they're shortening it a little bit because it'll be closer to nine and a half miles, then the ten to twelve that it used to be, but it's still 24 25 obstacles. So it's going to be the full array of those. But if anybody's interested, go to 40PlusFitnesspodcast.com/Chicago as we get closer to the event, if you're telling me you're going to be there, I'm on the 10 to 10 45 run.

[00:07:01.290] – Allan
So if you've signed up and you're in that same run, let me know and we meet up and do some of the course together because it very much is a team style, even if you're not on a team or bring a team, everybody's helping everybody. So you're trying to climb out of a mud pit, everybody's helping you climb out of the mud pit and then you're turning around and helping them get out of the mud pit. So it's a really cool run. It's very, very personal.

[00:07:24.610] – Allan
You need a lot of people and it's tough, tough mudder, but it is a fun run. So if you're interested in doing that, then let me know if you're in the area and I'll know more as they get closer to where they're actually going to host it. It can be anywhere within 2 miles of Chicago. They're going to call it the Chicago Tough mudder, but we'll be in a general area. So if you're in the area, maybe we do something that Saturday night, have a dinner or something.

[00:07:48.790] – Allan
If anybody's in the area, we can figure it out. But again, it's on the 27th of August, the ten to 10:45 run. And if you go to the website, you can sign up for that now. I think they're gonna be well by the time this goes live, Unfortunately, they probably raise their prices a little bit. That's kind of how they run with it is the prices go up. They have early bird and then they kind of raise the prices so you might pay a little bit more than someone else paid.

[00:08:13.740] – Allan
But for what you get in all the fund, it's well worth.

[00:08:17.200] – Rachel
It sounds awesome.

[00:08:18.830] – Allan
Alright, so you want to have a conversation with Dr. Foster?

[00:08:22.880] – Rachel


[00:08:57.920] – Allan
Dr. Foster, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:09:01.000] – Dr. Foster
Thanks, Allan. It's a pleasure to be with you.

[00:09:03.410] – Allan
So today we're here to talk about your book, The Shift: Seven Powerful Mindset Changes for Lasting Weight Loss. And it's one of the things that has really kind of hit me over the last six years of doing this, is that for most of us, any substantive change that we make in our life has to start ahead. We have to fix our mindset first and then the good things happen. It almost never ever is going to work the other way.

[00:09:30.550] – Dr. Foster
That's exactly right. And I think for most people that's a little counterintuitive when most people are starting on a weight or wellness journey, their first thoughts and often their only thoughts are, what do I eat? How do I move and really get pretty granular about that? Is it low carb, high protein, low fat? Is it strength resistance training? Is it hit? There's a lot of stuff going through people's minds and what you eat and how you move is certainly important for your wellness. I think the missing ingredient and the thing that people most underestimate over my 30 years of clinical and research experience is the most important component to a wellness journey is your mindset.

[00:10:16.630] – Dr. Foster
And simply put, your mindset is how you think about the journey. But also importantly about how you think about yourself.

[00:10:25.290] – Allan
Yeah. My path to taking care of myself. I was not healthy. I was not fit doing great my career. That was wonderful. So what I call one for three and overall realized that was probably the worst one that I should have been focusing on. But I didn't like myself quite honestly at that point in my life, I really didn't like myself. And for the next eight years effectively punished myself to try to fix me. And so it wasn't until I came to this realization that the lacking component was compassion and love.

[00:10:59.700] – Allan
And you put that as the first mindset change and kind of really the only way this is ever going to happen is you got to get this done first. Can you talk about self compassion and why it's so important?

[00:11:12.640] – Dr. Foster
Yeah. First, Congratulations on your success. I know about your success, and it's quite impressive. And I really applaud the efforts you're doing to get that message out. That it's how you think about yourself and the journey that makes a difference. And you're right. The book starts, it's about seven different shifts that have science-based, proven techniques to help you with your wellness journey. In fact, any journey in life. But to your point, self compassion is the basis of all of it. If you look at the way most people start a journey of any sort, whether to your point, it's in your professional life or a wellness journey or a weight journey or any self improvement journey, people often view it in a deficit model.

[00:12:00.130] – Dr. Foster
So what do I have to fix? What deficiencies do I have? And that just doesn't really feel that great. Right? If instead you can build from a position of strength, not weaknesses, what strengths do I have that can help me achieve my goals. And that's all predicated on self compassion. And that basically says that I'm worth taking care of that any self improvement project that I undertake, whether it's personal, professional, whatever it is, is based on my own value, as is without any change, I am worth taking care of.

[00:12:41.140] – Dr. Foster
And that's a position of strength, and that generates power for the journey. Alternatively, I hear this a lot have been a clinical health psychologist for over 30 years, working with lots of people elbow to elbow knee to knee in their weight loss journey. I hear often that they start out at a point where weak-willed, I'm undisciplined, I have terrible eating habits, and I often say that's you you're talking about, you need yourself to be successful in this journey. And that's why self compassion is so critical.

[00:13:18.400] – Allan
Yeah. And if you don't have self compassion, I think a lot of these other things we're going to talk about, we're going to end up kind of circling back to that because you can't really see these things or do anything about it. And the next one I wanted to talk about was the unhelpful thinking and the reason this one resonated with me so much was, wow, I used to do that all the time. Wow, I used to do that all the time. Three out of the four I was guilty of practically every day of my life up until maybe even still today.

[00:13:48.520] – Allan
Occasionally I find myself with some of this unhelpful thinking. Can you go over the four categories that you had? The main ones that once we do probably the most because like I said, I saw myself in most of them.

[00:14:00.040] – Dr. Foster
Yeah, I'm sure happy to. The fundamental premise is what we think influences what we do. So if you think about different, this is steeped in 60 years of research and cognitive therapy without getting into all the details. It really is how fundamental, how basic our thought patterns are driving what we feel and what we do. So accepting that science, then there are styles that I've observed over my clinical career that really get in the way of a successful wellness journey is one is all or none. And this is things are great or they're terrible.

[00:14:37.180] – Dr. Foster
I'm on a diet or I'm off a diet. It's a good food or it's a bad food. It's viewing the world and any interaction that you encounter with as all or none. Light bulb thinking, black and white thinking lots of ways to think about that. And the problem with that essentially is that the world is not like that. And the most frequent off ramps to the journey are precipitated by these kind of unhelpful thinking styles. They're thinking styles that make you just say, the heck with it.

[00:15:09.160] – Dr. Foster
One day I've blown it. Really? So anyway, that's the first one, all or none, the other is once makes always. And I hear this frequently. So somebody will have a rough day that in it as they plan. They didn't work out as they plan. In a non wait world, people can say things like, Well, this is the way it always goes. A watch out for this kind of thinking is when you hear yourself saying things like never, always. Those are signals that that's rarely true and that you're taking one event and extrapolating that to believe it will always happen and it will never change.

[00:15:47.740] – Dr. Foster
The third is negative filtering. And again, this happens both in wellness journeys and in work journeys. I'll take the work journey in the first case here, if you get feedback from your supervisor in an annual review or quarterly review that on four criteria, you're knocking out of the park on three. But there's room for development and for opportunity and for growth on a fourth. If you're a negative filter, all you think about is that fourth one and you start to worry about your job. And is it secure?

[00:16:21.420] – Dr. Foster
And it gets you down into this swirl of negative thinking and not seeing the big picture. So it's really trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, but in an overly negative way. And the fourth, which is less common. But I put it in the book because I've seen it frequently. And also it gets across this point that the key to this is not just positive thinking. It's realistic thinking and this style that's not helpful. It's called Don't Worry, Be Happy. And these are people who go through life and again in a variety of different arenas and just say, oh, it'll get better.

[00:16:59.250] – Dr. Foster
Well, how do you think it will get better? I'm not sure it'll get better. Tomorrow will be a better day. And while that initial optimism is helpful and we're not encouraging people to be overly negative, plans work better than platitudes, it's important to say, okay, if tomorrow is going to be a better day, how will it be a different day? How will it be a different day? So those are the styles that I've noticed over my 30 years in the field that can get in the way and in simple tweaks, a technique that we talk a lot in the book about is called a reality check.

[00:17:32.700] – Dr. Foster
So when you have these thoughts, ask yourself, you can do it from a couple of different ways. One is, what would a good friend say to you? And we can talk more about that, because that's also a good self compassion technique. But the other is to act those almost as if you're a lawyer. So what are the facts to support that I have no willpower or here I go again, or I'll never be able to be successful. What are the facts to support that? And that kind of reality check can help do a check on that thinking and help you develop more helpful, more realistically, more realistic thoughts.

[00:18:07.260] – Allan
And the way I like to talk to people about these realistic thoughts a lot of times in the moment, you don't know you're doing this. It's almost invisible to you because it's just second nature is that after something goes wrong, I always find it valuable to first with the self compassion, forgive yourself and then second analyze what happened. You know, you go in and you get stressed on Friday afternoon, and so you leave there you go to the bar, you have a couple of beers to calm down and relax, and then you say, okay, yeah, sure

[00:18:38.730] – Allan
I'll go ahead and get the pizza and then you eat the whole pizza. You go home and you're like, Well, I sort of blew it. I blew the day. I might as well blow the whole weekend. And so that's your all or non thinking after. And so you realize then, okay, what happened? Well, I went there and I probably would have done better to go to the park and go for a walk. So the next time I find myself really stressed out on a Friday evening, I'm gonna go to the park and I'm gonna walk around for a little while instead of going to the bar and having a couple of beers and that's kind of that way you can take that and get to the reality of it is this is not who you are.

[00:19:13.880] – Allan
This is just an action and a point in time. And if you focus on the why it happened and get to the trigger, then you can take and avoid that unhelpful thinking and take it to the next step of saying, okay, what is the plan? What is the better action for me next time this happens? That slip to success model that I like to use with my clients is really just that three steps of reality based thinking. It happened. I can't undo it. I can't uneat the pizza, I can't undrink the beer, but I can do something better next time.

[00:19:47.420] – Dr. Foster
Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more. And I like the way that you think about that. At first you start with self compassion and self forgiveness. This is not a time to beat yourself up, self flagellation does not worth self improvement. It just doesn't. The other thing I liked about what you said, and we use this. One of my favorite phrases, clinically is ask how. Don't ask why, because if you can go retrospectively, as you just did in that example, about stress leads to a couple of beers, leads to ordering pizza.

[00:20:18.250] – Dr. Foster
You can look at each step in what we call behavioral chain and think about Where's the weakest link is that could you have avoided the stress? Could you have managed the stress differently? Could you have had the beers and not had the pizza? There's lots of ways. And then you're in charge of your destiny the next time. And the question is, if it didn't go well, how did it not go well? And how can it be improved in the future? And alternatively, if it did go well, how did it go well, so you can rinse and repeat on that rather than thinking that the stars and the moon were like, no, you made that happen.

[00:20:51.710] – Dr. Foster
So I like so much about the way you think about it in terms of looking back, having self for business and putting yourself in charge of, where could I do it differently the next time?

[00:21:02.720] – Allan
One of the things you did in the book that I really like, because I got the thinking through some of this. It seems like every time someone wants to change themselves, they want to improve their weaknesses. I'm going to eat healthier, so I'm going to lose some weight. I'm going to go to the gym five days a week, even though I hate the gym and I'm not really good at it. Or I'm going to go ahead and do this couch to 5K. Even though I've never really run in my life, we always seem to want to pick the weakest point of us and start working on that thinking that's going to give us the best return on our investment.

[00:21:39.140] – Allan
But the reality is quite opposite that we need to actually double down on our strengths to be successful in this journey. Can you talk a little bit about that?

[00:21:49.990] – Dr. Foster
Sure. Again, it's very common when people embrace a journey or embark on a journey to start thinking about what's wrong. It's sort of like a fix it model. And in some ways again, it's yourself you're talking about and treating yourself with some positive self regard and saying, what do I bring to this experience? What are my strengths just has a different feel to it. Then here's a long laundry list of things that I need to fix. I can think of a patient I worked with an extremely successful entrepreneur, had established a really robust retail experience, had been through the ups and downs of recessions and lots of industry pressures, lots of near bank foreclosures on the business, really high stress and was now on the other side of it and was trying to manage her weight and when she started on the weight journey, she was very quick to judge herself very quick for harsh characterizations of who she was as a person.

[00:23:00.040] – Dr. Foster
I can never follow this through. I'm not persistent. I don't have any discipline. And can we just stop for a second? Let's just talk about what you've done in your career. What are some character strengths that you have that you would think that helped you? And the first thing she said was perseverance is that no matter what was going on in the business, internally, externally, I was able to persevere. And just that little shift of getting her to think I am someone who perseveres changes the narrative, the self narrative, which is ultimately the most important one on how she can persevere through this journey.

[00:23:38.930] – Dr. Foster
And again, I want to be clear when we say character strengths. There's a whole science of positive psychology behind this. This isn't making judgments about this is good and this is bad. This is a weakness. This is a deficit. We all have character strengths. And helping, what we do in the book is help people identify what their character strengths are so they can leverage that. And again, at the end of the day, it's that slight shift in mindset that if I'm starting with something that feels good to me, something I'm good at.

[00:24:10.260] – Dr. Foster
I'm pretty good at this. That gives you a sense of self efficacy, of confidence, that I can leverage a skill set I have rather than going in this forever elusive pursuit of like a Whack Amole game of trying to whack down every weakness I have.

[00:24:26.980] – Allan
Yeah. You had a link to a strength profile quiz that you could do. And I took the time to go out and do that quiz, the VIA Character Strengths profile. And it was interesting because I think a lot of people would think, okay, if you're going to someone loses a lot of weight. They obviously have a lot of self control and all of that. Self regulation was 19th out of the 24. My top five were honesty, bravery, leadership, curiosity and love of learning. And so as I started thinking about, well, how did these strengths play out when I was actually doing what I was doing?

[00:25:04.890] – Allan
And the reality was, yes, self regulation really wasn't what did it for me. It was the liking, a high minded challenge. So I signed up for a tough Mudder and I told people I was going to do it. So I'm an honest person. I'm going to stand up to what I said. I actually signed up with my daughter. I said I'm going to be ready and I'm going to do this race with you. And from there, getting my certifications and things like that to learn what I needed to do, to take care of myself, to train myself.

[00:25:34.640] – Allan
I just look at that and say that right was my little roadmap that was in here in my head, but I didn't realize that that's what I was doing at the time was I was not trying to self regulate myself to healthy eating. I just knew that if I was being honest with myself and what I challenged myself to do, I had to do better. And I did lean on those so much more heavy, heavier heavily. Then I did on the ones that I was much weaker.

[00:26:02.920] – Allan
And I think that made all the difference.

[00:26:05.300] – Dr. Foster
Yeah, it really does. And it's good to put some words to it to actually realize these are inherent strengths that people have and they can leverage them in the process again instead of searching for these weaknesses or deficiencies.

[00:26:17.220] – Allan
And I think you said it in the book, and you just said it earlier to know what your basic strengths are, you can just look back on other things that you've been successful at. And hey, what got me there? That's the same thing that can make you successful in every journey that you take going forward, including losing weight, getting stronger and just getting healthier.

[00:26:35.780] – Dr. Foster
Yeah, I think one of the things because of the significant stigma that's associated with higher body weights in our culture, people often can in a negative way compartmentalized. So they forget about all these strengths they have in non weight and wellness journeys as if they don't exist when it comes to other areas of their life. So sometimes in the patient that I was talking about, it's just a general reminder about I've accomplished a lot in my life, and I've done so with a variety of different strengths.

[00:27:05.960] – Dr. Foster
And how can I use those strengths for other purposes in life? It's not just wellness. It's not just weight. It generalizes to a lot of other things, which is why I think it's so powerful.

[00:27:16.340] – Allan
I'm going to make sure there's a link in the show notes so you can go to 40PlusFitnesspodcast.com/507. And I'll have a link to that quiz so you can find out what your course strengths are. But it also is very valuable because it gives you all 24 of the strength profiles. So you literally can go through there and read it and say, Well, is that more like with me or less like me? So it's a great learning tool. And I encourage folks to go out there and check that out.

[00:27:41.610] – Dr. Foster
Yeah, the work that Via does under the leadership of Neil Myerson is really impressive, and I'm it's available so publicly, and that's why we recommended it in the book.

[00:27:50.900] – Allan
Cool. Dr. Foster, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:28:02.190] – Dr. Foster
I think if I had to pick three, I would go back to the beginning of our conversation and say, Start with self compassion, and I won't belabor it here because we've already discussed it, but really treating yourself as you would treat a friend as a friend would treat you with this kind positive self regard. It doesn't mean everything's perfect. You're perfect. But you're starting out with an assumption that you're worth taking care of. And any self improvement opportunity you have is because you're worth it not because you're deficient .2 is to set realistic goals.

[00:28:39.450] – Dr. Foster
People often mistakenly think that I've got to set these bold, audacious goals to get success. And while I'm not saying don't shoot for the stars, that's fine. The first step should be a small, reasonable one. And there's great science behind this. Bf Skinner, a famous psychologist, had this concept which has proven out time and time again called successive approximation, which is just fancy psychological jargon for take it one step at a time so that you approximate the goal by breaking it down into smaller steps. There's a story of a member in the book who talked about she had 100 pound weight loss goal, but she broke it down into five pound increments.

[00:29:26.540] – Dr. Foster
More importantly than that, she broke down. What do I need to do to reach those 5 pounds? What specifically behavioral goals rather than weight loss goals really drive the day? So these small, realistic goals give you an opportunity to be successful at each interval. Rather than saying I'm not going to congratulate myself for whatever it is. Running a marathon, why don't I just start with I walked a mile. That's a great way to start. And I think the third thing, which again might be counter intuitive, is to expect setbacks. To realize that the journey is not a straight line.

[00:30:06.700] – Dr. Foster
It has lots of ups and downs, whether it's on the scale, whether it's in your workout intensities, whether it's your work performance, whether it's how you perform as a parent, how you do in the workplace, it's never a straight line. And instead of using Setbacks as an opportunity to take the off ramp, use that as an opportunity for learning much in the way you talked about with the beer and stress beer pizza cycle, how do I go back and learn that and use that as an opportunity?

[00:30:40.330] – Dr. Foster
So self compassion, set small, realistic goals that are achievable and then importantly, expect setbacks. They happen one of the time to one of the people. It can be distressing, but it's also a great way to say, hey, setbacks happen. It's my next move that matters most.

[00:31:03.740] – Allan
Welcome to being human.

[00:31:05.010] – Dr. Foster

[00:31:07.670] – Allan
If someone wanted to learn more about you, Dr. Foster and the book, The Shift: Seven Powerful Mindset changes for Lasting Weight Loss. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:31:16.700] – Dr. Foster
I go basically anywhere, any retail location where books are sold anywhere online. My bio is there and details about the book are there. I think the thing I would like people to know is that the reason I wrote this book is that after 30 years and after actually learning from the people I work with, I realized that while eating an activity are important, it's mindset that matters, and it matters enormously. And I think one of the things I hope people can get from a book like this is to get some small shifts that can lead to big results.

[00:31:54.470] – Dr. Foster
Because as you said at the outset, Allan, it's really important. If you have to start with mindset, the other things follow, they won't be effortless, but they will be much easier with the right mindset.

[00:32:08.920] – Allan
You can go to 40PlusFitnesspodcast.Com/507 and I'll be sure to have links to the book there. Dr. Foster, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:19.080] – Dr. Foster
My pleasure, Allan. Nice to chat with you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:25.490] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:32:27.580] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, I think Dr. Foster is my new best friend. He and I have a lot in common, but what he said at the very beginning, what we eat and how we move is important. But before all that mindset, my favorite word.

[00:32:42.350] – Allan
Yeah. And we've talked about this and kind of part of this, this whole because every once in a while get into a topic set. And when I was going through the layoffs, my layoff, I started talking about stress. I started looking for books on stress, and it kind of became a big thing big theme for the show for several weeks. And if you've noticed over the last several weeks, we've talked a lot about mindset, I guess on talking about it, I've talked about it. It really is a start of all of it.

[00:33:11.720] – Allan
And if you don't take the time to get your head right, then the first stumble block that you come to, you're going to trip up. And 99% of people hit that first bump in the road and they're out. They just quit because you're like, this is too hard. This isn't happening fast enough. I'm not good at this. It's never worked before. And so we talked about some of that unhelpful thinking. But that's exactly where this all comes from is if you get your mindset right, then you're in that position to recognize when you're using words like always and never or the I screwed up.

[00:33:48.060] – Allan
So I may as well you start recognizing those tendencies to just blow everything off. I'll start back on Monday kind of mindset. And really, that's been a huge stumbling block for most people. Is that going into it without having their head on straight and I'll admit that was me, too. 37 years old. I was very unhappy with myself, and I decided I needed to do something about it. But it took me eight years before I actually really did anything substantive, and it really did come down to that.

[00:34:21.960] – Allan
I didn't have the right mindset. I wasn't committed, and I didn't have self compassion. And so those big elements that were missing then allowed me to get my head right to say, okay, don't have to be perfect yet. I just need to be really good. And the better I do, then the better I can do. And they're just seeing this as a gradual progression up the Hill. And in some cases, it feels like you're walking up a sand Dune and the Sands just shifting under your feet.

[00:34:52.690] – Allan
And you just don't feel like you're really getting anywhere because it seems like you're sliding almost as much as you're stepping. But the reality is you are moving, you are moving up and you just got to keep that pace, be comfortable with it and just keep going and don't let yourself get negatively influenced by just things that are outside your control and having the right mindset does all of that.

[00:35:13.320] – Rachel
Absolutely. And you mentioned and also Dr. Foster mentioned having self compassion. If you're coming from a place of love that you want to do something that's good for yourself, you'll get farther instead of the negative thoughts that I'm overweight. I shouldn't be here at the gym or I shouldn't be seen in public. And I see a lot of that mindset, especially with brand new runners who are running, trying to lose weight. They're embarrassed to be out in the streets, they're embarrassed to be seen. But no, you got to change that shift.

[00:35:45.290] – Rachel
And you're coming from a place of self love. Then you're working on improving your health and you deserve to be anywhere you want to be, no matter how you're feeling about yourself. So yeah, I think the self compassion is also a positive shift that people need to focus on.

[00:36:03.000] – Allan
Yeah. We talked about it a few weeks ago. I forget her name, but about being your own BFF. And is it really does come down to that? The thoughts that you're in your head were things that you would say out loud to your best friend, then they're probably okay thoughts. But if you start having thoughts and you're thinking, I would never say this to my best friend's face. Even if it was true, I wouldn't say it. I wouldn't say it. And so just kind of thinking about this thought that I'm having,

[00:36:31.460] – Allan
Is it fair? And if it's something I wouldn't say to my friend, how would I say it to my friend? I need if I really needed to. So it's the I didn't mean to have the three beers and the pizza. When I went out with friends, I was going to try to be better. And I had the three beers, and then we ordered pizza, and then we ordered more pizza. And then I blew that Friday night. So then it was like a cascade through my whole weekend.

[00:36:58.440] – Allan
Well, yeah, at some point, you tell your friend it's like, well, okay. You know, that's not how you want to do it. So what are some things that you can do next time to keep that from happening? And you see just that way that I went about is more constructive than destructive. He would never tell your friend, oh, my God, you're at that. Hell, why? And look at you blew Saturday and Sunday. You may as well just quit. And you would never, ever say that to your best friend.

[00:37:27.890] – Allan
But we're saying it to ourselves in our heads all the time.

[00:37:30.780] – Rachel
Well, just like you mentioned in that example, you go out for a night, you have all sorts of beers and pizza, you know, think about that for just a minute. You know, you spent time with your friends. You were doing something you enjoy socializing or celebrating something special. Okay. It was not the greatest night. It was not the best choice. But what could you have done? And even Dr. Foster mentioned that as you look back on these little bits of flip Ops, what could you have done better?

[00:37:56.670] – Rachel
I mean, could you have maybe not had so much pizza, or would I do a lot of cases is, I'll have my snack at home just in case I can't find anything on the menu that I would like. And then just socialize that night instead of eat and socialize. So, I mean, you can have your problem solving tips ready for the next time. And he also mentioned, too, that be prepared for slip ups. These things happen. We have holidays. We have nights out with friends. You know, things do go sideways.

[00:38:25.760] – Rachel
So just be prepared, have your bag of tricks.

[00:38:27.950] – Allan
And when you take those detours know why you're doing it, don't just go in and say, oh, I'm going to do this. We were driving here and there was a sign on the side of the road. This is Squatch Museum, and I'm like, oh, okay, you know, but no, I'm having dinner with my friends, and I need to be in the Tampa by this time. I don't have time to visit the Sasquatch Museum this trip. But now I got this little tickler in my head. This is next time you're traveling through Florida, find the Sasquatch Museum because you might want to spend it, but just not letting yourself kind of get pulled off by just every little Wim, every little thing that happens, it just kind of keeps you a little bit more focused on it.

[00:39:13.000] – Allan
And I think that's why I was really impressed with the concept of focusing on strengths rather than weakness. Almost everybody goes at this and says, okay, well, I was sweettooth. I love my desserts. I like beer. I do well during the week, but then I blow my weekends and so they're like, okay, I've got this weakness and I need to fix that weakness. And then that's gonna fix me when the reality of it is maybe you have strength like, you still are physically relatively active.

[00:39:44.460] – Allan
And it's like, okay, I bump up my activity and I would actually enjoy that. Or I know that I have some drinks, like, I want to drink more water. And so I say, okay, well, if I put a plan in place, like, I've got this gallon jug and I carry that jug with me, then I know that I'll drink that water. So it's just knowing that if I have a system, I can get it done. If I have a certain thing that I'm really good at, then I get it done.

[00:40:10.190] – Allan
If I really like cooking, then I do my batch cooking on Sunday, and I've got my meals for the whole rest of the week. So all those things are where there's a strength where you identify a strength in yourself. And then you say, based on my overall strengths, not just physical capacity, mental capacity, but saying, okay, I am better when I'm focused on this. And I did go through that strength thing that he had in there and kind of look to mine and actually self regulation was out of 24.

[00:40:41.100] – Allan
It was like 19 to most people think, oh, Allan's really disciplined, and it's not a function of discipline. It's a function of structure. If I have a structure, then everything just gets easier. So for my training for the tough Mudder, I have literally blocked out every morning, Monday through Friday and part of the morning on Saturday to train. Okay. So I have five hour windows every day, six days of the week to train. And I'll be lifting six days, five days, and basically doing some cardio, six days, and then taking Sunday off.

[00:41:16.670] – Allan
And so that's my structure.

[00:41:18.100] – Rachel
That's awesome.

[00:41:18.890] – Allan
Nothing else is on my calendar. It's just. I'm in the gym at 07:00. I'm lifting. I finished my lifting. The gym doesn't open until 8:30. So the gym is mine. And then I leave the gym and I go and do some cardio. And that might be kayaking. That might be blocking. That might be some running. But basically, each day I've allotted about three and a half hours of cardio, which is about how long the tough mudder will take me. I just know, physically, if I can keep moving for three and a half hours, I can do a tough Mudder.

[00:41:50.750] – Allan
And so that's the plan.

[00:41:52.990] – Rachel
You know, it's interesting to Allan, because your tough Mudder is your a goal for next year. That's your primary focus. And so all that time that you show up for yourself in the gym, you're focused on that as your goal. So you're not focusing on I got to improve my cardio. I got to lift heavier weights, and I got to do all these things. Those are all kind of like what's going to happen as a side effect of your focus on this main goal. And similarly, that's what I think like, too.

[00:42:23.600] – Rachel
And I'm focused on a race. I've got a race that I need to prepare for, and you'll be out there for 3 hours. I'll be out there for a couple hours running. It's not how many hours I'm going to be out there in the head. It's just that I'm out there running. And so the focus is on the fun part of running, the fun part of the tough Mudder. And it's not all on the hard sweat that we need to put out at the gym to get to that point, which makes it to me it makes it exciting and fun.

[00:42:50.420] – Allan
Yeah. I look at it like this. What can I control? And what can I not control? And what I can't control is how much body fat my body decides to shed. What I can control is the level of effort I put in at the gym and the number of days I show up and will I slip up? Yes. Will there be something? One day my body is going to sit there and my knee is not going to feel really good. And so my cardio is going to have to change or my elbows kind of not feel really good.

[00:43:18.920] – Allan
And I'm going to change my lifting program a bit. Yeah. All of that's completely possible and likely actually very highly likely. And so I'm going to go at this and say, what can I control? I can control Monday. Monday, October 4 is my first morning on schedule, and literally I'm up before 07:00 and I'm at the gym. And so if it's 6:45, I'm walking to the gym. I'm already winning.

[00:43:45.540] – Rachel
That's awesome.

[00:43:46.590] – Allan
Now what I can't, like I said, what I don't have control over are some side effects, but there will be side effects. There's gonna be positive side effects of that. I'm going to lose some weight. I'm gonna probably put on a little muscle, get stronger, get some sun because most of my training will be outdoors in the sun, and we don't have an off season. It's not like cold weather like you're gonna be dealing with where you're out there trudging through the snow. None of that's no stuff for me.

[00:44:13.520] – Allan
I might be running through some sand, right?

[00:44:16.150] – Dr. Foster
That's good for you.

[00:44:17.030] – Allan
Yeah. I might be doing sprints in the sand like, yeah, I want to get some cardio in. And really, I could actually get it in a lot faster today. If I just go and do some hit training in the deep Bluff sand. I can do that and just make it a training. But I've done my training for that day. And then if I end up saying, okay, I've had enough, I'm done. Then I'm done. And I can approach it from that perspective of focusing on activity and performance of the activity.

[00:44:47.400] – Allan
And then if I'm having a good lifting day, that's great. If I'm having a bad lifting day, then evaluate what I learn, what can I do and then just keep moving through that because like I said, my strengths are honesty, integrity and just continue to push myself. It's not self regulation. So what I have to do is actually rely on systems and processes to say, okay, I have this goal at this bigger thing in front of me, and I put 1 foot is kind of a runners thing as I put 1 foot in front of the other is like if you lift it up, I'll put it down and just get that foot forward, and then it'll take care of itself.

[00:45:28.580] – Allan
And that's really how these things work. And yes, the tough mudder is there. And It's not a goal in and of itself. It's an opportunity. And it's an obstacle. And I put this big obstacle in front of me that's going to require me to change certain behaviors for that period of time. And that's something that I have now recognized that I kind of need to have. There's something in front of me that I'm moving toward or training for to excite my training to keep me active and going, because I can go in the gym every day.

[00:46:04.210] – Allan
And then it's just a point where you're saying, okay, this is the same workout I did nine months ago. I'm doing it again. I'm about the same strength. Okay.

[00:46:14.920] – Allan
And it's cool. And I feel good about it. But at the end of the day, I'm like, okay, but where am I moving? It's just having something that I feel like I'm moving toward. And for me, that's important for a lot of other people. It might not be it might be watching the scale, but you don't have total control over that. And maybe I don't have total control over whether I'm going to be in good enough shape to complete the tough Mudder myself. I am at this point going to be, I think, eight years, almost eight years older than I was the last time I did it.

[00:46:44.860] – Allan
and so that's not a little bit of time, but I'm going back and I'm going to do it again, and I fully expect that they'll probably be another one in my future. So particularly if I have a good time. But that's what this is all about. But it starts with the mindset as we said. And then it's really just about saying, okay, what's going to keep me engaged? What's going to keep me fired up? What's going to be fun and looking at what I'm doing from that perspective, it's a gift for me to complete

[00:47:15.650] – Allan
A tough Mudder is a gift.

[00:47:17.660] – Rachel
It is.

[00:47:18.830] – Allan
You know, and so that's the gift I want to give this person I love is that feeling of success at the end of a tough mudder.

[00:47:27.380] – Rachel
I love that. That sounds great.

[00:47:29.950] – Allan
Alright. Anything else you want to go over or we'll talk next week?

[00:47:32.910] – Rachel
No, that was great. I got to take that test, though, that Dr. Foster put out there.

[00:47:38.700] – Allan
It was quite interesting. And then after you get through with it, kind of go back and see.

[00:47:43.560] – Allan
Yeah. Now I kind of get that. They weren't all really strengths that I would have initially equated to health and fitness. But if you take a few minutes to sit down, you start realizing that the things that you are successful at are those things where you emphasize those strengths and they just push you faster. They make you do better. And it's really interesting. You do at some point need to address your weaknesses, but they become easier and easier to do when you get the snowball of all those strengths and those successes, those weakness sort of they just take care of themselves.

[00:48:21.990] – Rachel
I think so. I think that having those strengths are knowing what your strengths are your best tools in your toolbox for you to be able to attack your goal with.

[00:48:30.180] – Allan
All right. Well, you'll have to let me know how that goes.

[00:48:32.760] – Rachel
Yeah, will do.

[00:48:33.800] – Allan
All right. Well, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:48:35.670] – Rachel
Take care.


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