How to use joy to improve your health and fitness with Dr. Michelle Segar

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Many of us think of weight loss and exercise as being joyless, in fact taking away the things and foods we love. In her book, The Joy Choice, Dr. Michelle Segar shows us there is a better way to get healthy and fit. By choosing the joy choice.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:35.410] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:36.530] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:38.070] – Allan

I'm doing okay. How are things up there?

[00:02:40.600] – Rachel

Really good. Really proud to announce my son just graduated from College. He's got a job lined up with General Motors, which we're very proud and excited for him. And so this month we're working on finding him an apartment to live in and he'll be about fledged in another month or so. We're pretty excited to be one step closer to that empty nesters part of our lives.

[00:03:03.900] – Allan

Congratulations for him and you because I know as a parent these days you're engaged.

[00:03:10.280] – Rachel

Yes, I am.

[00:03:11.510] – Allan

When they're going through the College years.

[00:03:14.530] – Rachel

Yeah. I'm pretty happy to be done with that Bill. I'll tell you that right now. And he is, too. Yeah. He's very excited to be done with College and starting this next chapter of his life, and we're very proud.

[00:03:25.990] – Allan

That's cool.

[00:03:27.020] – Rachel

So how are things with you?

[00:03:28.520] – Allan

Well, we had a new house guest come in. A holler monkey.

[00:03:35.650] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:03:37.400] – Allan

And so this holler monkey, we're about 2 miles away from where any of the holler monkeys would hang out. I've never heard or seen a holler monkey this far into town. Heard stories. Now, of course, once it happens, like, oh, well, this happened a few years ago kind of thing. But, no, this dude was literally coming across the wires, and, of course, Buster has to fend the habitat. So he's barking like crazy trying to get to this monkey. I'm trying to keep him away from the monkey and just try to figure out, okay, how do I get the monkey to shoo or go away? But I don't want to also don't want them to get hurt. I don't want to get hit by a car and so many things going through my head, and then all of a sudden, the monkey zap, touched a wire they weren't supposed to touch and just fell. This is from the second story, probably, I would say a good 25ft drop and just lands on pavement. I hear speck when he hit the ground. I ran over there. He's stunned. I take a picture, and I go online. I message Tag, the guy that does our local humane society kind of stuff, Papa Gato.

[00:04:53.050] – Allan

And so he brings a woman over. But before he gets over there and really before I get my post all the way down and go back out, this monkey's woke up, goes across the street and climbs up an almond tree. And so he's up in the tree. So Papa Gato goes and gets his trap. We put a couple of bananas in there, and we set the trap up. Well, the monkey stayed in that tree for almost two whole days.

[00:05:20.310] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:05:21.690] – Allan

Stayed overnight. And then it was late the next afternoon that he finally, I guess, get climbed down and just took off because I didn't see him slip out. I would go out there every couple of hours and check on him just to see if he was in the tree. He would move from side to side. So I knew he was generally okay. Somehow, another he came down. He just ignored the bananas we had out there for him, and they just took off. And so hopefully he's going to be okay. He'll find his way back to where he needs to be. I hear these male monkeys will get kicked out of their troop, and then they just have to go find a place to be that's not where their troops at because they're not welcome there anymore. So I think he just strayed and got himself on the wrong side of town.

[00:06:06.490] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness. What an adventure.

[00:06:09.980] – Allan

Then he got shocked and it was so interesting because we had a guest up there on the balcony when this is all happening, he's just looking around like, oh, my God, what's going on here? And then all of a sudden the monkey gets electrocuted and he's messaging his wife and his daughter said, don't come back yet. Don't come back yet. You don't want to see this. I thought the monkey was done when he hit that concrete and electrocuted, I thought, oh, that poor monkey. But he was able to climb up the tree and spend a day up there, I guess heal a little and then decided it was time for him to move on because there was no water on that land where he was. So he was going to need to go somewhere just to get water. But interesting weekend.

[00:06:54.680] – Rachel

Yeah, for sure. Holy cow.

[00:06:57.650] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to talk to Dr. Segar?

[00:07:02.300] – Rachel



[00:07:52.090] – Allan

Dr. Segar, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:55.150] – Dr. Segar

It's great to be here.

[00:07:57.170] – Allan

Now I'm going to say joy is one of my favorite words. And I have a question that's going to come up later about wellness, and it includes happiness. But after I wrote the book and after I've asked this question hundreds of times, I kind of wish I'd use the word joy instead of happiness because I think that's really the word I was after. So your book is called, The Joy Choice: How to Finally Achieve Lasting Changes in Eating and Exercise. And, you know, I think anybody that's tried to change one or both of those knows it might be the most challenging thing they've ever done. I know for me it was. And while I didn't call it the Joy Choice at the time, most of what you're talking about here, it just resonates with me very well because it was effectively what took me over eight years of trial and error to figure out. And they can get this book and get a lot of the details of how to do it in a much shorter time.

[00:08:59.750] – Dr. Segar

The reason why so many people haven't figured it out yet and that it might have taken you eight years is because we've been taught an opposite approach that really gets in our way. It clouds and contaminates our thinkings and our emotions about eating and exercise and really derails what we're hoping to achieve. So that's why it's so hard. And I think the biggest thing is for people to really understand it's not their fault. It's because the whole formula that we've been taught, not the whole the majority of what we've been taught over the last three to four decades has been based on science, but it hasn't necessarily been based on how we can best sustain a behavior within our complicated lives.

[00:09:52.790] – Allan

Yeah. And you got into some of the science on that, which was fascinating. And we've seen it in other areas I have in Health and Fitness, where they'll take one study and they'll say, okay, this is the study, and then we're going to drive everything else off of this one study. And the one I'm talking about in particular that was in your book was you were talking about how long it takes to build a habit. And granted, we can say based on that study, 66 days potentially, but the standard deviations, for someone it was two weeks, and for someone else, it was almost a whole year on average. Okay, 66 days. And we drive a lot of the way we approach this on a study like that. So it's no wonder that you're not one of the people that happens to be on the right end of the 66 days. It might take you longer. It might take you a different approach, which is what you get into with the Joy choice.

[00:10:57.290] – Dr. Segar

I'm not sure that's even the most strategic question that we could be asking to focus on how long is it going to take me to form an automatic habit? As you know, in the book, there's a lot of concerns I have about telling people that they should be forming habits for healthy eating, exercise, and I'm sure we're going to get into that in a little bit. But the idea is that focusing on the process instead of the outcome, what do I need to do consistently to actually be able to stick with this long term? That's focusing on the process. That's the goal. That's what's going to get us where we want to go. So that's really the best of the question we should be asking is what do I need to do? What is most likely to get in my way, and what can I do to overcome or prevent those things?

[00:11:49.940] – Allan

Yeah. And we definitely will get into that. There was a concept you had in the book that I thought was brilliant, and it's called the motivation bubble. And the reason I think that it's great is because I think when someone actually understands this concept, it's like that happens to me every single day. It's not just every single time I try to lose weight or every time I try to start an exercise program, I build this motivation bubble. That bubble pops as soon as something gets around it. And we've got these. Can you talk about the motivation bubble because we go in with the best of intentions and we're excited.

[00:12:35.810] – Dr. Segar

Right? Well, we usually decide we're going to change our eating or start exercising more for a very specific reason. Either we're excited for a trip we're going to take or that magazine cover or our doctor gave us really scary news and we start and we're in this and we're full of motivation because we've decided we're going to do it. But the motivation is like a bubble. And as we know, bubbles are very fragile and we might blow a really big bubble, but it doesn't take much for that to bump up into anything else. Anything that bumps into it is going to burst it. This is how we've been taught to initiate behavior change in this fragile bubble of motivation without a lot of strategy, without understanding the types of things that are really going to get in our way. And bubbles burst. And that's why I use it. And that analogy came organically out of an interview, and I've just been using it ever since.

[00:13:40.670] – Allan

Yeah. Now there are some of us, like your husband, who is able to create habits, and you can call him a habitor, is what you call them in the book. And then there's people that are not habitors, and we call them you call them unhabitors. Can you talk about those two people? And why is it difficult for certain individuals to be able to form habits? And other individuals might just say, okay, naturally, here's my habit, and I start doing it three weeks later. I'm just doing it every day. What's the difference?

[00:14:12.890] – Dr. Segar

Well, before I answer the question, I think we need to create the context. And what people care about is they have some North Star they want to achieve. They want to be healthier, they want to have a better sense of well being. And in order to achieve those north stars, we need sustainable behavior change, because if you make a change and don't stick with it, you're not going to be able to achieve those goals. So sustainability is this fundamental thing we need. But sustainability is really the symptom of something else, and that is consistent decisions day in and day out. Now, I don't mean identical decisions. I just mean a sense of consistency in our choices that favor doing the behavior. There's a couple of ways to create consistent decisions. One is through our unconscious automatic thinking, which would be via habit formation, and the other is through our conscious thinking. So let's pause on our conscious thinking and focus now on habit formation, which is offloading our choices to exercise or eat in certain ways to our unconscious and automatic decision making. And let me just say, habits are great. I'm thankful for my flossing habit.

[00:15:33.690] – Dr. Segar

I'm thankful that I have a habit to feed my dog in the morning because it will starve otherwise. So I'm thankful I don't have to think about those things, but those are very simple things, and there are personality differences that I'll get into in a minute. But if we think about different behaviors like exercise, flossing happens in the bathroom. There's not a lot that's going to get in the way or disrupt it. But when it comes to physical activity, we've got places to get to. We've got transportation, we've got potentially changes. We've got other people whose logistics were in charge of there are so many different things that can get in the way and make it very complicated. Habit formation happens via what's called the habit loop, which is a queue for behavior like I brush my teeth and the cue is brushing, and I automatically think reach for the floss. I floss, and then there's some type of reward, and that fuels a process in our brain that automates it as soon as we get that queue. And again, for flossing, it's pretty simple in the bathroom. But step outside of the bathroom into the chaotic, crazy life of hubbub that many of us live, and that cue is going to get disrupted.

[00:16:50.760] – Dr. Segar

Now, getting back to your question about habitors versus unhabitors. Habitors are people like my husband, and God bless him, he lets me use him as an example. There's nothing wrong. Habitors are awesome, and I love them dearly. But what's most important is that we understand which we tend to be. And a habitor tends to be someone who is very disciplined, who has a very organized schedule that doesn't lend itself to a lot of disruption, and that makes it easier to form habits even for complex behaviors like exercise. But unhabitors and I happen to be one of those, one of the lucky many millions. I think more people are unhabitors because unhabitants tend to be less organized. We tend to have more hubbub and unexpected in our lives. We may manage many people's lives and pets, whether at home or at work. And so there's a lot of room for the unanticipated to just fly in and disrupt any habit loop that we might be trying to create. So that's the big difference. Does that make sense?

[00:18:05.740] – Allan

Yeah. The way I like to talk to people about it, a lot of it's going to depend on how you do your self awareness, and as you sit down with your self awareness understanding. Okay, am I the kind of person who can get into a Porsche and get this done? And I've got no disruptions. I got nothing in the road in front of me. It's a straight road, and I can just haul versus someone who's now got kids and other things. So now I'm driving in a minivan and I can't go as fast, and the road is curved, and maybe there's a whole lot of road construction in school zones and everything else going on in our lives. It's going to keep us from getting as far as fast and understanding that then allows you to take the approach one with patience, understanding that your life is not completely 100% of your control, which is what the joy choice really, when it comes down to it, is where the real value comes in is I don't have to Super manage my life. I don't have to worry about that I'm in a sports car. I can be in my minivan and be very happy with the progress that I'm making.

[00:19:06.890] – Allan

That's kind of the way I put where I'm at. The way I like to approach this with what you're talking about is once we know who we are, it's a lot easier to make some decisions. And then once we know how to approach it, we make better decisions.

[00:19:21.470] – Dr. Segar

You know what it's about fit and match. And let's step outside of exercise and healthy eating just for a minute, and let's think about what other areas in our lives we know that where we learn that we're fit is so important. We might, when we're younger, want to date and pick the raciest coolest person. But when it comes down to who we want to spend the rest of our life with, that person might have very different characteristics to fit us. Or if we think about schools, the fit with who we are and what kind of learning context teaching we need will determine whether we have a successful and a positive experience. So it's the same when it comes to changing our behavior. Are the strategies we're trying to use a fit with who we are in personality and our life context, or are they not? But we haven't been taught to ask that question.

[00:20:24.470] – Allan

Yeah. Now in the book, you talk about the decision disruptors and you use the acronym Trap. I love acronyms, too, because they help us remember some things. And these are really important because if you can recognize these traps, then you're in a much better place because so many times these traps get us. And by the time we recognize that, we've gone off the trail, our motivation bubble has popped and that day is effectively, in our minds, ruined before we ruin our day. If we catch ourselves in that moment, which is we'll get into the pop in a minute. But we start with understanding where the traps are. Can you talk about what Trap stands for and what these potential disruptors are?

[00:21:10.920] – Dr. Segar

Yes, and I call them decision disruptors, because what this book is about is what we really haven't been taught for the most part and what to do when our healthy eating or exercise plan bumps up with an unexpected conflict because the societal dogma has been all or nothing thinking, which really, if your plan is disrupted, the only alternative in that paradigm or that binary is nothing. And so people do nothing. And so the goal of the book is to help people at those challenges, those choice points, those momentary decisions about what to do and so things that disrupt those decisions, that tend to be internal in our heads that we might not be aware of are temptation, rebellion, accommodation, and perfection. And while these traps are active and often they're often unconscious. So one of my favorite quotes of all time it has to do with this is from Dan Siegel, and he says, name it to tame it. So if we can name the trap that is staring us in the face, we can really remove a great deal of its power to control our decisions, which is what we're focused on in the book.

[00:22:30.330] – Dr. Segar

So the first one is temptation. And temptation is just this visceral feeling. We have to we want that chocolate cake. It is in front staring us down. It's seducing us or, wow, the couch and that beer is calling us to watch more something on Netflix. Right now we're watching The Good Place, which is really funny. So temptation, when we hear that word, we know what it means. But what we might not know is what new theories based on how our brain works proposed. And that is that it's our past experiences with the chocolate cake and the couch and the beer that is really exerting pullovers. It's not what's in front of us. It's our history of past memories of participating these activities and what it felt like and what it sounded like and the emotions we had and the people we were with. And when we understand that, then we can name it. Oh, that isn't just that chocolate frosting listening in the light. It's how I felt when my mom made it for my birthday every year. And when we can notice that. I mean, I already know you started off this conversation with self awareness.

[00:23:54.370] – Dr. Segar

Self awareness is what people need to be able to notice those things. And so when we understand how the brain works when it comes to these temptation choice points, then we are much more empowered to take charge and not succumb to something that we might not want to succumb to. So do you want me to go to the second one?

[00:24:17.440] – Allan

Yes, please.

[00:24:18.090] – Dr. Segar

Okay. So the second very common disruptor that I've seen in my coaching clients is rebellion. And in my last interview, the podcaster asked me, why would people rebel against something that they themselves have planned to do? Well, there's a really great reason why. And the reason is because we have been socialized to initiate an eating plan or to start a new exercise regimen out of shoulds because we think we should do it because our doctor told us to, because our company told us to, because we think we're overweight, whatever the reason. And when we initiate a behavior change out of that mentality, which is the most common way actually to initiate a change in this area, it makes us feel like we're not free to choose the things we want to choose. And it's human nature. And theory support us that human beings are motivated to reclaim their freedom when they feel like it's been taken away. So if you think you can't have pizza because it's not on your eating plan, well, guess what we're motivated to do? We're motivated to say screw you plan. I'm going to have it anyway. So that's rebellion.

[00:25:38.780] – Dr. Segar

I bet you've seen that a lot in your work.

[00:25:40.780] – Allan

Is that I do. My very first client was doing great, seeing results. Everything was wonderful. I was excited. She was telling me these wonderful stories or interactions with her granddaughter. And I was thinking, okay, she's on a really great track. So she's experiencing the benefits of what's going on and things she had told me before. She hates exercise and everything. And I'm like, well, you know, we're going to do some and we're going to do. And so we were going along. And I think similar to what you'd said in the book, it's like when she started rebelling and then disappeared, it was my fault. It really wasn't her fault. I should have recognized early on that she was starting to struggle with the shoulds, even though she was seeing the benefits. I was focused on the benefits and thinking this has to motivate her when the reality was she was having an internal conflict with the shoulds and eventually just realized I was the bad guy, if you will, of the should. And every time she thought of me or thought about being on the phone with me, there was a should that kept coming out and that was too much pressure on her.

[00:26:56.700] – Allan

And so she just decided to rebel and disappear, ghost me. And because we weren't, again, not a family member or friend or somebody I was close to, when she decided to ghost me, she's gone. I think the one that you talked about was more on the perfection side, but I think as a coach, I should have recognized the warning signs. And now, having read your book, seeing this trap, listening to what my clients are telling me and understanding, hey, you don't have to do this. There's no shoulds here. Let's talk about it. And let's see how we can get past this trap because I missed it.

[00:27:37.550] – Dr. Segar

Until we recognize it, we all miss it because we haven't been taught to name it and categorize it. And I want to say something that people that coaches and personal trainers are doing is having their clients take the trap quiz on my website and then going over it with them to see, oh, is rebellion one of your traps? Yes or no? Is it temptation? And it can be a diagnostic for a coach to use with their clients. I personally found it really helpful. But let's move on to the next trap, which is accommodation. And this one is a little counterintuitive. People don't think about this as intuitively as they would think about rebellion or temptation. And it basically refers to whenever we come up against the needs of someone else or work needs, we just instinctively unconsciously drop what we had planned to do for our physical activity or our healthy eating because we say to ourselves, and again, most of this stuff has to do with self talk or unconscious processes that we're not aware of. We just said, oh, I have to join the celebration. I'm going to forget about my plan. I don't even want to eat that cupcake.

[00:28:53.820] – Dr. Segar

But if I don't eat it, it's going to hurt their feelings. And so that's accommodation for eating, where you just kind of decide what I've been doing doesn't matter. I just need to be in the celebration with everyone. Now the reality is there's a ton of ways you can participate in the celebration if you don't have all or nothing thinking. But if you do, then the only option is eat the cupcake. And from an exercise perspective, we see this a lot. And I'm sure you see this all the time. When people have some kind of planned exercise and our work needs, our email inbox, those urgent things are non urgent, but mounting things never go away. And so if we always feel that what our work is more important than our own walk or selfcare, then we're letting accommodation get in the way. And I want to say, people assume that people like you and me, who might be proponents of active lifestyles and self care, that we don't struggle at all with these issues. But I know I do all the time. And this has been a hugely busy time with the book launch.

[00:30:12.430] – Dr. Segar

And I have had to consciously make joy choices day in and day out about my walking because I have a lot more to do right now. And so I'm sure you experienced that too.

[00:30:25.690] – Allan

Yes, that was kind of the interesting thing. As we went through the traps, I was like, okay, well, yeah, that happened. So temptation got me. And then accommodation perfection. I had a hard time finding examples of rebellion for myself. I just kind of looked through, I said, okay, I haven't taken your quiz. So I'm interested. As soon as we get off this call, I'm probably logging in and taking a quiz. But the accommodation was a big one, because what I found was I wanted to work out every afternoon during my lunch hour. And so I would just have it in my mind that as soon as I took my lunch, that was when I was going to go to the gym. Invariably, a meeting would get scheduled. My boss would call, something would be going on, a report. I have to get out today, something I've got to get done. And so I would say, okay, well, I'll just do this instead. And then that day I get my workout. And what I finally found was, okay, what I have to do if I want this to happen is I literally have to block out my calendar as if that's the most important meeting of my day.

[00:31:25.640] – Allan

It's with my boss, myself, but it's with my boss, my real boss, me. And it's not something I can cancel. And so when I made that non negotiable meeting on my calendar, no one else could book a meeting coming up about a half an hour before that meeting, I actually turned my email off, so I wasn't hearing the Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding leading up to that hour. And then when my hours was up, I put my clothes on and I go and maybe my work boss would call. And so I'd say, okay, what do you need? Come on up to my office. I was walking up to his office in my workout closed. He's like, what's going on? He's like, well, I was on my way to the gym. Here I am. What do you need? He said, well, I need this. I'm like, okay, well, I need an hour to get my workout done, and then I'll have it over to you. Cool. And now, would I have done that before? No, because I didn't have the awareness, self awareness that I was letting that accommodation trap happen until I realized, okay, I keep missing workouts because I'm accommodating these other things.

[00:32:26.480] – Allan

And again, I didn't have a label for it exactly. But I just understood that if I didn't take that time back, I would always lose it.

[00:32:35.450] – Dr. Segar

What the book would address in that scenario is, let's say you walked upstairs to talk to your work boss, and what he needed you to do was going to take 25 minutes, and you had another meeting on the hour that you had to take. So the alternative is that instead of saying, oh, I didn't get that hour, what else can I do? In the 35 minutes that I have left, I can't go to the gym like I plan to because I'm not going to get all sweaty. So that's what we're trying to help people learn is how do you navigate in flexible ways? That unexpected thing that did cut into your hour, despite your great strategies of blocking off that time in your calendar, right?

[00:33:24.010] – Allan

Yeah. Now, the last one you had was perfection. And I actually think I know for myself this one's, the one. If I could have solved this one, it probably wouldn't have taken me eight years to figure this all out, because a lot of us suffer from this. And in many cases, it's the perfection trap that then really almost sets off everything else. I mean, all the other traps happen because we're already caught in the perfection trap.

[00:33:52.020] – Dr. Segar

Yeah, I'm smiling really big right now because you couldn't have said it more perfectly. Perfection is the most common one. It's what our society has taught us, socialized indoctrinated, us to do, and it does set the stage, because if perfection is the bar, then of course you're going to rebel and eat the whole piece of cake because there's no in between. You're going to succumb to temptation because you can't have it. You can't have it, and then you're going to rebel against that darn diet anyway. So perfection, you are right. I call it it's so big, I call it a Dragon. It's the all or nothing Dragon. And we have literally been so it's not our fault we have all or nothing thinking or perfectionistic approaches because our society has evolved in a way to teach us. But that is the old behavior change story. It's outdated and misguided many of us. And the great news is the new science offers us a whole new story of behavior change. And it will have a happy ending because it's based on what a body of science shows work. And I don't want to leap into the solution because you're guiding me along.

[00:35:12.140] – Dr. Segar

But perfection is the old story of behavior change and it is outdated.

[00:35:19.550] – Allan

Now with perfection and I think this is really where the breakdown of all this comes together is everybody believes that the reason they're failing is because they lack self control. And regardless, it's almost as if, okay, well, if I had more self control, I wouldn't fall for these traps. But that's not really the case because we don't have a lack of self control. It's not a failure, as you mentioned earlier, it's like we're not broken. We're wired the way we're wired. And it's not that we need more self control, we just need to go into what you call the choice points with our head up and being aware.

[00:36:04.970] – Dr. Segar

That's exactly right. We need to understand that the choice points right now and right now is the place of power because they accumulate over time. And that's why the perfect, imperfect choice or option is the solution, because right now we might make a choice that's imperfect, but it keeps us on the path. And the next now we might hit the Bull's eye, but the next five, we might make another perfectly imperfect choice, but we're still staying consistent. And that reinforces himself and keeps us getting the benefits over time. That continuously reinforced why we're doing it in the first place.

[00:36:51.770] – Allan

So the approach that you take to do the joy choice is called Pop. Again, another acronym. Again, they'll remember this, okay, trap is Temptation, Rebellion, Accommodation, Perfection. And then Pop is the approach that you take to get out of these traps. You recognize the trap. To do that, we've got to do a few things. And that's what the Pop is about. The story you told in the book about one of your clients using this technique I think was really good and I'd like to use that here. And that was the woman who decided, okay, I'm going to do a pool workout five days a week. It's going to be my bridge between my work day and my evening. And in theory, when you say that to a personal trainer, it's like, that sounds brilliant. That should work great until Alex got involved. Yeah, go ahead.

[00:37:51.210] – Dr. Segar

She comes home from work, her in laws are visiting, and she's thrilled to enact this perfect plan. And she hears screaming up in the window and looks up and sees her young son crying because she is in his happy place without him. And he's distraught. And she's like, oh, no, I've been gone all day. But I really want this, my time, this movement, listening to my music in the pool and helping me transition from brain heavy day to heart full evening with my family. And her old way of thinking would have been either I have to choose between meeting Alex's needs, which is not being in the pool and going and getting him or going out of the pool to comfort him, or fully meeting his needs and dropping my pool workout. But we had had a session, and she remembered that instead of letting this is what I say. Instead of letting the circumstances or life burst your bubble, you can pop your plan. And when we say we're going to pop our plan, we are taking ownership of our thinking and the situation. And again, we are not aiming for perfection here. So what did she do?

[00:39:16.660] – Dr. Segar

She popped her plan and pop stands for pause. This is where she said, oh, my gosh, accommodation is staring me in the face. Alex needs me. I'm yearning to go to him, but I know that I can name it and I can say, oh, this is what's happening. I have some control over it. Now, let me get my attention back on the pop process. Then she opened up her options and played with the options. Well, what could she do? She could take a walk after work with her family. She came up with another option that I can't think of off the top of my head. Or she could bring Alex into the pool and play around, walk with him, and basically do a modified pool workout with him. Still getting her physical activity and meeting Alex's needs. And of course, that was like the Ding, Ding, Ding. And she P, she picked the joy choice, which was staying in the pool, worked out to give her the transition she wanted. But instead of doing it alone, Mommy time with music, she decided she would do it and be active with Alex so that she could fulfill these two different what had been conflicting but had a mutuality that she could choose.

[00:40:38.180] – Dr. Segar

So she picked the joy choice, which is what we do at the end of the pop process.

[00:40:43.410] – Allan

Right. And the advantage was this. And this is the kind of added benefit that really wasn't built into her original model. But it worked was she had the in laws get Alex ready for the pool, which gave her, like, five to ten minutes to do the kind of the unwinding thing that she intended to do while she was in the pool. She got her head straight, got herself that transition from work to heart. And then Alex is in the pool with her. It wasn't the workout she intended, but she still got movement in, as you said, the perfect imperfect. And she got it done. And as a result, she was in control. But she had to get that pause. She had to recognize the trap, and then she had to make the decision that was the right decision in the moment for her. The joy choice.

[00:41:31.490] – Dr. Segar

That's right. That's the beauty of it is the joy choice lets us meet the many roles and responsibilities that give our life meaning and still take care of ourselves. And there's a new definition of success. And that's another reason why it's the joy choice, because we are successful when we do something instead of nothing. And she was so proud of herself, and that was the beginning. Once we do it one or two times, it really does become intuitive. And the beauty of it is that once we start doing it with exercise and eating, we actually can do it. I do it in all areas of my life because it's a way for me to regroup and be flexible and pick the most optimal choice for that particular challenge.

[00:42:23.980] – Allan

Yeah. Now, the way this would apply for, like, one with temptation. You talked about in the book, how if you walk by the cafe and you see that croissant, chocolate filled croissant, and it's glistening and it's calling your name and it's a loud voice and you're really struggling to walk away from this cafe and you find yourself in line magically. And then you realize, okay, again, pause. Why am I in this line? And you realize, it's not the chocolate croissant. It's the last time you were at that cafe with your friend, you guys had a wonderful conversation. You had that chocolate croissant. And the blend of the moment is now in your memory. So one of your executive functions has tied into this and said, this croissant is kind of a reminder of kind of a reliving of a great moment in your life. You talk about the chocolate cake your mother made. This is kind of another one of those things. Now, you can recognize that this is temptation.

[00:43:25.810] – Dr. Segar

Absolutely. And when we recognize that it puts it in perspective, it takes away. It's not the dark force that's drawing us in. I mean, if we think about eating the cake as the dark force, then we've already succumbed to it right before we ate it. So once we recognize, oh, Geez, this is what's going on. This is what's going on in my brain. It's not that when we remove the tension that it's this evil thing that we shouldn't have that's off the plan or that we feel that we should do and want to rebel against. We really put ourselves in control. Again, it's a decision. And it doesn't mean that people will decide not to have the croissant, but they're going to do it understanding the meaning it has for them without tension. But they're going to make a conscious choice instead of an unconscious reaction. Or they might say, you know what? I really want that chocolate croissant for all the reasons above, but I don't need to eat the whole thing. I actually would be really satisfied and proud of myself to eat half of it, wrap the other half up, and maybe I'll have it for dessert, or split it with my family after dinner, or I'll save it for the next day.

[00:44:41.410] – Dr. Segar

Learning how to be flexible is the key to sustainability. I mean, the research clearly shows this.

[00:44:48.170] – Allan

Yeah. Especially if you find that you're an unhabitor and you can't sit down and just say, I'm going to do this and stick with it. If you've struggled in the past with that, it's very likely you are an unhabitor. It's likely that you fall into these traps. And if you really go back and think about it, you'll start to see the patterns, and you just have to stop and recognize that pause and recognize when you're repeating that pattern and make another choice.

[00:45:17.530] – Dr. Segar

Absolutely. And it is, again, it's really important for people to recognize am I more like Michelle's husband Job, who's a habitor in all areas of his life, or am I more like Michelle and a little disorganized and a little comfortable keeping dishes in the sink and sometimes feel like, oh my gosh, how am I going to do all these things? So self awareness and fit is really the structure we need to set us up for success long term.

[00:45:49.930] – Allan

And so in the book, you give us a lot of tools as we start going through this process, because we can say it pop and go through it and we can talk about examples. But the reality is that you get good at this or get better at this by practice.

[00:46:08.290] – Dr. Segar

Like anything, like anything. Like any new things, we need to give ourselves Grace when we don't do it, quote, unquote as well as we hoped we would or thought we should anytime we learn something new, it's a learning process. And giving ourselves Grace is like we should give other people Grace when they're learning how to do something. That's a really important part of this, too. And that's part of why it's the joy choice, because it's all about being forgiven forgiving. It's about being imperfect like we are honoring that and making sure that our strategies for physical activity and healthy eating match with the imperfect lives that many of us live.

[00:46:59.470] – Allan

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

[00:47:08.770] – Dr. Segar

I think understanding that we need self-awareness is the fundamental element. Without self awareness, we can't know what we need, we can't know what we want. So first and foremost, we have to have the intention of becoming more self aware. Then when we decide that we want to do something toward our happiness or wellness, we want to make sure that what we're choosing to embark on is the right thing at the right time. So, for example, if someone now, this is different for different people. And this is why self awareness is really key to understand this. So for example, if someone just has a baby, they have a brand new newborn baby and they're like, I've got to get fit right now. They have a newborn that's a week old, that doesn't sleep through the night, and that person decides they're going to start working out every day or whatever. I would say that is probably the wrong thing at the wrong time. And the workout has to be perfect. Now, exercise is a great way to facilitate your sleep. But if you add something to grandiose onto an already overwhelming situation. So that's where fit of what we're doing when is really important.

[00:48:26.610] – Dr. Segar

So I just want to take a step back and say physical activity is great for new moms. It's the overarching plan that they create that would be important. And of course, walking with your newborn is a great way to be active. But that's just an example. You said, how do you do it? You want to make sure that what you're doing is the right thing for the right time. And then the third thing is, I think considering whatever you're doing as a process of learning, where one day you're going to have a couple of steps forward, you're going to hit the bullseye, and the other days you might have to make joy choices. And that the goal isn't perfection, it's staying on the path through doing something instead of nothing.

[00:49:10.510] – Allan

Great. Thank you. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Joy Choice, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:49:19.150] – Dr. Segar

Well, the book should be everywhere. So they can go to their local bookstore. They can get it online through booksellers online. If they want to take the quiz and learn more about the book, they can go to my website, which is michellesegar.com

[00:49:35.590] – Allan

awesome. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/538 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Segar, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:49:45.910] – Dr. Segar

Thanks for having me. It was really fun to talk with you.

[00:49:48.950] – Allan

Me, too. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:49:57.470] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:49:59.090] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. With an interesting conversation you had. There's a couple of things I'd like to talk about. But first, I'd like to talk about setting or creating habits. It sounds like it's still a good thing to do, but not everybody is able to create habits quite as easily as everyone else.

[00:50:14.010] – Allan

Yeah, there are people that they decide they want to do something, they're going to start taking a multivitamin or they're going to change something the way they do something. And then pretty easily after that, they're just doing it. They're not even thinking about it anymore. For most people, for a lot of people, works fairly well. If you do it long enough, it's different for everybody. You may have heard numbers out there, like 21 days or 66 days or whatever. And the reality is that the science that's out there, while there was an average of 66 days to make an action automatic or feel automatic where you weren't thinking about doing it, you just did it. 66 was the average. But the spread on that was really wide. Some people less than two weeks, other people almost a year. And so you can't just say 66 days. But for a lot of people, if you get to doing a simple thing over and over, eventually it just becomes a habit. You get up in the morning, you brush your teeth, you put the coffee on, you walk the dog. There's simple things that become like a ritual when you do them.

[00:51:31.890] – Allan

But big caveat, it really only works for simple things. When you want to do something like food prep or something like that, that's a whole series of actions. Then you have to go deeper than a habit because habits not going to get you there like that. There are habitors, like she said, like her husband, that once they start doing something, it does. So if you're doing Sunday meal prep, Saturday grocery shop, maybe Sunday morning grocery shop, and then Sunday meal prep, yes, that can become like a normal thing on your schedule that you get to doing and feel like a habit. But most of us are not going to feel comfortable that that's an automatic thing. And then anything that gets in the way pop, we're out of it. And we may not even go back the next Sunday and do it because we stopped doing it this Sunday before.

[00:52:27.630] – Rachel

That's a good point. Which brings me to the other thing that I think is more useful is that Traps acronym that she had for the decision disruptors. And the reason why that was such a light bulb moment, I love the phrase decision disruptors because we are all trying to make good decisions. We're trying to eat healthy and be active and stuff. But just things tend to get in the way. And her acronym of Traps kind of outline some of those things, some of those reasons why it's hard for us to stick or make these better choices.

[00:52:59.730] – Allan

Yeah. The temptation one is fairly common. And you'll see, so you go to work and a vendor brings Donuts.

[00:53:08.500] – Rachel


[00:53:09.410] – Allan

And you had no intention of eating the Donuts. You're even doing intermittent fasting. So you haven't eaten since dinner and you weren't going to eat until lunch. And you walk in the break room and there's those doughnuts, and you find yourself grabbing one of the doughnuts without really even thinking about it. And there you are. The rebellion is one that I don't see as often, but I see it from time to time. Accommodation is probably one of the most important ones because it's something that particularly women who are caregivers to their children, they take priority. Taking them to soccer practice, picking them up from dance, and just shuttling your kids around Burns up so much of your time that it's really hard to take time for yourself. And then Unfortunately, I think a lot of women will feel guilty taking that time away. I want to go for a run, but that's 45 minutes that I'm not here with my child.

[00:54:15.870] – Rachel

My guilt is strong, and it's definitely a driver in a lot of our decisions. But what I tell people is I tell people you can't fill from an empty cup. You need to take the time for yourself and take care of yourself before you can care for others adequately. But yes, I can definitely see that one. And the last one she had being perfection. That's a big one, too.

[00:54:40.090] – Allan

Yeah. She's absolutely right there, because so many of us are all or none.

[00:54:47.680] – Rachel


[00:54:48.930] – Allan

And I'll admit when I learn about myself, when I think about myself and I've done that self awareness thing that I had to do, I recognize, though, that I do pretty much have to be all on or I'm off. I need to push towards that. But it also creates those other problems. And I've worked with people like this. I have a client right now that's going through some of this, and he wants to eat keto, but this is going on. This child graduated from this that one's going here and there's this party that he has to go to. And so he finds himself off keto, and it just creates this cycle of and unfortunately, guilt, which he shouldn't feel. We villainize food, and so we feel like we've let ourselves down if we are not perfect. And the reality is if we know that perfect isn't possible.

[00:55:55.390] – Rachel


[00:55:57.610] – Allan

Particularly for us, it's like something's going to come up. I can't think of a year that I've gone through that there wasn't a holiday or birthday, right?

[00:56:05.520] – Rachel

Yeah, there's always something, isn't there?

[00:56:09.370] – Allan

So at some point you're going to go to a party or go to dinner. At some point, somebody's going to bring Donuts to the break room and you're going to end up eating one. That's fine. The point that she was getting at was don't let that be what beats you, right. The joy choice in her book. It's about finding your path where you feel good about your decisions. And so if you can get rid of that concept that these are bad foods and good foods and bad food, then you kind of get to where this is all at and we're going to have another guest on in a few weeks. And his name is Alan Aragon and he's got an excellent book as well. And it goes really deep into some of these same concepts of ways that you can look at just doing better than you're doing now. And then he talks about this concept of discretionary calories. The way he puts it together is if you're eating your calorie level, Then it's okay if up to 20% of your total calories is coming from stuff that you would put in a bad food list.

[00:57:35.850] – Rachel


[00:57:36.360] – Allan

So if you decide, okay, I want to have a Coca Cola And you're like, okay, that's sugar. I don't need that sugar. But I can fit that in my calories for the day. And because I know I'm getting good nutrition otherwise, that 80%. Then I know, okay, I can have the Coke and still stay under my calories, then that's fine. And so it's just trying to get away from the perfect is really important. So looking for tools, looking for things that are going to help you just kind of go through this and then it's hard, don't get me wrong, it's probably the hardest thing to do Because it's the mindset of change. So different things we talked about in this interview. There's even more in the book those tools and things that you can do. So I encourage anyone that's struggling with mindset, struggling with this willpower motivation, habits stuff. This is a good book Because it's just down to Earth stuff. It's science based. So she did go back into the science, looked it up. But at the same time, it kind of gives you a way to get through this without feeling like you've failed every single time you're not on plan.

[00:58:54.980] – Rachel

That's wonderful. That sounds like a really useful book and I love that it offers tools to help people get through these really tough traps like she had mentioned and these other tough situations. I think that's fantastic.

[00:59:07.490] – Allan

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

[00:59:10.100] – Rachel

Great. Take care.


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Another episode you may enjoy


How to improve your health and fitness through self-reliance with Clint Emerson

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Clint Emerson is a retired Navy Seal. In his book, The Rugged Life: The Modern Guide to Self-Reliance, he shows us how to be more self-reliant and improve our health and fitness as a result.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:34.450] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things?

[00:02:36.260] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:38.260] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Tammy got on an airplane about 15 minutes before we started recording this to fly out for a vacation trip that she's taking with her friend. It was one of those pre-covid trips that got canceled. And so now it's like she's now on the list and got to go. So she's going to be enjoying herself for two weeks, and then I'm going to be responsible for Lula's, which will be interesting. No, I've done it before for her to go back to the States for things. It's just going to stick for two weeks and it's a slower period right now, but just some additional moving parts in my life, but otherwise everything's going well.

[00:03:18.560] – Rachel

Good. Glad to hear it.

[00:03:20.650] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to talk to Clint Emerson?

[00:03:23.960] – Rachel

Sure. Sounds great.


[00:03:51.790] – Allan

Clint, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:54.460] – Clint

Hi. How are you doing, buddy? Nice to be here.

[00:03:56.700] – Allan

So your book is called The Rugged Life: the Modern Guide to Self Reliance. And I think a lot of folks will sit there and probably wonder, well, why on Earth would Allan have somebody talking about self-reliance and homesteading and all of those types of things on a health and fitness podcast? But in my mind, self-reliance and health and fitness are like intertwined. They're like hand in glove. You can't really have one without the other in a grand sense of things. I guess you can be healthy and fit without having some of these things. But I think some of the things that you get and we'll get into that in a few minutes from living a little bit more of a rugged life actually enhances your health and fitness.

[00:04:43.750] – Clint

Yeah, exactly. You just nailed it. Like I always say, on the crisis side or with 100 Deadly Skill book series, first and foremost, your human performance is everything. To be able to get yourself out of trouble, to get your family out of trouble, you've got to have at least the heart, the lungs and the strength to get yourself away from whatever that threat is. And it could be natural disasters, man made events, you name it. It's out there. And rugged life really is stretching out. It's what you do as a lifestyle, the things you do everyday that can one give you far more fulfillment. And you get a Huger sense of satisfaction when you're doing it yourself. And most of the things that whether it's hunting, building, fishing or farming or whatever it is, those are physical activities. You're going to probably get in better shape than just visiting the gym for an hour to each day. So I think you hit it dead on is that living a more rugged life will exponentially increase your health, both mentally, physically and emotionally.

[00:06:02.830] – Allan

Now, in our world where, yeah, I've got a gem half a mile away from my home, we can call Uber Eats and they'll deliver just about anything you want. Netflix is on, Hulu or whatever your streaming service, or maybe you got more than one of them. We have everything pretty much at our fingertips. We don't have to lift a finger to do anything. And I think it probably might have been even about 20 years ago when the Internet was really just getting started someone wanted to do the experiment to see if they could stay in their house for an entire year and never leave. And way back then, back in the late 90s or so, this guy was able to do it early 2000s, late 90s, was able to literally stay at home for an entire year and not get out. Now, for many of us, we are in a situation with COVID where we weren't permitted if we lived in the city, particularly to get out. Now, I kind of kicked myself when we came down here at Panama, I didn't choose the rugged life. We chose something a little bit easier, an apartment in town, which meant we were pretty much trapped in our apartment in town with the lockdowns they did here, which were a lot more stringent than the United States.

[00:07:15.610] – Allan

Our friends who lived out and about on different Islands, generating their own electricity, catching their own water, living a little bit more of a rugged life than we were. They had a lot more autonomy, a lot more freedom. So that's kind of one of the reasons why I think the rugged life now appeals to me a little bit more than it might have before is seeing it firsthand. My friends were actually able to get out in the sun for more than 2 hours twice a week and walk around and do things. But for the normal person, what is this rugged life that we're talking about? And why would it be something that someone would want to do when there are so many easy ways to live our lives today?

[00:07:55.750] – Clint

Yeah, man, you had a bunch of great stuff. I think. First I'll start by answering the question with the pandemic certainly taught us all that being a little more self reliant can be very valuable. It can be important. It can just allow a certain level of independence and freedom that you can't get if you are reliant on all these other things that you mentioned. So I would say first and foremost, you don't have to dive 100% into the rugged life. I've built the book so that you can just dip your toe if you want. You living in an apartment in an urban environment can do a lot, even with limited space, to increase your self reliance and actually fend for yourself, whether it's these vertical gardens now, I mean, you can grow just about anything inside your apartment in the corner with very little maintenance. It's just time, right? Just wait for things to grow and then, you know, you've got it. Or if you decide you dip your toe a couple of times and you like all these different little projects that you're doing and you're realizing, Holy, Holy crap. This is actually not just is it giving me something in return, but the hard work that goes into it just feels so much better than using an app, right?

[00:09:14.610] – Clint

I mean, you don't get any satisfaction except the fat pill that shows up to your doorstep by using all the different Uber eats and whatever else is out there, having your groceries delivered to your door. Yeah, that's pretty cool. But what if you could just grow some of those things yourself and that's just a piece of it, right. If you're not into the farming aspect, then maybe it's the hunting. If you're not in the hunting, and maybe it's just being your own handyman, being your own power grid, be your own homemaker. I mean, I was surprised at how many household products, especially in the hygiene and the hygiene and grooming side of the house, that if you just got beeswax and some coconut oil, you can make shampoos, pomades and conditioners. Right. So the other piece to this whole thing with the rugged life is it's more like a family experiment if you get the whole family involved. I feel like it brings everybody together because we are so stuck on technology these days. You have an entire family sitting in a living room. It's on Netflix, like you mentioned, but everybody is still on their own personal devices and there's no solid family time.

[00:10:29.480] – Clint

So rugged life, at whatever level you want to kind of live it. You will find out that whether it's one project or a dozen projects, when the whole family is involved, you're just going to all be so much more healthier. You're going to get that camaraderie going again. And you're not just a bunch of individuals living in the house together.

[00:10:54.430] – Allan

Yeah. It's interesting being down here. I run into a lot of people that they do this thing. They say, okay, look, this is so cool. There's this island, I'm going to go out there. It's just land. It's just raw land. It's jungle. We're going to clear a little bit of it. We're going to build a house. We're going to use solar, we're going to use water catchment. We're going to do these different things like composting, and we're going to have a garden. And this just goes on and on. And what happens, though, invariably, is that they move down here, they make that happen. They build their dream house. And then as a couple, one or both of them kind of decide after a period of time that this was not what they signed up for. They miss some of the creature comforts that they had because they kind of went a little too far into the woods. The jungle, if you will, before really going through and analyzing. Okay. Is this really me? Is this really me long term? Is this a project that I'm going to do and then get bored with? In your book, you had what you call the top ten are you sure about this thing? Could you go through some of those to help someone kind of see because it sounds so cool off the grid, doing this thing, growing my own food, chickens, you know, the whole bit. It's a lot of work.

[00:12:25.270] – Clint

You are correct. It is, yeah. Some of the top ten is basic questions like, do you like vacations? Because guess what? As soon as you bring in animals, you're not leaving because you got to take care of them 24/7. Right. You are going to live to take care of animals that in rich parent are going to take care of you. So going on a vacation becomes very difficult. You really have to like the people that you and your family. Right. You all love each other, of course, but you have to like each other because you're going to be working as a team like you never have before. And you're really going to see people's strengths and weaknesses, and everyone's going to have to adapt. But ultimately, you just hit it again. It's very romantic to think that, hey, yeah, we're going to go buy a chunk of land in the mountains, and we're going to build a cabin. We're going to have this awesome fireplace every night. And I'm going to be butchering these big steaks. And it sounds all great. It really does. And everybody should aspire to do it. But there is nothing easy about it. And that's why it's the rugged life. It can be very hard work at times, but the return on that hard work is far better than what you get from going to the grocery store, though. That is convenient. And so there's a balance. If convenience is at one end of the spectrum and then the rugged life is at the other. Right. Anything rugged isn't going to be convenient. Anything convenient isn't really going to be all that rugged. So you just got to find that happy medium for you and your family.

[00:14:10.500] – Clint

And that's why I do not suggest just jumping in 100% because you might find out that you hate it. I definitely push the hey, take some of the projects in the book and see if it's something that appeals to you. And the other biggest piece to all of it is that you're going to fail and you're going to fail over and over again. You may spend a lot of time getting the perfect soil, mix it with the compost going, then everything to make the perfect vegetables. And then those things never grow or they die or a predator comes along and eats them for you before you even get a chance.

[00:14:50.470] – Clint

Right. So there's a lot of frustration, a lot of fail. So you have to be prepared for that and be the kind of person that's going to go you know what? I'm not giving up. I'm going to keep going. I want to keep going until I get this right. And so if you're that kind of person and you enjoy learning, then you should give it a shot for sure.

[00:15:10.550] – Allan

Now, the cool thing about this and that's what I like is while you talk about that continuum of convenience to the rugged life is you can pick and choose your battles. You don't have to be in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Like you said, it can be something as simple as saying I'm going to do a few of these things for myself. And I like that concept of saying, okay, I can pick and choose now, one that I like to pick where I would pick. If you're really thinking about your health and fitness so that, you know the food you're putting in your mouth is there's nothing better than you being responsible for growing that food, particularly with vegetables. Vegetables. It can be simple as a vertical garden. It can be herb garden, it can be tomatoes. And I like your idea of upside down tomato growing right there. Can you go through some of the considerations of why we would want to grow our own food? And then if we're going to grow our own food, what do we want to think about as far as the approach and what we do?

[00:16:12.030] – Allan

Because it sounds simple. Put a seed in the ground. And having been in a family where we did a garden, we had three acres for basically, I think it was six of us, it was a lot of work. What are some considerations and things to think about if you're going to start growing your own food and where are some lines, like if I'm going to try to grow food for my whole family versus just have some additional good quality food for me on my plate each night?

[00:16:38.720] – Clint

Yeah. I think a good starting point is always what climate zone do you live in? Right. So if you have this dream of avocados. Right. And you're going to grow them and you're going to have as many avocados per day because it's a superfood and it's awesome and you can heat it 24/7, which I can you really have to start with climate zone. Right. And this is old school Farmers Almanac type stuff. Where you go, all right, where do I live and what am I going to have the highest success rate of growing that actually benefits my health. And so that's going to narrow the list really quick. So that's where I would start is the research and also talking to local farmers, going to some of your farmer markets and talking to everybody, selling any of the vegetables and fruits they have going there. And getting educated is like the biggest number one step so that you increase your success. Next, once you figure out what that is, it's a good idea to start indoors. Right. You can set up a basic lighting bank and get the seeds, the kick start they need with a little bit of soil.

[00:17:57.090] – Clint

And once they actually start to grow, you actually see them break the surface of the little pods that you put them in. Then you can basically put them outside using just common language. You're taking something that started growing and you're going to transplant it to outdoors. And it's a very fragile moment, but it'll be fine making sure the soil outside matches the soil that they're in. And then now they're outside in sunlight and on their own. And you're going to have to obviously give some care and maintenance. You're going to have to do research on pest control, any of the other predators that might want to nibble on whatever it is you're growing and basically put up whatever fortifications you need, which a lot of times just chicken wire over your garden will keep out the birds and any of those little ground animals like rabbits that want to come in and get a free meal. But I think the biggest piece is really doing the research in terms of what's going to give you that highest level of success in the area in which you live. And you really got to pinpoint it, especially like where I'm at Texas.

[00:19:07.730] – Clint

North Texas is far different than South Texas. And what you can grow in one, you can't grow in the other, even though you're in the same state.

[00:19:16.430] – Allan

Yeah. You have a really cool map in the book that kind of breaks it down into zones. Obviously, I'm a lot further south than any of your zones, and we can do avocados here. One of the interesting things is when you plant that, you have to set your expectations. You won't have avocados for ten years and then you won't have avocados at all if your dog digs up the plant.

[00:19:39.590] – Clint

Exactly. And that's a great point, because people do on that same point. They think about like Apple tree or an Orange tree or a peach tree. But you're still talking several years before you really get to the good fruit that tree produces. And like here in Texas, the pecan industry is huge. Right. And monetizing acreage, let's say you've got a couple of acres and you can put 50 to 100 trees, but a pecan tree is going to start producing pecans for ten years. Right. Like I said, it's still that you have to do that amount of research and put it in and then also regulate expectation. Right. Expectation management is a big part of all this, like you just pointed out.

[00:20:29.690] – Allan

But the advantages are this. You know what's in your food, if you use pesticides, you know it, if you use something in it, you know it, you know the seeds, whether they're heirloom or there's some of something else. But you know the food because you were in hand. And I can tell you when you grow your own food, it actually tastes better because you have a pride of ownership while you're eating that food that you just don't get when you walk into a restaurant or have Uber Eats deliver it to you.

[00:21:01.190] – Clint

Yeah, no doubt.

[00:21:03.470] – Allan

Okay, again, you can do all of this if you live in the right climate. You can do all your food. It can be plant based and it can be awesome if you can grow enough and you need to, again, make sure you are growing enough if that's what you're going to do. But for a lot of folks, we are meat eaters, so on the board. So we're going to want a little bit of meat in there too. And that's where things like raising your own animals, you talked about some considerations there as far as vacations and other things you got to do hunting and fishing, which there are also some general considerations about that. Why would we want to raise our own animals, do hunting and fishing? Why would we want to go through the effort of doing that? And then what are some things we need to think about to go through that process? What that's all about?

[00:21:54.170] – Clint

Yeah, harvesting anything like you pointed out, is going to be healthier in the long run. But it's also important to note it might not be cheaper. I think a lot of folks think that, hey, I might save money by having chickens. Well, not at first. And it's going to take a while to get an egg for as cheap as you would buy an egg at a grocery store. It takes a while to get there because you have to invest. But something like chickens are somewhat easy. And it's important to note you have egg chickens and you've got meat chickens. The egg chickens obviously good at laying eggs almost all year round. You might have to put some lighting because they lay eggs based on the sun. And then you've got your meat chickens, which don't really produce very good eggs, but man, they're good to eat. There's even one breeded chicken that you literally have to Butcher it at about eight to twelve weeks because it gets so fat its own legs will snap. So there's a lot the thing about rugged life is each chapter is novels on their own of information that could be written, no doubt about it.

[00:23:07.580] – Clint

But growing your own meat, yes, it locks you at home, but you know where it's been, what it's eaten and what it's doing 24/7. So the safety and eating it, the health benefits in eating it are all just automatically there when you've been doing it. And what I've also pointed out in the book is if the farming aspect of harvesting your own meat isn't your thing, then hunting certainly is the other option, because then it doesn't require you to be stuck at home raising these animals, whether it's chickens, goats, pigs, you name it. So then you can go Hunt. And with hunting it's popular. Bow hunting has become more popular these days, so a lot of variance to going and hunting, but that has its own skill and set of patience and work that goes with it. There is some investment, but I would say buying a rifle and ammunition is cheaper than raising or keeping pigs, for example. If you don't do it right, they can destroy everything. And the same with goats. People see these goats when they go to yoga, climbing on them and like, oh, I want one. But what they don't know is those things will eat the tires off your car if you leave them there long enough with your vehicle.

[00:24:38.030] – Clint

But overall, once again, knowing where your meat is, looking out for it 24/7, butchering it and serving it to yourself. I mean, that goes back to where our country was 200 some years ago, where every man, woman and child were self reliant. And they had all of these skills in the book and then some because it was just a way of life. And by drawing from a couple of these things here and there, you might find out that you like it as well.

[00:25:15.360] – Allan

Yeah. A couple of things that you can consider. In my opinion, if you don't want to go, like, full on with all of this stuff, is it's very common for folks to go in with a farmer. They know everybody goes in with the money, they buy calves, and they know where that's being raised. And there's kind of like a co op, if you will. So it's one way to kind of get around of you having to buy the land and you having to run the animals is that someone who's more skilled at that. But there's a great opportunity for you to learn those skills. Also, with the hunting and fishing is often you can get into groups. I know we would go hunting back in the day. They'd run dogs. So you'd have the guys running their beagles. And we'd all set up in different spots. And then you get done and it's like, okay, the dog that did the chase, he's going to get his first pick. And then the guy who shot the deer is going to get his pick. And then, yeah, the rest of us, if we didn't happen to hit that day, we're getting a little bit of something there.

[00:26:15.210] – Allan

So it's an opportunity to kind of get those things. I can say the hunting and fishing is hit or miss if you're going by yourself, but there are opportunities for you to get involved and try some of these things. And maybe to me, the biggest challenge of a lot of this, if you haven't done it before and you have a lot of great advice in the book, is the butchering of the animal, which is something that many people haven't experienced. But once you start getting into it, it's like, okay, now I understand where my cuts of meat come from. I know what this animal's life was like. And you're right, it's kind of intense, but it's a good intense to know the quality of your food and to know where it's coming from and to know that you had a hand in either making it or killing or catching it.

[00:27:05.210] – Clint

Yeah, you are dead on. And for people that want to try, kinda like the easy route, but it's also somewhat difficult. Homesteading World rabbits have been very popular. And because you can in a very short period of time. And I point out in there rabbits, they do hump like rabbits within a short period of time. With six rabbits, you can turn that into 46 kits or so. And then before you know it, you've got enough meat to eat five days a week for a family of four. And it's just exponential with rabbits. And they're smaller and easier meat to manage, especially if you don't have the land. But yeah, there's a lot of options. You make some great points doing things as a group. And the co op options, both with eggs, milk and meat, are all out there and available these days.

[00:28:05.390] – Allan

Yes, I'm going to tell this story probably shouldn't, because it's just kind of embarrassing. But I'm going to say I'm going to tell you anyway. I had a friend and they raised rabbits. That was their thing. They raised rabbits and they had the kids, the cages for themselves set up. And you try to check the rabbit to know if it's a boy or girl, and it's really hard to tell. And so they thought they had these two boy and a girl, and they put them in the cage and they were fighting. So they assume now, okay, they must both be boys and they're fighting. So the father wanted us to kill one of the rabbits. He picked one of them. He said, go kill the rabbit. And so we go out there, we grab the rabbit, and he hands it to me and I go to grab the rabbit. I'm holding it against my chest, and the rabbit just kind of rests its chin right there on my neck.

[00:28:54.090] – Clint

And you're like, I can't do it.

[00:28:55.540] – Allan

Yeah. And so a little tear starts coming down my eye. I'm 15 years old. My friend turns around, he looks at me and he looks at me for just a second. Then he gets a tear in his eye. And his father drives up about this time in his truck and he looks at the two of us. He says, damn it, build another cage.

[00:29:15.930] – Clint

Yeah, that sounds about right. That's what I said. It's easy, but also could be difficult because killing a rabbit. Yeah. They're so soft and cuddly. It's the last thing you want to kill. And they know that, too, about themselves,I think.

[00:29:32.960] – Allan

Okay, this one did because that chin on the chest, on my shoulder, that was enough to say, okay, this one gets a second chance.

[00:29:42.030] – Clint

That's awesome.

[00:29:43.010] – Allan

But I think that's the other thing that I wanted to kind of get to with this is that you start having a newfound respect for the food that you're eating. So the concept of waste, the concept of just going out and doing something for the sake of doing it. You really get a sense of what the cost of this is, not just from a financial perspective of what we're dealing with, but just knowing that what you're doing is about survival, about you doing the right things for yourself. Again, I think you approach this with a very different mindset. Maybe you do eat less meat because the emotional cost of raising the meat for you is a little bit higher. And as a result, you're eating less red meat and maybe a little bit more vegetables, a little bit more plant based. And in the end, that turns out to be a more helpful choice for you.

[00:30:37.590] – Clint

Yeah, I think you're right. You're investing more than just money. When you go down this path, there's time and effort, then there's on the receiving end, whatever it is you're deciding to grow or harvest what it's given back to you. And so there's this relationship that forms with a lot of what you're doing, and every aspect of it becomes valuable, and you don't want any of it to go to waste. I think with people just do one little thing here and there, holistically they will kind of start to grow up in a different way than what we're used to, because these modern conveniences and technology, I think we all know it and we see it all the time that these things are necessary evil. And I mean, look at us now. It does give us these great capabilities. I'm communicating from Texas to Panama like live feed right now. And that aspect is just incredible. Right. But at the same size really makes us lazy and complacent. Like I said, 200 years ago, everybody knew this stuff, and now it's very rare, and it took a pandemic for people to wake up and go, oh, yeah, it might be a good idea that I know how to make something as simple as hand sanitizer.

[00:32:01.900] – Clint

Right. We all learned it really quick when the shelves got empty, along with toilet paper, which is really odd. But now that we're somewhat through it, this is an opportunity to really embrace it and start trying new and different things. And hopefully that's the kind of impact the book has on everyone. Yeah.

[00:32:24.340] – Allan

And I think other folks are going to look at it and say, okay, there's also the aspects of inflation and where my food is coming from. You look at some of these industrial plants where they're bringing in meat or eggs or whatever, and it's just horrific to see some of the stuff that they do to these animals. And to know that you can do this in a different, more sustainable way, I think is really a big step. Plus, again, not initially, but over time, just depending on what goes on in the world, being self reliant, having the sustainable source of something, whether it's vegetables, food, whatever, meat or whatever and being able to Hunt for yourself, being able to fish for yourself, those things is going to give you a way of having control. When inflation is out of your control and you just have to pay what the market costs. When you want to have a steak or have some fish or have some eggs, you just pay what the market is versus if you are doing your own thing and get to a point of sustainability, it's now just about you taking care of the animals and them taking care of you, as you said earlier.

[00:33:39.090] – Clint

Yup, you've nailed it. I mean, it's a crazy world and I'm not a fear monger by any means, but reality is reality. You come out of a pandemic, you've got Russia invading countries, you have interest rates already going through the roof. The economy is screwed because of supply chain issues. Supply chain issues aren't getting fixed because other countries are still dealing with the pandemic which slows things down. And recovery is just going to take a while. The economy is always kind of like this accordion and the impact of today, we may not recover for a couple of years down the road. And so being more self sufficient and self reliant.

[00:34:23.250] – Allan

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

[00:34:33.990] – Clint

it's a good question. Number one, having a routine that looks after you first, right? I always have to tell myself, look out for myself first each day. And that's only because if I let the day get a hold of me, then I may not actually do anything for myself. And when I say that, I mean you get up and you work out, right? And get that workout under your belt. It's also the same as, hey, I get my coffee, the MCT oil and collagen in my system right off the bat as well because I'm looking out for myself first and then, okay, sit down and organize your mind, right? So I'm a big list guy. So get those lists and keep your mind healthy and get the clutter out and down on paper. And then start tackling those tasks in the order of priorities in which whatever it is you're dealing with for the day. And then of course, you have to power yourself. So make sure you're taking in the things that fuel the body and fuel the mind. I like the intermittent fast. I feel like it's done. Everyone is different about that kind of stuff.

[00:35:49.190] – Clint

But for me, waiting till around lunch time to really start taking in calories seems to work. And then I pretty much eat somewhat healthy from lunchtime till about six or seven. And then that's it. I think regulating and getting into a routine and then implementing what can I do that's healthy for the mind, healthy for the body, healthy for the spirit and then just integrate that into my day. Then boom, it becomes automatic after some time, and then before you know it, you realize, wow, I feel a hell of a lot better than I did a year ago. And that's how it should be, right? Every year you get older, you should be able to go, I feel better than I did last year. Hey, you know what? I feel better than I did last year, even though I'm getting older and it seems to be working. But I don't know. I'm no expert.

[00:36:43.930] – Allan

It's working. Clint, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, The Rugged Life, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:36:53.350] – Clint

Yeah, my entire ecosystem is @clintemerson.com super simple. You can pre-order or order the books right now, right there. And I really do appreciate your time and any of your listeners that go check clintemerson.com out or my Instagram page. I thank you ahead of time.

[00:37:12.140] – Allan

All right. Well, thank you so much, Clint, for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:37:16.870] – Clint

No, thanks for having me, buddy. You got a great thing going.

[00:37:19.520] – Allan

All right. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:37:27.590] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:37:29.270] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Wow. I'm telling you, you're speaking my love language here. We talk a lot about home studying at our house up here.

[00:37:36.650] – Allan

Yeah, I see a lot of videos. I know that your husband is a Hunter and a fisherman and just kind of the whole idea of the whole concept of going out in a hut on a Lake and cutting a hole in the ice and sitting there, not my thing. I'll take my kayak out here in the water and cast out or fish from a beach. But I think the thing that I wanted people to take away from here is understanding the source of your food and taking that on as a personal challenge, to be more involved in the food. It's good for you. And it's great for the younger generations who in some cases have no concept whatsoever of what this stuff is and potentially how bad some of it can be. I would never encourage anyone to really go spend a whole lot of time diving into this, because it's not pretty how animals can be mistreated and terribly raised. So the more you're able to get involved, the more you're able to create sustainable opportunities for yourself. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, a small herb garden, a small this or that, going in with a few friends and finding a co op.

[00:38:58.810] – Allan

And you mentioned a few cool things.

[00:39:01.100] – Rachel

Yes, we do a lot of gardening at our house, and I say we very generally I do not have a green thumb. It's all my daughter and husband, they're way more skilled at this type of thing than I am. But we choose our vegetable gardens based on how we eat, and we tend to eat a lot of peppers and tomatoes. We do a lot of herbs. So we choose some pretty easy things to grow. And we put some in the ground, some in pots, like herbs can decorate your kitchen. It would look lovely and smell lovely to have some good herbs in your kitchen. And then on top of that, if gardening isn't your thing, our local community has an area in town where you could for a low price of just $20 in the entire summer. They'll give you maybe a ten by 20 or so square foot area where you could grow whatever vegetables you are so inclined to grow. So if there's no room on your property, there's a place to go. And also my brother and sister in law, they have been doing a co op where for a weekly fee, they get handed a bag of vegetables, which is really fun from their local farm because you never know what you're going to get.

[00:40:10.720] – Rachel

So you can get really creative in the kitchen if you're getting some vegetables that you may not normally Cook with. So there's a lot of affordable options if growing isn't your thing. So that's what to look into.

[00:40:23.490] – Allan

And the reality of it is there's some work involved. I grew up and we had three acres, and so that was a chore. And then after you get the food, you have to think in terms of you don't want it to go to waste. Like, we had plum trees and there was like three or four plum trees and they would all come ripening at the same time. I can personally tell you from experience, don't eat a lot of plums at one time. Plums are prunes, okay? They're just moisture prunes, and they will do the same thing. So what you end up doing is saying, what are the preservation techniques that I can employ to keep this food and have it for later? So you talk about tomatoes and you can tomatoes. You learn how to use the Mason jars and hot water and creating pressure and put the caps on and letting it sit and hear that pop. And you're like, OK, we're good. Same thing with the preserves that we did for, like I said, the plums, we would do that also with blackberries. The BlackBerry preserves went very, very fast, though.

[00:41:35.190] – Rachel

That would be delicious.

[00:41:36.650] – Allan

They were. But that's the whole point. We knew where our food was coming from, the chickens and Ducks and turkeys that we raised. We knew what they were eating, we knew where they were. And so that gave us some ownership there and changed behaviors because it wasn't the simple thing of throwing things out and not utilizing them because you knew the cost and you knew what was involved with the fishing and the hunting. It was like, okay, we know where our meat is coming from. And we know sometimes we're going to be lucky and have a good harvest, if you will. And then other times we're not. And we have to look at what's going on. Why aren't there as many deer? And maybe it's a good thing we're not getting a big harvest this year Because if there's not enough deer for us to see the deer, Then maybe we don't need to be hunting the deer as much. So it allows you to get more creative with understanding the environment you're in and hunting and fishing and growing your own, raising your own. I think those are just huge opportunities for us to become more self sufficient.

[00:42:41.610] – Allan

And Clint book, again, it is about being resilient, it's about being self sufficient. And it goes a lot deeper. He teaches things about welding, solar panels, water. So all the things that you would say if I was really going to homestead and figure stuff out for myself. And is it a complete manual for how to do this? No, but it is an excellent source. If you're saying I really want to start figuring out I want to buy that cabin in the woods and move there. I want to buy that house, that property down there here about Bocas del toro, where I can own my own island for less than $200,000 And I can build a sustainable house with solar water catchment and all that. This will give you some general ideas about what's involved in doing that and kind of coming to the conclusion. And I really cut out to do that Because so many people move down here and say, yeah, this sounds great until we go three weeks without rain. Or we go three weeks with rain.

[00:43:46.830] – Rachel

Yes, like you just did. Oh, my gosh. Yes. Well, it's good to try some of these little things and absolutely buy the book because it's good to read about and do your research before you invest a whole ton of time. Because you're right. Failure happens. We evicted two groundhogs last year that ate a good chunk of our garden before we could. And it's just these type of things happen. So it's good to try these experiments every now and then and see what happens.

[00:44:15.450] – Allan

Okay. Well, Ras, that's all I really had for this week. What about you?

[00:44:19.750] – Rachel

Sure. No, that's great. Take care.

[00:44:22.440] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:44:23.400] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.


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Another episode you may enjoy


May 3, 2022

How to turn back the clock on your true age with Dr. Morgan Levine

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

We all have friends, family, or classmates that just seem to be aging much slower than we are. In her book, True Age, Dr. Morgan Levine explores what we can do to slow our body's aging process to look and feel younger than our chronological age.


Let's Say Hello

[00:07:58.530] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:07:59.650] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:08:01.520] – Allan

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

[00:08:03.960] – Rachel

Good. Well, we have spring again for now. And you might hear my voice. It's a little raspy. My allergies are the bane of me. As much as I love spring, it does not love me back. So I'm a little bit struggling right now. The beautiful flowers.

[00:08:19.660] – Allan

Well, yeah, you can't have the flowers without the pollen. And depending on where you are in the country, pollen, it can be a bit of a bear.

[00:08:28.800] – Rachel

It is a little bit, but I'll make it through. I'm just happy to have spring today.

[00:08:33.110] – Allan

Good. Yeah. We kind of have spring every day. Lucky.

[00:08:36.150] – Rachel

Lucky you.

[00:08:37.890] – Allan


[00:08:39.570] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:08:44.590] – Allan

We are just now finishing up our busy season on the island. So I think we were full all the way through Easter weekend, which is when high season is supposed to end. And so as we're recording this, we just finished up our Easter weekend. We now have people checking out and then not people checking in. So it will be kind of interesting as we kind of end up with just one or two rooms booked versus having four to six rooms booked kind of what that new pace of life is going to be like.

[00:09:22.300] – Allan

so I've been trying to take on some additional challenges here. I'm actually sitting for right now, another certification, the precision nutrition. So this one is a pretty big one. This one is going to take a lot of effort, but I'm in it. I'd say right now probably about a third of the way through, maybe a quarter through, but it's just getting started on it. So it's pretty intense.

[00:09:48.210] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds exciting.

[00:09:50.250] – Allan

Yes. Well, I always like to have a challenge, so I'm ready for the tough Mudder, and I might have a little bit of extra time as we go into these next few months. And then Tammy's planning a trip with one of her friends to travel. I'm like, okay, so that's two weeks that she's not going to be here, so I need to have a hobby.

[00:10:12.530] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:10:14.040] – Allan

I'll get another certification.

[00:10:16.070] – Rachel

That's awesome. How exciting.

[00:10:18.050] – Allan

Yeah. All right. Well, are we ready to talk about aging?

[00:10:22.810] – Rachel



[00:11:05.850] – Allan

Dr. Levine, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:11:09.510] – Dr. Levine

Thank you for having me.

[00:11:11.220] – Allan

So today we're going to talk about your book, True Age: Cutting-Edge Research to Help Turn Back the Clock. And I think from the perspective of a lot of the books that I've read on aging, obviously, yours being the most recent, there's a lot of good science coming out lately, and you Chronicle a lot of it, and you go way back. We're not just talking about we've started talking about these things. Now you take the research back and you say, what did we know 50 years ago? And how does that reflect what we're doing today? In some cases, there are gaps. We learned a little something like the blood flow between young rat and older rat. And then people just stopped. And now they're kind of saying, well, wait a minute, it wasn't there sort of something there that maybe we want to dig a little bit further. And I think the way you said it is some people are not going the Dracula vampire route. They're going more, okay, let's figure out why this is happening. So maybe we can do something about it. That's cool. And there's a lot of that in the book.

[00:12:15.660] – Allan

But I also like the fact that you took the time to give us some practical things that those of us in our 40s, 50s and 60s can start doing today to reverse our bio age.

[00:12:28.530] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. I think it's critical to not just talk about all the exciting science that really, even though some of it might have been started a century ago or even more, is actually because of where technology is today, we're actually able to understand what is driving this and how to actually implement it, but to give people actual practical things they can do in their everyday life rather than just waiting for new breakthroughs and discoveries, because I know even personally, I don't want to sit around and just hope that something comes out in the next ten or 20 years. I want to know what I can do today. And actually, most of our control that we have over our aging process are just behavioral things that we can actually do. And we don't have to wait for science to catch up there.

[00:13:15.850] – Allan

Right. And that's the good thing, because if you have a base that's a little lower when that stuff does come out, more than likely you're going to see better benefits from it in the long run anyway. No one wants to get to 80 and frail and then say, oh, yeah, now I'm going to reduce five years off of my lifespan, whereas if they felt like they were in their 60s, going back to 55 would feel pretty cool.

[00:13:41.190] – Dr. Levine

Yeah, it's probably easier to prevent than reverse would be my guess.

[00:13:46.410] – Allan

I completely agree. As a personal trainer, I don't think you'd expect anything different from me.

[00:13:51.580] – Dr. Levine


[00:13:52.150] – Allan

Now, one concept you got into the book, and I agree with you at some front that we talk about aging as a disease. And I agree, if we want to get researchers and people looking at it, then it's really good to get it classified as disease because then there's a backing to it. Okay, well, we can solve the problem, then there's money and there's. Ok, now there's medical people are not just going to treat something because that's what you want. I'd love to have a third arm, but I'm not going to find a doctor that's willing to do the research to figure out how to make that happen. But I also think of aging as sort of, if you will, just something that's natural and happens to everybody. So for me to think of aging as a disease, I'd have to think, well, is puberty as a disease? No. Can you talk a little bit about why aging can be considered a disease and what we want to take away from that?

[00:14:56.370] – Dr. Levine

So technically, there are a lot of people in the field who want to classify aging as a disease. I'm actually not one of them. As you kind of mentioned, there are benefits for doing this because the FDA, if they're going to approve anything to go after aging, they need some kind of primary outcome, they call it. So people want to say, oh, aging is a disease, because then they can say, oh, we can treat and tackle it. But I actually agree with you that aging in and of itself is not a disease, because usually when we define a disease, it's a state. So a transition to some state. We know diseases are part of our continuous process, but we usually have to have some criteria for where we say this is a disease state versus non disease state. And like you said, there is no clear way to do that with aging. You can't just say 65 is when you entered some disease state or you can't take the number and classify that as disease. And if you want to treat it, what does it mean to treat aging? So how much do you have to reverse it or prevent it to say you've actually treated or prevented some disease?

[00:16:09.930] – Dr. Levine

And very much like you said, aging doesn't start later in life. It starts, some people believe, before we're even born. So are we already transitioning this disease state? So I like to think of aging not as a disease, but as the kind of basis for most of the diseases that people suffer from today.

[00:16:30.870] – Allan

And I think this is where we can come up to this general split in thought. Okay, we all have a birthday. We all know our birthday. We tend to celebrate it a lot when we're really young. We tend to want to skip some of them once we hit what is it for women age 29 or sometimes it's 39, but there's a full gap stop there. And then they want to reverse it and say, well, maybe I'm going to be 38 next year, but that's our chronological age. Now, there's a concept called biological age, but I think we all know that. We went to high school with all of our friends. My friends posted on Facebook. We're about to start planning our 40 year class reunion.

[00:17:13.410] – Dr. Levine

Oh, wow.

[00:17:14.280] – Allan

Yeah. Everybody's posting like, oh, my God, don't tell me it's 40 now. I feel old, but we've watched classmates pass. We're in our mid 50s at this point. We've watched classmates pass. We see some of our classmates that look just like they did in high school, practically. And so there's this huge divide over how old we maybe really are inside. And there's an emotional component to it. If you act young, you feel young, and maybe you look young, but there's something else going on there. Can you talk about that?

[00:17:55.650] – Dr. Levine

Yes. So as you brought up, once you reach a certain age, your birthday is not something that people tend to celebrate. I mean, you still go through the motions, but you're not necessarily excited about advancing that kind of year. And the reason for that is because your increase in age is actually accompanied by biological changes, most of which you can't see, but eventually they manifest and you see them in terms of wrinkles or loss of mobility or loss of stamina or even these diseases of aging that we're talking about. But it's not the chronological time itself that's the problem. It's this kind of biological change of the whole organ system that ends up being the problem. And the interesting thing that you brought up that scientists have been studying is that the rate at which these changes occur or accumulate are not the same for everyone. So even though people might have been alive for, let's say, 50 years, chronologically some people will have gone through more of these changes and others less. And so that's kind of how my lab and others have actually tried to quantify biological aging. So do you have kind of the degree of change that's representative of someone who is the same chronological age as you are or hopefully someone who is younger than you rather than older than you?

[00:19:23.820] – Allan

Yeah, I think we've all seen those pictures of the 85 year old woman sitting in the wheelchair, just stuck, probably unable to even stand on her own. And then you see the 85 year old bodybuilder or the 100 yard dash winter who's breaking world records at that age. And it's drastic. It's really drastic. And so what you guys are trying to do with your studies and trying to come up with a biological age, a true age is, okay, how old is your essence, your body? How old are you really? And what are you capable of doing? Now, you talked in the book about kind of three models. I called them three models. I have to put things in my head a certain way because there's a lot of information. And you had a quiz, which is kind of that low length, easy one. Just sit down and do the quiz. And that's going to give you some baseline data, at least an idea, and you can look at what those questions were and ask yourself, okay, why am I answering a one or a half or three quarters on this one? The score I get.

[00:20:30.590] – Allan

You also have kind of a blood measures test, a phenotypic age that you can measure, and then you go in the book really deep into DNA methylation, which is really kind of how all this happens. Can you talk about each one of those? I guess I'm going to call a testing methodology, if you will, just to simplify it. But you can go a little deeper into what these are and what they're telling us.

[00:20:54.630] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. Even Besides the ones I cover in the book, there are tons of ways in which scientists are trying to quantify this kind of biological aging process. And the idea is that the changes are starting at kind of what we would call the lowest level biological organization. So this molecular level. So we and others have developed ones that capture those changes. So this is kind of the DNA methylation or epigenetic measures that you mentioned. And basically what that is, is we can look across your genome. Usually we do this from cells in your blood or saliva, and we look at hundreds of thousands to millions of sites and just say, what are the proportion of cells that have this chemical tag there, which is DNA methylation? And just based on the pattern of those chemical Tags, we can approximate something like a biological age using kind of the AI and machine learning. So it basically just says yourselves have this pattern of change that's representative of someone of a given age. And the reason that epigenetics is so exciting is it doesn't change your DNA sequence like the ACG and T. But I like to think of it as like the operating system of the cell.

[00:22:13.210] – Dr. Levine

It gives your cells their state. So it differentiates different cell types that all have the exact same DNA. But what makes a neuron different from a skin cell is the epigenome. But it also differentiates old cells from young cells. So this is kind of how we can do it. So once the molecular changes reach a certain point, you can start seeing this at a higher level in terms of changes in your physiology. So that's where you get the steenotypic age measure, which you can basically calculate from a standard panel you would get at your annual physical. So CDC blood cell counts, and also kind of a metabolic panel that looks like kidney, liver, all these different organ system functioning. But then the most basic one, once your aging is reached almost like the highest level is you see this functionally, this is what we perceive as aging both in ourselves and in others. You can see it physically. You can feel it in your body. So there are other ways, just very simple, almost doing a self assessment to kind of say, has my level of aging reached this point, given this quiz? And then you kind of look across the whole quiz where you kind of stand.

[00:23:33.040] – Allan

Yeah. And I think the advantage of all this, I've always said to my clients, yes, you can go get a blood panel and talk to your doctor. Yeah, you can do. And now you've made it easier that we can do a saliva test or a blood test if you want to go that far and find out. Okay, how's your methylation going as far as really getting down to the detail where we're talking about maybe down to a 10th of a year kind of concept versus this quiz is saying, yeah, you're a little younger than you are chronologically. The quiz will give you some basics to get started in the book, which I like. So if you just answer a few of those questions, you've got some low hanging fruit, if you will, to get started. And these actions, though, I think what's really important is many people look for something to say. Well, is what I'm doing working. And I know in your field, science, that's everything measurement is everything. Now, a lot of us love to do the easy measurements. So there's some easy ones, some really easy quizzes, one so you can get the Cosmo magazine and answer our quiz.

[00:24:38.700] – Allan

And it'll tell you whatever you are. They're on Facebook, too. The quizzes are fun quizzes will tell you a lot. But if you get a little deep, more detailed with the way that you're doing this, then you're going to have better data and make better decisions. Now, one of the data points that a lot of people love to use for measuring their health is weight. And in a minute, we're going to get into talking about nutrition and exercise. And a lot of people, the only reason they think about nutrition and exercise is because of what the scale says. But now you're telling them there's this much more important scale that you have potentially easily in front of you that is a better measure of health. Weight is important. I'm not going to poo poo it at all. It is important. There are some risk factors associated with. But why is this type of measurement something that someone should consider over just saying I'm going to step on the scale every day.

[00:25:45.670] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. And I'd also talked about this a little bit in my book, actually, when we measure our weight or calculate our BMI, which is based on kind of a weight height ratio, this is actually not a great predictor of health. Yes, we know obesity tends to be associated with increased risk of disease, but BMI itself can be due to a number of different things. Muscle mass is also heavy, so people can have the same BMI and have very different body composition. And actually in older ages, we find that a higher BMI is slightly protective than a lower BMI. So it's a very complicated relationship. But the whole point is that the reason we usually associate higher weight with risk of disease is because it tends to basically drive a lot of these changes that are actually age related changes. So it accelerates them. So rather than just assuming, oh, my BMI is probably too high, it's probably driving these it's better to actually just try to directly measure the consequences of this, which is on the pathway to disease versus just inferring something about your weight. And I also think this will get people less kind of weight obsessed because you see heavier people are actually quite healthy and thinner people who are actually unhealthy.

[00:27:06.770] – Dr. Levine

So it's better just to get a direct measure of what's going on. As much as you can approximate it.

[00:27:12.810] – Allan

One of the metaphors you had in the book, which I really enjoyed, was you talked about the Hill. And so as we're younger, we have this, for lack of a better word, inertia keeping us younger. As we go up the Hill, there's this inertia that keeps us in a condition so we're more resilient, we're stronger, we're faster, we're prettier, we're everything. And the older we get, the more we were. But then we top that Hill at some point, we can call it midlife or we can call it 35 when sarcopenia and ostopenia start to become a thing. And then we're going down a Hill. And now that inertia is not helping us. In fact, it's pushing us. And particularly if we're over 40 or over 50, we're going down that Hill pretty quick unless we do a few things to stop it or at least slow it down, maybe we can't stop it. We'd love to stop it for at least a little while. Enjoy this year more. One of the key ones I don't think you could have this conversation without it is to talking about nutrition. What we eat has a profound effect on our health and the scale in many cases.

[00:28:32.830] – Allan

So if we're looking at measuring this from either a health perspective or weight perspective, we have to talk about nutrition. And you went very deep in the book and talking about some of the nutritional strategies that we can have to have the best bio age possible. Can you talk about a few of those?

[00:28:51.230] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. So nutrition has actually been studied quite a bit in the aging field. Most of the original work was just looking at kind of calories or amount of consumption. So dating back actually, I think it's more than a century now. Scientists discovered that actually what would be called calorie restriction or dietary restriction can extend the lifespan of in this case, it was a rat. And actually since then, there's been calorie restriction studies and a number of different species mostly showing the same thing that it seems to be associated with improvements in kind of disease prevention. So elongation of what we call health span. So longer time disease free, as well as possibly longer lifespan as well. And calorie restriction isn't a severe malnutrition, so it's basically reduced calories without malnutrition. So in some of the human trials that are going on, it's about a 12% reduction in total calories. Since then, people have actually become more interested in basically fasting because the idea that someone's going to maintain a caloric restriction diet for their entire lifespan is probably unlikely. And so are there ways that are actually easier that we can do easier that mimic the same benefits?

[00:30:18.390] – Dr. Levine

So people have been really interested in different types of fasting, like time restricted eating, where you try and compress the number of hours each day that you're eating. So maybe you only eat between an eight or six hour window. There's also times where you can kind of some people skip a whole day of eating but then eat fairly normally the rest of the time. Or you can do these kind of short bursts of five day. They're not full fast, but very low calorie fast and do them maybe a few times a year. And we don't have what I would say definitive proof that this is slowing aging. But at least I'm looking at some of these biological age measures that you mentioned. There seems to be some indication that they might be. And then, of course, it's not just how much you eat, but what you eat as well. So a lot of research going into kind of plant based diet and whether plant based or things like Mediterranean diet are actually beneficial. And this seems to be supported looking at individuals who live in these very, what are called blue zones where you have very long lived individuals, but also looking at observational data, just people in, for instance, the US population.

[00:31:35.910] – Allan

Yeah. And I think it should go without saying that we know because we see it in practice. The person that looks and feels younger, at 65, they don't eat a lot of crap and they're not overeating. That's the other side of it. And so some calorie restriction. And as you said to kind of put that in context, if you're eating a 2000 calorie diet, that 12.5%. We're talking about 50 calories. We're not talking about really starving yourself. Now you may feel a little hungrier. And guess what? Hunger doesn't kill you. It might actually keep you alive longer and healthier, because we did talk about we are talking about health span, which I think is another aspect I didn't get into a lot. But we could all live long and not be healthy or we can live short and pop just be done. All those are part of our health span and how that aligns with what we're doing. And so I think we all know this if we're eating good whole foods, cause I don't think they had a reason to study this 100 years ago because corn pops and Twinkies and Hohos and Haagendazs didn't exist back then.

[00:32:56.610] – Allan

And now 95% of our grocery store is that stuff. And so I think most people know if they're eating a whole food diet and they're eating a predominantly plant based diet, Mediterranean style diet, you almost naturally eat less, really hard to overeat spinach and quinoa and those types of things. It just is. So you end up then losing some weight, maybe your calories are a little lower, because again, you're not taking in some calorie dense foods that you would otherwise. Now you got into just a little bit. You talk a little bit about ketosis, and the ketosis that you're talking about really comes about from these fasting protocols. So whether you're going to do true calorie restriction, you're going to do your five too fast, you're going to do some time restricted eating, or you're going to go into a full fast mimicking type diet like the prolonged diet with Baku Vanga. In a lot of cases, folks are at least for parts of time getting into ketosis and producing ketones. Can you talk a little bit about why ketones would be beneficial for us?

[00:34:13.930] – Dr. Levine

Sorry. My throat. Yeah. So I think I'll do the pause. Okay. So I don't think we actually know specifically why we think ketosis might be beneficial for us. And this is actually not something I study. But there are definitely colleagues at Yale who study ketosis. But we're actually starting to have kind of some clinical trials in humans potentially looking at ketosis. And there's some indication that this is why fasting might be beneficial, because as you mentioned, it puts your body in these kind of short cycles of ketosis. And there is some evidence that actually you don't want long term ketosis. And actually it is a cyclical kind of going in and out of it because your body actually can adjust and over compensate in the other way. And again, this is all very preliminary. We don't know specifically what I would say to is it's going to probably to some degree depend on what you're eating if you're on a ketogenic diet, because you can actually have a fairly unhealthy ketogenic diet as well, even though you're not getting a ton of carbohydrates and sugar, if you're eating a lot of very kind of animal heavy food sources, very high in certain types of fat, this also might not be beneficial.

[00:35:54.230] – Dr. Levine

And I think it's probably pretty hard for people to stay on a plant based ketogenic diet. So we'll see, I guess, as the science kind of progresses.

[00:36:05.030] – Allan

Yeah, I've talked to people all the way up from Carnivore all the way down to vegan keto. It's doable.

[00:36:12.790] – Allan

But like most things, the more strict and stringent something is like calorie restriction at 25% or saying, okay, I'm not going to eat a certain food group for a long, long period of time. The more restrictions you put typically, the harder it is because those things are just there. Like you're not going to walk around and not have food like our ancestors, where you got to go Hunt and find it or dig it up or climb up a tree or whatever you got to do to do. We don't have to do that now. My refrigerator, quite frankly, is like maybe 10ft away from me right now. So if I wanted something to eat within a minute that things open and I'm eating it. So, yes, these things can be very difficult to maintain. So finding the right way. And again, that comes from measurements. So if you've measured and you have a baseline and then you do a protocol, and then after appropriate period of time, you test again, that's going to give you some of that personalized evidence, some of that information that you could use then to know if a protocol is right for you or not.

[00:37:24.530] – Dr. Levine

Yes. Because again, it comes back to what you're actually going to be able to implement in your life and what you think is worth implementing. There are definitely people who can be on very health what seems like a very healthy but very restrictive diet. But that's not going to work probably for 95% of the population. They just won't be able to maintain it. So I think the important thing is to do what you can but acknowledge to have kind of the accountability for what you're doing. And if you can't go maybe and keep the most ideal diet, but you can do it 90% of the time or you can work in some of these other things and take these small steps. I think that's how people are going to get the most benefit.

[00:38:06.980] – Allan

Yeah. I think the cyclical approach is a very sound way to try something for a while, get some data, and then if it's working like you mentioned, just even with some of the fasting is doing the fast like three times a year or five times a year or every other month or something like that where you have a protocol and say, okay, I'm on a five day fast. I'm still going to have some nutrition that my body needs, but I'm going to do it in a very controlled way. So I know that I'm getting the nutrition my body needs. And then after I come off my fast, I finish that protocol. I can remeasure if I want or I can continue this. And then I now have some data that says, okay, yeah, this way of eating works. One, it has to be sustainable. But then beyond that, yes, I'm actually seeing measurable results in my bio age. And then the other side, you go back to the quiz, look in the mirror when you wake up in the morning, how do you feel? Are you stiff? Are you hurting? Are you aching? Is your arthritis acting up?

[00:39:12.010] – Allan

What are the things going on that your body is telling you, hey, we're not 100% here. Then you know that what you're doing is either working or not.

[00:39:23.450] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. And the other important thing that I don't think I touched on is that different things are going to work to different degrees for each of us. So there isn't one optimal diet that can be optimal for everyone, even in terms of the health benefits. So not just in terms of what we can each kind of maintain. And it's really hard to know what that diet is. So some people probably will do a little bit better on purely plant based where some people might need some kind of animal protein in their diet. And I think it's hard to use kind of genetics to predict what the optimal diet is for a person. And there are companies and scientists trying to do that. But it is just easier if we can actually have valid and reliable measures that give us feedback on how the things we do in our everyday life are affecting us.

[00:40:15.480] – Allan

Yeah, that N equals one experiment where you're the single subject. And I can tell you if you're doing an N equals one experiment, that's a very important sample size to have because you are getting real information of what's working for you at that point in time. Now, there's another area that's really important for aging, and you go into a few several in the book. And yes, we can wait for science to do a few things that's going to probably help us in the long run. They'll come up with some pillar shot or something that's going to be better for us and help us in our health, but it's exercise. And it's interesting to me. I've always said to people, it's like if you can take one more breath, you can do something to improve your health and fitness. But the way you said it in the book I really enjoyed here is this, no matter your age, disease status, or athletic proclivity, nearly everyone can benefit from staying active. And I appreciate you saying that. I really do. Why is exercise so beneficial for us in actually slowing down or improving our true age?

[00:41:27.890] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. So I think we don't truly know on a mechanistic level how exercise is improving health. But from decades and decades of research into exercise, we know that it is. And it seems to be not conditional on who you are. As you mentioned, even when they do these kind of interventions in very frail individuals who are kind of in nursing homes, physical activities seems to have a benefit for them. Of course, there's going to be a limit, right. You have to do it within a safe environment to not push past your abilities. But all of us benefit from exercise, and it's probably because our bodies are these complex dynamic systems. So something that's going to kind of prime that and, you know, make it more resilient is something that's going to be dynamic. And it doesn't necessarily act through one pathway or one kind of mechanism. It's probably honing in on our entire system and really kind of improving our resilience and robustness and our system's ability to function because it's needing to be adaptive to this very mild stressor, which in the long run will actually make it stronger.

[00:42:47.210] – Allan

Yeah. I just imagine our ancestors running sprints and doing push ups just for the sake of doing them. And they weren't they were climbing because they needed to get to the top of that tree either to get away from something or to get to something. They were walking or running long distances because that's how they could hurt and catch the animals that could run out faster than them but eventually would run out of the aerobic capacity and we would catch up to them, and then we would eat meat that night and then again digging for roots. When you don't have a backhoe, it takes some work. So work and exercise were a big part of our upbringing. Now, one of the things you said in the book, and I think this is where a lot of people can kind of put this together is exercise is a stress on the body. And we're kind of led to believe that stress is a bad thing, that there's good stresses and there's bad stresses. And even some of the foods we eat are hermetic, in effect, meaning they stress our body, but we produce good things as a result.

[00:44:02.150] – Allan

But the states that you went through was the homeostasis, which our bodies love balance. So stay balanced. And then we put a stressor in front of it, and then we have allostasis, which is the improvement, and then we have a return to Homeostasis. Can you talk about that process? So if I decide, yes, I'm going to start running, I'm going to put some stress on my body that it won't necessarily like me for doing initially, but it's the right thing to do. Can you talk about that process that way? How that's working?

[00:44:38.870] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. So exercise, as you pointed out, is a perfect example of this concept of homeostasis. So this very mild stressor, which is actually going to kind of prime your system and actually make it more robust in the end. And when we're in a steady state, our bodies are trying to maintain homeostasis, which is a given temperature and all these kind of biochemical ranges that your body tries to maintain. As we encounter stressors in our life, we go through allostasis, which is kind of your body's response to that stressor. So it needs to move out of homeostasis to respond to the stressor. And then the idea is that it should move back. And actually if you do this, you kind of dynamically can have these mild stressors, and then you move back to homeostasis. Our bodies get better at doing that and better at adapting to stressors that might come up in our lives. You can imagine, though, if you have a huge stress or your body might not actually be able to move back very well or you might end up in a slightly different kind of state. So the idea is to have these mild ones that our body can adapt to, and then there's potential that actually they can get a little more stressful over time, but you're better at adapting to them.

[00:46:03.530] – Dr. Levine

The important thing is something we see in exercise, too, is also the recovery. So you have enough time for your body to move back to this homeostatic kind of steady state space. And this is where we see things like chronic stress being a problem because your body never has time to move back to this adaptive states. So we know there's a lot of chronic stress in terms of psychosocial stress that people undergo that just never lets up. And I think this is kind of maladaptive stress. But actually these acute small stressors can actually be very beneficial to our overall functioning.

[00:46:38.640] – Allan

Yeah. And the way I like to look at it is one is these are the gentle nudges. So you're doing a little bit more work than you did before because you can't compress 30 years of not working out into a few workouts. Trust me, that won't work. But then, yeah, your body adapts, it gets stronger and the fact it can keep getting stronger. I think one of the data points you had in there was that they were taking what we basically call frail older people and putting them through a resistance training program. They increased their strength by over I think it was 112%. That's phenomenal. When you start thinking of doubling in probably was a matter of five, six, eight weeks. Most of these programs don't go more than twelve just for a cost perspective, that they were able to double their strength in that little amount of time, doing it in a safe environment. We're not putting them in the gym and saying, okay, we want you doing Olympic lifts here. They put them in a safe environment, they train them. And being trained, they become effectively better people, better athletes. And probably had you measured their bio age, which you weren't part of that experiment, but they probably would have come back a little bit better.

[00:47:57.930] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. And I think for a lot of these conditions that we see that arise with aging. So I think you mentioned before Sarcopenia, which is this muscle wasting, and it's also accompanied by loss of strength, also things like osteoporosis. Some of the best interventions we have are exercise. And I know people who are developing these might feel, well, I'm getting too weak to undergo a stressor like exercise. But actually that's what their body needs to kind of push it back into a stronger state. It needs that kind of you want like the push to come both ways. Right. If nothing's kind of pushing back on it, just continue to deteriorate.

[00:48:38.950] – Allan

Yeah. I like to think of nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress all of those are information. So our body, as you will, is literally just a computer, if you will, and it's collecting information about your environment. And if you're able to just sit on your butt every day and do nothing, in its mind, you're doing nothing but using your brain. You're not moving. You're eating foods that are not beneficial. You're giving your body information. That okay, it's time to shut down. It's time to just sort of just collect some fat. That's great. And then we're shutting down versus the opposite when you start giving it the information, hey, I'm going to need you to start actually lifting a little bit more weight. I'm going to need you to be able to travel a little bit further on your feet or in a wheelchair even. But you're moving more. You communicate to your body that it needs to be better and it reacts appropriately.

[00:49:41.970] – Dr. Levine

Yeah. Our bodies are amazing dynamical systems that will react to our environment and behaviors and all these inputs that we have the ability to kind of use to kind of Hone in on a better kind of overall system.

[00:49:59.730] – Allan

The good news of your book, True Age, is that this is not something we have to wait for somebody else to solve for. This is not even though we can say or they want to classify aging as a disease. It's not a disease that we can't reverse or at least control. It's something that's in our control and our lifestyle choices are a big part of how we age.

[00:50:24.570] – Dr. Levine

Yeah, I think I say this in the book. If someone had a pill that had the same benefits that we get with exercise, this would be one of the biggest breakthroughs, I think, in modern medicine. And the thing is that it already exists. We just have to kind of take the time out and actually do this. And yes, there might be really exciting discoveries down the road we're working on and colleagues, and we're very excited about those. But in the meantime, people don't have to sit around and wait for them. There's very impactful things that they can do right now.

[00:51:00.270] – Allan

And as you said in the book, there's a Goldilocks zone of this exercise. So we're not saying you need to be able to do an ultramarathon to consider yourself doing exercise. It's starting where you are doing a little bit more and then just finding that spot where you're optimizing how you feel and potentially how you look and how your body actually is responding to that stress and now potentially getting stronger and younger and all of that.

[00:51:35.070] – Dr. Levine

Yes, this comes back to this kind of acute stress versus chronic stress. You don't want to go out and just do so much, and then your body can't even really kind of recalibrate from that. But yeah, you do these little acute stressors enough to feel it like it shouldn't be easy per se, but enough to kind of break a swipe, get your heart rate up to a decent high level for a short amount of time, and then we can slowly build from there. But yeah, you don't need to be able to run a marathon. You can go for a 30 minutes walk or whatever kind of works for your lifestyle.

[00:52:08.130] – Allan

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

[00:52:19.110] – Dr. Levine

For me, I would have to say one is figure out what works for you. So, you know, if you can't stick to a diet, then that diet is not going to help you. We all kind of overestimate, I think what we will stick to in the future. So I would say find something that actually works for your lifestyle where everyone's busy, but just make sure you're trying to get that little bit of exercise or eat plant based or whole foods most of the time. I'm not saying you can't have cake on your birthday, but figure out what you can actually manage in your life. The other thing I think related to that is just to know your numbers, to actually have some information about how you're doing so that you can make those choices on whether something is worthwhile implementing in your life versus not. And this makes you accountable for your decisions you make. But also, I think, can give positive feedback that what you're doing is actually benefiting you. And then probably the last step. And I guess this may be relates a little bit to number one is you don't have to go from zero to 100.

[00:53:40.090] – Dr. Levine

You can take small steps and then get there. You don't need the perfect diet on January 1st. But you can start by implementing one thing at a time and over time kind of get to a healthier lifestyle. And in doing that, cut yourself a little bit of slack. Right. You need to be accountable and not cut yourself too much slack. But everyone messes up. I eat unhealthfully occasionally and we have to don't be so critical and set on being perfect and let that kind of ruin your progress overall.

[00:54:17.250] – Allan

Great. Dr Levine, if someone wanted to learn more about you or more about your book, True Age, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:54:28.930] – Dr. Levine

My book is coming out, I think, today May 3, so you can buy it on Amazon or other outlets. To learn more about me, my lab has a website. I think it's morganlevinelab.com. I also people feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram. I like to post a lot about aging research where we are the new science coming out and also talk a little bit about what I do in my everyday life. So those are probably the main outlets for people who want to learn more.

[00:55:03.440] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/536 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Levine, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.

[00:55:15.070] – Dr. Levine

Thank you so much for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:55:26.690] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:55:28.170] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What an interesting interview about aging. There's a lot to talk about here.

[00:55:33.640] – Allan

Yeah. I think in less than three or four months we've had three different guests now talking about aging and from different perspectives. One guy's in the technology aspect of it as kind of we were this time, companies providing services like how do you get your true age and what are the things we can do to deal with it? But the reality of it is we're not learning anything new. And I hate to say it that way, but you probably have heard common themes. What do I have to do for weight loss? And it's like manage your nutrition manager, movement manager, sleep, manage your stress. What I do is if I want to age slower, same four things.

[00:56:22.290] – Rachel


[00:56:23.750] – Allan

So these foundations of health that we go over week in and week out, there's a right way for you. There's the right size for you. And the sooner you get on it, the better, because we talked about that Hill and how the inertia or the momentum of aging kind of works in your favor for the first half of that Hill where the ball is trying to roll back against you and you've got much more resilience and much more strength and much more everything. And then you hit a point, a tipping point, and then now aging is running away from you. And if you're not doing the right things, it could end really badly and out of your control. Loss of independence, loss of health, loss of fitness. It can go bad, fast. And for some people, we're in our 40s and 50s. I don't know about you, but you get on Facebook and every other day there's this diagnosis, that diagnosis. And you're like, okay, sometimes that's just enough to get them to start fighting that inertia that aging inertia. Sometimes they're already past the top. And now it's just, okay, this is where I'm going.

[00:57:35.770] – Allan

And so we have a lot that we can do in four fundamental areas to manage our health and wellness. And it plays out over and over in all the different themes about how to have better strength, how to have better bone mass, how to feel better, how to have more energy, how to all four basic pillars that if we're working on those on a consistent basis, we're improving our health, we're improving our existence. And as a result, our true age is younger than potentially our chronological age.

[00:58:15.830] – Rachel

That's an interesting concept right there. To think that if you could manage your health in such a way that you might feel younger than other people at your age, we have an interesting, I don't know, concept of what aging feels like. When I was a kid, I thought 50 would be crazy old and I'd be slowing down and not doing the things that I'm doing right now. And here at 50, I'm still running marathons and doing some fun stuff, and I have no intention of stopping. This is how I like to spend my time, and it's giving me a higher quality of life. I mean, it's social, it's entertaining, and I'm doing what I can to maintain my age. And I just really wish people would also find something that they love to do at this age to keep them active.

[00:59:06.090] – Allan

Yeah. And it doesn't have to be running. It doesn't have to be weight lifting. It doesn't have to be super strenuous. I mean, it can be something as simple as pickleball or just something that's slightly active. Get out in the state park and go for a hike, find a group that's doing something that some movement involved and make it a thing. They're out there. And I think that's the point. There's running clubs, there's hiking clubs, there's pickleball, there's all this different stuff that's out there. Or it might be just something as simple as the Zumba class at your community and you don't have to be able to dance. Just go out there and have some fun and move at your pace at your thing and just enjoy yourself because you only get one shot.

[01:00:05.590] – Rachel

Right. I just think that's the best part, though, like Zumba class would be just a hoot. And I've got an aunt and uncle. They do Taichi a beautiful, graceful movement for them and they enjoy it. They have friends at the gym, and it's just such a fun, social atmosphere for them. And they're having a high quality of life. They get out of the house, they do these fun things, and they're healthier for it. You don't have to let aging just happen. You don't have to just get old and sit around and do nothing. How boring would that be?

[01:00:39.690] – Allan

Well, we see it. I mean, that's kind of what's interesting, as you were saying. It's like, okay, there was the great grandma who was right at the end and forgetting things and always sitting in her rocker. And then there was the grandma and yeah, she'd Cook a meal and then she'd sit down, and then there was mom, and then there was us and we're running around like wild animals, and everybody else is sitting and not and they're not playing and they're not doing these things. It wasn't done. It wasn't a regular thing. In fact, at one point, women couldn't even run a marathon. They weren't allowed like, well, okay. And that's probably why, again, if you're not going to let somebody do something, then they're going to want to do it that much more.

[01:01:33.680] – Rachel

That's right.

[01:01:34.490] – Allan

So, yeah, you can't do this exercise thing. Don't listen to us. You can't do yeah, Yes. But it's like it's not a button. It's not easy.

[01:01:47.630] – Allan

But you have tools. You have the capacity, if you take a breath to do something, and if we're just going to sit around and wait for them to come up with the easy pill, that one pill thing that you're going to take, that's going to be your exercise for you. You're going to pass before that happens. Science is great, but it's not going to be that great. In fact, what science is more likely to do is to keep you alive in a bad health state. So your health started declining in your 50s and you lived until your Eighties. It was 30 years plus maybe of poor health that you had to endure. And it's within your control to eat better, move better, sleep better, and manage stress better. Every little bit of that that you're able to do is going to help improve your lifespan and your health span.

[01:02:46.770] – Rachel

And the quality. The quality of life. Yes. You don't have to take aging sitting down, get up and get active.

[01:02:53.930] – Allan

Get out there. Yeah. And realize that if you are on the other side of the Hill, you can slow the descent. It's not this fixed aging curve where you have to live the way that you saw your parents live or that you see older siblings or relatives live. You can slow that curve with the right interventions, which are not medical. They're physical. They're what you put in your mouth or what you put in your brain. They're what you physically move around and do. It's all information. And if you're informing your body that you need to be active and manage an active lifestyle with good food and all that your body responds is like, oh, well, we still have to do stuff versus if you're just sitting around and you're not getting the exercise, you're not eating well, you're communicating to your body that it's okay for it to go ahead and start shutting down. That's a bad message.

[01:03:48.060] – Rachel

It is a bad message. Not very fun. Not fun at all.

[01:03:52.140] – Allan

No. So again, I'll probably still keep having guests on and we'll keep talking about aging because it's an important topic. But just recognize that all of my shows are the same show. They are. We're talking about the same four things but your four things are different than my four things and so you just have to find your four things and how you move, how you eat, how you sleep, how you manage stress and doing the best that you can with what you have, where you are. And if you're doing that then you're aging at a slower pace than you would have otherwise and you're going to have a longer, better life.

[01:04:33.750] – Rachel

Yes, that's perfect.

[01:04:36.490] – Allan

All right, well, rach, we'll talk next week.

[01:04:39.050] – Rachel

Sounds great. Take care, Allan.

[01:04:40.670] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[01:04:41.770] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


April 26, 2022

How to get fit in just minutes per day with Dr. Robert Davis

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

One of the biggest obstacles to getting is shape is finding the time to exercise. In his book, Fitter Faster, Dr. Robert Davis shows us the current science behind getting there faster, literally in minutes per day.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:24.190] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:03:25.970] – Rachel

Good. Allan how are you today?

[00:03:27.960] – Allan

I'm doing all right. A little waterlogged. We got about 2ft of rain in the last three days.

[00:03:37.400] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:03:39.410] – Allan

And it happened during what's supposed to be one of our driest months. March is supposed to be one of our dry months. In fact, the first year we moved here in March, we had three week drought, and they ran out of water on this island. They had a truck water in from the mainland for us. And then in December of that year, we had probably one of the worst rains they'd ever talked about, and they flooded the streets and flooded everything. I think the rain we got this time was even worse than what happened back in December. We literally got 2ft of rain in three days. We were in the middle of reroofing Lula's, so we're investing in this plastic PVC roof because we had a tin roof and it was rusting through and we're getting leaks. Well, we got leaks. So we had guests with leaks in the rooms, leaks over their bed, this and that. It was a little bit of a challenge there. And I had leaks at the gym. So we had this strip here, and I kind of knew it probably would leak, but I thought our guys had done enough to kind of help it from not happening.

[00:04:46.210] – Allan

But I just think the volume of water that was literally when we say buckets, that doesn't even really describe it. It was the hardest rain I've ever experienced. I've been here for over three years, but it was more than buckets. It was wild.

[00:05:06.390] – Rachel

My goodness. I can't imagine.

[00:05:09.350] – Allan

Yeah. So we're a little waterlogged. A lot of the papers and things that were on my desk because it just happened to leak right over my desk.

[00:05:16.620] – Rachel

Oh, no. Oh, my goodness.

[00:05:20.220] – Allan

It was a good thing I don't keep a computer just sitting on the desk here. It probably would have got ruined, but everything is kind of right now starting to have a little bit of an Orange hue to it. Everything metal. That is a bit of water and humidity. But hopefully another day or two will dry out and we'll figure out what my problem is on this road. But, yeah, the roofers are back at Lula's, so good. They know to kind of probably do a little bit of work there and two or three more days touch wood. We'll have our roof at Lula's Redone, and hopefully my landlord here will be able to do something. So next time we get a heavy rain, I don't have to move everything out of the way and have buckets cross the floor.

[00:06:03.220] – Rachel

No kidding. My goodness. Well, my fingers are crossed for you.

[00:06:07.200] – Allan

So you had a race?

[00:06:09.110] – Rachel

I did.

[00:06:10.080] – Allan

And you did a lot better than 5 hours.

[00:06:12.200] – Rachel

I did, yes. Last weekend we were in St. Louis for the St. Louis Marathon, and it was my husband's first official marathon, although he's done an ultra before, so kind of skipped a step. But he ran very well. And I also ran very well and secured a new PR at the ripe age of 50. So I'm quite excited to have a new PR of 4 hours and 38 minutes. And it was just a great day. It was a beautiful day to run. And I had a fantastic trainer who made me even stronger and more confident as a runner. And I did what I did, set a PR.

[00:06:54.400] – Allan


[00:06:55.680] – Rachel

Thank you. Thank you so much. It was a wonderful time. I could not be happier.

[00:07:01.350] – Allan

Kind of the takeaway from this is if you set something in your mind and you make the investment. And the investment was time, effort, patience, and money because you did hire a trainer, but the trainer was telling you to do things that were like counter to what Rachel was saying traditionally. Yeah. It's like, no, I got to run more, not less. I've got to run harder. I got to run slower, not faster. She was challenging you to get outside your comfort zone and do some things. And you did. And the results speak for themselves?

[00:07:41.200] – Rachel

Very much so. Yes, very much. I had a great 16 weeks of training with her. And the different types of running that we did throughout the training period were a little different for me. Usually I run for different goals and different reasons. And you're right, this was definitely out of my comfort zone. And it was a very strong training cycle and it showed on race day.

[00:08:06.920] – Allan

Good. Congratulations again.

[00:08:08.900] – Rachel

Thank you so much.

[00:08:10.420] – Allan

All right. Well, we have Dr. Robert Davis back on the show. He did the Super Size Lies book, and now we're going to go. He's done a review of his book Fitter Faster. So you're ready to have that conversation?

[00:08:24.780] – Rachel



[00:08:50.370] – Allan

Dr Davis, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:53.370] – Dr. Davis

Thank you, Allan. Great to be with you again.

[00:08:55.830] – Allan

I love seeing a book from an author who wrote a book that I love. And your Lies book. I can't remember the exact title of it, Super-Sized Lies, and it was about weight loss and all the lies were told about that's great book. I recommend everybody get a copy of that, too. But today we're going to talk about your book, Fitter Faster: The Smart Way to Get in Shape in Just Minutes a Day. And one of the things that's really cool about this is that this is not the first time this book has been out. You're actually updating it, meaning you've learned a few new things, a few new tricks, a few things we can do to get fitter faster. And you've touched on maybe the number one problem that most people will say. It's like, of course, my doctor tells me to eat better and exercise more. But working my working day, by the time I get home, I get dinner and get everything settled. When, when am I supposed to do this? And getting it done in minutes a day is true because as I went through your fitter faster program, those workouts, almost every single one of them is probably less than 20 minutes.

[00:10:09.960] – Allan

I mean, you need some warm up time for these obviously some cool down time stretching and things like that. But literally, if you can dedicate 20 minutes to your health and fitness each day, six days a week, this program is excellent.

[00:10:25.230] – Dr. Davis

Well, thank you. You're absolutely right. That is the number one reason people say they don't exercise can't exercise consistently because they don't have enough time. And the idea is that we wanted to help people overcome that barrier in addition to other barriers. And we can talk about those. But the number one barrier being a lack of time. And to do that by coming up with ways to exercise that are more time efficient. So to use certain techniques, they can allow you to get just as much, if not greater benefits in less time. And that's really the key. So that people can, when they have only ten minutes or 15 minutes, can still get in and work at it, because often people say, well, I only have ten minutes. I only have a few minutes. Forget it, because I don't have enough time. And so we try to eliminate that as an excuse.

[00:11:07.050] – Allan

And the cool thing about this is you're not just giving them shorter workouts and saying, okay, just do these shorter workouts and they're going to work. This is science based. You didn't just go and say, okay, how can I give them this easy button? You look back at the science and said, what does science tell us? Is something that we can do that's going to give us the benefits at the kind of the minimum dose.

[00:11:32.130] – Dr. Davis

Exactly. Readers will see. I have hundreds of footnotes in the back of the book, and I hope it didn't come across as a textbook. I tried really hard and so that it did not. It was very user friendly. But for people that want to know about the science, wanted to delve into it more. And to see that what, as you say, we're recommending is based entirely on the latest science. I wanted to make sure that people knew that those references were there for that reason.

[00:11:55.480] – Allan

Well, even though I geek out on a lot of this stuff, obviously, I can tell you it's not a textbook. It's very well written, it's very easy read. And we even talked about it before we got on the call, the workouts themselves and the demonstrations that you have in there, the pictures. I know how hard that is. I've seen a lot of books, a lot of workouts printed. It's among the best I've ever seen. So this is a good book if you're short of time and you want to get something done. But we're going to spend some time today talking about first, why would I want to sweat? Because that's uncomfortable. I can sit in my air conditioner and I can do this. Let's have some conversations. Let's have some phone calls, let's watch some Netflix or do something else. In the book, you go through what you call the Big Six benefits. Can we go through those Big Six? Because I think they're really important. Obviously, as a personal trainer, I would, but they are. And you go into the science in each and every one of these of why exercise gives us this benefit.

[00:13:01.850] – Dr. Davis

Sure. And let me say first, Allan, I like to say that if there were a pill, they could do everything that exercise could do, we'd all be clamoring for it, and we can talk about these Big Six, and there are others as well. And so the list is really very long of all the benefits that exercise has. I really believe it's the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. And yet it's a shame that so few people take full advantage of it. With that in mind, we can go through, as I say, as you said, what I call the Big Six.

[00:13:27.780] – Dr. Davis

So the first one is simply the research shows that exercising regularly, regular physical activity, helps people live longer. And not only does it help people live longer, but it helps people live healthier so that there's in many cases what's so called compression of morbidity, which means that the time that we have debilitating conditions is condensed, typically toward the last few years or the end of life, so there are fewer years of disability. You cannot say that it adds years to your life, but life to your years as well.

[00:14:02.090] – Dr. Davis

So that's a key point there also we hear about this all the time. Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. That's something many people are familiar with. Less risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, lower risk of certain kinds of cancer. That includes colon cancer, breast cancer, and boost your brain power. What that means is there's a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and those who exercise regularly. Also, people who are not affected by dementia just have clearer thinking, often better memory, who often experience that people experience that often who regularly exercise. Mood is another area of important area. There's a lower risk of depression among those who exercise regularly and among those who have symptoms of depression. Exercise can often help improve those symptoms. And then finally, what I like to call fending off feebleness as we get older, we have various conditions that can make it harder to do everyday tasks. So bones tend to become less strong. Osteoporosis, arthritis, we lose muscle mass as we get older, and so regular exercise can help all of those things, and particularly muscle mass as we lose all those muscle mass as we get older.

[00:15:22.110] – Dr. Davis

And what that means is that people often as they get older, have trouble doing everyday activities, getting up and down from a chair, walking up and down steps, doing simple things. And so this impairs their quality of life. And by helping to preserve muscle mass, particularly exercise, can help us live Fuller, more active lives longer.

[00:15:41.490] – Allan

The interesting thing is and I think every one of us, if we just sat down, we're all in our 40s, 50s, 60s, maybe even more. But as we sit down, we start thinking about this. It's like, well, of course I want to live longer, but I want to live better. And every one of these benefits, if you really think about it, what's the number one killer of men and women in the United States? It's heart disease. What's number two and maybe even scarier is cancer. And so there's evidence to support the fact that this is going to make us not just fitter. So what we're capable of physically doing is going to make us live longer and live better. I think those are huge, and they're really big. Now you go into too many more, as you mentioned, I think I could sit down and probably come up with a list of 100 things that exercise does for you every day and for the rest of your life. But there's one surprising one that's missing from your list, and it's probably the main reason people walk into a gym in the first place and see all those treadmills sitting there is most people believe that they need to exercise to lose weight, but weight loss is not one of the benefits that you list in either your big six or your surprising step.

[00:16:55.830] – Dr. Davis

Yeah. And people find that surprising, that weight is not there. And as you say, Allan, people that's often the number one reason people start an exercise program or look to exercise to help them. And that's unfortunate because helping you shed pounds is the one thing of all the things we talked about and the other things exercise can do, it's the one thing that it doesn't do so well. And the reason is fairly simple. And that is the kind of exercise that most of us do that is going for a brisk walk, taking a yoga class, riding a bike, all of which are fantastic for your health, have all the other benefits we've talked about. And people should absolutely do. They don't typically burn that many calories. And so what that means is that you're going to get a much bigger bang for your buck if you focus on your diet, changing your diet when it comes to your weight rather than exercising. Now that said, there are benefits related to weight that come from exercise. For example, exercise, while it may not be so great at helping you actually shed pounds, it has been shown to be effective at helping you keep weight off.

[00:17:52.380] – Dr. Davis

So once you lose weight or in the maintenance phase, help trying to keep that weight off. Exercise is very important for that. It's also important for helping you to avoid gaining weight in the first place. So there is good evidence for that. Also, there is evidence that exercise can change your body composition so it can reduce body fat, particularly visceral fat. That's the kind of fat around the waist that's often associated with negative health effects. So while it can have weight related benefits, it often does not have the benefit that we look to the most, which is just to help the shed pounds. And I think it's important that when people go into an exercise program that they're fully aware of that their expectations are managed, because too often I think people go in, they start a program, they say, okay, I'm going to do this, I'm going to lose weight. They don't lose weight. And then what happens? They give up on exercise. And so they say, well, it's not working the way I intended, so I'm not going to keep exercising. And that's a shame, because as we say, it has all these other benefits.

[00:18:48.050] – Dr. Davis

And I think it's important to reframe exercise not as a weight loss tool, but as something to enhance our lives and to improve the quality of our lives. And I think if we do that, then people are less likely to give up on exercise the way they do if they see it simply as a weight loss tool.

[00:19:03.060] – Allan

Yeah. One of the things I like to say is weight loss tends to be a side effect of getting healthy and fit. So if you're doing the right things physically, you're putting information in your body. So movement to me, any kind of exercise that you do is a form of communication. You're telling your body, I need to get stronger. I need my bones to be more dense. I need the capacity to be able to run a little faster, run a little further. So I'm building stamina. And through that process, then your body says, okay, well, we're viable, healthy human being here. Maybe this body weight doesn't need to be here. So our hormones start acting the right way, our body starts sleeping better, our stress management is better. All those surprising seven stuff that's in there that I encourage you to get the book. And so all of a sudden, yeah, you do start losing weight, but if you focus on weight often, that does derail you because you might be putting on muscle mass, you do a particularly hard work out your body water. The amount of water your muscles carrying, your body's carrying might vary and you very well could put on weight.

[00:20:16.650] – Allan

That's water weight. And so weight itself is measuring one element of about four to include your actual muscle, your bone, the water in your body and fat. And so if you want to lose weight, there's easier ways to do it, cut off a limb or something. But exercise is not specifically for weight loss. The diet is going to do a much better deal there. But I think the exercise is very important, as you mentioned. One, it helps you keep it off. You've got more bone, you've got more muscle mass. Your resting metabolism is going to be a little higher, not much, but a little, which says annual hormone profile, your sleep, your stress, everything is going to be telling your body you don't need to accumulate fat. You're in a good place.

[00:21:07.810] – Dr. Davis

Right. Absolutely.

[00:21:09.450] – Allan

Now for many of us, okay, you can say, hey, you can live longer, we can boost your brain power, which I think a lot of us would love that we don't forget where we put our keys often, which is kind of a plus 40 thing. But there's the motivation of that that comes around. And then there's the other things that go on around us, someone kind of cheering us on or a friend that's working out with us. And those levels of motivation and things that push us to do things are really important. Some are more valuable than others. Some come from within and some without. We call them intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors. Can you talk a little bit about motivation, where it comes from, and what those two elements are really are? Internal, external, intrinsic external, and how we want to use those to make sure we can get better faster?

[00:22:06.870] – Dr. Davis

Sure. Well, extrinsic you mentioned motivation means motivation from the outside. And this is the kind of motivation that's particularly important as you get started, because if you're just starting an exercise regimen, it often is tough and it's tough to sort of get in the habit of doing it, to keep doing it. We all know that. So certain things can help this kind of extrinsic motivation, one is trying to make it more enjoyable. So, for example, listening to music or save if you're exercising indoors, saving a favorite TV show or on Netflix or whatever it is, so that it's something you look forward to doing, teaming up with a friend, joining a class, things like that, that can essentially make it more enjoyable and give you more motivation to do it. Interestingly. Money is a motivator for some people. I talk about how that is a motivation for people, and their studies have been done. People are given money that particularly the beginning can help them exercise to continue their exercise program, rewarding yourself with something like a vacation or a concert or massage, something you enjoy and saying, if I reach a certain goal, then I'll do this, by the way, it shouldn't be food.

[00:23:13.200] – Dr. Davis

So if you're trying to lose weight, that can be counterproductive. But some activity you enjoy as a reward. That's another example of extrinsic motivation, just sort of external motivation to help you keep going. So those kinds of things can be very helpful, particularly, as I say, as you get started. But over time, what we want and what happens to many of us I know it's happened to me over time. It wasn't this way at the beginning, but it is now is that you shift to intrinsic motivation, meaning you exercise not because of some external reason, but because something inside of you just wants to do it. And I think the way at least I've arrived at that and tell other people they can is instead of focusing on a lot of these long term benefits, and certainly they're fantastic, all the things we talked about lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer, and all the rest. But sometimes that's not enough to motivate you to go to the gym today, right. If you think about I'm not going to have a heart attack in 20 or 30 years, it's easy to stay on the couch.

[00:24:07.500] – Dr. Davis

So the thing to focus on in that case is how am I going to feel right away right after exercise? What is the immediate payoff? Think about that instant gratification. Does it mean that you're less stressed, that you feel better, that you feel less anxiety, you're better able to deal with a stressful job or screaming children, or you're going to sleep better tonight, or you just feel more empowered? Those kinds of immediate feelings that you get from exercise can be very motivating to help people keep going over time. And you don't feel that you have to go exercise. You feel that you want to because you have these benefits. And so that's an example of intrinsic motivation that we all sort of, I think can achieve over time, which is to say that exercise goes from something that you have to do to something you want to do because it's going to help you feel good. And I think that ultimately is what can motivate us to continue exercising for the long term. I know that's what's worked for me because now I started off as a kid who never wanted to sweat, never wanted to get off the couch, who hated gym class.

[00:25:12.180] – Dr. Davis

And over time I started exercising in various ways. And now I can't imagine not having exercise as part of my life because of how I know how it makes me feel better. And I think that's not something we can't expect or cannot expect to have intrinsic motivation overnight. But over time that's I think a very powerful force to get us on track to make exercise something that we continue to do.

[00:25:36.210] – Allan

The way I like to look at it is for me to really push myself so to push myself past what I would call my baseline. So I have a baseline of fitness that I'll just do. This is who I am. This is what I do and to push myself past that. So let's say I want to do a little bit more. I'll typically do something like sign up for a race. So I'm signed up for a tough Mudder in August, and it's going to be the 15K one with the obstacles.

[00:26:04.990] – Allan

Yeah. There's some electricity and some water and some heights, cold and a lot of uncomfortable things. I find that fun. I really enjoyed the time that I've done it before, so I'm really looking forward to a future event. But it's intrinsic. It's extrinsic knowing, okay, there's this event, this thing coming up. I have to kind of push myself to be ready for that or not. I can just go in and suffer through it and probably still do it, but just not enjoy it. And then there's the intrinsic, which is I can't wait until Sunday. And the reason I can't wait until Sunday is that's my long day. And my long day means that I'm going to be walking from here. And about mile four, five, I start hitting the beaches of Bluff here in Bocas, and they are gorgeous. And I get deeper and deeper into the jungle. There's fewer and fewer people. I'm a huge introvert. So that opportunity to spend some hours by myself is a huge reward. It recharges my batteries like nothing else. When I can go an hour or so without seeing a human being, for me, that's brilliant. If I could go a day without talking, it would be brilliant.

[00:27:19.800] – Allan

I would love that. So just knowing myself, the intrinsic motivation of getting out there on the trail, and there's a part towards the end I'm just now getting because I'm starting to push my mileage up. I found a spot they call Jungle Highway now, and you're literally walking through the jungle. There's no one. It's just you on a nice path walking through the jungle, the birds, the monkeys, all of it. To me, that's a huge opportunity that I look forward to, but it means that I'm already at something like ten to 12 miles. So there's an element of I have to push myself to earn that. If I want to see that jungle, if I want those birds and those monkeys, I've got to get past that four mile out and 4 miles back. So there's a push to get to the better parts the next thing. So if you can find those opportunities where you're going to enjoy what you're doing even more, signing up at a gym that you really like, it's got all the stuff you really enjoy. For some of us, that's wonderful. Having a home gym where you can just feel proud when you're sitting there in your basement or garage and just enjoying the heck out of yourself because this is my space.

[00:28:33.870] – Allan

Those are just opportunities for you to bring that inside and really have some pride and some enjoyment in what you're doing.

[00:28:41.490] – Dr. Davis

Yeah. And I think that's a great point. And as you say, that works for you. And I think it's important for everybody to find and it takes time sometimes what's going to be motivating for you. Right. And it's going to be different for all of us. But to sort of give exercise and fitness enough of an opportunity to allow you to find that, because it may not be readily apparent when you start. But over time, you can see okay, I can see these things in ways that I feel or these aspects of my routine where I do feel really good and motivated and motivated to continue. So I think it's important to find what works for you.

[00:29:16.290] – Allan

Now we talked about weight loss a little bit, and as I said, I would say probably 99% of the folks that walk in and want to talk to me about training them, their number one goal is weight loss. We said that's not going to necessarily happen in the gym, but it's going to come from what you eat. And your performance when you're working out is also hugely affected by what you eat. So in the book, you include eight eating rules. And these rules are designed to kind of help you on your fitness. So you're getting the nutrition your body needs and making sure you're not just, I guess, following broscience, because again, there's you didn't do broscience here. Can you go through these 8 eating rules? Because I think it's really important for someone to understand that when you start thinking of food as fuel and food as building materials, those two primary things. There's other reasons we eat. But once you get on those two, I think it makes the fitter faster program even better.

[00:30:23.910] – Dr. Davis

Well, let me just say first, I think I went through these rules because so often, as you say, people here around exercise all kinds of different advice. And often they come from gym rats, eat a bunch of egg whites, drink chocolate milk after you work out, or drink a bunch of Gatorade, the list goes on things you're supposedly supposed to do if you're working out. And I think often these things are not only not effective, but they can actually derail people, particularly if they're trying to lose weight or other things by adding calories. So what I've tried to do is sort of issue some guidelines here. Now, granted, everybody's different. So part of it depends on what your goals are. So somebody who's a middle aged woman is going to be different from a young man whose bodybuilding in terms of what their diet needs to be. But nevertheless, there are some general principles I tried to sort of lay down for people to keep in mind. One is to get plenty of protein and to try to include protein at every meal. And you hear about the importance of protein and building muscle. And it is important.

[00:31:23.070] – Dr. Davis

But sometimes people end up getting all their protein or most of their protein, for example, at dinner. And it's important, I think, to sort of spread that out and get some protein at every meal. And that protein sources are things like poultry, eggs, dairy, beans, soy. And then at the same time to go easy on the processed red meat. It doesn't mean you have to never eat red meat, but it just means to minimize that. So that's obviously one macronutrient to focus on is the protein. Number two would be the carbs. So here to go for complex carbohydrates rather than refined carbohydrates. So that means things like complex carbs will be fruits, vegetables, whole grains. And to try to minimize things like chips, cookies, crackers, sweets, those kinds of things that are refined range, white bread, the third thing. And the third macronutrient, of course, fats. And here to go for the good fats, we all hear about the good fats, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, things like that. And to de emphasize saturated fats and trans fats. So those are the three macros. We hear those principles. Those are principles that apply to healthy eating, but they apply also when we're trying to eat in an optimal way for exercise, when it comes to hydration, water is your best bet.

[00:32:43.720] – Dr. Davis

So we hear, as we say, about sports drinks, Gatorades, replacing electrolytes. That may be important for athletes, for people that are exercising for very long periods, particularly in hot conditions. But for the vast majority of those people going to the gym for an hour or going for a walk or going for a bike ride, it's not necessarily necessary to have a Gatorade or any kind of electrolytes to replace once you've lost. So water is your best bet. There fad Diets again, we hear these different diets. I talk about a lot about this in my previous book, Super Sized Lives. And there's sort of all kinds of diets that people hear about when it comes to related to weight training into the gym. But I think generally the idea here is to just focus on healthy eating and forget about diets with a bunch of rules. Not only are they not sustainable over the long term, but in some cases, they can actually cause harm. When you're looking at ingredient lists, a general principle I like is that shorter is better on boxes, on food labels. And if it has a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, it's take it as a red flag.

[00:33:50.790] – Allan

I'm going to step in just a second and say if it has no ingredient list, you're probably better off. You'll notice the tomatoes sitting on the farmers market, the chicken, if you want to buy chicken from a Butcher, particularly no ingredients list, doesn't need one. It's tomato.

[00:34:15.690] – Dr. Davis

I like that. Yeah. The best is no, the best is zero ingredients. Right. And so it has some ingredients when a box shorter is better. So that's an excellent point. And then when it comes to related to this, so you have the nutrition label. Right. But then you also have marketing claims on packages, all kinds of marketing buzzwords. We see things like gluten free, vitamin fortified, organic, multi grain. All these words and studies show these can often lead people to falsely conclude that the food is more helpful, it's better for them when in fact, it's not. And so generally, to ignore all of these claims and to look just at that nutrition label, look at things like calories, protein, added sugars, fiber. Those are the things to look at in that ingredient list, as opposed to all these sort of marketing buzzwords that you often see on the front of the package to look beyond those. And then finally, foods that are often marketed for exercise, energy bars, particularly not to be fooled by this, because again, if you look carefully at that label, you'll find that many energy bars have lots of calories and in some cases, as much sugar as a candy bar.

[00:35:20.100] – Dr. Davis

And yet people will eat these after they exercise, think, oh, this is good. I need to get this refuel after I exercise by any energy bar because it has protein or because it just seems like it's something that people who exercise should eat. And in fact, they can be eating unhealthy foods and adding a lot more calories to their diet more than they realize. So, again, not to be fooled by these kind of in many cases, these are highly processed as well. So I think that to sort of look beyond, again, that kind of marketing around these so called exercise friendly foods.

[00:35:50.370] – Allan

The core for me is experiment with your nutrition. There's some basic rules that most of us can follow. These are intended to make your performance when you're working out sufficient so that you're recovering from your work, you're fueling properly and you're getting the protein your body needs. You feel full, you feel satiated, you're not overeating. Because, again, if weight loss is part of your overall program, you still have to manage that part. But knowing you're fueling, knowing what you're putting into your body is equally important if you want to make sure that you're everything you need to be to be able to do these programs.

[00:36:31.650] – Dr. Davis

Right. Absolutely.

[00:36:33.690] – Allan

Now, your Fitter Faster program has a lot of variety. It's a six day on, one day off kind of program. Obviously, if someone needs to ease into this, then maybe they skip a day here and there as their body tells them. You talked about a lot of that. That's one of the things I really like about your book is you have a lot of asides, if you will, of that. This is Dom, and this is what this feels like and why you're having it. And this is this and this is what's going on there's a lot of information in there that's put together in a way that okay, here's a little bit of information to help you. But as someone's going into this, they're going to ease into these and get into this program. But the program itself has three levels. So regardless of whether you're a beginner all the way to advanced, this is a program that's going to be able to work for you. Can you give us a little bit of insight into your program, how it's put together and what someone can expect?

[00:37:29.670] – Dr. Davis

Sure. And we'll continue at that point you made about beginner, intermediate advance, because somebody could be different levels for different types of exercise. Right. So we have both cardio exercise as well as strength training, and so somebody might be intermediate or advanced when it comes to their cardio, but just starting with weight training or strength training. So it's important to assess where you are. And we have tests and there are ways to assess self assessments where you are with that. But yes. So it includes what we try to do is to include the various elements of a well rounded and comprehensive exercise program. And those are aerobic conditioning, strength training and also flexibility, because we hear for the official recommendations from the government or you should have at least five days a week, 30 minutes a day of cardio or aerobic exercise. You should have at least two days a week of strength training and then have some flexibility. And that's a lot. And so it's easy to see why people like I can't do all that. That takes too much time. So we tried to do is to combine all of those in a way, as we said earlier, that is more time efficient but allows you to incorporate all those elements.

[00:38:34.550] – Dr. Davis

So we have a couple of days, a week of more traditional kinds of strength training. But we would do it in a circuit. So as opposed to someone the way that many of us training, you do a set, you rest, you do another set, you rest, you go through a circuit. And we have people go through one circuit which research shows can be very effective. Certainly two or three can be more effective, but that first one is the most important. So if all you have time for is one circuit, that's great. And so we have that. So a couple of days a week, you have a circuit of just traditional strength training. And also you go through relatively rapidly. So there's some aerobic benefit there, too, because you're going from one exercise to the next pretty rapidly. One day a week, we have what's so called hit training, that's high intensity interval training. That's where you instead of going at a steady state, say on walking or biking, you go hard for, say 30 seconds easier then harder than easier. And research shows, as many of your least listeners, I'm sure know is that hip training, high intensity interval training can be just as effective, if not more effective with regard to cardiovascular and other benefits than conventional aerobic activity.

[00:39:40.610] – Dr. Davis

So again, this is a great way to save time. You can get more benefits, and just about anybody can incorporate this. You don't have to be a high level athlete. It doesn't mean you have to run. If you walk, you simply walk at a faster pace for, say 15 or 20 or 30 seconds, and then go at a more moderate pace. So whatever activity you do, you simply do it with more intensity for a short time. And that's how you can incorporate hip, whatever your level happens to be. We incorporate conventional cardio for one day. We have what's called hit plyometric exercises. Those are jumping exercises that are done in a high intensity interval fashion. And then we have one day where you pick your own activity. And this is an important, crucial part of this is because you're not going to stick with exercise if you don't do things you enjoy, or at least you do things you don't hate. Right. So it's important to do things that you're going to enjoy. And so there's so many different ways to move your body. And so we have a day that it's important where you just pick what you do.

[00:40:36.920] – Dr. Davis

The same goes for the hit day to pick the activity that you enjoy and for cardio. So there's a lot of choice built into this, tailoring what activities you like to do. And I think that the other important point I'd make here is it's also varied. So you notice every day of the week there's something different because number one, if you do the same thing day after day after day, you have a greater risk of injury, overuse injury. And it's important to mix things up. And second, it just reduces boredom. So that often you do the same thing every day. You get sick of your workout, you get bored, you're more likely to stop. So if there's something different every day, that's crucial as well to keep you motivated and keep it interesting.

[00:41:13.270] – Allan

Yeah. But you have two different resistant training exercises up for each level in the book. So as you go through on day one, you'll do workout A. I don't think you called it workout A, but you'll do the first one, and then on your next resistance day training, you'll do the next one. And if you get through that and you're doing that, it's like then your step up would be potentially doing another level of circuit. So you did one, and now you're worked up to where you can do two and then maybe the three. By the time you can do three of these, now you're ready to potentially move up to the advanced on some or more of these exercises. And so it does provide quite a bit of variety with regards to the training. And then yeah. The kind of the add in there of kind of doing things you enjoy. So if you like playing tennis, your standard day of doing what you want to do can be go play some tennis, enjoy yourself. So I like that. I like the way you put that all together.

[00:42:13.530] – Dr. Davis

Well, thank you. And it's a testament to my co author, Brad Kolowich, who's a personal trainer who I work with to come up with the plans. And again, it was very important for reasons you said, to make them so that people start basic exercises at the beginner level, and then we move to more compound movements as you get to the advanced levels. And people again, as you say, can move once they're ready, they've been able to do three sets to move to the next level.

[00:42:36.470] – Allan

Yeah. Like I said, doing the workouts in the book, the way you presented them, you guys did a great job with that. I've seen a lot of them, and this was among the best. And they're pretty standard full body things. So these are not going to be confusing. You don't have to have a ton of equipment in most cases. I think the equipment the only two pieces of equipment I'd say Besides shoes that you'd really need would be a set of dumbbells and varying degrees based on how strong you are and a yoga mat so you can get on the floor comfortably and I guess a bench or a sturdy couch.

[00:43:12.570] – Dr. Davis

Yeah. And I think that's a key point, Allan, because so many people I like going to gyms. I didn't always like going to gyms. I was intimidated by gyms when I started. And so many people don't like gyms or it's inconvenient to go to a gym. And I think the key here is that any workout program you do needs to be convenient. Right. So if you don't like gyms, if you can't go to the gym, if it's not convenient to be able to do this at home. And so this is design where you can do it at a gym, but if you don't want to go to a gym, that's fine. You can do this at home. And I think that's, again, another crucial element of any kind of successful workout plan is it's something that's convenient for you and it works with your preferences.

[00:43:45.870] – Allan

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

[00:43:53.520] – Dr. Davis

Well, I'm going to quote the late, great Jack Elaine, who said that when it comes to wellness exercises, as King, nutritionist, Queen, put them together and you have a Kingdom. And so those are two elements. I think that there's pretty self evident, but in my world view, they're both crucial. So first of all, we've been talking about movement, all the reasons that incorporating movement into your life is so important for wellness. Second is nutrition, eating a healthy diet. That way we've talked about focusing on a whole foods diet, and that's again, also imperative when it comes to living a healthy life. So what you put into your body, how you move your body, the food you put into your body. And third, I would say for me at least would be sleep, getting adequate sleep. That's just something that so many of us don't do. We have busy lives. We're up late scrolling through Facebook, whatever, and at late at night and don't get enough sleep. And I think it's so important to prioritize sleep. It has so many benefits with regard to our health, with regard to our risk of disease, with regard to how we feel, with our ability to exercise and to do other things to make healthy food choices.

[00:45:02.080] – Dr. Davis

So really, all these things work together, I think, to incorporate, make sure that we try to get enough sleep is another crucial element of a healthy lifestyle.

[00:45:12.280] – Allan

Great. If someone want to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Fitter Faster, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:45:21.170] – Dr. Davis

So they can go to my website, Healthyskeptic.com, and learn more about this book as well as my other books. There are links there to Amazon to purchase the books. In there by the way, I have short videos I've created about fitness and nutrition and other wellness topics that take on various claims and look at the science show what's true and what's not. And then they can also go follow me on social media. I'm on Instagram @HealthySkept, and I'm also on Facebook at Robert Davis Healthy Skeptic.

[00:45:50.930] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/535. And I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Davis, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:46:01.050] – Dr. Davis

Thank you, Allan. Fine to talk to you again.

Post Show/Recap

[00:46:10.030] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:46:11.530] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. It's really nice to hear from Dr. Davis again and Fitter Faster. Sounds like he's got a really interesting book available now.

[00:46:20.660] – Allan

Yeah, the book it's interesting because we did Supersize Lies and that was about weight loss. And then he redid his Fitter Faster book, which I think the last time he had done it was like 2017. So it's about five years old. So he did add some science and stuff to it. I didn't cover the book back then. But if you're looking at the book, though, if you're looking at buying the book and you say, oh, it's got an audiobook. Just beware and beware when you're buying it. Sometimes Amazon will do this. They will show the old book and the new book. But you got to be careful. He has not done the audiobook for the new book yet. So the audiobook will be the old version and some of the paperbacks and hardbacks that might be out there might be the old version. So pay attention to the Copyright date. It's 2022 already. Pay attention to that date if you want the most updated book. And so to take it together, that book and his super sized Lies but fitter faster and his super sized Lies book really do give you a good, solid basis for understanding how to get into this stuff, how to do things right, and why some of the traditional approaches, the broscience, the hearing and this bad diet.

[00:47:41.190] – Allan

That why all those things aren't going to work for you, so you don't waste your time doing it. They're both really good entry level books for you to kind of understand these things. If you're looking for something that will let you dive a little deeper into the geek, but in a good readable way.

[00:47:59.420] – Rachel

Great. Well, why don't we get started with his exercise schedule he has in his book?

[00:48:08.230] – Allan

Yeah, the programs are really good. I'm not sure that a true advanced lifter. Now, again, I look at advanced maybe a little differently than he does, which is fair. We can all look at them the way we want to. For me, a beginner lifter is probably for about the first six to eight months that you're lifting. You're really getting used to learning how to do the exercises you're using very lightweight or body weight. It is stuff you can easily do at home as you start getting further along. So after about six to eight months, if you're starting to really get stronger, starting to figure some things out, you're going to want some variety in there. You're going to want to mix things up a little bit. This is about the time that people even consider things like splits. So you're going to do certain body parts one day. So you're actually allowing yourself to lift more often than the traditional workout. Take two days off, work out. Now you're working a body part the next day, working the body part the next day, working a body part. And as you go through, you don't really even have to take a day off if you didn't want to.

[00:49:13.430] – Allan

His program blends in both the lifting and the cardiovascular fitness things. So you are doing some hit training, some longer cardio, some fun days, your two lifting days and then off day. But as you get into more intermediate, you're probably going to have to make some choices. Okay. If I'm going to do the hit, I might have to do my hit training on the same due. I do my lifting if I'm going to do a split because I'm going to lift instead of two days a week, I'm going to lift five days a week and kind of see how you're probably going to have to double up if you really want to get all that volume in and then advanced. My advance would be if you've been lifting for over two years, you know the form, you know how it feels, your brain knows how to talk, your muscles, everything's there at this point, it's really about fine tuning. It's about making decisions on whether you're truly in this just to build more muscle, to really get stronger if you're going to compete or do things like that as an advanced lifter, it's really at this point, it's just really about kind of polishing it.

[00:50:24.810] – Allan

getting your life, getting your fitness where you really want it to be at points in time, maybe a little bit further. So you challenged yourself to do something a little different. Like maybe you want to get your physique to a certain level or you want to get your strength level to a certain thing. As I said, competitions are just saying I want a PR on the deadlift. Those are things that advanced lifter is going to be looking at is okay. Can I do the main three lifts? So bench press, squat and deadlift. Can I top 1000 lbs? Can I top 1500 lbs? Can I top 2000 lbs? I know that sounds like a lot of weight, but you're advanced lifters and the people that are really good at lifting, those are doable things. Those are possible things. Even in your 40s and 50s and 60s, there are people that do those three lifts and get over 1000 lbs.

[00:51:16.110] – Rachel

I think if somebody loves the gym that much and loves body weight training that much, I can see that type of a goal. But for most people.

[00:51:25.670] – Allan

Mostly, yeah, there's a line and you just say, okay, so I want a certain level of fitness and it will just stick there. And that's cool too. The core of it is, though, as you go through this, you're going to have some trade offs. You have some trade offs to say, Do I get a gym membership and what are the benefits of that? Do I do this at home? And I can just say, if you start out and you buy a couple of dumbbells, a few sets of dumbbells and that's working for you, or maybe the adjustable dumbbells, which take you from five to 55 lbs, I think the last time I priced them like three $400, you get a whole basic set up to 55 lbs that's cost effective. They're kind of bulky, particularly when you're starting to do low weights. Seems kind of odd to have this big bulky thing for 5 lbs, but it is what it is. But there's going to be a point where you have to just make some decisions. Am I going to have all these dumbbells sitting around my apartment or my house? Do I go ahead and buy a rack in the bars and all that?

[00:52:26.060] – Allan

And people do. What I've found is the people who make the investment, and particularly that investment in the equipment, they get into it. The ones that didn't do it initially, don't go out and buy a rack and all this waits. If you're not listing yet, try the dumbbells, do his easy beginner level stuff, get yourself into it, and at some point, you'll be like, yes, this is my thing. This is it. And now I want the rack and I want the bar and I want the lap pull down and I want this special attachment. Then that's when you make those kinds of choices for your equipment. But don't just run out and buy all this equipment or see. Okay, someone is selling this on Craigslist. I'm just going to go buy all this stuff and fill my garage with it. If you're never going to use it.

[00:53:13.390] – Rachel


[00:53:13.950] – Allan

Get yourself started. And it's a key we've talked about over and over. Get started.

[00:53:18.140] – Rachel

Yes. Got to start somewhere. And if you did have a gym membership or if you've decided to get one, you can spend some time in the gym and see what types of activities that you like. Gyms often have trainers. They could help you. They often offer classes. If you try something new, take advantage of those types of amenities. You'll never know what kind of maybe you'll like a spin class or a yoga class or Tai Chi or some such thing, as well as spend some time on the weights, just see what you gravitate to, and then maybe make a bigger investment if you decided to bring that type of stuff home.

[00:53:53.080] – Allan

Yeah. And that was his thing was, you know, you're going to have some fun days because it's a six day a week program that he's basically got set up for you. And it's balanced it's balanced across all the fitness. That's why I really like it. And I think they did a really good job with their workouts. There's a fun day in there. So maybe you go down to the gym and like you said, there's a class, water aerobics, Tai Chi, racquetball something. And you get out there and you start playing around and you start having fun. And that makes you want to maybe build up your speed and agility more, maybe build up your strength a little bit more or any of it. So the point being is there are opportunities out there. Gym memberships, they can be expensive or they can be really inexpensive. Buying equipment can be inexpensive or can be really expensive. You're going to have to make the choice, but do it on the knowledge that you are committed doing this, not just okay, I need the equipment and therefore, I will lift.

[00:54:58.550] – Rachel

Save your money. Lift first.

[00:55:01.310] – Allan

It's just a very expensive coat rack is what it is.

[00:55:03.940] – Rachel

Yes. Oh, gosh, I hate that. The other thing I wanted to talk about, too, is the trickle down effect that exercise offers. A lot of our clients come to us asking to lose weight and to have us help exercise them to weight loss, but it's not necessarily the order that it goes in. I think we need to still continue to look in our kitchen first when it comes to weight loss goals.

[00:55:27.730] – Allan

Yeah, you're absolutely right. People come to us and they say, okay, I want to lose, what's your health and fitness goal? I want to lose 20 lbs, I need to lose 10 lbs. I'm like, okay, well, personally, the way I think in my head, I don't say it out loud because I try to be a nice person. But the internal part of me in my brain says, well, that's not the question I asked you, but, okay, so you want to lose some weight, what are you eating? So then now where have I done? I'm going to go right back to what's actually the cause and effect here. But what I will say that is probably where I disagree just a little bit with Dr. Davis on this is what I have found, though, is people who exercise do lose weight faster, easier and more consistently than people who don't. But it's not because of the exercise, which is kind of weird, right? Say, okay, so if they're doing it and it's not the cause, what is the cause? And the cause is once you start doing one thing that's a healthy lifestyle choice, it becomes normal for you to do other things that are a healthy life choice.

[00:56:41.300] – Allan

So it's not that someone becomes a vegan and they become a runner because they were a vegan. But what happens if the vegan decides, okay, I'm a vegan and I need to do some exercise because I'm seeing some good health benefits from being vegan. And then they start running and they enjoy the running and they join a run club. Now they're really good and they're losing weight and they're vegan and it works, it works for them, but it doesn't mean that being vegan makes you a runner. That can cause you to run. But being vegan, if it's making you make the right lifestyle choices, other healthy lifestyle choices happened. Maybe you drink less. And that's why a lot of these studies, you have to take them with a grain of salt because they'll say vegetarians and vegans have lower this than meat eaters that eat processed meats. Well, if someone's eating just meat and processed meat and it was just a questionnaire, how much meat do you eat in a week? Because that's how they do it. How much meat do you eat in a week? I'm like, let's see, I have a meat with just about every single meal, so that's going to be 21 servings or more.

[00:57:51.900] – Allan

So I fall into that eats a lot of meat category. But a lot of people who are in these categories that they go through when they're not thinking about food, it's like, well, I had to actually do that calculation of I meat every meal, therefore I eat this many servings and then they fill out the questionnaire, whereas the vegetarian is making a healthful decision about or maybe they're doing it somewhat for social reasons, but at least at that point they equate it with a healthy lifestyle choice. If someone's making one healthy lifestyle choice, they're very likely making others. And therefore they're healthier, not necessarily because they're vegetarian or vegan. They just because they've started down a path of better choices. They make better choices. They're also probably less likely to drink as much alcohol and they're less likely to smoke and they're more likely to exercise. From a normal standard perspective, that's what you get. Whereas if they had said, how much grass fed meat do you eat in a week amongst meat eaters, if they had segmented and said how much processed meat do you eat within a week? And then they took those and segmented them, they would probably find a very similar cut around is the people who don't think about the quality of their meat.

[00:59:11.870] – Allan

They don't think about the difference between processed and unprocessed stuff. They're making different healthy lifestyle choices. In fact, that I'm investing in grass fed meat means that health and fitness is a little bit more important to me.

[00:59:26.360] – Rachel


[00:59:27.100] – Allan

And so therefore, I'm going to make other healthy lifestyle choices. It's not a cause and effect. It's just a commonality because of what happens. But to go back to the thing is, exercise won't help you lose weight, but it will help you lose weight.

[00:59:46.050] – Rachel

That's how I feel as well. I think healthy diet and exercise go hand in hand to make you an overall healthier person and give you a higher quality of life. And just in my own example, as a runner, I've been running for almost 24, 25 years now, and I sweat a lot, so I drink a lot of water. It's just a causality for that situation. I know that I can have a beer and I love a good beer every now and then, but not in the night before an important run like my St. Louis marathon. I choose my meals very carefully. While I might enjoy a little bit of cake and ice cream at a birthday party or celebration, it's not part of my daily lifestyle because I know I need to run well the next day. So, you know, once you pick up a healthy habit, you're right, it leads to other healthy habits and then you'll feel better at the end of the day.

[01:00:40.420] – Allan

Yeah. So now if you came to me and told me you really want me to exercise you and help you lose weight, I would do it. I would do it. Here's how I would do it. I would say, okay, show up tomorrow, we step on the scale, and then I run your butt. I literally just run you ragged in here for an hour. And then I say, okay, you're coming back in two days. And if you weigh more than you did today, I'm going to work you harder.

[01:01:06.630] – Rachel

That sounds scary.

[01:01:07.960] – Allan


[01:01:10.470] – Rachel

Not very fun

[01:01:11.760] – Allan

right. Not fun at all. Not fun at all. It's not an exercise program that you want. It's not a hamster wheel that you want to start because the workouts if you're not losing weight, the workouts have to get harder. And guess what? We're not getting younger so they don't get easier. So maybe when you're in your 20s, Put exercise off a few pounds, Get out there and do a few days of running, Push yourself a little bit, make a couple of other probably healthier lifestyle choices and you drop a few pounds, drop a dress size. That was easy in your 20s. It's not when we get over 40, Particularly for women, as they get closer to menopause and into perimenopause and menopause, it's not easy at all.

[01:01:52.600] – Rachel


[01:01:52.980] – Allan

So just recognizing we have less muscle mass, we have less energy, we have less capacity, less resilience. So for us, it has to start in the kitchen and then a whole lot of other healthy lifestyle choices Support that process.

[01:02:09.100] – Rachel

Yeah, well, great discussion with Dr. Davis. It's always nice to hear from him.

[01:02:13.740] – Allan

Yeah, it's really good. I really appreciate that his two books, Even though they're not like part of a series, like a lot of authors will write a book and then they'll know, okay, the next book in the series is this book and then they fit together. These weren't written that way or even planned that way, but they really do complement each other.

[01:02:32.740] – Rachel

Great. They sound like great things to have on my bookshelf.

[01:02:35.830] – Allan

All right, well, you enjoy the rest of your good weather for the next week or so. Yeah, and then winter we'll be here before you or summer will be here, hopefully, but yeah, we got our three days of rain, So I'm hopeful that we'll get a couple. Today is no rain. It's clear skies, so it's evaporation. So we're at about 115% humidity, I guess.

[01:03:01.710] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[01:03:03.690] – Allan

I can literally walk on the air. It's that humid. So we'll have a few days of this humid, Then the mosquitoes will come out and then we'll probably be fine.

[01:03:16.220] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Good luck to you, Allan.

[01:03:18.440] – Allan

Yeah, you too. I'll talk soon.

[01:03:20.400] – Rachel

Take care.

[01:03:21.220] – Allan

You too. Bye. Bye.

[01:03:22.600] – Rachel



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

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

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


April 19, 2022

How to do nothing and improve your health and fitness with Jessie Kanzer

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Often we push ourselves to do more, forgetting that the best path to wellness might be to do less. Today we are joined by Jessie Kanzer to discuss her book, Don't Just Sit There, DO NOTHING: Healing, Chilling, and Living with the Tao Te Ching.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:20.710] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:03:21.910] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:23.780] – Allan

I'm doing well. How are you?

[00:03:25.560] – Rachel

Good. Spring is finally here in Michigan, at least today. We had some weather over the weekend. We are expecting more weather this weekend in terms of snow. But today is nice.

[00:03:39.540] – Allan

We talked about hormone changes last week, sort of like right now.

[00:03:44.410] – Rachel

Yes, absolutely. Michigan is going through the change right now.

[00:03:53.330] – Allan

But it's a spring change. So it's sort of like puberty and not like menopause. But that said, it's still kind of traumatic increase me. I think the interesting thing is I've got my nutrition kind of ratcheted down and everybody on the island knows, okay, Allan's not doing these things. He's not eating these things. Kind of funny because we will go out to dinner every once in a while and people are like, okay, well, Allan's not going to eat that. Allan's not going to eat this, which is actually kind of it is kind of funny to be sitting there and people watching me eat or watching what I order more interested in what I'm ordering than what I'm eating. But here's one of the interesting things that hasn't happened before. And this is you start thinking about getting older and how things are different because they are they can be very different as you age. I am sleeping. I'm sleeping a lot because I say I don't set an alarm. Right. And I mean that I don't really set an alarm. I think I said it one day about a couple of weeks ago, there were a couple of girls that had to catch like a

[00:04:57.740] – Allan

07:00 boat out. And they're like, can we get breakfast early? And I'm like, sure, there's one of yogurt and all that. Okay, I'll get up, I'll fix them up to go. They actually had time to eat it there. But it was just one of those. That's the only time I set alarm now. So what's happening is I'll still go to bed. Typically kind of normal this time. I'm up to about 09:00, maybe 9:30 now. But I'm sleeping 10,11, 12 hours a night, almost every night. And it's just kind of this weird. Like this morning I woke up at eight. I went to bed at nine, and I'm like and I'm asleep. It's not like I go to bed at nine and I'm up for a little while hanging out, looking at my phone. I put my phone on the white noise sound machine and I lay down and I go to sleep. I'll wake up a few times at night for the bathroom. And literally this morning got up at 8:30. I mean, really between eight and 830, I just rolled up, looked at the clock.

[00:06:00.810] – Rachel

My goodness.

[00:06:03.090] – Allan

Okay, well, on my side. I don't know that this is going to adversely affect this recording, but my power just went off. So welcome to the third world. Now, again, I do have a generator, I mean, a little battery. So I think I'm still online and everything. So we're going to finish our hello. And then we're going to get into our final segment. So if you don't know how this all works, which I'll just share this behind the scenes stuff, this is how a third world country works. Power goes out from time to time for no apparent reason whatsoever. And then it comes back on. But that aside, Rachel and I get together about once a week and we record our hello segment, and then we take a break and then we record the segment that you hear after the episode I'm going to do now is I'm going to finish this recording and then start the new recording for us to do that final segment. So that's the behind the scenes stuff. That whether you wanted it or not, you got live on this episode.

[00:06:58.070] – Rachel

Sure. Have fun.

[00:06:59.440] – Allan

Yeah. We'll talk to you soon, Rachel.

[00:07:01.020] – Rachel



[00:07:29.320] – Allan

Jessie, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:31.980] – Jessie

Thank you so much for having me.

[00:07:34.200] – Allan

Now, your book is a very interesting title, Don't Just Sit There, Do Nothing: Healing, Chilling and Living with the Tao Te Ching. And I know when I was reaching out to your publicist came off as a why would a fitness guy want to do an interview on a book, Don't Just Sit There, do nothing. But this is an important book. And I'm glad you wrote this because I think this is gonna be a great tool for a lot of people to get past one of the things that I think is one of maybe one of the biggest health issues that we're personally facing now today, especially today in the modern world. And so I really do think this is a really important book for people to wrap their minds around that we don't have to be doing all the time.

[00:08:28.570] – Jessie

Yeah. Thank you for saying that. I mean, you know, it's interesting. I spoke to the CEO of the Spartan Up program. He does those races.

[00:08:41.130] – Allan

Joe De Sena.

[00:08:43.230] – Jessie

Yeah, exactly, Joe De Sena. I spoke to him kind of when I was launching the book and in an interview. And whereas he was coming at me kind of with the opposite philosophy. Right. Like, you get it done kind of philosophy. What I showed, I think, was that there is a place where the get it done philosophy and the do nothing philosophy meets. Because, of course, you can't live in any extreme for a prolonged period of time without suffering negative consequences. And because so much of our world tout doing and achievement and accomplishment. I believe that the jokey. Of course, the jokey title of Don't Just sit there do nothing. That is actually where our attention needs to go now so that we can create balance in our lives.

[00:09:37.310] – Allan

Yeah. Because one, I'll openly admit I was ten minutes late getting on this call. And you've got the patience that you learned as you put together the information to put this book and just raising your family and living your life. The first thing I want to get into is this concept that is really hard for me because I pride myself, I always have prided myself with being an overachiever. I want to get more done. It's kind of a compliment. I only sleep 4 hours. I only sleep 3 hours. And all the things that are going on. And there's a quote you had in the book. It's a little bit longer than I would normally read. But I want to read this quote because I think it's really important for someone that's trying to figure out what we're here for to understand. And the quote goes like this, do not be afraid to lay down your load for a minute. You can pick it up anytime you wish. Separate yourself from the endless goals and grievances. It will recharge you like nothing else. Spend a breath, then two, then an hour flowing without worry and doing what needs to be done without overthinking it and bask in existence itself. This is the ultimate freedom.

[00:10:57.470] – Jessie

Thank you for sharing that.

[00:10:59.690] – Allan

And it's true. Anytime that I'm frantic, anytime that I'm panicked, I'm a wreck. I'm not nearly the quality that I need to be to be the overachiever. And so it's one of those if you rush in, that's great. It looks like you're doing something. But the looking like you're doing something often isn't doing yourself justice.

[00:11:31.430] – Jessie

That's exactly right. This practice of doing nothing, I use quotations because of course we're never doing nothing. Honestly, if you're alive, your body breathes itself, your cells are recharging themselves. Stuff is going on at all times. The one thing about this existence is it's always in motion. There is actually no complete stillness. And what this recharging that I'm talking about, this taking the time to just be really brief on a busy day. It could be as brief as a few deep breaths. But taking the time to recenter yourself, then reconnect you with a flow of life. Because there is a flow. When you enter that flow and when you are doing stuff from the flow, the doing becomes easier. So it's not like pushing the Boulder up the Hill. It's just going with the stream sort of. And what I've noticed is a lot of the problems with our very overly busy society and all of this barrage of information we constantly get and our brains become overextended. Our minds become overextended and we are exhausted before we even get started in a way. So when we take the time to reconnect and we take the time to block out all that external noise and just kind of connect with the power, with the inner guidance we have within us.

[00:13:04.060] – Jessie

Each person has within them, even when we are doing it's more easeful so that all of the stress kind of goes away and we do or some of the stress, I should say, goes away and we do the next right thing and then the next right thing. And step by step, you live your life. You do the things you need to do, but you're not overly stressed and frantic and crazy about it all.

[00:13:29.630] – Allan

Yeah, it's interesting to me because what I'll get is I'll get a client comes up and says, okay, I need to lose X pounds. We'll just throw that out there and they'll have a reason. Sometimes they have a deadline. There's something coming up. They want to be ready for this or that. They've been carrying this for too long. So they need to do something now. And the first question is, what do I do? Because we get fascinated with a result. What is my life going to be like if I'm in this Pant size or dress size? What is my life going to be like, if I'm no longer carrying this extra weight. If the scale says something tomorrow that's fantastic. What is my life going to be like? And I think in that look to the journey that looked to the results, we lose sight of the journey. And you talk about this actually a good bit in the book, because much of the struggles, much of the things that you went through, you look back and you said it was the journey I remember. The results were great.

[00:14:46.350] – Jessie

Right. Of course it's great that I have this happy life now and I'm a fulfilled person, and that's all wonderful. But it's interesting because my book just said they're doing nothing came out recently. And I have a lot of people telling me because I share a lot of myself in there, and I have a lot of people saying that's so brave or you accomplish so much, et cetera. And there's this push to celebrate this accomplishment, which I think is wonderful, but I'll be 100% honest. I like myself now, not any more than I liked myself three years ago when I started the book, because by the time I began this work of putting down my own lessons and all of the stuff I learned by following Eastern philosophies like the Tao Te Ching, and by reconnecting with my core, by the time I got to writing it, I already knew that it's not the end result that matters. And I think it's so funny and it's wonderful and sweet, but it's so funny that people celebrate the achievement. But if they actually look in the lessons that I'm teaching in the book that every failure is part of the achievement, every mistake, every fall, our entire journeys are as important as any accomplishment, any goal, any achievement that you reach.

[00:16:10.330] – Jessie

And I fully celebrate that journey now of struggle that I had. I'm really grateful for it, because that's what made me who I am. So I would really urge people who are focused on certain goals to remember to focus on the now on the journey and see what they can. That's where our greatest lessons come from. And sometimes our greatest lessons come from the bottom as well before we even get going.

[00:16:37.720] – Allan

Yeah. I was having a conversation with a client yesterday, and he was telling me he loves running, but he hates going to the gym and lifting weights. And so we spent some time talking about kind of the underlying reason that he might feel that way, and then another way that I feel like as he goes into the gym that he should be looking at that time. And a lot of the things we got into were the things that he enjoyed about running, he was experiencing in the gym, he just wasn't aware, he wasn't in the moment to recognize, oh, I can move my body and I can push more weight than I did last time versus being able to maybe run a little bit further or a little bit faster than he did last time. The same feelings are there. They're just coming in a different way. And if you're not open to them, you don't really experience them and you don't really recognize what you're going through. And a lot of it you talk about flow in the book. Can you get a little bit into flow? Because I think part of really getting into the journey is when you recognize that flow is the journey.

[00:17:55.650] – Jessie

Yeah. And actually, I think that flow is very interesting to athletes because anybody who follows any kind of sport sees a difference. We know there's a difference between, say, a Michael Jordan or an Alex Honnold, the climber. Like, there's a difference in the people who are able to exceed their physical limitations to do certain magical things that we get to watch. But the reality is everybody, in order to accomplish something they've never accomplished before, needs to enter the flow state. And then the real gift is the flow state itself. So what happens in the flow state? And it was identified earlier in the 1900, therapists identified the actual characteristics of the flow state. And it doesn't have to be a physical activity. Some people I actually enter the flow state when I write as an example, and some people do it when they paint. But what happens in the state is whatever it is that you're doing consumes you so greatly that you lose for the time that you're doing it. You lose your ego, you lose the judge, the constant judge that's looking at yourself and judging and thinking overthinking, and you kind of become one with the motion, with the flow of the activity that you're in.

[00:19:21.310] – Jessie

And it's a really beautiful experience, obviously very recharging. And this is why I say the Tao Te Ching. This ancient philosophy is very full of paradoxes, because in a way, it's the flow state that helps us reach stillness. But here we're talking about stillness of the mind. And when we become one with the doing, that is ultimate stillness. And it's a very ironic because of course, we become one with the action, but it's becoming one and becoming very present. And what happens is then is that monkey mind kind of goes away for that short period of time.

[00:20:01.160] – Allan

Yeah. And the way I look at it is, okay, you go into a gym and they have the music blaring sometimes. There's people in there, they're talking, they're doing weights or they're all about. So you're not in a confined by yourself space. But when I'm really in the flow of lifting. So during a lift, I don't hear anything. I don't see anything. I'm literally at that moment trying to envision myself inside my body, inside the muscle. And any other feedback that I'm getting my eyes or whatever is really just geared on is my head, my body, my frame, everything where it's supposed to be at this point in the lift. And so for me, the flow state is actually so present that I'm unaware of pretty much anything else. So you're talking about the monkey mind. When you get into flow, say you're only aware of what you're actually doing at that point in time, physically or mentally, but you're in that moment. And it's such a powerful moment. But this book, in your book, they're taking us through a process of trying to find ways to relax, slow down and find that space more often.

[00:21:20.310] – Jessie

Right. So I am a big fan of whatever activity can get you in the flow state as well. And one of the chapters, as you know, talks about finding that activity for yourself, because I do think it's of the utmost importance to be able to find enjoyable ways to be in the present. So it's not always another. I don't want spirituality or mindfulness to become yet another to do thing on a person's list. And the magic of when you're able to enter that flow state, the magic speaks for itself once you're able to reach it. And I say in the book that everyone's reached at some point or another, you just have to sometimes look back on your life and see what that is for you. It's that awareness. And in fact, don't just sit there, do nothing is divided into three parts. The first is identity, which is understanding who we really are beyond just the personality and the body. And number two is the awareness that you and I have been speaking of is understanding sort of the energy flow around us, of ourselves, what we bring to situations, to the world, what others bring into our space.

[00:22:37.020] – Jessie

And then number three is the creation. So it's interesting to me, creation meaning like creating the life you want, achieving the goals you want. And it's interesting because I think most people go straight to the creation. They're so right. They come and they say, how long till I can be this many pounds or look like this? We always as human beings, we're so obsessed with instant gratification that we rush to the creation part. But really it's these other journeys, these other investigations of ourselves that are needed in order to have a full joyous journey to whatever we want. So it's not just there is no snap your fingers and then you're a certain weight or a certain goal is achieved. It's not like that. And there's a reason for that.

[00:23:28.000] – Allan

Yeah. I kind of equate it with the first thing you do when you're going to walk in and try to build a house is start and grab a hammer and nails. You've missed some steps.

[00:23:40.890] – Jessie

Exactly. So what I do, don't just sit there, do nothing but what I also do for myself. Because, look, I'm a human of this world. I am very human. I also want everything I want yesterday. So what I do is remind myself constantly of the beauty of the now, the very imperfect now, not some perfect future scenario. Because of course, there really never is. That right. There's always going the movement forward. There's never really a static moment where you've arrived and that's it. And forevermore. That's not how we work. So I always remind myself and bring myself back. And whether it's with breathing, whether it's with the flow state, whether it's just a mental exercise, the ability to bring myself into the present, to practice the mindfulness, I remind myself that this is where it's at. The journey is where it's at. I don't want to get to the end of my life and have missed the whole thing.

[00:24:44.050] – Allan

Yeah. And the one thing that I find really interesting and I want people to really wrap their mind around this is the fact that you're reading these books, the fact that you're listening to podcasts, you have something huge going on for you right now. You've made some internal changes of self love and self appreciation and now self awareness to make some drastic changes. Now that will they be drastic in the means of I want it now? No. But you've already made a huge change just by listening to this podcast. Just by reading this book.

[00:25:21.850] – Jessie

Such a good point. Once you open your mind to possibility. Because I think of myself as a lifelong spiritual searcher, I'm never going to stop my quest for more information about personal development, more information about growth and anybody who is on that journey. And of course, if they're listening to your podcast, if they're reading, don't just sit there, do nothing. They're on that journey. I say you're there already because. Yeah, sometimes changes happen slowly. They're not always overnight. But when you open yourself up to new possibilities, new ways of thinking, to quote Wayne Dyer, he's a great spiritual teacher who passed some years ago that I was a big fan of he said, change your thoughts, change your life. It's not a change that happens in one instance, but you're on that journey of change and improvement and love and all the good stuff that we want.

[00:26:27.890] – Allan

Now some people will say they don't want to live forever, and a lot of people do want to live forever. But in a lot of the books that you read, a lot of the studies they go through and say, okay, well, why are certain people living to 100 years old or other? So you've heard about the blue zones and all those types of things. And one of the cores that's in there that I think is missing in the modern world for a lot of us is the concept of finding purpose. Individuals who live longer, live better lives because they have a purpose. And you talked about how you were on a particular career path, and then you had your car crash moment.

[00:27:06.600] – Jessie


[00:27:07.380] – Allan

Can you talk a little bit about that?

[00:27:09.300] – Jessie

Yes, for sure. A literal car crash moment. So just a little backstory. I am an immigrant. I came from the former Soviet Union. The country is now Latvia. But when I was born there, it was just a giant blob of Soviet Union. And I left there when I was seven. We were refugees, and my family went through a bunch of different countries before we sought asylum in America. And a lot of my early life is defined by this sort of loss of self, loss of identity, and just molding myself to what was around me so that I could be accepted, so that I could belong, so that I could find friends and fun, etcetera. And then also at the same time pleasing my family, so pleasing those around me, being the good immigrant child. So eventually that catches it up with you when you're living not for yourself, when you haven't connected with your own desires, with your own purpose, as you've mentioned, it catches up with you because you're not living an authentic life. And so I was in College, straight A student, kind of walking the path of goodness according to what my immigrant society wanted for me in business school, internally, I was really suffering.

[00:28:32.390] – Jessie

I had an eating disorder. I was depressed. I suffered from anxiety, panic attacks. And as soon as I graduated College and I had so many interviews with all the big banks lined up. But as soon as I graduated College, I got into a major car crash. And that was my really rock bottom moment because I was, of course, struggling emotionally with all of these kind of secret struggles. I think my mom was aware of them by then, but nobody else was. And then my body was broken physically. And in that moment, why it was such a beautiful downfall for me is because I realized I can't live this way. I have to figure out who I am, what I want. And how I want my life to look. And that was a very life changing moment because in my literal downfall, I reached for information, I reached for the Tao Te Ching and other spiritual teachings and my own health. And that became more important to me than the discomfort of letting people down. So my own truth became the most important guiding light of my life.

[00:29:39.770] – Allan

And I've had a couple of those car crash moments. One of mine was when the Challenger exploded in 86 and I was a sophomore in College, majoring in physics. That made me rethink some things. And then with my layoff in 2017. Now I'm a personal trainer living on a Caribbean Island. If you'd ask me, before 2017, that was not in the plan, that was not there. And I guess what I would just put forward is we probably have these car crash moments every day, every week, every month. They just aren't as rock bottom as you want. They're not actual car crashes. How do we go about recognizing when our spirit, for lack of a better word, our oneness who we are, is need something but the judges outside of us, the people have different expectations of, how do we recognize that disconnect and kind of steal ourselves for doing something different?

[00:30:42.390] – Jessie

Well, I love this quote that the universe speaks to us in whispers, and then it speaks to us and shouts. So when you go through enough shout moments, those car crash moments, it becomes more important to you to start listening for the whispers because I don't want to learn from strings of bottoms. I want to be able to learn and communicate with my life and with myself throughout, like you said, on a weekly, on a daily basis so that we don't have to wait for those car crash moments. And by the way, I also refer in Don't sit there do nothing to the pandemic, a society's car crash. And unfortunately, our societies often do wait for those car crash moments before changes just take place. But that's a whole other topic, of course. And I wholly believe that change on the big scale happens one individual at a time. When enough of us sort of awaken, the world will change as well. And the way to do that is to develop a constant communication, to understand, first of all, the understanding, just the awareness that life is speaking to you, that's really important. I don't believe in luck.

[00:32:00.180] – Jessie

I don't believe in coincidences. I believe that life communicates with us and it gives us feedback all the time. And there's a part of us, there's a center within us that knows and understands that. But often we cannot hear it, and we can't hear it because of the noise of the outside world and the messaging that we've allowed to enter within us. And, you know, I read recently that today in one day, the average person takes in more information than just a couple of hundred years ago, people did in their entire lifetime. But we're the same humans, right, with the same brains. So that's just to show how much we have coming at us. And there's nothing wrong with you for being overstimulated, for being confused, for being tired, because there is a lot coming at us. So then it becomes on us to create moments of stillness, moments of flow, moments where we shut everything else out so that the only thing we care is our own breath and our own spirit and our own inner power. And when we do that enough, we are able to recognize that communication, that constant communication with source energy, with the universe, with life.

[00:33:22.560] – Jessie

Call it what you will. I don't really care what your religious beliefs are, because it's not about that. It's about establishing a really good level of communication with you could call it life itself if you don't believe in a higher power. But there is that line of communication, and we need to be able to hear it. And that's just a daily practice.

[00:33:46.430] – Allan

Yeah. Because you're not going to get your purpose from anybody else. Unfortunately, you're not going to get it from a podcast like this one. You're not going to get it from a book. Your purpose is your purpose. And you have to be listening to yourself. And to do that, you have to be quiet.

[00:34:02.910] – Jessie

Right. And I love that you said that when you lift weights, all the noise disappears. So that's a good reminder to us that it doesn't need to be a literal quiet. It needs to be an internal quiet. And whatever gets you there. And guess what? If you don't know what gets you there, that's just like most people. And that's fine. And some days I don't know what's going to get me there. And it's just a beautiful experiment. When you look at life as this beautiful experiment, you kind of take all the pressure off because also enlightenment. I like to think of it as lightening up a little bit. We also take ourselves Uber seriously. Finding your purpose doesn't have to be this heavy thing that you carry. It could be finding your purpose today, for the day, for the week. And then when you start being more and more aligned with your inner calling, with your inner knowing, before you know it, you're living your purpose. And it's not always that put in a box or put into words like my purpose being a or, you know, when you're living your purpose because you feel fulfilled.

[00:35:08.850] – Allan

Absolutely. Now, every health and fitness coach out there has probably heard this quote from Lao Tzu. A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Now, what most of us haven't heard is the next line in that verse, which is people often fail in their tasks just as they're about to accomplish them.

[00:35:29.930] – Jessie


[00:35:32.890] – Allan

This is really important because you may have heard the parable of the guy, the gold miner who was digging for gold, and he decided he wasn't going to find the gold, so he sold the gold mine and a guy dug like a foot deeper and biggest find in history. 1ft it was just 1ft. Can we talk a little bit? Because, yes, starting is extremely hard, so it's finishing. Can we talk a little bit about that?

[00:36:09.140] – Jessie

Yes. It's the chapter in my book that I talk about that is called journeying, actually. You are so right. So first of all, I think most people know that quote, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. But I'm not sure if a lot of people know that it comes from the Tao Te Ching, which when I tell people, they're often floored, because that's from 6th century BC. And it's funny to me that human nature has been changed all that much. Right. We've always had a fear of starting. And yes, the other part of the equation is, of course, seeing something through to the end, not giving up too early. And people often fail in their tasks just as they're about to accomplish them. And then it says, so give as much care at the end as in the beginning, then there will be no failure. And I love that because what is failure really? Failure is only failure if you quit. Otherwise, it's a teaching moment from life, from the universe, from yourself. And sometimes and I would actually venture to say a lot, maybe most of the time things don't turn out exactly as we had envisioned, but that doesn't mean they can turn out much better than what we plan for.

[00:37:36.550] – Jessie

But we have to allow for the flow to be different. I think that human beings tend to want to control things so much that they miss the bigger picture sometimes. And I say in the book, when if you look at your life, have you perhaps quit too soon, whether it's on a venture, whether it's on your health goals, whether it's in a relationship, just when maybe it would have gotten good, but you decided to quit. But the other side of it, I would say, is sometimes quitting is the right thing to do. When your goals like in my case, before my car crash moment, when your goals are not aligned with yourself, change, of course, is absolutely the correct choice there. So again, this goes back to that connectedness with your inner self, because your inner self knows. Your inner self knows if you check in with it, just hang on longer, just keep going. And sometimes you do throw in the towel before too soon.

[00:38:42.200] – Allan

Yeah. And I think we all go into these like, okay, so I'm going to go on this diet or I'm going to start this exercise program or I'm going to do this thing, take a new course, to learn something new, to do something different. And the problem comes in is not that we can't do it. It's that we don't believe we can do it. And one of the things you had in the book is another quote from your book. I think I could probably sit here and just read the book is we cannot wait for proof in order to believe in our visions. And I think too many people are waiting for proof that they can lose the weight, that they can get healthy, that they can solve their health problems, that they can learn something new. We're over 40, so we're not supposed to we're the old dogs. We're not supposed to be learning new things. But you can. People are doing it every day, but you don't have to wait for that proof. How does someone listen to themselves, listen to their inner voice in a way that says, okay, I need to get confidence from this.

[00:39:50.420] – Allan

Because in reality, if you're waiting for someone else to give you the go ahead to give you that confidence, you're not going to be happy with the results. That's what I've seen. How does someone reach inside and find that self belief?

[00:40:07.730] – Jessie

Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it. And I say this jokingly, but in my section on creation, we talk a lot about there are steps right to getting what you want. And again, I will say what you want with a little bit of space around it, because often in my experience, things end up looking a little different and that's okay. Or there's like another step that I hadn't foreseen and that's okay. I also find that when you commit so fully to a path, you're often given some obstacles to overcome or some tests. The hero's journey always has tests on it. But to me, I kind of divided the steps of creation into three smaller steps. So one is intention, two is embodiment, and three is releasing the goals, releasing the end results. And so intention is what we're talking about of making your goal, making your vision a more clear one, because a lot of people walk around without a real vision for their lives. And for me, like, for someone like me, because I have become quite a flexible person, my vision changes sometimes from day to day. Or I allow my vision to alter, but I always have a vision and intention.

[00:41:32.250] – Jessie

And the second part is what we're talking about here. The second part of embodying it now, what embodying it means is acting as the person who already got what they wanted. And that's the really hard part. Yes, you need to believe before there's proof that's where we all get tripped up. Because it's like, yeah, when I see that I can do it, I will give my all to it, but it actually works the opposite. And the how. There's no magic bullet for the how, but I do in this case, I will go against my own title. And I'll say that sometimes in the doing, the belief comes. I've seen that for myself. So I also watch my kids closely. I have a five and a seven year old, and kids are a lot better at a lot of these spiritual lessons than we are because they haven't been taught out of them yet.

[00:42:27.820] – Allan

We haven't been out of them.

[00:42:29.330] – Jessie

Yeah, exactly. The world hasn't. And if you ever watch, how do they play pretend? They are so invested they're not thinking. Yes, my five year old loves to pretend. She's a teenager. She's 13, she's going to high school, whatever. And obviously in some level she knows that is not true. But she has no problem pretending for like 3 hours straight. I'm a teenager mom and she talks differently. And I love it because what stops us from doing it? Sure, I know on some level, for example, I have not yet lost the weight. I have not yet reached my level of fitness. But why can't I pretend for the hour that I'm in the gym for the hours that I set aside to run? Why can't I pretend that I'm already that person? Why can't I play with it and play that game of pretend and just start doing it? Because our brains don't really know the difference between pretend and reality. If we tell our brain enough times that I am this, you'll start to believe it. So you got to play with it. It's really adapting, in my opinion, a playful attitude and allowing yourself to pretend that you already are what you want to be, allowing yourself to believe in it, even if it seems ludicrous.

[00:43:48.810] – Allan

I saw this. It actually came over. It was a business podcast and the guy said it and I've kind of adapted it, but it's the same thing. And his thing was be do have. He said so many people start with the do. And he says, that's not how you do it. You start with the Be and Be being is okay. If I'm someone who is this person is healthy and fit, then that's who I am. And then what does the person like that do? Well, okay. They set aside time on their calendar and they show up at the gym, they shop and they buy whole foods, they Cook for their family so they know what they're eating. Yes. They still go out and have a drink with their friends every once in a while. Yes, every once in a while. Okay. They're going to take a holiday and they're not going to do their workouts. But a person who is reasonably in the position you want to be, if you're doing the things that they do, eventually you will have what they have. And so that's the whole principle of the Be do have is very similar to what you're saying is that if you fake it till you make it, but you still have to do the work, you got to do both.

[00:44:57.130] – Allan

There's a middle section, like you said, the doing.

[00:44:59.970] – Jessie


[00:45:00.900] – Allan

But you got to slow down and see it first.

[00:45:04.050] – Jessie

Right. And when you embody the person that you want to be, you'll naturally do the things they do. Like you said, the person who is already fit. Well, yeah. They leave time for exercise. That's what they do. And the releasing part, I think, is also very important because, again, this is where instant gratification needs come in. Releasing your timeline and your goal is important from time to time. It doesn't mean that we don't have a framework in which we operate, but releasing the rains that hold everything so tightly, so that you realize that if you aren't, for example, whatever weight you set for yourself on the day you set for yourself, but you're getting there, that's good enough. You don't need to have 100% control over everything as long as you're doing that step by step journey we spoke of.

[00:46:01.070] – Allan

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

[00:46:12.390] – Jessie

this is you're asking me to define? Good question. So I define wellness and success and all of those big words that I think we all strive for as the feeling of purpose, fulfillment and joy in your body, in your life, in your situation. And that doesn't mean happiness 100% of the time, but that means that you know, you are where you're meant to be. It's that feeling. And I think we spoke of this feeling a little earlier when we have those car crash moments or those smaller car crash moments that realize we're off course, is that ability because we still have them. Even if you are living the life you want to live, you still have moments like that. And it's also wellness to me, is that conversation, that communication with life where you're able to course correct as you go along. It's that faith in yourself. And can you tell me again, the second part of the three?

[00:47:21.380] – Allan

What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:47:27.650] – Jessie

I'm actually going to use the Tao Te Ching for this one. Perfect. The three main teachings of the Tao Te Ching, which are really helpful to me for my wellness and my health. And of course, I look at health as both a mental and a physical well being. And I know you do as well. So the three kind of cornerstones of the Tao Te Ching are simplicity, patience, compassion. So to me, simplicity is simplifying all of those messages that we talked about that are bombarding us non stop, simplifying daily, even if it's for moments a day, to that conversation within yourself. That one voice, that one inner guidance constantly simplifying our craziness, our crazy mind, our crazy schedules, simplifying it as much as we can to our own inner guidance and our own physical well being, because I do strongly believe that we are in this body for this lifetime. And we must take care of our vehicle. And I'm a very spiritual person, but I will tell you that I'm also a fit person, not because I'm so great. And clearly I wasn't always because I suffered from an eating disorder for many years, but I take my health very seriously because this is my vehicle to have my spiritual growth in in this lifetime.

[00:48:55.390] – Jessie

So when I simplify everything, I understand that all I need to do is take care of my mind, take care of my spirit, take care of my body, and I'm good. And then the number two is patience. And that's what we've already discussed is the patience to get to where you want to go and not to rush things and to understand that the journey is as important, if not more important than the destination. And the last is compassion. Starting with compassion towards yourself. When you practice compassion towards yourself, when you forgive yourself for falling off the wagon, for example, if you're on a health journey or overcoming addiction, when you have compassion for your very humanness, you're able to forgive yourself instead of beating yourself up, you're able to continue. You're able to forgive and continue. And when you give that to yourself, you give that to others naturally. And so you live in a more natural state of ease.

[00:49:58.250] – Allan

Thank you for that. Jessie, if someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about your book, Don't Just Sit There, Do Nothing. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:50:08.510] – Jessie

My website. Jessiekanzer.com, JESSIEKANZER.com has all of that information on there. But of course, don't just sit there, do nothing is available everywhere books are sold, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, even. But the information on my website has a lot of free resources as well. I have a free ebook, I have bonus chapters you can actually read. The first two chapters, don't just sit there, do nothing for free. And I also have all my upcoming events on there. So I'm teaching at Omega Institute, which is in Rhinebeck, New York in May. But as well, I do virtual panels and workshops from time to time. So all of that is on jessiekanzer.com.

[00:50:51.350] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/534. And I'll be sure to have links there. Jessie, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:51:02.030] – Jessie

Oh, thank you so much. And I am 40 plus, by the way. I forgot to mention that, but I'm 40 and a half at this point, so I'm with you guys.

[00:51:09.430] – Allan

Welcome to the club.

[00:51:10.890] – Jessie

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:51:19.530] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:51:21.170] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, a lot of that discussion with Jessie has a lot of correlation with my running habits, especially the flow state. It was interesting to hear her discuss flow state in a way that I never would have thought about it before.

[00:51:37.710] – Allan

Yeah. I mean, if you've ever played an athletic sport or ever done something like running consistently. So you got to get past that. It sucks part. But when you get to a point, for lack of a better word, performance where you actually are very comfortable doing what you're doing, there's an opportunity for flow state. And for most of us, our experience goes back to athletics. It goes back to sports. That's when we feel the flow state the most because there's a performance improvement, there's an enhancement to what's going on that we feel. And it's very real. I mean, you literally are doing better at that point, but we're capable of doing this with just about anything that we have some competency for. So it can be making cookies, it can be knitting, it can be at work, it can be at play, it can be at learning. I'm right now studying for my performance enhancements specialty. And there are points in time when I'm sitting there studying and it's like, okay, this stuff is really coming in. I'm understanding it. I'm doing well on the tests, pre-tests anyway. And it's just a function of the focus, the attention, and then the comfort that flow state kind of gives you.

[00:53:08.930] – Allan

And so the real specialty here is if you can slow down enough, as you said, do nothing. But even in short spurts, if you can do nothing to allow your body and your brain and everything to kind of just relax, flow state becomes a lot easier.

[00:53:28.050] – Rachel

Oh, yeah. It's interesting. She mentioned that we have such busy lives. She's true. It's so true. We're barraged with information all over the place. It's kind of frightening how much information passes through our eyes and into our brains on a day to day, hour to hour basis. And it is hard for people to be still and appreciate the silence and the quietness. And then, like we had talked about earlier in our personal lives, when everything seems to be going crazy, the car is in the shop, the kids are sick, something broke at the house. There's all these problems going on because our brain I like to use the analogy of a tornado. My head is just swirling with information, and it's hard to grasp on something to identify a problem and solve it. But if you can get into a flow state where your brain is still and you can appreciate the silence, then you can identify and solve problems probably a lot more efficiently than if you're freaking out about it.

[00:54:29.800] – Allan

Yeah, because we talked about this a little bit during the episode so many times. You want the tool, you want the strategy or tactic. How do I do this? Okay. And we're immediately into strategies and tactics instead of the pulling back in and the saying, okay, well, one, why is this important? Okay, why is this important? And is this important right now? Okay, so something's going on at your house, and it's like, okay, great, great. You know, there's a problem is this something I have to deal with now.

[00:55:08.790] – Rachel


[00:55:09.970] – Allan

And the only way you do that is to come back to your commitment, come back to your why your vision, a whole bit of it. Why are we doing this? Where are we going? And then the self awareness. Okay. I know this is going to bother me until I get this thing fixed. Is there something I can personally do to make it bother me less? Can I actually shift my brain and say, you know, I got to take care of the kids first, and I'm not going to call the repair man and argue with him about needing a window of opportunity for him to be at my house because that's when it works. Like, okay, fine, you can't make it today between four and five. Done. I'm out. Take care of the kids, get the car out of the shop, call the repairman in the morning, figure something out. But it's really hard to do that when the faucet is calling you. And so it's that self awareness of okay, yeah, that's going to bother me. But if I look at the bigger picture, the bigger journey, the who I need to be, the where I need to go.

[00:56:22.810] – Allan

Am I even going to remember that trip, trip, trip a year from now, five years from now.

[00:56:30.370] – Rachel

What I've recently told the kids, both of my kids are College age, by the way, and so their problems are a little different than my problems in life. But I tell them, do these problems require the baggage and the emotion that you're assigning to it? Is it really that important? And like in your analogy of a home, if the faucet is dripping, is that something that needs to be tended to immediately? No, because there's not a burst pipe or something that's bigger or worse. But if you could just take it down a notch, not panic about it, not fret about it and not worry about it and just assign the debt task to it and it'll get done. And like you said, it'll be forgotten in days from now, weeks from now, it'll be all over.

[00:57:15.390] – Allan

Yeah. But I'm going to be the first to admit that is hard. That step right there is really hard, which is why having the foundation, the why, the vision, who are you and who are you going to be? And so a big part of what her book is about is really getting to that self awareness. It's really getting to who you are and who you deserve to be and who you want to be. And making all those things line up in a way that makes sense for you. And is Jessie where she wants to be in her life? And the answer is no, but she's closer than she would have been if she hadn't taken this approach. And we all love those quotes. And so you kind of go through a lot of those quotes that they came from this book, not from her book, but the book that her book is sort of based on, which is she's taking that ancient wisdom, if you will. And it seems pretty weird. Okay. Someone 3000 years ago was actually going through the same emotional issue that I'm going through. And they didn't even have Twitter.

[00:58:32.210] – Allan

and so you're like, okay, well, they had wars, they had famine, they had struggles. They may have been slightly different struggles, but the human nature to approach everything as a disaster was still there. And so for someone to say, okay, is it a disaster? No, it's not a disaster. Actually, stopping and doing nothing gives me the opportunity to put it in its place and really come up with a structure that works for me for solving that problem if it needs to be solved at all.

[00:59:07.930] – Rachel

Sure. Yeah, I love that. And you guys discuss at the end that we do have concept as well. And not skipping any steps to get to the end to the outcome.

[00:59:19.130] – Allan

Yes. Because again, if you don't believe it, it won't happen. It just won't. If you don't believe that, you can lose the weight you want to lose. It's not going to happen. I tried everything. Nothing's going to work. Well, you have to believe that the next thing you do is going to work and you do that from okay, sit back, have a reason, a why, have a vision of what that is really an emotional one. And then a structure of who I am and what has stopped me in the past. And then a plan, and most people go at this with the tool, throw a hammer at it. Okay, well, it's a screw. Okay, great. And then the next time you try it's a nail and you got a screwdriver in your hand because you didn't stop to define the problem and we all do it. Everyone is just as guilty as everyone else of doing these things, because this is the hard part. This is why we struggle and we've always struggled. And that's why books like this, writings like this, exist most of the time. Those lessons were meant to be handed down to our children, to our students, things like that.

[01:00:36.700] – Allan

These were teachers. These were what we would call the intellectuals that were putting together the content of making us a better society. And so they became writings later. They were often oral at the time, and sometimes they were written. And then once they were written, then there was a printing press and then there was more of these ideas. Now there's the Internet and there's more of these ideas. The ideas are great, but you got to go back to you, you've got to go back to that very beginning of this has to be about you and what works for you and you're unique. As odd as that sounds, with over 8 billion people, there's no other single person exactly like you. What you need at this point in time is very different than what anyone else needs. The only way you're going to get that information is to be really quiet and still and listen because your inner voice is going to help you get there.

[01:01:34.890] – Rachel

Yeah, we have a saying in our family that goes way back generations and apparently my great grandparents and grandparents used to say to their kids, remember who you are and what you represent and it just gives you pause for thought. If my mom was heading out on a date or some such thing, my grandparents would tell her, remember who you are and what you represent and it's just a simple reminder to focus on yourself and what values and morals and things that you hold important to you. And remember that when crazy things happen or you need to make some decisions in life, remember who you are and what you represent.

[01:02:19.910] – Allan

Love that. So, Rachel, next time we're going to get an opportunity to talk about your race.

[01:02:26.490] – Rachel


[01:02:27.590] – Allan

As we're talking right now, you haven't quite done it. You're close, but good luck with that.

[01:02:32.960] – Rachel

Thank you.

[01:02:33.390] – Allan

And we'll talk next week.

[01:02:35.170] – Rachel

Thanks so much. Take care.


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Let's Say Hello

[00:03:27.790] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:03:29.230] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, how are you today?

[00:03:31.110] – Allan

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

[00:03:33.360] – Rachel

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

[00:03:43.580] – Allan

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

[00:04:15.850] – Rachel

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

[00:04:56.590] – Allan

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

[00:05:09.430] – Rachel

Oh, boy.

[00:05:10.500] – Allan

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

[00:05:31.270] – Rachel

Oh, gosh.

[00:05:32.250] – Allan

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

[00:06:45.970] – Allan

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

[00:07:41.830] – Rachel

Sounds great.

[00:07:42.980] – Allan

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

[00:07:47.680] – Rachel



[00:08:23.660] – Allan

Dr. Anna, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:26.950] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:08:30.910] – Allan

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

[00:09:12.710] – Dr. Cabeca

Thank you.

[00:09:13.820] – Allan

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

[00:09:25.310] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:10:37.560] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:10:54.840] – Allan


[00:10:56.150] – Allan

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

[00:12:05.420] – Allan

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

[00:12:11.690] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:13:26.630] – Allan

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

[00:13:46.820] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:13:50.200] – Allan

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

[00:14:10.910] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:15:25.730] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:15:53.510] – Allan

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

[00:16:30.390] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:17:58.480] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:19:02.530] – Allan

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

[00:19:38.540] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:20:47.780] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:22:11.080] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:22:22.590] – Allan

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

[00:23:21.590] – Allan

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

[00:23:33.320] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:25:02.410] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:25:08.970] – Allan

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

[00:25:40.410] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:27:04.020] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:27:31.290] – Allan

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

[00:27:45.620] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:28:59.670] – Allan

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

[00:29:18.870] – Dr. Cabeca

Yeah, exactly. Right.

[00:29:22.720] – Allan

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

[00:29:45.580] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:30:56.630] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:31:57.210] – Allan

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

[00:32:36.810] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:33:58.990] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:34:30.650] – Allan

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

[00:35:30.100] – Allan

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

[00:36:18.670] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:36:48.970] – Allan

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

[00:36:51.980] – Allan

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

[00:37:22.400] – Allan

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

[00:37:31.510] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:38:43.750] – Allan

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

[00:38:54.220] – Dr. Cabeca

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

[00:39:19.120] – Allan

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

[00:39:29.970] – Dr. Cabeca

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

Post Show/Recap

[00:39:40.850] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:39:42.380] – Rachel

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

[00:39:55.130] – Allan

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

[00:41:24.750] – Allan

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

[00:42:54.060] – Rachel

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

[00:43:55.880] – Allan

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

[00:45:12.710] – Allan

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

[00:45:46.600] – Rachel


[00:45:47.630] – Allan

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

[00:47:06.550] – Allan

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

[00:47:16.740] – Rachel

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

[00:47:56.510] – Allan

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

[00:48:02.710] – Rachel

Oh, for sure.

[00:48:04.670] – Allan

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

[00:48:25.090] – Rachel

I love that.

[00:48:26.110] – Allan

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

[00:48:42.500] – Rachel

That sounds great. Sounds like a great book.

[00:48:45.040] – Allan

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

[00:48:48.120] – Rachel

Sounds great.


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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


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

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

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


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:12.910] – Allan

Hello, Ras. How are things?

[00:01:15.190] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:17.480] – Allan

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

[00:02:26.940] – Allan

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

[00:02:42.970] – Rachel

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

[00:02:46.000] – Allan

Yes. How are things up there?

[00:02:47.870] – Rachel

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

[00:03:00.340] – Allan

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

[00:03:10.630] – Rachel

They're all defrosting right now.

[00:03:13.450] – Allan

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

[00:03:18.910] – Rachel

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

[00:03:28.690] – Allan

Enjoy all six weeks of it.

[00:03:32.170] – Rachel


[00:03:33.430] – Allan

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

[00:03:49.990] – Rachel

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

[00:04:13.570] – Allan

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

[00:04:19.580] – Rachel

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

[00:04:22.880] – Allan

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

[00:04:41.990] – Rachel

I hope so.

[00:04:42.840] – Allan

You will.

[00:04:43.790] – Rachel

That's the plan.

[00:04:45.490] – Allan

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

[00:04:52.280] – Rachel

All right. Great.

[00:04:53.310] – Allan

Are you ready to get into a conversation with Amy?

[00:04:56.120] – Rachel



[00:05:37.150] – Allan

Amy, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:40.100] – Amy

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

[00:05:43.130] – Allan

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

[00:06:30.730] – Amy

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

[00:07:32.150] – Amy

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

[00:08:31.810] – Allan

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

[00:08:41.330] – Amy

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

[00:08:49.130] – Allan

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

[00:08:55.570] – Allan

Yeah, go ahead

[00:08:56.820] – Amy

tell the story?

[00:08:57.900] – Allan

Yes, please.

[00:08:58.870] – Amy

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

[00:10:12.590] – Amy

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

[00:11:20.600] – Amy

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

[00:11:56.760] – Allan

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

[00:12:11.730] – Amy

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

[00:12:16.650] – Allan

It did get the question. Absolutely. Good.

[00:12:19.200] – Amy

Thank you for asking.

[00:12:20.460] – Allan

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

[00:13:01.110] – Amy

Make the life you want, be happy.

[00:13:05.370] – Allan

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

[00:13:16.530] – Amy

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

[00:13:50.550] – Allan

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

[00:14:15.090] – Amy

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

[00:15:24.610] – Allan

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

[00:16:05.770] – Amy

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

[00:17:28.950] – Amy

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

[00:17:33.490] – Allan

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

[00:17:53.650] – Amy

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

[00:18:38.410] – Allan

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

[00:19:22.870] – Amy

Which one? Ease or commitments?

[00:19:25.090] – Allan

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

[00:20:38.410] – Allan

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

[00:20:51.230] – Amy

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

[00:21:36.630] – Amy

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

[00:21:57.500] – Amy

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

[00:22:38.020] – Amy

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

[00:22:58.950] – Amy

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

[00:23:52.850] – Amy

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

[00:24:09.870] – Amy

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

[00:25:18.120] – Amy

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

[00:25:37.550] – Amy

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

[00:26:23.030] – Speaker 4

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

[00:26:38.470] – Amy

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

[00:27:23.500] – Amy

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

[00:27:33.130] – Amy

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

[00:28:23.230] – Amy

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

[00:28:42.850] – Amy

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

[00:29:12.370] – Allan

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

[00:29:56.080] – Allan

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

[00:30:21.890] – Allan

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

[00:30:51.650] – Amy

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

[00:32:44.460] – Amy

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

[00:33:16.890] – Allan

And good.

[00:33:19.950] – Amy

Thank you, Dad.

[00:33:22.170] – Allan

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

[00:33:31.350] – Amy

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

[00:35:01.340] – Amy

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

[00:35:19.790] – Allan

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

[00:35:30.230] – Amy

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

[00:35:49.820] – Allan

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

[00:36:00.670] – Amy

Thank you. This was a blast. Love it.

[00:36:03.870] – Allan

Me, too. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:36:13.050] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:36:14.790] – Rachel

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

[00:36:32.960] – Allan

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

[00:37:38.790] – Allan

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

[00:38:15.450] – Rachel

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

[00:39:11.950] – Allan

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

[00:40:33.520] – Allan

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

[00:41:18.920] – Allan

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

[00:41:30.130] – Rachel


[00:41:30.580] – Allan

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

[00:42:49.270] – Allan

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

[00:43:04.330] – Allan

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

[00:43:18.960] – Rachel

Thanks, Allan. Take care.

[00:43:20.430] – Allan

You too.


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