June 21, 2021

Coming back from injury or illness over 40

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On this episode, we talk about coming back after an illness or injury when you're over 40.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:08.630] – Allan
Hey Raz, how you doing?

[00:02:10.220] – Rachel
Good, how are you today, Allan?

[00:02:12.200] – Allan
I'm doing better. I'm doing better. It's over at least as far as symptoms for me are. I can actually taste things again. I'm not sure about my smell being all the way back. It's really hard to tell because I didn't have a very good sense of smell to begin with, which has its benefits when you're dealing with stuff that you don't like or doesn't smell good, but also has its deterrence, because if you can't smell something smells bad, then you don't know it smells bad and that can put you in a bad place.

[00:02:42.470] – Allan
So I'm not the one. If you smell something bad, you say, do you smell that? My answer is probably going to be no. And especially after covid. Like I said, I don't know that I've fully recovered, but there wasn't that much to recover in the first place.

[00:02:53.930] – Rachel
Well, good. I'm glad you could taste food again. I can't imagine how weird that would be not to taste.

[00:03:00.080] – Allan
It was weird. And you know, the thing that a lot of folks wouldn't recognize or wouldn't know is that a big part of overeating is that people don't have the reward system for taste and therefore they're actually not tasting their food as much. And that's why we have a tendency to overeat. You know, the mindless sitting there eating a bag of chips while you're watching a movie, you don't taste those chips. You tasted the first bite, then you got into the movie and the crunch, crunch, crunch, empty bag.

[00:03:31.340] – Allan
And you didn't even actually taste that food. Your body just got the endorphins that got the dopamine hit. And that just sort of happened. And so when you're not tasting food, you actually it's hard to not overeat because you tend to just end up eating more of it. It doesn't signal your body that you're full. It doesn't tell you that you're eating foods and getting the right mix of foods. So the signaling is just haywire.

[00:03:59.810] – Allan
So it's really easy to overeat when you're not when you can't taste food. I know that sounds counterintuitive.

[00:04:06.740] – Rachel
Does sound weird.

[00:04:08.870] – Rachel
it's strange. If I couldn't taste anything, I don't know that I would waste time sitting at my table eating food.

[00:04:13.970] – Allan
I ate more than I would normally have eaten because I couldn't taste it. And I just kept eating, thinking, OK, I need to eat. And but I realized after I was done, I was like, you know, normally I would take that cut of steak and that would be two steaks. And I ate the whole steak and like, you know, still try to eat good stuff. But, you know, in a general sense, when I'm not feeling well, I kind of let myself do those other things, you know, then that I wouldn't normally do because it's like, OK, just

[00:04:46.270] – Allan
Chill, you know, I can't get people to go by the high quality foods that I want to buy. I need you to go here to that store and buy that for me and go to that store and only buy this if it says this on the label. And, you know, I couldn't get to folks, so I was like, I just buy me some potatoes, some chicken.

[00:05:03.910] – Rachel
And that's probably good enough.

[00:05:05.890] – Allan
Yeah. And well run with it.

[00:05:07.480] – Rachel
Oh my goodness, how crazy.

[00:05:09.820] – Allan
Yeah. The worst part of it was one of our neighbors, dear friends, she brought us some pasta with lobster. And I couldn't taste.

[00:05:19.370] – Rachel
Oh, no. Oh, how disappointing.

[00:05:24.970] – Allan
Like this looks like it would taste delicious.

[00:05:28.610] – Rachel
Oh my gosh. Well now you'll have to try it again once now that you're feeling better and can taste a little more.

[00:05:34.400] – Allan
I'll have to call her and say thank you. Can I have some more?

[00:05:39.500] – Rachel

[00:05:39.500] – Allan
See how that goes?

[00:05:40.370] – Rachel

[00:05:41.870] – Allan
How are things up there?

[00:05:43.430] – Rachel
Good. Really good. You know, funny thing happened up here the other day. We lost power for no good reason whatsoever. It was a beautiful morning, but we lost power. And so I just went about my day cleaning. I knew the power would be back on in a few hours. But the funny part was every time I entered a room, I turned on the light switch because it's such a habit. And I knew the power was out.

[00:06:07.310] – Rachel
I knew what I was doing because the power was out. But every time I entered a room, I kept turning on the light switch and it got me thinking about habits. And I do have a lot. I drink coffee every morning. That's my morning habits. And I do like to run and I do prefer running in the morning. But I'm being kind of forced out of that habit right now because my 50 miler that's coming up starts at noon.

[00:06:31.280] – Rachel
So I've had to adjust that habit to run later in the day. And it's been a challenging adjustment for me. And I'm actually looking forward to getting this race over so I can go back to running in the mornings again. I am a creature of habit.

[00:06:47.420] – Allan
Well, we all are. We just like you said, we don't necessarily recognize it until something brings it to our attention, you know, like the light switch thing. A lot of us are that way even during the daytime. We're going to walk into a room. We're going to hit the light switch. It's a trigger thing. When you walk in the room, you're going through the door, you're going to do something.

[00:07:08.830] – Allan
It's, you know, kind of when you start to understand those triggers and then your immediate action, you know, that's when you can actually start making some decisions. You know, can I change this habit? You know, do we need the light on every time I walk in the room? And the answer at least half the time is probably no.

[00:07:27.440] – Rachel

[00:07:28.520] – Allan
You know, because half the time it's daylight and half the time it's dark. So half the time you don't necessarily need that light on. But that's not a habit that from a health perspective, you know, is damaging. But a lot of us do have those triggers for the bad habits, you know, and so being aware of that, that's self awareness is really, really important. So it's good to mix up your schedule. It's good to kind of have a little bit of that.

[00:07:58.130] – Allan
It's a learning opportunity. When you said a strange thing, the power went on like, what was it, Tuesday that happens every day here?

[00:08:05.970] – Rachel
Oh, gosh.

[00:08:08.150] – Allan
Not every day. No, that's that's a little oversell. But no, the power goes out regularly here. You know, sometimes we know it's going to happen because they'll say, well, you know, they want to clean the the growth around some of the wires, you know, and can't they just turn off that part of the, No, they've got to turn off the whole island. OK, but, you know, like, we can't get water in our house unless our pumps running.

[00:08:31.490] – Allan
Yeah. And so we don't have water. So when the power goes out, we don't have running water. We don't have power. Air conditioning, all that. You know, I've set it up now. My wife, we have uninterruptible power supplies here. You know, you almost have to. Yeah. So I've got the Wi-Fi router in the actual router. All of that set up now on our UPS the power goes out,

[00:09:00.130] – Allan
We'll have power for at least an hour or so to continue to do what we're doing. So if we were, you know, Snapchat being spread like doing the Zoom call, you know, it would all stay on everything around me would go dark. But then, you know, we could still keep going and then finish out what you're doing and then it's OK. I guess I'll go read a book outside. You know, but, you know, it happens.

[00:09:26.290] – Allan
You sleep and the power goes out and it's like, oh, and you know, most I know it because the air conditioning goes off. But if I leave my phone playing the sounds of the fan, I'm not going to wake up, you know, because I mean, I'm going to I'm going to wear my battery down and I'll wake up at three o'clock in the morning with no sound. And I'll realize that the battery on my phone died, too.

[00:09:46.750] – Allan
And so I don't want that to happen. So, you know, when the power goes out, they need to wake up, turn my phone off, try to sleep in the very dark room with no sound, which is odd for me. It's different. And that's what I'm saying. Sometimes just doing something that's a little out of the norm teaches you the habits. You know, for me, the habit is. Turn out the light, go to bed, turn on the fan noise on my phone, go to sleep, I'm almost like that, I mean, and almost that fast.

[00:10:16.470] – Allan
it's just because a habit I have a sleep routine and during that sleep routine just kind of puts me into the next step of the habit. Fall asleep. So someone could be good habits and some of them could be bad habits and some of them are just wasting a little electricity. Not a lot. Just a little. But, you know, this kind of one of those things that we learn, we learn more about ourselves doing something different than we do, doing what we always do.

[00:10:42.210] – Rachel
Yeah, that is right.

[00:10:44.730] – Allan
All right. Well, you ready to get into today's talk?

[00:10:47.160] – Rachel

[00:10:48.330] – Allan


On today's episode, I wanted to talk about coming back from injury or illness over 40. As you may have heard, I was diagnosed with covid a little over a month and a week ago and not a cool thing and not a cool thing at all, but they put me in an ambulance, drove me home and said, sit your butt in this house for two weeks.

They did give me some food and we had some friends that could shop for us. So we were OK. But it did kind of mess with my plans. I had the basic symptoms, fatigue, cold and flu stuff, loss of taste and smell, and this really weird phantom smell thing, which I won't go into, but just recognize that it set me back. And it's fairly common for this to be happening on a regular basis for anyone over the age of 40.

It's inevitable, I guess would be the better word for us to have some form of injury or some illness over the course of our adult lives. And so how we deal with this, particularly when we're over 40, is really, really important. OK, so I'm diagnosed with covid. I can't go anywhere. Definitely can't go to the gym. And while I'm on that topic, it's a regular thing people will be asking typically during the cold and flu season.

So maybe less now this time of year, because we're really more kind of into the allergy season. But during the cold flu season, the question be, should I go to the gym if I'm sick? OK, and I'll just go ahead and put this out there. As a general rule, if you can avoid going to the gym sick, please do. The rest of us don't want to get sick. You know, you have covid. Absolutely do not go to the gym, you know, but other than that, if you have symptoms above the neck, you're more than safe to go out and do some work.

I prefer you do it outside, do it away from people, do it at home. If it's in the chest or low, you know, below the neck, you don't really need to be doing anything. And if there's a fever involved, definitely not a time for you to be exercising. This is the time for you to be focused on recovery. And we'll talk about that in a few minutes. But in a general sense, if you're sick, this might be a good time for you to go ahead and take some time off and recover and get yourself better before you worry about doing anything else.

And obviously, again, with covid entirely different matter, with injuries, maybe even a little bit different, and we'll get into each of those a little bit further as we go along. So the first thing is to recognize that injuries and illnesses are inevitable. You're going to have to face them at some point in your adult life. And so it's not something where you need to push back on yourself and be angry, sad, you know, all those negative emotions that you might have about it.

Those aren't going to serve you. They're not going to help you at all, OK? What you need to do is be able to take a step back objectively and do a couple different things. So the first thing you want to do is, is a basic evaluation. Was there something in your basic behavior that caused this injury? So let's say you were out and about and you weren't paying attention and you tripped and you broke your arm. OK, obviously not watching what you're doing, not paying attention.

You fell. OK? And by falling, you broke yourself. OK, an evaluation would be OK. Probably don't need to have that there. And I probably need to be a little bit more aware of my surroundings when I do particular things. You know, my wife and I own this bed and breakfast and there's the stairs coming down from the top to the bottom. Now we're living upstairs. While we do the renovation, we move downstairs this won't be as big of an issue, but in the morning when I get up in it's dark, but the lights are on downstairs, the slats in the wood, kind of shine this really weird cross angles on the steps as you walk down.

And I see that and I say, OK, that's a trip and fall hazard because I might see the step going a certain way when it goes a different way. So I've had my wife put in some pads so it's more skid resistant and we're putting in some motion sensitive lights. So someone's walking down the stairs, the lights will shine and that will negate that cross light thing. So paying attention to your environment so you avoid injuries, not doing certain things that cause injuries.

Like when I was doing deadlifts and wanted for some reason, do 500 pound dead lift, you know, overdoing it, overstressing over, you know, those are opportunities where your body's telling you through that pain, which is the signal something's not right. Use that time and evaluate that pain, evaluate why it happened and see if your behavior needs to change. Many times that's not the case, but there are times it is so being aware of that's very, very important.

The next thing to understand about all this is that injuries and illness, particularly when you're over 40, is not a stop button. It's a pause button too many times I'll be talking to folks almost every day, actually, and someone will say, yeah, I hurt my back, I hurt my knee, hurt my hip. In many cases, like three, five, 10 years ago, And they're not doing any activity now because it hurts. And that's just tragic. That just I mean, that eats at my soul, because when you stop moving, you stop living.

When you stop moving, you start deteriorating and you have to move to live, so if we're not doing anything to improve our fitness, to improve our health because of an injury, basically that injury beat us and we're letting that injury beat us. So this is not a stop button. We just have to figure this out and it's just a pause button. So pause, figure it out and let's move forward. So the first step, recover, OK?

Too many times people will injure themselves and they won't go to physical therapy. They won't do their physical therapy homework. They won't do what's necessary to get past this. The doctor gave them the pain meds. The pain meds solve the problem or at least the symptom, and they move on with their lives. If they try to lift anything or do something, it hurts and they're back on the pain meds. They don't want to do that. So they stop.

OK, so recover first. Do your physical therapy, get your stuff done. Your quarantine is two weeks that I sat in that bed and breakfast recovering, couldn't go to the gym, couldn't do the things I wanted to do, but I did what I could do and I recovered. I got healthy. That's job number one.

Next is to look for opportunities and buy opportunities. I mean, OK, so let's say you broke your arm, OK? I have a client that happens this to. Actually two one one hurt his wrist, another hurt her elbow. But basically a client gets injured not through their lifting, not through their other stuff. They just have an accident and there's an injury. This is a perfect opportunity for them to work on other modalities, they can work on mobility in their legs and hips, they can work on strength in their legs and hips. They can if the jarring doesn't hurt too much, they can start working on stamina work. They can do core work. There's just so many opportunities, so many other modalities that you would normally neglect.

But now that you have an injury so you can't do your prime thing, this is a great opportunity for you to spend that time doing something else that's going to improve you overall. OK, so use this time as an opportunity. If it's an illness, I used that covid time as an opportunity to really work on mindfulness and meditation. I spent a lot of time thinking, a lot of time in my head that I wouldn't normally have given myself the time to do, but because I was so fatigued that I couldn't really exercise the way I wanted to, I couldn't go anywhere and do anything I wanted to do. It was a great opportunity for me to sit and reflect and do the things I needed to do for better mental health, better clarity. So look for opportunities during this recovery time.

And then when you do come back stronger, have the plan, have the thing ready to go. And so we go into this injury and we're at a certain level. And too many times people will say, OK, well, I'm losing so much ground, I'm losing so much ground. The reality is you're probably not losing as much ground as you think. And if you're working on other modalities and other things, if you're taking those opportunities, you're probably a lot better off than you would have been otherwise.

So take a step back. Yes, you do need to take that step back and then start to retrace your route. So how does this look? OK, from a stamina perspective, let's say you did something to your ankle and or your foot and you're no longer able to run. OK, if you're out for a few weeks, maybe you cut down your distance and speed by. I don't know, 10 percent. If you're out for more than two months, you might have to cut back 50 percent.

So what does that look like? Again, let's say you were running and your long runs were around, you know, five miles, your medium short runs or somewhere around the two to three miles. And so you go back to do your first run. After that, you're in the one to two mile range, your long runs or more in the three, three and a half range. And then you build up from there and it'll come back pretty quickly.

Muscle remembers it can get back to its previous state pretty quickly if you don't let too much time pass. And then promote like a weightlifting perspective, let's say you're working and you have a particular lift and you're doing 50 pounds on this particular lift. When you hurt yourself, when you come back, if you're out for a couple of weeks, a few weeks, maybe you drop it down to 45, so you cut about 10 percent off that and feel how that works for you.

If you're out longer than that, maybe you drop it down to 25 and you do some reps, you get your sets in and you see how things are going. You'll improve pretty quickly. And as I mentioned before, you have that muscle memory. So your body's going to come back a lot quicker than you think it would.

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So to wrap all this up, I think that kind of the core concepts of all this is one, recovering from injury and illness over 40 requires you to have a good mindset. You need to wrap your mind around the fact that you have control. You're not out of control. Yes, this happened. It was inevitable that eventually something bad was going to happen. It just does. Get past it.

This was not a stop button. This was a pause. So do your evaluation understand why this happened? See if there's things you need to correct around you, your environment, yourself, the way you approach things. Slow down in some cases if you need to, but understand why the injury occurred or why the illness occurred. And let's do something about it, OK? Next, your why envision probably haven't changed this whole thing. And if you stop, then you're losing it.

You're losing that whole thing that got you going in the first place. So go back to that mindset, get your mind right. Get yourself back thinking about your why envision. And then you're in a good place, then work through your recovery, make you recover your first priority, make recovery your workout, make recovery the most important thing you do for yourself, and then look for those other opportunities that you may have otherwise neglected, like working on mobility, working on balance, working on strength or, you know, working on stamina, things that you may not have paid much attention to when you were focused on other things that you can't do now because of injury or illness.

And then finally take that step back if you need to. Don't go in this full force thinking you're just as strong as you were the day you left. You need to give your body an opportunity to regroup, retrain and get back to where it was. So retrace your route. Don't go back in thinking you're right where you were. You are going to lose a little bit. You're not going to lose that much, but you are going to lose little.

So go into it smart and get yourself back where you deserve to be.

Post Show/Recap

[00:25:39.920] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:25:41.420] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, that is a really timely podcast and all of the running forums I follow, there's a lot of questions from runners in particular about coming back from covid, but also all the time runners are always asking how to come back to running after an injury. So these are constantly timely topics, but in particular, they are good for today.

[00:26:04.340] – Allan
Yeah. You know, one of the things, particularly with running and also with weightlifting, is the propensity to injure ourselves. You know, with running, you're doing a repetitive motion sometimes on concrete or other surfaces that are just beaten to death. Maybe you don't have the best shoes. Maybe you don't have the best running stride. And so you just really pounding on your body a little bit more in a repetitive fashion where over time it causes some basic injuries or some basic problems.

[00:26:35.210] – Allan
And a lot of people, because, you know, let's face it, running can be addictive. they won't stop running. You know, it's like, no, I'm going to keep running and it just gets worse and worse and worse until they can't run. And then that's when they're in this kind of stuck position. So, yes, recovery from that. You know, with weight lifting, it tends to be letting the ego get ahead of the body and, you know, deciding, OK, I'm going to try to do this extra weight and I'm going to get, you know, this is going to be cool and, you know, so, yeah, you're throwing it.

[00:27:05.480] – Allan
And throwing, you know, 80 pound dumbbells onto my shoulders to do overhead press. And I feel good about being that strong until I hear a little crack and a snap. And now my rotator cuff is completely torn off m bone. And, you know, that arm no longer functions the way it did seconds earlier and so doing the right things to recover from that, but you're going to go through something kind of interesting, but it's going to use a lot of these concepts that I talked about today is when you do this 100 miles,

[00:27:39.370] – Rachel

[00:27:39.940] – Allan
50, 50 miles. We were talking before we got on the phone.

[00:27:43.600] – Allan
We got to talk about there's also a one hundred mile component in a hundred miles. And so we got to talk about. So sorry. No, Rachel is not doing a hundred. it's a burn. Got twenty four hours. Who knows?

[00:27:54.580] – Rachel
I got the time.

[00:27:56.980] – Allan
If they don't stop, you just keep running. You might catch them. But, you know, we're going to do this long run. And as a result, we don't even really know right now how how your body is going to respond other than, you know, on the reading of the forums and your experience and running some long distance, and, you know, the marathon range is that, you know, that when you come back, the best way I can put it is you're going to have to go through a period of time that I would call post-hab.

[00:28:27.880] – Rachel

[00:28:28.930] – Allan
And so can you talk a little bit about what some of your plans are for post hab as we go into this? Because it's not I mean, you're not self inflicting an injury here. We don't want anyone to think that that's what you ordered illness. But in a sense, your body's going to go through some stress. That's going to be very similar to that. So can you talk a little bit about what your plans are after this race?

[00:28:51.940] – Rachel
Sure. So I'll be running 50 miles and I am estimating it'll take give or take 12 hours. I'm not that fast. I plan on a lot of breaks. We have to check in to aid stations. There's going to be some things to get done on this run besides running. But what happens is, is I will probably be sucking out every possible nutrient out of my blood and liver and muscles. I will be just depleting my body dry of all nutrients and probably a lot of hydration.

[00:29:26.020] – Rachel
So right after the run, I will be drinking a lot of water and electrolytes as well, both liquids to rehydrate. And I will start getting some food coming back in my body just to maintain normal body functions. And I recognize that I will probably be walking probably more than the last few miles of the race, but I will plan on walking after the race is over as well. It's important just to keep the body moving and to come down to some sort of basic equilibrium after all of that motion.

[00:30:00.370] – Rachel
So I'll sit a little, I'll elevate my elevate my feet a little and walk a little. And I also have compression garments. I've got compression pants, and I also have compression calf sleeves that I'll wear to help promote blood flow as well. Since I'm not staying at my home, I'm actually camping in a camper. And so I will get back to our campsite, take a shower and do a lot of that type of post hab. So I've got the foam roller, I've got the compression.

[00:30:35.230] – Rachel
I will elevate and stay hydrated and I will keep walking and chances are really good as even though I'm going to finish. I start the race at noon on Saturday and I should finish around midnight or so. Saturday night. Sunday morning. I will probably be tired but I'll also probably be too amp to sleep. So if I am tossing and turning in bed, I will count that as elevation for a little while and then go out and walk a little bit around the campsite as well.

[00:31:03.760] – Rachel
So a lot of moving and a lot of eating and drinking is pretty much my main rehabs or post habs.

[00:31:10.750] – Allan
Yeah. And then recognizing that, you know, we talked about being a creature of habit that you would normally be getting up in the morning and going for a run. Yeah, that's not going to be Rachel's M.O. for a few weeks. At least you're gonna have to come in and kind of refresh, let your body actually recover from the stressors that it's gone through and then start a training program that picks up somewhere well below the mileage that you would normally be running.

[00:31:42.310] – Rachel
Oh, absolutely. I'm anticipating that I will take that first one full week off of all running altogether. That's an easy no brainer. But I will be walking and I will pick dogs and walk. I will walk around my neighborhood by myself and just keep the legs moving and see how the muscles are responding. You know, if I was 20 years younger, I might be rebounding a lot faster, in which case I wouldn't mind going for a light jog, you know, for a mile here, there.

[00:32:13.480] – Rachel
But for myself, as I said, I'm approaching fifty, rehab and posthab takes a little bit longer. Recovery just takes longer. And so I'll have hot baths and cold baths and walking. And I'll probably start a running regimen maybe a week to 10 days after this race, and when I do start, it won't be going back out where I was before. I'll probably do a walk run type interval, maybe run for a minute, walk for a minute or a couple of minutes and just see how my legs feel.

[00:32:46.120] – Allan
Yeah. If you haven't run before, then you might not recognize that there's a natural spring to your leg as you kind of are walking or running. And when you do something like this, like a 50, which I did before and I did it, I did it like an optimal situation. It was a pine forest horse trail through a pine forest was about as soft, a nice place you could actually run on, you know, so the damage to my legs from, you know, hard or, you know, hitting was not the problem.

[00:33:14.800] – Allan
It was just the total number of miles. But it was about a month for me from that 50 where I actually felt like my legs had recovered their spring, you know, had recovered to a point where they were where they were. For that whole month, all I did was walking and in the gym, upper body exercise, you know, resistance training. So, you know, I was bench pressing and pull ups and, you know, rose and things like that.

[00:33:43.630] – Allan
Nothing for the legs. Just let the legs recover and do some walking, keep the blood flow to them. So they're repairing and doing what they need to, making sure you get plenty of protein and the other things that my body needs for that repair, you know. So for me, it was still I was kind of astounded because I was 29 and it literally took me a month to really feel like I was ready to run again. But, you know, and I think I've told this story right after I finished the race, I pulled a Forrest Gump and said, I'm tired, I'm going home.

[00:34:15.070] – Allan
And I haven't run anything longer than a 10K since then. And I even did that one under protest because it was a friend. She calls me and says, my niece was running this 10K tomorrow. And, you know, we told her we would go with her, but she doesn't want to walk. She wants to actually run it. And you're the only person I know that can run that far. And I'm like, OK, so I ran that 10k with this girl.

[00:34:39.440] – Allan
I thought the girl was going to burn out because she just took off sprinting. I'm like, OK, it's like you can't keep sprinting like this and think you're going to do a 10k. And she proved me wrong. I think I broke my PR on that 10k, but it was flying. So that's definitely a young athlete in the making there. But because I think she was like nine and I was like, oh my gosh, she just took off.

[00:35:02.860] – Allan
I'm like, OK, look, you know, I've got a phase now this girl.

[00:35:06.880] – Rachel
All out, so turn on the burner.

[00:35:09.200] – Allan
And she kept doing it. So that was what was surprising to me is like, yeah, I was like, OK, you got something special here. But that was only one I ran. And like I said, I did it under protest and for a really dear friend at the time. So I was like, OK, I'll do this.

[00:35:21.460] – Allan
But I didn't think I was going to have to sprint it myself, but I did. But, you know, it's just as we kind of go through all of this in recognizing that, you know, injuries and illness, they're going to happen.

[00:35:34.960] – Allan
And sometimes you have a little bit of knowledge, a little bit of opportunity. Like when I hurt my shoulder, I knew, OK, I'm stoked. And this is, again, the probably, you know, too much ego, but it is what it is. Ego hurt me. And then ego kept me from deciding when I was going to do my surgery straightaway. I said, well, I've got this Spartan coming up. And I thought my brother was going to be doing it with me.

[00:35:58.180] – Allan
So I was like, I can't cancel on him, you know, I've got to do this thing. So I had it in my mind. I was going to do it and then I would go get my surgery. And so I did that. I also jumped out of an airplane for Tammy and she wanted to do that. So that's part of that whole weekend was I went up there and did a Spartan and then I jumped out of an airplane the next day, all with a torn rotator cuff.

[00:36:20.980] – Allan
And so I knew I was going to get the surgery, but I arranged for three weeks where I was not to be traveling for work. So I knew, OK, every day I can go in when I if I need to, I can go in and get my physical therapy because the doctor was telling me, you know, he didn't know what the physical therapist was going to need to do, but it was going to be a few times a week for about six to eight weeks, maybe up to twelve.

[00:36:45.280] – Allan
Depending on how I how I did, and so I kept training. I kept doing stuff physically, you know, anything that didn't hurt my shoulder, I kept doing, and then I scheduled my surgery and I went in for the surgery and came out and I went into rehab, went to the physical therapist. And he's like, your range of motion is phenomenal. And he said, what? What did you do? Because he said most people would come in, you know, adults, not because I deal with athletes as I see athletes that come in like this.

[00:37:16.170] – Allan
He says, but you're not an athlete like that. You know the college athlete like that. He says, what are you doing? I said, well, I just kept training. They said, if it didn't hurt, I kept doing it. He's like, well, most people. Yeah, said most people would have put their arm in a sling and stayed of sling until they got their surgery. Then they'd have finished their surgery and they'd waited for a few weeks.

[00:37:32.730] – Allan
And I was like, no, I got my I got my surgery on a Thursday and Monday morning. Monday morning I was in therapy. so, you know, if you if you can plan it like you're planning your posthab on your run, you know, the timing of your run, you know, when you're going about when you going to finish even and you've got to plan. And so if it's an injury and you're going to go in for surgery, talk to your doctor, talk to, you know, if you can a physical therapist know what the plan is for your recovery so you can hit it running.

[00:38:00.570] – Allan
There's things you need to be doing before the surgery. Do them, you know. Yeah, and do them. Do it all. Do your homework from the physical therapist. Do this three times a day, do it and just do it. Yes. It's inconvenient to take this and put it in cold water and then pull it out, put it in hot water and pull it out. Cold water. It doesn't feel good, but it helps.

[00:38:23.760] – Allan
It definitely makes things better. And so making sure that you do your homework, set yourself up and, you know, illness and injuries are going to happen to us and we don't necessarily have a plan and we didn't plan for it. It just happens. And then we have to deal with it. But if you can control certain things about it, you'll recover a lot faster and be a lot stronger for it.

[00:38:45.210] – Rachel
That's let me just highlight that right there, Allan, because I want to point out that you'll be a lot stronger for it. I mean, just because you're injured doesn't mean you're out. And you could have the best comeback you've ever seen in whatever sport that you do. I'm sure your shoulder feels great now when you lift.

[00:39:00.900] – Allan
Yeah, it's well, it is. It's funny because, you know, in talking to the orthopedic surgeon, he said, you know, he said they did a study, said every cadaver they cut up in these cadavers who were in their 90s, people who died in their 90s. And so they went through and they were looking at them and they saw every single one of them had a torn, torn rotator cuff. Some of them had surgery for it and others had not.

[00:39:26.730] – Allan
But every single one of them had an impingement and had a problem with their shoulder, the rotator cuff. And so he said it's inevitable for most of us we're going to have that problem. And if you're someone who lifts and does a lot with your upper body, the potential is even higher because there's just more wear and tear. With mine, I had an impingement, which is basically where the bone is pressing down on the muscle and over time it just wears it down.

[00:39:56.820] – Allan
And he said so the muscle when he got in there was like paper thin and it just tore right off the bone. It snapped. It was gone. And so I was talking to him. I said, you know, obviously we're not going to spend the money to do an X-ray and an MRI on the other shoulder. And he said, yeah, probably. You probably do have an impingement over there. It's probably is as bad. This one just broke first.

[00:40:21.180] – Allan
And so what do I don't do right now? I don't lift eighty pound dumbbells up to my shoulders to press over my head because I recognize the heaviest thing I'm ever going to have to press over my head is a carton of Christmas decorations that I'm going have to put on the top shelf in our storage. Other than that, there's nothing heavier. There's definitely nothing a hundred sixty pounds that I need to put over my head for any reason whatsoever.

[00:40:48.990] – Allan
And if I did, I'd call somebody to come help me. So, you know, recognizing that, you know, ego can get you broke.

[00:40:58.290] – Rachel

[00:40:59.670] – Allan
And recognizing those limitations that we have, you know, part of that self-awareness is I know that I probably have an impingement on my left shoulder. So I'm not doing things that I know would adversely affect that. But I'm doing what I need to do to be functionally fit,

[00:41:18.030] – Rachel

[00:41:18.840] – Allan
fit to be the best Allan, I can be. And that doesn't necessarily mean that I have to be able to deadlift a certain amount of weight or press a certain amount of weight over my head.

[00:41:28.110] – Allan
It just means when it's time to get the Christmas lights down, I could do that. When it's time to put them back, I could do that.

[00:41:34.780] – Rachel
Perfect. Well, that's just the point is that, you know what your potential weakness could be and you just need to work around it and you're doing just that. That sounds perfect.

[00:41:44.580] – Allan
Yeah. So good luck with your run.

[00:41:47.070] – Rachel
Thank you.

[00:41:47.970] – Allan
Good luck with your post hab.

[00:41:49.540] – Rachel
Yes, thank you.

[00:41:51.210] – Allan
Maybe the next time we talk to you, I think we're going to be talking to you relatively soon after your post hab maybe about a week after you finish your run. Maybe a little over a week. You know, when you finish your run and so at that point, you should have some pretty interesting stories to show.

[00:42:08.110] – Allan
So I'm looking forward to that.

[00:42:10.120] – Rachel
hope to have some good tales to tell.

[00:42:13.110] – Allan
That's how you get them. You do something you've never done. You do something that the vast majority of people who have never done. And now you've got a story. Now you've got a life. Now you've done something special. And so I always encourage people, if you don't have a big, audacious goal of just something exciting that you wake up in the morning and know, this is why I'm running, this is why I'm lifting. This is why I'm living.

[00:42:36.130] – Allan
I want to do this thing. And it can be a vacation. It can be a run. It can be a combo. Camp out run.

[00:42:43.810] – Rachel
Right! My favorite.

[00:42:45.880] – Allan
so, you know, just recognize that you're going to have a lot of fun. You can have a good bit of pain

[00:42:53.230] – Rachel
a little bit

[00:42:53.800] – Allan
you're gonna have some challenges and you're going to have the pride of knowing that you took 100 percent of you out on those Indiana roads and left it all there.

[00:43:04.790] – Rachel
That'll be great. Yeah. I'll be up in northern Michigan, actually.

[00:43:08.920] – Allan
Oh, I thought it was Indiana. I don't know why, you were going to Indiana now.

[00:43:12.850] – Rachel
Heading north.

[00:43:13.780] – Allan
OK, north.

[00:43:14.980] – Rachel
yeah. Looking forward to a new adventure, that's for sure.

[00:43:18.250] – Allan
All right. Well, we'll talk to you then.

[00:43:20.410] – Rachel
Thanks. Bye.


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

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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


June 14, 2021

Hormone intelligence with Dr. Aviva Romm

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On this episode, Dr. Aviva Romm and I discuss her new book, Hormone Intelligence.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:04.370] – Allan
Hey, Raz. How are you doing?

[00:01:06.080] – Rachel
Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:01:08.300] – Allan
Good. I get a chuckle out of that voice when we go on Zoom here to do these recordings. Now, when you record on Zoom before you just hit record in your recording. But now there's this female voice that wants to tell everybody on the call that they're being recorded and and then when we get off the recording it does the same things. Call is no longer being recorded. It's just funny because it's in the headphones. It's really, really loud.

[00:01:33.470] – Allan
So it's like we're having a nice conversation, good conversational tone, and all of a sudden this woman's yelling at me. Recording this call.

[00:01:41.300] – Rachel
Yeah. I've been warned.

[00:01:43.130] – Allan
And I have been recording this call because this is our welcome for this podcast. And how are you doing, Rachel?

[00:01:50.480] – Rachel
Good, good. Things are great up here. We've had some beautiful summer days. It's nice to get out, spend some time outside. Our vegetable gardens are growing really well. So, yeah, it's a perfect time of year up here.

[00:02:03.410] – Allan
Yeah. You have your little animal kingdom with your pond.

[00:02:06.350] – Rachel
We do.

[00:02:07.610] – Allan
Posting the other day with a snake and a frog. Or snake versus frog. Is that what it was?

[00:02:11.990] – Rachel
Yeah. And he was back. My husband Mike just saw him the snake again today and he had a bulge in his belly. So I know he ate another one of my frogs. Need to make..

[00:02:23.090] – Allan
maybe he's also eating rats.

[00:02:25.580] – Rachel
I would like to think that.

[00:02:28.250] – Allan
It was a rat. We're gonna call it a rat. Lacking any other evidence to the contrary. It was a rat.

[00:02:34.610] – Rachel
Makes me feel better. That would make me feel a lot better. How are you doing?

[00:02:39.890] – Allan
I'm good. Yeah, we actually have a new houseguest. It's a crab. It crawled into the kitchen late last night, so I was there shutting everything down and I'd like you know, we leave things open because we don't do the air conditioning for most the house. It's just our bedroom. It's air conditioned. When I was walking in and right there by the refrigerator here's this crab and it's not a huge crab.

[00:03:01.970] – Allan
You know, it's probably about the size of my fist. And I'm like looking at the crab. I'm like, I'm not going to get you to walk out of here right now. And he just looked at me with his pinchers up and I was like, OK, so I went, got a pan thinking OK, I'll just try to go scoop him in a pan and then toss them out the back. And then he ran back behind the refrigerator.

[00:03:17.630] – Allan
And I'm like, I'm not moving the refrigerator.

[00:03:20.000] – Rachel
Oh my gosh.

[00:03:21.470] – Allan
Clean up after yourself and we're cool. And so I went back to bed. Apparently he's still out and about. And so my wife saw this morning, so, yeah, we have a pet crab now. I haven't named it.

[00:03:32.630] – Rachel
I'd say. It's so funny.

[00:03:36.200] – Rachel
Well, I hope he doesn't stay too long.

[00:03:38.600] – Allan
Yeah, well, Buster is pretty excited to have a houseguest. And so if I think of Buster, Buster has an opportune meeting with him. Yeah. Not going to go well for the crab or I don't know, maybe the crab, the upper claw and Buster will not want to deal with crab.

[00:03:56.870] – Rachel
Well, oh boy.

[00:03:59.360] – Allan
So I have wild kingdom in our house too. Just like a different set. I think the mammal's going to win this one.

[00:04:05.520] – Rachel
Oh my gosh. Well, good luck.

[00:04:07.670] – Allan
Yeah. All right. So let's talk to Dr. Aviva.

[00:04:11.240] – Rachel


[00:04:48.500] – Allan
Dr. Aviva, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:51.840] – Dr. Aviva
Thank you for having me here. It's a delight.

[00:04:54.540] – Allan
Now your book, Hormone Intelligence: The Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos and Restoring the Body's Natural Blueprint for Well-Being. I've read a few books on this topic, and obviously I don't have to deal with women's health issues myself, but I am a husband and I'm a father. So it is something that I try to stay at least somewhere of. And being the host of this podcast, I've had several authors on to talk about menopause, hormones, and women's health.

[00:05:22.710] – Allan
This book is maybe the most comprehensive complete guide I've ever read. You didn't leave anything out and you really kind of I don't know that there's a question I've ever would have had with my wife and all the things that we've dealt with over the years and my daughters that wasn't answered in this book somewhere.

[00:05:43.350] – Dr. Aviva
That makes me so happy to hear I was truly driving my publisher crazy because they would like, Aviva, this is too long. We have to shorten it. Like, yeah, but if a woman comes in, she's going to ask this question and they said, well, that's the problem. And the beauty is that because you're a physician and you're actually working with women, not just, you know, how a celebrity writing a book, you already anticipate the next question.

[00:06:05.770] – Dr. Aviva
So I'm glad that came through in a positive way.

[00:06:09.110] – Allan
It did. It did. It's you know, so it's an in it all. It all fit together in a way where, you know, as you're reading through it, it's both informative and then it's this reference guide. You just you put it on yourself and you know, when you start feeling something's going on, a hot flash or, you know, your periods are too painful and you're trying to understand what's going on, pull out this book. And there's a section in the book specifically with protocols for how to deal with that particular issue.

[00:06:37.230] – Allan
So it's like I said, really the most complete book I've seen on this topic. So thank you.

[00:06:43.650] – Dr. Aviva
Thank you. I'm hoping it'll be part self-help, how to and part one of those books that you do have on your shelf year after year and you kind of, you know, this may come up or that may come up and you go to it or you're just going through normal transitions in your life and you just want to hear, OK, well, what can I expect? What can I do? And I kind of have this dream that it's that book that mom's always wanted to actually have something to pass onto their daughters that's meaningful as well. Say, OK, you know, this really helped me.

[00:07:11.370] – Dr. Aviva
And now here it is to really help you.

[00:07:14.140] – Allan
Yeah. I mean, like I said, with my daughter's taking her to the gynecologist, going with my wife, to her appointments and these things, there were things that came up that I want to talk about during the podcast that I was just like, I really wish I knew this going in because I would have asked smarter questions. And that kind of leads me to the first thing is you start the book and you're talking about these tips for dealing with Medicare.

[00:07:37.590] – Allan
And it's so interesting because we don't want to be advocates for ourselves sometimes. And from reading your book and kind of just general knowledge, women especially are kind of put into this. Oh, well, that's just normal girl stuff. You know, go deal with it. But when we go to our doctor, we have to do a few things. Can you talk about those six tips for better medical care?

[00:08:00.140] – Dr. Aviva
Yeah, absolutely. I don't have the six in my book, kind of in my mind in order, but I can give you the tips and why it's so important, you know, on an individual basis. I've really honestly, in all my decades of working in women's health and being a physician and studying with, you know, numerous mentors and through my medical training, I've never met a physician that wasn't well-meaning and well-intentioned and didn't care about their patients.

[00:08:25.190] – Dr. Aviva
But the system of medicine is based on a lot of inherent biases that most physicians never learn about or think about. And a lot of those biases, unfortunately, play out in women's health. One of the biases and it's misinformation is that, you know, as women, it's just normal to have miserable periods to blow through boxes of tampons, you know, because you're having heavy bleeding or to be bent over with period pain or to have to take ibuprofen for a day, a month or three days a month or, for PMS to just make you miserable.

[00:09:01.070] – Dr. Aviva
And then things like chronic pelvic pain, weight gain, depression over things that can have to do with polycystic ovary syndrome, or there are a lot of these biases that end up causing women to go to the doctor and being told by their doctor, oh, that's just normal. And what we're taught in medical school is, OK, it's normal, but let's just give the pill or let's just tell her to take more ibuprofen or let's give her an antidepressant.

[00:09:30.470] – Dr. Aviva
And while those things may be helpful at times, one, they have side effects that are just, you know, unfortunate kind of byproducts of taking pharmaceuticals on a regular basis or even on a short term basis, but they also don't get to the root of the problems, things like chronic inflammation, stress, things that we can change in our diet that we never learned about in medical school. So there's that one set of biases that this is just normal. Just take a pharmaceutical.

[00:09:59.100] – Dr. Aviva
So when you go to your doctor and you ask for something different, hey, I heard about this herbal hey, can I try this diet or I read about that a lot of women get dismissed or an eye roll. And I've had many patients who have been told something like, well, where did you get your medical degree, doctor google? There's this very dismissive attitude. Also, physicians have kind of learned as part of the institutionalization of medicine that we only have seven to 15 minutes to spend with any given patient.

[00:10:31.430] – Dr. Aviva
And so we tend to get right to the symptoms, not really hear what's going on in a woman's life, not really ask the questions. And when a patient starts asking questions, it can really cut into the time that we think we have to get all this information from them. And so patients who start to push back or ask questions or look for alternatives are sometimes labeled as difficult patients. So when you go to the doctor's office and you've got concerns and a lot of women don't even go to the doctor's office for these concerns because they've been treated with dismissal before, or they just think these symptoms are normal.

[00:11:07.430] – Dr. Aviva
But when we do go in, we really need to be prepared and preemptive in order to get the answers that we need. So one of the things that can happen to any of us when we go to the physician's office, but especially to women, is that there can be a huge power differential. Right? You're going in. You're vulnerable because something's going on in your body that you're concerned about. You're worried about. You're already thinking it's the worst thing it could possibly be.

[00:11:34.730] – Dr. Aviva
And now you go in and you go into the waiting room. You know, you're in the waiting room waiting for however long. Then you finally get to your doctor's office and the nurse comes in and says, here, put this on. And it's a little Johnny with the back flapping open and nobody feels empowered. They're wearing one of those, but on top of it, then your doctor comes in and is dressed up in their in their office professional clothes with their white coat and their stethoscope.

[00:11:58.790] – Dr. Aviva
And all of a sudden this power differential becomes really intimidating. So one of the things that I tell people go into the doctor is keep your clothes on until the part where you get the exam, because the first part is usually the talking to. Right, the conversation. Keep your clothes on, have the conversation first, and then when it's time for the exam, you can have your physician step out and get into your Johnny and then get that part done.

[00:12:25.460] – Dr. Aviva
So that really helps you be heard. That's really important. Another thing is before you even go to your medical appointment, write down all of your concerns. Really great like a script card for you up yourself. It can be just bullet points. But when you get into that moment and you're in that power differential, even if you've kept your clothes on and your doctor is clearly in a rush, and we know that on average, medical doctors interrupt their patients after 60 seconds of their patient talking.

[00:12:55.580] – Dr. Aviva
So you've got 60 seconds and then your concerns aren't hurt anymore. So when you're in that pressured environment is very hard to remember to say, oh, well, I wanted to talk to you about this pain I'm having every month, let alone I want to talk to you about this vaginal itching that's really driving me crazy. Right. That's even harder to say. So have your script card there and say to your doctor, I really want I know this is weird, but I really want to use these notes I brought to make sure that I cover all the things that are really important to me.

[00:13:25.590] – Dr. Aviva
Also trying to get all of that squeezed in when you're going in for your annual exam can be really tough because, again, a doctor only has a certain amount of time. They have things they're supposed to check off their list to ask you for their own, you know, medical licensure and all of that to stay safe that they want to ask you, are you depressed? Is this going on? Is that going on? Maybe hard to get to your actual concerns.

[00:13:49.530] – Dr. Aviva
So if you're having a concern that is intimidating, you may forget to ask it. Having that little cue card there with you really helps to make sure you're getting through that. But having an appointment set up separately just for those concerns can really make a difference. Another really important point is to bring an advocate with you. And it sounds like, Allan, you've gone to the doctor with your wife and you're with your daughter to the gynecologist.

[00:14:15.600] – Dr. Aviva
And that's so important for someone to know there's someone out in the waiting room for you. But obviously, it's going to be a little more awkward for a dad to go into their daughter's gynecology appointment with them. But it's really important for women to have someone there, especially if they get intimidated in that setting who can kind of elbow them and nudge them and say, remember, you wanted to ask your doctor about that. It just gives you a lot of confidence and support and it makes sure that you're getting your concerns heard and your doctor's more likely to be on their best human behavior if there's someone else in the room as well paying attention.

[00:14:52.740] – Allan
There was one thing, though, that you put in there that I think was really important for the men to consider here is that there is this power structure you were talking about, and we need to be an interference to that and making sure that our wife or girlfriend is being heard versus being in there and saying, but the doctor said, suck it up. And, you know, that's not the approach we want to have. But sometimes you end up on the wrong side of the fence defending the wrong issue.

[00:15:22.120] – Allan
So go in there with your eyes open, know what your wife or significant other know what they're dealing with so that when they're asking the questions, all you really want to know, the doctor is hearing her. And then is giving a response, and she's thinking the response is reasonable based on her experiences, because you're not experiencing that. So that's really, really important to not..

[00:15:45.920] – Dr. Aviva
Yes, in the book. I talk about being careful about bringing in a male partner, especially if it's a male doctor, because it's so easy for the bro thing to happen.

[00:15:54.650] – Dr. Aviva
And the male doctor is like, you know, giving you the look like, yeah, right. She's got this PMS thing going on. I bet it's driving you crazy too like all the like the inside joke stuff. And I've seen it happen. So your point is so important and I talk about that in the book, which is like don't let the bro thing happen. Your job is to be there for her or your partner and to validate her and make sure she is heard and not to, like, partner up and take sides with the doc.

[00:16:21.040] – Allan
Now, there are a few things that you said in the book, and I was like, you know, just they just hum to resonation, as you were saying. And the first thing you said that I thought was just really important for people to hear is that hormones are messengers. If they're not there just in a certain amount at a certain time for just no reason at all, they're there to do something very specific and sometimes not having enough of them or having too much of them is a signal to our body that something else is wrong, not that we need more of something added just to balance it out or there's something going on in our system that's causing that imbalance.

[00:17:02.530] – Allan
And that's what we want to get to the root of.

[00:17:04.840] – Dr. Aviva
Exactly. So hormones literally, as we define them in medicine, are chemical messengers. And I jokingly I think they say someone, don't shoot the messenger. But as women and as men, we're always like, oh, she's hormonal. I'm hormonal. Like, we blame it on the hormones and the hormone imbalances. Or in the worst case scenario, as women, we blame ourselves like there must be something wrong with me or I must be doing something wrong because I feel like crap for my period every month or I feel, you know, doubled over in pain because of my endometriosis.

[00:17:37.900] – Dr. Aviva
And so instead of blaming our hormones and shooting the messenger, what is it that these imbalances, these symptoms are trying to say to us as a reflection of that there is an imbalance going on, like what is the message happening with PMS? What is the message happening? Why are you having these painful periods? And that kind of starts to get under the hood of what some of the answers are to then starting to solve some of those problems?

[00:18:09.190] – Allan
Yeah, I don't think we can get to the answer unless we're actually looking at the problem. And the problem is not the symptom. The problem is, is the underlying issue. And then the other thing you had in there that I think is just really important to take home is that, you know, more and more, yes, doctors will just say, you know, take this pill, get on antidepressants, do this thing, or let's get this hysterectomy, because it's so common that the issues that we're talking about are so common with women.

[00:18:35.410] – Allan
But common doesn't equal normal.

[00:18:38.520] – Dr. Aviva
Exactly, you know, when there's a saying that if all you have is a hammer, you see everything as a nail. And I can tell you from having spent seven years in medical training that we are basically never taught to do anything but give pharmaceuticals and do surgeries when it comes to pretty much everything in women's health, whether it's fertility, something going on in pregnancy or birth, whether it's a mental health problem, another gynecologic problem or menopause.

[00:19:11.790] – Dr. Aviva
And I'm not, you know, as I say, so open mind that my brains are falling out. I think there's an absolute time and place for a pharmaceutical and a medicine and a surgery. And, you know, I think it's also important to meet women where they are. If a patient comes to me and she's like, I really just want to take the pill from my PCOS acne, I'm not going to judge her or withhold that. I'm going to say, look, I just want to make sure you understand the ramifications of taking this.

[00:19:38.730] – Dr. Aviva
And would you be open to possibly trying these things first or instead? To me, it's you know, it's like if you had to kill a mosquito, you wouldn't get out a cannon, you would use your hands or get a swatter or something like that. Hopefully I'm not offending any Buddhists or someone who doesn't kill mosquitoes. But point being, we tend to go after symptoms in medicine with the biggest guns rather than looking at what can we do to maybe reduce stress or shift the diet or add in a particular supplement.

[00:20:16.080] – Dr. Aviva
And there's so much judgment in medicine, all those things don't work. But that's not actually true. Not everything that's touted out there in the natural medicine world works. But there are actually some substantial interventions that are natural, that have been shown to be phenomenally effective. And so most it's like, well, try that first and then if we need to progress to this, that or the other, we always can do that.

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[00:22:49.550] – Allan
My wife was really having some heavy periods and in a lot of pain and, you know, a lot of women will think, OK, that's just normal stuff because it's just so common. But hers was not normal.

[00:23:02.480] – Allan
And we you know, we went into the doctor and, you know, the doctors kind of like, well, you can be on the pill. That would help. And then we finally opted for the ablation. And so she went in for the ablation surgery. And I got called into the room because the doctor was surprised by a fibroid that she ran into while she was in there. And it startled her a little bit and being startled, she startled my wife then my wife is under, you know, a little bit of sedation.

[00:23:28.100] – Allan
So she's not completely there. So they brought me into the room to discuss this. You know, that there's a fibroid, that there's nothing wrong that's normal. It's there. We knew about it, you know, just. It was there. Again, had I known about fibroids and what they're indicative of, I would have started asking a lot more questions. But I didn't. I didn't have this book back then. And so I want to kind of talk about fibroids a little bit because we just went through now having to have that fibroid removed with a hysterectomy because it had gotten so big.

[00:24:04.610] – Allan
It was scary big. When I actually saw the picture was, wow. We even named it Elmer because it was so big. Can you talk a little bit about fibroids and what as an outward symbol of fibroid would indicate is going on with us or with the woman? I'm sorry.

[00:24:26.210] – Allan
Yeah. So, you know, there's sort of like these meta levels of things, right? So fibroids are a result medically of high levels of estrogen. Women post menopause. Once our estrogen levels go really down, fibroids tend to shrink on their own. And we don't have fibroids before puberty because there's no estrogen feeding them. So fibroids are a result of high levels of estrogen and then usually a result also of something called insulin growth factor and other growth factors, which can happen as a result of a little bit of insulin resistance.

[00:24:59.810] – Dr. Aviva
It can happen as a result of just other hormonal imbalances. And so that's the meta level of there's too much estrogen, usually too much insulin like growth factor and maybe some insulin resistance. And then cortisol may play a role in triggering stress hormones that actually feed the fibroids as well. So catecholamines may feed the fibroids and that those are breakdown products of adrenaline and stress. And so that's sort of like the immediate medical. We know that from an upstream perspective physiologically or pathophysiological.

[00:25:34.370] – Dr. Aviva
We know that. And then there's sort of like the next level question is, what's causing those things? Why did your wife have high levels of estrogen? Why might she have had elevated levels of insulin like growth factor? And then we started to get to even a level above that, you know, as upstream as we can go, if you will, which is we know that environmental chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, for example, or plastics that leach out of our Tupperware's that we all ate out of growing up or may still out eat out of.

[00:26:01.100] – Dr. Aviva
Now, the plastic water bottles that were so popular in the 80s and 90s that we were all drinking out of. Our cosmetics and these things where you may just be getting nanoparticles like the most tiny little particles of these different environmental chemicals, but they act as estrogen disruptors. So they actually are contributing or adding to our estrogen load. And when you think of tiny little nanoparticles, well, you only have nanoparticles of estrogen anyway. It doesn't actually we don't have that much.

[00:26:31.810] – Dr. Aviva
It's is very potent. And when it finds to our receptors so environmental triggers can cause these high levels of estrogen, chronic stress can cause those high levels of stress hormones. And it's not that your wife is necessarily some stressed out person either. It's just the chronic normal stressors that we're all facing 24/7. And then there are a lot of dietary factors. One, the packaging that our food does come in which leaches plastics into it. But also most of us aren't getting the amount of fiber we need.

[00:27:04.340] – Dr. Aviva
You know, paleo diet was really popular and it still is. And it's not something I subscribe to necessarily. But we do know that our paleo ancestors got about 100 grams of fiber every single day. We know from the American Cancer Society that we should be getting thirty grams of fiber a day just to prevent colon cancer, like just basic good health for colon cancer prevention. The average American is getting fifteen grams of fiber a day, but fiber is critical for maintaining estrogen balance.

[00:27:33.020] – Dr. Aviva
So there are a lot of factors that go into why so many women are experiencing fibroids. Then from a medical level, there have been some really significant studies looking at how women with fibroids and other gynecologic concerns, heavy periods, et cetera, even women in their late 20s and 30s, let alone in our 40s and 50s, go in for treatment. And particularly fibroids is one big area. This happens and end up with a hysterectomy without their doctor ever providing them with the list of alternatives that they can and should be able to do long before surgery.

[00:28:14.570] – Dr. Aviva
And when I'm talking about alternatives, I'm not talking about herbal medicine or detox or something like that. I'm talking about pharmaceuticals. So one study, for example, done in the state of Michigan, and it was a multicenter study, meaning they looked at patients, they gathered data from patients at five different major medical centers. And aggregated that data and found that only a small percentage of women who were going in for a fibroid or another reason for a hysterectomy that was non cancer, cancer would be an appropriate reason, but only a small percentage were ever told that there were other medical things that they could do, including medical things they could do to shrink the fibroid, so that if they did ultimately still need to go into surgery, they can have the fibroid removed and not their whole uterus removed.

[00:29:03.070] – Dr. Aviva
So there's a lot of lack of knowledge among physicians that there are alternatives. And not to be callous, but I am a doctor, so I'm speaking for my own profession. There's a huge amount of financial incentive to choose to do a surgery over recommending a pharmaceutical. It just it's night and day when it comes to what ends up in your pocket at the end of the day. And it's not just your pocket, but it may be the hospital you work at gets much more money from you having more patients get surgery so that there's a lot of incentivization that's built into the system that we don't really

[00:29:42.980] – Dr. Aviva
Think about or know about as individual patients, and it sounds almost conspiratorial when I talk about it, but it's actually very real. So, you know, it comes back to what we were talking about before, which is how do you manage your own medical care? How do you be the CEO of your own health? And I think it's really tough. You know, I think as women, as human beings, we shouldn't have to be. We should be able to go in.

[00:30:08.120] – Dr. Aviva
You know, when you go to your car mechanic, you don't have to know everything about your car to make sure your car gets cared for properly. You don't have to research about your carburetor. You hope that your mechanic knows what they're supposed to do and does it. But when it comes to heavy bleeding and whether you should get that hysterectomy or not, first of all, it's terrifying because sometimes the word cancer is tossed in there even when there's no cancer.

[00:30:33.200] – Dr. Aviva
But like, well, if you do it now, then you have to worry about cancer later. Well, OK, I'll take that. I'll take door number three, you know, and if you're not told that you can use Generation inhibitors or other pharmaceuticals to shrink a fibroid, how are you supposed to read that? You know or learn about that one? Half the words aren't even that pronounceable. And there's so much noise on the Internet.

[00:30:57.410] – Dr. Aviva
Where do you even go and trust? So I think it gets really the burden ends up falling on the person who's got the problem to sort it out. And then you go to your doctor and you're like, well, can I try this medication first? And they're saying, well, where do you get your degree, doctor google? You end up just shutting up and going in for the surgery. And I'm not saying that the surgery is wrong.

[00:31:16.220] – Dr. Aviva
I've sent patients with fibroids and for hysterectomy too at times, you know, they're just they're anemic. They're exhausted, they're bleeding. They're peeing all the time because the fibroid is so big, it's sitting on their bladder or sitting on their bowels and they're constipated. Sex hurts. They have pelvic pressure all the time. So there's a time and a place for sure. It's just that we're jumping to that as step number one when it should be step number five.

[00:31:39.710] – Allan
Yeah, and that's one of the cool things about this book, is it does give us some tools to understand the problem. Better to ask the right questions and know that there are alternatives because you discuss them very clearly in the book. The other one I wanted to get into because, you know, women were in their 40s and their 50s. They go through this period of time. It can be three years. It can be eight, almost 10 percent, I guess.

[00:32:01.910] – Allan
But it's this perimenopause period of time, and it's when things are changing. And you said you said something that was just actually kind of kind of funny and little brilliant when you said we should celebrate that the same way we celebrate puberty. It's another phase of life. It's an interesting phase for a lot of women. And as you kind of put it, it's that point where, you know, I don't want to use language, but just we don't have you can kind of let go a little bit.

[00:32:32.300] – Allan
You're wiser, stronger, more powerful person. And you can own this. You can own this process. Can you talk a little bit about perimenopause, some of the basics of how someone should approach this and what they should be looking for as far as if things are going well or not going well?

[00:32:52.160] – Dr. Aviva
Yeah, so you know, as young girls, right, were 11, were 12, I mean, it may be a little intimidating to go through puberty.

[00:33:01.400] – Dr. Aviva
And it can feel like a roller coaster, of course, but we're excited because we're becoming women. It's something we look forward to. It gives us new privileges in our life, new things that we're allowed to do. And then so that's one big life transition. Then when we become mothers, that's hopefully celebrated. You know, you're welcomed into the Mom Club when you hit perimenopause. You know, the way it's described in our culture. You know, just because our estrogen is declining doesn't mean we're going downhill.

[00:33:33.290] – Dr. Aviva
But it is like it's been described as over the hill. Well, the only thing over the hill is downhill. Right? Our grandmother's house, I guess. But it's downhill. And we're historically considered not sexy anymore. Not fertile anymore. Kind of washed up. Now, I think that so many women are changing that paradigm. You know, when you think about it, like Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, I'm just thinking of a few women like women who would sort of.

[00:34:04.580] – Dr. Aviva
Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek, I'm just saying, you think of the women who we would undoubtably you'd have to be blind to not think they were hot, sexy women who are still considered hot, sexy women who are now in their 50s. And I think about thinking about it that way. The paradigm is changing and half of women in the US are now 50 or over. But internally, psychologically, and have just gone into menopause myself a year ago.

[00:34:31.040] – Dr. Aviva
So I'm solidly on the other side of it. I'm turning 55 this year. You know, if I could curse, I would say it was a mind, something that starts with an F to go through menopause. In our culture, we don't necessarily have that. Oh, now I'm a woman or we don't necessarily have that. Now I'm a mom to look forward to. It's like now I'm what fifty five are now I'm older and I'm middle aged or, you know, all that stuff.

[00:34:57.560] – Dr. Aviva
And now nobody's looking at me. They're looking at my daughter when we walk up the street together. So you really have to be willing to embrace a new way of thinking about your body, a new way of thinking about yourself. And it's also a time in women's lives where their life definition may be changing. Right. It's a time when often our children are finally going off to college or depending on how old you are getting married or having their own children.

[00:35:25.320] – Dr. Aviva
So now you're not just you, you're grandma. And that can really start to affect your self concept if we think about a certain age in a very old fashioned way. But if we think about going through this transition, as Helen Mirren has a quote, which I said in my book, which is basically, you know, if there's and she's in her 70s, you know, if there's anything I would tell my younger self is to not give enough a lot more often.

[00:35:52.130] – Dr. Aviva
And I think there is something liberating about walking into this phase of our life, feeling really empowered and looking at what we've accomplished and looking at all the met, you know, the sort of like massive skills we've accumulated at this point. And often, you know, that maybe you were a stay at home mom and now your kids are grown and you have major, you know, social management skills and time management skills and you've raised adult human beings.

[00:36:18.260] – Dr. Aviva
Or it may be that you're at a certain point in your career, which may be quite accomplished at this point. And I think that we're also at a stage where because we're not sexualized in the same way, it does give us room to redefine what sexy means to ourselves. And what does that mean to be sexy for myself? What does that mean in a bigger context of life? It's not just about reproduction, it's about actually full ownership of ourselves.

[00:36:44.150] – Dr. Aviva
So I think if we can embrace this new experience, it can feel really empowering. And so then if you are going through some physical symptoms, they're easier to appreciate. But interestingly, some studies from the sociology and anthropology world have shown that when we enter menopause with more embracing attitudes about it, we actually have fewer physical symptoms. And we also know medically, when you have more stress, which can happen from being really stressed out about your stage in life, we have more hot flashes.

[00:37:17.060] – Dr. Aviva
So it's a win win to to reframe this time of life. How do you know things are going well? Well, when we enter perimenopause, we can start to have really irregular cycles. And as you shared from the book, you know, perimenopause can happen for up to eight years before we're going into menopause. So from a medical perspective, you shouldn't enter menopause before age forty two. If you do, that's considered premature or early menopause and that can have some medical consequences.

[00:37:45.590] – Dr. Aviva
You might need hormone therapy to support your bones in your heart, etc. But any time in your 40s that you start experiencing some changes in your menstrual cycle, which can be you skip some periods once in a while, your periods get further apart, your periods get lighter, they may be heavier on occasion. That's actually all normal. You may experience some more mood changes that may hearken back to when you were a little bit, you know, in puberty, your hormones are going up and down.

[00:38:18.170] – Dr. Aviva
You may just experience some different shifts. You may have PMS when you never had it before. As estrogen drops, you may even experience migraines if you've never had them before. Any symptoms that you're having then are mild, not really interrupting your life. And you're kind of going, huh, that's a little different is usually a normal symptom of menopause, which shouldn't be happening is miserable hot flashes day in and day out or hot flashes waking you up all night or several times a night.

[00:38:47.360] – Dr. Aviva
Anything that's making you not sleep all the time and exhausted, you should not be having, heavy like, you know, just gusher menstrual cycles. You shouldn't be having really, really heavy periods. You shouldn't be skipping periods for more than a few months in a row. Until you actually get into the year where you're going to stop, so menopause is actually defined as one year of not having a period. So let's say you don't have a period for eight months and then you have a little vaginal bleeding.

[00:39:16.490] – Dr. Aviva
You're not in menopause. It starts over again another year. But once you've not had a period for a year after that, you shouldn't have vaginal bleeding. So if you have vaginal bleeding after that, it's important to go to your gynecologist or your family doctor and nurse practitioner and get a workup to make sure everything's OK. You know, if you're experiencing extreme depression or depression, that's just getting in your way of your life really significant sleep problems. It's normal to gain five pounds in perimenopause, menopause, our estrogen, the kind of estrogen we're producing most of our lives, shifts to one that has less metabolic activity.

[00:39:55.490] – Dr. Aviva
So we might put on a few pounds, but the symptoms, they may be they may get your attention, but they shouldn't make you miserable. If they're making you miserable, then there are things that you can do about that, whether those are natural therapies or whether they're pharmaceuticals to help you get through that time. And I think, you know, another thing is some women experience a little bit more vaginal dryness and so that can interfere with sexual pleasure or wanting to have sex.

[00:40:23.620] – Dr. Aviva
So if a person is in a partnership, it's really important to be having those conversations and it's really important for partners to be incredibly understanding. You know, I really had to talk with my husband. We've been together for thirty seven years now and I really had to explain to him, look, my self perception is and I didn't have like really significant physical symptoms, but my self perception is really changing. And I need you to understand that this is hard.

[00:40:53.540] – Dr. Aviva
There's some part of me that is mourning and grieving, being young, the way culture defines being young and my kids are grown. I've got grandkids, you know, it's just different. And I need that deeper level of support and understanding. You know, in our culture. I mean, you can age as a man, you can be bald as a man. You can be short and squat as a man. And you can still be you know, I always remember what was Dudley Moore with Bo Derek.

[00:41:25.040] – Dr. Aviva
I'm old enough to remember Dudley Moore was Bo Derek, and he's this five foot tall, you know, average looking guy who's with this, you know, ten, right? That's what she was ten. I think it was Dudley Moore. You know, we see that. But in our culture, women were just treated differently. The standards are different. So as we go through physical changes our skin, changes our hair changes, our facial structure changes, our bodies change, it can be really tough.

[00:41:50.640] – Dr. Aviva
And so having a lot of self compassion and having your partner be really supportive is so critically important for this time. And yes, have celebrations, you know, I mean, do it on Zoom. Do it with your girlfriends, you know, buy yourself that thing that you wanted as you enter menopause, you know, the way you would celebrate your daughter getting her first period or your daughter having her first baby do some special things for yourself.

[00:42:14.680] – Dr. Aviva
It's I think it's really a beautiful thing to do.

[00:42:17.760] – Allan
Dr. Aviva , could you take just a moment and walk us through your six week hormone intelligence plan? Because I really like some of the lifestyle things that you have in there as far as a way to support women's health as you go through and actually many of those things are things that men should be doing, too, but..

[00:42:34.620] – Dr. Aviva
Peopla ask all the time can men do your books. And I'm like, absolutely, you have gonads. We have ovaries.

[00:42:40.350] – Dr. Aviva
And a lot of the environmental factors, the dietary factors, the stress factors, they're affecting all of us and people who have a uterus, who don't identify as who, you know, who are men. So we're in a time with gender fluidity so anyone can really use the book. And I've had men who, with my last book, Adrenal Thyroid Revolution, did the book with their partner, which is great because it's supportive for the woman doing it.

[00:43:04.620] – Dr. Aviva
But men get phenomenal benefits. So, yes, you can. And so the six weeks are based on six, if you will, root causes or things that we can do and look at supportive areas. So the first thing is it starts with what we eat because what we eat is such low hanging fruit and our diet can be one of the most phenomenal things that we do to support our hormones and our overall health. So the diet is really very simple.

[00:43:31.890] – Dr. Aviva
It's based on a Mediterranean style diet, which all evidence shows is the best thing we can do for ourselves in terms of eating. And it's not restrictive. It's based on eating plenty of plant based foods, but also fish very low on red meat. I'm not opposed to eating red meat, but we know that red meat can contribute to inflammation that can contribute to period pain and Demitrius as chronic pelvic pain, et cetera. So it's good quality protein, mostly plant based, but also fish and poultry, lots and lots of vegetables, nuts and seeds, good quality fats, very simple.

[00:44:08.400] – Dr. Aviva
And like five weeks of meal plans that come with the books of the recipes are done for you. And they're really, really wonderful. I mean, I created all of them except for two that I asked permission to use, but they're all from my own kitchen. I love to cook and they're just formulated to be really great for our hormone health. The second part, the second and the third week, are based on our stress response and sleep and circadian rhythm, which are interrelated.

[00:44:35.580] – Dr. Aviva
So we know that stress has a huge impact on our hormone health. It also makes our lives not as fun and wonderful. So there are some really actionable, straightforward tips. And, you know, I know we're all busy human beings. We don't have time for a crazy, complicated plans. So it's really simple things that you can add into your everyday, like spending a little less time on Instagram before you go to bed or checking your email before you go to bed or just adding in five minutes of breathing exercises.

[00:45:03.870] – Dr. Aviva
When you wake up in the morning, it's getting out in nature once in a while. It sounds very simplistic, but it's really simple shifts that I know women can incorporate because I work with women all the time that do actually make a difference. And then with sleep, it's about how we get better sleep and why we need better sleep. There's a chapter on gut health. The relationship between our hormones and our microbiome is phenomenal and fascinating. And it's how you can use your diet, your stress release, your sleep, but also very specific things that we can do for our gut to get our gut working for our hormones.

[00:45:40.470] – Dr. Aviva
And also, 90 percent of women have some gut symptoms, whether it's IBS, constipation, gas and bloating, premenstrual bloating. So it's specific tips to get all those things in line as well. Then there's a chapter on detoxification, not like a juice cleanse or detox, but actual how do we use our diet and supportive supplements and botanicals to make sure that our liver detoxification pathways are working optimally? Because that's where our hormones, after we've used them and the ones that we pick up from the environment that I talked about earlier get broken down and packaged for elimination.

[00:46:19.440] – Dr. Aviva
So we're literally enhancing our bodies are supporting our body's ability to do that. And in each of these chapters, I talk about, well, why are these things not working optimally? What is it about our world that's affecting each of these? And then the last of the six weeks is really novel specifically to my book, which is how to support our ovarian health and our ovarian function. So we're supporting how the ovaries literally work through mitochondrial health and how that can help us have an easier, healthier menopause, easier, better fertility, but also more normal and regular cycles throughout our reproductive years because ovulation happens there.

[00:47:00.720] – Dr. Aviva
And then the book then has a whole separate section, which is advanced specific protocols. So you do the core plan, but then let's say you do have endometriosis or uterine fibroids or you do get urinary tract infections all the time or you do have PMS. There are also very targeted plans that you can add in to the core plan to help you with those specific conditions and symptoms.

[00:47:25.810] – Allan
So, Dr. Aviva, if I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be, what are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:47:37.540] – Dr. Aviva
Well, I think, one, as women, I think we can start to think that we're not healthy people. If we have fibroids, if we have PMS, there's something wrong with us. So the first thing I think to get healthy and fit is to actually recognize that you are not defined by your symptoms, that you are healthy, your body is doing the best it can. And so really reminding ourselves every day that my health is not defined by this, that I can be a healthy person with my attitudes, with choosing things that make me happy.

[00:48:09.550] – Dr. Aviva
And then I think the next thing is something that a psychologist that came in and taught us when I was in medical school said to me, I've been a psychologist for like 50 years, and it was such simple wisdom. He said, figure out what you love and do more of that, figure out what you don't love and do less of that. And I mean, obviously, we all have to pay our taxes and, you know, we go in for our pap smears every five years.

[00:48:32.500] – Dr. Aviva
None of us loves that. Those are the things that we have to do. But what are the things in our life that are just making us miserable that we can actually take off of our To-Do list? And what are those things that you know, that make you happy that you're always putting on the back burner that you can just do more of? And it can be picking one thing from each category. You know, I really, really don't love X, Y, Z.

[00:48:54.910] – Dr. Aviva
I don't love getting together with those people every week. So I'm just not going to force myself to do that anymore. But what I really love is dancing to loud music, and I hardly ever do that. So I'm going to put it in my calendar that every day for ten minutes I dance to loud music. So, you know, whatever those things are for you. And then the third thing I would say, and it's kind of almost like a take your pick, either add in a little bit more exercise, a little bit more time in nature, making sure that you're getting better sleep.

[00:49:23.950] – Dr. Aviva
You know, there's sort of this smorgasbord of things that are really important for daily basic wellness and just start with one, but then aim to do a few. So if you're not getting seven hours of sleep at night, aim to get those seven hours, if you're not exercising or moving your body, figure out how you love doing that and do it. And it can be a walk. I just bought myself a hula hoop. I bought myself a two pound weighted hula hoop.

[00:49:49.750] – Dr. Aviva
I can I tell you, I'm laughing my way through my exercise. And apparently thirty minutes of hula hooping, which goes by in a minute, if you put on great music, is equivalent to like thirty minutes of salsa dancing or other aerobic, gentle aerobic types of exercise but solid gentle aerobic types of exercise. So I think those are three things. Yeah. Love yourself, do more of what you love, less of what you don't love, and add in some healthy habit that you really make a commitment to good sleep, good exercise, good eating, any of those.

[00:50:24.670] – Allan
And all that. Get this book.

[00:50:29.110] – Dr. Aviva
Yes, that would make me happy and healthy.

[00:50:30.880] – Allan
It will definitely make them happier and healthier because there's a lot in here. Dr. Aviva, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Hormone Intelligence, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:50:42.220] – Dr. Aviva
So to learn more about me, go to avivaromm.com. Tons of free resources for you. I mean, you can spend hours in there learning things, enjoying things, finding great recipes of delicious foods to make and learn about me. If you want to learn more about the book, go to avivaromm.com forward slash book. That's the easiest way to find out about it. And that's right on my website. So you can still link over to all the good stuff and then also my Instagram, just avivarommmd. I'm on there a lot and put up, you know, I try to always like add a lot of value to my Instagram.

[00:51:14.710] – Dr. Aviva
So it's fun stuff, informative stuff, moving stuff, empowering stuff. Those are the main places to come hang out with me.

[00:51:21.750] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/490 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Aviva, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:51:31.210] – Dr. Aviva
Thank you so much for having me, Allan. This is a pleasure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:51:40.260] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:51:41.640] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, wow, I don't even know where I want to start with your interview with Dr. Aviva, but I do want to highlight and amplify her six tips for dealing with medical care, because as she read off every one of those six items, I was just nodding my head, shaking my head. I think I've experienced every single one of those situations, which is an unfortunate situation.

[00:52:06.450] – Allan
It is. I mean, you know, we grew up kind of in that I would say we're in that gap, the nexgen gap, you and I are. And so for us, we're a trust but verify kind of people. And so we're not as maybe as likely to believe the white coat means the world than maybe the generation before us was. And why not? So, yeah, when a doctor walks in and says, you have to do this, you know, I think particularly when I was younger, I know the answer was absolutely doctor.

[00:52:38.250] – Allan
But then as I got going, I started realizing, OK, he's the guy who I went to medical school and yeah, he's preg ty smart. But I actually have to answer some of these questions myself. You know, I remember going in and I mean, I had no money whatsoever as a kid, young guy going into the doctor. And I had these moles and I went in and I said, OK, you know, these moles on my back.

[00:53:03.060] – Allan
And I said, they keep coming off when I'm playing football and I'm bleeding all over the place. He's like, yeah, I guess I could burn them off, but they might come back when it was five dollars each to burn them off. And I mean, I had hundreds of these. So there's been a whole lot of money. And then he's like. So I said, you really can't tell me what's causing it or what I could do to make it go away.

[00:53:21.660] – Allan
And he said, no, I'm like, OK. And then I walk out and give the nurse fifty seven dollars and I'm like, you know, and I'm fifty seven dollars now doesn't sound like a whole lot. But then that was, that was a week's worth of pay. I mean that was a lot of money when you're making 3.25 an hour giving someone 57 dollars to just tell you I can't help you.

[00:53:42.480] – Rachel

[00:53:44.250] – Rachel
It's disappointing.

[00:53:45.810] – Allan
It is. So but that was actually probably a really valuable lesson to say, OK, you know, I'm going to have to make decisions for myself. I can't rely on the doctor to know everything. And I can't rely on the doctor to tell me what to do. I can ask the doctor questions and then I have to make the right decision for myself. And the right decision was to just let football keep taking them off, which it did.

[00:54:15.390] – Allan
so it's a pain as each one got ripped off my back as I was playing football. But it, they came off and they didn't come back. So that was the good thing. And I didn't have to pay five dollars apiece. I got to play football to do it. But you know, but it was fine. He just he said, you're not in danger. You're not you know, it's sometimes it seemed like it with a white jersey, like I was going to bleed out.

[00:54:38.280] – Allan
But in a general sense, it was just, you know, a little bit here, a little bit there. And it was not that much pain, but it was pain and it was what it was. But it was over, you know, and so they were gone. And so I think, you know, even though that's not relative directly to women's health, it's just one of those things to say the doctor can give you information.

[00:55:00.380] – Allan
and then you have to process that information, and if what the doctors told you doesn't answer all your questions, you have to ask those questions. That's going to be a normal thing for all of us.

[00:55:12.110] – Rachel
That is true. I also like Dr. Aviva's analogy where she mentions when you take your car to the mechanic, you're not a mechanic. You're trusting your mechanic to tell you all the things that might be wrong with your car. And then you make the decisions and what you need to do. And similarly, you know, I didn't go to medical school. My doctor went to medical school and she's got years of experience with patients. And the interesting thing about women's health is that we literally have generational levels of data regarding menopause and perimenopause.

[00:55:45.980] – Rachel
This has happened to every single woman for a really long time. So you would think that there would be a whole ton of data in that you would think that it would be a lot easier to figure out what's going on when it's going on. But it still seems to be a mystery.

[00:56:02.090] – Allan
Well, for one very, very important reason. And this is the key. This is the magic bit. We're talking about hormones.

[00:56:12.020] – Rachel

[00:56:13.280] – Allan
OK, and your hormone profile is different from every other woman that's ever gone through perimenopause. It just is. OK, you're a long distance runner, you eat a certain way, you sleep a certain way, you have stress, you're in a certain part of the country, a certain part of the world. You're exposed to different toxins than other people might be less than some more than others. So your hormonal profile is slightly different than everybody else.

[00:56:46.470] – Allan
And as a result, your experience of all of this will be different than other people. Now, within a range of opportunity. So perimenopause, as it goes, tends to have some similarities. And that's where you kind of start looking at it. And that's why some of the things we got into, you know, like fibroids and those types of things is like, what are the things that if this were happening that a woman should

Consider or be concerned about and so it's not so much comparing yourself against another woman. I don't understand, she went through perimenopause like it didn't even happen. She popped into menopause. Bouncing around. And, you know, she's my running partner and she didn't have any of these problems that I'm having. So what's going on? Well, you're different. Have a conversation if she's available, have the conversation with your mother, because genetically, she's probably the closest individual that you have.

[00:57:45.720] – Allan
If you have older sisters, they're a good source of information for you to have conversations about what their experiences were because, again, they're genetically similar to you. So there's likely to be some overlap in how you are affected. But beyond that, where you really want to spend your time and this is what was in Dr. Aviva's book is comparing yourself to you.

[00:58:09.720] – Rachel

[00:58:10.800] – Allan
You know, if things are changing. So if your flow is a little heavier now or you're experiencing a lot more PMAs or things like that, well, those changes are indications that something inside is changing. Something in your hormone structure is changing. And there are some some remedies and things that you can do that are natural and there are some that you definitely need to be speaking to a doctor about and those that's going to be the information that you process.

[00:58:43.760] – Allan
So you go into a doctor's visit with the right questions.

[00:58:48.860] – Rachel
I think it's been about two years I've been dealing with changes. I'll be turning 50 in July. So that's right around the corner. So for the last couple of years, I've noticed a whole lot of changes. I was on birth control that wasn't working, changed it. It's not working. I've been seeing my doctor different hormonal changes and fluctuations. I also had the ablation procedure pretty recently. So, yeah, it's been helpful to keep a journal of what happens to me every month.

[00:59:24.830] – Rachel
And I write everything down. I write down the days that I'm moody or craving chocolate, all the classic symptoms. I have bad cramping days where I just can't seem to get anything done and which is all strange. And this is why I want to mention this, is that this has been a notable change in my life, which means something's different. And so when I go to a doctor and I say this is not right for me, something is going on right now, then they can help me pinpoint, you know, what blood tests do I need to do?

[01:00:01.400] – Rachel
What hormone tests can we get done? And the more information I can give my doctor, the better she can prescribe a remedy. And that's how it's been going for the last two years. And perimenopause is one of those things. It's not an overnight situation. It's not like you got the kind of colds. You take some antibiotics and you'll be done in a week. This is a very long process, a very long hormonal change.

[01:00:25.370] – Allan
Yeah. I mean, because it can go on eight, ten years. Someone can go through a little quicker, but it can be up to eight to ten years is where I think most of that kind of falls, that your body's just changing its hormone profile. You're getting past your reproductive years and you're moving into the next phase of womanhood. And much like, you know, I've had several women on. But it's somewhat you know, it's just a moment for you to celebrate that you are who you are and, you know, you've had children.

[01:00:57.410] – Allan
And so it's like now, you know, you're you're moving on to a phase where, you know, they've got some college to do. But then I'm assuming that there's probably some grandbabies like the third, mike the third coming out.

[01:01:10.610] – Rachel
Fingers crossed.

[01:01:13.190] – Allan
You know. And so that's just kind of this is a transition in life. But that said, you deserve adequate medical care. And the way you get that is by educating yourself and then not so much depending on Doctor Google, but with the information that you're able to kind of understand.

[01:01:32.830] – Allan
Having an empowered conversation with your doctor.

[01:01:35.740] – Rachel
Yes, yes, that's perfect. I think do your Google research, ask your mom, ask your aunts, go online, see if any of it makes sense to you, and then ask the professional, ask the doctor for added insight. And if you're not happy with your doctor, it's time to change. If you're not getting good answers, it's time to change. There's got to be somebody out there that can help you.

[01:02:02.650] – Allan
Yeah, and I've had doctors that I'd meet with and we'd have some conversations and then I'd be like, oh no, he doesn't get it right, you know, or I don't get him. And therefore, if I don't feel like he understands my situation well enough or is taking it to the right level of seriousness, then I'm like, OK, I have to move on. Yeah. Because I, you know, for most of you know, the last I'd say 10 years or so, 15 years maybe I've been more concerned about well care than sick care.

[01:02:34.420] – Rachel
Well, yeah.

[01:02:35.050] – Allan
When you try to make an appointment with a doctor and they're like, OK, what's the problem. And I'm like, I don't have one. I just want to I want to get these labs. I want to get labs done. I want to sit down, talk to you about them. And they're like, well, OK. But I don't you know, it's like they know they don't have time to sit down and talk to you about your labs.

[01:02:56.860] – Allan
so what they're really going to do is they're going to sit there and say, OK, what's high, what's low? OK, you need to be on a statin. And your blood pressure was a little high this morning. And, you know, so maybe we need to watch that. OK, and how much are you going to bill me for that? and it's more than fifty seven dollars

[01:03:18.280] – Rachel
in this day and age. It is, that's for sure. But the other thing I want to mention too, is, like you just mentioned, cholesterol and and statins is that there is a bell curve like most people have certain levels of iron in their blood or certain cholesterol levels. I mean, we all know what cholesterol means. But just because your numbers are high or low or in or out of that bell curve doesn't mean that they're not normal. I mean, my iron is always low, which means I'm usually fatigued.

[01:03:50.620] – Rachel
It's in the healthy range of iron, but it's always on the low side of the healthy range. So I still will take an iron supplement to fix that because that's what I need. And going back to where all individual, that's just another one of those examples.

[01:04:06.640] – Allan
Yeah. And that's one say you just you know you and then that's kind of your job. Number one, as you're looking out for your own health, is to say, OK, what do I know about myself? What are my tendencies? What are the things that I've seen in the past? And then as those things change, that awareness, I love the fact that you're doing a journal that's that's brilliant because that's going to give you that data to flip back and say, well, you know, I was really stressed out this time last year, you know, because of stuff going on in the world.

[01:04:39.910] – Allan
How does that relate to how I'm doing now? and you start seeing some similarities. You're like, oh, OK. You know, I might my son just went got his first intern job and we moved him there. And it was a tough weekend. And then I'm feeling this way. My energy is low. What was going on a year ago when I felt the same way and it's kind of I call stress and I realized my Iron's low well have I've been taking my iron lately or getting enough for red meat.

[01:05:09.250] – Allan
It's like, no, I haven't. So there we go. OK, maybe that'll help. And so it kind of gives you that that information of who you are and how your body works, because most of the time it's going to follow particular patterns. Menopause is one of those weird things where your body is now changing over. So there is an opportunity for it to be quite different.

[01:05:33.130] – Rachel

[01:05:34.240] – Allan
And this is also important. You know, we talked about this and probably aren't very many men still listening to this show at this point. But this is just as important for you to understand as it is for her, because in the end, if she's going through something, you're going to be in a better position to recognize the change and you're going to be in a better position to remember objectively what she did last time.

[01:05:59.940] – Rachel
Yup, it's helpful to have another set of eyes.

[01:06:02.460] – Allan
If there's not a journal involved, it is really hard particularly when we're dealing with hormonal issues to be objective.

[01:06:12.030] – Rachel
That is so true.

[01:06:13.380] – Allan
I'm not gonna say it's impossible, but I'm just saying, if you're struggling with some things, with PMS, with heavy bleeding, with some other things that are going on as a woman, women can never wrap our minds around that. And I'm not ever going to try. But all I can say is I know that's not a time for my wife to be rational. All I can say is, hey, how about you try this iron supplement and I'm taking us out to Ăšltimo Refugio tonight to have steak, how's that?

[01:06:43.010] – Rachel
That a good idea.

[01:06:48.360] – Allan
You know, and just knowing, OK, what did I just do. I got to start upping her iron. And you know, at least at that point, I'm not being, kind of stepping in and say, well, you know, the last time I mean, that's not I'm not Dr. Allan and I'm not trying to be that person. I'm just trying to be supportive and say, OK, I see a pattern and I know what helped last time.

[01:07:13.380] – Allan
And so I'm going to try to make sure that is at least in play here to see if that does some good.

[01:07:19.890] – Rachel
it's helpful for sure. You know, these are frustrating times. I mean, even for myself, this has been a frustrating couple of years because I know I don't feel good on these certain days. I know that some days I could run for days and some days I just can't barely get out the door. But and it's frustrating. And so that's frustrating for me then it becomes difficult to manage the rest of what I do on a day to day basis and help my family.

[01:07:46.260] – Rachel
So, you know, we could always use a little bit of empathy when we're having those types of bad days.

[01:07:52.680] – Allan
Yeah, that's a good word, empathy.

[01:07:54.990] – Rachel
Empathy. Yeah, that sounds like a great book. I might have to read it myself.

[01:08:02.370] – Allan
You know, that's one of the things I try to make. I make a point of about once a year trying to have a book on women's health in this area. I'm in a particularly menopause, perimenopause. And so this was one of the better ones that I've read on the topic. And she's, you know, she's really walking you through it from the medical perspective. Of course, you know, I've had other authors on that have talked about it from an emotional perspective.

[01:08:27.180] – Allan
This is this is a really good one to get into because she really is an advocate for health care for women and that you're not getting necessarily the health care you deserve all the time. And you and your spouse, partner or anyone, you're going to go to the doctor and talk to the guy who's got to go in with the united front. Yeah. Get you the best health care you can get.

[01:08:49.500] – Rachel
That was a great, great tip for sure.

[01:08:52.060] – Allan
Yeah, right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:08:54.750] – Rachel
Great. Thanks. Take care.

[01:08:56.670] – Allan
You too.


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

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

Thank you!

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

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

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Whether you're working towards losing weight, having more energy or improving your endurance to become a better runner, what you put in your body directly impacts how you feel and the results you get. Naked Nutrition is committed to shortening the steps between their farms and you. Get naked. Visit naked nutrition. Today, it's nutrition with nothing to hide. Use the discount code 40plus and get 10% off your first order. nakednutrition.com.

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

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This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Naked Nutrition, what does getting naked mean for supplements? It means no unnecessary additives. It means premium sourced ingredients without fillers. So you don't need to compromise on your diet or your goals. That's what Naked Nutrition offers.

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

– Anne Lynch– John Dachauer– Margaret Bakalian
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The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– John Dachauer– Margaret Bakalian
– Deb Scarlett– John Somsky– Melissa Ball
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Let's Say Hello

[00:03:33.160] – Allan
Hey Raz, how are things going?

[00:03:35.380] – Rachel
Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:03:37.480] – Allan
I'm doing okay.

[00:03:38.440] – Allan
It's, it's been a really weird week here.

[00:03:41.200] – Allan
We, I was supposed to interview Dr. Bubbs again. I've had him on the show before and he has a really interesting book out. So, I'm supposed to interview him. And then, you know, our power company announces to turn the power off on Wednesday, the whole day.

[00:03:56.710] – Rachel
Oh, no.

[00:03:57.700] – Allan
I was like, Okay, so I have to cancel with him. I'd cancel a couple different appointments because if I don't have power, I don't have Internet, if I don't have Internet, anything. So I cancel all this stuff. And then we had this really bad rainstorm. And the rainstorm the night the day before knocked out my my phone, so I was trying to have a call with the client and then I lost phone signal in a place that I always have phone signal.

[00:04:21.130] – Allan
It's pouring down rain. I'm standing out in the rain and walking around trying to find a signal, you know, can you hear me now? The whole thing. And then, so then, yeah, the next day I'm thinking they're going to turn off all the power. But because it was raining, they didn't turn off the power. And then there was a strike on the mainland by the banana workers. You know, the workers work on the banana farms because they don't like how management's doing things.

[00:04:43.870] – Allan
They decided to cut off the ferry to the island and therefore they couldn't bring diesel to the island for the power plant. And therefore, they were going to have to cut power.

[00:04:54.690] – Rachel
Oh, my goodness, that's so crazy.

[00:04:56.190] – Allan
This time, this time it was like we were going to have to cut it and they said, we're going to cut it at six o'clock. And of course, the merchants on the island were like six o'clock on a Saturday night. You're going to cut power to a whole island.

[00:05:07.890] – Allan
And they're like, yeah, we're going to do that. Like, No, no, can't you wait till six o'clock in the morning and then cut it then. Yeah, you'll be lower in fuel, but then you cut it and we cut it till we get fuel. So they agreed to do that. And then it turned out about midnight, they negotiated a deal and they let the ferry come over. So they never had to cut the power.

[00:05:26.730] – Allan
But it was just kind of one of those. Power is going to go out because they're going to do some maintenance and the power is going to go out because there's a strike. And it's just been a very interesting third-world living on an island.

[00:05:39.750] – Rachel
That is quite an adventure. My goodness, how crazy.

[00:05:44.070] – Allan
So slightly uncomfortable.

[00:05:46.410] – Rachel
I would say so.

[00:05:48.780] – Allan
So how have you been up there in Michigan?

[00:05:51.570] – Rachel
Oh, good, good.

[00:05:52.920] – Rachel
It's been beautiful up here. We actually did a whole lot of yard work over the weekend, expanding some garden space and put down some new mulch and making it nice for the time we spend outdoors. So it's it's been really nice.

[00:06:08.370] – Allan
Heated, heated running trail.

[00:06:10.240] – Rachel
Not yet, but it's on my list. It's on my list.

[00:06:14.790] – Allan
Don't forget, winter is going to come back around. Don't forget. You know, now now that the ground's thawed

[00:06:21.060] – Rachel
Actually, we're supposed to get snow tomorrow, actually.

[00:06:25.470] – Allan
Oh okay. But that's nothing. That's nothing. Just the normal, normal load of snow shower in April. Late April.

[00:06:30.870] – Rachel
That's right. Spring springs, snow showers hopefully won't be that bad.

[00:06:36.660] – Allan
Yeah, but I saw a picture on your Facebook. You and Mike got to spend some time with family that you haven't had the opportunity to spend some time with.

[00:06:46.410] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:06:47.250] – Rachel
Yeah. Mike and I are both fully vaccinated and passed the two-week timeline post vax. That's the second vaccination for him. And my parents have been vaccinated for some time now. So we were able to meet them and have lunch. And I even got a hug. And it's important because I haven't hugged my parents since over a year ago before the lockdown. So, you know, I've been nervous to give them covid or to make them sick in some way.

[00:07:16.660] – Rachel
So we've been very careful this whole time. And and now that we're vaccinated, it's just a little bit, it's a little bit more comfortable, you know, getting in close proximity again. So it was really wonderful to be able to hug my parents again.

[00:07:30.630] – Allan
That's really cool. That's really cool. So let's go ahead and talk to Michael Easter.

[00:07:36.330] – Rachel


[00:08:01.010] – Allan
Michael, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:03.950] – Michael
Thank you so much for having me.

[00:08:05.990] – Allan
You know, your book is called The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self. And the stories that you, you tell in this book could have left you well, obviously wild, probably unhealthy and unhappy had had things happened in a different way. Fortunately, yes. It's a happy ending. And Michael's still here to tell us the stories, but you've had some pretty interesting adventures.

[00:08:35.040] – Michael
I have. Yes. And I luckily, yeah, I am here to talk about them. So in reporting the book, the main arc of the book is this,

[00:08:43.460] – Michael
Thirty-three days that I spent in the Arctic backcountry, it's one of the most remote places in the world, one of arguably the most uncomfortable places in the world. So we faced a lot of crazy temperature swings and blizzards and encounters with wild animals. And it was a way to really put myself into these, I guess I'd call them evolutionary discomforts that we as humans used to face every single day of our lives. And because of this, we developed these drives always want to be comfortable, because when the world is uncomfortable, if I'm always seeking comfort, well, that helps me survive things like I don't want to put physical effort into my days because that wastes energy.

[00:09:26.930] – Michael
Right. So that's why we don't like to exercise all these all these different things.

[00:09:30.860] – Michael
And we now live in this really comfortable world. I mean, everything our daily lives have become so comfortable, everything from, you know, temperature control to our food system to the fact that we've engineered effort out of our days. Everything is easy. And so now we have these these evolutionary mechanisms that no longer serve us, because when I'm trying to always be comfortable in a world that's comfortable, you know, it can backfire on people.

[00:10:01.250] – Allan
Yeah. You know, my wife and I, we moved to Panama and some people would say that that would definitely make them uncomfortable to just sell everything they own and move to a foreign country, particularly one where they didn't actually speak the language. And, you know, my wife had only seen it for like four days when we made the decision to just sell our house and move here. So we've done some things to make ourselves uncomfortable, but not anything like what you've experienced.

[00:10:27.620] – Allan
So you've done some pretty cool things around this topic. And I'm really glad to have this conversation to to talk to you. Now, you kind of got into the fact that because we kind of have this desire to seek comfort, being comfortable is not always a really good thing for us. Can you can you talk about the price of comfort?

[00:10:50.340] – Michael
Yes. Well, I think what's interesting to think about is just how long humans lived in this uncomfortable environment.

[00:10:58.880] – Michael
When you do the math, we've spent ninety nine point nine, six percent of our time in these uncomfortable environments, over two point five million years. The comforts that now most affect my daily life, your daily life, they're all just a hundred years old. And by pushing ourselves into comfort all the time, we've lost a lot with our health, our happiness and just the feeling of being alive. So, for example, with our health, I used to be that food,

[00:11:30.590] – Michael
We didn't really have comfort food. It wasn't ultra processed. Food was also harder to come by. We actually had to put effort into getting food. Now we live in this sea of ultra processed food, but we still have these internal drives to eat sugar, salt, fat and eat too much of it. They used to keep us alive because it would help us on board fat. And then when we had lean times, we would have something to draw from to stay alive.

[00:11:53.870] – Michael
But now these drives are sort of causing obesity. They tell us to not move as much as we would as we should to burn it away. In terms of happiness, we humans tend to do well when we're challenged because it gives us a sense of accomplishment. And so as we evolved, we face challenges all the time. These could be from something like a hunt, having to having to migrate something like this. Nowadays, our challenges are often something like I have to give a PowerPoint presentation or whatever it is, right.

[00:12:31.760] – Michael
And there's just not as much reward in the challenges we face. And this is associated with decreasing levels of happiness, increases in anxiety, because if you think about the most dangerous, treacherous thing you face is that your boss might give you a bad look because you messed up on a PowerPoint. Well, you know, you're going to be anxious about a lot of things. And in terms of just the feeling of being alive, I mean, we evolved in nature for example.

[00:13:00.970] – Michael
And like I said, we would do these challenging things in nature all the time, and that's really woven into our to our DNA look at the work of someone like Joseph Campbell with the hero's journey. It's every culture from around the world has these stories about people doing interesting, sort of epic things in nature and that being a real turning point for them internally. Well, we've lost a lot of that nowadays that we've made everything as safe and comfortable as possible.

[00:13:28.990] – Michael
And I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to go up to Alaska at all. But what I am suggesting is that adding a little bit of discomfort back into your everyday life in a variety of forms can really move the dial on your health and happiness. And it's and it's about meeting people where they're at. So something that is comfortable or uncomfortable for one person, maybe totally comfortable for another, it's just slowly pushing your comfort zone. And by doing that, I think you can you can find a lot out about yourself and also move the dial on your health and happiness.

[00:14:02.170] – Allan
Donnie and Tom don't have enough space on their airplane to take us all up there.

[00:14:07.270] – Michael

[00:14:08.980] – Allan
But, you know, there is some value to being uncomfortable. You know, one that kind of comes to mind for me was if we were always comfortable with we came up with inventions, we came up with fire, we came up with riding a horse. We came up with a lot of different things that we do. And there's just we call it progress. So in many cases, adding comfort has been progress. And so there is a value to to comfort or seeking comfort. But there's a point, like you say, because we passed that line.

[00:14:46.110] – Michael
Yeah, absolutely, and I think it's it's really about balance, so if you look at all the data on how the world is doing, I mean, I think the world right now is better than it's ever been. People live longer. Child mortality rates are down. Hunger and starvation is down across the world. I mean, just every marker, we're doing better off, but we don't we never offset that with the discomforts we need to be healthy and happy.

[00:15:14.700] – Michael
So if you ask, you know, if you ask the average person they've done polls, do you think the world is getting better? Only six percent say that they think the world is getting better, which to me suggests we're missing something that makes us happy, right? And I think it is that challenge, those elemental discomforts that we sort of evolved to face.

[00:15:35.920] – Allan
Well, I think we can all kind of agree that the best stories are the ones where there's a chance of failure. The chance of really screwing up. You know, that that hold my beer moment. Those are the best stories because there's that element of discomfort. There's that element of, in some cases, even danger. Can you kind of talk about the value of making yourself uncomfortable, but then, of course, not dying in the process?

[00:16:03.480] – Michael
Well, I think I think the nice thing, too, about the the modern comfortable world is it's a lot harder to die nowadays, right? And so I think that I think we have a lot of fears that we built as we evolved because those used to keep us safe. But nowadays, there's a lot of safety nets in life and we we even have technologies that can keep us safer. So, for example, when I was in Alaska, I had this little GPS thing that kind of had this orange button you press that things go south and hopefully, you know, it alerts someone to come pick you up.

[00:16:35.610] – Michael
Now, apparently, it takes a handful of days for them to arrive, but it's still what you know, it's know, I wouldn't have had that even 20 years ago. Twenty five years ago, like I was mentioning the work of Joseph Campbell, we know that when we challenge ourselves and put ourselves in a position where there's a high degree of failure, that when we come out on the other side of that, we are better for it.

[00:16:57.840] – Michael
It can help with a lot of fears fading away. So, for example, we get up to the Arctic. We're in Kotzebue, Alaska. It's the town that we we left out of. And I'm standing on this runway, the wind is gusting, and the guy that I was up in the Arctic with, Donny, he leans over to me. We're looking at these planes that we're going to take up there. And these planes are about the size of a pack of gum.

[00:17:22.290] – Michael
I mean, to people fair to them.

[00:17:24.570] – Michael
And I hate flying, especially when it's in a plane like that. And Donny leans over to me and goes, hey, you know. I got the best pilots that I could. I'm not saying we're not going to crash and die, that is a high probability. But but I got the best pilot I could. I'm like, thanks a lot. So, I mean, I'm terrified of getting in this plane, right? So I get in and we fly.

[00:17:47.800] – Michael
And the whole time I'm just like, oh, man, this is this is terrible. And then they drop us off in the Arctic and and in the Arctic over thirty-three days. I face all these challenges that I've just never faced in my life. Having to cover this rough terrain with no safety net, you know, seeing wild, wild animals being exposed to hurricane force winds and blizzards and just all these things that are are real challenges that have a high degree of risk.

[00:18:16.150] – Michael
When that plane came back and picked me up thirty-three days later, I wasn't afraid to get into it, you know, because now I can put in perspective that, oh wow, this is actually not that, you know, there's a pilot here who's 50 years old. He's been doing this for for 30 years. But when when your challenges in your daily life and the things that you have to encounter really are very safe, I think it can throw off your perspective on on what makes you afraid.

[00:18:43.480] – Michael
And so by putting yourself in positions of failure, you're going to learn something about fear and how a lot of our modern day fears are sort of unfounded and how those can hold us back from the things we really want to do in our lives.

[00:18:57.460] – Allan
You talked a lot in the story about, you know, that one gets a one time you were they of course, they had to shuttle you guys out there. So they just sort of left you out there at one spot where they said, well, we will be back and pick you up. You know, it's like, how well do I know these guys? You know how much I already paid them the deposit. So, you know, I'm going to make it.

[00:19:22.030] – Allan
And so you had those kind of things where you're kind of afraid to be alone. But I think the deeper thing for me was that you noticed at points in time during the hunt and, you know, having hunted when I was a kid, you're just sitting there looking at me as a pine forest in south Mississippi. But ninety nine percent of the time that you're on a hunt, there's absolutely nothing happening. And so you get really, really bored unless you've conditioned yourself to kind of go with it.

[00:19:53.650] – Allan
And I think, you know, one of the core things you brought up in the book that it was just kind of critical is we don't even know the value of actually being bored. We we want something to entertain us all the time. It's like we get in the car, we turn on the radio or a podcast, maybe this one, but we don't turn this stuff off and actually just sit there and stop and just so tired of hearing our heartbeat, because we're that bored, that we're like counting heartbeats and, you know, watching watching a blade of grass and saying, you know, I think I saw it twitch, you know.

[00:20:31.330] – Allan
Yeah. That kind of thing. Can you talk about the kind of being bored and why being bored is not actually a bad thing and why maybe we should actually lean into it?

[00:20:41.480] – Michael
Yeah, so to your point about being in the woods in Mississippi and you just kind of waiting, hunting is a lot of waiting sometimes, and that's something that I was not used to. So we in the Arctic, we would sit on these hills and we were hunting caribou.

[00:20:56.750] – Michael
So we would have to wait for these caribou to they're migrating. So you're trying to catch them as they're moving into their to their wintering grounds.

[00:21:05.450] – Michael
So you'd sit on this hill and my cell phone does not work up there.

[00:21:09.830] – Michael
There is not a lick of service within one hundred miles. So the thing is essentially useless. I didn't bring a book. I didn't bring magazines. I sure I surely didn't have a TV. So what I'm left with is I would start to read labels on my energy bars. I would start to read the labels on the clothes I was wearing. And then when that gets boring, I start thinking of ideas and I start thinking of all these other things.

[00:21:33.680] – Michael
And it was really interesting because nowadays, any time we feel bored, we have this constant ability to kill our boredom, the discomfort of boredom. Any time you feel a twinge of that, I mean, think if you ever look at a supermarket line, what is everyone doing there on their cell phones? Even 20 years ago, you would have to sort of stand there and be with yourself and with your thoughts. The brain essentially has two different ways of two different modes.

[00:22:02.270] – Michael
And in the book, I simplify it and I call them focus mode and unfocused mode. Focus mode is any time that you are focusing on anything in the outside world. So your cell phone, as you're listening to this podcast, you're having to process information from the outside world. And this is like an active it's almost like a workout for your brain. The other mode is unfocused mode. Now, this is internal mind wandering. So this is the mode that I was in when I'm sitting on the Arctic tundra trying to think of ideas and just having thoughts come into my brain.

[00:22:31.820] – Michael
And this is essentially a rest state. It rests and restores your brain. Now, we've totally tipped the balance. Modern life has tipped the balance. So we're always in this focused mode and it's just like constantly trying to work and work and work our brains. We never experience boredom this time where we have to go inward and be with that little bit of discomfort and then send our minds down different ways of mind wandering, which restores our thinking and creativity.

[00:22:59.150] – Michael
So the benefits of boredom, you know, research shows that it revives your brain not being bored enough is actually associated with high rates of anxiety because it's you know, you're just really taxing your outward system. It's associated with more creativity. And I think part of that is because nowadays, when we're bored, if we just pull out Instagram and Twitter or whatever it is, we're focusing on the exact same type of media that everyone else is. And we're not having time to come up with ideas in our own mind that are our own ideas.

[00:23:31.520] – Michael
Experience boredom is associated with more focus and productivity. But I think one thing that that is key is you hear so much today, you need to be, you know, get on your phone. Get on your phone less. If you look at the data, people actually spend a lot more time engaging with all different kinds of media, like people watch twice as much TV as they do have screen time on their phones. We've inserted essentially eleven hours, I think is the average, 11 hours and six minutes to be exact, digital media in our day.

[00:24:02.570] – Michael
That's how much time we're spending engaging with digital media. So I tend to think about it instead of less phone. I tend to think about it more as more boredom. How can I just find these spaces where I can just have no outside stimulation and allow my mind to go inward and sort of revive and reset? And if we can do that, even though it's uncomfortable, I mean, it's much easier to just go on Instagram. I think we're going to move the dial a lot on our mental health.

[00:24:26.660] – Michael
And you'll find often with with a lot of these discomforts that I'm talking about, there's an initial period where you're like, man, this really sucks. I don't like this. This is uncomfortable. But after a certain time, once you sort of get through that rough patch, you're like, oh, I see what I'm doing this for.

[00:24:45.980] – Michael
And you start to really see those rewards. I mean, nothing in life, whether it be something very simple, like not being not defaulting to TV or your computer or your phone or whether it be like a massive, massive workout or challenge is ever going to be easy. So just accepting that there is going to be that hard part and going through it anyways, you'll see that benefit.

[00:25:09.950] – Allan
Yeah, I was, I took it. I took what you put to heart and I was going for my my normal little walk around here on the island. I like walking out by the beach and I was on my way out there. Normally what I would do is I put on the podcast or an audio book and then I'd have my runkeeper that would tell me my my my split's every five minutes, you know, that's chiming in and telling me what my splits are. I just got to thinking myself, Okay, I'm still going to keep my runkeeper on, but I'm going to I'm going to turn the volume all the way down so I don't hear my splits.

[00:25:40.750] – Allan
But the pocket I put the phone in my pocket and I'm not going to pay any attention until I get to a certain point, and then I'll just want to check my time to make sure that I can get back in time for what I've got to get done for the day. And yeah, it's like where first you're going and you're kind of like just you start becoming hyper sensitive to everything around, you start paying a lot more attention and so on this walk beyond just having a good walk and enjoying some warm weather, you know, heat shock proteins, I, I noticed a lot more.

[00:26:15.930] – Allan
You know, I just I noticed, like a line of leafcutter ants walking down the side of the road with me. You know, I was about to step on them and I said, oh, leafcutters. And I'm just walking along and I'm seeing leaves and I'm like, Okay, you know, just it was a long, long trail, like maybe about quarter of a mile. These guys were traveling. And so it's just kind of one of those things where I thought, yeah, I'm opening up.

[00:26:36.420] – Allan
I'm noticing more about the world around me. I'm noticing more about myself, like how how my legs feel, how my feet feel, you know, just just the whole bit of it. And it just gives you a lot more time to actually get it. Get in your head and think versus at times we try to turn that inner voice off. And I think a lot of times it's we just don't like that guy.

[00:27:02.190] – Allan
Yeah. And then you're like, well, no, I'm going to get to know that person.

[00:27:07.260] – Allan
And only way I can do that is to be alone with them.

[00:27:11.370] – Michael
Yeah, I love that story that's so great, because the thing about those leafcutter ants, you're going to remember them for next year, five years, 10 years, I was here and I saw that rove leafcutter ants doing their thing, moving through the world. That's going to create an impression in your mind and isn't I mean, this is the stuff that we're really going to remember.

[00:27:29.850] – Michael
I mean, I think that the media is obviously amazing. It's incredible.

[00:27:35.190] – Allan

[00:27:35.640] – Michael
It's so fun to see what people are doing on Instagram and getting cool ideas and listening to podcasts like yours. I mean, there's a ton of value in the stuff there really is. But I think it's figuring out the balance. If our we are programed to default to always being stimulated, never wanting to be bored, and we just have the easiest out for that.

[00:27:55.540] – Michael
So I think we need to reinsert boredom into our lives because when we are evolving, we had long periods of boredom and these helped these helped us be productive and, you know, effective humans. And we've sort of removed them. And there's been some serious downsides. But but I love what you say about that. And and I think that you're smart because you're you're doing it in a way where you can still use the technology. You're just figuring out, well, how do I use the smarter so I can sort of balance it.

[00:28:22.470] – Michael
I can get benefits of boredom, but also this super cool technology that we have access to. You know, the answer isn't like we don't want to live like Luddites. That's yeah, that sounds terrible to me. But it's it's the balance.

[00:28:36.020] – Allan
Yeah, and the worst part of it was I was sitting there saying I should pull my phone out and take a picture of these ants and I'm like, no, know, that whole purpose was to to not interact with my phone this whole two hours and

[00:28:47.240] – Michael
Yeah, those ants are yours.

[00:28:50.150] – Allan
I could post it on Facebook. That's so cool. I get those likes and and retweeted all that stuff and I was like, no, no. That that breaks the whole purpose of why I'm here. I'm not here to to do a documentary on leafcutter ants. I'm here to enjoy some time with myself.


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[00:30:52.500] – Allan
I think another thing that you got into that was really important, and it was it was thrust upon you because 33 days and I think people would say, Okay, sure, there's there's not a McDonald's up there or even a Tim Hortons or anything for you to just say, Okay, you know, let's pop in and have some breakfast and then we'll go hunting or after the breakfast, you know, we'll go by the room, take a shower, get ourselves cleaned up and have a really nice dinner tonight.

[00:31:20.060] – Allan
I mean, I hope they had that wine we had last time. That's not life. You had to carry all your food with you short of what you actually were going to then be able to get on that hunt.

[00:31:31.350] – Allan
So you started doing the math and realizing, Okay, I'm not going to be able to carry enough calories.

[00:31:39.210] – Michael

[00:31:39.810] – Allan
For the whole trip. And that meant at some point along the way and I don't think it was that far into the trip, you started experiencing hunger. And it's not the hunger of, you know, gee, I wish I had some Doritos. It was like real real in a hunger. Could you could you talk about being hungry and why that is important?

[00:32:01.320] – Michael
Sure. So when we did when you in the numbers, you know, we're carrying these heavy 80, 90 pound backpacks all over the place. The landscape is, you know, hilly and treacherous and we're probably burning somewhere between 4000, 6000 calories a day.

[00:32:18.240] – Michael
But if we were to bring enough food to fuel that, I mean, our packs would be it would not fit in the pack. All we would have is just a bunch of food. So we had to pare down and figure out, Okay, how much is enough reasonably to stay alive? More or less. And that was we could figure that would be about two thousand calories. So that's what we pack. So every day we're digging ourself into this hole and there's just never enough food.

[00:32:41.190] – Michael
And what happens over time, it's fascinating is you start to feel hungry and your mind starts to really focus on food. And these are these evolutionary mechanisms that we've developed to force us to find food that really compels you to find food. But feeling that hunger was fascinating because. No, my average day I eat for reasons that often have nothing to do with hunger. It could be that I woke up and it's breakfast, I got to eat breakfast.

[00:33:10.570] – Michael
So essentially the clock is telling me that I should eat, right. Or maybe I get stressed and I'm like, oh, man, I hate that email. I just received and hand goes into the m&m's and I shove them into my face.

[00:33:21.150] – Michael
You know, a lot of the data shows that as much as 80 percent of the times we eat aren't driven by actual physiological hunger. It's just because, like I said, it's a clock or stress or whatever. So re-engaging with with actual core deep hunger was fascinating because I'm like, man, I have never felt this before.

[00:33:43.860] – Michael
And I learned a lot of interesting things about hunger. And one of them, too, is that. You know, over time, it's not it's not going to kill you, you know, out there, it's like I lost 10 pounds over the thirty three months or whatever it was.

[00:34:01.050] – Michael
But I realized re-engaging with hunger is actually a good thing, because if you can figure out when this is true hunger versus this is just me wanting food, that can really move the dial. Because, I mean, right now it's I think in the US it's seventy two percent of Americans are overweight or obese. I mean, we're clearly suffering from a crisis where we're just eating too much. And that suggests to me that probably, you know, re-engaging with hunger and learning about what do I actually need food versus when do I want food can be really important in moving the dial on our health through weight loss.

[00:34:37.830] – Michael
So I would say that it just when I came back from the Arctic, I realized that a lot of times, like I said, it's just I just want food or it's a clock that tells me I want food and feeling that hunger can lead a lot of internal physical change. So I think, you know, embracing hunger is important. And, you know, I know people get really.

[00:34:59.880] – Michael
I guess I would say ideological, I don't know if that's the right word about certain diets and all that. My own opinion is that if you look at all the research, that weight loss is primarily driven by calorie balance. And so just figuring out a way that you can you can eat that will control your hunger, but you're not eating too much is important. And so in the book, I talk about ways of certain foods that research suggests tend to help us fight hunger, but also control our calories.

[00:35:28.810] – Michael
So these tend to be foods that we've often heard are not good for us, like potatoes or different forms of carbs that are unprocessed, that actually are good because they can help us control hunger and keep our calories low. It's this concept called calorie density, which is kind of a science way of saying they fill you up without having as many calories as other foods.

[00:35:50.870] – Allan
Yeah, and I think one of the things that kind of came out of it is that just as soon as you killed the Cariboo, you ate like a king. And it was one of the best meals you'd had in a long time and you even started liking the the instant meals, you know, just the reconstituted meals. You're like, it's fine. I love it. It's it's still delicious because I'm that hungry that you were truly tasting your food.

[00:36:17.530] – Michael

[00:36:17.870] – Allan
And and the. Go ahead.

[00:36:19.760] – Michael
I was going to say hunger is the best sauce.

[00:36:23.540] – Allan

[00:36:24.050] – Michael
You know that if you are a person who thinks that vegetables are disgusting, that's probably because you're only eating things like Doritos that are engineered to be just like so amazing. And if you take yourself away from that for a little while, you realize that vegetables have a lot of amazing nuances that are that are great, you know.

[00:36:43.100] – Allan
Yeah. And I think that's what we miss is that, you know, like you said, we're eating all the time. We're eating things that are designed to make us eat more. We're not giving our body an opportunity to actually understand the hunger signals. And then when food is available, which here it's always available, it's everywhere.

[00:37:05.750] – Allan
We tend to overeat. And, you know, the dietitians though warn you, don't let yourself get hungry and then the food companies will take advantage of it and someone will be upset, not feeling good because they're hungry and they're going to tell them, oh, you need a Snickers. And so that's the solution to your your hunger problem. And it's not even true hunger because you haven't gone without food long enough or you've had enough food to not need that food.

[00:37:33.050] – Allan
But we haven't turned on those hunger signals. And obviously, you being out there for thirty three days, you turned on some hunger signals.

[00:37:41.310] – Michael
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I think in a lot of ways food has become a widget for a way to solve for other problems.

[00:37:48.590] – Michael
I'm stressed, I'm going to eat, I'm bored, I'll eat. And I just said boredom is good so don't just eat f you're bored. Find other ways to go.

[00:37:58.430] – Michael
But yeah, you know, we developed these evolutionary mechanisms that favor us to eat foods that are as calorie dense as possible. Now in nature as we evolved, you really don't find that many foods that are really calorie dense. I would think honey is the most calorie dense of the food you find.

[00:38:16.100] – Michael
But now we have foods that are engineered to be these, you know, globs of sugar, salt and fat that are amazing. And I'm not saying don't ever eat those, but it's they need to be balanced. You know, we need to to engage with hunger a little bit, learn that hunger and hunger is actually a good thing. Like you said, we've we've been told that, oh, don't ever feel hungry. You know, you're hungry or whatever it is. Oh, it's a good thing.

[00:38:40.640] – Allan
Yeah. And I think if you had to take several bee stings to get that high calorie dense food instead of buying it and like you said, a cute little jar that's shaped like a little bear, we probably wouldn't do it as much, but yeah.

[00:38:57.890] – Allan
So it's okay to be hungry, you know, like you said, I mean, we use the term starving, but that's not the right word. And even in your situation here, you knew you'd brought enough food to probably not starve. Yeah, but it also heightened your desire to do something. So it kept you motivated and driving rather than just saying, I'm going to go cuddle in the teepee for the next twenty days and hope I don't burn more calories.

[00:39:24.170] – Michael

[00:39:24.830] – Allan
it got you moving. I got you guys doing more so that you could get that back, could get some food and that's that's actually a good thing. If you can find the waste are going to drive you to a better behavior, you've got to be hungry for it. And that's whether that's eating the right foods or getting your food. You've got to think of it in those terms.

[00:39:44.450] – Michael
Yeah. Yep, exactly.

[00:39:47.000] – Allan
Michael, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:39:56.630] – Michael
Well, we just talked about one of them, I think re-engaging with hunger can be important. I mean, I think that our food, how we eat today is one of the number one drivers of our health problems because people just eat too much and and they don't move enough. And I think figuring out ways to lose weight if you're currently overweight is going to be the number one thing you can do from your health, assuming you're not smoking or something like that.

[00:40:23.990] – Michael
I mean, look at the data and it's pretty overwhelming. And, you know, yes, there are people who are overweight, who are metabolically healthy, and that's that's great. But I do think if you look at most people, most of the time, some some ground can be gained by losing a little weight. And I think that food is one of the best ways to do that.

[00:40:42.710] – Michael
Number two, I would say. Is that I would love it if people would start thinking about how can I do epic things in my life? So for me it was this thirty three days in the Alaskan backcountry. I go out there, I experience all these different forms of discomfort. I'm in nature. For a long time, I experienced some hunger I have to put physical effort in. And I think that doing that can really move the dial on our health and happiness, but more importantly, it can change us internally.

[00:41:16.840] – Michael
So, as I mentioned before, it's like when I was on that runway first about to head up there. I mean, I'm just like overstressed guy. I'm afraid to get on this plane. I'm like, you got to be kidding me. We're going in that little thing. And at the end of that sort of going on this journey of having to face all these discomforts, I learned a lot about myself and it really transformed me and I would say moved the dial on a lot of things in my life, just stress levels.

[00:41:42.760] – Michael
You know, when I got back, I could see, oh, like waiting in a line is not a big deal, you know, because I had all these true dangers and things happen to me. And so I think for four people, it's, you know, what is something that you can do, get outside, exercise some way to challenge yourself that will help put all these things in perspective and also get you out and moving. So maybe that, oh, there's this mountain near my house that I've never climbed and I've never climbed a mountain before.

[00:42:12.580] – Michael
You know, it could be like a five, ten mile hike. But if you've never done that before, I think picking something that has sort of a chance of failure, chance you may not make it where you put yourself in a position where you have to dig deep physically and psychologically and emotionally. When you complete that, it's like a massive, massive confidence boost and just move your life in the right direction. And let's see, number three, let me think on this.

[00:42:39.130] – Michael
Oh, I would say to think about your death each day, which I realize that seems somewhat morbid when people hear it. But, you know, as we evolve, we really engage with the life cycle.

[00:42:51.070] – Michael
So I know for me, I went up to Alaska, we're hunting and we look for these caribou for like fifteen days and we finally get a chance where we, you know, I'm going to potentially be able to kill one. And I have the gun and I am super reticent about hunting this whole time because I'm coming from this world where our meat is presented to us. Totally, perfectly manicured death is death and the life cycle is totally removed from our lives, everything from our funeral system to how we react when someone dies and we're told to keep our mind off it.

[00:43:27.880] – Michael
So we're, you know, crawling out there and I get in this position where the animal is close enough within shooting distance. And I'm kind of hesitating, you know, because I'm like, oh, man, this is a beautiful creature. Don't ever engage with this kind of stuff. And began with Donny says, look, if you don't want to shoot, you don't got to shoot. But if you're going to shoot, you got to do it now.

[00:43:49.450] – Michael
And I pulled the trigger and the animal goes down. And my initial reaction is, oh my God, what have I done? It was this just sinking feeling. We go out and see the animal. It's down. And I just feel terrible. It's like, what what has happened here?

[00:44:05.680] – Michael
What have I done? And then we began to break the animal down to field, dress it to bring it back to camp. And my mind started to shift because you start to see that this living creature is going to provide life for me, for my family to give us food. And that death is ultimately part of the life cycle. Like it is a it is a clear realization for me that happened that, oh, you know, death is part of the life cycle.

[00:44:35.290] – Michael
And I started to research this when I when I got back from Alaska and I ended up going to doing some traveling around this and a lot of research. And when you look at the research people who think about death, which is something, you know, we're not we're told, oh, don't do that because that's morbid and that'll make you sad. When you look at the research, it actually makes people happier because it cuts out a lot, cuts a lot of the fat out of your life.

[00:44:55.930] – Michael
Right. If you just think once a day, oh, I'm going to die at one point, you're not going to get hung up on these stupid little things that we tend to get so anxious and hung up on every day, right. You start to see people start to focus on the things that are really going to make them truly happier. So I think the three things that I just named are kind of like this holistic system that can help with your mind, body and spirit more or less.

[00:45:20.200] – Allan
And I agree with all of those. Thank you. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Comfort Crisis, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:45:29.020] – Michael
You can go to Easter Michael dot com, if you want to learn more about me, I'm active on Instagram as well: Michael_Easter. I try not to be too active on it because that boredom thing. But yeah, those are probably the two best ways to find it in the books available anywhere you get books. So

[00:45:44.470] – Allan
Okay. You can go to 40 plus fitness podcast dot com forward slash four eight five, and I'll be sure to have links there.

[00:45:51.370] – Allan
Michael, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

[00:45:54.610] – Michael
Hey, thank you for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:46:01.090] – Allan
Raz, welcome back.

[00:46:03.160] – Rachel
Hey, Alan, what a wonderful story from Michael and his adventure in the Arctic. My gosh, talk about discomfort. He had a lot of it.

[00:46:13.640] – Allan
He did. You know. Well, one first, we probably didn't dive into it enough in the conversation, but he was terrified to get on that little plane.

[00:46:21.850] – Allan
He was a little bit just a little bitty planes where he kind of felt like he was straddling the the pilot while he was sitting in that airplane with his equipment. And the plane he was on couldn't go and land where they needed to. So they dropped the two of them off in the middle of freakin nowhere, Alaska, and then take off to nowhere Alaska to basically shuttle these guys. And then they leave him out there. And I'm like, no, no, I would have been the second person on the plane.

[00:46:50.440] – Allan
So I'm not sitting out in the middle of nowhere by myself alone. That would have kind of got me. I mean, and I I've had some moments in my life where I was outside my comfort zone, did some things like, you know, look back on and say, well, some people would call that foolish, but, you know, damn, it makes a good story.

[00:47:12.040] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:47:12.940] – Allan
You know, like walking down into the basement with four Koreans, two of them in front of me, two of them behind me. And I'm there to catch them committing fraud, thinking I might not actually come out of this basement again. So you have those stories. And that's one of the cool things about this book, is not just that Michael sharing the stories, but he's sharing lessons about how being outside your comfort zone makes for a better life across the world, whether you're looking at your career, your relationships, your health, your fitness, everything great happens outside the comfort zone.

[00:47:49.210] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh, it's so true.

[00:47:51.070] – Rachel
He even drew a line. Right, towards adding discomfort to your life can give you health and happiness, happiness through discomfort. It's kind of a mind blowing concept right there.

[00:48:03.880] – Allan
Well, you've experienced it, so.

[00:48:05.920] – Rachel
Oh, yeah.

[00:48:06.310] – Allan
Let's talk about your first marathon.

[00:48:08.350] – Allan
How painful was that run? I mean, you know, at the end, you're that you know, you're you're at that that twenty two mile mark.

[00:48:17.520] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:48:18.400] – Allan
And you're watching other runners around. You quit. You're saying medical attention being given to people on the side of the road. And you're seeing also seeing people cheering you on.

[00:48:29.830] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:48:30.550] – Allan
But it's uncomfortable and there is be no shame in quitting.

[00:48:35.710] – Rachel
Right. Well, I'll even take it a step back and and say my first five K was out of my comfort zone, so as my first 10K, my first half marathon was in a Florida hurricane situation and my first marathon was just as difficult, although it was at the happiest place on Earth with this, which is Disney.

[00:48:58.860] – Rachel
My first full marathon was Disney. But but yeah, every single step of the way in my running career has been taking that one step outside what I know I could do, what I'm comfortable doing and seeing what can I accomplish, what can I do and and how crazy is that? And and then every time I accomplish something, I'm I'm stronger for it and more confident and and more confident when I want to try something new, like my first 50 miles, I'll be doing the summer.

[00:49:34.470] – Rachel
So that's one of the reasons why I embraced running and just share it with the world so much because it can give you so much back. It's hard and it's scary, but it gives you so much back.

[00:49:46.830] – Allan
Yeah. And we've become too comfortable to the point of, you know, we, we go for the convenience and so beyond just comfort, there's convenience and you'll hear the word comfort foods and comfort foods. Yeah. Typically are high in fat, high in salt and high in sugar, high in everything and all put together. And they make you feel good, they give you the feel good, comfortable feeling, you know, chicken and dumplings is one just comes to mind for me is they call that a comfort food and you know it's like okay, cool.

[00:50:23.070] – Allan
Occasionally having a little bit of comfort, not a problem, having it every single day, having the convenience of driving up and ordering a donut and a coffee on your way to work and then getting something from the vending machine because you're starving two hours later. And for the record, you're not actually starving.

[00:50:43.170] – Allan
You're just having a little bit of a sugar rush and a sugar crash. And that's what you're having. And it's not you're not starving. And so I think the recognition that if once we start seeing the comfort that's in our lives and we start challenging that and saying, is that comfort serving me? Or is that comfort holding me back?

[00:51:06.430] – Rachel
Hmm, good question.

[00:51:07.270] – Allan
We're almost blind to it because we're in it and it's just so easy and this is just the way it is.

[00:51:12.670] – Allan
And so, you know, the more you sit there and say, is this the right comfort for me to be in? So, you know, granted, I want my room cool at night so I can sleep better. So we have an air conditioner in our bedroom. We don't have an air conditioner in the living space of the bed and breakfast and so on. A hot day like today is probably somewhere in the 90s and it's really, really humid.

[00:51:37.090] – Allan
And so sitting in the living room with the fans going is right on that edge of comfortable. You know, I'm sitting in my living room sweating. Most people don't want to be sweating when they're sitting in their living room. You know, they're going to have the AC on. There can be very comfortable. They're not going to want to walk outside. I'll check the mail on my way to work tomorrow. You know, that kind of comfort.

[00:52:00.130] – Allan
And it's like, get out, you know, move around. Don't be afraid of it. So you sweat a little to shower before bed,

[00:52:07.570] – Rachel

[00:52:08.260] – Allan
So look at the comfort that's in your life and just say, is this this is serving me? Is just making me a better person? And there are times when comfort will there, you know, I sleep better when the room temperature is cooler. If we didn't have an air conditioner, then I wouldn't sleep as well.

[00:52:27.350] – Allan
We have a we have an air fryer. And the air fryer can do, you know, the toasting, the grilling in the baking, the the air frying, the broiling. And so it's very convenient, comfortable device to have sitting on our counter.

[00:52:42.720] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:52:43.310] – Allan
I don't use it to make Pop Tarts.

[00:52:47.510] – Allan
I use it to bake chicken or broil steak or do those types of things. So I don't get don't think that all comfort is bad. It's not it's just a function of saying, am I using comfort where where it matters.

[00:53:05.810] – Rachel

[00:53:06.380] – Allan
You know, a good massage is comfortable. Having a comfortable bed is comfortable. Those are important things for your wellness. But, you know, having complete access to all this food, calling Uber eats every night because you can never, never getting hot, never getting cold.

[00:53:29.060] – Allan
You know, that's not how we were intended to to be. We were intended to be a little uncomfortable most of the time and really uncomfortable some of the time.

[00:53:40.070] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:53:41.060] – Rachel
I think we've lost a little of that satisfaction of doing certain things for ourselves. Like you mentioned, cooking a proper meal from scratch versus ordering uber eats or something. You know, if you can gather fresh ingredients and make this wonderful meal for your family all on your own, just think of the pride that you'll have, not even to mention the taste will be so much better than running out to a restaurant and getting some fat laden food. But you've got pride in your food.

[00:54:10.760] – Rachel
You've got a tasty meal. Plus it contributes to your health instead of taking away from your health. So it's just these little things like if you can allow yourself the extra time to take the time to get the good food to to prepare a nice meal, to take a walk to the store instead of a drive to the store, if you can just take a minute to reassess and maybe give you that little extra time to do these things by hand from scratch, just think of the satisfaction you'll have having accomplished all that.

[00:54:40.010] – Allan
Yeah. And I would even take it a step further and say, Okay, so so imagine you do this. You set up a plant bed in your backyard or a patio garden and you plant some plants if you have the space and in your city allows it, you raise some chickens.

[00:54:58.940] – Rachel
Oh, man, you know, that would be fun.

[00:55:01.850] – Allan
And maybe you go ahead in a co-op and you know, you can share in a buying a cow. You know, sometimes they'll do that like a local farm and you all go in together and say, Okay, so I'm buying half a cow and they're buying. So we all contribute our money and we buy the calves and we've paid for the food. And we have a responsibility to go out there on our days and feed the cow.

[00:55:25.430] – Rachel

[00:55:25.760] – Allan
Take care of it. It's a co-op. We're all involved. We're all working together or we're doing it at home, raising the chickens, getting the eggs, growing the vegetables. So you're growing spinach and you've got the eggs.

[00:55:38.690] – Allan
And so, you know, you make yourself an omelet with the spinach in the eggs that you grew, that, you know, you took the little chick and you took the little seedling and you made yourself that meal from not just scratch, but from actual dirt, you know.

[00:55:59.220] – Rachel
How how amazing and how satisfying that is. That would be wonderful.

[00:56:03.810] – Allan
And it's not even just you. I mean, this was a part of your family. This is like how we spend a Saturday. You know, we spend the Saturday at my brother. They raise chickens. And so his little girls, they know how to care for the chickens. And they named all their so they have no intention of eating the chickens, but they eat eggs.

[00:56:22.330] – Rachel
That's awesome.

[00:56:23.550] – Allan
Yeah. Except for the the Fox incident. But we don't want to talk.

[00:56:27.430] – Rachel
Oh no, no.

[00:56:31.440] – Allan
But, you know, it's just kind of one of those things of this is a learning experience for them to be able to see where their food is coming from and recognize, Okay, this is you know, this is where all this stuff comes from. And it's not you don't just go to the grocery store to buy stuff.

[00:56:46.350] – Rachel
Oh, yeah.

[00:56:47.480] – Allan
You can you can do it yourself. And it's uncomfortable. It's extra work. It means, you know, a weekend where you're building something, you're putting, you know, dealing with soil and all the other stuff.

[00:56:58.950] – Allan
You're learning new things, teaching kids new things, but spending that quality time together.

[00:57:04.230] – Allan
And that's again, the value of discomfort can be the value of learning. It's a value of relationship. It's the value of better quality of pretty much everything in your life. And so that's what this book was really about. He's a fabulous writer. It's a really interesting story if you're anti-hunting while there is hunting in the book. But I want you to recognize the the concepts of it. He does talk about that because he had never hunted before.

[00:57:32.130] – Allan
So he's not pro hunting even now. But he wanted the experience. And he went out and did it while he doesn't know if he'll do it again.

[00:57:43.490] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:57:44.150] – Allan
But it was just an experience that he wanted to have. All of the meat from that animal was consumed by him and his family. So he did bring that meat home. So it was not just an unethical trophy kill that you see the pictures and you know that this was those were legitimate hunts for food when controlled by the wild life stuff.

[00:58:07.850] – Allan
But just recognize that he made himself very, very uncomfortable for thirty-three days, experienced a lot of things, has a lot of stories to tell. And he's a really good storyteller. So it's a really good book from that perspective too.

[00:58:20.750] – Rachel
Wonderful. It sounds wonderful. What an adventure he had for sure.

[00:58:24.620] – Allan
All right, Rachel. Well, I will talk to you next week.

[00:58:27.230] – Rachel
All right. Take care.

[00:58:28.230] – Allan
You too.

[00:58:29.540] – Rachel


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