March 1, 2021

SIBO made simple with Phoebe Lapine

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After documenting her year in The Wellness Project, Phoebe Lapine was still struggling with her health. He found she had small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Her efforts to understand and address this illness brings us SIBO Made Simple.


Let's Say Hello

[00:00:48.220] – Allan
Raz, how are you doing this week?

[00:00:49.780] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:00:51.550] – Allan
I'm doing pretty good. Outdoors, sitting on the patio at Lula's, my wife's bed and breakfast. And I've been kind of sweating because it's been some warm couple of days up here.

[00:01:03.370] – Rachel

[00:01:04.510] – Allan
Yeah. Not so much in Michigan.

[00:01:06.790] – Rachel
No, no. We've got frigid cold temperatures again and we just got another five or seven inches of snow last night. So we'll be digging ourselves out today, that's for sure.

[00:01:16.870] – Allan
Yeah. And that this particular one obviously is taking a big dip south because I'm having grown up in the southeast. Most of my friends that I grew up with, they're dealing with snow and ice there and they're not equipped for it. What would be a normal Tuesday in Michigan is kind of devastating in Mississippi.

[00:01:37.780] – Rachel
It is.

[00:01:38.530] – Allan
Yeah. So there's there's some struggles there. And I just say, if the weather outside is that bad, if you can stay home, stay home, because it's you don't need to be on the roads and particularly if you're just not comfortable or you don't have the equipment necessary to be on those roads because the most of the tires that you're going to have in the southeast are not they're not built for snow. They're built for rain and they're built for warm weather. And so you get them on the snow and they're ice skates.

[00:02:07.780] – Rachel
Yeah, it's a dangerous. It's a dangerous situation. Even up here in Michigan where we do have the equipment and the trucks and everybody's prepared, we all know usually how to drive in the winter. These frigid temperatures we're having makes such that the the salt does not work effectively. So even this morning, the trucks were able to clear all the snow off the highways, but they couldn't lay down the salt because it wouldn't have done anything. So we need to wait for the blue skies and the sun to come out, maybe get a little bit of melt before they can put the salt down. It's still a really tricky situation up here. So, yeah, the best advice is to stay home, if you can.

[00:02:45.640] – Allan
The problem with the Southeast is that it it's not that cold. So you get you get right in that kind of that scary middle space where you've got snow and then you've got sleet and then you've got ice and then you've got snow and…

[00:03:00.370] – Rachel
It's a disaster. It is just a disaster.

[00:03:04.060] – Allan
And the general reminder, bridges do ice before roads do so…

[00:03:09.040] – Rachel
Yes, that is true.

All right. So, yeah, I've been in charge of Lula's this week. My wife is in David doing some shopping for the bathroom fixtures and sinks and stuff like that that she's going to need to redo the six bathrooms up here. And then we're going to do an owner suite and a bathroom downstairs. And so there's just there's a lot of construction that's going to be going on for the next several weeks. She's in David trying to get that stuff together. And she put me in charge. And I'm not doing all that well.

[00:03:40.210] – Allan
I forgot to feed the workers today.

[00:03:42.700] – Rachel
Oh, no!

[00:03:44.310] – Allan
That's one of the things you're in keto and intermittent fasting. You don't even think about food. I woke up. I wasn't thinking about food. I'm doing my thing and and I'm like, okay, well, I got to go get the microphone because I left that at the gym and I wanted to be back here. And then I was walking back, I bought some groceries for dinner. And I said I probably forgot lunchtime. I don't even know what time it is. And then of course, here I am for a recording. I was a few minutes late because, I had no clue what time it was and I wasn't hungry. I'm not hungry. So, yeah, unfortunately I didn't feed the workers today. And when my wife hears this, she's not gonna be happy with me, but I am going to feed them tomorrow. I promise.

[00:04:22.180] – Rachel
Oh good. Good thing.

[00:04:26.140] – Allan
All right. So are you ready to go have a conversation with Phoebe?

[00:04:29.320] – Rachel
Yes. Let's do this.


[00:04:55.570] – Allan
Phoebe, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:58.370] – Phoebe
Hi, thanks for having me.

[00:05:00.460] – Allan
I should say welcome back to 40+ Fitness because I had you on earlier back in 2017 when you had the book, The Wellness Project.

[00:05:11.290] – Phoebe

[00:05:11.650] – Allan
And I have to admit, I stole a little bit from you. I like the word wellness. I liked it a lot. I liked your approach. And then so when I wrote my book that I actually published at the end of 2017, no 2018, I called it The Wellness Roadmap.

[00:05:32.440] – Phoebe

[00:05:32.980] – Allan
It was kind of a lot. What you did was, okay, how did I get here, how did I do these things to make myself well. Now you did that in your book The Wellness Project, and I think you stole a project from Gretchen Rubin.

[00:05:48.200] – Phoebe
Yeah. We're all stealing from each other.

[00:05:48.800] – Allan
Yes, there we go. But we're all learning each other. And I think that's the other thing is I was able to bring some things that you had learned on your journey and I had learned on my journey and say, okay, let's let's put those together, because that's going to help people. And that's why you do the podcast. That's why I have you on again so we can talk about your book, SIBO Made Simple.

[00:06:09.380] – Allan
Now, let me be honest with you. I started reading and maybe… I'm lucky. I'll just readily admit I'm really, really lucky in that I don't have bowel issues almost ever. Almost never, ever. I live in Panama. My wife has already gotten a parasite here and had to take medicine. Touch wood, knock wood, whatever you do, nothing like that's happened to me. So as I go into these topics, it's not something that I have personal experience with. So to me, SIBO and SIFO and Candida and all these things are a little bit like a Rubik's Cube.

[00:06:48.560] – Phoebe
Hmm. Yes, definitely.

[00:06:50.660] – Allan
Because it's not a one symptom, one cure. It's multiple symptoms and maybe multiple issues all happening at the same time. As you start adding the layers and I didn't realize until just recently they have a four sided Rubik's Cube. I just bought one. It arrived today.

[00:07:10.280] – Phoebe
Four sided?

[00:07:15.770] – Allan
They're all sided. But it's the one we had back in the day was a three by three. And then I found out they have the two by twos and have four by four. So I bought them just so I could play around with them. And as I got into your book, you basically wrote the algorithm to help us solve SIBO.

[00:07:36.620] – Phoebe
It's a really good analogy. I'm going to have to steal that right back from you because, yeah, as you said, I tried to create a roadmap as much as possible. But it's not a linear journey. It's more like a really expansive map with lots of twists and turns and forks in the road. And I think it's important for you to be able to see the entire landscape because sometimes you have to go back to Go and start over again.

[00:08:05.000] – Allan
You were in it. I mean, I think that was the thing of the book and the thing about your other book, The Wellness Project, is that you experienced this and you were down in the trenches. So this is not you just saying, hey, this is something that also affects people. You were in it. Can you tell us a little bit about your story?

[00:08:28.250] – Phoebe
Yeah, I always seem to write the book that I wish existed when I was going through something. So, yeah, as you mentioned, like I started to experience symptoms right after I had supposedly learned everything there was to know about gut health by doing research for my last book. And it was so funny because I really was confused. I was doing all the things that the microbiome specialists had told me to do.

[00:08:51.980] – Phoebe
And I interviewed some incredible people. And pretty much everyone's advice was the same. Eat a lot of fermented foods and insulin-rich vegetables and fiber, fiber and more fiber. So I was crushing legumes and drinking a lot of Bucca and kafia and whatnot. And I started to realize I was feeling miserable after every meal. So I went harder on all of those things and then felt more miserable.

[00:09:15.470] – Phoebe
And eventually that got me back in the door of my doctor. And the diagnosis I received was SIBO, which is something I had heard of in passing but didn't truly understand. And honestly and this isn't just like making a silver lining out of a bad situation, but learning about SIBO was like such an aha moment, such an essential part two to my wellness project, my wellness story.

[00:09:41.510] – Phoebe
And some of the other diets that I kind of heard of along the way, like the low FODMAP diet began to make sense. So I'll just tell those of you who don't know the actual definition of SIBO, it stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth. And it's thought that at least 60 percent of all IBS cases are actually being caused by SIBO. But it's not necessarily like a disease in and of itself, kind of similar to IBS.

[00:10:06.920] – Phoebe
It's a sign that something has gone wrong in the body, that the mechanics of our digestive system has gone off the rails. And I find that part really fascinating because also in my research and kind of just in the wellness world, I feel like, quote unquote, gut health, like the word gut just gets thrown around a lot and we kind of forget that it's the entire digestive system. So when people are talking about good gut bacteria, I didn't really realize that. It's not like, well, there's, of course, different types of bacteria in the entire digestive system, but the majority of it is supposed to be in the large intestine, not the gut as a whole. And the small intestine is really not supposed to have much bacteria at all because that's where you absorb your nutrients. So if they're bacteria present who have the same taste as you do, in large part, they're going to start competing for your nutrients. And when they eat your food, in particular, different types of carbohydrates, they release gas.

[00:11:05.540] – Phoebe
And when that gas is super far up your digestive tract, it's not as close to an exit ramp. And so it's going to try and get out any way possible. Burping was a really strange symptom that I had that I kind of didn't even realize would have been associated with anything. But once I got diagnosed with SIBO and like read the list of symptoms, I was like, oh, my God, the burping. Because, again, that gas is just trying to get out. But for those who have IBS symptoms, the SIBOy IBS is really high up. Like you feel that bloating like underneath your ribs. It's not like for the ladies out there what you would feel like if you just were getting your period. And it's also something that happens very frequently.

[00:11:48.780] – Phoebe
So pretty much so long as there are some sort of carb on your plate and that includes vegetables, fruit and vegetables as well, you're going to feel probably some sort of symptom because the symptoms are directly related to the food.

[00:12:03.650] – Phoebe
So it's a tricky nut to crack because you're trying to eradicate bacteria from one area without doing too much damage to the large intestine. And that's kind of the tricky. The tricky walk you need to do with SIBO. And it's something that I know gives people a lot of confusion. But at the end of the day, I think it comes down to the fact that these bacteria are wreaking such havoc. They're causing so much inflammation because they're in the area of the gut that doesn't have a whole lot of protective… It doesn't have a whole lot of protection. You have a really thick mucus lining and the large intestine, which separates your immune system from the bacteria and in the small intestine since it's not designed for bacteria, you don't have that.

[00:12:47.540] – Phoebe
So your immune system gets involved. Once that happens in the fog of war, you can damage the tight junctions of your intestines that leads to leaky gut and then that leads to food sensitivities. And there's a huge overlap with autoimmunity and SIBO for that reason. It's like kind of a chicken or the egg. And yeah, I think it's like one of the reasons well, the gut is kind of at the at the heart of so many different conditions, but in particular with SIBO, there's just a very long list of things that could be at play.

[00:13:18.630] – Allan
Yeah, I think, one of the kind of aha moments of this is actually understanding that the digestive track, each segment of it. I guess the best way I can say it, your mouth, your stomach, your small intestine, large intestine, each one of those has a particular purpose. And the large intestine is is there to break down fiber and do its thing. But if you end up with the bacteria too far up, meaning it's into the small intestine, the small intestine isn't designed for that.

[00:13:47.640] – Allan
And as a result, it kind of made sense because it was like, leaky gut, you end up with these these gaps. I'm kind of thinking how how would that actually work? How it's kind of actually, you think of it as a mesh, but that's fine. You think of there's a mucus layer and that's fine. But then when you actually said, okay, you're getting gas and the gas is expanding, something that wasn't designed to expand, it was just existing, designed to pass this stuff through, pull out the nutrients that can because it's churning.

[00:14:18.960] – Allan
So it's pulling out the nutrients as it goes over. It was 17 feet. So it goes across this distance. And during that time, it's pulling out all the nutrients and there's a very specialized process. But if it's swelling up because there's excess gas in there, then I can now I can kind of understand how it would force things out, and of course, the gas is trying to escape, but at the same time…

[00:14:47.100] – Phoebe
Yeah, often it just gets trapped.

[00:14:49.680] – Allan
All the stuff in there is also getting forced to go somewhere to some extent because it's in that same space. It's trying to occupy that same space, which is getting more and more compressed. And you you feel like you're eating well. You feel like you're doing everything you're supposed to do, but you're getting sicker and sicker.

[00:15:07.180] – Phoebe
Yeah. and I think that's another really difficult thing and why I think learning about SIBO and having some sort of awareness is so important because, we're all like grabbing for straws and there are definitely going to be certain experts or influencer or whatever you want to call that people follow and they will reach towards whatever the piece of advice is. But we're all so different and anything that can help can also hurt. And SIBO is a prime example of that.

[00:15:33.040] – Phoebe
So the low FODMAP diet, which is something I had heard about kind of while I was doing research for my first book, is basically the opposite of what the gut sensis were telling me to do. And at the time I didn't understand. I'm like, why would this help people with IBS and the low FODMAP diet is very data-backed for reducing IBS symptoms. And I kind of knew deep down that I had to be because their guts were so damaged in the first place that they couldn't even handle some of those, quote unquote, good gut foods. Or perhaps they're missing bacterial species that helped to break them down. Could be all of the above and or SIBO.

[00:16:09.570] – Phoebe
But SIBO really appealed to my common sense because it makes perfect sense that bacteria, good or bad, if they're eating their favorite foods but they're in the wrong place, are going to cause you a lot of symptoms.

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[00:18:03.100] – Allan
Now, one of the things, like I said, where you kind of added an extra row to my Rubik's Cube was that a lot of people will go through. And IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and it's somewhat of a nebulous thing. That just means you you have diarrhea or you have constipation or you have gas or just any kind of digestive problem.

[00:18:27.730] – Allan
Then you throw in some other things that often accompany this same issue and diagnosing it and then beyond diagnosing it, actually knowing how to treat it. Because, like you said, we we want to be able to remove what we need to remove without doing complete damage to the entire rest of our system. So you talked about topics like SIFO, which is more of a fungal thing like candida. You talked about estrogen dominance and kind of some things about the thyroid that often come hand in hand, almost like you said, amigos. But I would say Co-villians.

[00:19:11.280] – Phoebe

[00:19:15.550] – Allan
They're basically the criminal mastermind group that gets together to go against the Superfriends. Can you kind of talk about a few of those that, for lack of a better word, are related issues that you'll find with SIBO?

[00:19:28.330] – Phoebe
Yeah. So SIFO, that one is easy. So that's just the same acronym. But instead of bacteria you've got fungus overgrowing, which Candida falls into that category. And it's because the mechanics again, when the mechanics go off the rails, you have a chance for anything to overgrow. So I can give you a little bit of an overview of of what the main reasons why someone who gets SIBO might have as contributing factors.

[00:19:55.120] – Phoebe
So kind of the first category is any sort of structural impediments. A lot of people have had any sort of abdominal surgery, even if it's laparoscopic, you kind of have this internal scar tissue that you may not know about that kind of restricts or changes the movement.

[00:20:13.060] – Allan
And that even includes a hysterectomy, right?

[00:20:14.770] – Phoebe
Yeah, yeah. And like not to scare you, but if you have some sort of tumor like that, it's going to change the structure of the abdomen and endometriosis is a big one for women. It causes the endometrial lining to occur outside of the uterus, and that can mean a lot of growth that are bearing down on the intestines. It also can mean a lot of laparoscopic surgeries. So, check check both boxes there.

[00:20:38.890] – Phoebe
The second big category has to do with something called the migrating motor complex. Again, something that I never heard of when I just did my basic gut research prior. But this is the street sweeper wave that moves food through your small intestine. So it's not like the same as peristalsis. It's kind of described as cleaning up the dishes after a meal. So it just helps literally to kind of like conveyor belt food through. And so when that breaks down and it can for so many different reasons, then that's, of course, going to equate to an overgrowth very easily.

[00:21:16.330] – Phoebe
The third category, I would say, is just various ways that bacteria aren't killed. So someone with an immune deficiency, someone with low stomach acid, someone with out a gallbladder, anyone who's not producing enough enzymes or bile, that's of course, all those ingredients were designed by your body to neutralize unwanted bacteria because bacteria is coming into our body through our nose and mouth every single day. It's just part of the way of life. So, again, like included in those ingredients could be yeast or fungus. And our body is naturally going to have a certain level of bacteria and fungus, but not in the small intestines per say, because we're meant to have a lot of bile and acid in there and we're meant to have this street sweeper wave moving things through

[00:22:11.320] – Phoebe
The second category, I think of the overlapping conditions that you mentioned would kind of fall under hormones. Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, which is what I wrote about in my last book, The Wellness Project, I didn't even realize, really goes hand in hand with SIBO. And it's because you need a healthy gut in order to have your inactive thyroid hormone T4 converted into T3, which is the active thyroid hormone. But on the flipside, you need the T3 hormone in order to have a healthy gut so it can become this real vicious cycle, as many things with SIBO can.

[00:22:51.520] – Phoebe
So that's one. And then estrogen dominance you mentioned again comes down to hormones. So our liver is such an important player in the digestive process if your liver is not functioning up to snuff, you're going to not be carrying out your estrogen in the way you should, and then that could create estrogen dominance. And you also could have estrogen dominance because of all the hormones in dairy products and the animals we eat and the personal care products we put on our body. There are just so many ways that that can happen.

[00:23:23.390] – Phoebe
And then guess what? Estrogen dominance can also prevent you from converting your thyroid hormones properly. So all of these things, again, do feed into one another. And another funny one with the Hashimoto's and estrogen dominance connection is that if you're not pooping and stuff which can happen is a very common symptom of Hashimoto's, because if you're not if you don't have enough T3 in circulation, the migrating motor complex doesn't work as well. So again, you're going to have a motility issue. You tend to not be able to absorb your B12 as much, which also leads to brain fog. So, yeah, again, you're not pooping enough, then you're going to have estrogen dominant because you're not getting rid of your excess hormones.

[00:24:16.910] – Phoebe
Oh, gosh, that's a lot to keep track of.

[00:24:19.880] – Allan
It is. And that's why I think this book is valuable, because if you're going through this, you have this is a reference. Now, one of the things you got into in the book that I thought was really important because, prior to this, again, I knew there was IBS. We've talked about the low FODMAP diet on the podcast before. But if you can segment this and start to understand exactly what's going on in your body, then you're going to have the right treatment protocol to get things done well, rather than just have to do a full on. Let's just cut everything out, do this huge elimination diet and all of that. You can basically refine how you're approaching things and deal with them the right way, is the testing. And so if you go through and say, okay, I'm going to do the testing, you can get some information about what might be going on. But even that is a little bit of a complexity.

[00:25:13.340] – Phoebe

[00:25:13.850] – Allan
Can you talk a little bit about the testing?

[00:25:16.190] – Phoebe
Sure. So, I get people who write me and are saying I got a stool test and it says I have SIBO. And I just have to politely say, there is no stool test that can tell you if you have SIBO that's really just covering the large intestine. So the main testing for determining SIBO is a breath test and it makes you feel a little bit like a mad scientist when you do it. Essentially the trick is you have to kind of prep your system similar to an endoscopies, a colonoscopy, not as intense, not as crazy, but by modifying your diet for 24 hours before only doing white rice and lean meats, you're trying to make sure that there's nothing left in the canal that could cross react, then fasting for 24 hours, then the morning of you drink a sugar solution. And there are a few different types that they use in these tests.

[00:26:08.720] – Phoebe
But essentially you drink this sugar solution and then you breathe into a tube every 15 to 20 minutes, different tests of different intervals, and they measure the levels of gases in your breath. And if they find hydrogen or methane and they're essentially tracking it in those intervals to see how far the sugar solution has made it down your intestinal track. Because once you reach the third hour and it in theory has reached the large intestine, you should see a spike in those gases.

[00:26:37.880] – Phoebe
The only reason why you would be seeing these gases in your breath is because of bacteria eating your food. There's no other reason. So if you see within the first hour or two some sort of spike with hydrogen or methane, that could mean an overgrowth. And it is a little bit of the Wild West, different labs and different countries, all and different doctors all have different criteria for what levels constitute a SIBO diagnosis. But at the very least, like a lot of studies have compiled, all the data can see that a positive breath test does correlate to having someone experience some relief after treatment.

[00:27:16.670] – Phoebe
So whether you want to call it SIBO or not, there's something wrong that in your digestive system. The treatments for SIBO seem to work. And one of the reasons why that is, is there are different treatments for different types of bugs that are overgrowing. So it's important to kind of see if you're hydrogen dominant or methane dominant or a third type, which now they just introduced a test to test all three at once, which is hydrogen sulfide, dominant.

[00:27:42.410] – Phoebe
So it's it's a very complicated and imprecise science, but that's the best we got right now.

[00:27:50.030] – Allan
Well, and that is what we have. And you've put a lot of that in the book. So, again, as a reference, I think anyone that's suffering from IBS or SIBO would want to kind of go through this. Now, we don't really have time on a podcast. Like this to go through all the treatment, things that you should consider and all that, but you you hit like really quickly in the book The 10 Treatment Rules of Thumb. Could you kind of just walk us through those real quick? Because I think this is this will give someone an idea of what's involved in actually going through a treatment protocol.

[00:28:21.790] – Phoebe
Yeah, I wish I could remember them. I should, like, open the book and have my cheat sheet in front of me. But essentially, there are three buckets. There are different types of antimicrobials. One is a conventional antibiotic and there are a few different types. And the kind of main one for hydrogen SIBO is not as harmful to the large intestines as some conventional ones. It's really designed specifically for SIBO and does a great job and just eradicating the Zebo and not affecting the balance in large intestines. Then there is some herbal options. So just natural combinations, compound formulas of herbal antimicrobials and some antifungals in there as well.

[00:29:04.510] – Phoebe
And some doctors prefer to just use like singular herbs when targeting. Unfortunately, those have a little bit more of a wide, broad range, broad spectrum reach. So people who think, oh, I want to go the natural route, it's not necessarily better or worse. I personally want the natural route because I'm one of those people. I'm like, I want to do the natural thing. But they're not innocuous. A really powerful plant medicine. So something to keep in mind.

[00:29:30.280] – Phoebe
And then there is this one category called the Elemental Diet, which is not a diet at all. It is, in fact, a medical solution. That is, all of your nutrients boil down to their most elemental form so that they absorb immediately upon reaching the small intestine so they don't make it through far enough for your bacteria to ever feast on them and the treatment plan is to do it for two weeks, which is a long time to just be drinking your food. But it appeals to some people.

[00:30:01.720] – Phoebe
With the the varied options in your toolkit, you can really look at what are your lifestyle priorities? Do you want to do you want to get this thing done quickly? Do you want something that's the least expensive? Because budget is your main concern. Do you not want do you want to have a social life and not have to drink your nutrients every single day and actually go out to dinner with your friends? These are all things to keep to keep in mind.

[00:30:24.820] – Phoebe
But I think the most important part of treatment, and I'm sure this was in my commandments, which I wrote a long time ago, so I can't remember off the cuff. It really comes down to you can get rid of the bacteria, you can do all these kill protocols. But that's only the first leg of the labyrinth because, again, it's SIBO is just a sign that there's something that's not right. So if it's your migrating motor complex, if it's that you have low stomach acid, if it's that you have some sort of structural issue, you kind of need to uncover those root causes if you don't want SIBO to recur, because that's why it's a chronic condition, is when people don't take the time to uncover those root causes and some of them you cannot fix. But if you know about them, if you're able to keep them in mind, there are lifestyle ways to try and protect yourself as much as possible.

[00:31:17.530] – Allan
Sometimes minimizing the damage is the best way to do. Now, you mentioned something, and I think it's really important because most of us actually do want to have a life, and when things get back to normal, we're going to want to go on dates with our spouse, meet a friend for lunch or something like that. We're going to get back to doing that one of these days. If I've got this stomach issue, now I've got a fear, a deep seated fear that I really can't be out in public eating like that or I really don't know how to approach it because I don't know what to eat at a restaurant. You talked about in the book. Can you talk a little bit about how do I plan for and actually go out and eat.

[00:32:05.480] – Phoebe
Yeah. So first of all, I'll put the the whole concept of diet in the context of treatment and where it fits in. And it is kind of one of the questions I get asked the most because people are quite confused about it because again, low FODMAP map really, really data back for reducing IBS symptoms does necessarily cure SIBO or help kill the bacteria. Most doctors say on its own, no.

[00:32:27.710] – Phoebe
So there are plenty of people who will go through a SIBO treatment and won't make a single change to their diet and they end up fine. That's not most people because again, there's usually a big overlap of other issues, especially autoimmune issues that happen with SIBO.

[00:32:43.310] – Phoebe
So the low FODMAP diet is kind of twofold. A, you're trying to get rid of some of the things that are making your body most reactive, making the bacteria most reactive so that you can quiet your immune system and start to heal your gut. Then there's kind of the second camp of thinking, OK, well, I'm starving the bacteria by taking away their favorite foods. I think that's probably less true. And again, why it's not like a treatment in and of itself.

[00:33:12.020] – Phoebe
So a lot of people will recommend you do the kill protocol, the quote unquote kill protocol first and then layer on a low FODMAP diet to just help with symptoms. Some people say you can just do it and have it be imperfect. So making sure you're kind of like feeding the bacteria every now and then so that the antibiotics and antimicrobials actually work properly. There's different thinking on it, period. But I will say a lot of people do end up layering in the diet because it makes them feel better. And it's the one thing that you have to control to feel better immediately, because that doesn't always happen with the medication. They're hard core medications, even the herbs. And you may sometimes feel worse when you first go on that because there's a lot of killing involved and that comes with its own toxins and side effects.

[00:34:00.830] – Phoebe
So a lot of people end up on these SIBO diets and they end up not having much of a social life because they can't eat out, because one of the biggest categories of ingredients to remove on a low fat diet or a SIBO diet is garlic and onion, which is in 99% everything.

[00:34:17.390] – Allan
The delicious things.

[00:34:20.222] – Phoebe
Yeah. It's actually really easy, as you'll see in the book, to create gorgeous, delicious food at home without those things. But restaurants have not gotten that memo. There's usually some of it in everything.

[00:34:32.450] – Phoebe
But, yeah, I think it comes down to just mindset. And I know a lot of people with Sebo who just have such food fear because, food is associated with symptoms. My biggest piece of advice is if you stray from this diet, if you have symptoms, it's not going to necessarily make SIBO come back. It's not going to set you back beyond the cycle of your digestive system. So you may feel crappy for a day or two, but after that, you're going to be fine. It's not causing any permanent damage. So there is some leeway there for you to go out and have fun. And, if there's a little bit of garlic in your food, it might make you feel bloated and miserable, but you have to just kind of let that go and accept that as a consequence and as a proper tradeoff for having time with your friends and family.

[00:35:21.710] – Phoebe
It's harder for vegetarians, I would say, to eat out. But there is usually a scenario at most restaurants, especially like French and Italian, which do have a lot of garlic and onion. But you can usually call ahead. And there's usually a way to have like a piece of protein that's grilled or or seared plain and a side of salad or wilted spinach. I think having done this for a while, if you explain your medical predicament in the off hours before you arrive, then there's usually something that can be done for you that doesn't have to be a spectacle at the table.

[00:35:55.010] – Allan
Yeah, having worked in the restaurant business, I can tell you, if you're calling it six o'clock for seven o'clock dinner, they're busy. And so the little girl's going to answer the phone on the at the front of the house and she's going to go back there and say, you really want me to tell the chef this? And it's not going to make it to the chef.

[00:36:12.800] – Phoebe

[00:36:13.310] – Allan
Whereas if you call at two o'clock in the afternoon when she's basically cutting lemons and wrapping silverware. She'll be able to go back there and the chef is at that point starting the prep and everything, and maybe you talk to the sous chef, maybe talk to the chef. But, yeah, just saying, I've got I've got an issue with garlic and onions. Could I have prepared without them or what would you recommend off your menu? In many cases, they might even have something on their menu that they can just recommend straight away.

[00:36:41.390] – Allan
Or you can ask them to modify a few things, get your protein, get the vegetables and that are appropriate for you and charge on. And this is with any way of eating.

[00:36:51.150] – Phoebe

[00:36:52.100] – Allan
You're the customer that you're the patron coming into that restaurant. So take ownership, make the phone call, get the menu out and have the conversation with them and you should be able to figure it out.

[00:37:08.010] – Phoebe
Yeah, I have a friend who has lupus and really can't have any salt. Otherwise, she'll potentially have kidney failure. And that's, again, very hard to do at a restaurant because a lot of the meats are preseasoned and marinated, a lot of even vegetables that are blanched in a pot of salted water in advance, like it can be a real minefield. And she has a very cute laminated card with a note from her mother. That's like it's just like, please don't kill me. And she just asked the waitstaff to take it back into the kitchen. She has places by her house where she knows the staff and the chef and they know what to do with her. She can call in advance. But in last minute scenarios, she has to go back with the card. And people always find something for her. It's maybe sad. It's not ideal, but like they always find a way. So, yes, if you can appeal to someone's conscience or sense of wanting to feed you, that's great.

[00:38:09.060] – Allan
Well, that's why they get into that business. That's what they want. So, yeah, you're just asking them to do it in a more responsible way for you. And that's good.

[00:38:19.070] – Allan
Phoebe, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:38:27.800] – Phoebe
Oh man. So many. So forgive me if I said some of these the last time around because I'm so grateful that I did my wellness project before the CIBO experience, because it really did teach me a lot. And I already had a pretty robust toolkit in terms of the lifestyle stuff that helped me on my way with SIBO. But I would say, number one, set yourself up for success at home so you can find more freedom out in the world, assuming we'll all be more out in the world at some point.

[00:38:58.790] – Phoebe
But maybe this past year has been a blessing in disguise for a lot of people setting themselves up in that way at home. So I think kind of one time swaps for me, just like switching everything over to natural's in terms of cleaners, personal care products, et cetera, was huge. And I never have to think about it again.

[00:39:15.680] – Phoebe
And the three meals a day that I eat where I have to think about putting a filter on my tap, never have to think about getting chemicals out of my water again. I just know that those things are lowering my toxic burden every single day without me having to lend any sort of mindspace to it.

[00:39:36.800] – Phoebe
Then I would say number two is more specific to SIBO is that how you eat is much more important than what you eat. I know the information circulating out there is always around what you're eating, but again, thinking about kind of the mechanics of your digestive system, how you eat it truly is much more important.

[00:39:57.800] – Phoebe
So that migrating motor complex, it only kicks into gear during a fasting state of 90 minutes or more. So that means it doesn't matter what you're eating, but if you're snacking all the time, if you're grabbing for a couple almonds and even if it's not prepackaged, like but certainly prepacked is the so that it doesn't matter, like your you're stopping that function from kicking into gear and that's going to prevent food from moving through your system in the way it was meant to.

[00:40:25.250] – Phoebe
And then number three, I would just say, like, do not forget about the the mind gut connection and the power of mindset in general. I do think if we stress too much about what we're eating, it doesn't matter how much kale or what have you is on your plate. You're not going to be healthy and you could be creating symptoms without even knowing it. I know that happens to a lot of SIBO people on the other side of treatment.

[00:40:50.540] – Phoebe
And when they're starting to reintroduce, there's just so much fear around it that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So for that reason, I'd say like if you have IBS, if you have a lot of gut issues, don't just look into all these protocols, but maybe also look into a modality that's not talked about as much like hypnotherapy for IBS, just as effective as the low FODMAP diet for reducing symptoms. And I would say probably has more of a holistic impact on your overall condition.

[00:41:20.640] – Allan
Thank you, Phoebe. If someone wanted to learn more about you or about the book, SIBO Made Simple, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:41:28.530] – Phoebe
You can send them to SIBOmadesimple.com for everything about the book and to get some of the bonuses, which will still be available after launch. And for recipes, you can go to feedmephoebe.com and really just to keep up with my my usual happenings, the best place to go is Instagram, which is just my name at Phoebe Lapine.

[00:41:51.540] – Allan
Cool. So you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/475 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Phoebe, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:42:01.980] – Phoebe
Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:42:08.070] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:42:09.690] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Wow! I don't know that SIBO is very simple. It sounds like a very complicated situation.

[00:42:16.410] – Allan
It is. I compared it to a Rubik's Cube. And that's kind of one of those puzzles that I've never really ever wrap my mind completely around. There is an algorithm to it that they tell you, get this side worked and then you can just start doing these things. And over time, you're going to end up with with a solved puzzle. I'm not going to say that this is that simple, but Phoebe did do a pretty good job of putting together an algorithm for you, for lack of a better word, approach, a program to kind of help you deal with this, because it isn't simple.

[00:42:51.700] – Allan
It's just not a simple thing. And it's never necessarily even one thing. Sometimes you've got two or three things all coming in together. And that complexity means that most of the time you go to your doctor and you're going to hear, oh, you have IBS.

[00:43:07.050] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:43:07.710] – Allan
Are they going to know what's causing the IBS. Not necessarily. So you have this syndrome that they really haven't defined what's wrong with you. And they can try they'll try different things. But in many cases, it's just going to make things worse. So Phoebe did do a really good job of making it as simple as it can be. So if you're dealing with this, I mean, just something I've never really had to deal with. I've got a steel tank for a stomach that can pretty much I'm going to be fine.

[00:43:36.630] – Rachel
Lucky you!

[00:43:38.300] – Allan
The only thing I've ever eaten that I that I probably had to stress with was was durian fruit in Malaysia. And the problem I had was. One, it smells horrible, too. It doesn't taste that good. They like it and the Japanese like it. But and then three, it made me extremely gassy. And I had it the day before I got on an airplane for the States. So yeah, 15 hours on an airplane after eating durian fruit. I was not a very popular person.

[00:44:08.910] – Rachel
That's so aweful.

[00:44:11.700] – Allan
Otherwise I can pretty much eat anything. And I do well. I don't have a lot of stomach distress, but I recognize the impact it has on people's lives. If you're having to wait for a movement in the morning before you feel comfortable and confident to leave the house, that's that's not a good scene. That's not how you want to live. And so making sure that you're doing the right lifestyle things to to manage your health and manage your gut microbiome, because there are no real short, simple answers.

[00:44:45.930] – Rachel
Yeah. It's a good thing she wrote this book because SIBO is such an unusual situation. And the thing with IBS is that it has a broad range of of symptoms and it's hard to sometimes put your finger on. And like you mentioned, it's hard to get diagnosed properly. So to have this kind of handbook to highlight some of the key points, to watch for or to or even the treatments to try seems like a really beneficial thing for such a unique disease or problem.

[00:45:15.750] – Allan
And to your to your point there, I mean, yeah, when constipation and diarrhea are both symptoms of the same thing.

[00:45:22.110] – Rachel
Oh my gosh. It happens all the time and it could be just something you ate or it could be the signs of a bigger looming problem. It's hard to figure out.

[00:45:33.390] – Allan
Yeah, but if it's something you're dealing with on a day to day basis, you've got to actually put the time in and get that fixed because that's that's pulling away from the quality of your life. And, I say this at the end of every show, you know what? What are the things that you would do to be healthy and fit and happy? Those are all in my wellness formula. You have to have all three. And if you're dealing with stomach distress and other symptoms of SIBO, it's worth taking the time to work through some of these protocols and try to get that under control.

[00:46:05.730] – Allan
And one of the cool things about the human body and particularly our digestive track is it heals itself. So if you take the time to do those things, you might not ever have to deal with this again. Once you've solved the problem, unlike a lot of other chronic illnesses, you have to keep treating it. You have to keep dealing with it. But SIBO is one of those things that once you kind of get that bacteria out of your small intestine, once you get the maybe even the fungi, because, again, the SIFO, once you get that stuff done and out of your system, if you're eating right and you're doing the right lifestyle things, it's probably not going to come back. And that's that's a very positive message to kind of take out of this is, if irritable bowel syndrome syndrome is something that you deal with on a regular basis, there is a solution. And Phoebe has done a really good job of mapping that out, taking care of herself. This is something she personally went through. And then she's done the research a lot of really good research with that to put forward solutions for you.

[00:47:10.950] – Rachel
That's really wonderful. It's nice to have that ray of sunshine knowing that it's treatable and you may not ever have to deal with it once you know how to treat it and maybe watch the foods to avoid are the the way of eating that you should avoid.

[00:47:27.820] – Allan
I finished up the pre launch of my 12 week program and man, I cannot tell you how proud I am of the 12 people that went through this program.

Yay, they worked… they're working so hard because they're still in it. It's 12 week program. Some of them started all the way back in early December, the last days of December, even before New Year's Eve. So they they didn't wait for New Year's resolutions. They jumped on it. And then I've got others that have just come in recently. So they're just kind of getting started. But it's like having a family now.

I mean, we're really, really cool to have people that are all going through a common mission, try to get healthy and fit to try to lose some weight. And they're doing it and they're doing it. And it's not always a straight line and then gathers struggles just like any other thing that's worth having. But they're putting the work in and it's just so rewarding to watch people succeed at something that they've struggled with. One of the clients in there, she said before we got on there, she says, is it can you even lose weight when you're over 50?

[00:48:30.740] – Rachel
Oh, wow.

[00:48:31.640] – Allan
She had this limiting belief that you couldn't lose weight after the age of 50, particularly if you're a woman, that she was just destined to stay overweight.

[00:48:42.260] – Rachel

[00:48:43.610] – Allan
She's learning so much about her body and learning so much about how she can get healthy and as a really cool side effect of being healthy, losing weight. It's just it's just really exciting to see that change in people. So I'm loving what I'm doing right now.

[00:48:58.760] – Rachel
That is so exciting. What are some of the commonalities you're seeing? Are you seeing people moving more or making some really neat swaps with their diet? What are you seeing with your change with your group?

[00:49:09.880] – Allan
It's a little bit of all of it, because as as as we look at making changes like this that are not just a diet, so you go in and say, Okay, here, I'm going to go on, I'm going to go on a diet and then I'm going to do that. So I lose the five pounds or the 15 pounds that we're trying to lose here. And then you say, okay, I'll just I'll go back to eating what I ate before because I lost the weight. And guess what happens? The weight comes back and it comes back with a vengeance. And people like I don't understand, I diet and then again, all back. Well, you didn't stay eating a way that was sustainable for your body. So what we're trying to do here is we're trying to look at. Moving more, you've got a trainer that's giving you workouts and holding you accountable, then you have the guidance and support and accountability that you need just to remain active. So that's there.

[00:49:57.350] – Allan
And then with the food and everything else is sort of like, Okay, what's sustainable for me. What's the right thing for me? And so I have have 12 people. All of them are eating their own way. They're all unique in what they're doing, the exercises they're doing because they're building a sustainable lifestyle that works for them.

So there are some commonalities. Yes. If you were used to eating a certain food and you're like, I really want pizza, just an aside, so pizza. Pizza's one of those dangerous foods in general because it's high carb and high fat, okay, and that's that's just like you're just telling your body that you don't like it. I just don't get me wrong. I love this too. But it's high fat and it's high carb. And so it's way too many calories for the nutritional value that you're getting from a pizza to be worth it. And so some people, it's just like, okay, they ordered pizza and I scraped the topping off and didn't eat the bread. Is that a good thing? I said yes, better. And then I shared a recipe for what they call the fat head pizza crust, which is just basically cheese and almond flour. And basically you make a crust with that and then you put your toppings on. So is it the healthiest thing or the best nutrition thing in the world? And the answer's no, but it's not high fat, high carb anymore. It's high fat. And what you'll find with the with the fat head type pizza is you just can't eat six slices of this stuff.

[00:51:37.704] – Rachel
Gosh no!

[00:51:40.740] – Allan
You're going to eat one or two slices and say, oh, my goodness, I am I am full. And you're six hours later, you're still going to be full. Ao that's one of the advantages of of things like that when you're when you're you're looking at the not just the calories in, calories out because it is a thing. But we're going to I'm going to talk about that in an upcoming podcast. But there's also the what you're eating and are you getting the nutrition you need. And there's the hormone piece. And so all of those are layers on something that's a very complex thing that everybody want a simple rule.

[00:52:15.200] – Allan
Tell me what to eat. Tell me what's naughty. And it's it's never really that simple, because if I told someone they could never have pizza again every single day of their lives, they're going to be craving pizza because I said they couldn't have it. So not saying you can't have it just under. And what it is, I have a plan and then manage to that.

[00:52:38.310] – Allan
If you slip up, it's like, okay, you went out with friends and you had a piece of pizza. You're not going to die.

[00:52:46.360] – Rachel

[00:52:47.590] – Allan
But now you put the carbs in your system, you put the high fat in your system, and you feel a little bloated, you feel a little bad the next day because you did it. And if you did it for the right reasons, then that's great. But if you didn't, then lesson learned. Let's move on.

[00:53:05.030] – Allan
There's not one common lesson. And I think that's why at times I've used cookie cutter stuff and it generally works for most people. But some of those things are just not sustainable because they're cookie cutter.

[00:53:19.000] – Rachel

[00:53:19.630] – Allan
They're not designed for you. And so everything I'm doing with this program is completely custom. And so I'm talking to each and every person, what do you like to eat? What do you do? I've got a vegetarian in there. Other people that were like, you mean I get to eat meat and I'm like, you get to eat meat, you should be eating meat if you like meat, it's got tons of great nutrition in it. You don't have to ignore or throw out an entire food group. And no, I don't consider carbs a food group. I consider vegetables a food group. I consider meat a food group. And so I'm not saying you can't have carbs, you can have some carbs, but you want to get it from sources that are actually food.

[00:54:02.180] – Rachel

[00:54:02.800] – Allan
And pizza dough is not actually food.

[00:54:07.290] – Rachel
No nutrients in that that's for sure.

[00:54:09.910] – Allan
Well, they might they might enrich the the flour with with some B vitamin, niacin. But at best that's that said it's enriched flour but it's flour and it's going to be blood sugar and it's going to be insulin and then it's going to be fat.

[00:54:25.900] – Rachel

[00:54:26.800] – Allan
Because you're eating the high fat on top of that, the calories are higher and boom, it's like, OK, we've got all this stuff, let's just start storing it because I got nothing. I got nothing to do with this. And so it just stores it as fat. And so, that's the unfortunate reality of things, is you don't have to say no, but you might have to substitute or if you're going to do it, at least understanding what it's going to mean in your overall approach to health and wellness.

[00:54:55.990] – Rachel
That sounds awesome. Well, I'm really excited for all your people who get these customized training programs and and tips and and all this support from you. I'm really excited to see that success. That's wonderful.

[00:55:08.120] – Allan
Yeah, they're having… I'm having a ball. They don't know exactly. But at the same time, I'm saying, well, what do you what are you missing? What's not there that you want there? And for the most part, they're not really missing much.

[00:55:25.600] – Rachel
No, but it's a big habit change, though when you're used to eating something or moving in a certain way, sometimes it's really hard to make those big changes. But once they try it, it leads to other things. When you are starting to eat well, you can move better. And when you're starting to move better, you want to eat better. So it's like a snowball. Once it gets rolling, it gets better. So that's exciting.

[00:55:53.110] – Allan
Anything else you want to go over, Rachel, before we call it a day?

[00:55:56.140] – Rachel
No, today was a good one, but thank you.


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Another episode you may enjoy


How to solve your energy equation with Dr. Sarah Myhill

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In her book, The Energy Equation, Dr. Sarah Myhill shows us why finding the right energy balance is critical for a long, healthy life.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:57.390] – Allan
Raz, how's your week going?

[00:02:00.390] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:02.460] – Allan
I'm doing all right. In the 80s during the day and 70s at night. My wife and I are starting to try to do our transition, move over to the bed and breakfast she bought. Our rent runs out at the end of March for the apartment. So she pretty much wants to be moved over there. And here you can't really leave a property unattended overnight. People will break in and steal things. So we have to stay there. I go by the apartment every once while just to see it's still there. But because I'm paying rent. But yeah. So we're doing kind of a move right now.

[00:02:41.340] – Allan
And then of course, I did get the gym open February 1st. Trying to run the gym and slow grow and we've got people coming in. But it's nice to have, you know, that back going again. So it's it's good times. How about you?

[00:02:56.640] – Rachel
Sounds exciting. Well, we're the exact opposite of you right now. We have some Arctic air coming in, so we're in the single digits and sometimes those have a negative in front of them as well. So I am avoiding the outside while we are in those single digits and spending some time in my gym. So I just did a spin bike for about an hour this morning and doing some drills and just trying to keep warm as best I can.

[00:03:27.250] – Allan
I'm going to tell you this. This morning I think it got down to… it might have got down all the way to 70.

[00:03:35.460] – Rachel
Oh, gosh, I would love right now.

[00:03:38.550] – Allan
Yes, I would say it was like probably for the folks that are doing Celsius, about 22 degrees Celsius. And I was cold. I was like, I'm going to have to put a sweatshirt on.

[00:03:53.700] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh, I need three layers of clothing. If I even go outside to get the mail.

[00:03:59.710] – Allan
You'll lose toes.

[00:04:01.220] – Rachel
Right? Yeah.

[00:04:03.560] – Allan
But I did see on Facebook that I guess Holland or New Holland, I forget the city name.

[00:04:09.710] – Rachel

[00:04:10.940] – Allan
Holland has heated sidewalks, so that's cool. So tell us a little bit about that.

[00:04:17.180] – Rachel
I don't know a ton about it, but I believe that there's a wastewater treatment plant downtown or a plant of some sort where they need to recirculate their water. And when it comes out all nice and hot, it needs to go somewhere. So why not underneath the sidewalks of the downtown? So this heated water goes through all these coils underneath these beautiful brick sidewalks. They've got about almost five miles at this point of sidewalks that are heated for this treatment plant's hot water.

[00:04:47.300] – Rachel
And it's amazing because it can melt snow at such a rate. So even when it's snowing full blown snow like we get in Michigan, it is able to keep up with certain inches per hour, a couple of inches per hour of snow, which is quite a bit. So when we got there the other day to run the heated sidewalks, there was dry brick pavement to run and no slipping and sliding, not even slush. And it is a stark contrast because the roads are totally full of snow. We actually got probably about seven inches of snow over the weekend. So it's amazing to see these perfectly dry sidewalks in stark contrast to the snowy roads. It was it's pretty amazing.

[00:05:30.770] – Allan
So when are you going to make Michael do that with your running path?

[00:05:33.800] – Rachel
We are so close. That'll be that'll be our summer projects. Maybe because there there's houses that have these sidewalks that go along the side of their house so they literally don't have to shovel that portion of their sidewalk, which I'm telling you would just be heaven. It's pretty amazing.

[00:05:53.330] – Allan
Shoveling is good exercise, too.

[00:05:55.340] – Rachel
It is. It is a good workout for sure.

[00:05:59.300] – Allan
All right. So today we have on Dr. Sarah Myhill and she did the PK Cookbook, which is a Paleo Keto cookbook. And today we're going to talk about her book, The Energy Equation. So are you ready to get into that?

[00:06:14.590] – Rachel
Let's go.



[00:06:38.180] – Allan
Dr. Myhill. Welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:41.150] – Dr. Myhill
Thank you for inviting me, Allan. You're always a very good questioner.

[00:06:45.470] – Allan
Well, good. Now, the last time we had you on, we were talking about the PK Cookbook, which was the paleo ketogenic cookbook. Very good cookbook, by the way. Very good approach towards nutrition. And now your new book is The Energy Equation: From the Naked Ape to the Knackered Ape. And you did in the book, you explain that knackered for you americans out there just means tired or exhausted.

[00:07:13.370] – Allan
When I have a conversation with someone when they want to go in and get into personal training, I'll be like, Okay, what's what's going on? And of course, there's the weight gain and there's the other things that they're they're worried about. But I hear fatigue in just about every single one of those conversations.

[00:07:36.920] – Dr. Myhill
Yeah. Fatigue is the commonest symptom that presents in Western medicine and the worst treated.

[00:07:44.240] – Allan
I agree, because in many cases we we don't know what we don't know. You get you get tired and most people will say, that's and that's just getting old. You know, you're just getting old. You got to slow down.

[00:08:00.540] – Dr. Myhill
Yeah, but age doesn't cause anything. Age is not a mechanism. Age is a clinical picture. Age doesn't cause. You say we have to ask what is it about age that causes fatigue? And I think that age is great. You blame for fatigue when there are other eminently treatable aspects.

[00:08:20.660] – Allan
Right. Now, we're not talking about the, I didn't get enough sleep last night, I sleep well every other night, so I'm just a little tired or I went out and did a four hour walk or run, and now I'm really knackered. So we're talking about the chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalitis. Kind of these deep-rooted conditions that we could be going through.

[00:08:51.040] – Dr. Myhill
Well, that's one part of the spectrum. Now, I learned so much about treating the symptoms of fatigue through my work with patients with ME and chronic fatigue syndrome. But what I find is that exactly the same principles applied to people who are otherwise well will improve their energy levels and improve their level of functioning. And even more importantly, when you apply these techniques to athletes, you improve their level of functioning as well.

[00:09:21.160] – Dr. Myhill
So the techniques we're going to talk about today are common to everybody. It doesn't matter if you've got chronic fatigue syndrome. If you're old, if you're young, if you're well, if you're a top athlete, we can all improve our energy mechanisms. Well, attention to these details.

[00:09:34.370] – Allan
And I think the deeper concept here is kind of hit me in the gut a little bit was that if you feel like you're suffering from fatigue, the root causes of it are kind of the same metabolic problems that we have that cause cancers, coronaries, diabetes, dementia, just everything that we equate to getting old.

[00:09:58.460] – Dr. Myhill
Absolutely. Absolutely, 100 percent. And not only do you improve how you feel now, but by putting in place these interventions, you greatly protect yourself from the risk of those nasty diseases that you describe. And that's why it's so important. We should all do it now. Don't wait for something nasty to happen. Really grasp the nettle now.

[00:10:21.190] – Allan
Now you use the title, The Energy Equation. And I love that because it's a conversation that comes up all the time when we're talking about weight loss. It's energy in energy out and calories, in calories out. I try to explain to people that it's not that thermodynamics doesn't work in the human body. It does. But we've got it backwards, I think. We have it backwards. The trying to burn out the calories and do more and get more done. And just the modern lifestyles we have and the approaches we have towards energy. It's kind of backwards, isn't it?

[00:10:57.790] – Dr. Myhill
Yes. What we know for absolutely for sure is that part that you describe, i.e. it's calories in and calories out. There's no relationship to effective weight loss because if you reduce the calories that you are eating, then the body thinks, oh, we're in starvation. Right. There's a famine and it shuts down energy burning and it's the body shuts down energy buring that makes you fatigued, it makes the foggy brain. You can't think clearly. It makes you depressed, it makes you anxious. Everything slows down. And that is no fun at all. The body just balances up energy burning or calories burnt to the calories consumed. So there's much more effective ways of losing weight which we can come onto, which do not involve calorie restriction.

[00:11:46.410] – Allan
I think one of the keys here as I was getting into it and you quoted someone I can't remember the exact quote, because it was in English, but it was kind of an older English. And it was old called currency. The basic premise was that the opposite of fatigue is effectively having a slight energy surplus where we have just a little more energy than we need to function well. And then that extra energy gives us the energy to decide, hey, I feel good. I think I'll go for a run or a bike ride or hike or something. Talk a little bit about how we should view the energy in part of this equation.

[00:12:30.500] – Dr. Myhill
OK, well, the point is we all have a certain bucket of energy that we can spend in the day. Now, if we spend more energy than we have available to us, then we die because we haven't got the energy for the heart to work, for the brain to work, for the gut to work, then the body will simply die. Now, the brain of the body cannot therefore permit you to spend more energy than you have available to you.

[00:12:57.470] – Dr. Myhill
And so what it does is it gives you symptoms that which warn you that your energy is starting to empty. And in the book, The Energy Equation in detail, those symptoms, the symptoms we all know about fatigue, no stamina, short of breath, foggy brain, can't think clearly. And then the brain gives the symptoms that stop the spending energy, like depression, like anxiety. The symptoms are very important. They guide us. They tell us about the energy gap.

[00:13:25.130] – Dr. Myhill
But if you've got plenty of energy, if you've got an abundance of energy, for all the reasons we can talk about, then then you have the ability to spend it and then you can yes, you can get training and not pay for it the next day. Yes, get physically fit. Yes. You can take on mental projects, new businesses, new horizons, new hobbies, because you have the mental energy to deal with that.

[00:13:47.930] – Dr. Myhill
So what that means is there's two sides of the energy equation. First of all, I have to advise you how to make your energy bucket as large as is possible. You've got plenty of energy spend in a day, and then we have to look at how the body is spending energy and may be wasting energy. Because the gap between the two gives us the energy to have a life with and spending energy mentally and physically is having fun. It's called living life, though the techniques they make, as I call it, the holes in the empty bucket smaller and would improve the mechanisms by which we generate energy. So we have plenty to go at.

[00:14:28.350] – Dr. Myhill
I think of energy is money and without money we can't live. And if you've got an abundance of money, you can have a lot of fun and have a jolly good time. If you're wasting money, then you haven't got the money to spend on the things you like doing. It's exactly the same with energy.

[00:14:45.250] – Allan
Now, you mentioned something that is really, really important is the kind of the leakage, the holes in the bucket, if you will. Most people when you start talking about energy, they're thinking in terms of, oh, I need to exercise to burn energy. And that is one way that we would use some of the energy that's available to us. But it's actually a very small percentage of what we would actually use in a day. Can you talk about some of the energy outs and why it's critical for us to make sure that we have an abundance of energy coming in to be able to handle these functions?

[00:15:18.970] – Dr. Myhill
Well, an astonishing statistic in my mind, is that about two-thirds of all the energy that the body generates just goes to staying alive. That's called basal metabolism and keeping warm the heart beating efficiently as a pump, the brain working efficiently. I mean, at rest, although the brain weighs just two percent of body weight, it consumes 20 percent of all the energy that the body generates. So the brain is using an enormous amount.

[00:15:47.980] – Dr. Myhill
But the organ that uses the most energy of all is the liver. And the liver at rest uses twenty-seven percent of all the energy that the body generates. And the reason for that is the liver has to deal with what comes from the gut. The liver is there to mop up the toxic products that come from the gut. And although we think food is good for us and of course it's essential for life, food is actually a potentially toxic soup. And if you eat poor-quality food, you will end up with a fermenting gut. And when you've got a fermenting gut, you will be fermenting those sugars and carbohydrates to alcohol, to the lactate, to hydrogen sulfide. You will be producing lots of bacteria and fungi with bacterial endotoxin and fungal mycotoxins. And that all gets absorbed and it goes in via the portal vein to the liver. And the liver has to deal with that toxic soup. And that requires a lot of raw materials and a lot of energy. So the liver is the most energy-consuming part of the body.

[00:16:55.600] – Dr. Myhill
So what that tells us is simply by improving our diet and you mentioned the Paleo-Ketogenic diet. Simply by getting onto a low carbohydrate paleo ketogenic diet, you greatly reduce the work that the liver has to do. And if the liver is not using energy, then it's there for you to use. And so many people, just by doing the diet, turn round to me and say within a couple, three weeks, my energy back I've suddenly got my spark again. I feel 20 years younger. I now know this is how I should be. So the diet is absolutely central to energy delivery mechanisms for that one simple reason. It just reduces the work we have to spend on the liver for just basal metabolism.

[00:17:40.600] – Allan
And to take that one level deeper, there'll be there's things that will come out on the market, raise your metabolism so you can lose weight. And every time I see one of those, I just cringe because that's the exact opposite of what we should be trying to do. Our metabolism is going to be what it's going to be. We can improve it just with the quality of our food and some exercise and other basic functional things we can just do for ourselves. But people will try to take these stimulants basically and they're like bashing a big hole in their bucket.

[00:18:20.640] – Dr. Myhill
I call it flogging a dead horse. That's the saying we have in this country. Yes, you can beat them. They'll do a bit more work. But it's counterproductive in the long term. The supplements that stimulate metabolism does not work. And the most important thing is the first one. We have to improve energy delivery mechanisms. And then, as I call it, look how we are wasting energy. And the gap between the two gives us energy to spend on having a jolly life.

[00:18:48.910] – Dr. Myhill
So the energy equation is all about making that gap as wide as possible.

[00:18:53.850] – Allan
And there's study after study that the lower your metabolism, the longer you live. And that's all part of making it a lot easier to balance this equation. If you're basically doing the right things for your body and your body is optimized. The mitochondria are firing and they're doing what they're supposed to do. You're turning the ATP around and everything's just kind of working for you. The energy just blows out because you stored all this body fat and now your body can say, hey, we don't need this anymore.

[00:19:29.250] – Allan
The liver can get busy because it's got all the energy it needs. And it's like, Okay, now we can do the cleaning up that we need to do as we get rid of this body fat. And it just really kind of is this self-fulfilling prophecy that's backwards in our head. It's not about getting your metabolism to work faster. It's about optimizing your health. So you have an optimized metabolism.

[00:19:52.380] – Dr. Myhill
It's all about efficiency. And the other thing to remember that is so important is we spend energy even during sleep, and it's during sleep that the immune system heals and repairs. So, you can't work, you can't generate energy, you can't do physical exercise. You can't do brain exercise without generating, creating some damage in the body and with good quality sleep and energy and of course, raw materials, the immune system then heals and repairs.

[00:20:20.100] – Dr. Myhill
So this diet and these infections stop you degenerating and ending a degenerative disease is now a major cause of morbidity in people as they get older. So it's just good all round. You can't go wrong with these regimes.

[00:20:37.380] – Allan
Now, since we're talking about optimizing and efficiency and trying to keep our basically say keep our energy out in balance with our energy and and all that, why is it still important to exercise? Because that's burning energy. Why would we still want to exercise?

[00:20:52.440] – Dr. Myhill
Well, first of all, we are functional animals. And primitive man, if he didn't exercise, if he couldn't use his body, then he would simply die from starvation. So we have had millions of years where for optimum health, optimal function, we have to use our bodies. One example of this is if you send astronauts up into space where there's no gravity, moving around, it's very easy. They don't need to use their muscles. They get roaring osteoporosis and they get terrible muscle wastage. And you see also, if you don't use it, you lose it.

[00:21:29.880] – Dr. Myhill
And to be well, we have to have good structure. We have to have strong bones, strong connective tissue. And to maintain that, we need a certain amount of energy and of course, our exercise techniques, which will optimize that so we can do that most efficiently. But the primary thing is to say make the energy bucket as large as possible. And the analogy that I give to my patients is the car analogy. And I like that analogy because I get it in my patients, get it out of your car to go, there are four important players. You've got to have the right fuel in the tank. And we talk about that in the book. It's got to be low carbohydrate because modern that's are far too high in carbs. And we get addicted to them when we crave them and they ferment. And that makes us fatty. So the priority is low carbohydrate.

[00:22:22.440] – Dr. Myhill
And then we have to have, as I call it, the mitochondrial engine and all mammal cells, in fact, all cells in nature pretty much that you look at, except yeast. So plant cells, three cells, mammal cells, insect cells, they are all powered by mitochondria. It's like we have an engine that is common to all to all cells. And every living cell will be powered by those mitochondria. And I think those are the engines because they take fuel from the bloodstream which should be ketones. That is the preferred fuel for mitochondria, not sugars. Ketones in the bloodstream, which they burn in the presence of oxygen to generate the energy molecule ATP.

[00:23:04.880] – Dr. Myhill
So there are some supplements which are very commonly deficient, and as you may not know, I've now published three papers about mitochondria functioning patients with fatigue syndromes. And the bottom line is the more fatigued you are, the worse your mitochondria function and vice versa.

[00:23:24.090] – Dr. Myhill
And there are very common rate limiting step. It's like there are common reasons why your car engine might fail. It might fail because I'm learning about all things, but the spark plugs don't work. The fuel filter is blocked and the timing isn't correct. It's the same with mitochondria. Common things are common. And the the five deficiencies, the time and time again which make mitochondria go slow. Coenzyme Q10, Acetyl Carnitine, Vitamin B3, magnesium, and D Ribose. Those five supplements come up time and time again. I reckon takes about a full month of those supplements and your mitochondria function has a very good chance of improving. That works reliably well.

[00:24:11.320] – Dr. Myhill
Then we have to ask you about mitochondria blocks by something so you could have a first-class engine, but if you throw some sand into it, it's going to lock the engine up in unpredictable ways. It might block the fuel supply, might block the air filters or whatever. And we live in a toxic, polluted world so we can go slow because we have been poisoned by something. I have to say probably the number one cause of poisoning products of the upper fermenting gut.

[00:24:44.050] – Dr. Myhill
If you're eating a diet which is high in sugars and carbohydrates, then there's a great risk that you start to ferment. And what you ferment those sugars and carbohydrates to alcohol, D Lactate, and other compounds. Bacterial endotoxin is produced. Fungal mycotoxins is produced. And all those things poison the mitochondria. So again, your diet is so important in this respect.

[00:25:06.730] – Dr. Myhill
But I learned so much of my stuff from seeing veterans of the Gulf War who have been poisoned by organophosphates, SSIs and organophosphates inhibit oxidative phosphorylation of this vast biochemical reasons. I saw firemen with 9/11 syndrome who had been poisoned. I see people with sick building syndrome who had been poisoned and their mitochondria are going slow. So the detox regimes are often very helpful to improve mitochondria function in those people.

[00:25:38.470] – Dr. Myhill
And then for your car to go, you've got to have a thyroid accelerator pedal. And that's how baselines and set how fast mitochondria can go. And then you need the adrenal gearbox, and that allows us to gear up the stress. If you know when I get to work, then that's stressful. I have to gear up my energy production so I can be an effective doctor. But I can't do that 24 hours a day. I can run in overdrive for some hours a day. But in the evening I have to get back down to the second gear, first gear. Put my feet up, do a crossword, read a book, watching telly or whatever, and that ability to gear up and down and match energy delivery to energy demands very closely is an essential part of using energy efficiently.

[00:26:26.530] – Dr. Myhill
I mean, one example of this, is if you had a patient with an abnormal state of the thyroid gland, when their accelerator pedal is stuck at one hundred miles an hour, they burn loads of energy, OK, they might feel wonderful for a short time because they have this apparent excess of energy. But the weight drops off them, the heart goes too fast and eventually they end up with pathology.

[00:26:52.590] – Dr. Myhill
So balancing that all up of those four big players together, of course, with sleep and exercises, as you mentioned before, of how we saw energy delivery mechanism, and there's no reason why your energy bucket can't be as full as you get older as it was when you were younger.

[00:27:12.480] – Allan
One of the things I think that's important when we're talking about exercise, one of the benefits is most if you do exercise the right way, you're not overstressed and you're able to recover. One of the cool things about our body is that it adds mitochondria.

[00:27:27.480] – Dr. Myhill

[00:27:28.440] – Allan
And more my mitochondria means more engines. So you're going from a, you know, eight horsepower vehicle to a 12 horsepower vehicle. And that's kind of one of the cool things about exercise, is that it helps us be more efficient and actually have more energy output for those times when we need it.

[00:27:48.180] – Dr. Myhill
And a very good test, a very good clinical test that anybody can do, which determines how many mitochondria they've got. Is that pulse rate at rest? And we all know that the top athletes, as they get fitter, their pulse rate gets slower and slower and slower a rest. And that's because they pack their heart with mitochondria. So when the heart beats, it's a very powerful beat. And Steve Redgrave, for example, who was our Olympic athlete who won four gold medals at rowing when he was in full training, his heart rate at rest was about 40 beats per minute because his heart was so big and beating so powerfully that he can maintain circulation with just 40 beats per minute.

Now, this is a feature of my patients with chronic fatigue syndrome that they don't have the numbers or the mitochondria, and they don't work well. And their resting pulse is often quite high, 85, 90, maybe 95 beats per minute. And that is a measure of how powerful the heart is and therefore how many mitochondria it has and how effectively they are working. The resting pulse is a very good clinical clue for anybody who's listening in to this.

[00:29:04.430] – Allan
And we improve that by increasing our cardiovascular fitness through those types of exercises cardio and by doing weightlifting, getting more mitrocondria going.

[00:29:17.990] – Dr. Myhill
Absolutely. And what stimulates more mitochondria is lactic acid burn (i.e. we have to push our muscles so much that we switch into anaerobic metabolism). And that, of course, is that that makes your muscles painful. It makes them ache. Is the old story no pain, no gain, because it's lactic acid that stimulates more mitochondria. So if you want to get your muscles bigger, you have to do anaerobic exercise. If you want to have more efficiently, then more aerobic exercise.

[00:29:48.470] – Dr. Myhill
But if you think about the long distance runners who run great distances, they don't have big muscles. They've trained the muscles to be, they're light, they're swift on their feet, but their mitochondria working very efficiently. But by contrast, those sprinters, the weightlifters with the big muscles, they have to have a lot of mitochondria and the heart is about twenty-five percent by weight. Mitochondria and muscles also about 20 percent by weight mitochondria. So the engines form a large part of our muscle bulk.

[00:30:20.510] – Allan
And so for most of us, the performance that we're looking for in our day-to-day lives, a little bit of both goes a long way.

[00:30:26.840] – Dr. Myhill
Exactly. And so my view is we should all be doing a bit of anaerobic and a bit of aerobic exercise every day. And that should be part of your daily routine. And once you know, you're doing a little bit of exercise, it doesn't have to be drastic. It becomes a pleasurable part of your day. And guess what? We all have a deep biological need for a view, and that's called being out in nature, being out of the countryside. And we all know that just getting out there, getting outside and having a view whether it's the local park or the lake, seaside or whatever, is very good for it makes us feel good mentally and physically.

[00:31:02.180] – Allan
And we get some sunshine, which is also very good for us and our energy equation.

[00:31:07.800] – Dr. Myhill

[00:31:07.800] – Allan
Now, one of the things that our body does to protect us is it will take pollutants. It'll take things that are not supposed to be there in it. It likes to try to get them out of us or it likes to put them away where they won't bother us for a while. And so in the book, you talked about persistent organic pollutants, POPs. So I want to kinda get into that because I think, you know, one of the things I tell my clients is that if they if they start losing weight, they might feel a little bad at first because they basically have created a toxic environment inside their body while their liver now is struggling to catch up. So can you talk a little bit about what POPs are and how we should manage those?

[00:31:50.120] – Dr. Myhill
Absolutely. I learned so much about this because especially when I was treating those poison patients I mentioned earlier, I used to do a lot of fat biopsies. That's a very easy test to do. And it means we could measure the POPs, which in fat directly. And the fascinating thing was I never had a normal result. Everybody that I did a fat biopsy on were carrying POPs. So these days, I rarely do that test on my patients because I know what the results are going to be.

[00:32:21.710] – Dr. Myhill
And even those who've done as many detox regimes as they as is possible, they still have a certain amount there. And that reflects the fact that we live in a toxic world. And however hard you try, you can never get rid of every last persistent organic pollutant. And they are pesticide residues. They are fire retardants, that is in all furnishings. Benzene compounds, that the solvents that we get from printed newspaper or from cleaning chemicals or from air pollution.

[00:32:55.010] – Dr. Myhill
So we are all carrying these POPs. And my view is we all should do the best we possibly can to reduce the load. As you rightly point out, the body in the short term tries to get these POPs out of the way by dumping them into fat. Now when I do a biopsy, the result of that comes back in milligrams per kilogram, if I do, a blood test result comes back in micrograms per kilogram, that's a thousand-fold difference.

So the concentration of POPs in fat is a thousand times higher than that in the bloodstream. And what that means is that if you lose a kilogram of fat, you're going to be mobilizing milligrams of Persistent Organic Pollutants into the bloodstream. And that gives you an acute poisoning and you can feel dreadful. And believe you me, some of my patients do. Now, one way to help mitigate this is to do some sort of heating regime.

Now, I don't think it matters what heating regime we use because I've put my patients through all sorts. But it might be a hot bath, maybe Epsom salts in the bath. It might be sunbathing. If you're fit enough to exercise, then do exercise. Saunaing, which might be a Turkish bath or dry sauna, but get warm. And the point is that mobilizes the POPs in the subcutaneous fat onto the lipid layer on the surface of the skin. And then you shower off and the point of washing off, washing off that lipid takes the POPs with them.

[00:34:27.850] – Dr. Myhill
And from years, some years of experience and doing test by a rough rule of thumb is about 50 of those regimes will halve your total body load and the levels come down exponentially. So at least once a week, we should all be doing some sort of heating regime. Now, if you've got the energy to game having a run and having a shower after perfect. You haven't got the energy and you've got sunshine, sunbathing is wonderful. If you haven't got the sunshine, then hot bath, a sauna or a infrared sauna works just as well.

[00:35:03.820] – Dr. Myhill
And my view is that is now something that we should all be doing as a routine to try to keep our toxic load down. And of course, in addition to that, the very best to avoid these chemicals. As I said, you just can't avoid all of them. We're all exposed. But you just have to do your best. Start as clean as you possibly can, keep your environment as clean as you possibly.

[00:35:26.290] – Allan
Yeah. The liver is just kind of a cool organ, because it's what it's doing is making its job as easy as it possibly can by storing this in the fat. So just recognize that it's not cheating you in any way. It's just basically trying to help you have the best energy balance. And so it's doing the easiest, quickest way for it to offload a lot of these chemicals which were everywhere. So, we can't avoid them, but they're there. So our liver's doing what it's supposed to do. But the opposite side is on the other side. We're mobilizing this. So it's something for us to be aware of if we go through weight loss, that we may have some other symptoms, some issues that we need to just buff through.

[00:36:09.670] – Allan
And it's like my doctor says, if you want to be healthy, sweat every day, you know, just find a way to sweat every day and you'll be doing a good on your body.

[00:36:20.140] – Dr. Myhill
One small thing I would just warn that is when you sweat. Sweat is blood, but minus the white cells and the red cells and the proteins. So if it's in the plasma, a lot of it comes off in the sweat. So what that means is when you sweat, you lose electrolytes. Now, that's not just sodium and potassium. That's also magnesium, copper, chromium, selenium, boron, it's the whole shebang.

[00:36:48.370] – Dr. Myhill
And so if you do do a lot of sweating regimes, you must ensure that you really hydrate properly with electrolytes and all the minerals. Now, I have a preparation that I made up called Sunshine Salt, which unfortunately can't get to America. But if you are doing a lot of exercise, that's really important, you rehydrate and don't forget magnesium.

[00:37:08.110] – Dr. Myhill
Now, I'll just tell you a little story about this. We have a competition in this country, the Great Northern Run, which is the half marathon, I think it's 2008 or thereabouts. Ten thousand runners ran it and it was a particularly hot day. And they were sweating a lot, and during the course, that race four runners dropped dead. When it came to post-mortem, it all looked normal. They were told that this is sudden adult death syndrome. Well, that's no diagnosis at all, it's the clinical picture. But I'm quite sure that they died of acute magnesium deficiency. Why? You need calcium for the muscles of the heart to contract and you need magnesium for the muscles of the heart to relax.

[00:37:57.350] – Dr. Myhill
And when you are running a lot in that very hot weather, you are losing buckets of magnesium. And I'm quite sure they induced an acute magnesium deficiency. The heart contracted consistently with calcium and there wasn't the magnesium to allow diastolic function for it to relax. And their hearts just stopped. And that's what happened in all four cases, they were running along, just fine and then suddenly they went down and there was no other detectable pathology, hadn't had a stroke and had a heart attack. You know, I'm not quite sure that was magnesium deficiency.

[00:38:30.140] – Allan
And we're talking about the ketogenic diet. And as in nature of a ketogenic diet, we also flushed some extra fluid. So we're not carrying as much. And so when we flush that fluid, we flush some electrolytes. So, yes, most people that are trying a ketogenic style diet need to look at their electrolytes very carefully and where necessary, make sure that you're supplementing potassium and sodium are the easy ones because you get the cramps and you kind of know something's going on there. But, it goes to magnesium and copper and the rest of them, if you're not getting what your body needs, the symptom of the thing you might deal with might be a lot more drastic than you want it to be. So pay attention to your electrolytes and your fluids if you're going to do ketogenic.

[00:39:16.910] – Allan
And, yes, if you're out exercising in extreme heat or even the extreme cold will often help cause dehydration at some level. So staying hydrated is critical.

[00:39:28.010] – Allan
Now, one of the things you got into, you called your interventions, and there's three levels of it so BAC. You called it groundhog. And one of the reasons I just I just love that, is that I was actually born on Groundhog's Day. She's talking groundhogs! All right. Now, I'm into this book now.

[00:39:51.470] – Dr. Myhill
Can you talk about these interventions when each one makes the most sense and just general overview?

[00:39:58.580] – Dr. Myhill
OK, well, the point is when a patient comes to see me, then they're not even on the starting block that they are that they're way behind the starting block. And there are some interventions we have to do just to get even just to get us on an evolutionary correct regime. This is where primitive man was. And these are the regimes we should all be doing all the time if we live in a Western society. And because clinically, I keep coming back to talking about these things over and over and over again. I call the groundhog because just like film, where our hero comes back to that, they want again and tries to relive the day in it all over again. It's the same principle. And Groundhog Basic is the starting point to treat all Western disease. It's the Paleo-ketogenic diet, it's a basic package supplements, its discipline about sleep, exercise, detoxing and so on. It's just what we should all be doing to maintain the status quo. And that's a Groundhog Basic now, but of course, life doesn't continue and on stressful, easy way, sooner or later we will pick up an infection.

[00:41:13.010] – Dr. Myhill
Now, I wrote a book or two or three years ago called The Infection Game, and in my research in that book, I realized that all chronic pathology has an infectious driver. Dementia is often associated with herpes viruses, for example. All cancers have an infectious associate. The one that most people know about is Helicobacter pylori in the stomach bug drive, stomach cancer and other tumors. Epstein Bar virus drives many hematological malignancies. So I realize that getting an acute infection, we need to deal with it very effectively, very quickly, get rid of it in order that it doesn't get into the body, remain there and drive chronic pathology.

[00:41:56.750] – Dr. Myhill
So with the next regime that everybody has to be aware of is Groundhog Acute. What do you do in the event of an acute infection? And of course, this is very pertinent now because these regimes are extremely effective in getting rid of Covid-19. And if you got the Groundhog Basic in place and then at the first sign of getting Covid-19, you take vitamin C to bowel tolerance, you will survive it perfectly well without any problems or complications whatsoever. So vitamin C to bowel tolerance is probably the most important form of Groundhog Acute.

[00:42:31.100] – Dr. Myhill
Because people don't come to me well, they don't come to me saying, oh, and how can I live to 100? They come to me sick or elderly and they know they're not functioning to their full extent. And so as chronic disease comes in, whatever that chronic disease may be, and I see cancer patients, patients with advance heart disease, I see patients with early dementia, we have to put in even more regimes over and above Groundhog Acute in order to deal with those chronic pathologies.

[00:43:02.010] – Dr. Myhill
You have to do all Groundhog Basic regimes, but in spades. We have to do them harder. We have to be more disciplined about the diet, maybe take a few more seconds, maybe do some more detoxing, maybe pay more attention to the adrenals and the thyroid. And so Groundhog Chronic is probably what we should all be doing as we get older. And we should certainly be putting us in place if any pathology strikes, whether that's diabetes, heart disease, cancer or whatever.

[00:43:29.260] – Allan
Well, I do agree. As we went through these interventions. I was like, yeah, these are lifestyles that are not insane. They're not crazy. I can't do this for a long period of time. And granted, you might come in chronic and you do some work and you get yourself to a point where you say, OK, now I can go down to the basic level and I feel pretty good. An occasional issue comes up and you're like, OK, I've got a flu or a cold. And it's like, so I'm going to bump up my vitamin C and feel a little bit better, but a little bit more energy in the tank. Give my body what it needs to fight this illness.

[00:44:04.660] – Dr. Myhill
That's correct. Our bodies are changing all the time. Our environment is changing all the time. From the seasons, with age, with the infections. So there is no one regime you have to do and that's it for life. And we have thoughts clear. We have to think about what's happening the bottom line is, if you've got plenty of physical and mental energy and emotional energy, then there's not a lot wrong. The best guide to health is symptoms, how you feel, what you can achieve, what you can do. And fatigue is as almost become the norm because Western people eat these very high carbohydrate diet.

[00:44:44.110] – Dr. Myhill
And at the beginning of the book, I detail all the symptoms that I commonly hear from my patients, which tell me that the energy balance is beginning to narrow. Either the energy bucket is getting smaller or they are wasting energy on basal metabolism, chronic infection, allergy, autoimmunity or whatever, and the gap gives us the symptoms.

[00:45:10.210] – Dr. Myhill
And just one little aside here, very often the first thing people do when their energy gap starts now is the use addiction to mask the symptoms. That is very dangerous medicine, because as I mentioned before, if you spend more energy than you have available to you, you die. And I some sometimes you hear on the radio about some young person who's gone to a disco dance and taken ecstasy and alcohol and and dance all night and go mad and probably felt wonderful. And then they drop dead and you never hear about the mechanism of death. But my guess is that those drugs have a narrowed and masked that symptom that says you've got to stop, you've got to rest, must be so much that they've overspent and they haven't got the energy for the heart to work and bang down they go.

[00:46:03.670] – Allan
That's that's deep stuff, because I think I think people see it. If you've if you've ever seen an animal at the end die, you see the energy leave. I mean, quite literally, you're sitting there and one minute it's got energy and the next it doesn't. And, you know, we had to put down our Chihuahua Joe Joe last year. And I was you know, that was one of the things we had to deal with was, you know, he was suffering and it was time. It;s just like one moment there's energy and then the next there's not. And so energy is extremely important to the way we feel. And as you said in the book, energy is life.

[00:46:44.410] – Dr. Myhill
Yes. Energy is life. And I now see the whole of life from the energy perspective, I mean, even human relationships. And if you have a human reaction, if both parties are putting the same amount of energy into that relationship, it works incredibly well. But if you get a major disparity and there's not a lot of love between them to maybe the smooth that over. You get one person is constantly putting energy in and the other is constantly taking, then that will result in discord. And then I see that in so many human relations.

[00:47:20.410] – Allan
Dr. Myhill, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:47:29.530] – Dr. Myhill
Well, the one biggest and most important is the diet, because food causes fatigue in so many different ways. Food, if you have a lot of refined junk food and carbohydrates is just toxic, just directly poisons the body. As we've described, sugars and carbohydrates are not good fuel for the mitochondria. And putting it into the body is like, I mean, I've got an old car out there that runs on diesel and if I put petrol in the tank, it'll chunder on for a bit. But it doesn't like it will eventually pack up and start working on.

[00:48:05.170] – Dr. Myhill
The third point is allergy. We're now seeing epidemics of allergy. And allergy means you're reacting allergic to foods and that means the immune system is activated with inflammation. And if the immune system is active with inflammation, that is taking energy because the immune system demands a lot of energy and worse than that it's causing symptoms as well. Migraine, irritable bowel, arthritis or whatever. So it's diet, diet, diet.

[00:48:32.650] – Dr. Myhill
And that really is the starting point. And the problem with giving people a list of these three things is they will cherry pick the easy things. They'll say, oh, that she said she said supplements and she said take some adrenal support. The supplement needs support. That sounds easy. I'll do that. And they don't bother with the diet. So the diet is the most difficult thing, but it's also the most important thing. When you've got that in place, everything else falls into place.

[00:49:04.930] – Dr. Myhill
And it's not a difficult diet, it's very doable. I do it all the time and so do my patients. And and without that, the other interventions downstream simply don't work. And if you have a Formula One engine in pole position, but if you put the wrong fuel in the tank, it's not going to make the first lap. So the diet is critical.

[00:49:28.040] – Allan
All right, thank you. Dr. Myhill, If someone wanted to learn more about you or the book The Energy Equation: From Naked Ape to Knackered Ape, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:49:38.780] – Dr. Myhill
Well, I have my website where all my information is available free for nothing. My books are available there. But these days, what is very popular is I do Zoom Workshops because the basic work up to treating absolutely everything is the same. I can treat 20 people at a time and they have proved very popular. And we and so I have 20 people that I start to 9:30am in the morning. I finish at 4:00pm in the afternoon. Anytime, anybody can just wave at me. I don't understand this. What do you mean what can I eat? And I stop and talk from that and I feel I can do 20 people at a time because the basic work of the Groundhog Regimes are now so standard. And sometimes you just need a little bit of enthusiasm from somebody like you, from somebody like me, to really be a wake up call and make people think, you know what, I'm going to do that.

[00:50:36.580] – Dr. Myhill
And these people do love these interactive regimes, because if I say something that they don't get or they don't believe, they can challenge me straight away and I can come back with what I think is a good and a coherent response. But all the answers are in the books. But say some people that there are videos of me online on YouTube. If you Google, Life the Basic Manual, there are various vignettes of me doing video stuff. Or join a workshop and we can have some fun there.

[00:51:07.500] – Allan
OK, the address for that website is?

[00:51:10.760] – Dr. Myhill
Just drmyhill.co.uk. If you put Myhill in, my website had lots of hits that usually comes up fairly, fairly high up.

[00:51:19.010] – Allan
OK, well I'll have this in the show notes so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/474 and I'll have the link there. Dr. Myhill, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:51:30.910] – Dr. Myhill
Allan, my absolute pleasure. You ask all the right questions and that makes my life very easy.

[00:51:35.620] – Allan
Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:51:41.100] – Allan
Raz, welcome back.

[00:51:42.960] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Wow, what an amazing interview. I mean, who isn't fatigued at this age of our lives?

[00:51:51.000] – Allan
Yeah, sometimes you don't even know what you don't even know because you're so in it, that you don't even have a concept that you are fatigued. It's like people just expect, Okay, I'm a little older, I'm going to be tired. That's going to be a normal state and it doesn't have to be a normal state all the time. Some people are dealing with issues and just don't know it because that's their normal.

[00:52:19.280] – Allan
They wake up that way. They're that way every day. You notice things when there's a drastic change from what you're doing. But and I've said this before and someone said it's kind of morbid and you shouldn't say that. But anyway, I've got to say it again. Is this the boiling the frog? You know, if you try to toss a frog into boiling water, it'll hop right back out. It'll it'll get out of there pretty quick because the water's hot and it senses that it's hot. It's a drastic difference from not hot. And then but if you put the frog in regular water and you slowly bring it to a boil, the frog doesn't recognize that the water is beginning to get too hot and you'll actually boil the frog. I don't condone boiling frogs. So don't try boiling frogs. I've never done this. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it doesn't work that way. But that's what I've been told.

[00:53:08.130] – Allan
Anyway, if we don't have something to compare and contrast to, then we really don't know what's what. And for a lot of people, when they do try ketosis, obviously. They'll go through potentially a keto flu or I call it carb withdrawals, where they're struggling, there's their energy levels are dropping dramatically and they feel really, really bad, almost like flu-like symptoms. And then their body starts using ketones and they feel great. And that's an awesome feeling when you get into ketosis. And for that little bit of time, you're feeling great. The thing is then great becomes your normal and then great is normal. So people kind of feel like maybe they've lost a little bit of that. But now you're still feeling great.

[00:53:57.130] – Allan
The whole fatigue side in the whole thing is just realize that if you're not having drastic swings, you might not recognize which side of the fence you're on. So trying some nutritional therapies, different things can be a way to at least recognize when things are working well, when they're not. But if you know that you're struggling with fatigue, then this might be an approach that would be advantageous to you to help you get past that. It's always worth trying something just to see how your body responds. See how you feel.

[00:54:34.670] – Allan
And if you're going to do those types of things, I always encourage folks to do a journal because sometimes we kind of just forget what something felt like because it was then and we might not think it was this drastic change as it was. But if you sit down and write down symptoms, you're going through and then you go through a protocol like this or an elimination diet or something like that, at least at that point you've got some baseline to go back and read and say, oh, I forgot I was only sleeping three hours a night. Now I'm sleeping through the night. That's new. But you might not have thought about sleep because that wasn't why you were changing or doing your intervention.

[00:55:12.560] – Rachel
That is interesting. Sleep is one of the one of those things that we just put in the back of our head, not even thinking that it's something that we could change. You know, when I came to keto, I did it for the very reason you just said I was feeling not right. I was not feeling energetic. I was definitely getting fatigued. And I have struggled with fatigue, usually iron deficiencies. So about three years ago, I thought, well, I'll do the same experiment. We'll try keto. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But I did have the exact same thing you just mentioned. I went through the keto flu and then once I got my energy back, once I switched over to burning fat for fuel and I felt like a million bucks. And t really worked really well for me. And it is an experiment worth trying for sure.

[00:56:03.380] – Allan
Yeah. Now, I, I fell into ketosis the first time kind of on accident, and I've told this story before, but I was worried about my health. I wanted I was at this point I kind of reached that stage of commitment. And so I went to a doctor and I said, OK, look,I've got to fix me. I'm broken. I'm just broken. And I've been broken for a long time.

[00:56:28.220] – Allan
And everything I've tried hasn't worked. So I'm going to ask for help. And, you know, sometimes it's just that, you know, hiring someone, bringing someone else in to get other perspectives, to get some guidance, to get some support and maybe even some accountability. Those are valuable things. And so I invested in a doctor and he had a nutritionist on board. So I met with him and he talked about exercise and other things. And he was built. He was muscular and 10 years older, 15 years older than me, and I'm like, okay, I got to listen to this guy. Anyway, I get in with a nutritionist and she's like, do you know what Paleo is? And I was like, No, not really. And she said, Okay, it's this. I'm like, oh, so food.

[00:57:14.610] – Allan
Yeah. Actually eat things that were actually meant to be food, which is plants and animals and eggs and seeds. And that's pretty much it. And you know, that was the answer. That was, that was actually the answer. And so I started eating paleo and just my basic eating habits. I like meat. And once I was off of bread and pasta and rice and at that point even beans, potatoes, I felt great. And I just, you know, for one reason or another, kept kind of pushing more meat in because I was lifting and I wanted the protein.

[00:57:51.270] – Allan
And, you know, you just end up eating more protein. And when you eat protein and your full and there's not as much room for other carbs. So the carbs went down and then suddenly I noticed my energy level is like through the roof and I'm feeling really good and my breath kind of smells funny. And so I started doing some research and that's when I found out about ketosis. And so I'm at this point, you know, looking up podcasts and looking up articles to just figure out what the heck's going on. And, you know, that's when I started learning what ketosis was in the first place. So it wasn't someone telling me you should try the keto diet. It was just a happy accident.

[00:58:33.540] – Allan
And to kind of give you an idea of what that can mean and realized, I wasn't just changing what I ate. I was working on my sleep. I was working on my stress, and I was exercising like a beast, lifting weights, making sure I had plenty of protein, doing some cardio work, working grip strength, because I had in my heart I was going to do a Tough Mudder with my daughter. And I put the money up and I signed up for it. I had like nine months or eight months to prepare for it.

[00:59:03.690] – Allan
And so I was training for that. It kind of became an obsession at that point that I was going to be ready for that race. Just on paleo, I lost about 25 pounds. Going from roughly, I'd say December or starting December and then getting into late December and then getting into by March, when I did a warrior dash with some friends and my daughter, I had lost about 25 pounds.

[00:59:34.560] – Allan
And but it wasn't really showing. I couldn't really see it. I couldn't see that I'd lost that weight. I still in my mind looked huge. And then I ended up in ketosis and I dropped another 40. Wow. And because I was lifting weights I then also I mean that was all fat. So I lost 65 pounds or 66 pounds of fat and I gained 11 pounds of muscle. And I know that because the doctor I went to, he did a DEXAscan when he saw me the first time.

[01:00:02.910] – Allan
And then I went back to his office 11 months later after I finished the Tough Mudder and I had lost that weight, I'd gone from 37% body fat down to 19%.

[01:00:14.400] – Rachel

[01:00:15.210] – Allan
So the PK Diet can be really, really effective for weight loss. But as we learned in this interview, it has a lot of other benefits. We talked about fatigue. But, you know, even the other issues, cancers, heart disease, diabetes, maybe even some forms of dementia. So there's a lot of benefits to this way of eating. And so I encourage anyone who's suffering and struggling. And you haven't tried Keto the paleo-keto is, in my mind, kind of an optimal diet for most people for periods of time. You don't have to stay in ketosis, but just recognize that you probably still want to generally eat paleo all the time or at least eat whole foods. You know, it wasn't alive at some point, crawling around or growing on the ground. You probably don't want to eat it.

[01:01:13.710] – Rachel
Right. Yeah. And that's worth mentioning, too, that we are talking about whole foods, real foods, plants and animals. People harp on the diet for the bacon part of it, but and people have a hard time giving up breads. But sugar is also the other enemy that it is worth giving up for sure. You don't need to bring that back.

[01:01:37.170] – Allan
Yeah, and that's true. I mean, you know, only sugars I would condone if I'm going to condone sugars at all is if you like fruit, have some fruit. But I do know my body well enough to know that I can't really tolerate tropical fruits very well. My blood sugar is going to spike and that's not going to be in my best interest over time for my blood sugar to spike when I'm eating fruit, so I eat very limited tropical fruits, so I may occasionally have a banana, I might occasionally have a little bit of mango like this breakfast bar. And there's some mango I might have a little bit and maybe a little bit of pineapple here and there. But for the most part, if I'm going to have fruit, it's going to be berries, apples, pears. That's going to be the bulk of it. And, you know, it works for me. I can still have my pears and apples and berries and still be in ketosis.

[01:02:34.270] – Rachel
Well, for sure. I mean, unless there's something you're intolerant to or even allergic to, there's nothing wrong with having and enjoying a fruit or something every now and then, as long as it agrees with you, it's not something you have to totally eliminate forever.

[01:02:49.340] – Allan
Yeah, and that's kind of one of the core things, is be willing to experiment, try something see how it works. Something as simple as having a blood glucose meter and having a piece of fruit, having a piece of mango or having a bit of apple or a bit of berries and just seeing what it actually does. I've been periods of time where I was checking my ketones all the time. I was using a breath meter so it was not that expensive. I paid for the meter. But I could see if I ate some fruit in particular tropical fruit, my ketones went away and went away for about as long as I figure it took my body to burn that extra sugar off. And then once it was done, you know, I was able to get back into ketosis.

[01:03:39.800] – Allan
Just realize that it's worth experimenting with different things. Don't poo poo things. Everybody likes to say keto is a fad diet. It's only a fad diet that's been around since, like the 1800s because it's just had different names over time. But there's texts that go all the way back to the early 1800s where they're talking about if you want to lose some pounds, cut your carbs. It's, it's been an idea that's been out there for centuries. And so for people to poo poo it and say it's just another fad and it's just like Atkins, just like South Beach, those are just names for branding to brand something that people wanted to sell something and make some money with an idea that's been around for a long, long time.

[01:04:28.360] – Allan
And our ancestors knew that if you're eating carbs, you're going to be putting on weight, which, you know, if you're living in caveman times, not a bad plan, you know, to be putting on a little bit of body fat. Because as you if you listen to the episode I had with Dr. Fedewa and Dr. Esco, I mean, that was the cycle. You you have access to fruit and those things you put on a little bit of weight that's going to help keep you warm in the winter. That's going to give you some excess energy when food os a little bit scarce. Then in the winter there's no fruit. So now you're hunting animals and getting fat and protein and now you're burning through some of those carbs you ate during the Summer and Spring.

[01:05:09.010] – Allan
And that's a good thing. That's how our body was designed. We weren't designed for having ready access to food all the time. We weren't developed around the process that we would have so much food available. And then the carbs, just you walk in the grocery store, your great grandparents walked into one of our grocery stores right now. They would not recognize 99% of what's in there as actual food.

[01:05:35.260] – Rachel

[01:05:35.920] – Allan
They would walk around the outside and say, Okay, this is the grocery store. What do they sell in there? Well, they sell in the middle because they wouldn't they wouldn't know most of that. He said, oh, well, these are these are cheese puffs.

[01:05:48.910] – Rachel
So weird.

[01:05:53.290] – Allan
These are good. Yeah, but they're not food. They're foodstuff that started with stuff that was in food and then it went horribly, horribly wrong. And yeah, if you want to eat some of that stuff, is it going to kill you overall? Probably not. But if that's the core of what you're subsisting on and trying to live like a teenager college kid on pizza and cheese puffs and Dr. Pepper or soda or whatever. No, you're not going to you're not going to live long. You're not you're making choices that are not going to serve you and it won't take you long to figure it out. Spend spend a month eating that way and just you see it. It's called the Covid 15.

[01:06:33.280] – Allan
you've got to you've got to try something to know if it's going to work and you've got to try something to know what it's going to do if it's not going to work.

[01:06:40.150] – Rachel
Right. And the other half of that equation, of course, I am the runner. And so you need to move. You need to exercise. And when you eat foods like that, you don't feel so good when you exercise, it doesn't give you the energy that you need, no matter how much sugar or energy drinks you can shove down. It's not going to feel good. Your body's going to feel tired later anyway. And all of the work that you're doing in the gym or running around like I do, it's going to backfire altogether.

[01:07:09.370] – Rachel
I'm pretty particular about what I like to eat because I know how my body responds to food. I've mentioned in the past that my body likes red meat better than white meat. I could eat steaks all day long and chicken meat just does not do it for me. And I can tell and my runs. You'll get to feeling better when you clean up the diet a little bit better.

[01:07:31.450] – Allan
Absolutely. All right. Raz, I guess I'll Isee you next week.

You bet. Sounds great. Take care.


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Another episode you may enjoy


How your mind can overcome your weight loss issues – Dr. Ian K Smith

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

If you struggle with failed diets and exercise programs, it might be all in your head. In his book, Mind of Weight, Dr. Ian K. Smith shares with us some great tips, tactics, and strategies to ensure we approach our health and fitness with the right mindset.


Let's Say Hello

[00:00:54.050] – Allan
Raz. How are you doing?

[00:00:56.270] – Rachel
Great, Allan. How are you today?

[00:00:58.160] – Allan
I'm doing really well. We record these intros a couple weeks before. So I can say as of February 1st, the gym is open. So I am running the gym now. I've got employees, they're coming in and doing the heavy lifting. I'm here for moral support and just to make sure that we comply with MINSA requirements. MINSA's our health department. So I'm just making sure that we're doing everything the right way.

[00:01:26.510] – Allan
I've got my little video monitors up here on the wall, like I'm sitting here doing my work and I look over. I'm like, OK, they're a little too close. I've got to tell my staff, do not let that happen again. But…

[00:01:36.140] – Rachel
Excellent, very good!

[00:01:37.700] – Allan
Right now everything's good. And a lot of people are excited about the gym opening. I am too. So good times for me.

[00:01:44.840] – Rachel
That's great.

[00:01:45.590] – Allan
How are things up there in the frozen tundra of Michigan?

[00:01:49.010] – Rachel
Still chilly and snowy, but things are good. And similarly, Mike has to start traveling again for his work. So that's that's good for him that he can move around a little bit. I think he was getting a little bit of cabin fever. But the bad news is that means I have to start cooking again. Waa waa waa.

[00:02:09.420] – Allan
Awe. You could do what I did for lunch today. Basically to have food here at the gym because this I wanted to be here the whole shift and I had some things to do during the middle of the shifts. So I boiled a dozen eggs and bought three cans of tuna. And that's that's my meals. So, not flashy, but it gets the job done. And I can do that for here and there. And it's not like I'm really missing out on I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. Just keeping it simple.

[00:02:36.440] – Rachel
That's good. I printed out some new recipes that I would like to try. And so I've got my meals lined up for the week for dinners anyway. It's just going to be me. The kids are back to school.

[00:02:48.800] – Allan
You know, you could tell Mike he needs to spend his Saturday bulk cooking for the family.

[00:02:54.500] – Rachel
Yes! That would be awesome.

[00:02:57.440] – Allan
You put them in single/family serving things. You put them in the freezer. You put them in the fridge. Done.

[00:03:03.620] – Rachel

[00:03:04.280] – Allan
You could.

[00:03:05.870] – Rachel
I could. But in order to to get back at it, I do need to start cooking again, too. I used to cook. I haven't in a long time and I can get back into it and make some healthy meals for myself.

[00:03:19.280] – Allan
OK, well if you need some new recipes, that's kind of one of the things I've been doing for my online clients. They wanted recipes for like if you're going to eat, I want to eat well. And so, yeah, part of what I do now for my clients online for my 12-week program is I literally about three times a week give them a recipe that I really enjoy. So it's a good mix of dinners, lunches, breakfasts, snacks, things like that. So I'm kind of building, for lack of a better word, a recipe pack. They're not my recipes. I'm borrowing them from online, but I'm just sharing links and PDF print out so it goes back to the source. But yeah, there's a lot out there, but I'll share some of my favorites with you.

[00:03:59.900] – Rachel
That would be great. Thank you so much.

[00:04:03.110] – Allan
Cool. Let's go ahead and talk to Dr. Smith.


[00:04:46.950] – Allan
Dr. Smith, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:49.940] – Dr. Smith
Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to be with you.

[00:04:52.320] – Allan
The book is Mind Over Weight: Curb Cravings, Find Motivation, and Hit Your Number in Seven Simple Steps. And what I like about this book is that it actually if it gets in front of this, because most people will start with the action plans, the movement, the what they're eating, they just they start throwing things against the wall and then they get frustrated when, a month down the line they're not where they thought they would be. And usually that comes down to mindset.

[00:05:22.700] – Allan
If you really got down to it, it's the mind that's going to make this happen. We've got to get the right mindset. We got to get a brain set first and then act. So it's sort of the, you know, ready shoot aim is what most of us do. And it doesn't work very well when you're talking about weight loss.

[00:05:37.970] – Dr. Smith
Yeah, it's interesting. People's natural tendency is to want to start with the plan, with the trainer, with the gym membership, with the workouts and really all starts above the neck. I mean, you know, the starting point, the ground zero for weight loss and for many things in life in general is really about getting your mind in the right place. And one of the best things that I think about this book is how small it is.

[00:06:05.450] – Dr. Smith
It's seven small chapters. The size is physically small and the read is very quick. However, the information is very dense. I wrote the book the way I would like to receive information about a specific topic. And this book is all about the mental aspect of weight loss or weight management. I think that a lot of people have been effective and are effective at losing weight and maintaining weight, but they would be a lot more effective if they had sharpened their mental acuity as it relates to weight loss and having a better understanding of what I call the weight loss landscape, because it's not always just about what am I going to eat, what exercise do I need to do and what results do I see on a scale it's about where everything fits in your life and it's about your environment.

[00:07:06.980] – Dr. Smith
And that's why I say, you know, I believe people should take a landscape view rather than just a portrait view. You think about when you print out in landscape versus portrait. So with Mind Over Weight, the idea is that; let's talk about the things that have nothing to do with food and exercise first. And one of those things, of course, is trying to unlock your motivation. All of us have motivation somewhere. The question is, can we access it?

[00:07:40.000] – Dr. Smith
And everyone can't necessarily access their motivation. So I start with chapter one right away, which is basically, you know, let's unlock your motivation and understand what it is, where it comes from and how you have to own it. I think that's very important.

[00:07:55.830] – Allan
And as you said in the book, there was a statistic you shared that said by today, which just goes live as February 15th, 80% of the people who had a New Year's resolution for weight loss have already fallen off and they're not going to accomplish that weight loss goal, at least not based on this set of resolutions that they made. But there are ways that we can stay motivated. And in the book, you talk about several ways for us to do that. Can you go through a few of those and let us know why those are important to stay motivated?

[00:08:28.600] – Dr. Smith
We look at motivators, so you break motivation down into what actually motivates you. And the idea behind motivation basically is something that drives you to want to do something to complete, to begin and complete an action, to pursue a goal, to complete a task. And so when you look at different types of motivation, there's two basic types. There's internal or intrinsic motivation and there's external or extrinsic motivation. So you have internal motivators and you have external motivations.

[00:09:03.280] – Dr. Smith
An internal motivator is you are doing something or you're motivated to do something because you are happy or excited or desirous of whatever it is you're trying to accomplish for internal reasons, for the reason of doing it itself. So, you know, you read about maps and study maps because you love the study of geography and you love understanding the relationships between countries and bodies of water. So you're not doing it to pass a test. You're doing it because you want that information, that knowledge excites you, the process excites you.

[00:09:50.800] – Dr. Smith
Whereas someone who is studying a particular topic simply because they want to do well on a test or an exam, they are externally motivated because they want to get the results on the exam, someone who wants to lose weight because they want to look good in a bikini on an island on vacation. And they want people to acknowledge that they look good and say nice things to them. That is external motivation, whereas an internal motivator, in that case, would be, I want to lose weight because I want to make sure that I feel good, that I don't feel winded walking up steps, that I want to be happy and live a long life without being ravaged by disease. That's more of an internal motivator rather than having an external kind of validation.

[00:10:48.470] – Dr. Smith
So in the book, I go through different types of internal and external motivators. I talk about extrinsic like fame, praise, grades, money, awards, social acceptance. Those things typically tend to be extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic motivators, fun, pleasure, gratifications, gratification, feeling of worthiness, of accomplishment, a sense of purpose. And, so it's not that extrinsic motivators are better than internal or vice versa. It's the combination of the two that's important. Having both of them. They work in a complementary fashion.

[00:11:25.180] – Dr. Smith
For example, I just had a boiler replaced in my house. I have two boilers in my house and the technician was explaining to me how it works. It's a two-stage system. The first boiler, which is stage one, tries to heat the house. And if it's too cold outside and the boiler can't keep the house warm enough because the temperatures outside are so cold, it's not being able to do due to the job by itself, the second boiler will kick in. That's stage two. That's the second stage. And so then the second boiler kicks in and together they're able to keep the house warm against the chill outside. Same thing with motivation. If your internal motivator is not really able to keep the fire lit under you and keep you going, then that external motivator can kick in and together they can keep you motivated and on the path of what you're trying to accomplish. And that is why you need both internal and external motivators.

[00:12:23.080] – Allan
Yeah, I agree with that. If you if you go in this, which is to I'm going to hire, train and go and you don't really have a plan and you just sort of say, Okay, I think this is what I want as far as the end game, but you don't have things that are going to make you feel good while you're doing it. So there's little achievable little milestones as you go to say, OK, you know, being happy when you lose two pounds, even though you want to lose 20, that's that start that's that thing that's going inside you feel good about.

[00:12:53.890] – Allan
But then also having friends that you're working out with or a trainer or something like that, I have to show up because they're at the gym waiting for me or they're at the track waiting for me. Those are the internal and the external versions that are going to keep you motivated because you have both.

[00:13:13.330] – Dr. Smith
Yes, 100 percent. And I want to switch to goal setting because that's also part of proper goal setting. I think that another area where people could improve on. It could be very helpful if they get it right is how to set goals. And people don't talk about proper goal setting and goals are very, very important. And how you set the goals is extremely important. A lot of people, unfortunately, will set unrealistic goals and because the goals are unrealistic and they're unable to reach those goals, they actually think that they are failing when in reality they are succeeding, but they'll throw away whatever plan they're on or they'll totally give up because in their mind, the way they framed their goals, it's a failure. But it's really had the goal been more proper and more appropriate, they would actually realize that they're actually succeeding. And so setting the right goals is extremely important before you begin any weight loss journey.

[00:14:23.530] – Allan
Having come from a business background. We set goals all the time in business. And so I was very familiar with SMART goals and I've even talked about that a couple of times on the podcast. But you have a different twist in the book. You call them VERY SMART goals. So this is a longer acronym. I'll take off the back in the smart and specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and and time bound or time restricted. The VERY, though, is the part of that acronym that I'm not I was not familiar with before I read your book. Could you take a few minutes to go through that?

[00:14:55.570] – Dr. Smith
Sure. You probably aren't familiar with it because I created it.

[00:14:58.520] – Allan
Okay, yeah. Maybe that's why I had never heard of it.

[00:15:01.820] – Dr. Smith
I created it. I didn't. It's not somewhere else because I've never seen it before. But and it's not that it's ingenious or anything.

[00:15:08.080] – Dr. Smith
So VERY, V E R Y of the VERY SMART as far as setting goals V is for varied. What people have to understand is that they have to make sure that your goals when it comes to weight loss, are not just focused on one aspect of it. Just don't focus on the scale, have a goal that talks about physical. How far can you walk in a certain period of time? What size clothes can you fit? Have a goal. I want to get from a size ten to a size eight. So when you make your goals, just don't make them homogenous, make them varied, you know, different aspects of weight loss or there are symbolic of weight loss.

[00:15:53.770] – Dr. Smith
The E is effective. There's no point in setting goals if what you are reaching does not provide some type of purposeful and meaningful change. If some of the weighs 300 pounds says that my ultimate goal is to lose ten pounds, I'll be happy with that. That's it. Well, it's great that you set a goal. It's great when you hit your goal. But a 300 pound person who just loses ten pounds, that is not going to be a meaningful change for that person as far as how they look or what their disease risk profile is. So that's not an effective goal. So that's the E for effective for VERY.

[00:16:39.760] – Dr. Smith
The next one is R and R is being responsible. Make goals that will challenge you, that will make you stretch, but make goals that are responsible goals. Don't have a goal where you want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days and you only weigh one hundred and fifty pounds and your five foot four. And in order to hit that goal, you have to do something very extreme and potentially unsafe to try to hit that goal. That's an irresponsible goal. So make sure that your goals are responsible.

[00:17:17.080] – Dr. Smith
And lastly, the Y is yours. People have to set goals that they own, not what others say you should do, not what others expect you to do. You have to own that goal. You have to believe in the goal. You have to trust in the goal, and you have to want the goal. So the goal must be yours.

[00:17:38.980] – Allan
And I like that. I like that a lot. One of the one of the things I would propose is if if one of the reasons that you're wanting to lose the weight is that you went to your doctor and your blood sugar is too high and he's about to start putting you on medication or worse yet, maybe some insulin. And you really don't want to go down that rabbit hole because a lot of people don't come out the other end the right way, then having a varied goal.

So it's like, yes, I want to lose 40 pounds and I want to lower my blood sugar by three points, you know, take take my A1C from a 10 to an eight, you know, in that same period of time you'll still be diabetic, but you're moving in the right direction. And it's another goal that maybe you didn't lose five pounds this week or maybe you don't lose any weight this week. But because of the efforts you did, your blood sugar is coming down. And that's that's a win. And I think we don't give ourselves those opportunities to have wins. We focus on one number and that makes it quite difficult.

[00:18:44.040] – Allan
Dr. Smith, now one of the areas I think that's really, really difficult for people is that they feel hungry. And for many people, they believe they're hungry all the time. And it's not a true hunger. What they're actually doing is they're craving you know, they want those Doritos. They want the salty. They want that chocolate or they want that doughnut or they're driving by a McDonald's and they smell what they smell and like, oh, I'm getting that drive in line and pick something up. Those are cravings. They're different from hunger. Can you explain the difference and then what a good strategy is for us to beat cravings?

[00:19:21.720] – Dr. Smith
So let me put it to you in two different ways; hunger is your body saying it needs nourishment? It's not specific, it needs food, it needs energy. I'm hungry. A craving is specific. A craving says that I want a double layer chocolate cake. I want a piece of fried dough with powdered sugar on top. That's a craving.

[00:19:55.390] – Dr. Smith
And it's very important to distinguish between the two. Cravings are generated through the reward-pleasure system, the loop in the front brain. And it's all about dopamine. You know, when we enjoy something, our body releases this chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine and dopamine travels forward into the brain and it lets us know this was a satisfying experience and it creates a memory. When I bit into that chocolate cake and released all of that dopamine, it created a memory in my system that I really enjoyed it. And if I do it again, I'm probably going to enjoy it again.

[00:20:44.740] – Dr. Smith
And what happens with a craving is once you've set this pathway up. Whenever you see, or hear about, or smell, however you're triggered by that chocolate cake again, your body releases that dopamine and that dopamine then becomes a seeking behavior. So you now want to seek that particular thing that made you feel really happy and really good and satiated you, you want to seek that. And so it drives you to get it.

[00:21:22.760] – Dr. Smith
It's like drug addiction. It's it's a similar concept of drug addiction. Doing a particular drug gives you a certain feeling of satisfaction. And when you are around that drug again or you think about that drug, then you now have this chemical urge to want to participate in the indulgence or the use of that particular drug. That's what cravings are. Cravings, however, unlike hunger, are short-termed, and they can go away, so if you can outlast your craving and everyone can do it, but one thing to do is to distract yourself while you have a craving because you can outlast it.

[00:22:07.270] – Dr. Smith
And most research shows about 15 to 20 minutes a craving will typically go away. It doesn't mean it won't come back, but it will typically go away. And so if for 15 or 20 minutes you can do something that takes your mind off the craving or remove yourself from the environmental stimulus that's creating the craving, then you may be able to succeed.

[00:22:29.170] – Dr. Smith
Look at it this way. When you get into the car, let's say your oil is low in your car and the light comes on in your car when that oil light comes on. That is your car saying, I need oil. And no matter what you do, no matter how many times you turn that car on or off, that oil light is going to come back on and stay on until you put oil in the car and the car is fed. That's hunger. A craving is when you get into the car and the car says to you, it prompts you on your dashboard and says, do you want to connect your phone to Bluetooth? And if you don't push a yes or no, let's say you do nothing to it. You just let it sit there and you keep driving. Eventually that prompt goes away. It goes away. It no longer stays in the home because you didn't respond in a certain period of time. That's what a craving is.

[00:23:25.870] – Allan
And so one of the one of the things that you want to do is you want to look at what are those triggers for why you're doing the things you're doing. Some of them will be really, really clear. Like if you you're going to the state fair and you know you're going to smell it. You're going to smell that fried dough with with the powdered sugar, you know where that booth is or where all those booths are. Because you smell it every time you go by them, you're going to have that constant trigger. You just are. Now, I'm not saying don't go to the fair, but recognize what that is for what it is. Go get in a line and get on a ride. Go lose your money trying to knock the pins off of the table or whatever you're going to do. But try to do some things to distract yourself because you know those triggers are there.

[00:24:08.560] – Allan
If it's something like a McDonald's, then it's more of a I need to find a different route to work. So I don't drive by that McDonald's every afternoon on my way home because I know if it's a nice day and I've got my windows rolled down, I'm going to smell that when I pull up to that intersection because I always catch that light. I don't want to make that right turn.

[00:24:28.210] – Dr. Smith
And in the book in the book, I give you I give you several other kind of strategies, eating more protein, reducing stress, how to increase your hydration. You know, I won't delve into it. It's in the book. But there are other strategies other than outlasting some. Some people say I can't outlast a craving. I'll give you some other strategies that can actually help you in the book.

[00:24:46.810] – Allan
Yes, you do. Now, the last thing I want to get into is food addiction. You know, I'm I'm not a doctor. You are. So when we get to the point where I have a client that I believe has food addiction, that's beyond the scope of my practice for sure. But how can someone recognize when this is not just a small problem with overeating, but is an actual addiction? How would they know? What are the symptoms? And then if they're going to look for a solution, what are the things they should be looking for in that solution to know that they're not just hiring a quack?

[00:25:20.860] – Dr. Smith
Yeah, it's interesting. You know, food addiction and emotional eating really sometimes overlap. And emotional eating basically is you are eating food not for sustenance, not because you need the nourishment, but you're eating a particular food stuff because you want to address some type of emotional concern or emotional feelings you have. You're angry, you're happy, you're sad, whatever it is. But people who are addicted to food, here are some common ways to tell.

[00:25:53.230] – Dr. Smith
And it's not always black and white, by the way. It can be very complex to be able to ascertain or discern one's addiction. But if you're someone, for example, who simply can't stop yourself from eating when you know that you're already full, I mean, you know that you're full. You you're not really hungry. But there is more food left on the stove and you still have to go eat it. You know, you're satiated, but you still have to go eat it.

[00:26:24.970] – Dr. Smith
Another sign of addiction is when you find yourself constantly wanting to center your activities around food. You want to meet up with a friend, you want to do it at a restaurant, you want to celebrate, you do it with food. When food is such a constant in your life and most of your activities or a large number of your activities are centered around food, then it is likely you may have an addiction to food.

[00:26:58.750] – Dr. Smith
Also, people who are addicted to food. They may have a food, a particular food addiction, like I work with someone on Celebrity Fit Club when we were doing the show and one of the singers had an addiction to pizza and she just couldn't stop once she ate one slice of pizza. She had to have four or five or six. She really just couldn't stop. And just like alcoholism and the addiction to alcohol, you know, an alcoholic, for example, can stay away from alcohol for years. And the minute they have that first drink, they can't stop and cut themselves off at that one drink, they got to have more and similar properties occur with people who are addicted to food.

[00:27:48.270] – Allan
Yeah, again, it's it's it's sad that this is a thing because, you know, like with like you said, with alcohol, it's pretty simple to say I'm not going to I'm not going to go places where there's alcohol and I'm not going to take that first drink. But food, we can't necessarily always avoid food. We still we've got to try to find those triggers. And if you have a food that's making you and you said this in the book, making you feel guilty, you really need to explore that because that's that's a sign that something's going on. If you're hiding your food, if you're guilty about what you're doing, that's that's a big red flag that something's going on.

[00:28:25.860] – Dr. Smith
That's right. That's exactly right.

[00:28:28.530] – Allan
Dr. Smith, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay?

[00:28:37.080] – Dr. Smith
I think the first strategy for me and everyone obviously has three different things, probably. But for me, it's identifying passion. I think it's important for people in life to really identify something that really revs their engine and they're passionate about. And it could be all kinds of things. It could be music, could be art, it could be writing, it could be food preparation, whatever it is, identify what you're passionate about and really work and curate an environment where you can pursue your passion. I think that's extremely important. It gives you a sense of purpose. It gives you a sense of being meaningful.

[00:29:21.780] – Dr. Smith
The second thing is the physicality of life. Human beings are meant to be physical, and when we are not physical, then our engine, our body breaks down. I never forget a mechanic once told me, he said a Porsche and other sports cars are damaged when they sit in the garage and are not driven. And I thought, no, you're preserving it. He said, absolutely not. He said, when you don't drive a sports car the way sports cars are built, then you end up causing the sports car to deteriorate, the gaskets dry out, the seals start to leak. All these different mechanical things start happening because the car is not being driven like it's supposed to be and supposed to be used. So I think being physical and that's a broad array of activities depending on who you are, but being physical and some type of regular consistent manner is extremely important.

[00:30:22.980] – Dr. Smith
The third thing I would say is stress. There is a mountain of research that talks about the impact, both physical and psychological, that stress can play in our lives. It can affect our immune system. It can, in fact, affect our cardiovascular system. And obviously it can affect us from a psychological standpoint. And I think people need to take more time to really absorb life and where they are and to enjoy the moment and to prioritize their life so that they are not allowing themselves to be stressed by things that at the end of the day really aren't that important.

[00:31:07.770] – Dr. Smith
I think that's what the pandemic hopefully has taught a lot of people, that things that you thought were so important before now that you've been forced to do without and to realign, you realize not so bad after all. I actually didn't need that thousand dollar handbag or those three hundred dollar pair of sneakers. I didn't really need that stuff. Like I was Okay without it. And I survived. And I lived and I wasn't even thinking about those things. So I think that people reducing their stress and being able to streamline their lives and increasing the presence of things that they find or that are more valuable to their existence, I think is important to overall wellness.

[00:31:52.290] – Allan
Dr. Smith, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the book Mind Over Weight, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:31:59.400] – Dr. Smith
My Instagram is at Dr. Ian Smith. Spell the doctor out. I announcement my Twitter is Dr. Ian Smith and my website Doctoriansmith.com, spell it all out

[00:32:10.440] – Allan
Perfect. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/473 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Smith, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:21.060] – Dr. Smith
It was very nice talking to you and I hope you have a great 2021.

[00:32:24.540] – Allan
You too.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:31.000] – Allan
Welcome back, Rachel.

[00:32:32.470] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, with another great interview.

[00:32:34.870] – Allan
Yeah, I'm really, really proud of myself to get through that entire interview. And Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith. And not just breaking out, laughing because of Lost in Space, but…

[00:32:43.660] – Rachel
Oh, for sure.

[00:32:45.010] – Allan
He looks nothing like the Dr. Smith that were in the TV show or the movie. But it was just Dr. Smith. OK, well, yeah, but cool.

[00:32:54.970] – Rachel
The interview is great, you know, as a new personal trainer and just somebody who loves fitness in general when it comes to losing weight, I always gravitate to movement. I always think getting up and moving is a great way to burn off some calories. And in talking with you and listening to your podcast, you take more of a stance with food. You know, the kitchen is where weight loss happens. But actually, Dr. Smith gave us one more thing to think about. And that's where our mind is.

[00:33:22.310] – Allan
Yeah. If you haven't fixed your relationship with food, it's very hard to make a different way of eating a lifestyle. If you're saying, OK, now's a good time for me to change the way I'm eating, everything's looking good. It's you know, it's I made it past the football I cared about. And so the season's over. I can go ahead and do what I want, you know, do what I want to do.

[00:33:46.180] – Allan
If I didn't have a good relationship with food, then as soon as something came up, something terrible happened or something great happened, I would end up reverting back to my old ways of eating my old ways of everything. So any change that you want to have in your life, any change, regardless, it's going to take you getting your head there first.

[00:34:07.990] – Allan
And one of the one of the things I like to share with that is this concept of a Be-Do-Have. I'll talk to my clients about this all the time. But when I learned this is like this was this is a great little easy tool to think about. OK, so if you want to have something, don't start with what you want to have. Start with what it's like to be that person. Okay? So if I say I want to be a runner, well, then I have to I mean, I want to have a running. I want to be able to go out and run. Then I want to just be like a runner. What a runners do. They joined a running club, they buy new sneakers, they get out and actually run. And then you do. And that's the point is like now you consider yourself a runner. And so now you do, you run. So the Be-Do-Have is like just acting like you are that person doing the things that they do and then doing it and then you'll have what they have.

[00:35:06.820] – Allan
So if you're excited about going maybe see a family member finish a 5K or a 10K or something longer, maybe even a marathon, you know, like, gee, I wish I could run a marathon. Well, what a marathoners do. I mean, how are they? Well, they tend to be a little bit thinner only because they don't want to carry a whole lot. I was and I was 195 pounds. They called me a Clydesdale. I looked like a linebacker against everybody else that I was running with.

[00:35:34.960] – Allan
You just consider yourself a runner. So I was running stores, buying running shoes and running shorts and then I was out on the weekends doing my long runs or, you know, in the gym, doing my four hour marathon training workouts. And then I had it. I got out there and I ran my first marathon and then another one and then another one because I had become a marathoner. Until I ran the ultra. And I said, okay, I'm done, I'm going home, I'm tired.

[00:36:04.870] – Rachel
What a powerful mindset. What a powerful change and perspective.

[00:36:09.520] – Allan
Yeah. So you got to get your head right first. If you want a lifestyle change to stick, otherwise you're going to fall back on those bad habits because the crutches that are things that carry and we talked about that at Abby Langer, you know, it's really important for you to get your head right. And then the thing we talked about with Dr. Smith that I thought was really important was kind of a new way of thinking about goals.

[00:36:31.450] – Rachel
Yes, of course, he he mentioned the very smart goals and very was a new acronym I had not heard of either.

[00:36:39.070] – Allan
Well, he made it up. So..

[00:36:40.150] – Rachel
That's pretty cool.

[00:36:40.900] – Allan
Yeah, that's what happend. Okay, good. That's why I didn't know this before. Yeah. So do you want to go over very with them again.

[00:36:48.310] – Rachel
Yeah. So V stands for varied as and having different types of metrics to monitor. E is very effective, R is very responsible and Y is for yours. But varied, the V is really what caught my attention.

[00:37:02.680] – Allan
Yeah. And I'll say this, we talked to I mean I guess it was a week or so ago we talked about the, the different health measures. And so that's kind of the thing is if you're looking at your A1C and you're looking at how fast you can walk a mile and you're looking at how many times per week you're able to exercise and what you're keeping your macros are. Your calories that depending on how you want to approach your nutrition, then those are different goals. And so one of them, when things move, moving here and nothing's moving there, if you're tracking those different things, it's a little easier.

But I wanted to circle back around because we didn't really talk about SMART in the podcast. And so some people might not have heard of SMART goals. But a smart goal is basically specific, meaning you want to do a specific thing. So it's something that's tangible. The next is measurable. So you have to be able to measure it or you don't know that you're doing it. It has to be attainable. So if you set a goal saying I want to be an NFL football player, well, I would say if your listeners podcast probably not going to be able to attain that goal, you might want something a little bit more in line of what's possible to you. And then relevant meaning, OK, it applies to you, you know, so something that would be relevant would be, I want to eat better so I can improve my health and lose weight. Okay, so that's relevant. And then timely. So timely would be how often by when those types of things.

[00:38:42.050] – Allan
Now a lot of people will set a goal and they'll say, I want to lose 30 pounds in the next six months. And and it ticks all those general boxes. Is it specific, 30 pounds? Sure. It's measurable because you could step on the scale each day. It's attainable. I think someone who really puts their mind to it could lose 30 pounds in six months. It's relevant to them because if the doctors told them, lower your weight so you can lower your A1C and maybe get off the high blood pressure medicine, all those different things. And then it's timely. So you've set your six month goal. The problem with that is that that's something you also don't have control over.

[00:39:23.750] – Allan
So I'd love to be able to figure out another way to put another A in there, and that would be for action oriented. So instead of saying you want to lose 30 pounds, what are the actions that are necessary for you to be the person that weighs thirty pounds less? And you would think okay, well, a person who weighs thirty pounds less is more active. OK, so define that. OK, I want to exercise five times per week or six times per week. Okay? And you can be a little bit more specific to say I want to lift weights twice a week, I want to do mobility work twice a week and I want to do some cardiovascular work twice a week.

[00:40:05.690] – Allan
And that's that's your goals. Did you do your cardiovascular work twice this week? Yes or no. And it's within a week's time. So there you go. You know that's what you're supposed to have done. You could even take it out to a month and say, OK, I want nine strength training sessions per month. I want nine cardio sessions per month, and I want nine mobility's sessions. Now, don't wait until the last week.

[00:40:30.050] – Rachel
To get it all in a once?

[00:40:30.750] – Allan
And I try to do 18 workouts in seven days. You want to be careful with that and you do want it from a timeliness perspective to be something relatively soon. So not five years from now, I want to be six inches taller, you know, something that you can actually accomplish and something that's action oriented. So I know I need to work out or I know that I need to eat healthier and I'm going to define that in my terms of eating keto, someone else might say I need more vegetables. So I want to make sure that I have at least two to three servings of vegetables every day.

[00:41:08.690] – Allan
And that's initially that's attainable. And then they're like, Okay, that's pretty good. Now maybe I want to cut back on my starches and my pastas and my breads and just to lower my calories. And I'm not going to measure calories, but I'm just going to say I'm only going to have something white potato, starch, pasta or bread. I'm only going to have that twice a week.

[00:41:33.140] – Rachel

[00:41:33.650] – Allan
One serving twice a week. And so that cuts down significantly maybe on what you were eating and now you're eating more vegetables. And if you listen to Abby Langer, you're putting more protein on your plate. And so now your whole macros and calories set is very, very different than the way you were eating before. But it's attainable. You've taken those bridge gaps and you say, okay, this is my goal.

[00:41:57.050] – Allan
Make it something you actually control and you'll be much more effective. I guess maybe that would slide into his effective thing, but an effective goal because you could do all of these things and your hormones are out of whack and you're like, I don't understand it. I'm eating 1200 calories a day. I'm drinking eight glasses of water and I'm walking 10,000 steps every day and the scales not moving. That's not in your control.

[00:42:22.850] – Rachel

[00:42:23.420] – Allan
But the walking was in your control. The water was in your control. And eating more healthy, all those things were in your control. You were doing the right things, so just stick with it. I'm right now, I'm starting my famine season. And so, you know, my first day of this is okay, how do I how do I control this? OK, well, I've got to keep my carbs low. I've got to watch my electrolytes. And so to go to the gym, I basically boiled a dozen eggs. I got my tuna and my Himalayan sea salt.

[00:42:58.390] – Rachel
Oh, there you go.

[00:42:59.950] – Allan
And so, it's just what is what's in my control. Those are those are actions. Have the food I need to set myself up and and then just charge on.

[00:43:09.640] – Rachel
I think that's great. Yeah. Being actionable and having the intention to be actionable is you're right. It's something that should be added to our goal setting for sure. And maybe even working with a trainer, Allan, because you have a lot of information and your podcast and there's a lot of articles out there and some people may not really think about all these little details.

[00:43:31.450] – Allan
Yeah, I would love to say that I was a provider of information outside of the podcast or whatever I do to an extent. A client will ask me a question about a certain thing and I'll give him or her my opinion on it. That happens all the time. But there's not a lack of information out there. The Internet is just chock full of stuff. Now, it could get very confusing because there's there's all this contrast out there. If someone believes that, someone's doing that. I go on you know, I go on to my fitness pal to check in on things and it's still the same conversation. Just just cut your calories. Just cut your calories.

[00:44:10.970] – Allan
And I'm like, okay, but they've done that, you know, they've done that. And it's not working for them. So you can't just say just cut your calories.

[00:44:17.860] – Rachel

[00:44:18.760] – Allan
It's almost a slap in the face for some people that have cut their calories to keep saying that when it's not working for them. So. You know, with with my 12-week program, the things that we're really focused on first and foremost is mindset, you know, and then and then beyond that, it's just those kind of simple, subtle change things that are in your control.

[00:44:41.190] – Allan
We can control this. So where do you want to set your line? Where do you want to start this this journey? And then we put that in place. And so it's all custom to them. And then it's like, okay, how much movement can you do? What equipment do you have in your house? Rachel, here, you've got a great little home set up and I just opened up the gym, so I've got a nice little set up. Not everybody has that.

[00:45:05.220] – Allan
Sometimes they have resistance bands, sometimes they have the human body, sometimes they're traveling, sometimes they're home, sometimes… So we all have our own little circumstances. And so, you know, what I'm there to do is basically just help them first, get the mindset and then get the lifestyle.

[00:45:23.040] – Rachel
Yep, that sounds great. Just move that needle.

[00:45:25.710] – Allan
And you're doing similar stuff with your running. You're saying, OK, if you're a runner and you know, you want to stay healthy and you know, you want to do your virtual 5K, 10K or 50 miler in the upcoming months, you've got to train your running. That's that's for certain. And there's a myriads of information out there about running. So you can find a program and you can follow a program. It's free on the Internet, but you still got to get your mindset right. And you've got to get that balance. So you have a program that helps runners maintain their strength and that's going help them stay healthy. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

[00:46:07.500] – Rachel
On my website strong-soles.com I have a runners' workout that you could download for free. It's bodyweight movements so you don't need any equipment. It goes through all the different planes of motions. It's all the main muscle groups that runners need to keep strong. And it's a great overall body, short activity that you could do a couple of times a week, which is a great place to get started.

[00:46:30.300] – Allan
Yeah. So if you're a runner or you want to be a runner and you want to do it the right way, go check out Rachel site. And someone who wants to lose some some fat, you know, and feel better and get a little bit more fit. You should message me or email me allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and I'll give you some information. I'm going to be closing up the pre-launch on this pretty soon here because I've gotten… I'm getting close to my number of the cap number people. I didn't want to run too many people through the pre-launch because I wanted to make sure I had all of it in place. And the results have been just off the charts.

[00:47:07.560] – Rachel

[00:47:07.580] – Allan
I am so excited! In an average of just a little over two weeks, seven of us so far have lost a cumulative 42 pounds.

[00:47:17.280] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh, that's incredible.

[00:47:20.340] – Allan
Yeah. So I've got some I've got some outliers. I got some guys that are really doing well and I've got some people that are, they're pulling in behind, but everybody's everybody's losing weight. They're feeling good. And, you know, they're just pretty excited about it. They're moving more. They're eating better. And it's just a really good, positive vibe in the group. So I'm really, really excited about what's going on here. And then again, I'll close it and then I'll do the actual kind of the launch thing sometime in March, either the first or the middle of March. But if you're interested in this, don't don't delay. Go ahead. Get on that. Email me and I'll get in.

[00:47:56.520] – Rachel

[00:47:57.240] – Allan
All right. So, Rachel, anything else you want to talk about before we say goodbye?

[00:48:01.380] – Rachel
Nope. That was a great interview, Allan, thanks so much.

[00:48:04.020] – Allan
Thank you. I'll talk to you next week.

[00:48:05.898] – Rachel
Bye now.


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Another episode you may enjoy


Reduce body fat for better performance with Dr. Fedewa and Dr. Esco

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In your effort to lose weight over 40, it is a good idea to capture more data than just your weight (easy). But up until now, getting an accurate fix on body fat percentage was either expensive and time-consuming, or inaccurate. Today we meet Dr. Mike Fedewa and Dr. Mike Esco to discuss body fat, body fat measurement, and their new app, Made Health.


Let's Say Hello

00:01:34.740] – Allan
Raz, how are you doing this week?

[00:01:36.960] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:39.150] – Allan
I'm tired.

[00:01:42.510] – Rachel

[00:01:44.020] – Allan
It's a busy week. We're on the verge of opening the gym. We have a health inspection coming on Thursday. So we went there today to meet with them at the hospital. And they gave us some general guidance of things they would expect to see when they get here. So I had to have a pest control guy come out and I've got to make a few phone calls, make sure everything's in order, print a bunch of signs so everybody knows two meters, wear your mask, clean your equipment, please.

[00:02:15.600] – Rachel

[00:02:17.080] – Allan
And my employees have their rules. And so they'll know exactly what to do and they'll be checklists. And so it changes pretty much everything on how we used to run a gym. We've got to kind of rewrite and redo the entire way everything works. So I've been on that since first thing this morning. And then it's all kind of problematic from perspective of over this weekend. I lost my phone.

[00:02:44.400] – Rachel
Oh, boy.

[00:02:45.510] – Allan
We were out having dinner with some friends and on the way back and I knew I was wearing swim trunks. And so I knew that that pocket was a little loose. And so if you think you can drop your phone riding in a golf cart in the jungle, you will.

[00:03:03.822] – Rachel
Oh no!

[00:03:04.470] – Allan
And then other cars and trucks will run over it and then we'll get a heavy rain because it's Panama.

[00:03:10.500] – Rachel

[00:03:10.990] – Allan
So you get the phone back two days later and it's toast.

[00:03:16.200] – Rachel
What a pain.

[00:03:18.180] – Allan
There's no way to really buy an iPhone here on the island. And I'm kind of Apple-centric with my skill sets these days. And I really don't want to learn anything new as far as equipment. So I'll have to wait a few days before someone can bring me an iPhone from the city.

[00:03:34.680] – Rachel
Wow. My goodness, that's such a hassle.

[00:03:39.180] – Allan
Yeah. So, things that could have just done on, we use WhatsApp down here, so could have gotten on WhatsApp and take care like five or six different things like, OK, now I've got to get on my wife's phone and try to make this phone call and then try to use her WhatsApp and message someone. It's been an interesting week, but we're hopeful. Thursday will get here, we'll have an opportunity to get that inspection. I intend to pass the inspection. I really only have one thing that's outside my control. And I'm hopeful that I can get the people that are responsible for that to play nice for at least a day.

[00:04:17.360] – Rachel
Oh, goodness.

[00:04:18.890] – Allan
And then we'll see what'll happen.

[00:04:21.110] – Rachel
Good. My fingers are crossed for you. And I'm sure all your clients are anxious to get back to the gym.

[00:04:27.110] – Allan
Tammy and I get asked and my employees get asked every single day, when are you open? When are you opening? When you opening? February 1st is my my go live day. That's the date I have in my heart that I want to reopen this because we closed March 14th of last year. I don't quite want to go the whole year but…

[00:04:48.660] – Rachel
Yeah. Well, fingers crossed everything goes smoothly.

[00:04:52.670] – Allan
Yeah. We're close. We're really, really close.

[00:04:55.220] – Rachel
Oh good.

[00:04:56.330] – Allan
How are things up there.

[00:04:57.920] – Rachel
Snowy. Snowy and cold.

[00:05:01.920] – Allan
Is that part of the song, “And the weather outside is frightful.”?

[00:05:07.580] – Rachel
Yes, it is! But it is pretty. I figure if it's going to be cold it might as well be snow and make it look all pretty. So, it's good getting still getting my runs and, and the treadmill when it's icy and sketchy but outside on the trails when I can so it's still good.

[00:05:25.670] – Allan

[00:05:26.600] – Rachel

[00:05:27.470] – Allan
All right. We're going to have an interesting conversation, I'll admit straight up. Yeah. We talk about iPhones and losing iPhones and realizing actually how much I use them because I didn't actually think I used them that much because the iPhone will send you a message each week to tell you your usage. And my daily usage on my phone is typically less than an hour. And I do most of the things I need to do for my work and everything else on a computer. I do very little on it on a phone. But that one hour is important stuff.

[00:06:03.320] – Rachel
Yeah, for sure.

[00:06:04.910] – Allan
And so I'll admit, I love getting a new gadget, a new iPhone app, and I'll play with it for a little period of time and then I kind of get bored with stuff like that. But this one is one that I could see myself using for myself. I could see myself using it with my clients because it's going to give us data that is a better health marker than we would get by stepping on the scale. I am a fan of data and this phone app will help collect that data. So, I think you're going to like this conversation.

[00:06:36.410] – Rachel
All right.


[00:06:53.880] – Allan
Dr. Fedewa, Dr. Esco, welcome to 40 +Fitness.

[00:06:57.540] – Dr. Fedewa
Thank you for having us. We're excited to be here.

[00:06:59.910] – Dr. Esco
Appreciate the opportunity.

[00:07:01.380] – Allan
Now, you reached out to me and you have an app. And I'm a big fan of tools that give us information, tools that help us be successful. There's a lot of fitness apps out there, there's a lot of health apps out there and some of them are really, really good and some of them are not so good. But I looked around at your app and did a lot of deep diving into how the app worked, what you guys are doing, some of the research that you've done. And I really like the Made Health and Fitness App and what it's able to do for people that are looking to lose body fat and get healthy.

[00:07:37.530] – Dr. Fedewa
Thanks. We like it, too. We've been in the tech world, I guess, for about a year and a half through development and beta testing in our launch in October. So it's been a wild ride and I think we're a little bit different than some of the other app companies. We really want to deliver a tool that has research grade accuracy. And I think that that puts us in a unique position where we're we're very concerned that the numbers that are coming from the app and from our system are as accurate or comparable to what you would get in a clinic or in a lab. So that's where we want to be. So that means a lot to us. Thank you.

[00:08:12.960] – Allan
Most of the time I'm sitting there and a client will either come into my gym here in Bocas or they'll contact me online. And the thing that will come up will be, I want to lose weight. And I'm like, OK, how much weight do you think you want to lose and why do you want to lose it? And we go we start getting into those types of things. And I really wish we had never used weight as a measurement because what they what they want is they want to be a particular size.

[00:08:44.780] – Allan
That's what they really want. They want to fit into a particular size dress or jeans. And I tell them, if you weighed seven hundred pounds, which would you really care, if you were in a size two and they say, no. I saw this meme the other day that said, you know, if you were two hundred pounds on Earth and you went to Mars, you'd weigh seventy-six pounds. So, you don't have a weight problem. You've got a planet problem.

[00:09:10.590] – Dr. Fedewa
Right there. You got to move.

[00:09:14.940] – Allan
Now, there's a very particular reason why human beings have body fat. Can we kind of go through some of the things that actually are good about body fat?

[00:09:24.480] – Dr. Fedewa
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you if you want to go all the way back to caveman to prehistoric days and in body fat as a very essential function. It's a storage site for extra calories. And so that is good. It's always good to have extra calories around when you don't know when your next meal is coming from. So where during times where food is readily available and we we can eat to our fullness and store some extra calories maybe during times when the next meal is inconsistent or you don't know where it's coming from, you have that extra reserve of calories that you can fall back on so that you don't starve and you don't die. Tthat's that's a really good function of fat.

[00:10:03.270] – Dr. Fedewa
The other really good function of fat, if you think from an evolutionary perspective is temperature regulation. That's really good, right? I mean, now we have houses and homes that are climate controlled and you have clothes that can keep us warm. And probably most of us hang out somewhere between sixty five and seventy five degreescin the house or in the car. And so, if we didn't have that luxury, we would need that extra layer of insulation to help keep us warm.

[00:10:28.170] – Dr. Fedewa
And so those are two really, really good, very essential functions to survival and it provides extra padding around all of our vital organs. That's really good. Fat adipose tissue physiologically has a number of functions that actually you create a ton of hormones and different cells signaling on a molecular level that have very important purposes physiologically. So fat is not just an inert, inactive storage site for extra calories. It actually does have a physiological purpose to keep us alive and keep us functioning the way we should.

[00:11:02.420] – Dr. Esco
Suffice it to say that without that, we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be able to sustain life, multiple important physiological purposes for fat.

Now, as you mentioned, Dr. Fedewa, a lot of times we're in an environment where we're climate controlled. We have an abundant access to food. So I don't have to go hunting or I don't have to wait because I know where this goes live, it's February 8th. And I would dare say if you walked outside in most of North America, you're not going to find fruit or vegetables just lying around. Most of what's going to be around is animals and maybe some roots, if you can dig them off the ground, not frozen, which is not in Alabama at this point, probably.

[00:11:49.610] – Allan
But you still you're not going to find much veg out there today and you're going to have to go hunt for it. And sometimes that means traveling a long distance, having the energy to do that and then having the energy to actually take down a beast and then carry it back to wherever we're hanging out that night. But today, some day, we don't have those things. So we don't need to build up a huge amount of extra fuel and warmth and all of those types of things.

[00:12:15.350] – Allan
So from your perspective, what would be a good level of body fat and does that change based on how old we are, how active we are, or just other functions like how long we want to live?

[00:12:29.390] – Dr. Esco
The recommendations for what would be healthy body fat percentage anywhere within the range of 8 to mid 20% in men and upper teens, low 20s to mid 30s for women. But really and truly, what really good body fat or healthy body fat or appropriate body fat percentage would be is dependent upon the individual, right? We work with a lot of athletes and obviously when we think of athletes, athletes are typically lean and have a low percent body fat.

[00:13:05.360] – Dr. Esco
But even in the realm of athletics, the range of body fat is really should be to support optimal performance, because this drive for thinness that we've created in our society is really not the best approach, because too little body fat percentage can have a numerous negative consequences as too much body fat percentage. So there is a range and that range would really depend on where a person is, what their lifestyle is, how old they are. Yes, we tend to gain body fat as we age, but some of that increase is necessary.

[00:13:47.660] – Dr. Esco
That increase can actually be a good thing if it's too much. That's that's obviously not ideal because too much body fat is obviously linked to obesity related disorders like heart disease and some forms of cancer. But there's body fat. But what's really more important than that is fat free mass. Right? So a part of fat free mass is skeletal muscle and bone density. And those things can decrease as well with aging.

[00:14:15.590] – Dr. Esco
There's an age associated decrease in muscle mass and strength, and that's labeled as sarcopenia. And that's not ideal. Exercise is important for preventing that or decreasing the effects of it. Then there's osteoporosis. Those things are actually linked also to low body weight and also low body fat percentage. Physical activity obviously is going to impact the body composition of an individual and it will help to keep fat to fat free mass ratio at an appropriate healthy level.

[00:15:01.490] – Dr. Fedewa
So what if I just rocked your world? Check the check this out. What have we said that it's not actually body fat that's the issue. It's actually your fat free mass or your muscle mass. So when we say your body fat percentage is too high, what we're saying is that for for the amount of weight that you have, the percentage of that body weight that is fat is relatively too much or is relatively higher than probably what we would want. When we kind of put that in real terms, your body fat percentage will never be zero. The percentage of you that's fat will never be zero. You'll always have some. It will never be one hundred. And so most of us probably stick somewhere around the teens to 20s and 30s, maybe into the 40s or 50s, 50 percent fat.

[00:15:46.280] – Dr. Fedewa
But I think what Dr. Esco is kind of getting at is that the fat free mass is really important. Some people would argue in our field that if you compare collegiate elite level athletes, especially in women, the body fat level, the body fat amounts that they have in pounds or kilograms might not be different than non athletes. The biggest difference is the fat free mass is the muscle mass. And so that makes the percentage of their weight that is fat relatively lower. But the total amount of fat that they have might not be that might not actually be that different.

[00:16:19.250] – Dr. Fedewa
So if we shifted the perspective and said rather than focus on you losing fat because it'll never go down to zero percent fat, what if we just focused on building up that fat free mass and and preserving the bone health like Dr. Esco talked about and preserving or maintaining or increasing the muscle mass, which would, again, drive down the percentage of you that's adipose tissue or body fat. And so that's kind of a cool perspective that I think gets lost a lot of times we just focus on losing weight and losing fat. It's like this primary marker in health.

[00:16:53.400] – Dr. Esco
To add to that, another important point is. Performance, how body composition relates to performance. Let me give you an example, the largest individual that I've ever evaluated, body composition on weight. Six hundred and fifty pounds. So it's very large, 50 percent of his body was fat. So three hundred twenty five pounds of fat.

[00:17:15.060] – Dr. Esco
But he also had three hundred twenty five pounds of fat free mass as well. But it could not do one push up. So is that muscle quality aspect is very important, but on the other hand, the leanest individual. Way less than 10 percent, but barely over 100 pounds, right? So very little body fat percentage, but as a consequence of an unhealthy body composition, very little fat free mass, also muscle quality was very low.

[00:17:44.110] – Allan
Yeah, you answered one question that comes up so many times when I'm on the Facebook forums, or should I try to lose the weight first and then start exercising to gain muscle? And my answer is, well, if you're over 35, no! Absolutely not! Because you're missing an opportunity. And every year that you don't do something, sarcopenia is biting you in the butt. So start lifting straight away. And that again kind of takes them into that. Well, what if I gain weight, which you may if you're lifting weights and you're somewhat restricting what you're eating to a point where your body is trying to shed body fat, you could be doing both and either remain the same weight or maybe a little more.

[00:18:30.340] – Allan
But that ratio that you're talking about of lean mass to body fat is moving in the direction you want to you want to move, which is why, again, this Made Health and Fitness App is actually really cool because it's going to give us some of that data, particularly if we use it consistently and look for trends.

[00:18:48.130] – Allan
Now, one of the other things that comes up a lot and what happens if a woman goes into menopause, her hormones shift and then she starts shifting where she's storing body fat men almost always start to store the body fat on their belly before they gain it elsewhere. But people have genetic differences and it goes to different places for different reasons. Why is it important where we store fat and what that means for our health or performance?

[00:19:15.910] – Dr. Fedewa
We have to two primary distribution patterns so people usually store extra weight or extra fat in two regions. One of them is the Android region. And this pattern is usually more common in men. And we think of this as the apple shape. So if you store a lot of extra body fat around your midsection, around your belly of beer belly would kind of be what we just kind of jokingly call it. But we store more extra fat around the midsection that carries a little bit higher risk for high blood pressure than having more of a pear shaped distribution pattern. If we store relatively more body fat kind of in that area, it doesn't carry the same, some people would argue it doesn't carry the same increased risk that fat stores around our midsection does. So that's actually one of the cool things about the app, is that because we're marketing regionally where people store more adipose tissue or more body fat, we can tell when somebody is storing more of that fat around the midsection, which could potentially put them at a higher risk of certain diseases.

[00:20:14.890] – Dr. Fedewa
And we can tell if somebody's storing more of that body fat kind of around their their lower body, their legs, hips, and thighs. And to your point that you kind of just mentioned about losing weight or losing losing fat and whether I should exercise to lose the weight first or add the muscle, we jokingly said the other day that we would we would almost hope people start exercising as part of the New Year's resolution and not see any weight change. Like exercise lifting weights. And I hope, honestly, that you don't lose any weight because that would tell us know we're possibly adding more muscle, which you could track and we're possibly losing more relatively more fat, but independent of any weight or composition changes. Eating a healthy diet and exercising and being physically active and physically active carries so many health benefits outside of those composition changes.

[00:21:10.030] – Allan
Being that I'm 5′ 11″ and then my little brother, one of my brothers is 5′ 4″, it's not a cool thing when the two of us weigh the same. And so the term there is not so much just the weight, it's it's the BMI. So the BMI is a term that's basically meant to adjust for the height of the individual. But even with that, I could tell you that with my muscle mass, relative to what I'm supposed to weigh at 5′ 11″, I'm not a 170 pounds. I'm closer to about 205. But, you know, my BMI is as a function of that puts me right in the right into the obese category. And I stay there all year round. And because I keep muscle mass and I don't lose the body fat, I kind of look at BMI as is valuable, but not also valuable, that it would be the only thing that I would look at because it's a number, it's a piece of data. And quite frankly, it's not the best piece of data. Like you said, knowing what our body fat percentage is, knowing what our lean mass is, that those are better. There are a lot of tools out on the market, some better than others. Could you talk about the various ways that someone can get their numbers and the pros and cons of each?

[00:22:31.360] – Dr. Esco
Yeah, sure. Within body fat, like how to how to measure body fat percentage and all of that's important. Body fat is just a component of body composition. So body composition is the relative proportion of fat and fat free mass that make up one's body weight. So the body weight kind of gets a bad rap. We don't want to focus too much on the scale, but it is important. It's an important value. And you're right, if someone shorter than you typically if there's the same weight, well, that may not be ideal for the other person, because BMI is the most popular body composition assessment tool. It's one of the simplest before before our app. I think our app is even simpler. But what that is, is just a ratio of height to weight. So it gives us an idea of ideal weight to one's height. So BMI is used to classify obesity by major organizations like World Health Organization.

[00:23:40.300] – Dr. Esco
And typically obesity is considered with a BMI of 30 or greater. But what BMI does not do, it does not evaluate body fat percentage. So the BMI of 30 does not equate to 30 percent body fat like a lot of people may think. It's actually the units are kilograms of body weight over height in meters squared. So even though a BMI may be 30 or greater, doesn't necessarily mean that person has high body fat percentage. So if we have somebody that we assess BMI on and they're sedentary and their BMI is greater than 30, typically that person is highly likely that they're also obese.

[00:24:20.180] – Dr. Esco
However, if we take BMI of our competitive football team, you know, and the running back and running backs or whatnot, the athletes typically have higher BMI. That technically would be considered obese, but they're quite lean because they have a lot of muscle mass that makes their body their body weight greater. So to get more accurate, we would measure body fat percentage and fat free mass. We would actually evaluate those body composition parameters.

[00:24:49.220] – Dr. Esco
And the only way to do that is with techniques that we have available in our lab, which is typically like imaging DEXA. DEXA is a considered a gold standard as an X-ray device that will measure and scan the body and measure body fat percentage and muscle mass. It's the gold standard for measuring bone mineral density as well. There's underwater weighing technique where a person gets in a tank of water and how much water they displace is related to their body fat percentage. And those techniques are typically found in the laboratory and they're accurate and sophisticated. They're very expensive to have the equipment and they requires a technician to know how to use those and deliver those as well. So they're not easily accessible.

[00:25:38.300] – Dr. Esco
There are field methods like the pinch-an-inch. It's the skinful technique, which is a very popular technique to measure body fat in the fitness community. The problem with that is it requires a period of time to be trained to know how to do that appropriately. And there's not good agreement across technicians as well. There's the bioimpedance technique, which is there are many different bioimpedance devices. There's the old handheld, hand-to-hand by devices, and then there's the fancier scales that we can see in some retail stores where the foot to foot and then there's more sophisticated bioimpedance devices and is typically have a range of error that can get really accurate the more expensive and sophisticated they are, but usually the more common ones are not very accurate.

[00:26:28.280] – Dr. Esco
And then there's, of course, our tool that we that we have recently created that measures body fat percentage and body composition from a single the picture.

[00:26:39.440] – Dr. Fedewa
I'll actually follow up to just to say that I think it's a very valuable tool We measure body mass index on every research participant that comes in. It's just an it's a measure. It's a tool. It's a marker that we can use to identify people who may be at risk for additional obesity related, unfavorable health consequences. I don't think for population trends that it should just be completely thrown out. We've seen in the States, we've seen about a 25 to 30 pound increase in the average body weight since 1960. We've seen about a half a kilogram per meter squared increase in BMI at the population level since the 70s and 80s. And so, if you look back over the past 60 or some odd years, we are getting heavier. And I think that that data are so valuable to track population trends, to show us that as a as a global society worldwide, we're not going in a very favorable direction. And there are certain groups that are maybe disproportionately affected by obesity and a lot of the health related consequences.

[00:27:47.430] – Dr. Fedewa
So I don't think that it should just be completely thrown out. But to your point, measuring the individual progress and finding the differences between two people, that may be the same height and the same weight, but different genders, same height, same weight, but different races, same height, same weight, but different ages. I think BMI to measure and account for those individual differences, I think misses that.

[00:28:11.600] – Dr. Fedewa
And so I think our technique and the app, I think the individual just deserves better. I think that there's a more accurate way now with the advances in technology to measure and track changes in composition rather than relying solely on weight on a scale, because I think some of the improvements that we see are just missed.

[00:28:31.620] – Allan
Yeah. Next week, I'm going to have Dr. Ian Smith on to talk about his book, Mind Over Weight. And he has a pretty neat spin on goal setting. And one of the things that he talks about with goal setting is to focus on more than. One goal, you know, you may want weight to be one of your goals, you may want to be able to fit in a certain pair of jeans or a certain dress, and that's all good.

[00:28:58.360] – Allan
But I actually think knowing your body composition is another core measurement that would be really good for you to track if getting lighter, if losing some body fat is what you're after and making sure you're maintaining your muscle mass. There are a lot of tools out there. The Dexascan is going to run you at least $100, maybe $150, depending on where you go. There are little places popping up here and there where you can go pay for a plan and they'll do a Dexascan once a quarter, once every six months, whatever, whatever you choose.

[00:29:29.440] – Allan
And you can see that trend in the water. I've never actually done the water test, the submersion test before. And I can tell you, having worked with calipers and trying to do the seven skinful locations and do it the same every time and get the same result is it's not fun. Bioimpedance does have this huge error rate, depending on how hydrated you are or the time of day that you're doing it. So what I like about your tool is it's in my hand because it's on my phone and it adds just one more tool in there for me to have some data quickly and easily, as quickly and easily as is taking a picture of myself.

[00:30:14.620] – Allan
Now, someone's going to take a picture of me because it can't just be a selfie with the duck lips and all of that. But there's a certain way I have to pose. And so someone's going have to take the picture. I'm have to dress a certain way. But can you tell me a little bit about how the Made Health and Fitness App is used and what it does for us?

[00:30:34.900] – Dr. Fedewa
Yeah, absolutely. You you actually can take a selfie. It's just a different type of selfie. So the image is scanned and we analyze total body composition. So the image itself down the app, you set up your profile. We're going to ask you some basic information about your height and your weight and your your age and race and gender that allows us to create a measure of body composition that's tailored directly to you, that can account for the small kind of age related changes in composition that we usually see.

[00:31:07.780] – Dr. Fedewa
The small differences between different race and ethnic groups, small differences between men and women. It kind of allows us to create a really accurate number that's tailored specifically to you based on your image. Once your profile is set up, the image can be scanned and analyzed in about 15 or 20 seconds. We have a few checks when a person is taking a scan just to make sure that it has the best quality and the most accurate results.

[00:31:29.920] – Dr. Fedewa
So the image has to be from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. If part of you is missing or cut off is the image is being scanned for the landmarks that we need. Some of them could potentially be missing. And so the numbers will get will be a little bit inaccurate. Feet together, arms out. A lot of the landmarks that we're scanning for on the image are on the trunk. And so some of them we need we need to pinpoint the narrowest part of your waist and the widest point of your hips. So potentially, if your arms are too close to your midsection, we might miss those landmarks and accidentally misclassify. Snugly fitting athletic clothing like a like an Under Armour shirt or compression shirt. If you feel comfortable in sports bra going shirtless, that's completely fine. Leggings, yoga pants, compression shorts, boxer briefs, those are completely fine. Also, what we really need to, again, since we want to find the most accurate kind of picture of you that shows your true body shape, anything with baggy clothing that might kind of misrepresent what your true figure looks like would potentially introduce some error.

[00:32:29.710] – Dr. Fedewa
Other than that, I mean, the image scanning itself is pretty straightforward. We I usually take my phone honestly and set it up on a coffee table and pop it up against a coffee cup and making sure that every image and every scan that I take is at the same height. It's in the same room. It's with the same lighting. If you don't have access to a research lab like most of us don't at home, you can you can just kind of use whatever you have around the house to take the image.

[00:32:55.300] – Dr. Fedewa
I set my phone for a ten second timer and take a selfie that way. So I have a record of the image saved on my phone. Once it's uploaded to the app, it takes about 10 to 15 seconds to scan and analyze and you get your results instantly. From there you can send them to a trainer. If you're working remotely, you can export them to an email or to a text message. The image goes completely away so it's not stored in the app. We don't keep the images in a database. We wanted to do that for privacy and confidentiality reasons. So you don't need to worry about any images of you in your underwear getting out on the Internet, they go completely away. The only place that they would ever exist would be on your own personal phone if you saved it to your camera roll or to your device. The only thing that we see in the database are your numbers.

[00:33:41.170] – Dr. Fedewa
We use that again, one of the reasons why we ask your age and your race, we want the app to be used to create the biggest database of normative values that has ever been created. And so we want somebody who's 45, female, and Hispanic. We want to have the most accurate, normed data to show them to say here, this is what you should be or this is what somebody your age. This is kind of where most of the people in the population are. This is kind of healthier. This is kind of not so healthy. This is where most people who look and act and behave just like you, that have all the same characteristics. And I think all of those data because we're not limited to the issues with transportation or cost or scheduling and access to the different techniques, I think that we definitely are positioned to do that. I think we can make a big difference on shaping and reshaping some of our norms and expectations of what healthy actually is. And then I'll actually let Esco jump in a little bit more and talk about kind of the functions of the app and how it works.

[00:34:44.680] – Dr. Esco
Yeah. So, like Dr. Fedewa said, it's the simplest device on the market now for measuring body composition. All this requires just a picture of a person standing, which is which is easy to do. We don't have to worry about being trained to do skin forward or trained to use a DECA or anything else. And a person can do it right in the privacy of their own home. And there's a lot of barriers associated with going into a fitness center or related facility and having your body composition measured and having to let a fit professional in on how much you weigh. And all very personal number as well. With this there's no need to even worry about any of that person can do it right themselves and again in their home.

[00:35:37.090] – Dr. Esco
But it's also very accurate. Dr. Fedewa and I, this is our area, we've been doing research and body composition for years. We have PhDs in physiology and this is what we decided to focus our career on is body composition and in discovering techniques that are accurate and user-friendly and this what we've we've created.

[00:35:57.940] – Dr. Esco
We've shown that it's in near perfect agreement with underwater weighing and DEXA and those other laboratory measures that we talked about. So even if somebody were to go and have routine Dexascans, they can still use our device for more routine or weekly or frequent scans for body composition. So they don't have to wait months and years down the road to see if there's actual changes in body composition. They can make decisions earlier by using our app, in addition to some of those more sophisticated measures is if they choose to do so. It's the most user-friendly technique and of the field of tools that are out there, it's one of the more accurate methods.

[00:36:47.420] – Dr. Fedewa
We wanted to have something to, Esco mentioned tracking trends. We wanted to have something that you can use on your phone that you had access to all the time, that you can do it for less than a cup of coffee. And so when every every time that you would normally weigh in to track progress, we would we say, hey, man, why don't you take a picture also, right? So you can put some context around those changes that are happening on the scale.

[00:37:09.770] – Dr. Fedewa
Over the holidays, we were as a group of of the co-founders, jokingly tracking all of our changes in composition. And we were seeing ups and downs and swings in body weight. We would be up five pounds one day. We would be down six pounds the next day. And most of that is just due to water weight. It's just a fluid retention. Alcohol, really salty foods, different types of foods will cause you to hold more water weight or less water weight. Menstrual cycle for female users. We have changes in body weight. Most of that is is fluid. And so the cool thing about the app is that with a single picture, if you weigh yourself, you say, oh, my gosh, I'm six pounds heavier than I was yesterday, what the heck is going on?

[00:37:50.710] – Dr. Fedewa
You can take a picture and do a scan and see that about ninety five percent of that is fluid. It's fat free mass. And so that puts context around the changes in the scale that you're seeing. You can go, oh man, I gained six pounds, but that's OK, because most of it is fluid. And we can account for some of those ups and downs from day to day when we're looking at the big trends over time where if you're just relying on two measurements with a DEXA every six months, those small changes and those small improvements, a lot of times are overlooked.

[00:38:19.870] – Dr. Fedewa
You can be up or down on a given day and scan with the DEXA and maybe not show any progress. But we can show this really small changes over time to get a better idea of what's working, maybe and maybe what's not. If you're working with a trainer.

[00:38:32.350] – Allan
Information is powerful. Data is powerful, especially if you act on it.

[00:38:38.569] – Dr. Fedewa
It is.

[00:38:39.730] – Dr. Esco
Especially from a distance, too. So for a professional like yourself, Allan, working with clients that live in different parts of the world. This device is useful for tracking changes and the clients that you're working with. We wanted it to be for individual use, but also for professionals like yourself, practitioners, as well as in the lab and research.

[00:39:03.330] – Dr. Fedewa
Yeah, we wanted it to be, we never wanted to replace the trainer. We don't want to replace the practitioner with the app. So we were very specific with the way that it was designed. So we don't give any dietary recommendations in the app. We don't provide any exercise programming or prescriptions within the app. We want this to be a tool like you mentioned and like you'll talk about next week on the program is that, the more data you have, the more accurately you can track progress.

[00:39:27.810] – Dr. Fedewa
And sometimes from week to week, you may not see any progress if you're just focusing on one specific metric. So what what can we look at if we're if we're not seeing weight loss? Did we see changes in fat free mass or do we see changes in fat mass? It may be did we see changes in Android or glenoid fat? Do we see an improvement there if our total body fat percentage didn't change? Did we did we hit our water goal that we had our steps goal that we had our sleep goal?

[00:39:51.060] – Dr. Fedewa
I mean, you guys is the practitioners and the experts who are kind of out there doing this in the field. The more information that you can get your hands on to coach and train and kind of guide your clients through through their fitness journey, I think the better. And so we we just want to be one of the assessment tools for you to kind of track your progress and your users and then your clients. And so I think we want to let the coaching be done by the coaches. We want to let the training be done by the trainers. And we just want to be there to kind of help.

[00:40:20.070] – Allan
Dr. Esco. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:40:28.980] – Dr. Esco
Well, one is to be intentional, living a healthy lifestyle, right? Eating an appropriate diet. You know, staying active and exercising. Working towards staying positive, all those things require work, they're not just given to somebody you all right? So it takes it takes work to establish those habits and the person has to be intentional making that happen.

[00:40:54.570] – Dr. Esco
You mention making goals. So the second point is to make goals very important, to have something to strive for, but not being so focused on on one specific goal related to like body composition. It's very important to have an appropriate goal for what's healthy in terms of fat, fat free mass and healthy body weight. But more but more important than that is his overall performance. Have another fitness related goals running a 5K or or having some sort of other fitness related feat. Those things are very important. So we have something that we can strive for.

[00:41:32.400] – Dr. Esco
And then and then the third thing I think is the most important of all is to be patient, especially in the world of body composition, where the scale is so easily accessible and our app is very accessible. We're tempted to make frequent assessments. We want to see changes immediately, which doesn't really work that way. We have to be patient. If we're doing the right things, we're eating appropriately. We're being physically active. The goals will be achieved, but it's going to take some time.

[00:42:02.610] – Allan
Thank you. Dr. Fedewa, I'll ask you the same question. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay?

[00:42:13.140] – Dr. Fedewa
Well, yeah, I think those are the more advice that you can get and the better. Probably the most important one that Esco didn't mention and I guess as the team had put this in number four is to remember that you probably will fail and you will see setbacks. And it's okay to have those, especially if you are focusing on on starting a new exercise program or changing the way that you're eating or focusing on losing weight. There will be huge improvements and there will also be some some pretty big setbacks. And so to remember that it's a long journey if you focus on losing fat, it didn't all happen and come on overnight. So it won't disappear overnight either. There will be ups and downs and twists and turns and to just be patient. So remember that it's okay to have setbacks and you just get up the next day and and start all of them and knock it out.

[00:43:04.560] – Dr. Fedewa
I think the second most important thing that I used on my own journey was to think like a healthy person and act like a healthy person. I don't think starvation or completely cutting out food groups is is healthy. I don't think exercising seven hours a day is necessarily healthy. But if you you start asking yourself, is it okay to eat a cookie? Yes. It's OK to eat a cookie. A healthy person to eat a cookie. A cookie is fine. Probably not OK to eat an entire box of cookies. Cool. Right. Is it okay to have a beer or a glass of wine every now and then? Yeah, absolutely. Is it OK to have ten? No, probably not. A healthy person may not do that. And so I think that that allows you a little bit of flexibility and a little bit of wiggle room because healthy people are not perfect people. They just tend to make healthier decisions more often than not. And so I think that flexibility helps. And I think tracking is is one of the most important things that you can do. And we've seen with some of our research participants just just the act of tracking the number of steps per day that you take is enough to increase your physical activity level by about 10 percent just because you're monitoring it and you're constantly aware of the same thing with calories or or sugar or water intake. It's about a ten percent change. Just if you're watching it and you're thinking about it and you're tracking it, it's enough to restrict energy intake or calorie intake or increase your water intake. And it's about a 10 percent swing. So, if you're not tracking, you can't see change. So get a baseline, measure, monitor and then kind of see what happens over time. And the more data that you collect, the better you can gauge your progress and figure out what's working for you.

[00:44:44.490] – Allan
Thank you. If someone wanted to learn more about the Made Health and Fitness App or the things you guys are doing over there at the University of Alabama, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:44:55.530] – Dr. Esco
Our website for the app is mymadeapp.com. And then to find us in the Google Play and Apple app stores search the phrase “made health and fitness.” So in terms of our work with the University of Alabama, we would encourage anyone to check our personal websites out by searching our names, either Michael Esco or Michael Fedewa, the University of Alabama. And we work in the Department of Kinesiology.

[00:45:28.580] – Dr. Fedewa
We have all of our research papers are up on our on our faculty websites. We have links to our research papers on social media for the app. You guys want to check those out? It's Made Health and Fitness on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, too. As more research comes out of the lab, as we have conference abstracts and presentations and new research papers are published and presented, we will post those. We also have links to all that research within the app. There's a button says, see the science behind the app. We want to we want the users to be completely confident that the numbers that they're getting are research grade. And so we want to get the research data out there. We want to get the accuracy out there so people can be confident with how they're tracking and what they're measuring.

[00:46:08.600] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/472, and I'll be sure to have those links there. So, Dr. Esco, Dr. Fedewa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:46:19.580] – Dr. Esco
Thank you.

[00:46:20.720] – Dr. Fedewa
Thanks for having us. I can't wait to come back.

[00:46:22.550] – Dr. Esco

Post Show/Recap

[00:46:28.000] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:46:29.260] – Rachel
Hey, hold on one second while I download this app real quick.

[00:46:32.140] – Allan
The app's called Made Health App. And,there's a lot of benefits to this to this thing. I am a big fan of data, and I'm not I'm not a huge fan of apps, as I mentioned earlier. But data is a big thing. And the thing that they've come up with, they've got two studies that that I read and both of them showed improvements in performance when people lose body fat.

[00:46:55.570] – Allan
Now they're talking about athletes in college, female athletes in particular. But but still, the women lost somebody fat and they performed better. They had more power and they had more stamina. So if you're a runner or someone who wants to play better tennis, this is something if you lose a little bit of body fat, even if you don't have much to lose, there can be some performance improvement. And then, of course, for the vast majority of us that do want to just get rid of some body fat, this is a good way to track that you're being successful. And it's a lot cheaper than almost all of the other alternatives out there because it's free.

[00:47:38.050] – Rachel
Yeah, absolutely. And and there's other metrics. I mean, it sounds like they capture a lot of data in their app.

[00:47:44.660] – Allan
They do. I mean, you know, what they're doing basically is you're supposed to stand and allow them to take you take a full frontal picture. They call it the anatomically correct, although they don't have their thumbs pointing in the right direction. But that doesn't matter. I'm just the personal trainer. They just determine like, that's not well, Okay, but whatever. They just basically want your arm slightly away from your body. So it's not messing with measurements.

[00:48:11.830] – Allan
And then they're just looking at those those measurements as far as how wide we are going from top to bottom. And then the other data that they have is your height, your age and your ethnicity. And that gives them an opportunity then to put that all into an algorithm and calculate a number. And based on the data that they show, they're really close to the water water submersion test. So you know the bipod uses air. There's a water dunking, a version that basically looks at your body mass. And it's how much water you offset in both of those are reasonably good, particularly if you're looking at trends.

[00:48:48.790] – Allan
The lesser good ones are the caliper tests, which, you know, if you go into a personal trainer, a lot of them will do that to try to measure your some body fat. But those are subject to human error. Very subject to human error. And they're hard to do without a ton and ton of practice. And then there's the the bio impedance, like the scales or the handhelds, and they tend to flaw significantly. If you're dehydrated or the next day you are hydrated. That can swing things crazy. And if you're heavier than they think you should be, again, they they they error on the side of saying it's body fat because most people that are using them are trying to get rid of body fat. So, all these things are good. If you're looking at general trends, they get better. The gold standard is the Dexascan, because the Dexa scan is going to measure bone density. It's going to measure water. It's going to measure muscle mass. It's going to measure fat. It doesn't back into a calculation, you know. So it's not a calculation. It's it's literally it's basically calculus or cutting little swipes through you just then looking at the density and various parts of your body to give you an idea. And while it Dexascan can tell you exactly how much body fat you have in each part of your body, this is just going to give you a general idea of where you carry most of your body fat.

[00:50:10.930] – Rachel
That's helpful. That's very helpful information.

[00:50:13.420] – Allan
It is. It's good for trendss. Now, I'm not a fan of weight, but I know that everybody's going to be stepping on the scale because it's it's a cost effective way to know that at least if you're losing body fat, you're probably losing weight. So it gives you an indication that what you're doing is working, but it also also measures other things like water, muscle, bone, brain, you know, things like that that you kind of need and you don't want to just get rid of because, you know, the brain weighs a kilogram and a half, you know, just want to get rid of that just to weight less.

[00:50:51.550] – Rachel

[00:50:52.270] – Allan
There's my five pounds. So this app measures. But I actually did a little guide years ago, but I'll rerelease that. If you go to the show notes, I'll have a link. And it's called the 7 Health and Fitness Measures That Matter. Basically, there's just other things that if you're really concerned and doing for your health, you should also be paying attention to this data.

[00:51:17.710] – Allan
Okay, and I don't think I actually put body fat on that guide. And the only reason I probably didn't put body fat on there is because there is a cost up, kind of a more a bigger cost. Go down to a you know, get a Dexascan or maybe go to a university where they would have one of those submersion tanks or a pod pod which uses air. So, you know, there are these other ways that you can do it.

This is going to be a cheap and easy way for you to measure an approximation, your body fat where you're carrying it. And then, these other health and fitness measures that I'll put in this guide are just kind of other things for you to consider as you're monitoring your health and fitness, because one of the things that I found is, you know, maybe you have a week where your body weight didn't go down. But your A1C did or your blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar. In the morning, you wake up and it's finally below a 100. That kind of thing matters a lot more than a pound less on the scale. And so these are these are the kind of things that I think you really should be focused on as you're going through this. And, yes, you can also do weight because it's just easy.

[00:52:29.410] – Allan
But if you want that guide, just go to the show notes, 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/472. And I'll be sure to have that link there. The Made Health App is free. It's supposed to be free. When I actually did the interview, it wasn't quite free back then, but it's supposed to be free now. And they're concerned about privacy. So they're very clear with you up front. They're not going to keep the pictures that you're taking to to do this measurement. They're going to take the data from the picture that they need. They're going to wipe the picture and they never even hits their database. And then they're just going to get the data and you're going to get the results.

[00:53:07.510] – Rachel
That sounds awesome.

[00:53:09.790] – Allan
I think the only other thing that I'll put out there is your probably reading a lot in the press lately because things come around and go around and we'll go through a cycle of fat shaming. People say, okay, you can't fat shame it's okay to be the size that you are. And I adamantly agree with that. There's no reason to feel shame for where you are. You can't recover if you don't forgive yourself. So everything that's good in your life, if you're going to move away from something bad, you have to forgive yourself for being in that situation so you can look hopeful into the future. And so I agree fat shaming is a problem, but the articles that are coming out now are scientific-based and they're clear if you're carrying extra body fat, it's not healthy.

[00:53:56.380] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:53:57.490] – Allan
There is no healthy fat. There is no fit fat. If you're carrying extra body weight, it's not good for your health. And, in a lot of cases, it's also not good for you in general because it's you know, it's wearing on your joints. A lot of times that extra weight is also at a cost of inflammation.

[00:54:16.240] – Rachel

[00:54:16.720] – Allan
So there's other things going on in your body physically beyond just your heart health and your risk of stroke and risk of diabetes and those types of things. So if you are dealing with excess body fat, this is the tool, this Made Health App is a tool. You should check it out.

[00:54:36.640] – Rachel
That sounds great. Yeah, I as a former weight obsessed, or scale obsessed person, I like that there's other metrics to follow. The scale is not the most important measurement of health. And just like you said, and I'm sure in your guidebook that you'll share, I go to the doctor, I have my blood drawn cholesterol, A1C, there's a lot going on inside that doesn't reflect necessarily what my outside looks like. So there's a lot of other indicators of health.

[00:55:07.030] – Allan
Yes. Yes there are.

[00:55:08.200] – Rachel
That are much more important.

[00:55:10.000] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, it's been a good week. I hope to talk to you next week.

[00:55:14.540] – Rachel
Yes, take care.

[00:55:16.000] – Allan
You, too.

[00:55:16.990] – Rachel


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Let's Say Hello

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

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

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

[00:02:35.560] – Ras
Oh, boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:10:45.120] – Allan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:29:08.990] – Allan

[00:29:10.190] – Abby

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

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

[00:29:44.450] – Allan

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

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

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

[00:30:39.480] – Abby
It is scary.

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

[00:31:00.930] – Abby
Me too!

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

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

[00:31:48.780] – Allan

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

[00:31:52.710] – Allan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:39:11.840] – Abby
Not even close.

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

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

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

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

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

[00:39:53.000] – Abby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post Show/Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:52:59.020] – Ras

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

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

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

[00:54:24.380] – Ras
Sure, sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:56:04.900] – Ras
That's right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[01:00:56.020] – Ras

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

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

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

[01:01:53.890] – Ras

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

[01:02:17.380] – Ras
That's right.

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

[01:02:23.590] – Ras

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

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

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

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

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

[01:03:57.010] – Allan
You, too.


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

– Anne Lynch– John Somsky– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


January 25, 2021

How to get started running after 40

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Maybe you've wanted to get into running, but being over 40, it seems so hard. On this episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, Rachel and I discuss how to start running after 40.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:48.900] – Allan
Rachel, how are you today?

[00:01:51.000] – Rachel
Good. I'm good. Allan, how are you?

[00:01:54.090] – Allan
Good. Good. So we're, we're putting a little twist on the podcast this week because we wanted to is as we're getting into and I know it's probably really, really cold where most of you listening to this are, but it's we're getting into the running what we normally call the running season, particularly in North America and in Europe. This is the running season. We get into the spring. Now COVID's probably going to affect this running season as much, if not more than last year. Things are getting better and worse, depending on how you're looking at things. But in a general sense, this year is going to be kind of the same thing. But no one can really deny that running is a really good protocol for getting yourself in better shape. It helps you build stamina, helps to a lot of different things. We're going to talk about that today with running coach Rachel Everett.

[00:02:49.410] – Rachel

[00:02:50.590] – Allan
All right.


[00:02:52.020] – Allan
Rachel, you've been a co-host on the podcast now for a few months, but just so folks know who you are, what you're doing and why you're relevant, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?

[00:03:05.700] – Rachel
Oh, thank you. Thanks for having me on today, Allan. I just got my NASA certified personal training certificate earlier this year or earlier in 2020 during the shutdown because I had a lot of time on my hands. But prior to that, I have been running for about 20 years, a little over 20 years and I've run hundreds of 5K and 10k distances. I'm closing in on probably 40 half marathons, couple of fulls, and a couple ultra's. And this year I'll be hopefully lining up at my first 50 miler later in the summer.

[00:03:43.080] – Rachel
So I've been running a really long time and you could probably tell I really love it and I really do get excited when people choose running is a great way to get outside, regain their health. I mean, there's so many reasons to start running. And Strava actually recently released some information indicating that they saw a huge increase in activity in 2020, probably directly due to COVID. And a lot of people are out there putting in a ton of walking and running miles. So this is perfect. This is a great time to talk about starting running over 40.

[00:04:21.510] – Allan
Good. Besides not getting caught by a bear, what are some of the benefits that someone will get running after 40?

[00:04:32.730] – Rachel
Well, it's a really great way to improve your cardiovascular system. It's a great way to burn some calories. And in times like this, it's actually an ideal way to burn off some stress. And if you're having a problem sleeping at night, like a lot of us do as we get older, burning off these calories and that stress can actually improve your sleep habits as well. And and it's really important that we get all the sleep that we can, especially when we're doing new pursuits like running.

[00:05:02.490] – Allan
Yeah, the sleep thing is is important. And one of the reasons I think you're seeing a benefit was sleep, is that you're getting blue light, you're getting outdoors. One of the things that we've gotten away from in our modern lifestyles is we're in an office and we're cooped up and it's artificial light. It's not the same. And so getting outside for a run is going to expose your skin to sunlight. It's going to basically turn on your hormone cycles. It's going to tell your body what time of day it is based on the light and the time of day you run. And then, yes, because you've done that thing to set your clock, your circadian rhythm.

[00:05:46.360] – Allan
You've said that you've set that clock now. Yes. Your body's going to be a much better position to sleep. And it is a good step for that. And it is a good step. It does burn some calories. Again, most of your weight loss should come from what you do in the kitchen, what put your mouth. But yes, it's a good way to to get some extra calorie burn going, if that's what you're after.

[00:06:08.770] – Allan
And then the other thing is just general stamina. You know, people who don't run at all when they find that they need to do something like run or jog or try to catch a bus or something, just something. That's why they're winded, going up the stairs quickly, they're winded. Whereas someone who has been training for a 5K or something like that, they'll notice that they can get up a flight of stairs a lot easier. So really good, really good reasons to consider running after 40.

[00:06:39.460] – Allan
So let's just say I'm a person who's come to you, Rachel. And I say, “Okay, look, I want to start running. I was I was I was active when I was a kid and I was all running all over the place back then. But now I've got all these aches and pains. I've been in an office job for 25 years, but I want to start running. I know it's you know, I don't really get back in the gym right now. I just don't feel safe there. But I know if I could get out and do some running, that's going to do a lot of benefits for me (the benefits we just talked about).” So if someone wanted to get into running, what are some things that you would tell them to to do?

[00:07:15.430] – Rachel
First, I would say congratulations. I'm glad you're ready to run and I'm ready to run with you. I'd be so happy to, but I would start with finding a way. What is your motivation to run? And a lot of people will set their own a goal. And maybe there's a five K in the town for a really good charity. A lot of charities, a lot of churches, a lot of schools, local parks, systems, a lot of people will host a five K race.

[00:07:43.630] – Rachel
And it would be great to put that on your calendar. You've got some big neon sign that you can look forward to and you could get ready and prepare for that particular race. I know that there may not be a lot of in-person races going on in 2021, or at least not for a while. But there are still a ton of virtual races and in many cases these charity teams.

[00:08:09.373] – Allan
Like the sloth running team.

[00:08:09.400] – Rachel
You bet, like the sloth. But a lot of these churches and schools and park systems, all these other charities still need the same amount of money, whether there's people in person or not. And so if you could find something that you can support in your local community, look to see if they're going to host their five K in person or if it's going to be virtual and go ahead and sign up, that would be a great place to get started.

[00:08:32.450] – Allan
OK, now, so I decided I'm going to run a five K, OK, you've convinced me I'm going to run a five K. I look on I look on the calendar and there's a virtual five K that I can do because there's not 5Ks here on my Island. But I say, OK, I want to do a virtual five K and I want to sign up for it. And so I go and I do the sign up online and it's going to happen in about ten weeks, 12 weeks.

[00:08:57.550] – Rachel

[00:08:58.280] – Allan
OK, what do I do next. What do I do.

[00:09:02.350] – Rachel
Well to get started I would say find a plan of some sort that you could follow. The coach to five k plan is really well known and it's very successful and it's a very similar plan to what Jeff Galloway, former Olympian Jeff Galloway has put out with his walk run program. And both of them are walk run programs where there's a ratio.

[00:09:27.790] – Rachel
So, for example, you might start with three or four minutes of walking, followed by thirty seconds of running. And then you repeat that ratio for a set amount of time, whichever the plan dictates. And the great part of having a walk run program is that it's going to teach your body slowly how to move faster. And so when you're in the running segment, for example, you might have a 30 second run. I want to make sure that people know this isn't a sprint.

[00:10:00.190] – Rachel
This isn't where you just turn on the afterburners and go all out for that thirty seconds. This is actually just go a little faster than what you were just doing during the walk. And the whole point of that is that a lot of people just assume you go out there and you zoom around the block or something and your heart rate goes up. You're breathing. It's not comfortable and then it becomes not fun and then a lot of people will quit right then and there, so you start off walking, you do a little segment of running like maybe at a jogging pace and then you walk again. And it just is a slow introduction to running. It's really perfect.

[00:10:39.110] – Allan
We had Jeff on the show to talk about his run, walk, run method. So that's an episode. I'll make sure to have a link in the show, notes to that one. And then again, yes, as Rachel mentioned, the goal is not to red line as in Jeff's book. In fact, you don't want to because that's going to cause a buildup of lactic acid. And that's where you're going to feel that burn. That's where you're going to feel the pain afterwards.

[00:11:03.140] – Allan
You're going to be sore. Whereas if you're doing that kind of the way I put it, gentle, nudging a little bit faster than your walk gets your heart rate up to 75 percent, maybe 80. But that's kind of the line. And then, you know, you could still generally have a conversation with someone and then you're 30 seconds is up. You drop back down to your walk, you do a little bit of recovery. And those those intervals of walking in the running really do help you build that endurance and the way these plans are structured, you the couch to five KS or several of them you get on your phone, some of them are pretty cool.

[00:11:38.600] – Allan
They've got voices. The guys are they're talking you through it. Some of them are built up like zombies are chasing you and things like that, you know. And so so there's there's some there's some fun things out there that'll get you going and get you moving over time. And that kind of that gentle nudging getting you to a point in the interesting thing I like to tell people that are training for five kids, you don't have to be able to run five K, which is three point one miles to do a five K.

[00:12:05.480] – Allan
In fact, a lot of people will train. They won't quite have ever really run a full three miles. But on race day, the adrenaline kicks in and suddenly they find themselves running a five K, so you realize your race will probably be faster and actually probably easier than the training was. There's the people, there's the thing unless it's virtual. So in that case, find some buddies to do it with. But yeah, there's those programs are really, really good.

[00:12:35.210] – Rachel
They are very successful. I actually took the Jeff Galloway training program when I was training for my first full marathon, and I was resistant to try it at first because I just couldn't comprehend how if you were to walk, you know, a third of the time that you're running it, how you're going to get to the finish line any faster. But truth be told, it's true and it's easier on your body.

[00:12:58.670] – Rachel
And when you're over 40, things are changing. You're not a teenager or a kid running around the baseball diamond anymore. I mean, when you're 40, you just need to ease into it. And a walk run program is so safe and it's designed to reduce your risk for injury. So it's really important that you find a couch to five K or Jeff Galloway type plan to get yourself eased into the repetition of running.

[00:13:25.580] – Allan
OK, so now I'm getting ready to go out and run and, you know, what are some things I want to consider as far as you know, obviously, time is great. You know, you say, OK, walk for three minutes, run for 30 seconds. But I kind of also want to know how far I'm going. Right?

[00:13:43.590] – Rachel
Right. So when I started running over 20 years ago, I did not have a GPS watch. I had a car and it had an odometer and I would drive around my subdivision. I marked out a half mile and a mile and I use those landmarks to find where I was going. Well, nowadays we have these fancy watches, although you don't need to buy one if you're going to just start running at this point. But you can look for a track or a local park system with trails and find a place where you could do this walk run program safely.

[00:14:18.950] – Allan
Yeah, that's a that's a key if you're out on the roads, you know, that's and we're going to talk about safety a little bit later, but find a route that is something that you know very well. So you're not getting lost. I went I went for not so much to run, but as a long hike when we were traveling in Hong Kong. And I went up this hill and it was beautiful up there. And I was like, Really you know, because you're thinking Hong Kong a big city. But we were over on the Kowloon side. And so I go up this hill and it's like wooded and pretty and just really nice park. And then I got to the other side of the hill and I'm like, OK, I'm going to come back. And I came back and I was at an entirely different place than where I started up that hill. And I had no idea where I was, like none.

[00:15:01.310] – Allan
And I had not brought my phone with me. And so I had zero idea where I was. And so I was like I literally just got into a taxi. I told them where my hotel was. And I was on the exact opposite side. I mean, it's just amazing how far away I was from where I thought I was because I just made a wrong turn. So, yeah, kind of knowing your route, knowing some of the risk of the route.

[00:15:24.980] – Allan
And then, of course, you've always, you know, now these days you've got a GPS on your phone. So that's going to help. You know it. I use an app called RunKeeper that will basically track my runs-walks. So when I go out, I know my timing, my splits and all of those things. So, you know, if you're into data, there's some pretty cool apps out there to help you with that.

[00:15:46.640] – Rachel
Yes, that is perfect.

[00:15:49.100] – Allan
Now, one of the reasons that I think a lot of people aspire to running versus some other things that they might do is one, you know, it's something you can do on your own so you don't have to have a partner. So it's not like playing tennis where, you know, at some point it's no more fun to just keep hitting the ball against the wall or serving yourself. At some point, you know, you have to have a teammate or someone to go against.

[00:16:11.900] – Allan
And so a lot of sports let things go that way. And with running, you can be outside. But the other thing that's really cool about running is that it costs virtually nothing. I mean, let's talk about the equipment because thats one of the…

[00:16:27.860] – Rachel
Yeah, it's true. Running has a low barrier of entry, which is great. You really only need a pair of athletic shoes, although it is kind of a joke, because once you get into running, things can add up. But you don't need all of these fancy gadgets, fancy clothing, fancy nothing until you really know what you actually need. So I'm sure everybody has in their closet a pair of tennis shoes or running shoes of some sort. We all have leisure wear shorts of some sort, basketball shorts.

[00:16:59.510] – Rachel
There's actually a famous ultra runner who runs in basketball shorts. That's her choice. And so just dust out those dust off those shoes out of your closet. And but if you are lacking shoes, I do totally recommend going to your local running store and talking to the salespeople about shoes. When you're ready to buy running shoes, they will be able to answer all your questions. They will ask you what kind of mileage you're going to run, if you're going to be on the road or the trails.

[00:17:32.720] – Rachel
If you're a heavier person, you want to sturdy shoe. If you're pro, if you pronate one way or another, you want a stability shoe. So get advice from the local running people. They actually do know what they're doing. So it's a good place to go first.

[00:17:47.480] – Allan
Because you know, when I started getting into the longer runs the marathons, that's exactly what I did. And so you go in and you know, at that point I was considered heavier. You're not one hundred ninety five pounds and running marathons and ultramarathons, at least not a lot of people were back then. So I was I was big for runners, so. Yeah. And and because my foot is generally wider, I had to have a shoe had to have a type of shoe that would have a larger toe box.

[00:18:14.420] – Allan
So I couldn't use Nike's, I couldn't use Reebok's because they were cut too thin. They really didn't have a wide shoe box. So at that point it was new balance was the brand that had the the wider toe box, that was the right shoe for me. Now, would I have ever walked over and bought New Balance and the answer is probably not, because Nike was the king of running shoes that came out of Oregon for that very reason.

[00:18:42.080] – Allan
And then Reebok was coming behind. And then there was this other brands that you would see in running stores and say, I went into a running store. The guy was running, says, you pronate a little bit. You're going to need some support. Your foot's generally wider than most, so you're going to need a big toe box. And so he pulled out a set of new balance and said, put these on. And, you know, I did great, you know, and it is important at some level, particularly if you have had problems in the past, because when I was in the Army and did a lot of running, I started having knee problems.

[00:19:14.180] – Allan
And that was on the concrete that was, you know, not having good shoes, in some cases combat boots. And then so I had knee problems when I was in basic training in the first year or so that I was in the army. And then here I was trying to basically four years later start running marathons. And my knees could have easily gotten shot again with the volume of training I was doing. But I had the right shoes. I went in and bought a good pair of shoes and it went a long way.

[00:19:43.520] – Allan
But initially all you need is just a comfortable pair of shoes because you're looking at lower distances. You're just going to be doing some walking and some jogging. I actually also use basketball shorts when I run, but if I'm going to a longer distance, I realize there's a chafing issue. Then I get runners shorts on. So, you know, if you're

[00:20:03.650] – Allan
doing the shorter distances just in any pair of comfortable shoes, shorts and some halfway decent shoes and, you know, moisture wicking clothing and you're typically good. And then, of course, if you're running and it's cold, you need to layer. If you're running and it's hot, you need to somewhat layer. So you can also kind of cut down to a lesser profile of clothing, but it's really easy to get started.

[00:20:30.350] – Rachel
Yeah, and I totally recommend that you just go through your closet first and get in a couple of training runs and see how all this equipment works for you. When I started running, I did wear cotton t-shirts, just your basic hanes, white cotton t shirt. Well, you know, after I put on some more miles, I realized that the dry, wick clothing would be a lot more comfortable to wear. And you can buy that at any big box store, Amazon, any anywhere running, of course, you're running store.

[00:20:58.550] – Rachel
But the point is, is that you don't need it until you recognize that you need it. So don't go out and get all outfitted for running until you know exactly what you need. And the same goes with your shoes. Once you've run in your own shoes from your closet for a while, see how your feet are feeling, see how your knees are feeling. And if you're getting aches and pains, then go to your running store and get some advice on getting a better fitting shoe.

[00:21:23.990] – Rachel
And similarly, while you're getting shoes, take a look at the running socks. Now, I personally have always been prone to blisters. I just have bony feet. And so there's a friction element in between your shoe and your sock. So cotton socks, they're not going to last you for very long. If you start getting blisters, then definitely go to your running store and look for some dry wicking socks that will make you a whole lot happier to be comfortable. And they're not terribly expensive either. So socks would be a good thing to buy pretty early.

[00:21:57.140] – Allan
OK, so now I go out and I do this good, good run the first day. I feel really good. Do I just do it again tomorrow and then the next day and the next day, or do I need to take some days off?

[00:22:10.520] – Rachel
Well, that's the exciting part about having a plan, is that the plan will tell you when to do these routines and usually plans like the couch to five K will have maybe three or four days of running during the week. And and then that'll tell you that you can cross, train or take rest days and the other days. And I have to say that as we are 40 and over, this is really important to do some cross training as well as take the rest days when you need it.

[00:22:40.550] – Rachel
You really do have to listen to your body. You know, when you start a new workout routine, you're going to have the delayed onset muscle soreness, the dams. Everybody knows that feeling. But if you're getting something more serious, more aches and pains, you really need to pay attention and and listen and take that rest day if you need it. Even if the plan says to run, take that day off.

[00:23:02.690] – Allan
Yeah, you know, one of the things when you when you get which which if you if you get into running and you do some of these things, you start doing a five K or you join a running team and you do these different things, you're going to start running more. And when you start running more, you start recognizing some some aches and pains, you know, running after forty. You know, even though I'll say this. When I started running marathons, I was a baby, you know, from their consideration, I was twenty nine years old and they consider they all consider me a baby.

[00:23:31.700] – Allan
There weren't many young guys like me doing Ultra's. Most of the people, you know, you start talking to them. They didn't start running marathons until they were after 40. They're over 40. And in one case, I finished an ultra. The guy was 68 years old. So, you know, this is an old man's an old woman's sport, if you will. I mean, unless you're doing it competitively, then, of course, you know.

[00:23:53.140] – Allan
Yeah. Uh, Hussein, Boltz and the you know, all those folks out there, they're younger. But in a general sense, if you're looking at the recreational runner, most of us are a good bit older. But your body talks to you, you have a language in your body. And there's some there's some pains that you definitely want to pay attention to. And there's some that you you don't just need to change something. So, like, you know, one thing that will happen when you're doing some running, you might notice that you have an ache, a really bad ache in some cases called a stitch that occurs right under your ribcage, right under your diaphragm.

[00:24:26.200] – Allan
It hurts a lot, but there's a way around it. So you make a change. And that's typically the case with any time you feel pain. So, Rachel, let's talk about some of the common things that runners experience and what they need to do. Just generally a little short clip-clop. This is some things to consider with regards to each one.

[00:24:45.130] – Rachel
Well, I know a lot of runners end up with tight caps. It's part of the push pull of the motion of running. And it can have something to do with the shoes. It can have something to do with overtraining, it can have something to do with too much vertical climb in your route. Which is tough. I live in a very hilly area, so I struggle with my calves. And so when you get these aches and pains, you really need to take a minute and assess the situation.

[00:25:15.880] – Rachel
Is it your shoes? If you especially if you have new shoes that could upset your gait a little bit. If you're maybe twisting an ankle on a trail on a route or a rock, you just need to take a minute, walk it out, maybe go home and try try it again another day. But for runners over forty, I have a pre-hab in a rehab. And the pre-hab is you need to do the dynamic kind of warm up before you go out and run.

[00:25:48.520] – Rachel
If you think of your muscles and tendons as a rubber band, if you've got a rubber band that's cold, it's going to snap under pressure. And your muscles, they need a minute. They need to get warmed up before you go out and start doing anything vigorous. So a little foam rolling, little dynamic stretching, you know, some jumping jacks, get the heart moving, then go into your run. And then equally important is coming home and getting your body back down to normal equilibrium.

[00:26:17.230] – Rachel
So I like to walk before I start. So I usually take my dogs out for a walk in the morning before I run. And then when I get home, I usually walk it off. I'll get out the foam roller and I'll hit my tight calves or any other particular muscle group that's tight. So it's important to pay attention to your body and then act to resolve those issues.

[00:26:38.620] – Allan
Yeah. So, you know, with the tightness, I think that's really kind of one of the big ones, because that's that's one of the most common things I see with people who are over 40 is we do have tight calves that comes sometimes from wearing heels. So not just the shoes you're wearing when you're running, but what you're wearing at work and things and sitting at a desk and that. And you're not getting the what we call dorsiflexion from a personal training perspective that you would normally be getting.

[00:27:07.660] – Allan
And yes, running is definitely going to tighten up your calves. I have extremely tight calves and so I do have to make sure I stretch them and in some cases, you know, go ahead and roll them. But I am not rolling, I'm literally pressing into the muscle to make it release. It's painful. And I have to use a one of those girls softball. So, you know, this is a hard round object that I have to do because my my calves are that tight.

[00:27:33.280] – Allan
It takes that much to get them to to release, but it affects every bit of my movement pattern. So if I'm trying to do a squat, if I'm trying to run, if I'm trying to do anything, if my calves are tight, my movement pattern is messed up. And so if I don't do that for my knees, or for my calves, here's what's going to happen. The front of my the front of my shin, the periformis, I think it's what it's called, it's going to cramp because it's going to try to get tight to to compensate and it's going to start to really hurt.

[00:28:06.310] – Allan
And then what the other thing is going to happen is I'm going to not be getting a good gait, so I'm going to be putting additional stress on my quadriceps and my knee. And if I run for a long time that way, I risk really missing my legs up my knees and all of it. So, yeah, it's a very important aspect of understanding your running habits and you're running your body and what it's telling you so that you're addressing those types of things. So really important.

[00:28:33.010] – Rachel
Shin splints are a nightmare and that happens a lot for new runners. And it's and it's because you're you're moving in a new way. I mean, everybody walks every day, but not very many people actually run. And so when you get into that running gait, definitely shin splints are a real pain. And then on the opposite side of that plantar fasciitis, that's the tendon that goes up through your soleus in the back. And that that is causing some pretty intense heel pain.

[00:28:59.260] – Rachel
So the calf muscle is kind of like the epicenter for all of these problems. And it's really important that you address that. The technique you had mentioned to me earlier this year, along with using a softball on my calves instead of a foam roller, when you find that really tender spot and I know that it hurts, that's when you want to sit on that softball, put a little pressure on it to get that muscle to release. And that works so well for me this year with my tight calves.

[00:29:26.320] – Rachel
Another garment that might be worth investing in, it's not terribly expensive are the compression socks or compression sleeves. It's basically a calf sleeve without the sock portion on your foot. And that pressure can help loosen up some of those tight muscles as well. It's a sometimes I wear them running, usually I just wear them for recovery. But that could be a very helpful piece of equipment to get.

[00:29:51.250] – Allan
Yeah. OK, so Rachel. OK, so now we're dedicated. We're going to run this five k, really excited about it. What are some other secrets that are going to make sure we're successful in completing this five K.

[00:30:07.120] – Rachel
Oh well take a look at your nutritional habits would be a good thing for right now. I like to have people think that an athlete doesn't exercise and diet. They fuel and train. So if you think of food as fuel, you'll be able to hone in better on the on the foods that help fuel your run and not weigh you down. So this would be a good time to cut back on the sugar and the junk food and give yourself the nutrition it needs to work harder on a run.

[00:30:40.640] – Allan
I think a lot of people, think they will see these products particular. If you go into the run store, you're going to see this these products, particularly at the front counter. And what I'm going to be called goo. And there's a lot of other brands out there now. And, you know, all this different stuff in it. But if you look at the main ingredients of every single one of those, it's sugar or some form of sugar, probably high fructose corn syrup. In the bay still is that they think you've got to refuel while you're doing the run.

[00:31:11.380] – Allan
Here's here's the the cold, hard facts. You have enough glucose and glycogen in your body right now that you could go out and complete not just a five K, but easily a ten K and probably even half a marathon without ever needing any fuel at all.

[00:31:32.020] – Rachel
Yes, I caution caution people. They look delicious because there's really fun flavors out there, like birthday cake and an espresso coffee flavors. But no, you certainly don't need any of these running nutritional products for a five K or a 10K. I think that I, I would wager to guess people have probably closer to twenty miles of glucose in their bodies before they really hit the wall, which is a common running term. But so I would stay away from these products until you get into the higher distances.

[00:32:04.810] – Rachel
They're just not necessary. But what is necessary would be obviously water and possibly electrolytes, especially if you're training in extreme heat and you're a big sweater like I used to be when I was in Florida. I used to sweat buckets in that heat and humidity. And so electrolytes would be could be very helpful. And even in the winter, even though you're not thirsty in the winter, you still need that hydration. So be sure to have water before and after. May not need it during, but maybe a handheld water bottle could be helpful if you find that need.

[00:32:41.920] – Allan
Yeah, I think one of the one of the core things to think about and it's it's more important when you get to longer distances than maybe a five K, but you are how you train and you should eat the same way you would eat. So don't change up your routine, your food routine for your five K for your race, find a way of fueling yourself that feels comfortable.

[00:33:05.260] – Allan
Some people don't want to have anything in their stomach when they're running. Some people need something to eat before they run. So find out how you are as far as your training, particularly as you get towards the end of your training by focusing on what you eat and then following course to do the exact same thing on race day and you'll you'll you'll feel a lot better and you'll be properly fueled that way.

[00:33:28.800] – Rachel
That's a really good rule of thumb, is never try anything new on race day so that and any new equipment, that food or anything at all. Definitely. And it is true. Once you clean up your diet a little bit, you'll find that the heavier foods, the junk foods will weigh you down. They don't give you the energy that you need. You don't need sugar to give you that boost. And when I lived in Florida, I remember one evening I took my kids to Chick fil A for dinner, and then I met my run club at night. That was probably the biggest mistake of my entire life. So, yeah, just be careful what you eat and when you eat before you go out on a run.

[00:34:13.710] – Allan
Yeah. And a part of that, you know, one of the cool things about these things like 5Ks, particularly when you start getting into some of the longer distance, like half marathons, marathons, is they're typically a road trip. You're typically traveling to another location in another state, maybe even another country. And so if you're doing that, one of the things I'd caution you is, like she said, having the same stuff. Don't check you're running apparel.

[00:34:40.770] – Rachel
Good point.

[00:34:41.880] – Allan
Don't check it. Carry it with you. I was going to the Marine Corps Marathon and they lost my luggage. And the only good thing was I arrived on a Friday night for a run that was Sunday. And so I had Saturday to go to the expo, which I wanted to do anyway. But what it meant was I bought a new pair of shoes. I bought new running shorts, I bought new running shirt. And so everything I was wearing was new and I had blisters and chafes.

[00:35:15.960] – Allan
And it was it was it was a wonderful run, don't get me wrong. But at the same time, it would have been a much better experience if I was wearing the stuff I had already broken in and that I was comfortable with. So, yeah, just just little things like that you'll pick up on as you as you get into this. OK, so Rachel, I'm ready to go. I've got I've got everything planned. I've got my nutrition set. I'm ready to go. What are those things that are just going to keep me moving. It's going to keep me excited. Keep me seeing progress.

[00:35:48.480] – Rachel
Well, the big secrets to success is basically consistency. You just got to keep at it. And a lot of people will follow that couch to five K plan repetitively because it's such a good plan. And then then maybe aim for a bigger distance like the 10K or half marathon. But the plan should keep you on track. And then the specificity, you know, if you're going to do trail runs, get out on the trail and see what it's like to run on a trail versus the road.

[00:36:18.660] – Rachel
And enlist your friends. A lot of people do the couch to five K with a friend because it's fun to run with someone and it's encouraging to have that accountability as well as the motivation with their friends, which is why I'm a huge fan of run clubs. I have been in several run clubs. And when you've got 20 or 30 people out there cheering for you at a race, there is just nothing more satisfying and motivating than hearing your name being shouted as you're approaching the finish line. It's just wonderful.

[00:36:53.790] – Allan
Yeah, and the cool thing with the way Rachel and I run is everybody else in the run club is at the finish line before we get there.

[00:37:00.210] – Rachel
Yes, that's right. Which makes it very special. Yeah. Yeah. We get the most out of our runs. That's for sure.

[00:37:09.410] – Allan
Yeah. Yeah, so, you know, joining a run club, having a training partner, you know, and then making it fun because you know, I think that's one of the cores of this is if you if you find yourself being the competitive type, well guess what, they're going to tell you the time of your five K maybe the next year when you run that same five K, you try to get a better time. Or like when I was doing the marathons, it was like, oh, here's, you know, in this Run magazine, because I got into buying the running magazines at the time.

[00:37:45.660] – Allan
We didn't really have the Internet to the extent we do today. Was here was this run this, you know, marathon in California, it was deemed the most beautiful marathon. It's called Big Sur Marathon. And you're running through the rainforest and then over the Bixby Bridge right along the coastline in Northern California. And it is beautiful. It's also a very, very hard marathon. But at the same time, it was it was wonderful to fly out to California to spend some time in Carmel by the sea and to to do this marathon with a lot of other people.

[00:38:27.110] – Allan
So it was just a lot of fun and, you know, less so with the five KS unless you're running with some people, you know, but the longer the run it seems, the more social they get. So, you know, over the years, as I was doing it met some really cool people. We had some great, great times on the runs and there were some of them that I actually see them at another marathon somewhere else in the country, you know, so this guy who was at the Big Sur was then also at Washington, D.C., you know, so I ran into the same guy. You know, there were thousands of people at one and then over 17000 at the other.

[00:39:01.880] – Allan
And I happened to run into a guy I met on another run. So it's a very social opportunity and the run clubs are really cool. If Rachel moves somewhere there isn't a run club, rachel's going to start a run club.

[00:39:15.690] – Rachel
You bet!

[00:39:15.690] – Allan
But, you know, they talk about run clubs. So that's not one of the rules.

[00:39:20.720] – Rachel
That's right. It's the only thing to do is talk about it. Yeah.

[00:39:25.700] – Allan
And I think the final thing is and this is also very important, particularly if you're if you're looking at you're running and you either want to make sure you're doing it safely and you're doing it the right way beyond the apps, beyond the programs. And you just want to have that that that tool that's going to make you a better runner it's going to make you safer runner. You really ought to consider getting some input, getting a trainer, because that can go a long way towards helping you improve your gait.

[00:39:57.860] – Allan
So your form is there. You understand if your calves are too tight, you understand if your gait is going to cause you some problems in the future. You also understand, like, you know, I'm a pronater, heavy pronater. And so I did a special kind of shoe to prevent some problems with my knees and ankles in the future if I'm putting on any kind of distance. So, you know, having a coach is going to go a long way. And Rachel is our running coach here at 40+ Fitness.

[00:40:24.650] – Allan
So if you're looking at getting into running after 40, I definitely consider hiring a coach because it's going to keep you from a lot of aches and pains and injuries that you hear about a lot in this sport. So, Rachel, thank you so much for joining us today. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your run coaching, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:40:49.370] – Rachel
Well, I just launched my business and I'm at strong-soles.com, and I'll send you that link. And through my website, you could find my Socials. I'll be on Facebook and Instagram as well. And there's some contacts, some easy contact forms on my website. So if you did have any questions, go ahead and shoot me an email and I'll see what I can do to help you. I've been running for over twenty years, so I have been through it all.

[00:41:16.370] – Rachel
I have blistered, I have changed. I have done crazy things and all my many miles out there and I bet I could help you get through running. And I and I love it and I want you to love it too. So let me help you make it enjoyable as well.

[00:41:29.120] – Allan
And Rachel, you have a freebie for us, too, don't you?

[00:41:32.780] – Rachel
Yes, I've been working on a runner's workout, and while it is important to run, it's also important to cross train and also to do some strength training. And I have a very simple circuit style training, which is just body weight movements. You don't need anything except maybe a towel or a yoga mat for your floor. So these are all movements that runners need to strengthen their glutes, their hands, their quads. And it'll be a great cross training for you on the days that you're not running. It's called the runners workout. And if you go to my website, sign up for it and it'll be automatically emailed to you.

[00:42:10.550] – Allan
And I will be sure to have a link in the show. Notes you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/470 and I'll have the link there. So Rachel, as always, it's such a pleasure to have you on the podcast now, but also as a CO. So thank you so much

Thanks so much Allan. I love running and I hope that your listeners will too.


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

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

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


January 18, 2021

The case for keto with Gary Taubes

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Few people put in the amount of research journalist Gary Taubes does when he's writing a book. In his new book, The Case for Keto, Gary really dives deep into the nutrition science to walk us point-by-point through determining if the ketogenic diet is the right way to eat.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:48.020] – Allan
Raz, how are things going?

[00:01:50.540] – Rachel
Good, how are you today, Allan?

[00:01:52.340] – Allan
I'm doing okay. Working on getting the gym open. We got some space next door, so we've been able to spread the equipment out a little bit more, which should help when we go to the health department. And my goal is before the end of this month to have the gym open and now it's just some final cleanups and put together and things like that to get it all ready. And then I've got a crew scheduled to come in and help me do some deep cleaning. So we're going to get everything set up. And I had to pull everything apart and clean it all up and then put it all back in.

[00:02:24.830] – Rachel

Yeah, it's a lot of work. I've done it a few times myself over the years. And one of the things that I've come to understand is that you can't go 11 months without significant training. You know, I'm doing some training, but it's not like I was before. My strength has dropped. I'm not as strong. So I actually had to hire some people to help me move a piece of equipment today.

[00:02:49.940] – Rachel
Oh, boy.

[00:02:52.160] – Allan
I moved it all over the gym before, but it is really, really heavy. It probably weighs about 400 pounds. So it's not a light piece of equipment. But I used to be able to just drag it all over the gym. Not a problem that wasn't happening for me today. I gave it a tug. It moved about four inches. And I'm like, okay, I really have to move this about 20 feet. So, little four inch increments. That was a lot of polling. So I went out and I asked a couple of local guys that work at the water taxi across the street, and I said, you guys wanna help me out? And I said, I think I will need about two of you. And two of them came in. One of them came in and he's like, he was going to get underneath and lift it up. And I'm like, it's kind of heavy. He says “I'm really strong.” I said, “I am, too.”

[00:03:33.470] – Allan
And he went to make the tug and it didn't move at all. And his friends laughed at him. And then they went and got another guy in there to help us as three guys and myself. We got it. We got it moved.

[00:03:41.930] – Rachel
Oh, how wonderful. Gosh, how crazy!

[00:03:47.420] – Allan
It is. But it was fun. It was fun. And I'm getting things in. It's lining up. And so I'm hopeful we can get the health department here in Bocas to see it as a good place for people to be and exercise. We'll have a clean up plan, have everything going. So a lot of moving and shaking there. And then, of course, started kind of launching a twelve-week program for my for my online trainee's and, you know, for people over 40.

[00:04:13.070] – Allan
And it's. Yeah. That's going really well. I'm super excited about the folks that are coming in. They're energized. You know, our private Facebook group is there where we're checking and everybody's everybody's getting really excited and doing some things here. So, you know, and even just the first couple check ins of folks coming through, I'm like, wow, you guys are just you're just flooringme. I've got some awesome people in there and it just everyday seems to be getting better and better.

[00:04:39.410] – Rachel
Isn't that exciting? I love to see when people get excited about trying something new, a new training program or something and really taking the reins on what they want out of their health and fitness. I love that.

[00:04:51.950] – Allan
Yeah, well, of course. Me too. That's why I'm doing this.

[00:04:54.800] – Rachel
For sure.

[00:04:56.070] – Allan
So what have you been up to?

[00:04:58.130] – Rachel
Actually, something similar myself. I love resolutions. I love making plans at the beginning of the year. I, I love the idea of settling in on a goal and I have some big running goals for myself this year. But in order to reach those goals, I know I need to branch out and do some other things besides running. So I've been putting together a body weight routine that I call the runner's workout. I'm putting the final touches on it and I hope to have it ready to share pretty soon.

[00:05:30.170] – Rachel
Cool. I'm looking forward to seeing that's going to be really good. That's really good. All right. So today our guest is Gary Taubes. And Gary, Gary is one of my favorite people because he thinks like a journalist, but he also understands health really, really well. And so he gets into these concepts of keto. So the book is called The Case for Keto. And I've had him on before The Case Against Sugar. And he sold me on that one for sure, because now, you know, I'm as against sugar as ever.

[00:06:06.200] – Allan
But his book The Case for Keto is really, really good. I was really excited to have him on the podcast again. So I guess let's go ahead and have that conversation with Gary.


[00:06:36.920] – Allan
Gary, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:39.860] – Gary
Thank you for having me.

[00:06:42.080] – Allan
This is the second time you've been on the show. We had you on for The Case Against Sugar, which was episode 224, that was 245 episodes ago, and I still recommend people go read the book The Case Against Sugar. It's as relevant, if not more relevant today than it was then in 2017. And the book we're going to talk about today is called The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science of Low-Carb High-Fat Eating.

[00:07:11.570] – Allan
And the thing I like, Gary, about the way that you approach these topics is that you put together a case which is what you're doing, and you're thinking in terms of how do I build up a body of evidence that really proves this. And it's not just you're going to go across and say, well, everybody knows and then stop and just use that as your anchor. You have no anchors. But the fact that you've done more research then probably anyone else in the field of nutrition, which is actually kind of sad considering you're a journalist and not a scientist, but you've done you've done more work in the nutrition field to understand why we think the way we do, why we do the things we do and why things work the way they do inside our bodies than maybe any any other human being on Earth. And it's just fascinating to read your stuff.

[00:08:07.470] – Gary
Thank you. You know, it's funny, as a journalist, you just keep asking questions until, well, I would like to say until there are no questions to be asked, but basically eventually you will reach a point of diminishing returns where your mathematicians are saying you're asymptotically approaching the endpoint. And yeah, I when I started this 20, almost 25 years ago, I had no biases. I was believe what we all believed about a low fat diet and then red meat being deadly.

[00:08:49.180] – Gary
And and then I but I was an investigative journalist with a science background. So I stumbled into this field. I wanted to know what the truth was. I just kept asking questions. I also hate writing. So research is a great procrastination tool as long as you keep doing research, you don't actually have to sit down and do the hard work of synthesizing it, making it reasonable.

[00:09:12.730] – Allan
Well, you did. And thank you for that, because you went through an entire history. And that's another thing. I mean, as we're talking about why we are where we are. We have to kind of understand some of the history, it's not if we try to put that anchor point in, this is the ultimate truth and we don't go back and at least understand where that truth came from and question that truth, which you as a journalist do, then there's a lot of things that can go wrong.

[00:09:48.320] – Allan
In a way, I kind of think about this is in terms of geometry. You know, you work as a kid, you work in the geometry problem and they make you show you work. And so you sit down, you prove that first thing and then therefore you can prove the second thing and therefore you can prove the third thing. And you have to do all three of those in that order or it doesn't work. And a lot of the science we have right now skipped through the first two proofs and now we're at the third proof.

[00:10:16.010] – Allan
This book doesn't do that. Why are we where we are? And what happened? What went wrong?

[00:10:22.460] – Gary
So this is what's happened to me. So my obsession has always been good science and bad science, more so than nutrition. It's just, the themes and bad science play out so well in nutrition and so continuously and obesity and diabetes research also. But one of the things that fascinated me is I grew up in the physics world and in physics. You learn the science, the history attached. Right. In part because as the history as you move forward in time, the science gets more complicated to start with, like Newton's laws. And you learn about Newton and you learn about the laws. And every law has a name attached to it. Every discovery has someone's name attached or whether it's, the variables, the units being teslas and gauses and ohms are people's names to learn who did the work, what they did, what they saw, what the alternative hypotheses were. You get to Einstein's theory of relativity. It's only when you get to quantum physics in the twentieth century that we tend to start using the name, leaving the names behind.

[00:11:28.250] – Gary
But any student of physics knows who did the work and what they did and what experiments were done to test it and what those experiments on. And I don't know, in medicine, you don't do that. The textbooks don't talk about the history. There's too much to learn. There's too much you have to digest in order to the theory goes to diagnose and treat patients. So maybe the ideas don't have time to learn it.

[00:11:52.830] – Gary
So as a journalist, when I got into this, I wanted to learn the evidence-based first behind the idea that salt causes high blood pressure. And that led me to the evidence behind dietary fat and heart disease, and that led me to the obesity story. So as a journalist, you start going back in time because we've accepted certain facts, dogma or consensus. So you go back in time to find out when they were still up for grabs, when there was still a controversy and no consensus formed over what we believe and see what the evidence was and what forged the controversy? Was it compelling evidence or was it political or sociological forces? And in nutrition, obesity was always the latter.

[00:12:44.460] – Gary
Go all the way back to the early 20th century for obesity and again, when we think of the obesity research community today, we think of hundreds, thousands of research around the world studying animals. Back then, obesity research constituted oh, I don't know, a dozen positions around the world, the German and Austrian clinicians with their schools of thinking and they had institutes with research physician, researcher in them. And these dozen people would write articles about obesity every few years.And in those articles, they might speculate as to what the cause was.

[00:13:21.910] – Gary
And there were two ideas of what the cause of obesity was. One is people eat too much: The gluttony idea. Sloth wasn't that much of an explanation back then, but you had Falstaff. A big, heavy set guy with a zest for living, sitting in a bar and he's got a leg of lamb with one hand and the tankard of ale in the other. And the reason he's fat is good. He's a glutton. And that was sort of the general thinking.

[00:13:49.950] – Gary
And then the other hypothesis was that obesity is a hormonal disorder that some people just put on weight no matter how little they eat. Okay? So some of us are predisposed to get fat, others aren't. The Germans and Austrians tend to embrace this hormonal predisposition idea, even though they didn't know how hormones regulated fat accumulation.

[00:14:13.110] – Gary
And in 1930, an American researcher named Lewis Newberg comes along the University of Michigan and he claims for the first time ever to have actually tested these two hypotheses experimentally. No one has ever done that before. And he claimed that the overrating hypothesis won, based on basically what he did, is he put some lean people on a semi-starvation diet and some obese people on a semi-starvation diet. And he said they kind of lost weight equally. It didn't matter whether they were obese. Therefore, the obese people didn't have some hormonal predisposition to make them trap fat. And nobody had ever done this so Newberg and the United States particularly has kind of embraced as getting it right.

[00:14:59.860] – Gary
And it fit preconceptions, right? Because lean physicians, because if you're lean it's easy to think fat people get fat because they too much. The Europeans, the Germans and Austrians kind of made fun of this energy balance idea, didn't explain anything. So if you want to explain like for instance, whether or not someone's obese or not, but why men and women fat differently, men put on fat above the waist, women tend to put on fat below the waist. So clearly hormones are involved, like why are there certain areas in our bodies we accumulate fat and other areas we don't? Why? There are things like lipomas, fatty tumors. All of these are independent of energy balance.

[00:15:44.500] – Gary
And you want a theory of obesity should be a theory of fat accumulation. So all of that is argued out in a few papers that go back and forth, the Austrian clinical investigator named Julius Bauer, the one of the leading figures in the field of endocrinology, says the energy balance thing is nonsense. The overeating hypothesis doesn't tell you anything. Newberg responds that the hormonal hypothesis doesn't tell you anything. World War II comes along. The European, German, Austrian schools evaporate. And post-World War Two, Newberg's overeating energy balance hypothesis is just embrace this fact.

[00:16:31.430] – Gary
Clearly fat people overeat and then for whatever reason, people start invoking the laws of thermodynamics as somehow relevant to this. And by the 1960s, you've got obesity research dominated by psychologists and psychiatrists who are trying to get fat people eat less.

[00:16:53.640] – Gary
And at the same time, you've got beginning in the 1930s, through the mid 1960s, a series of metabolism researchers, physiologists, PHds mostly rather than MDs to actually work out in the lab what regulates fat accumulation and the role different hormones play in regulating fat accumulation. And by the mid 1960s, it's clear that insulin dominates fat storage. The hormone insulin, it orchestrates partitioning in the body. When we burn fuels versus when we store them, use them for repair and regeneration. But it's the hormone that puts fat tissue and keeps it there. And so by the mid 1960s, you should have a hypothesis that obesity is a hormonal regulatory disorder, just like the Germans and Austrians had always said, where insulin dominates the length of diet.

[00:17:50.040] – Gary
And so all of this was just ignored, just ignored, because the obesity community has decided that fat people eat too much. Even when you look at the research in the field, they're not trying to explain fat accumulation. If you look at, for instance, the discovery of leptin, which is seen as a satiety hormone. The researchers are trying to explain appetite and hunger and why fat people might eat too much rather than why fat people might accumulate too much fat, which is an entirely different question.

[00:18:26.130] – Gary
So the latter is answered pretty much by elevated insulin and keep it elevated as it is in insulin resistance, and you're going to accumulate too much fat. But that's not even what we've been studying. And then the dietary implications, of course, are a disaster for 80 years, 90 years. Physicians tell their patients to eat less and exercise more because they think they're eating too much. And that's why they're getting fat.

[00:18:56.850] – Allan
When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be an NFL football player and offensive lineman, thought I was going to be this big, huge dude. I stopped growing in the 10th grade and couldn't put on any weight. I could eat and eat and eat and eat and in fact, really strongly believe that it was those eating habits that I developed when I was a teenager that set me up for having metabolic problems later because it was the type of food I was drinking a lot of milk, like a gallon of milk a day. I was eating loaves of bread because those were the things that put some weight on me. And so when I was younger, I was one of those folks that you would call just naturally lean. He can eat anything and everything and stay naturally.

That changed drastically after I turned 30, which again, is about the same time that certain hormones like testosterone. I was obviously I was working in corporate so my cortisol levels. I wasn't the carefree teenager anymore. My cortisol levels were obviously a lot higher. So I moved into that category in the book that you call fat and easily. And I think people who see this and they know this intrinsically. I'll have male clients and female clients and the male clients, if they really start working on the right things and do the things that are improving their overall health, they bounce back and they start losing weight a lot faster than females do. So a woman moves into menopause. And because her hormones change the structure of how and where she stores fat changes. So to sit there and completely poo poo hormones as having any involvement in this. I don't quite get it.

[00:20:49.010] – Gary
And this is what's so fascinating. On one hand, I mean, it's an interesting dynamic where. So Newberg did this. Because he had to answer questions after he said, as always, eating too much obesity always caused by eating too much. And so people said, what about menopause? You know, if you look at and I did and even into the literature on animal literature in the 1920s, you can find and endocrinologies saying, well, you know, animals get when you remove the ovaries and a female animal, that animal got fatter. And so clearly what we're doing is removing it's not secreting estrogen anymore and estrogen inhibiting fat accumulation.

[00:21:26.100] – Gary
And I think it was in the case against sugar. I had a reference from 1927 making that point. And I mean endocrinology as the term has barely even been coined by that time. They're still calling glands ductless glands and the researchers studying animals know that female animals will get fat or if you remove their ovaries. But still what's happening in humans in Newberg's says, well it's got nothing to do with hormones, even in women going through menopause.

[00:21:56.790] – Gary
They're saying what happens is they their kids are grown, they're out there, they're bored with their husbands. I'm an incredibly sexist discussions going on and they don't really care how they look anymore. And they're playing bridge with their lady friends all day long and eating bonbons. So it's still overeating. And they said, well, what about children of obese parents? Because he, you know, Julius Bauer had done some of the first research showing that, you know, we had 500 obese patients and 400 of them had at least one obese parent. I forget the exact number. So clearly it's genetic. And why wouldn't you expect it to be genetics? No, it's not genetic. And, you know, children with obesity learn to overeat from their parents with obesity. The groaning board, they called it, they just put too much food out on the table and they don't learn to control their appetites.

[00:22:50.010] – Gary
So they had an argument that everything. Nothing could be hormonal, and when Bauer attacks Newberg and you see this today with bloggers and everywhere and politicians, rather than ease off the argument a little, Newberg hardened it. Nothing can be hormonal because of anything, could be hormonal. Perhaps it could all be hormonal.

[00:23:17.630] – Gary
And then the idea of hormones were easily accepted as an excuse when that's what fat people was trying to understand. The AtMe movement or even the Black Lives Matter movement, because as a older white male, I'm being told that I can fundamentally cannot understand their perspective. And they're right. Okay, they're just right. I can't. And then it struck me that what we've got is lean people who are giving us diet advice, right?

[00:23:47.140] – Gary
The idea is if it's eating too much, the difference between if you take two 18-year-olds, say. A good example, my brother and I, when we graduated from high school, he was two years older. But his senior year, he played football. He was six feet tall and 190 pounds, six foot five and 190. And I was six foot two and 190 or 195. We both played football. We were both pretty good. He never got over 195 pounds and I went up to 240.

[00:24:17.450] – Gary
He couldn't. And he had more than I did. We would both accept that the difference was the idea the reason I went to 240 is I ate too much. And the reason he never went over 195 is he didn't, even though he ate far more than I did. So you've got these lean people giving this advice and they don't know what it means. They don't understand what it's like to slowly get fatter year in and year out no matter what you do. Right?

[00:24:48.680] – Gary
So we've all been through this. You restrict what you eat, you give up sweets, you do your calorie counting and no matter what you do and this is why I use that phrase fat and easily. It's like 1950s diet book terminology, but some of us fatten easily. And if you're not one of us, you can't understand what that's like. And you can't just say, well, you got to eat less, dude, or get out and run around the track, because that doesn't stop our bodies from wanting to fatten easily.

[00:25:21.610] – Gary
And we have to understand why our bodies are doing that. You're lucky your body doesn't do that. Just like somebody who wants to play basketball is lucky if they grow to six foot eight rather than six feet tall. And we know that's hormonal.

[00:25:35.960] – Allan

[00:25:36.380] – Gary

[00:25:38.480] – Allan
Because they too much.

[00:25:39.890] – Gary
Not because they eat more than the six foot guy. And it's funny. That's what the first guy, a German, Gustaf von Burgmann, who sort of wrote up this hormonal idea and made fun of this eating balance/energy balance idea said you know, a growing child is hungry all the time. That's not why it's growing. And you would never tell the child, look, if you would just eat less, you won't get so tall because we know they're not related.

[00:26:12.260] – Gary
And yet they turn this into obesity. They're growing outward instead of upward. And suddenly you flip all the causality in telling them to eat less is somehow a solution. And it's just not.

[00:26:24.770] – Allan
You said something in the book that just kind of resonated with me, probably something I should just actually just have posted somewhere for people to read whenever we're talking, particularly when they're dealing with hunger, is that you indicated in the book hunger is a response, not a cause.

[00:26:45.380] – Gary
Right. If you look at any biological system other than obesity, hunger is a response to a calorie deficit. Basically, you burn more calories, you're growing. You're going to be hungry because your body needs is building is in positive energy balance. It's building bones and muscles and connective tissue. And it needs the energy to do that and it needs the resources to create that that new growth and the response is you're hungrier than you are if your body isn't growing.

[00:27:18.170] – Gary
The examples I used and why we get fat. My second book was, you know, an elephant eats more than an armadillo because it's and it eats and several orders of magnitude more food because it's several orders of magnitude bigger. We never have a system where the amount consumed drives the growth of the system. It's always the growth process that determines the amount consumed. And what's fascinating is in nutrition. So remember, we've got these lean people. Newburg, by the way, was pencil thin. We've got them saying, look, fat people get fat because they eat too much, so they should eat less. And if they eat less, they'll lose the weight and everything will be fine, but we actually had an experiment to look at what happens when lean people eat less. And that was his famous experiment, Ancel Keyes, who in the early 1940s was a relatively young, ambitious nutrition researcher at the University of Minnesota.

[00:28:20.830] – Gary
This was before his dietary fat work. And he did an experiment, a famous experiment on starvation. And he published two books, two volumes of the biology of human semi-starvation. And this was a it was a semi-starvation experiment. So we got thirty two or thirty four conscientious objectors. And the idea was to understand the physical and psychological consequences of semi-starvation because when we won the war in Europe, the assumption was we would be confronted with famine conditions and particularly Eastern Europe, and we would have to know how to treat these people. We'd have to understand medically what they're going through.

[00:29:08.200] – Gary
So the diet that Keyes fed these conscientious objectors was similar to what they expected they would see in Eastern Europe. So it's tubulars like potatoes and turnips and little green vegetables and some very lean, small portions of meat. So it's a low-fat, low calories, about 1600 calories a day, even though it's referred to as a semi-starvation diet. That's what men are told to eat if they want to lose weight at the rate of a pound or two a week. So 1600 calories a day of a low fat, mostly plant diet, a very healthy diet by today's standards and the obvious consequence of this diet, not surprisingly, if you feed someone a semi-starvation diet, they get exceedingly hungry because they're only eating half the calories that they need.

They thought about food constantly. They obsessed about food. They wrote about food in their diaries. Tf they had gum, they chew gum constantly. They dreamt about food at night. They weren't allowed out of the lab to walk around town without a buddy system because they couldn't be trusted not to cheat if they were allowed out of the confined area where the study was going on. Several of the subjects suffered what Keyes and his colleagues called, I think they call it semi-starvation neurosis or psychosis, they had mental breakdowns. One of them tried to mutilate himself, actually successfully cut off several fingers with an axe, claiming that an accident so he could get out of the study.

[00:30:57.540] – Gary
The assumption is a lean person can tell a person who suffers from obesity to eat less and maybe 1600 calories a day, and that person won't be able to just lose weight, that's all. The fat tissue will get about the excess calories and they'll be fine. But the reality is, we know that if a lean person were to eat 1600 calories a day, they'd be starving and unable to sustain it.

[00:31:21.810] – Gary
By the way, the other thing that happened at the end of this trial, they lost 15 pounds in the first three months and then weight loss slowed down and sort of ground to a halt. So eventually their weight loss was not all that meaningful. They didn't have a lot of extra fat to lose. Then they start refeeding them. Okay, so now you're feeding semi-starved individuals and they're voraciously hungry and they had to slow down the feeding so they wouldn't get sick, but they still could eat like 10000 calories a day and they ended up all putting on more fat than they lost, which Keyes and company called post-starvation obesity.

[00:32:05.100] – Gary
The comment in the book, because we've all been there, right? We've all tried to starve ourselves, lose the weight, and then eventually you end up with binge behavior because you can't sustain it and you end up fatter than you started. All of this had been documented in lean people, and yet that's still the advice. And then lean people, conceivably the most famous nutrition experiment in history. And yet the lean people who tell us to eat less don't pay attention to that, because if they did, they would have to figure out something else to tell us.

[00:32:38.730] – Allan
When I was in the army, in the infantry, and so we're training and the way they would work is they had these meals ready to eat, MREs. That they would give us. And each one was 1000 calories and we were allotted three of them in a day. So, you know, I'm a young, healthy male, too, you know, 20 years old, 21, 22, and they're giving me three thousand calories a day and I'm losing a pound a day, so if I went out for two weeks, I'd lose 14 pounds and I didn't really have that much extra body fat to lose at that point in time, because I was at the time, I was about 185 pounds, maybe one 195 relatively lean.

[00:33:22.830] – Allan
But I would lose a pound a day if I was out and I was doing everything I could to find calories. So there were people who liked coffee at the time. I wasn't interested in coffee. I would trade my coffees for their cocoas. I would say, are you eating your creamer and your sugar? And if they weren't going to use their creamer and sugar, I would barter for that and I would take those to make little sugar cookies.

[00:33:47.880] – Allan
And so I was learning all of these little tricks on how I could get more food. And in fact, we were going in an exercise and this other group came in and our job was just to disrupt them. And when they came in and drop their packs off, we ran them off with their packs. When we came back through, we realized they had food in their packs, so we stole all their food.

[00:34:11.070] – Gary
This is a funny thing because you were lean, right? It's not funny. It's tragic because you were lean. Nobody judged you.

[00:34:19.170] – Allan

[00:34:19.830] – Gary
As though you are a glutton or a sloth or you lacked willpower or anything like that. You were just hungry and you were doing what you needed to do to get the food you wanted. But had you been overweight or obese and someone had seen you stealing that food, they blame your lack of willpower for being overweight or obese. I had a conversation with excuse me, the nutritionist at NYU recently through email has been arguing for decades that it's all about calories and she told me that her father had been obese and he definitely had a voracious appetite. And I said, but look I've eaten dinner with her over the years. I once took her out to a wonderful, amazing Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village to thank her for being a source for one of my very first article on dietary fat. And I said, you've seen me eat right. I am twice your size. I eat more than twice the amount of food you eat and I will leave the table hungry. But you don't judge it because I'm not obese, right?

[00:35:33.390] – Gary
The reason they twice as much as you do is because I'm twice as big as you are. It's that simple. And if my body was trying to get bigger still by putting on fat, I'd be hungrier still. And she may have actually gotten that. Again, in this world, people very common phenomena, when you can when you try to get people to shift paradigms literally from this energy balance, thinking and gluttony and sloth to hormonal regulatory thinking and insulin and carbohydrates. You can get them to shift momentarily, but inevitably they snap back to the way they always believed.

[00:36:15.860] – Allan
There's a little bit of data there and, when you're when you get into a study where they'll do a well, they'll do a low-carb versus a high-carb switch but typically when they do that, they're really not going low-carb. They're they're going more of a moderate-carb kind of thing. And what they typically will show is for the first six weeks or so, these individuals that are on a low-carb diet lose more weight, but then they'll say six months later everything's pretty much even.

[00:36:47.420] – Allan
And I'm like, well, most of them weren't trained. That's how they were supposed to keep eating. So they went back to their old way of eating. And basically all you did was really. Yeah. Gave them a short term thing. And then you didn't pay attention to the fact that if they'd continue doing that thing for six months, it probably would have made quite a bit of difference.

[00:37:07.940] – Gary
The nutrition community has all kinds of excuses for why they can do bad experiments. So when they do those experiments, they don't test, for instance, whether a ketogenic diet leads to more weight loss than a low-fat or mostly plant diet. When the diets are sustained, they test the intervention. So they say, well, we've told people eat a low-fat diet and we told people to eat the ketogenic diet. And we gave them, you know, Atkins' book and Ornish's book or something like that. And then, you know, we just had them come in. We wanted to they they won't write it up like this. So they'll assume that they'll write it up as other people stayed on the diets. And then if you criticize and say, well, clearly from the data that people and stay on the diet and they say, then we know the diet to unsustainable. I co-founded a not for profit to try and improve the quality of nutrition science. We did some interesting experiments, but we did not succeed at improving the quality of nutrition science.

[00:38:18.690] – Allan
I guess the point I'm trying to get to is we're responsible for ourselves. And if we really want to get to the bottom of rather than most of us, I think we're listening to this and thinking we need to lose some weight. We probably fatten easily. We're probably not naturally lean. So we need to do something different than what is there, something different than what we've done? And if you've been concerned about the keto diet, just try and experiment.

[00:38:47.460] – Allan
And the experiment is to work with your hormones, looking at your carbs and your protein and your fat. And so, Gary, if someone was going to sit down and say, okay, I'm going to do an experiment, the subject is one. So my N=q and I'm going to do this experiment, how should they structure their experiment?

[00:39:06.720] – Gary
OK, so and this is why I wrote the book, by the way, among other things. So people know that they can do this. It's not going to kill them. Twenty years ago, you would have when I first did this as an experiment, I kept waiting for my heart attack. And then they have to understand how to do a right. Like any experiment, you have to get the methodology correct. So what we're doing with a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet. So remember, we broach this idea, the hormone insulin regulates fat accumulation. Insulin goes up, we store fat, insulin comes down, you start to mobilize and oxidize it. What's often not discussed is when insulin comes down, there's a threshold effect. So when I interviewed the researchers who studied fat metabolism, a phrase they often used was that fat cells are exquisitely sensitive to insulin. So if you're secreting even a little bit of insulin, your fat cells are detecting that. And that insulin is inhibiting what's called lipolisis, which is mobilization of fat from the fat cells.

[00:40:11.090] – Gary
So when you want to do if you're overweight or obese, you want to get fat out of your fat cell. So the fat cells, lipolisize fat, it's stored so it can come out and then you want to burn it for fuel. And what to do that you have to minimize your insulin levels, probably.

[00:40:29.310] – Gary
So ketogenic diet minimizes insulin. That's what it does. And it does that by replacing the carbohydrates, you consume all the carbohydrate rich foods. So everything other than green leafy vegetables and so on. It's a high-fat diet. So you're not eating grains, sweets, starches, legumes, because they're all carb, relatively carb rich. You're eating green leafy vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, fowl, butter. Animal sources of fat. In practice, it's actually very easy to do, it sounds complicated, but breakfast, if you eat breakfast and most of us in this world are many of us are now doing the intermittent fasting as well as our time-restricted eating. We just don't eat breakfast anymore. But if you do, instead of your usual carbs sources, toast, cereal, juice, skim milk, fruit, you're eating eggs and bacon.

[00:41:34.680] – Gary
It's the hardest thing to get over is the belief that eggs and bacon are going to kill you or eggs and sausage or kippers and sour cream, trout, leftover food from dinner. And then your lunches. I don't know. I lived in New York when I first came to L.A. when I first did this as an experiment. And I was a writer and I was unmarrieds. You tend to eat out every meal and inexpensive restaurants. And so I'd go out and instead of getting half a roast chicken with French fries and broccoli, I would order that roast chicken, say, hold the fries, give me a double or broccoli or, you know, hold the fries or the baked potato, give me an extra order of salad. And so you end up eating more green leafy vegetables than you ever did. Some vitamin deficiencies are not an issue.

[00:42:28.450] – Gary
Same for dinner. Dinner was instead of steak and potatoes and broccoli, it was steak and broccoli. You're just not eating the starches, the grains and the sugar, basically. and most people who do this and do it right. So the idea I remember is also so insulin dominates fat accumulation, carbohydrates dominate insulin regulation. So the simplest way to think of this is carbohydrates are fattening. That's what our parents generation grew up believing anyway. And so if carbohydrates are fattening and you don't eat them. Because at any time and what you eat them, they will work to make you fat or and if you try to prevent yourself from getting fat, it just make you hungry.

[00:43:21.640] – Gary
So you abstain from carbs. You replace it with fatty sources of food. You don't worry about the fat content as long as it's coming from sort of naturally occurring foods and people get healthier, they just they do. In the book, I describe this sort of cognitive dissonance between two conflicting definitions of a healthy diet. One is what we're told to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meat in moderation.

[00:43:57.610] – Gary
And the other is what actually makes people like you and me healthier, which is green, leafy vegetables and meat, fish and pound dairy and eggs.

[00:44:09.370] – Allan
Yeah, it was interesting because someone posted on my Facebook group. They were looking they were struggling with keto. They had some struggles with keto diet and they wanted a balanced diet. And then, of course, there was another person that responded. Isn't that an oxymoron? And I had to respond and say, absolutely not. I mean, I probably eat. I would say ounce for ounce more vegetables because they're leafy green than I do eat meat when it's all said and done.

[00:44:40.390] – Allan
And yeah, there's some fat in there to make it actually taste delicious. But, you know, is just because everybody wants to nitpick and, you know, they're like, oh, it's the bacon diet. I'm like, well, they have a little bit of bacon. It's condiment. It's it's an aside, you know, it's like that's not their main protein. We're not all sitting around running around eating pounds and pounds of bacon. Now, yes, there are some people that are doing that, but in a general sense, you can have a balanced, fully nutritious diet. You have to have the understandings of what your body needs with regards to vitamins, minerals and particularly electrolytes. If we're going to go into ketosis because we're going to flush some water and just understanding those basic things is just a function of knowing how your body responds to food and eating appropriately.

[00:45:30.880] – Gary
And that's it. It's unlearning a lot of the simplistic crap we were taught. And then basing thinking about your diet in terms of human physiology instead of some, you know, like we're thermodynamic experiments. My favorite part, so part of what I did in this book, I interviewed over 120 odd physicians who had converted to this way of thinking. I estimate there are tens of thousands now worldwide at least to do this, but who now eat this way themselves and prescribe it to their patients. And by interviewing all these physicians, I could understand the challenges to them and to their patients and how they overcame those challenges. And at the end of the book, I give advice based on and ways to both think about this and do this, so that the eating a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic regime is something they can do for a lifetime.

[00:46:31.800] – Gary
But my I think my favorite chapter is. I start with the quote from a woman named Doctor named Carrie Doulos, who's a spine surgeon in Ohio. And Carrie comes from a family with a history of obesity and says without understanding her diet, she'd be 300 pounds. She's also a type one, has type one diabetes now, and she's a vegan. And she used to be a ketogenic diet. And she does so because she can tolerate animal products. So she would have she always had some ethical issues with them and she grew up ethically opposed to eating them. But she would do it if her body tolerated.

[00:47:13.260] – Gary
It just doesn't seem to do it. And she said it's it's not a religion. It's just about the way I feel, about how I feel. And to me, ultimately, that's kind of what we're doing here. And I play Carrie Doulos off against Georgia Edes, who's a psychologist, psychiatrist in western Massachusetts whose body doesn't seem to tolerate plant foods. And so Georgia is now a carnivore. All she eats exclusively is meat. And that's what makes her feel healthy and able to achieve a healthy weight. And as long as you know that you don't have any vitamin and mineral deficiencies and that you know your lipids are not insane, whatever that means is.

[00:47:58.220] – Gary
Of self-experiments until you found dumping crap food on us. And so we didn't really have to think about what we ate anymore. So you could give your kids sugary crap for breakfast and they'll eat it because it's full of sugar. And then you can give them take them to McDonald's or fast food restaurants and buy them a Coca-Cola and get them crap for lunch. And they'll eat that because the food industry did such a good job of making it palatable and the same for dinner and nobody had to think about it anymore. But there are people who think about it all the time or that the vegetarians and vegans have to think deeply about what they're eating and daily about making a healthy diet.

[00:48:38.210] – Gary
And anyone who is a foodie does it naturally and there's nothing more important to us. That's the fascinating thing. It's at least tied for being the single most important thing we can do in our lives, which is eat healthy. And it just requires some thought and practice to do it right? Nobody gets good at anything with that practice. The longer you do it, the easier it becomes. And meanwhile, we've been getting these messages from the nutrition community, don't even think about doing it. If you abstain from a if you don't eat the entire food group, that's an eating disorder. If it's unsustainable, don't try it anyway. Nobody can eat this way.

Even though it'll make you healthier, we're not going to tell you to do it because we don't believe you'll sustain it. I mean, sort of insane logic from the nutrition community. Whereas what they should be saying is being healthy takes work, you know, and so eat a diet that's designed physiologically to make you healthy, which this is, and then work at it so it gets easier. And now, of course, the food industry has settled. And so there are sort of you know, you can go on Amazon and buy a gazillion, you know, keto-friendly snacks and drink and God knows what they're doing for us.

[00:49:59.270] – Gary
But there they are. I was confronted yesterday with keto macaroons, I was always a big macaroon fan, I said I'm staring at the Amazon and blowing up the nutrition profile so I could see it going, wait a minute, wait a minute. They say it's keto-friendly. It's still like 14 grams of carbs.

[00:50:21.330] – Allan
You could probably tolerate two, maybe three of those.

[00:50:27.660] – Gary
You know, I mean, I could probably be very happy eating them, but I'm also very happy without eating them.

[00:50:32.740] – Allan
Yeah. Yeah.

[00:50:34.050] – Gary
And so ultimately, I passed.

[00:50:37.200] – Allan
Good for you, Gary. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:50:47.340] – Gary
OK, well, I'm a big fan of telling people what not to eat, okay? I know other people don't like negative messages, but don't eat sugar, starches, and grains.

[00:50:58.860] – Gary
Wear a mask.

[00:51:01.410] – Gary
And, you know, I don't know if I got a third. I'm a writer. We're tortured. Right. So telling people how to be happy, I feel like I'm not sure I'm certified to do that. But, get outside.

[00:51:17.340] – Gary
And one of the things that we used to be so part of the logic of the nutrition world is do you tell people to exercise? Because if you exercise, maybe they'll burn off calories. And I think of this as like a greyhound, the greyhounds of the world figuring if they can just get the bastard hounds to run around the track enough, they could turn the basset hounds into greyhounds. And what they end up doing is torturing the basset hound. And you end up with emaciated, starving, exhausted basset hounds.

[00:51:43.980] – Gary
But if you can make those basset hounds healthy with the right diet, if that diet sort of reregulates their fat metabolism such that they're mobilizing fat from their fat tissue and burning it rather than storing it to excess, they'll have energy. And if they have energy, they want to exercise and they want to burn that energy off, which lean people do naturally. And then they'll want to go for walks and go for hikes and go to the gym and all those great things and get outside because of the energy to do it.

[00:52:15.850] – Gary
And so you don't exercise or get physically active to lose weight, if you fix your fat accumulation problem, you will want to be physically active. So do the former and then enjoy the latter.

[00:52:32.350] – Allan
Excellent. Gary, if someone wanted to learn more about you and or the book The Case for Keto, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:52:41.080] – Gary
OK, my website is garytaubes.com. I don't keep up with blogging, but it's there. Twitter is @garytaubes. The book is available. If you have an independent bookstore in your neighborhood that's still open, please buy it there. If not, Amazon will deliver.

[00:53:00.460] – Allan
Absolutely. Well, Gary, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:53:04.750] – Gary
Allan, thank you for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:53:11.150] – Allan
Rachel, welcome back.

[00:53:13.010] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, wow, that was a really fascinating interview. There's so much to talk about.

[00:53:17.990] – Allan
Yeah, like I said, I really like Gary and I like his approach in his books predominantly because he doesn't take anything as fact. At first, you know, it's not like he's going to follow and say, okay here's here's our belief system. So I'm going to rest all of my argument on that thing. And a lot of people will do that. They'll say you don't need to do keto because it'll raise your cholesterol.

[00:53:41.630] – Allan
Some people get on keto and it lowers their cholesterol. Keto definitely lowers the triglycerides. It does a lot of other things that are really, really good for you. But it's not for everybody as Gary mentioned in the podcast. But, you know, if you're thinking about going to your doctor and you're thinking about doing keto or you're doing keto and you go to your doctor, your doctor says, oh, my God, get off that, you're going to die.

[00:54:03.410] – Allan
just realize that doctors are not infallible. And I don't mean for you to completely question your doctor, but realize at one point doctors were recommending cigarettes. You had advertisements, nine out of 10 doctors prefer a particular brand of cigarette.

[00:54:19.700] – Allan
Now, they didn't know they were not told in medical school that the tobacco was bad for them. And in fact, the tobacco companies went out of their way to make sure that that information was not available to your doctor. So doctors were recommending cigarettes. Now they're recommending different things. But some of our doctors went to medical school 15, 20, 25, 30 years ago. And a lot of them are still relying on the same things they were taught then, or they're relying on the things that they get at their conferences.

[00:54:52.370] – Allan
They have to do their continuing education. I don't know what they call it. You know, we call it CEUs use in a personal training space. We used to call it CPE when I was an accountant. But they have to get they have to go back and get education. Now, these educations are typically conferences and these conferences are typically sponsored and run by drug companies. So most of the science, most of the things they're hearing are not food can make you healthy. It's you need this medicine to be healthy and we don't have a deficiency of medicine. We have a problem with our food and Gary does an excellent job of kind of walking us through step by step, the Case for Keto. And so if your doctor is saying maybe you shouldn't be on that on that diet, highlight his objections, highlight them in your book, take the book to your doctor and have him read that section. You know, you need to do some stuff.

[00:55:49.620] – Allan
I remember when I was going through my first divorce. It sounds terrible, doesn't it. I was going through the process of the settlement and everything that happens. And, you know, she was going to get half of my 401k. And so it happened at that point in time to be reading a lot of things about divorce and about, 401ks and all that other stuff. And it said, you need this document called a QDRO, it's qualified something, something, something. Basically, it's where you're redeeming your 401k, but you're not taking the cash. So you do the form. And that way for your taxes, you don't have to pay taxes on the money you withdrew. Otherwise you do. And then the story was about a doctor who took a million dollars out of his 401k and basically had to pay five hundred thousand dollars in taxes because he didn't do this one document. So I went to my attorney and I said, well, have you drawn up a QDRO?

[00:56:46.200] – Allan
And he's like, What's that? So I showed him my research and I went to another law firm, a friend at another law firm, and requested a boilerplate for one and gave it to my attorney and he charged me my hourly rate for his time to read my research and do the form, which I thought was really, really not cool. But at least I saved myself a ton in taxes because I was aware of the situation. And I was a part of my own legal team.

[00:57:17.340] – Allan
I didn't just depend on the opinions and requirements that are put forward by my attorney. I made sure I understood the process as well as I could. So that I could be a part of the team and you really kind of have to do the same thing with your medical, because doctors are not infallible. They're human beings just like us. They're very intelligent human beings and they're fairly diligent because they did go through medical school. But at the same time, they're not doing the research specific to you every single day. You have to do that research.

[00:57:51.340] – Rachel
That's right. And you need to take your own reins of your own nutritional choices. And it's good to ask questions. It's good to question the doctor and help them or they can help you better once they know what you're trying to find out. But yeah nutritional guidance has changed so much. But the problem is that it hasn't been reflected in our country for anyway, in our guidelines, the food pyramid, as as we knew it growing up, was like that for probably 15 years and know that there were changes in the food pyramid. If it wasn't, last year was the year before, and it had been literally ten years in between. Any additional changes to what we know and it's only one dietary example to live by and it's not the right dietary example for everybody.

[00:58:42.610] – Allan
Yeah, well, one of the things is realized, that's a very politicized environment, Nina Teicholz wrote, The Big Fat Surpise, I believe, is the book she wrote. And she's been an activist on this thing the whole time. And the reality of it is when they get the people together in the room, the scientists, they're supposed to go through these studies. They sit down and they look at all the studies and then they start throwing some of them out as irrelevant or not valid. And all of the high-fat, low-carb diets, every single one of them was excluded from the study. And so, she's part of an organization that's out there trying to fight this, but they're moving forward with nutrition guidance.

[00:59:27.700] – Allan
And, basically probably for a generally healthy person that doesn't need that doesn't have metabolic problems, is not obese or overweight, those guidelines might work just fine. But for a lot of us that are I guess what I was with was is easily fat, I think was one of the terms I heard recently in an interview that that interview is coming up, guys, but easily fattened us easily fat and people. We can't eat that way. We can't feel that way. And unfortunately, that's not going to be a part of the guidelines. I was talking to a nutritionist out of Canada and she'll be on the show soon. And it was kind of the same thing. We were talking about the nutrition guidelines. She says, yeah, Canada has changed their guidelines. They don't have all of the grains and all that stuff anymore. They've lowered that down and they've got it a little bit more balance.

[01:00:16.450] – Allan
And I said United States is still charging forward with 11 servings of grain. She's like she's like, that's insane. And like, it's politics. And so, again, your doctor doing the best he can with his standard of care and his education. So just recognize you have to be a part of these decisions. You know, if you know that you need to go in for surgery and they're going to put a magic marker mark on the leg they're supposed to operate on, you check that mark.

[01:00:46.700] – Rachel

[01:00:47.470] – Allan
Don't just assume that they marked the right leg, you know, and when it was maybe it was supposed to be the left leg. Make sure that they marked the right leg. Make sure that the information your doctors giving you now, you do need your doctor to be involved. And here's one of the core reasons. If you're on metformin, some other blood sugar lowering medication or you're on insulin, your medication is very likely going to change if you change what you eat.

[01:01:14.860] – Rachel
That's true.

[01:01:16.150] – Allan
So a significant change in your diet is something you do need to talk to your doctor about. Like I said, he or she may object on the grounds that they don't believe that's a healthy, sustainable way of eating. But if you went in there and said, I'm going to go vegan or vegetarian. They'll be like okay, that's great. And it's like and keto.

[01:01:41.950] – Rachel

[01:01:42.230] – Allan
Yeah, crickets, but it's possible. And we've had we've had them on, too. So, you know, I think I think the key of this is of this whole thing is if you really want some support, when you're talking to family members, you want some support when you're talking to doctors. The only thing that I wish Gary was a doctor, he's a journalist, but he did take the time to get to the root cause he did go take the time to put together the history, to put together the case. And so to me, this book is is like gold. If you're trying to explain to someone why you're doing what you're doing.

[01:02:20.590] – Rachel
I think it's worth reading and experimenting. After listening to your podcast for a couple of years, you talked about keto for quite a bit, and I wasn't ready to accept that keto was a healthy diet to follow or lifestyle to follow. I had a hard time unlearning all of the things that I knew for a fact that that was bad for you. I mean, really, I had to really come off of all of those things that I had just tooken for a true science.

[01:02:50.410] – Rachel
But so much has changed. And and but I knew that if I didn't do something different, that I wasn't going to get where I wanted to be. And so I just like Gary had mentioned, like, I just did an experiment and I I told Mike,my husband I said, okay,I'm going to try this and see how it works. If it doesn't work, I'll try something else. But two years, almost three years later, I'm still basically following the keto lifestyle because it is working for me. Everybody needs to try that. Something different.

[01:03:23.140] – Allan
Yes. If what you're doing is not working, you've got to do something different if you expect a different outcome.

[01:03:29.630] – Rachel
Yep. And I know some people can be vegan or vegetarian. I know, like Gary had mentioned, he's got a friend who is a vegan, keto, and another friend who's Carnivore. It really is such an individual thing. And I respect anybody who can be vegan just as much as I respect anybody that can be keto. The fact is, is that they found something that works with the way that their body works and that's exciting.

So in the show notes, I'm going to make a point to I've had a carnivore on me, I've had a vegan keto on and I've had Dr. Will Cole on where he was pretty much somewhere in the lines between vegan and pescatarian. And so I'm going to link to those. So those are ways of eating that you're wanting to do. And then you're also want to consider trying keto or at least a low-carb version of those diets. I'll put the links in there for you to check those out, because there's a lot of good information in those episodes to just kind of give you an idea of what's possible.

[01:04:32.290] – Rachel
Perfect, I think that be so helpful.

[01:04:35.230] – Allan
All right, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:04:37.840] – Rachel
Great. Take care.


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