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January 14, 2019

Erin Boardman Wathen – Why can’t I stick to my diet

Did you have a New Year’s resolution to go on a particular diet? How’s that working out for you? Our guest today is a holistic weight loss coach and one of the first international food addiction counselors. She’s going to give you some tactics and strategies to help you along with your diet. Her name is Erin Boardman Wathen, and the book we’re going to talk about is Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?

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Thank you!

Allan (1:10): Erin, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Erin Boardman Wathen (1:14): Thank you so much for having me.

Allan (1:16): Your book, Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?, I think is extremely timely, because we’re in the new year here and this is the time when people start their new diets, and it’s also the time when they quit their new diets. The word “diet” to me actually means what you’re eating. If you look in the dictionary, that’s what you’re eating. But we’ve kind of morphed the word over the years to mean a temporary state of eating, a restriction of doing something different than what we were doing before, almost with the intent that we’re going to go back to that later.

Erin Boardman Wathen (1:56): Yes.

Allan (1:57): But your book’s not about that.

Erin Boardman Wathen (1:59): No. My book is about how the fact that we go on diets is why we can’t stick to them, because it’s the way that you’re going to change your life, change your body composition, change all of those things, so you have a long-term approach. The reason why so many of us could not stick to our diet was because we went on a diet – the term that has become relevant, not the actual Webster’s Dictionary term, because we go on it like a Ferris wheel for example, where we always intend to get off of it at the wedding, the reunion, see the magic number, without any real commitment to the rest of our lives. And what I’ve noticed is a very important key to all of this is how and why we gain the weight in the first place. And it’s very often I hear this time of year, and I’ll hear it more in January: “I just enjoy the holidays.” There’s way more to it than enjoying the holidays. You also are eating cookies 24/7. So, we also need to really do a deep dive into why you gain the weight, how you gain the weight, and not just chalk it up to “That’s how life is.”

Allan (3:21): There was a point in the book where you said, “Looking back on it, I was not suffering from a lack of morals, nor was my life insufficient in some major way.” That sort of hit me in the chest, that we get into these episodes where we’re not living the way we want to live, and we then become the judge and jury of ourselves, and can be pretty harsh. Someone read the introduction to my book and they were like, “Allan, you’re way too harsh on yourself.” And I’m like, “No, I don’t think I was harsh enough.” But can you tell us a little bit about your backstory, because it was kind of fascinating to me? You shared so much, which was amazing, because it really opened my eyes to how we look to ourselves, how we’re perceived by others and how that all makes us into this stew of not living a whole life.

Erin Boardman Wathen (4:25): Yeah, no problem. I was definitely one of those kids whose mother had the right intention of never ever letting us have sugar, but when I had it, I was so enamored with it, I couldn’t eat it quickly enough and I had to get more, and had a very emotional and chemical reaction, looking back on it, from an early age. I distinctly remember my brother and I – he was years younger – Easter morning, I ate all my candy before we got to church, because there it was. I got older, I started dieting, but the sugar was very prevalent, especially in the ‘90s. For those of you who are younger or older than me – fat–free was what we were told was the way everything needed to be. Dean Ornish wrote a great book in the ‘80s talking about a certain type of diet for heart patients that somehow got distorted into everyone eating buckets of SnackWell’s. We used to when I was in college. So, the combination of my own predisposition to loving sugar, and everything having so much sugar at that time, because we took all the fat out. So, my weight definitely fluctuated; not enough that anyone ever really talked to me in a medical sense, or there was ever an intervention or anything like that. I was always under the radar because I, quote unquote, “looked normal”. I was a normal size and I always exercised, so my weight wasn’t too out of the normal range. But through all those years, I can look at every picture from my life and tell you how much I weighed, because I was always obsessed with how much I ate, “Can I be skinny by Friday? What’s going to fit?” It was this constant mental chatter going on constantly, constantly. I call it the white noise machine; it was always on, drowning out other things.

I didn’t understand intellectually as a person that it wasn’t because I was a bad person, it wasn’t because I was weak. It was because I was flat out addicted to sugar. I would catch myself having a disagreement with a friend or a family member and eating ice cream on the phone while I was arguing with them, in between bites. I would be getting in my points while eating fish food and standing in front of the refrigerator. Those episodes really made me realize there was way more to it than just “Erin likes sugar”. Everyone always thought it was so cute how much I liked sugar, like, “It’s so funny that you like sugar so much because you’re skinny.” And I’m like, “Well, I’m not skinny, but okay, fine.” But it was never a thing where anyone ever spoke to me about it seriously; none of my doctors, even though I was still getting acne and cavities in my 30s. No one ever asked me what I was eating, which is crazy to me. So, it definitely reached a point where on all those levels of acceptance I had to understand the reason I wasn’t the weight I wanted to be or the reason I was always kind of short with my husband, even though he would say I still am sometimes, is because I was always in some stage of sugar, either my blood sugar’s spiking, my blood sugar’s rising. I was constantly on this rollercoaster of sugar and Diet Coke. And the problem with diet soda, which a lot of us don’t understand is, the reason why we like it is because it tastes sweet, but it really messes with our brains and we end up needing, wanting, craving sugar even more. So it was a lot of sugar, artificial sweetener and a range of other symptoms.

Allan (8:31): I used to really have a bad addiction to Diet Coke. It wasn’t that I went around hiding it from people, because that just seemed to be normal. You’re walking around with a 44-oz Diet Coke. Why not? There are no calories. It’s not the lifestyle we really want to live, but it doesn’t register with us that we’re hurting ourselves. Whereas with candy, sugar and those types of things – and I think your favorite was the gummy bears – was that you had these in the console of your car, you had them stashed in places around the house. And even though you knew you wanted to get away from them, your body wouldn’t let you. Can you talk a little bit about sugar addiction and your experiences with it?

Erin Boardman Wathen (9:18): The thing about sugar addiction is, when you look back upon your life, you probably have pictures in your house, or your mother does, of you and your first birthday cake. We’re all celebrating, “Yay! Allan’s one! He’s going to get sugar. We’re going to light a candle.” So most of us have our first taste of sugar when we’re really, really young, way before we can even really understand it. And it’s so normalized. A lot of the food we eat currently for the average American person, so the standard American diet, is chock full of sugar we’re aware of. Most people will acknowledge there’s sugar in ice cream, for example. But sugar we’re not aware of, in things like hamburger buns or even juice. There’s orange juice or whatever fruit, and they add sugar into it to make it even sweeter. So, if you’re someone who is addicted to sugar, you could cut out the ice cream and the gummy bears, but unless you’re really aware of everything you’re eating, those hot dog buns are going to trigger your body to want more sugar. There are a lot of chemicals involved and dopamine receptors and a lot of science, but just to summarize it, which I think is easiest – the more sugar we eat, the more sugar we want, because like any drug, our body gets a tolerance going. For example, if you used to be able to only, quote unquote, “need” a medium Frappuccino, over time, the next one looks pretty good. That’s because your body’s craving more sugar. We might not even be aware of what’s going on, but that’s the behind the scenes science of why people end up with these gigantic drinks or smoothies or whatever, because “That sounds okay, but the bigger one sounds a little bit better.” That’s the sugar talking; that’s not your body talking.

Allan (11:30): All that time, I thought it was the caffeine talking, which it probably was, because that was my primary source of caffeine. I decided to give up the Diet Cokes, but I still relapse every once in a while, but not very often. I decided I needed the caffeine, so I shifted over to black coffee. And it took me a little while. I actually had to use fruit as a bridge to get me over to drinking black coffee, but I was able to eventually get out from under what I would call a Diet Coke addiction.

Erin Boardman Wathen (12:07): I distinctly remember the same thing. I kind of prioritize which Diet Cokes meant the most to me, body-wise, craving, that sort of a concept. But that 4:00 p.m. one, I used to have when my kids would come home from school and everybody is in a bad mood. I’m making dinner or going to soccer. There’ll be times now where all of a sudden, out of the blue, I need a Diet Coke. I’ll look at my watch and it’s 4:00 or 5:00. It’s been years, but I’ll still have that, “Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! A Diet Coke would help!” And the thing is, if you are someone who’s got a problem with Diet Coke, it’s really easy to get one. You could just send your kid into the grocery store and they could bring you one out. We have a problem with these sorts of foods and drinks in our current environment, with the way the grocery stores are set up, and even things like going to get paper and there’s a row of candy before you check out at Staples. You really have to make a conscious effort to be aware of where all this stuff lies, because it isn’t like alcohol that’s in bars. Sugar is in everything, it’s everywhere. People love to give it to you as gifts, as “Thank You’s”, samples at Costco. But being aware of everything it’s in, or saying “No, thank you” until you know otherwise is something I’ve had to learn over time. Sugar addiction is one of those things where it’s so easy to trigger it again, even if you’ve been off of it for weeks and months, because your body is still kind of longing for it a little bit. And then there’s also the psychological component of, “A 4:00 o’clock Diet Coke would really help my kids be less irritating. It would fix it. My kids would whine less if I had a Diet Coke, the homework would be easier.” So, the physical and all the other aspects of when we get in these habits. And then our body is also interested in having it. It becomes a lot more of a process than just not having the ice cream. It also becomes reading every label and being very aware of what’s in your salad dressing, because even if we have the greatest intentions, if we’re always triggering ourselves for sugar without even meaning to, with a Diet Coke for example – it’s really hard to get away from it.

Allan (14:47): I like how in the book you’ve given us basically four guidelines, because the way I look at it is, one, I believe humans are opportunistic eaters. When we were foraging and hunting, that was perfect. We came upon a field of blueberries in the spring – it’s time to fatten up for the fall and winter, so go ahead, gorge yourself on the blueberries until they’re gone. And then they’re gone. But today you walk into a grocery store and 95% of it is sugar-laden crap.

Erin Boardman Wathen (15:17): Totally.

Allan (15:18): Your four guidelines give what I feel is a really good, solid base model for someone to go through their daily eating and figure out how to make it work for them. Do you mind going through your four guidelines?

Erin Boardman Wathen (15:31): Yeah, no problem. A food plan is something you stay on, it’s how you live your life. It’s from here till whenever. It’s not the “skinny by Friday” concept, or the reunion. It’s just how you’re living. I really thought a lot about all my nutrition knowledge, all my behavioral knowledge, all those things, and how to summarize it as quickly and as succinctly as possible. And I got to the four fundamentals because I think anything less than five on your hand is easy to remember, but also because if you stick to these things you will pretty much be okay. Even though they’re very simple – the amount of words or the amount of numbers – it doesn’t mean that it isn’t broad in its scope. So, first of all, stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. If you think about your average American grocery store, there’s fruit and vegetables on one wall, meat is always on the back, by the freezers, and the other wall is usually dairy. And you have oils and stuff in there somewhere. But we don’t really need anything in the middle. That’s where the Wheat Thins live, and the Granola, and all of the things that trip us up, that just decrease our quality of life. So, the first one is always stick to the perimeter or the grocery store, not just when you’re in the grocery store, but also in life. So if you’re going out to dinner and they put the bread down, you don’t really need the bread. You don’t need all of those refined carbohydrates.

Allan (17:19): I get really weird looks when I go to a conference and I pass the bread and I don’t take one. And then I don’t eat my dessert, and they’re just looking at me like…

Erin Boardman Wathen (17:30): Like, “What’s wrong with that guy?” Also, when I was doing my food plan, it was really important to me to have it not be ridiculous for normal people. By “normal people”, I mean average budgets in average parts of the world, not people that are going to go to five different grocery stores to get all the ingredients and spend hours in the kitchen and having a ton of extra cash. I’m talking normal food like chicken, broccoli, olive oil, things you can get in a regular grocery store. So, stick to the perimeters is always the first thing. The second is, three meals a day. Now if you’re an intermittent faster, you can say your coffee is one of them. But we don’t need to snack. We’re just in this habit of three meals a day and two snacks, and you always have dessert, like you were saying, or the bread. If we’re eating the right amount of food and the right portions, we can go very easily from lunch till dinner. We’re just used to having a snack, because everyone was always telling us we had to have snacks all the time. And look, there are so many snack foods available. So, we don’t need to be eating as often. And almost always the snacks we go to are some sort of chips or a bar or something that’s not really nutritious. It’s just empty calories, empty bag, empty everything.

Allan (19:12): The real thing here is, once people get off the sugar, they’ll start to recognize that the reason they were hungry at 10:00 and then again at 3:00 was the low blood sugar. They had a high blood sugar before, after they ate breakfast, because it’s orange juice, a bagel and a cup of coffee with three teaspoons of sugar in it. Their blood sugar spikes, and then by 10:00 their blood sugar’s plummeting and their body’s screaming at them, “Give me more.” So once you get to that whole food, like you said, walking around the perimeter of the store, that’s actually going to make this three meals per day a whole lot easier.

Erin Boardman Wathen (19:49): Absolutely. The reason why people are ravenous at 4:00, a lot of it is because they didn’t eat enough fat at lunch. It all kind of goes together – we’re not eating enough in one meal, so then we have a snack in between. It’s this whole domino effect with one bad choice leads to another bad choice, leads to you’re eating from the time you get home from work until you’re asleep. You had the best intentions in the world at 6:00 that morning and you’re going to bed at 10:00 and you’re like, “What did I just do?” Because you’re eating sugar all day long. And it’s really easy to keep eating it, because it’s in everything. I’ve had clients who had two or three barbecue potato chips and are craving sugar for a week, and they’re like, “I don’t know what I did to myself.” I’m like, “Tell me everything you ate.” It’ll come down to a couple of barbecue chips, because there’s sugar in there, it triggered them. They, for whatever reason, weren’t cognizant of it. Next thing you know, they’re stealing their kids’ Halloween candy. It’s a slippery slope sometimes.

Allan (21:00): It’s the parent tax.

Erin Boardman Wathen (21:04): Yeah, Dad tax, right? So, you have three meals a day, the perimeter of the grocery store. I also talk a lot about meal planning, and not just “On Sunday I make batches of chicken” sort of thing, which is great if you do that, but also not making any food decisions on the fly. You should pretty much know what you’re eating every day, because it follows your meal plan. But also if you know you’re going out somewhere, look at the menu ahead of time if it’s someplace new. You shouldn’t be looking for excitement in your food. Your food shouldn’t be entertainment, it shouldn’t be your fun, it shouldn’t be your friend. It really is all you need to get from A to B in your lives, but we’ve made it into something else. So, meal planning is making sure you have all the right stuff in your house, but it’s also knowing the night before what you’re going to eat tomorrow. Not just what you feel like it going to the grocery store when you’re starving. Next thing you know, you have five cups of ice cream because it seemed like a really good idea. So, planning ahead and having that awareness, not when you’re in the moment of, “I’m not going to have dessert at that conference, because it never serves me. I feel really tired afterwards and I can’t do my work back in my hotel room or at the meet and greet or whatever.” When you chose not to have the bread and the desert, you probably made that decision a long time before you were in that situation.

Allan (22:40): I know when I walk into a conference, if it’s a buffet, there are tables I can select to go to or not go to. But if they’re bringing the food out, I know 99% of the time they’ll come out with a bread bowl, then they’ll bring out your salad, then your dish. And your dessert’s sitting right there in front of you the whole time. I don’t even look at the desert as a food item. I look at it as decoration on the table.

Erin Boardman Wathen (23:04): It’s entertainment, right?

Allan (23:05): It is. And I know everybody else is trying to chow through their food so that they can hit that cake. I’ll easily pass the bread and the butter. It took me really a long, long time to train myself to do that, and it kind of touches on one of the things you talked about in your four guidelines. I make sure, in a normal sense, that I’m getting enough fat. I’m not eating low fat. I’m eating high fat, low carb. I’m eating whole foods and my body is pretty much nutrient-dense because I’m making sure to get good, high quality food. I’m planning for that. I’ll go on to Thrive Market later today and order some organic meat shipped to my house, because that’s what I want to have. My local grocery stores are not really good at having enough variety of meat. So I’ll order my meat, they deliver it to my house in a few days, I’ll start thawing it out and that’s my food for next week. I like how you put all those together because I do think they give us a really good foundation moving forward. Now, we’re always going to run into the folks that say you can still have your cake, you can still have some bread; you just have to do it in moderation. It’s all calories in, calories out. This is another unique thing about sugar addiction – just like with all addictions, some of us can get off of an addiction really quickly and some of us cannot. Moderation might work for one out of 100 people, but tell me why moderation is not really the route that most of us should be taking.

Erin Boardman Wathen (24:48): First of all, moderation is like the unicorn. It’s rare that someone can just have a bite of cake, just a bite. Odds are they’re going to eat half of the piece, all of the piece, many more pieces. We need to look at food not just as beautiful and nutritious; it’s also a chemical reaction that happens. When we chew it, we start digestion. All these things happen internally when you just think you’re eating lunch. So, when we invite those chemicals into our body – and cake is a good example because you have sugar and flour, so you’ve got double dose – our body is going to think, “This is a really great idea.” Our pleasure sensors, dopamine, is very excited by this introduction. So that one bite is sort of like, “What do you mean? That’s it?” Kind of leaving it high and dry. Where if you never go there in the first place, you might see the cake, acknowledge the cake, be aware of the cake at the conference. But having just one bite and not going into a full-fledged sugar thing later, or bread, depending on who you are, is very, very unlikely, just based on the chemicals. Now, some people don’t care about that kind of thing. Some people don’t care about sweets, but they really can go for bread, like pizza, donuts, whatever. And it’s the bread. The way that we’ve gotten flour and sugar too nowadays – it’s so ground, it’s so refined, it’s so processed. It’s pretty close to our brain, because they’re both quick acting carbohydrates. What a lot of people don’t understand is that everything we eat, at the end of the day, has to fit under three macronutrients – carbs, fat, or protein. Sugar and grains are both carbs, and they’re quick acting carbs, compared to broccoli, which is slower. Not as exciting as cake. It’s also a carbohydrate, but it’s not one of the ones that will jack up your blood sugar and create this whole craving thing and have you start drooling. While a bite of cake, most of the time for most people, they’ll have a very difficult chemical and I guess psychological reaction to only having a little bit of it. If you notice all those mini muffins get eaten just as quickly as the big muffins, if not sooner, because they seem so innocent and because they’re little and cute.

And I remember moderation. Moderation was very big in the ‘90s; it still is very big with a lot of commercial diet plans. Even the whole “cheat day” concept is a take off of moderation. But to have all of those things reintroduced to your body and say it’s only going to be at that one meal is very difficult. Also, when we’ve been using food as entertainment, as our friend, as whatever emotional need we had at the time, you’re also bringing that up and up again with those foods. Chocolate cake could have also been what your grandmother used to make when you went over there on holidays or whatever. So there’s a lot of stuff around the chocolate cake that isn’t just the chemicals; it’s also going to be how you remember it. And what’s really interesting too is there’s this thing that happens when we get off of sugar and then we have it again. You’re probably used to the concept of a relapse with an alcoholic or a drug addict. But this thing is called “euphoric recall”. So, if we’re off of sugar and then we decide to have the bite of chocolate cake, because moderation is this thing we all believe in – it will actually taste better, because our body will want us to indulge more. That’s why when people relapse on any of these substances, it’s so much harder for them to get off of it than it was the first time, because your body is working against you. So, my take is, just stay away from it completely because moderation, like I said, is like the unicorn. It doesn’t really exist.

Allan (29:33): That takes me back to my concept of opportunistic eaters. They didn’t come up on a field of chocolate cake and start binging on it. There was some true nutrition in the berries, the fruits or whatever they found in that valley. Yes, for a period of time they went nuts because, like you said, it tastes wonderful because they’ve been seven, eight months without having any of it. And now here it is in abundant supply. Go ahead and eat it because at that point it was very, very healthy. I can tell you there was probably no moderation whatsoever if they were traveling around forging and found a big field of fruit. They would go nuts, but they needed to. That was a survival mechanism. And today we don’t really need that. Foods that are around us are not as nutritious as necessary, so moderation is going to be something that is not going to work for the vast majority of us. It’ll be, like you said, the unicorn that went out there and did it and said they can still have their cheat day and they’re fine. But for a lot of people, once they have that cheat, that little slip, then they start this rationalization of, “Well, I did have the cake, so I’ve kind of blown today. I guess I’ll go ahead and order a regular Coke and I’ll go ahead and get some popcorn at the movies.” They wake up the next morning and they’re like, “I really want to stop by Starbucks and get a Frappuccino.” And so the slip, while it was a single event, it now becomes a cascading mess. Can you talk to us a little bit about slips and how we can deal with those?

Erin Boardman Wathen (31:15): The thing about a slip is – let’s use the chocolate cake thing because it’s nice and easy. It seems like it’s no big deal, but we need to be very aware, like you said, the foragers. We’re not that far away in our bodies from that mindset. We have technology, and isn’t it great we can get everyone on our smartphone? Our bodies are still thinking “feast or famine” and “Is this fight or flight?” when you’re in a car accident. All these evolutionary responses kick in because we still have a lot of them lurking around. With a slip, when we reintroduce the sugar, our body is really, really happy about it, and then our brain decides, “We’re going to make it taste even better to her just to get her to eat more of it.” So here comes euphoric recall, yay! And then we start the internal nonsense of, “I’ve already blown it” or, “It’s okay to have dessert. It’s normal to gain weight in the holidays”, “Well, I’ve already gone there today, so let’s go there more.” The whole, “I have one flat tire; let’s make them all flat.” Next thing you know, we’ve talked ourselves into an entire crazy amount of food that we didn’t really think about eating. We just find ourselves eating it, because that cheat slip or that moderation slip, whatever you’re going to call that bite of chocolate cake, can easily morph into a cheat meal, a cheat day, a cheat weekend, a cheat week, just cheating. If we have that first slip, which is known to happen, it’s how we handle it. If we have the whole, “We’re going to flatten the other three tires because one tire’s flat” in our brains – that is not your best interest talking to you. That is the primal need for having stuff, and the hunting and gathering, all that other sort of analogies. That is not your best interest. Your best interest is to go brush your teeth, get some water, get away from the cake, and be very aware the next couple of days are not going to be very pleasant because your body is going to be jouncing for sugar. And that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you have to follow through though. But if you make that chocolate cake that you’re a bad person, there’s no point trying to eat right anyway, it’s normal… When you start talking yourself into how it was okay, then you’re definitely off in the wrong direction.

Allan (34:04): I’m going to steal that three car tires analogy, because I really do like that. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Erin Boardman Wathen (34:23): I thought about this before you asked me, so I definitely have a bit of an answer planned. We didn’t get to it, but my last fundamental of eating is to always have fat, protein, a low glycemic carb and fiber every time we eat. That will do a lot of good things, but it will also help regulate our blood sugar. When our blood sugar is not like a rollercoaster, when it’s nice and slowly processing food, it’s a lot easier to stay in that mental space. So we’re thinking about how to stay well. We’re in a place where we make the right decisions, where we’re going for the water and not the Diet Coke. Having a good handle on your blood sugar is a really good place to start, as far as staying well. Everything starts with our thoughts, right? If we’re thinking that we’re going to beat the system with sugar because we’re going to be that one person that’s going to be able to only have a bite – that’s going against own best interests. So, having a really good handle on your blood sugar is a very good place to start. So that’s number one.

Number two is to really spend a lot of time and think about how you want to feel and how you want to look six months from now, a month from now. All those dates and times just seem to happen to us, but actually, we have a lot of time before. For example, January 2nd is a notorious big dieting day, because the holidays are over and all these other things. Everyone’s pants are kind of tight. What if back in early December you sat down and thought about, “How do I want to feel on January 2nd? Do I want to feel like a busted can of buscuits, like I have all the other years before, or do I want to feel like I’m starting off 2019 with my best foot forward?” Think about both scenarios, because both scenarios are available to you, but one is going to put you in the right direction for a higher level of wellbeing, and the other one is going to get you where you’ve always gotten, which is probably breaking your diet by February 8th, which I think is the usual date most people fall off the wagon with their year-end resolutions. So really having a lot of mindset work, visualization and being realistic with what result you want and how you’re going to need to get there. You can’t feel your best on January 2nd if you’re eating nothing but cookies and drinking chocolate martinis the month beforehand. That’s not how it works. So, visualizing and thinking about what your future self really wants and needs is not for you to completely go off the wagon and go crazy over the holidays, and then January 2nd decide you’re going to starve yourself and do green juice, which is putting yourself in another extreme tailspin. So, that’s the second one.

My last one would be to be really cognizant of portions, because often times we have no idea what a serving is. We just think it’s till the bowl’s full, or whatever they serve us. If when we’re home, we weigh and measure all of the things we’re eating, we have an idea of what exactly six ounces of beef looks like. So when we’re in a restaurant and we see this huge piece of meat, we know it’s not one serving, even though they gave it to us on a plate. There’s actually enough meat for three meals there. So just being aware of that, like you said, opportunistic eaters, that if someone gives us a plate with a giant steak, a lot of people will try to eat it all, because it’s expensive or it’s special or it’s your birthday, when actually you’re eating three times the amount of meat you would be eating if you made it at home. So being very aware of portions and how crazy our portions are right now. A really good and cheap way to get a hold of this is regular old measuring cups when you’re at your house, and get a food scale, because when we’re out in the world and we’re presented with these gigantic portions, we understand that there’s no reason for us to finish it. But there’s this tendency to do it just the same.

Allan (39:08): I agree. Those were wonderful. Thank you for that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?, where would you like me to send them?

Erin Boardman Wathen (39:18): The book is going to be in bookstores on December 18th, but before then you can pre-order it on Amazon or BarnesAndNoble.com. And they can get in touch with me on my website. It’s pretty easy – it’s ErinWathenWellness.com. All my information is right there. My Instagram – same handle, Facebook – same handle. It’s pretty streamlined.

Allan (39:39): Good deal. This is episode 364, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/364, and I’ll be sure to have all the links there. Erin, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Erin Boardman Wathen (39:52): Thank you for having me.

I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. You know I’m not a big fan of diets and weight loss procedures, things that we’re doing to try to lose weight. I think there are other health markers that are much more important, like your lab results. Now, if you haven’t had labs done in a while and maybe you just don’t want to go to your doctor or your doctor doesn’t really order you the kind of labs that you’re interested in knowing about, you can go to YourLabwork.com. It’s a company that will actually do the labs you want them to do. You tell them what you want, they get a doctor involved, the doctor does the things that he’s supposed to do. You show up at a Quest Center and they take your lab works. I have an agreement with them. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab – very good prices on their lab work. And they give me an education piece so I can do a little bit of deep diving into what the labs mean. I went through and had a full panel done, so really, really deep cholesterol, hormones, pretty much all of it, and got all the way down to the particle counts. Really, really detailed information; more information than my doctor would normally go for. I have that now as a benchmark for the year, so as I do things for my health and fitness over the course of this year, I now have a really good benchmark to measure my performance as we go. So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab and order any kind of lab work that you want done. Like I said, go down to a Quest Center. They’ve got all the paperwork done, they’ve prepaid for your labs there. You just show up, give up a little bit of blood, and they send you the results within a couple of weeks. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab.

Also, I got my books in. If you would like a signed copy of The Wellness Roadmap, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound if you want the hardbound edition, or go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback if you would like the paperback edition. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. I’m charging the same price you’d pay on Amazon. I’m eating the shipping. But I will send you a signed copy during the month of January, because remember, I’m moving to Panama in February so I can only do this through the month of January. And I’m going to do this until the books run out. So, go ahead and get on and order that: 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

January 7, 2019

Jonathan Bailor – Breaking your bodyweight setpoint

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Often when we’re trying to lose weight, we end up getting into a stall or a plateau. Our guest today in his book, The Setpoint Diet, is going to tell you why that happens and what you can do to break the cycle. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Calorie Myth and I’m pretty certain The Setpoint Diet is also going to make that bestseller list. With no further ado, here’s Jonathan Bailor.

Allan (1:14): Jonathan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Jonathan Bailor (1:17): Thank you so much for having me.

Allan (1:18): When I was really getting deep into my self-education of what I needed to do for myself, I came across The Calorie Myth. It was an eye-opening book, to say the least, for someone who really had been brought up in the mantra of calories in / calories out, just eat less, exercise more. I’d get on the treadmill or I’d get on the elliptical and I worked my butt off, and then I’m starving all day. Then you eat more calories to get your calories back. I’m like, “I’m eating at a deficit and I’ve done this for a while and it’s not working.” I think a lot of people run into that fact of, they’re doing everything right, and their body just doesn’t want to get rid of the weight.

Jonathan Bailor (2:06): It can be extremely frustrating, Allan. It gets to the root of my whole team’s work, and really, we stand on the shoulders of giants, articulating research done by the top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, at Johns Hopkins, UCLA, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic over the past 60 years that’s been buried from the mainstream. And this definition of, you’re doing everything right – what we’ve found is, the definition of what is right is wrong. It’s analogous to when we look at obesity and diabetes as diseases, which they are, as classified by the American Medical Association, that if you were to go to a doctor with a broken arm and the doctor were to prescribe you cough syrup, and you took that cough syrup correctly. Chances are your arm wouldn’t get any better and you would feel very helpless. It’s a condition called “learned helplessness”, because you’re doing everything you’re told, but the treatment for the disease you’re suffering from or the medical condition you are suffering from is simply incorrect. And that’s what we found over the past now 15 years, that this prescription we’ve been written for both obesity, overweight, and diabetes is simply wrong. What we have been told is right is wrong, and that is evidenced by the catastrophic impact it’s had on our culture.

Allan (3:26): Yes. I do have to say this also – in your book, The Setpoint Diet, you really got deep into the science. Each point you had in there was supported, and I really, really liked that. It was so much support, you couldn’t put all the bibliography in the book. You have to link to another website if you really want to go down the rabbit hole. I did. I spent a lot of time in that rabbit hole, because it was really fascinating stuff. Our body has this setpoint, and I talk to my clients about it all the time as they plateau. They’re working hard, they’re doing some of the right things, or most of the right things, but their body’s going to somewhat hit this setpoint. You call it a setpoint; I call it the body’s happy weight. We might not be happy with it, but our body is. Can you talk a little bit in detail about the setpoint and why we have a setpoint?

Jonathan Bailor (4:17): Allan, the term “setpoint” – a lot of your listeners may say, “I’ve heard of that term before.” And there is a bit of an irony here. In 1983, there was a book published called The Setpoint Diet – literally the exact same title of my book. But you can’t copyright a title. And that was also the year I was born. So I don’t know if fate had the destiny in store for me. The concept of “setpoint” has been around for a while, but the thing that’s happened over the past 7 to 10 years, which has been so revolutionary is, it’s gone from the setpoint theory to, we’ve now proven this. When I say “we”, I mean the broader scientific community, not me personally. For instance, if you look at even Wikipedia and you look up diabetes – the medical condition diabetes is defined by the breakdown in the body’s ability… This is according to Wikipedia; I’m not saying that Wikipedia is like God’s truth, I’m just saying that even Wikipedia is acknowledging this. It says that diabetes is the breakdown of the body’s ability to homeostatically, a.k.a. automatically regulate blood sugar around a healthy range. You do things to raise your blood sugar, your body does things to lower it. You do things to lower your blood sugar, your body automatically does things to elevate it. There’s never been a question, ever, that there is a setpoint around your blood sugar. There’s also never been a question, ever, that there is a setpoint for blood pressure. The breakdown in that homeostatic regulation of blood pressure is called hypertension. The breakdown in the homeostatic regulation of blood sugar is called diabetes. And we’ve now proven, over the past 7 to 10 years, that the breakdown in the body weight setpoint, which is as irrefutable as the blood pressure and blood sugar setpoints, is known as the disease of obesity or overweight. And it’s no more debatable than that your body regulates body temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar. Once you understand that, it changes everything about how we approach weight gain and weight loss.

Allan (6:43): Right, because if we don’t reset our setpoint, basically we are not going to be able to, in the long term, keep that weight off.

Jonathan Bailor (6:53): That’s exactly right, and it would be just as absurd. Once someone gets the following point, it’s a little bit like seeing life in color for the first time. It will change the way you see everything. So, if you went to your doctor and you had diabetes, and your doctor said, “Eat less”, you would say, “Wait, what?” Eating less does not fix the problem with your pancreas, the problem with insulin secretion. The underlying root of the breakdown of the blood sugar setpoint can’t be solved by starvation. If you went to your doctor suffering from hypertension – again, the breakdown in the blood pressure setpoint – and your doctor said, “Eat less, you lazy glutton”, we would say, “Hey, wait a minute. There’s something else happening.” It’s the same thing with body weight.

Allan (7:55): Right. Now, in the book you mention three hidden factors that are basically setting this setpoint. So if I want to fix my setpoint, these are the three areas I need to think about, right?

Jonathan Bailor (8:09): Exactly. The term, again, “setpoint” has been around for quite a bit of time, but what has changed recently is a concrete definition and identification of what makes it up, how it breaks down and how we can fix it. So, what determines your body weight or body fat setpoint is the interaction of three key elements of your biology and physiology – your brain, your gut, and your hormones; and very specifically, when there is inflammation in your brain, when there is dysregulation in your gut microbiota, and when you have hormonal imbalances. Your first brain and your second brain – your gut – communicate via hormonal signals to automatically regulate appetite, to automatically burn calories. It’s not that calories don’t exist, and it’s not that calories in / calories out is like unicorns. It’s that your body is brilliantly set up to automatically regulate calories in and calories out so that you maintain this body weight setpoint. But when that system – the brain, the gut and the hormones – breaks down, that setpoint creeps up and obesity ensues.

Allan (9:30): When people say “calories in / calories out” or they want to keep that paradigm, they just want to keep sticking to that simple rule, I say there are periods of time when our ancestors had no food, and there were times when the food was abundant. I’m guessing that our bodies probably weren’t designed to allow them to get obese over the summer and then whittle away over the winter. There are some metabolic changes that are happening during those periods of time that are allowing them to continue to survive.

Jonathan Bailor (10:01): That is correct. The thing that is essential to understand is that at the most basic level, the only thing that we need to prove from a scientific perspective to say that the setpoint is an irrefutable fact is if you feed people more calories than they need, does their body automatically burn more calories? The answer is “Yes”. If you feed people fewer calories than they need, does their body automatically burn fewer calories? The answer is “Yes”. And you can even look at it from a different perspective. You could say if someone exercises very heavily earlier in the day, does their body work to conserve calories later in the day? The answer is “Yes”. We’ve all experienced that – you have a really tough workout; how do you feel for the rest of the day? Tired. That’s your body automatically working to balance calories, and as a consequence, your weight, as calories are a component of that; not the be-all-end-all – they are a component, automatically.

Allan (11:02): I’d say tired and very hungry.

Jonathan Bailor (11:04): Exactly.

Allan (11:06): Now, I want to deep dive a little bit into each of those three factors, because I think there’s a lot of value in understanding how each of those affects our setpoint. Can we start with the brain inflammation and work through the three and talk about how that really impacts the setpoint?

Jonathan Bailor (11:24): Inflammation in your brain, or very specifically areas around your lateral and ventromedial hypothalamus… We’ll take a step back. There are a couple of parts of your brain. The one that is relevant for our conversation here is called your hypothalamus, and your hypothalamus is the part of your brain that has to do with allowing mission-critical functions that must take place 24/7, 365, without conscious control to happen. For instance, if you had to consciously think about regulating breaths in and breaths out, you could not function as a human being. We could not function as a species if our conscious brain, our neocortex, had to worry about beating our heart, or blinking our eyes, or shivering when we got cold, or prompting the sensation of needing to use the restroom when we consume excess liquids. There’s a part of your brain that is 100% dedicated to taking care of those life-sustaining, constant, mission-critical functions. That’s called your hypothalamus. When inflammation exists in the hypothalamus, those signals of, you need to use the restroom, or you need to breathe, or you need to slow down or speed up, can become compromised. And we know this irrefutable fact that there are certain substances completely independent of calories – take MSG for example, that have a detrimental impact on the hypothalamus, causing inflammation in the hypothalamus. And there are foods, such as certain Omega-3 fatty acids which reverse inflammation in the hypothalamus. So if we’re having a conversation about weight and we are not discussing inflammation in the brain and we are not discussing the hypothalamus, we are essentially having at best incomplete and at worst counterproductive discussion about weight.

Allan (13:27): Okay. Now, foods and things that are going to help us with this brain inflammation – you mentioned Omega-3, so I’m assuming fish, fish oil is going to help us; processed foods are going to hurt us.

Jonathan Bailor (13:42): Yes. When it comes to brain, gut and hormones, the good news is, as fate would have it, not dying is relatively simple. If it was extremely complicated, we probably would not have survived and thrived as a species as well as we have. So the way that we need to eat to optimize the health of our brain and our gut and our hormones is the same, which is important because I don’t want you to have to memorize, “I have to eat these foods for my brain, and then I need to set aside this part of my plate for my hormones, and this part of my plate for my gut.” We can cover what to eat all at once if you’d like.

Allan (14:23): We’re going to get into the SANE modeling in a bit, so we’ll get into that then. Cool. So let’s step into the microbiota.

Jonathan Bailor (14:35): One of the most shocking things when I talk with people about this casually is understanding that about 90% of the cells that exist in what you call “you”, are not yours. They’re cells of microorganisms that live in or on you. That which we define as a human being is actually trillions of little beings put together. We’re learning more and more about that, the mainstream is talking more and more about that. But when you look specifically at body weight, the research is so clear that there are certain types of bacteria which are much more prevalent in the gut of individuals who struggle with overweight than there are in individuals who are naturally thin. We can even go so far as to say there are certain types of microbiota that crave – these little creatures crave different foods. So while you think you might have a craving for sugary and starchy foods, it is literally true that you don’t, but rather these microorganisms that are living in your gut do. If you want to enlist billions of little bacterial helpers to help maintain a healthy weight and to literally crave the SANE foods that facilitate that, you can. And you’re not an army of one; you’re an army of trillions working towards this lower setpoint, the SANE lifestyle, and really feeling great and craving the foods that help you to feel that way.

Allan (16:23): Cool. And then the final piece is the hormones.

Jonathan Bailor (16:27): Hormones – talked about ad nauseum, but still not given enough attention. We can’t talk too much about hormones, because when you go to a gym and when you look on the television screens and when you look at the ads, it’s not going to say things like, “Do this exercise because of its hormonal impact.” It’s going to say, “Do this exercise because you burn this many calories.” At the end of the day your body does what hormones tell it to do. Period. This is so important to understand. Let’s use a simple example that most people are familiar with – anabolic steroids. Why do anabolic steroids work? Anabolic steroids work because they are essentially a hormonal messenger that tells your body to build muscle, therefore your body builds muscle. We know testosterone communicates X, and your body does X. Estrogen communicates Y, and your body does Y. We know that. So if we are talking about eating and exercise, if we’re talking about weight loss without talking about the hormonal impact of what we’re eating, or the hormonal impact of how we’re moving – again, we’re just missing… I’m going to try to think of an analogy on my feet here, but if you went to the eye doctor and the eye doctor was like, “Let’s talk about how your feet are doing”, you’re like, “Doc, I can’t see, and we’re not even talking about my eyes, we’re talking about my feet. What?” If you are not having a conversation about hormones while you are discussing your weight and your overall health, it’s a little bit like going to the eye doctor and have a conversation about your feet, because your body does what your hormones tell it to do. So if you don’t know and if you haven’t been empowered with the information you need to control that conversation and to get your body saying what you want it to say, a.k.a. “Burn fat and help me feel energetic”, but rather you have hormones getting triggered that are saying, “Store fat and make me feel tired” – it doesn’t matter how little you eat or how much you exercise. That conversation will probably only go worse and make the problem worse.

Allan (18:39): I was going through the hormones section of the book and going through each of them, there were some that came up that we don’t talk about much at all. We talk about insulin, we talk about leptin and ghrelin, we talk about testosterone, cortisol. But after that there are some of these other ones, like CCK, adiponectin and glucagon. There’s a lot of them. In my mind, as I’m getting into it, I know what most of these do fairly well and I know how to balance and manage a few of them, but I think the cool part of all of this was that your SANE method actually addresses all of them.

Jonathan Bailor (19:23): I appreciate you saying that, Allan, because that is the key thing here. The thing that I really don’t like is when people are made to believe that their bodies are fundamentally broken or stupid, and unless they micromanage these mission-critical biological functions, they are doomed to a state of obesity and disease. I think that is a diabolical way of looking at the human body, that unless we intervene and micromanage, our bodies are destined to be fat, diseased, diabetic, cancerous wastelands, which when you think about it is really what a lot of the fitness and diet industry says: Unless you know what every single hormone is doing at every single point in time, and what your calorie count is, and exactly how many steps you’ve taken, etcetera, things are going to go off the rails and you’re going to be in bad shape, which cannot be true. Why? Before we had any of the problems we have today, nobody did those things and everyone was healthier. So, by definition, it cannot be required to micromanage every aspect of your input and output in order to achieve effortless health, as evidenced by the fact that radically more people enjoyed effortless health in the past than the present. I’m not talking about hunter gatherers; I’m talking about in the ‘50s or in the ‘60s, when no one went to a gym, no one was focused on calories, and everyone was just healthier. What’s beautiful is, we can read The Setpoint Diet. I would appreciate if people read The Setpoint Diet, I think they will live radically better if they read The Setpoint Diet. But even if you remember no names of any hormones, if you simply remember to eat SANE foods in such high quantities that you’re too full for inSANE foods – all the brain stuff, all the hormone stuff, all the gut stuff will take care of itself and you will live radically better.

Allan (21:18): That’s one of the messages that came out of the book that I was really happy to see. Up until maybe about a year or two ago, diabetes was a progressive disease – you were going to die. You were going to lose feet, you were going to lose your kidneys, everything. And now we’re saying, no, if you make lifestyle changes, you can reverse your diabetes. The other thing was obesity – you’ve got some genetic problems. We can work out and we can cut some of the weight, but you’re always going to be big boned and overweight. And now we’re finding, no, if you make substantive lifestyle changes, we can reverse obesity. You talked about the SANE foods, and I definitely want to get into that. What are the SANE foods so we can stay away from the inSANE foods?

Jonathan Bailor (22:08): We came up with the… Well, that’s actually a bad way of describing it. It was more as if the universe presented this acronym, SANE, to me while I was doing this 15-year research journey. I stumbled upon it. I was doing all this research and it seemed like there are these things that are not commonly discussed and they’re not in any way, shape or form controversial in the scientific community. These are things like how much foods fill you up and how long they keep you full. Studies have been done for decades on, “Let’s feed people 1,200 calories of this type of diet and feed people 1,200 calories of this type of diet, and see which keeps people fuller longer.” That existed and that’s called satiety. And then the research around the different impact on hormones that foods have – this is sometimes discussed in popular literature as glycemic index or glycemic load, but it’s much broader than just insulin or just some of these sexy hormones that are discussed. So, the way I defined that is I just said “aggression”, because it looked like it was very clear in the research that there are some foods and some lifestyle decisions in general that caused these wild, aggressive swings in your hormones, and you can imagine that’s not great. And then the nutrient density – this is something that’s extremely important and is talked about a lot, but unfortunately is not talked about in the most optimum way, which is the ratio of essential nutrients – vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids – to things that are nonessential and / or toxic, like sugar. So, someone looks at the cereal aisle, they see Honey Nut Cheerios and it says it’s healthy because it’s enriched with vitamins and minerals. But if you put a vitamin pill in a can of Pepsi, I don’t think anyone would say that that can of Pepsi has now become healthy. So it’s essential that we look at the ratios.

Allan (23:58): Please don’t tell PepsiCo about that vitamin, because they will do it.

Jonathan Bailor (24:05): Yeah, they might do it. So, we’ve got to take a different look at nutrition. And then there are also different macronutrients that are processed differently by the body, more or less efficiently stored as fat. As the universe would have it, we have satiety, aggression, nutrition and efficiency, and that happens to spell out the acronym SANE. And what’s really cool is that all four of those factors can be objectively measured. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. It’s not my opinion, it’s not any researcher’s opinion. There’s a scientific method to measure them. So we can look at any food and say, “How satisfying, aggressive, nutritious and efficient is it?” And then we can say, “These are SANE foods, these are inSANE foods.” To the extent that you choose to eat SANE foods, you will live extremely well, and to the extent that you choose to eat inSANE foods, you will not live as well. And we can empower people with that information.

Allan (24:54): Now, you laid out several of the SANE foods and several of the inSANE foods. I don’t want to go through an exhaustive list, but there was one that came up and your approach to it was very different than anyone else. You’re not a big fan of olive oil.

Jonathan Bailor (25:17): I can’t give away the farm on this show by definition, because it’s a long book, but I’ll give away some of the farm here, which is SANE foods fall into four categories: non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, and low fructose fruits, in that order. And one of the biggest, coolest new things about the new book is we actually subdivide those into optimal groups. So these are the optimal non-starchy veggies, optimal nutrient-dense proteins. These are the things that are most therapeutic to lower your setpoint. The common characteristic amongst SANE foods and amongst all those food groups is the presence of three things: water, fiber and protein, which is beautiful; this all becomes very simple. Basically foods that are high in water, fiber and protein are saner than foods that are lower in water, fiber and protein. If you look at vegetables, non-starchy vegetables are very high in water, fiber, protein. That’s why if you put spinach in a blender, it blends and becomes a liquid, whereas if you put crackers in a blender and blend them, it becomes a powder. Crackers, don’t have liquid in them; spinach is primarily all liquid, it just doesn’t look that way. It’s also shockingly high in protein. We all know that vegetables have a lot of fiber. Anyway, if we look at fat, we have been told a lot about, first of all, fat doesn’t make you fat, which is 100% true. And then we’ve also heard a lot about olive oil, like slather your food in olive oil and it’s fantastic to use olive oil. Without question, olives contain more water, fiber and protein than olive oil. The point that I make in the book, and the point that I would encourage people to think about, and the point that people in the same community have found to be so transformational for them in breaking through plateaus and in living well is, if coconut oil is good for you, which it is, relative to other oils, if olive oil is good for you, which it is, relative to other oils, you know what’s even better for you? Coconut. You know what’s even better for you? Olives. We call these “whole food fats” because they have more nutrients. They have more water, they have more fiber, they have more protein. I am not anti-olive oil; I’m pro complete scientific information. So, if one were to say that olive oil is a healthy oil and olive oil is a SANE oil, I would 100% agree with that statement. Now if someone said, “I think you should get 600 calories per day from olive oil, because fat is good for you”, I would say if you got 600 calories per day from whole food fats, because fat is good for you, you would live radically better than if those 600 calories came from a low water, low fiber, and low protein fat source such as olive oil.

Allan (28:07): Absolutely. Now, you did a spin on the MyPlate, and you call it the SANE plate. You’ve already laid out the elements of what we should be looking for, as far as fiber, water and protein, but you’ve actually laid this out now on a plate, so we know how much of the non-starchy vegetables, how much of the protein and how much of the low fructose fruit we should have on the plate. Can you talk about what that percentage is and what that looks like?

Jonathan Bailor (28:41): Really important to think in terms of a plate, because I don’t know anybody, myself included, who goes to a restaurant or to a dinner table or to the grocery store and says, “Where can I find the fiber?” or, “What is the protein that we’re going to eat right now?” or, “I want some water on my plate.” It doesn’t make any sense, right? Those are scientific terms that don’t really help us at the dinner table. So when we sit down at the dinner table or at a restaurant, what should our plate look like? It’s extremely simple. Half your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are vegetables that you could, but you don’t have to, eat raw. This is a really important distinction, because a lot of people have been told that things like corn and potatoes are vegetables. They’re not; they can’t be eaten raw. They’re starches. Non-starchy vegetables are plants which are generally quite colorful with a few exceptions, which could be eaten raw. Think any green leafy vegetable, think things like peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, zucchinis, broccoli, asparagus, so on and so forth. I want you to fill half your plate with those, and I don’t care how you prepare them because what’s most important is getting them into your body in a way that you enjoy and can keep up forever. So if you hate the taste of raw vegetables, please don’t try to force yourself to eat raw vegetables. Use olive oil in that context to sauté those vegetables and make them taste great, because getting the vegetables into your body is priority number one. Just please don’t deep fry them. That is the only form of preparation that I would advise against.

The next big portion of your plate – about a third of your plate – is going to be nutrient-dense proteins. It’s really important that we focus on nutrient–dense proteins because you hear a lot of things about meat – it’s good, bad, etcetera. It’s just people being imprecise with language, which is unfortunate because certainly things like spam, hot dogs and processed meat are not good for us, much like, for example, processed sugar, which is a plant, is not good for us. Processed anything is not good for us, whether it be meat or plants. So we want to eat nutrient-dense proteins. These are generally humanely raised animals and / or wild-caught seafood. Canned is fine, frozen is fine, and having a big chunk of that on our plate because of the therapeutic impact of those nutritious sources of protein. And then the remainder of your plate can be low fructose fruits, like berries or citrus fruits. These are going to provide you the most of what you need to thrive and the least of things you don’t, such as fructose or other forms of sugar. And / or whole food fats, such as nuts and seeds. But what we’ve seen a lot of people do to make this even simpler is make half your plate non-starchy vegetables, half your plate nutrient-dense protein, and then use whole food fats and low fructose fruits for dessert. That’s when this gets really fun, because no way of eating that is disgusting or unappetizing is a way of eating that I would recommend anyone engage in for life. Life is about being here, being present, being happy, enjoying oneself. So, what’s beautiful is things like coconut, coco, almond flour, berries, all these types of delicious, decadent foods – these can make up the backbone of cakes, cookies, pies, ice creams, puddings. Pretty much any baked or dessert food you can think of, we can SANE-itize using whole food fats and low fructose fruits. Then eating becomes so simple – just pack your plate with non-starchy vegetables and nutrient-dense protein, and then eat some SANE dessert, and you will drop your setpoint and live extremely well.

Allan (32:20): Hallelujah! Now, I want to shift gears a little bit. You got into a series where you were talking about mindset, and you got into goal setting. You made a clear delineation about the types of goals we should be setting for ourselves, and I thought that was just brilliant. Could you take a moment to start talking about goal setting and the types of goals we should actually be setting for ourselves?

Jonathan Bailor (32:49): We talk a lot about mindset in The Setpoint Diet and it’s extremely important because where your head goes, your body follows. How many of us have said, “I’m going to do this!” and get really excited? And motivation wanes and it doesn’t materialize over time. There is tremendous research that has taken place that can help us, just like we know more about nutrition. The realm of positive psychology is so powerful. Like a lot of what we’ve been told about nutrition is just wrong and counterproductive, a lot of what we’ve been told about goal setting is wrong or counterproductive. For example, the way that we are generally told to make goals is what’s called “results goals”, and we’re generally told to do big results goals. Let me give you an example. I want to lose 100 pounds. That’s a big goal, and it is a result – 100 pounds is a result. The reason that that is bad – in the scientific research we define “bad” as “ineffective”, meaning it’s not going to yield the outcome you want. First and foremost, you don’t have ultimate control over the speed or ability to lose 100 pounds. There are things outside of your control that influence that, so making a goal that you have limited or no control over is not helpful, because if you can’t control it, that’s not helpful. But the other thing that’s even more important for a lot of people that we’ve worked with, is when you set a goal like that, you will feel like a failure every second of every day, because you haven’t reached that goal. And you’re not even close to reaching that goal. So you’ve now set yourself up. Your brain is going to say, “Alright, I’ve got to lose 100 pounds. Have I lost 100 pounds yet? No, failure. How about now? No, failure.” You wake up tomorrow: “No, failure.”

A much more empowering and effective approach to goal setting instead of big results goals… Which are fun; they’re like mental junk food: “We’re going to go to a conference, and I’m going to lose 100 pounds. And I’m going to make a million dollars, and I’m going to get married and have five kids. I’m going to do that all in the next three weeks.” And for the next 12 hours I’m going to be super excited, just like I ate a bunch of sugar, but then I’m going to crash and be like, “How the hell am I actually going to do any of that?” So it’s like junk food for your brain. A much more SANE approach is to create small process goals. What is a process goal? A process goal is something that you do and something that you have complete control over – so a process goal of, “I am going to blend a SANE green smoothie” – you have control over that, and it’s a process. I am going to do that, and it’s small. I’m going to do that right now. And it’s not super sexy, but what we’ve seen in the research, which is quite clear, is if you start stacking up process goals, if you start taking tiny actions that you can control daily, consistently, there is very little in life that will be outside of your reach. We know that’s true. Small, consistent change over time is the only way anything has ever happened in any of our lives, barring winning the lottery. We just need to recognize and embrace that and treat the way we eat and exercise in the same way.

Allan (36:17): You’re going to be happy to know that I did set a SANE goal and yesterday when I went to the grocery store, I bought a lot of leafy greens and I actually made your blueberry blast smoothie yesterday. And my goal is to do that each day now.

Jonathan Bailor (36:34): That is absolutely fantastic. That’s an example of some process goals that I can write down, I can check off, and I can do. I’m going to go to the grocery store and buy these ingredients. Allan, that’s an important point, because we really want to break stuff down into, what is the next action? It’s one thing to be like, “I’m going to make a SANE smoothie.” Okay, what are you going to blend it with? “Crap. Don’t have a blender. Don’t have the ingredients.” You want to just back up and say, “Where do I start?” You start where you start. Try to describe to me if you tried to teach someone how to walk. No, explain with words how to walk. You take one foot and you pick it up, you put it in front of the other. At some point we need to reduce stuff down to the simplest state: “I am going to get in my car. I’m going to drive to Safeway. I’m going to go to aisle 3. I’m going to pick up a bag of spinach. I’m going to go to the checkout.” That seems silly, but it’s like a blueprint. It’s like code for your life. There’s a reason computers work. The reason that computers work when they work is because instructions have been laid out extremely clearly, every step of the way. We need to do that for ourselves in our lives.

Allan (37:56): When you’re doing coding, you’ve got to think, “What’s my next step? What’s my next step?” And this is very similar. I already had a very good blender. It’s not the Vitamix that you recommend. It’s called Ninja, but it’s still a very good blender. And then I knew I need to get some more leafy greens, I need to pick up the lemons. I didn’t actually use the erythritol. That’s what I did skip out on because I didn’t think I’d need it with the lemon in there. And then I made my smoothie with some blueberries. It was awesome.

Jonathan Bailor (38:27): And that’s a huge win. Again, it seems like a small thing, but imagine that that became a habit. That’s another thing we talk about in the book. So let’s say that, Allan, you make that a goal and you say, “I’m going to consciously take steps to buy these ingredients to make these smoothies every day.” And you do that for 21 days, or 30 days, or so on and so forth. What you’re going to find is that next month instead of it taking effort to make that smoothie, it will take effort to not make that smoothie, because it will become a habit. When it can be easier to perform SANE, healthy habits than it is to do unhealthy, inSANE things, that’s when the magic happens. And that absolutely can be the case. We know thousands of people within the same family who crave green smoothies. It’s happened to me and my wife. We go on vacation, we go on a cruise where it’s like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait till we can get home and drink our green smoothies.” We’re in the midst of all this decadent, all-you-can-eat food, and we’re in the habit of drinking SANE smoothies, so we’re like, “I love the cruise, but I hate that I can’t have my green smoothies.”

Allan (39:42): I’m thinking I picked up spinach and I walked past all the other stuff. I’m like, “I could have put some dandelions in here. There was so much more I could have put in here that would have been interesting.” So I’m looking at it as an experiment. I’m looking at it as, “This is going to be fun because I’m going to experiment with different fruits, different berries, different flavors, and just have some fun with it.”

Jonathan Bailor (40:04): It is a great canvas on which to experiment in that way, with what we would call “optimal” non-starchy vegetables. If I’m like, “Hey, eat more dandelion greens”, you’ll be like, “Uhhh…” But you can just take a handful of them, toss them in the blender with some other stuff. You can toss a handful of all sorts of things into the blender. We’re not a smoothie company, this isn’t called The Smoothie Diet. But we have found that drinking the appropriate type of SANE green smoothies can be one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to SANE-itize your diet and lower your setpoint.

Allan (40:41): I think it was five ounces of spinach that I put in there. I went a little overboard. I made a whole lot, but I drank all of it. It would have taken me a lot of effort to eat that much in its whole food form.

Jonathan Bailor (41:00): 100%. I get probably 80% of the vegetables that I eat in smoothie form, simply because you could drink it at your desk, take it with you in the car, and that’s great. They’re raw. You don’t need to use a lot of olive oil in a green smoothie, for example. And then you can do all sorts of fun stuff. You can use avocado to help make it more creamy, so you get your whole food fats in there. It’s also a great place in which to try some nutrient-dense protein. You could have some whey protein or casein protein or pea protein or rice protein or hemp protein, some pasteurized egg whites. It’s a canvas on which you can really create something beautiful.

Allan (41:39): Yes. You get into another concept that you call “implementation intentions”. And I thought those would be extremely valuable to talk about.

Jonathan Bailor (41:48): Implementation intentions are the natural byproduct of the process goals, the small process goals we talked about earlier, where you really start to flesh out a plan. For example, rather than saying, “I have the small goal of drinking a green smoothie tomorrow”, an implementation intention will take it further and say “if, when, then”. So, “If it is the morning, when I am hungry, then I will make a SANE green smoothie.” So there are three components to it and it’s almost like making the decision ahead of time. This is really important. I don’t think we talk about this in the book, but you can be in what’s called a hot state or a cool state. Not to digress too much, but if you’ve ever found yourself in a context of passion with another human being, it’s one thing if you get cut off in traffic to say, “Calmly on my couch, I will behave this way.” But when someone cuts you off in traffic or jeopardizes the life of your family members in your car, you become emotionally aroused and your decision-making process changes a bit. Implementation intentions help you to act out and create an entire game plan for how you’re going to act in certain situations before those happen. So if I get home from work and I am stressed out, and I open the refrigerator, then I will grab the container of pre-washed sugar snap peas and I will binge on those. You literally have a plan for situations where you find yourself making inSANE choices. You have yourself set up, you have a game plan in place. You get that written down in a very simple formulaic way, and you are now empowered because you have made the decision and created the plan before you need to, so that when you need to, you’re ready.

Allan (44:00): It used to be at the office, they would bring these donuts called Spudnuts, and they’re literally made out of potato flour. So probably the most inSANE food on earth, because they’re coated in sugar and they’re potato flour. And when they bring them in the office, it’s like watching sharks be chomped. They’re all over the break room. So, I had this strategy, which was similar. It was this intention where I’d say, “If they brought Spudnuts, I’m going into my office and I’m going to eat a bag of nuts. I’m going to stay out of the break room until lunchtime.”

Jonathan Bailor (44:36): And the reason, Allan, that that is so powerful is, contrast that with the goal of, “I’m not going to Spudnuts.” That’s actually more of a result – the result of, “I’m not going to eat them”, but how am I going to not eat Spudnuts? These goals without “How’s” are meaningless, especially when you ask the question of, “I’m going to lose 100 pounds. How?” It quickly falls down. Implementation intentions force that “How” in an elegant way,

Allan (45:15): Absolutely. Now, you get into something else in the mindset part of the book that I just love, because I think it’s an underutilized aspect to wellness, and that is the concept of gratitude.

Jonathan Bailor (45:29): Gratitude is one of those things which research has shown without a shadow of a doubt that to not leverage gratitude is to your psychology like not eating vegetables is to your biology. There’s basically a dose-dependent relationship in the amount of gratitude that you proactively seek to express, and your mood. So gratitude journaling, consciously setting aside time to, once a day, tell people you love, “I appreciate how you emptied the dishwasher today, “I appreciate how you noticed my new socks.” It sounds simple, but so does “Eat your vegetables.” Sometimes the most profound changes in life come from the simplest practices in life, and gratitude is one of those.

Allan (46:16): I for the longest time struggled with stress. I was actually fortunate to get laid off, and now actually I’ve had a year of what I would call healing, so that I can make 2019 my complete “whoosh” of trying to get as distressed as possible. But one of my eye-opening moments was when I came to the realization that when you’re experiencing joy, you don’t feel stress. And to me gratitude is one of those self-inflicted joys. When you start actually thinking about how good things are, even the little things, it’s like you’ve taken in a bit of self-induced joy in that moment, and it’s a complete de-stressor.

Jonathan Bailor (47:05): That’s been my experience as well, Allan, and I will give the listeners to this an advanced technique that is actually not in the book, simply because we were so over the word count. It was supposed to be 80,000 words. We already went so over, we had to start cutting some stuff. But some people hear “gratitude” and they’re like, “Okay, what?” There’s a different way to approach gratitude that I’ve found to be helpful for some people, which is, while it may not feel great… Let’s say you have a cat that you really like, and you’re like, “I like my cat, I like my cat, I like my cat. This isn’t doing anything for me. Why did I listen to that podcast?” There’s a different approach. This sounds a little bit morbid, but it has a long track record historically; it’s just not talked about a lot. Imagine that something happened to your cat, as deeply as possible. Not for a long time, but just take 60 seconds and literally play through in your mind that something bad happened and you no longer had your cat. Then stop and hug your cat. You will instantly feel more grateful for your cat than you did before. So, there are two approaches. For some people based on their personality type, they’re like, “Hey, Snookums, I love you. I’m so grateful for you.” That works, and if that works, please do it. For other personality types that does not work, and all you need to do is close your eyes and imagine if Snookums wasn’t around, graphically. Then open your eyes and hug Snookums. In either case, you’re going to get that sense of joy that is so helpful with stress.

Allan (48:45): Absolutely. Now, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Jonathan Bailor (48:58): Drink SANE green smoothies every day. Sleep at least seven hours, and prioritize your life so that you can do that. Love and contribute as deeply as possible.

Allan (49:13): Those are wonderful. I adore those. Thank you for sharing that. Jonathan, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about The Setpoint Diet and the things you’re doing, where would you like for me to send them?

Jonathan Bailor (49:26): Please go to our website, which is SANESolution.com. That will give you all the information on the book, a bunch of free resources, wonderful miniseries coming out, tremendous coaching programs, all sorts of good stuff. SANESolution.com.

Allan (49:46): Awesome. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/363, and I’ll be sure to have all the links there. Jonathan, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.

Jonathan Bailor (50:00): Thank you for having me, Allan.

I hope you enjoyed that interview as much as I enjoyed having that conversation. Some really good information for you to take into your January. I am very happy to say that I have finally, finally received copies of The Wellness Roadmap so that I can do some signed copies. If you would like a signed copy of the book, all you have to do is go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound if you want the hardbound version, or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback if you want the paperback edition. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. I can only do this during the month of January, because as you know in February I am moving to Panama. So, if you want a signed copy of the book, this is your opportunity. 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback.

Also, I wanted to let you know that I have partnered with a lab company called YourLabwork.com. They’re are really, really cool company in that they offer discounted lab work and you get to pick the lab work that you want done. They have the doctor there, they go ahead and call it in or send it in. You just show up at one of the quest centers. It’s already prepaid by them, so you just pay them, then they take care of all the backend work. They do these wonderful reports, they give you all kinds of information. I’m going through their educational course right now, so I’m also in a pretty good position to help you understand what is going on with those. Maybe we can do a Q&A if some of you are out there doing your lab work and want to talk about what some of these numbers mean. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab. They offer really good discounts. The rates they’re charging for these lab tests are really, really cost effective if you want to get things done, whether it be your hormones, your cholesterol, or any other kind of panel you want to check out. They’ve got a multitude of items for you to choose from and you can pick and choose the specific tests you’re interested in.

I did the full workup, so I have a complete particle count on my cholesterol, I have all the hormone checks, all that stuff done. I do that in my wellness trips with my doctor, but this was even deeper than what my doctor orders. This was really, really good information for me to have going into the new year, because I can use that now as a basis for how well my activities and the things that I’m doing for myself are in fact improving my health. You know I’m not a big fan of the scale. These numbers that you’re going to get from your blood labs are going to be so much more important as a measure and metric of health. So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab and that’ll take you to their site. Like I said, it’s a really cool service that they’re doing. 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

Keto Cure with Dr. Adam Nally
December 31, 2018

Get healthy and fit with commitment, strategy, habits, and tactics

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  • Judy Murphy

Thank you!

As we look to the new year, our health and fitness move to top-of-mind. On this episode, I discuss how commitment, strategy, habits, and tactics can help you reach all of your health and fitness goals.

As we close out 2018, I thought it would be good for me to do an episode that was geared towards helping you be successful. As we go into a new year, this is often the time of year where people want to really start bearing down on certain goals – be it health, be it fitness, be it wealth – different things that we put on our plate that we want to accomplish in the new year. And if being healthy and fit is something that’s on your plate, which for most of it is, these four words that I’m going to share with you today and how they apply, is going to be very, very important for you to be successful.

The words are: commitment, strategies, habits, and tactics. I’ll start with each one and then give a definition and some examples. After I’ve done that, I’ll talk about how each of these interplay and the order with which you must do them, because it is very important that you do all of them and that you do them in the right order.

COMMITMENT

The first one is commitment. A commitment is so much stronger than any other thing that you’re going to do for yourself. You could say you have a resolution, you could start a diet, you can say you’re going to use willpower, do things to improve your willpower; but in a general sense, all of those are typically designed to fail. What you need is a commitment.

When you commit to something, you just do it. It’s much more personal to you. It’s much more ingrained in your psyche to be successful when you have a commitment.

Commitment is comprised of two things. The first one is your “Why”. Your “Why” must be deep and emotional, and generally fixed. What I mean by that is, it needs to be something that you truly, truly care about. If you don’t care about it – like you say, “I want to lose 20 pounds so I can fit in a smaller size jeans” – that’s great, but you’re not committed to wearing smaller jeans. Whereas if you want to reduce your waist size because you know that will make you healthier and you’ll be around for your children longer – that’s a commitment. That’s deep and personal, because now it’s about family, it’s about something more important than just the jeans size that you’re wearing.

If you’ve been following me for any period of time, you know that my commitment, my “Why” is my daughter. It started out as my daughter, then when I got married to Tammy, it’s now my wife and our children, and then of course our grandchildren as they come about. My commitment is to them.

I don’t want to just be here for them; I want to be working with them. I want to be doing things with them. I want to be active with them. I want to be participating in their lives. So my vision is for me to be independent, fit and strong, to be able to do the things that they’re doing to be engaged in their lives.

So I put those two together: my “Why” – my children, grandchildren, my wife; and my vision is to be active in their lives, to be independent. That’s my commitment. My commitment is to do the work and do the things that are necessary to make sure that I am the person that I want to be for them. That’s my commitment.

STRATEGIES

The next word – strategies. Strategies are the things that we do to ensure that we’re going to be successful. And that only comes about if we really do a good deep dive exercise of self-awareness and looking at our lives and saying, “What’s realistic? What’s the most likely outcome if these things happen?”

So, strategies are the things that we do to keep us on track when something might have knocked us off. A perfect example for me is, every once in a while if I see M&M’s, particularly peanut M&M’s, I’m all over them. It’s very, very hard for me to walk past a bowl of M&M’s and not just eat them all. I know that’s a tendency of mine, so I just don’t buy M&M’s. I don’t have them in the house, I don’t have them in the cupboard, so I’m less inclined to do that thing.

Another one that I’ve talked about a good bit is, when I was going to an office, if I didn’t pack my gym bag the night before and leave it on the floor where I would almost practically trip over it on the way out, I would sometimes forget my gym bag or I’d forget to pack socks or shoes or something silly like that, and I’d end up missing a workout. So, for me to make sure that I am consistently going to the gym, I have to pack my gym bag the night before.

Now it’s a little different because I work from home, but I need to put my gym clothes out. Right after I finish recording this episode, I’m going to go down to the gym and do some work, because I already have my gym clothes on. They were the ones I left out for me to get into this morning when I woke up, so I have my gym clothes available to me and I’m ready to go work out. So, the strategies are the things that we do to help ensure that we stay the course.

HABITS

The next one is habits. Habits are the things we do without even having to think of them. One habit will be that you brush your teeth every evening before you go to bed. You probably brush your teeth every morning when you wake up. Habits are the way that you drive to work each day. Habits are the natural little things that you do in the course of living your day-to-day. The way we’re going to build a habit is by making it a part of each day regularly.

Just like brushing your teeth became like a ritual before bed – working out, eating well – those have to be habits. I talked about the strategy of walking around the grocery store. Now I don’t even think about going down any of the aisles, unless I specifically need something from that aisle. But in a general sense, as soon as I walk in the grocery store, I turn to my right and I circle the grocery store. That’s just my normal habit at this point in my life; I don’t even think about it. And that keeps me away from most of the foods and things that I don’t want to put in my body, and keeps me closer to the things that I do. So, I’ve developed habits that help me stay healthy and well.

TACTICS

And the final one that I want to talk about is tactics. Tactics are the things we do to get healthy and fit. I may ask a client when they first go in the gym and they want to start lifting, “I’m going to put you on a five by five program, doing these five exercises.” When I say “five by five”, that’s five sets, five repetitions of these five different exercises that basically give them a full body workout each time. So the tactic is the five by five.

As far as eating, some of my clients like to go low-carb. And when they go low-carb, that’s a tactic; it’s the style of eating that they’re choosing. They’re choosing a tactic of low-carb as a way of potentially losing some body fat, and yet fueling themselves.

So, as you look at the things that you would do, I want you to make sure that the tactics you’re using are the ones that are really going to move the needle. So the tactic of getting a B12 shot once a month – while it might boost your energy, that’s not a “move the needle” tactic so much as making sure you’re getting in a good amount of water each day, or making sure you’re working out and lifting and doing resistance exercise. The resistance exercise tactic or the making sure that you’re staying hydrated tactic – those are the tactics that are going to move the needle for you the most.

The B12, or wearing an altitude mask, or all these other little crazy things that are out there, are not going to move the needle nearly as much. Now, there might be a point in your fitness and health journey where those other tactics make sense to add to your repertoire, but you want to focus your energy and your time on the tactics that are going to do the most good for you. We don’t have unlimited energy and we don’t have unlimited time. Those are very limited resources and we want to be very careful about the application of those, so that we’re getting the most bang for the buck.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Now, I say commitments, strategies, habits, and tactics in that order for a very specific reason. The commitment lays the foundation for everything that you’re going to do. When you’ve made a good commitment, you have a good vision of where you’re going to go and you have a good “Why” that’s going to keep you going. So the commitment has to be the first thing, it has to be done right. Once you have a good commitment in your mind and you’ve written it down and now you’re going to practice that commitment, everything else will fall in place so much easier.

Now through self-awareness, through knowing the basic things going on in your life, you can start establishing the strategies that are going to lay the framework for how everything else is going to work. I’ll use myself as an example.

I said that I want to be independent and active with my children and grandchildren, and whatever they’re doing in their lives, I want to be a part of it. I know that if I want to live a longer life, I need to feed my body the types of food that are good for it. So my strategies have to be built around, how do I make sure that I’m getting good food? How do I make sure that I’m doing the right things to keep myself fit? And fitness in this context is very different than CrossFit fit or just wanting to be able to complete a particular task, like a race or whatnot. This is fitness to be the person that I want to be.

As we age we’re more likely to fall, and that fall is likely to put us in the hospital or kill us. I want to make sure that I don’t fall, so in addition to training my strength so that I can do the things I need to do, I need to train balance, so that I’m as balanced as I can be and I don’t fall as often. Those are two different things that I’m working on within my fitness, so I have to put the strategies in place to make sure that I do that.

Strategies I’ve talked about – leaving my clothes out so I know that I’m getting my workouts in. Strategies of making sure that I’m shopping for the best quality foods, going to the farmer’s market, or at least walking the perimeter of the grocery store.

Now, after you’ve done a strategy for quite some time, it becomes a habit. So going down into my basement gym and getting in a good workout each morning because I’ve put my clothes on – suddenly now it becomes a habit of, that’s just what I do. I wake up and I go down to the gym. And maybe I’m doing some strength training, maybe I’m doing some balance training, or a combination of both. But I know I have a purpose down in the gym because I have a vision, I have my commitment, I have my strategies, and now I’m developing a habit by continuing to do the things that I need to do. So, once I get down into the gym or once I get in the grocery store – that’s the point where now I can start applying tactics.

My tactics are saying, “Buy a whole bunch of vegetables. Just look for everything that’s fresh and organic. Get the best quality vegetables I can get and fill up my cart with those. Going over to the meats, look for the high-quality grass-fed meats.” And that’s what I do. Whether I’m at the farmer’s market or at the grocery store, I’m looking for the highest quality. So my tactic is high-quality food. My tactic is I’m going to do strength exercises, which are basically lower rep heavyweight, and I’ll do some balance work on a regular basis as a function of my workouts. Those are the tactics that are going to get me there.

SUMMARY

You see how if I try to skip the order, I never develop the habits? If I don’t have the commitment, I’m never going to get to the habits. And so many people like to start this journey with the tactics.

We’re rolling into January, so it’s like, “I’m going to go on a diet.” What does that mean? It’s like, “Well, no candy or cakes for me.” They’ve got a tactic – they’re cutting out cake, they’re cutting out candy. That’s great; they’re cutting down on the sugar a little bit, but they really don’t have the commitment, they don’t have the strategies. So what’s going to happen when they show up to work and it’s birthday day for one employer or another, and there’s cake?

Are they really going to have the commitment and the ability, the strategies to walk away and not eat the cake? Or are they going to make that a failure point in their plan and lose their diet? So, as you go through this, just remember, you need the commitment to make sure that all of this stays in place.

The strategies will be the ones that keep you on the road the most, keep you most effective. The habits are going to be the things that become automatic for you, which actually makes getting well very easy once you’ve developed healthy habits. That takes time, it takes effort, but if you have the commitment and the strategies in place, you can and will develop really good habits for your health and wellness. And then finally, the tactics. The tactics you choose need to be the best ones that are going to move the needle the most for you, where you are on your journey today. In that order – commitment, strategies, habits, tactics.

I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you have any questions at all about this – please, please, please, reach out to me. You can get in touch with me at allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. I love getting emails from you guys. Or you can go to the Facebook group at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group. Both of those are great places to interact with me. I love getting emails, I love having the discussions on the Facebook group, because that’s where other people can get the benefit of your questions and our comments and what’s going on there. So please do go check out the group or send me an email if you have any questions or want to talk further about this topic.

Alright. It’s that time of year when we all start getting a little bit more focused on goals, commitments, resolutions and all of that. So I hope you’ll take today’s lesson to heart as you do kick in for the new year and get your fitness stuff going on. It is very important for you to make sure that you’re committed to have the strategies in place, to develop the appropriate habits, and also to make sure that you’re finding the right tactics to make sure that you’re successful in meeting your fitness and health goals. This is the perfect time for you to hire a coach, and I would like to be that coach. As a coach you can have me for accountability, you have me to bounce any questions off of, you have me there to make sure that you get the most out of the time and effort you’re putting into the gym and into the kitchen. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs to learn more about what I do with my coaching.

I have two basic programs – very simple “Do It Yourself” programs; or if you really want me with you along the way, you can join the group fitness or apply for the one-on-one. I do have some slots open for one-on-one clients at this time. So if you’re interested in really kicking things up a notch, meeting all of your wellness and fitness goals for the year, I highly recommend that you hire a coach and I hope that you’ll choose me. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs today. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

Wellness Roadmap Part 1

December 24, 2018

Your holistic gut prescription with Dr. Lauren Deville

On today’s episode, we’re going to meet Dr. Lauren Deville and discuss her book, The Holistic Gut Prescription: Create Your Own Personal Path to Optimal Digestive Wellness. This is a really cool podcast episode, particularly if you’re suffering from any kind of digestive issues. She helps you cut to the chase and find some real solutions to get healthy in a natural way.

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

  • Judy Murphy

Thank you!

Allan (1:14): Dr. Deville, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Lauren Deville (1:17): Thanks for having me.

Allan (1:19): Your book is The Holistic Gut Prescription: Create Your Own Personal Path to Optimal Digestive Wellness. When I got into the book, I thought it was going to be predominantly a nutrition book. I guess it’s because you think digestive health and you think nutrition. But what I’m learning big time is that digestion is only part of what your gut does for you. There are so many other things going on there that we’re going to talk about stuff that’s way off the grid of nutrition.

Dr. Lauren Deville (1:56): Right, absolutely.

Allan (2:00): It was a good reminder for me that the things that are going on in our health – if we’re not taking care of our gut, we’re just not going to get there.

Dr. Lauren Deville (2:09): It’s the key for an awful lot of the rest of your health. I didn’t want to specialize per se, but it’s a way to specialize without specializing because almost everything goes back to the gut.

Allan (2:22): When I first started reading I thought, “Now we’re talking about air quality. Let’s see where this goes.” Obviously we know if we eat poison, typically our gut’s smart enough to tell us to throw that up. You eat something that disagrees with you, your digestive system kicks in. You might not feel too good while it’s happening, but it does the things it needs to do. But we don’t really have that kind of reflex thing happening so much with the air. We could breathe bad air all the time and really not even know it.

Dr. Lauren Deville (3:04): True. The thing is that we’re exposed to so many toxins now – in the air, in our food, in the environment that we’re around in our house and our buildings, things like that, that are low level enough that they don’t create an acute reaction. If they’re severe enough, they do and then it becomes really obvious. But when it’s chronic and it’s building up slowly over time and you’ve got tiny changes in your symptoms that are increasing over a period of months or years, it’s hard to pinpoint where it’s actually coming from. And a lot of it is cumulative.

Allan (3:42): In our house, we buy furniture, our floors are probably shellacked with something. How does someone go about reducing that load or at least knowing what is there and what isn’t there? What are some things that we can do to improve our air quality?

Dr. Lauren Deville (4:04): Before you’re actually ill from it, one of the very best things you can do if you live in a climate where this is possible and you don’t have severe allergies, is just open your windows. And start having the fan blowing, ideally toward the outside, so that you’re getting some of that toxic air out, just off-gassing, because there’s so much of that stuff. That’s especially critical when you’re doing any kind of construction. Before I moved into my current office, we had to paint it and also put down new floors. So while I was aware of trying to get low VOC paint – the kind that isn’t going to have nearly as much of the chemicals that are going to get into the air – there are still going to be some. And the flooring – there’s still going to be some of that. So I did that a couple of weeks in advance. I think I did get my landlords to let me open the doors, but I also got some good HEPA air filters and put them in multiple places before we moved anything else in, so that we could get as much of that out, so that we weren’t going to be breathing it, as possible. One of the things that I also recommend people do is to get a high quality HEPA air filter. Put it in your bedroom, because that’s where you spend the majority of your time. I also have one in my office – in my actual physical office, as opposed to the larger building where I practice – because I’m spending a lot of time there and so are some of my patients. Also in your bathroom, you’ve got a lot of products. I usually try to convince people to offload some of the products that are full of a bunch of chemicals. That’s really the best way to go to try to minimize those things. Minimize the cleaning products that are full of chemicals, use natural stuff whenever possible. But there’s possibly still going to be some stuff. They’re usually equipped with one of those air filters, air vents. Use them when you’re in there because that’s going to really help. If you’ve got one in your kitchen, use it in there. As much as you can get the air circulating and get fresh air in – that is going to really, really make a big difference.

Allan (6:00): I’m a big fan of getting outside in nature. Trees are some of the best filters of our air. Typically if you’re walking through a forest, you’re getting some of the cleanest air that you’re going to be able to get in your area. So the more time you can spend out of doors, the better.

Dr. Lauren Deville (6:16): Absolutely true.

Allan (6:19): Then we start talking about some other things, like mold. I have a particular story: My wife and I bought this house that we’re about to sell. It’s in a lot better shape now than it was then, because we didn’t know we had mold when we first bought the house. The house inspection didn’t catch it. My wife was starting to feel sick, so I said, “Let’s clean out the filters, clean out the ducts, because we don’t know when that was done.” And we brought a company in – they didn’t notice any mold. They cleaned the ducts. That cleaning process they did basically stirred up the spores. So our walls, at least in one bathroom in particular, were lined with mold two days later. It was horrible. So we had to hire a remediation company, and now I’m good friends with him. His name’s Greg; he did a great job. Shout out to you, Greg – you saved our lives. He came in and not only had to replace all the duct work, he replaced all of the insulation on our attic and then put in a new HVAC unit, which basically all it does is dehumidify the air, because we’re in Pensacola Beach.

Dr. Lauren Deville (7:30): Yeah, you need that.

Allan (7:33): We had two units for the house and now we have this extra unit that’s further taking the humidity down and that’s helping a good bit. But even after the exposure, my wife remained sick and actually had to go in for surgery because of this reaction. Now, in the book you say there are three types of mold and you talk about once you’re exposed to mold some of the bad things that could happen. If you start down that line, what are some things we can do from a treatment perspective and a prevention perspective?

Dr. Lauren Deville (8:04): Sure. So, the types of mold I’m talking about are allergenic, pathogenic, and toxic. The pathogenic toxic molds are going to cause everybody a problem at a certain threshold, but where that threshold is depends on the genetic susceptibility of the person. About a quarter of the population is genetically susceptible to mold, and there’s a test called HLA-DR that I talk about in the book that you can have your doctor run to find out if you’re one of those people or not. And if you’re not, that doesn’t mean if you’re exposed to toxic mold, you might not have a problem; it just won’t be as severe and it won’t be as hard to get you healthy as it will for some of the others.

Then there’s allergenic mold, and those are only a problem if you’re actually allergic to them. So other people can be around those types of mold and be totally fine. There are some blood tests that you can do to differentiate between the two, which ones you’re reacting to. The people that are going to have the hardest time with mold exposure, and it sounds like your wife is probably one of these people, are the ones who are in the genetically susceptible camp and they can have any number of reactions. This can be very systemic. What the mold is producing is called biotoxins. That’s what the toxic mold is producing that’s causing lots of problems. They can downregulate your hormone production, it can cause lots of sinus issues, which you were describing with your wife. If I see chronic sinusitis, I’m almost always going to look for at least fungus, if not mold. Very often there’s a mold issue and / or a candida or other yeast issue that’s the underlying issue, and that’s why you keep getting these bacterial superinfections on top of the fungal infection. And the antibiotics aren’t eventually touching it, because the tissue is still not healthy. So there’s that. I’ve had people who have had really serious upper respiratory issues as a result of that. Had some where it manifests as asthma. I’ve had a lot of them where it manifests as gut problems that don’t want to go away, which is the reason why I put that in the book. I’ve seen a number of cases of leaky gut syndrome where the root cause is actually toxic mold exposure. The gut’s not going to heal until you actually get rid of it.

So, what you do in order to get rid of it – once somebody is actually toxic, you have to get away from the environment, of course, and then you also have to get that out of your body. So if you’re not one of the genetically susceptible people, sometimes just getting away from the environment is enough, because your own mechanisms will eliminate it. But if you are, then you probably need a little bit of extra help. Regardless of whether they are or not, I pretty much put everybody on binders. Binders are substances that you can swallow. My favorite is Colestipol or Cholestyramine. It’s an off-label use of a cholesterol medication. What it does for cholesterol is it grabs it and pulls it out of your body; does the same thing to mold. So it’ll just grab that and pull it out. And if somebody doesn’t tolerate that or doesn’t choose to go the actual pharmaceutical route, then I will have them do maybe activated charcoal. Some people do bentonite clay or zeolite. Things like that are all really good binders. Depending on how high the level is, usually it’s at least a couple of months – sometimes it’s longer – but it also depends on whether they’re able to get away from the environment. I’ve had some people where it’s their workplace that’s moldy and they don’t plan on quitting. Then we just have to keep treating them. So, you do what you can do as far as that goes.

Allan (11:20): If you know you’re sensitive to this and you’re looking to buy a new house, make sure the inspector knows that. You want them to do a really thorough check on the mold issue. I was baffled that all these professionals I hired to come in and advise me… I bought the house. It was going to be my house, but if I had known that I had that issue, that would have been the first thing I would’ve fixed; I wouldn’t have found it later. It was almost a year later before we really identified the problem, and that was a lot of exposure for my wife.

Dr. Lauren Deville (11:59): It’s not part of the typical process of the inspection, so that’s why they weren’t even looking for it. They usually don’t, unless you hire a company that specializes in testing for mold. So I would look for that. I’ve had a lot of people who will have the wrong kinds of tests done and they’re told everything’s clean, and they’re clearly sick. We see it in their blood work that there’s still something going on and they feel sick whenever they go into the house. We know there’s a problem. You have to make sure that you get somebody who really knows what they’re doing when they’re testing for the mold. The other thing I would say is make sure that the company that tests for the mold is not also the company that does the remediation, because then they have a vested interest in finding it.

Allan (12:42): We found it, because we saw it growing down the wall. I didn’t have to hire anybody to tell me what my problem was. He got up into the attic, and I remember the call, because I was actually coming out of physical therapy for my shoulder. He got on the phone with me and he said, “I don’t want to make this call, but your entire system needs to be pulled out. Everything.” He said, “We’re not sure if it’s into the Sheetrock yet. If it is, it’s going to be much worse.” But he said it’s bad. And I said, “Throw a number out there. We’ll deal with it, because it’s my wife, it’s her health, it’s our house. I’ve got to get it fixed.” Fortunately, there’s a happy ending to the story. We were able to solve that. My wife is better now for the most part. She still has awesome allergies all the time, but that’s not mold. So, hundredfold better.

Now, I eat seasonally, because I feel like that’s what my ancestors did. So right now we’re into the winter. I don’t eat any fruit at all during the winter. I think the only fruit I really eat is olives. I guess olives are technically a fruit, so I take that back. I had some olives this morning. But other than maybe some olives, I really don’t eat fruit during the winter. Fruit can be a problem for some people.

Dr. Lauren Deville (14:08): It can, yeah. Fruit is high in sugar in general, so that’s something that I do have people typically limit, especially if they’ve got either yeast overgrowth – back to the mold conversation, where if you’ve got mold, you pretty much have yeast; those are two things that will definitely go hand in hand. I’ll have people avoid fruit completely for the first two weeks of a protocol if they’ve got yeast overgrowth. After that I’ll let them have one piece a day as long as it’s a lower glycemic fruit – so not bananas, not figs, not dates, those kinds of things. But if they also have insulin resistance or something along those lines, then I will also have them greatly limit. A Lot of my insulin resistant diabetic patients, I will permit them to have berries – the really dark colored ones, just because the antioxidant status is so good; but not a lot of them. A small handful a day or so, and we cap it at that. And if they’ve got major blood sugar issues and they’re totally out of control, I’ll cut fruit entirely until we can get that under control. So, there are a decent number of people who do have some sensitivities to it, but I don’t restrict it for everybody altogether. I usually try to cap it at two pieces a day for everyone.

Allan (15:15): We don’t want to vilify fruit. I think it’s so easy in the food space for them to say, “Fat’s bad, sugar’s bad, fruit’s bad.” I can’t eat meat, I can’t eat fish.

Dr. Lauren Deville (15:27): What’s left?

Allan (15:29): Now I can’t even eat Romaine lettuce. I’ll just go suck on a stone, I guess. You did hit me in the heart a little bit with this next one, because I wake up early – about two or three hours before anybody else in the world is up. It’s my wonderful time. It’s when I don’t receive any emails, the phone doesn’t ring, the dogs don’t bark. It’s just this beautiful, quiet time, and I enjoy that quiet time with a few cups of coffee. Now you’re telling me that the coffee might actually be disrupting my testosterone.

Dr. Lauren Deville (16:12): Caffeine does affect hormones. Now, I’m not one of those people who takes caffeine out for everybody entirely. It depends on the person. There are some people where we have to do that because either their adrenals are too low or their hormones are too disrupted, and then it’s usually a temporary thing. But for somebody who is healthy, they’re not in adrenal fatigue, they don’t have major hormone imbalance – usually I’ll cap it at a cup, maybe a cup and a half a day. If you want more than that, if there’s an emotional addiction to caffeine or to coffee, which I also have – decaf after that point, so that you’re at least not doing as much of that. But the main thing with the caffeine and the sex hormones is that the metabolism of sex hormones and metabolism of caffeine is the same, via the liver, so it’s like you end up with a bottleneck. If you’ve got all of these things trying to get out of the liver at the same time, then not everything can get out at once, and you end up with a backup and with imbalance. Lower amounts of caffeine don’t have nearly as much of an effect on that. But if you are having large amounts of it, then it certainly can create great disruption. I honestly see that more often in women who have estrogen dominance issues than I do in guys who have low testosterone, although it can be an issue for them as well.

The other main thing, a little bit more indirect for the testosterone piece, is the adrenals. The core of your adrenals produces adrenaline; the outside produces several hormones, most important one is cortisol. Cortisol will start off highest when you wake up in the morning, decline throughout the day until melatonin takes over at night so you can sleep. You can’t have unopposed adrenaline. So, if you’ve got excess adrenaline from some kind of stress or from caffeine, because caffeine will indirectly pump out additional adrenaline, then you have to have excess cortisol over and above what the adrenals are normally producing in order to take you back down to baseline. That’s fine if that’s only happening occasionally, but if you’re doing it every day, and especially if your adrenals are already low to begin with, it’s like whipping a dead horse. You are forcing them to work harder and harder and harder. I have definitely seen an association with any sort of stress and guys having low testosterone too. Also for women, the adrenals are very linked to your sex hormones. When the ovaries are not producing as much, either because you’re going into your period or you’re going into menopause, the adrenals are the ones that pick up the slack. And if they’re super tired because you’re having tons of caffeine and / or there’s lots of stress from someplace else, or inflammation from anything else external, then you’re not going to be able to compensate very well and you’re going to have disruption across the board.

Allan (18:52): Okay, I’ll do my best to taper down. Notice I didn’t say “quit”.

Dr. Lauren Deville (19:00): I understand. I’ll meet you where you’re at.

Allan (19:07): This next part, the conversation goes all over the place. I’ve heard a lot of people tout that raw vegetables are good for you, and other people say raw vegetables are hard on you. I eat some raw vegetables. I eat mostly cooked vegetables, if I broke it all down. For me it’s a mix. Now, when it comes to fermented, I love sauerkraut. I’ll eat sauerkraut as often as I can possibly have it, and I enjoy even making it for myself. Can you talk a little bit about vegetables, preparation and things like that, and how we can benefit our gut by understanding ourselves and doing it the right way?

Dr. Lauren Deville (19:47): Sure. There are pluses and minuses to all of the above. The raw veggies are going to have some antinutrients that will keep you from absorbing some of those vitamins and minerals. But on the flip side, when you cook them, a lot of those vitamins and minerals will end up going into the water if you’re boiling. However you’re cooking those vegetables, you are going to lose some of the original nutrition that was in the raw form. So there’s that. There’s also the fact that the raw veggies can have a lot of roughage in them, which is good in terms of fiber that can really help keep you moving, but on the flip side, if you’ve got any kind of gut inflammation, raw vegetables are not going to be your friend. So for those people, it’s probably not the best way to go. With fermented veggies, fermented anything, you are getting a good dose of probiotics, the good bacteria that are going to help keep your gut going. The only real caveat I have is if somebody has yeast overgrowth or SIBO, fermented vegetables can actually perpetuate the problem. So, you want to be aware. If you have a tendency toward lots of gas and bloating, these may be great for you. It depends on what your problem is as to whether they will or whether they won’t. If somebody has a fairly healthy gut though, fermented vegetables are really, really good for you. The reason why I say that is because the fermentation process is uncontrolled, so you are going to get some good stuff. You’re also potentially going to get some yeast, if there’s a yeast problem. Across the board, it may end up contributing to imbalance if there’s already imbalance there. But they are fantastic for somebody that is on the GAPS diet, if you don’t already have an issue with that. The GAPS diet is pretty much the only one out there that I say those people don’t have to be on a probiotic, because they’re getting enough fermented vegetables that are coming from their diet, and that’s what our ancestors did historically. But most people don’t have the time for that or the energy or maybe they don’t like the flavor or whatever. For everybody else, I want them on a probiotic because you need something in order to help keep the gut healthy in that way.

Allan (21:51): Yesterday I had a spinach salad – five ounces of it. It looks like a big honking salad, but it’s only five ounces. If I had an issue, like SIBO or something that, I would feel bloated and gassy after eating that. Would that be the basic symptoms someone should be looking for when they’re eating vegetables to see if there’s an issue?

Dr. Lauren Deville (22:13): No, I was talking about the fermented veggies.

Allan (22:19): But if I have an issue with the raw vegetables, how would I recognize that?

Dr. Lauren Deville (22:23): The raw vegetables are usually going to be if you’ve got diverticulitis or something like that. Or some people that are in an ulcerative colitis flare are not going to do well with the roughage. Those people are going to need really simple cooked, easy to digest foods at that time. For almost everybody else, you’re not going to have an immediate reaction to raw veggies, unless you’re allergic or something. You mentioned the spinach – if you’ve got an oxalate buildup or something – in that situation maybe. Spinach is really high in histamine, so maybe you’ve got a histamine problem. In that case you’re going to get super itchy if you’re eating that much spinach. But for most people I don’t really restrict the raw vegetables per se. It’s just that there are some of the antinutrients that are in there, so it’s good to have a decent mix of the cooked vegetables and the raw at the same time, assuming that everything else is fine.

Allan (23:17): Cool. A lot of my clients will ask me, “What supplements should I take?” And I always push back on that because one, I don’t think we have to take supplements if we’re getting everything we need from our food. I’m also a realist and I know that we’re not going to get everything from our food or from the sun. I actually had a blood test recently and found that my vitamin D is down. I’d been working on a book, so I wasn’t outside as much as I thought I was. So, I am taking a vitamin D supplement. But in the supplements discussion that you had in the book, you brought up a term. And I’ve heard this before, but I really want to dive into it. It was the chelated versions versus the other types of versions that are out there. If somebody’s a vegetarian or vegan, they might not be getting enough B12. Vitamin D is an important one that most people can look at. Fish oil is one. But when we’re looking at these supplements, they’ll always ask me, “What do I need?” I struggle with that because I don’t take a lot of them. I just say, “Find a reputable company.” Now we’re going to talk about chelated, because I think this is a pretty important thing for us to consider when we’re buying. Because if you’re taking a supplement and it’s not working for you…

Dr. Lauren Deville (24:39): There’s no point.

Allan (24:42): Just give me the money, I’ll do as much for you.

Dr. Lauren Deville (24:45): Right, exactly.

Allan (24:46): So, can you explain that and what we should be looking for in our vitamins?

Dr. Lauren Deville (24:49): Right. The minerals are the ones where this is important. There are vitamins and there are minerals. The minerals are the micronutrients that are complexed with something in order for them to be delivered. So, chemistry term real quick – they are charged particles. They’re positively charged for the most part, and they have to be combined with something negatively charged so that they’re neutral for the sake of delivery. And then once they get into your gut they get broken apart again. The chelated ones are easier for your gut to actually break apart and then absorb the valuable part of it, the valuable mineral. The oxide, sulfate and carbonate are the forms that are most common and they’re really cheap vitamins, and they are close to useless. It is very hard for your body to break those apart. Not only are they close to useless, they can actually be somewhat harmful. And I say “somewhat” because it kind of depends. Magnesium oxide or sulfate or carbonate for instance – all of those are going to work great as a laxative, because they will draw water into your colon, but you’re not going to really get much of that magnesium anyplace else. That means if you’re taking it in order to move your bowels, it’s going to work, but you’re going to be chained to the toilet because you’re going to have lots of cramping and stuff.

The chelated versions, because you can break them apart, it’s a lot gentler if you’re using it for that reason, because not only are you drawing water into the colon, but you’re getting that magnesium absorption elsewhere in your body. For calcium, a few years ago, you may have heard about the study that came out that showed that taking calcium orally was actually damaging to your cardiovascular system. That study was done on oxide, sulfate, carbonate – those kinds of calciums are not absorbable into the tissue so then they’re going to precipitate out on plaques in your bloodstream, and that ends up contributing to plaque formation. If you get a different form of calcium that’s designed to absorb into your tissues, that’s not the case. So you do want to make sure that you’re able to get these into your body, aside from, you want to get your money’s worth out of your supplement. Chelated is anything ending in “ate” that is not sulphate or carbonate. I know that might be kind of confusing, but citrate, orotate, glycinate or threonate – any of those are all considered chelated and they are a lot easier for your body to use.

Allan (27:08): Okay. We are going to have a full transcript of this. That was a lot to absorb right there.

Dr. Lauren Deville (27:16): Sorry.

Allan (27:16): No, no, no, no, it’s cool. We can go back and read this in the show notes. This is going to be episode 361, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/361. Go down to this part of the conversation and you can pick up exactly what she said. Print that out or write it out, and when you go to look for your magnesium or calcium supplements, if you need those, then that’s what you’re going to want to look for. Thank you for sharing that, because it can get so confusing. And yeah, you see a study that says, “Don’t take calcium”, but the doctor is saying, “Your bones are starting to get a little brittle, so you need to start taking some calcium.” And you walk into Walmart or the pharmacy, and what’s the most expensive one or…

Dr. Lauren Deville (28:03): You don’t know what to do. Exactly.

Allan (28:05): This is one my mother took. She’s still around, so it must work. Now, I’m going to apologize to you right now, Dr. Deville. I have a final question and I neglected to put it on the show plan for you. So if it takes you a minute to think this through, that’s cool. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest, happiest person you can be. What are three strategies or tactics that you could give us that will help us be and stay well?

Dr. Lauren Deville (28:42): Okay. So, my basic philosophy of naturopathic medicine is that if you give the body what it needs to heal itself, and then find and eliminate obstacles to cure, then within reason healing will follow. How you actually walk that out for each individual person is going to look different and may end up being a whole lot more complicated depending on what you’ve got going on. But at base, that’s what it is. So I guess what I would say is, strategy one – maybe spend a little time and sit down and think about, where are you lacking building blocks? Are you giving yourself the right nutrition – so, macronutrients or micronutrients? Are you not exercising? Are you getting decent sleep? Are you dealing with your stress? Do you have a spiritual connection? Do you have people around you, a community to support you? If you notice that any one of those things is lacking, then those would be the places where you specifically would need to place your attention. And along the same lines, I’ll use this as my number two. I’m kind of cheating here; this is kind of like wishing for more wishes. But if you were to then look at where your obstacles to cure are, the ones that are specific to you. This is what I walk people through in the book: Are you in a toxic environment emotionally or physically? Do you have an obstacle to cure? Maybe you’ve been exposed to a bunch of solvents, maybe you’ve been exposed to a bunch of chemicals in your food. Maybe you’re really overdoing the caffeine. Maybe there was a heavy metal exposure or something. Figure out where your obstacle to cure might be and focus on eliminating that one for you. And I guess I will say number three – everybody really does need to focus on their stress management. If I had to just pick one – have a really good stress management technique that you can practice on a regular basis. And by regular, I would like it to be daily and I would like it to be at least 30 minutes to an hour. But if you can only manage three times a week, whatever you have to do. We all need to make sure we make that a priority, because that is probably the number one area where I see most people falling short.

Allan (31:03): Absolutely. I appreciate all three of those. The last one also resonates with me. This has been my year, and next year will be another year of, how can I get my stress level down as low as possible? Dr. Deville, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Holistic Gut Prescription, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Lauren Deville (31:29): My website has all of that information – www.DrLaurenDeville.com. You could also go to Amazon and look it up, but all the links and everything are right on that website, so that would probably be the best place.

Allan (31:42): Alright. You can also go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/361, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Again, thank you so much, Dr. Deville.

Dr. Lauren Deville (31:51): Thank you for having me.

Are you an audio book listener? If you enjoy podcasts, I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy audio books. I’ve been a longtime subscriber to Audible, and if the book’s available in Audible, I’m going to listen to it rather than read it. I just really enjoy it that way. And I’m really happy to say that The Wellness Roadmap is now available on Audible. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook and get the book. Actually, when you sign up, the first book is free. So, just go to Audible through our link at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook, and you can get The Wellness Roadmap. If you love the podcast, I know you’re going to love this book. And if you already have bought the book and don’t want an Audible copy, but you’ve already listened to or read the book, please do go out to Amazon and leave a rating and review. It means the world to me and it helps more people see that this is a good book that they should buy. So it does help the book a great deal if you’re leaving those ratings and reviews. So, please do go out to Amazon and leave a rating and review. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

December 17, 2018

Agi Kadar | Are you a gym mouse?

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Our guest today has been in the fitness industry for over 19 years as a personal trainer and gym manager. She is the author of the book Are You a Gym Mouse? With no further ado, here’s Agi Kadar.

Allan (0:58): Agi, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Agi Kadar (1:02): Thank you, Allan. It’s great to be here.

Allan (1:05): Your book is Are You a Gym Mouse? The title itself is cute and imaginative, and I really liked the messaging, taking it from being the gym rat to being the gym mouse. You covered a lot of things in the book that I see year in and year out in the gym. Someone comes in intimidated, they shun the free weights section. Often they won’t even go to the workout machines. They’re on the treadmills, on the ellipticals. I thought it was really good to put this kind of book out there for someone that knows they need to do the training, they just aren’t motivated to do it because of the intimidation factor, because of the lack of knowledge factor, all the different reasons that someone doesn’t want to go to a gym.

Agi Kadar (1:56): Yes, that was exactly the reason I wrote the book. I have been working in a gym for 19 years and have seen a lot of gym mice come and go. They are just too intimidated to do more than get on the treadmill or on a bike. And I want to show them that it is okay to be a gym mouse. You can still get all the benefits of moving, and get better, get healthier, get stronger, and not feel intimidated by others that might be fitter than them. They probably were a gym mouse at one point or another.

Allan(2:31): How would you go about defining a “gym mouse”? When you see someone, how do you say, “That’s a gym mouse.” What does that look like?

Agi Kadar (2:40): Someone who might actually take a while to even come into the gym and join. You can usually tell right away. Some people even told me that they sat in the car for 30 minutes before walking in. They’re usually scared of the machines, the free weights, especially heavy weights. They think they have to lift really heavy weights and be really fit to even start an exercise program. A lot of times I hear them say, “Okay, I will join the gym and I’ll get in shape on the treadmill. And then I’ll take a class or start using weights.” And even though they want to get stronger, feel better, look younger, they really lack the motivation to get over their fears.

Allan (3:28): I was an athlete in high school, so I was familiar with weight equipment and whatnot. But my first foray walking into a gym was, it was very broken up. You’ve got your treadmills, and nine times out of 10 those are going to be close to the door. And then you start working into the machines, and then in the back corner space – in this gym it happened to be a bigger part of the whole overall gym because it was more geared towards weightlifters and professional bodybuilders and that kind of thing – were the guys and the women in the back lifting the weights. I was 14 years old. I was in no way capable of doing what a lot of the other bigger guys were doing, and I can get that. You see this guy go over there, he’s got 500 pounds on the bar doing deadlifts or squats. And I’m thinking to myself, “I’m going to go do this bar, and that’s going to be enough for me.” But what I found was that they don’t care about me being in their space. It’s a shared space. We both paid for our membership. In a general sense, they’re there to get their workout and not to people-watch the mice, so to speak.

Agi Kadar (4:44): Exactly. I hear that from people: “I’m afraid to go back there with the weights because I just don’t belong there. People are going to look at me.” And it’s not true. If you look around in most gyms, you do find the regular people; a lot of gym mice out there. Even in the classes, not everybody is in perfect shape. They’re all there just to move, have fun and get healthier, and they really could not care less what you are doing.

Allan (5:14): We all started somewhere. I’m a trainer, and I’m into my workout, but if I see anybody, I’m only going to recognize one, people that are in the gym the same time every day and I see them every time, so I’m going to know who they are. And then I’m going to see the newbies, and the only reason I’m paying any attention at all is if I notice them doing something that I see the potential for them to really hurt themselves.

Agi Kadar (5:45): Yes. That’s one of the reasons I do recommend beginners to go to the gym instead of starting a workout by themselves at home – to get the guidance and get help and make sure that they do it right, so they can get the results so they don’t give up.

Allan (6:04): I have a book that just came out. In the book I talk about you can get strong doing body weight work. You can build a home gym, you can put things in your home and then add on equipment as you go. But there is the danger factor there because now you’re by yourself and if you drop weights on yourself, there might not be anybody else there to deal with that. The core advantages of the gym for me were the variety of equipment that you could never get in a home gym, the fact that you don’t have to pay to upkeep it, and you don’t have to pay to store it and keep it. I’m giving up half of one of my garages just to have my home gym, which works for me because my truck doesn’t even fit in my garage. So this is my gym. But what are some reasons why you think someone should venture? Why should the mouse venture into the gym?

Agi Kadar (6:56): My one reason – what you just said – not to get hurt. But a great, big reason is other people there that are just like them, so they won’t feel alone. They feel more confident, more motivated to actually do it,because if they see another person who’s maybe older or bigger or smaller or whatever their insecurities come from, and they see them doing it, they might feel better, that they can do this. Also, find another workout buddy that they can meet there and they can go together. So that will be, again, another motivation not to let someone else down. And another big thing is once you’re in the gym, chances are, you are going to work out. At home you might find another reason: “I’ve got to wash the dishes, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that. I’ll do it later.”And then it never gets done. If you already made the trip to the gym, chances are, you will do something.

Allan (7:50): Yes, absolutely. Now, what I think a lot of folks don’t recognize is that not all gyms are created equal. There are some gyms that are dedicated to women alone, there are some that are dedicated to meatheads, and there are some that are all across the spectrum. Some of them are organized with all kinds of classes, some are not. Can you talk about how someone can go about it? With allt he choices that are out there, most of us, I think, live within a mile of at least one or two gyms. What are some things that I should look for when I’m looking at joining a gym?

Agi Kadar (8:28):That’s a great question. I do believe you have to find the right gym for you,otherwise you’re probably not going to go. I would definitely recommend that you look around first close to your home or maybe your work because it’s very unlikely that you will drive a great distance to a gym, especially if you are a gym mouse and that’s not one of your priorities. But definitely go visit the gym, find out what they offer, find out their policies. Look around, ask for a free pass. That’s I think the best advice I can give to anybody. All the gyms will give you at least a one-day pass, so go try it out. Take a class, or walkaround, talk to the members. See who is going to that gym. Look around and see if you feel comfortable. Go at the time that you would most likely go, so you see how busy it is at the gym. Some people like a busy gym, they like all the energy. So that’s great. Some people like a more quiet facility. Also, there are big, huge facilities that offer everything. If that’s what you like – great,then check those out. If you’d rather have a small boutique studio that specializes in certain things like yoga or Pilates or spinning, then check those out. Take a class and see if you like it. But definitely I would recommend visiting and not judging them by their price or their website or even a phone call. Just go there and feel it out. Feel the vibe, feel the whole atmosphere, because like you said, they are all different.

Allan (10:08): I think that first point you had – convenience is probably one of the keys. I had a membership with Anytime Fitness. And one of the reasons I kept that, even though I had other gyms… I had my own home gym, I had a gym membership near my work, and then I had an Anytime Fitness. The advantage of the Anytime Fitness was that they had gyms all around the world. So when I was in Calgary, I could go to the gym for free. When I was in Mississippi for a football game, I could go to a gym for free. So, look for some of those chains that will actually let you go in. And like you said, it needs to be close to your home. It needs to be something that you would almost have to drive by it on your way home.

Agi Kadar (10:55): That’s a good point. Or even close to your work, or whatever is more convenient for you. But definitely convenience will make it a lot easier to get there and stick to your routine.

Allan (11:09): Another thing to look at is some of the services they offer that might be those add-ons that are going to make this gym really special for you. Some of them have the special classes, so they’ll be doing some strength classes, some aerobic classes, spinning classes as a part of the whole service. Some of them have infrared saunas, swimming pools, those types of things. If those are services that you and your family would enjoy, those are really nice to have. And then the other is personal trainers. If they have a cadre of personal trainers available, particularly at the beginning when you’re trying to learn what these crazy-looking machines do and how you’re going to get over to those iron plates and the bars and how you’re going to do all that, it’s really good that they have trainers. In many cases the trainers will give you an orientation. They actually should demonstrate how to do the work. And if at any point in time you’re concerned about your form, typically you can go over and ask the trainer on duty, “Do you mind spotting me? Do you mind watching me and telling me if I’m doing this right? I don’t want to hurt myself.” And 99% of the time they’re going to be able to go over there and give you a hand and help you lift safer and lift better. So, don’t discount those add-ons, because even though you say, “I might not need to go to a gym in another town”, suddenly you’re going to visit your grandmother or your aunt and you’re like, “Do they have this gym there?” And when they do, it’s pretty cool that you don’t have to pay a walk-in fee for one of those other gyms.

Agi Kadar (12:43): Yes, definitely. That’s why I said just go to visit a couple of gyms and find out their policies. Like you mentioned, the chains – some of them you can just go anywhere. I work for a gym that’s a franchise, but you can still get a travel pass and go to other gyms and use them on vacation or anywhere in the world. And the other thing, like you mentioned, the trainers. When you go to a gym, find out if they offer a couple of free sessions to get you oriented with all the equipment and free weights or whatever else you want to use in the classes. We give two orientation sessions and we actually write up a workout routine for people to get started with.

Allan (13:29): That’s really cool, because a lot of people do go in and they don’t really have an idea of what they need to do. But sitting down with them and taking the time to show them the equipment and giving them something to get them started is really good. I think one reason that people get uncomfortable in the gym is it’s a foreign environment from their perspective, and it seems to have its own rules. We call it gym etiquette. To be honest, it actually changes from gym to gym, so some of them will be a little bit more stringent on these etiquette rules than others, and some members will ignore these etiquette rules, even when they’re experienced and been in the gym for a while. What are some of the etiquette rules a new person should know when they go in the gym?

Agi Kadar (14:18): Probably the biggest thing is, just like in life, be courteous and keep everything the way you would like to find it. Cleanliness; just clean up after yourself – that’s one big thing. And respect other people’s time and space. Some people are just there to work out and get to work, or they really don’t have a lot of time, so they don’t want to chat. They don’t want you to interrupt their workout, so you need to respect that. If you’re retired and you have the time and there are a lot of other people that stay for a while, that’s great. Go and talk to them at the juice bar or sit down and have a cup of coffee. But don’t interrupt others’ workout. I think that’s one of the biggest rules that people need to know. But at the same time, also share. Sometimes the gym mouse might feel like, “I can’t go over there, they’re using that machine.” But they’re just sitting on it and talking, or texting, or resting for a while. It’s okay to approach them then and ask them, “Can I share that machine with you?” Or that area. You can work in with others nicely. Sometimes it is also for the gym mouse to know their rights, not just the rules. That’s why I dedicated a whole chapter in my book to gym etiquette.

Allan (15:40): I think you could have written the whole book on it.

Agi Kadar (15:42): Probably. And I got a lot of feedback that I should print it out and post it inthe gym everywhere.

Allan (15:51): A few that I’ll mention that I think a lot of people miss, and it goes back to being courteous. If you pull a set of dumbbells or some equipment from a rack, return them to the rack. For the convenience of everybody, the dumbbells are typically laid out from smallest to biggest and lightest to heaviest. And that’s important because it keeps the big guys from having to stand over in your area if you’re using lighter weights, and vice versa – you’re not having to cross over. Typically if someone’s working in the heavier weights, they’re not going to be on the other end, where now you have the opportunity to work. So make sure you’re putting your weights away. Notice that a lot of people actually use the mirror to monitor their form, so try not to get between someone that’s working out and the mirror until they’re done with their set, because they’re entitled to that mirror for the time they’re doing the work. As soon as they’re finished with their work, you can cross over, but try to stay out of their mirror area. And then my biggest one is, we’re getting into the cold and flu season. If you have a cold or flu, this is a good time to actually work out at home.

Agi Kadar (17:00): Yes, definitely.

Allan (17:02): You’re going to wipe down your machines and your equipment when you’re done with it. Almost every gym’s going to have a bottle or something that you can wipe that off. And by all means, you can wipe off before you use it and after. They don’t mind you using their paper towels. We really don’t, because we want to keep the equipment clean and nice. But at the same time, if you come into the gym sick, we’re in a small enclosed space, typically with a lot of people. We’re just going to get more people sick, and they’re going to get more people sick. So, if you have a cold or flu, stay home. If it’s a flu and fever, probably not even a good idea to work out. If it’s a head cold, you could probably still do some exercise, but try to do that where you’re not compromising the health of other people.

Agi Kadar (17:50): Yeah, definitely. I always tell people, if you’re in doubt, just think about what you would want somebody else to do. Do you want to go in there and have someone sneeze on you? Definitely, that was my other thing I was going to tell you too, that we point out paper towels, spray bottles to everybody, and that’s another courtesy. Wipe off your sweat, not just when you’re sick. Keep the machines clean so somebody that comes after you can find it the same as you did.

Allan (18:20): One of the cool things about the gym, and you mentioned this a little bit –there’s this effect that happens when you’re around other people, that it makes you work a little harder and it makes the workout actually a little bit more enjoyable. So, group classes are a great way to get started if you’re really uncomfortable and you want to build some fitness before you really dive deep. But when you’re in the gym, realize that we’re all trying to do the same thing. You’re surrounding yourself with other people that are interested in their health and fitness. So, sometimes we help each other. And what I mean by that is, I might be doing a lift and I might be concerned that I’m not going to be able to complete the last rep. If it’s a bench press or squat or something like that, it might be difficult for me to do that last one, and I might ask you for a spot. If someone asks you for a spot and you know how to give the spot, then by all means. If you’re uncomfortable that you’re not going to be able to properly spot somebody, then don’t be afraid to tell them that you don’t feel like you’re strong enough or you don’t have the spotting technique. But as you get into this, realize that we’re all there to kind of help each other out. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a spot if you think you need one, because it’s better for you to have that spot – someone there to catch the bar so you don’t drop it on yourself than it is for you to try the lift and hurt yourself.

Agi Kadar (19:40): Yes. People will be surprised how helpful others can be. Even some of the meatheads or gym rat-looking people are usually very welcoming to new people and they encourage them. That’s a great feeling, when you see someone who is in great shape and they say, “Hey, you’re here again! Great, good for you. Keep going.”

Allan (20:04): We like it, because the gym needs to have members to stay open. If it’s three of us that are going in to work out in this whole big gym, they’re going to have to charge us a lot of money to make ends meet. The trainers need to get paid, the gym manager needs to get paid, and the gym owner needs to at least have enough money to keep the lights on. So yes, we’re very happy to have people in the gym, and we want them to stick past that resolution period. So, when you go into the gym – yes, that treadmill is going to call your name. It’s like, “I’m easy. You know how to use me. Let’s go.” But if it’s not just cardiovascular endurance that you’re trying to build, then the treadmill’s only going to take you so far. If you’re wanting to build fitness and really do somethings for yourself, you’re going to need to do some resistance training. The machines tend to be easier to understand on your own. But again, if there are trainers around, if there are experienced people there and you see them doing the leg press machine and you see them doing bench press with dumbbells, don’t be afraid to ask them for tips and pointers on how to do a particular exercise. Now, don’t interrupt their workout every single time you want to learn an exercise, but to occasionally sit there and say, “I noticed you doing that exercise and that was very interesting. What muscle part is that working?” Just watch their form, and then you can with much, much lighter weights, replicate that movement when you want to work that particular muscle group.

Agi Kadar (21:40): Yes, totally agree. Or just walk up to the front desk and ask them, “Is there a trainer available that can help me?” Chances are, they are just walking around and they’d be happy to help you. They want to keep busy. They want to show what they know and they all want to help you.

Allan (21:55): And that’s a part of their marketing shtick. If I have an opportunity to show you something, then you’re going to understand what kind of trainer I am, how skilled I am, and other people are going to see me helping you. I can tell you managers want their trainers on floor helping people all the time. Even if they’re not a client at the time, they want their trainers helping people as often as they can.

Agi Kadar (22:25): Yes. I always tell people to just ask instead of hurting themselves or doing it wrong. It’s much harder to unlearn a wrong move than do it right in the first place.

Allan (22:34): And we’re over 40, so more likely than not, doing it wrong is going to lead to some form of injury. You really don’t want that. That’s going to keep you out of the gym, and now you’re going to be an injured mouse at home.

Agi Kadar (22:51): We don’t want that.

Allan (22:53): So any other gym etiquette tips or things that someone should know? We talked about how there are certain gyms that will fit them better, there are certain etiquette tips that once you get comfortable with how that gym works are going to work for you. Anything else?

Agi Kadar (23:09): Definitely if you’re not sure, just ask around what’s expected of you. Just little things sometimes people don’t think about, like bringing your gym bag to the floor. If only one person does it, it’s not a big deal, but can you imagine 10, 15, 20 gym bags all over the place and people tripping over them? It’s really dangerous. Another thing is bringing a cell phone into a class, for instance, and texting or making phone calls, disturbing other people. That’s really one of my biggest pet peeves that I try to encourage people, not just for the benefit of others that you don’t disturb the class or the instructor, but also for your own enjoyment of your time. You are here to work out. If there is an emergency, I can understand some people want to keep their phone on them. That’s great, but if you don’t need to, don’t do it. Relax, recharge.

Allan (24:09): A lot of times the gyms will be playing music, and it might not be the music that you want to listen to. So, have some Bluetooth headphones, listen to your music. There are also applications that you might want to use to log your weight because they’ll give you all kinds of cool graphs and information that kind of helps motivate you. They make it like a game sometimes, trying to score points from doing your workouts. So if you’re using those types of things, great. Even beyond the class, if you’re using a machine and you’re going to do three sets, don’t sit on the machine between sets, texting. If you’re logging your workout, that’s one thing. But if you’re sitting there having a phone conversation, there’s another gym mouse that’s sitting over there looking at that machine saying, “Gee, I’d really love to do the chest press, but it looks like it’s taken.” So, just realize that some people are not going to feel comfortable asking you to work in. Those of us that have been around for a while, we’re going to walk up and say, “Hey, do you mind if I work in?” If they do and you still need to do what you’re doing with your logging, just let them go. Because typically when someone’s working out on the machine, they’re only going to be on there for 20-30 seconds.

Agi Kadar (25:21): Yeah, definitely sharing is a very good rule.

Allan (25:26): It’s a skill. Working in is a skill. You’ll see it and you’ll get more comfortable with it. You’ll get more comfortable asking to work in because time is the one finite resource that we all can’t get more of. When we’re in the gym, we want to make the most of that time. The gym etiquette thing, I think once you have that down, you’re going to feel so much more a part of that gym and the gym culture. You’re not necessarily going to go from being a mouse to a rat, but that said, you can just be a very good gym mouse.

Agi Kadar (25:59): Yes, exactly. I like that.

Allan (26:05): You don’t have to ever become a gym rat. You could stay a good gym mouse and still enjoy the health and fitness benefits of being in a gym or a fitness club. So, a question I’m asking all of my guests now and I want to ask you, Agi – I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Agi Kadar (26:33): I’m really happy that you mentioned happiness because I think it’s a very big part of it, and very important. One of my strategies that I would recommend is,find something you like to do. Do not make exercise a chore. Especially for a gym mouse or someone who feels like that’s not their biggest talent or skill – to move, but they know they need to do it and they want to do it. Don’t try todo something you hate or you really dislike. Find something you really enjoy. Take a class. They all the classes, see which one you like. Or try out training with a trainer. Try out working out with a buddy. Just really find something you like. You like dancing? Put on music and dance around the house, or take a Zumba class or some other type of dancing class. But really, really important that you enjoy what you do. You will stick to it more, you’re going to look forward to it, and you’re still going to get all the benefits of the gym or just the movement. That’s one of my tips. The second one is, create a habit and stick to it. We are creatures of habit, so it is a lot easier to stick to a habit than keep stopping and creating a new one. Find a time that works the best for you and stick to it. Make it as an appointment. Just really think about it as a very important thing, part of your life, something that you do every day or every other day or so many times a week, just like brushing your teeth or washing your face.

Allan (28:16): Or picking up your spouse from the airport.

Agi Kadar (28:18): Exactly. Don’t leave them stranded there. Of course, if something comes up, where you get sick, you might miss your workout. But if it’s maybe a matter of time, that you usually work out 30 minutes and you only have 15 minutes – go for 15 minutes. You’re still going to keep that habit, so you’re going to feel that accomplishment: “I did it. It was a harder day today, but I still did my workout, even if it’s 15 minutes.” Or if you have to, just do a little bit or move at home: “Okay, I missed the gym today. I’m going to go home and dance around while I’m making the bed and washing dishes.” Just anything, so you keep that habit of moving every day or at least sticking to your workout routine. I really think it’s very important. Even if you get maybe injured a little bit. I had a client who sprained her ankle, and my advice to her was, “It’s only your ankle. You have a lot more body parts and muscle groups there that you can work.” And she said she kept hearing my voice every day: “It’s only an ankle”, and that got her over that initial shock of, “Oh my God, I can’t do anything.” She came to the gym with a cane for a while, but she sat on some of the machines or sat on the bench and did upper body exercises. She did core exercises, and she was so happy that she didn’t have to stop her routine. So, keeping that habit I think is very, very important.

And the third one, I think probably the most important, is to supercharge your motivation. Most of us know that we need to move, we need to exercise, and we probably know all the benefits of exercise – our health, appearance, weight loss, a lot of other benefits. But sometimes it’s not enough to get us out on a cold, dark morning to get up earlier and go to the gym, or after work when you just want to go home and curl up in front of the TV. So you have to find a personal, maybe a more emotional reason to do it. What I mean with that is something that you really want, and you need to be in better shape for that, or keep your shape. Sometimes we think when we’re younger that we’re always going to be like that. Like you said, Allan, this is over 40 fitness and some of us are over 50. I’m guessing the older you get it’s just going to get harder. It’s a lot easier when you have a personal reason to do it. For example, one of my clients who is in her 60s now – her reason was to play with her grandchildren on the floor and be able to get up. She would get down and play with them, but she needed someone else to pull her up. And she got scared. She said, “What if my daughter asked me to watch my grandchildren and I want to play with them, but I can’t get off the floor and nobody else is home?” That was her motivation to come to the gym. And this is a lady who I’ve been training for years and years, and she always had an excuse not to get up, or miss the training, or do this or do that. She is there two-three times a week, 6:30 in the morning, because she wants to be in shape and she’s very proud of herself that she can carry around her two-year-old granddaughter in her arms without any problems. She can get not just off the floor, but she can get out of a bean chair, which was the biggest, most evil furniture for her. When her daughter bought that for her grandchildren’s room, she said, “Are you kidding me? I will never get out of that.” And she actually can do it. So that’s a great motivation for her and that keeps her going. So, it does not have to be even your health, and we all know it’s going to benefit you. Or even an athletic event, that you want to run a race, or you want to walk a charity walk. That’s a great reason, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great motivation and if that will motivate you, great. But sometimes you have to find something else. I have a 95-year-old client who just wanted to be able to walk down the stairs and not be horrified that she’s going to fall down. I’ve been working with her balance and she’s amazing. She goes swimming twice a week and she walks up and down the stairs and just keeps moving. And that’s really the secret. I really think you have to find that little bit of a personal, emotional reason that’s important for you, and it will keep you going when you don’t want to go.

Allan (32:56): Yes, absolutely. Those are wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. Now, you said you have a special gift for anyone that wants to come and check you out. Tell us about the gift and tell us where we can learn more about you and the book, Are You a Gym Mouse?

Agi Kadar (33:16): Yes. I created a “Have Fun Exercising” 30-day challenge that I recommend to every gym mouse to maybe commit to it. It’s just helping you get started and sticking to an exercise routine, just to commit to moving every day. And it doesn’t have to be in the gym every day, but just commit to even 15 minutes of movement every day. I included some tips, some fun and more unique ideas – how you can move even without going to the gym or doing a formal exercise, and little tips to motivate yourself and sticking to it, and then reward yourself for sticking to a 30-day plan. Once you stick to it, you will keep that habit going. And I’m betting on it that you will feel better and you’ll keep wanting those benefits. You can find my gift at GetFitGift.com. We’ll send you the free PDF and a surprise also with that, that I don’t want to tell you. You have togive that gift. And you can also find out more about my book and about me on my website at AreYouAGymMouse.com.

Allan (34:38): Awesome. This is episode 360, so in case you’re running or you’re out and about and you couldn’t write that down, just remember this is 360. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/360, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Agi, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Agi Kadar (34:58): Thank you, Allan, for having me. It was great.

So, are you a gym mouse? If you are, or if you aren’t – either way, why don’t you let us know? You can go and leave a comment on the podcast page. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/360, and there you can go ahead and leave a comment. Are you a gym mouse and why do you think that? Or are you not a gym mouse and why do you think that? A very interesting conversation with Agi. I hope you enjoyed it.

I wanted to let you know if you do enjoy the podcast and you’re interested in checking out The Wellness Roadmap book, it is available on Audible and iTunes. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook. Actually, if you don’t have an Audible account yet, Audible will actually let you have the book for free. So, you can check it out and get it for free actually, by checking out Audible, going to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook.

I also wanted to check in with you and see if you were potentially interested in helping to support the podcast. We do have a Patreon page. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and there you can go ahead and leave a small monthly donation for the podcast. And I’ve got some levels in there. So if you want to get more involved with the podcast, learn more about what we’re doing here, really be more a part of it, a support for this podcast, it’ll help me keep paying for the audio production and the show notes. I’d really appreciate it. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Pateron. Thank you.

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