Tag Archives for " journal "

The 7 elements of a great wellness journal

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

You've probably heard that a journal can be a great tool, but if you're like me, most of the structured journals you buy are just too much work. In episode 594 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the core elements to make a great wellness journal.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:15.950] – Allan

Hey, Raz.

[00:03:17.250] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:19.420] – Allan

I'm doing better. I had a cold for a few days, and so I was down, but I'm back and I'm doing well.

[00:03:25.240] – Rachel


[00:03:25.890] – Allan

Just catching up.

[00:03:28.050] – Rachel

Glad you're feeling better.

[00:03:29.780] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:03:31.300] – Rachel

Good. Would you be surprised if I said I found a new run club to join?

[00:03:37.350] – Allan

How many days in a week are there?

[00:03:38.950] – Rachel

How many run clubs are not enough? Pretty much. And actually, it's not my fault. It's Mike's Fault. My husband Mike's Fault. One of the ladies in our local running club in the city that we live down in Middleville, she works at a brewery up near Grand Rapids, and she said she's been looking to start up again. They used to have a run club, and my husband said, wait, you don't have a run club? We should run there. So we took a field trip up there and ran a loop with a bunch of friends, and everybody loved it. And so our local brewery called Railtown Brewery has started up their run club, and we will be there tonight. As a matter of fact, you do.

[00:04:22.550] – Allan

That run club and then drive down and do that run club.

[00:04:26.030] – Rachel

Yeah, we're hitting them all.

[00:04:28.060] – Allan

Like shuttling kids to soccer practice.

[00:04:30.490] – Rachel

Exactly it.

[00:04:34.870] – Allan

I do have a couple of things to talk about. I got a message from a guy and he was looking at the retreat that I had scheduled that was actually supposed to happen a couple of weeks ago that would cancel because there really wasn't any interest. People were telling me it was just the timing was bad or this and that. So I am going to try one more time to have this retreat here in Bocas. And so I'm looking at right now, August 28, and that'll run through September 1. Because it's low season here in Bocas, I will be able to lower the price, particularly for the VIPs that are staying at Lula. And you'll be able to get cheaper airfare, cheaper flights, I mean, cheaper rooms. All of it will cost less this time of year. So I'm pretty excited to be trying to do that and see if that happens. But I'm just going to try it. This episode is supposed to go live kind of in the middle of June, but go ahead and message me or go to the page 40 plusfitness. Comretreat and sign up. If I don't have sign ups by about the first or second week of July, I'm going to pull the plug again because I can't put money into something that's not going to happen.

[00:05:51.330] – Allan

So you can be interested or you can actually sign up, two different things. So don't just tell me you're interested. Go ahead and go to this page 40 plusfitness.com retreat and go ahead and sign up. And if I get some sign ups, then we'll have this thing. I was pretty excited about it before, and then it kind of fizzled out and didn't happen. I hope this one will. So please do go check that out. And I also have a few slots left in my personal training for the twelve week Shed the Fat program. So if you're interested in that, one of the interesting things to think about is that if you do twelve weeks training, you're going to be in a lot better shape when you come to the retreat on August 28. So consider that, consider checking that out and you can go to 40 Plusfitness.com, message me from there and we can talk about getting you on the twelve week program.

[00:06:50.130] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds great.

[00:06:52.020] – Allan

All right. So are you ready to talk about journaling?

[00:06:55.480] – Rachel



You've probably heard me say more than once that you need to journal or journaling is a good tool. A lot of my guests have said journaling is a great tool for wellness, weight loss, fitness, health, all the way across the board. A journal can be a great tool to help you on your journey. The question is what should go into a good or a great wellness journal? So I want to talk about that today. When you think about a wellness journal, it's going to be custom to how you want to approach your journey. Things that matter more to you may matter less to me, and vice versa. So take these. These are just ideas. You could probably add other things you want to do. Some people will do a whole lot of extra logging, others want a very succinct and concise log. So it's really up to you how deep you go into this. But this is really about learning. This is a tool to help you learn, a tool to help keep you on track, a tool to keep you motivated. And so I strongly encourage you to journal as a part of your journey.

So when I talk about a journal, I basically break my journal into two pieces. So I've got my global, or kind of my planning stage of this. It's kind of the first few pages where I'll go through and break down my goals and my vision. And I usually look at these in a short term, medium term, long term kind of cycle. So my short term will be like the next 30 days. So what are some things that I want to accomplish in the next 30 days that lead me toward my vision? And then what are some things that I expect that I'll do in the next six months? Again, focused on my goals and my vision, and then the three to five years, which is usually a little bit more aligned with just what my vision is, what I want to look and feel like, how I want to be moving, what I want to be able to do. So I break that down into those three phases, the short term, medium term, and long term term. And I have all those documented. And so what I know is that my 30 day goals are going to lead toward me being able to hit my six month goals, which are going to lead towards me being able to hit my long term goals, which are usually in the range of somewhere between three to five years.

So you know that question, where do you want to be in five years? It's kind of that mindset of a vision, what am I aiming at? And then making sure everything I'm doing in between is leading towards that long term. And that's a part of my global approach. The Journal. And that's the front of my Journal. And then, like I said, I've set my 30 day goals. So now I work day to day. And so I set a daily set up. And each day I record a gratitude. What am I grateful for today? And it doesn't have to be anything huge. It can just be that we got rain because I live on an island and we need water. It can be that I had a great evening hanging out with my wife, or I enjoy spending some time with our dogs, or I went for a wonderful walk and just saw a sloth. It could be anything. But what is something today that I'm grateful for? And I do that first thing in the morning. That's the very first thing I do. And then I write my daily intention. What is the thing that I need to do today to move the needle forward?

And so when I'm looking at my wellness, that could be get my walk in, that could be get my lifting in, that could be whole food, it could be get myself into ketosis. It could be a number of different things. But what's my intention today? What am I going to do today? And having just one intention, because I've found if you have too many and you try to do too many things at one time, some of them get lost in the mix. So I have one major intention for each day. The next is basic logging. So if I'm doing a workout, I log my workout. If I'm looking at my nutrition, then I go ahead and I log my nutrition. And a lot of times I will do this on a hard copy just to see that I'm sticking to my goals. If I need more detail, like I need my macros or I need my calories, I typically will key that into an app like my fitness pal. But I may also record some of the results in my journal just to see how I ate today, what I ate today. And then what I do is I kind of look at how today went, and so I say, okay, based on my logging, how am I feeling?

What's my energy level? Based on how I ate yesterday, what do I feel today? And I kind of get an idea, like maybe I'm doing a really good job on my lifts. And so I'm lifting more weight. I want to tie that together with, okay, I've been consistent with my lifting for this month, and therefore my strength is going up pretty well on these particular exercises. And so I kind of take my log and I tie that into key findings, like, what are some of the takeaways that I have from what I did that lends into what went well today? So I'm always going to end a day with what do I feel like I did well on? So I can feel that success, I can celebrate that success in my journal. And then the next step, the next one is learnings. Okay, so did I do something poorly? Did I do something or something didn't go well? And I learned something from this. So what did I learn? Today is the next one, and then the final one is just wins. I finish out the day and say, okay, what are my key wins today?

And so when I talk about the seven things that are a part of my wellness journal, it includes the global, which is number one is my goals and vision. Okay? And then the rest of them are daily. I do a daily gratitude. That's number two. I do a daily intention. What am I going to do today that's most important? That's number three. Number four, logging and tying. So I log what I've done, my workouts, my walks, my food, my sleep, anything I feel like I need to be working on, I'm logging that, and then I'm tying that to what is going on in my life. And then number five is the what went well today? So giving myself a what went well? I know my lifts were good, my walk was good. Maybe I bonked on my walk, and that's what I learned. So that's the next one. Six, what are things that didn't go well today? But I don't look at it from the perspective of didn't go well. It's like, what did I learn? And I learned, okay, maybe if I'm going to do a 15 miles walk, I should actually eat something before that walk because I could bonk.

It might be that I'm starting to feel a little bit of stress on one of my joints, and I might want to ratchet down on that particular lift. And so the things I'm learning today, I want to carry forward. And then my wins. It's very important to celebrate each time you do something. If you hit your goals for the day, you're working towards consistency. You're getting the things done. Celebrate those often and celebrate even the small ones. So I take some time to write those things down. Now, something I also do, which you don't necessarily have to do, is I do a weekly recap at the end of the seven days. So I'll do the global, and I'll do the dailies, and then I'll have the seven day recap. My weekly recap and that's where I kind of flip back through my week and I say, okay, what are some of the things that I did this week that were good? What are some of the things that I learned this week? And I just kind of refocus my next week and saying, okay, based on what I've learned, based on what went well, what do I want to press on?

What do I want to be more intentional on this next week? And that kind of wraps up my journal. I don't do a monthly recap, although I do go back at times and look to see that I've reached my 30 day goal. And then again, if I need to reset that goal, I will recap and reset. But generally my 30 days are probably not going to be too different from my next 30 days building towards my six months, I tend to stick with stuff a little bit longer, but you may want to periodize. You may want to do something a little different. So you may change up every 30 days or every six weeks. Whatever makes the most sense for you. I tend to be a little bit more on the consistent side of doing the same thing. As long as it's working. I don't really shake things up too much, but I hope this has been helpful for you. I do value journaling a whole lot. I do it all the time. It's a pretty regular thing for me. I don't do it all the time, but I do it quite a bit. It is a great way to keep yourself on track.

It's a great way to document what you've done and what works and what doesn't work. You can look at your food and how your energy level is. You can look at your movement and maybe some pain and things that are going on, and it can give you some great information, some great data for you to understand how your body responds to the things that you're doing. So I highly recommend that you do a journal. And if you want to do a great wellness journal, I encourage you to use all seven of the elements I talked about today

Post Show/Recap

[00:15:21.190] – Allan

Welcome back, Raz.

[00:15:22.830] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. So, fun story. I love journaling. It's a great idea, and I have all my athletes do it, although I don't really do it myself. But after listening to how you line up your journal, I think I'd like to give it a try. I know it would be beneficial for myself to do it, but I have seen how successful it is for athletes in particular to journal. So sounds like a great thing to do.

[00:15:47.470] – Allan

Yeah. This is not a boil the ocean, spend a lot of time kind of thing. This is a pretty simple thing. Like, yeah, I do spend probably about an hour, half an hour maybe, going through my goals and my vision. And that's really just every month at the end of the month. So as we're recording this, I'm sitting down thinking about what I want to do for June, what I want the last half of this year to look like. And so as I go through that, I'm like, okay, here's what that looks like. Here's what I want to accomplish in 30 days. And that gives me a good idea of what each day needs to look like. And so that kind of helps with the motivation to know, okay, for me to meet this goal, I've got to look at each day, and this is the contribution that day makes to that goal. And then the only two things that I think are non negotiable is the first one is the gratitude. And the reason for that is if you express gratitude, you cut through stress, you cut through all the down talk, all the negative self talk.

[00:16:49.860] – Allan

All that stuff goes away, even if it's just for an instant. When you're in a state of gratitude, you just set yourself up to be in a really good mindset. And it doesn't have to be big. It can be just the morning you woke up, your dog was sitting there and looked up at you, and you got down on the floor and petted him, and you just felt that connection with him all over again. He's excited and happy to be in your life, and you're happy to have him in your life. And so you write that gratitude down, and for that instant, your stress is gone. For that instant, all the negative self talk is gone. And then you use that instant to set an intention for that day. And the intention can be something as simple as knowing, okay, this is going to be extremely busy day. I've got all these client meetings, so it's really going to be hard for me to get a workout in, but I want to get something in. So it could be as simple as saying, I'm going to put in five to ten minutes right before breakfast or right before my first call, I'm going to go for a walk, and then I know I've got to walk to my office is five minutes, and I got to walk back after it's five minutes.

[00:17:54.700] – Allan

So it's 20 minutes of walking. And if that's all I can do. And I know that I'm not going to have time to cook dinner because I've only got a little block of time on Mondays to eat dinner, then it might be good for me to pull something out of the freezer that I already had prepped from Sunday. So my intention is pull that out of the freezer and get in at that 20 minutes, and maybe it's broken the way I just tried to break it up. But I set my intention for that. That's my intention for the day, is to do those things. I say usually one thing. Occasionally, yes, I'll throw in a second one. But it's like, that's my intention and what it does, it keeps me on track. It keeps me from having to call out and order pizza. I'm satisfied with 20 minutes of walking when I know I could do 3 hours of walking, but I have to be satisfied with 20 minutes because that's where I am with what I have. And so I just think those two things can help you set up each day to be successful and then to measure that success with, okay, did I meet my intention today?

[00:18:58.730] – Rachel

Well, I love how you said right off the bat that you don't have to boil the ocean. And I think that's a lot of the problem that some people have with Journaling is that like, well, what do I write down? What do I need to focus on? And people get all anxious about it. And secondly, starting with the gratitude part, what's going right? Something positive. And the reason why I think that's particularly important is that it is really easy to find in our lives all the things that have gone wrong or things that are going sideways or things that are just being a pain in the side. But when you start with something that's positive, that things that are going right, something that you feel gratified for, that can learn how to look for happiness and realize some things that bring you joy that you may not instantly think of. So I think that's a really helpful practice. And then you went on to say that I always like to say, if you can't measure it, you can't monitor it. So if you're actually writing things down, what you ate that day and how you feel the next day, well, that could bring some really great insight, right?

[00:20:04.180] – Allan

Because most of us are here. We're here to make ourselves better. We're here to improve our health and fitness. And so data can drive decisions, and without the data, then you're winging it. And for a lot of people, that works. I just keep doing more, and sometimes that works. But for a lot of people, if you're wanting to improve your performance or you're wanting to lose weight, you're wanting to know that you're improving, you need to see it somewhere. So you talked about you keep data on your runs, but you're not really tying that back to, well, what is a bad performance day? What may have caused that that I can stop doing? And so if you find yourself binge eating or eating at midnight, waking up in the middle of night eating, or you're pulling into a drive through that you didn't intend to pull into, what was going on? What was going on when that happened? I'm reading a book with a guy we'll talk about in probably a couple of weeks, and he has this thing for Krispy Kreme, and he was living in a city that didn't have them, but there was one a few miles south of where he lived on a certain highway.

[00:21:13.850] – Allan

And every time he got on that highway, whether it was the intent was Krispy Kreme or not, his internal brain took him to that store. It was almost like automatic. He didn't want to stop. Even if he told himself he wasn't going to stop. He found himself in that parking lot. And so it was a question of him thinking through, why am I sitting where I'm sitting? Why am I doing what I'm doing? Why am I getting the results I'm getting? And he had to come to that. Self awareness and a journal is a great tool to take you through that process of learning what's going wrong and how you can prevent it, seeing what's going well. So not just thinking, oh, I ruined everything with that one meal. And I can't tell you how many times I see that on social media of someone saying, I've destroyed three weeks worth of work in one day or one meal. But they feel that way. But when you actually sit there and say, well, what did I actually do? And what did I learn from it?

[00:22:17.630] – Rachel

Well, that's an interesting part of the written word, too, is that if you're truthful in your journaling, so you went out and had a wonderful birthday dinner with a loved one and celebrated with a wonderful dinner and delicious dessert. There's a lot to be grateful for and happy about in that moment. And when you write that down in your journal, you can tell yourself that you did not just sabotage everything you've been working for. That was one meal. And then you could write down what you're going to do the next day. You're going to have your normal, healthy breakfast and your normal, healthy lunch and your normal, healthy dinner, and you're back on track. Literally one meal is gone. You could be fine about having done that and move on to the next day. And maybe if you see it down in writing, you'll feel better about it.

[00:23:04.750] – Allan

Yeah. And then again, I always like to close out on a positive note. I like to start on a positive note with the gratitude, and I like to close this out the day out with what were one of my wins. And so if my intention was just to walk the 20 minutes and eat the prepared meal, pull it out of the fridge and have freezer and have it ready for tonight, and I did that, that's a win. Those are both wins. And so I can say I walked my intention and I ate my intention, and I met my intention. That's the day. And so, again, if I can stack more days like that on top of each other across those 30 days and those six months, I'm going to be where I want to be.

[00:23:45.660] – Rachel

That's awesome.

[00:23:46.500] – Allan

Or really darn close, for sure.

[00:23:49.390] – Rachel

Now, when you have clients Allan do you have them do a journal or write anything in a journal?

[00:23:55.060] – Allan

I've talked through it with them. I'm not a prescriptive coach, so I can tell them. It's like I think that there'd be a lot of value to you journaling and I think a lot of them poo poo the idea because it sounds like work, always asking me to do work, but I do hold them accountable. And we do talk about these different tools because what's going to work for me might not work for you, but I strongly encourage most people. It's like if you're trying to figure something out, you want to have a plan, you want to measure to it and you want to learn from it. And so the weight loss and fitness thing is a learning exercise. And we talked about this before we came on air. Was it's important? Because we're not going to stay the same. We might know ourselves today, but tomorrow we might find ourselves in a whole different body, a whole different set of circumstances.

[00:24:55.380] – Rachel

That is right.

[00:24:56.460] – Allan

And if that were to happen, then we would need to relearn some things. We need to reapply and approach things from a different way. And so it's a consistent as we age, growing, changing, evolving, and hopefully evolving, like really getting better. Because we learn these tricks, we learn these tools, we learn what works and then we keep applying and we keep learning and we keep getting better. And a journal is kind of the key tool it is to make that happen. Because your inner dialogue is often going to tell you, oh, you had a horrible day, go eat some chocolate. And there you are eating chocolate at the end of the day, which was actually a really good day, except for one thing, and your whole internal dialogue focused on that one thing. You still got your 20 minutes in. You still did this. Okay, this went off the rails. And so now you're punishing yourself effectively for that. And that's that internal I call the fat bastard doing that thing. And so you just keep pushing gratitude, intention and learn. And that's the value of a journal is it gives us a tool to do that.

[00:26:13.180] – Rachel

I love that. Plus the positivity how you start with a gratitude and end with a win. I think that's so helpful. I think we can be our own worst critics, but when we write something of gratitude and write down one of our wins, we can quickly change our critic into our best cheerleader.

[00:26:31.160] – Allan

Yeah, well, it's been great. I'll talk to you next week.

[00:26:34.910] – Rachel

Rachel take care. Allan you too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


Intermittent fasting made easy with Brian Gryn

Allan (0:48): Our guest today has been a personal trainer and health coach for over 10 years. In effort to maintain his own body fat percentage, he fell into intermittent fasting and he realized they didn’t have a journal or anything on the market to help someone with this process. So he wrote one. I introduce you to Brian Gryn. Brian, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Brian (1:10): Thanks so much, Allan.

Allan (1:12): I’ve got your Simple Intermittent Fasting Journal here. It’s a 21-day program that you run through folks with the journal opportunity to help them move from not really knowing what intermittent fasting is, to actually implementing it in their lives. I’m a big fan of simple things, and this really fits it because it just gives them the basic information that someone needs without overwhelming them, and then gives them the basic guidance. I really like how each day you left a little tip in there to help people along to learn more about this as they go.

Brian (1:47): Thank you. That was the whole idea behind coming out with that. I was looking to doing fasting myself, and there are books and information you can find online, but I really didn’t find a guide, something that could sort of take you step by step to get into it. So, that was my main reason for creating a journal was to, like you said, keep it simple. I think fasting can be intimidating. People need a guide for a lot of things, but fasting I thought would be a perfect way to help people. I picked 21 days. It can be different for everybody, but I thought three weeks was sort of a good time table to get you into it and see how you like the experience.

Allan (2:32): I had a job and it had me traveling to Malaysia, and Malaysia is a Muslim state. So when Ramadan comes along, they fast basically from sunrise to sunset. So they do intermittent fasting as a function of their religion. When I first realized they were doing it and watching them, realizing it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world for them, particularly for the first couple of days. And then they sort of got more and more comfortable with it. In my story I basically started eating Paleo, and you sit down with a plate of real food – so I’ve got either a steak or a fish or whatnot there, and I’ve got some vegetables. If I’m going to leave something on my plate, it always tended to be the vegetables. I was going to eat that steak and I was going to eat that fish, because that was where I saw the value of the meal at that point in my life. And so I ended up falling into ketosis, because I was eating a lot more meats and fish and eggs, and I wasn’t eating a lot of vegetables. I ended up in ketosis; I didn’t know exactly what it was when it first started happening, I started doing research and understanding it. But another kind of side effect of getting into ketosis was that I was seldom hungry.

So I ended up getting into intermittent fasting just on the function of saying, “If I’m not really hungry, then my body must be doing okay with my body fat.” And I had plenty of body fat to feed my energy for a long, long time – Energizer Bunny kind of power. So I ended up doing intermittent fasting and I still do it today. It was interesting when I started talking to you because you’re like, “You do it like two days and then you don’t do it for another month or so, right?” No, no. Every day I wake up, I don’t think about breakfast. I cook breakfast for my wife, but I don’t feel like I need to eat then. So I go and I just don’t eat, and I’ll wait. And usually about sometime between 2:00 and 4:00, I’ll start to feel like maybe I could eat something. And that’s when I open up my window and start eating. And because I’m “early to bed, early to rise” kind of person, I won’t eat after 7:30. So my eating window is really, really restricted to basically 2:00 to 8:00, for the most part. And sometimes just 4:00 to 8:00. I do it because it just feels natural and I like it. I feel good when I’m fasting. But why would someone fast? What are some of the reasons why people choose to use fasting as a protocol?

Brian (5:16): There are a lot of reasons, but I think I would say the number one reason people come to me and I get them into fasting or they’re looking to get into fasting is pretty much to lose weight, lose body fat. But another reason that comes along with that is increased energy. And I don’t know, Allan, how you feel, but for me, yesterday I fasted almost pretty much the whole day, probably about 22 hours. And I always feel my most energy towards the end of the day, just because obviously we all know when we have a big lunch, after that we tend to crash a little bit, especially if it’s something unhealthy like refined carbs or some pizza, or whatever it is. We have those blood sugar swings and those insulin swings and we tend to get tired afterwards. But when you’re in a fasting state, the blood doesn’t have to rush to your digestive organs, it can go other places and you just feel that adrenaline minute and that energy throughout the day. I would say the big things would be the increase in energy, they want to lose body fat. And then there are other reasons – the rested digestive organs, the clear thinking. And there’ve been studies regarding growth hormone increase as well.

Allan (6:35): For me a big part of it has become the freedom aspect. I have a property near here. I’m now trying to sell it because I can’t deal with it anymore, but that’s a whole another story. It’s about seven acres, and it gets kind of soupy back there when it’s wet. And I was back there doing some work. I drove my little tractor up on my trailer and was pulling it out and my truck got stuck. So I had planned to go down there and do some work for about three or four hours in the morning before it got hot. And I did that work, fasted and then I was getting ready to leave and come home; it was around noon time. And I got stuck. So I’m calling AAA, asking them to pull me out of my own yard. The truck shows up an hour later. He hooks himself up and then his truck breaks down. So he has to call for a part, they deliver the part, he puts the part on his own truck, and then he’s got his truck working and he pulls me out.

So I’m driving home and it’s about 6:00 in the evening, and I’m realizing at this point I’ve gone probably 23 hours without eating. And I wasn’t famished, I wasn’t freaking out. There were no blood sugar issues. My body had acclimated to using fat as a fuel, so I was fine to be out there. Now I did spend the afternoon just lazy fishing, because that’s why I bought the property – to go do some fishing there. But I had done that hard work in the morning and there was never a lack of energy, a lack of clarity or a freak-out that I had to have food because I was starving. I think that’s a big part of it. You have a lot of tips in here as far as what you should eat during your window, and I want to talk about that, but I think what I have found is that when you’re looking to do this, you really do have to start focusing on the quality of your food, because you’ve still got to get that nutrition in there and you don’t want it to necessarily be refined carbs, because as soon as you finish your eating window and your body has burned through that rocket fuel of refined carbs and sugar, your body’s going to want you to refeed. So it’s going to be really, really hard if you’re doing the refined foods. So I’m sitting down now; I’ve gone through my fast and I’m coming off my fast. What are the types of foods that I need to get into my body during my feeding window to sustain intermittent fasting?

Brian (9:02): Yeah, you hit on a good point. Obviously, I think the whole fasting process becomes easier when you eat better during your eating window. I would say to someone that’s looking to get into fasting is maybe clean up your eating habits first, and then once you clean up your eating habits, then you can use guides per se, like my journal or any other guide or a coach to help guide you into fasting. I know in my guide, we talk about pushing back breakfast an hour every day, whatever it is. As far as basic guidelines for eating, I would just say eat real whole foods, foods that expire actually. So that’d be avoiding most packaged goods, and then avoiding things like refined carbs, sugars, grains, starches. Obviously you talk about the keto worlds – eating natural fats helps keep you full longer, so that will help make the fast easier, and it doesn’t raise insulin as well. So natural fats, avocado. I probably have an avocado every day in my salad that I make. Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, natural butter. And then obviously avoid artificial fats, like things that come from fried foods and things like that. I would say that would be a good place to start. You don’t have to eat perfect, but it will help.

Allan (10:27): I’m actually working on a book and I was writing a section for the book this last week. I was sitting there and I just had to stop myself because hearing I’m talking about high quality whole food, I’m thinking to myself, “Why do I even have to write the word ‘whole food’?” There are the things that come in boxes and bags that are not food, and there are things that basically you get from your butcher or from the produce section that are basically your food. It was just kind of sad to me that we do have to explain that a whole food is something that expires, it’s something that you recognize as an animal or a plant at some level, and it’s not processed, it doesn’t come from a factory. I’ll even go as far as to say when you start talking about where it’s coming from, that matters as well. If it’s not grown in a good, conducive soil, it’s not getting the minerals that you need. If it’s not a well-cared-for animal, if it’s a sick animal… Out in the wild, if there’s a sick animal, the other animals won’t eat it; they let it lay there. We don’t seem to have that instinct, and it’s kind of bad.

So, focus on the quality of your food. Like you said, you don’t have to put it all in there overnight, but this is a great opportunity for you to really take some time to think about your food, because that’s another cool thing about the eating window and the freedom that you get is, you’re not spending all day preparing or sitting down for meals. I get that extra half an hour or so in the morning that I would be eating my breakfast to do something else, to learn something else, to read something, to write something, to do the things that are adding value in my life. I love eating, don’t get me wrong. I take full advantage of my eating window with some really good foods. And I think that’s the whole point – if you’re getting the nutrition your body needs, intermittent fasting can be easier. It is easier and it’s not really so much the way of eating. Keto works well for me, but you may have reasons that you want to be a vegan, and you can easily do intermittent fasting with vegan. You just have to make sure, again, that you’re getting the nutrition that you need, you’re getting the volume of calories, because when we’re talking intermittent fasting we’re not talking eating less. I think a lot of people think that’s what it’s all about. It’s not actually that.

Brian (12:55): I agree with you. I will say this – you will find – at least this is what I find with a lot of my clients, is that when you start doing it and you have a smaller window to eat, you realize your body doesn’t really need as much as maybe you thought it needed when you were just eating normal and throughout the day and grazing six, seven meals a day. I know we might talk about tips, but if you’re starting to do this, do this on days where you’re busy – maybe at work, or you have something that is just going to take up time and your mind’s going to be busy. Yesterday I was busy, ended up just happening. I just fasted all day and at the end of the day I was like, “I’m just going to have dinner”, but I got full quick. I wasn’t going to overstuff, which is another tip. When you do feed in that feeding window, don’t overdo it. You might think, “I need to stuff three meals into this eating window.” Well, you’ll be surprised your body will not want that.

Allan (13:58): It’s a little bit of both, because I think if you’re getting adequate nutrition, your body’s going to do the things it’s supposed to do. Your leptin and ghrelin are going to play their roles to tell you, “Okay, that’s enough. Let’s stop this.” And you’re going to eat just the right amount of food. I think if people are not getting the nutrition, that’s where they’re going to start to run into trouble. And obviously, again, a lot of people are doing this for weight loss, for fat loss specifically. So you have to realize that a portion of the calories that your body is burning is coming from that fat. I’ve read somewhere – I can’t validate this – but your body can basically use about 700 calories of body fat in any given day for energy. So, if you’re getting at least 1,200 in that meal, you’re probably getting enough calories at that point to sustain whatever you’re doing. Unless you’re a heavy duty athlete or your work is very intense, a good 1,900 calories on a given day is probably enough to keep you where you need to be. So, let’s take a moment and go through some of those tips, because these were really good.

Brian (15:06): So like I said, obviously staying busy really helps. So if you know you have a busy day at work or a busy morning and you’re like, “This is a good morning where I’m just going to skip breakfast” – maybe just have some black coffee, obviously no sweeteners or anything in that coffee, or have some tea. So just staying busy, keeping your mind active, and then drinking plenty of water too. I always have water on me throughout the day, whether I’m fasting or in my eating stage. And another one too that I think doesn’t get talked about a lot is, when you’re starting to do this, don’t tell someone that might not be supportive of it, because I think there are people who initially think you’re starving yourself and they might even be worried about you, because we’re so programmed by mainstream media, and I say this all the time – no one makes money when you fast, right?

Allan (15:58): But the other side of it is, they are actually coming from a very real paradigm. If you’re eating crap food, if you’re eating carbs, if you’re eating sugars, if you’re drinking regular sodas, or even diet sodas for that matter – if that’s your food, if that’s what you are eating today, you can’t go more than four hours without eating, or your blood sugar is going to plummet and your body’s going to scream, “Feed me!” So really narrowing that down and saying other people won’t necessarily understand what you’re doing. You’re following a protocol – get into it, understand it, and then it’ll be a little easier to talk about when they realize that you’ve dropped more than five pounds during these 21 days. At least that’s what I would expect for most people that get into it, they’re going to lose something like that, or can expect to lose something like that if they have it to lose. I think you’re right there. They’re not coming from a bad place. They’re not trying to sabotage you for bad reasons. They know they can’t go more than four hours without eating because that bagel they had for breakfast has them screaming for more food. That’s why they’ve come up with the term “second breakfast”, and most fast food places serve breakfast all day long because they want to keep feeding you those carbs and keeping you coming back for more.

Brian (17:22): Right. Once you get into the fasting protocol and it’s feeling more natural, because like anything else, it gets easier and easier the more you do it – then maybe you can tell some people or tell people who maybe would have been against it at first and they’ll be like, “Wow, you’re getting great results. You’re feeling great. I’ll support you.” And things like that. People know now that I do intermittent fasting, but when I first started doing it, I don’t think many people knew. I just sort of did it. Those are the main tips. I would say one more tip would be, drink a warm liquid. It could be a tea or black coffee. And I talk about this a little bit. People go, “What if I get hunger pains?” And you will get that. You might even get headaches. I always say for headaches that can be avoided or can be helped, to have some water and put some salt in it. I know it doesn’t sound the most appetizing, but…

Allan (18:24): But we’re not talking lots of salt. A pinch or two.

Brian (18:29): Pinch of salt, exactly. Some Pink Himalayan salt.

Allan (18:33): It’s not like drinking sea water.

Brian (18:38): No. A little bit of salt, you can taste it, but it’s doable. So, drinking the coffee or the tea. And I’ll just say this – I recently got an email from a client saying, “I like to put cream in my coffee or I won’t drink it.” I will say, if you can do the fasting protocol and if you have to have a little bit of cream in your coffee, then go ahead.

Allan (19:05): The one thing I will say on this, and I don’t mean anything against Dave Asprey at all – I appreciate that he has developed a protocol and a product he calls Bulletproof Coffee. He sells coffee and he sells the MCT oil, and he doesn’t sell the butter. But if he could, he probably would. He just found Kerrygold works for him, so he didn’t have to make his own butter. But when you do that coffee, the way they protocol it, the way they put it forward, that can be upwards of 700 calories. To me that’s not fasting anymore. You’re feeding your body and you’re choosing to feed it fat, which is great, but your body’s going to use that fat for energy. It’s not going to use the body fat that we’re trying to get our body to be more accustomed to using. So in my mind it’s like, if you can avoid the creams, if you can avoid the butters and take your coffee to black… And this is the same thing as I think what you have in the book, which is great for a protocol, is you walk yourself into it. So maybe it was two ounces of cream and you can cut that down to one and three quarters, and then one and a half. And over the course of these three weeks going through your program, maybe they can get to a point where they’re not having to put cream in their coffee at all.

Brian (20:21): Yeah. It’s sort of that “one step at a time” approach. That’s what I did when I started fasting – just pushing back breakfast an hour a day. Some people might be like, “Oh, screw that. I’m just going to go right to lunch.” That might be your protocol, but my protocol was I took it one step at a time. Same thing with little things like that with cream in your coffee – if you want to slowly start taking that out, that would be obviously the best, perhaps the easiest way to do it.

Allan (20:52): Yeah. As we look at this, the cool thing about your Simple Intermittent Fasting Journal here is that you have a space for each of the 21 days for them to walk through the process. And you’re giving them guidance each time, you’re giving them a tip each day. I think for the folks that want a tool that’s going to walk them through this and get them to a point where they understand intermittent fasting, they understand their body’s response to it, and the 21 days gives them plenty of time to understand how it’s going to affect them. Some people will take this and they’ll just keep going. Other people will say, “This will be my period of detox”, for lack of a better word, “Where I just use this protocol from time to time.” Are you using it all the time or is this something you implement just from time to time?

Brian (21:46): For my own good or for a client?

Allan (21:48): For you in general.

Brian (21:50): For me I don’t use it anymore. I did test it on myself when I was first creating the journal, and so I did use it early on, but now I’m to the point where it’s just become… And that’s what I say on the cover – it’s become a lifestyle for me. I don’t use the journal anymore.

Allan (22:12): I didn’t mean so much the journal. It’s just that you do intermittent fasting and it’s just a lifestyle. With me I have gotten to the point where I don’t eat what would be a standard breakfast in the morning and I’m typically not eating until somewhere between 2:00 to 4:00. And a lot of times that’s still breakfast for me, and sometimes it’s still breakfast foods. It just depends on my mood and what I want to eat. I have found that once you kind of get into that process of not being dependent on eating a meal every three hours, it almost becomes a natural, “Let your day decide when you’re going to eat, when you’re hungry”, and it’s not so much, “I have a fixed time that I have to eat each meal.” You can have a lot more flexibility with this.

Brian (22:58): Yeah, I would agree. I would think that’s the biggest benefit. For me at least one of the biggest benefits is you’re in control of your food. A lot of times with people, food controls them, and a lot of that is almost just in your mind because we’re programmed to eat at certain times. But once you get into this protocol, you realize, like you said – if something happens, like you got stuck in your own yard – you were fine. You weren’t like, “Oh my God, I need to run to Starbucks or get something.” It gives you that flexibility, and I think you’re just in control. I think that’s the biggest thing – you have more time to do things that maybe you want to do, like you said, in the morning. So, it really gives you that flexibility.

Allan (23:41): And I also want to emphasize that there is an energy aspect to this. When your body starts learning how to use your own body fat for energy, you have an abundance of energy. And a question I get a lot from clients is, “I’m going to start this intermittent fasting, I’m going to start this protocol. So I should stop exercising for a few days, right?” And my short answer is, “Why?” It’ll be hard the first few days of this protocol, the first few days of keto. For me, when I tried pescatarian, the first three days were hard. Once you kind of get through that dip, things get easier. But to me, unless you’re really having some blood sugar issues or whatnot, you can continue to train.

And that’s the only other thing I would leave off with this conversation – before you start any kind of protocol like this, particularly if you’re diabetic or pregnant or on any medication at all – have the conversation with your doctor because this is not a protocol for everybody. It does have a special use, and you include a lot of that information in the book here. So Brian, I really appreciate you coming on and talking to us about intermittent fasting and your guide Simple Intermittent Fasting Journal. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about what you’re doing and learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Brian (24:58): They can go to my website, which is my name, so BrianGryn.com. They can reach out to me, order the journals on there and ask any questions.

Allan (25:12): This is going to be episode 334, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/334, and I’ll be sure to have a link to Brian’s website there. Brian, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.

Brian (25:26): Thanks, Allan. Really enjoyed it.

Allan (25:32): I hope you enjoyed today’s conversation with Brian. If you’re interested in managing your body fat percentage, intermittent fasting can be a great strategy for you, and I encourage you to check out his journal if you want to try that out.


Wellness Roadmap

I am very happy to announce that I have gotten my manuscript over to the publisher, so at this point we’re about to lock it down, as they say, which I feel really good about. But I still need your help. I need you on my launch team. If you can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com, you’ll learn more about the book and you can also then there sign up to join the launch team. Launch teams are very, very important to help books get off the ground, and I need you on my team. So please go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and be a part of the launch team. Thank you.


Another episode you may enjoy:

Fasting for weight loss with Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore



A secret weapon in your health and fitness journey

In this episode, I reveal a secret weapon for health and fitness.

The secret weapon I’m talking about is keeping a journal or a log. It allows you to collect information about the things you do in life and gives you the opportunity to look back and understand where you were.

One of the things you need to do once you’ve started writing a journal is to express gratitude every day. This simple act puts you in a frame of mind that great things will happen. Start your day right by documenting how good your life is. If you’re having a bad day, pull out that journal to relieve yourself of stress.

Log workouts to keep track of your progress. Log the weights you used before or how far you’ve walked in 30 minutes. Logging gives you a mindset of completion and allows you to see what you’ve accomplished which helps with your persistence. You also achieve patience because you can see you’re getting better as you progress. Occasionally, I log my food, particularly if I notice I’m stalled a little bit.

Log how many hours of sleep you get. If you notice that you didn’t sleep well on the other nights, you can go back to see what was going on.

The data you get from logs is a powerful thing. Don’t shy away from keeping information that will help you become a better you. Logging lets you track your goals. Write your ultimate goal on the first page and mini goals on the next pages. Track how well you’re doing as you progress.