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On episode 511 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet with Delatorro McNeal and discuss his book, Shift into a Higher Gear and several way to get the right mindset for change.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.
Organifi is a line of organic superfood blends that offers plant based nutrition made with high quality ingredients. Each Organifi blend is science backed to craft the most effective doses with ingredients that are organic, free of fillers and contain less than 3g of sugar per serving. They won’t take you out of ketosis, if that’s your way of eating.
Your body is an amazing organic machine. The food we eat and drink is information for that machine. This includes adaptagens. These are compounds that balance hormones and help you deal with stress in a healthier way. If you’re feeling tired, these compounds give you a boost of energy. If you’re stressed, they help you return to a natural state of calm. They literally help you adapt to the stress of life.
This is why I’m a big fan of Organifi Green juice with essential superfoods and a clinical dose of Ashwaganda. It helps reduce stress and support healthy cortisol levels. It mixes well with water or your beverage of choice and it tastes awesome! This has become a part of my morning ritual.
Organifi offers the best tasting, high quality superfood beverages without breaking the bank. Each serving costs less than $3 per day. Easy, convenient, and cost effective.
Go to www.organifi.com/40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off your order. That's O R G A N I F I dot com forward slash 40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off any item.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.
Organifi is a line of organic superfood blends that offers plant based nutrition made with high quality ingredients. Each Organifi blend is science backed to craft the most effective doses with ingredients that are organic, free of fillers and contain less than 3g of sugar per serving.
In our 24/7 always on world, going without sleep seems to carry a badge of honor. But that’s not how your body sees it. Sleep is when all the wonderful things happen inside your body. Hormones reset, and healing and restoration happens. You know how much better you feel after a good night’s sleep. Getting good quality sleep is a priority for me
This is why I’m a big fan of Organifi Gold juice with ingredients like Tumeric, Reishi Mushroom, and ginger, it’s designed to support rest, relaxation, recovery, and repair. It’s a delicious and nutritious warm, golden tea. I use water, but you can also use milk or a milk alternative. This has become a part of my evening wind-down.
Organifi offers the best tasting, high quality superfood beverages without breaking the bank. Each serving costs less than $3 per day. Easy, convenient, and cost effective.
Go to www.organifi.com/40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off your order. That's O R G A N I F I dot com forward slash 40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off any item.[00:26:25.250] – Allan
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Eric More||– Leigh Tanner|
|– Deb Scarlett||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Judy Murphy||– Melissa Ball|
|– Eliza Lamb||– Tim Alexander|
There are points in your health and fitness journey when you have to make a decision, keep going, quit, or pivot. How you approach these decision points can make all the difference.
Today I want to talk about the art of quitting. Now, I know that sounds kind of odd to be talking about quitting when we're talking about health and fitness, because we as a people, particularly in the United States, we really appreciate perseverance. We appreciate those people, those stories where people have gone above and beyond and accomplished things way beyond the realm of what's possible or seemed possible at the beginning, like the movie Rudy or the book Rudy or the story of Rudy who tried to get on to and play for Notre Dame and actually did get on the field during a football game with the team through Perseverance.
And we love that story. There's also the children's book The Little Engine that Could by Waddy Piper. And again, it's a story about Perseverance and going at it and having the right attitude and sticking with it until you get something that seemed impossible done. We love those stories. But there are also stories that kind of push back the other way, like in Greek mythology, with Cispus pushing that rock up the Hill that's invariably going to roll down the Hill again. So no matter how much Perseverance that he puts into that effort, he's going to end up right back where he started.
Or we're watching Rocky four, and Apollo is fighting Drago in an exhibition match, and Rocky knows the next punch is going to basically kill his friend, but he doesn't throw the towel in. And a lot of people were upset about that in the movie. I was upset about it watching the movie. It was a very emotional point in that movie. And in a sense, we fought Rocky for not quitting, not throwing in the towel. And we know that that was because Apollo wanted to continue the fight all the way through to the end, and it ended up costing him his life.
And so there's these stories that we have about Perseverance and then about quitting. And they both have a place, particularly when we're talking about health and fitness. So I want to talk today about some times when quitting is actually the right answer that you're better off quitting something than sticking with it. Okay.
Sometimes when you quit, it just opens up opportunities and we're going to talk all the way through this as you look at how quitting might actually help you get to the results you want faster. So for this discussion, we're going to talk about big things. We're not going to be talking about quitting little things like quitting sugar, quitting this or quitting that. Obviously, you know, there's challenges and structure and things and strategies and tactics and things you're going to implement that will work and not work. And some of those strategies and tactics you just throw away because they're obviously not working.
But we're going to talk about some big things in the health, fitness and joy categories because in reality, this is literally life and death. Now, maybe not right now but some of the decisions you're making are going to decide which side of the aging curve you're actually on as you go forward in life. So we're going to talk about is the five key health and fitness drivers, the five key health and fitness drivers. And those are nutrition, which includes hydration, sleep, stress management, fitness and avoiding toxicity.
And that can be chemical, biological, or emotional. So we have those five key health drivers, and today we're going to go through those five key health drivers and look at some scenarios where it might make sense to not stick. It might make sense to quit. Okay, now, here's the other caveat as we get into this discussion, because I'm going to be throwing out some examples. And I want you to understand that sometimes the decision that you need to make is different than the decision I might need to make.
So as we go through this discussion, I'm going to go back and forth a little bit on that so you can kind of get a flavor for how to do this analysis, if you will.
So first, I want to talk about a few reasons why you should probably stick to what you're doing. If your strategy is sound and you just need more time. So everything's working, it's generally working, and you just need to give it more time for you to see the results that you want to see
That's probably a good reason to stick if it's working, but not as fast as you want it. Now, what there might be instead of quitting is just alternatives that you can add on to make it better. And we'll talk a little bit about that. And then another reason to stick is there really isn't another alternative. This is really the only way that's available to you based on who you are, what's going on in your life or anything else. We'll get into that as well. But what are the reasons that we should quit?
If the thing you're doing isn't serving you, you should quit and try to find another way. If you know, in your heart of hearts that there actually is a better way. You were just trying this as an opportunity and it's not working for you, and this other way would be quicker and easier. It's probably time to quit. And also we want to make sure that quitting won't hurt us, and that what we are doing is helping us. So if there's something you're doing that's not helping you, then quit and we'll talk about that as well.
So what I'm going to do for the remainder of this podcast is I'm literally going to go through each of the five drivers, and I'm going to give you a couple of examples, and then we're going to kind of talk through a little bit. Is that a good reason to quit? Is this something you should quit? And I'm going to give my opinion on it from my perspective. Realize, again, your answers could be entirely different than my answers. So your circumstances would be entirely different than mine. And you should think through these scenarios to kind of get an idea of how this process goes.
So the first key driver that I want to talk about is nutrition. So here's the scenario. You are three weeks into the carnivore way of eating. You even quit coffee and tea. And while you've lost weight, your energy level has bottomed out and you're constipated. So is this a stick, a stick and pivot or a quit? Now, obviously for some people, the carnivore diet is fairly extreme and it's very difficult to do long term for a lot of people.
Now, other people thrive on that kind of diet and that's fine. But if you're having issues with your energy level and you're just not feeling like you're losing weight the way that you should and you're dealing with other biological problems like constipation, it's time to think about that. For some people, it's obvious that you need to quit and maybe do something different. For others, it might just be a stick and pivot. So maybe you're not getting enough electrolytes. Maybe you need to implement something else like better sleep or something else to help you make sure that you're keeping your energy level up.
And then obviously with the electrolytes that I spoke to that can include magnesium that can include potassium and sodium. And in many cases the introduction of magnesium might help with that constipation. So you can kind of see as you go into this concept of I'm trying a way of eating carnivore and I intend to do it for a long time, but I'm starting to have difficulties with it. You can answer the question of OK, is this something I can just pivot, try some add ons and see what works, or do I really want to quit this?
And in many cases I would say if this was something you really wanted to do, try the stick and pivot for a little while and then if that doesn't work, quit. Here's a second scenario for nutrition. You cut your calories much lower than you used to eat. It was working for a few weeks, but you're hungry all the time and you find yourself binging at night, stick, stick and pivot or quit. Now this one is a little bit more difficult because a lot of people will want to follow the calories in calories out model.
And the reality is for a time that can definitely work. But over time your body is going to adjust to try to find Homo stasis based on the amount that you're eating today, based on the exercise you're doing today, it's going to find that balance. And so the question then is, is this low calorie going to work for you long term. For some people, just pushing through a little while can restart the weight loss. But you may need to do a couple of pivots. You may need to have a couple of days where your calories a little higher just to keep your metabolism, keep everything flowing so your body is not locked into 1200 calories a day thing.
Maybe just having a couple of days where you're up closer to 18 or maybe 2000 might be enough for your body to adapt and adjust to a point where it can continue to lose weight. That would be a stick and pivot. But for a lot of people, just cutting calories isn't enough. They need to focus on what they're eating when they're eating as well to try to figure this out. And so sometimes you just have to quit that low calorie and figure out a different way.
So I hope that made sense as I went through the nutrition piece of this, that there are different answers for each of us based on what we're dealing with, where we are in our lives and what's working and what's not. So there is stick, there is stick and pivot and there's quit, and you have to look and figure out which one makes the most sense for you. And many times, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes stick and pivot is the right answer, and then if that doesn't work, then you quit.
Let's move on to the second key driver of health and fitness and joy, sleep.
And this is one of my favorites. Okay, so here's the scenario. The first scenario. You usually go to bed at 10:30, and you've recently hired a personal trainer that can only work with you at 05:00 a.m. This only gives you 6 hours of bedtime and less than 6 hours of sleep. You know, you need more. Stick, stick and pivot or quit? Now, this is a tougher one because for a lot of people, their time is locked, and they're very deep into getting a lot done and being productive.
And the concept of sleeping more is often difficult for us. It feels like we're giving up feels almost like we're quitting something, but in a sense, getting more sleep can help you have more energy, get more done, be more productive, and definitely have fewer mistakes and issues. So the question then here is we've got two endpoints to the sleeping night. Now you could try to go to sleep earlier, but that might mean giving up family time. That might mean giving up time with your significant other time that you love to spend together.
Obviously, if you've made dinner, we've got to wash dishes, we got to get things cleaned up. So there's probably a limit to how far you can push your bedtime up and then on the other side, yes
You've hired this personal trainer that really only had that 05:00 window. Is there a way to move that training period to a later period or different part of the day, or is it better for us to go ahead and maybe find a different trainer if we really want to continue with the personal trainer that we have or that we're with a personal trainer? And those are tough decisions. I'm not going to say there's an easy answer here, but the reality of it is the bigger you make your bedtime opportunity, the more you're likely to sleep, the more you're likely to sleep, the better off your health and fitness are going to be.
So this is a tough one. It's probably a quit something, but we've got to figure out what that is for you and then you've got to decide how to make that happen. Here's a second scenario. Lately you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep. You pull out your phone to look at social media. You feel this helps you calm down. But the report on your phone shows your screen time is way up. Stick, stick and pivot, Quit?
Now, I have some pretty strong opinions about this to me. You've got to quit the Facebook, the social media stuff. You got to quit that in the middle of the night. The lights off your phone are actually keeping you up. The excitement and the dopamine stuff that's happening when you're on your phone is keeping you up. Whether you feel that way or not, it is. So the reality of it is you could do something better with that time and still be winding down. You can listen to a fiction audiobook and have the lights out.
You can actually get a hardcover printed book and turn on a candle, light a candle and read that book. You can go ahead and decide to go into the bathroom and take a warm bath with some lavender and some other scents that really help calm you down and get back to sleep a little bit faster. So I would say you quit the Facebook and then you implement something else in that place. Obviously laying in bed awake at 2:00 in the morning for hours is excruciating. But you've got to get your sleep.
You've got to figure out a way and getting on the Facebook is not going to be the answer most of the time. Now, how you do that? How you discipline, keep the discipline to do that? I can't help you there right now, but I can just say if you value sleep as much as I do, you won't turn on your phone, you won't turn on your computer, you'll figure out a way to calm yourself relax whether it's breathing, meditation, a warm bath with some oils, or reading a book, listening to an audio book.
Any of those things will be better for you than opening up your phone. So I hope that makes sense on the sleep side. You're going to have things, if you're going to try to improve your sleep, there are things you're probably going to have to quit. Screen time is a huge example. Having short sleep windows with early alarms. Another thing that you need to work around to get the sleep. You've got to be in bed and that requires you to push your windows around and have some discipline around that.
So I hope that helps you on the sleep front. If you've got some questions there, we can talk about it.
So the next key driver or key driver is stress management, and this is another big one for me, but I really only have one example. I want to walk through here. You've started setting aside 30 minutes to meditate each day, but you find you spend most of this time thinking about the things that you need to do. This leaves you even more stressed. Stick, stick and pivot or quit?
Now, this one is kind of also a little interesting to me, because a lot of people will just quit. They'll say, okay, I don't have time for this. I know meditation would be great for me. I enjoy it when it's working, but it's not working most of the time. So I want to quit. I'd like to give you an alternative. Instead of trying to meditate for 30 minutes, just try to do five, just five good minutes, clear concise minutes, letting your thoughts happen, letting things happen and relaxing and getting into it.
Now, eventually, you might be able to add a little bit of time to that. But obviously giving up five minutes is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of 24 hours, and it will feel more attainable. So you're not overwhelmed with the fact that you're losing a half hour out of each day to do this task. It won't feel as much like a task when it's only five minutes. And who knows, maybe you go a little bit longer even though you didn't plan to because you were able to relax and get into the right state of mind, helping your stress, helping you feel better.
And that's going to kind of be a positive feedback loop. So in this case, I would say stick and pivot until 30 minutes feels right, and maybe it never will. But at least you've given it a shot.
All right. Does that make sense? Okay.
The next key driver is fitness. Okay, so here's the scenario. Your fitness tracker shows that your progress is stagnating you're halfway to your set goal and hitting certain milestones. Now it looks like you won't make those milestones. So you've made progress, and you are making good progress. But now things are stagnating. You're not seeing the growth that you were seeing before, you're not seeing the strength gains or let's say we're talking about the number of steps or how fast you can go or your time or any of those things that you would want as a personal record or just some kind of measurement criteria for your fitness.
And now you're stagnating. And that goal is beginning to look unattainable at the beginning, it looked like you could get there, and now it's not. So do you stick, stick and pivot or quit? Well, I think quitting this particular time is not the right answer. You still have that goal. That's not going to go away unless you just completely changed the goal. But rather than sliding the goal post or the time to attain the goal post. This might be a good time to stick and pivot.
Maybe you just need to do something to change up your training. Maybe you need to take some rest. Maybe this is a recovery problem, and maybe this is a nutrition problem, so all of those can factor into your basic performance. So it's worth looking at. Is this a time when I change up my training? Is this a time when I change up my nutrition? Is this the time I look at other aspects that might be affecting my performance? And if I'm not approaching my goals as quickly as I wanted to just see if adding some of those differences, fixing tweaking some of those things gives you the benefits gets you removing.
I found times where someone was doing a back squat, for example, and their back squat was starting to Plateau. So they got to a certain strength, a certain capacity, and then they just seemed to slow down and they were really upset because they did have a goal of, say, being able to squat their body weight for reps. And that's admirable. That's perfect. That's a great kind of goal because it shows a level of strength relative to your weight. That's really important. So now they're not getting there.
They're looking at they're halfway to their goal, and they're just not quite getting there. So what I'll often do is I'll program other ways for them to work with the weight. That's different for some clients. I'll have them on the leg press because they're mentally challenged, not necessarily physically challenged. It can be challenging mentally to get underweight, particularly when that weight is approaching your body weight and feel like you're in control. So I'll put them on the leg press for other people. It's about their form and how they're pressing and what they're doing.
I may move them to a completely different exercise, like a front squat, which changes the angles of everything and gets them working in a different way. And then when we transition back to back squats, they find that they've either in the first scenario increased their leg strength significantly or in the second one, they now actually have better form and are able to perform the exercise better. So in both of those cases, the changes we did, those pivots are giving them the added capacity to be able to do more, and they start seeing that progression happening again.
So that's a situation where I think a stick and pivot can be really good for other people. They might just want to stick and keep grinding at it, and sometimes they're successful. Just push a little harder, do a little more, and they're there. So just recognize that there are options as you're looking at fitness. So here's the second scenario. You're doing a fitness class, and after an awkward movement, you feel a tweak in your knee. There are only ten minutes left in the class, stick, stick and pivot or quit?
Now, this is a tough one because a lot of fitness classes have you on your feet moving around both forward and backwards and side to side. And so there's a lot of opportunities there for you to injure your knees. If you're not careful with your form and how you're placing your legs and not locking out. And there's a lot of things that can go wrong. If you've already felt a tweak in your knees, then it's highly possible that you've done something to one of the tendons and leguments to flare it up.
That's what that pain is. And continuing and trying to grind out through that class is more likely to hurt you than not. It's definitely not going to help you. You're going to have to slow down. Most likely you're going to be ginger on that knee and you're not going to get the full benefit of doing the class. Now, does that mean you completely quit the class? And that might be no, it might be. Yes, it really depends on the nature of what you've done. But if you feel like all you've done is a little twist and maybe you'll be fine, just slow it down, go into just marching in place.
If you want to continue moving for the remainder of the ten minutes and not walk out in the middle of that class or actually towards the end of that class, then maybe the pivot is just you down scaling to a point where you're still moving and still getting work done and everything is great. I at one point in a CrossFit class hurt my back, I tweaked my back, and so I just quit. I tried to go a little bit further. I'm like, no, this is not working for me.
I can't do these movements as well as I want to. I can't use the form I want to and it hurts. I stopped, I quit, and that turned out to be a really good decision because I didn't do exceptional damage to myself. I had done some, but it was really just a strain instead of something that could have been much, much worse. So recognizing your body's limitations, knowing when it's time to quit, when it's time to stick, or maybe just stick and adapt a pivot. Those are good.
Now, these questions about stick, stick and pivot and quit when you start talking about fitness are really hard because we have two things happening. We have this drive for ego that a lot of us share, and then we have this drive to laziness that a lot of us have. If you feel like you're quitting just because it's getting hard or you're slowing down as a pivot just because it's getting hard, that's not necessarily a justified reason. Again, exercise is helping. You can do it. You're not harming yourself.
So in this particular case, there's not really a good reason to quit. But if you find yourself where you're pushing yourself past your boundaries, what you're capable of doing, and you risk injury. It is definitely time to quit or downsize to enough where you know you're not in harm's way. So again, that's a harder area, but it's one that if you want to stay in the game, which is key, you have to obey fitness rule number one, thy shall not hurt themselves. So managing how you do this and staying within that sweet spot of not letting ego get in the way and not letting laziness get in the way, that's going to be a key here.
So the fifth and final health driver is avoiding toxicity. So here's the first scenario. You're wearing a smartwatch and this could be Apple Fitbit, garmin, whatever. And you notice your heart rate goes up when you read posts from certain persons on social media, stick, stick and pivot or quit? Now, I know every one of us has some of these people that they turn social media into a battleground. They're always posting material that is just hard for you to stomach. They're a good friend, but some of the positions they take, some of the things they put on social media just really aggravates you.
They cause you stress, they hurt you. And maybe you've even had a few conversations with them there, and they've always ended up poorly. Is this a stick? Is this a quit or is this a stick and pivot? Now, for most of the time, because of social media, my position is just go ahead and quit. Don't respond to their posts. In fact, maybe you can even do the function that allows you to unfollow them. You're still their friend on Facebook. You just don't see their posts. And if it's more egregious and it's a problem, then you just block them on social media.
You tell them in person, I can't deal with your social media. So I'm going to block you, not the personal friend, but I don't want that on my feet. I don't want that in my life. So you quit in a sense, my social media, something that maybe I haven't talked about in here is that I break my Facebook up into two profiles. So if you actually went out and searched for me, you would see that I have two profiles on Facebook. Now, one is my business profile, and that's where I interact with you.
If you want to be my friend, you look up AllanMisner.CPT. And that's my work, my training profile. And that's where I have conversations with clients. I have great friends in the industry, and I enjoy the conversations there. And I don't worry about the political posts. I don't even pay attention to them. And then I have my personal personal, which is family and friends. I would say 99% of those folks I actually have met in person and have personal relationships with. And so yeah, some of them are going to post some things that whatever I don't agree with, but I only check that really to pay attention to friends and family and see what's going on here on the island.
I don't spend a lot of time on my personal personal Facebook because there's just not material out there that I'm all that interested in other than staying informed about what's going on with my family, some of my friends and what's going on on this island. So that's the only time I check back on that profile. And maybe once a week again, I saw that that was toxic. I saw a lot of toxicity in that, and I came up with a pivot and that pivot works very well for me.
You can also again do the other pivot where you're not actually blocking someone, but you're not following them or other settings within your Facebook, where you can control your feed and you're seeing the things that you really want to see without dealing with this much toxicity. The second scenario I want to talk about in the health driver of avoiding toxicity, you decide to read the label on your personal care products, and I'll tell you right now, the Environmental Working Group has a great app to help you do that.
It's go to www.Ewg.Org/apps and this site when you go there, you can literally scan the barcode with your phone, your smartphone, and it'll tell you whether this stuff is toxic or where it rates. So let's say now you've used that app and you've looked at your personal care products and you notice that your favorite shampoo and conditioner rank very poorly on this rating scale. And so now here you are. You love this condition of the shampoo. It works great. It makes your hair feel look good.
Everything is awesome when you feel when you're using this product, but now you find out it has some problems. It has some allergens in it, maybe some carcinogens, that type of thing. Do you stick, stick and pivot or quit? Now, the thing about toxicity is it tends to be cumulative. Rather, it's chemical, biological or social or relationship stuff. It tends to be cumulative. If you're in a toxic situation, it doesn't get better if you just reduce the amount of toxicity that you're taking in, it's still cumulative.
It's still adding in. So for many of these things, you need to get away from toxicity. And I would say the answer is going to be quit. It's very seldom that you can pivot on those types of things, but there are exceptions. So if this brand of shampoo and conditioner that you're using is a good brand and that particular type of product is the problem, maybe you move to another product that they have that's hypoallergenic or has less of these things in it, and that's a better option for you to continue to use a brand that you enjoy and works well for you.
But cut back on that toxicity. But in a general sense, I would say most of the time the answer related to toxicity if it's a product or a relationship is to quit. Now, that's easier said than done. But I have done it, and you can, too. So I hope this all made sense. I tried to come up with some examples that would show you on either side of the stick or quit model, and then some that were in that stick and pivot range. As you can tell, this isn't as simple.
And since there are thousands and thousands of things that you do every day, there's a lot going on. There's a lot for you to consider as you look at this. So for that reason, I would say, focus on the big rocks. Think about the things that you do or don't do that would move the needle. If you know there are things that you're doing now that just adversely affect you, like smoking. That's a no brainer. It's a quit. So there are things you're doing that really it's time to quit.
There are other things that you're doing that are actually for good, but they're not giving you the results. That's the time to reassess. And as you're going through this analysis, I think it's really important for you to keep your why and your vision in sight, because the things that you're doing should always align with that. If they don't, then it's a quit. So the why is the reason you're doing this? Why are you working on your health and fitness now? And when you come to that, it's this emotional, deep thing.
It becomes so important to you that there's no other option. You're not going to say no. Okay, so when you're doing these things, it's the question of am I doing it the right way? Can I pivot? And then if it's not working, find a different route.
Now, the vision is where you ultimately want to go with this activity, with what you're doing, with what you're eating, fitness, nutrition, all of it. All those things are driving you towards some vision of yourself. And so you're building these little habits, these little mile markers that are measurable as you're going through this process. And as you look at what you're doing, if you're not seeing the progress to get to that next mile marker, that's time to evaluate. And when you evaluate things, you have to get rid of things you can tweak.
And that's called the pivot. And then things you just bear down and keep doing because they are working. You just have to keep at it. So if you're interested in exploring these things a little bit more, whether you should quit, whether you should stick and pivot or quit, I'd encourage you to join us on Facebook at our Facebook group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.Com/group. And there you can go ahead and ask questions. Maybe you have something you're dealing with and you just like the sounding board of hey, what do you think?
What are some ideas here? Because maybe quoting doesn't really make sense to you, and maybe sticking to it doesn't make any sense. We've got to find that middle ground of the stick, maybe stick and pivot. So there might be these other alternatives that I can share with you in that forum. So again, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.Com/group. Go ahead and start a conversation there about your particular situation, and we can try to figure out the right alternatives for you.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Eric More||– Leigh Tanner|
|– Deb Scarlett||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Debbie Ralston||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Eliza Lamb||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
One of the hardest things to get past on our health and fitness journey is realizing that we have to prioritize ourselves so we can be who we need to be for the people we care about. On this episode, we discuss ways to know when your priorities are out of whack and what you can do about it.
Today, I want to get into a mindset. Topic that is actually probably one of the most important obstacles that many people face when they're looking to get healthy and fit, and it's not something that goes away without a little bit of work.
And so the question comes up is, are you prioritizing yourself?
Are you probably prioritizing your health and fitness? And it's it sounds like a simple thing, but it's actually a very deep, deep emotional mental adjustment to to have that kind of mindset where you are prioritizing yourself. So I want to dive into it a little bit. But before we go too far, we can start with something as simple as a little quiz. And so there's only three questions to this quiz.
So don't think we're going to be on here for a long time. It's not but three questions. And I want you to rate yourself from a one, which is this is completely untrue to a six – this describes me perfectly. OK, so again, one is the low end of the scale is completely untrue. Up to six, this is a good description of you. How how you actually feel, how you think.
OK, the first one is: I put others wishes before my own or else I feel guilty.
The second one is: I give more to other people than I get back in return.
And then the final one is: I'm so busy doing for the people whom I care about, that I have little time for myself.
All right, now add up those scores and think to yourself about what that number means, and I'll tell you what it means if that number. Is higher than, say, five or six, you might have a problem. You're not prioritizing yourself and what you're basically doing is self-sacrificing. You're taking others and saying they're so much more important than me that I can't do the things for myself that are necessary for me to be healthy and fit.
And I'm not going to jump into the whole airplane put your mask on thing. But this is a concept that unless you break through this effort of prioritizing yourself, if you are a self-sacrificer or you're really going to struggle to get healthy and fit and stay healthy and fit because it's never going to be the priority you need it to be.
A lot of people love those simple rules of the 80-20, and I try to tell people 80-20 is perfect when you're in maintenance mode. 80 at 20 is great. You can stay healthy and be healthy. The problem is for most of us, we're not already healthy. We're not at the weight we want to be at. We're not as strong as we need to be. And as a result, we need to put in more than 80%. If you don't prioritize yourself, that's just not going to happen.
So the first thing we have to look at when we are having this conversation is to actually think about the inner voice that we have, that voice that that tells you how you feel about something that's happening. So an event happens, maybe your alarm doesn't go off and you're late for work. You're going to be late for work. What does your inner voice tell you about that event? And that inner voice is the story, it's the story of our lives from an internal perspective. It often doesn't actually reflect reality.
And I want to take you through and this week, or at least for the next few days, I want you to think about some of the words that that inner voice is using, some of the things that you probably think. And the best way to kind of break that down for me is this phraseology called “absolute words.” And so I want you to pay attention to that inner voice over the course of the next day or two and maybe a little longer and see how often you use words like have to, need, must, ought to, should.
If you find yourself using those words a lot, those are absolute words. That means that your inner voice is feeding you something and saying this is an absolute necessity. You have to do it this way. And if that's the case, then you're not going to change. You're not. Whatever you think you have to do, you will do whatever you think you should do, you will probably do. Whatever you need to do, whatever someone else needs or you think is needed. And then obviously the word must if you must do something, it's something you've got to do and therefore you do it.
If you're not using those absolute words for your own health and fitness, then you're likely using them for other things. And if you are, that's a clear indication that you're not prioritizing your wellbeing. It's just not happening because these other haves, musts, ought tos, and shoulds are getting in your way.
So what's an easy solution for us with regards to these absolute words?
Well, one, when you catch yourself doing this, using those words and it's not toward you, it's not something that you are doing for you. Like I can say, I have to work out today. Obviously, that's not a bad phrase. It is an absolute. The absolute is about me taking care of myself. But if I say I've got to get the food for the kids, I must take them to the ball practice. I must do this and then I must make sure I get this report done at work. If I have all these other musts in my life, it'll be very hard for me to make sure that I go through it. So if I catch myself using one of these absolute words.
Again, there have to, need, must, ought, and should.
If you find yourself using those words with relation to someone else or something else besides your health and fitness, you need to stop and take a step back. And reevaluate if that is an absolute. In many cases, it's not. The world is not going to end if you don't do something that you had to do, that you should have done, that you ought to do, the world might not end. And so taking a moment to take that half step back and evaluate that statement that you just your inner voice just told you that is getting in the way of you being healthy and fit.
It's time to rephrase that and going through the practice of where your is telling you, you know, you must be home by 6:30pm so you don't have time to work out. Well, do you have to be home by 6:30pm. Just ask yourself that question. What happens if I'm not there? Then dinner's not ready at 7:00pm. Dinner's ready at what, maybe 7:30pm? Maybe your spouse can assist you by making dinner tonight. Maybe you go ahead and you order from a food company that delivers healthy choices and you order food in for the family.
So in many cases, when you catch yourself using an absolute word that is not geared towards you being healthy and fit when you really, truly need and want to prioritize yourself in your health and fitness, you've got to change the script. You've got to stop evaluate whether it's true. And I'll tell you, in most cases it's not true.
You're not going to get fired for being five minutes late for work. You're just not. Now, you might if you're constantly late. But for most people out there, a lot of the absolute words we have in our head are actually not true. They're stories that we're telling ourselves. They're stories that we're living to. And as a result, we're not getting the health and fitness that we deserve.
So I just used the word there, and I'm actually getting to a point in my life where I really kind of love words and those kind of things that they mean and what they bring up and how we relate to them. And so I'm using the word deserve.
And I can say with absolute clarity, you deserve self-care. You deserve to be able to take care of yourself. You deserve to be healthy and fit. So what does self-care actually look like?
Well, first and foremost, it includes self-love. I've asked many of my clients if they love themselves enough to do this for themselves. And it was funny because one of the first clients I ever had, her name was Sandy. She said she wasn't sure. Now, the problem came up and Sandy didn't follow through with everything we were doing, despite seeing good results at first. And I break it down to that point, she did not have the self-love necessary to make a change, to do the hard thing.
And so self-love is that expression where you care about yourself as much as you care about anyone else. It doesn't mean that you don't love other people as much because love is not this finite thing that we have that if I give this to this person, I don't have any left for me. That's not how love works. Love is infinite. And so you should be exploring yourself and understanding that if you don't start from my point of self-love, the commitment's never going to be there and you're not going to see the results. So if you find yourself having these kind of conversations where you're not liking yourself and that inner voice is actually a butthole. You need to work on your self-love. You need to actually sit down and start talking yourself through why you're worthy, why you deserve this, why you would love yourself. And I'm 100 percent sure you're going to come up with a ton of great reasons why you should love yourself and then you should love yourself.
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The next thing that comes in is you need to be frank and honest and you need to be frank and honest with not just other people. You need to be frank and honest with yourself. If the inner voice is, like I said, being a butthole, be honest about it. Understand, I have kind of a crappy self-image right now. What are the things I can do to improve that self-image? What are the things I can do to make that inner voice nicer?
Eliminating some of those absolute words is a good first step for that, but you've got to have this inner honesty. You've got to be honest with yourself and understand what's going on. And then, yes, you have to be frank and honest with the people around you. If you're going to do something for yourself, it often means that there's things that you would have been doing for someone else that you're now not able to do. They're going to live. They're going to be fine. But change in your life often means change in others.
I talked in my book, The Wellness Roadmap, about understanding the baggage that you have when you're traveling and how that can affect your path. Now, what I didn't say in there, but it should have been implied is you still need to have a vehicle. You still need to be moving forward. Your pace might be a little different, but you still have to be frank and honest with the people around you that the changes you're making are important to you and should be important to them, because in 99.9% of the cases out there, your why is them? You want to be healthy and you want to be fit for your kids, you and you and your grandkids. And you want to be there for your spouse and you don't want to be an obligation later in life to them because you want to be able to take care of yourself and you want that opportunity to be the person you're supposed to be.
And they should want that for you, too. So being honest and frank with them as far as what you need to be successful, is going to go a long way towards not having them resenting you for going to the gym every day or resenting you because you're not baking as often as you used to bake. Those types of things. So being frank and honest with yourself and others is a very important step towards self-care.
The next is consistency and frequency. You can't do something once and say, OK, that's my self-care for the month. It just doesn't quite work like that. Yes, going and getting a mani-pedi for some people are getting a massage is a great luxury for many and doing it once a month might be plenty. It would be for me. But to actually do what's necessary for you to be healthy and fit, it needs to become a part of a lifestyle that is frequent enough that it will elicit change. So if you're going to say lift weights, you can't lift weights once and say, well, gee, I don't understand why I'm not muscular. I don't understand why I didn't put on much muscle or because you didn't do it enough. Okay? So there has to be a frequency to it that is enough to stimulate a change in your body, to stimulate change in you.
And then the consistency part just means that doing something over and over and over is where you're going to get your real results. I had that conversation with Dr. Pontzer not long ago, and we talked about how you're not going to be able to lose a ton of weight really, really quickly without your body reacting to it at some level. And, so that reaction, which your body is going to do to change up your metabolism, that's going to happen. It's going to happen for all of us. Our bodies were made to do that so we can survive. But the consistency of doing the little things over and over and over, over time is where you kind of make this.
I was having a conversation with my clients the other day. And one of the things I said to them was the Grand Canyon was not built by something major coming through there and digging it out. It was that slow trickle of a small river over many, many years, millions of years, that made the Grand Canyon what it is today. And so you need that little trickle. You need that consistency to see monumental changes in your health and fitness.
So if you have a long journey to take before you're healthy and fit, you need the patience. But you also need that consistency. You have to keep showing up and you have to do it enough where your body recognizes the stimulus and reacts.
And then the final bit on the self-care, what it looks like. It's about an investment. If you're not willing to invest some time, effort, and money into yourself, you're not likely to see the results that you really want to have. Now, the biggest investment is going to be time and effort. You're going to have to make change and you're going to have to spend some time doing this. It's not just going to happen. As I mentioned before, we have a frequency and we have a consistency that has to happen. For that to happen, you have to invest time and effort towards making these things happen.
And then the money part can be a little bit of money. It can be as little as you're investing in some good quality shoes, or it can be as big as saying I'm going to build a home gym and I'm going to spend thousands of dollars to do that. For most people, the investment is somewhere in the middle of that. A small gym membership isn't all that expensive and it's hiring a trainer. When you look at the results that you get often isn't that expensive. If it's going to get you down the road faster.
My wife is working on building up a bed and breakfast, and the guy that was working it was him and his son. And he said, I've got these two other guys to come in and help. And she's like, sure. And the whole thing was by investing a little bit more each week, she's going to get the job done faster. So now she's got four people working instead of two. So the work's getting done faster. And that's what you have to think about with regards to where money can play a role in helping you with this whole thing.
So to kind of wrap this all up, if you did that quiz, that self-sacrificing quiz and you scored, twelve, if you scored thirteen or if you scored eighteen, then you have a self-sacrificing problem. And if you find that your inner voice is not your best friend, you've got a priority problem. Those are two internal things that you really have to get a grasp on.
And a couple of the ways that you can easily see this happening beyond just doing the quiz I talked about is to look for how often you're using those absolute words. They are using absolute words to define what you're supposed to do for someone else and not for yourself, something that would pull you away from doing something for yourself. Those are those trigger words. Those are the things that will tell you where you need to address your time and effort and you need to go and take that step back and analyze what that actually means. Is it actually true in most cases you're going to find it's not.
And then finally, self-care takes an investment. You have to love yourself. You've got to be open and honest with yourself. You've got to be consistent. You've got to put in a frequency of things happening so you can see change. And that typically takes an investment of time, effort and/or money.
So I hope you took something valuable from this lesson. If you did, I'd love to talk to you about it in more detail on the Facebook group. You can go to https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, and we can have a great conversation there about your inner voice, about whether you are prioritizing yourself so you can get the health and fitness you deserve.
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Before we get into today's episode, I would like to ask you if you would take just a moment to vote for The Wellness Roadmap in the Author Academy Awards. We've made it as a top 10 finalist in the health category. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist, and that'll take you to their website. You'll find a little arrow down the page a little bit. You can scroll to page 7 of 16 that's the health category. Just click on the book title, you don't have to give them any information about yourself. Just click on the book title and that will secure your vote for The Wellness Roadmap. Again, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist. Thank you. This award means a lot to me and your vote means the world to me. Thank you.
So today's episode is the third part of a mindset series. On episode 397, we talked about prioritization and time management by utilizing a tool that I created called the identity grid. You probably do better to go back and listen to the last two episodes, but you don't have to. I'm gonna try to make each episode stand-alone, but if you want to get the whole picture, I will probably be flashing back to that grid.
Also on episode 398, I kinda got into the getting the wellness, the things that you'll need to do to make that happen that include pushing outside your comfort zone, uh, applying your energies the right way and not overstressing yourself. Um, and then just looking at it more like a program rather than a project. So I'd encourage you to go back and listen to 397 and 398 if you haven't already, but I will try to make this episode stand-alone.
Today we're going to talk about commitment. Are you committed?
I talked to my clients, fairly regularly about this topic. I've talked on the podcast about it a few times, uh, but I can't under stress or overstress that the importance of commitment. If you really want to accomplish major wellness changes in your life, it's really just not going to happen if you're not committed to change. Because change is probably the hardest thing for a human being to do. Our bodies are naturally designed to find balance, are naturally designed to get to a comfortable place under what stress and daily living requirements we have today. So if you can get away with being 200 pounds overweight, your body's gonna let you be 200 pounds overweight, uh, because you can, and you can get away with it. And we can work around all these different things that used to set us back, but we figure it out.
You know, um, if you're unable to get up from a toilet because you're older and your legs aren't strong enough, put rails in the bathroom now that's going to help you for a period of time and then eventually you'll probably lose that arm strength. I don't want that to be my future. So I've made a commitment to ensure that I keep myself healthy and strong. So that isn't my future. That isn't who I am. That isn't how I identify. So I've set up an identity for myself that includes doing regular fitness training. And so as you look at that though, showing up is hard. Our bodies naturally want to be in that balance. So what do we do to break that balance? To break what our body calls, what they call in our body homeostasis. While it takes stimulus, stimulus takes work. So if we want to improve our overall health, we improve the foods that we're eating.
If we want to improve our overall fitness, we have to push ourselves across the different modalities that we use to define fitness. If you've read the book of The Wellness Roadmap, uh, that's up for an Author Academy Award. I talk about that in the book. Fitness is basically fit for task. It means that you're capable of doing the things that you want to do in your life. So for me, at 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt. I want to be able to get up off the toilet. So I'm going to need to be fit enough to make that happen. For some of us right now, fitness can be, I want to basically be able to go on hikes and spend time with my family and not be overly fatigued or down and out the next day. Um, I want to be able to lift things that need lifting around the house.
I want to be able to open jars for myself and my wife. I want to be able to do those basic things that as we get older, sarcopenia and Osteopenia kinda take away from us if we're not doing something about it. So how do we make this commitment and how do we make it a commitment that we're going to stick to? Because face it, all of us do resolutions. All of us do our diets, all of us have done fitness regimes before and failed. And the reason most of us fail is this lack of commitment, a resolution, a goal, a diet there. They're all words. We used to fail that because so many people do. There's no, there's no jeopardy to it. There is no disgrace to it. It just, yeah, I tried a new diet and I fell off the wagon. I'll get back on it on Monday.
Well, today's Tuesday a well, okay, well, yeah, Monday. Um, there's all these different reasons we don't do it. But a commitment is very, very different. When you make a commitment, you're starting from a point of self-love. You're starting from a point that's very, very deep and emotional. And if you've ever made that type of commitment before, you'll really begin to resonate and understand what I'm talking about when you say you're going to do something for someone you love, you do it. Um, if you say you're going to pick up your spouse at the airport at five o'clock, you're at the airport at five o'clock. So if you make the same kind of commitment to yourself with the same basis of self-love, that you're going to be at the gym at five o'clock, then you'll be at the gym at five o'clock and not at the drive-through at McDonald's.
So that's where this comes from. The commitment comes from this really, really deep, deep emotional well, it's gotta be something that really touches you. It has to be a part of, as I've said over the course of this last few weeks, it has to be a part of how you identify. If you don't identify yourself as someone who's getting fit, it's not going to happen. When you get married, you make the commitment. You go from being engaged to married. You go from saying fiance to spouse. Now, you might verbally trip that up a few times, but in your head you know that commitment's there, you feel that commitment, you've made that commitment and you made it in a rather public way. So I encourage you, if you're really looking to to make a commitment, start with something deep and emotional and then make it public.
Now I provide online personal training and you can come to me, go to the website, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com and you can find links there to look up our group training and you can make that commitment to us. We're on a Facebook group, we're on our regular weekly calls. You can email me, we can have regular conversations about this commitment you have and keeping you on track. So make it deep, make it public and then beyond all kind of know what this is going to look like. You know a lot of people get married young and they don't know that type of people they're going to be when they get older, they really haven't set that vision. That's why a lot of people will say, wait a little while before you get married, so you really know what you're getting into. So you really know the vision of the direction that your life is going to go and where you want it to go.
I got married when I was 21 now. Was that a mistake? I guess so because I'm not married to her anymore, but at the same time it was just a part of my life lessons and I learned from it. So I'm not going to call it a mistake, but I do know that if I had known my path a little bit better at that point in time and had a better vision and we shared that vision and it was the same deep and emotional thing, that commitment would have stood time. It just would have. But we didn't do that. So make a commitment. And again, I can't stress this enough, deep and emotional, make it public and know what it means. Have that vision. So you have the why and you have the vision and you put those together and you make it public. That's your commitment and it needs to be based on self-love.
It doesn't need to be based on fear. Fear will only get you so far before you forget the fear and you revert back to old activities, but love sticks with you. Fear is something you feel in a movie theater and then you walk out of the theater and you're not afraid anymore. Love is something that you just keep on feeling. It's deep. It's emotional, it's chemical. It's a part of who you identify as. So take the time to build a solid commitment so we can make this fitness and health thing happen for you. Like I said, if you need a coach, reach out to me. I'd be glad to get on a 15-minute call with you just to kind of fare at some of this stuff out so you can get a little, get to know me a little bit better so I can get to know you a little bit better.
Online personal training isn't for everybody, but if you want to just get on the phone, have a consult, absolutely free. Come check it out. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com and you're going to find a link right there on the sidebar. If it's, if you're on the phone, you may have to scroll down a little bit before you see it, but just get in there, get to know me and figure it out. We can help you set this commitment. We can get to your why, we can get to your vision. We can put that together into a very solid commitment that could change your life, so do check it out.
before you get too far away, please do take a moment to go over to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist scroll to page 7 of 16 find The Wellness Roadmap. It's actually the first book on the list for health category at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist and then you just click on the cover and it'll take just a couple minutes for you to get over there and find the page and and vote for the book. I really do appreciate it. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist and vote for The Wellness Roadmap today.
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In her book, The Elephant in the Gym, Gillian Goerzen helps us understand how our mindset can make or break our fitness goals.
Allan (1:14): Gillian, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (1:18): Hello. Thank you so much for having me. What a delight.
Allan (1:23): Your book is called The Elephant in the Gym, and I had two thoughts when I first saw the title. One of these, I don’t like the connotation, and the other one I was like, “That would actually be a good book.” I’m glad you went with the good book route.
Gillian Goerzen (1:42): Yay! That was one of my biggest concerns when I came up with the title. I was trail running actually and I came up with this title. We were having this conversation and it’s like, “The elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about. Hey, it’s the elephant in the gym!” I was with my running mates, and the first thing that comes up was, “Am I the elephant in the gym?” Of course I was like, “No, no. Oh gosh, the subtitle’s going to have to be really clear that they are not the elephant in the gym.”
Allan (2:12): I do want to talk to that for a moment, because I think a lot of people are going to find this podcast probably in January when they’re making these decisions, and they’re going to go into the gym and feel a little uncomfortable with it. The people in the gym – other than the fact the gym gets really crowded in in January, so the people that are there all the time might be a little frustrated that they have to wait on a machine they’ve never had to wait on – but they want you in the gym. They want the gym to be successful, the gym owner to be doing what they’re doing and changing lives. And more than likely that person you see over there by the weight rack that somewhat intimidates you – at one point, they either walked in there as a scrawny 14-year-old kid, or they came in there feeling like they were an elephant. And now they’ve done this hard work over a period of time and they’ve changed. So I would look at that. I would hope people going into the gym for the first time – I know you feel intimidated and I know you want to run over and get on that treadmill – fight that urge. Get into the culture of the gym. It’s a culture of change. It’s actually a culture of comradery. The gym is a wonderful place to be once you get over that hurdle and you start getting comfortable in your own skin.
Gillian Goerzen (3:30): Really finding the right gym for you. You might come into one facility and think… We’re all so caught up in our own stories, in our own head, we make up these stories about what we think other people are thinking about us, but they’re 99.9% of the time wrong, because we actually are perceiving things that aren’t there. Most people, when they see other people just getting started, they think, “Gosh, way to go! Good for them. I’m so glad to see more people coming in.” So one is, get past that idea that we have in our head, but secondly, finding a facility that really resonates with you and has a similar philosophy to you, that you feel really welcomed in. I always like to say that we want to find that Cheers experience. You come in and everybody knows your name, and you feel really welcomed. It’s that community and collaboration that you were talking about.
Allan (4:27): And that happens; it’s just going to take a little bit of time, because when you first walk in the gym, we kind of expect that you’re only going to be there for three weeks and then you’re going to be gone. A lot of people aren’t going to invest. And people are not staring at you. They’re just watching to make sure you don’t do something to hurt yourself, because they’ve been there and done that. Fortunately though, that’s not what this book is about.
Gillian Goerzen (4:51): No, it’s not.
Allan (4:53): This is about the conversations that you have with yourself, and how we actually get in our own way.
Gillian Goerzen (5:02): Amen. Sure do.
Allan (5:07): You start out in the early part in the book and you told this story of the two wolves. Would you mind sharing that? I really think that if people can wrap their head around this story and remind themselves of this story on a regular basis, this is going to solve a lot of problems.
Gillian Goerzen (5:27): I agree. It’s a beautiful story. It’s a First Nations story, for those who aren’t familiar with it. And as the story goes, a grandfather is telling his grandson about a battle he has going on within himself. So there are two wolves – there’s one good and there’s one evil. And the grandson asks, “Which one will win, Grandfather?” And he replies, “The one I feed.” As the story goes, it’s not really about eliminating the evil wolf; it’s about nourishing the wolf you want to thrive. So if we take that metaphor into the health conversation, into how we treat ourselves, it’s not about getting rid of the struggle; it’s about nourishing the ways that we’re being successful. It’s about nourishing the ways we are building ourselves up. It’s about nourishing what we need to grow, shift and develop. So instead of fighting against the things that aren’t working, focusing on the things that are working, the wonderful things that we are already doing, because there’s always some. When I talk to clients, it’s always that we tend to focus on the things we aren’t doing instead of the things we are doing. And when reframe and turn people around to the, “But tell me about what you are doing. What did you do this past week to help yourself, to move yourself forward to health?” – there are always way more things than they even realized. And once they see those, they’re like, “I actually did quite a bit for myself this week. Awesome. Let’s build from there.” And that’s what creates more momentum. That magical motivation that we all seek is seeing that we’re actually already doing things. And you get to develop belief in yourself, the self-efficacy, the self-confidence in your capabilities.
Allan (7:18): I think when you’re going through something, you need to take that slight step back and say, “Is this a good wolf or a bad wolf?” More than likely, if you have a negative feeling, if you’re feeling down, if you’re not feeling good about yourself, you’re probably feeding the bad wolf, and it’s time to stop. So, take that step back and say, “There’s a reason why I’m not satisfied with what’s going on with my life, or my health, or my fitness.” You’ve got to take that step back and figure out what’s the wolf you need to feed to move this thing forward.
Gillian Goerzen (7:52): Absolutely.
Allan (7:54): You have a concept in the book that I really, really liked and I think a lot of people will. Again, we’re getting close to January, so people are probably getting into that premise of thinking, “I’ve got to set a resolution. I’m going to go to the gym five days a week and I’m going to cut out processed foods and try to sleep eight hours a night.” They set these standards of what they’re going to do, and actually some of them work for about three weeks, and then they miss a day at the gym. And that missing the day at the gym, they feed the bad wolf and they say, “Well, I missed Thursday. I may as well just skip Friday.” So, you have this concept called the “health zone”, which I think is going to set people into a really good state of mind, to constantly be feeding the good wolf. Can you talk about the health zone?
Gillian Goerzen (9:01): Totally. You really hit it on the head. Why I developed the health zone was that I kept having these conversations with my clients about, they’d map out this criteria for themselves, this very black-and-white, very binary relationship with what they needed to do to, in their heads, be successful with their health – whether that was going to the gym three times a week, whether that was not eating processed foods, whatever. It’s similar examples to what you were mentioning. What I noticed was when they made one choice that took them out of that very black-and-white, very binary criteria, they decided that they’d failed. And when they decided that they failed and fed that evil wolf, what ends up happening is this domino effect, but not in the direction we want. We skipped the gym, so then we think, “Today’s kind of a write-off. I’m going to have an indulgent lunch.” And then indulgent lunch leads to mid-afternoon coffee with a special treat, it leads to drive-through for dinner, it leads to not getting to bed on time, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And then start fresh tomorrow. That domino effect leads us down a path that’s not really conducive to our health, when all it was was that we maybe needed to sleep in a little bit that morning and skip the gym. One workout off doesn’t negate the two workouts that person had already done in the week.
So the idea of the health zone was to get people out of that binary, black-and-white thinking, was to really look at our lives and give ourselves more flexibility, more room, more grace to live in a range of activities. For example, instead of having a quota of, “I’m going to exercise three days per week for this much time”, or whenever I’m going to do – saying instead, “I’m going to move my body two to four days per week for a minimum of 15 minutes, and I’m going to be happy no matter where I fall in that range. No matter where I fall in that range, I’m actually still being successful.” So, it comes down to looking at that whole health range and thinking what are our, I call them, “non-negotiables”. The bottom of the range is this idea of, what are the non-negotiable health habits I’m going to maintain no matter what? Think brushing your teeth. No matter how busy we get, most of us, 90% of the time, brush our teeth twice a day. We don’t even really think about it. It’s a health habit we maintain because we see the value in doing that. So, what are the other health habits we can maintain at the bottom end of that health zone no matter what, and engage and feeling successful, and feeding the good wolf? And then at the other end of the range would be your optimal habits. Not like the sunshine and rainbows optimal habits, where it’s not going to work with your actual real life, but what’s going to work with your real life if things were swimming along in a reasonable fashion – no major bumps in life, but regular life. What would you be doing on the other end of that spectrum? And so, finding that kind of range and no matter where you fall in that, feeling really successful about the choices you’ve made.
Allan (12:31): The thing I like about this is, if you’re doing anything positive, even a small step in the right direction can make a huge difference over time. We don’t realize we were potentially living very, very unhealthy lives, and now we’re not doing that anymore. We’re better. But if you set this bar and say, “I have to be at this level” and you don’t reach that, is that going to be the thing that knocks you off permanently? And so, it’s just a function of setting that bottom level and that top level, and then trying to make sure that you have strategies in your life that keep you accountable and successful within that range.
Gillian Goerzen (13:12): Totally. I always tell my clients, something is better than nothing. If you can even do 10 minutes of a workout and just go for a 10 minute walk, isn’t that better than doing nothing? If we actually step back and objectively look at it, we’re all going to go, “Of course.” Isn’t two servings of vegetables better than none? Yeah, absolutely it is. One glass of water is better than no glasses of water, or three is better than two. All of these steps in the right direction help us, and again, doing them consistently, of course, is what is the big, big clincher.
Allan (13:52): With the book, The Elephant in the Gym, you set 10, what you call “Super You” principles, and you have a chapter about each one. We have a lot of information about each one of these so we can’t dive deep into each one. But I would like, if you don’t mind sharing the ten, and just giving us a general overview of what that means in context to our health and fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (14:15): Absolutely. I really wanted a way to wrap up each chapter, and the key message I want you to walk away from the chapter with. It becomes, in essence, a summary of the book. The first one is really about, be you. You’re unique, and so is your health, is the principle. The big thing I always want people to take away is, there’s no other person on the planet that’s exactly like you. There’s no one right way to be healthy either, because everybody is different. We all have different genetics, interests, priorities, values. We need to find the way that works for us and our lives. That’s the first one. The second one is to really embrace our humanity. There’s unfortunately this misconception that there’s a “perfect” out there, that if I just follow this program perfectly and I will do this, then I will be healthy. But it doesn’t work that way. It’s about really focusing on being human, embracing the fact that you are human, and that you will ebb and flow and you will make mistakes. It’s about learning to give yourself some compassion in those moments and learning from those changes. The third one is to show up, to really trust the process, whatever process you choose, and actually take action and move yourself forward. The fourth one is to unlock your potential. That one’s really about knowing and acknowledging that you are both your loudest critic and your biggest cheerleader. Again, that’s that evil wolf, good wolf. You can feed the loudest critic or you can be your biggest cheerleader. But part of that is that mindfulness, becoming aware of where you’re being very hard on yourself, and then how you shift that tide. And I talk about some really tangible strategies in that chapter. Number five is practicing patience and perseverance. One of guiding things in the fitness industry and the health industry is, everybody wants that quick fix, but quick doesn’t usually equal sustainable, unfortunately. We all want that dramatic result, but the dramatic result usually requires extreme measures, and those are rarely sustainable in anybody’s real life. So, understanding that things will take time, change isn’t easy. Be willing to put the work in and acknowledge that it will be tough, that there will be a struggle, and it’s very human to struggle and that’s okay.
The next one is to really explore the science and practice the art. I come from a background of a degree in Kinesiology, and I’ve done a lot of work and study over the years of the science, the physiology of exercise and how do we be healthy. There’s a tremendous amount of science to all of this – to health and to fitness. And how you apply it in your life is an art. So I say, “Explore the science, practice the art.” It’s about acknowledging what the actual science is – not the pseudo-science, the actual science. And then understanding how you apply it to your life is an art. The next one is to reclaim your relationship with food. Of course, I couldn’t have a health book without an acknowledgement around the nutrition piece. Again, nutrition science – super complex topic, but I think we’ve overcomplicated it in a lot of ways. I have 10 tips that I offer in that chapter to really reconnect to our relationship with food. We talk about, “Fly the white flag.” Let’s stop having this really intense battle with food. Food is what we need to nourish our bodies, but also to nourish our souls. And then, yawning your way to success. The other piece that we often don’t talk about in this health conversation is sleep. I call it the “unsung hero of health”. We need to be as a culture shifting our conversation and really putting more value back to sleep, because it’s really huge. And I talk about the science behind that as well. And the final one is, own it – your health, your fitness, and your life. Own that you’re going to have a unique vision, and then create that for yourself. Create a plan and an approach to health and fitness that really feels good and grounded in your life right now as it is, so that you can evolve and grow your health and wellness throughout the course of your life. Because what my health and wellness looked like when I was 20 is different than it looks like at 40.
Allan (18:56): Absolutely. I think anyone that’s hearing these “Super You” principles that you have, that resonates with us. That’s the message that I’ve had on this podcast since the beginning, almost three years ago, and this is episode 350. We’ve been having this conversation, so these principles are not new to us, but the base point is, we have to take that step back and remind ourselves why we’re doing this and what’s going on. Each of these principles is addressing a different part of both our mental reflection of our lives, and then the actions we take after we have made these decisions and we’re making these choices.
Gillian Goerzen (19:44): Absolutely. I would say the first part of the book is really addressing what you’ve been up against – all the struggle that we’ve been facing and what’s actually holding you back. And then the second half of the book is really about, where do we go from here? Where do we go now that we’ve become aware of this? We see the elephant in the gym; now, how do we address it? How do we move forward in a powerful and empowered way, so that we feel we are in the driver’s seat in our own life? And not feeling like we’re looking outside of ourselves to someone else to tell us this magic solution, that if we just follow this magic solution that this individual with lots of likes on Facebook is going to tell me what to do; and really putting the power back on ourselves. It’s like, “I get to choose. Actually, it’s up to me to choose what’s going to work for me.”
Allan (20:34): Yes, absolutely. I do want to take one step backwards. You have all kinds of actionable tips, so I don’t want anyone to think that this book is just principles-based. The principles are important, but you follow up each of the principles with some homework, action items, some things we need to do. Again, I’m very action-oriented. Give me something and then tell me what to do. You can pick and choose how you apply these things in your life. But you’ve got to take it back to this one seed, and the one seed is that you have to have a desire to change, because if you don’t truly have the desire to change, then when you actually start going up against the work ahead of you… I know this might sound strange, but getting better sleep is hard work. You’ve got to say “No” to some things that you probably don’t want to say “No” to, like Words With Friends or Netflix. It’s time to go to bed. So, it’s not going to be easy. I would love to say that it’s easy, but it’s never going to be completely easy. It gets easier, but it’s never going to be easy. So, with that hard work in front of us, can you talk a little bit about that thing we need, the desire to change and how we can embrace that?
Gillian Goerzen (21:59): I think one of the pieces around that that I really want people to hear is that we have to choose our “hard”. When you’re feeling uncomfortable in your skin, when you’re not happy with the level of health you currently have, when you feel like there are things you can’t do with your body that you’d really like to do – the example I give in the book is, you watch your child on a ride at Disneyland that you’d really liked to be in, but you don’t fit in the seat – my gosh, that is hard. So, It’s really embracing the fact that that work is worth it, because the alternative is hard too. It’s about choosing which hard do you want to live with. Do you want to live with the hard of feeling uncomfortable in your skin, not feeling like your body is in its best shape for you, not being able to do the things you want to do, not feeling vibrant, vital and alive and able to live your life the way you want to live it? Or do you want to make the other hard decision, which is to make a few sacrifices, to have to say “No” sometimes, to put yourself first, to say “Yes” to yourself and say “No” to others? I think that is hard too, but understanding that the thing that’s going to push you through is really that reverence for the alternative, which is also hard, and knowing what’s in it for you on the other side of hard.
What I talk about a lot is really connecting to, not the, “How I want to look in my body”; “How do I want to feel in my body?” What’s the “Why”? What’s in it for me to do this work and get past the hard? And that’s connecting to a really powerful, really deep, meaningful “Why”? What’s in it for you? Why do you want to do this? Not just because I know I’ll fit in my clothes. That’s nice, to fit in your clothes, if it’s about weight loss, or to be able to run a 10K – that’s also great. But what’s in it for you to be able to do those things? I talk to a lot of moms and a lot of parents. For a lot of them it’s, “I want to be a great role model for my kids. I don’t want my kids to feel like this in their body.” Okay, now we’re talking. That’s a more powerful and more motivating “Why”. So when that alarm goes off in the morning and you want to stay in bed, but you know you should get up and go and do your workout, or go for your walk, or make time to make a healthy lunch – you’re going to think of that reason and it’s going to give you the impetus you need to get out of bed and go and do it.
Allan (24:26): Yes. Part of what you’re talking here, like I said, does resonate with us. I’ve always talked about it in terms of what I call “commitment”, and that commitment is the combination of your vision – what does a healthy, fit and happy person mean to you personally? Because what it means to me is something entirely different. And when I get older, I’ve used the phrase, “When I’m 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt.” I say that because I know how many people get into their 70s, 80s and 90s and they lose their independence, and I don’t want to be that person. I know I don’t have to be that person, because I have role models I see that are 80s, 90s, 100, well into their 100s, still living active lifestyles. I just know I need to do the things to do that. Today, my vision is, I not only want to enjoy time with my kids or grandkids, when they come around. It’s if one of them tells me they want to go do a Tough Mudder, I want to be able to go do that with them. It’s not that I want to do a Tough Mudder for the sake of saying I did a Tough Mudder. I was like that when I was young and competitive. Now it’s just I don’t want my daughter to be waiting on me. I want to finish the race with her, and I want to enjoy myself and not hurt myself while I’m doing it. So, I train that way. That’s your vision. And then the “Why” part is the quality time with my family. It’s knowing that if I want to be around, I’ve got to take care of myself. I put it in slightly different terms, but it was funny as I went through the book, I kept seeing my words in your book.
Gillian Goerzen (26:13): You’ve got to love it when find that, which gives me so much hope, because I think the more of us that are having these conversations, I see the shift in the tides of the conversation around health and fitness. I see things shifting and it gives me a lot of hope because I think for a lot of years it was the blood, sweat and tears, and look a certain way. There’s still a tremendous amount of that; and still, I’m hearing more and more people having these conversations, more and more people saying, “I just want to be able to wipe my butt when I’m 90.” One of the common ones I hear from my clients with grandkids: “I want to get down on the floor and play with my grandkids, or I want to be able to take them to the park and actively play with them.” That’s really empowering, when you start talking about that vision, as opposed to being able to look good in a bikini, which is neither here nor there at the end of the day. What did you do in your bikini? That’s what I want to talk about. Did you go surfing? Did you go play with your kids in the sand and feel fantastic? Because that’s what the people in your life are going to remember. Nobody gets to their deathbed and thinks, “Gosh, I wish I’d looked better in a bikini.” They think of all the things they did; they think of all the relationships they had. Again, it’s that step back – what’s important to me, what do I value? At the end of the day, what do I hold close to my heart? That’s the core message here.
Allan (27:42): Cool. Now, I’m introducing a new, I guess I’ll call it a “segment”, for lack of better words, to this show. I’d like to ask you, what are three strategies or tactics to get healthy, fit, and happy, which is what I define “wellness”? What are three of your strategies or tactics for wellness?
Gillian Goerzen (28:06): Okay. So number one – before you embark on anything, the first thing that always comes to mind – are you willing to do this for the rest of your life? I just got a message from a client earlier today and she was curious about a supplement. And I said, “From a scientific perspective, here’s some information about it. But I want you to take a step back. If you take this supplement, are you willing to take it for the rest of your life? Is this something that resonates with you and feels like it connects to you?” Trust your instincts around, is this something you want to do for the rest of your life? If the answer to that is “No”, what’s the point of doing it short-term? Is this a sustainable thing I can do? So, trusting your instincts, really asking the questions before you jump all in. So that’s number one, is really listening to that. Number two – I really, truly believe whatever you choose to do around your health and fitness – do it, and do it consistently. There is no magic pill, there is no magic solution or program. It’s just the things we do with consistency that really add up to creating more impact in our lives and more change in our health. And the third thing is to not judge failure. So when you fall off that blessed wagon, to not look at it as you failing. If you fell off the wagon or you keep falling off the wagon, maybe you’re just on the wrong track. Maybe you just need to find a different wagon to be on and find a different way of doing things. The other analogy I like to use is, before you wipe the slate clean, take a look at the chalk marks. What can you learn from what you tried there? Get up and try again. It’s the whole, “Failure isn’t falling. Failure is choosing not to get back up.” So, get back up, try again, learn from what didn’t work. Those are higher level mental strategies, not tactical strategies, but there you have it.
Allan (30:10): That’s totally cool. That’s exactly what I think we needed to hear. If you haven’t caught it from me, I love your message.
Gillian Goerzen (30:18): Thank you.
Allan (30:18): If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?
Gillian Goerzen (30:25): There are two places they could go. They could go to ElephantInTheGym.com, all one word; or they can head to SuperYou.ca. I have those two places that they could head, and they’ll be able to find me in one of those.
Allan (30:40): Excellent. This is going to be episode 350, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/350, and I’ll be sure to have those links in the show notes. Gillian, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Gillian Goerzen (30:54): Oh, such a delight. I’m brand new to the 40+ club, and I’m really happy to be here.
Allan (31:01): Welcome! We’re glad to have you.
Gillian Goerzen (31:04): So many of my friends were nervous about turning 40 and I’m like, “Bring it on. I just feel like this is going to be the best decades of our lives. It’s great.”
Allan (31:13): Cool.
I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I enjoyed having it. Gillian’s a pretty special person, and her book, The Elephant in the Gym, is a really cool book. I love the cover, I love the concepts in the book. As I was reading the book, it pretty much mirrored what we’re doing here on this podcast and what I’ve done with The Wellness Roadmap. It was really nice to see that this conversation is starting to make a good role, that more and more people are starting to recognize that the mindset we take into the gym, the mindset we take into the food choices, the mindset we take into all of our health choices, really does drive how successful we’re going to be. So, The Elephant in the Gym is a great book. I do encourage you to step out and get that.
If you do enjoy the podcast, I want to ask you, if you don’t mind, helping to support the podcast. A lot goes into making a podcast and putting it together. I pay for audio processing, so I can get the most decent quality my voice will let me have. I pay for someone to do the transcripts and put them out for show notes so you have that available to you. If you thought you misheard something, you can always go out to the show notes and read it for yourself. It’s always going to be there on the website. I pay for hosting of that website, so again, that content is always available to you. All the back episodes are available to you through the website. I pay for audio files to be stored, so there’s a host for that. And then all the other costs that go into the making of a podcast; it’s a lot more than I thought when I first got started. I thought this would be a pretty cheap endeavor. You start looking at those $5 here, $10 there, $100 there, and after a while you realize this a lot more expensive, and each of these episodes does cost a good bit to put out. I want to keep doing that and I’m just asking for a little support. A few dollars a month is going to go a long way towards helping me cover the cost of the show and continue to work to improve it and invest in it and make it better. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. There are multiple levels of support you can provide there, some with really, really cool add-ons, some pluses that you’ll get for being a part of the podcast, for being on the team and helping us get this podcast produced. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and that will take you to the Patreon page, where you’ll be able to read about the benefits and the different things you can get by being a part of the team. I really do want you on my team. I think this podcast is a team sport. Fitness and health are a team sport and we need to be in this together, trying to get our message out there. I want you to be a part of that. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. Thank you.
When we start seeing results from our hard work, we are often put in a weird place. If we don't have the right mindset, the reactions of the people around us can set us back. Is it vanity to be happy you look and feel better?
People love to congregate with people who are similar to themselves. When you break out by changing your body, you may find the people around you begin treating your different. Taking the time to understand this mindset can keep you from being derailed. In fact, this is a great opportunity for you to reach out and help bring them along with you.
I'm someone who feeds on success. As a result, I also have a tendency to let failure bring me down. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I didn't eat well. I had a terrible cold, so I didn't exercise. I felt I had lost some ground, but upon stepping on the scale, I had not gained an ounce. I'm not realizing I need to start getting refocused to feed my success engine.
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Ellen Shuman is an emotional eating recovery coach who specializes in removing emotional barriers to achieving health goals. Her work focuses on teaching emotional regulation tools to those who have trouble being present and following through.
Sometimes people experience emotional roadblocks that threaten to derail their progress in achieving their health and fitness goals. This issue is not simply a case of laziness. Conversely, many people who experience these roadblocks are hypervigilant in other areas of their lives.
The issue is more often about having the ability to tolerate moments in one’s life—feelings, tasks, disappointments, stress. When these roadblocks are not well-tolerated, there can be difficulty in following through with an exercise routine. When people experience these problems, they feel the need to distract themselves from the present moment. And exercise is actually a totally mindful act—one in which the participant must be fully present. The resistance comes from the desire to disconnect. They don’t want to be mindful, and that desire is stronger than the desire to follow through on their health goals.
So how can people overcome these roadblocks and this desire to disconnect?
Make your bed. Adopt a meditation routine. Take a simple action that will make you feel a sense of accomplishment, which will turn on your mindfulness switch for the day.
Use PENSO: physical intention, emotional intention, nutritional intention, spiritual or social intention, and outstanding/other/opportunity. Address each area once per day.
Feel confident that you can create the day you want to create.
The need to go mindless dissipates when you are mindful. If you are willing to tolerate being in the present moment and live mindfully, it will increase your possibility of following through.
Want to learn more about Ellen Shuman and removing emotional roadblocks? Learn more at www.aweighout.com or join her free telephone seminar on Sundays at 4pm ET. You can also reach her directly at (513) 321-4242 for a free assessment for coaching.
Music used for the podcast Intro and Outro: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music