In his book, Supersized Lies, Dr. Robert Davis shares some of the biggest weight loss myths and how they're keeping us fat and what you can do about it.
Let's Say Hello
[00:00:52.040] – Allan Hey, Raz. How are things?
[00:00:54.290] – Rachel Good, Allan. How are you? How are you enjoying your vacation?
[00:00:57.890] – Allan I'm enjoying it. It's just there's been a lot going on in the world. In our world. Someone poisoned our dog. But, yeah, we've had some criminals on the island. We caught one of them on camera stealing our hammock off our front porch. But it appears, and this is again coming from the police and others, is that there's this group of thieves on the island, and they're trying to soften up houses to come back later and do something more is the theory. So they poisoned a ton of dogs across the island just to make sure they could get in.
[00:01:31.950] – Allan fortunately, we had people watching the place, and they were able to step in and do some wonderful things. And so Buster has recovered, he's doing okay.
[00:01:40.510] – Rachel Oh, my gosh.
[00:01:41.170] – Allan But it was just one of those hit and go moments where we didn't know if he was going to make it. And so our friends came to our rescue. It's just very stressful when you're over 3000 miles away and not in a position to do anything to help your dog. So we're on our way. So we're recording this, we're most of the way through with our holidays. And as this goes live, we'll be finishing up the final days and about to head back to Panama.
[00:02:11.290] – Allan So I'm kind of like in that mood. Okay, let's just get back and get Lula's open and get that going. And it's made me kind of rethink a lot of stuff in my own life. As I look at what I'm doing and my training and those types of things. So I might be making some changes to the way I do personal training and to how I manage my own life just to make sure that I'm taking care of me and mine first. And then doing what's necessary to help others.
[00:02:45.920] – Rachel Wow. I'm so sorry to hear about your dog, and I'm so glad he's okay. And you've got the most wonderful neighbors to help out.
[00:02:53.400] – Allan And they didn't sign up for that. They were just we're going to house it.
[00:02:57.810] – Rachel Who would have thought?
[00:02:59.170] – Allan Yeah. And then you got a lot of other stuff. Someone stole someone's pizza. Yeah. So a lot going on back there good and bad, but Buster's fine and looking forward to getting back and see my puppies because I do miss them. And I did have one other thing that I wanted to talk about, as I talked about when you're driving and you have lots of time to think as your driving, I just I was kind of thinking about what I want to do and where I'm at, and I figured what I really needed was a kick in the pants to get myself re energized with what I'm doing personally, not necessarily with the podcast and not necessarily with the training, but just me, my training and everything.
[00:03:43.460] – Allan So I have signed up for another Tough Mudder classic. This one is going to be August 27, that's in the Chicago area. I've already signed up. I'm in the 10 to 10:45 range of times. So if you're in the area and we got over eleven months to train for this thing now because I think this episode actually goes out around the 27 September, so we literally have eleven months to get ready for this. This is some yeah, it says it's August 27 of 2022. So you got eleven months.
[00:04:16.350] – Allan If this is something you want to do, I'd love to meet you. Love to hang out with you at the Tough Mudder in Chicago. Again, I'm on the 10 to 10:45 leg. And one of the things I do like about the Tough Mudder is it's a very Comradery kind of run. It's not a competition where we're trying to beat each other. It's where we're helping each other. So if you're struggling with an obstacle, I help you. If I'm struggling with an obstacle, you help me. It's a really good spirit on this run, walk whatever you want to do.
[00:04:45.990] – Allan But yeah, going into 10:00 time, you'd have plenty of time to finish, give your shot at all the different obstacles. There's 10 miles with 25 obstacles. And over that weekend, they do have some shorter runs. They have a 10K and a 5K. So if you're not feeling like it can get trained up to do the longer one, then at least look at the 5K or the 10K and consider that you could train for that because it's really, in my opinion, you're not just training for running because while there is running, it's not like just constant ten mile run.
[00:05:17.990] – Allan You do run and you kind of stop and do an obstacle. With 25 obstacles, you're stopping quite a bit. Then you're doing an obstacle. And some of the obstacles are about fear, like you're jumping from a height into water, some of them you're swimming, some of them, you're going through a dark tube and there is the electricity.
[00:05:35.230] – Rachel Oh, my gosh.
[00:05:37.280] – Allan But it's a real character builder, and it's a lot of fun. So hopefully, if you guys are interested head on out there I did post in the Facebook group a link that will take you to the active. But if you just go into Toughmudder.com, you can go check out their events. And it's August 27 of 2022. And like I said right now, I'm in the 10 to 10:45 start times, and they just set you up about 500 at a time and send you out.
[00:06:07.660] – Allan And so a lot of people be running. But you know, if you can sign up around that time, cool. If you can't. And I know there's enough people around, maybe we'll set some kind of meet up that night, have dinner or something. So check it out. And if you're interested, reach out to me and we'll figure something out.
[00:06:22.720] – Rachel Wow. That sounds so awesome. It's great to have a goal. It's great to have something on the calendar to look forward to and to train for.
[00:06:30.040] – Allan Yeah, I haven't had that. And I was like, with COVID, with everything else has really not been anything but training for the sake of training. And I'm not going to say it gets dull because I really enjoy lifting and doing some things. But it's just one of those things saying, I need something to put a little spark in there and being ready for that and making sure that I perform well there. It's important to me. So I'll get it done.
[00:06:53.440] – Rachel Yep. And you picked a doozy. So you'll have your hands full for the next eleven months.
[00:06:57.740] – Allan Absolutely.
[00:06:58.550] – Rachel Good for you.
[00:06:59.390] – Allan All right. You ready to have a conversation? Wait. We didn't ask about you. What are you doing?
[00:07:03.380] – Rachel Oh, good. Good.
[00:07:05.500] – Rachel Enjoying the time. Kids are back to school. It's quiet here at the house for a little while, and we just had a bunch of family time. My brother's in from California, so I got to see him and my parents and my in laws. My mother in law just is about to celebrate her 75th birthday. So we had a little to do for her. So it's been great having family time. It's been wonderful.
[00:07:29.360] – Allan Okay, good.
[00:07:31.310] – Allan alright. Are you ready to have a conversation with Dr. Davis?
[00:07:34.310] – Rachel Sure.
[00:08:07.560] – Allan Dr. Davis, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:08:10.800] – Dr. Davis Hello, Allan. Thanks for having me.
[00:08:13.060] – Allan Now. Your book, Supersize Lies, How Myths About Weight Loss are Keeping Us Fat and the Truth About What Really Works. As I was telling you before, if I were walking through a Barnes & Nobles, I would pick up this book just on that. And then once I got into it really even just the introduction, I was like, hooked. Like, I'm gonna read this. I'm gonna read every single line of this fit book all the way to the end, because I want to know what really works. But I also want to know what myths am I falling for?
[00:08:44.090] – Allan So I appreciate the opportunity to kind of go through and say, okay, what's going on with what we're hearing? And why is everybody struggling so much with the information that's out there?
[00:08:55.670] – Dr. Davis Well, thank you for that. And what I've done throughout my career is to really dissect the science behind all kinds of claims related to health. And I think that's so important because there's so much misinformation about so many health issues, certainly that's come to the four more than ever with regard to COVID. But it applies to so many of the things we hear about with regard to our health. So that's something that it's very important to me. I have a background in public health and epidemiology as well as journalism.
[00:09:22.480] – Dr. Davis So I try to combine those training that I have to really look at the science and help people sort through the claim so they can figure out what's believable and what's not.
[00:09:31.990] – Allan Because more than anything else, I just there's this tribalism and the Internet is fostering that Facebook is fostering that, Twitter. They're making people into tribes about everything, every single thing we do. It's like, no, you shouldn't do it that way or on those sites absolutely should be doing it that way. And so we have these pulls back and forth. This is the best way. No, this is the best way. They're all potentially a little right, and they're all potentially a little wrong. And I think that's where the problem comes is that we get stuck in our tribe, and it's really, really hard to step out of that.
[00:10:13.740] – Allan And what I really liked about your book was that you didn't go in saying this is my tribe, and this is the way to do it. It was truly okay, this tribe says this and they're not wrong, but they're not right. This tribe says this and they're not wrong, and they're not right. So where do we meet in the middle? What is the common denominator? What's happening here? And why is this happening? And I want to start that out, only to say is one of the core ones is this concept that if you go in, there's a tribe and we call them the calories in Calories out tribe, CICO.
[00:10:49.660] – Allan And they believe just heart of hearts. All you have to do is plug in everything you eat and plug in every bit of exercise movement you do, and you do all the formulas and you're going to lose weight. And it's true. Until it's not. Can we talk a little bit about what the problem is with calorie counting and why? Because if it were too true, then we would lose an incremental amount of weight every single day. And we would always lose weight. If we're always eating in a deficit of 500 calories a day, we would always lose a pound a week every week until we weight zero.
[00:11:28.900] – Allan Unfortunately, that doesn't work. Can you tell us what's going on there?
[00:11:32.540] – Dr. Davis Right. Well, first of all, I like another way to describe that philosophy is some people call it ELM eat less, exercise more. And I like to say, for many people, Elm Street is a dead end because they try that and they're told that's going to work and it doesn't work and they try it again and again and again, and it continues not to work. So one of the problems with calorie counting is seen, by the way, I'm not saying in my book, nor do I believe that calories don't matter at all.
[00:11:57.120] – Dr. Davis There are some people that say that, and that's not what I'm saying. Calories do count. But as I say, counting them typically doesn't work. And one reason for that is fairly straightforward. And that is that calorie counting is an imprecise activity. You see those numbers the top of the nutrition label. It's a bold number that this food has 232 calories, and we're led to believe that's a precise number. But in fact, that number is often not accurate. Under law, those numbers people often don't know this, Allan, but under law, those numbers can be up to 20% off.
[00:12:32.660] – Dr. Davis So often, In many cases, that error is an undercount. So it could be that we're getting actually the number of calories we think we're getting is not accurate. So just for starters, just the whole process of trying to count them accurately is not easy. And then never mind that for most of the foods, we don't have calorie counts, you're not getting most restaurants are not going to have calorie counts on menus. If you eat at someone's house, if you cook your own meal, you're not going to know.
[00:12:56.310] – Dr. Davis And trying to estimate calories, it's very difficult trying to do so accurately. So that's the problem, for starters, is why calorie counting doesn't work. But there's a bigger problem, and that is that our bodies act in a way more complicated than just a number of calories we consume. There are other factors at work that are involved in weight regulation. One certainly is genetics. We know people. We all know, people that we say they're very lucky. They have great genetics, so to speak, because they can eat whatever they want.
[00:13:24.740] – Dr. Davis They eat all kinds of foods and they never seem to gain weight. And then somebody else we know will eat very little, and then they gain a lot of weight. And so genetics we know from studies play a very large role in determining how food a given amount of food will affect somebody's weight, and that varies from person to person. We're also learning more and more about the so called microbiome that is the mix of microbes in our guts, and that can determine that can have a large influence in some cases, on how many of the calories we consume that we actually absorb, because it's not necessarily the calories that we consume that matters.
[00:14:00.900] – Dr. Davis It's how many of those calories our body actually absorbs versus excretes. So that's an important consideration as well. And again, something that science is showing more and more about all the time. And then there's the whole issue of our metabolism. As we cut calories as we lose weight, your metabolism slows down so that it takes fewer calories. We have to eat fewer and fewer calories to continue to lose weight. And often it's sort of a cruel trick of evolution that actually is a gift.
[00:14:35.350] – Dr. Davis It's there to protect us in case of famine. So essentially, our bodies become more fuel efficient as we lose weight in order to keep us from wasting away. But the problem, of course, today, thankfully, is we don't have to deal with famines in modern society and Western civilization. But if we're trying to lose weight, it's a big problem because our bodies are essentially fighting us. And so that's something else that's sort of lost in this conversation about. Well, it's just a linear process. If you cut calories, then you will keep losing weight. If you cut it down, if you have a certain negative energy balance.
[00:15:07.340] – Dr. Davis But what that doesn't take into consideration is the way the body essentially fights back. And so all of these things, I think, and there are other factors as well are often lost in this discussion about calories and calories out because it's sort of simplified to this simple math equation. And it's in fact, far more complicated than that.
[00:15:25.780] – Allan Yeah. And even on the other side of that formula, the burning because I had at any time fitness membership. And I went in there. They had two different types of treadmills, I mean ellipticals. And so if I got on one type of elliptical and worked out really hard for an hour, I would burn 850 calories. But the other elliptical, if I got on it for an hour, working out just as hard it was 750 calories. So I would always go to the 850 calorie elliptical to get a better work out.
[00:15:54.010] – Dr. Davis Yes.
[00:15:56.180] – Allan And so their estimates all the way across what our body is burning at any given time. It's an estimate. What in food is an estimate. And restaurants are off on. Even if they tell you what the calories are, they can be off significantly and you buy a can of something and you think, okay, I'm gonna eat this. And you're looking at the label. And if you don't pay enough attention, there's two and two third servings per can, and you're like, okay, well, now I've got to do complicated fraction math to figure out how much I'm eating and how much I'm getting.
[00:16:26.470] – Allan So it does make it more difficult. But I think one of the core things that you did say in the book that I thought was really important is that tracking can be valuable. It's just when you're trying to get down to this meticulous math of plus and minuses that it's not going to serve you as well.
[00:16:45.360] – Dr. Davis Yeah, that's absolutely true. There's no question. And the number of studies show this actually tracking what you eat and not only what you eat, but how much you eat when you ate it, whom you ate it with, where you ate it, how you felt when you're eating. All those things are very important. And I can talk more about why that's important in terms of tracking what we eat, what you eat. But what people often get hung up on when they're keeping these food diaries is the number of calories.
[00:17:11.250] – Dr. Davis And so studies show that people often stop tracking what they're eating because keeping track of their calories are so difficult. They find that it's frustrating to try to deconstruct the foods they eat if they don't have a calorie count to try to take the ingredients and look up the calorie count of each ingredient, and they end up just giving up on the whole thing because they say this is too difficult. So I think that can become a real impediment to a very important activity. And that is tracking your food intake.
[00:17:40.930] – Dr. Davis And so, as I say in the book, don't worry really as much about tracking your calories. But what you should do if you can is track what you're eating, because what tracking your food intake can do is give you a sense of your eating pattern so that you can go back and use this information to say, I didn't realize that in work I go and pick up a donut a couple of times a day. I didn't realize I was doing that or I didn't realize that when I get stressed, I go through the fast food drive through more often.
[00:18:09.330] – Dr. Davis And so by doing this, it can help you understand patterns that you may not be aware of and then take action to address those patterns. So that's why I think keeping a food diary is crucial to successful weight management. But people should not let the mandate they often hear to track calories to bog them down.
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[00:20:35.100] – Allan As we talk about these tribes, I got into early in this episode. One of the things that really comes out is this concept of villains or foods to avoid at all costs, and then the heroes, so these are the super foods that are going to change your life and make you lose weight a lot faster. Can you talk a little bit about villains and heroes and where this lore comes from and why it's really kind of a fiction?
[00:21:01.950] – Dr. Davis Well, it's part of the overall tendency we have as human beings and certainly in our society to try to look for good guys and bad guys put white hats and black hats on people. And so the same thing certainly has happened with nutrition generally and with weight loss specifically. So that we have weight loss, the history of weight loss over the last 200 years is an effort to finger some kind of culprit and to boil it down to one food or one kind of food that is particularly villainous that if only if we avoid this particular food, then we can weigh less and manage our weight.
[00:21:34.710] – Dr. Davis And likewise, we see increasingly, and this is driven in part by the food industry because the food industry has a great incentive, of course, to make us think that their food has some kind of magical quality to eat specific foods that they're either going to keep us healthy or help us manage our weight. And we see every day either claims and ads or news reports about some food, whether it's avocados or whether it's beans or whether it's salmon or whatever it is that have some kind of magical properties.
[00:22:05.100] – Dr. Davis And as I like to say, these are all often foods that are part of a healthful diet and foods that we absolutely can and should eat. But to imbue them with some kind of magical qualities or special properties that are going to allow them in isolation, to make us healthier, to help us lose weight. It is a myth, and that the evidence that's often cited to support this is not compelling. It will be in animals or it'll be in test tubes or will be some kind of intermediate marker that really doesn't measure what we're trying to measure, which in this case is weight loss.
[00:22:37.200] – Dr. Davis So often we're deceived about the benefits of these foods as well as the danger as it were of specific kinds of foods when it comes to our weight. And so the point here is that instead of fixating on specific foods either as villains or heroes, what we should be doing is looking at the overall quality of our diets. That is to say, what are our overall eating patterns? Are we eating in a healthful way overall and fixate and not to fixate on the specific foods in that diet?
[00:23:07.440] – Dr. Davis And the advantage of that is that eating in that way and thinking that way about food allows us lots of leeway. We can construct a diet for ourselves with foods that we're going to enjoy and not feel we're being deprived, not feel that we can't ever eat foods that are supposedly bad for us, that we shouldn't eat and allow us to have a diet that can be sustained over time. And in the end, that's what counts, right? That's what matters is a diet that we can eat, that we can enjoy, that we're not going to feel dissatisfied or hungry on, and that we can follow over time.
[00:23:39.910] – Dr. Davis And whether you're talking about your health or your weight, that's the absolute truth.
[00:23:44.120] – Allan Yeah. And like I said with villains, it's like, okay, is this food really that bad? And maybe it is if that's all you're eating or you're eating a ton of it, so moderation could be an answer. Occasionally have a bit of ice cream, have a little bit of this. It's okay. And then with heroes, it's like, okay, don't think that grapefruit is this magical fruit that's going to change your life. If you enjoy eating a grapefruit here and there have some grapefruit, you get your vitamin C, and there's some value there.
[00:24:14.130] – Allan But it's not going to make your waistline go smaller just because you're eating a lot of it.
[00:24:18.680] – Dr. Davis Right. And I think, as we said, as I keep saying, weight management is an unbelievably, complex phenomenon, and to think that we can boil it down to a specific food, that whether it's carbs every carbs and that'll be the solution or always eat great food, that's the solution. It just defies logic and common sense.
[00:24:37.370] – Allan So now I want to kind of shift over to it does work, because that's the other half of the big promise from your book, and you boil it down to something I love is just principles. And rather than not a set of rules that says this is what you must do. But here's a set of principles that if you follow these principles, you're going to improve your chances of losing the weight that you want to. Could you go through your weight loss principles?
[00:25:03.720] – Dr. Davis Right. And that's a crucial point, Allan, because I think too often a lot of diets that people have involved rules, hard and fast rules that say you must do this. You must eat these foods. You must never eat these foods. Only eat these on every other Tuesday, whatever it is, and people get bogged in and rules that they have to follow. And, of course, again, those kinds of diets, maybe people can follow it for a few weeks or a few months. But over time that's not sustainable.
[00:25:28.350] – Dr. Davis And often these rules are not science based at all. So what I try to do is outline principles that is general ideas about what people should do. And what I like to say is that these are guidelines and things that people can do that they can tailor to their own needs and their own preferences. And that's, again, so important for people to be able to do that, to be able to have something that they can follow over time. So the first principle is that I say, eat a whole food diet, and that doesn't mean going to the store whole foods necessarily.
[00:25:58.060] – Dr. Davis It means eating a food that's rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy. If you eat dairy and trying to minimize so called highly processed foods, things like candy, chips, soda, French fries, hot dogs, things like that. Now, notice I said minimize. I did not say eliminate entirely, because again, a diet that says a food is toxic or poisonous or whatever else you should never touch it. All that tends to do is to make people want that food more, to crave that food more.
[00:26:33.960] – Dr. Davis But what minimize means is that over time, and it's not saying do this tomorrow if you eat those foods regularly, but over time and try to eat those foods less often so that they eventually become occasional treats and things that you eat in limited portions rather than things you eat every day. And again, this is a process that takes time. But that's going to a whole foods diet, a largely plant based diet in which you can under a plant based diet, you can have any variety of foods, so you don't have to eat specific foods.
[00:27:03.310] – Dr. Davis If you like salmon, eat salmon. If you don't eat salmon, don't eat it. If you want to eat other fish, fine, whatever whole grains you like, you can incorporate those. But the point is that you can construct a diet of foods you actually enjoy and will eat, and whatever combination of carbs, protein and fats works, various combinations can work under a whole food diet, but that's the way to think of it, rather than thinking of a specific list of foods that you should and should not eat.
[00:27:27.760] – Dr. Davis So I think that's one principle that I think is really important, something else. And actually, I combine these things are to focus on movement and by that I mean exercise, but also other kinds of ways of moving your body. One of the things I talk about in the book and is that exercise is an overrated way to actually lose weight. And I say that as somebody who's a huge advocate of exercise, I'm an avid exerciser myself. I'm actually my last book is called Fitter Faster. It's all about the benefits of exercise, so I absolutely encourage everybody to exercise.
[00:28:00.580] – Dr. Davis But you need to exercise for the right reason, and that is to benefit your health and to improve your overall well being. Now, exercise movement can be in part of weight management because it can help prevent weight gain, help you keep off weight that you lost. But you shouldn't look to weight to exercise necessarily as a way to lose weight. And too often people do that. So that's why movement is an important part of weight management. But I think it's important caveat there is we need to have the right expectation when we exercise so that we don't expect it to do something that usually I can't do.
[00:28:37.400] – Dr. Davis So movement is an important part of an overall weight management strategy for that reason. For the reason, I just said. Also getting enough sleep. That's something that's often overlooked. But a number of studies show that people who get inadequate amounts of sleep are more likely to put on weight, to be obese. And there are a number of theories as to why that's true. But the studies are pretty compelling, and so I think it's all the more reason, in addition to the health benefits of getting enough sleep, as to why in paying attention to our sleep and our sleep, hygiene is very important.
[00:29:07.580] – Dr. Davis And then Stress. Trying to Control Stress. Again, there are studies that show that people who are under more stress are more likely to eat more. And many of us know this from our own experience that we tend to engage in stress or emotional eating and to eat foods that are not good for us when we're under stress. And also there's studies having to do with the hormone cortisol. The stress releases the hormone cortisol, which make us more likely to put on to store fat, particularly abdominal fat.
[00:29:38.200] – Dr. Davis So that's why controlling stress through meditation, relaxation, yoga, other methods can be a crucial part of a weight management program. Another element is something you and I talked about earlier and that's tracking what you eat that's so important to do. I think that's crucial. You don't have to do it all the time permanently. But I think certainly at the beginning and during periods where periods you may be struggling to track everything you eat. And again, not just what you ate, but when you ate it with whom you ate, how you felt so that again, you can over time, look at what the patterns are of your eating and make changes if necessary.
[00:30:16.360] – Dr. Davis Sometimes people don't like to do this because they feel ashamed of how much they are or they lie to themselves. And I think when people do that they're only doing themselves with this service. This should be an exercise in putting everything down to giving yourself as much information as you can. So if you have full information, you can use that information in a way that's going to help you going forward. So I think tracking what you eat is crucial. And again, studies show that to be the case. What I call strategic planning.
[00:30:44.630] – Dr. Davis And by that, I mean, and planning for the inevitable challenges and setbacks are going to come with weight management. We all know that anybody who's tried this, there are challenges every day to staying on track, and we fall off the wagon for all kinds of reasons because job or family or other emergencies get in the way that prevent us from staying on track. So the point with strategic planning here is to have a strategy in place to help us when those inevitable challenges do occur. One thing I like to talk about are if then statements that we have for ourselves.
[00:31:21.780] – Dr. Davis So, for example, we know, for example, you have a temptation when you're in line at the checkout on your work to try to get foods. You know, you don't want to eat candy or chips or something you have. If then statements ready. If I am tempted to get candy bars or chips, then I will pull out the snacks I brought with me that are carrot sticks or something else. If I tend to overeat at restaurants and we know that often, they're giant portions and that people tend to eat what's in front of them.
[00:31:55.020] – Dr. Davis If I tend to do that, then I will get a doggie bag at the beginning of the meal and put half the food and the bag to take home before I eat. So the point is that there are automatic actions that we have ready to go almost like auto technology when we veer out of a Lane, it pulls us back in automatically, so we don't have to think about it. We're ready, we're prepared for these occurrences, and we're ready to act. And likewise, when we kind of fall out of our lanes, we kind of get off track.
[00:32:25.140] – Dr. Davis We have ways of talking to ourselves to say if I get off track and I won't blame myself, I won't say I'm a failure, I won't give up. I'll say, you know what? I'm just going to start again and keep going. And so what research shows that people that can do that kind of self talk that can have those if in statements, when they do inevitably fall off track, they can get back on track and keep going. And that's so the point is to have this kind of planning in place so that we are ready and prepared for the inevitable challenges that do occur.
[00:32:53.710] – Dr. Davis And we can keep going. And then finally, I talk about calling the cavalry, sometimes doing all these things ourselves. We need more help. They helped a certain extent, but we need extra help. And so there are certain things we can do to get extra help. And one that I talk about, it's something called intensive behavioral therapy, and what that is basically is listening to help professionals, whether their physicians, nurse practitioners, dietitians, to offer a certain kind of therapy called intensive behavioral therapy that helps us around things such as food planning, exercise, dealing with different kinds of barriers that we may and helping us overcome those barriers.
[00:33:36.030] – Dr. Davis So basically helping us to manage the process of weight management. And this can occur in person. It can occur online. There's certain commercial programs like NUM and others that incorporate elements of behavioral therapy so that you can get it in various ways. But that can be very helpful to people, sometimes to get help from professionals to help them get on track and stay on track. And then for some people, surgery can be an option for people who have above a certain BMI who qualify. Surgery can be very beneficial, bariatic surgery.
[00:34:07.290] – Dr. Davis There are various forms of it. It's not for everybody. And certainly people need to carefully weigh the risks and benefits because there are risks involved. But for certain people, it can be very beneficial. It can help them lose a substantial amount of way, keep that weight off and decrease their risk of certain conditions like diabetes. Surgery can be something that's very beneficial for certain people as well. So I think people shouldn't be afraid. I guess the point there is people shouldn't see his weakness, they shouldn't see it as failure or anything else.
[00:34:36.210] – Dr. Davis If they say, you know what? I'm trying everything I can on my own, but I need some extra help. So I need to call in some professionals to help me take the next step. And that's something people should be ready to do if they find that what they're doing on their own isn't sufficient.
[00:34:49.080] – Allan Yes, Dr. Davis, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:34:59.380] – Dr. Davis well, for me, I guess I would say mine aren't necessarily Earth shattering, and they're not necessarily surprising. But for me, at least personally, the three that I would say would be the first would be movement moving your body. As I said, I'm a big advocate of exercise for all kinds of reasons. I like to say that if there were a pill that could do all the things that exercise can do, everything from reducing risk of heart disease and cancer to improving your sex life, we'd all be clamoring for it.
[00:35:26.160] – Dr. Davis So I think finding a way to move your body regularly, and that can be any number of things, but anything, whether you're walking to hiking, to dancing, to playing pickleball, whatever it might be that you enjoy, that you can sustain that you can keep doing that's really important. It's crucial for our health. And as I say, it's important for our weight, not necessarily to help us lose weight, but to stay at a healthy weight and to prevent weight gain. So movement would be the first thing I would say.
[00:35:53.850] – Dr. Davis The second thing would be our diet healthy eating. And again, we've talked earlier about what that means. It's not complicated. It's not following a lot of rules. It doesn't mean you have to buy designer foods. It's a fairly straightforward process. It's focusing on your overall eating pattern. And by the way, it's not just what you eat, but it's also enjoying food with other people. I think that's so important that's an important part of healthy eating to me, and often certain diets that are too restrictive. We're involved fasting to me often take away the joy of eating, take away the pleasure of enjoying our food with other people.
[00:36:29.970] – Dr. Davis So eating healthful foods and enjoying that food with other people would be a second principle that I would say. And the third I mentioned earlier is sleep. I think too often this is overlooked sadly, in our society. It's a badge of honor for people who say I only sleep five or 6 hours a night. I only need a little bit of sleep well, I think that's unfortunate that people say that and make us think that's something admirable, because it's not. For most of us, we need seven to 9 hours of sleep and that we often don't realize the negative effects that two little sleep have on our health and our wellbeing.
[00:37:00.200] – Dr. Davis And so I think to focus more on sleep hygiene. Putting away the tablet, putting away the iPhone getting to sleep earlier, focusing on good sleep hygiene is crucial, again, not only for our health, but also for weight management. So again, that's something that I think many of us don't focus on enough.
[00:37:17.290] – Allan Thank you for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, SuperSized Lies, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:37:25.160] – Dr. Davis My website, Healthyskeptic.com. I have on there more about the book. More about Me. I have a number of videos I've created so that's a good place to start.
[00:37:34.020] – Allan Great.
[00:37:35.000] – Dr. Davis healthyskeptic.com.
[00:37:36.010] – Allan You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/505, and I'll be sure to have a link there in the show, notes.
[00:37:42.930] – Allan Dr. Davis, thank you. So much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:37:46.220] – Dr. Davis It's been a real pleasure, Allan. Thank you so much.
[00:37:52.510] – Allan Hey, Raz.
[00:37:54.180] – Rachel Hey, Allan, I just have to say, I love the title of his book, Super Sized Lies and The Myths of Weight Loss and The Truth. That's a pretty heavy title. Perfect.
[00:38:07.120] – Allan Yeah. The thing I get to is everybody wants something simple. They want a rule of thumb. Just tell me one thing. Just tell me one thing. What can I eat? What can I not? That's the one rule. And people want to give you rules. If I can give you a rule and I can make money doing it, they give you a rule. So a lot of personal trainers will say, Calories in calories out. You got to get in the gym. You got to have a gym membership.
[00:38:34.320] – Allan You got to get in the gym. We got to work out the three times per week that you're going to train with me. But that's not enough. You got to come in here another three times a week and be doing that cardio that I told you to do and then go low fat and just eat what you want and you'll be fine. And then if you get in there and you're not losing the weight, it's like what you must be eating too much because I'm working you.
[00:38:56.330] – Allan And you know what? You're working hard than gym. And they're like, I'm working hard in the gym and you're eating too much. It's like, Well, I'm hungry because I'm working in the gym.
[00:39:07.240] – Rachel Yeah. Calories in Calories out is probably the most common myth that he had highlighted. And it's one I've heard. And I continue to hear to this day.
[00:39:16.360] – Allan And the problem with it is it's a myth over the long term.
[00:39:23.020] – Rachel Yeah.
[00:39:23.570] – Allan It's not a myth myth because it's true.
[00:39:25.910] – Rachel You're right.
[00:39:26.690] – Allan It is absolutely true. If you eat more calories than you are burning, you're going to gain weight. The problem is. And if you're eating fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. The problem is your body is not a closed system. So when you sit there and eat less, your body's going to sit there and say, you know, something's going on in Rachel's life, and she can't get enough food for us to do the things we want to do. And we want to save the brain.
[00:39:53.930] – Allan You want to save the liver, we want to save the kidneys. And what can we get rid of? What can we reduce? And it says, oh, well, yeah, we got some of this fat here, but we want to hold on to that, because if she goes long term without food, we're going to be screaming. You're going to be struggling. So let's let go of a little muscle because it's burning more calories. So you're in the gym working and you're not putting on any muscle or anything you might be gaining weight, but it's not muscle.
[00:40:18.460] – Allan And then it's going to say, Well, let's reduce the size of the spleen and cut out our immune system. Let's do a little bit of work here and cut off some of our reproductive strength because we have no need to bring babies into this world if there's not enough food. And so sometimes you gotta just coax your body to understand, yes, there is enough food, good high quality nutritious food for us to survive and do well and thrive. And then at that point, your body can sit there and say, you know, yeah, we could use some of this body fat when during those periods of time when we don't have enough food.
[00:40:52.630] – Allan But we know there's plenty of food because she eats.
[00:40:57.210] – Rachel Right. We always have plenty enough food. We don't often feel the hunger. And we go through each day. We had breakfast at a certain time, lunch at a certain time, afternoon snack, dinner at a certain time, like we got plenty of food to do what we need.
[00:41:11.820] – Allan And here's the interesting thing is, those meal times, there's actually no magic to them. There's no reason, we eat that way because that's how the work day was scheduled. You ate before you went to work, they gave you a lunch break. You ate a lunch and then ate after you got through with work. And then along the way, just unions and what not stepped in and says we should probably let them take a 15 minutes break. So there was a morning snack and an afternoon snack.
[00:41:39.180] – Allan And quite literally, the five six meals a day is built around a work day in an office or a factory. It has absolutely nothing to do with your metabolism and how your body was designed. In many cases, you might go the whole morning without having to eat food because you just didn't have enough the day before. And you've got to walk 9 miles to where you can get honey or roots or kill a rabbit or a bear. And that's going to take a little bit of time.
[00:42:07.540] – Allan And then you do it. You carry it home and you can prepare it and you Cook it and then you eat it. So you might only have one big meal each day, or you might be able to nibble on berries and things along the way. And then you go fishing, you catch some fish and you eat those fish. But it was never meant for us to sit down and eat five meals a day. And the premise behind that was when you're trying to catch calories, you get hungry by having you eat more often, you feel like you're not as hungry all the time.
[00:42:35.470] – Allan That's all that's about. So those are myths that were built out of people were getting fatter and they knew the scientists and everything looking at it, they're eating more. We eat more than we ever did. History. because food got easier and easier, got more calorie dense and less nutritionally dense. And that, to me, is the real key to all of this. The quality of your food is more important than the amount of food.
[00:43:07.510] – Rachel Well, I love that Dr. Davis mentioned that he said he suggested that we track what we eat and not get hung up so much on the calories because he don't need to worry about the calories in calories out equation. But to track what we eat, and the real light bulb moment for me was because then you can identify patterns of what you're eating according to certain moments in your life. If you're always stressed, some people like he had mentioned may reach for a donut or a cookie after dinner at night, it becomes a habit.
[00:43:40.200] – Rachel And if you can kind of monitor the food that you're eating and how much and when and what for.
[00:43:45.900] – Rachel Then you might be able to get a little insight that you could then use to change or make healthier choices.
[00:43:51.520] – Allan Because the personal trainer is selling you the calories in calories out model makes sense because that's where they sell training. As a coach, I stepped back and say, okay, why does that not work? If you sit there and I said, if you did the math and said, okay, I'm burning 2500 calories and I'm eating 2000. I should lose 1 lb per week every week for the rest of my life till I'm down to zero.
[00:44:16.450] – Allan And we all know that doesn't work. We all know that doesn't work. It's never that straight line ever. And so the reality of it is, if you're just selling burning calories as a model, you got to keep selling it. Whereas we know a man or a woman, we get over 40 or 50. Our metabolism seems to just stop and it doesn't stop, stop. But it's kind of one of those kind of sets of the harder we work to get our metabolism up, if you will, the harder it is, and the more we seem to want to eat and that's our body trying to protect itself.
[00:44:53.850] – Allan So taking a little bit of time to just go about this in a smart way, like you said, the logging and understanding. Okay, when I eat this pizza or hamburger or hot dog or whatever, the next day, my body weight is higher. I look in the mirror and my cheeks and neck are puffy and my skin just doesn't look as good. So I know staying hydrated, eating high quality food, making sure I'm getting an protein for me. Those are keys. If I'm going to keep myself feeling good and energized, then that's when you give your body the right foods and you have enough energy, then it's a little bit easier to just kind of poke out or net nudge your body to say, okay, it's safe to let some of this body fat go, and then it will and then it will stop.
[00:45:50.690] – Allan You got to let it set. And then you got to start poking at it again. Give it the general nudges. And then your body. In the terms I would just say you have to coax your body to lose weight because it doesn't want to.
[00:46:02.820] – Rachel Yeah. Well. And also, Dr. Davis mentioned the importance of sleep and stress because when we don't get enough sleep and when we are under higher stress, our body is not functioning in its optimal fashion. And stress not only somehow makes us want to eat more, we choose the foods that we probably shouldn't choose, the candies and the rich home cooked foods. But it's just a habit. And then we have a higher cortisol level as well. And so our body is not wanting to release any of that again in the same way.
[00:46:41.650] – Rachel So just knowing your sleeping habits and your stress levels, just be aware of what you're doing during that time.
[00:46:48.520] – Allan Yeah. Because what's happening there is when you're in that stress situation, whether it was sleep and not getting enough sleep or just really in a high stress environment is that that cortisol is basically catabolic. So it's tearing down your muscle mass. It's basically doing a lot of things that are not good. Be great if you were being chased by a bear, you want cortisol, you want all those adrenals. But you don't want that in a general sense, day to day, chronically. And what we're doing with the foods that we're choosing is we are pumping our body now with dopamine.
[00:47:22.480] – Allan So it creates that environment of a feeling, happy, comfortable. And so those comfort foods, whatever your comfort food is, you're turning to it to get that dopamine to get that reward. And it feels good. So of course, all doesn't feel good. Dopamine does. And so you get into that cycle. Of course, all hit dopamine. Of course, all hit hit dopamine. And that's the cycle, whether it's Donuts, pizza, candies, whatever it is, it's just that cycle. And when you start to recognize it, it's like, Why did I eat those Donuts yesterday?
[00:47:59.700] – Allan And then you realize, oh, well, my boss yelled at me and I thought I was going to get fired the day before, the kids, for one reason or another were just assholes today. They didn't want to put on their clothes. They didn't want to get ready for school. They didn't want to do anything. And now I'm late for work. And my boss is already mad at me. And so I don't have time to make breakfast. I'll just stop at the Dunkin Donuts and get a coffee, and then you buy two Donuts, and it's like, why did that happen?
[00:48:29.380] – Allan You see the story. So the logging what you eat and paying attention to how you felt is going to give you those subtle clues to know where those breaks are and then taking the deep breath, avoiding on Donuts drive through when you're in that position because you might just well be able to pull in order your hot black coffee and move about. But if you're in a stress position and you're looking and they got the smell and at the back end of that place at the drive through, they make sure you can smell it.
[00:49:06.940] – Allan You end up ordering a couple of them. And that's all by design.
[00:49:11.960] – Rachel I just want to throw in exercise as an alternate way to get your dopamine hit. All of us runners. We are happy runners. We have the runners high, like they talk about, which is essentially dopamine hits. But also, people feel a whole lot better after throwing some weights around in the gym, just a little bit of movement and just makes you feel so empowered and so energized and kind of kicks out a little bit of that stress in a healthier way.
[00:49:39.490] – Allan And it could be something as simple as going into the stairwell at work, going up and down a flight of stairs for a couple minutes, and you're going to burn off some of that cortisol because you ran from the bear, you burn some energy, so you're going to burn off some of that, and then you're going to relax. And I'm not saying work up a sweat unless you're and you're that upset.
[00:50:02.980] – Rachel And yeah, you could.
[00:50:05.070] – Allan But up and down the stairs a little another technique. And my boss would call me. And if you come to my office, that was never, never, ever, ever a good thing.
[00:50:14.610] – Rachel No, never. No.
[00:50:16.770] – Allan That come to my office call was just, ugh.
[00:50:20.490] – Rachel It's just like being called to the principal's office when you're a kid.
[00:50:23.580] – Allan No, I wasn't afraid of the principal. Called your boss is like, ugh, this more work. This is going to be like who did I upset today? Who didn't I upset today? And then it was like, So what I would do when I go get on the elevator, I would just start doing the box breathing. You know, I'm going up two flights and I could have walked up the stairs.
[00:50:45.470] – Allan But I said, no, I'm going to delay it because they see me coming off the elevator. That's what they expect. They don't expect me to go up the stairs. So I'll just go up the elevator and the time it takes for the door to close, just start doing some box breathing. 4 seconds and 4 seconds hold 4 seconds out. 4 seconds hold. You do those while the elevator is going up, you get about three or four or five of those in before the elevator doors open again and you walk out and you'll notice your stress level drops a lot just from something as simple as that.
[00:51:15.820] – Allan So just recognizing the other things that are going on in your life will help you get past a lot of this. If someone says something and it's an absolute, this is an absolute for weight loss, they don't know what they're talking about.
[00:51:32.550] – Rachel You're right. Good point. Good point. And I also want to point out to how individualized we all are. I say this a lot, too, that we are all different ages, different sizes, different points in our lives. And so there is no one size fits all. And if what you're doing is not working, I think reach out to you, to me, to whoever can help, because sometimes you just need a little bit of expert advice to help you get through your slump or whatever you're dealing with.
[00:52:02.820] – Allan And the other side of it is if you hire a coach or you're talking to a coach, the coach is not going to make money making you sweat and burn calories. They're going to be paying attention to the other things going on. They're going to ask questions. It's not so much that coaches that we have the answer. It's just we have this objectivity in the conversation. It's like, Well, I can't help. And I'm like, okay, can't help what? Two Donuts every morning. That's what I see.
[00:52:33.690] – Allan You're eating two doughnuts for breakfast every morning, and then healthy the rest of the day. And I'm like, okay, well, I see pizza in here. I see tacos. I see not that some of those can be healthy, but at the same time, a lot of folks will get into the moment and lose that ability to take a step back. And what a coach gives you is kind of that opportunity to have a sounding board, and then you say it, and then they repeat it back to you out loud.
[00:53:03.580] – Allan You're like, aahh.
[00:53:05.690] – Rachel Yeah, it's so helpful sometimes to have another set of eyes looking at you. For sure.
[00:53:13.470] – Allan Alright, Rachel, anything else before we call it a show?
[00:53:16.950] – Rachel No. This is great. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip up here.
[00:53:20.360] – Allan I will. I will. Thank you.
[00:53:21.870] – Rachel Take care.
[00:53:22.730] – Allan You too. Bye.
[00:53:24.290] – Rachel Bye.
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