Tag Archives for " weight loss "

July 4, 2023

The five keys to sustainable weight loss over 40

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 597 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the five keys to sustainable weight loss over 40. 


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:06.520] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:03:08.360] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:10.540] – Allan

Just another day in paradise.

[00:03:12.530] – Rachel

Of course it is. You lived own in Panama.

[00:03:15.210] – Allan

third-worldAnd a third world country, yeah. And so we're still having the water problems. We've had about an inch of rain in the past week, but we really almost need a foot or more of rain to get where we need to be with the reservoirs and all of that. And people say, Oh, my God. A foot of rain. Well, it could rain a foot in 24 hours here pretty easy.

[00:03:36.980] – Rachel


[00:03:37.560] – Allan

But we got 24 inches, about 24 inches in 36 hours. So we can get a lot of rain when it's raining. So we just need one of those. We get some rain in, it's this and that. And we got some rain last night and it's early this morning, but it was hardly noticeable when it was all said and done. So yeah, we just need a good solid rain. But I've got full tanks and we don't have a ton of guests, so we're not hurting for water. It's just, you know, I feel bad that a lot of people on the island have been. And when you just don't have a means to get water, it can be very frustrating and difficult. So some of the people that live here are not too happy with the government for not making sure they have water, but hopefully we'll get some rain. So all you folks that are getting too much, just send it this way. Right.

[00:04:26.280] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:04:28.110] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:04:29.450] – Rachel

Good. It's just good. I had mentioned last week that Mike was having some more testing done, and he had the biopsy of his lymph nodes looking for potential cancer, and he's in the clear. So we've dodged that bullet. He's healthy, no evidence of cancer at this point. So we're hoping that immunotherapy just keeps moving and working like it's supposed to and we'll be past this soon enough.

[00:04:51.770] – Allan

Yeah, I hope so too. I really do.

[00:04:53.800] – Rachel

Big relief. Yeah.

[00:04:56.930] – Allan

All right. Well, are you ready to talk about weight loss?

[00:05:00.670] – Rachel



Five keys to sustainable weight loss.

Now, when it comes to trying to lose weight and keeping it off, we really have to change not just what we eat, how we eat, when we eat. We have to change our whole self. We have to change our brain. And that is very difficult. Our brain resists change. It was in our best interests when we were hunter gatherers for our brain to keep us doing consistent things, seeing normal things, staying on a given path, doing things a certain way because it was less dangerous. And so our brain is wired to look for anomalies. It's wired to look for change because change is deemed dangerous within the framework of the way our brain works. I think you can see where that can be a big problem.

Now, if you find yourself overweight and you're way off the path, a lot of people like to approach this and say, Well, I don't have to really change anything. I can eat what I like to eat, I just have to eat a little less. And so they try diets that help them do that. And it's really just driving slowly in the same direction you've been driving. If you're lost and you're driving in the wrong direction, driving slower isn't necessarily going to get you what you want. You're still going to be off the path. We've got to make some significant changes, and that's going to be difficult. But if you follow these five keys, I think that's going to help you quite a bit.

As we go through the five keys, I'm going to be talking a little bit about how your brain works and a little bit about how this played out with one of my clients. Now, I'm going to change the names of my clients just so you know, but these are real clients. I'm changing the names because I don't really want to out my clients for certain things that they were dealing with when they were trying to go through this. But I just want you to have some examples of how this key, that key that I'm talking about applied in someone's journey.

Embrace Discomfort

The first key to sustainable weight loss is to embrace discomfort. Losing weight is going to be hard. You're going to have to change some things that you do. You're going to have to do some things that you weren't doing. And that difference is going to trigger your stress hormones. It's going to trigger the release of cortisol. And so you're going to feel this fight or flight thing hitting from time to time. It's going to be difficult. You're also likely going to feel hunger. But I'm here to tell you, hunger is not starvation.

Hunger is just your body telling you you should eat something, but it's not dangerous. You're not going to starved to death. But these are discomfort feelings, uncomfortable feelings. And so if you can't embrace the discomfort, you're going to give in to them. And so this first bit where you're trying to use some willpower, develop some strength in that, it's going to be uncomfortable and you have to embrace it.

Now, I had a client, her name was Susan, and she decided she was going to go hard in and she wanted to do low carb, she wanted to get into Keto. And I think if you've tried Keto, you've read about Keto, it can be very difficult, but it can also be very effective at helping people lose weight. Now, there was an unintended consequence with her Keto that a lot of people suffer with. She ended up with constipation. And as you can imagine, that's very uncomfortable.

A lot of people at that point would have said, Oh, I can't eat low carb. And she would have reverted back. But we talked her through it. And so she tweaked some of her food choices and she pressed through. Now, what we did was we added a little bit of fiber to her diet, and we got her to take a supplement of magnesium, and that solved her problem. She found a sustainable way for her to eat low carb, and her preservation paid off. She stuck with it, and she lost over 40 pounds.

So you have to push through and you have to embrace that discomfort. The discomfort is your body telling you something is different and that's not a bad thing. That's your body telling you that it's hungry or wants you to eat. That's not a bad thing. You just have to figure out how to work through that and find the right way that's going to work for you.

Perfection Rather Than Progress

Now, the second key is to focus on progress and not perfection. Now, a lot of people want perfect. They want fast progress. They want straight-line weight loss, and that's just not how it works. If we keep trying to strive for perfection, a part of our brain that's called the anterior singlet Cort is going to be activated. And so this is going to create anxiety, self-doubt.

And so instead of striving for perfection, what you want to do is focus on progress, even little small progresses. And you celebrate those wins, you're going to reward your brain. Your brain is going to say, hey, this is good. This feels good. It's a release of dopamine. Every time you congratulate yourself and you feel good. And so what that does is that it motivates your brain's reward system and you feel good. And so if you can start acknowledging small progress, and that's why a few weeks ago I did episode on journaling, and I think writing down your daily wins is a really good and valuable tool.

I had a client, Maria. Now, Maria wanted to lose weight, but here's the deal. She was working very long hours. It was a busy season for her at her job. She's a tax accountant. And so during tax season, right up until the filing deadline dates, it's insane, 60, 70 hours weeks plus. The food they're bringing in is not necessarily always the healthiest for you either.

There's a lot of stress. And so what she did was she just basically said, “Okay, I'm not going to have time to go to the gym and get workouts in.” So instead, she just focused on making better food choices. Now, what did this mean? That she was not seeing this perfection. Occasionally, she had to make a bad food choice because that's all that was available. But she ate less of it. And so she worked her way through this, and she managed to lose weight during this busy time because she focused on progress and not perfection.

And now the busy season's over, she's in the gym and she's doing great. So just realize that there's going to be times when you can sprint and there'll be times when you just have to go really slow or just hold your ground. And recognizing that pacing is really important and then rewards your progress. Know when you're doing something right and so your body rewards you for doing that.

Be Open To New Ideas

The third key to sustained weight loss is being open to new ideas. Now, our body wants regular things. It wants us to stay familiar. It wants predictability. And that makes it really difficult sometimes for us to acknowledge that things have to change. That's why it's so popular for people to put, eat whatever you want and lose weight. Keep eating the food you love and lose weight. You'll read that time and time again. And sadly, I'm here to tell you that's probably really not going to be the way that you have to go.

If you've eaten a certain way for a certain amount of time, that's where you are. That's what got you where you were. So trying new things, just trying a different strategy, trying new foods so you're getting more whole foods in your diet. The ability to try new things, to put new things in there, often can be the difference and can start crowding out things that weren't working for you that maybe you enjoyed.

I had a client, Mick. Now, Mick, at the very beginning, basically told me, I do not want to cook for myself. I don't enjoy cooking. I don't enjoy preparing meals. I want to go out and eat a dinner at a restaurant or something else. And so he didn't want to cook. So we were going to work with that. We were going to work with not cooking as an approach, even though I think he knew deep down that he needed to be willing to try it. And so what ended up happening was he started losing a little bit of weight, and he noticed that he lost more weight when he was cooking for himself. So he was starting to prepare more meals for himself. But when he was eating family meals, when he was eating what he prepared, his progress was better.

So this rewarded his brain, again, that whole process of saying, Hey, this actually feels good. This is what I need. Seeing that additional progress and recognizing why it was happening, again, not a bad reason to have a journal, he started cooking more. And he started actually enjoying the process of cooking because he knew what was going into his body. He knew it was fueling him, and he could see his weight drop and he could see his energy level increase. And so being open to new ideas is one of the key ones because what got us where we are is probably not going to get us where we want to be.

Believe In Yourself

The fourth key to sustainable weight loss is to believe in yourself. Okay? Yes, you've tried and you failed, and yes, you've failed and you failed and you tried, and maybe you lost weight and then you gained it back. But by believing in yourself and setting that self-efficacy and saying, I can do this, I am doing this, this is happening. When you start to get your brain wrapped around what you can do versus what you think you can't do, you start pushing yourself toward success.

I think it was Ford who said, whether you believe you can or you can't, you're right. And that's this principle is all about. When we go through in our brain and we tell ourselves that this is our new reality, this is what I know I can do. I believe in myself, I know this can happen, you activate your brain and it basically starts affirming you. So as you do these self affirmations, as you do these self reflections, as you say, I know I can't. I know I can lose the weight. I know I can get stronger. I know I can avoid certain situations. I know I can stop doing things that are not serving me. When you start making those choices and you're making those choices from a statement of belief and knowing that you can, it will change a lot.

Annette struggled with self-love and compassion. We talked about this a great deal, and she didn't feel good about herself, and as a result, that was holding her back. What I had her do is I had her do some daily work. She thought it was silly at first. Go in the morning, look at the reflection, and tell yourself how you feel about yourself, how you love yourself, how you believe in yourself, how you know that you deserve to be treated right.

And like I said, she thought it was a little funny. But over time, that started to shift. And what she was able to do after she started getting this belief system in place was she started tapping into her strengths and she started being more consistent and she started losing weight and feeling better. So the accomplishments then of losing weight reinforced the belief that she put in herself at the beginning and that just got stronger and stronger. And so if you find yourself struggling, take some moment to do some self reflection.

But above all, this is not going to happen if you don't have self compassion and self love. So believe in yourself. You can do this. You can lose the weight. You just have to believe in yourself and then do the things you know that are necessary.

Get Help

The fifth key is to get help. Now, a few months ago, maybe a couple of months ago, I shared a model for motivation, and I strongly believe that everybody has motivation backwards. Everybody believes motivation is just something you have, something that just comes on. It's like, oh, now I'm motivated and I wasn't motivated before. But the reality is motivation comes from doing something first. Now, there are multiple different types of motivation. The best kind are the intrinsic ones, but they take a little bit of time to develop. That self belief, that trying new things, all those things are helping you build that. But the easiest and fastest way to get motivated is to hire a coach. A leader coach, extrinsic motivator, which is an external motivator, a coach is going to be there to hold you accountable. They're going to be there to push you. And then you're going to do trial and error.

Things are going to work for you that don't work for others. Things are not going to work for you that did work for others. It's like, I don't understand. They ate this way and they did this thing and it worked for them, but that's not how it might work for you. Now, I went through eight years of just up and down, up and down, and I invested thousands of dollars. Once I figured out that I needed to be my own coach and I figured out that I needed to do some things, I wasn't sure how I could do that. I was traveling so much and my life was just so messed up and there really weren't online trainers like there are today.

So I just said, okay, I will work with a local nutritionist and I will have some conversations with them. I will spend the money, I spent thousands and thousands of dollars to educate myself, to get certifications so that I could know what to do when I was training. And then I took the information that the nutritionist gave me and I started training. And that's how I lost my weight. That's how I lost the weight and it basically kept it off is just from that process.

And I still hire coaches today.

So I started 40+ Fitness because I wanted to be there for people the way I didn't have someone there for me. There was no one online for me to say, okay, I'm over 40, I'm going to be at a different gym every week, I'm going to need programs that I can do in a room, I can need programs I can do in a gym, and I need substitutes if I go into a gym and they don't have a particular piece of equipment. So I trained myself to do that. And you don't have to today because there are online personal trainers available.

Now, I want to talk about someone named Jose. Jose came to me. We were on a call. He was about 60 pounds overweight. And we talked about it. And then it came down time to say, Okay, are you going to hire me, Jose? And his answer was, No, I don't want to spend that money. I think I can do it on my own.

About six months later, I get another email from Jose, and he wants to talk to me. He had gained another 10 pounds in that six months. He reached out to me. And again, when it came time to say, do you want to hire me, Jose? The answer was no. And so we've messaged a little bit since then, a little over a year, he still has that 70 pounds. He's still 70 pounds overweight and he still isn't ready to get help.

He's stuck and I can't be the answer. I can't help him if he won't get help. So the fifth key to sustainable weight loss is to get help.


I think as you can tell, the way our brains are wired is really working against us if we're looking to lose weight. And so if you're going to make a change, if you're going to lose the weight and keep it off, you've got to do a lot to change the way your mind works, your mindset works, and your brain works. And that means you have to embrace discomfort. This is not going to be easy. It's going to be hard. And you have to push through that. You have to focus on progress and not perfection. It's the progress that matters, even little bits of progress, if you can celebrate them, you're teaching your brain to want more and then teaching your brain to be consistent.

And that little progress that you're making over time adds up to a whole lot. You need to be open to new ideas. The way you're eating, the way you're moving, the things you're doing now might not be serving you and changing up some of them, trying things you might not thought you would try can go a long way towards making that change happen and making it sustainable. But you got to be open to it. You got to believe in yourself. If you don't believe you can do this, you're right, you can't. So you've got to work on that. You work on your self compassion, work on your self love, and really instill a mindset that you believe you can do this and you are going to do this.

And then finally, I just say, look, ask for help. It doesn't have to be me. You can be a person in the gym. It can be a nutritionist. I hired a local nutritionist, had some conversations with her about what I should eat and how I should eat. And then I ate that way. But that was a very different situation.

I have my 12 week Shed the Fat program going on right now. I have limited slots in that program. But if you're interested, you can message me, coach@40plusfitness.com. Reach out to me. Let's have a conversation.

These keys to sustainable weight loss are hard. They're not easy. And if you get help, it's going to make it so much easier because you're going to have that accountability. You're going to have done an action, hiring a coach, that's going to be the key to having your initial bout of motivation. That's going to help you see progress. That's going to help you be successful at the start. And that's going to keep you going when things get hard. So again, coach@40plusfitness.com.

Post Show/Recap

[00:22:19.040] – Allan

Welcome back, Ross.

[00:22:23.040] – Rachel

Hey, Allen. I have to tell you, truthfully, when I heard you mention the title being the five keys to sustainable weight loss, the first thing I was thinking of, okay, got to eat better, sleep more, exercise more. And then you gave me these five other keys that had literally no particular direct thing, but all great strategies for making a change with your weight loss journey?

[00:22:48.570] – Allan

Well, I just wanted to comment on that a little bit because it's just this thing that I… I've started really working deep with people on weight loss and having the right conversations. I've got the quiz out there at 40plusfitness. Com quiz. Just seeing the results and what people are coming up with, we all know what to do. Like you said, those five things, just do those five things. The healthy things that make you healthy will make you lose weight. And so I just repeated that. That's not really solving the problem. The real problem is why aren't we doing those things?

[00:23:23.090] – Rachel

That's the question.

[00:23:24.570] – Allan

Of the year. So that's the real key. We know the locks, we know what's there, we know how to do it. It's just getting it done. And so as I was thinking through this, it was like, I wanted to go that layer beneath all of that. How do I make myself do these things or get myself to do these things? And so these were more in the lines of, Okay, what's really in our way? And if someone says, Okay, well, I'm hungry and this is uncomfortable. Well, got to embrace that a little bit. If you want to lose some weight, you're probably going to be a little hungry at time. We talked about that with Brian last week. He had his little shark mode. He's a big man. He's over, I think, 6'5 or something like that. So grumpy guy who's 6'5 and weighs 300 pounds, stay out of his way, shark mode. But we're going to be a little uncomfortable. That's what these were really all about was how do we get ourselves to feel right about this so that we can stay successful?

[00:24:23.380] – Rachel

Right. Well, the one that stuck out the most with me was key number 3, be open to new ideas. And what really hit me with that was when I first started listening to your podcast, how long has it been now, Alan? Six years.

[00:24:37.620] – Allan

Seven years? Yeah. Well, I launched the podcast seven and a half years ago. Gosh.

[00:24:42.460] – Rachel

Well, about that time you started to introduce the information about the Keto diet and low carb eating. And at the time, I just had a lot of doubts with yet another fad diet out there, and I didn't want to cut out all the fruits that I like to eat during the day, the breads I love to have with dinner or pizza or anything like that. And I was very resistant to that idea. But at the time, I was at a crossing point here. I was at the bridge. I had to make a change, but I just couldn't figure out what to do. And so I was like, Okay, I'm going to be open to this. And I literally said, I'm just going to try this and see how it works. And so I dove right into the Keto way of eating, and I lost the weight that I needed to lose at that time. So it was sometimes these ideas are out there, or sometimes we don't want to give up our favorite foods or our favorite habits. But sometimes if you really want to make a change, you just have to do something a little different.

[00:25:45.170] – Allan

That was the whole point of the client I mentioned. I used the name Mick, not his real name, but he had told me the very first day we talked, he's like, I don't like cooking. I don't like being in the kitchen. I don't like doing any of that. I'm like, Okay, well, let's talk about strategies just to get you eating better food. And then we see where it goes. And the interesting thing was he went on a trip to see his family about three weeks. In the middle of a 12 week program, he's on vacation and he's sticking with it because the whole point was that's how his family actually lived. They cook their own meals. So he's having home cooked meals and he's starting to taste the nutrition and really realize, okay, this is serving me a lot better than the big US based portions that I'm getting at all these restaurants. And so he started to learn. It's like, this is what real food tastes like when you prepare it yourself. And so he started doing that and control the portions. He knew everything that was in the food. And then he and his wife just came to realize, Wow, this is actually fun.

[00:26:49.660] – Allan

We're spending time together. We're cooking our own meals. We're feeling better, we're looking better, and this is working for us. And so by the end of the 12 weeks, he actually said, We might eat out once every week or every two weeks. But most of the food that I'm eating, I'm preparing myself, and I actually like it that way. Whereas before, he was so resistant to, I'm not going to cook my own meals. I have to eat out every meal thing. Just start with that idea of, Okay, what if I cooked one extra meal per week for myself? Just one meal. What if I did a little bit of food prep on Sunday? I'm working on it for two or three hours, but then I don't have to do that the rest of the week. I just warm it up. So there's lots of opportunities there if you're willing to try new things.

[00:27:36.060] – Rachel

Yeah. Oh, I love that. And I'm with him. I don't like to cook either. But I also don't like to pay a whole ton of money for a restaurant meal that I don't like or that's not healthy. So you got to choose.

[00:27:47.800] – Allan

Yeah. Well, I think that's one of the things you don't have to choose, choose. But the whole point being is I told him, I said, well, we'll work with what you got, but you got to look at what a portion size is. And so when they bring out that big plate of food, that's three meals. That's three meals on that plate. The standard restaurant has to give you two and a half to three meals just for customers to feel like they got their money's worth. And so you go in there and you look at the calorie counts. Some of these restaurants to print that on their menus now, or you can look it up online and you're like, Okay, so this particular meal is 1,500 calories. Guess what? Rachel, for someone your size, that's almost all the calories.

[00:28:28.670] – Rachel

That's all in.

[00:28:29.470] – Allan

My day. If you're sedentary and you're 5'1?

[00:28:35.230] – Rachel

Two ish, yeah, and a good.

[00:28:36.900] – Allan

Hair day. But you can look that up. You can look that up and say, What's my TDE, which we're going to get into next week, actually, a little bit about calories. But that 1,500 is almost 100 % of the calories you need that day. So you start saying, okay, if I want to lose a little bit of weight, I eat that meal, but I also had breakfast and lunch. Now you start to see why you were gaining weight is we don't understand portion sizes, we don't understand meal sizes. And so is the whole point of when you're preparing it at home and you know what goes into it and you can plate yourself a real meal. Okay, I'm going to have two portions of protein and then some vegetables. And if I'm going to have something like rice or potatoes, I understand what a portion size is, and I'm going to eat maybe half a portion. So I still get to savor and enjoy the carbohydrates that I love. But I'm just not going to eat as much of them. I'm really going to take my time with them so that I enjoy them rather than scarf them down like you would do in a restaurant situation.

[00:29:40.870] – Rachel

Oh, gosh, yeah, for sure.

[00:29:43.370] – Allan

And you don't have people walking by constantly, Can I get you another beer? Can I get you another wine? Do you want another this? Do you want to know that? Do you want some dessert? Oh, look at this tray. You're on your own kitchen. You're not selling yourself that stuff. That's true. So it was just that thing. He opened himself up to a new idea as we were going along. But he still went out to eat occasionally. But now he understood, okay, that's two or three meals. So if I'm going to do it, I'm either going to not eat all the food that's there or I'm going to bring it home. So maybe I carry it to go container with me so that I just know as soon as they bring it out, because I used to do that, I'd order a steak and a sweet potato. I'd bring my own cinnamon because theirs was already mixed with sugar. I'd actually bring my own butter because they wouldn't give me. The stuff they had was the fluffy whipped stuff with honey in it. And so I was like, No, I don't want their butter and I don't want their cinnamon because it's already got the sugar in it.

[00:30:39.650] – Allan

So I'd bring my own cinnamon and I'd bring my own butter. Tammy was a little frustrated with me when I first started doing this, but she liked the results when I started losing the weight. And I would literally bring that container or ask for a container and I'd cut the stake in the other half or I'd cut one third off, depending on how hungry I was at that moment. And the sweet potato, I'd maybe eat a quarter of.

[00:31:00.900] – Rachel

It because it's.

[00:31:01.810] – Allan

Thighs of my head.

[00:31:04.220] – Rachel

Too big.

[00:31:05.910] – Allan

And so I just sit there and cut a piece off and I'd cut the stake and I'd put the rest of it in the container. And I'd know I've got lunch for two days sitting in that container and I'm going to have a nice meal here. So a nice Caesar salad with no croutons, that stake, which is a portion, four ounces, maybe a little bit more some days, and then the sweet potato with cinnamon on it. Cinnamon has the capacity to help blood sugar spikes. So putting regular sugar on a sweet potato works fine. You don't have to have the sugar to sweet potato. So I would adapt what the restaurant was serving me to serve me better. But it was just that that was an exercise. I had to go through at a restaurant, I'm carrying butter into a restaurant. You can't put that in your pocket.

[00:31:55.100] – Rachel


[00:31:56.720] – Allan

Certainly not. Don't put that in your pocket. But it was just one of those adaptations to say, Okay, if I'm going to go out, then I'm going to look for the protein source and look for the vegetables. And if they bring me three meals, I'm going to take two of them home.

[00:32:09.190] – Rachel

That's awesome.

[00:32:10.200] – Allan

So it's just those little things. But it's new and it's a change, and it's outside your comfort zone. So when you start it, it is hard. But when you start to see the results, it's like, okay, if this, then that, and you know how your body works, those new ideas can become the new you. You're now you eat Keto. That's who you are. You've put that into your persona.

[00:32:35.000] – Rachel

How you live.

[00:32:35.790] – Allan

You don't even think about it anymore.

[00:32:37.910] – Rachel

No. I was asked the other day if I missed anything, if there was any particular food or meal or something that I've missed, having been Keto and very specific with what I choose to eat. And I don't crave anything anymore. I can pass up all those sweet pastries. They really mean nothing to me at this stage. So I don't miss any of that. But just one more thing I want to mention is the last key about hiring an expert or to going to hire a coach or a trainer. And I feel like that is so important, especially at this particular age where we are, over 40, I'm over 50, that I don't have time to play all the tricks. I don't have time to mess with different strategies anymore. If I want a result, I want to just go and get the result. And you just mentioned a whole bunch of really great ideas that I don't think the average person might have thought of on their own. When somebody were to hire you, Allen, you'd probably give them these types of strategies and these types of tips and things to look for, to think about.

[00:33:44.020] – Rachel

And I would rather be guided in those ways than to just hit and miss it on my own. There's a lot of benefit to hiring an expert right off the bat.

[00:33:54.550] – Allan

Yeah. The way I look at it is, okay, well, one, you can look at it from the motivation perspective. It's easy and it's immediate. So you have extrinsic motivation, accountability from a coach right there to start. That's huge. It is. For most people, as soon as they know, okay, I invested and I've got a coach and the coaches ask me what I can do and can't do, and then just pushing me just to the edge and just outside of my comfort zone, that's where the magic happens. You can't stay comfortable and change. That's not how it works. It's got to be just outside your comfort zone. You don't want to go too far outside your comfort zone because then it has the opportunity to backlash on you and cause some problems. But just outside your comfort zone is a place. When you start pushing that, your comfort zone gets bigger and then you push it a little bit more. And that's where a coach can really come in handy because we can start pushing. And when something just isn't working, I have clients that I say, Okay, here's your workout. And they come back and say, This particular exercise just doesn't feel good on my knees or my lower back or this.

[00:35:04.420] – Allan

Or they try something and they're like, I just don't like broccoli. Just do not like broccoli. I'm like, Well, broccoli isn't the only vegetable out there that you could try. There's lots of them. But some people equate. If I'm going to lose weight, I got to do chicken and broccoli. It's because that's what they're told or that's what they believe. And so it's just the, Okay, well, let's talk about other vegetables that would fit with what you're trying to do. Leafy greens. Are there any leafy greens that you like? Are there any other basically cruciferous vegetables? Which asparagus does not taste like broccoli. It's entirely different. Ca workflower does not taste like broccoli. And there's things you can do with either one of those to make them not the same texture, same quality. You can make a ca workflower into a mash and put some butter in there. And it's almost, I'm just not going to say it's mash potatoes, but.

[00:35:57.910] – Rachel


[00:35:58.660] – Allan

Fish. You can rice it and it can replace rice in some dishes. And so there's just opportunities there to have the conversations to see, okay, what would work and what can we try? And I always tell my clients, I'm like, let's try this. And if it's serving you, you should keep it. If it's not, toss it. And there's plenty of times we start a strategy and they're like, Okay, this is not working for me. Cool. Or it's a pivot like the client I had that she wanted to do Keto. She knew that she'd seen enough to know that that would be something that would help her lose weight. Me and a friend that referred her to me and all that, she saw, she knows. Okay, so she said, I'm going to try this. Well, she also got really bad constipation. And so we're a few weeks in and she's like, I can't keep doing this because this is not working. She said, I'm losing the weight. But she said, I'm miserable. So I'm like, okay, well, let's get you started taking a little bit of magnesium and let's eat some fiber. And she says, I thought I was supposed to stay away from carbs.

[00:37:03.690] – Allan

I'm like, No, you can have fiber. In fact, I want you to get a lot of fiber. So we just went out, picked some fiber rich foods, factored that into her nutrition plan. So she's like, Okay, you can eat these fibrous foods. You need to eat these fibrous foods. And a week after that, she's running clean. I love it. But the weight is coming off, too. She lost over 40 pounds. She stayed on after I finished the 12 weeks. She lost about half of that during that 12 weeks. And then she was like, wanted to stay after because she had an idea where she wanted to be. So she stayed on for another six months in my legacy program and got herself down. And it was just the consistency and her willingness to believe in herself when at first she didn't. Then just the pushing through and doing uncomfortable things. It was new things, it was uncomfortable things. It was just all of it. That's why I thought these five were really important because I see it over and over and over again, the people that don't do these five things, and as a result, they struggle.

[00:38:10.780] – Allan

And a coach is there. If you got a good coach, they're going to help you ride right on the outside edge of that comfort zone, keep you in the game long enough to start seeing results. And when you start seeing results, then you start to internalize that. And that's how you start building additional motivation that's intrinsic, which is where really the magic happens.

[00:38:33.310] – Rachel

Perfect. That's absolutely perfect. Great tips, Allen. Great keys.

[00:38:38.860] – Allan

Thank you. All right, well, I will see you next week. We're going to talk about calories next week. I know a lot of people think, Well, Allen's not calories in, calories out guy. Well, maybe I am.

[00:38:50.880] – Rachel

Well, I guess we'll see.

[00:38:52.260] – Allan

Yes. Talk to you then.

[00:38:54.390] – Rachel

Take care, Allen.

[00:38:55.480] – Allan

You too.

[00:38:56.290] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

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

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to lose weight and make behavioral changes with Dr. Brian King

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 596 of 40+ Fitness, Dr. Brian King and I discuss his book, Of Bears and Weight Loss. Brian gave us some powerful insights into his weight loss journey and the challenges he faced along the way. We dove into how sleep apnea, stress, and learned behaviors contributed to his struggles with weight loss. Despite the difficulties, he shared how he's been able to make positive changes in his life and maintain a healthier lifestyle.


Let's Say Hello

Rachel Discussion


Text – https://amzn.to/44eYf6C

Post Show/Recap

Post show with Rachel.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

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

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


February 14, 2023

Signals that make your body get and stay fat | Dr. Richard Johnson

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Do you ever get that feeling that your body just loves putting on fat and keeping you that way? You're not wrong. Dr. Richard Johnson has uncovered a signaling system in our bodies that do just that.  On episode 577 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss his book, Why Nature Wants Us Fat.


Let's Say Hello

[00:04:08.900] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things?

[00:04:12.650] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:04:14.520] – Allan

I'm doing great. I'm doing great. You came on to the podcast all bundled up.

[00:04:19.190] – Rachel

I am. It's only 20 degrees up here today, and we're expecting it to dip down into the single digits pretty soon. It's about to get cold.

[00:04:29.130] – Allan

Don't know why you do it. You can go up there in the summer and come down here in the winter.

[00:04:36.540] – Rachel

Yeah, it's all tempting.

[00:04:37.820] – Allan

But anyway, let's just say it's not 20 degrees here, at least not 20 Fahrenheit, which is good. Things are going pretty good here. I'm pretty excited. I've been planning the retreat, so I've been spending some time really thinking about what we're going to do and how we're going to do it and how it's going to work. And so I've really gotten some of the baseline planning for the retreat together. So this will be out. And I'll just say, if you didn't already join the interest list, I hope that you didn't miss out because I offered this pre-sale to the interest list, and I'm going to give them first shot at the slots because it's limited. It's me at Lula's deck, and there's only a certain number of people we can fit on that deck and make it work. And there's only a certain number of rooms for the VIPs that are going to come in because there's a VIP level that stays at Lula's and gets included breakfast and a lot more time with me and extra workouts and extra time to do stuff.

[00:05:40.360] – Allan

So there's at least two levels, the basic and then the VIP. I've put that all together and planned that out. But if you don't get on the interest list, then you may miss your chance. And some of you may have already missed a chance. I'm not sure because we're recording this a few weeks out from when this will have already happened. The list will go live from a recording this a week, but by the time you hear this, it's already been out more than a week. So I would go out there and check out 40plusfitness.com/retreat. And by now it's not an interest list anymore. It's an actual page describing what's going on here in Bocas Del Toro in May 28 through June 2 with some activities the day before and some activities the day after that are just extras that I'm throwing in there. But it's going to be really cool. I'm going to enjoy that. But the planning is really exciting because I'm like, Okay, this is all the cool stuff we're going to do, and this is all the cool stuff we're going to talk about. So I'm excited about that.

[00:06:35.980] – Rachel

It sounds wonderful. Sounds like a really fun time in a beautiful location.

[00:06:40.320] – Allan

Oh, it is. It is. And the deck looking out over the water, it's just magical. So it's going to be a really cool time.

[00:06:47.690] – Rachel

Wonderful. Sounds great.

[00:06:49.560] – Allan

Well, how about you? The slight shivering and bumbling.

[00:06:53.460] – Rachel

Yeah, I actually ran a half marathon in the snow over the weekend, so I spent some extra time outside on the snowy, icy trails. And it was tough. I won't kid you, not every mile was magnificent, but it was actually a really good time to be out and about and enjoying the beautiful… It is beautiful. The snow is gorgeous. Cold but gorgeous. So it's a fun time.

[00:07:14.680] – Allan

I saw a picture of you in a Tshirt, maybe shorts, but I saw it out in the snow and I was like, I wouldn't even want that to be like a filter on my phone. It just looked so miserably cold. But you enjoy it.

[00:07:27.800] – Rachel

Yeah, you got to love it. Otherwise, the winners would be miserable. So got to learn to love it.

[00:07:33.760] – Allan

I learned to love it. Jesus. I can learn to love a lot of things. Cold is not one of them, but I get it. I get it. It's not mine, but good. Good. All right, are you ready to talk to Dr. Johnson?

[00:07:49.440] – Rachel



[00:08:41.000] – Allan

Dr. Johnson, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:43.950] – Dr. Johnson

Allan, it's great to be here.

[00:08:46.140] – Allan

There's this book called, Nature Wants Us to Be Fat. And to be honest with you, conversations I've had with clients, things I see online, my own experiences, it made me wonder if biology was just flawed for one reason or another, and there really wasn't a way to lose the weight and keep the weight off. You can just look at the obesity levels and the overweight levels within any country that's westernized at all. And it almost looks like, yes, there's somebody out there pulling strings that's just keeping us fat.

[00:09:22.180] – Dr. Johnson

Yeah, you just have to look around and you know that nature wants us to be fat when you just see how common it is. And the truth is that there really is these pressures from nature that I should say, genetic changes that we've taken on that make us predisposed to getting fat. It's the truth. Don't feel bad if you're getting fat because nature wants you to be that way.

[00:09:45.150] – Allan

Well, and the core of it is that there can be some competitive advantages for a species that can get fat. Can we talk a little bit about that? Because I think when you're going to get to the biology of this and understanding why our body gets fat and why nature wants us fat is there's actually some benefits to it, if you will.

[00:10:05.060] – Dr. Johnson

Well, most of us, when we think about being fat, we don't see any advantage at all.

[00:10:10.230] – Allan

I can't outrun the lion anymore.

[00:10:12.240] – Dr. Johnson

Exactly. You can't. You can't outrun that lion. And not only that, being fat increases our risk for diabetes and increases our risk for fatty liver, increases our risk for high blood pressure. I mean, it's pretty hard to give an argument that fat is good. But the reality is that in nature, there are a lot of animals that will purposely try to become fat to help them during periods when there's no food around. And so when is there no food around. Well, in this dead of winter, it can be very hard for animals to find food. And so animals will hibernate and try to sleep through the winter. And in order to survive by just sleeping for four months, they have to have fat, and they use that fat to generate calories, because when they burn fat, they basically are producing energy. Fat is stored energy. Not only do they produce energy, but when you break down fat, you produce water. So these hibernating bear will get its water and energy from the fat that it's got. And so it's really important for the bear to become fat before it hibernates. So they actually maintain their normal weight throughout the summer.

[00:11:32.250] – Dr. Johnson

Spring and summer, they can run. They can evade a tiger if there was one around or fight it. But anyway, the bear will, in the fall, beginning two or three months before it hibernates, suddenly it will activate some mechanism where it will just come hungry all the time and will forge for food and it will eat as much as it can eat. It will gain 10 pounds or more a day. That's when you get fat pretty quickly. That way it'll double its fat. It'll become insulin resistant. All the things that we think of is bad, and yet it uses that to help it survive, because when it's insulin resistant, it keeps its glucose levels up and the brain uses glucose for its main fuel. And so it will keep the glucose levels up in its blood even when it's hibernating because it's insulin resistant. And that keeps the brain fueled while it's sleeping through the winter. And so it turns out that fat can be a survival mechanism. And other animals use fat, like in the desert, fat can be a source of not just calories because there's not a lot of food in the desert, but it can produce water.

[00:12:49.330] – Dr. Johnson

And so the animal has a hump of fat, and it will use that when it needs water. And the whale wants to be fat because it doesn't drink seawater, doesn't like seawater. It doesn't like seawater. And so it's too salty. So it tries to get its fresh water from the food it eats, and about a third of the water gets from the fat. So fat has a purpose. Fat can be good. And you want to have fat if you are in a period where there's no food. Now, in humans, there's pretty good data that people who are fat survive famines better than people who are not. And you certainly can show that in animals, that if you fatten a laboratory rat and then do caloric restriction, severe caloric restriction, it can survive because it can break down the fat that it has. So there's all this stuff that suggests that fat can be good. And what happened was humans in our past, it turns out evolutionarily, that there were times in our past when we went through periods of severe food shortage. And there was one period millions of years ago, there were been at least two times.

[00:13:59.960] – Dr. Johnson

And we had mutations that occurred then that increased our risk to become fat. And at that time, those mutations helped us store fat so that we could survive. And they didn't really make us fat. They just helped us store fat more effectively. But in today's society, these mutations are actually helping drive obesity because we're eating foods that are really not quite fattening and having these mutations just adds on to it. And so we have this great predisposition for fat.

[00:14:31.840] – Allan

Well, yeah. And then the key of it is not only is it easier to get fat, it's also you basically lower your energy usage. And so it's this double whammy that I think many of us have experienced. It's like my metabolism is nothing, and I'm gaining weight and I'm hungry all the time. If you've ever felt that, you've probably tripped what you call the survival switch. Can you talk a little bit about what the survival switch is? Because I've never faced a famine unless it was self induced. And then even then, I could walk away from it anytime I wanted to.

[00:15:07.630] – Dr. Johnson

Well, so we were very interested in what was this trigger that made animals gain weight. And so we've been studying this, and I've been studying this for over 20 years, and we discovered this switch, and the switch is driven. So remember that it's all about energy, right? You want to have energy to be able to do the things you want. And when you store fat, you're actually storing energy, and so you can use it. But what makes you store the energy? So it turns out that normally when an animal eats anyone, anything you eat, you get calories from it, and the calories are used to make energy. And the easiest way to think about this is that there's two types of energy. There's the energy that's immediately available that we use to do everything we want. We call that ATP. And then there's the stored energy, which is the fat. And so if you eat too much food, the extra gets turned over into fat. And if you don't eat enough food, then the fat you have gets broken down to provide the energy. And so you got the usable energy and the stored energy.

[00:16:16.150] – Dr. Johnson

Now, in most foods, the goal is to maintain high energy levels in the cell. So most animals, when they eat food, they're using it to generate high ATP levels, and the left over goes to fat. But when you eat a particular food called fructose, which is a sugar, it's present in table sugar, it's present in high fructose cornstarch. When you eat fructose, it acts differently than the other foods. And what it does is it blocks the production of ATP by knocking down the activity in the mitochondria. The mitochondria are in our cells, and that's what's making most of our ATP. And fructose induces oxidative stress and raises a substance called uric acid. And that uric acid suppresses the ATP production by the mitochondria. So now instead of the calories going to make ATP, you're blocking that so the calories get shunted to make fat. So the calories, the energy balance has to maintain. So if you're eating energy from food and you can't make the ATP, it goes into the fat. And then fructose also tries to block the fat from being turned into energy into ATP. So it blocks the burning of fat. So the fat accumulates and your ATP levels stay low.

[00:17:42.150] – Dr. Johnson

And when your ATP levels stay low, you become hungry and you have a low metabolism, just like you say. So it's really easier to gain weight because your metabolism is low, you're hungry, and the food you're eating is preferentially going to fat. And so this is like a switch. So normally, we don't have that going on. Normally it's the usual thing to try to maintain high ATP. But when you activate this switch, you suddenly are shifting the energy you eat into fat and reducing your metabolism. And so you like that bear. And that's exactly what happens to the bear. It starts eating all these berries and fruits that have a lot of fructose in it. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that fruits are necessarily bad. Often, the kinds of fruits we eat are often tart, and they have all these good vitamins like vitamin C and all these things. And they have things called flavanols, and they help neutralize the fruit dose. And then we only eat one or two fruit at a time. So we're only getting small amounts of fructose, whereas the verily 10,000 varies in a 24 hours period.

[00:18:53.720] – Dr. Johnson

And so they're getting a big dose of fructose. And when the fruit ripens, it tends to go good stuff tends to go down and the sugar goes up. So when a fruit ripens and they like really ripe fruit, we like it a little more tart. We don't like it mushy normally. And so the fruit dose is the problem. You can get it from fruit. But for us, the take home message is that eating a few natural fruits is not going to do it. But if you make a smoothie and you put 10 fruit in one, you break it down and make this big juice. With the juicer, what's happened is you end up with a fair amount of fructose and it's like drinking a soft drink. And so you can activate the switch by drinking fruit juice or drinking a soft drink. So soft drinks are the number one way to do this, but you can do it with fruit if you want.

[00:19:48.850] – Allan

Now, one of the interesting things as I was reading through your book and you were talking about fructose, I was thinking back to earlier in the book when you were talking about Emperor Penguin and how they want to put on fat because they've got to go inland and lay an egg. The one when the girl lays the egg. And of course, then the which I think is awesome, the guy, because he can put on more weight, he's going to sit there and sit on that egg and protect that egg until it's time. And then she'll come back after she's feeding and be there to feed the baby and deal with all that, then he can go eat. So they're putting on weight for survival purposes.

[00:20:20.480] – Dr. Johnson

Yeah, they're not eating fruit. Aren't they?

[00:20:23.500] – Allan

They're not eating fruit. And so a lot of people say, Well, I cut out sugar and I lost some weight, but now I'm putting it back on and I'm hungry and I want that. I want that very, very badly. And hey, we're coming up on Girl Scout cookie time.

[00:20:38.050] – Allan

So they're catching me every time I go in and out.

[00:20:42.300] – Dr. Johnson

I love Girl Scout cookies. Those thin mince cookies too.

[00:20:46.680] – Dr. Johnson

But yeah, it's depressing when you study it.

[00:20:49.580] – Allan

How is fructose playing into that?

[00:20:52.080] – Dr. Johnson

So that was the big question we had too, Allan. The question was, sure, okay, sugar can do it. I give sugar to animals to get fat. It turns out it's from the fructose. If I block the fructose because I have ways to block fructose metabolism that I can do in animals, for example, I can create an animal that can't metabolize fructose, and they stay thin and they're immune to the effects of sugar. And so I can really show that fructose can trigger this. And it explains very well how the bear activating the switch. But what about the Emperor Penguin? There's no apple trees and there's no bananas down there. So how do they do it? Well, this was a big question for us. And one of the things that we discovered was that you get fructose from food, of course, like sugar and high fructose corn syrup. And that's probably the major source of fructose for most of us. But you can also make fructose. This was so depressing, Allan, because I didn't really think that the body really made a lot of fructose. But we started studying this and we found to our amazement that the body can make a lot of fructose.

[00:22:08.860] – Dr. Johnson

And there's now data in humans showing the same. But our work initially was in laboratory animals. And one of the biggest sources is from carbs and especially these things called high glycemic carbs like cereal and bread and rice and potatoes. And all the things that I thought when I was originally studying this, I go, Oh, the problem of carbs is fructose. That's the problem. If I just take fructose out of my foods, it should solve the problem. And I knew that French fries weren't good, and they don't have fructose. But I kept thinking that it was the fructose had to be the problem because it didn't seem to be anything else. But it had to be involved something else. And it turns out that it is still fructose but it's being produced in our body. And when you eat high glycemic carbs like bread, rice, a lot of people say, Well, what's bad is blood glucose goes up in your blood and that stimulates this hormone insulin, and then the insulin makes you fat. And there may be a little bit of truth to that for sure. But when we did our experiments, we found that if we gave carbs like bread or rice or glucose to animals, they do get fat.

[00:23:29.560] – Dr. Johnson

But if we blocked fructose, we could prevent them from getting fat, and their insulin levels were still high. So this made me realize that actually the main mechanism by which carbs are causing obesity is because when the glucose goes up in the blood, that triggers some of it to be turned, converted to fructose. So it's still important to have carbs that raise glucose. It's really important. And if you have a glucose monitor and you're monitoring your glucose and you want to keep it the normal range, that's a good move. But it isn't just because you're blocking insulin, you're actually blocking the conversion of glucose to fructose. So it's the same benefit. I actually love the glucose monitor and I try to avoid eating high glycemic carbs. Really try not to eat a lot of rice and bread and potatoes because even though they taste good. And try to keep it down because they can be converted to fructose, and that is a mechanism for activating this switch. If you give bread to a bear, I bet you he'll get fat, because he'll do the same thing that we do. They'll convert that over to fructose. But the Penguin is not eating bread either.

[00:24:51.660] – Dr. Johnson

It's not eating rice and potatoes. And so it turns out there's yet a third way to do that. There's actually four big ways. And the third way is it's eating… So it turns out that the mechanism involves raising uric acid. And there are times in the year where the Penguin will start eating quill and things like this, as well as a lot of fish that are high in uric acid. And particularly, there are certain seasons where the uric acid goes up in the fish. And it's not so much the uric acid, it's like the RNA. And there are these things called the booming of the frill. And that's when the frill suddenly increase in numbers. And that's associated with a huge increase in nucleic acid in the cricket, which I don't know if we should go on into that. But then the fish eat that, and basically every animal starts feeding it and they start using it to get fatter. And then the pig will eat those fish in the frill, and it would times with the increasing of fat. And we found that is another mechanism. So I had a friend who was in the shrimp business, and shrimp is one of those foods that can also contain a lot of this stuff that makes uric acid.

[00:26:15.820] – Dr. Johnson

And he was eating fried shrimp. And I was thinking, well, he's off carbs. He's not eating a lot of carbs, but he's still gaining weight. The guy gained a lot of weight and became overweight. And I think it was because he was eating a lot of this shrimp that triggered the switch. And then having the fat in the fry was the calories that he could put on the weight quickly that way. So there are different ways to do this. But the number one way is probably from carbs and sugar. And so that's why the low carb diet works so well. The Keto diet works so well because it's blocking you from eating a lot of high glycemic carbs and also sugar and fructose.

[00:26:59.760] – Allan

Now, there was one other way that you brought up in the book that I thought was really interesting, particularly when someone goes low carb, you tell them, okay, well, because you're low carb, you're going to flush some water. And as a result, we want you to have more electrolytes so you can hold on to some of that water. And so folks are starting to salt their food a little bit more and do a little bit more. But that could also be problematic, couldn't it?

[00:27:21.220] – Dr. Johnson

Yeah. So let's talk about that. So it turns out that animals, as we mentioned, they use fat as a source of water. And actually, when you go on a low carb diet and you start burning the fat that first week and you're burning the glycogen and stored carbohydrates, they release water. And so it's very common in the first week of a low carb diet to lose a lot of water because you're basically breaking it. When you break down the fat and the carbs stored, the stored carbs like the glycogen, you release water. And so you do lose a lot of water. And it's not uncommon to become a little dehydrated the first few weeks on a low carb diet. Drinking a lot of water is very beneficial for sure. And this is well known in the low carb field. But what is not so well known is that mild dehydration can be a stimulus for obesity. And when you an animal is in the desert, they are living in a low water state, and so they tend to be mildly dehydrated. And that actually helps them store fat. If they become severely dehydrated, they'll break down the fat.

[00:28:31.080] – Dr. Johnson

But if they're just mildly dehydrated, they will gain fat. And the way that works, it's interesting. When you get mildly dehydrated, the salt concentration in your blood goes up because you're losing water. So blood is basically a combination of water and salt. And if you lose a little water, the salt concentration goes up. And when that happens, it triggers the release of a hormone called Vesopressin. And this helps you hold onto water because it concentrates the urine. And that's why when you dehydrate, the urine, it gets dark yellow. And it's because this hormone is turned on. And we found that that hormone actually triggers basically this survival switch as well. And when the hormone goes up, it tries to stimulate fat storage and so forth. Now, if you get really dehydrated, it goes into emergency mode and starts breaking down the fat. But in the mild dehydration, it actually stores fat. I don't know if you saw this, but in the last few months, there's been a number of papers that have come out showing that mild dehydration is a real risk factor for obesity, diabetes, and even premature mortality, and dementia, and all these things.

[00:29:46.370] – Dr. Johnson

It's like being associated with a lot of chronic diseases. And there was a paper from the National Institute of Health that looked at your serum salt. So whenever you get a blood test, Allan, you can get a serum salt and sodium, and no one ever looks at it because it's usually in the normal range in the vast majority of people.

[00:30:06.070] – Allan

I do because I actually like it.

[00:30:07.430] – Dr. Johnson

Good for you, man.

[00:30:08.780] – Allan

Well, okay, but only because I had an incident, an event. I went, what do they call it?

[00:30:16.000] – Allan


[00:30:16.130] – Dr. Johnson


[00:30:17.360] – Allan

Yeah, basically too much water and not enough salt. And I flushed too much sodium out. And what I didn't know was I tend to be on the low end of the sodium. And so for me to lose sodium is not necessarily a good thing, and so I have to be careful with it. And yeah, my sodium dropped down to that level where I went into spasms and could have gone into a coma. But fortunately, I'm not.

[00:30:40.190] – Dr. Johnson

Oh, my gosh. Well, let's talk about that. Let's go into that a little bit.

[00:30:44.120] – Allan


[00:30:44.720] – Dr. Johnson

So it turns out you have this thing called sodium. And when you get your blood test, it's almost everyone has this measured. And the sodium is NA, that's the symbol. And when you look at the sodium, the normal range is like 135 to 145. And what these studies show is that if you're in the 142 to 145 range, which we call normal, you actually have an increased risk for all these terrible diseases. Now, interestingly, if your sodium goes low, it also increases your risk. So if your sodium goes under 135 to a low level, it can be associated with its own problems, a lot of problems. And the most feared one is what happens to marathon runners. So when you're running a marathon, if you get a little bit behind in your fluids, you can start holding on to water because this vasopressin hormone goes up because you get dehydrated. And sometimes the vasopressin level will go up really high and you can start holding on to the water. And instead, normally the way vasopressin works is it helps you hold onto water.

[00:31:58.890] – Dr. Johnson

But when the serum sodium comes back to normal, it turns off. Then it turns off and then you just pee out the water and everything's good. But when you're a marathon runner, occasionally the vasopressin doesn't turn off. And when it doesn't turn off, the water you can… The serum sodium can actually become low and you can get into trouble. And so most people that's not the case because they're not running marathons and they're not holding on to water. But in some people, it can. And like you do, it apparently did. If that happens, you have to be very careful not to drink a lot of water. You need to talk to your doctor, maybe eat more salt and drink less water. But in most people, it turns out that we're usually on a high salt diet. We're eating a lot of salt, just like we're eating a lot of sugar. And all this processed food is injected with salt and salt and French fries and salt and pretzels and salted peanuts, and we're eating all this salt. And so most of us are eating a lot of salt, and we tend to run our sodiums. A lot of people run their sodium a little bit on the high side, mimicking dehydration.

[00:33:12.480] – Dr. Johnson

And what we found was that if you put animals on salt, that over months and months, in the first couple of months, nothing happens. But after several months, they start to become obese. And it's because they're stimulating this vasopressin chronically, and their sodium is a little high. And so they're turning on this survival switch and gaining fat. And when we looked at people who are overweight, most of them are on high salt diets, and most of them have evidence that they're eating too much salt. So it fit that that could be another risk factor for obesity. And then we found that high salt diet predicts obesity, and high salt diet predicts fatty liver, and high salt diet predicts diabetes. And then we took animals and we gave them water, and we could reduce the obesity from sugar by increasing water intake. And what we're doing is we're increasing it to eight… In a human, it would be eight eight ounce cups a day. That's where you want to go. You want to have your urine volume, like two to three liters a day. Normally, it's like one to two liters. So we're looking at trying to increase things a little bit more.

[00:34:22.430] – Dr. Johnson

So everyone is drinking four or five cups of water a day on average. And we're saying let's go up to eight, maybe 10. I'm not telling you to drink liters and liters and liters and liters because if you do, you might get hyponic traviates, spasm, and have seizures.

[00:34:41.440] – Dr. Johnson

There was a case a few years ago in the Boston Marathon where a young lady dropped dead, she was drinking huge amounts of water while she was running and she wasn't getting rid of it because her vasopressin was still turned on.

[00:34:56.820] – Allan

So we've talked about a few things here which I think are really important. So basically, these four known mechanisms. There might actually even be more. You're not done yet. So we're talking about fructose, we're talking about simple carbs, we're talking about uric acid, and we're talking about salt and making sure we get adequate water. Those are some high level things that I think a lot of us when we go on a diet of some sort or another, or our doctors talking to us about our blood pressure, we do a bit of this. And as a result, for at least a period of time, we actually see the benefits. We lose some weight, we're feeling good in spry, and lo and behold, a few months go by and something happens and we lose it all. When I say lose it all, we actually gain it all and we gain it all back and sometimes more. What are some things that we can do about that? Because I'm a solutions guy. I'm a guy who wants to have a question roll things. So what do we do to get ourselves on track here and moving in the right direction?

[00:35:55.030] – Dr. Johnson

Yeah, let's talk about that. So the way this switch works is you generate fructose, and then the fructose works on the mitochondria to block the energy production. Over time, the way it does it is it generates uric acid, which attacks the mitochondria, causes what we call oxidative stress. And initially, that is, it damages the mitochondria, but it's temporary. So it knocks down the mitochondria a bit, and then the mitochondria recover. But if you're doing this continuously with the drinking soft drinks and all these other things every day. Over time, the mitochondria becomes damaged permanently. And when they start getting permanent damage, then it's harder for them to come back up to normal. And so what happens is it's harder to lose weight because your mitochondria are low, so you're living on a low energy state. And so you can die and lose weight, but it seems like anything you eat will cause you to gain weight again. And so the question is, how do you break that? And the answer turns out to be scientifically simple, but hard to do. So let's just talk about it. So the scientific solution is to quit damaging the mitochondria. So cut out or reduce foods that can damage the mitochondria.

[00:37:15.620] – Dr. Johnson

The main thing is to reduce sugar and reduce carbs. That's difficult. But then the second big thing is to try to stimulate those mitochondria to regenerate. And there are ways to do it. And what you're doing now, this whole thing about fitness, fitness is a fantastic way to stimulate mitochondrial growth. So even just endurance exercises can stimulate those mitochondria and working, doing a stationary bike or biking or walking fast. The classic teaching is you want to exercise to the point where you can still talk, but not easily. And if you can still talk to your friend while you're jogging or walking really fast, but it's hard, that's the perfect place to be. And you want to do that for 30, 40 minutes. And regular exercise with weights, that's good too. They definitely help. But that endurance exercise can stimulate those mitochondria to come back. Taking things like vitamin C, vitamin C helps the mitochondria recover. Taking 500 milligrams twice a day, that's a wonderful way to do it. And it also lowers your acid without you having to take a drug. Another great thing to do is dark chocolate contains these things called flavanols, and they contain one that's called Epicatecan and green tea is another.

[00:38:40.680] – Dr. Johnson

It contains a similar one called Epigallic, but these flavanols helps stimulate mitochondria growth. And there's over the counter things like carnotene and some of these things are really CoQ10 or whatever. And there's a lot of these things that are probably good for mitochondria. Vitamin. Vitamin B1, 100 milligrams a day can really help stimulate energy in cells. It's an antidote we use when people have low energy from alcohol in their cells and they can get… Because vitamin can be a magical drug, and it's a vitamin. So what the heck? Anyway, so there are these things to do to try to stimulate the energy factories. And so reducing sugar, drinking more water, cutting back on salt, and following your preachings, Allan, following your preachings. And all these things can help. But even so, it's very hard if your mitochondria are knocked down, it takes months to rebuild them. So you have to have faith. You have to just keep going.

[00:39:48.440] – Allan

And that's one of the cool things with your book. This isn't just stuff you're throwing out a bunch of science at the end. You do have the switch diet, which you talk about, and that can help you. And in a sense, just really start building the platform for getting better. And then once you start losing the weight and then making sure that you're now getting the exercise to help keep it off, those are great. And that's all in your program. That's all in your book. I'd encourage someone, if you're really struggling with this and you just feel like your biology is fighting against you, this is a big part of the answer why it's hard. And if it were easy, then everybody would be thin and healthy, but it's not. So this is a challenge. And I appreciate that you've given us an opportunity book to know not just what to do, because that's what most books do. This is why it will work for you and having the patience to stick with it.

[00:40:41.510] – Allan

Dr. Johnson, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:40:51.220] – Dr. Johnson

So you want me to give you three recommendations. The first one is avoid sugary beverages. They are the number one driver. If you drink a soft drink, you're getting a big load of sugar in a very short period of time. So avoid sugary beverages. That includes sugary teas and it includes power drinks and it includes fruit juices. That's number one. Number two, drink more water. People are just not drinking enough. If you have a slow sodium problem, talk to your doctor about it. But for the vast majority of the world, people are not drinking enough water. There's so much data, eight eight ounce cups a day. They used to think it was a myth. The data now is very clear and just do that. I think the third one is develop a program for yourself that involves exercising three to four times a week and reducing those foods that we know aren't good for you, like carbs and especially high glycemic carbs and sugar, salty foods. They can do it. And there are certain meats, processed red meats in particular, a lot of seafood, especially shellfish, like shrimp and crab, those are rich foods for a reason.

[00:42:13.740] – Dr. Johnson

We call them rich foods, and they have a lot of this uric acid capability. But if you're on a low carb diet, you're probably protected from these meats because the way you make fructose is you make it from glucose. And so it turns out that a lot of if you're not eating any carbs at all, it's hard to make a lot of fructose. So you can get away with eating these foods, like a lot of them you can get away with. But still be careful not to eat too much of these really rich liver shrimp. A lot of them are. But I am a big fan of low carb food and the low carb diet. So I do like high protein diets, but there's just certain foods that are high protein that may not be the healthiest. And then also reduce alcohol, especially beer. Beer is one of the easiest ways to put on extra weight. It's similar to sugar, actually. So maybe I gave you four things.

[00:43:11.000] – Allan

That's awesome. All right. Like I said, I love the book. There's just so much in it, and I'm a geek. So if you want to just get in and really get into the biology of this and the studies he did to get to some of this information that's now been covered by others and basically verified. These are things, and I don't think any of this is really a surprise, but understanding that there is a biological switch that makes this happen for a very good reason. We just are switching it for the wrong reasons. And we need.

[00:43:44.350] – Dr. Johnson

nature wants us to be fat.

[00:43:46.560] – Allan

Nature wants us to be fat.

[00:43:49.120] – Dr. Johnson

And so don't feel bad if you're fat. Nature wants us to be fat. But there are things we can do.

[00:43:54.270] – Allan

Dr. Johnson, if someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, Nature Wants Us to Be Fat, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:44:01.780] – Dr. Johnson

So I have a website, drrichardjohnson.com, and it's kept up to date with a lot of information. And then my book is available through any bookstore, Amazon, Books a million, it's very easy to find. I do have an Instagram, Dr. Richard J. Johnson, that I use for a fair amount. But I think my website is probably the best place to go.

[00:44:26.350] – Allan

Okay. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/577 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Johnson, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:44:37.420] – Dr. Johnson

Thank you, Allan.

Post Show/Recap

[00:44:47.780] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:44:48.820] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. I probably could have listened to you guys chat for a little bit longer about all these different triggers and the reasons why our bodies want to get fat and stay fat. It was actually really fascinating. But I'm going to tell you right now that fructose was not at the top of my list of things to be concerned about. Honestly, I was thinking 20 other things before that came up, but it was an interesting discussion.

[00:45:11.330] – Allan

Well, I think a lot of people lose sight of where fructose is. I think they think, oh, well, that's fruit. That's fruit. Fructose is fruit. And that's the only… No, table sugar is 50 50, glucose and fructose. That's table sugar. High fructose corn syrup, as the name implies, has more fructose than glucose. Fructose is sweetener than glucose. That's what makes it cheaper is they put it in the food. It's also shelf stable. There's a lot of other stuff. It's in almost everything that's processed. It's crazy. It's in ketchup. It's in your spaghetti sauce. It's anything that's in a box, bag, jar, or can you want to see. And two things to look at is you can look at the order. It happens in the ingredients list. You can look at the total amount of sugars because that's also going to be on the thing. But sugar can apply in multiple levels. So you may see high fructose corn syrup, and then you're going to see agave syrup, and then you're going to see nectar. You'll see these different words, and all they're saying is fructose. There's more fructose. And then, hey, here's a little more fructose to throw in there.

[00:46:28.460] – Allan

And that's all part of it. They'll tell you how much sugar is in it. They'll tell you, you're never really going to get that breakdown. Is this mostly glucose? Is it mostly fructose? And there's no need for you to memorize all this stuff. What I would say is if it's in a box, bag, jar or can pay attention. And then if you're looking at that label, how much of it is added sugars and how much of it is sugar, because that's really where the rubber hits the road. Now, there are other triggers that he brought up because he was mentioning the Emperor Penguin. And these guys are really cool because… Well, I didn't know, but again, I love reading this stuff because I learned things. But the Emperor Penguins, okay, so the males and the females will just go get themselves morbidly obese. And then right after they do that, the women go out and they lay the eggs. And then the boys, because they can put on more fat, they're bigger and they put on a lot more fat, they can sit out there on the egg for a lot longer than the female can.

[00:47:24.380] – Allan

So they go out there and sit on the egg and the female goes back to the Coast to eat and feed and then comes back and then the chicks are born and then she can regurgitate fish and stuff and feed the animal, feed the baby. But it's like, so they have to get morbidly obese so that they can survive. And if for one reason or another that the male didn't get fat enough, he has to leave the egg and go back to the Coast so he can feed because he can't feed out there. So it's a cycle that keeps them alive. But then you say, Okay, well, wait a minute, they are not eating fruit. This doesn't look like this is a great plan. Oh, wow. Here's this Emperor Penguin eating apples. It's like they don't even have hands, but they're eating apples. No, but that's why our bodies can create fructose. It can create those things. And so there's other triggers that are happening that are creating this environment in our body that says, get fat because something bad is about to happen. The famine is about to happen. The cold weather, the lack of food is going to happen and we need the excess or lack of water because we talked about how you look at a whale, there's no fresh water out in the ocean.

[00:48:37.780] – Allan

So the whale can't drink saltwater either. You think, okay, is a fish thirsty?

[00:48:47.760] – Rachel

What a concept.

[00:48:49.460] – Allan

Whales are thirsty and so they're not drinking enough water. They're not drinking water. And since they're not drinking water, well, because they can actually do ice and stuff like that, but they're not that much. So they're eating fish and all that. They're getting some water from that. But building fat in their fat stores then provide the same thing with camels. The hump in their back is not some water tank that they just fill up. It's fat. It's a series of fat that collects, and then they use that for water. So apparently, I guess when they're out of water, their little lumps are floppy. So again, it's this whole biological process where our body is triggering us to put on body fat to protect us from a coming winter or whatever. And unfortunately, we don't have those anymore. I mean, obviously, yeah, it's 20 degrees up there and it's 24 degrees down here. So we do have winters, but you're able to be in a house bundled up. You are not out in the elements nearly as more than most because you've got your running thing. But you don't need a whole bunch of body fat to survive the winter because you've got the manmade stuff that keeps you alive despite it.

[00:49:59.080] – Allan

So because we're not in that environment, because we're in a food abundant environment, we don't need those triggers. We don't need them, but we keep doing it. We keep triggering it and we don't understand. It's like, Well, I'm not. I look at the calories. I don't understand, or I'm always hungry. I don't know why I'm always hungry. And it's because you've triggered. And the trigger says, eat more. Just eat more.

[00:50:23.800] – Rachel

And hold on to it.

[00:50:25.190] – Allan

And hold on to that body fat. So it lowers your metabolism. It's not that you're not eating enough and that's lowering your metabolism. It's not that you're getting older and that's lowering your metabolism. Yes, our metabolism does start to slow down a little bit, but it's actually not that big until you're like 90. So a 90 year old's metabolism relative to a 40 year old's metabolism is lower, like maybe 20 % lower. But it's not this drastic number where you're like, when I was a kid, I could eat anything, and now I can't. It's not that drastic, but it does lower it when you got the trigger on because the process requires, the nature requires, the biology requires you to put on body fat. So it's doing both, lower the metabolism and increase your hunger. And that's what makes this so hard.

[00:51:17.460] – Rachel

But there's more to it. It's not just the fructose, it's all of the simple carbs, the high glycemic food items that we eat. And you also discuss uric acid and their level of hydration or dehydration has an impact as well.

[00:51:34.790] – Allan

Yeah. All of those are signals, I would say. I think anyone listen to this podcast that didn't know sugar was on that list, shocker, because he brought up, he was doing the research and it was like, Oh, wow. Everything's pointing to fructose. But then it didn't make sense what's going on with some animals that aren't eating fruit. How is that happening for them? And it was like, okay, there's something else going on. And he even talked to someone who was popular in the online space in podcasts and books around the low carb stuff. And he's like, the guy told him, he's like, I can't just cut out fructose. I have to cut out all carbs because otherwise, I don't lose weight at all. And so he was like, well, okay. At the time, they didn't jive with his model, his scientific model. But then he came back to realize it's like, what happens when we eat excess glucose? So it's high glycemic index foods. So bread, potatoes, rice, white rice. So anything that would come up as high in the glycemic index, or in some cases, glycemic load, if you're eating a mix of foods.

[00:52:46.320] – Allan

But if it's high in that glycemic index, then that's excess glucose. And your body will say, We can convert some of this to fructose.

[00:52:54.840] – Allan

And then it's going to trigger all those same things. And then if you're someone who's struggling with gout and you know your uric acid levels are high because this is another trigger high uric acid. And if you have gout, then you realize, okay, you know that it basically, because there's this excess uric acid, it turns into crystals. And so most people know and experience the arthritis that comes from having those crystals embedded in their joints and how painful that is. Here's what I got from the book. Those are also being embedded inside your arteries and inside your heart. And so if you're high in uric acid, if you've had episodes of gout, you're probably also having higher issues with cardiovascular problems. And so, again, another reason, even if you aren't overweight, but you do have uric acid issues and gout to keep those under control, which interestingly enough, fructose is one of the things that makes that happen as sometimes does red meat. So not that you have to avoid those things, but just knowing your status and how it's triggering. And then, yeah, it was the hydration.

[00:54:07.220] – Allan

And beyond just that of seeing that that could be your trigger, there's a lot of other reasons to stay hydrated. One is a lot of times we get hungry because we're dehydrated and we're actually thirsty, but we experience it as hunger because a lot of our water actually does come from the food. So you get a cucumber or watermelon or even most meats, there's a lot of water content in those things. And you see that, like, okay, if you dehydrate a stake to make jerky, the mass of it, the size of it, you're like, Well, where did the volume go? Well, the water. That much water was in that stake. So it gives you an idea of how much water, if you dehydrate something, how much smaller it is. But you can see how that's happening. So we eat those things for water. And so you need to make sure that you're drinking plenty of water so that you're not overly hungry, even though it's really thirst. And then the other side of it is when our liver is this really cool thing, it's smart. And I'm going to be talking to Dave Asprey in a few weeks.

[00:55:08.300] – Allan

And it's one of the things he puts out there is this laziness principle. And I think our liver is exactly like that. And what it is is that you're… And it sounds terrible, but it's actually how things work is everything's going to want to use as little power, as little effort, as little anything as it can to still get the job done. That's just smart. That's not dumb. And it's not things say lazy, but the reality is it's just smart. Our liver is the same way. And so we put all these chemicals in our liver based on what we're eating, drinking, smelling, and of course, what industry and everything else is putting in our environment. Thousands and thousands of chemicals and those get into our body and our liver is responsible for helping us deal with that. And if we're putting on body fat, our liver says, Well, I can just store this in this body fat. It's actually the easiest way for me to do this. So this person is eating plenty of fructose and all these chemicals because this and that. And I got to get rid of these, but I'm just over here building this fat for this person because they want me to.

[00:56:10.120] – Allan

And then it just says, Let's put those in there, too. So it just puts those toxins in the fat. And it's efficient because now I don't have to do anything about it. It's like you lift up the carpet and you sweep that dirt under there. Or you guys remember, clean up your room and you took everything and threw it in the closet and shut the door. I'm done. It's like, oh, wait, you're done. And it was just we covered it up and therefore, out of sight, out of mind, it's the same thing. But the problem then is when you do actually start losing the weight.

[00:56:41.100] – Allan

You're going to start what? Hitting that fat and processing it and using it for energy, which means it's going to get released. So you may notice you start a diet, you start losing a little bit of body fat, you got a headache. Not just Keto, but a lot of them, you start getting headaches. You're like, why am I so headic here? It's like you've released those chemicals into your system because you're now mobilizing that fat. So drinking plenty of water helps your kidneys, helps your liver, helps the whole process, lymph nodes, and everything else work better because you're not dehydrated. When you're dehydrated, then we got other things to worry about. We don't need to be worrying about lymph and getting rid of this stuff in the liver and all that. It's like, yeah, well, we'll keep them alive, but that's about it. And so that's the whole process is to make sure you're getting plenty to drink, you're eating whole foods. So if you need to, paying attention to the glycemic index of the food you're eating and potentially what it's doing for your uric acid levels.

[00:57:45.120] – Rachel

Perfect. Those are all great triggers to keep an eye on and to change. If you're stuck at a weight and you are trying to lose it, then these are the things you might want to look into.

[00:57:56.050] – Allan

If your body is constantly telling you you're hungry, even though you know you're eating enough and you're not losing the weight, in fact, you're putting it on and you're like, I'm not eating enough to get fat, but yet here we are, then that's something you want to pay attention to. It's not just calories in, calories out. Your body will make you eat more and it will make you stored as fat because it'll lower your metabolism and be pushing you to be hungry all the time. And that's a miserable way to be. So make sure you're giving yourself really good quality food where you can, dang off the high glycemic stuff and the added sugars and the fructose and all that and stay hydrated. And this is going to be a thousand fold easier for you. And so as Dr. Johnson says, nature wants us to be fat, but nature really wants us to be fat when we need to be fat.

[00:58:49.070] – Allan

And we don't need to be fat, so you can do something about it.

[00:58:54.920] – Rachel

That sounds great. Great interview.

[00:58:57.200] – Allan

I enjoyed it a lot. It was a really good book. You're interested in all of that. He did a lot of rat studies. And so he talks about his rats or the rats he has to get to be able to study how these different biological functions are happening of fructose and glucose and rats that can't process it, rats that don't like it, rats.

[00:59:19.900] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. It's like a nightmare.

[00:59:23.710] – Allan

Yeah. Well, can he genetically modify me to not like sugar? That'd be great.

[00:59:30.040] – Rachel

If only it was that easy.

[00:59:31.400] – Allan

If only it was that easy. But we're not there yet. And so from a health perspective, what you can do right now, he does give you an idea of what those triggers are. And then you can structure your own self-experiment and figure out what works best for you.

[00:59:47.000] – Rachel

That's awesome. Fascinating.

[00:59:48.320] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:59:51.720] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[00:59:52.820] – Allan

You too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb– Leigh Tanner
– Eric More– Margaret Bakalian

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


January 31, 2023

Why you can’t lose weight over 40 with Gabrielle O’Hare

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

If you're over 40, you've probably seen how hard it is to lose weight. In her book, Why Women Over 40 Can't Lose Weight, Gabrielle O'Hare explains why this is so hard, and she gives us practical advice to change that.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:14.990] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you?

[00:03:16.540] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:18.270] – Allan

My head hurts.

[00:03:19.460] – Rachel

Oh, no, why is that?

[00:03:22.610] – Allan

Well, I had someone that was doing the audio processing for the show. They've done it forever, sort of forever? Really? Yeah, since the beginning. But they sold their business to another business. And so it was the same people.

[00:03:35.000] – Allan

Sort of supposed to be the same people.

[00:03:36.360] – Allan

I think it was the same workers that were doing the work. And then they come around and they roll around like, okay, we're going to have to raise your rate. And they raised it like 60%, so I've been paying that, but it's very expensive, all things considered, to do the editing on this podcast. And they did a great job, don't get me wrong, but it was just a lot of money. So I was like, okay, we had a problem. We had a communication problem. And so I was like, I get all these emails from other companies that want my business. Maybe it's worth me having a conversation. There was one company, and I liked the guy we got on the phone, and the guy is sharp, and he was aggressive and wanted to really want my business. So we had the conversation like, okay, I'll give this a shot. And maybe the first couple of episodes, they did well. They did really well on. They were faster, they were cheaper, and they were doing good. Okay, this is good. And then they'd make a mistake. And to be a simple thing like leaving out the author's bio, all the files are numbered.

[00:04:33.150] – Allan

So a kid would know, okay, you don't skip file four. You just don't skip it. You don't skip file five. Go from four to six. There's a file there, you put it in there, and then when you're proofing it, you're like, oh, there's no bio. He always has a bio. And then I had one where I had a midroll ad and they put it at the end of the interview. Well, that's not where it's supposed to be. That's not where I told them to put it. And so there was that. And then lately there's just been some quality issues, and you guys have probably heard those things. I'm not happy about it, but it is what it is, the low cost provider. And I'm getting, I guess, what I paid for. So anyway, I decided, okay, I'm not going to go back to the expensive one because it's just way too much money. And I'm like, okay. I've tried this with GarageBand, which was free on my Mac, and before on my computer, I had everything set and I could actually edit a podcast pretty well. I have not been able to match those settings on my new computer, which is not new anymore.

[00:05:31.940] – Allan

It's a year old. I can't get it to sound the same with my computer now. And I'm like, I don't know what the problem is, but I just couldn't use GarageBand, which wasn't cutting it for me on the new computer. And I'm not sure why, but it is what it is. So I said, okay, I'll buy the more expensive software and then I'll just try to do it myself. But it's called Adobe Audition and it has all the bells and whistles. You can do a lot with it, but it's much more complex. The Apple product, GarageBand is very intuitive, very easy to understand. I switched to that from Audible. Audible was a free software that I was using. Again, the quality wasn't as good. And then when I switched to GarageBand, it was really good. Then when I changed computers, I lost that and like, okay, got to just continue to outsource all of them and not doing any of them myself. Because sometimes I'll get behind and schedule and I'm like, okay, I don't have time to send this to them. That's four days. I don't have time. I need to do it myself.

[00:06:25.150] – Allan

And so everyone knew I was going to be doing one myself and I couldn't do it. So now I'm trying to learn Audible and it's old dog, new trick kind of stuff. I'm watching a YouTube video and then I'm trying to do it, and then I'm watching a YouTube video and trying to do it. So I only say that to say that the quality of my podcast, this podcast might be a little off, has been off. It's going to probably be off for a few more weeks to figure out the software and get my systems and processes going. But I'm going to work on it. And so, yeah, it's just one of those things where I got a lot going on already. But I need to learn this software and get this done because quite literally, it takes me not a whole lot of time. And considering what I was paying them to do, it, particularly the expensive company, it's worth my time to do it rather than hire that out. So it's just been one of those things where I've been sitting there this morning watching a YouTube video, doing a little bit editing, watching a YouTube video, doing a little bit of editing, stop and start, stop and start.

[00:07:21.520] – Allan

I'm figuring it out, so just give me a little bit of time. These will get better and better as I figure out what I'm doing wrong and that type of thing.

[00:07:28.900] – Rachel

My gosh. Well, good luck with that.

[00:07:32.830] – Allan

They say you need to be trying to learn new things all the time.

[00:07:35.570] – Rachel

That's true.

[00:07:36.310] – Allan

But yeah, it doesn't mean it's supposed to be fun, right?

[00:07:40.080] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Well, good luck.

[00:07:41.910] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:07:43.060] – Rachel

Good. Over the weekends, I helped my brother kind of move a couple of boxes. He shipped a pod over an eight by eight by eight pod storage unit that we unloaded and put into a more permanent storage unit until he can finally make his move cross country. And I was really worried about it about lifting heavy boxes, heavy furniture, all the awkwardness of moving again. And I'm so happy to say that I feel great that I am not sore. My back doesn't hurt. And my parents did okay with it as well because they were helping with a couple of their friends. And it went a lot more smoothly than I had expected, actually. I don't know why. I expected to be in a lot more pain than I am.

[00:08:29.970] – Allan

It is even with the weight lifting that you do I do. It is a different movement pattern. And you do have to watch what you're doing, because you're lifting something that's awkward and not necessarily bars and dumbbells and kettlebells are all built to be lifted. They're ergonomic as much as they can be. But, yeah, when you try to lift a big box heavy, you have to be smart about it and do it the right way. You probably learned a lot from lifting, but beyond that, you were smart about what you want.

[00:09:02.380] – Rachel

We were all being very careful, and it was just in the forefront of my mind about lifting properly and just taking my time. And it went really well. So I'll be ready for his next shipment.

[00:09:15.090] – Allan

I got to find people like you.

[00:09:19.410] – Rachel

Yeah, I'll help move.

[00:09:22.530] – Allan

All right. Are you ready to talk about weight loss?

[00:09:25.360] – Rachel



[00:10:36.610] – Allan

Gabrielle, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:10:39.300] – Gabrielle

Hello. Thank you very much for having me here.

[00:10:41.260] – Allan

Now, the book is going to get any woman's attention if she's over 40 and wants to lose weight. And the name of the book is Why Women Over 40 Can't Lose Weight. Well, yes, but you also then give us a solution or at least some things that we can think about. Because the thing is, I read this and I'm a man, obviously, but I train a lot of women. I'm married to one. And so as I go through my life, I'm like, okay, this is real stuff, this is the real experience. I can be empathetic, but I can't experience it. And so I know that it's a struggle and yeah, you're watching your husband and the two of you start eating the same thing. Maybe he's eating more. Yeah, he's hitting the crisps and the cookies and all the other things and he manages to be able to lose the weight and you're not. That can be quite discouraging.

[00:11:32.170] – Gabrielle


[00:11:33.090] – Allan

And that discouragement I don't mean this in a different way, but once you're discouraged, it's almost like digging out kind of thing, isn't it?

[00:11:41.840] – Gabrielle

Absolutely. I think it can feel like a very lonely place to be. I think a lot of the fitness industry is a lot of the marketing materials focused on before and after photos and success stories and you can feel like you're the only person failing or the only person who can't do it. And one of the things that I've noticed about women and men may well find this, but my work primarily is with women who were in the late 40s. They sort of can be quite hard on themselves. They don't realize everyone's having the same problem as you tend to internalize things and blame yourself for being lazy, for having no motivation for, I don't know, just being late. Just assume it's their own fault and it's a personal failing or it's a character failing and they don't realize that so many other people share the same problems. So you just have this lonely battle where you're really giving yourself a hard time.

[00:12:32.620] – Allan

as women reach this particular age group. For some women it happens a little earlier than others. For some it's a little bit later and there's no rhyme or reason for it exactly. You can ask your mother when she started change and you might genetically kind of fall in the same line. But women can start towards menopause at any age that a menopause, but it's around this time. And so at this point your body is changing and that's going to put some obstacles, if you will, in your way that you need to be able to think through and work through. And it's also a time when it's kind of hard to work through because there's so much else going on in your life. In the book, you mentioned six reasons and I wrote in my notes, impossible to stick to a diet. But I think, fine, it's not impossible.

[00:13:21.300] – Allan

If you approach this the right way. But what are six reasons that women really struggle with their diet? Because I think once they hear this, they're going to realize that's me. She's talking about me.

[00:13:32.950] – Gabrielle

a big one, is self neglect. And that's not an intentional problem. Women aren't ignoring themselves, but what happens over the years. You have children, you get married, you advance on your career, your parents can get older. There can be so many things that are vying for your attention and women quite often want to be the givers and the carers they're very focused on. They want to do things for the people, people pleasers, they don't want to say no. And that can all start to over the years just become a really big list of priorities and big demands on the time. And women have it all these days. We run families, we manage relationships, we run children, we have successful careers. We've got to cut some corners somewhere because we haven't got time to fit everything in and it tends to be that we leave ourselves and our own needs to the end. And that's why I wanted to call that self neglect because we've become so focused. This is a gradual thing but we've become so focused on looking after others we put ourselves last. And it's not uncommon for women to get up, make the breakfast, grab something quick themselves, not have time to eat lunch properly, and find that they're just grabbing snacks and end up with Ravenous in the evening and they just are running on empty all the time.

[00:14:50.990] – Gabrielle

And that's just leading them to make not bad choices because you're just where you are, but you make choices that aren't great for your health and great for your weight because you're just having to grab what you can when you can. So self neglect is one of the main ones and that really just comes from the circumstance of having really busy lives and being more prioritized and focused on other people.

[00:15:11.400] – Gabrielle

Stress is a generic one that affects everybody really. Again it's a gradual build over time. Your lives get busier and menopause, some people may or may not realize this but menopause can make it harder for you to cope with a managed stress so you can become more stressed at this time of your life. Work can become quite stressful. Women get along discriminated against as they get older or really feel the pressure that they're not as young and as attractive as some of the counterparts. So there's a lot of things that can build up the levels of stress that you're experiencing. But we know that when you're stressed it increases your body fat and particularly the fat around the middle. It can affect your sleep, it can affect your food choices.

[00:15:51.320] – Gabrielle

If people eat to cope with stress, emotional eating. So there's a number of ways that stress can then affect your diet and therefore your weight loss. Menopause you touched on and there are hormonal changes that are taking place. One of them is that another source of estrogen for your body as your own, your overall stop producing it is fat cells. So if your body can start to lay down more fat because it can provide you with a weak source of estrogen that it needs. Estrogen isn't just for making babies or having periods, it has many, many other functions in your body. So you still need it beyond that time. Another bit more scientific, I'll try and simplify it, but another way that you can create estrogen in your body is by your adrenal glands. So your adrenal glands have got two functions. They can produce your stress hormones and they can also produce your estrogen or a source of estrogen for your body. But if you're stressed all the time, it defaults to the stress hormones, which is default position. So it's going to fall short on topping up your estrogen, which then can lead back onto that cycle to the fast accumulation, particularly around your waist.

[00:17:00.940] – Gabrielle

So that's really what's going on with menopause over time. This one's going to be familiar. We live in a society where we don't eat because we're hungry. We eat to cope with feeling lonely, to cope with anxiety, because we're upset because it's there. And those can become very invisible habits that we don't notice that of topping up our calorie supplies all day long. And then another one is sabotage. You mentioned at the beginning about the husband at home eating the crisps and the kids can want pizza, your mother in law can want to feed you her cake, your colleagues can put you under a lot of pressure to eat the things that they've brought in. And I found as a sort of trained more and more women, that people that had a huge impact on weight and sometimes it can be well meaning. Someone has brought something in for a birthday at work and they want you to partake in it. Or other times your friends and your families can deliberately sabotage you because they worry how you may see them. If you're losing weights or you're improving your health and they're not, it shows them up in a negative light.

[00:18:09.050] – Gabrielle

So that can be a tricky thing for people to deal with. And then the last one is the fact that we are so heavily targeted by the food industry, by advertising for retailers, for fast food outlets, for apps, for junk food. We just do not realize how bombarded we are by messages that are persuading us to fill our trolleys, our cupboards, with those sort of foods. And that has a big impact. I've seen some data that suggests that in some supermarkets, more than 90% of the food on the shelves is highly processed. And the more we're surrounded by, the more of it we eat. So there is a bigger issue going on there when you think about these six factors that are really going to give us lots of opportunity to eat the wrong things and eat more than we need.

[00:18:55.930] – Allan

Yeah, and I think it's easy to see where that multiple challenges in there. And I think the only one I'd say that men don't have to deal with is the menopause, but we also absolutely. And when you start putting fat, then you are creating extra estrogen, and that's what creates Moobs and everything else that men deal with as we age and why we need to be fit and healthy ourselves. You started out this whole because I want to shift, because this is not all bad news. There's good news in this book, okay, despite the title, there's good news. You can in fact, to lose weight, but you have to do, I think, this one thing first, particularly for a woman that finds herself being the caretaker, dying the food and doing the things and stressed out and overworked and maybe somewhere along the spectrum of going into menopause. And that is your mindset. Can you talk about the mindset that a woman needs, particularly a woman that I think both of us, but that a woman would need going into this? I'm going to call it a battle front for right now, but what kind of mindset does she need?

[00:20:02.740] – Gabrielle

I've talked about having a priority mindset, and it's a shift where you become your own priority. And I've used those words together because quite often you've got other priorities in your life, your family, your parents, your relationship, your career. You've got to turn that around. But you become your own priority, and that's really important. Until that truly happens, you aren't going to be able to make the changes that you need to create a healthier lifestyle, to lose weight, to get more energy, whatever it is, because you'll relate to this. Changing your diet, doing more exercise, improving your sleep, reducing stress, whatever it is that you need to do. It takes effort, it takes work. You're having to flip out of your normal routine and make changes, and that's hard. And unless you're really, truly committed to making yourself that priority and your health and your goals, it's not going to happen. And one of the things that just to try and help people understand what that really means because it can be easy to say, yes, that's my priority, well, then you don't follow through. And you've got to look, maybe listen to your language when you shouldn't have eaten that or I should work out tonight, but you're not doing it.

[00:21:12.580] – Gabrielle

And if you're using language like that, then that's a sign that you're not actually really prioritizing it. You just pay a lip service to the fact that that's something that you should do, but it's not high enough on your to do list right now for you to make consistent action and consistent changes. And we can all do this when we want to. I ask people to maybe think back to a time in their lives where they've made a really strong decision about something that you've really wanted. It could have been getting married or starting a family, buying a house, getting a promotion at work. Everyone will be able to relate to something that they didn't just decide I'd like to do that. You think, no, I am going to do that. And it becomes really certain and really absolute. You don't even have to think about it too much. You just make this decision and you cross the line and then you are going to make sure that happens. You're not going to let anything stand in your way until you've done that thing that you want to do. And that has to be the same to make these changes for your life.

[00:22:10.140] – Gabrielle

And if you have had a problem with losing weight because you can't stick to a diet, then you have to be committed to understanding what your blockers have been in the past and learning how to dismantle those and create the new habits that are going to last you a lifetime. And that's why you need that priority mindset. Because without that the kids will want something, your parents will want you to do something, your boss will want you to drop everything you'll have housework to do. And we can make ourselves busy because we don't want to address those things for ourselves or we can let other people steal our time from us. When you become a priority, you then start to be able to say no me first, you just hang on a minute, I'll get around to you later. And that's the difference.

[00:22:49.910] – Allan

Yeah. There's two really big things that I think roll into this that I think are important. Okay. One is that you're not asking them to do more, ask you to decide they are the priority and they're going to do this first and do that later.

[00:23:09.120] – Gabrielle


[00:23:09.770] – Allan

And the reality I think most of us sit there and say is, well okay, if I don't answer these emails this morning before I go into the office, is anybody going to die? No, absolutely not. Now does it make my little morning hours where I can sit there and have some tea and maybe biscuits and hang out and talk to the people at the washroom by the break room, now have more time to do that because I'm not answering emails. And maybe the answer is yes. But does that serve you better than getting this workout in or preparing your lunch so you have a healthy lunch available to you?

[00:23:47.160] – Gabrielle


[00:23:47.900] – Allan

Function of prioritizing and it's not about putting something new in, it's about pushing bad stuff out because it's not priority and it's not really serving you.

[00:23:57.690] – Gabrielle

That's absolutely right.

[00:23:59.340] – Allan

I think that's a big part of this priority mindset. And then another thing you said when you put yourself first I know sometimes that can feel kind of selfish. Who am I to put myself first? And you can go into the airline thing and put your mask on things, but that just goes in one here and out the other.

[00:24:17.760] – Allan

But the reality is this if you love someone and you needed to do something for them, like, needed to carry your spouse to the airport. And I know the traffic that heathrow is like, insane. So you can the airport by 05:00 in the morning. Where are you at 05:00 in the morning? You're at departures dropping off your significant other. If your kids really need to be somewhere, like go to school or do this and they need to be there at a certain time, we have no problem dropping everything to make that happen. So the question comes up is, why wouldn't we do that for ourselves? Why wouldn't we schedule a workout and say, this is like a meeting with my boss. I'm not going to diss my boss and skip it. I'm going to do the work because I'm my boss. My boss said, be here at this time, and I love myself enough to make that happen.

[00:25:10.020] – Gabrielle

It's absolutely key. And they are the conversations that you have to be having with yourself. And that's how you're going to have to be figuring out how to just move your time around so that you can fit yourself in and make that happen.

[00:25:22.710] – Allan

You have a dozen priorities and you're trying to juggle or as you said in the book, spin the plates. But the reality is you only have one priority, and that's the plate you're dealing with right now. So plate means that it's focusing on you getting healthy and fit, because guess what? Your kids are still going to need you 20 years from now. Yeah, that's it needs you 20 years from now. And if you're not taking care of yourself now, what kind of shape are you going to be in then to do it then? So there's just a lot in that of having that priority mindset. A prit one. You, this moment, eat the right king. Or in this moment, do the workout, get it done, because you know the payoff is worth it.

[00:26:08.020] – Gabrielle

Yeah. And it's just it's making it simple, isn't it? And keeping that focus. And I like the way you said that in this moment, just that one thing. We sometimes have so much baggage we wrangle with ourselves and we procrastinate. We can just make those decisions quite easy and then simplify it, do it, get on with the rest of your day, go back to the rest of your to do list.

[00:26:26.510] – Allan

Yeah. Good.

[00:26:27.470] – Allan

Now, you mentioned earlier processed food or ultra processed, I believe. If my great grandmother walked into a grocery store right now, where's the food? This is not a food market. This is something else. Why is processed food such a problem?

[00:26:44.600] – Gabrielle

Okay, well, there's a couple of reasons, and one of them is the fact that actually relative to natural and unprocessed food, it's got a lot less nutrition. So the processing methods that they use to create these foods strip out a lot of the nutrition. They often not always, but quite often ultra processed foods can be low in. Protein. So you've got something that's low in protein and low in nutrition. And what we're starting to understand that is your body doesn't just need calories, it also needs certain amounts of nutrients. And if you're not getting enough nutrients for your body, then it craves more. So I think we've lost a little bit of the connection with food and what it does because food is just the building blocks of our body. We're constantly regenerating our skin, our organs, our skeletons. There's thousands, millions of functions going on all the time. And we need food and the nutrients that we get from food to do all that. So that we're now starting to understand that as we get smaller amounts of smaller concentrations of nutrition in these ultraprocessed foods, which are relatively high in calories, our bodies are actually sending a signal, hey, we've not had enough.

[00:27:53.400] – Gabrielle

Eat more, eat more. So we're trying to eat more of these foods that are actually high in calories to try and get the nutrients because they're so scarce. So that's one of the theories of why we crave when we overeat these ultraprocessed foods. The other thing is that they are deliberately created their recipes to be really highly palatable and highly pleasurable. You can't deny that a slice of cheesecake or a donut or a fast food burger tastes amazing. We all recognize that the appeal of those things, they're designed to be very intense in terms of the flavor, and they give us like a big sort of pleasure hit in our brain. And that, again, makes us think, oh, that's amazing. I want more. I want a bigger portion. I want it tomorrow. So it does actually, though, these taste sensations are a lot higher and a lot more intense than natural foods are, and therefore we want more. The other thing as well is that with, you know, if your diet is heavy in auto processed foods, you're going to have a higher percentage of calories from carbohydrates. And that's the sort of food component that spikes your blood sugar.

[00:28:57.840] – Gabrielle

That in itself causes cravings as you spending more time in fat storage mode. So it's not just calories that influence whether you're overweight or not. It's actually the carbohydrates because of the effect that they have on your hormones. So you've got this whole thing going on where there's not enough nutrition recreating cravings. And it really is very difficult then to control the amount of calories that you eat. That's the problem. Your blood sugar becomes really unstable and you're just constantly craving more and more, and you're just locked in this overeating cycle.

[00:29:27.490] – Allan

Yeah, I see it all the time. It's funny because you'll have this group that will say, well, no, you've got to eat low carb and this and that. And then before too long, well, the food companies figured out, okay, we need keto friendly snacks, and it's still processed. It's still refined stuff. And maybe it doesn't have sugar, but maybe not as much, but doesn't have any protein either. So it's devoid of anything that calories useful. Got it. And then over here, they're like, no, you need to be vegan, but we're going to make vegan hamburgers and hot dogs and vegan and duly sausage. And you're like, okay. The food companies know that this is a marketing ploy, and they know they play with you. And I had a guy on a long time ago, but the book stands out because the cover was so special. It was called the Dorito effect. And literally, these food companies have food scientists that their sole job is to make you eat more. Yeah, they're like, how do we make this so hyperpalatable that nobody's going to want anything else but this? And they're going to actually eat it so fast, they won't actually taste it after the first bite.

[00:30:38.310] – Allan

And I know, I've been there. I've eaten a whole equal sleeve of Pringles. It's a potato chips, as we call in the United States, like, just fat. And it's like, what did I just do? And I hardly remember eating them. It does draw us in. And so the more you can rely on whole food. Okay. And the way I kind of say this is if it comes in a bag box jar or can be leery, you said in the book, look at the ingredients and see what's in this. There are some exceptions. They'll freeze berries. They'll freeze vegetables. They'll ban meat. So there are exceptions to this. But if it's stable and can sit on a shelf and you see the expiry date for this thing is three years away, you got to ask questions because most of the food that's around the exterior of a grocery store in the United States, and I think it's the same there

[00:31:28.880] – Gabrielle

very much the same in the UK.

[00:31:31.130] – Allan

And walk through, and it's kind of the same. As long as you stay to the outside, you're mostly under the whole food stuff. It doesn't sit long. It has to be refrigerated. That's why all refrigerators are on the outside of the store, because most of that stuff has to be refrigerated or will go bad pretty quickly.

[00:31:46.520] – Allan

Now, in the book, you went through two things. You went through weight loss by counting calories, which I think is exceptionally hard unless you're someone who like I came from an accounting background, so keeping data, doing data, I can do that. My first accounting, when I was keeping up with my own finances, I was like General Motors. And I actually enjoyed doing that because I'm an accountant. And when I first started trying to count calories, it was like, okay, exciting. I was at the scales and I'm measuring everything, but I just know that that's not sustainable and it's not the way that I think we were intended to eat generally, because great grandparents didn't even know what a calorie was and didn't have scale. And somehow or another they managed to not… Processed food may have had a little bit to do with that, but beyond that, if you want to lose weight without counting calories, what's a good approach for someone to take to do that?

[00:32:43.540] – Gabrielle

Okay, well, I think the first thing to do is really go back to eating natural, unprocessed food. That's the biggest thing. And protein is really important. We tend to undereat protein and particularly as we get older, and this goes for men and women, we do need to eat more protein. So there's again better understanding that the needs that older adults have, and I'm talking about people really in the sort of 50 plus need to eat more protein. And protein is really important anyway because it helps to stabilize your appetite. And if you're going from eating a diet mainly based on ultra processed foods, the first things that you want to do is try and keep yourself full and eliminate cravings. And the best way to do that is by having a diet that's got having meals that have protein at each one, plenty of veg, don't be frightened of fat. And the thing you do want to watch out for is having fewer empty carbs on your plates. So that's your bread, your pasta, your rice, your noodles, your potatoes, they're the things that have got no nutrition. They're the things that are going to spike your blood sugar.

[00:33:46.370] – Gabrielle

If you had a steak and a salad with olive oil and maybe a little bit of Parmesan cheese, you tell me that you're hungry after that meal because you're not going to be. Yeah, that's ticking. So many boxes, so packed with nutrition, slow to digest, that will keep you going for hours. So this is really where you want to start with. And then the second step is to really try and get that down to just eating three meals a day. So you want to be thinking that you leave maybe four or at 5 hours in between meals. And again, if the main meals that you have are filling and satisfying and you're enjoying them, you should find it fairly easy then to get to that four or 5 hours before your next meal. And by leaving yourself a gap, you're allowing your body to digest the last meal properly. You're giving yourself more chance to dip into your fat stores. If we're constantly snacking in and eating food all of the time, then it's like having your phone plugged into your charger. You're never digging into the battery. Our body fat is like an energy battery and we're just popping up and giving our body like a very easy to use energy store and never touching the fat.

[00:34:53.530] – Gabrielle

And that's what we want to get rid of. So if you can have good decent meals, leave for four to 5 hours between each one, then really you should be working towards eliminating snacks. And when I coach sort of coach clients. Just making those changes can be enough for them to start losing weight. That's all it takes. And sometimes they can't believe how easy it is. Sometimes the meals that they're already making are 80% nair. Usually it's just a bit more protein on your plate. Get rid of a few of those potatoes, and they can do it. For others, that's not enough and go down to that. But they want to lose weight, and it's not moving. So the next stage, the next level to go to if that's not working, is to just pay attention to your portion sizes. And you want to make sure or focus on maybe just dropping the fat slightly on whatever you're eating, making the pasta, the rice, the potato component smaller, or eliminating it altogether for a while and see how that works, and then packing it out with plenty of eggs so it's filling. And then the next level to go to if that's still not working, but it should be, is to start to pay attention to your appetite.

[00:36:02.890] – Gabrielle

And the golden rule is, when you're hungry, you start when you fall. And you mentioned before we didn't need to count calories once upon a time because we were more in tune with our natural appetites. We knew when we needed something, we knew when we'd had enough. And a lot of the ultra processed foods that we have as led us to really not being tuned into our natural hunger signals and our fullness signals. So there's a reeducation process that you get from eating post natural foods and giving yourself not snacking and giving yourself plenty of time in between, you're allowing your appetite to reset.

[00:36:37.000] – Allan

Yeah. And it's kind of one of the special things that I really like about the human body is that if we give it what it needs, it gives us what we need. Communicate good things through food, through movement, through reduced stress, through sleep. And our body realizes, hey, we're in a pretty good place. We're pretty safe.

[00:36:55.240] – Allan

I don't have to really be stressed all the time. I don't have buy or sell looking for food all the time because it's plentiful and I'm getting good nutrition. It kind of falls in line, your hormones somewhat more fall in line, and everything just gets easier.

[00:37:08.830] – Gabrielle


[00:37:09.690] – Allan

One of the things you said in the book, and I really can't leave this interview without kind of putting this in there, was you said that we should be paying more attention to how we feel and look than what we weigh. And I think that's just really a cool thing because too often we're like using the scale as this metric of worth when food and movement and all these other things that we're doing in our lives are really meant to just be energies and build ups and just part of putting together a platform for you to be better.

[00:37:40.630] – Gabrielle

Yeah, absolutely. I think there's a lovely opportunity for men and women at this age to really start to reconnect with themselves and how they feel. And when our kids are growing up, we can find that we've got a little bit more time to ourselves and we can sort of take this journey. And the conversations often start about with weight because that's what people are looking for. But once you start to make these changes, you realize that you've got more energy or you sleeping better or you're not bloated anymore. And once people latch onto these things, they suddenly realize they're not bothered about weight anymore because the game changer for anyone who's tired and struggling is more energy, not smaller waste. And once you start when she sort of maybe go on this weight loss journey doesn't even take long. That's the amazing thing. When you change your diet, you can have a benefit that day. You know, it started for me when I had to remember why. But for some reason I used to have a sandwich from my lunch every day and for some reason I didn't have it. I think the shop where I went was closed, so all I could buy was some cottage cheese and some nuts.

[00:38:41.310] – Gabrielle

And every day at work at 03:00, I could not keep my head off the desk. Just was fighting, falling asleep. And this one day I had cottage cheese and nuts for my lunch. I was wide awake all afternoon. And that's how quickly the effect of food can change how you feel. And that's when people start to recognize that they can't believe it. I had a client and her and her husband went, young kids. It was a big change for them to go and make all the food from scratch. And a couple of weeks in they decided to order a takeaway. And the next day they couldn't believe how awful they felt. They didn't have the energy to play with the kids. They just felt really below par and they hadn't put a weight in one night, but they felt awful. And there's things like that that the penny starts to drop and the sort of jigsaw puzzle pieces start to fit together and you say, I know, I don't want to feel like that anymore. I want to feel like this. Because when you feel great, when you've got good energy, when you get in good sleep, your mind gets in a better place and you want to go and live your life and do more things, you've got that capability to go and do things and you wait something that becomes less important to you because you're busy doing other things.

[00:39:50.640] – Allan

Gabrielle I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:39:58.930] – Gabrielle

First one, I think would be and I love that. I love the healthy, I love putting those things together. And I think if you align your health and fitness goals with your happiness goals, then that's the best way to start because they're all related. I think there's far too much focus on health and fitness. There's weight loss tools or all of our calories. The combination of getting fitter, eating better, gives you the energy, gives you the drive, gives you the confidence, then you start to feel happy. You can start to pursue the things that you're interested in. That's a really powerful way of connecting all of those things together. One of the other things that sort of links into that as well actually, is the idea of learning how to eliminate useless thoughts from your mind. And food and eating can take up far too much head space. We think about what we're going to eat next, we feel guilty about eating something else. We're trying to sort of resist a craving that can all add up to thinking about food 24/7. And once you start working on putting food in its rightful place, it's something there to give you energy to make you feel good.

[00:41:07.700] – Gabrielle

It can actually start to free up your mind. And that's quite something when suddenly you're not constantly thinking about food anymore or fighting hunger or cravings. There's an empty space, so you can have a lot more peace in your mind. One of my clients recently was saying, I don't understand it, I just want to clean the house. I've done loads of jobs and I'm just going through everything and sorting everything out. And that's because she didn't think about food. She was suddenly being able to use that attention, free up that space to think about other things. And that's one of the massive benefit of just changing that relationship with food. Gives you more mental, it gives you more capacity, gives you more head space. And my last one is you've got to learn to love and accept yourself as you are. Now, when we're always critical of ourselves, when we're always in a position where we're unhappy with how we look and always trying to change, then we just have this sort of it just puts a cloud over the whole of your life every day. You can be self conscious or you can be hiding your stomach or worrying what people are thinking about you.

[00:42:10.460] – Gabrielle

It just takes a lot of enjoyment, a lot of pleasure out of your life. And it can be quite hard for people to let go of that self hate because they feel if they accept themselves as they are, they're suddenly going to eat everything and go out of control. But really, when you start to be kind to yourself, to think about doing things to yourself that make you feel better, we go back to feel and being guided by how you feel you are actually then start to create more respect for yourself. You get that freedom in your mind and you start to be able to shift your attention onto doing things that you enjoy and becoming happier. So that's how that all links in.

[00:42:48.520] – Allan


[00:42:49.000] – Allan

Gabrielle, if someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about the book, Why Women Can't Lose Weight, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:42:57.180] – Gabrielle

Well, the book is available on Amazon, so that's an easy one. If you just put the title into Amazon, you'll find that if you want to find more about me and my online products and my coaching, then I've got a website, which is gabrielleohare.com nice and simple.

[00:43:11.680] – Allan

All right, well, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/575. And I'll be sure to have links there to the book and to your website. Gabrielle, thank you so much for being on 40+ Fitness.

[00:43:23.320] – Gabrielle

Thank you very much for having me. I've really enjoyed this today, Allan

Post Show/Recap

[00:43:35.510] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:43:36.960] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a great interview. My goodness. Why women over 40 can't lose weight. I mean, the headline right off the bat is very intriguing, but your discussion was very intriguing as well.

[00:43:48.350] – Allan

Yeah, I wish she had a subtitle of some sort, because it is an attention grabbing headline, but it leaves you in, I think, a negative thought space of, oh, well, yeah, okay. If that were a newspaper article, you'd be like, okay, what do I expect this newspaper article to tell me all the reasons why I'm failing at what I'm trying to do here? And she does that, don't get me wrong. She goes through that and lets you know that okay, that you're not alone. These are happening to women everywhere. There's case studies all the way through this of women. The six reasons she's got case studies of every single one of them, of women she's known or worked with or herself that have struggled with these things, because they're real. They're not imaginary. We're not making these things up in our head. They are real obstacles. They're in your way. The good news is she shifts in the book, which is why I think there should have been some form of subtitle. But that said, she didn't. But in the book, she did shift gears and go towards the way you overcome those objectives, those obstacles.

[00:44:54.470] – Rachel

Obstacles, yeah. Number one, though, self neglect. I mean, that was the biggest shining light, neon, fireworks reason that a lot of us who in our 40s struggle is self neglect. And the word neglect really hurts because no woman wants to neglect anybody, let alone themselves. But that's really a good word because we do prioritize everybody else over us. We've got kids that get on the bus in the morning and take care of in the evenings and dinners to cook and a house to clean, and not to mention our own 40 hours a week job. It is really hard to change that mindset of looking after everybody else and actually try and take a look at what we need to do for our own health and well being.

[00:45:37.640] – Allan

Yeah, but no, neglect is the right word.

[00:45:40.140] – Rachel

It is. As much as it hurts.

[00:45:42.680] – Allan

It's like, okay, the kids want Hot Pockets for dinner, and so you're having Hot Pockets for dinner.

[00:45:48.950] – Rachel


[00:45:49.420] – Allan

That's neglect. You know, that's not serving you. You've made the conscious decision to do it anyway. That's neglect. The definition of the word neglect is doing things to yourself or to anybody without regard to them and what their needs are. That's neglect.

[00:46:05.320] – Rachel

And I've done that. I have absolutely said to my kids, I am not cooking two different meals. And I've gone through that. But the fact of the matter is that I need to eat in a way that benefits my health and well being, and they need to eat in a way that they'll eat something before going to bed at night. So it is difficult, but it is important to look at all those obstacles and then decide how to navigate around them, to put yourself as a priority.

[00:46:32.690] – Allan

Well, even men struggle with some of these things. I mean, when we start talking about self neglect, for me, it was my career. It wasn't the kids, it was the career. And what I needed from a lifestyle to be successful at what I was doing was 16 17 18 hours days. You know, I was on six, seven days a week, 16 18 at one point 20 hours days, six days a week. And then I even came in on Sundays some days, sometimes just to catch up. As much as you think, how would you be behind? There was so much work to do. In fact, when I left and they hired the new guy, he worked for about three months, and then he quit because he said there's just no way he could keep up with that volume. But that was my career. That was my focus. In fact, as a result, I was neglecting everything else. I was neglecting my family, I was neglecting my health, neglecting my fitness, everything. And that's where I was. And it wasn't until I got a priority mindset, the way she phrases it. But it wasn't until I had that priority set my priority, and said, no, I have to be healthy and fit.

[00:47:38.340] – Allan

There's no other answer. And that's what I did.

[00:47:42.130] – Rachel

I think that a lot of women, too, need to get to that point where they make that decision. It was hard for me to make that decision. That, okay, what has to give? What do I need to do? What can I renegotiate with my husband? What can I do for the kids, but then take back some time for myself? How to make that decision, and then get creative about doing it, about finding a solution. And when the kids were young, I would wake them up from school, I would go do my workout, made sure they had breakfast and got on the bus. It's those weird moments of time, or when they were in babies, I would tuck them in bed at night. And then between 8:30 and 09:00, I met another lady in my subdivision for a run around the subdivision. So it's not the best time of the night to be working out, but I took the time when I could. And that's just how life goes. Your schedule changes. Negotiate with your husband for different chores or whatnot, maybe even work with your job to shift hours if you could, or take a working lunch break and go to the gym on your lunch break.

[00:48:44.230] – Rachel

I mean, it's just the point of you got to put yourself first and then figure out how to make that a priority, how to get in your workout, how to get in the good meals and things like that.

[00:48:53.480] – Allan

Yeah. And until you're doing it, you haven't prioritized yourself. So the thought of, well, I want this isn't enough. Your actions are your priority. I'm just going to put that out there. So if you're not doing it, don't say this is your priority. Don't say your health and fitness is your priority because you're not doing it. You do your priority. You do it. You just do. And so with the way you're talking about with kids and family and other obligations is like, you're doing that stuff, why are you doing that? It's because that's your priority. And I get it that there are times when that needs to be your priority. But if you haven't had the conversation with your significant other about the fact that you need a tag team partner, that you join this relationship to be partners, and that you need some help from them to get these things done, then you haven't prioritized yourself. Because I'll ask women, like, how does your husband get his workouts? And, well, he just goes and it's like, well, what does he do for selfcare? It's like, well, he likes to play golf and he'll go fishing.

[00:49:59.940] – Allan

I'm like, okay. So he just goes, yeah, he just goes, okay, priority. And that's only you haven't said anything, and so you can't expect mind reading and just say, so going to set a priority. Your actions have to follow through, or it really wasn't a priority. It was just a nice to have.

[00:50:16.570] – Rachel

Yeah. And it's just a matter of having that conversation with your husband or spouse or friends, your parents, anybody that could give you a hand so that you can keep up with things and take care of yourself.

[00:50:29.710] – Allan

And there are all kinds of strategies that you can take. Eat better, to move more, to do these other things that aren't going to blow you out of the water by adding tons and tons of hours onto your time. And I think that's where a lot of people get lost, is like, well, I don't like doing this. And I'm like, well, guess what? Yeah, I've had people that I don't like batch cooking. I'm like. Okay, then this isn't a priority for you. If eating out is something you have to do every night, or eating Hot Pockets from a microwave is what you have to do, then that's your priority. Your priority is not what you say it is. And so I don't mean that in a bad way, but I just really want you looking at your actions and looking for those disconnects over what you want and what you do. Because that's where the rubber hits the road, and that's where you're going to make changes. Because you aren't going to change until it's a priority. And it isn't a priority until you start doing it. We Talk About how we need motivation and all these Other things, but the gross reality of it is motivation is not something that comes.

[00:51:39.070] – Allan

Motivation is something that you earn. You do the action, you get the reward that Motivates you. There's other things you can do to Put in there coaching, social accountability, things like that, that can help get this all started. You got to do the do first, and then the motivation will build. You wait for the motivation, you're going to still be waiting there a year later?

[00:52:04.820] – Rachel

No. Yeah. Sometimes it's really hard. But I think that if you can really get creative, put your workouts on the calendar, and just be diligent with taking the time that you need to take care of yourself. I mean, it's just it's the mindset. You just need to make yourself just as big of a priority as everybody else in your life.

[00:52:23.390] – Allan

Absolutely. All right. Well, Ras, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:52:27.630] – Rachel

Awesome. Take care, Allan.

[00:52:29.110] – Allan

You Too. Thanks.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Melissa Ball
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb– Leigh Tanner
– Eric More– Margaret Bakalian

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


January 24, 2023

Are your feelings blocking you from losing weight

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Weight loss is hard. But are you making it harder by buying into the culture wars and other influences that aren't in your best interest? In this episode, we discuss how you may be letting feelings and emotions get in the way.


Let's Say Hello

00:03:16.520] – Coach Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:03:17.750] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:19.680] – Coach Allan

I'm doing all right. Getting a little bit of a cold, but here's what it is.

[00:03:25.090] – Coach Rachel

Sure is the season, I guess.

[00:03:28.610] – Coach Allan

So it's just weird because I've had my head down doing stuff and really haven't interacted with a ton of people, so not really sure where this one came from, but I got a cold.

[00:03:40.950] – Coach Rachel

It happens. Well, hopefully you'll feel better soon.

[00:03:43.740] – Coach Allan

Yeah. So the only other thing that's going on for me is I was recently a guest on the Health Fix podcast with Dr. Janine Krause. You can listen to that if you want to. I've got a link to it. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/hfp. It's The Health Fix Podcast (HFP). So 40plusfitnesspodcast/hfp and that will take you to that podcast. It's actually a really good one. I like Dr. Krause and her approach to things I really like that. Kind of my goal as I go into this new year is I want to be on a few more podcasts. Just kind of spread the word, get out there. And so that was cool. It's interesting, always interesting to be on the other side of the mic.

[00:04:25.350] – Coach Rachel

Absolutely. That sounds like a lot of fun.

[00:04:28.470] – Coach Allan

How are things up there?

[00:04:29.850] – Coach Rachel

Good. Still cold.

[00:04:34.390] – Coach Allan

Until about April.

[00:04:36.230] – Coach Rachel

Yeah, I know, a few more months of winter, but yeah, things are good. Just drawing out some races for the year, trying to decide where I want to be and when I want to be there. So still working on my resolutions for the year.

[00:04:49.340] – Coach Allan

Cool. Yeah, I've been working on my Spanish. That was kind of one of the big ones I wanted to do. And then I am trying to cut some weight, so I'm working my way back into Ketosis and going to try to cut some weight. And actually right now at the lightest weight I've weighed in over 20 years.

[00:05:06.980] – Coach Rachel


[00:05:07.840] – Coach Allan

Yeah, I'm down to my mid 30s weights and so I'm going to get a little bit lighter than this, but it's just I've realized I'm not carrying the 205 quite the way I did before. So I'd get down to the 205 and it'd be like I don't look like I did when I weighed 200 pounds 10 years ago. So I got to try to find that new set point for me where I feel like I've got the energy and look the way I want to look and feel the way I want to feel and can do the things I want to do.

[00:05:35.280] – Coach Rachel

Sure. Well, that's important. To feel good and to do the things you want to do, that's the important part.

[00:05:41.950] – Coach Allan

I wouldn't really call these resolutions. These are just their goals and I set them very specifically on how I'm going to what actions I need to do to make that happen and not just I want this. It's like, okay, right now I'm after a certain body look and not from necessarily a vanity perspective, it's just energy and what I'm carrying around and if you're carrying around a little bit extra body fat, then you try to get rid of it if you want to get rid of it. That's part of what we're going to talk about today, is getting rid of some of the unwanted body fat. So are you ready to jump into that?

[00:06:15.470] – Coach Rachel

Awesome. Sure.


Are your feelings blocking you from losing weight? 

Special note on this episode, this is not intended for people that are suffering with eating disorders, disease, or any other health condition. If you're dealing with one or more of those, I'd strongly recommend that you get medical help. This podcast is for information purposes only, but I did want to share this because I do think it's really important. And with that, I am going to put forward a little content warning here. Bear with me as I read this.

This is not one of my regular feel-good episodes. If this is your first time listening to the 40+ Fitness Podcast, I'd strongly encourage you to listen to some of the others first, just to get to know me. Then this episode will make a lot more sense. I don't intend to be mean or condescending, but in most cases, we are our own primary obstacle.

This episode is my version of tough love, if you will. If you have small children around while you're listening, there might be a few choice words that you don't want them to hear. So take that into account. All right, with that, let's dive in.

I'm going to start off with a basic principle here. Weight loss is a struggle. Weight loss is hard. If weight loss were easy, we wouldn't have the issues we have right now with rampant obesity and being overweight. And there's a lot of things going on in the world right now that, quite frankly, just have me really alarmed at the state of all this. And so I want to share some of that today. But before we jump into all that, I want to share a couple of statistics.

Okay, so there was a 2017 survey of 2000 Americans, and what they found was that the top three failed New Year's resolutions were diet or eating healthy – 54%; exercise more – 44%, and lose weight – 41%. They could choose more than one. So the total is going to add up to more to 100%. But you kind of get the idea for many, many Americans out there getting healthy, taking care of yourself, getting more fit. Those are top of mind, particularly as we go into the new year. As you're listening to this, we're nearly done with January, and so this next study is really kind of hit home.

Also, this survey was also done in 2017, and it was 1129 American adults. They found that only 9.2% of those resolvers successfully achieved their resolution the year before, and that over 42% fail on their resolutions every year. So you start looking at that and realizing that, okay, most people are going to fail their resolutions, and 42% of them failed them every single year. That's almost half. 23% of resolvers fail out the first week. Actually, 13% of them never even started, and 42% fail by the end of the first month, which, as I mentioned, was right about now.

So if you're already struggling or have quit your New Year's resolution to lose weight, guess what? You're statistically average. You're in the majority of people that do have health and fitness resolutions, and you're in the majority of people that fail at those resolutions within the first month. So just recognize that that's the state of the world. We all want to change in January. But sticking with it is hard, and it's because we've got a lot of headwind, okay? We have this one headwind. And I'm going to jump into this, and like I said, I'm probably going to upset a lot of people, but political correctness is not good for your health.

I'm just going to put that out there. Okay? Let me tell you a story. I was on Twitter, and this doctor posted that they had had a consult with their client patient. The patient came into their office and they were morbidly obese. And the doctor made one statement you need to lose weight. Now, this person was on meds. They had all kinds of health problems going on, and this has been going on for a while.

The doctors are telling us you need to lose weight.

Now, guess what happened? The client or customer, the patient stormed out of the office of this doctor and reported him. They reported him for recommending that they lose weight. So he was in trouble with the hospital and potentially the medical board for offending this patient.

This cultural war on weight loss has been going on for about ten to 15 years, at least as far as I've been paying attention. I've seen it getting worse and worse. You see the ads, okay, they show someone who's morbidly obese doing something relatively athletic looking, generally healthy and energetic, and that's okay, that's cool. They're doing sometimes they're doing yoga moves and things I couldn't physically do, but that doesn't mean they're healthy.

So what's happening here is there's this cultural push to normalize the condition of obesity to fight fat shaming, and they're doing it wrong.

Accepting a person, accepting just a general person has nothing to do with their physical condition. Telling someone that they need to lose weight, as the doctor did in his office, there's nothing wrong with that. That's not fat shaming. That's just the reality of health and fitness. This individual is going to suffer more and more if they don't accept responsibility for where they are.

Which leads me to ask you the question, are you accepting responsibility for where you are? If you want to lose weight, you have to accept responsibility for it. You can't ask others to accept you as you are, if they know you're unhealthy, if they want to help you, if they're trying to do the right thing by encouraging you to change. It's not fat shaming. It's just, quite frankly, them being responsible and caring about you. What you don't want is people just ignoring you, not paying attention to you, not caring about you. So this political correctness, things got to go away. Let me tell you a little bit about this because I think a lot of people think that, oh, no, it's fine.

You can be healthy and have extra body fat. Well, let me tell you what the science says in the British Medical Journal. The title of this article was BMI and All Cause Mortality systemic Review of Nonlinear Dose Response metaanalysis of 230 Cohort Studies with 3.74 million deaths among 30.3 million participants. This happened in 2015. So basically they went back and looked at all these different studies and they said, okay, is being obese problematic for lifespan? Okay, it was a question. Now, the cool thing about this particular cohort study was that they used the data that was available to correct for smoking and for other diseases that they may have had beforehand, because someone can be completely healthy, completely good with the BMI, but they only because they lost all the weight, because they had cancer. So they corrected for some of these confounders. And then what they found was, absolutely, if you're obese, you are shortening your life. Your all cause mortality goes up with age, it goes up with obesity. So you're shortening your life, you're shortening your healthspan. It just is what it is. So political correctness is the enemy of a healthy weight.

I'm just going to put that out there again. I want you to pay attention to that. We can't right size this and say we're going to accept it because that's what the culture wants us to do. So we can be nice to people. We're past that. If people want to be healthy, if they want to lose weight, they need to lose weight. I've even seen where they shamed people for wanting to lose weight. They're like, that's wrong to want to lose weight, because you're telling all the people who are overweight that they should too. That's not what they're saying. It's the fat shaming reversed. It's basically trying to get people to accept it as a reality, which it is a reality, but get people to say it's healthy. Get people to accept it and say, no, you can just stay this way and it's okay. And quite frankly, if you really care about yourself, about others, it's not actually okay. We need to do something. We need to get to health. We need to work on that. Okay, so I want to talk next about body image, because many of us have developed these body images, and it's easy to see why that would happen there's.

The magazine articles you see the sweat model and the skinny this and the skinny that. And that's what they're showcasing. They're showcasing the athletes. They're showcasing the others. And those are unrealistic for the vast majority of us. What we should be striving for is not to have the body of a supermodel or a professional athlete, but to have the body and have the health markers and have the health that we need. Which means, yeah, we're probably going to carry a lot more body fat in a relative sense than an athlete or a supermodel, but we're going to stay in a healthy range. So we want to get our body fat in a healthy range. And so a lot of this body image, we have this propensity to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, I don't look like the supermodel. I don't look like the athlete. And that can become very discouraging when you're trying to lose weight, when you're trying to get healthy, having that negative body image is not helping you. So it's time to push that away. It's time to say, okay, forget what I look like right now. I know what I'm going to look like when I get this done.

That's the right mindset. The right mindset is not where you're starting from. It's where you're going to end. And while your distance between those, the delta of that might be bigger than some, it's also smaller than others. So just realize you have your battle, fight your battle, make your change, cover your delta, and that's what you want to do. You want to focus and just keep closing that delta to get where you want to be. And that's what you have to do. The next thing that I see out there is this all or nothing kind of mindset. And it comes in a lot of different ways. There's this you just have to do the calories in, calories out. And if you just do that, you'd be fine. You're overeating, you cow. And again, that permeates out there. This is the way to do it. This is how I did it. So it has to work for you. This is math. This is physics. And the reality of it is no, there's other things in there. So there is no all or nothing. There is no right or wrong. There's just what's going to work for you.

Now you might be an all or nothing type person where going on a diet is restrictive and needs to be restrictive. A perfect example. I am not have a beer with a friend kind of person. I'm going to have beers with a friend kind of person. So if we're going out for beer, it's beer plural. Okay, I'm going to have a lot of beer. Probably that's just the way I'm wired once I start, okay, I do some of the same things with food. You get me to eating a food that's not good for me. It becomes a lot more difficult for me to turn that off and move on unless I completely turn it off. I don't do moderation. So understanding yourself and understanding that there's not just one right way there's the right way for you is really, really important. And so the advice that people like to throw out there, it could work or it might not. Only way you'll know, is to try it and to know yourself well enough to say, yes, I know this will work for me. If someone just told me to eat smaller portions of the food that I already eat when I got fat, that way won't work for me.

I'm not going to sit there and get one third or one quarter or one 8th of a serving of what I would normally have had for mashed potatoes and gravy. I'm just not going to do that. That's not how I'm wired. So knowing how you're wired, understanding that none of this advice is right and none of it is wrong, all diets succeed and all diets fail, and we just have to find the right way to eat that works for us long term and we can get there. Probably one of the areas where most people struggle the most with food is emotional eating and mindless eating. Okay? So there's a component of the brain that basically rewards us when we do things it likes. So eating sugar creates a dopamine response in the brain. The brain loves dopamine, just loves, loves, loves it and says, hey, that sugar was some pretty cool stuff. Could you get me some more of that? You've probably seen the meme of the episode where Chappelle has done some cocaine or something and he's asking for more of it. He's got that needy look on his face and even a little bit of the drug on his upper lip.

He got any more of that? That's what our brain is doing. It's literally like drugs. And so if you're doing emotional or mindless eating, those calories count, they do. And if you're doing it all the time, weight loss is not going to happen. You have to be mindful of what you put in your mouth. You just do. You can get away with an occasional, okay, I'm going to go have some popcorn while I'm watching a movie. And I probably won't be mindful of the popcorn, but you get the idea this is a regular thing. If mindless eating and emotional eating is a regular thing, you got to solve that problem, because if you don't, weight loss is just not going to happen. The next one thing I want to talk about is called self talk or the voice in your head. Now, I've told people the story several times. I'll kind of say it again, was when I finally kind of woke up to the fact that I was killing myself with food and alcohol. I caught myself, the fat bastard. And it's really because it defined everything about me. It defined that I was fat.

Yes, fat. I was fat. And it defined that I was not very nice to myself, and I was not very nice to others. And those were traits that I was not very happy with. But that's what my inner voice was telling me I was, and I was accepting. That who I was. So much like the negative body image thing, I had a negative overall image of myself. Everything was wrong. Only thing I felt like I had any control over whatsoever was my employment, my career. I was really good at that. But I seemed to suck at just about everything else. And what I understood, came to understand, was as long as I let that self talk happen, as long as I let the Fat Bastard live, I'm never going to be who I deserve to be. I'm never going to lose the weight, because the Fat Bastard is going to take me down eventually. That negative self talk, that voice in my head is eventually going to wear me down, and I'm going to break. And so a big part of my transformation was the mindset work necessary to push through and away from that self talk, to literally name it the Fat Bastard, and then to sit down and say, okay, I got to move away from him.

I've got to figure out a way to stop him from killing me. And it took years for me to figure out ways to do that, to build the tool set necessary to make that happen. But I had to. And I did. And I want you to, too. So if you find yourself talking yourself out of things so this happens a lot. Like if we slip up, so you have a bad day or bad something happens at work and you get home and you're like, you yell at the kids or the grandkids. You're just yelling at the kicking the dog. I don't know. You're upset, you're tired, you're cranky, you're stressed. And then you find yourself emotionally eating. And then you find yourself the next morning, like, really just angry at yourself now for what you just did to yourself last night. And since you screwed up your diet and it's Friday, you may as well just blow it out the weekend, right? No. Again, that's your self talk. That's that voice in your head sabotaging you. You need to say, no, I can go through a weekend eating well. I can go through a weekend just fine.

I screwed up last night. I forgive myself. I'm not going to do it anymore. I move on. You've got to work yourself past that. So just recognize that we are and can be our own worst enemy. We've got to deal with that enemy head on. Okay? The next area that I want to get into is lack of support. So many of us, we try to do this on our own. But we've got so much going on in our lives and really, we don't have a support system. We don't have people around us that really care or they don't seem to care. If you have teenage kids or kids in the house, well, there's always going to be snack food available. Kids are just not naturally wired to want to eat healthy unless they were brought up that way. So if we brought up our kids on snack foods, there's always going to want snack foods and they're always going to want them in the house available. And so you're probably going to have them rather than have them go nuts around you. So you're going to have these snacks in the house. You're going to have this and that.

When it comes to dinner, your family might not want to eat the way you're eating. And so you're going to kind of feel this total lack of support. And maybe none of your friends are really interested in weight loss. They talk about it, hey, let's do a resolution. We'll all hold each other accountable. And then by the second week, you're like, hey guys, how's everybody doing? Well, I'm done. I didn't even start the first day. I had a candy bar when I woke up that morning. So you kind of feel like your whole support system is just gone. And the reality of it is you just chose the wrong support or you may not even ask for support. Have you even sat down and asked your significant other or your kids to help you with your weight loss? Have you told them what your plan is and why you're doing this? Because more than likely, they're part of your why. And if you sit down and take the time to do that, you can build that support. You can get your family to pay attention to what they're doing. And it's a fairly simple thing for me.

Please don't leave your snack food out. Put it back in the pantry so I don't see it. That will help me a lot. It's a simple thing. You coach them, you get them to do it, they start doing it. When you get a support team around you, you support the heck out of them and you don't let them quit. You hold them accountable. It's like, no, Betty, we said we were doing this. We're doing this. You get back on the wagon right now. We're on this. Just because you had one candy bar, you're not done. You're not done. Get past yourself. Let's get this going. So build the support, because the lack of support is not their fault. It's yours. Okay? You got to build the support. You got to find the support. And if you can't get the support locally, so your family is just not going to do it and you don't have the way to push or make that happen, your friends are just really not going to get into it, and none of them are going to try to do the things you're doing. Then reach out. Find the support. Find groups.

We have a Facebook Group, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, wonderful group of people there, all trying to take care of themselves. We're all at different points in our journey. They're there. There are people out there to support you. There are other Facebook groups that have different flavors and different things they're doing. Some people post pictures of themselves because they find that very motivating to see others succeeding. That's not us. We're basically there to support you from an emotional perspective, from basic support of I'm here for you. If you're struggling, I understand. I struggle too. Here's what I'm trying to do. Here's what my year is going to be like. This is what I'm going to do. This is the challenge for the week. And we work with each other. We try to help each other. We hold each other somewhat accountable. So if you're looking for support, there's a group. If you're looking for deeper support, well, you have a coach right here. Rachel and I are on this show. We're here willing to help you, to support you. So if you have a lack of support, it's only because you haven't reached out. It's only because you haven't tried hard enough to have the support.

And then the final bit of this let me go over and over, and I'm hopeful. If you're still listening to this, some of this has resonated with you. I'm sure it has. Most of the things that are going on here were battles I had to fight myself, okay? Was it okay for me to be 20, 30, 40 pounds overweight? And I'm like, well, as long as I'm okay and healthy, yeah. But then I wasn't. And I had the negative body image. I had the all or nothing stuff. I had the emotional mindless eating, the self talk, and no support, bad relationships and toxic things in my life. And so I was in that spot. And the way I got past it was to know myself and so know thyself. I'm going to read a quote. This is by Sun Tzu who wrote The Art of War. You may have heard about this. I love this book. I read it every once in a while. It's just a very interesting read. This quote, it says, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

And here's what I know. We are the enemy. We are ourselves, and we are the enemy. There was no one else out there forcing you to eat. There's no one else out there making you fat. We did that to ourselves. We are the enemy. If you don't know yourself and you don't know the enemy, you will lose the battle. You've got to take the time to figure that out. So what I would encourage you to do is, if you haven't already, go take the Health Blocker Quiz. It's a really good way for you to start getting some insights into the way that you think and the way that you work. And if you can set things up based on what your needs are, based on who you are, knowing myself, it's going to go a long way. You can go to 40plusfitness.com/quiz again, that's 40plusfitness.com/quiz, and you can get to know more about yourself. And that's going to help you with a lot of this stuff. Okay, I'm going to throw out some terms. It won't mean a lot to you if you haven't taken the quiz, but windshields suffer with negative body image all the time windshields do. People who are copilots. The support is huge. If you don't have the support, you're just not going to get there. You need the support and you need to not be the caretaker of everybody else before you take care of yourself. That's what happens with a copilot. If you're an Atlas, you're probably more of an all or none thing. And you know that if you have something big in front of you, you can turn off the bad and focus on the good to get that thing done. If you're more of like maybe a tires or pedals type person, then the self talk and the emotional and mindless eating are probably going to be things that really eat at you. Because if you can't get the traction as the tires, or if you're not quite sure about what you're doing and you find yourself stopping and starting and stopping and starting, it's really hard because you just can't keep your foot on the gas. And so just recognize that throughout a lot of things there, if you haven't taken the quiz, that might not make as much sense to you. But I think what you can see is if you take the quiz, you're going to know a lot more about yourself and then you'll have the tools you need to win these battles.

Because each and every one of these battles is really, really important for weight loss. And so the way we feel about the world, about ourselves, about weight loss, all impact our ability to be successful. So I want you to start working on the mindset part of this. This is not a tactic and strategy type problem. Weight loss is a mindset problem. And if you don't solve that, you're not going to stick to the tactics, you're not going to stick to the strategies, and you're not going to get it done. So work on your mindset and lose that weight. 

Post Show/Recap

[00:30:10.100] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:30:13.190] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Allan. My goodness, you unloaded a lot of things in that discussion. I don't even know where to start, except for one of the things you said right off the bat is weight loss is a hard struggle. It's a long process. It's a hard process, and it's absolutely a struggle.

[00:30:29.020] – Coach Allan

Yeah, I guess where I kind of got into all this was back in the early 2000s, there was a lot of press, if you will. I'm not going to say not like media press, but just people pushing on the idea that the ideal of what we were seeing in magazines and things in TV and movies was not real, was not what was attainable by mere mortals, by normal people, if you will.

[00:30:54.300] – Coach Rachel

And you mean super thin athletes.

[00:30:59.970] – Coach Allan

You'd see someone at 4% body fat and they're running around on covers and magazines and things like that, and they're like, well, that's not normal. That's not healthy, and that's not ideal when you are trying to live your life and you're not able to do the things they do, which is absolutely true. But I kind of feel like the pendulum has swung so far from there that now they're quite literally saying, if you're not obese, there's something wrong with you.

[00:31:32.640] – Coach Rachel

That's an interesting conundrum right there.

[00:31:35.470] – Coach Allan

Well, it's out there. I'm seeing it almost now. Every day I see some kind of rant about people wanting to lose weight and how they're terrible people for wanting that just even wanting to lose weight makes you a bad person. And they use the standard words that they use for bad people. And so it's just kind of one of those things where if you let the press drive the way you feel about this stuff, then you accept victimhood, and a victim cannot be the hero.

[00:32:10.290] – Coach Rachel

That's true.

[00:32:11.130] – Coach Allan

So if we look at just even like the normal story, we go back to the basics of a story, okay? And the story is that there's a dragon, and the village sacrifices the verge in every year at this moon, full moon, to the dragon, it's King Kong and another story, but whatever monster you want to have out there. And so the premise was that we've got to sacrifice this virgin so that he doesn't burn the whole city, the whole town. And then it happens that the virgin is going to be burned. This boy happens to be in love with her, and so now he's going to fight the dragon, and everybody else is just status quo. It's like, well, it's a virgin. So what? They want to be victims. They're all victims. They're afraid of the dragon. And this appeases the dragon. So if you've got all this social media and all this other stuff telling you that you're wrong for wanting what you want and you give up, then you've chosen the victimhood. Or you can choose to be the hero in your own story, and you can slay your dragon. And so I didn't mean this so much to be a negative thing other than it just so frustrating to be inundated with it, because I don't even think I'm necessarily the target for what they're after.

[00:33:33.880] – Coach Allan

Because again, I don't care how skinny a supermodel is, I'm not going to look like her.

[00:33:40.550] – Coach Rachel


[00:33:42.790] – Coach Allan

And granted, yeah, I look at professional athletes and I'm like, okay, well, the dude does this all day, every day. Can hire a chef, can hire a trainer, can hire him. And basically, this is all they do. And I was like, I could quit my job and hire a chef and hire a trainer. I can look pretty darn good myself and be broke. I'd have to be independently wealthy or something or get paid for it, which they do. And that's kind of the whole principle. You see an actor and basically they've got enough money involved in this movie and all that. There's a budget for getting the hero to look a certain way and the trainers and everything that's going into that. And so these guys go in and they train like maniacs because they're going to get paid tens of millions of dollars to be in this movie. Anybody would do it. But we're not getting paid millions of dollars for the rest of us, right? And they're not necessarily doing it in the most healthful way either. So the base point is, if your goal is to be healthy, then you know, having excess body fat is not helping you, okay?

[00:34:53.230] – Coach Allan

And if you make the decision you want to do this, then you've got to get past this major sabotage that's happening through social media, through political correctness, through all of this stuff. And you just got to say, Enough of that. I'm living my life. I'm doing my thing, and you do your thing and don't fall for it, because if you're the victim, you can't be the hero.

[00:35:17.500] – Coach Rachel

That's right. I think that we all have our own stories. The only person we're really accountable to is ourselves. And so if we have a health condition that we need support from, we go to our doctor, we get the information, we can hire a trainer like you said, or figure it out online. We just need to take our own steps to be the healthiest that we could be. And I guess I just want to circle it all back to being healthy again, because looks, again, to me, are pretty irrelevant as well. I'm not interested in super skinny or super overweight. It's what's inside that really matters. We all have to pay attention to what the doctors are telling us about our own health, whether it's heart condition, respiratory problems, high cholesterol, stress. I mean, what's going on inside is the most important part. And if you were ready to take that step to improve your health, then you should be able to do it without the consequences of somebody raining on your parade.

[00:36:16.660] – Coach Allan

But I guess I just break it down to saying if someone came to me and said, hey, Alan, you probably need to lose some weight. I would take that as good advice. I would take that right now and say, yeah, I look at it and I say, you're probably right. I'm carrying more body fat than I probably should right now. And you're right. If a doctor told me that, I'd say, yes, doctor, you're right. Here's what I'm doing about it. If my wife told me about it and say, yes, honey, you're absolutely right. This is what I'm doing about it. If my best friend did it, I'd say, yeah, Frank, you're absolutely right. This is what I'm doing about it. If my personal trainer said it, I'd say, you're absolutely right. I'm busting my butt in the gym, aren't I? Yes. And this is what I'm doing about it. Nutritionally and quite literally, I would own my mission. I would own my body. I would own my own belief system in myself, and I would not be looking to others for validation of who I am. I know how hard I'm going to work. I know how hard I can work.

[00:37:24.100] – Coach Allan

I know what I'm capable of. And carrying an extra bit of body fat doesn't define me, but it's sort of the idea like we were talking earlier. So let's say you have a car, and it requires four tires, maybe a fifth if you want to have a spare. Well, okay, you got 15 tires, and ten of them are all strown around your yard. People are going to notice those extra ten tires stroke along your yard. So at the very least, pick them up and collect them somewhere. You leave them out there and people see it, they're likely may say something. So if you need to lose weight, if they say something, it's just, again, they're less likely to say it now than they were 1520 years ago, because there's more people like you than there are like them. If they're thin, 75% of people over the age of 40 are overweight or obese, it's 75%. So that's the majority of us. The majority of us are overweight. Okay? And so you're in the majority. You're more normal than anything else. But that doesn't mean that the pendulum needs to say that that's the new normal.

[00:38:34.230] – Coach Allan

When it's not healthy, it's not healthy. You have to do something about it. If it's shortening your life, you have to do something about it.

[00:38:42.120] – Coach Rachel

Well, that's what we do know. We do know that having the extra weight gives us a higher risk for other health problems, whether it's down the media or down the lines.

[00:38:53.370] – Coach Allan

That's right.

[00:38:55.210] – Coach Rachel

Cause mortality. That's right.

[00:38:58.490] – Coach Allan

You're going to die sooner. On average, you're going to die sooner because you're carrying the extra body fat.

[00:39:04.070] – Coach Rachel

Right. But you made a good point, too, that there's very few people that can look you in the eye and tell you you're overweight and you need to do something about it. And like I said, I can count on one hand the number of people who I'm willing to listen to, right?

[00:39:18.930] – Coach Allan

Even if it upsets you. Because again, those are the people that love you, right? Sometimes I've had people come on and say, well, you don't look like my personal trainer. And I'm like, okay, well, who is your personal trainer? And you start looking up who this guy is or Gal is, and you're like, oh. So this person was a professional athlete and basically Olympian and DA DA DA. And they never had a weight problem in their entire life. And I'm like, well, great. They've never had a weight problem. They've always had a six pack. They've always looked that way. And I'm like, and they're also not 57 years old, but that all said, if that's your trainer, that's great. Do I have to look like that trainer? No. Am I going to be that kind of influencer on social media where I'm showing you guys six pack ABS and running around Instagram like I'm something special? No. What I do is I coach for Health, I coach for Health, I coach for Wellness, I coach for Happiness. I want you to find the life balance where you know you're where you're supposed to be. And the messaging that I see out there is that we're never where we're supposed to be, and that's just not true.

[00:40:35.480] – Coach Allan

If we're in the mission and we're doing the thing, do the thing. Just do the thing. Be the hero. Victims are victims. They stay victims. And you are happy and healthy that way. And you feel good and you want to be the victim, and you're like, yeah, I'm just going to do it. I'm going to basically eat dessert every day for lunch, dinner, because you're a grown adult. You can do that. You can literally go to the store right now and buy every bit of it right now. Nobody will stop you. When you go through the Castro, she won't even acknowledge she'll just go out and sit in your car and eat the whole cake. You can do that. You can absolutely do that. I don't think that's what people want to do, though. They think they want something, but then there's this messaging that's out there, and I'm like, you just got to turn that off. You just got to say, okay, that's just not me. That's the message. Maybe someone needs to hear that and feel good. But that's not my message. My message to myself and to the people around me is you deserve to be healthy.

[00:41:37.490] – Coach Rachel


[00:41:37.980] – Coach Allan

You deserve to feel good in your own skin. You deserve to have energy and life and vitality and to live every moment like it's this wonderful thing. And that's what I want you to have. And so I just see this messaging, and I'm like, it's screwed up. It's just screwed up. And you got to stop. And you're not winning a battle by agreeing with it and being politically correct because they say, well, this is politically correct. You're being politically incorrect. You're fat shaming because you're trying to lose weight. If I'm shaming anybody, I'm shaming myself, but I'm not shaming you. It has nothing to do with you. And I think that's where the messaging just really upsets me. And I'm sorry that if I get a little bit frustrated with all this stuff, but the base reality of it is, sure, you deserve this. You deserve health and happiness, and the only way you're going to get there is to be your own hero and not the victim.

[00:42:38.620] – Coach Rachel

That sounds great, Ellen. I did want to make sure that we brought this back to health and that's the bottom line is that it's important that you do what it takes to take good care of your health so that you can live a long, happy, healthful life.

[00:42:52.630] – Coach Allan

Absolutely. All right, well, I probably lost all our listeners.

[00:42:58.970] – Coach Rachel

No, I think that was an interesting discussion, but yeah, that was good.

[00:43:04.170] – Coach Allan

But again, I didn't mean to upset anybody or frustrate anybody. It's in me to do it. I believe in you and I want you to believe in yourself. And that's really where this was coming from. And I'm sure I upset a couple of people. And if I did comment, tell me why I'm wrong. But right now I just feel like there's this pull and it's pulling in the wrong direction and there are saboteurs. It's just another version of saboteurs and it's something you got to fight.

[00:43:33.240] – Coach Rachel


[00:43:34.630] – Coach Allan

All right, well, Ras, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:43:37.530] – Coach Rachel

Take care, Allan.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander
– Eric More– Leigh Tanner

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


September 20, 2022

How to lose weight for the last time with Dr. Katrina Ubell

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Many of us lose weight only to regain it again. Over and over we go through the yoyo, up and down. In Dr. Katrina Ubell's book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time: Brain-Based Solutions for Permanent Weight Loss she shares how to get off that rollercoaster for good.



[00:03:56.310] – Allan

Dr. Ubell. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:59.010] – Dr. Ubell

Thank you so much. I'm so glad to be here.

[00:04:01.570] – Allan

So today we're going to talk about your book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time: Brain-based Solutions for Permanent Weight Loss, and I don't think there's anyone listening to this that ever tried to lose weight for the last time. They almost feel like we're always, in this cycle of trying to lose weight, gain the weight back, not really understand why we can't really lock these things in. What I like about your book is that it really does kind of address all of it. And what I mean by that is it clearly defines that this is a mindset problem first.

[00:04:37.300] – Dr. Ubell


[00:04:38.150] – Allan

And then after we deal with some of the mindset stuff, which I think is probably a lifelong journey, then you put together kind of a protocol that can help us make this easier, make this more automatic, and then we develop the right habits, and then we have a sustainable lifestyle, and then the weight comes off.

[00:04:58.200] – Dr. Ubell

And that's how we keep the weight off, too.

[00:05:00.160] – Allan

That's how we keep it off, too. Yeah, perfect. So it's a really good book for anyone who's wondered why they yoyo and wondered why, it just seems like there's somebody else in my head making me do things that I don't want to do. I tell myself I'm not going to eat the animal crackers.

[00:05:19.270] – Dr. Ubell

And then, lo and behold, I'm stuffing my face with them. Like, I don't understand what's happening.

[00:05:24.110] – Allan

Right. So let's talk about that from the over hunger and over desire perspective.

[00:05:30.630] – Dr. Ubell

Yes. So I think that the way I try to approach this is it's definitely a mindset based approach, and that's very important. I think that we really focus on food and how we eat and what we eat a bit too much, sometimes a lot too much. But there's also some basics in terms of just how our bodies function. Well, just like human physiology, that when we work with our bodies instead of against them, the whole process of doing this is so much more comfortable. So in my opinion, if you can get to a place where the way that you're eating while weight is coming off is supportive to you, you feel satiated, you feel energetic, your digestion is good, you're sleeping well, it's a lot easier from that place to then look at the emotional aspects. Right. The mindset issues, like all those other reasons why we're asking food to solve our problems for us, we can address that a lot better compared to when we're white knuckling it with our food. We're starving all the time. We're overeating, like a lot of drama around, like, I shouldn't have had that and I can't go to that thing because they're going to have this there and I won't be able to control myself and the distraction from doing the real work that we need to do.

[00:06:46.050] – Dr. Ubell

So many people will talk about how they just feel hunger all the time, or inappropriate hunger, or they feel like they can only go a couple of hours before they're hungry. Or a lot of people are actually very fearful of experiencing hunger. And I just want to mention that there definitely are people who come from a background of lack where maybe they did really go hungry as a child or as a younger adult. And there are some issues around that. There's a lot of emotional issues too. So I don't want to downplay that when I say hunger is okay, it's like, yeah, but as long as it's feeling tolerable and not like clobbering you over the head, like you feel like you're going to pass out and faint and that kind of thing. So the best way to address over hunger is to get our hormones to function the way they're supposed to function. Essentially, I think it was like hitting the reset button on our bodies. If humans have been around for 200,000 years, it's really just the last really even just a couple of hundred years that a lot of foods have been so available, but really only more like the last 30 to 40 years where these foods are everywhere and they're relatively inexpensive and it's getting harder and harder than not eat them.

[00:07:53.990] – Dr. Ubell

So you have to understand our bodies have not adapted. So when we're eating highly refined food, when we're eating a lot of foods that contain sugar and refined flour, it messes with the way your body functions. Of course, in the book I go into more detail about that, but because of the way our bodies respond to that, when we feel hunger, it feels much more like an emergency. It feels really extreme. It feels like your stomach is eating itself or your stomach's eating your spine. Or like people talk about being hungry, the combination of hungry and angry, it's like you're so mad about being hungry. All of that is like kind of funny. We laugh about it, but it's actually not normal to experience hunger in that way. And so when we take a break from regular flour and sugar consumption and I'm not saying you can't ever have it again, I'm just saying you're taking a break. It's like rebooting your phone or rebooting your computer. You're just like taking a minute to pause and let everything settle back down. So what you notice then is the hunger that you experience is much more gentle.

[00:08:57.690] – Dr. Ubell

I think of it as like when you have been eating all that stuff, like the hunger can feel like a wave crashing over you. Just, like, pummeling you. But when you've stopped eating it and everything is evened out, it feels like a little Caribbean wave lapping at your ankles. It's just a real subtle, soft little suggestion. Hey, you could eat or not, doesn't matter. It's okay. Because humans never had food so readily available. There were lots of times for the vast majority of human existence that humans were hungry and didn't eat, and they didn't collapse, they didn't faint. No, they had energy, and they went and found some food. They went and created whatever they needed to, whether it was hunting or gathering or whatever. So that's the first thing with over hunger. And it's one of those things where often we don't even recognize how extreme the hunger is until we're not feeling it anymore. And then we start going, wait a minute, this is, like, incredible. Who knew this was possible to not really be that hungry? Like, wow, it's really not that hard to not overeat when you're not that hungry. It makes it a lot easier.

[00:10:01.000] – Dr. Ubell

Like, my experience with dieting over decades was the opposite extreme hunger. Just feeling this incessant, constantlying hunger that was just very much a means to an end, so I could just try to get this weight off. So that's what we deal with with over hunger from an over desire standpoint. Over desire, to me, just means wanting food more than is appropriate for the amount of food that your body needs. So of course it makes sense, because food keeps us alive, that we would want to prioritize food, at least to a certain extent, and that our brains would do that. But what happens for those of us who have over desire, who are overeating? I always kind of think of it as like if you've ever sat in a meeting around a conference table and someone brought some treats and they're in the middle of the table and it's like cookies or something, cookie platter. And everyone's having the meeting, but you're having intrusive thoughts about the cookies, and is someone going to take one and are they going to pass it around? And like, what if no one takes one, but I really want one, and would it be weird if I grab one now?

[00:11:01.190] – Dr. Ubell

Is it weird if I'm the first one to take one? What if everybody leaves and no one's taking one? Like, maybe I should just sneak back and grab one. I don't know if you've experienced that, but just, like, literally..

[00:11:10.750] – Allan

Sitting in a conference room, they bring in lunch and they set it over there on the counter, and you can smell it and you can see it, and the lunch is right there and the dude's talking, and now like teachers, like, wah wah.

[00:11:20.920] – Dr. Ubell

you can't even pay attention. 

[00:11:22.910] – Dr. Ubell

Yes, exactly 100%. So that's over desire. I remember looking at other people and like, they don't seem to care that there's cookies on this table. Why can I not think about anything else. That's because our brains have gotten confused in thinking like, this is essential for survival. It's extremely important, and you better eat it right now because bad things are going to happen if you don't essentially is what's happening there. And so that's a combination of the way our brains respond to eating more processed foods that contain more sugar and flour. Of course, taking a break from that really helps with over desire, too. But we also, most of us are not aware of how the weight, like our beliefs and our thoughts about food, how that creates over desire. So if you have thoughts or beliefs around certain foods, like your favorite things or your trigger foods, like, I can't control myself around that food. It's my favorite. If that's around me, forget it. I'm going to eat everything. If I see that there's no chance that I'm not going to eat that. And we think we're just conveying the news. Like, we're just like, hey, just letting you know what the facts are.

[00:12:27.900] – Dr. Ubell

But really what that is, is a story we're telling ourselves about our behavior around this food. We're telling ourselves we should think this way, feel this way around this food, and act this way around this food. And that actually creates a lot of excess desire. So we want to get to a place, I always call it peace and freedom around food. And what that means to me is you can be around all of those foods, all of your favorite foods, all of the things that are historically difficult for you to control yourself around. And it's not like you hate them or you think they're gross or anything like that. They're just not that important to you anymore. If you eat it, you know, it'll taste good and that's fine. Or you could also just as easily not eat it and you're totally fine as well. It's really a place of confidence and control and power, really. Right. Because you've taken the power back from the food, right? Like, from controlling you. We think the food has the power, then the food controls us. When the food is just this inert substance that happens to be digestible, it's just sitting there like it has no power over us.

[00:13:30.740] – Dr. Ubell

It's our thoughts about it, to have the power. So that's what we want to work on. We want to understand that, yes, there's certain ways that help our bodies to have more of an appropriate amount of desire for food, but also really looking at the contribution that our thoughts and beliefs have around food, because that makes a huge difference. I've done it myself on many I mean, just to give you an example, it's not actually in the book. This is actually after I lost my weight, I was finding myself eating peanut butter, like, spoonful out of the container, you know, and like, one spoonful, whatever. And then it was starting to get to be more and more. And I remember the day that I kept going back for another spoonful, and I looked in the container, and I was like, I think I've eaten literally a cup of peanut butter in the last however long, 30 minutes or something. And that felt like an absolute brick in my stomach. It did not feel good, yet I still was, like, wanting that emotional I wanted to feel different than how I was feeling. And so I was asking the peanut butter to do that, and I was realizing, like, I'm having intrusive thoughts about going back and having another scoop of peanut butter.

[00:14:34.210] – Dr. Ubell

So I have over desire for this, and so I had to do that at work to remove that excess desire. And now I have peanut butter in my pantry all the time. I have children. We have peanut butter. And I literally never think of it. I can have it if I want it. And also, most of the time I just don't care. I can eat it or not eat it. It doesn't matter to me. And that is that peace and freedom around food, whatever the food is, I'm going to be okay.

[00:14:59.160] – Allan

Let's talk a little bit about that because I think the peace and freedom aspect of this is kind of where we're breaking away from the cycle. And most of us, when we're gaining weight and we can't keep the weight off, we're in this cycle, we're emotionally bound to the food. We're over hungry, over desire, or both. And so there's this cycle, and to really to break through this cycle and use it for our own benefit, we've got to separate the fact that there's this reptilian brain that just thinks, feels, does over and over. So that's why we repeat these cycles, and they get ingrained and they're wired and they're in their habits. And to break that, to get to where we want to be with peace and freedom, with food, we've got to turn on the human part of the brain and kind of break through those things and create and rewire. Can you talk about the thinking cycle and how that all puts us either in a bad circle or a good circle?

[00:16:03.250] – Dr. Ubell

Yeah, the thinking cycle is something that comes from cognitive behavioral therapy. So if any listeners have ever participated in that, they might be familiar with us. It was created by Aaron Beck, who's a psychiatrist, but I'm not a therapist. But we can learn a lot from this for our purposes we can still utilize it. And really what it comes down to is that the way we think, our interpretation of whatever is happening in the world around us, our experience of life, those are our thoughts, and we get to choose what those thoughts are. If you've ever changed your mind about something, if you've ever decided to reframe a certain thing that happened to yourself, like, we know we can do this, we can decide to think differently. That doesn't mean we always have to or should, but it is available to us. If we want to do that, then the way that we think creates our feelings or emotions. I use those terms interchangeably. And that's really like the result of you thinking of thought, which is just two neurons in your brain having a synaptic connection, like a chemical connection. There's a whole chemical cascade that's triggered in our bodies.

[00:17:03.170] – Dr. Ubell

And that's our feeling. If you think about maybe the feeling of being really nervous, for me, nervous is always the easiest one. Like that butterfly feeling in your stomach. But maybe it's like anger or maybe it's even like your heart is going to split open from joy or love for somebody like that's all a result of the way that we're thinking. And then the way that we feel drives our actions. And that's like what we do, but it's also what we don't do. When we're talking about weight loss, often there's inaction, right? You're saying, why don't we do the things we know we should? And why do we do the things we know we shouldn't, right? It's all coming from the way we think and feel. And that's what's driving our actions, whether it's things that are supportive or not. So if you're thinking thoughts that create feelings that drive you to overeat or to eat more food than your body needs, or maybe a combination of foods that doesn't really serve your body, there's going to be a result to that and that result will probably be weight gain. Or it could be just stagnation plateau, just not losing, if that's what one of your goals is.

[00:18:04.050] – Dr. Ubell

And so what we do when we're typically dieting is we focus on the actions, right? Everybody is saying, hey, eat this way, don't eat that way, exercise this way, don't exercise that way. And here's the thing. If you do those things regularly, it will work for most people. I mean, I've done all kinds of things and I have lost weight, but I always gained it back again or I wasn't willing to continue doing it. Whatever it was, it just wasn't going to be something that was going to work out for me long term. So when we still have the old thoughts and feelings that drive the action of overeating, which creates weight gain, and we just try to take different actions, you know, we're white knuckling it through. We're forcing ourselves trying to use will power to take different actions. We can get some results for a while. But the problem is we still are thinking and feeling that old way that drives the action of overeating. And so we have to understand that better. So when it comes to the brain, I like to keep it super simple. I'm not a neurologist, and I don't think any of us need to be to understand what's happening in our brains.

[00:19:05.440] – Dr. Ubell

We need to recognize that there are two different parts involved in decision making. The first part, like you call it the primitive or the reptilian brain, I call it the primitive brain. I mean, it's an important part of our brain. It's really what helps keep us alive. It's not bad, it's just much less mature. And so I think of it as more like a toddler. Toddlers live in the moment, right? They're not thinking about next week. They don't even know what tomorrow is, right? But they're just like, what do I want to do right now that's going to be fun and make me feel good? And that part of us is like, I don't feel like doing that today, I don't feel like eating that. Let's order pizza. That's, that part of us that is just like forget what the plans are, I want to feel good right now. Then there's the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of our brain that makes us human, that separates us from the animals. It's not just about survival, it's really about thinking for the future. It's able to think about the past, it's able to plan. It's much more sophisticated.

[00:20:02.870] – Dr. Ubell

And I think of that part of the brain more as like the supervising mother of the toddler. And so that's what we want to be doing. We want to recognize there's nothing wrong with having that primitive brain. It has an important role but also it needs supervision. You can't just let toddlers run amok alone unsupervised in the house. Like bad things happen if you do that. So what we want to do is access that more wise part of our brain that is going to be keeping our overall best interests at heart. And we want to rely on that as much as we can. And one of the best ways I know to do that is to plan for the future. So like if you plan your food in advance, meaning like maybe the night before you go, OK, these are the things I'm going to eat. And it doesn't have to be involved just like the basics of what you're going to have. Then the next day, like when you've had a stressful morning and you're at work and you don't really feel like eating that lunch that you made, that's on plan for you.

[00:20:53.760] – Dr. Ubell

And supportive, it doesn't really matter if you feel like it or not, all you have to do is follow your plan. You know that the plan was made from that prefrontal cortex and there's not really anything up for discussion. There's no argument that needs to happen. There's no negotiations to kind of remind myself that not every meal has to be the very best thing you've ever eaten. It's okay if you don't really want to have that. And what I also want to say is that I'm a really big proponent that everything that you eat, make sure it tastes good to you. I spent so many years, forcing myself to eat all kinds of wacky, diet foods and weird recipes that I didn't even like. We're not doing that right. Let's actually eat food that is palatable to us, that we enjoy. So it's not a hardship to eat on plan. Like, maybe it would be fun to have the tortilla chips. That was always my thing. Like, the pharmaceutical reps would bring in these huge bags of tortilla chips, and I was just like, mindlessly eating them? I love them. It's like, yeah, those could be good.

[00:21:48.380] – Dr. Ubell

But you know what? I can also go to queued up. I can get those chips anytime I want to. So I don't need to eat them now because I didn't plan for them now, but later if I want to plan for them, I can because I'm thinking from that prefrontal cortex. So I think that's kind of a simplified version of how to think about it. But it also doesn't have to be so complicated. So much of weight loss, I feel like, has become so complicated and time consuming, and it just doesn't have to be.

[00:22:12.590] – Allan

I think the key here is we have to slow down a little bit. Too many times we find ourselves mindlessly doing something or just automatically doing something, and then that typically leads to shame or anger or frustration, which is not productive. So what we have to do is look at this process, and when we've done something that we didn't plan to do, break it down. Okay. What was I feeling? What was I thinking? What was going on? And then the next time we kind of find ourselves in that space, and maybe it's a point in time. You mentioned that you were doing your charts. Basically, you got into a cycle, and it was just that, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that. And then that just happened, and you caught yourself. And so from that point, you basically slowed yourself down. You kind of put some space there. And I think that's really where the rubber hits the road here.

[00:23:09.680] – Dr. Ubell

Yeah, I think of it as like, there's like a potential space there's, like something that happens if something happens for you, and you get the idea, I want to go eat something, or what do we have to eat? Let me see what we have to eat, or whatever the thought is, right, I'm going to move my way toward the pantry or the freezer or whatever it is, wherever the food is. And so often we say, like, I don't know why I was just eating it, or before I knew what happened, I was eating it, or it was all gone. It's like we kind of almost go into a fog, but also when it is so habitual to do these things and to cope in our lives with food, there isn't a lot of thought happening there because it becomes like the brain is very efficient and this is just what we do. It just basically down regulates the whole decision making process so that you just don't have to think so hard about it. You don't have to think about how to brush your teeth every single time you do it. You just driving is another great example.

[00:24:08.070] – Dr. Ubell

So what we have to do, or what we're invited to do, really, because we don't have to do anything, but we're invited to do, is to recognize, hey, you know what? I'm going to build awareness around the fact that I want to eat this food, and before I eat it, I'm not telling myself I can't have it or I shouldn't have it. I'm just saying, hey, before I have it, can I take a moment to just check in with myself to figure out what's going on for me? And because we know our actions come after our emotions, and many of us are not aware of our emotional lives, we can maybe start with, how am I feeling? Like, what's going on? For me, another great question is what is the problem that I'm asking food to solve for me right now? Unless you're physically hungry, but, like, assuming you're not, because most of the time when we're doing this kind of behavior, we're not physically hungry. What is it? And it's not like we don't have to judge ourselves or put pressure on ourselves to figure it out. It's just coming from genuine curiosity and interest.

[00:25:00.660] – Dr. Ubell

We just want to understand better what it is that we're doing. If we just keep overeating and then try to shove it away, pretend like it doesn't exist, this detestable part of me that I just want to ignore and pretend like isn't there, then we just keep repeating the same cycle, which so many of us have had that experience, right? We're like then we start just thinking, something's wrong with me. It's not possible for me. I'm broken. I'm hopeless beyond any repair. All these things that are just, of course, not true. So if we can even just create a little space, I'm talking maybe 15 seconds, 30 seconds, maybe even if you don't know what the emotion is, maybe you can just ask yourself, like, okay, well, what was even just going on right now? Like, what am I thinking about right now? And it could be as simple as, like, you're just bored or restless or maybe a little lonely, or maybe you feel a little disconnected. A lot of us use food to create this feeling of connection, companionship. It's not bad. None of it's bad. It's just we want to understand it better.

[00:26:01.080] – Dr. Ubell

And once you have a little insight into that, and even if you don't, I mean, it's okay if you try the first couple of times and you don't figure it out, but you keep saying committed to that, then you can ask yourself, do I still want to eat that? And if you do, you can. Go ahead and do that, that's fine. But then maybe the next time you can get a little bit more insight. Maybe you can find that emotion in your body and understand. I always like it. It's like if you say, I just feel so lonely, kind of asking myself, like, how do I know I'm lonely? What does lonely really feel like in my body? We teach small children what the emotions are, and then we just know, like, I'm mad. How do you know? How do you know you're mad? It's an interesting thing, actually, I think, to just kind of explore, what does it feel like in my body? And then you can find it in your body, maybe spend a little time with it and just be there with it. You're not trying to change it. Keep breathing, just noticing.

[00:26:48.570] – Dr. Ubell

How would you describe it, writing the intensity maybe a little bit, and maybe you can do that for a minute before you decide to eat the food. Then next time, maybe you can go for two minutes, maybe you can go a little bit longer, and maybe over the course of time, you can build that up to staying with that emotion for four or five minutes. I always ask yourself at the end, do I still want to eat this? And what you find over the course of time is just by staying with that emotion, it actually goes away. It just solves for itself. And then you ask yourself, do I still want that food? And the answer is no. And then sometimes we're like, But I still could eat this, so I'm going to. And if you do that, that's okay. But over the course of time, when we build a relationship with ourselves, and we know that we're going to meet our own needs, I'm not going to let you starve. It's going to be okay, right? Because we have let ourselves starve, many of us, for many, you know, over the years. So it's important to reassure ourselves of that, and then we can just remind ourselves, you know, I can have that another time, but right now I don't really need it or want it, so I'm not going to eat when I don't need or want the food.

[00:27:47.200] – Dr. Ubell

And that's a way to honor myself. And if at another time I want it, okay, then I can address this again, but it sounds kind of almost like sort of simple or like, really, that's what you have to do. But I'm telling you, this is a game changer for people who have struggled with overeating, have gained and lost. yoyoed tried all the diets. Can't figure it out. I just want to say one more thing, that the way I sometimes think about dieting is like, when we're trying all the different diets, and it's like, okay, now I'm going to go plantbased, and, okay, now I'm going to go keto. Now I'm going to whatever do paleo or whatever it is, what we're doing. It's like having a wound on your body and then just changing the bandaid again and again, right? Like changing the dressing going like, okay, well, it's not healing. Maybe I need a different bandaid. Maybe I need a bandaid of this size or one that looks like this. But we're not actually healing the problem, right. And that's why we're so focused on food. Like, oh, we think it's the bandaid that's going to do it.

[00:28:41.500] – Dr. Ubell

When we do this work to really understand the emotional component, we heal the actual wound. You don't need a bandaid anymore. It's just not that important anymore. Food no longer has to serve that role for you anymore. That's peace and freedom around food, that's actually solving for the problem.

[00:29:01.090] – Allan

Now I want to say, new thing coming out. Two thirds of people in the United States are overweight. And so it's not like there's just a few people out there that have this issue. There's a lot of us that have struggled with our weight, and a lot more probably will. But the way our culture tends to go is it almost kind of I just want to say it, Jack knifes. It just completely does this knee jerk reaction to just about anything. And so a lot of people will say, OK, I want to lose weight. And now there's this new concept called fat shaming, which is the thing, I see it, I hear it, I know about it, it's real. But there are individuals that are so into this diet culture concept stuff, that they're like, well, if you want to lose weight, that's a form of fat shaming because you're saying you're not good enough. It's really a concept I can't actually wrap my mind around. But there probably are some people that have kind of felt like because I think a lot of us approach this and say, well, I need to change because I'm not a good person.

[00:30:07.150] – Allan

And it's wrong to think that you're a bad person because you're overweight. So I get a little bit of it.

[00:30:12.270] – Dr. Ubell

Having a weight problem does not make you a bad person. It was like totally separate. Who you are as a human being and the size of your body and your eating habits are two totally separate things, right?

[00:30:22.960] – Allan

And then so for you to want to lose weight does not mean that you're disrespecting who you are

[00:30:28.780] – Dr. Ubell

or disrespecting others. Some people feel offended if someone else they know loses weight. It's been a really interesting thing, and it's interesting that you've picked up on it, because I have too. Here's why I think it's especially problematic. Because if we're not allowed to say or express our desire to live in a smaller body, then we'll feel even more shame. We already feel shame about the struggle that we have. Then we'll feel even more shame and hide even more, like, don't tell anybody, but I actually do secretly want to lose weight. And the problem is you can't do that in secret because people will see it on your body, right? Even if you don't talk to anybody about it, they can still tell that your body has changed. Here's the way that I think with so many things, the pendulum swings, I think, yes, the messaging is so important. Like, your value does not lie in what your body looks like, right? Like, it really does not. But at the same time, we all have autonomy to decide what size body we would like to live in. Some of us just want to be more comfortable. Or for some people, they don't have health problems when they're weighing less than they do when they weigh more.

[00:31:45.560] – Dr. Ubell

And they just prefer that. Some people are like, my knees hurt more and I don't want my knees to hurt. Like, that has nothing to do with diet culture, right? Really what it comes down to is I think ultimately all of us have this tendency to think that we know how to live other people's lives better than they do. You know what I mean? So we're like, well, this is what's worked for me and this is the way I think about it. And you, everybody else should think about it the same way. And instead, we just have to focus on ourselves. What do we want? What do I want for myself? What do I prefer and why do I want that? And if I can create that for myself in a way that's supportive, in a way that's sustainable, I don't see what the problem is. But I will say that some people will say, well, by writing a diet book, like you're just saying that everybody needs to lose weight. And that is not what I'm saying. I do not think that thinner is always better or even necessarily ever better. I don't care what people weigh.

[00:32:40.910] – Dr. Ubell

It's literally not something that is a goal of mine or any kind of impact I'm desiring to make. But what I am desiring to do is to help people find peace and freedom around food. And when you do that, people who have been overeating and stop doing that will often find that some weight comes off just automatically. So I like to say, like, the title of my book is how to Lose Weight for the Last Time. But it has two meanings to me. The first meaning is, would you like to lose weight? Yes. I can help you do that. Here's some great steps. But the second meaning is like another way to lose weight for the last time is to just stop trying to lose weight. You can focus on strength, wellness, how energetic you are, how high quality is your sleep, what's your digestion like, what's it like to be you around food and maybe improve that, figuring out how to deal with your emotions and your emotional life in a way that doesn't use food or alcohol as a crutch. And then we just see what happens, right? You might lose some weight and that could be okay and maybe you won't, and that could be okay too.

[00:33:44.810] – Dr. Ubell

But I think part of the idea, particularly for women, is we've been sort of sold this societal kind of message that the way to be acceptable, the way to be valuable, the way to be okay and worthy is to be whatever the current ideal body shape, size is. So we start thinking, and I'm not saying men don't experience it, but I think for women it can be kind of more heavily ingrained. That the way for me to be OK? The way for me to like myself, for the way for me to have the life that I want to live is to lose weight. And that is a problem because when you lose weight, you will still be you just in a smaller body. And I've experienced that too, so many times. It's almost like I expected myself to have a brain transplant. I'm like, Well, I'm thin now, so I shouldn't ever have a problem anymore. Which makes no illogical sense, but it's like we still kind of hope that it's the case. So that's the kind of stuff that we need to dissolve. Like no, you need to work on your sense of self worth and your thoughts about yourself.

[00:34:43.470] – Dr. Ubell

That's a whole different situation that is closely tied to weight. But then you just lose weight because you want to, because you prefer to, not because you're trying to make up for some deficiency that you believe you have.

[00:34:58.080] – Allan

Now, in the book you have an eight part protocol. And I think this is where we take all that mindset work and some of the tools that you share in the book up to this point. And we put them in place and we put them in place in a way that's sustainable for the long term, which I think is kind of the critical aspect for this. When you build this protocol, this is not an eight week protocol or an eight month protocol. Can you do this for the rest of your life eight part protocol? Can you talk about the protocol and how it works?

[00:35:30.700] – Dr. Ubell

Right? Yeah. So it's really important to me to stress how important it is for everybody to have autonomy in how they do this. Like so often we think, well, I can't possibly be trusted to know how I should eat or what I should do because I'm the one who got myself into this predicament to begin with. So that's also the messaging. Like we're the problem, we are the weak ones, we're the ones who, whatever it is, undisciplined. We need someone else to whip us into shape, someone else to tell us what to do except then we end up rebelling against it or it doesn't work really for our schedule or our family. Or we don't think the food tastes good or whatever it is. So when we create the protocol for ourselves, it's individual to ourselves. Like my clients, none of them have the same plan because none of them have the same life. And so this is like the best news ever. When you create your own plan, there's nothing to rebel against. You only put food on it that tastes good to you, that you enjoy eating. If time pressure or needing to be efficient is a priority, you build that in.

[00:36:31.010] – Dr. Ubell

You make it so that it works for your specific life. And definitely we don't want to be doing any kind of things that are like a means to an end behavior. I'll do this now just to lose the weight and then I'll figure out in maintenance, like, you won't trust me because for decades I thought that and I never figured it out. You have to figure out a way to do it sustainably, where the plan that helps you to lose weight doesn't feel like a hardship. It's like you're more than happy to continue doing this for as long as you need to, and that is how you end up losing weight and keeping it off. Not to say that you don't ever change it. You might, but you're not doing it because you can't tolerate it anymore, right? You change it for other reasons. So I also just want to mention that everybody is different and some people really like to jump in and kind of do everything all at once, and other people want a little bit of a slower, gradual approach. And I just want to say that I think either way is fine.

[00:37:25.470] – Dr. Ubell

Like, if any of these eight parts don't resonate, they don't feel right to you. You don't want to do them right now, then don't do them right now, but you know that they're available to you. Some people like to do one thing, really establish that, then keep adding. Other people are more like jump into the deep end head first, and either way is completely fine. But I'm certainly not saying that you have to do all of these eight things to have success. I don't think that's true. But they are great tools to help.

[00:37:47.630] – Dr. Ubell

So the first is keeping a food journal. And I do this very simply. I actually asked my clients not to use any of the apps because unintentionally, you'll end up seeing like different macros and calorie counts and things, and that just messes with your head. So many of us are like trying to reform ourselves as calorie counters or points counters or whatever it was. We don't need any of that stuff. What you need is maybe the notes app on your phone or a piece of paper and a pencil, and all you're going to write down is what you ate.

[00:38:15.650] – Dr. Ubell

Like, literally what you ate. Like, for dinner last night, I had grilled salmon, roasted potatoes grilled asparagus. That's all you write down. This is not hard to do, it doesn't take long because we often hear food you're like, oh, it's the worst, right? No, we just write down what we ate. We don't have to worry so much about amounts unless it feels relevant to us. If we're like, well, I ate three hamburgers when I normally would eat one. Maybe that's relevant. That could be worthwhile to put down. And the point of this is not for it to be like the mean teacher who's taking the ruler against your knuckles, but instead for you to just build awareness. What do I actually eat? So many people will tell me like I eat so healthy, I don't overeat and they totally struggle with their weight. But it's like I eat so healthy except for all these other things that I eat. And it's like our brains are so slick we will literally forget that we eat them. We will literally forget. So we just want to have some evidence because we won't remember. But the other thing is we often think if things aren't working out very well, we can figure out what to change.

[00:39:19.100] – Dr. Ubell

Yes, but the other thing that's great about a food journal is when you are getting results, you know what gives you results, right? So if later you're stuck in a plateau or whatever is going on, you can refer back and go, hey, you know what, things were going great when I was eating these things. Maybe I should bring those back in again. So that's what a food journal is.

[00:39:36.930] – Dr. Ubell

Number two is taking a break from sugar and flour. And what I mean by that is just on a regular basis. So like your regular food that you're eating day in, day out isn't going to contain that. That does not mean that your food necessarily is low carb. It could be low carb if you like that if you feel good with that. I ate tons of carbs and I lost weight. So it's not low carb, it just means that you're not eating it in the form of added sugar or added flour. This is actually way simpler than you think. I always tell my clients, I never give them any recipes. I'm like, if you know what food you like to eat, a lot of it will naturally be devoid of flour and sugar.

[00:40:10.480] – Dr. Ubell

Just eat those things. It's really, really simple. It's like the more complicated the recipe, the more likely you're going to deal with that and the more processed the food. But the good news is that even if you don't cook, there's so many places now, like grocery stores and delis and stuff, where you can get all the things that you need pre-made and you can totally do fine without that. So it doesn't mean that you don't ever eat it again. It's just that it helps your body to function hormonally so much better. It helps you to release weight so much better. It makes you more insulin sensitive, which helps with weight loss. And then you can start to add it in gradually. And that's such a great opportunity for you to see how you do. Like, for me, I used to be obsessed with bread. Like, any bread that was near me was in trouble because it was going to get eaten. And then over the pandemic, my husband started baking sourdough bread like so many people did. He still does. So we're like two and a half years in now. I've been making this amazing from his own starter that he created bread.

[00:41:07.610] – Dr. Ubell

I cannot tell you the miracle it feels still, every week when I'm like, I could eat it or I could not eat it, it really doesn't matter. Do I eat flour and sugar? I do, but I don't feel controlled by it at all. I could take it or I could leave it. It really doesn't it's not an issue for me. So we want to practice that. We want to sometimes eat that food and go, whoa, my brain got lit up by that. The chatter's back. Okay, there's some work to do on that. What are my thoughts about that food? Let me figure out a way to peacefully coexist with that.

[00:41:36.360] – Dr. Ubell

The third one is eating at meals. And so I have a whole section of the book about the snack food industry and how really it was created to sell more food because they couldn't get us to eat more food at meal times. And really, physiologically, we do not need to eat snacks. We are not infants, we are not toddlers. Like, our bodies definitely can go four or five, 6 hours between meals. Absolutely. Lots of people will say, look, you need to keep the metabolism up and you need to do this and that, and the other thing.

[00:42:01.560] – Dr. Ubell

Again, I just go back to like, if you think that our ancestors were eating every 3 hours, small meals all the time, they definitely were not. And they were trim. They were at fighting weight for sure. So not to say that if you aren't physically hungry later, you can't eat, but what we want to do is make sure that our meals are satiating enough that we can make it. And so freeing to not have to think about eating so often. I got to prepare this other little meal for very busy people or people with unpredictable schedules. It's just not sustainable to have to do so much food prep. So if you decide I'm going to eat three meals a day and I'm not going to eat snacks, like, a lot of people start losing a lot of weight just with that. So that's amazing.

[00:42:42.800] – Dr. Ubell

Number four is creating the rules for your protocol. So that is deciding like, how often you're going to eat, about what times you're going to eat. Of course there can be flexibility and even day to day. Some people have a different protocol for the weekends or the weekdays, or if your weekdays shift.

[00:42:59.230] – Dr. Ubell

Maybe some days you work from home and some days you're in the office. You can change it up based on how you decide to do that. There's lots of flexibility there, but going like, well, so and so expert says I have to eat this way or that way, or don't eat after this time. Or I get home late from work, but then I'm super hungry. But they say you shouldn't eat after that time. I say toss all of that out. You just have to look like, is your body asking for food? Are you actually physically hungry? Then you should probably eat something and it's okay if it's a little bit later. We think that denying our needs is going to help us to lose weight. It's not. It just makes us overeat more. We get the opposite effect.

[00:43:34.540] – Dr. Ubell

Number five is intermittent fasting. This is not for everybody. This is just a suggestion for my clients who are busy doctors. It can be just one of the most amazing things that's possible because emergencies happen all of a sudden. You thought you were going to have lunch and now you have to work through it.

[00:43:51.930] – Dr. Ubell

Just things come up and it's so nice when your body is like, OK, cool, we're not eating that's fine. So intermittent fasting, just to be clear, is not an eating disorder in disguise. This is not like, oh, this is how we justify really undereating. That's not what it is. It's eating all of the food that you would typically eat over the day, but over a shorter eating window. And some people really, really love it. The point of that is to give you a longer fasting period because we already fast at night. Just to extend that a little bit. That helps us to be more insulin sensitive, keeps our insulin levels low, and especially for people who like eating larger meals, who just enjoy the feeling of feeling fuller, it can be really nice because when you do eat, you tend to eat a little bit more. Also, a lot of people don't like eating breakfast. It's just not their thing. Great, then you don't have to. It's not the most important meal of the day.

[00:44:40.790] – Dr. Ubell

All right. Number six is planning ahead. That's like what we were talking about, which is planning at least the night before what you're going to have the next day.

[00:44:49.150] – Dr. Ubell

And the great news is when you plan for your food for the next day and you just follow that plan, boom, your food journal is already filled out. So two for one here. So easy. You just follow what it was. And if you had to change something for some reason, then you can do that.

[00:45:01.800] – Dr. Ubell

And then number seven is including exceptions. And exceptions are just time when you're eating off of your plan, right? So that would typically be things that are maybe more flour, sugar containing, or maybe you're deciding not to have alcohol most of the time, but then as an exception, you want to have that. And so the point of that is we're not robots. We're going to want to have some of these foods, most of us, from time to time, and deciding how we want to do that. So I typically suggest when people are in the weight loss phase, that they can still be losing weight just fine on one a week, but it's up to everybody. I have other clients who are like, yeah, I feel like I want it cool. You don't have to do that at all, but it can be available to you.

[00:45:38.330] – Dr. Ubell

And then the 8th tgool is weighing yourself daily, which is something that a lot of people get pretty worked up about and they get mad. I just want to say that what we have to remember is this is all related to our thoughts, like your gravitational pull on the scale at any given moment in time, as read out by this glass and metal and electronics device that's on the floor, is not judging you. It is not telling you whether you are a good person or a bad person. It is not telling you whether it's a good day or a bad day. It's just a reflection of some facts about your body in that moment. So many of us have such complicated thoughts and beliefs around the scale. By weighing ourselves daily, we have the opportunity to unravel that. We have the opportunity to go, hey, you know what? I get to feel how I want to feel about myself no matter what the scale reads. And it also helps us, those of us I was like this too, who feel very entitled. Well, for two days or three days, I followed my plan just fine.

[00:46:35.080] – Dr. Ubell

I should for sure see a pound down on the scale. And when I don't see it on the scale, I go, this isn't working and I'm just going to eat whatever anyway. And what we learn when we weigh ourselves daily is that we're playing the long game here. You might not see results from what you ate today for a couple of weeks, like two or three weeks. What you're seeing today is a reflection of a whole lot of other things. Like last time you went to the bathroom, possible hormonal changes, hydration status, how salty your food has been. There's so many factors that play into that. And so when you pay daily, you can actually create a reasonable set of data points to follow the trend versus if you weigh yourself once a week or once a month, depending on when you catch yourself, you might be up because you ate sushi the day before and with all that soy sauce or something and you're like kind of bloated or whatever. So people then, if they don't weigh very frequently will sometimes get upset. They're like, I haven't weighed myself in a while. I've been following my plan, and look, I weighed myself again.

[00:47:30.770] – Dr. Ubell

I haven't lost or I haven't lost as much as I wanted to. Well, right, but we don't even know what the pattern has been. So I take from this, like, the way that as doctors, we treat as somebody's lab values. You don't necessarily especially when someone's, like, hospitalized, you're following the trend. You're not being very reactive to any individual data point. You're just looking at the pattern and seeing what's going on. And when you start noticing the trend going up and you know, you haven't been following your plan, okay, well, that's good data. It's just feedback. That's all we know. Okay. We have the opportunity to readjust maybe that isn't really working. So the weighing daily thing, I think, doesn't have to be necessarily forever, but it's definitely a good way to keep track of maintenance as well. Like, we don't have to gain ten or 20 lbs before we decide, oh, hey, weird, I'm gaining this weight back. We can catch it a little bit earlier. So those are the eight tools, and like I said, you can use all of them. You can use some of them. You can have tons of success no matter how you work it.

[00:48:27.030] – Dr. Ubell

It's more that you are consistent in doing that and that you're working with yourself instead of against yourself.

[00:48:33.070] – Allan

Yeah, and I would encourage people to try each of the eight. Don't just say, well, that's not for me, because I don't like the food journal, so that's not for me. Just try it. Give yourself three weeks, four weeks. See what you learn. And if it's not a helpful tool, then do away with it. Try some intermittent fasting a couple of times a week. See how it feels, see how you do. See if that helps. And if it's not working for you, then, yeah, toss it.

[00:48:56.980] – Dr. Ubell

Most of my clients end up liking being able to fast, but I have definitely had clients who have really tried with the fasting, and they just never feel good. And you know what great then the solution to that is you just eat. It's okay.

[00:49:06.750] – Dr. Ubell

Like, there's nothing bad you can't do. That it's. Okay.

[00:49:11.090] – Allan

Yes. Dr. Ubell. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:49:20.840] – Dr. Ubell

So my first one is you have to know how to manage your emotional life. You've got to learn how to even understand what your emotional life is. I grew up raised by German immigrants. I mean, emotions were not a thing. This is just not something I ever learned. And I was in my 40s when I actually started figuring out, like, what is an emotion? What do I actually feel like? I literally don't even know. So I think that's a huge piece of wellness because I think a lot of the areas where we struggle are as a result of us avoiding our emotions. We don't know what to do with them. We don't want to feel them. It feels scary, it feels unacceptable. Whatever it is, we just try to stuff them down and we use other behaviors and other kinds of crutches to keep us from experiencing them. So first of all, moving toward that, I'm not exaggerating when I say I hired a therapist to teach me how to feel. I literally did like to teach me how to cry. I feel like it is in there, but I can't get it to come out.

[00:50:19.910] – Dr. Ubell

That was the level of kind of repression I had been holding for emotions for so long. So I'm not saying somebody necessarily has to hire a therapist to do that, but just to point out if it's hard for you, it's okay. There's nothing wrong with you. That is a normal thing, particularly depending on what your upbringing and just what your life has been like. So I think that's the first part. I think the next part about really being happy is developing that positive relationship with yourself. What I mean by that is doing what you say you're going to do for yourself. What we usually do is we're totally accountable to everybody else in our lives. And if we tell them we're going to do something, we're for sure going to do it. But when it comes to ourselves, it's a bit hit or miss, right? Like. I might, I might not. And then we get mad at ourselves where we think that cracking the whips, so to speak, speaking internally to ourselves, harshly being mean to ourselves, that's somehow going to help us to do better. But it doesn't. It actually makes us want to eat more food.

[00:51:18.850] – Dr. Ubell

Because being with us, being me in my life feels miserable when that's the self talk and that's the inner narrative. So just to be able to enjoy life as you on this planet, it's really worthwhile to stop judging yourself, to offer yourself kindness and compassion. That doesn't necessarily mean letting yourself off the hook. That's what everybody's worried about. Then I'll just eat everything and I'll just lay on the couch and I'll never be productive. No, you won't. You'll actually feel safe enough to go out there and do things knowing that if you mess up, it's going to be okay because you won't abandon yourself, you won't beat yourself up. You won't be mean to yourself over it. Essentially offering yourself unconditional love. So I think those two are just absolutely huge. And then the other thing I would say is I just want to touch on exercise because we haven't talked about that too much. There's so much, especially in the weight loss world, about the types of exercise that will help you to lose weight the fastest and exercising with the purpose of trying to lose weight. And I think it's so much more important to connect to the idea that human bodies are meant to move.

[00:52:24.820] – Dr. Ubell

It actually feels good to move a human body, especially if you can find a way to move that you enjoy. Rather than telling yourself, I have to go on the elliptical for 30 minutes and you don't like the elliptical, like, what do you like to do? Maybe it's like playing tennis or getting out and playing golf, and you walk with your bag instead of taking the cart or getting out into nature or taking a dance class or just other things and not having that be, like, something that you're doing because you're trying to lose weight. Because we know that exercise does not actually help with weight loss. It does help with weight maintenance, but not with weight loss, but reconnecting to your body in that way. This is part of one of the benefits of being a human on this earth, being able to enjoy moving your body. So just keep at it until you find something that you enjoy. If you're already doing something, ask yourself, Do I like this? Why do I do this? If you do it because you feel great, it elevates your mood. You're just a happier person. You connect with your friends.

[00:53:24.530] – Dr. Ubell

Amazing. Keep doing it if you're like. I'm doing this because, like, out of fear or worry or feeling like, obligation, I would reconsider that because that's also something that we're not usually willing to do ongoing either. And then we're exercising in fits and spurts as well. So I think that can really change people's relationship with exercise.

[00:53:45.570] – Allan

If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:53:54.390] – Dr. Ubell

Yeah, well, the book is available anywhere you can buy books. So, Amazon, Barnes and Noble Independent Booksellers. Even internationally, it's available. There's also an audiobook version on Audible that I did narrate, and there's actually some audio extras on there as well. If they're listening to a podcast, they might like to listen to books as well. So those are all available. My website is katrinaubellmd.com. There's some free resources there. And then also within the book, I think with basically every single chapter almost, we have some additional resources to offer because, you know, what we do, what do we all do? We've all done this. Buy a book, and then it just sits. We don't read it, or we kind of flip through, or we just don't take action on it. So those resources will help you to take action on what you're learning in the book. So you actually start to apply this to your life. So those are available for free as well.

[00:54:46.280] – Allan

And there's a lot more to this book than what we were able to discuss today on your hunger scale. I wish I could have gotten to that, because I think that's brilliant and just the opportunity to really do the deep dive into the mindfulness and mindset stuff, you really got good on that. So thank you for that. And Dr. Ubell, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:55:07.010] – Dr. Ubell

Thank you so much for having me. It was so fun.

Post Show/Recap

[00:55:17.330] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:55:18.960] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Wow, I could have listened to you guys for another hour, talk about that book, how to Lose Weight for the Last Time. Brain Based Solutions. It's right up our alley. I love the mindset start.

[00:55:31.620] – Allan

Yeah, it was so funny because as I was going through the book, I always have my talking points, and I send those over, and as I was going, I realized, okay, we're going long. If I ask everything I want to ask, then this is going to be a very long podcast. So I didn't even ask, like, I wanted to talk about her hunger scale, because this is a really interesting tool when you sit down to eat, and if you really focus on it, it's going to keep you very mindful of how you feel while you're eating. And the principle is this as you think about a scale from a negative ten to a positive ten, and so I forget which way the scale flipped, but basically, if you find yourself getting to, like, a negative four, meaning you're really hungry, starting to get hungry, started to feel hungry, you go ahead and eat. You don't skip meals unless you don't feel that hunger. So she does talk about intermittent fasting as a tool. But beyond that, she says eat before you get too hungry and then only eat to a point where you're at a four, not a ten.

[00:56:36.110] – Allan

And so there's a principle of eating, there's a Japanese statement for it called hara hachibu, which basically and I probably butchered that. So if you speak Japanese and I said it wrong, correct me, but I'm sorry. At any rate, it's just basically a principle of eating to you about 80% full. And I think most of us are aware of that. We don't want to get over stuffed. We don't want that bad feeling. So if you're eating to a point where you're almost full, as time passes, you'll notice that you feel that fullness and you ate just the right amount. If you eat to a point where you're just no longer hungry, by that point you've probably overeaten.

[00:57:16.640] – Rachel

Sure. It's really important to sit with that hunger feeling. As a kid, I was told I couldn't leave the table till I finished my meal. And it's a behavior that kind of sticks. I look at my plate and my kids plate when they were little, and I'm like, oh, can't let that food go to waste.

[00:57:31.740] – Allan

Yeah. And that's a true statement. And she brings that up in the book, is that that's a part of the whole conditioning as we grew up, is to eat a certain way and eat everything that's on our plate. And it's just really hard to break that. One thing you could do is just buy smaller dinner plates.

[00:57:50.990] – Rachel

Right. Yeah.

[00:57:51.870] – Allan

And then just buying smaller dinner plates, you're going to have less food at the table. Also preparing your food in the kitchen on the plate, plating it and carrying it out rather than having a buffet sitting in front of you that you just keep eating on. But that self awareness, that thinking through of what you're doing, what you're feeling, your thoughts, and just kind of building that bridge and understanding. If you're doing something that you don't want to be doing, there's probably some thought process, some emotional process that's going on that you're feeling a certain way when you're doing it. And if you can break that down and then put that pause in there, give yourself some space, it'll help you choose your actions a little bit wiser.

[00:58:37.190] – Rachel

The other interesting thing she mentioned was her relationship with peanut butter a while back. And like many runners, yes, I do have a very strong relationship with peanut butter. And it is funny because it is a go to of mine. If I get stressed or anxious, I first like to go for a run. Two, I do like to pour myself a cup of coffee because when I drink my coffee, I make myself sit and ruminate. So I need to think about things when I have my coffee. But peanut butter, I do the same thing she does. I'll take a spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar. And a lot of the times it is an emotional it's not necessarily that I'm hungry or that I need peanut butter for any reason whatsoever. But it's interesting the relationships that we have with food that can be soothing for different reasons.

[00:59:23.310] – Allan

Yeah. And there's just so much in this book. So I'd encourage anyone who is having difficulty changing the way you eat and you're eating foods that are not on your diet, not on your plan, and you find that just kind of being a normal thing for you. This is a good book because she's got a lot of tools and a lot of things in there for you to do. A lot more deep diving into your relationship with food and improving it.

[00:59:48.800] – Rachel

The eight part protocol she has seems like a really helpful list of tools and things to think about. And we've talked about journaling in the past.

[00:59:58.340] – Allan

Yeah. And it doesn't have to be this crazy thing. Some of my clients, I'll be working with them, I'll just say, take a picture of your food, everything you're going to eat all day, just take pictures of it, post it into my app, and then we'll see. And that is often enough with them, just as soon as they sit down to eat something, taking a picture of it for them to kind of think through, okay, why do I have these Pringles sitting here? Why am I eating them? What's the feelings I'm having? Is there something going on with my body that I just need to be aware of? Am I really hungry or is there something else? One of the things she said in the book was that every one of us is an emotional eater. And it's true. I don't think anyone can deny you might at first say, oh, no, I'm not an emotional eater. But I can say, okay, well, if you go to a baseball game and you feel like you have to have a hot dog and a beer because you're at a baseball game, that's emotional leaning. If you've ever sat down with a bag of something and you're watching a sporting venue, watching a TV program, and you eat the whole thing, that's emotional eating.

[01:01:12.710] – Allan

If you're not fully aware and mindful of what you're eating, you're emotionally eating.

[01:01:18.940] – Speaker 4

For sure. The way we celebrate birthdays and all the things, there is a lot of emotion tied to that stuff.

[01:01:24.890] – Allan

Yeah. And so that's the big part of this. Is managing your hunger. But living in it and understanding that sometimes we are over hungry and sometimes there's over desire for foods and just recognizing those and then trying to build a protocol using these eight parts to go through and say. Okay. This is what I'm going to try these eight protocol steps. And maybe I implement them one at a time. Which is basically saying. This is how I'm going to eat. And once you get that plan together, sticking with it long enough to see that it's working, I think you can do a lot of good for a lot of people.

[01:02:03.430] – Rachel

Yeah, that was really great. Sounds like a really great book to have.

[01:02:06.990] – Allan

Yeah, it's a really good one.

[01:02:08.770] – Rachel


[01:02:09.480] – Allan

All right, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:02:12.640] – Rachel

All right. Take care, Allan.


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander
– Eric More– Leigh Tanner

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


September 13, 2022

The 7 Weight Loss Mistakes people over 40 make

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Throughout my years as a personal trainer, I've talked to a lot of people over 40 who were trying (unsuccessfully) to lose weight. On episode 555 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the 7 most common weight loss mistakes that people over 40 are making.



Today I want to share with you the seven weight loss mistakes that I see most people over 40 make. And these are really important because if you're making these mistakes, it's going to make weight loss much harder. So let's go through these seven weight loss mistakes and see if you're doing any of these. Okay?

Cutting Calories Too Much

The first one is cutting calories too much. A lot of people will drop their calories down to some drastic number in the hopes that they're going to lose the weight faster or begin losing weight again if they've stopped. And so I want you to think of body fat in the same terms that we would look at like our country's strategic reserves of oil.

OK? We keep those barrels of oil and gasoline. We keep that stuff in reserve because we know at some point we might need it. Okay? And what happens when you cut your calories too much is you're signaling to your body that you're going to war. And if your body believes that you're going to war, it's going to cling on to its energy reserves as much as possible, meaning it's going to hold on to that body fat. And so you actually are training your body to lower your metabolism and thereby not release that fat because it's afraid it's going to starve to death. And so while you're not really going into a starvation mode, that doesn't happen for many days. You are telling your body to function on less and your energy levels will go down whether you recognize it or not. When you work out, you're not working as hard, so it really cuts back on a lot of things and it keeps you from optimizing your health. So instead what I recommend is, yes, cut your calories a little. Your calories should never go below 1200. 1200 is the basics of what your body needs to survive.

Just with basic function, if you're down around the 1200 or below 1200, your body is going to struggle to function, right? It's going to turn certain things off and that's not a good thing. So if you just cut back your calories a little bit from what you would normally eat and then just move a little bit more than you normally move, you're going to create a slight deficit for a while. Your body will adjust. But you just rinse and repeat this. Instead of dropping down to say, 1500 calories, take a look at what you're eating today. And if you find that you're eating about 2000 calories, drop it down to 1800. And then just try to add a little bit of extra walking, a little extra movement into your day and see if that works for you. Give it a couple of weeks and see where it goes. But you have to make sure that you're not hungry because if you let yourself get hungry all the time, you're going to fall out of it. This is not going to work and it's not going to be sustainable in the long term. You're going to train your body to function on fewer calories and then you're not going to want to eat fewer calories because you're going to be hungry, and that's going to create a problem for weight loss.

Being a Scale Fanatic

The second mistake that I see people making is being a scale fanatic. Okay? Your worth is not determined by the number on that bathroom scale. It just isn't. That's not who you are. And the scale is measuring more than just body fat. So even if the weight is going down is not a good thing all the time. You could be losing muscle. If the weights going up, that could be a good thing, because now you're rehydrated instead of being dehydrated. So the scale is not you, and it's measuring more than body fat. And then the other things happen. You may step on the scale and weigh a pound more than you did yesterday. But I can tell you, I know you didn't eat enough food yesterday to gain a pound. That's 3500 calories. And you know you didn't eat 3500 calories. So if you let yourself believe that you're getting fatter, that's a huge mistake because it's not true. The other part of this truism stuff, when we're looking at this being a scale fanatic, is that it's never going to be a straight line. You're not going to consistently lose half a pound every day, each week.

It's just not going to happen. There's going to be spikes up and spikes down based on body water, hydration, and just things are sticking around in your system. Yeah, the poo is going through your system. If you didn't have your regular break, then maybe you have some of that in you. That's why you weigh slightly more or didn't lose weight. So it's not going to be a straight line. And so if you find when you step on the scale, that number is hurting your feelings, or that number is how you are now going to live your day, you really need to change your relationship with your scale. I don't recommend people weighing themselves every day if they feel they have an unhealthy relationship with the scale. I encourage you to weigh yourself about every four days, maybe once a week. Give it a little bit of time so you're seeing a trend over a few days and a week or four days, something like that, gives you enough time to make some course corrections. If you go through two weeks and what you're doing isn't working, then you might want to tweak it a little.

Not a lot, but a little. So don't be a scale fanatic. The scale is not the number you're interested in. It's body fat. And if you want to lose body fat and you want to measure that, start measuring your body in the places where you carry body fat. And that's when you're going to see that you are actually getting smaller. Might not show up on the scale, but then, you'll know.

Cardio and More Cardio

The third weight loss mistake that I see a lot of people making is they become cardio bunnies. They're cardio and more cardio. It happens every year in January. You go into any fitness place and you're going to see all these newbies that just joined the gym and they're all on the cardio equipment and that's all they're going to do. And then they're just going to do more of that and more of that until they finally fall out. You've probably heard the statement that abs are built in the kitchen and that's the true fact. You're not going to lose weight just by doing cardio. I mean, I've seen people come to the gym and stick with it and they're there five days a week on the cardio equipment.

And over a year you don't see any change in them at all. They're literally the same size as they were a year ago and they're doing the cardio. So the cardio is not going to get you there. What you eat and how much you eat is what's going to move your weight. It's what's going to help you lose the weight and lose the body fat. So we want to eat whole food and we want to make sure that we're getting adequate nutrition and we're eating just enough to stay healthy and lose some weight. Okay, so cardio is a tool. If you want to have more stamina, cardio is a great tool for that and it can help you with your weight loss goals, but it is not the way to do it. And just doing ever more cardio is not the answer to weight loss.

Drinking Your Calories

Weight loss mistake number four is drinking your calories. Now this could be juices, smoothies, protein drinks, alcohol. We drink a lot of calories and some people don't even want to count those calories, but they can be quite significant. One of the problems that happens when you're drinking calories is one, a lot of the things that we drink are calorie dense and not nutritionally dense.

So alcohol is just empty calories. That's all it is. You might enjoy it, but it's not helping you lose weight. A lot of people will take these shakes as a way of losing weight and their meal replacement shakes, but again, they're not going to satiate you long enough for them to be effective over the long haul. And what's going to happen when you stop drinking those shakes? You're probably going to put the weight back on again, even if it did work for you. So avoid drinking your calories whenever you can. Eat whole food, chew it up. Make sure your body is going through the digestion process because there's an energy cost to digestion. And if we are drinking our calories, it's already digested practically just goes straight into our system. And you want to slow the process down so you feel full longer and your body burns energy, digesting the proteins and the fats and the fiber. You want that. You want that slow steady burn of calories over time and not just the big hit dose of boom here it is.

Going it Alone

Number five, going it alone. Now there are people that can, there have been people that do but most don't.

Okay? Now that doesn't mean you're a bad person and it doesn't mean that you lack what you need willpower and motivation. But what you do is bring on a team. And when you have team members with you it makes your success better. It makes it easier. It makes it sustainable. It makes it a part of you. So having a workout buddy or a walking friend, hiring a coach, having these team members, having these partners and coaches they're all going to help you be more successful. They're going to help hold you accountable. And accountability is one of the most significant motivators out there. Some of us are self motivated and that's great. That intrinsic motivation is really good. But if you don't find yourself 100% intrinsically motivated to do your workouts every day, to do your movement every day, to do your eating the right way every time then you're going to struggle. But having an accountability partner is really really important and a lot of programs including my own are built on the structure of accountability. Okay? The other thing that going it alone means that sometimes you just don't know what the next step is.

I mean you know you're on a diet you're going to try this diet but how do you transition off of that way of eating after you've lost the weight and not getting it all back again? So having someone there to provide a little bit of guidance and support can also be very important on your journey. Otherwise you might find yourself chasing after all the snake oil salesmen that are trying to get you to do something else besides having a healthy diet. And that leads me to the next one.

Looking for an Easy Button

Weight loss mistake number six is using the easy button. Okay? There are pills, there are shakes, all kinds of things out there that are sold to help you lose weight because it's a multi billion dollar industry to help you lose weight. The problem is that most of the time these things don't even work and many times they're quite dangerous. There was a drug on the market called Finfloramine. Okay? So they call it FinFan and basically FinFan was a drug and it was quite effective but it was also quite effective at destroying people's hearts and the heart valves in particular. And the sad part of this was that there have been supplement companies selling weight loss supplements and putting some of these banned substances in their products so they would be effective.

And so when you start trying to go down this road of trying this pill or trying that thing just buyer beware. They may not have your best interests at heart. They want to sell product and if they can give you a product that shows it's working but in the long term it's hurting you. They're going to sell a lot of product, they just are. Okay? So just realize that these guys are out there trying to sell you something. There is no easy button. There just is no easy button.

Not Getting Your Mindset Right

And then the 7th weight loss mistake is not getting your Mindset work done first. Too many people approach this with a strategies and tactics first model. They're going to go on this particular diet, they're going to exercise this many days per week on the treadmill. They got it all planned out, all these strategies and tactics. But then they stop. And why do they stop? They stop because they didn't get their mind right first. So you want to start your process by thinking about your why. Why do you want to lose this weight? If it's not important to you, not important enough, not emotionally important to you, then you're going to struggle.

You just are. So getting your why together, being very specific about why this is important to you, to get off your medications, to be healthier for your children and grandchildren, to not be in a nursing home when you get older. Those are all very compelling why's that I and some of my clients use every single day to make sure that we stay on track. Okay? The other thing that Mindset brings to the table is it helps you have the patience and for you to have the right pace in mind as you go forward. Because too many people want to lose the weight fast. And fast is not good when it comes to weight loss. It's not sustainable and it's not something that's going to stick long term. So having the mindset that this is going to take a while and I'm just going to keep chipping away at it and this is the pace I'm going to be able to go because I've got all of these other things going on in my life and I can't just diet and exercise all day long. The folks that are on the Biggest Loser program, that's all they do for the whole time they're in the camp.

They just work out and they don't eat much and that's how they lose that much weight. But most of them go home and they don't have that structure and they have to go back to work and you have to get back to normal lives and they gain the weight right back. So having the patience and going at the right pace makes it sustainable for the long term. Also, Mindset helps you deal with Pitfalls and Saboteurs. Now I talked a little bit about Saboteurs a few weeks ago and we can talk about some of the Pitfalls, but every one of us is going to have something happen or some struggle. Someone brings donuts to the office and God forbid I ate one of them. We're going to have those without the right mindset, a lot of people will go completely off the rails and say, hey, I blew it. I blew it with the doughnut, so I may as well go eat lunch with the group, and I may as well have a terrible dinner and some drinks tonight. They ruin the whole day instead of having one bad incident. So having the right mindset helps you maneuver and get where you need to be, even when you have a slip up.

And then the other thing Mindset gets you to do is it helps you keep the weight off because now you're thinking in terms of developing a healthy lifestyle, and you're not thinking about a temporary diet. You're not thinking about this as I'm going to diet because my daughter is getting married in November, and I want to weigh a certain weight and be a certain size by November. You're not thinking in those terms. You're thinking in terms of, okay, my daughter's getting married. Grandkids might be coming up within the next three to five years. I need to be fit to be the best grandfather I can be, right? I want to be able to spend time doing active things with them. And so that's my motivation. That's my why, that's my mindset. And that has to become a lifestyle and not a diet. I'm not going to diet for three to five years. I'm going to have a lifestyle for three to five years. It's going to help me ready, and that lifestyle is going to stick with me for the rest of my life. So the right mindset work done first is so important to this process. I put it number seven, but it's really in my mind, number one.


So to kind of summarize these a little bit, the seven weight loss mistakes most people over 40 make:

  • Cutting calories too much.
  • Being a scale fanatic.
  • Cardio and more cardio.
  • Drinking calories.
  • Going it alone.
  • Using the easy button.
  • Not getting your mindset work done first.

Now, in my opinion, and a lot of people believe this as well in this industry, a lot of them don't. They want to sell you something that's not going to help you. But I believe that a healthy lifestyle is what you should charge after, and that weight loss will end up being a side effect of doing the right things for your body. Movement, food, and stress are all information to your body. Your body is looking for information on how to operate for you. And if you're giving it the right food and you're moving the right ways and you're reducing your stress, the bad stress, your body is going to respond by making you healthier. And when it's healthier and it gets the information that this is going on good, you're getting a good communication in your body, then your body can sit there and say, you know, it's probably okay for us to get rid of this strategic reserve body fat that we have here, because we don't really seem to need it.

There's plenty of food. I'm satiated most of the time. We're moving, we're active, and we're getting enough. We're getting the nutrition our body needs. It's going to let go of that body fat. It will.

I want to finish with a quote by Michael Pollan. He wrote the book, In Defense of Food, and I think this kind of wraps up weight loss advice into seven words and one sentence. Three sentences, okay, but seven words. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Okay. So if you start putting the right food in your body and the right amount of food in your body, and you're moving and you're managing stress, the weight will come off. So don't fall for one of these seven mistakes. And if you are, it's time to make the change. So check us out. Come to 40plusfitness.com and see what's going on there. I have some challenges. I have my be fit for task program. Check it out at 40plusfitness.com/bfft.

Post Show/Recap

[00:21:09.110] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, your seven weight loss mistakes are really perfect. I think I've made every single one of them at some point or another, and we might as well start with number one. Cutting calories too much. I know that I have done that.

[00:21:25.200] – Allan

Yeah. No one really knows how many calories your body needs, but we do know that there's a lower limit. We know there's just some point where your body is not getting the nutrition it needs to survive. Now, where is that line? Well, Ansel Keys did a study in 1944 called the starvation diet, or starvation. They want to study starvation. They wanted men to lose 25% of their body weight. And so they cut their calories down to 1570. And these men went nuts. They were doing self inflicted injuries. They couldn't let them leave. They kept them locked up in the University of Michigan stadium. If they left, they had to go with a buddy, and they do the buddy system to make sure that neither one of them cheated, and they needed them to lose 25% of their body weight. It was insane. These guys went insane. And that's at 1570.

[00:22:23.780] – Rachel


[00:22:24.830] – Allan

For a normal person. And the point being, though, is food today is very different. It's not just that you're not getting the energy that your body might need to function well. It's that you might not be getting the other nutrients that your body needs because you're just not eating enough food. And so, you know, yes, you can cut your calories down and lose the weight very fast. But the problem is other systems, other things start to shut down. And so people will talk about extended fast and things like that, and those can be done and managed. But almost every person that does an extended fast gains every one of those pounds back as soon as they stop the fast. So it's not an effective way to lose weight and keep weight off. The main point being is find the right level by experimenting. But don't just go on and say, well, this little formula says I should be eating this many calories. Therefore they didn't calculate that formula for you. They calculated the formula based on average people with normal functioning, this and that, wanting to lose weight. And there is no straight line to any of this.

[00:23:43.040] – Allan

There is no formula. Your body will burn more calories one day than it does the next and then more the day after. And there's no rhyme or reason exactly, other than hormones and the types of foods that you ate and when you ate them and your activity level, all those different things play into this. This is like trying to use plus and minus to deal with calculus. And there's a lot more operators out there in calculus than just plus and minus. So you can't just go at this and say, I'm just going to do the calories and calories out. It'll help you cut a little bit of body weight. It will, it'll work. It does work. The math makes sense in the short run. But if you're looking at making this sustainable and doing this over the long run, just cutting calories down to some very low number is not going to be sustainable. And unfortunately, as soon as you go back to eating the way that you ate, you're going to gain that weight back.

[00:24:43.470] – Rachel

Well, it's important to notice too. I mean, ages and ages ago when I used one of those food diaries, those online apps that you can use nowadays, I plugged in. I wanted to lose five or £10 and it set me at a 1200 calorie day for dieting. And at the time, I didn't know any different. Like I didn't know that 1200 calories was probably way too low. And I did my best to eat appropriately. But there's a lot of things wrong with this picture. It's just not enough calories. I was getting fatigued. I wasn't choosing the most nutrient dense foods. Number four is drinking your calories. Those diet shakes that you can drink are low calorie and they're supposed to be these meal replacement things, but those certainly aren't satiating. I mean, just a snowball of mistakes that happened and I really didn't get anywhere with it, to be honest.

[00:25:45.210] – Allan

And here's the point where I can empirically show you that the math doesn't work. Because that same company that puts out those same numbers who won't be named here, there's value to what they do, but it's not as valuable as a lot of people think is. They will tell you you had a great day. If you eat like this every day for the next six weeks, you will be down to your goal. Okay? But you notice as you weigh yourself, you're not losing that weight the same every day, or even every week, or even every month. There's declining results. And so what's happening is you're breaking the formula. And unfortunately, once you break that formula, what, are you going to recalculate the formula? Well, okay. Again. Now we're starting to get into calculus.

[00:26:43.230] – Rachel

Oh, jeez.

[00:26:45.390] – Allan

If you just try to cut your calories and that's all you're going to do. I can just tell you overall, that doesn't work for 99% of the people. It might work for you, but that's only if you're going to be doing it very smart. Cut a little, move a little bit more. That might and can be sustainable. But you're not giving your body the nutrition it needs. You are destroying your health. You are not helping yourself.

[00:27:11.580] – Rachel

Well, I think that you just hit the nail on the head is that you can't just cut calories. You can't just say, I'll eat less of a salad, or less vegetables with dinner, or less this and that. You really need to focus on what less nutrient foods you can cut out of your diet. Drinking less calories and pops or teas or extravagant coffees. Can you swap out a cereal, sugar laden cereal, or donut at breakfast or maybe some eggs instead? You really need to focus on the nutritional part of it and what nutrients your body needs versus the fun to eat stuff. It's an easy place to cut.

[00:27:52.650] – Allan

Yeah. And sometimes it's not about eating less. It just isn't. It's about finding the right foods that your body needs so your body can actually feel cared for. If your body is in a mode where it feels like there's no food because realize your internal organs. Your body doesn't have eyes. When you stop feeding it food, the signal it gets is there's no food. That's the one signal, no food. She's not eating. There's no food. Okay. You stop moving. It's like, oh, we're in danger. We're hiding. All these signals are bad signals. Whereas if you're out and about doing things and you're eating good nutritious food, the signals are all clear. We don't need to hunker down. We don't need to hold on to this extra body fit. We just don't. We're storing it because we're afraid of what might happen. That's the body's control and protection. So you start teaching your body, we're in a good place. I'm not stressed, I'm sleeping good. I'm getting movement, and I'm eating well. Your body will say, oh, okay, well, maybe we don't need this body fat, and it starts to shed it. And if you keep feeding at those signals good.

[00:29:14.670] – Allan

The side effect is it will say, okay, we don't need to store this much body fat.

[00:29:19.330] – Rachel

Yeah, I like that. I like that approach. The weight loss is a side effect. If you take good care of your body, then your body will do what it needs to do and you'll be healthier and more fit for it.

[00:29:32.940] – Allan

And then in the end, is being skinny the answer is weighing lesser, because you could be skinny and unhealthy. You could be skinny and frail. You can be skinny and diseased, or you can be healthy and vibrant and likely still be able to get to a comfortable body fat percentage that way. And so I will always err on the side of the healthy, improving your wellness over what you weigh any given day, for sure.

[00:30:08.820] – Rachel

My goal is not to be skinny or to be focused on the number that's on that scale. My goal is to be healthy and fit and able to do the things that I want to do to live a happy life.

[00:30:21.400] – Allan

Yeah, but the problem is, if I had written the title, the Seven Health Mistakes People Make over 40, no one would have paid attention. But I put that word weight loss, and suddenly ding, ding, ding, everybody's clicking everybody's.

[00:30:34.910] – Rachel

That is so true. We've all been there, though. Like I said, I gained a lot of weight with both of my pregnancies, and I spent a lot of time trying to lose it. And like I said, I have made every single one of these seven weight loss mistakes in that attempt to lose that extra weight. So if we could steer people to realize that these are mistakes, that cutting calories drastically is not the answer, that doing tons of cardio is not the answer, and to please don't focus on your scale all the time, 24/7. That is definitely not the answer. Then we've probably cut some corners that people can focus on what they can do to lose a little weight, but primarily get healthier.

[00:31:17.740] – Allan

Yeah. I just came up with a million dollar product idea.

[00:31:21.770] – Rachel

What's that?

[00:31:22.950] – Allan

Sneakers with scales in them.

[00:31:25.160] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:31:28.850] – Allan

Bluetooth to your phone. Tell you what you weigh at any point in time in the day.

[00:31:32.410] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. I don't want to know, Allan. I just don't want to know.

[00:31:38.270] – Allan

I just said that out loud on the podcast, so I'm sure it's going to show up on Indiegogo soon.

[00:31:42.900] – Rachel


[00:31:46.070] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, I know you've got your hike to do. Tell Mike I said good luck to both of you. Thank you. I wish you well on that. I'm looking forward to in a few weeks when we get back together for this, having that conversation and understanding how your trip went, the good, the bad, and probably some funny interesting stories.

[00:32:07.320] – Rachel

I'm sure there will be.

[00:32:09.590] – Allan

And then, of course, I'll be driving around the United States and enjoying my time there with family. So even though you guys are listening to this on September 13th, Rachel and I will probably about that time, be talking to each other again for around the first time in a few weeks. So it's been great talking to you, Rachel, and then I'll talk to you in a few weeks. For everyone else, it'll seem like I'm talking to you next week. So be safe, enjoy yourself, and we'll talk then.


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

– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Eliza Lamb– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


1 2 3 5