Tag Archives for " weight loss "
On this episode, Coach Allan shares three of his favorite tactics to break a plateau or lose those last 5 – 10 lbs.
[00:02:31.450] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are you?
[00:02:33.360] – Rachel
Good. How are you today, Allan?
[00:02:35.000] – Allan
I'm doing all right. I'm pretty excited. As we record this, I'm about to go on a two day staycation. My wife and I are going to go to this resort here. It's in Bocas del Toro, it's on a different island. No WiFi, no cell signal, no phones. Two days of being completely off the grid. And even though we take an annual trip and we did take a week off last year. Really? Since early September, I haven't had a break.
[00:03:07.550] – Rachel
[00:03:09.610] – Allan
Almost seven days a week every week since then. And so this is just kind of time for me to take a couple days, just a quick little mini vacation. It's on our anniversary, so that's a good thing to (worked out). So we're going to do that. And I'm pretty excited. We're packed up, ready to go, and later today, I get on a boat, and I'll come back 48 hours later, having been off the grid and unplugged for a full 48 hours.
[00:03:35.570] – Rachel
That sounds so wonderful. Well, happy anniversary. Early anniversary. But also, how wonderful to be off the grid for a little while. It sounds great.
[00:03:42.960] – Allan
Yeah. And so next week, I'll talk about what that feels like and what that's all about.
[00:03:47.400] – Rachel
[00:03:48.500] – Allan
No Twitter, no Facebook, no drama, no anything. So guys, don't blow up the world while I'm gone?
[00:03:56.410] – Rachel
We'll do our best
[00:03:57.650] – Allan
I'm sitting there looking on the horizon? All these mushroom clouds. I guess I missed it.
[00:04:01.420] – Rachel
Yeah, you missed something. Must have missed the headline. Well, I'm sure it sounds like a wonderful vacation. It's nice that you can finally get away after such a long time. My goodness.
[00:04:11.020] – Allan
All right. How are things up there?
[00:04:12.820] – Rachel
Good. We are also planning some vacations for the summer, but we've been a little bit sidelined. I told you earlier, but we haven't shared with listeners that my husband was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer. And I wanted to share that for a couple of different reasons.
[00:04:29.830] – Rachel
The first reason I want to share it is that it was an incidental finding, and it was a strange finding at that. We're both 50, so I feel like it's still a little young, although not unheard of to have cancer at this age. But he noticed some blood in his urine right before our marathon weekend back in April. And I mentioned that because it is unusual. I mean, you should definitely go to the doctor anytime you have blood in places that doesn't belong, even in your urine. And so when we got home from our marathon, he did go in and urine test blood work, and a CT scan revealed that he had a pretty significant size tumor in his right kidney.
[00:05:14.170] – Rachel
So the good news is that it seems to be contained. It hasn't metastasized, which is great. The type of cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer. Almost 50% of the people that get kidney cancer get this particular variation, and it does respond very well to treatment.
[00:05:31.370] – Rachel
He started chemo, and he's doing okay with the chemo right now. He's not having any ill effects so far. And then after a couple of weeks on this, he'll be starting an immunotherapy, which sounds super cool, but that will help to keep it from spreading. And he might be on this for a year after he has his kidney removed in order to teach the body to fight it should it come back. So it's definitely boosting his immune system. That's the whole purpose of it.
[00:06:00.630] – Rachel
So a couple of months, chemo, hopefully the tumor will shrink enough so that it's able to be removed through surgery. He'll lose his kidney, but that's okay. His other kidney is untouched and just as healthy and he will be just fine. So hopefully by the end of the year he'll be one kidney down and cancer down.
[00:06:20.100] – Allan
Yes, absolutely. You know, we're there, we're thinking and praying for him. So thank you.
[00:06:24.030] – Rachel
Yes, thank you. Thank you so much.
[00:06:26.510] – Allan
All right. Are you ready to get into weight loss?
[00:06:30.630] – Rachel
How to lose your spare tire with three simple Tactics I wanted to talk about this topic in particular, because a lot of times I will have people come to me and say, I'm doing this, I'm doing that, and I just can't lose this last 10 lbs or I've plateaued and I really don't know what else to do to get my fat loss going. So if you have just a little bit to lose and or you're kind of plateaued and looking for some things that will kind of boost your weight loss, this is the episode for you. I'm going to talk about three basic tactics that you can incorporate into your day to day that are going to help you be more successful at weight loss.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
The first one is high-intensity interval training, and I know that scares a lot of people, but this is really a simple and effective way to get a really good workout in in a short period of time and really boost your metabolism to make some things happen faster. Okay. Now, for a lot of people, they believe a HIIT training is 45 minutes to an hour and you'll have people bragging about their 45 minutes HIIT training.
And I'm here to tell you that, isn't it? It's a very specific thing, a certain thing that you need to do if you actually want to get the benefits of it. What most people are talking about, if they're going for more than 20 minutes, is called interval training and it is effective. It's not as effective as high-intensity interval training, so let's talk about the difference. Interval training is something that you can just keep doing. So there is a work phase and a rest phase, but you just keep going. You're not pushing at 100% during your work phase, so you have more juice in the can, if you will. You can keep going for longer and longer. And there's nothing wrong with interval training. It is quite effective. But HIIT training is very different in that with HIIT training, you're running really hard, you're moving really hard. So whatever movement patterns you're doing with HIIT training, they need to be really intense. That high intensity is the key, because if you're doing the high-intensity intervals, you're going to experience what's called excess post exercise consumption. EPOC and EPOC is the key for why this is effective for weight loss.
It raises your metabolism for a period of probably up to 12 hours after you do the work. And so it's basically requirement that you work as hard as you possibly can for a period of time usually no more than 30 seconds, and then you can have a rest phase, which can be anywhere up to four times the work phase. So usually when I'm programming for someone new and we're going to do some basic HIIT training, it's 20 seconds on and then 60 seconds off. That's a three times rest to work phase. So going through several rounds of that, the person is working really hard. The way I like to emphasize the work is I want you to think about carrying your baby through the forest and you see a bear and you have to run as hard as you can to get away from that bear or else you and the baby are done. If you're a little older, maybe it's your grandbaby, but you're moving as hard as you possibly can for that period of time, so be it. 20 seconds, 30 seconds, whatever your work phase is. And then you allow yourself to rest.
You've gotten away from the bear and you're able to recover. You won't recover all the way. So you go through your rest work, and if you find that you're not recovering enough to do another work, that program is over. That workout is over. When you first start this, you might only be able to do four or five rounds, and that's fine. That's a good workout. If you've gotten yourself up to a point where you're fatigued and exhausted and you're not recovering, you need to go ahead and stop. You've done enough. In no cases should you be doing more than ten rounds. If you're doing more than ten rounds or you're able to do a work phase that's longer than 30 seconds, you're not working at 100%. You're not pushing yourself hard enough for it to be HIIT training. It's all right. It's interval training. It's still something to do. But just realize that almost no one except potentially an elite athlete is going to be able to do true HIIT training for more than eight to ten rounds. It's just not going to happen. So for us, we want to basically try to target doing eight rounds, but we're not looking at the number of rounds as a measure of how good this workout is.
We're looking at how hard we can push ourselves and then recover as much as we can. The better performance you're going to see typically with his training is that you're recovering better as you go along. So if you're doing the work now and then you look at yourself six months later, you might find that your heart rate, if that's how you're going to measure your recovery, is dropping back down into a good zone for you to get started again quicker. And so you're seeing better recovery. You can do more work. And that's really where the benefit of it is. It affects you. It improves your cardiovascular fitness, your Vo two Max, as they say. And with that epoch, it's helping you burn calories. Well, after your workout now I'd be remiss to talk about high-intensity interval training without talking about Tabata. Tabata was developed by a doctor. Izumi Tabata. He's a scientist, and he was studying how high-intensity interval training can be used to improve cardiovascular fitness and particularly improved metabolism. And so he did some experiments, and he has come up with a process. It's a 20 seconds of work, ten-second rest. So again, this is not a multiple one.
This is the 50%. So 20 seconds as hard as you possibly can, 10 seconds rest. And for eight rounds, that's his structure. Now, in his structure in his workout, he has eight specific exercises, and these exercises are put together. All eight of them make a very robust, very hard full body workout. You have to be pretty athletic to be able to do most of these movements, and they're very metabolically challenging each and every one of them. So if you see someone who says they have a Tabata workout and it's not pulling those other exercises various extras or you're doing the same exercise over and over, what you have is an adaptation. When I'm programming for my clients, I'm very clear it's a Tabata style workout, which just means we're going with his formula of 20 seconds of work and then 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds. The last thing I want to say as far as HIIT training, because it is so intense, start out with just once per week. And I know it's inviting to try to do this every day or do this all the time. And that's too much. That's too much volume for most people.
At some point, you might be able to put in a second. And if your fitness level gets up to a point, you may actually be able to do high intensity interval training for three times a week. But if you're doing it right, which I mean 100% all you got, like there's no other rounds to do. Each one is your last one. You're working that hard. If you're working that hard to get away from the bear, then your recovery is going to be slow. It's going to take a little while. And that epoch that's happening. Your body's not recovering while that epoch is going on. It's still in a work phase well after your workout. So don't try to put too many of these in there. A little bit goes a long way. So make sure you do one. You get good at it. You keep doing maybe once a week. And again, if you look at it about it, it's four minutes. I mean, you got to warm up, and then you got four minutes of hard work. So these are easy to fit in, but it's not something you want to do every day.
So time it out. Pay attention to your recovery. See how much these high-intensity interval training affect your other workouts. You might notice your cardiovascular strength gets better, but it might also adversely affect the workout that you are planning to do the next day if you haven't fully recovered. So pay attention to your recovery. But this is a really good way to get your metabolism up and keep it up for an extended period of time. And if you're doing it regularly, once a week, you will see an increase in your overall calorie burn. And that's going to help you cut some of that fat.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
The next topic I want to talk about is called NEAT. It's Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Now, NEAT is a term that is kind of neat because it's not exercise. It's just a way for you to help your body burn a little bit more and stop being as sedentary. Now, if you've ever sat down on the floor, you may notice that it's difficult to just sit in one place unless you're on a pad. You just sit on the hard floor. You start squirming and moving around.
So if you can imagine, our ancestors, they didn't have comfy couches in their living room. They didn't sit in front of the computer all day. So there was constant some form of movement most of their day where there was just moving around, walking, doing things, tapping your feet. Any movement that your body is doing is going to require some energy. Now is it a lot of energy? No. But put together, if you work to do some things that increase your needs, you will actually start burning some calories. And a little difference of even 20 calories a day over a period of time can be quite significant. So what are some things Besides tapping your feet and dancing that we can do that are non exercise activities that would get us there? The first thing I would say is recognize how our lifestyles have become easy and convenient. We get in the car, we drive to the grocery store, we try to find the closest spot to the door. We may even wait for a car to pull out. To get to that closest space, we go to work in our car, we sit at our office, things are brought to us, delivered to us.
We live a very convenient life for the most part. So try to avoid easy. Try to avoid convenient. Park a little bit further away at the grocery store. Park a little bit further away in the employee parking lot. Don't ask for someone to bring something to you. Get up and go get it. Avoid convenient. Make life less convenient. So you're moving around a little bit more. Instead of someone saying, I'm going to the break room to get a coffee, do you want one? It's like, sure, I'll walk with you and you walk that type of thing. So avoid the easy, convenient stuff that's keeping you sedentary and make sure you're adding a little bit more movement. And then the final bit I'll say on this is create opportunities for me, like I said, sitting on the floor instead of sitting in a chair. By the nature of that, you can still watch your program or do what you were doing, but you're going to move around more because it requires it for comfort sake. It's really hard to sit on a hard floor for any period of time. And it's more work getting up than it would be from a chair or a couch.
So look for opportunities to make your life a little bit more uncomfortable and you'll be moving more. You'll be less sedentary. And that little bit over time is going to be significant. So that's the second one Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis look for opportunities to move.
Don't Drink Your Calories
The final one, and this is probably going to be the hardest one for most people is to not drink calories. When we drink our calories, they go into our system almost immediately. Most of the digestive process has already occurred, and as a result, they don't really fill us up. And there's a lot of calories. Eating an orange is better than drinking orange juice. For example, the orange is already processed and chewed and ready to go, and you're absorbing it, and you're losing a lot of the fiber from that orange. So eating the orange is better than drinking the juice. And that goes for everything. So try to avoid drinking your food, even if it's protein, even if it's something else. Even if you're putting whole fruits and vegetables in there, yes, there's some fiber. Yes, you're getting some of the nutrients, most of the nutrients in a smoothie.
But the reality of it is it's going to go through really quick. It's not going to keep you full, and as a result, you're going to get hungrier sooner. So eating whole food, it's better to eat a chicken breast than it is to do a protein shake. It's better to eat a fruit than it is to drink the juice. So milk, juice, and then the final one, alcohol. Alcohol contains calories. Even if you're going with the low sugar, drink the vodka with the club soda and a little bit of lime, which is not a bad choice for alcohol consumption. A little bit a good wine, a dry wine, not a bad choice. But you're drinking calories, and they're not nutrient-dense calories. So as a result, it's just additional calories. And if you're working really hard with HIIT training and you're doing the NEAT and you're working out and you're doing your thing, you're putting calories in that aren't adding value to you unless it is having a drink is not a problem. But if you're trying to cut that last bit and you found yourself plateauing, this is something to consider. Should you abstain or significantly reduce the amount of alcohol that you're drinking?
And then the final bit I'll talk about is shakes and smoothies. Anyone that trains with me knows that protein, protein, protein. We've got to make sure we're getting our protein. And if you're training hard, which you're doing the training, you're probably training pretty hard. Then you're going to need enough protein. And sometimes it's just really hard to get that from whole foods unless you have specific strategies to make that happen. For a lot of people, those strategies involve drinking protein shakes. Some people are in the habit in the mornings of having a smoothie so that they're getting their Greens and a lot of the nutrients that they need. It's quick and easy, that type of thing. We talked about convenience earlier. This is another situation where we might want to look to strategies that are a little less convenient. So I might have to say my snack is not going to be the. Nuts and seeds and things that I would normally eat.
I'm going to eat chicken breast for snack just to get the protein. I'm not going to drink a protein shake after my workout. I'm going to eat my protein. By doing that, you're causing your body to have to do the work. And here's one of the interesting things. Digestion uses energy. So if we are eating chicken breasts, there's a thermogenic effect to food that is going to happen. And as a result, that protein grams or the grams of protein that I'm eating aren't going to give me the full calorie load that they would if I drank, say, whey protein. So I'm getting the same nutrition, so to speak, at a fewer calories. So it's less calorie-dense. It's more nutrient-dense food. So all the way across the board, if you know you're drinking calories, look for ways to reduce that. So if you have cream in your coffee, try to reduce it, try to use less or try to avoid it if you can. Again, drinking calories, it's a zero sum game. You're not digesting that. So all those calories are just pure calories into your system. And even if there's some nutrition involved in them, they might be slowing down your weight loss.
So to kind of recap these, these are three of my favorite tactics and strategies for how I go about. If I want to cut or help someone cut some body fat or if they've plateaued, we're going to do high-intensity interval training that is as hard as you can go for the work period. Get your rest. Stop when you can't recover. Or if you're doing a Tabata, push yourself. Grind through those eight rounds. It's four minutes so you can do this. Make sure you're recovering. Make sure you're not trying to do this too often, and do exercises that you're comfortable you can do and go full speed. So work hard, rest, and then give yourself adequate recovery, knowing that you're going to have EPOC. And that's going to help you burn more calories than you would have otherwise. Next is NEAT. The near Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and this is just basically where we look for opportunities to be a little more active, to move our bodies a little bit more. We're not scheduling exercise, we're just saying I can move my arms more. I can tap my feet. I can dance while I'm brushing my teeth rather than just stand there.
I can park further away. I can make my life a little less convenient and burn more calories as a result. And then the final bit is don't drink your calories. If you want to lose weight and you want to really lean out, you want to avoid drinking calories because those calories are not being digested. You're losing the thermic effect of food if you were getting those nutrients from whole food. So try to avoid drinking calories. So those are my three top tips. If you have any questions, you should join us on our group. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and we have a Facebook group there. I post challenges and other things over the course of the week and we can have discussions there. If I see something cool, I tend to put it out there. So I'd love for you to come join our group. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. I'll see you there.
[00:24:12.710] – Allan
Hey, Rachel, how's it going?
[00:24:14.170] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Good. I love having these extra tips. We all get through our weight loss journey in different ways, but I'm sure everybody has had a plateau or has stagnated in some form and just needs some boost to get through it. And these are all great tips.
[00:24:32.350] – Allan
Yeah. A lot of people will set a weight loss goal and, you know, it's not a linear journey. It's never a linear journey. And particularly when you're at that last stages, most of us are going to plateau. We're going to have this set point. We're going to be like, I'm at this weight and I really want to be maybe 10 pounds lighter. And it doesn't seem like the things we're doing are working and it can get kind of frustrating. So I wanted to put out a few tips for folks that are in that position of things that they can do or not do that would help them kind of push that journey going, whether it's a plateau or just kind of that last five or ten pounds you're trying to cut.
[00:25:12.860] – Rachel
Yeah, right. All of them are great tips, but I've never tried HIIT training. And I suppose maybe it's because I'm a little bit intimidated about how intense that it could be. But after listening to you talk about it, I feel a little less intimidated.
[00:25:27.300] – Allan
Now, probably as a part of your running training, you've done a fartlek before.
[00:25:31.060] – Rachel
Yeah. Lots of speed drills.
[00:25:33.270] – Allan
Okay. So far is basically a speed drill where you run a little faster and then you run a little slower. It's an interval, interval training and it's good because it actually builds VO2 Max and allows you to run a little faster. This is a similar thing. Although the difference between standard interval training and HIIT training is that in a fire like you don't want to get gas. You want to run right at your threshold and hold at that threshold and slow down when you need to. Whereas with high-intensity interval training all the ropes are off, all the bets are off. We really want to push ourselves past that point. We want to actually gas ourselves in a sense and run as many as we can and still recover. And if you do that, you're boosting your metabolism like nothing else you could do. No long, slow anything is going to compare to what you can do with a HIIT session.
[00:26:27.170] – Rachel
Well when you mentioned that you're on for 20 seconds and off for 60 seconds, I didn't put two and two together until you just mentioned the fartlek training. Because one of the first things that I did in my marathon training and that I have my runners do as well is some 20 second strides. So it's kind of funny. It's the exact same thing. You go out full force for 20 seconds and take a minute or so to recover and then do it again. So that's funny that we do those things.
[00:26:56.520] – Allan
Yeah, there's some science behind it because we have different energy sources. Our body uses different energy sources. So when you first start movement you're on one energy source. Okay. It's basically the ATP that exists in your muscle at that point in time that's going to last you maybe 20 seconds. Okay. And then you start getting into anaerobic and you're using oxygen past that which is shortly after like 30 seconds. Then you're at this point where now you're going to have to slow down.
[00:27:30.210] – Allan
You're going to have to start being able to pull on the blood sugar and other things because you've burned all that ATP, you burned all that energy and you'll just feel yourself naturally just not be able to keep sprinting. That's why they tell you if you're going to get into a race, pace yourself. But in training it's the exact opposite. We want to actually reach that threshold. We want to get to a point and so we do multiple rounds of this and we have to then yes, allow enough time for recovery which for most people is going to be three times. Sometimes you want to go four times.
[00:28:02.840] – Allan
It seems like a long time. But I promise you if you go out there and push as hard as you can for 20 seconds, a minute does not feel like a minute.
[00:28:11.580] – Rachel
[00:28:11.960] – Allan
Any other time you experienced a minute. This is not an experienced minute. This is really quickly. And then particularly as you start getting towards the end of what you can do, when you're not recovering all the way, you'll want to sit longer, you won't want to do another round and that's your body talking to you and that's maybe a good time to quit. But really the easiest way to know whether you're recovering or not is to actually look at your heart rate and find out what that base level is for you.
[00:28:38.220] – Allan
The 220 formula can work for some people. It doesn't work for me because my heart rate will naturally go higher when I'm pushing and I can handle that. And when it comes down, it's going to stay at a higher base. So I'm not going to get down to like for a lot of people, you might get down to 120. I'm not going to get down to 120, but I'm also not going to stop at 175, which is what my age formula would say. It's probably stopped somewhere in the 170s.
[00:29:04.630] – Allan
My heart rate can get up to 190 on a good push. I can't stay there again because I'm out of ATP and everything else. So I HIIT that and then I watch my recovery. If I get down below 145, then I know I have it in me to do one more round. But it's a mental game and it's a push game and it does wonders.
[00:29:26.610] – Rachel
It does, I think in running, I think that was a big crux of how successful I was at my marathon, because I just felt really cardiovascularly strong for that. And I'm sure it was because of some of those speed drill type of activities. Yeah, HIIT training sounds like a great thing.
[00:29:44.000] – Allan
It can be. You can do it very easily. It's a body weight movement for the most part. Sprinting or something like body weight squats with jumps maybe, burpees. Just anything that's really going to get your body moving and moving most of your body, particularly your legs, which are some of the bigger muscles. But the more you're moving, the more energy you're expending. Sprinting is good.
[00:30:09.220] – Allan
I would encourage you not to do it on a treadmill, even though I said running is good only because treadmills have the safety devices in them to slow down slowly and speed up slowly. So it's not going to work for the change that you're going to want to have a full out and then fall off, or at least very slow to allow recovery. Treadmills don't work very well for that, but elliptical machines, stationary bicycles, versa climbers, those things can be very effective for HIIT training.
[00:30:39.070] – Rachel
[00:30:39.600] – Allan
You're pushing yourself. Now with the treadmill, you can do more, just basic interval, slow it down, speed it up, change the angle, but at the same time, it's not going to be HIIT and it's very hard to do it safely on the treadmill.
[00:30:54.670] – Rachel
Sure, that makes sense. And then the Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). As we're talking right now, I'm standing and I'm kind of rocking back and forth because I can't stand still very much. I don't sit down very much either, but I do love all those tips about parking farther away and taking the stairs all the things that we hear all the time. Just introducing a few more of those types of energy uses throughout the day could add up over time.
[00:31:24.020] – Allan
It does. You could sit down and do the math and just say, what if I burned an extra ten calories each day?
[00:31:32.530] – Rachel
Sure doesn't sound like a lot, but.
[00:31:34.660] – Allan
It does not sound like a lot. But that's a whole pound in a year.
[00:31:38.810] – Rachel
[00:31:40.910] – Allan
And I can tell you, like, when I was doing the rower, I could burn an entire calorie in one pull if I pulled really hard. So it's not hard to burn an extra ten calories with a short walk, doing things that are a little bit more work than they have to be. And just even things like yard work, things that would make your job easier, like a wheelbarrow, you load it all in a wheelbarrow and go, well, no, just grab a clump and walk and then go back and get another clump. There's that extra walking around while you're doing yard work. Those things, they can add up. And like I said, just an additional ten calories that you're burning each day, it adds up to at least a whole pound of body fat in a year.
[00:32:29.910] – Rachel
That's fantastic. But there are three tips I have to say that number three is my favorite. And to not drink your calories. My goodness.
[00:32:38.610] – Allan
Yeah. A lot of people, they don't want to give up alcohol.
[00:32:42.190] – Rachel
[00:32:42.720] – Allan
They're looking for convenience. Again, convenience. So if I can get a protein shake, is that the easiest way for me to get my protein in? Absolutely. Get through workout, go over, put some whey protein or vegan protein or even beef or egg based protein into a shaker, shake it up and drink it. And you're getting your protein quickly. But the problem is it's just not going to help you if your goal is weight loss because you've thrown calories at yourself, that your body is going to digest really quickly because you've done most of the work for it and doesn't have to do the work. So we talk about NEAT. Chewing food is NEAT is the digestive process.
[00:33:27.580] – Allan
There's a thermal effect of food that's going through digestion. So eating a chicken breast is going to be so much better for you than taking a protein powder because your body has to digest that and pull it in and use it. It just takes time. So you stay full longer and your body is burning more energy to obtain that protein from what you just ate.
[00:33:50.360] – Rachel
Yeah. The other day I fixed myself a nice bowl of a keto friendly yogurt, and then I put on there some blueberries and raspberries. And then just because I like the taste of coconut, I put shredded coconut on top of it. And it was a delicious dessert for me the other night, especially now that we've got almost 80 degrees here in Michigan. But a lot of people would throw that in a smoothie and drink it down, which I'm sure would taste just as good in smoothie form. But I just got a lot more out of it. And it's full food, proper form, taking my time eating it, taking my time, chewing it. And the blender would have done all that work for me. Yeah, eating your food is a lot more enjoyable than drinking it.
[00:34:35.820] – Allan
And had I done a fourth tip, the slowing down would have been my fourth tip. So I'm glad you brought that up. Being more mindful of the food that you're eating and the nutrition that you're getting. Slowing down so you can feel the sensations of getting full. So you stop eating.
[00:34:58.970] – Allan
An experiment, that someone's doubting this. Try this. Make a smoothie in the morning. Go ahead and make a smoothie and get a bag of the spinach. You can put half of that bag in your smoothie, about two and a half ounces of spinach. It's good nutrition. You get it in there. You drink that 32 ounce smoothie really quickly, and then you're still going to be hungry an hour or two later. Sit down and try to eat a salad that has two and a half ounces of spinach. You put a nice dressing on it. You put other stuff in there.
[00:35:33.250] – Rachel
That's a lot
[00:35:34.730] – Allan
that's a lot. Big honking bowl of salad. And it's going to take you a long time to chew and eat that salad. And that's where this all comes from is the speed with which you put it in, the speed with which it leaves your stomach and the signals that your body is going to give you that it's no longer full.
[00:35:51.370] – Rachel
[00:35:52.610] – Allan
You still put in the same amount of calories, but because it didn't take as long to digest it, you're going to feel full sooner. So slowing down absolutely is how you feel when you're starting to get there and over and over. The advice, blue zones, everything else all the way through is if you feel you're starting to get full, stop, because you'll end up overeating, past almost every time.
[00:36:18.370] – Allan
So 80% is where a lot of people like to target it. If you feel like where you are eating is about 80%, give it a break. Don't throw your plate outright yet, but just give it a break. Slow down and just feel how you feel. And then if you start feeling full, then if you've gotten the nutrition your body needs, full stop. No reason to eat the rest of it.
[00:36:39.220] – Rachel
So funny, Allan, you and I both I'm sure we're raised as kids where you need to finish everything on your plate.
[00:36:44.640] – Allan
Everything on that plate, everything brought out to the table… leftovers? Who has leftovers?
[00:36:53.530] – Rachel
[00:36:55.410] – Allan
Now I'm famous here in our house for we'll fix dinner and I'll be halfway through with dinner. And then I'm like, okay, done. And I'll set my plate down. I'll go get up, get some foil or a bowl or something. And I'll put my food in the bowl.
[00:37:11.010] – Rachel
There you go.
[00:37:11.690] – Allan
And that's my lunch tomorrow and probably about a third of what my dinner would have been like ten years ago.
[00:37:19.420] – Rachel
Sure, it's funny. It's a hard habit to break, but it's definitely a good one. Save it for later.
[00:37:25.260] – Allan
Yeah. All right. Well, I'm going to go get on a boat and take my holiday here. Give Mike my best and I'll see you guys next week.
[00:37:35.700] – Rachel
Thanks. Take care, Allan. Have fun.
[00:37:37.670] – Rachel
[00:37:38.300] – Rachel
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As we age, our hormones make some drastic changes that can lead to some difficult symptoms. We all experience this, although women suffer the most with weight gain, sleep issues, and hot flashes. In her book, MenuPause, Dr. Anna Cabeca provides 5 unique eating plans to help you address these symptoms.
[00:03:27.790] – Allan
[00:03:29.230] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, how are you today?
[00:03:31.110] – Allan
I'm doing all right. How are things with you?
[00:03:33.360] – Rachel
Good. As we recorded this, we're leading up to my race day, which is this weekend. This is my final week of taper, so I'm just going to enjoy myself this week.
[00:03:43.580] – Allan
Good, good. And unlike a lot of people that would be in your position, you're not carving up. You're not really changing anything about your nutrition. And that's a different take than what you'll read elsewhere of what you do for a long race like this. But you know, your nutrition, you're set, you've done the training, so you're set. And you have a plan. You have an actual plan for approaching this race, which I think is outstanding.
[00:04:15.850] – Rachel
Yeah. My trainer only suggested that I not changed my eating habits this week, that I eat, get in enough calories. I may not be as hungry as I would be as I'm running tons of miles and doing tons of drills, but just to maintain my standard way of eating. And in the past, I would do something very similar, and I just prefer to play it safe this week. So no restaurant eating, no crazy spicy dinners, nothing that I think could even possibly upset my digestive system. I just want to keep it status quo as I lead into race day.
[00:04:56.590] – Allan
Yeah, it's funny. There was this article they were talking about how they opened up a Popeye's restaurant in UK, and nobody was complaining that the mild was too spicy.
[00:05:09.430] – Rachel
[00:05:10.500] – Allan
Good. Don't get me wrong. I love the spicy stuff. I love it, love it, love it. In fact, I had been to Lou this weekend, and I have the sauce in there so I can put it on my eggs. So I love spicy foods. But it was just they were complaining that Popeye's chicken was too spicy in the UK.
[00:05:31.270] – Rachel
[00:05:32.250] – Allan
Well, they might not make it over there, which is probably just the better because it's not the best food for you to be eating so good. You've got control. Yeah, well, things here are going pretty good. We're winding down to our big season for Bocas, so Lula's will start to probably wind down. We've been fully occupied pretty much for the whole time since we opened in November, which has been good. But it's just that point we're like, okay, go. Hopefully we're going to get a little bit more of an opportunity here to settle down. Tammy is planning a trip to Ireland, and then we're going to have our anniversary break, which will just be a kind of a staycation for us. So we're planning those things. Nothing huge. And then just being I am looking at launching my six week program again. I'm kind of going back and forth of whether I do it as a group thing, like where we literally have everybody come through together or whether I do it at their own pace over a six week period of time. So that's kind of where I am planning it. But I am planning on going live again.
[00:06:45.970] – Allan
I only take clients during certain periods of time, and that's really just to fit my lifestyle the way I want to. So if you are wanting to work with me, this is a good time to send me an email, allan@40PlusFitness, I'm sorry, coach@40PlusFitness. It's coach@40PlusFitness. And let's get you on the list. Let's make sure you're aware of what I'm going to be doing as I figured it out. But it is a six week program. The intention is to teach you what you need to know to lose weight, to get fit, to figure out where you need to be. And so it's an educational thing in addition to the direct coaching. So it's a very direct, intensive coaching for you about what you need, where you are with what you have to do, what you want and be who you need to be. So if you're interested in that, coach@40Plusfitness.com and we can start that conversation.
[00:07:41.830] – Rachel
[00:07:42.980] – Allan
All right. So are we ready to have another conversation with Dr. Cabeca?
[00:07:47.680] – Rachel
[00:08:23.660] – Allan
Dr. Anna, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.
[00:08:26.950] – Dr. Cabeca
It is great to be here with you, Allan. Thanks for having me.
[00:08:30.910] – Allan
Initially, you brought up the concept for me anyway. I mean, I talked to some other people, but in general, how there's pulls and pushes and there's a keto community and there's a plant-based community. And never, ever should we go between the two. You got to pick your tribe and you got to get on one side or the other. And then you come out with Keto-Green, which is basically saying, yes, you can have your meat and your vegetables, too, and you can do it in a way that promotes health. Your new book, MenuPause: Five Unique Eating Plans to Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau and Improve Your Mood, Sleep and Hot Flashes. Love the title.
[00:09:12.710] – Dr. Cabeca
[00:09:13.820] – Allan
But it takes a lot of the concepts from your previous two books, and it kind of lays it out in a way to say, okay, food is medicine, so let's use it that way.
[00:09:25.310] – Dr. Cabeca
Absolutely. And bringing in these different pauses in our life. And I say there's magic in the pause. Right, Allan? We really have to look at it that way, and especially when it comes to a hormonal shift, whether we're talking about menopause or andropause or whatever. But there is magic in the pause. There's a rewiring or reshifting. And where I was, I certainly had fun with the title Menu Pause. So I thought that was great. My editor came up with that title as we were looking for a new title, and I just love it. So I laugh every time I say it. And the five different eating plans to each pause, something different. And that came out of women in my online communities doing keto green and me now keto green since 2014, 2015, and how that's changed my life, especially with hormone balance and seeing the changes. But sometimes we had a roadblock. Why isn't it working for this person or why did it stop working? And so that had me really looking at, okay, well, what are some of the pauses that we have to make that we've had to make or adjust to break through some of the plateaus that we can hit?
[00:10:37.560] – Dr. Cabeca
Because when what we're doing stops working or we stop seeing those improved benefits, we start seeing continued improvements or some of the problem, we need to look a little bit deeper, change things up, bring some variety as a spice of life, right?
[00:10:54.840] – Allan
[00:10:56.150] – Allan
And there's a lot of good reasons for this book. But I want to say before the men tune out and I always say this in the preamble and I'll say it again to them is that this is first and foremost a weight loss book and a hormone shifting book, but not just for females. If a man uses these five eating plans as a way to structure their eating, they will lose weight too. So if you're in a relationship, not in a relationship, it doesn't matter. These eating plans will help you. And what you were saying about the pause is I think that's right. In Dr. Fung's book, The Obesity Code, one of the things he says is all diets work and all diets fail, and it's because our body will adjust to the way we're eating. So you start eating a certain way, a keto diet, and then something happens and your body just stops responding to it. You go vegan and your body's doing great, you're losing weight, and all of a sudden your body stops responding to it. So this ability to have these different eating plans, that structure pauses for various different things for various different reasons gives you a structure to say, okay, I'm going to go in, check this out, see if it serves me.
[00:12:05.420] – Allan
If it does, then I'll stick with it till it stops serving me. And if it doesn't serve me, I move on.
[00:12:11.690] – Dr. Cabeca
Absolutely. And we give it enough time to figure out every plan is designed to be safe. And we give enough time, the six days to just be the shortest, essentially amount of time to really get a benefit. And then also to see to be able to check in with yourself. How are you feeling now with this lifestyle, with this diet plan, it's always more than what we eat too. And I really established with my whole Keto Green approach, it's the keto green way, it's the lifestyle, it's the hormone oxytocin becoming more oxytocin rich in our lives. And that joy connection, that important physiologic effect of joy connection. Right. Pleasure and becoming more insulin sensitive. So when it comes to guys too, we'll see an improvement in their adrenal hormones, their testosterone, a decrease in blood pressure and sugar management and blood sugar as well in the short amount of times. And I expect it pretty much with every plan because again, there's a shift, there's a change up, except for maybe the carbohydrate up plan that I put in as plan number five.
[00:13:26.630] – Allan
Yeah. Now, I think a lot of women and maybe even men when they're going through some of these changes, obviously a woman's change is drastically different. So I'm going to try to compare what we guys go through, through what women go through. Not even close. So don't think it does, guys. I guess it feels bad, but not even close.
[00:13:46.820] – Dr. Cabeca
He's a wise man, right, ladies? He's a wise man.
[00:13:50.200] – Allan
But as they go through this, I think the knee jerk reaction today is what supplement do I need to take? What pill can I take? What surgery do I have to fix this problem? Why is food the better answer?
[00:14:10.910] – Dr. Cabeca
Definitely. Because how we nourish, our body is a whole framework for how we nourish other aspects of our lives. Right. And we have to give our body the fuel. We are designed to work with our environment, to interact and to respond to the energies of the food we eat. So beyond the micronutrient and macronutrient breakdown of what we're eating, there's a lot more to it than that. And I think when we set up, as we set up our eating plans, the key aspect is diversity. And I always tell clients, I interview a lot of people and selling when someone says, yeah, I eat a chicken salad every day for lunch, I just want that hand emoji to the top of your head. Like, I want that hand emoji because it is like, okay, we're eating the same thing every day, and that's just not good for you. I don't care how good of a health food you're eating. If you're eating the same thing every day, you can create a food sensitivity to it. So the importance of how we nourish our bodies, how we're going to do everything, and that sets the tone for hormonal balance.
[00:15:25.730] – Dr. Cabeca
Our behavior is affected by our physiology. So a balanced nourishing eating plan is key for willpower, brain power, love power, whatever it may be that we're working towards. So for physical and mental, wellbeing, how we nourish our body is key. And so having that as food, as medicine, it's absolutely true.
[00:15:53.510] – Allan
Yeah. Now the other aspect of this that I thought was really interesting and you brought science to bear. So this wasn't just you saying this is how you solve this problem or this is why this problem might be worse for you than someone else. I think we know is if you have a knee problem, you go to your doctor. Your doctor is going to say if you need to, you might want to lose some weight because the excess weight is causing knee pain. That's why part of the reason why you have the pain. So he encourages or she encourages you to go lose some weight. Why is weight loss part of a solution to the menopause symptoms that many women suffer with?
[00:16:30.390] – Dr. Cabeca
Yeah, because our fat is inflammatory and two of the things that cause worsening symptoms in menopause is inflammation and hormone imbalance, those two things. And fat is a contributor to both of those things. We naturally become more insulin resistant as we age, and that's why we can develop diabetes or prediabetes in menopause. And we've been doing really well up until then. And post menopause, that's because we're becoming more insulin resistant. And so type two diabetes becomes very prevalent in our age group, and that's got to stop. And that's why that's, again, why keto green eating is so critical for this. But fat holds inflammation and it creates basically cytokines storms within our body and inflammation creates increased hormonal imbalance. So what we see as people clear this up decrease inflammation through how we're nourishing the body, providing appropriate nutrients and not feeding it junk and sugar and inflammatory foods. We also see an improvement in hot flashes tremendous. Within two weeks, we can see 80% reduction in hot flashes through these lifestyle and nutritional changes. The other big thing I want to mention is, like, women will say, oh, I can't fast 13 hours. I'm hungry when I go to bed.
[00:17:58.480] – Dr. Cabeca
I'm hungry when I wake up. That's just how you've trained your body. Your body is not designed to be like that. And so let's retrain it into a healthier way that's actually going to serve you. And we know this really important factor. So built into the plan, I do at least 13 hours of intermittent fasting between dinner and breakfast, but you start where you're at. But the reason I do that is because research has shown in women with breast cancer that if you have at least twelve and a half hours between dinner and breakfast, you have a significantly reduced risk of recurrent breast cancer. So that should be number one health guideline, all the initials that you want, but really should be promoting that intermittent fasting is a key component of our lifestyle. And that improves insulin sensitivity and then improves really all of our symptoms and age related diseases that can occur. So the hot flashes, the mood swings, the night sweats, difficulty sleeping will improve with these shifts and how we're nourishing our body.
[00:19:02.530] – Allan
Yeah. And the same is true for men. If a man is obese, it's affecting their insulin sensitivity and therefore, it's affecting their hormones. And so it's creating a similar effect to us, we call it Andropause but it's basically a very similar approach, similar thing happening in our body. If we can reduce our fat stores, we're going to improve all of that and improve our health. And weight loss is often a side effect of better health. But basically what we're showing is the main symptom we see is when we step on that scale.
[00:19:38.540] – Dr. Cabeca
Yeah. And we want the weight loss, but we want in a way that we don't gain Yoyo dieted from my teens through my 20s and into my 30s. And I think that especially others, I went to high school and College in the 80s. So that's when the low carbohydrate craze was in place and we would do all these crazy things like Apple juice fasting and just nut stuff, like you're fasting on sugar. What the heck? If you're going to fast anyway, now we fast on bone broth a little bit better or just fast on water. But the key thing is and what we know is that calorie restriction decreases your metabolism more than fasting does. And that's a really important concept for people to understand. So you're not going to Yoyo diet back. And being of the, I would say of the warrior body type because there's an epigenetic component. We know this just from observing friends, family, colleagues, et cetera. Some of us are designed to be empowered to be very conservative with our nutrient use. I would say I could survive in the Sahara for six months without food or water, and I'd still be fine.
[00:20:47.780] – Dr. Cabeca
I'm thriving. And I see that among many of my clients, I say they have Pocahontas or Warrior, Viking heritage or Amazonian. Right. Because you're designed to be metabolically conservative, so you're at higher risk. However, you're designed to live through a famine, right? Live through deprivation cycle. But in America, we don't have that right. And so then we think, oh, I just have fat genes. I have obesity and diabetes on both sides of my family. And I want that mind shift to switch to say, no, you've got Warrior genes, you've got Survivor genes. You're amazing. You've got leadership genes. Let's use them. Part of what I really want to empower people to understand this epigenetic component. So it's kind of built in into my plans and into my program. And that's where that whole individual bio individuality comes in, like, what's right for you right now based on what you've been doing up till now and the state of life you're in, how your hormones are, are you burned out? Is your DHA estrogen, testosterone progesterone? Are you tanked in your hormone levels? Are you pretty resilient? And I think with this, with changing up and my goal with this, with cross training in the gym, cross training in your diet is to improve your resilience.
[00:22:11.080] – Dr. Cabeca
So you improve the diversity of your gut microbiome, and with that, you improve your immune system and you improve your overall longevity and quality of life.
[00:22:22.590] – Allan
Yeah. Now you have in the book five plans, and each of them starts out with kind of a six day approach. And I like the six day approach because it gives you that opportunity to check in with yourself to see how it's going. And I think anyone can agree you can do anything for six days if you put your mind to it. So it kind of gives them that finish line, even though it's not intended to truly be a finish line. But it's just give it six days, see if it works. And I like all of that. Obviously, if we've gotten ourselves obese, it's not going to fix itself in six days. So don't think that these are magic pills that are going to make everything great in six days. But each of them gives you a kind of a phase. A pause is the way you like to put it, gives you a pause on something so you can start to see the results and move forward. I want to go through each one of them because I think each of the one of them is really important, but I think it's important for them to know why would they use this plan and what is the plan entail?
[00:23:21.590] – Allan
So the first one and it has extreme in the title because it is kind of an extreme one, is the Keto Green Extreme. Can you talk about that one? Why we would want to use it?
[00:23:33.320] – Dr. Cabeca
Yeah, definitely. First want to say why six days? And six days if we consider that the gut gastrointestinal mucosal lininging of the intestines of our intestinal tract, GI tract regenerates in 72 hours. So that's three days. So incorporating two, three day cycle should be very healing and restorative to our GI tract, certainly in the cleanse. But even as we remove some of these inflammatory triggers or these pauses, as we take these pauses, it gives our body those two full 72 hours cycles to regenerate, respond, react. I think that's where some of this checking in, checking in with yourself can really be powerful. So with Ketogenic Extreme, because I definitely have clients who have had autoimmune diseases and have reactions to night shades. I mean, I was sitting at dinner with Dave Ashbury the other day and he sent his plate back twice because one time it had peppers and one time they had mushrooms in it. So anyway, some people are super sensitive to nitrates. Right. And so I removed that. It's really an autoimmune, kind of following some of the autoimmune protocol dietary changes with restriction of nightshades and peppers and some of those other inflammatory foods, if we're sensitive to that.
[00:25:02.410] – Dr. Cabeca
So checking in on that one is the number one reason to do that, especially if you have an autoimmune issue.
[00:25:08.970] – Allan
Okay. The next one is and you're using a word, well, there are two words that you use in two different ones, and I'm talking about each of those, but it's not exactly what it would mean to somebody else. Is the keto green plant based detox. Now, a lot of us will look at detoxes and thinking, oh, this is one of those where I'm going to take this supplement thing, and I'm going to be going to the bathroom for three days really bad and then not feel good. But this is a detox, but it's not a normal detox. Can you talk about this one and why we would want to use it?
[00:25:40.410] – Dr. Cabeca
Yeah. This is a grain free plant based plan. So it's more of a keto green plant based plan. So again, low in carbohydrates also. And I wanted to address my plant based eaters because my keto green 16th book, I did a 16 day omnipresent, a 16 day plant based plan. So I got a lot of feedback. Right. And then people who are omnivores did the 16 day plant based. And they loved it, too. So being able to again, do that periodically, and this is why I put it in for all of us to just detox from meat. And that's where that comes in. Detox from meat. And plus, one of the biggest problems that keto eaters and diet and diabetics and et cetera have is constipation. And the number one thing I want to clear from your system without, ideally, additional drug support vitamins, et cetera, is having regular bowel movements. So I put it after ketogenic stream. You can do them in any order. Certainly. But I did have a method to my madness, as usual. So putting it there because right now we've just reduced a lot of inflammation. But it's been pretty ketogenic. And I want to make sure your bowels are resuscitated to 72 hours of a low inflammatory diet.
[00:27:04.020] – Dr. Cabeca
But let's work on this to add in fiber support the gut microbiome. To add gut microbial diversity. We know the more plant diverse foods you have, the higher diversity in the gut, the better your immune system, the lower your risk of all inflammatory diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease. And that goes again for men and women and all the menopausal symptoms. So that's why I incorporated a six day plant based diet, because we all need to do it periodically.
[00:27:31.290] – Allan
Okay. And now we're going to go to the other extreme because you have this carbohydrate pause. Can you talk about that? Because this is going to get some attention. It's like, wait, are we plant based or are we meat eaters? So where are we here? Can you talk about that?
[00:27:45.620] – Dr. Cabeca
Like I said, variety is the spice of life. And this is one of the things that I definitely had tried carnivore being keto green for a while and wanting to switch thing up, tried carnivore. And again, same thing felt good for a little bit, but then started gaining weight. I was like, wait, what's going on? Actually connected with another perimenopausal woman in the carnivore community. And she had run across this issue, too, again with women. Again, we talked about this before we started recording. It's really awesome to have diversity. There are certain plants that work for a short time and not for the long time. And that's why disruption. We want to disrupt what we're doing. And it's so good for us. But the carnivore knows to tail. And I wanted to show people how a healthy way to eat carnivore number one. Also, again, after I've just increased the microbial diversity of the gut that was powering you up. You're taking a break from all plant foods pretty much in the carnivore plan in just a healthy way, very carbohydrate restrictive. And again, we're pausing plants in this cycle.
[00:28:59.670] – Allan
And I can say this, if you go through the carbohydrate pause, when you finish it, you're going to be in the deep cut ketosis, which is going to help with your sensitivity. Whichever direction you go after this is going to make that next plan that much better for you.
[00:29:18.870] – Dr. Cabeca
Yeah, exactly. Right.
[00:29:22.720] – Allan
Okay, now the fourth one. And again, this is using one of the words that I typically don't like to see in any kind of eating plan is the cleanse, because it usually involves buying some very expensive juices and spending a lot of money and not getting many calories and rebounding after. But yours isn't going to do that. It's called the keto green cleanse. Can you talk about that?
[00:29:45.580] – Dr. Cabeca
Yeah, absolutely. And actually ran my pre release permission from my publisher to run my selected group, my girlfriend doctor club, through the six day cleanse. And the reason for the cleanse, too, right, we're in high ketosis number one from our carnivore for going in this order. And then so we're not hungry. We are not hungry. We're chewing. We've had good protein. The other part of carbohydrate pause the carnivorous plan is to give us more protein. Women, we don't get enough protein. And protein is so important for our muscle. And muscle is magic and menopause. So then going into cleanse number one, you're not hungry. And now we really want to detox the liver and detox your gallbladder and really work to support your body so the cleanse, we did this six days. I start you with an oil, lemon juice, olive oil, lemon juice, shot in the morning. And believe me, I had objections. They're very intelligent group of women, but they're like, okay, you're recommending it. So by day three, they're like, I can't wait. Can I stay on this forever? Can I do this? I'm like, no, just six days. We have to change things up.
[00:30:56.630] – Dr. Cabeca
So this liver, gallbladder flesh and very much it is a cleanse. So it is smooth, smoothies. It is teas, it is alkaline broth or bone broth. And making sure ideally you're getting enough protein and healthy fats during this. But it is a cleanse. So you are continuing to give your GI tract rest. You will see glowing skin, glowing complexion. You will feel higher energy. You'll start checking things off on your to do list that have been on your to do list. And so it's cleansing off the things that are weighing you down, as well as really working on an internal system. So, yeah, I'm excited for that. And honestly, you're not hungry. You're doing great. You're very supportive advice from my girlfriend doctor club because some of them were used to extended intermittent fasting. They're like, just follow the plan, as Dr. Anna says it, and you're not going to get hungry. And that's really key.
[00:31:57.210] – Allan
And then the final one is and I think this is really kind of a critical piece of all of this is at some point you're going to fit a level of health and maybe a level of weight loss where you're like, okay, this is a weight I feel comfortable. And maybe it was a weight that you were when you were 29. Maybe it was a weight you were when you graduated high school. And now you could wear the same size jeans, you were wearing then. But you get to a point. And now it's like, okay, I don't want to Yoyo, I don't want to go back to where I was because it worked so hard to get to where I am. So the last plan you have is the carbohydrate modification plan. Can you talk about that and how that works?
[00:32:36.810] – Dr. Cabeca
Yeah, and I love it. And I just opened my book to one of the recipes in the Carb modif. My Texas Rodeo Skillet. Skillets are big in Texas and everything's bigger in Texas. That's where I'm living now in Dallas. And so this is a modification for some of the beautiful skillet breakfast. So this has sunny side up eggs, Sriracha sauce, avocados and sweet potatoes and bacon mixed in. I mean, it's just so yummy. I'm getting hungry thinking about this plan. But the reason is because being in the keto green community for so long, sometimes we've been so restricted that we need the additional carbs. And when some of my clients have added in a sweet potato in the evening, they're sleeping better. Right. And I think it's really important to understand that. And some of them will lose weight once they do that because they have been really conservative and adding in a carb, at least it's a beautiful thing to do. And I think once you get through the plans, it's the principles of the plant and how balancing the fats, but also for flavor, the salts and the citrus that just makes things so much better, addressing your full taste palate so that you're really looking forward to your meals and even better.
[00:33:58.990] – Dr. Cabeca
So these concepts that have been built into the recipes that are all outlined in the book have really been designed to balance and nourish and set. You enjoy them, too. So I think that a lot of times we'll do a carb up, we'll do a carb up day periodically. That's absolutely okay. And it can be very good for you unless it triggers eating disorder. Unless it triggers an eating disorder.
[00:34:30.650] – Allan
Yeah. And just as you mentioned, you mentioned the recipe. So I'll kind of jump into that. You believe in variety. You talked about that several times today. And so this cookbook is really built on a massive variety of different foods. And each plan has some foods that fit. And some of the foods some of the recipes you have actually fit multiple plans. And you put that in there. In fact, last night for dinner, my wife and I had your egg roll soup because I love egg rolls. And I walked by the Chinese we have one Chinese restaurant here on the island, and I walk by there all the time. And I'm like, I just love to go in there and order their egg rolls. And I was just like, no, I won't do it. That's not what I'm doing right now. But I was able to make your soup and it was delicious. And I actually had a second serving of it because it was that good. So these are really good recipes. They fit each plan. So it's not just that. Here's a plan and go figure it out. It's like, here's how this works.
[00:35:30.100] – Allan
Here's a plan. Here's some tips. Here are some recipes. And so you build out recipes to pretty much fill the six days. And you give guidelines if you want to do it yourself. So it's really kind of a cool way that you're not going to get bored because it's not like a lot of plans. You're eating the same foods every day. In this case, I think the most I saw you like, you Cook something one day, and then maybe the third day you have it again as a leftover for lunch or something like that. But it's not eat the same food every day all the way through. You work through these plans, and maybe other than the cleanse, you're doing fairly similar things through the cleanse. But for the others, there's great recipes that are going to keep you interested. And you even give them a shopping list, which I think is also pretty cool.
[00:36:18.670] – Dr. Cabeca
Thank you. You know, my mom raising kids, was making things early. Sometimes having leftovers is just a one less meal I have to Cook. Right. So that's always definitely an option in the plan, too. And maybe if there's adding something a little bit more interesting, too, but to create as much simplicity and shopping as possible. But it's six days. So I want this diversity. I want this experience. I want it to be an experience.
[00:36:48.970] – Allan
Yeah. It is. That's what I'm saying.
[00:36:51.980] – Allan
Mine, it's something I would order at a Chinese restaurant. I'm like, I want egg rolls. So it's like cabbage. And I did it with pork and went through the whole process of making it. And I think it took me less than an hour to make the soup. And that included prep. And I'm a slow prepper. So I didn't even get to watch a whole TV series. I was watching a TV show. I didn't get to watch the whole thing because I had the meal ready before I finished. So really good recipes. You should check that out.
[00:37:22.400] – Allan
Dr. Anna, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:37:31.510] – Dr. Cabeca
Thank you. Well, definitely get keto green. So incorporate the lifestyle, the nutrition into your lifestyle. That concept, that is by design, a number one way, certainly for me and for women going through menopause, and I think for so many, my kids are doing it. The second thing is make oxytocin the most powerful hormone in your body and so not stress. Really think, where do I see love today? Where am I loving, giving, grateful? What am I grateful for? Really focusing on that. How am I showing love to those I love? How am I receiving love? Sometimes that's even harder. So make oxytocin the most powerful hormone. And the third is just smile. Really smile, really genuinely feel good about yourself. And for women, oftentimes we have this, like I would say the negative, that nasty bitch on your shoulder talking down to you. So like, knock that nasty bitch off your shoulder and enjoy yourself. And that concept of truly, genuinely being happy in your own skin with whatever is in your life at this moment, it's a really powerful concept.
[00:38:43.750] – Allan
Well, thank you, Dr. Anna. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about MenuPause or your Girlfriend's Doctor club, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:38:54.220] – Dr. Cabeca
Definitely, just come to my website dranna.com. We have a MenuPause book page and some great bonuses to go along with the MenuPause book. So some trackers, some additional handouts and recipes and good things to support you in the videos, cooking videos, all this good stuff is there for you. So, dranna.com, and then join me on social media at the Girlfriend Doctor.
[00:39:19.120] – Allan
Awesome. You can go to fortyplusfitnesspodcast.com/533 and I'll be sure to have the link there. Dr. Anna, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.
[00:39:29.970] – Dr. Cabeca
Thank you for having me, Allan. I love what you're doing. Thank you.
[00:39:40.850] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:39:42.380] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. That was a fun interview with Doctor Anna Cabeca. Anytime I hear anything having to do with menopause, my ears peek up. So her book, MenuPause sounds like a really good book.
[00:39:55.130] – Allan
It is good. Obviously, I will not experience menopause, can't and won't. And so for me, it's really just about understanding what my wife, with my clients, with my friends, with my family, what they may experience as they're going. And I think there are periods of time when we really have to ratchet in our nutrition. For the most part, most of us can go through life and not really think about what we're eating. But there are particular periods in a woman's life where I think it becomes really important. Obviously, when you're trying to get pregnant and you are having a baby, there are times when your nutrition is tantamount to having a healthy baby, dealing with any kind of major illness or recovery. So cancer surgery, something like that. Nutrition is going to be really important to make sure that you're addressing your body's nutritional needs so that it can heal properly so that you have a good, strong immune system, really important. And then, of course, during menopause, when you're going through significant, significant hormone changes, and those changes, the perimenopause process, if you will, can take minutes where they're actually pulling out your ovaries and uterus, or it can take decades as you're going through those.
[00:41:24.750] – Allan
This is month to month, day to day, week to week. All of it changes in your hormones. And if you are just eating about doing your thing, you don't have information. What you have is a symptom. And you don't know if it was directly affected by what you're eating, what you're feeling, the movement or, yeah, you're just going through a huge hormone shift that you really couldn't deal with otherwise. Those are important. And within approach, you literally can sit down and look at a swath of time, the six day plans and say, okay, I'm going to do this thing over six days and see if my symptoms abate. And if they do now you have data, now you have information to say, hey, if I cut out this food, yes, my body screaming at me, eat more chocolate, but I don't eat more chocolate. Instead, I eat more vegetables, I eat more meat. I make sure that I'm eating whole food, and you feel better. You didn't need the chocolate. And I know that's hard to hear. Sometimes you need the chocolate. I understand. But sometimes your body is telling you something, and the answer is actually the exact opposite.
[00:42:54.060] – Rachel
That's so true. And what's interesting, how Anna put it, is that instead of turning to supplements or surgery or something, that a lot of doctors will suggest a pill for this or for that, it's turning to food. And food can actually really be true medicine for you. And I appreciate how she created these five different eating patterns or these five different types of eating for a six day window of time. Six days isn't that long. You can get through some sort of change, and you never know how you might feel afterwards. If it works for you, then it's a tool in your toolbox for all these different times in our lives when our hormones will fluctuate. Like I mentioned earlier, all of us have different symptoms as we approach menopause. Perimenopause is kind of tricky. That way our hormones can fluctuate day to day, week to week, month to month symptoms could be different from another. But by trying food as medicine, at least you have another tool in the toolbox that you can pick out later on.
[00:43:55.880] – Allan
Yeah. The only caution I put out there is if you're making a fairly drastic change. So let's just say you're eating the standard American diet today or something close to it, and you immediately say, okay, well, I'm going to go to the hardcore, intense low carb thing. Six days might not be enough time for you to fully adapt to that change. And so just recognizing that if you find that this food is affecting you and maybe even in a negative way, you may need to lean in instead of pulling back and saying it's not working. The six days is a great trial. And for a lot of people that don't have, say, insulin resistance or some other health issues going on, they're going to start seeing some potential positive change, weight loss and some other things will be happening during that period of time. But you might not feel really good. And there's a couple of reasons for it. One, yes, could be that you're going through the change into keto, and they call it keto flu. I prefer to call it carb withdrawals because your body used carbohydrates for fuel and now it doesn't have as many it's got to shift fuel systems.
[00:45:12.710] – Allan
That can be a little disruptive for most of us it is. But there's also other things. Our body stores toxins in our fat. So if you're starting to lose body fat, your body now has to deal with those toxins that it shuttled away earlier and didn't deal with. And if you're under a toxic load at home or at work or whatever, now you're adding more toxins to the mix. You might feel worse before you feel better. So just recognize six days is a good rule of thumb because as you said, you can do just about anything for six days.
[00:45:46.600] – Rachel
[00:45:47.630] – Allan
People can go without eating for six days and be fine. But that said, if you're feeling bad, you're making a change. If it's hard, just consider whether this is something you need to lean into or whether it is okay. You did your six days and it just didn't work. And let's say you tried that and it didn't work. That doesn't mean that tool is useless. If you needed to screw in a screw and the first thing you grabbed was a hammer, the hammer didn't work, but you get a screwdriver and it works. Later on, you got a nail. The hammer is going to be just fine. So just recognize that time and space and where you are now is different than where you will be later. So a tool today that's not useful can be a useful tool later. But there's really good eating plans in there. Really sound advice from Dr. Cabeca. And if hormones are an issue for you as you go through these changes, food will affect your hormone levels. What you think will affect your hormone levels, what you physically do will affect your hormone levels. All of that input, all of that information and it will affect how your body expresses hormones.
[00:47:06.550] – Allan
So while you can't fix this change because it is what it is, it's coming, you can reduce the impact of it with the right foods.
[00:47:16.740] – Rachel
Yeah, well, you both were discussing bio individuality and what is right for you right now is going to be different from what is right for you later. And that's just the way our hormones fluctuate. I think every woman understands and agrees with me that like I said, week to week, month to month, our hormones, our symptoms, the way we feel just changes so greatly. So what works for you today may not work tomorrow, but the point is that you get to try something new and it sounds like Dr. Cabeca offers several different meals that you get ways to try to eat in order to satisfy those changes. It's a great idea.
[00:47:56.510] – Allan
And if you're listening to this and the guys have tuned out, they can eat this way too.
[00:48:02.710] – Rachel
Oh, for sure.
[00:48:04.670] – Allan
These are healthy, good ways to eat. This is not like, oh, well, here's an estrogen pill. I'm going to give it to my husband too. No, it's not like that. This is food. This is really good. These are really good meal plans. They're very easy. She gives you the shopping list, the whole set. So it's really simple for you to kind of go in and say, okay, this is my meal plan for the week. It's the meal plan for my family for the week.
[00:48:25.090] – Rachel
I love that.
[00:48:26.110] – Allan
And so they're getting what they need to be healthy. You're getting what you need to heal and be healthy. Just recognize this is not a woman's eating plan this is an eating plan that anyone can do and be more healthy for doing it.
[00:48:42.500] – Rachel
That sounds great. Sounds like a great book.
[00:48:45.040] – Allan
Yeah, it is. All right, well, Rachel, we'll talk next week.
[00:48:48.120] – Rachel
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If you're trying to count calories as a way to lose weight, you'll want to hear why calories don't count and how to lose weight the right way with Dr. Giles Yeo.
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[00:03:46.920] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are things going?
[00:03:49.030] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:03:50.980] – Allan
I'm doing all right. Sort of. I did the requisite face plant that you did earlier.
[00:03:56.930] – Rachel
[00:04:00.270] – Allan
Yeah. We were celebrating Thanksgiving, and then at night, I was like, okay, I've had a few glasses of wine, and I know I'm not going to want to get up at 6:00 in the morning and take these dogs out, so I'm going to take them out right before I go to bed, which means they might just let me sleep till seven. And I went to take them out and it was raining and it had been raining. And so I walked in this field, and it's sort of like someone jerking your hands when you're standing on an ice skate on ice.
[00:04:28.500] – Allan
And so my feet went completely out from under me when the dog decided he wanted to go in a direction, and I wasn't quite positioned for it. And when you have two leashes in your hand and you're falling, there's no breakage except the face. So I did a really good face plant, and Tammy was nice enough to patch me up with some bandage and stuff. So, yeah, just a kind of a face plant. There's no other way to say it, because it was just that, but I'm recovering.
[00:05:02.190] – Allan
It's fine. It's just some scrapes and scars and scrapes and stuff, and I'm probably going to have a nice little scar above my eyebrow for a little while, maybe for a long while, but it's just one of the kind of those things you say. Okay, I need to work on my balance. I need to work on my strength. I need to make sure that I'm not put in that position again as I get older. So it's just kind of one of those reminders of being aware of your environment, doing the right things so that we don't take those bills as often.
[00:05:36.170] – Allan
And if we do, our body has the resilience to get through it and protect us.
[00:05:41.460] – Rachel
Yes, absolutely. Just like you mentioned, I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago, and I'm recovering. I still have a tiny little bruise on my cheek, but it seems to be going away. But I was just mentioning with one of my running partners, like, I think this winter I'll be practicing my gait and learning how to lift my feet up a little bit better, making sure that I pay closer attention and do all those same things, too. Yes, it's a reminder and not a fun reminder to take care.
[00:06:13.830] – Allan
And actually, I kind of follows along with that method I put out there that slip to success, which is okay something happened in our cases, face plant and forgive yourself.
[00:06:26.380] – Allan
It happened. It happened. The circumstances were what they were. And then the second stage is learn from it and then apply it. And so you're going to be training your gait. I'm going to be working a lot more on balance and continue to work on strength. And then we'll hopefully not have to deal with another face plant.
[00:06:46.350] – Rachel
Absolutely. Fingers crossed. Absolutely.
[00:06:49.830] – Allan
All right. Well, you're ready to get into this discussion with Dr. Yeo?
[00:06:52.970] – Rachel
Sure. Let's do this.
[00:07:21.280] – Allan
Dr. Yeo, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:07:23.850] – Dr. Yeo
Thank you so much for having me, Allan.
[00:07:25.930] – Allan
Now the book you have very compelling title, I might add, Why Calories Don't Count: How We Got the Science of Weight Loss Wrong. And that's a very compelling title.
[00:07:37.350] – Dr. Yeo
Thank you. Some people might even call it controversial. I don't think it is. I don't think it's a controversial title.
[00:07:43.380] – Allan
I don't either, especially when you go through the book several times saying, I'm not saying Calories don't entirely count. They do. If you eat in excess of the energy output, you are going to gain weight. And if you eat less than the energy output, you are going to lose weight. It's just really on how we kind of put this all together. But you had one statement in a book that it was towards the end. But I have to see this out front because this was probably the best sentence I've read a long, long time and it said, Rather than wasting our lives obsessing about our weight and how we look, we should instead focus on our health. If you focus on your health, your weight will take care of itself.
[00:08:22.830] – Dr. Yeo
[00:08:24.390] – Allan
And I just love that. I'm going to use that over and over. I'm going to take that quote. And Dr. Yeo, and I'm going to post that everywhere because I think that's really the important thing of what we're after here. We take weight and we consider it some proxy for being healthy and fit and everything else is great in our lives. When it's usually just a side effect.
[00:08:47.910] – Dr. Yeo
It'S not only is it just a side effect, it's also, sadly, what we create to with beauty. And so people are going to say, Well, no, that's rubbish. I can lose a lot more weight. I don't look like how I look, but there's a difference between wanting to look like what you look in a mirror. Look, I want to look like Brad Pitt, but there are any number of reasons why I can't look like Brad Pitt. But if you actually get to the point where you're healthy, you can carry your kids.
[00:09:13.870] – Dr. Yeo
You can go up and down the stairs without getting out of breath. You can cycle to whatever you want to do and you can live your life and not feel that something is holding you back. So what if you're a little larger? I guess that's the point. Can you live your life? Can you do what you want to do and you need help for that rather than looks per se?
[00:09:30.770] – Allan
Absolutely. Now to start this off, you start off the book and you have a supposition here that talks about calories. And this is really kind of the principle of the book, and it's A does not equal B does not equal C, and I'll go through that. A is the number of calories actually in the food that does not equal the number of calories on the side of the pack, which does not equal the number of usable calories we finally get out of the food. So the trouble is this is if I'm going to look at the input, the calories that I'm eating and none of those numbers line up, then it's an impossible math for me to do, even if I have the information on the pack, even if I had a bomb called Kilometer in my house to burn everything I want to burn to figure it out, which I don't, and I'm not going to invest in one of those anyway.
[00:10:26.360] – Allan
But doesn't that create this complication to the calories in calories out model that we really can't overcome with math?
[00:10:34.560] – Dr. Yeo
I think so, at least not with the math that we're using right now. And I think that's the critical thing, as you said in the very beginning. Clearly, they count in some description to 200 calories of French fries is twice the portion of 100 calories of French fries. Clearly, obviously that's the case, but I guess so is 200 grams of French fries greater than twice the portion of 100 grams of French fries. And no one's out here trying to compare 200 grams of French fries to 200 grams of carrots.
[00:11:05.030] – Dr. Yeo
So I think there is this thing we got to get around where we need to be thinking about, sort of like the food we're eating. And while the calories have their use, I think they're complicating matters, because now you talk about people equating their weight to their health. People are equating the number of calories in a food to how good a food is. That is just not the case.
[00:11:30.270] – Allan
Because I can get a little packet of snacks and it's 100 calories, or I could eat 100 calories of chicken breasts.
[00:11:37.290] – Dr. Yeo
[00:11:38.110] – Allan
And it's a whole different dynamic. It's a whole different dynamic.
[00:11:40.680] – Dr. Yeo
It's absolutely different dynamic because of the amount of protein because chicken breast hasn't been processed, it's been cooked, it's been processed by being cooked. So I guess that equation, which I actually put out what it does mean is that the calories everywhere are wrong. That's the first piece of information that everyone gets out. But the issue is we eat food and we don't eat calories, and this is absolutely critically important. And our body has to work to differing degrees in order to pull the calories out after the food.
[00:12:15.730] – Dr. Yeo
And so when you actually eat something like a chicken breast, a piece of steak, a piece of fish. Ok. Like a whole food, you have to chew through it. It's either got a lot of protein or a lot of fiber depending on what you're eating. And so you have to kind of make your way through and your body takes time and takes energy. It takes energy to break down food. Whereas if you have something that's ultra processed, that's out of a pack and that has a shelf life of a million years.
[00:12:42.960] – Dr. Yeo
All right. It's been so ultra processed. And remember when I say ultra process, I'm not talking about fermenting. I'm not talking about the stuff you do in your kitchen. This is stuff that's done in a factory that we cannot replicate at home. Then, in effect, this procedure of auto processing is like an external stomach. So a lot of energy has already been in to the food and made the calories more available. So if you have 100 calories of chicken breast, as you said, versus 100 calories of an ultra processed foods, you will end up with a lot more calories from 100 calories of an ultra processed food.
[00:13:18.640] – Dr. Yeo
And naturally, an ultra processed food because of what's been happening to it has less protein and or less fiber, and it's higher in salt, sugar and fat. So this is the problem. Whereas if you have a chicken breast, you have a chicken breast, you can put salt on it if you wish. Pepper, soy sauce, whatever you want, you control what you add to it because you see the chicken breasts, you're doing something to it. Whereas when you get something out of a pack, we don't know what's in it.
[00:13:44.560] – Dr. Yeo
We just don't. And I think it's important to understand this fact.
[00:13:50.970] – Allan
Because in the key of what you just said there was we're eating food, we're not eating calories.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.
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[00:15:40.310] – Allan
Our ancestors before they invented calories in the I guess the late 1800 started talking about them. They didn't have calorie counts on their food. They ate till they were satiated, and then they stopped eating. And then they went back to work.
[00:15:56.320] – Dr. Yeo
So the whole concept of the calorie actually was not originally invented. It eventually became to look at human food, but was originally put together for farmers because what farmers were interested in was how much would you feed a cow or your chicken or your sheep and get good quality meat or eggs or milk or what have you that's a product. And so you could see why the farmers really cared. They really would care the calorie content of the food, what was coming out the other side of the animal.
[00:16:29.390] – Dr. Yeo
And so they could say, Well, we're going to change the food. We're going to make better investments in the food. It was only laterally that people said we can do this to human food, too. And that is when it became weaponized. Suddenly the calorie became not something about agriculture and talking about the food supply, but suddenly becoming equated to human beings. And then we worry about our health. And there we go.
[00:16:53.490] – Allan
Yeah, and all of it seems to get weaponized. I think that's what's actually kind of scary here is they'll say, okay, calories are weaponized and then, okay, fat, because fat has more grams more calories per gram than the other two. Then we've got to demonize fat. And then it's like, Well, no fat helps a little bit. But now we've got a demonized cholesterol. It's not the fast cholesterol. And then we got to demonize sugar. And then we got to demonize salt. And that's all the stuff that actually makes the food palatable in the first place, but in the right proportion in the right way.
[00:17:28.610] – Allan
The key of it to me, and you talked about this in the book was, can I eat less actual calories and be satiated? And there are certain foods that do that. And there are other foods that don't. And the first one I want to bring up is protein. Why is protein so important for weight loss?
[00:17:50.990] – Dr. Yeo
Okay, there are two different reasons, two broad reasons why, clearly, they're going to be associated. Famously, a calorie of protein makes you feel fuller, more satiated than a calorie of fat than a calorie of carb in that order. All right. And there are two different reasons why. Sorry. Like I said, we need food and not calorie. Freudian slip. And there are two stages your body goes through to extract calories from food. The first stage is digestion, which we talk about chewing, autochemical digestion. And there is a golden rule here, really quite a good golden rule, which works not only for protein, but also for fiber, but the longer something takes to digest, the farther down your gut it will go.
[00:18:41.240] – Dr. Yeo
And the farther down it goes, different hormones are released and you feel fuller. Okay. And so protein just happens to take longer to digest. It's more complicated. It's just more difficult to take it apart and something else. And so it tends to travel further down the gut, different hormones are released and you feel fuller. So that's the first thing. Now, protein is broken down into amino acids, the building blocks within your gut. And then that gets transported across the gut wall into your blood. And amino acids and sugar and fatty acids are themselves, not energy.
[00:19:16.890] – Dr. Yeo
They're few still. So they then transported to your organs, your cells, wherever you need them. They're then metabolized. And this is the second part of how we actually get the energy, digestion and metabolism. What happens with the metabolism is it takes a lot of energy to metabolize protein. For every 100 calories of protein that you eat, this is unusual. You don't normally do this. I'm just using it as an example, so that we understand. But for every 100 calories of protein we eat, we only ever use, on average, 70 calories.
[00:19:57.470] – Dr. Yeo
So it takes 30% of the protein calories you eat to handle protein. So just out of the blocks, all the protein calorie counts everywhere are 30% out because they don't take into account the 30% of energy it takes to actually deal with protein. And so it's a mix of the fact that protein takes longer to digest and more energy to metabolize together. It makes protein more satiating for us. It makes us feel fuller, even though we need exactly the same number of calories of protein and fats or carbs.
[00:20:31.210] – Allan
Yeah. Now the satiation is the important part. The 30% doesn't mean you get to eat 30% more.
[00:20:39.570] – Dr. Yeo
That's not what I mean. That's the wrong message.
[00:20:42.750] – Allan
Yeah. So just realizing that, yes. If you're looking at your macros and you're saying, okay, this meal is giving me a certain amount of protein. I think you said optimal is probably about 16%. And then I'm getting good carbs. And we'll talk about the good carbs in a minute and some fat. Then each of those is going to digest at their own pace. And because the protein takes longer to digest and uses more energy in the digestion, it makes it easier for you to stay satiated longer, eat less and lose weight.
[00:21:16.170] – Dr. Yeo
Now, that is absolutely right. But there is one thing. So if you happen to be trying to build your muscle and this could be because you're older or it could be because you are actually lifting and trying to bulk up, then there is a case to be made for thinking about how much protein you're actually getting in terms of protein calories and whether or not you need to alter whether or not you need to alter that. Now, this is not the case for everything, but I think there is a case to be made for.
[00:21:43.540] – Dr. Yeo
Maybe I need to up my protein a little bit more if I'm trying to bulk up.
[00:21:47.420] – Allan
And as a trainer, I would tell you if you feel like you're losing muscle mass due to sarcopenia because you're older, yes, you probably need more protein. And if you decide you want to take on a resistance training program for the sake of building muscle, you definitely need more protein. But as a basic, getting by 16% is probably a good number to start with. And then just see how you recover from your workouts, whether you are building muscle, losing muscle and change it out from there. Now the next one,
[00:22:18.250] – Allan
And we talked about carbs because there's different types of carbs. And I think many of us get conflated and saying, Well, okay, this is obviously a healthy carb because it grew in the ground. It's a plant. But then, of course, we dice it up and Fry it or batter it and Fry it.
[00:22:33.520] – Dr. Yeo
[00:22:35.310] – Allan
Like in San Francisco, you talked about the baseball games, the garlic fries, where there's as much garlic as there are fries. We ruin good things all the time. But fiber and fiber, similar to protein, has a compelling path through our digestive tract that changes the way we digest it, which also metabolize it, which also again helps us with satiation.
[00:23:05.200] – Dr. Yeo
So yes, the first thing is it's quite clear we don't digest most fiber, so some fiber we're able to digest. We'll do that in a second. But the vast majority of fiber that's the stringy stuff we see in the pulp and Orange juice and celery. And what have you we don't digest. It comes out sweet corn, corn on the cob, it comes out the other side. And so as we were discussing with the protein, because the fiber, therefore slows down the digestion of everything it takes longer to digest, it makes you feel fuller.
[00:23:32.990] – Dr. Yeo
The other thing about fiber that is very useful is fiber tends to be found almost exclusively in plants, almost exclusively. The type of macros you'll find in a plant tends to be largely carbohydrates, and maybe a little bit of fat, depending on what kind of plant we're actually dealing with. And the crucial thing is the fiber slows down the extraction of the carbohydrates and therefore the absorption of the sugar. And so you'll have exactly. This is the equivalent of drinking Orange juice versus eating an Orange.
[00:24:06.290] – Dr. Yeo
Right. It's the same kind of comparison where you're getting exactly the same amount of sugar, exactly the same amount of sugar. But if you drink Orange juice, it just gets absorbed the moment it hits a small intestine, whereas the fiber takes time. And so you then have a different glucose profile. Blood sugar profile after you eat something with fiber versus not. And that plays a very big role in terms of not only satiation, but also the eventual feeling of hunger again later as well.
[00:24:36.040] – Allan
Yeah. We call that the roller coaster where basically blood sugar spikes up, insulin kicks in. It sucks that sugar sometimes sending it to the muscles and sometimes sending it to the liver. But most of the time storing it as fat. And then your sugar crashes. And now you want some more Orange juice.
[00:24:54.100] – Dr. Yeo
That's right. And the fiber, evens this whole thing out, even though you get exactly the same. And this is the thing. This is the thing you try and explain to someone says, look, I'm not saying the foods are different. I'm not saying that they are magic, and I'm not saying the different types of sugars, the actual rate and speed and kinetics. Shall we say it is everything. It's absolutely everything to how your body manages its energy.
[00:25:18.770] – Allan
Yeah. And then the fiber goes further because we're not going to be able to digest most of it into our system. So it's ending up all the way down in the large intestine and some magical things happened down there.
[00:25:30.340] – Dr. Yeo
Some magical things happened down there because fiber, as we know, keeps you regular. And that's a good thing we don't want to be storing in us unnecessarily, but more crucially or equally crucially rather. It is very important for your gut microbiome, for the bugs in your gut that actually live there, and it keeps them happy. It keeps them happy. And what do I mean by happy? It means it keeps a nice variety of bugs. That pretty much is what healthy means. When people say, What's a healthy gut microbiome, the bugs variety.
[00:26:03.330] – Dr. Yeo
You only end up with one mono, very few varieties that tends to be meaning that you eat a very boring and very uniform type of diet, which is not great for you. So variety is the spice of life, and fiber is the spice for these bugs. And it's very important for your overall health, for your gut health. For your immune system, there is hardly any body system because, look, if you have bad guts, you feel awful. You're not having a good day. So having healthy guts is important to your overall health.
[00:26:41.910] – Allan
Now, one of the fundamental problems with nutrition. And I wish we could fix this is that there are labels on processed food, and there's seldom labels on the foods that are high in protein and fiber. Because you're picking those up at a farmer's market. You're picking those up in a produce stand in a meat market, and they're not wrapped and packaged the way that's required, particularly in the United States, for them to be labeled. And so if you find yourself eating more processed food, sometimes, I don't think I'm not even sure we recognize how processed our foods are.
[00:27:17.140] – Allan
There's a scale you talk about. It's not your scale. It's a scale that's been out there for us called the Nova scales, Nova classifications. And there's four of them. Could you go through those four real quick? So we would have an understanding, because in my opinion. And again, I'm just a guy that eats and try to get choice to take care of myself is I'm always trying to eat in that number one category, most of my foods. And then if there's a two or three, it's a little bit or it's a way to flavor the one or two.
[00:27:47.650] – Allan
And then I try my best to stay away from the four as much as possible. But could you go through that scale of what that actually means?
[00:27:54.250] – Dr. Yeo
Okay. So this was actually come up from a Brazilian scientist. Oh, gosh, I'm going to have to remember his name. That's terrible. I'm going to forget it, but I'll come up with it in a second. Brazilian scientist actually came up with this Nova system of one to four relatively recently. Actually, we're probably only looking at something like 2011 to 2016 year. So what are the four Nova categories? And this is to talk about how processed the food is. So Nova one, these are what we would recognize fruit, what we recognize as whole food, a piece of steak, a chicken wing.
[00:28:29.510] – Dr. Yeo
All right. So these are just food, whole foods that we would actually go and buy from a market. And what have you now? Nova two are flavorings ingredients. Okay. So, for example, this could be ground black pepper because the pepper has been toasted. It could be oil. It could be, for example, olive oil. It could be purified salt. It could be sugar from sugar cane or otherwise. And these are there for Nova type two. Now, what happens when you mix Nova type one and two together?
[00:29:09.810] – Dr. Yeo
You get a Nova type three. So three are the processed foods that we recognize as processed, for example, bread. Because bread has gone through the process of you put yeast, some fermentation, it goes up, you do things you can drink, beer. Okay. Now beer has gone through the fermentation process. So those are Nova group three and other foods that you might Cook. So pickling. Okay. So Kimchi or Sauerkraut, that would be a Nova group three. So that is the vast majority of food. And actually Nova groups one to three are all pretty much fine, because together they form what we would call whole foods to just minimally processed foods.
[00:29:54.780] – Dr. Yeo
Then there's no group four. And the problem with Nova group four is that that is where in North America, in Europe, in the high income countries, we get more than 50% of our calories from. And these are pretty much every prepackaged foods that are out there that have gone through a process that we cannot replicate in a domestic kitchen or even a restaurant. When you go to a restaurant, you're not getting a proper restaurant, not a fast food restaurant. If you go to a proper restaurant where there's a chef and kitchen and cooking your food, those are never going to be Nova group four.
[00:30:29.590] – Dr. Yeo
Okay. Whereas if you actually have to go through a factory process, it's everything that is in there. And so that's a lot of things. Just to be clear, I'm not demonizing them per se. We eat too much of them. Ice cream is going to be nova group four, croissants are going to be Nova group Four. Pastries are going to be Nova group Four. So there are those, but they at least look something resembling sorts of Nova group four. But then you can go really extreme.
[00:31:01.050] – Dr. Yeo
Right. And you can get these cheaper Nuggets where, for example, the meat is not really meat. Meat is even a strong word.
[00:31:12.970] – Allan
I will never eat another chicken McNugget, as long as I live.
[00:31:18.250] – Dr. Yeo
I don't want to get sued by them, but it's true, but that's the way they actually make it. So those are the four Nova groups. What we've got to do. Why does the Nova group four exist? This is a question to ask. I think it's helped keep 7 billion people in the world alive. Okay. There was a reason why it came about because of the industrial processes. They have economies of scale to make. They typically have very long shelf lives and they're very easily movable, and they're very cheap calories.
[00:31:51.340] – Dr. Yeo
And so as a result, we can actually survive on food. Certainly in the UK, you can now get up to 900 calories in the old school for less than a pound, depending on where you're getting. And a pound is a dollar 20 or one dollar 30 something like that. Yeah, really cheap calories. The problem is the amount we're eating now, that's the first thing. And the second problem is that because it's cheap, the poorer among society, people in the lower socio economic classes end up eating the cheaper food.
[00:32:26.440] – Dr. Yeo
Why? Because that is what's available in their food that they happen to be living in, for example. And it is also what they happen to be able to afford. And so I think it's a double tragedy. It's a tragedy, in a sense, where it is bad for us to eat too much of it and actually the poorest amongst us who are already at risk of diseases and things anywhere also end up eating it the most. So I think there's a double tragedy that we need to try and fix.
[00:32:51.600] – Allan
Well, I think there's a third piece in there that the food companies are responsible for. They're hiring scientists to make the food hyper palatable to make it addictive. I'm going to be talking to someone in a week or so about food addiction and how we deal with that. But the reality is if you find yourself there's just this food, and I like to term it as kryptonite, like your Superman, it's going to kill you. But you can't stay away from it. You can't do anything about it.
[00:33:18.450] – Allan
They make these foods like Kryptonite, they're so delicious. Even they advertise it. You can't eat just one, stack your chips, eat three of them because different flavors, and you're going to eat a whole two of them. And that's more calories than you should have had for your dinner. And they're hyperpatable. They're going to basically become blood sugar as soon as they hit your system. I think that there's a third piece there.
[00:33:46.210] – Dr. Yeo
And it's an arms war, because what's interesting is obviously there is no Advertisement campaign for strawberries. Not that I know. Or the Advertisement, maybe sometimes the Orange juice company, but even that. But then the Advertisement campaigns that go out to support these foods are incredible. And it's weapons grade. We talk about weaponization. It's weapons grade. And so you're someone selling from the local farm because there is no way you can compete against that. Certainly when it comes to kids, I think a lot of it is adults.
[00:34:21.950] – Dr. Yeo
We are obviously impressionable, but it's the kids. It's the kids that they're looking at and watch the cartoons. And they buy the happy meals. And they do the thing.
[00:34:31.550] – Allan
And the Super Bowl, which is coming up, which Congratulations on San Francisco's win this week.
[00:34:37.190] – Dr. Yeo
[00:34:38.300] – Allan
Super bowl. They'll spend millions of dollars. And you think, how many bags of potato chips do they have to sell? But they obviously are because they've been doing these commercials forever. So it obviously sells more potato chips.
[00:34:56.850] – Dr. Yeo
Otherwise they won't do it right. These guys are mercenary. Of course they are. They're not going to be spending the money if they're not getting a return from this.
[00:35:04.870] – Allan
Yeah. So that's the other side of just recognizing that these ultra processed foods are food stuff. They're built to be hyperpatable. They're built to be addictive. And, yes, they are low cost. They're easy to transport. They're self stable for a long, long time. So there are benefits from a feeding the world perspective to having this technology. But I kind of think it's gone a little on the other direction. And that's part of why we're in the problems we're at. And if we can flip back and we can start thinking about this scale of how processes my food and the less processing for the most part, the better.
[00:35:43.540] – Allan
One, two, three and trying to weigh your food and think of your food in that order, the more I have in category one, the better category two is next and then three. And then occasionally, if you want that Mars bar, have a Mars bar, but recognize where you are and what you're doing and enjoy the heck out of it and then be done. Get back to protein and fiber and your weight loss goals.
[00:36:11.070] – Dr. Yeo
I mean, there is another which I do raise in the book and sort of middle ground because I do think we need somehow a society to reformulate our food system. I think somehow we've managed to in trying to keep 7 billion people alive. I do think we've broken significant elements of our food system. Okay. And we're not here to necessarily discuss that. So we need to fix that. But in the meantime, however, in the meantime, how do we try and be pragmatic? And so what I do say is yes, if we want a Mars bar, we can have a Mars bar, but can we make a better Mars bar?
[00:36:46.380] – Dr. Yeo
I think that's the question, right? Can we convince at least in the interim. So this is not the be all and end all. But can we get the companies to put in more nuts, more dates and figs to try and up the fiber and protein content of a chocolate bar or a frozen lasagna or something? And every time I say this, what's interesting is I'm not trying to countenance all of us moving to Nova four as. It's just not my point. But my point is, how do we help the people who through no fault of their own, are almost forced to live on Nova Four Foods?
[00:37:23.210] – Dr. Yeo
Can we get the companies to improve their Nova Four foods? And that's another thing I'm quite passionate about in trying to. And whenever a company, a food manufacturer, for example, speaks to me, okay. I never take money from food companies for the reason, so that I can go in and speak to the food companies and be honest with them. They can listen to me or not listen to me, but I can say, look, you guys can continue making your chocolate bars or lasagna, what have you but can you make it better?
[00:37:52.930] – Dr. Yeo
Can you up the protein? Can you up the fiber? Can you do that? Surely you can. Surely you can do it without really that much of a significant rise in cost.
[00:38:01.570] – Allan
I suppose they can, especially when you think about it. We have a tendency to think of protein as being meat coming from an animal. And we think of fiber as coming from a plant and more of this could be plant based, and you can get there. Fiber is easy. It's practically nothing from a density perspective and almost no flavor from a cost perspective.
[00:38:25.970] – Dr. Yeo
It doesn't cost anything, right?
[00:38:28.710] – Allan
Because they stripped it off of something else. It's sitting there. It's sitting there. It's ready so they can. I know they can. And hopefully they will. They'll see the problem and realize, okay, if I want my clients, my customers to live longer and eat more, I actually have to not kill them.
[00:38:45.660] – Dr. Yeo
Keep them alive. Don't kill your customer.
[00:38:52.170] – Allan
Dr. Yeo, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:39:00.240] – Dr. Yeo
Well, oh, my goodness. That's a very good question. Actually, I'm not going to start with nutrition. Obviously, nutrition is one of them. The first is moving and literally moving. Now the interesting thing. And this could be if you are able, going long distances running or cycling or pumping. It could be that. Or it could be going in your garden, walking your dog, mowing the lawn. They're doing something like that. And while moving per se. And maybe sometimes people don't notice. Moving per se is not a great way of losing weight per se, but it is fabulous for you.
[00:39:40.760] – Dr. Yeo
You will never, ever be able to replace the goodness of moving. And so we don't move enough. And so we got to move. So that's the first thing I would say, move. And then the second thing is really think about nutrition, not in an evangelical and puritanical fashion. You talk about it. You sound just from our conversation here. You have the right approach. Look, sometimes you want a Mars bar. Sometimes your kid has a birthday party, you want to have a slice of cake, but we have too much of that.
[00:40:08.770] – Dr. Yeo
So I think thinking about the nutrition and simply if you consider protein and fiber in the diet that you eating, even as a shorthand as a proxy. Obviously the other thing. But even if we consider protein and fiber and moving, I think those three things would actually get you a long way to getting healthier.
[00:40:31.530] – Allan
If someone wanted to learn more about you and your book, Why Calories Don't Count. Where would you like for me to send them?
[00:40:38.820] – Dr. Yeo
They can send all good bookshops. I know some people don't like Amazon, and I don't want to push people there, but all good bookshops should sell the book, Why Calories Don't Count. There's also one. And if you want to hear anything more, just me bibling on and interviewing various people. I also have a podcast called Dr. Giles Yeo, Choose the Fat and it's available at Apple and Spotify and all your favorite places.
[00:41:07.690] – Allan
Okay, well, this is Episode 516, so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/516, and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Yeo, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:41:20.730] – Dr. Yeo
Allan, this has been a pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
[00:41:27.970] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:41:30.030] – Rachel
Allan, oh, my gosh. I don't even know where to start. There's a lot we can talk about. But I do want to mention that back when I started my weight loss journey a long time ago, pre Internet days, counting calories was a nightmare. It was just something I never wanted to do, and it's just difficult. It's just a pain to do, especially before smartphones and apps that are so helpful today. But just like a lot of people who start their weight loss journey, that's the only thing I knew about at that time.
[00:42:00.700] – Allan
Yeah, I've been on my fitness pal and some of the others, and I've talked to different people over the years that are tracking and some of them, it's quite literally, like they're doing the accounting for General Electric. I mean, it's just crazy measure every calorie, calculate these numbers, and then you're looking at your weight and they're trying to evaluate and you're like, okay, well, maybe I was off by a pecan the other day. If you find that doing the calorie counting is stressing you out. You're doing it wrong.
[00:42:38.120] – Allan
Now, full disclosure or Disclaimer, or however you want to look at it. If you have a food addiction, if you have an eating disorder or you just find that the gamification of this actually is helping you stick with it, that's great. There are a lot of people that are like that, and that's cool that the whole world is made up of different people. So I'm not going to say there's one way fits all. That'll never be the case. But if you're stressing over the calories, oh, I can't eat this.
[00:43:09.220] – Allan
It has too many calories in it. It's chicken breasts.
[00:43:17.290] – Rachel
Well, that's a good point. I mean, think about what you're eating. I think one light bulb moment that I had many years ago when I did have my fitness pal was one of the foods I did like to eat after a half marathon. I used to go to McDonald's and get the Quarter Pounder meal because I craved the salt and the fat in that meal. And one day I realized that the calorie count for the Quarter Pounder with cheese meal was the equivalent of my total calorie intake for that day.
[00:43:49.700] – Rachel
And it was a big light bulb moment for me because obviously, I can't live on one meal per day, especially running half marathons. But that probably wasn't the most healthy choice that I could have picked for that time.
[00:44:05.750] – Allan
Yeah, one, I think if you read Doctor Yeo's book, you're not going to eat fast food ever again.
[00:44:18.170] – Allan
he actually taught you a lot of people don't want to know how they make the sausage. And I'll just say, you don't want to know how they make the burgers, and you don't want to know how they make the chicken McNuggets. So sue me, McDonald's if you have to. But I'm just going to say, okay, no. Just no.
[00:44:41.470] – Allan
It's okay to have those kinds of things if you start assessing about things and get granted if you have a food issue or things like that, then yeah, I'm going to have Dr. Susan on in a few weeks, probably right around the beginning of the year. And we're going to talk about that because she has these very strict rules in her life. And everybody she coaches very strict rules and those work. But she also has this resume process, which is when you go off kilter, you understand it, you learn from it, and you kind of get yourself back into your box.
[00:45:19.930] – Rachel
[00:45:21.950] – Allan
That approach works. Now most of us can't live in a calorie counting box. We have jobs, we have children, we have friends and family, and we have things that pop up. Like you said, I finished this run. I'm hungry.
[00:45:38.060] – Allan
What's there? McDonald's. Okay. Is it McDonald's or banana? And I'm sorry, but back in the day, McDonald's tastes better than the banana. You need the potassium. Okay, great. But I'm going to go for the burger, too, back in the day. But I think what we're trying to come out with this is number one. Look for the foods that serve you. And we talked with Dr. Yeo about how protein and fiber are going to be your friends in this pursuit. And if you're eating the foods that provide the best quality of that, then you're not necessarily eating a whole lot of meat to get your protein, because you can get that from a vegetable source, which is another thing he talks about in the book.
[00:46:28.330] – Allan
But you look at getting protein because it takes longer to digest and it's more energy burning as you do that. So you're getting less calories out of what appears to be a lot of calories, and it's going to keep you fuller longer. The other side is the fiber. And whether you want to go keto or you want to go as far as carnivore, he doesn't like those ways of eating. From the perspective, you're not getting the fiber. And so if you find that you try keto and you're just not pooping and taking a little bit of magnesium, which we're going to have Thomas DeLauer on the show in a week or so.
[00:47:03.090] – Allan
And we're going to talk about mineral deficiencies. So if you're having trouble at the loo, as Dr. Yeo would say, then you might want to try some magnesium. But if those things aren't working, what you're doing is not serving your body and you're not feeling good and healthy, then we're missing the point. The point is to try to get healthy. The weight loss is the side effect.
[00:47:26.110] – Rachel
I love that part when you and Dr. Yeo mentioned the weight losses, the side effect and also not obsessing. If counting calories becomes too much of an obsession, if it's distracting you, then it's really not the greatest tool in the toolbox. But also, I think focusing on the protein and the fiber and the healthy vegetables that'll give you the nutrients that you need to feel energetic throughout the day and satisfy whatever activities you do as well.
[00:47:56.510] – Allan
I couldn't even imagine sitting down at, like, a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and there being like, pumpkin pie there. And you're on my fitness pal trying to figure out how much is a slice to get the 100 grams and you're like, mom, do you have a scale so I can weigh this pumpkin pie? If you want some of the pumpkin pie, heat the pumpkin pie.
[00:48:22.560] – Rachel
Well, that's perfectly acceptable, especially during these holiday times when all these wonderful family traditional foods are coming out and you want to try your mom's recipe or your grandma's recipe or something important. I mean, there's so much meaning to that, and if you just enjoy it and have a taste of it and not overdo it, you're less likely to feel those after effects. Thanksgiving is my favorite meal. I tend to eat a little bit more than I normally do, and I feel the after effects later, so enjoy what you can and then get back to your normal eating and you'll feel much better in the days ahead.
[00:49:01.280] – Allan
Now, one of the cool things about Doctor Yeo's book is that when he gets into this, it is a lot of biochemistry, but he says it in a way that is actually follow able. Okay, he still has to use the words mitochondria, Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle and all the words because the words are the words. It's not like he can come up. But he comes up with a lot of ways to think about how that works and why things work the way they work. And then in the end, when he's explaining why protein is a better choice, why fiber is a better choice and those types of things, it clicks, you're like, oh, of course.
[00:49:45.750] – Allan
Why is it that you can eat sugar and your blood sugar shoots up and you can eat protein and it doesn't. Or you can eat sugar with fiber. And it doesn't like he was talking about the Orange juice and the Orange. And so he gives you all the background to understand. He didn't just make this up and say he doesn't want you drinking Orange juice. He's just trying to explain to you, if you're trying to lose weight, the Orange is the better deal.
[00:50:13.480] – Rachel
Sure, it makes total sense. That's so helpful, too. It's hard to imagine the glass of Orange juice being so much different than the actual Orange itself. But it does make sense when you discuss that in your interview.
[00:50:25.750] – Allan
It's not as convenient. And honestly to me, if you're trying to lose weight, drinking your calories is the worst way to do it, because again, if it's a liquid, your body is going to digest it very quickly. It's going to be out of your system and in your blood, and therefore it's not going to satiate you. It just won't. Whereas if you have to go through your system and you have to digest. Actually, physically digest that you're burning calories. Doing that digestion. If it's liquid, the digestion is over.
[00:50:55.060] – Allan
It's just flowing through and saying, okay, ha ladi da and then sugar. And it's in your system. So good. Pick me up in the morning, Orange juice and coffee. But then you're going to be hungry by 10:00am if you ate at seven because you didn't give your body that long term full feeling that it's going to get with the fiber and protein.
[00:51:20.130] – Rachel
It's important that we pay attention to how we feel after we eat these different foods. Because I think that once you find what you enjoy eating and you get a good feeling afterwards, you feel full. It's a better way to plan your meals, especially if you plan them around protein.
[00:51:39.830] – Allan
Yes. Absolutely. All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you and I'll talk to everybody else next week.
[00:51:46.540] – Rachel
[00:51:47.450] – Allan
[00:51:48.320] – Rachel
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On episode 507 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we talk to Dr. Gary Foster about his book, The Shift: 7 Powerful Mindset Changes for Lasting Weight Loss.
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If you struggle with failed diets and exercise programs, it might be all in your head. In his book, Mind of Weight, Dr. Ian K. Smith shares with us some great tips, tactics, and strategies to ensure we approach our health and fitness with the right mindset.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– John Somsky||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Deb Scarlett||– Judy Murphy||– Melissa Ball|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Leigh Tanner||– Tim Alexander|
|– John Dachauer|
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Often when we’re trying to lose weight, we end up getting into a stall or a plateau. Our guest today in his book, The Setpoint Diet, is going to tell you why that happens and what you can do to break the cycle. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Calorie Myth and I’m pretty certain The Setpoint Diet is also going to make that bestseller list. With no further ado, here’s Jonathan Bailor.
Allan (1:14): Jonathan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Jonathan Bailor (1:17): Thank you so much for having me.
Allan (1:18): When I was really getting deep into my self-education of what I needed to do for myself, I came across The Calorie Myth. It was an eye-opening book, to say the least, for someone who really had been brought up in the mantra of calories in / calories out, just eat less, exercise more. I’d get on the treadmill or I’d get on the elliptical and I worked my butt off, and then I’m starving all day. Then you eat more calories to get your calories back. I’m like, “I’m eating at a deficit and I’ve done this for a while and it’s not working.” I think a lot of people run into that fact of, they’re doing everything right, and their body just doesn’t want to get rid of the weight.
Jonathan Bailor (2:06): It can be extremely frustrating, Allan. It gets to the root of my whole team’s work, and really, we stand on the shoulders of giants, articulating research done by the top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, at Johns Hopkins, UCLA, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic over the past 60 years that’s been buried from the mainstream. And this definition of, you’re doing everything right – what we’ve found is, the definition of what is right is wrong. It’s analogous to when we look at obesity and diabetes as diseases, which they are, as classified by the American Medical Association, that if you were to go to a doctor with a broken arm and the doctor were to prescribe you cough syrup, and you took that cough syrup correctly. Chances are your arm wouldn’t get any better and you would feel very helpless. It’s a condition called “learned helplessness”, because you’re doing everything you’re told, but the treatment for the disease you’re suffering from or the medical condition you are suffering from is simply incorrect. And that’s what we found over the past now 15 years, that this prescription we’ve been written for both obesity, overweight, and diabetes is simply wrong. What we have been told is right is wrong, and that is evidenced by the catastrophic impact it’s had on our culture.
Allan (3:26): Yes. I do have to say this also – in your book, The Setpoint Diet, you really got deep into the science. Each point you had in there was supported, and I really, really liked that. It was so much support, you couldn’t put all the bibliography in the book. You have to link to another website if you really want to go down the rabbit hole. I did. I spent a lot of time in that rabbit hole, because it was really fascinating stuff. Our body has this setpoint, and I talk to my clients about it all the time as they plateau. They’re working hard, they’re doing some of the right things, or most of the right things, but their body’s going to somewhat hit this setpoint. You call it a setpoint; I call it the body’s happy weight. We might not be happy with it, but our body is. Can you talk a little bit in detail about the setpoint and why we have a setpoint?
Jonathan Bailor (4:17): Allan, the term “setpoint” – a lot of your listeners may say, “I’ve heard of that term before.” And there is a bit of an irony here. In 1983, there was a book published called The Setpoint Diet – literally the exact same title of my book. But you can’t copyright a title. And that was also the year I was born. So I don’t know if fate had the destiny in store for me. The concept of “setpoint” has been around for a while, but the thing that’s happened over the past 7 to 10 years, which has been so revolutionary is, it’s gone from the setpoint theory to, we’ve now proven this. When I say “we”, I mean the broader scientific community, not me personally. For instance, if you look at even Wikipedia and you look up diabetes – the medical condition diabetes is defined by the breakdown in the body’s ability… This is according to Wikipedia; I’m not saying that Wikipedia is like God’s truth, I’m just saying that even Wikipedia is acknowledging this. It says that diabetes is the breakdown of the body’s ability to homeostatically, a.k.a. automatically regulate blood sugar around a healthy range. You do things to raise your blood sugar, your body does things to lower it. You do things to lower your blood sugar, your body automatically does things to elevate it. There’s never been a question, ever, that there is a setpoint around your blood sugar. There’s also never been a question, ever, that there is a setpoint for blood pressure. The breakdown in that homeostatic regulation of blood pressure is called hypertension. The breakdown in the homeostatic regulation of blood sugar is called diabetes. And we’ve now proven, over the past 7 to 10 years, that the breakdown in the body weight setpoint, which is as irrefutable as the blood pressure and blood sugar setpoints, is known as the disease of obesity or overweight. And it’s no more debatable than that your body regulates body temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar. Once you understand that, it changes everything about how we approach weight gain and weight loss.
Allan (6:43): Right, because if we don’t reset our setpoint, basically we are not going to be able to, in the long term, keep that weight off.
Jonathan Bailor (6:53): That’s exactly right, and it would be just as absurd. Once someone gets the following point, it’s a little bit like seeing life in color for the first time. It will change the way you see everything. So, if you went to your doctor and you had diabetes, and your doctor said, “Eat less”, you would say, “Wait, what?” Eating less does not fix the problem with your pancreas, the problem with insulin secretion. The underlying root of the breakdown of the blood sugar setpoint can’t be solved by starvation. If you went to your doctor suffering from hypertension – again, the breakdown in the blood pressure setpoint – and your doctor said, “Eat less, you lazy glutton”, we would say, “Hey, wait a minute. There’s something else happening.” It’s the same thing with body weight.
Allan (7:55): Right. Now, in the book you mention three hidden factors that are basically setting this setpoint. So if I want to fix my setpoint, these are the three areas I need to think about, right?
Jonathan Bailor (8:09): Exactly. The term, again, “setpoint” has been around for quite a bit of time, but what has changed recently is a concrete definition and identification of what makes it up, how it breaks down and how we can fix it. So, what determines your body weight or body fat setpoint is the interaction of three key elements of your biology and physiology – your brain, your gut, and your hormones; and very specifically, when there is inflammation in your brain, when there is dysregulation in your gut microbiota, and when you have hormonal imbalances. Your first brain and your second brain – your gut – communicate via hormonal signals to automatically regulate appetite, to automatically burn calories. It’s not that calories don’t exist, and it’s not that calories in / calories out is like unicorns. It’s that your body is brilliantly set up to automatically regulate calories in and calories out so that you maintain this body weight setpoint. But when that system – the brain, the gut and the hormones – breaks down, that setpoint creeps up and obesity ensues.
Allan (9:30): When people say “calories in / calories out” or they want to keep that paradigm, they just want to keep sticking to that simple rule, I say there are periods of time when our ancestors had no food, and there were times when the food was abundant. I’m guessing that our bodies probably weren’t designed to allow them to get obese over the summer and then whittle away over the winter. There are some metabolic changes that are happening during those periods of time that are allowing them to continue to survive.
Jonathan Bailor (10:01): That is correct. The thing that is essential to understand is that at the most basic level, the only thing that we need to prove from a scientific perspective to say that the setpoint is an irrefutable fact is if you feed people more calories than they need, does their body automatically burn more calories? The answer is “Yes”. If you feed people fewer calories than they need, does their body automatically burn fewer calories? The answer is “Yes”. And you can even look at it from a different perspective. You could say if someone exercises very heavily earlier in the day, does their body work to conserve calories later in the day? The answer is “Yes”. We’ve all experienced that – you have a really tough workout; how do you feel for the rest of the day? Tired. That’s your body automatically working to balance calories, and as a consequence, your weight, as calories are a component of that; not the be-all-end-all – they are a component, automatically.
Allan (11:02): I’d say tired and very hungry.
Jonathan Bailor (11:04): Exactly.
Allan (11:06): Now, I want to deep dive a little bit into each of those three factors, because I think there’s a lot of value in understanding how each of those affects our setpoint. Can we start with the brain inflammation and work through the three and talk about how that really impacts the setpoint?
Jonathan Bailor (11:24): Inflammation in your brain, or very specifically areas around your lateral and ventromedial hypothalamus… We’ll take a step back. There are a couple of parts of your brain. The one that is relevant for our conversation here is called your hypothalamus, and your hypothalamus is the part of your brain that has to do with allowing mission-critical functions that must take place 24/7, 365, without conscious control to happen. For instance, if you had to consciously think about regulating breaths in and breaths out, you could not function as a human being. We could not function as a species if our conscious brain, our neocortex, had to worry about beating our heart, or blinking our eyes, or shivering when we got cold, or prompting the sensation of needing to use the restroom when we consume excess liquids. There’s a part of your brain that is 100% dedicated to taking care of those life-sustaining, constant, mission-critical functions. That’s called your hypothalamus. When inflammation exists in the hypothalamus, those signals of, you need to use the restroom, or you need to breathe, or you need to slow down or speed up, can become compromised. And we know this irrefutable fact that there are certain substances completely independent of calories – take MSG for example, that have a detrimental impact on the hypothalamus, causing inflammation in the hypothalamus. And there are foods, such as certain Omega-3 fatty acids which reverse inflammation in the hypothalamus. So if we’re having a conversation about weight and we are not discussing inflammation in the brain and we are not discussing the hypothalamus, we are essentially having at best incomplete and at worst counterproductive discussion about weight.
Allan (13:27): Okay. Now, foods and things that are going to help us with this brain inflammation – you mentioned Omega-3, so I’m assuming fish, fish oil is going to help us; processed foods are going to hurt us.
Jonathan Bailor (13:42): Yes. When it comes to brain, gut and hormones, the good news is, as fate would have it, not dying is relatively simple. If it was extremely complicated, we probably would not have survived and thrived as a species as well as we have. So the way that we need to eat to optimize the health of our brain and our gut and our hormones is the same, which is important because I don’t want you to have to memorize, “I have to eat these foods for my brain, and then I need to set aside this part of my plate for my hormones, and this part of my plate for my gut.” We can cover what to eat all at once if you’d like.
Allan (14:23): We’re going to get into the SANE modeling in a bit, so we’ll get into that then. Cool. So let’s step into the microbiota.
Jonathan Bailor (14:35): One of the most shocking things when I talk with people about this casually is understanding that about 90% of the cells that exist in what you call “you”, are not yours. They’re cells of microorganisms that live in or on you. That which we define as a human being is actually trillions of little beings put together. We’re learning more and more about that, the mainstream is talking more and more about that. But when you look specifically at body weight, the research is so clear that there are certain types of bacteria which are much more prevalent in the gut of individuals who struggle with overweight than there are in individuals who are naturally thin. We can even go so far as to say there are certain types of microbiota that crave – these little creatures crave different foods. So while you think you might have a craving for sugary and starchy foods, it is literally true that you don’t, but rather these microorganisms that are living in your gut do. If you want to enlist billions of little bacterial helpers to help maintain a healthy weight and to literally crave the SANE foods that facilitate that, you can. And you’re not an army of one; you’re an army of trillions working towards this lower setpoint, the SANE lifestyle, and really feeling great and craving the foods that help you to feel that way.
Allan (16:23): Cool. And then the final piece is the hormones.
Jonathan Bailor (16:27): Hormones – talked about ad nauseum, but still not given enough attention. We can’t talk too much about hormones, because when you go to a gym and when you look on the television screens and when you look at the ads, it’s not going to say things like, “Do this exercise because of its hormonal impact.” It’s going to say, “Do this exercise because you burn this many calories.” At the end of the day your body does what hormones tell it to do. Period. This is so important to understand. Let’s use a simple example that most people are familiar with – anabolic steroids. Why do anabolic steroids work? Anabolic steroids work because they are essentially a hormonal messenger that tells your body to build muscle, therefore your body builds muscle. We know testosterone communicates X, and your body does X. Estrogen communicates Y, and your body does Y. We know that. So if we are talking about eating and exercise, if we’re talking about weight loss without talking about the hormonal impact of what we’re eating, or the hormonal impact of how we’re moving – again, we’re just missing… I’m going to try to think of an analogy on my feet here, but if you went to the eye doctor and the eye doctor was like, “Let’s talk about how your feet are doing”, you’re like, “Doc, I can’t see, and we’re not even talking about my eyes, we’re talking about my feet. What?” If you are not having a conversation about hormones while you are discussing your weight and your overall health, it’s a little bit like going to the eye doctor and have a conversation about your feet, because your body does what your hormones tell it to do. So if you don’t know and if you haven’t been empowered with the information you need to control that conversation and to get your body saying what you want it to say, a.k.a. “Burn fat and help me feel energetic”, but rather you have hormones getting triggered that are saying, “Store fat and make me feel tired” – it doesn’t matter how little you eat or how much you exercise. That conversation will probably only go worse and make the problem worse.
Allan (18:39): I was going through the hormones section of the book and going through each of them, there were some that came up that we don’t talk about much at all. We talk about insulin, we talk about leptin and ghrelin, we talk about testosterone, cortisol. But after that there are some of these other ones, like CCK, adiponectin and glucagon. There’s a lot of them. In my mind, as I’m getting into it, I know what most of these do fairly well and I know how to balance and manage a few of them, but I think the cool part of all of this was that your SANE method actually addresses all of them.
Jonathan Bailor (19:23): I appreciate you saying that, Allan, because that is the key thing here. The thing that I really don’t like is when people are made to believe that their bodies are fundamentally broken or stupid, and unless they micromanage these mission-critical biological functions, they are doomed to a state of obesity and disease. I think that is a diabolical way of looking at the human body, that unless we intervene and micromanage, our bodies are destined to be fat, diseased, diabetic, cancerous wastelands, which when you think about it is really what a lot of the fitness and diet industry says: Unless you know what every single hormone is doing at every single point in time, and what your calorie count is, and exactly how many steps you’ve taken, etcetera, things are going to go off the rails and you’re going to be in bad shape, which cannot be true. Why? Before we had any of the problems we have today, nobody did those things and everyone was healthier. So, by definition, it cannot be required to micromanage every aspect of your input and output in order to achieve effortless health, as evidenced by the fact that radically more people enjoyed effortless health in the past than the present. I’m not talking about hunter gatherers; I’m talking about in the ‘50s or in the ‘60s, when no one went to a gym, no one was focused on calories, and everyone was just healthier. What’s beautiful is, we can read The Setpoint Diet. I would appreciate if people read The Setpoint Diet, I think they will live radically better if they read The Setpoint Diet. But even if you remember no names of any hormones, if you simply remember to eat SANE foods in such high quantities that you’re too full for inSANE foods – all the brain stuff, all the hormone stuff, all the gut stuff will take care of itself and you will live radically better.
Allan (21:18): That’s one of the messages that came out of the book that I was really happy to see. Up until maybe about a year or two ago, diabetes was a progressive disease – you were going to die. You were going to lose feet, you were going to lose your kidneys, everything. And now we’re saying, no, if you make lifestyle changes, you can reverse your diabetes. The other thing was obesity – you’ve got some genetic problems. We can work out and we can cut some of the weight, but you’re always going to be big boned and overweight. And now we’re finding, no, if you make substantive lifestyle changes, we can reverse obesity. You talked about the SANE foods, and I definitely want to get into that. What are the SANE foods so we can stay away from the inSANE foods?
Jonathan Bailor (22:08): We came up with the… Well, that’s actually a bad way of describing it. It was more as if the universe presented this acronym, SANE, to me while I was doing this 15-year research journey. I stumbled upon it. I was doing all this research and it seemed like there are these things that are not commonly discussed and they’re not in any way, shape or form controversial in the scientific community. These are things like how much foods fill you up and how long they keep you full. Studies have been done for decades on, “Let’s feed people 1,200 calories of this type of diet and feed people 1,200 calories of this type of diet, and see which keeps people fuller longer.” That existed and that’s called satiety. And then the research around the different impact on hormones that foods have – this is sometimes discussed in popular literature as glycemic index or glycemic load, but it’s much broader than just insulin or just some of these sexy hormones that are discussed. So, the way I defined that is I just said “aggression”, because it looked like it was very clear in the research that there are some foods and some lifestyle decisions in general that caused these wild, aggressive swings in your hormones, and you can imagine that’s not great. And then the nutrient density – this is something that’s extremely important and is talked about a lot, but unfortunately is not talked about in the most optimum way, which is the ratio of essential nutrients – vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids – to things that are nonessential and / or toxic, like sugar. So, someone looks at the cereal aisle, they see Honey Nut Cheerios and it says it’s healthy because it’s enriched with vitamins and minerals. But if you put a vitamin pill in a can of Pepsi, I don’t think anyone would say that that can of Pepsi has now become healthy. So it’s essential that we look at the ratios.
Allan (23:58): Please don’t tell PepsiCo about that vitamin, because they will do it.
Jonathan Bailor (24:05): Yeah, they might do it. So, we’ve got to take a different look at nutrition. And then there are also different macronutrients that are processed differently by the body, more or less efficiently stored as fat. As the universe would have it, we have satiety, aggression, nutrition and efficiency, and that happens to spell out the acronym SANE. And what’s really cool is that all four of those factors can be objectively measured. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. It’s not my opinion, it’s not any researcher’s opinion. There’s a scientific method to measure them. So we can look at any food and say, “How satisfying, aggressive, nutritious and efficient is it?” And then we can say, “These are SANE foods, these are inSANE foods.” To the extent that you choose to eat SANE foods, you will live extremely well, and to the extent that you choose to eat inSANE foods, you will not live as well. And we can empower people with that information.
Allan (24:54): Now, you laid out several of the SANE foods and several of the inSANE foods. I don’t want to go through an exhaustive list, but there was one that came up and your approach to it was very different than anyone else. You’re not a big fan of olive oil.
Jonathan Bailor (25:17): I can’t give away the farm on this show by definition, because it’s a long book, but I’ll give away some of the farm here, which is SANE foods fall into four categories: non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, and low fructose fruits, in that order. And one of the biggest, coolest new things about the new book is we actually subdivide those into optimal groups. So these are the optimal non-starchy veggies, optimal nutrient-dense proteins. These are the things that are most therapeutic to lower your setpoint. The common characteristic amongst SANE foods and amongst all those food groups is the presence of three things: water, fiber and protein, which is beautiful; this all becomes very simple. Basically foods that are high in water, fiber and protein are saner than foods that are lower in water, fiber and protein. If you look at vegetables, non-starchy vegetables are very high in water, fiber, protein. That’s why if you put spinach in a blender, it blends and becomes a liquid, whereas if you put crackers in a blender and blend them, it becomes a powder. Crackers, don’t have liquid in them; spinach is primarily all liquid, it just doesn’t look that way. It’s also shockingly high in protein. We all know that vegetables have a lot of fiber. Anyway, if we look at fat, we have been told a lot about, first of all, fat doesn’t make you fat, which is 100% true. And then we’ve also heard a lot about olive oil, like slather your food in olive oil and it’s fantastic to use olive oil. Without question, olives contain more water, fiber and protein than olive oil. The point that I make in the book, and the point that I would encourage people to think about, and the point that people in the same community have found to be so transformational for them in breaking through plateaus and in living well is, if coconut oil is good for you, which it is, relative to other oils, if olive oil is good for you, which it is, relative to other oils, you know what’s even better for you? Coconut. You know what’s even better for you? Olives. We call these “whole food fats” because they have more nutrients. They have more water, they have more fiber, they have more protein. I am not anti-olive oil; I’m pro complete scientific information. So, if one were to say that olive oil is a healthy oil and olive oil is a SANE oil, I would 100% agree with that statement. Now if someone said, “I think you should get 600 calories per day from olive oil, because fat is good for you”, I would say if you got 600 calories per day from whole food fats, because fat is good for you, you would live radically better than if those 600 calories came from a low water, low fiber, and low protein fat source such as olive oil.
Allan (28:07): Absolutely. Now, you did a spin on the MyPlate, and you call it the SANE plate. You’ve already laid out the elements of what we should be looking for, as far as fiber, water and protein, but you’ve actually laid this out now on a plate, so we know how much of the non-starchy vegetables, how much of the protein and how much of the low fructose fruit we should have on the plate. Can you talk about what that percentage is and what that looks like?
Jonathan Bailor (28:41): Really important to think in terms of a plate, because I don’t know anybody, myself included, who goes to a restaurant or to a dinner table or to the grocery store and says, “Where can I find the fiber?” or, “What is the protein that we’re going to eat right now?” or, “I want some water on my plate.” It doesn’t make any sense, right? Those are scientific terms that don’t really help us at the dinner table. So when we sit down at the dinner table or at a restaurant, what should our plate look like? It’s extremely simple. Half your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are vegetables that you could, but you don’t have to, eat raw. This is a really important distinction, because a lot of people have been told that things like corn and potatoes are vegetables. They’re not; they can’t be eaten raw. They’re starches. Non-starchy vegetables are plants which are generally quite colorful with a few exceptions, which could be eaten raw. Think any green leafy vegetable, think things like peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, zucchinis, broccoli, asparagus, so on and so forth. I want you to fill half your plate with those, and I don’t care how you prepare them because what’s most important is getting them into your body in a way that you enjoy and can keep up forever. So if you hate the taste of raw vegetables, please don’t try to force yourself to eat raw vegetables. Use olive oil in that context to sauté those vegetables and make them taste great, because getting the vegetables into your body is priority number one. Just please don’t deep fry them. That is the only form of preparation that I would advise against.
The next big portion of your plate – about a third of your plate – is going to be nutrient-dense proteins. It’s really important that we focus on nutrient–dense proteins because you hear a lot of things about meat – it’s good, bad, etcetera. It’s just people being imprecise with language, which is unfortunate because certainly things like spam, hot dogs and processed meat are not good for us, much like, for example, processed sugar, which is a plant, is not good for us. Processed anything is not good for us, whether it be meat or plants. So we want to eat nutrient-dense proteins. These are generally humanely raised animals and / or wild-caught seafood. Canned is fine, frozen is fine, and having a big chunk of that on our plate because of the therapeutic impact of those nutritious sources of protein. And then the remainder of your plate can be low fructose fruits, like berries or citrus fruits. These are going to provide you the most of what you need to thrive and the least of things you don’t, such as fructose or other forms of sugar. And / or whole food fats, such as nuts and seeds. But what we’ve seen a lot of people do to make this even simpler is make half your plate non-starchy vegetables, half your plate nutrient-dense protein, and then use whole food fats and low fructose fruits for dessert. That’s when this gets really fun, because no way of eating that is disgusting or unappetizing is a way of eating that I would recommend anyone engage in for life. Life is about being here, being present, being happy, enjoying oneself. So, what’s beautiful is things like coconut, coco, almond flour, berries, all these types of delicious, decadent foods – these can make up the backbone of cakes, cookies, pies, ice creams, puddings. Pretty much any baked or dessert food you can think of, we can SANE-itize using whole food fats and low fructose fruits. Then eating becomes so simple – just pack your plate with non-starchy vegetables and nutrient-dense protein, and then eat some SANE dessert, and you will drop your setpoint and live extremely well.
Allan (32:20): Hallelujah! Now, I want to shift gears a little bit. You got into a series where you were talking about mindset, and you got into goal setting. You made a clear delineation about the types of goals we should be setting for ourselves, and I thought that was just brilliant. Could you take a moment to start talking about goal setting and the types of goals we should actually be setting for ourselves?
Jonathan Bailor (32:49): We talk a lot about mindset in The Setpoint Diet and it’s extremely important because where your head goes, your body follows. How many of us have said, “I’m going to do this!” and get really excited? And motivation wanes and it doesn’t materialize over time. There is tremendous research that has taken place that can help us, just like we know more about nutrition. The realm of positive psychology is so powerful. Like a lot of what we’ve been told about nutrition is just wrong and counterproductive, a lot of what we’ve been told about goal setting is wrong or counterproductive. For example, the way that we are generally told to make goals is what’s called “results goals”, and we’re generally told to do big results goals. Let me give you an example. I want to lose 100 pounds. That’s a big goal, and it is a result – 100 pounds is a result. The reason that that is bad – in the scientific research we define “bad” as “ineffective”, meaning it’s not going to yield the outcome you want. First and foremost, you don’t have ultimate control over the speed or ability to lose 100 pounds. There are things outside of your control that influence that, so making a goal that you have limited or no control over is not helpful, because if you can’t control it, that’s not helpful. But the other thing that’s even more important for a lot of people that we’ve worked with, is when you set a goal like that, you will feel like a failure every second of every day, because you haven’t reached that goal. And you’re not even close to reaching that goal. So you’ve now set yourself up. Your brain is going to say, “Alright, I’ve got to lose 100 pounds. Have I lost 100 pounds yet? No, failure. How about now? No, failure.” You wake up tomorrow: “No, failure.”
A much more empowering and effective approach to goal setting instead of big results goals… Which are fun; they’re like mental junk food: “We’re going to go to a conference, and I’m going to lose 100 pounds. And I’m going to make a million dollars, and I’m going to get married and have five kids. I’m going to do that all in the next three weeks.” And for the next 12 hours I’m going to be super excited, just like I ate a bunch of sugar, but then I’m going to crash and be like, “How the hell am I actually going to do any of that?” So it’s like junk food for your brain. A much more SANE approach is to create small process goals. What is a process goal? A process goal is something that you do and something that you have complete control over – so a process goal of, “I am going to blend a SANE green smoothie” – you have control over that, and it’s a process. I am going to do that, and it’s small. I’m going to do that right now. And it’s not super sexy, but what we’ve seen in the research, which is quite clear, is if you start stacking up process goals, if you start taking tiny actions that you can control daily, consistently, there is very little in life that will be outside of your reach. We know that’s true. Small, consistent change over time is the only way anything has ever happened in any of our lives, barring winning the lottery. We just need to recognize and embrace that and treat the way we eat and exercise in the same way.
Allan (36:17): You’re going to be happy to know that I did set a SANE goal and yesterday when I went to the grocery store, I bought a lot of leafy greens and I actually made your blueberry blast smoothie yesterday. And my goal is to do that each day now.
Jonathan Bailor (36:34): That is absolutely fantastic. That’s an example of some process goals that I can write down, I can check off, and I can do. I’m going to go to the grocery store and buy these ingredients. Allan, that’s an important point, because we really want to break stuff down into, what is the next action? It’s one thing to be like, “I’m going to make a SANE smoothie.” Okay, what are you going to blend it with? “Crap. Don’t have a blender. Don’t have the ingredients.” You want to just back up and say, “Where do I start?” You start where you start. Try to describe to me if you tried to teach someone how to walk. No, explain with words how to walk. You take one foot and you pick it up, you put it in front of the other. At some point we need to reduce stuff down to the simplest state: “I am going to get in my car. I’m going to drive to Safeway. I’m going to go to aisle 3. I’m going to pick up a bag of spinach. I’m going to go to the checkout.” That seems silly, but it’s like a blueprint. It’s like code for your life. There’s a reason computers work. The reason that computers work when they work is because instructions have been laid out extremely clearly, every step of the way. We need to do that for ourselves in our lives.
Allan (37:56): When you’re doing coding, you’ve got to think, “What’s my next step? What’s my next step?” And this is very similar. I already had a very good blender. It’s not the Vitamix that you recommend. It’s called Ninja, but it’s still a very good blender. And then I knew I need to get some more leafy greens, I need to pick up the lemons. I didn’t actually use the erythritol. That’s what I did skip out on because I didn’t think I’d need it with the lemon in there. And then I made my smoothie with some blueberries. It was awesome.
Jonathan Bailor (38:27): And that’s a huge win. Again, it seems like a small thing, but imagine that that became a habit. That’s another thing we talk about in the book. So let’s say that, Allan, you make that a goal and you say, “I’m going to consciously take steps to buy these ingredients to make these smoothies every day.” And you do that for 21 days, or 30 days, or so on and so forth. What you’re going to find is that next month instead of it taking effort to make that smoothie, it will take effort to not make that smoothie, because it will become a habit. When it can be easier to perform SANE, healthy habits than it is to do unhealthy, inSANE things, that’s when the magic happens. And that absolutely can be the case. We know thousands of people within the same family who crave green smoothies. It’s happened to me and my wife. We go on vacation, we go on a cruise where it’s like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait till we can get home and drink our green smoothies.” We’re in the midst of all this decadent, all-you-can-eat food, and we’re in the habit of drinking SANE smoothies, so we’re like, “I love the cruise, but I hate that I can’t have my green smoothies.”
Allan (39:42): I’m thinking I picked up spinach and I walked past all the other stuff. I’m like, “I could have put some dandelions in here. There was so much more I could have put in here that would have been interesting.” So I’m looking at it as an experiment. I’m looking at it as, “This is going to be fun because I’m going to experiment with different fruits, different berries, different flavors, and just have some fun with it.”
Jonathan Bailor (40:04): It is a great canvas on which to experiment in that way, with what we would call “optimal” non-starchy vegetables. If I’m like, “Hey, eat more dandelion greens”, you’ll be like, “Uhhh…” But you can just take a handful of them, toss them in the blender with some other stuff. You can toss a handful of all sorts of things into the blender. We’re not a smoothie company, this isn’t called The Smoothie Diet. But we have found that drinking the appropriate type of SANE green smoothies can be one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to SANE-itize your diet and lower your setpoint.
Allan (40:41): I think it was five ounces of spinach that I put in there. I went a little overboard. I made a whole lot, but I drank all of it. It would have taken me a lot of effort to eat that much in its whole food form.
Jonathan Bailor (41:00): 100%. I get probably 80% of the vegetables that I eat in smoothie form, simply because you could drink it at your desk, take it with you in the car, and that’s great. They’re raw. You don’t need to use a lot of olive oil in a green smoothie, for example. And then you can do all sorts of fun stuff. You can use avocado to help make it more creamy, so you get your whole food fats in there. It’s also a great place in which to try some nutrient-dense protein. You could have some whey protein or casein protein or pea protein or rice protein or hemp protein, some pasteurized egg whites. It’s a canvas on which you can really create something beautiful.
Allan (41:39): Yes. You get into another concept that you call “implementation intentions”. And I thought those would be extremely valuable to talk about.
Jonathan Bailor (41:48): Implementation intentions are the natural byproduct of the process goals, the small process goals we talked about earlier, where you really start to flesh out a plan. For example, rather than saying, “I have the small goal of drinking a green smoothie tomorrow”, an implementation intention will take it further and say “if, when, then”. So, “If it is the morning, when I am hungry, then I will make a SANE green smoothie.” So there are three components to it and it’s almost like making the decision ahead of time. This is really important. I don’t think we talk about this in the book, but you can be in what’s called a hot state or a cool state. Not to digress too much, but if you’ve ever found yourself in a context of passion with another human being, it’s one thing if you get cut off in traffic to say, “Calmly on my couch, I will behave this way.” But when someone cuts you off in traffic or jeopardizes the life of your family members in your car, you become emotionally aroused and your decision-making process changes a bit. Implementation intentions help you to act out and create an entire game plan for how you’re going to act in certain situations before those happen. So if I get home from work and I am stressed out, and I open the refrigerator, then I will grab the container of pre-washed sugar snap peas and I will binge on those. You literally have a plan for situations where you find yourself making inSANE choices. You have yourself set up, you have a game plan in place. You get that written down in a very simple formulaic way, and you are now empowered because you have made the decision and created the plan before you need to, so that when you need to, you’re ready.
Allan (44:00): It used to be at the office, they would bring these donuts called Spudnuts, and they’re literally made out of potato flour. So probably the most inSANE food on earth, because they’re coated in sugar and they’re potato flour. And when they bring them in the office, it’s like watching sharks be chomped. They’re all over the break room. So, I had this strategy, which was similar. It was this intention where I’d say, “If they brought Spudnuts, I’m going into my office and I’m going to eat a bag of nuts. I’m going to stay out of the break room until lunchtime.”
Jonathan Bailor (44:36): And the reason, Allan, that that is so powerful is, contrast that with the goal of, “I’m not going to Spudnuts.” That’s actually more of a result – the result of, “I’m not going to eat them”, but how am I going to not eat Spudnuts? These goals without “How’s” are meaningless, especially when you ask the question of, “I’m going to lose 100 pounds. How?” It quickly falls down. Implementation intentions force that “How” in an elegant way,
Allan (45:15): Absolutely. Now, you get into something else in the mindset part of the book that I just love, because I think it’s an underutilized aspect to wellness, and that is the concept of gratitude.
Jonathan Bailor (45:29): Gratitude is one of those things which research has shown without a shadow of a doubt that to not leverage gratitude is to your psychology like not eating vegetables is to your biology. There’s basically a dose-dependent relationship in the amount of gratitude that you proactively seek to express, and your mood. So gratitude journaling, consciously setting aside time to, once a day, tell people you love, “I appreciate how you emptied the dishwasher today, “I appreciate how you noticed my new socks.” It sounds simple, but so does “Eat your vegetables.” Sometimes the most profound changes in life come from the simplest practices in life, and gratitude is one of those.
Allan (46:16): I for the longest time struggled with stress. I was actually fortunate to get laid off, and now actually I’ve had a year of what I would call healing, so that I can make 2019 my complete “whoosh” of trying to get as distressed as possible. But one of my eye-opening moments was when I came to the realization that when you’re experiencing joy, you don’t feel stress. And to me gratitude is one of those self-inflicted joys. When you start actually thinking about how good things are, even the little things, it’s like you’ve taken in a bit of self-induced joy in that moment, and it’s a complete de-stressor.
Jonathan Bailor (47:05): That’s been my experience as well, Allan, and I will give the listeners to this an advanced technique that is actually not in the book, simply because we were so over the word count. It was supposed to be 80,000 words. We already went so over, we had to start cutting some stuff. But some people hear “gratitude” and they’re like, “Okay, what?” There’s a different way to approach gratitude that I’ve found to be helpful for some people, which is, while it may not feel great… Let’s say you have a cat that you really like, and you’re like, “I like my cat, I like my cat, I like my cat. This isn’t doing anything for me. Why did I listen to that podcast?” There’s a different approach. This sounds a little bit morbid, but it has a long track record historically; it’s just not talked about a lot. Imagine that something happened to your cat, as deeply as possible. Not for a long time, but just take 60 seconds and literally play through in your mind that something bad happened and you no longer had your cat. Then stop and hug your cat. You will instantly feel more grateful for your cat than you did before. So, there are two approaches. For some people based on their personality type, they’re like, “Hey, Snookums, I love you. I’m so grateful for you.” That works, and if that works, please do it. For other personality types that does not work, and all you need to do is close your eyes and imagine if Snookums wasn’t around, graphically. Then open your eyes and hug Snookums. In either case, you’re going to get that sense of joy that is so helpful with stress.
Allan (48:45): Absolutely. Now, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Jonathan Bailor (48:58): Drink SANE green smoothies every day. Sleep at least seven hours, and prioritize your life so that you can do that. Love and contribute as deeply as possible.
Allan (49:13): Those are wonderful. I adore those. Thank you for sharing that. Jonathan, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about The Setpoint Diet and the things you’re doing, where would you like for me to send them?
Jonathan Bailor (49:26): Please go to our website, which is SANESolution.com. That will give you all the information on the book, a bunch of free resources, wonderful miniseries coming out, tremendous coaching programs, all sorts of good stuff. SANESolution.com.
Allan (49:46): Awesome. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/363, and I’ll be sure to have all the links there. Jonathan, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.
Jonathan Bailor (50:00): Thank you for having me, Allan.
I hope you enjoyed that interview as much as I enjoyed having that conversation. Some really good information for you to take into your January. I am very happy to say that I have finally, finally received copies of The Wellness Roadmap so that I can do some signed copies. If you would like a signed copy of the book, all you have to do is go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound if you want the hardbound version, or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback if you want the paperback edition. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. I can only do this during the month of
Also, I wanted to let you know that I have partnered with a lab company called YourLabwork.com.
I did the full workup, so I have a complete particle count on my cholesterol, I have all the hormone checks, all that stuff done. I do that
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I entitled today’s show “Breaking a Weight Loss Plateau”, but the lessons that I’m going to teach you today can actually be used for any plateau that you’re on, whether it’s a plateau on strength, on mass-building, on losing weight, or even a plateau on improving your diet, because every one of those things ends up in a plateau. I use an acronym called POPP, and I’m going to discuss that and show you how each element of POPP will help you pop your plateau. Let’s first start out with why we end up in plateaus.
It’s one of those things where we’ll start a diet, we’ll change some things and almost immediately we’ll see some reward, some benefit from making that change. I know when I cycle back into ketosis, literally I could lose six pounds overnight. It happens time and time again. If I’m a little bloated, a little inflamed, haven’t been taking care of myself or eating as well as I need to, I start that low-carb, and the next day the weight just washes out of me. I know a lot of that’s water. I have the head to know what’s actual fat loss and what’s just water loss. So I’m not getting all crazy about it, but there is going to be a point, even when you’re doing ketosis, where you are going to plateau. I know a lot of people think, “I’m losing 15 pounds a month. I want to stay in ketosis, but if I keep losing 15 pounds a month, I’m going to dwindle down to nothing.” That’s never going to happen, because your body is really, really smart. It does this thing called “homeostasis”.
Homeostasis is basically balance. It’s a fancy word that scientists like to use and it just means they balance out. So, you’ve gotten your body used to eating a certain amount of food or a certain type of food. Your body has adapted. It’s been using body fat for a while, but then it says, “We’re in a long-term bit of famine here. We’re not getting as many calories as we’re burning. We’re getting some great fat and we’re feeling full. Things are good, the nutrition is great. I don’t need anymore, so I’m not going to be hungry just for the sake of being hungry.” And then your body says, “Let’s stop shedding this body fat, because we kind of like it. We’re going to stay here.”
That’s what I call your body’s “happy weight”. It’s not your happy weight necessarily, but your body is happy with it. So, how do we break this weight loss plateau, or any plateau? That’s where the acronym POPP comes in. So POPP stands for Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression. And I’m going to take a few minutes here to unwrap what each of those means and how you can use each of these and all of these to help you break this plateau.
The first one is patience. You knew this was coming. I’ve taught you already that homeostasis is just something that’s going to happen. It’s going to be there. So, just know that the journey to wellness is ever going. It’s your entire life. You’re always going to be in this mode. The first thing I hope that you haven’t done is that you haven’t looked at this whole process as temporary, as, “I’m going to go on a diet, and then I’m done.” Really to take care of your health for the long term, to include weight loss, which is really a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle.
That’s exactly what you want to do – you want to make it a lifestyle. Is this a way that you can live your life going forward? So, with the patience aspect of this, start exploring the things that are serving you and what are the things that maybe aren’t serving you. This is truly a good lifestyle that you want to maintain. As long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then you use patience to say, “I know this is working. I know that I’m doing the right things for my body. If my body is at its happy weight at this point, maybe for the time being I need to be happy with that and accept that this is a long-term process. And over time I’ll probably see some progress, but I’m not going to see it at the rate I was perhaps expecting to.”
So, patience comes in regardless of how you look at plateaus, regardless of what you want to do about a plateau. You just have to recognize you’re going to have one now, you’ll probably have another one later, and another one after that, and another one after that. Before you get to your happy weight, your body’s going to find several of its own set points, its own happy weight, so just recognize this is a part of the game, a part of life. Make your eating choices, your workouts and everything you’re doing – make it lifestyle, make it sustainable for the long term, and you’ll see the benefits over time.
Now, that takes us to other measures. If I am looking at taking care of my health, then I’m going to see improvements elsewhere. So, maybe my skin looks a lot better, maybe your hair looks a lot healthier. Maybe some things that were happening to you before – you maybe had some eczema or irritable bowel problems, other things going on in your life that were making you uncomfortable and unhappy – and now because you’ve made a lifestyle change, you’re starting to feel a lot better there.
Maybe your waist size is going down. If you have a waist size over 40, that’s a strong, strong, strong indicator, direct correlation that you probably are at risk of cardiovascular disease. If you continue to see your waist get smaller, you’re onto the right track. A lot of women will tell me they get into this whole thing, they want to lose weight because they know if they lose 25 pounds, they’ll be able to fit in that dress that’s two sizes smaller.
But sometimes they’re not losing the weight. How are your clothes fitting? They’re fitting better. Okay, you’re getting smaller.
So, you can fit in that dress. Maybe the weight you thought you needed to be isn’t the weight you need to be, because now you’re shedding fat and maybe putting on a little bit of muscle, or maybe now you’re fully hydrated and before you were dehydrated. So, we’re not dehydrated; we’re in a healthy state. We’re seeing a lot of other markers, other health measures, other things going great for us. Turning your focus away from the weight and focusing on these other measures – my waist size getting smaller, my skin looking good, getting good night’s sleep, and maybe I’m not having problems going to the bathroom. All of those things matter. They add to the quality of our life.
Focusing a little bit more on these other health measures that are going your way will let you know that you’re on the right track. That goes back to patience. That’s going to feed your patience, because it’s going to say, “It’s working. I can’t get tied up on what that scale is saying to me right now. If my body’s at a happy weight, but other things are going good for me, I need to take that and accept that and understand this lifestyle is working. So I need to stick with it.”
The next one is persistence, and that’s the “stick with it” part. Sometimes it’s very easy to sit there and say, “This isn’t going to work. It stopped. I’ve lost it.” And many people do. They get frustrated and they regress. So, the persistence aspect of this is to keep going. It’s to not let yourself get deflated that things aren’t going exactly the way you want them to. It’s continuing to do your batch cooking on Sundays, it’s continuing to do your 30 minute walks each morning.
Maybe it’s continuing to keep your sugars as low as you possibly can and making sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. All of these healthy lifestyle changes that you’ve made that are now habits – you just need to be persistent and keep doing them, because they are working. If you’re looking at these other measures and you’re seeing improvement from where you were – that’s work. That’s good stuff. That’s what a healthy lifestyle will do for you, so keep persistently pursuing good health, wellness. Wellness is health, fitness and happiness. So, be looking for joy, be looking for the things that are going to help you. That’s the persistence of constantly taking this and going and moving and doing. Stay persistent in the battle, because it’s working.
And then the final P is progression. We talk about progression a lot when we’re looking at training, exercise, because we say, “I’m going to add an extra five pounds to my squat” or, “I’m going to add an extra 15 minutes to my walk” or, “I’m going to try to run a little bit faster, so my progression is to try to increase my speed.” All of these different progressions basically mean you’re adding a little bit more effort. Typically in training, like I said, it works out as volume. The way we explain it as trainers is your training volume increases, either because you’re working out longer, you’re adding more training sessions, or you’re adding more weight.
Whatever’s making that resistance harder, you’re doing more of that. So, progression is the adding more, and it needs to be done gradually. If you’re doing gradual progression on all the training things you’re doing, it’s time to maybe think about a progression for your food.
And here’s how that looks. It’s an approach I take when I go off of what I call my “seasonal feasting period”. And we’re just now about to roll out of that because we’re approaching Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and Christmas end up being my feasting period. I’m in my feasting period, so what’s going to happen is I’m going to get into the new year and I’m going to say, “Not a special birthday; I don’t have to worry about it. This year coming up in February.
So now it’s time for me to go in my famine mode.” I’ll start into my famine mode with a very set approach of really, really low-carb, but the foods I like. I make sure I’m now doing my batch cooking and the different things I need to do to make sure I stay on plan. And then I start to shed the body fat. I’ll get to a point where the amount of fat I’m eating and the total calories I’m eating, I plateau. Like you, I will plateau. Now, I am much more focused on trying to add muscle and I’m much more focused on trying to lose fat. I might actually see my weight go up. So my measurement is not weight loss, but it’s the same concept – I’m trying to change my body composition.
Then I need to progress. And what that means to me is, I need to reduce my calories. What I’ll typically do is I will look to my percentages. I’m already fairly low-carb, so typically less than 20 net grams when I start. I look at my protein, and if my protein is where I need it to be and my carbs are where they need to be, then I slowly start trying to reduce the amount of fat in my daily intake. So I may cut another 100 calories off of my daily intake from where I was. Maybe I started at 2,100 calories and I’m going, going, going. I know I’m exercising, I’m going eat back some of those calories. On a given day, I might be eating 3,000 calories. If I had a really tough cardiovascular workout and burned 700-800 calories, I’ll eat those calories back. And then I’ll end up with maybe, like I said, close to 3,000 calories that day.
What’ll happen is I’ll say, “I need to tomorrow get it down to 2,900, or 100 less than what I would normally eat, plus what I would use.” That progression is just 100 calories. You shouldn’t think that 100 calories means that much, but 100 calories over the course of a year, is 10 pounds. So, it is a big number. It just doesn’t feel that big that day, because I’m not looking to say I’m cutting another 500, which I would typically then expect to see about a pound per week. My body’s going to plateau again really, really quickly. My energy levels, I’m not going to be able to do what I’m doing. For me, I just shave 100 off, and that 100 typically is enough for me to start seeing things moving a little bit more, not fast, but I see it, I feel it. It’s happening. That little bit of progression in my nutrition is typically enough to get me there.
The one thing I don’t sacrifice on or skimp on is, I still make sure I’m getting high-quality whole food, and I always try to make sure that I’m getting all of my nutrients. If I feel like my calorie load is not where it needs to be and I’m not eating as many carbs – so maybe I’m not getting as many vegetables or fruits – I may start taking a multivitamin supplement. I’ll probably start, because again, it’s typically in the early winter, late winter time period when I’m going through this plateau.
Often I’m not getting enough sun, so I’ll probably take a vitamin D supplement. I’m definitely taking some fish oil supplements and I’m calculating that as a function of my fat intake. As I look at all this, you can see I’m still making sure that I’m covered nutritionally. I’m only reducing a little bit of my fat calories and I’m trying to tell my body, “If you want that fat you enjoy, you’ve got to get it from the body. You’ve got to get it from me, because I’m not going to give it to you through my mouth.” And my body typically responds to that.
And now you wrap the whole POPP together, and it works like this: I’m patient enough to know that I can do this. I’m patient enough to know that my lifestyle is right and I just need to be there. I just need to have the patience to work with my body to get it where I want it to be – my happy place, not necessarily its happy place. I need to look at other measures to make sure that I’m on track with my health, and not just trying to chase after a single goal.
There was a time when I was training for a Spartan and I really wanted to be ready for that Spartan. So I was going to get stronger and I was working on my endurance. I had a strength coach; his name was Dave. And I was meeting Dave and my strength was just off the charts, going up. My deadlift when I started with Dave, was I think at 410. I was pulling 450-460 after about three months and I was like, “I could get to 500.” Suddenly I got this really, really focused mind on that singular thing, and I just started pushing. What happened was, my strength in my squat went down, my strength in my overhead press went down, and my strength in my bench press went down. My deadlift was going up, but some of the others were plateauing or stopping, and I just didn’t see it. Afterwards I looked at my journal and I was seeing over the course of a month 5% increase in strength in the deadlift, but I wasn’t seeing 5% in the other lifts, which told me I wasn’t balanced, I wasn’t focusing on the whole me. And I needed to be.
Unfortunately, during that period of time, that’s when I tore my shoulder – rotator cuff tore – so, some of the other exercises, like bench press, went down. I just dropped that. No overhead pressing. And I thought I’m still doing the deadlift, but after a while I realized I’m not there, I’m not going to make that 500. And I don’t need to be doing that 500, because now I need to be thinking about this Spartan race, and having a 500 pound deadlift is really not going to help me. I have a problem with my shoulder, and I need to make sure that I can get through this race without hurting myself any more than I need to. So, I got back on track. It took me a little while.
But you can’t get singularly focused on weight loss either. You need to be looking at these other health markers and making sure that they fit your life. Then there’s persistence, which means we should just stick to it. If you have good “stick to it-ivness”, you’ve made this a sustainable lifestyle, you now have the broad perspective of, you’re doing healthy things for yourself. That’s totally cool. Then you can sit down and have a basis for saying, “What’s the progression? If I really want to push myself out of this plateau, what are the things that I need to do to get out of that plateau?” So, you put all four of these together – POPP – Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression, and now you have a model. You have a structure to approach every one of your plateaus with a plan – the last P here. So, have a plan. And that plan has to include POPP – Patience, Other measures, Persistence, and Progression.
The Wellness Roadmap is available now for pre-order. I’m offering it as a Kindle edition at a very, very steep discount price. You’re not going to get this book for this price after the pre-launch and the first few days of the launch. Once the book is live, I’m going to put the prices back up where they belong. But I’m basically giving the book to you. So if you’ll go to the Amazon page, look it up – it’s The Wellness Roadmap book, or you can look it up under my name, Allan Misner. You’ll find the book there.
The Kindle book edition is going to be as low as Amazon will let me put it, so basically as close to free as I could get it. I want it in your hands, and as soon as it goes live, you’ll be able to download it to your Kindle Reader. But I do ask one thing – once you’ve read the book, please do go give me an honest rating and review. Amazon loves those things. Amazon feeds off those things. Amazon will not show my book to anyone not looking for it, unless it sees these ratings and reviews are coming in, that people are seeing substance in the book.
All I ask is when you get the book and you’ve read it and you feel good about it, please do go out and give me an honest rating and review. It’s going to help propel the book and get it where it needs to be, which is in the hands and on the e-readers of people around the country and around the world.
Please do go to Amazon, look for the book The Wellness Roadmap, or search under my name, Allan Misner, and you’ll find the book there. Buy it at the steep, steep, steep discount. Like I said, it’s close to free as Amazon would let me put it. And then boom, there you go. Thank you for that.