Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 83 of the Fitness Simplified Podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I share with you the story of how I have been battling illness for the last three months and have been unable to train at all or keep up with my usual nutrition habits. I share what effect this has had on my fitness and what I intend to do about it.
I share with you why I am not panicking, even though I have not been in the gym in three months and help you to see why you don't need to panic if you find yourself in a situation where you're out of the gym, whether that's for vacation or holidays.
Ready? Let's go.
I have been extremely ill now for three months. Almost three months. In five days it will be three months since I first got sick. Yes, I know the exact day. It was Tuesday, October 27th. And I know this because of COVID.
So, I was put in charge of our church's, socially-distant Halloween party. I had a committee and we planned to this amazing event that was going to be like -- and it was, it was fantastic -- it was like, you know, at Christmas time you can go to these light shows where you stay in your car and then you drive through and you see all these cool things? We did that, but for Halloween. We had really cool, like, spooky displays, lights, and it was really, it was amazing.
I put myself in charge of running the traffic since I was in charge of the whole event. I was the person greeting every car as they came and then letting them go at specified times. Well, these were all people I knew, and so they would roll their windows down and we would talk while they were waiting for their turn to actually go into the event.
And, you know, socially distanced, six feet, wearing a mask; but as the night wore on, I noticed I started coughing. Okay, you know what it's like to cough these days -- you cough too much, it's really like, "Oh gosh..." like you feel very self-conscious.
I started coughing and then I started coughing a lot. And by the end of the night, I was really coughing and I kept telling people, I'm like, "Oh, I'm not sick. I'm not sick," because I hadn't had a single sign of being sick before that moment. Well, two days after that I was just flat on my back. I was down for the count.
Now, I've had pneumonia twice before, but it always comes on slower. It starts like, you know, I get a cold, it feels like I have a little bit of a runny nose, a little bit stuffiness. Eventually, like I get sicker and sicker, and over the course of weeks, I ended up feeling very sick.
This was over the course of days. I felt terrible. I immediately got a COVID test, it was negative. Based on my symptoms and my previous health history, my doc diagnosed me with pneumonia and I started just a bucketload of medication.
Now, for the first bit, I really tried against all reason to continue running my business as per usual. You know, when you work for yourself, what are you going to do? Like, there's no one else to pick up the slack. You can actually catch two podcast episodes, both recorded on the same day about four days after I really became sick. I was still in the, like, "gotta go on with the show" kind of mode.
One of them is an episode of Decades of Strength, that's my other podcast I do with three other coaches, and in the middle of recording that, I fell asleep. I fell dead asleep. And we started talking about it later on in the episode, I was like, "I was sleeping guys." And right after that, I recorded an episode with Jordan Lips. Incredible episode, if I do say so myself.
We talked a lot about emotional eating and we talked about women in strength training. And you can hear that I don't sound great. I was so tired. It was really-- it was dumb that I did these.
Anyway, you should check them out for the content, but also, if you want to hear what it sounds like when a person is sick and is pretending not to be sick you can listen in to that.
A few weeks into November, I finally cried uncle. I realized I was being completely ridiculous. I was not getting better. In fact, I was getting worse and I needed to cut back on my work. This was really hard for me. I have poured my heart and soul into this business over the past, gosh, good bunch of years at this point.
I've been online three years now. Coaching longer than that, but my business online has been over three years. And it was hard for me to do, but I had to cancel all of the calls I had upcoming and put people on a list basically saying, "sometime when I'm better, we can talk about coaching."
I continued to get worse. I mostly spent time in bed in those months or on my sofa in those months. And I will tell you, I am still not better.
Let me put it this way: I'm better, but I'm not well. And you can hear that in my voice. I'm not well.
I have to severely limit my activity or I end up exhausted. My symptoms kind of go and come back. You can hear now I sound like I have a head cold, this is new in the past 24 hours. I have to limit my speech.By that. I mean I have to limit how much I talk in a day or I lose the ability to speak and breathe at the same time. It ends up just sounding like breathy whispers.
I think you may have heard it just a bit ago: if I laugh, I start just sounding breathy. If I cough, I sound breathy. So no laughing, no coughing, and limited amounts of speech. The reason I sound as good as I do now is I have stayed silent for the past several hours with the knowledge that I was going to record this podcast. So I have to manage the amount I speak and then I can sound almost normal.
I do have upcoming appointments with a pulmonologist and an ear, nose, and throat doctor that will hopefully figure out what is wrong with me and get me treated so I can return to full health.
Now, I'm going to tell you, I have lost muscle the past three months. I have lost strength. My general level of fitness has declined and I am not happy about any of that.
I haven't worked out in three months. I've only returned to walking 5 to 10 minutes a day in the last week. Three months ago, I was only 20 pounds away from my goal of dead lifting 300 pounds. I had been consistently training one-arm push-ups for two months. That is a serious investment of time and energy.
Same thing with running. Although it was a shorter timeframe, I was on week 3 of a 12 week running program. I was seeing incredible improvement in my endurance and I was psyched about that. And all of this has been a setback. It's all been set back from this enforced break that I've had to take.
I've also gained fat. I was not at my leanest right before I fell ill. In fact, I did a photo shoot about a month before and I considered holding off on that shoot until after a planned cut I was going to do, but I decided against that mainly because, one, I needed photos for my step challenge and to update the podcast cover art, but also because I don't -- I don't want this to sound conceited here when I say this -- but even with a few extra pounds, I still looked amazing. You know, I look strong, I look healthy, I look like a regular person who really cares about her fitness. And that is something, frankly, I want to put out there because the sea of super lean, uber ripped women on social media isn't necessarily representative of what many women are aiming for. And I want to be a representation of, "Hey, you don't have to get that ripped. You don't have to get that lean to still look really healthy."
I'm way off on a tangent here. My point is I was planning a fat loss phase because I was at the top end of my comfort zone as far as my body composition. I wanted to be a bit leaner.
I actually had not weighed in forever, so I had no idea how much I weighed three months ago. And I still haven't weighed because, frankly, I've had bigger fish to fry more recently than how much do I weigh. From the fit of my clothes -- as in, they do not fit very well -- I have gained quite a bit of weight. Also, from the way I look. I can see it. I can see it in my face, I can see it just looking in a mirror. I can see it. I'm going to guess that I've gained around 12 pounds, maybe more. Somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds in the last three months. And I'm not happy about that.
But it is what it is and one important thing I want to highlight about this weight gain; this is a really important take home point: I became completely sedentary. Completely. All of November, I was in bed or on the sofa almost exclusively. I began adding time at my desk back in in December, though the bed and the sofa were still a large part of my life.
I wish I had actually worn my step tracker so I could have seen how few steps I was getting in in a day. I'm going to guess it was under a thousand and it was actually only that high because my kitchen was under construction, which means to get from my bed to the basement family room. I had to go down two floors and then back up two floors and sometimes during the middle of the day I had to come up a floor to talk to the people working in my kitchen.
So to explain to you how sedentary I was, I would wait for someone to come into the room to fetch something for me that was out of my reach. I'm being dead serious about that. If I could see my thermos of tea across a room, I still did not get up to go get it. It was taking all of my energy to be able to breathe. I felt so terrible.
Even now I have to conserve my energy to make it through the day, so I do not walk willy-nilly around my house. I'm certainly not trying to get added steps in. I really try to stay put as much as possible because I am so low on energy.
Now, my point in explaining this is I had a daily minimum -- previous to being sick -- of 7,500 steps. It was usually over 10K, but my daily minimum was 7,500. Especially on the days I ran, I was well over 10K. I also lifted for 60 to 90 minutes, four days a week.
And that's a huge factor in the weight gain that I have experienced was reduction in my movement. It surely played a massive role. So if you are not taking your daily movement seriously, you are hindering both your health -- you know, research points to 7,500 steps daily -- that number seriously reduces all-cause mortality. You know, yay for not dying.
Also, you are really effecting your fat loss results. NEAT -- non-exercise activity thermogenesis -- all that movement outside of structured activity is the most variable piece of your metabolism. Specifically, your TDEE or total daily energy expenditure. Take advantage of that and move. You don't have to track steps, but tracking steps is the best way I have found to get a hold on how much someone is moving and systematically work to increase that movement.
Right now for me, I'm working inside of this energy envelope. I have a certain amount of energy and, you know, I'm a person who is sustaining an incredible illness, right? And so I have very little energy. It is a top priority for me to move as much as possible while not negatively impacting my ability to breathe or totally tanking my energy.
If I do too much, I end up having to rest for 24 to 48 hours. And I have pushed that too hard twice now and been out of commission for a few days each time. For you, if you're healthy, you can push way harder than I can.
What you want to consider is how hard to push -- when you're thinking like, "okay, how hard should I push?" Here's the question I want you to consider: "what can I sustainably do over time?"
Not, "what can I do once and burnout." So look, if I sent you to Disney World today, I'm like, "here, go to Disney, here's a free pass." You could walk easily over 20K steps today. But just because you can do that in a very specific setting doesn't mean you should try to do that in your daily life -- go from, "I'm not moving at all" to, like, "I do Disney steps."
You want to build in the habit of moving. You don't want to overextend, burnout, stop, then at some future point, you know, repeat that cycle. It is way more effective to steadily increase steps as you carve time in your schedule and you really think like, "where can I put in some extra movement? How can I do that? Can I get up from my desk every hour? Can I use the furthest bathroom in the office? Can I walk around Target two times every time I go? Do I need to put in a walk in the morning and in the evening? Do I need to walk after every meal?"
And all of these strategies, likely some combination of these strategies, is going to work for you and you want to spend time tinkering with that. So take a week, monitor your daily step count without changing your routine, average those out, and take that number as your baseline. Then add on 500 to 1000 steps as your first goal. So if your daily average from your test week was 3,500, use 4,000 to 4,500 as your first step goal. Keep that goal until it feels pretty easy to do.
Okay, so you figured out times and systems to make that happen. Then what you do is you increase by 500 to 1000 again. So you go for a couple of weeks and then when it feels easy and you figured out how to get steps in, you adjust, and you want to keep doing that until you hit at least 7,500 -- remember, that's a really good baseline for overall health -- and then at that point, you can either maintain that number or you can keep increasing until you reach 10,000 steps.
I will say: don't do more steps at the expense of paying attention to your nutrition. Always pay attention to your nutrition first and then if you're really doing well with, you know, planning your food and logging your food, keep adding steps until you get up to 10K.
Okay, moving back from NEAT to how I'm feeling about the impact of this illness on my fitness and my physique. I'm not thrilled, but I am not panicking.
Why am I not panicking?
I know how to build muscle. I know how to improve my endurance. I know how to lose fat. I know how to increase my strength. I know how to build my skill in the skill-specific goals that I have set.
And with this air of mystery and confusion gone, there's just no need for panic. It's going to be a ton of work. It's going to be a crap-ton of work, but I'm not worried that I can't do it, and I'm not doing what I had to do for years, decades, even where I was searching desperately for answers. You know, following celebrity diets and buying into hype about foods to eliminate and workouts I had to do to blast fat, and I always just felt so, so confused.
So now I'm at a point where I know exactly what I need to do to get back to the level of fitness and the physique that I had, and even surpass both of those. I just have to put in the work.
So, if you have been out of the gym for an illness or on a vacation, just relax.
If that comes up here soon, if you're like, "okay, I'm going on this trip and I'm not going to be able to work out" or "work's extra busy and have to seriously reduce how much time I'm working out," relax. Remember, you just go back to what was working. You haven't ruined anything. You just go back and you put in the work.
If you're completely out of your routine because you got back into old habits, that is also not a reason to panic. You start from where you are and you build those habits back, one step and then the next.
Now, if you're not clear on what works to lose weight, that's big difference, right? If you're like, "I don't have any idea." So maybe you're new here to my podcast. If you are hello, welcome. And if you're like, "I don't even know what it takes to lose weight. I haven't been successful yet," here's a good place to start: head to my website, kimschlagfitness.com. Okay? Schlag, S-C-H-L-A-G. kimschlagfitness.com, click on the tab labeled "Fat Loss Crash Course," sign up for that free course and I will walk you through, step-by-step, how to set up your nutrition and your training.
No panicking. We're going to get you situated.
So this is a short episode. Thank you so much for listening to me today. I'll be sharing a lot more about my comeback in the months to come. I'm not even well yet, so getting healthy is my top priority. I'll be sharing more of what I'm doing with my nutrition for general health and then once I'm good to go, I will be busting my butt in the gym, and with my nutrition.
Now, I will tell you, I am not doing this alone. I am here huge believer in coaches. Even coaches need coaches and I have two of the best in the business. My buddies, Jordan Syatt and Mike Vacanti will be coaching me.
Jordan has been my coach for going on five years now. He helped me to get literally in the best shape of my life, the leanest, the strongest I've ever been. He also helped me to build my online business from the ground up. He's going to be handling my training for this comeback. And Mike has been a mentor of mine in the past two years. I was a student in the inaugural year of the Online Fitness Business Mentorship that Mike and Jordan run together and then last year they brought me on as an assistant coach in that Mentorship.
And Mike is going to be handling my nutrition. He's going to be writing my macros and holding me accountable. I'm planning for this comeback to be epic. I would be lying if I said like, "Oh, I'm so thrilled that I've had this massive setback in my health and fitness," I have cried a ton. I have been very discouraged. I have been very frustrated. I have felt like, frankly, my life has been ripped out from under me many days, but I have learned to rest, I have been forced to learn to do that. That's not a bad thing. It's not a bad thing. And I am choosing to look at this as an opportunity -- a forced opportunity -- but you know, I could look at this as just a bad thing and woe is me, but I'm choosing to look at this as an opportunity to show you that no matter where you start, you can achieve whatever fitness goals you set.
I literally started with walking five minutes a day last week. And I plan to get in the best shape of my life at 50. So do not tell me that you're too old or too out of shape. You got this.
Remember, head to my website -- Free 5-Day Fat Loss Crash Course, see ya inside. Catch ya next episode!
Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified Podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 82 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, a Fitness Simplified first, I'm hosting one of my very own one-on-one clients. Joanne has been training with me for about 15 months now. In that time, she has lost almost 40 pounds, almost 30 inches, gotten her first push-up, and can do many beautiful push-ups now.
Joanne is a woman in her fifties. She has made incredible progress all while going through menopause. Ladies, I know a lot of you out there worry and struggle with, "how can that be possible?" Joanne, in fact, has lost 130 pounds in her forties and fifties. How did she do it? How did she overcome emotional eating and get stronger than she's ever been?
Listen in. Let's go!
Hi, Joanne, can you hear me?
Joanne: [00:01:02] I can hear you. How are you?
Kim: [00:01:04] All right! There you are. How are you doing?
Joanne: [00:01:07] I'm doing good. How are you feeling today?
Kim: [00:01:10] Well, that's always a dicey question for me these days. I'm still alive and I'm good enough to talk, so there we go.
Joanne: [00:01:18] Good, good!
Kim: [00:01:18] And are you guys gearing up for this big storm that we're about to get?
Joanne: [00:01:25] I think it's going to be more north of us. So, I'm not seeing anything on our local news about anything drastic. Maybe a little bit of freezing rain, but nothing too bad.
Kim: [00:01:36] Okay. Got it. They're saying we might get 10 to 20 inches up our way.
Joanne: [00:01:40] Wow!
Kim: [00:01:41] I know, right? First snow of the season and it's going to be a biggie.
Joanne: [00:01:45] Wow. Yeah, no, I don't think there's anything like that coming here.
Kim: [00:01:50] Well, it's probably just as well. We all have enough excitement going on with 2020, right? Who needs a blizzard?
Joanne: [00:01:58] Right.
Kim: [00:01:59] So what have you been up to so far this morning?
Joanne: [00:02:02] Well, I got my lower body workout in pretty early this morning and got outside and did some walking and then I made some coffee.
Kim: [00:02:15] Wow. Well, look at you getting all the important things in right away.
Joanne: [00:02:19] Especially the coffee, right?
Kim: [00:02:21] Right away. You got it all in. Boom, boom, boom.
So now I think this is a first for me, Joanne, if I'm correct, you are my very first one-on-one client to actually come on and be a guest on my podcast.
Joanne: [00:02:33] Well, that's interesting. I'm surprised you haven't had it.
Kim: [00:02:37] Yeah. It's just never happened before. It's never happened before. So this is a first.
So Joanne, tell everyone a little bit about you. I know a ton about you.
Joanne: [00:02:48] Well, I am 52 years old, let's get that in there real quick. My husband and I have been married since I was 19. Got married when I was quite young. We have two children and four grandchildren. I've always been a stay at home mom, I homeschooled my kids. And,, you know, I just do the regular mom stuff, regular grandma stuff, and happen to lift weights too.
Kim: [00:03:24] And happen to lift weights too and getting really, really strong. So now Joanne and I have been working together for over a year now. I think it was September or October of 2019 that we first started working together and frankly you have just straight up crushed the past year.
You've lost close to 40 pounds, almost 30 inches, you've gone down multiple clothing sizes, from zero pushups to nailing literally perfect pushups. Her pushups are beautiful. They're, like, technically perfect pushup. Does many of them. You're working on your first chin up. Your posture has just improved, like, you look like a different person, just seeing how you stand, and you've come so incredibly far with your relationship with food, and you're already doing what most people are like, "will I ever get there?" Which is learning how to live in maintenance.
Joanne: [00:04:16] Yeah, this is the next new challenge.
Kim: [00:04:20] Now have I missed anything? What else did I miss that you've done with me in the last year? That's a lot. Did I miss anything?
Joanne: [00:04:27] I think you hit the important parts, anyway. Yeah, I've worked pretty hard. I have managed to do some things that I didn't think I was going to be able to do and I've come a very long way in my relationship with food.
Kim: [00:04:48] Yeah. Now when you say, "some things you thought you wouldn't be able to do," what specifically did you really think, like, "I don't know if I can do that?"
Joanne: [00:04:56] Well, first of all, pushups.
Kim: [00:04:59] That's a big one.
Joanne: [00:05:00] I worked on those things off and on for years and I was like, "this is just never going to happen for me. It's just never going to happen. I'm just not strong enough." so that's one thing.
Probably being able to manage a lot of my emotional eating. That's something that you've helped me really address for the last year-- probably 15 months, I guess we've been working together. And those are two really big things.
Kim: [00:05:43] All right. I'm making a note of those. I'm going to put them here because I want to come back and talk about like, how did you actually finally, you know, make progress with both of those. But before we do that, let's go backwards a bit in time. Kinda tell us about where you started. Have you always struggled with your weight? HoW did that happen? And then what had you already achieved by the time you came to work with me last fall?
Joanne: [00:06:07] Well, I was always kind of on the bigger side when I was a child and a teenager, but I was never overweight to the point where it really had much impact on my health.
So then, when I got married and entered into adulthood, I started to put on quite a bit of weight, for a variety of different reasons, but I did put on a significant amount of weight. And, you know, I would make half-hearted attempts here and there to work on it, but I really didn't have that much information. You know, we're talking about pre-internet and all I knew was "eat less and do lots and lots of cardio." That's all I knew.
And so that wasn't my answer. That didn't last very long. So I guess it was about, probably my early forties, around 2010 that I started to get serious about my weight. And since that time, working with different methods and then coming on board with you a year ago, I've lost a total of 130lbs.
Kim: [00:07:59] Oh, my gosh. That is so much weight.
130lbs. That's incredible
Okay, so we started together last year. Emotional eating was a big struggle for you. Tell me, what have you done that has helped you to get to a point now where you are not struggling near-- look, emotional eating is one of those things, guys, that it never totally goes away, right? But it is now so managed for Joanne. She has really managed it.
How have you come to be able to do that?
Joanne: [00:08:36] Well, one of the things that you keep having to address with me is to talk out loud to what I'm thinking. And so I've kind of put that into play with the emotional eating, and so what I've done, the main thing that I have done, is when I have whatever stimulus it is that drives me to want to eat out of my emotions, I always tell myself, "you can have whatever you want to eat, but you have to wait until after you've dealt with the emotion.
The strategy is that I now have to learn healthy ways of working through those emotions. And then I can eat whatever I want. And honestly, I can only think of maybe twice, in all of the time that we've been working together, that when I did that, I still ate the thing, whatever that thing happened to be.
And let me tell you, there have been many, many, many, many times that I've had to talk back to myself in that way.
Kim: [00:09:54] So Joanne, what are some of your best healthy coping techniques, then? When that moment comes and you tell yourself like, "all right, you can have the thing, but first you have to manage this emotion." What are the other things you go to to deal with that emotion?
Joanne: [00:10:09] Well, sometimes, you know, if I can remove myself from the situation, I will do that and go for a walk, which, you know, I always need more excuses to get up and get moving. And sometimes that'll clear my head and take me out of the immediate tension or whatever the situation is.
Maybe some times I need to work on a little project that I've been procrastinating with and just trying to get that out of the way and just refocus on something else. I'm also a Christian, so I also have a fear of tool side of that that I now am more apt to tap into during trying times. Whether it's prayer or meditation or scripture reading or something like that. So those would be my main things.
Kim: [00:11:14] I love that. You have a whole little menu there of things you can pull from and sometimes one is a better fit than the other. I think that's fantastic.
You brought up taking a walk. You know what I remember? Now look, I have a terrible memory, but I have a very distinct memory of us being on the phone last fall and one of the things you told me is, "look, I don't really move that much. What I do is I sit. Like, I sit in my chair and do this and then I sit over at the table and do that. Like, I just sit. I think it's going to be really hard for me to move."
Fast forward, and now it is a rare day if you don't hit at least 9,000 steps, more consistently, 10 or 11. How have you made that switch? What strategies did you use?
Joanne: [00:11:54] Well, you, when we first started working together, you said, "let's just start where you are and do that consistently every day and then when that feels normal to you add 500 or a 1000 steps to your day and work up a little bit by little bit. And within a matter of a couple of months, I was regularly getting at least 7,500.
We live way out in the country so I knew that I wasn't going to drive 20 or 30 minutes to go to the park to walk every day, so I had to learn how to, you know, I would walk around my yard and then I started incorporating the vacant lot that's next to us. And then I added in the gravel road that runs between the cornfields next to us. And so I started walking up and down there and just several times a day taking a walk, starting a routine of once in the morning, once before lunch, once before dinner, once after dinner, you know, just stuff like that.
Kim: [00:13:11] Yeah. I've really been impressed with how you've always just come to look and see like, "all right, how can I get it done? I need to get these steps in." And sometimes you were walking in your house, which you don't love because you said you don't have a big house, but sometimes that's what you have to do. And then you went out and that lane between the cornfields. I remember you told me you measured it a few times to see, "okay, how many steps can I get in there?" And then it was always a go-to of like, "okay, I can walk this lane."
I also remember one time you messaged me -- this is pretty early on, and you told me you guys had gone into town and you'd gone to a store and then you needed to go to the gas station. And you told your husband that you were going to walk and he followed in the car.
So he took the car and you walked and I was so impressed, right? Because you needed some more steps and you're like, "All right. The gas station's not ridiculously far, I'll just walk there."
Joanne: [00:13:59] Right. It was pitch dark out, so he was right behind me with the headlights so I could see where I was going. And I got in my last, you know, 500 steps, I guess it was for that day that I was aiming for.
Kim: [00:14:15] And it comes back to you are not a person who looks for excuses. You're a person who looks for solutions and you find them.
And when people can make that switch with their health and nutrition, from looking for excuses, to looking for solutions, it's when they win.
Joanne: [00:14:31] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Kim: [00:14:35] Okay, now talk to us about pushups. You couldn't do any pushups, though you'd tried throughout the years and now you're just doing such beautiful pushups. And that was a hard thing for you mentally, right? That mental hurdle of like, "I can do this."
Tell us about that.
Joanne: [00:14:51] Well, I think you have a video where you talk about the different steps to get yourself down to the floor on push-ups, and, you know, I had to kind of swallow a little bit of pride at first and my first push up, you know, hand-elevated and a lot higher than what I thought I should be at, and you know, that's okay. I have learned that a lot of things, if you wanna make progress in this area, sometimes you gotta take a step back. You have to set your ego aside on that a little bit and start further in the hole.
So I just worked on what you told me to do. Every month I just consistently worked on push-ups and I would try, each time I would try to lower the bar a little bit and if I could only get two or three at that lower bar, but then have to raise it back up a little higher, I would just do that. And then over the month, I'd be able to get a few more, a little bit lower, and a few more, a little bit lower, and then I was so afraid, though, I was so afraid to test it out on the floor because I just didn't want to fail.
I do have a perfectionist tendency and so I did want them to be perfect. I didn't want them to be sloppy push-ups. I just had that mental thing in my head where I was like, "I want to be perfect."
Kim: [00:16:45] Yeah, and that's hard. But you know what I love? The fact that you were so willing to back it up and, you know, however high up that bar had to be for you to get full range of motion, that's what you did.
And look, strength fluctuates. And some days you would go there and be like, "wait a minute. Now I'm not as strong," and, and that can be a hard thing, but you quickly grasped the idea that it wasn't a permanent thing, that you were gonna be able to move the bar lower again, and you always just kept at it, kept at it, kept at it.
So, I just could not be more impressed with how much you kept at that even with that mental struggle of, "am I ever going to be able to do this? I want to be able to do this."
And now you're getting to redo that whole thing with a new move. Now, your big thing is chin-ups.
Joanne: [00:17:28] Chin-ups... oh goodness. Oh my goodness.
I think that doing the slow eccentric chin-up is probably my favorite exercise of the week now. There's just something about that slow, controlled lowering that I find to be very, I don't know, it feels very strong. Like, I'm not pulling up yet unassisted. I'm definitely using my assistance bands to pull up. But the lowering part, I've got all of them with no band assist. And I don't know... that feeling of being able to control my body in that way just makes me feel really strong.
Kim: [00:18:27] I love that. I love hearing that. And in the not too distant future, you're going to be amazing everyone with your chin ups. You're going to be pulling up. It's going to be amazing.
Now, Joanne, you're 52. All of your weight loss has occurred in your forties and fifties.
A lot of people just really believe like, "it can't happen. It can happen for me. I'm too old. I'm in menopause." You're living proof that it can happen. What has your menopause experience been?
Joanne: [00:19:01] Well, I had had a partial hysterectomy when I was 40. And so I just had one ovary left, so I didn't have any cycle that I could really tell when things kind of started changing in that regard, about menstruation and all of that.
I think it finally occurred to me after many months of insomnia that this had to be menopause. I was probably 48-49 when I kind of made that connection that the insomnia, this must be a part of menopause. And so I really have no idea when it actually started because I don't have that menstrual cycle place to measure.
Kim: [00:20:11] Well, I think a lot of people are in the same position of not knowing when perimenopause starts, because I have to tell you, I was years into perimenopause before I could put the pieces together and realized like, "Oh wait..." Like, when my vertigo started, that was actually perimenopause. And then the cycling piece can be so different for so many people.
I've been convinced multiple times that it's about to happen, I'm going to get 12 months period free, and I'm going to be in menopause and I'm not there yet. You know, it just keeps coming back. So I think it is a tricky thing for women to realize where they're at in perimenopause or menopause.
What did you do for the insomnia, Joanne?
Joanne: [00:20:51] Basically power through.
Until I connected with you, I had always thought that hormone replacement therapy was dangerous. I didn't want any part of it. So I kind of had to try everything naturally that I could to address it and unfortunately most things that address insomnia, even prescription medication, they are designed to help you fall asleep. My problem was not falling asleep, my problem is staying asleep.
And so, many of even the natural methods don't really address the staying asleep part of it, so I pretty much just had to power through it and take naps and, you know, try to just do the best I can.
Now, because I have been doing some further reading because of some of the people that you're connected with, I do have a call into a gynecologist to go and talk to her. She's affiliated with the NAMS. I can't remember what that stands for.
Kim: [00:22:23] North American Menopause Society.
Joanne: [00:22:26] Yeah. She's not too far from us. She's affiliated with them and I'm waiting to see if I can get an appointment with her to check in to see if there's anything that I can do about the insomnia.
Kim: [00:22:43] That's fantastic. I'm really glad to hear that you've made that connection. One, that you've gotten past the idea that HRT is dangerous. That's such misinformation that is out there and it really is something I'm passionate about, connecting people with the-- look, I'm not a medical professional, right?
But I know a lot of people who are and who have that information to share with women that it is not dangerous and that that is misinformation. And I love that you've connected with a practitioner through the North American Menopause Society. That's fantastic.
What's your best advice if a woman out there is listening to you and is in your situation, as in, "I'm a woman in my forties or in my early fifties and I'm struggling with weight loss."
What would you give her to be your best advice?
Joanne: [00:23:31] Oh, goodness. Probably just start with where you are.
I know that sometimes it's really easy to compare where you are with somebody else who's maybe 5-10 years down the road. They've developed a lot of strategies and they've been practicing these habits for a long time.
It's really easy to think, "I can never do that. I don't think I can do that. My life just wont allow me to do that." When I started 10 years ago. I didn't have any equipment, I didn't have any real working knowledge. I just kept going. I kept moving forward. I kept learning something else. Whatever strategy I used, I always tried to take something that I learned from it.
Even if it was not a good fit for me, there's still something I learned about myself. There was one thing I tried that I tried that I thought was a complete waste of time and money.
Kim: [00:24:47] Can you tell us?
Joanne: [00:24:50] Weight Watchers. Hated it.
Kim: [00:24:54] I have a whole episode on why I don't like it.
Joanne: [00:24:59] Yeah. And you know, so when I came to you, I had a lot of different pieces that I had learned about myself over the years. And you have helped me ke gather them all together, helped me make the best of my strengths and work around my weaknesses and things like that. But don't expect it to happen overnight because it doesn't happen for anyone overnight.
I mean, I'm 10 years down the road. It wasn't overnight.
Kim: [00:25:40] Absolutely. I love that. I love that advice, "start where you are, don't expect it to happen overnight."
And, you know, people can see your before and after pictures and then want it right away. And then hearing like, "Hey, that's 10 years between those," people need to digest that little bit of information, right?
Okay, Joanne, you ready for the speed round?
Joanne: [00:26:01] Oh my goodness. I don't know. I didn't sleep very good last night, so I might not be as quick.
Kim: [00:26:07] But you've had your coffee.
Joanne: [00:26:08] Hit me with your best shot.
Kim: [00:26:11] All right, here we go: go-to high protein foods. What are your top couple?
Joanne: [00:26:18] Definitely Greek yogurt is up there at the top. Egg whites would be another one. And, of course chicken breast. That's probably the king of most everyone's lean protein. And tilapia. I really like tilapia.
Kim: [00:26:45] Yeah. I like tilapia. I have to tell you, I got into an internet battle with a person one time who thought I was just the most horrible person ever, because I said I ate tilapia and he thinks it's like the dirtiest fish and how dare I tell people I eat that. So, you know what? I just feel like it's fish and I'm going to eat it.
Okay. Best tip for managing weight loss around the holidays.
Joanne: [00:27:11] Wow. That one's hard. That one's really hard because it's so in your face. I would say eat the things that are emotionally satisfying to you.
Kim: [00:27:32] Oh, I love that. I love that. Like, "prioritizing this stuff" and "don't eat all this stuff." "Don't eat the stupid store-bought cookies."
Joanne: [00:27:39] I'm going to bake and eat my grandma sugar cookies. That's going to be both satisfying to my sweet tooth and satisfying to my emotional connection, to my past, and those kinds of things.
I'm not going to not have them. So eat them and enjoy every single bite. Don't feel guilty about it.
Kim: [00:28:09] I love that. Absolutely. Okay, least favorite exercise.
Joanne: [00:28:16] Bulgarian split squats..
Kim: [00:28:18] I knew it. I already knew
Joanne: [00:28:20] it.
Every time those are in my program, I think, "Kim is trying to kill me."
Kim: [00:28:27] They're so hard. There are people out there who like those. I'm not one of them, but they are good. I do them myself. I do program them. I'm sorry. I apologize to you in my mind every time I put them in your plan.
Joanne: [00:28:40] I don't think that it's necessarily the exercise that I don't like, I do have some issues with balance and they're very, very hard with the balancing. So it's not the exercise itself, I don't think. I think that as my balance is getting better and my strength is getting better, I hate them less.
Kim: [00:29:08] Yeah. And the thing I do with Joanne, everyone who's listening, if you struggle with balance as well, holding on doing these exercises does not make you weaker. It makes you smart.
And so whenever she's doing any kind of single-leg thing that balance is really just inhibiting her, we have her -- and you don't have to hold on for dear life -- you just brace by touching something. Touch the wall, touch the piece of equipment next to you, and then you can focus more on the strength portion than on just staying upright,
Joanne: [00:29:36] Yeah. Yeah.
Kim: [00:29:38] Okay, favorite exercise. You kind of already covered this.
Joanne: [00:29:41] Yeah, I'm really, right now, enjoying the slow eccentric chin-up, the lowering portion of the chin-up. I don't know, it feels good. Like, relieves anxiety. I don't know.
Kim: [00:29:57] I don't think I've met a single person who told me their favorite exercise is the slow eccentric chin-up and I got to tell you that tickles me pink. I'm really excited that that's your favorite exercise.
All right, last question: what is your number one fitness goal going into 2021?
Joanne: [00:30:18] Well, you and I have discussed this before, I have a vitamin deficiency which, I have neuropathy from. And so I think that my fitness goals have kind of had to take a little bit of a different path.
And I don't want to put any kind of time limit on it. I don't want to say, "well, by the end of 2021, I want to be able to do X."
Until I can settle on what's going on with the neuropathy, my mindset is, "just do my best today." And that's really going to have to be it until I can get a second opinion on what's going on with my neuropathy in my hands and feet.
But, you know, I kinda think that that's going to be my healthiest thing to do, just do my best today.
Kim: [00:31:30] I love that. And so in case anybody's out there listening and thinking like, "wow, Joanne just has it all together and she's not struggling," she's been dealing with this neuropathy for a long time now and has really struggled not being able to do exercises the way she wants, because she knows she can't get the grip right and, you know, her fingers aren't closing around the weight like they should, and she has really mentally had to struggle to keep pushing, even though she's like, "wait, I should be able to do heavier than that."
So, whatever your struggle is out there, know that you can still make progress. Like, just her saying this is going to be her goal, is to mentally just show up and do what she can that day, that's massive and comes back to what you had said a little bit ago, Joanne, which is "start where you are." And, you know, whether that's the middle of your journey and now you've hit some kind of hiccup, you gotta show up how you are that day.
Joanne: [00:32:20] I mean, I had one day, I guess it was probably six or eight weeks ago when I just was so frustrated because I could not keep my grip on the bar and I had to put it down, walk away, cry for like five minutes, and go, "you know what? I was able to do 30 pounds last week, I can only do 20 today and that's going to have to be okay. Just do it." Because quitting is not going to make it better at all. And continuing isn't making it work. So, that's just my philosophy.
Kim: [00:33:01] Yeah, that's exactly right. What is quitting going to get you, right? I love that.
I so appreciate you coming on here to talk to me today. I could not be more proud to be your coach. You just have worked so hard and deserve every bit of success that has come your way. And I so appreciate you being willing to come on here and share that so other people can learn from your experience.
Joanne: [00:33:25] Well, I am certainly grateful to have the opportunity to work with you. You've helped me a lot and I'm just so appreciative of how well you have worked with my stubborn nature at times and my perfectionism and, you know, allowed me to make mistakes and then very adequate teacher through those mistakes.
Kim: [00:33:57] Oh, I so appreciate that.
All right, well, we'll be talking soon. Thanks so much for being here.
Joanne: [00:34:03] Oh, thank you.
Kim: [00:34:05] All right, bye bye.
Joanne: [00:34:06] Bye.
Kim: [00:34:11] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 81 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm joined by one of my Instagram followers. Her name is Megan. Megan and I have been chatting via email about a personal situation that is just so relatable.
We cover two important topics today:
How do you get the support you need from your partner for your fitness goals, and how do you help your partner with their fitness goals if they're not interested in fitness goals? How do you help somebody want to change?
Megan: [00:00:51] Hello, Kim. How are you?
Kim: [00:00:53] I'm so glad to be able to talk to you. We have been trying to set this up for a while now.
Megan: [00:01:01] I know.
Kim: [00:01:03] How is everybody in your house feeling?
Megan: [00:01:06] Everybody is well here. How are you?
Kim: [00:01:09] Good. Well, you know what? I am hanging in there. I am apparently going to be permanently sick. I'm just going to live with it.
Megan: [00:01:16] Oh, no.
Kim: [00:01:18] At this point it just feels like I'm just a person who is sick.
Now, your husband had COVID, right?
Megan: [00:01:26] He did. Yeah.
Kim: [00:01:27] And is he 100% better now?
Megan: [00:01:30] Yeah. Thankfully he had a pretty mild case and has recovered fully.
Kim: [00:01:37] And no one else in the house is sick, right? No one else got it?
Megan: [00:01:41] No. My kids and I both stayed healthy.
We did a really good job having him isolated in the house and thankfully we all made out okay.
Kim: [00:01:53] I'm so glad to hear it. Where are you located, by the way? I forget.
Megan: [00:01:58] I'm in Virginia.
Kim: [00:01:59] Okay. Got it. Got it. And are your kids in school virtually or in-person?
Megan: [00:02:06] They are in-person. We had the option of doing in-person with the possibility that they could go virtual if the schools needed to close. So we chose to do that and thankfully, fingers crossed, they have stayed in school.
Kim: [00:02:25] Oh wow. That's incredible. Our kids started 100% virtually. They were easing into a hybrid kind of model in the month of October leading into November and right as they got everyone situated -- like, everyone who wanted to be hybrid was, they had to yank everybody back out and we're full virtual again because our case numbers are up.
So that didn't last long.
Megan: [00:02:50] Yeah.
Kim: [00:02:52] Not long at all.
Megan: [00:02:52] There are other, you know, in surrounding counties that have had to go back virtual. But for now, we're still in-person.
Kim: [00:03:03] Now, how many kids do you have?
Megan: [00:03:06] Two. And they are 9 and 6. Third grade and kindergarten.
Kim: [00:03:11] Oh, those are fun ages. Really, really fun ages. I like those ages because they're not like jaded yet, as far as "everything is boring" and that kind of stuff, but they're past the stage where you constantly have to worry they're going to hurt themselves, right?
Like that preschool age, like what are they gonna get into?
Megan: [00:03:28] Right. Exactly.
Kim: [00:03:30] Amazing. And what do you do for work?
Megan: [00:03:35] I am a nurse practitioner.
Kim: [00:03:37] Okay, great. And are you doing that in-person now or is that virtual for you?
Megan: [00:03:42] Yeah, so I work in an outpatient office, so I've still been working this whole time. We do a lot more telemedicine now than we ever did before, but we definitely still have patients come into the office.
Kim: [00:03:59] Do you think that telemedicine is going to be here to stay even after COVID passes?
Megan: [00:04:04] Yes.
Kim: [00:04:06] That's my thought as well.
Megan: [00:04:08] Yeah. I think there were some barriers preventing widespread telemedicine before and now all of those have kind of been broken down. So, I think that it's a good thing.
Kim: [00:04:19] Me too. I think it's going to be one of the permanent changes our society sees that will actually be positive.
Megan: [00:04:24] Yeah. Yep.
Kim: [00:04:26] So go ahead and tell us all what your question was when you and I have been messaging back and forth through email.
Now just so everyone knows, Megan and I actually don't know each other well. Megan and I started emailing and Instagram DMing and here's where we are.
Megan: [00:04:43] Yeah. So my question was, "how to stay on track when your significant other is not on the same plan as you?" Not necessarily not supportive, but just not following the same weight loss and fitness program.
Kim: [00:05:04] It's such a good question, because so many people find themselves in that situation right where you are. Now, tell us about what your fitness goals are and kind of where you're at with them right now.
Megan: [00:05:19] Yeah. So when I initially emailed you a couple of months ago, it was primarily just weight loss. The COVID-19 pandemic weight gain is real.
But now here we are in the midst of holiday season, so I've kind of given myself a little leeway there, but ultimately weight loss is the primary goal.
Kim: [00:05:55] Got it. Got it. And your husband, is he somebody who's just always been pretty healthy? He's just not interested in fitness? Like, what's his situation?
Megan: [00:06:07] So I think he's just not interested like I am. Not that he's not active, but he doesn't formally exercise. He's never initiated starting a program or going on a diet or anything like that. It's usually me going, "do this with me," and, you know, he'll do it for like a week or two or whatever, and then kind of goes back to his own thing.
So, I think ultimately he just doesn't have the same passion, like I do.
Kim: [00:06:43] Got it. And when you've asked him to do this with you in the past, what was your motivation in doing that? Why did you ask him to do the fitness things with you?
Megan: [00:06:54] One, to just have a partner to do it with. I work out at home mostly, just for convenience, so we do have dumbbells and other fitness equipment. So just having somebody to exercise with and hang out with. And then, I guess another part of it is that, you know, just encouraging him to get healthy, lose some weight himself, you know, as a roundabout way of motivating him to get on board.
Kim: [00:07:34] Okay. Well, let's talk about each of those things kind of separately. So, the first part is kind of, what do you need? Like, what would you get out of having him do this with you? And I think you make a really good point, like having a partner, having somebody to do this with you, that's a really powerful thing when it comes to any goal and I specifically think when it comes to health and fitness goals.
The question is: is he the right partner for you? Because frankly, if he doesn't want to do it, he doesn't want to do it, right? So the need is still there. Somebody to maybe hold you accountable could be what you need or somebody to just talk things over with or to commiserate with. What kind of support from a partner do you feel like you need the most?
Megan: [00:08:20] Accountability, for sure. And probably the other piece of it is like with planning meals and that sort of thing. Of course, if I'm the only one doing it, it all falls on me, so just having somebody that can just help with the whole process.
Kim: [00:08:50] Got it, got it.
So I guess there's two things that I see here. One, the value in you finding somebody outside of your husband to be your accountability partner is big here. Finding somebody in your real life is one possibility, like, looking around and thinking like, "What friends do I have who are kind of embarking on this same thing? Maybe we can actually be accountability partners" as in, we're not in the same space and we work out, but we're going to hold each other accountable. I'm going to say, "Hey, I'm working out at 5:30 today, let's touch base after I do," and then you'll do the same for her. That's one possibility.
If that is not a real realistic thing in your life. If you're like, "I don't really have fitnessy-type friends," finding an online partner is another really good option.
There are so many people. You could, frankly, find them in the comment section of one of my Instagram posts. You could put in there and be like, "hey, I'm looking for an accountability partner, who wants in?" And I bet you would find somebody.
Literally, I could put that up on my Instagram stories for you and be like, "I have somebody looking for an accountability partner." I would get so many messages, I'm sure.
Another possibility is joining an online fitness kind of group.
Now, I don't have one of these yet. Eventually, I might have some kind of group like this. I don't do it now. My friends, Jordan and Susan do with their Inner Circle. It's very inexpensive month to month and one of the great benefits of this group is that they hold each other accountable on these Facebook groups.
And so they're in there talking every day about, "here's my goal. Here's what I'm doing." And people give each other that support. Whether it's the supportive, "Hey, I'm doing this tomorrow at 7. I'm going to come back and tell you that I did it," or it's like, "this is really hard and I don't want to do it." All the kinds of things.
So I think a key for you is to figure out which of these types of things work to get you that support you need without making it be your husband.
How do you feel about that?
Megan: [00:10:43] So, I've done groups before and yeah, they definitely work. And I have friends that I'll talk to and message with that aren't necessarily following the same exact program that I am, but that have weight loss goals. I think the other piece of it -- because for me, I'm fine exercising by myself. Like, yes, it would be great to have somebody doing it alongside me, but that's not the biggest struggle. For me, it's more the nutrition aspect.
Again, it's not like he's discouraging me from counting my calories and weighing my food and doing that kind of thing, it's just, it feels like so much more work because I'm the one that plans the meals for the family and does the grocery shopping, and then he'll come in and suggest, "well, let's get takeout tonight" or, "let's try this new recipe," and I just feel like I'm always going "well, no, that doesn't fit in my plan." "I can't have rice tonight because I'm out of carbs" or whatever.
Kim: [00:12:06] Got it.
And here's an important question, then: have you tried discussing with your husband what your goal is specifically and letting him know that you have no expectations that your goals are his goals, and then asking for very specific support? And here's an example I can give you and you can kind of be like, "yep, I've tried that" or "no, I've never done that."
So, you go-- what's your husband's name?
Megan: [00:12:38] William.
Kim: [00:12:39] So you go, "William, I really need to talk to you about something" and you do it at a time when tensions aren't high and it's not at dinner and he hasn't just asked you to do take out, right? So at a very neutral kind of time, and you explain to him very clearly, "here are my goals. I want to lose some weight. Here's why it's important to me. And I have no interest in making you do this with me, William. It is totally fine with me if you're not interested in losing weight. I don't want to pressure you into losing weight. And I want you to know I am not secretly trying to make you lose weight for me."
This is important, "and here are some specific things that would be meaningful to me if you would do. If you could meet with me once a week and decide which days of the week we're going to do take out. If you could, when I tell you here's what we're having for dinner, not try and pressure me to do something else."
"I'm not going to tell you what you can and can't eat at all. It would really help me if you don't make comments on what I'm eating."
And very specifically lay out for him, "here's what I need and I don't want you to feel any pressure to eat a certain way or not eat a certain way."
So my question for you is one, have you tried a conversation like that with him?
Megan: [00:13:49] Not that detailed. I mean, when I'm strictly weighing my food and counting calories, he's aware that I am. He of course says, you know, "well, I don't think you need to lose weight. I don't think you need to be doing all that," but I've never approached it from the sense of saying like, "this is what I'm doing and I don't expect you to do it, but here's what I need from you."
Kim: [00:14:18] How do you think he would respond if you did that?
Megan: [00:14:23] I think he would totally be okay with it.
Kim: [00:14:27] Fantastic. That's great. Will you do that?
Will you do that with him sometime in the next week?
Megan: [00:14:36] I will. Although, like I said, right now, this current moment in my life, I'm not as strict about it -- just again, because of holidays and stuff -- but when the time comes that I am back actively trying to lose weight, I definitely will have that conversation.
Kim: [00:14:56] Amazing. And I really do think it's important to frame it in like, you know, "I love you, you're so supportive, I know it would be important for you to understand what I'm doing, to be able to give me the support that I need, because, realistically, I'm here to give you the support you need."
And you know, a lot of times we want people to read our minds, right? We want people to know like, "here's the support I need," and they don't know. They don't know. And if you can very specifically say things like, "Hey, it really helps me when people don't make comments about the fact that I'm weighing my food right now. I don't plan on weighing my food forever, but for right now, I am, it will be really helpful for me if you just didn't make comments about that. Or if we can plan ahead of time when we're going to order takeout, because it really helps me to stay on track with my goals," and be very specific with what you need and very non-judgmental of his goals.
Megan: [00:15:44] Right.
Kim: [00:15:45] And then that brings us to the other part, which is, you did say you would love to see him wanting to lose weight. And that begs the question: what is the best way to inspire someone else to want to lose weight or take their health and fitness seriously? I bet you could list some ways that don't work.
Megan: [00:16:03] [laughing] Right.
Kim: [00:16:05] Give me a couple. What hasn't worked?
Megan: [00:16:07] [laughing] Saying, " you need to lose weight."
Kim: [00:16:11] It works so terribly, right? It just doesn't work. It doesn't work. Nobody is going to be forced into wanting to lose weight because we tell them, "Hey, I think you need to lose weight." It just doesn't work. And it feels terrible.
Honestly, the very best thing you can do is inspire people with your own actions. If he sees you, in a healthy way, losing weight -- in a way that still allows you to have some rice or have some takeout, and he sees you being successful with it, that is more likely to inspire him to be like, "Hey, I don't need to just eat lettuce to lose weight. I could do what my wife is doing and do it."
That is way more likely to help him want to do this than anything you could say. And I know that can feel hard because we want to be able to say the thing that's going to help people make the change, but usually there's nothing you can say, it's really what you do.
Megan: [00:17:05] Yeah. And I think just doing what I do, obviously, I'm involved with health and fitness day to day. So for me, I see more than just the immediate benefit of weight loss, but just the long-term health benefit. And of course, he's separated from that because he's not in healthcare, so he doesn't necessarily have the same outlook that I do.
And like, if I made all of his food, he has said before, "yeah, I'll all go on whatever diet, as long as you make my food and pack my food every day." Because he's just not going to take the initiative to do it himself.
And I'm like, "yeah, well, I would like that, too..."
That'd be really nice. Yeah.
Kim: [00:18:14] Two things I would say about that: one, I totally agree with you. If everybody had somebody packing their food and saying, "here's exactly what to eat," that would make things really helpful.
It still wouldn't be enough, though. I'm telling you, somebody could pack someone else's food, but if another person wasn't ready to make a change, they could just as easily, on top of that food, go grab a Snickers bar, right?
Megan: [00:18:35] Yeah, that's true.
Kim: [00:18:37] You cannot make somebody else want to make a change. As much as we want to.
The other thing I would say is: though he's not in healthcare, it sounds like, do you really think he doesn't get that improving his fitness is going to help with things? What kind of things are you thinking about? Like, diabetes and heart health and those kinds of things?
Megan: [00:18:59] Yeah, like chronic disease. But no, you're right. I'm sure that he -- who doesn't know?
Kim: [00:19:05] He knows. He knows. We all know. We all know the impact that our nutrition and weight loss can have on things like all the different chronic diseases. He knows.
Right now, knowing doesn't lead to action for him and at some point it may, and it's way more likely to if he's not feeling pushed by you or by anybody else. No one out there doesn't get the fact that eating healthier, losing a little bit of weight is going to help with their heart health and their chances of lowering all kinds of chronic diseases. We know it.
Megan: [00:19:36] Yeah.
Kim: [00:19:38] All right. I know that's hard to hear because you want him to make a different choice and likely at some point in his life, he will. It might take seeing a friend get some kind of disease, it might take some kind of health scare on his own, but he's gonna come to that place on his own.
Megan: [00:19:57] Yeah. No, you're right.
Kim: [00:20:00] Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Megan: [00:20:05] I don't think so. This was actually really helpful. To talk to somebody who's impartial and just get an outsiders perspective, this was definitely helpful.
Kim: [00:20:23] Well, I am so, so, so happy to be here to have this chat with you and to be able to help you with this.
So, when you're ready, after the holidays, if you do decide you want an accountability partner, message me, I'll put it up on my stories. I'm telling you we'll get some people. Because there are other people out there who also want to have somebody to connect with about fitness and be like, "Hey, I'm doing the things. I'm meal planning this week and yes, I'm doing my workout.," and have somebody else to do that with them is important. So let me know and we can make that happen.
Megan: [00:20:54] Yeah, I definitely will.
Kim: [00:20:56] All right, my dear. Have a wonderful holiday season and keep in touch.
Megan: [00:21:02] I will. Same to you.
Kim: [00:21:04] Thanks so much. Bye. Bye.
Megan: [00:21:06] All right, bye.
Kim: [00:21:11] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 80 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm joined by Joyce Shulman. Joyce is an author, recovering lawyer, and founder and CEO of 99 Walks. She has the unique goal of getting 1 million women walking. Now, you know how I feel about getting up.
[00:00:23] Today, Joyce and I talk about intentional walking. What is it, and why should you be doing it?
[00:00:29] Let's go.
[00:00:36] Today on the Fitness Simplified podcast, I have with me, Joyce Shulman. Joyce is an author, recovering lawyer, and founder and CEO of 99 Walks, which is a unique organization with the goal of getting 1 million women walking. Joyce, welcome to the podcast.
[00:00:54] Joyce: [00:00:54] Thank you so much. I'm excited to be here.
[00:00:56] Kim: [00:00:56] Now, where are you calling me from this morning? Where are you dialing in from?
[00:01:00] Joyce: [00:01:00] I am based on the east end of Long Island, kind of in the heart of the Hamptons.
[00:01:05] Kim: [00:01:05] Nice. And what's the state of the world in your neck of the woods? Lockdowns happening? What's going on?
[00:01:11]Joyce: [00:01:11] You know, remarkably, New York -- knock on wood -- is still holding its own. The numbers are obviously going up, as they are everywhere, but we are not yet going back into lockdown. Though, certainly it could be coming, but Thanksgiving is canceled and the holidays are looking pretty sketchy, I got to say.
[00:01:33] Kim: [00:01:33] Yeah. I'm not too far from you, down here in Philadelphia, and we have a lot of things closing down -- not full lockdown like we were before, but schools are shutting down.
[00:01:42] Like, my kids' school just went fully virtual. Restaurants are shutting down, laws about coming into the state. You have to get a COVID test now. So, yeah. Lots happening on that front down here.
[00:01:55] Now Joyce, I had never heard of 99 Walks until just very recently. And I'm so intrigued by the whole concept.
[00:02:01] Can you give us a broad overview of 99 Walks? What is it and who is it for?
[00:02:06] Joyce: [00:02:06] Absolutely. So 99 Walks really grew out of something that I had been seeing -- or several things I've been seeing -- over the decade-plus that I've been working really closely with women. And those two things, which I believe on some level are related, are women in this country are suffering from a health and wellness crisis, which seems crazy to me in a sense, because we've never known as much as we do right now about health and wellness, and nutrition and we're getting less well, we're getting heavier, we're getting bigger, our incidence of preventable diseases keeps going up and yet we've never had more information about what it takes.
[00:02:50] So, when you sort of stop and think about that, it's kind of puzzling. So obviously information and knowledge, that's not where it starts and ends.
[00:03:00] And the other thing that I saw over the decade-plus is that women are suffering from a loneliness epidemic. And that was even before our current circumstance, where we're living in ways that are even more isolating than we were a year ago.
[00:03:16] So, those two pieces and then add to that that walking has always been a tremendous part of my personal practice and walking with my friends, walking while I hop on the phone with a friend at a distance, all of those things have been the ways that I have really managed my own wellness, connected with the people who are important to me, managed my stress, all of that. And about a year and a half ago, my husband, who's been my business partner now for 20 years in various ventures, and I were talking about whether or not we could bring all of the benefits of walking to a million women. And that's what started the conversation that ended up with what is now 99 Walks.
[00:04:05] Kim: [00:04:05] Interesting. Now, talk to me more about this connection between loneliness and walking and what you see with how walking helps with loneliness.
[00:04:18] Joyce: [00:04:18] So walking helps, let's start with what walking does for your mind and your mood. So there's a tremendous amount of research out there about the benefits of walking for your mind, your mood, and your body.
[00:04:30] And I'm happy to speak to any one of those ideas. But as far as connection, it does a couple of things. So walking has been shown to have a really valuable impact on boosting your mood. It's a great tool to combat depression, it's a great mood lifter, all of those things. And what tends to happen when you are feeling isolated and when you are feeling lonely, is it impacts your mood and it causes you to withdraw even more.
[00:05:02] Something I say all the time is, "when you need it, most you'll feel like doing it the least." So the simple act of the mood boost you get from walking, even on your own, can really help to drive some of that positive energy that you need to start connecting with other people.
[00:05:18] So that's piece number one, and then piece number two is the value of walking with people. And right now, as we were talking about a little bit just when we started, being together in person is not great right now, though, for many of us where our numbers aren't terrible we still can get out and take a socially-distanced walk with people we care about.
[00:05:42] And then the other option is to schedule a time, schedule a walk, and pop in your earbuds and get on the phone with somebody. And what I tell people about that is, nope, it's not as good as walking in the woods with your best friend in person. There's nothing that beats being together. That's how we're wired as people, right? But walking and talking on the phone is way better than you think it's going to be.
[00:06:11] Kim: [00:06:11] It is. Absolutely. I do it a lot. I do it a lot with friends all around the country.
[00:06:16] Joyce: [00:06:16] Have you always done that?
[00:06:17] Kim: [00:06:17] I haven't always done the walk and talk. That's a more recent thing since I started working from home online, because what I realized is I didn't have as much connection in my life in-person.
[00:06:29] So, I'm a coach and I used to coach out of my home. Women would come to me and I would meet with them one-on-one and train them. And so I had a lot of human interaction. And what I realized when I went fully online is it was me -- before my family came home because of COVID -- it was me in my house by myself all day. And, you know, I would be connecting with people via email or voice memo, but there just wasn't a whole lot of me and another person talking.
[00:06:53] And so that's when I started using my walk time to schedule time with friends, so that we can talk and walk at the same time.
[00:06:59] Joyce: [00:06:59] And it gives you that accountability, because if you have committed that you're going to walk with your friend, Beth at three o'clock, you're going to show up. Otherwise you have to cancel and nobody wants to do that.
[00:07:09] So there's that accountability, which is great. And do you find that the conversations that you have while you're walking are -- they're good, right?
[00:07:18] Kim: [00:07:18] Absolutely. You and I were talking about this before. I think it was when I was on your podcast. The idea there's this more natural cadence, right?
[00:07:25] It's not like you're sitting with somebody and you're just looking at each other, and you need to fill every second. If you're walking, it's very natural to have these normal pauses and everybody's fine. And you're with your thoughts and they're with their thoughts and you're looking around at the scenery and the conversation just can kind of flow more naturally.
[00:07:42] Joyce: [00:07:42] Absolutely. I did a Ted Talk all about why walking together is so powerful and there's some physiological elements of that, too. I'll share one, because I just think it's fascinating. And that is: when you walk with other people, your body releases oxytocin, which is the same hormone that causes women to bond with their babies, right? Everybody thinks of it as the nursing hormone, but it does drive our collaboration and our connection and our sense of being together. And interestingly it has -- at least very preliminary research suggests that it has -- a different impact on men. Where it tends to make women more collaborative, it tends to make men more competitive. Which is super interesting if you think about it in the new baby space.
[00:08:32] Kim: [00:08:32] Yeah.
[00:08:33] Joyce: [00:08:33] But what happens when you walk with your girlfriends is you are releasing oxytocin and that's driving your connection.
[00:08:43] Kim: [00:08:43] That is so interesting.
[00:08:46] You know, my mom is really passionate about walking. She has done daily five-mile walks, at least since I was a teenager, this has just been a massive part of her life. And I have so many fond memories of going on walks with her and her girlfriends, because sometimes she would have a group of five people, six people, and they would meet, and sometimes it was just my mom and my dad, but she was there usually five to six days a week, five-mile walks. And I would listen in to her and her girlfriends as they would talk and they would just solve all the world's problems. And it was just such a great space to get things done whether it's your own personal problems or just what you think should happen in the world, it's a really great way to collaborate.
[00:09:29] Joyce: [00:09:29] 100%. It pulls us away from the draw of social media and our computers and our tech and our insatiable need to multitask, though in a sense, and this is part of what started me walking with my girlfriends, is it did give me the opportunity to multitask because I got to be outside in nature, which we always need as much of that as we can get, I had the chance to connect with my friends, and I got some exercise all at the same time.
[00:09:59] So in a sense, instead of meeting a friend for a cup of coffee, let's meet for a walk, was driven out of my desire to multitask.
[00:10:08] Kim: [00:10:08] I love that. I think that's fantastic. I think that's fantastic. And that's something I encourage my clients to do, because so much of our culture is built around, "we will meet and eat," right? So much of that. And for people who are trying to lose weight, it's not so useful to do that multiple times in a week, to constantly have their activities revolve around food.
[00:10:27] And so we talk about things like, how would it feel for you to call your girlfriend and say like, "Hey, instead of meeting for lunch, how about we meet and go for a hike?" Or, "how about we meet and go for a walk?"
[00:10:36] It can feel really awkward at first if that's not the norm, but so many of my clients have really come to enjoy that aspect of their friendships now.
[00:10:45] Joyce: [00:10:45] Yeah. Most of my friends know I am not the girl to call and say, "do you want to meet for a glass of wine at nine o'clock?"
[00:10:53] I am not your girl. If you want to meet at 6:30 in the morning for a walk, sign me up.
[00:11:00] And I have kind of a personal policy that if somebody invites me for a walk or to do something active, especially outdoors, if I can -- meaning I don't have a firm commitment that precludes me from doing that -- my personal policy is I say "yes," whether I feel like it, whether it's too cold, it's too hot, whatever it is. If you ask me and I can, I will show up.
[00:11:26] Kim: [00:11:26] I love that. I love that. And it's so interesting about the too cold, too hot, I get asked this a lot because I encourage people to walk and they're like, "well, what do you do if it's cold?"
[00:11:35] And I was like, "I live in an area where it gets quite cold, so I own nice warm boots. And I own a really great coat, and I put those on." And the same thing with rain. Unless it's a bad storm with lightning, I walk in the rain. I have a raincoat and I have rain boots and I have an umbrella and I actually really like walking in the rain and I don't mind walking in the cold.
[00:11:55] Now I'm smart about it. If it's a cold winter day, I don't go out at 6:30 in the morning. I go out at 1, right? I do it at lunch. And if it's summer and it's going to be boiling hot, I do go out at 6:30 in the morning.
[00:12:06] We can come up with so many excuses about why it's not a good time to take a walk if we're looking for them.
[00:12:12] Joyce: [00:12:12] Absolutely. You know the expression, "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing."
[00:12:16] Kim: [00:12:16] Yes, exactly. That is exactly right. It blows people's minds. When I tell them, they're like, "what should I do?" And I'm like, "uh, better clothing."
[00:12:24] It's totally true, Joyce.
[00:12:25] Joyce: [00:12:25] And the other thing about walking, especially in the cold, and I was thinking about this yesterday because I went out for about a four-mile walk yesterday and it was windy, which I hate, I don't mind the cold, but I hate the wind.
[00:12:38] But I was in an area that was fairly protected and the first 10 minutes -- and I think we just have to be really honest with everyone about this -- the first 10 minutes walking in the cold is going to suck. It's uncomfortable, your body doesn't feel good, the cold is bothering you, your nose is cold, your fingertips are cold. All of that. The first 10 minutes are not going to be great. But then the endorphins start flowing, the oxytocin starts flowing, your body warms up and there's something so invigorating and refreshing about that.
[00:13:17] Kim: [00:13:17] Yeah, 100% agree. I never regret it when I go out for a walk. I always feel so good. I feel more focused when I come back and I just have a wonderful moment.
[00:13:28] You know, I have so many, I guess I would call them little perfect moments while walking. Just little bursts of time where everything seems so in harmony. The weather, the lighting, my mood, just the energy around me.
[00:13:39] This time last year, my daughter and I, we went for a walk around our neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon and it was fall in Pennsylvania and the light, the way it was changing, and I remember we just walked and walked and walked, admiring the houses and looking at the fall decorations and, you know, talking about nothing important, but it's just seared in my memory of just this perfect, beautiful moment.
[00:14:01] And I have so many little moments like this throughout my life. Do you have a moment that you can share where you were out walking and it just felt like all was right with the world?
[00:14:10] Joyce: [00:14:10] Oh, gosh, that's such a funny question because the answer is, yeah, I have many of those moments and I could start with the moment when Eric, my husband, and I were walking in Hawaii actually, and kind of really cooked up the idea for 99 Walks. Of course, that's a special moment.
[00:14:30] But the moment that comes to mind when you kind of describe it in that way was a moment this past April, late April, when the world had shut down and we didn't know what was going on and it was very scary and everybody had kind of retreated in large part into their homes. But there's one area near where I live that's a very large parking lot that runs for a mile beside a bay beach. And it's the place where people walk all the time. And I went out for a walk and everybody I passed smiled. And this was before anybody was wearing masks, we probably should have been, but we weren't because nobody knew in April.
[00:15:12] And every single person I passed smiled and acknowledged one another. And I had this feeling of, "it's all good." And the sun was shining and the sun was glistening off the Bay and it was beautiful. And I had this moment of, "human beings are great and it's all going to be okay."
[00:15:33] Kim: [00:15:33] Oh, that's beautiful.
[00:15:34] That's beautiful. See, there's so many moments like that when I'm out walking and I just want that for people. Like, I want people to have these amazing moments and I know you do too.
[00:15:43] What is your best advice for someone who is just starting out with walking? They're hearing this and they're like, "all right, this all sounds really good, but I don't ever do that."
[00:15:51] And, you know, I've had people on the phone, when they want to become a client of mine, they're like, "look, I gotta tell you, I don't really move. I sit at my desk to work and I sit on the sofa at night and that's pretty much what I do."
[00:16:04] What is your best advice for somebody just starting out with walking or who wants to get started?
[00:16:09] Joyce: [00:16:09] There's a lot to that. One piece of advice I have is to find a supportive community and I would love for anybody who wants to start a practice to check out 99 Walks and we can talk a little bit about kind of what our community is all about and what our app offers and all of that.
[00:16:30] Because we have a lot of people in our community who started from that place. We've had people whose exact words are, "I am completely sedentary."
[00:16:41] So, the first is recognizing that and wanting to make a change. Because if you don't want to make a change, then you're not going to. So you have to want to, not necessarily because you feel like it, but because there's something that you want more. You want better health, you want to lose weight, you want to be more active, you literally want to live longer.
[00:17:06] So first you need to want to. And then the second piece of it is you just have to do it and not overthink it. The beauty of starting a walking practice is you don't have to join a gym, you don't have to commit, you don't have to tell anyone, you don't have to go anyplace special, you literally just have to lace up your shoes and walk out the door and walk to the end of your driveway and back and you took your first walk.
[00:17:35] And the third thing I would say is: avoid the compare and despair. We have a word at 99 Walks that we have banned as much as we possibly can and that's just -- J-U-S-T.
[00:17:50] So anytime anybody posts in our app or in our Facebook group, "I just walked a mile today." That's not a, "just," that's an accomplishment.
[00:18:04] Kim: [00:18:04] Yeah. It's very different to just take that word "just" out. "I walked a mile today."
[00:18:07] Joyce: [00:18:07] Yep. Exactly.
[00:18:10] Kim: [00:18:10] That's fantastic. Great advice.
[00:18:13] So tell us a little bit about your community.
[00:18:15] Joyce: [00:18:15] So 99 Walks is, at its heart, monthly walking challenges for women where we invite our members to set their own monthly walking goal. We don't dictate how far, how much, everybody sets what's right for them.
[00:18:29] And we have some guidelines. We talk about Goldilocks goals, which is a fun thing to talk about -- you and I could, I'm sure, spend 20 minutes talking about Goldilocks goals for sure. And then you use our app to track what we call "intentional walks." So we're not about step counting. I think there is some value in that for some people and, to your point, more movement is good, right? For people who have been sedentary, any additional steps and movement you can get into your day is great.
[00:19:01] But because we're so focused on the mental and emotional and physical benefits of walking, we focus on intentional walks, which is taking some measure of time and going for a walk. Because that's where you get the mental and emotional benefits, as well.
[00:19:20] And we offer tons of support and content, daily walking classes in various different styles, walking, meditations, podcasts, they're available within the app. And at the end of the month, for our members who reach their monthly walking goal -- and the vast majority of them do -- we send them what we call "wearable inspiration," which is a skinny cuff bracelet engraved with the theme of the month. So every month we are all talking about and thinking about and walking and working towards a common theme.
[00:19:56] Kim: [00:19:56] That's really such a unique set up. I don't know anything else like that. I've never heard of anything else like that.
[00:20:04] Joyce: [00:20:04] No, we're pretty unique. And it's funny because it is very unique and the kind of 360 approach that we have taken to all of this is really unique, but the truth is: our focus is so very, very simple. It's "lace up your sneakers and walk out the door because it will help you do more, be happier, and live longer."
[00:20:29] Kim: [00:20:29] Absolutely. Absolutely. Totally agree with all of that.
[00:20:33] Now, Joyce, this next question is going to seem like it's way out of left field. We're going to switch the topic here.
[00:20:37] I'm deeply involved in opening up the conversation around menopause. So many women are in the dark about what is happening with their bodies. I was, and I am on a mission to get women talking about it. Would you be willing to share with us your experience with perimenopause and menopause?
[00:20:55] Joyce: [00:20:55] Yes, I would be happy to. And I'm laughing because I can share the perimenopause and the menopause symptom that about pushed me over the edge that I did not see coming.
[00:21:09] Would you like to hear that one?
[00:21:10]Kim: [00:21:10] I absolutely would. Yes, ma'am.
[00:21:14]Joyce: [00:21:14] Sleep.
[00:21:16] So sleep is everything to me. I go to bed early, I wake up early, and I sleep great. Except for three years of my life when I didn't sleep well. I mean, it was terrible.
[00:21:33] Kim: [00:21:33] And what was going on with it?
[00:21:35] Joyce: [00:21:35] Well, that's the thing, right? Like, to an extent, I mean, I was having hot flashes and night sweats and that kind of thing.
[00:21:43] And obviously that was disruptive to my sleep, but it was just like that was the symptom in and of itself. My sleep was so disrupted. Straight up insomnia, disrupted sleep. And that was devastating for me personally.
[00:22:01] Kim: [00:22:01] And it was three years. That's a long time.
[00:22:03] Joyce: [00:22:03] Well, it was kind of off and on. So there's a little bit more to the story.
[00:22:06] So I had been on the pill all for like 20 years, right? And one day in my late forties, I looked at that pill I took every day and I thought, "you know, this can't be good for me. I've been doing this for 20 years," and I just stopped taking it.
[00:22:26] And my husband was like, "you've been doing this for 20 years. I'm on it. Now it's on me." And that's when this sleep disruption just hit me like a ton of bricks. So then a couple of months later, my best friend, who's a OB-GYN, came out to spend the weekend with us and I told him what was going on and he was like, "just go back on the pill."
[00:22:47] And I was like, "but Michael, you know I've been on it so long. I'm 47." And he's like, "just go back on the pill." He said, "you don't smoke, you're in great shape, you've got no other underlying medical conditions, just stay on until you're 50." So I went back on the pill and like, I don't know, three weeks later I was completely back to my old self and that worked great until I was 50.
[00:23:10] And then my doctor was like, "okay, now it's enough. Now it's time to stop."
[00:23:18] Kim: [00:23:18] And then that's when the sleep disruption started back?
[00:23:21] Joyce: [00:23:21] Yeah, again. Not quite as bad as the first go-round and it was off and on for a couple of years. And now I'm back to myself.
[00:23:29] Kim: [00:23:29] And did you just kind of wait it out? Did you have some kind of treatment?
[00:23:33] Joyce: [00:23:33] No, I waited it out.
[00:23:35] Kim: [00:23:35] Got it. Three years is a long time to wait it out.
[00:23:39] Joyce: [00:23:39] Well, at that point it wasn't every night. The first go-round was every night and the second go-round, it was less. And not to sound all up in my walking soap box, but the reality was that if I got a good walk, especially outside during the course of the day, I felt better and I slept better. My mood was better, more stable. All of those things.
[00:24:02] Kim: [00:24:02] I see that with myself, as well. I absolutely do. When I have days where I don't get outside to exercise, to literally move outside, I don't sleep as well.
[00:24:13] Joyce: [00:24:13] There's research that supports that. That's a real thing.
[00:24:17] Kim: [00:24:17] So I always like women that I have on to share what their fitness routine is and what their fitness goals are.
[00:24:23] Can you tell us some about what is your current fitness routine and do you have it any goals?
[00:24:27] Joyce: [00:24:27] Ah, well, yes. My goals have changed in the last couple of months. So, I walk an average of four or five times a week. Usually about three miles. Sometimes it's only two, sometimes it's more like four.
[00:24:45] But those are intentional walks where I'm putting on music, putting on a podcast, or listening to nothing and just really clearing my head. And I try to do that as often as possible, certainly four or five times a week. I'm also a CrossFitter and my husband's a competitive CrossFit athlete. So I spend a fair bit of time in the gym picking up and putting down heavy things.
[00:25:09] And I was chasing -- you talk about goals -- I was chasing a 200-pound deadlift until I really hurt my back. Not catastrophically, but it's a recurring injury that now I have decided just a week ago that I'm going to take seriously.
[00:25:27] So now my fitness goal is to repair my back and start really getting stronger from a muscle and power standpoint.
[00:25:38] But that's a journey. It's going to be a journey.
[00:25:41] Kim: [00:25:41] Absolutely. That's fantastic. Wow, that's going to have a great payoff. You know, strengthening your back and getting that situated, that's a great thing to do for yourself. Fantastic.
[00:25:52] Well, Joyce, it has been a pleasure to have you on here today. Can you tell everyone where they can find you?
[00:25:57] Joyce: [00:25:57] Absolutely. They can find me on social media, Instagram at joyce.r.shulman. They can find my book on Amazon, it's called "Walk Your Way to Better." And they can find all things 99 Walks pretty much everywhere. 99walks.fit is the website, 99 Walks is the app, and 99 Walks are all of the social channels.
[00:26:21] So we are in all of those places and anybody who wants to just sort of start dabbling and thinking about a walking practice or you need a little bit of inspiration or support, we have a really wonderful and supportive Facebook group that's open to everybody, not just our app members. So that's a group at 99 Walks on Facebook.
[00:26:43] Kim: [00:26:43] Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for being here today.
[00:26:47] Joyce: [00:26:47] Oh, it was really my pleasure.
[00:26:49] Kim: [00:26:49] Wonderful. All right, take care.
[00:26:51] Joyce: [00:26:51] Thanks!
[00:26:58] Kim: [00:26:58] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
[00:27:09] If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people. Thanks so much.
Kim: Welcome to episode 79 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm going to be fielding questions from my Instagram stories. I asked people to let me know what kind of support they needed during this holiday season.
[00:00:23] Not only is it the holiday season, but it's a really strange holiday season, what with lockdowns and closures and things due to COVID. So that's what I'm going to be doing today. I'm going to be tackling holiday support questions.
[00:00:35] Now I hope I can make it through at least a couple of questions. I'm several weeks into recovering from pneumonia. I've set things up as best I can to be able to speak well. The trickiest part for me right now is speaking is hard. It gets me out of breath really fast and my voice changes from normal to not even able to be understood rather quickly. So that's why I picked questions because it might be one question, it might be five questions, we're just gonna kind of go with it and see how far I can get and give you a little bit of help as we navigate this kind of different holiday season. Let's go.
[00:01:10] So our first question today comes from Paula. Paula's question: "how do you say no to treats when they make them just for you?"
[00:01:19] Okay, for starters, you always say, thank you. "Thank you so much for thinking of me." Then say something nice about whatever it is they made for you. Make sure it is sincere. People can tell if you're not being sincere. You know, "This smells amazing" or "Wow! Look at the detail!" Doesn't mean you have to eat it if you do not want to.
[00:01:40] Now, if it is literally something that they personally made for you to take home, you can just take it. They don't need to know that you don't plan on eating it. If it's not a food that is going to be worth it, you know, I put that in quotes there -- air quotes -- if it's not going to be worth it to you, because gosh, we gotta work with nutritional compromises. You can eat anything when you're trying to lose weight, you just can't have it all and you have to work in compromises. What's important to you? What's a "worth it" food and what's not.
[00:02:04] If what they've made you is not a word that food they don't need to know you're not gonna eat it later and you're going to share it with someone else. "Thank you so much. This is wonderful. I'm sure it's going to be amazing." End of story.
[00:02:16] Now, if -- and this next piece might not even happen to this holiday season because there's just not going to be as many social gatherings -- but let's say you are with somebody and they're pushing you to eat something at a get-together that you're either really not hungry at that moment or it's just something that's not a "worth it" food for you. And they say, "Oh, but you love this. I made it for you." Again, "thank you." Sincere compliment. "So pretty." "Wow. This must've taken so much effort. Thank you so much." And then, "I'm not hungry right now." Period. End of story.
[00:02:53] There's no way somebody can tell you, "but yes you are." "Oh, eat it anyway? Oh yeah, I don't eat things when I'm not hungry. I just don't feel good when I do that." People can't argue with you about that.
[00:03:05] Alternatively, you could say, "you know what? I'm not hungry right now. Thank you so much for thinking about me, may I take a little bit of this home for me for later?"
[00:03:14] That is another way to handle it. Again, you don't need to add that you're not actually going to eat it, that you're going to give it to someone else.
[00:03:20] Here is what not to do: explain your goals or defend your choice. You don't need to tell somebody like, "Hey, I've been really working hard at eating nutritious whole foods and keeping my protein up and this just isn't 'worth it' food for me." You don't need to do that and you should not do that. It usually doesn't end well. It ends in a back and forth, you trying to defend your choices and you don't owe that to anyone. "I'm not hungry, thank you so much for thinking of me."
[00:03:48] All right. Our next question, question 2 comes from Stacy. Stacy wants to know, "how do I stay mostly on track while staying with in-laws for a week?"
[00:03:58] Great question. Here's where I want to start. I want to start with a little perspective. This is really important: what you do most of the time is what matters most to your results, not what you do some of the time.
[00:04:13] This is a "some of the time" event. You don't go most weeks of a month to hang out at your in-laws for a week. Right? This is a "some of the time" event. So keep that in mind and then remind yourself, really ask yourself this question: the last time you had a pinpoint perfect week. Or as close to pinpoint perfect as you can remember. Like, you were really on it with your nutrition, you were really on it with your workouts, you were really on it with your steps. The last time you had all of that perfectly in order, did you get to the end of any seven day period, look in the mirror, and just were like, "GOAL! I did it! That was it. I'm done. I got my results."
[00:04:57] It doesn't work that way, right? A week is a week is a week. Is it important? Yes. All of our decisions add up. But is any one week the be-all, end-all? It is not. And if it's not the be-all, end-all to make your results, it's not going to be the be-all, end-all to break your results.
[00:05:17] It's just not going to be that important. So take a deep breath and remember perspective. It's just a week.
[00:05:26] Then, let's talk about what you can do. What opportunities do you have to make some headway towards your goals, even on this week where you're hanging out with your in-laws -- which you might not see as like a vacation week, which we might approach differently -- but you still see it as like, "ah, this is not going to be a regular week."
[00:05:46] The number one thing I would suggest is to be active. Go on walks, go on hikes, play some basketball out in the yard with the kids. Maybe do this as a group sometimes. And honestly, a 30 to 60-minute mental health break to take a little walk could be really impactful to how much you enjoy your week. Depends on your personality and the situation that you're in with your relationship with your relatives. I personally always need some alone time away for my sanity and taking a 30 to 60-minute walk every day is a perfect reason for that.
[00:06:18] "Hey guys, I'm going on my walk, gonna be back." Off you go. You can listen to the birds chirp or you can listen to a podcast. It kills two birds with one stone, right? You get some mental sanity having some alone time and you keep your activity up. And then sometimes do things active as a group. You can take two walks a day, one by yourself and a littler one with the kids or with the whole family.
[00:06:39] Number two: are there meals you won't be eating as a group? Things that are more like a "fend for yourself" kind of thing. Often that's breakfast or lunch or maybe some of each. If there are, take advantage of these to just pop in some of your standards. What do you usually eat for breakfast? If you usually make an egg white omelet, make that. If you usually have some yogurt and berries, make that. When you get into town with your in-laws, run to the store and grab two or three things that you need that are kind of your staples and have them available. Use these meals that are on your own time to eat higher protein, get some vegetables, get some fruit.
[00:07:18] Now, number three: no matter what is served -- even if every single meal is going to be eaten together as a group, and you have nothing to do with the selection of the food -- you always control how much you eat, even if you don't control what you eat. This is a great time to practice the skill of eating until satisfied, not stuffed.
[00:07:40] Eat slowly. Really practice eating slowly. Putting your fork down between bites and enjoying conversation with the people at the table. And then with this time you create, because you're eating slowly, you'll start to be able to pick up on the sensation of feeling satisfied before you get full. And start practicing stopping when you're satisfied. This is an important skill.
[00:08:03] Eventually we want you to not be tracking calories and not necessarily be going by like, a certain amount of food on the plate. You know, it's a great strategy to have half a plate of vegetables and a quarter of a plate of protein and a quarter of a plate of anything else. Eventually, what we want you to do is to be able to go more by, "Hey, I'm feeling satisfied. It's time for me to stop eating."
[00:08:22] This is a great time to practice that. Look at this as an opportunity, not as a roadblock.
[00:08:29] Question number three comes from Susie. "What is the best substitute for Christmas cookies?"
[00:08:36] My first question to you, anyone who was like, "Oh yeah, that's my question too," and to you, Susie, I know you're listening: why do you want a substitute? What's the purpose of the substitute and what kind of substitute are you talking about? Are you talking about a substitute as in like, "Oh, I'm going to have a protein cookie" or "I'm going to have an avocado cookie." I went to a cookie exchange a few years ago and somebody brought cookies made out of avocados.
[00:09:01] And I was thinking like, "I love avocados. I don't want avocado cookies, though." I don't. I don't want my cookie to be made out of avocado. And frankly, I don't even want my cookie to be made out of protein. I haven't met a protein cookie yet that I'm like, "Ooh, that tastes just like my Toll House chocolate chips. I haven't. I love protein, protein is important. I will get my protein from my chicken breast, from my yogurt, from my cottage cheese, from my ground turkey, and then eat a cookie that doesn't have any protein.
[00:09:30] Or maybe you're talking about those kinds of lists that show you like, "Oh, if you're craving chocolate cookies, you should have X instead." I remember I saw a chart not too long ago, and it said "if you're craving chocolate, you should eat rabbit instead." I laughed hysterically. First of all, where am I getting a rabbit? Where am I getting a rabbit? How do I cook the rabbit? And frankly, do I want to eat rabbit? If I want chocolate -- what -- why would I want rabbit? I'm not going to do that. I think those charts are silly.
[00:09:57] If you want a cookie, the key is to fit in the cookie, keeping in mind total calories -- if weight loss is the goal, total calories have to be in check -- optimal protein has to be present, and 80/20 eating. As in, 80% of your food is not cookies. 80% of your food is wholesome, nourishing, one-ingredient foods, okay? 20% of your food can be things like cookies. Could be all cookies if you want it to be.
[00:10:29] The key is to figure out how to eat Christmas cookies in that framework. So let's talk about how do you do that?
[00:10:37] The number one thing I would suggest is figuring out what is worth it to you.
[00:10:42] What is worth it to you? For me, I pass on almost all sugar cookies. There are some sugar cookies I like, but mostly that just don't do it for me. And so I pass on them. That's not a "worth it to me" cookie.
[00:10:52] I pass on almost all store-bought cookies. I will say the one weird example is Target sugar cookies are actually pretty good. But most sugar cookies, it's a hard pass for me.
[00:11:02] Chocolate chip, peanut butter... different story.
[00:11:06] What is it for you? What are your "worth it" cookies and what do you just eat because it's there and it's fine? So that's the number one thing I would say.
[00:11:13] And the next thing I would say is: be strategic.
[00:11:18] Don't do your holiday baking December 1st, December 6th, wait until closer to the holiday. Save your baking for closer to the holiday so there's just less exposure time to the cookies. And then, also being strategic, do not bake so many that there is just an abundance of cookies for you to manage for a long time. Bake enough to be enjoyable for you and the people who live with you, but not so much that they last interminably.
[00:11:49] This is going to be an especially important consideration this year. If you usually bake for a crowd, but because of COVID there's not a crowd and you still bake for the crowd, you're going to be swimming and cookies. And that might make this more difficult to moderate because it's just going to be over an extended period of time. So adjust your plans. Bake closer to the holiday, bake in smaller batches.
[00:12:12] And then the third thing is: storage is important.
[00:12:16] If you leave the cookies on the counter, if you leave them on a pretty plate covered with saran wrap in the middle of your island, you're way more likely to eat them. Research shows us this.
[00:12:28] If you want to be less likely to eat something, you need to put it in an opaque container in an out of the way spot. So it is just not on your brain as much. So bake the cookies close to the holiday, smaller batches, put them in a container that you cannot see through in a spot that you do not see a lot.
[00:12:46] So don't put them at eye-level right when you open your main pantry, either. Put them up high so that they're not just in your face.
[00:12:53] Remember, you can fit cookies into your weight loss plan over the holidays. You can fit them into your plan at any time of the year. It's a matter of how you do it.
[00:13:04] I think I'm going to end there.
[00:13:06] It has been great being able to talk to you again. Coming back next week is the plan. Have a good one.
[00:13:18] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
[00:13:32] If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
[00:13:46] Thanks so much.
Kim: Welcome to episode 78 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm going to be fielding a question from a member of my Instagram fam. Kathy wrote in very frustrated with her workouts. Is she lifting heavy enough? Is she lifting long enough? When she starts to lift heavier and longer, she feels frustrated, doesn't like it, so she cuts back, and then she's worried it's not effective and maybe she should just give it all up and just walk already.
[00:00:31] So we're going to be talking the specifics of what makes an effective workout. We're also going to be talking about the mindset piece of working out and how to make your workouts work for you.
[00:00:42] Let's go.
[00:00:46] Okay. So starting out this episode, I want to have a little disclaimer: I have quite the cough going on. I'm actually going to get a COVID test. I don't think I have COVID. I think what I have is I was out in the rain too long this weekend and I'm just not feeling well. But, I'm going to get a COVID test just to be on the safe side. Point being, I might cough uncontrollably during this episode. Doing it anyway, doing it anyway. Messy action is what I'm all about.
[00:01:12] All right. So with that disclaimer, let's jump into this question that Kathy's submitted. I'm going to read her question exactly as she wrote it and then take it piece by piece.
[00:01:21] Here's what Kathy says: "A question. I go from building my weights and time up to an hour -- so heavier weights, heavier and heavier, longer and longer workouts -- to being turned off. Too much pressure on myself and not wanting to lift weights anymore."
[00:01:39] Okay, so I'm not totally clear which piece is pressuring her or if both is feeling like a lot of pressure. As in, "Wow. This workout is long and I have other things to do, "or, "Wow. This is really heavy weight and I really don't like lifting heavy heavy weights."
[00:01:54] "So, then I go back to super short, 20 to 30 minutes and not too heavy."
[00:01:59] Okay. So she ends up reducing it. She doesn't want to lift weights anymore.
[00:02:04] "I don't want to lift weights anymore. I go back to super short, 20-30 minutes, not too heavy. And my question is, 'am I receiving any benefits or should I just quit and do walking, no weights?"
[00:02:16] Okay. So, starts off, lifts heavier and heavier, longer and longer, feels pressure -- either time pressure or just the pressure of," I don't actually like lifting really big weights," decides "I don't really want to lift at all anymore," cuts really far back -- 20-minute workouts, 30-minute workouts, not heavy workouts -- and now she's questioning, "is this effective at all? And should I just quit and forget about lifting weights and walk?"
[00:02:42] So, let's unpack this.
[00:02:45] The first piece we're going to talk about is this mental piece. She kind of gives this false dichotomy: either what I'm doing is effective -- like, it's totally effective -- or it's not effective at all and I should just quit. There's a whole lot of middle ground in there and that's what I want to find today.
[00:03:03] Workouts can be customized to you. You don't have to fit you to the workout. So the first question for Kathy to ask herself, and for you to ask you, is "what is my goal?"
[00:03:17] What results, what benefits do you want?
[00:03:20] So Kathy said, "am I receiving any benefits?" The question I would have her ask herself is, "what benefits are you looking for?"
[00:03:27] ]Is your goal maximum strength? Is your goal hypertrophy -- muscle-building? Is your goal just general strength and longevity? What is your goal? And that's how you're going to judge whether what you're doing is effective or not.
[00:03:42] Then the question is, "what type of workout -- how long of a workout, how much volume -- what do I need to reach that goal? Now, for most of those goals, there's a whole range of possibilities for length of workout and how you're going to structure your workout.
[00:03:59] If the goal was maximum strength, like, "I want to lift as heavy as possible. I want to be as strong as possible," there will be the need for lifting super heavy weights. Right? You're going to need to lift a heavy barbell, one-rep max, two-rep max, three-rep max, low rep range, higher weight. If max strength is the goal, that is the best way to achieve that.
[00:04:24] So that answers her point of, "do I have to lift that heavy?" If max strength is your goal, yes, you do.
[00:04:31] Now going along with that: if max strength is your goal, you're also going to need more time because lifting in that way, training in the one to five rep range, necessitates longer rest periods. So when I do a heavy barbell back squat, when I do a heavy bench press, when I do a heavy deadlift, when I am working on my chin-ups or my pull-ups, when I do those things, I use a two to three minute rest period between each set. That takes time.
[00:05:01] So if you're doing three sets and you have two minutes between each, that's six minutes of rest just there, not even including the actual time setting up and the time performing the lifts. So yes, that does take some more time.
[00:05:15] If max strength is not your goal, you do not have to lift that heavy.
[00:05:20] You do not. You're going to have to lift heavy -- and we're going to talk about what heavy to you feels like -- but you do not need to be setting up barbells, you do not need to be lifting in that one to five rep range if max strength isn't your goal.
[00:05:32] Now, I do think that lifting heavy is beneficial. Actually, that's totally misstated. It's not that lifting heavy is my opinion, it is how you change the shape of your body. But heavy is going to be relative to you. And it doesn't have to require lifting in the one to five rep range at all.
[00:05:54] So what is required to get the goal of looking shapelier, feeling healthier, building muscle?
[00:06:04] What research shows us is that you can build muscle across all rep ranges. You can do it in that lower rep range I was just talking about, that one to five, you can do it in the more moderate rep range, more like the eight to twelve, and you can do it in higher rep ranges, more like above twelve.
[00:06:20] When we're talking about what is most practical, what is actually going to fit in your life? A really good sweet spot for you to put most of your lifts is in that eight to twelve rep range, because if you're going to be working in that higher rep range, if you're going to be trying to work with reps of 15, you're going to have to lift heavy enough -- and we'll talk about what that feels like in a minute -- to get to 15 reps and it's going to take longer. If you're doing 15 reps of everything, 20 reps of everything, it's going to take longer.
[00:06:50] Now there is an endpoint60-second for how light you can lift and still see results. So you want to be at least at 20% of your one-rep max. If you're lifting 30 reps of something, 40-50 reps of something, it's likely too light for. And think about how impractical that is for your time.
[00:07:11] So we're going to have you structure your workout so that most of your lifting is going to be in that eight to twelve rep range. Some of it can be in that higher rep range -- I absolutely program for my clients a few things in the above 12 rep range, 15 reps, 20 reps. I use it sparingly. I use it towards the end of a workout for these more accessory-type lifts, and it is very sparing. That is not the bulk of their workout.
[00:07:38] I also do use that heavy rep range, that one to five rep range, for some of my clients. That is always their first move to the day -- one or two, for some people, moves. So those would be things like a heavy back squat, a heavy barbell deadlift, it could be a chin-up variation, it could be a bench press variation. So there would be one to two of those exercises at the beginning of their workout.
[00:08:06] They would have longer rest periods. Like I said, two to three minutes. Moving on through the workout, or just starting if they're not going to do that piece, they would start with exercises in the eight to twelve rep range.
[00:08:20] And these would be multi-joint exercises, compound exercises. We're talking things that would be variations of rows, variations of chest presses, pushups, shoulder presses, overhead presses, military presses, deadlift variations, squat variations, lunge variations. Those kinds of things would make up the bulk of their workout in the eight to twelve rep range.
[00:08:54] And then at the end, we would put a little sprinkling of those things in the above 12 rep range.
[00:09:00] Now the time of rest with these exercises can be lower. 60 seconds is totally fine doing that. I would suggest you time your rest, 1) to make sure you're getting enough.
[00:09:11] When you take rest for a long enough period of time, and you don't make everything into a giant circuit and your heart rates up and all of that, when you're not chasing that you actually have the ability to push harder during your sets. And being able to push harder, that intensity is what is going to help you lift heavy enough for you. And that is going to be what changes your body and builds muscle.
[00:09:38] So what does it feel like to lift heavy enough for you?
[00:09:41] Let's give an example: let's say your training plan calls for eight reps of a single-arm dumbbell row. Can you picture what that move looks like in your mind?
[00:09:53] You're going to select a weight. Now, right out of the gate you might have no idea what is an appropriate weight for that exercise for you at this time period. Just pick something. You can start very light. Pick something, do it for eight reps. You might immediately realize, "okay. I way undershot. This is too light."
[00:10:11] Grab another weight. You might immediately realize, "this is way too heavy. I can't use good form" or "I can use good form, but I really can't get this weight up for more than a few reps. I'm not anywhere near eight reps."
[00:10:23] Okay, put that down and grab another weight. You plug and play until you find the weight that is going to get you to hit eight reps -- remember, that was the given rep range. You want to shoot for eight reps -- and by the time you get to rep eight, you could do one, possibly two more reps with good form, but you couldn't do three.
[00:10:46] That's what you're looking for: good form, getting to true eight reps, one more good rep left in the tank, possibly two.
[00:10:54] If you feel like you could just keep going and going, that weight is not heavy enough for you, so you need to get a heavier weight. You can do that the next set, pick up that heavier weight. What you're going to want to focus on is every set should feel like that. You don't want to be pacing yourself.
[00:11:13] I do talk to a lot of clients and they're like, "Oh, well I picked a lighter weight because I want to be able to do that the next set." Uh uh, worry about the next set on the next set. Each set you should be trying to get to the end of that rep range using as heavyweight as possible with good form.
[00:11:32] You also need to be aware that over time you're going to be able to lift heavier weights. So just because 15 pounds was the perfect weight for you this workout does not mean that next workout it will be. And you need to be very present and conscious with each and every set to focus on how your form looks and how that weight is feeling. If it is not taxing you enough by the end of the set you need to up the weight.
[00:12:00] So that is a really important piece of the, "how do I change my body" puzzle?
[00:12:06] All right. So, you can spend a lot of your workout in that rep range, eight to twelve rep range. So bringing it back to her question of, " can I do this in 20 to 30 minutes?" Yes, you can. If you're going to be doing that heavy rep range, that one to five rep range, it might be hard. You're not going to be able to do it in 20 minutes and have enough volume lifting heavy and then adding some more of these eight to twelve rep range. That would be crazy to try and get that in.
[00:12:34] Could you possibly get one super heavy lift in in the one to five rep range and then a couple of accessory lifts in 30 minutes? You could. It would be way more realistic to do that in 45-50 minutes, for sure.
[00:12:47] Now, if you don't want to do the one to five rep range at all, you're going to keep your rest periods in that 60 second range, you could get 20 minutes in. 20 minutes is really the low end, I would say. Doing 30 minutes? Absolutely. You could do that. You absolutely could. You're going to want to really focus on using as many of those compound, multi-joint lifts as possible and not focusing on things like working biceps and triceps and delts and doing band work for your glutes, and those kinds of things. Kind of drop that stuff off and really focus on the meat of the workout -- rows and pushes and pulls and those kinds of things. Pulldowns, pull-ups, deadlifts, squats, those kinds of things. Focus on that.
[00:13:38] It's not about the time you spend, it is about how you spend your time. Whatever amount of minutes you have, use that time wisely. Pick your heavy lifts, work them hard, take appropriate rest times -- don't just blast through it -- and you will be able to see results.
[00:13:58] You're going to need an, a volume over the course of the week. And so if you're going to do a 30-minute workout, maybe see if you can get 30-minute workouts four times in a week. All of my clients work out either two, three, or four times in a week. Very few workout two. The people who work out two are really people who it's, "either I can get two in or I'm getting none in. I can't do more than two," and I would rather have them do something than nothing. So they do two workouts in a week.
[00:14:26] Most of my clients fall in the three or four lifts per week category. Three lifts per week, it looks like this: lower body, upper body, full body. You could also do three full-body days. What I find tends to happen is you are just really sore. If you have a full-body day on Monday and then it's time to lift again on Wednesday, you might still be really sore from your squats and your lunges and those kinds of things -- and your chin-ups -- from Monday, and so Wednesdays lift might not go as well. You're just really sore.
[00:15:05] Whereas if we do lower body Monday and you're not doing lower body again until Friday, you're less likely to be so sore. So that's why I do lower body, upper body, full body. But three full-body, just as appropriate.
[00:15:17] If you're going to do four lifts per week: lower body, upper body, lower body, upper body, spread throughout the week like that.
[00:15:30] Now, her very last part of the question, "is it even worth it or should I just give up and go walking?" Really falls into that "all or nothing" mindset, right? And so how do we combat that? We let good enough be good enough. And we do this naturally in other areas of our life, right? So if you are late to work one day, you don't just quit your job, right? If you yell at your kids one time, you don't just think, "I'm a terrible--" well, you might think "I'm a terrible mother," hopefully you get over that. You're not going to give your kids up for adoption because you have a temper problem, you're going to work on your temper problem, right? And so this feels really natural in other aspects of our life, so talk to yourself in the same way about your workouts.
[00:16:20] If what you can give right now is 20 minutes, then what you give is 20 minutes and you give your best for those 20 minutes. And you don't worry about, "well, what if I could go for 60 minutes?" And "I should only go for 60 minutes."
[00:16:35] Stop should-ing on yourself. Do what you can do with what you've got. It is still worth it.
[00:16:41] Stop the overdramatic thinking that leads you to, "it's either the best, most effective possible, or it's nothing." Most effective is what you can make fit into your life.
[00:16:56] All right, I think I've hit the whole question there. Plan your workouts. Now look, I will say it is really difficult to program for yourself if you have not done this before. For me, I've studied programming for years. I can quickly put a program together. I know what makes up an effective workout program. And it's something that we can continue to talk about here. I would suggest either getting a program made for you specifically or using a program that is pre-made.
[00:17:24] I have six-week lifting programs on my YouTube library. I have at least two. I will link them in the show notes here so that you can see them. Using a plan and sticking with it is key to getting results. If you're always jumping around, if you're doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, "I do this thing from fitness blender one day, and I pick this swipe workout another day," you're not going to see the results you want.
[00:17:53] Progressive overload, which means doing more work over time, requires consistency with the lifts you do. And so when I write my client's programming, they get a new program every four weeks. Realistically, I could wait and give them a new program every six weeks or every seven or eight weeks. People tend to want more variety than that, so I go with every four weeks. But I will tell you, their programs don't look wildly different from month one to month two to month three.
[00:18:20] Every week they're going to be doing some form of a row. Month one, maybe they're doing a standard single-arm row month two, they might be doing that row with a pause on their chest, or they could be doing it with a different grip. Same thing with their squats, maybe month one they're doing a goblet squat, and month two they're doing a dumbbell front squat, or they're doing a goblet squat with a pause. I don't shift things wildly.
[00:18:48] And during each month their goal is to get better and better with each exercise over the course of that month. So they take that goblet squat from week one, they nail their form, and they start upping the weight. They start nailing their pause if there's a pause and they work every week to get better and better and better at it through week four. Then we switch things up.
[00:19:08] And again, it's not like we start from scratch. It's still the same types of moves. And they do the same thing, they spend week one getting familiar with the exercises, and then over the course of the month, they spend time and energy upping the weight, nailing their form, boom, boom, boom, all across a month.
[00:19:25] And that is what you need to see progress, to see results.
[00:19:31] I hope this has helped. Hit me up with any questions. If you have a question you would like to have me answer on the podcast, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org or you can DM me on Instagram. Thanks so much for being here today.
[00:19:51] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
[00:20:02] If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people. Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm joined by my new friend, Karen. Now, last week on my Instagram stories, I put up a question box and Karen wrote in and her words struck me. I actually laughed out loud thinking, "who hasn't bought that before?" And this is what she said:
"I want to lose weight, but I don't actually want to change what I eat."
Does that hit home?
And that's what we talk about today. What do you do when you feel that way? How can you move forward? Let's go.
Karen: [00:00:40] Hey!
Kim: [00:00:42] How are you doing?
Karen: [00:00:43] Good. Can you hear me all right?
Kim: [00:00:45] I sure can. Where are you calling me from today?
Whereabouts do you live?
Karen: [00:00:49] I live near Toronto, in Canada.
Kim: [00:00:52] Okay. You guys just had your Thanksgiving?
Karen: [00:00:55] We did, yeah. I'm actually American, I'm from California. So it doesn't really feel like my Thanksgiving, but yes, we did just have Thanksgiving.
Kim: [00:01:02] So do you celebrate both?
Karen: [00:01:05] We usually never celebrate Canadian, but my kids have been bugging us to, so we did this year and we'll celebrate-- we usually go to the States for American Thanksgiving, but we won't this year, obviously. So yeah, we'll celebrate it at home, though.
Kim: [00:01:18] Got it. So what brought you from California to Toronto?
Karen: [00:01:24] Well, I grew up there, but then I met my husband in Illinois and he's a pastor, so we moved here eight years ago for a job as a pastor here.
Kim: [00:01:32] Okay, got it. Got it.
Well, I so appreciate you being willing to hop on this call with me. You wrote in when I had a question box up on Sunday and had a question that just -- I hear versions of this all the time -- but I liked how you put it. It was just so succinct and straightforward.
So, I'm going to read the question you messaged me, and then I'm just going to ask you to tell me more about it. So here's what you said: "I want to lose weight, but don't actually feel like I want to change what I eat. Help."
I think a lot of people are nodding their head and they're being like, "yeah, me too!"
Karen: [00:02:07] Yep.
Kim: [00:02:08] Tell me about that.
Karen: [00:02:10] I mean, I think when I wrote it, I was just feeling the tension between, I actually know I need to lose like 20 or 30 pounds for health and my pants are tight, but then I also don't want to change how I eat forever and have it be something where like, I'm always on a diet or now I can't ever eat things.
So that's what I was feeling. I know that I can actually just eat what I want, but eat a lot less of it, and make sure I add good things, but I actually can never do that. I never have the self-control to actually do that part. So I was kind of feeling that tension when I wrote that.
Kim: [00:02:49] Got it. So you were feeling like, "okay, I want to do this. I know it's a good decision for my health, but actually doing it just sounds terrible, because in this moment in my mind, it means not eating all the things I want and all of that kind of stuff."
Karen: [00:03:02] Exactly. Exactly.
Kim: [00:03:03] Okay. Well, let's talk this through so that we can help you get to a point where you can actually do what you just said.
What you just described is fantastic. Like, "okay, I know I can eat the things I want, I just have to moderate how much of them I eat." But in practice, you have yet to be successful with that. If I'm understanding correctly,
Karen: [00:03:22] Correct. I've had seasons of being successful, but I feel like it's always hijacked by holidays or, like, the pandemic.
I always let things take over and so then those seasons become unsuccessful and then I give up and then I'm like, "Oh, whatever."
Kim: [00:03:36] Got it. And so you'll have spurts of success and then roadblock and then "what happened?" So the most recent time, was it the pandemic? That you were doing pretty well and then the pandemic?
Karen: [00:03:48] Yeah. So my husband and I decided in January that we were gonna take three months -- because he's on sabbatical January through March -- and so we're like, "we're just going to take three months and eat well, enjoy food, but eat well, try to lose weight." He wanted to lose 10 pounds, I just wanted to get started. So I'm like, "this is just a start for me and I'm going to keep going," and exercise and just enjoy it.
And it was great. I lost 8 pounds, it was good. And then we went on vacation to California at the end of his sabbatical, right in the middle of March, and I knew on vacation, "I'm going to enjoy my food because I miss all this food and it's okay. And then I'll just jump right back on." So I ate a lot, gained a few pounds, I wasn't worried. And then the pandemic hit and I came home and I had five kids at home to homeschool and my husband was going back to work. His first day was like right when the pandemic hit.
So it was just a lot of stress. So I just was like, "I can't even think about anything." So, that's why I kind of just stopped and couldn't feel like I had control over anything and had self-control over what I ate or anything. And I do a lot of stress eating, too. I know.
Kim: [00:05:01] Okay. Okay. So you lost 8 pounds in 3 months, which is actually a really good progress.
Karen: [00:05:07] Yeah. Yeah, I was excited about it and it wasn't that hard.
Kim: [00:05:11] What did you do? Tell us what you did.
Karen: [00:05:14] Well, I actually have learned a ton from you. I feel like your Instagram has helped me really understand a lot of things.
So I monitored calories. I keep track of it on my phone. So that was the biggest thing I did and I set it low because I know I always go over. So I said slightly too low, giving myself like 300 extra calories. And that helped my mental space a little bit.
So that was the biggest thing that helped. And then we just didn't eat out a ton or when we ate out I would not eat lunch or eat a really small lunch and, you know, things like that.
Kim: [00:05:58] Got it. Okay. That's a good swap. It's amazing how different it can be when you go from eating out a lot to eating out less or eating out differently. That's a big change. And for sure, counting your calories.
So a couple of things stick out to me, 1) the idea that -- now look, taking the pandemic out of it, what a surreal experience this has been -- but the normal things that get in people's way, like vacation, "I'm doing really well... and then it's vacation." "I'm doing really well... and then it's the holidays." "I'm doing really well... and things got busy at work," or whatever those kinds of things are.
Wouldn't it be interesting to set your eating up in a way to know that when those things come up, how you ate wouldn't have to be that different?
The idea being that if you're super restrictive -- you mentioned that you set your calories really pretty low to kind of create this buffer to help you mentally -- I'm interested if it actually didn't help you mentally in the long-term because in your mind, right now you want to lose weight again, in your mind you're thinking, "I have to go back to these really low calories," but you actually weren't eating those low calories.
You were eating 300 calories more. So it probably feels way more restrictive than it actually is.
Karen: [00:07:13] Yeah. That's a good point. And yeah, I think that's accurate.
Kim: [00:07:17] And so what were the calories you set that were super low?
Karen: [00:07:24] I set it at 1400 calories. So I was eating around 1600-1700.
Kim: [00:07:29] Got it. Got it. And how much do you weigh and how tall are you?
Karen: [00:07:32] I'm 5'6" and I weigh 191.
Kim: [00:07:35] Okay. And what's a day like for you as far as movement?
Karen: [00:07:41] So right now -- because I have a fitness watch -- I usually get like 6,000 to 7,000 steps just by doing my normal day because I have a lot to do around the house. I am a homemaker, so I just am around the house. So I try to get out to do an extra walk every other day or so, but I'm not doing any other exercises right now. Which, I actually really enjoy exercising, I just am not doing it at all right now.
Kim: [00:08:16] Got it. Got it.
Well, we'll talk about exercise in a minute, let's just stick with the calories. I just wanted to see about how busy you are as far as general movement. So, you're getting a pretty moderate amount of movement there. 6,000-7,000 steps, that's fantastic.
So yeah, for somebody who's 190 pounds, 1400 calories is a little bit of food. And that would make me feel very restricted and like, "I don't want to do that." I don't want to do that. That sounds terrible.
Karen: [00:08:43] Yeah. Yep.
Okay, so here's my problem, though, is I've tried-- I feel like I set it before at like 1600-1700 and I just felt like I wasn't getting anywhere.
And I think part of it is I just would not 100% hit that goal. So then I felt like, "do I need to eat less?" Like, I don't know.
Kim: [00:09:06] Well, the reality of the situation is this last time you said you weren't actually eating 1400. On paper you were, but you knew you were eating closer to 1600 anyway, right? Because you were giving yourself this buffer.
So why not just not give yourself the buffer, but then be very good about actually hitting the target you've set for yourself, right? So set for yourself -- and I'd have to do a little bit of math here, but you know, 1700 calories, 1600-1700 calories and actually eat that.
Not just on paper.
Karen: [00:09:38] Well, that sounds really smart.
I think part of it is... like, because I'm cooking for a family of seven. Like, I feel like I always do great, and then an afternoon snack and then dinner time is tricky because I want to make the meals I've always made for my family because that's what they're used to. And so it was really cumbersome to have to enter in all of the recipes and so I feel like I would estimate a lot for dinners especially,
And so that's why I liked the wiggle room,. So whenever I think about counting calories really closely it's feels a little stressful.
Like, I don't know how to-- I don't want to just eat like a chicken breast and a thing of veggies because it's simpler. Like, I want to actually eat the recipes.
Kim: [00:10:26] Yeah, I hear you. And you've just actually talked us through a really good strategy for people who do want to be very precise and make it easy to be precise.
What you just said is one of the things I suggest, which is keep your meals really simple. Eat one ingredient foods, eat chicken and broccoli. And it doesn't have to be boring, it can be flavored how you like, but that makes tracking easier.
It's not the only way to do it though. You know, putting in some time on the front end for, let's say you look through your family recipes, are you somebody who cooks something new every week? Or do you have a staple bunch of recipes?
Karen: [00:10:59] I have a staple bunch of recipes. We do have a couple nights a week where my husband cooks or we just throw things together, like pasta with tons of stuff in it. So mostly it's staple recipes.
Kim: [00:11:12] Got it. And about how many do you rotate through on a monthly basis?
Karen: [00:11:17] That's a good question. I don't know. I mean, I probably rotate through maybe 15 or so different recipes.
Kim: [00:11:29] Okay. Got it. So how would you feel about the idea of spending some time on the front end?
And it doesn't have to be like one day, but you could take a little bit of time, maybe two different times, and actually inputting those recipes into myfitnesspal. Have you ever done that before?
Karen: [00:11:43] Yeah, I have. I have. So it's not that hard.
Kim: [00:11:47] It just take some time. And I wouldn't wait until you're busy running around trying to get the kids what they need and actually making the dinner to do that, right? That sounds terrible. Nobody wants to do that. I barely want to make dinner when it's time to make dinner.
Karen: [00:12:00] And that's what I was doing. Yeah.
Kim: [00:12:02] Right. And so taking some time and saying, "all right, for the next hour, I'm going to do however many recipes I can do. I'm going to put them in here. I'm going to figure out the portions," and get it so that it is set up so that when you actually make that recipe, it is easy for you to go into myfitnesspal and select that recipe.
Karen: [00:12:17] Yeah, that's a really good idea, actually, that I feel like I would actually do.
Kim: [00:12:21] Yeah, because your point of like, "I don't want to eat how I have to eat to be on a diet," is well taken. If we can get you eating these foods you like anyway in the proper portions and being really confident that you're actually hitting the calories you need to hit to be in a deficit, it will feel very different than feeling like, "Ugh, I either can't eat those meals I feed my family or I can, and I don't even know if I'm in a deficit or I'm just not going to have them. And I just can't eat them."
Karen: [00:12:46] Yeah. Yeah. That's exactly right.
Kim: [00:12:49] Okay. So I think that's one really good place to start for you. I had another thought come just a moment ago and of course it has now left my brain.
Give me a second while I try and think through what that was.
Oh, I think it was about the number of calories themselves. I actually think you do have some good wiggle room there. I think up around 1700 is a really good spot for you to land. So I would not be hesitant at all about eating around 1700 calories.
Not at all.
Karen: [00:13:19] That's encouraging.
Kim: [00:13:21] Yeah. I would even say 1700-1900. You don't need to go there right now, but I would say like realistically hitting 1700-1800 calories would be a very good spot for you. With great consistency, like, not doing the thing where you hit it four days a week and three days you don't and then you don't see progress and now you're convinced you're eating too many calories. Do you see what I'm saying?
Karen: [00:13:44] Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Kim: [00:13:46] When in actuality, if you had done all seven days at 1700-1800 calories, you would have seen really good progress.
So one other suggestion I have for you, then, is to chart your consistency.
A very simple way to do it is just to get a sheet of paper or a calendar sheet that shows you all the days and check off the days where you hit your calories so that, you know, "okay, I did it." If you're a really techie person, you can make a spreadsheet. I've been doing shared Google Docs with my clients the past month, and I really liked the spreadsheet because I can just looked at it and they just look at it and we can see at a glance like, "Oh, there are five days recently you have not hit your calories. That's going to be a problem."
So, you know, making some kind of spreadsheet or just using a calendar that says, "X, I hit my calories or 0, I didn't hit my calories," can be very powerful. Having that visual to help us. Because it feels really hard to *almost* hit your calories, right? It feels really hard to go 100 or 150 over. And if you do that enough times, you're eating up your deficit and you still have this feeling of like, "I am trying so hard, but it's not working."
Karen: [00:14:57] I think that's exactly it. I think that's exactly it. And you had a post recently about a client who hit it like 70% of the time or 80%. That was really helpful for me to think like, "Oh, if I want progress, I really have to think about it in a different mindset than I have been."
Kim: [00:15:19] Yeah. A lot of people can hit 75%, 78% consistency in a month and that feels really hard. And they either see very slow progress or they don't see progress. And then who wants to stick with it? Because the most motivating thing is seeing progress. And so when we can up that adherence to 80%, 85%, 90%, and you're seeing good results, you're going to want to stick with it more.
And so getting some visual representation, either a spreadsheet or a calendar, so that you can be very clear, "I did it" or "I didn't do it."
Karen: [00:15:51] Yeah. That's really helpful. I like the calendar idea.
Kim: [00:15:55] Okay. So, the other factors we need to really put in place to help you to want to stick with this, one of the things you said is that you stress eat a lot. So talk to me about that.
Karen: [00:16:11] I mean, I think the last six months or seven months -- pandemic, but also there's just a lot going on in our lives with our children and my husband's work -- I was just in the kitchen a lot, all the time with my children and stuff and then I think there's something comforting about like, "I'm going to eat this cookie, but it actually feels better to eat five." Now I feel great and then 10 minutes later, you don't feel great anymore. So, I do feel like I have always done that. And I think I realized in the last year how much I actually do that.
And some of it's procrastination. Like, I have all these hard things to handle, it's easier to actually just be in the kitchen and have another cookie. I don't know if that makes sense. It sounds stupid.
Kim: [00:17:06] It doesn't sound stupid at all. My friend Georgie Fear, who I've had on the podcast before, she calls that procrastin-eating instead of procrastinating.
And I am, by nature, a procrastinator. That's a big thing for me that I've had to work to overcome because it feels like a really good thing, like, I'm not procrastinating. Like, I'm hungry, I need food. It's a valid reason for me to stay in the kitchen rather than go back to my computer and do those five tasks that feel hard to get started on, right? And so that doesn't sound weird at all.
And the idea that you're, looking for comfort and 5 feels better than 1 until 10 minutes later when it doesn't. So, let me ask you this, is this getting in the way of you achieving your goals?
Karen: [00:17:48] Oh, totally.
Kim: [00:17:50] Okay, so is it something that you're interested and open to changing, then?
Karen: [00:17:56] Yeah, of course. Yes. I feel like I have ideas and desires to do it and then right in that exact moment -- like I've tried to pinpoint "what is wrong that I can't do it?" -- and right in the moment, I just think "this is okay. Just this once" or, "oh, well I've already blown it" or, "actually, I didn't really want to lose weight." You know, like the moment right in time is the hardest part for me.
Kim: [00:18:25] Absolutely. I totally agree with you.
Well, let's talk about that for a second and then we can kind of come back in a minute and talk about strategies to generally manage stress in ways other than food. But in that moment, I totally hear what you're saying. Let's come up with a plan to help you in that moment.
And what I find is one of the best things a person can do is give themselves time and space to make a choice that is actually going to help them reach their goals. And so what you can do in that moment, let's say you're stressed and you want to go in the kitchen and you want to eat cookies: tell yourself, "I'm going to wait 20 minutes to do that. If in 20 minutes, I still want to eat cookies, I am going to go and I'm going to eat cookies."
And then what I want you to do is walk away from the cookies. Like, don't hold the cookies while you're waiting for the 20 minutes, right? They should not be in your hand when the 20 minutes is over. Put them away in a sealed container in your cupboard and leave the room and do something else.
Now, the something else we can talk about in just a minute -- what the something else is, but we want you to create an actual time distance between you and the cookies or whatever it is, and a space distance between you and the cookies. Does that make sense?
Karen: [00:19:33] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, actually.
Kim: [00:19:35] Does that feel doable?
Karen: [00:19:38] It does. It does. I was just thinking through, like, part of the issue, too, is sometimes I'm partaking with other people. Like, with my kids or we just baked cookies together or even at dinner time. I've been trying to think through, "what do I want to eat?" "Okay. Now I'm going to take away like a quarter of it and we'll start with that." But then at the end of that, I'm like, "well, I'm still good and I'll just eat more." And then it's not till afterwards that I'm like, "I actually like twice as much as I was planning on."
So that's kind of the issue, too. So yes, walking away, I feel like I could possibly do it if I'm able to just put it out of my mind. Even if I'm in the kitchen, put out my mind, drink some water, do something else, and then come back to it.
I feel like that might be possible, but I feel like there's also hundreds of other situations where I can't do that.
Kim: [00:20:37] Absolutely. Let's talk about that now. And that kind of comes into the part where I said, we'll talk about what you should do in that space. We'll kind of talk about that and will address both pieces of that.
I totally get what you're saying. Not every situation is you, you know, trying to clean the house or do a project you don't want to do and you're in the kitchen alone, right? It's not all like that. But in the times where you can give yourself time and space to make a decision that is different, do that. For these other times, let's talk about managing the need for comfort and trying to manage stress in other non-food ways. And this also speaks to what to do during those 20 minutes.
So if you're at dinner or baking with your kids and you just feel this need of like, "this feels comfortable and this feels cozy," it's not actually cookies that you're necessarily seeking. You're seeking this feeling of comfort and cozy.
And so the idea being, how can we help you create that in non-food ways so that you're not constantly seeking for it?
Karen: [00:21:40] Yeah. Okay. Okay. So how do you do that?
Kim: [00:21:43] That is a really good question. Let's brainstorm some ways.
So it depends on what the feeling a person is looking for. So if it's comfort and cozy, specifically, you can set your environment up in ways that help you have a cozy moment.
Whether that's things like certain lighting. Like, my dad, when I was little, it's really funny to me to think about this now because I feel like life is so busy. He was very big on dinner having ambiance. And so he would turn the lights down a little bit and light a candle every night at dinner. Every night.
Isn't that funny that a man would do that? But he would put these big candles on the table and his favorite word was, "ambiance," and so he would light these three-wick candles and turn the lights down a little bit. So, you know, doing things like that that kind of set this routine of like, "I'm enjoying this experience. It's about this experience I'm having with these people I love."
If it's connecting with your kids, can you find a non-food way to do that? So maybe it's not always baking. Not that it can never be baking, because that's a fun thing that you should have as part of your life, but looking for other ways that you and the kids could connect, whether that's a board game or going outside.
And so actively, ahead of time, brainstorming, "when I want to do something to have connection and the sense of coziness and fun with my kids, what will I suggest that does not involve food?"
Karen: [00:23:00] Okay.
Kim: [00:23:01] What other ideas do you have?
Karen: [00:23:04] I mean, I think part of my problem is I like to do multiple things at once.
So I am thinking through actual situations where I want to be eating while I'm reading a book, I want to be eating while I'm talking on the phone with someone, I want to be eating while I'm hanging out with my kids, or while we're baking, I want to take lots of cookie dough because I love it. So, I'm trying to think through, "would I actually do those situations without eating, too?"
And I think I would, I'm just trying to think through, "would I actually make that decision in the moment?" And I don't know. I think that's the hard part I'm trying to wrap my head around.
Kim: [00:23:51] Yeah. I can see it can be tricky because these are habits you've built. These are routines.
"I get my book and I sit in my cozy spot and I get..." what is it you typically eat while you're reading the book?
Karen: [00:24:01] I usually grab a cup of coffee and a cookie or some popcorn. So it's not bad always, it's just like, I always feel like I need to be eating something.
Kim: [00:24:12] Got it. And so you have built this routine that has this cue.
Like, "I get my book, I sit in the chair," and then you have the cookie or the popcorn and the coffee to go with it. And it would feel really off to not do that. And it would be just like little bit of discord.
One of the things you can do is, for now, try and do something different. So, when you want to read a book, maybe go sit out back on your deck or go upstairs and sit in your bedroom. So, make a change in the routine.
Or if, when you read is at a particular time, you know, the kids are home and it's three o'clock -- I'm making stuff up here for you, right? -- But don't read then. Go for a walk then. Do something different to switch up the routine so that you don't have this desire for that, "must have cookie and popcorn right now."
Karen: [00:24:58] Yeah. Yeah. I think that's doable. That makes sense.
Kim: [00:25:02] And one of the things to keep in mind is: one of the best things you can do to lower the total number of calories you're going to take in during a day is to be very intentional with food and to not use it as a multitasking opportunity.
But when you're eating -- like, when you're going to eat a cookie -- to sit and enjoy eating the cookie. Put it on a plate, sit at the table, talk to your kids, and eat the cookie. Don't be on the phone with your friend because how many cookies can you eat and not even remember the experience of actually tasting a cookie because you were talking to someone, right?
How many times you've done that?
Karen: [00:25:34] Oh, totally. Totally.
Kim: [00:25:35] And so, giving yourself a bright line of, "when I eat food, I pay attention to my food, when I talk to my friend, I pay attention to talking to my friend," can be a really powerful way to just reduce that total number of calories and actually help you to enjoy the food that you want to eat anyway.
Karen: [00:25:53] Yeah, I think that's actually, that'll take a little extra time, but I feel like that would be good to do.
Kim: [00:26:01] 100%. Here's the thing: this is all going to take practice. We're not gonna get off the phone and you're going to be like, "I now do all of these things."
You're going to have to practice at finding other ways to connect with the kids. You're going to have to practice at having it feel natural to read a book without having the cookie. You're going to have to practice those things and remind yourself as you're doing it:
"this is supposed to take time. This is a long-held habit. I have I'm switching things up, I am practicing being a person who pays attention when she eats food. I'm practicing being a person who eats food, seated at the table, with it on a plate. I'm practicing that. I'm I totally did not do it today, but I'm going to keep practicing at it."
Karen: [00:26:44] That's really helpful.
Something that I was just thinking of is sometimes I just eat because it tastes so good. Like, I just love that taste. I want more of it because it was so good. And there's so many people in my family it's going to be gone if I don't eat more of it now. So I think there's a little bit of that. What do I do about that?
Kim: [00:27:04] So it sounds like a bit of scarcity mindset. Like, "if I don't put that on my plate now somebody else is going to eat it and it's not going to be here for me later."
Karen: [00:27:12] Yes, or, "I might as well get rid of it now so it's not a temptation for me later."
Kim: [00:27:18] Yeah, absolutely. That's a tricky thing to deal with.
So part of it comes back to just mental strategies of reminding yourself this: "I can have this food--" Give me an example, give me a food that you might do that with.
Karen: [00:27:33] I mean, I keep saying this, but cookies. I have a cookie issue.
Kim: [00:27:40] You have a cookie issue.
Okay, remind me to come back. I want to talk about cookies, generally, in just a minute, since you brought it up so many times. But for this example, you can say to yourself, "Karen, I know how to make cookies. I can literally make cookies any time I want. There is nothing special about this batch of cookies. If I don't get to eat all of these cookies right now, if somebody else eats them before I can, I know how to make them and I can, and I will make them again another day."
Do you see how that feels different than this scarcity of, "they're going to be all gone. I have to eat them."
Like, what's the rush? You can literally make cookies again any time.
Karen: [00:28:16] Yeah. Yeah, that's, that is definitely a different mindset. And I think that could be helpful for
Kim: [00:28:21] me.
And getting the block out of your mind of, "well, I'm going to start eating lower-calorie again tomorrow, so I might as well eat all these cookies now," just reminding yourself, like you don't have to be all in or all out.
Every decision you make every day counts. And so if today the decision is, "I'm going to make cookies tomorrow," it's totally fine. It's totally fine. You don't have to say like, "well, tomorrow the diet starts." There is no start date, there is no end date. So that's what I would say with that piece.
Now cookies in general, since you brought them up so much and they seem to be a stumbling block for you, I am a big fan of getting out of our immediate environment, the stuff that trips us up the most. For a time. Not permanently, but for you, it might be a good idea to just not bake cookies for a while. Like, "we're just not doing cookies. I'm not bringing cookies into the house."
It doesn't mean you can't have cookies. You could decide, "once a week, I'm going out to my favorite bakery and I'm going to buy a single one of my favorite cookie" or whatever number fits in your calories, whether it's two small ones or whatever it is, "and I'm going to bring those home and I'm going to eat those." You can't have more because you didn't buy more. You can't have the dough because you don't have the dough. You don't have two dozen cookies sitting in your kitchen haunting you.
When there are these things that we struggle to be moderate with, it doesn't make us a weak person to get them out of our environment. It makes us a smart person.
Karen: [00:29:47] Yeah, that's really helpful. I'm trying to think through, "is that practical? Will my family hate me?" But I definitely think there's things I could bake that they like more than I do, that would bless them, but just still not be as much of a draw to me.
Kim: [00:30:01] Yeah. I do that kind of stuff all the time. All the time.
Look, I really love chocolate chip cookies. I'm not super interested in sugar cookies. So if I were going to bake cookies and I didn't want to eat them, I would just bake a kind I didn't like. If you like every kind of cookie, bake them a pie. Whatever it is that isn't going to be the thing that in your mind is like, "the cookies are still there. The cookies are still there."
You know, brainstorm, "what can I bake that's not going to be a difficult thing for me to be moderate with?"
Karen: [00:30:29] Yeah. Yeah. That's helpful. That's helpful.
Kim: [00:30:32] And the eventual goal would be that you can have cookies in the house and be moderate around them, but that could take months that could take years.
Karen: [00:30:39] Yeah, that's the part that I can't even fathom and imagine it actually ever getting to that. So that's why it feels a little bit scary of like, "is this going to be forever?" Because I can't imagine being around a plate full of cookies or going to an event at church and not taking more than I actually should. I just can't fathom that being possible.
Kim: [00:30:59] I know, because you haven't yet experienced it.
Practicing being moderate around it is going to build confidence in you that you can be more moderate with them. I do think practicing this mental piece of reminding yourself, "I can have cookies anytime I want." "If I want to go out and buy cookies, I can go out and buy cookies." "This is not going to be the only church event with cookies. Next Tuesday, Susie is going to bring cookies again. There's always going to be more cookies."
Really reminding yourself of that and not putting cookies totally out of bounds. It's not that you can't eat cookies, we're just not going to have you baking cookies in your home.
If you put them like totally out of bounds, like, "you can't have cookies," you're probably going to struggle even more because it'll feel like when you actually get around cookies, it's going to feel like, "now's my chance. I better eat all these cookies because I'm not supposed to be eating cookies."
Karen: [00:31:51] [laughing] Yep.
Kim: [00:31:52] And I will tell you, I know it feels like, "how could I possibly be a person who has cookies in her house and doesn't overindulge, because I haven't been that person?" You can change.
Look, I was this person. I was this person who could not keep Nutella in my house. I couldn't keep sugar cereals in my house. I couldn't keep bags of pretzels in my house. All of these things I really struggled with. And over the years, I've been able to reintroduce those things.
Chocolate Pop-Tarts was another one. I know that sounds weird. Like, who likes those? I like those. Recently, we had them in our house, like two months ago, and I was totally fine. I had one, I didn't think every day, like, "should I have another one? Should I have another one?" But that took time. That took time.
And I will tell you, still to this day, I prefer not to have bags of pretzels in my house. They're too easy for me to overeat and I've overeaten them so much in the past. I buy them occasionally and I'll buy them for events. But when I go to the grocery store every week, I don't buy a bag of pretzels and bring it home and put it in my cupboard.
I don't. And so I've gotten better with some things and other things, you know, there's still room for progress. You can make progress on this. I promise you.
Karen: [00:33:01] Yeah, that's encouraging. And actually, I read your bio online and that was really helpful for me, too. Just to hear your whole progress of everything.
Kim: [00:33:09] Yeah. I've been where you are right now. I have been where you are, where it feels like, "I can't even imagine being a person who does that." I've been there. And now I am a person who does that. And I can tell you the clients I work with, same thing.
I have one client, her name is Tracy. We've been working together well over a year now. And she messaged me a couple of weeks ago and she's like, "I can't believe I'm this person. I was upset today. I was really stressed and I wanted to go out for a walk and that's what I wanted to do. And that's what I did." She's like, "when did I become a person who walks when she's stressed and doesn't pile food on a plate?" She was like, "I don't know when I became that person." Well, it happened with a year of practice.
Karen: [00:33:46] That's encouraging to hear.
Kim: [00:33:47] Yeah. So remind yourself, you are practicing being a person who eats cookies moderately.
Is there anything else we can chat about today that would be helpful for you?
Karen: [00:33:58] I'd love to just hear-- I think, a little bit of a fear.
So in my family, there's just a lot of heart disease and being overweight with my brothers and my parents. And so, I think part of what I don't like about dieting is I've just seen so many people I know, and my family, yo-yo back and forth, back and forth. And then, I also just feel like I don't want to be the person who's always on a diet for the rest of my life, and everyone knows about it.
Like, I'm actually very private about it and I don't even like to tell people I'm on a diet or that I'm trying to lose weight. It just feels very awkward for me. So, I just feel like I want to be a person who's 20 or 30 pounds slimmer, because I know it's better for my health, but I don't want to be a person who's consumed with it for the rest of my life.
Kim: [00:34:50] Anything come to mind that you can think of when you hear yourself say that that would differentiate one of those types of people from the other? Like, what differentiates a person who is a serial dieter from somebody who just eats food and maintains a normal body weight?
Karen: [00:35:08] Definitely there's the gimmick stuff. Or people who try fad diets, which I've never been a fad diet person. But I think more of people who say, as they eat a huge burger and fries, "oh, I'm going to eat well tomorrow." It's just the people who are always saying they're going to do it but never do.
Like, I can immediately think of a couple of people in my life who has, I think, literally been on a diet for 40 years. Ever since I knew her when I was young. So it's that kind of thing that just is so off-putting to me that I don't want to be. And so then I just think like, "well, I'll just not do it."
Kim: [00:35:49] I hear what you're saying because it feels exhausting. And look, I was that person, so I can tell you it is exhausting to be on a diet or at least mentally think you're on a diet for that many years, right? If she was successfully on a diet for that many years, she would not exist anymore she'd be so skinny.
But to be in that dieting mindset for so long, and look, I was that person. You hit on some really important things there: staying away from fad diets. A-okay. Yeah. Stay away from those things. Don't eat in a way that you are either on a diet or off a diet. So I think that's a big one and you're not going to do that. So, big one.
Then the other idea is putting it off till tomorrow, right? This idea of, "I'm going to sit here and I'm going to eat this burger today and then tomorrow I'm going to start eating well." And that's something you have control over, right? You have control over your mindset around this and you can remind yourself like, "look, I don't have to be all in or all out. I can have a burger and I can eat that burger with a salad and I can stay in my calories today. I am a person who can eat burgers and still lose weight. And eventually when I'm not trying to lose weight, because that's going to happen, I'm going to lose the weight I want, eventually I'm going to bring my calories up and I'm not going to be eating any different. I'm just going to be a person who now has some more calories. So, hey, now I'm going to be able to have the burgers and the fries, and I'm still going to have the salad, because I'm a person who eats salad."
Karen: [00:37:05] Yeah, that's helpful. I just see so few people who actually do that, or I know so few people. Like, I have friends on Weight Watchers and I feel like they're just always counting points the rest of their life. And that sounds so miserable to me.
Kim: [00:37:22] I agree. I agree. Yes, we're definitely in a diet culture. Like, it is our mindset. We want to lose weight. And I think part of it also comes to having a realistic, healthy end goal. Like, what is the end goal? For most people, they are never satisfied. They get to where they think they want it to be and they're like, "wait, I should still be slimmer." "Wait, I should be a smaller size." And see, you get to always decide that and you can decide like, "Hey, I want to lose weight for my health. And I think 20 pounds is a good amount." And when you get to 20 pounds, you can say like, "okay, am I healthy? Yes, I am. Do I fit in the clothes that I wanted to fit into? Yes, I do. Okay. I'm done. I'm not going to keep losing weight in pursuit of an ever-smaller body."
There is this standard of like, "We should have abs and we should be a size four," or whatever the size is these days that somebody thinks we should be. There is this cultural norm and it's so out of bounds for so many people. It's just out of reach. Like, it's out of touch with what most females' body looks like to think that we're going to look like these airbrushed little skinny pictures. And so actively talking to yourself about, "I am not going to be a person who diets for the rest of her life. I am not going to be a person who is constantly in pursuit of being a smaller version of myself."
Karen: [00:38:41] So you would say, like, counting calories, you would say that's not a diet?
Kim: [00:38:46] I think you can count calories and be on a diet and I think you can count calories and not have so much of a dieting mindset.
People count calories for all kinds of reasons. I have clients who count calories to put on muscle and they're in a surplus, right? And so it's not about getting smaller. I don't think that the end goal should be for you to count calories permanently. I think with the education that you receive counting calories that you will be able to eyeball portions so that you know, like, "okay, when I eat dinner, this is about four ounces of chicken and this is about a cup of rice and that's what I'm going to eat."
You won't always have to measure it, but weighing and measuring it and counting now will serve you as an education, as a baseline forever. And so when you're done losing weight, you just bring up your calories -- and I don't mean that you'll be permanently counting them -- but you will just be living at maintenance calories and you will be very clear on, "these are maintenance calories for me."
And look, you might have times where you go back and you're like, "I'm going to spend a period counting again, I kind of feel like I've gotten off a little bit. Let me weigh and measure my food for two weeks and count my calories again and just kind of make sure I'm still at baseline."
Karen: [00:39:56] Yeah, that's helpful. That's helpful for me. That seems less overwhelming.
Kim: [00:40:00] Yeah, because if you decide, "I'm not constantly going to look to get slimmer and I'm not constantly going to be a person who needs to eat less and less and less," you will have more freedom with your food, but still the education of counting calories will serve you well.
And then the other thing I would say is building really strong habits while you are losing weight is the key to not having to constantly lose weight. Because if we help you build really good habits now, you won't be putting on excess weight.
So things like, "I eat vegetables with most meals. I just do. I'm a person who eats vegetables." "I eat protein at every meal. I'm a person who has a higher protein diet." Those things will serve you well. "I am a person who manages stress without food most of the time." Like, being that person, those things will serve you really well. "I am a person who moves 7,500 steps, minimum, every day of my life. I just do. I'm that person." And building in all of these habits is going to help you be a person who remains lean and not a person who needs to constantly lose weight that she has put on.
Karen: [00:41:11] Yeah. Yeah, that's helpful.
Kim: [00:41:14] So really work to build those habits. And that's the difference between doing a crash diet and losing weight while learning.
Karen: [00:41:23] Yeah, that sounds more appealing to me.
Kim: [00:41:25] Right? It feels like, "okay, I can imagine that if I stopped counting calories and my meals still look like--" what I didn't mention here is eating 80% nutrient-dense food and only 20% of the junkier kind of staff. When you eat that way, you're not going to put on weight, right? And so protein at every meal, vegetables at most meals, sitting down at a table when you eat food, putting your food on plates, eating mostly nutrient-dense food, moving every day. All of these things are going to serve to build you a lifestyle that weight loss doesn't need to happen again.
Karen: [00:42:00] Yeah, that's great.
I feel like that's doable.
Kim: [00:42:06] Well, this has been fantastic to get to talk to you, Karen. I want you to make sure you stay in touch so that we can follow up and see how you're doing.
Karen: [00:42:13] Thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to answer questions and it felt like it was really helpful.
So, thank you.
Kim: [00:42:18] Absolutely. Thank you for being here and for so openly speaking with us. I know that's not always easy to do.
Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 76 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm joined by fitness and women's health expert, Amanda Thebe. Amanda has a new book coming out this Sunday -- which just so happens to be World Menopause Day -- Amanda's book is titled Menopocalypse: How I Learned to Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too.
Amanda and I spend some time chatting about some little-discussed topics: what is actually happening with your body during menopause? Why is everyone so afraid of HRT? What even is HRT? And how can we build the resilience we need to get through these difficult years? Let's go.
Amanda: [00:00:49] Hello! How are you doing?
Kim: [00:01:19] How am I doing? I'm doing good.
Had a busy podcasting day. This is podcast three for me today.
Amanda: [00:01:24] Ah, it's my third one too! But on the receiving end, not on the doing end, right?
Kim: [00:01:30] Yeah, I was on one this morning and then I recorded one and now this one.
Amanda: [00:01:35] I did one yesterday with a woman called Ann Marie, and she's got an Instagram page called @hotflashinc and she's been on Hello Peri. She sometimes does little videos for Hello Peri. It was one of my favorite interviews I've done in ages. She's a journalist from Canada who, about 13 years ago, decided to move to the United Arab Emirates, lives there as a journalist freelancing now, and it started a very small, but engaging menopause audience.
Kim: [00:02:09] What's her name again? I forgot already.
Amanda: [00:02:11] Ann Marie.
Kim: [00:02:12] And what's her site or her Instagram?
Amanda: [00:02:14] @hotflashinc.
She just was really good, her questions were really good. They were just, it was like a really intelligent debate. It wasn't, "what's perimenopause and what's --".
It was an engaging conversation and I just really enjoyed it. So if you're looking for people, I just think she's a good one. And then the other one I did was with Jason Lee Hart. It's the second time I've been on his. Have you done anything with him?
Kim: [00:02:46] I haven't. I've listened to this podcast a time or two.
Amanda: [00:02:51] Yeah. I like him too.
Kim: [00:02:54] All right, my dear. I'm going to hit go here and we'll go. My son is helping me with my podcast now and so I can start recording and he trims things for me now. So he handles all of my publishing for me.
Amanda: [00:03:13] He does all the editing? Oh, that's great.
Kim: [00:03:15] Yeah. My son just does it for me because he's very interested in doing this after college and so he's practicing on me. What I told him is that I'm paying him by giving him experience. He's never done anything like this and what I told him was like, as he gets this experience, I would eventually pay him when he knows what he's doing. And then I can introduce him to lots of other coaches who will eventually need to get help with their podcast.
Amanda: [00:03:40] I used to do that. I used somebody on Upwork and used to send the files off. I wasn't going to do it myself.
Kim: [00:03:47] I've done it myself. I've always done it myself. I have hired somebody to transcribe my podcast for me, so I can put them on my website and he could do full-blown everything for me, but I didn't want to put the money there quite yet, but he's transcribing and then my kiddo is handling everything else now.
So I'm glad that's off my plate. Like, I don't have to do anything.
Amanda: [00:04:04] My youngest has discovered photography and I'm quite a good photographer. And I've got this big piece going out in the Telegraph in the UK -- a big broadsheet paper -- and they asked me to wear a yellow dress, which you've seen on Instagram that I got from Amazon for $25 that my friend told me to get.
'Cause she said, "Oh, it's really nice. And they'll do for when you're swimming, you can throw it off the top."
It's something I wouldn't normally wear
Kim: [00:04:36] Why do they want you to wear a specific thing?
Amanda: [00:04:39] Well, it's a colored publication and it's in their Sunday magazine. And so they want to style it. Their own stylist contacted me, but they need full-res photos and so Elon and I went out, so he's there with my SLR against this really nice background. And I'm like, it's so funny that in this really great newspaper, it's going to be at $25 Amazon dress, shot by my 13-year-old.
Kim: [00:05:10] That's fantastic.
Amanda: [00:05:11] Very real. Okay. I'm good to go.
Kim: [00:05:14] Alright, here we go.
Today, my very first Fitness Simplified three-timer, Amanda Thebe.
Amanda is a fitness and women's health expert and today I have her on a conjunction with the release of her new book, "Menopocalypse: How I Learned to Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too."
Amanda: [00:05:36] It's not the threesome I wanted, but it's a threesome I'll take. We'll run with it.
So it's an honor. Three times. It's because we've got so much in common. And what people don't know is outside of us talking on this, there's probably almost a daily chat that we have about everything.
And we have an app on our phone called Marco Polo -- which if you haven't used before, it's really good fun -- and we send little videos to each other.
Kim: [00:06:14] It's a lot of fun. We talk all the time today. We're going to get into this book of yours, which I love. I love it because it is both educational, right? So like, what is going on with our bodies and why, and what do we need to know about it?
But it's also solutions-based, like, this is no picnic.,I'm going through menopause. It is no picnic. But there's so much we can do to manage our symptoms and you really dive into that. And I think that's so important, right?
It's education. And now what do I do? What do I actually do?
We have an entire episode, it is episode 21 of my podcast, which is so fun because I'm on episode 75 and you are on episode 21, your whole story of your experience in menopause, but I do want to touch on it here. So kind of give us the highlights of your experience in menopause.
Amanda: [00:06:59] Well, simply put, the reason I wrote this book was because I wasn't getting answers to any of my questions. Like you, I had a really terrible time. I'm 49, almost 50, this month. Almost 50, and from my early 40s, had just the most horrendous symptoms with no answers from any of the medical professionals that I saw.
And eventually, two years into the journey, when I did get answers, I really struggled to find definitive reasons why I was feeling the way I was feeling. Because it never stays the same, it's not static. I mean, I went to my gynecologist about a particular symptom of perimenopause once I understood what it was, and then I had something else six months later. It's so difficult to stay on top of because things ebb and flow.
And so I just really found it difficult to find really useful, practical information. There's more now, I might say, because this is eight years ago and I think we're talking about it more and more, but that was the other part of wanting to write about it.
And also in my community groups and on my Facebook and Instagram page, I make it an okay topic to talk about, like you do, because it's been tabooed for so long and it's one of those eye-rolling topics that people-- you say menopause and everyone, like, slowly walks out of the room backwards.
And my family do, actually.
Kim: [00:08:34] So, like everything in the health and fitness space, menopause discussions can get over-complicated. Just this morning I saw you liked a comment I had made it in a group -- there's so many menopause groups and Amanda and I are both in one specific one -- and a woman had wrote in talking about how she wanted to balance her hormones with her diet.
And I had asked a couple of questions. I said, "well, what are you actually looking to do? What is the result you want?" Because people were telling her all kinds of things. And I said, "you know, you're not trying to balance your hormones. Like, you should go see a doctor." It's not like she had digestive issues.
Somebody came in after me and started telling her about how she needs to like focus on eating phytoestrogens, really complicated stuff. And I was like, "what you just said could be summed up with 'eat a well-rounded, balanced, nutritious diet. And if you're having digestive issues, that's a separate problem.'"
But so many things are made into confusing issues.
Amanda: [00:09:26] Yeah. And I think that's why we align so well, because we're always like, "why are people making this so complicated when more often than not, the answers are quite simple?" Not always easy, but usually quite simple.
That posts, I'm glad you brought it up because the person who commented was telling her how she could basically manage everything through diet and health and nutrition and I disagree with that. I disagree completely with that. I think they play a huge, important role, but they're not always the answer and neither are taken herbs and neither are doing alternatives.
Sometimes it's just not enough and you need to go and see a menopause specialist. And as far as the phytoestrogen argument and all of that type of thing, it comes from the fact that some foods have phytoestrogen properties, but a phytoestrogen property can be an estrogen disrupter. It can actually be an anti-estrogen food as well as an estrogen food, and who knows how it's going to act in the body?
The studies that I found -- and I did really try and dig deep into this, right? I did try and look into if this was an actual thing, because we know that Asian women have less symptomatic time in perimenopause, but genes play a massive part. So you've got the genetic factor, and then as far as the phytoestrogens in soy, tofu, et cetera, and the quantities you would have to absorb to make any type of significant impact are going to be unobtainable.
These foods are good for us and they're healthy for us, so there's no reason not to include them. It's just, they're not the magic pill. And it's just another way to confuse and bamboozle women who are already confused and bamboozled.
Kim: [00:11:18] Absolutely. At a time when there's just so much going on emotionally with us and physically with us. And so it is really a dicey space.
So let's talk a little bit and clear up some myths. So let's talk specifically for a minute about HRT.
Now, before I do this, I want everywhere out there listening to know that neither Amanda, nor I are doctors. This is just educational information for you to keep in mind because this topic has become so muddled.
Amanda. HRT, what is it and why is everyone so suspicious of it?
Amanda: [00:11:53] HRT is hormone replacement therapy and for a woman with a uterus, a womb -- I don't know what you call it here, I always flip flop between the two -- for a woman with a uterus that's estrogen supplemented with progesterone to protect your womb.
If you don't have a uterus anymore, if that's been removed, you can go on estrogen therapy only. In 2002, the Women's Health Institute released a report. It was rushed out to publication without being peer-reviewed, and it came out and said that estrogen therapy alone, without the progesterone, estrogen therapy alone could cause serious diseases in women, including cardiovascular problems and breast cancer.
And so immediately -- and at the time they were only testing Premarin, which was a synthetic estrogen. That was the only one on the market. It's actually the most well-researched hormone out there. So, it's actually one that's pretty robust in its research. And it was pulled off the shelves and doctors refuse to prescribe it.
And so it left women who'd been taking it in his place where they were struggling with menopausal symptoms and they weren't being treated by their doctors. Since then, the report has largely been revoked and some of the people who were part of the study have spoken out and said it was rushed and it's not accurate.
And so the bottom line is now we know that hormone replacement therapy does not cause breast cancer, estrogen is not a carcinogenic. It will not cause cancer. There'll be some women that maybe can't take it because they have estrogen-positive breast cancer, but there's some women that can as well.
And so, like you said, we're not doctors and it's not our place to say who can and can't. I would suggest reading Estrogen Matters by Dr. Avrum Bluming. It talks about all of this and then go and see your doctor and speak to a specialist. But the North American Menopause Society and most global menopause societies suggest that hormone replacement therapy is the first-line treatment for menopause symptoms.
So when you go to your doctor and you present him with symptoms, that should be what is offered to you. And what usually happens is you are denied or given an antidepressant because usually doctors aren't -- probably through no fault of their own -- but they're not educated in menopause management.
We know this to be fact. It's not included in any of the training, and OB GYNs, who are the people that we think should be our go-to, only 20% of those in their fellowship do any type of menopause management. So it's a bit of a gray area and a lot of women get dismissed, unfortunately. But there are some resources.
And I know you talk about them, where women can go and find a menopause specialist.
Kim: [00:15:01] Yeah, I've absolutely talked on here, before about the NAMS website go to the North American Menopause Society website, they have a provider finder. It's not extensive, I will say. I've looked for myself and there are five in my area. Three are not too far away, so I will be heading that way.
So it's not like there are tons of these people around, but there are enough that you're going to be able to find somebody in a reasonable distance and it's going to be worth it because you don't want to have the experience that I've shared here, where my doctor said, no, she would not give me hormone replacement therapy because I had still had my period and it had not been a year yet.
And it didn't matter that I wasn't sleeping and had the whole list of symptoms. And luckily, I knew enough to push back, but I think a lot of us would not. A lot of people wouldn't know because they just show up to the doctor and they're not well and they think the doctor's gonna give them the right treatment, right?
Why would we think otherwise?
Amanda: [00:15:50] And you know, in my book I talk about the different tests and stuff that need to be done depending on your age. If you're under the age of 40 and you think you may be in perimenopause, you need to have blood work done to ascertain where you are and they most likely can put you on a low dose birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy then.
But if you're over the age of 45 and you're presenting with one or more symptoms, you can be diagnosed based on your symptoms, because it's a fact that you're going to be in -- and this is what the governing bodies are suggesting, but still, women are being dismissed. And I know you want to talk about this, but in that lapse of time between the 2002 WHI study going out where women were left stranded, this was the perfect storm for alternative practitioners and private health clinics to jump out and say, "Oh, we can fill the gap with you with these custom made, bio-identical hormones that are better than Premarin anyway," because you know, that's a synthetic, and we can help you."
And to me, that sounds super appealing. Women are desperate, they need help, but it's not the true story. And what we know about compounded pharmacies producing hormones is this: they use drugs that are the same as the ones that you would get from your doctor, but they change the environment. So they mix them with sawdust and baby talc, or something along those lines. Changing the variables immediately, making them lose any sort of safety and efficacy that's been adhered to by the FDA protocols, putting yourself at risk that you literally don't know can happen.
For example, there is a huge concern by the medical community that if you take estrogen therapy and progesterone in the form of a cream that the pedestrian cannot absorb and give you adequate protection against uterine cancer. It's just not sufficient.
And we're seeing cases of this happening. And the latest thing is to get pellets. Women are going to the doctor and the doctors are prescribing these and they're not FDA approved. It's a complete sellout by the medical community. These are uber high doses of hormones and they have been linked to some cancers.
And the bottom line for all of this is that 1) you're taking something and putting something in your body that we know hasn't been tested, but 2) the cost of these things is crazy. Like, these things can cost you hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month, where you can usually get FDA-approved hormones, that can be bio-identical if you want, for a few dollars a month.
I just don't get way women do it.
Kim: [00:18:47] So, help with the terminology there around that, Amanda. It gets a little bit confusing. I know in your motherland, the terminology is a little bit more separate, right? So the prescription you get from your doctor they're calling body-identical, correct?
Amanda: [00:19:01] Right.
Kim: [00:19:01] And then other things that you'd get outside of that from a compounding pharmacist, that's what they would call bio-identical, right?
Amanda: [00:19:09] Correct.
Kim: [00:19:10] But here in the States, that's not like that.
Explain to people what they should be looking for and what should they watch out for?
Because it gets really tricky.
Amanda: [00:19:20] Oh, my gosh. I went down the rabbit hole of this with you and with our friend Katarina Wilk. We tried to find out if there was standardized language that we could use so that we made this clearer and there isn't any. And the reason is because the term bio-identical, it was a marketing term adopted by these compounded pharmacies to appeal to the natural side of hormones that they were producing.
And so what happened is drug companies started to produce bioidentical hormones, but then went through the FDA approval process and testing process so that they were effective and safe for us. So now we've got bio-identical from a compounding pharmacy and bio-identical from your doctor. And I think that's where the confusion comes from.
So it's easier to think about drugs being unregulated and regulated. And so, things like pellets and compounded pharmacy drugs are all unregulated, and then if you go to a doctor and get a prescription, they will be regulated drugs. That's what you should be asking for: regulated hormones.
And within the spectrum of regulated hormones, you can have bio-identical and you can have synthetic. But they're all made in a lab anyway. It's not like you're injecting pure yams into your body.
Kim: [00:20:45] We had this conversation literally last week in my mother's kitchen. So my sister has Down syndrome, she is 46, she is having menopause symptoms, and my mom was talking about how she bought her this special cooling pillow and all of these things. And I was talking to her about my HRT and my mom said, "Oh, I'm not going to do that for her. That's dangerous."
And she said, "I am looking into some other medicine that I've found from a naturopath." And I said, "Mom, that's, that's not the route you want to go. That's actually the dangerous path". And she wouldn't even listen to me. I said, "you know, I think you should make an appointment with the doctor and talk--" wouldn't even listen.
People are very convinced that it's somehow more natural, the things that they could get outside of their doctor's office and natural equals better, safer. And in reality, it is not safer. It is the exact opposite.
Amanda: [00:21:35] In this situation, it most definitely is. And the FDA have actually tried to withdraw these products from the market because of the dangers and because of the increase in cancers that they're seeing.
Kim: [00:21:46] I wonder what it will take to actually make that happen.
Amanda: [00:21:49] Oh, I don't know. I don't know.
I think talking about it, having more relevant conversations is happening. There are things in the process at the moment and there are medical doctors going to the FDA and speaking out on behalf of regulated hormones for women and trying to get them to be a mainstream treatment.
I mean, that's the key. I feel sorry for doctors, honestly. I mean, I don't feel like they're trying to cheat us out of treatment. I think there's an old stigma against HRT and misinformation, and they then literally have to try and keep on top of every single new study that comes out.
I had an incident with my own doctor where he refused me HRT. I wouldn't go until he gave me it. Then he offered me Premarin, I asked for a bio-identical estrogen instead. I knew what I wanted. He then prescribed that to me, reluctantly, without a progesterone. And so then I had to say, "you need to give me a progesterone" and he wouldn't give me one.
And so I left the office and just said, "you know what? Do me a referral to a menopause specialist, I don't feel like you fully understand how to treat my symptoms." And I wasn't rude, but he emailed me later that night and said, "Oh my God, I had no idea. And yes, you were right, and thank you." And he gave me a prescription.
He just didn't know. And he's a young doctor and he really wants to help people.
Kim: [00:23:20] Yeah, and it comes back to, we need to be able to advocate for ourselves. And so we need to arm ourselves with information so that we can have these conversations and make sure that we know what we're talking about when we get there.
Amanda: [00:23:32] Exactly.
I actually do, in the book, I talk about the treatment options that are available. And when it comes to coming to a doctor, I sort of suggest that women do a type of menopause tracker so that you don't just go to the doctor with, " I'm depressed" or "I've got incontinence" or "my joints ache." You actually go in with a full picture of what's been happening so that they can treat you as a whole and not just individual symptoms, so hopefully you'll get the right treatment. But then also how to advocate for yourself when you speak to the doctor.
Kim: [00:24:01] Super, super important stuff.
Okay, turning from HRT. Let's talk about, you know, there are so many uncomfortable symptoms that come along with menopause and some are easier to talk about and some are less.
And I liked how in the book, you're like, "there are no boundaries in my work." And so we're going to kind of push those boundaries of what people might be comfortable hearing about on a podcast today.
Let's talk about what happens to women's vaginas during menopause. What are some of the main struggles Amanda?
Amanda: [00:24:30] So, it's interesting because when I wrote the book, like, I've been basically putting my vagina on the line for years now about this, because I realized that I needed to separate my personal feelings about it, to the actual symptoms that lots of women experience. And I remember writing the book and saying to my husband, "I'm going to talk about my vagina a lot in here" and he's like, "okay, I just needed to know," because it's data, it's information and data, and I wanted to be able to write about it in a non-emotional way. And actually, that's a really great way to approach it.
It's just like another part of your body. Which is a terrible thing to have to reframe in your mind. I mean, if you look at something like Twitter, you can't say the word vagina on there. When Jen Gunter wrote her book, the Vagina Bible last year, she couldn't promote it because of the word vagina.
Kim: [00:25:26] You really can't use that word on Twitter?
Amanda: [00:25:28] It may have changed now, but this time last year, you couldn't.
So when it comes to peri-menopause, the decline of estrogen in our bodies impacts the integrity of our whole vagina. The term is "vaginal atrophy," sometimes referred to as "GSM" because the whole area is impacted. So your incontinence, even your bowels, everything, that whole area can be impacted by the lack of estrogen.
So what essentially can happen is the integrity can sort of degrade a little bit. It's awful talking the way we're going to talk, but it sort of can break down slightly and so women can find multiple things happen. They may have incontinence issues and that's because of the structure and the muscular surroundings of the smooth bladder are impacted.
Women will often have like bad dryness or some tearing. Unfortunately, there's some bacterial infections that can happen. Some women continually have UTIs or yeast infections or bacterial infections because the pH level in the vagina changes, which is why all of those vaginal washes need to stop being used because they're usually quite high acid-based and all of the perfumes and stuff that's in there are going to just irritate you even more.
You're not supposed to smell like a rose garden down there. I know it's called the "lady garden," but it's not. And so, all of these things can happen purely down to the lack of estrogen in that area.
And so the problem is that most women will have this. It's not like just one or two women, they estimate that nearly all women who are older, like through menopause and post-menopause, will have some type of problem that's either a UTI, incontinence, painful sex, tearing, and some receding tissue, too.
All of those things are likely to happen and they're all manageable. And that's the problem: only 20% of women go and seek help because there's nothing more horrifying than going to a crusty old male doctor and saying, "my vagina's dry, it hurts when I have sex, and I'm pissing my pants every time I sneeze."
It's really uncomfortable.
Kim: [00:28:15] Okay, so women go to the doctor, they say, "this is what's happening." What is done to help treat them?
Amanda: [00:28:22] You know, it's interesting because, for the UTI and the vaginal infections, you'll often get prescribed antibiotics. And in some cases that can be a valid treatment, but usually, the thing that doctors should prescribe -- and again, this is from the North American Menopause Society and other medical bodies -- is a localized estrogen cream. Which is usually something that even women who can't take HRT for various medical reasons can take, because it doesn't get into the body systemically. It stays localized in the vaginal area.
And usually using that, either in a cream version or a suppository version -- there's bunches of different ways -- is enough to be able to stop those symptoms happening. Some women, just by taking hormone replacement therapy that helps their whole body is enough to help that area.
You know, it was for me. Being on a microdose of estrogen was enough. I had incontinence so badly and I couldn't work out why, especially after having two kids and still being able to jump on a trampoline.
Kim: [00:29:30] Interesting. So you didn't have incontinence problems after birth.
Amanda: [00:29:34] I went to a pelvic health physiotherapist, which I think every woman should just get, for free, because they're just a godsend. I really want to talk about this as well, because there's the overarching message that if you have incontinence, you just do Kegels and just keep squeezing, just keep squeezing.
And it's so individual that I just tell women, first of all, learn how to do a Kegel correctly. I do talk about that in the book. It's a very gentle, gentle exercise. Almost like picking a tissue out of a box. It's not this massive, like, "can I hold a dumbbell from a chain?" There's a woman that does that, right?
She's like the vagina lifter or something, but anyway, it's so gross, but my problem was, I was hypertonic. I had so much tension in one of my glutes -- nothing to do with the vagina, but of course, it's all connected. It was stopping my pelvic floor working as a whole.
And what we know about the pelvic floor is that it's a combination of the full muscles and our whole trunk. So our diaphragm, our multifidus, which is in the back, and the TVA, the transversus abdominis, which is the deep abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor, they all work as a system together.
So my holistic approach to this is: estrogen cream or HRT to help with anything that's painful and treatable, see a pelvic health physiotherapist to check for prolapses, for function, see how that's working -- they usually give you exercises that include those four muscles all working together -- and then focus breathing.
There's so many benefits to that anyway, but just actually sitting down and doing big diaphragmatic breaths help train the body to work the whole pelvic floor and those muscles together as a system.
And those things are huge and they can be game changes, but they're boring. Nobody wants to sit and go, "I gotta sit and breathe." Well, I know, but usually the things that do us good are those types of exercises.,
Kim: [00:31:49] It's true. We're always trying to sell the boring stuff here, Amanda,
I interviewed Dr. Chana Ross. She's a pelvic floor physiotherapist. She helped us on our plank article.
So I will link that here, everyone listening, the whole episode is about what is it like to visit a pelvic floor therapist? What happens? What will they do? Because it feels a little bit like, "what's going to happen at this appointment?" And she walks us through it and she talks about why Kegels aren't necessarily the answer for all different kinds of incontinence and how they, like in Amanda's case, they might even be making it worse, that Kegels aren't necessarily what you need to be doing.
So I will link that at the end of this, so you can make sure you go back and kind of delve deeper into the world of pelvic floor physiotherapy. I agree. I think it's a great thing for women to do. And I need to take my own advice and actually go see one.
Amanda: [00:32:40] I mean in France, when you've had a baby in Europe, it's so great. You get all of this postnatal care and it includes a pelvic health physiotherapist.
Kim: [00:32:52] I thought it was interesting, Amanda, in the book you were talking about how your own experience you began to realize that your incontinence was moving with your cycle. And I have the same experience. So when I lift heavy, I sometimes pee when I deadlift. And sometimes it's not that much and I'm just used to it, and other times it's shocking how much I want to pee and I had to work hard not to, and it kind of would come and go. And it took me a while to realize that it was related to my cycle.
Amanda: [00:33:18] Yeah, it definitely is. My cycles were very erratic, but I sort of knew when it was going to happen.
And then so, to get by, I would wear a tampon before I went for a run or before I deadlifted, because it created enough -- I don't know if it was like feedback or something -- and I mentioned this to the pelvic health physiotherapist and she said, "yeah, it's like that tactile feeling, like it knows to sort of hold it in place," but you don't have to suffer in silence.
And the problem is if it's left untreated, it can get so much worse. There's a disease called Lichen sclerosis, and many women get misdiagnosed for having this, but apparently, it's really prevalent in postmenopausal women. And again, it's treatable. But anybody who has vaginal atrophy, it's never going away. It's one of those symptoms that stays with you. So you can't ignore it.
Kim: [00:34:17] Definitely do not ignore it. But everybody wants to, right? Because nobody wants to think about that. No one wants to talk about that, nobody wants to think about that.
All right, ladies, everybody think about your vagina for a minute and how it's doing. Okay?
Amanda: [00:34:30] So that chapter, I was telling Kim yesterday in our Marco Polo session, that when I wrote the book, I wanted to call it, "Let's Not Beat About the Bush." I thought that that was really funny. And my editor, who completely understood me, was emailing me back and forth saying, "but isn't the bush just the front? Aren't you talking about the whole thing, front and back?"
Kim: [00:34:53] It would have still been funny.
Amanda: [00:34:56] Anyway, so let's not beat about the bush -- look after your vagina.
Kim: [00:34:59] Yes, look after it.
All right, so the second half of the book you cover four hacks that people can use to really, as the title of the book says, thrive in menopause.
Let's kind of just hit the highlights of a couple of them. And then we're going to really hit that last one hard.
So, the first one: how to eat.
What do you think people get wrong about nutrition and menopause?
Amanda: [00:35:19] Oh, well, I mean, we know 80% of women are going to put weight on and so they put weight on and then go, "what is the quickest way I can lose weight?"
I mean, you are the expert on this. You see this all the time. "What can I do quickly now to lose weight?" And so they'll look for this magic pill that doesn't exist. And that's what I think is one of the biggest issues out there.
What I do in the first part of the book is talk about some of the barriers that make it more difficult during menopause, and I'm sure you've spoken about those, you know, just the fact that we become more insulin sensitive, we have to look out for our cortisol levels, which are intrinsically connected to estrogen. Although there's no specific data on that, it's not a quantitative thing, it's just you have to manage stress.
We know that fat deposits shift from our hips to our belly, so we may change shape as well. And that can be stressful for women. GI issues and bloating is another thing that lots of women see.
And even our hunger hormones are impacted slightly by perimenopause, our ghrelin and leptin. So, telling us when we're hungry and when we're full, they become a little bit skewed as well. And so to lose weight, it's always going to be the same answer -- I don't need to repeat what you tell everyone all the time -- but the barriers are harder.
Kim: [00:36:53] Absolutely. All those hurdles you just mentioned, we have to figure out how do we work with them?
Amanda: [00:36:58] How do we work with them? There was a report came out only three days ago and I haven't looked into it too much, but it sort of indicated that, the menopause transition, which is peri-menopause, sees more women put weight on then significantly, and that we see a quicker decline in lean body mass through perimenopause. And that was really interesting to me because it sort of felt like that to me, but I couldn't find any concrete data and I don't know how concrete that one is, but essentially if you're a higher risk of putting fat on and a higher risk of losing muscle mass, that's like a lose-lose situation. So you need to do the things to make that a win-win.
So when I talk about nutrition, before I talk about what to do, I always talk about the how to eat, and it's worked for me and I think that changing behaviors and habits is definitely the way for long-term success.
Well, we know it is anyway. It's been proven so many times. So I get people to clue in to real hunger cues. Are you really hungry? And if you are, how much to eat? When do you feel satisfied? When is enough enough? How quickly to eat and all of those things. And I give you tools to help you.
I was on another podcast and I gave a story about my Nana. She's not alive anymore. We used to call a "Funny Nana" because she'd laugh so hard her teeth would fall out. And I used to always watch when she ate, because we'd go out for these family meals and she was this tiny little woman, but she never was worried about her weight, but she would eat really, really slowly. And she never ate very much.
Actually, my brother used to sit next to her so he could eat the leftovers, but like, she never ate very much and she ate really slowly, so we'd all finish and she was still eating. And she would always leave something on the plate and put her knife and fork down and go, " oh, that was sufficient."
And they were always her words. And I just was like, that's actually a really great example of how to eat. She ate slowly, she felt nourished, she stopped when she had enough, and because the ghrelin and leptin signals are a little bit skewed, you sort of have to retrain -- like you've retrained your pelvic floor, you now need to sort of retrain your body regarding all of those things we like.
Kim: [00:39:16] Well put. Well put there, Amanda.
And you started to allude to this with that study you were just talking about. So, the next part: how to move, why is it important to move well in menopause?
And you started talking there about losing muscle, so that's definitely one of the reasons.
Amanda: [00:39:33] Yeah. I mean, sarcopenia happens. It's an age-related phenomenon and actually a movement-related phenomenon. Sedentary people obviously struggle with it more.
And it's sort of rapidly accelerated in menopause, and so we need to do everything we can do to maintain lean body mass. I've experienced the soft, squishiness as well, and I've pulled it back. You know, it's possible. We can help women to show that you can still build muscle as you age.
It might take longer and there's maybe things you need to really focus on, like protein consumption, for one, because our muscle protein synthesis, which is the ability to break down proteins in order to build muscle, is also impeded slightly. So we have to really focus on getting protein into our diet.
And then the other flip side of the building lean muscle is that it's been shown to help with the vasomotor symptoms, which are hot flashes, night sweats, and cold sweats. Anything that impacts your temperature.
And actually, I've never had that. Which is interesting.
Kim: [00:40:46] I remember you saying that. I think this is a fascinating piece of information, and I know it was pretty strong data that suggests that hot flashes and night sweats are lessened with the more lean you are. So the more lean muscle you have, the better chance you have of not having -- I don't know if not having them -- but having fewer vasomotor symptoms. And I often wonder like, wow, if I wasn't doing what I'm doing, would I just be one big hot flash? Because I've had such a massive struggle with them.
Amanda: [00:41:18] Yeah, I know.
But like we say, genetics play a huge part in all of this, of course. One of the studies was on postmenopausal women who'd never lifted weights before, and they were pure cardio bunnies and they split the group into strength training and cardio only and the strength training postmenopausal women -- and hot flashes are the one of the symptoms that can stay with us. They don't necessarily go. Like, women in the 80s still have them -- reduced by 50%.
And as far as I'm concerned, I'm like, "well, what have you got to lose?"
Kim: [00:41:55] Well, because there are so many other benefits we already know anyway, right? And so this is another additional one, why not?
Amanda: [00:42:03] And so in the book I do a 12-week program, it's like an entry-level program, but I also show people how to pimp it up if they want to work a bit harder, as well.
Kim: [00:42:12] Pimp it up.
Okay. Next hack is: how to manage stress.
Such a problem in menopause. Why do you think that is? Why are we dealing with so much stress? I think a lot of people right now are probably like, "well, hello, Kim, I can tell you 12 reasons I'm dealing with stress."
Amanda: [00:42:28] Oh my God, yeah. And I don't think I can probably hit on them all because I mean, we're in a pandemic, for one. I mean, there's that and all of the knock-on effects of that, but I mean, so, first of all, women probably can't cope it stresses as well as they could before perimenopause, because, as I said to you, our cortisol is intrinsically linked with estrogen, and as that fluctuates and declines, you can see our stress hormones just go crazy.
And if you're then stressing your body more by over-dieting and over-exercising, as well, you know, you just added more stress to stress. And so it really becomes important to just change the way you look at how you function as a whole.
I know that was a really big shift for me. So, being someone who exercises most days of the week, like maybe four strength training sessions and three runs, that was always my thing, and I had to pull right back and I had to pull right back in an intelligent way so that I still could actively work out and be efficient and do the best for my body, but also support it with adequate rest and recovery. And that became key.
And you're really good at promoting that because of your "get up! Get up!" We know one of the benefits of getting up and going out and walking is stress management.
Kim: [00:43:52] Yeah. Absolutely. And one of the other things you talk about, which is something I'm truly terrible at, is meditation.
That's been a big part of stress management for you, right?
Amanda: [00:44:01] I don't do it well, but the thing is that meditation can look different for everyone and that's what I've learned. But I talk really more about mindfulness.
Kim: [00:44:14] That's the word I'm looking for.
Amanda: [00:44:16] So mindfulness is a little bit different to meditation because you can use meditation as part of your mindfulness training, but mindfulness training is about bringing everything back to the present and being in the moment as we are right now. And you don't have to meditate to do that. You could do that on one of your walks -- I go outside and sit and have a cup of coffee on my own every day and just be quiet, drink the coffee, enjoy it and every time a thought comes to my head I sort of acknowledge and then let it go.
Some people find meditation actually easy to do. I'm a little bit like, "oooh, what am I making for dinner?" And, you know, I get a bit squirrely. Whereas I find if I'm doing something like drinking coffee, that takes the squirlyness away.
But mindfulness is not just some woo woo alternative, right? We know from MRI scans that you can actually change the structure of your brain by doing mindfulness practice.
Kim: [00:45:20] So tell us about some of the mindfulness practices that you use, or that you've heard of others using. What are some things people can try to do to be more mindful?
Amanda: [00:45:28] Well, we were talking about stress initially, and so stress management, mindfulness is one of the things you can do and it's sort of all integrated to me. And so, diaphragmatic breathing to me is part of a stress management program. We know that when you do big, deep, belly breaths -- which essentially then contracts and releases the diaphragm -- it elicits the parasympathetic nervous system. And so it gets rid of that fight or flight.
If you're in perimenopause, you are literally constantly being chased by that tiger down the street, which is like what I say in the book, you need ways to be able to pull back and get your heart rate back down and so, breathing diaphragmatic breath could work.
And I promote box breathing. There's so many different ways of doing it, but I like the idea of 3 breaths in, hold for 3 breaths, out for 3 breaths, hold that for 3 breaths, and continue in that box shape.
Then the meditation is another method, going out for walks. As we said, walks are just a great way of doing it. Some people can meditate by going swimming or going out on their bike. It can be a moving meditation and it can still be very valid.
But the whole point is that when you get these thoughts -- and especially if you're prone to anxiety, where you're worrying about all of the stuff that potentially can come ahead and you're bringing it back to the president and you're like, "well, what can I control right now? And what can I do to get through this situation that's causing me stress and anxiety?" And reframing those situations. Which isn't easy to do in the moment, but it works.
I have a son who is on the autism spectrum, he has Asperger's and one of the key characteristics of Asperger's is anxiety, because he's an over-thinker. They have these massive brains that just can't stop working.
And so he's always wondering when the next failure is going to happen. It's terrible, really. So, in his years of therapy he's learned -- and cognitive behavioral therapy is another great way to sort of access this through a licensed professional -- he's learned that taking this time out to do deep breaths and bring things back to the present and just reframing the question that was causing him anxiety to, "what can I control?" It works for him. He's like a completely different person. But it takes time and practice and all of those things.
Kim: [00:48:07] Yeah. And I think sometimes it's overwhelming. Whenever I hear like, "okay, you should be more mindful," I think, "I'm too busy!"
Amanda: [00:48:15] Yeah. And we, menopausal women, are kind of like the ultimate road runners. We never, never stop.
Kim: [00:48:22] There's so much going on, but I do think it's something worth prioritizing.
I have, on my horizon, to consider, I interviewed a woman a few days ago. I haven't even put the podcast out yet. She runs an organization called "99 Walks." I'd never heard of her before, but she's on a mission to get a million women walking. And so it's this big walking community of women. Anyway, one of the things she does in this group is walking meditation.
And I was like, "what is that?" She's like, "it's literally what it sounds like. We go on walks and then we have meditations playing while we do it. "And I was like, "Hmm. Maybe that's something I could do," because I'm already walking, right? And I think I could possibly try that because I do feel like being present in the moment is not something that is a great skill of mine. Because, like a lot of people our age range, I've got kids, I've got parents, I've got a job, I've got the home. It's just so much going on.
Amanda: [00:49:11] Yeah. And I mean, I know you use your walks to call your clients and to catch up on videos and stuff, and so you're really good at multitasking. But there's something that happens in perimenopause I think we need to really acknowledge. And I think, especially, it became really clear to me now I'm in menopause and stuff started to calm down, is how we need to prioritize ourselves.
I talk about it in the book, how we move from the "we to me" phenomenon and it's been written about many times where our connections to our families and stuff are all changing all the time. You know, we may become empty-nesters, we're maybe in that squeeze generation, divorced, there's so much going on.
And there's a shift that happens and it's part of the hormonal changes, because oxytocin declines, and it's like a bonding hormone, and we're natural nurturers and carers and a shift happens and we start thinking, "What would happen if I put myself first today?"
It's not selfish. It's almost self-preservation, I think. And I think we need to encourage that more in women and say to them, "what would happen if you said to your kid, 'get your own bloody lunch, you can make a sandwich. I'm gonna sit outside on my own for five minutes.'"
Kim: [00:50:42] I love that, Amanda, I think that's fantastic. I think that's fantastic.
That kind of leads into this next section of yours where you're talking about how to think. And one of the sections you talk in there about is about building resilience and I think that's such an important quality for us to focus on, particularly now. Talk a little bit about that.
Amanda: [00:50:59] Yeah. So the, the final hack, the final part of the book, number four, is all about building a resiliency mindset.
It's not something I've made up. I worked with a psychologist on this. He was a really good friend of mine and we'd have these really deep, long conversations. And I just found that what she was saying just made so much sense to me. And two of the things, as well as talking about a mindfulness practice and how you can sort of incorporate that and how it can actually change how the brain operates and thinks, we talk about looking at your values and your strengths.
And so these are actual psychological tools that are used, they're not just me making two things up. And so, basically, I wanted to do this and I really wanted to do this because I got so tired of hearing women being so down on themselves, like saying, "I can't do this," or, "I'm too old for that," or, "I hate myself," "I hate the way I look," "I can't stand my wrinkles," and all of these really negative messages. And I'm not asking people to be uber positive and be that annoying grinding woman that's always like, "Woo! Woo!. Look at me. I'm so brilliant." I'm just sort of saying, look at yourself and stop being so down on yourself.
You know, there's that thought monster that's always in our head and we have to replace it with some positive outlooks.
And so, there's two things I recommend women do. The first one is a values test. And if you go to valuecenter.com -- I think everyone should do this and values change -- and so I did mine about three years ago and I re-did it them, and the things that came out top for me and my values were people, passion, nurture, health, and excitement.
So it looks for the values. Now, values aren't goals, these are things that you want to achieve, things that make you want to live your life fuller. And it's true, people and my family, and everything I do centers around that and I'm passionate and I love excitement.
So all of these things, it really summed to me as well, and I think that that probably won't change so much.
But what you can do when you understand what your values are, is you can start changing things to suit those values, and that's the whole purpose of it.
And then the next one is your strengths.
And this is something I really liked because most women don't value themselves at this time for a whole number of reasons. But, I encourage them to focus on their strong points, their strengths. And so if you go to viacharacter.org, these are your qualities. These are things that come naturally to you and that's the whole point of this.
And then what it's suggesting is that when you have these strengths, that you use them to your advantage and you use them to forge forward. So, for example, mine came out this order: curiosity first, kindness, social intelligence, humor, and creativity.
I knew I had a high social intelligence score and probably a low intellectual score -- I'm just joking -- but I knew that because I'd done that test before. But I was very surprised that my top strength was curiosity. It really was like, "really? That's my top and not humor or not social intelligence?" But the definition of that is" taking an interest in ongoing experiences that you find fascinating and then exploring and discovering them."
So that basically is me going down my menopause rabbit hole. And I think that that's like you, it's probably going to be similar to you.
Kim: [00:54:56] Well, I did my test last night, Amanda.
My daughter and I, there's a teenage version of that too, and so we did it together. My top one was, "appreciation of beauty and excellence."
Amanda: [00:55:05] Oh, my gosh. And do you feel like that's...
Kim: [00:55:08] Well, we were kind of talking about it. And I said, I guess -- because you know, it says "it's noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, or skilled performance in various domains of life from nature to art," and I am a person, we were talking, I'm like, "it's true. Like, I do buy flowers for the house every week and I'm always the person to be like, 'stop guys, look at the pretty sunset.'" That is me. That's what I do. And I really do find energy from those kinds of things.
Amanda: [00:55:30] And that's the point. It feeds your soul, right? It feeds your soul. And that's what this thing encourages you to do.
Kim: [00:55:35] I thought it was a really interesting test. I thought that was very interesting.
So, for sure, listeners go and give that a try. It's viacharacter.org. It was really easy to do.
What a great thing for us to be conversing about, because I think at this age, the women that I meet with, the women who contact me, they really are kind of struggling to find themselves and figure out like, "where is my place? What is going on? I'm busy, I'm a mom," and they've kind of gotten to this point where they're not really sure what the next step is or "is this it?"
And so I love the idea figuring out, "what am I good at? What are my strengths? Because I still have a whole lot of life to build here with these strengths."
Amanda: [00:56:23] And it's interesting, as well. So I talk about those four things; the nutrition, the exercise, the stress management -- which comes with sleep -- and then this resiliency mindset because I do believe that when you talk about menopause, you need to look at everything together and how it looks.
But what you just said there is the story I hear all the time and it really makes me quite sad. But it's understandable, as well.
I also talk, in the book, about the U-curve of happiness. And the U-curve of happiness, I think is worthy to end on.
So, if you think of a U, the age around menopause, we're in the bottom of that U-curve. We're in the doldrums and we're hanging out there and it's probably what they consider to be one of our lowest times. But as you enter your mid-50s and going up to 60s, we start climbing up that happiness curve and we see people being the happiest that they've ever been, the most content and satisfied with their life.
And so I'm now out of the worst of menopause and the mental shift has been huge for me because most of my symptoms were neurological and on the mental health side. And coming out of the other side has been a game-changer for me. It's not to say won't have the symptoms, I'm not suggesting that, but I sort of want to give a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, the menopause tunnel.
Kim: [00:58:01] That it just doesn't lead to continued darkness.
Amanda: [00:58:03] Because when you're in that -- and you felt it too -- you're like, "Is this how it's always going to be? Is my character now changed? Is this my new personality?" And it's actually quite hard to even think that it could lift.
Kim: [00:58:18] Yeah, absolutely. Well, Amanda, this has been a fantastic conversation. Everyone listening, know that the things that we have just discussed here, we just barely got the tip of the iceberg, each of these subjects are covered in-depth in Amanda's book, Menopocalypse.
Amanda, when is the book gonna be available?
Amanda: [00:58:34] It comes out on World Menopause day, which is October 18th, and it's available for preorder now if you wanted to get it.
Kim: [00:58:42] All right. So get your copies. And Amanda, where can everyone find you?
Amanda: [00:58:47] So if you were to head to my website fitnchips.com, you can get access to my menopause community there, my Instagram, Facebook, and also there's a link there to my books and it tells you, globally, where you can buy the books.
I definitely recommend, if you can, supporting your local bookshop or buying independently. Amazon's definitely where I'm going to get most of my sales, but if I can push a small business, then I would like to do that.
Kim: [00:59:20] That's a great idea.
Or you guys could just find Amanda. Head to Texas and listen for a British accent.
Amanda: [00:59:25] That's too funny.
Kim: [00:59:29] Thanks so much for being here, Amanda.
Amanda: [00:59:30] Thanks for having me on again. Three-timer! Woo woo!
Kim: [00:59:38] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
Thanks so much.
00:04 Kim Schlag: Welcome to Episode 75 of the Fitness Simplified Podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. Now, this week's episode is a little bit different because I am actually not the host. I'm turning over hosting duties to my friend and my mentor, Jordan Syatt. Now, when you listen to the podcast each week, you hear snippets, bits and pieces of my story, but mostly I'm focused on my guest, their story, the things that they have learned. This week, you're gonna hear my story. You'll hear a lot of it. Jordan talks and asks me questions about when I was obese, how did I become obese, was I always obese, how did I get out of that position, what was the trigger for me? Lots about the dumb, dumb things I tried to do to lose weight; some of them embarrassing, but worthy of sharing. I think you might see a little bit of yourself in some of my own experiences. Let's go. Hello.
01:04 Jordan Syatt: There she is. How are you?
01:06 Kim Schlag: Hi. Good. How are you doing?
01:09 Jordan Syatt: I'm well. Are we recording?
01:10 Kim Schlag: We are recording.
01:11 Jordan Syatt: Alright, so we're just jumping right into it, huh?
01:14 Kim Schlag: Absolutely. I'm sitting in my closet. [chuckle]
01:18 Jordan Syatt: You're in your closet. Why?
01:19 Kim Schlag: I'm in my closet because we have a painter here. He's been painting a bunch of rooms, including my office. And so I tried to record a podcast in my basement the other day and my family has no sense of boundaries and people were wandering in and out, and it does not make for great audio. And so, I've locked myself in my bedroom, in my closet. No one's coming here.
01:39 Jordan Syatt: Wait, what are those... Oh, those are boots. Those are Uggs on the right.
01:43 Kim Schlag: Those are my sparkly Uggs.
01:45 Jordan Syatt: Got it. I thought that for... You know those clear containers that they could hold snacks or whatever, it looked like there was like a clear container of pecans. I was like, "You've got pecans in your closet? Man, it's better than my closet."
01:58 Kim Schlag: That's the secret to my success. I keep pecans in my closet.
02:01 Jordan Syatt: I've done a bunch of podcasts in Mike Vicanche's closet.
02:05 Kim Schlag: I've seen them.
02:06 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, so who knows, maybe closets are the best place to do them.
02:10 Kim Schlag: Good audio, apparently.
02:11 Jordan Syatt: Do you want to explain to your audience what exactly what we're doing right now?
02:16 Kim Schlag: Absolutely, so I was... I love podcasts. I listen to a lot of them. And I was listening to a business podcast, and this woman had her mentor come on and interview her on her own podcast. And I thought it was super fun, and so I reached out to Jordan, who has been my coach and mentor for, I think, almost five years now to see if he would be game and of course, he was. And so here we are, so Jordan is gonna interview me on my podcast.
02:38 Jordan Syatt: Alright. So just for whatever it's worth. I have no idea where this is gonna go. I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve, but how about this? How about just to start, how about Kim, you just tell me about yourself, who you are? Tell me about where you started, how you got to where you are today. I just wanna know more about you, Kim.
02:56 Kim Schlag: Okay. So more about me. So I'm 49. I'm gonna be 50 in less than a month. Super, super soon.
03:05 Jordan Syatt: Great. When's your birthday?
03:07 Kim Schlag: October 7th.
03:08 Jordan Syatt: October 7th. Let's go.
03:10 Kim Schlag: 7th. 50 years old.
03:11 Jordan Syatt: Do you have plans? Do you have plans for your birthday?
03:13 Kim Schlag: Well, you know what? I was supposed to be in Alaska right now, celebrating my birthday. I was supposed to go on this big trip...
03:19 Jordan Syatt: Shut up.
03:20 Kim Schlag: To Alaska. I was gonna go on to cruise with all my best friends, and it's been on my bucket list forever. And so that... I was supposed to have left on Thursday, and we were gonna tour Seattle, 'cause I've never been to Seattle and that's where I should be right now. And then we were gonna celebrate my birthday, two of us are turning 50, so we were gonna be up on a glacier right before my birthday, that was the plan.
03:39 Jordan Syatt: Man, I've heard those Alaska cruises are amazing.
03:42 Kim Schlag: I know! Someday, I've always, always wanted to go there, but instead, my family and I have rented this cute little cabin in Northern Pennsylvania and we're gonna go hiking for a couple of days.
03:53 Jordan Syatt: That will be cool.
03:55 Kim Schlag: Yeah, so you know, I had to make the best of it. So I, since I was like 19, have been trying to lose weight, and it was ridiculous. So I was super into fashion as a kid, that was my thing. I always wanted to be a fashion designer or one of these kinds of things. So I would read these magazines, and I would look at these women, and I was like, "I don't look like them." I was not overweight as a kid. I was not, but I just didn't look like... It was very slim at the time, was what was in. I was like, "I don't look like that." And so I always had this thing in my mind that I was gonna lose five pounds. "I just need to lose a little weight. I need to lose a little weight." Always, since as long as I can remember, and what ended up happening is it was elusive. I didn't know what I was doing, and I ate like a complete moron in my 20s as I was trying to lose weight. And then I eventually... When I started having babies, gained 50 pounds with each of my three kids, never fully losing all of that weight. And so...
04:47 Jordan Syatt: You gained a 50 total pounds with each kid?
04:49 Kim Schlag: Each kid. Every kid, I gained 50 pounds. I fully believed the advice you're eating for two, and I know that for everything it's worth. And 50 pounds, lost some. Next kid, 50 pounds, lost some. 50 pounds, third. So by the end of being pregnant and then the stress of having toddlers, I was obese and very unhappy, and then spent a lot of time chasing every nook and cranny of what could be the secret to weight loss. All the dumb stuff, I did it, and just kept getting heavier and heavier and yo-yo-ing back and forth. And it wasn't until I was in my early 40s that I really wrapped my brain around the idea that it was about how much food I was eating. It was about the calories.
05:33 Jordan Syatt: How did you figure that out?
05:35 Kim Schlag: So I had a friend... Actually, I didn't even know him, I couldn't say at the time he was my friend, it was my... So where I go to church, my husband was leading our congregation at the time. We have a lay congregation, and my husband was the head of the congregation. So we knew everybody's problems and what people needed. And he came home one day, and he's like, "There's this family. You don't even know them. Their kid really needs somewhere else to live that's not their house. He's 19." He's like, "Are you okay if he moves in with us?" And I was like, "I guess. If you think he's safe and this is a good spot for him, let's do it." So he moved in with us.
06:05 Jordan Syatt: A random 19-year-old kid moved into your house?
06:08 Kim Schlag: Yes, and here's the thing. My kids were all in school and my husband was at work. And so it was my job to keep this kid busy and out of trouble because that was the problem. He didn't get along with his parents. He was in a lot of trouble.
06:20 Jordan Syatt: Oh, that must have felt good, just home alone with some... [chuckle]
06:23 Kim Schlag: That was my one question to my husband. I'm like, "I trust you. If you think this is safe, bring him here. Bring him here." And he's like, "He's safe." So I got to know him, and I was like, "What am I gonna do with this kid? What are we doing together?" And so what I found out is he liked bodybuilding, and I was like, "We're going to the gym. That's what we're doing." And so we got him a gym membership, and I was like, "Here we go."
06:45 Jordan Syatt: You paid for his gym membership?
06:46 Kim Schlag: I got him a scholarship to the gym. Like we call it... So, we got him a discount, and we got him into the gym that I would go to. And so, we went together to the gym a few days after he moved in, and our third day there together, he came up to me when we... 'Cause we'd go and then he would do his thing, I would do mine; he came up to me, and he's like, "What are you trying to do anyway?" [chuckle] I know he... The way he said it, I was kind of annoyed. I'm like, "I'm really trying hard to not be fat. Thank you." And he says to me, "You're doing it all the wrong way. You're doing it all the wrong way." And I... He's 19 and I'm like... But I felt so hopeless that I was like, "You seem to understand something. You look like you know what you're doing." And he said, "What... "
07:25 Jordan Syatt: Was he in shape? Like did look good?
07:26 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
07:26 Jordan Syatt: Okay.
07:26 Kim Schlag: He was in shape. He was in shape. And so, he said, "Why don't you start lifting with me?" He's like, "Come on, you can do it with me." And I'm like, "Alright." So the next day, we came back to the gym, and I went into the area that always scared me, we called it the man cave, right, and that's where all the big weights were, and I started lifting with him. He taught me all about lifting, how to lift, what to do.
07:47 Jordan Syatt: Were you worried about lifting weights?
07:49 Kim Schlag: I was so nervous. I was so nervous, really just about looking stupid, like not knowing what I was doing, and so I just... I would just look at him, and he wasn't a great teacher in that he was super kind and patient, he was just like... He would look at me sometimes and be like, "Go get a heavier weight." And I'm like, "This one's fine." And he's like, "Go get a heavier weight." And then I would get it and I was like, "Oh, I can totally lift that." So he wasn't nice necessarily, but we got along really well, and I would just look at him and he's like, "Do this. You're doing it wrong." [chuckle] And so it was not an easy entry, but it was good because he literally, step-by-step, just told me what to do.
08:25 Jordan Syatt: Do you remember the first workout he had you do?
08:29 Kim Schlag: Yes, I do.
08:30 Jordan Syatt: What was... Let's go... What was the first workout?
08:32 Kim Schlag: It was upper body, because we always did upper body, 'cause he was a guy, and we always worked chest and biceps. I swear, I've never... A woman has never been introduced to lifting probably like this. We did chest and biceps like three days a week, and every so often I'd be like, "Can we do something with the lower part of our body?" And he's like, "Fine. We'll do legs." He hated squatting. He didn't teach me how to back squat and deadlift, I learned that after he left. But. So we did... We were always, dumbbell chest presses, chest flies, bicep curls. Like a million varieties of bicep...
09:03 Jordan Syatt: Do you remember what weight you used for the dumbbell chest presses that first time?
09:07 Kim Schlag: I have no idea. But it was light. I picked up lightweight. It was always the little dumbbells, because I just... That's what I felt comfortable with. I thought that... I thought 15 pounds was heavy.
09:20 Jordan Syatt: How sore were you after the first workout... Or the first couple workouts?
09:25 Kim Schlag: That I don't remember.
09:26 Jordan Syatt: Okay. Alright.
09:27 Kim Schlag: I will tell you this, Jordan, I fell in love with it like that. We're like talking week one...
09:32 Jordan Syatt: Interesting.
09:32 Kim Schlag: I was like... Because he kept telling me to go get a heavier weight and I kept doing it, and I'm like, "I think maybe I'm strong."
09:39 Jordan Syatt: I love that.
09:40 Kim Schlag: And we all are, but we just don't realize it, right? If we're not pushed to do that. And so it was like instant, I fell in love with it, and I wasn't as much thinking about losing weight anymore, as like, "Let's go." We lifted five days a week. I'm like, "Are we going? Let's go. Let's go." I was excited about it.
09:55 Jordan Syatt: What time of day would you guys go to the gym?
09:57 Kim Schlag: Morning.
09:58 Jordan Syatt: Okay. Early morning.
10:00 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
10:00 Jordan Syatt: And did he do anything with your nutrition or was it just the workouts?
10:01 Kim Schlag: So he did, but again, like I said, he wasn't super nice, because he lived with us, and he was there as I was cooking, and my big nutrition plan was to try and eat as little as possible. And so, I would try not to eat a lot, but I was hungry, and I had terrible nutrition habits. I didn't eat vegetables. And so...
10:19 Jordan Syatt: Really?
10:20 Kim Schlag: I didn't. I did not start...
10:20 Jordan Syatt: You didn't eat vegetables?
10:22 Kim Schlag: Zero. I hated vegetables my whole... I trained myself to like vegetables when I was in my early 40s.
10:27 Jordan Syatt: Wow.
10:28 Kim Schlag: I liked one...
10:28 Jordan Syatt: You hated vegetables?
10:29 Kim Schlag: I hated them. The only vegetable I like as kind of random, I liked creamed spinach. It's not super healthy for you. It's not. It's not a great... It's just not great. And I would eat corn on the cob, if it was really good corn on the cob. But that was it. I didn't eat... I would pretend. I'd put salad on my plate, and then eat the croutons out. That was my vegetable. So he said to me very soon after we started, he's like, "I see you. I see what you're doing." And he's like...
10:53 Jordan Syatt: That's what he said? "I see you"?
10:55 Kim Schlag: Yeah. He's like, "You don't eat anything all day long. He's like, "You eat these little tiny portions." He's like, "You put this little bit of food on your plate, he's like, "And you're in the damn pantry every night." He's like, "You're in there snacking all night long." He's like...
11:06 Jordan Syatt: Wow. He's really calling you on it.
11:08 Kim Schlag: Yeah. And he's like, "Get out of the pantry and start eating real food", and I'm like...
11:12 Jordan Syatt: I like him. I like him a lot. [chuckle]
11:13 Kim Schlag: Yeah. And I was like, "Well, like what? What should I be eating?" He's like, "You need to eat meat, and you need to eat vegetables." And so I tried to tell him, "I don't like vegetables." He's like, "I don't care." He's like, "You need to eat them." And I was like, "You're an idiot, but fine." And so I started... And I liked meat. And so I'm like, "Fine. I'll stop making so much pasta... " I'm Italian. I was always cooking noodles of some kind. And not that you can't eat that, but I like... My diet was very heavily that.
11:34 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. And then also in the pantry, what were you...
11:37 Kim Schlag: Pretzels.
11:37 Jordan Syatt: Getting in the pantry? Pretzels?
11:39 Kim Schlag: Pretzels, Pop-Tarts, granola bars. That was my diet. [chuckle] And see... And for me, the pretzels was the diet food, because it's not the Pop-Tarts, and it's not the granola bars... And even the granola bars felt healthy-ish to me.
11:52 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. The packaging makes it seem healthy.
11:55 Kim Schlag: Yes, exactly. And I fell into all of that. And I grew up in the low-fat craze, right, and so pretzels were low fat, and so, therefore, I could eat a ton of them. So at night, it felt like that was my permission to do that.
12:05 Jordan Syatt: That's the worst is when you find out how many pretzels... How many calories are in pretzels? It's like you can't have that many before it really adds up.
12:13 Kim Schlag: You can't have that many. Yeah. And they don't fill you up, and they're completely like, you can't eat just one kind of thing, right.
12:18 Jordan Syatt: Of course. Yeah.
12:19 Kim Schlag: You just wanna keep going and wanna keep going. So. Yeah, so that's what I did with my nutrition. I was like, "Fine. I'm gonna do this." And so I stopped... I started looking at meat as more the main part of my dish, and the pasta as the side dish, which was total... Which I should have anyway, but that was news to me. To me, it was like, the pasta with a little bit of meat. And I started...
12:38 Jordan Syatt: It sounds like there is more structure to your meals.
12:40 Kim Schlag: Yes.
12:41 Jordan Syatt: Like there was an actual thought behind it is really what it sounds like, yeah.
12:45 Kim Schlag: Absolutely, and he also... He was very much of that body-building mentality of cheat days, he's like, we don't eat junk food during the week, which that's not how I live now. That's not how I coach, but at the time, I'm like, Okay, we don't eat junk food during the week," he's like, "at all." He's like, "Zero." He's like, "Weekends, we do that," and so it would become the weekend, I'm like, "So I can eat whatever junk food I want now?" Now again, he's a 19-year-old boy, and so he had the ability to eat a lot more than I did, but I really did start having just treats on the weekend, so I would have like... He could go all day and eat crap, but I would eat one thing a day during the weekend, Friday night through Sunday, like maybe I'd have a Reese’s Cup or something."
13:18 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, like a cheat meal-ish or cheat snack.
13:20 Kim Schlag: Exactly.
13:20 Jordan Syatt: Got it, okay, alright. So was there calorie counting at all there or not?
13:26 Kim Schlag: Not then, not then that came for me like a year later. So he was with me for three months, and in those three months, I completely transformed. It was crazy.
13:35 Jordan Syatt: What happened? You lost weight, like you...
13:38 Kim Schlag: I lost weight, I built muscle. I look like a complete... Physically, I looked like a different person, I went from a size 14, like heading, pushing a 16 to a size 2.
13:46 Jordan Syatt: Holy... In three months?
13:48 Kim Schlag: In three months. It was crazy.
13:50 Jordan Syatt: And were you hungry, were you like... Did you feel obsessed with food? What was going on?
13:54 Kim Schlag: I think I had just hit my breaking point. I was so tired of trying to lose weight, and this felt like my moment. This is like somebody is here telling me what to do every day of my life, which... That's weird. It doesn't happen, right? People are always like, 'You need to move in with me." I'm like, "It kinda actually works."
14:12 Jordan Syatt: Crazy, yeah.
14:13 Kim Schlag: It kind of actually works having somebody there with you all the time, and so yeah, I looked totally different, and like I said, during that time, I completely fell in love with the gym, and so for me, my focus really was on, when do I get to go again? How much am I lifting? And I really started thinking about my body and what I needed to do to get to the gym and lift something heavier.
14:34 Jordan Syatt: Okay.
14:34 Kim Schlag: So, yeah. I looked different, it's not like I built so much muscle that like, "Wow, I had muscle," but I had more muscle than I'd ever had in my life, and so I was finally starting to get that toned look everyone, I'd been chasing it my whole life, back when I was thin as a teenager and what I wanted to look like, I was like, "This is it, this is how I'm gonna get there." I think, I can't believe it, it's taken me all these years and it wasn't that secretive, I really thought it was gonna be like some kind of pill or some kind of secret formula, and it was lift some weights like who knew?
15:06 Jordan Syatt: So what happened then, so he was with you for three months and then how did you figure out about calories?
15:11 Kim Schlag: So he moved away then, he moved to California, and I was like...
15:15 Jordan Syatt: Are you still in contact with him?
15:16 Kim Schlag: Yeah. We haven't talked in a while, but yeah. He's come back to visit me, we had a good lift together a couple of years after, once I became a coach and I was powerlifting, he came back, he was like, "What in the world?" [chuckle]
15:26 Jordan Syatt: That's awesome.
15:27 Kim Schlag: Yeah, so he was super proud that I had done all of this. Yeah, we're still in contact. So he left and I was like, "I love this. So now I need to figure out what to do," and he had written me a program, but I'm like, "I can't just do this permanently," so after he was gone a month, I'm like, "I need to figure something out," and I wanna... I really fell into following the bodybuilding crowd, these are the people, I was following Nicole Wilkins and Erin Stern, these are the people I'm following, they're bodybuilders, so I'm like, I need to eat like a bodybuilder, and so I started following bodybuilding type plans.
15:58 Kim Schlag: I downloaded Lose It, that app and started tracking my calories and I was doing full-blown macro counting at the time, I was counting my macros, which was really good for me, it was a great education, 'cause I didn't understand that kind of stuff yet, and so that's when I started counting calories and that's when I really started understanding programming and getting excited about it.
16:17 Jordan Syatt: Did you get a food scale?
16:20 Kim Schlag: Yes. Mm-hmm.
16:21 Jordan Syatt: What was that like for you? Do you remember the first couple of foods that you weighed and do you remember like... No?
16:27 Kim Schlag: Not necessarily weighing them, but I do remember experiences, when I started figuring out how many calories were in things, like the day I realized how many calories were in peanut butter, I was like, "That's not right. That can't be right." So absolutely, and I remember getting really upset when I realized... Cereal is my favorite thing ever, and I got really upset when I realized how many calories is in cereal, like the amount of cereal I want to eat.
16:51 Jordan Syatt: Which cereal is your favorite?
16:53 Kim Schlag: Lucky Charms.
16:54 Jordan Syatt: So when you saw how many calories were in your portion size of Lucky Charms, you were upset?
17:00 Kim Schlag: Just like any cereal lover, my portion size is not their portion size.
17:03 Jordan Syatt: Correct.
17:04 Kim Schlag: It's absurd. if I just ate their serving, that's no problem, that's easy to fit into your day, but the amount of cereal I want to eat, you can't really fit that in.
17:14 Jordan Syatt: It's so funny because when you look at their calories on the label, it says like, I don't know 120, 130 calories, it's like, "Oh, this is amazing," but then when you measure out the portion, you're like, this is literally like one-eighth of the bowl.
17:28 Kim Schlag: It's just enough to make me angry.
17:30 Jordan Syatt: Yeah. That's exactly right. Okay, so then, so you start counting your macros, counting your calories, were you starting to train like a bodybuilder too?
17:39 Kim Schlag: Absolutely, yep. I had a full... And that's the way we had tended anyway, 'cause that's what he liked, that's where he... That's where he tended. But yeah, I started following these female bodybuilders, I did an online group coaching with Erin Stern, who was a Ms. Olympia... A two-time Ms. Olympia, and so I followed her training splits, and I loved it, I thought it was fantastic, and I actually got to the point, by about... Once it had been a whole year since I had been lifting, I was lean enough and excited about it enough, and following this bodybuilding plan, I was like, I think I wanna compete in bodybuilding, like this is what I'm...
18:10 Jordan Syatt: Oh really?
18:11 Kim Schlag: Yeah, this is what I'm gonna do. This is about three quarters of a year before I reached out to you to coach me, and I was like, "This is what I'm gonna do. This is what we do." It just felt like this is the next step. And so I was like, I should hire a bodybuilding coach. That's the next step. I feel like I'm lean enough, I could be 12 weeks out from a show. So I started investigating that, but the more I did, the more uncomfortable I got because...
18:36 Jordan Syatt: Why?
18:36 Kim Schlag: Because I felt like I had worked so hard, and we're talking about decades of my life trying to lose weight, and I finally did it. So my dad died suddenly of a heart attack a few years before all of this happened, and so I was very conscious of the idea of health. And the main reason I wanted to lose weight is finally, I was just tired of being fat, I didn't like the way I looked, but in my mind, there was always this... And I also don't wanna die young, I don't wanna die of a heart attack, so health was a big part of it for me.
19:03 Kim Schlag: And the closer I got to figuring out who I wanted to hire for a bodybuilding coach, and reading it and really getting into that world, the more I felt like, I feel like I've flipped directions and I've gone from getting healthier and healthier to doing something that is probably gonna lead me to an unhealthy spot.
19:20 Jordan Syatt: How did that thought come to your mind? 'Cause most people don't think that way, most people just think, "Well, I'm bodybuilding, and this is healthy." It's like, how did that come to mind?
19:29 Kim Schlag: Because I had become so aware of calories and nutrients, and I'm thinking, "It's gonna be really a little amount of food, that's gonna be such a small amount of food." And it felt extreme in a way that it started making me uncomfortable, but I was still gonna do it, I was gonna do it, I'm like, "Yeah, it'll be short, I'm gonna do it." And I will tell you, it's kind of funny, the thing that really flipped the switch for me, is just my own sense of... My personal sense of morality and modesty. I've grown up in this religious community, it's very modest, and I feel like I push the envelope on what I wear in my regular day life in this community, and I'm like, "How am I getting up on a stage and turn around showing my bare butt?" Right?
20:07 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah.
20:08 Kim Schlag: And I started to get really uncomfortable with that, and that was kind of the final tipping point of like, "Maybe not."
20:13 Jordan Syatt: That's interesting.
20:14 Kim Schlag: Right?
20:14 Jordan Syatt: So that was really the tipping point.
20:15 Kim Schlag: That was it, 'cause I was like, "Maybe... " And so I was right there, I was gonna do it, and then it was like fate. I stumbled upon this article about women in powerlifting, I'm like, "What's powerlifting?" I only knew bodybuilding, I didn't know anything else existed, I'm like, "What's powerlifting?" And I was like, "Oh my gosh, I can keep my pants on...
20:36 Kim Schlag: And not have to... " 'Cause I wanted a goal, right? Like I wanted something to drive me and the show seemed...
20:41 Jordan Syatt: I can keep my pants on and do it.
20:43 Kim Schlag: I don't have to show anybody my bare butt and I can... And that's when I joined this group coaching with JBB, who was my coach before you.
20:52 Jordan Syatt: Oh, wow, yeah, yeah, yeah.
20:53 Kim Schlag: Right? And so that's when I joined her online powerlifting group. And so I was like...
20:58 Jordan Syatt: I haven't spoken to her in years, I hope she's good... I hope she's doing well. Are you in contact with her at all?
21:01 Kim Schlag: You know what? I was. A few months ago, she was doing an online fundraiser for people during all the rioting, 'cause she lives in Minneapolis.
21:09 Jordan Syatt: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
21:10 Kim Schlag: And I reached out to her, I'm like, "Hey, I wanna donate, how are you doing?" So we chatted then.
21:14 Jordan Syatt: Got it, okay.
21:15 Kim Schlag: But otherwise, she's not really like, I don't really see her in the online space, putting out content and stuff. So...
21:20 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, me either.
21:21 Kim Schlag: I don't know if she's even doing that anymore, but I was like, this power... And so it was all women in her group, it was an all women's online group coaching to learn how to powerlift from zero, like you don't know how to do anything, you can only lift the bar, and I was like, "Oh, this is my jam. This is it." And so, I spent that whole summer working, and at the end, we did a virtual powerlifting meet, and I was like, "I love this." And so, I signed up for a powerlifting meet. And during that, in that group, when the group was ending, we were all talking about like, "What are you doing next?" Like, "What are you gonna do next?" And this woman, Susan Singer...
21:56 Jordan Syatt: Oh yeah, yeah.
21:56 Kim Schlag: Susan Singer says to me, "I'm doing this thing... " What the heck? Okay, I feel bad. Power building, is that what your program is?
22:03 Jordan Syatt: Power building, yeah, yeah.
22:04 Kim Schlag: Yeah, she's like, "I'm doing this thing called power building." I'm like, "What's that?" And so she kind of explains to me, she's like, "You look good. You lift heavy." I'm like, "Well, that's what I wanna do." Like, "Who's doing that?" I'm like, "Who's this guy?" So she sent me your name, and I started reading all your stuff, I was just reading and reading it, I'm like, "I gotta meet this guy," I'm like, "That's my... " I knew, just like a few days into reading your stuff, I'm like, "This is my coach, this is him." And that's when I reached out to you.
22:30 Jordan Syatt: What year was that? Do you remember?
22:33 Kim Schlag: It was about five years ago. What is it now? 2020, it was like 2015, 2016, it was 2016.
22:39 Jordan Syatt: I think it was 2016.
22:40 Kim Schlag: It was before you were big on Instagram, Jordan.
22:43 Jordan Syatt: Correct. I think I had 3000 followers.
22:43 Kim Schlag: I think the fall... I think you had just started. I think it was the fall, after you started working with Gary, like you had started working with him in the spring, and that November is when we talked.
22:55 Jordan Syatt: Got it. That makes sense, because I started working with Susan right before I started working with Gary, when I was living in Israel, yeah.
23:03 Kim Schlag: Yeah, yeah.
23:03 Jordan Syatt: Got it. Okay, and do you know at this point in time how much weight you had lost from your heaviest?
23:09 Kim Schlag: So my heaviest, I was like 187.
23:12 Jordan Syatt: Okay.
23:13 Kim Schlag: And I was in my 120s when we started working together.
23:17 Jordan Syatt: That's incredible.
23:18 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
23:19 Jordan Syatt: That's incredible.
23:20 Kim Schlag: It was a lot of weight.
23:22 Jordan Syatt: So when you and I started working together, you were already obsessed with powerlifting, you loved it.
23:27 Kim Schlag: Yes.
23:28 Jordan Syatt: Do you remember what your goals were when we first started working together?
23:32 Kim Schlag: They're gonna sound very familiar, 'cause they're the same now, I wanted to have as big of a deadlift as I possibly could, like that was my goal.
23:38 Jordan Syatt: Yeah.
23:39 Kim Schlag: And then, as we were working together, I really started falling in love with bench pressing too, and look, my bench press is still my worst lift, but I freaking love it, I love it.
23:48 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, yeah. So now things... It's interesting though, so now we've worked together for a number of years, now things are starting to change a little bit; obviously, you still want the biggest deadlift ever, but I think it's been cool to watch your progression with you changing, not just powerlifting, now there's other goals as well. Do you wanna talk about those?
24:05 Kim Schlag: Yeah, so last spring, and it was really just because of corona started, and I'm just like, "Everybody's looking for other things to do," I'm like, "You know what, I'll model for people something they can do and they don't need weights in their gym." And I'm like, "What could it be?" And we talked, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, how about a pistol squat?" And so you started helping me get my first pistol squat, which was super fun, 'cause I've always seen people do that and I was like, "I can't do that." Like, "Why can't I do that?" And every so often, I would try. And it's just like anything, it's like back when I tried to do pull-ups and I thought like, "I should be able to do that and I'm strong." You can't do a pull-up unless you've trained to do a pull-up...
24:36 Jordan Syatt: Correct.
24:36 Kim Schlag: And the same thing with push-ups, right? And so you always have this idea of like, "Even if I'm strong and I work out, I should be able to do this thing." But you can't, unless you actually trained for it. And so I think it took me six weeks to get... To be able to do solid pistol squats.
24:49 Jordan Syatt: This is an interesting discussion though, because I know, and I'm sure you do too, so many people, and especially with a chin-up or a push-up, or a pistol squat, so many women who will... They'll go up to a chin-up bar, they'll be hanging down, they'll try and do one, and be like, "I will never be able to do this." Like they'll try it, it doesn't move, and then they just give up, they just never try it again. But this discussion around training and practicing it is something I don't think is discussed very much. Do you wanna... Talk about that for a second. What did your practice look like?
25:21 Kim Schlag: And I did this with so many things, 'cause I felt the same way, when I tried to get my first push up, I just really thought that I would eventually be able to do it, and I would just test... Every so often I'd go into gym, be like, how is it looking. Like, nope, I can still only do it on my knees. Alright. I'll just keep lifting weights and eventually, I'll be able to do a push-up. I don't know why that seemed a lot... It seemed logical to me.
25:40 Jordan Syatt: I'll do bench press and then I'll be able to do a push-up.
25:43 Kim Schlag: Yeah... As I get stronger, I'll eventually be able to do a push-up. And by this time, when I started doing pistol squats, I can back squat over 200 pounds, like why can I not freaking lift my body up on one leg, right? I couldn't do it. And so, but the key is actually dedicated practice on that skill, because this stuff is skill-based. And so you had me doing... You had me doing slow eccentric pistol squats. So, basically assisted. So I hold on to something and I go down very, very, very, very slow. 'Cause I could go down, I just couldn't lift myself back up, right? And that's the way it is with so many things, we can do a part of the move, we just can't do the harder part. And so you practice, really drive hard that eccentric, and I did it day after day. Day after day.
26:27 Kim Schlag: What did we do after that? We did the slow... We did them with pauses. I would get down to the bottom and I would just stay there in the bottom of that pistol squat, and it's hard. This was hard training. It was the hardest thing I would do when I... And we always did it first in my training, when I was nice and fresh. It's really important when you're working on a skill, you do it when you're nice and fresh, put all your energy into that. And then, those were the two big things and we just kept doing different variations and different rep schemes of those until I could eventually do one.
26:54 Jordan Syatt: And you have a video on that on YouTube, right?
26:56 Kim Schlag: Yeah, I have a whole video with the progression, teaching people how to do that.
27:00 Jordan Syatt: You gotta put that in the show notes for people just so they can...
27:03 Kim Schlag: Yeah, I will.
27:03 Jordan Syatt: It's one of the things I admire about you and I like that you've done, is you start from literally not being able to do something and you document the whole process. And then you show people what the process looks like. Listen, this didn't happen in a day or a week. Like this happened over the course of this six-week thing. And I know right now we're working on something new... Have you spoken about that yet publicly?
27:23 Kim Schlag: I have... I've spoken about it in my stories. I show people little, little glimpses of... Because I'm doing a YouTube video on this, too. I'm working to do a one-arm push-up, and... Wow. It's humbling.
27:32 Jordan Syatt: It's gonna explode when this happens.
27:33 Kim Schlag: Yeah. It's really humbling. 'Cause I can bang out push-ups. It took me a long time to be able to do push-ups and now I can... And they're fine, and I can do lots of different varieties. But I've always thought it was cool. Like a lot of this stuff, I just see people doing it, I'm like, it looks cool. There's no other reason I wanna do it. It just freaking looks cool.
27:49 Jordan Syatt: It's a cool feat of strength to be able to do a push-up or a pistol squat, or a chin up. Absolutely.
27:54 Kim Schlag: Yeah. And so, that's what I'm practicing now. Yesterday was my first time trying this new variation you have me doing, which is I hold at the top of a one-arm push-up. So that's what I did last month. I would just do a hold. Which was really hard. My whole body was shaking...
28:07 Jordan Syatt: Let's talk about that first before you're gonna get... 'Cause you texted me after you did that. And you were like, "That was way harder than I thought."
28:14 Kim Schlag: Yeah. I was just... Yeah. At the top of the one-arm push-up, one arm is on the ground, and I had to stay there for 20 seconds. That was a really long 20 seconds. It's a really long 20 seconds.
28:25 Jordan Syatt: You didn't think you were gonna be able to do it at first.
28:27 Kim Schlag: I didn't, I'm like, I'm gonna fall on my face. Although you did tell me, you're like, "You need to put your legs out wide." I thought I was just gonna do regular push-up position.
28:34 Jordan Syatt: Yep...
28:35 Kim Schlag: And that was...
28:35 Jordan Syatt: This is part of the skill. And this is part of learning, it's like... The technique changes.
28:40 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
28:40 Jordan Syatt: And you can't do a one-arm push-up with your feet in the same position as a regular push-up. That's ridiculous, but a lot of people, I know many, many people who... They're like, "I'll never be able to do a one-arm push-up." It's like their whole base of support is completely off. It's like, you've gotta change it. If you watch people, who are the best in the world at one arm push-ups, they got this big wide base of support, their feet are out wide and they screw themselves down to the ground.
29:05 Kim Schlag: Yeah, and so that was the... When I did that, I'm like, okay, I think I can work my way up to this. And so the first day I did that, I did it for 19 seconds. I really thought I was just gonna fall on my face, I didn't think I was gonna be able to stay up there when I let my arm go. So I got up to 19 seconds the first time and then 20. But every time I did it, I had to psyche myself up, "You can do this," and I got really focused to be able to do it. So I did that. And then I did again the slow eccentrics. So I would put my one hand on the ground and hold it as lightly as possible. And then try and just use one arm to go all the way, all the way down. And I sent you a video, and you texted me like, "You need to go on your fingertips." And I'm like, "How am I doing that? I don't think so." Isn't it funny when somebody tells you to do something and you're like, "I would have never... I don't think I can do that." And I did it, I'm like, "Oh, I can totally do that. I can do that."
29:50 Jordan Syatt: "I am capable of that, I am strong enough to do that."
29:53 Kim Schlag: I am strong enough to do that. So I was like, I can do this on my fingertips. And after two times I was doing it on three fingertips, I'd pick up two fingers. And so, I haven't gotten past three yet, but I can do it on three fingertips really, really slow. Since I sent my... I sent you videos, I watch my own videos and I was like, I'm totally screwing this up at the bottom, I would get to the bottom and I would collapse. And those last two inches, when you're doing any kind of eccentric, that's where the gains are gonna be made.
30:20 Jordan Syatt: Correct.
30:20 Kim Schlag: And so I was like, I have to really slow down. And so I would watch my video after each set. And I'd be like, okay, that looks good or slow or still, and really slow at the bottom.
30:29 Jordan Syatt: That's an interesting component of all major movements. We can look at push-ups, one arm push-ups, we could look at pistol squats, we can look at regular squats, we could look at chin-ups, we can look at bench press, it's the last two inches before you get to the very bottom that matter the most when you're controlling the weight. This is something that so many people overlook because they let it drop 'cause essentially in their mind, number one, it's the most difficult place and number two is they can build up a little momentum. So if you're doing a bench press, you sort of drop the bar really quick and then get it right back up, but the issue is that's always gonna be your sticking point, because if that's your weakest spot and you never build that one spot, and eventually you'll never be able to lift more weight. Same thing with chin-up, you go all the way to the bottom, you drop that last one inch, two inches, that's where you start the chin-up from. You're literally not training the one part that you're having the most trouble with.
31:24 Kim Schlag: Absolutely. And it's like you're cheating yourself, but you'll keep adding weight to the bar. Right? With that... Right 'cause you can, and really, it would serve you so much better to take the weight off and really hammer those last two inches, and focus and go super slow. It's humbling, you gotta do it though and you'll get stronger faster.
31:41 Jordan Syatt: And you actually alluded to this earlier, you were saying how you have to psyche yourself up before those... Those sets. I've noticed, when you really control tempo, especially during the hardest part of the movement, mentally. It's a mental battle...
31:56 Kim Schlag: Absolutely.
31:56 Jordan Syatt: To not allow yourself to cheat, where you have to consciously will yourself to keep going through the hardest parts of the range of motion.
32:06 Kim Schlag: Absolutely, and I have to tell you, that's one of the things I love most about training like this, about lifting, because how many times in life do you need to consciously will yourself to do something? Like the amount of personal strength, fortitude, to do hard things in my life that I have gained from training like this in the gym, is incredible. It completely changed me.
32:27 Jordan Syatt: I love that. So now you're starting the new variation. Talk about that.
32:32 Kim Schlag: So the new variation, I'm in the top of the one-arm push-up, and instead of just holding it, which was really freaking hard last month, I now have to do pulses. So basically, I have to do... You come down a few inches and you go back up, come down a few inches and go back up. I really like it. I knew my left arm was not as strong as my right arm, I did not know how different it was gonna be. I'm barely moving with my left arm. Like I'm trying to move and I'm like, "Move."
32:57 Kim Schlag: Just like, "Whoa, no." And so my right arm feels pretty strong, I'm getting down pretty far in that pulse and coming up, and I'm doing like eight reps in 20 seconds.
33:06 Jordan Syatt: That's amazing.
33:08 Kim Schlag: Yeah, I'm like that feels pretty good for day one. And the other one, I'm just gonna be excited if I can bend my elbow more.
33:13 Jordan Syatt: Well, that's great and we all have that one side stronger than the other. I'm actually seeing this a lot now in jujitsu, where I have one side that I'm very good at. Like if I'm trying to pass to someone's left side, I'm great, but if I try to pass to someone's right side, my coordination is completely screwed up and it just takes so much longer.
33:34 Kim Schlag: Yeah, is that a question you're getting a lot? That's a question I get a lot from people like, "Hey, what if my... My left leg is stronger than my right leg. What should I do?"
33:43 Jordan Syatt: Constantly.
33:43 Kim Schlag: What should I do... People... It really freaks people out.
33:45 Jordan Syatt: Oh yeah, it freaks people out and they're always like, "Should I train that side more?" I'm like, "No."
33:49 Kim Schlag: Yeah. It's normal.
33:53 Jordan Syatt: It's normal. That's exactly right. We all usually have one foot that's bigger than the other, one leg that's longer than the other. It's like sometimes, you have one eye that's bigger... It's normal. This idea of symmetry that a lot of the media perpetuates is not real.
34:07 Kim Schlag: Yeah, and there's no reason to focus on it and work on bringing up your weaker arm or leg... Actually, with my clients, I don't even like to call it like your weaker side. I like to say you have a strong side and you have a stronger side.
34:19 Kim Schlag: You're strong on both sides, you know. Usually one side is stronger.
34:21 Jordan Syatt: I like that. I like that a lot. Okay, so now we're doing the pulses and what else right now with your training are you excited about, are you focused on? What do you think about your training overall?
34:34 Kim Schlag: That's a big one. Here's the thing. It's really great to have a goal that jazzes you up. I have to tell you, I've been having some hard times recently with insomnia and I was so tired yesterday. I hadn't slept the night before, and the last thing I wanted to do was go train. I didn't wanna do it, I was so tired. And the thing that really... I was like, "You're gonna get to try that. You're gonna get to go... You're gonna get to try that push-up thing, if you go down there." I'm like, "Just go down there and try that. Just go down there... " [chuckle] I actually sat on my stories, talking to people, telling everybody how much I didn't wanna be in the gym, and I was thinking like, "Nap or work out. Nap or work out." [chuckle] And I finally chose... I'm like, "I'm gonna do the workout 'cause I really wanna try this." And of course, once you get going... Once I got going, I had enough energy and I did the whole workout. So that's really what's got me going right now. I always love my deadlifting, getting stronger there, but that's the big one. And then coming up here in a few weeks, I'm gonna start running.
35:21 Jordan Syatt: Oh, I forgot about that. That's exciting.
35:24 Kim Schlag: Yep, I'm starting the week of my birthday. I thought it'd be fun to start on my birthday, start this little journey towards trying to be a runner. And we'll see. Maybe I'll hate it still. I've always hated running. So I've changed so many other things in my life. I hated vegetables and now I love them. So I'm like, "Maybe I'll love running. Maybe I will."
35:41 Jordan Syatt: You have your program yet for that?
35:42 Kim Schlag: I do, yeah. I have it all ready.
35:44 Jordan Syatt: So what's your first run look like? What's the distance?
35:47 Kim Schlag: So it's super small. People are gonna be like, "That doesn't even... Barely sound like running." So it's basically walk five minutes, run five minutes, walk five minutes, run five minutes. I think it's three times. And that's the first two weeks, I think.
35:58 Jordan Syatt: I love that.
36:00 Kim Schlag: Yeah. And that's the thing this coach does, she's like, "You can learn how to run, but go slower. You hate running 'cause you've always tried to run too fast." Right? And so she talks about running... So my daughter's gonna do it with me and we're gonna run super duper slow and just really build up. Because, look, I've run a 5K before and the goal from this is to get me doing a 5K by December. I could go today and run a 5K, but I would hate every minute of it and I would feel terrible and never wanna do it again. [chuckle] So the goal is gonna be to actually enjoy it by going slow enough to have the adaptation, like to actually get good at it.
36:32 Jordan Syatt: Have you ever seen or stood at the end of a marathon or a half marathon, and seen the people, once it's over, like how they can barely walk?
36:42 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
36:42 Jordan Syatt: They're crippled afterwards. It's so funny because I always look for the people who are just... They finish it and they're good. They just walk away, like it's no problem. And when you talk to those people versus you talk to the people who are walking away like they just got out of a war zone, the people who just got out of the war zone, they're like, "Oh yeah, I just decided to do this. And I was like, 'I just wanna do it.'" And they didn't train for it.
37:06 Kim Schlag: Right.
37:07 Jordan Syatt: A lot of people really underestimate how important it is to train and build up your body's ability to withstand that type of impact over and over again, which is why I really like this five on, five off thing for the first few weeks, 'cause those first couple of weeks, you'll have a lot of adaptation and you'll build up a lot of resistance, whereas if you just started running like 3-5K immediately, you'd get shin splints, you'd have some small stress fractures, like your hips would hurt. I really like this a lot.
37:33 Kim Schlag: Yeah. I'm excited about it. You know, I don't know if I've ever told you this before. Did I ever tell you that I walked a marathon? I actually signed up and did a marathon.
37:41 Jordan Syatt: You walked a whole marathon?
37:42 Kim Schlag: Yes. This was part of one... This was one of the crazy weight-loss attempts I had.
37:45 Jordan Syatt: Oh my god.
37:45 Kim Schlag: So this is back... I think I was 40 that year, maybe 41. This is like right before I lost all this weight. I called my friend... This is what I always do, I would look for... I read some article about losing weight by walking fast. [chuckle] And this guy, he's like, "You should walk a marathon." And he had a book, and so I bought the book and I called my...
38:04 Jordan Syatt: What was the book called? Walk a Marathon?
38:06 Kim Schlag: Something like that. Yeah. And the training plan is literally how to get you to walk a marathon. And so I'm like, "This is a great idea." So I called my girlfriends and we met. Guess where we met? We met at an ice cream place.
38:20 Kim Schlag: We all got ice cream and I brought the book, and I presented this idea to them, and we were like, "Okay, let's do it." And it was a weight loss, this was our goal to lose weight. We're like, "By the fall, we're gonna spend six months doing this and we're gonna have lost all this weight as we train to run a marathon." I did not lose a single pound. I actually probably put some weight on, because you would walk normal amounts during the week, but just like training for a marathon, you would have a long... What would usually be your long run day, you would have a long walk day. And we would walk four hours, five hours. And then... And we would carb load.
38:49 Jordan Syatt: You'd carb load for the walk?
38:53 Kim Schlag: We were insane.
38:55 Jordan Syatt: Shut up.
38:56 Kim Schlag: We were being so stupid, Jordan. [chuckle] And then sometimes afterward, we'd be so tired, we used to, for a while, there were several weeks after our long walks, we would go to a diner and we would get stuffed French toast because we were just so hungry and I'm like, "Of course, I wasn't losing weight. I'm eating stuffed French toast." After every one.
39:13 Jordan Syatt: Oh my God.
39:13 Kim Schlag: And so we trained from the spring through the fall. Then we went to Baltimore. There were six of us, and it was a marathon and we walked it. And partway through, we were like, "We should just run." So I did. I ran several miles of this marathon. And it was an insane experience, and it didn't end well for me. I ended up...
39:34 Jordan Syatt: Why?
39:35 Kim Schlag: I ended up in the back of an ambulance after, 'cause I was...
39:37 Jordan Syatt: Shut up!
39:38 Kim Schlag: I was dehydrated.
39:38 Jordan Syatt: Why have I never heard this story?
39:39 Kim Schlag: I don't know why I never told you this story. I was dehydrated, which was kind of crazy. I mean, everybody I guess just starts with a base level of hydration. And my one friend and I, there were were six of us, but two of us stayed together the whole time. Every time she drank, I drank. I drank at all the little stops. So when we got to the end and I was like, "I don't feel good. I don't feel good." It took us seven hours, guys. We walked seven hours. So I get there...
40:01 Jordan Syatt: That's actually a really good pace, to be honest with you.
40:03 Kim Schlag: Really?
40:04 Jordan Syatt: Seven hours to walk 26.2 miles.
40:07 Kim Schlag: We did. We walked fast. And then we ran... We ran probably three or four of the miles.
40:11 Jordan Syatt: And you were at, near your heaviest?
40:14 Kim Schlag: I was not... I wasn't obese, but I was, yeah, I was not in shape. I was not... I was in the high 160s, 170.
40:22 Jordan Syatt: That's a great pace.
40:24 Kim Schlag: Really?
40:25 Jordan Syatt: I think that's a great pace. That's impressive to me.
40:27 Kim Schlag: I was annoyed that... 'Cause we were super close to having a six on the time. I was like, "Can we not just be six something? That feels so much more respectable than like it's seven minutes and it's seven hours and 10 minutes, or two minutes or something."
40:39 Kim Schlag: And I was annoyed. But yeah, so we got to the end and I'm like, "Guys, I don't feel good. I don't feel good." And they all wanna do is celebrate. I'm like, "I just need to sit." And then somebody came over and got me. They were like, "You don't look okay." And so we... It was actually... They were kind of happy, the ambulance drove us home. It drove us back to our hotel.
40:51 Jordan Syatt: Oh my God.
40:54 Kim Schlag: So they hooked me up to an IV, got me hydrated, and drove all six of us back to our hotel.
41:00 Jordan Syatt: Wow. Have you ever written or spoken about this story before?
41:04 Kim Schlag: I have. I think it's on my website, maybe. I don't know. I don't know if I have.
41:08 Jordan Syatt: What a great story. I love that. I love that because of how far you've come.
41:14 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
41:14 Jordan Syatt: You've just come so unbelievably far, and not only for yourself but helping so many other people. Are there any other crazy things that you did in your quest for weight loss? Any crazy diets or crazy workouts?
41:29 Kim Schlag: I did the normal crazy stuff, like, "I'm gonna give up sugar." This was my mom's obsession. I get a lot of my bad habits that I grew up through the years from my mom. She was always trying to lose weight in some weird way she found in the back of a woman's magazine. And that totally rubbed off on me. And one day she's like, "We should stop eating sugar. I have this book."
41:49 Jordan Syatt: She said that when you were a kid?
41:50 Kim Schlag: No. I was like 19 or 20.
41:52 Jordan Syatt: You were young. Yeah.
41:54 Kim Schlag: Yeah. I was young and I was like, "Okay, let's stop eating sugar. We'll try that." I hated every last second of it. I only did it for... We were gonna do it I think for a month. I did it for a week and I was like, "No. Not doing that." So that was one of the ones. I did Nutrisystem, I did Weight Watchers. I did... I really was super bummed about Garcinia Cambogia. At the time I was on some kind of medicine for my heart, 'cause I had high blood pressure and all this stuff. And my medication was contraindicated for Garcinia Cambogia, and I was just devastated 'cause I was sure that was the answer. And Dr. Oz told me it was, and I was missing out 'cause I wasn't allowed to take it.
42:30 Jordan Syatt: Dr. Oz. He definitely popularized that one.
42:34 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
42:36 Jordan Syatt: Do you have a good relationship with your mom?
42:38 Kim Schlag: Yeah. My mom and I are really close. She's still really weird about... I don't think she listens to my podcasts. If she does, hi Mom. I love you. You have a terrible, terrible relationship with food. She, to this day, still talks about weird diet things.
42:50 Jordan Syatt: And she doesn't believe you when you tell her stuff?
42:52 Kim Schlag: Uh-uh. She does not believe about calories. She does not believe calories are the determining factor in weight loss to this day.
43:00 Jordan Syatt: Really?
43:01 Kim Schlag: Yeah. To this day.
43:01 Jordan Syatt: Do you get into debates with her about it?
43:04 Kim Schlag: Not debates, but she'll just say little things here. She's always... Last year, she was really into keto.
43:11 Jordan Syatt: Really?
43:12 Kim Schlag: And so she would come to my house. She would drive to my house, they live in Tennessee, and they would come to my house and they would bring all their keto stuff. And we would order pizza for my kid's birthday, and she would scrape the cheese off and just eat the cheese.
43:25 Jordan Syatt: No way.
43:26 Kim Schlag: I'm being dead serious. She would bring special cake to the birthday party 'cause she couldn't eat the cake.
43:31 Jordan Syatt: Special cakes. Keto cake?
43:34 Kim Schlag: Some kind of keto cake. Yeah.
43:34 Jordan Syatt: No way.
43:35 Kim Schlag: I'm not kidding you.
43:36 Jordan Syatt: And you didn't say anything? You just let her do it.
43:38 Kim Schlag: I have to let her do it. I can't... I've tried to say things too much, and just, it creates more friction than it's worth. I really believe, with family and friends, you can't... With anybody, you can't force them. No matter how much I do, I look at her and I'm like, "I seriously know what I'm doing. I do this for a living. Maybe you could listen to me." But she doesn't. Yeah. She's into food pairing You have to have certain things together, and you can't have certain things together. Lots of wild ideas about nutrition.
44:09 Jordan Syatt: Did she ever make comments to you about your weight when you were a kid?
44:12 Kim Schlag: No, because I wasn't ever overweight, remember? I wasn't overweight. I just wanted to look fit and I didn't. I was very normal-sized I just wanted to look fit and I didn't. But my sister has always struggled with her weight. Now my sister has special needs, she has Down Syndrome. And so she's always with my mom and my sister really has always struggled with her weight. And because she's in my mom's care, they always do these weird diet things together. So they're always doing some crazy diet together. And so that was... It would just always come up. So weight management has been a topic in my house since I was a kid.
44:43 Jordan Syatt: Got it.
44:44 Kim Schlag: And she's always, always talking about weight and how to lose weight, and what not to do, and carbs. She really fears carbs.
44:52 Jordan Syatt: How did you decide to get in the fitness industry?
44:57 Kim Schlag: It really... I just fell into it, just because my transformation was so dramatic and so fast, and I was working out at a gym at the time, I wasn't training in my home, that enough people watched it in real-time that they would come up to me and be like, "What did you do? And can you help me with this?" And so I just started helping people with it and with their lifting and talking about what I did. And after several months of a lot of people saying, "You should do this for a job," I was like, "Hey, you know what, I should do this for job." I didn't have a job. I was a stay-at-home mom and I was so passionate about it. I'm like, "I'm gonna do that." And that was really scary for me. And honestly, Jordan, I would not have done that before I learned how to lift weights 'cause I just didn't have the confidence in myself to pursue something like that. This was my first big, "I can do something." And so I signed up to get certified to be a trainer, and then I signed up to learn to do Precision Nutrition.
45:50 Kim Schlag: And I don't even know where I got the idea. I don't know where I got the idea, but I talked to some of my friends, I'm like, "Does anybody wanna be my guinea pig? And as I'm learning stuff, I'll try it on you? That sounds really terrible, but I promise I won't hurt you." And so one of them... A couple of people said yes, and one of them stuck with it. And so as I was learning, I was just like, I would coach her for free, she would come to my house, I'd give her workouts, I talked to her about nutrition, and it was a really good introduction for me to like, "Here's how to coach somebody," 'cause I was doing it in real-time. And then once I was certified, I was like... I just put up on my neighborhood Facebook group, I have a gym in my home, and the first day, I'm like, "We'll see how this goes." this was another big thing I did, like I learned how to create a website on my own. I can't... I'm terrible at tech and I made my own website. I'm like, "Look at that." And so then I put the link to it on my neighborhood Facebook group. I'm like, "Anybody wanna train and lose weight?" And six people reached out that week. There I started my business.
46:48 Jordan Syatt: And they would come to your house, so you'd work out there?
46:50 Kim Schlag: Yep, they'd come to my house and I'd give them their nutrition plan, I would train them in person. And most of my clients came from my neighborhood and my church group, and I did that for a good while, just training here in my basement, one-on-one.
47:04 Jordan Syatt: And what did you do before the fitness industry?
47:08 Kim Schlag: Nothing. I stayed home with my kids. When I graduated... So by the time my son was born... I messed around in my 20s a lot, like I'd go to school, and I got an associate's degree in fashion, and then I would serve as a missionary for...
47:20 Jordan Syatt: I didn't know that.
47:21 Kim Schlag: Yeah, I told you. Yeah, so I studied fashion. I really thought I wanted to do wedding planning. I thought I was gonna open a business doing wedding planning, and then I decided to be a missionary for my church. I moved to Europe, I learned how to speak Czech. I was a missionary in the Czech Republic. I came back and I was like, I really am good at teaching, I should be a teacher. So I went back to school. When I was studying to be a teacher, met my husband, moved across the country for him to go to graduate school, and while he was... I was waiting to get in-state tuition, I worked in an inner-city school as an aide in a special needs classroom. I was like, this line of work is not for me. It was crazy, there was a girl trying to jump over a three-foot stairwell.
47:58 Jordan Syatt: Oh, it was intensive special needs.
48:00 Kim Schlag: It was intense. I was in their special needs classroom, with kids who were very needy, and it was crazy. The woman I worked there with, their law was that me, as the aide, I could teach the class for 40 days of the school year. Now, really who's gonna do that? She used every dang day. She took sick days. She was an older woman, and I was like, I would teach this class, they would send me an aide, and I would be the teacher of the special needs, high needs, intense class, for like five or six days at a time. I was the teacher, and I was in college to be... I was a student and I was like, "This is not right." I should not be in charge of these children. I should not. And by the end of that year, I was burnt out on teaching, and so I ended up finishing my degree in Psychology and Sociology. I created my own degree and studied sociology, psychology. I loved it. And then I was pregnant, I was pregnant. And at this point, like I'm 29 and I'm pregnant, and I finally am getting my degree, and my advisor was like, "You are really good at this. You should do research. Do you wanna stay on and do a Master's program, maybe a PhD? And I'm like, "I'm having a baby. I don't think so." I was like, "I'm pretty sure I'm not doing that." And then I was a stay-at-home mom.
49:15 Jordan Syatt: And you think, you very strongly believe that strength training is what gave you the confidence to then years later, to start your own business?
49:24 Kim Schlag: Oh, absolutely.
49:26 Jordan Syatt: Create a website... Even though you're not good with tech, you still made a website. You put yourself out there publicly on social media. Do you think strength training made you more confident as a person?
49:39 Kim Schlag: Oh, 100% sure. I'm 100% positive of it, I felt it happening. I felt it happening. I would go to the gym and I was like, I was having this discovery of like I am a strong person. And I'd never felt that way before. I'd never felt like I could do stuff, that I was... I guess I don't know if low self-esteem is the right word, I just kind of felt like I wasn't as good as other people, that I was kind of just getting by; somebody was gonna eventually be like, "She's kind of a loser." I just didn't feel that great about myself, and as I was in the gym and I was like, "My gosh, I'm really good at this." And there's nothing special about me, like anybody can do this. But I was watching myself get better at something, and I was like, "I'm really good, like I'm strong, I'm a strong person." And I could...
50:23 Kim Schlag: So, one of the things that I did, one of the first things I actually did was I love singing, am not particularly talented at singing, but I hired a voice coach, and this is at the same time as I was lifting, and she kept trying to get me to sing in public. And I'm like, "I'm not doing that. Not doing that." And after I was really lifting for a while, I was like, "All right, I'll do it. I'll do it."
50:42 Jordan Syatt: Wow!
50:43 Kim Schlag: And I did it. So I sang an Italian opera at... I don't know why I picked that. She's like, "That's pretty ambitious." I'm like, "That's what I wanna do." It was mostly little kids and me. It was a recital, think of like a ballet... It was a recital. And so there was like, I don't know, maybe 40 people in the room, and I got up and I sang my Italian aria.
51:01 Jordan Syatt: Wow.
51:02 Kim Schlag: And it really was...
51:03 Jordan Syatt: You sang an Italian opera?
51:04 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
51:05 Jordan Syatt: That's extraordinary.
51:07 Kim Schlag: Yeah, and it wasn't great, but I did it. And because I was just... I would see myself doing hard things, like facing hard things in the gym, like, "Can I lift this up?" And I would do it. And I'd be like, "There's stuff I can do that I don't think I can do." Right? And that really builds a sense of confidence, like hard stuff can happen and I can be better than the hard stuff.
51:28 Jordan Syatt: There's something to be said for not believing you can do something, trying anyway, and succeeding with it. Or maybe even not succeeding with it, and seeing what's the worst that happens, right?
51:41 Kim Schlag: Absolutely.
51:41 Jordan Syatt: And knowing that just trying yields so much more benefit than not at all.
51:47 Kim Schlag: That is so true, because there would be some times I would pick up a weight and I'd be like, "Okay, I'm gonna do it." And I wouldn't be able to do it, but it wasn't discouraging, 'cause I'd watched how far I'd come, and so I'd be like, "I'll get there." And then I would. And so, it was really cool to look back and be like, "Remember, I couldn't do that. I tried to do that." And push-ups are a great example of this. I kept trying to get good push-ups, and when I eventually did it, I was like, "That was a hard-fought win." And it didn't come easy. It didn't come easy.
52:11 Jordan Syatt: How long did it take you to get good at push-ups?
52:13 Kim Schlag: Oh gosh, seven months. It was many months.
52:18 Jordan Syatt: Many months of consistent training?
52:20 Kim Schlag: Yeah, and look, I didn't really know what I was doing. I was looking up random stuff online, and so I don't know that I had the most effective training plan, but I will tell you, my clients today, there's a pretty big variety, but it does not happen fast. It's not like I get a woman who's never been able to do push-ups, give her a great training program, and I know she's doing it well and she's doing it consistently, and she can do push-ups three weeks later. It'll be a couple of months. And some women who are very hesitant... One of my clients, I frickin' love her, she's amazing, she's lost like 100 pounds. Not just with me, she had started before me. She's in her 50s, and she is just so excited to get strong. And it took her from last October until this May to finally do them. And I was telling her in February, I'm like, "Joanne, send me a video of you doing a push-up." And I knew she could do it, I was watching... She would send me videos of her training and her slow eccentrics, and I'm like, "I know you can do at least one." And she's like, "I really wanna do it well when I finally do it." She was really nervous. And so, she sent me this push-up video in April or May. It was the prettiest push-up I've ever seen. It was her first one and it was so picture-perfect, 'cause she was so nervous to try.
53:19 Jordan Syatt: I love that. That's amazing. So before we get off, I have one question I'd like to ask. It's a deeper question, but what is one thing that you are deeply proud of in your life? That truly you are deeply, deeply proud of in your life?
53:38 Kim Schlag: Oh, gosh. All right, everybody's gonna say their kids, so obviously, my kids. So we're gonna take that one off the table. Take that one off the table. Although, I will say part of it is with my kids.
53:54 Kim Schlag: I'm gonna take it off the table but they're watching, too. I'm just really proud of the fact that I can be in public in this very big way. I'm out there on the internet, there are thousands of people watching me, there are people reaching out to me, and I can be completely and authentically myself and share my story, and other people can believe that they can do stuff because of me. Women look at me and they message me all the time, and they're like, "I'm 50 and I just didn't think I could do this." And they're like, "And I look at you, and I see me." Look, I was never an athlete, guys. I don't know what to do with a ball. I was not an athlete, I didn't know what I was doing, I'm not somebody who's always loved fitness, and here I am. And not only did I get it and understand it, but now I teach other people to do it, and they see themselves in me, and they believe they can do it. And that just means so much to me and I'm super proud of that. And my kids see that in me. My kids believe they can do stuff because they see me doing that.
54:53 Jordan Syatt: I love that, that's amazing. Well, Kim, thank you for letting me interview you on your podcast.
54:58 Kim Schlag: Well, thank you for agreeing to do it, it was kind of strange. You're always game for stuff, I'm like, "He'll say yes."
55:03 Jordan Syatt: Of course. This has been wonderful and I got to learn more about you, and I think that you're wonderful as always. And this has been incredible. So thank you.
55:10 Kim Schlag: Yeah, by the way, I didn't even introduce you. Most people who follow me, they're gonna have heard your name 'cause I talk about you all the time, 'cause I'm always like, "My coach, my coach." Guys, this is my coach. This is Jordan Syatt, and if you're not following him, what is wrong with you? Make sure you're following Jordan. Where is the best place for people to follow you these days, Jordan, you wanna go to your YouTube, your podcast?
55:27 Jordan Syatt: Yeah, my own podcast, Jordan Syatt Mini-Podcast, Instagram, if you Google my name, you'll find a lot.
55:32 Kim Schlag: You'll find him everywhere. In all the places. All right, this has been great, thank you so much.
55:37 Jordan Syatt: Of course. This has been awesome. Thank you, Kim.
55:40 Kim Schlag: Bye.
55:45 Kim Schlag: Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people. Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 74 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode of the podcast I am joined by podcast listener, Catherine. Now, Catherine wrote to me with the question, "I am so frustrated. I exercise every day, but I'm just not seeing results. Why not?" And so Catherine comes on and we dig into this question today.
[00:00:27] If that sounds like something that resonates with you, this episode is for you. And by the way, if you have a question that you would like to get answered, shoot me a message to email@example.com with "Podcast" in the subject line and tell me about your question. I would love to have you come on the podcast and I will coach you through and get you some answers and some results.
[00:00:51] Okay. Let's take it away and listen to Catherine.
[00:00:57] Hi Catherine! Hi there.
[00:01:04] Welcome! So glad we could make this call happen.
[00:01:07] Catherine: [00:01:07] Yeah! How are you?
[00:01:09] Kim: [00:01:09] Good! Now, where are you calling from?
[00:01:11] Catherine: [00:01:11] I'm from Florida.
[00:01:13] Kim: [00:01:13] From Florida. Okay, what part?
[00:01:15] Catherine: [00:01:15] Jacksonville area, in Northeast Florida.
[00:01:20] Kim: [00:01:20] Yeah. Been there a time or two on my way down to Disney World.
[00:01:30] Okay. So tell me more about you because we don't really know each other, just the little bit that we chatted back and forth on Instagram.
[00:01:47] Catherine: [00:01:47] I know! I've followed you for a long time.
[00:01:49] So I'm a mom, I'm a wife, and my son just turned 11 on Tuesday and I have a step son who just turned 21. I work full time, it's busy around here, and yeah.
[00:02:06] Kim: [00:02:06] What do you do for work?
[00:02:09] Catherine: [00:02:09] I am a coach myself, actually. I coach at the collegiate level.
[00:02:15] Kim: [00:02:15] Oh, really? What do you coach?
[00:02:17] Catherine: [00:02:17] I coach golf.
[00:02:19] Kim: [00:02:19] You coach golf. Okay, fantastic. How long have you been playing golf?
[00:02:23] Catherine: [00:02:23] My entire life. I played all growing up and probably since I was about 10, really, competing and then I played collegiately and then I played professionally and now I'm a coach.
[00:02:39] Kim: [00:02:39] Okay. Got it. Well, that's exciting.
[00:02:42] Catherine: [00:02:42] Yeah. So I've been active all my life.
[00:02:49] Kim: [00:02:49] Yeah. Okay. And does your family like to golf with you?
[00:02:53] Catherine: [00:02:53] Yeah, we're a huge golfing-- really just athletic family. Mostly golf, but yeah, my brother and my dad played collegiate football, but everyone's kind of turned to golf now, so we're just a sporty kind of family.
[00:03:12] Kim: [00:03:12] Got it. Okay. Well, Florida sounds like the place to live then if you're golfing all the time, right?
[00:03:18] Catherine: [00:03:18] Other than complaining about it being too hot, it's pretty good.
[00:03:23] Kim: [00:03:23] So, okay. You reached out the other day with a question and I said, this sounds like a great question for us to talk about on the podcast because I get this question quite a bit.
[00:03:31] So tell everyone what your question is.
[00:03:35] Catherine: [00:03:35] I think my original question was... actually I can't remember. 'Cause I think I've asked you, like, a million questions.
[00:03:41] Kim: [00:03:41] I'll remind you, it was about overtraining.
[00:03:43] Catherine: [00:03:43] Yes! I work out all the time.
[00:03:46] Kim: [00:03:46] Yes.
[00:03:46] Catherine: [00:03:46] Like, sometimes two hours a day and that's not just cardio, you know? I lift, I do some body weight stuff, I do obviously walk a lot. I'm on my feet a lot. Yesterday, I think I had 19,000 steps. I just do all the things and I have an Apple watch, so I try to close my rings. That's the big thing on that. And I never see any results and I'm fairly-- like, I carry muscle kind of naturally.
[00:04:21] I come from athleticall- built people, so I do build muscle really quickly and I do kind of fall into that fear of lifting too much because I'll get bulky because that has happened. But I would really like to lean out a little bit more. And I'm 44, just to put that out there.
[00:04:43] I'm okay with that. I'm okay with being 44. I think age is a blessing. And everyone's like, "Oh, well you're just in your forties and this is just how it goes. And you can't lose weight..." and I'm just frustrated because I love to work out. I mean, I do it as a stress reliever. I would do it, you know, whatever weight I was at.
[00:05:09] It's great. I love it and I think it's good for my mental health and probably my husband's mental health.
[00:05:18] Kim: [00:05:18] So you work out a ton, but you're not seeing the results you want. And so you're, you're like, what is the problem here?
[00:05:25] Catherine: [00:05:25] Right. And sometimes I feel like-- I think when I messaged you, I hadn't taken a day off in a really long time, like three weeks.
[00:05:33] And I think I was kinda like, "I'm just tired." Like, I felt whipped, kind of fatigued, and so I kind of took the weekend off and just didn't do much. I think I walked. That was about it. And that's okay. And I'm okay with that. I mean, I do get most of it, I think. I think I'm like 90% there in terms of nutrition and fitness and stuff, but I'm just not seeing results.
[00:06:04] Kim: [00:06:04] So let me ask you this, get really clear for me. What results do you want? What are you looking for?
[00:06:11] Catherine: [00:06:11] Well, I'm currently at a weight that I'm not thrilled about and I have lost about seven-- the scale was a little bit up this morning. I was like, "I don't need to weigh myself before I get on the phone with her..."
[00:06:26] But I've lost about 7 to 10 pounds since April.
[00:06:33] Kim: [00:06:33] Okay. Since April. All right. So six months, 7 to 10 pounds. So how many pounds is that a month? That is more than a pound a month, a little less than two pounds, like pound and a half a month, right?
[00:06:59] Catherine: [00:06:59] Yeah, I would say so. Yeah.
[00:07:03]Kim: [00:07:03] And can I ask how tall you are and how much you weigh?
[00:07:06] Catherine: [00:07:06] Yeah, I'm 5'7" and this morning I weighed 148. I started at about 155, which is really kind of too much for me. It's just the clothes really don't fit.
[00:07:23] Kim: [00:07:23] Got it. And so is that part of the problem? You don't like the way your clothes fit?
[00:07:27] Catherine: [00:07:27] Yes. 100%.
[00:07:29] Kim: [00:07:29] Got it. And so do you fit in all your clothes and they're just kind of snug, or you're not even fitting in them at all?,
[00:07:38] Catherine: [00:07:38] I'm fitting in them, they feel snug.
[00:07:42] Kim: [00:07:42] Got it. So you're a pretty lean person. At 5'7", 148, you're a pretty lean person. You've lost one and a half pounds a month over the course of not that many months.
[00:07:56] So the first thing I like to look for when somebody says, "I'm not making any progress," I like to see, like, what progress is there? And what are they actually shooting for? So the two things I noticed here from you is that you're looking to get lean. And what does that look like? Tell me, like, what is the end goal look like to you?
[00:08:14] Catherine: [00:08:14] When I felt the best in my clothes, I weighed about 140.
[00:08:18] Kim: [00:08:18] Got it. Outside of the number on the scale, let's just say scales, for this moment in time, they don't exist. If the scale didn't exist, tell me what the end goal would be.
[00:08:29] Catherine: [00:08:29] For me to fit comfortably in my clothes. And I tend to be like a lot of women, I gain weight in my stomach, my mid-section and in my thighs. And so I'm really self conscious about that right now. And I don't see any change or progress there. I guess inches, you know, maybe seeing some physique inches lost.
[00:08:56] Kim: [00:08:56] Okay. And have you been measuring inches as you've been going along?
[00:09:05] Catherine: [00:09:05] I haven't, I haven't. And I was thinking about that this morning that I wished I had, but I put on a pair of shorts the other day and I was like, "Oh, well, they're definitely more loose than they were like a year ago," and, you know, it's hot all the time here, so you have to wear shorts and you have to wear tank tops otherwise you'll die because it's so hot.
[00:09:30] Kim: [00:09:30] And do you not feel comfortable in them right now? Is that what you're saying?
[00:09:35] Catherine: [00:09:35] I don't. Yeah, I don't. I don't feel great.
[00:09:37] Kim: [00:09:37] And that's a part of the end goal. You want to be able to put your clothes on and feel comfortable in them.
[00:09:42] Catherine: [00:09:42] Yes.
[00:09:42] Kim: [00:09:42] Got it. The reason I was asking, specifically, is because when I'm talking to a person who is lean looking to get leaner, one of the things we can really work on getting away from is just that number on the scale. Because I gotta be honest, like you could at this moment still lose body fat and the scale might not move that much. You know, if you've been putting on muscle, you might like the way you look at 147, 146, 143, and so one of the things I would encourage you to do is to-- there's no problem if you continue to weigh yourself, but not really fixate on what that number is saying, focusing more on what are your inches.
[00:10:21] So I would say today, go get a soft measuring tape and measure your chest right across nipple length, measure your waist at the smallest part, measure your waist at your belly button, measure your glutes, like across the widest part of your glutes at your hips, and then one of your thighs and one of your biceps. Unflexed, biggest part of your biceps, legs straight, biggest part of your thigh.
[00:10:45] Write that down and remeasure at least once a month. Every two weeks or once a month. Notice your inches. Work on the fit of your clothes. Pick out a pair of these pants or shorts that you really want to fit into, put them on, and then as you go -- and we'll talk about what we're going to do to help you actually lose this fat -- but as you go, put those back on and see how they're feeling.
[00:11:06] And then the other thing is pictures. Like, really getting good progress-- look at your face! I wish you could see her face. I'm gonna put this as a YouTube. The look on her face when I just said pictures...
[00:11:19] Catherine: [00:11:19] I just hate pictures.
[00:11:21] Kim: [00:11:21] I know.
[00:11:21] And a lot of people do, but especially for somebody who is lean looking to get leaner, it's likely the spot you're going to see the most progress is in visually how different are you? You don't have to show these pictures to anybody, right?
[00:11:34] You have to put them online. I'm not saying that you need an Instagram post about this. I'm saying, take the picture, put on a bathing suit, two-piece, or sports bra and shorts. Front, both sides, back. Do it every month, put them side by side, and look for differences. That's one piece of this is going to be seeing where the progress comes from.
[00:11:52] I think if you focus just on the scale, you're going to remain discouraged.
[00:11:56] Yeah, I don't
[00:11:57] Catherine: [00:11:57] weigh myself that often because of that reason. And I'm always like, you know, let's say, a prayer, let's light a candle, whatever it takes.
[00:12:16] Kim: [00:12:16] But realistically speaking, if you felt really good in your clothes and you could put on your shorts and you were like, "I feel great," and you looked in the mirror and you're like, "I like the way this looks", you wouldn't really care about what the scale said, right?
[00:12:29] Catherine: [00:12:29] 100%. Yeah. You know, I'm not a small person in the sense that I just naturally carry muscle and I have muscular legs and I mean, I know that muscle weighs more, but I think it's frustrating when you work out as much as I'm sure people like me or I'm sure you've talked to people all day long who are just, you know, active people.
[00:13:01] Kim: [00:13:01] Let's talk about that. So there's two things I want to talk about moving forward here. I want to talk about your nutrition and I wanna talk about your exercising.
[00:13:08] Let's talk about this exercising. The volume that you're telling me you exercise is a lot, so how much of that is stuff for work and how much of that is just because you do it?
[00:13:20] Catherine: [00:13:20] So, work is mostly just walking. Like, walking golf courses, or--
[00:13:23] Kim: [00:13:23] And that's why you're getting like 19,000 steps a day.
[00:13:26] Catherine: [00:13:26] Right, right, right.
[00:13:27] And just being on my feet all day long. And I'm just not a sitter, so even with this time where we've been working from home sometimes or whatever, I'll get up in between meetings and do a lap around my neighborhood or around the block or whatever, up and down my driveway.
[00:13:46] And then I used to run a lot. I used to run, run, run, run, run, run, and recently, since the coronavirus, got into where I do a Zoom workout, virtual workout with my friends from all over the country and we work out every morning together. It's great. And some days it's more cardio and some days it's more body weight, cardio type stuff, like burpees, sit-ups, pushups, and today it was arms and core.
[00:14:15] So, lifting weights and then a core exercise. And it's about 45 minutes. And then usually after that, I'll go for a walk or a run and then I'm off kind of off to the races with work and walking golf courses or whatever.
[00:14:32] So I'd say, I do about 45 minutes of that workout and then I always just make sure I get my steps in every day at a minimum.
[00:14:45] And then I am a little fearful of lifting, like heavy, heavy.
[00:14:52] Kim: [00:14:52] Okay. Well, tell me about that. What is it like when you do lift?
[00:14:57] Catherine: [00:14:57] I get bigger. Like, my arms get bigger.
[00:15:02] Kim: [00:15:02] Okay. Tell me, when was the last time you did that kind of lifting and what was it you were doing?
[00:15:10] Catherine: [00:15:10] It was about two or three years ago. You know, just lifting heavy weights at a gym. I have always loved more of the cardio-style workouts, just because it's more of a stress reliever. But I already have broad shoulders and I don't know, I just feel like I get bigger. Like, I don't get smaller.
[00:15:37] Despite what everyone says that, "you'll get leaner if you lift heavy," it just doesn't.
[00:15:43] Kim: [00:15:43] And you're particularly like, "okay, I don't want broader shoulders."
[00:15:47] Catherine: [00:15:47] Right. Like, I have people stop me and they're like, "are you a swimmer?"
[00:15:52] Kim: [00:15:52] Okay. I gotta tell you, I'm looking at your shoulders and you have really nice looking shoulders. I will say that.
[00:15:59] Okay. So, you're working out like 45 minutes a day, every day?
[00:16:05] Catherine: [00:16:05] I mean, I probably won't go back to a gym. I mean, I've turned my garage into a little bit of a gym and so I just use free weights. The heaviest I have is 15 pounds. I have 15s 10s and 7s. And that's pretty much the heaviest that I lift.
[00:16:30] Kim: [00:16:30] Okay. So, your main question you had originally asked me, "could this be stalling my progress that I work out so much?" When you first started talking here at the beginning, it sounded like you were working out hours a day, but it sounds like you're working out 45 minutes a day every day of the week? Seven days?
[00:16:45] Catherine: [00:16:45] Yeah.
[00:16:47] Kim: [00:16:47] You know, I really do believe in rest days. They do help. I don't think it's overtraining. If you were really working out several hours a day, I was thinking like, "Oh, this might actually be a person who is actually overtraining, because you know, what overtraining is, is the idea that your body can not recover from the stress you're putting on it. It doesn't sound like that's where you're at.
[00:17:04] But that said, I will say, I do think it's interesting that you work out every single day, you're not happy with your results, and it seems like you might think that the answer is more working out.
[00:17:14] Catherine: [00:17:14] Yeah. That's just easier for me to think. I'll just go for a run or I'll go for another walk or I'll walk the dog or whatever.
[00:17:27] Kim: [00:17:27] Yeah, yeah. And so, when we spoke the other day, you said you hadn't had a rest day in three weeks.
[00:17:35] Catherine: [00:17:35] Yeah. Yeah, it is. So, for the weekend, I didn't do much. I just kind of walked. Like, made sure I got my steps in and that was it.
[00:17:49] Kim: [00:17:49] So it might surprise you to hear this or you might be like, "yeah, I was expecting you to say that," but my clients all train three or four days a week and take three or four days off a week.
[00:17:59] Catherine: [00:17:59] Oh man, I would go crazy.
[00:18:01] Kim: [00:18:01] Yeah? What would make you go crazy about that?
[00:18:07] Catherine: [00:18:07] I don't know. I look forward to it every day. I guess it's like the one hour or so that I have to myself and now it's a social thing, so I get to see my friends from around the country and I look forward to it. It's a big stress reliever.
[00:18:25] Kim: [00:18:25] Yeah. So look, if a person likes to get movement in and you're really enjoying it, I think that's great. If there's any part of this that might be like fear of what would happen if you didn't do it-- do you feel like any fear of, "if I do not do this, I'm really not going to get results?"
[00:18:43] Catherine: [00:18:43] I don't think so. I mean, I think I used to kind of be in that space, especially when I was heavy into the running. Like, I felt like, "if I don't run today, then I can't eat" or "I can't do this," but I'm kind of moved past that, I think. I do believe that you have to listen to your body and it needs rest. I certainly preach that to my student athletes. I mean, you just sometimes need to do nothing. I mean, it's just a function of being a human being, so I get it. So, no, I just really enjoy it. It's just really good for my brain if I stay active.
[00:19:26] Kim: [00:19:26] Okay. Let's put a pin in this for a minute, we're going to come back to it. Let's talk about your nutrition and then we're going to come back to this.
[00:19:32] Because the real root thing here is you want to figure out like, "why am I not getting results and how can I start getting them?"
[00:19:38] So let's talk about nutrition. Tell me about your nutrition.
[00:19:41] Catherine: [00:19:41] I think it's pretty good. I'm sure everybody tells you that. I'm kind of tired of it, but I do track my calories on in app on my phone and I do the desired bodyweight x12 as my calories. I will say that I'm pretty good with sticking with that.
[00:20:04] I don't really have problems with like overeating, but what I will say is that if I am hungry, you know, if I'm in the pantry and I'm overly hungry, it could be bad with some Cheez-Its and Goldfish and all that, but I'm pretty good. I based most of my meals around protein. Like, I just had eggs and a slice of Canadian bacon for breakfast and I feel like I'm pretty good.
[00:20:36] I do have some liquid calories in the evening. I have fallen into some of these, you know, "don't eat carbs after 3 and never eat pizza and you have to give up alcohol and you have to drink a gallon of water a day," and so I follow all these people on Instagram like you and I do think it would be nice to have a nice balance where you can still eat what you want, kind of. And like, if you want to have a cookie, you can have a cookie. If you want a slice of pizza.
[00:21:13] So, I guess, I think the evenings are the hardest for me. I don't really overeat, but I tend to come home because I'm usually at practice all afternoon. I do pack like a snack ,so I usually try to eat something around three or four o'clock. So that I'm not like a beast when I come home.
[00:21:33] And I cook most of my meals, pack my lunch, and I just feel like I do all the things and I still don't see results.
[00:21:41] Kim: [00:21:41] And that's super frustrating, right? You're really mentally in this, trying it, and you're not seeing the results you want.
[00:21:49] Catherine: [00:21:49] I'm kind of tired of trying. Like, I'm kind of tired of trying and tracking and measuring out Veggie Straws and Cheez-Its, or whatever, if I want to eat those things.
[00:21:59] Kim: [00:21:59] Yeah. So let me ask you this, before April, when you started, you've lost 7 to 10 pounds since April. Which, by the way, that's not terrible progress.
[00:22:08] It's a little slower than what I would shoot for. So, when I'm working with clients, I'm looking for at least two pounds per month on average or a big loss in inches and pictures. And so we might -- like I said, I don't have inches and pictures on you -- 7 to 10 pounds plus who knows what you've lost, it could be really good progress. It's certainly not terrible progress.
[00:22:27] So that's the one thing I would say is that in your head, you might be saying, "I'm not seeing progress" when you are. Because like I said, that's not super slow time on the scale. In your mind, what would have been a good amount of weight to lose in that time?
[00:22:42] What would be a good amount of weight to lose in six months?
[00:22:47]Catherine: [00:22:47] You know, I would have liked to have been at my goal weight by now, but I really didn't set out-- I think because of the virus and all that, and there were some other things happening that were kind of difficult at the time that I didn't really say like, "Oh, I want to lose X amount of weight in this amount of time," but I just kind of said, "I'm going to clean some things up and try to stick to this calorie range and see how it goes."
[00:23:13] And so there were obviously good days and bad days in there. There were days where I probably went way over calories, but it kind of works, so that's encouraging. And I think because when you see progress that makes you want to keep going, right?
[00:23:35] Kim: [00:23:35] Absolutely. And so 7 to 10 pounds and it sounds like, with the numbers you just gave me, it's looking like if you wanted to hit your goal weight, you were looking for more like 15 to 20 pounds in that time period, which is definitely on it's on the high side. It's a little unrealistic. Like, 12 pounds in that time would have been totally realistic.
[00:23:57] So a piece of this is getting realistic expectation. 20 pounds in six months is a lot. It's a lot. And so having realistic expectations is one piece of this and knowing that, "okay, I have lost 7 pounds, I've lost 10 pounds. That's a lot of weight. Something I'm doing is working."
[00:24:14] So something you're doing is working.
[00:24:17] The things that stick out to me that are places for you to look at to dial this in, and here's the other question I would ask you, I'm hearing a couple of things from you -- one, I'm hearing, like, "I really want to get to this goal weight," two, I'm hearing, "I'm friggin' tired of counting out my Veggie Straws. I don't really want to do that anymore." Right?
[00:24:36] Catherine: [00:24:36] Well, honestly, I feel like I've been one of those people that's been on a diet or something most of my life, you know? Which is painful to admit.
[00:24:47] Kim: [00:24:47] Hey, a lot of us have been there. I was there for a really long time. That's probably more people than it's not.
[00:24:56] So, we're talking 8 pounds right now, right? So, let me ask you this: quality of life-wise, is it important enough for you to do things like clean up the number of drinks you have at night and not keep counting Veggie Straws for the next good couple of months and continuing to count calories?
[00:25:17] Is that something that you're like, "that's what I want to do for 8 pounds?" Or are you kind of like, "that sounds terrible. I don't want to do that?"
[00:25:26] And there's no right answer here.
[00:25:27] Catherine: [00:25:27] Yeah. I mean, I would actually just like it to all magically just fall off. I'd love to just wake up one morning and be like, "oh look at that!".
[00:25:35] Kim: [00:25:35] I did not give that choice, see.
[00:25:40] Catherine: [00:25:40] You know, I can do it. I can make some commitments and clean up things, for sure.
[00:25:48] Kim: [00:25:48] But that's not the question. Not "can you do it," I 100% believe you can do it.
[00:25:53] Catherine: [00:25:53] No, I do. I want to.
[00:25:54] Kim: [00:25:54] The question is is it worth it to you. And there's not a right answer because frankly, when it comes to the last 5 to 10 pounds, it can be a really big difference in our quality of life for not that much difference.
[00:26:06] So let me ask, let's say you do it. Let's say you do it. And some number of months from now, you have hit 140 pounds. How is your life different?
[00:26:15] Catherine: [00:26:15] Well, honestly, I would really like to be, be able to put on my clothes and it not feel like a battle. That's what I feel like right now.
[00:26:23] And frankly, it makes me anxious. And there's not a lot of opportunity right now, but I mean like social occasions, going out on a Friday night, going out to dinner, doing whatever with friends, and then I'm like, "I don't have anything to wear. I'm going to wear, you know, running shorts 'cause that's what fits and yoga pants."
[00:26:45] And then I look back and I'm in that kind of spiral, I'm like, "well, I just work out so much. Why don't my jeans fit? So yes, it is worth it to me.
[00:27:00] Kim: [00:27:00] So I'm going to answer that question first, and then I want to come back to this discussion of what do you want to do?
[00:27:04] It's your nutrition. It's not your workouts.
[00:27:10] That's what this is. And we can find the clues to that in things like, hey, you have been losing weight. It's a little bit of a slower progress, but it's not bad progress. But then you're like, "you know, I am eating the Cheez-Its and I do have the drinks," and that's all it is. It's those things, and cleaning those things up, it's going to get you the progress.
[00:27:28] This isn't a mystery. That's your answer. It's your nutrition.
[00:27:32] And I know, and you're like rolling your eyes and I'm like, I roll my eyes too, it's frigging annoying. I don't want to eat less.
[00:27:39] Catherine: [00:27:39] I just want to know why it's like exercise means so little when it comes to weight loss.
[00:27:44] Kim: [00:27:44] Well, if you think about it, how many calories is in a pretty big serving of Cheez-Its? Do you know how many calories? Because I don't know.
[00:27:58] Catherine: [00:27:58] I mean, I keep that stuff around for my kids, but I mean, yes, I will say since following your feed, I, I have cut back on the mindless snacking a little bit, but I think it's like 27 Cheez-Its are 150 calories or something like that.
[00:28:17] Kim: [00:28:17] I just looked it up 24 Cheez-Its is 257 calories.
[00:28:22] I mean, I don't like Cheez-Its, but if it was something I like, you know how many 24 pieces I could eat in a short amount of time? We're talking a handful of Cheez-Its is 257 calories.
[00:28:37] You do two handfuls of Cheez-Its, like, we're at 500 calories, you know? And it's those little things, like, you might feel like you're on point all day long and then a couple of handfuls of Cheez-It's in and there's your calorie deficit or it's taking up enough of it. And that's really frustrating. It's really frustrating.
[00:28:55] Catherine: [00:28:55] Really frustrating.
[00:28:56] And that stuff is so easy to eat when you're hungry or like while I'm cooking dinner or whatever, it's just really easy to grab.
[00:29:07] Kim: [00:29:07] So, if you think about that, when your question was like, "well, why is exercise not the key, then?" When you think about that, how long would it take you to eat 24 Cheez-Its?
[00:29:18] Catherine: [00:29:18] Five seconds.
[00:29:20] Kim: [00:29:20] Right? You don't burn 257 calories in five seconds when you exercise, right? We can't really-- all the numbers, like Apple watches and stuff, they're way inflated, but I'm going to guess, like, even in an hour of your workout, you MIGHT have burned off enough for one of the handfuls of Cheez-Its. Maybe.
[00:29:39] Catherine: [00:29:39] Yeah. Probably no even, yeah.
[00:29:42] Kim: [00:29:42] Right? And there in lies the answer. We cannot control our calories in-calories, out through exercise. We can't. We have to focus on the nutrition piece, which is annoying.
[00:29:53] Catherine: [00:29:53] And I'm not even-- people always tell me, they're like, "gosh, you're so good. Like, you eat so well."
[00:30:04] Kim: [00:30:04] I know. I know. And that's why, again -- and we're going to go back to it -- like, is it really worth it to lose this weight? And I have a couple of options for you, okay? And we're gonna talk about this in a bit, but just really to drive home this point of like, "why can we not out exercise our diet?"
[00:30:17] Cheez-Its: 24 are 257 calories. That's why.
[00:30:21] Like, I decided I wanted some Oreos this morning. I ate Oreos this morning, by the way, and when I checked it out, it was a couple of hundred-- it was ridiculous, guys -- but I made a conscious decision to eat 5 Oreos before I ate breakfast. I think it was 350 calories.
[00:30:36] 350 calories.
[00:30:38] I enjoyed those Oreos. I enjoyed every last bite of those Oreos. But if I was not paying attention, if I wasn't a person who cared about it, like, that would have been out of my memory so fast, right? And I'm 350 calories into my day.
[00:30:51] Catherine: [00:30:51] Yeah. Crazy.
[00:30:52] Kim: [00:30:52] So that's why we can't focus on, "I am burning calories through exercise."
[00:30:57] Here's what exercise is good for: the strengths training piece is good to build muscle, which is going to change the shape of our body and it's just healthy for us to have on our body, right? As we age, we're gonna need that muscle. Our body starts losing muscle at age 30, so it's good for that.
[00:31:14] It's good for the cardiovascular benefits. It's good for the brain benefits. It's good for our mood. It's healthy for us to exercise. We do need to do it.
[00:31:25] It is not the key to losing fat.
[00:31:29] So to answer your question, that's why the exercise just doesn't matter when it comes to the weight loss nearly as much as the amount of calories we put into our body.
[00:31:41] So there's that. Then, let's go back to this discussion of, "do you really want to take this trip of, 'I want to lose eight pounds?'" Here's my question as far as the clothes for you and you might be like, "shut up, Kim, I'm not going to do that." And it's totally fine. Why not buy clothes that fit your body as it is now?
[00:31:58] Catherine: [00:31:58] Oh, I mean, I have those going on too. I do. I mean, I have a range in there. So yeah, I guess I just feel bigger at this weight and I would like to feel smaller.
[00:32:19] Kim: [00:32:19] Okay. And that's the thing, what it comes down to is-- I was just talking to a client about this the other day.
[00:32:26] She's lost a ton of weight in the past year, she looks fantastic, and she's at the point where she just wants to lose these last couple of pounds. And we talk about, is it worth it for her? And she's decided it is. And she's had a big upheaval in her life, moving and all of the stuff, and has kind of gotten back into some old habits and she's working to get back out of them.
[00:32:46] And I said to her, "here are your choices: 1) we adjust your goal, or 2) to we adjust your actions." Because she feels really crappy. I'm like, if you don't want to keep feeling really out of sync, one of those things has to be adjusted because when you keep your goal at X, but your actions say Y, there's this discord in your brain.
[00:33:09] Like, "I'm doing this, but I want this," and they don't match up. And so one of those things has to change. So either you change your goal and you say, "you know what? I'm going to be happy with how I am right now. And I'm going to eat to be healthy, and I'm going to eat to maintain this weight and that's going to give me more wiggle room. And then my actions are fine." Like, if you're maintaining your weight right now, those actions match up with that.
[00:33:30] Or, if you want to keep the goal of, "I want to lose more weight, I do want to lose a size or two. I want to fit back in these clothes," we have to help you change your actions. Otherwise you're going to remain in this frustrated state.
[00:33:42] Catherine: [00:33:42] Yeah. It's like a washing machine. It's just the same thing every day.
[00:33:47] Kim: [00:33:47] Yeah. So one of those two things needs to change or you're going to remain frustrated. Either the goal changes or the actions change.
[00:33:54] Catherine: [00:33:54] I think the actions have to change.
[00:33:55] I mean, and I'm okay with that. Like, I am. I'm very committed and I just really want to feel good in my clothes. I think it's just important. It's a great feeling to be able to walk into your closet and put on anything and know that you look great and feel great in it.
[00:34:13] Kim: [00:34:13] So my advice to you then, is it seems like the calories you had set are working for you. It seems that your adherence to your calories is a little bit off, right?
[00:34:23] Catherine: [00:34:23] Yeah, I think I calculated like 1670 or something, or 1640. And I'm probably realistically eating about 1800, which keeps me in at maintenance every day.
[00:34:38] But the other thing is I am hungry at the 1640 or 1670, whatever it is. I seem to be hungry. And I've done things like the protein powder and basing all my meals around protein. I've done all of that. And I drink an astronomical amount of water because in Florida, you're just dehydrated 100% of the time.
[00:35:04] Kim: [00:35:04] I bet.
[00:35:05] All right, so you're 148ish right now, right? And you've been doing around 1640 calories. That seems like a pretty good number. I would even say 1640 to 1740. My guess is if you really hit that target well, andyou could even hit on that upper end, up to 1740, that you're going to see really good results.
[00:35:27] The key is: if you're going over with the alcohol and the snacking, and those kinds of things, you're going to struggle. And here's what I would suggest you do: let's have you go seven days hitting that target really precisely and see how you feel. Like, really precisely. Count every Cheez-It -- or don't eat them.
[00:35:49] If you're going to have alcohol, be really clear about how much it is and log it in there. We're not saying you need to cut these things out, but be very precise and measure and let's actually go two weeks and see what happens and then see if we need to adjust them.
[00:36:05] My bet is you could even eat a little bit more. I think you're just not hitting those calories. And so you're hungry, but it sounds like maybe you go long stretches in the day without eating, right?
[00:36:20] Catherine: [00:36:20] Yeah, I do. I don't get up and have breakfast right away because I work out usually right away, when I wake up. I get my son going and then I do my workout and then I eat breakfast usually mid-morning and then lunch. And then I usually plan a snack for like later afternoon and then I have dinner and I drink a lot of water in there.
[00:36:46] But like, is it true? Like, if I ate 1700 calories of Cheez-Its all day long, like, that's okay? I mean, not that that's okay. I'm just saying--
[00:36:56] Kim: [00:36:56] Could you lose fat, is what you're saying.
[00:36:58] Yes. In that sense, yes, it's okay. It's a terrible plan.
[00:37:03] Catherine: [00:37:03] I'm really not that committed to the Cheez-Its, I'm just using it as an example.
[00:37:07] Kim: [00:37:07] I know, I know. She's not really the woman who eats cheese it's all day long, guys.
[00:37:13] So yes, here's the thing: technically yes. I mean, there have been people who've done this. There's the professor who did the Twinkie Diet, and he ate Twinkies and other gas station-type food and lost, I think it was like 20 pounds in some short period of time.
[00:37:26] My coach Jordan Syatt did this last year, he did the Big Mac Challenge and he lost, I think it was like eight pounds and he ate a Big Mac every day. A Big Mac is 500 calories. He ate one every single day. So yes, you can have whatever you want, the trick is we have to make it so you actually hit those calories, including these items, which people struggle with, right?
[00:37:45] They think they can get these things in, but then they're hungry later, right? Because they don't know how to volume eat. And so we really want to make sure that you're eating enough food to do that. Really prioritizing the nutrient-dense foods, things like fruits and vegetables and lean protein is really going to help.
[00:38:01] So you get a lot of volume. And the other thing that can really help with that is eating plenty of protein. How much protein did you say you're getting?
[00:38:12] Catherine: [00:38:12] I don't think I'm hitting my body weight, but I'm pretty high. Yesterday I had 98 grams of protein.
[00:38:34] Kim: [00:38:34] Okay. Look, that's not shabby. It's a little on the low side. I would have you say like 120 should be like the minimum, right around 120. Between120 and 148 would be great. It really does help you keep full.
[00:38:49] The other things, so volume eating, that's things like lots of leafy greens, things like watermelon, strawberries, those kinds of things. Shrimp, popcorn, things you can eat in big quantities can really help with being full. Protein is the number one thing that can help you stay full.
[00:39:09] And then the other thing is having some fat in your diet. I know a lot of people shy away from that because it has a lot of kids calories, but it does help the sense of fullness to linger. And so if you have some avocado on your salad -- that is something I would weigh because wow, a whole avocado can be a lot of calories compared to a quarter of an avocado -- but things like avocado, some peanut butter, some olive oil, having some of those things in there can help that feeling of fullness to stay with you.
[00:39:37] So, you know, I used to be a big proponent of 0% fat yogurt and what I realized is when I eat 2% yogurt, I stay fuller way longer.
[00:39:46] Catherine: [00:39:46] Yeah, yeah. For sure.
[00:39:48] Kim: [00:39:48] So getting a little fat in your diet, including those calories, can also help you to not feel so dang hungry.
[00:39:54] Catherine: [00:39:54] Yeah.
[00:39:55] Kim: [00:39:55] Have we covered what you think is your biggest sticking point as far as the hunger and the snacking, or is there something else that you feel like is a big trip up for you?
[00:40:06] Is there anything else you're like, "here's where I struggle with actually being adherent to my plan?"
[00:40:15]Catherine: [00:40:15] Yeah, I think it's the liquid calories that would probably be the biggest thing.
[00:40:19] Kim: [00:40:19] Okay. Tell me about that.
[00:40:21] Catherine: [00:40:21] I just feel like, you know, it's sort of ceremonious in the evening to come home and have a glass of wine, or it's just nice.
[00:40:28] I like to do that while I cook. We eat at home 95% of the time, so I just look forward to it. I don't have to have it, but you know, you have one and then you have two and then you're on your third...
[00:40:50] Kim: [00:40:50] And is that typically what happens?
[00:40:54] Catherine: [00:40:54] Yeah.
[00:40:55] Kim: [00:40:55] So what options do you see there? So we want you to stay in this calorie target, what are a couple of options?
[00:41:00] Catherine: [00:41:00] I think that just cutting it, maybe starting to cut it in half, or just being settled on the one and then maybe going to like a sparkling water or whatever. I've done that before. I did that at the beginning of this kind of whole journey back in April.
[00:41:24] So, you know, it's just a habit. It's just a habit. Like, I start to cook and I'm like, "Oh, let's, you know..."
[00:41:33] Kim: [00:41:33] So, I like what you just said, I think that's a really great plan, is to cut it back, to reduce it and have a cap of one and then everything else is sparkling water. I think that's a really smart plan.
[00:41:45] I think we do need to talk here a little bit about the psychological piece, because one of the things you said is, "I look forward to it." So what does it offer you? Like, what is that feeling you're after?
[00:42:01] Catherine: [00:42:01] Relaxation. Like, unwinding. You know, "we made it through the day."
[00:42:08] Kim: [00:42:08] It's like a ritual for you to help you unwind. It's like this thing of like, "here I am, I'm home. I made it."
[00:42:17] Catherine: [00:42:17] Yeah. I'm with my family. We're all together. I mean, it's not like a heavy drinking-type thing or anything like that. It's not a problem, but then I've also had other trainers and nutritionists be like, "you have to give it up completely."
[00:42:40] And that sort of is like, "Whoa," you know? I don't know that I want to do that. I mean, 'cause I want to live my life too, but I think just, you know, having the one and done needs to be the change.
[00:42:58] Kim: [00:42:58] I think that's a great plan. I would also say I would encourage you to have a little project going on here to see if you can come up with something else in addition to that alcoholic beverage that helps give you the same feeling. Because when we do these kind of like -- this is like emotional drinking, emotional eating, I talked to a lot of people about this, right? What we're actually looking for, we're looking to create some different feeling inside ourself, right?
[00:43:23] We're home from work and we want the sense of like, "I'm relaxing into my day," right? And for you right now, the thing that helps you with that is this glass of wine. And while you're cooking it's this kind of like, "this is what I do."
[00:43:34] And so looking for other things -- and it could be a million things -- it could be like, I go out on the back porch and I put my legs up and I listen to music. There's so many rituals you could put into your life that can eventually kind of replace that role of the alcohol -- if it's something, if you're like, "you know what? I struggle to just stay with one."
[00:43:54] Like, we're going to go with this plan of, "it's just going to be one," but at the same time as you're doing that start exploring, like brainstorming, what are some other options of rituals I could have? You know, some people it's coming home and they take a walk with the dog. Some people it's coming home and they lay on the sofa and talk to their kids.
[00:44:11] It could be all kinds of different things, but start brainstorming what else could you do that would give you this like self-soothing moment of, "I am home. This signals, the night is starting," that's not the alcohol.
[00:44:21] How does that feel? Can you do that?
[00:44:24] Catherine: [00:44:24] I can do that. I mean, actually, back in April, I used to drink cheap white wine and I gave that up. I gave it up completely. Like, shut it down. And then I just moved on to having one of those little spiked seltzers or whatever. So that's pretty much what I have. So I mean, that's a significant change, I think.
[00:44:51] And so I'm really not even on the having wine anymore, it's just like one of those little seltzers or whatever. They're really easy to have a couple of those, too. So yeah, I mean, I think just doing one and one, like one spiked, one not, and then just kind of moving on with the evening, getting in the shower, you know, starting to read my book or whatever.
[00:45:16] Kim: [00:45:16] Yeah.
[00:45:17] Catherine: [00:45:17] So yeah, I mean, we're all a function of our own habits and how we move through the day. I totally get that. And it's just, I think it's like a 10% shift for me right now, really.
[00:45:31] Kim: [00:45:31] I think that's a pretty big shift you've made. And I think your plan to just cut it at one is a fabulous plan.
[00:45:38] Because what we really need to do is we need to get your calories to be, in reality, what they are on paper. Because what they are on paper is a good number for you to lose weight on and it seems really a sustainable number. So we just need to get you there. And if this is where the spot you feel like one led to two, two led to three, that's a couple hundred calories right there, there's your deficit, right?That's the other couple of pounds you could have lost.
[00:46:01] Catherine: [00:46:01] So the working out just really has so little bearing on that?
[00:46:16] Kim: [00:46:16] Look, there's a lot you can do with workouts to optimize them.
[00:46:19] Working out can change the shape of a person's body. It's a little trickier. Right now I do think the big dial-mover for you is going to be the nutrition. Like, getting that in order. We can have another conversation about how effective your workouts are. Rest days make our workouts more effective.
[00:46:34] Our body actually, when it does its magic of, you know, I'm gonna use the air quotes, "toning" our muscles, right? That look, you're looking for that lean, toned, defined look, that's actually going to happen when you're resting. It doesn't happen when you're hammering your body into the ground.
[00:46:50] Then there's the other hurdle for you, which is you really struggle to lift with intensity because you're worried about getting bulky. These are all things that helping you to lift in a way that's going to be more effective can help change the shape of your body. It doesn't mean your shoulders need to get broader. And look, you could still have a day-of workout that's like a workout, but maybe it's an active recovery workout, right?
[00:47:20] Sso we're doing a stretching workout with your friends, that kind of thing. So you're still moving your body, but it's not lifting, it's not high-intensity interval training, it's a recovery day. That kind of a thing.
[00:47:32] Walking every day is good, but you should have at least one rest day a week. I would prefer two, but at least one to really optimize your workouts. Doing things like squats and deadlifts -- doesn't have to be with a barbell -- but with heavy enough weights that when you're doing them and you get to the end of the rep range, you've pushed yourself.
[00:47:55] So if you were supposed to do eight reps of a goblet squat, you get to rep eight, you couldn't do rep 10, right? And doing that, you're going to see changes in your body that you will like. And not going to necessarily be like you go from where you are now to your're the incredible Hulk.
[00:48:10] You will see changes slowly. And if you're really worried about your shoulders, don't spend a whole lot of time doing overhead pressing and lateral raises and those things. But that doesn't mean you can't do rows. It doesn't mean you can't do some squats and lunges and deadlifts and glute bridges and work on those muscles.
[00:48:29] That can have a really big impact and yeah, there's definitely room to optimize your workouts. For sure.
[00:48:35] And I would say a good place to start might be giving yourself a rest day a week. Even if it's an active recovery day,
[00:48:42] Catherine: [00:48:42] I can do that.
[00:48:43] Kim: [00:48:43] But, you know, really switching out of the mindset that the workout is the key to getting the results is a big deal here.
[00:48:50] Catherine: [00:48:50] Yeah, it totally is. 100%,
[00:48:54] I saw something -- I don't know if you posted it or someone else posted -- but like, a person that is bedridden can lose weight if they're in a calorie deficit.
[00:49:01] Kim: [00:49:01] That wasn't me, but that's totally true.
[00:49:09] Okay. So here's the plan, then. You're going to work on taking one active recovery day. You're going to work on hitting your calorie target of 1640 to 1740, keeping that protein up at a minimum of 120. One alcoholic beverage in the evening, everything thereafter is some form of beverage that has zero calorie. And you're going to start brainstorming other rituals you can have to relax yourself, signal that it's the start of family time.
[00:49:43] That's a big, long list there.
[00:49:45] Catherine: [00:49:45] I can definitely do it.
[00:49:48] Kim: [00:49:48] And then let's check back in in a month and see how you're doing.
[00:49:53] Catherine: [00:49:53] Approved. I like it.
[00:49:54] Kim: [00:49:54] All right! It was so good talking to you. Gosh, we've been chatting in DMs for a long time now, back and forth, back and forth.
[00:50:01]Catherine: [00:50:01] I know. I could talk all day about this kind of stuff.
[00:50:04] I mean, it's amazing that you get to do it as your job.
[00:50:06] Kim: [00:50:06] I do. I talk about this literally all day. I've been up since six and I've either been writing about this stuff or I've been talking about it.
[00:50:13] Catherine: [00:50:13] Yeah, you're probably like, "it's calorie deficit! It's calorie deficit!"
[00:50:17] Kim: [00:50:17] Here's the interesting thing about that: though it's true, like when I'm talking fat loss, that is what it is, there's all of these things that lead to that, right? For some people it's the emotional eating and for some people it's the, like, "why can't it be my exercise?"
[00:50:30] Catherine: [00:50:30] I had someone suggest to me recently, they're like, "maybe you workout too much and it's causing stress on your body, which means you're, you're holding on to cortisol or your metabolism has slowed down," and I was like, "what??"
[00:50:45] Kim: [00:50:45] So, the holding on to cortisol thing -- exercise is a stress, it absolutely is. It is a stress on our body, even though it can be the good kind of stress, if we do too much of it, sure, it can have a spike in cortisol and cortisol can cause us to hold onto water. That's going to be in the short-term. You're not going to literally be stopped from losing weight permanently because of the amount of exercise.
[00:51:05] The other thing is, as you described your exercise, you're not in the gym lifting, you're not doing two-a-days for two hours and lifting heavy, like that intensity. And when you first started talking, I'm like, "maybe that's what she's about to tell me she does."
[00:51:18] Catherine: [00:51:18] I think I'm highly active. I guess I'm sort of misrepresented that. I think I'm very active, meaning I don't sit behind a desk all day.
[00:51:27]Kim: [00:51:27] Right, and you are. Which is a good thing. It's a good thing when it comes to weight loss. That can be really useful. And we might find that you can even eat more calories than this because of your activity level.
[00:51:41] You might be able to lose weight on 1800 calories or 1900 calories. Frankly, I think you probably could, and that would help with the hunger.
[00:51:49] Catherine: [00:51:49] I'm not very nice when I'm hungry, but I'll try it,
[00:51:58] Kim: [00:51:58] You are a very active person. So, you know, I would say even staying close to that upper end, that 1740, would be a good thing. And being really consistent with it.
[00:52:10] Catherine: [00:52:10] Yeah. That's been, the struggle. The consistency. So, I mean, I'm good for like three or four days, maybe five days and then, I mean, I don't ever go off the rails, but I think I need to be consistent for, you know, two to three weeks, for sure.
[00:52:26] Kim: [00:52:26] Yeah. And let's take some progress pictures, do some measurements, try some pants on, because the scale is not going to be the, be all end all here. I'm going to message you later tonight and ask you if you took pictures.
[00:52:42] Catherine: [00:52:42] I'll do it tomorrow morning,
[00:52:44] Kim: [00:52:44] Tomorrow morning. Okay. And then DM me and tell me you took them.
[00:52:47] You don't have to send me the pictures, just tell me you took them.
[00:52:49] Catherine: [00:52:49] Okay, I will. For sure.
[00:52:52] Kim: [00:52:52] Realistically speaking, it's going to take a good month for you to see some results here, so let's stick with this for a month, okay?
[00:52:58] Catherine: [00:52:58] I like it. It's the 1st of October. Let's do it.
[00:53:01] Kim: [00:53:01] 1st of November. Okay.
[00:53:03]Catherine: [00:53:03] Yeah!
[00:53:04] Kim: [00:53:04] All right, it was good talking to you!
[00:53:13] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
[00:53:24] If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
[00:53:39] Thanks so much.
I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.