0:00:04.6 Kim Schlag: Welcome to Episode 89 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode I am joined by physical therapist, Marci Silverberg, who specializes in women's health and pelvic physical therapy. We chat all about diastasis recti, what you need to know about it, even if, listen to this ladies, even if it's been years and years since your last pregnancy. Let's go. Hi there Marci.
0:00:32.5 Marci Silverberg: Hi Kim.
0:00:32.6 Kim Schlag: Welcome to the podcast.
0:00:34.2 Marci Silverberg: Thank you so much.
0:00:35.5 Kim Schlag: I'm so glad you could join me here today. We are gonna be talking about pelvic floor physical therapy, but before we do, I would love to learn a little bit about you. So tell me who you are and where you're from, tell me about you, what you like to do for fun?
0:00:52.4 Marci Silverberg: Sure, sure. Well, I'm located in California. I'm from New York originally, and I have two young kids, and we're in the middle of a pandemic, so I'm pretty busy schooling them [laughter]
0:01:06.2 Kim Schlag: So your hobbies are schooling your kids and taking care of your kids.
0:01:10.2 Marci Silverberg: Well, yeah, I'm getting outside, and we have been blessed to have really good weather. So getting out, going on walks, and then when I have the time, I mean, I'm a huge outdoor enthusiast, we've been going camping a lot actually, since the pandemic. I would say, my hobby is...
0:01:24.2 Kim Schlag: Really?
0:01:26.3 Marci Silverberg: Yeah. Right before the pandemic my husband convinced me to get this little camper van. It's the best decision we ever made, and so we've been doing a lot of camping during the pandemic, and that's been awesome. It's been like saving us.
0:01:39.3 Kim Schlag: So it's a van, but it's a camper?
0:01:42.9 Marci Silverberg: Yeah, it's a little camper, it's called a Scamp, and we tow it, and it's got little beds inside, and the kitchen. Yeah.
0:01:53.3 Kim Schlag: That sounds fantastic.
0:01:55.7 Marci Silverberg: Yeah, it's been really cool.
0:01:56.8 Kim Schlag: And do you guys like to hike while you're camping?
0:02:00.7 Marci Silverberg: Oh yeah, absolutely.
0:02:01.0 Kim Schlag: Nice.
0:02:02.5 Marci Silverberg: Yeah. Hiking, exploring as much as we can.
0:02:06.1 Kim Schlag: And the kids enjoy it?
0:02:07.0 Marci Silverberg: They absolutely love it. And because we're in northern California, there's a lot of places to check out, so it's been fun. Yeah.
0:02:14.5 Kim Schlag: I bet. I bet. Okay, so for those of us who aren't familiar with Northern California, if we come to Northern California and wanna do some kind of outdoorsy, camping, hiking thing, what's the spot we should be sure to hit?
0:02:25.4 Marci Silverberg: We love going to Santa Cruz. That's where we love going, 'cause it's right on the beach and there's camping, but anywhere... All along the coast there's tons of things to do, and then there's the national parks, there's Yosemite, which we've been to. There's tons of places to go.
0:02:41.6 Kim Schlag: Amazing. I've never been to Northern California, ever.
0:02:46.6 Marci Silverberg: Oh my gosh, I highly recommend it.
0:02:48.9 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
0:02:49.9 Marci Silverberg: You should come out.
0:02:50.0 Kim Schlag: One of these days, when we're allowed to travel again someday.
0:02:52.3 Marci Silverberg: Yeah.
0:02:52.4 Kim Schlag: I'll make sure I get there. So Marci, tell me a little bit about exactly what you do as a pelvic health physical therapist?
0:03:00.4 Marci Silverberg: Sure. Well, my background before I became a pelvic health physical therapist, I basically treated the entire body, but just not the area of the pelvis and the pelvic floor, and so now I have this special training where I can also treat this area. So what that means is, you've got your pelvis, and then there's this really important group of muscles at the very base of the pelvis called the pelvic floor muscles, and these muscles, they have a lot of roles for sex and continence, and they're actually part of your core, and they can get affected through the course of a woman, or a man's life, especially around pregnancy and childbirth, and so when there's problems with these muscles that could present as leaking or pain with intercourse, there's a problem called pelvic organ prolapse and just the core is not functioning well. And so I just have specialized training in order to work with these muscles and understand their connections to the rest of the body, and I also treat issues with the uterus and the bladder and the rectum, and all the organs that live inside the pelvis. So I feel it's just maybe better actually treating the entire body, because now instead of treating the whole body and just not this area, I treat that area too, so that's how I see it.
0:04:18.8 Kim Schlag: And how did you decide to get into this particular specialty of physical therapy?
0:04:24.0 Marci Silverberg: Through my own issues, which is how a lot of women tend to get into it. When I was pregnant with my son, so this was now nine years ago, I found myself looking for a physical therapist that specialized in this. Because I had these weird issues where I would wake up in the morning and I couldn't walk, I couldn't put weight on one of my legs, and then it would get better as the day went on.
0:04:48.1 Kim Schlag: Wait, what would happen? If you physically couldn't hold yourself up, or what would happen?
0:04:53.3 Marci Silverberg: Yeah. Intense pain. Like intense pain on one side of my pelvis where this joint is, called the sacroiliac joint. I couldn't understand it, but then I would walk it off, it would kinda go away, which is kind of funny 'cause sometimes pregnancy pains present that way, they kinda come and go. And then it happened again after I had my son, and then I developed this condition called diastasis recti, it's an abdominal separation that can happen sometimes during pregnancy.
0:05:25.6 Kim Schlag: Got it.
0:05:27.4 Marci Silverberg: And so, as a physical therapist I wasn't specialized in how to work with this, but I was very curious about it. And I had all these questions about it like, "What exactly is going on with me and how do I fix it? And why did it happen? And if I have another baby", because I was planning to, "Is it gonna happen to me again?" And so I just started researching and taking classes, and figuring out how to put myself back together again and rehabilitate myself. And then in the process of that I just discovered this specialty field and all the other issues that women have. And I found there's a lot of women like me that are looking for answers and have these issues and don't quite know what to do about it. And I found out that a few of these issues that I treat in addition to diastasis, leaking and everything else, they're actually really common issues that women don't talk about because they feel ashamed about, but then it really affects their quality of life. And so as I learned what to do about it, I just felt more and more impassioned about learning more and directing my practice towards working with women with these issues, which is exactly what I do now.
0:06:39.5 Kim Schlag: So tell us some more about... I always say this word wrong, is it diastasis or... It's diastasis, right?
0:06:47.5 Marci Silverberg: It's either. I've heard it diastasis, or diastasis.
0:06:52.5 Kim Schlag: Diastasis, diastasis. How do you say it?
0:06:54.4 Marci Silverberg: I say diastasis.
0:06:56.7 Kim Schlag: Okay, we're gonna go with diastasis. I can never remember. Diastasis. Okay, diastasis recti. Tell us more about that. What is it? How did you first realize... What were your first symptoms of it? Just tell us, kind of give us a brief overview of it.
0:07:09.7 Marci Silverberg: Yeah, so it's an abdominal separation. And the way I figured out that I had it, is very classic. So what happened was, I was cleared six weeks to start exercising, and I knew I needed to work on my core, 'cause I had these issues before with pain. And so I started just doing some exercises, to say I'm doing a harder exercise, like a plank, and I look down at my belly and I'm like, "What is that? Looks like an alien". It just looked like there was a baguette laying on my stomach, from the top to the bottom, where the skin was kind of pooching out, and I didn't have that before. And you look at it and you're like, "What is that? I did not have that before. What can I do to make that go away?" And then also when I'm getting in and out of bed, you see it. And then so I start doing exercises to try to make it better, and the exercises I was doing at the time weren't helping, but to answer your question, what it is, is the abdominals, they separate a little bit.
0:08:13.1 Marci Silverberg: So a lot of people know that the rectus abdominis, that six-pack muscle. Well, there's this band of tissue in the front of the belly, it goes from right below the ribcage, and then it goes all the way down and connects on the pubic bone, and it's called the linea alba, and it's fascia. And it's meant to stretch during pregnancy, but what happens is, it just gets overly stretched. And then so what that band was that I was looking at or that pooching, was that when I was doing exercises, my body wasn't developing tension. Because that area was thinned and separated abnormally and my body wasn't developing tension there, and so it was kind of like poking out. And so what it looks like is, you feel like you look like you're still pregnant. So what happened to me was I lost my pregnancy weight, but I still had this belly where I look like I was four months pregnant or so.
0:09:05.6 Kim Schlag: Interesting. Now, is it painful?
0:09:08.9 Marci Silverberg: No.
0:09:10.5 Kim Schlag: Not painful. So it's just how it looks. Can you feel it with your hand?
0:09:16.8 Marci Silverberg: Yes, you can feel it with your hand, depending on what you're doing. So when you're doing something challenging to the muscles, that's when it will poke out and you could kinda feel it with your fingers, and that's how you can test to even see if you have it. If you do a little sit up and you see it, or you might even not see it, but you kind of put your fingers in that area and press, then you could feel the edges of the muscle. What you should feel, if you do a little sit up and you press on your tummy, you should feel tension or firmness, like a trampoline. That means that your body is... Not only are your muscles contracting, but along that tissue sheath, your body is developing some appropriate tension there. So when your body doesn't do that, you might see the doming and then you feel the edges of the muscle and like a sinking in, and softness instead of that firmness.
0:10:08.7 Kim Schlag: And is it preventable in any way?
0:10:13.7 Marci Silverberg: That's such a good question. It's normal to a degree. What I discovered is it's actually physiologic and normal process. Research shows that at 35 weeks pregnant literally 100% of women have a diastasis at that point. 'Cause it's normal, when you get pregnant and your muscles stretch, that this sheath does get stretched out. Now by around six weeks postpartum for many women it just will close up on its own, they don't need to do anything specifically to make that happen, just they're the lucky ones. And then there's about 40% of women or so, I've read different numbers, 30%, 40% of women where it just doesn't close up on its own, and then those women would need to do rehab or something else to work on it.
0:11:01.3 Kim Schlag: That's a really high percentage.
0:11:03.0 Marci Silverberg: It is. It is a high percentage.
0:11:05.1 Kim Schlag: I did not know it was that common. Interesting.
0:11:08.9 Marci Silverberg: That's the thing about a lot of these things that I treat. They're surprisingly common.
0:11:14.3 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
0:11:15.2 Marci Silverberg: Yeah.
0:11:16.7 Kim Schlag: And can it be fully healed? Does it get to a point where you had a diastasis and now you do not have it present?
0:11:24.9 Marci Silverberg: It takes a little explanation. You should know that it is normal to have a diastasis to a degree. So it's considered normal to have, like I explained how you could put your fingers in there and you can feel the gap, so up to two and a half finger widths is actually considered normal. And that's a really important point, because I think when women hear about this they can get a little bit obsessive like... And I understand, and I was this way too, wanting it perfect, wanting everything back together. But there is a certain degree of gap that's considered normal, and some women have a gap even before they're pregnant. But most women wouldn't know, 'cause they don't think to test themselves before they're pregnant, to see if there's a gap even in the first place. And so for some women, when you do rehab, it does come back together to a degree, and it varies for different women, how much it comes back together. And I'll also say that the distance of the fingers is actually not even as important as that tension that I mentioned. So, yeah, there's a lot of interesting things about it, as it starts to heal and we focus on developing tension. Research has showed that as the muscles get stronger, there might be more tension, improved tension, yet more gap. So if we focus on healing the gap and getting the muscles to approximate, that's actually not even a good measure of...
0:12:52.0 Kim Schlag: Interesting. So it's the tension that's the main point?
0:12:56.6 Marci Silverberg: Absolutely. Yeah. It's the tension that's the main point. 'Cause that means that the muscles are responding appropriately and you're getting good forced closure in the front of the abdomen. So it's the tension that matters.
0:13:09.5 Kim Schlag: Besides the aesthetic piece of it, like maybe a person just doesn't like how this looks, what are the other problems that come with having one that is too big?
0:13:21.8 Marci Silverberg: So that's another interesting question, because the research about diastasis is actually just coming out, it's not super strong. So the diastasis has been associated with back pain and with pelvic floor dysfunction. And I say associated with it because pelvic PTs, we often talk about that it's important to fix a diastasis because it could be causing back pain, or pelvic floor dysfunction, or other issues, but the research, the evidence, doesn't actually show that, but I definitely see that in practice. So if someone has a diastasis and they're looking to improve it, right? Which we definitely wanna do, you look at the pelvic floor, and a lot of times the pelvic floor is weak too. And so in rehabbing the whole system, we're preventing other issues, or someone with a diastasis might have other issues relating to the pelvic floor dysfunction, like leaking or something else. I definitely see it associated with other issues. If your core is not strong that can have a lot of downwind effects, so someone could have... I've seen people with a weak knee, like a knee pain let's say, or a weak hip, and then ultimately their core is weak, they have a diastasis.
0:14:33.3 Marci Silverberg: So if your core is weak, that's the center of your body, you can have other problems up and down the kinetic chain that are related to a weak core. So it's definitely important to rehab it, although the clinical evidence doesn't prove that. What I see clinically is that it's definitely important to rehab it, and have a strong and functional core for life and for whatever activities we're doing.
0:14:58.9 Kim Schlag: Is there a certain window of time that a woman has to work on healing this after she has a baby? Or is it something that let's say... One of my listeners is listening and she's like, "Oh, I'm 45 and I had my last baby 10 years ago, and I have this." Is it too late at any point to work on healing this?
0:15:21.5 Marci Silverberg: Absolutely not, it is never too late to work on it, and I see that a lot. I see women that never really did rehab after they had their baby, and then they're coming in for rehab and now they're 50 and they have, you name it, a hip problem, they have leaking, and then we find that the core is weak and it never was really rehabbed. It's never too late and go back and rehab it then. The body remembers and just kind of holds on to it until we get to it.
0:15:49.6 Kim Schlag: I have to say I had never even heard of this when I was having children. So my kids are all older, now I'm 50, my youngest is 15 and a half. I had never heard of this term until several years ago. And so, is this something that is just becoming more like that women are becoming more aware of it? Or is it just happens that you think it may be just in... I just didn't happen to know anybody with it, or do you think that a lot of women are just now becoming aware that this is a thing?
0:16:17.4 Marci Silverberg: Women are just becoming aware of it, absolutely. The whole field of pelvic floor physical therapy is really growing now. So there are definitely pelvic floor PTs that were treating this problem in the '80s let's say, but not a lot, and now there's more and more pelvic PTs, and we're talking about these things. So women are starting to learn that if they're leaking after having a baby, that that's not normal, and that they should get treated for that. And that if they have this issue called diastasis, that there's people like me who are trained to help them with it. And so PTs is like, we're getting out there, like we're doing podcasts, and we're doing vlogging and we're on social media so that we can talk to women. That these things do happen and that there is treatment for it, so they don't have to just deal with it. So people are probably just hearing about it a lot more lately, and that's a really good thing.
0:17:09.5 Kim Schlag: And so, if someone who is listening right now and they're like, "Oh, this sounds like me". Whether they recently had a baby, or it's been 10 years, or somewhere in between, what should they do? If they're like, "Okay, yes, this is me".
0:17:20.5 Marci Silverberg: Yeah, so I think the best thing to do would be to work with someone like me who's a physical therapist and is trained in working with this, and there's also personal trainers that are trained in working with women postpartum. So finding someone who has the training and the knowledge in this area, and there's some websites that I can point you to to find somebody, or just finding a good local women's health PT. Even if you just go to your local PT clinic and ask how do they treat this condition, or who do they refer to that has training in this. Or you can look at this, there's some websites, I could point people to find someone with the training in order to work with them.
0:18:00.7 Kim Schlag: And so if someone was gonna come to you for this, give me a general idea of like, what are we talking about? Are we talking about exercises, or what is the gist of the treatment?
0:18:11.9 Marci Silverberg: So I look at everything. So when I work with someone and they're coming to me with this problem, I wanna know everything about what's going on. So the way I start with people is, I do an evaluation and I have them fill out some paperwork. So I wanna know what else is going on, if they're noticing they have a diastasis, are they having back pain, are they having any pelvic floor dysfunction? So specifically, are they leaking? And this could be like bowel or bladder. Are they leaking, are they having pain with intercourse, are they having a feeling of dragging in the vagina, what other orthopedic conditions do they have? We mentioned if you have this, there might be other issues up and down the chain, knee issues, hip issues, anything else going on. And then I'm gonna evaluate them and I'm gonna see... Treating this is not just about exercise, it's really a whole body approach, so I'm gonna start and I'm gonna look at, how does this person stand, right?
0:19:05.0 Marci Silverberg: If I have a mom who just had a baby and she has a diastasis and she's still standing like she's pregnant, which a lot of women might do, she's putting pressure on the front of her belly and causing... Kinda leading to more of that like split, more of that feeling of pressure in the front of the abdomen. So I have to work on the alignment piece first, and then I look with every single client, how are they breathing? 'Cause I can get into this, but how you breathe is very connected to how your core works. So I need to look at these foundational things first, and then I'm gonna evaluate the diastasis, and then I'm gonna see what this person needs first. So the treatment is always gonna be alignment and looking at breathing patterns, and then it's probably gonna be looking at how they sit at the computer, and how they pick up their kids, and different things about how they use all the muscles of their body. And then there might be some corrective exercises to help with the diastasis and generating tension.
0:20:02.7 Marci Silverberg: But there might be other things going on. Some women will have weak pelvic floors and that needs to be treated in order to close the diastasis, 'cause the pelvic floor and the muscles in the front of the abdomen are very intimately connected. So that might need to happen. Some women are really tight in other muscles that connect to, and in effect, that linea alba. So I have women who, when they go to use their core, they grip with their external oblique, these muscles on the sides, and they need to learn to not do that, and we need to do some release work. So there might be manual work that I need to do to release different muscles of the body. Sometimes the ribcage is flared from pregnancy and I need to do manual work on the thoracic spine, so I'm looking at everything above and below. I'm doing usually a full plan of care, so it's education, it's exercise, it could be stretches, it could be, this is how to stand at your computer, you know, it's very holistic how I treat it.
0:21:02.5 Kim Schlag: Got it. And what does a typical course of treatment take, so from the time somebody's like comes to see you until this is very well healed. How long are we talking?
0:21:13.7 Marci Silverberg: Yeah, I usually evaluate a person and get to know them in order to understand what their goals are. It's very much goal driven. So if I have someone who says they wanna be able to just return to exercise and know what exercises to do, and beyond the course of healing this, because it could take a long time to heal it. I might give them maybe six sessions, if I have someone else that say they have a diastasis and they're leaking and their goal is to run 10 miles, they have goals that require me to train them for a specific activity that's more difficult and more loading, so I might be working with them longer. So it depends on the individual, it depends what their goals are and how they progress through treatment, but I would say on average, I probably see people around six to 10 visits, but it's variable.
0:22:02.3 Kim Schlag: Okay, got it.
0:22:03.9 Marci Silverberg: Yeah.
0:22:04.0 Kim Schlag: Got it. Now besides diastasis, what do you think are the other top two pelvic health issues that women come to you for?
0:22:14.6 Marci Silverberg: Yeah, so top two, definitely leaking is one. So leaking urine. And I would just say that it's very common that women's leak, I think like 40% to 50% of women postpartum are leaking to some degree and that's definitely the number one thing. And it could be presenting like, "I'm leaking when I cough or sneeze," that's one type of leaking called stress incontinence, or it could be, "When I get the urge to go, I just have to go to bathroom immediately," and that's called urge incontinence. And they're treated differently. And when it comes to that, I would say any leaking is not normal and should be treated. 'Cause sometimes women will say, "Well, I only leak a little bit..."
0:23:00.9 Kim Schlag: We all think it's normal.
0:23:01.3 Marci Silverberg: Yeah.
0:23:01.3 Kim Schlag: I have to say, so you're my second public health physical therapist I've had on the podcast. I think it was about almost two years ago, I had a woman by the name of Hannah Ross, and we talked in depth about that. I will link that episode here. And I remember saying [chuckle] like, "I just thought it was normal that I leaked." You know that like, "Oh, of course I pee a little bit when I sneeze or when I jump 'cause every... All of my friends do too," and it's one of those things you don't realize like, "Oh, this isn't actually supposed to be happening, and it is fixable."
0:23:30.3 Marci Silverberg: It's fixable. Yes, absolutely, and the earlier you treat it, the better. If it's been going on for a really long time, it might be a little bit harder to treat and reconnect to those muscles, so it's important to get it treated. And the thing I love sharing with people, I'm very passionate about treating women for leaking, it's factually, it's the number one reason why older people end up having to go into higher levels of care like nursing homes and assisted living.
0:23:56.9 Kim Schlag: Really?
0:23:57.4 Marci Silverberg: It's just because of the leaking and the incontinence, yeah.
0:24:00.1 Kim Schlag: That is so interesting.
0:24:02.3 Marci Silverberg: Yeah. And so it's so important for your lifestyle to just...
0:24:06.1 Kim Schlag: Alright, you may have just inspired me to finally make a dang appointment with a pelvic health physical therapist. 'Cause I always saw it like, "I should just get this, I should go see somebody, I should go see somebody," and I just never put it on my top of my priority list to do. That makes it feel really important to me.
0:24:23.0 Marci Silverberg: Good, I'm so glad. Yeah.
0:24:25.2 Kim Schlag: The fact that I pee my pants when I cough and I've been sick for three months, you think it would have been important already, [chuckle] but this kind of nudges it even higher.
0:24:33.5 Marci Silverberg: Absolutely, and it has such an effect on quality of life. Women, we're so good at transferring that, "Oh, we'll deal with that later," because there's all these other more important things that seem on the list. But the thing is, it affects your quality of life, right? If you're afraid you're gonna... I feel like, I don't have those issues, but if I was afraid I was gonna pee, then I start avoiding things. And I see it all the time. The first client I had, I took these courses, I learned how to do internal work, I get my first client who's leaking, and her story is classic, she's been leaking for three years, her doctor said, unfortunately, that there's nothing she could do about it other than get surgery, which is a shame 'cause it's fixable most times with conservative care. So she's leaking, so she doesn't exercise because she feels embarrassed 'cause she leaks when she exercises. And because she's not exercising, she feels more stressed, so she eats more and then she gains more weight and then it affects her body image and now she's not having good relationship with her husband. So it has this huge spiral effect, and I think that that can happen in lots of different ways. So it's not just leaking, if you think about the impact it has on your life.
0:25:39.8 Kim Schlag: It can have a long reaching impact, absolutely. So tell us one more. What's another top issue women come to you for?
0:25:47.4 Marci Silverberg: I treat a lot of women with pelvic organ prolapse.
0:25:51.6 Kim Schlag: Okay. And how does that happen?
0:25:54.1 Marci Silverberg: Yeah. So what it is, is you have these three organs in your pelvic cavity, you've got your bladder, your uterus and your rectum, and they have their place that they live, and they're connected by fascia ligaments, they stay in their place, and they can shift a little bit. They could shift downwards a little bit, and what that could look like or feel like for a woman is, she'll say she has a feeling of dragging vaginally or it feels like something's coming out of her vagina, is what it feels like. It's a very uncomfortable feeling, and that's another one that is treatable most times with conservative care, so that's one that it's graded. It's graded from levels one to four, and when it's a four, that means it's like completely outside of the vaginal entrance, and then at that point it needs surgical repair to come back, but it's another one of those things that are progressive, and this is actually one of the things that made me feel really passionate about working with women.
0:26:52.7 Marci Silverberg: So I learned that after a woman has a baby, the incident of pelvic organ prolapse, the incidence is very high, it's like 30% or 40% of women have this. But a lot of them don't even know that they have it, because they might have this really mild form, like a grade one, and you don't really start feeling it until you're about a grade two. So now in my practice, typical situation is a woman calls me and she's in, say her 50s or her 60s, and she says, "Oh my God, all of a sudden I feel like something's falling out of my vagina, and I go to the OB and I get diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse," and she's in a panic, "Can you help me? I don't wanna have surgery." And absolutely, I work with her and as long as it's not severe, oftentimes, I can help her with the symptoms and we could reduce the prolapse, not completely, but by a little bit, but the thing is, it's like it's the straw that broke the camel's back. This process was in play for a long, long time, and one day it just got to the point that she felt it. Okay, so she probably was never checked. So I check every client to see if they have any kind of pelvic organ prolapse and even if it's mild, I want them to know so they can start treating it and they don't end up that woman that's 50 calling me in panic.
0:28:13.0 Kim Schlag: It feels like as women, we're really disconnected from our pelvic health and what should be happening and what shouldn't be happening, and what's just normal, and what even though it is common, is still not normal.
0:28:25.2 Marci Silverberg: Absolutely, absolutely. I talk about this all the time, I give classes about it, I just don't think that we as women are really educated about our bodies and our pelvic health, and part of it is that a lot of women really are uncomfortable talking about pee, poop and sex.
0:28:42.6 Kim Schlag: Yeah. [chuckle]
0:28:43.2 Marci Silverberg: I call myself, I'm a physical therapist that talks really openly about pee, poop and sex, and so let's talk about what's normal and what's not normal, so that women can know if something's happening to them that it's not normal. Certain things are not normal. They may be common, but that doesn't mean that they're normal or that there's nothing they could do about it. And so those things would be leaking, and that could be urine or it could be stool. Feeling like something is dragging out of your vagina, seem like that gap, that diastasis when you're doing exercises. And the other one that we haven't talked much about, but is having pain with intercourse, those are the main ones that women suffer with, and they just think that there's nothing they could do about it. Now those are the main things.
0:29:30.0 Kim Schlag: And so what would you say to women out there listening, what's the one thing you would say, "Here's what I want you to know about your pelvic health, if you know nothing else about it, you start here."
0:29:45.2 Marci Silverberg: I guess all those things that I mentioned. Do you know I start where I like to tell women about their pelvic health is? I just like to start with a model and just show like, this is where your vagina is located, this is where your pelvic floor is located, and just know that... And I said it before, but which it's not normal to leak, it's not normal to have urgency around going to the bathroom, it's not normal to have pain conditions either with intercourse or just around the pelvis and around the back, and it's not normal to feel like things are falling out. Physical therapists also treat women who have really painful periods, that's another problem I really deal with.
0:30:25.0 Kim Schlag: Oh, really.
0:30:26.3 Marci Silverberg: Yeah, we help women who are very constipated, that can be a pelvic floor issue.
0:30:30.7 Kim Schlag: Interesting.
0:30:31.6 Marci Silverberg: So we can help with dietary recommendations to help some things flow through, but that can be related to bowel health, and there's things that we do for that, and abdominal massage and there's lots of different things that we treat. But basically, if you're having discomforts, you can talk to a pelvic PT and see if there's things we could do, 'cause a lot of times there's things that we could do for discomforts that people think are normal and definitely pregnancy-related discomforts, I treat all the time that women might say, "Oh well, I'm pregnant, so of course I have back pain." 90% of women when they are pregnant have back pain, but I treat women who are pregnant with back pain all the time and get them feeling more comfortable, like why suffer with it. You know?
0:31:12.2 Kim Schlag: Yeah. We don't need to suffer. So you said something interesting back at the very beginning when we first started talking, and I didn't bring it up then, 'cause it wasn't kind of the whole point of the podcast, 'cause my audience is women, but I was so interested in it. I'm sure a lot of these women have men in their lives, they love. You mentioned women and men with pelvic health issues, so what kind of pelvic health issues do men have? I never, ever thought about men having pelvic health issues, but obviously you have a pelvis. So what kind of issues do they have?
0:31:41.2 Marci Silverberg: They can have pain conditions around their pelvis or around their private parts. They have prostate cancer sometimes, so then they get rehabilitation after surgeries. They can have the constipation issues, they have sexual dysfunctions as well, they could have things like pain with orgasm. Yeah, difficulties with sex, difficulties with maintaining or getting an erection, that could have to do with the muscles and how the muscles are working down there.
0:32:16.7 Kim Schlag: Do you work with many men?
0:32:19.1 Marci Silverberg: I don't. I'm mostly working with women right now.
0:32:21.6 Kim Schlag: Got it.
0:32:22.6 Marci Silverberg: Yeah. I think maybe later on in my career, I plan to start seeing more men, but right now I'm just seeing women.
0:32:28.2 Kim Schlag: Okay.
0:32:29.2 Marci Silverberg: Yeah.
0:32:29.6 Kim Schlag: Well, this has been an enlightening conversation, I'm sure people listening have definitely learned something that they did not know before, and hopefully a lot of people will take the next step to get themselves some help, because we don't need to be having... We don't need to be peeing on ourselves and having discomfort and just living with it and accepting it.
0:32:48.2 Marci Silverberg: Absolutely, I agree. Yeah. That's great.
0:32:50.7 Kim Schlag: Thank you so much for coming on, Marci. Where can people find you if they want to talk to you more about these things?
0:32:57.3 Marci Silverberg: Sure, you could find me on the Internet, and my website is www.marcipt.com.
0:33:06.0 Kim Schlag: Amazing. Well, thanks so much. We sure appreciate your time and your expertise in this area.
0:33:11.8 Marci Silverberg: Thanks so much for having me, Kim.
0:33:13.4 Kim Schlag: Thank you, bye-bye.
0:33:19.7 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.
Episode #88: Fit At Any Age with Susan Niebergall
0:00:03.3 Kim Schlag: Welcome to Episode 88 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm joined by my friend and colleague, Susan Niebergall. Now, Susan is 60 years old and is in the best shape of her life. She got into that incredible shape starting in her 50s. She just wrote a book all about her journey, Fit At Any Age: It Is Never Too Late. And today, we're gonna talk about that book, we're gonna talk about Susan's journey, we're gonna talk about how you can do it too, and you're even gonna have a chance to win a free copy of her book. Let's go.
0:00:43.3 Kim Schlag: Hello, Susan.
0:00:44.6 Susan Niebergall: Hello.
0:00:45.9 Kim Schlag: Thanks so much for joining me.
0:00:47.7 Susan Niebergall: Of course, of course, of course.
0:00:50.0 Kim Schlag: So before we get started, anybody who's listened to my podcast for a bit, or follows me on social media has probably had some introduction to you, but why don't you give us a brief introduction for those who are new to you.
0:01:00.3 Susan Niebergall: Sure, sure. I'm Susan Niebergall of Susan Niebergall Fitness, and co-coach in Syatt Fitness Inner Circle, and I am a 60-year-old strength coach who basically yo-yo dieted for three decades or more. [chuckle] Guess it sounds like a lot of time, but when you think about it, it was a lot of time. I was never that obese person, but I was always that person that had to lose some weight. I was always heavy. And I think back then, that's what people said, you were heavy. [chuckle] Not fat, you were heavy, right? Yeah, and I literally just wrote a book about all of the issues that I went through, all the struggles that I had, and how I turned it all around in my mid 50s just to kinda lead the way with the message that you have as well that it's never too late to change, right? Because you've...
0:01:55.6 Kim Schlag: I'm holding that book right here in my hand right now, everybody. Here it is.
0:01:58.4 Susan Niebergall: There you go.
0:02:00.2 Kim Schlag: Susan showing her guns on the cover of this book, Fit At Any Age: It's Never Too Late. That is no small accomplishment, Susan, to write a book.
0:02:07.7 Susan Niebergall: No, it was not a small accomplishment, and I almost quit many times along the way. [chuckle] Yeah.
0:02:13.1 Kim Schlag: Why did you decide to write the book? What was the driving force? What was your point?
0:02:17.6 Susan Niebergall: The point was to show people, man, you're not alone. Like, I made all those mistakes. Every single one of them, and there's a bunch of them in there. And some of them are bigger than others, you know what I mean? But just little things that we thought growing up were true and that you followed along certain paths and they ended up not being good, not accurate, but just the whole point of, yeah, I screwed up too, I made all these mistakes too, and I still changed it around, you know? Like, it doesn't matter, I guess the point is. The point is it doesn't matter how many times you make a mistake, how long this takes, whatever, you keep after it, you surround yourself with the right people, you get the right information, and you start applying it consistently, you can change anything at any age. That was just kind of the bottom line. And just to make people feel like you're not alone. Like, guys, people in our generation, we all did weird stuff, [chuckle] I mean, we all did.
0:03:16.8 Kim Schlag: Our attempts at weight loss are many and varied and whacky.
0:03:21.1 Susan Niebergall: So it's interesting, because the feedback that I've gotten from the book has been phenomenal, and the most common thing I hear is, "I was nodding my head the whole way through," like, "Oh my God, yes. Oh my God, I remember that. I did that too." It was a lot of that, and then hope at the end, which was the entire point of why I did it.
0:03:38.6 Kim Schlag: And people might be surprised by how much they nod along if they don't know you, if they just look at you and maybe see you briefly, right? I bet people are making a whole lot of assumptions based on how you appear. What assumptions do people make about you, Susan?
0:03:53.2 Susan Niebergall: The biggest one is that I must work out for hours and hours and hours, right?
0:03:57.2 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
0:03:58.9 Susan Niebergall: Like, I must. And that my nutrition must be so dialed in to the minute littlest detail that life can't be fun. I've had... I posted about this a while ago... I'm gonna repost it again, a nutritionist who literally made those kind of assumptions about me in a post on Instagram, and somebody brought it to my attention, and it was kinda like, wow, just from my picture, she assumed all of these things. I must be eating basically nothing, and I was having to dial it in, and my workouts must be hours and hours on end, and I must spend every day in the gym. And it's like, it's nothing like that, as you know. I mean, it's nothing like that. And then, the steroid thing gets thrown around every now and again.
0:04:39.5 Kim Schlag: Yeah, I've heard that...
0:04:39.8 Susan Niebergall: I haven't heard that in a while, but I'm sure that'll pop up eventually again.
0:04:43.7 Kim Schlag: You know, I bet people look at you and think, "There's a woman who's always been fit."
0:04:46.9 Susan Niebergall: Oh, right.
0:04:47.4 Kim Schlag: "There's a woman who's never struggled with her weight. She's genetically gifted."
0:04:52.7 Susan Niebergall: Oh, yeah.
0:04:53.8 Kim Schlag: "Fitness comes easy to you. You've never been intimidated by the gym," right? Don't you think people look at you and think all of those things?
0:05:00.4 Susan Niebergall: Every single one of them, and what's the irony here is I have obesity on one side of my family, heart disease in my family. So genetically, I don't have those gifts. [chuckle] I was not a sports girl, so I didn't play sports growing up. I was a musician...
0:05:16.8 Kim Schlag: You love sports, but you don't play sports.
0:05:17.9 Susan Niebergall: I love sports, and people assumed I played sports because of that. Because I could talk to guys about football and plays, and I was knowledgeable, so people assumed. I mean, I did play flag football, I take that back. In my 20s, I was on a co-ed flag football team, and I crushed on that, just because my knowledge of football was pretty great, but that wasn't like a sport. I didn't do any sports. I was a musician and that was what I did, so yeah, people assume that I've just been lucky enough to have the ability to do this. And I'm a klutz. [chuckle] I mean... So yeah, I don't have any of that. I am just an average person who was averagely overweight a lot of her life. I was called tank as a kid, chubby. I was heavy. What was the other word? Husky. Was that a word when we were younger?
0:06:06.3 Kim Schlag: Yeah. Yeah.
0:06:06.7 Susan Niebergall: That was close, right?
0:06:08.0 Kim Schlag: That was a word that was literally on clothing.
0:06:10.4 Susan Niebergall: Right. [chuckle] Yeah.
0:06:12.8 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
0:06:13.3 Susan Niebergall: All that, that was all me. Yeah. So I was never the, I needed to lose 150 pounds. That was never me.
0:06:19.6 Kim Schlag: Okay, so tell... and this is in the book, guys, so you're gonna get a full run down in the book, but kinda hit on some of the highlights, Susan. How did you get from there, not obese, but kind of overweight, not particularly athletic, more a musician to somebody who's now a trainer, super in shape, very strong, very fit, how did you go from there to here? Give us the Cliff notes version for it.
0:06:42.0 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, the Cliff Notes. I joined a gym and started doing classes. That's where all of it started, and actually even rewinding before that, I did a stint of jazzercise, which I wrote about in the book, which I couldn't write a lot about 'cause I don't remember a lot about it, for probably a good reason. [chuckle] I wasn't...
0:06:58.2 Kim Schlag: You blocked that out.
0:07:00.0 Susan Niebergall: It wasn't my cup of tea, but really, the love started with these classes I went to at this gym. They were aerobics-based classes, step-ish kinda things with some little weight stuff at the end. The community piece is what kept me going back. It's like how CrossFit does it, Orangetheory does it, they all do that really well. So did this gym and these classes, as it does for a lot of people, actually, and that's what gets people in the door, and that's what got me in the door, kept coming back. And where the classes were, I could see the free weights section, and I just started paying attention over there, and started getting very curious and tried to go over there myself a couple of times, made a bunch of stupid mistakes there, and almost didn't go back because of an incident that happened in there.
0:07:43.4 Susan Niebergall: And it's kind of everyone's worst nightmare of gym intimidation. You find the one asshole that will actually come up and say something to you, when most of the people in there are like, "You go, girl." Overcame that and got a trainer, and that's where the working out piece propelled. I started working with a trainer there, and after that for years, I would work with different trainers all along the way. And the interesting part about that was that none of them put the whole package with nutrition together, none of them. And so, while I was gaining strength and I was loving being in the gym and learning how to lift and things like that, I never really could see progress from any of that, just because the nutrition piece wasn't there, and it's a classic case of you can't out-train any kind of diet, whether you wanna say bad, good, whatever, it doesn't matter. That has to be priority for you.
0:08:34.9 Susan Niebergall: And it wasn't for me, so I didn't know, right? I thought eating clean was cool, I thought that was it. [chuckle] You know? The whole eating clean thing, and I did that for a long time. But it all kinda just did this, I would lose a little bit, gain some more back. I just bounced back and forth and never had it down for so long until probably six years ago when I started working with Jordan, and I didn't go to him for nutrition, 'cause you know, he does that and I was not interested at the time, 'cause I thought...
0:09:04.3 Kim Schlag: What age is this, 54?
0:09:06.1 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, I think it was. He and I talk about that. I'm not... We think so, [chuckle] we think so. I think right before that, I had gone to my doctor, thinking, "Oh, it's my metabolism." I went through that whole route, and I talk about that a lot in the book, about how I blamed that, and my doctor set me straight, very nicely, she set me straight, but she did, and that was a big life-changing moment for me. I had to sit with that, I had to accept it, that I wasn't doing things right. And when I started doing that, I did implement small changes, just more awareness...
0:09:38.5 Kim Schlag: What kind of things did you start doing?
0:09:40.2 Susan Niebergall: Just awareness, not eating as much, just portions were smaller. I mean, it wasn't anything drastic. I didn't track, I didn't do anything yet, and I started seeing some change. It's crazy what you can do when you become aware of what's happening. It's textbook right? And then that's when I signed on with Jordan, and that's why I didn't sign on with nutrition, 'cause I thought, "Oh, I know what I'm doing now," [chuckle] and I really didn't. But as you do too, I was reading everything he wrote, and I watched everything he recorded, and I started applying stuff from him, and then he and I would start talking about it, and then it got to be more like, he was coaching me through everything, and that's kinda where it changed. When you finally get information that you can grasp that you can actually apply, and apply it. You have to actually apply it, and you have to actually be consistent about it, and I know that's your message too. That's my message. That's his message. We all message that consistency with anything. If you're not consistent with something, you're not gonna have success, and we all think we're being way more consistent than we're being.
0:10:46.7 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
0:10:48.3 Susan Niebergall: So it was a little... It's honesty, right?
0:10:51.4 Kim Schlag: Absolutely. So Susan, you mentioned clean eating. You and I have a heck of a lot in common, down to the fact that our sons share a birthday...
0:10:57.6 Susan Niebergall: Oh my God. Oh my God, yeah. That's great, right? Yeah.
0:11:00.3 Kim Schlag: Which has been so crazy, Susan. We constantly realize weird things we have in common. One way that we differ is that you come solidly from this clean eating kinda club, and I was from the "My diet is just craptastic," all the way through my [chuckle] 20s and 30s, right? So for all the women listening who are die hard clean eaters, talk about how you left the Clean Eater Club, and what effect that that has had on you physically and emotionally?
0:11:21.7 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, clean eating. We thought, "Well, what's wrong with that?" And there's nothing wrong with it. I mean, obviously clean, whatever that means to people, is great. Nutrient-dense foods, obviously a really, really good thing to eat most of, but the problem was I was paying zero attention to portion sizes. So, I talk about this one particular place that our family would dine, a local little restaurant where I would order this thing that sounded really healthy. It was grilled chicken pasta with some pesto, whatever. I'm thinking, "Cool, there's no like Alfredo sauce, there's none of that stuff. I'm getting this really healthy meal." I would eat the whole thing. It was huge, you know? And I wasn't thinking that, "Oh my gosh, this is... I shouldn't be eating all of this. I don't need all of this." I didn't know. I didn't know how much protein I was eating. I wasn't even thinking in that way, right? I just knew it was healthy, and so because of that, it had to be good.
0:12:17.2 Susan Niebergall: And that, and almonds were a big thing for me back, especially when I worked in the school. Almonds, you walk by here, grab a handful, whatever, and then later on you're walking by, you're gonna grab another handful because you're hungry, 'cause I was not... I had no concept of balancing out my meals. I was doing... I did a phase of Slim Fast for a while, and I was hungry, of course, I would be hungry if I'm doing that. So, clean eating was one of those things that... It's not a bad thing, but when you do it in lieu of paying attention to other things, I think that it's gonna end up making you spin your wheels just like it did me. Clean food has calories, and those count just as much as calories from a doughnut counts, right? I mean, as we all know. And so, I think...
0:13:03.8 Susan Niebergall: When I started getting my act together, when I started working with Jordan, all that started making sense to me now. Oh, I can have that cupcake that I turned down for so many years at these birthday gatherings at school, and it's not gonna kill my progress. Those calories, I can keep track of those the same way I keep track of that big meal that I had that was clean, full of nutrients, whatever at that restaurant. That was probably 1,200 calories in that meal and that was dinner. So think of what I'd eaten all up to that point. So, you just learn that you don't have to, first of all, be in this bubble, because that's what it was for me. I was in a food bubble. It was prison. I really thought clean eating...
0:13:43.5 Kim Schlag: You had your list of foods you could eat and the ones you couldn't eat.
0:13:46.8 Susan Niebergall: Yeah and that stemmed from... And I truly believe this is true for a lot of us. Growing up, I really feel like our generation, we were brought up with a couple of things that were black and white. One was good food and bad food. There was food that was good for us, and food that wasn't good for us. And you could say good for not only from a nutrient perspective, but even from, "Ooh, you shouldn't eat that, 'cause that's gonna make you a little fat." I think our generation was brought up that way. The same thing with the scale, I feel like we were brought up with, "If the scale goes up, that's bad, if it goes down, it's good." There was no talk about what's actually happening and why it actually fluctuates three pounds to five pounds in a day. It was just either it's up, "Oh my God, it's bad," or it goes down...
0:14:30.8 Kim Schlag: Those are strongly rooted beliefs in the women I coach. We both coach a lot of middle aged women, and those beliefs are really just deeply entrenched in their brains. So the scale goes up a little bit, and it takes quite a while for some of them to understand, no matter what they do, no matter how perfect they're being with their diet, the scale is still going to have these spikes. It's really hard for them to comprehend that. Just like it's really, really tricky for them to get a hold of the fact that they can have the cupcake and still lose weight. It takes a lot of practice and actually watching, okay, what happens when I eat the cupcake? I'm gonna stay at my calories, and wow I'm still losing weight. It takes a bunch of times of that before they start to really believe it.
0:15:12.1 Susan Niebergall: It does, it does. And I will put myself into that group too. And I've been talking a lot recently about how, because those beliefs are so ingrained in us, I don't know if they'll ever go away, but I think it's how... I think what happens now, like when I see... I've had the scale spike that's recently, that went up and I'm like, I don't like it either. I don't like it. I still get that familiar kick in the gut, but the difference... And it's okay to feel that, and I think we need to put that out there. It's okay to not like that. I mean, I don't know many people that do like it, but it's not okay when you let the emotions then drive that car. And that's where people get into trouble. It's now I can feel it. I'm like, "Yeah, okay, it went up. I don't like this, whatever. I know it's gonna sort itself out at some point." It just took longer this time, you know?
0:16:02.0 Susan Niebergall: It took maybe four days to sort itself out instead of the usual two or whatever, but the point is, it did sort itself out. I didn't do anything to drastically change because, oh my God, the scale spiked. I just rode it out. And when you do that and you see what happens, okay, you saw it, great. You saw that whole pattern. Do it again. You'll still get the kick in the gut maybe, and it's gonna get easier, right? I don't think it's ever gonna go away though. I just truly think for that many decades with stuff implanted in you, it's kinda hard to...
0:16:35.4 Kim Schlag: You can get to the point where you're not emotional about it and more like, you're talking about Susan, you can be logical about it. And you can be like, "Oh, I wasn't expecting that, but there it is. I am now going to do what I was gonna do anyway. I'm still gonna eat the foods I had planned for today. I'm not gonna do extra cardio. I'm not gonna cancel my dinner plans because the scale is up." Or the other extreme, which people go to, which is, "Screw it, this isn't working. I'm just gonna eat all the things," right? Instead of...
0:17:00.5 Susan Niebergall: Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, I was the punisher, I was the...
0:17:02.7 Kim Schlag: Right? That was kind of the piece of... And so you can get to the point where stepping on the scale doesn't lead to that.
0:17:07.2 Susan Niebergall: Yeah. I was that... I wasn't the... I'm not a stress eater. I'm not one of those. When I get stressed, my stomach gets into a knot and I don't eat. But when I do overeat, I would have been that person that would be the punisher. I would be going downstairs doing 100 crunches thinking," Oh yeah, that's gonna do something." [chuckle] I mean, logically, if you think about it, it's like, what... But I would be that person. I would do that if I felt full, which I was when I overate, I would try to work it off, and I would do more cardio, I would do the crunches, whatever it was.
0:17:42.5 Kim Schlag: And I think a lot of people are gonna hear that and be like, "Yeah, me too." I'm sure there's plenty of people listening who are like, "That's me. That's what I do." Susan, what does a workout week look like for you these days?
0:17:54.6 Susan Niebergall: Four days a week. And it's so funny you ask that today, because today is the first day that day one has landed on a Monday for me in I can't even tell you how long, just because of traveling and scheduling and stuff. And I like that. I'm a creature of habit. So, usually this week, it'll be Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday or Sunday. I'm not sure which one it will be. It's one of the two. That's the one variable. But yeah, now that we have a bike here, I ride every day, and when I ride, I don't necessarily go hard and do a spin class or anything, I'll just get on and pedal for a while just to move. But once or twice a week, I will do a spin class, and I really actually enjoyed that. I've enjoyed...
0:18:37.0 Kim Schlag: That's new for you.
0:18:37.7 Susan Niebergall: It's real new for me. I did them in the gym years ago, but I like having the app and pulling up. There's classes that are 15 minutes long to over an hour. You can choose. You can choose what kind of class it is. And it's been really interesting because between that and bike sprints that have been on my program recently, my cardiovascular endurance has improved unbelievably in a short amount of time, which is fascinating to see, 'cause I'm not a cardio girl. I don't love it. I like the class thing. That makes it more bearable. The sprints, I don't know if I'll ever love them. I weirdly like them now, but I don't know if I'll ever love them. But it's really interesting to see that, that your heart, how dramatically you can change that quickly, very quickly, that turns around.
0:19:29.8 Kim Schlag: Absolutely. Last fall, right before I got sick, I started a running program...
0:19:33.1 Susan Niebergall: I remember.
0:19:33.3 Kim Schlag: And it was shocking to me, and I'm gonna tackle that again, once I'm feeling well enough to do that. I'm gonna do that later this year. And I was really pleasantly surprised with how quickly my cardio endurance improved. And now, having sat on my butt for three months and did nothing, I was stunned with how in the tank my cardio... How my abilities were, but even just a month, I've been back, this is week four of my training plan, I've been walking 30 minutes a day, and training three times a week. Today's workout was just worlds better than week one.
0:20:07.3 Susan Niebergall: I love it.
0:20:08.4 Kim Schlag: My heart is not pounding out of my chest doing a plank now. Isn't that crazy? Literally four weeks ago, I was worried, I was like, "Should I call the doctor? What's wrong with me?" And when I did talk to the doctor, he's like, "You're just really out of shape now." And I haven't been really out of shape since I started getting in shape, seven years ago, so that... It surprised me. But that can improve really quickly.
0:20:27.1 Susan Niebergall: That must have felt weird for you.
0:20:29.0 Kim Schlag: It was scary. I was like, "Is something wrong? I've done four exercises," I literally did one set, this was the fourth thing I had done that day, and it was a 20-second plank, and seriously, I thought it was gonna pound out of my head, my heart was racing, I couldn't breathe, and now today, the plank is still a little hard for me at 20 seconds, but the heart rate is normal elevated, like, "Okay, I've just finished," and now I'm doing three sets of everything, so it's three sets of four exercises, and when I got to the end of that third set of planks, I felt normal. So that was encouraging.
0:21:04.4 Susan Niebergall: That's really encouraging.
0:21:05.7 Kim Schlag: Yeah, now, Susan, on your four workout days, you got your bike days, then you got your lifting days, four lifting days. What are they set up like?
0:21:14.9 Susan Niebergall: So lower body, upper body, lower body, upper body. Interestingly, my program, we've made a lot of adjustments of late, and so I don't have many exercises. I think, today, I had four, four leg exercises on leg day and one core exercise, and then the bike sprints, that's a typical length workout. They don't take me nearly as long as they used to. My volume is... Interestingly, my volume is about the same, just because of sets and reps, but not a lot of riding. I think people think you gotta have eight to 10 things to do or more is better, that whole thing, and it's just not. I think, boring basic stuff, as you know and as we like to program for our people, it's just that works and it's just bringing intensity to that and getting better with those and that's kind of what I was doing. And I actually posted today, today was leg day, so I... Dead-lifts haven't felt good with me for... Gosh, I don't even know how long, it's been so long.
0:22:23.3 Susan Niebergall: So I made a big conscious decision months ago, "I'm just gonna rebuild, I'm gonna pretend almost like I don't know what I'm doing, and I'm starting almost from the ground floor." I didn't go back to the ground floor, but pretty close, and I have had so much more fun doing them. I feel like I'm getting stronger now, because I've done that, because I'm so focused on my technique now, I feel like I've made incredible strides and everything's feeling easier, where I am now. So that's been fun. So I guess, as your training plans... Before you got sick, were probably very similar to mine, from the perspective of how they're laid out, because Jordan writes both of ours. But it's a major lift at the beginning and then some supersets and then boom, you're done. That's it. And I think that's super effective, it's not the three hours in the gym. Sometimes, it'll take me longer... I'm the worst person in the world to ask, "How long does it take?" because I talk to the people and I was thinking about this...
0:23:26.2 Kim Schlag: And you film.
0:23:26.6 Susan Niebergall: And I film, and people, especially right now, people say stuff to me about how long are my workouts. So I'm like, "You know what? They take way longer than they should." Because the gym is the only place right now, where I see people. I was thinking about that when I left, and it's been like this for a long time. Our gym's, luckily, has been open since probably end of May, beginning of June, and I don't really see a lot of people outside of there, so when I'm there in my midday time with the people that I usually know, my gym friends, whatever, I like to chat with them, we have our little distance and we do our little thing, whatever we're supposed to do with all the rules, but I like seeing human beings. So yeah, I take a little longer than I should. Long-winded way of saying that. It's still...
0:24:15.0 Kim Schlag: Don't you think it's interesting, people are very interested in how long does your workout take, 'cause they wanna know how long should their workout take, and people are very invested in how long should it be, but not nearly as much paying attention to the two things they should be, which is, "What's my total volume?" and even more importantly, "How intensely am I working?"
0:24:30.3 Susan Niebergall: Yeah. When I hear somebody, whether it's in the inner circle or one of my clients say, "That workout only took me whatever minutes," and I'm like, "Well, if that workout only took you that many minutes, you're not working hard enough."
0:24:45.1 Kim Schlag: You're not working hard enough.
0:24:46.6 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, 100%. And the other thing is, you can half ass any workout, any workout you can half ass, and you can also make any workout super challenging, it's up to you. It's about the person and what you bring to the workout, not necessarily what's written on that piece of paper, or app or whatever. Still a piece of paper. [chuckle]
0:25:13.9 Kim Schlag: Absolutely, it's really true. I was making a comment about that on my stories the other day, when I was showing people my workout, which again, it's four exercises, and I was at one point, doing one set and I was like, "Whoever you are, you can do this workout with me and make it work for you, no matter how advanced you are, because you will just use heavier weights, you can do some more sets, 'cause once set's probably not gonna be enough for you. But you guys can add some more sets on and make the weight appropriate and it can be just as hard for somebody who was in better shape than I was at that moment." So that's the thing about a good workout. A good workout is gonna be a good workout, if you bring to that workout, the intensity that you need to.
0:25:50.9 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, and to clarify also, 'cause I get asked this too, I don't mean you have to do jump squats or jumping jacks in between sets or anything, it's not that kind of intensity 'cause so many people think of HIIT or something like that. It's, how focused are you on what you're doing, how much weight are you actually moving in a proper range of motion, with proper technique, it's that kind of focus and intensity that you bring to it, and I think that is gonna be the game changer. You doing your 10 reps and by number 10, you're like, "Okay, good, I did it." Or is it number eight, nine and 10 a struggle to finish? There's a big difference.
0:26:27.2 Kim Schlag: That's what we mean by intensity, guys. We're not talking about, "My heart rate is up and I'm sweating, and I feel like the floor was wiped with me," we're talking, "I'm having to really focus to get this weight up, the number of reps I'm supposed to, and keep good form and move it through a full range of motion." That's what we're talking about, about intensity. It is so key, way more important than how long was your workout.
0:26:47.4 Susan Niebergall: Oh, way, way, way, way more. And I think people get hung up with that a lot, they... They think, "Well, I didn't sweat that much. This must not have been a hard enough workout." I don't sweat when I strength train. I'm not a sweater. I've started sweating now when I do these bike things, I'll sweat at the bike sprints, I will, and I'll sweat at sprint class, but if I'm training in the gym, I don't sweat like that, so for me to judge my workout based on that would not be a good way to judge it because that doesn't matter. You don't chase whether you are sweating or whether your tongue is on the ground when you're trying to leave the gym... In fact, it probably shouldn't be, if you're strength training. If you're doing HIIT workouts or CrossFit, it probably is gonna be. They're just different.
0:27:35.2 Kim Schlag: Susan, what have been your biggest hurdles? You're in the best shape of your life at 60. What have been your biggest hurdles in getting to that level of fitness?
0:27:46.3 Susan Niebergall: I think... What we touched on earlier is the whole mindset piece of 40, 50 years of thinking a certain way and trying to reshape how you view things. The scale's been a big hurdle. I didn't even own a scale a few years ago. That was significant for me. Two years ago, that's not that long ago. I never owned...
0:28:05.5 Kim Schlag: I remember when you bought that scale, I remember that.
0:28:07.8 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, so it's a constant learning experience. We're all still learning. I think the mindset stuff has been the hardest for me, and to learn to back off and decompress more, just even from a workout perspective and from a business perspective, because I understand working out... I was that person that loved to work out every day, and that's what I did for years and years and years. I did like it. I was also afraid that if I didn't do it, I was gonna get fat, lose progress, all of that stuff. That was really the main reason, but I did kind of like it. I worked out this morning, and my legs are tired, but part of me is like, "Yeah, I could hop on the bike and do a class... " No, no, I'm not gonna do that. First of all, it sounds good sitting here with my legs not moving, but as soon as I get on that bike and my legs have to pedal... That's been... The more is better thing has been something that I have had to really come to terms with. When Jordan scaled me back from six days a week to four, I thought I was gonna lose my mind, and that still... I have to be careful with that.
0:29:20.6 Kim Schlag: Yeah, and you cover the details of that story in the book, about how hard that was for you, being a person who was working out every day or multiple times a day, to being told, "Here are your four workouts." And like, "What am I supposed to do the rest of the time?"
0:29:33.6 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, yeah, I just feel like the whole mindset shift has been the toughest, for everything. From the scale, from working out so much, all those kinds of things, just... And looking back and accepting the fact, and all those things that I did and I thought were the right things to do, and I guess that's the thing to hammer home here. I genuinely thought this is what I was supposed to be doing, and gosh, so many people have written to me and said, "I did too. I really... I'm doing this right now." So many of them are saying that. So yeah, it's this, the mind. It's shifting...
0:30:15.1 Kim Schlag: It's the mindset.
0:30:16.2 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, just shifting from former beliefs to now, what's happening, and what works, and then how I can help other people with that.
0:30:25.5 Kim Schlag: I love that. So to the women out there listening to you and they're like, "This 60-year-old woman got in the best shape of her life in her 50s, maybe I can do that." Like she's starting to believe, maybe it's not too late for her, but she's like, "I have so far to go." Either maybe she has a lot of weight to lose, or maybe she's like you were where she was just really over-exercising or being a super clean eater. Somebody with one of those situations and they're like, "I kind of believe I could do this." What would be your two action steps, two to three action steps? "I kind of believe I can do this now, and I wanna do it. I believe it's not too late."
0:30:57.7 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, I think the first action step regarding nutrition is literally... And I say a piece of paper, and I definitely mean a piece of paper on this one... To write down everything you put in your mouth in the course of a day, whether it's a sip, a taste, a bite, whatever. You don't have to weigh it, measure it, don't do any of that. Just write it down, and have that pad of paper in your kitchen with the pen right there so you can write it as you have whatever it is in your hand, every sip of water, everything that you put in your mouth during the course of a day, because so many people just aren't aware of what they're consuming and until you get slapped in the face with that, it's hard to reconcile that you're overeating. It's like people that tell me, "My calorie deficit number comes out to 2000. That sounds like a lot." And I'm like, "You know, if you're not losing weight right now you're eating more than that". It's not a lot. It's not as a lot as you think it is. It's their perspective that's all wrong. They think that 2000 calories is a lot, but when you sit down and you plan that sucker out, it's not as in a lot, as you think, and you're going through this cut right now, so you know as well as anybody, you can use up calories really quickly.
0:32:14.9 Susan Niebergall: So I think becoming aware of what you eat is super important because you're gonna start making changes based on that. That's exactly what I did, way back, and that's exactly how Mike lost his weight is just becoming aware of what...
0:32:26.9 Kim Schlag: Mike's Susan's son.
0:32:28.1 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, he's my son. He's lost, I don't know, probably 70 pounds, something like that, and really never weighed it, never did the whole calorie tracking. He might have loosely tracked a little bit, but it was pretty much just becoming aware of what he was consuming, so that would be one thing. I think the second thing from a training perspective is if you're new to it, just start walking. I think that's where everyone needs to start, and I think people wanna fast forward through that and not go through that, but I think if you can make walking a non-negotiable every single day, schedule it in your day, whether it's five minutes, 10 minutes, 15, 20, increase your time as you go, whatever it is, do it, because you're developing that habit of that something, that active something, and that's where that's gotta begin too. And then after that, you could certainly... If you don't have access to a gym right now, you could certainly do squats and push-ups in your house. By the end of the day, you wanna do 50 squats, you wanna do 50 push-ups from the wall, the counter, whatever, you can start adding that way, but I think it's gotta start for most people with building a habit of, "This is what I'm doing," and that could be walking.
0:33:42.5 Kim Schlag: That's great advice.
0:33:44.4 Susan Niebergall: Just go out there with a podcast or something and put on the headphones and go.
0:33:49.8 Kim Schlag: Yeah, if you're listening to this podcast while you're sitting down, get up.
0:33:54.1 Susan Niebergall: She's not gonna like that. I'm not gonna like that either, but that's her message. So get up.
0:33:58.1 Kim Schlag: Get up.
0:33:58.6 Susan Niebergall: And start listening to this podcast than sitting down.
0:34:02.0 Kim Schlag: I have had the craziest experience in the past month, Susan, as I was starting to introduce walking back into my life. I walk in the really cold weather, I do. When it's cold, I just put on warmer clothes and walk, but having developed this asthma with my lung condition, I was having asthma attacks outside and my doctor's like, "No more walking outside till it gets warmer," and he's like, "You can walk in... " And so I'm thinking I can't go every day to Target and walk around. First of all, I was spending too much money. [chuckle]
0:34:28.3 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, there's that.
0:34:30.1 Kim Schlag: And also with Coronavirus, do I really wanna be in public that long every day? And so I have had to start walking in my home, and it is the craziest thing to spend 30 minutes at a time wandering around your own house, like it's...
0:34:44.3 Susan Niebergall: Wow! My hat's off to you for that.
0:34:46.1 Kim Schlag: It's not fun. I really enjoy my walks outside, I love them, I look forward to them. I do not look forward to this, and I break it up into little bits for part of my day. I'll schedule into my time, "Okay, now I get up for five minutes and walk around the house and talk to clients." But I do have one chunk every day. I walk for 30 minutes and I'm like, "Oh gosh, shoot me now." But it's working. It's the same effect as if I was walking outside. I've had to find a television show to watch, so I get on Netflix and watch my show to make it more palatable, but no matter where you are, how cold it is, how dark it is, you can make it happen.
0:35:18.0 Susan Niebergall: Oh, absolutely. You just gotta be creative, I'm not a walk outside girl at all. That's one reason I got the bike because I knew I wouldn't be that person, and then I was gonna get a treadmill, but then no one else in the house would use it, but the bike, all three of us are getting use out of it, and so that's been... Yeah, it's been a much better choice for us anyway.
0:35:40.0 Kim Schlag: Writing this book, did you find parallels between writing a book, taking on that kind of project, and getting into shape?
0:35:48.6 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, 'cause I never... I'm not a writer. The book is written very simply, so I'm not a wordsmith kind of person. Yeah, I did, because I wanted to quit more times than I could count. I'd feel like, "This is going nowhere." Blah, blah, blah, blah. That's complete parallel to people losing weight, you feel like it's not working for you. You're doing all the work, and yet you just don't feel good about it, and you don't see the results and blah, blah, blah. And writing this book was kind of a very similar path, just there are chunks of time where I just put it off to the one side and I said, "I don't even wanna do this," and so I kind of left it. My maintenance period perhaps, where I got tired of it, and I just left it and focused on other things, then would go back to it. That would parallel taking a diet break and going into maintenance, and then going back. So yeah, I think that's a great question and it's a great point. It parallels weight loss in every way, shape or form. I wanted to quit, but I didn't. And there are times like right now, there are just so many technological things that go on with this writing a book that I had no idea, and I'm still putting out some fires. I don't know what I'm doing.
0:37:02.6 Susan Niebergall: I mean, if you all know Kim, this is not our strong suit, and it's certainly not my strong suit. Dealing with Amazon technology and those people at 10:00, at 11:00 o'clock at night, and I still have a problem that I don't know how to fix, but... [chuckle] But it's great...
0:37:16.9 Kim Schlag: Susan, I'm coming off of four days of tech struggles here. It's gonna be the death of me yet. What do you think it is? You're a woman who in her 50s, and now in your 60s, you've written a book, and now you're struggling to manage the tech piece of doing it. In your 50s, you got into the best shape of your life, you started a business, you took that business online and grew it. That is really inspiring, and it's a bright light. So many women feel like once they hit a certain age, once they hit middle age, the best is behind them. How did you steer clear of that tired belief? What gave you the gumption to do these big, big things?
0:37:56.0 Susan Niebergall: I was a little naïve, I think, too.
0:38:02.7 Susan Niebergall: On the book piece, I was a little naïve with that, "Yeah, I'm gonna write a book." Oh my God! Okay.
0:38:10.4 Kim Schlag: I write articles, I write Instagram posts. I can write a book.
0:38:16.2 Susan Niebergall: Let me just write a book. That was eye-opening. The whole... With the physical part of it, I was kind of like, "Yeah, I love challenges. Bring it on." Especially in the gym. I don't know where I got the 45-pound way to chin up goal that I wanted to do, but as soon as I... And I think it was, I saw this guy in my gym do it, and he was this big, tall, lean dude, strapped on 45 pounds and was going up down like, "Jesus, I wanna do that." And then it was like laser. That's exactly what was on my mind, and it took a couple of years for me to get it, and I finally got it, and it's so funny, once you get something like that, now the goal is, I wanna get... I haven't done it since... I wanna get back there, and then I wanna try to get two or three reps of that. So it's kind of I get laser-focused with stuff like that in the gym. And nutrition too. If I wanna go back into a muscle-building phase, I will, and I will be laser-focused with that. With this book, yeah, that was...
0:39:20.7 Susan Niebergall: I thought, I really have a story to tell. I looked back on things, and when I started outlining the book, I started writing, just brain-dumping things that people would be able to relate to I bet and how that might be able to help them as I progress through all the changes and how I turn things around, and that was just the driving force. The whole driving force behind this book is, if this book can help somebody, great, that's the whole premise.
0:39:49.6 Kim Schlag: Well, we're gonna give everybody listening now a chance to win a copy of this book, we're gonna do a giveaway here, so here's what you're gonna have to do, you're gonna go to iTunes and you're gonna leave a review for the podcast. Look, obviously, I want a good review, but if you hate it, go ahead. [chuckle] Say what you wanna say [chuckle]
0:40:07.3 Susan Niebergall: Say what you wanna say.
0:40:09.1 Kim Schlag: But I don't know that I'll pick you, but... No I'm kidding. No, I'm gonna do it randomly. Seriously, whatever you put... Leave me a review, take a screenshot of it, DM it to me on Instagram. I'll enter everyone there, it will go into one of those number counters that you know you can do online, and I will draw one, it'll be random, and you can win a copy of Fit At Any Age.
0:40:31.4 Susan Niebergall: I love it, that sounds amazing.
0:40:32.4 Kim Schlag: I've held it up as though all of you can see it. Just Susan can see it [chuckle] So that's what we're gonna do. So if you're interested in hearing more specifics about Susan's story... And in the book, Susan, you actually have nutrition guidelines, there's some really good workouts in there as well, so it's an interesting story, it's a memoir of Susan's life, but it's also very practical guidance for you as you are trying to get in shape as well.
0:40:56.0 Susan Niebergall: Thanks. I appreciate that. I put the How to section at the end for a little bit of, Okay, here's what you can do to apply some things, and just... I think there's like five workouts in there, five short workouts in there to take for a test drive. So hopefully it gives you hope and lets you know that you can do it too.
0:41:17.7 Kim Schlag: I love it. Thanks so much for being here today, Susan. Okay, everyone listening, leave a review on iTunes, screenshot it, DM me, you'll be entered into the giveaway to win a copy of Susan's amazing book Fit At Any Age, it is never too late. Thanks so much for being here, Susan.
0:41:33.1 Susan Niebergall: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me Kim.
0:41:34.0 Kim Schlag: Oh and tell everybody where they can find you, Susan.
0:41:37.6 Susan Niebergall: Mostly Instagram. Susan Niebergall Fitness. It's Susan Niebergall Fitness...
0:41:40.5 Kim Schlag: Spell your name.
0:41:41.9 Susan Niebergall: Yeah, yeah, I definitely have to do that. N-I-E-B-E-R-G-A-L-L Fitness and that's pretty much everywhere.
0:41:51.3 Kim Schlag: Yeah. All right, thanks again.
0:41:53.1 Susan Niebergall: All right, thanks for having me Kim.
0:42:00.1 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.
Episode #87: Silence Your Inner Mean Girl
0:00:05.8 Kim Schlag: Welcome to episode 87 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm joined by Keri from Texas. Now, Keri has lost 97 pounds but she gives herself a really hard time because she did not lose 100 pounds, and that mean girl voice in her head really gets on her about those three pounds she didn't lose. She is struggling to continue to lose weight at this point and that mean girl in her head is really getting in her way. So we talk about how to silence your inner mean girl. Ready? Let's go.
0:00:47.2 Keri: Hey, how are you?
0:00:49.0 Kim Schlag: I am doing well. Now, Keri, tell me where you're calling from?
0:00:51.8 Keri: Burleson, Texas.
0:00:54.5 Kim Schlag: Oh, okay, great.
0:00:57.0 Keri: Yeah, yeah it's not too far outside of Fort Worth.
0:01:00.5 Kim Schlag: Okay, got it, got it. And tell me a little bit about you, because we've never really spoken before. We just chit-chatted a little bit in Instagram...
0:01:08.1 Keri: No, and I'm so excited to talk to you. I've been following you for a while now. You're one of my, I would say, top pages that I look forward to seeing posts on, so I'm pretty excited.
0:01:18.2 Kim Schlag: Oh, that makes me super happy. Okay, so you've been following me for a while, you live in Texas, tell me more about you. Tell me about your family and what you do.
0:01:27.9 Keri: So I'm 35 now. I have a 12-year-old daughter. I'm married. I currently work at an elementary school, in the kitchen, feeding all the little kiddos.
0:01:40.3 Kim Schlag: Okay, nice.
0:01:40.3 Keri: And I think that's it. I've got dogs that take up most of my time 'cause I am obsessed with them. And I have the one daughter. One's an Australian Shepherd mix and he's big and fat, and the other one was supposed to be an Australian Shepherd but she's a little Terrier. And she's half his size but she runs the show around here.
0:02:05.6 Kim Schlag: Well, wait, how did that happen that you thought you were getting a big dog and you got a little dog? What happened?
0:02:09.8 Keri: 'Cause they looked the same when I... I got the big dog as a puppy and he was about a year, so we found her and they looked exactly the same as puppies, and they told us, "Oh, it's an Australian Shepherd."
0:02:21.8 Kim Schlag: Oh my goodness.
0:02:23.1 Keri: And then we got her and she only grew half the size, but we love her.
0:02:27.3 Kim Schlag: Oh that's so funny.
0:02:28.8 Keri: She's my favorite. I would have more dogs if my husband would allow it, so eventually I'll win.
0:02:34.2 Kim Schlag: We're getting our very first dog.
0:02:38.0 Keri: Really? What kind are you getting?
0:02:40.0 Kim Schlag: We are getting a mini Goldendoodle, and it actually, it may have been born yesterday. We're number nine on a list for a breeder, and so they had two momma dogs. The one had her puppies yesterday and the next one is due to have her puppies in about two weeks, and then we get to choose from among these. And yesterday's dog had six puppies, so as long as the next momma dog has at least three, we'll get to choose one of these.
0:03:08.3 Keri: Oh, that's so exciting.
0:03:10.2 Kim Schlag: Yeah, this will be our first one. Now, Keri, remind me what your question was.
0:03:18.8 Keri: I think I said something to the effect of... I was having a really bad day, so that was part of it. I said something to the effect of I had lost quite a bit of weight but was feeling very discouraged and defeated trying to keep it off and continue the process. So just out of... It was a rough day, so I was... Usually, there's those question boxes nobody... Either they don't respond or they give you a quick, "Just keep going" kind of thing, so I did not think anything of it, and I was so surprised when you messaged me.
0:03:55.8 Kim Schlag: Well, okay, so tell me, how much weight have you lost over what period of time?
0:04:00.7 Keri: So I was my heaviest in 2017.
0:04:05.3 Kim Schlag: Okay.
0:04:06.8 Keri: I believe I was probably close to 315, if not more. That was the last time I weighed myself. I was buying clothes that were size, I don't know, 26. And so I slowly started getting healthier, losing weight. I had some family involved in AdvoCare, so they helped me learn about nutrition and food, and things like that. So I started in January of 2018, and I joined a gym, and my gym is amazing and wonderful, and I've lost 97 pounds since then.
0:04:48.8 Kim Schlag: Wow!
0:04:51.6 Keri: And I never got to the 100-pound mark, I don't know, it's so frustrating to be that close, but I was my lowest in... At the beginning of 2020, I was down to a size 12, and I felt amazing and I felt really good and really great, and then all the whole world went crazy. And I think this last year has just affected me more than I realized and I think I've gained probably 10-15 pounds back, and it's been challenging. I have a coach who is amazing. Her name is Jen, and I love her dearly, and she puts up with me a lot but I don't know why, I just struggled this year.
0:05:40.7 Kim Schlag: Yeah, I think...
0:05:44.6 Keri: I have a trainer as well who has totally changed my life and I love them both but...
0:05:49.4 Kim Schlag: That's fantastic. You have a good team.
0:05:52.1 Keri: Yeah, I do have a very great support system. I would not have made it this far without them and the people at my gym, and my family. This last year, I've just really, really struggled and I've gotten really good at not letting the number on the scale get to me because the number doesn't matter as long as I feel good and my pants fit. And I really found that I love lifting heavy but I think eventually, the numbers started to creep up and eventually, it gets to you a little bit.
0:06:26.3 Kim Schlag: Yeah, for sure. Well, first of all, losing 97 pounds is incredible. That is no small feat.
0:06:31.3 Keri: Thank you.
0:06:33.4 Kim Schlag: And you did it over the course of three years. That's like 32 pounds a year. You did incredibly, incredibly well. Clearly, you've got something right here, so that's exciting.
0:06:45.1 Keri: Thank you.
0:06:47.1 Kim Schlag: And a lot of people are in the same situation you are, Keri, that this past year has... Excuse me, I have to sneeze. That this past year, they've really taken a hit in their ability to be consistent. I mean, wow, our world was just really turned upside down, right? And so the question is, what do you do now, right? You've lost all this weight, you wanna pick up some momentum again, and you're just not being able to. When do you think was the last time you were able to be consistent with your diet? Was it right before quarantine started in March? Is that when the last time you were really consistent was?
0:07:26.2 Keri: Probably. I definitely used food as... Even when we did the whole lockdown and the gym closed, I have a few things here and I worked out everyday. I did not miss a workout. Even if I wasn't at the gym, I set up a little garage gym with two little dumbbells just to make something happen. But it's always been the food that I struggle with, or I overeat, thinking, "It's okay, I worked out today," or "I did extra cardio, I can eat this bag of chips or cookies," or whatever.
0:08:05.7 Kim Schlag: Yeah. So you feel like even right now, you feel like the fitness piece of it, you've got under control. You're so consistently working out. Like, that's not a problem.
0:08:14.7 Keri: That's not a problem. I love my gym, that's my stress release. Those are the people that make everything better, so...
0:08:22.1 Kim Schlag: Good, okay.
0:08:22.9 Keri: I never miss the gym, even in the pandemic. So I got Corona right after Christmas and I missed, I would say, about three weeks of working out. So going back to the gym was my favorite thing. I couldn't wait to get back.
0:08:38.2 Kim Schlag: Well, you've got that going in your favor, like that piece has really clicked for you, and it's not stress; you actually like it. So, you know, here's what I wanna us to think about. Success leaves clues. You've clearly been very successful at losing weight. So let's think back to last January, February time period when you were still doing really well. What were you doing with your nutrition that you think was working? When you think back and you're like, "Yeah, this I did, and it helped me."
0:09:08.9 Keri: Probably the one thing was seeing the scale go down, even if it was just a point two. If it went down, I instantly felt like what I was doing was right, and that would make me want to keep trying. And then I measured probably every single thing that I ate.
0:09:29.8 Kim Schlag: Okay. So do you think that...
0:09:30.2 Keri: You know, weighing everything. And that just... I think it became overwhelming. So I started eye-balling things or, "That looks like half a cup." You know what I mean?
0:09:39.7 Kim Schlag: Got it.
0:09:40.5 Keri: 'Cause it does get overwhelming, having to measure and plan, and I pack... You cook all the food on Sunday and you pack all the food for the week. It just got overwhelming, I think. And then lockdown happened, then I think I just said, "I'm at home, what do I need the meal plan for? 'Cause I'm at home."
0:10:00.9 Kim Schlag: Got it, got it. So two things you talked about there. The first one was that when you would see the scale go down, even if it was a little bit, that that was motivating to you and you wanted to keep going.
0:10:10.8 Keri: Right.
0:10:11.3 Kim Schlag: Right. Now, that you can't directly control, right? You can't directly say, like, "Scale will go down." We've gotta get you doing the actions that are gonna help the scale go down. But you make a good point in that motivation can often come from seeing results. And so what we need to do to help you get your groove back is to help you start seeing some results, and that will feed on itself. So let's figure out how we're gonna do that. The thing you just mentioned, I think, is so key. The idea that you were weighing your food and then you went to eye-balling it, then all kind of heck broke loose. And if it feels overwhelming to you, there would be two things I would suggest to you about that. One, it doesn't have to be a commitment for life. You're not gonna say, like, "I now have to weigh everything I eat for the rest of my life." You could just do it for 30 days, 60 days, and see how it goes, and see what kind of results you get. That's one thing I'd say. The other thing I would say is to consider the alternative. Is it more overwhelming to start weighing your food again, or is it more overwhelming to have this constant feeling of, like, "I am just not being successful at this thing I really want to be successful at."
0:11:28.5 Keri: Right. Well, I agree.
0:11:32.5 Kim Schlag: How do you feel...
0:11:33.2 Keri: And I think I used food to deal with stress. And, emotional eating, I would say I do that probably more than I need, more than I care to admit. And I think even if I do really good with my food, if you're having a bad day, a few bites of this won't hurt. But I think it does hurt. So I feel like I know what I do wrong, it's just, why has it been so hard for me to move past it, you know?
0:12:10.0 Kim Schlag: Well. Talk to me about this. When you were successful with losing weight, what were you doing to manage your stress, instead of eating? 'Cause you clearly weren't emotional eating that whole time, or you wouldn't have been losing so much weight, right?
0:12:26.5 Keri: Right.
0:12:27.0 Kim Schlag: What do you think changed, or what can you remember that you would do instead of eating, when you were stressed or emotional?
0:12:36.2 Keri: I don't know the answer to that. I've worked pretty much the same hours. I do think I'm off in the summer, so I'm home during the summer, so not having that schedule definitely set me back. Sleeping all day, being up late. I feel like I thrive better on routine. As much as I hate getting up at the crack of dawn, it's better for me.
0:13:02.8 Kim Schlag: Mm-hmm.
0:13:03.4 Keri: So I know the summer time throws me off, and... I don't know. Maybe it's because I was measuring everything and I was so dedicated to tracking, I didn't... I made sure to measure out my sweets at the end of the evening, and that's what I could have, and that's it.
0:13:22.4 Kim Schlag: Mm-hmm.
0:13:23.8 Keri: Maybe I made sure to factor that in, and then I stopped.
0:13:30.8 Kim Schlag: Right now, are you at a point in your life that you have a schedule? Is school in session regular, and you're going to work and all of the things?
0:13:39.2 Keri: Yes. And I got a new... The same basic job, just a different school. I just spoke to my nutrition coach about it, because it's been such a change. It's the same basic job but new school, new people, more responsibility, and it's been such a change and more hours, I don't know if my body is handling it well. I have a lot of back problems that I've had to deal with going to the doctor for, and I don't know if medication can slow weight gain or weight loss down. And I think I've been trying really hard the last few weeks to measure and to track and nothing's happening. The scale's not budging. I don't feel great. And I'm just, I think overwhelmed.
0:14:30.5 Kim Schlag: Have you still been in this period of time doing some of the emotional eating where you're not tracking all the things?
0:14:38.7 Keri: Maybe a little bit, if you want the truth. [chuckle]
0:14:41.1 Kim Schlag: Yeah, yeah. Okay, yeah. Well see that's the key then. So a couple of things I would say. Your question about the medicine. Medicine can absolutely affect us. It's not going to affect you in that it will directly cause you to gain weight or stop losing weight, but can affect you in ways such as... Maybe you have increased hunger or increased cravings, those kinds of things, specifically increased hunger. And you can rest assured you can lose weight, so that's important for you to know. You can still lose weight. Second thing I would say is, when you start tracking and you're still doing the thing where you're not tracking at all, it really cheats you because you have the feeling of... I'm trying so hard, I'm doing all the things and it's not working. And so you have this feel... 'Cause it's a lot of work to sort of track, to track most of the time, or to almost be consistent with weight loss with those habits, but if you're not all the way consistent with them, it's really frustrating 'cause you feel like there's something wrong with you or you're broken. And in reality, what it is, is it's all of these times where you're not tracking it. Do you track calories? That's the system you use with your coach?
0:15:51.1 Keri: We use, yeah, macros. He'll tell me how many carbs, proteins, fats... Yeah, and then I try to eat the best I can. And I just figure out the macros and eat what I'm supposed to eat.
0:16:06.9 Kim Schlag: Got it. So, getting a little bit of traction and getting you to see some success is gonna be key to you feeling motivated again. That's the weird thing about motivation. It doesn't just spring up on its own, you've gotta help it along. Sometimes it appears and you're like, "Oh yes, I'm ready to go." But oftentimes when we're in the thick of things, it's just not there, and we can create it by what we do. And seeing some progress is one of the best ways to get motivated. I really do think you're saying to yourself, "Alright, I'm going to track everything I eat and drink for the next 30 days, and I'm gonna see what happens." Is a really good solution. A piece of it, it's not gonna be the whole solution, 'cause we really do need to talk about the emotional eating piece. And we need to talk about how to actually set you up to stick with the tracking. Are you open to taking that challenge of tracking everything you eat and drink for the next 30 days?
0:17:01.4 Keri: Yeah. I mean, I got over the coronavirus. I was crazy sick, and then I told myself that once I got better, we were gonna get serious. And the last couple of weeks, I was just sick not long ago, so the last couple weeks, I feel like I've done really well, and getting back into the swing of things and back into work. I think this is only my second week back to work from being sick. I'm determined this time. I want to see results. I had my fun. Now it's time to get back on track.
0:17:37.0 Kim Schlag: Okay, amazing. And that's gonna be you tracking everything, whether it's a little bit, whether you like even if you emotionally eat, track it. If you decide like, "Oh my gosh, I'm really upset and I'm eating the ice cream." Track the ice cream so that you can have a really clear picture of what you ate, 'cause you wanna make sure that your expectations match your behavior, so you can know when you get to the end of the week, and you're thinking like, "Oh, I emotionally ate four times. It's probably not gonna be me in a deficit this week." You can still get it around your head of like, "Okay, next week I'm gonna try and emotionally eat fewer times." So even in those times, if you find yourself emotionally eating, let's have you track it. Does that sound good?
0:18:17.0 Keri: That sounds good.
0:18:18.3 Kim Schlag: Okay, and then let's talk about this emotional eating. What are the things that you most are triggered by? What do you emotionally eat about?
0:18:28.0 Keri: Well, let's see. Let's pull out my list. I think a lot of it. I don't see, I've lost a lot of weight, and I lost a lot of inches. I'm not at all what I used to look like, but when I look in the mirror, I still see the old me. Sometimes it's really hard to see... I can say, the pants I have on right now are a size 12. I used to wear a size 26. I'm half what I used to be, but when I look in the mirror, I don't always see that. And then that will get me discouraged because clearly I haven't come as far as I would like to have. And then that spirals, the whole thing.
0:19:17.3 Kim Schlag: Got it. So one of your triggers is literally your body. You look in the mirror and you're not happy with what you see yet or the size of your clothes, and that's one of the things that causes you to emotionally eat.
0:19:30.1 Keri: Yeah, 'cause I still see the girl that was 300 pounds. Not all the time, but there's days where you look in the mirror and you're just so disappointed and discouraged. And I try really hard not to compare myself to other people, but you can see other people making results, their progress, or look at their before and after, and theirs is in a shorter amount of time. And why am I struggling so much?
0:20:00.0 Kim Schlag: Yeah, it's hard. It's absolutely hard. Do you know anybody else who's lost 97 pounds?
0:20:08.5 Keri: Not personally. Online, you see people online, but I've never met anyone.
0:20:15.3 Kim Schlag: Okay. It really is an incredible amount of weight to lose, and I don't think you... I feel like maybe you don't appreciate how far you have come and how much work that took. That wasn't by accident. Nobody accidentally loses 97 pounds, right? That was a lot to lose.
0:20:33.4 Keri: I think it was a lot less. I only lost 97 pounds. Only.
0:20:36.9 Kim Schlag: Why do you say that? Oh, because it's not 100. That really gets you.
0:20:41.0 Keri: It's not 100. Yeah.
0:20:42.5 Kim Schlag: That really gets you. Interesting. Let me ask you this: So, your 12-year-old, is it a girl or a boy?
0:20:51.7 Keri: It's a girl.
0:20:53.4 Kim Schlag: Okay. So your 12-year-old daughter. Let's say she studies really hard at school. She really wants to do well on this big project, and she works all semester for it, and she comes home and she's super disappointed, really disappointed about how she did, and then you see her grade, and it was a 97, and not 100. What do you say to her?
0:21:18.1 Keri: I would tell her how amazing she did, and what a good job she did, and how smart she is, and praise her.
0:21:24.7 Kim Schlag: "But, Mom, I did not get a 100. I only got a 97."
0:21:27.9 Keri: But it's pretty darn close to 100. I mean, you're a hop, skip and a jump away. It's practically 100.
0:21:33.7 Kim Schlag: "Well, what did I do wrong? Why didn't I get the 100? What's wrong? What's wrong with me?"
0:21:39.3 Keri: Nothing. [chuckle]
0:21:41.5 Kim Schlag: It sounds crazy, right?
0:21:43.2 Keri: It does sound crazy.
0:21:45.3 Kim Schlag: Do you realize that that's what you're doing to yourself?
0:21:49.0 Keri: Well, now I do.
0:21:50.5 Kim Schlag: So, 97 pounds and 100 pounds are practically the exact same thing. Let's say when you were at your top weight loss of 97 pounds, do you really think that you, three pounds less would have looked, felt, moved, been that different?
0:22:10.7 Keri: No, probably not.
0:22:12.3 Kim Schlag: Right?
0:22:13.9 Keri: With the scale... The scale can jump three pounds just because you drank an extra glass of water, you know what I mean?
0:22:19.0 Kim Schlag: That is absolutely true. That is absolutely true.
0:22:23.1 Keri: Yeah.
0:22:23.7 Kim Schlag: Here's the thing. This feeling is not gonna go away just because you and I had this conversation. You're gonna have to talk this mean girl out of your head over and over and over until she's gone. When this comes back up, because it will, you need to be the person who says to yourself, "Keri, I'm not gonna talk to me that way. I'm not gonna allow it. I'm not gonna allow myself to convince myself that 97 pounds wasn't good enough. I'm not gonna allow myself to convince myself that I'm not good at weight loss or I can't do it, or I'm somehow a loser at this. I'm very good at this. Clearly, I've lost all this weight. You're gonna need to keep talking that mean girl out of your head.
0:23:02.8 Keri: Yeah, I understand.
0:23:05.8 Kim Schlag: Yeah, 'cause that really is the answer to it. It's not gonna go away on its own. It's gonna be something you're gonna have to practice and you're gonna have to practice over and over and over. And I would suggest, and some people think it's crazy, but I would suggest having these conversations with yourself out loud.
0:23:25.6 Keri: Right. I do it at the gym too, 'cause I found that I really like lifting heavy. And I set a goal to deadlift 300 pounds, and I think I did 295 and then I was like, "But it's not 300."
0:23:45.8 Keri: And then I did do 305 on that... What's that little... The trap bar?
0:23:52.4 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
0:23:52.7 Keri: Is that what it's called?
0:23:53.5 Kim Schlag: Yes.
0:23:53.7 Keri: I did 305 on that.
0:23:55.0 Kim Schlag: Amazing.
0:23:55.8 Keri: But, because it wasn't the regular bar, I don't think I'd count it as being that strong.
0:24:01.0 Kim Schlag: You didn't count it?
0:24:04.3 Keri: Yeah, because it's not a real deadlift.
0:24:04.7 Kim Schlag: You're really hard on yourself. You're really hard on yourself.
0:24:07.4 Keri: Yeah.
0:24:08.4 Kim Schlag: Yeah. Because 305 on a trap bar is amazing. That's a lot of weight, and just 'cause it's not the straight bar, you're like, "Ah, that doesn't really count."
0:24:16.0 Keri: It doesn't count.
0:24:17.0 Kim Schlag: That doesn't count.
0:24:18.1 Keri: Yeah.
0:24:18.4 Kim Schlag: And would you say that to one of your gym friends? Would you be like... Is that how you'd respond? You'd be like, "Well, that was good and all that, but that doesn't really count?"
0:24:26.8 Keri: "That's not a real bar, though." I would never...
0:24:29.0 Kim Schlag: Could you imagine saying that out loud to one of your friends there?
0:24:33.1 Keri: No. I would never say that.
0:24:34.3 Kim Schlag: And you wouldn't even think it.
0:24:35.7 Keri: Of course I would be like, "Oh, my God, that's amazing."
0:24:38.6 Kim Schlag: Yeah, you would be. And you need to be that person for yourself. You need to be able to pump yourself up and be like, "What I just did was amazing. It was amazing." And look, if you still wanna get a 300-pound deadlift with the straight bar, you can do it. You can keep working on it. But you don't have to discount what you've already done to keep working on that goal.
0:25:00.1 Keri: Right.
0:25:00.7 Kim Schlag: And all of this negative self-talk isn't serving you, Keri. It's not helping you lose more weight to beat yourself up about those three pounds you didn't lose. It is not helping you lose weight to look in the mirror and think, "I should be further along." That's not helping, right? You can see that, right?
0:25:16.7 Keri: I can see it, and everything you say makes sense.
0:25:22.6 Kim Schlag: So let's talk some about what you're gonna do then. So, one thing I would like you to do is really practice this self-talk over and over, okay? So that's one thing. The second thing we're gonna have you do, a 30-day commitment. Track everything you eat or drink, including weighing everything you eat that is not either pre-packaged with a barcode or your greens. You don't need to be weighing your lettuce; we don't need to be that silly.
0:25:46.7 Keri: Okay.
0:25:47.4 Kim Schlag: So that's another thing I would have you do. And then the third thing... Wait, I had another, third thing. Give me a minute. I'm having a brain freeze here.
0:26:00.0 Kim Schlag: Shoot. Oh, we need to talk about how you're actually going to make that happen. So you have your macros. We know you wanna track everything. How are we gonna help you with this emotional eating piece? When you want to emotionally eat, we need to help you think of other ways to manage those feelings. So we just talked about one, the situation with you, you look in the mirror, you don't like what you see. Your strategy there really can be this conversation with yourself out loud. Tell me another thing that you emotionally eat about?
0:26:38.0 Keri: My family I would say without getting too in detail there's always something going on, family drama, somebody is upset about something or somebody has got money problem, whatever it may be. I think I let that get to me, my husband and I are on offices schedule, so I never see him during the week. We're strangers during the week, we don't even see each other in passing and then it's only on the weekends that I see him which I think... If I'm being totally honest that's weighing on me quite a bit.
0:27:18.6 Kim Schlag: And so you're lonely?
0:27:21.1 Keri: I'm basically a single mom during the week.
0:27:25.0 Kim Schlag: Got it.
0:27:25.6 Keri: And also it's been like this since we've been married, he's always worked these hours, my job has changed and my schedule has changed here and there, like I said I'm off in the summer, I follow the same schedule that the kids do, so I'm thankful for that but sometimes it's just... My daughter is 12, an emotional preteen and it sometimes I think it weighs on me, and for some reason lately it's just been really, really hard and I don't think I give that enough credit, I don't think I acknowledge how hard it is on me that he's not here.
0:28:03.5 Kim Schlag: Yeah, yeah, that's a lot.
0:28:06.2 Keri: Yeah, and you don't wanna tell, him can't help it, he's working. And if he could change it he would, but it's just that's just the way it is, and most of the time I do fine, most of the time I'm busy, I go to the gym, I come home, bedtime is no big deal. But for some reason lately, I don't know if it's because we were just off for three weeks together 'cause we all had to stay home 'cause we were all sick, I don't know if being home with him for those three weeks and now it's back to him being gone, I don't know if that has something to do with it, I don't know if it's the new job, the more hours, I don't know maybe all of it combined.
0:28:44.9 Kim Schlag: So talk me through the last time you emotionally ate, what happened? Something happened like was it one of these nights you were home home without your husband, did your daughter do something to stress you out, were you feeling lonely, kinda talk me through what happened, what you were feeling and what you ate?
0:29:02.3 Keri: I would say the last time was probably about a week ago, I think I had a bad workout just because I've been off for three weeks so I don't take some minutes to get back in the groove, of course you're not gonna come back in best looking like you did two months ago after being sick, so I think my workout wasn't as great as I wanted it to be, my back hurt, I worked all day, he's not here, my daughter had some kind of melt down and everything I do annoys her these days, so I think all of it is hard for me.
0:29:35.8 Kim Schlag: I so relate. [chuckle]
0:29:37.4 Keri: I think all of it was just like, I am trying so hard and I'm not getting anywhere, so it's mindless eating and I don't have a lot of junk in the house to be honest with you, lots of yogurt and peanut butter and trying to keep it very clean in here. So a lot of it is just mindless handful of tote chips or I buy healthy popcorn, well, maybe I didn't weigh it and I ended up eating half the bag not even thinking, I feel like I do a lot of mindless munching when I'm not even realizing that I'm doing it.
0:30:19.0 Kim Schlag: Got it. Okay, so in a situation like that the thing I would suggest to you is, for the next couple of weeks really start paying attention to when you have this urge to emotionally eat and start noticing these patterns, it seems like during the week you're feeling lonely, you're feeling stressed because you have to deal with all the problems and the sassy teenager, start kind of noticing what it is that brings about the desire to just grab that food, note what it is, write it down on your phone, keep a running log of what are the things and what are the things that you typically eat, then using that information come up with an approach to manage it, because you're still gonna have those feelings, right? And so when this happens, the first goal would be to just notice when it's happening and notice, like oh, here it is again, I want to emotionally eat, and then give yourself time and space to make a different choice. And you do that by putting the food away in the cupboard, leaving the room, going somewhere away from the food, don't walk away with the tote chips in your hand and give yourself 20 minutes.
0:31:25.4 Kim Schlag: Tell yourself in 20 minutes, if I still want the tote chips I am going to go and have them, I'm gonna give myself permission to have them, and then in that 20 minute space you're gonna use that 20 minutes to self-soothe in a different way because that's what you're doing with the food, you're trying to self-soothe distress and upset and all of that with the food, and so to do that you need to have something planned. So the other thing I want you to do is brainstorm ahead of time two or three things that would help you feel better in a moment like that and the things that might work are different for everybody, for you maybe it would help to go outside and pet the dog, maybe it would help for you to walk around the block, maybe it would help for you to call your girlfriend, maybe it would help for you to go grab a kettlebell you like to lift, maybe it would help for you to go do some hard lifting for just... And it needs to be something you can do in the moment, it can't be something that you need to leave your 12-year-old at home alone and you can't do that, it has to be something very practical that you could do, that you can see that would help you feel better, maybe it would be writing in a journal, maybe it would be listening to music, maybe it'll be laying down, all kinds of things.
0:32:31.0 Kim Schlag: Brainstorm what you think would help you feel better in those moments instead of just food, and then make a running list of those. And then over time you practice these things, you practice the waiting, you practice leaving the room and then you practice using that 20 minutes to do whatever the things are that you came up with, and see which ones work and which don't work for you. And that is an approach that is actually going to help you do two things; and one, it's gonna help you stop getting all these extra calories from the food, from the emotional eating, you're not even hungry when you're eating that's the bad aid; and two, it's gonna help you deal with these emotions in a productive way because the food isn't helping anyway, right? Now, it's not like you're finished eating the popcorn and now your daughter is not still being sassy to you.
0:33:16.4 Keri: Right, all of a sudden I'm not driving her crazy.
0:33:19.8 Kim Schlag: Right, you're still being the annoying mom to her, and so it helps us come up with a way that's more productive to deal with, whatever the situation is. Sometimes the situation that needs to be dealt with is like there's a hard conversation that needs to be had, or there's like... It could be lots of things that need to help you. But it gives you the space to deal with that versus covering it up with food.
0:33:41.4 Keri: Right, I think that's a good plan.
0:33:44.7 Kim Schlag: Okay, great. Well, I know we've covered a lot of ground here today. You're gonna have to re-listen to this so you can hear about all the things we talked about [chuckle] and all the things you've agreed...
0:33:55.0 Keri: Some of it's common sense, and I just need to be told again.
0:34:00.4 Kim Schlag: Don't we all, right? That's a whole lot of this fat loss process, is just having it brought to our attention again. Like, Oh right, that's the thing I need to do. That's the thing that I was working before. Because the reality is, Keri, you have every reason to believe that you can be successful at losing the rest of the weight you want to. You have a lot of evidence to show that you can be successful at weight loss. You do.
0:34:21.5 Keri: Well, thank you. I need to remind myself of that.
0:34:26.3 Kim Schlag: Absolutely. How much more are you hoping to lose, Keri?
0:34:30.7 Keri: At this point, I don't have a number, I just want smaller pants.
0:34:36.3 Kim Schlag: Got it.
0:34:36.5 Keri: And I'd like to be able to see the muscle that I've spent so much time working on.
0:34:41.4 Kim Schlag: I love that.
0:34:42.9 Keri: It'd be nice to see it and not just know it's there. I'm always telling everybody, you can feel it, it's under the fluff.
0:34:51.6 Kim Schlag: [chuckle] It's there, it's there.
0:34:52.2 Keri: You just can't see it. I'd love to be able to fit into smaller... I don't have any desire to be rock hard abs or anything, but it would be nice to just be more confident and fine, be able to wear a dress and not feel like I look crazy, and have arms that resemble that I workout. I'd like for people to look at me and say, Oh man, she worked out.
0:35:19.7 Kim Schlag: So you wanna look as fit as you feel. You know you're a strong person, you know you have all this athletic ability, and you wanna look like that person.
0:35:27.5 Keri: I do. I'd like to look like I workout.
0:35:30.2 Kim Schlag: That's amazing. And there's every reason in the world for you to be confident that you can do that.
0:35:37.3 Keri: Well, thank you. I think I have such a problem with arrogance and people who are bragging and arrogant. I think I go the complete opposite, where I don't want to brag or be arrogant about things, so there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance. I'm usually confident in myself. I'm a confident, outgoing person.
0:35:58.3 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
0:36:03.2 Keri: It's my self-talk, that I think.
0:36:05.1 Kim Schlag: Yeah, that inner mean girl. You need to talk back to her more.
0:36:07.9 Keri: Yeah, we need to shut her up.
0:36:09.4 Kim Schlag: We need to make her hush, because you really do... You have every reason to believe you can be successful at this, you've been successful at it so far. So much, so much weight loss. You're so strong in the gym and there's just no reason you can't do this. So practice talking back to her and practice saying to yourself. Talk to yourself like you would your daughter. If she's down, you do not kick her when she's down, and you need to do that to yourself. You need to talk to yourself the way you would talk to her.
0:36:37.6 Keri: Got it.
0:36:39.1 Kim Schlag: All right, my dear. Thanks so much for coming on and we'll talk soon. Keep me posted on how this all goes.
0:36:45.0 Keri: All right, thank you so much.
0:36:46.1 Kim Schlag: Bye-bye.
0:36:51.9 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: Welcome to episode 85 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On this episode, I give you my number one strategy to get the most out of calorie tracking. So if you are calorie tracking and thinking, "I am not losing weight," this episode is for you. Let's go.
[00:00:26] Now that we're heading into the end of the third week of January, a lot of people who started working on weight loss on January 1st are starting to feel frustrated because they're not seeing results yet. If that's you, I want to one, share a bit of perspective and two, give you my number one strategy to get the most out of calorie tracking.
[00:00:48] First, the perspective. Let me share a little story with you. Yesterday I was speaking with a one-on-one online client. I left her a message after she had left me a message. Now this client has been with me a year and a half. She looks like an entirely different person. She has absolutely crushed weight loss. She still has a little bit more she would like to lose.
[00:01:10] Over the last few weeks, like a lot of people, she's been trying to dial things back in after the holidays. She left me a message telling me how frustrated she was with what the scale was saying. And I'm going to quote this next part, she said, "it's hard to be motivated to stay with a calorie deficit when it appears to not be working. I've been pretty consistent, not 100%, but a lot of days I've even been under."
[00:01:34] Okay, that's the end of the quote. Now, it was time for a monthly progress review and when I ran the numbers, it turns out she had been over her top-end calories 50% of the last four weeks. 50% of the days, over half the days, she was over her top-end of her calories.
[00:01:53] Now, lovely listener, I know Christmas feels like it was far away, right? That feels like a lifetime ago. We have been through all a lot recently. That feels like a really long time ago. It was only four weeks ago. Not even, it was not even four weeks ago. New Year's Eve, that was only 21 days ago. 21 days. The scale right now is still reflecting what you did then. It is.
[00:02:17] This is not a reason to feel guilty or regretful. Hopefully you enjoyed every second of your holiday season. But this is a wake-up call that you do not have a legitimate cause for feeling frustrated yet. The time has just not passed. You are still in the thick of this work. Do not get demotivated when you're just having a little amnesia here about what you did three weeks ago, right? 21 days ago.
[00:02:45] I know you're working hard now. Staying in a deficit for even a few days can be challenging. A few weeks feels like a really long time. Give yourself more time with your consistency. Give yourself the time you need to make the changes you want. You're not necessarily doing anything wrong just because the scale isn't moving yet, or it's not moving fast enough.
[00:03:07] Stay the course and you will see results.
[00:03:12] Okay, on to my number one strategy for calorie tracking success. If you're sleeping on this tip, you are leaving results on the table. Are you ready?
[00:03:24] Pre-log your food in your calorie tracker the night before.
[00:03:28] Get it out, open myfitnesspal or Lose It or whatever you use and pre-log it.
[00:03:35] This is so dang effective. Winging it can never be as effective consistently as pre-logging your food is.
[00:03:46] So, have you ever built Ikea furniture? Imagine looking at the picture of the end result, okay? You know you have all the pieces, you look around and you're like, "yep, I checked out my pieces. I have all the pieces," You glance at the step-by-step directions once. So you're like, "Oh, here's some steps." And then you don't refer to them again. So, you have no direct plan to get to your finished product.
[00:04:16] So you know what the finished product is going to be. Just like with your nutrition, you know that the product, at the end of the day, is "I have hit my calories. I've hit my protein. I have stayed in my calorie deficit," right? That's the finished product. And you have all the pieces there.
[00:04:31] Now, you might think in your mind, "I'm building this Ikea furniture. I have built so many Billy bookcases and Ektorp sofas. I can figure this out. I got this." How smoothly is that going to go? Even though you look at the picture and you're like, "Oh, I've never built this particular piece," or, maybe you even have maybe like, you know what, this is your second Billy bookcase or your third Billy bookcase and you're like, "I've built this before. I know how to do this. This is what it's supposed to look like. Here's all the pieces. I'm just going to start putting stuff together."
[00:05:01] How smoothly is that going to go? It's the same thing with your calorie tracking. You have that end result, you want to hit your calorie target, you want to hit your protein target, you have all the pieces. You grocery shopped, maybe you even did a little meal prep of protein and chopped some veggies, but then you just wing it, right? You wake up and you start putting things into your log and you kind of see where it takes you.
[00:05:23] That's like taking your nuts and bolts and sofa parts and that little Allen wrench and putting all the pieces where you think they're going to go. And maybe in the end, you're left with some extra pieces or you don't have enough screws.
[00:05:35] Maybe you'll hit your calories, but you'll be under your protein. Maybe you'll be over in your calories. Maybe by dinner you realize you only have 200 calories left for the day, and now you have to decide, "stay in my target and be hungry the rest of the night or go over?"
[00:05:48] And all of that is preventable. That is all preventable.
[00:05:52] So I'm going to give you the template that I give my one-on-one clients to log their food. I want you to write this down, okay?
[00:05:59] Open up your notes on your phone or get out, if your pen and paper kind of gal, get your pen and paper out. Write this down. You don't have to write down all the commentary I give, but I want you to write these steps down. I think there's five steps.
[00:06:10] All right, first, you're going to log your protein. That is the first thing you're going to do.
[00:06:15] And remember, this is the night before. At the very latest, you could do it right when you wake up in the morning before you eat anything. You can do that. That would feel too rushed for me. I got a lot going on when I get out of bed. I prefer the night before, minimum, before you eat anything the morning of, okay?
[00:06:32] So let's say it's the night before, the first thing you're going to do is log your protein. You're going to divide your total protein target. Let me take just a minute here -- if you are not 100% clear on how many calories and how much protein you should be eating to lose weight, I walk you through all of that in my free five day fat loss crash course. It's totally free, you sign up for it on my website.
[00:06:55] So go to kimschlagfitness.com. If you don't know how to spell Schlag, it's S-C-H-L-A-G. Kimschlagfitness.com. Look for "free five day fat loss crash course," pop your name and email in there, you'll start getting a series of emails from me, and over the course of five days, I will walk you through your calories and your protein and how exactly to set your nutrition up.
[00:07:13] Once you have that information, you're going to sit down the night before, you're going to know what total protein should be each day. You're going to take that total number of grams of protein and you're going to divide it by the number of meals and/or snacks you prefer to eat.
[00:07:30] So, let's say your target is 120 grams of protein and you're going to eat three meals and one snack. Okay, that's 120. You're going to divide it by 4. That's 30 grams. That's how much protein you would need at each of those four meals or snacks.
[00:07:44] Now, remember, I'm just giving you an example here. The numbers I'm giving here are not for you. This is just for us to kind of talk through it.
[00:07:50] All right, so what you're going to do with that number, so now you know it's 30 grams at each meal or snack, you decide, "what am I going to eat to get 30 grams of protein at each meal?" And you log it in.
[00:08:02] So here, I'm going to do this along with you.
[00:08:04] So, let's say I need to get 30 grams of protein. I have my log open, at breakfast I'm gonna have half a cup of egg whites and I'm going to have three eggs. That gets me the 30 grams protein.
[00:08:14] Okay, at lunch I'm going to have 4.5 ounces of chicken breast and I'm going to have some feta cheese. Now I've got my 30 grams of protein in my lunch.
[00:08:25] Dinner, I got this amazing pork loin, I'm going to make my pork loin. Okay, how much pork loin do I need to get 30 grams of protein? I can look here in myfitnesspal, pork loin, I need 5.5 ounces to get the 30 grams. Boom.
[00:08:38] So, my snack, I'm going to do one of my pre-made protein shakes. It's 30 grams of protein. There. Boom.
[00:08:45] You now know you will hit your protein target. There's no ambiguity. You're not going to get to the end of the day and be like, "Oh wait, I was 20 grams short." No, because you've already exactly figured it out. Not just like, "Oh, I'm going to have pork at dinner," "How much pork do I need to have to hit my 30 grams?"
[00:08:59] Not just chicken with my lunch, "how many ounces of chicken do I need to hit 30 grams? I'm gonna need 4.5 ounces if I pair it with a little bit, maybe 20 grams, of feta cheese."
[00:09:08] Now I've got it. You do all that here. You don't have to figure that out while you're rushing at your lunchtime, trying to put your salad together so you can eat and get back to work.
[00:09:17] So that's step one: log your protein. Do it exactly like I just showed you.
[00:09:21] All right, step two: log some vegetables. At least at two meals.
[00:09:26] You don't have to eat vegetables at breakfast, but you could. Get some veggies in there somewhere. Now, if you don't like vegetables -- believe me, I get it. I don't either.
[00:09:37] At age 44, I decided, "you know what? I'm a frigging grownup and I know this is good for me. And I'm just going to learn to like them. I'm going to do it. I'm going to learn to like them." And I did.
[00:09:47] I really should do a whole episode on that sometime, about exactly how I taught myself to eat vegetables, what process I went through. It was not easy. It's not like I just woke up. I'm like, "now I like 'em!" I had to really work to learn to like vegetables. And now I do like them.
[00:09:59] Okay, look, I have a handful of vegetables I won't eat. I do not eat peas, I do not eat green beans, I do not eat Lima beans. I don't like that stuff. I won't eat it, but that's okay because there's so many other vegetables that I have learned to like, and so I give myself permission to not have to eat any particular vegetable, but I have to eat some vegetables. You can do that too.
[00:10:20] And, like I said, I'll record another episode exactly how I did that.
[00:10:23] For now, just remind yourself, "I'm a grownup, so I eat the dang vegetables." Log them. Log some vegetables. Figure out which vegetables you like the most and put them in, at least at two meals, okay?
[00:10:33] So, on my imaginary log here, I'm going to put in, I'm going to have a salad at lunch. So, I'm going to put in some spring mix and I'm going to put it in some radish and then I can put in some cucumber. And at dinner with my pork loin, I'm going to have some brussel sprouts. Boom. Done. I have some vegetables in here.
[00:10:51] Next, step three -- you're writing this down, right? Step three: you're going to pre-log some fruit.
[00:10:56] At one or two meals or snacks, just get some fruit in there. Whatever you prefer. I dig oranges. I can't eat oranges anymore because with all of my health issues, I now have some special things and I can't eat it. But back in the day, you know, a week ago when I was allowed to eat citrus, oranges with dinner were my favorite. Orange slices at dinner, putting that in there, and I'm going to have an apple with my salad at lunch. Okay, we got some fruit in there.
[00:11:19] So you're going to put some fruit in there, whatever kind you like. One or two meals or snacks, get some fruit in there. It's good for you, it helps you stay full for very few calories, helps you get some fiber. So get some fruit in there.
[00:11:31] Step four. This is the final step. I think I thought it was five steps at the beginning... sorry, it's only four steps.
[00:11:37] Okay, step four is the final step: you can look over your pre-logged day now, right? You can see that it's high in protein. You can see it's high in minimally processed, nutrient dense food. You have your fruit, you have your veg, so with whatever calories you have left over, you can use them however you want.
[00:11:56] You're going to use nutritional compromises to decide how you want to use those calories. And it will likely be different day to day. Maybe today there's something in your mind you want and next week you're like, "I'm not so into that thing."
[00:12:08] So on my sample log, I'm going to look at my day and think, "okay, what do I want to add in? I have this chunk of calories leftover. You know what, I really like to have rice with this recipe, with the pork loin, it tastes really good, so I'm going to put in a half a cup of rice."
[00:12:20] Maybe I also told my kids I'd get them donuts tomorrow. And you know what? I want a donut. I can fit a donut in, so I'm gonna fit it in now. I'm going to know I'm going to have my donut.
[00:12:28] Okay, now I still have some calories left over, so I'm looking, I'm thinking, "you know what? I'm going to add some avocado to my salad. A little fat always helps me stay full longer and I just like avocado."
[00:12:39] "All right. A little bit more calories left over, so you know what? I think I want some toast with my eggs in the morning." Okay. Boom.
[00:12:46] I now have a complete meal plan ready to go.
[00:12:50] I know it will keep me in my calorie deficit, I know I will get in the protein I need to preserve my muscle and keep me satiated, I can see that I have plenty of micronutrients, I've used nutritional compromises to put in stuff I'm in the mood for, right? I'm thinking like, "what do I want?"
[00:13:05] And now when I wake up tomorrow, I don't have to think about food at all. I just work my plan. No stress, no end of the day, macro-Tetris, and I have the flexibility to work within the framework I set to make any changes as needed. So if I realize like, "Oh wait, the avocado is not ripe," I can swap it out and say like, "Oh, you know what? I'm going to add some chia seeds," and I know exactly how many calories I have left over that I'm going to swap out from the avocado. "Okay, so I've got like, 80 calories here from the avocado. I'm going to put in some chia seeds." Now I know how much I can afford in this calorie budget.
[00:13:39] Or maybe the kids want ice cream instead of donuts. I can make that swap knowing exactly how many calories I have to work with.
[00:13:47] Your consistency with your deficit will skyrocket by doing this. It will skyrocket. And consistency is what brings you results.
[00:13:58] I hope this has been helpful. Hit me up with questions anytime. You can DM me over on IG or you can email me, email@example.com. I am happy to help.
[00:14:08] Now, if you have a question you want answered, if you're struggling with your nutrition or training and you want to get some free coaching by me, I do that here on the podcast. Actually, these are some of the episodes I get the most feedback on, people are like, "I love that, can you do more?" "I learned so much listening to you talk to that person."
[00:14:25] Look, we all have the same types of struggles, your struggles with losing weight, with getting leaner, with getting started, they're not unique. Your particular set of circumstances are, but the general struggle? It's everybody's struggle. Somebody out there wants to know the exact answer that you want to know.
[00:14:41] And so the way it works is we get together on a call, I record the call -- it's just a Zoom call -- I record the call as I coach you, and then I publish it here as a podcast episode. And that way you get the solutions you need and everyone listening gets to learn, as well.
[00:14:57] So, if you're interested, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, put "free coaching" in the subject line, and then let me know what your question is and we can make it happen.
[00:15:10] 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.
[00:15:21] 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.
[00:15:36] Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 84 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. In this episode, I tackle a question I get a lot: how can I do what you do for a living, Kim?
I speak with a woman named Yvette who's looking to make a move into the fitness industry and we chat through how I did it -- how did I move into the health and fitness space? And we talk through best next steps for her -- and maybe you -- if that's where your mind and heart want to go. Let's do it!
Hi, how are you?
Yvette: [00:00:53] I am good. It's 6:00 AM over here, I'm ready to roll, sister.
Kim: [00:00:58] It's most impressive that you're so wide awake and chipper at 6:00 AM.
Yvette: [00:01:03] Oh, I've already done a little breathing exercise. I've done my Wim Hoff and finished with a cold shower, so I'm ready to roll.
Kim: [00:01:11] Seriously. I'm seriously impressed. You live in California, correct?
Yvette: [00:01:17] Yes. Wild Southern California.
Kim: [00:01:21] Well, tell us a little bit more about you and then we're going to jump into the question that you emailed me.
Yvette: [00:01:30] Okay. So I am 55 and I have been probably just obsessed with health and fitness, probably in my early twenties, I started. My best friend and I used to, she got me into bodybuilding competitions, where we would just go and be attendees there. But it was just so intriguing. And I started following bodybuilders and getting into some weight training.
As I mentioned before, I've always had a full-time job. I started in food service over 30 years ago and I've done very well in my career, so I've kind of stayed there and then responsibilities come. I have two amazing boys and so I always stayed there, but I always just had this passion of fitness in the back of my mind.
So, I would weight train. At one of my companies, we had a full gym and at lunchtime I would actually teach people -- like, at lunchtime we would do a weight training class. So anywhere I could fit it in, I would do it.
And I found I needed some cardio. And I found a coupon for a kickboxing class and I started kickboxing. The first day I told the sensei, I was at a dojo, I'm like, "I want to teach this." And from then on, I started my whole side career in cardio kickboxing. And that went on for probably 10 plus years. And that was amazing.
Still huge in my heart. I love kickboxing and have a huge passion for weight training, health and fitness, always looking for healthy ways, natural ways, you know, to incorporate in my life.
Kim: [00:03:37] Got it. But you never considered actually competing in bodybuilding?
Yvette: [00:03:42] No. I was real intrigued and my girlfriend and I, we would go to the gym and and she would train amazingly and we would both really get into it. And I, actually, at one time in my life, I started training pretty heavy and it was so awesome. Just like the muscle, the definition, everything you get and like you see a lot on-- I've listened to all of your podcasts. I love everyone you've had on, and it's the confidence that comes with it. Just looking at what you've created. It's truly amazing.
And I'm just amazed with what our bodies can do overall .When you have that mind-body connection, you're like, "pshhh" you can make anything happen. So, yeah, it's cool, I just don't know if I could really cut down all my calories and really be that disciplined.
Kim: [00:04:44] Yes. From a nutrition standpoint, it's incredibly restrictive.
So tell everyone the question that you asked me over email. Kind of give us the gist of that and we'll just kind of take the conversation from there.
Yvette: [00:04:57] Okay. So, like I said, my passion has always run wild. And there's something inside of me that is not complete.
And I know I love helping people, I love when people come to me and say, "Oh my gosh, Yvette, I worked out today. I feel good." Or, you know, "I ate this," they'll send me pictures of food that they've prepared or things that they've done or, "I started this training and I'm just so excited." And I'm like, "yes!" Like, "do it!" You know? "You need me to support you, I'm here."
So I know there's something in me that just thrives on that part. And I've just always wanted to maybe start like a side business or maybe own my own gym or, you know, I'm not really sure. And I have my NASM book, I have my ACE group fitness training book, and I start to study and then I get distracted.
I'm like a squirrel. I don't know what direction I want right now. And with COVID hitting, I am such a one-on-one, like, in my group classes, I loved that whole energy and environment and it's really like, I stopped social media when COVID started because I just couldn't handle everything that was going on and I kind of needed a break and it was my time just to kind of study, meditate, get myself, my mind right.
So I'll start to study and then I get distracted and I don't complete it. So, now I'm just like, do I want to go back into group? What's going to happen in our future? Do I want to start virtual? Do I want to maybe do one-on-one and get more into nutrition? You know, my passions run wild and I can't narrow them down.
That's my biggest problem.
Kim: [00:07:08] Got it. Got it. And the reason I said like, "Hey, let's hop on a podcast and talk about this" is because I get emails and DMs about this all the time. People saying like, "Hey, I want to do something like what you do." Like, "I want to help people with nutrition and fitness..." and then they'll ask whatever their questions are, like, basically saying like, "what are my next steps? What should I do?"
And so I was thinking, when you asked me this question, I was like, "you know what? I'm just going to take this one and we're going to talk about this on the podcast so I can lead people to this every time we have a DM question about this."
It sounds like for you, the biggest piece though, is figuring out what you actually want. You know, you like the idea of helping people, you like the idea of helping people with their fitness, with their nutrition, but it sounds like you're not clear on what way you want to actually do that.
Yvette: [00:07:52] Right. Exactly.
Kim: [00:07:55] There is this interesting piece that you just brought up of right now with COVID, you know, group fitness doesn't seem like, necessarily, a very timely option, right? I mean, what's happening in California right now with group fitness? Nothing. And not that it's not going to come back -- I would assume that at some point it is -- it might not be the way to go right now. How far along are you in finishing your certification for that? Like, are you close to finishing?
Yvette: [00:08:26] Well, so what I did is, in the ACE group fitness, like, it's not grasping my attention enough. And what I do love, and I have the NASM -- I can't remember which edition it is. It's back from a couple of years ago -- and ever since you and I started emailing each other, I was like, "man, I'm going to dive into my NASM book" because it's so comprehensive. It's probably one of the best certified books -- I have a few of them -- that I have really come across where it just really keeps my attention and it breaks down everything so easily.
And so, I started that and I'm just reviewing my chapters right now. I'm very knowledgeable in a lot of it, but, I'll tell you one thing, Kim, that's why I love your podcast, your YouTube, everything -- how you break things down it makes so much sense. I hate taking those tests. I have taken the group fitness test before a few years back and I missed it by a couple points only because I get confused on the way they ask the questions and the multiple choices. They're so close and it's like, you know what, anybody can get a certification. Anybody can pass a test. But it's really the common sense and really finding out what that client wants, what their needs are and really understanding the body and the mindset that makes you a great certified instructor and that something that I just truly believe in my heart.
Kim: [00:10:10] Yeah, you're getting at a good point there, which is certifications are not the be all and end all. I am a huge believer in education for any kind of coach. If you're going to do nutrition coaching, if you're going to do fitness coaching, you need to be educated. Whether that comes from a certification or not is not necessarily important. There's lots of ways to go about getting your education.
Certifications are kind of like the baseline. So I got my certification through NASM a good handful of years ago, so I don't know what the course is like now. I will say if I was going to enter the fitness industry now -- like, you've already paid for it, so I would just do it. You've got it. It costs a lot of money, so just do it.
It's not the one I would necessarily pick, mostly because, what I realized is, I used very little, almost immediately, of the things that I had learned as a coach. A lot of the NASM curriculum, at least how it used to be when I was certified a handful of years ago, was very centered on their model called the OPT model.
That is not a structure I've ever used as a coach. I don't know anybody who uses that as a coach, frankly. And so I had to spend a whole lot of time studying something that-- and a big part of their exam is on that model. It's not a model I've literally used. I used it, I don't know, a few weeks maybe and then I realized like, "this doesn't make sense. This isn't how the people that I admire in industry, this is not how I see their programs structured." And so I didn't use it anymore.
What I did learn from NASM, and you can learn in most certifications, I would assume, you know, there was a big emphasis on all of the muscles, what they are, where they are, what they do. That stuff's important. Like, you gotta know that.
When I was studying for the NASM CPT, I got a coloring book that was an anatomy coloring book, and I would color each of the muscles and then write what each one did, what the functions were. And that stuff, that's super important because you have to know what the body is made up of so that you can figure out how to train it. And so that piece is really important. So the anatomy piece is really important.
Of course I learned basic training principles -- the principle of specificity, the principle of progressive overload, these kinds of things. They're very important. But so much of that NASM curriculum is about their particular model. And that's what most certifications are like. You know, it's a money-making opportunity, those certifying bodies are making their money. But I do think getting some education is important. I don't think people should just go willy nilly and say like -- 'cause you can, you could literally, right today, you could get on Instagram and say like, "I'm a nutrition coach." like, there's nothing legally you have to do to do that.
I do think education is super duper important.
In your specific situation, you have already paid for that curriculum. I would say, you know, study it, pass the test, and then use what you have learned -- and like I said, really focusing on that anatomy piece is going to help you whether you're group fitness training or whether you're one-on-one, in person or one-on-one online, it's going to help you.
For the rest of you listening, if you haven't chosen the certification yet, I would choose whatever certification that is least expensive, which often is ACE. And know that this is literally the teeniest part of your education as a coach. Like, that was just the start of me getting educated as a coach. I did go on to get certified in nutrition and we can talk about that in a minute, but I study all the time.
Literally to this day, I sign up for courses and I take them. You know, things about I've done courses in coaching psychology. I've done courses with various trainers about hips and shoulders. I've done all kinds of courses about topics that I want to know more about. I read research articles.
The certification is not the end of your education, it is literally the start. And so approaching it from that framework is an important way to go.
It's a good way to learn a little bit and if you want to get hired by a gym, you're going to need it.
Okay, so next question for you: how do you feel about just finishing up your NASM certification?
Yvette: [00:14:30] Yeah, and that's fine. And honestly, Kim, I would purchase the, the ACE book as well. My NASM book is like centuries-- like, I don't even know how old it is, it's probably like four or five years old. And you hit something because that's what I do. I just go through the anatomy part and stuff like that because the OPT, the breakdown, it was funny cause I was reviewing it last night and I'm like, "Okay, but this isn't really making sense how they're starting some of these like students, 'cause I would never start them that way." And I kind of do it myself. Like, I run myself like I'm a student and then I'm like, "okay, what do I do here? How do I do this? And how does that make me feel?"
You know, how I increase my weight training, how I do my reps, my sets. I also had mentioned that I am certified in foundation training. And you talk about the anatomy and further education, that is all about the body. It's all about decompression breathing. It's all about anchoring. It's all about how we hinge from our hips. And that has really helped me in my weight training because, you know, we are all kind of falling into we're very tense right now. We have our heads tilted forward, our shoulders are forward. A lot of us are living in fear because we don't know what our future holds and it's showing in our bodies and our bodies are really stressed out right now. And foundation is a very empowering. I've learned so much from that. I am certified level one in that and I want to get into level two.
Kim: [00:16:19] Can you tell me what that is? I don't know. What is this "Foundations?" Is that a personal training certification? What is that?
Yvette: [00:16:27] It was created by Dr. Eric Goodman and he is a chiropractor and he had his own issues with his back as a chiropractor that were not getting better and his only option that he was given was to have surgery and that was not going to happen. And he started to believe in doing certain yoga and then created this whole movement, which is all bodyweight exercises.
It's not really yoga. It's more centered on breathing correctly and decompression breathing, anchoring, hinging from the hips, using our bodies in correct movement. And he has really helped people with back pain. When I went to my certification, there were so many people with some really bad injuries that had jumped on YouTube or grabbed the-- they offer like the whole baseline workout, I think it's like $15 a month, and you can go on there and they kind of set out all the body weight exercises to help you. And these people had just great results from it.
It's something you do on a daily basis that really just helps your body function properly, the way it is supposed to function. I would use it as a warmup and a cool-down for any training that I would give any students. There's a lot of YouTube info if you want to go check it out and it's great stuff.
But speaking, like how you talk about the other education, that is huge because it's all how our body functions. Anatomy Trains is another book that I love. And then I am very into the mindset connection of the body. So, I love Joe Dispenza. I have his book on the brain because it just goes together, man. You gotta right mindsight and you train your body to do what you need, you can become such a powerful being.
So, like you say, there's so many things that incorporate into just training a person or nutrition.
Kim: [00:18:58] So it sounds like you've done a lot of studying, lots of education on various pieces of health and wellness. And the question is how are you going to put all these parts together and what is your next steps to actually make a career out of this?
Yvette: [00:19:13] Yes, because I feel like I'm so passionate about the whole thing. Like, every morning I wake up, I'm excited, I'm like, "okay, I'm going to do my Wim Hof breathing, I'm going to do this, and what do I feel like reading today?"
So I do love to read. I love to learn. I love so many podcasts on health and wellness. And then it's just the point of getting my squirrel brain to just focus and complete one task. That's probably my biggest issue.
Kim: [00:19:44] Well, let me ask you this, are you sure want to make a career out of this? Is this something you're just like, "Hey, I just enjoy this. I enjoy reading about this." Is it like, "Hey, this is what I want to do," or you're not sure about that yet.
Yvette: [00:19:57] I know I want to help people because I get excited when I learn things. And when you learn things, you always want to share those things. It just makes you more excited about it.
I do love what I do with food service, and so I'm kind of thinking right now, like just doing maybe a part-time, like having just a couple students to start with. Because I wouldn't want to-- I mean, I still need my full-time job and I would need to move into this, but I don't want to lose my passion for fitness by all of a sudden it being my full-time job. I don't know how that would make me feel.
So, I mean, it looks like you're pretty happy with everything that you are doing and what you've accomplished, which is beyond amazing, oh my gosh.
Kim: [00:20:58] You know, I think it comes down to, it's going to be an individual by individual basis. If you get into wanting to coach other people just because it's something you enjoy, you might find that like, "Hey, you know what? I don't want to spend all day talking to people about this. I just want to do it for myself." Right? I mean, that could be somebody's reality. I personally love it. I love that I spend all day talking to people about how to get stronger, how to build muscle, how to lose weight, and I go in the gym and do it for myself. Like, I am cool with that. I like it.
Not everybody ends up being thrilled with that. So that's something you're going to need to pick apart. I think the only way you're going to know is if you get started and it sounds like you do a lot of approaching getting started, like a lot of studying and thinking, but you don't actually take any actions towards doing it.
So my best advice for you would be to complete some kind of certification that, if you want to enter the training field, complete a certification and then actually start training people and see where it takes you. That's the piece that's going to give you the information about like, "do I like this and where do I want to take it?"
Yvette: [00:22:03] Now, let me ask you a question about that because the whole Zoom training and all that, like I had mentioned, you know, I'm certified in the Foundation training and I've actually just FaceTimed a couple of my friends that are runners or we're having some issue with neck pain and stuff. And I would just do free training for them. And I really loved it. But like the whole, "okay, Venmo me money," setting up like this whole, like, "okay, let's do the Zoom thing and stuff," I think that's like my missing piece.
Like, during COVID I was like, "Oh my God, I can totally do that. I can reach out to people. I can post all this stuff on Instagram," which, I've put some stuff on Instagram, but I guess it's all the social media that I get stuck on as well, too.
Kim: [00:22:59] So once you're actually qualified to do it, you're like, "what do I do then?" Like, "how do I actually get people to pay me? And how do I promote myself on social media?"
Is that the question?
Yvette: [00:23:09] Yeah, I think I get stuck in that.
Kim: [00:23:15] So, two things I would say: I am not a person who does online coaching as in Zoom sessions. So, I do not get live on camera with people and run them through workouts. I have never done that. People do that. I don't do that.
I will say for anybody listening, and it's such a different time period right now -- in the world outside of COVID, before you would ever consider doing such a thing, you should, for sure, be coaching people in person. No questions asked. Like, you need to coach people in person.
Right now it's really hard to do that. It's very hard to be able to coach people in person. So, you know, this might be the only time that I would say-- still, like you really should be trying, even if it's your family, your friends, somebody that you could get, you need to be able to be in-person with them and learn, "how do I coach somebody through a squat? How do I help them move better?" It's really hard to do that online if you have not done that in person.
So if we were in the regular, not COVID world, I would say without a doubt coach in person for quite some time before you even consider going online as a coach. Not be online, helping people -- and I'll talk about that in a second -- I coached in person for quite some time before I took my first online client.
So, that doesn't mean you can't help people online. The entire time you're studying for your certification, you could still be helping people online for free, via social media. And the way you do that is you share what you're learning. So you can go on Instagram, honestly, right now, the platform to be on, no matter how old you are is TikTok. I know some older people are like, "that's like young people dancing around," it is not. I mean, it is, there's plenty of that on there, but there are plenty of people of all ages on there and if you want to build a business right now, it is the number one platform I would say to get on. And it is very easy to use. When I learned to use it this past spring, I literally went on YouTube and searched, "how do I use TikTok?" I had no idea how to do it. And it talked me through it step-by-step, it's very simple -- and I am a terrible, terrible person when it comes to technology -- and once this person on YouTube explained to me how to use the technology on TikTok, I realized it was super user-friendly and you can easily make TikTok videos.
You could go on and, as you're getting certified, and you're learning about whatever, if you're learning about how to squat or how to program your workouts, whatever it is, you could go on and you just literally video yourself, little 15 to 60 second clips of you explaining what you're learning to people, and then people will start to learn from you, one. That's one of your main goals is to help people. And two, you will build a community of people who trust you, right? You show up every day teaching them so that when you are ready to actually charge for your services, you will have a following of people who are used to listening to you and getting good information from you. And it makes it a no brainer for them, then if they find out like, "Oh, wait, Yvette does coaching? Let me hire her." Does that make sense?
Yvette: [00:26:20] Yes, totally. Actually, my younger son, he always like wants me to get on TikTok and I just haven't done it yet. But yeah, I love it.
Kim: [00:26:32] And you can do the exact same thing on Instagram. It's hard to build a business on Instagram. I still think you should be there, I'm not saying don't be there. It's hard to build a big audience on Instagram right now. I mean, I was building a big audience on Instagram when it was still pretty possible to do so organically. And I'm not saying it's totally impossible right now, it's just a lot harder. It's way easier on TikTok. There's just more people watching than there are creators creating and so it's easier to get a bigger audience faster.
Yvette: [00:26:59] I like it. Yeah. I'll definitely look into that. Okay, that's awesome. That is great info right there and totally doable.
Kim: [00:27:07] Yeah, and you don't have to and look at yourself like -- I think why people get nervous is they feel like, "why am I the expert here?" Well, you're the expert because you're the one who's doing it. You're the expert because you're the one who just read about the best squat form and so now you're going to share what you just learned.
You don't have to know everything there is to know about everything in order to help other people. You just need to be a few steps ahead of them.
Yvette: [00:27:31] Right. And that was like one of the things when I was looking on Instagram and stuff like that, everyone, COVID started -- well, this happened prior but, everyone thinks they're an instructor right now.
And I really feel that people really need to be aware of who they're following and what they are being marketed towards, because it's always like this quick way to get like, "Oh, okay, you want to look like her, then just do this." And that's another thing that I wanted to mention to you is I love that you are working with younger, like teenage girls and stuff, because social media can be so like, "that's what I want to look like. If only I looked like that my whole world would be perfect and amazing." And it's just about taking care of this wonderful body that we've been given. And we all come in all different shapes and sizes and no two are alike. And it's just for people just to really have that awareness that I think is amazing.
And I would love to get on something like this and for people to really see it comes from my heart. Like, "I want you to succeed. I want you to understand how this works." I'm not on here to go, "Hey, look at me!" Because by no means is my body perfect. Especially at 55, man. It all changes. Thank you, menopause.
Kim: [00:29:09] And you can make content and share around all of those things. Like, the content I've made for teenage girls, both on Instagram and on TikTok. That was literally all it was, was me sharing like, "Hey girls, I want to tell you what I wish somebody had told me when I was a teenager,." Because I really struggled with body image as a teenager.
I always thought I needed to lose weight and looking back, it was crazy. I was not overweight. I really would have benefited from lifting some heavy weights, but I didn't know that. And that's one of the things I tell the girls. I was just like, "you should start lifting weights as soon as possible."
So I literally just go on and I talk about, "here are things I wish that somebody had told me," "here are things to watch out for," and so things like that, that you are passionate about, and you have something to say about, you can say them and people will resonate with them or they won't.
And, you know, there's a lot of things that you, as a 55 year old woman, have experienced that other people are going to be able to learn from.
And, like I said, there's a lot of time and effort. I have spent countless hours putting out free content on Instagram, on YouTube, on TikTok, and I mean, it's a lot of time I've spent over the past three years that I've been online.
And it's partially to help people. That's a big part of it. It's also, that's literally how I've built my business. I didn't create ads to say like, "Hey, look, I'm a coach." I literally just put out free content and then would talk about like, "Hey, I'm a coach. I take clients online." And then people would reach out to me. And that's how I've built my business and now I train people all over the world.
Yvette: [00:30:54] That's awesome. Now, so I know you are more doing like the one-on-one, so you do take some online right now? Like, are you using Venmo or PayPal?
Kim: [00:31:11] I strictly do one-on-one online. I don't have any in-person clients. Zero.
I haven't had any in-person clients in two years now. It was two years ago that I really started phasing out in-person clients. So for a while I just did in-person and then I started taking clients online. And I'll tell you what that looks like for me, because I think maybe you're confused about what do I do with these online clients since I said I don't do live sessions, I'll tell you in a second, what I do with them.
So I started taking online clients and eventually I got to the point where I had tons of online, tons of in-person, and I had to pick, because there was only so much of me to go around and I picked online and I don't do in-person anymore. At all. Zero.
And so what I do, when I say that I coach one-on-one online, I write my clients training plans. So I will write out, "here's your month's worth of workouts," and I send them that, and then I do nutrition coaching with them. It is all done online. So my clients and I communicate via a shared Google Doc via email and via a video texting app.
We are never live in-person talking to each other. At all. I never talked to my clients, like, I don't get on the phone with them, I don't video chat with them, I don't watch them do their workouts. They send me form videos all the time and I give them form feedback.
They check in with me every single day via our shared Google Doc about their nutrition. And so I can see, like, how many calories did they eat and how many steps did they take and how much protein did they eat? And they have their workouts on this shared Google sheet and I check in on that and see how are workouts looking. They send me form videos, I give them feedback. And then once a month I do a progress review for them. They send me pictures, I make side by sides. They send me measurements, I look at their scale weight, and that's how we assess their progress. Well, how I assess their progress.
So when I say that I coach online, that's how I do it. It's not like me and them running through a workout.
Yvette: [00:33:04] Okay. Got it.
Kim: [00:33:06] And, for payment, I use PayPal and the way I have it set up is I have automatic payments. So I'm never chasing people around, trying to collect money. When people join on to be my client, they set up automatic payments and then it's withdrawn from their account once a month and I don't have to think about it at all.
And there's a lot of you figure out business-wise when you're getting started and you need to trust -- and, not just you, but everybody listening here -- that you're going to figure that all out. If somebody had told me when I was 40, that I was going to have an online business and somehow figure out all the backend stuff like that, I would have been totally intimidated because I had zero idea how to do any of that.
But, you know, I learned how to do that bit by bit as I needed to do it. I literally, when it was time for me to set up recurring payments on PayPal, I sat with another coach in a Panera, my friend, Susan Niebergall, I don't know if you follow Susan, and she showed me like how to set up the automatic payments, how to make the link, she's the one who talked me through, "here's how you do that."
Yvette: [00:34:14] Cool. Okay.
Kim: [00:34:15] So, yeah. Trust that you're going to figure it out and you just start taking steps. You can sit and stew for ever about the perfect way to do things and not get anywhere. When you start taking action, you'll figure it out. You'll figure it out as you go. Like, there's been so many times where I've had to revamp my systems because, you know, I got to X number of clients and what I used to do, that didn't work anymore and it was too overwhelming, and so then I had to change things.
And I always just figure it out and evolve and things get better. And now I'm a much better coach and I'm a much better business person because I've been at it for awhile. But you'll figure it out as you go. The main thing is to get some education, know what you're doing, and start doing it.
My other key piece of advice, if I could give you one more piece of advice, is to find a mentor or somebody that you can intern with to learn from. That has been huge for me. Huge.
So, my mentor is Jordan Syatt. He was my coach and he has mentored me in becoming a coach and becoming a successful business person and that has been key. Like, he's my go-to person. I ask him all the questions. And having somebody who can help you through all that is really key.
And it's not as hard as you might think to find somebody to mentor you. I personally, right now, I have an intern. She reached out to me a handful of months back now. Sometime in the fall she emailed me and she said, "I've been following you for a while and I am a mom of four kids. I've had a career in audiology, I have gotten certified in nutrition coaching through Precision Nutrition, and I would like to do what you do. How would you feel about taking me on as an intern and I can help you with whatever you need?"
And that's the key. Like, you have to offer them something. And so we got on a call and we talked about what she wanted from me as her mentor and then what she thought she could offer me as assistance and it has been an amazing setup. She handles all my backend stuff for me now. She keeps me organized, she completes all kinds of projects that I come up with in my mind that I've wanted to do, but I just didn't have the time to do, and I mentor her. She's taking on clients now. She asked me questions about best practices and how to set things up and when she's confused about things,and it's a great situation for both of us.
So, I cannot recommend that highly enough.
Yvette: [00:36:50] Wow. That's awesome. I was going to ask you if you did mentoring, actually.
Kim: [00:36:58] This is the first time I've done it and I will continue to do it because it has been such a good situation for the both of us. I'm not taking on any more mentees at this moment, but I'm assuming at some point.
So, my intern, her name is Emily Hansen. You should all follow her on Instagram and TikTok. Emily is E-M-I-L-I-E Hansen. @emilyhansenfitness, I believe is her handle.
And so she's out there, she's creating content, she's taking one-on-one clients online, she has a good handful of clients that's building all the time. So eventually she's going to phase out from being my intern because she's just gonna have too much of her own business. So yeah, eventually I'll take on more.
Yvette: [00:37:47] Great. Oh my God. That's good. Man, she stepped in right at the right time. Good for Emily!
Kim: [00:37:53] She did! And that's the thing, putting yourself out there, like, finding somebody who like, "Hey, this person, I really resonate with how they coach. What could I do to help them?" Like, "how could I help them" and just saying like, "hey, can I help you with X and learn some things from you?"
And, you know, not everybody's going to say "yes," actually fun story, my coach, who is my mentor now, Jordan, he was my powerlifting coach online and I wanted to hire him as my business coach to be my mentor. I'd already chosen this man as my mentor. I'm like, I want to coach just like Jordan.
And when I approached him the first time about taking me on he's like, "I'm sorry, I just can't. I can't take on any more business clients." And I asked him multiple times and he's like, "I just can't. I can't." And then about after six months I sent him this really long email and I was like, "Hey look. When you first started trying to coach--" I'd read the story that he had talked about, how he said, you know, "I'll mop the floors, I'll do whatever you want. I just want to be here in the gym and learn from you." I'm like, "that is what I'm telling you. I will do whatever you want. What do you need me to do? I'll go through your emails for you, whatever you need me to do, just take me on."
And he called me and he's like, "okay, fine." He's like, "how can I say 'no' to that?"
So like, you know, you have to be persistent with this stuff and you have to show somebody that you care about what they're saying and that you want to add value to them. And that's how Jordan ended up taking me on as a business coaching client.
Yvette: [00:39:19] That's great. Yeah. You've talked about Jordan a lot and that's really cool because it sounds like you have definitely learned so much from him and he has been an amazing mentor. I think some of the other trainers talk about him, too. Like, when you do your group with, I think there's like three other trainers and I believe Susan, is it Susan?
Kim: [00:39:43] Are you talking about my other podcast?
Yvette: [00:39:47] It's on the Fitness Simplified, and sometimes there's three thers that jump on and they're all different ages. And I love it because I think one of the gals is in her twenties and, oh man, you guys bring just some great material.
Kim: [00:40:04] Oh, thanks.! Yes, it's Sam Altieri, Sarah Duff, and Marci Nevin. That's the current iteration. We started this podcast a couple of years back and on the very first episode, maybe two episodes, Susan was on there with us and she had too much going on at the time and couldn't stay on and we had another coach, her name was Nicole, who was on with us for a time and then she left and we brought on the other two.
And so we've been doing that podcast for a bit.
Yvette: [00:40:30] Oh yeah. Great interaction right there. It's all great stuff.
So, the nutrition part and like that whole mentor thing. I totally have been looking for a mentor, Kim, and I'm not finding the person that I need to find.
And I think maybe because I am not in the whole "fitness" deal as much as I need to be, the fitness community, let's say. So that's where I need to figure that piece out, for sure. Like, you know, I'm like a Tony Robbins kind of girl. I did the UPW, the first virtual UPW. And that was pretty awesome, but I'm not going to ask Tony Robbins to mentor me.
I think he's probably a little busy right now, but I don't know, maybe if I bug him and say I'll mop his floors...
Kim: [00:41:44] And I think that worked with Jordan because we had a relationship together. You know, he had been coaching me for some time and I think that's the key: relationship building from a genuine place. Not looking for like, "what can I get from this person?" But you know, whoever it is, you follow on social media, if you're back on there, it sounds like maybe you are, you know, looking for, "how can I support this person's work? What can I learn from them just from the content they put out?"
You know, maybe there are people that you'd want to hire to coach you. That's a good way to learn. That's actually a really good way, before I'd ever even hired Jordan to help me to be a coach, he was my coach and I had learned so much about coaching from being coached by him.
So, you know, hire a coach you admire and learn from that person as they're coaching you. You know, that's another way to approach finding a mentor.
Okay, so the nutrition piece, you specifically wanted to know about nutrition certifications? Was that the question you had?
Yvette: [00:42:40] Yes.
Kim: [00:42:42] So, two good options: one is Precision Nutrition. That's who I am certified through. They open up their coaching a couple of times a year. I learned a ton from Precision Nutrition. Again, it's just like with PT certifications: it's not like you're going to learn everything you need to know about nutrition. Specifically, if you're interested in helping people learn to get lean or whatever things, it's not like you're gonna learn everything you need to know from that certification, but it's a good place to go to get started.
I don't agree with every single thing PN ever talks about, but I certainly learned a lot from them.
That's one good option. Another option, which I would totally jump on if I had the time to do another nutrition certification is Mac-nutrition. They're out of London. I can never remember Martin's last name, the guy who heads it, his name is Martin. He has a fabulous podcast now, too. Why can I never think of that man's last name?
Anyway, Mac-nutrition University. I think that's the cream of the crop these days for nutrition certifications. I do believe I heard that they now require some baseline knowledge. It's not like you can just sign up without any nutrition. Like, I think if you take PN, then you can take Mac University, or you might be able to get in through some other way.
If you already have -- I don't know if you have to have a bachelor's degree in something, but there is some kind of baseline to get into that one. That's an incredible, like, I love the content they put out, I've read about their certification, they're very big on educating you about how to read the science so that it's not just learning about nutrition, but learning about how to continue learning about it so that you can continue to read research and understand the research.
I would highly recommend looking into that one, as well.
Yvette: [00:44:32] Perfect. Awesome. I'm going to look for Martin on the podcast.
Kim: [00:44:40] Type in "Mac Nutrition University," and you'll find his name and all the stuff that goes along with him.
The other thing I would say about learning about nutrition, it's not a certification, but it is a way to really keep current about what's happening, is to subscribe to Alan Aragon's Research Review. It's like $10 a month and when you sign up for it, you have all the back issues there. And he covers like the most recent nutrition research and talks you through it.
Yvette: [00:45:15] Oh, wow. Okay. Perfect.
Well, I think that's all I had. This has been so amazing, Kim. Thank you so much. And thank you for having me on your podcast. I hope that we've answered and helped a lot of people that are kind of in the same boat as me. I'm excited. I'm going to start TikToking tomorrow, sister. I'm ready to go.
Kim: [00:45:48] All right, I love it!
Yvette: [00:45:50] I'm going to take action and I hope everybody else does, as well.
Kim: [00:45:53] So, when you get on TikTok, message me there so I can know what your handle is and I'll follow you.
Yvette: [00:45:58] Oh, perfect.
Kim: [00:45:59] And then I can help you with anything you need.
Alright, thanks so much for coming on!
Yvette: [00:46:05] Hey, thank you. Have a great day!
Kim: [00:46:12] 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 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.
I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.