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.