Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 73 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I'm going to be tackling a listener's question. The question I received is, "What are your views on intuitive eating for weight loss?"
[00:00:18] Now, this can be a bit of a dicey question, a little bit of a controversial question, because many of those who are in the intuitive eating community do not approve of the idea of using intuitive eating for the purposes of weight loss. This is the subject we're going to tackle today. Let's go.
[00:00:39] So I want to make sure we get a few things straight right at the outset of this chat. There is a book called, "Intuitive Eating" written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I sure hope I said those names right, I have only read them. I've never actually spoken them or heard them spoken.
[00:00:55] It outlines the 10 principles of intuitive eating. They created this framework, these principles in writing this book. Now I am familiar with the principles, but I have not read the book. My reading list is sky high and it has just simply not made the cut yet.
[00:01:13] So when people talk about intuitive eating, many are referring to this set of principles as laid out in this book.
[00:01:22] Others are simply referring to the idea of eating without counting calories or following a structured diet plan or cutting out food groups, but rather honoring one's hunger and fullness cues.
[00:01:34] Now I'm going to talk briefly about the book, because as I said, I have not read it yet but the bulk of our conversation will not be about the principles of that book. 1) because I haven't read it and have no business speaking on it, and 2) because most people aren't necessarily referring to that anyway when they ask about intuitive eating and weight loss.
[00:01:55] Okay. This does not sit well with many in the intuitive eating crowd. I have been attacked in comments of posts for even daring to use a hashtag with the words, "intuitive eating" if the post relates to weight loss.
[00:02:09] The first principle of intuitive eating as laid out in the book by Evelyn Tribole is to, "reject the diet mentality," which, in her words, "includes food restriction for the purposes of weight loss." Though weight loss might occur, so might weight gain or weight maintenance.
[00:02:28] So, if we're talking about this specific philosophy, that is this dance. It is not involving purposeful weight loss.
[00:02:38] Let's turn our discussion away from that specific philosophy to the idea that this questioner likely had in mind, which is, "can a person lose weight while eating intuitively?"
[00:02:50] As in, "without counting calories or following a set plan or a structure that eliminates any food groups, but simply eating to fullness and stopping when satisfied."
[00:03:01] Another term we might use to distinguish this idea from intuitive eating as laid out by Evelyn Tribole is the term "mindful eating."
[00:03:10] I tend to use that term now when I'm referring to intuitive eating for weight loss, but I certainly am not about to demand that others use it or police their language.
[00:03:21] So, the statement is often made to the effect that we were born eating intuitively, so we should be able to just get back to that.
[00:03:30] Why can we not do it now? You know, babies cry when they're hungry and they stop eating when they're done. For many reasons, as we go through life, we don't keep that up. Because we eat socially, we eat at certain times because that's when our family is eating, or do to our schedule. We even do that when we're not hungry.
[00:03:50] You know, it's dinner time. "It's five o'clock. Mom's putting the food on the table. I'm not hungry, but this is when dinner is here, so we're eating"
[00:03:56] We learn rules from our parents like, "don't waste that food," "clean your plate," "there are starving kids, you have no business leaving food on your plate," and on and on.
[00:04:07] We begin to eat hyper-palatable foods. Yes, companies design foods in such a way that we actually want to overeat them. Think about the Pringles tagline, "Once you pop, you can't stop." That is not coincidental. They literally design the food that way.
[00:04:25] Food is heavily marketed. Cinnabon, for example. Oh my gosh, I love them.
[00:04:30] They rely on its smell factor to get you to buy. It totally works, right? It works on me. You know how you're wandering the mall and that scent appears and it's just like, "ahhhh, so good." That is not actually just a natural byproduct of the baking of the cinnamon rolls. It is purposeful. They actually have tested where to put them the ovens in the store to make the smell waft deeper into the mall.
[00:04:57] So, some stores will put them in the back, but now they have the stores put those ovens in the front of the store to make the smell stronger. They even use weaker oven hoods to keep this smells coming out into the mall instead of being lost up into the air ducts. And as though that is not enough, they also sometimes bake trays of cinnamon and brown sugar to intensify the smell.
[00:05:22] So, yes, we were born eating intuitively, but as grownups, it is likely a skill we have to practice to use successfully to lose weight -- and even perhaps to maintain weight, frankly -- for all of those reasons I just mentioned above.
[00:05:37] And this is important: there is no shame in that. It's not shameful that you need to practice to eat intuitively. Just because you started eating intuitively as a baby, doesn't mean you should be able to do it now and there's something wrong with you if you can't.
[00:05:52] So this brings me to my direct answer to the question posed: what is my view on intuitive eating for weight loss?
[00:06:00] It is a higher-order skill. You need a foundation of basic skills first that you practice over time -- often a long period of time -- before you can successfully use intuitive eating for weight loss.
[00:06:15] I make the analogy to reading, to learning how to read. Now, I'm not sure if you know this about me, I'm sure I've talked about it at some point on this podcast, I homeschooled my children for many, many years. And I don't mean as in virtual school like now, but full-blown, I designed the curriculum, I wrote the daily lesson plans, I delivered the instruction.
[00:06:36] I started when my oldest was in preschool, I added in number two a few years later, and then ultimately taught all three of them in my home up until the point that I had a mini mental breakdown in Target, triggered by a pink Zuzu pet that ended in me enrolling all three of my children in public school immediately. But that is this story for another day.
[00:07:00] The point being that I taught all three of my kiddos how to read. And I did not start them with analysis of plot and character. I didn't even start them with an understanding of what those things were. I started them with the alphabet. The sound each letter makes, combining those sounds. We read the "Bob" books. Do you know those? There's just a few words on each page, all using a certain sound and the kiddo can quickly read the whole book, which builds a ton of confidence and, frankly, joy in reading.
[00:07:33] Now how frustrating would it have been if I'd handed them a copy of, "To Kill a Mockingbird" and tried to teach them to read from there?
[00:07:41] Now, eventually they all got there. They all read that book, but it was in high school, not in kindergarten. Intuitive eating is like high school literature class or even a college-level English course. We need to first learn and practice some basic information and skills to make it not only possible to understand, but even enjoyable.
[00:08:02] Okay. So let's talk about what information and what skills. The principles of energy balance, the various factors that make up and can influence the calories in-calories out equation, the three macronutrients -- what are they? What do they do? What foods can they be found in? How much of each do you need? The energy impact of each, as in calories. Which particular sources work with your preferences and your local availability and your budget?
[00:08:31] How many calories do you typically eat in a day now? What is happening with your weight as a result of those calories? How many are a good fit for you in your individual goals and your activity level? What does a certain serving size of protein or carbs or fat look like? And can you consistently repeat that amount with just eyeballing? Weighing for a time is often critical to developing that skill.
[00:08:57] In my experience, a dedicated period of time spent counting calories provides an excellent education in all of those things that I just mentioned. You learn that information and you practice implementing it through calorie counting.
[00:09:12] That is like the elementary school stuff. That's like learning the letters and the sounds. And after a period of time, you can move on to the higher-level skills of eating intuitively. But trying to jump into intuitive eating without all of those foundational skills is like trying to take a course in 18th-century British literature when you haven't mastered basic phonics. Does that make sense?
[00:09:37] Think about that for a minute. Like, with reading, that's pretty clear. With food, it feels really fuzzy because we figure we're humans and we eat, so we should know all of these things when in fact that is not the case. These are skills we need to learn and practice.
[00:09:50] Now, what if you are someone who has spent time learning and practicing those foundational skills, and now you want to transition to intuitive eating for weight loss? How do you go about doing that?
[00:10:02] One way that I have seen work very well is to transition a bit at a time. So instead of tracking calories seven days a week, track only six days per week and have that non-tracking day fall on a business-as-usual kind of day. So maybe a Tuesday or Wednesday, not a weekend with all kinds of activities going on that might involve food.
[00:10:27] Watch what your weight does in response to this new set up where you're only tracking six days per week. Work to continue losing weight during that time. As you are successful at that, add in another non-tracking day. Again, on a non-weekend, business-as-usual kind of day. Continue to watch what is happening with your weight.
[00:10:50] If your goal is weight maintenance, make sure you're maintaining your weight. If your goal is weight loss, make sure you are losing weight as you add in this extra day of non-tracking, and continue going at that pace. Add in another non-tracking day and then another until you're not tracking more days than you are tracking, eventually leading to: you are not tracking at all and you are continuing to reach your goal, whether that be maintenance or whether that be weight loss.
[00:11:16] So this assumes that as you were practicing all those skills I mentioned above you were also practicing understanding what hunger and satisfaction and all of the shades in between feel like. That takes practice.
[00:11:31] These are important skills, and I might add, they are not counter to calorie counting. You can and I would say should be working to learn to eat according to your hunger while you are tracking calories.
[00:11:44] I have all of my clients work on understanding and honoring their body's hunger and satiety cues. So if you haven't spent time on those skills, there is no time like the present.
[00:11:56] So there you have it. Can you lose weight with intuitive eating? Yes. Is it the place to start? Not likely.
[00:12:04] Can you count calories and practice some of the integral skills of intuitive eating? Yes. And I highly suggest that you do.
[00:12:12] I hope that this discussion has helped you, I hope that it has given you some things to think about, about where you're at in this journey.
[00:12:19] Have you practice some of those foundational skills? Where might you be lacking in skills? What might be the next step for you? If you'd like to move to intuitive eating, what is the next step?
[00:12:29] I'm here to help you any time, please don't hesitate to reach out. All right, catch you next week.
[00:12:39] 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.
[00:12:51] 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.
[00:13:05] Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 72 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode I'm going to be answering questions that I received on my DMs, starting with this one, "should I count calories or should I count macros? Which is better for weight loss?" Let's go.
[00:00:26] So on today's episode, I am tackling a few questions you asked me on my Instagram DMs. We'll hit a variety of nutrition and training subjects starting with this guy:
[00:00:37] "Is it better to count calories or macros for weight loss?"
[00:00:42] Great question. Now to answer this question, it is important to understand what macros are and how they relate to calories.
[00:00:51] So, the word "macros" is short for "macronutrients." They are the nutrients we need in relatively large quantities in our diets, as opposed to vitamins and minerals, which we need in relatively smaller amounts.
[00:01:05] Now there are three macros: carbohydrates, commonly called carbs, fats, and protein.
[00:01:12] Each of these three provides us with energy, otherwise known as calories. Now carbs and protein each have four calories per gram and fat has nine calories per gram. When a person counts macros, they count the total number of grams of each of the three macros they eat that day.
[00:01:34] So, for example, maybe one day a person has 130 grams of protein, 140 grams of carbs, and 55 grams of fat.
[00:01:44] Now, based on what I just told you about the energy value of the macronutrients, it is easy to see that this person had 520 calories of protein, 560 calories of carbs, and 495 calories of fat for a total of 1,575 calories.
[00:02:05] As to the question of which is better, counting the calories or counting the macros, my personal preference is counting calories and protein instead of counting the macros. And there are two reasons why.
[00:02:20] 1) research indicates that for weight loss, as long as total calories and sufficient protein are accounted for, both higher carb, lower fat; and lower carb, higher fat diets work equally as well.
[00:02:38] The determining factor is going to be adherence. So, whichever you are more likely to stick to is better for you, but both work equally as well.
[00:02:50] The second reason is: less math.
[00:02:54] Since the ratio of carbs to fat isn't what drives fat loss, why count them? If you've ever counted macros before, you know it can be a little bit like a game of Tetris trying to hit all three numbers.
[00:03:07] I found it very stressful.
[00:03:11] And again, since that's not even the determining factor in weight loss success, why mess with those numbers? Right? So if you can lose weight equally as well with whichever ratio of fat to carbs, why be messing around, trying to hit them exactly? Count just two numbers instead, total protein and total calories; instead of all three, carbs, fats, and protein.
[00:03:35] And that is why, in my estimation, counting calories and protein is the better option for weight loss than counting macros. It does not make counting macros wrong, I just don't see the need for the extra math and the extra layer of difficulty.
[00:03:54] Now, moving on. Question number two: how do you coach someone who gets bored working out?
[00:04:03] Interesting question. It would depend on the person.
[00:04:06] Now, if you don't find working out interesting, I'd suggest a couple of things. The first thing would be, get clear on your goal. Why are you working out? General health? Weight loss? Sports performance? Some combination of these? That would be the first thing I would suggest you do. Figure out, "why am I even doing this?"
[00:04:28] The second thing I would suggest you do is understand "minimum effective dose." You do not have to train every day. In fact, you should not be training every day.
[00:04:40] So, let's talk minimum effective dose specifically for weight loss. Technically speaking, you can lose weight without exercise at all. You likely won't like the look you achieve. If you're interested in optimal body composition -- i.e. you want to look fit -- you will need to not only lose fat, you'll need to build muscle. And this requires strength training.
[00:05:06] Ideally you'll train each of your major muscles for a total of 9 to 20 sets per week. You can break that up over the course of the week in many different ways. It is very difficult to hit each muscle group with enough intensity to be effective for the required number of sets if you train them only one time per week. So training each muscle group two times per week is a practical, effective option.
[00:05:33] Here are two good training splits to do that:
[00:05:37] The first would be a three-day split: lower body, upper body, full body.
[00:05:45] The second would be a four-day split: lower body, upper body, lower body, upper body.
[00:05:52] Now, if you are a person who does not enjoy training, a three-day split would likely be the best fit because that gives you four days where you don't have to train.
[00:06:02] Okay, so that's the second factor I'd have you consider. The next factor I'd have you consider is: try to make it as pleasant as possible. What can you do to make this pleasant? Can you train with a friend? Can you train with a trainer you enjoy? Can you buy fabulous workout clothes that make you feel really great about yourself when you put them on? Can you make a power playlist to get you psyched up?
[00:06:24] Oh my gosh, I have so many songs that I get super excited to hear in the gym.
[00:06:28] Then focus on what you do like that can make the training experience so much more pleasurable. Do you like how it feels when you get sweaty? Do you like the way your arms look when you do a bicep curl? Do you like how strong you feel doing lat pulldowns? Notice these things and focus on them.
[00:06:46] Additionally, and I talk about this a lot because it works so darn well, pick a motivating performance goal. It can be whatever seems most interesting to you.
[00:06:57] I have clients right now focusing on learning how to front squat, working towards their first chin-up, working towards their first pistol squat, working towards getting five pushups, working on their first pushup, working out a bodyweight deadlift, and on and on and on.
[00:07:14] These things keep training spicy and give it focus. So pick something and then once you accomplish it pick another thing. You may have watched me last spring, I started working on my first pistol squat. I spent a good six weeks working on that. Now I've been working -- I'm on week five, I believe it is, maybe week six -- of working on a one-arm pushup.
[00:07:34] This one's going to take me a lot longer than six weeks. This is a hard endeavor. I'm really excited about getting into the gym. And look, I am a person who likes training, it's not like I'm the person who wrote this and it's like, "I get bored working out." Not that I don't ever get bored working out, mostly I don't and this is one of the things I do to keep it interesting. I pick new goals.
[00:07:54] Okay, the next thing I would say, number four: remind yourself of the why.
[00:08:00] I'm right back at the beginning, the first thing I said is, "why are you even doing this?" So look, I do lots of stuff every single day that's boring. Lots. And I'm going to guess that you do too, right?
[00:08:11] It's just part of adulting. For me, figuring out the tech side of my business stinks, sifting through hundreds of emails is not thrilling. You know, the ones from my clients updating me on their progress, those rock. But Dave, from Random Fitness Product Company who thinks I'm a perfect fit for his supplement, that stuff bores me to tears, but I still do that stuff.
[00:08:32] You totally do it too. Right? Laundry is boring, but you do it because you value clean clothes. Taking your car for an oil change is boring, but you do it because you value a functioning car. For those of us who love training, training for training's sake is fine by us. We love it. But if you don't intrinsically love it, that is okay. You can focus on the outcome you will receive by doing it.
[00:08:59] You value a strong, healthy body. You value how you look in your genes. You value being able to get up from the ground with ease when you're gardening. Focus on that "why."
[00:09:09] Okay, and then the last piece of advice I have around what I would say to somebody who finds training, boring: build the habit.
[00:09:18] Just build the habit 'til it is something you just do. Like brushing your teeth. That is not something that's super interesting now, is it? Do you get all excited to brush your teeth? Nobody does, right? But you've built that habit.
[00:09:31] Same with training. Practice just getting it in week after week, month after month, place it in your schedule wherever you have the least amount of friction. Whether that's first thing in the morning or right after the kids start school or right after work, remove as many barriers as possible and engrain that habit.
[00:09:50] Don't think of it as something that has to be, "ugh, this is too boring. I need something more exciting." Think of it as something you do over and over, just because you value the outcome and build that habit.
[00:10:05] All right, moving on to one last question: "how should you lift when one arm is stronger? Do you add reps to the non-dominant arm to create balance?"
[00:10:18] Another really great question. This is something a lot of people worry about and it's something I've actually changed my position on as I've gotten more experienced as a coach.
[00:10:28] When I first started as a coach, I absolutely had clients do extra reps on one arm or one leg if there was a discrepancy in their strength, in their symmetry.
[00:10:39] What I've learned with experience is that symmetry is a mirage. No one's body, no one's strength is perfectly symmetrical. I don't know a single person who every part of their body is equally as strong as the other side. There's no reason to panic about that. Continue to train both arms using the weight that your less strong arm can lift for the given number of reps. Both arms will get stronger.
[00:11:07] All right, that is it for me today. If you have a question you'd like to have answered, DM them to me on Instagram or email me at email@example.com.
[00:11:18] If you would like to come on the podcast and have me coach you through a struggle you're having with your nutrition, with weight loss, with your fitness, shoot me a message in either of those places and we will set that up. I haven't done an episode like that in a bit, and I would like to, as they're extremely valuable, not only to the person who comes on, but to everybody listening.
[00:11:38] Thank you so much for being here today. I appreciate you ever so much.
[00:11:42] Same time next week. Talk to you then.
[00:11:47] 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.
[00:12:00] 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.
[00:12:14] Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 70, one of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's solo episode I'm going to talk a little bit of current events here. In another thing we never saw coming here in 2020, not only are we as parents parenting and working, we are also finding ourselves in the roles of school administrators in our own new home cyber-schools.
[00:00:30] How is this impacting your fitness goals? Today I'm going to coach you through three questions you can ask yourself to make sure that your goals and your current situation are in alignment. And if they are not steps you can take to get there. Let's go.
[00:00:48] As I'm recording this episode, it is September 10th, 2020.
[00:00:52] The pumpkin spice crowd is all whipped up into a frenzy because fall has arrived -- or at least it is knocking on the door. I am, on the other hand, am holding on to summer hard. We still have a week and a half 'til the official first day of fall, people. Now the one decidedly fall staple I have indulged in, though, is delicata squash. Have you had one? It's not one of the more well-known squash varieties. If you haven't had one, put this on your fall "must-do" list.
[00:01:24] If you don't know what they are, they're a very small squash, they're way easier to cut than a spaghetti squash. I find that they're harder to come by. Usually, I find them just at Trader Joe's, but my local grocery had them this week. So here's what you're going to do: you're going to track one down, you're going to slice it in half -- across, not lengthwise -- across. You're going to scoop out the seeds and they're going to slice it nice and thin. That is important.
[00:01:53] Thin, thin, thin, thin, thin.
[00:01:54] You're going to spray oil on a cookie sheet, lay those thin circles out, sprinkle them with a healthy dose of cinnamon and then bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
[00:02:06] You don't want to cook them so much that they burn. That will be really sad. I've done that. They are quite thin, so you want to keep a good eye on them for about 20 minutes 'til they're nice and golden brown in parts.
[00:02:16] Oh, so delicious. You will thank me later.
[00:02:21] Now, one quintessentially fall thing that many parents are not doing this year: putting their kiddos on the big yellow bus and waving, "Buh-bye." How are you doing with cyber school?
[00:02:35] We're off to a fine start here in the Schlag household. Better than last year ended, much more organized. I do worry some about the amount of screen time. We have concurrent virtual schooling here in our district. So, real-time in class each period -- but in front of their computers at home -- which means it's like seven hours in front of a computer.
[00:03:00] I don't love that for them, but mostly things are going well for us. I have older kids, though. They're all teenagers. I have a freshman in high school, a senior in high school, and a college student. That is quite different than a mom with elementary school-aged little ones managing this time. The demand of working and mothering and now supervising cyber-school for a little one is a heavy burden.
[00:03:25] In context of your fitness goals there is no one best option. There is no right or wrong answer. Evaluating your situation, asking a few important questions to see where you're at, what your resources are, what is your bandwidth physically, mentally, emotionally, that is what I suggest doing.
[00:03:46] So let's start here: what is your main fitness goal? Or what was it before you became a full-time school administrator this month?
[00:03:54] Weight loss? Weight maintenance? Body recomposition? Muscle building? Do you have a performance goal?
[00:04:03] The questions I'm going to suggest to you will work for all of these. For the sake of example, I'm going to use weight loss. It's what a lot of people come to me for.
[00:04:13] So question number one. Do I have the mental and emotional energy for this goal right now?
[00:04:21] Not did I have it a month ago or six months ago when I set this goal, or on January 1st, when I set this goal, do I have the mental and emotional energy for this goal right now?
[00:04:32] I want you to list out -- get a piece of paper out, write this down -- what are the big rocks according to your fat loss program?
[00:04:41] Now, not everyone approaches fat loss the same way, so yours might be slightly different than the list I'm about to give you. But for most of my clients, not all of them, but for most of them, the big rocks of their plan would be: planning for their food, shopping for their food, doing some basic meal prepping, pre-logging, their food, eating according to their plan, getting in their training, getting in their daily activity, and practicing managing stress eating and emotional eating.
[00:05:11] Okay, so make a list. You can pause this if you want to make your list. Then I want you to look at your list and ask yourself, "am I up for that right now?" There's no right answer. And it's going to be highly dependent on your individual circumstances.
[00:05:29] Now, speaking of fat loss, specifically, if you're a mom of young kids and you work full-time while trying to supervise their schooling, maybe this isn't the best time to focus on fat loss. Maybe your mental and emotional energy is needed elsewhere. And that's okay. It's not a failure. And it doesn't mean your only other option is to gain weight.
[00:05:54] Maintaining your weight is also an option.
[00:05:58] When you're working on maintaining your weight, you'll have more calories to play with, it is less work to eat at maintenance than in a deficit, and that might be what you need right now.
[00:06:08] Now, for other people that's just not the case. Maybe working on things like stress-eating is exactly what you need right now. Maybe you're at a point where you just know you will feel better getting your nutrition under control.
[00:06:22] In which case let's move on to question number two: can I make the time necessary to succeed at this goal right now?
[00:06:31] Now, making time is an important phrase. It's not "finding" time we're being proactive here. We're thinking of priorities. You've decided that "yes, this is a priority right now," so let's get practical about it.
[00:06:43] Think about that list you made just a few minutes ago. Think about those big rocks for fat loss success. Look back at that list. Can you make time for those things?
[00:06:53] Just wanting it to happen doesn't mean it will, right? Can you make time for them?
[00:06:58] Yes? Great. You're ready to move on to the next question.
[00:07:02] No? Or you have some hesitation there, you're just not quite sure, like, "Ooh, I want to make time for this. This is important to me, but how am I going to make time for all of this?"
[00:07:11] Ask yourself this: can you make time for some of those things?
[00:07:15] Remember -- "all" and "nothing" are not your only choices.
[00:07:23] So, can you look at that list and adjust in some way? Can you adjust your plan in some way to make time for some of it?
[00:07:30] So, example: can you train three times a week if your plan was for four times? Can you commit to shorter workouts, say 15 minutes, even, instead of your usual 45 to 60-minute workouts? Can you get some help with your meal prepping service? Can you hire a meal prepping service? Can you take your kids on walks with you? There are lots of options.
[00:07:52] Look at your list, think, "can I make time for these? If I can make time for some of them, which ones am I going to make time for?"
[00:08:02] Question three: what are your resources?
[00:08:04] And I started to touch on this here at the end there, talking about things like meal prepping services.
[00:08:09] Who are the people who can help you? Do you have a community to hash things out with, or to physically help? If not, how can you create or join such a community? What is your partner's role? What tasks can your partner do? Have you asked, specifically, for the support you need? We cannot wait around for mindreading to kick in here.
[00:08:33] Is there another mom you can work with to make things function? Can she watch your kids in the yard after school while you work out and then you switch? Think outside the box here.
[00:08:44] I am so tired of this phrase that I'm about to say, we are in unprecedented times here. Have you seen that meme that says, "I just need some precedented times?" Don't we, though? We just need some precedented times. But for now, that's not what we have. We're working with the unknown.
[00:09:02] The bottom line is that you have options. You can lose fat now if you want. People are doing it. I have clients doing it. Even moms of young kids who are in school and they're working and they're cyber-schooling, they are losing fat. You can do it. Check-in with yourself to see if that goal is in alignment with your mental, emotional, and physical energy right now.
[00:09:29] Is that something you will make time for? Does your usual plan need to shift? If so, how? And what resources will you use to reach that goal?
[00:09:41] I always say, "there's never a good time to lose weight." Everyone thinks there will be, but it just doesn't happen.
[00:09:47] And I usually say that in normal conditions of life, "this time might not be the best of times for that goal for you."
[00:09:54] Remember this school year is just beginning. There is plenty of time to work the kinks out and make this your new -- hopefully temporary -- normal, and then reevaluate your fitness goals.
[00:10:07] Just like anything, we will get used to this rhythm of life.
[00:10:12] You might find that what you can do right now is manage one habit and you can use that as an anchor habit to build on in the future. It could be something like a daily step goal or getting in vegetables at every meal. Even that one thing could help you towards your goal, both physically and mentally, to show yourself that you are still prioritizing your health. It's important.
[00:10:34] You are important.
[00:10:36] That thing people always say about how you need to take care of yourself so that you are in a position to help care for others, while 100% true, you absolutely will be able to care for and do for all those important people in your life better when you're well cared for. It still misses the mark for me, because you are not worthy of care only in so much as you can be of service to others, you are worthy of care. Period.
[00:11:03] Because you were intrinsically valuable. You are worth it. Not in relation to what you can do for others -- just because you're you, a human being who is deserving of care and health.
[00:11:18] Remember that.
[00:11:19] Thanks so much for spending time here with me today.
[00:11:26] 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.
[00:11:38] 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.
[00:11:52] Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 70 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I am joined by a super fit, super strong 53-year-old coach from California. Pam Sherman has been coaching in the fitness industry for several decades now, both one-on-one and in group fitness. One of her favorite sayings is, "your health is your wealth."
[00:00:31] And she comes on today to discuss with us her "a-ha" moment when she realized it is just not all about how we look. All right, let's go.
[00:00:49] Pam! Hello!
[00:00:51] Pam: [00:00:51] Hello!
[00:00:53] Kim: [00:00:53] How are you?
[00:00:55] Pam: [00:00:55] Super excited. How are you?
[00:00:56] Kim: [00:00:56] Good! You look so pretty!
[00:00:59] Pam: [00:00:59] I'm not sweating, I'm done for the day. I got clean and my hair is clean. My hair is never clean.
[00:01:07] Kim: [00:01:07] Amazing what that can do for us.
[00:01:11] Pam: [00:01:11] Maybe every three days or so.
[00:01:14] Kim: [00:01:14] Oh, me too. Every three days. That's the goal.
[00:01:20] So Pam, tell me something today that's made you smile so far.
[00:01:25] Pam: [00:01:25] I just got a text from my daughter and she plays soccer in college, which of course is delayed until the spring, but she had a really great one-on-one training session with a couple of the coaches and then did some speed work afterwards.
[00:01:38] Kim: [00:01:38] Oh, that's fantastic.
[00:01:40] I'm glad she's getting to play. Doing something.
[00:01:44] Pam: [00:01:44] Well, you know, training without playing games is not ideal for anybody, but she has a whole bunch of new coaches and they're all female. And of course, I'm actually an old runner and a track geek, so anytime there's speed work, I'm like, "Ohhhh." So I can't wait to hear what the details for her speed work was.
[00:02:00] Kim: [00:02:00] Oh fun.
[00:02:01] Well, that's exciting. I know it’s really hard for kids who play sports right now because the opportunity to play just isn't really there for most people.
[00:02:11] Pam: [00:02:11] It's not. And I mean, you and I are in different categories than young college athletes. They have a goal, right? And sometimes it feels like, why are we even training?
[00:02:19] I'm like, because you're with your people and you feel great when you exercise. That's why you're training.
[00:02:25] Kim: [00:02:25] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:02:26] So, Pam, I want to jump right in. When we were talking the other day you were telling me about this big "a-ha" moment you had, big awakening about your health. Can you share that story with everyone?
[00:02:38] Pam: [00:02:38] Yes, of course.
[00:02:40] So I have been a lifelong runner. I started running when I was 11. Very middle of the pack. Never great, but just always loved the way exercise made me feel. And in my early thirties, I became a group exercise instructor and personal trainer and then a running coach and a food coach. Wellness has been in my life forever.
[00:03:00] And as I've gotten older and wiser, at 53, I've taken better and better care of myself because I know what it takes. Before it was, "I was just a runner," and then you add in stretching and strength training and eating better. Strength work, oh my gosh.
[00:03:15] And then about four years ago, I was out for a run and I got hit by a car. I was on the sidewalk and a car just sped out of a parking lot and I literally ate the windshield -- leaving one of my front teeth in the windshield -- and I rolled into the second lane. Luckily there were no cars coming in that lane. And I won't share all the yucky stuff, but I went in to go to my sports practitioner, who has known me for 15 years, and he said, "Pam, had you not been in such excellent shape, your injuries would have been far worse." And it was like Oprah singing in my head, "aaahhhh!" I have the word out to women that they have to take better care of themselves because I could have died. I could have broken bones. I mean, my whole mantra after my recovery was whatever I went through, which was a ton of oral surgery, it was better than being dead.
[00:04:17] Kim: [00:04:17] Absolutely. You know, so much of what we see in the fitness industry, people's goals, often at the tip-top is physique, right? Like, "I want to lose some fat. I want to not have a muffin top. I want to fit in my jeans." You know? When you dig deeper, people have other goals, too, but that's usually top of mind.
[00:04:37] And especially as we age, I think it's so important to talk about working out, eating well, strength training for our health and for aging well.
[00:04:49] Pam: [00:04:49] 100%. And as a trainer and instructor for years, all I heard women say was, "I can't," "I don't have time," "lifting will make me big and bulky" -- that one will never die.
[00:05:00] And they would always put -- as women, we put everybody else on the top of our to-do list and oftentimes we are not on it. And I tell women, "you have to be number one. Because when you take care of yourself and your health, you're a better mom, you're a better wife or a partner, you're a more productive employee, you're happier."
[00:05:19] But so many women think that it's selfish. And I'm like, "no, no, no. Taking care of yourself is self-love. It's not selfish."
[00:05:28] Kim: [00:05:28] Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more. I actually usually take it a step further and it kind of surprises people because you're totally right. If we take care of ourselves first, we can take care of all those other things -- people, responsibilities -- better. But even if we didn't, we're worth it anyway, because we're a valuable person, right? So we should put ourselves first because we're worth it just by being who we are.
[00:05:50] Pam: [00:05:50] 100%. And that age 11, I knew that running made me feel good. So anytime there is trauma in my life, I would go out for a run.
[00:05:58] And I look back now and go, that was just survival mode. I knew that I had to do that for my mental health and my mental health helped my physical health, but so many more people need to realize that it is about taking care of ourselves, which yes, we are worth it every single time.
[00:06:15] Kim: [00:06:15] What would you say, people listening, who they're thinking like, "um, I really haven't done that. I haven't really put my health at the top of the list," maybe, you know, they're in their forties or their fifties and they're like, "I haven't really done that." What would you suggest they do first?
[00:06:33] Pam: [00:06:33] My favorite thing to tell women is think back when you were a little kid. Because oftentimes women think exercise is a chore. That's why they don't do it, because they don't like it. What do you like to do?
[00:06:45] I was talking to a client who moved from California to Washington in the winter and it was cold and she goes, "Pam, what do you suggest for cardio?" And I said, "do you like to jump rope?" And we were on a zoom call and she goes, "I'd love to jump rope! I was on the jump rope team in high school!" Oh my gosh.
[00:07:01] What did you like to do when you were a little kid? Did you like to dance? There is Zumba on YouTube. Everything is on YouTube now. Find movement that makes you happy, then you'll do it for the rest of your life. And strength train, of course.
[00:07:13] Kim: [00:07:13] I totally agree with that combination, yeah. I don't think you can leave one of them out because not everybody loves strength training, I do, but not everybody does. And it's one of the things I tell people, "just do it anyway, because it serves a purpose." You don't have to love it and you don't have to make it an everyday thing, but you should find a way of moving that you can do most days of the week that actually brings you joy.
[00:07:36] Pam: [00:07:36] Every single time. I call our bodies a Ferrari and that's how we need to treat it. It needs great fuel, it needs to keep moving, you need to have it rest, but so many people are afraid, like, "it takes too much time." I'm like, "it does not take too much time because we all have the same amount of time in a day. It's what you want to make a priority." Because let's face it, we all have time for the things that we want to do every single day.
[00:08:01] Kim: [00:08:01] Yeah. It's true. It is about choosing. And that can be really hard for people to hear, right? Because, frankly, like we can have a lot going on, especially in this moment. Moms, I don't know how moms with little kids are doing it, right? So, I have kids. I'm a mom. And it is like, my kids are here and I am making sure every day they get on their calls, but my kids are teenagers. Moms of little kids right now are somehow working and teaching their kids, not necessarily teaching, but making sure that the kids are there with the teacher on the call.
[00:08:31] I have one friend who like, it is so hard to get her little elementary kid actually physically with the tech, on there every day. It's a lot. It's a lot.
[00:08:40] So what do you say to people if they're like, "I really do struggle with time." What are your go-to tips for how can we get it in even when we're busy?
[00:08:50] Pam: [00:08:50] Well, I just had a group of sisters a couple of years ago. It was a private little training group with them and they all had little kids, too busy, and I said, "do you have 10 minutes to work out?" And they're like, "yeah." I made a 10-minute playlist on my YouTube channel using mostly body weight. It's just a place to start.
[00:09:09] And whether it's my YouTube channel, or yours, or anything out there, you could put in "10-minute workout" and things come up. But I think people, when they have expectations of what they "should do," that should be an hour.
[00:09:23] No, no, no. If you're doing nothing and you put in 10 minutes, let's say five times a week. That's 50 extra minutes. Amazing.
[00:09:30] Kim: [00:09:30] Yeah, absolutely. I so believe in that, just those small chunks of time. Just make a commitment to it. Even to something that feels stupid easy, like, "okay, 10 minutes? That feels so easy. I can do that."
[00:09:43] Great. It should feel that way if you're struggling to get started, right? It doesn't have to feel like a big mountain to climb to be worth it.
[00:09:49] Pam: [00:09:49] No. And then for the moms that have a little bit older kids, probably not under five, but if you take them to the park, every park has a bench -- squats, pushups, triceps dips, lunges, you can use the swings and do planks, you can find places anywhere, really, to move just a little bit and fitting in that time you might not in your head think, "Ugh, it wasn't worth it." Every minute spent on yourself and your health is absolutely worth it.
[00:10:13] Kim: [00:10:13] I totally agree with that.
[00:10:15] What do you say to women who say -- and it's such a common theme -- they just feel this voice inside their head that says, "it's just too late. I've waited too long."
[00:10:27] Pam: [00:10:27] Well, how long are you going to live? Another 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years? When you start now, your future self is already thanking you for doing it.
[00:10:37] I had no idea, clearly, that I was ever going to hit by a car. But I look back and think, "thank goodness I did spend time taking care of myself and my health." And all I lost were teeth. That's it. So we don't know what life is going to throw at us, but I do see people, women especially, as they age and they just give up.
[00:10:56] And I think, you've got to wake up in this body and move every day. Don't you want to feel as good as you can? And here's the thing too, Kim, I'm sure you agree, little changes lead to big success. So when I'm coaching a client, let's just fit in 5 or 10 minutes to start and do it in the morning so you can't say later on that you're too tired to do it.
[00:11:18] You know, have a glass of water along with your coffee, because coffee is a food group. We all know that. Make sure you add in some vegetables into your day. Like, little baby steps will definitely make you -- a year from now, if you start doing those, you'll feel like a rockstar.
[00:11:33] Kim: [00:11:33] Yeah. It is really interesting when we think like, "wow."
[00:11:37] And I remember, gosh, when I finally got my act together, I was like 42-43. And I do remember thinking, "can I really do this at this age?" And now that's so funny to me because like, wow, that feels like a lifetime ago, right? And it feels like it's too late and then when I try and think back to what I was doing even two years ago, it feels like so long ago, but I could have accomplished so much, right?
[00:12:01] So if there's something you want to do two years from now, you'll be so happy you did it. And even though it feels like, "Oh, I should've started this years ago." Yeah, nothing you can do about that now.
[00:12:12] Pam: [00:12:12] There's not. And it's good, too, to have goals. I told you this story last time we talked is when Terminator 2 came out, I was 23.
[00:12:21] 30 years ago, Linda Hamilton doing a pull up I'm thinking -- there was no women's strength training, doing anything at that time. That was a hundred years ago. And I thought, "Oh, that'd be so cool to do a pull up someday." Never worked on it. And then I finally had a guy put a pull-up bar in our backyard and now I do pull-ups all the time because I can. Because I started. Now at 53, I can do pull-ups, which feels pretty badass.
[00:12:47] Kim: [00:12:47] Absolutely. I think a lot of us had that same reaction to Linda Hamilton doing that, or like, "wait, I want to do that." And I didn't do it then either. I didn't do a pull up until in my mid-40s, but I remember thinking like, "wow, I want to do that."
[00:13:01]Pam: [00:13:01] I remember putting it on a vision board at age 37, but literally made no plan on how to even work on it.
[00:13:08] Your health is not like this secret. You can't just put it out there and magically happen.
[00:13:14] Kim: [00:13:14] Right. It is more of a deliberate thing. Like, if you have a goal that you want to reach, if you're like, "okay, I've wanted to do a pull-up," or "I've wanted to do a pushup," that's another one.
[00:13:22] Those are the top two. When women get on the phone with me and they tell me something they had on their mind they want to try, those are the two. And they're like, "you know, I've just never been able to do one." Well, it's a matter of you haven't been persistent at following the plan that actually gets you there, right?
[00:13:36] And I can say I was that person. I would go to the gym all the time and be like, "can I do one now?" And I'd try to do a pushup. I'm like, "nope, it still looks pretty bad," but I hadn't been trying, systematically, in any way to actually do it.
[00:13:49] Pam: [00:13:49] Yeah. I work with a group called "the perfect balance tribe" and there's a lot of older women in there and I have challenges every week.
[00:13:58] One of the weeks is pushups on the kitchen counter. And guess what? If you that for a minute, that's hard work.
[00:14:05] Kim: [00:14:05] Absolutely.
[00:14:06] Pam: [00:14:06] You don't have to start even on the ground, you can just start on the kitchen counter. That is better than nothing.
[00:14:10] Kim: [00:14:10] Yeah. Those hand elevated pushups are the way to go. If you want to get a pushup, absolutely best place you can start is with a hand elevated pushup -- kitchen counter, edge of your sofa, and just keep moving on down until you can get down there.
[00:14:22] So, Pam, what do workouts look like for you?
[00:14:28] Pam: [00:14:28] Well, I'm much less of a runner now. I might run a mile or do some sprints a couple of times a week, but I have a fun little gym in my backyard with a box for box jumps, my pull up bar, I have an Assault bike, I have a whole bunch of dumbbells. So it's usually some kind of circuit.
[00:14:45] And then three times a week, this month, I'm like, "you know what? I have to get back to lifting heavy." Because I'm afflicted with the "pancake on the butt" syndrome, so I'm going to be lifting heavy again for deadlifts and squats. Because on my pull up bar, I have two huge nails and I can make that into a little squat rack.
[00:15:05] Kim: [00:15:05] Oh, great. That's fantastic.
[00:15:11] Any fitness goals on the horizon? Something you're trying to do?
[00:15:16] Pam: [00:15:16] Increase the size of the pancake.
[00:15:20] Kim: [00:15:20] All right, all right. So squats and deadlifts, it is. Hip thrusts? You do hip thrusts?
[00:15:25] Pam: [00:15:25] You know, I don't love hip thrusts. They've never felt great for my body, but I have some really great bands, so band work in there as well.
[00:15:32] Kim: [00:15:32] Okay. Fantastic. My other go-to is step-ups. Step-ups are great for booty work. Low step-ups, high step-ups.
[00:15:41] Pam: [00:15:41] You ever do one leg get-ups?
[00:15:43] Kim: [00:15:43] I don't know what that is.
[00:15:47] Pam: [00:15:47] If you sit on a bench, lift your left foot up off the ground and stand up with your right foot.
[00:15:54] Kim: [00:15:54] Gotcha. Gotcha. I just called those one leg box squats.
[00:15:58] Pam: [00:15:58] And then when you get really proficient at them, hold a dumbbell at your chest and make it a little bit harder.
[00:16:06] Kim: [00:16:06] Absolutely. Those were some of the first progressions I did on my way to doing a pistol squat.
[00:16:13] Pam: [00:16:13] Those are hard.
[00:16:15] Kim: [00:16:15] Well, those one-legged box squats, those are friggin' hard too when you first start. I remember I gave my son those, he just started training like six months ago, he's 19. And he's like, "what is this? This is really hard." He's like, "I can't do that." And I'm like, "you can do it. You need to raise your box up higher, stop trying to go down so low."
[00:16:32] Because he's like, "this should be easier."
[00:16:34] It looks like it would be easy. Like, you're literally standing up from a bench with one foot, but it is not easy.
[00:16:40] Pam: [00:16:40] It's not easy. And as a coach, you probably can agree with this -- so many women doubt themselves on like, "I can't. I can't do a box jump, I can't do a burpee, I can't run a mile." I'm like, "sister, you pushed out a baby, you can do anything once you do that." And then when they get to the top of the box and their face is so happy, it's so empowering. That's why I love strength training for women so much because it is so empowering for them.
[00:17:13] Kim: [00:17:13] Right there with you. It really is. A lot of people think losing weight is going to make you happy. And it really doesn't. I mean, you might feel better about yourself. The thing for me that, along the way, really made me happy, made me proud, made me feel like you said, empowered, was getting strong and seeing myself accomplish things that I was like, "I can't believe I can do that now."
[00:17:33] "I can't believe I can do a pull-up." "I can't believe I can do a pushup." "I can't believe I can do pistol squats." All along the way setting these goals and then watching yourself do the things you didn't think you could do. That's incredible.
[00:17:45] Pam: [00:17:45] I don't think I've ever been more proud -- I've run 15 marathons -- I've never been more proud than when I got to a set of 10 pull-ups. That was amazing.
[00:17:56] Kim: [00:17:56] That's incredible. That's fantastic.
[00:17:59] So tell us, nutrition, give us two of your very favorite, "I don't have time to cook, but I want something healthy that is going to help me in the weight-loss realm." What are your two go-to meals?
[00:18:15] Pam: [00:18:15] Okay. I tell all my clients who don't have time and they have to go through the drive-through, I say, "you know what? I bet you're driving by a grocery store on the way to the drive-through, go into the deli and get a cooked piece of protein, and get a green salad." Every deli now has green salads and protein, and everybody has self-checkout. So I bet you're actually getting your meal faster than if you're waiting in the drive-through line.
[00:18:39] Kim: [00:18:39] It's true. It certainly doesn't take any more time and it might even be faster.
[00:18:42] Pam: [00:18:42] And you know what? Your health is worth spending maybe two or three extra dollars on the fresh stuff than on the just awfulness that goes with anything that you get in the drive-through.
[00:18:54] Kim: [00:18:54] Yeah. Although I do like a good McDonald's fry every now and then... Pretty tasty stuff.
[00:19:02] Okay. Give us one more. One more good quick meal.
[00:19:05] Pam: [00:19:05] I want everybody to have enough stuff at home to have -- I post every day -- a BaS, a big ass salad. My go-to, I'm not super fancy, a fruit, a nut, and a fat. Like a goat cheese, feta cheese, bleu cheese, make my own dressing.
[00:19:20] If it's all there, it takes less than two minutes to put it all together. Maybe you have a protein, great, or if you have a protein shake with it, perfect.
[00:19:29] Kim: [00:19:29] Nice. I think I saw you making a really good dressing on your stories or something. Do you have a go-to dressing you make?
[00:19:36] Pam: [00:19:36] I do. I do cashew milk, or almond milk is fine, that's the base of it because olive oil is just going to sit on my butt. I don't want that to happen. I'm lazy, I don't use real garlic. I use the garlic in the tube.
[00:19:50] Kim: [00:19:50] Oh, garlic paste. I love garlic paste. It's so easy.
[00:19:53] Pam: [00:19:53] I squeezed some mustard in, I put in either white or red balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of coconut aminos, which is like soy sauce, but we can't do wheat in our house.
[00:20:06] Oh, and a scoop of hummus, a little spoonful of hummus, shake it all up and it's super creamy and delicious.
[00:20:13] Kim: [00:20:13] All right. I'm going to try that. I've never made a salad dressing with a milk-type base like that. That's interesting.
[00:20:20] Pam: [00:20:20] It makes it thick and creamy and cuts down by like 600 calories instead of using olive oil, maybe 800.
[00:20:26] Kim: [00:20:26] Nice. Okay. Good one. That's a really good one.
[00:20:30] Well, Pam, it has been great having you on. Thanks for coming and chatting with us today. Where can people find you?
[00:20:36] Pam: [00:20:36] I'm on Instagram @perfectbalanceguru. I'm on TikTok, thanks to you, @perfectbalanceguru.
[00:20:43] Kim: [00:20:43] You got on, what, like two days ago and you had a video that went crazy.
[00:20:47] I checked today because you messaged me. Like, TikTok is incredible, like how fast you can grow. How many hits did you get on that video? How many people watched that video?
[00:20:57] Pam: [00:20:57] It's been like 200 and it was insane.
[00:21:01] Kim: [00:21:01] 200,000?
[00:21:03] Pam: [00:21:03] No, no, just 200. But I just posted it two days ago.
[00:21:06] Kim: [00:21:06] No, you have a video with like 40,000 views, Pam.
[00:21:09] Pam: [00:21:09] Oh, I did not know that.
[00:21:12] Kim: [00:21:12] You've gotta go look. It's the one with the apple cider vinegar. It's like 40 or 30 or 50,000 people have watched it.
[00:21:21] Pam: [00:21:21] People are going crazy over that.
[00:21:23] Kim: [00:21:23] You don't even know. I'm telling you the fun news here. So you can find Pam on TikTok. She might not know how many people are watching her, but she's there and she's on Instagram.
[00:21:35] Thanks so much, Pam. It's been great having you on.
[00:21:38] Pam: [00:21:38] Thank you so much. I really appreciate everything you do for women in this space, because we need more women who are telling the truth and promoting strength training. So I think you are amazing. Thank you so much.
[00:21:49] Kim: [00:21:49] Thank you so much.
[00:21:55] 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.
[00:22:06] 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.
[00:22:21] Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 68 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode I speak with my friend and fellow online coach Chad Hargrove. I invited Chad on the podcast to discuss, publicly, something we have been chatting about privately in the DMs. A few weeks back Chad did an amazing post about the plethora of women's fitness videos that show very toned women using only bands or very lightweight and exercises you've likely never seen before.
[00:00:38] A person commented on Chad's post and he then shared the post in his stories and it made me raise my eyebrows. Her comment: "this is why I only watch men's workout videos."
[00:00:53] Now that is not the answer. Today Chad and I talked through what is the answer? How do we help women find the best fitness content out there?
[00:01:05] Let's go
[00:01:08] Chad Hargrove.
[00:01:12] Chad: [00:01:12] What's going on? Should I be on video right now?
[00:01:14] Kim: [00:01:14] I would love it if you want to come on video.
[00:01:17] Chad: [00:01:17] Hold on a second. How do I change this?
[00:01:23] Kim: [00:01:23] Bottom left corner.
[00:01:25] Chad: [00:01:25] Oh, there we go.
[00:01:27] Kim: [00:01:27] There you are!
[00:01:28] Chad: [00:01:28] What's going on?
[00:01:30] Kim: [00:01:30] Chad Hargrove in the building. Not in my building, but somewhere in Canada. Where are you these days? You've been in a couple of different spots, right?
[00:01:40] Toronto, Ottawa, right?
[00:01:42] Chad: [00:01:42] Yeah. So, I moved here, to Toronto, about 4 years ago now, I started the business on the first day here. And then, I've moved back and forth a couple of random times throughout back to Ottawa where I'm from, which is about a five hour drive away.
[00:02:01] First time was to go to travel, which I ended up not traveling. So, I ended up coming back here and then the second time I was supposed to travel again and then COVID happened. So, basically what I was doing was going back to my parents' place, stop in there, and then trying to leave. And then the second time, obviously, the quarantine and everything happened while I was trying to book it.
[00:02:21] Kim: [00:02:21] You had like big Southeast Asia plans, right?
[00:02:24] Chad: [00:02:24] Yeah, I was supposed to be in Bali for a couple of months and then doing a few spots throughout there, like Japan and Australia. And then do that from about February to May, and then, right around when I was booking it, obviously everything started happening out there.
[00:02:39] So, back to Toronto, I went.
[00:02:42] Kim: [00:02:42] But it all worked out because now you have a new kitten.
[00:02:45] Chad: [00:02:45] Now I have a new kitten. Yeah, she's tearing at my feet right now, actually. She's just growing quite a bit; I've had her for about six days. You've seen her on the stories?
[00:02:53] Kim: [00:02:53] Yeah, I've seen her on the stories.
[00:02:55] Chad: [00:02:55] I've taken a break from fitness content.
[00:02:57] Kim: [00:02:57] It's all about Chad's cat. I actually saw one of my former clients -- I didn't even know she follows you -- but she's like, "I'm just so excited about Chad Hargrove’s new cat."
[00:03:09] Chad: [00:03:09] I think I may just post exclusively cats until she's too big for everyone to, you know, watch so closely.
[00:03:16] Kim: [00:03:16] That's so funny.
[00:03:17] Okay. Now, I do watch your stories. I will tell you I don't pay super close attention -- do you have a girlfriend or is it a roommate?
[00:03:29] Chad: [00:03:29] Roommate. Roommate, yeah.
[00:03:30] Kim: [00:03:30] I thought it was a roommate, but then I thought you got a cat with her. I'm like, "is this a roommate or a girlfriend?"
[00:03:35] Chad: [00:03:35] Yeah. I knew that was going to happen because I bring her up a lot in my emails on a more day to day basis.
[00:03:40] And, yeah, she's just a friend for about seven years now. We kind of needed a roommate right around the same time and thought it'd be a good idea, and it's been crazy helpful to go through quarantine. If I was living on my own that would have been not so fun.
[00:03:59] Kim: [00:03:59] Okay. So, I got super personal really fast here.
[00:04:03] "So, do you have a girlfriend?"
[00:04:05] Chad: [00:04:05] Well, you know, that's like a question my mom's asked me and stuff, so.
[00:04:09] Kim: [00:04:09] Okay. Got it. Got it. Got it. So now, what's the status of COVID up in your neck of the woods? Is it business as usual up in Canada or what's going on there?
[00:04:17] Chad: [00:04:17] You know, I was thinking about this earlier, before the call, because I figured we'd talk about it, but it feels normal now.
[00:04:24] And I think the line that needed to be crossed for me personally was gym's opening. I've been in the gym lately and that's just like a huge sense of normalcy for me. It's just somewhere I can leave the-- like, I work at home, so I need to be able to leave sometimes. And going there as kind of like break time.
[00:04:43] So for me, personally, that's changed everything over the past week or two. But everything's kind of going. I mean, we're wearing masks everywhere and people are still kind of keeping distance and were being cognizant of staying in our pods and having that -- you know, you're supposed to stick with the same 10 people -- and, you know, people are breaking this rule, but as long as there's like half the people who are pushing it and half the people who are going along out of respect, I think things stay pretty good. But yeah, we're getting about 20 new cases a day, I think, in Toronto.
[00:05:21] Kim: [00:05:21] Okay. Got it. Do you guys have theaters open yet? Like, movie theaters and stuff? Or is that still shut?
[00:05:29] Chad: [00:05:29] Ooh, that's a tricky one. I don't know because I'm never at the theaters anymore. Big things are closed. So, like, I think we're limited to about 50 people.
[00:05:39] So that probably answers the question. I'm going to a wedding tomorrow, and there's a 50-person limit on that.
[00:05:46] Kim: [00:05:46] Okay. Interesting. Yeah, we're still pretty shut down in my neck of the woods. Schools are not opening. I'm not happy about that. My kids are going to be cyber-schooled for the start of the year.
[00:05:58] Chad: [00:05:58] Oh, God. How old are yours?
[00:06:02] Kim: [00:06:02] Mine are in high school. So, I don't have it as bad as moms and dads who have little ones. That's hard. If I had little kids here, I don't know what I would do. But I have a senior in high school and a freshman in high school and that's kind of a big deal, you know? They're gonna sit in their bedrooms.
[00:06:18] Chad: [00:06:18] Their learning is actually like a little bit more important at this time, I guess. They've got big plans ahead and stuff, so it's kind of throwing them off a little bit.
[00:06:27] Kim: [00:06:27] Yeah. So that's kind of where we're at. COVID is still really throwing a wrench in things here in the States.
[00:06:33] Chad: [00:06:33] Where are you exactly?
[00:06:34] Kim: [00:06:34] I'm about two hours South of New York City in Pennsylvania.
[00:06:38] Chad: [00:06:38] Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, it sounds like things are hectic in different parts and whatnot still.
[00:06:45] Kim: [00:06:45] We'll see. Hopefully we'll get back to normal here someday.
[00:06:50] So, we set this interview up a few weeks back after we had this friendly back and forth in the DMs. You shared a brilliant post.
[00:06:57] I loved your post, by the way. And then you shared a follower's comment on that post. Why don't you set that up for us, Chad? Tell us about the post. What was the post about? What was common about?
[00:07:06] Chad: [00:07:06] The post was about, just generally speaking, more or less about how oftentimes the tendency of major influencers in the fitness industry get a lot of play and engagement and they do a lot of posting exercises that are, you know, "creative" would be the nice way to put it.
[00:07:31] And then, the less nice way to put it would be "a waste of time." So, just a lot of fancy looking stuff that no one's seen that, for a variety of reasons, they're probably encouraged to do more of, which is misleading.
[00:07:46] Kim: [00:07:46] Yeah. There's a lot of nonsense in our industry, right?
[00:07:50] Women selling other women on booty band workout and body weight workouts, and jumping around mislabeled as HIIT workouts. When in fact that stuff is not what's going to get women the results they think they're buying, right? They think they're buying "lean" and "toned" and "fit," and that's not what's gonna get them there.
[00:08:07] And so one of your followers offered the suggestion that she follows, which is: "this is why I only watch men's workout videos," right? And I was like, Whoa. I guess in my mind, that's not the solution. But I do see where she's coming from, right? I see where she's coming from. So, talk to me, tell us more about that.
[00:08:30] Chad: [00:08:30] Well, you know what? That's just something that I came across and then I just laughed. It was just like, "Oh yeah, this is funny way to say it." I would have never thought to tell someone to do that and I took it as funny, not necessarily in a more literal sense, I was just kinda like, "heh, that's kind of funny." And then, you know, because I chuckled just so naturally at it, I was like, "yeah, I'll post that one."
[00:08:52] I'm sure as you go through deciding what to share and stuff, sometimes when you share something funny, it's just knee jerk. And probably, in an automatic sense, I thought I can get away with it.
[00:09:03] But I definitely -- just thinking about how the optics of it -- knowing my audience is mostly women, and I've said a lot of things over time and know what I generally get away with in terms of how people are going to react to things, but her being a woman who posted, I was like, "Oh, that's kind of funny." So, I posted it and generally the response was fine on that. I think there was a couple of people that came back and we talked about it. But yeah.
[00:09:36] Kim: [00:09:36] Yeah. For me, women need to see other women as role models as to what is possible, right? And I feel like this is true across the lifespan, but maybe even more so in middle age and above. Women so often are not aware of what they're capable of, right? And seeing people like me and Susan out here busting out pull ups and pushups and lifting serious weight is a window for them into what is possible, right?
[00:10:06] They're like, "I could do that." You know, the idea that this is for them, right? That lifting is for them, that being strong is for them, that they could see themselves there. And that said, you made an incredibly important conversation as we were DMing back and forth about that, which is this:
[00:10:21] The most popular women in fitness aren't the ones giving the best advice. Right? They're not. You know, the force is strong with the booty band brigade out there.
[00:10:32] Chad: [00:10:32] I was almost going to say like, that's generally true. And I was trying to find exceptions to the rule and I'm just like, even the exceptions, the rule, like, you've got a million followers, but your advice is actually good. They're still not the most popular woman in fitness. At all.
[00:10:47] Kim: [00:10:47] They're not. Whereas some of the more popular men's accounts, if you followed their fitness advice and you're a man and you're following their advice, you are going to get a good workout in.
[00:10:55] And so I was like, "you're totally right, Chad. Let's talk about that."
[00:11:04] Chad: [00:11:04] Generally the Rock's fitness advice, dudes could probably do pretty good following that advice.
[00:11:10] Kim: [00:11:10] Right? He's not saying, "use your booty band and jump and then do a compound move," what they call a compound move, which is like three things that make no sense to put together... like deadlift and then shoulder press the same weight. You know, he's not saying that kind of stuff.
[00:11:32] So what to do about it is the question. You know, we're both out here fighting the good fight from the coaching/content creation side.
[00:11:40] You know, we put out good information. But I think about the consumers, like what can these women do? Like, the women listening today, what can they do? How to wade through the fitness advice out there for women.
[00:11:51] So, yeah, what are the red flags? Solve that for us, Chad.
[00:11:59] Chad: [00:11:59] You know, the problem is that the average consumer -- I risk some people taking offense to this -- but the average consumer thinks they're smarter about fitness than they are. They think they're more ready to just take some information off the post and then know it.
[00:12:15] They're not going to be knowledgeable enough to narrow things down and be like, "that doesn't fit principle. That's wrong." They're not going to be able to wade through all that. So, they don't understand principles about how things work, which really makes it hard to decipher right from wrong.
[00:12:33] So, the average consumer, for one, needs to understand that this might take a pretty lengthy period of education. Like, I'm self-educated. I've obviously taken courses, but I was at one point exactly where you were yourself.
[00:12:56] I didn't go to school for this. I read out of the courses and articles and podcasts and all that, and I became knowledgeable over the course of 10 years.
[00:13:06] Kim: [00:13:06] But didn't you know a lot, like, months in.
[00:13:10] Chad: [00:13:10] Oh, 100%. Why else would I have been trying to do it myself at 15?
[00:13:15] Kim: [00:13:15] I thought I knew so much, and I was so wrong.
[00:13:20] Chad: [00:13:20] So, you know, this is only one point, but there's an inherent problem in fitness content and the receiving, the consuming of fitness content. It is that if you just use this stuff, you're going to get the results, but it's like the rhyme or reason around exercise selection, and how to change things over time, and, you know, if you're going to change your body as much as you want, you're going to have to understand how metabolism changes. And if you're confused at all by that, and you get 12 weeks into a diet and you actually have to go up in calories because you actually need more muscle or continue to chip away at calories because metabolism changes, and then not being scared to raise them up because you understand how metabolism actually adapts and how to watch for these things.
[00:14:07] If you get 16 weeks into a diet, you've lost 10 pounds, and all of a sudden you read something about diet breaks or reverse dieting, you get confused.
[00:14:15] What happens? You don't know what to do. You're standing out there in no man's land like, "Oh God, I'm in the middle of the process, but...." you know, it's like you get halfway through a level in Super Mario Bros and then you don't know how to go on. So, what happens? Just, you know, jump into a river and start over.
[00:14:31] So that's one issue that causes people be led astray by certain things they will use to understand whether the information is good, which in the fitness industry, the biggest one is, "how does she look?" Or "how does he look?" Which means that if you look the best, you have the best advice.
[00:14:57] Which I'm not going to say is always wrong, but it's wrong a lot. And there's probably no place that's more wrong than the female fitness influencer, fitness celebrity, even worse. But if you can't decipher between this, how are you supposed to decide what's good from what's bad?
[00:15:19] So, what's the solution to this? Well, for me, it took about 10 years before I actually understood everything. And, honestly, probably more than 10 years, but if I had had the right education early, maybe I would have been able to take 5 to really understand it.
[00:15:34] So do you want to spend the next 5 years figuring this out to a level where you actually can do it on your own?
[00:15:40] No one listening is saying yes. Everyone's like, "five years? I'm trying to get this done in 16 weeks." So, what's the answer? You either really invest in understanding this to a point where you can apply and understand what information, what is good to the level that you know, we do, or you pay for help to get this done in a reasonable timeframe in a way that is done.
[00:16:01] And let sounds like a sales pitch and I did not come on here to do a sales pitch, but it's like, that's what helped me. That's what helped you, I'm sure.
[00:16:10] Kim: [00:16:10] And people are so much more willing to do that in other areas outside of their health and fitness, right? Like when my car is doing something weird, I don't even consider Googling how to fix it. Never.
[00:16:23] Chad: [00:16:23] And for some reason, at some point, it's probably just how diet advice has evolved over time and the way it was sold. Easy trick, easy trick, easy trick. So, consumers have gotten, I think, used to buying something because it was easy. Like, I'm just supposed to pay for the solution and then it happens. It's almost like we've made this out to be too easy. Like, honestly, losing weight is as simple as eating less, true. Changing your body to the extent that you want, listener, is not that easy at all.
[00:17:04] It actually needs to be a pretty calculated process throughout. And we can talk about this as well, I think that's a great spot to go, the biggest barrier to women's -- as far as I see with my clients, and I'm sure we share a lot of the same types of people -- the idea of eating more after a diet underlies probably the biggest barrier to success. Maybe the scale and food relations, stuff like that, but the fear of eating more and the fear of specifically adding body weight, like, I have to be careful how I use those words, because if I say "gain weight," that's just bad.
[00:17:47] That's like, you're just trying to poison the client as they see it. Generally, "adding weight" sounds a little bit cleaner than "gain weight." One is just terrible words to use. That area is just a huge problem. I think I went off topic there, but...
[00:18:03] Kim: [00:18:03] No, it's okay. You know what, Chad, it actually brings me right back to what we hopped on to talk about, which, you know, Jillian Michaels.
[00:18:07] And I just -- I didn't say who it was, but I put it up on my story. She just this last week, her whole thing was about intuitive eating and that was kind of a mess and it was a train wreck as it was. But in this post she put up, she talked about, she made this side comment that everyone thought was fabulous about how women really can't eat more than 1600 calories.
[00:18:26] Women, generally, that their bodies can't process that and that, you know, we don't have the metabolisms for that. And I was like, she's not talked about the size of this woman or how active this woman is, just women generally, right? 1600 calories. She didn't even suggest that this is a woman trying to lose weight. Like, just across the board. And that woman has millions of followers.
[00:18:51] Which is why I get women who come to me and they struggle when I give them their deficit calories and their deficit calories, you know, are 1700 or 1800. You know, they have a lot of weight to lose and they're like, "I can't eat this much." And I'm like, "you're already eating more than this. Believe me, you are."
[00:19:10] Chad: [00:19:10] Quite a bit more, potentially. Yeah, that problem comes up a lot. It's like, the first numbers for their deficit and you're like, you know, it's like you set them and you're like, "we might have to shave them down, but I'd much rather we go down from that number rather than from here up," because I've seen that work terribly so many times where I'd go too low because they wanted to, and all of a sudden I'm like, "yeah, this is it's not going well." And the process of going up from there is just like you almost never reboot after that. You need a break from it almost, just like tripping out of the gate on a sprint.
[00:19:52] It's like, you shouldn't have been sprinting to begin with. But yeah, the comment, you know, I wonder with people like that, and I think this is interesting for us to talk about because, you know, people listening, like if you're not in this business, you might think we actually understand why they're so terribly wrong sometimes.
[00:20:11] And I'm not sure if it's like, they make up the lies for more or less conspiracy, like they know it's bad advice, but they're putting it out there because it just fuels problems or, you know, whatever. It's what people want to hear. And it drives fast results. So, it's like people are excited.
[00:20:29] People somehow think when they lose six pounds in two weeks that they just succeeded. I'm like, "no, you haven't proven any success yet." However, there's that perception out there and if you can sell that, which honestly, if you create those expectations, like 1200 to 1600 is normal for everyone on a diet, then you're going to always create someone who can stick to it for seven days, lose three pounds, think you just gave them the miracle, when in reality it was just the wrong approach to begin with.
[00:20:56] Or is it something like, these people just listen to the consumer too much. Because the consumer tries these diets, says, "I ate this amount and it didn't work," so they come back and be like, "Oh God, I guess some people don't lose weight when they eat 1100 calories a day," just because the consumer's telling them.
[00:21:19] For a while, scientists took the information that way when they did studies. They didn't check for that stuff, but yeah.
[00:21:25] Kim: [00:21:25] Look, I don't know why these people do that kind of stuff. I wish I did. I don't know why. The people giving the bad advice, sometimes I try and think, like, I think they really believe it because can they really be just so after money that they're doing this, and I don't know. I don't know what the right answer is, why they do it, if they really believe it, or if they're just out to get money or whatever it is.
[00:21:47] But I think it's really important for us to help people really see red flags. Because I agree with you, I think hiring coach who you're like, "this person gets people results," is a good way to go.
[00:21:57] Look, we both are coaches and I believe in it. But for people who aren't, I think let's talk about some red flags.
[00:22:03] So, let's say I'm a woman, I'm on Instagram, I'm looking around, I'm following some people. What red flags would you say if you notice that that's not a quality source?
[00:22:15] Chad: [00:22:15] You know, I think the amount of skin is actually -- you know, I was almost gonna check myself because I'm not judging, you know, people can wear what they want.
[00:22:34] And I was going to be like, just thinking of some of the more popular women out there who give good advice. I'm like, "how much skin are they showing?" And I would say there's probably a relation. This is not cause and effect, so just because someone shows a lot of skin actually doesn't mean they're bad.
[00:22:52] Although I think they're getting a lot of attention for a reason that isn't their information, but I think that is actually a good one, and honestly, I think a lot of skin is often just compensating for something.
[00:23:06] Kim: [00:23:06] I'm sure the statement you just made would be a controversial one, but I agree with you, Chad. I agree with you. I think the person, male or female out there and what they're showing the consumer all the time is their skin. Or even if it's not their skin, it's just a closeup of their butt while they're doing exercises. They're not selling you on the solution, they're selling you on their body.
[00:23:29] Chad: [00:23:29] Yeah. And let's be real here, some people just like the amount of attention. Like, I get on my Q and A sometimes because I'm bored, so it's like, everyone's going to have a different reason, like, some of them just might want attention for that reason and that's totally up to them.
[00:23:44] But I would say there's a relation there for sure. I think that's one thing you can look at. If you see someone showing a lot of skin, your first reaction should probably -- and we can talk about other red flags, which will also help you -- but you should immediately kind of have your guard up, probably.
[00:24:00] Kim: [00:24:00] Good one. What else ya got?
[00:24:03] Chad: [00:24:03] What else do I got? Well, you know, and this is tricky because just because they're not lifting heavy weights in their video does not mean they're not talking about heavy weights. Like, I don't show myself lifting all that much anymore.
[00:24:20] Maybe I should, actually. But it's hard because sometimes you're going to get to people with good information that are showing a lift, but they're not using heavy weights. But I think, generally, if the weights are tiny or light or in color, probably, and there's just a lot of jumping around.
[00:24:40] Like, if you identify "that looks tiring," versus "that looks like it could be heavy" that's probably a good distinction to make. And it's not that lifting for cardio or sweat or heart rate or to get a good, you know, whatever, it's not that that's bad, but that's going to be supplemental to your "heavier" training.
[00:25:07] So if it looks like she's trying to teach you how to like lift heavier, that's a really good sign.
[00:25:15] Kim: [00:25:15] I think you're spot on. You hit a couple of really big ones there. If there's no weights in sight or no talking about heavy weights in sight, that's a problem for me. Either she's showing you herself lifting those or if she's not, she's letting you know, "this is what you need to do." There needs to be weights involved.
[00:25:31] Chad: [00:25:31] Yeah. If anyone listening, you know Kim posts, you probably know Susan, so you see they're lifting heavy. So, it's like, if it doesn't look something like that, then also have your guard up.
[00:25:45] And now if we put "very little clothing," number one red flag and "no sign of weights, or at least encouraging you to get strong," it's just like, if those two are together, I'm not sure there's any coming out of that with any real information. It's probably an unfollow.
[00:26:04] You can probably comb your, "who you're following" and nix a few.
[00:26:09] Kim: [00:26:09] Right. With just those two things. Absolutely.
[00:26:12] Chad: [00:26:12] Yeah. I think that gets really, really, really black and white on those.
[00:26:16] Kim: [00:26:16] Yeah. And the other one you hit on was, if she's just talking about it being tiring, making you tired.
[00:26:22] If somebody is constantly using the words, "you're going to feel this burning, you're going to get sweaty, we're going to be calorie-blasting," those for me -- not that you can't ever talk about those, because like who doesn't love a good metcon, right? But if that's the bulk of the content, that's a problem.
[00:26:37] Chad: [00:26:37] Yes. 100%.
[00:26:40] Honestly, I think those are the two biggest ones. I think you can make a lot of your decisions based on those. Do you have any more?
[00:26:49] Kim: [00:26:49] The only other one I would say is, and I guess we kind of already covered it, is the idea of there's no progression suggested. If they're just constantly throwing random stuff at you, if they're not encouraging you -- and you said the words get strong, so there really should be a focus on, "pick a workout and stick to it." Not "confuse your muscles," not "let's try something new" all the time, the content really should be driven on, "how can we help you get stronger over time?"
[00:27:13] Chad: [00:27:13] Yeah. I think pretty much any highly valuable coach out there that's geared towards women or whatever, "get strong" is in the message, because not many women are past the point where "gets strong," needs to be the primary focus. And the ones who are past it usually are in the shape you want to be in. So that's usually the big one.
[00:27:44] And I think after that, it's just in the best interest of the people listening, like, are they actually teaching you stuff? Does their account make you feel better? And, you know, in a lot of cases -- and I think this goes both ways -- speaking of a lot of like psychological stuff that goes through the average dieter’s mind. If you're getting content like that, it's probably speaking to a coach that's been in your shoes at some point.
[00:28:07] And the difference between some coach is like, "hey, just hit your macros," and that's it. That's fine for like 2% of people, but the help with navigating what the scale said today or you're feeling bloated today, or just like the fluctuations, not only on the scale, but just in mood and emotions that goes through the process and just giving someone an understanding that they should go on.
[00:28:34] I think we probably do a lot of that. I almost feel like it's what I post about every day, which is just the psychological stuff that goes on the average dieter’s mind. If you have accounts that are speaking to that, not only is this a fitness influencer versus not, you're usually speaking to someone that's been in your shoes that is much better equipped to help you out.
[00:28:53] Kim: [00:28:53] Yeah, absolutely. If that psychological piece is totally absent -- unless a person is strictly speaking strength training, like, they could be speaking about that -- but if they're speaking nutrition and there's no psychological element to it at all, that would be a red flag for me, as well.
[00:29:08] Chad: [00:29:08] Yep. Totally.
[00:29:11] Kim: [00:29:11] So what do you think it will take to make the most popular fitness advice for women the ones actually giving the best advice?
[00:29:19] Chad: [00:29:19] I think that what would need to happen is impossible. I think that the process would need to get easy.
[00:29:28] So the thing is -- think about anything that's very hard, that takes years to really accomplish. It's like, the right answers are never the most popular. The "quick fixes" always win. And I actually think that we're better off now than we were three years ago and definitely more better off than we were 10 and 20, so I don't want to make this sound super negative because more people are being educated.
[00:29:54] But I think in a lot of cases, a lot of people are finding out that, "Oh shit, this is a lot harder than I think," and then it's kind of like, "back to the drawing board, do I really want to do it, or should I adjust my expectations?"
[00:30:06] But are we ever going to get to a point where the best information is the most popular? I don't know. But we're probably at least on a trajectory towards evening it out a lot. And the Internet's helped with that. There's more bad information, but a lot more good people have access to putting on their phones and giving out good information.
[00:30:26] Kim: [00:30:26] I think it's tricky because who doesn't want easy, right? Everybody wants everything to be easy, right? Easy sells.
[00:30:33] And so if you can sell somebody on, "you don't need to go to the gym" and "you don't need to learn how to lift," "here, drink my shake or do these 12 easy moves," is tempting, right? People want that?
[00:30:50] Chad: [00:30:50] Yep. But I think coaches like ourselves should continue to take opportunities -- like, you've been hard on TikTok -- just taking the opportunities when the opportunities are there to get more eyeballs and the more people like us do that, the more the average person has access to people that are actually giving good information.
[00:31:13] We've both done this. It's not a huge scale, but the more of us do it, like, I'm sure I've converted a couple of thousand people. Maybe even more than that. You yourself, absolutely the same thing. So, if we continue to do that and more people pass down good information and good examples and stuff to their kids, who knows where it could be in a few years. But I think this is our only way -- we educate properly and make people communicate well like what we're doing right now, teaching people about red flags. The more stuff that gets out there, we can't do any worse doing that. And I think that's the only thing we really can do.
[00:31:57] Kim: [00:31:57] It's really true.
[00:31:58] I will tell you the TikTok thing is super interesting to me because there are so many teenagers on there and I will tell you, ladies and gentlemen listening, there are plenty of grownups over there. Don't be afraid of TikTok. I think it's super fun.
[00:32:09] But there are so many teenagers. I've gotten this whole population of teenagers who follow me and I've specifically posted multiple posts about how to lose weight for your teenager, right? And they've gotten hundreds of thousands of views and I've got one of the posts I did that has like 2 million views -- it's crazy -- speaking directly to these teenagers and I'm really wanting to make a dent in their understanding of how to lift weights and what they need.
[00:32:41] Chad: [00:32:41] Yeah. I think maybe for you more than for me, but I've seen a couple of your posts and I've found myself doing this in some cases, like, you're almost talking to a teenager. You're taking on like "fitness mom," basically.
[00:33:03] I've done this quite a bit, just like telling people -- especially for a 15 year old or something -- it's like, "I know you think you're going to nail this by 16, but prepare yourself that if you don't do this really well, you might be 23 and in way worse shape than you are right now," you know?
[00:33:22] And it's not because you didn't care. It was because you actually cared too much the entire time,
[00:33:28] Kim: [00:33:28] And have a worse relationship with food and feel more confused because -- and I'm talking to myself here, Chad -- because I wish I could go back in time and tell myself as a 19 year old girl who -- I did not need to lose weight -- like, I thought I did, but what I could have really used if I wanted to look the way I did with somebody to show me how to lift weights and to actually do it.
[00:33:48] I would have been where I wanted to be decades ago.
[00:33:51] Chad: [00:33:51] Yeah. And that's what I mean, though. TikTok is this opportunity to right now and that probably gives you a tremendous sense of meaning, right?
[00:34:00] Like, "if only I could just push in the right direction at a time before you've screwed it all up." Just before you created more of a problem by not really knowing, by taking on false information and trying diets you probably shouldn't have done, and creating problems in your head over all of this.
[00:34:30] It's huge. And that's what I mean, the amount of kids you're accessing right now is huge. You will change a few sixteen-year-olds lives.
[00:34:38] Kim: [00:34:38] I sure hope so. It was really sad to me -- I was really surprised on this last series of posts I had done with teenage fitness. The first thing I had told the girls is, "before I talk to you about diet and exercise, I want to talk to you about something really important, which is 'losing weight will not solve your problems.' You will not all of a sudden be happy if you lose weight."
[00:35:03] And the thing that was shocking to me, dozens and dozens and dozens of girls were like, "yes, I will. It's the only problem in my life. I will 100% be happy if I can lose this weight." And it was really eye opening to me.
[00:35:17] Chad: [00:35:17] Yeah. I've had those experiences before where a lot of people come back with -- and I usually see it from the 14 to 18-year-old girl camp. I get gutted when I hear that. It's just like, "Oh God, it's worse than I thought." Like, "Wow. This is bad. What do we do??"
[00:35:41] Kim: [00:35:41] Yeah. And for me, I guess the answer to, "what do I do?" Is I just keep talking.
[00:35:48] And I couldn't reach out to all of them because it would literally take me hours and hours, but I would respond back to some of them and ask them some questions. And some girls got on there, like, "she's right. I lost the weight. I still have problems."
[00:36:01] And I shared with them my own experiences, which is just like, "I lost a lot of weight. I used to be obese. I lost weight. Did I feel healthier? Was I happier? Yes. Did it take away all my problems? No."
[00:36:10] Somebody is like, "no one will bully me." I'm thinking, "are you kidding me?" Like, as a grown woman, people still attempt to bully me online. I had a guy call me fat last year and I was like, "are you freaking kidding me?"
[00:36:23] So it doesn't take away your problems. People bully out of their own pain and they'll find something to bully you about it if they want to find something to bully you about.
[00:36:31] Chad: [00:36:31] Yeah. You should make like the "14-year olds guide to eating right." But in the words that they actually want to hear, which is like "getting into shape," because the thing is, as obvious as the problem is with them, what I saw there was all the underlying issues that I talk to 30 to 50 year old women about that is like less obvious, because they're more aware that it's not good, but even though they're aware of it, it's really deep. Like, "scale went up today, that's a bad day." That started at like 14 to 18, I'd say, or maybe even earlier. It's huge.
[00:37:18] Kim: [00:37:18] Well, this has been a great chat, Chad.
[00:37:21] All right, who are the top women you follow? Or the top women you would suggest other women follow for fitness?
[00:37:27] Chad: [00:37:27] Well, you know, I was going to name you, but obviously everyone here already knows that.
[00:37:41] But a few that come to mind that are probably not unknown to anyone listening probably, but Katie Crewe and Sohee are probably the best. Just in terms of, they've got a background on all of it. They've been in most of their client's shoes themself and seen a lot of ends of the industry -- personal trainer, nutrition coach, etc. They've just got a lot of information and delivers it well. And just watch Katie lift. I mean, that should be the way you're aiming to lift or at least be on that trajectory.
[00:38:20] And then Susan Niebergall, my work mom, again, same thing. No bullshit advice and a great example from a "this is how to lift" standpoint. And the thing about Susan is so much of is actually her working out, so there's no shortage of, "this is actually what it looks like."
[00:38:40] And I think Susan is so extreme at her age, which, I think she makes everyone feel like it's totally possible. Even if you get half those results, that's probably exactly where you want to be.
[00:38:55] Kim: [00:38:55] Fantastic suggestions. I appreciate you coming on. It's always fun to talk to you.
[00:39:01] You're definitely one of the good guys out there. I appreciate your content. It is always so well-written. I will say, now that the age of the infographic seems to have passed, I miss your infographics. They were good. I was always so impressed how much information you could get into one little picture.
[00:39:18] Chad: [00:39:18] If only I could find a way to deliver stuff that I felt that good about again. I should just repost those. The problem was that I was reposting those on Instagram and they don't like it. The second time you repost something, they're like, "ehh," third time I think I got blocked for like two weeks.
[00:39:37] Kim: [00:39:37] You'll have to put some up on TikTok and talk people through them.
[00:39:45] Chad: [00:39:45] Yeah, I've seen you've done that few times. Has it gone well?
[00:39:49] Kim: [00:39:49] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:39:51] All right. My dear, this was fantastic. Tell everybody where to find you.
[00:39:56] Chad: [00:39:56] The biggest place to find me is @chadhargrove1 on Instagram. And from there, I send daily emails, you can join those if you want.
[00:40:06] Kim: [00:40:06] Will people get kitten updates on the daily email?
[00:40:18] Chad: [00:40:18] Yeah. They get all kinds of life updates.
[00:40:21] Kim: [00:40:21] And when will the Chad Hargrove podcast be launching?
[00:40:27] Chad: [00:40:27] You know, it's probably with the next on the list. And it's honestly just like one of those things that's been just like, "I should do it, I should do it, I should do it," and I just haven't pulled the trigger. It's pretty big undertaking.
[00:40:39] Kim: [00:40:39] Yeah, rip that band-aid off.
[00:40:42] Chad: [00:40:42] Yeah, exactly. I think that'll probably be a 2021 thing on a more serious level. There's just a lot on the go right now for the next couple of months.
[00:40:52] Kim: [00:40:52] Cool. Well, thanks so much for coming on.
[00:40:54] Chad: [00:40:54] Thank you so much for having me, Kim.
[00:41:00] Kim: [00:41:00] 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.
[00:41:12] 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.
[00:41:26] Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:04] Welcome to episode 68 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. Joining me today on the podcast is author Katarina Wilk. Katarina wrote the book "Perimenopower," and it is about perimenopause -- which, if you've been following me for any length of time, you know, has been a great struggle in my personal life.
[00:00:26] I have been deep in the throes of perimenopause going on seven years now. I am passionate about connecting women with experts who know about perimenopause and menopause and Katarina has written an incredible book. We talk about the mental side of perimenopause, the physical side of perimenopause, our attitudes during perimenopause ,so much great conversation around the subject.
[00:00:51] Let's go.
[00:00:59] There we go! Katarina, we are now recording!
[00:01:04] Good morning! I'm so glad you could be here with us all the way from Sweden -- where apparently, you're having a tropical blast -- to join us, to talk about your book: "Perimenopower." Welcome!
[00:01:18] Katarina: [00:01:18] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.
[00:01:21] Kim: [00:01:21] Absolutely. I was thrilled to make your acquaintance through our mutual friend, Amanda Thebe, great connector in all things menopause.
[00:01:31] So, Katarina, I was just starting to ask you about your career path. So, you have been a health and wellness writer, tell us some about the kinds of topics you have covered.
[00:01:42] Katarina: [00:01:42] Yes, that's right. I've been a health and lifestyle writer. You can mostly say that I've been doing medical research and journalism, but I've also been doing a bit of lifestyle.
[00:01:56] I've been editor for a consumer magazine within sports in Sweden. So, I've been writing everything from physical exercise to medical stuff.
[00:02:08] Kim: [00:02:08] Got it. Got it. Well, you've also written the book "Perimenopower: The Essential Guide to the Change Before the Change."
[00:02:16] Now, this book, in particular, is born of personal experience of yours. Can you tell us about that?
[00:02:23] Katarina: [00:02:23] Yes, it actually is. I was 42 years old when it started for me. And I had some severe insomnia and some kind of panic attacks. I'd never been a panicky person before, so I couldn't really understand what was going on. So, I went to my GP and she was like, "yeah, are you having a hard time at work or are you having a hard time with your husband?" And I was like, "no, I don't. I cannot sleep. That's my problem. There's something going on in my body." And after a while she said, "yeah, I think you're having a burnt-out syndrome. And I think you are becoming depressed."
[00:03:02] And I said, "yeah, of course I'm becoming depressed because I don't sleep. But the thing is that I don't sleep. And that is the factual problem. So please help me."
[00:03:13] So she, of course, put me on sleeping pills. I had the worst experience, I will never, ever in my life take sleeping pills anymore. And then when I just realized that I won't get any help here from the medical side...
[00:03:29] Kim: [00:03:29] What happened with the sleeping pills?
[00:03:33] Katarina: [00:03:33] I tried normal sleeping pills, but they didn't work for me. So, she had to put me on like really strong sleeping pills and when she did that, I had nightmares, I was hallucinating, and she was like, "when you take these pills, you have to be near your bed."
[00:03:58] And I was like, "okay, so will I fall asleep in a second? What do you mean?" She was like, "no, but you should stay close to your bed." So, I was like, "okay." And actually, I had to be close to my bed because in two seconds I just fell asleep, like very deep in a coma-sleep. So, no good. No good. No good. I do not recommend this.
[00:04:23] So finally I was like, "okay, they won't help me. I have to do this by myself." So, as I am a medical writer, I know a lot about the body and especially about my body. So, I started to research and I started to think about these symptoms that I had going on for quite a while, like panic attacks, I didn't seem like myself.
[00:04:50] And then someone said to me, my gynecologist, she said to me, "how about you period?" And I said, "well, it's on and off." And she said, "well, maybe you are coming into the transition, but you're not in menopause, of course, because when you are in menopause, you don't have your period for 12 months."
[00:05:11] So she helped me in a way, but I did the research by myself and then I thought, well, okay, if I, as a medical person, don't understand what's happening, how can normal women understand? So, it became like a mission. I really want to help women. I really want to help women understand that the menopausal transition can start really early.
[00:05:36] So, that's the background to my book.
[00:05:38] Kim: [00:05:38] And so that was the goal with the book, because you, as a person who is steeped in medical terminology, and were more deep in studying things in the medical world, we're blindsided by this. And so, you wanted to help regular people, those of us who aren't necessarily in the medical industry.
[00:05:55] Katarina: [00:05:55] Yes, you're right. Yeah.
[00:05:56] Kim: [00:05:56] Fantastic. And I do think that a lot of people are not clear even just on the basic terminology, perimenopause versus menopause.
[00:06:04] Let's have you give everybody a working definition of both of those.
[00:06:09] Katarina: [00:06:09] Okay. So, the transition is perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause.
[00:06:14] And the perimenopause is the rocky part of the sensation. And that is what women don't understand. It can start like 10 years before you are in actual menopause. Menopause is when you haven't had your period for 12 months -- which means actually one day -- and then you have the post-menopause, which is the time after you haven't had your period for 12 months.
[00:06:41] And the post menopause can be very, very long. Some women have symptoms when they are 70. So, this is a thing that can happen from 40 up to 65-70. So, it's quite a while, isn't it?
[00:07:01] Kim: [00:07:01] Yeah. I think that, Katarina, we haven't spoken personally about my own experience. The reason that I'm a fitness professional -- I help women get strong. I help women lose weight -- specifically, I have a passion for helping perimenopausal and menopausal women because that's where I find myself and my transition into perimenopause has been an extremely rocky one.
[00:07:26] I was completely blindsided and had zero education on what was happening. And there were times that I thought I was going crazy, I thought I was having a stroke, I thought I had some kind of autoimmune disease. I could not figure out what was wrong with me, but I knew something was wrong with me. And no one could tell me what was wrong with me.
[00:07:51] Katarina: [00:07:51] I think that is the situation for so many women.
[00:07:55] Kim: [00:07:55] Yes, absolutely. A big part of that solution is education.
[00:08:02] Katarina: [00:08:02] Yes. Knowledge is power. You have to understand that you maybe are not that interested, but then when it starts with your body, something is happening. You have to get all the information you can.
[00:08:16] And I think people like you and people like me we can really help. That's what I think. And people like Amanda, of course, she's the best.
[00:08:25] Kim: [00:08:25] Absolutely.
[00:08:26] So I was 43 when I first started having my very first menopause symptoms. And in my mind, I didn't even think about menopause until many years later because that was too early in my mind. But it's not.
[00:08:41] Katarina: [00:08:41] Yeah. I think that is one of the problems, because I think I can see now that the menopause discussion is starting up all around the world. My book has been translated to a lot of languages and I can feel that I get messages from women all over. But the thing is that we talk about menopause like something that is happening when you are around your 50s.
[00:09:04] But the problem is that we don't talk about the perimenopause. And if we don't, everyone will be prescribed antidepressants from their doctors. That's the biggest problem.
[00:09:17] Kim: [00:09:17] Yeah. And when people hear the word menopause, they know, "Oh yeah, that's something difficult." They don't understand that a lot of the upheaval that the really difficult symptoms actually come before in perimenopause.
[00:09:33] Katarina: [00:09:33] Yes, that's the thing. That's the thing. So, it's time to start up this discussion, too, about the perimenopause.
[00:09:41] Kim: [00:09:41] And do you find women are eager to talk to you about the subject or are they still kind of hesitant?
[00:09:49] Katarina: [00:09:49] I have to admit that even my friends were hesitant to talk about it until I wrote the book. They were like, "yeah, well I don't have any symptoms." And then I said, "well, I'm going to write a book about this." "Oh, are you? Well, okay. I maybe had some insomnia and I maybe have some mood disturbances." So even my friends won't admit that it's happening. And I mean, what is the point of not talking about it? It's like feeling that you are going crazy all by yourself.
[00:10:28] Kim: [00:10:28] Yes, absolutely.
[00:10:31] And I really do feel we're at kind of a turning point here that women are more open to talking about it. And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that there are just more of us talking about it. I don't stop talking about menopause, both in my static posts and on my Instagram stories. Here on my podcast I'm always sharing my own very personal -- probably too much information for some people -- information about my experiences.
[00:10:58] And what I have found is that the more I do that, the more women who come to me and start talking to me about the fact that they can't sleep, that they tried to talk to their doctor and their doctor just thinks that they need antidepressants and they're like, "I'm not depressed."
[00:11:12] Katarina: [00:11:12] Yes. I know.
[00:11:15] I think that is a really sad thing that the medical society so quickly gives the antidepressants to woman, I think it's such an over-prescription of antidepressants all over. I mean, in Sweden, I think we have 1 million out of 10 taking antidepressants. I would so much want to know how many of these 1 million are women 40 plus.
[00:11:44] But that is a figure I can't even research. I haven't found it. They don't want to talk about it. And one of the topics that I'm now diving into, maybe for my next manuscript, is that we seldom want to admit that women's and men's brains are different because we are struggling for a gender equality.
[00:12:13] If we would admit that, "I'm sorry, your brain is not the same as mine," it would be like a backlash. But I think that if we would admit that we are different, it would be a step forward. So, I think the brain thing is really important here because everything starts in our brains.
[00:12:36] Kim: [00:12:36] I am currently reading "The XX Brain" by Dr. Lisa Mosconi.
[00:12:40] Katarina: [00:12:40] I love it. She is the best. I mean, it's such an important book.
[00:12:50] Kim: [00:12:50] I just discovered her very recently and I'm only on chapter four of the book, but it's quite impressive. And that was exactly the point so far, is that, the female brain and the male brain are different and it doesn't mean that we're inherently not capable of the same things or that somehow it sets us back, but understanding these differences is incredibly important to our health.
[00:13:12] Katarina: [00:13:12] Yes. Yes. That's the thing.
[00:13:14] Kim: [00:13:14] Yeah. I'm hoping to get her on the podcast when I'm through the book.
[00:13:17] Katarina: [00:13:17] Oh, that would be great. I would listen to that.
[00:13:21] Kim: [00:13:21] Yeah. I would really, really love to have her on for a chat.
[00:13:23] So what do you think, Katarina, that women, as they're entering their forties, what do you think they can do to be proactive about their wellness?
[00:13:33] Katarina: [00:13:33] I think that one of the most important things is to realize that you can't go on like you did before. You cannot eat like crap if you did that before, you cannot exercise as you did before, you have to take care of yourself, of your body and your mind in an extra, extra way. You have to be really careful what you do. Because what you do during perimenopause, that will affect your coming years.
[00:14:12] So I think lifestyle changes during this period is something really important. I write about that in my book, what to do. I'm not that into diet and physical exercise. I mean, I'm not that strict into it, but I think there are some small changes you can do during the perimenopause, which are really important.
[00:14:36] And eventually, if you don't cope with it anymore, then maybe you should try HRT. That's what I think.
[00:14:45] Kim: [00:14:45] What were some of the big lifestyle changes that you made personally?
[00:14:50] Katarina: [00:14:50] Well, one thing is that when I had been doing physical exercise, I did a lot of cardio training. I was running, I went to the cycling classes and I was like, always running. I was a bit of a stressed person. So, I added some mental training, like more calm, physical exercise like Pilates, like restorative yoga -- which is this forum where you stand in the positions for a couple of minutes -- that was the best medication for me because I got energy and I was calmed by the yoga form.
[00:15:34] So I think that if you just add something to your normal physical exercise, but in a calmer way, then I think you will cope. And one thing I did also was that, usually when I went out running, I did that in the evenings. So, I did like 8-9 o'clock and then I went home and I tried to calm down and get to sleep at 11.
[00:15:59] That didn't work anymore because if I did my running at 8 in the evening, I could not fall asleep. So, I could see that my body didn't know, "is this a positive stress or is it a negative stress?" It's some kind of stress in my body. So, I just decided that, if I'm going to do my running, I'm going to do it in the mornings and in the evenings, I do my yoga.
[00:16:25] And that worked. That was a really, really big change for me. So, that was about the physical exercise. And then about the diet, well, I mean, I can be unhealthy too. I drink Coke sometimes and I eat a burger sometimes, but during this period, I was like, "okay, what can I do? If there are any studies showing you can do something with your diet, I'll have to try that."
[00:16:53] So I stopped eating meat. And when I say that, I mean red meat. And then eventually when I got the hot flashes, I could see that when I stopped eating red meat, my hot flashes decreased. So, I think through diet, not totally vegan, just minimizing meat and minimizing sugar, minimizing alcohol and coffee, those were my big changes.
[00:17:25] Kim: [00:17:25] And those things helped you, in specific, with your hot flashes?
[00:17:28] Katarina: [00:17:28] Yes, yes.
[00:17:29] Kim: [00:17:29] Interesting.
[00:17:32] You brought up HRT. Did you, in the end, decide that that was the right choice for you?
[00:17:37] Katarina: [00:17:37] As I said, this started when I was 42 and I started with HRT when I was 48. And I did that because it was not that I couldn't cope, but I felt that it was getting harder and harder to keep up with these lifestyle changes only. So, I decided to try HRT when I was 48. And for me it's been a good choice.
[00:18:08] And, of course, it is up to everyone to choose, but I'm an unbiased medical writer, I don't work for any medical companies, and through the studies and through the research I've done, I can see that the HRT might be good and not bad as most of the women think it is.
[00:18:29] It actually decreases our risk for cardiac diseases and we think that it only increases our risk for breast cancer. But the number one killer for women is not breast cancer, it is heart diseases. So, there are some good things, positive things with taking HRT too, but ultimately, it's your choice.
[00:18:49] If you can cope with lifestyle changes, I won't say anything about that, but I know that the discussion here in Sweden is that maybe in the future, they will give women HRT even without symptoms. Because it's like when you're diabetic, you get an insulin, when you have an estrogen decrease, maybe you have to have your estrogen.
[00:19:14] It's a very complex, it's a very controversial discussion, but I am quite satisfied with my choice. And actually, it felt so much better for me. It was like, finally, I was me again.
[00:19:33] Kim: [00:19:33] Oh, I absolutely understand
[00:19:38] Katarina: [00:19:38] Are you taking it?
[00:19:40] Kim: [00:19:40] I am. I have very similar ages to you. I started having symptoms at 43 that got increasingly worse and then I started HRT when I was 48.
[00:19:50] Katarina: [00:19:50] Okay. Okay. So, we are the same.
[00:19:53] Kim: [00:19:53] And I'm 49 now, I'm almost 50, so I've been using HRT for a little over a year at this point. It was absolutely life changing for me. I had zero knowledge of it in the many years leading up to beginning to take it and the little knowledge I had about it was all negative.
[00:20:12] And as I actually began to research -- and I had no idea about the things that you just mentioned until really close to when I started taking it -- about the idea that they're discovering that it actually has cardioprotective benefits and that it might be something that they're going to be recommending, in the future, for all women, not just those of us who are symptomatic.
[00:20:31] Katarina: [00:20:31] Yeah, it's been changing for me too. I have to admit that. And in the beginning, I was quite shocked that it had that effect on me, because as I said, it was like, "okay, this is who I am." I could, in a way, feel that those years between 42 and 48 -- I mean, I had a good laugh, it's not, it's not that I was depressed or anything -- but I could feel it was a struggle. And suddenly when I took the HRT, it wasn't the struggle anymore. It was like, all the world just opened up again. I mean, it is hard to hard to admit because some women that are still afraid of it might think you're crazy.
[00:21:19] Kim: [00:21:19] You know, when I started, I had been sleepless for many months at the time that I started HRT. I was feeling quite desperate when I started. And I did not expect it to work as quickly as it did and it was absolutely life changing to actually be able to get a good night's rest again after many months not sleeping. That started a new chapter in my life.
[00:21:46] Katarina: [00:21:46] You and I are maybe role models for how good HRT can work.
[00:21:52] Kim: [00:21:52] Yeah. And I know it's not the answer for everyone. And there are certainly lifestyle changes that people can make. One of the things I really liked about the title of your book, "Perimenopower," is that it sounds positive.
[00:22:06] And in the book I saw a sentence where you said, "we're not victims, we can actually be the heroin in our story."
[00:22:15] Katarina: [00:22:15] We can. We have to understand that we have a power just being women. We can bear babies in our bodies. That is a miracle. So we have this power just being women, but during this quite hard period in your life it's like these powers within you are hidden and I think if we speak about this period in a positive way, if we can regain the power we have within us and just understand that it is a perimenopower, you have the perimenopower within you, you just have to find it again.
[00:23:03] That's the thing.
[00:23:05] Kim: [00:23:05] And I will admit, I have to do better at not speaking so negatively, constantly about menopause. But so much of what is happening with the symptoms is very negative.
[00:23:15] Katarina: [00:23:15] Yeah. Yeah.
[00:23:16] Kim: [00:23:16] But we say that menopausal women, perimenopausal women are some of the strongest people. I know.
[00:23:22] Katarina: [00:23:22] Yes. You are right. You are so right. Because in a way we struggle, but we get up every day and we continue the struggle. And for that, we should have a medal. No, but I understand what you're saying, because I think also you can see that in the menopause community, also on Instagram, there are so many strong women trying to help other women, and that is the best thing. If we can help other women, we can make other women strong.
[00:24:01] Kim: [00:24:01] Yeah, I think about trying to help myself figure out how to thrive during this period and to speak to other women about how to thrive during this period. And being very realistic about the difficulties, because there are a lot of them, but I suppose the idea would be speaking about them in the way of how we can overcome them and help you to still have this be an amazing time in your life.
[00:24:24] It's not all downhill.
[00:24:27] Katarina: [00:24:27] No, because what is the alternative? The alternative is that we die and we don't want that. So, we have to make the best of every situation. And now this is the situation we are in in this period, so just let's make the best of it.
[00:24:48] Kim: [00:24:48] Absolutely.
[00:24:48] Thank you so much for coming and speaking to us. Tell everybody where they can find you and where they can find your book.
[00:24:55] Katarina: [00:24:55] Yes. So, you can find me on Instagram under my name, @katarinawilk. And then my book is available, of course, on Amazon, and in the UK, you can also find it in bookstores.
[00:25:12] I don't know if you can do that in the US yet, but you can find it on Amazon.
[00:25:18] Kim: [00:25:18] Okay, great. Yeah, I don't even know if you can find it in bookstores because with Corona, I can't remember the last time I've been to an actual bookstore.
[00:25:28] Katarina: [00:25:28] How was the situation? Where are you in the States?
[00:25:31] Kim: [00:25:31] So, I'm in Pennsylvania, which is just a little bit south of New York. And we were on complete lockdown here in my county for three months. In June, we came off of total lockdown, but things are still pretty tight. My kids are going back to school next week and they're not allowed in the building. They will be schooling from home.
[00:25:51] Katarina: [00:25:51] They will be schooling from home. Okay, so in Sweden, we didn't even have a lockdown.
[00:25:57] Kim: [00:25:57] You didn't?
[00:25:58] Katarina: [00:25:58] No.
[00:25:58] Kim: [00:25:58] Wow, it passed you right by, you are blessed.
[00:26:02] Katarina: [00:26:02] Yeah, we are. But I mean, we still had, compared to how many people live here, we have had a lot of people die.
[00:26:12] Kim: [00:26:12] Oh, you have?
[00:26:13] Katarina: [00:26:13] Yeah, but we have flattened the curve, so our health system has never been overwhelmed. They could cope with it in the ICU. So, I think the situation in Sweden has been quite good compared to other places. But still, we still have the virus here.
[00:26:32] Kim: [00:26:32] So you're saying that you just weren't on lockdown. Got it, got it.
[00:26:40] Katarina: [00:26:40] We didn't because our health minister-- in Sweden, it's like, if they recommend a thing, Swedish people follow that. They recommended, they didn't force us, it's not a law, but they recommended to give your kids the measles vaccine. So, 97% of the kids are vaccinated.
[00:27:09] So if the state says that, "okay guys, stay at home, do social distancing, wash your hands, blah, blah, blah," the Swedish people listen. They don't have to lock us down.
[00:27:23] Kim: [00:27:23] Got it. Not all Americans are like that.
[00:27:30] Katarina: [00:27:30] I know. I'm so sad hearing about what's happening in America right now, but I hope things will get better.
[00:27:36] Kim: [00:27:36] Here's hoping. You and me both. I would love for things to get better, for us to be able to return to a somewhat more normal life and be able to travel and have our kids in school and everything.
[00:27:46] Katarina: [00:27:46] Yeah, for sure.
[00:27:48] Kim: [00:27:48] Thank you again for coming on. Your book, "Perimenopower," fantastic book. I highly recommend it to all of those of you listening and, Katarina, let's for sure stay in touch and continue this conversation.
[00:28:02] Katarina: [00:28:02] Yes, of course. Thank you so much.
[00:28:05] Kim: [00:28:05] Thank you.
[00:28:11] 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.
[00:28:22] 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.
[00:28:36] Thanks so much.
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 67 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's solo episode I am tackling the subject of "skinny fat." What is it, and how can you handle this situation?
[00:00:18] If you are somebody who feels that they are skinny fat, it is possible you are approaching this in a way that is actually counterproductive. So, I'm going to walk you through four steps you can take to get rid of skinny fat. Let's go.
[00:00:38] I'm feeling the energy today, my friend. I am well caffeinated, which doesn't happen often. I just discovered that my intolerance to caffeine that appeared last year appears to be going away. I'm only 48 hours into it, so we'll see.
[00:00:55] One of the things that can happen with perimenopause is that you can develop an intolerance to caffeine, which makes you have bathroom-type sickness. And so that was now working in my life, so I cut caffeine out, which meant that my favorite daily pre-workout -- and even not pre workout -- just once a day caffeinated hot chocolate had to be a thing of the past. I decided to try it out yesterday, just little mini dose, just a little bit. It's all good.
[00:01:22] Tried it again this morning, still feeling good. Hopefully I'll make it through this recording without anything happening because I just finished drinking it.
[00:01:32] Today's topic also has me jazzed up. We are talking about "skinny fat," what it is and what to do about it. I know not everyone will approve of the name, skinny fat, but it's a pretty apt descriptor.
[00:01:47] I am working with several clients right now who fit this bill. They are fairly lean already, they look good in their clothes, but without them they appear soft and lacking in shape and definition. If this sounds like you, then you fit this description of skinny fat. These are not derogatory terms. These are literally descriptors.
[00:02:09] And today we're going to talk about how one gets from skinny fat to a lean, mean, toned machine and what probably caused you to be skinny fat in the first place.
[00:02:22] Skinny fat is a result of having not much muscle and more than desired body fat. So even though you could be a relatively small person, if you don't have much muscle and you have more body fat, you will have this resulting look of "I'm soft. I'm not defined."
[00:02:42] Often people who fit this description laser focus on losing the body fat, right? They're like, "Ooh, I don't like the way I look. I think that the answer lies in weight loss." Most women think that the answer to whatever is going on with their body shape is always fat loss and they chase after their fat loss goal with a combination of 1) calorie restriction, with the calories being quite low in this case because people who are skinny fat are not large people in the first place, and 2) cardio and usually a lot of it.
[00:03:18] And interestingly, this plan can exacerbate the issue as the excessively low calories and high amount of cardio in combination with a lack of appropriate emphasis on protein and strength training means that the person loses muscle, which is the exact opposite of what they need.
[00:03:39] So what's the solution then?
[00:03:41] Flipping the script to focus instead of on fat loss to a focus on body recomposition, which is when you both gain muscle and reduce body fat. Here are the four steps to accomplish that. I'm going to list them all briefly first, and then we'll take a deep dive into each of them.
[00:04:02] So, #1 is training, with a main focus on progressive strength training using largely compound moves. I'm going to explain what all of that means in normal words in just a second after I lay out the other steps.
[00:04:17] So step #2: a nutrition plan that has you eating around maintenance calories. So, this is not going to be a deficit plan.
[00:04:26] Part #3: nutrition plan that includes sufficient protein.
[00:04:31] And part #4 is less emphasis on cardio.
[00:04:35] Note that I didn't say "totally avoid cardio" -- though you could -- we're just going to say less emphasis on cardio.
[00:04:42] So let's look at each of these four parts. We're going to start with the training part. This is going to be the bulk of our discussion today. This is where your main focus. This is going to be.
[00:04:54] You're going to work on a progressive strength training program using the largely compound moves. You've got to lift some weight and not in a willy-nilly, tried that body pump class here and then that Beachbody program there, followed by a few swipe workouts kind of way.
[00:05:14] To build muscle, which is what you're lacking if you're skinny fat, you will need more than what I just described. And let's be clear that the toned look you're after is largely dependent on you nailing the muscle building part of the equation. You've been hammering away at the fat loss piece, or you're just naturally fairly lean, let's turn your focus to building muscle with the assurance you will not turn into The Rock.
[00:05:40] Muscle building is a slow, deliberate process. There is absolutely, without a doubt, a genetic component with some people, including some women, being able to put on muscle more easily than others. But even in those cases, muscle is a deliberate, consistent work and it does not suddenly appear.
[00:06:02] At any point that you feel you have built the maximum amount of muscle that you would like, you can adjust your training and nutrition to maintain it instead of building more. For most of us too much muscle will literally never be the problem. So how should you train? I'm going to hit on three important variables here.
[00:06:24] The first being the focus on compound moves. These are multi-joint exercises that use a lot of muscle. I'm talking about variations of squats, deadlifts, lunges, upper body pushes -- both horizontal and vertical -- so things like bench press, chest press military press, pushups; and then upper body pulling movements. Again, both horizontal and vertical. These include all of your row variations, pull-ups, and pull downs.
[00:06:56] The bulk of your workouts should be made up of those exercises I just mentioned and their many, many, many, variations. A much smaller percentage of your workout can be isolation exercises. Things such as triceps extensions, and biceps curls, and leg lifts.
[00:07:12] Many women have that equation totally flipped with the majority of their training being isolation exercises, while including relatively few compound exercises.
[00:07:24] The second important factor with regard to training is about how you perform these exercises. They need to be performed with intensity and progression. What this means, I'm going to give you a little illustration here, so if you always do 10 reps of reverse lunges, for example, with 5-pound dumbbells, you will not cause your body to have a reason to adapt. But if you progress that lunge by doing the same 10 reps, but now using 10 pounds instead of 5 pounds, and then another time doing 10 reps with 12 pounds, and then maybe you drop the reps to only 8 reps, but now you use 20-pound dumbbells. And then you work your way up to doing 10 reps at 20-pound dumbbells and then 10 reps at 25-pound dumbbells. That is what progression is and that is what will cause your body to adapt. You're telling it, "Hey, I'm lifting more heavy stuff here. I need more muscle."
[00:08:25] So keep your focus in the gym squarely on getting stronger. Really pay attention to the reps given in your training plan.
[00:08:35] For example, if it calls for 10 reps, that doesn't mean do 10 and then stop because you hit the number written on the paper. It means do 10 with reps 9 and 10 being incredibly challenging. You can get through rep 10 with great form, but you definitely couldn't do more than 1, maybe 2 more. And you want to bring that intensity to every rep of every set.
[00:09:04] So, it's not just about doing the number on the paper, it's about how you feel doing them. How hard is it to do those reps?
[00:09:12] Now the third factor when it comes to training for overcoming skinny fat -- and honestly just good training, generally -- don't chase variety. I hear from a lot of women that they like to "switch things up" so they don't get bored.
[00:09:26] And it is important to enjoy your training. That will keep you consistent and consistency is everything. But here's the thing I want to remind you; I want you to remind yourself of this if you start getting bored: you know what's not boring? Results. Results are freaking exciting.
[00:09:44] If you have been trying workouts in this kind of "switch things up, do something different all the time," kind of way, and not seeing results, you wait until you do this with progression and you stay with the same training plan for four to six weeks at a time so you can progress as I described, you will see results and there is nothing more exciting than that. Remind yourself of that.
[00:10:06] Now, if you still want more variety, a great place to add a bit in is with finishers.
[00:10:12] These are short circuits at the end of a few training sessions per week. These can be strength, cardio, or mobility based. You can do them for time, as in set the clock for six minutes and do as many rounds as possible, or you can do a set number of rounds, like do five rounds of these three exercises as fast as possible.
[00:10:33] I send these kinds of finishes out in my emails regularly, so make sure you get on my email list. You can find it at kimschlagfitness.com on the page marked "email," and you just sign up there and you'll get my emails. And like I said, I send out finishers regularly and I'll put that in the show notes.
[00:10:51] So, finishers are a great way to keep a little more variety in your training program while you focus on progressing across weeks with your regular training plan.
[00:11:01] Now, all that we've discussed so far is just part one -- and it's before the longest part, the rest don’t require quite so much dialogue.
[00:11:10] Part two, of your "Conquer Skinny Fat" program is a nutrition plan that has you eating around maintenance calories.
[00:11:18] If you've been tracking calories in your deficit, you're going to start with where you're at with those calories and you can move to maintenance by reversing over a period of weeks. Try adding in a hundred calories three days per week, and do that again every few weeks, watching the scale over time. When it evens out around the same number, instead of continuing to decline over time, you will know you're at maintenance.
[00:11:46] Remember the scale will always fluctuate just like you were in a deficit -- the scale was down some days and spiking others. That will continue to happen in maintenance. Our bodies are largely water and for many reasons how much water we have in us at one time changes and the scale fluctuations reflect that change.
[00:12:05] Expect it. Weigh daily and watch the trend month to month.
[00:12:11] Now, if you haven't been tracking consistently, you can use a formula to estimate your maintenance calories. Multiply your body weight times 14 -- your body weight in pounds times 14 -- that is your starting daily maintenance calorie amount.
[00:12:29] Be consistent with those calories for four weeks, weighing daily and watching the trend. Adjust calories up as needed if you're continuing to see the trend in the scale going down, because that would indicate that you're still in a deficit. So, you can adjust up a little bit at a time, as I discussed previously.
[00:12:48] Now, the next piece of the nutrition puzzle is protein. This is a super straightforward calculation: multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.8 and multiply your body weight in pounds by 1.0.
[00:13:01] That's your protein target.
[00:13:03] So if, for example, you're 125 pounds and you multiply that by 0.8, that's 100 grams of protein daily. Then multiply your weight of 125 pounds by 1.0, that's 125 grams of protein daily. So, your goal is to eat between 100 and 125 grams of protein daily, in this example.
[00:13:25] Protein is the building block of muscle. Eat your protein, ladies.
[00:13:30] If you haven't been eating nearly this amount, which many, many of you probably have not, stick to the bottom end of your range at the start. In this example, that was 100. Divide that number, your total daily protein, by the number of meals and snacks you eat. So, if, for example, this person who's supposed to get 100 grams of protein, eats three meals and a snack every day, that's 4. Divide 100 by 4 to get 25 grams of protein at each meal. Approaching it this way makes it much more manageable. That's like three eggs and some egg whites in your breakfast omelet, a scoop of protein powder with your snack, a little bit over a cup of Greek yogurt with your lunch and a little bit more than 4 ounces of rotisserie chicken at dinner.
[00:14:17] So base each meal around protein, and you will be able to hit that target. And do this in advance, don't do it as you go. Plan this out either the night before or the morning of and then just follow your plan.
[00:14:30] Moving on to the last element of your "Conquering Skinny Fat" plan: cardio.
[00:14:36] It is honestly not a huge part of the plan.
[00:14:40] You can still do some. If you enjoy running or taking a spin class, by all means, do a few short runs or one spin class per week. It's likely going to take some mental work to switch from a massive focus on cardio to one on strength training. Push through that.
[00:15:01] Now this doesn't mean you can't do any cardio. Keep moving, okay? Just because we're focusing on strength during doesn't mean you shouldn't be moving. Keep moving. It's healthy for you. 7,500 steps daily has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality and your health is number one. Don't let anyone convince you that any cardio you do will take away all your gains.
[00:15:23] It's a matter of degrees. You should not be hammering away at cardio an hour a day -- or more -- that is going to impede your progress and keep your focus away from where it needs to be, which is on muscle-building. But a few times per week is fine. Keep strength training your focus and sprinkle in cardio if you want to, keeping your daily movement up around 7,500 steps for overall health.
[00:15:48] Now, the final topic that I want to drive home: you likely have measured fitness progress by watching that number on the scale go down. That won't work now. Progress is a huge motivator, so measuring your progress appropriately is key to your ultimate success.
[00:16:05] The three pillars of progress monitoring -- other than the scale -- are progress pictures, front, back, and both sides, head to toe. Get your whole body in that shot. Same lighting, same clothes, same pose, wearing his little clothing as possible. Preferably either a two-piece bathing suit or a sports bra and shorts or sports bra and underwear.
[00:16:33] Make side-by-sides. I use the app "Pic Stitch" to create the side-by-sides for my clients each month. It is incredible.
[00:16:41] If you just look at a picture of yourself, you might look at it and be like, "I don't see any difference." If you put it side by side with your original picture from month one and then look at that picture from each side, you will be able to see the differences that are there.
[00:16:54] Number two is the fit of your clothes -- real clothes. With a waistband. That means get out of your standard COVID wardrobe and put on a pair of jeans or a skirt and then do that at least monthly, put that same item of clothing back on every two weeks, every month, notice changes in the fit of your clothes.
[00:17:15] And then the last pillar is measurements.
[00:17:17] One time per month: chest, smallest part of your waist, at your belly button, around the largest part of your butt, around the widest part of your right thigh, and around the widest part of your right bicep when it is unflexed. Do that monthly.
[00:17:38] All of that together is going to be able to give you a total picture of what your results are in combination with this question:
[00:17:46] "Am I getting stronger in the gym?"
[00:17:49] Keep your focus on that as well.
[00:17:51] I know it can be hard to consider doing things differently, but let me ask you this: how long have you been doing the, "slash your calories, up your cardio" plan and not getting the results you want? Do you really think the answer lies in yet lower calories and more hours of cardio?
[00:18:10] How low will you take your calories? How far will you run?
[00:18:15] Give this plan I outlined here your all-out effort for three months. You can always go back to a deficit and more cardio, right? They're not going anywhere. You can always go back. Three months, give this plan a really consistent try.
[00:18:29] Don't do it haphazardly, don't do it for a week or two and then go back to your cardio and then come back to this. It won't work. Stick with this for three months. Tag me in your Instagram stories to keep me up to date on how it's going. You're going to get some amazing, amazing results.
[00:18:57] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
[00:19:08] 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.
[00:19:22] Thanks so much.
Kim: Welcome to episode 66 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. Today's episode is a solo podcast covering a hot topic. So many people are confused about the idea of clean eating and weight loss. "If I eat healthy food, I should be losing weight, right? Why am I not losing weight? "
That's what we're talking about today.
Hello, hello. Solo episode here today. I haven't done one of these in a hot minute. I have a topic for you today that I see so many people getting really confused about and so much misinformation is out there about this topic, that my goal today is to just break this down for you and help demystify it.
And here is the topic:
"I eat healthy, why can't I lose weight?"
This is the frustrating situation that many people find themselves in. Whether you use the word "healthy" or "clean," or even something highly specific, like Whole 30, the underlying problem if you're eating in this way and not losing weight is always the same.
And that is this:
Eating for good health and eating for weight loss are not the same thing.
Though they can, and I'd even go so far to say should be the same thing, if you struggle to wrap your brain around how they're not the same thing, let's break this down starting here:
Calories and nutrients are not the same thing.
They're not the same thing. Calories are the energy found in a food. That's it. That's what a calorie is. It is a unit of measure like an inch or an ounce or a mile. Now nutrients, we're not talking about energy, we're talking about the molecules in foods that help us to grow and develop and perform all of our many bodily functions.
To be healthy we need to have both macro and micronutrients in varying amounts. So, macros being fat carbs and protein and micros being things such as vitamins and minerals, and we need to have these things. Total calories are also important to health, which will make complete sense to you if you think about the idea of how a person who has too few calories Can be unhealthy as well as a person who has too many calories. Those can both lead to poor health outcomes.
So, to lose weight we have to follow the principle of energy balance. That's the difference. To be healthy -- when we're talking strictly in nutrition. There's a lot of things we have to do to be healthy, right? One of the things we have to do when we're talking about nutrition is to have appropriate amounts of macro and micronutrients and have an appropriate amount of calories. Not too few and not too many.
To lose weight we have to follow the principle of energy balance. Now, to talk about what that means I want you to picture a seesaw. Do you remember that magical moment in elementary school when you and your best friend would be out on the playground, and you would get the seesaw to balance perfectly so that you were straight across from each other, hovering over the ground, right? So, neither of you are at the bottom and neither of you are at the top. You're both right there looking at each other. I loved that. That, in this example, is weight maintenance.
So, if one side of the seesaw is calories in and one side of the seesaw is calories out, imagine that moment when we're magically at the same spot, that is weight maintenance. Calories in isn't greater than calories out, calories out isn't greater than calories in.
Now take that same seesaw, if the calories in portion -- which is the food you take in -- is greater than the calories out portion, what would happen to the seesaw? Calories in goes down, right? That is weight gain.
Let's go the other direction. Let's put more calories in the calories outside of the seesaw, that comes down, calories in goes up. That is weight loss. That is weight loss. Calories out is greater than calories in.
Now this next sentence can be really confusing, so before you start to argue with me in your head -- don't start muttering yet -- I want you to listen to me explain it, okay? Promise? Here we go:
A hundred calories of apple is the same as a hundred calories of donut.
100 calories of apple and 100 calories of donut are the same. Now the nutrients are different, bit calorie-wise, they are the same because a calorie is always a calorie. Whether it's a calorie of celery or a calorie of chicken or a calorie of chocolate or a calorie of chips, remember a calorie is strictly a unit of measure.
Now my coach, Jordan, Syatt shared an excellent comparison to help visualize how a calorie is always a calorie, though the nutrient composition might change.
Okay, we're going to put your little imagination cap back on. We're off the seesaw and now we're running, okay? I want you to imagine you're running a mile.
Now, if you ran that mile on pavement -- picture that first. Picture of yourself running a mile on pavement. You're out in your neighborhood or on a paved trail and you run a mile. Got that picture? Now I want you to picture yourself running a mile on the sand. You're at the beach and the waves are crashing and you run a mile on the sand.
Now, is the mile you ran on pavement the same distance as the mile you ran on the sand? Yes or no, is the mile and the sand the same distance as the mile and the pavement?
Of course it is, right? A mile is always a mile. Every dang time.
It might take you longer to run the mile on the sand. It might be harder to run the mile on the sand, but the distance is always the same. It's a mile. And a mile is always a mile.
It's the same with calories. A calorie is always a calorie.
Now, this is not to encourage you to eat a diet of cinnamon buns and kettle corn. A diet that is mostly nutrient dense, minimally processed foods has benefits that apply to directly to weight loss. And we'll talk about that, but it is important that you understand these principles so that you don't halt your progress by falling into the trap of eating too much healthy food, because it's healthy, right? Or by thinking that if you eat any of the "junk" foods, that you won't be able to lose weight.
So, understanding this principle of energy balance is really important. Now there was a nutrition professor from Kansas State University who for 10 weeks ate mostly Twinkies. He ate some other junk, like convenience store stuff too, but it was mostly Twinkies.
He did this three times a day instead of eating regular meals and he lost 27 pounds. Let that sink in. Junk food diet, mostly Twinkies, lost 27 pounds in 10 weeks.
The important principle to understand is that to lose weight, total calories in must be less than total calories out. And that's how that professor lost weight. His total calories in was at a level that he was in a calorie deficit.
So how does this explain what happens when people who eat what I would call a standard American diet -- think about highly processed, convenience, food, and fast food -- and then they switched to a healthier diet and they lose weight, even though he or she didn't count calories. How does that work?
Well, that switch involved or reduction of calories. That's always why weight loss occurs. Count the calories, don't count the calories, the calories still count.
So, based on everything I've spoken with you here about so far, can you now on your own answer the question I posed at the beginning? I'm going to read it again and I want you to think and see if you can answer it before I tell you:
If I'm eating healthy. Why am I still not losing weight?
Do you have the answer? It's too many calories.
If you're eating healthy, but not losing weight, you are eating too many calories, even if they're healthy calories. So, the key is to eat all foods -- whether you're talking about super highly processed foods or whether you're talking about really nutritious foods -- all of those foods, to eat them in portions that keep your total calories in check.
So, let's talk about how healthy food can help you lose weight, because it absolutely can. A diet that is mostly those minimally processed, nutrient dense, whole foods have a few things in common: high fiber and high volume -- volume being a lot of food for relatively few calories. And if you play your cards right, a diet like this can also be high in protein.
Those three things: fiber, volume, and protein help you to feel satiated and to stay that way longer than highly processed foods.
Now, when you struggle less with hunger and you feel satisfied, your adherence to your diet will likely increase leading to -- drum roll, please -- better results.
I know this can all feel a little bit mind blowing considering how loud the voices are for the idea that weight loss hinges on eating certain types of food and banning other types of food.
As with all diet strategies, the best way to know if this works is to try it for yourself. And that's what I encourage you to do. If you've had a laundry list of banned foods, I want you to give 8 to 12 weeks of eating in a calorie deficit. Figure out your calorie deficit. If you don't know how to do that, go to my website, kimschlagfitness.com. There on that website, you can click on a link to join my free course. It's my course that helps you set your calories, okay? Look for my free five-day fat loss crash course, I will walk you step by step through how to set your calories. Being in a calorie deficit will be the key to making this work.
While you're in that calorie deficit I want you to include some of those foods that you have previously banned, that you thought, "I cannot lose weight eating these foods," right? Include some of those foods and see what happens.
You take my challenge? Let me know. Message me and let me know.
Now, before we wrap up, I want to end with a quick list of healthy foods that are high in calories.
This is not to say you need to avoid these foods. This is to say: pay attention to the portion sizes of these foods, because the total calories could be way more than you would anticipate.
This list of nine foods I'm going to give you, these are not the items to eyeball. Weigh these suckers, okay?
#1: smoothie bowls.
I know, I know. They are beautiful and tasty. Many of them are also a 1,000 plus calories. That's like three quarters of a day's calories for many women.
I don't care if its store bought or if it's homemade, this stuff packs a calorie punch. It is much better as a topping than a main course.
It is super easy to overeat and is definitely something I'd suggest having a bright line that says "I weigh this out, I seal the package, I put the package away, and only then do I eat my serving." Otherwise you could eat a hundred or more calories easy as you're picking out of the bag getting your serving ready.
#3 trail mix.
And I can repeat word for word what I just said about granola. Do not eat trail mix out of the package.
#4: chia seeds.
Actually, any kind of seeds, chia seeds are just super popular. Seeds are very calorie dense, so a little of them goes a long way. Definitely something that I would suggest you weigh out.
The calories vary by type -- actually, kind of wildly, depending on what type of nuts you eat -- but for all of them, a handful here and a handful there throughout the day could be the things standing between you and weight loss success.
If you are a person who eat super healthy, but you're eating handfuls of nuts and you're struggling to lose weight, that would be the first place I would look. Keeping a bowl of nuts out is not a great strategy. Eat nuts. They're delicious, they have health benefits, but really manage your portion sizes and be clear that you are counting all of those calories.
Gosh, olive oil makes food tasty. And we want that for you, right? We want our food to taste good. Being liberal with your pour could have a big impact, though. Weigh that stuff out.
It is so tasty and so easy to overeat. Decide on a serving size and weigh it out. I'm going to give you a scale hack to try it works well for hummus, it works well for peanut butter, works well for all kinds of things -- put the whole container on the scale. So, if we're talking hummus, put the whole container of hummus on your scale, zero it out, and then as you take the hummus out, you'll see a negative number start appearing.
So, if you wanted 2 ounces, when it says -2, you'd be at 2 ounces. Totally saves dishes. I love that hack.
#8: peanut butter.
It makes me so sad, SO sad. A serving of peanut butter is just not much.
I want a serving a peanut butter to be way much more than it is. And interestingly, if I showed you a piece of toast with one serving of peanut butter, and then I showed you a piece of toast with one and a half servings of peanut butter, you would likely not be able to tell the difference, but it would be almost a hundred calories more.
It's another food you don't want to be licking the spoon or the knife or putting your finger in and not counting those calories because they will add up fast.
Wow. So easy to eat. I could easily eat an entire avocado on my salad by myself, which would also be, oh my gosh, over 300 calories before I've even put anything else on my salad.
Definitely a food to eat in moderation, okay?
I have this whole list on my latest Instagram post. You can go there to save it and refer back to this list. Actually, this whole discussion we've had today is on there in swipe post form. Save that. And whenever you start trying to "clean eat" your way to weight loss, give it a refresher read.
Here are your take home points:
Bottom line for weight loss, you gotta be in a calorie deficit.
Healthy foods can help with that, but eating healthy doesn't, on its own, always lead to weight loss. And that's the thing that just blows people's mind.
Ideally, you'll have a diet that is mostly nutrient dense, minimally processed food, but they don't have to be all this kind of nutrient dense food. You can include some of the more processed foods in your diet and still lose weight.
And the last point is:
Portion size is key.
With whatever kind of food you're eating, portion size is key.
I so hope that this has helped to demystify this myth of clean eating for you. Let me know, send me a comment wherever you're listening and let me know if this helps you.
All right, I'm going to be back here next week. I've got some good interviews coming your way. Talk soon.
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: [00:00:04] Welcome to episode 65 of the Fitness Simplified Podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, we're talking how to work out. If you have been to the gym, maybe met with a trainer, maybe not, maybe done some classes and you're of confused like, "okay, I'm at home now, I've got some equipment, what do I do with it?" This is the episode for you.
I speak with a woman named Stephanie, who is in situation. She is at home, in her home gym with her dumbbells and she just isn't quite sure what to do. She knows that strength training is going to get her the results she wants. She wants to look lean, she wants to look toned, she wants to be strong, she wants to age well.
If that sounds like you, and you are like Stephanie, and you just don't know what to do with your equipment this is the episode for you. Let's go.
Stephanie: [00:01:02] Hi! How are you?
Kim: [00:01:04] So glad we could make this meeting work.
Stephanie: [00:01:08] Absolutely. Thank you.
Kim: [00:01:10] I was attempting to dial into Zoom and it kept telling me to wait for the meeting host and I was like, "that's me!"
Stephanie: [00:01:17] "I am the host!"
Kim: [00:01:20] And so I had to come back off and start a new meeting.
I don't know who else they were waiting for.
Stephanie: [00:01:24] That's technology for you these days.
Kim: [00:01:27] I know. So, look, we don't know each other at all, so tell me some about you.
Stephanie: [00:01:33] Sure, absolutely.
Gosh, how does one define oneself? I'm a mom. I suppose that would be the place to start. My husband and I have three kids, we have two boys and a girl. And I work in hospital public relations. So, I do the writing, the social media, the graphic design, that kind of good stuff.
Kim: [00:01:54] Okay. And how old are your kids?
Stephanie: [00:01:56] Our boys are 14 and 11 and our daughter is 7.
Kim: [00:01:59] Okay. Good ages. I love 7. 7 is a good age.
Stephanie: [00:02:03] Yeah. She's got a lot of attitude. She and our middle guy, they are the extroverts to beat the band.
Kim: [00:02:10] Ok, that doesn't bode well for you if she's 7 and has attitude. That usually kicks in around 13.
Stephanie: [00:02:17] Yeah. We're lucky, our 14-year-old is a super chill teenager. So, he's a really good entry point for us.
Kim: [00:02:23] Okay, good. That's good. It sounds like you have some more heading up the pike that might not be so chill.
Stephanie: [00:02:28] But they're very entertaining. So, we like that.
Kim: [00:02:31] Well, hey, there's that.
Now, working in a business associated with the hospital right now, how are things going for you as far as COVID? Is a lot of your work, like, talking about that kind of stuff in social media or not so much?
Stephanie: [00:02:43] A whole lot of signage, a whole lot of social media. Things related to masks and hand washing and social distancing.
That kind of put a lot of our normal things on hold. A lot of our normal, non-essential procedures and things went on pause for a while. And then my husband's a physician, as well, and so same thing, there's just been a lot of masking and a lot of wearing of scrubs and that kind of thing.
Kim: [00:03:06] Got it. Got it. And where are you located?
Stephanie: [00:03:10] Iowa.
Kim: [00:03:11] Okay, right there in the middle. And how are you guys doing as far as COVID in Iowa?
Stephanie: [00:03:19] So we're in one of the more populated counties, we're not too far from Des Moines. And so, we're not as bad as say Des Moines or the quad cities or the Omaha area, but when they were able to open maybe about 75 of the counties back up, we were one of the not reopened ones.
So, kind of in the middle. It's certainly not nearly as bad as some areas of the country, but not completely untouched. We have some factories, we have wind turbine factories locally, and of course, factories have been hit hard. The other places we've seen hotspots have been retirement facilities, nursing homes.
Kim: [00:04:00] Got it. Got it.
So, Stephanie, talk to me, this is your call, we can talk about whatever you want. So, lay it on me. What is on your mind?
Stephanie: [00:04:12] So I've kind of ended up using quarantine to try to get healthier. I don't know why, I guess I'm bored.
I am not a sporty person by nature at all. I was a music theater kid. I was a read all the books kid. So, anything really related to athletics has been very new to me. And the other thing, a lot of things related to nutrition has been fairly new to me because, for the vast majority of my life, I've been pretty blessed to have a pretty fast metabolism. And so being 41 now I want to make sure I'm staying ahead of that and instill good habits now that I'll be happy about when I'm 51 and 61 and 71, if that makes sense.
Kim: [00:05:00] Absolutely, it does. Absolutely, it does.
So, we have a lot in common, by the way -- I was a theater kid, musical theater was my jam as a kid and when I wasn't doing that, I was reading. I would have never called myself an athlete. Though, I did lots of things because friends wanted me to. You know, played hockey and lacrosse and all that stuff.
I was never any good at it, I never defined myself as an athlete until I was in my forties. So, it is never too late to start.
So, it sounds like top of mind you are thinking, "what can I do now that I'm in my forties to be healthy as I move through the rest of my life, forties, fifties, sixties on."
Stephanie: [00:05:41] Yes. And part of it is -- and it's probably a silly thing -- but there's the certain things that we do define ourselves by and I was always "the little one." I'm fairly short, I'm only about 5'2" and, you know, you start reading how you define yourself as of, "I'm a brunette and I'm talkative," and there's just certain things.
And my mom was that way for a long time, too, and then once menopause hit her things sort of changed and I don't think she likes the way she feels. And so again, I thought, "maybe take a little bit of a life lesson." Because she's only 62, but she has arthritis fairly bad in her feet and in her hands, she's an incredibly hard worker. She spent 30-some odd years as a registered nurse.
And so, she's at the point, she's like, "yeah, I feel bad." She doesn't like the way she feels, she doesn't like the way she looks. So again, I'm trying to take some notes of not wanting to feel in 20 years the way she feels now. Does that make sense?
Kim: [00:06:44] Got it. So, it sounds like this is coming from a proactive place.
Are you at a spot right now where you feel unhealthy, you don't move well, you don't like the way you look? Or is this really looking forward so that you prevent that?
Stephanie: [00:06:56] I would say my answer to that is different now than it would been about three months ago, because I have been tracking calories since the end of January and I've been very consistently exercising since we went to quarantine, so about mid to later March.
I'm doing cardio four days a week, I'm doing strength training two days a week, and then I'm taking one break day. I don't run, I'm not a runner, so what I've usually been doing is I do the treadmill. I put it at its maximum incline and then I walk like three miles an hour because then I find that it feels like it's making my legs stronger, but it doesn't make me lose my breath like crazy, which running would always do. I mean, I could run for like two minutes and I'm like, "I'm done and I'm going to barf now."
And so, it feels sustainable to me, but it still feels challenging. So, you know, I definitely feel like my clothes fit better than they did in January, post-Christmas, post all that stuff. I'm able to pull some stuff out of the closet that I hadn't been wearing for a while.
Again, it's one of those things -- you get to a point where you have little kids and your job's busy and five o'clock hits and it's "Ooh, wine sounds good." So, again, trying to make some of those "oftentimes" habits into "sometimes" habits and the "seldom" habits like exercise into a "more often" habit.
Kim: [00:08:23] Yes. Got it. Got it. And so, has your main goal since the beginning of the year, since you started, was it weight loss? Was that specifically what you were working on with your health and fitness?
Stephanie: [00:08:38] I think that was my starting point. Partially that, partially weight loss. Partially, again, realizing that -- and it's things I've seen you talk about a lot where, because I would be tired, because I would be stressed, because I would be bored, it's "Ooh, cookies." "Ooh, wine." And then you find yourself chasing your tail because it's such a quick little fix that it doesn't last for very long.
And so, trying to think of what are the things where, the oatmeal might not be as exciting as the cookies, but two hours later I'm not feeling squirrely again, I'm going to bed feeling satiated, I wake up feeling like I still feel good. I just put some Nutella in the oatmeal and all of a sudden, I'm real happy.
Kim: [00:09:27] I've never put Nutella in my oatmeal. Maybe I'll try that. That sounds delicious.
Stephanie: [00:09:31] It's kind of like eating a no-bake cookie.
Kim: [00:09:33] Oh, yum. That sounds delicious. Okay. I'll try that. We don't have any more Nutella in the house, I went through a big Nutella phase and then when we finished it, I did not buy more. It was too much work to keep fitting those calories in my calories. I was way over doing it.
Stephanie: [00:09:48] And that's what I found -- I didn't touch it for months and then once I got to the point where -- some of it I think is recalibrating what's worth it. Even little things I've found where, and again, I really credit following you on Instagram and Susan, and so if I really want a Snickers bar, I could have a Snickers ice cream bar and it's 70 fewer calories and it actually takes longer to eat cause it's cold, so I get more bang for my buck, as it were, without feeling deprived.
Kim: [00:10:29] I love that. I call those nutritional compromises, looking for the things that really matter to us, figuring out how we can fit them into our day so that we can enjoy how we eat. So, it's important that you're latching onto that. That's fantastic.
Stephanie: [00:10:41] Yes, because I definitely find there's some things that would never be worth it. On my best day I'm not going to enjoy a Twinkie very much and it is just not worth the calories.
Kim: [00:10:48] Yeah. I'm with you. Twinkies don't do it for me.
Stephanie: [00:10:53] But, you know, I found even if putting in just 12 grams of Nutella into the whole bowl of oatmeal and I've already put in some artificial sweetener to up to the general sweetness of it and then I put in egg whites and almond milk and the different things to really boost up the protein, then it tastes really good.
Kim: [00:11:13] That's fantastic. Yep. I use artificial sweetener in there. Look, it's certainly not going to make you gain weight and from what we know now, there's a lot we don't know, but from what we know now, the amount of artificial sweetener you would have to eat would be more than you could possibly stomach to have it have any health implications. Like, it would have to be massive amounts based on what we know now.
Again, we might know other things in the future, but based on what we know now.
Okay, well you sound like you're in a pretty good spot. What can I help you with today?
Stephanie: [00:11:42] So I think what I had originally reached out to you on is, you know, an area that as much as I'm not a cardio person, I'm even less of a strength training person. My husband and I have set up a little weight room in the basement, kind of lucked out getting a cable weight machine.
The physical therapy department here at the hospital ended up deciding they didn't want it anymore, so they were willing to part with it for a song.
Kim: [00:12:08] Nice. That's fantastic.
Stephanie: [00:12:10] It was heck getting it into the house. Those things are heavy.
Kim: [00:12:14] I bet. I bet that was hard.
Stephanie: [00:12:17] So we have that, I have some lighter dumbbells for myself ranging from 2's up to 12's, because again, wimpy, weak. We got a bench and so I'm just trying to feel my way along, trying to create a little routine. Right now I'm aiming for sustainability. If I can get it done two times a week, I'm calling it a victory.
Kim: [00:12:45] Got it. Got it. Okay. So, let's talk about what we can get you moving on for really getting a good, sustainable strength training program that is going to benefit you now. It's going to benefit how you look, it's going to benefit you as you age, as far as your bone health. If we want to be women who can reach up and grab things out of a cupboard and stoop down to pull a weed as we get old, we have to have strong bones. We have to be able to move and strength training is what can get us that.
Stephanie: [00:13:14] And that's actually, that's perfect too, because yeah, as a more small Caucasian lady, I know that can be a risk factor.
Kim: [00:13:21] Absolutely. And so, it's going to help you age better. It's going to help you look better. The lean, tight look that people want, it's not just fat loss -- a lot of that is building muscle.
And we do that through two things: strength training and nutrition, as in, we eat plenty of protein.
So, let's talk about this strength training piece. I love that you have equipment because a lot of people don't right now and I'm working with a lot of people trying to use sandbags and laundry detergents, and the fact that you have equipment is fantastic. And that you've already started dedicating two days a week to it, I think that's fantastic.
Ideally, as you move on, I would love to see you add one more day and do it three times a week. It's not a must. I do have some clients who are super busy and we have them do two days a week. To get the amount of volume of working out in in those two days sometimes makes for really long workouts and so it's often better to split them up into three days. How would you feel about adding in a third day?
Stephanie: [00:14:17] I think definitely good. Again, knowing that I have this tendency to, in the past, where it's like I try for a little bit -- part of it is I find it really dull. I find it really boring because at least in front on the treadmill, you throw on a Doctor Who, or a Gray's Anatomy and you just go.
Kim: [00:14:33] Yeah.
Stephanie: [00:14:34] Now one thing that I found, and hopefully I'm not just tricking myself, but I feel like the backs of my legs have gotten a lot stronger from the treadmill incline. I'm not sure how much it's done for the front of my legs, but I feel like my hamstrings and my calves have.
Kim: [00:14:52] Is that something you're interested in? Having stronger, more toned legs?
Stephanie: [00:14:56] Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And I have not done any strength other than the treadmill. I've not done any lower body strength training, really. Everything I've done so far has been upper body, just because I thought it's a place to start.
Kim: [00:15:08] Absolutely. It's a place to start.
Okay, well good news is you've got a lot of gains on the table here, then. I'm super excited for you to get going with some lower body moves. So, walking, even on an incline, absolutely, it can build some strength in your legs. It's not going to give you the muscle definition of strength training, so if you want to have legs that look like a fit person, strength training is going to get you that, and you can absolutely do that at home, three days per week. For sure.
So, let me talk you through a couple of important principles and we'll kind go from there. So, strength training three days a week will work wonders for you. We're going to have you do one lower body day, one upper body day, and one full body day.
So that's how we're gonna do it. Which means that you will hit each of your muscle groups twice per week, which is a pretty good spot to be. There are people who, very successfully, bodybuilders who do like a bro-split, where they only hit each muscle once per week, but again, they're hitting a ton of sets in that one workout. I don't have any of my clients doing that kind of stuff. They all hit their muscle groups twice per week, over the course of either three or four days.
So, we're going to have you do three days per week. One of the things that we want you to really think about is what is going to get you the most bang for your buck? And what is going to get you the most bang for your buck is doing big compound moves for most of your workout.
I bet some of the things you've been doing recently, like biceps and triceps, feel really familiar to you, like biceps curls and things, and we can still have you do those things. What we'll do with those is put them towards the end of your workout and we'll prioritize our multi-joint moves -- things like, for upper body, it would be a dumbbell chest press, it would be a pushup, it would be a dumbbell row or a cable row, frankly, any kind of rough. So, it'd be rowing, pull downs, if your machine has that. So big, multi-joint movements. Pull downs, pull ups, pushups, rows, chest presses, that's upper body.
Lower body -- squats, deadlift variations -- which, I hope that doesn't sound scary. A lot of people are like, "that sounds terrible." it doesn't have to be with barbell, it can be like Romanian holding dumbbells, it can be lots of different things. Deadlift variations, lunge variations, and bridge variations -- which are glute bridges and hip thrusts.
The meat of your workout should be those things.
That's step one and then other smaller things like, like triceps overhead presses and bicep curls and those things, but it's not the meat of the workout. Where most of the benefit is going to come are those big workouts?
Does that part make sense?
Stephanie: [00:17:50] Yes. And some of that, like I said, I have not really been doing lower body stuff. Upper body, some of those I have and doing. So, we have a bench, so I've been doing seated overhead press, I've been lying flat and doing chest presses -- again, 12 pounds per hand, because super weak, but I made my way up from 10, so.
Kim: [00:18:14] Perfect. Okay. That's a good point.
Stephanie: [00:18:16] And I was very lucky that my mom had something because I topped out at 10 and you can't buy hand weights right now, but again, during some past time when she was thinking maybe she'd try something, she had purchased something and then she was like, "I don't use them. Here."
Kim: [00:18:28] Yeah. I'm glad she gave you this. So that point you just made is a big one. The fact that you were like, "Oh, but it's not much yet, but I made my way up from 10," that is how gains are made. If you want to look fit, you want to get stronger, that is what we do. We have you constantly work to move up in weight and/or reps in a given rep range.
First thing, we get your form really down, right? So, let's say you're doing a chest press and it's your first time, you have no idea what you're doing. Your one and only goal is to make that movement feel more natural, to do it correctly. Once you've done that you want to up weight and up the weight and up the weight.
When you do that, it tells your body, "Hey, I need this muscle. Build me more of this stuff," In combination with protein. It's so key. If you from right now, if you never again upped your weight and you just kept doing 12-pound chest presses, you wouldn't make any progress.
And a lot of people do that. They do it year after year, they do the same weight and sometimes they'll do it at a speed where they feel their heart racing and they feel sweaty. So, they feel like, "I'm doing something here, but I don't see any progress," and the thing they're missing is progression.
Stephanie: [00:19:42] Sure.
Kim: [00:19:43] Does that make sense?
Stephanie: [00:19:44] Absolutely. And what I find is, so I'll do something with my 12 pounds, for example, with my chest press. My first set, I can get to 15, but then I can definitely tell a big drop where the second one maybe 12 and above my third one, I can eek out to 8 and that's it. So, then I assume that means I'm probably still at the right weight, as opposed to if I can just bang out 15, 15, and 15 and still feel like I have gas in the tank.
Kim: [00:20:10] You're heading down the right path, for sure, with that thought. Absolutely.
I'd love to see us bring your rep range down a little bit more. You can build muscle in those higher rep ranges, like 15 plus. Absolutely, you can. It can take a long time to do those kinds of reps.
Stephanie: [00:20:26] Well, like I said, I do find it boring. And so, for me, being able to decrease that time probably would be beneficial.
Kim: [00:20:33] And what this is going to hinge on is you getting some heavier dumbbells, which I will tell you in recent weeks, they are more available now. I do have clients finding dumbbells in places like Amazon, third party sellers, Craigslist, I even had two clients tell me that Dick's has available. So, they're out there now, whereas a month ago, it wasn't happening. They were just gone. So, they are starting to appear now. So really start looking for some more.
You're going to need to heavier things -- 15s, 20s, 25s. And I know you're probably looking at me like "really? I'm going to need 25s and 30s?" You will. For the lower body stuff, very quickly. But that being said, I'm glad you had this cable machine and actually, I would love for you later when we're off of this, send me some pictures of what you have and can talk you through what we can have you do there. We're not going to sit here on the podcast and do that. But that's great that you have that available, because it's going to have some more substantial weight with it.
So, yes, the idea is that we want you to make progress, go up in weight, and some people, what that means is they just keep trying to use the 12 pounds and they do 15 reps and then the next time they do 18 reps and it gets really long and it's more effective to say," Hey, let's bring those rep ranges down."
Ideally at the beginning of your workout, I would have you working in like the 8-rep range or even lower, if you had barbells even lower. So, we're doing chest presses for 8 reps. And what that means is when you get to rep 8, it is hard. It's not, you just stop at 8. It's not like, "I use my 12 pounds and I stop at 8," it's "when I get to 8, I could maybe do 9 with good form, but I couldn't do 10 with good form." And so that's what we want to see at the beginning of the workout, is working in those lower numbers. 8s, 7s, 6s, 5s, for moves like the squat and the deadlifts and the lunges and the overhead presses and the chest presses, those kinds of things. Then as you move throughout the workout, you can bring those numbers up and maybe you'll do things in the rep range of 10s and 12s.
And so, we get you working in all rep ranges and in every single one of those cases, we want you working to close to failure so that when you finish your set, each individual set, it should be like, "wow, that is hard. And I can do one more, but I'm not doing two more."
Stephanie: [00:22:48] Yeah, and mean, sometimes I surprise myself because sometimes I do go to failure. It's like, the previous set I made it to 12 and all of a sudden on 9 I'm like, "Nope. Stuck. It ain't going anywhere."
Kim: [00:23:00] And it's good that you're pushing yourself that hard. It's really good. Now look, I don't want to tell somebody like, "hey, you should put a bar on your back and start going to failure on your squats" your first couple of times. Like, you shouldn't be shooting to fail all the time. There are certain things it's not going to hurt you to fail a dumbbell chest press now and again, it's not going to hurt you to fail at biceps curls, right? If you fail, you literally just don't lift up.
But we really want you working close to failure. It's key. And the thing is, that is going to change -- and this is one of the things I want to tell you, because I know you're like, "this is of boring to me." One of the things that can make this interesting is you make this be like a contest between them and you. So, write down the weights you lift every week. "I'm doing X moves and for my chest presses, I use 12 pounds and I did 15 reps, the one set, and I did 10, and then I did 8." So, you know what that is. And the next week, when that workout comes around again, your goal is to beat it. And that's how your body changes and it also keeps it way more interesting.
Stephanie: [00:24:03] Yeah. And I did find-- because one of my problems was, again, comparing it to a treadmill where you can just set it and forget it. Like, "okay, I'm doing 30 minutes," and then you go until it stops and kicks you off. My problem before with strength training was always like, "okay, what do I do next? I don't really want to do anything next. I'm walking away now." So, since March, what I've at least been doing, we have a mirror in the exercise room, it's on wheels, so I can move it around to try to watch that form. And I use a dry erase marker and so then I mark out, "these are the eight things I'm going to do, and those are what I do for the next four weeks."
And so, then I just check them off as I go, to at least give myself some structure. So, I know, "okay, I'm halfway there. I have one more to go," as opposed to quitting because, again, bored.
Kim: [00:24:45] Yeah, that's a really important point -- to have structure. It is really demotivating to get down in your gym and be ready to work out, especially if you're not really feeling it that day, if you're tired or whatever, you don't even really love it, and to just of make it up as you go. So yeah, I'm glad you have some structure and that is definitely something I would recommend to you and to everybody listening: have a plan that you are following and work that plan.
And your plan should, as you said, that you were doing it for the month. And I wouldn't have you do the same workout every day of that month, but like I said, a lower body day, an upper body day, a full body day, every lower body day for four to six weeks, have it be the same and you work to get stronger every single time. You nail your form and you work to get stronger.
Okay? Same thing with your upper body day. Do that same workout for four to six weeks in a row on upper body day, work to get stronger. And then again, the same for your full body day. It keeps it really interesting because you can really have the sense of competition with yourself and getting better.
And here's the most interesting thing: results. Results are frigging interesting. Like, when you start seeing like, "Oh my gosh, look at the backs of my legs. Look at the front of my legs. Look, I see a bicep!" Like, that is motivating and interesting. And you will see that if you train in this way.
Stephanie: [00:25:58] And kind the stretch goal I have for myself -- like, it would be almost like wizardry, if I could ever do a pull up. And since we have the cable machine that would, and now the cable machine has a neutral grip, which is actually, I think, what had very first prompted me to send you a message because I can barely dead hang for more than 20 seconds before it hurts my hands enough that I have to let go.
Kim: [00:26:36] Okay, 20 seconds for a dead hang is great. That's fantastic. That's a good start.
All right. So, this is exciting and I love that you have this kind of goal because a performance goal can also be really motivating, right? Because you want to get down there and be like, "Oh my gosh, this is what he's last week. Can I do that?" So, we can absolutely talk about how to get you a pull up. For sure.
I have a whole YouTube video on this that I'll make sure I send you so you have this permanently. So, what you just said, dead hangs, that's a really good place to start. Another good place to start, outside of actually training for pull-ups, is to just work on general strength of your back. So, doing all kinds of variations of rows is going to help you strengthen your back. So, we'll do those things along with dedicated pull up training.
So, the way I start people with pull-up training, dead hangs is a good one. Another really good thing is to buy -- and these are available right now -- is chin up assistance bands.
They're long, they're not like the little glute ones that you put over your knees, they're very long.
Stephanie: [00:27:30] And I think I saw it when you did your home gym tour.
Kim: [00:27:33] Yes, they're in there. And so, they come very thick and then they go down and you will likely find that, out of the gate, you will need the really thick one. You'll tie it up and over the handle, it will dangle down into a loop, you'll put your feet into it and it is lifting your body, which means you're not lifting as much weight -- just if you picked up a 2 pound dumbbell versus a 10 pound dumbbell, you're lifting less -- when this band is on your body, you're lifting less of your body weight up.
And so, what we would have you do is practice doing 5-8 reps with the thickest band, which is a green one from the company I use. It's a big thick band. I'll have you practice 5-8 reps, take a two-minute rest. Do that three times. Do that a couple of times a week -- I'd say twice a week on your upper body day your full body day -- first thing out of the gate.
So, if somebody has a performance goal like that in mind, I put it first in their workout, when you're really fresh. So put that first and then you move on with the rest of your workout. Work on that.
After a month with doing that, we can have you add some other things in. Another good one to add in is what's called a slow eccentric. So, what it would be is you'd get a stool, something that you could climb on to get up into the top position of the pull up, and then you would just lower your body down as slowly as possible under control. And so that's the whole move. You don't pull yourself up, you just lower down.
Stephanie: [00:28:58] And that's what I've been trying to do to also work on a pushup. Because I can't do a proper pushup either.
Kim: [00:29:03] And you've been doing the lowering part.
Stephanie: [00:29:05] Yes. And even now when I'm doing it on my bench -- I'm doing it at an inclined, because again, weak, but I can do--
Kim: [00:29:13] I'm gonna call that right here. You stop calling yourself weak right now.
That's like the fourth time you did it and I'm not going to let it slide anymore.
Stephanie: [00:29:19] I have room for gains.
Kim: [00:29:21] You have room for gains. And here's the thing: you're not weak, you have some strength in you now and you're going to get stronger, right? You're lifting 12-pound dumbbells and so you're 12 pounds strong. In a few weeks you're going to be 15 pounds strong, 20 pounds strong. Right now, you're dead hang 20 seconds strong, a few months down the road you're going to be, "I got my first pull up" strong.
Stephanie: [00:29:42] Yeah, it's funny. My brother -- he's about nine years younger than I am. And he's about twice as big as I am. He's six feet tall. He's probably usually around 190 pounds and he weight lifts and stuff. And so, he almost can't wrap his brain around what it's like to be me because he's like, "but there's nothing to lift, you can just do it, right?" And I'm like, "no!"
Kim: [00:30:02] But I will tell you --, can you tell me how much you weigh?
Stephanie: [00:30:05] About a hundred.
Kim: [00:30:06] Okay. Yeah. So, you're a hundred pounds. You said 5'2"?
Stephanie: [00:30:10] Yep.
Kim: [00:30:10] I will tell you, he's not right as in "Hey, why can't you do it?" But he is right in that if you're lighter, it is easier. I work with people and when they first start with me, if their goal is weight loss, they're struggling to do pull ups, even as they're beginning to practice, as they get stronger, it helps, but what also helps is losing weight. There's less of them to lift.
So, you're fairly light, so that is going to work in your favor. That is fantastic that you're light. The other thing is we just have to train those muscles. As you train, you will, without a doubt, you will, without a doubt, be able to do this.
So that's what we're going to have you do. We'll have you do those assistant pull-ups, after a month with that we'll have you add in the slow eccentric pushups. So, do those coming down and would do about 5 of those. So, slow down, as slow as you can go for the first rep, come back up, do it again, do that five times. Take a two-minute break, do it again, do that three total times. So, three sets of five of those.
Another really good thing that we could add in is what's called cluster sets. And you'll use your assist and you'll see over time, your assist is going to get less and less.
At first you might need the big, thick band and another band. Eventually you'll be able to start taking bands off and then you won't need the thick one anymore and you'll use the medium one. And you'll notice that happening. And then what we're going to have you do is do cluster sets. So maybe the first time we would have you do 2x2x2, and here's what that would look like:
You'll do 2 reps with your band on, you'll wait 10 seconds -- so, literally, you'll time it or count it out -- 10 seconds, you'll do another 2 reps, you'll wait 10 seconds, you'll do another 2 reps.
So, what you'll find is, in a very short period of time, you just did six where you couldn't do six before.
Does that make sense?
Stephanie: [00:31:50] Absolutely.
Kim: [00:31:50] So, you do your clusters so that they end up being more volume than what you can usually get with the same assistance. And so those are really fantastic. Those are my really go-to “how to get your first pull up." And I have this whole program on my YouTube video about how to get your first pull up. I want you to watch that.
The idea is that we're going to do this systematically. We're going to prioritize it in your program and you're going to keep at it and you're going to see progress and that's going to be motivating and it's going to be fricking exciting when you get your first pullup.
Stephanie: [00:32:21] Do you find, like I said, for me, it's like right there on my hands where it would go white so quickly, even with, I have weightlifting gloves that I use.
Does that just get better with time? It felt like that discomfort gave way before my forearms did.
Kim: [00:32:38] Yeah. And your grip will get stronger and we can talk in a second about some exercises to help your grip. I will tell you, you will likely have better luck without the gloves. The gloves tend to bunch up and it actually is harder to hold on.
If you're super concerned about never having any callouses on your hand, then yeah, wear the gloves. If it doesn't bother you to get some calluses on your hand, don't wear them because you'll likely find that you're better able to grip without them.
That's what I would say about that. And then for grip strength, it's a big part of pull-ups. Working on deadlifts as part of your training program is going to help with that because you'll be holding heavy weight and just letting it hang from your hand. Pretty much any exercise where you're holding a heavier weight and letting it hang, that's going to help you with your grip. Farmer carries, which is literally picking up a heavy dumbbell and walking around.
So, just holding onto one and walking for 30 to 60 seconds, holding onto that, actually works your core. At the same time, you're working your grip. So, I really like those for grip strength, as well.
You will train your grip. So, I know it feels really hard right now -- everything about pull-ups feels hard -- you'll get better. And pull ups will help your grip, like practicing those assisted ones.
Stephanie: [00:33:57] So a question that I have for you -- I was talking a little bit earlier about my mom and how she has issues with arthritis, particularly in her hands and her feet. And so that always kind of niggles in the back of my head when I want to start doing strength things or lunges, or whatever, it's "well, you better not wear those joints out." You see what I'm saying?
Kim: [00:34:18] Yeah. I have to tell you; I have not read anything -- and I could be totally wrong and I will look into this -- I'm going to tell you to start off with: I have never researched a connection between arthritis and strength training. I have not. I will tell you our joints get stronger as we put heavier loads on them.
So, I would assume that it would actually have a positive benefit, not a negative one. When we're strength training, we're not just strength training our muscles, we're training our bones and our ligaments and our tendons and our joints. They all get stronger over time.
Stephanie: [00:34:52] Oh, fantastic. Yeah, because that's of my big thing, too, is without always knowing what I'm doing, I don't want to give myself an injury, because I'm like, my husband tries really hard to exercise as well, but he has a tendency to hurt himself.
He was getting ready a couple years ago for a hiking trip he was going to go on -- and he has a little bit of a low bone density himself. So, he'd been doing some jumping and he'd been doing lunges, and he gave himself a good case at jumper's knee. And he's been dealing with that tendon pain now for two years.
So now he feels like he can't do the elliptical and he can't do incline and he can't do squats. And he feels like he's just blocked off a whole bunch of things that now he feels he can't do to be strong or healthy.
Kim: [00:35:35] It is super frustrating to get injured. I've been there, lots of people have been there. When I have gotten injured, I will tell you my main rule is I don't stop. I work around it. I don't ever work through pain, I do not have my clients work through pain, but I have every single one of them work around pain. And the main goal is we try not to get them injured.
I will tell you more people that I know than not usually injure themselves not lifting. I personally have not injured myself a whole ton lifting, I have injured myself trying to shove a heavy bench, like, in my gym. I herniated a disc many years ago because I just didn't even think, I just shoved it in a very awkward way and it was way too heavy to be shoved. And so, I hurt myself doing that.
I've hurt myself doing all kinds of things, but strength training will help you, in the long run, to not be injured way more than it's going to endanger you to get injured if you train intelligently.
And what that means is: we have rest days, we don't train every day. We have you master form first, right? And I will show you, I'll send you some links, I have full training videos for a full six-week workout.
So, you can follow that, it has videos that says "here's how your form should look." So, you nail your form and then you work the weight up as soon as know your form is good, but we always prioritize form first. We get our rest days in and those things really help to make you not get injured.
Stephanie: [00:37:12] Fantastic.
Kim: [00:37:13] Not that I'm promising you in injury free life because sometimes things happen.
Stephanie: [00:37:17] Sure. Oh, absolutely. No, I just can't say enough, what a resource your Instagram and everything has been. All the bite sized tidbits, but then I've been able to incorporate, incorporate, incorporate. I mean, things like what you just said, work around injury, not through an injury, it's like, "Oh, that makes a lot of sense," but I'd never thought of it that way before. And so, it's just such a great resource.
Kim: [00:37:38] Oh, I'm so glad to hear that. So, look, this is what we're going to do to make sure that you're set up. So, I think you're getting a really good grasp on what makes a good training from our conversation here today, right?
So, we know we're going to train multiple times a week, we're going to train the same muscle groups over those weeks, we're going to work on getting stronger at basic moves over time, really progressing is important. That's the basics of what you need to know to start working out.
So, what we're going to do is I'm going to make sure I send you the links to my pull up video on YouTube so that you know for sure how to do that. And I'm going to send you the link to the training program that I have on there. It shows you the exercises and at the end, there's a place you can screenshot the workout, so you can have the workout itself in hand so you know exactly what to do and you do it for six weeks, just like we just described.
Stephanie: [00:38:24] Perfect.
Kim: [00:38:26] Anything else we can chat about before we go?
Stephanie: [00:38:29] Gosh, I mean, you the other thing I would say, I definitely have benefited from the different nutrition videos that you've done. I had never tried canned chicken before your "what I eat in the day." I've eaten canned tuna forever, but I was like, "this is quite reasonable," and so just some of those ways to get protein, because I've been tracking calories and I've been tracking protein, which again, I think one of your videos had recommended -- not necessarily getting too bogged down with some of the other things.
Kim: [00:38:58] Absolutely. Tracking carbs and fats is just extra math. If you keep your calories in line and you keep your protein in line, they can be wherever and so why track them?
Stephanie: [00:39:08] I would say probably the naughtiest I am, I'm still not super good at the 80/20 split. Even if I'm staying within my calories, I'm still probably spending a little too much of it on the sweets. I liked them ever so. And like I said, I've been able to spend most of my life just being able to eat, but my mom said the same thing. She said "I could eat an entire cake at once if I want and it did not matter." And she said, "and then later it mattered."
Kim: [00:39:32] And then eventually it mattered.
And we always know in the back of our mind that it's probably not super healthy to have more of our calories be from cake than vegetables, right? We know that intuitively, but when we can get away with it and it doesn't affect how we look, sometimes we let that stuff slide.
So, it's good. That's definitely going to help your health that you work on that. And here's the thing. If you're not at 80/20 right now, that's okay. Let's say you're at 60/40, start trying to edge that dial, you know? And so, you're at 60/40, and then you're at like 65/35, and you just keep working it until you work your way up to comfortably being at 80/20.
It doesn't have to happen today. It doesn't have to happen this month. It can happen over the next year or so that you just really make a dedicated effort to eat more fruits, more vegetables, more lean protein, still having cake, but less incidences of cake. And I have to tell you, you're talking to a person who I didn't eat vegetables until I was 43.
You can do this. Like I, not even out of a sense of, I need to eat vegetables. Like, I had Belgian endive as part of my breakfast this morning because now I love it. Like, I ate Belgian endive with my cottage cheese because it's delicious. And that took me until I was like 48 to do.
Stephanie: [00:40:50] And I would say that's probably one of the bigger mindset shifts I've had since I've been tracking calories since mid-January. And I think back then, I was just like, "my pants are of tight. I'm probably drinking wine more often than I should. I just need to go crazy for a month and get back to normal and that I can do whatever I want again." And it's a little more of the, "no, this just of needs to be a new, deciding when I'm at maintenance and then what maintenance looks like for life."
Kim: [00:41:23] Absolutely. And building the habits to make maintenance be maintainable. And that means, sure, have wine, but have wine in an amount that allows for maintenance and not weight gain. And so that's a habit change, like, "all right, what am I going to do if I want wine, if I'm bored, if whatever." Some people use it because they want to unwind and some people use it because it's a fun thing to do. So, looking for other strategies, "okay, if I want to unwind, what am I going to do instead of wine?" "If I'm feeling like I'm bored and 'oh, I'm just going to sit and enjoy my bottle of wine,' what could I do that doesn't involve wine." So, looking for those kinds of strategies to make maintenance maintainable.
Stephanie: [00:42:03] And I would say again, that's what I've been so appreciative of the resources you've offered. Because I feel like there's the fitness part of it, there's the nutrition part of it, then there's the lifestyle part of it.
Because it is true. I think I was just listening to one of your podcasts where somebody was just eating out of boredom and it's like, yeah, because sometimes you just want to feel different. I'm cold, I'm tired, I'm irritated. This feels different.
Kim: [00:42:24] Yeah. You're totally spot on there. We want to make ourselves feel different, feel better, and the easiest, lowest hanging fruit is usually "what can I eat?" And it's harder to be like, "oh, why do I feel so blah today? What can I do to not feel so blah today?" Or whatever the things are, right? You're spot on. And doing that emotional work is way harder than being like, "hmmm. Cupcake."
Stephanie: [00:42:48] And I'm very fortunate, you know, I have an amazing husband, my kids are awesome, my folks actually just live next door, they're a great resource for us, but still life just throws its stresses at you.
Kim: [00:42:59] Absolutely! You can have the most perfect life ever, but you know what? Kids are still kids. I love my kids, I think they're great kids, they friggin' annoying me sometimes. Jobs are like, I love my job. This is like the ideal job for me. It is my dream job. It friggin' stresses me out sometimes. That's how life is. Even if everything is great, it's still life.
Stephanie: [00:43:20] Right. And that's the other thing, too, is I feel like, again, my goal at the beginning was just, "I want the number on the scale to be smaller."
But while that's still a goal, I'm trying to come up with some of those other gains as well. You know, sleeping better. So, again, you can eat a bunch of cookies at 8 and then go to bed at 10:30 and you're hungry again and then that wasn't that satisfying, so just, I don't know.
Oh, things like cardiovascular, that kind of thing. Just knowing that, again, when I'm 60, when I'm 70, I want to be around for my adult kids. I want to be around for their kids. And so, what are the things I can do? I think one of the videos I just saw posted was about being skinny, fat. And so, I think I've probably been pretty guilty of that over the years.
Kim: [00:44:19] Yeah, a lot of people are. And so, working on your strength training is going to help you to not be skinny fat. It's going to change your body composition. You will have more muscle, less fat, and it will be very, not only appealing visually, but it will be healthy.
So, one thing I want to follow up on -- did you say you were around a hundred? So how do you feel about -- because one of the things you said you still would kinda like to see that number go down -- in your mind, what would be the number you'd want to see?
Stephanie: [00:44:48] It's one of the things I want to be realistic and healthy and not of get too stuck in my head. I think I probably spent high school and college being, you know, 97, 98 pounds. And again, that's that kind of who I identified as. And some things change and they're never going back. I had big babies. My smallest baby was 8lbs 11oz, my biggest baby was 9lbs 7oz.
Kim: [00:45:23] Oh, that's a big baby.
Stephanie: [00:45:25] So mean, I could wear bikini. I would have a bikini body if I chose to wear a bikini, but my stomach looks like I fell asleep on an afghan. It looks like a shattered windshield.
Kim: [00:45:39] That's a funny way to put it.
Stephanie: [00:45:42] But it's like, "eh, nothing I can do about that." But I could look really cool in a tank top, to my eyeballs.
And I think also part of it is just wiggle room. Feeling like, okay, if I got to whatever that magical number is -- and I don't even exactly know what that magical is -- but then it's like, okay, well then if I had a week where I'm carrying around extra water weight or we went on vacation or something, but then I don't come back and be like, "well I just ruined three months of everything."
Kim: [00:46:12] What if I told you that you could have those arms and that tank top that you really liked, and you could be busting out pull ups and you could be fitting in your clothes better than ever, still enjoying your wine and all that, but you would never go under a hundred pounds?
Stephanie: [00:46:28] I think I just knew that I wouldn't go down a slippery slope of, like -- and again, I feel like I'm vilifying my mom, which I'm not, my mother is amazing -- I just feel like she doesn't feel good and so I kind of have her a little bit as my cautionary tale, as it were. Because she is an incredibly hard worker, she takes care of her elderly father, she takes care of my three kids, she takes care of my two nephews, she's a neat freak so she can't stop cleaning house, she mows all of our property, I mean, she goes, goes, goes. She says she has two speeds: go and stop. So, she goes all day until she's exhausted and then she's down. So, she says at nighttime, she wants to have her beer. And she's going to have her beer and she's gonna have her beer every single night, her two. But she has those two every night forever. And you're not going to talk her out of it.
And she bakes, she's an amazing baker, but she has never met buttercream or sugar she did not like. She's actually probably the worst sabotage that I have because I'll come home from work and then there's this huge thing of homemade brownies. So maybe that's part of it too, is feeling like I can get to a number where then I've come home and she's left out a whole bunch of brownies and it's "you know what? I can indulge. Today I can indulge. My mom made homemade brownies and that's going to be okay. And then tomorrow I can get back to normal again."
Kim: [00:47:53] Yeah. So, it sounds to me like you're looking for, to get low enough so that you can eat what you want with having this buffer range so that you're not constantly ramping up how much you weigh, how much you weigh.
Stephanie: [00:48:02] Yes. And like I said, I don't intend to just be like, "oh cool. All I'm going to eat is potato chips and candy bars." No, I think the last few months have taught me that having that basis of spinach and chicken and cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt, that's a really good place to be. And that's sustainable, but just still being able to have that fun zone.
Kim: [00:48:23] I will say this: I think you could still be in that place and never have that scale go under a hundred. Realistically speaking, as you start to strength train and build muscle and your body composition changes, you will likely find that you like the way your body looks even though it is not at 97 pounds.
So, as you switch your body composition it would be something I want you to start having this idea about surrounding your head, that getting under a hundred pounds isn't necessarily the goal that's going to get you the outcome you want. If you want to have those toned arms in a tank top, get your pull up and be able to eat some brownies as they show up even though most of your food is going to be those other things, you can get and all of that, and be 102, 103, like you do not need to be at 97 and I'm going to venture to guess you won't be if you do the things I'm telling you. And I want you to start having that bounce around in your head and saying like, "how will I feel about that? Can I get out of my head that I define myself as the 20-some year old who's 97 pounds?"
Stephanie: [00:49:25] And I find that interesting, because I wonder how many, particularly women, I don't know how guys think about things, but how many of us-- it's like, I had a friend of mine once post on Facebook, who, she said, "I wish I was as fat now, as I thought I was in high school."
Or how many, it's like the, "if I was only what I weighed in high school," or "if I was only what I weighed the day I got married," or "if I was only what I weighed before I had kids." And it's just an interesting mindset.
Kim: [00:50:02] Loads of people are there. I was there for a really long on time.
We're so there because we're so used to defining success at weight loss by that one number on the scale. That's what is success for us. That number being smaller equals we're heading in the right direction. And it's true, like, when I was in high school, I was perpetually a person who was trying to lose weight as a teenager.
I was 119 pounds; I didn't need to lose weight. What would have done me a world of good is building some muscle. I wish I could go back and be like "here, lift this weight up, Kim, you will like what you look like better." And then in my twenties, I just wanted to be under 125. That was my goal. When I went to get married, my husband was very small. His goal was to reach 125 going up. And my goal was reached 125 coming down.
And then I eventually struggled with obesity, but my goal was always to get back to under 125, under 120. I will tell you now -- I don't even know I weigh -- the last time I weighed myself, it was sometime during quarantine, and I was 137. I look better now than I ever have. I've gotten to the point where, I've been doing this for years, so part of my weight is literally bone. Like, I have more bone. I've been lifting hundreds of pounds as a powerlifter for years now.
I look better now at the weight I am, probably 137-ish, than I ever looked at 125. Like, world's better.
Stephanie: [00:51:20] And there was a time I remember you did a post that was really cool. And it was like three pictures side to side, and it was of like, "this is where I was at this age. And then here's where I was." And, I don't remember, you were in a really cute shirt and you were like, "I really, I liked how I looked. I hated how I felt." You said, I think, calories were really low. And so how you find that livable area.
Kim: [00:51:39] Yeah. And so that was where I got to the leanest I'd ever been as an adult. And I was 119. I got down to 117 once for a weigh-in, for a powerlifting meet, but that was just for a day or two, but I was 119. I was miserable when it came to my lifestyle. Like, I couldn't eat the things I enjoyed, when I did it was very much a "cheat day" mentality and it would come and I would think about it, I couldn't wait for it to come, I couldn't wait for that day, and I would eat all the things, I would usually still feel guilty, even though it was my plan, and then I'd have to get right back to eating extremely low calories. We're talking zero calorie dressing, plain chicken, lettuce, like, how appealing does that sound? That sounds terrible. That sounds terrible.
And like potatoes that were literally just made out of broccoli and avocado mash, it was literally just avocado. My food was so limited and going out to eat meant that I didn't eat those things. I couldn't eat anything my family ate. I literally, in my mind, couldn't do that.
It was no way to live. It was no way to live.
Stephanie: [00:52:45] What were the circumstances at the time that led you down that path?
Kim: [00:52:55] So, I had been obese, got fit through tracking my calories and lifting weights fell in love, with weightlifting.
The way I entered the fitness industry was by following bodybuilders. This is what I thought fit people were. In my mind, a fit person was a bodybuilder. A lot of bodybuilders are super unhealthy. A lot of bodybuilders have eating disorders. A lot of bodybuilders have a terrible relationship with food.
What they can achieve physically is incredible. I thought I wanted to be a bodybuilder. My goal was, at that time, to enter a bodybuilding competition. Like, I was going to do a bikini show. My very next step was going to be to hire a coach to help me get there. It's the kind of thing, like, I got lean enough on my own, I hire the coach, we pick a show 12 weeks out and I get even leaner. The goal would have been to get even leaner. And in that moment, I just had a moment of realizing, "I have worked so hard to get healthy."
This was a lot of work. I was really overweight. I had revamped my entire life and it just occurred to me, like, what I'm about to do is going to take me the opposite direction. This is not healthy. Like, I am going the opposite direction from health. What I've been looking for was to get healthy and now I'm really making a U-turn and heading back to unhealthy in a different way. And right around the same time is when I read an article about powerlifting and I had never heard of powerlifting.
I'm like, "what is powerlifting?" Because I loved the gym, but I only knew bodybuilders. And so, I started watching these women and I'm like, "they're lifting heavy weight. I want to lift heavy weight. I like that." And when I stopped focusing on getting smaller, getting smaller, getting smaller, and started focusing on getting stronger, that's what caused me to come out of that.
Stephanie: [00:54:33] Gotcha. Gotcha. And like I said, that's why having measurable goals-- I think that's also probably why we get stuck on a scale. It's so easy to measure.
Kim: [00:54:42] Yes, absolutely. And so, here's the thing I would say, what I would want you to do if you're going to really be looking for physique progress, what I would suggest you do is take measurements with a tape measure.
Measure your chest, measure your waist at the smallest part, measure your waist at your belly button, measure your hips by going across your butt at the biggest part, measure one thigh -- I just do the right side, just because it's easy to remember -- at the widest part, and measure your right biceps with your biceps loose, not flexed.
Do that once a month and keep an eye on those measurements. Also take progress pictures. Full body, in a bikini or bathing suit bottom and top. So, bikini or underwear and a sports bra. You want to see as much as possible, same lighting every month, front, back, both sides. Keep an eye on that.
Put some clothes on, pick a pair of pants or something, notice how it fits. Every month, put those back on. Using that conglomerate of information -- and you can use the scale if you want. There's a lot of people that I expect the scale to move, too, I don't expect the scale to move a lot with you -- use all of that data together to see how you're progressing.
Stephanie: [00:55:56] Sure. Absolutely.
Kim: [00:55:58] And that's going to give you a better picture. That, in conjunction with you specifically, like, how is your strength improving? You're going to see really big gains in the gym. And all of that together hopefully will be motivating enough for you to be like, "I am making amazing progress."
Stephanie: [00:56:12] And that's why, like I said, as arbitrary as the pull up thing is, again, it seems very measurable because it's yes or no.
Kim: [00:56:22] I either did it or I did not do it.
Stephanie: [00:56:24] Right. As opposed to, again, like I said, I don't have a goal of being a runner. It doesn't sound very interesting to me and so I'm not going to be somebody who is like, "oh man, now I got an eight-minute mile. Now maybe next time I can get a 7:52." That's not going to be it.
And I measure my calories on the treadmill, but even that's just a general idea of how much was able to stick to it today. And I do find it, it's interesting, it's like on a day that maybe it was a day, the night before, it's like we did go out to a restaurant and I did, I was like, "you know what? Special occasion I'm going to track the calories, but they're big calories. I'm going to mark them down and I'm gonna enjoy it." Man, that next day I have a lot more oomph on the treadmill than I did the day before when it was egg, whites and spinach.
Kim: [00:57:08] It's amazing what fueling our bodies can do to make us perform better. And for women who have lived permanently on super low calories, once you get some calories in your body, it's just shocking. Like, "wow, I have energy in the gym. I'm not so lethargic in life, generally. I sleep better," because we're just so used to really restrictive calories.
Stephanie: [00:57:30] And that's the other thing, too, that you've said recently that I'm really trying to take to heart is not how low do you need to go lose any weight? It's what's the most you can eat and still see that. And then those charts have been very helpful, too.
I mean, right now, if I'm shaving off maybe a quarter of a pound a week, I'm like, that's fine. That's fine. Even if I steady out, because I'm happy with that. Because, you know, like the first month, five pounds went away because water weight and just random whatever. And knowing that I am adding in strength things to hopefully means that where I'm losing is fat and then where it's balancing out is muscle.
Kim: [00:58:11] Yeah. Yeah. That's an exciting process to see, right? That's body recomposition, as you lose fat and you build muscle. That's what we're going to look for here for you.
So, let's kind come up with exactly the next action steps for you. How do you feel about in the next couple of days doing pictures and measurements and trying on some clothing?
Stephanie: [00:58:31] That's very doable.
Kim: [00:58:32] Ok. Do that and set that up somewhere so you can see it. And then I'm going to send you the pull up video, the pushup video, and the training plan video all from YouTube.
Guys listening, I will put those in the show notes. I don't know that there'll be clickable, but you can see them and look at them. And you can look there and we'll have you get going on that strength training plan.
Stephanie: [00:59:01] Awesome. Thank you again, not only for your time today, but just all the work that you do to put all those materials out. Because those have just been, like I said, they've just been very absorbable and very practical and in a way that's not just "drink a magic tea and three weeks later..."
Kim: [00:59:14] Yeah. That stuff is nonsense. So many people are out there saying that stuff and we want to believe it. And I used to believe that stuff because, first of all, wow, they can make the marketing sound so believable. Like, surely these people aren't all making this up. Yeah, they are.
And then the last thing is, send me a video of your equipment at home. Like you can take some stills at all different angles or just like literally walk around and take a video and send it to me via email so I can see what you've got there.
Stephanie: [00:59:42] Absolutely. Absolutely. Like I said, I was kind of fan-girling. I was like, it's like a celebrity. It's crazy.
Kim: [00:59:50] Whenever people say that, I'm just like, "really?!?"
But I get it because I'm the same way. I'm the exact same way with people who I've gotten to be friendly with on Instagram, who were people who I look up to in the fitness industry. And then eventually I get them on here for a conversation. I'm like, "I can't believe I'm talking to you." And they're like, "I'm not a celebrity. I'm literally a trainer."
Stephanie: [01:00:09] No, but it was just so cool because it's like I was trying to mess with some settings on the cable machine and the other day, and while I was working on it, I was like, "I need some entertainment, oooo she has a new video!" So, I was listening to your meal prep video while I'm like trying to get the settings right. Because, like I said, I need to be entertained when I'm in the weight room.
Kim: [01:00:28] I just filmed one this morning. My next YouTube video is going to be all about how to squat, literally from, "I have no idea what I'm doing," all the way through lots of variations, all the way to a barbell, and there's going to be a squat in there for everybody and it tells you exactly what to do.
So hopefully that'll come out next week.
Stephanie: [01:00:42] Awesome! Well just thank you for all you do. It's really appreciated and it makes a difference.
Kim: [01:00:47] You're very welcome! Thank you so much for coming on.
Stephanie: [01:00:49] Thank you!
Kim: [01:00:51] Alright, bye!
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: [00:00:04] To episode 64 of the Fitness Simplified Podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. On today's episode, I am joined by my special guest Georgie Fear. Georgie is a registered dietitian, a science-based nutrition counselor, and a behavioral health expert. You might recognize her name because I reference her a lot, specifically her book, "Lean Habits."
Now, Georgie has a new book out: "Give Yourself More: A Science-Backed Six Part Plan for Women to Hit Their Weight Loss Goals by Defying Diet Culture." On today's episode, Georgie and I go deep on a few of the key concepts of the book, including some practical advice for overcoming emotional eating.
It is an amazing episode.
Georgie: [00:01:10] Hi! I had the volume way up and you said my name really loud. I was like "ahhh!"
Kim: [00:01:23] I said your name really loudly because I'm super excited to have you on the podcast.
Georgie: [00:01:29] Thank you. I'm excited to be here too.
Kim: [00:01:31] I'm really glad that you could come on. Are you in a closet?
Georgie: [00:01:35] I am. I'm in the closet, Kim.
I record all of my podcasts in my walk-in closet because it has pretty good acoustics and it dampens the sound really well. And of course, I have my nice microphone here, which I should move slightly closer to my face.
Kim: [00:01:53] Nice.
Georgie: [00:01:54] But yeah, so I do, I record in the closet.
Kim: [00:01:57] Lots of people do closets. I've had people on who record under a blanket.
Georgie: [00:02:02] Oh, nice.
Kim: [00:02:03] So all kinds of fancy equipment we've got going on.
So, Georgie, tell us what adventures in the Canadian wilderness have you had this week?
Georgie: [00:02:12] Well, there's always some adventures in the Canadian wilderness for me.
Kim: [00:02:14] I know. I like watching them whenever you post about them.
Georgie: [00:02:18] So Friday afternoon, kind of Alpine therapy, is my friend Drea and my standing Friday afternoon appointment. She tries to get out work early and I block off my afternoons on Friday and we go do something. She's a retired professional skier, full time Nordic skier, so she whoops my butt. Even though she's now retired, she is an amazing athlete.
So sometimes we'll do uphill running intervals, other times we'll climb a peak or just go for a hike. So last week we went to one of the peaks next to Lake Louise, and it's beautiful and you can see the Lake and it's like beautiful blue/green water.
Kim: [00:03:06] How close are you to Lake Louise?
Georgie: [00:03:08] It's about an hour.
Kim: [00:03:10] Oh, wow. That is like top of my bucket list. I want to go there so badly.
Georgie: [00:03:15] Well, you have to let me know when you come. I go there quite often in the winter for cross country skiing because they have some really nice, long, you could just like ski for 10K in one direction and turn around and come back.
So, because I'm a distance, marathon skier, I'm always looking for the longest trails I can find.
Kim: [00:03:33] Well, your life outdoors looks absolutely blissful. You do so many exciting things. I have to tell you, I just got back from a week of vacation. You know, there's not many places we can go nowadays, right? You can't really go anywhere.
Georgie: [00:03:44] Yeah. It's pretty limited.
Kim: [00:03:45] We actually had booked a house at the Jersey shore, which we literally never do, because we like to actually go away and that's like, an hour and a half from my house. But we've looked at it and so it worked out because we were able to keep our trip. And so, am I remembering this right? Are you from Jersey?
Georgie: [00:03:57] I am from Jersey.
Kim: [00:03:59] You are. Where are you from in Jersey?
Georgie: [00:04:02] Homedale in high school. I went to school in Homedale, which is in Monmouth County, near Sandy Hook. And then I lived in New Brunswick when I went to Rutgers undergrad. So, I spent four years at Rutgers undergrad and then came back for another five in the PhD that never happened.
So, I lived in New Brunswick and Somerset, kind of central Jersey for a long time.
Kim: [00:04:27] Well, look -- Jersey isn't like the prettiest beaches ever, but I have to tell you it's still nature. And I just spent a week swimming in the ocean and laying on the sand, reading your book a lot at the time, by the way, you know, and just taking long walks.
And I realized that that is the thing that I need more of in my life. That's what I'm going to give myself more of. Like, I need more nature,
Georgie: [00:04:45] More nature.
It is so healing. I mean, it's so interesting when you look at the research about how exercising in a green space actually gives you more physical and mental benefits than exercising in a neighborhood.
Like, if you can possibly get out, get out,
Kim: [00:05:01] It's amazing. You know, because most of my athletic pursuits are done in my basement gym, right? Like I'm inside lifting heavy stuff and I love it, but I don't often pursue outside stuff and I need to. That's what I'm giving myself more of.
Which brings me to the title of your new book.
Georgie: [00:05:17] Yes.
Kim: [00:05:17] "Give Yourself More, a science-backed six-part plan for women to hit their weight loss goals by defying diet culture."
Georgie: [00:05:25] You got it.
Kim: [00:05:26] I wrote it down so I had all the words in there.
Georgie: [00:05:29] So you've been reading, "Give Yourself More," and you're intending to give yourself more.
Kim: [00:05:33] Absolutely. I'm on it.
I'll tell you later about the other thing I've already started this week as a result of reading your book and my vacation experience that happened together. So, it was a good thing for me.
So, let's start here: why did you write this book?
Georgie: [00:05:46] I wrote this book, along with Alicia Fetters, we are coauthors on the book, and I think we wrote it in part because sometimes you just have something that you want to say to the world and you say it to one person at a time, if you're a health practitioner, and you're not satisfied with saying it to one person at a time.
And you're like, I want to say this to as many people as possible, because I think we both feel really passionately that we want women to benefit from some of the realizations that we've had and that we've been able to share with our clients and just watch person after person really flourish and have amazing transformations, not just physically, but just living so much of a better life when they changed some of the stories that they told themselves about what they wanted.
And so, the story of "Give Yourself More" starts with all of our old stories about trying to be less. And I think most of us have spent some period, if not the majority of our life, thinking about,, "how can I finally shrink these thighs" or, "how can I hide these forehead wrinkles I have," or "how can I not be so loud," or "how can I be less emotional?"
And, you know, trying to hide our flaws and be smaller and not inconvenience anyone is very tightly entrenched in just kind of like the feminine ideal of gender roles, don't you think?
Kim: [00:07:15] Absolutely. I'm shaking my head vigorously to everything that Georgie says. I'm with you. Every last bit of that.
I'm a person who did that for literally, as long as I can remember. I remember being a teenager and thinking like, "I need to be smaller" and I have to tell you, I was not overweight as a teenager, but in my mind, I needed to be smaller.
I would look in the magazines and I'm like, "I don't look like that." Like, clearly, I have work to do. And that didn't stop. Like, I'm 49. That went on for decades.
Georgie: [00:07:44] Yeah. I bought it hook, line and sinker, too. And I remember having had an eating disorder and had a dietitian and a psychologist all trying to help me out.
You know, they ask you questions like, "well, what does it mean to be thinner?" and "why do you want to be thinner?" You know, not being overweight, it's a safe question. Why do you want to be thinner? And I remember thinking, because if you're thin, it's like you don't have needs and you don't have to depend on other people and not needing anybody else's help or input is such a strength, right? Like, isn't that amazing if you can just be needless?
Kim: [00:08:20] That's interesting, Georgie. And so that was kind of your goal for getting thinner.
Georgie: [00:08:24] Part of it. I'm sure there's a whole lot of mental gook tied up in knots inside all of our brains, but I've talked with thousands of women over the years -- and some men too -- this is definitely far from exclusively a women's problem.
And so many of us feel like our weight goals or our fitness goals are just appropriate manifestations of ways that we're trying to be perfect. And that tends to be less in some way.
Kim: [00:08:53] And your approach to it is not going to be less, it's going to be more. Before we get into some of the meat of that I want to talk a little bit more about one of the terms in the title, because I think people hear the word "diet culture" a lot and not everybody really has a handle on what that means.
So why don't you kind of give everybody a working definition? What is diet culture?
Georgie: [00:09:14] Sure. Now, like many things it's going to depend who you ask. And a lot of people would say helping anybody reach a weight loss goal is diet culture, which I disagree with.
Kim: [00:09:28] I do, as well.
Georgie: [00:09:29] If you've worked in a medical office, for example, and you're helping someone control their diabetes and you talk about making healthier food choices and that person loses weight and controls their blood pressure and blood sugars better, are you now part of the diet industry?
I don't think so. I don't think that's "diet culture" to help people take care of their bodies better. You know, I also oil my bicycle chain so that it lasts a long time and has a nice, smooth ride. Is that part of "diet culture" because I'm trying to take care of something?
I don't think so. I think that's just basic bike maintenance. So, not helpful probably for me to say what "diet culture" isn't...
Kim: [00:10:07] Hey, you know, it's a start for people to hear what it isn't.
Georgie: [00:10:10] Right. So, I don't think it's synonymous with changing body weight. I think diet culture is the idea that we need an external program or rules or restrictions to help us be less.
And so, I think of "diet culture" as being exemplified by things like The Atkins diet, the keto diet, you know, various things that come with strict rules. It's a program, similar to a workout program, that gives you instructions for what to do, and following those things for the purposes of losing weight.
And often I feel like "diet culture" is also characterized by weight being the only important thing.
Kim: [00:10:56] The most important thing.
Georgie: [00:10:58] Right. And no consideration given to your social life, your mental health, your anxiety, the amount of Tupperware that you want to wash on a daily basis. Just not treating you like a whole person.
I think the diet industry or "diet culture," defying diet culture, as we say on the book cover -- defying diet culture means treating yourself like a whole person and not just a weight.
Kim: [00:11:20] Yes. Yeah. I like that. I like that a lot.
So, it's not the idea. Nothing about this book is going to help a person to only think about their weight, but doing all of these things can in fact help them with something that they've probably been struggling with for a long time.
If they're like most women, they wanted to lose weight. It's not been a short thing. For most of us it's been something we've been working at for a long time. Much of that work doing things that are very much a part of diet culture.
You mention in the book that the most effective exercise and diet interventions are founded in positive emotional experiences.
Tell us more about that.
Georgie: [00:12:00] Sure. So positive emotional experiences are basically things that we find we're having fun at, things that we're enjoying. So if you go to college, you meet your roommate, and she says, "hey, come to the running club with me," and you've never been a runner, but you think, "yeah, I really like this new friend I'm making, I'm gonna go to the running club."
You go to the running club, everybody's super nice, you chat, you jog in the sunshine, and you think, "God, that was so fun. And nobody was barking at me with a stopwatch like gym class. Maybe I do like running, even though I thought I hated it."
And three years later you might still be running because you've had a good time with it. You've had social support, maybe you've gotten together with those people and had breakfast after the run someday, you're discovering that you feel less stressed on the days that you get up and run, and when you have these positive experiences, they draw us forward with a really reliable source of motivation.
And it's different from using a negative motivation to try and motivate ourselves to change. So, if you picture a bomb going off and people just running, they just scatter. That's what we do when we're afraid. There's very little conscious, goal-oriented behavior. We're frantic, you know, negative emotions make us run and make us run in haphazard and zig-zag directions.
But if you have a goal, if you see something positive, like the top of the mountain or the Lake that you want to reach for that beautiful sparkling water view -- you see it, you know what it takes to get there and you can start in that direction and it draws you the whole way there. But if you're running away from something that you're afraid of, like, "oh, I don't want to have to buy a bigger size of pants," "I don't want to have a heart attack," they tend to only be motivating until we've gotten far enough away from them that we're not so scared anymore. And then we go back to complacency.
And so, in, in the context of health behavior change, clearly if we're motivated to get to something and we keep working at it, that's what we need to maintain our good health. But if we're just trying to get away from something, then we may feel like, you know, we lose three pounds, we're far enough away from the doom and gloom that we were afraid of, and so we stopped trying.
Kim: [00:14:11] Yeah. So, moving towards something positive versus running away from something negative.
Georgie: [00:14:17] Yeah.
Kim: [00:14:18] That's a really good approach.
I know one of the things you had mentioned in the book is the idea of adding in habits or replacing unwanted ones rather than taking things away. So, you know, like, "hey, let's go for a walk," versus "stop sitting on the couch."
Georgie: [00:14:32] Yeah. Yeah. I think when we focus on what we're adding in, we can look for new benefits. We can look for new things that we really enjoy.
You know, having more skills, more tools, more options is always a good thing. None of us like to be banned from something or barred from something. But if you think about it, like "maybe I'm going to trade up for this other behavior that comes with completely different outcomes, then there might be some benefits that'll keep me hooked on that."
Kim: [00:15:00] It's such a different feeling. So, if you think like, "you know what, I'm going to really focus on eating until I'm satisfied," versus "I'm going to really focus on cutting back on sugar," right? Those are such opposite things that could absolutely reach the same goal, but one has a completely different feeling.
Georgie: [00:15:16] I know. And the amazing thing is how hard I have to work to get people to try the kind of more centered goals and more centered thinking, because we've practiced and it's so familiar to think about like, "cut this out, cut that out, avoid that," that often it's hard for people to think about like, "what would I gain from doing this?"
Kim: [00:15:38] Yeah. It's such an important reframe and you're right, I get really quizzical looks back from clients when we were talking about this and they're like, "I've never even thought about thinking about it like that." And such good light bulb moments come from those reframes about those positive "what can we add in here? What can we think about positively here?" versus "what we're going to get rid of and not allow ourselves," and all of that.
Georgie: [00:16:00] Totally. And there's so much that we can add to our lives in terms of more, even if we don't change weight at all, or even if we don't want to change weight at all. Like, I have had so many wonderful things add into my life with absolutely zero gravitational pull change whatsoever.
And I think that's, you know, one thing that I really like to point out is: you don't have to have a weight loss goal, or even be female, to read this book and to gain a lot from it.
Kim: [00:16:27] Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with both of those, having just read it. Absolutely.
Georgie: [00:16:31] And for people who do feel like, "yes. Part of my goal is to have a lower number on the scale," how do you make a lower number into a "more" goal? That's one of the questions that I get.
So, the way I help people shift that sort of less into more is think about the benefit of what you want to get. So, if somebody is thinking like, "you know, I would really like to be a lower body weight," I'll say like, "okay, so what would you get from that lower body weight?"
And they would say, "improved blood sugar control, healthier arteries, able to run up the stairs without losing my breath, be able to wear those pants that are too tight right now to be comfortable," all of those are positive. So, don't think about the weight loss middleman, think about those things and like "when I make this healthy choice or I go for the walk, when I choose the walk, I'm closer to wearing the pants. I'm closer to the good feeling of pride, closer to feeling sexy," you know, thinking about good things that we want to get rather than the taking away or minimizing things or the things that we want to avoid or are fearful of.
Kim: [00:17:38] Yeah, absolutely. So, I want to read two facts you cite in the book. I'm going to read both of them first, and then I want us to kind of jam on both of them together.
So, two statistics you shared: more than one fourth of the women trying to lose weight at any one time are already at a healthy weight or underweight.
And then fact two here -- and I had not read this study before, but it did not surprise me at all to find this out: what the average woman pinpoints as the ideal or most attractive female body is medically underweight.
Georgie: [00:18:12] Yeah. Isn't that something?
Kim: [00:18:13] It's crazy. That does not surprise me, but I did not know that that was actually true.
How do you think that this has become the standard that women strive for and how can we change that?
Georgie: [00:18:24] Wow. Those are tough questions. "And while you're on it, let's have world peace..."
How it happened, of course I can only surmise on, but it's often, you know, we are social creatures. We can't not notice what other people are doing and going after. And it imbues a sense of value when we're looking at a menu and somebody else orders something, it gets a couple of points in our brains because somebody ordered it. That's why we all like social proof, like you're shopping on Amazon and you're like, "well, that book doesn't have any reviews. Nobody bought it. Well that because 87 reviews, let me see that one because it's been popular."
So part of it, and this doesn't explain the origin, but it explains the continuance, is that we see other women talking about weight loss so pervasively and magazines posting about weight loss and forums talking about weight loss and it all feeds into the idea that we're supposed to be chasing this thing.
Like, money is only valuable because we agree on it having a value. And I think weight loss has some of the same attributes that like, "if everybody's agreeing that this is a valuable thing, then maybe it's worth something and I should be in the charge trying to pursue it."
I also think that it can be a socially accepted stand-in. So instead of having some things that you really want in your life, it might be easier to chase weight loss sometimes, especially if it's presented that there's a particular program that you can follow that will give you weight loss. Like, "oh, so there's an app here and I can simply enter in all the things that I eat and if I stay below this number of calories, I have weight loss."
There's very little mystery in that equation and so it's appealing. Whereas the alternate discussion that somebody might have with themselves might be, "I'm feeling unfulfilled in my life. What sort of things would make me fulfilled and how can I go about getting them?"
You know, there's a lot of fuzzy, nebulous entities. It's way easier to be like "weight loss! I'm gonna tackle that one as my life project." And then there's subtle messaging that, you know, we all know how pervasive weight stigma is. And that, you know, if you look at characters that are villains in movies or cartoons, they're more often overweight than the prime character, the protagonist or the hero or heroine is usually very slim.
And there are a million subtle ways that we're told that being overweight is not acceptable or that it's not okay. And so, part of the social desirability is we want to be liked by other people. And so, I know definitely a message I got as a kid was that you're well liked if you're thin and pretty.
And if you're heavy, nobody will want to be friends with you. People will point at you and say things when you cross the street in front of their car and warn their children not to become like you. And it's, you know, a proxy for social desirability and we all want to be liked. More so, we all want to be loved.
We want to find somebody that values us and appreciates us. And so sometimes our physical form can be a way of saying, "please like me, please think I'm good enough."
Kim: [00:21:56] Absolutely. Now all of that said, I know that you are not anti-weight loss. You're not anti-weight loss. What do you think of the body acceptance movement?
Georgie: [00:22:07] I think the body acceptance movement has done some fantastic things for so many people. I think it's really broadened the spectrum of bodies that we can look at and say, "that's a body" and not anything more about it, you know? I think it used to be, if you opened a magazine and you saw anything that looked realistic, it was like, "oh, that's plus size."
And I see magazines now, I see ads on the internet and my social media that have a women of all different body shapes and they show their swimwear in sizes from like a double, extra small to double, extra-large, they make a very inclusive visual display, which I think is fantastic.
Nobody wants to shop for clothes that they can't see on somebody that looks like themselves. So, I do really applaud the diversity that we're seeing. You know, ages, sizes, all sorts of things. I'm pro-diversity.
Where I find I disagree with some individuals and some individual concepts that may fall under the body acceptance movement is that it doesn't mean that you can't change yourself in the sense of, you know, many people who would say they are fans of body acceptance, if I said, "well, what do you think if I highlight my hair?" They'd say, "go girl! You do it! Whatever makes you happy." But if I said, "what if I want to lift weights to have stronger shoulders?" They'd be like, "rock on! You build those strong shoulders."
"What if I want to lose weight so that I have healthier blood pressure and less pain in my knees?"
"Oh no, you can't do that."
So, I think it's slightly less inclusive when it comes to people having body autonomy to gain or lose weight. They would say gaining weight is fine, dying your hair green is a-ok, fake boobs, rock 'em if they make you feel confident, but don't you dare lose weight.
So, I think I disagree with that sort of special treatment of people that have weight loss goals as being invalid.
Kim: [00:24:13] I'm with you a hundred percent. Every single word you have just said that's where I kind of depart from them too.
That any intentional weight loss is always wrong. I don't understand that. I mean, there are medical reasons, there are all kinds of reasons. And frankly, like you just said, if I want to dye my hair green, I should feel free to dye my hair green. And if I want to lose 20 pounds and I feel like that's going to make me feel better, move better, whatever it is, I should be able to do that and not be told that I'm wrong or that I hate myself, that I hate my body,
Georgie: [00:24:47] So true.
Kim: [00:24:48] Right? And so how is it possible that a person can love their body and want to change it?
Georgie: [00:24:55] Well, a lot of people will use the analogy of plants or children, which are excellent here, which is when you love them, you take care of them. We abuse things that we dislike and that we want to cause harm to.
But you don't have to be focused on negative attributes or negative feelings about yourself to want to change something. Sometimes you think it's great as-is, and you're excited to see how much stronger it can become and how much more it can thrive.
As we said, there's positive motivations. You don't always have to be running from something that you dislike or trying to move away from something. You can just be positively motivated. Like, I really want to be able to bike 100K in one day, at least once this summer. And it's not because there was anything wrong with the 70 or 80K bike rides I did. I just like seeing how hard I can push. I like seeing how high I can reach. I want to learn things. I want to read books. Not because I think I'm stupid, but because I know there's more out there to be learned and why not help ourselves?
Kim: [00:26:01] Absolutely. And I think a person's approach to weight loss can have a lot to do with whether they feel loving towards their body while they're losing weight or not, right?
There are certainly ways that it would be really hard to feel loving towards your body while doing this particular program or whatever it is. And so I really liked the approach that you have here in this book, because I think that there's nothing involved here that would then say like, "oh gosh, I really must hate myself if I'm doing this," right? Like we're not beating ourselves into submission doing any of these things.
Georgie: [00:26:32] Yeah. I mean, I'm pro-joy, I'm pro-happiness, I'm pro-fulfillment. I want everybody out there to have healthy and meaningful lives. And I don't think we have to sacrifice; I don't think we have to treat ourselves like garbage to live well and to have healthier bodies.
And I think treating ourselves like garbage too often is what gets in the way of people finding those lasting results. Because as I said, like when your motivation is negative, once you move far enough away from the thing you're avoiding, you let your guard down and you stop trying and your motivation fizzles.
Kim: [00:27:08] Yeah. And it comes back to that chasing something positive.
Georgie: [00:27:11] Yeah. Love is an inexhaustible resource. Think about the things we do for the people we love. When you're head over heels for somebody, their whim, you would like get up at two in the morning to get it for them to make them smile, you know? Like, the amount of work that it takes to raise a child, if you did not love that person, you would not be doing all of those things.
And it's an amazing resource, you know, when we can harness our love for ourselves or for other people. So yeah, give yourself more is a method of making your life and your body healthier and stronger and more abundant without taking anything away from anybody else.
Kim: [00:27:54] Yes. Yes. And so, in the book you cover six different areas where we can give ourselves more.
I really liked the workbook style of the book, by the way, I thought that was really a good piece to it. You know, like, "oh, and here's this little page we can write stuff down." I really like that. That was fantastic.
And we could do multiple podcast episodes on each of those six areas, right? We could take one of those areas and we could meet like five or six times and still not cover it all. But why don't we hit the highlights of a couple of those sections here?
Let's talk about emotions first. This is one that I just really dig talking about.
Georgie: [00:28:28] I think that's my favorite section.
Kim: [00:28:31] Emotional eating is such a huge stumbling block for so many people. So, talk to us a little bit, generally, about how we can give ourselves more when it comes to our emotions.
Georgie: [00:28:43] The reason I think that was my favorite section to get into is because it's one that I've learned the most about in the last five years. So, believe it or not, "Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss," my previous book, is five years old already. And in the time since then it was like, "oh man, this is such a huge topic that I'm talking about with clients, almost every client."
And we'll have some conversations, some talks about emotions. I think it's such a paramount topic of importance when it comes to people's weight loss challenges. You know, if emotions weren't part of the game, everybody would just use an app, follow a diet and that would be it. Eat less move on. But we're not. We're very colorful, interesting human beings.
And I have found that understanding our emotions is very equipping, not only so that we can take better care of our health without emotions getting in the way, but so that we can really rise to the occasion of meeting our emotional needs. And having satisfied emotional needs is like filling a hunger that people didn't know they had in so many cases.
It's like, "I had no idea that there was this dry spot in my life that just needed a rain shower on it." And it feels so good to start to become aware of all the different things that we feel and then all the options we have in terms of how we want to manage those feelings.
How do we fully enjoy the positive things we have? How do we use emotions to enable more meaning and closeness with other people? And how do we get through the uncomfortable emotions? How do we cope with them in ways that make us stronger and make us more resilient and help us not feel traumatized by them as opposed to using maladaptive coping behaviors?
Kim: [00:30:53] Right. Now you used a term, Alexithymia, and this, if I understand correctly, is a term used to describe difficulty or inability to identify and describe emotions.
Georgie: [00:31:17] Yes.
Kim: [00:31:19] And you said that it's very common in women with high levels of emotional eating, overweight, obesity, eating disorders -- this seems really important. Like, our inability to identify and describe our emotions is showing up with people with these problems.
Georgie: [00:31:37] Absolutely. Yeah.
So, alexithymia is the sort of word that's used in research circles and practitioner circles, not the coffee shop.
Kim: [00:31:45] Yeah, I've literally never heard that word in my life,
Georgie: [00:31:47] Right. But typically, if you think back to childhood, that's where we often learned the language or not of emotions. Some parents will teach their children a greater vocabulary when it comes to emotions -- are you feeling happy or sad? Are you feeling lonely? Are you feeling disappointed? You know, they'll use more words when they talk to their kids and kids generally who grow up learning a greater pallet of emotions can describe what they're feeling better.
Whereas many parents don't necessarily talk about feelings. They may have gotten messages from their own parents that this is just not a topic that they talk about much. Some people don't talk about money, some people don't talk about politics, it's just a thing. Some people don't talk about feelings.
And so, if you grow up in that sort of environment, you may grow up thinking I feel good, or I feel bad, or I feel neutral, but that's about it. And you read emotional poetry and you don't understand what these people are going through because it's like, "who are these people that are having these huge emotional waves? I'm cool as a cucumber."
I often find people, who have a lot of skill in not feeling their emotions because they're suppressing them or denying them or using maladaptive coping behaviors are described by other people as "cool as a cucumber," or just totally levelheaded and even-keeled.
Kim: [00:33:20] Interesting.
Georgie: [00:33:21] And that's not to say that everybody who's even-keeled is suppressing their emotions, but it can come across that way, because nobody can correct you, nobody can be like, "Kim, I know you've got anger in there and you're not letting it out." Because no one can see it if you're suppressing it. It's like the sort of thing that only we can really figure out.
So, it is really interesting to notice that there's a whole spectrum of human emotion in all of us. And some of us feel things more freely and can describe them better with words, and some of us have less of that ability. But it's totally a hundred percent learnable because I was like the most remedial person ever.
Kim: [00:33:59] And I would love for you to talk about the exercise you suggest. I liked how you compared it to identifying trees -- that we start out and you might be able to say like, "the trees with needles and trees without needles," but then you can learn to be like, "oh, this is an Oak tree."
I thought that was such a great explanation of like, "Oh wait, I know, I know. This is good. And this is bad. Those are my only two feelings." And then you can kind of start to pick them apart. So, tell us about that exercise you describe in the book.
Georgie: [00:34:23] So when you're trying to learn your own emotions and maybe get better at describing them -- and that is not just the sort of thing you do for kicks -- it' very purposeful because it paves the way to being able to do more things with your emotions. You know, first you have to be able to tell what sort of animal you're dealing with before you know how to take care of it.
So, often people can tune in, you listening can probably tune in right at this very moment, and if zero is completely neutral, not feeling positive or negative, you can try and feel if you're slightly above neutral or if you're slightly below neutral. That's kind of like the first level: am I slightly good or slightly bad?
Now the easiest times that we can pick up on emotion are when they're very intense. Like, tears are streaming down your face, there's probably an intense emotion going on,
Kim: [00:35:14] And you've got a word for that.
Georgie: [00:35:16] Yeah. And your cheeks hurt because you've been laughing so long and so carefree, probably feeling a strong emotion.
So those strong emotions are the easiest. We can usually think about times that we've been very, very sad or very, very happy, the best and worst times in life. And then as you get more familiar with these different feelings, you start to be able to identify more of them, like a wider array. You know, identifying when we have felt angry, you can think about somebody that's treated you really poorly, maybe somebody that insulted you or hurt somebody that you care about. And you can think about that and think about how you felt and kind of match them and go, "oh, anger. That was probably anger. That feeling I had, that urge to do something, to not be able to let it go. That's an angry feeling."
And many times, women and men have been patterned to accept and reject different emotions. So, for women it's often more acceptable to feel sad than it is for men. So, for little boys, if a little boy is crying, he's more likely to be told to stop crying earlier. And some male figures in his life may say, "don't be a girl, be a man, man up."
We have all sorts of phrases there, "don't be a sissy." And it's seen that being sad is almost a feminine-associated trait. And so, there's subtle messages and not so subtle messages for boys not to show sadness.
However, it flips when we talk about anger, because it's supposed to not be shown by women.
So many women feel a hesitance to show anger. So if somebody does something to us, we may feel more likely to try and transmit that into sadness or self-blame or something else not to be angry, but boys are all encouraged in some ways to be more aggressive, to let their anger feelings out.
So, you can see how different emotional contexts in various cultures, as well as different families, may have enabled us to have a preference for certain emotions, or try not to show other emotions.
Kim: [00:37:42] Yeah. And so, this exercise you're suggesting -- so, notice where you're at with regards to neutral, and then what?
Georgie: [00:37:50] So if you search for a "feelings wheel" on Google you'll get this, list of emotion words. And Alicia and I put lists of various words in the book, because sometimes you can look at a menu and pick something off of it, even if you couldn't pull the word out of your own mind.
So if you look at the menu of emotions that's in the emotions chapter, you might be able to scan it and say, “yeah, I am feeling a little dejected and I never would have come up with that word."
So, it's like other vocabulary, it's really just practicing. Practicing tuning in, thinking about not only what you're feeling, but also the circumstances and what's happened to you recently, because it makes sense that when we feel love and admiration and good fortune, we feel positive. We feel happy. We feel eager if we're anticipating, you know? So, we can kind of predict, "what are logical things that we might be feeling?"
And when it comes to the negative emotions, it's normal to feel disappointed if we are surprised by something that was not as favorable as we thought it was going to happen. It's normal to feel hurt and sad if we've been insulted or gone through a loss.
And so many people do find working with the therapist is helpful in terms of getting in touch with their emotions and talking about it, but if that's not something that someone's interested in, you can also just try and practice describing your own state on a regular basis.
So, one of the exercises in the book is to try writing down words for how you feel. And there's a couple of words that you're supposed to avoid.
Do you remember, Kim, which words I recommend avoiding?
Kim: [00:39:33] Yes! I think it was "good," "bad," "stressed," the very general words. There were like two more weren't there?
Georgie: [00:39:39] And "fine." "Good," "bad," "stressed," and "fine." Because "fine" doesn't mean a whole lot. It's so, like "fill in the blank."
"Stressed" is helpful, but it's so general that I want people to look one layer past that to try and be just a bit more specific as to the type of stress.
And then "good" and "bad" are, as stressed is a step in the right direction in terms of you've figured out if you're above or below the line of neutral, but let's try and get a little more. Like, what is this good feeling? What is this bad feeling?
Kim: [00:40:15] Yeah. Because it's very different. Like, if you're bad and the word you used, dejected, that's a very different feeling if you're feeling dejected versus if you're feeling, mistreated or whatever, you know? So, like, those are really different feelings that are both bad.
Georgie: [00:40:29] Yeah. they're Both unpleasant. So, the benefit of getting in touch with all of these different words and your different states is, 1) you might realize if you have certain ones that you're afraid to feel. Like, I recognized at one point in my life that I was very, very hesitant to feel angry with people I cared about because I felt like somehow I wasn't allowed to be. Like, it meant I didn't love them if I also felt angry at them. And I've learned that's not true. You can love somebody to bits and be really ticked at them. They coexist. Emotions coexist.
Kim: [00:41:00] Every mother ever is like, "that's true."
Georgie: [00:41:01] Yes. They're like, "you're late to the party, Georgie."
So once you've gotten these words, you can learn more about yourself and you also can start to pair it with your food behaviors, your exercise behaviors, your healthcare behaviors, to see if some of the emotions are standing in your way.
You know, if particular emotions are linked to you performing behaviors that you don't want to perform, or if they're linked to you doing things that you feel really good about, that gives you some really helpful cause and effect information.
And also, it's not so downstream. So, in the past, perhaps every time you felt guilty, you go for Chips Ahoy. So, this may be a path that is just carved in your mind -- guilt, Chips Ahoy. But it doesn't have to be that way. You can look at the things that are causing you guilt and see if maybe you don't need to feel guilty over them. You can also look at the times that you do feel that emotion, what other options you have.
So eating is certainly an option, and then there's other options as well. And you can look at what are the alternatives that you can take for each of those. And there's just so many emotional management skills in the book that I feel like we could talk forever about them.
One of my pet peeves about emotional eating as a topic is the advice out there can typically be summarized as: "don't."
It's just not helpful. Somebody's like "here's advice on how to stop biting your nails: don't."
That's not helpful. That's not helpful at all.
Kim: [00:42:36] It's not. It's not at all.
And so, it's so important, you know, and that's the reason I want to talk about this specific subject. Because there's nothing you can do to manage emotional eating until you absolutely understand what the emotions are that you're feeling.
And so, it's like step one is having to be willing to like, back it up and really start paying attention to like, "what are these emotions I'm feeling?" And then looking for patterns like, "oh gosh, I emotionally eat every time I'm pissed off at my kid. That's what I do." And like, "well, okay, do I want to do that? Is there something else I could do?"
But you can't do any of that unless you figure out that that's what you're actually feeling.
Georgie: [00:43:12] Totally. And then you have so many options.
Some of the stuff we talk about in the book is strategies that are somewhat upstream from the emotion to help us experience more of the positive emotions and be less distressed by the negative ones. Because there are mental tactics and ways that we can view the world and our situations in it that make us not feel quite so 10 out of 10.
And then because we can't eliminate all the negative emotions or uncomfortable emotions from life, there's a lot of tips in there for how you handle those if you don't want to use maladaptive coping skills. So, you know, accepting some degree of discomfort in life, reframing them as ways that we get the things we want, practicing distress tolerance, using social supports.
There's a lot of techniques in there to help people have skills so that they can handle these feelings of different types really skillfully.
Kim: [00:44:13] Yeah. And the thing that's so important is, for people listening to this to know, if this all feels like, "wow, I don't even know what you're talking about," these are all things you will practice. You can practice your way to understanding. And Georgie has great exercises in the book.
If you're like, "I don't even know where to start with that." You know, read this and know that you can become a person who understands your own emotion and then can handle them in a way that is not maladaptive.
If you're like, yeah, "I don't see myself doing it." It's a skill you practice.
Georgie: [00:44:43] Yeah. Like anything. Like, if somebody tried to teach us Olympic-level gymnastics on a single session, we'd be like, "oh my God..." but if they're like, "here's how you do somersault..." we're like, "somersault. Got it. Give me a week to practice the somersault."
And that's how we build any complex skillset. The nice thing about a book format is that you have to put one page in front of another. So, just like you can't read the whole book in one shot, you can just take the practices one page at a time. They're already laid out in an order.
Kim: [00:45:15] Yeah, absolutely.
I could talk about emotions all day, but let's move on. I want to talk about at least one more subject of the book. I really identified with this part about rest and by giving yourself more when it comes to rest. You know, the idea that you talked in there about, "if I take a break, there's no way I'll get to everything I need to do."
I was like, "that's exactly right." That's me. I'm an achiever. I'm building this business. I've all the stuff that has to get done. And so, I loved this chapter.
So, talk to us, how can we give ourselves more when it comes to rest?
Georgie: [00:45:53] When it comes to priorities, a lot of women will raise their hand and say, "yeah, rest is important. Of course." But then we kind of put it on the back burner when it comes to other stuff. We tend to not want to devote our time to it when there's something else we could give our time to, we tend to not want to devote any dollars to it if we can put those dollars towards something else. And if it's inconvenient, we're unlikely to persevere to get rest.
But if we put rest on an equal playing field with food and water and pleasure and time with our families. Well, pleasure is a whole ‘nother one that we can get put on the back burner, but if we put it on the top tier, then we make time for it with the same fervor that we make time for the other things that we need to do.
So I'm the last person who's going to say, "well, just take some of the things off your to-do list so you can rest," but I'm saying give it equal effort as the other things, because it has immense payoffs to do so.
And women shortchange themselves selves in rest in many different ways. You know, the most obvious would be sleep -- that people don't sleep enough -- but there's also just the downtime, like allowing yourself to not be doing three things at once every minute that you're awake and giving yourself a few minutes.
Many women say -- and here's where I'm tempted to choose my words very carefully for fear of offending someone -- it's so easy for us to think we can't. So easy. "I don't have time. I don't have time." That used to be my mantra. "Don't have time. Don't have time." And I was a stress ball. "I don't have time. I don't have time." But maybe we do. Maybe we do have time, especially if we're doing other stuff to handle the stress, like stress eating.
So, when I was telling myself, I didn't have time, I was still snacking. So somehow, I was making time to snack. Many times we also are not as efficient as we could be in doing our tasks because we're fried.
When you're not giving yourself any rest and you're pushing yourself to the wire, you're just not as productive as you could be for a lot of those minutes. Where you may find yourself your mind's wandering, you're distracted, it's human. Like, you're not a robot. So taking rest at an earlier time point can be more effective in the sense of perking you up and getting you going again at your optimal operating capacity and spare you the running on a dead battery for the last 10% of your work.
Kim: [00:48:38] You shared a study that took place in Japan that I thought was super interesting.
Georgie: [00:48:43] Yeah. So, they actually experimented with a four-day work week and found that productivity increases with people. And I'm not all that surprised. I mean when you first hear that, you're like, "what?? How would that happen? Why won't my boss just give us a four-day work week?"
And when I think about myself and my clients, we often find that there's a sweet spot where there's some days when you have so much done that you want to tear your hair out and that's too far. But there are some days when you have enough of a full calendar, if your mindsets in the right spot, you maximize your productivity. You think, "I'm going to line them up and knock them down today."
And you get excited about your own productivity and you don't waste time and you're efficient and you move from thing to thing to thing to thing, you give yourself kudos, and then you have a three day weekend.
So, I think that can be the mode that people get into. If they're determined to get their work done in four days so that they can have a good rest, it pans out. But I think if you tried to get all your work into four days so that you could repaint the house, tear up the carpet, redo the garden, empty the trash, you know, like if you just filled up your weekend with more work, I somehow think it wouldn't work. I think we would just go back to wasting time and being not as productive during the week.
You have to have enriching rest to be able to work hard.
Kim: [00:50:05] That's a really great point. So, a change I've made in my life based on this -- so it happened because it was the same time as my vacation -- this is the first time I've taken a real vacation away from work.
Like, I put the thing on my email telling everybody, like, "not getting back to you till after the 13th," talked to all of my clients and said like, "on a vacation, here's what you need to know," like, all the things. And so, I really didn't work and I don't usually do that. But to get ready for my vacation, to be able to do that, I pulled all these crazy, almost all-nighters trying to get everything settled. It was pretty crazy situation.
So, by the time I got on vacation, I was flat out exhausted. Because first of all, I'm on a beach vacation, which any mom knows, if you have a bunch of kids you're bringing to the beach, it's a lot of work.
Georgie: [00:50:52] It's a lot of logistics.
Kim: [00:50:54] Yes. Just to get us to the beach with the food and the stuff. And then I'd done all these 18-hour days to get my work settled. So, I was just flat out exhausted.
And so, I slept a lot the first few days. And then I was just really resting and I just, I actually slept like real eight hours a night. And by the end of the week I had come to two decisions.
Georgie: [00:51:16] Okay. I'm excited to hear this.
Kim: [00:51:17] I've only been home since the weekend, so I've only been doing this a few days, but I can already tell that I feel so much better. I will get eight hours of sleep a night now, that's now my non-negotiable. So whatever time I go to bed, I'm not setting my alarm till eight hours later.
Like, whatever time that is. If I have a morning thing, I have to set it correctly and I've done it every night this week, even though last night, I was trying to hang out with my daughter and she wanted to stay up later, I'm like, I'm now waking up at 7:30 in the morning. I'm a 6:00 AM or 5:00 AM-er or so.
But I did it. I set my alarm for 7:30, so I'm getting more sleep. And then the other thing is I'm not working at night. Because I usually work all the time. Like, if one of my kids or my husband is not like physically standing here, like, "we're doing something," I just work because I like my work and there's always work to do.
And it's finally dawning on me: I will never come to a point where I have nothing else left to do. I won't. Like, there's always going to be more I could do. And so, if I don't just give myself a hard stop, I will never stop. I'm just going to keep going. And so that's my other thing. I have to take off work at a reasonable stopping hour and actually relax in the evenings.
Georgie: [00:52:20] So what are you doing with that time that you're giving yourself in the evening?
Kim: [00:52:24] It's hard! And that's one of the next question they have for you -- and I'll tell you what I've been doing -- but how do people learn to rest and relax when that's not typically their go-to mode? For me, I've shifted to doing things like being outside, actually reading a book for pleasure. Look, I love to read and so, even if it's a nonfiction book, it's still relaxing for me to sit and read. So, I go outside and I read. And we're getting ready to redo our kitchen. And I never just sit around like looking at pretty kitchens online. And that's what I've been doing. I'm like, just making myself it's little book of like, the things I think are pretty.
So that's how I've been spending my evenings, which is not how I usually spend my evenings.
Georgie: [00:52:59] Wow. So, there's a degree of discomfort because it's so weird and different.
Kim: [00:53:03] Yes. And I can think of about eight other things that I could productively be doing.
Not that these aren't productive, but you know, this is what I'm saying: how can people practice resting and relaxing if their natural tendency is not rest and relax?
Georgie: [00:53:18] Well, I think one great example that you've already given is that it feels a little weird. So, expect it to feel a little weird at first. Like, to cut your nails a little too short for a few days, they're going to feel a little touchy.
It's going to feel a little weird if you go from never letting yourself rest to letting yourself rest but look for the benefits. So, have you noticed some benefits? What did you notice about getting more rest on vacation that made you want to do it once you got home?
Kim: [00:53:40] I'm like breathing easily. Like, I feel like this weight is off of me.
Because before I always felt like I was just in this mode of like, "go, go, go, go," and I feel just a little more sense of ease. You know, not constantly running against an unbeatable clock.
Georgie: [00:53:57] That's pretty priceless.
So, I think looking for that is really helpful in determining if this is something we want to continue.
Because your brain's going to be, "you know, you could be more productive if you were doing this," "there's mail on the counter that you should get rid of, work on that pile." There's going to always be other things to do.
But if you're saying like, "no, this ease of breathing, the sense of peace that I have in myself is important. That's worth working for." That'll help you stick to it for long enough to make it a new habit.
I always encourage people to work in baby steps. I am a fan of slow, comfortable change. So, for some people it may just be slowing down some of the activities that you normally rush through.
Other than not resting -- you can go even further than not letting yourself rest and try and hurry through everything. Simply taking some of the time pressure off by allowing yourself a realistic frame of time to do things can be a huge step in the right direction.
And then you can also practice taking micro rests. Like, you can take a small pause to refresh yourself between client appointments if you have to see a lot of people. Few deep breaths, resetting your intention, deliberately closing your mind on the things that are behind you and opening to the things that are in front of you can be really rejuvenating rather than trying to keep them all juggling in your mind at the same time. So that is a form of rest, even if you're not laying down.
Giving you and yourself permission to lay down is a huge move for a lot of women. Like, they would rather go to the kitchen and take handfuls of granola out of the bag and eat them standing in the pantry, but going to lay down is scary shit.
Kim: [00:55:48] Yeah. You take five minutes to do that, but you're not going to take 5 or 10 minutes to go lay on the sofa.
Georgie: [00:55:53] Go lie down. And no one in your family is going to think you're lazy. It's in your head. It's pretty much in your head that, "people might think this, or I might think this, or I might not be a good mom or a good housewife or a good anything because I'm laying down."
And take that fight on, push back against that voice that's bullying you and saying, "you don't get to rest." Like, "not today, mean girl. Today I am taking a few minutes because I'm important. And if I take good care of myself, I do well. And nobody else is winning, nobody else is benefiting from me pushing myself to the brink of destruction."
Kim: [00:56:31] Yeah. That's a really good way of putting it. I like that you talked about you first, before you mentioned the other people. Because, you know, a lot of women have the idea in their mind, like, "I need to perform well for everybody else. And that's why I need to do X, Y, and Z." And it's true. Like, it's a hundred percent true. You will perform better for everybody else if you're well rested and all the things, but that's not the only reason it matters. It matters because you're a person and you deserve to feel well rested and all the other good things.
Georgie: [00:56:56] Yeah. Yeah. Just like I mentioned, bringing rest up on-par with all the other important things that you want to make time for, like bringing yourself up to on-par with everybody else.
Like, "yeah, I want to make food that everybody else enjoys, so I end up cooking a bunch of different things." Great. Make something you enjoy, too.
I think that's the difference between healthful serving of other people and allowing them to serve us and having a balanced dynamic versus the dynamic where we're just serving other people all the time and no one is refilling us and we're not asking anyone to refill us and we're not refilling us.
Kim: [00:57:36] Yes. That's huge. It's a big mindset shift for a lot of women. It’s an important one.
Georgie: [00:57:41] Thank God there's a book on it!
Kim: [00:57:45] Georgie, thank you so much for coming on. Where can everyone find you if they're looking for you?
Georgie: [00:57:51] Well, right now I'm in my closet, but...
Kim: [00:57:54] Go to Lake Louise and start looking at people's closets.
Georgie: [00:57:59] Just look up on the hilltops, I'm probably up there somewhere.
Find me on Facebook. My name is Georgia Fear. There's not too many of us out there.
My company is called Nutrition Loft, so you can find us at nutritionloft.com. We have some excellent free materials. You can take some of our free courses because we love giving information away for free.
If you want to get the book, "Give Yourself More," it's available direct from the publisher, which is On Target Publications.
So, if you go to otp.com, you'll see "Give Yourself More" is shown prominently there and so you can pick it up. You could also put, "Give Yourself More book" into Google and I bet you'd find it. It is sold on Amazon, so if you want to support Amazon, you can go there. It is available for Kindle, it's available in all the electronic formats and Audible.
So, you can hear Alicia and I read the book to you as you fall asleep, if you buy the Audible version. It's really fun to record the audio book. So exhausting.
Kim: [00:58:59] Thanks so much, Georgie.
Okay everybody, that's a lot of ways you can find Georgie. So, there you go. Thank you so much for being here and coming on and talking to us about these really important subjects.
Georgie: [00:59:08] Thank you! It was a blast. Thanks for reading my book and I'm excited to see how it pans out in your life.
Kim: [00:59:14] Amazing. We'll talk soon.
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.
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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.