Fitness Simplified Eposode 43
Welcome back to the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host Kim Schlag.
On today's episode, I speak with a woman named Deborah about fatigue eating. Now Deborah reached out to me via DM on Instagram and asked if I had an episode like this. I did not. And so I invited her on to kind of hash it out. This is a format I used to do a lot when I first started the podcast, and I would love to do some more episodes like this. It's a great way for you to get some one on one coaching like I do with my clients. So if you are interested in coming on the podcast, and having me help you through an issue you are having with your nutrition or your fitness or your weight loss, shoot me a DM and let me know what your question is. and we'll see about getting some of you on here. Alright, let's listen in now as Deborah and I talk through what to do if you find yourself in the snack cupboard, just because you're tired.
Deborah, welcome to the Fitness Simplified Podcast. I'm super excited to have you here today.
Thanks. I'm definitely excited to be here.
So, look, why don't we start here? Why don't you introduce yourself? Tell everybody a little bit about you, where you're calling from, your family life, just a little bit about you.
Sure. Um, so my name is Deborah and I live in Dallas, Texas - born and raised, Texas. I have been an athlete most of my life, but I've also been overweight most of my life. I have a wonderful husband and I have two kids. My oldest is four years old and my youngest is two years old.
Wow. Four and two.
Yes, it's a busy time of life.
Oh, my goodness. It sure is boy, girl, both?
Both. Yeah, so the oldest is a boy and the youngest is a girl.
Got it. So, four and two -- that is a very physically demanding time of life.
Yes, for sure. I think I feel like it's demanding like physically, emotionally, spiritually.
All of it.
Yeah. All the ways, all the ways. And do you have family close by or you guys kinda on your own?
My husband's family lives in the Metroplex as well. And then my family's actually from Waco, so there, you know, two-ish hours away.
Okay. And do you stay home with the kiddos? Do you work? What do you do?
A little of both. So, um, I mostly stay at home with my kids, they are old enough now that they do go to like a mother's-day-out program, two or three days a week, just depending on the week, and then I also work from home. So, I am an online teacher. I teach ESL to kiddos in China. And yeah, so for this past year I was getting up at four or 5am. Monday through Friday to teach but after a year of that, that really took a toll on my health and so the past month or two, I've been cutting back on that. And just doing that one or two days a week.
Got it. And that actually leads nicely into our topic here.
So, Deborah, and I know each other through Jordan Syatt's, Inner Circle, and Deborah reached out to me, she listens to my podcast and was asked me if I had a podcast or knew if Jordan had a podcast about a certain subject. And that is why we're on this podcast today. Because the answer was no, I didn't have one. And I didn't think Jordan did either. So, Deborah, tell us what was the subject you reached out to me about?
Sure. So, I struggle a lot with snacking, I'm sure like most moms struggle with that because there's just not a lot of time. Once you take care of your kiddos and get them to where they need to be and getting naps and all that stuff. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of time. And also, I've been listening to your podcast, Kim, and I also follow Marcy on Instagram. And I've really been learning about mindful eating and trying to eat when I'm hungry, or at least being aware, like when I open the pantry, what is going on? Why am I opening the pantry door if I'm not hungry, and what I've realized over the past month or two is that a lot of times I'm not actually eating out of boredom or out of stress, a lot of times I'm eating because I am tired. And so, I'm looking for some sort of boost of energy and I just automatically start looking for chocolate or looking for some sort of like highly sugared processed carb of some sort. So that's why I reached that to you, because I've heard a lot about, you know, emotional eating, and I'm sure I have a little bit of that too. But I feel like the majority of my struggle with is that fatigue eating, fatigue snacking.
Gotcha. Fatigue snacking. I bet a lot of people are shaking their heads right now and being like, yes, I do that. There are a lot of tired people out there.
Let's start here. When you are snacking in that way, does it help in the moment? So, let's say you’re really tired and you're digging around in the pantry and you find some snacks. Does it work?
I feel like for a very, very short time period it works like for maybe like, you know, 5-10 minutes, I feel a little bit better. And then it quickly drops off. And so I want another hit.
Got it. So it's working in the immediate short-term. But super, super immediate.
Very short term.
Yeah, that's important to pick apart. So let's talk about this then. One of the most important things in a situation like this is to get to the root of the issue. So, there's a couple of things we could talk about today. We definitely should address like the fact that you're perpetually tired, right? See what can be done about that. And then we can talk about addressing your nutrition as a whole and then addressing eating for reasons other than hunger. So let's start with the sleep itself. What is your sleep? It sounds like you've made some changes in the past month that sound like they're heading in the right direction. Because what time did you say you were getting up? Four?
I used to get up at four or five in the morning and then teach for like two or three hours straight, and then try to be a stay at home mom to my kids. And I was realizing that like my temper was getting shorter and shorter. I was tired just all the time, never had energy, and had really poor workouts. So my husband finally was just like you need to cut back this year.
And how have you -- how has it improved in the time since you've not been getting up at four every day? How many days of the week were you doing that?
I was doing that five days a week.
And now? What are you doing now?
And now maybe one day a week? I was able to switch it to where I'm mostly just teaching like on Friday evenings. Which is a lot more doable.
Got it. So how much sleep are you getting currently? Do you know how many hours of sleep a night?
Yeah, so I track it on a fitness device actually, because I've been curious about it. And so now for about the past month or so I've been getting between seven and eight hours, which is awesome. So I feel way better in the mornings.
Good. That's fantastic. And are you still feeling as tired? Do you feel like you're still at such a lack of sleep? Going for so long sleep deprived?
Yeah, I mean, I can tell that my body is still recovering or at least I think that's what's happening is that it's still recovering because I do still feel like I need even more sleep than what I'm getting. Like, if I could nap in the middle of the day, I totally would because I'm still fatigued. But it is a lot better. But I also just feel like I got into the habit, like, in this past year, of doing that for a whole year getting up Monday through Friday so early in the morning, I just feel like now I have kind of a more ingrained habit of just turning to the pantry whenever I'm tired in the middle of the day.
Got it. Gotcha. That makes perfect sense.
So, what are your sleep habits like? When you go to bed at night you have a sleep routine? What's your nighttime routine like?
Um, I've only just in the past couple weeks actually started making that one of my goals. I know Jordan was posting about making goals for the day, like action goals. And so I've only recently started doing that. And so one of them is to be in bed by 10 o'clock. I'm a big bookworm, and so I have to be in bed by 10 o'clock, even if I'm still reading, and then I tried it to turn off the lamp and put my book down by 11, if not sooner.
Great. And how successful are you putting the book down?
Depends on the book. But most of the time. I'm pretty good about that. So yeah, I usually fall asleep between 10 and 11 and then I have an alarm that goes off at seven o'clock so I can get up and have a cup of coffee before my kids get up.
Okay, great. I will say it sounds like the actual sleep habits itself, it sounds like you're getting a real handle on that, that you have a schedule now that's going to allow you seven to eight hours of sleep, and you're not staying up, you know, playing on your screens late at night.
Most of the time I don't.
Most of the time you don't, yeah. Look, I'm a person who also loves to read and I know that 10 can bleed into 11, can bleed into 12 if it the book is good enough, right? That little piece of discipline can help but it sounds like you've got some good habits in place there that you're going to be working on. So that's fantastic. Let's talk about your actual nutrition. What is a typical day’s worth of food like for you, like talk me through? What does that look like for you?
To be honest, right now it is a mess. We've had just a really a really stressful January, so a lot of different events and then just some, we're having some kind of just some struggles with my oldest kiddo. He's got some learning disabilities and so we're kind of back to the drawing board with him and that's really stressful. So honestly, that is super impacted my nutrition so like, like this morning, I had, you know, a cup of coffee, and then a protein bar for breakfast, and then I was out the door getting my kids to their mother's day out program. So lunch is sometimes better usually I'll try to do like a big salad or chicken or something like that, but honestly like the past week or so it's been like some protein chips or like whatever I can grab and I know that is not a good choice for me like I really need something filling in nutritious and then dinner I'm usually pretty conscientious about making sure that my family and I both have something pretty healthy, some sort of protein and vegetable and a decently healthy carb. So...
So when is the typical time that you find yourself in the pantry doing the fatigue snacking? What time of day is that?
Whenever when my kids go down for their afternoon nap. So that's like 1-1:30 to like 3:30, that two hour window. That's when I feel the most tired and that's when I definitely turn to the pantry the most.
Got it. And if most days are similar to today, it sounds like you actually haven't had much to eat at this point already. Maybe a protein shake and some coffee and maybe a handful of protein chips or something.
That's it. Yes, correct.
How do you feel about the idea of actually fueling yourself a little bit better, breakfast and lunch, so that come three o'clock you actually have some energy in your body?
I think it is a great idea and I've actually been considering trying to focus more on the three meals, two snacks kind of idea. But I'm also fearful about that because I'm fearful about okay, well what if, you know, I'm doing the three meals, two snacks but what if I'm tired and I get too many snacks from the pantry again and I'm going to blow my calorie budget out the out the wazoo. So...
What are you doing right now? Are you tracking calories?
I am, yeah. I'm tracking calories and I'm trying to lose a little bit more weight. So yeah, so my background in that is that two years ago I had my daughter and about a year postpartum I was still at like 180-185 pounds. I've lost 20 pounds in this past year by just being consistent with calorie deficit, following Jordan, following you and Marci, and just kind of getting just really, really feeling more inspired and empowered by you guys. And so right now I'm trying to kind of lose the last 10 pounds. And so I've been doing a very modest calorie deficit, but I'm not sticking to it 100%. Like I said, this past January has been stressful, and I really feel like I'm just now starting to get all my crap together.
Got it. Totally. You know, I think either choice could be totally fine as far as are you going to track calories? Or are you going to are you going to switch to the three meals, two snacks, I think either could be a good fit for you. It might not be the best idea right now to switch to something totally different. Since you're familiar with calorie counting, maybe while making this change to actually trying to feel yourself a little bit more. You might feel more comfortable just sticking with calorie counting and saying like, alright, I'm going to actually have a breakfast and I'm going to actually have a lunch and make that fit into my calories. You might feel more comfortable and confident in the fact that you're still hitting your calorie deficit. What do you think about that?
Yeah, I think that would be great. I think, kind of, doing a marriage of the two: counting calories, but still really making an effort to have three real meals would be would be really helpful.
Yeah. And when it comes down to fat loss, the number of meals we have in a day, it doesn't matter. Like scientifically, this has been shown, a person can eat two meals, a person can eat six meals, it doesn't matter for fat loss, as long as you're in a deficit. Where it matters is what helps an individual person to stick to their nutrition plan, right? So if you're trying to stick to your deficit, and you're not eating much during the day, and then you're snacking a whole bunch later, you're not in a deficit anyway. So for you getting a good solid, I'm going to actually have a meal at lunch and a meal at breakfast, or you might sit around with it and figure out like hey, you know what, I actually like just having a big lunch, the number of meals doesn't matter. What's gonna matter is you getting some food in your body so that you're not in the cupboard later. Does that make sense?
Yes, it does. And I think I've been trying to kind of skip over breakfast a little bit so that I have more calories to spend, like on lunch, and dinner. But I think what that has meant is like you said, like, by the time lunch time and nap time rolls around for my kids, I am so fatigued, that I just want to snack for the next couple hours and going over my calorie budget.
And maybe it feels a little bit easier just to grab handfuls of things rather than prep a meal and sit down.
Yeah, of course, because you're a busy mom with little kids. There's just like, if I could get a handful of this right now I can keep going.
That's right. That's exactly right.
Yeah. And it might just be making a dedicated habit of I will eat meals, whether you decide that's going to be a breakfast and a lunch or whether it's just going to be one meal, like if you want to, if you're a person who's like okay, I don't I really want to eat breakfast, I'm not hungry, I'm gonna sit down at noon and have my big meal. I think either could work. But I would say picking a strategy and going with it for like three weeks and seeing what works. And then you could switch it up at that time. How does that sound to you?
That sounds great. I think I might also need to make like a concentrated effort to like, not have that many yummy snacks around for that period of time, though, for those three or four weeks it takes for me to adjust. Because it is so tempting to just be like, all right, let me grab some chips or let me grab a protein bar and that'll be enough until dinnertime.
I think that's brilliant. I think it absolutely is setting up your environment for success. Look, and it doesn't mean you can't eat any of those yummy things you like it just means for right now you're not going to keep them close at hand. Right? If you want one of those yummy snacks one day you can plan in your calories and go out to the store and buy a single serve pack of it right and fit it in.
Exactly. That's why I'm not gonna buy them in bulk anymore.
Yeah, and it's a really, it's a really smart idea, Deborah. I love it. Because how easy is it when you're just feeling a little bit tired to open that pantry door? But are you really going to get in the car and drive to the Wawa? Well -- you don't have a Wawa -- that's my local gas station. It's a weird sounding name, I know. You're not just going to drive out to the local convenience store when you're tired to get yourself a snack, right? The chances of you doing that are pretty low, right? You're gonna need to put kids in car seats to do that.
Exactly. It'll be whole 'nother ballgame, yeah.
That's probably not happening. So I love that idea. So get your environment cleaned up a little bit. Don't stock the things that you typically find yourself snacking on. Give yourself actual meals earlier in the day, and what might that mean for you in terms of meal planning or prepping? How do you do with that?
Well, I haven't been doing that much and I know that is a big part of it -- is that really, I need some stuff already made that I can grab easily. So that's one thing I did yesterday I was just like, okay, tomorrow I'm gonna get back on track and so I went ahead and cooked a bunch of chicken breasts and shredded it all up and portioned out so that today for lunch I know I can just throw that on top of some salad and that's my lunch today.
That's fantastic. That's fantastic. Way to go.
Yeah, I've done that all month. So...
Yeah and what about breakfast? What do you have in mind that, what can be a really good fit for something you're not spending a ton of time if you need to get your kids out the door to their what did you call it? A mom's day out and program. What do you need to -- what could you have on hand so that you're like alright, I can actually eat a meal here?
I do have some, some bagels that are like whole wheat and they're a little bit higher in protein as well. So I know that I could toast one of those I could cook an egg -- it takes a minute or two to cook an egg so I could totally have a you know an egg bagel as a quick breakfast or again like I think a protein bar is okay I know it's not a lot of bulk, but it is a good hit of protein and a little bit of calories until I can sit down to lunch.
Yeah, and maybe even the protein bar and a piece of fruit, you know something so you have a little bit more volume with your meal. And I like the idea that you're thinking about getting some protein in there. I think that's fantastic. Protein really helps. And getting some carbs in there -- I know a lot of women try almost unconsciously to go super low carb, right? And when we do that, you know, carbs is like our body's preferred energy source. So being careful not to go like no carb, right? And especially for somebody like you who you're crashing late in the day in the afternoon, having no carbs in your body might send you for that quick rush of like sugar in the pantry. So getting some complex carbs in with your breakfast and in with your lunch can really help.
Well, I've been wanting to try your overnight oat recipe and also like your baked oatmeal recipes, so maybe I'll give those a whirl.
Yeah, and if you like those, you know, the good thing about both of those is they can be prepped ahead of time and it's literally a filling meal, has some complex carbs, has protein, and it's fast -- like in the moment it's fast. Takes about 20 minutes to prep those things ahead, but then it's done for you know, a good handful of days. I do like stuff like that.
Yeah, so maybe I should commit time like on Sunday nights as to prepping some of that shredded chicken, prepping overnight oats or baked oatmeal and just having that.
I think that's a great idea. So having a little -- and it doesn't have to be a massive like, you don't have to be one of these like women on Instagram who's got 49 different jars of matching cute meals, right?
I'm always so impressed by those women.
Me too but that's not me and it's never happening. And the good thing is it doesn't have to happen like you could literally do like some a couple jars of overnight oats, a baked oatmeal, some shredded chicken and boom like you are now set up for success and it's not that much time. I think that's a really great idea. So having some food prepped, going into the day planning: I will eat at least one meal, maybe two good meals, and having your house setup without that stuff in it. All of that right there. That's massive. That's, that's massively good.
The last piece I really think we should talk about is what about those moments when you really are feeling tired? And your go-to reaction is chocolate, snack, right? Let's talk that through. Because, you know, you brought up the idea of emotional eating, it's really the same type of thing. If hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution. And we think it is, we, we all we always think it is right? Whether we're sad, or whether we're bored, or whether we're tired, it's an easy thing to go for. And in the end, it doesn't usually solve the problem. Now for you, it's solving it in super short term, like five minutes, but then you're back there. And in the end, it's screwing up your weight loss goal, so it's not really helping. So a really good thing to do then is figure out alright, what will I do in that moment? So in that moment, like what if it still happens? Because look, it's not gonna -- you're not gonna totally prevent it. You will probably still have those moments where your gut reaction is now I went to snack because I'm really tired. So something we can do here is brainstorm a bit with what can you do in those moments that actually helps with the problem? So off the top of your head, like, what do you have? Usually I make my clients give me three options for -- and they have to be reasonable -- and I always tell them, you cannot tell me take a bubble bath if you don't have time to be wet, right? Like you're a mom with two little kids. You're not running off to like get a glass of wine and lay in the tub. Right?
Correct. Yeah, and I can't go for a run or anything.
It has to be something reasonable that you could do that would actually feel like it might help you with the fact that you're really tired at two or three in the afternoon. What do you have?
So, I want to count these as two but you might count this as one. So, one is make a cup of tea and two is make a cup of coffee. So, I have done that. And that has been helpful. It feels like it's a treat. I'm having something. It is giving me kind of a longer burst of energy, but it's not blowing up my calorie budget.
So, I think that's a great idea. So the coffee, caffeine that's going to help. The tea, is it caffeinated, or is it more like relaxing like...
It's caffeinated. Yeah, I'm a black tea kind of girl. So it's definitely caffeinated.
Okay, that that can work. That can work. So let's count that, let's count that as one, okay? Caffeinated beverage: that's one possibility. What else do you have? Is there the possibility while your kids are napping for you to actually take a rest of some sort?
Oh, yeah, for sure. I could do that. Yeah, I could. I could go lay down on the sofa or lay down on my bed for a little bit.
And does that feel like a reasonable thing to do or like, oof, that really messes up my day?
I think it's a reasonable thing to do. I think I should do it more often, yeah.
Well, then I think putting that in your little book of possibilities, I think it should be there for sure. You know, because if you're tired leg down and closing your eyes, even for 20 minutes can help, you know? And it's certainly going to help as far as weight loss is concerned versus, you know, eating a chocolate here and a chocolate there. All right, so that's two things: actually, taking a bit of rest, having a beverage, let's come up with one more thing you can do if you're feeling tired, snacky in the afternoon.
I could chew some gum.
Will that actually help?
I don't know.
I will say it wouldn't necessarily help with the tired piece. It would help with the snacky piece, right?
Yeah, it would be something sweet.
Yes, I do think for a lot of us who are snackers -- I've historically been a snacker -- that putting a piece of gum in our mouth when we're about to take a snack can really help because once we're chewing the gum, like we're not putting a chip in there too. So in that way, it can help. It doesn't really help with the root of the problem which is, hey you're feeling tired.
I mean the only other thing -- so we have we have like, I'm looking at it right now, we have a folded-up treadmill that is underneath my guest bed right now. But I could go ahead and pull that thing out and have it set up so that if I feel tired I could -- if I'm really feeling motivated, I could hop on that and just get some steps in because once I go for a walk, even if I'm tired, I usually feel more energized by the end of the walk.
I love it. I love that. Okay, you know what I really love? Those are three very different strategies, right? We're going from like, you might literally just lay down and get some rest, to have a caffeinated beverage, to actually like get some energy going by moving. I think those are three really great strategies.
Okay, amazing. Well I think we've addressed a lot of stuff here. So we're talking about the root cause like actually cleaning up your sleep habits, which you're already on. Addressing your nutrition, which I think is going to be really the big kicker here.
You're just not feeling yourself properly earlier in the day and I think getting a handle on that by having some food prepped, making the plan, and what if we give you a goal for the next three weeks, you're going to eat breakfast and lunch. You know, every day for the next three weeks. Does that sound doable?
Yes, it sounds like a challenge for sure, but it sounds doable. And I agree with you that I think that is the key for me -- is prepping beforehand and then actually sitting down and having those meals.
Yeah, absolutely. Alright, so get yourself out a calendar and let's have you writing off X's for the days you're giving yourself breakfast and lunch. How's that feel?
Sounds great. We'll do it
Amazing. And then break those three strategies down that we talked about so that you have them in your back pocket. So that when you're feeling snacky, because it still will happen, that you have something else that like okay, wait, I already know what I'm going to do, here are my three choices, I'm going to pick one of those
I actually might write it down and actually tape it on to my pantry door. So I see it every time I go open the pantry.
That's fantastic. I love that, Deborah. You know what else I really love about you. You are a problem solver. You're a person looking for solutions. I can tell that as we're talking today that you're like, oh, and I tried this, I'm doing that. It's really good. It goes a long way towards actually reaching your goals to be a person who looks for solutions, rather than just like, here's my problem, right? You're like, Oh, wait, here's something that could help. So I am super confident in your ability to push past this. I think you're gonna, I think you're gonna do amazingly well.
Thank you. And I think that's one of the biggest things I've learned from you, and Marci, and Jordan, and Susan, all of y'all. I love that you guys really push just getting back on track and just keep going, even if you have obstacles, just to get back on track. And that's been a huge encouragement. And I think it's one of the reasons why I keep trying to find different ways to overcome these things.
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, as far as the getting back on track, remember this calendar you're going to have and you're gonna be putting the X's on the days where you actually have breakfast and lunch, the main goal is going to be to have no two zero days in a row, right? So we're gonna see if you can get all X's, but if you can't, if you get zero one day, what it means is, hey, tomorrow, I'm getting my X, right? Doesn't mean like, well I screwed up now, right? Getting back on track is always the thing.
I don't have to start all over again, I can just keep going.
We're not starting back from day one again.
All right, and then check back in with me for sure. And let me know how it goes.
Amazing. Thanks so much for being here today.
Thank you, Kim.
All right, talk soon.
All right, bye.
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I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.