Wes: Welcome to the first episode of Healthy Mind Fit Body Podcast, this is Wes Bertrand.
Kevin: And this is Kevin Koskella.
Wes: And did you have any nightmares or bad dreams last night, Kevin?
Kevin: Yeah actually I did! I had a dream that I was at a rock concert, it was at a small club and I was making eyes with the drummer, it was a female. And they ended up going on break and then she came over to me and we were talking for about two minutes and then she asked for my number.
Kevin: Yeah, it was a big shock.
Wes: Did she make you do any pushups to get that number?
Kevin: No, actually.
Wes: Or did you make her do any pushups? That’s the question.
Kevin: Uh no, nobody was doing any pushups. It was a big hurry, and then I left the bar and was walking around town for a little while and then I realized like I needed to find her. And I was on this mission to go find her again and I couldn’t remember where the bar was.
Wes: And then you ended up on a super marathon trying to find her.
Kevin: Yeah, exactly. And it was like two in the morning.
Wes: In sandals….
Kevin: Of course! Why would you wear running shoes?
Wes: Yeah, that relates to a segment on the Daily Show where Jon Stewart interviewed a guy that’s got a book out about the super marathoners, or the ultra marathoners, that was down in Mexico right?
Kevin: Right, right.
Wes: They somehow eluded the Conquistadors way back when unlike the Aztecs and the Mayans that got slaughtered by the invading Spaniards. But these guys apparently are really healthy and they run these ultra marathons and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’m not sure how much hard evidence there is out there on this but it’s an intriguing idea.
Wes: They avoid cancer, I mean they have a really low rate of cancer and low rates of heart disease and that’s pretty impressive. But it reminds me of this blog post I saw in MindHacks.com titled “Like Running Through Hell.” It relates the scientific research that shows that there is trauma experience with people who do really long endurance activities. They experience extremely high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
And apparently these psychologists noted that the cortisol levels recorded just thirty minutes after a marathon have found to be similar to those in soldiers during military training and interrogation, rape victims just after the attack, severe burn injury patients, and first time parachute jumpers. So obviously high cortisol levels are not a good thing for anti-aging and related diseases, right?
Kevin: Yeah, it doesn’t look like it is. And there’s a lot more healthy things you can do with your exercise and health overall. So I think that’s a good segway into this article that we wanted to talk about. It’s been kind of heating up in the mainstream and I keep hearing people talk about it and it’s from Time Magazine. And the title of the article is called “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin” and it actually came out on August 9th so it’s pretty recent.
So I’m just going to read the first paragraph and we can talk about that. “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin – could pushing people to exercise more actually be contributing to our obesity problem? In some respects, yes because exercise depletes not just the body’s muscles but the brain’s self control muscle as well. Many of us will feel greater entitlement to eat a bag of chips during that lazy time after we get back from the gym. This explains why exercise could make you heavier or at least why my wretched four hours of exercise a week aren’t eliminating all my fat. It’s likely that I am more sedentary during my non-exercise hours than I would be if I didn’t exercise with such Puritan fury. If I exercise less I might feel like walking instead of hopping into a cab. I might have enough energy to shop for food, cook, and then clean instead of ordering a satisfyingly greasy burrito.”
Wes: So there seems to be a dichotomy set up there when you exercise you end up getting hungry and binging on various things that aren’t so good for you. But when you’re not exercising like a maniac then you can practice more self-control. The self-control muscle that’s mentioned at the beginning seems to be something that is the sticking point here. And of course there’s views on the other side of this article too, there are some fitness and weight loss gurus out there that take a position that seems to be focused on the other side of the equation which is mental control in that exercise actually does create weight loss. But it’s just about self-discipline. So where do you think the truth lies in all these matters of weight loss through exercise?
Kevin: Well it’s actually a couple things. I mean I’ll read the conclusion here before I comment. It says, “In short, it’s what you eat not how hard you try to work it off that matters more in losing weight. You should exercise to improve your health but be warned, fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain. I love how exercise makes me feel but tomorrow I might skip the Versaclimber and skip the blueberry bar that is my usual post-exercise reward.” So yeah, it does come down to…and it talked about this in our book, “The Healthy Mind Fit Body,” it comes out that nutrition is the most important thing. There’s no doubt about that.
And that’s where this article does get it right, that you need to focus on nutrition. The idea that exercise is bad is not really true either, but they do give a lot of evidence to support that if you just start sticking with exercise along and kind of ignore your nutrition or really not concentrating on your nutrition you’re missing a lot of it.
And then it comes down to the other side of it, is the psychology. You can actually exercise and lose weight and eat a really bad high carb diet but how long is that going to last?
Wes: Yeah that’s going to be the healthy route to take and again, this is the dominant myth. That’s why we want to start out this first podcast of Healthy Mind Fit Body talking about weight loss through exercise and what the evidence shows on both sides because some people will forward a notion opposite of what Time here has said that if you exercise vigorously and you stick to a proper diet (whatever their proper diet is supposed to be), then you will lose weight.
And it seems like that is reflected in…The National Weight Control Registry did a report in 2008 and they said that the people that were able to keep the pounds off were the ones that were in the highest exercise group. So that’s obviously a sample of people that are mentally disciplined as well as physically fit. But are there other ways to maintain your weight loss and to actually initiate weight loss?
And this is where a new way of looking at nutrition comes in because most people are saying eat the high carb low fat diet or something resembling the traditional diet of the food pyramid. And it basically blocks a large segment of the population into these weight loss issues because they are unable to effectively deal with the carbohydrates that they are eating even if they are these good complex carbohydrates that people are saying they should eat.
And what it does is it results in a lot more insulin secretion and that results in fat increase and keeping the fat locked into those cells as long as you’ve got that insulin in your blood. I know this because I’m Type I diabetic so I inject insulin every day and I know exactly how much insulin goes in and is required from the carbs that I eat. And I can see direct results if I put more insulin in because that is a storage hormone, it stores the excess glucose as fat.
Now excess glucose of course is coming from the intake of carbohydrates and most of these weight loss and fitness gurus will say, “You just need to exercise more, you need to change this equation of calories in and calories out to make up for that deficit of exercise from the excess calories.”
Kevin: Right, and I definitely used to believe that. I swam competively in college and my diet was probably 80% carbohydrates at that point and I came out of college and I had a little gut because I had really thought all I had to do was work out really hard and I could eat whatever I wanted, but that really doesn’t last very long. Most people when they get out of their 20’s they pretty much have to really start looking at their diet or they’re going to gain weight. So what that comes down to a lot is addictions and addictions to carbohydrates and I would say that most people in general are addicted to carbohydrates, wouldn’t you?
Wes: Yes, absolutely. And there’s groups probably in that national weight control registry, a group of high exercisers are probably addicted to exercise too. They’re on this treadmill if you will, and figurative than actual literal treadmill that says if they don’t exercise, then they’re not going to lose the weight. And that’s kind of the setup that’s made by the nutrition and dietician industry, that there’s this constant battle between calories in and calories out.
And people end up eating something that’s not good and then they say oh my god, I’ve got to exercise ‘x’ amount to just burn off those calories I just consumed and it’s easy to fall off the treadmill there because it’s easy to eat so many calories that you would have to run an ultra marathon to get back to burn those calories off. So people just give up and say oh I can’t do that.
Kevin: Yeah, whereas if you kind of moderate your exercise and you’re exercising most days of the week and you’re also eating a healthy balanced diet that’s not high in carbs, it’s higher in fat and protein and lower on the carbs, then it’s easy actually to get back on track if you slip. If you had a day where you slipped, if you had a day where you ate mostly carbs and you ate a lot of bad stuff, it’s actually pretty easy to get right back on track just with the eating.
It definitely feels good to have a little workout in after a day of eating badly but it’s more important that you get back on track with the eating. And you’re only one meal away from being on track, so if you blew it and you had a big piece of cake one night, well you can start over the next day and that’s where you’re going to keep your weight off and not get on the proverbial treadmill.
Wes: Yeah, so obviously we are in favor of exercising, it’s a key component to more than just weight loss or other than weight loss is to keep your mind fit. And there was an article on Scientific American called “Fit Body, Fit Mind.” Your workout makes your smarter. How can you stay sharp into old age, and their claim is through exercise it increases blood flow and nutrient flow and affects your mental attitude basically by expending energy or whatever it may be.
Obviously the ultra marathoners or marathoners or people that do high endurance stuff are counter acting that with excess cortisol secretion. But people that do moderate exercise experience these personal benefits and cognitive enhancement. So the basic idea is what you do affects your mental wellbeing, staying physically and mentally active helps us stay sharp as we age.
So in terms of a lifestyle, exercise – whether you do it every day, or three times a week, or just twice a week, it’s going to help your whole lifestyle basically; what you’re doing for your body. And the idea of the Healthy Fit Mind Body is to be eating the right things and exercising when you have time and when you think it’s going to be beneficial for you, and keeping all these things in perspective, which relates to the psychology of this.
Because if you have a mindset that is focused on these details of calories in and calories out, how much exercise do I have to do, all this stuff. You’re losing sight of the main notion, which is – how do you relate to yourself in your own wants, in your own desires? If you go on an eating binge, that’s kind of vindictive of having some unaddressed issue inside yourself because you know on some level that this is not a good behavior to do, right?
But people are doing it for a variety of reasons and those are emotional reasons, and in order to understand those emotions you really have to introspect and that’s one of the main purposes we wrote the book Healthy Mind Fit Body because you’re really unable to resolve all those emotional issues if you don’t introspect, if you don’t look at from a psychotherapeutic point of view if you will, all those issues that can reach back through into childhood actually when people learn how to eat certain things or don’t eat certain things and develop certain habits.
They have a hard time overcoming essentially, and there’s tons of gurus and experts and all that out there that will tell you that you need to do this, and you need to do that. But those are all kind of external injunctions, you really need to focus inside yourself and ground yourself in your own understanding of where your emotions are coming from.
And the seven day program we have at the end of the book is really, really beneficial for doing this – to explore all those subtleties in your subconscious mind, your thoughts and feelings, to come to terms with all of these different behavior patterns that you see in yourself, and of course the self image issues too.
Kevin: Right and just to wrap up on this article – the Time magazine article – in that first paragraph that I read, the last sentence. They’re promoting that idea of instead of thinking about exercising a ton to lose weight, to think about eating healthy and doing the little things like walking instead of driving, or he says, “I might have enough energy to shop for food, cook, and then clean instead of ordering a satisfyingly greasy burrito.”
I’m saying you can have it all, because there’s things like that – my mind wants a satisfyingly greasy burrito every now and then. But you’ve just got to be smart about it, I mean you can have that and a lot of the problems like the burritos is the thing that it’s wrapped in – the flour tortilla. That’s what’s really killing the nutrition there, but you can have a healthy satisfying burrito and you’re not cheating yourself and you’re actually doing something healthy, and you’re having what you want. So I think that ties in a little bit with the psychology as well.
Wes: So yeah, you’re always one meal away from the zone if you will, if getting back into that sort of lifestyle that you want in terms of maintaining a healthy fit body or losing the weight, because weight loss is the result of burning the fat off. I mean that’s the key is to burn the body fat and not the lean body mass. So as you increase your fat intake and minimize your carbohydrate intake to the point in which you’re eating…I eat less than say 100 grams of carbohydrates a day and that seems to be a reasonable amount.
I mean it’s the equivalent of let’s say four oranges worth of carbohydrates, and if you eat a lot of vegetables which you ought to be doing, leafy greens and so forth. There’s not many carbohydrates in those, as well as seasonal berries, blueberries, and strawberries, and raspberries and all those kinds of things. And even [inaudible], you’re not going to get many carbs from those either but you are going to get a lot of nutrients and antioxidants.
Kevin: And as you change your diet you’ll start to gravitate towards some of these healthy foods instead of gravitating towards stuff that’s not going to help you. And I don’t even count any of my calories, I never look at anything, it’s more of getting used to these foods and actually starting to like them.
Wes: And seeing the results on your own body too and that relates back to the psychology, so if you want to know more about the psychological aspect, I encourage you to check out the book because that 7-day program is a really great way to explore yourself in a way that you probably won’t find in a counseling session with a psychotherapist. They were really formulated by Nathaniel Brandon and I think he’s in partial practice now.
But the great thing about them is you can do them on your own, you don’t need to go somewhere to visit with someone else to help you work through those. I mean if you’re having sticking points, you’re always welcome to email us and we can help you out there, but the great thing is that you can do them on your own and they are a way to become more responsible and more self-sufficient and just more authentic in your relationship with yourself, with your true self.
The person that you are on a fundamental level that has infinite self-worth and doesn’t want to damage yourself through eating or excessive exercise, and just has a more reasonable view of yourself in the world. So all those resources can be found on the website – HealthyMindFitBody.com which we just got going and we have I think the first blog post on there too.
Kevin: So can I still have my cheesecake?
Wes: You can still have your cheesecake, maybe with some blueberries on top.
Kevin: There you go. Great, so just sign up for the newsletter. We’re going to be doing a bi-monthly newsletter, just go to HealthyMindFitBody.com and put in your name and email and you’ll start getting the newsletter here shortly. And also we’re going to be doing Twitter so follow us @HealthyMindFitB.
Wes: Twitter’s a great way to stay abreast of what’s going on, on the site and little tidbits that we find on the news and so forth that we think are helpful.
Wes: And we could do a podcast solely on the wood chippers don’t you think Kevin? Because some people listening to this podcast might have noticed something in the background and it actually is a wood chipper that fired up just before we finished the podcast. So I apologize for that but next time…
Kevin: Eating wood is bad.
Wes: Eating wood is bad, it’s high in fiber but not much to digest there unless you’ve got a bunch of termites, they have a bacteria in them that can digest the wood pulp? Wood is definitely not advisable. So when you visit HealthyMindFitBody.com there’s a bonus audio that we did that explains the Three Pillars that you can from the sign in form on the home page there.
And basically this podcast is going to be covering those Three Pillars, so we encourage you to go back and get that audio and listen to that because those are the three principles – proper nutrition, psychological understanding, and motivation as the three aspects to healthy mind, fit body, and many of the things that we outline in the book as well.
And this podcast is going to be ongoing and deal with people’s personal issues as well, personal stories about what they’ve achieved, and what they’re having a hard time overcoming and so forth. And that’s the gist of this show, so thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you all next week.
Kevin: Thanks guys, see you next week!