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Kevin: Welcome to the Healthy Mind Fit Body podcast, this is episode number three and this is your host Kevin.
Wes: And this is Wes, co-host and I had the show to myself last week Kevin, but this week you’re able to come on and we can do a show.
Wes: How have things been going on your end?
Kevin: Really good actually. I’ve been keeping busy with not only work but also with my fitness and with my nutrition as well.
Wes: Going to get in the water today? The blue ocean out there in La Hoya?
Kevin: Yeah, I’m actually planning on going down to La Hoya Cove, which is just about five miles from my house and getting into probably a two mile swim today. The water’s been awesome, it’s around 72 or 73 degrees and of course we’re getting perfect weather so…
Wes: Nice, well I think it’s funny; we talked about water temperature, 72 degrees. You won’t want to run a bath at that temperature.
Kevin: Our Pacific Ocean here is about 59 degrees most of the year and then in the summer it warms up into the high 60’s, low 70’s and you jump in and it feels much more like a pool that’s around about 83 degrees than cold water. The salt water combined with the fact that you’re expecting it to be a lot colder makes it feel nice and toasty.
Wes: Yeah, yeah. You definitely get acclimated to it. On my end I’ve got a tendon injury I’ve been working around basically and maybe I’ll write a blog post about this, about how to maintain your fitness and exercise while you have an injury because obviously I can’t really do anything involving abduction – basically flexing my tricep on my left arm. So I’ve got to do certain weight routines that avoid activating that pain threshold.
I pretty much strained the tendon to the point where I really can’t use it much now and it’s going to take a few weeks to rehabilitate it. But with any injury like that you’ll have inflammation and so it’s always good to take Omega-3 fatty acids in high doses to deal with that.
Kevin: Yeah no doubt, and especially as we age it’s much easier to get injured and then it takes away a lot of the fun in day-to-day life especially when you’re active.
Kevin: So I’ve dealt with injuries myself and I think more than the physical pain and discomfort and stuff, it’s actually the inability to do the things that you like to do that is the tough part. So the mental aspect of it is actually for me the tough part in the past.
Wes: So the beach volleyball courts have been beckoning me, but I had to forgo it. But maybe I can get out there this week, I’ll see. But you can always find exercises to do that don’t involve whatever the injury is healing from. So it’s always good to be creative in that regard. But I think this show we’re going to focus on across the pond over there in France. Bonjour! The French paradox, right?
Kevin: The French Paradox – why French women don’t get fat. The book is titled “French Women Don’t Get Fat.”
Wes: Mm hm, and why don’t they get fat? This has been a real popular thing in the media, because she wrote this book – Mireille Guiliano wrote this book a few years ago but now it’s kind of being revitalized apparently.
Kevin: Yeah and I see a lot of people talking about it on Facebook and things like that, women that are trying to get in shape and lose weight and they are following this kind of method of eating like the French. And I think it all started because there are significantly fewer fat people in France than in America. So everybody’s wondering why, I think there was a theory going around for a while that it was just the red wine. And there’s obviously a lot to it.
Wes: You know the Resveratol, I guess you have to take in pretty high doses to get a therapeutic effect and it would be equivalent of drinking gallons of red wine per day in terms of supplement form. So I don’t think that’s a good thing to do but I think even low doses some people are recommending taking that. But that’s obviously not the reason why this contention is made that French women don’t get fat.
As a matter of fact there is a counter set of statistics to that notion by the bulletin at the AARP which could be a question of authority certainly but they forward some statistics that say that along with the rest of the French population they’re getting fatter, one survey found that between 2003 and 2006, obesity rates among women in France increased from 11.9% to 13.6%, not exactly a big leap but an incremental increase nonetheless.
In 2006, more than 31% of French women and 42% of French men were either overweight or obese, among French children the obesity rate jumped from 5% in 1980 to 15% in 2000. So that’s indicating kind of a shift in probably the diet and the eating patterns of people there because I think McDonalds has their biggest set of franchises over in France now. So maybe they’re indulging.
Kevin: Oh wow yeah, that’ll definitely do it, and then the popularity of Starbucks. That can’t help things with all the drinks that are 800 calories and have whipped cream, and sugar, and all kinds of nasty stuff in them.
Wes: Yeah it says here France is now McDonalds second biggest market after the United States, and all the prepared and frozen foods from cream puffs to filet desole fill French supermarket cases, so in other words a lot of processed food and so forth. So what about this paradox? Do you think that it’s a result of them eating differently or eating different foods?
Kevin: I think it’s a combination and one thing that is not really taken into consideration here is, what are we comparing? The country of France to the U.S. or are we comparing just people in Paris to the entire United States because when you have a city like Paris, people walk a ton so you’re going to be burning a lot of calories just walking around and if you’re comparing that to let’s say the general mill of the U.S. or even areas that people spend a lot of time in their cars, it’s not really a fair comparison.
But having said that, there’s a lot of good that’s coming out of this French diet and this French way of doing things and I thought I’d just read some of the bullet points from the book. There’s a site here that has kind of an overview of what the book’s about and we can talk about them.
Kevin: So according to “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” ‘French women one – drink water all day long; well that’s a good thing staying hydrated. Consistently choose their own indulgences and compensations,’ what do you think about that?
Wes: Yeah, this a certain pattern of eating that is indicative of an awareness of what foods do. So they’re using moderation as a way to indulge in various pastries and dessert type items I imagine.
Kevin: Right, and when you go to France, everything isn’t really tiny proportions when it comes to those types of things like pastries and bread and all the carbs. But the compensations thing, doesn’t that sound like rewards?
Wes: Compensations, so I’m not sure where she’s going with that but yeah, if you’re using something as a reward for dieting, I don’t know if they really look at the way they eat as a diet itself. I don’t think so, it’s just more of a lifestyle that they have there.
Kevin: Yeah exactly. So the next thing would be ‘plan their meals in advance, think in terms of menus and enjoy shopping to create healthful meals.’ I don’t see any problems there. Then ‘don’t snack or eat mindlessly.’ Pay attention to what they are putting into their bodies. Well I have a little bit of a problem with that first part. It says ‘don’t snack or eat mindlessly’ as if those are one and the same thing. Snacking is good, snacking if definitely good. I mean I’m eating 5-6 meals a day and continually eating and it’s just what you eat, it’s not…because I think that most people think of the traditional snacks. When you think of snacking people think of like M&M’s and potato chips and that’s the problem. It’s not the snacking itself, it’s what you are eating in those snacks because it’s good to not go hungry for long periods of time.
Wes: And isn’t it funny when you look in the grocery store at like the snack section will be all these processed foods – the chips, the cookies, all that garbage that is not very nutritious and contains lots of carbohydrates which means lots of insulin secretion and it’s going to be really hard to snack on that stuff and maintain your ideal weight or to lose weight for that matter.
Kevin: Exactly, and snacking – I mean I eat a lot of almonds. I just actually right before our podcast I was crunching on some almonds and those have, what is it on the glycemic index, it’s at zero?
Wes: Yeah, zero carbs practically. They have a lot of fiber too so that’s good.
Wes: Yeah, they’re filled with nutrients and they have the fat as the component, and a lot of people are leery of that. They’re like, oh too many calories but it’s the kind of calories that you’re eating that’s the big issue.
Kevin: Yeah, exactly. So the next thing would be, ‘enjoy dining as much as dining out and love to entertain at home.’ Well that’s good because usually you can weigh your proportions out at home a lot easier than going out. People tend to go out to eat and they eat it all and then they get dessert, and then they get drinks and pretty soon they’re eating like 1,500 calories in a sitting.
Wes: Yes, and the servings that they serve like you’re saying in France are smaller than in America.
Kevin: Yeah exactly, and even if you go out to dinner here, it’s actually restaurant week right now in San Diego so it’s a good time to do this, but if you go out to eat to the nicer places you actually get smaller portions. The more expensive places, the smaller the portions. It doesn’t really make any sense but that’s kind of something to keep in mind. If you’re going out to cheap places you’re going to get big portions and not as healthy food.
Kevin: And then okay the next one, ‘walk as much as possible. Prefer to take the stairs, believe exercise should come in the course of one’s natural movement during the day and frown on the American practice of “working out and sweating at the gym.”’
Wes: Isn’t that interesting?
Kevin: Yeah, and I think that’s a really good thing to do and I think about that during my day. I’m like, where can I walk too instead of driving or riding my bike there, or do something where it’s more active. But I do that in addition to setting aside time to exercise. I don’t think it’s one or the other, I think you can still have that hour a day that you go to the gym or you go for a run or whatever it is. But they seem to think it’s one or the other and the American way of doing the working out is bad.
Wes: Yeah because I guess they look at a lot of Americans that are working out and sweating at the gym and they’re not really in shape. They’re not svelte if you will, they’re not their ideal weight so they’re wondering what is going on there?
Wes: Obviously the working out isn’t helping and this goes back to the three pillars that we discussed in the bonus audio which you can get on the website if you just fill in that opt in form. You’ll get the free bonus audio where we talk about these fundamental principles that guided our discussion in the book Healthy Mind Fit Body about how to actually lose weight and keep it off and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
And in this regard it seems that in America they focus on exercise as the way to lose weight rather than how you’re eating and why you’re eating and so forth. Like the lifestyle in France is different than in the U.S. and that indicates that people are eating differently and the exercise is kind of an added bonus of course. We really think that exercise is healthy in so many ways for a person but in terms of losing weight and keeping the weight off, it’s not necessarily needed as much as Americans tend to think and the experts in America tend to think because obviously if you look at the women in France and people in France, they’re not as overweight.
Kevin: Right, and so French women also eat for pleasure, what do you think about that?
Wes: I guess it’s a matter of like slowing down and considering the food to be an aesthetic experience to savor the food rather than just wolf it down and go about your day and waiting for the next meal. So if you slow things down a bit and you’re savoring what you’re eating, you’re going to try to find things that are actually better tasting, more nutritious, less processed, more natural I guess.
Kevin: Nutrient dense.
Wes: Yeah, green foods, vegetables, fruits, and they have lots of sauces. They like to sauté lots of things in France too, so lots of savory dishes that they have. And when you add in the fat element to the food, it naturally slows the digestion process down because it takes longer for fat to digest and it’s also satiating too. So rather than eating the typical high carbohydrate diet here in the U.S. that’s going to cause you to have the big insulin release and then probably maybe a feeling of low blood sugar and in a couple of hours when those carbs digest, this is more of slow sort of burn.
Kevin: Right, exactly and eating for pleasure just makes me think of the opposite of eating mindlessly. I mean you’re just focusing on what you’re eating and enjoying it in the process, which I think goes hand in hand. So the next thing is ‘care enormously about how food is presented,’ that goes with the aesthetic appeal of the food, food as part of your sort of pleasure in life.
Kevin: It’s kind of the same thing.
Wes: So not a guilty pleasure like a lot of American seafood.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah exactly. So here’s one that’s not food related, ‘dress even to take out the trash. Follow fashion closely but don’t follow trends.’
Wes: Be fashionable as you eat.
Kevin: Exactly, dress up! Yeah, I think it’s just a matter of caring about your body and it kind of goes with their lifestyle. So yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with that. I mean I tend to wear flip flops and shorts wherever I go so I can’t really…I wouldn’t dress up to take out the trash but I might dress up for a great meal or something. So focus on the simple pleasures, enjoy the moment and avoid anything that demands too much effort for too little pleasure. Well yeah, do you see anything wrong with that?
Wes: No that sounds pretty good, simple pleasures are great and enjoying the moment and not get caught up in the rat race I guess is another issue.
Wes: You know there’s a work ethic in America that might be missing in most parts of Europe it seems.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s a 35-hour work week and the police actually patrol the office buildings to make sure nobody’s working past a certain time.
Wes: Yeah that sort of mandatory this and mandatory that is indicative of a culture that is not really respecting people’s self-motivation. Their intrinsic motivation to take responsibility for the amount of the work that they do, the type of work that they do and all that. So there are some contradictions even in the French way of looking at work and eating.
But I think that it’s important to be self-motivated and to focus on self-responsibility in all these things because even…and I’ve worked with programmers and they can just forget about their health as they’re sitting in front of a computer screen for hours and hours and hours. And of course their snacks are all the junk food snacks too so it’s like they are in the midst of pursuing their work and being very creative and productive. They’re also forgetting that their body is their temple, right?
Kevin: You don’t think that a 44-ounce Mountain Dew Big Gulp is healthy for them?
Wes: Well as long as you limit it to four a day, I think that’s the important thing.
Kevin: Oh okay.
Wes: With extra helpings of sugar, just throw it in there. It will get you going.
Kevin: You can have some M&Ms with that too.
Wes: M&M’s, yeah. They go well with the Big Gulp Mountain Dews, and that’ll keep you going for a good twelve-hour stint in front of the computer screen.
Kevin: That’s right, that’s perfect.
Wes: And pretty soon you’ll need a big Barcalounger and just wheel you around like in the movie. What was that movie that had the robot Eve?
Kevin: No I didn’t see it.
Wes: With all the humans who were just so lazy and morbidly obese that they were in these lounge chairs, they couldn’t move around on their own, they had to be shuttled around in these chairs? It was really a grotesque way of looking at the future for humanity.
Kevin: Yeah, the first thing I thought of was, how do they go to the bathroom? That’s not a good visual.
Wes: Catheters man, catheters.
Kevin: Nice. So the next thing is ‘French women believe love is slimming.’
Wes: Ah, oui oui monsieur. The language of love.
Kevin: Yeah, I don’t know if that can be quantified, but I tend to agree.
Wes: Hm mm, absolutely. I think that’s an important component.
Kevin: Yeah. So the last thing is, ‘never go on formal diets.’ Well yeah, that’s one thing we’ve talked about in our book, and in the three pillars that we discussed on the bonus audio for signing up for the newsletter. And not going on a diet is so important; I was talking to my friend Rob yesterday, and he’s been trying to lose some weight and he’s cutting out a lot of carbs.
And he started by saying, “Oh, I’m doing this new diet,” and then he corrected himself and said, “Actually I don’t want to call it a diet, it’s just a different way of eating,” and I thought that was really good because you’re much more likely to succeed if you’re not formalizing your diet and telling everybody about how you’re on this new diet because it’s probably going to backfire on you because it’s really tough to stay within the confines of most diets out there and most diet plans where they have you measuring every step of the way what you’re eating and consuming.
Wes: It’s almost as if a ‘diet,’ you should have issued for that a little buggy whip that you smack yourself with. It’s kind of a self-sacrificial ritual it seems that people engage in with the diets. And of course all the experts and the gurus malign the ‘fad diets,’ like any sort of change in lifestyle how you eat food differently, and the types of food that you change, they consider that just a fad. And what you should do is just focus on cutting your calories and eating what the mainstream tells you to eat.
Kevin: Yeah exactly and that’s a good analogy, and actually reminds me of the Stefan Molyneux video. Stefan Molyneux is a philosopher that Wes and I both listen to on the internet, and one of his videos is on procrastination and he talks about how it’s all coming from these limitations and the expectations that you have of yourself. And you’re basically just hammering yourself into forcing yourself to do things, and it actually has the reverse effect. So you end up not doing it and you procrastinate it and put it off.
And it’s very similar to going on a diet where you’re just imposing all these restrictions on yourself and you’re just bound to break out of them and not follow the diet at all eventually.
Wes: Mm hm, and that’s why people gain the weight back because they think okay, what the goal is to go on this diet so I can lose the weight. And once they lose the weight, will I have to still stick on the diet? Maybe I can fudge a little bit, and then they gradually go back to the way they were eating. And so they never made that lifestyle change did they?
Kevin: Exactly, and they didn’t lost their carbohydrate addictions which is really the key to this.
Wes: Yeah, and the way this article ends, this is kind of interesting. They said ‘in our opinion, the way that the French women eat does not address emotional eating as well as binge eating, prevalent issues in our culture today (in the American culture). Also many may find it difficult to simply move more during the course of the day and actually prefer the structure and camaraderie of organized exercise programs.’ So the group sweating routines! And why is sweating a bad thing? And the rest of these confirm the benefits of aerobic exercise and maintaining a healthy heart. ‘Do French women compensate by drinking more red wine instead?’
Kevin: Back to the red wine.
Wes: Yeah but the carb addiction gets to the whole emotional eating and binge eating too because people can get caught in this vicious cycle of basically going on a mini fast. ‘I’m not going to eat this for a certain amount of hours or maybe a day or two, and then I’m all of a sudden I find myself eating the whole bag of Cheetos.’ So obviously there’s something out of balance there and there’s some self conflict and what’s really great about Healthy Mind Fit Body is at the end in the addendum, there’s a 7-day sentence completion program that I’ve set up to delve into those self-conflict issues and to come to terms with the practice of integrity.
Like we know we want to do something but then we’re behaving the exact opposite and so why is this? Why are we at war with ourselves? And it’s really important to delve into these processes on a subconscious level because we might think one thing consciously but subconsciously we’re operating at cross purposes. So the sentence completion exercises are a psychotherapeutic technique to enable you to delve into your subconscious in a really efficient and effective way.
You’d be surprised how quickly this stuff comes out. You write things on a piece of paper to the endings of the stems and you pretty much nod in agreement with what is coming out there. And to make that explicit and to come to terms with it is so important to adjusting to a new lifestyle and incorporating that as a way of life and becoming more healthy and happier as a consequence.
Kevin: Yeah exactly, that pretty much nails it. And just as a reminder, we’d mentioned the Three Pillars for Achieving Your Perfect Weight through the Mind Body connection. That’s an audio that we did and you can get that, it’s free. You just go to HealthyMindFitBody.com and to the right you’ll see the place to enter your name and email and you’ll get that right away. So you can listen to that and it’s really good stuff, and the book is also available on our website.
Wes: Yeah, and you’ll be able to get on the newsletter and we’ll be doing some blog posts on occasion and of course we’ve got our Twitter feeds right there on the site too – HealthyMindFitBody.com and you can go ahead and follow us on Twitter.
Kevin: Yep, and one last thing just to request, if you like this show and you have any suggestions or any comments, we’d love to hear them on iTunes. So you can just go to iTunes and put in a rating and a comment; that would be awesome.
Wes: Yes, much appreciated. And we put the show notes for these podcasts every time when I post them, so feel free to comment on those and get a discussion going as well as in the blog posts too.
Kevin: Alright, that should about do it for our show today.
Wes: Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you all next week!
Kevin: Thanks guys, talk to you soon.