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Kevin: Welcome to the Healthy Mind Fit Body podcast! This is Kevin…
Wes: …and this is Wes…
Kevin: …and this is episode six. And how’s it going over there Wes?
Wes: It’s going well. Yes, my tendon on my elbow is almost healed so I actually did a little bit of weight training on that yesterday and it felt pretty good. So I am on the mend which means I can play volleyball again which is cool. I actually played on Saturday and it held up pretty well as I was doing the overhead serves and stuff, so it’s nice to be out in the sun and the fun in the beach. The sun’s pretty low this time of year and I was actually out there for like two hours and I didn’t hardly get anything close to a sunburn without sunscreen.
Kevin: Yeah but you got a little Vitamin D right?
Wes: Vitamin D production, indeed. I think they say a good healthy dose of sun over a major part of your skin will load you up for a week’s worth of Vitamin D, like 20,000 international units.
Kevin: Yeah and this is the ‘they’ that is correct, not the ‘they’ that is the mainstream media kind of making things up.
Wes: Yeah because they’ve been usually saying the sun is really bad and people should put on sunscreen and clothing whenever they’re out in the sun and that just leads to Vitamin D deficiency which can lead to being susceptible to all sorts of chronic illnesses – cancer being the main one.
Kevin: Yes, exactly.
Wes: And I think the estimates they predicted like hundreds of thousands of people could prevent getting colon-rectal cancer and breast cancer if they just got enough Vitamin D. So for those of you who live up in the north land, in the winter months it’s really hard to get enough sunlight for adequate Vitamin D production. I think most people when they’re tested are really deficient in it and that can lead to higher incidents of cancer and so forth.
So it’s important to supplement with that, but we actually get into that in Healthy Mind Fit Body the book which you can find on our website. And it’s chocked full of all kinds of good tips like that because a lot of the time people have told us that the sun is bad and you should stay away from it and stay out of it, and don’t let it hit your skin because it causes premature aging and so forth, right?
Kevin: Yeah right, and I grew up with that notion. Eat a low fat diet and avoid the sun at all costs, but of course I didn’t really listen when it came to the sun because I was kind of an outdoor person since the beginning. But yeah, especially the avoiding getting sunburned is the huge issue. But getting out there and getting some rays is good. I just walk to my lunch time Meetup here which is about a twenty minute walk just to get a little sun because I know I probably wouldn’t get any the rest of the day and I think that’s really important, to not have that fear of the big orange glowing ball in the sky.
Wes: Yeah we actually grew up with it in the Savannah way back when, when we were somewhat knuckle dragging Troglodytes, right? Before we left the trees permanently.
Kevin: Yeah, exactly.
Wes: So it is a natural part of our lifestyle but we lost…actually I think that the hair on us is the same amount of hair as a chimpanzee, it’s just much finer and much smaller. So we still have vestiges of that but because we don’t have the hair it’s easier to get sunburned.
So anyway, we were going to talk about how people use rewards and punishments, or how people use foods to reward themselves and then simultaneously punish themselves. It’s kind of a paradox isn’t it?
Kevin: Yeah, yeah and we were talking a little bit before the show, my experience throughout life and in competing in sports and being involved in all different kinds of sports has been that it’s across the board that people do this. They want to reward themselves with bad things and it gets really tough because a lot of this rewarding with bad things is a bonding experience with people.
And you go out and you work really hard at a game or at an event, or a practice or something, and then you all get together afterwards and a lot of times that involves going for a pizza or having a few beers, or whatever it is and that becomes a bonding experience. And then everybody likes to talk about it later, “Guess how much I ate? Guess how much so-and-so drank?” and stuff like that where it’s really hard to break out of that.
Wes: Yeah for the guys with the proverbial beer guts, it’s the beer and pizza and just gorge on that stuff. And I’m sure there’s other equivalents to that in the female realm – cookies, ice cream, anything to reward yourself, desserts…
Kevin: Lemon drops…
Wes: Lemon drops?
Kevin: Yeah the drink, it’s a girly drink. I should post something on Facebook about that.
Wes: Gotcha, and we talked about in a previous podcast about after you exercise, how that exercise, how that exercise can actually make you hungrier and make it seem like you deserve all those extra whatever you’re going to be eating.
Kevin: Oh yeah, absolutely. When I was growing up my Dad used to say, “Well if you win that race, I’ll buy you a bag of M&M’s.” And it was kind of a running joke for a while but really it’s like why did that have to be the reward? I mean why was it the M&M’s? And I think that’s pretty normal for most people, that the desserts are the reward, right?
Wes: Yeah people do gravitate to the junk food when they go to do the rewarding of their activities if they just did a lot of exercise, or won a race, or achieved something in their work, or celebrating something. It’s like people gravitate to the junk food.
Kevin: Yeah this bonding experience, it’s like we are all going to be the same in this one area. Like maybe so-and-so won the race and we’re all kind of in different levels of our sport or different levels of life. But when it comes to eating or drinking it’s like we can all kind of even out and all sin together, right?
Wes: Yeah it’s almost as if we do it all together then it’s not really a bad thing. But we all know that people believe all kinds of strange and inaccurate and illogical things as groups, as collectives. And it can cause this sort of group think that gives a pass on critically analyzing what’s actually going on. So people can kind of become just part of the group where they do certain practices that become kind of like rituals, and when you get stuck in that rut it becomes even harder, because when you start to break away from the group or the rituals that the group’s doing it’s kind of frowned upon or made fun of, right?
Kevin: Yeah and I think even my experience with just going out with groups and going out to eat and things like that, I notice a lot of times if I do one small thing that’s slightly healthier whatever restaurant we’re at or wherever we’re eating, it’s noticed by a lot of people and I get pointed out. If I skip bread or something, “Oh you’re so healthy,” or if I decide to not eat dessert even though everybody else is ordering dessert. I get comments like, “Oh wow, you’re just the healthiest person in the world,” and it’s frowned upon.
Wes: Almost as if you’re some sort of freak right?
Kevin: Yeah exactly! So it takes a lot of what do you call it, mental fortitude…
Wes: …or independence, strong will to kind of get through that. But focusing on what’s really important and encouraging other people to do likewise because gosh, when people just go along to get along and they indulge in all these junk foods, it really isn’t a healthy dynamic because practically everyone knows that this really isn’t the best way to be doing things and yet they all do it. And again, you get that group think and a collectivistic component that gets people thinking well, since everyone’s doing it then it must be okay right?
Kevin: Yeah right, and I’ve talked about this in the past with some of the Meetup groups and some of the activities that I’ve done where it gets to be with the drinking it’s like people just go out and all get drunk together so that there’s a story that they can talk about the next day. And it’s not building up friendships based on any kind of commonalities in terms of values or thinks like that but instead it’s just – let’s all go get drunk and then next time we can have stories to share.
Wes: Mm hmm, yeah that’s a real common one.
Kevin: Yeah, and I think that just gets back to people that are looking for connections with other people and that’s kind of how they deal with it.
Wes: Not that those stories aren’t totally hilarious Kevin, you know? There’s some real knee slappers out there and lots of good practical jokes to play and the college drinking crowd.
Kevin: Oh, I don’t have any to share on the podcast.
Wes: No incriminating evidence to be found huh?
Kevin: Oh no, never!
Wes: So I was thinking in the Healthy Mind Fit Body book, we have a whole section at the end that explores the healthy mind component of this, about coming to terms with what you’re eating, how you’re eating, why you’re eating it, and what’s your goal in terms of your ideal weight and where do you want to be in terms of a physically fit person?
And there’s an ingenious technique called Sentence Completion Exercises and I have a 7-day actual program in there to go through to delve into that subconscious part of your mind, the part of your mind that knows all the things you think you don’t know and can do all the things you think you can’t do. It’s this deeper wisdom that we have that yields the subtle feelings about what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, when we’re eating a bad food or something.
And so it devised some stems here that we could walk through on the show to kind of give people a feel for how they work and how we could address this issue of using food as this sort of reward as well as a punishment because sometimes people eat food as a way to sort of mask emotions, or to cover up emotions, or to swage their bad feelings. They basically eat something to make themselves feel better in an odd sort of way because after they ate the thing they usually don’t feel so good.
So the stem I wrote was…and I’ll read the endings too and we can kind of explore it…’after I reward or punish myself with food, I feel…exhausted, depressed, angry, guilty, like I didn’t have to do that, that I could have made a better choice.’ And I think that probably resonates with a lot of people after they’ve actually indulged in something that wasn’t very good for them, right?
Kevin: Yeah, I was thinking ‘unhealthy.’
Wes: ‘I feel unhealthy,’ sure. That’s another one, absolutely. ‘I feel sick,’ ‘I feel like I don’t want to look at myself in the mirror naked.’ After excessive encounters with junk food, it makes it very difficult to accept your self-image and so it encourages more of the self-destructive behavior.
Another stem would be ‘right before I indulge in my favorite bad food I think…I deserve this, I only eat this once in a while, I’ll really enjoy it, it’ll lift my spirits, it’s my way of taking care of myself, I don’t think I just do.’ So do you think that resonates with the process that happens, what people are thinking before they go eating something that’s not so good for them?
Kevin: Yeah I mean I think it goes back to what you were talking about earlier with the group think, it’s like oh everybody else is doing it and let’s just join in the fun.
Wes: And we deserve it because we burned a lot of calories.
Kevin: Oh yeah, of course yeah. You’ve got to have a reward!
Wes: And of course another main component in this process is, understanding what is actually good food and what is bad food? It’s a matter of having the right nutritional knowledge and we do get into that in the book, that’s one of the main pillars that we talk about. I suppose we should mention that you can get that free bonus audio where we talk about the three pillars that kind of undergird the entire framework of Healthy Mind Fit Body. And you just sign in the opt-in form with your email address and you can download and listen to that because that’s kind of the framework from which we’re working with these ideas.
Kevin: Yeah, exactly.
Wes: Okay, so the next two I jotted down here – ‘in order to treat myself differently it’s important that I…recognize my pattern of behavior, come to terms with my feelings, accept the feelings that I have and not disown them, learn to see how my short term pleasure affects my long term goals, enjoy healthy food and disfavor unhealthy food.’
And then the last one, ‘if I were to see unhealthy eating as a way of taking care of myself I would…see that I deserve better, I would have more compassion for my feelings, I would try to comfort myself with truly good things, I would see self damaging behavior for what it is, I could see food as something that’s good for me rather than a guilty pleasure, I would involved into the self that I aspire to be.’ So if you look at the way that people try to take care of themselves by eating certain things and eating excess of things.
It’s somewhat paradoxical, there’s psychological payoffs for doing things that are both healthy and unhealthy and it fosters this cycle of dependence on that bad eating pattern, but it’s important to be focused on what you aspire to be and keep your long term goals in mind as you pursue your quest for Healthy Mind Fit Body, right?
Kevin: Yeah, and a lot of this does require that independence and to kind of step out from the crowd, and I think the hardest part is just being able to like you said, be able to recognize that you’re doing this for yourself, and when you get into the crowds, I think it becomes a lot more difficult. And also, just even by yourself, getting in that pattern of constant rewarding yourself and ‘oh I had a long day, I’m going to go get a pizza.’ ‘Oh, I had a rough time with this call, I’m going to go eat a gallon of ice cream or something,’ that kind of thing is pretty common.
I know a lot of people who have gotten into that pattern and I think that’s where these sentence stems come in and you can really make a lot of headway and actually gain self esteem which is required here to kind of break out of those patterns.
Wes: Yes, that’s honoring yourself in a deeper fashion than typical ways that people go about doing that, and as you become more aware of all these things you’ll notice that your behavior changes in concert with that. And as far as eating things in excess, you mentioned in your recent blog post that you’d munch on almonds throughout the day and that’s a great source of energy and you don’t have to worry about putting on the fat because almonds are fat and fat doesn’t make you fat.
That’s one of the nutritional myths that we have out there, that fat is bad. We’ve covered that on a previous podcast but if you eat things that are not going to put the extra fat on you, then you can basically keep satiated that way and enjoy good foods, right?
Kevin: Yeah, exactly. And also to mention that what we’re talking about here is kind of changing your frame of mind about these foods and realizing your self esteem when it comes to food, not completely eliminating every dessert or everything that is bad for you altogether. Because once you get to this level of being able to make those decisions about your health, then you can have a dessert once in a while, and you can have a beer once in a while, things like that.
It’s not like you don’t want to be in this restrictive mode where it’s all or nothing and you’re counting calories and you’re blocking yourself from having things that you will enjoy once in a while.
Wes: That would mean being at war with yourself basically.
Wes: We want to end the war with one’s self in order to achieve your ideal weight and a healthy mindset.
Kevin: Yeah, exactly. So yeah, I think that’s about all we’ve got on today’s show.
Wes: I think that’s about it, go ahead and follow us on Twitter. Just go to HealthyMindFitBody.com, you’ll see our Twitter accounts and we put little tidbits in there every once in a while and interesting things.
Kevin: Right, and if you like this show, go to the iTunes listing and please give us a comment and rating, that would help.
Wes: Indeed. Thanks for listening this week and we’ll talk to you all next week!
Kevin: Thanks guys, see you next week!