I do have some topics that I want to make sure we go deep on this week because I think it will be very, very helpful for you. And because we’re going to go deep, I always want to give this quick disclaimer which is, we are going to go deep, and we’re going to go fast, in these calls, so please, please, please, no matter what, do not let this call in any way, shape or form intimidate you. I know I’m a pretty intimidating guy with my baby blue shirt on here. But we’re going to go fast and we’re going to go deep on some advanced things.
So know that this call is going to be recorded, it’s going to be transcribed. You can go back to it later and you can watch it again, and if everything doesn’t make sense to you right now, it’s absolutely okay. I promise it will make more sense as you continue to go through your Ignite program, and specifically, your Step-By-Step program. When you log into your Ignite program you’ll see the words step-by-step all over the place. That is the backbone of your SANEity. That is the backbone of your long-term success, because it’s going to teach you about all the eating and exercise information you need to really heal your brain, your hormones, your digestive system. That’s really the key differentiator.
This is a PDF that you can download in the first course in your Step-By-Step program. It provides you with a simple, easy, step-by-step checklist that you can print out and check off to get little boosts of dopamine and serotonin in your brain as you make progress. So please do that. The reason it’s so important is that is going to give you the step-by-step information you need so that some of the more advanced stuff we cover in these calls makes sense.
Think about it like this. We’re going to kind of jump into the deep end on these calls, but it’s all good because your step-by-step program and your SANE-certified coaches are going to guide you by the hand, from the very shallow end of the pool into the deeper end of the pool. So we’re going to have fun, we’re going to go deep, let the call wash over you. As you know, as you’ve probably already seen in your wonderful coaching and support group already, so much of the SANE lifestyle has to do with our mind. We come in here thinking it’s about our body, possibly our waist, what we want our arms to look like, what we want our thighs to look like.
But what we find is that all of this, everything that we’re doing here in your SANE family starts up here in the mind, and hopefully you’re seeing it comes from here in the heart because the reason we’re struggling, the reason you’re struggling, is not because you’re not smart enough, it’s not because you’re not trying hard enough. The fact that you’re here, the fact that you’re on this call, the fact that you joined the SANE Ignite family, you are a smart, capable person. Period.
However, you can take the smartest, most capable, hardest-working person in the world, and if you put them in downtown Chicago and you give them a map of L.A., and you tell them that the map of L.A. is actually a map of Chicago, and they end up not getting where they want to go, it’s not their fault. They were given incorrect information.
So we’ve got to get that correct information. The step-by-step program is your map. So that’s why we have to start up here. We’ve got to get correct information in here, and we have to have the correct motivation coming from our heart. We’re going to cover that a lot this week. We’re going to talk a bit about stress. We’re going to talk a little bit about anxiety. We’re going to talk a little bit about shame. We’re going to talk about perceptions. And then we’re going to hopefully have some wonderful Q&A digging into that.
But it’s going to be awesome, so I hope you have your seatbelt on. If you’re watching this from your car, that’s a separate problem. But it’s going to be great, we’re going to go deep, let it wash over you. Don’t get intimidated, ask questions, have a good time; we’re here for 90 minutes. And as always, please, step-by-step program, 3-5 steps per week, and coaching and support group. Got to give the shout-out each and every week because this is – honestly, my favorite time of the week is when I get to spend with my wife, which is lovely. My second favorite time is these calls.
The third favorite time is seeing the amazing, loving support and coaching that is provided in your coaching and support group, both by your fellow Ignite family members and your amazing SANE-certified coaches. So please, pop in there, if you haven’t already, and I want to give an explicit special shout-out to our top contributors so far this week. Everyone has been doing an exceptional job.
As you’ve noticed, there is an awesome gamification layer. What that means is, we just give badges and points and all kinds of fun stuff to make it rewarding to help other people because if you can make it rewarding to help other people then this becomes pretty fun, because helping others, we help ourselves, it becomes a virtuous cycle, it’s awesome.
So quick shout-outs to Cici for her amazing contributions, Linda Bayer, Amanda. Amanda, I mispronounce your name every week and I’m so sorry. I think it’s Ehlrich. There’s an H in there that I’m not sure what to do with, I’m so sorry. Amanda E., we will say. Donna Wilson, Katherine Myers, Stephanie Reisler – got her last name right this time. And Missie Salta. Thank you so much again. Everyone has been doing a wonderful job. I really wanted to highlight these individual’s contributions. It has been delightful.
Before we get into the meat, or the fish, or the nutrient-dense protein, if you want to say, of today’s call, I have a special surprise for you because I have a visitor here. We actually record these from my home office, and we have a special visitor for you today, so hang on one second. This is unplanned, but guess who we have here? This is Wednesday. This is your SANE-certified coach, Wednesday. She is obviously shorter than me, as you can see. Wednesday, say hi.
So, you put a face to the name, Wednesday’s in the house. Also Rayna and Josh are in the virtual house, and hopefully, we can get them in the actual house sometime soon. Thank you so much for being here today.
So that’s Wednesday. Yay! And it’s Wednesday today. Yay! Irony. All right, excellent. I wanted to start off on an extremely positive note because the rest of this call is going to be miserable and sad. No, it’s going to be anything but, but are going to talk about some serious topics. And it’s good stuff, but I want to be conscious that I want these calls to be fun and motivating, but I know that sometimes live isn’t fun and motivating and I want to make sure that you have the tools to go from those places where it’s not especially fun to always being able to make progress. I was inspired to do that by one of your other wonderful SANE-certified coaches who, I believe, is on this call, Josh, who I’m sure is on this call because he posted something. So, what’s up Josh?
Josh shared a quote with me that reminded me of some amazing science that I wanted to share with you that we haven’t had a chance to include in your Ignite program yet. So this is some cutting edge research that I think you’re really going to find helpful. It also builds off of what we covered in our last coaching call that had to do with emotional eating, and emotions in general, and Josh’s quote, which he did not remember the source of, but that’s all good, Josh is quoting someone saying, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.”
Let me say that again because, as always, Josh is dropping mad wisdom and sharing mad, awesome wisdom. This is Josh’s quote: “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” Let met actually just post that in the chat box here real quick. All right, excellent. That really inspired me to talk about two critical topics and that is, stress, anxiety, and their brother or sister, whatever you want to call it – shame. So much, and please correct me if I’m wrong, it’s been my experience after doing this for 15 years, working with hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. That’s part of the reason Rayna is not physically in the house right now is because she’s on the other side of the world, but she’s here with us, which is amazing, because I have no idea what time it is where she is.
So much of what is propagated in the mainstream, especially in the calorie-counting methods, weight-watching methods, is predicated in, let’s call it the Double S of Doom. If you don’t have a pen and a piece of paper, now might be the time to get one out, and I want you to write down and circle, The Double S of Doom. The Double S of Doom is stress and shame. Let’s take a second to bring home – you’re probably thinking, yes, Jonathan, when I think of my weight, when I think of my body, when I think of eating, when I think of exercise, if you had to list out the emotions, especially the emotions you felt when you were in inSANE environments or hopefully you never feel these emotions when you’re interacting with your SANE family.
You just have to say to yourself, when I think of counting calories, when I think of stepping on the scale, what emotions come to mind? I don’t know if stress is an emotion, but I’ll bet it comes to mind. And shame might come to mind. What I want to equip you with in this call is, one, an understanding of how that is not your fault. Those are like toxins that have been put into you, much like high-fructose corn syrup, much like pink slime, stress and shame are the pink slime and high-fructose corn syrup of the weight loss industry. They are toxic poisons that will always harm you more than they will help you, and there is concrete science backing that up.
That’s why everything you experience in your SANE Ignite family and your SANE Ignite program is about reducing negative stress. There is positive stress and we’re going to talk about that. And also ensuring that we’re about progress rather than perfection and we’re never, ever, ever experiencing the emotion of shame. This is why we talk about self-love, self-forgiveness, because the science, the parallels between things like pink slime and high-fructose corn syrup, and stress and shame, are literal, meaning that, for example, when you eat pink slime or that processed garbage mystery meat, and when you eat high-fructose corn syrup or you eat hydrogenated fats, we know, or hopefully you are learning because you’re going through your step-by-step program, and you’re participating in your coaching and support group, that those foods are toxic, not because they have too many calories, that’s not relevant at all.
What is relevant is everything else about those foods, and how they signal inflammation in your brain, how they signal dysregulation of your hormones and how they signal what is called dysbiosis in your gut flora, or gut bacteria. And when this happens we get a metabolic clog, or as we have been talking about recently, a metabolic flu – our metabolism is sick. It’s a different kind of sickness that we don’t really think about, but is now acknowledged by the American Medical Association, like diabetes, like hypertension. It is called metabolic dysregulation. That’s the technical term for it.
We also talk about an elevated set point. When this happens, when we get that inflammation in our brain, dysregulation of our hormones and an imbalance in our gut micro biome, our set point, or the amount of fat that our body thinks is healthy for us to maintain, gets elevated. And then our body starts to fight, tooth and nail, to keep us at an elevated level of body fat no matter how little we eat. That is, again, why calorie-counting doesn’t work.
What wasn’t known in the scientific literature until very recently – to be clear, if we roll back the clock to the 1950s and 1960s, there was compelling research, and we are actually seeing information come out in major publications now about how the sugar industry, very similar to the tobacco industry, knew that their product was highly correlated with incidence of heart disease, incidence of diabetes, but they covered up that information, much like the tobacco industry did.
But what we didn’t know, no one actually realized until recently, and a lot of this has to do with the initiation of the positive psychology movement out of the University of Pennsylvania, Martin Seligman, who you may be familiar with. If not, I would recommend everything he has ever written. There is Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness, two of his more popular books. He started a movement called Positive Psychology and it helped to shift the study of human psychology, not away from, but historically it was about taking individuals who, let’s say, psychologically, are at a negative ten, and getting them to a zero. So, if you’re schizophrenic, psychology research was done to see how we can help to overcome schizophrenia, so from negative to neutral.
But what positive psychology does is, it says how do we take people who are not in an overwhelming negative state, but how do we take people from a zero to a 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10? And in doing that, there was a lot of investigation done into stress. Stress is something that is unavoidable for many of us. We started to discover that the impacts of a perception of high stress literally do – this is not a metaphor. You know how I like metaphors and analogies – this is not one of those. This is, literally, true science.
When you are under a high perceived level of stress, the same things, in terms of inflammation in your brain, dysregulation of your hormones, and dysbiosis in your gut, those same things happen, and can actually happen, to a greater extent, due to perceived stress than they do from eating inSANE foods. Let me say that again. Earlier I used an analogy. I said things like stress and shame are analogous to toxic, edible, inSANE products like partially hydrogenated fats or hydrogenated fats in general, pink slime, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, processed starch. They are not just like them, they cause the same effects, and in some cases, even more extensive damage.
Why is that important? First, just hearing that might stress you out a little bit, but don’t worry, we’re going to figure out how learning about stress and how to handle stress doesn’t cause more stress because that would cause a stress downward cycle which is not positive, so we’re going to avoid that. But what is important for us to understand is that anything that we do regarding eating and exercise that stresses us out, or makes us feel ashamed, is worse than doing nothing. Let me say that again, because it’s worth writing down, and I’ll give you a concrete example, but I’m going to say it again before I give you a concrete example. Anything that you are told to do regarding how you eat and how you exercise, that causes you an unhealthy level of stress, or makes you feel any level of shame, is harming you more than it is helping you, and therefore you would be better off just doing nothing.
For example, the most common thing I hear that makes people feel ashamed is weighing themselves. You hopefully know what I and every other member of your SANE family feel about stepping on a scale and judging your worth as a human being by your weight. Some people say, “I have to weigh myself. I just have to weigh myself. I’ve done it for years.” If stepping on the scale makes you feel shame, it is counterproductive. Period.
Research has been done by a gentleman by the name of David Hawkings [sp? _00:24:52_ ] who is a medical doctor and a Ph.D. That’s pretty awesome when you are both a medical doctor and a Ph.D. He has done kinesiological studies where he can actually look at individuals’ emotions and tie them to the impact those emotions have on your body.
For example, when you’re feeling joy, you are literally stronger. If you’re feeling great – literally, you feel joyous, you feel happy – and I ask you to stick your arm out and then I push down on your arm and ask you to hold it up, we can measure the amount of force that your arm would generate. I would say, try as hard as you can, and let’s say you could generate 50 pounds of force, when you’re feeling good, when you’re in a joyous state. When you’re feeling negative emotions, your arm would literally be weaker – literally.
If you were feeling sadness, no matter how hard you push, you would not be able to push as hard as you would if you were in a real positive emotional state. Not artificial, but if you are authentically happy your physiology actually reflects that. It is measurable. You can learn about the actual studies that have been done on this in a book called Power Versus Force. It is extremely fascinating. You might want to write that down, as well. Fantastic book.
What that research shows is, we’re actually able to calibrate the impact that various emotions have on your body, your physiology, literally. Feeling joy is a psychological and a physical state. People who are feeling joy have different brain chemistry, have different hormonal chemistry, than people who are feeling anger, or people who are feeling shame. The reason shame is so important to focus on is, on the spectrum of emotions that make our body, literally, into a strong, positive state, and the emotions that make our body resemble one that is sick, in the traditional sense, like having the flu, having diabetes, having heart disease, the lowest, most devastating emotion a human being can feel is – guess what? Shame. It’s not depression, it’s not anger, and it’s not sadness. It’s shame.
Whether it’s called fat shaming, shame is the number one tactic that is used by conventional weight-related programs to help you. The science is in. Anyone or anything that ever makes you feel ashamed, even if it seems like it works, even if it’s like, we’re going to have you go to a meeting and stand up in front of people and weigh yourself and passively aggressively shame you, even if that seems like it works because you feel so bad that the next week you’re more motivated to starve yourself, it cannot work long term. Period. Every time you are made to feel the emotion of shame, it’s literally like drinking a 2-liter Pepsi.
Maybe write that down. Being exposed to unnecessary negative stress, or distress, versus positive stress, which is called you-stress [sp? _00:28:35_] – useful to write down, not all stress is bad. In fact, a life without stress is as fatal as a life with too much stress. What we want is positive stress so we want you-stress [sp? _00:28:45_] versus negative stress which is distress.
But the thing I need you to walk away with from this call, in addition to a bunch of other things, because we’ve got 60 more minutes left, so we’ve got a lot to cover here on actionable steps – anything that makes you feel an unnecessary level of stress – for example, I want to start drinking green smoothies. That might kind of stress you out a little bit like, I need to buy some vegetables, and I need to put them in a blender. That’s okay. Now, if it was, I have to put exactly this many leaves of spinach, and I need to drink the smoothie at exactly this time of day, that’s unhealthy stress.
But the stress of, I want to grow and develop and progress, sort of like the stress that you feel if you do weight training or resistance training, that’s putting stress on your muscles, that’s helping your muscles to grow. At the same time, you would not want to put too much resistance against your muscles because that would actually really hurt them. It wouldn’t strengthen them, it would actually break them. So we want to find that balance. But any time you are made to feel an unhealthy level of stress, or any amount of shame, think of that like being force-fed a giant 2-liter bottle of soda. It’s toxic. It’s terrible.
Why is that mindset so important? Because it allows you to then take this extremely powerful next step, which is – I hope you like this. This has been in the works for a while and this is the first time I’ve shared this publicly. There are a couple of things that people say that they remember more than anything else from their SANE experience, whether or not they are new or they’ve been SANE for five years. A couple of those examples are progress rather than perfection. Another saying is eat more, but Smarter. And then, of course, the food groups – non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats. Eat so much of those that you’re too full for inSANE and addictive toxic substances.
This is maybe a close cousin to progress rather than perfection, but I’m hoping that this will stick in your mind, like progress rather than perfection, because it’s the literal antidote to stress and shame, in addition to just SANE eating and exercise in general. All right, get that pen ready. Here you go. I’ve built this up too much. The logic, or the mental tool is, practically done beats theoretically perfect, every day. Why does that matter? That matters because, my observation, for myself, personally, in reviewing the literature, and in seeing what impacts members of our family for the past 15 years, is that stress and shame are directly related to us holding ourselves to a standard of theoretical perfection.
Meaning, it’s not enough to rethink, it’s not enough to just complete three steps in the step-by-step program this week. Perfection would be, I’ve completed the step-by-step program. I’ve completed every single step in this program that has taken over 15 years to develop. I’m not going to judge myself as a success until it’s perfect, AKA it’s done, AKA I’ve completed every single step, or until I’ve reached my theoretically perfect body composition, I’m feeling shame and I’m feeling stress.
If we can shift that from our goal being theoretical perfection – the reason I’m saying theoretical perfection is, I promise you, it’s theoretical, in the sense that let’s say you complete your step-by-step program in its entirety in two weeks, which to do that you would probably have to not sleep. Most people finish their step-by-step program in about six months and sometimes it can take up to a year. That’s fine, depending on your schedule.
As soon as you finish that, if you have a mindset of theoretical perfection is your goal, you’re just going to be focused on, oh, well, I’m still not able to do that half marathon that I wanted to do, or I still have that issue with my skin that is not gone. There is always going to be something that isn’t perfect. Of course, we can have the metaphysical conversation about if there is such a thing as perfection, but the key point is that focusing on practically done, practically done, practically done.
What is practically done? What can I get practically done today? What can I get practically done this week? What can I get practically done this month, this year? Practically done. I literally want you to write those words down in all capitals and any time you start to feel stress or shame, I want you to take a step back and see if that’s a function of you holding yourself to a standard of theoretical perfection and if it is, which it probably is, it’s not enough to just say, “Okay, thanks Jonathan. You’ve told me to not try to be perfect. Awesome.” But we do want to improve, right? We’re all here because we want to reduce the inflammation in our brains. We want to heal our hormones. We want to re-regulate our digestive system. Period. We do want to get better. The way we do that is by focusing on practically done versus theoretically perfect.
Let me give you a concrete example. If you are on this call right now, I believe, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that it is a practically doable goal for you to complete three steps in your step-by-step program this week and next week. Maybe you need to take a week off during some of the craziness in the holidays, but some of these steps only take five minutes. Some of them take a little bit longer, but that is something that you can practically do. I bet that you can practically get in the support group for five minutes a day – five minutes a day – and either post something new, or just show your support for someone else. I know that you can practically drink one green smoothie a day. And if you don’t like green smoothies, that’s fine, you can eat vegetables some other way. But you can practically do that, and you can practically do it consistently.
Can you practically count every single calorie you eat for the rest of your life, and enjoy your life? No. You can’t, practically. You could do it if you’re a professional and that’s all you ever want to do and you don’t care about how terrible it makes you feel. But it’s not practical. And since willpower is a fixed resource, we have to focus on what we can practically do rather than what’s theoretically perfect. Always. That is the antidote to stress and to shame, to shift our mindset from theoretical perfection to practically actionable, or practically done.
So as you are thinking, for example, for this week, “What am I going to eat? How am I going to improve? What am I going to do in the step-by-step program?” Please, please, please, what is practically done is always better. For example, you might have a question, what is the best green, leafy vegetable for me to put into my SANE smoothies? Totally fine question. But what we have to watch out for is letting what is kind of in that question, not literally, but kind of in that question, you can hear it if you listen really carefully, there is that theoretically perfect. There is this theoretically perfect green smoothie recipe. It exists. And I haven’t discovered it yet. And because of that I’m failing. And I’m feeling stressed because I don’t know the theoretically perfect smoothie recipe yet. And I’m feeling ashamed because I just can’t figure out that perfect smoothie recipe yet.
That becomes demotivating. That stresses us out. Stress causes that neurological inflammation, that hormonal dysregulation and that gut dysbiosis to get worse. It causes cravings, and it causes to feel bad, which then causes us to make bad decisions. I’m not saying don’t ask questions about the best green, leafy vegetable – actually don’t ask questions about the best green, leafy vegetable because there is no best green, leafy vegetable. There are different green, leafy vegetables and some of them are good at some things, some of them are good at other things. They are good in different ways, just like there is no best outfit. A tuxedo and a formal dress are wonderful outfits in certain contexts, and bathing suits are wonderful outfits in other contexts. There is no best outfit. There is no best food.
But what I want you to go – we have to meta-cognate. We have to think about our thinking. That’s so important. It’s not about these “eat this, not that” checklists. I promise you, if those worked, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. There is no shortage of quick fix checklists. Just tell me what to eat, just give me the meal plan, and I’m good. If that was true, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. If you type “weight loss meal plan” into any search engine, you’ll get a million free – every single day – weight loss meal plans, and they will all fail long-term because they don’t teach us – they don’t give us the tools we need to be practical in real life. They outline theoretical perfection, and in some cases, they don’t outline anything because they’re garbage and they focus on calorie-counting, so it’s not even theoretical perfection, it’s more like mythical calorie math which is counterproductive in general so we don’t want to do that.
But going back to the green smoothie question, a more empowering green smoothie question would be, “I have never made a green smoothie before. How can I get a green smoothie made next week?” I know you might say, “Jonathan, I’m a capable person, and if my goal is to make a green smoothie next week, I can do that.” Good. I understand, our goal doesn’t always have to be to conquer the world and the change everything because you know what? We’ve been told to set those goals in the past, and what we need to do is, we need to make smaller goals. We need to make practically doable small goals that we can achieve, and then build.
For example, if your goal, something that is practically done is, “Can I buy some spinach? I know where to get spinach. Spinach is a green, leafy vegetable. I know that. I know the basic formula for SANE smoothies is a lot of non-starch vegetables, some form of a low-fructose fruit to sweeten it up a little bit, maybe a handful of strawberries, maybe a peeled orange.” Maybe you put some slimming sugar substitute in there as well. Maybe you put some super foods in there. Whatever. You’re going to play. You’re going to have fun. It might taste terrible the first time you make it, but you’re going to post in your support group. You’re going to say, “What can I do about this?” Maybe you learn to add a little bit of lemon, add a little apple cider vinegar. “Awesome. I’m going to play. I’m going to practically get better, incrementally, rather than feeling ashamed or stressed because I’m not theoretically perfect yet.”
Back to the smoothie question. What is a more empowering question than, what is the best green, leafy vegetable to use in my smoothie? The more empowering question is, what is my favorite green, leafy vegetable? Because I bet if the goal is to get the activity of a green smoothie in your mouth and in your body, getting that practically done is a lot easier if you like the taste of what you’re drinking than if you don’t. Again, if you’re goal is theoretical perfection, then it’s which green vegetable, specifically, and what if it’s frozen, what if it’s fresh? Do I have to drink the smoothie right away? Can I freeze it? Do I have to get it organic? What about pesticides? Do I have to get those green vegetables from the farmer’s market?
These are all fine questions for later, because until we’re actually practically doing a green smoothie that we like, that stuff, that over-optimization, is not only not helpful, it’s harmful, because it’s stressful. It’s like taking someone who is just getting started on any big lifestyle change – imagine if you’re trying to play the piano, and we think of some elaborate piece by Mozart, and you think, “Oh, man, I can’t play that elaborate piece by Mozart, I can’t play the best piece of music yet so I’m going to feel stressed, I’m going to feel bad, I’m going to feel shame.” Hopefully, we would never do that to ourselves, but the pursuit of the perfect meal, or the perfect day, or the perfect exercise plan, or the perfect smoothie – these are expectations that have been put upon us by the diet and weight loss industry, this pursuit of perfection.
I promise you, even if you get abs, if that is your goal, which is a totally fine goal. What is going to happen is, you’re going to get abs – well, we all have abs, but if you could see your abs, let’s say – then that perfection mindset is going to say, “Well, that other person at the gym has nicer arms than I have, so even though I can see abs now, I don’t have as nice of arms as that person. So now I feel inadequate, and now I’m not as tall as that person, or I’m not as tan as that person. Or I do get tall, tan, and have a perfect everything, but now I don’t have a Ph.D., or blah, blah, blah.”
The point is that there is so much – I’m pulling the curtain back. I’ve seen the inside of the diet and weight loss industry. There is so much money to be made by teaching you that you need to be perfect, and that until you’re perfect, you need to buy my products – not my products, because we don’t talk about perfection – you need to buy other people’s products and other people’s services because you’re not perfect yet, because you don’t have this new cutting edge thing which is going to make all the difference in the world.
Here’s the secret. The secret is, practically done. Practically done – non-starchy vegetables. What can you practically do tomorrow to eat more non-starchy vegetables? Not about perfect. What are the best vegetables for me to eat? Not an empowering question. More empowering question: How can I eat more non-starchy vegetables, enjoyably, next week. Now, if you get to the point where you’re eating 12 servings of non-starchy vegetable, you don’t have to think about it, it’s a habit.
Just like you don’t have to think about – think of something that you currently do habitually – brushing your teeth. You don’t have say, “Man, what is my plan for brushing my teeth this week? Let’s figure this out. I’m going to do it in the morning. And then on Tuesday, I’m going to do it before I go to bed.” Once you’ve got it as a habit, once it’s done, then you can think about, “Hey, brushing my teeth. On lock. It’s a habit. It’s done. Totally practical. I don’t have to use my willpower. Maybe I’m going to start flossing.” So then, once you start flossing, then you might say, “Hey, I’ve heard a lot about those Sonic Care toothbrushes, the ones that vibrate magical energy waves into your teeth.” I use one and I think it’s very nice, it’s worked well for me.
But that’s step three. We have to protect ourselves from being distracted from step one, step two, step three, by steps 98, 99 and 100, because it’s toxic. Literally, not only does that now work, not only is it ineffective – if your goal is to run a marathon and you are not physically active, not only is it counterproductive to go outside and to try to run 26 miles, but if you do that, and if you just say, “I am literally going to not come back into my house until I go 26 miles,” you’re actively going to hurt yourself. You’re actively going to be worse off than if you never set the seemingly positive goal of running a marathon. If just go out and tell your friends, “Hey, I have a goal of running a marathon,” they’re probably going to say, “That’s awesome. That’s a positive thing.”
Depending on where you’re starting, the science is pretty clear that it’s not a positive thing. I’m not talking about metabolically why running a marathon is not particularly helpful, but if running a marathon is step 100, setting the goal of, I want to run a marathon, there is a lot of research that actually shows that counter-intuitively, that is not an empowering goal, because now, every single day we’re going wake up and say, “Theoretically perfect is running a marathon,” so until I’ve run that marathon, on some level, I’m going to feel stress and I’m going to feel shame because I have not achieved that goal yet.
Now, what is a goal that is practically done. What is a practically done goal? A practically done goal would be, “I am going to walk around the block tomorrow.” Again, you’re like, “Boring.” Maybe. I don’t know. Or maybe you’re like, “My block is beautiful, I would love to walk around it.” Here is an interesting way to think about it. To radically reduce the amount of shame and stress in our lives we kind of need to step back from the sexy.
What the heck am I talking about? It’s really sexy to say, “I’m going to run a marathon.” It’s really sexy to say, “Look at this perfect meal plan which says at 9 a.m. I’m going to eat exactly this, and then at 11 a.m. I’m going to eat this, and then I’m going to do this specific exercise routine.” That’s sexy, it’s like whoa, and it’s awesome. But that’s not how real life works, right? The way real life works is, it’s not always sexy. And we know this, right? So it might not be as sexy to say, “I’m going to walk around the block tomorrow. And then the next day I’m going to walk around the block twice. And the day after that I’m going to walk around the block three times, continuing until I’m walking around the block ten times.”
And then you say, on the 11th or 12th day, “I’m going to power walk around the block. That is not as sexy, in the short-term. But you what is sexy as hell is long-term success. Period. Shame isn’t sexy. Stress isn’t sexy. These short-term bursts of dopamine that we get from, “Theoretical perfection – woo-hoo!” It is sort of like the short-term bursts that we get from junk food. It’s like sugar. Yes, eating sugar gives us a high, literally and figuratively. It gives us a high in our brains. If you put yourself in an FMRI scanner – this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs – this is your brain on high-dose sugar, and this is your brain on morphine or heroin or other opiate-related drugs, you see the same areas of your brain – obviously, heroin is going to light your brain up a little bit more significantly than sugar will, but it’s a low dose of an opiate. So, this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs – those sugar bursts, that high we feel from sugar, is like the high we feel from theoretical perfection.
This is the secret. I’m showing you behind the curtain, here. I hope it’s helpful. When you take this magical formulation pill that sells for $78 on the Internet for 30 pills, it’s perfect. It’s the perfect pill and it’s going to solve all your problems, it feels great. It’s like a sugar rush. What does not give you that sugar rush is sitting down and saying, “How am I going to eat one more serving of non-starchy vegetables tomorrow than I ate today? But if you eat one more serving on non-starch vegetables today than you did yesterday, and if you that for three straight days, you’re going to be thinking, “All right, it’s super easy to eat four servings of non-starchy vegetables per day, so now I’m going to try to eat five.”
And you’re going to do that, and then it’s not going to seem sexy in the short term, but in 30 days, you’ve gradually worked your way up to double-digit servings of non-starchy vegetables, and you’re not thinking, “Oh, gosh, how do I keep this up? It’s crazy, I need a new magic meal plan that is going to show me exactly now to do this.” You’ve figured out how to make it work with your life. You’ve done it in a way that is real, and that is now ingrained in your brain and ingrained in your lifestyle and ingrained in your habits, and that you can sustain.
Now, since eating vegetables is on autopilot, it’s a habit, you can then move on and say, “Hey, are there more optimal veggies that I could be eating?” Absolutely. But there is no need to worry about what the optimal veggies to eat are before we’re eating vegetables. Does that make sense? Just like it doesn’t matter, do we have the best running shoes or note when we’re not even consistently walking around the block yet. That is not only not productive, but it is actively hurting us because it’s causing us to feel shame and it’s causing us to feel stress, and shame and stress do to your body the same things that drinking soda does to your body.
That’s why it is so important to give yourself permission to focus on what can I get practically done today? What can I get practically done this week? And maybe just think about it on a day and week basis and just stack up days of practically done success, stack up another day of practically done success. You can totally plan weeks. Planning beyond a week gets a little dicey. But what can I get practically done today? What can I get practically done this week?
If you start to feel shame, if you start to feel stress, what is causing that? And I bet it might have something to do with a theoretical concept of perfection that you have not achieved yet. And I want to be 100% transparent with you. We do want to get better. This isn’t a spectrum. Practically done is not a spectrum, so this is not what I’m describing. I’m not describing a spectrum where practically done is here, and theoretically perfect is here, and we want to just work our way toward theoretically perfect.
Theoretically perfect does not exist. What the actual spectrum is – this doesn’t exist. This is over here. It’s like a unicorn, it does not exist. There is practically done and then there is not done. Period. What you do when you get things practically done is you build the habits necessary to make progress, but you will not make progress, ever, until you set goals that are practically doable.
With physical stuff it’s sometimes easier to understand, so again, if you need a metaphor, use the metaphor of running a marathon, not because running a marathon is good for you, but because it is so easy to understand. It is not empowering to say to someone who cannot walk around the block, “Go run a marathon.” It isn’t. It seems like it is, but it sets us up for long-term shame and stress.
What is radically more empowering is to say, “What can I actually get done?” Get it done. Celebrate it. Post in the support group, “Here is what I did today. I got it practically done. And here is my plan for tomorrow to get it practically done.” Get it done. Get it done. Get ‘er done, as that one comedian said, right? I know that sounds so simple, but that’s the trick. It has to be simple. We have to get it done.
Let’s go back to the music analogy. The model of theoretical perfection – how often have you seen this? We see this with kids a lot, for example, and sometimes with adults. Someone says they want to become a great pianist. They want to learn how to play the piano. How common is the following? They buy a piano. Awesome. They buy a bunch of sheet music. All right. They buy a bunch of books on how to become a great piano player. They listen to podcasts on how to become a great piano player. They assemble everything they need to become the perfect piano player.
Unfortunately, the one thing they don’t do is say, “I am going to practically do 30 minutes of piano playing tomorrow. Even if I don’t have a piano, I’m going to buy a crap $25 keyboard off Amazon.com, and I’m going to practice for 30 minutes. And I’m going to practice 30 minutes a day the next day. And I’m going to practice 30 minutes the day after that. And then maybe when I’m able to play that little keyboard so well, maybe then I’ll buy a piano. Maybe I’ll just download free sheet music off the Internet and that’s fine.
But I’m going to focus on practically getting it done rather than theoretical perfection – what is the best piano I should have?” Not important right now. What is the best eccentric exercise routine that I should do? What is the best nutrient-dense protein that I should eat? Good questions. Not yet. More empowering question. Let’s look at each area of SANEity. Let’s look at eating, let’s look at exercise, let’s look at emotions, and let’s look at rest and recovery. Practically done versus theoretically perfect.
What can you get practically done this week to get more rest and recovery? Is it spending a little bit more time in nature? And that’s not a really good goal, I’m doing this off the top of my head, but practically done would be, “I’m going to spend five minutes breathing deeply/meditating/on a mindfulness exercise tomorrow. I am going to go outside and spend five minutes doing that.” Practically done. “I am going to go to bed 15 minutes earlier.” Practically done. “I am going to eat more slowly and actually enjoy my meal, so that I see this as a time of rest and recovery.” Practically done.
Support the emotions. “I am going to post something that I practically got done in the support group every single day.” That takes five minutes, maybe less than that. “And if I don’t get anything practically done I’m going to post about what stood in my way.” Practically done. And in that case, you’ve actually got something practically done, so there is no case in which you didn’t get anything practically done because even if you don’t get something practically done you’re going to post about how you didn’t get it practically done, and that’s getting something practically done. So it’s impossible not to succeed. So that’s great. We’ve got recovery, we’ve got emotional support.
Let’s look at exercise. What can I get practically done? What is eccentric exercise? What you can practically get done is the first lesson of course 102. It begins exercise, and then it is continued in other courses. 102 and 202. You can practically get done one lesson tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. Period. You can practically get that done. It’s not sexy, but the results you will get after practically getting things done consistently wins. Period. Practically done, plus time, equals long-term success.
That’s probably worth writing down. Practically done, consistently, over time, equals long-term success. For any area of our lives that we have not yet achieved long-term success, I bet that you will find it has to do with our inability to practically make progress. It might look like this, we’ll be really excited, and then it drops. And often, especially with weight, it’s not our fault because of course, you’re super excited, if you just inject yourself with these hormones and eat 800 calories per day you’re going to achieve your goals. Woo! It’s really exciting, but then we do that and, of course, we come back down.
So that’s not our fault, it’s just that the up/down, up/down, learned helplessness is counterproductive. This – gradually increasing, maybe backsliding a little bit, but gradually increasing, that’s the secret. So with exercise, you have to learn what to do first, and then you know what to do. “Okay, what am I going to do? What am I going to get practically done? I am going to practically work on my eccentric squats. I am going to practically spend five minutes doing Smarter interval training tomorrow. What can I practically get done?
Let’s move on to eating. Practically done – what are you doing right now? How many servings of non-starchy vegetables, how many servings of nutrient-dense protein, how many servings of whole-food fats? How many servings of inSANE things are you eating? Practically done – let’s say you’re not 100% SANE, which means that some of your food groups are not from non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole-food fats, low-fructose fruits. Tomorrow, I promise, that if you put your mind to it, you can practically get done eating one more serving of SANE foods in place of those inSANE foods.
And let’s just simplify it. Let’s say it’s one more serving of non-starchy vegetables. Until you get to 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day, and you say, “How do I do that? Oh my goodness!” Support group, step-by-step program, we can totally help you. For me, it’s green smoothies. There is no easier way on the planet than to put a bunch of vegetables and some low-fructose fruits in the blender, drink it, enjoy it, it’s wonderful. It’s the way to go, I love me some smoothies. I eat 85% of my vegetables in smoothie format. It’s pre-chewed. Come on, it does all the work for you. You just drink it, it’s all good.
Really, think about this. Come on, stick with me here. If you just give yourself a chance to set goals that are so unsexy that it’s like, “Holy crap, I can definitely do that.” How different of a mindset is that than the mindset of, “I guess we’re going to run a marathon.” I mean, 16 servings of vegetables, kind of put that on me, right? I come out that I’m like, “16 sevings of vegetables!” And you probably were like, “That’s crazy.” Because me saying eat 16 servings of vegetables is a little bit like me saying, “Run 26 miles.”
But now that we’re here together, you’re in the Ignite family, you’re learning more and more. We’re not saying, go from zero vegetables to 16 vegetables. In fact, if you did that your stomach would be chaos and you would spend all your time in the bathroom and that’s no fun. You want to go from zero servings of green, leafy vegetable per day, which is what the average American is eating, to one. And once you have a habit of one, you’re going to go to two, and once you have a habit of two, you’re going to go to three, and you’re going to say, “Jonathan, no. I can do six.” I’m confident that you can do six, but just try an experiment with me.
Try an experiment of setting goals that are so ridiculously, practically done, that you are like, “Okay, I’m going to go to bed five minutes earlier.” It’s a non-issue. There is no stress, there is no shame, there no chance of you not being able to do it. It’s easy. It’s done. Easy-done-next. Easy-done-next. Because a lot of little wins equals long-term success because you build on your confidence. So practically done versus theoretically perfect is the antidote to stress, to anxiety, to shame.
Because where do we get anxiety from? We get anxiety from feeling like we have to do something, or we have to achieve something, and we cannot see the path to get there. I do not feel, “How do I speak on stage in front of all of these people? I am not comfortable with this. How do I run 26 miles? I feel anxious about this. How do I make a perfect green smoothie? I don’t know how to make a perfect green smoothie, I feel anxious. That stresses me out, and now I feel shame because I didn’t pull it off.”
None of that happens if you set goals that are so practically done that you stack success like a freakin’ champion, because you start to develop momentum, you become an unstoppable force. And then even if you slip up, you’ve slipped up, and it’s not just like, “Oh my gosh, it’s all gone now.” If you’re doing the marathon example, and it’s, “I got in a car accident and the day that I was going to walk around the block five times I couldn’t, and I have to take two weeks off and that’s fine because you know you have this practical road map, you went back a little bit, but you can just jump back in and continue from there.
Again, let’s tie it back, and I see some awesome questions coming in and I want to answer those. Why is this so important? You might be saying to yourself, “Duh.” But therein lies the beauty. I think one of the biggest challenges we face – I don’t care what program it is – Atkin’s, Weight Watcher’s, South Beach – all of them are vegetables – yay! And if you look at the average American, what is the number one thing they’re not eating enough of? Vegetables. So the one thing that we all agree, the no-brainer, grandma always told us to do it – eat vegetables – is the one thing that even people in the wellness industry – I go to wellness conferences and they don’t even serve vegetables, and I’m saying to myself, “Where are the vegetables?” Not where’s the beef, but where’s the vegetables?
So yes, in some ways what we’re saying is, it’s kind of a duh, but it’s the doing of the duh – here’s the very zen way of phrasing this. It’s the doing of the duh that leads to long-term success. But so often the duh is so like, well duh, that it’s not sexy enough in our modern – everything is about sexiness and shine and fast and microwaves and twitter and fast cuts on television. Unless it’s like that, we don’t think it will work. But literally, think about it. How does someone become a lawyer? They bury their nose in their books, consistently. Then they pass the bar. Then practice law, day in and day out. Period.
How do you develop an amazing relationship with another human being? It’s not that there is a magic formulation, it’s that consistent small things add up over time.
How does someone become a great athlete? They practice in the trenches, in the dark, by themselves, and with other people. They do the work consistently, they make progress, they become world class. I want you to experience world class long-term success, and that is never achieved by the sexy bright, shiny object. It is always achieved by doing the basics right, consistently, and then once they become a habit, adding resistance, or taking it to the next level. So, we’re focusing on practically done rather than theoretically perfect because by doing that we will achieve consistent success over time, which is the secret, or the formula, for long-term success, and by doing so, we will escape the toxic trap of unnecessary perceived stress, people shaming us, and the anxiety that results.
That was a long rant, but this has become such an issue for so many people that I really wanted to give you my all on this. I hope that was helpful. There have been some questions that have come in. I’m going to answer those. I also have some other stuff to talk about. Woo! I feel a little spent after that. Hopefully that was as useful for you as it was fun for me. I was going to say something else. I was going to say, hopefully, that was as good for you as it was for me, but that’s semi-inappropriate, so feel free to not laugh, but please don’t be offended, we’re having fun.
Leann asks: “I agree I can do those things practically, but how do you get started? I’m eating inSANE and have a huge addition to sugar, so I’m not even making progress.” Leann, thank you so much for asking this question because how do I get started? Eat one more serving of non-starchy vegetable tomorrow than you did today. That’s it. Tomorrow, complete one step in your step-by-step program. Period. That’s how you get started. Done. Do that consistently for a week. So for one week I would like you focus on saying, “How can I eat more non-starchy vegetables the next day than I ate today?” And every day, or every other day – I would prefer every day – you complete one step in your step-by-step program. And every day you post about that in the support group. That’s how you get started.
I love the courage you showed by asking this question, because even now, I was eating and exercise and emotional support and rest and recovery, and you’re like, “Look, Jonathan, I agree that I can do those things practically, but how do I get started? I have a huge addiction to sugar so I’m not even making progress.” If you eat one more serving of non-starchy vegetables tomorrow than you did today, you’ve made progress. And if you do that again the next day, that’s still progress, because now you have two days in a row when you’ve eaten more vegetables than you have historically. And then once that becomes super easy just add another serving of vegetables.
You’re not going anywhere, I’m not going anywhere, your SANE family isn’t going anywhere. This is not about saying, how do you reverse 40 years of misinformation and sugar addiction in four days, or even 40 days, it’s about saying, how do we string together small, practical successes every single day, with a few backslides, but they’re simple so it’s easy to get back on track, for the next year, because I swear to you that if you make small progress, not even every day but out of 365 days in the year, if for 300 f those days you make progress, it is impossible for one year from today you to not be in a place that is so fantastically better from a health, from a mindset, from a physicality perspective than you are today. You cannot have 300 epic days in a year and not be in a freakin’ fantastic place a year from now.
So, how do you get started? Here’s what you do: One step in your step-by-step program, one more serving of non-starchy vegetables. And please, I know that there is a delay from when I talk to when this gets out to the various parts of the world, but Leann, tell me, because I want this to work. I need this to work for you. That’s why I’m here, that’s why your entire SANE team is here, that’s why everyone is here in the SANE Ignite family. It’s because we are committed to your long-term success. You asked, “I agree that I can do those things practically.” So you’ve told me that you can do them. And you said, “How do I get started?” You get started by picking one of them, and doing it. That’s it.
I know that doesn’t seem like enough, but not only is it enough, it is the secret to your success. The secret to your success is to just pick one thing and do it. Just do something. Because now that it’s SANE, you’re good. In the past it was like, just eat less. Just like you would not say, “Oh, I have a headache,” so just open the medicine cabinet and just take something. That’s not good. But do the vegetables. That’s the win. Do more vegetables. Just do that. Let me know if that helps. Let me know if that gives you a sense of how to get started. And then string together a series of days. Tell us in the support group. We’ll figure out where to go next. Excellent question. Thank you so much.
Anise asks: “Should I avoid individuals in my life who say things to me, not intended to, but that somehow stimulate feelings of shame within me rather than working on the why they make me feel that way?” Anise, I think you should do both. Specifically, eventually I want you to never have to feel that you need to –and I don’t mean this as a negative toward you, by any stretch of the imagination – I don’t want you to feel like you need to hide from people – ever. Ever. At the same time, I want this to get practically done.
If there are people in your life who you can avoid without destroying relationships and without causing more stress, if you can just walk to your desk on a different route, or you can not get to that even five minutes early where Mary always says something to you that is condescending, do that. Because I want you to spend time working on the why. I want you to spend time getting better. It’s really important. There is sometimes a misinterpretation of some of the things we talk about in SANE. For example, we talk about loving ourselves and we talk about, obviously, fat shaming is unacceptable. It’s bullying, it’s horrible.
Judging a human being based on their physical appearance – if it’s based on their skin it’s called racism and that’s totally unacceptable. If it’s based on their weight, it’s funny? No, they’re both, equally, morally reprehensible. We should not judge people based on their physical appearance. At the same time, having diabetes is objectively not desirable. I don’t think any of us want to have diabetes. We have to love ourselves, but we don’t have to love having diabetes, and I don’t want us to love having diabetes. I don’t want us to love having the metabolic flu. I don’t want us to love that we have a dysbiotic environment in our gut. So we do need to have time to heal ourselves.
Let’s say that we’re boxing. This is kind of a weird analogy. If you’re in the boxing ring and you’re just getting kind of punched in the face, it’s not that you want to get punched in the face more in the future, but what you need to do, maybe, is step out of the ring, and we’re going to teach you how to be a little bit more agile so you can dodge those punches, and that’s what we’re going to work on. Maybe it’s more like martial arts, where you dodge rather than punch back. So we do need to get you out of the ring. We need you to stop getting punched so that you can have 100% of your energy to learn how to bob and weave and do a little dance like this. And then hopefully you’ll be in a position where you never feel like you have to hide because emotionally, you’ll have strengthened, and also, you will have made meaningful progress.
After 40 years, 30 years, 20 years, 50 years of having the metabolic flu, of being given misinformation, it takes time. We measure our success in six-month intervals of consistent progress. It takes time to heal our metabolism, but we do want to heal it, and when we heal it, it is a fact that you will see results. Period. It is impossible to eat zero calories per day and not lose weight. You will lose weight if you eat zero calories per day. It will also kill you – literally. You’ll starve to death, right? So there is no ambiguity as to whether or not eating zero calories per day will cause you to lose weight. It will. It’s terrible for you. You shouldn’t do it, but it will cause you to lose weight.
If you eat double-digit servings of non-starchy vegetables, three to six servings of nutrient-dense protein, and then whole-food fats, to the extent that you need to fill you up, you exercise Smarter, you sleep, you recover – if you do that consistently, you will see results. You might not see them as quickly as the mainstream media would tell you that you would if you went on the biggest loser, but that’s fine because that’s all nonsense, and what isn’t nonsense is science and continuous progress.
So what we’re going to do is get you out of the boxing ring so you’re not getting punched, then you are going to get mentally stronger by taking on the same mindset, and you’re going to get better. So if people are making you feel bad, you’re going to step back in the ring and it’s not going to be three weeks later, it’s not going to be three days later, as the mainstream media will tell you, but you’re going to be stronger and they’re going to have less to say, because there really won’t be anything for them to say because you’re going to be doing so well, so sustainably, long-term, that even if they do choose to be condescending, they’re going to have a lot less to be condescending about because you’re crushing it. And that’s awesome. So yes, I would say, long-term, we can’t feel the need to hide. Short-term, we need to protect ourselves so that we have the opportunity to heal.
Jane asks: “Does it matter if the sections are done in order?” Yes, Jane, it does matter. Please do them in order. They are intentionally designed step-by-step style, meaning that they build on one another, so it is important to do them in order. It’s also important to do them in order – and this is not sexy – but achieving long-term success, the end goal, you see Michael Phelps standing on the podium will all of his gold medals and you think, “That’s sexy as hell.” As soon as this call ends please type into your search engine, “Michael Phelps under armor commercial.” I shared it on a call a year ago. It’s one of the most powerful commercials I’ve ever seen.
There is a quote at the end of the commercial. The commercial is basically showing what Michael Phelps does in order to be the most successful Olympian of all time, and it’s super not sexy. It’s grueling. Fortunately SANE isn’t grueling, but the point is, and what they say at the end of the commercial is, “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.” So another reason I want you to do your step-by-step program in steps is, I don’t want any aspect of your mind saying, “Jump ahead.” Or “Skip.” Or “Fast-forward to the end.” Think about that mindset, practically done versus theoretically perfect. Skipping around – I want one step at a time, or order. Simple, disciplined progress. Because if you jump out of order, “What did I leave off? Did I do that yet? Maybe if I just skip ahead to the end, I just sort of read the Cliff Notes. I just want to microwave it.” It’s that mindset that we’ve been given.
Again, it’s not your fault. You weren’t born that way. That’s not a character trait you have. It’s not a failing. That is what our instant gratification culture – and it’s not everywhere. In Asian cultures, from a business perspective, they don’t think in terms of “What are our quarterly earnings?” If you look at Toyota, Toyota has 50-year plans. What does Toyota look like in 100 years? They have documents describing their 100-year plans, whereas in the states, in Western countries, we think, “In the next 100 minutes, our stock needs to go up three points.” So I know it seems minor, but I want you to go through the step-by-step program one step at a time, not only because the latter steps don’t make sense if you don’t go through the former steps, but it’s just another embodiment of you following the process and giving yourself time to heal consistently. Hopefully that makes sense.
Lelani, whose name I pronounced correctly, asks: “I have a problem with being consistent. Does this mean I may be operating from double SS?” It does. It also may mean that your goals are more oriented around theoretically perfect rather than practically done. If you struggle with consistency, consistently, actually, you have been consistent on some level, but the key is to set goals and to have accountability measures in place that are more practical. Period. Any time the message is just try harder, that can’t work, because that’s a message of just using more willpower. It might work in the short term but it’s not going to work in the long term.
So the conventional answer, that is not based on research is, “Well, Lelani, you just need to try harder to be more consistent.” The actual answer is that we need to set more practically achievable goals, and then we need to set up an accountability system so that every day – and again, we have to do it, and the end of the day. You made time to be on this call, that’s amazing. You are commonly on these calls. You’ve taught me how to say your name correctly, which is no small task because I’m terrible as saying people’s names. So how can we work together in your support group? Rayna’s in the house, Josh is in the house, Wednesday is in the house. You have many other SANE-certified coaches. What is the – that goal is so achievable but it’s boring? And I want you to prove to yourself that you can do it consistently. Pick something that is such a no-brainer that you can prove to yourself that if I did that, consistently, now I can make a gradual step up and I can do the next thing consistently.
John asks: “Jonathan, should all starches be avoided?” I love that you ask this question, John. If you are down to only eating one serving of starch per day, because you’ve gradually made progress to weaning yourself away from starches and more onto non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein and whole-food fats, then your next step, because you’re after small, consistent progress, would be to eliminate that last serving of starch. Because from a biological perspective, there is no reason that a non-athlete should ever eat starchy foods, especially if you have the metabolic flu. Period.
There is nothing nutritionally positive found in starches that is not found in higher concentrations within SANE foods. If you are a long distance runner, an athlete, we could talk about how starches could be helpful in that context, but if your goal is metabolic healing, what the science shows is a fact is that the more we can eat non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole-food fats, in place of starches and sweets – period – the healthier we will be. Does that mean that eating one starch per day will give you diabetes? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. People were eating a serving of starch per day prior to the diabetes epidemic.
The goal – you will get fastest results the more SANE foods you eat in place of inSANE foods. However, you will get no long-term results if you try to be perfect right from the beginning – period. That is the common approach. And what is the common result? Look around. You can see the mindset of all or nothing perfection has led to the worst health crisis, and the worst mental health crisis the world has ever seen, because it’s toxic, and we need to move toward practically done rather than theoretically perfect. Hopefully that helps.
Oh my goodness. We have seven minutes left. And I want to circle back to the original quote that kicked off this all off, and that is, Josh’s awesome anonymous quote that he shared, which is, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress, and working hard for something we love is called passion.” We’ve actually covered a bunch of homework topics already today, but your homework for this week is the practically done goal, at most two to three, but doing anything SANE, consistently, is better than doing more inconsistently. Consistency is the key. Period.
And consistency isn’t easy. So walking around the block once is easy. Structuring your life and prioritizing so that I am going to do that five days per week – period – that’s hard, because life happens. But we know, for example, if you’ve had children, or if you’ve had any sort of project that the buck stopped with you, at some point the buck stops with us. And if your child throws up all over the floor, there’s either going to be throw-up on the floor or you’re going to clean it up. And somehow we always find time to clean it up. We have to put our long-term health and well-being through practically done simple goals as our top priority, because in empowering ourselves to live better, everything else in our lives will get better.
So, inspired by Josh’s quote, which is, again, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress, working hard for something you love is called passion,” our steps are going to be simple and SANE. There is some willpower involved, but the beauty is that because these are so simple they become habits and then willpower goes away. There is willpower, but willpower actually decreases over time, whereas when you starve yourself, the need for willpower increases over time. Starving yourself gets harder over time, making simple tweaks to the quality of the food that you’re eating becomes easier over time. Your tastes change and therefore you don’t need willpower, so it becomes less hard to do that over time.
However, you know that this is important, you know that this will change your life, and therefore it will change the lives of everyone you love and everyone who depends on you. So if you do feel some stress from saying, “Man, I really don’t want to eat one more serving of non-starchy vegetables,” or, “I really don’t want to post in the support group, that’s stressing me out,” if you realize that the reason you’re doing it is for something that you love, which I hope to God is yourself. I hope you love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, I hope we can get you there. And if you don’t love yourself, I hope that you have people your life that you do love. Because even if you don’t love yourself, by acting lovingly toward yourself, by doing what we’re talking about here, you will better be able to love those in your life.
So even if you don’t love yourself, which first of all, we’re going to help you with that because you deserve love, especially from yourself. If you treat yourself lovingly, then working hard toward treating yourself lovingly, which is what we’re talking about doing here, not setting yourself up for shame or stress or anxiety, but treating yourself lovingly, for something that you know is important, for something that you love, is called passion. So the same thing which you could perceive as stress, when you take on that same mindset, you perceive as passion. So yes, you’re going to feel stimulated, you’re going to feel a little bit aroused. But you say that arousal isn’t stress. Because it’s not arousal toward the sexy, quick fix nonsense. It’s arousal toward real, meaningful, consistent, life-changing progress over time, and that’s freakin’ passion. That’s not stress, that’s passion. And Josh, you know that we all have mad love for you, but extra love for you this week, because I really love that quote and I really appreciate it.
So your homework for this week is to determine what is the practically done thing you’re going to do? Post about that in the support group. And part two of the homework is that if you find yourself feeling anxiety or stress, will you be courageous enough to share that with us in the support group so that we can deconstruct it and figure out how that might be rooted in a belief around theoretical perfection. So, what can you get practically done, and if you are feeling stress and shame, the double SS, how can we help to deconstruct that, and how can you help to empower yourself by understanding that that it rooted in a mythical, theoretical perfection. That’s the homework.
And then there is another quote that I wanted to share because I had the commitment to close on a happy quote, and this was an extremely session, hopefully. I think this was one of the most powerful sessions we’ve had because I know, for me, this is a huge freakin’ issue. I may have great habits around eating and exercise, but there are plenty of areas in my life that I’m not theoretically perfect yet, and it’s freakin’ devastating, so I’m right there with you, I promise.
However, we’re going to make progress, it’s going to be awesome. We’re going to get it practically done rather than being distracted by theoretical perfection. We going to close this awesome 90-minute session which I feel so blessed that you shared 90 minutes with me. Thank you so much. I think the presidential debate is about to start so you can go from total SANEity to total inSANEity. Hopefully you think that’s funny. I hope I didn’t offend you, I’m sorry.
But we’ll close on this quote. This is from Patangali, who says, “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break your bounds. Your mind transcends limitations. You consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person, by far, than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
Thank you so much for sharing 90 minutes of your day with me. Know that your SANE-certified coaches are ready with so much SANEity and love for you in your coaching and support group. Please pop over there. Please rock and roll in your step-by-step program. Thank you again, and I will see you next week. See you later. Stay SANE.