Carrie’s 30 Year SANE Success Story


Jonathan: Hey everybody, Jonathan Bailor and Carrie Brown, back with another SANE show, and it has been some time since I have seen Carrie, Carrie, how are you doing?

Carrie: I am doing awesome, hello lovely listeners by the way.

Jonathan: Well, Carrie is back, and folks, I know we have had quite a few shows recently talking about Carrie, and we are not going to stop because the journey continues, and Carrie, you are in a whole new spot now than the last time we spoke.

Carrie: Yes, indeed I am.

Jonathan: So, now that if you are — who knows if this is the end of your story, I mean I do not know if it is, I am sure it is not, but let us tell your story here, because the more I am learning about this, I mean I have known you for a couple of years, the more amazed and inspired I get, before we began recording, we talked about the four phases you have been through. So, let us tell that story, let us start with phase one, let us say your childhood years.

Carrie: Okay, childhood years, skinny, super skinny, very small, lean, ballet dancer, all of that, just, soaking wet I do not think —

Jonathan: What size would you say, what size dress, pants.

Carrie: Double zero.

Jonathan: Oh my goodness, really, so we are talking naturally petite individual, ballet dancer. And then for folks that have been listening to this show for a while or read the Calorie Myth, Carrie then went on to become a pastry chef, correct?

Carrie: Yes, and I was still a double zero.

Jonathan: So, definitely no aversion to food.

Carrie: No, I always loved food, I fell in love with chocolate when I was about three and start doing cake decorating and pastry work seriously when I was fourteen, I’d started a company when I was fourteen that made wedding and celebration cakes, so there were not many minutes in the day when sugar was not in my mouth.

Jonathan: I love this, Carrie, because it helps to provide a really concrete example of, so here we have a woman, a naturally think woman — one of the things that inspired me to do all this research was because I too was a naturally thin person and I was struck when I was a trainer at how much I could eat, literally 6000 per day while my clients who are predominantly female, I would tell them to eat 1200 calories a day, these were not naturally thin females, they would not lose weight eating 1200 calories, I would not gain weight eating 6000 calories, and I said something else has to be going on here other than just saying, “Well these people do not have enough will power,” because that is clearly not the problem. But for you that was never an issue, you were naturally thin, then what happened.

Carrie: Umm.

Jonathan: This is phase two.

Carrie: So, it started to change when I was about twenty-seven and I just became aware that I was getting larger, not significantly larger, but I moved a size in clothes and it was nothing desperate, but I was definitely aware that eating some things had a different effect on me than others, so I think I was about twenty-seven when that started to happen.

Jonathan: So let us say, late twenties, early thirties for the first time in your life, up until that point, you ate whatever you want, whenever you wanted at no impact, starting to in your later twenties, early thirties, it began to have an impact, albeit, not huge, it did start to have an impact.

Carrie: Right, and I actually followed a few heavy duty diets and got back to my 00 self at one point and I was very consciously monitoring what I was eating, but I did get back there through force and willpower.

Jonathan: And when you say force and will-power and hard core diet, I am assuming you are talking about the other — so SANEity, this show, our books are all about the quality of food you are eating, when you say hardcore diet, I am going to assume you mean about the quantity of food you are eating and calorie restrictions.

Carrie: So I was pretty much fasting every day, so one meal a day, fasting for two meals, one meal a day, I would do that for days at a time and then I would eat just vegetables then I would do fasting for another series of day or I would just go hungry.

Jonathan: So, in your late twenties, early thirties [05:00] when you started to notice that fat was creeping on, despite you not changing anything about your eating and exercise habits, you then took the approach that so many of us have taken because that is what we have been told to take, which is just starve yourself, and you were as long as you were able to starve yourself. And when we say starve yourself, we are probably talking sub-thousand calories per day?

Carrie: Right, oh yeah.

Jonathan: And folks, just to give context and when I say starve yourself, I am not being hyperbolic or exaggerating, there is a study that will never be replicated called the Minnesota starvation experiment done in World War Two to examine the impacts that starvation would have on individuals on war torn countries during World War Two. The protocol in this study was that individuals were asked to walk a few miles per day and fed 1600 calories per day, that was to replicate starvation. So Carrie was at maybe even half that on some days, is that fair?

Carrie: Yeah.

Jonathan: So while doing that, you were able to get back down, then what happened?

Carrie: And then, it is a bit of a blur…

Jonathan: It is probably because your brain was not working because you were not eating.

Carrie: I remember what happened, I moved to America.

Jonathan: There it is!

Carrie: And even though I ate pretty much the same foods in America as I did at home, I really started to put on the weight, and I put that down to the kind of the crazy wheat we have, we have Franken-wheat here which we do not have in England or we did not back then, and a lot of food with a lot more additives and fake stuff and a lot more processed oils and a lot more highly processed — like high fructose corn syrup, you never hear about that anymore, well you did not back then, so there was all this Franken-food, so even though I thought I was eating the same in America, I was actually eating Franken-food and that is when the weight really started coming on.

Jonathan: And that is such an important point Carrie because so often there are these — you know I do not like calories, the reason I do not like calories is because they ignore all the things that actually matter, like you said a slice of homemade bread made with emmer wheat, that is not genetically modified, that you would find in a European country, may have 150 calories, and a piece of bread that is made with genetically modified Franken-wheat in the United States may have the same number of calories, so people are like, “Oh, not only am I still eating the same stuff I ate, but I am eating the same number of calories and things are still going haywire with my body.” Well, that is because the quality of those calories is different.

Carrie: Right, I think the franken-food in my mind definitely alters your hormones, it alters you on cellular level, that even though it may be the same number of calories, it has a different effect on your body.

Jonathan: We can certainly say your opinion is spot on Carrie because we have seen — MSG is the most conspicuous example, where you can just administer MSG which is in lots of stuff, lots of stuff, into rodents, because they will not allow this study to be done on humans because it is so detrimental and you will literally see what researchers call a dose dependent relationship between MSG and fat gain, meaning that keeping calories equal, keeping everything else equal, the more MSG you give a rodent, the more fat it will gain independent of everything else staying the same, so certainly this matters. So this is the third phase of your life when, despite the fact that you were probably still doing the same thing that ninety-five percent of Americans do which is, eat the standard American diet when you are hungry, stop when you are full, treat yourself occasionally, where did that get you, in terms of, let us say dress size.

Carrie: Eight.

Jonathan: So you went from a double zero at your natural slimmest to a size eight and in both of those circumstances, would it be fair to say, you were eating the standard diet of whatever area or the world you were located in, when you were hungry, stopping when you were full and treating yourself on occasion?

Carrie: Yeah, and I must say that I have typically — apart from the fact that I used to consume pound and pound and pounds of sugar when I was creating stuff, when I was a pastry chef.

Jonathan: So you were eating worse when you were smaller?

Carrie: But the actual meals I ate were actually quite healthy. I grew up, my mother made everything from scratch, we did not have a lot of junk food, we did not have candy or crisps or that, so I have typically eaten more vegetables than the standard American diet and I continued that, [10:00] but I was still, got to a size eight.

Jonathan: Okay, so just to recap, because, while a lot of our listeners may not have been as blessed as you or I, in the sense of starting from a place of natural slimness, they can certainly empathize with starting from a place of, “Hey, I ate what most people eat when I am hungry, I stop when I am full, I treat myself on occasion and I have done that consistently throughout my life, so that is not what has changed, the only thing that has changed is my age and my waistline, and what is up with that?”

Carrie: Right, so when I moved to America, I did not suddenly start eating junk food like all the processed packaged stuff in the stores, I was eating just bread and pasta and starch, but it was not necessarily what we would call junk food, so it was the healthier end, but still, it was the Franken-pasta and the Franken-flour and — I believe in my mind that that is what the problem was.

Jonathan: And when you say healthy, listeners, you cannot see it, we are in the studio here, but we are doing bunny ear quotation marks, “healthy” in quotations, it is this low fat high carbohydrate, protein is irrelevant, not to say that carbohydrates are innately evil, vegetables are carbohydrate, but doing what we have told is healthy, continuing to do that through your life, going from size double zero to a size eight and then I can imagine you must have been like, “So, what do I do now?”

Carrie: Right, and of course, the more I gained dress sizes, the more I went to the low fat because — something is changing right? And I do not know what to do about it so, you go with what the media tells you all day every day and what the supermarket tells you all day everyday which is, eat less and exercise more and everything is low fat and so you go for the supposedly healthy options because then I am feeling out of control, it does not seem to matter what I do, I am just putting on weight, you try and do the right things and it just makes you bigger and then you do not even know what to do.

Jonathan: So then you do not even know what to do, and I believe this is about the time that we first met Carrie because at this time — you are at a size eight, is that fair to say that size eight is the largest size you have ever been at?

Carrie: Yeah.

Jonathan: So then, I believe you discovered Gary Taubes’ work, this now is probably six years ago, five?

Carrie: Three.

Jonathan: Ok, three years. Time flies, or the opposite of that? So you found Gary’s work, so you started to think about the quality of the food that you are eating for the first time in your life, what do you do and what happened?

Carrie: So I started eating lots of protein and lots of fat and no sugar and no starchy carbs and my muffin top disappeared, overnight, literally, three days, it was miraculous, but then I plateaued very quickly. So that was all good and I felt better, but, there was an initial dramatic fat loss, I would not say weight loss, but fat loss, dramatic. And then, six months, five months after that it was my lucky day when I emailed you.

Jonathan: So then we met and as folks know from our previous podcast talking about your amazing success that you have had recently, at that point I think we called it you went, pseudo-SANE. So here you are, muffin top disappeared but plateauing, goes pseudo-SANE, what were you doing to go pseudo-SANE and what was the impact on your body and mind?

Carrie: So I think the big difference between all the piece — for me, that you added was the focus on the non-starchy vegetables, Garrus’ focus is on high protein and high fat, but at least this is what I remember of his book, the focus was not, “you are not supposed to eat vegetables, NSV, NSV, NSV.” Which was, for me was the piece that I thought was missing, so when I started doing that with you, I lost –

Jonathan: Inches.

Carrie: In a very short time I lost a dress size, so I was down to a six, but then I stalled and I plateaued for two years.

Jonathan: So, Carrie, you went down to a six, and if folks have seen our [15:00] creative life course or any of that stuff, you are seeing Carrie in a size six pseudo-SANE state. And what we have been talking about for the past couple of shows is how Carrie then went and took her from pseudo-SANE to fully SANE, and Carrie, also, I want to bring into the fold because this is where, if your life was a movie, here is the wrinkle. The wrinkle, and correct me if I am wrong here, is that we look back at the first phase of your life: you are a size double zero, you are eating gobs and gobs of sugar because you are a pastry chef, and now, let’s fast-forward to before you went fully SANE, you are at a size six, you are eating some non-starchy vegetables, you are eating your natural fats, you are eating some protein, and also, something else changed in terms of medical conditions, and those are big changes. So tell us — something did change, and it changed actually in a way that should have compromised your ability to regain control of your body. What happened?

Carrie: So I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, which is the depressive end, not the manic, crazy, spending money, getting drunk, driving too fast; not the manic end, the depressive end of bipolar. I was diagnosed with that. And the medication that they typically put you on are anti-psychotics, and they are famous for making you gain weight.

Jonathan: Yes.

Carrie: Or at the very least, making it incredibly hard to lose weight.

Jonathan: Yeah. So there is no question here, folks. This is — for example: nicotine, SSRIs, insulin; these things have been shown repeatedly in the most rigorous of clinical trials to, again, independent of calorie quality or quantity, take someone, exact same diet, exact same lifestyle, put them on these medications and their body fat level will change because they impact your brain, and of course, your brain controls everything. So Carrie, now we have Carrie Brown who is fifteen years older, Carrie Brown who is in a much more stressful professional situation, and Carrie Brown who is on medication proven to make it harder to burn fat.

Carrie: Right.

Jonathan: Okay, so now, this takes us up to three months ago, four months ago?

Carrie: Four months ago.

Jonathan: Four months ago. And this is when you started your, “I am going to take a leave from the job, I am going to go one-hundred percent SANE,” and I want to still highlight, though — do you mind sharing your age?

Carrie: I am forty-eight.

Jonathan: Okay, you are forty-eight? I did not actually know you were forty-eight. You are really forty-eight? Okay, I thought it was like forty-one, because she does not — you are forty-eight? Really? We should have probably talked about this before the podcast, that is cool. So Carrie is — you are almost fifty? Carrie’s face is red as hell! Both of our faces are really red right now, that is so crazy! Okay, anyway, so Carrie, first of all, that is glorious! This story is amazing! We should make —

Carrie: Bailor is speechless! Yes!

Jonathan: So, this is epic. This is a great story, Carrie. Okay, so now we have thirty years later, on medication that should make it nearly impossible for you to lose weight, or so we have been told. And tell us now, and then we will dig into it more in future episodes, [inaudible – 18:44], again, the deck is stacked against you both in terms of everything you have been told about medication, stress, you work at Microsoft, you have an incredibly stressful job, you are nearly fifty, which blows my freaking mind, and you are on medication proven — but what is going on right now?

Carrie: Right now, where I am today?

Jonathan: Yes.

Carrie: Well, I have never felt healthier than I have felt now, and for the purposes of what we have been talking about, I am now a size two.

Jonathan: So you are —

Carrie: And still losing, so I am not sure that two is my final resting point, but two is where I am right now.

Jonathan: So, you are at a size two, you are feeling better than you ever have, and you are —

Carrie: And I look awesome for nearly fifty.

Jonathan: Well, clearly, I did not even know, this is ridiculous, kind of blew my mind a little bit. But friends, the reason I wanted to share this is — so we have talked about a lot of different things, obviously, on the show, but one of them is that, first of all, setting goals that are realistic and reasonable and focused on health first are so important because, first of all, Carrie started from a different spot than a lot of us. We talk about, for example, [20:00] do not make your goal — I think we talked about on a previous episode, like my goal should not be to look like Ryan Gosling because I cannot make my face look like Ryan Gosling’s face.

Carrie: Darn it!

Jonathan: But I can make myself the best version of me that I can. So Carrie is starting from a different place than most people are, but it is amazing to see (and I will let Carrie talk more about this) that when she put her health first, and when she focused on eating more SANE foods, meaning foods that provide her body with the most of what it needs to do what it wants to do like Carrie’s body wants — in the first twenty-six years of her life as evidence, wants to be about a size zero, or a size two; she has a petite body by default, and just like our bodies do not want lung cancer, it is not like they want to get diseased, they also do not want the now clinically shown disease of obesity. So when we provide our body with an abundance of the fuel and the quality of food that it needs to be healthy, despite the fact that thirty years have passed, despite the fact that one is on high-dose medication that should make this impossible, and despite the fact of having immense stress in one’s life, with the proper quality of food and in an abundance, you can, what we have said for years, reset your set point. You can make your body fight to keep you slim, like it right now might be fighting to keep you not so slim. Is that fair, Carrie?

Carrie: Right, and so, I now have the same body that I had when I was in my mid-twenties. And I am still losing, so I think I will probably get back to where I was when I was sixteen. But the important thing, I think you mentioned it just now, but the important thing for me is that I was not trying to do this. My focus back in January when I took leave was to heal my body, but it had nothing to do with losing fat; that was just not even on my mind. So I did not measure anything, I have no measurements, but I did it to make the rest of me healthy and a fabulous byproduct of that is that I now have my natural body back. And it took three months, so it was fast, I mean, super-fast, and I have got to tell you, it was easy. Once I had switched on the fat-burning hormones, it just was easy.

Jonathan: Because just like, folks, that seems that is crazy talk, right now, maybe, think about how easy it seems to maintain your current, less than ideal waist measurement, right? If you are not where you want to be right now, think about how hard it is to deviate from that. Well, once you have healed your body, which is what we are talking about here and why I am so against starvation dieting because starvation will never heal you; starvation cannot heal you, that is like saying the way you heal your lungs after smoking is to smoke shorter cigarettes. That does not — less of the poison that has broken your brain and hormones does not cure you, it will just kill you more slowly. So what we are talking about here is cure, what we are talking about is healing, and I cannot think of a better case study than you, Carrie. And it is just so phenomenal to be able to share this with people because you have taken this journey and you have been public about it for almost two years now, and really, it also shows how folks talk about the level of SANEity and how ambitious your goals are, and how quickly you can see results. And you are a perfect case study, again, saying that, hey, if someone wants to take this a little bit more casually, just still eating some starches and sweets, not really doing the non-starchy vegetables, you can go from a size eight down to a size six or a size five; never be hungry, not really worry about it. I actually think, early on in our podcasting, you in fact, on weekends, were just like —

Carrie: Whatever, yeah.

Jonathan: Whatever, so it was like complete inSANEity on weekends, and then you made the choice, not for any vanity reasons, but to say, “I am going to do SANE as is recommended,” so non-starchy vegetables first and foremost, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, in that order. And you went from, at your highest, a size eight down to a size two, and never in that path were you ever hungry, ever.

Carrie: No.

Jonathan: So it is literally — it was not a quantity thing; you ate when you were hungry, stopped when you were full, you just dialed up the quality and then you dialed up your results.

Carrie: Right. [25:00] And now I have completely lost my train of thought, but I had something really important to say. He is talking, I will probably remember it.

Jonathan: Well no, that is all right, because we are actually out of time for this week, but folks we have got a bunch of great stuff in story for you over the next coming episodes. Going to dig into the psychology of Slim and a bunch of other fun stuff, and again, I just want us all to pressure Carrie into taking more photos of herself, because you have got to get those after pics out there, because it is just amazing to see this, and I think so many of us out there, and Carrie, we talked about this before we started recording. We literally were like, “Based on my circumstance, I cannot get better.” I mean, I remember you saying to me at a recording session, you were not feeling good, you said, “Jonathan, my doctors got me on these meds, I am so sorry if I balloon up. There is nothing I can do, I am on these meds.” And it is now later than that, you are still on the meds, and through high-quality eating, you continue to transform yourself, which is amazing and I think gives us all hope, so kudos to you.

Carrie: I remembered what I wanted to say.

Jonathan: All right, one last thing.

Carrie: So, I do not want anyone to feel affronted when I said it was easy because it was, but I do not want you to be sitting there feeling like, “But it is the hardest thing and I cannot — it is not working for me, blah, blah, blah.” For me, I spent two years never believing or never even imagining that I would ever be a size two again. I had just resigned myself to the fact that I would be a size six forever, and I would never lose the fat I wanted to lose, and I would just have to give up. But as soon as I started — well, I think I changed my mindset to that completely of health not to — I took my mind off the fat loss and put it to health and when I really tweaked just a few little things around being truly SANE and also being religious about the e-centric exercise and got my sleep under control and got my stress under control and a few other things that we have talked about in previous podcasts, literally, once I had done those things and my hormones started to heal, I literally just started to melt and it truly was easy. So I want to encourage you that if you think it is hopeless, if that is where you are, I was there for two years. But if you find your magic combination, the switch is that switch, I am sure you will have the same results.

Jonathan: And it is so important and inspiring Carrie, and when we say SANE results, Bremen that when you are thinking about results, think about your starting point. So Carrie’s starting point was a size zero or a size two. That is her starting point, that might not be your starting point. So wherever your starting point is, think about when you were at your healthiest, and let’s work through SANE eating and e-centric exercise to get you back to your healthiest, and you will see that once you are back at your healthiest, your body will look like it did when you were at your healthiest. Make sense?

Carrie: Right, absolutely.

Jonathan: I love it, Carrie. Well, lots of good stuff to come, and folks, until then, remember this week and every week after: eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better, we will chat with you soon.

Carrie: See you!

Jonathan: Do not stop listening yet!

Carrie: You can get fabulous free SANE recipes over at CarrieBrown.com.

Jonathan: And do not forget your one-hundred percent free eating and exercise quick start program as well as free, fun, daily tips delivered right into your inbox at Bailorgroup.com