JONATHAN: Hey everybody, Jonathan Bailor back with another SANE show and today’s show is one of those special shows where I feel so honored to have a SANE success story joining us today and one of the most compelling SANE success stories I have ever personally heard – a woman whose story I read at least quarterly because it inspires me and I know it will inspire you. She’s been on the SANE train and eating nutrient dense foods for quite a few years now and I’m so honored to share her story with you today. Christine Biswabic, welcome to the show.
CHRISTINE: Hello, thank you so much.
JONATHAN: Well, it’s my pleasure to have you here Christine and just to get started — so prior to all of this nutrient dense delightful eating you do now and wellness — you’ve transformed your life, but where were you at before all of this?
CHRISTINE: Before all of this I was 278 lbs., wearing a size 4X, dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome, high blood pressure, severe headaches and mentally being trapped if you want to think of it that way. I was a definite mental prison. With all of that what amazes people and still to this day amazes me is I was a multiple degree black belt in the martial arts, I was extraordinarily active, but still I wasn’t able to figure out how to get things to the point where I could have the optimal health that I needed.
JONATHAN: Wow. So, just so I understand you were at 278 lbs., but at the same time you were a very experienced martial artist?
CHRISTINE: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, winning overall grand champion in tournaments. So, I know it doesn’t make sense. It really doesn’t make sense, but that is part of the fascination of being able to play detective and figure out what works so that you can figure out not just the food and not just the movement, but also the mindset, which for me was a huge key because stress may have no calories, but it absolutely can make you fat.
JONATHAN: Well, said Christine. It’s funny because both you and I are — it doesn’t make sense that you could be so physically active, but still weigh 278 lbs., which the implication there is that exercising a lot is the key to not gaining weight, which I think so many of us are frustrated with that message and clearly you were because you were exercisinga lot, but you weighed 278 lbs. So, should you just have been a double grand master? So, what was that mindset? How did you feel when you were at the upper end of physical activity, yet you were still struggling? What was going through your mind at that time?
CHRISTINE: I was actually standing on a treadmill. I was walking and trying to do some sprints on the treadmill and I was actually for the first time turning on a SANE podcast. So, back then it was just the Smarter Science of Slim and I turned it on and started to listen and all of a sudden some things started to click and it motivated me to start asking some different questions. I realized that there were things that I knew, but just knowing sometimes is not enough. You can know things, but not know how.
So, I had to take the knowing and figure out some of the how’s and so I changed some of the basic simple things from this type of backwoods. I live up in Marinette, Wisconsin. I’m right on the border of the upper peninsula of Michigan, so I’m a yooper cheese head and that means meat and potatoes. So, you grow up with a lot of meat and potatoes. So, starch was always was a part of my lifestyle and not understanding that for me personally I may have to have way less starch than the person standing next to me.
So, I first just began with the nutrient dense foods, the non-starchy fibers, the vegetables, the low sweet fruits, healthy proteins, figuring out if dairy was okay for me or did dairy actually create a bit of insulin spike. So, with somebody like polycystic ovarian syndrome, you kind of have to look at it sometimes almost like you’re diabetic. You have to really watch that insulin level. So, I had to pay attention first to that.
Well, by doing that, and continuing exactly what I was doing with my movement, I lost 40 more pounds. So, I went down 40 pounds, but then everything stopped and I began again getting very frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. Well, why? Why is this happening? Why am I broken, and realizing them there was more involved than just the food in front of me and the movement. There was also a mindset issue.
So, I had to look at it and you hear people say mind over matter? I called it mind over fatter. So, I had to get that mind over fatter thinking going, looking at the fact that there were things in my lifestyle that dramatically impacted how my body was using the food I was taking in and how my body was dealing with sleep and even how I was benefiting from the movement, so I was moving too much at that point. I wasn’t moving effectively for what I needed.
So, I had to take the things that I knew and make sure I knew how to do them and how to do them correctly, but then I had to move on and I had to continue that journey. It’s a process that really never stops.
JONATHAN: Christine, you mentioned a critical mental component of this and I think we all struggle with that, but I think you especially — wasn’t there a car accident or some horrible thing that you had to deal with that even compounded this challenge?
CHRISTINE: That’s pretty much how it all began. I was in a very bad winter storm car accident where five cars hit me head on and caused me to have a broken neck. I was in halo vest traction and I think it was one of the culminating events that created my body’s situation internally that everything just started to kind of fall out of line and get messed up.
So, the weight was gained and all kinds of problems happened. It took a long time to recover from that. So, I’m a fighter, I never stop. If there’s a challenge, I’ll attack it. It doesn’t mean I’ll always attacking it correctly, but I’m not going to stop attacking it, right? I’m going to keep going. So, that’s what I did. I overcame that car accident. I was able to make sure I could walk correctly because I even struggled with walking well, but all of this weight was there and that just went from bad to worse. It also was impacting greatly my ability to have a child. I was told by the doctors I would never have a child — absolutely never. Well, now I have almost 23 year old son, so I had my miracle baby. Don’t tell me no, because I will think how to get past you, right?
JONATHAN: Christine, let’s fast forward now. So, you’ve had this incredible challenge. You broke your neck. You were hit head on by five cars, you got up to 278 lbs., because in large part of this struggle, despite the fact that you were a world class athlete, I think is fair to say. Where are you at today?
CHRISTINE: I’m at 174 lbs. Body composition though, most people think I’m closer to the 140s and that’s the beauty of having nutrient dense foods that you’re taking in and smarter exercise because you’re able to have the human growth hormone, testosterone impacts that you need, so that you’re able to keep the muscle, build muscle, and lose the fat. So, you’re able to have a better body composition, so you like tighter, you look smaller. So, people think I actually weigh less than I really do. I’m very strong. I wear a size 10/12 medium, I have no PCOS symptoms, no medication, no high blood pressure medications, no headache medications, absolutely nothing, except for really good sound multi-vitamins and healthy supplements, like Vitamin D, D-3, B-12, those are keys, especially if you’re anywhere where you don’t get enough sunlight or if you’re a Microsoft mole and you live in your basement. I can tease Jonathan because my son is a computer networking specialist so he’s a mole too. Like to live in the basement with the computer too much sometimes.
So, you need to make sure that you are supplementing correctly. So much of it was figuring out how to put myself in that position where I was who I wanted to be. I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense, but you talk about the future self and I know you have also on podcasts and webisodes talked about looking at your future self and using that as a motivator to move forward. There is one trick to that, though. You can get stuck chasing after the future self and staying there behind that future self and a lot of times that’s what happens with people is that you get stuck chasing that future self and never actually being that future self.
So, I had to get to that point instead of looking ahead at this is what I want, this is what I desire to be, I had to just be it, right now, today. So, a lot of what I was dealing with was caring for everyone else, being a nurturer and a caregiver, investing my time everywhere except for on myself, thinking that I was doing that to benefit and bless everyone else and take care of everyone else, so that was good.
In reality, I was cheating every last one of them because it’s amazing that after I lost the weight and I got healthy and I got my mind in the right place, all of a sudden people said they liked me better. I was a lot nicer to hang around with and I was less snarky at times and less sad. It’s amazing how you don’t want to admit it, but when you’re in that position, you can literally loathe yourself and just hate who you are because of what you’re living in and feeling lost and out of control just compounds that.
So, I had to look at what did I want to be? Well, a fit thin person or a healthy person, they don’t think about well, this is what I want to be so this is how I should be, an athlete, musician, right? They just do it. If this is how I eat, this is what I do, they just do it. So, if you have that, well, if I do this, then I’ll have what I need to be what I want. It’s like a have-do-be mentality or you could have the do-have, if I have money then I’ll have enough to do what I need to do to be the person I want to be. Well, that’s not going to work that way. You need to be that person right now, today.
So, right now at this moment, I’m going to be the healthy fit person which automatically puts me in that place to do what I really need to do so that I am that person that I need to be and then the progress and the improvement starts to take place. So, I’m no longer chasing after the Christine I wanted to be, and I knew I should be and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t there. Now, I’m just her. So, it makes everything start to fit more comfortably in that box.
So, I have my preemptive planning box and if I know who I want to be — so I’m just living that way, I’m able to then utilize the strategies that make it so simple. It might not always be easy, but just like Carrie says, SANE is simple. Being slim is simple. Not always easy, but it can be simple.
Well, now I just do what I need to do, whether it be planning, being preemptive in my planning, and preparing what I need to have for the week, and thinking ahead, I’m going to be in these types of circumstances with these people, so have safety net foods or safety net things with me so that I don’t get kind of sucked in to anything that I’m going to regret later. When I do make those wrong choices, don’t worry about it. Everybody fails, you have to fail or you’re not going to grow, so then be grateful for it, learn from it, don’t be afraid of it, and keep going.
JONATHAN: Christine, it’s an extremely powerful message and your story is nothing short of a miracle because you describe the situation I think we all find ourselves in, which is this, I’m going to put myself last. I’m going to put everyone else first and you were doing that in your case while you were suffering from debilitating illnesses, psychologically you were not at your prime, you were near 280 lbs., so you were giving all of yourself, but the self that you were giving it sounds like it almost didn’t even resemble the self you have today, which is cured of all these ailments from what I can gather and an optimal body composition. You talked about the shift between wanting it versus just being it and doing it. Was there a moment when you made that mental shift and just started doing it?
CHRISTINE: It was seriously listening to the Smarter Science of Slim podcasts. Something clicked and I’m not just saying that because you’re Jonathan Bailor. Seriously, you became my mentor. You were that – I don’t know, that knowledge, that how-to, the inspiration, the laugh. Your laughter would ring in my head at times which was wonderful and it truly was just this wonderful tool that was used to help kind of kick things in the right direction.
JONATHAN: So, Christine, if you could go back in time to when you were at your darkest moment prior to all of this SANEity, and you could say something to that Christine, knowing what you know now and being who you are now, what would you say?
CHRISTINE: Put the President back in the chair. Very seriously. I was living trying to run this company. My company, but I kept walking around the chair never sitting in it and doing what I needed to do and as you know, the President of a company, if the President says to do something, the company follows, right? Well, your head is the same way. It’s the President of your body’s company and if it says to do something, the body should follow unless there are internal factors that are clogging that up.
I was great at being the President of everyone else’s company, and I don’t mean that in a bitchy way or anything. I mean I was the organizer, the strategist, the troubleshooter, the problem solver. I was great at being the President, but never the President of me. So, I had to give myself permission to be my President.
I had to trust myself and as somebody who works in the health and wellness field all the time, that’s my profession now — I changed. I was an educator, a music educator, and a web developer, so like you, I’ve done a lot of the techy geek stuff and now I’m working as a health and wellness coach and I see people that they need to trust the process, but more importantly, they need to trust themselves to work with that process and so many of the questions that you get in are the questions of can I, should I, what will happen if — and I like to tell them – ready, aim, fire, let’s just fire and then aim, aim, and aim.
So, let’s just go. Let’s just do it, and I found that’s part of the being if you are a good athlete, you’re always going to be before you do. I don’t know quite how else to express that.
So, I want people to think that it’s okay to take action, to go ahead and do it, and then tweak it and fix it and move it, adjust it, assess it, and then fire again, and go and do it. The more we take action and keep moving forward, the more we can then figure out what is not working for us because what works for you is not going to be exactly what works for me and that’s wonderful and there’s nothing wrong with how you do things and there’s nothing wrong with how I do things, as long as we’re getting that optimal health.
There are certain things that are absolutely ground level basic fundamentals that nobody can dispute — fibrous vegetables. Nobody can tell anybody that you just never eat fibrous vegetables and you’re going to be perfectly fine, it’s just not real. That’s just a lie. You never have to sleep. I’m sorry, but that’s not the truth, you really do need to sleep. It’s really kind of important.
There are certain things that are absolutely basic, but then there are things that are going to be individually biased and that’s okay. So, that’s the part that you have to figure out, what works for you, what doesn’t. What fits your lifestyle. You don’t like to cook. You want to assemble. So, thank god you have Carrie. So, assemblymen let the assemblyman be the assemblyman and if you like to cook, go ahead and cook.
So, if you need convenience and you need different ideas, different recipes, different tricks or strategies, also types of foods that react to your body. Are there foods that actually cause you to be more hungry or maybe just knock your energy right down into the toilet? Well, then you need to know those foods are probably not the best choice for me and if I do eat them, then I know I’m consciously doing it and I know I’m going to have consequences and I’m ready for that.
JONATHAN: Christine, this is amazing and it’s so cool to see how not only has your life changed — your body, your health, your mind, your profession — if anyone out there doesn’t think change is possible, and doesn’t think optimization is possible, I can’t think of a better case study than yourself because literally, it seems like every single aspect of your life is just shooting through the roof in terms of positivity and from such a challenging starting point to where you are now is amazing. So, where can folks learn more about your story? You mentioned you do wellness coaching. How can folks get in touch with you?
CHRISTINE: On Facebook, I’m at Eat Sane. So, I have “Eat Sane Move Sane.” Yes, I checked with Jonathan before I ever utilized my naming. So, we’ve been in contact for years. I also am a health and wellness coach, so if you just want to contact me through Facebook, Eat Sane, it’s just at Eat Sane, that’s fine and then you can see all of what I’m doing and there you’re going to see a lot of the different posts from Jonathan — from other places — because I believe that you’ve got to be willing to work with everybody, because so many times we’re very narrow in the field and we think there’s only one right way and there’s only one right person who has all the answers.
In reality we’ve got to take a lot of what’s out there and there’s so much that is so wonderful and take what works for you and set down what doesn’t and then keep going. You said that my life has improved tremendously, the relationships have improved miraculously and just a little psss to kind of let people in on it, sex is so much better.
JONATHAN: It’s amazing Christine — one of my most favorite teachers of all time was Dr. Stephen Covey, the late Dr. Stephen Covey, “7 Habits” gentleman and he has an old saying, which is that nothing tastes as good as healthy feels, and as you know from your cooking experience, healthy 2.0 cooking is delicious, so, but once you can feel and be as you’ve said, as you are now and as you feel now, it’s so much easier to keep going with that. It’s such a self-reinforcing thing, so I so appreciate you doing that and give us that Facebook contact info one more time.
CHRISTINE: At“Eat Sane” on Facebook.
JONATHAN: Christine, thank you so much for joining us today and for your incredible story and for continuing to help others to achieve a success that is as compelling and inspirational as your own. It’s one thing to have success on your own, it’s another to dedicate yourlife to the success of others. So, I really applaud you and thank you.
CHRISTINE: Thank you. It is very doable, I want everybody to realize when you feel the most overwhelmed, you don’t have to stay there, so don’t stay there. Find somebody like Jonathan. Find those resources, and just keep moving forward and keep being the detective and you will find what works for you.
JONATHAN: Christine, it’s amazing and I so appreciate your time today. Thank you.
JONATHAN: Listeners and viewers, I hope you enjoyed this amazing show as much as I did. Again, our guest today is the incredible SANE Success Story, Christine Biswabic. You can find her on Facebook at“Eat Sane” and of course you can read her wonderful success story in more detail at sanesolution.com. Please remember this week and every week after, stay SANE.