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In This Episode:
Are your abs what you want to be remembered for?
Do you want to be unnaturally fit?
Is arm definition more important than your family?
JONATHAN: Hey everybody, Jonathan Bailor here with April and Alia Perry and I got to tell you, I don’t know if I’ve ever been and as excited isn’t the right word, eager is probably the right word to share with you the information we’re going to cover in this recording and in future recordings because we have literally a heroic effort that’s going to take place in the series of recordings. We have both April and Alia Perry, probably the most amazing mother-daughter combination I’ve ever met in my life. These are women who have lived through such a struggle that so many other people are living through and they have the courage to share what they’ve been through. And also how they’ve triumphed over in it in a healthy, sustainable and inclusive way, so I’m so honored to be having this conversation and April and Alia, thank you so much for sharing this.
APRIL: Thank you.
ALIA: So excited too.
APRIL: Yeah, we’ve been really excited to be able to record together.
JONATHAN: So, just to get started here, Alia, can you quickly introduce yourself. Who you are, how old you are, what’s going on and how you started this journey?
ALIA: Okay, yeah. So, I’m 15 right now and I just started high school. Since third grade, I noticed that I had been overweight and I was unhappy with that and I wanted to change and we tried so many things and nothing worked. We found SANE and that’s just been amazing and that’s one thing that’s helped us to get healthy and it’s the one thing that’s actually worked.
APRIL: So, how has your body changed and how long have you been going SANE? Want to explain that a little bit?
ALIA: Yeah. I’m not sure when I started because I just started around the same time my mom did, so probably six or seven months?
ALIA: My doctor, she said you need to lose at least 20 lbs. or what was that? You just need to lose weight because you’re not healthy. I tried so many things and I wasn’t able to lose the weight, but after going SANE, I’ve been able to lose what 25 plus lbs. and I haven’t been starving myself.
APRIL: Nine inches off your waist?
ALIA: Nine inches off of my waist, which is crazy, and then as far as sizes go, I just bought my first extra small shirt — ever, recently. My pant size went from 10 to 0 and it’s just been crazy to see that how many changes I’ve seen.
JONATHAN: And Alia, I want to dig in to some specifics here, but I want to highlight a few key things about what you’ve said so far and that is for the other people who are listening to this, what I think is so incredible about your story is going from, correct me if I’m wrong, you said a size 10 to a size 0?
JONATHAN: So, first thing I want to clarify is what we’ve seen happen here over the course of six to seven months of just eating a lot of SANE foods, not starving yourself, is your body has restored its natural state. You naturally when you are feeding your body optimally are a size 0 and I just want to give a quick disclaimer to all of our listeners that not everyone is naturally a size 0. So the takeaway from this call is not hey, everyone should be a size 0, it’s —
ALIA: Yeah, or an extra small —
JONATHAN: Exactly, you don’t need to take diet pills, you don’t need to starve yourself and you don’t need to exercise obsessively to be the natural optimal version of yourself and yours is just such an amazing example of that. Going from a size 10 to your optimal size, which is a size 0. What are some of the things you tried prior to this that didn’t work?
ALIA: So many things. I think maybe I was eight or nine, she’s said, we’re going to give up sugar for a month and maybe that will help us getting healthier and it didn’t.
APRIL: We gave up sugar —
ALIA: Sugar as a dessert. As in candy and things.
APRIL: But we ate a ton of breads and pasta.
ALIA: And just junk food really. We didn’t think of it as junk food, chips and everything.
APRIL: Yeah, tortilla chips, we thought this doesn’t have sugar in it so we can eat this.
ALIA: As many as we want for every snack and that didn’t work or whenever we were hungry she’d say, go get a piece of bread. Yeah, I was thinking of that.
APRIL: And how many vegetables did you used to eat a day?
ALIA: I would avoid them like the plague. I had this system down. I would have a napkin on my lap and I’d purposely drop my salad in my lap and then I’d get up to excuse myself from the table and I’d take that napkin with me and throw my salad away. I never ate salad as a child.
APRIL: I didn’t know this until just a couple of months ago.
ALIA: The thing is our meals would be pizza and salad and I would just eat the pizza. I’d take the salad, but I would never eat it.
APRIL: Once you got a little bit older, we started doing calorie counting apps —
ALIA: When I got my first cell phone it was the first app I got.
APRIL: So how old were you?
ALIA: And I used your app when I was 12 just to see and to help you log your calories and —
APRIL: And it has a scanner.
ALIA: Oh, I was like, this was like another religion, scanning your food. Kind of a natural thing to do. I’d wake up in the morning, I’d be making my lunch and I would just scan everything and scan the tortillas and the cheese and the zero calorie butter, even though it has zero calories I just had to scan it.
APRIL: Are you serious?
ALIA: I really did. If you could find my logs you’d see. Every morning, I’d have a piece of toast and no calorie butter, the fake butter stuff.
APRIL: And how many calories did it say you could have a day?
ALIA: Around 1,600.
APRIL: Something like that?
ALIA: Yeah, not very many at all.
APRIL: What happened once you got to your calorie limit?
ALIA: So once I got to my calorie limit I would not want to cheat. That was like breaking rules to me and I wouldn’t do that. So what I’d do is I’d find the lamest excuses for exercises I could, whether it was walking around the house or like “gardening,” it wasn’t even gardening, it was walking outside and watering the plants. It wasn’t anything or what else? Wii Sports. I wasn’t moving at all. I was just moving my remote and things like that. I was putting the exercise in it and it would give so many more calories and I would just eat more. Oh my goodness, just thinking about that is, I found loopholes for everything. I was really good at that app.
JONATHAN: Alia, three things that really resonated with me about what you just shared and that was food equals bad and food, the definition of food. So let me unpack that a little bit. So, the idea of taking your salad and putting it in your lap. That is really also a manifestation of what the calorie counting was enforcing where technically in a world where food is bad, and calories are bad, skipping your salad is a step in the right direction. That’s fewer calories, that’s less food, food is bad, which of course is nonsense and then there’s also the idea of and I love how you said this, scanning everything. And there’s an irony here because when we think of food in the way we think of food in the SANE lifestyle which are things you find directly in nature. Food doesn’t have a bar code on it. Most things you find in nature don’t come out of the ground with bar codes on them. We look at how upside down Alice and Wonderland first, you’re getting told by this app that food is bad, which of course is nonsense, that’s like a car saying gasoline is bad. That doesn’t make any sense and the thing that we consider to be food are the things that have bar codes on them and one could argue quite reasonably that if it has a bar code on it, it’s probably not actually food.
ALIA: I don’t think I scanned a single vegetable ever.
JONATHAN: Just think how backwards that system is, right? The very things, one, food is glorious, so that it misses that point and then also the most glorious foods don’t even work with the system because it doesn’t have bar codes on it.
ALIA: Yeah, I’d have to create my own food. Mom, how many calories does this have? I don’t know if it’s not in the app, it must not be what we’re supposed to eat.
APRIL: And I think the other thing that Alia was doing to be able to lose weight or similar things I was doing as far as exercise goes. You want to talk a little bit, first of all about your feet. Can we talk about that?
ALIA: Yes, so okay, just naturally, I have really flat feet.
ALIA: So, yeah, I don’t really have an arch, so when I was really overweight, all that weight on my feet just totally took a turn for the worse. My feet were totally slanted inwards. I was pretty much walking on the insides of my feet.
APRIL: And you would be almost in tears when we would go somewhere.
ALIA: No, I was in tears.
APRIL: If we would go out on a family outing and we’d be walking, Alia would be saying, I’ve got to stop, my feet hurt.
ALIA: When we went to Catalina with some friends and I couldn’t even hike. It wasn’t a hard trail, but I was like dying, my feet hurt so bad.
APRIL: We took her to the podiatrist and got some orthotics for her and then they’re like, she has a bone spur in her arch, this and this.
ALIA: They never said anything about my weight. Never.
APRIL: At all.
ALIA: And he said, your knees just might be turned inwards and that’s causing you to —
APRIL: Well, because not everyone who is overweight has sore feet. It maybe you naturally just had something genetically or whatever, but now what’s happened with your feet?
ALIA: I actually looked at my orthotics, my feet don’t even fit the orthotics anymore. My feet bend in a completely different way. I still don’t have an arch.
APRIL: Do you have any foot pain?
ALIA: No foot pain at all.
APRIL: What happened yesterday?
ALIA: Oh, I got my fastest mile time ever. So, really fast and the fifth grade fitness testing, my mile would be like almost ten minutes and everyone else in fifth grade got a seven minute mile and I was always so mad. I was the last one running on the field every single time. Then in eighth grade, my mile time went way up to 11.45 and that was my fastest ever and that was with the orthotics. I thought that was pretty good. I was like, 11.45, it beats the 12:30 minute they set for everything else.
APRIL: That’s what I had in seventh grade was 12:38. I still remember.
ALIA: So then yesterday, I was running the mile and no orthotics ever —
APRIL: You don’t need them anymore.
ALIA: I don’t need them anymore. I got my 9 minutes and 16 seconds. That is faster than my fifth grade mile —
APRIL: Eric and I got this text where she mom and dad, fastest mile ever I’m so excited, 9:16.
ALIA: Last week I got my fastest mile ever, which was 13 seconds more than it was this time. So it’s just been going down and not that mile times is the only thing that’s important, but — it’s just been so exciting to see that my feet don’t hurt anymore, I can run, I can move and it’s great.
JONATHAN: Alia, so I’m frantically writing on notes. So, we have to unpack this a little bit because this is amazing. The first thing you touched on was so people think that obesity is caused by inactivity and that has been proven false and in fact, what is true is the opposite of that and you are a perfect example of that, which is that weight, fat gain, leads to inactivity, so the causation is reversed, so there’s two thirds of the American population are overweight, and the third that isn’t overweight, a vast majority of them are not overweight because they’re genetically predisposed to be thin, because everyone has poor eating habits and doesn’t really exercise very much in the United States. So technically, we should all be overweight, but we’re not. So, what naturally thin people think is that oh, if people who are struggling with their weight would just move more the problem would go away, but what they don’t understand is that it hurts, it physically hurts for someone who is carrying — take a thin person and strap a 50 lb. backpack on their back and tell them to move more and ask them how ready they are to do that. I really want to empower our listeners to understand that telling someone who is struggling with their weight that they just need to move more and that the cause of their weight gain is they’re not moving enough is actually backwards. It’s the weight gain that causes inactivity and as the weight starts to fall off and the health starts to go up, you’re just driven to move more. You just feel more energized. Is that fair?
ALIA: Yes. I think even my doctors would say, you just need to spend an hour on the elliptical every day, you just need to stop doing TV…
APRIL: And you did that for a while.
ALIA: I did that and nothing worked. I’m sitting on the elliptical for an hour a day when I could be doing something else I’d much rather enjoy, something that I like, I’m setting up the elliptical in the garage just —
APRIL: I remember too that you used to do jumping jacks in your room, or what would you do?
ALIA: Pinterest would say, 7,000 jumping jacks burns a pound of fat.
APRIL: So I would hear her jumping up and down in her room.
ALIA: I would set a goal to do what 240,000 jumping jacks.
APRIL: Yeah, that was a goal.
ALIA: I think that was it. That’s a lot of jumping jacks.
JONATHAN: That is and to be clear right I don’t want people to take away what we’re saying here is everyone should play video games all day, but it’s the concept that there is a very different paradigm around, I have a healthy body that is compelled to move and I’m going to move it and that makes me feel great, versus ow, ow, I’m going to power through it, ow, ow, power through it, this doesn’t work, I give up and then you feel like you’re the problem and you’re not. The approach is what is being a disservice.
APRIL: From a mother’s perspective, it’s really hard that way too.
ALIA: You were really proud of me, oh, that’s great Alia.
APRIL: Jumping jacks or whatever, but you know my husband and I were having this conversations and just to give it a little more context, Alia has three siblings, and her three siblings do not have any issues with being overweight. They’re all very, very slender. Do you want to talk a little bit about how, first of all how that felt for you?
ALIA: It was just so unfair. They could eat whatever they wanted. They didn’t have to count calories. You had me exercise, you’d say, let’s go exercise, let’s go do this together. You never told them to go exercise. They just got to do whatever they wanted. Sometimes it was more unfair and everything had to be fair for us.
APRIL: And remember you had said, when we’d line you up for pictures, we would have —
ALIA: It would be oldest to youngest.
APRIL: Everyone get in order from older to youngest.
ALIA: Basically most overweight to healthy.
APRIL: Yeah, you just felt like you were lining up and comparing yourself, even though that’s not what we were doing. We were just taking a picture.
ALIA: Every picture was like that though. Everything on our porch was oldest to youngest.
APRIL: And you just always felt like you were just too big. What was really hard was my husband and I were noticing what was happening with Alia and sometimes it’s hard as parents where you’re thinking okay, I don’t want her to be overweight. I know personally what it was like to be overweight in my junior high years and counting calories since I was nine. I had those issues. So, Eric and I would be talking and we would say, what should we do to help her? We’re noticing she’s gaining weight and my husband said, I don’t want to say anything to her because I never want her to feel like her dad doesn’t love her or that she is being judged by me or that I have any expectation for that because I don’t want to scar her, so he would just say April it’s up to you. You need to help solve this for her and as a mom, that’s a lot of pressure. When you’re taking your daughter to go buy clothes for the new school year and you know you can’t take her to certain stores because the clothes just won’t fit her, it’s so hard just knowing where do I take her to buy pants or can I find the big plus sizes or the pants that have stretchy waistbands or how do I try to help her exercise today when I know she’s tired and she’s had a long day at school, do I take her out in the backyard and make her run? Or do I give her less food or I mean it’s so stressful because I’m watching her and I’m seeing how she’s feeling and I just didn’t know what to do. Alia, anything you want to say on this?
JONATHAN: Well, if you don’t mind April, I just want to jump in for a second because this is heroic to share this because I can only imagine how you mentioned that Alia has siblings who haven’t gone through the same struggle as she has and I can only imagine as a parent and as a sibling how to say, okay, it’s not as if my brothers and sisters are in the corner eating seltzer water and celery and I’m over here doing this and it’s not as if they have gym memberships and they’re spending three hours a day in aerobics classes. It’s not that I’m just eating more and exercising less. It’s like we’re all having the same stimulus. We live in the same household, we have the same lifestyle, but we’re getting different results so what do you do? I mean it’s a sense of helplessness.
APRIL: Absolutely. Alia, anything you want to say on this?
ALIA: Not really.
APRIL: I know this is emotional for you as well. Let’s just talk a little bit about, the clothing issue or —
ALIA: I was shopping at women’s stores and I was 12 because nothing in the kid’s section would ever fit me.
JONATHAN: I’m curious now for my own sake, from, because this is the opposite of my geeky science nature. I was naturally thin. Folks listening to this might know my story. I had an opposite problem. I couldn’t gain weight and this is what caused me to look at the problem of weight differently than most people in the industry, but when you were growing up in a house where you had siblings who were essentially doing the exact same thing that you were doing, but you uniquely were getting different results, how did your mind make sense of that or did your mind make sense of that?
ALIA: I’m not really sure it did at all. They had worse eating habits than I would. They would eat cookies and all of these things from every party, and I would try to stay away from that kind of thing and I was just wondering, I’m eating healthier, not really healthier, but I was eating —
APRIL: What you thought was healthy.
ALIA: I thought I was eating healthier than they were and I was just wondering, what am I doing wrong because nothing ever happened to them, they never gained any weight. So I was just more confused than anything.
JONATHAN: So you’re in a state of confusion and then what you hear from these apps, and I want to put this in perspective for our listeners. The only really well known human experiment that was done on starvation and I am saying starvation, the name of the study is called the “Minnesota Starvation Experiment” and took place during WWII. It was done to study the effects of famine on human physiology and Psychology in war torn Europe. The way this study was conducted was they fed participants 1,600 calories per day. Ironically, the exact same amount that your calorie counter told you was healthy. So, let me just restate what I said in less words. In the only known human trial where folks were explicitly starved to test the detrimental effects of starvation, they were fed the same number of calories that you felt you needed to eat to be healthy, despite the fact that you lived in a household where your mom fed the same food — it’s the perfect scientific experiment, right? All variables are controlled. You live in the same house, you live in the same area, you’re all doing basically the same things, but you are told that you, Alia, need to starve yourself forever? That’s crazy.
APRIL: And maybe Alia can share a little bit about what that did to your emotions and to your confidence. Alia is a different person now than she was seven months ago. She’s still just as sweet, she’s still very smart.
ALIA: Not like I’ve changed — how I am.
APRIL: She has awesome values. She’s always been an amazing daughter and amazing sister. Everywhere we go, for example, last night, was open house at the junior high and we were going with our second daughter and Alia said I want to come and say hi to my old teachers from last year and the year before. So we were walking around open house and her teachers are coming up to her saying, what has happened to you? You have grown up. Oh my goodness.
ALIA: They all used the word “grown up.” They didn’t say anything about weight. It was just grown up or you look so pretty or something like that.
APRIL: Yeah, but I am being stopped honestly, every time I turn around by someone saying, Alia is just — she’s transformed. Something has happened to her, what?
ALIA: A lot of them didn’t connect it with the weight, I was overweight for so long I don’t think it registered people it was not there anymore.
APRIL: I don’t think people were ever looking at you thinking oh, wow, you’re so overweight. I don’t think you were actually in the obese category. You were maybe near that as far as looking at being BMI. You carry yourself differently and one of the things I was pointing out to a friend is I said, her confidence level has completely changed. You have full confidence. She was speaking in front of a group last night and she was just up there amazing. I mean full confidence. Just doing such a beautiful job. Maybe just describe a little bit how you feel even just socially with friends or what’s changed now?
ALIA: I think before it was always a matter of what’s my fat doing right now.
APRIL: Oh, so what do you mean by that?
ALIA: Like when I sat — sorry.
APRIL: It’s okay. I think she was saying this is an emotional time for her. Maybe I can repeat a little of what you told me and then you can clarify a little bit. She’d said, when she would sit down she wanted to know if her stomach looked larger if she sat a certain way or sat a different way or if she pulled her shirt down a certain way if that would be helpful or what are people seeing right now of this fat that’s on my body that I don’t know how to get rid of? Is that accurate? She’s nodding her head.
JONATHAN: And April, you said what are people seeing right now and I think that is such a perfect way to phrase this because we always want to talk and when we read magazines and when we listen to the news with a childhood of Obesity epidemic we hear about the physical costs and obviously Diabetes is terrible and blindness and Alzheimer’s, those are horrible things. The emotional costs does not get the attention it deserves and one example I will give is overweight is the one remaining thing that our society openly allows and frankly encourages discrimination against. Let me give you an example. There’s a popular television show called “New Girl,” and on that television show there’s a character by the name of Schmidt. And they talk about Schmidt now and previous Schmidt and previous Schmidt like whenever they’re referring to Schmidt as stupid or dumb or bad, or anything negative they cut to Schmidt when he was 50 lbs. heavier.
JONATHAN: And when they talk about Schmidt in the positive sense they show current Schmidt. Obviously, we all understand how catastrophically terrible overweight is from a health perspective, but when we talk about making time for this and looking for new strategies besides starving oneself through food deprivation and starving oneself through obsessive exercise, when we figure out where this stacks on our priorities understanding the constant emotional impact, studies have been done that show that individuals and you can confirm or disconfirm this, individuals who are struggling with their weight will engage in negative self-talk, which you just gave an example of, upwards to five to seven times per hour every single day, every single hour, of their conscious life. So add that up. If you’re awake for 16 hours per day, 7 times an hour, what is that, so it’s 100 plus, essentially I’m not good enough or I’m bad messages that one says to themselves, per day.
ALIA: Or I’d be fixing my clothes all the time or I don’t know what else I’d be doing. I’m trying to think off the top of my head now.
APRIL: Just when you were interacting with friends. Was there a difference in what you would talk about or how confident you would feel? Even just joking around and being a child?
ALIA: I would purposely avoid ever going shopping or to the mall with my friends. They would always go, they would say, hey, Alia do you want to come with us and I would just say, it’s okay. Just because I didn’t want to be the one who was being extra larges and larges of the same clothes that they were buying in smalls and extra smalls.
APRIL: Well, there was an experience where you had said that you spilled hot chocolate on your shirt? What was that story?
ALIA: We were having kind of a Heritage day in our third grade classes and we were doing these rotations to different classes to different events and this one thing had some different hot chocolate and they served it and I was wearing a white shirt that day and for some reason I just spilled it all over myself. So my entire shirt had this big brown stain and I was trying to wash it off and it wasn’t working. This was third grade. My friend saw that I was having a hard time getting it off and she was like oh, here you can just borrow my sweatshirt for the rest of the day. I don’t need it. I’m not cold. So she gave it to me and I couldn’t even fit my arms in the sweater in the third grade.
APRIL: So, what did you do?
ALIA: So I just went around the rest of the day with a stain on my shirt and I tried turning my shirt inside out and that just made it worse.
APRIL: So just noticing, here’s a friend, the same age as you, same class.
ALIA: We were in the same height or something.
APRIL: Pretty much same height. Yeah and you were both top students in your class —
ALIA: We were really great friends.
APRIL: You couldn’t even get your arms in the sweater and so you just felt I just, I’m just bigger?
ALIA: I didn’t think too much about it, it’s like a really tight sweater I just won’t wear it. I didn’t think much of it. Because when you’re in third grade you’re not really focused.
APRIL: I think one of the things that’s been most interesting to me is that there were a lot of emotions going on with Alia when she was 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, all those years, 13, 14, that she never told me until now. And part of me as a mom wonders was I not paying attention, was I not asking her the right questions, because you and I have had a close relationship this whole time. We would talk, we would talk about how we wanted to be healthy and things like that. For example, we went to the mall the other day and there was a little girl who said something to her mom like hey mom, I want to buy this shirt.
ALIA: She said does this dress look good on me and her mom, no, it doesn’t just walk, don’t get that dress because she knew that dress wasn’t going to fit her daughter.
APRIL: Her daughter was about the same size as you were at that age. And so Alia looked over at that little girl and she said, mom that little girl is me. That’s how I was, right there. And here Alia is looking at this little girl. Now, from a SANE perspective where she’s lost all the weight and she’s totally confident and she’s looking back and seeing this little girl and saying mom, that was me. I think that that little girl at the mall, just like Alia when she was young, she doesn’t know how to articulate what she’s feeling. She doesn’t know how to come to her mom and say mom, I don’t feel like I’m good enough. Or I feel like I don’t compare to anyone at school or I hate my body or I’m looking in the mirror, I mean this is something that you can articulate now. When you would look in the mirror what would you think?
ALIA: I would really just try to avoid mirrors. Yeah.
APRIL: I remember one of the things she told me is that there was a time when you were in third grade, it’s the first time I guess you just looked in the mirror and saw —
ALIA: The first time I realized I was gaining weight. It wasn’t just me growing, it was sticking.
APRIL: And you were just crying looking in the mirror and –
ALIA: I think I did that once just because I thought, oh, I’ll just grow out of it.
APRIL: And then after year after year after year you weren’t growing out of it.
ALIA: I just didn’t want to talk about it with you because I was like, I’m not going to change, I’m going to stay overweight so what’s the point of talking about all of this if I’m just going to keep gaining weight.
APRIL: So I just never — I never knew. Alia and I’ve started talking now, now that we’re trying to be helpful to other people, as she and I have been talking, as these stories have been coming out, it has been so emotional for me because I just keep thinking what could I have done differently or what could I have said.
ALIA: Didn’t know what to do.
APRIL: We just didn’t know.
ALIA: Going in circles. One bad thing after another that just didn’t work.
APRIL: Yes and it was the same thing for me. I was in my room weighing myself on the scale.
ALIA: I would avoid the scale too because I just though, I don’t need to see this. It’s just going to get worse.
APRIL: Alia told me when she was at school, she said mom, no one wants to be fat. There is no child at school —
ALIA: I don’t know a single person who wakes up one morning and says, I’m so happy the way I am right now.
APRIL: Yeah. No one wants to feel that way and even though there might be other kids at school who are overweight. I mean you weren’t the largest kid at school.
ALIA: Not at all. But they might joke about it and say oh, I like being this way. You don’t.
APRIL: Yeah, no one does. And so when you look and you see all of the children who are obese, we cannot think for one moment that those children are okay with that and if we just don’t say anything that they’re going to be fine.
ALIA: They’re not going to get better from talking about it. They don’t want to talk about it. Just because it’s not something fun or it’s not —
APRIL: And I don’t even know if their brains know how to look at the situation and even know what to say.
ALIA: I think it’s more in denial I would say I’m not that big, there’s other people bigger than I am. I’m fine. I would just comparing myself. I’m not that big. But I’m not that big though. That’s what I would do.
APRIL: Yeah, and I think that we need to open our eyes as a society and help these children who don’t know how to help themselves.
JONATHAN: And I think the point of highlighting the unspeakable almost emotional burden is it gets back to the question of priority and while we know that the answer isn’t, and this is what’s so incredible, we now know definitively what doesn’t work. So the solution to this problem isn’t starvation.
JONATHAN: And it isn’t starvation via calorie counting, it isn’t starvation via the other side of the calorie counting coin, which is obsessive exercise, it’s through healthy lifestyle changes that involve an abundance mindset and a growth and a healing mindset that revolves around healthy whole foods and we say why are we spending time talking about these sad topics? I think the reason we are is because we talk about how it can be difficult to make time to eat certain foods, certain whole foods. We go out of our way as a culture to protect children from smoking. I don’t care how inconvenient it is, I don’t care how uncomfortable it makes you, if someone is blowing cigarette smoke in your eight year old’s face, you’re probably going to do something. Something is going to happen, the situation will change.
APRIL: Of course.
JONATHAN: And when you combine the physiological impact of weight gain — I don’t know if there is any other medical condition which causes — if someone has cancer people don’t laugh at them, they feel bad for them. With the medical condition which we now know is a medical condition, much like Diabetes is a medical condition, of overweight — that we can heal through nutritional therapy, that when we understand the emotional burden and we understand that there is a different approach available to us, that taking those steps to eat healthy whole foods in abundance to focus on nutrition rather than calorie counting and rather to focus on abundance rather than starvation, I’m not really sure if there is anything that’s more important than that. What is more important than one’s psychological and physiological health and god forbid, I mean April, I feel so blessed that we were able to be connected by the universe at the time we were and April, I know we’re running short on time, but maybe you can speak to this because honestly, had you not done what you’ve done now, I think things would have only gotten worse because now speaking and this is my embarrassing, so I’m going to share some embarrassing stuff now if you don’t mind.
So, I was a naturally thin person in high school, and I’m a male. And you want to know the most ashamed moment I have in my life is I can look back and I can remember how a naturally thin male in high school perceives overweight females. And I’m really not proud of what went through my mind.
JONATHAN: And then as we start talking about as individuals get older and the types of people that they’re able to associate with, I mean this runs so deep and we all go out of our way to give our children and ourselves the advantages that we can have to have the happiest life possible, so if what we’re saying is if it’s not found in nature don’t eat it, and if it’s found in nature, and it’s nutritious, dear god, find time to eat that. And you can make all of this go away? Wow.
APRIL: It’s amazing and we’ll be closing up because it’s time to take Alia to school. It’s great, but just last night we were talking about socially and how things have changed for her and she said for example, she said, I just got a text from a guy at school who is one of the popular at school —
ALIA: Just asking for homework.
APRIL: Just a homework question. He just had a question, hey, what’s the homework and she’s like if I were heavier, there is no way he would have texted me.
ALIA: Even for homework.
APRIL: Even for homework. It just wouldn’t have happened. And she said it’s so interesting and part of it is like okay, it is really challenging in high school where people are really superficial and Alia is not trying to let me get slim so I can go hang out with people who wouldn’t have been my friends.
APRIL: Not at all. She wants to be friends with people who love her and who did love her and do love her regardless of what your body size is like, but there is something very, very different that happens when you’re slender as a girl, especially, I mean I was heavy seventh and eighth grade, I pretty much starved myself the summer between eighth grade and ninth grade because I didn’t want to be fat.
ALIA: See opposite I got to SANE between eighth and ninth.
APRIL: So, between eighth and ninth Alia goes SANE as opposed to starving herself like her mom did and I was slender all through high school because I would really watch myself. I was a cheerleader, I was able to fit in just fine with the social groups, but honestly, this has completely changed her life and I’m excited to be able to talk more and keep producing content and being able to share this story more because I’m realizing there is a whole lot to the story and we are also recognizing we’re not alone. This is something that’s happening all over the place.
JONATHAN: And to summarize because clearly there’s so much more we can talk about and should talk about here. The key things at least I hope some of our listeners take away are one, this is worth it.
JONATHAN: The going SANE is worth it. That’s why we’ve tried to recap the pain of not going SANE. Oh, it’s inconvenient. You know what’s really inconvenient? Beating yourself up every ten minutes for your entire life because you hate the way you feel and you hate the way you look. That’s way more inconvenient than blending green smoothies. The second point, right? At the end of the day, I don’t mean to be too straightforward, but is it easier to eat pop tarts and pizza? I don’t know. You can’t look at that isolation. You can eat pop tarts and pizza and go through all of the traumatic experiences we’ve talked about here or you can eat delicious whole foods and have an entirely different life. It’s worth it and there is an alternative. I think it’s worth it is the takeaway number one and the takeaway number two is there is an alternative and so please don’t starve yourself through obsessive exercise or through calorie counting because that is not the solution. There is a solution it is worth doing, but it is not starvation.
APRIL: Those are great takeaways Jonathan and I think Alia and I would just like to add a few of our own takeaways that might be helpful to those who are listening and I think Alia wants to go first.
ALIA: So, if you’re listening to this and you’re a teenager who is struggling with your weight, just remember that it’s not all about the scale and it’s not about counting calories anymore. Just as I’ve noticed as I’ve talked to my friends who are starting to go SANE, that’s what they still focus on, but that’s one part you don’t need to keep holding on to. You can let that one go.
APRIL: Yeah, and one of the things that Alia has been reminding her friends about when they do focus on calories or they do focus on their weight, she says, you know what, my mom’s weight didn’t even change very much at all, but her whole body changed and so I think that’s a really important takeaway there.
JONATHAN: And it’s really empowering because sometimes I feel that this can possibly feel overwhelming. I have to change so many things and this is so fundamentally different from the way I’ve thought about it in the past, but there is this one big elephant in the room and that’s weight and calories and anything you can do to really just focus on food and nutrition instead of calories, so that’s one, and then how you feel and how your clothes fit instead of weight or the number on the scale. Those are two things you can laser focus on and wrap your head around and get started on today.
ALIA: And the second one is just learning to go SANE is a skill, so it doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy, you’re just going to have to learn to how to eat and exercise in a brand new way.
APRIL: And that’s something that you’ve been learning and you’ve been practicing and it gets easier as you go, right?
ALIA: Yes it does.
JONATHAN: Yeah, it’s much less like a diet, SANE is not a diet it’s more analogous to a lifestyle such as veganism or vegetarianism or even religious eating habits like kosher or halal, where it’s something you need to learn and it’s something that is going to permeate every aspect of your life, but then it’s going to change your life forever versus being this thing that you roller coaster that you’re riding up and down and up and down so take your time, be gradual with it and let it change your life.
APRIL: Awesome. I just have a couple other thoughts from a mom’s perspective that sometimes as a parent you feel like it is almost impossible to know how to take care of yourself and to take care of your children so if you’re in that boat where you’re struggling with your own weight or maybe you have a child who is struggling, number one, I just want you to remember that it’s not your fault if you haven’t been successful up to this point. I feel so much relief now knowing I was just acting on wrong information and it wasn’t that I wasn’t trying hard enough, it was just that I didn’t have the right facts. I didn’t how to do what I really needed to do and then number two, I just really want to emphasize that Jonathan’s voice and what I have found at sanesolution.com, this is information that you can trust. I’ve been looking for the solution to eating and weight loss for about 18 years and I’ve read tons of books, I’ve gone through tons of different programs, I’ve tried everything that I could starting at the age of nine, and until I found SANE and until I found Jonathan, nothing worked, but if you’re in that boat and if you feel like I’m trying, I’m looking for anyone who can help me or I’m looking for that solution, I just would say you can trust what Jonathan and what sanesolution.com have for you.
JONATHAN: April, I’m incredibly honored that you used the t-word there, the trust word there, because there is so much mis-information out there even from well-intended supposedly trustworthy sources and that’s why I’m so excited by having the privilege to spend the last 15 years of my life digging into the scientific research because really early on I remember, this was years ago, before any of this information was public, and talking with my brother and we said, biology isn’t a matter of opinion, man that’s geeky, but it resonates, no one argues what one plus one equals. It’s not really a debatable thing.
We sometimes forget that what happens when for example, you eat a slice of whole wheat bread, that can be studied in a lab. It is non-debatable. It’s objectively, this happens, your blood sugar does this and it’s biology, right, that’s why you can prescribe medications to certain people, don’t prescribe them to other people because there’s a science of pharmacology. There’s a science of nutrition as well, and now that we’ve come across this smarter modern science there’s an analogy that I think can be really helpful for folks in freeing themselves from feeling guilty.
If you’ve been driving in the wrong direction in your car, so you’re trying to somewhere you’re driving in the wrong direction, essentially what you’ve been told to date when it comes to calorie counting and starving yourself is to slam your foot on the brakes and to slow that car down, but you’re still driving in the wrong direction. That’s not your fault. You were given incorrect directions and it’s true, you will get lost slower if you slam your foot on the brakes and you will get sicker slower and you slow your rate of metabolic decline if you count the calories of in-SANE processed food you’re eating, but now we can use proven science to let’s say turn right. We can turn right and take our foot off the brake, actually put our foot on the accelerator and drive our lives and our health and our families’ health and happiness in the right direction with that precise and clear science pointing us to a new happy destination.
APRIL: I love that. Thank you Jonathan. And you know just kind of final closing words and Alia and I and Jonathan have been working a program to really help families go SANE so if you’re listening to this and you’re interested in learning more about what Jonathan an Alia and I have been working on, you can visit learntobecome/SANE and we are just so excited about the work that we’re doing and we really do want to be part of this process to help change the world. So thanks so much.
JONATHAN: And April and Alia, I open this recording up saying how honored I was to be able to be collaborating with you and to help get your stories out there because I believe that what you’ve experienced and are so courageous to share is echoed by so many out there and I know that the three of our goal and the goal of everyone listening to this is a lot less about anything about right or having arguments on the Internet or proving one nutritional dogma over another and more about stopping suffering and helping people to flourish and the ability to do that for families, entire families — to make this doable for families and not just fitness enthusiasts, which kind of already get it, is so exciting. So I so appreciate your help with that and I would encourage everybody to check out learntobecome/SANE, whether or not you’re part of a big family because there’s going to be some awesome stuff going on there and of course the entire SANE program, all of the science behind it and everything that applies to really everyone, not just all specific to families and of course always be found at sanesolution.com. Alia and April, thank you so much for your courage and your example. I know this is going to help so many people.
APRIL: Thank you Jonathan.
JONATHAN: All right everyone, I hope you enjoyed this wonderful recording as much as I did again, the wonderful April and Alia Perry can be found at learntobecome/SANE as well as a bunch of other SANE family related goodness which is incredibly exciting. I’m Jonathan Bailor and be sure to check out all of the other SANE goodness at sanesolution.com. Chat with you soon.
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