How To Love Yourself Slim
Jonathan: Hey, what’s going on, everybody? It’s Jonathan Bailor and April Perry and we are back with another SANE Show. What’s going on, April? How are you doing today?
April: I’m doing so well. I feel like I can just take a deep breath because nutritional serenity and SANE have just changed my life. I’m feeling healthy and happy and very grateful for SANE today.
Jonathan: Nutritional serenity is upon us. Nutritional serenity is at hand, April.
April: It is. I am super happy. It’s been almost three years that I have been SANE. It’s pretty awesome. That’s the longest I have ever been able to stay with just a regular way of eating in my whole life so it’s pretty exciting.
Jonathan: It’s one hundred percent exciting. I’m also excited today because we’re going to build on that because one of the things we have discovered over the past three years, April, and we’ve talked about this and we’ve alluded to it on these shows before, is that it seems like, so often, while we crave more and more nutrition information, that we have more nutrition information than we know what to do with, but doing it and consistently acting on it and implementing it in our lives —
There almost seems to be even a negative relationship between the amount of nutrition information we have and our ability to live it and be healthier. That makes a lot of us feel crazy because then we go back and we say, “Well, the solution is I need more information.” It’s almost like you’re in this information hamster wheel and you’re not getting healthier and it’s very frustrating. Does that sound like something you can feel?
April: Well, I feel like so many of the questions I brought to you over the years are things like, “Okay, Jonathan, I just got this flier on my door that says this” or “I just watched this documentary that says this” or “so-and-so is doing this and they’ve lost all this weight.” I mean, all of these things that you’re hearing and so often what’s on the home page of the biggest news media websites is not what’s actually going to help you to be happy and healthy. The people who have the most money or who earned the most money from the weight loss industry often aren’t giving you advice that’s actually long term and sustainable. So that’s what I have come to you for. I feel like you are the best in the world at helping people find solutions that actually leave them feeling happy and healthy instead of just starving and frustrated.
Jonathan: There is so much unfortunately that’s working against us here, April. I mean, one of this is a simple thing which, again, it seems obvious but I don’t think it’s top of mind, which is, even if you’re a business — there’s nothing wrong with being a business. Business makes the world go round; we all have to pay our bills, which is just — even like a physician who really isn’t a business, if you go in and you see a physician and the physician doesn’t do anything, they don’t give you a medication, they just say, “I think your body will heal itself. Give it two weeks.” Most of us would leave the physician’s office thinking like, “Why the heck did I even go in? They added no value. They didn’t give me anything. Nothing has been added to my life.”
Think about that psychology for a second — the psychology of, unless I do something or unless I get something new, nothing will ever get better. Especially in the Western world, we have that concept — if there’s a problem, I need to add something or to do something to make that problem go away. But I bet you would agree that if, for example, your hand is sitting on a burning stove and it’s smoldering, it’s not like, “I need to add some Novocain to my hand to make this pain stop.”
The solution is to actually just stop doing the thing that is causing the pain in the first place. That sounds obvious but if we go to a physician and they find out that our blood sugar is spiking and they’re worried that we’re diabetic, we’re told, “Add this insulin to your lifestyle.” We’re not told, “Stop doing the things that cause you to become diabetic in the first place and instead adopt healthy habits.” That’s this information.
It’s the same kind of thing. It’s like we feel that we need to add information; we need to know more about the BPA in our water bottles and all this blah blah blah; versus — April, our grandmothers’ grandmothers’ grandmothers told us, “Eat your vegetables.” You know what nobody does? Eat their vegetables.
April: Yes, it’s true.
Jonathan: So the question then becomes, Why is it that we as humans — it’s almost like we are programmed to seek out more and different rather than taking a step back and having an elimination mindset and saying, “Can I just stop doing the thing that caused this versus adding something new to address the problem I’m facing now?” Does that make sense?
April: Yes, I think that’s why you and I are both big fans of Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism” that’s talking about how you edit your life. You need to be able to look at everything that you’re doing in your life and be able to eliminate everything that isn’t a nine or a ten. That’s hard to do. It’s extremely hard to do because I think a lot of us feel, “Well, the busier I am and the more I’ve got done and the more check marks I’ve earned today, the more valuable I am as a person.” That happens a lot.
I relate back to so many conversations I’ve had with Eric where I’ll be like, “Oh, I’m really trying hard not to be stressed.” He’s like, “April, will you stop trying hard not to be stressed? Just don’t be stressed.” I feel like it’s just, “Well, let me find a solution. Let me figure it out. Let’s figure out what are those next steps.” I think when the next step is, Let’s take a step back and let’s breathe and let’s not be so worried, that often, you can’t really see how that’s going to get you results; but when you do it, you usually can see the wisdom in it.
Jonathan: I don’t know if it’s from that Greg McKeown book. I think he was maybe quoting someone else but there’s a phrase of “There is so little in life that actually matters but the things that do matter, matter so much.” If you think about just the direction in our own minds — I mean, I find this to be a super helpful exercise and it’s going to sound a little bit funny — but sometimes I’ve found in my life, especially when I was at Microsoft and doing SANE simultaneously, busyness is actually a form of laziness.
Let me explain that for a second because to just group force a problem, there’s some level of mental laziness there because instead of sort of thinking of the best way to do something, we just frantically throw time at it. I think, for example, a lot of people — I think you’re a good example of this, April — when they have children, they find that sometimes the productivity doesn’t go down; it actually goes up because they’re forced to not just throw time at problems so they have to take a step back, they have to prioritize, and they have to work smarter instead of harder. Has that been your experience?
April: Totally. In fact, I went to a conference. It was a business conference just specifically for women. There was a big slide that went up on the screen that said, “Your business will grow according to the amount of time that you spend on it.” I stopped for a second and I just thought, “That’s absolutely not true because, while you do need to be patient and invest the time, you can spend — and I have seen people who spend literally seventy hours a week working super hard to build their business and at the end of the day, they’re not doing maybe as well as someone who is just doing it really smarter, who is figuring out how to optimize and spend those hours doing the right things.
I know for years, I would say, “Oh, let me go work on this problem.” As long as I could tell my head, “I’m working on it. I’m working on it.”, I felt some sort of satisfaction but once I learned how — I literally had four hours a day that I had to accomplish what a normal person would do in eight hours, I had to get rid of everything and just focus and that’s been huge. That’s been so helpful for my family because I just need — I mean, I care about my husband and my children so much that if I’m investing any time at all on something other than them, I better be doing it the best I can and making sure those hours count because otherwise I feel like I’m robbing them and robbing myself of the time I want to spend with them.
Jonathan: April, we turn this back to nutrition because it’s kind of a similar thing here. One of the reasons that, in some of our shows — I think there was actually — I can’t remember the specific show but we have mail bags, which I love, and there’s always these great questions that come up in our mail bags. Sometimes when I answer them, there’s a little grin on my face and you’ve called me on it a couple of times. During the show, you’d be like, “Jonathan, why are you smiling?” Kind of the reason I’m smiling is — this is going to sound a little bit silly so I’m going to stretch this analogy a little bit —
But when it comes to your health and when it comes to nutrition, vegetables are like your children and your spouse. I think they are the things you do not want to neglect. They are the things that, if you’re spending your time thinking about anything else from a food perspective, it’s time not spent thinking on how to eat vegetables consistently. We talk about this in almost every show where the almost no one — actually I don’t know if I’ve ever met anybody who will come to me and say, “Jonathan, I’m struggling with my health; I’m struggling with my weight; and I know that the number one thing I need to focus on is eating more vegetables.” It’s usually, “I need help with my weight. I need help with my health.”
I have all these questions and then I ask them, “How many servings of vegetables are you eating per day?” and the answer is always not double digits. Always. The question then becomes again, “Is it about doing more? Is it about the next exercise routine? Is it about getting more information? Is it about getting a deep understanding of how these foods that are high in this new thing you read on this blog post –? “Oh my god, I’m stressed.” Or is it just about non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats — in that order, period.
Jonathan: How do we take on that mindset of focusing on that which is essential in other areas of life as you mentioned but also focusing on that which is essential from a nutrition perspective? How do we transition from pursuing that which is sexy and hot and new when, you know what is the least sexy but newest thing on the planet? The obesity epidemic. Like, when we didn’t worry about all this stuff; we didn’t count calories; we didn’t even know what protein and carbohydrates and fats were; and we just ate food — food is defined by things found in nature — about sub-three percent of the population was overweight.
It’s not because everyone was going to gyms. It’s not because we were walking fifteen miles naked in the snow back and forth to school every day. It’s because we were focused on the things that mattered generally — our family, eating food, sleeping, doing something meaningful with our lives — and then everything else kind of fell by the wayside. I think it’s why people call them the good old days. But those don’t have to be the good old days. We can still do that but we don’t. Why is that?
April: I think what you’re starting to get at — I’m excited for us to talk about it today because I know that there are a lot of people who are in severe pain when it comes to even talking about weight or health. I know I had been one of those people where there have been many times where I have gotten extremely emotional just even talking about it with you because there were such feelings of shame and remorse and comparing myself and thinking that, as an almost forty-year-old mother of four children, that I needed to look like a swimsuit model and why didn’t I and how come I don’t look like I did when I was twenty and feeling like I was doing something wrong and that I needed to just work harder and harder and harder in order to get those results.
I have been talking with some people recently who feel a lot of pressure, whether it’s from a spouse who cares more about how they look than who they are, whether it’s from friends or commenters on social media, where people are in such pain, wanting to be loved and accepted and then think that the way to do that is to keep researching what’s the latest thing, what’s the newest thing, what’s the next thing I can do to lose forty pounds in a month or to be someone who matters. What you’re talking about here on vegetables really doesn’t sound like the answer but it’s pretty amazing.
Jonathan: April, that’s a great articulation of it because what we’ve found over years and years and years of not only clinical research but also just talking with people is that when something hurts as bad as the starvation and shame-based mindset that’s been put upon us and especially women over the past forty years saying the solution to that is just like this simple almost trivial change is —
It’s like something that hurts this bad cannot be that simple to solve. There’s something like cognitive dissonance in your brain because you’re like, “I’ve cried myself to sleep hundreds of times and you’re telling me that I could’ve avoided that if I just ate vegetables. I am not willing to accept that because I would be so angry at how painful this was for the past couple of years.” So I feel like there’s a natural resistance that it’s almost like we hope it’s not that simple if somebody validates the pain that we’ve been in so long.
April: Yes, absolutely. In fact, you’re my go-to when it comes to any questions of food or exercise. Dr. David Burns is my go-to for anything psychological. He’s amazing and has written several bestselling books and he has a podcast. He was even just saying when somebody comes in who’s been struggling with depression or anxiety or some trauma and they say, “Hey, how long do you think it’s going to take to help me to recover from this — the rest of my life? Will I need to do years of therapy? They’re thinking, “What I’ve been going through is so bad, it must require years of therapy.” He responded to one person who had that question. He said, “Well, I can’t guarantee anything but my hunch is that we could probably solve this in just a handful of sessions.” The person was so angry, they were throwing back expletives and so upset, thinking, “How dare you take this serious thing that I’m dealing with and tell me we could solve it in a handful of sessions? You clearly don’t understand my life.”
If I hadn’t already lived through the SANE transition, I would also be like, “Jonathan, seriously? I’ve eaten vegetables before. That’s not what it does.” But what you taught as far as — how many vegetables, what kinds of vegetables, when, what you’re pairing them with, what you’re not going to eat, how you’re not going to starve yourself, how you’re not going to get up at 5 am to run if you went to bed at midnight — all these things that you taught me that go with that, that’s what finally worked.
I had to listen to a whole lot of people who didn’t make sense before I could hear your voice and say Jonathan’s got it. That’s what I’m such a proponent of SANE because when I think of anybody I love starving, exercising hours a day trying to be slim, and trying to figure out whatever they can do to be loved and be important, it’s like, “Guys, go check out what Jonathan Bailor has to say.” You have some awesome new things such as that new program that you were announcing in the podcast today. Can we talk about that?
Jonathan: Absolutely. There’s another side of this, too. I want to be very clear. It’s a place, I think, where we have a really unique opportunity because if you go on the Internet and just look at body image and self love, you’re going to see two camps. You’re going to see the starvation and shame camp on one end of the spectrum and you’re going to see another camp which almost gives the message that if you weigh 400 pounds and are at risk of having your leg amputated because you’re diabetic and could go blind, that’s okay.
April: Celebrate it, yes.
Jonathan: Celebrate the fact that you’re going to die thirty years prematurely and won’t be able to walk your daughter down the aisle. Both of those are wrong.
Jonathan: I hope I don’t alienate anybody but you dying thirty years before you should and suffering painfully up to that point is not to be celebrated. You deserve better than that; just like you deserve better than starving and shaming yourself. What we are advocating is something called Loving Yourself Slim which is, you’ve got to love yourself but loving yourself to a point where you are objectively healthy and able to rock your mission in a productive way is very important. It’s like we talk about “love the sinner, but not the sin.”
You can love yourself while working towards not being diabetic. You can love yourself while working towards having a body that empowers you to live your best life and to be around for as long as all the people in your life need you to be around. We call it Loving Yourself Slim and we’ve actually put together this seven-part program which is really, really fun and it gets really deep into what we call SANE psychology. It’s a seven-part module. Everyone who’s on our mailing list – if you’re not, please get on it over at SANESolution.com – is going to get a free preview of it. It is so important for us to start.
I think we need to take a couple of steps back and that’s what we talked about in this program where you don’t need more information. It may even sound like, “Jonathan, from a business perspective, why would you say that? Aren’t you in the business of selling information?” What you need is information plus the ability to implement it and you won’t implement it until you love yourself. That’s why we’ve got to start from there.
April: I think that’s so wise. I just love the title of that because I was talking with a friend of mine and we were just having a short business conversation but I said, “I feel like I need to do something in addition to what I’m doing right now in my business. It’s not for financial reasons; just because I feel like I just should, like I’m just doing one thing. Shouldn’t I do something else?” The response that I got back was from a coach we’d actually hired was, “It’s fine if you want to add new things. That’s kind of the fun of being in business is being creative and it’s deciding what it is you want to add to your business. But if you’re doing it because you feel like who you are right now isn’t enough, then that isn’t going to solve anything for you.”
I thought about that for several days because I realized that there have been a lot of times in my life — like, I am a doer. I am a go-getter. I set goals. I’m super excited. I have like my vision board on my wall. I mean, I’m one of those people, I really enjoy setting goals and moving forward on things. But I realized, as I really sat back, some of my goals I’ve set aren’t because I really want that goal; it’s because I think I’m not enough how I am. When we talk about going SANE and the kinds of foods that you’re choosing, if, as we’re buying our vegetables or as we’re blending smoothies or as we’re deciding to feed ourselves healthy foods, we’re eating it because “I’m just not good enough how I am and so I’ve just got to force myself to eat this food but we’re going to try to see if we could make something good out of it.” That’s a really poor perspective. Or “I am trying to get this body a certain way so that other people will think that I’m worth something” – that’s the worst thing I could think of because then your motivation is out of fear and shame.
The message that you’re sharing, which I think is so powerful, is, you deserve better. I love that. I think that that’s something that all of us need to really take to heart — that when you’re going to sit and eat a bunch of junk food, you deserve better. Don’t eat it because you’re not allowed to and we’re going to be mad at you but don’t eat it because you deserve better for your body.
Jonathan: That’s exactly right. It’s not that you’re saying — I mean, even the mindset of “I’m going to treat myself”, if you think about it — I mean, if someone came up to you and they poured out a line of cocaine on the table and they were like, “Well, I’ve been good all week so I’m going to treat myself by snorting a line of cocaine,” you’d say, “Oh my god, don’t take drugs. You deserve better than to be a drug addict. That’s not treating yourself; that’s toxic and you’re putting it inside of yourself. Don’t put toxic things inside of yourself, not because it’s shameful, not because you’re a bad person if you do it, but because you deserve better than to put toxic things into your body.”
I think that’s the key thing here. I mean, the reason I get so amped up about Weight Watchers is, they’re like, “It’s only one point to put this toxic trash in your body so put toxic trash in your body.” That is not loving yourself slim. That is not loving yourself slim at all. That’s, in fact, now you would feel ashamed later if you did want to eat healthy food because you didn’t have any points left because all this toxic trash ate up your points.
Anyway, I think the why behind what we do and what we choose to put in our lives and in our bodies is so critically important. That’s why I would encourage everybody as a next action, if you’re not already subscribed to the SANE mailing list, there’s all sorts of free resources up on the SANE website, which is SANESolution.com. Please pop over there because we couldn’t be more excited about this new Love Yourself Slim program and you will get a free seven-day preview of it and it gets into a lot more detail on what we’re talking about here today.
April: I love that. Okay, so along with that next action, I have one more little closing thing to say and then you can close up. One of the other things that I just need to say that you have helped me with so much is learning which voices to completely eliminate from my life because I found in my history of being a people-pleaser that I was letting way too many voices in and letting too many people’s opinions matter and it wasn’t directing me to make really optimal choices in every area of my life.
I think that, as I’ve learned how to take care of my body and as I’ve learned not to compare myself and not to put these huge expectations on myself, it’s really helped me to gain more self confidence in not having to listen to anyone who doesn’t care about the whole person. I think that, for anyone who’s looking for a health coach or who’s looking for any coach or looking for any inspirational figure that you’re looking to listen to and learn from, if that person doesn’t care about your whole life, your family, your sanity, your physical body, your mental care; if they only care about that one aspect of your life, then I don’t think we need to listen to them.
That has just been super helpful for me. I know you’ve been just a voice in my life that just helps remind me — it brings me back to center — “April, don’t stress it. April, sleep. Go enjoy your family. Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry if you can’t get to the gym for five hours a week; it’s okay. You don’t have to. Figure out what’s going to work for you and serve you as a whole person.” That’s huge. That’s just been a huge blessing. Thanks, Jonathan.
Jonathan: My pleasure, April. I hope everyone can hear what April just said and really take it to heart because you are a whole person; you’re not just your arms; you’re not just your abs; you’re not just your size; you’re not just your bank account; you’re not just the success of your children. You’re an amalgamation of so much beautiful biology and more and we need to treat that whole person. Please make sure you’re doing that. Please remember to stay SANE. We’ll chat with you soon.