How Do I Stop Falling Off Track?

How Do I Stop Falling Off Track? [Podcast Episode #118]

Discouragement is the killer of positive pursuits.

How many times have you committed to making changes to your health. You decide that it's time to lose weight, to exercise more often, to eat healthier foods, and you DO IT... for a while.

But when results don't come as quickly as you had hoped, or when you miss a workout, or snack on something "bad," discouragement sets in. "Am I ever going to be able to change?"

If you've been on and off the fitness bandwagon more times than you'd like to admit, here's some simple, practical advice that will help you finally stick with your commitments and see the changes you've always hoped for...

Make Your Body Work Podcast #118

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​How Do I Stop Falling Off Track?
[Full Text]

Dave: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this episode of the Make Your Body Work Podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. Today we're talking about a pretty common topic, that idea of getting really enthusiastic about change, and then that enthusiasm waning, and us falling off track and feeling like we need to start over again.

And we see this happen all the time, it happens in our health, it can happen in our exercise, it can happen in our work, it can happen in relationships, it can happen everywhere. That's just kinda human nature. We do that, we get excited about things, and then that excitement as we realize that we need to input some work to actually achieve those goals, that excitements gets smaller, and smaller, and smaller. And eventually in many cases, we find ourselves back where we started. And this idea, it stemmed from a question that Alice wrote in.

Here's what she said, "Dave I love your podcast and have learned so much as a woman who is in the middle of menopause right now I can relate to it so much of what your guests talk about. I have to admit that I'm like most other women I know, I get gung ho to begin, but then fall off soon after. I think I try to take on too much for a woman like me who just wants to lose a few pounds and feel good what's the one thing I have to start doing? If I hear it from you, I will do it."

Alice, I love that. Okay, I'm gonna give you some very specific advice, and you told me you were gonna do it. No, we're gonna talk about some strategies, Alice, because I don't wanna prescribe something specifically for you, I wanna give options and tools and tactics. And then you decide, you commit to one, and then you see change as a result. And it's not just about my opinion.

As always, I've gone out and found a really great guest who can speak to this idea of our body changing as we age. That idea of going through ebbs and flows of wanting to exercise, wanting to be fit, and then falling off track. And how do we overcome? And she's done a really good job of identifying the four areas that we need to address, and I won't spoil the surprise but I'm excited to introduce to you, Shawna Kaminsky.

​Meet Shawna Kaminsky

Dave: Hey Shawna, thanks so much for joining us on the show today.

Shawna: Oh thank you for having me, it's my pleasure.

Dave: You know, I'm excited to chat with you. So maybe you could start off by telling us a little bit about you. I'd love to hear a little bit about your history, how did you get to where you are today? And then what is it that you're focusing on right now?

Shawna: Well I actually was a school teacher for almost 20 years, and during that time I taught mostly elementary. And once my babies were born I went half time, and I was teaching kind of in the gym. And I love teaching fitness to little ones, but I realized over time that my passion was really turning towards their parents.

Because I realized that if I could help get parents and mothers in particular healthy, then that would have a bigger impact than the 30 minutes that I got to see a child in a day. And it was lucky if I got to see a child 30 minutes a day. And some kids, they weren't even getting phys ed daily. That was something we had to fight for.

So some of those little ones, they weren't getting any exercise, because it wasn't supported at one. So I thought you know what? If I could impact women in particular, that would have a far reaching effect as far as families go. So that was kind of where I started. And then I feel like for me, I felt like my passion for teaching little ones was waning a little bit as my passion for teaching women grew.

So I had upon request from all my friends and neighbors, I started a home fitness business where I was doing group training, circuit training back in 2001 I think it was. And moved that towards, I realized I couldn't help enough people, so I started a fitness bootcamp. And then realized man, I need to impact more people. So then I started going online.

And then it kind of snow balled to the point now that I do have a standalone fitness Calgary Northwest Fit Body Bootcamp, and I have online programming, digital programs, and do online fitness and nutrition coaching.

Dave: Wow, that's a big shift from teaching elementary school aged children phys ed.

Shawna: I suppose it is. But you know, there's so many things that are so alike. You know how kindergartners just don't like change? Well you know what? Adults are just the same, they're just a bit taller. So there's so many things that are very much alike. And I feel like I'm a teacher at heart. And I just shifted the person that I'm teaching, and I love it.

Dave: You made an interesting comment, so first off, I'm a former teacher as well, and come from a family of teachers. And you made a comment about the children who you were teaching, about them not getting any activity, like physical activity in a day if they didn't have their phys ed class. So my question is, maybe I'm a little bit out of touch with children today, but is there less activity, like less outdoor playtime than there was 20 years ago or 30 years ago? Is it true that kids aren't physically active just naturally?

It Started with Children and Fitness

Shawna: Well I actually resigned from teaching in 2007, so that's going on 11 years. But back in 2007 what I noticed is that while children still got recess and lunch time, there was less activity because it seemed like children just didn't know how to play. Because it's well-meaning parents sometimes over program kids.

So they're rushing them to swim lessons, and then ballet, and then maybe football. So everything is organized. So then left to their own devices in that 15 minute timeframe for recess, a lot of kids would stand around. They didn't know how to play. They wouldn't just get a ball and make up a game.

So I did notice less activity in that regard. And just an overall, kids love to move. But when they're not given the opportunity to move, and they don't feel like benefits of getting hot and sweaty. You and I talked before Dave, I think your cue to come in was the street lights coming on when you were younger, is that right?

Dave: Exactly. My parents would send us through the door and say, "Don't come home, well you have to come on when the street lights are on." But basically I think they were saying, "Don't come home until the street lights are on. Go play."

Shawna: Right. And you and I are in maybe a little bit different era where safety is a bit different. But it just seems that kids just don't move as much. And that was back in 2007, and my babies are kind of grown up, they're in their 20s. So I can't speak as to exactly what's happening today. But I can't see how it would have changed significantly given that safety is still an issue. Well meaning parents, they're busy, and activity often is more organized. So sometimes kids just aren't left to their own devices to, "Here's a ball, go play." A lot of kids just don't know what to do with that.

Dave: You made an interesting connection about the role of parents modeling for their children. And maybe even a little bit vice versa as well, but I think about our generation, the generation of parents. And how the things that we do, model for our children what they should do.

So I think about nowadays being on the computer so much more, and being on cell phones, and tablets, and all those devices. I know my parents weren't like that. So the model that I got from them is our family time was very much built on being outdoors, and spending time around the dinner table.

Sort of quote unquote good old fashioned family value type things. But as a generation now of adults, where so much of our life is tied to technology, that's showing children theirs should be as well.

Shawna: Yeah, it's very different. It's an entirely different world I think than when we were younger. And I don't think that's gonna change anytime soon as adults. And sometimes my kids give me trouble, "Mom, get off your computer, come to the table." It's because when my kids were younger I didn't have a cell phone.

We grew up ... And my kids grew up in an era with no cell phones, and limited computers. So family time was really important. But now running an internet business, sometimes it's hard. So it's like, "Okay kids, I'll put my phone away." They're like, "You're worse than a teenager."

Dave: I love that you said that though. For the listeners, I know sometimes it's easy for people from the outside to look at fitness professionals and see yourself as a coach and say, "It must be easy because your job is tied to fitness." And I was just having this conversation the other day with a friend of mine who I've known him for probably about a year, and he thought that I was a personal trainer in a gym.

And it was that perception again, "Well it must be so easy for you because you just do exercise all day long." And my response was, "No, I work a desk job. I sit on my computer all day long."

Shawna: Yeah.

Dave: So I'm with you.

Shawna: Correct. And we have the same struggles as mister and misses Jones that goes to work all day, because guess what, you and I go to work all day. And a lot of it is on a computer, even at my fitness bootcamp. I don't coach very often, but even if I were coaching, my focus is on the client. It's not on my own fitness. So we have to carve out that time for our own fitness as well, just like everybody else.

Your Focus Has to Be All About Making Small Changes

Dave: 100%, totally agree. I wanna transition over to Alice's question, because it sounds as though she's trying to make some healthy choices. And like you talked about, I really liked how you said it starts with those moms, and then sort of the healthy habits get moved down, or impressed upon the children.

And it sounds like Alice is there. She says, "I'm going through menopause, I notice my body is changing, I'd like to lose some weight, I wanna take the right steps, but I just wanna hear what is that first step?" The clients who you're working with, is this common? Do you hear them coming and saying, "I'm 40, I'm 50, what I used to do doesn't work. My body's changing and I don't know how to stop it." Is this common?

Shawna: It's actually very, very common. And the big thing is that when I work with clients and we do a little bit of a deep dive into a lot of women will say, "Well nothing has changed. My nutrition, everything is the same." But then when we do a little bit of a deep dive, there are some small changes.

The thing that happens is that small changes, it's like small hinges can move big doors. So a small change can help to lead you to your goals, but can also lead you away from your goals.

So for example, if you notice that, "Oh hey, I used to walk every night," or, "I used to walk in the evening after dinner, and I just got out of that habit." And that habit you had for a long time, and then you've dropped it. And maybe in two to three months, "You know, I noticed I've gained two or three pounds." Well it's that small habit that had led you to keeping that weight off.

This happened just actually the other day, a lovely woman was interested in ... That was her exact question. "I'm 44, nothing has changed, and I've gained three kilos, and I just don't know why." So we had a little bit of a deep dive into her lifestyle. And as it turned out, her stress levels were a little bit higher, there was a little bit more family issues going on, her work day got extended over an hour, so her stress levels were elevated, so her cortisol was up, her sleep wasn't as good.

I talked about how when cortisol goes up, you tend to gain a little bit of belly fat. When cortisol is up, lepton levels are down, and lepton is that I'm satisfied hormone. And she says, "I have been eating more. Even though I have a paleo lifestyle and I eat really good food." So all the inexplicable reasons that she gained those three kilos we could kind of find an explanation for when we did a little bit of a deep dive into her habits.

Because it's those small, tiny little things that can kind of lead you in the wrong direction. But the good news is that small, small changes can also lead to good change as well. I don't even know, I went off on a rant, I don't even know if I answered your question.

Dave: You certainly did. And I think it's a really important idea to point out when we say, "Nothing has changed," and I hear that all the time as well. When we say, "Nothing has changed," or, "I can't explain," or, "Why is this happening to me?" Quite often we're comparing our current situation to a recent memory. We might think, "Well a month ago and today I'm doing the same thing." But it's not as thought weight just comes on in a week, or even in a month. It's something that comes on over the course of a year, or two years, or three years.

So if we actually stop and look at all our patterns, all our habits today and compare that to what we were doing literally three years ago, would there be differences? And in the vast majority of cases, particularly in our adult life, in 40s, 50s, 60s, there are changes. Just like you said, we just need to uncover them. So that's super valuable in itself.

Shawna: Yeah, and it's just a matter of notice what we're noticing. It's just those small things. And I often talk about how if women are moms, and as our kids get older we tend to be a little bit more sedentary, just because you're not chasing as much. So just the fact that you get to sit down a little bit more. Over time that makes a big difference. So no, your life hasn't really changed significantly. You're still a mom, you've got these kids, you've got a job. But your sedentary time might have increased. So it's small things like that.

And then there are some hormonal things going on, there is a natural decline in metabolic rate. But we can't blame that on menopause, because we look at men that are in their 40s as well, and they tend to put on belly fat as well. So menopause often gets a bad rep, but the good news is that there's so much we can do to offset maybe that menopause belly, or that beer belly in men. And it's very similar steps that we can take to offset that increased belly fat.

Dave: Okay I wanna go to those steps in just one second. I just wanna highlight something really important that you said there, the idea of how much we have movement built into our regular day. So I don't know if this is the case for Alice, but I know for many of the women I talk to, and probably a lot of the listeners, they might be able to say, "I still go to the same fitness class, I still go to the gym, I still go running, I still go swimming."

And they could list off all of the intentional exercise that they're doing today, and it might be exactly the same as the intentional exercise they did a year ago, or five years ago. But like you pointed out, and we'll use moms as an example, there's a lot of built in activity. It's not intentional exercise, but built in activity that might've happened at age 30 or 35 that doesn't happen at age 40 or 45 or 50.

Shawna: Correct.

Dave: And those are the things that we sort of write off. We think about walking, and some people who are new to exercise might say, "Well walking is my exercise." Someone who goes to the gym might negate the exercise benefits of walking all together. Therefore, when they stop walking it's easy for them to think, "Well I'm still doing my exercise, therefore my exercise in totality is the same." But it could be completely different.

Shawna: Yeah, and you know there's even studies that show that if you fidget, people that have a little bit more nervous energy and just tend to be the can't sit still type people, over time they tend to be a bit leaner than those people that are just more relaxed.

So I'm not telling anyone that fidgeting is your great go-to for burning calories. But some of it comes down to just that non-intentional movement that over time, if you reduce that non-intentional movement, then that might be a reason why you might be gaining a bit of weight as well.

The 4 Essential Steps to Change

Dave: Yep, 100% agreed. So you eluded to some steps. You were talking about some steps that in menopause specifically, but just as we age, some steps that we could take that would prevent some of this weight gain. Would you dive in? Tell us what are these steps?

Shawna: Well I think the first thing that people go to is just that I need to go on a diet. And I want to say right off the bat that reducing calories is probably not the number one thing that people need to look at.

If we think of our health, we could think of a table and think of four legs of the table. And each of the legs is of equal important. Of course one is gonna be nutrition, and one is gonna be exercise. But one is also gonna be sleep, and another one is gonna be stress.

So sometimes just reducing stress and sleeping more, those will have amazing fat loss and improved health benefits for just reducing your stress levels and increasing sleep quality. Because when you're not sleeping, cortisol levels are up, which means cortisol is that hormone that wants to pack on the belly fat.

When we're sleep deprived, we also have more cravings for sugar, and non-healthy foods. And then we probably have cravings for more caffeine that tries to keep us awake, and then we get on that roller coaster. And then we might get on that blood sugar roller coaster, which then is also gonna be possibly causing insulin resistance. So you can kind of see how the road goes, like a downward spiral, just even from stress or from sleep deprivation.

So if we think of those four legs of a table; nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress. And if we try and balance those, then those are kind of the things that we need to look at whether you're a man or a woman.

Dave: Okay, so I wanna ask you a little bit about practically speaking, for sleep in particular. Because diet and exercise, there is a lot of information out there available about how to incorporate those into your life. But sleep is a tough one. I know a lot of women I speak with, and men as well will just say, "Well I can't sleep." Or, "I'll get to sleep and then I'll wake up." Or, "My body only needs five hours of sleep." And whenever someone says that to me I just think okay, either you're really lucky, or you're really delusional. One or the other, I don't know.

Shawna: Yes, agreed, yes.

Dave: So what are some strategies then for again, specifically people like Alice who are in this aging phase, where they notice they're gaining weight. They recognize that maybe sleep contributes, what do they do about it?

Shawna: What I always tell my clients regarding sleep is yes, we may struggle with sleep issues from time to time. But setting the stage for sleep is very important. So the person that says, "Well I only need five hours of sleep," well they're managing on five hours sleep. Imagine if they set the stage for seven hours of sleep. Would they feel much better?

And then the person that says, "Well I'm awake, I might as well do the ironing." Or, "I can't sleep so I'm gonna watch this television show." So setting the stage for sleep is really important. So that would mean turning off electronics, reducing blue light, cooling the bedroom, dressing in layers, especially for women that are potentially having hot flashes. So they aren't a hot mess, and then freezing to death.

And then just maybe some calming music, some lavender. There's different things that you can do. And then sometimes you just can't sleep. And then you just have to deal with it. But the fact is, is that setting the stage for sleep is really important because it's so easy for us to burn the candle at both ends. But if we have kind of ... Like I have an alarm set on my phone.

It goes off, and it's like if I'm not already in my room getting ready for bed, it's just a reminder, "Oh, I need to go to bed now." And then that gives me a half an hour to get to bed, to read, to calm down. So it helps me to keep that regular sleep schedule. And also just having that regular sleep schedule is really important as well.

It's difficult of shift workers, I know. But those people that aren't shift workers, having a regular bed time even on the weekends, a regular get up time, it helps to even out your energy. And helps you get into those sleep patterns as well.

Dave: Really good advice. I like that idea of having the night time alarm. I've never tried that before, but I should implement that. Because like everyone else, I can be at home, have good intentions of going to bed, I would like to go to bed at 10:00 PM if possible. But it's easy to get looking at something on the computer, and then checking my phone, and then all of a sudden it's quarter to 11:00 and I think, "Wow, where did this time fly?"

Shawna: Oh, how'd that happen?

Dave: Exactly, exactly.

Shawna: Yes.

Dave: I had a guest on another podcast episode, he's known as the Sleep Doctor. And for the listeners, if you go to makeyourbodywork.com/118 that's this episode of the podcast, and I'll put a link to that former episode. He had a really great suggestion, he said let's just say you needed to wake up at 7:00 AM so you have your alarm set at 7:00 AM.

He said for four days in a row, just track and see if you actually woke up to your alarm. And if you do, if you wake up to that alarm four days in a row, there's a chance that your body didn't get enough sleep. You're artificially waking up. So his suggestion is back up your bed time by 30 minutes. So give yourself an earlier bed time of 30 minutes.

​So for example, if I were to go to bed at 11:00 I'm waking up to my alarm at 7:00 four days in a row, that says maybe I'll try 10:30. Repeat that experiment at 10:30 and see if I'm waking up at my alarm. And eventually, you can keep on playing with this, backing up your bed time 15 or 30 minutes. Eventually you get to a place where you're gonna naturally wake up at that time, and actually feel quite rested. I thought that was very valuable advice.

Shawna: I also, around the topic of sleep, Mel Robbins in the Five Second Rule has a whole chapter, or a good part of it on sleep. And I found it quite fascinating that we sleep in 90 minute chunks.

So sometimes if you wake up say at 6:30 and your alarm was going off at 7:00 you're probably better to get up at 6:30 than to say, "Hey I'm gonna sleep a little bit longer." Because have you ever woken up and go back to sleep and then your alarm wakes you up and it's like, "Oh my gosh, I feel so tired now."

Dave: Yeah.

Shawna: It's because you're in the middle of that sleep cycle. So because we sleep in those 90 minute chunks. So I think part of it is also just being aware of our sleep, and valuing our sleep. I was a competitive swimmer when I was a kid, so I've always been an early riser, because I had to get up at 5:00 AM for morning swim practice.

So I've always really been protective of my sleep, and notice things about sleep. But I think for a lot of people it's just an after thought. They don't really value it. But I know I cannot function without proper rest. I think so many people are living their lives sleep deprived, they don't really know how good it feels to sleep well.

So if you gave yourself 30 days, say, "Okay, in this month, this is my month of sleep. I'm gonna pay very close attention to how I'm feeling, to my bed time, to just making not of sleep patterns," I think that that would do a lot for people.

Dave: I agree. Anytime that we track, it really adds visibility. So it could be our sleep, tracking exactly what you said; our bed time, our wake up time, how we feel. It could be our eating habits, our exercise. Anything we track, we're so much more likely to actually improve upon something because we have data.

I just know it's so easy, Shawna I imagine there's listeners who are listening right now thinking, "Oh, that's a great idea. I'm gonna try to go to be earlier." And while that's a nice thought, it just probably isn't gonna happen unless we have some sort of either data, or some sort of specific goal tied to it.

Shawna: Correct.

Dave: Yeah.

Shawna: I agree.

How to Develop Your Balanced Life

Dave: You know, I wanna go back to, you had a really good analogy, I like that idea of the table and there being legs on the table that are gonna hold that table up. So we just spent some time talking about sleep, is sleep the primary, the most important leg? Is there a most important leg? What's your opinion on that?

Shawna: I really feel like for us to have a balanced life, nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction, they're fairly even. So I know that for me, and this may have happened for you as well, that some time in your life if you've ever been injured so that you can't exercise, or you have reduced exercise but you're taking care of your sleep, your stress, and your nutrition, you can maintain fairly good health for a while.

Or let's say you're on a holiday, and you don't have optimal nutrition, but you're exercising, you don't have stress, and you're sleeping well, you still can stay fairly healthy. So for the most part we can carry, if we have a deficit in one of the quadrants, but the other areas were doing fairly well, they can carry us.

But over time, if we continue to have that sleep deficit, or a nutrition, we're not eating well, it will come around to haunt us with poor health in the long-term. So I really think that they're pretty important, all four of those quadrants.

Dave: That's great, I'm just again thinking for anyone listening to this, maybe a quick little evaluation is in order right now. Out of those four areas; so we've got our exercise, our food, our sleep, and our stress, is there one of those four categories that is lacking or a little bit deficient in your life? And what can you do to fix that?

So we talked about some sleep strategies, the other one that I would say is most complicated would be stress. So what would you said, Shawna, is someone evaluating themselves right now says, "Yeah Shawna, I am just totally stressed out right now." What do they do about that?

Shawna: And we've talked about this before Dave, is that was it Alice that had the question?

Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shawna: About what's the most important thing that we can do? And maybe stress is a thing that's her issue right now. And that is just giving yourself a little bit of breathing room. So women in particular are really great at serving the needs of others, but not necessarily themselves.

So sometimes just taking 15 minutes, whether it's for a hot bath, whether that's gonna be for exercise, whether that's gonna be for food prep. If you can give yourself the gift of 15 minutes, which over the course of the day, I'm not good at math, how much of a percentage of the entire day is it? So minute. We probably spend more time on social media, right? But giving yourself the gift of that 15 minutes can really help with stress reduction. And it could be deep breathing, it could be reading a book, a bubble bath. It could be hard exercise.

So sometimes just giving yourself, if you made a deal with yourself that you're gonna give yourself 15 minutes, however that looks. It might be for a workout, it might be for food prep, it might be for a walk, it might be for some yoga. Just something, and that can be such a great stress reducer. So I think for Alice's question, it might be really important to ... Like one of the most important things I think that women can do to move the needle on their health is to give themselves that little bit of time every day.

Dave: I think that's good, and probably quite applicable to Alice. I know in her question she says, "I think I try to take on too much." And she's referring to that idea of going gung ho fitness-wise. But it sounds as though there's a lot of pressure maybe self-induced pressure. And maybe that's what she needs instead is to release a little bit of that pressure, and instead just carve out a few minutes for self-care.

Shawna: Well both of us have talked about that in the past, in terms of a lot of people, they're either on or their off. So it's difficult to commit an hour or two to exercise every day, so people fall off the wagon. But if you commit to your 15 minutes of exercise daily, over the long-term, even if you want more, that's gonna take you a lot further in the long-run than if you're start and stop with, "Hey, I'm gonna go hard for an hour or two," and then fall off the wagon for a month.

Don't Discount 15 Minutes: You Can Do Amazing Things In Little Time

Dave: For some reason there's a perception that 15 minutes of exercise isn't enough, it's a drop in the bucket. And I can see, I don't know if Alice has had that thought before, but I know many women do. That doesn't count. Or I need to go to the gym, because if I just go for a little walk that's not gonna make a difference. Do you think that that little amount does make a difference?

Shawna: Absolutely. Most definitely. Yes. And I think that is one of the barriers to entry for a lot of people that, "Oh, I just don't have time to exercise." But we even just look at the studies on a tabata, like four minutes of hot sweatiness is gonna elevate your metabolism and burn a bunch of calories in just four minutes.

That's so much better than not doing anything. So it's those small bursts that can really make a big difference. So yeah, I think that's a real misunderstanding is that we have to commit so much more time than we actually do.

Dave: When Alice talks specifically, I'm gonna use her words. She says, "I get gung ho to begin, but then fall off soon after." Whenever you talk to a woman who says something like that, this idea of cyclical exercise, or cyclical healthy eating, what do you help them to mindset-wise? What can they do to prepare themselves differently? We don't wanna repeat past exercises, or past modalities of change that didn't work. So what's the mindset shift that needs to happen?

Shawna: I think sometimes people get really discouraged 'cause they're like, "I've exercised for four days, but my weight is still the same." Or, "I've been on this nutrition plan or this diet for a week, and nothing has changed." So they're not feeling successful.

So if they look for non-scale victories, and quantify other things like energy, posture, confidence, sleep quality, just how your clothes are fitting. Looking at different things other than just what's the number on the scale. Because the number on the scale can be a measure of progress, but it's certainly not the best one.

So sometimes just making people aware to look for other areas of where they're feeling good, and positive about their health journey. And that helps to keep you motivated, especially when the scale doesn't move.

Dave: Yeah, I totally agree. I think it's really helpful to think about inputs and outputs as well. If we're inputting 15 minutes of exercise per day, to expect that we're gonna lose 10 pounds in a week just isn't really reasonable that that would be the output. But I remember you speaking on something, and I thought it was really, really profound. Simple but profound.

You were talking about skittles and you said if you eat a handful of skittles as dessert, if you did that once it's not gonna change anything. The scale weight isn't gonna change, that input is very small. But if you ate a handful of skittles every single day for a year the output is actually gonna be quite big.

So that's the other side of the coin. Sometimes we think this little input, this 15 minutes exercise, I'm not gonna change in a week. Maybe not, but a year from now you will. That output will be there because the total, the cumulative input is so huge.

Shawna: Correct. Exactly. So I think we spoke about this a bit at the beginning of the call is that yeah, those small changes can work either way. That handful of skittles can put 15 pounds on in the year, or that 15 minutes of exercise can take 15 pounds of excess weight off in a year as well. So it's just managing our expectations and then just being aware of those micro-changes in our lifestyle that makes a big difference.

​Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: You know, Shawna, you've done such a good job of being so holistic in your approach here. And I know there's a different answer for everyone, so it's hard for us to just say, "Alice, do this." I understand that.

Shawna: Right.

Dave: I do like to wrap up the show with what's called a Make Your Body Work Takeaway. And it is an action step. So for Alice, or for anyone else who's feeling a little discouraged, and maybe it is aging process, hormone changes, lifestyle changes, whatever it may be that's contributing to weight gain, what is one action step that you've found works for many people?

Shawna: An action step I think is to put 15 minutes on the calendar every day, just giving yourself the gift of time every day. And you might say, "Okay on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays that 15 minutes is gonna be devoted to exercise, on Sundays it's gonna be food prep, on Saturdays it's gonna be a bath." Whatever.

You can schedule in something more further in terms of particulars. But I think especially women who give, give, give to others but not to themselves, is to just give themselves that gift of 15 minutes and keep their health top of mind awareness for those 15 minutes.

So not to just mindlessly watch television, this is my gift of 15 minutes. No, what are you gonna do in those 15 minutes that's gonna support your health? And think of the four legs of the table; nutrition, sleep, stress, and exercise. And find something within those four areas. So 15 minutes to support one of those four areas. And I don't think that's asking a ton from people to give themselves a little bit of time. Because then that will grow. And over time the cumulative effect of those 15 minutes makes a big difference.

Dave: Exactly, exactly. And Alice, if you're listening, do it today. Schedule that 15 minutes in. Shawna I loved how you said whatever is actually happening in those 15 minutes, it can change day to day. Maybe you'll schedule out exactly what it is, or maybe organically you'll figure out what you need to do in those 15 minutes. But just be mindful this is time for you, this is time for you to focus on your health, this is time for you to strengthen those legs of the table. That's fantastic.

Shawna: Excellent.

​Connect With Shawna

Dave: Shawna, thanks so much for being here. I'd like to know where listeners can connect with you in case they have other questions, in case they wanna see more of what you're doing.

Shawna: I think you have a link, menopausebellytriggers.com I think it is. And then people can find me on Instagram, Shawna Kaminsky. Or they can also find me, I have a closed group on Facebook called Healthy Secrets for Women 40 Plus. And it's just women in there, and I'm always doing live broadcasts, and answering questions. So I'd love for women to find me there as well on Facebook. Healthy Secrets for Women 40 Plus.

Dave: Awesome. And for the listeners I'll put links to all of those in the show notes. So if you go to makeyourbodywork.com/118 you'll find all of that there. Shawna, thanks again for being here, it was really lovely chatting with you.

Shawna: Thank you for having me Dave, all the best to you.

Dave: Thanks again Shawna for joining us today, and for sharing your wisdom, sharing practical steps that we can take. For sort of uncovering those four key areas. And I think you've given everyone a lot to think about, and appreciate that. For the listeners, if you tuned in today, think about those four legs on the table.

So which of those four legs, just as a quick recap, we've got our exercise, we've got our food choices, we've got our sleep habits, and our stress. Which of those would you say on your table is weakest? Which one is strongest? Which one needs work right now? And think about what is that one step?

So if you were to carve out, like Shawna recommended, those 15 minutes per day, what could you do in those 15 minutes per day that would strengthen that leg on your table that needs that strength? Take action, you know me, it's all about taking action. So what are you gonna do? I'd love to hear from you.

If you have any ideas, if you want any feedback, if you want suggestions you can always reach out to me at Dave@makeyourbodywork.com. And if you have questions that you'd like addressed on a future episode of this show, again reach me at Dave@makeyourbodywork.com.

I love hearing from you, I love hearing your stories, I love sharing this journey with you, as we all moved towards better health and fitness. It's so amazing to open emails and to have people who I've never met face to face be willing to share. So thanks for your vulnerability, and thanks for opening up. It's what makes this show run. So thank you again.

If you enjoy the Make Your Body Work Podcast, I'd love it for you to go into iTunes and leave a rating and a comment for the show. And you can do that really simply. If you just go to makeyourbodywork.com/iTunes it'll take you one minute to do it, and it gives me some great feedback. It also helps other people find the show.

 So again that's makeyourbody.com/iTunes. Take you one minute, and like I said, I really appreciate that favor. So that's it for today's episode. Again, next week I'm gonna be back. I've got another great question and another great guest. And I hope to see you here. So have a great week, and I'll see you in the next episode.
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Thanks for joining me today!