If I’m being honest, I’m usually pretty selective with my media choices, probably to a fault, and I don’t tend to stray from shows I know I like. But this podcast episode was recently recommended to me so I decided to give it a listen, and I’m glad I did!
So, in passing it forward, here’s a podcast I really enjoyed and believe is worth checking out: The Doctor’s Farmacy with Mark Hyam: Episode 470. The Secret to Losing Weight and Feeling Great with Dr. Ragnan Chatterjee.
Here is an excerpt from the episode notes:
“If you stop and look at the real reasons you’re eating certain foods, it’s not a lack of self-control like the stigma suggests. It is a lack of other things in your life, though.”
First of all, from a selfish perspective, it’s always nice to hear doctors and people with big followings preach similar nutritional perspectives that I do. The more that people hear about constructive ways to better their nutrition, as opposed to restrictive approaches to nutrition, the better! As I imagine you’re aware, there are a lot of different diets, philosophies, and perspectives around nutrition, some of which aren’t so great…
One of my least favorite of the philosophies out there is, “You must just not have enough willpower to reach your goals.”
Luckily, not only does this podcast buck against that idea, they also emphasize the idea that we should look more closely at what else is going on for people that may be leading to certain choices.
And, they use different words, but they also preach one of my favorite coaching philosophies: Better is better! And the idea that starting small and increasing from there is the way to go! Small steps really pay off!
Anyway, here are some of my key takeaways from the podcast (okay okay, maybeeee this is too many things to say “key” takeaways, but this is one of my first times doing a post like this, so I’ll work on it!):
As noted above, I REALLY appreciate the sentiment that “willpower” is not the answer to our food-related focuses.
We blame ourselves and our lack of willpower if/when things fail. When in reality, relying on willpower isn’t the answer at all. Establishing the habits we want, and understanding our own current habits and routines, is HUGE and that’s where real changes happen! Structure your environments to succeed!
Our social and emotional connections to food and reasons why we eat MATTER! This is one of the BIGGEST pieces I work with clients on, which I think is often overlooked. Many times our food-related choices are directly connected to how we learned about food growing up, our feelings around food, our emotional/mental state, etc. Understanding those realities are important.
They emphasize the fact that our focuses should be first on health and well-being, which will likely contribute to body composition shifts. Literally feeling better can help us to make more goal-oriented choices moving forward… The downhill results of focusing on health can be incredibly powerful.
I’ve preached this in the past, but their conversations around sleep are incredibly powerful. I imagine that for many of us, sleep is one of the easiest things for us to put off or take away from. Where, literally, if we sleep less, it impacts your hunger hormones and caloric consumption, and can directly impact how stressed we feel and how we interact with the emotions/hardships that might come up.
They addressing the difference between body positivity and potential health concerns around body composition. THANK YOU. Yes, I certainly believe in body positivity, and agree that no one should EVER be shamed for their body composition. And, at the same time, we should not disregard that there are some health-related concerns for those carrying significant body fat. We’ve seen this most recently with the pandemic, the CDC said, “Having obesity puts people at risk for many other serious chronic diseases and increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.” (CDC article link, PMID 33421506)
To the point above, there certainly is also a disparity in access to healthy foods and the time it takes to cook food compared to ordering takeout or getting fast food. I also had never heard the phrase “time poverty” before but I really appreciated this discussion on the podcast. The conversation was around having time to prep food, and that some people have more time than others.
This is all real and is connected to the health and weight of so many people.
I LOVED the advice they had for when you’re wanting something to eat (and you’re not actually hungry); we can ask ourselves two questions:
*What am I feeling?
*What do I need?
The idea here, which is similar to the Pattern Interrupt Strategy that I coach, is looking at what else might be going on that is influencing your food choices. Are you super stressed? Did you get in an argument with someone? Are you lonely?
Once we acknowledge what the feelings are that we’re having, we can look at what other options you might have to “fill that need” aside from food. Many times, we eat to fill those needs… hence the ideas of “stress eating” or “boredom eating”, etc. For example, if, instead, we recognized that we weren’t actually hungry, that we are feeling lonely, and decided to call a friend to chat instead of digging into the chips, not only will that help our mental and emotional state, but will also avoid that unnecessary extra food intake.
I also appreciated the idea that we can work to: “Control the environments you can control.” They share valuable advice for taking a look at your environment in connection with your choices. For example, if every day when you’re driving home from work and you pass McDonalds and get a strawberry milkshake (this example comes from personal experience…), can you go a different way home to avoid sitting at the light in front of the McDonalds?! Decisions like this are potentially worth considering.
Make it easier to do the habits you do want to do! This one is HUGE and also an idea I preach regularly! If you’re working on drinking more water, having your favorite water bottle accessible all day long is hugely beneficial. Or, if you’re someone who tends to work through lunch, leading to poorer choices later in the day, blocking time on your calendar to eat lunch is step one to helping you eat in a timely manner.
The doctors also discussed the negative impacts of crushing, or super intense workout plans. Certainly we need to move and exercise for health, but we don’t want to crush ourselves every day to a point where it negatively impacts us, our choices, and our physical systems overall!
See, that’s it, only 10 key takeaways ; )
(Note: I admit that I haven’t listened to other episodes of this podcast yet, so cannot necessarily vouch for the show overall, but I did enjoy this episode and found its content worth hearing!)
If you listen to this episode, I’d love to hear your thoughts and any takeaways that were key for you!
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I appreciate you reading; I’ll keep sharing!