This week we’ll cover the four things that will make more of a difference in your life than everything else put together.
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
Jonathan: Hey everybody. Jonathan Bailor and Carrie Brown back with another Calorie Myth and Smarter Science of Slim show – the first show with this new hybrid title. Carrie, how are you doing?
Carrie: I’m doing great. Hi everyone.
Jonathan: I was just trying to figure out how we could extend the length of our title as much as possible.
Carrie: I think you did an outstanding job, sir.
Jonathan: This is typical indecisiveness – “So what should we do about the name of the show being the Smarter Science of Slim show and the name of the new book being called The Calorie Myth. Wait, wait. I have a brilliant idea. Let’s just call it both. That way everyone’s happy.”
Jonathan: Exactly. Carrie, how are you doing this new year?
Carrie: I’m doing great. Happy New Year.
Jonathan: Yes, despite the fact that this will be airing….
Carrie: …in March.
Jonathan: …in March. We are on radio time, which means Carrie and I are recording for the first time together here in the new year, and we are having a great new year so far.
Carrie: Even though it now probably is March, we were thinking about wishing you a new year virtually on January 1st. We just couldn’t say it to you.
Jonathan: Yes. Wishing a calorie myth-free new year to all. Carrie, speaking of myths and calories and math and confusion, you had gotten a question recently which spurred a bunch of conversation between us that we then wanted to share with the listeners.
Jonathan: What was that question?
Carrie: I knew you were going to ask me that.
Jonathan: We did our 30 seconds of planning before we started recording.
Carrie: And guess what?
Jonathan: You forgot what the question is.
Carrie: I forgot the question.
Jonathan: All right, so back to the show notes. It’s something along the lines of nutritional info on recipes and why we don’t do it.
Carrie: Ah, that’s a very good question. Why don’t we do it? I get that all the time, probably more so than you because I’m the one that’s creating and posting the recipes and people are continually asking me to add the nutritional – like a food label on a food product – they’re asking me to post the nutritional information, and I am resisting furiously.
Jonathan: Resistance. I have a quick anecdote along those lines. While the reception to The Calorie Myth has been almost universally positive, and I am so grateful and thankful to everyone for that – thank you so much – there was one relatively noteworthy reviewer who – my publisher and I were actually laughing a little bit. Carrie, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but in the review, it’s a little lukewarm and they say something like, “And the recipes don’t even have calorie counts on them.” In the book The Calorie Myth, they were like, “Why aren’t there calorie counts on the recipes? This is ridiculous.” We’re like, “Did they even read the book?”
Carrie: That’s a very good question, isn’t it?
Jonathan: Carrie, why don’t you put nutritional facts on your recipes, and why am I okay not including calorie counts on the recipes in The Calorie Myth book?
Carrie: Well, I don’t put the calorie count on there because, as we know, calorie counting is something that generally does not help us in our goal to lose fat.
Jonathan: Yes, and much more generally, this idea of us needing an instruction list to not get obese and diabetic – that’s a great example of The Calorie Myth on a macro level. If it was required to understand the percent of protein and carbohydrates and percent of vitamin C and calorie counts to be healthy, how were we all so much healthier and slimmer before we had any of that information?
Carrie: We wouldn’t. It would’ve been impossible. But also we don’t focus on the minutiae of all of this stuff; we focus on the macro, we focus on being SANE. If you focus on eating SANE foods, you simply don’t have to worry about the minutiae of how much this and how much that and how much vitamin C and how much all of that is contained in a food. I always remember you pointing out that the SANEst foods do not come with nutrition labels.
Jonathan: That’s exactly right. Carrie, this is not just a small thing to not worry about small things. It’s actually a really big thing because people get so mired in over-optimization – and this is actually something we really, really have to watch out for because, Carrie, our attention and our focus and our discipline and our willpower are all fixed resources. Therefore, any time we think about something, we can’t think about something else. Once you understand that just like time is a fixed resource and if you spend time watching television, you can’t spend time getting your dishes put away. Once you realize that your mental energy is a fixed resource and if you spend your time counting calories, you can’t be spending your mind on other more important things. We’ve really got to get laser-focused in on the things that matter and not worry about anything else until we’ve nailed step one, step two, and step three.
Carrie: For example, when you go to my site, if you’re looking for recipes, just know that the recipes are SANE. You don’t need to worry about or spend time thinking about the composition of all the recipes.
Jonathan: If you want to think about anything, it is incredibly simple. Remember, it has to be simple. Not dying is the default state of humans. We’re not defective by default. We don’t need calculators to know how to eat correctly. Every other species on the planet doesn’t even have the ability to conceptualize these types of things, yet they avoid obesity and diabetes effortlessly. Are we to think that we are less intelligent than your dear cats, for example, Carrie?
Jonathan: Speak for yourself. I’m just kidding.
Carrie: Ms. McHenry is brilliant.
Jonathan: The key point though, Carrie, is that if we want to think about anything, it’s incredibly simple. It’s incredibly simple. Here you go.
Step #1 – If you are not getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, you should not worry about anything else until you get seven hours of sleep per night.
Carrie’s making this face right now, but I’m so happy you brought this up, Carrie. This may be the most important podcast we’ve ever done because if we’re worried about cleaning our windshield while our car’s engine is on fire, we’re not going to be happy with the end result.
Carrie: You have the best analogies. You have no idea how much I’ve missed recording with you and missing all these brilliant analogies. Please continue, sir.
Jonathan: I cannot stress the importance enough because, like you, Carrie, I get less questions about why aren’t there calorie counts and vitamins and mineral breakdowns on recipes, but I get more questions about when can I expect to see results, what kind of results am I going to see, I’m not getting results as fast as I want; or people are getting great results and they’re like what can I do differently. For example, I say, “How much sleep are you getting and how many servings of non-starchy vegetables are you eating per day?” The two things which are the most important components of a SANE lifestyle. And consistently, individuals who are struggling are getting sub seven hours of sleep per night, and they’re eating less than five servings of non-starchy vegetables per day. Those are also the same people who then say well, what about raspberry ketones, and should I take HCG or whatever the hell it’s called, and what about this crazy supplement on the internet. Please, I promise you. If you take all the effort you’re spending on everything else and just put it on structuring your day or hiring help or doing something so that you can sleep more and so that you can eat more vegetables, you will cure what ails you. But it’s not sexy, right? No one wants to get on television and have an informercial which is like “Get more sleep and eat kale!” Sexy!
Carrie: I don’t know. If it’s you, Jonathan….
Jonathan: It’s true, though. I think sometimes…
Carrie: That made him blush.
Jonathan: Because it’s not sexy or it’s too simple. It’s like we believe it has to be complicated, whereas it’s not complicated. It’s just that we haven’t been given the correct information because the correct information, the bottom line, isn’t profitable.
Carrie: I must admit that raspberry ketones is much sexier sounding than vegetables.
Jonathan: Actually, I don’t know what it is, I just hear about it because apparently it was on some talk show. We are not overweight as a nation because we have a raspberry ketone deficiency. That is not what’s going on here.
Carrie: Right, and however sexy it sounds, the reality is that if you eat your vegetables instead of worrying about the minutiae of raspberry ketones, you’ll be a lot sexier yourself.
Jonathan: A lot sexier. Let’s continue this list, Carrie, of things people should be thinking about versus – and to be very clear, friends, if you can get this list down pat, if you’re 100 percent on this list, then it’s fine to go. If you graduate from high school, it’s fine to go on to college, but to worry about advanced calculus before you’ve mastered your multiplication tables is just not the right place to be spending your energy.
Jonathan: We already talked about sleep. Priority #1: At least seven hours of sleep per night. We can have another show on how to do that, but the point is, anyone who listens to this show is very smart.
Carrie: If you have a pad and a pen, write these down. Very important.
Jonathan: Very smart. Minimum – if you spend any time doing traditional exercise, take that time, spend it sleeping instead. If you spend any time watching trash television, maybe spend that time sleeping instead. You’re smart, you’re very, very capable, and you’ve done things way more difficult than sleeping more. Sleeping more is awesome, and you officially have permission from me and Carrie to sleep more.
Carrie: Sleep more.
Jonathan: All right. Step #1: No one’s allowed to ask any questions until they get seven hours of sleep per night. All right, cool.
Carrie: All right, wow.
Jonathan: No one’s allowed to ask any questions until they eat double-digit servings of non-starchy vegetables per day.
Jonathan: Double-digit servings.
Carrie: I love veggies. That’s not hard.
Jonathan: Excellent. I love it. Again, that’s super, super important. Step #3: At least three 30-gram servings of high-quality protein per day.
Carrie: Just run through the what high-quality protein looks like.
Jonathan: High-quality proteins are concentrated sources of protein. So things we commonly hear are good sources of protein are not at all concentrated sources of protein. Beans, for example, are not at all concentrated sources of protein; they’re 70 percent carbohydrate. That’s not a good source of protein. Nuts, while they can be phenomenally healthy for you, are not concentrated sources of protein. Concentrated sources of protein are, by and large, meat and fish. That’s just simplified. It’s basically meat and fish.
Carrie: Okay. Just go to the next level.
Jonathan: Next level would be low-sugar dairy such as Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. If you are looking for concentrated sources of protein, a whole egg is not a concentrated source of protein; it’s only 34 percent protein. So if you’re looking for concentrated source of protein, you would need to do a mixture of egg whites, which are 91 percent protein, and whole eggs. Just to dial up the percentage of protein, if that’s your goal. Then, various forms of low-sugar protein powder, be it whey, casein, rice, hemp, pea – as long as it is concentrated – meaning you’re getting 80-plus percent of the calories found in that substance from protein. These are concentrated sources of protein.
Carrie: Got it.
Jonathan: Got it? So, we’ve got sleep – I’m just kidding. Of course, you can ask questions. I’m being a little bit hardcore here because –
Carrie: You’re being a bit scary.
Jonathan: I’m being a bit scary because I want people to achieve success.
Jonathan: My mother, for example, is a brilliant – well, she’s a college professor, she’s brilliant – she asks me all these very nuanced questions while not getting enough sleep and eating two servings of vegetables per day, and I’m just like, Mom, I want you to be successful. I’m telling you what you can do to be successful and it’s so much simpler than all of this complexity you’re introducing. I get dialed up because I care.
Jonathan: I’m sorry.
Carrie: You love your mother.
Jonathan: I do.
Carrie: We like that about you and we love you, too, Mary.
Jonathan: Yes. Anyway, so we’ve got the at least three servings of nutrient-dense protein. Then, #4 on the list – and actually, Carrie, this is going to be a good one to bring up – is smarter exercise.
Carrie: I’m supposed to be excited about that. Yay, exercise.
Jonathan: Not necessarily excited about it but, Carrie, you’re an interesting case study because I do recall you saying, “Jonathan, I want to dial up my results.” I said, “Carrie, how’s the smarter exercise going?”
Carrie: And there was a long, pregnant pause.
Jonathan: Carrie, it’s not that you’re doing anything wrong; it’s not that you’re doing anything bad; it’s just – remember, everybody’s fine if they’re happy with where they’re at. But if you’re not happy – if you want to progress – and you say, “Jonathan, what can I do to progress?” More sleep, more vegetables, more protein, and you’ve got to do the smarter exercise. Nothing else matters until those four things happen in that order. Remember, when we say smarter exercise, we mean the high-intensity, no-impact, interval training and/or we mean heavy, eccentric, safe, slow, resistance training.
Carrie: I struggle with exercise. Everybody who has listened to this knows that. It’s a struggle but I’m doing it.
Jonathan: It’s all good. The thing that’s important, Carrie, is you have mastered the ability to focus and prioritize, though, because I think you’re in a very good spot, in the sense that you don’t feel paralyzed in the sense that it’s not like, oh my God, I feel hopeless. I don’t know what I need to do. You know and you understand and you embrace. You choose not to do it. That’s okay. But you have that knowledge, and you don’t feel confused which is good.
Carrie: I am not confused – which is kind of interesting right now, but anyway – no, I’m not confused about this.
Jonathan: Carrie, that is such an empowering position because once the confusion and complexity around health and weight loss goes away, the power is truly in our hands because then it is really – we know what we need to do. Some people see The Calorie Myth and they think I’m saying no one has any personal responsibility. We absolutely have personal responsibility, but we don’t have personal responsibility until we know what we need to do. Once we know what we need to do, which is what we do on the show and what we do in the book, then you do have the personal responsibility to take those steps if you want those results.
Carrie: We certainly have no personal responsibility to count our calories.
Jonathan: That is exactly right. Take all of that mental energy and time and worry that you would spend calculating macronutrient ratios and calories and pounding it out on the treadmill and spend them sleeping, chewing, and preparing delicious vegetables, succulent protein enjoyment, and then doing 10-20 minutes of smarter exercise per week and, dear Lord, will you be doing better.
Carrie: Yes. I should just point out that there is a time where – I don’t want people to be confused when I say the micronutrients don’t matter and I don’t put nutrition things on my recipes because we don’t need to focus on it, and then on the other hand, we tell you that nutrition labels are very important, and you should read them.
Jonathan: Yes. I will caveat that for you as well. I think we say that if you’re going to buy something that does have a nutrition label on it, you should read it
Jonathan: Which is – ideally the things you’re buying don’t have them, but if they happen to have them, it’s useful to read them.
Carrie: Right. For example, and this is one of the best examples, I think, and it horrifies me every time I do this. Non-fat Greek yogurt. You can go into the store and there will be six or seven different brands of non-fat Greek yogurt, and if you start reading the labels or, rather, if you don’t read the label, you could be in a place that you don’t want to be and not even realize it because there are some non-fat Greek yogurts that have 24 grams of protein and there are other non-fat Greek yogurts that have 4 grams of protein. If you don’t read the label, you won’t know that you’re being ripped off if you’re buying the one with 4 grams.
Carrie: So there are times when the nutritional labels are important, and that’s when we’re talking about things that you haven’t created yourself. In those situations, yes, read the label. Of course, you want to look for water, fiber, and protein – those are the things – and no sugar.
Jonathan: Carrie, you actually explained that beautifully with the distinction being if you make it yourself, you don’t need a nutrition fact label because you know what’s in it.
Jonathan: When you don’t make it yourself, you of course do need that, otherwise you have – for example, Jamba Juice. Their only goal is to sell something as delicious as possible as cheaply as possible. That’s not your goal when you make a smoothie. You have a very different goal.
Carrie: I do have a very different goal.
Jonathan: So that’s why if you make it and if it’s coming from Carrie, myself, or the wonderful Paleo community, or the low-carb community or any of the SANE lifestyles out there, you know it’s going to have the baseline level of SANEity if it’s got primarily non-starchy vegetables, then nutrient-dense protein, then whole food healthy fats, and then potentially some lower-sugar fruits. That is the key thing to focus on. Carrie, I appreciate you earlier saying – I was getting a little bit fired up because I want to close this episode definitely not seeming negative or critical. I actually think this is one of the most empowering tools we could possibly give to our listeners. You mentioned, Carrie, getting out a pen and a piece of paper, and I really would literally encourage all of our listeners to get out a pen and a piece of paper and just write:
1. Did I get at least 7 hours of sleep?
2. Did I eat double-digit servings of non-starchy vegetables?
3. Did I eat 30 grams of high-quality protein at least three times?
4. Did I do high-quality eccentric or no-impact interval training?
Before you worry about anything else, just make copies of that sheet and every day – except for the exercise because you don’t exercise every day – just simply:
How tomorrow am I going to get this?
How the next day am I going to do this?
How the next day am I going to consistently and for 21 days – for 21 days just focus. Get 21 days straight of nailing that checklist?
I promise you, as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4, you will see such incredible transformative results. It will simplify your life and improve it so dramatically.
Carrie: Think about all that energy you won’t be spending on worrying or thinking about did I get this right, did I get that right, have I eaten enough of this, have I eaten enough vitamin C, do I really need raspberry ketones. Just think of that. All that brain freedom. It’s fantastic.
Jonathan: It’s absolutely fantastic and what you’ll find is that when you get 21 plus days of these basics done, then they’ll become automatic. Then you’ll have more freed-up brain space, and then if you want to take it further, you can, but it’s a bit like those first four things will be on auto-pilot. If you’re going to take 5 percent of your mental capacity and dedicate it to living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, take one 100 percent of that 5 percent, dedicate it to those first four until they become a habit; then, only once they’re a habit, do you move on. Does that make sense?
Carrie: It makes perfect sense to me.
Jonathan: Have I redeemed myself from getting a little bit amped up?
Carrie: You’re awesome.
Jonathan: Thank you, Carrie. My apologies to the listeners. I just get so heartbroken when people struggle unnecessarily because of calorie myths that have been put upon them in complexity which is so unnecessary and brought upon by profit motives.
Carrie: Moving on….
Jonathan: Moving on. I love it. Well, folks, thank you so much for joining us this week. As always, remember – eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better. We’ll chat with you soon.
Carrie: See ya.
Jonathan: Wait, wait! Don’t stop listening yet.
Carrie: You can get fabulous free SANE recipes over at CarrieBrown.com.
Jonathan: And don’t forget, your 100% free “Eating and Exercise Quick Start Program” as well as free, fun daily tips delivered right into your inbox at BailorGroup.com.