80/20 rule for weight loss

Is the 80-20 Rule True for Weight-Loss? [Podcast Episode #097]

You've certainly encountered the 80/20 rule at some point in your life...

  • 80% of a business's sales come from 20% of the most loyal customers.
  • 80% of health care is consumed by the 20% of people who are most sick. ​
  • 80% of work completed by a team comes from 20% of the team members.

The 80/20 rule, also called Pareto's Principle, plays out all around us. But, does it apply to your health, and more specifically to your weight?

It's often said that 80% of your weight is determined by what you eat, while only 20% can be tied to the exercise you do. Is that true? Exercise accounts for only 20% of the results you see when you get in shape?​

Let's take a closer look...​

Episode Resources:

Is the 80-20 Rule True for Weight-Loss? [Full Text]

Dave: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this episode of the Make Your Body Work Podcast. As you know, the show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. Today we're talking about something called the 80/20 rule. When this question came in, it actually took me back to my teaching days, those of you who know me know that years ago I used to be a high school teacher.

When I was a teacher, one of the concepts that I taught my students was something called the Pareto principle and it basically is the 80/20 rule that 80% of the results that we get come from 20% of the input or the effort that we put in. That 80/20 rule in real life you see it all the time, in business, you see the 20% of the actions that you take or your company takes generate 80% of the profits. It's a principle that really does have a lot of real life application but it also gets applied all the time to health.

I just thought it was really interesting when Tess wrote in and talked about it, quite often it's used in looking at weight loss and saying, 80% of our ability to lose weight comes from diet and 20% exercise. Is that actually true?

Here's what Tess wrote. She said, "I know in my head that losing weight is 80% diet and 20 exercise but I don't always believe this for me. I eat healthy and exercise a lot. I do yoga at least four times per week but I still struggle with my weight and the shape of my body.

I don't want to obsess about it but I do wonder if the yoga I'm doing is enough. If it's only 20% about exercise then maybe I should be changing my diet first to see my body change. I only have so much energy to spend on myself and I want to make the right effort instead of trying to do everything."

Tess, I just want to applaud your last statement there. I'm going to read that again because it's so important. "I only have so much energy to spend on myself and I want to make the right effort instead of trying to do everything."

I just think when I read that I was like, you get it like that makes so much sense and I think that's a lesson that so many of us need to take to heart. We can only invest so much into ourselves and so choosing those right actions, the ones that are actually going to produce the most bang for our buck or the most results, those are the ones that we need to take as opposed to trying to do everything. In a sense, going back to this Pareto principle, what you just said there is exactly that.

There's probably 20% or a small number of actions that we can take that are going to now lead to the biggest changes, that 80% of change but your question is, what are those. Is it diet? Is it exercise? Is yoga enough? Am I doing the right things?

To answer that question, I've got a really great guest. She is a nutrition coach. She's a yoga teacher. She's been in the health and nutrition industry for a long, long time and has a really great perspective specifically in this question. I'm really excited to introduce to you, Sarah Klein.

Meet Sarah Klein

Dave: Hey, Sarah, thanks so much for joining us today.

Sarah: Hello, Dave. Thanks for having me.

Dave: Before you go on, you just told me you have very exciting life-change going on right now. Can you tell the audience?

Sarah: I do. I do. Five days ago I had my first child. I feel like I'm in a huge life-change that's like the best way to put it and I've got to say, I'm sure all the moms who are listening will totally agree with this because I just had a short conversation with some other moms.

You have all this anticipation and think that, "Oh my god, life is going to flip upside down and I'm never going to be the same." I'm only five days in but I'm still who I am and all those fears and worries they kind of linger away and we're just in our blissful loving newborn state.

Dave: You are so laid back like I have to tell the audience about a conversation we just had. You said literally you just fed your baby, put him to sleep and you said, "Let's go for it. Hopefully he stays asleep."

Sarah: My husband's down there. I think he's got this.

Dave: I appreciate you taking this risky moves so hopefully there's no babies crying.

Sarah: I appreciate you taking the risky move with me.

Dave: Maybe we tell the audience before we dive into today's question, just tell the audience a little bit about yourself. I know you're a big yogi, you're all about clean eating and healthy living. Can you tell us a little bit, I guess your origin, how did you get started in all this?

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. I think that I was always into health and wellness, always an active individual growing up and then a mindfulness practice really, I mean I know this sound so cheesy but it did save my life in a lot of ways in the sense of it rid me of chronic really, really crippling migraines. Then I just became completely obsessed with yoga.

Then as I taught all over and really was doing that full-time and then I felt like I wanted to connect with not only my students but a greater population and I knew that food just play such a huge role in the pathway to living our best.

With that, I went and studied through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and I'm Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and really my work is blended in the power of mindfulness and yoga but mixing that with the idea of you are what you eat.

I'm a huge fan of the clean eating movement because it's bio individual in the sense of anybody can be a clean eater. You can be a vegetarian, you can be a vegan, you can be paleo, and I really do believe that we all have to figure out what foods fit us best.

Actually, the transformation through pregnancy for me really again proved that point where I had to start eating differently and now that I'm post that and postpartum, I have to be eating differently. We're constantly having to recalibrate.

We coined my business partner, Karen and I coined this term clean living and it's a three-pillar approach to wellness. Clean eating, movement, and mindfulness.

We believe we combine that with some support and accountability and you can find yourself on track.

Dave: I like that. Now, the whole idea of clean eating, that's a term that's thrown around a ton these days and I think it means a lot of different things to different people. What do you think clean eating is?

What's the Clean Eating Spectrum Look Like?

Sarah: Thanks for asking that because I totally agree. I think that it can be a place that people think that they understand it maybe and maybe stumble around it.

I like to think of it as a spectrum-based diet and it's a lifestyle approach to diet where there's no straight up set of rules, no day looks the same and you're constantly recalibrating and figuring out what foods serve and feed you best and stop listening to the fad diets and start listening to the cues of your body.

On that spectrum, on one side of the spectrum you have your super clean foods and those are the food that you pick up at the grocery store and look the same way that they came off of the tree, out of the ground, off of the stock or whatever it may be.

Then, anytime a food starts to get processed and moved away from its original state, it goes towards the, "Unclean foods or dirty foods," and that is where we start to get into our highly processed, chemicalized, artificial foods that really end up sucking our energy versus giving us energy as food should.

On that spectrum, some people might eat whole grains, some people might eat dairy and some people might not but it's figuring out really what works for you and eating real foods as much as possible.

Dave: I like the idea of the spectrum because it doesn't necessarily label foods as good or bad but like you said, it is a spectrum where something might work well for you and might not work well for me.

Sarah: Totally.

Dave: What's the process for someone like you, you spoke about figuring it out? You used that term where you figure out what's clean or what works for you. How does someone actually go about doing that?

Are You Actually Eating Clean?

Sarah: There's couple of ways. Number one is to really start to listen. Our body is constantly giving us feedback and sometimes that feedback might be skewed in the sense of the example that I'll use is when you're dehydrated you might actually crave sugar or you might just have a food craving where really what you need is water.

Number one is starting to deconstruct your cravings and the messages that your body is giving you or if you have 8 PM food craving every evening and you're like, "Why do I keep getting this craving?" When you start to really peel back the layers it's like you're really unhappy in your relationship and you're just craving some connection with your partner, some relief from that.

One is to get clear on what the body is telling you and then two, how do we do that is to track. Our mind isn't so great sometimes, our memory I should say, our memory isn't so great sometimes so really start to track and this could just be a week, it depends on where you are in your journey but write down everything you eat.

Then I have clients write down how they felt emotionally so we can get to that emotional why are we hungry, why are we doing what we're doing. Then also, how did we feel physically and then let's just get real. Let's talk about poop. You got to look at your poop. How's your poop? Because that's your-

Dave: This is getting personal.

Sarah: Right, we got to talk about it. That is the message for how your digestive system is doing. Starting to really track, ask questions, ask that question, "What am I really hungry for? Why am I eating this? Is this true for me?" The best way I guess the number one step would be to start writing things down.

Keeping a food journal is the best way to determine what your diet really looks like. Don't trust your memory.

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Talking About Your Poop!

Dave: Okay, this is like totally not aligned with the question so Tess who wrote in, we are going to get to your question but I want to talk about poop.

Sarah: Let's talk about poop.

Dave: It sounded as though you would say that's quite important, it's quite a good indicator for how your digestive system is doing. What are people looking for?

Sarah: Okay, if your poop is sticky that you have to brush the toilet, you might be having too much fat in your diet. Now, every time I say fat I feel like everybody's hair stands up because it's such a controversial issue. There are good fats and we need fat to lose fat, I'm a huge believe of that.

You could be maybe having too much of healthy fats or you could also be having too much of unhealthy fats like fried foods and stuff. If it takes forever for you to poop and it's a huge process and your poop is really firm then you're both probably dehydrated and you need more fiber in your diet. Then, how often are you pooping?

We definitely want to be using our bowels every single day, ideally more than once a day which when I say that to clients they are like, "What? Hold on." Also, the state of our gut, are we getting good amount of probiotics in our diet can impact our digestive health, hydration can impact our digestive health, movement…

Movement is huge, I mean, it's a tube with one hole on your mouth, it's one way. Really, it's actually separate from our body. It's this two [deck 00:12:24] in and out. You want to keep it hydrated. Just get to know your poop.

Dave: When you said the movement impacts it, I can attest that because if I were constipated, the for sure way that I can fix that is try and go for a run and as soon as I go for a run instantly it's like, "Oh shoot, I need to go to the bathroom."

Sarah: If you think of the movement it's like massage for that tube.

Dave: I didn't know that this is where our conversation was going to lead. Very interesting. Tess wrote in, her question actually when I was reading it there's a couple of components that I thought was so perfect for you because first of all, she talks about the 80/20 rule about diet versus exercise contributing to weight gain and body shape. She identifies that 80% in her words, 80% is diet and 20% is exercise. Let's start with that. Is that a rule that you think is true?

How Does the 80/20 Rule Apply to Your Fitness?

Sarah: I think everybody is different. I kind of shy away from hard rules like that because I so believe it's individual for everybody but I would lean more towards that. If you really want to make some weight loss changes, it really does start with the plate. However, your movement routines impact your digestive health as we just talked about.

It impact your ability to burn fuel. They impact your cravings, they impact your satisfaction around food. It's really super married in the sense that if you're starting to decrease your exercise, you're probably going to start to increase your cravings and slough off a little more.

Your movement impacts the way you digest food, so a good diet needs exercise and vice-versa.

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It's the chicken or the egg, right? I do think that if you really want to get down to it, yes, diet. When you're talking about changing the way that your body looks, yes, diet is way more than exercise but exercise is not to be overlooked. it's critical. I look at my exercise more for my mind, my mental state versus my physical body although it is very, very important and I don't want to downplay exercise.

Dave: I think that's really important that exercise it instigates a lot of other healthy living choices that we make and we're moving our bodies the way they're intended to be moved. I do think that we're more likely to make healthy eating choices, wanting to sleep, wanting to drink water and all that stuff but the whole saying, you can't exercise your mouth is very true.

I remember seeing a demonstration. It's so fascinating. This two guys, I think they are both personal trainers. They went head to head for three minutes and so one of them hopped on a treadmill and he was just like giving it.

He's running really fast in the treadmill and his friend stood beside him with a pizza and a pop and was eating pizza as quickly as he could and drinking pop to wash it down. After three minutes, they compared their calorie input and output.

The guy in the treadmill, he burned something like 100 calories or 120 calories. The guy who's eating ate nearly 1000 calories. It was just such a good demonstration of you can exercise really hard but if your eating is out of control like good luck.

Sarah: I've definitely come across clients and friends also who are like, "I exercise so I can eat," which it doesn't work like that at all. Plus, when you're really exercising in a way that you love and you find something that you truly enjoy which I believe is key to success, you'll notice that your food impacts your ability to perform in whatever it is, whether it's your yoga, whether it's running, whatever. That kind of link can really be supportive to behavioral change.

Stress, Mindfulness, and Getting Real with Yourself

Dave: Most definitely. You talked about in your business having three pillars being what you eat, how you move, and then the mental state.

Sarah: Mindfulness.

Dave: Mindfulness, yeah. It really is true. What we eat is going to drive not only our physical abilities but also our mental abilities.

Sarah: Totally. Getting clear on how you talk to yourself can be really I believe very important for weight loss. Sometimes we can get in our mind and body connection is fascinating. I shouldn't probably reference a study that I don't have total direct information in front of me on, but they did do a study where the placebo effect, they took a group of cancer patients and some of them got chemo and some of them got sugar pills. The sugar pills, some of the people lost their hair.

The power of our mind in controlling the way that we digest our exercise or digest our food is absolutely fascinating. I do find that I believe and I see it all the time in my work is that that missing link to meeting your health and wellness goals can be mindfulness.

If I have a client come in and they're eating the perfect diet and they are exercising five out of six days but they are not losing weight, I'm like, "What's your stress level?" It's guaranteed to be eight out of ten or above.

When you're in that stressful state chronically from an evolutionary standpoint, your body doesn't burn fat because it thinks, "Hold on, we are in an emergent state. That could be famine, why would I burn fat so it digests your exercise differently because it's going to hold on to fat.

It's also going to digest your food differently because when you are in that stressful sympathetic nervous system state, that fight and flight, your blood moves away from your digestive track into your arms, legs and the head so you can fight or flight and get the heck out of there for whatever the perceived threat might be.

You actually don't absorb as many nutrients from your food and that impacts the amount of food that you want to eat. There's so many links and I think in our modern-day world we tend to stay in a chronic state of stress versus turning that off after that stressful phone call or stressful email or whatever it is.

Our stress is very different, we don't have to use our body for our stress most of the time in today's world so our ability to turn it off and to connect to that off switch is way lower and so that chronic stress can absolutely be in the missing link I find in weight loss.

Dave: Sarah, you are preaching the choir. I talk about this all the time.

Sarah: Cool, awesome.

Dave: Chronic stress and it's linked to inflammation and inflammation is linked to inability to lose weight. The tough thing is when you're working with client or for all the listeners out there, if we were to say I know my diet is broken and therefore I need to change it. It's relatively easy to identify specific steps to change that, same with exercise.

If I'm not moving my body, here's ways to start moving my body. If we say, okay, I feel like stress is probably that link, that key that I need to change but my job is stressful or my relationships are stressful or I just had a baby and my life is stressful. It's not as easy to say, okay I'm just going to change that.

The "On and Off" Switch for Stress

Sarah: I don't know. Life is going to be stressful. None of us are getting out of that. None of us are getting out of that. I think we just need to change our relationship to the stress. Now, our body is a machine. We have on-off switches and the more that we figure out where the heck is the light switch is, the on off switch is, the more that we can subconsciously turn it off.

That is why along with many of the reasons, yoga work so well is because say you're going to an hour class, you are lifting your nervous system, dropping it. They put you into this crazy poses and they tell you then to breathe so it's like you heighten the nervous system in the crazy pose then you relax and breathe in it.

That lift and lowering of the nervous system trains the subconscious to do what it already knew how to do but has forgotten and to identify when stress happens. Identify when you're safe and turn it off.

I've experienced personally because I'm again, very obsessed with yoga and have been practicing for a long time. I've been able to watch my body really learn where that off switch is and be able to access it quicker doesn't mean that I'm getting out of stress. None of us are getting out of that.

Stress is unpredictable for sure and unavoidable but it's more our relationship to that off switch instead of the example of I woke up late, I flew out the door, I show up to work and there's ton of emails I have to answer and like so the story goes.

Before you know it, you're home and you're in bed and this is like the first time you've actually checked in with your breath. Your nervous system has been on all day long. What I tell clients, I'm very action oriented in the sense of, okay, here's this ideas now, what do I do with them?

Most of us or at least I can definitely speak for myself, I'm always with my cellphone. You can turn on some kind of alarm to go off a couple of times a day and belly breathe. If you're belly breathing, you're definitely in the parasympathetic nervous system the rest and digest. The more that you do that, the more subconsciously you're able to do that switch. Does that make sense?

Dave: You know, I'm just thinking about as you're speaking there about an example of busy day with your emails and all the stress and then coming home and a lot of people who especially if they're dealing with weight issues think, "I'm coming home and therefore first thing I need to do is go exercise," which is great. I love exercise. You love exercise.

Right now, today, it's so popular to get into some of these high intensity type exercise. Classes or workouts, I think about someone going to a hit class where their stress level, even though it's a, "Good stress," a physical stress, it is just being elevated without the chance for it to come back down.

Exercise: It Has to be Fun!

Sarah: If I'm working one on one with someone I would ask them, are you enjoying this class? I think a lot of times we find exercise that we have to do it. Then, the way we digest that exercise is going to be different.

If we go and we really enjoy it, we laugh, we have fun, that's all releasing our stress. If we go and workout like, "I don't want to be here. I have to do this. God, that girl looks so much better than I do. I'm never going to be able to wear those cute yoga pants," or whatever the heck it is. Then you're only elevating your stress through it and you're not going to actually digest that exercise in the same way.

Good exercise is fun. Fun eliminates stress and your workout is much more effective

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You're probably not going to burn as many calories and your fight and flight is going to be on the whole time. I'm really a strong believer in connecting with what serves you and it can be a mix of things.

Sometimes maybe if you've had that super stressful day, don't go to hit class if it doesn't feel right. Go to the yoga class. Then the next day, if you're feeling really energized and you really want to get that cardio or whatever, go to the hit class.

Dave: I think all those come back to mindfulness that you're talking about, paying attention to our body and serving our body whatever it needs in that specific instance.

I just want to say before we go on, for the audience, this is kind of funny, just a second ago our interview is interrupted and all of a sudden, the call dropped out because Sarah's phone went off and we got back connected and asked her what happened and she said an alarm went off telling her it was time to do some breathing exercises. I just think that's so funny because obviously you practice what you preach.

Sarah: I try my best.

Dave: I got a good laugh out of that. I do want to transition into the next part of Tess' question because after she talks about the 80/20 rule, she says that she does a lot of exercise and then it's yoga. She starts to ask herself this question, she says, "I don't want to obsess about it but I do wonder if the yoga I'm doing is enough."

You just talked about some of the benefits in terms of what it does subconsciously, what it does to our ability to handle stress. In terms of actual exercise from a weight management and fitness perspective, do you think yoga is enough?

Is Yoga Enough Exercise?

Sarah: I get this question a lot and I wish we could have a conversation with Tess but my question would be what kind of yoga are you doing. To be very blunt, I practice a vigorous form of yoga myself but I also still, yoga is my six day a week workout but I live in the mountains and I still get biking and hiking, and long walks and stuff like that so I blend other aspects of exercise with my yoga practice.

I think that it definitely can be enough and we would want to be very clear on what kind of yoga you're doing. If the sun salutation for example are great cardio work, you're stretching the breast, you're moving the body one breath one movement. You're also doing strength training in it so you want to get clear on what kind of yoga you're doing, how long you're doing it for, and what your specific goals are and should you blend something else in.

Dave: When someone mentions yoga and I know I used to think like this but I imagine most people think of yoga being almost meditation like a little bit of movement with a whole lot of meditation and what you just said is that that isn't the case or doesn't have to be the case.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely not. Originally, yoga started so that people could sit in meditation longer, stretch the body and prepare it for meditation. Your body has a lot of, in meditation we're trying to silence things. I mean, that's a lofty goal but just tune in, listen, and slow down.

The way I look at it is when I can really wring out my body, twist, sweat, strengthen, push it, then I can sit way better and get into that quiet spot. It's releasing all the vibrations of the body but yeah, there's so many different forms of yoga and I come from the Ashtanga lineage which has the reputation of it's being vigorous for sure. I sweat when I practice.

What kind of yoga are you doing? What serves you? Just really shopping around for that I think is important, shopping around I would say for a teacher that you really connect with is number one. Then, going from there.

Dave: I don't know if you've ever heard this saying that says something along the lines of your body's size is made or determined in the kitchen and your body shape is determined or made in the gym.

Sarah: I like that.

Dave: Again, just like for the listeners, basically it's saying if you want to lose weight, look at your diet. When you want to shape your body, look at how you're moving or how you're exercising. I think that's so true and I've seen that play out in myself and clients and I had a really neat example. I just recently got really into yoga like I'm doing a ton of power yoga, kind of using it as my resistance training a lot. I had this teacher and he was talking about how all he does for exercise is yoga and I'm looking at his body.

I had been a personal trainer for years now and I'm pretty good at identifying what types of exercise people do for certain shapes of bodies and I'm looking at the head on his bicep muscle and he's got quite defined arms.

In my mind I'm thinking, there's no way you just do yoga. There's no way you developed a bicep like that from yoga and I talked to him after class and he said, he was laughing he's like, "I used to be a body builder. I still do lift weights once per week just so I don't lose my arms," basically what he says. I just thought it was interesting because-

Sarah: That's not true then what you're saying to everyone.

Dave: He's lying to everyone but also I just thought it was interesting too that whatever our goals are, like Tess is talking about the shape of her body. If your goal is to have a certain shape for your body like you said, shop around, experiment, try different forms of exercise because it is going to change the shape or not change the shape of your body.

Sarah: Totally. I mean, I do leg work in a more kind of gym like setting solely so I can go deeper into [back buns 00:29:36]. Cross training is really, really good when you're clear on what your goal is.

Should You Focus More on Diet and Less on Exercise?

Dave: For Tess, it sounds like her goal is weight loss and leaner or a more appealing physique and shape. When she gets into basically she eventually comes to conclusion in her message she says, "If exercise is only 20% of the equation, and eating is 80%," she doesn't say in this words but it sounds like she almost says, "Should I just throw exercise altogether and just focus on my diet until I'm happy with my body?" What do you think about that?

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely not, for sure. I would say to start to get really clear on what foods feed you. Are you creating some inflammation in your diet that is being expressed in the lack of weight loss that you're looking to achieve? Does wheat and gluten really work for you? Does dairy really work for you?

Before I say that, I want to be very clear like it works for me, I'm not gluten-free, I'm not dairy-free a 100%. Do I eat them in excess? No, but to get really clear on what inflammatory factors might be holding you back from your weight loss and then maybe mix up your workout just a little bit or again, I would love to know what kind of yoga she's doing.

I love that idea of going to your workout to shape or to work on the physique of your body and also I'll add in for your mental state. Are you taking your yoga off the mat? What is kind of your stress levels and how are they impacting your weight loss?

Dave: You are really true to your message because everything you just described really goes back to those three pillars that you started telling us about right at the beginning of the interview.

Sarah: I love those three pillars. I've really believe in them. I mean, I believe in them because they work so well for me. When I see in my work, when somebody's not meeting their goals for whatever it is, it's usually too much focus on two pillars or one pillar and not enough focus on another one. It's really that mind-body connection and looking at all three.

Dave: Again, this is almost cliché in the industry these days but a holistic approach and I almost cringe saying that because everyone says you just see it all the time like oh this is a holistic weight loss program, this is a holistic health program. Really holistic is your three pillars, that in essence is what it is.

Sarah: Yeah, I think in a holistic approach you could even go further than those three pillars which in our programs we do and it's called primary food versus secondary food. It's the idea that primary food is all the things in life that really fill you.

It's your relationships, your career, feeling of purpose in life, social life, et cetera, all the things that really make life zesty and that's primary to secondary. Secondary foods, everything that goes down the hatch, what you eat and what you drink. I think that could be added into a holistic approach.

We don't have a pillar for it but it's really a silver lining in all of our programs in the clean living lifestyle because if I have a client come in and they are not losing weight but they are in a super bummed out life space like things aren't just really rolling the way that they want. Maybe they are in a career that they hate…

You can eat all the kale salad in the world and you can work your butt off at the gym but until you confront what is going on with work, you're probably not going to meet your health and wellness goals.

Dave: That statement right there just sums up so well this question like Tess starts out again back the 80/20 rule asking basically is 80% diet, 20% exercise the equation. What you just described there I think definitively says no, there's more to it than that and if we're only looking at diet and exercise, we're sure changing ourselves and really stagnating our results.

Sarah: Totally, yeah. I know it's cliché but look at that holistic approach.

Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: This leads so well into how I like to wrap up every show is with something called the Make Your Body Work takeaway and that's just being an action step that someone who's in Tess' position or for Tess, hopefully Tess you're listening, what is that first step they can take?

Here's my question for you, if someone is just starting out and they're looking to lose weight or reshape their body, you talked about these three pillars. What's the one that they should start with? How should they start with that today?

Sarah: That means I have to single out one forward.

Dave: Just for the starting point. We've established very clearly, all three are important but what's the starting point?

Sarah: I do think we would want to start in the kitchen and with that, awareness is everything. Change begins with awareness. When we're unaware, we have no ability to change. Once we become aware and awake to the reality, that is in front of us, then we can really start chipping away to create change.

The first step for change is to know what you need to change. Change begins with awareness.

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Let the awareness be tracking your food. It can be so enlightening. Write down for a week everything that you eat and I know everybody in the nutrition industry probably add to this one in but it brings awareness and consciousness to your actions which that's kind of mindfulness too. It might be adding in another pillar here.

Dave: You cheated.

Sarah: Then you can really know where you're at. We have to have that true moment of truth with ourselves of where we actually are starting instead of that false reality. I say this because this happens very often where people kind of I start working with them and they don't tell the whole picture, let's say in the sense of what they actually are eating because they are not telling themselves that either and they are in that denial state.

Bring the awareness to really what you're eating, when you're eating, and why you're eating and ask yourself those questions and write it down and then look at it and then you can start to make some strategic change. I really do believe that each and every one of us knows how to make ourselves healthier, we know what we need to do but we just have to bring it into the front of our focus.

Bring awareness to what you’re eating, when you’re eating, and why you’re eating.

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Dave: For the listeners, you've heard that idea of tracking food many times whether it's on this podcast or other podcast or TV shows or whatever but kind of knowing that's a good first step is way different than actually taking that step.

My challenge is listen to Sarah's advice this week, track everything you eat, and then take a look at it and Tess, same for you. Take a look at it, what do you notice? What do you think that you're falling short or where do you think some tweaks could happen? That's going to provide you with a really great roadmap, a great place to start.

Sarah: Totally. Absolutely.

Get Sarah’s Free 7-Day Challenge

Dave: Sarah, I really appreciate you coming on the show today and just sharing some really great ideas, some really practical ideas and I know that you have a free gift for all the listeners. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about what this is.

Sarah: Yeah, of course. Our three pillars as we talked about is the clean-living lifestyle approach to health and wellness and we have a seven day challenge that you can sign up for. You'll get seven emails, you'll get access to some meditations and it's also a full meal plan, a full seven-day meal plan and you'll go through all the pillars in those seven days. It's a really fun and I'm going to use the term holistic approach to lifestyle habit change and the three pillars.

Dave: Awesome.

Sarah: Clean eating, movement, and mindfulness.

Dave: I'll put a link in the show notes for the listeners. If you go to makeyourbodywork.com/97, you'll see a link there and you can click on that and then sign up and begin your seven day challenge. Sarah, if anyone else wants to find out more about you or connect with you, where is the best place for them to do that?

Sarah: Awesome, thanks for asking, wholehealthlab.com is my website. I'm also very active on Instagram and Facebook and the handles are Whole Health Lab. I'd love to connect with you guys and thanks so much, Dave. This was awesome, I enjoyed it.

Dave: Awesome, yeah. Thanks again and thanks to your newborn son for staying asleep. It was a success. Sarah, have a great day. If anyone, any of the listeners want to connect with Sarah, I'll put all the links in the show notes. Again it's makeyourbodywork.com/97. Thanks so much, Sarah.

Sarah: Great, thank you.

Dave: Sarah, thanks again for being on the podcast. Thanks to everyone who tuned in today. I bring this challenge up all the time because I think it's so important. What did you take from today's interview from the question and the talk? What are you going to do about it in your life?

We are talking about food journaling and many other concepts, but specifically food journaling. When is the last time you food journal? When is the last time you actually physically wrote out every single thing that you eat every single thing that you drank and did it consistently for a few days? I usually ask my clients to do it for at least four days to get a good perspective of what they are actually putting into their body.

Maybe it's time for you to do that. If you've done it before, that's great, but how recently have you done it, because our eating habits do change. If you haven't done that in the last six months, and if you're dissatisfied with any aspect of your health, whether it be your weight, the shape of your body, the way your digestive system is working, your energy, your sleep, your athletic or fitness performance.

If any of those areas are lacking, it's time to take a look at what you're putting into your body. That's my challenge for you as Sarah brought up, write it down at least four days, ideally a week.

Take a look at that and if you have any questions about what you find when you write this out, contact me, contact Sarah. Again, in the show notes for this episode I'll put her contact information. Send me an email [email protected] and we'd love to give you some feedback and help you take some really actionable steps based on what you're eating.

That's it for today's episode. I'll be back here again next week with another question and another awesome guest to help shed some light on how you can live a healthier, happier life. Can't wait to see you here again next week.

Thanks for joining me today!

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