Make Healthy Living Easy…By Loving Yourself [Podcast Episode #073]
You work so hard to get in shape and you have finally seen some results! You're feeling good, looking good, and you're committed to making this last...
Then you start to get a little comfortable. Your success feels wonderful, but you forget about the hard work you had to put in to get here. Old habits start to creep in, and suddenly you're back where you started.
You don't have to fight this battle over and over again. Establishing a healthy lifestyle that isn't reliant on willpower and brute force is possible. It starts with learning to love yourself...
Make Your Body Work Podcast: Episode #073
- Connect with Margaret at Innerbonding.com
- Try the Inner Bonding Course [FREE Download]
- Motivation Reminder on Amazon
Make Healthy Living Easy...By Loving Yourself [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. I just want to say, thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to tune in to the show. I really know that you're going to get something.
You're going to hopefully learn something, hopefully going to take something away that you can apply to your life, and that is the most important piece of this whole process. That's why I do this podcast, is so that you're going to learn something that's applicable.
So, as you listen to the rest of this podcast, I really just challenge you to think about it through that lens. Think about, "What is it that I'm going to apply, how is my life going to change after listening to this message?" Today we're talking about on-again, off-again fitness, and that can relate to exercise, it can relate to on-again, off-again dieting, healthy eating, anything that we're doing, trying to pour our lives into but just can't quite make it stick. This all stemmed from a really great question from Asma, here's what she had to say:
"I have two extreme places. The first one is when I'm really really focused on my weight-loss process that I never miss a workout, I don't eat any cheat meals, and I keep my eyes on the prize. And I see results in a couple of weeks, but then that's when everything goes wrong. When I see results, it's like I forget how I got them. And I completely let go. I stop everything and begin thinking, 'Oh, I reached my goals. Yay, it's party time.' And then all the hard work goes in vain. It's a cycle, really. Work hard, see results, let go, feel ashamed, and then go back to working hard again. That's the most challenging thing I have to deal with."
Asma, I just really appreciate your honestly, particularly when you talk about that feeling of shame. I know that's a hard thing to sometimes say out loud, to say in public. But, we've all been there. I hear from people every single day from people who feel that sense of shame like you said. That sense of being a failure, that sense of never being able to do what we want to do. I just want to encourage you by saying that, that pattern, that cycle that you speak of, it can be broken.
I've got a really great guest today who, she's going to share some wisdom. She's been working in this industry since, let me get this right, 1967. So she has some expertise for sure. She really comes at it from a psychological perspective. Learning to love yourself. Because once you learn to love yourself, all of those actions that are going to contribute to improving your life, you're going to feel permission to do them. It's not going to be so hard. And she's going to really give some great wisdom to exactly how to accomplish this. I'm really excited to introduce to you Dr. Margaret Paul.
Meet Dr. Margaret Paul
Dave: Hey, Margaret, thanks so much for being on the show today.
Margaret: You're welcome. I'm looking forward to it.
Dave: Like we were talking about before we started recording here, I'm really excited to have you on the show because you come at healthy living from a very different perspective than many of my guests. You have a process called Inner Bonding, and I was wondering if you could just talk before we get into today's question, what is Inner Bonding?
Margaret: Inner Bonding is a definitive six-step emotional and spiritual process that helps people learn how to love themselves, how to connect with their bodies, with their feelings, how to connect with their higher self.
It's a very profound process for helping people learn to love themselves, which, I'm sure you know, is really essential for people being healthy. That's part of loving yourself, is to value yourself enough so that you want to do whatever you can to be healthy.
Dave: I completely agree. No, that's something that's often overlooked when people, particularly people who want to lose weight, they often will think, "Okay, I have to dive in and change my diet, and change my exercise, and change all these things," but without that piece of actually loving themselves, it's very tough to make those changes.
It's not easy to make the changes you want in life if you don't learn to first love yourself
Margaret: Yes, and that's a very big problem, because so often when people focus on weight, they lose touch with health. It's my experience that when people focus on health, then they naturally lose weight. But when they focus on weight, they try and control everything, you know.
They try and control what they eat, and how much they eat and all that. And that'll work for a while, but after a while they can't do it anymore, and so they do this yo-yo kind of dieting. Which I used to do years ago when I had a weight problem. But once I learned to really love and value myself and want excellent health, then all of that was gone.
Dave: And this whole Inner Bonding process, I was reading on your website, and you said that you've been practicing this since 1967.
Margaret: I've been working with people since that long. Inner Bonding was kind of downloading into us from a higher plane, about 32 years ago. So, I've been practicing Inner Bonding for the last 32 years.
Dave: And you said that you've taught this at seminars, and you've spoken about it on radio and on TV, and you mentioned that you were on Oprah, and maybe you can tell us what were you teaching or talking about on Oprah.
Margaret: It was Inner Bonding. We talked about the Inner Bonding process, why it's so very very important for people to get to know who they really are inside and really value themselves. Because without that, they're always looking for others' approval. They want to lose weight to get others' approval, rather than because they want to look well for themselves or because they want to be healthy.
When we're not loving ourselves, then we make others responsible for that, and we're always trying to control how others feel about us. And frankly that's a very very hard way to live, and that is what we were talking about on Oprah.
Dealing With Your Wounded Self
Dave: Cool. Margaret, this leads really well into out question today from Asma. She talks about exactly what you had mentioned, that sort of idea of yo-yo dieting and getting all into it, feeling good, then letting her guard down and falling out of routine and then getting stuck in this vicious circle and feeling just really beat-up in the process.
I was wondering if maybe you could take us through your six step process for someone like that, who sees goals, wants to make a change, but hasn't been able to actually implement it over the long term. How would you begin working with her?
Margaret: First of all, it's important to understand that we all have a part of us that we call the wounded self. This is our ego. This part of us is programmed with a lot of false beliefs. What happens when somebody decides they want to diet is, one part of this ego wounded self tries to control the process. "Oh, I'll get up early and I'll exercise and I'll only eat this and I'll only eat that."
You can go along with it for a while, but very often there's another part of our ego wounded self that doesn't like to be controlled. This part goes into resistance. So, you meet your goal, but then because you've given up a lot and you've sacrificed and you feel like you're being controlled by this, you just give it up, and you go right back to where you were before. That leads to this yo-yo dieting, yo-yo exercising.
Step 1: Get In Touch
What we talk about in Inner Bonding is developing what we call a loving adult self. And the loving adult is the part of us that really is deeply devoted to supporting our own highest good.
What I would do with this person, in step one of Inner Bonding, is I would ask her to just take some deep breaths, go inside, and get in touch with her body. Get in touch with her feelings. What does she feel when she's dieting, and what does she feel when she goes off the wagon? What's happening inside?
You see, she's just aware of what she's doing. But she's not aware of what she's feeling. She's probably not aware of the stress that she puts herself under when she starts to diet. She's not aware of the stress that she puts herself under when she then goes off the wagon and then judges herself. Judging ourselves is a form of control. It makes us feel really bad, makes her feel guilty, makes her feel ashamed.
She'll do that for a while, then the other controlling aspect of her wounded self will take over, she'll diet again, then the resistant part will take over, and it just keeps going on, round and round. There's no part of her actually saying, "What is loving to me? What is in my highest good? What supports my health and well-being?"
That's the problem. As long as there's this inner power struggle going on inside of her, with one part of her that's trying to control her weight, and the other part of her that goes into resistance, she's going to keep on doing this over and over. What the Inner Bonding process does is it develops that loving adult self.
Step 2: Develop the Intention To Learn
So, when she tunes into how badly she feels, let's say when she's judging herself, then in step two she would put her focus in her heart. She would move into what we call the intention to learn. In Inner Bonding there's only two intentions. One is the intention to learn about what's loving ourselves.
The other is the intention to protect against our pain, with some sort of controlling behavior such as self-judgement, or controlling what you eat. These are all forms of controlling behavior. In step two, she puts her focus in her heart. She moves into an intention to learn. She invites the presence of love and compassion inside. That's what creates the loving adult self.
Step 3: Explore Your True Beliefs
Then, in step three, she goes inside and she explores her beliefs. What is she telling herself about having to lose weight, or now getting to party? What are these beliefs that she's operating from? She's got some false beliefs going on that she's not dealing with, or that are keeping her from really devoting herself to her health and well-being. She would have to explore what is behind this yo-yo dieting?
What is behind this going for the goal of weight loss. What is she telling herself? That if she loses the weight, people will like her better? Or she'll be worth more? These are all the kinds of things that the ego tells us when there's no loving adult to say, "I really want a healthy body. What do I need to do to have a healthy body?"
Part of this is a process of getting to love and value who we are on the inner level. What we call our inner child, which is our feeling self, which is our soul self, our core self. For me, for example, I want my inner child, my soul self, to live in a healthy body. I like living in a healthy body.
Health is really really important to me. Before I started doing Inner Bonding, it was all about weight. It wasn't about health. And I was on that same yo-yo thing. But since Inner Bonding, it's been about health. And then it's been very easy for me to just eat well. I mean, I don't diet, I just eat well because I want to have a healthy body.
And because I want that, then I don't have a problem with going up and down. In step three she would explore what are the false beliefs. Why does she want to lose weight? What is that about? Is it for health? Or is it for approval?
Losing Weight vs. Improving Your Health: Which Do You Really Want?
Dave: Margaret, can I just in there because I want to ask you a quick question about what you just said. When I used to be a personal trainer, I would get clients that would come in and in our initial intake process, I would always ask them, "Why did you come to see me?" And, the vast majority of clients would say, "I want to improve my health."
And, to be honest with you, that wasn't true at all. As I would dig, it really came down to they just wanted to lose weight. So, I guess my question is, how do you flip that switch, from being fixated on just losing weight, to actually wanting to improve your health?
Margaret: That's what I'm trying to talk about with Inner Bonding, because what happens in step one of Inner Bonding when you get present in your body is you start to get to see who you really are inside. Most people, they think they're their wounded self. They think they're this part of them that they actually created, to try and get love and avoid pain.
And they don't realize that who they really are is this beautiful, magnificent essence. That's who they came in with. Like, if you look at a baby and you look at a baby's eyes, you see this incredible essence that that who they are, this bundle of love.
You look at this baby and you don't yet know what their gifts are, but as they grow we get to know them we get to know their gifts. That's who they are in their essence. When we get to know that, which we can do by practicing Inner Bonding, then we get to truly value who we are. Not just how we look. Not just what people think about us, but who we really are.
Like anything, we take care of what we value. If you have a car that you value, you take care of it. When you value your true essence, you'll take care of it. You'll be motivated to create a healthy body for your beautiful essence.
Once you learn to know yourself, you start to value who you are, and any change is possible at that point.
Dave: I like that analogy you're talking about, a baby, because it's hard to look at a baby and not see beauty and innocence, and really appreciate and love a baby, but it's easy to forget we were a baby. That's where we came from, and like you said, we've developed a lot, like a lot of our value has actually improved since then, but we forget that.
Margaret: Yes. We forget who we are. See, what happens for so many of us is that we weren't love for who we are. We weren't mirrored for who we are. We might have been actually punished for who we are. We might have been judged. We might have been neglected. We might have been abused in various ways.
So we lose touch with who we are and we develop this image, this ego wounded aspect of us, that we hope will get us some acceptance. But so often, unless we really received the love that we needed as we were growing up, we don't feel lovable inside. In fact, if we were judged a lot, we learn to judge ourselves and we just loath, you know, so many people really loath who they are. And they think that they have to look great in order to be okay.
And, of course, I like looking great, but it doesn't define my worth. I like looking great just because it feels good, but not because it defines my worth as a human being. For some people, looking great, or achieving something defines their worth. That's the problem. Then once they achieve it, like this woman who achieved her goal of weight loss, then she's no longer motivated because she's not motivated by loving who she really is.
Dave: I'd say that's the case for the majority of people. At least the people that I'm in touch with on a daily basis, really wrap their value and their own self-worth, in their weight, or how they look, or what other people say about their appearance. And when you say that, it makes me feel sad. That's so unfortunate.
Step 4: Access Your Higher Self
Margaret: It is very very unfortunate, and this is why it's so important to be learning and practicing Inner Bonding because through this process, we can heal the old false beliefs that we absorbed from perhaps an unhappy childhood and we can come into truth. Because step four of Inner Bonding is learning to access our higher self. Learning to access our source of love and truth. Learning to bring that love inside of ourselves, so that we're not dependent on other people's approval to feel okay.
We actually become our own gurus, where we can access the love and truth about who we really are from our own higher self. And through that connection, we can discover what actions are loving for us, and this is what step four is about. It's about, "What is the truth about any of these beliefs that I have, and what is the loving action towards myself?"
Step 5 & 6: Take the Loving Action
And then in step five, we learn to take that loving action, and that's what makes us feel worthy. When we take loving action on our own behalf, we start to feel worthy. We start to feel lovable. And then in step six, we go in and we evaluate how do we feel now that we've taken this loving action?
So for example, with me at this point in my life, I never put anything in my body that I know does not support my health and well being. I don't have to try to do that. I don't have to discipline myself to do that. I do it easily and naturally because my intention is to support my health and well being.
And, I exercise every day. I have for years and years, because it's not hard for me. I found exercise that I love, so it's easy to do it every day because I know that it's supporting my health and well being. So it becomes easy to take care of ourselves when we really value ourselves. But when we're judging ourselves, and we think we're not worthwhile unless other people approve of us, then it becomes very hard to take loving care of ourselves.
You Have to Do What You Enjoy Doing
Dave: I know that's going to resonate with a lot of listeners out there, again, because I hear it on a daily basis. People want to achieve a goal, maybe for the wrong reasons, not for their own health or because they love themselves, but because they feel judged or because they feel they need to live up to a standard. And therefore they adopt practices that maybe they don't really enjoy or that are too stringent.
You talked about exercise and you said it's easy for you because you found types of exercise that you love. But I talk to so many, particular women, who feel the need to lose weight, and think that the equation for losing weight is killing themselves in the gym, and they're doing it for the wrong reasons. There's just zero percent chance that that formula is going to work.
Margaret: That's exactly right, because it's not fun for them. If it's not fun, if it's not something that they look forward to, then they're not going to keep on doing it. What I recommend with my clients is to try different things out. Try out what would really be fun. You know, the research on places in the world that they call blue zones, which are where people live a very long time, they're healthy, they live a long time, one of the things is that they don't go to gyms, they don't run marathons, they don't do any of that.
They just live their lives in a very active way. They way people did before they started watching TV so much and being on their phones so much and all that. They just live active lives. And actually it turns out that's much better for our health than pushing ourselves to do a marathon or something like that.
I don't do that. I just get plenty of activity in my life that I like. I have horses, I have my garden, I'm a potter, I'm a painter, I love to walk with my dogs. I mean, there's all kinds of activities that I have that keep me healthy. Whenever I get any kind of tests, I rarely to doctors, but whenever I do, they think like I'm 20 years younger than I am.
If your healthy habits are fun to do, you will never fail to do them any single day. Make it fun!
Dave: So it sounds like you're proof that the system works then. Finding a way to enjoy exercise and to enjoy it as a lifestyle, that's going to lead to results, as opposed to thinking that we need to do certain types of activities or certain types of exercise to actually get those results.
Margaret: Right. And you know, if people are focused on what's loving to themselves, they're not going to be pushing themselves to be doing things that are not fun for them to do. That's the thing. They're going to find that which they really enjoy. Whether it's dancing or playing tennis or swimming or whatever it is.
They're going to find what they look forward to. What they want to do. That's what is loving to ourselves. It's not loving to ourselves push us to do things that are not fun for us. Now, some people do enjoy the gym. Some of my clients love the gym, which is great. If you really love it then you keep it up. And these people do.
They keep it up, they don't want to miss it. They really enjoy it. But for those people that don't like that, they've got to find something else that they really really love. That's the whole point, is to love yourself enough, value yourself enough. To eat in a way that's absolutely delicious.
My food that I eat is so unbelievably delicious, I don't feel deprived at all. But I don't eat processed foods. I don't eat sugar. I can't even stand it at this point. It doesn't even taste good to me. I eat fresh, local, organic, yummy yummy food. When you really start to learn about it, and want to take care of yourself, you can find foods that are the most delicious things you've ever eaten, without feeling at all deprived. Without having to have all those processed carbs and all that sugar and all that stuff, which just is not loving to ourselves.
Dave: That's such a motivating message, because I know there's going to be some people that are listening to this and thinking, "I hate exercise and I hate eating quote unquote 'healthy food.'" But the fact of the matter is that they maybe just haven't found the type of exercise that works for them, and they haven't found the food that works for them.
So, I guess to get back to practical steps to start this process, all of this is predicated on getting into a place where we actually love ourselves. So, I know that you have your six steps that you take people through, and I hope that some of the listeners will take a look, I'll put this link in the show notes, but it's innerbonding.com, and they can be in touch with you, and maybe can actually lead them through those steps.
But if someone wanted to start the process of learning to love themselves on their own, is there a question or a couple of questions they could ask themselves? What could they actually do to get to that place?
How to Start Loving Yourself
Margaret: If they want to learn on their own, they should go to our website and just click on the free Inner Bonding course. They don't have to work with me, they can do it on their own. It's got all the steps in there, on the website. But to begin with, they need to start to get present inside their body. Most people live in their head.
When they're in their head, they're disconnected from what they feel. And if they don't know what they feel, then they don't know when they're treating themselves badly. They don't know when they're abandoning themselves, rather than loving themselves. So the very first step is to practice moving your focus out of your head and into your body, and embracing your feelings.
See, all of our feelings have information for us. Like, let's say you're slicing bread and you slice into your finger. The pain is telling you something. It's telling you to stop doing what you're doing so that you don't cut your finger off. That feeling of pain has information for us.
Well, emotional pain also has information for us, yet so many people do so many things to avoid feeling their feelings. They stay up in their head instead of present in their body. They judge themselves. They turn to various addictions, to numb their feelings. They make other people responsible for their feelings. They're not acting loving to themselves, and they don't even know that they're hurting themselves because they're disconnected from their body.
So, the first thing is to get mindful of being present in your body with your feelings. Wanting responsibility for them, rather than wanting to avoid them. And learning how to lovingly learn from and manage their feelings, rather than turn to all those addictions and other ways of abandoning themselves.
Loving ourselves makes us responsible for our own well-being, not attributing our situation to external influences.
Dave: That's really interesting because you mention all those addictions, and I think those are true for many people. One of the other things that I see, particularly in our society right now, is maybe not ... well I guess it could be an addiction, but just sort of covering up those emotions by distracting ourselves with, quite often, technology. Being on social media, or doing all these things that give this feeling of instant gratification. But, like I said, really do cover up what we're actually feeling about ourselves.
Tune Into Your Feelings
Margaret: Oh yeah. There's a ton of ways that people avoid their feelings. I mean, sometimes they take drugs to avoid their feelings, or they drink alcohol, or they eat a ton of sugar, or they stuff themselves with junk. Or, like they said, they get on the computer or social media, they go out spending, they go out shopping, they space out in front of the TV, or they get addicted to pornography, or being sexually addicted, or addicted to things, addicted to approval.
There's so many ways that people avoid taking responsibility for their own feelings. That's very sad, because everything that people do to avoid responsibility for their feelings makes them feel rejected inside. It's just like if a child came to you sad or upset, and instead of attending to the child you flipped on the TV or you went your computer and you just ignored them.
They would feel rejected. And that's what we do to ourselves. We reject ourselves by avoiding taking responsibility for our own feelings. And then because we feel empty and alone and rejected inside, then we might turn to food to fill up that emptiness and aloneness and feelings of rejection, and then it just again, it goes into a circle.
Dave: That's something that's really challenging. The whole idea of practicing mindfulness for those of us, myself included, who live a life of a lot of mindlessness, it's tough to make that jump. Do you have your clients, do they journal, or is there some sort of process that helps them develop that skill of being more mindful?
Margaret: One of the things that I ask people to do is to put a lot of reminders around. Journaling is one way, but reminders. People forget to check in with their body. So they can wear a rubber band, or they can set their phone to buzz and remind them. Or there's a little gadget that I used when I started learning to get in my body called a motivAider.
You can get that on Amazon, and it buzzes against your body. You can set it for every five minutes or every 10 minutes or half and hour to remind you. It's a matter of finding ways to remind yourself, because when I started doing this I was totally in my head. I was very tuned in to other people's feelings, but not all tuned in to my own feelings.
So, I needed reminders to remind me to get present in my body and tune in to my feelings. That's what I encourage people to do. Anything that will remind you to get present, to be mindful of what's happening inside, is what they need to do.
Dave: If I had a buzzer or an app on my phone and it went off and I want to get present with what's going on in my body, what is the question that I ask myself?
Margaret: The first thing, it's not so much a question. The first thing you do is you breathe, and you follow your breath. You let your breath take you inside your body. Out of your head. You put your mind on your breath. Then you scan your body as you're breathing, and you notice any physical sensations.
Our emotions often show up as physical sensations, so let's say there's a tightness in your stomach, or a tightness in your back or in your head or in your chest. You want to notice those things, because those physical sensations are letting you know that there's something inside to attend to. And once you realize, "Oh, there's some tension in my chest or in my stomach or jaw, "I wonder what I ..."
Then you have the question. Then the question is, "What am I telling myself? How am I treating myself?" Or, "What's happening between me and another person that may be causing this feeling within me?" That's the kind of question we ask ourselves.
Make Your Body Work Takeaway
Dave: That's awesome. That's really powerful, and a great practical step that people can start doing today. I'm going to put some links in the show notes for the listeners. If you go to makeyourbodywork.com/73, I'll put a link to the Inner Bonding website as well as the free course that you can download. And I'm going to see if I can find this motivator buzzer or reminder on Amazon that you talked about and put a link there as well.
Margaret, I like to wrap up this show with what I call a Make Your Body Work takeaway. This is just something, a first step, that's really practical, that people can start doing today. I know that we've already covered a bunch of practical items, but what would you suggest for someone like Asma who's saying, "I want to break the cycle. I want to make change." What would you say to her? What's the thing that she could start to do today?
Margaret: She could start to take a look at her intention for going on a diet. What is her intention? She can ask herself, "Am I going on a diet because I want to impress people and I want them to tell me I'm okay? Or am I going on a diet because I really truly want to support my own health and well being?"
That's a very very important questions. The question is, "Is this action that I'm taking in my highest good? Or am I taking this action out of a sense of fear and trying to control something?" That's a very important question to ask.
Dave: I love it. Again, that's just so practical, and something that we can all use. I'm going to think about that for myself. I think that's something we can revisit on a regular basis.
Dave: So, Margaret, if people want to connect with you and ask you maybe about some more specifics of the Inner Bonding program, or just have some questions about how they can apply this in their lives, what's the best way for them to reach you?
Dave: Perfect. Awesome. And, again, for any of the listeners out there, like I said I'm going to have the free course linked out from makeyourbodywork.com/73, and I'll put Margaret's email address and a link to her website as well so hopefully you can check that all out.
Margaret thanks for being on the show and just sharing, like I said, I told you this before we started recording, I thought I was going to learn something quite different. You've got a very different perspective and I really appreciate the psychological approach, the self-love approach. So, thanks so much for sharing today.
Margaret: You're very very welcome, Dave, and thank you for having me on.
Dave: Margaret, thanks again for joining us on the show and sharing a really positive message about the power of loving ourselves. To you, everyone who joined in, everyone who listened in to this episode, really think about what did you learn, what can you apply from today's show? What can you take away from Margaret's message that will help you love yourself better and hopefully help you transform some areas of your life that maybe are feeling a little bit stuck right now.
If anyone ... I always throw this out there, if anyone has a question that you'd like covered in a future episode of Make Your Body Work podcast, of course email me any time: [email protected]. I love hearing from you and most of all I just really like connecting people, you know. Experts in the health and wellness industry who can help you with your issues, help you take steps that'll move your health, your life forward. Move you in the right direction. So, email me any time. Again, it's [email protected]
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If you can go to makeyourbodywork.com/itunes it'll take literally a minute. Give this show a rating, give it a comment. I'd love to hear from you, and I really do appreciate it. I read every comment, every rating. Any feedback that you send to me is really helpful for shaping the show as it goes forward. I really appreciate that. Now, I just wish you a great week.
Next Week’s Episode
Next week we're going to be back with a really interesting topic that I know a lot of people will want to hear, will want to tune in for. It's why doesn't the weight stay off? This is something, maybe you've experienced it. You lose some weight, but it just keeps coming back. I've got a great guest who's going to share some awesome strategies to help reverse that problem. So, thanks again for tuning in today and I can wait to see you here again next week.