Is this really my new normal

Is This Really My “New Normal”? [Podcast Episode #088]

If you made a list of the top 3-5 most significant changes that have happened in your life over the past 5 years, what would make the list?

Would there be physical changes on it? Injuries? Or maybe fitness milestones? Some people would list relational changes, career changes, or geographic changes. The point is, life never stops. Change is inevitable. 

And some of the changes you face are not going to be pleasant. Some will throw you (and maybe your body) for a loop. How can you deal with the "new normal" you're facing right now?

Episode Resources:

Is This Really My "New Normal"? [Full Text]

Dave: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this episode of the Make Your Body Work podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. Today, this show we're going to be talking about many topics. We're talking about stages of life.

We're talking about when tragedy strikes our family, we're talking about our new normal that we experience as our body ages. We're talked about menopause, talking about exercise, all different sorts of things and it all stems from a very real and a very vulnerable question that Laurie sent in.

Here's what she wrote. She said, "I've been going through menopause which seems like forever. Of course weight gain began and difficulty to lose weight was frustrating. Then in April of 2014, tragedy struck our family with the death of my son.

Almost two years have passed since my son left us, but I know that the next part of my healing is to get myself feeling better physically. My diet is reasonable, but my physical exercise is the part that I struggle with. I once was very active as an individual, but since my son left, this part of my new normal is the one that I struggle with."

Laurie, I just want to say thanks for feeling comfortable sharing that with me and with the audience. I know that losing loved ones is always tough, particularly someone that is probably as close to you as your son was.

I do know going through different difficult times in my own life and working with clients going through these different times, that it can have a huge impact on our motivation, our ability to exercise, our feeling valuable, our desire to make healthy life changes.

All of those things, it can be really hard to go after them when we're dealing with something that's affecting our emotions like losing a loved one. Thanks for writing in. I really appreciate that.

When I was looking for a guest who could speak on this, I found who I think is a perfect example of someone who's been through some struggles in life and really come out the other side. When you hear her talk, you can just hear this exuberance and this positivity in her voice despite the fact that she has gone through some struggles like we're talking about here.

On top of that, she's someone who works with women who are going through menopause and really understands the changes. You talk about that new normal. She understands those changes that happen in your body. I'm really excited to introduce to you Ivy Larson.

Meet Ivy Larson

Dave: Hey, Ivy. Thanks for joining us on the show today.

Ivy: Thanks for having me.

Dave: Before we dive into today's question, I want to talk to you a little bit about your website and your business. You and your husband, you operate a website called clean cuisine. First of all, how did that get started? Why Clean Cuisine?

Ivy: Clean Cuisine is basically an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. The blog is called Clean Cuisine, but we've actually written several nutrition books. The most recent one is titled after the blog, Clean Cuisine: an eight-week anti-inflammatory program that will change the way you age, look and feel.

I'm 41 years old now, but I was actually diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 22 with multiple sclerosis, MS for short. At that time, my husband, he's a surgeon now, he's the medical director behind everything we do at clean cuisine, but he was actually in his residency at that time.

In 1998, it was really long before clean eating or even a whole foods diet was really popular, yet my neurologist at the university of Miami suggested that I could keep my symptoms in remission and hopefully stave off the disease my following an anti-inflammatory diet. This was super important because at the age of 22, I wanted to have kids, and the disease modifying MS medications were counter-indicated during pregnancy.

The whole idea was that I was going to start an anti-inflammatory diet for a few years just to kind of keep my symptoms in remission and to have a child, and then if I needed to, I'd go on the medicine. My husband did a lot of research. He didn't know anything about nutrition because it's not taught in medical school, and definitely not in 1998.

He did a lot of research on it. He said, "It's definitely worth giving it a try. You have nothing to lose." It benefited me so much that, knock on wood, I've never needed to take any of the MS medications so far. I've been almost two decades in remission.

Then we started doing a lot of research on an anti-inflammatory diet. Really there's nobody that should be on a pro-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet benefits anyone from prevention of heart disease to obesity to type two diabetes.

The common denominator between MS and so many other seemingly unrelated diseases like asthma, arthritis, allergies even, eczema, acne which isn't even a disease but just a bothersome condition, but the common denominator or common thread is inflammation.

I've been eating this way, my husband has been eating this way, and we have a 16-year-old son who we've raised entirely this way. He's actually only been on antibiotics once in his life which is very unusual, especially these days.

Inflammation is the common thread amongst so many health conditions. What controls inflammation? Food.

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Inflammation: The Common Thread

Dave: Ivy, you're preaching to the choir here. I've done a bunch of presentations and talks about inflammation, specifically related to its role in people not being able to lose weight. It's funny, I'll always start that talk by saying, "I know this is going to sound very boring."

The whole idea of inflammation, who wants to go hear a talk about inflammation? But when you start to see the research and how closely tied it is to so many different conditions that people are struggling with year after year after year, then people's ears start to perk up and say, "Wow, I can lose weight if I address inflammation. I can clear up my skin if I address inflammation." It's amazing, eh?

Ivy: It's absolutely amazing. Even the skin clarity, it's so funny because our son who I said is 16, he's like the only person practically in his grade who doesn't have acne. It's even worse now a days. Same thing with childhood obesity. I graduated high school in 1994. At that age, in that year, the obesity rates were far less than they are.

If you go to the school now and look at the high school students, the average weight is up substantially compared to what it was just when I graduated. Really so much of it comes down to just eating a pro-inflammatory, highly refined diet which is so common now a days.

Dave: I just want to ask you a followup personal question then. You said your MS has been in remission for two decades. Does that mean that you haven't exhibited any of the typical symptoms?

Ivy: Right. I've never had ... Since my diagnosis when I was diagnosed, I was actually in the emergency room because I couldn't ... I had something called urinary retention. I couldn't actually even void. I was wearing a catheter for a week. It was a major exacerbation a major flair up.

Since then, and since I've started the diet, I have never had another major flair up. MS is characterized by you can go blind. You can lose your vision. You can be paralyzed on one side or lose feeling in your legs or your feet. I've never had any major flareup like that. I have had fatigue, things like that which would be some mood issues, but no major flair up. Knock on wood.

What Role Does Exercise Play?

Dave: That's like the proof is in the pudding. If you've gone that long and can attribute that to diet, I don't know how anyone can dispute that to be honest. I want to also ask you, i know this is a little bit personal, but hopefully you don't mind. You mentioned that you're 41 years old.

We were talking before we began recording here about both of us work with a lot of women in their 40s and 50s. What have you noticed change about your body or just the way you feel or gaining weight or anything like that, what have you noticed change over the last two or three years?

Ivy: It's funny. When I started this whole anti-inflammatory diet, my background, actually I didn't know anything about nutrition, but I was going to be an exercise physiologist. I had passed the american college of sports medicine health fitness test and I was working in a hospital wellness center teaching exercise. Weight had never been an issue. I'm 5'6 and between like 115 and 118 pounds which is what I've been since I was 21.

Anyways, exercise has always been a huge part of my lifestyle. It's actually integrated into all that we've written. My husband and I have written 5 nutrition books now and we always incorporate a fitness component and an exercise program in it. I even have a workout DVD. That's because exercise is so important to reducing inflammation. Exercise is a key element to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.

Anyways, I'd never stopped exercising. I did have a major surgery for a congenital hip disorder called femoral retroversion. When you see kids with their feet turned in, mine were turned out which was great for when I was younger because I was a dancer.

Anyways, it caused a lot of pain after I had my son. Four years ago I had a major seven hour surgery where they break your femur, your thigh bone and rotate the top part of your femoral head into a right position, put a rod in your leg, and screws in your leg and in your hip. I couldn't walk for six months. I also had a complication where it didn't heal.

During that time I noticed, that was the first time in my life really since I was 14 or so that I haven't been able to exercise. At that time when I had that surgery, I was 38 years old. I had just turned 38. I noticed without the exercise a major change that was happening in my skin tone in my legs.

For the first time I was starting to get cellulite. My body weight didn't change. I actually lost weight because of the surgery, but I think that was because of the mood. I got very depressed because I couldn't exercise. It was a very viscous cycle. I wasn't able to cook. I couldn't walk, but I noticed my legs were getting cellulite. The skin tone was changing. That happened pretty rapidly over the course of the six months.

I was able to quickly regain it and regain my strength, regain my muscle tone once I started exercising again. Since then, I haven't stopped exercising, but I would say if I did not exercise at 41, there would be major changes in body composition.

As you get older, your body composition naturally changes. Resistance exercise is the best way to slow or stop that process.

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Maybe it wouldn't be weight, especially if you're somebody not genetically likely to be overweight, but there's no way you could maintain your body composition at this age without doing some form of resistance exercise.

Why the Number On the Scale Doesn't Tell the Whole Story

Dave: You said a lot of really important things there. First thing I want to highlight is I like that you used the term body composition because so often the barometer that so many people use for whether or not they're in shape or making progress is always the scale. The scale, you even said you were losing weight during this time, but you would say you were in worse shape while you lost weight.

Ivy: Definitely worse shape physically and mentally yes. I think the exercise I really realized how important exercise was to my mood when I couldn't exercise. I always thought exercise boosted my mood, but I didn't really have a comparison to not exercising.

I don't think before that leg surgery I had even gone a week of my life without exercise. Even right after I had my son I was working out three, four days later. I worked out the day I gave birth to my son. I did the firm workout video I remember.

It was a huge factor not being able to exercise in my mood. It's surprising to me how relevant or I guess I would say how important exercise is to my overall sense of well being, more so than I ever realized.

The effect of exercise on your physical body might be surpassed by its positive effect on your mental state

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Dave: I agree. The mental benefits sometimes I would say surpass the physical benefits. One thing that I really do want to point out to the listeners though is that idea of using body composition as a measurement of progress.

I know we don't all have access to fancy scales or a submersion tank or whatever it might be to actually take body composition, actually get some metrics behind it, but you just alluded to the fact that the number on the scale doesn't tell the whole story. I think that's so important for the listeners to understand that who specifically might be trying to get the number to go in the opposite direction.

You talked about you personally gaining weight, but so many women are fixated on losing weight. Just because that number doesn't go down, that doesn't mean that they're not making progress from a body composition standpoint. Would you agree with that?

Ivy: Oh yes, 100%. Even if your body weight is not going down, even if it's going up a little, you could still be getting in better shape and getting more fit which is really the ultimate goal for everyone.

What is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor?

Dave: Laurie has this question here, I guess we'll transition a little bit into her specific question because she talked about going through menopause and all the sudden weight gain has become a problem. She mentions being frustrated. Then she has this tragedy where her son passed away.

You talked about the mental relief from exercise. I just see so many different messages in her question tying together here. What stood out the most to you when you read Laurie's message?

Ivy: Her question, first of all I have a son. I have a 16 year old. I've thankfully never had to go through anything tragic with my son, but I did lose a dear friend of mine to a suicide. He was actually the reason I started the books in the first place. He also had MS. He was actually my first boyfriend who I met in high school and even a good friend of my husbands.

Anyway, it was terrible dealing with a loss of somebody who's a very close friend or a family member. I can't even imagine a son. It's very difficult to get over from a psychological standpoint. I would say trying to find motivation to do anything when you're so depressed and sad can be really difficult.

One of the things I've found helpful, is different personalities play a role in meditation and mindfulness and that sort of thing. For me, my particular personality to sit still and meditate, yet I know the benefits of meditation.

Some of the benefits are it increases something called BDNF which is called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. BDNF is basically part of a cascade of proteins that are produced in your brain that promote neuron growth. They're also low BDNF is also associated with depression.

In fact, it's now believed that a lot of the anti-depressed medications work not so much that because they affect the neurotransmitters such as santonin and dopamine and that sort, but because they've actually been proved to decrease BDNF.

Meditation can increase BDNF which can have a huge benefit on your mood, but in addition, exercise and it really can take as little as 20 minutes of aerobic exercise or any type of exercise, it can even really be circuit training increases BDNF.

Using Dynamic Meditation

There's actually called something called dynamic meditation. Dynamic meditation is really combining the two. You're doing some type of aerobic exercise that you're doing repetitively such as swimming or walking or running or skiing or biking, maybe it'd have to be stationary biking because if you're biking on a road, you'd have to be paying attention. You don't want to be zoning out on the highway.

Basically what you do is you start to focus on your breath. You get into a rhythm. It would be different than doing internal training where you're sprinting for 15 seconds and then recovering and then sprinting for 15 seconds because in that type of exercise, you can't really get your breathing into a rhythm because you keep changing intensity.

With this type of thing, with this dynamic meditation, let's say you're just walking for example. First you start to get your breath into a pattern. You focus on that for a few minutes. Then you just start to focus on one thing such as one foot hitting the ground or pavement. It's like left foot, right foot. You just start to get into a pattern or into a zone.

They actually even have, if you go to YouTube, you get download different YouTube tutorials on how to do walking meditation for example. You can't really do that when you're swimming, you'd have to kind of know how to do it, but it's a great way to get the benefit of exercise, to increase this BDNF which is absolutely been shown to positively improve your mood.

Even if you just did it for ... if you just said 20 minutes a day it's something, if you know that there's the benefit and the science behind it, you might be able to motivate yourself to do it more if that makes sense.

Meditation doesn't have to mean sitting still and clearing your mind. You can move and meditate.

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Combining Exercise with Meditation

Dave: Yeah, Ivy, I'm such a believer in everything you just described. I recently wrote a blog post talking about time management. One of the big takeaways that I learned during this experiment that I was doing on using my time better was the idea of coupling different activities together, pairing things up and kind of multitasking. One of the ones that I found very helpful was pairing up meditation or prayer or spiritual time, whatever you want to call it, with exercise.

For me, I've been training for a marathon right now. We'll get out doing these long slow runs. They're very methodical. There's not a lot of thinking that's required. Instead of just plugging in my earphones and zoning out and listening to whatever music, I've really been trying to do exactly what you said, think about my breathing, think about ... Like I'll use it for my prayer life and all these things.

Not only do I look forward to those runs more, but I really feel better from a mental perspective after that exercise.

Ivy: Yes. Like you're getting more out of it. It might be more beneficial, especially for time management than just sitting still in cross legged position and then having to also go out and do the exercise later. You're right, time management, it's so funny because my mom. She's 73 now. Let's see I'm 41, 74.

I'm always telling her, "Drink green tea. Drink Oolong." Now I'm doing ... What's the ... I can't remember the latest one that I'm doing. Anyways, it's always a new thing. I'm she's like, "How are you going to fit all these things. I'm supposed to meditate, exercise, do my leg squats. At some point, how do you fit it all in?"

I think trying to combine several things for time management is a really good idea. Yeah, at the end of the day ... Then you somehow need to fit in relaxation. There's only so many hours in the day. I think that's a great idea what you said. I'll have to read your article. I need help on time management.

Dave: Yeah, we all do. I know for Laurie who wrote in here, I'm sure she does as well. It's just that stage of life where we're all busy with work and family and everything else. It's hard to find time for everything. She did specifically mention she says that she feels pretty good with her diet. She says, "My diet is reasonable, but the physical exercise is the part I struggle with."

For a woman of Laurie's demographic, 40 plus, what do you recommend for the best use of time from an exercise standpoint?

Back to the Importance of Resistance Training

Ivy: That's a good question. We say the absolute bare minimum that you need is at least 30 minutes three times a week if that's the bare minimum. The thing is during that time for the 30 minutes which is separate from the dynamic meditation, the dynamic meditation isn't necessarily going to get you in the best physical shape, but it's going to increase that BDNF and improve your mood, get your heart rate going, burn calories, that kind of thing.

If you only have 30 minutes three times a week and you want to get in the best physical shape and lower your body fat and best body fat composition like we discussed, really what I've seen work the best is to do a circuit training resistance training where you keep your heart rate up for the entire time and you're working all your large major muscles.

You're not just doing leg lifts or two pound weights. You're keeping your heart rate up the whole time and you're integrating short spurts of aerobic exercise with resistance training. I think a lot of women, the first thing they do is they think of exercise and they think they want to shed pounds or get fit or toned, so they hop on the treadmill for 60 minutes four or five times a week.

I remember even working at the hospital wellness center getting people on this regimen and following this protocol which was supposed to help them lose weight and nobody would shed a pound. This would go on for like six months.

Really it was only until they started adding the resistance training. I think the intensity has to be there. You have to keep you heart rate up and you've got to work against resistance to really see results as far as getting in shape is concerned.

Dave: Ivy, I'm so glad that you said that. I've had a number of guests over the years on this podcast, women personal trainers or health coaches or whatever it may be. They will emphasize the importance of resistance training. I feel like that's one of those messages that we can't emphasize too frequently. For some reason there's this default setting for women especially that says, "I want to lose weight. I need to do cardio."

Ivy: Yes and the funny things is I have to say this. I don't know if you've seen the calipers where they measure your body fat, I'm sure you have.

Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ivy: When I was testing for my american college of sports medicine test, that was the first time I was introduced to them. There are certain places on your body that you have to pinch, behind your arms, your waste, your thigh.

At that point, I was 21 years old, 115 pounds. My upper body, the fat pincher would show like seven, six on various parts. Then you get to the thigh and the thigh was like 21 whatever it was, little centimeters or whatever the measurement was.

Like most women, more of the body fat was on my legs. Of course, to this day that's still the case. When we went skiing on our family trip, our son who is 16, he's very lean and he hasn't totally hit puberty yet, he just turned 16. He's shorter than me and he's like 105 pounds.

We're in the weight room and we're going around all the machines. I'm looking at his legs which are half the size of my legs. Again, I'm 115-120 pounds. He's 105 pounds and his legs are half the size of mine, yet his strength was massively more than my strength when we did the leg extension.

It just really hit home the fact that more strength doesn't mean that you're necessarily bigger size. He's stronger and leaner than me, because he's a 16 year old boy. It just really hit home the fact that you're ... A lot of women I think avoid resistance training because they don't want to get bulky.

Dave: That's what I hear all the time, exactly what you said. That word bulky. I don't want to have bulk. What you said is so true, resistance training equals fat loss or recompositioning your body which actually can turn into a smaller framer.

Ivy: Exactly. Here my son obviously has stronger legs than me. It just kind of hit home that maybe I need to do a little bit more work on my legs.

Increasing Exercise Efficiency with Interval Training

Dave: I'm just again thinking of Laurie and her saying, "I know that I need to get back into this. You gave some great advice already as to try and bring some mindfulness into it. Think about how your mood is positively impacted by exercise. Those are some motivating factors for Laurie to get started. Then from a very tangible or practical perspective, you mentioned that the bare minimum is three times a week, 30 minutes and to emphasize strength training.

What are some other tips or tactics that you would share with women in that 40, 50 age group really to maximize their results.

Ivy: Would you say from a fitness standpoint or from a diet nutrition standpoint?

Dave: I'd like to stick with fitness just because I do want to help out Laurie and give her the answer to the question. We can talk about diet as well, but she says that her diet is reasonable, but her exercise part is the part that she struggles with. I like the term that she uses.

I'm going to quote her. She says ... This part of my life, she calls it the "New Normal." I'm assuming that she means as she's moving into menopause and seeing her body change, this new normal. For women who are experiencing this new normal, what else do they need to do?

Ivy: I would say in addition to that resistance training, we talk about this in our book too. The next thing to add, if the bare minimum is 30 minutes, three times a week and you have to do that. You keep your heart rate up, you do the resistance training.

Then if you want to have a tier two which will definitely make you more fit and definitely help burn body fat and also increase the BDNF, substantially increase it, it would be doing interval training. It would be just ... you don't need to do it for long. Just about 20 minutes. A few minutes of that is warm up and cool down.

Let's say you're doing it on a stationary bike. For a minute timing, you're going at 80%. You're going at an 8.5 intensity where you're just going all out for one minute or 30 seconds, or 45 seconds. Then you recover for a minute and a half. Then you repeat it again. You do that for a total of 20 minutes, but maybe one or two minutes of it is warm up and cool down.

That going up and down with the heart rate is so much more affective, especially from a time management standpoint than just say getting on the bicycle and pedaling at 50% intensity or just going at a moderate steady state.

Moderate steady state exercise is great if you have more time on your hands, and you're motivated to do so, say for example the marathon training, but I have a feeling you're not just running at a steady state all the time. I bet you're probably also doing other types of intervals or resistance training too.

Dave: You are 100% right. After this call I have intervals in my schedule today. You're 100% right. Ivy, I'm just going to challenge you a little bit on that. I've had other people on the show that say HIIT training, that's the way to go. You can get it done in 15 minutes. You said 20 minutes. Can you actually do that? If a woman listening to this says, "I'm going to do intervals and I'm going to do it for 20 minutes and I'm going to do that a couple times a week." Is that actually enough to make a difference?

Ivy: No. I would say that's the tier two part. I would say if you have a time management, "I only have an hour and a half a week to exercise." I would say of that hour and a half, do that 30 minutes three times a week of that resistance circuit training where you're keeping your heart rate up the whole time and you're using heavy enough weights that at the end of each exercise that you're breathing hard.

Then you don't rest and you keep going from one exercise to the next. Squats and then pushups and then a minute on the bike and then lunges and then overhead press and a minute on the bike, that sort of thing. You do that 30 minutes, three times a week. That you should see results.

Then the next tier, tier two is interval training thing. Then after that, I would say to start doing more of the long steady stage exercise like an hour, 45 minutes of cardio type thing. I think if you just do ... especially at 40. I don't know. I don't think at this age ... You might see some results. Of course it's not like ... Anything is better than nothing.

I just don't know if people would see, they're not going to see optimal results just doing it three times a week for 20 minutes of high intensity exercise. I personally don't think, not at this age. I think at 20, definitely, but I haven't actually personally tried doing it either, that little of exercise. What do you think? I'm curious what do you think from your experience?

Dave: Wow, I'm having the tables turned here. I'm not used to be the one who gets asked questions on this show. I personally do believe that HIIT training as you described it can be very effective for women that are pre-menopausal or menopausal even if that is all they're doing. I would say it can be helpful, yeah definitely.

One thing though that you said that I think is very important and I want all the listeners to take away here is the gradual stages and adding more as you improve and to not think, "I need to do resistance training three times a week and I need to be doing ... Dave said he's doing long runs so I need to go out and do long runs. Then Ivy said HIIT training, so I need to incorporate all this."

You're never too old or too young to start exercising. Start small, find what you love, practice it regularly.

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I love the fact that you gave it those tiers. For the listeners, I would say Laurie if you're saying "I'm frustrated. My body is changing. This new normal isn't cooperating." Just start.

Ivy: Yes.

Something IS Better than Nothing

Dave: Just start. Try these different ... Ivy's given some great examples. Try these different modalities out and see which one you enjoy.

Ivy: Yes. I agree. Doing something is always going to be better than nothing, even if you just could only manage 20 minutes three times a week of just walking, it's still going to be better than sitting on the couch. Definitely more exercise is better. I totally agree. I think a lot of people have the all or nothing approach.

I know my husband is a surgeon. His hours as he started when he got to be mid 30s or so, he was really doing like 12 surgeries a day. He got into for a year or so this all or nothing thing.

It's like, "I can't stick to my regular workout, so I'll just do nothing." His job is very physical compared to most because he runs all around the hospital all day. Then he started doing just the 30 minutes three times a week again. Literally he would wake up at six in the morning and sometimes not get home until eight at night and be running around, not only running around doing work, but serious mental concentration too.

He physically wasn't able to keep up his regular exercise regiment, but once he got back into doing the 30 minutes three times a week, he started to see results. He started to have more energy. It was a good continuous cycle. I think a lot of people get caught up in the all or nothing. It's just something is better than nothing.

Dave: That's just a great example or great story talking about your husband because Laurie says, "I once was a very active individual." Then she says she's now struggling to get back into that routine.

I think that for people who once did have that gym routine or that running routine or whatever that routine was and then get out of it, it's really easy to say, "I used to go to the gym five days a week. I know I won't be able to do that." So exactly like you said, "I'm just not going to do it."

Ivy: Right. That's the worst. I would say if you can just do something. Movement and exercise, I'm realizing it more and more the older I get... My dad's actually 90 years old. He's been exercising. He was one of the reasons why I got interested in exercise in the first place.

He's started exercising after he was in a massive, massive car accident when he was 27. He was exercising long before it was even a thing to do. He was told to exercise at Mayo clinic actually. They put him on weights. They said he had used to have to weight train in secret because that was only not ... It wasn't the normal thing.

He would run in the morning like at five in the morning so nobody would see him. People would think if you're running did you just steal something.

Anyway at 90 years old, I talked to him this morning. He was up in the gym. He actually had his phone turned off. He unplugs the phone so that he can focus on his 45 minute routine and not get interruptions.

We talk about it all the time. That car accident for him was one of the best things that he thinks prolonged his life and dramatically increased the quality of his life because he wouldn't have started exercising for no reason, especially back then.

Dave: That idea of having a wake up call, unfortunately, that's what it takes for many people to decide I'm going to make a change in life. Hopefully for listeners out there, don't let that be you. Don't force a wake up call to be the point that changes your life. Take action today.

Ivy: I totally agree. I think I was lucky. My wake up call was at 22, but I think to myself, I have a lot of my girlfriends now who are 41. Their wake up call is just that their not fitting into their jeans the same way. I would say the earlier that you start and the younger you start, the easier it is.

As you get older, it becomes more difficult to change your lifestyle. Starting now, you're never too old to start and you're never too young to start. Just making lifestyle changes, it's always so much easier to do when you're healthy than once you get sick or injured.

Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: Could not agree more. Ivy, we like to wrap up the show with what's called a Make your body work take away. Thinking about women like Laurie who have noticed this new normal. Their body has changed.

They're moving into their 40s, 50s, dealing with menopause, dealing with hormonal shifts, all those things, and they notice all the sudden this weight is sticking around or it's coming onto their body and they don't like it. What's the one thing that women like that should do today?

Ivy: The one thing? I would say if you did ten minutes even a day, if you just could do one thing and it's ten minutes a day of some kind of little routine that kept your heart rate up and that stressed your major muscles in your lower body and your upper body and you just did it for ten minutes and you kept your heart rate up that entire time, that would make a big difference for keeping your metabolism burning calories, that sort of thing. I think everybody could do just ten minutes a day.

Dave: I like that. That goes back to what we were talking about these different levels, ten minutes and do that for a couple weeks and then maybe it'll become 20. Then maybe you'll end up adding some HIIT training. I agree. Ten minutes. There's the challenge. Everybody who's listening, ten minutes, can you do that?

Again for the listeners, I'm going to put a bunch of resources. Ivy's mentioned some very practical exercises, examples and ideas. If you go to, all of the show notes will be there. I'll have a bunch of links and even some videos I made note of that you can check out there as well. Ivy, if people want to connect with you or learn more about what you're doing, where's the best place they can connect with you?

Ivy: That's our blog, our website. There's lots of recipes and fitness advice. I'm actually also just starting a new workout video series called fit over 40. That'll all be on the website.

Dave: That's so appropriate based on the show we just talked about fit over 40. I will again for the listeners, I'll put links to Ivy's website, her blog, her books and everything we talked about today. Again, you can go to Ivy, thanks so much for being with us today.

Ivy: Thank you. That was fun. Thanks Dave.

Dave: Thanks again Ivy for being with us today and for sharing some very practical steps for women who are going through menopause or seeing those changes in their life, some ways that they can stay in shape without feeling overwhelmed by the proposition of having to include exercise into their routine.

I really appreciate those practical steps. Also for giving an inspirational message that everyone can start today. It can be as little as just a few minutes, ten minutes. Then we talked about escalating that over time, building a little bit on top of a little bit. The changes they will come.

For everyone who tuned in today, thanks for being here. Thanks for being part of the make your body work community. I love doing this show. I love hearing from you. If you have any questions about your health that you'd like on the show or just questions in general, feel free to email me at

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If you'd like some more amazing answers, specifically for women who think that they can't lose weight, I just released a book. It's called Can't Lose. It is for you. There's 14 chapters, each of the chapters addressing one of the key components in weight loss and addressing the frustration that many women face when they say, "I'm doing everything right, but I still can't lose weight."

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Then read it. Like Ivy and I just talked about on this podcast, put it into action. Start today. Pick one or two things. Go for it. Start with those. Like I said, if you have any questions along the way, email me. I'd love to hear from you.

Next week I'll be back with another great episode of the make your body work podcast. I hope to see you here. Have a great week. Take care. I'll see you soon.

Thanks for joining me today!

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