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Real-Life Insights and Takaways
- There are many weight loss solutions that “work” but they are not sustainable, nor are they healthy.
- Your body does not work like a math equation. This is why just simply counting calories is not the solution to a healthy body.
- Dropping calories makes your body slow down. After your body slows down, you will lose muscle first…then later, fat.
- Weight loss is not the goal. Fat loss and maintenance is the goal.
- We want to heal our body so it keeps us at a healthy weight, enjoyably, long term.
- We have to lose the desire to see results overnight. Don’t look for the quick fix.
- If you ever stop the weight loss programs you start, you will gain the weight back.
- The SANE lifestyle is something you can sustain.
- Can you outsmart the siren songs of weight loss?
- Does your body work like a math equation?
- Do you listen to the siren songs of weight loss?
- Is there an easy fix you don’t know about?
- Do you really want to live your life on 1200 calories?
- How can you heal your body and stay healed?
Scroll up to pin and share the sexy infographic versions of these 😉
- 7:10 – 7:16, “And people might be surprised to hear this, but the calorie myth isn’t that calories are a myth, it is that the idea of counting calories should be the focus of health. That’s the myth.”
- 10:25 – 11:01, “The assumption is that your body works like an equation, that you can just subtract 500 calories from one side of the calorie equation – so if you just subtract 500 calories from the calories inside, the calories outside don’t change. That’s 100%, unequivocally, not disputed by anyone who knows anything about human biology, false. If you eat 500 fewer calories, you will burn fewer calories. Bottom line, you will be cold, you will be tired, you will be hungry, your brain will be foggy.”
- 12:10 – 12:17, “…weight loss is actually not the goal. It is fat loss and maintenance.”
- 12:34 – 12:51, “…have you ever lost weight? Of course, you have probably lost weight many times. So, the issue isn’t can we lose weight? The real issue is how do we lose fat and keep it off while enjoying our lives.”
- 13:02 – 13:16, “But the question isn’t how do we lose weight in the short term? The question is how do we heal our body so that it keeps us at a healthy weight, enjoyably, long term?”
- 17:57 – 18:14, “If you are on the freeway and you want to go 60 miles per hour, you are only going to stay at 60 miles per hour as long as you keep your foot on the gas pedal, so whatever you do to reach that point of nutritional serenity, or a healthy, happy body image, if what got you there isn’t something you can maintain enjoyably, that’s the sticking point….”
- 19:10 – 19:38, “…I have to be able to do this for the rest of my life. And the question is, can I eat SANEly? Can I live this life I am living right now for the rest of my life? Absolutely. Yes. No problem. I go to bed full and happy every single night. I wake up and I’m excited for breakfast. I’m eating throughout the day. I love the food I’m eating. My kids and my family, we are all eating healthy together. It’s pretty awesome.”
Read the Transcript
April: Hi, this is April Perry and Jonathan Bailor with another episode of the SANE Show that we’re excited to record today. How are you doing, Jonathan?
Jonathan: I’m doing awesome, April. We were like, okay, April is going to kick off the show. And I was like, okay, we’re going to do 3-2-1. And there was this dead silence, like ten seconds, and it was like, oh, who is doing the 3-2-1? [laughter] And so, I don’t even remember who did it, but I’m happy to be here. What are we talking about today, April?
April: Today we are talking about the siren song of weight loss, and I am really excited to interview you here, basically pick your brain, and help me to finally stop listening to it. And here is how I will define the siren song. I actually have a little picture I am holding up in front of me that is something that arrived on my doorstep with one of those little coupon books that they pass out, and it says, “You are going to lose 20-45 pounds in 40 days, guaranteed. No hunger, no exercise, no surgery, no shots, no hormones. No kidding. Call this number, and we’re going to review our system and it’s going to be fantastic for you.
So, I see something like this and I’m just thinking, okay, first of all, there is a huge market for something like this, right? Everyone is looking for this simple solution to lose a whole lot of weight in very little time. And this is a song that is being played all the time. It is coming in every kind of media. It is all over the place. And I just want to know how we can finally stop even listening to it, or stop even looking at it, because even myself, who has been SANE for a year and I know that this is ridiculous, I’m wondering, well, what are they doing? What are they promising? What is going on here? Is this something people should try? So, help us just get rid of this desire to even listen to any of this nonsense, as you say.
Jonathan: Yes, we have this innate – and it’s a good thing – at least some level of trust in people. So, if we hear something, words like, you will lose 45 pounds in seven days, our brain is smart enough to say, okay, I’m probably not going to lose 45 pounds in seven days, but because people won’t just lie, maybe I can lose seven pounds in seven days, so yes it’s true, it called the anchoring effect.
There was a quick study done. Here is the ad for folks that are watching the video. I’m not going to show the full ad because I don’t want to actually drive traffic to the other site, but it looks something like that, I’m sure you’ve all seen it before. Just a quick anchoring anecdote – there was a study done where folks asked people, hey, did Gandhi die when he was 176? And everyone said, no, of course he didn’t, what are you talking about? He couldn’t have died when he was 176. Then they asked the people what age do you think he actually died at? First, there was a group of people who were asked, did he die at 176? Then there was a group of people that were just asked, how old was Gandhi when he died? Across the board, people who were first asked if he died at 176 estimated that he died at an older age than people who were just asked, did he die? Because the brain sort of gets anchored to that. So you see these ads and you say, oh, definitely can’t lose 45 pounds in seven days, that’s not possible. But you’re like, I must be able to lose something in seven days.
April: Well, you think, wouldn’t it be illegal for them to go out and make some claim like this that they couldn’t substantiate? So you just start wondering, is there some easy fix that I don’t know about? I guess that is a silly question, but as I dive into my psychology, not that I actually was going to call that phone number, but that’s the question. Is there something I don’t know about that is out there that can make something like this happen?
Jonathan: I love that phrasing because with that phrasing, is there something, some technique, some trick, some supplement, some pill that I don’t know about, that other people know about? Okay, so here’s a mental tool that will help with that. The day, if this day ever comes, that there is something which if you just do it, and take it, you will lose 45 pounds in seven days, you and everyone you know will hear about it within a week. Because if anything works that well, it’s not going to be kept a secret. It’s not a secret that if you have diabetes you should take insulin, like it’s a crazy secret or something.
Jonathan: If something works that well – taking an inhaler, if you have asthma, works really well. There is no incentive for any business to keep their really effective approach a secret. That doesn’t make any sense at all. They want most people to know. Think about things that have worked well for a lot of people, for instance, the Atkin’s Diet. We’re not here to talk about the pluses or minuses of the Atkin’s diet – there is certainly a lot of science supporting it – but the Atkin’s Diet isn’t some secret, right? A lot of people have a lot of success on ketogenic diets and there is a reason you have heard about it. There is a reason it is not a secret. The reason it is not a secret is because it works. So, the first thing is – is there some major secret that I don’t know about? The answer is no. We wouldn’t have 70% of the population be overweight if there was an easy way to not be overweight.
April: So, what are these people doing? What would you guess? What would you expect on the other side of this?
Jonathan: Well, I’m going to kind of contradict myself. There is a secret, easy way to lose weight. There are a couple of them, right? One, just by way of ridiculous example, is to cut off a leg. If you cut off one of your legs, you will lose like 45 pounds instantly. You may say, Jonathan, that’s stupid, what are you talking about?
Okay, there’s another way that you can lose weight really fast. Ask a wrestler, or ask any competitive athlete that needs to make weight, and you will start hearing stories about amphetamines, and cocaine, and sweating, and eating cotton balls, and eating Kleenex, and all kinds of just crazy, unhealthy nonsense. There are ways to lose a lot of weight really, really fast. They are probably worse for your long-term health than cutting off your leg.
April: Okay. That makes sense. Yes, that’s helpful. And you don’t need to call these numbers to find out [laughs] that there is just something that is not helpful, because there is no way – I mean this is what I’m asking you, understanding how the body works, understanding the science so well – that you can drop that much weight that quickly without bringing some harm to your body long-term.
Jonathan: Exactly, yes. And people might be surprised to hear this, but the calorie myth isn’t that calories are a myth, it is that the idea of counting calories should be the focus of health. That’s the myth. At the end of the day, you can lose water weight and you can burn off muscle tissue – that’s not what we’re after. We’re after fat loss. To burn off fat, your body has to physically burn fat. The only way it can do that is by needing to burn off more fat, right? It’s not just going to spontaneously burn off fat, it’s only going to burn fat if it needs fat. And why would your body burn fat? The only reason your body would burn fat is because it needs energy. So, the only way that this is going to happen, the only thing that can make your body burn fat is the need to get more energy. So, if something can make you burn 10,000 calories per day, you will burn 10,000 calories per day. But you body isn’t supposed to just get cranked up – I mean imagine just flooring your gas pedal in your car. Your heart will explode.
And that happened, right? In the 1970s and 1980s doctors were prescribing amphetamines as weight loss pills that are now illegal. In the 1990s, back when I was in the body-building world, there was something called the ECA stack – ephedra, caffeine and aspirin. So, if you stacked, meaning take together, ephedra, caffeine, and aspirin, you would jack up your metabolism so high that you would just melt off fat. Unfortunately, you would have a heart attack, and now it is illegal, but it “worked” – in quotations. The quotes are what is really important.
April: Right. I appreciate how you are framing this and I think that it is really helpful for us to see that, yes, there are ways that we can burn fat. But one of the things that I used to be confused about and just want to clarify here in case anyone else feels confused, too, is when you said the only way to get your body to burn fat is if your body needs that fat for energy. That’s where I used to think it was important for me to starve myself. Just logically to me, I thought, okay, if my body is going to burn off this extra fat that means I can’t be eating. So, help us understand.
Jonathan: No, that’s the key point, because if you ask the typical person on the street, if you eat less, then you have to burn more fat because you’re eating less. And the underlying logic there makes sense on the surface, which is, say you need 2000 calories per day. So, right now, when you are fully fed, your body is going to burn 2000 calories per day. So, as the story that we have been told goes, you cut 500 calories per day, taking it down to 1500. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, so over the course of seven days you will burn 3500 calories, so you will burn off a pound of fat. Right? That’s the story you’ve been told, correct?
April: Right. And I’m good at math so I used to calculate, and I was really good at the math but then it just didn’t add up [laughs].
Jonathan: It didn’t add up. And the fundamental problem with that is that it has an assumption which is false. The assumption is that your body works like an equation, that you can just subtract 500 calories from one side of the calorie equation – so if you just subtract 500 calories from the calories inside, the calories outside don’t change. That’s 100%, unequivocally, not disputed by anyone who knows anything about human biology, false. If you eat 500 fewer calories, you will burn fewer calories. Bottom line, you will be cold, you will be tired, you will be hungry, your brain will be foggy.
Why do those things happen? Because your body is running slower. So, the idea that just dropping 500 calories out of your diet creates a 500-calorie deficit is false. Your base metabolic rate will drop, and in addition to that there is a second assumption which is false which is, those 500 calories, if they existed, which they don’t because your body is slowing down, that we’re going to get them by burning fat. That’s, sadly, also untrue. You body, if it is in a caloric shortage state – what does it want? More calories. What burns a lot of calories? Muscle tissue. So, what is it going to burn off first? Muscle tissue. So, then, maybe after you’ve slowed your body down radically, which is the last thing you want to do if you want to burn body fat, and burn off a bunch of calorie-hungry muscle tissue, which is the second thing you definitely don’t want to do if you want to burn off body fat, then it might burn some fat. But, now, if you ever stop starving yourself, you have a body that is slower, and that has less calorie-hungry muscle tissue on it, so guess what happens? You gain it all back, and then more.
And that actually ties back into a point that I want to make sure we hit on, which is, weight loss is actually not the goal. It is fat loss and maintenance. Let me give you a quick example. Jay Jacobs, a good friend, Biggest Loser Season 11 finalist. I was speaking with him, and he said, Jonathan, I’ve lost a hundred pounds or more, six times in my life. And everyone who is listening to this – have you ever lost weight? Of course, you have probably lost weight many times. So, the issue isn’t can we lose weight? The real issue is how do we lose fat and keep it off while enjoying our lives.
So, how do you lose weight? You are right, April, you just create a caloric deficit, and you can do that by starving yourself. You absolutely can do that by starving yourself. You lock someone up in a concentration camp, they’re not going to gain weight. They are going to lose weight, right? But the question isn’t how do we lose weight in the short term? The question is how do we heal our body so that it keeps us at a healthy weight, enjoyably, long term? Does that make sense?
April: Yes, and that’s why I have loved listening to you and reading your book and remembering this information, because this is my reality now, a year after going SANE, that I don’t weigh myself any more at all. I don’t even remember the last time I stepped on the scale. Actually, my husband needed to weigh me for something, I forget what it was, some form we were filling out for insurance or something like that. He said, get on the scale. I said, no, I don’t do that anymore! He said, just get on the scale. I said, no, I just drank a ton of water! You know, I was giving him all these excuses why I couldn’t get on the scale.
So, even though I had drank a ton of water, even though I was fully clothed, even though it was the middle of the day, I had a breakfast, all this stuff I would never have done before, stepping on a scale, I go on the scale and I was eight pounds lighter than I had been when I first started going SANE. And I was amazed because I hadn’t even looked at a scale. So, number one, you’ve totally freed me from the scale. But number two, it has been so interesting, now, it is just kind of random where I will be surprised at how my body is changing in ways that are positive, where I will just be getting ready for bed, or just waking up in the morning and putting my hands on my stomach and I’m like, wait, I’m feeling different. Everything just feels different. I feel my body burning fat.
And it has not been fast, it has been a little at a time, a little more at a time. I’ve been doing more eccentric exercises, I’ve been upping the weight every week that I’m lifting, or lowering. And I’ve been feeling like, oh my goodness, I feel these changes. But, I’ve had to fix in my head that desire to have it happen overnight and to have it happen so quick. I don’t feel like it is much of an issue for me right now, but still, when you see an infomercial, or you see some advertisement for how you can get some amazing result in five days, I don’t know what it is, there is just some part of the brain, some reward center or something like that, that thinks, oh, that looks so exciting, that’s so wonderful. But I have to remind myself, and reset, and explain again, this is not the way it works, it’s long-term health, long-term wellness, you know the right way to do it, do not get distracted. And I have to say that to myself whenever that temptation comes to look for the quick fix.
And I want to just be able to turn people to you and to your voice and to your message and replay this episode over and over and over again, anytime you get one of those advertisements on your door, because this is the key to never being hungry, to never having to worry about what you are eating, or how much you are eating. And then eventually to be able to lose that fat, to be healed from your body image issues, and to be able to feel like you can live the rest of your life being healthy. Is that a testimonial, or what, Jonathan?
Jonathan: [laughs] I love it, I love it. Well, and I love that you have concluded with, the rest of your life, because I don’t want to confuse here, but I’m always about how do these things keep showing up on TV? How do they keep coming up in magazines? If it was just total nonsense, wouldn’t the FDA go after these people? Well, two things. One, the FDA does go after quite a few of these people. The second thing is, you can lose seven pounds in seven days. I can tell you how to do it, but that’s when the issue isn’t weight loss, right? You have probably done that. You have lost seven pounds in seven days, and you are still looking for an actual solution.
So the thing that I would just encourage is, when you see those ads, it might be true that taking these amphetamines and working out 90 minutes per day, every single day, and eating 1200 calories, you will lose a lot of weight really fast. But if you ever stop – ever – you will be worse off than if you never did it. That’s the key distinction. So, if you go on the Biggest Loser, and you stay on that show, and you live on the ranch for the rest of your life, you will maintain the starvation-based weight loss that you achieved on that show. But from experience, and working with Biggest Loser alumni, if you can’t live your life on the Biggest Loser ranch, and if you can’t live your life on amphetamines, you can’t live your life on 1200 calories and 90 minutes of exercise per day, then those aren’t the approaches that will work for you. We have to find a different approach that will work for you, because that which works, you have to keep doing it.
If you are on the freeway and you want to go 60 miles per hour, you are only going to stay at 60 miles per hour as long as you keep your foot on the gas pedal, so whatever you do to reach that point of nutritional serenity, or a healthy, happy body image, if what got you there isn’t something you can maintain enjoyably, that’s the sticking point, that’s the key distinction.
April: Right. And that makes so much sense. And that’s why I’m such a big fan, Jonathan. And my husband has been such a support to me because when I started going SANE, when I changed my diet, there were a few times when I just said, oh, this is so hard, I’m relearning so many things, I’m unlearning so many things. And my husband was the one who just said, April, this is the first thing you’ve ever done in all our 16 years of being married (at that time) that I’ve seen you do that I know you can sustain. And he could tell that that I wasn’t hungry, I wasn’t cranky, I wasn’t stressed out about exercise. I was finally feeling like I could be a normal, happy, healthy person. And it is amazing to see what a change this makes.
And you are right, I have to be able to do this for the rest of my life. And the question is, can I eat SANEly? Can I live this life I am living right now for the rest of my life? Absolutely. Yes. No problem. I go to bed full and happy every single night. I wake up and I’m excited for breakfast. I’m eating throughout the day. I love the food I’m eating. My kids and my family, we are all eating healthy together. It’s pretty awesome.
Jonathan: Thank you, April, and as I have inspired you, you have inspired me, so if you don’t mind, I love your patented Next Actions.
Jonathan: So can I offer a next action for folks?
April: Yes. And do I get to close the show?
Jonathan: Yes. Absolutely. We’re going to role reverse here. So, my recommended next action for folks – I’m trying to think, because I have a philosophy here, and I’m trying to make it quick. Okay, the next action is that if possible, the next time you see one of these things, if you can force yourself to laugh – put a smile on your face and laugh, because that will change your psychology instantly – so when you look at it, smile. And try to just force a fake laugh, because that is going to put your head in the right space. And then say to yourself, even if this is true, could I do it for the rest of my life? Any time you see any of these, don’t question whether or not it works, whatever it is telling you to do, this extreme workout program, these pills, this whatever – can I do it for the rest of my life? If the answer to that question is yes, give it a shot. If the answer to that question is no, then you can continue to smile and say, well, it didn’t pass the test, and set it down.
April: I love that next action. That is brilliant. And it is something that I’m going to make sure I do, and that I teach my children to do every single day.
So, thank you for joining us today for the SANE show. We are hopeful that when you see these siren songs of weight loss that appear online, on your doorstep, in the media, that you will remember to ask that question – can I do this the rest of my life? So, thank you for so much for being with us, and remember to stay SANE.