In this podcast, David and I talk about how things went for me in the month of February and my goals for the this month.
Time: 15 minutes
In this podcast, David and I talk about how things went for me in the month of February and my goals for the this month.
Time: 15 minutes
Almost 30 years ago, Debra Mazda weighed nearly 300lbs.
Fueled by a desire to feel better, weigh less, and have a better life, Debra made the decision to start working out at a neighbourhood gym.
Remember, those were the days before the Internet—before we had access to tons of information, could ask experts questions, and could support. It was also before we could choose from thousands of workout DVDs and do our workouts from home. Also, this was a time when morbid obesity was rare. For Debra, walking into a gym wasn’t just a brave thing to do, it was a life changer.
Not only did she lose 150lbs, but she went on to become a fitness instructor and founder of Shapely Girl Fitness.
Over the years, Debra has opened, and maintained a fitness studio and created a collection of workout DVDs and motivational CDs. Her down to earth personality and empathy for people of all sizes and fitness levels has garnered her loyal fans who describe her as “encouraging”, “a great motivator”, and “sassy”.
Within this interview, Debra shares her personal story and gives tons of suggestions on losing weight and making workouts a priority.
Time: 84 minutes
In part one of our interview, Bill talked about what life was like as a 465lb man and the day he made the decision to change his life.
No matter how much you weigh or what health issues you may be experiencing, I hope Bill’s story will show you it is possible to regain your health…and your life.
Thank you, so much, to Bill for his time, for being so candid, and for answering all my questions.
Time: 56 minutes
Read the full transcript of the interview: show
Welcome to Eat, Sleep, Move. A podcast devoted to helping you lose weight, get healthy and have an amazing life. Here’s your host, Wendy Wallace.
Wendy: Welcome to the second part of my interview with Bill Barlow. In part 1, Bill talked about what life was like as a four hundred and sixty-five pound man and the day he made the decision to change his life. In this part, Bill talks about the changes he made and the results he got along the way and obviously he was doing something right because he lost two hundred pounds in one year.
No matter how much you weight or what health issues you are experiencing, I hope Bill’s story will show you that it’s completely possible to regain your health and you life. Here’s Part 2 with the inspirational Bill Barlow.
That leads to actually a question I have about myths and it goes back to the question about food preparation and what you were eating. I know you are now helping people and talking to people and I would imagine that I know for myself, I’ve done research. I remember about three years ago when I was on YouTube and I found a video about Angela Stokes-Monarch and her weight loss and that sent me on this journey of doing a lot of research. There are times that I am like thoroughly confused.
And so, just as an example, what I am hoping is that other people also you know have their own kind of confusion about just certain things and that may stop them from actually really embracing and doing the same thing that you did. So, for example, in my case, I really don’t like salads. I mean I don’t eat spinach and I will juice up all the greens in the world and I’ll have them in smoothies. Don’t like chewing them; don’t like cucumbers that kind of thing.
Then, on the one hand, you read and hear about the importance of eating foods whole and you really shouldn’t juice that much. And then you have Dan, who is advocating juicing, and so you just kind of get confused. And then on top of that you have to factor in what you like and what you don’t like and be okay with that, right?
There are a lot of common myths that people have that stop them. What recommendations do you have for people to get beyond those myths and then opening them up to trying to find a balance that works for them?
Bill: In the last year and a half, my life has been nothing but an experiment and I do want to spend some time with Wendy and tell her the things that I have experimented on. But the big picture of what I have found is that when I ingest dark leafy green juice on a daily basis rather than just having water and maybe solids, which may be fruit or salads, I have much more energy and more stamina to go through my day when I am drinking juice and having some salads rather than not juicing at all. The reason why is very, very simple.
The reason why is any dark leafy green juice that I prepare, I am getting a tremendous amount of nutrients that I can drink in a 15 to 20 minute period rather than taking a small portion of that because you will never be able to consume all the juices that I put in my juice in a 32-ounce you will be eating for four hours.
Wendy: Yeah. It’s a lot of greens.
Bill: Yeah, it’s a tremendous amount of greens. If you were to not drink that juice and tried to consume a portion of that vegetable, your body would have to slow down, it will have to take its energy and focus some of the energy over the digestive system to break that down. As it’s breaking that down you are not getting the same level of nutrients into your blood stream as you would have if you would have just drunk the juice you made out of your juicer. So, for me, and I can only speak for me, it has been a tremendous benefit to be able to juice rather than try to consume all those types of vegetables and fruits and try to get the same benefits out of it.
Wendy: Okay. And so then how do you find that balance? Like I said, maybe there are certain foods that someone doesn’t like or likes to juice but doesn’t like to eat in salads. What do you say to someone who doesn’t like eating salads?
Bill: That’s a tough thing. Everybody is different and I understand that. And so what we have to do is we have to look at our options. So the first thing that you should do is start from the basics. You need to start from the basics and so you need to spend some time talking to someone that knows about this or spending some time on the internet and really figure out, first of all, how tall I am, how much I weigh and how old I am. You put those down and there is a chart that will tell you the calorie content that you need to go through your day and keep your weight the same.
So now we know that number so we put that number off to the chart. Now we look at your daily intake of what you are eating at the point. It could be bad; it could be not so bad. It doesn’t matter what it is. We are not here to beat you up. We are just looking at the calorie content that you are doing to maintain and then we will see if the calories that you are putting in your body at that point are the same of what it takes to maintain you weight or your weight to come down or go up. So now we know that number, what you are bringing in.
So now we look at all the other choices that you would like to ingest, okay? That we could bring in the nutrients into your body and bring the calorie content down and we do this slowly. We don’t do it overnight where we take 3000 calories or 2000 calories away from you overnight where you start going through withdrawals and all of this. That’s not good. So we do it slowly with the people and so but we look at the things that you like.
Let’s say a person doesn’t like celery but they like lettuce. Well, we don’t have the celery right now and we have more lettuce or they really can’t take kale right now but they can take spinach. So we have some spinach. If they don’t like to have it in a salad there is other methods of making the meals so it’s appeasing to them.
I can tell you this. Here is what’s going to change for everyone. I don’t care what diet you are one or what you are eating at the present time when you change your diet on a regular basis in a very short period of time. I mean in a short period of time, in the first week to two weeks your taste buds will change dramatically. And when your taste buds today do not like the taste of celery or it doesn’t like the taste of whatever vegetable or whatever fruit does not mean that three or six months down the road you are not going to revisit that vegetable and go “you know what, that really tasted good.”
Bill: Yes, because that’s what I found and it was amazing. So I never really didn’t like anything but I sure noticed my taste buds opened up and, my gosh, my salads today tasted fantastic. It was off the hook. It was nothing special. It was just a regular salad but the tastes were just phenomenal.
Wendy: I have this memory of something that happened to me last fall which leads to just a quick side question for you. I really started to juice a lot last summer and eat organic and I didn’t realize where I lived they actually grew organic watermelon for a few months in late summer and early fall and I started juicing whole watermelons and I loved it so much. But I actually found myself getting kind of emotional when I discovered that my watermelon season had ended and there were no watermelons. Do you notice that that you just have like love affair with food and that you never had before? Just like joyous relationship with food?
Bill: Oh, yes. Oh gosh, yes. Totally. That’s one of the things that I get excited. It’s not like the same excitement that I had when I was morbidly obese. It’s different; it’s a joyous excitement. You ought to see me. You guys really ought to see me like if I go into whole foods or I was just able to go a couple of weeks into the Berkeley ball which is on Berkeley, California and it was unbelievable.
Anyway, when I go into one of these stores, I am like a little kid in a candy store and my personality changes when I go in there. It’s just like I want to buy so much. I have to say to myself, if I buy that Bill, you are not going to be able to consume and it’s going to go bad. I just got done going to Davis, California Farmers Market and I was literally walking around just eating vegetables raw and I was having a fantastic time. So, yes, I do get euphoria when you find fruits and vegetables that are in season that taste fantastic and I want to share that with everybody. Yes, I do.
Wendy: The thing that everyone must be wondering about is whether or not you really stuck to be 100% raw for the past year and a half. I can understand for the first few months that may be that fear was still motivating you a little bit and that you were noticing that you were feeling better, the weight was coming off and there was still that enthusiasm.
But what about the times, let’s say, maybe six months into it and you were thinking like, you know, I have got this down. I can handle some dinner out with friends or some lasagna or pizza pie or something like that. How did you handle that? Did you stick with it? Did you not “cheat” at all? Also, how did you handle those situations that most people find themselves in where they go to the family or a function or some sort of an event where they want to have food and they want to have a good time?
Bill: That’s a beautiful question. Now, let’s go back and let’s look when I got started. I started on November 7th 2010 and you are going to say, well, Bill, petty quick there in a couple of weeks is Thanksgiving and then after that it’s Christmas. How did you handle that? Well, I am going to tell you that I made the video like I make all my videos on YouTube. I made my video and I told everybody that I went to this function that I normally go to on Thanksgiving of 2010.
There are 40 of us that go to this function and we all camp out in a little beach and we have a fantastic time. And they would line the tables up with all this food, right? There must be a quarter of a mile— not really, but it seems like a quarter a mile of food because there are 40 people and that food is not only for that Thanksgiving dinner but it’s also for the next day’s lunch that we partake in so there’s a mountain of food.
You know, I was already well on my way. I was 100% raw when I went there. But I had talked to Dan about this and I had also prayed about it. I don’t consider it cheating. I don’t consider it cheating. I don’t call people cheaters. We don’t look down on people for this. The people that do this are smart enough to know that that’s the path that they need to take.
When I went to this function on thanksgiving of 2010, did I have any mashed potatoes or gravy or sweet potatoes or anything like that? No. In fact, the dishes that I was told to make is in a potluck so we all participated in making dishes. I made a salad and I made a fruit tray, perfect. I made the salad the way I wanted to make the salad and I made the fruit tray the way I wanted to make the fruit tray and that’s perfect.
So I brought that out and there was plenty there for that and so I had a big portion of my salad and I had a big portion of my fruit tray and I had some turkey. Did I have a lot of turkey? No. Did I taste the turkey? You bet you. Did I have fun? You bet you. Did people look down on me because I didn’t go two and three times?
I started to notice that day on November 24th 2010 on Thanksgiving, I looked at how people were eating in a different way. I focused on it a little bit because I was new to this. And I saw people going back two or three times and did they have any of my salads? No. Did they have any of my fruit trays? Very little. Did they have all the heavy stuff? You bet you. They had the stuffing and the mash potatoes and they gravy was on everything. And there was turkey and they were going back two or three times and I am going “Aha!” That’s what got me in my situation but I don’t look down on those people.
Bill: No, I don’t. No way do I look down on them. They are in their transitional period and I am in mine. Now, I have to say something to you. I went back this last year November Thanksgiving 2011 and I was a lot lighter, I’m telling you that right now. They looked at me and went “Oh, my gosh! What did you do?” You know, it was traumatic for them. And I told them. I shared it with them.
But, now, what did I do this thanksgiving? I did the same identical thing that I did last thanksgiving. I didn’t go over the edge. I had a little bit of turkey and I mostly had salad. No desserts. There were 20 deserts there and I didn’t even touch them, no way. So I have stayed 100% raw for every single week in the last year and a half? No, I haven’t. Have I lost 200 pounds in the last year and a half? You bet I have.
I have to say one thing. Have I stayed mostly raw every single day? Yes, I have. One thing that has really gotten tough was this winter. Where I live it got down to 13 below, that cold. It’s hard to stay warm. Do you want to have a 45-degree-salad when it’s 13 below outside? No, it’s tough. Do you want to have a juice that’s sitting in the refrigerator that you’ve just made and you chill and it’s 45 degrees? It’s very tough.
Bill: So one of the things that I did starting this winter, and I haven’t done it every day, and I haven’t done it every week, but I do it every once in a while is, I take the pulp from my juicer that I have made the dark leafy juice, and I take that pulp and I put it in a crack pot, not on a stove. I put in a crack pot for a reason so that I can adjust the heat so that I’m not going to raise the heat and boil it.
I put the pulp in the crack pot with some water and some other vegetable and I make a warm soup and I have that to warm my body. And it’s good, it’s wholesome, you are getting nutrients out of it. You are not eating a cheese burger; you are not eating a taco from somewhere. It’s okay, people.
I am the kind of person that I am not a fanatic about this. I know the tricks now. I was taught the tricks by the best in the industry. Dan is one of the people and I know how to change my body. I will tell you some more about where I have been and through the things that I have done, not just juicing, not just eating salads and fruits. There were some other things that I did to heal my body.
But my body reacts now. See, before, it responds. See, before, my body never responded. I would stop eating bread. Would it respond? No, my body would not respond. When I had stopped eating cheese, would my body respond? No. Now my body responds and it responds within a day.
Bill: Yes, my body is in full mode now. All the organs are working. Are they working 100%? No. It takes a lot longer to heal your body than a year and a half over the period of time that I have misused it. And I know that. But my body is responding now. When I make a change I can feel it right away. Right away I can tell. So I can tell if it was the right change or the wrong change and that’s important.
Yes, I have experimented. Like I said, it’s a year and a half and it’s been a total experiment. There are times in segments in my life you bet you I am 100%. During the summer months, when I am in full swing, you bet you because I love salads, I love fruit’s and I love smoothies and I love juice and I love water. Water is such an important factor of what I am doing; it’s incredible.
In fact, I literally spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on my water system to emulate another location that I went to that I did water healing. I did a water-healing for 21 days at the True North Health Center, one of the things that Dan McDonald told me to do. And the results were unbelievable! Unbelievable. I know you didn’t ask me about that, Wendy. I am sorry I went over it onto that area.
Wendy: No, because you’d said you wanted to share the other things that you did besides juicing and eating raw. So water fasting was one of those things?
Bill: Oh, my gosh. I went to the True North Health Center. Dan and I talked about this explicitly. You would never do this not under medical supervision, never; dangerous. You want to it the smart way. This whole thing you want to do smart, okay? You don’t want to get carried away; you want to do it smart.
So there are seven doctors at the True north Health Center. You are seen twice a day. You live there. There are different methods there though. It’s not just water fasting. There is also juice fasting and there is also meals that they can prepare for you that are raw and they can make it in your way, whatever way you want them. But I went for a water healing. I call it water healing, other people call it water fasting. It’s called water healing because that is what happened to me. I healed when I was there and it was just unbelievable.
That’s what brought my organs back—that 21-day there on water, that’s what restarted every one of my organs. Doctor Klapper, Doctor Goldhammer, they are geniuses. They are mental geniuses and they know exactly what they are doing. They have done thousands and thousands and thousands of this. They’ve never had an issue, never once had an issue. They know exactly how to monitor you. They know when to take you off. They know how your body is responding. They take urine analysis. They take blood work. They know how what you body is dong at all times.
It’s very well-supervised and it was well worth the money. I am telling you right now it was profound. Did I have some detox happening while I was there? You bet you I did. Was I well taken care of? You bet you I was. In fact, in the dorm that I lived in there, there are many rooms in this dorm and in one of the room in my dorm was Dr. Klapper himself. And there were nights I was detoxing and he was in my room taking care of me personally. That was awesome!
Bill: I can’t say enough about that organization, what they are doing and how they are helping everybody. And I will go back. That will not be the only time that I will do that. I will go back. I am going to try to do that once a year. I did that last winter, actually fall. I did it last fall and it was unbelievable. Those videos that I did are also upon YouTube about the time that I spent there. But, another thing that I did Wendy is that I did a 69-day juice feast.
Bill: And that was fantastic too. What that allowed me to do is really hold my skills down on juice fasting and making juice and preparing juice and what should I put in juice. Remember, my body is an experiment at this point. I am doing some experimentation and finding out how my body reacts with this vegetable and how it reacts with this one over here. And I have found a combination that is stiller for my body and my chemical makeup and then energy level that I go through is unbelievable when I drink that juice and I am drinking 64 ounces a day every single day.
When I was in the juice feast I was drinking a gallon to a gallon and a half a day plus water. Water is important. I want to go back to the True North Health Center. The water system that they have there is unbelievable. So what I did I took that concept, I couldn’t buy that system. That system is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. I took to that concept that they have at the True North Health Center and I emulated that and I have that water system at my house. It’s a smaller version of that but I have that at my house. That is the water that I drink and it goes through a series of filters and light; it is distilled and everything that happens to water. It’s the best one that I have seen yet by far. And I think water is a main factor in your healing of your body. Main factor.
Wendy: Well, a few questions come up while I was listening to you speak about the fasting, the water and what you have invested in you water system. You know, I remember seeing a documentary about raw food people and I remember there was one scene that stuck in my mind, when somebody was getting whole foods and they were looking at apples and they were looking at the price of apples and how they were whole foods they were a bit more expensive than your usual grocery store.
The person made the comment that they don’t scrimp when they come to their body. They are going to invest. And I think many of us have gotten into this especially many of us who have an experience tremendous health issues or haven’t been hit hard by something overnight. When we feel like our body is kind of lesser on our list of inquiries. So what would you say to people when it comes to the investment of spending 21 days and the money you invested in that and taking your water consumption seriously as well. How do you get into that mindset of understanding that you need to invest in your health?
Bill: You need a look at yourself. You really need to put the denial off to the side if people are having problems with that. I am not saying you need to talk to anybody about that you need to alone. You really need to look at your body. You need to take a snapshot of what was your body in the first 35 years and now what is body looking like now and how is it responding? And you need to think about something on the level of water healing. You might have to. But you really need to take a snapshot of it and the investment is really minimal.
You go on vacation and you get a hotel and whatever and you have got the travel expenses and you go see some sights and you go do this and you go do that. And then you have your meals and you go out for dinner and lunch and breakfast and you are doing all these things, all these activities on your vacation. Let’s say, it’s two weeks or three weeks.
You need to look at that cost and then you need to look at the cost of a True North Health Center stay because it’s less. And they are going to feed you, they are going to house you, you are not going to be able to go on any of the excursions while you are there but it’s a very peaceful, serene environment and it’s a very quiet environment to heal.
There are people that I met there. In fact, when I was there, I think there were about 45 other people there at the time. It’s a very large complex and some of them have been there before and they come there once a year and they take their vacation there. To get out of the rat race that they are in on a normal weekly basis in their life and they come down and relax and unwind and do computer work or do some knitting or whatever they reading, whatever they are going to do to relax, to unwind and let the body heal itself, so that they can go back into their life rejuvenated and ready to tackle another year.
And so I think that the investment that I made which was very inexpensive was well worth it because I not only got to relax and unwind and not have all the things that are in my life every day, the phone ringing and the people and everything else— if I was able to heal also. So I got benefits up and above some of the people that stay there. And so, I think it was well worth it.
Wendy: So the other question that comes up about fasting, both water fasting and juice feasting is for me personally and I hope all the people can relate to this, I have wanted to do a juice feast so much and recently I thought to myself why can’t I do this? And I realized it’s because of my own past experiences that to me fasting equals deprivation. And as soon as I get this idea in my mind that I want to do a juice feast, there is a part of me that freaks at the idea of it because I am focusing more on what I can’t have rather than what I can and then I get scared and then I eat and then I just don’t go through with it.
So I am wondering when you do the juice feasting because I remember you did that like, if I remember that correctly, it was like late summer or early fall. Or throughout the summer I think you did when you did your juice feast into the fall. And so you were well into losing weight and would you recommend the feasting and the fasting and doing something that intense or that involved, I guess would be the best word, more a little bit down the road than starting out?
When I did my research over the years, I had come across a woman who has a blog for a while and she actually deleted it. But she called it her green smoothie experiment. You know, overnight she decided that she was going to drink green smoothies and she ended up losing 100 pounds. And it was just one of those things that seem monumental superhuman things that only a few people could accomplish because most of us would freak about something and sabotage.
What would you recommend to people who want to do something like that but when should they do that along their journey?
Bill: Okay. Excellent question. It’s the same method that I coached my people now. There are people on the planet that can do what I did and one day for all their sad sort of way and go raw. Also, just go from raw foods and check themselves into the True north Health Center into a 21-day water healing. Or go out of there and go into a 69-day juice feast.
But most of the people don’t have the strength to do that, let’s say. Let’s call it strength for lack of another word. But that’s okay because that’s the method that I chose and that’s the method that I continued to choose to target my methods. To show everybody that number one that it’s okay for me to do and number two it can be done. But that’s not sensible for most of the people so it’s okay.
What I do with most of my clients is we start very slowly. So in a juice feast or a juice fast what we would do is we could start introducing juice into their life every single day and then after a period of time when they are getting juice into their day, then we would start pulling the food a little bit. And we would do this over a period of time and it would be baby steps. And after a period of time they are noticing that their energy level is the same or more and they are not on solids at this point.
That’s the same way that it is taught at the True North Health Center. I didn’t do it that was because I was more profound and I wanted to do it my way. When you get there they feed you a little bit and they start introducing some juices and things and then you go onto your juice. And then when you are done with your juice fast or water healing you just don’t leave the complex. No, they re-feed you. They go through a series of re-feeding and juicing that needs to be done to restart the system properly.
So there is a method to this. There is a method and so that’s the method that I teach many people and that I use now that we slowly introduce these things into their bodies and so there is not this big shift. And so they say well I can’t do this or their body has an adversary condition or anything. So that’s how we do it.
Bill: And it’s slowly put in there. So that’s the best way.
Wendy: I wanted to ask you about exercise and then a quick question about sleep and then a final question. So all throughout you have told me about your story you have explained it that it was painful for you to move and the exercise was difficult. So how did exercise play a role over the past year and a half? And, what about now?
Bill: Okay. Perfect question. Remember when I first started on November 7th 2010 I was four hundred and sixty-five pounds. Even though that the energy level shot through the roof because I got rid of the fat foods and I was feeling much better very quickly. I was losing weight; I was losing two to three pounds a day at first. And I was feeling fantastic and my energy level was on the roof. I still was fortunate because of my athletic background to know that my mind may feel better and my body may feel a little better, but I’m still carrying a tremendous amount of weight on my joints and that I need to very, very cautious so that I don’t hurt myself.
And so, for a period of time, all I did was I increased my walking just like Dan told me to do. Did I get crazy and start jogging or start to use a lot of equipment? No, because I didn’t want to hurt myself. If I were to hurt myself, it would have taken me back a step or two. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to continue to walk forward. So, as the weight came off and I am not talking five pounds, I am talking 50 pounds that came off, then I started increasing the amount of activity that I did every single day.
Where it’s gone to now, like I said, I am able to walk as far as I want to, I am able to jog, I take bike rides. I’m up in Lake Tahoe and there are videos on YouTube of me doing rides up Lake Tahoe. I love that. I can hardly wait until it stops snowing and then I can do it again. I do rebounding in everything and I come up with little tiny exercises that I tell my people to do too.
I come up with an exercise that will take and decrease and take the mid section of your body. It only takes 60 seconds five times a day. It is very simple you could do it wherever you are. I don’t care if you were in a subway or if you were standing in a store or wherever you are it can be done. And it only takes 60 seconds and you can do it five times a day and it’s fantastic. I am doing so much more activity and exercise now than I did before it’s amazing.
But, it’s not The Biggest Loser. This is not like that program where they go into the gym for six hours a day and deeply weight out of them and they have to do that because the show is only two or three weeks long or something. So they have got to have fast results in a very short period of time.
No, this is mostly with the juices, the fruits and the vegetables and the water. This does the most work after a period of time when your body gets used to that then we start increasing the movement very slowly by walking or with doing the 60-second exercise or jogging a little bit, bike riding; swimming is a big one. So that’s how we do this.
Wendy: I’m wondering though, do you have like workout goals or exercise goals especially considering your past as an athlete. As an example, a woman that I interviewed recently after losing 150 pounds wants to start to do power lifting and it’s kind of ironic that you used to do power lifting. Do you want to get back to that? Do you foresee yourself getting back to the gym or having those aspirations when it comes to changing your body with your activities?
Bill: I am smart enough to know I will never have the type of body that I had before. I won’t. It’s not going to happen.
Bill: Is my body continuing to get stronger? You bet you. Every single week, every single three days or so I notice something else that I am able to pick up. Am I power lifting now or doing heavy weights? No way, because I do not want to take that mass that I still have and I don’t want to build it into muscle. I want to lose as much weight as I possibly can, where my body level is out and then we will see what we want to do increase the muscle mass in my body. But right now I am still on a transitional stage, am still healing, am still getting rid of fat and so until that is done I won’t go into the heavy exercise that I may want to do. Wendy, I don’t have any answer for that right now because I am not in that level.
Bill: But I know I need to do a lot of cardio and I went down and purchased the cardio watch with the band it goes across your chest that I make sure that I can raise my heart rate up to a certain level every single day and so to keep the metabolic time down where the nutrition that I am injecting is being burned off. So that’s important. But, no, right now there is no heavy lifting or anything like that’s in the future.
Wendy: I wanted to talk to you about sleep and relaxation because you mentioned earlier you had to sleep in a recliner. And I would imagine that you wouldn’t get like a solid sleep having to sleep like that and then you have to wake up in the morning you have to function, which kind of leaves you on edge and frustrated and exhausted and maybe a little reactionary. I am guessing now that you sleep much better and I’m wondering about your thoughts about how things have changed for you because you are getting better sleep.
Bill: Before, my sleep habits were terrible. Now, I wake up so refreshed and it’s such a good feeling to wake up refreshed and spring out of bed rather than groan and moan and roll out of bed. It is amazing how I feel now after my 8 hours of solid sleep that I get every single night. Before I would be lucky to get may be four hours and that was not solid sleep, those four hours. I would wake up and turn and toss be in pain or whatever and I wasn’t getting any sleep at all, hardly. But now it’s amazing how much sleep I get and how relaxed I am and rejuvenated when I wake up in the morning. It’s amazing.
Wendy: Before we get to the final question, let’s talk about the year 2012 because you still have some weight to lose. So what are your goals? What do you see happening over the next 11 months?
Bill: Oh, you know, my life has changed drastically in the last year and a half. My health has changed, my mind has changed, my soul; my focus on things has completely intensified where I can focus. My mind is so much clearer and precise; it’s like thoughts come in and it’s not like a fog. My dedication to things has completely changed, where it’s so much easier to dedicate myself to something than it was before. And my career has changed now.
I have literally changed every facet of my life since November 7th 2010. So what I am doing this year in 2012 is I am trying to help as many people as I can possibly can. I am also going to a health coach school where I am going to be a professional health coach and detox specialist. I have events that I am go to around the country am about to go into Canada here in the next week and a half and take 70 people on a juice feast. Then we are going to head into Texas. And then we are going to do some other things with some other people. It’s amazing.
I am having a fantastic time doing this. The thing is that I am dedicated so less of my life now to my personal healing plus learning as much as I can about nutrition and detoxification and passing that knowledge on to as many people as I possibly can. It is my drive to that every single day to do that and it will be for the rest of my life. I have dedicated my rest of my existence to this and I am 100% committed and I will never ever go back to where I was before. Never, ever.
Wendy: So that leads to my final question. I wanted to ask about how amazed you are that things have changed so dramatically for you, in all areas of your life for the past year and a half and how if there were things that happened that you even didn’t fathom, like it sounds like you found your “life purpose.” Did you ever think a year and a half ago that you would be telling someone that you were going to dedicate your life to health and wellness and helping people?
And the other thing too that I cannot but be curious about are also the experiences that you have had like meeting Dan. When I watch your videos or hanging out with other raw food people who you might not have come across you know those kinds of people who are also dedicated to health and wellness as well and educating people. So when you look back are you amazed of the things that happened that you couldn’t fathom?
Bill: Yes. There are so many good things that have happened. You know, before in my life when I would try and accomplish something I would try and accomplish it and you would come up on a door and the door would be closed and you would have to knock on that door or you would have to ask permission or you would have to sell your idea or you would have to tell people about it or you would have to get them excited to have them open the door. And you wanted that defining moment; you had to have other doors opened to what you wanted to do whatever you wanted to do.
I have to tell you that since I started this I don’t have to knock on the doors anymore. I walk up to the door and the door is already open and there is someone waiting for me on the other side of that door. And it’s amazing. It’s just mind-blowing who I have been able to meet, what I have been able to learn. They have accepted me with open arms in the raw food community and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done. Dan was the start and there are so many others that have helped me along the way that we’d have to spend another hour thanking everybody and the people that have helped me save my life.
And so that’s one of the reasons that I have dedicated the rest of my life to this to give back and to help other people that aren’t so fortunate that they may not come in contact with Dan McDonald. They may not be able to come in contact with the other people that I have been able to spend time with. But that’s okay because I want to be accessible to these people. I want them to have the knowledge that I have and so I am willing to share with anybody that is willing to listen, anybody at any time for the rest of my life.
But it has made a profound change in my life; you were right. And it’s amazing how it has happened to me but obviously it was meant to be because I really didn’t have to try that hard. All I had to do was do the footwork and do the work, and focus and listen and it all came true.
Wendy: Well, I am so glad that you made the effort and made the choices that you did because I have watched you videos and have been inspired by them and I, like you, really admire Dan and appreciate Dan but fully couldn’t relate to him because he didn’t have the same issues that I did and I could relate to you. So thank you so much not just for this very long interview but also for your videos and your passion and just being an amazing guy with such a big heart, thank you so much.
Bill: Wendy, I can’t thank you enough for giving me this opportunity and the great service that you provide for your listeners and the message that you give your listeners and the message that we are giving today will not just be heard once. It will be in the internet until the internet exists forever.
Bill: And so this message that we are giving today is current today and will current 20 years from now. And so I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to speak and tell my story and what I have been through to help others. Thank you so much. Wendy. Thank you so much.
Wendy: You are welcome. Thank you so much to Bill for his time for being so candid and answering my many, many questions. I know this was a long interview and I thank you for listening and hope you were inspired by Bill’s story. You can find Bill at RawFoodForMyLife.com. I will have the links to his website, his YouTube channel and his Facebook page at EatSleepMove.com.
Now, go drink some green juice and be well.
Thanks for listening to the Eat, Sleep, Move Podcast. Find out more by visiting EatSleepMove.com.
I have got an incredible, seriously incredible, interview for you.
For the past year and a half, I have been watching videos filmed by Bill Barlow as he documented his weight loss. I’ve watched him make tons of juice, massive amounts of salad, and, most impressively, lose 200lbs in one year.
I was so fortunate to get the chance to speak to Bill about his weight loss and ask for his advice on how we can all take what he has learned to lose weight, and, most importantly, get healthy.
This is the first part of the two-part interview.
Time: 60 minutes
Here is the link to the second part of the interview.
In this podcast, David and I talk about how things went for me in the month of January and my goals for the this month.
Time: 15 minutes
As I begin to take my weight loss more seriously than I ever have in my life, I’m always on the lookout for people who have lost a great deal of weight and dramatically changed their life in the process.
Yvette Nathan-Jones is one of those people.
After reading her weight loss success story on the Hufington Post, I had to ask Yvette about what her life was like before her 105lb weight loss, how she was able to create the momentum to get started and keep going, and what her life is like now.
Just a quick note: The audio quality isn’t as high as it should have been. I’m working with a new microphone and didn’t get the recording settings quite right.
However, it is still an in depth and incredibly motivating interview that I hope you will enjoy.
Time: 70 mins
Read the full transcript of the interview: show
Here’s your host, Wendy Wallace.
Wendy: Yes, I am Wendy Wallace and thank you so much for listening to the Eat. Sleep. Move. Podcast. As I begin to take my own weight loss more seriously than I ever have in my life, I am on the lookout for people who have lost a great deal of weight and dramatically changed their life in the process. Essentially I’m looking for people who have accomplished the goals that I have for myself right now.
Yvette Nathan-Jones is one of those people. After reading about her weight loss success story on the Huffington Post, I had to ask Yvette about what her life was like before her 105lb weight loss, how she was able to create the momentum to get started and keep going, and what her life is like now.
Before we get to the interview, I just want to make a quick note about the audio quality. It really isn’t as high as it should have been. I am working with a new microphone and I didn’t quite get the recording settings right this time. However, it is still an in-depth and incredibly motivating interview that I hope you will enjoy.
Before I start delving into questions about your weight loss and how you went about doing it, can you just tell everyone right now exactly where you are right today in terms of your age, your weight and what you’ve accomplished.
Yvette: I’m 37 years old and I currently weigh 185lb. My goal weight is 165lb so I have a few more pounds left to go. Due to the weight loss, my doctor released me off my medications. I have been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and Hypertension and I was on medications for about four or five years. He finally allowed me to just monitor those Hypertension and Diabetes with diet and exercise.
Wendy: That is really, really amazing. I don’t know whether to say congratulations on your success because it’s not about luck or anything, but great job with that!
Yvette: Thank you.
Wendy: Obviously we’re going to delve into how it is that you did it. But let’s back up because I read that you gained most of your weight during the time that you were pregnant with your two children.
Wendy: But before the pregnancies, let’s talk about when you were 180lb back then. What was life like for you at 180lb? You were still carrying a bit of weight, right?
Yvette: Most of the weight I gained was in my senior year in college. I was holding a steady 135lb-150lb at 5’7” all through high school and my first three years in college. Then I had gotten on birth control and of course they say you’d gain all your weight when you get on the pill. But I didn’t.
I stayed active. I was on the marching band for three years at Albany State University where I went for undergrad, as well as my roommate. In our senior year, we thought we could focus on internships and graduating and then we just kind of noticed, oh my gosh, we are growing up! What’s going on here? So what used to be a size 8 ended up being a size 12, which was still okay.
When I needed to buy a formal for an event at school, that was kind of an eye-opener for me. I said, I needed to cut back on the late night eating. You know, how we do when we study late at night and we eat to stay awake.
Once I graduated, I was still kind of holding steady. Once I got married two or three months after I graduated, that was when those few pounds of wedding bliss as they call it occurred. And then I was at 180lb to 190lb, fluctuating before then.
So that was my pre-pregnancy weight for my first child. That was when everything just skyrocketed after that.
Wendy: So then your highest weight was 290lb, right?
Yvette: Highest weight was 290lb, yeah. I would say it probably was higher than that but I just kind of believed that when there was time for me to be on the scale there was no scale available, just to save my sanity because I don’t know how I would have reacted to see 300lb on the scale. But the highest weight at the time that I ever got on the scale was 290lb.
Wendy: I want to talk to you about seeing that number on the scale and how that impacted you. But before I ask that question, I’m curious about what life was like for you at 290lb, because obviously there was time in your life when you were active. You’ve kind of had a connection with your body, right? Like you knew what exercising and eating well could do for you. But obviously you got busy and had other priorities. Would you say that you checked out and just began neglecting yourself, not in a harmful way but you were just not making that mind-body connection? I’m curious about what it was like for you physically and then, I guess, psychologically being at 290lb.
Yvette: Well, for a long time I didn’t realize I was that heavy. Luckily I didn’t get sick very often, being that heavy or catching cold or anything like that. I didn’t know because often I didn’t have a scale at home. But I noticed there was being sluggish, having to buy plus size clothes. Plus six clothes cost much more than regular clothes that are size 12 and below.
I went in denial, I guess. I can’t say I ever got comfortable because I was never comfortable being that heavy. But, in a way, I guess I just wished it away until there were times when I had to stay fit. Most of the focus were on the kids. I mean I had two small kids at that time so you tend to take the focus off you and shift it to the more impaired of me which were the kids.
That was when I moved back to Columbus when I tried to once again establish a weight loss program when I had to get on the scale and face the fact that I weighed 290lb. I just kind of cried and had a panic attack.
When I was heavy when I lived in St. Louis I didn’t want to come home. I didn’t want people to see me. I remember one time I was at the mall and someone said, “Oh girl, you got big!” and I was mortified. I was really, really uncomfortable with that.
I never really got comfortable being that fat. I was very unhappy which led to different bouts of depression and I always said I had to do something. I actually did something. When I was in St. Louis I went to Weight Watchers and I actually lost 40lb. I got active again. That felt good. But being on one income, I stayed at home with my kids. At that time there was a freeze on raises. My husband hadn’t had a raise in four years. So I had to stop but then I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter.
I guess the best way I can say how I dealt with it is by ignoring it. That’s pretty much what I did.
Wendy: So then, you get on the scale and you’re going to face the fact that you’re 290lb. You just explained that you had a bit of a panic attack. But there comes that moment when you’re feeling overwhelmed by this reality and there are two ways you can go – you can either face it then start to get proactive or you can just be numb to it. I’m curious because obviously something within your mind clicked and you began to become proactive. How did that happen? How did you rise above the panic, shame, guilt, whatever feelings you were feeling to start making changes?
Yvette: It started when my arm was hurting and I thought I was having a heart attack. My husband rushed me to the ER and that time we were back here in my hometown Columbus, Georgia. I just started to get uncomfortable and I needed to go to the ER. My background is in healthcare so I know the signs and symptoms of heart attack, stroke, etc. So I get there and my blood pressure is 200 and something over high 100. A part of that probably was fear. You know, your blood pressure rises when you’re nervous or having an anxiety. But at the same time, the ER nurses are saying, “You need to go to the doctor and you need to get on some medications.”
So the idea of me having a heart attack and a stroke was really the main thing that kind of kicked everything in the gear. When I finally go to a follow-up appointment with my PCP, my regular doctor, he puts me on all these medications. He diagnosed me with Diabetes Type II with Hypertension, and that puts me on three medications, two of them being brand names and two of them being very expensive.
I just remember him saying, “You know, Yvette, you don’t always have to get the value meal. You can be satisfied with the happy meal or the kid’s meal.” I was mortified. I cannot believe he said that to me. That just added on to the whole thing. You put yourself in this position. You know, trying to work through the depression and blaming myself for being the way I am. I was kind of blaming my husband because even though he loves me unconditionally I felt like he didn’t do a good job to give me at least a little hint. Hey, babe, let’s get healthier…
It was a lot of emotional turmoil that I went through. But that was it. Then that was when I said, okay, I have to do something. And I did. I started Weight Watchers. That didn’t give me the results I was looking for. I still wasn’t fit. But I stuck with it for a little bit. Then I went to Bariatric Doctor here and that didn’t do it. She was pretty expensive.
I went to one other place. I got a personal trainer. That worked out for a little bit. But due to me going back to school and we had a scheduling conflict and so I couldn’t go to her anymore. I didn’t know what to do. I had lost 20lb with her. Then I was like, okay, what am I going to do? I’m still large and I’m still morbidly obese. 20lb can get right back on just easily as I lost it.
My cousin introduced me to a person that she went to. This lady didn’t advertise or anything. That was how it started. I went to one boot camp that she had and I was hooked.
Wendy: I want to ask you about exercise in a moment but there are a couple of things that also come to mind. When you tell that story about that comment that your doctor made, it reminds me of an experience that I had one time when I was just so mortified and embarrassed.
I went to my doctor and he had an issue with my weight and it happened to be Thanksgiving Weekend. I was walking out of his office, he was walking me out, and he said, “Happy Thanksgiving,” and he made some comments about how I shouldn’t be eating turkey. He made some authentic comments about how I should lay off the turkey. It really struck me.
I’m going to ask you if you kind of went through the same thing where you live your life and you’re in your comfort zone and maybe you’re at home with your kids and you’re just doing your thing. You’re not really impacted by the way that other people see you. Then when you go out into the world and you’re dealing with people you haven’t seen in a while or total strangers and they make comments. And it dawns on you that you’re actually really big or different, or people see you as being different.
Wendy: And then you have this weird reality or this identity crisis because you don’t feel like you’re morbidly obese, that you don’t see yourself that way. You don’t identify as being someone like that but yet that’s the way the world sees you. Did you ever have that conflicting stuff in your head?
Yvette: People can be really insensitive. What I can say as far as the people that are in my sphere of influence, the friends that I hang around being in St. Louis and here in Columbus, they never really said anything about me and my weight. But then at the same time they were overweight. So you can’t really point a finger at anyone. I also have some good, good friends from college. They would say something like you got a little round over the years or things of that nature.
A lot of the things that people wanted to say, they have taken the time on Facebook to write me. My close friends would call me and tell me how they were concerned I was dying. They saw me and they knew me when I was smaller so they were really concerned. Even my parents, they never said anything until after the fact when the weight started coming off.
As far as my doctors, they were brutal and that was just really difficult to deal with. My medical assistant from my OB-GYN, they were like, “Girl, what have happened to you?” I was like, “Ahh, I had some kids.” And they were like, “Where did you get all this weight from?” I was like, “Uhm, having kids…?” I mean you didn’t really know what to say. So I was really embarrassed. I felt that was just downright embarrassing because I was heavy and it would be an embarrassing experience. There were times when I would not go in two or three years. I would just risk it and not go because I didn’t want to be put on the exam table.
Yvette: So the doctors, for the most part, were really brutally honest. But my friends who I saw on a day to day basis, they didn’t say too much because we were all overweight. We all tried to be proactive about it here and there. My friends that were long distance that I didn’t see often, they just told me how it was. That’s what I was afraid of because I knew it. I kept blaming myself and I didn’t want to hear it because you’ll just tell me something I already knew.
I got mixed responses. I think in their own way they were trying to be supportive. But you have some people that are just blatant with their words and then you have some people who try to sugarcoat it so it doesn’t taste so bad.
Wendy: Here’s something I’m also curious about. You tried various things.
Wendy: But what I’m wondering is, was there ever a time when you really wanted to go to extremes with your weight? Like I think of The Biggest Loser has been on TV for almost a decade or something like that.
Yvette: Wait a minute, hmm.
Wendy: I realized every time I’d really wanted to get serious about losing weight, I’d be like, okay, if I could just work out like three hours a day and eat 1200 calories and work out really hard and do it and go at it hard, I could lose that weight. I actually had stopped watching the show to be able to start thinking more sensibly. Did you ever go through a phase like that?
Yvette: I did. Actually, my cousin and I sent in a video to try to get in the show. Of course we didn’t get picked or called back. I think that would be the most extreme.
Well, there are three things I can think about. First, try to get on The Biggest Loser. And I actually thought about getting into bulimia. I figured I can just throw it all up and then I’ll get the results that these other girls get. But it was just something about sticking my finger down my throat that I just couldn’t do it. So I just never tried that it did came to mind.
Another thing that I thought about was just starting myself to get in the hospital and start off being fed on a tube or something and that will jumpstart some weight loss and then I could just pick up from there. But it got to a point where my mindset was not in a good place and to me it was a desperate measure.
I know it was wrong, I know it wasn’t the right answer, but I was desperate. I needed something to get me started. Because I rationalize everything and I look at the pros and the cons, other than The Biggest Loser, I chose not to partake in those activities. But it comes to mind. It really does.
So those would be my most extreme measures that I have considered.
Wendy: I also read that you said that you wanted to lose weight for your daughters. Obviously you want to be there for them long-term. But of course at the end of the day it’s about you and you’re doing it for yourself. How did you get to that point where you were able to begin to focus on yourself? You still had the same responsibilities that you did but you really began to again connect with your body and want to take care of yourself.
Yvette: When I started boot camp with my trainer, Katrina, my first month or so was really difficult. I did a lot of crying and I was slow. I was sore. I realized that the first thing was the fact that I needed to be there for my daughters, and my husband for that fact, but then when I started to liking how I looked in the mirror I started to change. In two weeks time I noticed some inches milking away from my waist and around my body. Then it got to be, okay, this can be a hobby. I kind of liked it.
And so when a schedule was established, these days I would do this and these days would be designated for this – I sat down with everyone at the table and I was like, I’m getting really serious about this and we need to just make sure we can work out scheduling and everything works out. These are the days I’m dedicating to my goal, my weight loss. Everyone was really supportive. I think once I got into the groove it became more so like a personal goal for me. Like, okay, you actually can do this so let’s push yourself and see how far you can go.
Every month it was like, okay, let’s try to lose 10lb a month and let’s do this and let’s do that. And I did. I mean I would just make a vow that I was just going to go hard and not give up. And then I would get up in the morning, I would look at myself and I would say, okay, this area we need to work on… keep doing cardio. I was reflecting on what I’ve eaten, thinking about what I wanted to eat in the latter part of the week and what I needed to do to eat that and not be detrimental to what I’ve been working on.
When we got to that point to the particulars it really started becoming a focus that this is a personal thing for me.
Wendy: I want to back up to the first month of working out. Again, it’s kind of a mindset thing. Obviously you mentioned that it was difficult for you physically but I’m wondering what it was that kept you going. I would imagine like not only is it difficult physically, but mentally you’re thinking, I can’t believe that I can’t do this when ten or fifteen years ago I could have done it easily, or I should be able to do this – why can’t I do this? This just hurts and it’s just easier not to do it, and then you start kind of rationalizing or telling yourself something to ease away from the discomfort. How did you get through that initial time to be able to get to a place where it was, for lack of a better word, easier?
Yvette: My husband was very supportive because like I said there was a lot of crying in a lot of days where I was sore. I wanted to call out at work but I never did. When my students realized I was working out when I finally told them, I would come to school walking slow and they were like, “You must have worked out this morning.” I was like, “Yes.” It’s drive. I can’t even really explain.
One thing is that $332 a month of medications tends to inspire you when you don’t want to give that up. When you are in flexcar that’s being used up because you’re paying this amount of money every month, then you definitely want to come up with something and you know the only answer is to lose weight. When you look at old pictures then you realize that you were healthier then and in shape and active. You know, you want to go back to that. So you use that as drive to press on.
I’m competitive because I’m an athlete. And so getting out there, working out every day is okay. There’s an A Group and a B Group and I thought I wanted to get in the A Group. So I worked hard so I can get in the A Group.
I don’t know. I always tell people that you have to find that one thing that’s going to perpetually motivate you to do it and to see it through. Now, although I lost 175lb I’m not content. Now that I can see the muscles and the sculpting of my body, there are still certain areas that I want to fix. Plus, I haven’t reached my goal weight. So I just want to stay focused and not be content; not eat things that I’m really not supposed to be eating. And if I do, just not indulge in them every day or what have you.
It’s just a matter of mindset. This is the end result. How do I get there? Surrounding yourself by people who want to push you to get there, because I can tell you as I started losing weight, people started saying some nasty things and it just got to a point where you had to let those people go.
It’s just like you’re not there to support me like I thought you would. We can still be friends but we’re just not going to be on that level. That’s not me telling them. That’s just me making them to know. Okay, so we can be friends but it’s just not going to be what it used to be or what have you. There will be some people that really don’t want to see you be successful and they’re going to try to sabotage you or break your spirit. But you have to know what you want to do and then you just have to stay focused and follow through.
Wendy: Can you tell me what workouts were like at the beginning at that first month? And then also tell me what they’re like now.
Yvette: Oh my gosh, horrible. Okay, I’ll give you an example. I cannot remember my very, very first boot camp. I can tell you about my husband since I came there and I closed the garage door and I walked up to him. I just put my hand on his shoulder and I just cried. I said I’m not going to quit.
But I do remember a boot camp where we had to run a hill, and it’s not even a big hill. That was our warm-up. We could jog or sprint; she gave us a choice. Of course me being heavy, I sprint at it. I remember we had to walk back up the sidewalk to go to the parking lot to finish up and I couldn’t even walk up that sidewalk. Her husband, Brad, had to get and hold my hand and walk me up to hill. I just remember breathing hard not being able to catch my breath and control all of that. I remember getting shiftless all the time. We had to pushups and my wrist would hurt.
I never really caught cramps because we did a good job stretching. I remember I wanted water all the time. We don’t do water break that often and she would say, “You need to hydrate at home. You need to always drink water all the time. You need to let go of all these other things that you drink and hydrate your body because when you work out you won’t need to stop all the time and have water because you’re hydrated already.”
I remember coming last place, and not that it mattered. It didn’t matter. But to me it mattered. I would reflect like, oh my gosh, I used to go back and down the basketball court all the time and now I’m coming in last… I remember when we would do jumping jack and things like that. My fat was just going up and down with the jumping jack. But then at the same time every month I saw progress.
Now what used to be very, very difficult is tolerable because she has a way of changing things up. When she finds out it’s getting easy to you, she changes it and she takes it up another notch. So I want to use the word tolerable. Nothing is easy KBH Fitness but it’s tolerable. But the things I had a hard time doing I can do now. So it’s like I’ve mastered those skills and I can go on to another, or a more advanced deal of the same technique. Now I’m running 5K and 10K.
It’s a big difference. It’s a big, big difference when the weight is gone how everything just changes.
Wendy: What kinds of things would be a typical workout? It sounds like you guys did some outdoor stuff, but are you doing aerobics classes or are you on the treadmill? Are you doing weights? Is it kind of functional fitness or cross training?
Yvette: It is a conglomeration of boot camp aerobics and personal training. I do personal training twice a week. I do boot camp twice a week. Then I can do aerobics up to three times a week. I do more aerobics on the summertime because of the timing; it’s from 6 to 7. Of course my kids are in volleyball and basketball. So I’m usually not doing aerobics during the school year because of their extracurricular activities. But during the summertime or any kind of breaks we have as far as school breaks I’m in aerobics. But my main two stables are boot camp and personal training.
I’ve gone to a point where if I’m idle, if I have an off day and have nothing going on, I will work out myself. So I would go over and call some of my KBHs and meet them somewhere. We’ll go walking or running or we’ll have our own mini-sessions. If the weather is bad or what have you, I’ll do something in my own home. Jump-rope a thousand times or I’ll lift weights or make my husband or my daughters get on the floor and do some floor work with me. I work out at least five times a week for up to two hours.
Wendy: Okay. Do you mean in total? So that means half hour and forty five minutes a day?
Yvette: Yeah. Our sessions are an hour to an hour and a half.
Yvette: And then if nothing is going on the next day we’ll do a little extra for an hour and a half up or two, for five days a week.
Wendy: Okay. Let’s talk about eating. You’ve mentioned Weight Watchers. I’m wondering about whether or not you’re following any sort of a plan now. Are you following any sort of eating plan in particular?
Yvette: None in particular. When I was attending Weight Watchers of course I did the point system. That was years ago. I would say like in 2004 when I first relocated here in Columbus. When I was with that bariatric doctor it was more like a shake liquid diet. I didn’t do that, it just wasn’t reality. So I did do it because I paid for it but after a while liquid shakes and B12 shots I thought just wasn’t going to work.
When I got with Katrina, she gave me a little nutritional plan and it actually jumpstarted. What she does is, she shows you how to eat. Even now, we take tips from one another and we learn stuff.
I started off with letting go of all the soda. Being a diabetic I let go of all the soda. I was drinking diet soda and I let that go. So I just drink water. I’m not even in Crystal Light or anything like that. I’m not even in Gatorade. I will have tea. We’re from the south so we love sweet tea and I’ll indulge in sweet tea every now and then but not often.
Mainly fish, chicken, seafood, turkey, green vegetables. Sweet potato is in my diet. Salads, protein for the breakfast – so that would be like eggs, Weetos multigrain, good carbs, anything brown. Snacks would be almonds. You can sometimes sneak in some Peanut M&Ms really, the small pack though. Maybe some 100-calorie popcorn. Fruit is a big staple of course. And I do a lot of protein shakes because of the weight lifting that I do. Then you switch it up and then you find out what works for you, what time and day and what doesn’t.
Of course I try to eat all my carbs before three o’ clock. That’s just a guide. That doesn’t always happen. I’m realistic about that. I stay up until about midnight most nights. And I find myself really, really hungry but I try to stop eating dinner or what I want to eat by five o’ clock. My trainer was like, “Well, that’s kind of not realistic. Being able to stay up until midnight you might want to stretch it out from six or seven.” But of course lunch is always the biggest meal. Dinner would be like something light without bread for me.
She said my stomach is fastened to me about ten thirty and I was like I’ve got to eat something but I’ll drink some water or I’ll choose something else. And she said, “Don’t do that. Just don’t say five o’ clock for you. Not that late, make it six or seven or even six thirty.”
So we moderate; it’s trial and error. I’ve learned that some foods with a lot of sodium – I can’t eat that. If I do, then I’ve got to some way balance it out with how I eat earlier in the week. Even though it’s just sodium or water weight, I can gain 2lb or so after eating that. But I know it’s sodium so I drink water.
Yvette: While I’m eating it, after I’m eating it and way after that. So I really, really want to be vegetarian but I like meat so I decided not to do that. I’m just really turkey, chicken and seafood now and I’m happy with that. That’s fine. That’s been good to me.
Wendy: The other question that comes to mind – I know for me personally, there have been times in my life when I’ve got my eating thing down and I’m doing well with that but not working out and then other times when I’m like working out and it’s amazing but my eating is kind of crappy. How did you find that balanced for yourself? Was it after you started getting in to the boot camp that the eating came together better for you?
Yvette: And that’s because she’s holistic so she’s going to look at everything. After a while of “What did you eat today? What did you eat today? What are you going to eat later? What are you going to eat tomorrow?” you tend to have it programmed in your mind to play in how you eat. For example, let’s just say, Super Bowl is coming up on Sunday. Let’s say I get invited to a Super Bowl party. Well, I know there’s going to be lots of drinks and probably a cake or something like that. So I already know that I’m going to probably eat a little bit of everything while I’m there. So I know between today and Friday I’m going to have to really eat clean and probably cut back a little bit calorie-wise so I can enjoy that on Sunday.
It’s just a matter of planning. I’m at a point where I have to know where I’m going to go eat with my husband or with the family if we go out to eat. If it’s a franchise restaurant I’m looking it up on the web to see the nutritional content to figure out what I can eat, especially if it’s a restaurant I haven’t been to before. I’m constantly having a mindset of what I’m going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And then when I’m halfway through the day, or let’s say today I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat tomorrow. I’m already planning ahead. If I happen to deviate, which will happen on Friday, because Friday at where I work we do like a potluck breakfast and everyone is bringing something, I’m already thinking I’m just going to have this, this and this. Well, some things I’m not going to eat. I’m not going to deal with the grits and all of that stuff. But I have to be mindful of, if I get some turkey, bacon and some eggs, maybe some toast and it’s just not there, then I need to make sure I have my protein shake on my hand. I just plan that way.
Wendy: You know, when I’m listening to you say all of that, it’s really interesting because you’ve developed this rational and neutral relationship with food. It’s more like you can control it and it doesn’t control you. But I remember reading that you described yourself as being an emotional eater. So I’m wondering then, how did you get beyond using food not just to comfort yourself but at times as many people do like as a drug where you use sugar to boost your energy and you use carbs to kind of numb yourself or bring yourself down or just to check out. How did you get beyond that where whatever is going on in your life you are just not using food anymore to get you through the experience and to be able to have that rational and neutral relationship with food?
Yvette: Well, it’s funny because I can’t say. I go shopping now Wendy because that’s not the case. So it’s not like I traded food for shopping. What I’ve done, honestly I can’t really explain it. I do know when I’m upset or things of that nature I want something sweet. But I try to have something already at my disposal. Like I said, sweets to me now would be a bag of Peanut M&Ms and that’s splurging for me now. Maybe some cinnamon sugar with the regular roasted almonds – but some of it is kind of like willpower. I’m not like a snack food type of person. I never was. I was more of a big portion type person.
When it comes to me getting emotional and wanting to eat something, for me if I don’t have it in the house I’m good. I’m not going to go drive out to go get it. I’ve never been that type. But if it’s something I want, if I’m upset and I want to eat something, I’ll find something but it’s going to be of nutritional value now. I’ve just gone to a point where, okay, I’m upset, my kids may be mad, I need to go get me something. But it would be some pretzels or something like that.
It’s still emotional eating but it’s gone to the point where I can show what I eat. I also really have learned that when I’m having a stressful day I look forward to working out. So now I take all of that out on. That’s my therapy. Working out is my therapy now. Because I have such an avid regimen now with myself, I really just take the frustration of that on the weight and at the boot camp and at the aerobics class. But there are times, but it’s rare, where I want to go get this and I want to go get that especially women in that time of the month would get PMS and you want something sweet and things like that.
When my trainer told me, “When you want something, don’t deny yourself of it because if you do, you can go overboard later on. If you want it, go ahead and have it but have it in my ratio. And just be true with it and just start all over.” So I’ve practiced that every now and then if there’s something I want.
For example, when I go to Atlanta and I know my husband likes to go to Cheesecake Factory. So what are you going to do with that? Well, if I go get it I may try the sugar free for the first time, I may not want it that particular day. If I want it, you know, I’ll take it back home and drive back to Columbus, eat half of it or a third of it, save it and eat the rest in the next few days or what have you. So there are just different techniques and strategies you can use without giving up everything. But then at the same time, I know that when I take a bite of it then I’m going to have to work out extra hard or I’m just sabotaging the hard work that I did 24 hours before.
So it’s really a mind game. You’re constantly looking at everything. If not A, then B. It’s like a flowchart. You just have to be savvy of your body and what you can and cannot tolerate. It’s a day by day process.
Wendy: The other aspect of this that I want to ask next is sleeping and resting, and taking care of yourself, relaxing when you’re really stressed. How was that changed for you since you lost the weight?
Yvette: I sleep so well like a baby. When I was heavier, I snored. I tossed and turned all the time. We have a king-sized bed and in my mind I slept as close to the corner as I could because I felt like I was taking up half of the bed. Now I’m smaller so it doesn’t appear that way. In your mind, you can be your own worst enemy. That might not have even been the case but that’s just how I felt.
But sleeping-wise, I sleep good. I mean, naps help. I take naps now especially when we’re on the weekends or summer breaks and things of that nature. It’s just I’m peaceful. The snoring is gone for the most part. I’m well-rested.
Sometimes I’d get up because I’ve got to work out at five thirty in the morning and I would take a nap before I’d go back to work, but I’m energized. And I have so much energy now. My mind is clear. If you can imagine that, I mean I’m focused and it just really has helped me to have a total body experience—mind, body and soul. But the sleep is wonderful. You sleep so much better when you work out.
Wendy: So the next thing I want to ask you more about was getting off medication. Oftentimes when you go to your doctor and you’re diagnosed with something and they tell you have to go on medications, it feels like a life sentence and that you’re somehow enslaved to this medication now and there’s nothing you can do. Then you begin to kind of feel that somehow your body is working against you and there’s nothing you can do.
So you’ve proven that with changing your body, exercising and eating that you don’t have to be enslaved to medication. What was it like for you to have your doctor tell you that he was taking you off of the medication? That must be the most empowering thing psychologically to be able to do that, because many people don’t get to that point. I’ve never been through that experience but I would imagine if I was, I would be so profoundly in awe of my body and what it’s capable and what I can do when I actually pay attention to it.
Tell me about the thoughts that went through your mind when you were taking off medication.
Yvette: Well, I wasn’t even due for an appointment but because, you know, the money was running out for the flexcar and I was like, okay, something has got to give. I’ve lost some weight and I need to go in and just command and tell him, “Look, if you can’t take me off these medications please put me on generic. There’s got to be generic for the main two.”
I went in there and the lady said, “What are you here for?” I told her I wanted to get off my medications. She weighed me and I don’t think I even hit the 100lb mark yet from if I’m not mistaken. And so she was like, “Oh my gosh, you’ve lost a whole lot of weight.” And I was like, “Yes, I have.” She was like, “Okay.” So when she put me in the waiting room and I waited on him. I was like, what if he’s going to say no?
So I walked in and he pointed out the weight loss and he was like, “So you wanted to get off your medications?” I was like, “Yes.” He was like, “Okay. Well, we’ll do a Hemoglobin A1c and if it’s within the range then I’ll take you off.” And of course my blood pressure was fine.
It was like the longest minutes of my life. Like what is he going to say? Is it going to be good news, bad news? I had already decided if he’d told me no, then I’d have asked for a generic. I didn’t want not to listen to doctor’s orders so he tells me to stay on medication I would have stayed on medication. I don’t want to die because I don’t want to be obedient and just be stupid and not be on medication. I had decided I would do everything he tells me to do.
He said, “Can you tell all my patients if you work hard you can do it. Can you just go to every room and tell everybody that yes, it’s possible to lose weight?” And I said, “Yes!” I was just grinning from ear to ear, had to contain myself. He said, “I’m so proud of you.” and I was like, “Well, you know, I have a goal weight for myself.” He said, “You know what, even if you don’t hit your goal weight just promise me you’ll keep doing what you’re doing.” And I said, “Yes, I will.” He said, “I’m so proud of you. It can be done. I have to get people to believe that if you try hard enough you can do it.”
And so I just remember going to my car and the nurses told me congratulations and everything, and I got in my car and I sat and I cried. I could not contain myself. I sat in the car at least a minute because it was done. Four years of being on this medication thinking it’s just a way of life. You know, I’m just going to be diabetic and hypertensive all my life.
My mother is a nurse and she’s like, “Well, once you’ve been diagnosed with it you’re supposed to disclose it.” The fact is I’m off the medications. I worked to get off. I worked to save $332 every month. I worked to have some control of my life. It’s so great. I just was crying. It was all I could do. I posted it on Facebook things like, “Guys, you would not believe this. I’m sitting in my car crying. My doctor took me off my meds.” It was just a wonderful feeling.
And so now the goal is not to ever get back in that position. I refuse to be content. I refuse to stay stagnant. It’s like you’re off your medication. What are you going to do? Stay off of it. Some people, I’m off I don’t have to do anything anymore. No, you can’t stop. This is something you don’t have to do for the rest of your life. You’re going to have to have that determination. You’re going to have to continue your self-discipline and willpower and just continue doing. Don’t think of how long you have to do it. The commitment has already been made like a marriage. Just keep doing it. That’s what I’m doing.
Wendy: I’ve just got a few more questions for you. The next one is, when you look back during the moment that you got started doing boot camp until now, what was the biggest internal challenge that you had, maybe resistance that was still lingering for quite a long time that you felt that you had to battle even though you were taking action? Also, what was the biggest external challenge for you as well that you had to work at overcoming?
Yvette: The external challenge is finding time or rather making time because it got to a point where I was wondering if I was being selfish by monopolizing time that I used and spent doing things at home with focusing on me. I guess that would be the internal too. I really had to fight with that because for many years I gave myself to my kids and my husband. You know, making sure they were accommodated and they had what they needed. Then all of a sudden I decided I was going to spend five to six days, sometimes seven days a week, working on me. It wasn’t school-related. This is something else that some people might look at as a hobby.
So I really battled with not looking selfish and not saying that anyone in this house said that, that was just something that I had to come away from. And then when I started seeing the results and I started seeing the pounds dropping and losing the inches, the doctor’s visit going fairly well. Then it just came to a point where I was like, you know what, they’ll be okay because what are they going to do when I’m not around? The next person will have big shoes to fill and it’s not me. Something has got to give. Either you become supportive, understanding, or you don’t. But either way I’m just going to do me and I’m going to get healthy.
Luckily I have a great family and that wasn’t the case. But I did battle with that because I didn’t want any kind of drama to unfold and I didn’t want this new venture to be a hindrance to our marriage. You know, some people don’t like change and I didn’t know how the change would be accepted. And it was accepted well. Because when I started working out, he started working out at work because they have access to the YMCA. My daughter works out now. So it actually had a triple down effect. That was really heartwarming to see that everyone would buy in. You know, Mom wanted a healthier lifestyle and everyone started buying in to the healthier lifestyle.
So I would say the external would be finding the time, making the time and being committed to the time that I wanted to designate for this; and then internally not feeling guilty that I wanted to put this time, set this time aside for me and me only. Once I got past that then everything just kind of fell into place.
Also, I could probably add that every now and then when I first started I didn’t envision being successful. I would say, oh you’re going to lose your normal 20lb to 30lb and it’s not really a big difference. They’ll give it back and you just wasted your money. But that didn’t happen because I had to change my mindset. I had to tell myself, you know what, going constant on that small goal and you just keep pushing and then we’ll see what happens.
My trainer asked me, “Well, what do you want your goal to be?” and I said, “Oh, I love to see 185lb.” You know, I just picked the number. I was 185lb before I got pregnant. So I was like, yeah I’d love to see 185lb. And so 185lb is here!
Actually when I hit 200lb she was like, “Okay, so clearly you’re going to see 185lb one day so we will change your goal to 165lb.” “165? What? I was 165lb in college!” and she was like, “Okay.”
Now that I’m 185lb, 165lb is not too far away.
Wendy: Right. Right.
Yvette: You know, it’s an attainable goal. I guess the whole thing is not to sell yourself short about saying what you can’t do and just go after it and do it. And then also have a backup plan. Well, you’re not going to lose this amount of weight then shoot for being healthy and having better agility and endurance.
So in all of that come full circle you just do with the total body type workout. I am probably more athletic now than I was in high school or in college. I’m stronger now than I was in high school and college. Physically I feel I look a lot better now than I did in high school and college because of the weight lifting and the body sculpting and things of that nature.
Wendy: So that leads to the question I was going to ask about your goals. I would mention you’d want to keep things interesting with your workouts, right? So this is a two-part question. I’m wondering about your workout goals and your athletic goals that have long-term but, also, I would imagine that again from a mindset perspective, you’re thinking, wow, look at what I just achieved and look at what I learned about myself while achieving this monumental thing. So it makes you kind of maybe look at the areas of your life in terms of projects or other dreams that you might have.
I’m wondering about your goals. Also, you’ve gotten to this point where you were like, I never would have thought it was possible for me but now I do, I know that it is.
Yvette: That is so funny that you said that because one would be while I look at what I achieved it’s like with the weight loss thing I celebrate for a day and I keep it moving. And then when I ended up on AOL, that was crazy. I mean I knew about the Huffington Post because actually my trainer sent a story that someone else said on me to read and she contacted me. But the response that I received regarding being on AOL, that was just crazy. I did not expect that. And then for people to say, you know, you’re such an inspiration, those are big words for me because I want to share my story and I want everyone to know that anything is possible if you try it. I’m just a simple person like everybody else. But I guess, like you Wendy, we all have this commonality and we’re supporting each other because we’re all trying to get to this goal.
I got to this point where there are other projects that I want to do. I felt like, well, okay, you can do this, you can do this. So I started my own business. I own a writing and editing service. I started that off in June of 2011 as well as my blog. I moved it from Facebook to a regular site. So I started just kind of blogging monthly on what I’ve been doing to get to this weight loss goal. I want to do some public speaking.
You know, I’ve had some friends who asked me if I would mind coming to their church and talk to them. I also want to start writing a memoir about it. The main thing is, yes, I lost some weight but I want people to understand what your mind can do to you. I wanted to commit suicide just to let all go because I just blamed myself for getting to this point. By me getting to this point, and this is just me saying this, but I caused a financial hardship to my family because of the money having to go out. I had to take more money to buy clothes. So I really blamed myself for getting in the way. I just figured that if you just aim your life in then you don’t have to worry about that part anymore.
You know, it’s a battle. When you don’t have something about yourself, and it doesn’t have to be weight related, it can really take a toll on your well-being. And so you have to really battle with that and find the right people to help you get past that and support you and level on you until you are well enough to say, hey, okay, I can see above the clouds, let’s get moving. And so it has put my life in a whole different perspective.
I told my husband, “Okay, I’m working now and I’m happy with what I do but there will come a time that these other ventures I plan on pursuing full steam ahead than what I currently do now.” So I have some things in motion with that and then I have one other little secret mission as I call it. My trainer’s husband is a trainer and he is actually my coach. I have decided to start training to do Amateur Powerlifting.
Wendy: Oh, fun. Fun!
Yvette: I started training in about four months so far and we’re working on getting the weight because I want to compete in the 165lb weight class for my age, which is 37. So I’ve just been doing my research and looking at the winning lift and trying to get to some meet around here. We’ve just been training and training and training. I’m excited about that because if I can do this, then I can do this. And I love lifting weights and I always did. I always wanted to do something to stay in shape and maintain so why not. When I told my husband, he said, “Cool. Go for it.” So that’s what we’ve been doing.
We haven’t really set a date for the first meet but we’re just preparing and I’m excited about it. It’s strenuous. There are days when I’m like, what in the world was I thinking? But I love it. If I could just lift weights all day I’d be happy.
Wendy: It’s weird that you mentioned that because I have this really, really long-term goal to get into bodybuilding because I’m so in awe of older women. You see pictures of women who are in their fifties, sixties, some seventies, who are body builders. How come you chose Powerlifting over Body Building?
Yvette: My trainer is a body builder and she actually was in the meet. We talked. She told me about what she had to do as far as getting her body together and things of that nature. And I just decided that the process that she had to go through is not one that I want to do.
And so I started to get into Powerlifting and I think that was just a better fit for me because I enjoy seeing how heavy I can lift. Whereas with her it was seeing how you can get your body to look like some kind of sculpture, you know. And she did a great job, she got it second or third place.
But when she sat down and told me everything she had to do and what was required of her and the posing, I was like, no, I can’t do that. I don’t want to do that. But when I started looking into the Powerlifting, I said, okay, that’s what I can do. That’s what I’m more interested in. Body Building was never a thought. But the Powerlifting is about seeing how heavy the weight you can lift. What got me was that there were people in the age range that you mentioned that could do it. Oh my gosh, I’m 37 years old. Let me see if I can do it.
This is something out of the norm and I’m not a traditionalist by any means so I just want to see how far I can go with it. I always say this is what I call my transformation journey. It’s a journey and there’s always something to add to it. As soon as one road ends we build another road or add a sidewalk.
I just want to continue to just tell a story about it. My kids can tell. As far as they continue to stay healthy and have a lifestyle of just being active. You don’t have to lose weight like your Mom. It comes handy too because I’m 5’7” and we’re all almost the same height. My kids are 13 and 11 so they’re going to be tall.
I always tell my oldest daughter, I say, “When you’re ready to challenge me, just let me know. We’ll put out some space and we’ll go for it. So you’ll know now that when you try me later you understand you won’t win.” She looks at me and she’s like, “Mom…” I’m like, “I’m just saying. You won’t be doing a thing with me.” You know, I’m maintaining my alpha female status.
Wendy: Gotcha. All right. Tell everyone where they can find you on the web.
Yvette: Okay. I have a blog called Losing Weight Finding Me. You can Google that. You can Google Yvette Nathan-Jones. My website www.Transform.Alpha2Alpha.com or like I said you can just put in Google, Losing Weight Finding Me. Also, I am on Facebook, Yvette Nathan-Jones so you can feel free to request me as a friend.
If you’re in the Columbus Georgia area or Phoenix City area, if you’re coming down for a month and you need a great duo to get you in shape for whatever reason, Brad and Katrina Hill’s website is www.KBHfit.com.
Wendy: Thank you so much. It’s been such an honor to talk to you. I really, really appreciate it.
Yvette: Oh, Wendy, I thank you.
Wendy: Once again, thank you to Yvette Nathan-Jones for sharing her experiences and giving a lot of awesome advice. If you didn’t catch her website address, I have all of her links at www.EatSleepMove.com. Thank you for listening.
Thanks for listening to the Eat. Sleep. Move. Podcast. Find out more by visiting www.EatSleepMove.com.
I’m starting off 2012 with a huge goal for the year–to lose 140 lbs. I plan on documenting everything as the year progresses.
Today, I recorded a 20 minute interview with my friend David. We talk about my goals for the year and my plan for losing such a huge amount of weight.
Eat. Sleep. Move…is a blog dedicated to those who, like me,
have 100+ pounds to lose and are looking for information, inspiration, and motivation to help them do it. Welcome. (More)
Busy mom of three, Heather Robertson, lost 170lbs. Find out how she did it.
Justin Smith lost 100lbs and is now running marathons. Listen to his story.
Hattie Montgomery lost 300lbs. Check out her incredible story.
Debra Mazda turned her 150lb weight loss into a life mission to help others get in shape and be healthy. Listen to how she did it.
Yvette Nathan-Jones lost 105lbs. Listen to her story.
"Your issue is your cause."
© 2012 Eat. Sleep. Move: Blog, Vlog, & Podcast: A Weight Loss Adventure. All Rights Reserved.