Conversation with the CEO of Beachbody

Earlier this evening, Carl Daikeler, the CEO of Beachbody, asked this on Twitter: Do you think individuals really care that there is increasing obesity?

Someone else replied: Sadly, not enough care.

Carl said: But everyone freaks out about the cost of healthcare. Why don’t they link the issues?

I replied: I think people do care but think, “How could I help, I’m only one person.” And many realize it’s an uphill battle until our food supply improves.

Carl asked: But what about their own situations? Don’t they want to feel better?

[BTW, isn’t there a way to easily insert a little “tweet clip” or some such into a blog post? Why can’t I remember right now?]

To which I replied Yes. And the rest of my reply was way over the tweet limit, so I’m answering here:

To Carl: Sure people want to feel better, but it’s overwhelming to start. Especially if they’ve tried stuff in the past that didn’t work.

A few years ago, I was about 20 pounds heavier than I am now. I wasn’t obese but my metabolism was stuck. Even P90x didn’t move my fat % -until I worked with a doctor to unstick my metabolism. Even then, it only went down a little. In the meantime, I got discouraged and thought “why bother exercising.”

I continued to have issues getting rid of fat, and then last year was diagnosed with IBS. I’ve radically altered my diet to manage the IBS (see SCD and About Jen on this blog, if you’re curious): I no longer eat any grain, soy, dairy, refined sugar, legumes, or starchy vegetables like potatoes or jicama. I also don’t consume processed meats such as hot dogs or “lunch meat”, nor do I eat any canned meats, vegetables, fruits, or juices. And nothing artificial. The only sweetener I have is honey. Certain legumes, cheeses, and homemade yoghurt (fermented for 24 hours) are included in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, but my system doesn’t yet handle them.

When I first made the switch, learning new ways of thinking about food and preparing food was a full time job. (Ask any newly-diagnosed Celiac.) I did well for several months until I got cocky and went on a 5-day plantain-eating binge and messed up my digestion again. I have been unable to lose the weight I gained from that little binge, even with two hardcore months of Insanity, so I am now working with a trainer who is also a nutritionist. I need to re-heal my gut so my body will drop the fat.

My point is that sometimes exercise isn’t enough -that’s why you (Beachbody) have supplements and diet recommendations, right? All three of those are a lot to take on learning all at once.

As an example, I have a friend who has been saying that she “wants to lose weight” for years. But she continued to eat exactly the same way and not exercise because the thought of suddenly having to change everything about how she shops for food, cooks it, and eats was too overwhelming. Over the past year that we’ve become friends, we’ve had several conversations about food – why whole foods are better than processed, which fats are good for us, how to use spaghetti squash in place of pasta, etc. She also went grocery shopping with me a few times and asked lots of questions.

She started replacing some of her junkier snacks with healthier ones, and started reading food labels. A few months ago, she quit drinking soda, even diet soda. I kept telling her how bad it is, and she finally went and did some research on her own and then gave it up. A little while after that, she stopped eating “sweets”. She’s not yet avoiding all added sugars or even avoiding all processed foods. She just stopped eating candy, cookies, cakes, pastries, and the like. She’s lost 40 pounds since Jan 1 just from doing those 2 things. I can’t remember at the moment how many more pounds she wants to lose – I think it’s around 30 more. For years, she made no progress because she looked at it as an “all or nothing” proposition. But from our talks, she saw small, manageable changes she could make and she’s dropping weight “effortlessly”. We haven’t even added exercise yet!

One last thing that I think sometimes keeps people from taking action to get fit: Being healthy / fit requires a mental shift. With so much conflicting information out there about what’s the “right diet”, the “right workout”, or the “right supplements”, who do we trust with our mental state?

[Disclosure: I don’t work for Beachbody or profit from the sale of any of their products. I do own several products, that I purchased, and I’m currently borrowing one product from a friend. They seem like a fantastic company and I love the products. Even though I have not achieved the fat loss results I wanted with the Beachbody products, I do think the programs are well done and I continue to use them. My cardio fitness has been greatly improved from using the videos and I think my issues with fat loss have to do with my metabolism and digestive issues, and not the quality of the Beachbody programs.]

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