What frustrates you about yourself? Do you have trouble with time management? Do you eat junk food when you’re stressed? Maybe you’re very compliant when you’re on a “cleanse,” whatever that means, but you return to eating habits you don’t like when it’s over.

I’ve got some good news for you and some bad news.

The bad news is, it takes work to change those habits. You can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing and believing what you’ve been believing and expect a different outcome.

The good news is you can make these changes without having to resort to willpower.

In this episode, Health Coach Emma Rose and I discuss:

  • Gaining motivation from your actions
  • The difference between fulfillment and happiness, and how they align
  • Habit changing, including
    • Reducing dopamine addiction and destructive behavior
    • Mindfulness vs Planning
    • Pattern Interrupts
  • Eating habits and not over-eating
  • The Rxceptional Health Behavior Change Workshop, hosted by Integration Bodywork (note this closes tomorrow, 10/3/18, click here to enroll!)

Click here to send Emma an email.

Transcript

Scott Robison Welcome to episode 10 of the Integration Bodywork Podcast. My name is Scott Robison, I’m a licensed massage therapist in Madison, Wisconsin. And, I was having a conversation a few weeks ago with an anesthesiology resident. And, we were talking about how medicine is really following this track of increase in specialization. Providers are getting narrower and narrower with the service that they offered, and if it falls outside of that narrow band they refer you out to somebody else, and to a certain extent, specialization is a natural way to move, a natural progression, that’s how organisms evolve, and gonna create more effective niches, that’s how societies are built. We built ourselves from everybody being a hunter-gatherer, to priests and kings and everybody else farming, and so on, and so on.
Scott Robison The trouble in a healthcare model is that nobody is paying attention to the whole person, except for the person at the center of the care, and they’re not an expert, they don’t know what they’re doing. They have to be their own best advocate, and often that leads to worse outcomes, we don’t have terrific outcomes with our health care system here in the United States, even though we spend some of the largest percentage of our incomes on health care.
Scott Robison So, what if, instead, you had a vertically integrated health and wellness environment where everybody talked to each other, everybody worked together, there was a common system so you had a unified plan of care? That’s what we’re trying to do here at Integration Bodywork, we started humbly with manual therapy, ’cause that was me, that’s what I knew what to do. When we brought Ray in, one of the big advantages to having him on staff, is that he’s got this huge background in exercise and strength and conditioning, so we can integrate that in our performance therapy offering and not only give you the pattern interrupt that manual therapy provides, and the para-sympathetic stimulation to help you sort of chill out and relax and create new patterns for yourself, but also, then, learn new patterns so that you stay pain-free.
Scott Robison The next piece of that is gonna be bringing a health and wellness coach. Emma Rose contacted me a couple weeks ago, she’s been doing this for years, for local HMO, and kind of got tired with being in that system and how restrictive it was and she’s striking out on her own. So, I said, “Please, come bring your service, bring your expertise, to my audience, to my clients, to you.” So, that’s what we’re doing.
Scott Robison In this interview, today, Emma and I talk about the science of behavior change in a judgment-free way. You’re not eating the ice cream because you are a bad person, or your weak, or anything like that, it’s a learned behavior, and the great thing about learned behavior is you can unlearn those behaviors. That doesn’t actually mean it’s easy, but it’s not impossible. And, the science of behavior change underlies every piece of the eight-week, our exceptional shop workshop, behavior change workshop that she’s offering through Integration Bodywork.
Scott Robison By the time this podcast goes up on October 2, the course is gonna close tomorrow on the third, for it’s beta test run, and then she’s gonna run it this fall, and will offer it again starting probably in the winter. So, if you haven’t signed up yet, you should do that. If you’re interested in learning more about the workshop, there’s a link to the landing page in the show notes, if you’d rather just kind of get started right now, with using evidence based methods to make some habit changes, whether that’s how you relate to food, getting to sleep on time better, whatever those habits are that you need to break, listen in to my interview with Emma Rose.
Scott Robison Alright, Emma, welcome to the Integration Bodywork Podcast!
Emma Rose Thank you! Thank you so much for inviting me to be here.
Scott Robison Yeah, of course, I’m really excited to have you on, as we said in the email that we put out last week, announcing this new course you’re launching for us, thrilled to be able to bring what you’re offering into our community, to our clients. As much as I would love for great therapeutic massage and bodywork be all you need for optimal health, it’s just not the case. Right?
Emma Rose Right, yeah.
Scott Robison So, you’re launching yourself here now, as that you’ve been a physician assistant for quite some time, and you’ve been doing some health coaching, but now you’re transitioning to make this your full-time gig. What exactly is a health coach?
Emma Rose So, a health coach is basically a certified and professional who can help the client recognize what aspects of his or her health [inaudible 00:04:40] like to improve upon. Maybe, if they want to lose weight, or they want to exercise more, they want to quit smoking, cut back on drinking, improve the health of their relationship, improve their career satisfaction, so it’s really anything that has to do with any of the aspects of health, so it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, so it’s very patient or client driven, and my job is to help someone actualize their health goals.
Scott Robison Yeah, it’s an interesting piece, as you said, it’s so broad what’s within your purview, but also, you know, I think there’s some confusion with what exactly … [inaudible 00:05:22] people understand what a sport coach is, but except for the few-
Emma Rose Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Scott Robison … right. But, what exactly does it look like to work with a coach in this more abstract way?
Emma Rose Mm-hmm (affirmative). Good question, so it’s actually been shown in research, that we are more likely to make changes when we talk about them with a third party. So, saying something to yourself, “Oh, I really shouldn’t be doing this, I know I need to be doing this.” Is a whole lot different than when you actually verbalize that to another person, especially when it’s a neutral person or someone who’s really on your side and really helping you to figure out what it is you want and come up with a strategy on how to get there.
Emma Rose So, you can talk to yourself about these things all day long, but the evidence shows that the way our brain works, and the way motivation works, it actually is more helpful and more effective when you have another person you can bounce things off of, and get reflections back from, and get suggestions from. And of course, there’s the education piece. I mean, not everybody knows what really is the best way to change your habits, or the best timing of your meals, or strategizing for how to prepare meals in advance, the list goes on and on, I’m not gonna list everything here, of course, but just having someone to bounce things off of, and then getting the professional expert’s advice [inaudible 00:06:49] someone if that’s where you’re at. If you’re really needing advice, versus just helping to figure out your own strategy by having a founding board.
Emma Rose Yeah, so it can really be a founding board, it can really, truly, be someone guiding you on exactly how to do it, if you really don’t know, and then everything will be clear.
Scott Robison Yeah, that’s an interesting piece, that, that third party is essential. I’m sure lots of us, right? I mean this is what happens to us every January with New Years resolutions, right? We spend some time reading or thinking and writing stuff down, but we’ve only got our own ideas to work from, and our own ideas are what got us to where we are in the first place, so-
Emma Rose Exactly.
Scott Robison Yeah, maybe just getting outside party. I listened to a … I don’t remember where I heard this, I was listening to an interview with somebody who was talking about virtual reality, in this field, and apparently just … So, putting on the VR headset and having an avatar of yourself projected in the VR space, and then an avatar of somebody else, I think in this case they were using Sigmund Freud, they would switch individuals back and forth between their own avatar and Freud’s avatar and have them inhabit both, and do both sides of the conversation, and that actually produced a similar outcome to having a third party, right? It literally is that shift of focus, and shift away from yourself that seems to be-
Emma Rose Totally.
Scott Robison … a big piece of that.
Emma Rose Absolutely, and actually, another piece of research that’s relevant to that point, is that you actually become more motivated by teaching someone else how to do something. So, let’s say you wanna lose weight, or you wanna start exercising, if you actually sit down with a friend or a colleague, and help that person discover how they can lose weight or start exercising, I think that’s actually gonna help more than if you just [inaudible 00:08:49] yourself up, and try to motivate yourself to do it, it’s really fascinating, oh yeah you talk about that, that switch is perspective and that kind of role play, and it really does work.
Emma Rose They’ve also done studies with on college campuses that will have an app where people can just log into the app and say what class they’re going to, what they’re eating for lunch or whatever, and even if they don’t know the people on the other end, ’cause this is all just random and anonymous … Even if you don’t know the people who are saying, “Hey, I’m gonna go to yoga class.” You’re more likely to show up just because somebody is doing it, it’s really fascinating, and goes into that motivation piece, too, that you get inspired by someone or something.
Scott Robison Yeah, yeah, that’s so interesting. Yeah, that group accountability, that sense of social … It’s not even like social proof or pressure, right? It’s just that instinct that somebody else is doing that’s with me, is so motivating.
Emma Rose Right?
Scott Robison I think I talk about this too [crosstalk 00:09:47] … Quickly here, another podcast just recently, but the qualities of something that make people procrastinate are that it’s boring, frustrating, difficult, unstructured, and lacking intrinsic meaning. For most people, that sounds like diet, exercise, habit change, right? All those things-
Emma Rose Totally.
Scott Robison … tick all five of those boxes.
Emma Rose Totally, absolutely.
Scott Robison Yup.
Emma Rose And you gotta pay attention to … I actually wrote a little email to you about motivation, that I was gonna put in that three bulletins, this kind of goes along with that. We have to gain motivation or derive motivation from somewhere, so you’re not gonna suddenly [inaudible 00:10:34] all those words you used, you’re frustrated, you’re bored, you’re not just gonna suddenly derive or get motivation like go on the diet, or somehow it’s gonna appear out of thin air, right? You have to derive it from somewhere, so your thought, your beliefs, the things you say to yourself, the types of people you surround yourself with, that podcast you’re listening to, the different things you’re exposed to in the media, so all of those things, you can derive motivation from them … but on the contrary, if you have, like you said, this rigidity and the structure and the diets and all that … that can make us, actually, unmotivated. So, you have to have a real positive environment that you’re surrounding yourself with, in your own head, as well as externally in order to be motivated.
Scott Robison Yeah, I love that. I was just listening to … Speaking of podcast you listen to, I was just listening to the Blood [inaudible 00:11:29] show and they were talking about this idea of enlightenment, which is what you’re describing, right? Where your beliefs, your actions, and your intentions are all matched, and pointed in the same direction, when things are aligned, that’s when you feel fulfilled.
Emma Rose Exactly.
Scott Robison Yeah, what’s the difference between [crosstalk 00:11:46] fulfillment and happiness?
Emma Rose So, happiness, research now, they no longer use how to be happy, because happy is a transient fake, it is totally unrealistic for us to think we’re gonna be happy all the time, I mean it’s just not real, right? We have emotions, and happiness is an emotion.
Scott Robison That’s not fun.
Emma Rose What we’re striving for-
Scott Robison I can’t be happy all the time?
Emma Rose But, you also can’t be sad all the time, these emotions, they come and go. So, fulfillment, or life-satisfaction is what the term is now, in research. It’s more of a mood state. So, sadness would be the emotion, depression would be the mood state. Happiness is the emotion, life-satisfaction is more the mood state. So, in order to have life-satisfaction, you have to incorporate as many things into your life as possible to bring you joy.
Emma Rose So, think about where you are right now, okay? So, whatever your mood state is, maybe you’re depressed, you’re not happy with the way things are going, look at where you’ve been the last week, the last month, the last year, everything you are right now, the way you feel right now, your mood state today, is a result of everything that you’ve done in the past. Okay? So, right now, you’re mood state is based on memories. So, in order to change your mood state for the future, you have to start to integrate as many things that you enjoy into your life as possible.
Emma Rose So, it’s literally a numbers game, repetition, doing as many things as you can, if it’s just going for a walk, it’s taking a bubble bath, calling a friend. Some of the things that I’ve been [inaudible 00:13:26] in my life, like dressing up when I would go to work, instead of wearing scrubs, because that just made me feel better. I’ve been hanging my laundry out on the line, because the smell of fresh clothes out on the line is just better than the dryer, so these little things that doesn’t have to be losing 50 pounds, because that is not an in the moment, bringing you joy, type of thing.
Scott Robison Sure.
Emma Rose Now, exercising, enjoying your yoga class, enjoying your workout, enjoying a walk with a friend, those things bring you joy in the moment, and they will end up creating more life-satisfaction, and when you have that life-satisfaction, you’re more likely to do more of the same. Does that make sense?
Scott Robison Yeah, no, that’s a really interesting … Wow, I love that, there’s a lot to tackle there, right? It sounds like a lot, and yet, the first action step could be so small.
Emma Rose Right. And that’s the thing, it’s like, “Okay, so we look at life as having to tackle this big thing, because that’s just what media says, and we have to be accomplished, and we have to get the promotion, and we have to make six figures, and all this. But, really, your life-satisfaction is based off of how many moments in your life are you happy? How many moments in your life are you feeling joyful? So, if you only derive satisfaction or joy from getting your paycheck every two weeks, well that’s not gonna sustain you and create a life of satisfaction, because what else is happening in those two weeks? How much stress are you under? Are you conflicted in your own mind? Are you doing a job you don’t like and you’re so stressed out, but you’re really just looking at that paycheck. So, it really is a cumulative effect of all of your behaviors, all of your actions.
Scott Robison Well, and that’s an interesting point, too, especially the paycheck one, right? Some of those things you listed, are things that conceivably can be affected by things outside of your own control, right?
Emma Rose Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Scott Robison So, if you’re really motivated by a paycheck, what happens when the company you work for, downsizes?
Emma Rose Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yup. Exactly.
Scott Robison You had nothing to do with it, that’s not your fault and yet, now, this thing that was motivating to you, is gone.
Emma Rose Yeah, that intrinsic motivation, like you have to have things that you believe in, you have to be living your authentic self, and that’s actually the latest in happiness, or life-satisfaction research, is that the only way and the best way to be happy and satisfied, is to live your authentic self, just to never lie, so if you’re doing a job, like me for example, working in medicine, where I was basically putting a bandaid on things, and giving people pills, instead of helping them to really discover a healthier lifestyle, that made me miserable, and it wasn’t until I, now, six weeks ago, resigned, that I finally felt that weight lifted. And, it’s so true, we have to be doing what brings you joy, and this is living your authentic self.
Scott Robison Yeah, but what if living your authentic self feels like eating ice cream and watching Netflix all day?
Emma Rose Well, that’s getting into dopamine and addiction. So, anything that makes us feel good in the short-term will release dopamine, so addiction, drinking, smoking, gambling, sex, getting angry, whatever it is, whatever makes you get that rush, that’s because of dopamine in your brain. So, that’s a short-term, feelgood sensation-
Scott Robison Hang on-
Emma Rose … that there’s not-
Scott Robison People get a dopamine release from being angry?
Emma Rose If it makes you feel powerful, or if it gives you control, this rush, and it depends on your personality, I mean different thins do things for different people, right? But, I mean I feel like I know people who … just getting upset, and raising their voice, and sort of controlling another person, sure it can give you a dopamine rush, that’s why people … I don’t want to get down in the dumps, here but rapists and murderers, they get a high from doing this.
Emma Rose So, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you, or for others, right? It just means that your brain responds in a certain way that gives you a rush.
Scott Robison Okay.
Emma Rose So, if you’re trying to have a more satisfying life, then obviously you want to be searching for things that give you that dopamine rush, that are not self-destructive, so you want to be looking for a bubble bath, that walk with a friend, watching a funny movie, exercising, so these things that are not self-destructive, that also give you a rush. And, that’s the key to addiction, to treating addiction, or to change any habit really, how can you replace that behavior? Because, the award of that behavior is dopamine, it’s feeling good. So, how can you replace that behavior with something else that’s gonna give you the same reward, which is that feelgood, dopamine rush, and not have it be self-destructive?
Scott Robison Got it. Do people really actually, need help identifying which of their behaviors are self-destructive?
Emma Rose No.
Scott Robison Do you feel like most people kind of, “I know that eating ice cream and watching Netflix all day Saturday is probably not good for me”?
Emma Rose Absolutely, of course, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that, most of the time.
Scott Robison Yup.
Emma Rose But, the key is then, okay so this is what’s happening in your brain, this is not a character flaw, this is not, ‘you’re a failure’, this is just the way you programmed your brain to feel happy, so we just have to reprogram your brain, we have to put in a different behavior. First, you have to recognize the trigger, okay? So, the trigger for eating ice cream might be, “Well, every night, I sit and watch a T.V. show, and I have a bowl of ice cream.” So, the trigger is the time of the day, sitting and watching T.V., it’s that situation.
Emma Rose So, that’s your trigger, so you have two options, you can either take away the trigger, so maybe you decide, “Well, I’m not gonna watch T.V. anymore, or I’m not gonna sit in this chair, or I’m gonna rearrange my furniture so that things are different, so that the trigger isn’t there.” So, you can either change the trigger, or you can change the behavior, so you recognize the trigger, you make a conscious decision, I’m going to put my treadmill in front of the T.V. and I’m gonna walk on the treadmill. Or I am going to sit and have a bag of carrots, or I’m going to sit and do a crossword puzzle, or do some coloring, or whatever else it is, to replace that behavior, once you’re triggered by the circumstances.
Scott Robison Got it. That’s interesting, I remember listening to an NPR story around New Years, about how to change, and one of the things that they talked about was that even doing your normal stuff, in a different order is enough to eliminate the trigger.
Emma Rose Yes. Absolutely, yup. So, neuroplasticity shows that any change, any disruption in your normal routine is enough to wake your brain up and recognize that you’re capable of doing something else, so even if you brush your teeth after your shower, instead of brushing before your shower, or you use your left hand instead of your right hand. You hold your fork with your opposite hand, so all of these things, these small, subtle things that feel insignificant, are actually enough to get your mind out of the most primitive brain structure, which is where your habit’s stored, and back into your more conscious, awareness where you can then make a different decision.
Scott Robison Gotcha, is that transferable? I don’t know how important is it to brush my teeth with my left hand? How useful is that? As a thing to try?
Emma Rose That’s such a good question, so it is definitely transferable, the way that this energy works, this activation and it is, once you do something different, and your brain recognizes, “Hey, I just did something different, I have this amazing, powerful ability to change the way I’m doing things.” That activation energy, motivation or inspiration can transfer into your most difficult habit that you wanna break. So, you can start by brushing your teeth before your shower, after your shower, and that is gonna wake you up enough, to say, “Hey, maybe the next decision I make, I can do something different.” And then on down the line, so it is 100%, totally transferable. Once your brain starts to seek out new connections, it will be primed to seek out new connections regarding your most self-destructive habit.
Scott Robison Got it.
Emma Rose So, absolutely, starting with the smallest thing is the way to go, you don’t wanna start with the harder thing, because starting with the harder thing creates guilt and frustration, and sense of failure, and all those emotions keep us stuck. So, you have to do something that inspires you and makes you feel capable and confident and successful, and then that energy, that motivation transfers into everything else.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, take small bites, first? Find some [crosstalk 00:22:46]
Emma Rose Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely, yup. And that is, [inaudible 00:22:50] that’s the term they use, in researchers wallets, small wins that get us to a place of more life-satisfaction, it’s not the big thing, it’s the small wins.
Scott Robison I guess, what I’m thinking about right now, is planning, so, if you have it, or you have a big personal goal that you’re trying to accomplish, how useful is it to create … A work back schedule is not exactly the right idea, here but right? Taking that big goal and chopping it down and scheduling it out, how effective is that for people? I think that’s something that I can hear a lot in like business coaching and circles and things like that, but does that really work?
Emma Rose Well, it depends on the person, but in general, everyone can agree, that a decision is made in the moment, right? You don’t make a decision to eat the ice cream, until you’re literally sitting down, putting the spoon up to your mouth, so it certainly helps the plan, you wanna pack your lunch, if you wanna make sure you don’t go out to lunch, you can certainly plan to take a different route to the bathroom, so that you don’t have your co-worker’s desk who has donuts on their desk, so certainly, planning comes into play. But, the mindfulness in the moment, is what will make or break you.
Emma Rose So, you can have all the planning in the world, you can have all the good intentions in the world, but if you do not make the healthy dose decision in the moment, you’re just going to continue to perpetuate and strengthen that negative pathway.
Scott Robison Gotcha.
Emma Rose So, I mean there’s several ways to look at it, like yeah, you want to have a plan, you want to understand what you want to do, but when it comes down to it, you make the decision in the moment. And, all the planning in the world won’t change the fact that you are having a moment of weakness, and you just get out the whole gallon of ice cream and go to town.
Scott Robison They make ice cream in gallons? Yeah, you know that’s funny so my family and I are all dairy-free for various reasons, and we’ve been buying coconut ice cream for, how o;d’s my son, he’s six, so seven years, I forgot that they make ice cream in gallons, oh man that sounds brutal.
Emma Rose Yup.
Scott Robison And, my wife would really appreciate [crosstalk 00:25:19] when she was pregnant too, our kids are made out of ice cream, and apples basically.
Emma Rose Nice, that’s funny. Yup, that’s how it was when I, not in my house, but in my grandma’s house, my uncle would go over there and whatever we wanted, and it’s gonna be easy to do it when it’s there, right?
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Emma Rose We are, as human-beings, looking for things that make us feel good, and yeah, food in the short term, sugary, salty, fatty foods, they make us feel good, so if they’re right there, and we don’t have the cognitive ability, yet, to really understand how it’s gonna effect us in the long-run, which is for raising children, and what habits are you embedding in them? And, what triggers are you allowing them to be exposed to that might create these bad habits? But, if it’s it there, it’s really hard to expect yourself to not indulge, if it’s right there in front of you, because our brain can be hardwired to look for things that release dopamine.
Scott Robison Yeah, dopamine and serotonin are really the only two things that we actually like?
Emma Rose Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly. Right.
Scott Robison It can be anything.
Emma Rose Yes. Totally.
Scott Robison You can even get a dopamine rush from anything, and that’s funny.
Emma Rose And that’s a perfect way to say it, Scott, because yeah, you can learn a healthy, productive way to release dopamine and serotonin, or you can pick the thing that’s gonna not promote life-satisfaction in the long [inaudible 00:26:55].
Scott Robison Right. Well, this sounds like a good moment to take a break, and when we come back we’re gonna talk a little more about how to create some of these habit changes, some more tactile ideas, and we’ll kind of go from there.
Scott Robison This episode is brought to you by Integration Bodywork, is your body holding you back? Your back pain makes you afraid of picking up your kids, your sciatic pian is preventing you from training for your eight priority race, or maybe your shoulder mobility is preventing you from snatching or doing [inaudible 00:27:26] pull ups? At Integration Bodywork, I help people overcome these obstacles with posture and movement assessment, to find the hidden limitations and the most effective manual therapy techniques backed by research. If you’re ready to move better, feel better, and live better, go to scheduling.integrationbodywork.net and schedule your first appointment.
Scott Robison Alright, and we’re back, so I want to get into more specific detail about how to get started on a particular challenge, and a lot of people stress-eat. They have trouble managing their food intake, when they’re not hungry, how do people get started trying to address that issue?
Emma Rose So, the first thing to be mindful of is the way you identify yourself. Okay? So, if your belief is that you’re a food addict, or your a stress-eater, or you can’t stay away from food no matter how hard you try, so all of those beliefs, we talked earlier, about motivation, those things are not going to motivate you, those things are going to put you back in the failure bucket. So, it’s very important, first of all, to just have an open-mind. So, it is possible to change any habit, it is possible to change your relationship with food. I have personally done it, after gaining and losing 50 pounds several times, doing fitness competition, and believe me, coming from someone who used to eat a whole jar of peanut butter in one sitting, it is possible to change your relationship with food.
Scott Robison Wow.
Emma Rose So, first of all is your beliefs. Yeah. I can’t make that up. So, first of all is your belief system, you have to believe you can do it, you have to have faith that this is possible. The second thing, is to be mindful. So, mindfulness is a a term that’s thrown out there a lot, but really, what it means is that you are aware of what you’re doing in the moment. We talked earlier about how a decision is made in the moment, it’s not made in advance, and certainly, you can’t change it once you’ve made it. So, stress-eaters, and when you actually look at it, stress-eaters also tend to eat … And, I hate to use stress-eaters, anyone who has a dysfunctional relationship with food, or anyone who’s not nourishing their body with food, they’re trying to use food to nourish loneliness, boredom, stress, anxiety, people eat in response to the trigger of just a social setting, they go to a party and there’s a table of food, it’s Thanksgiving, so I always overeat on Thanksgiving. So, there’s a bunch of triggers. Most of us don’t-
Scott Robison How do you know if those are your triggers, though? How do you know if you’re eating because you’re hungry, or you’re eating because of something else?
Emma Rose Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, I get into that quite a bit in one of the workshops, recognizing when you’re hungry, so we all have the physiologic ability to feel hungry. So, Scott, what do you feel when you feel hungry? How do you know when you’re hungry?
Scott Robison I’m tired, my stomach is making itself known to me, yeah those are sort of the two big ones. Actually, I get angry. I get angry, so sometimes my stomach isn’t saying anything, but I notice that I’m being kind of a jerk to my family, like, “I probably need to eat the sandwich.” Well, I don’t really need the sandwich, because I don’t really eat bread, but I need to eat something.
Emma Rose Some fish and steak potato, and a good meal. So, hunger, we are cued by physical symptoms, okay? So, we get tired, lightheaded, maybe we feel irritable, maybe our stomach is growling, so we have physical sensations that tell us we need food. When we ignore these, day after day, month after month, year after year, so let’s say you have a history of dieting and you’ve ignored hunger for a long time, maybe you have a history of overeating and probably if you have a history of dieting, you also have a history of overeating, because those two go hand in hand. So, for so long you’ve been ignoring or suppressing your physiologic symptoms, that you’re hungry. So, the first thing is, when you find yourself wanting food, you have to stop, and you have to ask yourself if you are actually, physically hungry. So, you have to tune in with your body, it’s not, “Oh, it’s just the food is there, oh, it’s five o’clock, it’s dinner time.” You have to tune into your body, and figure out, “Am I hungry?” We all have that instinctive ability, that is our birthright as human beings, it is there, it just maybe has been suppressed for a while, once you start paying attention, you will be amazed.
Emma Rose I’ve had patients, I had a 75 year old gentleman, I saw for just a couple sessions, and his goal was to lose weight, and all we did was talk about hunger and fullness, and recognizing when you’re hungry, and the light bulb went off, he said, “Huh, I don’t even know what it feels like to be hungry.” He came back a couple weeks later, and he was just on top of the world. Not only has he lost weight, which is the side effect of this, it’s not the goal, it’s the side effect. The goal for him was to pay attention to, “When am I hungry? When I am eating, am I eating until I’m satisfied? Or am I eating until I’m stuffed?” Because, if you’re hungry-
Scott Robison Or, until it’s gone, right?
Emma Rose … you’re probably a little-
Scott Robison Clean plate club?
Emma Rose Totally, exactly, right. And, we have all of these beliefs or these things we’ve been taught when we’re young, we have to clean our plates, because whatever country the children in Africa are starving, I mean we have these beliefs that we’re responsible for following rules, rather than listening to what our bodys’ telling us.
Scott Robison Yup.
Emma Rose So, getting them back in touch with, “Are you actually hungry?” That’s the first step. Once you start to recognize if you’re truly hungry, it will be easier for you to recognize your triggers. So, you’ll know, “Well, I always want to eat when I drive by the McDonald’s” Was that because “I’m hungry?” Or is that because, “I’ve always stopped at this McDonald’s, because it’s right there on my way home”?
Scott Robison Or, because I just love Egg McMuffins. Which they now serve all day.
Emma Rose And, so that goes back to the dopamine, so when you eat that Egg McMuffin, and damn right, it gives you a dopamine release, so when you know about it, and it’s programmed in your brain, you’ll actually start to get a little bit of a dopamine release, just by thinking about it, and at that point, it almost feels as though you can’t control it. But, if you wait a couple minutes-
Scott Robison Especially if you’re also hungry.
Emma Rose … it only takes [crosstalk 00:34:07] Well, true.
Scott Robison Right, you’re like this why you’re like “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry”, that kind of thing?
Emma Rose Yes, and you want to make sure you don’t get too hungry, so don’t get to the point where you’re like, “Oh, I’m a little hungry, but I got this project to finish.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Emma Rose No, eat something. Because, what happens when you get too hungry? Like you said, you indulge in things that maybe aren’t the best choice, you’re gonna have a tendency to overeat, so on the hunger scale … And, like I said, I go a lot more into depth with this in the workshop, the hunger scale is like a one to 10 scale, okay? So, one is you’re famished, you could eat a horse, 10 is, you are so stuffed, if you put another bite in your mouth you are going to physically explode. So, you don’t want to get to a one, and you don’t want to get to a 10, both of those are super, super uncomfortable, right?
Scott Robison Yeah.
Emma Rose So, being between a three and a seven, so five is totally neutral, five is neither hungry nor full-
Scott Robison Sure, so your normal state, right?
Emma Rose … being between about a [crosstalk 00:35:05] right, your normal just like homeostases, like your comfortable, you could exercise, you could work, you’re not thinking about food because you’re not having the physical … So, I should rephrase that. You may be thinking about food just because that’s a habit, but your physiologically not being triggered to want food. So, stay between a three and a seven. And this is something that we really work on in the mindful eating piece of the workshop, because it is important. There’s so many people who for so long has been ignoring when they’re hungry, because they’re on a diet, and they’re not allowed to eat until 12 o’clock, or they are only allowed to eat 800 calories in a day and they’re starving because your body cannot function on 800 calories a day, I don’t care who you are, unless you’re a little old lady, frail little old lady, who is bedridden, that’s about the only person who can eat 800 calories a day.
Scott Robison Right.
Emma Rose Or an infant.
Scott Robison Yeah.
Emma Rose But, yeah I digress.
Scott Robison Yeah, no so, just real quick, it seems like the key pieces here, right is being able to stop and be aware, but most of the time we’re just operating on autopilot, so how do we create a pattern, what are some easy ways to create pattern interrupts to check in with yourself?
Emma Rose So, it’s actually really cool, the fact that we’re talking about this right now, you are going to be more likely to think about it, so the actual act of having a conversation and bringing it to the forefront of your brain, bringing it to your conscious mind, that’s enough.
Emma Rose So, I know that sounds crazy but just see if you go about your day now, if you’re not thinking about it more.
Scott Robison Yeah.
Emma Rose And, so having conversations about it, we could also put different triggers, so right now when we’re talking about it, maybe you’ll decide, “Okay, after we get off the phone here, I’m gonna go put a post-it on my refrigerator that says, ‘Stop’, am I really hungry?” So, put little triggers around your environment, if you know that you tend to stop at the drive through, I’ve had people literally tape up their window, or put a post-it right on their window, so that they can’t open the window, to go to the drive through, I’ve had people put-
Scott Robison Okay.
Emma Rose I know, it’s that you have to have a reminder, so if you always use your credit card, put it a little post-it or a sticker, something on your credit card that will ask as a [inaudible 00:37:34] or a trigger, “Wait a minute, I gotta ask myself if I’m really hungry.”
Scott Robison Right.
Emma Rose So, talking about it, and then creating little stopping points, like you said, a stop point in your day, over the course of your day, so on your desk, so on your bathroom mirror, wherever-
Scott Robison Your phone.
Emma Rose Totally, yup, you can have an alarm on your phone and there’s all sorts of different options for how to create that awareness. And then like you said, doing it, it gets to be a habit.
Scott Robison Right. I have a terrible time [inaudible 00:38:11] incredible accumulator of knowledge, but I have an awful time keeping things in my working memory and remembering to do things, and my wife is slowly getting on board with this, but having an iPhone has been a game changer for me, ’cause I can just set myself a reminder, “Hey, Siri, remind me to whatever, at this time.” And, “Oh, look at that.” And then it gets done.
Emma Rose Right.
Scott Robison And so much so that my six year old actually says, “Hey, Daddy, will you put a reminder on your phone to whatever.” “Yes, yes I will. Sure.”
Emma Rose That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I mean you use technology to your advantage. There’s all sorts of apps out there for mindfulness and accountability, and it’s not just looking for more education, we don’t really need more education, to know that we should not have a third piece of cake when we’re already stuffed. That has nothing to do with education.
Scott Robison Right.
Emma Rose So, the awareness and understanding and starting to have that mindfulness is way more powerful, and way more effective.
Scott Robison Yeah. You know, another thing too is when you’re having food, this is a food one specifically, the prevalence of … I just heard somebody talk about this recently, the prevalence of saying a blessing, or saying grace before eating a meal is sort of part of that pause in mindfulness, giving your brain a chance to settle, and give yourself a chance to kind of check in and kind of become acquainted with itself before you actually start putting fork to mouth.
Emma Rose Yeah, totally, and if that’s not a family tradition, you can go around the table and say one good thing that happened during the day, so if you don’t have those religious beliefs at that stopping point, you can also sort of prepare in advance, so there’s all sorts of little strategies, like eating off of a smaller plate, using smaller silverware, keeping the extra food in the kitchen instead of on the table, when you serve yourself your food, literally dividing it in half, so that you create a stopping point when you’re halfway through. So, there’s all sorts of strategies.
Scott Robison Yup.
Emma Rose On how to be more mindful while you’re eating.
Scott Robison That’s good, so the next time somebody in my family says, “We should serve it family style.” I’m gonna say, “No, Emma said, that’s not good for us.” Thank you for giving me that tactic, I really just hate family style so much.
Emma Rose And you can say, rather than it’s not good for us, you can say, “Hey, I got an idea, what if we put it in the kitchen so that we can actually check in with ourselves if we’re hungry.” So that it doesn’t have that sort of undertone of, “You’re not good enough, you’re a failure, you’re a slug.”
Scott Robison Yeah, actually honestly-
Emma Rose Keeping it on-
Scott Robison Honestly, my actual reason, is I just don’t want to do the extra dishes of family style. I’d just rather clean the plates and put everything in Tupperware.
Emma Rose And, then of course the case could be made for just cooking less, [crosstalk 00:41:15]. If there’s two people eating, how much food do you really need to make?
Scott Robison Oh yeah-
Emma Rose But, of course you got a family of five.
Scott Robison I say, I got a family of five, only four of whom are eating food at the moment, but we’ve got lunches to make and all that stuff, and if you don’t eat bread, you don’t eat milk, a lot of people’s normal habits change. So, my lunch, typically is dinner leftovers, so.
Emma Rose Sure, sure. Which is an awesome strategy, I mean it really is an awesome strategy. That’s what I do too, I prepare five meals and I’ll turn the oven on and put a bunch of stuff in, take it out put it in Tupperware, put it in the freezer, and I’ve got all my meals for the next few days.
Scott Robison That’s a great alternative to the clean plate club, too. If your kid doesn’t finish their dinner, that’s just their lunch the next day.
Emma Rose Right. Right. Exactly.
Scott Robison Yup, and when it’s in their lunchbox, they don’t have a choice.
Emma Rose Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.
Scott Robison So, Emma, as you said, sort of way back at the beginning of the episode, you’re launching yourself here as a full-time health coach, and we’re helping you do that here at Integration Bodywork, talk us through this workshop that you’ve got going.
Emma Rose So, the workshop just kind of came to be naturally, because it’s based off of all the things that I used to do in my health coaching practice when I worked in clinic, so I found that I was talking to people about the same concepts, about neuroplasticity, and how to rewire your brain, about dopamine and addiction, about mindful eating, paying attention to when you’re hungry, about metabolism and how to time your meals and what metabolism is, and how to optimize it.
Emma Rose So, I took all of these topics, and I’m creating a full eight-week workshop that covers all of these in depth. It will include individual exercises, as well, so that you can start to right away, in the moment, apply it to your own life and start to have that awareness of how to make changes in your own personal life. So, it’s a comprehensive, evidence-based, all inclusive workshop on how to change your life, really. I mean I know that might sound a little bit unrealistic, but if you learn the tools, you can apply those tools to every aspect of your life, in any moment, whether you’re on vacation, if you have a new job, if you’re at your in-laws and they’re Italian, and they serve a huge dinner, whatever, so once you learn these tools, you can apply them anywhere.
Emma Rose If I’m basically this [inaudible 00:43:51] is to teach people how to fish, instead of giving you the fish.
Scott Robison Yeah, I really love that, I think that’s something that’s gonna really set you apart, here as a health coach. So many of the people that I know who are sort of field, offer these 30 day cleanses, 12 week cleanses, which honestly work, like I’ve had a lot of people who do these things, come into my office and I can feel the difference in what their skin and tissue feels like, right? They feel more supple, there’s visibly less inflammation, like all these positive changes, but almost universally, they say, “Yeah, but I couldn’t really stick with it. Yeah, but I kind of added these things back in, and now I don’t feel so great anymore.”
Emma Rose Exactly, because you’re doing it for the wrong reason, you’re doing it not because you wanna necessarily feel better in the moment, but you’re doing it because at the end of the 30 days, I’m going to have lost X number of pounds, that’s almost universally why people do these things, is because at the end of the 30 days, this where I’m gonna be. It’s not about the process, and yeah absolutely, it is so easy to just get a plan and be told what to do, but that is not sustainable, it’s not intrinsically motivated, it doesn’t create joy in your life, it’s not about enjoying the process, it’s really for the end result.
Emma Rose If you’re not rewarded in the moment by what you’re doing, and you’re only looking at the result, you will never be able to sustain that behavior.
Scott Robison Yeah. Well, I’m really excited to bring you in and bring this offering out to our audience, here. It’s, like I said, something that looking for when you raised your hand, I said, “Yes, please, let’s get this out to people.” So, if people want to work with you, they can sign up for this workshop through Integration Bodywork scheduling site, so that’s scheduling.integrationbodywork.net. If people want to get in touch with you, first, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Emma Rose So, I’m literally 72 hours out of my medical practice, so I don’t have a website yet. So-
Scott Robison What?
Emma Rose I know.
Scott Robison Do you have a domain name? Because I know you’re working on one, right? This is conceivably some people may look for this later.
Emma Rose Yup, I have a domain name it is Rxeptional Health, so like exceptional health, but with an R instead of an E, so it’s R-X like you’re prescription for optimal health, so RXeptionalHealth.com I do have a blog that I started, although I hadn’t worked on it in a while because I just now have some time to put into this, so yeah, that’s my domain. If they do want to get in touch with me is through email, my email currently is emma.amanda.rose@gmail, I will have an email set up at Rxeptional Health page, here soon. And they certainly can get in touch with me through you.
Scott Robison Right.
Emma Rose In the mean time as well.
Scott Robison Yeah, the best email there is info@integrationbodywork.net, our phone number is 6085351154.
Emma Rose Awesome.
Scott Robison Alright. And last-
Emma Rose Wonderful, I’m very excited.
Scott Robison Yeah, me too, parting shots, what do you wanna leave people with?
Emma Rose So, today’s my birthday.
Scott Robison Oh, happy birthday!
Emma Rose Thank you! Yeah, so the universe really works in your favor, so I have to say that six weeks ago, I felt like everything was unraveling and I quit my job, I didn’t know what I was gonna do, I wasn’t living my passion, my relationship with my daughter’s father wasn’t the best, and over the last six weeks, in following my heart, in living my authentic self, today on my birthday, I can say that this is the best birthday ever, and it’s going to be an amazing … I have an amazing teacher, because I started listening to my needs. So pay attention to what you need. Act on what you need. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and the universe will work in your favor.
Scott Robison Awesome, I love that. All right, Emma, thank you so much for joining us, today, and we will-
Emma Rose Thank you, bye.
Scott Robison … see you soon.
Emma Rose Yeah, wonderful, I look forward to it, class is starting in what? Two weeks.
Scott Robison Oh, that’s a great point! In case you were wondering when the class starts, class starts the week of October 8, we got a bunch of different class times that you can check out through the website. Registration closes next, so this episode goes up on Tuesday, October 2, registration closes tomorrow, the 3rd, at the end of the day, so don’t sleep on this, take action, if you wanna be a part of it.
Emma Rose Yup. Yup, and we are because that Tuesday night, we added more spots, we’re also adding, which we need to work out, another evening spot, so if for some reason the Tuesday evening does not work for you, still please get in touch with us, that you can find out about the other course that’s gonna be held off-site.
Scott Robison Oh, perfect. Okay [crosstalk 00:49:02] and all that information will be on the scheduling page, right again, scheduling.integrationbodywork.net.
Emma Rose Great. All right.
Scott Robison All right, Emma, thank you.
Emma Rose Thank you, have a great day, everybody.
Scott Robison You too.
Emma Rose Take care, thanks, Scott.
Scott Robison Yup, bye.
Scott Robison Well, that’s it for this episode of the Integration Bodywork Podcast, if you enjoyed it, please subscribe on Apple Podcast, formally known as iTunes, that’s how other people find the show. If you’d like to find out more about us and what we’re up to, go to www.integrationbodywork.net where you can find show notes for this and every episode, subscribe to the [inaudible 00:49:32] weekly newsletter, or schedule an appointment. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.

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