Nutritionist Answers The Big 3 Questions : Rebecca Washuta
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Guest: Rebecca Washuta
Release Date: 10/31/2022
Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast where we interview experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom and wealth. I am your host, Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101.
On today’s episode, I speak with Rebecca Washuta, who is my sister and also a licensed dietician, nutritionist, and certified nutrition specialist with degrees in neuroscience in nutrition. We talk about everything to do with nutrition and clients and habits. But really we centrally focused the beginning of part of the conversation around three major questions that clients will ask us all the time, that may be difficult to respond to, we need to have two different ways to respond to these questions.
One, from the layman’s perspective, how do we maybe reframe the question so that it’s the so that they’re getting the important part of that question like is for better for me? And then to the scientific side? Because if clients do know, a little bit more than the average person in the general population, how do we talk about the science and explain that we are the experts. And this is why we’re going down this specific path because of the evidence-based side of nutrition or fitness.
So it was a great conversation, I’m also going to have Rebecca back on to speak about habits down the road, you can find everything about her and her programs that happy healthy nutritionist.com. Also happy healthy nutritionist on Instagram. With no further ado, here’s Rebecca. And, Rebecca, thank you so much for joining the truly fit podcast for a second time. For those who didn’t hear on the first round, why don’t you give everyone a brief background on who you are? And what it is you do in the health and nutrition industry?
Rebecca Washuta: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m happy to be here. So I’m a Licensed Dietitian and a health coach. And I have my own private practice. And I specialize in weight loss and habit formation.
Steve Washuta: Awesome. And we are going to talk about habit formation in another podcast coming down the road. And we’ll do a teaser to that at the end. But today, I’m going to ask you three questions, questions that I asked to two of my last three guests, actually, who will who are also in the nutrition realm.
It’s just interesting to hear how different people answer these questions. One of the episodes I called it five frustrating client questions because us as personal trainers, and I’m sure you too, will get the same questions over and over. And it’s not good to sort of roll our eyes or poopoo those questions, right, we need to explain to our clients like you have the green light to ask whatever question you want.
There are no dumb questions, but at the same time, there are questions that are asked all the time. And sometimes also, and this is this leads into my first question right here. Although we know the answer is so simple, it’s hard to explain it. So the first question is here, and I’m sure you get it all the time because we do is fruit bad for me. How do you respond not to me, someone who may know the science but to the general population?
Rebecca Washuta: Yeah, so short answer is no, I never want to deter people from eating fruit. As as trainers. And you know, as a dietitian, we’re very often working with people who want to lose weight. So if you’re speaking to someone who wants to lose weight, we want to tell them to avoid tropical fruits.
So things like pineapple, mangoes, bananas, because they’re higher in sugar than other fruit and prioritize fruit like berries, right, because that’s lower in sugar and higher in fiber. The other important thing about berries is they have really powerful phytonutrients. So, you know, I like to get people excited about eating real food. As opposed to just like looking at processed foods and focusing on the macronutrients.
Berries have different phytonutrients one is called enthesis, Cyan, cyan, and that can actually help improve insulin sensitivity. So that’s really great. And then they also have a compound called Steel beans. And that can prevent a dip agenesis. So it actually prevents our body from forming new fat cells.
So really important that we don’t want to be scared of fruit, they have a ton of compounds in it that can help us, it’s just the types of fruit that we want to focus on. The other thing that I think is really important is I tell all my clients no lonely fruit, so we don’t want to eat fruit by itself, we don’t want to eat fruit on an empty stomach, we always want to pair it with fat, or protein. And this is for a few reasons.
One is because the protein and fat will actually slow the absorption of the carbs. And so that’s gonna prevent a huge spike in your in your blood sugar. And so what it’s going to do is your blood sugar is going to sort of level off, and then you’re not going to feel tired and hungry, you know, an hour and a half later. The other thing is that protein and fat will help you feel fuller sooner, and we’ll help you we’ll help you stay satiated longer.
So you’re not you know, going back to the kitchen an hour later, five or two from the from, you know, whatever you’re mixing your fruit with the fiber actually will line your gut a little bit and so you’re not absorbing everything. You wouldn’t be safe. You’re eating a banana on an empty stomach. So that’s what’s really important I would say it’s not it’s not as fruit bad for me.
It’s what type of fruit to have focus on if you’re trying to lose weight, and then it’s what you want to pair your fruit with. So you can still, you know, I love bananas, you can still eat bananas, but just make sure you’re having that with a nut butter with Greek yogurt with chia pudding with something that’s going to slow the absorption and also help you feel more full.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. That’s a great scientific answer. And I was always under the impression and maybe this is a little bit wrong, that also fruits ran in sort of a relation to price for how good they are. So like, the more expensive the fruit is, the better it is for you. But I guess not because pineapple is expensive.
And it’s maybe not as good for you. But I know like if you in a general concept that seems to make sense, right? So like bananas and grapes really cheap. higher in sugar. Yeah, something like, at least organic strawberries and blueberries more expensive. Very good for you.
Rebecca Washuta: For sure. Yeah, I just paid, you know, 699 for a thing that’s this big of blueberries, right? That allows me a couple of days and bananas or maybe 15 cents of banana. So that’s yeah, that’s an interesting correlation. And it’s unfortunate, right? Because we obviously want to be eating that those really nutrient dense foods.
The other interesting thing is, you know, when you’re thinking about berries, it’s sort of like small foods have a lot of bang for their buck, right? Because it’s a lot of phytonutrients, packaged into a small package. So as opposed to a banana that’s big, a blueberry, you know, or even even grapes have phytonutrients. But something that small, tends to have, you know, in his deeper in color, as a, you know, like a very rich blueberry as opposed to like a pale banana. It’s good to have, you know, more benefits for you.
Steve Washuta: new clients are asking these questions a lot of times because they want permission. They’re not asking because they want the science, although it’s good to give them the science. But really, I had a funny conversation with Dr. Mark Morris about this, wherein if they say, Hey, what do you think about the supplement?
That means they’re three weeks into the supplement already? They’re already taking it? Yeah, that doesn’t mean they actually want your your advice. They just they want you to tell them that it’s okay.
So I think that’s also something to keep in mind for both personal trainers and nutrition professionals, when the client asks, Hey, you know, what do you think about fruit or what you think about bananas, be careful about saying like, Absolutely do not do this, because the chances are, they’re already are doing it, and you don’t want to like, yell at them, so to speak.
Rebecca Washuta: Yeah, they’re already doing it. And then you also don’t want to have people group food, you know, I think we’d like to take a very myopic approach where it’s black and white, it’s good or bad, right. And we don’t want to say, fruit is bad, we don’t want to say bananas or pineapples are bad, I think they’re great.
You just need to know what to pair them with and when to have it. And so I think it’s important as you know, people in the health industry to teach our clients how foods going to affect our bodies, so that they can then decide when they want to eat it. So pineapple is great. But if you have it for breakfast, by 10 o’clock, you may be feeling tired, and you may be hungry again. So maybe you have pineapple in the afternoon, right? If you’re gonna have it alone. So it’s like once you know the rules, you can kind of break them.
But you know, even with same thing with doughnuts, right? I love I love a good doughnut. But I know how the donut is going to affect me. And so I know the appropriate time to eat it. And you know, we, we all do this sort of instinctually anyone who, anyone who drinks alcohol and doesn’t have a problem with it. I love a glass of champagne. But I also know how it’s going to make me feel right.
So like, I’m not going to have a glass of champagne on a Monday morning, when I have a busy day. And I have a lot of things to do. Because later that morning, I’m going to feel tired, I’m going to have a headache, you know, I’m going to be hungry. And that’s not how I want to feel right? I want to feel full and focused. But on a Friday night, classes haven’t been as great, right? So it’s just about same thing with donuts, right? A doughnut will spike your blood sugar.
Your pancreas will release insulin, one that’s going to you know cause your body to store fat, but it’s how are you going to feel you’re going to feel crappy after you eat a doughnut, right? So it’s like for sure when you on the weekend or you know, when you determine it’s the right time for you 100%. But like, let’s think about our days and how we want to feel and how food is going to make us feel. So like the timing of food as opposed to saying this is a good food. This is a bad food.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s great advice. And I think that’s something that’s missing a lot because people don’t think about how they feel. I mean, they’ll report it instantly there and then, but they’re not thinking about that priority.
Rebecca Washuta: You’re not tying it right.
Steve Washuta: So they might be like okay, I had two slices of pizza. I was so full I just sat on the couch, I watched three episodes of Netflix, I want to sleep, I can’t believe I ate those three slices of pizza. But then the next morning before they eat breakfast or not thinking okay, how am I going to feel after I eat this food? They’re just looking in the refrigerator, seeing what’s available.
Maybe they’re looking at the caloric content, maybe they’re looking if they know enough, and they’re working with a nutrition professional about the phytonutrients and all these other things, but they’re not actually saying am I going to feel okay, and I think that’s where we as also health health professionals in the fitness world have an advantage because we get to say to our clients like hey, you need to be at 100% When you come into the gym.
Yeah. So you know when regardless of what you’re eating you Better be better think about an hour, two hours, three hours in advance. How are you going to feel when you come to me? Because I don’t, I don’t want you lagging, I don’t want you eating that doughnut, or not eating at all or something, right. So you have to be at optimal levels when you get to the gym. And I think that’s a good way to, for us to sort of talk nutrition with our Yeah, to give specifics.
Rebecca Washuta: Sure. But yeah, it’s that sort of positive pressure that you can put on them. And then it’s getting getting them to be more mindful, really, that’s the goal. We want you on people to be more mindful about moving their body. And, you know, dieticians want people to be just more mindful about what they eat.
And I think you’re right that eating is sort of like as taking a backseat, right? It’s like, I’ll grab a protein bar on the way out the door, no one’s really sitting down or thinking, preparing their meals or their snacks anymore. And so once you can become more mindful, it really makes a difference.
Steve Washuta: One last point here about why the clients are asking the question, I’m gonna give a little anecdote of myself, and I’ll move on to the next question. Why it’s important to allow them to ask any questions, and maybe be really sort of gentle with follow up questions before you just go into like, a diatribe on something because so I had somebody who was asking me about battle ropes, they’re like, so what do you think about battle ropes.
This person was a friend. And he was going on, I said, Well, you know, they’re, they’re kind of limited. So you know, as far as what you can do, you know, it’s, it’s really good for like forearm strength, you can do a lot of things that are sort of like slam related gets your heart rate up. And then you could pair those with leg related movements. S
o as you’re using a battle rope, and moving it back and forth, I can go into a lunge, I can go into a squat, there’s a few things you can do. But really, ultimately, it’s very limited. And he was like, Oh, I bought you want for your birthday. So like, so like, so I’m under the impression that he’s from like this fitness standpoint about about how useful this item is? Sure. And meanwhile, he’s doing well. Now I’m the ask because this guy just bought me a president and I just I’m telling him how limited this item is.
Rebecca Washuta: Right? So you never know, you think, you know, it’s on the other side of that question. But you You don’t you don’t know.
Steve Washuta: So they can they can be saying it because maybe they’re you know, maybe their aunt just gave them 12 pineapples and they don’t make a lot of moneyNow they have a an apple, and they’re excited that they have a fruit to eat.Their first journey of losing all this weight. And you’re and then you know, the nutrition professional explains right away, not you. I’m saying somebody who’s who doesn’t know better, and they go, Well, what do you think about this fruit? And they go, ah, that’s fruits, horrible.
Don’t eat that. Why would you ever eat that? And they go, Well, I just got 12 from my aunt and I don’t have a lot of money. So this was the fruit I was going to eat for the week. Right? So we’re sure yeah, be mindful of, of like being gentle with the responses, because we don’t know what’s on the other side of that question. But
Rebecca Washuta: yeah, you know, and it’s meeting the client where they’re at. And I know you guys do this a lot. It’s not like there’s one exercise routine for everybody, right? You has to be personalized. And for with nutrition, it has to be personalized, too. So like, if you love pineapple, I want you to eat pineapple.
Let’s just get you to pair it with nut butter, Greek yogurt or whatever. So yeah, I think it’s, you know, anyone who preaches one diet for everyone does not have your best interest in mind. Like unless someone knows your preferences, your lifestyle, your genetics, your microbiome, right? Your stress level, everything going on in your life, they can’t really prescribe you a diet.
Steve Washuta: No. The number one reason why people stick to a diet Exactly.
Rebecca Washuta: Same thing in the workout routine, like you’re not just I’m not gonna walk up to you, and you’re gonna, you know, put me in a, you know, Insanity by Shaun T. Like, you’re gonna talk to me, what do I like to do? Do I have any injuries? And so I think it has to be very similar with with nutrition, right? We want to incorporate their preferences in their life. So what’s worked for them in the past? If I’ve done yoga, and I hate yoga, and you tried to get me to do yoga, well, now, there’s already tension between us, you know, so yeah, it was really meeting the client, where they’re at, I think,
Steve Washuta: let’s move on to the second question here. The obviously keto diet has been big over the course of the years, and then people try to, you know, they get a little bit of information and they cling to something, whatever that is. Of the last three, four or five years, it’s been carbs, right carbs have have this huge kind of negative effect tied to it.
People are either cutting them out, or they’re more concerned with them than they should be at all times. And they’re bringing it up. Even in casual conversation back, I’ll be sitting down with people who know nothing about anything. And they’re not even on like a weight loss journey. But they’re ordering food at the restaurant and like that has too many carbs, then it’s like it’s like, it’s like in vogue to say, right, like, Oh, if I care about your health, I have to care about this.
What do you say to clients who say, Do I need to cut all carbs? Or I’m starting to cut out all carbs? What do you how do you talk to clients through that process? And maybe other things they should know around that?
Rebecca Washuta: Well you know, I think if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s good to be mindful about your carb intake. Right? So it’s we do want to focus on complex carbs and get away from simple carbs. However, you know, I think I tried to say it’s less about cutting out and we’re about what we want to add in so naturally, if you add more protein to your diet, and what I found is especially women aren’t aren’t eating enough protein.
If you increase your protein at meals and snacks, you’re going to naturally eat less carbs. So, but you know, what I will say for keto is some people lose weight on keto, and they do very well. At the same time, some people lose weight on a low fat vegan diet, and they do very well. Right? So again, it’s about your preferences, your lifestyle, all of that.
But for women, keto, keto is tricky, right. They’ve done studies where they found that keto really impacts a woman’s hormones, so it can increase cortisol, which in the long run, increases inflammation and can add to weight gain, and then it also will drop your estrogen. For women in their 30s, who are, you know, may be trying to have children, this can be this can be, you know, actually dangerous and can impact your, your fertility.
YSo, you know, if someone is, is set on a keto diet, I think it’s, it’s good to question why, you know, do they think that’s the only way? Do they, you know, do they hear it on a podcast? You know, why are they afraid of carbs? Why do they want to cut back on carbs? And is the idea that they that they just want to lose weight? Well, you know, let’s talk about what else we can do. You know, what I, what I do tell my clients is, it’s more important about what you can stick with long term.
So a lot of people can’t stick with keto long term, it’s hard. And I know there are more, it’s probably easier now than it was even 10 years ago. But it’s hard to do, right? I think it impacts your social life, it’s going to impact your family, it’s. So that’s tough. What I do tell my clients to focus on is instead of cutting back on carbs, what’s important is the order in which you eat your meals, right.
Like, let’s take lunch or dinner, for example, the types of meals that have been the different courses, what you want to do is you want to eat your carbs last. So you want to have fiber and phytonutrients first, so like a side salad, then you want to have protein and fat. Then you want to have carbs. This goes back to what we talked about before that one, the fiber and the fat and the protein will fill you up, the fiber also sort of lines your intestine, so you’re not absorbing quite as much.
If you’re having the carbs last, you’re not going to absorb them quickly. So it’s going to slow the absorption and then your glucose spike and your insulin spike are going to be more manageable, which you know, prevents weight gain and prevents you feeling hangry an hour or so later. So I think that’s that’s actually more important is that order you eat your food rather than cutting it out altogether?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I love the order that you said, I also love the subtraction by addition, where wherein you add enough good stuff, then you’re not gonna want the bad stuff in general network that works in a lot of different ways. And I’ve heard other people set up for other good nutrition professionals.
And then lastly, you know, just asking the client, I assume, saying, like, if I were to compare this to the fitness world, do you like x thing, right? If they’re like, hey, I really want to have this is my goal. I want to put on 10 pounds of muscle do I need to cut out cardio? It’s like, Well, do you like cardio?
Because I don’t want to cut it out. If you like it, if you hate it, we’ll find a way to you know, so it’s like, Do you Do you like eating like, certain carbohydrates? But we’re gonna find a way for you to have them like, I’m not that good, because then we’re not going to adhere to it, and it’s not going to work.
So it’s, you know, these sort of simplistic questions, of course, it’s in some respects to get to anywhere in life to get to any goal, there has to be something that you’re giving up a little bit, right. But But ultimately, if you can’t give it up for good, what is what is the point you’re not you’re not even staying in ketosis in the first place.
Rebecca Washuta: Right? You can’t sustain it. There’s there’s no point.
Steve Washuta: Let’s hop to the next question here.
Rebecca Washuta: Hold on, there was a there was actually one more thing I wanted to say here. So I think what’s also important here is the time of day, you’re eating your carbs. And so this also has to be very, very personalized. So for most of us, you know, we’re getting up in the morning. We’re getting ready, we’re sitting down at our computer for four hours, right to lunch, and then we maybe get up again.
And I think for you, you’re you’re different, right? You’re getting up, you’re with the baby, I think you walk her to daycare, right? You’re coming home, you’re training people, you’re moving on morning. So for someone like you, if you wanted to have a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, no problem because you are moving so much, it’s not going to affect your blood sugar because that glucose is going to be utilized by your muscle cells.
But for people who are just sitting at their desks all day, you don’t want to have a high carb breakfast. And that’s because your again, your blood sugar is going to spike your insulin is going to spike and then by 1030 You’re feeling hungry again and you’re tired and and so then you’re sort of on this like blood sugar. Insulin roller coaster.
Steve Washuta: I’ll just drink three Red Bulls that and that’s what they really Yeah, no, no problem. conversation around that at some point.
Rebecca Washuta: Oh my gosh. People are sort of on this, when they when you when you start the day with high carb and then you are just sitting all day, you’re on this roller coaster and insulin, you know, obviously a very important hormone, but it’s sort of like Miracle Gro for fat cells.If you’re constantly eating and you’re constantly spiking your insulin that’s going to cause you to gain weight and you’re going to eat more over time.
Ideally, you know, like we talked about that addition of adding in more protein so you feel full if you’re eating a proper meal, you shouldn’t feel hungry for four hours, I would even say four to five hours. Like if you’re eating enough at each meal. And I tell clients, we really want to focus on meals because snacks are where processed foods come in, right? Like, for the most part, people are eating healthy lunches, healthy dinners. It’s those snacks in between, right where I grab a bar, bag of chips or this.
So if we can limit snacks, and we can really focus on those meals, that’s important. And so for people who are sitting most of the day, and this sounds counterintuitive, you shouldn’t eat your carbs at night, because then your insulin is really only spiking once. So if you can have you know, more like a salad for breakfast, and you want to have a bowl of pasta, you can have it, you can have it at night.
The other thing you can do on the flip side is after you eat a high carb meal is go for a walk or exercise like within 30 to 60 minutes after you eat. Because again, that’s going to help reduce the blood sugar spike in the insulin spike.
Steve Washuta: Okay, so the third question that is a frustrating frequent client ask question, I’m sure this happens to you all the time. You already kind of hinted at it a little bit earlier on in the one of the first answers you gave.
But a question we get all the time is, do I need to cut out alcohol? What is going on exactly in my body with this alcohol, if my goal is weight loss, or muscle building, or whatever it is, Should I cut out alcohol altogether? What exactly should I do? How do you respond to clients? And then anything else you want to sort of add in here concerning alcohol and unhealthy and working with clients?
Rebecca Washuta: Yeah, so again, you know, as we talked about in the previous two questions, you want to be gentle? Because if you say, Absolutely, you have to cut everything out, you’re going to turn people away. And so, you know, Perfection is the enemy of progress. So So baby steps. In general, it’s good to cut back, you know, so you can start by saying that. And, you know, for people, I like to educate them, right.
So your liver is really the primary organ of your of your metabolic system. And I think some people think, oh, it’s the stomach, or it’s the intestines, but really, it’s your liver. Because this is where a lot of the like detoxification is taking place. It’s where glucose is created right through gluconeogenesis. It’s where proteins, carbs and fats are broken down, and where we get energy, so your liver is really important. And if your liver is taxed through alcohol, your metabolism isn’t going to be working optimally. The other thing that can happen when we drink too much alcohol is it can reduce our nutrient absorption.
So it’s going to reduce our absorption of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin D, vitamin E, is also going to increase our urinary excretion. So like what we pee out of magnesium and zinc and some other minerals. And this can be bad for a number of reasons. But when we are when we are malnourished, right, so you can be overweight and be malnourished, right? You can even have extra fat on your body, but maybe not have the right nutrients you need. So when you’re not getting the right nutrients you need, you’re still going to be hungry.
That’s why people who are you know, can be very obese and still be very hungry because you’re missing nutrients, right. Your body is saying we need to eat more to get those nutrients. And the other thing is those vitamins and minerals are essential in in the fat burning processes, right? Like our cells utilize those to burn fat and give us energy. So so it’s important that we have those.
Next, I like to talk people through the just the behavioral neuroscience, right of drinking, we all know we’ve all gotten drunk and have that late night pizza, right? So you’re not making great decision because when you’re working, you’re not thinking of your long term goal, right? You’re thinking about short term in the moment, what what do I need now? The other thing that alcohol does is it impacts your sleep, right? So even though you may fall asleep more quickly, it’s impacting the quality of your sleep.
And studies have shown that poor sleep leads to overeating the next day, right? Because we’re feeling tired. Everyone knows the day when you’re hungover, right? You want to eat more and you’re craving high carb foods because you’re low on energy and your body needs something quick to give it a boost. Lack of sleep can also increase cortisol, which we talked about before can lead to weight gain. So you know, there’s there’s a number of reasons why this can move you further from your goal.
That being said, you know, for some people depending upon their lifestyle, they’re not going to give up alcohol altogether. I do I will say this though, just from a personal perspective, if you’ve never if as an adult, you’ve never taken a long term break from alcohol. I think that in a try. Right. So I was forced to because I was pregnant. Otherwise I’m not sure that I would have but I was forced to do it for nine months and and then coming back afterwards.
I think it gave me I have a different relationship, right? I was more mindful about when I wanted to drink and you know, we’re drinking at some time just become a habit, right? So, oh, it’s Friday night, and my husband and I are watching a movie. But I’m going to pour myself a glass of wine, like, Do you need a glass of wine? Or watch a movie? No, but it’s Friday.
And that’s just what I do on Fridays, right? So like, people have these habits that they’re not even aware of. So, you know, I’ve seen it in my clients to clients who do the sober October or a dry January, they come back a little bit more mindful about alcohol. And I think that’s, I think that’s an important perspective to have as, as a as an adult.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s great science, you gave him the front end of the answer. And then in the back end, a great sort of psychology component to that. And I, you know, just add to that, piggyback off some of the things you said, and then add some other things. I think it’s, it’s certainly gold dependent when we talk about what’s going on with alcohol.
So when someone has a really short term goal, I’m upfront with them and saying, like, okay, if I’m training for you for a wedding, and your goal, your goal is to lose eight pounds before your wedding, which is in five weeks, and you want to get in good shape.
Guess what alcohol, if you’re drinking on a regular basis, it’s really going to hinder this short term effect here, right? So I’m gonna do everything I can to tell you to not drink and to not make bad decisions, because we have a short term goal here, as opposed to if I’m working with someone who goes, Hey, I just want overall health and wellness, I want to work out here and there, I want to shed pounds slowly, I want to just become healthier, more mindful of my body, then that’s a different conversation on alcohol, maybe we have the conversation, like you just said, we’re going to, we’re going to look at the sort of the larger scale of how much alcohol you take in.
And maybe we can fiddle with, you know, drinking two days a week instead of, you know, four days a week or something. But but it doesn’t need to be something we’re focused on like hypersensitive about right away, because you don’t you don’t have this short term goal of meeting this because we have to be honest with our clients and saying, you know, if you do have a short term goal, everything matters. And could I get you there? Could I get you to that eight pound weight loss and that more toned look? Sure.
But it’s gonna be much easier if you cut out the alcohol, because things like you said, your sleep has affected that when you wake up in the morning, you’re tired. And what happens when you’re tired, your body thinks you’re hungry. So now you’re really now you’re really hungry. Now you’re eating everything, because you think you think you’re tired, or your body thinks you’re tired. But you’re you know, you’re hungry, you’re actually just tired.
And there’s just so many of these, like snowball effects that come around in government, not to mention that you’re less likely to then go work out, I think good habits build on each other. So like, you go work out and you come home like, well, I don’t want to eat something bad. It just worked out. Right?
Rebecca Washuta: For sure. Yeah. You know, it’s actually there’s a psychological theory, it’s called the domino effect. I did a blog post on this recently. And it’s the idea that, when you make a change to one behavior, it’s going to activate a, you know, a chain reaction to other behaviors. And, and so this works on the flip side, too, right? We’ve all gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, stubbed our toe, got shampoo in our eyes in the shower, right, then you’re running late for work, and your boss yells at you, you know, goes downhill.
On the flip side, if you if you get up early, and you work out and you have a good breakfast, and you get to work and you take the stairs, so, so one good decision really does lead to another. And we can, I’d love to get into that more on the next podcast, when we talk about habits, it’s because your brain is hardwired to repeat behaviors that make us feel good. So when you when you make a behavior that makes you feel good, you’re gonna want to keep doing that.
And so like you said, it’s just, you know, one night of excessive drinking wine. And I’m sure you’ve seen it with your clients too. It’s like, people can stay on track all week, and then the weekend, everything goes out the window, because then they you know, they drink and they continue to make bad decisions.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, now holds such a different beast than other bad decisions, because of all those other things that are sort of like that could come down the road spiraling bad decision making meaning like, if my client decides to walk to Dairy Queen and have like a, you know, whatever, banana float, and have like this big ice cream thing.
Like, it’s not that big of a deal. Like, okay, maybe if they’re in a, you know, third now a caloric not in a caloric deficit, right. They’re in a caloric surplus, and their goal is to lose weight, whatever, it’s one time, it’s not a big deal. You should We should never like, you don’t want to think of food that way where like, you’re like shaming yourself, right? That’s a different conversation.
But we both agree on that. But with the alcohol, it’s that decision doesn’t end there. Not only does it affect the sleep, but you wake up cranky, and then you make bad decisions. And then your livers affected and there’s so many of these other things that are like, intermixed. You know, I had struggled with a lot of clients who just weren’t meeting their goals.
And they were heavy drinkers. And it was a hard conversation to have because they were they were drinking like four high balls of whiskey at night and then coming to me at eight in the morning and be like, I can’t lose and pass. They were there at eight in the morning. Because they were just they were like legitimate alcoholics or, you know, you’re you’re fighting an uphill battle and it’s a conversation that’s above my paygrade to talk about, like the psychology behind why they might need help, but what I can explain from our perspective From what you just explained is, hey, this is really going to hinder, if not completely impede our short term goals at least.
And until, until this is kind of like, you know, tied up a little bit and you’ve cleaned your cleaning this part of your life up, you know, you can, you can still come to me and we can we can work on getting you healthier, but but our goals are going to be slowed down extremely so that you don’t feel as the trainer or as the nutrition professional that, that it’s your fault.
Rebecca Washuta: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And I think you meet the clients where they are right? You’re not I’m sure this this guy who was drinking for high balls of whiskey is not going to come to you and be like, I give it up whatever. Right? So. And yes, it is it is outside of our paygrade to help them if you think they have a problem.
But I think you can make recommendations, right. Generally speaking, the best time to drink alcohol is like a happy hour. A couple of reasons is your body will have a chance to detoxify and actually process the alcohol before you have bed. So it won’t affect your sleep as much. The thing is, I do want to eat and according to our circadian rhythms. So once the sun goes down, it’s really you really don’t want to be eating or drinking.
And so it’s every, every cell in our body is set to that clock, even our liver cells, so we’re going to be able to detoxify more optimally at that time. So and then, you know, it’s also good to drink with foods. So I do try to you know, give clients that advice, because it at least limits those rippling effects like you talked about.
And then I think, you know, in general, are there are there better drinks to have than others? Well, sure, like if the option is a tequila on the rocks, or a super sugary Margarita. We know we’re gonna go with but I think it is. It’s less about calories when it comes to gin versus tequila, right. But generally speaking, if you for health and weight loss purposes, if you are going to drink, we want to focus on clear alcohol, right, just mixed with soda, or on the rocks, or a dry wine or champagne.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s great science. And I think, you know, lastly, or to hit on another like psychological component here. It’s good to reframe, and talk about goals and expectations with the clients at all times, and be honest with ourselves and with the client. So if somebody comes to me, and says, I only have three days to train, and someone comes to me and says I have seven days to train, they both have the same goal. It’s a lie for me to tell the client who’s training three days that they can get there in the same time, the client who’s training seven days, right?
So like, yeah, we just we have to be honest, that, you know, if these are the things you’re willing to do, these are the things we’re willing to give up. Whoa, okay. Well, this is this is when we can get you to your goal. It’s not it’s not all even right. So like, yeah, really, because people come in, they say this whole time, like, Oh, my friend did this diet and did this, they did this, it’s like, okay, did your friend also tell you all of the other things they did?
Because to get there, you’re gonna have to sacrifice a lot of these things. And if if alcohol is something you’re not willing to give up, that’s fine. But then we have to reframe your goals here, because they might be, you know, somewhat hindered, at least from a time perspective, if you’re not willing to make sacrifices, whatever that is, whether that’s maybe someone says, Hey, I am not willing to give up eating this particular breakfast.
That is a 500 Calorie breakfast full of carbohydrates. I’ll do anything else. Okay, fine. We’ll work around that. But but this this four week goal of yours is not possible. We got to push it to six and eight.
Rebecca Washuta: For sure. Yeah, I think, you know, as health professionals, we do have to be, get more comfortable having those difficult conversations, right, and really managing clients expectations, because that’s what creates, that’s what helps our clients be successful. That’s what helps create good relationships. So yeah, that I think that’s really important.
Steve Washuta: So you hinted on it a little bit, but we are going to have a podcast coming up down the road here talking about healthy habits. I know that’s something that you’ve really been working on lately with your clients, and sort of writing about and discovering. So let’s just dive into it a little bit here. We’ll give a teaser.
What about healthy habits is more science based and not simply motivation, because typically, what we hear is sort of the David Goggins Get your ass out of bed, start running miles, you’re gonna be fine, you’ll build these healthy habits. Is that not the case?
Rebecca Washuta: No. And I think that’s, you know, a big misconception is, people come to me and they think, like, I can’t do it, you know, I’ve tried, it doesn’t work. I don’t have the motivation. I don’t have the willpower, I’m lazy. It’s not about motivation or willpower. It’s not even about repetition. So just as a background for your listeners, so my degrees are in neuroscience and nutrition.
After I got into the nutrition field. I, you know, started realizing that my clients who got the long term results had healthy habits. So I dug in, you know. Leveraging my degree in neuroscience and I looked at the behavioral psychology. And I was able to create a framework for quickly developing healthy habits. So it’s what I use with all my clients right now. But so in general, people, people think it’s about motivation. It’s not what really helps create a long term habit. It is having a positive emotion behind it.
So I got into this a little bit earlier, our brain is hardwired to repeat pleasurable behaviors. So if you think about this from like an evolutionary point of view. Behaviors that felt good kept us alive, right. So like social connections, we needed a tribe eating right. In case there was a famine, sex because we needed to procreate. So our brains are hardwired to repeat behaviors that make us feel good. And so if you can get. And I have things that we can talk about more at length about. You know, sort of leveraging different systems in your brain to get excited about different habits.
But I think the number one thing you want to do. If you’re thinking about creating a new habit is one not pick something you hate. Right, I’m sure you have attended clients that come to me too. Who say, like, you know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna start running like. I hate running, but I’m just, on January 1. I’m gonna start running and they run for a day or two. And that’s it. And that, you know, I’m on the flip side with the emotions. If you feel like you’re not successful, and you feel bad, your brain does not want to repeat that.
So the minute you don’t, you know, you don’t get up on Wednesday morning and run. Now you’re going to feel bad about yourself, and you’re going to have this negative association with running. And so what you want to do is, if when you’re creating a new habit. You want to try to start with something that at least you don’t hate, right. It could be something neutral, but preferably something that you like. And you want to just give yourself very small goals.
Because if you start by saying, I’m gonna get up and run five miles tomorrow. And you haven’t run in 10 years, that’s not going to work. You’re not going to meet the goal, you’re going to feel frustrated and upset. Where if you say, I’m gonna get up, and I’m going to run around the block tomorrow. Then you come home, and you feel really good about yourself, and that those feelings of success. Those feelings of pleasure helped to wire in the behavior. So not about motivation. It’s one of the most important things it’s about as positive emotions. But I’m excited to share my whole framework with you at some point.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, it’s a little bit counterintuitive but certainly exciting and some food for thought. If this was not something you’ve delved into, I’d love to hear more about also. I guess you would say having, at one point. A habit that you did have a negative association with? And then and how does it work from there, because. You know, what I struggle with a lot is when I work with former athletes whose training was negative, right? It’s like, Oh, you got to wake up at 5am If you’re a swimmer. And like, go to the gym and lift weights.
So unlike these, like 21-year-olds, who never did anything before. They like love going to the gym and love lifting weights. The former athletes who have been playing sports. Since they’re young kids associate like the weight room with like, you know. The coach that was yelling at them to like, bench 315 pounds.
Do they have all these like, negative kind of emotions tied to this? And I don’t know, did you untie that completely? You don’t have to answer the question. Now you can you could come back with some information. Or do you just say, Hey, we’re just gonna go a totally different route. Instead of lifting weights, we’ll find another modality to do ya know.
Rebecca Washuta: There’s a lot of behavioral psychology behind it and different tricks and tips and tricks that can sort of get you over the hump, and where you want to be. So yeah, that’ll be a cool conversation to have.
Steve Washuta: Let my audience know now before you come on. Again, where they can find more about you. Whether that’s looking at your program and what you have to offer if someone wanted to work with you. Or whether that’s, let’s say, a personal trainer. Somebody who delves into the nutrition realm who might have just a question to ask you,
Rebecca Washuta: for sure. So my website is happy, healthy nutritionist, and you can find all sorts of information about my services there. And then my Instagram is also. Happy healthy nutritionists and all the links are in my bio for the different things that I offer.
Steve Washuta: My guest today has been Rebecca Washuta. Thanks for joining us, we’ll have a bucket.
Rebecca Washuta: Thank you.
Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.