What are the pros and cons of learning about nutrition? When does learning more about your health choices backfire? Whether it’s conflicting information or hearing things that sound too good to be true, learning more isn’t always helpful. Often, we’ll find ourselves in health information overwhelm.
In this episode, Ali’s client Sherry shares:
- Her path to separate marketing from health info;
- Getting over the fear of missing out;
- How she found the most well-being in unsubscribing from most health sources to make room to hear herself.
More About Sherry Fuller
Sherry has always been curious about holistic approaches to health, but that curiosity became intense in 2016 after she was (finally) diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and her endocrinologist told her there was nothing she could do to resolve it. Today, Sherry is a lot less obsessed with gathering health-related information.
As a result, she spends more time enjoying family and friends, hiking, traveling, reading, and counting butterflies. She works for an environmental non-profit in southern California, where she gets to learn new things almost every day and provide guidance in a variety of areas such as people (employees and volunteers), organizational development and policy, regulatory compliance, program reporting, and contracts, among other things.
Mentioned in This Episode
[0:00:47.5] AS: Welcome everybody to Season 7 of Insatiable. This season, our theme is hunger and taking a fresh look at different approaches to satisfying our hunger. To be physically and emotionally hungry is to be vulnerable. As Dr. Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. To have physical hunger, or to acknowledge our emotional and soul hungers is to choose to be open to the daring risk of being fully satisfied.”
We will exploring various diets and approaches to satisfying our holistic hungers. Before we get to our very special guest today, during our transition episodes to Season 7, I had hinted at something about if you love the conversations we have here and are all about exploring and experimenting to find the radical truth for every body you have; physical, emotional and soul, I have something exciting to share with you.
The drum roll is introducing the Insatiable membership community. This community is designed to help you take action around the topics we discuss here and support you to find your radical truth, A.K.A. why you fall off track or struggle with inconsistency. I wrote it out privately last year to clients new and old and the results have shown me there is a real need for a community, where we can trust ourselves, learn from each other and we get healthier, want to make more daring risks to make our life choices potent healing medicine.
I’m now opening it up to Insatiable listeners. In a nutshell, it’s a community where there are no gurus and we learn from each other. Once a month, we have a mastermind topic that helps you gain clarity and have groups to support and learn from wherever you are in your path. Once a month, there is also a Q&A coaching call with me where I coach attendees to get inspired, unstuck and clear on your next step.
We start a fresh new seasons of topics in March, which will be focused on a fresh, renewed look at our hunger. You can find more details at alishapiro.com\ic2019. There is a special rate if you join in March.
Okay, now on to our guest today, where we are going to talk in part about the hunger for simplicity and self-trust. This guest is my client, Sherry. Sherry has always been curious about holistic approaches to health, but that curiosity became intense. In 2016 after she finally was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and her endocrinologist told her there was nothing she could do to resolve it, that medical man makes you scared.
Today, Sherry is a lot less obsessed with gathering health-related information. As a result, she spends more time enjoying family and friends, hiking, traveling, reading and counting butterflies. I love that. She works for an environmental non-profit in Southern California, where she gets to learn new things almost every day and provide guidance in a variety of areas, such as people, organization development and policy, regulatory compliance, program reporting and contracts among other things.
Thank you so much for being here, Sherry.
[0:03:43.5] S: Oh, thank you Ali. I’m very excited and honored to be here.
[0:03:47.3] AS: Yeah. Let’s start with pre-diagnosis, because it’s interesting that you were finally diagnosed with something. What was you experiencing up until basically 2016?
[0:03:59.2] S: Well, up until 2016. I had like a lot of people who have Hashimoto’s, I had just a lot of vague complaints. Actually, I was speaking more that I had thyroid problems in early 2006 when a routine chest x-ray showed some thyroid nodules and I have the bad complaints, I was gaining weight, I was tired all the time, because I had had melanoma previously. They biopsied my nodules. The biopsies were negative, and so the doctor sent me on my way and said, “Oh, well. Keep having ultrasounds and biopsies at regular intervals.”
Nodules kept popping up. That was probably the main thing is that I kept getting nodules, I kept getting biopsies that they’re all negative and everyone was happy. A lot of the thyroid symptoms like losing hair, my eyebrows thinned out, the weight kept piling on no matter what I did. Then everyone just kept telling me the same thing they tell everyone; eat less, exercise more. In fact, one endocrinologist that I went to who kept fiddling around with various medications actually got mad at me, because I wouldn’t lose weight. Then when he questioned me about what I was eating, he got mad at me when I told him I was riding a bike. He said that building muscle and you’re gaining weight. That was crazy.
[0:05:18.0] AS: What?
[0:05:19.9] S: Yeah. No, really. He really did. He said, “Well, you’re building muscle on your thighs so that’s why you’re gaining weight,” which that was clearly not the reason why I was gaining weight. I didn’t go back to see him. This went on for about 10 years where no one could figure out what was going on and it was clearly you’re eating too much food and you’re not exercising. Then finally, this last endocrinologist that I saw, he – I’m trying to think how long it took. I think I’ve been seeing him for a couple of years. I was continuing to get thyroid ultrasounds. The nodules had stabilized, so I hadn’t had biopsies in a while, but I still kept getting the ultrasounds and he seemed really irritated every time I came in to discuss the results of the ultrasounds, because the nodules weren’t changing.
Finally, I just said, “Well, why am I so tired? I don’t feel right. Why am I not able to lose weight?” Then he looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “Well, that’s because you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.” I’m like, “Okay, well that’s the first I’ve heard this term before.” Shows me on my thyroid ultrasound why I have it, because it’s apparently Hashimoto’s does something to the structure of your thyroid in addition to causing nodules.
What do we do about that? He says to me, he goes, “Well, there isn’t anything you can do, so we’ll just keep an eye on your blood levels and when your thyroid stops functioning, we’ll just put you on thyroid hormones.” I’m like, “All right.” I left the doctor’s appointment then and I’m driving home and I’m thinking, “That’s not really a good answer.” In a way, I was a little bit relieved, because at least there was a name for what was going on with me.
I knew that thyroid issues were a little controversial. I had done a little bit of research during that 10-year period. When I got home, I did find out there are things I could do for my thyroid and something for my Hashimoto’s that involved lifestyle and diet changes. That’s when I got sucked into the whole world of wellness. That was back in fall of 2016, so just a little over two years ago.
[0:07:22.3] AS: Oh, my God. First of all, what I know about protective emotions, it makes me think the doctors were mad because they couldn’t help you. They obviously didn’t have the emotional intelligence to know that. Either were like, “I can’t explain this. I can’t fix it.” Rather than just say, “Huh, this isn’t working.” It’s putting the blame on you, right? I think our medical system traumatizes us and –
[0:07:44.0] S: Sometimes, I think so. Yeah, I think you’re right. Up until that point, I had no reason to not just the medical community, because I think is I had melanoma back in 1998 and the medical system took care of me. They saved my life. I felt I was healthy, so I had no reason not to believe what they were saying. It just never even occurred to me to question them, until the one doctor got mad at me for riding my bike. I think that was the first chink in the armor for me.
[0:08:11.9] AS: Yeah, I always share it with a Splenda recipe for me. Isn’t it funny? What makes us go, “Wait a second here.”
[0:08:19.0] S: Yeah, yeah. How is that even – I think that was probably in – I’m not sure what year that was. Maybe it was 2007-2008. Even then I was like, it’s not actually really about how much I weigh on the scale. I need to get rid of the fat. If building muscle helps me get rid of the fat, that’s what I’m interested in and because that’s going to have a better effect on my health. Needless to say, I didn’t go back to see him again.
[0:08:44.0] AS: Yeah. As you were talking, it made me think about because we have this mechanical view of the body and we conflate weight and health, I feel because doctors don’t often understand root causes, they just figure like, “Oh, well weight loss is the solution.” That means you’ll get healthier. When it’s like, that actually, if you knew the data – that’s not – the root cause is not weight loss, right?
[0:09:09.2] S: That’s right. Yeah. I think that’s more of a symptom.
[0:09:11.8] AS: Yeah, exactly. Or weight gain is the symptom. It’s not the problem. That’s what I meant to say. I think doctors are woefully unequipped. I mean, I’ve been saying this a lot on the season, like each tool, or even – you and I are both cancer survivors. Everything is only as healthy as the cultural myths that the culture is willing to question. If our medical system isn’t looking at root cause resolution, or what’s really going on, they’re just going to fall back on this weight equals – losing weight is the path to health, even with thyroid issues, which is – but what comes first? The weight gain and then the thyroid issues? It’s maddening, I guess is what I’m off on my tangent saying.
[0:09:53.4] S: It is. It’s really frustrating, because I have – by that point in my life, I have given up on – I’m not going to say I’d given up on my weight, but I had made peace with it and I was more interested in being healthy. If I were to lose weight as a byproduct of being healthy, I was actually okay with that. That was another thing that really frustrated me was I felt I was taking good care of myself. I had really cleaned up my diet. I was trying to exercise. I was trying to do all the things that they say you’re supposed to do to be healthy and yet, I was still having thyroid nodules and not losing weight. I knew something is not right, something is not right.
[0:10:31.6] AS: Yeah. I’m always curious. Maybe it’s hard to even articulate, because it’s an intuitive feeling or something, but I would just love for you to put as best in toward you can. Some people would hear that from their doctor. Maybe again, because you were starting to see some chinks in the armor, but some people would go, “Oh, all right. I’m just going to follow what the doctor told me,” right?
You were like, “Something’s not right.” What was in that that started to, that you trusted yourself and that you weren’t just going to take the same system again that you had every reason to trust in? What made you start to actually do the work to, and we’ll talk about this entry into the wellness world. What do you think made you question and stay curious?
[0:11:12.3] S: Oh, my gosh. There’s a whole other story to that, so I’ll try to keep it brief. It was actually – part of it was me being frustrated, but probably the better part of it was it was my cat.
[0:11:24.7] AS: Oh, my God. Tell us. I love pet stories now.
[0:11:27.5] S: Okay. Well, my cat he’d had digestive problems since day one and things came to a real big head in 2013, 2014. Multiple vets could not figure out what was going on. I could try to keep this really short. He was on a bunch of medications. Every time he went on a medication, he developed a new symptom, they put him on a new medication for that one. The cat was only four-years-old.
We were looking at him, at his quality of life. He was really agitated and really, you know what? This is ridiculous. We looked at the medications and took him off everything, except for the light, the one that was really actually keeping him alive and I changed his diet. Within months, all of his problems went away. I realized that I actually – I’m a smart person. I could figure it out, because I realized that all of his problems I felt they were a result of inflammation, and if I could figure out what was causing the inflammation, I could make his problems go away.
Now he’s not perfectly healthy yet. I think he has IBD, but he is so much better than he was before. That was a big part of it, because I basically – I went to our regular vet and told them what I want to do and they said I was crazy and I was going to kill him and that I was basically on my own. Well, he’s still alive five years later and he’s even healthier than he was before. That was a good part of it. Ali, as I thought if I could figure out my cat who can’t even talk to me, then maybe I could chip away and do some work on myself.
[0:12:56.4] AS: That is freaking amazing, because – No, if I put on my adult development hat on, it’s like, you started to break out of this socialized mind of just trust the doctor, right? That’s what we’re groomed – I mean, I say groomed because that’s the cynical view. We’re taught to believe, right? Just trust the authorities. You questioning that, it led to this bigger opening of really stepping into what you are capable of rather than just taking that.
I find it so brave, because the cat can’t communicate, right? You can’t be like, “Are you feeling better?” With humans at least you can say, “All right, that didn’t work.” When you know how to experiment methodically, you can pretty push the rest.
[0:13:41.5] S: Yeah. It was a year-long experiment with him, where I had Excel spreadsheets and I was monitoring everything. I was lucky enough to find a holistic veterinarian about a couple months into the process, because I was scared doing it all on my own. I had never done that before. I found a holistic veterinarian who really provided a lot of guidance and helped me out when things got rough and she helped us take him off his final medication, the one that was – I’m not going to say keeping him alive, but it was a dependency forming medication. She helped us ween him off of that.
She guided us in on various tests and to make sure that his heart problem was okay and his asthma had gone away and all of the stuff had gone away. It was all inflammation and it was all changing his diet and getting him off the medication. I’m like, “Wow, there is really some power here and he we can really heal ourselves. We have the ability to do that.”
[0:14:39.6] AS: Well, I love that part of the story too, because I think sometimes when we think self-trust as we’re developing it, first we think that if we have self-trust, which I think we’re all hungry for because we all want to be in choice and which feels like in control. When we start to develop it, right? It’s not we feel certain, right? I think people think self-trust means, “Oh, I know without a doubt what I’m going to do.” Rather, we’re talking about this before we got on. Self-trust is I’m going to tolerate the experimenting.
What I love and it just starts to feel more and more certain and you’re willing to do the discernment work with your Excel spreadsheets. What I also like is then you – what’s interesting is once we decide a different path, it’s not about going at it alone, but we’re finding some who’s going to work with us with many things and you had that holistic bet. It’s like, when I was on my health issues, I was so caught up in dieting and weight loss that I was amazed that all this food is medicine information was always out there. I just didn’t know about it, because I had one agenda of someone fix me, rather than someone help me, support me.
[0:15:45.3] S: Yeah, or someone give me tools and guidance so I can help myself. I think that’s what I realized with the cat is that I – all the vets, they were like, they’re great vets and in a crisis, that’s a regular doctor, you want them on your side. I felt I didn’t have a partnership with them. Whereas with the holistic veterinarian, I continue to see her and we very much have a partnership and healing him and discussing things and experimenting together with him.
She brings expertise to the table and I bring expertise, because I’m with him every day. I think that’s important for ourselves too is to find your people, your experts that will work in partnership with you and not just stand up above you and tell you you need to do this.
[0:16:33.0] AS: Without a doubt, without a doubt. I love the story. Then you go – you are open to that wellness world. You and I have similar trajectories, right? It’s like, “Oh, my God. I’m not getting answers here.” Then you go into this wellness world, which is there’s so many great things and it’s unregulated. Everyone’s trying to from a marketing perspective, create simple solutions, because that’s what sells, right? You start sliding or you said you’ve become immersed in the wellness world. What struck me in when we were working together as you said, eventually just unsubscribe from it all. Can you take us from entering to unsubscribing?
[0:17:12.6] S: Sure. As I think I’ve mentioned, I dabbled in that a little bit in the cat wellness world. I figured there had to be something out there for people that I was not prepared for what I found. Because I am skeptical by nature, I did dive in head first, but I was very skeptical about what I heard. That was part of the reason why I think I became overwhelmed, because if I heard something that sounded really good, I didn’t trust it, unless I heard it from multiple different sources. I was trying to figure out which sources I could trust and which ones were just a bunch of nonsense. That was part of the reason for the tremendous obsession.
I was also amazed that the summits were free. Of course, the goal is to get you to buy the summit, which I never did. That was part of the reason too why I became obsessed, because I needed to make sure I listen to everything and not miss anything. I was listening to them at home. I was listening to them while I was at work. It was just crazy. It’s something that an expert sent during one of these online summits resonated with me. I would sign up for their e-mail list. It got to the point where I was getting so many e-mails a day.
I felt I just have to be missing something. There’s got to be one piece of information out there that’s going to fix me. I do have to pause and say that during this time, I did run across a functional nutritionist who was really awesome. I worked personally with her and she did so much to help me get my energy back. I’m in a lot better place right now. Part of the reason I haven’t progressed any further is because my eating issues have caused me to really eat things that I shouldn’t for my Hashimoto’s. I feel I’m definitely on the path there.
I want to say maybe about a year or so ago, I was just exhausted, and I was starting to feel I was getting a lot of the same information over and over again, and most of the e-mails were turning into sales e-mails, “Here, buy my supplements, or buy my book, or buy my program.” There wasn’t really a lot of meaningful content. I felt I really knew a lot already and maybe there was a bit of information that I could use, but this wasn’t the way to get it. Maybe I just need to stop and I just need to stop, because my head was getting – my head felt it was getting crowded. I felt I didn’t have any space to even think and process. I felt I didn’t have energy to do anything with all this information that was coming in. I was just feeling really overwhelmed.
I thought, “I should just unsubscribe.” Oh, and I had send it for a bunch of podcasts too. I was going crazy with summits and e-mails and podcasts. It was ridiculous. I thought, “I should just let some of the stuff go.” I thought, “Well, what if I miss something?” It was a little scary at first, but then I started slowly and methodically unsubscribing from podcasts, I did leave yours. I unsubscribed from a lot of e-mail lists.
Now I get e-mails from maybe just a few people that I feel either I have a relationship with them, a personal relationship, or the content is truly meaningful. The same thing with the podcast. I’m down to just a few podcasts that I listen to regularly and there are a variety of topics and most of them aren’t health-related. They’re more of other types of things. That really cleared my head. I think that gave me the space to realize what I needed to do on my next step.
[0:20:48.5] AS: I think that is so important for listeners is that it’s great to learn information for sure. There’s a point and I think Sherry’s story illustrates that you know you’re tapped out when you don’t have the space to process, to hear your own sense of conclusion, or and the exhaustion. I think that’s so important for people to realize like, okay at that point, the learning piece is over and now it’s time to discern, right?
[0:21:12.8] S: Yeah. You really can only take in so much information.
[0:21:15.6] AS: Yeah. Well and I like that you said you’re skeptical by nature, because I am too. I also know that you’re very strategic and you research, because skeptics tend to be that way, because I’m a skeptic too. I think it’s very healthy to be skeptical. Part of it is fun. Part of it is fun learning about this stuff and all the possibility. I loved your point about if it seems too easy, it’s probably and don’t trust it.
I think what it is is I totally agree with that and I would tell people listening, if someone promises you this simplified formula, that’s a sales pitch. That’s capitalism, not health, because it’s actually one of the challenges I have with marketing because I always find the answers it depends. It’s not like, “Yeah.” I would just tell people that I used to feel that way too Sherry, about I don’t want to miss out. There’s that one piece.
I can tell you guys that part of that is a psychology of marketing. Part of that is the psychology of marketing, to make you feel it’s that one thing. I will also say that when from the work that I do with clients, part of this safety mindset, which is a fixed mindset, or is this fear of missing out, and part of it is because there’s a deep – health is actually about wholeness. When we feel this is getting really meta, but when we think we’re going to miss out, it’s this feeling that there’s no room for error and it’s a very fixed mindset. Whereas, you actually have a lot more room to experiment. I don’t know. Is that clear what I’m trying to say?
[0:22:45.8] S: Yes. That’s exactly how I felt when I was considering and subscribing. I was afraid that I was going to miss out on something, that maybe that golden nugget bit of information was going to be in the next podcast that I – after I hit unsubscribe. I had to get over that fear and realize that what I was missing was probably in me and not from someone else.
[0:23:08.9] AS: Yeah. I love too that you worked with a great functional nutritionist or whatever. Again, our trajectory is very similar and I see this with a lot of clients is okay, somehow you start to get some suspect that you’re not going to get what you need from the medical community. You get into wellness, you start to feel better and you start to realize again, you’re gaining self-trust back again, right? Because at this point now, you you’ve helped your cat, you’ve helped yourself and all this stuff.
I think it’s such an important developmental – you’re gaining steam with the self-trust, because then you can start to – and I love that you were almost to me craving simplicity. Okay, this is overwhelming. All those stuff. Starting to recognize that there’s a stress component here that also needs to be dissect. It’s not just the food and all that stuff. How did you come to realize you had all this stress and you said the eating fell off track? How did you start to switch gears away from the food and more towards like okay, I got to deconstruct this stress?
[0:24:13.6] S: Yeah, that’s a really interesting question. I think and this goes back a long time, because I always knew I had stress as far back as I can remember. I don’t remember a time when I don’t recall having stress. I really just thought it was part of who I am. I was the person who built everything into a bigger deal than it needed to be. I know other people like that too and that’s interesting that I recognized that pattern more than I used to.
I still feel I’m more stressed than I should be and I think that’s probably one of the reasons that I’m still been struggling with my sleep and my Hashimoto’s. Anyway, so the stress was almost an underneath layer, if that makes sense.
[0:24:56.5] AS: It’s this very ambiguous term, right? Because we’re not really clear on what it is. When I look at the wellness world, especially they give people things which are all good to do. I’m like, “Go out of nature or deep breathe or meditate.” Yet, if we don’t know how to deconstruct our stress often in meditation, we’re just replaying the stressful thoughts. If we got to the root of the stress, we wouldn’t need to do so much “self-care,” right? Why do we have to do all of this, I guess? It’s a vague thing. Then when you look to the world, the wellness world, especially they’re giving you – they’re addressing the symptoms. They’re not getting to the root cause.
[0:25:37.9] S: Yeah. The stress was under there and I didn’t – I think I knew it was there, but I couldn’t really recognize it real well. This is just something that was part of me for a really long time. Understand that it wasn’t really about the food and it was really about me, I think that probably well, I don’t know. I make jokes about being a stress eater for a really long time and I just laughed it off, “Ha, ha, ha.” I have to eat ice cream when I get stressed and I thought it was funny.
Then I think there was a point where maybe a couple of years ago where I realized that it wasn’t really that funny, that it really is happening and this is a problem. I think that coincided about the time when I needed to unsubscribe from everything, because I realized that all the information in the world isn’t going to help me if I still feel this irresistible compulsion to eat food when I get stressed, or when I feel an uncomfortable emotion, or when I’m in a situation that’s highly ambiguous and possibly high-risk.
I think those happened together. I don’t know what the turning point was that made that happen and I don’t know even how I have the space in my brain to figure that out. Oh, wait. Actually yes, I do, because it was about a year ago between Christmas and New Year of 2017, I found a really bad case of whatever was going around and my head hurts so much that I couldn’t read, I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t watch movies. I had nothing to do. I had an empty brain for two days and I think that’s when it was like, “Oh, my gosh. You need to stop all this. You need to fix it.”
[0:27:12.7] AS: Well, that comes back to your intuitive sense before like, “I’m not even having space to process,” right? Then the illness forced you to have that space and that insight. I think that’s what’s so tricky is that we actually can get our next steps if we have the space, right? Often, we think it’s the learning. Sometimes and I know I’m guilty of this, the learning is a way to avoid starting to take action.
[0:27:37.2] S: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I’m that way too. I need to research more before I can start working on this.
[0:27:45.3] AS: Part of it is fun, right? It’s like again, where’s that tipping point? I loved your earlier point and I just want to stress it again that you always need your own space for processing, right? To digest and metabolize what your – the food puns are endless, but it’s true. That you can figure out how to make use for this for yourself. I think that’s important. It doesn’t mean you go at it alone, but it just means to start to trust those intuitive hits, which I love that you’re showing that you’ve done these at very critical times.
You did join why am I eating this now. I’m curious what you learned about stress and it being the things about yourself that you can have more choice about that have helped, or have at least moved the needle.
[0:28:27.4] S: Yeah. I joined why am I eating this now, because I had gotten to the point, I had gotten a little ways on my own where I recognized that I really was eating in response to things. That was an important point, but I didn’t know what to do about it, because I was trying to use willpower and shaming myself and that wasn’t working, because that never works. I thought there’s got to be a better way to handle this.
What I learned in why am I eating this now is it provided some really good tools and techniques that enabled me to pause and step back for a moment and think about what I was doing when I felt the urge to eat something I knew would not be in my best interest. It gave me the ability to pause and think about what is going on here, and do I really want the food, or is it something else? Most of the time, it’s something else. Why am I eating this now? It’s a month and a half program, I believe. It didn’t completely cure me of that.
[0:29:25.5] AS: Oh, right. Wonk, wonk, wonk.
[0:29:29.6] S: Yeah, it gave me really good awareness. I feel awareness is half the battle. Oftentimes, I would still go ahead and eat something. I knew that even though I was eating something, it wasn’t because I really wanted to have a cookie. It was because I was really stressed out about what happened and I’m just going to eat this cookie anyway. I think for me, that was a big piece of the pie was having even greater awareness of what I was doing and giving me some tools to pause and stop an sometimes keep from eating the food that I didn’t want to eat. Definitely with more work and more practice, that’s going to – I feel that is going to resolve in time.
[0:30:09.5] AS: Yeah. I mean again, as much as you’re comfortable sharing that, can you explain maybe an example in the past where you might have said, “Well, I’m so stressed,” but then are able to actually figure out what’s stressing you out? Because part of what we do on why I am eating this now is it’s not about the external event, right? It’s not about the project that’s due in a week, or it’s not about maybe the cat having to go to the vet again, right? Or Coffee caught injury.
I mean, there can be emotion around that. Yet, it’s what we think our choices are and what that – what emotion that triggers on us and how we think we have to be when that real life hits. Is there anyway you could share an example, so people can see what you mean by what you just said in a concrete term?
[0:30:57.4] S: Yeah. I could use the goat example.
[0:31:00.7] AS: Yeah. You got to tell people what you’re doing. It’s so cool.
[0:31:06.2] S: Okay. I work for a non-profit organization in Southern California. A big part of what we do is habitat restoration. We manage about I don’t know, 40,000 acres of open space and we do a bunch of different habitat restorations on this open space. One of the tools that we use to remove what we consider invasive plants, they’re plants that don’t occur in nature is goats, because they’re super good at – they just eat everything. You want to use them on a space of land where pretty much all the plants are invasive, because they will eat everything.
We’re hiring a goat grazing contractor to clear some leads away from a habitat restoration area in one of the cities that we work in. I’m based in California as I mentioned and California has in its employment law, a body of law called prevailing wage where certain contracts for public works have to be paid prevailing wage. I’m not going to go into all that. It’s really complicated. We were pretty sure that person who was going to be setting up the fence to contain the goats was subject to a prevailing wage. Then I found out over a week and a couple of weeks ago that the goat tender is probably subject to prevailing wage too, which I didn’t even see that coming and we didn’t budget for that, we didn’t plan for that.
The emotion that I felt during that, I felt completely inadequate because I missed that the goat tender would be subject to prevailing wage. I found that out over the weekend. Then I woke up on a Monday morning. I had eaten inappropriately over the weekend and I woke up Monday morning going, “I shouldn’t be eating like that again,” but I recognized what I was feeling stressed about this project, because it was going to affect our cost and we ended up – we’re actually scaling the project down in terms of acreage, because of the cost increase.
It’s okay. We’re still meeting our contractual obligations. I was feeling a lot of inadequacy and stress over couple of days, because I missed the fact that the person who’s tending the goat has to be paid this prevailing wage.
[0:33:08.2] AS: Thank you so much for sharing that, because what happens everyone is in that example, we share the inadequacy then we either avoid. We’re just like, “Oh, we’re not going to deal with it,” right? Or we try to do the all, like try to overcompensate in some way, or we try to accommodate and over-perform, or over-please, have to be really nice to oh, because we feel bad. Or we compete where we’re like, “I got to get ahead of this,” and I don’t even know how you would get ahead of that.
Rather, she’s able now to take a step back and look, the project is still working and choose different choices of how to handle this, rather than going into these protective modes. Then you end up – I love that you said it’s all going to be fine now, right? Based on managing what’s unfolding and taking a leadership role of okay, this is what happened, right?
Those are the patterns and those are the things that happen every day that if you imagine, if you have Hashimoto’s or any autoimmune condition, or even IBS which I had, your body is in a low-grade stress response, because that’s in the background, right? We feel inadequate, or we feel we always have to prove ourselves, that creates this low grade cortisol, adrenals response. Then all the food in the world isn’t going to work as much, unless you start to root out these patterns, because then you’re in what’s called parasympathetic dominant, which is rest and repair and all your food efforts, all your sleep efforts get a lot – go a lot further, because your baseline is a lot more calm than always reacting to these ways, and then making choices that are often more stressful, right?
If we’re avoiding the conversation that we need to have, right? It’s like, “Oh, my God. This is going to blow up in my face and it probably will if we avoid,” right? I just wanted to outline that for people, because often, we are self-trust eradicate as we start to look at another diet, or what’s another way for me to resist food, rather than asking the question how do I become the person who doesn’t need food? I think Sherry shows that example wonderfully that she was able to connect and now manage that through that, so that’s resolved, rather than “weighing on her” for the length of this project, right?
[0:35:19.1] S: Yeah. That’s right. Actually, this turned out really good, because during our discussions of how to mitigate this, we discovered some other problems with the project that were built into the project by the previous project manager. Through this process, we actually ended up fixing a lot of other deficiencies too. It’s actually worked out really well, to step back and take a closer look at it. It’s all good.
[0:35:47.1] AS: Well and I love that, because you had the honest conversations and approached it, right? It wasn’t about I’m inadequate. I can’t do this. I’m just going to shrink from this project. We often start to realize while that emotion of inadequacy was a story, I wasn’t really inadequate. It was just a mistake. How would I know what I don’t know? You made it safe to be in that space. I mean, you challenged that feeling, right?
[0:36:16.6] S: Yeah. It was scary that I did.
[0:36:19.6] AS: Yeah. Now you’re like, “Oh, my God. This actually turned out better.” Inadequacy doesn’t mean that I’ve failed or I’m a failure. It can actually mean wow, there’s more to learn here. Let’s see what else is unclear. I think that’s a beautiful example. Then work becomes less – not just less stressful, but more fulfilling.
[0:36:38.3] S: That’s right. That’s right.
[0:36:40.1] AS: I love that. That’s just a great example for everyone to realize in concrete terms how these patterns are stress responses. Again, if you’re new to the podcast or you haven’t taken it yet, you can go to the what’s my comfort eating style quiz to learn how you not only don’t manage your stress, but then add more stress to yourself, whatever pattern you default to. Thanks for sharing that.
[0:37:01.1] S: Oh, sure.
[0:37:02.1] AS: One of the things you talked about I think is so important about why I’m eating this now. A lot of this is about awareness and clarity and then having the community or the support to try these new behaviors, because they’re very scary. How has the Insatiable community, because you’re some part of the people who got to early adopter of it. How is that helpful to learn from other people’s experiences and also just be around other people who want to get to root causes, rather than whatever other choices there are?
[0:37:28.9] S: Yeah. I was really interested in becoming an early adopter of the Insatiable community, because I had gone through why am I eating this now and I thought that I had some really good insight in the course and I wanted to continue working on the tools and communicating and interacting with people who had used the tools as well.
The main thing is I wanted to continue to pursue the curious questioning, because that’s what a lot of this is it’s not looking outwards to get more information, but it’s to trigger the questioning on your own. I really, really enjoyed the mastermind calls. It was really good to break off into these small groups and talk about talk these organized topics and then come back and share. It was very, very comfortable.
I got a lot of learning listening to others too. It’s not the same as the wellness summits that I was listening to and the e-mails, because those are very much I see a lot of them are marketing devices, where they’re trying to get you hooked into buying their program. Whereas, the discussions on the Insatiable community board were real genuine people that were sharing what they had been through and there is no, “No, I have to sell anything.” It was really, really useful just to hear what other people were going through and get other perspectives on this aspect of eating and dealing with your emotions.
[0:38:52.2] AS: I love that you brought up the mastermind, because and for those listening, a master – if you’re not clear what a mastermind is, it’s basically I said in the beginning, the Insatiable community is a guru-free zone, right? What we do is a mastermind is where you basically mine the collective intelligence. I pick a topic. Each season there’s a theme. In the spring, it’s on hunger. Then I just ask – I provide a bunch of questions for you to think and then we break out in groups. Each person gets 10 minutes to say, “Here’s what I need. Here’s what I’m thinking on this topic.”
What you start to realize is that each person has so much great valuable questions, great recommendations, or they’ve been in your situation and they can empathize. Then we all come back together and see what everyone learned and we brainstorm some more on the topic. Part of that structure is because everyone has so much wisdom and insight. I think that’s part of learning that whoa, we have a lot of power here, right?
I think especially, I mean Sherry, also why I wanted to talk to you is I mean, you’re an early adopter in general. I mean, I know that if you’re immersed in the health summit world or the wellness world, it can seem everybody’s – going gluten free to manage their Hashimoto’s, right? That is not the case. When you’re forging out on your own and I think carving a new path, because I think all of us if you listen to Insatiable, or if you’re trying to integrate more natural medicine and get your root causes, it’s lonely out there. No one has been on your path, right? No one can be on your path, but you can have people who have similar values and can empathize and offer great questions and resources, so that you can be regenerative on the path that you –
[0:40:35.6] S: Yeah. The questions are really good. The other thing that was really valuable for me is that I am new at exploring my emotions. I haven’t spent a lot of time doing that. To be on these calls and hear other people talk, they would describe things and it wouldn’t resonate with me and I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. I feel that way too,” without even realizing I feel that way. Even just hearing that and then hearing them talk about how they’re handling and moving through life with this particular situation, I found to be really, really helpful too. Then the follow up on the board, that was super helpful as well. I really enjoyed the time there.
[0:41:14.8] AS: Oh, good. Yeah. What Sherry is referring to is after the mastermind call that has a theme that kicks off at the end the month, I give weekly prompts, so you stay engaged with the thought process and know what to observe and look for. I love what you said Sherry too about I mean, emotions are such murky territory. The same way, it’s so helpful to have a name like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Also someone can name what you’re feeling. It’s like, oh, it doesn’t become so scary, right? It’s like, “Oh, now I have something that I can work around or have choices for or whatnot.” Thank you for sharing that piece as well. Yeah.
I don’t know about you, but being a skeptic and being someone who I don’t know, I’ve often gone at things alone and I think that’s one of my – and I’ve isolated myself a lot. I think my weight and my health isolated me a lot. It’s been some of the learning for me is how much being in community – the right community and I’m not saying Insatiable is the right community for everyone, but being in the right community of people with similar values, how it just – Healing is a winding path as it is and this makes it a little bit, and I say easier, not instant easier, but more ease as more flow, so you maintain the momentum versus falling off track.
[0:42:23.0] S: Yeah. I think so too, because a lot of people out in the world too, they’re still very much concerned about weight loss. That’s the input. If you’re on a path to improve your health and if you’re making better eating choices, people might have automatically assume that you’re dieting, or trying to lose weight. For me, I have some weight to lose, I’ll admit it, but that’s not the primary motivation. That’s a byproduct.
It can still be difficult to talk with other people that you might have in your physical community, because your motivations and your reasons are different. It’s nice to be in a community with people who are working on things from a similar reason.
[0:43:05.6] AS: Yeah. I love that you put this and said that, because part of – I mean, I had a client years ago said to me, part of why I wanted to create this was she’s like, “Ali, now that I’ve worked with you, I feel I’m on an island all by myself.” She’s like, “I love my friends, but I go out and they’re saying all this health stuff that I can’t even relate to anymore.” I was like, “Oh, my God.” We need a collective place where to your point, if you have different intentions and motivations, completely different conversations have happened and different questions are asked and it’s just different topics. It’s a different frame to come from. I appreciate that you shared that as well, because it’s so isolating at the same time.
[0:43:44.6] S: It can be. It definitely can be. I feel I’m very much alone, even though I’m not. I sometimes feel that way.
[0:43:51.8] AS: Oh, my God. Totally. One thing that I just – I want to reiterate that I think your story illustrates so beautifully is as you start to dismantle your stress and listen to yourself, things become simpler. The metaphor I think is you cleaned out your inbox, right? Yet, but there was more space for your own voice and your own thought and your own reflections. I think that’s just something that is a hunger a lot of people have is I think they’re on one level, it’s a hunger – I mean, people will say I’m overwhelmed, right? There’s a hunger for simplicity. I think that’s also a simultaneous hunger for self-trust, because things do simplify when you get to the root causes. I’m just curious your thoughts on that.
[0:44:32.8] S: I think I probably would agree with that. From a looking back at that point in time, I don’t know if I – I mean, I guess I was trusting myself more because I was feeling all of this information that I had coming at me was not doing me any good. Even though I have this – at the same time, I have this fear of missing out, I still unsubscribed because I didn’t feel that I was going to be benefiting from this information so much anymore and that it was really just cluttering me up and perhaps, because I was feeling so cluttered and overwhelmed it was perhaps doing more harm than good.
Maybe there was that sense of self-trust that I didn’t need all of this external information. That what would help me was really more within. I don’t know if I put it in that – in those terms at the time that I did that, but looking back, that might have been why I was like, “Okay, I just got to get rid of this stuff.”
[0:45:32.3] AS: Well, that’s what I loved though about intuition, right? We don’t really have the language for it. We know that it guides us to the next step and then afterwards, we can articulate it. You can’t do it at the time, right?
[0:45:43.8] S: Yeah. I used to know, I’ve got to get rid of this. It’s not working.
[0:45:48.5] AS: One final question for you that I think our listeners are going to want to know is how did you manage that fear of missing out? Because I know a lot of people – a lot of people, I’ll get e-mails of what do you think of this goji berry, or what do you think of this supplement, or this thing? I’ve been in that place where it’s like, “I don’t want to miss out. Is this the one thing?” I’m curious how you tapered down from the feeling of missing out.
[0:46:14.9] S: Well, I don’t know if I even have the fear of missing out as strong as other people do. I’m not a big social media person for one thing. I think social media and constantly being connected, I think that probably encourages fear of missing out, just because you constantly have information coming at you. I think it was almost weighing the pros and the cons, because there was the scare of missing out. What if there is that information?
I think I felt I had just had so much coming at me. When I did a pros and cons analysis, I think it came down to the side was having less is going to be more beneficial to me than having more. If I do miss out on something, oh well, if it’s really important, I’ll probably eventually hear about it some way, which is the approach I took with the news. I stopped listening to the news after a while, especially in the morning, because I realized that that was not getting my day off to a good start.
My husband who is completely addicted to the news, “Well, how do you know what’s going on?” Well, I guess I think that if it’s really important and if I need to know what’s going on, I will find out without being glued to the news 24/7. I think because I had already done that with news, it made it a little less scary to and subscribe from all of this information, because I felt confident that if there was something that was really important and super relevant to me, I would find out about it sooner or later without being completely overwhelmed with all of these e-mails and podcasts and summits.
[0:47:51.6] AS: I love that. I love that. Yeah. If it’s going to be that earth-shattering, it’ll find you, right?
[0:47:56.9] S: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Because I didn’t unsubscribe from everything, I still get e-mails through a handful of people. I felt it would percolate through eventually if is really that earth-shattering and really relevant to me. I said the ones that I have kept are either ones that are very useful, or ones that I have had a professional relationship with. The clinical nutritionist, I think that if she ran across something that was relevant for me, she’d let me know.
It was hard, but on the other hand it was easy, because I had done it before with the news. I knew that I wasn’t completely felt I was living in a cave, because I wasn’t listening for news all the time. I managed to find out what was going on. In fact, I even teased my husband that I know as much about what’s going on as you. I don’t listen to the news all the time.
[0:48:44.5] AS: Well, you said so many good things I love. It’s like, where in the past have you done that and it’s totally worked out, right? I think often with – I was like your husband for the first I think two years after the 2016 election. Then I was like, “Wait a second.” There was a point where it definitely has changed my actions and I felt so much anger and injustice that I definitely become more involved. Yet I realized, there was a saturation point where it was leaving me hopeless. I think with health information drawing the parallel there is are you – for people – Sherry gave you so many good ideas to think about of okay, where have I done this in the past? Is this information actually helping me change my behavior and moving me forward? Or is it overwhelming me?
Just because you feel overwhelmed and maybe unmotivated, it doesn’t mean that you’re weak, or have willpower. It’s probably that the stuff it doesn’t feel relevant and it’s not resonating, or connecting, you may not have the language for that right now. I think it’s important to get discerning is which is what Sherry did. She didn’t unsubscribe from everything, but left a few trusted sources, so that you could create space for your own sense of intuition, which I think of a self-trust to bubble up.
[0:49:55.4] S: Yeah, yeah. I think so. To give my brain some space to actually do something with all this information I had crammed into it.
[0:50:02.5] AS: Yeah, yeah. I think we often confuse busy with productive. Oh, I’m reading this article, so that’s productive? It’s like, “I don’t know.” It was. Am I more overwhelmed after I read this? This has been so great, Sherry. I just so appreciate it. I mean, I read your bio. I feel it gave me not the ending, because endings never – the endings are beginnings or whatever, but it’s freed you up to do things that make you want to have a life that you want to be healthy for, right? I think that’s the missing part of the equation.
We’re not just doing this to say that we’re healthy, it’s so that you can do more of the things that you love to do, like go and have time with family and friends, hike, travel, read. I love that you count butterflies, because –
[0:50:46.3] S: Yes, that’s fun.
[0:50:47.9] AS: They’re beautiful and they’re shrinking.
[0:50:50.3] S: I know.
[0:50:51.9] AS: You probably have that than anyone.
[0:50:54.0] S: Yeah, and that’s part of why we’re doing it is to assess the health of the environment, because they’re a very sensitive species, so they’re a good way to assess what’s going on.
[0:51:03.5] AS: They are the canaries in the coal mine of the –
[0:51:05.2] S: They really are.
[0:51:06.8] AS: Wow. Well, thank you so much Sherry. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share with people, or you think is important as they start to maybe curate their learning more, or discern their learning?
[0:51:18.1] S: Yeah. No, I think I would just agree that more busyness isn’t more productive and really, the goal of all of what I’ve done is because I had my cat was a project, my health was a project, it still is a little bit of a project and I don’t want it to be a project. I want to get myself to a point where I can enjoy my life and do more the things I want to do. That was part of the impetus for unsubscribing from everything, simplifying, hooking up with you to get to the root of why I am eating inappropriately, because I just want to live life and not even think about this stuff.
[0:51:51.2] AS: I love that. That’s always my goal. Put the health in the background, you know those things. Well, thank you so much for your time, Sherry. I know this is going to be so helpful for so many people. Again everyone, if you’re interested in joining the Insatiable community for our masterminds and community call – Q&A calls and just connecting with others on a path of simplicity, self-trust and dynamite results, go to alishapiro.com/isee2019. Again, it’s a special rate if you join the first month that we’re opening it up to Insatiable listeners. Have a good one everyone.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:52:28.1] AS: Thank you, health rebels for tuning in today. Have a reaction, question, or want the transcript from today’s episode? Find me at alishapiro.com. I’d love if you leave a review on Apple Podcast and tell your friends and family about Insatiable. It helps us grow our community and share a new way of approaching health and our bodies.
Thanks for engaging in a different kind of conversation. Remember always, your body truths are unique, profound, real and liberating.