Episode 56 – Detecting and Avoiding Burnout for Dads with Debbie Potts
[00:04:55] Guest Background
[00:06:34] How It All Started
[00:11:52] Caught by Stress
[00:16:19] Finding A Fix
[00:21:25] Acknowledging the Signs
[00:23:25] The Red Flags
[00:28:40] Recognizing the Bad and Good Fats
[00:32:46] Is Carb burning different for each Individuals?
[00:36:41] Be Mindful When Eating
[00:39:14] Rest And Digest
[00:41:05] The Five Take Aways to Avoid Burnout
[00:49:36] Connecting with Guest
Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym is your host Darren Kirby.
Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the number one podcast for dads in their 40s who want to improve their health and fitness. This is Episode fifty six. And joining me on today’s show is Debbie Potts. And we’re going to be discussing the topic of detecting and avoiding burnout. Debbie is a certified functional diagnostic nutritional practitioner, a functional nutrition nutritional therapy practitioner, and also a QIONG coach and a DNA fit coach. She is the host of the Low CARB Athlete Health Building podcast. Debbie is also a number one author of the bestseller Life is Not a Race. Hi, Debbie, thanks very much for joining me on the show today. How are you?
Debbie: I am actually amazing , doing life right now, so it’s great.
Darren: Cool. Yeah. I mean, we were speaking before we started recording. You’ve had some some pretty life changing events in the last few months, which is very impressive given the situation that we’re in. But it’s good to hear that you’re kind of following your your goals and your dreams.
Debbie: Yeah, totally following our dreams. You know, we just made a I almost think everything happens for a reason. And I and you learn from each like the pandemic we’re in, there’s what are the learning lessons here? And for us, it’s you know, it just allowed us to do our own jobs online. So I’m coaching clients and my husband’s new jobs out of New Zealand. So he’s working online. And so, you know, it’s time to move. We’ve I’ve lived in Seattle, Bellevue, Washington, for ever. And we just sold our house in a week. And a week later, we’re closing and a month later, we’re living in Airbnb in the mountains and cycling out our door like we’re in Tuscany. So our new thing is quality of life hashtag. Q O L ,
Darren: Yeah, I completely resonate with that. And I think a lot of people listening would be very envious of your situation, particularly as you compare it to the cycling in the mountains in Tuscany. I mean, that sounds completely idyllic, to be honest so…
Debbie: Yeah, that’s great. So yeah, I think a lot of it, you know, what we’ll get to today is, is learning about your own red flags and and learning how to deal with stress and busyness. And I think covid for everyone, you know, being at home and and staying at home all day, you have to learn a new normal in a new way of living and how to, you know, make the best of every day.
Darren: you hear that Debbie?
Debbie: Oh, now I hear you yep, now we’re back.
Darren: You dropped out there. So, I, we heard up to the bit of covid. Yeah. If you can take it from there.
Debbie: Sure. Yeah. I just think, you know, a lot of us have had to been staying home around the world.
And so I think it’s your old life had to change and how to make the best of the situation we’re in and make it how we can positive and, you know, re schedule your daily activities and figure out some new things you can do to embrace the change and find a new sense of vitality and how to thrive when we’re in such a crazy time in our world.
Darren: Yeah, I think it’s very interesting. I mean, let’s let’s address the situation in terms of, you know, it was it’s been crazy the pandemic has happened.
But I truly believe, as you do, there is a lot of good that’s come out of this. And I think for the first time, I would say the large majority of people’s lives, we’ve never had an opportunity to actually press pause, stop and reflect on where we’re at, what we’re doing, you know, what we want from life and things like that. And I I truly have taken a lot from it. So I think, yeah, I agree. And I think, you know, I believe as a as a Western society at least, that we we have become very impatient and want everything now unmaterialistic. And I think what this pandemic has done is actually really made us reflect hopefully on what’s important. And, you know, as you said, you know, it’s about quality of life. So, yeah, definitely resonate with that. So for those that haven’t heard of you and come across Debbie Potts before, you know, you’ve got a really interesting background. You’ve got some fantastic qualifications. Can you give us a bit of background on yourself?
Debbie: Hmm? Well, yes, I can. I started in personal training twenty five plus years ago and started doing triathlons.
Let’s see, in two thousand one, I started in Ironman and triathlons in nineteen ninety five. So I did a long time. My pretty much competitive career in triathlons ended in end of 2012 and I had kind of my my life changed as I knew it in 2013 about March and has led me down this journey, this road to help other people avoid going through what happened to me back then. So I wrote a book, Life Is Not a Race to Help, kind of sort through what happened in my own mind and get my head right. And then I realized, you know, there’s a lot of other people out there like me that were doing too much every day and, you know, starting at triathlons on top of a busy, hectic life. And it doesn’t it doesn’t do well for long term health.
Darren: Yeah, yeah, I think I think that is now I think the danger is great is is getting fit and healthy is and is great as long as we both know that triathlon and ironman is there’s a there’s a danger there from the point of you feel like you’re invincible and the more you can do, the more you want to do.
And whilst you might look fit and healthy on the outside, the story inside can be very different. So can you share with us kind of what was the pivotal moment, you know, which which happened to you and which caused you obviously to to write the book and everything else?
Debbie: Yeah, it started in, you know, to me in my head. March 2013. In March 2013, I started, you know, training for half Ironman coming up that spring.
And big race goal is Ironman Canada in August. And I suddenly just got really tired and I couldn’t do anything. And I thought my body was changing. I gained 30 pounds and I felt like overnight and lost muscle tone and I couldn’t sleep through. The night is awake, 2 in the morning, every night, wide awake.
And and I struggled through the day and of course got depressed and frustrated and and I started this journey of trying to get help. You know what what’s going on with me? What’s wrong? Why am I feeling this way? And it led me down this path that I couldn’t get answers. I went to about nine different doctors and practitioners, naturopaths and all these different people. And I started doing all these lab tests and started to try to get better and race again.
You know, I just had this reschedule. I paid for these races. I have a training schedule. I got to get on with my life. And, you know, that’s 2013. And I still haven’t been able to race. So it’s it’s something that I am passionate about helping other people, because the main thing I learn from all that, you know, my immediate response was, you know, just give me that quick fix. I need to get back to racing. So I just finished the best season of my life and I had goals. I wanted to beat my time in the in 2013. And I just like, you know, this is causing me it’s interrupting my plans here. Let’s get on with it and move on.
Darren: Yeah, it’s so sorry, go, I interrupted you then.
Debbie: No, no, I just I think it’s just the main learning thing I didn’t really say is you take one step forward, two steps back, and a lot of it.
I was searching for this magic pill, I think. And a lot of it is my mindset and my lifestyle habits. And if I wasn’t going to change all that, I would see now, as I am a health coach, is that you can’t supplement your lifestyle habits, you can’t exercise bad diet. But, you know, you have to change. You can’t just expect, you know, to treat your lab results with certain supplements and think you’re going to get better,
Darren: Right? Yeah, I think I think that’s a very interesting point that you’ve just mentioned there, because that’s something that I’ve never heard before and something that I’ve never considered and that is out supplementing, you know, either bad diet or bad lifestyle.
I think you said so. It’s you know, that is the thing, though, isn’t it? When you know as and we’re going a little bit to advance for some of the for some of the listeners who perhaps haven’t even started their fitness journey, but for those who are a little bit more advanced and are perhaps competing and doing events and stuff, when you when you do start to go down this lab testing route, it almost becomes a little bit of an addiction from the perspective of, you know, oh, I’m not performing at my best. I’m going to go and have this lab test done and that’s going to tell me where I’m deficient. So if I’m deficient in X, then I’m going to give myself X is in the supplement and then I’ll be good and I can go again. And it doesn’t work like that as long as you found out. So what kind of led you to doing the deep research you did rather than, you know, kind of trust in what a doctor or, you know, a nutritionist or whatever you went to see would say?
Debbie: Well, ironically, I was, you know, a personal trainer said for a long time and I started to transition into nutrition and health coaching and I was in Ben Greenfield’s program to be a coach called Superhuman Coach back then. And now we’re we’ve just recently became KION coaches under him. And so I was learning all this stuff. And it was kind of an impetus that I was at a conference that Ben put on just one time in Spokane, Washington. Superhuman coach had Dave Astbury and Jimmy Moore and all these different people speaking about chronic stresses and H.V. and cold thermogenesis and fasting. And this was 2013. So it was very early on talking about high fat diet and keto and all that. And so I was studying all this stuff and then I realized, OK, I’m dealing with this myself. What is adrenal fatigue? Adrenal exhaustion? You know, now we call it hypothalamus to pituitary gland, to adrenal gland axis. So access dysregulation is a technical name for adrenal exhaustion. And that’s what I was going through also is in this fitness mastermind group and one of my peers, she was taking Dr. Chelate course and she needed me. She needed a.
A case study, and so it just happened to be we’re at this retreat when I first had this huge aha moment that something was wrong with me because I got severely sick and talked about my book, that I just wasn’t feeling well. And I got sick from alcohol and was sick for a week. And I was like, something’s not right. So anyways, I was studying all of it. And then I realized, OK, I am I’m the case study here. This is what we’re talking about.
So so on, on the burnout side of things, and what were the key issues that you faced personally when, you know, when you actually had that realization that I’m actually burnt out here? That’s my problem. Yeah. What kind of issues? I mean, you you mentioned adrenal fatigue and stuff like that, but what were your specific issues?
Debbie: Well, the weekend that we’re at, this retreat is actually here. Torrey Pines, San Diego. I was at a retreat and I went to go do my Ironman training. I was running and I was I was look back. I was fasting. I was into low carb keto wasn’t really termed keto back then, but I was doing fasted workouts. I went and ran sprints in the afternoon. And I wasn’t I was very strict on when I ate. And then I went to we had our mastermind party that night. And people like you need to relax and let loose because I was so serious about training and I didn’t realize until after the fact they were so uptight and just so tight, they wound up like, I’m so competitive that I’m like, OK, all right, I’ll let my guard down. And I had some wine on this wine. We’re going out for dinner and we’re on this party bus. And that was a big thing for me because I had wine, I hadn’t eaten. I just did Sprint workout, you know, I was so strict with eating, I couldn’t eat any things and then I didn’t eat. So that was, you know, a mess. And then the next day or that night, I got super sick.
And the next day I was sick. And so I realized I didn’t know what it was, but liver congestion, I couldn’t process or detoxify alcohol.
And so that was a big thing because I was throwing up everywhere TMI. But it was a lot. It was not good. And I got up, of course, the next day feeling totally hungover. And I was like tried to swim because I had swim workout to do. And then I, I had a long run scheduled and I was trying to do everything like, oh my gosh, I’m so sick. So that was the beginning of it.
The next incident was on a bike ride back home and I am usually a strong cyclist and I had nothing I can take a pedal stroke and that was like the big aha moment. It’s like, all right, what is going on? And I just had to pull over and I started crying and going, OK, what is wrong with me?
And then my body changing. You know, I was I you know, you never you’re always your worst critic and never happy about your body being fitly.
My gosh, I wish I look like that now, but I was never happy. I thought I had more weight to lose. And but then suddenly I gained literally thirty pounds. I went to Ironman, caught playing with people and I, I weighed myself like, oh my God, what has happened? And I couldn’t understand. It’s like I’m not. I was so embarrassed to go out in public because I felt like everyone’s going to go, OK. She’s a lazy, she’s been eating donuts and ice cream sitting on the sofa watching TV. But I was still working. I was trying to work out but had no energy, but it was just had nothing to do with exercise and nutrition. That’s what I try to tell people all the time. And I wanted to carry a sign up, a billboard around me like this. I’m fat and I’m overweight. And it’s not because I’m not exercising or tempting and it’s not what I’m eating. So I’m eating still healthy food. So that was a big part.
Darren: Yeah. Yeah.
So so once you obviously realized, you know, that was the case and you’re right, actually we are our own worst critic. And I would say that from a mindset perspective, you, you know, when you are in the position, particularly where you is at, where your performance, performance, performance and you are so dedicated to to that. And, you know, the mindset kind of challenge that you have with yourself is like, I’m fit. You know, I’m a good cyclist, I’m a good runner. Why the hell can I not put in the training performance I want to put in? How am I going to fare in the race? And, you know, that side of it, just that alone without the fatigue must have been really tough to kind of deal with. I mean, that yeah, that is that is obviously a struggle. So, um, in terms of what you then started to do, I mean, what was the process that you then started to go through? I mean, did you did you then decide what you realized you had fatigue and burnout, but was it just a case that you stopped and you had to do a lot of testing analyzed where the fatigue is happening in your body and all the rest of it, or how the process did you go through?
Debbie: Probably what a lot of people I know Coach do the same as I did. People you coach end up being people similar to yourself. And I was stuck in the cycle of trial and error, we say. And it’s try this. That doesn’t work. Try that. And you just on this journey and you’re Googling everything and then you read something, you listen to a podcast, you’re taking all these different supplements. So that was part of it. And I was probably too obsessed with everything because you’re just you know, we’re driven competitive individuals and, you know, stereotype type A.
And I think I was blessed that I was, you know, met someone that was looking for a case study for the program there and with Dr. Quiles, who focuses on adrenal exhaustion. And then I listen to someone else’s podcast, Christopher Kelly, and he was just starting his business coaching people. And he focuses on athletes and in adrenal for chronic fatigue issues.
And so I had those people and to do the lab work, but I was still stubborn. I mean, I didn’t it’s taken me years to figure out that I was I was looking for the quick fix. I wasn’t I wanted to get back to a race I paid for. I had goals to achieve. And, you know, that’s my lesson learned that I want to help other people with that. You know, you have to be patient and maybe take the year off racing if you want to get better or else you just spend five years instead of three months fixing yourself.
Darren: Yeah, yeah.
But that is a hard thing to actually implement because like you say, you know, we are a bit Taipei. We’ve got goals. We want to we want to do races. It’s why you do what you do is why you train. And, you know, I can definitely, definitely relate to that. I mean, thankfully, you know, I’m not burned out, but for me to take time out, you know, I’m really paranoid. And if I miss one session, you know, and even for the pandemic this year, we don’t have any races. And I’m not going to do one of my sessions today. And that’s stressing me out, quite frankly, because I’m not doing it. Yeah, but then I kind of had this realization before we started recording. What? Hang on a minute. You know, yes, you’re training, but you haven’t got a race. You can’t do any race and if you wanted to, so just kind of give yourself an easier time. So I think that comes a little bit back down to the mindset. So you so obviously, you know, you started to to go through this process. So what what happened? Did you did you just completely stop training? Did you take it down? You know what happened from that perspective?
Debbie: Well, I think that was my problem was I didn’t stop training. I kept trying to. And that was stupid. You know, I just kept like, OK, I’m going to get better.
But then I started listening to the doctor Kalasz doctor, and I was working with a student, and then Christopher Kelly was helping me. And, you know, it was really I didn’t listen to them entirely that I had to just stop training because ideally, you’re supposed to just work out up to forty five minutes. And if you’ve done Ironman, you know, I did Ironman for fifteen years.
That’s a little difficult. It’s like forty five minutes. It’s my warmup. And so once you’re used to long distance stuff now you thirty, forty five minutes is perfect for me. I can’t imagine going longer. A lot of times it’s just such a joy. But back then I was like no I can’t. I kept pushing it, you know, I kept trying to do too much. And so I think the lifestyle factors. But what people don’t realize is all the car, the collection or the combination of external stressors that become ongoing become chronic. And it’s what we identify when I’m doing FDM practitioner work with clients is what are your external stressors? Your chronic stresses are nonstop, like a leaky faucet, and we need to identify those. And for me, it wasn’t just training and trying to push the envelope all the time. I was learning how to step back from that, but that wasn’t the only thing. My problem probably, you know, almost equally as challenging is running my own business. And I was right, you know, busy all day long. So, yes, I did eventually smarten up and cut down on workouts and just went for walks. My body wouldn’t do anything anyway, so I cannot force it to run because I just couldn’t run.
I had to go for a walk or try run walking, but I could I didn’t have any energy. I’d have naps every day instead of going for a bike ride. So it was, you know, your body tells you. But the thing is, yeah, you have to finally learn how to listen to those red flags that your body sending you. For years, I probably had them, but until I hit that wall and dug myself in such a big hole that I finally I was forced to listen to those signals my body was giving me. I had no other option.
Darren: Mm. Yeah. I think, I think that’s it though isn’t it. I think being and again when people listening to this hear this, you know, being tuned into your body and knowing yourself, that might be quite a strange kind of concept, people, because you’re it’s the reactionaries.
Well, I know nobody. I know myself but you. It’s almost like you you get the signals in the messages, but you purposely ignore them sometimes. I think particularly with men from an ego perspective, it’s kind of this artist man kind of attitude. Yes. And partly because you are so driven, you don’t want to it’s almost like you, you know, this whole kind of grind and you don’t want to admit. Defeat, but you don’t want to admit when it’s time to kind of just rest because you feel like you should, you know, you feel like you should be invincible, don’t you?
Debbie: Yes, it I say the exact same thing. I felt I was invincible. No one can knock me down. You feel like you’re superhuman. You can handle everything. And that if you don’t do something, if you’re not constantly busy doing something, do you work out, do your training, go to yoga, take your kids to make dinner, whatever it is, you feel like you’re a failure. You feel like you’re lazy, pathetic. And so I think we set that bar so high that if you’re not doing something, you feel guilty. I mean, look at my life right now compared to back then, complete, extreme opposite. It’s insane. But I had to do that to get myself healthier because I continued to have stressors and doing too much. And that goes back to the beginning of the conversation that covid this pandemic has forced everyone to stay at home and to reflect on how you live your life. Are you living your life as a race and doing so much? Now you have to stay home. You have to communicate with your family.
You have to, you know, work out by yourself and figure out how to stay fit and healthy and happy. And you have to change. And so I think a lot of it is is learning that it’s OK to take time out and pause and reset.
Darren: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I completely I completely agree with that. But there will be some people listening to this Debbie who perhaps aside from the exercise side of things, still have that manic lifestyle.
So they have the career, they have the family have the responsibilities and everything else, you know, relationships, everything else who you know, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, could also, you know, without the exercise element, be facing kind of fatigue. So so what are the kind of the key elements you would say, like warning signs, red flags for people to to kind of look out for?
Debbie: Yeah, I think, you know, that’s what I try to express and try to relate this in my book, that it wasn’t it doesn’t matter if you did, you know, multiple race endurance events and racing and did Ironman every year. You don’t have to be an athlete. It’s about, you know, getting up in the morning too early and not stopping until you go to bed at night and you’re just brushing through each day and never stopping and having a little transition, you know, to one and two out at eighty four point eighty five in your day that, you know, you’re you’re slowing down. But I think we just are so addicted to busyness and we said we’re that overachievers that you feel inadequate if you’re not always doing something. And so the red flags, to answer your question, would be, you know, I don’t have the energy. I you know, I’m really tired. My body is not recovering. I feel that I’m gaining weight. I have, you know, insulin resistance. I have, you know, sensitive to so many different foods. I was reactive to just healthy foods that started to be irritated to my gut bloating to your belly joints hurting. Right.
All sorts of issues that you don’t really correlate with how it’s, you know, all around your body. But it’s it’s accumulation of stressors that are impacting your health from the inside out. So looking under the hood is always what I like people to do.
Darren: Yeah. And so at that point, when we go back to to when we see the kind of pivotal moment happen, what kind of diet were you following at that point when you when you low carb and more high fat then.
Debbie: Yeah, that’s what I was saying I think was actually I’ve written this lately in blog that that was a stress because I was so serious when I got so sick on this retreat I was on and drinking wine, trying to relax and not be so uptight. I had hadn’t eaten and I was doing bulletproof coffee like a gallon of it every morning and having, you know, I wouldn’t eat till later in the day. I was doing what’s called now keto, low carb and intermittent fasting before it was even term that I was doing all that stuff. Because, you know, we started our Fit Fat Fast podcast back in 2011. So I was podcasting about metabolic efficiency and I started doing metabolic efficiency testing in 2005. So he’s well aware about burning fat and being fat adapted before it was really a thing and had those terms out there. So I was doing low carb, but I wasn’t, I was too strict, you know, I wasn’t eating. If there’s something wouldn’t be around. And what I tell people now is make it sustainable and. Right. You know, that’s what I’ve learned now. Even I was trying Carnivore and then I wasn’t I was, you know, looking at individuality, but I was trying different foods and different, you know, for me. But the. No vegetables, and then I just another story got microbiome test, and I’m not even detecting certain bacteria that help for your metabolism. So it’s fascinating why you have to really individualize everything. And I was I think everyone thinks there’s one size fits all. So, yeah, stress, chronic stress can be doing anything too much. So there’s good stress and bad stress. And I was even if you’re fasting, it could be to stress if you’re doing too much or too low carb because you’re an athlete and you’re doing a lot.
Darren: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can definitely relate to that over the last couple of weeks, you know, I you know, I was mainly keto adopted and due to my training volume, I did start to feel during training sessions that I was just lacking with gas in the tank. And so over the last three weeks, I’ve actually switched back to having more carbohydrates in my diet. Yeah, just to monitor how I feel. I do I definitely do feel better during my workouts. You know, I’ve not gone back to completely carb based, but I’m having, you know, where I was probably having about five to 10 percent. I’m now having fifteen to twenty five percent of my, you know, macro breakdown as carbohydrates. And I definitely do feel better. So, yeah, I think it comes back to what you said earlier about knowing your body, but obviously with keto and yeah. Being fat adapt to being such a popular thing right now.
And generally the Western diet, particularly with guys that I work with, you do see that over 50 or 50 to to over 50 percent of their diet is carbohydrates. You know, there are clearly benefits to to low carb. Yes. So what would you say? You know, that dads listen to this.
You know, if they were to monitor the diet and see that their carb heavy, how could they start to initiate this move towards being more fat? And how could they overcome this mindset that we’ve all been told that fats are bad?
Debbie: Yeah. One example I do. I’m coaching a father and son right now who are doing my 30 day program just just kind of a jump start. And I divide it in three phases. So phase one’s kind of a five day jump start, then more of a reset reboot for 21 days. Phase three is more maintenance. Let’s do this 80 percent of the time once your fat adapted and let’s make a sustainable and figure out how to do this in real life and continue on to make this normal for you.
But, you know, it’s it’s working on individuality, too. I like to look at metabolic Taiping. I like to look at DNA fit, which is how the UK as well, and just kind of correlate all this information together to make it individualized. But I think a lot of people, you know, they it’s easy for guys more than women because their hormones are different and it’s a different for women versus men. And I’ve been writing a lot about that lately because we. Might need more carbohydrates, guys, depending on your activity level.
It’s amazing they lost eight pounds in the last two weeks and women don’t respond that way. But man, when I put them into lower carbs and just a little bit more restrictive in the beginning, they realize how much energy they have and how you’re not even hungry. Have they had they forgot to eat? You know, it’s so interesting. A 14 year old is doing this.
And I think it’s great to do with your family because you’re eating together and I get it eating a big meal. And let’s go for a walk at night and, you know, have family time together and make it all of you. Except it doesn’t work when you’re changing what you’re eating and you rest your family still eating processed foods and vegetable oils and high sugar and gluten grains. So I think it’s best to do for families.
Yeah, definitely. I, I would agree with I wouldn’t say that my kids have kind of followed that way, but they do understand the the effects and the benefits of carbohydrates from fat.
Darren: So, for example, you know, kids having lunch and then what happens to them in terms of their attention in the afternoon and because of lockdown and because we’ve been doing this home schooling, you know, we’ve been doing bits of experiments and, you know, getting them to have a Cobie lunch and then see how they feel in the afternoon, you can see they feel a little bit irritable and they feel a bit tired versus having maybe avocado on toast or eggs and avocado and how different they feel when, you know, it’s just that that that slight, little bit of change to to for them to understand the benefits of fats and what carbohydrates do to their just their energy level. So I completely agree. It’s definitely a family thing that you need to do. And I think, you know, people misunderstand when when when you talk about being fat adapted, you know, as you mentioned there, it’s not about just having a load of vegetable oils. All the rest of it is it’s about having good quality fats like your omega 3s and things like that and understanding why we need them and what it does to the body and particularly from a cognitive function and everything else and a long, more sustainable energy. So there’s definitely benefits. That’s but coming over to to the the athletes and particularly, you know, when we’re talking about endurance sports, we’re not just about I remember endurance sports in general. how, because this is something that I personally struggled with, and that is, you know, like you say, is individuality and different people’s bodies burn carbohydrates a different way in a different right and a different time.
So can you talk about that in a little bit more detail, or is it just the case of it just really down to the individual?
Debbie: Yeah, well, good example. Another example is another client I’m working with. I’m not doing its travel schedule. He’s trained for a race which is his mock race tomorrow. We’re pretending is racing. He’s just doing it on his own. But, you know, I’ve been matching his nutrition with his exercise and doing a lower heart rate. And because he came to me and he was doing low carb and had been doing that, but he was not eating enough and he was fasting too long and trying to fasted workout. So it is and equals one. And looking at that person, how do they feel? And we just experiment like you said, you know, try this. All right. Let’s add a little bit more, say sweet potatoes with your protein on Friday night, because you’re going to go for a four hour bike ride.
Let’s instead of doing a fasted three hour bike ride, let’s look at, you know, having some avocado and some nuts an hour before you ride. And let’s have we’ve tried, like, hydration drink if it’s, you know, you can or fuels and having just based Salton Sea salt in your water. And, you know, we tried different bars that are lower carb, lower sugar. But if he’s doing low heart rate, he came to me and he was doing all high heart rate work like, well, it doesn’t work when you’re training, burning carbs and you’re eating low carb, you have to match that. So let’s do more fat burning heart rate workouts and do low carb. But then the days you’re doing a high heart rate workout, you need more carbs. So it is like Peter Dufty has a lot of information on optimal fat metabolism. And, you know, instead of labeling for athletes, endurance athletes specifically, that you’re doing low carb, it’s more about being fat burner and optimal fat metabolism, as he says, and and work on that carb timing. And so we get tired because, you know, the key to World Carnivore, you know, all the low carb, high fat people, the research is more for health benefits and not necessarily even on women for women. But they’re not looking at, OK, how do we apply all this information we read and hear about and all these success stories? But none of those people are going to work out 20 hours a week, 15 hours a week, five hours. So it is experimental for you and your how you’re training and what phase of your training and tweak it. But I think the challenge is people follow what they read online and hear about stories because, you know, they’re having huge results while it’s different when you’re exercising and you don’t have health issues.
Darren: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And, you know, like you said, it is it’s very hard.
And this is where I think coach is so valuable because it’s when you’re doing your plan and you’re doing your own nutrition, it’s very, very difficult to take yourself above that and look outside of it to see. And often I think it’s very simple to identify where the issues could be, could be, you know, you could be occurring like you said, you know, if you were doing not necessarily high intensity workouts, but high long duration workouts. You know, for example, if you’re on the bike and you put in a lot of power down, you are naturally going to burn carbohydrates. Your body’s going to be burning that carbohydrates. And so that has to be replenished. And also, you need to have enough in the tank as well before you do that. And then also, you know, when you’re doing longer, lower intensity endurance ride, then you’re going to be in your kind of L1 fat burning state and therefore you are going to be burned fast. You won’t need to carbohydrate. So this is recognizing that, isn’t it? Like you say, it’s not. And I think that’s so important that you said that the well, the Internet is a great thing, but it’s also it’s almost like a little bit. And knowledge is dangerous, isn’t it? Because you can really impact yourself negatively if you take what you read and implement it. And it’s not ideal for your situation.
Debbie: Yeah, and that’s a big thing for people. And especially, you know, everybody has different genetics, different microbiome, different lifestyle habits, different stressors. You know, you’re working with parents, with dads, and that’s you know, you’re working full time. You have a lot of stress, probably working at home, trying to get your job done with their kids there. I mean, there’s a lot to juggle and, you know, working on matching your nutrition with your exercise load. That’s why I created the holistic method that I work on, people’s stress reduction strategies. You know, what can we do during the day to push, pause, reset, reboot, work on your sleep hygiene routine at night, work on getting moving. Throughout the day, even know you went for a training session in the morning or at lunchtime, are you sitting the rest of the day? You know, digesting gut health is huge because a lot of people say, no, don’t eat right. They’re rushing, trying to fit in on a busy day. You’re eating even if you’re eating low carb, healthy, real food, whatever the macronutrients ratio is for you to burn fat. Well, if you’re eating in a sympathetic state, your digestive processes are shut down. They’re turned off. So, you know, how we eat when we, why is really important just as much as what you eat.
Darren: Yeah, definitely.
I mean, how you as well, isn’t it? It’s like, huh, and this this is is might sound a little bit extreme to some people, but how many times you chew your food being mindful about when you’re eating because it switches on. And I believe like that’s something to celebrate or something to your stomach acid. You know, your stomach’s preparing to receive the food and all the rest of it. You know, there’s so many different elements that go on in in just the eating process. But as humans, we, like you say, we’ve become these one for want of a better word, these busy foods where we think that we have to be running a hundred miles an hour with a do do do do do, you know, and how many you know, how many people sit at the table with their phones and looking at their phones while they’re eating? I hold my hand up. I’ve been guilty of that sometimes. But when you recognize and realize that, you know, eating is a process that your body needs to get prepared for, it needs to go through. It’s not just shouldn’t be just an unconscious thing, is what I’m saying. So there’s lots of elements I think people should become more aware of. I’m not going to kind of bang my face on the table. So you must be becoming more aware, isn’t it?
Debbie: Yeah, well, it’s called the nervous, sympathetic nervous system is fight or flight, you know, run from that lion sabertooth tiger go.
And then we’ve got the other side of it is the parasympathetic nervous system.
Rest and digest, keyword rest and digest. And so that’s why I tell people stop before you start eating. You’re not allowed to multitask. Sit there, focus on enjoying the meal. You know, I compare it when I’m in Italy eating lunch for two hours. Now, you sit, me chill, you focus on enjoying and chewing your food twenty times and not inhaling it. And to get back to something else. And I think so many athletes that are busy, you know, dad’s working full time, are probably eating really fast, trying to, like, just throw some food, dogs and energy from my workout later on. I got to get back to work.
Darren: Yeah. Yeah.
Debbie: So that’s key.
Darren: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
I think the mindset is already on the next thing as opposed to be more present isn’t it. And I think, you know, this is slightly off topic, but that’s where meditation is definitely helped me, you know, becoming more present in the moment that you’re in now. Not looking at the past, not looking at the future, looking at where you are and being present now. And that definitely has helped me with my stress. I mean, when I started to meditate, I couldn’t sit there for ten minutes. There was no way I could sit there for ten minutes and just just kind of relax. And this was even early in the morning. But I’ve gradually learned how to do it, and it has as a massive impact. So that be before we finish up today, what would you say the five key actions that listeners can take away today to either detect burnout, avoid burnout and start moving towards adding a bit more fat adaptation into their diets?
Debbie: Well, we always talk about nutritional therapy that, you know, working on your gut health and total health work start north. So I would say, you know, work on what you’re eating, switch to real food, avoiding sugars and vegetable oils and processed grains and but focus on sitting and eating, as we just said, chewing your food to have proper digestion because that changes everything.
If you eat good food is key, but it starts north and your brain. So make sure you take time to stop. Take three deep breaths in, exhale out, you know, slow down when you’re eating or else it’s not it’s not appropriate to eat. So you’re going to screw your body up if you’re going to eat rushing. So just stop and pause. Reset would be two things. Three, I think is, you know, learn how to disconnect and unplug during the day or at nighttime. You know, creating a sleep hygiene routine is key for me when I’m working on health coaching with people is, you know, are you catching up on your social media emails, text messages in the evening, stopping eating before bed. But stop looking at your phone to put things in airplane mode about at least an hour before bed, two hours and just stop and disconnect and connect with your family, because that’s huge, because that’s a big stress.
If you’r not sleeping, especially as an athlete, your recovery and repair detoxification is while you’re sleeping. So that’s key for is I think, you know, I really believe it, as you said, meditation. But I’ve been doing yoga at night since this pandemic started. We’re trying to figure out what to do at home. And we started doing power yoga in the morning. And they have these yoga sessions, guy, Travis Elliott, there’s free ones on YouTube. And then we ended up paying for his program with thirty minutes to.
Minutes forty five, so you can choose, but for that to do that at night, for, you know, even with your family and get everyone to stop, pause, totally focus on, it’s like meditating in a pose. You hold each stretch. Sitting on the floor is relaxing two to three minutes. And I’ve had my clients do that. They can only make it through a 30 minute video and it’s like for stretches. But just learning how to be still and like you were saying, where we act as human doer’s, not human beings, is what we learn in yoga. We always have to be doing something, but we should be still, you know, be present and not always looking ahead into the future. So I guess that would be for no fire being present is really key. And I think lastly would be, you know, journal gratitude.
But identify your external stressors. What what makes you happy and thrive and proud to be dad, proud to be living your life who you are, but then write down whatever triggers that set you off that make you angry, stressed out, frustrated, and start making that list of what are some energy robber’s toxic people, toxic things you do in life and then figure out.
All right, let’s peel the onion. What’s the next layer? How can you pick one or two, three things that you can work on and then you go from there, bring up some strategies to overcome those because they stress accumulates in your body.
It’s not just eating crappy garbage food, but it’s everything. Training too much. Anything we’re doing too much. I would say no more is not better. Too much of anything can become toxic and too little of anything can become deficient. And so finding that right amount I call the Goldilocks effect that works for you to optimize your health, your fat loss, your athletic performance, but really looking at longevity. So it’s working on the whole you from inside out. And I guess it add in number six would be lab testing would be your bonus. I strongly believe in working on lifestyle habits and all these things we’re talking about today.
But you’re just you don’t think we’re so stubborn. So unless we have evidence to show I need to make these changes now rather than before, it’s too late by getting some a collection of lab work, not just one at a time and working on that. And that’s what I do now as a fan. Practitioner’s is working on that whole person. So that’s what I would suggest.
Darren: Yeah, I think I think they’re great points.
I totally agree with what you’re saying about the lab testing, and I use this analogy about we we probably what we do as a as a as a human race, pay more attention to the maintenance of our cars than we do to the maintenance of our bodies. Exactly. I, I believe we’re in a time that we’ve never been in previously where we have so much access to now be able to do that to maintain our bodies rather than following the traditional protocol of waiting until we get sick and then, you know, have these lab tests are absolutely phenomenal. Now they can tell you, you know, what’s going on. But what I will caveat this with is don’t just go and get them and implement them. Just, you know, to have them done, but have a coach or practitioner that can interpret, you know, all the various different elements of those tests and actually implement, you know, the right resolution for you. Because, you know, it’s a double edged sword, isn’t it, as you know, as a practitioner?
Debbie: Yeah, no, that’s you know, I did the same thing I was doing test. And I’m like, I don’t like those results. Find a new practitioner and just blame everybody for their lack competency. But it was my own not really willing to change the way I was living my life and change, you know, to where I am now.
I’m living in the mountains and inland from San Diego coastline. And and I would just add to that that I think, you know, the testing not just one thing and treat that is a key thing that I always did before. And is if you find a F.D.A. practitioner, functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner or nutritional therapy practitioner combined, we can you know, you worked on the nutrition lifestyle habits first and then you start adding in correlating data.
So it’s investigating the whole you looking under the hood with the labs and correlating that with all your your main health complaints and concerns and putting it all together. So is putting the missing pieces of the puzzle together. So it is literally an investigation to what’s really going on. Why don’t you feel your optimal self? Because I would do labs and treat that with, like I said, supplements and just expect to get better. But we do three or four or five labs, look at it all together and treat the whole person rather than treat this. All right, let’s treat this. And I think it doesn’t work as well because you can’t heal your gut.
For example, if you’re eating foods that you’re reactive to, you can’t heal your gut if you keep working on eating in a sympathetic, nervous state and causing extra. So there’s so much to look at. So it is, you know, a comprehensive approach.
But like you said, you know, it’s better invest in your health and all the money people spend on their cars and getting their car tuned up and their wheels aligned and how much triathletes spend on a bike, but they only blink at a new bike and race wheels. But then they look at, oh, I have to pay, you know, a thousand dollars for some lab. No way.
It’s crazy. So I think it’s a good investment.
Darren: Hundred percent. So before we wrap up then, is there anything that I didn’t ask that you feel like I should have asked you which would benefit our listeners ?
Debbie: Hmm. Well, I did put I did a seminar on how to become a fat, adaptive athlete. So if people want more info on that, I made it into a free ebook. Metabolic deficiency.
Darren: Ok, so what’s what’s the URL that people can go to?
Debbie: I’d have to ask my assistant I it’s on Debbie Potts dot net, but somewhere I have to find email it to you and you can share it. But I’ve been making everything into ebooks that are free.
Darren: Cool. OK, so we’ll pull the links to those in the show notes and obviously you mentioned your book. So your book is just remind everybody what the title of your book is.
Debbie: It’s called Life Is Not a Race. It is a Journey. And then I also created the Holistic Method Manual that as a chapter on each of the eight elements that I feel that people can work on. And so just on these lifestyle habits that exercise in a mafia tone and avoiding the black hole training and and leaking information, all that. So they’re both on Amazon.
Darren: Awesome. That’s fantastic. And then your website is DebbiePotts.net. And if anyone wants to connect to you, what kind of socials have you got?
Debbie: Low carb athlete on Instagram and Facebook page, low carb athlete.
Darren: Awesome. Fantastic. Well, I really appreciate your time. I’m very envious of where you’re living right now, the life that you’ve created. So enjoy it. And thanks very much for coming on. And I look forward to speaking to you again soon.
Debbie: Yeah, you too. Love to have you back on my show. The low carb athlete talk about your transition in this crazy world.
Darren: Yeah, 100 percent.
Debbie: Thank you.
Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe. And I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes or the things mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast.