Episode 156 – Cassie Bjork
Hey everyone, it’s me, Drew Manning. Your host of the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast. Most of you guys know me as the Fit2Fat2Fit guy. Yes, I am the crazy trainer that intentionally gained 75 pounds on purpose and then lost it again in six months. Six months of gaining and six months of losing. I learned so many valuable lessons. I was truly humbled. I realized how wrong I was. So what I do here on the Podcast, if you are new, is I take what I learned, especially on the mental and emotional side of health and fitness, and apply that to my Podcasts and the guests that I interview. I try to pull out the things that people struggle with on the mental and the emotional side. Yes, we do talk about physical things, like nutrition and exercise, macros and calories and things like that. But we all know that that is not the most important part when it comes to true transformation. So, I try and have guests on that understand the mental and emotional side of transformation. Today’s guest is an expert on that. Her name is Cassie Bjork. Her website is Cassie.net. She is a good friend of mine. I have wanted to have her on for awhile, because she has a very interesting story. First of all, she is a number one international best selling author. She is a registered dietitian and adventure seeker. She travels a lot. She’s from Minnesota and she’s got a cool Minnesota accent too. *laughing* But she has got an interesting story as a registered dietitian. You know, becoming a registered dietitian and then realizing that all of the stuff she had been taught was wrong and she was becoming unhealthy herself. So she decided to let go of her dietitian license. I would say this is the short story, there is a lot more to it. Now she is a health advocate for things that go against what she was taught as a registered dietitian. So, like eating healthy fats for example and not focusing on low fat foods, low cholesterol foods or low calorie foods. She has some very interesting insights into that. She has her own personal journey from …. I won’t say Fit2Fat, but she gained some weight during her dietitian years. Anyway, she talks about that. We do talk about the mental and emotional side of heath and fitness, which is the most important piece in my opinion, when it comes to true transformation. So, a lot of valuable information that we get from Cassie. She is such a nice, giving person. You guys will love her Minnesota accent and her charm. She is a very kind person. I think you guys will enjoy this interview. Let’s go visit with Cassie.
Drew: Cassie, welcome to the show. How are you doing today?
Cassie: Hey Drew! Great, thanks! I am excited to be here.
Drew: Yeah. Thanks for coming on my Podcast. It’s been a long time in the making, right?
Cassie: It has been. We have a lot to cover and a lot to talk about. I am excited to dive in with you.
Drew: Yeah. We do have a lot to cover. We had some first world problems that we both overcame just to get on this Podcast. *laughing*
Cassie: First world problems are always good problems to have. *laughing*
Drew: Exactly. Yep, technical difficulties seem to happen from time to time, but we both overcame with our powers combined.
Cassie: It’s already a success.
Drew: Yeah. That means it’s going to be an awesome Podcast. Cassie, my first question for you is when people ask you what you do, give me your short answer response, then give me your long answer response. I know there are two, because I do the same thing when people ask me. So there is a short one, when you don’t want to go into all of it, so I just say this. But then if people are really interested, then I will go into this long one. So give me both of them.
Cassie: Ok. So my short answer is for the past 10 years I have been working with women who are at their wits end and their weight is the one problem they can’t solve. I am really good at helping them with this because I have been there myself. I tried all the diets and ended up gaining weight. I was just more frustrated and really the only thing that I was losing with these diets was my mind and self confidence. So I created a proprietary process that helps women identify the missing pieces of their puzzle, their weight loss puzzles. The real reasons for that stubborn weight loss. Then we guide them to putting the puzzle pieces back together with our step by step process to really address those missing factors. That’s why we see amazing results with our clients. So that’s kind of the short answer, the long answer ….
Drew: Oh, that was the short answer? *laughing*
Cassie: *laughing* I know! I guess the shorter answer might be ….
Drew: Because that’s a lot longer than my short answer! *laughing* Like, if someone comes up to you and says, what do you do?
Cassie: We have a 12 month virtual weight loss coaching program. We have a vitamin company called Real Food Vitamin. We have our own line of supplements. I’m a number one international best selling author. My book is called “Why Am I Still Fat: The Hidden Keys to Unlocking That Stubborn Weight Loss.” I do professional speaking. That’s kind of my short answer, all the things I do. But what I really feel I do is help women identify what’s really blocking them from being their best self. Not just their best weight, but their best self and then I help them do that.
Drew: Ok, we will get into all of that in a second. But let’s rewind a little bit and have you introduce yourself to my audience. Tell us about you growing up. What were your passions as a kid that led you down this path of wanting to become a dietitian.
Cassie: I think I always had a passion for fitness and helping people and I knew that food was the answer to living life to the fullest potential. That was really my focus. That was light bulb for me, because I wanted to learn how food would help our bodies and how it worked. I wanted to know how all the rules worked. There are just so many …. I remember learning about food and all the equations that went into metabolism and energy and weight loss. It just really fascinated me. I loved science. I wanted to work in a hospital and wear white lab coats. Being a dietitian was one of the avenues to be able to do that. I was really excited about that.
Drew: Did you get that from your parents? Did you see your close friends or family go down that path or was this just something that came to you as your calling in life? Or was there another influence from family or friends?
Cassie: That is a good question. I am sure there was a lot of influence. I mean my mom was a nurse, so she worked in a hospital setting and that was really cool. I would go in and check out her work. I got ideas about working in a hospital setting, which is interesting because I don’t work in that setting anymore. Also I was a gymnast. I was always an athlete, so I was really interested in how what I ate affected how I performed. When I was growing up, I could kind of eat anything and not gain weight. It was interesting because my story kind of has a twist to it. When I was in dietitian school, that is when I started having weight issues and gaining weight, which I am sure we will circle back to in a second. That’s a good question. I think there are probably a lot of different influences just with my passions. I like math. I like science. I like the idea of doing these different equations and helping people get to their best weight, because that’s how I thought it worked.
Drew: How did your parents raise you as far as nutritionally? Did they have good advice as far as that goes or where they just kind of doing the best they could back in the …. let’s see, how old are you again?
Cassie: I am in my 30’s.
Drew: Ok, so in the 90’s or something. So, what were they eating or what were they feeding you growing up?
Cassie: Oh, I love that question! I think they thought that they were doing all the right things and feeding their kids in the healthy way. But we were eating all these processed foods. The convenience foods like cereal every morning for breakfast with skim milk and orange juice. I would come home after school and my snack would be Pop Tarts or those little SnackWell’s cookies. I would eat Ramen noodles. My dad would make us fish sticks for dinner and chicken nuggets. I think they thought we were doing ok, but looking back it’s pretty funny because I was totally raised on processed foods.
Drew: As most of us were, right?
Drew: Tell me about what age did you start getting to dietitian school? Then let’s talk about your own kind of transformation, but in an opposite way, right? Because you kind of have your own Fit2Fat2Fit story, right? But you didn’t do it on purpose, right? *laughing*
Cassie: I didn’t do it on purpose. Drew, my story is not one of gaining or losing like 50 or 75 pounds. Mine was 20, but what I think is interesting is just like with your story, it was so much more than just the weight. I know you can relate to that. It took on such a toll emotionally. A lot of it was just so mental and emotional, versus just physical. I mean it was still physical. My energy levels went down and my cravings went up. But there was so much more to it. What was interesting to me is it was when I was in school to be a dietitian. So this is when I was following all the dieting rules like super hard core. Because this is what we were learning to help people lose weight and boost their metabolism and get healthy. We were learning the low calorie and low fat approach and exercising. I was exercising a lot, probably twice a day almost every single day. I was teaching classes, like boot camp classes at the gym. I was running marathons. I was eating and following all these guideline rules, low fat and low calorie. But instead of losing any weight, I started gaining weight. That was so confusing to me, because I was doing all these things that I was supposed to do, things I was learning to teach other people how to do. I am learning the equations for weight loss and metabolism and I was applying them to myself and I was feeling so much like a failure. I felt like a hypocrite and defeated and really all I was losing was more of my self worth and self confidence. I wasn’t losing any weight, I was gaining.
Drew: Interesting. Yeah, that’s really hard. I understand that a transformation is more mental and emotional other than just physical, especially with you as a dietitian. You being educated on how to help people and yet you can’t help yourself. That must be a hard feeling to have. You think here I am doing all of these things that I’ve been taught to do. Now, when you first got into this, were you buying into everything that you were being taught? Did you start to question it at some point? Where did you find that knowledge that made you kind of realize you were maybe being taught the wrong thing?
Cassie: Great question. I was buying into it all right away, because it was all I really knew. I just thought …. it didn’t really make sense to me, but there was a point where it just wasn’t adding up. I remember being at this annual nutrition event for dietitians, it’s like this big food and nutrition expo. It’s where we get our continuing education credits. I was a student, so I was still in school to be a dietitian. I went to this conference and the first big tent that I saw was Pepsi. So it was sponsored by Pepsi. Pepsi was putting on this calorie counting campaign, doing this whole educational series of talks. We could get continuing education credits for attending talks by Pepsi on calories. Basically they were telling us, just count your calories and that’s why it’s ok to drink diet soda. Everybody was buying into this. I remember it was a moment for me where I just thought, that’s kind of weird. That doesn’t really make sense. Then I saw the McDonald’s tent, where they were handing out those little fruit and yogurt parfaits. Then I saw Splenda, where they were handing out little packets for your coffee. All of these sponsorships were just weird, I thought. I remember on one of my test in school to be a dietitian, I had to answer the test question saying that a 100 calorie pack of crackers is healthier than an avocado. I had to do that because avocado has like double the amount of calories. And it’s all about calories, right? Then it doesn’t really matter if it’s a processed food. All of these things just really weren’t adding up for me. I was following all of these rules, yet I was gaining weight. I think there was just this moment for me where …. I remember actually I was on a boat with some family members. I had always really taken pride in having a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body, exercising and eating right. I remember a family member said to me, ‘What happened to your six pack?’ Because I had a six pack when I was a junior. I was …. I don’t know, it was this moment of like feeling super ashamed. I was embarrassed and I just wanted to climb out of the boat, to be honest. I was working so hard. I was following this diet harder than I ever had and this is what was happening to me. I gained not like a couple of pounds, I gained 20 pounds. I’ve known so many people have done that, where they have felt like they were doing all the right things, but they are not seeing the results. To answer your question, it wasn’t like a huge moment for me. For me, it all kind of came to head. I see Pepsi at the event and then I am gaining weight and me just pounding down and following these ridiculous rules. So you know what I did? I just quit. *laughing* I just quit. It’s so interesting Drew, because that was when things just kind of started falling back into place for me with my body. I just started not stressing about it. I started eating again. I started eating fat, and butter and not calorie counting and not working out like a crazy person, but just exercising. That’s when everything changed. I felt full and satisfied. The weight started coming off and the energy levels went up and my cravings went down. My thoughts about food, and my anxiety around it, just went away. I just felt freer and lighter. Since then, I’ve really been`looking into why does that work for me. How does that work for other people and why does that happen? Because it was such a struggle for me for so long, I think that’s why I have this deep passion for helping people really figure out the barriers to their own weight loss.
Drew: I love that. There are so many vital pieces that you just mentioned right there. I remember you telling me that story, because we have hung out before in person. I remember you telling me that story of like when someone you loves says something about your body, it’s really hard to not take it personally for one. But also two, our society, in a way it sucks, because sometimes we think we are judged based on the way our body looks. Unfortunately, our society is set up that way with TV and Instagram, social media and movies, where we judge ourselves against those people. People look at us and think what happened to your six pack? It’s an innocent question, but man that can really be hurtful to a lot of people. It can demoralize people or it can motivate them to want to change. It can go either way. Your story makes perfect sense to lead you to where you are today. I love seeing you being able to connect those dots, now that you have arrived at where you are today. You quit or whatever you want to call it. You quit. What did you do from there to further your education though? Because you are obviously a leader in the Paleo community or the Whole Food approach. Where did you start to get your education and realize that what you had been taught was wrong?
Cassie: It’s interesting because really what I did is that I started to dive into the research, like the actual research and the scientific studies. I realized that my education to be a dietitian, it wasn’t just based on information from like stuffy old text books like from the 1970’s. It was also based on a lot of funding from the food industry and big food and the sugar industry. It was sketchy! A lot of sketchy stuff going on! I was thinking, ok. So maybe my whole education wasn’t actually based on science in the first place. That’s actually kind of how I started to become known in the Paleo, Real Food, Functional Medicine base, because I started doing this a decade ago. Not a lot of people, especially dietitians, were saying things like butter is good for you and eat more fat. It was actually pretty much the opposite. That is what made my approach stand out, because it is so liberating. You don’t have to count calories and be so strict. I figured you would want to dive into the shadiness of it.
Drew: Yeah, because you have a unique view. You have a unique view because you are the one that has been educated on this and then you kind of broke out of it. You kind of see it for what it is, but your average person is like, ‘Oh you are a dietitian. You are educated, so you know what is right and what is wrong. You know what is good and what is bad.’
Cassie: I think what is interesting is when I finally really started to look into how could this happen? If I quit all the dieting and the rules and started to get to my healthiest body and my healthiest weight, how could that be possible? I think what is interesting is it just goes back to fueling your body. When you fuel your body properly, you have all these pieces of this puzzle. These are all things that I outline in my book. Things that are all really important parts of the process. We are talking about hormones, thyroid, stress, sleep, supplements and of course food and exercise. But not just food or those two things, right? Sometimes I think of it in like an analogy of a lock. If you have a lock, you have to put a combination in it. If you are just focusing on two of the numbers, it was never unlocked. That’s why you have to focus on every single number and every single part. What’s interesting is all of the research I found, it really went completely against my whole education. You know Drew, a lot of us health care professionals are familiar with the iconic epic tragic story of how the sugar industry actually influenced our nation’s eating habits and the food pyramid back in the day. That’s what we have used as a basic for healthy eating for years and it was super shady. It was back in the 1960’s and it was a single study and anonymously funded by the Sugar Research Foundation. They said that it proved that fat could cause heart disease and that sugar had little or no effect. What is interesting is that was absolutely bogus and it was contrary to all other reputable research, this one study. But, the federal government actually used that study as a basis for policy, even though the officials were aware the study was flawed.
Cassie: Now looking back, it’s amazing how that can happen, even in this day and age. They published the first dietary guidelines that promoted the low fat, low cholesterol diet that was recommended. They increased carbohydrate consumption, which means more sugar. Millions of people have suffered from a diet that really wasn’t designed to make them healthier, because of the sugar industry …. this is my theory of course. But I think the sugar industry has money and power. They use that to manipulate people and that’s super scary. That’s like happening out there.
Drew: Yeah. Yeah, that is scary that one industry, which is backed by a lot of money, can make such a huge impact on people’s health. Yeah, they make a lot of money, but at what expense, you know? At the expense of people’s health, right? Here we are, what 40-50 years later, with people still thinking fat is bad, right?
Drew: They think fat is the enemy and I have to stay away from fat. People are so afraid to eat these types of foods, like butter and avocado and salmon. They were told that low fat Pop Tarts are better for me than avocado, they don’t know what to do. Now we are telling them something different, but I think people are starting to come around. Have you had any negative feedback from any other dietitians? Like, ‘Hey, you are representing us wrong’ Has there been any backlash from what you have done and your message now?
Cassie: Yeah. Yeah I have. That is a good question. Yeah, there always is. I have been pretty outspoken about this stuff for years. I think that is actually why the Board of Nutrition and Dietetics came after me and tried to take away my dietitian’s license. Because everything I teach goes completely against what they want me to teach. They just want me to teach low fat, low calorie dieting and I can’t do that, because I know that doesn’t work. It didn’t work for me. It doesn’t work for anybody. It’s not based on research. In my heart of hearts, I can’t do that. It was actually just a few years into my career that the Board came after me and told me to cease and desist my approach to weight loss.
Drew: So what did you do there? That’s crazy.
Cassie: It was a huge deal. It was a huge deal. I mean honestly, the day that I earned my certification as a licensed dietitian was one of the most important days of my whole life. I had worked so hard for that credential and for the authority I thought it gave me. I was so excited to use it to help people. So what I did is, actually this whole thing just ended this year, because I finally surrendered my dietitians license this year. So I actually fought for almost six years to keep my license, because I believed so strongly in my approach. I had to work so hard for those credentials. But ultimately, it really left me at a fork in the road. I could limit my capabilities and limit my knowledge and just teach what is not aligned, what they want me to teach and what I know isn’t right. Or I could do everything that I know is right and actually be able to help people and not have a license while I do it. Long story short, I don’t actually need my dietitians license to do what I am doing in the capacity that I am doing it. So I didn’t lose my license, but I could have continued to fight for it. But ultimately that license didn’t align with what I stand for and what I believe in. So, I actually ended up giving it up.
Drew: Yeah, I remember that. There is a picture of you in social media, right?
Cassie: Yes, I kissed my dietitians license goodbye. It was so bittersweet. Because like I said, I did work hard for it. Actually what is interesting is you asked me if I get backlash from other dietitians. This was like probably one of our biggest fears, when we put ourselves out there and we stand up for something we believe in. The fear is that we are going to get attacked and that people are going to have bad things to say. So it was almost like my biggest fear was coming true. But what was so cool Drew, is that throughout the whole process, when I finally decided to give it up, it’s like I had been battling this thing and holding my fists up so tight and fighting for this thing that wasn’t even aligned with what I believed. When I finally just surrendered it, it just felt like this huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I was so supported. My following and my audience and our clients and our followers and even so many other dietitians were like, ‘Oh my gosh. Thank you for doing that, because we need people like you to stand up for what you believe in.’ Of course there are some people that are scared, I mean especially other dietitians. I don’t know what this means for them. I don’t want to be like a fear monger at all. I want to keep being an educator and keep being a role model and an example. But I don’t know if this means that they are going to come after other people that are teaching something similar to what I teach. I don’t know.
Drew: Yeah. Well, you know, I applaud you for standing up for what you feel is the right thing to do. I know it’s hard when there is pressure from authoritative figures above you kind of telling you what to do. It’s hard to stand up for yourself. But it’s also, I think, a huge turning point in your life, because you realize this is who you are. I’m going to stand up for me. So, that’s awesome and very empowering for a lot of people listening to this.
Cassie: Yeah. I love that you bring that up, because it was really …. it caused me to tap into me. Because this was like a long battle. I was determined to win, right? It ultimately came down to just, I just had to tap into my intuition and my higher self and be like, ‘What do I actually believe? Why am I even fighting for this?’ Sometimes we are just in this …. I don’t know, we just get stuck in this one track mind. When I stepped out of my head, because I am a very logical thinker, as you know. When I stepped out of my head and into my heart, that is when I received the answer. I don’t have to keep fighting. Freedom doesn’t come from just winning the fight. I knew I was in the right and I should win. I knew in my heart of hearts I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I think that a huge lesson in this was just like thinking about surrender and freedom in such a different way. Because I was fighting because I thought if I just kept my license, I would just feel this freedom and be able to do what I wanted. But really freedom is a state of mind and a choice. In this case, it was just an act of surrender. I think sometimes even like when I talked earlier about quitting dieting, we think of quitting and surrendering as like a lack of action. But you can be intentional with it. It’s still work, it’s just a different kind of work. So, for me this was letting my soul guide me and connect me to my heart. Like you said, it got me closer to myself. I was like, ‘Wow! This is super empowering. This is who I am.’ It felt so good to stand up for something so strongly that I know is right.
Drew: Yeah. That is beautiful. Thank you for that. I kind of want to go into your book a little bit and give you an opportunity to talk about your book. What was the premise of the book? Tell us a little bit about the ‘takeaways’ of the book for people that maybe haven’t read it yet, or for those that are interested in it.
Cassie: Thank you. Thank you. The title of my book is ‘Why Am I Still Fat?’ Let me just clarify why we chose that title. This is by far the most frustrated and most emotionally charged question that we get from our new clients. It’s just heartbreaking. Why am I still fat? You know? Because they have tried everything to lose weight and after all the diets and pills and potions, they ask this question. I wrote my book based off of those experiences. In my book I reveal 14 of the hidden and never talked about keys about metabolism and weight loss. A few of which I have mentioned already, things like hormones, stress, supplements, sleep and your thyroid function. The reality is we need to address all of these things. We need to look at the whole picture, including all of these overlooked factors. Not just calories in and calories out. It’s not uncommon that I am the first dietitian that people hear that say weight loss isn’t just about food and exercise. We have to look at the whole picture. The book is based on these scientific strategies and the step by step process that my team and I have spent 10 years putting our clients through to help them lose weight and keep it off. It’s a process. It’s not just like a quick fix diet, because we actually have to heal underneath. But when we do that, when you lose weight, it actually stays off. It’s not just about weight loss. I talk about weight loss, but as you know there is so much more to it. We are looking beyond that. We are looking at the mental factors and the emotional factors and the spiritual factors, all of the pieces of the puzzle. It’s like we are stepping back and not just looking at their weight. We are looking at the big picture. I just wanted to put all of this information into one spot, to finally like clear things up and set the record straight with all the calorie dilema and weight loss.
Drew: Yeah and I think that is the hard part about being in the health and fitness industry is people want the simplicity of just tell me what to eat. I just want to lose the weight. I don’t want this to be too complicated or too hard. But what they don’t understand is it requires a true lifestyle change. You have to totally change your state of mind, a mental shift and change your perspective of what you think transformation is. You think it is just eating less and working out and depriving yourself and starving yourself to look skinny. That is not what it is about, right? It’s a total and complete transformation. So, it sounds like your book dives into that. I kind of want to talk about some of the emotional strategies for people. I think that is what people struggle with. You could give them all the equations. You can give them the best meal plans and the best workouts that are awesome. But, unless they know how to overcome their own emotional challenges, it will just be another diet. So let’s talk about some emotional strategies for people.
Cassie: It does. That’s a good point. I think like the self love and self care thing. I have been posting a lot about that lately, because even in my journey, this is so important. It’s the day to day stuff. It’s all the little things that add up to make a huge difference. If you are just stressed out all the time, I mean I am like a recovering stressed out person. *laughing* I was always for years just running around like exhausted and just acting crazy like a chicken with it’s head cut off. What happens is when you are doing that and you are disconnecting from your body, even if you see results, let’s just say we are talking about weight loss still, even if you lose the weight, it’s going to be really hard to keep it off. You are going to keep cycling, if we don’t actually address what is really going on at the core and below the surface. That is the thing with each of these hidden keys or pieces of the puzzle is that we have to look at all of them. Self care is the number one thing that we have our clients start doing. The thing about it, when I am talking about self care, I am talking about it as part of your lifestyle. For me, what it looks like is meditating every morning, praying and making a gratitude list and creating time for myself. Whether it’s going to Yoga or getting in workouts or calling friends and being connected to people. Because for me, connecting with people and with the source is what helps me not disconnect. When we disconnect is when we just kind of let things go out the window. The other thing is stress can actually cause you to gain weight without eating any differently or exercising any differently. Because your stress hormone cortisol goes up and raises your blood sugars. Then your pancreas secretes insulin to store that sugar as fat, so you can literally gain weight just from being stressed out. I think that is such a huge, huge thing that people don’t realize. So, they actually get stressed out following all these diets. They put extra stress on their body by exercising like a crazy person. They restrict calories and their body is all stressed out, so then they are gaining weight not just because they are starving themselves, but also because they are stressed. So, to bring things full circle, self care is something we have our clients focus on right away, because that also helps to address the emotional, and the spiritual and the physical. It’s like bringing it all together. Like journaling for example is such an important thing. I was always the first person to be like, ‘I don’t have time for that.’ I don’t like to journal. It’s hard for me to get my feelings out. Sometimes I don’t even know what to write. We tell our clients every day just set a timer for 5 minutes and take out your journal and just start writing, even if your first line is, ‘I don’t even know what to write.’ *laughing* It’s different than just sitting at a computer and typing. There is something different about putting that pen to paper. When you can be connective like that, I think that is just how you allow your body to get back into balance. When you connect with yourself, the changes that you make can actually be changes for the long term. People think when you lose weight, it is over. Like that is the goal and once they hit it they are done. The saddest thing for me is to see someone who has worked so hard to get there and then it just comes back. It’s just a problem they keep having and they keep cycling because they aren’t connected to their body. They are not able to make those long term changes.
Drew: Yeah. Yeah. That is awesome. I think that is really, really good advice. Especially what you said about meditation, prayer, journaling and the gratitude list. Those things are overlooked in our society, because we think those things are kind of ‘woo-woo’ or like, ‘How is that going to get me a six pack? Tell me how to get a six pack.’ *laughing* It’s a complete transformation, you know? It’s not just about counting your calories and working out all day. There is this other part of you that needs to be fulfilled. Even if you lose weight or get a six pack, that doesn’t always bring fulfillment. But if you have the mental and emotional and spiritual piece, combined with the physical transformation, I think that is where people can still be fulfilled as they are working on a better version of themselves.
Cassie: Yeah. I just wanted to say one more thing. I remember earlier we were talking about how people and the media in our society, they put out these messages like, ‘Oh what happened to your six pack?’ People feel like …. a lot of times the clients that come to us, their self worth and self confidence is not good. Because for so long they have felt like they are a failure, because they have done all the ‘quote unquote’ things and they followed all the diets, but it’s not working for them. So especially for people, which is a lot of people, especially for a lot of women who have struggled with the cycle of yo-yo dieting, there is a lot of self worth and self confidence that needs to be built up. We have seen clients lose weight and they don’t know what to do. We have actually had clients self sabotage and gain weight back because they feel weird. People say things to them and they don’t know how to respond. I think part of this whole thing is it is not just physical. We have to be looking at all of the pieces, so staying connected to yourself and also processing through this, whether it is a counselor or a dietitian coach, like we have on our team, or an accountability partner and good friend. This is really, really important, to actually be present while you are going through this process. Because if you go through it disconnected and it’s just about weight and you are just starving yourself and not respecting your body, that is not going to get you those long term results.
Drew: Yeah. Exactly. Thanks for talking about that. Let’s get into a little bit about some of the physical hacks or tips that you give people. I know people still want to know about this and I know you give people advice. Let’s talk about your perspective, what helps from a physical perspective as far as this and how it can actually help you to lose the weight.
Cassie: I think one of the biggest misconceptions, and if people just do this one thing, like if this is the only thing you do, you are going to notice a difference. I know you will be on board with this Drew, is eating more fat, healthy fat. We are talking butter, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, if you don’t have a sensitivity to those things. Even when people are like, ‘Ok, I get it, fat is good for me’, if you are not intentional about eating fat, a lot of the ways that people are still eating are low fat. A lot of things people buy are still low fat and fat is just the biggest thing you can do for your brain power and for your metabolism. Like you were saying earlier, it has gotten so ingrained in our brains that fat makes us fat, I think we just need to call fat something different. Let’s just call it ‘energy’ or ‘brain power’, because it is so good for us! *laughing* I’m not talking about like a stick of butter every time we eat, and it’s different for different people. But we usually start with having people eat a couple of tablespoons, that is a good starting point. Especially for someone who is scared or apprehensive about adding in fat. So just every time they eat, add in an avocado to your salad or coconut oil to your coffee. Try cooking your eggs in butter and just getting in healthy fat. They will notice a difference right away in their brain power and energy. The cravings will go down and the pounds will come off easier. It’s amazing.
Drew: Yeah. So, they will feel more satiated too, with having fat added to their meals. That will help them with their satiety levels. Ok, so I have to ask then, is it …. I guess maybe you don’t define this as Keto? Or this is how many calories, this is the macros you focus on, it sounds like you keep it simple. Am I right about that?
Drew: So, it’s not Keto.
Cassie: It’s not necessarily Keto. For some people it might be and for some people it might just be eating more Paleo. It’s different, it’s different for everyone. I think that’s what is really cool about it. Part of the whole thing is being in tune with your body and listening to your body. That’s why we don’t just say, ‘Here is the plan. Follow it to a ‘T’.’ Because they have done that and it can work for sure. That’s why I do have general guidelines that I give people right away, like have 2 tablespoons of fat every time you eat. Yeah, so from there we customize and you pay attention to your body and how your body responds. Because what works for maybe your mom or your co-worker or a girlfriend, it is going to be different than what works for you. It’s good to have a general template, even with Keto and even Paleo. I think there are great starting points, but then you go from there and you figure out what works for you. It also depends on how active you are or how much damage you have done in the past from past dieting. Another tip I am just going to say real quick, is one of the things we have our clients do right away is actually eat more than they have been eating in the past. This seems to work for a lot of people to give them more energy right away and to help boost their metabolism. It’s kind of backwards thinking, because usually when our clients come to us, they have been following so many diets, their metabolism is really messed up. They are also super out of touch with their hunger and full sensors. They are just used to being hungry and they are used to not eating a lot and kind of starving themselves and then bingeing and getting into that cycle. So, it’s really cool when you actually give your body the fuel that it needs, especially if you are focusing on real, whole foods and eating these healthy fats. Your body just works better for you. You can actually eat more and it burns more. It’s kind of like a fire, like if you throw wood on a fire, the fire keeps burning. But if you take away all the wood, the fire will stop. Your metabolism kind of works that way too, especially if you have been someone depriving yourself for years. It’s super important to give your body what it needs.
Drew: Yeah. So, in a sense it sounds like it’s kind of …. you said backwards, but gain to lose. So, you are gaining a little bit maybe initially.
Cassie: Yeah. That’s a good point, Drew. Sometimes people do gain a couple of pounds initially, not like 10 or 20 or anything like that. We do see it sometimes, people will gain a few pounds right away. That is super scary because it’s the last thing they want to do. The first thing they want to do is restrict. But when that happens, it’s not long before they just start losing weight, like it just melts off. And they think it is so weird. It’s because you are actually revving up your metabolism and getting it to work again. Because your body is like, ‘I trust you now. You gave me food. Now I can actually work and use that for energy.’ And that’s exactly what we want to happen. We want you to burn through the food that you are taking in so you can just become this fat burning machine and feel awesome all day long too.
Drew: Yeah. Exactly. I know there are two things you love, Cassie. That is CrossFit and coffee.
Cassie: You know me so well, Drew.
Drew: What else do you do in your lifestyle that helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle? What are some other things?
Cassie: That’s such a good question. I do love CrossFit and I do love coffee. I am actually trying to do less CrossFit these days. Because it just goes back to that balance. I don’t want to be putting too much stress on my body by working out too hard every day. I’m just actually trying to focus on just having a more active lifestyle. Like biking places instead of driving and going for walks in between my calls. I love just being outside. I am trying to do more of that and less of the really regimented workouts. I think that’s kind of an interesting thing too. Back in the day when I was trying to follow all these diets and I was trying to lose weight, I was running marathons and putting my body through super stressful activity. I didn’t lose weight. Right now, and I say this humbly, I am in the best shape of my life and I am working out less. I am not trying so hard and I get to eat what I want. That is super duper liberating.
Drew: What are some of your treats? You say you can eat what you want, what does that look like for you?
Cassie: So yeah, it used to be …. even when I shifted my perspective on food, I was still stricter than I am now. I would still pretty much only eat gluten free, because gluten can be inflammatory. A lot of people are sensitive to gluten, even if they don’t have Celiac disease. I was trying to not eat grains or gluten or things like that, especially sugar too. I am someone who is really prone to sugar cravings. Once I start eating it, it’s really hard to stop. But these days, I can actually have sugar and not go off the deep end. I think it’s because I am supporting my body in so many ways with eating healthy fat throughout the day. So that actually helps to keep my blood sugar stable, so I don’t just keep craving sugar. For me, I am a lot more lenient these days. I eat really well, most of the time. I’m not perfect. If I feel like having dessert or a meal that is nowhere in line with Keto or Paleo or however I usually teach, I will have it and it’s ok. It doesn’t throw me off the deep end like it used to. A lot of times when I would do that in the past, I would be like I am just so hungry that I just need to eat all of this thing and I would and it would turn into more of a binge. But now it’s so cool when you get to this place where everything is just balanced out where I can be like, ‘You know what? I am good with having that. I know I am not going to feel great, but I will get back on track with my next meal. I am just going to enjoy this and be super present.’ Because I think that is part of it too, is making intentional choices as opposed to feeling super crazy and your blood sugars are so low that you just eat all of the things. You make bad choices and then feel guilty. That is a very different scenario from being like, ‘Ok, cool. This isn’t the healthiest meal and I am just going to have it and really enjoy every bite of it. Then I will have a healthier meal next time I eat.’
Drew: I think that is really good advice. Educating people and getting rid of the guilt and shame is really important with food. Our society, for whatever reason, there is a guilt and shame associated with food nowadays, which is crazy to me. But it still exists and I get it, I’ve been there and done that with my Fit2Fat2Fit thing. I learned a lot of valuable lessons with that. But getting rid of the guilt and shame is really important, but it is hard for some people to do, because they know they should do better. But sometimes their natural instincts kind of kick in and they are stressed out, so they eat their emotions. Or they celebrate and they see their friends celebrating with eating the food they want and they want to celebrate too. Or you know what, I am sad. I am stressed. I didn’t see the results I wanted on the scale today, therefore I am going to eat. So, we eat our emotions sometimes. It’s hard to disconnect that unhealthy relationship with food, but it’s possible. I think you are a great example of that Cassie, so thank you for being an example for a lot of people. Real quick, we are kind of running out of time. But I want you to tell people where they can find you, your book, your website, your social media, because you are very entertaining on Insta stories. I want people to be able to find you.
Cassie: *laughing* I follow your Insta stories too, they are so much fun. I’m just Cassie.net everywhere. So the website is Cassie.net. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, it is CassieDotNet, spelled out. Thank you!
Drew: I remember I would call you ‘Cassie Dot Net’ because that was your Instagram name! *laughing* I was like, ‘What’s your real last name?!’ And it’s Bjork, correct?
Cassie: Yes, it is. I don’t really use it many places, people just know me as Cassie, but yeah.
Drew: Cassie Dot Net, I like that. It has a ring to it. I just want to say thank you Cassie, for coming on the Podcast and for sharing all the valuable information. I want to say thank you for what you do. I appreciate you being in this industry and you are changing people’s lives, so keep up the good work.
Cassie: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
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