Revolutionary You! #232-Joshua Shea: “He’s A Porn Addict…Now What?”

Joshua Shea returns to the show after our first episode together (#156) back in November 2018. He returns to discuss his newest book, something of a companion to his first, also covering the topic of porn addiction. He has co-authored “He’s A Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Porn Addict Answer Your Questions” with Tony Overbay. In this week’s episode, we talk about the overlap in addiction no matter whether it is porn, alcoholism or other coping behaviors. Joshua also covers when it might be beneficial to enlist the help of therapy if you or someone you know may be struggling with an addiction they need to overcome. 

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You’re Not In Enough Pain To Change

“What made you decide to quit drugs?”

It’s the question I am frequently asked when people hear about my past with drug addiction. The answer is that I reached the point where I couldn’t bear the pain any longer.

You’ll hear this commonly referred to as “rock bottom” and I guess that’s appropriate but it didn’t happen the way that many might think.

I thought, in many ways, that drug use was erasing my pain. In reality, it was just masking it so it could reappear the next day or at a later date. My pain didn’t go away because I never faced it and dealt with it.

Throughout my decade of hard drug use, I saw friends get hospitalized, die, get arrested (some are likely still in jail) and just become vegetables from how drugs affected their bodies and minds. For some reason, that didn’t motivate me to quit.

I was never arrested for drug use, I didn’t have any overdose experiences, and I didn’t have any particular life-threatening events occur.

It boiled down to money.

I was living in Tennessee, working a very stressful job that paid well and allowed me to pay all of my expenses. Strangely enough, I always had drugs and I was always behind on my bills.

I had reached a point of drug use where the only way I would function through my day was to be high from morning until night. Towards the end, it was cocaine and weed. Every other drug had filtered out of the repertoire.

I was living in a house that my father had to co-sign on due to my lack of employment history. Even though I made enough money to pay my mortgage, the lender wouldn’t let me do it on my own because I hadn’t been with my employer long enough.

At this point in my life, I had alienated most of the people around me and most of my drug intake was by myself. I was suffering with some digestive issues that kept me in and out of a gastroenterologist office and I couldn’t find the missing link that was causing this unbearable pain in my stomach. We later discovered that was the stress of my job.

My father called me one day and asked me why I was behind on my mortgage payment. In my state of mind, I wasn’t sure how he knew I’d fallen behind on my bills. Come to find out, he was changing business credit cards for his employer and since I was late on my mortgage it affected his credit score as well as mine. As a result, he didn’t get approved for the card.

I was devastated.

It was one thing to wreck my own life. I couldn’t imagine wrecking his.

I knew I had to stop. This was my lowest (highest) pain point.

That was nearly 14 years ago.

And so, after a decade of usage, I was done.

When I work with clients, the hope is always “change”.

-I want a leaner body

-I want my joints to hurt less

-I want to be toned/more defined.

-I want to look better naked.

-I want my spouse to be more attracted to me

-I don’t want Type II diabetes

-I don’t want a heart attack/stroke

I hear all of these things.

And yet, those same people are not in enough pain to make change stick.

Are they broken? No.

Are they ignorant? No.

Are they weak? No.

They just haven’t reached that point where the pain of their actions outweighs the pleasure they believe they’re seeking.

I’ll caveat this with mental illness. If you are suffering from clinical depression or anxiety, your lowest “pain point” will be the day you go to your doctor and demand that your medication help you and not lead you down a darker path than the one you’re on. Medication can be wonderful for those who need it. If you find that the mental illness you’re struggling with is keeping you from living the healthiest life you can, take the time, effort and energy to get the right medication for your mind and body. You will need that stability to conquer the rest of your goals.

Unfortunately, much like drug addiction, some people never hit rock bottom. Rock bottom is death. That’s a frightening thing to type out.

I’ve seen people on the verge of losing limbs, due to choices they made with food that they were unwilling to change. “Take the limb, I’m not going to eat differently.”

It’s not my place to judge. It’s my place to help.

Whoever you are, whatever battle you face, whatever end result you crave, you have to ask yourself how much pain you’re currently in and if it’s worth the pain/discomfort of changing.

What diet books and diet gurus won’t tell you is that change is frequently painful. It’s painful because it upsets the status quo of your life. It affects your marriage/relationships. It can affect your co-workers. It affects your social life.

Every aspect of your life has been custom built (often by you) to keep you comfortable with the decisions that now make you physically and emotionally uncomfortable. Maybe that’s a 20 pound problem and maybe it’s a 220 pound problem. Either way, there is a moment you’re trying to hit where that problem is so painful that you have to change course.

When you consider that circle of your comfort zone, many people just want to stick their big toe outside of it and go “Ok, let’s get those results!!”

It won’t happen there. You’ll need at least a full limb outside of that circle.

Matter of fact, do the hokey pokey and turn yourself all the way outside of that damn circle (…that’s what it’s all about…)

If you’re not successful at reaching your goals, I challenge that it’s not the diet, not the training, not the motivation/willpower. It’s your level of pain tolerance.

When you decide you can’t take anymore, you will move mountains to see different scenery. You’ll fight, you’ll cry, you’ll lie awake at night, you’ll do the things you didn’t do consistently enough before because the skin you’re in no longer feels right.

That will look different for everyone so this is where you may not want to get lost in the comparison game.

Change is hard. Change is frequently fraught with resistance, frustration, and doubt. That’s “part of the process”.

Before you invest another dime on the next diet fad, HIIT workout, or seek to demonize a food group, take a more important step and ask yourself what your pain is like now.

Is it time to change?

Are you ready for change?

These are the conversations I have with my clients like the ones you see below, people just like you: with jobs, and families and stress and goals.

Left to right: Eric, Bill, Jean, Kelvin (front), Brandon and Pete.

“We Make Great People Greater”

Revolutionary You! #231-Susan Niebergall: The 6 Biggest Fitness Mistakes Middle Aged Women Make

Susan Niebergall returns to the show after a great first appearance (Episode #94) back in 2017. She has been a champion for women fighting to stay fit through menopause and we definitely have that as a focal point of our conversation in this episode. Susan recently posted a series of videos on Instagram with her thoughts on “The 6 Biggest Fitness Mistakes Middle Aged Women Make” and I loved it so much, I wanted to go into greater detail today. Spoiler Alert: Many of the mistakes women make are also made by men as well! Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review. 

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How Did You Get To Be Twelve?

It’s the one thing almost every parent can unanimously agree on: the time with our children just flies by.

Jackson will be turning twelve this week.

I think to myself, how on earth is he already twelve?

I don’t know that I can top this article I wrote about Jackson or this one. They arguably say the most in the best ways that I can express them.

And this past year has been no less remarkable but in a very different way.

Jackson is still much of what he has been: sweet, happy and loving. He still loves Lego’s, movies, singing and dancing. He is still blissfully unaware of the world around him.

A client of mine recently asked: Do you think he’ll ever really communicate?

And my response was: No, he will likely never hold a conversation.

By and large, I think I’m growing accustomed to that. He still knows how to express himself, even if it’s not in conventional ways.

As Jackson nears his teenage years, we have been mentally preparing for the hormonal changes that invariably happen with children as they near pubescent age.

One thing his mother and I were told by the director at his special needs school was that the Jackson we’ve grown so accustomed to could be very different when he hits puberty. He may not know how to express what’s happening with his body.

While I do believe we still have time before those changes really start to take effect, one thing that has been increasing over the last year is some heightened degree of anxiety.

Last summer, he was prone to bouts of overheating and stomach aches. We started to wonder if he was getting anxious about something. He would drink water more frequently and it would take some time for his system to calm down.

As the weather cooled off throughout the year, this became less of an issue.

He has also become more vocal about what he wants and doesn’t want and the fact of the matter is that his little brother, Sebastian, admittedly adds to Jackson’s anxiety.

It’s difficult to interpret the dynamics between my boys: the (nearly) twelve year old on the autism spectrum and the two year old who is neuro-typical. How much of what goes on between two boys with such a disparity in age is simply because of the age gap and how much is due to the barriers in communication?

It’s hard to say. Jackson is comparatively more withdrawn and more introverted. Sebastian is arguably more animated and social.

I’m still fascinated to watch the two of them together. Sebastian loves Jackson. He loves being around him and, more often than not, he just wants to be near his big brother. Jackson, conversely, likes having space to himself.

I think this next year will unveil even more interesting things about my big boy. Before we know it, he will be mainstreaming into a public school where he will require the assistance of an aide to help him get through his day.

This is just a little tribute to the child who has taught me more about patience, compassion and tolerance than almost anyone else in my life.

And yes, time truly has flown by over these last 12 years.

When I write next year’s tribute, it will be to a teenager…

Jackson, you remain a hero to me. There isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t make all of us so proud of you.

Happy Birthday, my sweet little man.

Revolutionary You! #230-Tom Venuto: Getting Brilliant At The Basics

He’s a fitness industry legend and the author of the highly acclaimed “Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle”. Tom Venuto joins me this week for his debut on the show. In this week’s episode, we talk about nailing the basics and the big priorities in simplifying fat loss. You’ll hear plenty about calories, protein, thoughts and strategies on tracking and how to meal plan for success. Tom brings thirty years of experience helping thousands of others and you’ll hear some of that insight in this episode. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review. 

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What Words Inspire You To Do Better?

Terry and I have been meeting most every week to catch up on his weight loss progress. Due to schedule constraints and some physical things he’s looking to work through, he’s doing his own training at home and circling back to me for accountability on food intake and keeping his mindset in the right place for his goals.

This is also not Terry’s first rodeo.

I’ve been working with him on and off for several years now. Before he met me, he lost a lot of weight (twice) and regained each time. Every time we’ve worked together in the past, there has always been some issue that creeps up that invariably has to halt the training.

So, when we decided to give it another go most recently my questions came back to:

What makes this time different from before?

What will you do differently than before?

Why is any of this important now?

And one aspect of this which was curiously missing from our previous times working together was really getting Terry to wrap his head around caloric intake.

For him, he always looked at food from the lens of “good food/bad food”. This also became “good day/bad day”. I think most people who’ve ventured down the road of weight loss can relate.

However, I kept pushing this issue: this big, overarching calorie “issue” with him because I needed him to really embrace it. Fortunately for me, Terry is in a financial industry. While the parallels of caloric intake and bank accounts don’t completely mirror each other, they sure are really damn similar.

With calories, you’re either eating within the range of what your body requires (relative to your goals) or you’re not. With money, you either make more than you spend or you don’t.

With weight loss, one big problem is that your body won’t just shut off or sound the alarms if you eat more calories than necessary. With your bank account, if you overdraft, you’re going to hit a wall fast (and pay a nasty fee as well).

As Terry and I have continued these conversations, he’s learning more about how he can manipulate and play with certain variables in his diet to keep weight loss going the right direction.

One area where we were in slight disagreement was over the notion of healthy habits. For Terry, there’s something about the word “habit” that has a negative connotation to it. It became a barrier to success.

For him, he likes the word “ritual”.

For some context, when you’re trying to lose weight you generally want some strategies in place that minimize the choices you have to make, reduce decision fatigue, foster more “willpower” when needed and make the general slog of weight loss easier.

I call them habits. Terry likes rituals. We even agreed that “systems” is a good middle ground.

Regardless of your terminology, think about the words that motivate you. Think about the words that confuse or fluster you. Most importantly, think about the words that consistently drive positive change for you.

When Terry and I met up most recently, we also discussed another set of words that could make or break a weight loss plan: Can’t vs Don’t.

I like using those who follow a vegan lifestyle for this example. Not because I’m vegan (I’m not) but because it makes sense to basically everyone.

A vegan will not say: I “can’t” eat animal products. They’ll say I “don’t” eat animal products. That distinction is important to make.

When you say you “can’t” have something, it sounds like punishment. As if you’ve been grounded and Mom and Dad won’t let you have what you want. I don’t know about you but that treatment only made me want something more.

Saying “don’t” is a line in the sand. It’s you in the driver’s seat. There’s no shame, there’s no guilt. It’s simply, I “don’t” do that.

As a recovering addict this makes a world of sense to me. I don’t tell people I can’t have cocaine anymore. I tell them I don’t do cocaine anymore.

In the world of dieting where it can feel as if we are powerless to the food decisions we make, an element of control and the feeling of being in the driver’s seat is crucial for success.

So, I challenge you this week to find the words that make sense to you. Find the words that drive you to success where you have failed before. If someone you seek inspiration from uses a choice of words that doesn’t resonate with you, find the verbiage that does. It matters. The words you use to inspire this journey all matter. They won’t be the same for every person.

Below is our Adam S. He’s lost 25 pounds with us so far and this is his most recent personal record of 465 pounds in the trapbar. Like Terry and like you, Adam has had to find the words that inspire him to succeed as well.

I’d say he’s coming along just fine…

“We Make Great People Greater”

Revolutionary You! #229-Sivan Fagan: An Inspiration For Strength

I’m joined this week by fellow coach, Sivan Fagan who is making her debut on the show with me. Sivan and I discuss her background into fitness which stemmed from an eating disorder and transformed into a body and mind motivated by strength. We discuss how the influence of her father and grandfather helped her stay motivated along the way and how she now inspires others to find the same desire to get stronger in life and in the gym. 

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Respecting Your Triggers

It’s the first full week of the new year and depending on what type of person you are, maybe you got motivated to pursue your health goals on January 2 this year. However, this year January 2 fell on a Thursday. So, you might be a particular type of person who decided they would start on January 6, a Monday.

Neither approach is wrong, neither is right. You just have to determine which is better for you.

Within that conversation, you also have to look at where things may have gone awry for you over the holidays.

Eat too many cookies?

Drink too much alcohol?

Skip too many workouts?

I get it. I do.

The last two months of the year (especially in America) is tough for people to stick with their plan. Between social events, travel and just the emotional pull of the holidays, it can get messy.

Now that we are (collectively) through it, how are you managing?

For me, I have to look at my trigger foods. Chances are, you might have to as well.

I always talk about my love of cookies. I do love them, all kinds. I kid you not, over the last two weeks of December, we literally had hundreds of cookies in our house. My wife made many. I had clients and friends gift us with more. I felt like an alcoholic walking into a liquor store.

While I have rarely associated with emotional eating, I do have an issue with boredom eating and simply eating things that I have easy access to.

In my case, I do exponentially better with my own eating when my trigger foods are not in the house. It isn’t often that I will go out of my way to buy them if they’re not under my roof.

It isn’t just cookies though. I have to watch sweets in general and things like french fries, chips, pizza and crackers. I simply have little to no self control when they’re around.

Where it gets potentially sticky, is with regard to my marriage. My wife doesn’t have the same triggers that I do. As the holidays were winding down I was heading out of town for a few days to visit family.

I asked my wife, “Can you please throw the cookies away?”

To which she replied, “Why? I don’t really even eat them.”

“Yes,” I said, “But you are not me and I can’t stop eating them.”

Sure enough, she pitched the majority of them. You may have to have a similar conversation with your own spouse/significant other.

And this is less a conversation about low carb, low fat, no sugar, etc. etc.

It’s about managing the foods you realize you cannot control.

Not every coach will agree with me on this. I’m okay with that.

When I talk about respecting your triggers, it’s with the assumption that you see some degree of powerlessness in your food choices. If you’re like me, I can just “know” that a trigger food is in the house and I’ll want it. If it’s not here, I will NOT go out of my way to get it.

It may prove helpful for you if you determine the same for yourself.

There is also the conversation about what we, as individuals, can moderate versus what we can abstain from.

It can be a slippery slope. Many clients of mine feel that they can moderate certain foods when, in fact, their eating behaviors show otherwise. Be mindful of that for yourself.

In my case, I carry my background in drug addiction and I see how it has some overlap in food. If the trigger food is close, if it’s easy to consume/over-consume, I will go overboard. My only safeguard is to completely remove the trigger. For more on this, I would recommend you to listen to my most recent conversation with Dr. Lisa Lewis on addiction HERE.

There’s another tactic you may have to utilize as well: online grocery shopping. For many people, the temptation of walking through aisles of hyper-palatable “junk” is too much for them to resist. Then, you have to consider the impulse items of candies and sweets lined up at the register. Things that you did not even have a taste for when you walked in to grab your groceries are now in your cart and will soon be in your mouth.

Online grocery shopping can help you circumvent this issue. Make a list of what you need, purchase online and then have a staff member escort your groceries out to your car. This saves time, money and your waistline.

I would love to tell that with practice around your trigger foods they will no longer be an issue. That would be a lie. They may always be an issue. Your best strategy is to manage your exposure to them rather than assume that a certain amount of time away will magically “cure” your desire for them. At best, you could experience a reduction in desire but if you’re confronted with those trigger foods again, it could snowball into an all-out binge affair. I don’t say that lightly.

In a similar way as a recovering alcoholic has to determine the distance they keep between themselves and the sight and smell of alcohol, you may have to decide how certain foods can be around you. I don’t correlate this with the notion of “food addiction” rather, learn what you can control. Respect what you cannot.

As your weight gets to a better place for you, decide what foods can be introduced back into your lifestyle. This is determined on an individual basis but you will need the support of loved ones and friends to help you navigate the dietary battlefield.

As a final thought, in respecting your trigger foods, have other coping mechanisms on hand aside from food and drink. Life will continue to be stressful, things will not go according to plan. Start formulating paths you can travel to handle stress and boredom that don’t require a trip to the pantry or fridge. Then again, if you’re like me, you’ll throw those foods out after reading this and reduce your temptation immediately.

Better the devil you know…

Below is our very own Faith (pulling a stunner of 365 pounds in the trapbar) who successfully lost 8 pounds in her first month with us and through the December holiday season. I believe that since she could succeed at that time of year, she’ll continue to do so now that the dust has settled from the holidays.

“We Make Great People Greater”

Revolutionary You! #228-Mark Zarate: This Is The Time

I’m kicking off 2020 with a fellow trainer/podcast host, Mark Zarate. Mark hosts the show, Cool, Calm & Chaotic, which I would love for you to subscribe to, he runs Zarate Fitness and he also teaches 6th grade social studies. Mark’s charisma is something I’ve very much been drawn to. In this episode, Mark talks about his journey into fitness, what he had to do to overcome his weight loss struggles and remain in maintenance. One of the interesting topics we cover is how you have to shape your conversations and environments with others to realize your own goals. As the saying goes: you are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with. I think you’ll like what Mark has to say about this.

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What Are You Resolving To Change?

Here we are again, the end of one year as we look towards the beginning of the next. I don’t know about you, but in many ways, 2019 was a great year for me.

In other ways, it included some of my greatest personal and professional struggles. I took on a lot, I accomplished a lot and I stumbled a lot. Such is life, as they say…

We are also at that inevitable time of year where, partially due to the way the American holiday seasons end, we have likely overindulged: in food, in drink, in expenses…we, the country which is rarely defined by the term “moderation”, found a way to go overboard in some way, shape and form.

Which explains why this whole “resolution” thing makes so much sense come this time of year.

We’re in that hangover period, that “Oh shit” period where we re-shift our focus, pull up our big kid pants and determine to change in the coming year.

However, if we’re not careful, we’ll finish 2020 much like we finished 2019: with a whole lot accomplished but little of what we set out at the beginning of the year to do.

Since weight loss is the conversation I get involved in most, due to the work we do at RevFit, I’d like you to take a moment and look back on 2019. Hell, you might even want to look back on 2018 and 2017 while you’re at it.

Ask yourself these questions:

-What went right for my weight loss goals in this year?

-What could have gone better for my weight loss goals?

-How did I contribute to my own success by removing obstacles that stood in my way?

-What were my barriers keeping me from better results?

I’d encourage you to write those answers down.

Someone I’m very fond of referencing, Coach Dan John, is credited with the statement: “Success leaves clues.”

No doubt, you likely saw some success with your weight loss endeavors. Everyone sees “some” success.

Ask yourself why that thing or collection of things worked. Dig deeper and find out if, since it worked, why did it stop working?

When we consider the root of a New Year’s Resolution, it’s a resolve to change something. We really do have the best of intentions. We also have stress, emotions, relationships, work, family, challenges with sleep, extreme diets, extreme training, and options galore of how to marry all those things together and try to come up with a plan for success.

After you’ve taken the time to answer those questions for yourself, dig even deeper and ask yourself why any of it matters. Do you need to lose weight or just “want” to lose weight? Why?

Because, at the heart of all this, is change. What I see people come to me for is what appears to be highly motivated change.

I ask you to start that fire and let it burn.

In two, three, or four weeks that fire is going to fade. You’ll be back to your life, pre-resolution, and wondering why the change you want is so hard to come by.

I want you to keep some “gasoline” in reserve so you can push that fire higher. This would be those candid answers you came up with for why it matters. It would also be the map you designed for yourself to ensure you get to your destination. You’ll need both: a purpose and a plan.

You’ll need to use that gasoline..again…and again…and again.

Make no mistake, 2020 will be no different than 2019, 2018, or 2017 unless you make it so. Only YOU can make it so.

You will have stress, you will have traumatic life events, you will gain weight and then you will lose weight. Keep that “gasoline” on hand and toss it on the fire. You’ll need it.

For those who have succeeded at weight loss, they already know this. It’s steady work, methodical work, hard work and you just keep putting the time in.

As I write this, a mere days before the beginning of 2020, I don’t ask for your resolutions. Make them, don’t make them. Determine what you resolve to change. Fill your toolbox with the tools you need to succeed and keep your gas tank close by.

Let that fire burn and make it burn higher when life gets in the way.

Below is a shot of some our resident studs (L to R: Pete, Brandon and Shon).

Change is happening.

“We Make Great People Greater”