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Coming up on the Get Lean e Klean podcast,
I think part of the job of being a coach is actually getting people away from all of the shoulds and towards reading and interpreting the science from their own bodies, which are the truest things that you're ever gonna get. So forget about the research literature. Forget about some guy on the internet. Your body is saying yes or no to this food that you're eating, and that's the most honest thing.
Hello and welcome to the Get Lean ean podcast. I'm Brian Grn and I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was, five, 10, even 15 years ago. Each week I'll give you an in-depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long-term sustainable results. This week I interviewed Dr. Krista Dixon Scott. She was the director of curriculum at Precision Nutrition, one of the largest and most respected private nutrition coaching and education companies in the world. She's the author of several books, including Why Me Want Eat, and the co-author of the Essentials of Nutrition Coaching for Health, fitness and Sports Textbook.
Brian (1m 9s):
She currently is the product director at Simple, a nutrition app with Global Reach, responsible for designing evidence-based nutrition and health behavior changes. We discussed how to thrive through listening to your body, along with Dr. Scott's eating routine, how to establish a baseline for calories, her principles of a healthy diet, the importance of circadian rhythm eating, and her one tip to get your body back to what it once was. Really enjoyed my interview with Dr. Scott. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show. All right. Welcome to the Get Lean ean podcast. My name is Brian Grn and I have Krista Scott Dixon on welcome to the show.
Krista (1m 51s):
Thank you so much. I
Brian (1m 53s):
Should say Doctor Krista Scott Dixon.
Krista (1m 57s):
But just to be clear, not a medical doctor, I cannot do your open heart surgery. Just to, to head off any requests there.
Brian (2m 4s):
Yeah, you earned your doctorate in women's studies from York University. I see.
Krista (2m 9s):
Yeah. Which is, I mean, it's funny cuz people always said that's a useless degree, but we just given that, I just helped co-author a textbook on menopause and before that, a textbook on postpartum coaching, pregnancy and postpartum coaching, it, you know, it really hasn't been all that useless, I will say. Oh,
Brian (2m 28s):
It, and you know, you hear women's studies that sounds so broad. Is it, is is like, what does that entail? I'm just curious, like, is that
Krista (2m 37s):
Yeah, no, I mean it's, it's a great question. I hear the hesitation there, but it's okay. You're not gonna hurt my feelings. So I mean basically it's, it's looking at women's experiences across anything you want, right? And so it's one of those degrees that combines really well with other areas of interest. And so when I was doing my PhD, I was really interested in women's work and women's employment, women's health. I did a lot of stuff around health, especially in the workplace. One of my, before we got on, we were talking about academic books. One of my academic books that is probably of no interest to readers but actually was sort of valuable during the pandemic was women's work in healthcare. Especially in occupations like cleaners where, you know, they're not really visible, but they're so, so critical.
Krista (3m 20s):
So that was sort of my specialty early on. You know, there was always kind of an interest in health. But yeah, I mean the great thing about women's studies, you can combine it with anything else you're interested in and lots of people did.
Brian (3m 32s):
And then we were just talking as well about precision, precision nutrition and you said you're that I was just, I did your p and l one certification sports and exercise nutrition. And you were with them for, what, 13 years you said?
Krista (3m 48s):
Yeah, 14. 14. Almost 15. It's, it's hard to believe, but I, and and I knew, I knew John and Phil, the two co-founders of PN from before that I actually met Phil in 2000 just when he was back as a university undergrad who, who knew that he would've become a rockstar. C e o.
Brian (4m 6s):
Yeah. Is it, I i I think that's, isn't it one of the biggest certification, you know, companies out there. It's gotta be up there, I'd imagine
Krista (4m 14s):
Certainly for nutrition coaching. Yeah, absolutely.
Brian (4m 18s):
Yeah. And I have your, your, your textbook right here. Big thing. I will say one thing I like, cuz I've done different certifications, is it, it's nice. I like having the textbook like now everything is online and it's, it can be great from one sense, but another sense I like to have like an actual book.
Krista (4m 37s):
Yeah, yeah. People do. Yeah. And people did, and this was always a debate that we used to have at pm like, should we continue to produce a physical book? Because obviously it's costly. Sure it's heavy. I think the thing weighs like five pounds, it costs money to ship, right? But Right. There's something about a physical book that I think is really powerful for helping people learn. So I was always on team book.
Brian (4m 59s):
I completely agree. I completely agree. Yeah. That's the way to do it. What would you say, I mean, obviously almost 15 years, and may may might be a broad question, but what, what are some of the high level things that you've learned through the, through your time with them that, or maybe some things that maybe you changed your opinion on as far as like nutrition health is concerned through those years? No,
Krista (5m 20s):
That's a, that's a really great question and it's very salient because I actually just presented a little bit of, of this topic. I, I was just speaking at the coaches congress in Stockholm about one of the topics was deep health. And I was telling the story about how we changed our approach at Precision Nutrition and how when we started, let's say in 2006 or so, a lot of us had come from body building and sports nutrition and you know, a lot of people were interested in physique and like that kind of stuff. And so in the early two thousands we thought that our job was providing nutrition information, specifically sports nutrition information or like old school body building nutrition information to people in a very prescriptive way, like eat so much of this and so much of that and that kind of stuff.
Krista (6m 7s):
And over the years we really came to realize after we saw literally tens of thousands of clients, and I mean I've coached thousands and just myself, like it's not about any of that. Like none of that is in any way helpful for actual people who are trying to just be healthy or get fit or get lean or get muscular or whatever it is they wanna do right. In their daily lives. And so we really shifted our focus a lot to thinking a lot more about behavior change. And then this concept we call deep health, which is looking at people's whole lives. And I mean, I literally just posted something to Instagram yesterday, which was a chart that I used in my presentation, which was like, it's just a pie graph. It was like 90% not about food, 10% about food. I
Brian (6m 46s):
Krista (6m 47s):
And I mean completely unscientific, I just sort of made up those numbers. But you know, by and large, I think the thing we really came to appreciate is people's habits, healthy behaviors, whatever are so much about how they live their lives. Whether that's their relationships, the environment they're in, their belief system, what they've learned, their emotions, their ability to self-regulate, like all of this stuff. Very, very little to do with specific portions, specific nutrients. And so this is, I think somewhere that the fitness industry really often goes wrong because we think that to solve people's problems means telling them, oh, eat this many grams of protein when it really has nothing to do with that at all.
Brian (7m 31s):
Right. I, I do notice that a little bit cuz I coach a lot of like middle-aged men and a lot of times people just want like a certain template to, to follow, but a lot. But I feel like there's a, it's a lot deeper than that. Like Yes. And it's more than like you said, just about the food at, you know, the stress, you know, the sleep even, you know, just activity, but also just like the mentality of how they perceive themselves. Yes. You know, I've, I've had had just one client in particular, like he, he kept sort of jokingly calling himself like a fat guy.
Brian (8m 12s):
Like, like that was like sort of his, but if he told him, he tells him if he told himself this over and over and over again and for the last 30 years, you know, what does that do to your sort of mentality about yourself? And so I yeah, I agree with you. It it 10% food, I, I don't know. I would maybe say, I would maybe say a little bit more, but I, I I think yes, there's a lot more to go into it than just that
Krista (8m 37s):
For sure. And I think, I mean it's, it's absolutely fair to say that nutrition does matter. Yeah. I don't want anyone to take that away from this conversation. And certainly correcting nutritional deficiencies helps a lot. Like for example, I worked with a lot of women who were way undereating protein and then when we boosted their protein intake, all of a sudden they feel better cuz they're actually making neurotransmitters. They're actually making stuff that their body's using to survive. Right? And so they're like, gosh, I have so much more energy and my mood is so much better and I just, you know, I'm recovering better. So I mean, it's definitely the case that getting people to eat better in a very basic, like fundamental way. And that was another thing we got really big on at PN was the fundamentals.
Krista (9m 19s):
Like just hammering the fundamentals over and over and over and over. Because even with our elite athletes, by and large, the fundamentals were what they needed. They needed to eat their vegetables and get their sleep and drink their water and all that, you know, boring stuff. So I mean, nutrition is certainly important and we can definitely make people feel a lot better when we get them eating better. I mean, that's for sure the case. It's just the methods we might go about doing that are not to just like hand them a meal plan and be like, eat this, don't eat that.
Brian (9m 47s):
Right. And, and I heard you talk on another podcast about how, and I think this is a great point of how highly adaptable individuals are, and maybe touch on that a little bit. I thought that was really interesting when you started talking about that.
Krista (10m 2s):
Yeah, I mean it's, it's so interesting because I, I feel like some of the conversations around human bodies now are so rigid, like, this is the best way to eat and you should never do that. You should never sleep with any light around or the optimal temperature to do anything is blah, blah blah. Right? Like, it's some very highly constrained set of conditions. But like, if you look around, humans did not become the dominant species on the planet by being a bunch of like, you know, divas could only operate in a very limited range. I mean, we can operate anywhere from minus 40 to plus 40, right? And, and eat anything and pretty much have sex with anything humanoid.
Krista (10m 42s):
So like we really are highly adaptable and resilient and I often feel like that point gets lost in these prescriptive kind of fitness, wellness health ideas and people start freaking out and getting paranoid like, oh my God, if I'm not doing it this specific way, then something terrible is going to happen to me. But humans are very tough. And again, it's not like I'm not arguing that it's okay to live on Pop-Tarts and Jack Daniels for the rest of your life, but it really is remarkable how human beings do adapt and how resilient they are and, and how our bodies can adapt really quite rapidly to changes in food and changes in environment and and so on and so forth.
Krista (11m 24s):
So, you know, I always wanna root for the story of human resilience and human adaptability, which I think just isn't emphasized quite as much. I mean, yeah, there's rules of physiology, right? Everyone needs a certain baseline of protein intake that we just can't negotiate with that everyone needs water, everyone needs minerals. Like there's certain things human beings need, right? But above and beyond those basics, there's so much incredible variety that's really possible for human beings. And I think that's kind of a cool narrative.
Brian (11m 55s):
Yeah. Because, you know, nowadays I feel like especially just having a podcast and different guests, you know, I just interviewed, it's not published at Sally Norton and we talked about these toxic su these toxic superfood, like these oxalates that are in, you know, certain foods more than others, obviously vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, even chocolate. And, you know, she had a real issue, you know, her, her her journey or health journey was one of where she finally figured it out that these, these, you know, she was like overloading in oxalates, you know, having a a spinach smoothie every day might not be the best for, you know, for some people.
Brian (12m 41s):
And, and it sort of hit her har the hardest. And so you hear one message avoid oxalates and then you'll have someone else come on who's like thriving like a vegetarian approach, you know? So I think it can be confusing for just individuals nowadays cuz there are so many options. It's almost like when you go to the store now, I sort of laugh about it. You can walk down like any aisle and there's 50 options for like nut butters and it's like, what, what am I doing and what can I eat? So I don't know, I what what's your thought on that and how did you try to portray that obviously through working with precision Nutrition?
Krista (13m 23s):
Yeah, we always used to call ourselves diet agnostic. And what we meant by that is that we recognize that people can do quite well on a whole variety of diets. And there are so many factors that go into what makes the best diet. In fact, if you google precision nutrition, what is the best diet? You'll see that we've written and, and talked about this quite a lot. And so there's obviously physiological factors that go into food choices. So for example, as I age, I've become less and less able to tolerate certain kinds of foods, right? My body's just like, nope, we're not doing that anymore. So like, okay, because you know, part of my best diet is what I can actually tolerate. But then there's also things like food preferences, religious and cultural beliefs and practices, what you can access, what you can afford, what's in season for you, you know, thinking about sustainability, like should I reasonably expect that in Canada, I'm getting mangoes in January.
Krista (14m 20s):
Like is that realistic? Is that, you know, is this costing the ecosystem something to provide? So, you know, there's so many factors that go into what is the best diet and there's huge human variation too, right? And so we know that there are significant differences with particular ethnic populations in terms of like genetic, like lactase persistence is a good one, right? So the ability to digest dairy products as an adult. I just got back from Sweden, like I said, where everything was milk based, which like between milk and wheat, the two foods I can't do, right? Like Sweden's all about that. So I'm like, oh my god, I'm gonna start to death here.
Krista (14m 60s):
But it's because they have a really high rate of lactase persistence genes in this population, right? Right. So I mean I, I think we wanna kind of take it back to really simple things, which is just to say, how do you feel? How do you function? How do you perform, how do you recover and get people kind of becoming experts of themselves and not in the weird biohacking way, not in the way where they're like monitoring every drop of spit and pee and fluid, like whatever, right? Yeah. But just in like very basic ways, how am I feeling right now? How's my energy level? Is it sustained? Is it kind of a, a, a rise in a crash? Do I sleep well?
Krista (15m 41s):
Am I recovering well? Do I have, you know, how much soreness do I have after training? Like all these kinds of things. And when you bring it down to these simple questions, a lot of the answers get really obvious to people. You know, they're like, well I'm supposed to be eating this, but it upsets my stomach. Okay. Right. Yeah,
Brian (15m 57s):
Krista (15m 58s):
It seems like a very obvious, you know, problem to solve. So I think part of the job of being a coach is actually getting people away from all of the shoulds and towards reading and interpreting the signs from their own bodies, which are the truest things that you're ever gonna get. So forget about the research literature, forget about some guy on the internet. Your body is saying yes or no to this food that you're eating. And that's the most honest thing.
Brian (16m 24s):
Right. Yeah, I completely agree. I mean, I, I talk a lot about like this self experimentation and I think a lot of times with the internet, like we wanna just have the answer, but the answer's in yourself really, right? Like the strongest evidence is your own experience that you've gone through. What type of, I guess what type of experience do you have you had on your, on your own body and like where are you at? I know you mentioned your, you don't tolerate lactose and wheat very well, is that fair to say?
Krista (16m 54s):
Yeah, I mean, gosh, like, so we, like I I've, I've been in this world since the early nineties really. And so in that time I've seen lots of things come and go. I mean the keto diets come around two or three times. So, you know, I have tried all of the things cuz I'm very curious and I just wanna see what happens with stuff, right? And so like I have tried all of the things and, and then aging is of course a monkey wrench in the mix, right? Just when you think you have your house of cards, all stacked, aging comes along is like, you know, nice habit you have there shame if something were to happen to it, right? So I have tried everything, done everything, every kind of diet, everything from vegan to, well I haven't done carnivore cuz that just, that one just seems a bit daft, but like, you know, really vegan to almost carnivore, intermittent fasting of all different kinds, you know, like, like, I don't know, prioritizing certain nutrients, high fat, low fat, high carb, low carb, like just everything.
Brian (17m 55s):
Yeah, I'm sure.
Krista (17m 56s):
Yeah. So, yeah.
Brian (17m 58s):
And, and where and where have you landed now?
Krista (18m 1s):
I've, I've landed into a very boring kind of place that I feel like is a very nutritionally sane place. I, you know, eat, try to eat plenty of lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, you know, high fiber foods, whatever I can tolerate the whole grains that I can manage, like wild rice, you know, some fermented foods when I can get them. Although now I'm sensitive to, to like a lot of fermented like yeast and stuff like that. So yeah, like it's super boring. It's maybe you could call it an ancestral style diet, you know, but now, and again, I ate a handful of jelly beans or I drink a glass of scotch, so, you know, I've really, I've really arrived at this place of trying to be sane with things and not get too bent out of shape by any rules.
Krista (18m 46s):
I think that any, any real rules aside from d you know, don't eat things that are poisonous, that's a good rule. But like really having any rules about your eating, I've never seen that go to a good or useful place. So I think it's quite important for people to have a certain level of flexibility in their belief system. You know, like even when I was on the plane on the way home, you know, finally I got to the point where, you know, it was like a long, long flight, right? And by the end they're serving me everything wheat and I'm just like, you know what? I didn't pack enough food, I'm freaking hungry, I'm going to eat this wheat thing. Yeah. Right? So like, you know, my body didn't love it, but I sur you know, I was able survive to survive a few hours longer.
Krista (19m 26s):
Didn't, didn't dive starvation in, in a few hours on a plane, right? So like it's really, I think important to be, to be flexible and, but that's the place that I've arrived at. Just thinking through like what are the principles that we know make a healthy diet well, eating mindfully, eating slowly, eating the right amount of energy for my body's needs, eating adequate protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Like that's pretty much it.
Brian (19m 51s):
Yeah. I mean I always try to keep it simple. I think that, you know, one of the things I wanted to to ask you about too was like, and it's been coming up a ton, is seed oils and is that something that you guys wrote up with your, with your past with precision nutrition is a lot of, you know, the, the seed oil consumption is just like going off the charts and you know, especially if you go to restaurants, that's all they're cooking with and they're obviously heating it, which doesn't help either. What are your thoughts? And it's almost like in every food that you buy on the shelf,
Krista (20m 24s):
Any thoughts, right? I think it's, I mean I think it's very tempting to demonize a single ingredient, right? Trans fat, saturated fat, seed oil, salt, sugar, alcohol, like whatever, right? And we see that happening over and over and over. So either we demonize a single ingredient or a single food or a single type of food, or we declare a single ingredient food or type of food to be the next savior of all of us, right? The coconut oil miracle, the soy, you know, like it's ham, right? Like all of these, you know, amazing super foods like, so I, I think we get into, we get into a dangerous place when we look at one single factor in a complex system and make that the problem, the problem with whatever people are eating for fast food is the fact that they're eating foods that are like embedded in a system of poor quality nutrition, right?
Krista (21m 17s):
So getting hung up on the seed oils is like, like why don't we talk about the fact that like, you know, north America relies so much on heavily processed convenience and takeout foods and a significant proportion of people cannot afford to consume other kinds of foods or, you know, fast foods are often just an any, the option for people who are, you know, can't afford a lot of money, wanna take out the family for 20 bucks are working shift work and fast food's the only thing open at three in the morning, right? So I think that to, to get uptight about a single food or ingredient is really a luxury.
Krista (21m 58s):
And moreover, it's not particularly correct. We have to kind of pull the camera back and look at the big picture and say, okay, you know, what are the food systems that we're looking at? We're looking at a system of highly processed cheapened food of which seed oils are a component. Sure. But so is sugar and salt and god knows what chemicals and, you know, all this kind of other stuff. So I really am very hesitant to demonize single ingredients in food. I like to look at the whole big picture and not, you know, I, I don't like to make people afraid of food. I think that's, you know, be from a behavioral change perspective, it's really not a useful approach.
Krista (22m 43s):
People get more anxious about their food. So the people that really wanna make changes now, now are anxious and paranoid in the supermarket and the people that are just trying to survive. Like it's, it's, it's not even gonna register for them, right? So now you've lost an opportunity to help a whole group of people just eat better and feel better in the sane way. So like, nobody's winning here, you know?
Brian (23m 7s):
Hmm. And you talked a little bit about undereating protein, and I'm curious, cuz I think I see this quite a bit with a lot of women in particular, and men, what are your, what do you, what do you, what are your guidelines around eating protein as far as for, you know, middle-aged women and men and like, you know, you hear different, you know, 0.8 grams per pound of body weight or like, do you have certain things that you sort of go by? And then what about calories as well? What are your thoughts around calories and, and sort of like minimum requirements you would say?
Krista (23m 44s):
Yeah. Okay. Well let's, let's start with protein. I mean, one of the rules of a coach is to translate clinical suggestions or clinical recommendations into like real people things, right? So if I say to a client, listen, I I'm gonna need you to go ahead and eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. They're gonna be like, what? Like, I don't even know what that means, right? To teach a client to eat more protein, I like to start with the food and, and again, the pattern of their whole life. Let's look at a day of your eating and let's look at like what are the high protein foods that are included in your normal menu? Do you know what high pro protein foods are? Let's look at a list of foods that are high in protein and you tell me which ones you like that you know how to prepare that you will eat regularly that you can afford.
Krista (24m 29s):
Okay, cool. Let's look at how they show up in your menu. And then let's ask, could you be eating in most cases a little bit more at a lot of your meals? Like for example, for breakfast, I see you had a muffin. Well there's no protein there, you know, could we, is there something that you would be willing to add there? Cottage cheese, an egg, you know, whatever. So that's kind of the place I start with, you know, I really would not be calculating highly specific amounts of protein for anyone except someone whose job it was to make a living off their body, right? So like a pro athlete who has very specific protein needs, that's when we get down to business with the calculator and start like being much more prescriptive.
Krista (25m 12s):
But for a regular person, I never talk in numbers. If we talk about portion sizing, we use the hand size portion guide. So it's like, okay, you know, fist of vegetables, palm of protein, and in a lot of people's cases it's like, could you just have two bites more protein, right? So most people do not need a level of precision in their lives. They need you to look at their menu and their patterns and to say, okay, could we make small adjustments here? What are you willing to do here? And, and do you even know what protein is? And could we get you shopping for protein? Like there's all these kind of logistical elements in there too. Now in terms of what people need, we do know that women generally eat less protein than they need.
Krista (25m 56s):
And as we age, we are less able to digest protein, which means we actually need more protein as we age. So if you have an older client, you know, you might be kind of pushing that a little bit more and making, you know, kind of doubling down on helping them revise their menu so that they are getting more protein. Maybe you're looking at protein shakes because you know, a lot of older people are like, I don't feel like cooking, I live alone. Or things are hard to chew. Like there's all these other factors in the mix, right? So that's where I come down on that. And so like in the back of my mind I'm sort of looking at it like doing a, doing a kind of a a on the napkin calculation of is this person getting enough?
Krista (26m 36s):
But for most people, you know, there, there doesn't need to be a high level of precision to be honest. I know that's probably like blasphemous to all the nutritionist listening, but, but it's really, you know, in real people terms, I think we just wanna get most people eating a little bit more lean protein. Like that's, that's our job and doing it consistently.
Brian (26m 55s):
Yeah. And then as far as like baseline calories are there, do you have thoughts around that? Yes. And where to
Krista (27m 1s):
Stop? Yeah, well I mean, you know, match it to your goals and activity level and body size, right? So I am going to be very careful about dropping people down too low. I don't really see a lot of benefit there. I would much rather keep their calories moderate to high and get them being more active because we know that the effects on body composition and metabolism and overall health and function are probably gonna be much better if you're eating a little more, but you're more active than if you're eating significantly less but you're inactive, right? So generally that's kind of where I lean towards and people just feel better.
Krista (27m 42s):
Like people are a lot more willing I find to be more active and I'm not talking, working out all the time. I'm talking about like daily life activity, you know, I can usually talk people into being a little more daily life active if that deal comes with getting to eat a little bit more, right? I mean, like that's a, that's kind of a win-win for most people. It's very rare that people are like, you know what? I hate activity. I don't wanna be more active, I don't wanna improve my body comp. I'm happy to just eat way less. I mean that does happen and it, there's certainly cases where I could think of, you know, where it might be appropriate. But in general I like to keep the calories as high as I possibly can while achieving whatever goal a person has for themselves.
Brian (28m 26s):
Okay. So I know there's no exact way to find baseline calories and some people might think they have it, but I think it's, it's sort of an, an exact equation, but if, you know, if you have a, you know, 40 year old female who's, you know, 120 pounds, is there like a number that comes to mind or you know,
Krista (28m 46s):
Well again, you know what I mean? Like how active is she? What's active? Her body comp, are we talking about like a, you know, a female, I don't know, power lift or triathlete? Or are we talking about like a desk worker?
Brian (28m 54s):
We're talking about not, not extreme on one end of the other, I would say middle of the road as far as activity, let's say three days a week of working out.
Krista (29m 3s):
Yeah. And so what does, what does she wanna do? I mean, 120 is pretty small, right? Does are we just looking at maintenance or like what are we
Brian (29m 11s):
Building muscle and you know, a combination of, you know, building muscle but also just maintaining weight, you know, not trying to put on
Krista (29m 19s):
Yeah, so we're probably looking at between 14 to 16 times her body weight. And again, we can adjust that up or down depending, I don't know, maybe, maybe the lower end, depending, you know, on, on how it pans out for her. Somewhere around 1415 is usually maintenance for a lot of people.
Brian (29m 37s):
14 to 15 times your body weight, times
Krista (29m 39s):
Body weight and pounds. Yeah. Yeah. I, I'm sorry, I'm Canadian so I use a weird mix of metric and imperial.
Brian (29m 46s):
Are you, are you, are you living in Canada right now?
Krista (29m 49s):
Yeah, yeah, I'm Canadian.
Brian (29m 50s):
Krista (29m 51s):
Brian (29m 53s):
Okay. So is that, does that run true in general through males or females? 14 to 16 times body weight?
Krista (29m 60s):
Yeah. And again, like there's so many other factors that it depends on, right? Yes. And, and really like what we do is we start there and we just go up or down depending on what effects they're getting, right? Like, are you getting, are, are you moving towards or away from the stated goal that you have? And, and so every week we check in and sort of go, okay, like what are the data telling us? Do you need a little less, do you need a little more, you know, have you started walking the dog in the morning? Like, you know, there's all these kind of factors in the mix. What is the composition of your diet? Are you eating a highly processed diet or a completely unprocessed diet? Like we know that that, you know, the calories you eat will not necessarily be all the calories that you absorb.
Krista (30m 41s):
Is my 40 year old a former? Has she, does she have a history of disordered eating and, and super slow gastric motility, which means she's like extracting every single calorie she's eating, right? So there's again, like a lot of stuff in the mix there, but yeah, I don't know, I'd start probably around 14, 15 body weight and then just sort of see like, how's it going over time? So there's, you know, I, I think what I'd love people to take home here is the importance of having really good tight feedback loops. First of all, being really clear on what does he wanna do, right? Like what is the point of what you're trying to accomplish here? If you're trying to do, trying to make some changes or whatever.
Krista (31m 21s):
And then what's your feedback loop? Have a relatively small tight feedback loop where you're constantly going, okay, what did I do and what happened, what did I do and what happened? What's the relationship between cause and effect? And it's remarkable to me how few people actually do this. They just end up with results and they're like, I don't know how I got here, or This isn't working and I'm not really sure why. You know, so that's, that's where I fall out on that. I just, you know, constantly am testing and checking and seeing what's happening and making small adjustments. It's like riding a bike, right? You don't just like whip the handlebars around. You do these sort of small adjustments and you know, with clients I'm very clear to set expectations.
Krista (32m 1s):
Here's the process. I don't know how much of anything you need. Like I don't know how your body's gonna react to anything I give you. We're starting with a very blank slate. I have some working hypotheses, they may be utter garbage, but we'll test it and see how it goes and over a period of weeks and months, you know, we'll figure it out together. And I think, you know, most people are kind of open to that.
Brian (32m 28s):
Do you have any like hard and fast rules? I know you talked about protein, you talked about, you know, hydration a little bit. If there's anything else like eating window wise or anything, any sort of hard and fast things that you'd like to recommend
Krista (32m 44s):
Hard and fast. But I do have some principles. One of them is for most people, eating slowly is the best option. You know, helps your digestion adapt. Like it's, it's remarkable how many cases of heartburn have been magically solved by eating slowly. But I think, you know, eating slowly is also important for appetite regulation. People are shocked at how readily their body regulates their food intake when they just slow down and pay attention, you know? So I mean the calorie question is often a little bit not even relevant for me because I get people to just slow down and then they're like, oh, it was so weird. I just got halfway through my dinner and then I just didn't feel like eating any anymore.
Krista (33m 26s):
I'm like, cool, but I, but I enjoyed my dinner. I knew, like I felt really, I didn't feel deprived, right? So I typically use a much more mindful, intuitive physiology based eating approach. So that's number one. Another principle I do like if I can get away with it, is aligning your eating with circadian rhythms. And there is evidence and there has been for, you know, maybe 20 years that circadian rhythm plays a role in regulating metabolism in, you know, affecting nutrient partitioning and this kind of stuff such that the data suggests that even if you eat the same amount of calories, if you eat them at different times, it does seem to have different effects on body composition.
Krista (34m 13s):
So, you know, for what it's worth. And a lot of, I mean some of these studies have been done in humans. Some of them had have been done in mice where you can really control the, the mouses, the mics, the music, the mic mice, food intake, the mice, what is the po Yeah, the food intake of the mice. There we go. You know, you can really control it in a way that you can't control it in humans. And under iso energetic conditions, the mice that we're eating in their normal activity period, which for them is night, you know, seem to do better metabolically and in terms of their body composition. And I think we see this in humans as well, where we know that shift work is strongly correlated with metabolic disruption.
Krista (34m 54s):
Now there's all kinds of things that happen on a shift, right? Like at three in the morning nobody's making smart food decisions, right? There's like, there's eating behavior parts of it too, but the research strongly points to the fact that there's a circadian component. So what seems to happen is when we put the bulk of people's energy intake earlier in the day, not only do they sleep better, cuz they're not having a giant meal at night, they don't binge as much as at night by the time, you know, they don't have the evening snackies as much, but it just seems to result in better body composition. So that's something I do try to like, get people leaning towards, but that's not a rule.
Brian (35m 30s):
Yeah, no, that's great. I mean, I interviewed Dr. Don Layman and you know, he's been studying protein for 30 plus years and one of the things he mentioned was the, the results of some studies based on the fact that people had better results if they, if that first meal of the day was like a higher protein meal and they just set the day off that much, you know, it was, it was, it was just, they had better, more insulin sensitivity, but they, they I think just got better results and, and better body composition from that first meal being, instead of having those refined carbs, first thing you know, would you see a lot with breakfast, right?
Brian (36m 15s):
Like muffins, bagels, donuts, things like that. Obviously those aren't great at any time of the day, but I think most importantly, that first meal setting it off right, can really sort of pave the way for, you know, better metabolic flexibility and better composition.
Krista (36m 35s):
Yeah, for sure. And and there's physiological reasons for that and there's also behavioral reasons for that, right? So let's, let's consider the, the average person's day, you know, a lot of people might even be skipping breakfast, right? And then they have a cup of coffee and then maybe they get around to something maybe mid-morning they eat a bagel maybe, or they wait until lunch and then by the time they get home for dinner they're freaking starving. And so then of course in the evening it's a snack fest and they feel unable to control their hunger, right? So that's partially physiological, but also behavioral. So putting stuff earlier in the morning also sort of flips that behavioral pattern where you get to have an opportunity to eat a lot of food. I mean, not a ton, but like, you know, to feel like you had a good meal, but it also has these beautiful kind of consequences later on in the day where you get to the end of the day and you're like, I don't, I don't feel like I need to hit the snack cover.
Krista (37m 24s):
So I mean, it's really like I, I don't have great arguments in favor of eating a lot in the evening. I do see a lot of great arguments in terms of eating more, you know, protein, healthy fats and fiber and so digesting carbohydrates earlier in the day, that just seems to be a win for most people. So that's kinda how I come down
Brian (37m 43s):
On that and trying it out, I, I would recommend, because actually that's, I shifted mine a little bit the way I eat. I used to, you know, fast quite a bit and, and, and save my meals towards the end of the day I've added back in more of like a mid-morning meal. And I find that once I get to like my last meal dinner, like I just don't need as much and you know, you can, you know, stop your eating earlier and not have to, you know, I always say you should give yourself probably at least three hours before bed have that last meal be done, you know, at least three, three mi excuse me, three hours before bed. So yeah. What about stress strategies, like around mitigating stress?
Brian (38m 28s):
Is this something that you sort of have implemented yourself or with clients?
Krista (38m 32s):
Oh yeah. I mean, you know, we, we wrote the whole sleep stress and recovery certification for precision nutrition, right? So I spent quite a lot of time thinking very deeply about stress and I, I think one of the first things I would say is like one of our jobs as coaches is simply helping our clients notice and attend to the existing level of stress that they have in their life, which for most people is crushing, right? And I know there's a lot of stuff around like, oh, stress is good for you and you don't always wanna be too comfortable. But I think like the level of chronic grinding discomfort and stress and pressure that the average person is living with in the industrialized world in 2023 is far above, you know, what most people realize.
Krista (39m 18s):
And so one of the first things I do with clients if I'm, if we're doing a stress thing is like sit down and do a stress inventory and look at all of the domains of life. Cuz I think that people are like, oh well you know, my job is stressful but then they forget about all these other elements of their life, right? Perhaps there's environmental stress, you know, like what are, what's in your home? Is there noise? I think a lot of people don't, they're not aware of their sensitivity to sensory input, temperature, noise, like disruption, chaos, all that kind of stuff. It, it just becomes like a white noise. And I think that in a way a lot of neuro divergent people are like the sensor feelers. Like they're like the canary in the coal mine saying, oh my god, this world is way too loud and jangly and because they experience it so acutely, you know, it's very obvious to them.
Krista (40m 6s):
But I think the rest of us are also affected by this in ways that we don't realize. So we kind of do a stress inventory in a very nonjudgmental way and like look at all the domains of life. And I think one of the things that happens, for example, if we talk about intermittent fasting or kind of restrictive dieting, a lot of people in the fitness industry or who wanna be fit and healthy and well have this existing load of stress in their lives, work, family, school, commuting, aging, parents, whatever, then on top of that they stack significant nutritional changes such as intermittent fasting and their body is just like, no, this is not a good plan, right?
Krista (40m 47s):
Because you know, for stress to really make us better, it has to be like, I think a lot of people forget the intermittent part of intermittent fasting, right? Or, or any other stressor, right? So to make us good, a stress has to be intermittent and acute and short-lived and we have to be able to return to baseline afterwards rather than just having like it be this like white noise of our lives. So the on the plus side though, I think the opportunity there is once you bring a lot of that stuff to your client's awareness, they start to think about like, oh I would actually probably feel a lot better if I just made some small changes. Like I've been talking to a lot of middle-aged women lately writing this menopause textbook about sleep. And of course they're all like, oh my god, my sleep is terrible, blah blah blah.
Krista (41m 29s):
It's gotta be hormones. And I'm like, okay, on the one hand I agree with you on the other hand, walk me through what happens before you go to bed. Well I fight with my teenager, I fight with my partner, I answer late night emails and then I watch murder mysteries on, you know, think about serial killers on Netflix, right? So it's like, you know, yeah maybe we could adjust some of these negotiable stressors in your life so that you know, you do get feeling better or at the very least not impose additional stress. So I just think that the cumulative load of stress in 2023 is far and above what most people realize it is. Most people I don't think realize how freaking stressed out they are all the time.
Brian (42m 12s):
Hmm. Yeah, I've had a few individuals on my podcast from sort of the bio energetic viewpoint. I don't know if you're so familiar, Dr. Ray Pete who recently passed away, but he, he was a big researcher and
Krista (42m 24s):
Yeah, led og, OG Ray Pete.
Brian (42m 27s):
Okay. Yeah, I figured you might know who he is. So that's like pro metabolic where, you know, trying to get, instead of slowing things down and their viewpoint, obviously things like fasting done o you know, if you overdo something like that, obviously these are stressors if you overdone exercise and thing and, and fasting and you know, like calorie restriction, you know, eventually these things will catch up cuz it's all one big stress bucket and they could slow down, you know, thyroid hormones, you know, reproductive hormones and things like this cuz your body, you sort of go into the survival mode and, and I do agree, I think some people are more capable of handling certain stressors than others and even things like cold exposure, right?
Brian (43m 13s):
These are all things that, you know, if you start stacking these things on top of each other, this is where you can sort of run into a promise. Especially if you come from an environment that is already in a stressed out state. So I do agree with you and I, my viewpoint on fasting a little bit has changed back when I was sort of coaching more of it, I was thinking, oh, well fasting can work, but like, like you said, it can work for some people to some degree and it's, I think it's a great way to just build boundaries around your day. Sometimes people need that, but if they're already coming from a stressed out environment, they probably should just focus on other things before they think about, you know, restricting anything.
Krista (43m 58s):
Yeah, I, I like how you said build boundaries around your day. Cuz I do think that the behavioral component of occasional fasting is really helpful. And I think that for a lot of people who struggle to lose weight and lose fat and who maybe have a, a dieting history, one of the things a lot of them experience is that they're afraid of being hungry. So a lot of them will like eat preemptively so that they're not hungry because being hungry is very uncomfortable and aversive for them, right? And so practicing fasting, even if it's like waiting half an hour or waiting an hour to eat, like helps you get comfortable with this idea that hunger is not a panic situation. You don't need to freak out. It's not an emergency.
Krista (44m 39s):
And I, and I in a way, like I sort of fault the fitness industry a little bit for pushing this idea of starvation mode, right? Because so many people are freaked out now about starvation mode. Like unless you are deeply food insecure in North America, you are never going to experience actual starvation in Right, right. Often with people, I actually discuss like starvation biology and how that works. And if you want a really good documentary about it, go and watch episodes of Alone, that TV show where people are stranded in the wilderness with like 10 tools. I mean, you see starvation biology in real time and it's, I mean, quite fascinating. There's some people losing like a pound a day, right? So starvation is starvation, right?
Krista (45m 20s):
But from a behavioral component, I do think occasional fasting can be really helpful for people who are just freaked out by being hungry. And in our old precision nutrition coaching program, one of the things we did at the very end of the program, so like people had had a year of like building, you know, their own resilience mentally, physically, we had people fast for a day, 24 hours or as long as they felt, you know, they could do it. And people were shocked. They were like, oh my God, I never thought that I could just go 24 hours and not eat and it would just be fine. That's, I mean, that's the thing about fasting is that people are freaked out by it and then they're just like, that was way less horrifying than I imagined.
Krista (46m 3s):
So I do think it's quite helpful for, for teaching people about their hunger and about their body's response. And, and again, this sort of circles back to the theme of resilience, how resilient people are like, we can live no problem for three weeks without food. I'm not suggesting it, I mean the longest recorded fast was like over 300 days. It was like 385 days. Now the guy was like 600 pounds, right? So, you know, it's not the average person's fast, but like I think it just helps to dial down the threat level for people to show them like, oh, you're gonna be okay. And, and that helps a lot. Yeah,
Brian (46m 41s):
That's a great point. That's actually one of the, probably the biggest thing I've got from, I don't fast as much as I used to. I sometimes I, if I feel like, you know, skipping a meal, I will. But like, by doing it sort of on a everyday basis for a little while, probably a few years I was pretty regimented about it. But like, and doing some, some extended fast, I think what it did make me feel is like the flexibility and the fact that if I was in a situation where I needed to, and it, it, it does give you it, it's restrictive, but it gives you freedom in the long haul and makes you sort of understand well what is true hunger and what isn't.
Brian (47m 20s):
Because hunger waves do come and go and it does, it does in the long term give you flexibility. And I think it, you know, if you're on an airplane and you know, you're on an airplane and you're delayed and you're waiting and it's two, three hours, you know this happens, right? Sure. And you're, you're not, you don't have food. It's like you have that confidence if, if you've done some fasting in the past that you can be like, oh no big deal. Yeah, I can deal with this and and go move on. Yeah,
Krista (47m 49s):
Yeah, yeah. That's it. No big deal. One of my colleagues, Craig Weller always used to say that our goal as coaches is to help people put things on the no big deal chart, right? We wanna dial down the threat level for people and get everything on the no big deal chart so that everything just seems Yeah. You know, this is cool, I can deal with this. I got this. That's cool.
Brian (48m 7s):
Tell me about the, the app, the simple app that you're, you're in the works or that, that it's out already. Is that correct?
Krista (48m 14s):
Yeah, no, it's, it's out and I, I mean I I, I joined the team, you know, the, the app is already in full swing, right? So I haven't had a huge influence on like shaping the app as it is. But one of my roles is, well one of the things we were working on, we were working on was seeing if we could gamify nutrition education. So could we do something that was like a duo lingo, but for nutrition education? So something that was fun and like a little game and that you would learn something as you go along, but it would never feel like heavy. I mean, I think one of the challenges in the field of nutrition is that it feels so heavy and serious, right? It's like, oh, you have to do this, it's bad to do that. Whereas our, our approach was like, can we just make this fun and silly and have people play and, and then learn stuff.
Krista (48m 57s):
So that was, that was my thing. But, but yeah, so the app that I'm working with is, I mean, they do intermittent fasting, right? And so one of my roles is to come in and create their educational programs around like helping people understand, you know, why would you fast and how do you do it and all that kind of stuff. So sort of like the, the information behind the app, just like teaching people. And one of the first things that I really pushed hard for when I first got there was let's shift to a much more compassionate tone of voice with people, because it was kind of, it was very regimented. Like when I arrived it was like, again, lots of rules. And I was like, you know, like coming from the behavioral perspective, people need compassion and, and our audience are people who probably have been trying to lose weight, you know, for a long time and have met with some level of frustration.
Krista (49m 49s):
And so like we need to take a much more kinder, gentler, more compassionate, less rigid approach. So hopefully that's the contribution that I'm making at this app. We'll, we'll see.
Brian (50m 3s):
And and you do have a book. Why me Want to Eat? I was like, I read it. I'm like, okay. Maybe just what's, what's the sort of the background behind this book?
Krista (50m 16s):
Yeah, so this book grew out of all the research and training I've been doing on treating eating disorders. Hmm. And basically the literature on, on disordered eating falls into two, two categories. One is highly clinical, very dry, not interesting or useful to the average person. It's meant for clinicians, right? And then the other line of literature is like, typically people like personal stories, right? And, and a lot of the narrative is like, I was a hot mess and I fixed myself and here's how. Right. Not to be pejorative, but like, and, and so I couldn't really find anything useful in either of those in terms of really helping clients. Like I didn't, I I wanted something to refer clients to that was evidence-based and kind of reflected the most useful approach for treating and counseling disordered eating, but it wasn't dry and boring and clinical.
Krista (51m 7s):
So I came up with this book, which is like a workbook. It's full of swear words and it translates the best practices in clinical literature into everyday stuff that is playful. And again, lots of curse words and you know, it was very relatable for people and they kind of have some laughs and some fun and some crying. So that's, that's, that's the goal of it. And so far it seems to be quite successful. People really seem to like the approach.
Brian (51m 35s):
Yeah. And you, and that was back in 2017.
Krista (51m 38s):
Yeah. It's been a while
Brian (51m 40s):
Goes fast, doesn't it?
Krista (51m 42s):
Sure does. Well, we didn't, we didn't lose those two, three years to that global pandemic thing, so that was all like a blur.
Brian (51m 49s):
Very true, yes. Okay. So that, I'll, I'll definitely leave links in the show notes for that. What, what, one question I ask all my guests towards the end is, what one tip would you give, you know, male, female? I know this is gonna be very broad and, but maybe, you know, maybe we can touch on, you know, one little thing they could do to help sort of get their bodies back to what it once was maybe 5, 10, 15 years ago. What one tip would you give that individual?
Krista (52m 22s):
Well, I mean, I think the first thing I would say is on some level, we do have to accept the passage of time, right? And I think actually a lot of clients really grapple with this. You know, if I'm working with a client who's 45, maybe they were an athlete in their twenties, and they're remembering like, oh, I used to do this, I used to do that. And there's actually like a lot of grief and loss and, you know, distress around. It used to be like this in my body, and now it no longer is that way. And I'm pretty freaked out by that. And I, I miss that. So, you know, with clients, I think one of the first pieces is helping them identify what is negotiable and what's not.
Krista (53m 4s):
So if you're 50, you're 50, you know, like, like that recovery capacity that you had when you were 20 and just basically made out of like rubber and boingy, springy, elastic stuff that's not coming back. So you have to play the game differently. So, so helping them identify what you can achieve. So yes, you can absolutely set ambitious strength goals, ambitious performance goals, but these have to be goals that are relative to the, the body that you are living in right now. So yes, you can absolutely get in amazing shape. You can, you can adopt all kinds of health promoting habits. You can, you know, burn your life down and start again if you want, right?
Krista (53m 45s):
In terms of your behaviors, you can start doing any self care, any health, any performance behavior you want that is completely available to you, you will likely see benefits from doing that. At the same time, we also help you understand what is possible in the body that you are in. Whether it's like you have old injuries, whether your recovery abilities is compromised, whether you're going through menopause, whether you've had three children and your pelvic health is not what it used to be, you know, so it's kind of like a double, it's like a double lens approach, right? We wanna create optimism and, and say like, there's so much possibility.
Krista (54m 28s):
Like we just had the marathon in Vancouver on yesterday, I guess, and it runs right past my house, right? And there were some pretty old people and I, I mean, not in a judgy way, but like, there were some pretty old people busting it past my house. Like they had to be in their eighties. It was just amazing. Wow. Right? Same thing in Sweden. I don't know, like old Swedish people are supposed to be like, as you know, the 80 year old suite is as healthy as like a 20 year old American or something like that, right? You know, so like this, all this all is available to you and it's all possibly, Hey, you wanna take up a new sport? Go for it, right? That's there for you. And let's be optimistic about what all your possibilities are. At the same time, let's play the game with the body that you have right now.
Krista (55m 11s):
Right? So for example, let's say that you're living in a 50 year old body, right? We're gonna wait a lot of your workout more towards warmup mobility, getting those tissues ready to accept loading. Like when I was in my twenties, I used to just run into the gym squat heavy with no warmups. Like warmups are for suckers. I don't need warmups, right? Right now I'm like, 80% of my time is warm. I hear you. You know, like we, we have to play the game with the body that we have while also at the same time feeling optimistic and identifying the opportunities. So that's, that's kind of how I would say that. And I, and I feel like phrases like the best shape of your life, I, I hesitate to use that because it's like the stage of your life that you're in is the stage of your life that you're in.
Krista (55m 55s):
And the, the person that you are, the person I am at 49 is not the person I was at 29. And I think that's a good thing, right? So I don't want people to feel like, oh, we're trying to get some kind of youth back. We are more accepting the reality of what is right now while helping you do all of the things you can possibly do to, you know, live your best life, whatever that looks like to you. But if we deny the reality of aging and mortality and the fact that we're all gonna die and it's not gonna be pretty, I kind of feel like we do people in disservice in a way. You know, sometimes, you know, facing their own mortality actually puts a fire under people's butts a little bit, right?
Krista (56m 36s):
When you're in the second half of life, you're like, whew, I don't have a lot of time left. I gotta, I gotta take our running or whatever it is I wanted to do, hang gliding, that's the time is now.
Brian (56m 45s):
Yeah. Creates some urgency, right? Yeah. And it's never too late either. You know, I've seen people, no,
Krista (56m 52s):
Brian (56m 52s):
Really never is. Yeah. I mean you start later in life, but you know, you have knowledge of wisdom and yeah, your body's not like it was in the twenties, but like you said, if you do it the right way, you can, you can get results. You can build muscle when you're in your seventies. I mean there's
Krista (57m 5s):
Absolutely, absolutely. You just have to, you have to get more crafty. Yeah. That's what it is. When you're younger, you have to get more crafty and wise and strategic. Like you have to think more about leverage and life judo. Yeah.
Brian (57m 21s):
Excellent. Well this was great, Krista. Is there a website, I know we talked a little bit about, and you, you're, you have the simple app stumps.com? Yeah,
Krista (57m 32s):
Stush.com is my website and as we we're talking about it, it's been around since the mid nineties, believe it or not. But you know, I mean, I'm, I'm on the socials, right? I mean Facebook, Christa Scott Dixon, you'll find me sumptuous on Instagram.
Brian (57m 45s):
Okay. And we'll put a link to your book as well. I appreciate you coming on and I, I, I'm starstruck. You know, you, you, one of my first nutrition books you're on, you're on there, precision Nutrition. So they got some great certifications and I, like we said, so if you're looking to get some certifications, check 'em out because they do give you nice books that you can always refer back to as opposed to just, you know, watching videos all day long. So I appreciate that. Well, thank you Krista, and yeah, have a great rest of your day.
Krista (58m 20s):
Thank you so much.
Brian (58m 23s):
Thanks for listening to the Get Lean EAN podcast. I understand there are millions of other podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show firstname.lastname@example.org for everything that was mentioned in this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member who's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again, and have a great day.
Krista Scott-Dixon, PhD, is Precision Nutrition’s director of curriculum. She earned her doctorate in Women’s Studies from York University. She holds counseling certifications from George Brown College and Leading Edge Training, which is certified by the Canadian Psychological Association. Currently, she’s pursuing a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Yorkville University in New Brunswick, Canada.
In her role at Precision Nutrition, Dr. Scott-Dixon develops the curriculum for the PN Women’s and Men’s Coaching programs, the PN Level 1 Certification, and the PN Level 2 Certification Master Class, along with other educational guides and courses such as The Science and Practice of Macros.
Dr. Scott-Dixon is the coauthor of PN’s Level 1 textbook, The Essentials of Nutrition and Coaching and The Universe Within: Genetic Testing and What It Can Tell Us About Nutrition, Health, and Athletic Performance. She’s also contributed to an extensive list of academic publications, book chapters, website articles, and reports.
Dr. Scott-Dixon is well known for her ability to help real people with real lives understand, embrace, and master the complex issues of nutrition, health, and lifestyle improvement. She’s a sought-after speaker, writer, and podcast guest who has presented to organizations, businesses, and conferences around the world.