When Kat and Brent Pence started The Wild Diet and joined Tribe a little over a year ago, they didn’t know quite what to expect.
But just 12 months after watching our TV show on ABC, a few crazy things have happened. Kat has shed 40 pounds, and Brent is down 47. But here’s the crazy part… they shed 80+ pounds as a couple “without really working out”!
Sounds wacky, but you’re about to learn why focusing on food and lifestyle can work so well.
We’ve been chatting in the Fat-Burning Tribe facebook group for nearly a year, but on today’s show we’re meeting for the first time.
On this show, you’ll learn:
- Why lifestyle changes stick when you do it together
- How to switch from Eggo waffles and soda to fresh eggs and salad
- What to say to the naysayers
- How not working out is the deal-sealer
- And incredible non-scale victories that come with going Wild
Kat and Brent Pence: On Why “Fat and Happy” Isn’t
Abel: I’m so happy that you guys are here. How’s it going?
Brent: Outstanding. Happy to be here.
Abel: One bit of feedback I get from people who write in about listening to the podcast or reading the blog is, “Yeah, it’s great when you talk to people who are NFL pros, luminaries of health, or Harvard MDs and all that, but we want to hear from real people.”
Number one, everyone’s a real person, even the celebrities. Some more real than others. But talking to people who are new to this, who don’t have any agenda is helpful, too.
You two are real people who weren’t in the best of health and were lost just as I was at the beginning. You eventually started doing the right things and now you’re in such a great place.
And those wedding pictures, man, following you in the Tribe has been so much fun.
Kat: Oh, thanks!
Abel: You guys ham it up. It’s great.
Kat: Yeah, you have to keep it fun.
Brent: I can hardly take any credit for it, except for the camping portion of it. The design, the layout, and everything was pretty much all Kat.
Abel: We’ll talk a little bit more about that and the rebellious nature of it in a bit. But I’d like to start with you telling people where you were about a year ago and what’s happened since.
Kat: We run our own business, we burn the candle at both ends, we’re just totally slammed all the time. So we were eating fast food. We were not cooking at all—we actually didn’t know how to cook—and we weren’t in a good place. I was over 200 pounds, and Brent was getting up there.
Brent: I think we started telling ourselves, “This is okay.”
Kat: “We’re Americans. We’re fat.”
Brent: “We’re getting ready to get married and people put on a couple pounds; that’s not a big deal.”
Kat: Right. You’re locked in.
Brent: Yes, exactly. This whole idea of, “Well, we’re fat and happy, it’s not a big deal,” But we started realizing it was the energy portion of it.
Kat: Oh yeah. No energy at all.
Brent: As the business started picking up and we were doing more and more of that, we were less and less worrying about ourselves. It was more about how to keep the business going.
We started realizing we’re not taking care of us as a couple. And I want to feel positive about myself and about each other. So that’s what we started at a year ago: “We’ve got do this. This is just too much.”
Kat: “Something has to change.”
Abel: And then how did you get hooked up with The Wild Diet?
Kat: Like a lot of people, we watched the show… And we’re sitting there eating Domino’s pizza and drinking big sodas, and I remember the moment, I’m like… I’m watching this and I’m just like, “Eh.”
Abel: It’s like, “Thanks for supporting ABC sponsors.”
Abel: I’m just like, “By the way, fast a lot more and don’t eat anything you see advertised on television.”
Brent: Yeah, exactly.
Kat: So, I’m watching the show and I go on Amazon immediately and buy the book.
I read the book and I’m like, “Okay, dude, you have to read this,” so I got Brent the audio book.
Brent: I’m always in the car, so it’s much easier for me to listen than to read.
Abel: Right on.
Kat: And he comes into the office a couple of days later, and he’s like, “Dude, this is awesome!”
Brent: “Can you believe this? I can’t believe half the stuff we’ve been eating this whole time.”
While watching the show, we saw that the people who were more successful—not just on your plan but all the plans—was when the significant other, the best friend, or the partner, was joining in.
The people who weren’t successful, the partners were like, “Well, she needs to lose, but I feel fine. She gets hurt, that’s her deal, that’s what she wants to do or what he wants to do.”
The Importance of Doing it Together
Brent: I really honed it on the fact that, “Man, if she wants to do this, we need to do this.” You can’t just be one person; you both have to push each other.
Often, famous people or athletes have a trainer or another person pushing them so they don’t mess up.
What helped me the most is when she’s like, “Hey, this is the real deal, we need to do this.”
Kat: The hardest part for me was watching him lose weight faster.
Abel: Yeah, and that’s pretty common, too.
Kat: Yeah, and that’s tricky. But it pushed me to try even harder.
Brent: I think the partnership portion of it helped so much.
It’s like working out by yourself. If you don’t have a workout partner, or somebody to go do this with you, it’s harder. Everything’s better with somebody else.
And it can be your best friend or it could be anybody. It doesn’t have to be your husband or wife. I think it was very helpful; I’m really lucky in that respect.
Abel: What was it like before you listened to the audio book? You guys, I’m sure, have bought plenty of diet books, systems, infomercial gadgets, or whatever.
So, tell me about the suspicion that you came to the table with.
Brent: I think part of the problem is all the organic stuff. Or thinking there’s only one way you can do it. I think that was my suspicion.
It was like, “Great, so I have to change everything.”
From Eggos to Fresh Eggs: How to Clean Up Your Diet
Kat: Yeah, what was your favorite breakfast?
Brent: Growing up, I was an Eggo waffle guy. I love Eggo waffles with peanut butter and syrup on them. I’m also the numbers guy in the office, so when she’s like, “We’re going to empty the whole house out, and we just need to get rid of them,” I’m like, “That food’s still good.”
You start doing this whole reasoning thing. I start thinking back, “Oh we’re going to do this for a couple months, and we’ll just cut back because there’s no way… ”
Kat: “It’s going to cost us a lot of money.
So we ended up boxing all of the bad food in our house, which was the majority of the food that we had.
Then we left it on the kitchen table for about two weeks. It just sat there mocking us, going, “Okay, well, whenever you’re ready.”
And, “Oh my gosh, we have to cook?”
Brent: Yeah. That was not a huge deal. But in life, I think there’s no magic pill. You have to pick and choose from a little bit of everything.
And I think that’s been our secret, is just trying to pick and choose and find the right system. And there’s always going to be someone in your life going, “Yeah, you’re not enjoying this,” or, “You don’t get to do that anymore,” and it’s like, well…
Kat: “Bread, you can’t have bread? Oh no, yeah, I’m out.”
Brent: “Pasta?” Yeah.
We’re lucky. We have a smaller business; there’s fewer in our core group of everyday people, so we were fortunate enough that everyone else in our group was understanding.
And one of our main project managers, Chad, was willing to subscribe to this, too. So that was kind of a fun thing, and he’s been getting into it.
Kat: He listens to your podcast every day.
Abel: That’s great.
Kat: He was like, “Man, you’re going to talk to Abel James?!”
Abel: Well, tell him I said, “Hi.”
Brent: Yeah, you got it.
Abel: So, as you started, how quickly did you see results? It sounds like Brent, you did pretty quick, but Kat, you were a little bit slower?
Kat: I’d say within the first week, Brent had lost 5 pounds.
I hadn’t really lost much the first week. And then within 2 weeks, I was down seven pounds. So it didn’t take very long to start seeing results.
And then Brent lost 47 pounds.
Brent: Forty-seven pounds total, yeah.
The funny thing is, as we started losing the weight, I keep thinking about the before and after photos. I love before and after pictures, no matter what it is: health stuff, a remodel, or whatever. It’s so cool to be like, “What? That was that, and now… ”
So that was what I was most excited about, is this before and after picture, like, “Okay, we used to look like that and now we look awesome.” And to feel better.
Kat: So, 6 months in at the wedding, I was down 40 pounds. I was down to 160, and Brent was down 47 pounds, which was just incredible.
Brent: Except for the biggest mistake… I waited too long to get my suit refitted. 47 pounds doesn’t seem like a lot, but man, when I tried to put on the suit I was planning on wearing, I looked like a…
Kat: He looked like a little kid trying on his dad’s clothes. It was hilarious.
Abel: It doesn’t feel like it’s changing, yeah.
Brent: It was crazy because you see yourself every day in the mirror, so when you get to the six-month mark, it was just like, “Wow, here and all over, you feel it.”
Kat: It was an emergency run down to the tailor to buy a suit.
Brent: Yeah, buying a suit, having it fit…
Kat: …the day before we left for the wedding.
Brent: And it was like, “Man, this sucks,” but at the same time it’s like, “In your face, everybody else. I get a new suit, I dropped 47 pounds.” Yeah, that was really, really cool.
Abel: That reminds me of the opposite thing that happened to me when I was in my early 20s and I lost everything in an apartment fire. One of my friends was getting married a few months after that, but I literally didn’t have any pants.
I didn’t have any clothes. And that’s when my health was in the pits, too.
I thought I was eating right. I wasn’t.
I gained weight so fast that the pants that were ordered were the wrong size by the time I got there for the wedding. I’m usually around 30, 31 waist—you get used to it, that’s who you are. But then you get older, and you’re like, “Oh okay, whatever, I just buy like 34, 35, 36 now. It’s just what it is.”
When I got those pants and I tried to put them on, I’m like, “I don’t even have pants right now, and I’m going to have to wear these ones with the zipper up as high as it can go and then leave the top unbuttoned and try to have the belt obscure the whole mess.”
And then you have to tuck it into rig the system so it doesn’t all explode.
But it’s little moments like that that sneak up on you, where you don’t notice those little changes that happen every day, in a negative direction or in a positive direction.
So let’s talk a little bit more about that because people around you usually do notice. They’re not always kind about it. Sometimes they’re great about it.
But how did people around you react when they started to see you transform literally in front of their eyes?
Kat: So it was mostly good. With Brent, his weight loss was so rapid that I had people pulling me aside going, “Is he okay?”
Brent: “Is he sick?”
Kat: “He’s really skinny.” I’m like, “Yeah, he’s healthy.”
Brent: I lost a lot of weight in my face, too. I think that’s where people really saw it. And I’m very good at hiding it because I’m always wearing a jacket or on job sites with a vest on. I could hide it pretty easily.
But people were pretty shocked, excited for us, and also like, “So tell me more about what you’re doing. What’s the plan?”
Kat: “So you must be working out every day, then?”
We don’t workout really at all. We’ve just been changing the way we eat.
I’ll say that they’re just amazed, and we got a lot of, “Do you have a pen I could write this down? What’s the name of it? What do we do?”
Brent: I think some people, too, were upset. Some people were upset about it because they feel that they can eat whatever they want as long as they’re burning as many calories.
Or they’re like, “I workout every day.” Or, “I go for a jog every day so I can eat whatever I feel like.”
There is the old adage of, “It’ll catch up to you; it’s always going to catch up to you.”
And I think for us, it might have just caught up to us. I remember I was bending down to tie my shoe trying to get past my stomach, and I’m like, “Geez, it’s probably time.”
Kat: Mostly people were really supportive.
Brent: But another thing was that we made a deal that we weren’t going to brag. We didn’t brag to anybody; it was about us.
Kat: Right. We never preached about it.
Brent: When we were out with friends and we’re eating, it was never like, “Well, we don’t eat that anymore.” Because that’s one thing that’s very frustrating when you’re around people who are losing weight or trying something new and they’re preachy.
It’s like, “We get it, you’re a vegetarian, cool. You don’t need to shove it in everyone’s face.” And that was a goal of ours.
Kat: Yeah. If we went out to eat with someone, I’d order a salad, or a steak, or a big thing of vegetables, and they’d be like, “Oh, well, is this okay to eat? What’s on your diet?”
I’m like, “Well, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not a diet. I can’t think in that mentality of restricting myself. I’m just eating things that make me feel good.”
Brent: The first time it happened, her parents took us to a pizza place that her dad wanted to go to.
It was like 2 weeks in, and I’m like, “Man.”
But then I thought, “Wait a minute, most pizza places have a salad bar, and that’s not that big of a deal. Or you buy the pizza that has the most meat on it and then you just pick all the meat off of it and just have that.”
Abel: There you go.
Brent: And it’s not to offend anybody. But I think there’s a lot of people who think, “Oh, we didn’t want to invite you because… ” or, “Well, I know you’re on this diet. You’re trying to lose weight so… ”
We didn’t want our stuff in people’s face. There was no point. It was about us. It was not about anybody else. We were doing it for ourselves. That’s a good thing to remember.
Do it for yourself. Don’t do it because someone said something to you or was pushing an agenda. It’s not an agenda. There’s no secret to that. You have to want to do it.
Abel: Yeah, exactly.
And so when people asked you about the exercise piece specifically, was it surprising to them that you didn’t really do that much exercise? Having done this for a while, how do you respond to that? What do you say?
Brent: I think for me, I’m like, “Well, first of all, do you like working out?” “Well, no.”
I go, “Well, are you a great cook?” “I am.”
“Okay, well, here’s the deal. I’m a terrible cook and this is how we’re going to learn to cook. Here’s a great recipe line up and here’s all the different things you can do.”
We’d tell people, “Don’t worry about the workout portion of it. You’ll figure that portion out. It’s mostly about cutting things out.”
Kat: Yeah, like you said, fueling your body with the right fuel, instead of just running on sugar and then crashing.
The energy level is so much easier to sustain when you’re actually feeding off that.
Brent: The guys who work for us are big soda drinkers. They come in with Rockstars all the time.
I’ve never been a big soda guy, but it was one of those things where when it’s available, I would have it.
There’s a pizza place in town, and they have a combo that comes with a soda. You don’t have a choice, it comes with that. And you can fill it with water, but it’s always like, “Man, there’s Cherry Coke here, I’ve got to have that.”
And I think it was those small things. Take the first month and just cut one thing out that you’re always used to having. Try that before even starting the eating clean.
Kat: And see that you can survive without that one thing that you think that you’re living off of.
Brent: That’s been the easiest way to explain this to people.
“Don’t think about eating clean, think about getting rid of one item.”
And maybe that item is alcohol. For me, I think when I started losing the most weight was when I decided to take 30 days off from drinking.
I didn’t think that I drank that much, but it’s really easy to say, “I had one cocktail”—but that cocktail is actually a double because you’re pouring it for yourself.
That was when we both said, “Okay, we’re getting rid of that one thing. I’m not going to drink.”
Getting rid of one thing, that would be my advice to anybody. It doesn’t even have to be eating clean, just get rid of one thing in your life and see what it’s like.
Abel: That’s easy.
Brent: And then if you want it back, you can have it. And make that your one thing that you keep, but get rid of something else. Life is give and take.
Abel: It is. And you’ve got a little quota, and you can have some fun with it. I certainly do.
I hope that’s obvious to people because I’ve always been like, “If you guys knew me in college, then you wouldn’t be surprised by who I grew up into, but you might be surprised by some of the liberties I would give myself with the feasting and things like that,” while still being fit.
And a lot of people try to, for some reason, especially if you’re locked into the traditional way of thinking about food, then you’re just getting away with something when you eat fast food. It’s this guilty pleasure.
Brent: You don’t want to tell anyone about it. And then the wrappers in the back seat, you’re like, “Yeah, I was supposed to clean up the car.”
Abel: Right, but it’s one little thing that you win if you do that.
I used to feel like that, especially as a kid or growing up. Then you get your own money and you can buy your own food, and that’s exercising your own little rebellion in the wrong way.
But ultimately what I hope to teach people when you read the book or listen to the audio book or the podcast is that the trick is on you, really.
If you’re buying processed food or fast food or anything like that, you’re buying the marketing. And you’re buying a shell of a food that’s basically the most addictive substances and chemicals that they know to exist, which they attach to the most pernicious marketing, which is designed by some of the best brain scientists in the world. If you buy that, then the trick is on you.
That’s difficult to stomach, especially when you’re new to this.
And I think you guys have probably been around some people who maybe tried to hop on the wagon, but it didn’t work and they wound up just turning straight back into Taco Bell.
What do you think, for people who might be steering toward the fast food place—because you do get those tendencies and we’re outmatched here for sure—what advice do you have for them to stick with this?
Kat: I would say just give yourself some grace and to listen to your body.
And there’s always, especially when you’re turning into Taco Bell and you’re going, “Ah, I really shouldn’t do this,” just go, “How is this going to make me feel?”
Not just, “Oh, my stomach hurts,” or “Oh, I’ve ingested all those things.” Think of your whole body. Your mind is going to be unfocused. Think about that.
And then also the fact that you’re going to be craving it again in a couple hours.
So just really think about it and be mindful of where you’re at, and why you’re going there.
Are you really hungry or are you just thirsty?
Brent: I think to add to that too is, life is full of failures, so if it doesn’t work for you for the first time, keep trying it again.
We’re fortunate that we work for ourselves. The last 10 years, I failed constantly. But it’s recognizing those failures and going, “Okay, this didn’t work, I need to figure out another part here.“
What parts of eating clean can I pick apart and use in my life? This part isn’t working for me.
But it’s typical that people say, “Well, I failed. I tried it, it is what it is, I’m moving back to this thing.”
But you can’t think of it as a failure, like, “That’s it,” that you gave it the one shot. You have as many times as you want, it’s up to you.
We’ve had a lot of people that work for us that say, “Well, I failed, I can’t do this. I’m always going to be a laborer, I can’t be a superintendent. I can’t run the job, I’m going to be the guy just pushing the broom.”
It’s like, “Dude, you screwed up one time. Let’s go back, let’s look at what happened and figure out how to fix it, and move on.”
A lot of people get mired down in this whole, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it.”
Kat: One of the things, too, is that people really get into this mindset of, “I need to start eating clean on the first of the month,” or, “On Monday morning, I’m going to start being good.”
No. On a Thursday afternoon at 2pm, if you’re not feeling good, start eating well. Don’t wait until that milestone of the first of the month, or the first of the week, or anything.
Just do it right now. Just go and eat something healthy. Go grab some carrots.
The other thing that kept us, especially in the beginning, from eating really bad or just pulling into the fast food joint, was keeping a snack bag. Always keeping snacks in the car. Having jerky, nuts, or even an apple in the car with us.
Brent: Our “crab bag,” as we call it, because it keeps me from getting crabby and mad at each other.
I’m like, “Just give me the bag, I need something.”
Abel: The crab bag? I love that.
Brent: Yeah, exactly. Because it was one of those things where I need something.
Kat: He gets hangry.
Brent: Yeah. If I want to eat something, I need to eat something.
We used to just have junk in the house because I wanted it. And I felt like I had reached that point where it’s like, “Well, whatever, I’m going to have it. I work hard during the day, so I can have whatever I want at night.”
Abel: It’s that mentality that’s so natural and so easy to prey upon for marketers of all kinds.
I think we can all agree at this point, if you just go for the status quo, you just follow the breadcrumbs that you’re given, then you’re going to just wind up wading in the cesspool that is so obviously around us.
So you need to be intentional with how you set up your day, your habits, your time, and cultivate the right stuff.
Because if you don’t, then going with the flow is just leading to disaster.
I’ve been doing this for like six years now (longer if you count the time that I was completely not popular at all and only my aunt read my blog), but you would think that it would be getting a ton better.
In some ways it is. The people who are getting better are getting better, and it’s growing a little bit. But the people who are getting worse are getting worse so fast that it’s astonishing.
It’s hard to know what to do with that, because you guys know that there’s a great divide between the two different lifestyles, the energy levels, as you guys said.
When you have the energy to do it, It’s easy to say, “Come on, just make the right decision.” Right?
Brent: Oh yeah.
Abel: Go to sleep, eat your vegetables, or whatever. And you guys are now feeling young and vibrant again.
But just skipping back to how you felt before, it’s hard to get the courage, to get the motivation, and to get the energy that you don’t have to put to something that will maybe bring you more energy later, right? That’s a tough thing to do.
Brent: And I think, too, the marketing portion of it is, “You’ve earned eating this stuff. You’ve earned having all this crap.”
Kat: Yeah. And all this marketing lately for the fast food restaurants and all this junk food, it’s all these super healthy, fit people having a blast, like, “Drink a Coke! It’s going to make you feel like this!”
Brent: “Or when you’re done working out, you can have this beer that’s only a few calories.”
Kat: Right. But what else is in there?
Brent: Yeah. Come on.
You’re the only person that can make yourself happy. Sothink about that first, and… Are you happy where you’re at now? If not, then figure out how to make yourself happy.
And start eating right. And don’t worry about working.
Abel: Start eating right and not working out. I think that’s the tweet right there.
Brent: At least for the first eight months.
Abel: Advice from a couple who recently lost 80-plus pounds together.
Brent: Yeah. You want to lose 50 pounds, eat right, don’t work out.
Abel: It’s a great point. I understand that I have to meet people where they are. And I also understood that the 50 miles a week that I was running was completely overkill and ridiculous, when I realized how to eat right.
So if you only have X amount of energy to devote to improving yourself, and lord knows that’s where we all are, it’s a tiny little sliver, then put it all in the place that works the best, and don’t burn yourself out doing all these exercises that, yeah, they could help you a little bit, but you’re not going to get the results that we’re talking about here that you get from eating right, cutting out the bad stuff.
Then that snowballs. It becomes easier to make the right decision. It becomes more automatic. It becomes more of a habit.
And then all of a sudden, you get used to a whole different level of energy and living.
So what are some of the other things that happened with you guys, now that you’re feeling better?
Kat: We’ve run this business for 10 years, through the recession, and it hit our community really hard, especially for a contractor. We started in 2007, so we were just a baby company at that time.
Brent: I felt it aged us pretty quickly.
For me, while getting started in this, I was losing hair from stress and eating poorly. And I’d gone to my doctor, I’m like, “Man, it’s getting really thin,” and he’s like, “Well, you’re getting older and that’s what happens.”
Kat: At 32!
Abel: Doctors love to say that.
Brent: And I’m doing research and it’s like, “Well, a lot of it’s genetic,” and it’s like, “Well, my dad still has his hair, my mom has her hair, my great-grandparents had their hair when they passed away,” and I’m going, “This doesn’t seem right.”
And my hair started getting thick again as I started eating healthier. I know that sounds crazy.
Kat: It is. It happens. And it’s amazing.
Brent: And there’s little things like that.
The big thing for me is, sadly, I had acne my whole life. It’s just the facts of life. I have so much less now, my skin has cleared up.
And a lot of that is eating healthy, but too, I think it’s because I feel better about myself. My stress is less, and I think it’s helped a ton.
And so it makes me feel more positive. It’s like, “Man, if we’d just done this like three years ago.”
Kat: You can’t live in the past.
Brent: You can’t live with regrets.
You can’t live in the past. You can’t live with regrets.
Kat: I was having about one migraine a week.
Brent: When we first got together, it was bad. It was really bad.
Kat: I couldn’t work, I couldn’t do anything.
Abel: Yeah, they’re no joke.
Kat: Yeah. So, I started eating healthy and within the first month, they had diminished about 50%.
And then I’d say, I have maybe one migraine a quarter.
Now it’s very, very rare.
Kat: Yeah, and now they only last like 2 hours. They used to be 3 days long.
Abel: Wow. Three days long?
Kat: Yeah. It was horrible.
Kat: Yeah. Covers over my head, the whole thing.
So, yeah, that’s what really sold me. After a few months, I went, “Wow, when was the last time I actually had a full blown attack?” And it was months before.
It was incredible to me. And I just can’t go back now. It’s too much pain.
Brent: Another portion of it is: Sadly, I snore, which keeps her up, which again, probably contributes to the migraine portion.
So, in losing the weight and eating healthy, now I snore less, or hardly at all.
There are all these benefits. It’s more than just looking good and feeling good, it affects way more of your life. And it’s a natural thing too.
Hearing my dad like, “Yeah, I’m on this, and yeah, I’m on that. I’m taking this.”
I’m like, “Dad.” He goes, “Yeah, but all our stuff in the house is low fat. I got low-fat milk, I got low-fat bread. I got low fat… ” I’m like, “I know you’re a guy who doesn’t want to change stuff, but did you know that this is causing illness? If you take this pill, they don’t know what that’s going to do. If you take this pill for too long, it’s going to do that.”
I think that it’s helped us out a lot, too, that I actually look at the back of packaging and I’m like, “Eh, can’t have that. Can’t have that.”
I never used to look at the back of a package. Or I used to look and go, “Wow, this has so many calories.”
Abel: It doesn’t mean anything.
Abel: But now you’re like, “Wait a second. What is that?”
Brent: And wait. Everything has soy in it? How’s that possible? Like soy lecithin. We have to have fillers in everything? Really?
A lot of it then too turned into disappointments. And me having to go to her and be like, “Just, come on, I’ve been having that forever, I have to get rid of that?” She’s like, “If we’re doing it, we’re doing it all the way. We’re going to jump head first.”
And that’s a hard part for a lot of people.
Abel: It feels a little bit like growing up though, doesn’t it?
It’s like, you know that what you believe is a little too good to be true before. “I can eat all this stuff, it’s all low fat. I buy the low fat stamped packages, so I’m good.”
That’s a very convenient thing to believe and it’s like, “I want to believe that, too. It kind of makes sense,” but unfortunately, it’s so easy to take advantage of things like that.
And what we’re going to see now that Paleo and Keto are so popular, is that you’re going to see that stamped on a bunch of stuff that it has no business being stamped on. It’s ridiculous to even think about that.
“Cavemen eat nutritional protein bars.” Like what, individually wrapped? It falls apart pretty quick. Once you know how to spot it, it becomes easier and easier as time goes on, right?
Kat: Oh yeah.
Abel: How about eating out? Because you said you weren’t really cooks before this.
Kat: Not at all.
Brent: Right. No.
Abel: It is super intimidating, right? Because it’s part cookbook. People need to go back in the kitchen. So, how did you handle that?
Kat: We followed your recipes. That’s all I did. I was just like, “Okay. I’m just going to follow these recipes. I can figure this out.” There were a few that I didn’t do right, but…
Abel: Good. It’s hit and miss, that’s part of it.
Kat: It was quite all right. But I just made it very simple for myself.
I didn’t try to be like, “Okay, I’m going to meal plan for the next month on my own, finding all these recipes online.”
I started out with just the recipes in the book, mastered those, really simple, and then moved on to joining the Tribe and then getting the meal plans. And so, I did that.
From there, we started branching out a little bit and getting some other recipes that were actually within the plan and finding other blogs, and it blossomed from there.
Now, I only know how to cook healthy. I don’t know how to cook the other ingredients. I don’t even have those in my house. It makes it much easier that way.
Brent: That was our one thing that we gave up for the first month was, “Let’s cut out eating out at first.” We probably ate out four times a week or more.
Kat: Oh, more than that, every night for dinner.
Brent: I feel that it’s hard to cook for 2 people because you’re making a huge mess for about 15 minutes to 20 minutes of eating, and then you’ve got this nasty mess to clean up.
And so, it’s hard to get out of that mindset of, “I want to do all these things and mess up all these pans and get the whole kitchen dirty, for what? When I can just let somebody else make the mess and there’s no stress.”
I think eliminating that portion of it, and just saying, “We’re eating at home for the first month. We’re not going to eat out.”
Kat: Well, it saves us a lot of money.
Brent: Yeah, it saves us a ton of money. That was huge.
Abel: Would you mind sharing how much savings you would have over a week or a month? Do you know?
Kat: For a week, we usually spend between $100 and $150 in groceries. And that’s because now I do either a roast or something that we can have for lunches all week on salad.
Brent: It’s really easy to add anything, that’s the best part.
Kat: Yeah, but we were probably spending double that in a week from eating out for lunches.
The problem is that we work together. And so, I’m not a stay-at-home wife, we don’t have kids and those things. We get up early, we have meetings, and back in the day we we would go grab McDonalds or Starbucks or both, and then we would go out to lunch and then we’d go out to dinner. And just that on repeat.
Brent: The other thing is we were finding ourselves shopping for food to have at home, but it was going to be snack food because we were eating out. So we were having to throw food away, so it was just a waste.
We talked a little bit about how we learned to cook healthy, so that was how we got lucky in that aspect. We didn’t learn to cook the wrong way.
But eating clean doesn’t have to be expensive.
We found an amazing butcher shop in town, which is crazy because they don’t hardly exist anymore.
Kat: I said, “Do you have any that’s grass fed, or where does your meat come from?” He goes, “Everything is grass-fed because that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
Brent: The guy was almost upset about it, like, “Hey, what do you mean?”
Kat: Yeah. “I don’t need to advertise that’s it’s grass-fed because it should all be grass fed…”
So I went, “Well, okay, that’s cool.”
But one of the things, we spend a lot on food, but it’s just because that’s one of our treats now.
Brent: Now we spoil ourselves like, “Oh man, you should see this spaghetti squash I picked up, this thing is sweet.”
Abel: Isn’t it funny how that changes?
Kat: Oh, yeah, that’s crazy.
Brent: And I had no idea… I used to be a Jif peanut butter guy. That stuff was so good.
Now my big thing is, we get Adams No-Stir peanut butter and you have to dump it out and mix it and get all the oils mixing, get everything going, but in the ingredients it’s just peanuts and salt.
And it’s just like, “Okay, perfect.”
Abel: And it’s so much better, it’s not going to pickle you from the inside out.
Brent: And now the funny thing is, you’re over at a friend’s house and you’re having apples and peanut butter or whatever and they’re like, “Well, here’s this big thing of Jif.”
Now the taste of the other stuff is horrible. Taking a sip of soda is not good… If you have a mixed drink over at a friend’s house, it’s not…
Kat: It’s gross.
Brent: It tastes like syrup. It’s amazing how it affected what we were talking about skin and hair and all this stuff. Our palates are way different, too. It’s a huge swing when you have what you used to have, and it’s like, “Ugh, this is terrible.”
Kat: Yeah, one of my big things was candy—I loved candy. I’d eat Skittles and Butterfingers and all that. And I was watching my nieces the other day and they wanted some candy.
I just took a bite of something and was like, “Oh my. How did I eat all this?” I had one bite of it and it’s like… It tastes kind of good, but it’s so artificial.
Yeah, it’s amazing how I never thought that would actually change for me.
Abel: It’s like everything we eat now is out of an Easy-Bake Oven, it’s ridiculous.
You get away from processed food for just a little bit and you try to even smell some of that food. Someone next to me will have fried food and I get a little wave of nausea, I’m like, “Do people not smell the rancid, disgusting oils? Is that just me?”
Brent: Oh yeah. And the thing is still, it’s about us; there’s no shaming. If they want to have the candy, that’s on them.
When you’re at our house and you’re having our food, if you can start complaining, it’s like, “You can either have what we’re having or you can go home,” because we’re not going to start stocking bad stuff. We don’t keep beer in the house.
Kat: We keep cider in the house, though.
Brent: We keep tons of cider in the house, which is killer. So, if you come over and you want a drink, you’re going to have a cider.
Kat: It’s that or high-end alcohol, because I don’t like having the nasty, cheap stuff. If I’m going to splurge and have a drink, I want to have the good wine or good vodka.
Brent: But we always used to keep beer in the fridge for when people came over and all that stuff.
Kat: Yeah. It’s too much of a temptation.
Brent: It’s too much of a temptation.
Her parents were hesitant because her dad refuses to throw food away. Refuses. Like, “We’ll do it once this stuff’s gone.”
I’m like, “You’re not going to change because you’re just going to keep buying the same stuff.”
You have to just wipe the slate clean and start over and see what it’s like.
Abel: Yeah, well, one thing that can help is just stop buying junk food and beer altogether.
Like you said, you don’t have to throw all your stuff away.
Because people live with their kids, with older members of their family, their brothers, their roommates, whatever, and you don’t always have full control, and sometimes the temptation is there.
But if it’s someone else’s beer, then it’s fine if it’s in the fridge. At some point, you don’t even look at it anymore, once you don’t recognize it as food anymore. You see a Butterfinger or something like that and you’re like, “No way.”
But anyway, I could talk to you guys all day. But do you have any questions for me, any parting words of advice for those listening out there?
Brent: I think keep jumping back on the bandwagon. You’re going to keep failing and keep failing. Life is full of failures, but don’t make that the answer to not try again.
Kat: Yeah, make that the little mini vacation and not where you’re at.
Brent: Or consider that a treat. So if you want to take a month off and start it back up, you’ll eventually realize, “Man, I felt way better in November than I did in December, and what was I doing different?”
“It’s so weird, what did I cut out?” I think too, and as far as questions go, what’s your positive role? Does your wife continually push you?
Abel: I’ve learned through my wife specifically that women are so smart and so secretly competitive, and I just love it. They’re so often the engine behind why families thrive, especially when it comes to eating well.
Doing it together as a couple has been huge.
I’ve always been kind of a health nut, though. I’ve always wanted to do the smart thing, the right thing, the healthy thing. I’ve always wanted to make the highest performance choice, that’s just the type-A part of me.
But what we try to do more than anything else, and this is where we really help each other, is we are willing to look really silly, make a lot of mistakes, and just mess up all the time in front of each other and grow together.
So we do things like, I play a bunch of different instruments and I’m really bad at some of them, really great at other ones. But Alyson’s trying to learn the mandolin. So when she’s trying to learn that, I’m usually not shredding on guitar and playing saxophone all the time. I’m playing a really stupid instrument that I don’t know how to play that well or a drum or something like that, and having fun just growing together.
We’re both learning Spanish. We’re going out on walks most days, usually together, we try to do that as a thing that we do as a couple.
But I think that would be the biggest thing that you could learn from not only you guys but us as well, is grow together, believe that you guys are in this together. Because if you’re not and you’re looking back and forth, then it can be a troublesome transformation for people, even if you succeed.
Know that a lot of it is mental, a lot of it is emotional. And if you’re going to do the right thing day after day, then you have to feel good about it, and you have to know that it’s worth it.
And so it’s all about those tiny little things that you just do on a habitual basis that you don’t even notice that really add up—whether that’s eating fast food or if it’s eating at home, the right thing every day.
You don’t even pay attention to it anymore, it’s automatic, but you feel so much better now.
And I’m so proud of you guys.
Brent: Well, we really appreciate it.
I’m going to start checking the boxes in the morning and feeling like I’m working out if I’m just doing something small, and just build on that.
You can start small and work your way up.
Abel: Exactly. Yeah, start small, do the easy thing first, do the best you can, and just go from there.
You don’t have to go all organic, you don’t have to go all grass-fed.
If you’ve even perused the book a little bit or you’ve listened to me talk for two minutes, you pretty much get what I would say if I were there. You know what the right call is.
So if you make that right call most of the time, then your entire life is going to change.
Trust me, I have a devil and an angel on each shoulder, too. We’re all 100 percent real people, but you guys are a wonderful example of people who get it.
And I just have to say this before we go because I interview a lot of people, a lot of highfalutin types, and you guys are fantastic.
Kat: Thank you.
Brent: I appreciate it. It was a pleasure talking to you.
Before You Go…
Let’s face it: losing weight and getting fit is tough to do alone…. there’s social pressure from friends, family, media and nasty marketing tricks.
Junk-food is out to get us.
But with the right plan, support, advice, and help from uplifting folks who are full of positive energy, getting results is only a matter of time.
The way you manage stress, eat, work out, and even socialize… it all gets easier when you do it with friends who are there to help you succeed.
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