Be honest, are you feeling a little stressed out these days?
If you’re feeling a little scatter brained or bummed out, you are definitely not alone.
Things seem crazier than ever, and we’re all a bit frazzled. If you’re feeling that way, or if you’re feeling like you take care of everyone around you with no energy left for yourself, this show is definitely for you.
Returning to the show is Sarah Fragoso, and for the first time, Dr. Brooke Kalanick. This is a really fun one. We get deep.
On this show with Sarah Fragoso and Dr. Brooke Kalanick we’re chatting about:
- Sneaky hormone disruptors that many women are unfamiliar with it, yet may be struggling with unknowingly
- How lack of joy is a contributing factor in chronic stress
- The first step to take when you feel hangry, or overwhelmed with health and diet information out there
- And tons more…
Alright, let’s go hang out with Sarah and Dr. Brooke.
Sarah & Dr. Brooke: The Anti-Gurus of Women’s Health
Abel: Alright folks, returning to the show is Sarah Fragoso, best-selling author, mom of three and the founder of Everyday Paleo.
She has over a decade of experience as a certified strength and conditioning coach, and holds a degree in psychology as well as certifications in mindfulness practices.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick, a wife, mother, and lifter of heavy weights is joining us, as well. Dr. Brooke has over 15 years of experience working with women as a licensed naturopathic doctor and functional medicine physician.
You can catch them both on the popular podcast The Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show.
Thanks so much to you both for joining us.
Sarah Fragoso: Thank you for having me again.
Abel: Of course.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Yes, thank you for having us.
Abel: Thanks for the copy of your book Hangry, I love that title. Some people know all about that word quite well, but it hasn’t really been incorporated into the lexicon quite yet in the way it deserves. So thanks for that.
Sarah Fragoso: Oh yeah, I think it’s timely for sure.
Abel: But in case people are listening or watching, and they don’t know precisely what you mean by “hangry,” what are you getting at?
Sarah Fragoso: You want to jump in on that Brooke and I’ll follow up?
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: We have lots to say about that.
When we first started working on this book, we were thinking we’re writing a book for women that are tired, overwhelmed, and their hormones feel like they’re betraying them.
And our cute title was “Too Tired To Be Happy,” because it’s kind of how you feel.
Our agent got a hold of it and we were like, “In those moments when your blood sugar is in the tank, you’re craving all the wrong things, you feel terrible and then you act terrible. And you kind of hate yourself afterwards. You feel like a hangry b*tch.”
And so the title became “Hangry.”
Sarah Fragoso: Right, yeah. And I think we all know what that feels like. Even my kids, like my 11-year-old, he’s the hangriest of all us.
Abel: Especially kids, yeah.
Sarah Fragoso: And so, when we landed on that title, he’s like, “Oh mom.”
But I didn’t really write it for 11-year-old boys, it’s for women, but everyone gets it.
We don’t want women to feel like we’re calling them out. Like that’s what you are, a hangry b*tch.
But we all know what that feels like, the embodiment of that feeling. And it’s not something that we’re proud of or that we enjoy, and we sit with that or we don’t. And we usually distract from it, and then it just comes back around again. It’s just this vicious cycle.
Abel: Guys can get a little b*tchy sometimes, too, as it turns out. Kids, everybody gets a little bit of that hangryness from time to time.
But one thing I realized reading your book—because we all live in our own little bubbles—is just how many women you guys work with who are just barely making it, and how that’s the vast majority.
Because even in my childhood, being a kid going to my friend’s house, it’s almost a stereotype. The hurried mom taking care of everything, rushing around. But I didn’t know that it was like everybody now.
Sarah Fragoso: It is. And I honestly have not met a woman as of late, or in the last 10 years, who’s been like, “I feel so good, everything is fine. I wake up refreshed and my blood sugar’s balanced and I get all my workouts in, and I sleep well.”
I have not met a single woman since I really started paying attention, who can tell me that, truthfully.
And I think we’re all becoming more honest. Now you run into someone, “How are you?”
“Oh my god, I’m so stressed out and busy.” That’s the response.
Or it’s like, “Fine.”
And you can tell there’s no “fine” going on. There’s no light in their eyes.
Maybe you haven’t seen that woman in a while, or you catch them on their hangriest moment and you’re like, “Yeah, no, you’re not fine.”
So yeah, it is. I honestly do feel like it’s everyone.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Yeah, and then the women go to their doctors and they’re told, “Well, your tests look okay, so I don’t really know why you feel this way.”
Or they’ll say, “Well, all the women in my practice feel this way. You’re just getting older. You’re just a busy mom.”
There are all these things, and so they’re sort of left with, “Well, I guess this is just as good as it gets.”
Or worse, they think, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I try harder? Why can’t I do more?”
So yeah, unfortunately, many women are not getting help with the fatigue and feeling overwhelmed, and all of this stuff that’s going on for them. And so they’re just sort of stuck.
So, we’re hoping to help those women.
Abel: And that’s so dangerous, too, because it’s like someone walking into their doctor and being like, “I’m depressed.” And they’re like, “No, you’re not, you’re fine.”
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: You’re just a mom.
Abel: You’re just fine, you don’t need anything. And then that’s a really destructive damaging position to be in as the patient.
Sarah Fragoso: Yeah. There have been times where I actually looked pretty good and felt horrible. I have been to a doctor at one of my worst, when I first crashed from adrenal fatigue. And I was shredded.
I was super lean and muscular. More fit than I had ever been in my life.
And the doctor was like, “Well, you look fine.”
And I was like, “No, I’m falling apart.”
So, you have to look beyond what you see on the outside, too.
Because there are so many women who are trying to do it all and look good doing it. And maybe they reach a body composition goal, or maybe they don’t, and they just aren’t feeling great, they’re not feeling right, but yet they have that outward appearance of, “Hey, everything is fine.”
So, it does go both ways. I remember looking in my own eyes, and just seeing how haggard I truly was.
Maybe aesthetically or my body comp looked “good” or healthy, didn’t necessarily equate to feeling like a rock star at all.
Abel: Yeah, especially when you’re talking about whatever the ideal is in women’s health, and trying to aim for that as a target.
And then you get there and your body can’t even do the natural things that it’s supposed to do to produce children and you’re feeling terrible, and all that.
Maybe that’s not the ideal. And so how do you manage that piece, or how did you manage it?
And maybe I’ll just before you answer that, if you don’t mind, I’ll read a quote from you, Sarah, in the book where you said…
“There I was, the perfect paleo dieter, who also excelled at training as hard and as often as possible, all in order to hide my fear and my pain. I was taking care of everyone and everything around me and always putting myself last. My only form of self-care was my punishing workouts.”
I almost cried. I’m almost crying now. That’s like, wow, oh my gosh. So anyway, go ahead.
Sarah Fragoso: For me, I think it really took a lot of looking inward and looking past what, aesthetically, I was so proud of having accomplished. Because we all have our own distractions, we all have our own stuff.
For some people it’s alcohol, for some people it’s food, for some people it’s sex. For some people it’s gambling, or whatever.
And for me, it was punishing myself. I was beating myself up, and not just in the gym, but with the dialogue going on in my head. And I still struggle with that, it’s not something that you just get over.
But it’s about implementing the tools, which we teach in the book, and a foundation, which for me is mindset and mindfulness practice to get myself out of my head and actually in my own body.
So, I’m listening to the cues. I’m tuning in.
I’m actually in a place where I can honor my hormones and what my body has been trying to tell me, but I’m finally aware of it.
For me, in that moment, it really took having to sit with that pain.
I had to work through so much. And it wasn’t a 30 day process like we’re promised in all these plans that claim to take you from zero to hero in 30 days. But they leave out all the internal work that we have to do, not just the internal work with our hormones, but with our psyche.
So for me, I had to go to a very dark place and be in that place and not run from it.
So, when I crashed I couldn’t escape it anymore, I couldn’t go to the gym and beat myself up, all I had was my own thoughts and my own processing.
That’s really what took me back to my roots of psychology. I always told people, “Joy, blah, blah, blah, and be happy.” But what am I doing about my own happiness?
So, when Brooke and I got together, we both had very similar life experiences.
And the reality is that if you don’t work on your mindset practice first, it’s so hard to sustain anything that’s going to actually be good for you, especially for your hormone health. Because stress is stress is stress.
And we’re like, “Well, does that even mean?”
So yeah, I had to stop beating myself up. And like I said, I still struggle with it.
It’s a daily practice of me having to stay ahead of that programming.
Abel: It’s interesting though, because it seems like both of you guys talk about this in the book, and I’m kind of like this, too. Like, the recovering perfectionist type A go-getter type. But to some degree, it is a double-edged sword.
Like the thing that allowed you to be healthy or enabled, it was the same thing that’s destroying you at the same time.
So how do you harness these impulses, knowing that you can’t ever really escape them, right? It’’s not like you’re escaping yourself and everything’s all solved, but how do you manage that? All that mojo?
The Five Pillars of Managing Your Mindset
Sarah Fragoso: Yeah. Well, so in our book, we have five pillars, which is really the foundation of our plan.
The pillars are the mindset tools that we teach women to use in order to make our five habits, which is kind of like the functional part of the plan. The diet, exercise part work, and I have to live by those five pillars myself.
They’re all important, but each woman that’s going to read this book (and Brooke has one that’s more important to her, and I have the one that’s most important to me) and I live by all of them, but I have to be fully engaged in my life.
I can’t ever go back to that “I’m too busy, I’m always busy, I’m always stressed” out persona.
That is great, and it’s gotten me a long way. I’ve been really successful because of that drive, but I’ve also really missed out on the things that are actually the most important to me.
So I have to be fully engaged in my life, which means I no longer distract from my pain. Because when I distract from my pain, that’s what pushes me back to doing too much and not just sitting with my feelings.
I have to choose consciously to experience life fully, not just the good, the success in my life, and those happy moments, but also the really hard the parts that make us struggle. Because in challenge is great growth.
We want to swim away from that, because sitting in that hot water, it’s like we talk about in the book, it’s like getting into that hot tub initially you’re like, “Oh, ah, that’s not so good.”
And then when you settle into it, you’re like, “This actually feels a whole lot better.”
It brings so much clarity to be able to say “this is where I’m at” and observe how I am feeling. How am I responding? Rather than just reacting.
Because when we react, it’s usually in a way that’s very destructive.
So for me, it’s typically getting angry. I’ll lash out at someone who doesn’t deserve it, which nobody else sees except my family. Awesome, good times, right?
Or I’ll beat my own self up in all the self-loathing that comes with that, or I’ll go distracted by beating myself up in the gym or doing something that my hormones aren’t happy about.
I tend to go the opposite way with food. Instead of using food as my comfort, I’ll restrict and I won’t eat enough because my stomach is in knots.
So allowing myself to be fully engaged and noticing, “Wow, I’m feeling really anxious”.
How do I feel that in my body? Where do I feel that in my body?
Noticing it, choosing to not react to it and letting it come through me, and then using my voice to talk about it.
And we talk about that in the book, too, how to be authentically who you are, speaking what your needs are, and voicing that.
Because, as women especially, we kind of carry this around like a badge of honor that we can do it all. And then we get upset that no one understands what it is that we need, when we don’t even tell people what it is that we need.
So it’s really a combination of things, but for me, it’s really just being fully engaged. And I find, and you will all find, too, that the good moments, the joyful moments, I’m so much more tuned in for and present for when I’m not distracting myself from the moments I don’t want to be a part of.
So tough work, but well worth it for sure.
Abel: Dr. Brooke, do you want to chime in on that? Because I believe you’re a go getter, as well.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: I am, yeah. I think that it’s one of those skills that works really well in our professional life, and it works really bad in our personal life.
We’re not asking anybody to just not be who they are. One of our pillars is to be who you are. But just to know, where does that strength fit? And what other skills do you need to be better in the other areas of your life?
So quite often, being really driven, it might be okay for your career. It usually stinks in your marriage, right?
Abel: A driven marriage, yeah that’s a funny concept.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Not a really great thing.
And full engagement living is our third pillar and that’s the one Sarah talked about.
It’s my least favorite. It’s the one I’m the worst at, it’s the one I have to constantly work at. Because when I don’t, my husband gets put on the back burner.
I regret not being there for my kid, but I got all those Instagram posts up. Do you know what I mean?
It’s so easy. And I think when it comes to, when you’re in this healthy lifestyle, it’s so easy to just be that person there too, because that’s what it’s about.
It’s about getting through the workout, it’s about getting the goal, hitting the body comp, whatever it is.
And for me, I never got super shredded because as I was going down that path, everything fell apart really quickly.
I had pre-existing hormonal issues that just got worse and worse and worse. But so often what women do is we just dig in deeper.
We think, “There’s something wrong with me. What the heck is wrong with me that I’m not getting leaner? I’m working out twice a day. I’m not eating any carbs. I’m doing all this stuff, and I’m pushing really hard.”
And your body is sending you messages. My period was gone. I couldn’t sleep for more than about an hour and a half at a stretch at night.
It was really rough, and I didn’t listen to any of that. I’m getting all this feedback, but instead of thinking, “This plan is not working for me.”
Or thinking that it’s worth it to sacrifice all of my hormone health in order to keep chasing this goal. I just ignored all that until I tore a hamstring and then I literally couldn’t push anymore. And my relationship was just in shambles during this time.
And so, I think when we ignore all those signals, that’s when we get ourselves into trouble.
One of the things for some women is they don’t know what their hormones are telling them.
So, in the book we kind of walk through, “These are what your hormones are saying. This is how you tune into that.”
And then for those of us that kind of knew, but didn’t listen, we try to help you tune in.
When you get into that kind of driven thing, or if you’re the driven kind of person, it’s so easy to sacrifice your health and your hormones for the sake of that goal.
And especially a body comp goal, it’s just never worth it.
I don’t think anybody who’s wrecked their hormones, tripped a thyroid issue, triggered auto-immunity, got into adrenal fatigue, was like, “That was so worth it because I was so ripped. That’s awesome.”
I think they all were like, “I enjoyed some of the aesthetic benefits, but it wasn’t worth it. It did so much damage.”
And so, of course, fat loss is going to be a goal for some women, and that’s cool.
We just want to help you do it in a way that’s really nourishing instead of the punishing thing that we’re so inclined to do.
Abel: What about moving that ideal in your own mind? What is that process like and how do you manage that?
Because it has to keep moving your whole life, doesn’t it? We have to get used to that in one way or another.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Well, I think for women especially, our hormones change throughout the month. They certainly change throughout the decades.
You go through a pregnancy, perimenopause, and women’s hormones start to decline after age 30.
Things start to change, and so women especially need to be able to roll with it.
We need to be able to say, “Hey, this might have worked for me when I was 25 or 35, and now I’m getting this feedback that this is not working.” And we need to be able to adjust.
And it might mean a real change in thinking about, “Well, this is what I think is the best way to train. This is what I think is the best way to eat.”
And that may not work for the current hormone landscape, and that can be hard.
So, just even rolling with the normal changes, or for me, I had PCOS. I had a pre-existing bag of hormone stuff that came with me into what I tried to do.
And I think for me something that was a really long journey but really worth it was, instead of constantly trying to fight this insulin resistant anabolic physique that I had, just constantly trying to make myself smaller doing stuff that was wrecking my thyroid and wrecking my adrenals, learning to work with what I have, and that took a lot of mindset work.
Sarah and I always talk about how we exercise and eat almost identically.
We both meditate, we prioritize sleep, but our bodies are very different.
And so, it’s not about, “I need to do Sarah’s plan.”
Technically, I do Sarah’s plan. It’s been more about working with what my body wants to do, and kind of making this physiology the best it can be.
I have spent my whole life, up till probably age 35, trying to make my body a completely different hormonal makeup, and all that did was just make me mentally miserable and also physically miserable.
Abel: So is that kind of a body type like endomorph, ectomorph type of thing in your minds, or how do you think about that? Working with what you’ve got? Because I think that’s a great point.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Yeah. So for me, with PCOS in particular, I have insulin resistance. I can very easily have low progesterone. I can very easily have a lot of inflammation. I can quickly deal with some adrenal issues.
And because I’m insulin resistant and have higher testosterone, I put on muscle really easy.
So my job in my teens and 20s was to run as much as I could, because I thought that would make my legs smaller.
And that of course produced some results in some ways, but a lot of negative consequences.
And when I kind of embraced the fact that I’m really strong, I get strong easy, I put on muscle easy, I started using exercise in a much smarter way.
And what we hope women will see reading the book is, you need to take your unique hormonal issues right now. So we kinda walk them through what we call the hormone hierarchy where you’re tending to the most delicate hormone issues first.
Low cortisol, low thyroid, then high cortisol, then insulin resistance, and then unique nuances for estrogen and progesterone.
So for me, there was a time in my life where I only was really dealing with insulin resistance. Then there was a later time while I was dealing with that, plus low cortisol.
So whatever your hormonal issues are, we want to make sure that you’re doing things that honor them all, but honor them in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the other issue, right?
So if I, a woman with PCOS who is also dealing with some adrenal fatigue or HPA access dysfunction, I can’t just follow the insulin resistance advice, which is eat less, eat low carb, exercise a lot.
Those things are going to help that hormone issue, but might really make my adrenal stuff worse.
So I want to heed those recommendations first, and work our way on down.
So, to me it’s about a woman knowing, “Where am I at right now?”
We’ve got a quiz, we’ve got lots of stuff in the book to kinda help you figure that out. You can certainly get testing done, and knowing where you’re at now, and working with that physiology instead of so many things we want to do that end up working against us.
How to Avoid Burnout
Abel: What about you guys, this is shifting gears a little bit, but you’ve been creating content for a long time now on a consistent basis.
And one thing that’s starting to come up, especially as YouTube and podcasts kind of become mainstream, is this idea of burnout.
I’m personally interested in how you guys manage writing books, producing podcasts, making all this content, but also not losing your minds.
When do you tap the breaks? How do you manage all that?
Sarah Fragoso: Well, I can tell you, for me, it looks a whole lot different than it did 10 years ago.
And people ask me, “How do you do all that you do?”
My response is always, “I only do what you see me doing. That’s it. I’m not behind the scenes doing anymore than that.”
And really I have to be very authentic and real with my own priorities, and that’s the only way that the work that I do outside of that feels good or feels real.
So, before I felt like I owed it to my audience or to the world or whatever to just put as much out as I possibly could and have a rigorous schedule, and adhere to the algorithms and what it’s all supposed to look like.
And I was miserable. And I can’t go down that road again.
So, I feel like for me, success is how I show up in my life and I have to have my priorities straight; and it’s my family, and it always has been, but I definitely wasn’t nurturing that like I should have when I first started this game.
So, I have to be in a place and in a space where my own health doesn’t fall apart, where I feel like I’m nurturing my family first.
And then whatever else I can get done, I get done and it just is what it is.
There are times where I still have to push, like that’s the reality. Like finishing and launching a book.
I’m pushing a little bit more right now than I normally would, but I have a foundation now, right?
Like I know, okay, so maybe I won’t be as diligent in the gym and I might skip a meditation practice, or two during the week, but I’m not going to let my sleep go.
That’s a top priority for me. I’m going to stay on top of my nutrition because I know what it feels like for my hormones when I let that slide, and I’m at least going to get my walks in, because that I need for my psyche, right?
And I try to do some sort of mindfulness practice throughout the day, even if it’s not sitting for 10 minutes in actual meditation, which I love to do, and I try really hard not to skip that.
But there have been mornings where Brooke and I are like, “We have to record a podcast and I have to get up early.”
And it’s either get more sleep, which I need more than anything, or wake up early to meditate before that podcast.
So, I’m going to pick the one thing that I know in my foundation is going to serve me best.
There are times that are inevitable that we have to push in life, right? And maybe it’s not because those of you who are watching or listening are doing what we do, right? Maybe it’s because you have a deadline at work or you have a sick loved one, which I’m dealing with that right now, too.
Or you have a baby or you’re planning a wedding. Where, yeah, there are going to be those moments where things are a little extra crazy and stressful, but don’t let it all go, right?
What can you hold on to that you know will keep you committed to what works for you, which is our first pillar. Find and commit to what works for you.
Because so often what we do, especially when we’re not managing our stress, we’re like, we’ve got it all figured out, right? My diet’s working, my exercise plan is working and then a stressful event happens and we just lose it all.
It just all goes to hell, because we’re so hyper-focused on just getting through the day that we can’t.
It’s like unfeasible, “How the heck am I going to cook today?” There’s no way, right?
So really making those priorities… We talk about doing your top five.
What always bubbles up to the top of my top five is my own self-care, and making sure that my family is a priority.
Everything else is just going to happen as it’s going to happen.
Abel: Nice. Brooke, how about you?
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Yeah, we’ve learned these pillars the hard way.
We had to come to this book that we wanted to write about our nutrition philosophy and how we think women should train.
And we’re like, “We tell women this stuff all the time.”
And sometimes they can do it, but a lot of times they can’t, at least not for very long. Or they do it like we did it.
You did all the right stuff, but you were miserable and unhappy and unhealthy. So that’s why we created those pillars and we’ve been living from those.
Just recently, we had a major stress. Our book got printed and shipped with some errors on the cover.
And we were letting our community know here’s what happened, and they’re like, “Oh my gosh. How did you handle it?”
We’re like, “We had a really good low stress incident around it, because we have been practicing this stuff.”
And we were like, “What can we do? What can’t we do?”
And I think what Sarah was saying is a really kind of overarching message of our book and our work, which is, “Your best is totally good enough.”
You get to do what you can do, and we have to just let the rest go.
I would say, Sarah and I are the anti-gurus because we are not perfect.
We are not trying to put off that we’ve got it all figured out, but we’ve been living from this place with these pillars for like three years now.
And we can really say that, not only in the women we work with, but we’ve been practicing it for living here and as the stress is coming up, we’re able to get through it.
And yeah, we let ourselves off the hook if there is a time when we can’t keep up with the social media, and we’ve skipped a podcast.
I know you’re never supposed to take a week off, but some days we’re like, “You know what? This is as good as it’s going to get and maybe we’ll do two for people next week.” And this is what we’ve got.
And I think Sarah and I both really value the integrity of that, that if we’re not letting you guys know the real deal, that we are doing the best we can, as well, and we’re probably not serving any woman to make you guys think that we’ve got it all figured out. That we’re doing everything really well.
There are times when, like Sarah said, you need to push a little harder in work or you need to focus on your marriage, you need to focus on your family.
And you’re going to be the one who’s responsible for making that choice, right?
It’s going to come down to us knowing really clearly, this is what matters the most to me and not something I’m willing to sacrifice other things for, and be okay with as much as you get done, you get done.
The Difference Between a Guru and an Anti-Guru
Abel: How do you tell the difference between a guru and an anti-guru?
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Well, we always say that we’re not the only game in town.
We didn’t invent Paleo, we didn’t invent the Mediterranean Diet. Our diet is a bit of a hybrid of those.
We didn’t invent all of the research that this program is based on.
We put it together in a way that we think is going to be the most useful for you, but it is completely a template and we’re going to teach you how to customize it for you and know when you’ve hit the limit with this and you need to be like, “Maybe it’s time for me to do more fasting, or maybe I should be toying with keto, because my blood sugar is doing whatever.”
And for a woman to be able to say, “I can go through understanding what my hormones are telling me, go through this hierarchy and I can see right now that this is actually a strategy that could work for me.” Or, “I’ve learned enough from them, and I know right now this is not a strategy that’s going to land well for my hormones.”
So, I think that’s something that makes us really different is we know that we are not perfect, and then not everything we say is going to work for everyone.
And I think that’s why our book is so dense, because there’s so much customization and so many tools, even with the mindset stuff.
We talk about some of Sarah’s tools for stress management don’t work for me and vice versa.
So we gave a lot of information and a lot of tools. Because women are going to need to find what works for them, and then leave the rest.
Sarah Fragoso: And I want to answer that question, too, because I love that question about what is a guru and anti-guru, and I’ll just give a really brief answer.
I’ve thought about this, because this is something that we say, “We are the anti-gurus.”
And I feel like that’s a humbling statement, really, because I used to think I knew what was right for everyone.
I used to think that well, you are just not Paleo-ing hard enough, or cross fitting hard enough, right? That was my mindset because at the moment it was working so well for me.
But, dabbling in the health field for as long as I’ve been in it, and watching other people who are in the space, a guru always makes me feel worse about where I am right now, that I can’t achieve that standard of living.
Where the anti-gurus that I love and respect and admire, and especially in the mindfulness space, are people that come and sit with you and they are in the trenches with you.
And we talk about that in the book. We are still and not just have been, but we are still in it with you. And our lives aren’t magically easier because of this stuff.
We have just learned a really valuable way to navigate it and to not go back to that place where both of us were in a lot of trouble with our hormones.
So, not to say that neither of us have had health issues along the way, but it has been so much easier to bounce back from them because of the empowerment that we both have from this program that we’ve created.
So I want to be with you all, I don’t want to be up here telling you how you’re not doing it right. Because that just doesn’t feel good to me. I’ve been told that before, too. I used to be that way. And it is the antithesis of what actually works for not just women, but for everyone really.
Abel: Yeah, I love that, and I love how you guys are so open. I have been listening to your podcast, just getting ready to interview you and reading your book and all that.
I love that approach because it’s so important to have experienced some of the mistakes that people are making right now and are going through right now.
I personally hit rock bottom way earlier than a lot of my friends, genetically and just from fate and what my family handed down and what life presented. I hit rock bottom, and I’m really thankful for that now, and I’m pretty public about it.
I have pictures of me kind of at my worst, and puffiest, just all out there because you can’t avoid that.
I’d much rather try to learn along with someone who has tested the edges, and tried a bunch of different things.
I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, I tried all this stuff, and a lot of it didn’t work. And you learn so much by the things that don’t work, as long as you admit it, and then you can move on.
If you just sign up, it’s like, “I’m going to be a vegan forever.” Then you can never eat meat again, even if that is not working for you.
So, that is a big problem, right?
We all just need to be a little bit more generous with ourselves in terms of being like, “Alright, maybe we don’t have this all figured out. Maybe my guru doesn’t have this all figured out.”
And I think you guys do train each other to have the confidence to move through life as if we are our own gurus. That’s really what we all need. And raising kids, I’m sure that’s what you guys are after.
Sarah Fragoso: Yeah, 100 million percent. I love that you said we all need to be our own gurus, because that is so true.
At the end of the day, we are really the only ones that know ourselves from our heart to our physiology.
And like Brooke said earlier, we’ll go to a doctor and we know we feel like hot garbage.
When I first went to a doctor, when I had my huge crash 10 years ago now, the doctor was like, “Yeah, you probably need antidepressants.”
And at that moment, I was very tempted, because I’m like, “Yes, I’m just crazy.”
Not to minimize that. I think that anti-depressants are really useful tool for some people, absolutely, but that’s not what I needed in that moment.
She wasn’t willing to dig in with me and really hear what I was saying about my body and what I needed.
So we are all our own gurus, 100%, we just need the tools and the empowerment to be able to know what that means, what that looks like.
The Virtue in Self Care
Abel: What about, and this is so common, the idea and the pride in taking care of everybody else before yourself, and seeing that as a virtuous thing as opposed to a selfish thing. Can you walk us through that?
Sarah Fragoso: Oh my gosh, yes. I think for me, when I was in that space and I still tend to want to go back to that place.
It’s because I need to be heard, and I feel like if I put everyone’s needs in front of myself somehow saying it out loud is painful, but it’s my truth. Like somehow that is going to give me the recognition I am after.
Someone will finally pay attention to me if I let myself fall apart and put everyone else in front of me, right?
Then I’m going to get someone to finally pat me on the back and say, “Good job, Sarah.”
But guess what? The only person who’s going to do that is me. That’s it. I’m the only one who’s really going to ever give me what I need to be okay.
Abel: The only one who can.
Sarah Fragoso: Right. I’m responsible for my own happiness, and admitting that is a painful step for a lot of people.
And my relationship suffered because of that, big time, where I’m like, “It’s your fault that I’m not happy.” And, “Why aren’t you stepping up for me?” when I wasn’t stepping up for myself.
And we talk about that in great detail in the book. It’s not being selfish. Putting yourself first is the greatest act of love, truly.
Of course you can be selfish and narcissistic and a horrible, awful, evil person, but I guarantee you all the women who listen to that show aren’t that.
This is about really showing up for your life, which makes you so much more enjoyable to be around. Your loved ones will want you to be there for them way more when you’re actually happy, happy with yourself first. So, yeah, it’s tough.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Yeah. It’s hot in that water, like Sarah always says.
I’m not a man, so I don’t know exactly what you guys go through, but this does seem to be a plight of women to do it all and to feel the burden of being constantly overwhelmed and needing to excel in every single role. Whether that’s wife, daughter, friend, partner, mother, PTA President, employee, CEO. There’s a lot.
And I think we aren’t breaking out asking for help sometimes because we feel like that’s admitting a weakness, or there’s something wrong with us if we can’t do it all, or it’s not anyone else’s responsibility.
And so we do talk about setting your priorities, understanding where the value of doing that thing came from.
Sometimes we look at it and we’re like, “That’s a value I assigned to something when I was nine years old and maybe I don’t need to carry that now.”
Or, “That was really important to my mom, so I’ve kept it, but it doesn’t really fit anymore.” And being willing to let it go.
And I think too, when we talk about self-care, we hear a lot of women say things like, “Well this makes me a better mom. I need to work out so I’m a better mom.”
Or, “I need to workout so I’m a better wife” or whatever. And I don’t often hear men saying, “I need to golf so that I’m a better husband.”
For some reason, for women, our acts of self-care almost need to be justified so that we can fill these other roles better.
And I think it’s great when our self-care makes us better at the roles that are really important to us.
But I just really want women to hear, you just deserve to be taken care of because you deserve to be taken care of.
And it is our responsibility to do that as much as we can. But yeah, I find that such a funny dichotomy with men and women.
I don’t often hear my husband saying he’s going to the gym so he can be a better husband later. He goes to the gym because he goes to the gym, and nobody expects him to qualify that.
Abel: Yeah, that’s a really interesting distinction and we all need to realize that we’re in this state of conditioning that’s happened over the course of many, many decades.
Yet, if you’re in a married relationship or you’re in a partnership, it’s really a blank slate. You guys make the rules. And you realize that at some point.
It’s just like, I know that we’re coming to the table with all these gender roles and all this other stuff, but we can do whatever we want here.
And it’s really important for people in a relationship to give themselves, especially when you’re struggling, hungry and tired to take a step back and be like, “What would my perfect day look like?”
I think this was one of the best exercises ever. I don’t have my notebook right here, but just take a blank piece of paper and write, “What is the perfect day?” If I follow this, everything will be cool.
You’ve got to really know what that is.
For yourself, and that self-care, defining what you need and then once you have it, you have no option but to be cool after that. Because then you know it’s on you.
Once you start to take a little responsibility for that, the wheels start turning and you’re just like, “I’m totally bummed out right now. Oh, that is my fault. Let’s work on that.”
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: And then when you figure that out, be brave enough to share it. That’s why one of our other pillars is be who you are.
Unapologetically, if you know what you need and what will make you happy, be bold and brave and put it out there and live it.
Abel: And you guys probably aren’t good friends because of each other’s perfection. It’s because of each other’s faults that you get to share, right?
Sarah Fragoso: It’s so wonderful in a friendship—which is also a relationship, not just a romantic relationship—to be comfortable with being who you are. And to have the support of other women is invaluable in today’s society as a woman.
Because there is so much comparison and there’s so much, having to play the part the right way and be the best mom and the best wife and the best whatever.
And it’s really what brought Brooke and I together is, I don’t want to say our faults, but yeah, exactly.
There’s that, you’re very real. We’re real with ourselves. We were real with each other from the very beginning.
We’ve helped each other through a lot of really challenging times over the last few years that we’ve been working together without judgment, because the only judgment that we should really have is about our own behavior.
But I always say, too, even that needs to be without judgment. We need to look at ourselves in a way of just examining things.
Why am I behaving this way? Why did I react that way? What do I need to sit with for a minute?
This happened just today where I was scrambling to try and make it to the office to interview with you and Brooke, and I was taking my dog to the groomer and I had to write a newsletter for another influencer, and reach out to three other people, and I was behind with all of it.
And then my husband called me and asked me to do something, and I’m like, “No.” I lost it.
And then I’m like, “Wait.”
I called him back afterwards and I was like, “You did nothing wrong in asking me for something. It was how I reacted.”
And I had to sit with it and be like, “Here’s how I’m feeling. I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m running late. I’m feeling nervous, and I don’t know if the content I wrote today was good enough.”
And just saying those things and admitting where I felt weak and vulnerable. It’s hard.
It takes so much courage and bravery to retract from your reaction and be like, “That didn’t feel authentic.”
My husband didn’t know. He had no idea what was going on in my head. I was clear across town. He had no clue.
So to be able to go back and say, “Wow, I don’t feel good about how I reacted.”
I’m not judging it. I understand it, but I’m able to see it clearly versus before where I would just like keep going nautically throughout my day. So, yeah.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: I would say be curious instead of critical. If something didn’t make sense for you, or you’re never making it to the gym, or you’re reacting in a way, and we are so like, “What’s wrong with me? Why did I do that?”
So step away from that critical voice and just be like, “Okay, what’s going on? I was frazzled.” Or, “I didn’t get enough sleep.” Or, “I’ve got a lot on my plate and I wasn’t expressing what I need.”
I’m terrible at telling my husband what I need, but I’m really good at being mad when he doesn’t do it.
So, it’s on me to express that. So yeah, being curious of like, “Well, that expectation didn’t get met because I never said it.”
So, yeah. Being curious over critical is a much more helpful stance to take as we’re navigating all this stuff.
Abel: And just a deep breath, right?
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Yeah. Helps everything!
Quick Tips for a Better Life
Abel: We’re running up on time, but what are just some things that people can do, if they’re going to be inspired to take a little piece of blank paper and just write down some stuff to do tomorrow to make their lives better, what would you guys say?
Sarah Fragoso: Well, I’ll give a couple of my favorite tips. And I think, really, just working on being more able to notice, in the moment, how you’re feeling and how you’re reacting.
And I love that you said, “Take a deep breath.”
That’s one of our tangible tools is time-out breathing. And it’s so simple, it doesn’t take away from anything you’re doing right now, or add more to your plate.
But in that moment, make a commitment, tomorrow, to say, “Okay, I’m just going to pay more attention to how I am in the world tomorrow, throughout the day. I’m just going to show up and pay more attention.”
And when you notice that your heart rate is going up, that you’re feeling frazzled, that stress response is kicking in, that adrenaline is surging through your veins and you’re starting to get angry, or frazzled, or worried, or upset. Stop, and just notice, and then breathe.
Breathe in for a count of two, hold your breath for three or four seconds, and then breath out two times longer than you breathed in.
So, actually breathe in for more like a count of three or four, and then breathe out for a count of seven to eight. So, two times longer than you actually breathe in.
Do that three times. You can do it anywhere, you can be in the car, on the phone, in the grocery store, in line, at the bank, at work, in a meeting.
It’s such an easy thing to tap into your para-sympathetic, bring everything back down to baseline, stop that stress response and then you’ll have more clarity in that moment.
And it’s forgotten easily that that’s all we need to do in most moments, is just take a deep breath. We say it, but do we actually do it?
I like to practice this tool even when I’m not in a stressful situation, just as a reminder that I can always go back to my breath.
So, if I’m in the car for a moment and there isn’t any distraction, or I just think about it during the day, I go back to my breath and just remind myself, just be here.
So, that’s one thing I think people can take away from today that will help with everything.
Abel: Yeah, that’s powerful.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Well, I’ll do one that’s more hormone-related, since we’ve done so much mindset talk.
So, one of our really easy tools for two of your most important hormones. They’re not sexy, they’re not new, but dealing with cortisol and insulin and understanding what they’re telling you, you have so much power over those hormones.
It doesn’t always feel like we can control how much we’re stressing, how much sleep we’re getting, and what we eat, but those are areas where we can really make a real big difference.
These hormones talk to us all day. They give us feedback in real-time that you can actually change with your next meal, or by doing something like Sarah said with lowering your stress.
So, our system for understanding what those are telling you is ACES, so, appetite, cravings, energy, and sleep.
And paying attention to those variables immediately after you eat, within 30 minutes, it’s going to give you a lot of information about insulin.
So, if you’re cravings go up, your energy goes down, you need to take a look at that hormone.
If you’re getting low energy or sugar cravings between meals, that’s going to be a little bit more cortisol talking.
And for the last variable, the sleep, that’s a lot of cortisol talking. So, if you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep. So, we give a lot of those kind of systems to help.
Again, we really want women to know, “This is what my hormones are telling me,” and then hope to give you some tools to make changes to make those hormone messages better and put those things back in balance.
But that ACES acronym is so simple, and you don’t a blood test to do it.
You don’t need to adopt a new plan, you just need to kind of tune in and then you can make some really easy steps, in more protein, more veggies, maybe changing your meal timing slightly, getting a little more sleep, looking for some supplements that might help you sleep if that’s something that’s an issue.
Or looking at your sleep hygiene, or all of those things are going to affect those variables as soon as the next day, or maybe even later that day.
And so, that’s really powerful, but again, they’re not exciting. It’s not keto, it’s not fasting, it’s not the latest greatest workout. It’s kind of old school basics, but there is a lot of power in helping those hormones, because they have such a ripple effect.
So, if you’re a woman and you’re like, “I’m going through menopause, I don’t know if I need to pay attention to my cravings.”
Well, helping those hormones will have a ripple effect across thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, all of it.
Where to Find Sarah and Dr. Brooke
Abel: Right on. Well, Hangry is what it’s called. What’s the best place to get a hold of it, and what else are you guys working on?
Sarah Fragoso: Well, the best place to get a hold of it is just at our website, which is sarahanddrbrooke.com. There’s tons of information there.
And also, if you order the book right now, we have 17 amazing bonuses that we put together for people who order.
Abel: 17? !
Sarah Fragoso: I know.
Abel: You’re still over-achievers.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: I know.
Sarah Fragoso: True, very true. You caught us. Yes, I will take that on as a reality.
We put our heart and soul into this book, obviously, and into the bonuses, too.
They were actually really fun for us to put together. We were through the edits of the book, which was, as you know, one of the most challenging experiences of life.
Abel: I’m nauseous right now, just a little bit, thinking about it.
Sarah Fragoso: Just a little bit, right? Right, so, putting together those bonuses actually felt really good to both of us, to be like, “This is a different thing. Yay!”
Abel: Totally. I get that, I do the same thing. Not 17, though. You guys are crazy.
Sarah Fragoso: Well, because there’s two of us, we can do twice as much.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: That’s right.
Abel: That’s a good point. I’ll take that.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Yeah. We wanted to take a deeper dive, if you have a certain condition like PCOS or menopause. So, there’s webinars with me to go deeper.
And then, Sarah’s stuff was really how do we make it easier? How can you take this delicious recipe and turn it into four different meals?
So, there’s kind of tools on either end, all those acronyms, ACES, the ramp. All of the things we talk about the book are all in one PDF, so you can get a lot of good resources there.
And when the book comes out, we are going to run a free masterclass to help you out.
We know there’s a lot. And we had a hard time writing a book with so much stuff in it to hand to a woman who’s already feeling overwhelmed.
So, we want to make it as easy as possible. We really believe in the material, but we know you’re going to need some support, so we’re going to do a free masterclass just to kind of dig in a little deeper.
We’ll probably share some tools that aren’t even in the book and just kind of help women hit the ground running when this comes out.
Abel: And your podcast.
Sarah Fragoso: Oh, yes. We do that.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: We do that!
Abel: They do a great job. You guys should check that out, too. You guys have been doing it for how long now?
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Almost two years.
Sarah Fragoso: Two years.
Abel: Right on.
Sarah Fragoso: Yeah, so it was “Better Every Day with Sarah and Dr. Brooke,” now it’s “The Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show.”
Abel: Right on.
To all of you who are listening and watching, thank you so much. Their book is called Hangry.
And once again, thanks so much for joining us on the show, I really appreciate it.
Sarah Fragoso: Thank you so much for having us.
Dr. Brooke Kalanick: Yes, thank you.
Before You Go…
Here’s a review that just came in from DJ. He says…
“I’m a fairly new listener and have been scrolling through the past available episodes. So far every episode I have listened to has been very informative and interesting the whole way through. I think the hour time frame works well and Abel does a great job at letting the other individual/expert speak their point.
The follow up questions are concise and well prepared which all leads to maximum info obtained by the listener. This podcast has also let me to other great experts and doctors who believe in food, diet and lifestyle as paramount to great health.
I am a Type 1 Diabetic and use a lot of this info to improve my health and lifestyle. My wife has hypo-thyroid issues (Hashimotos) and I also take what I learn and discuss with her. Keep up the great work and thank you for doing this!”
DJ, I am so glad you found the show, and it’s so cool that you’re working with your wife, as well.
Part of this is really based around interacting with the people around you, and hopefully in a very positive and supportive way, and it sounds like you’ve got that.
It’s also great, too, and you raised this point.
One of the reasons I do this show isn’t to be like, “Hey, look at me, look at how great I am.”
It’s about, “Look at them. Look at how great these people are who I’m having on as guests, and following their work.”
Because yes, it’s scattered out there, and there’s more misinformation than ever, but there are also more great people with great knowledge than ever who are really trying to do the right thing, and being authentic.
And I do my best with not a 100% accuracy, but I do my best to find those people and bring them on the show.
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Now, you may have heard me, especially in the recent Ask Me Anything episodes, talk about the new book that I’m working on.
Well, it’s pretty much done. It’s called Designer Babies Still Get Scabies, and I’m just finishing up the audiobook.
Man, putting out a book is a bear, but I think you guys are going to like this one. It’s a book of mostly silly poetry and ridiculous rhymes. We’re gearing up to release it real soon.
And, you know, I partnered with a major publisher, got a major book deal in the past, but this time we’re self-publishing.
We’ll be doing a whole bunch of really fun giveaways, so make sure that you’re subscribed to our newsletter, so you don’t miss a thing. We’re working on a lot of cool stuff that you’ve never seen before, and can’t wait to share it with you.
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What did you think of this interview with Sarah Fragoso and Dr. Brooke Kalanick? Drop a note in the comments below!