I’d like to end limiting beliefs as they pertain to healthy aging. We are an ageist society, but yet I see consummate examples every day of women and men not only living their best lives but thriving in their 30’s and beyond. Teaching people to honor and love their bodies throughout their lifetime.
I had the pleasure to interview Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner, Nutritionist, Co-host of Everyday Wellness, Co-author of Primal Eating, Wife and Mom!
Cynthia has more than 20 years of experience in traditional medical practices. She’s a TED Talk Speaker, with over 3.8 million views of her Intermittent Fasting Talk and is a frequent thought leader on podcast and morning shows speaking on intermittent fasting, hormonal health, fat loss, self-care, the power of nutrition, carb cycling, adaptogenic herbs and digestive health and more.
Cynthia Thurlow, LLC is a business designed to support hormonal health throughout our lifetime!
Thank you so much for doing this with us Cynthia! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Well, I’ve been a nurse practitioner for nearly 20 years and have always prioritized health and fitness as a rule, but it became a larger priority when I had children. I have all boys…and when my oldest was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies, it shifted my perspective profoundly. I suddenly became less interested in writing prescriptions and more interested in nutrition and its’ impact on our health. I started a quest to better understand how our food can be our greatest supporter of health and vitality instead of (potentially) our greatest detriment.
The more that I understood how our food is grown and produced, the more I questioned dogma.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Probably leaving clinical medicine 3 years ago to become an entrepreneur! I literally left a 6-figure job to focus on nutrition and wellness FIRST and thus left scriptwriting to my colleagues! It has been one of the BEST decisions I have ever made…I love what I do! Empowering, inspiring and educating men and women.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Gosh, probably assuming that people weren’t really ready to make significant changes…I may not have pushed them hard enough — it taught me that I need to be more attuned to cues with my patients and clients. In terms of readiness for change…some people are ready to do it all and others are slow and steady. It just needs to be sustainable. That’s key.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
Well, I’m a nurse practitioner and nutritionist who’s been leading the path for years. I am a recognized intermittent fasting expert (cue the viral TEDx talk from earlier this year). I prioritize leading by example; I’m easily 15 years younger by how well I take care of myself, mentally, physically and spiritually.
I have a unique combination of clinical experience in cardiology, functional nutrition training, and an in-depth understanding of female hormonal health. Together this allows me to develop a highly personalized plan to help my patients achieve their wellness goals through, primarily, changes to what and when they eat! An additional benefit of my 20 years of medical training is that I can remain attuned to health-related issues as they arise.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are really so many people I’m indebted to along my path…I would say that I have a male physician friend who kept supporting my desire to leave clinical medicine and shared with me that the Universe/God would let me know when I was ready to let go of my ego and just FLY. I’m glad I took that leap of faith, but then also my husband, who passionately supported me when it was beyond his comprehension that I would leave a successful career to take a different path. He’s my biggest supporter, I love him so much!
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
- Lack of understanding of how these changes can impact their lives
- Inability to “see the big picture” (ex: what are the benefits, what are the short term changes they need to make)
All three can be present, but I typically see a combination of each that impact lifestyle changes or the inability to make changes
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Intermittent fasting/”IF”: Our bodies are designed to be fueled and then spend time digesting. In our over harried existences and constant snacking, we have lost sight of how our bodies are supposed to be. IF is an incredible way to harness key benefits like autophagy (spring cleaning of our cells), improved biophysical profile markers (blood pressure, glucose, etc) and improve mental clarity (lowered insulin). Win! Win!
- Sleep: We need to be deliberate about seven-eight hours of the night of high-quality sleep in a cold/darkroom; getting off electronics 60 minutes before bed and really creating sleep hygiene as a priority. Better sleep improves our blood sugar and taps into human growth hormone secretion, which is highest at night
- More fats: We have been so fat phobic, as a society, for far too many years, but fats keep us satiated, light up our tastebuds and make food taste good, as well as supporting healthy hormones and cushioning joints. These should be included with all our meals (great examples: avocado, coconut oil, grass-fed butter/ghee, nuts, seeds, etc)
- Meditation: Taking even 10 minutes daily to clear your mind and really tapping into the rest and repose sides of our brains is critical for lasting mental benefits
- Light exposure: First thing in the morning helps reset our Circadian rhythms and tells our bodies it is time to wake up and get moving. It helps support healthy Vitamin D synthesis, which is crucial for our health
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
- Release of endorphins-these feel-good hormones really has a huge net impact on your mood and how you perceive the world!
- Improves satiety: we are more attuned to hunger and being full cues
- Strength training helps us build skeletal muscle, which we lose with age and can help us burn calories long after we have finished our sessions. It also helps build stronger bones
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
- Golden Milk or turmeric tea: The powerful anti-inflammatory benefits are undeniable and it tastes great, too! Turmeric and black pepper together really potentiate (improve) these benefits
- Foam rolling: It is usually fascia inflammation that sets the stage for creating discomfort by using this technique, it will shorten recovery time
- Magnesium soaks: We are all magnesium depleted, but a soak with magnesium flakes, baking soda and borax goes a long way with improving how you feel and sleep
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
Right now, I’m probably more low carb/nearly ketogenic. I had a serious illness earlier this year and am lower fiber than I used to be. I really focus on protein/healthy fats and then some lower carb vegetable options. These choices fuel me for my workouts and allow me to have a better digestive process.
I don’t ascribe to a “one size fits all philosophy” as it pertains to nutrition. I do encourage my patients/clients to follow an anti-inflammatory diet that we personalize based on diagnostic testing and then adapt based on their preferences. Generally speaking, gluten and dairy are out. Lots of protein/veggies are in!
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Yes, “Unhealthy Truth,” by Robin O’Brien changed my life! It forced me to entertain the concept that our food industry is adulterated and based more on profits than safety and health. I was so upset when I read the book that I could only process it in short spurts.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Ending limiting beliefs as they pertain to healthy aging. We are an ageist society, but yet I see consummate examples every day of women and men not only living their best lives but thriving in their 30’s and beyond. Teaching people to honor and love their bodies throughout their lifetime.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else” — PT Barnum
This stresses the need to be unique and proud of your own gifts to the world…your mission, what you stand for, etc.
Well, I have taken a few “paths less traveled” turns in my life by leaving clinical medicine, pursuing being an entrepreneur and then really cultivating a movement and mission to help with hormonal health is definitely a departure from what my peers and friends are doing at this stage of life — I’m a trailblazer, disrupter and I wear all those titles with pride.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Lisa Nichols. She’s a prolific writer, author and inspirational speaker…I think she’s brilliant and her stories of overcoming adversity are with me everyday.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success in your great work!