“Eat green vegetables with every meal” with Jonathan Bailor

Wellness — Eat green vegetables with every meal… even if this means keeping a no-sugar-added powdered greens superfood drink in your car / bag for on the go. Easiest way to do this at restaurants is simply to tell your server: “Hold the starch, double the veggies.” As a part of our series about “How […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Wellness — Eat green vegetables with every meal… even if this means keeping a no-sugar-added powdered greens superfood drink in your car / bag for on the go. Easiest way to do this at restaurants is simply to tell your server: “Hold the starch, double the veggies.”

As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewingJonathan Bailor, CEO of SANESolution.com.

Jonathan Bailor is the Founder, CEO, and Chief Scientist of the world’s fastest growing metabolic healing and Diabesity treatment company SANESolution. He founded the field of Wellness Engineering and authored The New York Times best seller The Calorie Myth and The Setpoint Diet, starred in and produced the award-winning movie BETTER, has registered over 26 patents, has spoken at Fortune 100 companies and TED conferences for over a decade, and created the best-selling brain, gut, and hormone supplements Vitaae, Viscera-3, Luminae, and Aamia. His work has been endorsed and implemented by top doctors from Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, and UCLA. Jonathan lives outside Seattle with his wife, Angela, and daughters Aavia and Keirra.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Once upon a time there was a skinny, geeky little boy who wanted to be Superman.

He looked up to his big brother, a strong football player. He wanted to get those same big muscles so people would look up to him, too. Every night, he would sit at the dinner table with his football player brother and his super brainy professor parents, dreaming of the day he, too, would be tall and strong — a “big man.”

Yet as the birthdays came and went, he grew taller and lankier but not bigger and stronger. He tried everything to become big and strong — he read every book and magazine, he tried every exercise routine, he followed every meal plan available. He met with nefarious people to try pills, powders, and potions, all in hopes of finally becoming a “big man”, yet he was so discouraged when he looked in the mirror. He didn’t want to remain the skinny, geeky boy forever — he wanted to be Superman.

The kid read and studied, devouring health and fitness magazines and books, listening to big, strong men like his brother talk about how to get big and strong. To earn his way through college, he decided to put some of this hard-earned knowledge to work and try to help other people change their bodies as a personal trainer.

And every day he would eat more, trying to gain weight — to become bigger.

And every day he would ask his clients to eat less, so they could lose weight — to become smaller.

He worked up to 6,000 calories a day, not doing any cardiovascular exercise. And he would gain not one ounce.

At the same time, his clients would eat 1,600 calories and work out a half an hour a day. And they would lose not one ounce.

So he cut them down to 1,400 calories and increased their workout to an hour a day.

Then down to 1,200 calories and an hour and a half workout every day.

And still they would lose not one ounce.

The boy grew distraught — where could he go from here? Would he have to eat 7,000 calories — and his clients 700!?

With every calorie they cut, his clients felt more and more miserable — achy, angry, and even depressed. And the boy did, too. His heart was broken. He could not help himself. He could not help others. What was going wrong?

In his private moments of frustration, the boy blamed his clients. “If they could just eat less, they would lose weight — what’s their problem? They just need to try harder!”

One day, while he drank his sixth shot of calorie-packed olive oil of the afternoon, the truth revealed itself to him in a blinding flash: What if some big strong man somewhere was thinking the exact same thing about him? “If that skinny, geeky kid could just eat more, he would gain weight — what’s his problem? He just needs to try harder.”

The boy felt a tremendous sense of sadness and failure — how had he not seen the truth before? How had he been torturing his clients for years, subjecting them to restrictive diets and misery, all in the name of the exact same logic that wasn’t working for him? How could he have inflicted that same calorie-based brute force torment and heartache upon them?

His mission had been to help people feel healthier and better about themselves but all he was doing was making everyone — including himself — sicker and sadder.

He was overwhelmed with regret — and he was determined to make it right.

He went back to his professor parents to ask their advice. He told them about the countless hours he’d spent reading and studying and applying what he’d learned — yet he wasn’t able to help any of his clients, or even himself.

“Son,” they said, “remember what we taught you about any type of information: ‘Consider the source.’”

Either he had the wrong source of information, or the information itself was wrong, or both. The “truth” in which he’d placed all of his faith, the standard fitness industry tale of willpower-meets-calories-in-calories-out-meets-try-harder, clearly wasn’t the whole story — and might even be the wrong story all together.

His parents said, “Son, you and your clients are not suffering from an effort problem. You are all trying really hard. What you have is an information problem.”

So, the boy threw away everything that he knew, and started fresh. He drew upon his geeky roots, and began a new journey that took him deep into the foreign and little-traveled lands of jargon-packed scientific studies and mind-bending academic journal articles.

During his journey, the boy discovered that everything he’d ever been taught was gospel as a trainer was disproven in the scientific literature. Every single thing he thought he knew was wrong.

The more the boy read and the deeper he researched, the bigger the gap he found between what he had been taught and what the science said. He wandered into the depths of the human brain in neurobiology papers. He was dazzled by endocrinology, the delicate interplay of hundreds of hormones. He explored gastroenterology, the role the gut and digestive system have on health. He looked at any and every study that might help him answer the burning question: “Why can I eat 6,000 calories and never gain weight, while some eat 1,200 and never lose it? How can we all get the body we want without struggle and suffering?”

The boy was no longer interested in fighting against the body; he wanted to transform the body. He wanted to change the way the body processed calories all day, every day, automatically. He wanted to improve the system itself, rather than using barbaric supplementation or starvation to torture a system that wasn’t working correctly in the first place.

After more than 10 years, 10,000 pages of research, 1,300 scientific studies, and countless conversations with scientists, the boy emerged from his research journey reborn. The opinion-centered, willpower-driven, calorie-focused boy was now a science-centered, research-driven, food-focused man.

For the first time, this man realized a stark truth: He would never become Superman. His genes simply wouldn’t allow it. However, he also realized a truth that freed him and changed his life forever: While he might never become Superman, through modern eating and exercise science, he could become a super man, the very best version of the person he was born to be.

He had discovered an approach to burning fat, developing lean muscle, and optimizing health that turned calorie-counting upside down. He had found thousands of studies that proved the culprit was not the calories in the food, but the food itself.

Only high-quality, healing SANE foods could unclog the body’s metabolic sink, which had been jammed with low-quality, damaging, inSANE food-like products that were keeping people fat. Only SANE foods could sweep out the toxic inSANITY, regenerate cells, rebalance metabolic hormones and digestive bacteria, and make people healthy, lean, strong, and energetic again. Only large quantities of delicious, whole, healing SANE foods were powerful enough to reset the body’s entire system and allow the brain to get back to balancing calories automatically — just like it does in naturally slim people (like himself).

And once he knew this truth, the man could not wait to share it with the world. He recommitted his life to helping people achieve their weight loss goals with data and facts, rather than hurting them with fairy tales of starvation dieting and binge eating.

The boy never did become Superman. But by using all he learned, he had finally become a super man, the best possible version of the man he was born to be. And he now had a new mission, to teach others and to spread the word:

You can transform your body. You can enjoy an astounding level of vibrancy, love, and satisfaction in your life. You can eat more, not less — and you will get leaner and healthier in the process. You don’t have to suffer. You just need correct information.

You just need to go SANE — and then you will become super, too. And you and your body will truly live happily ever after.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Commit to trying and learning for 10,000 hours before “expecting” any meaningful positive results. Disappointment is the ultimate demotivator and it is 100% preventable by setting your expectations realistically. Focus on consistent excellence in the process of becoming a master and adding value to others… and allow the results to follow. Master the process. Detach from the results.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Once you realize that it is ONLY by not getting what you want that you end up receiving what you want, you become unshakable and unstoppable.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“People are disturbed not by things that happen, but by their opinions of the things that happen.” –Epictetus

Once I realized that every “good” or “bad” thing in my life is 100% “good” or “bad” because of my judgement of it, and that I control 100% of my judgements, I realized that I have 100% control over every experience in my life and through that found the empowerment and peace that has enabled everything else in my life.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Right now I am getting ready for the debut ofBETTER, a ground-breaking, transformative food documentary that examines a new, empowering, and unifying way of eating, thinking and living — perfect to ring in a new and more hopeful year. Beginning January 5, 2021, the movie will be available for pre-purchase with a full release on January 26, 2021. Endorsed by top medical doctors at Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins and The Mayo Clinic, and # 1 New York Times best-selling authors, BETTER attempts to put an end to all the diet wars with a scientifically-backed approach that ends all the confusing and conflicting diet information while curbing diabetes and obesity (Diabesity). It also features inspiring success stories along with intimate testimonials in the documentary by everyday Americans who have struggled with negative body image, vulnerability, feelings of inadequacy, and humiliation bring the movie to life in all too relatable ways.

The film was shot on-location at Harvard Medical School with Dr. David Ludwig, author of The New York Times best-seller Always Hungry, Dr. JoAnn Manson, Dr. Kirsten Davison, and Dr. John Ratey.

BETTER offers a proven path toward better living through revolutionary methods that lower the body weight “setpoint” using simple, evidence-based solutions that anyone can use to optimize their diet (e.g., keto, vegan, paleo, kosher, halal, etc.) and to prevent and reverse many of today’s most common diseases.

Now more than ever everyone is in desperate need of a proven, practical, and simple way to protect their mental and physical health. BETTER is not just a food documentary, nor is it just a story of one man’s journey to dietary excellence, it is a story of hope, empowerment, protection, and betterment by every means necessary.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

The results you consistently get in life are 100% dictated by the actions you take consistently in life. The actions you take consistently in life are 100% dictated by your habits. Therefore, your habits 100% dictate the results you consistently get in life.

The easiest example of this is your setpoint weight, or the level of fat your body fights to maintain regardless of how much you eat or how little you exercise. If you have sane eating habits, you will not struggle with your weight… ever. If everyday you have to “try” and “decide” to not eat toxic processed foods and “will” your way to eating veggies, protein, and healthy fats, you will always struggle with your weight. To the extent that healthful eating is simply a habit, a healthy weight is automatic, consistent, and effortless. This is also why diets can’t work. They are by definition not a habit and therefore not sustainable. This is also why “hacking” never works… it is by definition not a habit and therefore not sustainable.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Literally everything in my life is a habit… or as I call it a system. Everything that can be “automated” by habits must be if you want to have any mental or physical energy left to make the world a better place. Life and business are complicated enough. You must simplify everywhere you can and habits are the ultimate simplify. That said, you must always be on the lookout to deliberately improve your habits as “bad” habits are as destructive as “good” habits are productive. Habits are a force multiplier. If they are “good” you get lots of “good” in your life… and vice versa.

What I eat every day is a habit. When I spend time with my family is a habit. When I call my remote family is a habit. When I schedule meetings is a habit. I have a habit of making habits and I think that habit has worked out really well.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

Develop a deeper why. Two examples: How is it that when a female smoker finds out she is pregnant she is “instantly” able to break the bad habit of smoking? A deeper why.

How is it that Kosher and Halal individuals can easily avoid foods others find irresistible? A deeper why.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

Wellness — Eat green vegetables with every meal… even if this means keeping a no-sugar-added powdered greens superfood drink in your car / bag for on the go. Easiest way to do this at restaurants is simply to tell your server: “Hold the starch, double the veggies.”

Performance — Go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day… ensuring you get 7–8 hours of sleep. If you have a “can’t sleep”, take ⅓ of an OTC sleep aid… they are far less risky than melatonin. Please don’t take melatonin. It will compromise your body’s natural ability to produce melatonin and therefore really make you unable to sleep once you stop taking it.

Focus — On Sunday, write down 3 “big rocks” that would be a stretch but that you honestly think you could accomplish by the end of day the following Saturday. These are things which if done that week would cause you to wake up the next Sunday and say “Damn! That was a really productive week”. Schedule time every day to work on those big rocks and treat that time as scared. It’s not a “fake meeting” you put on your calendar. It is an immovable appointment. I remember that when I was at Microsoft everyone always was fine to schedule hours of “talk” meetings, but ask someone to do work for 1 hour straight and wow… it was like asking someone to cut off their arm. Talking is great and necessary. Meetings are great and necessary. Actually doing focused work is also great and necessary. Make sure they all receive the sacred treatment they deserve.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

Don’t make your “point” until you restate the other person’s point accurately enough for them to say “that’s right” or something like that. Thank you to Chris Voss and Stephen Covey for this one. It is far easier to be heard after you hear the person you are talking with.

Understand that you are responsible for all the results you are getting. Whether or not this is actually true, believing works better than not believing it because if you aren’t responsible for all the results you are getting, what power can you possibly have to get better results? Example: Someone doesn’t get back to you who said they would. You could think: “they are a jerk, whatever” and you could also think “I missed the shot, period… here’s what I could have done differently and will try next time.”

Take on the mindset of “Done. Next.” (credit: Tim Gover) Do the work. Do it with excellence. Focus deliberately on getting better over time. Forget about the bullshit. Forget about sharing your opinions. Work smart. Work hard. Do that consistently. And “luck” will find you and you will be pleased.

Here’s an example… someone says they want to learn the piano. They then spend a bunch of money on piano stuff. They read a bunch of blogs on piano playing. They talk with a lot of people about their opinions about piano playing. And on and on and on. The one thing they don’t do… sit at the piano for hours each day, every day, and do the work.

Another example… someone wants to get fit. They listen to 800 podcasts. Hire 15 personal trainers. Buy 40 books. Talk for HOURS. The one thing not done… eat a lot of vegetables every day consistently. Do the work.

“But how do I do it?!?!” “How do I get started?!” … Answer that question with another question “How have you done or started anything else in your lif?.” You just did it. Just do something. If it doesn’t bring you closer to your goal, do something else. If it does, keep doing it until it doesn’t. Repeat. There is no secret. That is the secret. Consistent deliberate ACTION is the secret. Everything else is basically masturbation… it feels good while you are doing… but that’s it.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

This is a wild generalization, and the spirit of it is 100% true: Stop listening to nonsense and become addicted to excellent audio books. A book is the best 1% from a really smart person. Listen to audiobooks whenever you can and stop listening to anything else. Audiobooks are health foods for your mind and everything else is mental junk food.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

People often try to pursue Flow- that’s impossible. Flow ensues from ensuring that your healthy and well rested mind and body are put in a context where they can shine. When you do this, you can be in flow while you shower or wash the dishes as the only real requirement of flow is that you are fully engaged in what you are doing. Think of meditation… this is arguably the optimal flow state and the meditator is doing “nothing.” Do the work. Sleep. Eat well. Love and empower those around you. Be the type of person who you’d want your kids to be… and do that consistently and watch as every aspect of your life “magically” becomes flow.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Be excellent. Why not? Seriously. Why not do whatever you are going to do with excellence and even more excellently next time? What is the alternative? Don’t try? At every moment we are consciously or unconsciously choosing between excellent and apathy… there is no middle ground. How could happiness or anything positive ever be expected to result from apathy. Excellence is possible for all of us… we simply have to choose it and act on it.

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, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Oprah Winfrey. A poor black woman who was raped as a child chose to become one of if not the most positively influential people in the world… and has done so SO consistently. If circumstances determined outcome, Oprah shouldn’t have been possible. She is godlike in her demonstration of the following quote and if I could hug and thank her in person for doing so, that would be a pleasure.

· “People are not the creature of circumstances; circumstances are the creatures of people.” — Benjamin Disraeli

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Follow Nathan Bailor at: Home BETTERMovie SANESolution

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.