Interview with Kara Halderman, Nutrition Therapy Practitioner, chatting about the process of sorting through fear and guilt when you “fall off the wagon” and how to change the story to create positivity and acceptance for your body.
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
SHOW NOTES + LINKS
- Feel awesome on your keto diet with The Keto Bundle
- Try my free 7-day keto meal plan
- Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app
- More from Kara on motivation and getting back on track
- Listen to Kara’s podcast, Low-Carb Conversations
- Get the book, Zero Limits
- How to keep your health as a priority (12:32)
- Alternatives to the fear and guilt that comes when you “fall off the wagon” (19:09)
- How to deal with the fear of missing out (30:06)
PARTNERS OF THE KETO DIET PODCAST
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TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE
Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to episode number 40 of The Keto Diet Podcast. Today we’re chatting about how to keep your health as a priority, alternatives to the fear and guilt that comes when you fall off the wagon, and how to deal with the fear of missing out. So stay tuned.
Hey, I’m Leanne from Healthfulpursuit.com and this is The Keto Diet Podcast where we’re busting the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar burning state to becoming fat burning machines. All listeners of the podcast receive a free seven-day keto meal plan complete with a shopping list and everything you need to chow down on keto for seven whole days. Download your free copy at healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. The link will also be in the show notes for today’s episode… perfect if your daily keto meals have become a bit lackluster, if you’re new to keto and a bit lost when it comes to eating what and how much, or thrive on being guided on what to do and when to do it. Again, that’s healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. Let’s get this party started.
Hey guys. Happy Sunday. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e40. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode. So if you head on over to healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e40, we’ll include all the resources and links that our guests and I chat about today. Let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
This show is partnered up with Paleovalley, the makers of the only 100% grass-fed and finished fermented beef stick. Each stick contains one billion probiotic CFUs. We all know how important fermented foods are to the health of our gut and the strength of our immune system, especially during cold and flu season, as well as boosting our energy throughout the winter months. Chowing down on Paleovalley’s fermented beef sticks provides your body with all of the beneficial bacteria it loves in one convenient little beef stick. Their gut-friendly sticks are gluten free, soy free, dairy free, GMO free, freaky chemical, additives, dye and preservative free, as well as being 100% free from carbs and sugar and made with the highest quality ingredients. Exclusive to listeners of the show, receive instant savings of 20% off Paleovalley fermented beef stick snacks by going to Paleovalley.com/keto. And if your jaw is just tired thinking about beef jerky, it’s worth noting that these tasty treats are not tough at all, but moist with a little snap. The summer sausage flavor even tastes like those hickory summer sausages but without the gunk… seriously delicious. Again, that’s Paleovalley.com/keto for an instant 20% off savings.
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Our guest today, her name is Kara Halderman, and she is a nutrition therapy practitioner, podcaster, and advocate for optimal nutrition. As a kid, she was fed the standard American diet, resulting in persistent illnesses and chronic antibiotic use. Getting older, problems escalated as she had to leave university and her dream of a chemical engineer at the age of 19 to dedicate herself to healing from several duodenal ulcers and years of malnutrition.
After opting a paleo template, her life took a complete 180, and her passion resides in educating young women about the importance of proper nutrition through social media, her practice, and her podcast Low-Carb Conversations.
The podcast today with Kara was so great. I always enjoy chatting with her, and we always have a good time. I hope you have a good time listening to the recording as well. We covered a lot of ground, and I think the main takeaway here is that food is just food, and I think we put a lot of power into the food that we do or do not eat, and we put a lot of possession in the things that don’t necessarily require possession, and we can kind of make ourselves crazy by obsessing over health almost too much. There’s a fine line, and Kara and I dance on the edge of that line to try to determine how to figure out what foods make you feel good, and how to set up non-negotiable foods without creating binge tendencies toward foods that you “shouldn’t have.” I think, overall, hopefully you’ll leave this episode feeling better about your choices and feeling like you are provided with tips and strategies to overcome those feelings of when you get “off track” that you can kind of look of things in a different way, boost up your mental clarity, as well as your attitude toward things and hit the ground running. So, without further ado, let’s cut over to the interview.
Hey Kara. How’s it going?
Kara Halderman: Hey Leanne. It’s going good. I just woke up a couple hours ago, so feeling fresh and ready for the podcast today.
Leanne Vogel: Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to party.
Kara Halderman: Oh yeah. I am so ready. I’ve never heard that. I like that.
Leanne Vogel: Really? See, it’s because I’m old. We were just talking about this… the difference of years.
Kara Halderman: I was telling you, you’re not old. Not old at all.
Leanne Vogel: That’s amazing. I think it’s supposed to bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but I changed wide-eyed because … I don’t know. I think it’s better. I say it all the time. It reminds me of a little squirrel. In fact, there was a squirrel hiding in our garage the other day. He had set up camp in our little garage, and I saved his life because I put him outside.
Kara Halderman: No way.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. I had to wear gloves because I was afraid he would bite me and then I would get rabies or something, but-
Kara Halderman: Oh my gosh.
Leanne Vogel: No, he didn’t look like he had rabies, but … Yeah, I saved him. He was all wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the day, and I was like, “Dude, you can’t live in here. You need to go find your family.” He was really cute.
Kara Halderman: Poor squirrel. Yeah dude… you can’t live in here.
Leanne Vogel: I know, right?
Kara Halderman: But okay. I get it now. That’s where the saying comes from.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. It’s got to be squirrels because they’re always ready to go in the morning. I don’t know.
For listeners that may not be familiar with your work, why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Kara Halderman: Sure! Hi… I am Kara Halderman. I am a 22-year-old girl that lives in Dallas, Texas, well, I’m really just from all over Texas. For some reason I’ve lived in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Beaumont, everywhere pretty much. I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner as well. I just graduated in June, this early June, and that was a really exciting moment for me. So, I’m also a podcaster. I do have a podcast called Low Carb Conversations, and all this is so new to me, and it’s so exciting because I’m finally achieving all the things that I wanted to do for so long.
I got into all of this because I’d really not been very well for the majority of my life. My parents and I kind of joke around that I was sick from the womb because as a baby, I constantly had fevers. I was not breastfed, and I was fed a bunch of formula, and I always had stomach problems, always throwing up formula, throwing up food, couldn’t keep anything down, constantly sick, and this just kind of manifested throughout my life.
In high school, I had chronic sinus infections, mono. I was just tired all the time, and I really couldn’t hang out with my friends as much as I wanted to, and this even got worse in college.
In college, I spent most of my time in my dorm room watching Netflix, sleeping, while my friends were out partying, having a good time, and I was not just because I was exhausted all the time, but I also didn’t eat very well.
I ate the standard American diet. Your typical teenage foods. Ramen, sweets, soda – I was a Coca-Cola addict. I think I would drink three or four bottles a day that maybe, I don’t know, I think that’s a lot, but I hear people are drinking more now, which is scary. But, I never had a good grasp on nutrition, and I never really planned to either.
In college one day, I just kind of woke up, and I couldn’t stomach food anymore. It was very random and sporadic. I ate a Larabar one day because I thought those were super healthy, and they are a good choice, better choices, but I ate a Larabar one day. I felt so nauseous and so sick, and I couldn’t keep it down. And then, ever since that moment, I could not keep any more food down. It was very bizarre, and it got to the point where I lost 30 pounds. I was sickly looking, and I couldn’t take care of myself. I was having a lot of anxiety and more sinus infections, and my immune system had just completely blown up, and I had to drop out of college. I was going for chemical engineering, but I had to drop out of school, and I had to move back home, back in with my parents and get a bunch of testing done and figure out what was going on.
This was really devastating to me. As a 19-year-old college girl, I just wanted to fit in. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to have fun, and I couldn’t do that. I was stuck at home with no friends, just constantly worried about my health, and no 19 or 20-year-old should have to be in that position. I finally figured out, after seeing a bunch of doctors, I had 30 duodenal ulcers, which is in the small intestine, and that kind of changed my life. I didn’t know how that got there. My doctors told me, “Well, you may or may not have celiac. You may or may not have h. pylori, and you may just have a bunch of stomach acid. So, here. Take this Nexium, these acid blockers, and you’ll be good to go.”
I did that. Everything was a lot worse, and I just kept wondering, “What’s going on? Why are these drugs not working for me?” One day, I was Googling, and stumbled across the paleo diet and actually came across Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain blog, and she had ulcerative colitis, so I was so fascinated by what she was doing, and I decided to take it on. Within a couple days, I had no more stomach pain. I just felt a lot more energized, and I could eat a lot more foods because for a while, I was eating lentil soup from a can for six months straight because that’s all I could stomach. It was not a good life to live, let me tell you.
Then the ball just kind of rolled from there. I started healing, and it took me about a year to really heal my gut. I started seeing a lot more natural practitioners like applied kinesiology practitioners in the chiropractic realm. They really helped me. And naturopathic doctors, and then I just became obsessed basically with health and nutrition, and I knew that this was something I had to do with my life. I am still dealing with a lot of health things to this day because when you have 20 years of really just treating your body poorly and not feeding it the way that it should be for the first 20 years of your life, you’re still going to have a lot of work to do, but I’ve come such a long way. I’ve learned so much, and I’m really grateful for this experience.
Leanne Vogel: Wow. I had no idea that this was your … Thank you so much for sharing your story. We chatted for, I don’t know, maybe the last year. We got to meet on the book tour in real life, and that was so cool, but I didn’t know that that was your experience. So thanks so much for sharing that.
Kara Halderman: You’re welcome.
Leanne Vogel: How do you … Okay, so you’ve gone from what you would consider to be pretty sick to now being really passionate about health and trying to do your body right. How do you handle, and this is really what we wanted to talk about today … How do you handle staying “committed” when your health is on the line, like you know that if you have certain things, you’re going to feel progressively worse quite quickly. How do you manage that?
Kara Halderman: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Yeah. That is really difficult, and I feel like that is what a lot of people struggle with, and I have to be completely honest. I still struggle with it to this day, but I feel like I’ve gotten to a lot better place in my life.
In the very beginning, my health truly was on the line. I could not keep food down. If I was not eating, then you can’t live, so I had to get very serious and be like, “Okay. I’m buckling down here. I’m eating strict paleo because this is my health that’s on the line.” I did that, but as I got better, and as I started to improve, I started to “slip” a little bit because I realized, “Wow, my stomach is better. I can handle all these foods.” So I strayed away from paleo. I started drinking a lot of alcohol again because I could tolerate it, and I just wanted to fit in, so I started drinking a lot of alcohol and eating fast food again. Sometimes I would dabble in eating gluten again, even when I knew this was not right for my body, and it was really difficult. Being 22 years old, you do just want to fit in, but you do have to see the bigger picture, and you have to get your “why” back in check.
For some reason, we all … We don’t take action until something really bad happens to us, for some reason. I don’t know, that’s just the way humans work, and that is what works for me for some reason. So, like I said, in the beginning, I had all these stomach problems. My life was on the line. I had to get back on track, and then I slipped, and like I said, I dabbled in a bunch of alcohol and fast food and gluten again, and then my health really started to slip again. I gained a whole bunch of weight back. My hormones were all over the place. My gut was a wreck, and I realized, wow, I did this again to myself by slipping up and giving in and just not holding my ground. I did this again. I created a sick person again, and I’m really just trying to not break, not continue that cycle of giving in to society because I want to fit in, and then making myself sick again because I’m really passionate about “you don’t have to trash your body to be cool.”
It’s something I really want to get across to younger people and older women as well, but mainly the younger generation within their 20’s to 30’s. I just want them to know you don’t have to trash your body with alcohol and fast food and giving in to pressures of being with your friends to be cool, and that being healthy IS cool. I don’t know if that even answered the question… I go off on tangents a lot if you follow me on Instagram. I have a lot of tangents. I don’t know if that answered the question, but that was just a rant.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. Totally, and I think to reiterate, you’re making your health a priority by seeing it as something that’s important, and I think your point of wanting to fit in, so making choices based on experience as opposed to what feels good in your body. I can think back to when I was first diagnosed with, well, it wasn’t celiac disease. The doctor just said, “You probably have celiac disease, you should probably stop eating gluten.” And so, I didn’t want to get the test for it at the time. It was too expensive for me to do. I was a young kid, still in high school, and I was living on my own, and it just wasn’t an option, and so when I would go to work, and people would be like, “Come on. Just have this sandwich and be part of the team.” And “What’s wrong with you?” There was a lot of pressure also, and this fear, like fear of missing out, which now I know that FOMO is what people say. The cool kids say FOMO.
There’s this huge culture around … Especially, I find when I was meeting with clients – Texas, I don’t know, all my clients in Texas – I don’t know what it was, they said like work culture there… it was just really hard to not have the foods that are “bad” for your body. There’s so much pressure of … It’s almost like this unsaid thing of just like, “You eat with the team, and you go out and you eat what everyone else is eating.” And then people won’t even say that you’re a freak or anything if you’re eating different, but you don’t want to do it because you’re afraid that you might not get that promotion or that people will think that you’re weird. So there’s so much culture around the fact that you just eat what everyone else is eating, and that you have this fear around handling that in a way that feels right to you.
More on my interview with Kara Halderman after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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Leanne Vogel: Tell us a little bit about the guilt and the negative feelings associated when, say we’re getting back on track, and do these things hinder people from taking steps to do that?
Kara Halderman: Right. So, I do think the term “getting back on track” in itself can be beneficial to some people and can hurt some people. First of all, you need to establish what kind of person you are. Are you somebody that is going to be triggered by the term “getting back on track”? Meaning, does that make you feel guilty in some way? Does that make you feel like you’ve done something wrong? That’s really important to establish, and if the answer is no, if you’re like, “Nope. That just means that I’m improving my health. I’m getting back on track,” then great! Go for it. Start getting back on track. Start eating healthier, but if you’re somebody that starts to feel, like I said, a little bit guilty from saying, “Oh this starts tomorrow,” or “I’m getting back on track tomorrow,” then I think it’s really important to dig a little bit deeper as to why you have those feelings of guilt around the term “getting back on track.” I think getting back on track really should start in the mind and not in the stomach. You have to address if you are mentally prepared to even “get back on track” with a diet because to me, from my personal experience, getting back on track really feeds into the diet culture and diet mentality, and that’s all centered around fear, unfortunately. They want you to be off track so you can buy their book, buy their workout programs, all of that. So that’s why they kind of created these terms… “get back on track with the keto diet” or “get back on track with paleo or vegetarianism or veganism” but really you just need to figure out what works for you.
For me, with all my health problems, I did develop a lot of disordered eating, and I did develop binge eating tendencies. It was very triggering for me when I would tell myself that I need to get back on track because I really just had these feelings of no self-worth, that I was doing everything wrong, and that pretty much made me want to binge even more when I told myself that I needed to get back on track. So it was like, “Oh, it starts tomorrow, so I’m going to eat everything right now. Everything that’s in my pantry, I’m going to eat it right now.” That really was very destructive. So now, I’ve just completely eliminated the track. There is no getting back on track for me. I just have a very detailed list of non-negotiables, and I think that’s very important.
The non-negotiables for me are: I don’t eat gluten, I don’t eat dairy, I don’t eat fast foods, processed foods and a lot of other things as well, and those are things that I pretty much will never give in to. You have to make sure that you can actually never give in to those things because, for a lot of people, saying “never” is once again triggering. If you say, “Oh I’m never going to do this” then you definitely want to give in, and you want to do it. But for me, these were things that were necessary to my health, and I’m never going to give in to those things.
I have this really defined set of non-negotiables, but everything else to me is negotiable. So if I want to eat fruit every now and then, I have to check in with myself and address to myself, “Okay, why do I want to eat fruit? Is this a sugar craving? Am I feeling emotional for some reason?” Because for me, sugar is also a little bit triggering, even from fruit. So I have to check with myself a lot to make sure that I’m not doing this for, not wrong reasons, but I’m not doing this from an emotional standpoint.
That has actually given me a lot more freedom. Instead of just defining myself to a certain track, saying, “Okay, I’m hopping back on track to being keto.” That was very triggering, and it did not contribute to a healthy relationship with food for me, so I just eliminated the track, gave myself some really strict non-negotiables, and everything from there is really case-dependent.
Leanne Vogel: That’s awesome, and getting back on track can also be referred to as getting back on the wagon.
Kara Halderman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Leanne Vogel: And something that I’ve noticed, especially when you feel like you’re off the track or out of the wagon or whatever you want to say, is that a lot of people own their label, and what I mean by that is when I had an eating disorder, I always labeled it as MY eating disorder. You notice if somebody has cancer, they’ll say, “my cancer,” and I think it really puts more power into something that it doesn’t require. And so when you talk about … I always try, and some people might notice this in podcasts and YouTube videos when I’m making stuff, I never announce it as being mine, and I feel like that takes the power out of it. I’ll very rarely say “my eating disorder” because then it puts too much power into it, and I notice that when people are “off track” or they’ve fallen off the wagon, they put a lot of possession into this experience. Like, “my failure” or “my eating sucks,” or they put too much power behind that by making it “theirs.”
I’d love to ask you a question on how you developed your non-negotiables. For me, my non-negotiables are strictly because when I eat them they make me feel bad. Like dairy and gluten. Those are pretty much my only non-negotiables because, like what you said, if I say, “Don’t eat candy.” Oh girl, I’m going to eat all the candy. I just can’t. I can’t put that as a non-negotiable. Where do you define the line between non-negotiable and just things that don’t make you feel good? Or is that the same thing?
Kara Halderman: So, for me, my non-negotiables are things that I know are completely detrimental to my health. Like if I eat them, I will instantly … I will totally regret it. It is just really going to mess everything up for me, and that is, for me, gluten, dairy, and really refined sugary things, like the refined sugar in soda and candy, like the corn syrups and stuff like that. Those are my total non-negotiables because I know if I eat them, I will go absolutely crazy, like mentally, physically. It’s just not pretty for me or for anybody else.
The rest, they really are just case-dependent for me, so I don’t put anything else really off limits unless I am having a really big health struggle, so I have to assess for myself what is my health right now? What am I trying to achieve with my health? I never ask myself this question around weight either because my weight has changed a lot throughout my life with fluctuating hormones and these stomach issues as well, so I don’t want to address weight anymore, but I asked myself, “What is my health at?” And if it’s good, then I can really just live my life within my means of negotiables, so I have my non-negotiables of the gluten, dairy and refined sugar, but if I’m feeling okay, then I can have pretty much everything else as long as I check in and it works for me at that moment.
If my health is not so good, like right now, I’m dealing with a lot of different hormonal struggles, and I’ve actually dealt with these my whole life, but they’re just finally coming into the light for me that they are hormonal-based struggles and health symptoms, so I have to check and be like, my health right now is not very good, so what can I eat that’s really going to improve that?
I had to develop pretty much a new list of temporarily off-limit foods. I’m following more of an AIP (Auto-Immune Paleo) approach right now just so I can really lower my inflammation, but I don’t call myself “AIP.” Like you said about owning your eating disorder, a lot of people also really own their diet and have a lot of attachment to the way that they’re eating. So I’m eating AIP right now, but I’m not going to say that I’m AIP because like yesterday, pretty sure I ate some tomatoes and some peppers, and those are nightshades, and I also went to a baseball game yesterday, and I was hungry, and I ate a turkey leg there. It was the best option there, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it because I’m not defining myself as AIP. I felt fine. I was going to eat it. I checked in with myself, made sure that that was okay, I wasn’t just eating from an emotional standpoint, which part of it was because I did want to fit in, but it was something I was willing to compromise on because it was a turkey leg and not popcorn or soda or cotton candy or whatever.
It’s really about making choices that are going to improve your emotional and your physical wellbeing. It’s about constantly just checking in with yourself and reassuring that that is the right decision for you at that moment.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. More of my interview with Karen Halderman after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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Leanne Vogel: So, we’re human, and I’ve done this oodles of times where, say you’re at that event, and there is popcorn and hot dogs and cotton candy and everyone’s eating it, and you have this fear of missing out, and you end up eating all the things and going completely “off the rails,” what do you do? How do you … I know what I do in those circumstances, but I’d love to ask you … This stuff happens. How do you re-center yourself and get focused and align yourself with your values without beating yourself up over everything?
Kara Halderman: Yeah. So this was something that I recently just kind of learned how to deal with because I would be that person. We all do it. We’ll go to an event, and we say, “Okay, I’m sticking to my diet. I am not eating gluten at this party or at the fair or whatever tonight.” And then you go there, and you eat all the things and you kind of feel like crap about yourself. I used to be that person to a T, and I would beat myself up about it and really, because I beat myself up about it, it would then lead into like another week of binging on all of those things. So, really, beating yourself up about it and feeling guilty about all those things, really leads into more negative behaviors.
So what I’ve really learned how to do is to, I hate saying like love yourself blah blah blah because people want strict … They want to know how you can love yourself and how you can take steps towards building that healthy relationship with food, but even if you do eat all of those things I just constantly reassure myself that everything is going to be fine. I take some time out the next day to do some self-care. I’ll go for a long walk. I’ll do meditation. I will listen to my favorite podcast, and I remind myself that I’m already on track.
I really do believe that there is a bigger plan outside of your diet, and even if you do “go off track of your diet,” that is a part of your bigger track. That’s a part of your bigger plan, and you just need to have faith. I think a lot of people are missing faith, not necessarily like religious faith, but just having faith in a bigger plan, having faith that everything will be okay. We’re so caught up in the moment and how everything is going to make us feel that if you mess up, you feel so awful about yourself, but I really just learned how to have faith in the bigger picture of everything and know that this one day is not going to set me off for years and years down the road, that I will improve. I will get better. You just have to take little baby steps of taking care of yourself mentally and physically in order to get there, if that answered the question.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. Definitely. I think those little baby steps are so important. I am the type of person – we were chatting about before we started recording – where when I want to do something, I do it right away. That’s why when I found keto, I was keto the next day, no problem, and when I wanted to start a business, I quit my job and … I do these big things really quickly when I can. But something that’s been quite humbling and also really frustrating is our process of moving into an RV is not something you can just, “Oh tomorrow, you’re living in an RV,” and it’s the first time in a very long time where I haven’t had full control over something to just be like, “Yeah, I’m doing that,” and I think, for people that my progression of health happened quite naturally over time, and it wasn’t ever … It was a struggle, but it wasn’t like this big project that I took on because I never knew the final destination.
I think that that’s where my process was a lot different than other people of, if you’re eating a standard American diet and you see this keto thing, and it’s whole food-based, and you’re like, “How do they even eat like that?” Like, how? Whereas with me, I never really knew where I was going. I was just like, “Oh this doesn’t make me feel good. Okay so now I’m sensitive to gluten and I have to remove that.” But it was never this big picture of what I was going towards. So in a lot of ways, I was lucky that way, but I guess, all I’m really saying is that, if you have this final destination in mind of like “I want to eat whole food, keto. I don’t want to be eating this cotton candy and popcorn, and I know how horrible they are for my body.” It puts a lot of stress on us – so, so, so much stress – and so much power in the food of “this food is bad/this food is good,” when really it’s a perception thing.
Kara Halderman: It is. It’s completely perception, and I actually had to give up the idea of a final destination. I’m very Type-A personality, driven. I want to get my goals done when I have them, and we were talking about that earlier too, and I aways have a final destination in mind. I very much live in my head, and I think of, “Oh my gosh, my life is going to be so amazing when all of these things happen.” But really, in order to achieve day-to-day happiness and day-to-day happiness with food and with eating, I had to eliminate my final destination. Meaning, one day I’m going to weigh “x” number of pounds. I’m going to be super healthy. I’m going to look this way. I’m going to be able to do CrossFit. These were my goals for myself for such a long time, and every single day, I was trying to live up to these goals. I was trying to live as if I weighed “x” pounds and did CrossFit, but the reality is, I’m not “x” pounds, and I don’t do CrossFit right now. I can’t do that, so you can’t live your life as if you’re already there. It is a process. You have to develop every single day, and for me, just letting go of those goals completely allowed me to really find myself and find my own views with food.
I used to be very strict ketogenic. That’s how I found a lot of your work, but your work was very freeing for me because – nothing wrong with very strict ketogenic – but I counted all of my carbohydrates like crazy. I did macro tracking. I lost a bunch of weight, and then from doing that, once I “fell off the wagon,” or if I even ate like 25 grams of carbs, I felt so bad. I felt so guilty, and that’s when I started watching your YouTube channel, and you were just kind of like, “Eh, don’t worry about it, all that stuff. Eat all of your vegetables. Don’t count.” This was a huge mindset shift for me, and this circles back to just giving up my end result, and I did keto for the end result. I wanted to weigh a certain weight. I wanted to lift a certain amount of weight in the gym, and all of that, and I just had to give that up so my body could actually find what foods that it wanted in order to heal.
Leanne Vogel: Yes. 100%. That was my ketogenic experience as well of just going crazy. I am so happy I checked myself before I completely wrecked myself. I don’t even know what would happen if I was still doing what I was doing those first six months. Yeah. I was a hot mess.
So you chat a lot about … I think you wrote a blog post, right, on the fear of missing out and kind of the detrimental effects of that? What are your tips to help negate that fear of missing out? Because you know, you’re sitting at a ball game, and everyone’s eating all this stuff around you, and you’re like, “Oh, I think my experience would be better if I ate those things.” Or at Christmastime, and everyone’s having all these things that you know don’t make you feel good. How do you kind of get through the fear of missing out?
Kara Halderman: Right. So, that’s hard. First of all, it’s very hard. I deal with that pretty much every single day. I did write a blog post about it, and it was talking about asking “is FOMO sabotaging your health goals?” I really do believe that you can achieve this balance of loving yourself but being realistic, and I think that really does come into play with the whole FOMO thing. You have to ground yourself and be practical, but you have to still love yourself in every single situation. So if loving yourself does mean eating that hotdog with your family in that moment, then you can do that, but you also have to put into context being realistic. Like, do you have celiac disease? Are you sensitive to gluten? Okay, well then maybe that really is not the best decision for you. So you have to find that fine line balance between being airy fairy and spiritual and loving yourself and being really realistic because if you have health goals, then really, giving in is not going to help, and that’s kind of what this blog post was about.
My tips are you really … everyone says this, but you need to establish a strong “why.” It is so cliché, but you need to really dig deep within yourself and ask, “What is being sick? What is being tired? What is being bloated or your joints aching or whatever? What is all of this preventing you from doing with your life?” Like, if your health were to get worse, what would you regret missing out on? And the reality is not taking care of yourself now can lead to bigger FOMO in the future.
So, if you give into FOMO, like the fear of missing out, and you eat that candy in the moment, and you keep doing this, you’ll get sicker and sicker, and then later on in life, you’re going to probably miss out on a lot more things, so I establish myself a strong “why,” like why am I not eating these things? Why am I not eating my non-negotiable foods? And for me, it’s so that I don’t develop autoimmunity, because it runs in my family, and that I don’t pass on these traits to my children. That’s just something I do not want to do, and I keep that in the back of my mind now when I’m making choices.
Another thing is talk to your family and friends, or get new friends. It’s a very fine line there, but if you really do have these health goals – especially if they’re not necessarily weight-related goals – I don’t have a problem like if you do want to lose weight or anything, but really I want, especially when I see clients, I want their goals to be very health-centered. Like, do you want to improve your energy? Do you want your hair to be thicker? Do you want better digestion? Like actual health goals. So, talk to your family about them. Talk to your friends about your health goals and ask them to support you, or ask if, instead of going to that fast food restaurant or that chain restaurant for dinner, if you can pick the restaurant or maybe just suggest some new activities that you can do with them like going for a hike, going for a walk, going to yoga, anything that really fits your situation, and if they’re not willing to support you, when comes to friends, honestly, I would just get new ones.
That sounds really harsh, but I’ve had to do that because a lot of my friends in the past did not want to support me. They wanted to drink all the time and go get fast food, and even if I had my strong why, and if stood my power, it was still just too hard to be around. So, you do need to find people that support you.
With family I know it can be a little bit more difficult, but I think if you genuinely talk to your family, and you come from this place of “I need help, I need you guys, you guys are my family,” they will support you.
One of my last tips is start documenting your life. That sounds really weird. People will tell you to get off social media when there’s a lot of FOMO going on, the fear of missing out, because fear of missing out really can stem from social media… looking at what everybody is eating, what everyone is doing. It’s triggering. It makes you think, “Wow. My life is so boring, so uninteresting. I should be doing all of these things and eating all of these things.” But really, I found that when I eliminated social media completely, I still wasn’t happy. So I just started documenting my life. I starting posting recipes that I loved. I started snap chatting my walks through the park, and I started a blog because I wanted to talk about everything that I was doing, and it sounds kind of weird, but by posting about your life, it kind of reminds you how awesome your life is.
Like, whenever I post a picture of the matcha latte or coffee that I made, I’m like “Wow, that’s really cool. This is really healthy. It’s got all these awesome ingredients in it.” And you have no choice but to just relive that moment all over again and feel really grateful for everything that you’re experiencing. By posting, you’re kind of just motivating yourself to do more things that you love and eat those foods that make you feel better and just be an overall better person. Of course, social media has some of its downfalls, and we can obsess about it, but I’m on there moderately, and I just post when I want to post, and it really keeps me motivated to keep doing things that make me feel good. I don’t recommend just eliminating it altogether. Just start an Instagram. Start a blog. Do something that motivates you and makes you feel good.
Leanne Vogel: You know what? I’ve never had anyone ever say that, and I think that that’s such an interesting way of going about it, and here I am thinking, my blog used to be a very personal blog. I used to blog once a day. I don’t even know how that was a thing. I had a full time job, and I took pictures of everything, and I posted it, and what I noticed is as I … As more people starting following, I found it detrimental because I felt like people knew too much about me, and it … But, when I go back to those old posts, and they’re some of my favorite things that still, now, if I’m just … I have one post where it documents all my hair changes over like 10 years, and it was like a birthday post, and I put up pictures of every hair style I’d had in the last 10 years, and I still go back to that post, and I’m like, “Wow. That’s so cool.” And I still continue to change my hair almost every week.
I think that there’s a lot of power in that, and I think what I heard you saying is just focusing on yourself, and using this as a tool to help yourself, not comparing yourself to others, not going on social media and saying, “Oh well I don’t …” There’s that thing that I do sometimes at 3 p.m., not so much anymore, but I’ll go on social media, and I’ll look at all the better bloggers and better people that have better podcasts, and I’ll just start beating myself up over it, and I’ll just check out their podcast and see that they’re rated higher than me, and I just get in this funk of being unhappy, and I think that’s exactly what we don’t want to do, but I love your idea of highlighting, almost like an online journal, of all these awesome things and really looking at your life.
My husband, Kevin, he’s really, really good at seeing life for what it is, and I’m the type of person that will find everything wrong with a situation and come up with 50 things that could go wrong at any given point, and I obsess about it, and Kevin… My question to Kevin is always, “Am I making this up?” when I’m really upset about something, and he’s like, “Yeah, this isn’t actually a thing.” Like, this isn’t actually happening right now. And so it’s just really nice if you have that support and you have a partner or a friend or a sister or a brother – somebody that can be your advocate. And I agree with you, Kara, there are people over time that have just naturally left my life because they just weren’t supporting the life that I wanted to have.
It sounds so cold when you say that, and I know that when you said it too, you’re like, “Oh that sounds really horrible.” But it’s really not. This is the life that you have. This is the only life that you have. So …
Kara Halderman: Yeah exactly. Exactly. It does sound awful, and I still have this little piece inside of me that is a people pleaser, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but the reality is, it’s your life. It’s not theirs. If somebody isn’t making you happy, if somebody isn’t actually supporting you through your life, it may be time to part ways. That’s just what needs to be done sometimes, and you don’t have to be rude about it. You don’t have to be like, “Oh well, you’re not supporting me, so bye,” kind of thing. You can just be like, “Hey, I’m really looking to improve my life in this way, in this x, y, and z way. Are you willing to support me? I would love for you to support me. I love you. I want you to be a part of my life, but if you’re not willing to, I feel like I may need to step away from this relationship for a little bit.” And that’s okay. Like, “Thank you for being my friend for this long. Thank you for everything that you’ve done.” Really thank that person because they were part of your life, and they did contribute something to your life.
So, just really coming at everything from more a place of gratitude and not being upset about it. It’s just time to thank that person and move on, and maybe you guys will meet up later on when you see eye-to-eye and are ready to support each other again. Coming at it from a place a love is very big.
Leanne Vogel: And so let’s, like the last piece, I think we should definitely chat about when it comes to getting back on track and what that means is self-sabotage.
Kara Halderman: Yes.
Leanne Vogel: Because usually when things are going really, really, really, really well, and things are like rolling along, and things are happy, and probably that day you were snapping on your way to work, and then all of a sudden, this switch goes off, and you find yourself in your car at noon. You’ve just left the KFC drive-thru, and you’re stuffing your face with gluten and stuff.
Kara Halderman: … all the things.
Leanne Vogel: Like … Why? Why? Why?
Kara Halderman: Why? Yes. There are a lot of reasons, but it really all boils down to this: we all are running unconscious programs in our head at all times, and these self-sabotaging moments are moments of those unconscious programs replaying. What I mean by unconscious programs is we go along in our day-to-days lives making conscious decisions, but really, everything that we do stems from unconscious programming, and that comes from your parents. It comes from TV. It comes from music. It comes from everything that happened in your life, and this is going to sound a little bit woo-woo and weird, but I believe that it also comes from – there’s unconscious programming that carries down from past generations, past ancestors, and it carries down to you, and you may not even be aware that you have all these unconscious programmings that are just sabotaging your health.
It’s about kind of cleaning those unconscious programs, and making the unconscious conscious to you. So, doing meditation to kind of figure out what’s going on in the back of your head is something that has really, really helped me. There is … I’m just really getting into this right now. There is a really amazing book called, Zero Limits by Joe Vitale, and it talks about this old Hawaiian method called Ho’oponopono which it pretty much means “to clean,” and if you’re in to the woo-woo type of stuff, it’s definitely a book for you.
It’s been pretty life-changing for me. It’s about acknowledging all the past programmings that may either be coming from you, your parents, or even your ancestors, and kind of being like, “Okay. I’m sorry for everything that they may have done, and thank you for these programmings.” And it’s telling yourself over and over again, like, “I’m sorry and I love you. Please forgive me.” Over and over again and clearing these subconscious programmings. It’s very hard to explain because it’s a crazy phenomenon. It’s an old Hawaiian tradition, but I think at the root of all this self-sabotage, it’s just things that are going on unconsciously in our head that we haven’t become consciously aware of, and it’s about bringing that into the light and realizing why you’re doing things to yourself essentially.
Leanne Vogel: That is really cool. That’s something my dad is really into. He talks about it at length with me, and it’s all like gobbledygook that I don’t totally understand, but basically, he tells me-
Kara Halderman: It’s hard to understand.
Leanne Vogel: It’s so hard to understand, but when he starts talking about it, he gets so passionate about it, and he makes sense, but I couldn’t even repeat something about like, for example, I am the sixth generation in our family of women to have an eating disorder. How does that happen? How is that … I mean, that’s a mental … I see it very much as a mental disability of just … like there’s something there. My mom had it, my grandma had it. Her mom had it. Her mom … That is messed up. So when my dad talks about this stuff, and he kind of goes into it, I mean it … If you really like the woo-woo stuff, you can get totally down that realm, and it’s quite interesting to see like an eating disorder necessarily, they wouldn’t say, as far as I know, wouldn’t say that it’s determined by your genes, yet how can six generations of women in the same family have the same experience with just body dysmorphia and all of these things? That’s really interesting and something I don’t totally understand, but that’s cool. I’ll definitely include a link in the show notes for that book.
Kara Halderman: Yeah, the book is amazing, and I just realized, I remembered the term. The term for like that passing down from generation to generation kind of stems from something called the collective unconscious, which is the unconscious minds of everyone, and that is how we’re all connected. That sounds really weird and woo-woo, but every single person is connected because there is this collective unconscious that we all share. It’s so interesting to talk about, and it sounds really weird when you start talking about it, but we all share this collective unconscious, and we’re continuously passing it down to each other, especially within families, and if you don’t clear that, it’s just going to keep passing from generation to generation, and yes the book was called Zero Limits by Joe Vitale, and he is crazy awesome. It’s a really [crosstalk 00:53:26]
Leanne Vogel: I will totally include the link in the show notes, and that collective unconscious, I think of it as like a string of Christmas lights, and every light is a person, and when it’s on the Christmas tree, you don’t totally see the cables. You just see the lights, but they’re all connected, and they all like … If one burns out, at least when I was little, and it wasn’t like LED lights, if one burns out the entire string goes down, so I really like using that to imagine that. That’s totally my dad’s doing.
Kara Halderman: Yeah, that’s an awesome analogy.
Leanne Vogel: Right?
Kara Halderman: I’m so jealous of people that can just come up with these really great analogies, because I have none, but that was a good one.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah right. Totally. I love it. Well thanks so much for coming on the show today. Where can people find more from you?
Kara Halderman: Totally. You can find me on Instagram. I love Instagram stories right now for some reason, but you can find me at @kara_boutit. You can also find me on Karaboutit.com, and the Low Carb Conversations podcast. Me and my co-host, Leah Williamson, she’s from Australia. She’s also a nutritional therapy practitioner. We actually took over, well, he gifted it to us, Jimmy Moore gifted us his Low Carb Conversations podcast to carry on kind in tradition, because he wanted to move on and do some bigger and better things, and he handpicked myself and my cohost, Leah, to carry on the podcast, and this has been such a life-changing experience for the both of us, and we talk about health headlines and articles and we have on a bunch of different guests. We had Leanne, of course, on our show, and it’s a really fun podcast. Just a bunch of people chatting about health, so you can search the Low Carb Conversations podcast. You can go to my website, Karaboutit.com, find me on Instagram, and all of that good jazz.
Leanne Vogel: Cool. I’ll include a link to your show in the show notes because you guys are awesome. So thanks again for coming on the podcast today, and the show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e40. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode. Thanks again Kara.
Kara Halderman: Thank you.
Leanne Vogel: And that does it for another episode of The Keto Diet Podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit where you’ll find daily eats and other fund thing, and check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides and other cool things over at healthfulpursuit.com/shop and I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.