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[Beginnings & Breakthroughs] Banishing Perfection to Reach Your Goals with Brenna Hardgrove | Ep.465

Healthy Habits to Lose Weight, Feel Better + Create Consistent Success

Have you ever felt like if you couldn't be perfect at something, you shouldn't do it at all? Or maybe you’re doing great, but then something knocks you off and you feel frustrated? If that sounds like you, you’ll want to listen to this episode of Beginnings and Breakthroughs, where JJ talks with special guest Brenna Hardgrove about menopause, thyroid and adrenal health, and healthy habits that create success.

Brenna lost 23 pounds on The Virgin Diet and has kept it off. Here, she tells JJ how she created that success along with her further health goals. In this episode, you’ll learn why an all-or-nothing mentality sabotages your success, JJ’s simple strategy to make healthy habits consistent, why showing compassion and grace to yourself is the antidote to perfection, the key to getting consistently stellar results, and why focusing on one thing at a time helps create long-term healthy habits.

Listen up to learn why building muscle is critical for growing old powerfully, why thyroid health is so important, how to measure stress levels, and the secret to curbing your sweet tooth in just 14 days. JJ also reveals why she changed her position on potatoes (and how to prepare them correctly), how to optimize meal timing for fat loss, powerful hacks for amazing sleep, plus JJ’s thoughts about cheat days (and how to stay healthy while enjoying your favorite foods).

“If you set yourself up that it has to be all or nothing, then you always end up with nothing,” JJ tells Brenna. “We don't want that.” Tune in to get simple, practical ways to lose weight, sleep better, manage stress well, and create healthy habits that ensure success. You’ll find everything you need in this fun, information-packed episode!

Click Here To Read Transcript

ATHE_Transcript_Ep 465_Brenna Hardgrove
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Welcome to beginnings and breakthroughs. This is where I celebrate and coach people just like you, who are on a mission to heal their metabolisms, feel better, fast, and live their best lives. We will be walking through. What's worked for them and what they've discovered on their journeys, and then I'll coach them on their next best steps.
And if you're interested in being a guest, stay tuned and I'll be sharing how you can join me. All right. I will be right back with our awesome guest.
Hey, there. Welcome to another session of beginnings and breakthroughs. And I've got Brenna with me today and I just wanna ask you, have you ever. Felt like, if you couldn't be perfect at something that you shouldn't do it at all, or you're doing great, but then something knocks you off and then you're, then you fall down and I call it kind of the roller coaster approach to [00:01:00] health.
If you can relate to that. And I think we all can at some level, then you're gonna love this interview where we really unpack that and go, how do we. Approach this so that we don't have that all or nothing mentality, right? So it's not either you're good or you're bad, you know, all that stuff. We're gonna be unpacking that we're gonna be looking at the toll that stress can take on your body, how you should measure your thyroid and your adrenals.
And then some strategy and tactics for improving sleep and fitting fitness in. And so I'm excited to share Brenna with you. I will be. Back. So stay with me.
So it's really interesting when you look at how to get healthy and what we're gonna really focus on here today. And this is Brenna and Brenna. I'm super excited to have you with me. And Brenna just [00:02:00] admitted off air that she has an, a roller coaster approach to health that she's either all on. And then she feels like if she messes
she has to be done. And I'm sure that. There are some people out there Brenna that go, oh, I get it. That's totally me. So it's, it's you, you're not the first person I've heard this from. However, our big goal now is to, is to knock it off because while you could probably have a roller coaster approach to health in your twenties, , you know, maybe even into your thirties, if you're lucky, you start going into your forties and into your fifties, forget it.
Your margin of error shrinks this very small thing. And when you really. What it means to be truly healthy. It just becomes who you are and how you live. Like you probably don't have an on and off again thing with brushing your teeth. Do you. No, absolutely not. Yeah. I would hope not. That would be gross.
so, you know, it, it, it has to be the brushing, the teeth type of thing. I probably don't have an off and on again about like, [00:03:00] you know, drinking some water or taking a shower. So that's, that's how we start to look at these things is how do we make them just non-negotiables because consistency of habits. Is what creates health.
It's not what you do for a week. And in fact, the way that I write my, the Virgin diet sugar impact diet, any of my programs are written that they are there to teach you how to figure out what works for you and, and Virgin diets, like which foods work for you and which foods don't so that you can then bring that into your everyday eating healthy, eating, same with sugar impact, you know, where sugar sneaking in, how many carbs should you have.
And so. It's really meant not to be an on again off again. It's meant to be a learn and put into place. And I know what you told me offline that you lost 23 pounds on the Virgin diet and kept it off, which is amazing. And then I think you like so many people during COVID the pandemic kind of like whacked us tad.
So you know, all of a sudden when they start to take away things [00:04:00] like the gym, which is probably when things that could help you. Not have problems with COVID, which is, you know, it's kind of that catch 22. So now let's look at it here and go, all right, you're here now. And as we start to look at this, the most important thing is how can we start to put these things in place so that you are just continuing to improve and improve and improve?
I look at where we're at now and you're 47. Is you are a snowball going down a hill. Now, what you really want to do is have that hill be flat and the snowball's not going anywhere. Or maybe it's starting to go up the hill, but if you have it going down a steep hill, it's picking up speed and you're just getting worse and worse and worse.
That's what we don't wanna have happen. We wanna reverse that. And so it really comes to consistently building on good habits and knowing. you're gonna mess up. There's gonna be days where you might eat something. You shouldn't have you miss your workout, your sleep's terrible. That's [00:05:00] human. Right. And the most important thing you can do with that is go, okay, so my sleep was bad.
Why was it? Is there something that I need to, to change what I'm doing? Or is it just a one off? And that's the, you know, those things happen, right? So it's also showing compassion and grace to yourself because like I've never really done anything perfect in my life. So, you know, if you set yourself up that it has to be all or nothing, then you always end up with nothing.
Yeah, absolutely. we don't want that. We don't want that. We don't want that. So so you're 47, your big goals now for like, you know, if you could wave the magic wand, where would you love to see yourself in the next six to 12 months? What changes in your health and in your body? Would you.
Brenna Hardgrove: well, I would love to drop 10 pounds.
And I guess that's my question too. I'm not quite sure where my goal weight should be. So [00:06:00] I'm one 30 right now. I'm 5, 2 47. So I'm not sure is one 20 my goal weight, or do I go down to one 15? That's that's another area that I'm like, I'm not quite sure where my
JJ Virgin: goal weight should be. Okay. We will definitely unpack that.
Okay. So that's the first one you'd like to hit your goal weight. I'm glad you said that. Cause I totally wanna dig into that one. What's the next one? Yeah.
Brenna Hardgrove: So the next one is I'm starting to feel a little bit fatigued and sluggish, and I know that absolutely is tied to my diet and lack of exercise.
Mm-hmm you know, I started working from home more with COVID and, you know, obvious. You're not as mobile around the office. So I need to make sure that I'm, you know, getting my steps in and you know, walking on a daily basis versus just sitting all day long. So I, I definitely think that I need to start moving, [00:07:00] you know, much more again and just feeling better.
I'm, like I said, I'm, I'm very fatigued and tired often. I, I definitely don't feel my best lately.
JJ Virgin: All right. So, and here's the other question? You're 47 years old. And is everything, or do you have normal periods still?
Brenna Hardgrove: So I actually got a hysterectomy in July of 2020, so no more periods, but
JJ Virgin: you still have your ovaries just.
Okay, so there, and is, are they doing any kind of hormone replacement therapy with. currently. No. Well with just one, you're still gonna be cycling. Yes. Now you still actually are perimenopausal. So there's that issue too. So we're gonna unpack all of this because a lot of things you have going on are fairly, you know, common things going on.
And I think one of the first questions is like, how much should I weigh? And I really. Want to look [00:08:00] past that question. And if I had my way, there would no longer be normal scales. The only way you could step on a scale was to step on a scale. That's a bioimpedance scale that gives you both your fat free mass, your fat mass, and then bonus points.
If you can get what's called visceral adiposity. These scales used to be thousands of dollars. In fact, I have one in my house that I've had carried around now for like 20 years. That was $5,000. Now you can get 'em for $99 on Amazon. And so that's what I want you to do is get yourself a scale because.
It's not what you weigh. It's what that weight is made up of. See if you are 130 pounds and you are 20% body fat, that is very different than if you are 130 pounds and 30% body fat. So we need to look at how much fat free mass you have, cuz you basically on your body have two things. You have fat mass.
And you have fat free mass. And as we age, we wanna make sure that we are holding onto and building if possible [00:09:00] and at your age, still building totally possible. Once we get to 65, plus putting on muscle gets more challenging, but we wanna make sure that you really got that lean body mass on for a couple of reasons.
Number one, it protects your bones. Number two, it's the best thing. When people say I want a faster metabolism, well, you need to put on muscle because muscle. Is what helps your body it's it requires more energy to exist on your body. So it raises your metabolic rate. You're gonna have a bigger metabolic effect from the exercise itself because you created an oxygen deficit and protein muscle turnover that your body has to deal with.
That's very costly, but just having more muscle on your body is very costly. Your body has to be constantly working to turn it over. So we want to start monitoring body composition and that fat free mass. And if you focus. holding onto and building that fat free mass, you will naturally then start to be able to lose the fat.
If we start to look at it that way and there's things we can do to specifically target [00:10:00] losing body fat. So that's the very first step is that one, because again, I look at weight and you know, I wanted to be a model when I was in my teens, which is really ridiculous. Cause I'm not very photogenic. they kept telling me I had to lose weight because I was six feet tall, but all those models were like 120 pounds.
I couldn't get to 120 pounds for anything. Like I don't have that bone frame, but I'm also, I'm 150 pounds and 15% body fat. Like I've always had a very muscular frame. I couldn't possibly do it, but I didn't understand back. Right. And so that's why you've gotta be able to look at it and go, okay, what in the height, weight chart, you know, what is the range for you?
And it's probably what 105 to 120 is the range somewhere in there. And they've got the height, weight charts and the BMI charts, but those don't give you the full picture of the body composition of body fat and fat free mass. So you wanna look for what's the weight range, and then you start using the scale to go, okay, when am I getting into a good body?[00:11:00]
That free mass percentage for me, which for most women what you wanna look for is 20%. And it takes time to do that because you're gonna build muscle lose fat. Now, once someone's highly trained, it's harder to really do those things together. But when you're really starting out, you can do 'em both together.
So bonus points for not really working out on a regular basis yet for being random about it. So that's the first thing. So that's how you figure out what you should weigh is I'd give you a range, but I'd start to monitor that body composition with the goal that you put on the muscle and lose the fat to get to 20% body fat.
Okay. 25% would be the highest point and athletic women can be as low as 15%. When I was in grad school, it was 18 to 22% was kind of the range they did for ideal for women. So you get, you get the idea and it really depends. Some women are curvier by nature. Some women are more muscular. So, you know, you work with what [00:12:00] really looks, feels good to you, but that will serve you so well as you start to move into.
Aging and keeping your bones healthy and keeping your metabolism up. Now, when you complain about energy, the things I always have to look at is how is your sleep? How is your stress and how is your thyroid functioning? And that is one that I always say, especially when you've been through a very stressful situation, which you have, you've gotta check in on your stress and your thyroid.
So there's two ways you can look at these things that are all telling. One is to you wanna look at a really comprehensive thyroid panel. this isn't typically something you'll get from a traditional doctor. You'll want to work with a functional medicine practitioner, or you can go to, and I'll put this in the show notes, yourlabwork.com.
It's either your lab work or your lab test. Every time I do this, I'm like, I can't remember which one. It's my buddy, Dr. Allen Hopkins, who did a direct to consumer lab testing companies. So if you can't get [00:13:00] a doctor who can order these, you can get them ordered, but you want to get a TSH, a free T3. And T4, and then thyroid antibodies, because you may have a thyroid that looks like it's a normal range, but realize the ranges we're looking at are not healthy, ideal ranges.
Like I got hypothyroid at two and that's totally within the normal range. I had, you know, constipation, elevated cholesterol, eyebrows, falling out the everything, so, and elevated antibodies. So you wanna measure all of this. So that's the first thing, cuz if you're, if your energy's not. yes. Diet plays a role.
Yes. Exercise plays a role. Yes. Sleep plays a role, but if your thyroid's not working, you can do all of those things. And you'll still struggle along with that. You also wanna make sure you're checking your iron levels. So a serum ferritin, and then of course, just basic CBC will give you so you can look at your total iron iron levels and see what's going on there quite often, low thyroid and, and low iron [00:14:00] go together.
And those can play a role. Right. Okay. Okay. Next thing is, what about stress now? stress has always been this weird thing cuz how do you quantify stress? Right? You're like and you know, when you really look at people going through, especially very stressful situations, which I know you went through, I went through one similar and you know, initially.
You've got all this adrenaline and you feel like you could move mountains and then you start to get tired. And so there's phases of what we call adrenal exhaustion, where at first your body goes into this overdrive, and that's why acute stress is not a problem for most people. It's the chronic stress, because then you start to burn out your adrenal glands.
They can't
just, you know, it's like it can't keep the foot on the gas for that long. And so you go from feeling super wired. I can get anything done. to what's called wired and tired where you're tired, but you still feel wired and it messes up your sleep to just being tired. yeah. Most people don't come [00:15:00] in when they're wired.
Cuz they're like, Woohoo. You know but, but when coffee no longer works, then they come dragging in. There's a great test to show this again. It's one that a functional medicine practitioner would do, or you order from the lab company called an adrenal salivary index and it looks at your cortisol pattern.
a day. So you spit four times during the day you do it during, during a normal day like a normal, stressful day. Like you don't do it on a lying on the couch day. You wanna see like, what, how do you respond in a normal day? Like I had this crazy trial attorney and I said, I wanna see you when you're in court.
Like, that's what I wanna see. Cuz if you can't get your, your cortisol up and you're like going in for that, something's up. So. You spit four times a day, looks at your pattern to see how you're doing it. And it also looks at DHEA which is also secreted through the adrenal glands to look at the ratio of those.
That's important too, because that's gonna feed over to how well you produce testosterone. So those are the first things that just to [00:16:00] look at and check. Because if those are an issue, those are things that you're gonna wanna correct. And there's ways to correct. Correct. Your adrenals and help with stress.
You know, if you didn't know anything I have my take 10 stress support. That's like a tonifier that can help, but depending on where someone is in their cycle, there might be other things they can do as well. One of the good ones, and I know you've been taking vitamin C cuz stress just knocks out vitamin C.
So that's a good one too. So those are the, the considerations. And then also that consideration because you had a hysterectomy, but you still have your one ovaries. So you're still cycling and you still need to track that. And it's actually harder because you don't have any sign. So you're gonna have to just, oh, it's
Brenna Hardgrove: definitely harder
JJ Virgin: because, but you do have, like, you don't have the physical sign, but, you know, right.
Brenna Hardgrove: cause I wanna eat everything. So I do kind of know mm-hmm
JJ Virgin: mm-hmm so we still need to know that because. We're tracking like, like you're going to [00:17:00] go and have menopause. It's just, you're gonna have to track it by symptoms, not by that. And then you'll have to make the decision, you know, what do I wanna do through menopause right now in this situation, you can do things like dim, which can help detoxify the bad estrogen.
So you can do flax in your shake, which is a great phyto estrogen you can use. I have a product. I love Annatto-E GG you'll start to, you'll get hot flashes. It will help with those and help with bone density. So there's things that you can do now to help you as you're going through it, cuz you're gonna go through it.
and so just so you know, you're not crazy. Right. And the other thing you've gotta look at is why you had the hysterectomy in the first place, because it wasn't because you had a uterus, right. Something was. So whenever that's happening, you've gotta look and see what was going on. And if you were bleeding a lot, did we ever get your iron levels back up?
Because if you didn't, they can take a year, two years, [00:18:00] three years with supplementation, generally you'll have to do IV iron. So these are all things that you need to work with a functional medicine practitioner on if they were not addressed. And I can't tell you how many times I hear people get a hysterectomy did never deal with why they had to get.
Now they still have the challenges because they, they had the challenges that created the problem in the first place. Right.
Brenna Hardgrove: Yeah, I definitely had heavier periods, but the the reason that I got it was because of the fibroids. I had a lot of
JJ Virgin: fibroids. Yeah. So we still have to go, okay, what, what was going on with that?
Why was that happening? You know, is there anything going on that we need to adjust? Diet wise, hormonally? Do you have any issues right. To see why, why that is, and then also to look at detoxifying, some of the estrogens. So there's that now on a diet and lifestyle thing. And just to throw one more over and I know we have stress in sleep.
[00:19:00] So on the diet side, you've gone through the Virgin diet. You found out that dairy and gluten didn't work well for you. When was the last time you went through it to recheck on the other.
Brenna Hardgrove: It's been since 2019 since I've been on the diet. So yeah, I would definitely like to do. Another round of it.
JJ Virgin: Yes. So what I recommend to people is, you know, you pull out the seven foods and the reality is most of us are better off without dairy and gluten. Anyway, you know, if you do fine with dairy, I find most people are better with sheep or goat and heavily, you know, and have it fermented. Most people are better off without corn.
It tends to be one of our more sprayed crops. and soy can be problematic for thyroid and it has to be organic and it has to be heavily fermented. So the reality is it's really eggs that are the great one that I love people have unless they have an issue with it. So I would go back, do it again. You don't need to re challenge dairy, gluten, you know, the answer there, keep 'em out.[00:20:00]
We also one of the worst things you can put in your diet for any reason, whether it's your bone health, whether it's stress is sugar and especially fructose. So I'm not gonna tell you to re challenge with sugar. And I know that you've had some issues with sugar. So after you do that 21 days and you go back and really connect the dots, the next place to go is to do the sugar impact diet.
Cause we gotta get your sweet tooth under control. And I developed that program to help you lose your sweet tooth in in 14 days or less. So we've gotta find things for you. It turns out sour can take your sweet tooth away. And I know you're like, I like drinking some sweet stuff and I'm like,
Brenna Hardgrove: I do . So I was definitely, I drank a large soda pop every day, but since I read the Virgin diet, I have not been doing that every day, but I still do have one or two on a weekly basis, so.
JJ Virgin: Okay. So here's my question. Could we swap that out for a Zevia?
Brenna Hardgrove: Yes. I do love [00:21:00] the, the Zevia teas, the green teas,
JJ Virgin: and well, they also have Zevia soda, like, you know, in the perfect world. I'd love you not to have it, but the reality is one or two a week of Zevia you know, it's fine. So if you could switch to the Zevia soda instead of the regular soda, that's a huge win.
And I look at how do we swap things out? And if sugar's a major problem, that's one thing. But if it's like a couple things that we could swap, then we're great.
The other thing I always look at is when someone's craving sugar, are you getting enough protein? Healthy fats and fiber in your diet for good blood sugar balance. Like what's a typical day of eating for you. Yeah.
Brenna Hardgrove: I think I struggle with protein because I, I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, but I do. I don't like a lot of meat in my diet.
So I, I do have your protein shakes. I love them. Mm-hmm I try and make at least [00:22:00] one a day. But I think in my perfect diet, I'd like to have two protein shakes so that I'm at least getting my protein in and then a normal meal.
JJ Virgin: So what I would share too, is take, get the collagen as well. If you take, cause I really would love to see you start with get 30 grams of protein in.
And when you really look at probably where you're gonna settle and wait, like around a hundred and. 20 you know, that you're gonna wanna have 90 grams of protein if you're really in a building mode, you'll take it up past that. And so if you're doing one of the protein shakes, and especially if you're doing the paleo inspired, and then you add in another scoop of collagen, you'll get yourself to 30 to 35 grams of protein in those two, you.
Each shake will have that. So that solves a lot of problems. And especially if you're making it loaded, you could add the, the flaxseed meal in there. So that will help with your, the phytoestrogens. So that's healthy, fat and fiber. And then, you know, a little bit of berries and some kind of nut milk and we've got it dialed.
Is that possible?
Brenna Hardgrove: [00:23:00] Yeah, I I actually have the plant based protein. Is that okay?
JJ Virgin: It's okay. And what I would do is, is add the collagen in the only people who can add the collagen cuz collagen is from animals as someone who's a straight vegan, but as long as you're cool with that, then I would add the collagen in.
And I would also so do the collagen and you're cool with the plant-based shakes, they work for you. . Yeah, I love that. Okay, cool. Yeah. So yeah, I love the chai I like mixing the, I actually mix the plant and the paleo together. I like the texture of the two together the best. So that works great to have those two things and then have a meal with a lot of non starchy vegetables, cuz I want you getting a floor of at least five servings a day.
So that means a big mixed green salad, a side of some kind of non-starchy vegetables and then some kind of protein, probably about six ounces. So, is that something you can do?
Brenna Hardgrove: Yeah, easy enough. It is rough. I love potatoes. So that's a rough one for me. I know. I need to substitute
JJ Virgin: like a sweet potato. You [00:24:00] can. No, you don't actually need to.
So here's the thing let's say you're gonna have two servings of fruit today, one in each smoothie, right? If you can add some greens into the smoothies bonus points, I personally hate greens and my smoothies. So. I don't do it. If you can do it, it doesn't bother you cuz usually you can't really taste them fine.
But what we're really getting in the smoothie is the protein, the healthy fats and fiber. And I really try to kick the fiber up. So I use generally mine. I use like half of a slightly green banana for the resistance starch. I add in some extra fiber of mine and I add in flax. So I'm kicking the fiber way up.
So two of those, and then for your meal at night, like a big mixed green, leafy salad, broccoli, or cauliflower rice, or something like that, your protein and then a half a cup of some kind of potato or starchy carb is fine now. Here's, what's interesting, you know, after, after the. Virgin diet and all the information started to come out about resistant starch.
I really changed my position on potatoes. In fact, I was on Dr. Oz talking about how potatoes, the [00:25:00] ultimate diet pill cuz I thought, well, I'll say that, cuz that will freak everybody out. But here's why now I'm not saying French fries are important is if you prepare potatoes correctly, you will help with their resistant starch.
They're they're one of the high resistant starch foods. Cooled rice cooled potato, slightly green bananas. The challenge is the best way to eat. A potato is not the most delicious way to eat a potato it's boiled and cooled. Not very fun. What I like to do is I will take them. I take the little nibbler potatoes and I roast them and cut them in half and or in thirds and roast them and then let 'em cool.
So by cooling, they actually have more resistant starch, or if you did a half a baked potato and let it. Right. So there's still the opportunity to have the okay. Potato. It's just the amount, right? Sure. So half a cup. Totally cool. It's doable. doable. Yes. Okay, cool. Absolutely. [00:26:00] Yeah. So, so that's easy with that now.
What you really wanna look at here is making sure that you're doing, you're stopping, eating at least three to four hours before bed, because I know you have some issues with sleep and eating too late, messes up your sleep and eating within at least, you know, no more than a 12 hour window. And I'd love to shrink it down from that.
So you know, pushing your breakfast a little later, make sure you're getting your dinner in a little earlier and no snacking. what's up with your sleep?
Brenna Hardgrove: I sleep. Okay. I guess, but I don't get enough of it obviously. I go to bed, you know, late at, probably around 11, 11 30, and I have to get up, you know, around six.
So I'm definitely, probably not getting a lot of sleep. And I'm not quite sure about the quality of sleep because I don't have anything that
JJ Virgin: measures that, but you can get something. Yes, absolutely. So you could get an oura ring. That's what I've got in here. O U R a or a, I've got an apple watch that measures it.
There's garments that measure it. Fitbit that [00:27:00] measures it. You just gotta find the one that won't irritate you. And because it really does matter what you measure and monitor, you can improve the things I think we most should be doing is getting on a scale every day. So we really know we can track the trend of our lean body, mass and fat mass.
We do our sleep. Like I track my sleep. So you really can look at what messes things up for you. And boy, you can tell when you eat late and what it does, so yeah, if you were left your own devices, what time would you go to bed? And what time would you wake up?
Brenna Hardgrove: If I slept my own devices, 1130 or 12. And I would wake up at
JJ Virgin: eight or nine.
And for your job, do you have to get up that early? Yes, absolutely. Like there's no way around it. No,
Brenna Hardgrove: I work for a large corporation, so
JJ Virgin: in the perfect world. Like here's, what's interesting. There are night owls and early birds. It is genetic. It is known. I [00:28:00] used to be like this crazy person with no, you have to sleep during this time.
And then I was working with all these entertainers in LA and, and they would like be like, but I get my creative burst at 2:00 AM. I'm like, oh gosh, what am I gonna do with this ? And so in the perfect world, you'd be able to sleep during your right. sadly, that is not the case. So what we're gonna have to do, but you cannot get six and a half hours of sleep and pull it off.
I mean, there are, there's all a small group of people who can, but for the most of us, it's, it's more in the seven to nine hour range. Yeah. So
Brenna Hardgrove: I definitely feel sluggish if I don't have at least
JJ Virgin: eight hours. Yeah. So I don't know how to fix your energy if you're not gonna fix your sleep, it's not. .
Brenna Hardgrove: Yeah, so I've been trying to I love to read a book mm-hmm and I love meditation, and I found some sleep stories that, that seem to work
JJ Virgin: well, but cool.
Yeah. I love Joe Dispenza spends as a [00:29:00] great sleep meditation that can totally help. I do my sleep candy at night, magnesium body calm at night. I have my red glasses so that I can sleep. Ideally. If you can take a hot bath, it's even better. I cool down the room to 67. I'd take it down to 63 if it was just me, but we have a little dispute but somewhere between, you know, 62 and 67, you get it way.
Cool. You get it. Totally. Pitch dark and, and no sound. And just make sure that you can sleep and you just gotta start backing yourself. It's almost like a time zone shifting where you have the power down hour, the hour before bed, you get into bed. You wanna fall asleep within 30 minutes of getting in bed and you just have to just be hardcore about this is when I go to.
okay. Right. You just have to be like your own parent here because no, one's gonna go make you do it. But it's like, if you look at the things that make the biggest difference in health [00:30:00] sleep is right up there at the top. Like, I don't know how to fix blood sugar issues, adrenal issues, without someone getting good sleep.
It's it's key. okay. Sounds good. Okay. So if you're going to bed at 10, then you're winding down at nine and you're getting in bed at 9 30. So that means that dinner needs to be done by seven. okay.
Brenna Hardgrove: Yeah. I typically eat around five 30 or six, so I don't think that's
JJ Virgin: problematic. Oh, that's perfect. Okay, cool.
Now you still working outta the house or are you working from like, you have to go into the office? So
Brenna Hardgrove: it's, it's more of a mix. It's, it's a flex schedule where I go into the office one or two days a week. And then I work from home the other three
JJ Virgin: days a week. Okay, cool. So then how do we fit exercise into your life?
Brenna Hardgrove: So, yes, I definitely need to get back to exercising. I do have a gym in my basement, so I really don't have any excuses. [00:31:00] nice. Okay. It's just finding, I guess, more so the motivation to do it.
JJ Virgin: So the motivation struggle. Yeah, the motivation's gotta come from the big vision. And I'm throwing a lot of stuff at you and I don't want you to go, okay, I'm gonna do all these things.
Like, like I, one thing at a time, like I've just said, okay, we've gotta fix your sleep. You should have all this testing done. We're gonna tweak your diet. Pick one thing, get that thing set in, get used to it, live like that. Have your new accountability partner, just like helping you with it and just make sure that sticks before you go to the next thing.
If it's unsticking go back. and make these things non-negotiable right. And so, so a lot of this starts from, you know, the motivation. If, if it's external, it will never work. it won't. And if it's short term, like, you know, I've been in this field for nearly 40 years, people are like, I've got a reunion. I'm [00:32:00] like, okay, you know, if we're gonna do the reunion thing or the wedding thing, it, it it's gonna work.
And then it's gonna go, you're gonna go right back to the old habits and everything else. So that, and the, the motivation has to be within you. And it really starts with this vision of where you wanna be of what your future self is. And then. Acting as if so, if that future self has great energy and, and you paint the vision of why this actually matters what this is gonna do for your life, you know, we don't, someone says I wanna lose 10 pounds.
I'm like, well, why, what will that do for you? It's not the losing of the 10 pounds. Right?
Brenna Hardgrove: It's more for me, it's more of, you know, health and wellness. You know,
JJ Virgin: I, but what does health and wellness do for you?
Brenna Hardgrove: Well, so I had a health scare earlier this year, so that definitely scared me. Mm-hmm and I have a lot of So my family has a lot of cancer.
Like other families has, has a lot of cancer in our family. Both parents had [00:33:00] diabetes. You know, my dad had Ms. So I definitely want to get into a healthier eating habit again, because I, you know, I wanna stay healthy, not only for myself, but you know, for my son
JJ Virgin: and my love. How old, how old is your son?
He's 24. Ah, okay. I've got a 25 and 26. So , so here's the thing. The it's really important to tie that all in. Because again, you know, someone says, I wanna get healthy. I'm gonna just keep going. Well, why, why? You know, let's, let's see. And then, and the challenge is, you know, these things seem like so far out there, but the reality is a lot of these diseases.
If you look at the trajectory of 'em, like they weren't even things 50 years ago, a hundred years ago. And a lot of it is due to our. lack of exercise, poor sleep, lots of stress. And that really ultimately [00:34:00] is a choice. right. Right. So, and if you look at exercise specifically, like if it was a drug, it would, and, and insurance paid for it.
Like every doctor would prescribe it. Right. It's the most obvious thing that you can do to. Change the trajectory of your health and your brain. And then you look at diet and you have someone in your family who had an autoimmune disease, where dairy and gluten and soy and corn can be big triggers for that.
So you start to look and just go, okay, let's just unpack this and go, what do I need to do now? So that I, I don't go that way because you might have the genetic propensity, but it's your lifestyle. It's your diet. That's going to determine if that happens or not. So it's all within your. And sometimes fear's a bigger motivator than, you know, the joy and love sadly enough.
So whichever way it is that we need to push you, but it's gotta come internally. And then it's just gotta be a shift in your tissues. Like you have to see yourself so clearly as [00:35:00] that person, because if you, if you live like a healthy. Fit person, you will be a healthy fit person, but you have to see yourself there first, because then you'll just be that person.
So just be that person, be the person who doesn't drink a soda, like they just would never do that. That's just like absolutely foreign, have a Zevia sure. But I'm not gonna drink a soda. I don't do that. Be the person that makes sure that they fit their fitness in their workouts. Cuz they feel like crap. If they don't, you know, be the person who goes, no, I'm gonna go to sleep because I don't wanna feel crappy in the morning.
And I know I will just start to be that person. it's actually just that simple , you know, right. Yeah, absolutely. And build your life around that. I mean, I literally build my life around. I am that person now there's the rare exception, new year's Eve. Okay. But you know, other than that, like, I am really careful about my sleep, about what I'm eating about all of it, you know?
Cause I don't wanna feel crappy. Yeah.
Brenna Hardgrove: What about, [00:36:00] what about cheat days? What do you think about cheat days? Like pizza on Friday or ?
JJ Virgin: So I don't really understand a cheat day because I think a cheat day is a trigger that sets up a lot of problems. And I also think emotionally it's the wrong thing, cuz it puts us into I'm good or I'm bad.
I think there's always ways to do like, like. if you wanna have a piece of pizza. Now, if you have an issue with gluten and it's a trigger or you're intolerant to it, then you're throwing gasoline on a fire. And why not just have a gluten free pizza? You know, we're gonna do a, we're having a birthday celebration.
We're getting a Keylime pie, cuz he loves it with some gluten-free crust and we'll have a little bit, and then it's not a cheat, it's like, okay, that's okay. You don't have to get an A+, but you need to consistently hit an a minus or a B+, right. And one of my challenges I see with cheat days is they a cheat meal becomes a cheat day, becomes a cheat week.[00:37:00]
And, and, and when I, where I think instead you go, okay, but I really want pizza. It's like, fine, go get pizza, get a gluten free pizza, share it with someone, get a salad. Okay, then you don't feel crappy and you, you didn't start to get in that whole good day, bad day. I'm all in. I'm all not in, you know, it's just like, no, I know how to navigate this so that I'm, I'm my percentages hit to me that I'm about 90%.
Some days I might be 95%. Some days I might be 85%. Totally cool. Okay. And then workout wise, like how do we fit in some high intensity interval training and some resistance training into your schedule, and then just flat out moving more. Like if you're gonna go do you know go get some gluten-free pizza and a salad.
Could you take a walk around wherever you are afterwards? To lower the blood sugar response to the meal and get some exercise. Like how do we [00:38:00] fit more movement walking in? And then some structured exercise, like one day is high intensity interval training. One day is weight training, back and forth. Right?
Cause it will make a massive difference and you'll start to crave it.
Brenna Hardgrove: Okay. Yeah, I definitely need to start doing some weight training again. My arms have, have gotten a little bit bigger.
JJ Virgin: so, so start to look at like, how can I build this? And when are you gonna do exercise? When would it fit into your schedule?
Brenna Hardgrove: Probably. I'm not one that likes to just get up and work out. I know some, you know, some people like to work out in the, the am. I'm more either lunchtime workout or after dinner is generally when I tend to like to work
JJ Virgin: out. Okay. So here's what I'd love you to do because it's people always ask me when, when is the best time to work out and I go, you know, when you will.
That is the answer, right? It's like, when will you, that's when you should work [00:39:00] out is there some benefit more in the morning? Hey, the benefit in the morning is most people don't end up missing it. So, and there's a couple hormonal things, but there's also some all during the day. What I'd love to see you do is, is how many days a week could you do it at lunch?
Cuz I'm assuming that's when you're home working from. .
Brenna Hardgrove: Yeah, so obviously anytime during the weekend and then two or three days during the,
JJ Virgin: the weekdays. Cool. So we can put that in there and then what would be awesome in the evening is actually just to do more of a walk after dinner. okay. And it doesn't take long, but it's really good for the blood sugar response.
So if we can get in, you know, four to five workouts during the week two to three during the week from home, and then on the weekend, do some resistance and some high intensity interval training, and then add in the walks. You got it. And you can just start with one of those things. Again, I'm throwing a lot of stuff at you.
This is not like tomorrow you start all this stuff that sets you up to fail. [00:40:00] This is make a list, decide what you're gonna tackle first. Get it in once that's dialed, go to the next. okay.
Brenna Hardgrove: Okay. Yeah. I definitely do that where, okay. I'm either all in
JJ Virgin: or all out. Right. And you know what, whenever someone's all in or all out, they always end up all out.
It just is. Cuz you can't sustain the all in. Yeah. So it just isn't it's not, it's not the way it's gonna, it's not reality. So instead of that, you're gonna get really clear on. Why you're doing this and where you wanna be. You're gonna start measuring every day sleep and your body composition, cuz that will keep you.
Going forward. There's clear research that people that do that, that when you measure, monitor, you improve clear, like that is no question mark, and, you know, and dial in your, your, your accountability partner to support as well. And then give yourself grace. If like one day you take the day off. [00:41:00] Okay. And that's fine.
Just get back. But like, if you're gonna take the day off from eating correctly, just swap. It's so easy nowadays to eat, like, you know, we were doing you know, dessert the other night, just so delicious dairy free ice creams with, with Lily's dark chocolate chips, not hard, right? Like, so there's all sorts of ways you can do this stuff and not sabotage yourself and still enjoy.
Brenna Hardgrove: Yeah, I have your cookbook and I, I absolutely love it.
JJ Virgin: yeah. And I've got, I mean, I have so many recipes on my blog now, so there really isn't. I mean, this is, this is not like 20 years ago where this was hard. It's gotten so much easier. Right. So it really is a decision and then a long-term commitment and then just put benchmarks in place for yourself and celebr.
right. Mm-hmm and celebrate. I had to pay one of my sons early on to draw outside the lines, cuz for him he was either perfect or he wasn't gonna do it. And I go, all right. All right. [00:42:00] I will just fix this this way. And that's the same thing. Celebrate small successes and being able and the commitment to stick with it and to get a B plus.
Okay. Okay. Sounds good. And then report back. I want to hear what happens. all right. Okay, perfect. Awesome. Thank you. And, and please share back so I can share, share in the success. That's how I get my . That's what makes me happy.
Brenna Hardgrove: I absolutely will. And it was a pleasure meeting
JJ Virgin: you. All right. Thank you. You too.
Thank you. Bye.
All right. So we will have some resources for you, especially those lab tests. I recommended through the lab testing company and my take 10 stress support. And sleep candy and magnesium body calm. My favorite blue blocker glasses. So bunch of different things that could be helpful to you. [00:43:00] And I would just wanna remind you like health is a journey and it's an imperfect journey.
And the most important thing along the way is like, if, if something didn't work well again, I think to the, to a couple weeks ago, when I, when I ended up eating dinner really late at night, it was like 8 30, 9 o'clock. And I get up the next morning and my aura rings. Like you ate late last night. I'm like holy smokes.
But you know, it's, it's just good to see these things. So remember what you measure and monitor, you can improve. It's all. This is information. Just dial it in and have that, have that compassion and, and grace with yourself as you're on this learning journey called life and oh, by the. If you would like to participate, you can do that at JJvirgin.com/signup, and we're doing it a couple different ways.
Some people are shy, they just wanna like submit in what's going on with them and get some ideas. Totally cool with that too. And notice I cannot do medical stuff. I am not a doctor. I do not want play one on podcast. And [00:44:00] if you have not subscribed yet, Subscribetojj.com. It's that simple. And then you never miss a juicy episode.
I'll see you next time.


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