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[Beginnings & Breakthroughs] Gut Healing + Getting Back on Track with Donna Barber | Ep. 445

Honing Your Diet and Lifestyle Habits to Feel Better, Stronger, and Healthier at Any Age

For many people, the pandemic was a catalyst to make positive changes and level up their diet and lifestyle habits. For others, it was an unexpected setback on the journey to a healthy weight and body. Tune in as JJ talks with longtime Virgin Diet advocate Donna Barber about her powerful first experience with The Virgin Diet, how living through a pandemic impacted her eating habits, and why supporting her gut will be critical in the days to come.

When she worked as a librarian, Donna would notice that the most popular topics people would search for were health and weight loss. One day, a woman dropped a book in front of her that changed her life forever: The Virgin Diet. “I kept picking it up and putting it down, thinking it was probably just another gimmick,” shared Donna. But after following the plan for a week, she lost 7 pounds. And after four months, she lost 30 pounds—and says it was like winning the lottery.

But Donna, like a lot of folks, struggled during the pandemic. Stuck at home, she found it harder and harder to eat well and stick to her healthy habits… and the weight crept back on. She also had a history of digestive issues that sometimes made it difficult to eat the right foods. Now, with knee surgery on the horizon and gut health a #1 priority, she asked JJ to help her create a roadmap to a healthier gut and body.

Their eye-opening conversation will change the way you look at weight loss and health, and it may just provide the answers you've been looking for on your own personal wellness journey. Listen as JJ delivers easy-to-implement but critically important strategies based on Donna's unique needs—from the best foods and supplements to the best ways to exercise and strengthen her body. JJ also shares her own experience with maintaining health before and after major surgery, so you don't want to miss her recommendations!

Click Here To Read Transcript

ATHE_Transcript_Ep 445_Donna Barber
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, it's JJ. And welcome to beginnings and breakthroughs. Oh my gosh. This is my favorite thing to do. It is where I celebrate your success. Talk about what you've done on one of my programs, whether it's Virgin diet or sugar impact diet, or one of the detox programs or using loaded smoothies. And [00:01:00] we unpack that.
And then we also look at where are you now? And, and where do you wanna go next? And then I'll give you some coaching. And so this can be someone, maybe you've had a breakthrough through one of the programs, or maybe you're just starting and you just wanna get started, right? Whichever way it is. I would love to.
Share your story with our podcast audience, because I know that a lot of times when you're listening to someone else you're going, oh, wow. That worked for her. I think I can do that. And so you'll hear today as I'm coaching Donna Barber. There's a lot of things in here that you can grab a hold of and go, ah, that's a great idea.
I think I'll do that. And I'm really excited about this one because I actually got to meet Donna in person four years ago, we did an event at my. And I keep threatening them. I'm gonna do another one of these, and this is something interests you, DM me on Instagram. We did something at a house with about 12 people and it was super fun.
And Donna shared her story. She was a [00:02:00] part-time librarian and got, did the Virgin diet and has become like the big advocate. And so we went through today where she is now. And. What's on tap for her, which she has something big right around the corner. That was a great timing to help coach her with. And so I'm super super excited to share this interview with you.
Donna is quite a lot of fun as you'll find out. And if you are interested in becoming one of my interviewees, that would be, that would be fantastic. All you need to do is go to JJvirgin.com/signup. For the information and application. All right. Stay with me. I'll be right back with the awesome, amazing Donna Barber.
All right. Well, I am super excited about this, Donna. So you were at my house like five years ago. When was it? Very [00:03:00] close? July
Donna Barber: 14th, 2018. Wow. All right. I have a photographic memory for
JJ Virgin: dates. Wow. That's very impressive. I just knew that I knew it was, I kind of rate everything kind of like by dogs and husband.
Exactly. Yeah. Who's where? what? So I'm just gonna give a little backstory and then we're gonna dive in here. And okay. I know that you found me and I'd love to hear this story because I know you as Donna, the now retired librarian that's me and who was the librarian that went on the Virgin diet and then started turning everybody onto the Virgin diet.
And I'm like, who is this woman? the whole city. I love this woman. So , and then we, that's still doing it. It's thank thank you. And we had this and wait, cuz we've got a, we've got a new book, but it's coming out January 20, 24 swap to drop. And I'll give you some highlights of that. You'll you, you get you'll get in early, but It was really fun because we did this whole thing at the house where we wanted to showcase success stories and get to [00:04:00] know people.
And you came out and you were the, you were the crowd pleaser so there you go. Very fun. So,
Donna Barber: well, I love a good audience, so that was perfect. I was nervous for the first five minutes, cuz I was like, I can't believe I'm standing in your house with you, but everybody there that day was phenomenal and you know, all your staff at the time and the other guests, it was, it was just.
JJ Virgin: Cheryl Barber Parker
Donna Barber: down in LA mm-hmm . She said it was the most magical day. And that's what it
JJ Virgin: was. Oh, was just magical. I I'm gonna have another one. I swear. Now you say that I'm like, I gotta do that. I'm waiting for you to give a date. I keep thinking I should do, cuz I built my house here in florida.
We've been doing retreats here. And so that's why I built it. I built, we actually had a hundred people here at a retreat, so, oh my gosh. I didn't realize it was that roomy. Wow. Yes, we have a big, big backyard and it's just set up that way. Like give me the date. I'll be there. I like parties. That's what I like to do.
So let's, let's start from the beginning. Like, first of all, how did you find me and what were you looking [00:05:00] for? Okay.
Donna Barber: I was an assistant library. For Santa Cruz public library not allowed to be called librarian cuz my degree's in economics, not library science. Okay. But that's just that backstory basically as a library, everyone in the town knows me.
Everyone in the county knows me. I'm like the friendliest librarian. They always had to stop me cuz
JJ Virgin: no you're the fun library. to wait on the next person
Donna Barber: will share with you. Cause I don't know if you are aware of this, the most popular topic that people come into library for
JJ Virgin: health and weight loss.
You're kidding. No, I kid you not health and weight loss. Now the only challenge is do people still go to libraries? Absolutely.
Donna Barber: Everybody thinks they don't because of the iPad, everything on internet and stuff, tons of people still use a
JJ Virgin: library, which is, this is really, that is big news. Okay. I'm making a note.
Donna Barber: Yeah. That's what I want you to
know very big noobs. And of course the older
JJ Virgin: folks
Donna Barber: like me, let's just say 60. [00:06:00] Still totally use the library.
JJ Virgin: Every single day. You know, we gotta really like watch the older folks because I don't know about you, but I'm noticing that older keeps getting older. Yes. Thankfully like, like my mom is older and my mom's 90, 93 now, so, or no 92.
So my mom. Right. And she is still like living on her own, walking up and downstairs, playing golf, go, mom, go. She's my role, my role model. That's awesome. So she's older. So therefore 90 plus, but you notice
Donna Barber: I include myself. I said we older folks. I
JJ Virgin: know. That's why I say you're not 90. Are you so there ya go.
Remember I just
Donna Barber: had the big 70. I'm in a new decade, so right. Still,
JJ Virgin: still adjusting to that. . Ah, okay. So here we're, so working back to the story library every day mm-hmm from all
Donna Barber: ages, especially forties to sixties, they'd come in, looking for books on weight loss and diet and health. That was always, and literally a woman who I'd seen.
Hi, how you doing? Drops a book in front of me called the [00:07:00] Virgin diet. . And of course when people return books, my job was just scan them in and then put them in the bin
JJ Virgin: and they go off in the library and I kept
Donna Barber: picking up your book, putting down the book, picking up the book. Of course your picture was on the cover.
And I said, who is this beautiful woman? And the title said, oh, what was the caption?
JJ Virgin: Drop Seven foods, seven pounds, just seven days, seven days. And I
Donna Barber: looked at it and I kept putting it. Yeah. Right. What kind of gimmick is this? Seven pounds and seven days. Coincidentally the very next day I was taking a road trip with the dog to meet some friends in Southern California.
So I had seven hours to drive. So I took your book in the audio book version and listened to it for seven hours and the entire drive. It was like you were sitting in the passenger seat going through your whole Virgin diet book. And I was driving my car. Oh, my God, I've been doing it wrong. Oh my God. I've been eating that.
What am I doing? I shouldn't be eating that. And I shouldn't [00:08:00] be the whole drive down, met with a friend, told him all about it. And he's like, you're right. What kind of gimmick? I said, I don't know, but when I go home, I'm gonna try it.
JJ Virgin: And after a few days I went back home and jumped
Donna Barber: right on the Virgin. And the first day or two, as, you know, going through the sugar withdrawal and the, you know, my God, this is gonna be hard.
JJ Virgin: I'm gonna, well, you know, when you're eating those foods that you're intolerant to you crave 'em right. Honestly, that's good. It's so good when you feel that way, right? Yes. Totally. You gotta reframe, reframe. Okay. Well, you're going through it. So that's good news. I go through it. I
Donna Barber: follow. And on the seventh day, eighth day, I jump on the scale and I can't say it here, but I went holy.
I lost seven pounds, seven pounds in seven days. And I just kept rereading your book, listening to the audio book and your very sentence is okay, you've done it for seven. Now you can do it for seven more and now you can do
JJ Virgin: it for seven more. I know it's kind of, I kind of trick [00:09:00] you because it's really, you trick me.
Well, I tricked. Yeah, I know
Donna Barber: well, but guess what? In four months I dropped 30 pounds. And I, I mean, I always battled weight. And so even when I saw your book, I was like, oh, I'd be happy to lose 10. But losing 30 to me was like winning the lottery. People would come in the library as the, you know, time progressed, Donna, are you feeling right?
And I said, oh, actually I never felt better. Why? Well, you've gotten so thin. I said, listen, the word thin doesn't exist in Donna Barber's life, maybe slimmer, but not thin. And by the second, third month, people were like, you look younger,
JJ Virgin: your skin looks younger. What are you
Donna Barber: doing? I said, I'm, I'm just following a new eating plan that I discovered accidentally.
And that's when I started passing your message along literally two dozens and dozens and dozens of people and several of whom, including myself, no longer needed certain medications. [00:10:00] Cuz it's like, oh, we don't need those. Now. Now we're like totally healthy. And after I dropped the 30, I had to go see my doctor, cuz I was feeling lightheaded and faint and she was like, oh, we need to take you off blood pressure medicine.
You have your blood pressure dropped too low. And your cholesterol numbers are too low. Oh you mean I don't have to take these pills anymore. Nice. So that's what finding your book did for me. That's the back story.
JJ Virgin: Yep. Okay. So that like, you know, makes me beyond happy, now you're here. And I, and, and now we need to do a little refinement, cuz from what I've heard, things have slid a bit mm-hmm so what, what has happened?
Like where are you now? And then let's talk about where, where you're gonna go from. Because you're about to be your best self ever. How exciting. Right. That's right. That's right. Yes. Yep.
Donna Barber: I kept off the 30 for probably three years. And this all started five years ago. I found your book in 2017 three years.
I was I'm glued to your diet [00:11:00] glued to your plan. I can't say I gained it all during pandemic, but as we all know, with the shelter in place and staying home turned to food, so I put on a good 10. And then I was like, okay, I gotta get back on the track. Cuz I don't wanna be 10 pounds heavier. I wanna keep the 30 off.
So the last two years has been a struggle with the same tent, lost em gained em, lost em gained em. I lost seven of the ten. So I'm still struggling out of the 30 I'm down 22 pounds. All right. Well, we're gonna fix this. Yes. That's
JJ Virgin: what I'm counting on. Just so you know. And you said something too.
So what's going on with blood pressure medications, all that. Now, interestingly, right
Donna Barber: now I'm back on blood pressure meds, but half the dose I was on before and cholesterol meds, some crazy number, like only two nights a week. But that's it thankfully, never diabetic, you know, no other kind of, oh yeah. And I half a thyroid pill every morning.
Okay. Other than that [00:12:00] healthy
JJ Virgin: as anything.. What kind of thyroid are you taking?
Donna Barber: Oh, Lord. I'd have to go downstairs. It's called Levoxyl, I believe. Okay. All
JJ Virgin: right. Okay, good. Okay. So first of all, I'd love to know, do you know your thyroid numbers? Because one of the important things to know is if your thyroid isn't.
Isn't handled correctly, low thyroid function. What's called hyperthyroid, which is actually like you'll have, or hypothyroid you'll have high TSH, but it's low thyroid function can cause high cholesterol. So I always wanna make sure that's not the issue. And course
Donna Barber: without me going and looking in my medical file.
JJ Virgin: dunno. The number. When was your, when was, when did the thyroid thing come on? Oh, no, that's been years. That's been probably eight, 10 years. I've been all right. Well, so, so I'm gonna give you some things to do. We're just gonna go through and give you a list. Okay? Okay. Okay. I got my pad. I'm ready. Okay.
Number one, number one, we wanna make sure your thyroid is still, is still, you're still medicated correctly because if you're not, it will make [00:13:00] it hard to lose weight. It'll make it hard to put on muscle and it will also can cause elevated cholesterol. So you want to have the following things checked.
They won't want to do this. This is what you need to have. And so you go in and say, I have all these symptoms so that they'll do this. It's TSH Ts. You want your TSH to be between 0.5 and one five to one. Okay. Then you're gonna get a free T3 and a free T4.
Donna Barber: T did you say
JJ Virgin: T3 number three, T3. Make sure it's free a free one.
And you're also gonna look at thyroid antibodies.
Donna Barber: Wow. Okay. Mm-hmm
JJ Virgin: okay, so that's step one. That's important. Next. Got it. Couple other questions. Are, do you have a scale that looks at both your, at your body composition to your weight and your lean body mass and body fat? Oh, heavens no, it's just, well,
Donna Barber: you gotta scale that I get [00:14:00] on and it just tells me
JJ Virgin: what the numbers are.
You gotta get a fancy scale and by the way, they used to be really expensive. And now they're not. So either Tanita, T a N I T a or. In body. And especially if you can get one, what you're looking for is it's gonna tell you your, your body composition. So you have on your body, two things, you have body fat and you have everything else.
Okay. So we just keep it simple, but they also can also give you a number called your visceral fat. And, and so look for a scale. That's gonna tell you. Body composition, which is based on total body water, your body fat and your visceral fats, your visceral fat's the bad stuff. That's where all the, you know, Pro-inflammation, blah, blah, blah happens.
So we wanna make sure that, you know, we focus so much on losing weight. What we really wanna focus on is holding onto and building muscle and getting rid of [00:15:00] that visceral fat, getting it. So it's a different way to look at things that may change the way we do this. So that's the next thing? Well I have a
Donna Barber: great primary who I love and she's also into holistic.
And believes in Western plus other alternatives. So who is it's into, you know.
JJ Virgin: Let's give her a plug. What's her name? Oh, her name is
Donna Barber: Jacelyn Gadbaw. G a D B a w. That's
JJ Virgin: quite a name. Okay. Here in Santa Cruz. Well, yay. Wonderful. Yay for her. I'm glad she's doing this. Yep. Get in touch with. Yes, because what we wanna do, I wanna know what your body fat percentage is.
I wanna see if we need to, if, if the focus really should be building muscle I have a feeling cause since you've always been pretty active, we're probably in good shape there, but I wanna see, have you also had a, I know that's on my list of
Donna Barber: things to discuss .
JJ Virgin: Yeah. And what about your have you had a, a bone density, bone, mineral density, a DEXA done?
Donna Barber: haven't recently, but I've had them [00:16:00] and they said the numbers were fine. No signs of
JJ Virgin: osteoporosis. Nice. Last I'm glad you probably five years ago. Yeah, well, but still so probably pretty stable now. And that's fantastic that you did that. And I will check with her. Walk me through what your diet looks like now.
Oh God. .
Donna Barber: Yep. And I
JJ Virgin: wanna, now I'm gonna hang up. Yeah. Nope. You can't, you can't leave where you can.
Donna Barber: Well, here's the thing, I, I mean, I will share with you what I eat and don't eat, but, but I wanted to discuss with you when they said, oh, ask JJ anything. My gut. Is a mess. Oh boy. Okay. And I know you're always talking about gut health and microbiome and you know, the subject that nobody wants to talk about your poops.
JJ Virgin: But we all do it. Yeah. Okay. Well, well tell me, cuz and to me, this stuff is
Donna Barber: more important than whether or not I lose five or 10
JJ Virgin: pounds. Well, here's the thing, [00:17:00] weight's just a symptom of other things not working well in your metabolism. You know, the whole thing we've. bass-ackwards is that you have to get health that you lose weight to get healthy.
No, you don't. If you've got a good, healthy gut, if you've got your thyroid working well, if your blood sugar's balanced, you're sleeping. Well, you're building muscle, you're losing fat. So we need to change the way we look at this. Like, so the big focus here is, is what do we need to look at on what you're doing to make sure you are your very best healthy self.
The weight loss will be automatic if we do that. And when I say weight loss, I specifically mean fat loss, cuz you do not wanna lose any of your lean body mass. So tell me what's going on with your gut. Well, what I didn't get to tell
Donna Barber: you when we met four years ago. I
JJ Virgin: lived for
Donna Barber: 25, 30 years with diverticulosis.
JJ Virgin: Mm. Okay. Which would've
Donna Barber: often turned into diverticulitis mm-hmm and bad flare ups. And what you don't know is 20 years ago, my entire colon ruptured. Ooh. [00:18:00] Yeah. It was not fun. I was at death's door. Wow. I literally, I mean, I didn't know how sick a body could. And recover from it. I know you always talk about your son and how he was near death and how you got him recovered.
Well, I was literally near death and it was a miracle I pulled through. They rearranged my intestine. I lived with a colostomy bag for a year. That was no fun. And I lost a bunch of
JJ Virgin: weight, but the hard way,
Donna Barber: but what I had to learn from that was the list is this long of you can't eat this. You can't eat this.
You can't eat that. That's a backstory about five or six years ago. I got really sick again in the gut thinking, oh my gosh, it's happening again? I mean, we're talking, I wouldn't wanna say this and sound graphic, not only diarrhea and bad poop, but the toilet was full of blood. I mean, we're talking the worst.
It could be. So this happened a few years ago and I got diagnosed with something that I just read. Your buddy, Dr. Hyman had something [00:19:00] called C diff. Talk about reeking havock on your gut. I was a sick puppy. So the problem with the diet was I had to live for weeks and weeks and weeks on things like white rice, apple sauce, toast, all the things that you, you always tell us, we shouldn't be eating.
I had no choice. I mean, I had to live on what would sustain me to get over all the illness. All of that's in the rear view mirror until about two months ago, I. Microscopic colitis, which basically means my intestines were so swollen and that feeling of being so bloated, like, oh my God, I have to go. And I was going seven to 10 times a day.
So it wasn't the going, that was the problem. It was. Can we stop going? So the backstory on this not to be graphic is I have a really messed up gut. So we need to heal my gut. Yes, you do. Without
JJ Virgin: more [00:20:00] pills. So what tell me what you're eating now and did anything change in the last year dramatically in how you're living or stress or anything like that?
I'm happy to
Donna Barber: say. And I brag about this to everybody. I believe I live the most stress free life on the planet. My house is five blocks from the beach. My bills are next to nothing. I have two pensions from two retirements. I've worked several fabulous jobs and except for Daisy and Daffy, I have the world's greatest dog who's laying right here.
Watching doesn't make a sound. I have great friends and until all the gut issues, I'm in great health and nobody believes I turned 70. So it definitely can't be coming from. I don't have any financial worries. I don't have any, I'm not in a relationship. I don't have any relationship problems. So no, nothing like that has changed.
I have great friends. I have money to go
JJ Virgin: anywhere I wanna go. Change [00:21:00] diet at all in the last, well,
Donna Barber: one thing that the gastro doc, and you're not gonna, like this made me stop was my JJ chocolate smoothies. He decided, and he, I think he's. I used to load 'em up with berries and strawberries and raspberries and blueberries.
Cuz my friend JJs always telling me the health food, blah, blah, blah, the super food they were causing me, not the smoothie themselves, all the berries causing me lot. Yeah. There's a
JJ Virgin: there's of the problem with what you've got going on. There's other things we do that way, but that's what I need to know.
Donna Barber: Yeah.
So unfortunately, no more berries, no more strawberries, raspberries, Blackberry blueberry, all the things that are so healthy. My system cannot. Intake.
JJ Virgin: So what are you eating now? Well, you'll kill me.
Donna Barber: Usually. I start the morning with a bowl of cereal, which is Cheerios, gluten free and almond .butter. Let's see.
I, after that, a banana usually some hard boil egg. [00:22:00] Lunch. I make something like a cob salad and sometimes I can do the lettuce. Sometimes I take the lettuce off. I found something at traders called egg wrap. So they kind of look like a burrito, but they're like gluten free dairy free. And I can put eggs in avocado in those and I can eat 'em and they seem to be fine.
I do a lot of chicken share that with the dog and instead of white rice, brown rice, and. Two, well, three veggies that seem to my body seems to handle, okay. Broccoli, spinach, or green beans. Anything else? The term I use is
JJ Virgin: I wind up paying for it. Okay. Can you do cauliflower? I don't
Donna Barber: like it, but I'd have to try it.
JJ Virgin: have to, no, you try cauliflower rice and don't make that baby face. Oh,
Donna Barber: I'm gonna write it down. Yes, ma'am.
JJ Virgin: All right. So nothing changed. And it just kind [00:23:00] of, did it creep up over time or did it happen overnight?
Donna Barber: No, it probably took a couple of months. Probably started February, March. And because I've had so many intestinal issues, I just ignored it and said, well, that's how my system works.
And by April I said, no, this is something's going on.
JJ Virgin: Okay. What supplements are you taking?
Donna Barber: Oh, again, I'd have to go downstairs and look at 'em basic off the top of your head. Yeah, a basic multivitamin. Vitamin D I take a combo of one called calcium magnesium zinc bromelain a good friend who does acupuncture swears
that keeps sciatica at bay and a vitamin C oh and probiotics. Probiotics.
JJ Virgin: Okay. What kind of probiotics are you taking? Oh gosh,
Donna Barber: the, their true nature from Costco.
JJ Virgin: Okay. We probably need to kick a better probiotic than that. Okay. All right. So
what are we doing? What's how is your sleep and what are you doing for exercise? Oh, you [00:24:00] know, me,
Donna Barber: my least favorite word exercise. I don't do burst training. I walk, my exercise is walking as many blocks as I can handle with the dog. I walk to the beach and. I try to get a couple of miles in a day, but the other bad note is the arthritis is, is winning and I'm losing.
And in August, I'm set for knee replacement
JJ Virgin: surgery. Okay.
Donna Barber: Well see, so at turning 70, I've had a lot of things happen to me.
JJ Virgin: I've had a knee and a hip replacement, so, oh, I knew you had the hip. I didn't know you had the knee. Yeah. What, and when I was 17, I blew my knee out and then I had an ACL repair.
I blew that out. Then I had it again, blew that out. I mean, yeah. But just and that was just because I was, I. Thought I was better than the knee surgery. Right. And you were a runner and I was being stupid. It was just stupid. Anyway, I finally couldn't wear my high heels anymore and I gimped [00:25:00] into the doctor because I couldn't wear my high heels.
He's like, oh my gosh. And, and they were like, we don't even know how you're walking. I had such a collapsed joint and it was a it was the greatest thing I ever did. And, but I also had a, a hip replacement. Of the wear and tear on the knee and then a dog attack that happened, so right in front of your house.
Right. So, right. So the bottom line is I will tell you what we need to do if you are having a knee replacement in six weeks, wait, did you say six weeks is August 16. We've gotta get you really dialed because yes. You know, when I'm doing this kind of stuff, I train for it. And then I recover from it.
Like, I really focus on that. So there's some very specific things that we're gonna wanna do. The biggest one is get your, your gut settled down. Yes. Because remember, like in order for you to heal, you have got to have a good gut because your gut's how you absorb all your nutrients. If it's like, [00:26:00] you know, Going crazy.
We're gonna have a serious issue here. So as far as your blood pressure, like in looking at all this stuff to me, my guess is we tighten up your diet a little bit and get your gut healed and get some, some, you know, get focus on again, holding onto muscle, especially if you're going through knee surgery.
The blood pressure is, is solely because you put on some weight, sounds like, and the And
Donna Barber: it's not too bad. It's like 1
JJ Virgin: 35 over 81, 40 over 82. Yeah, but we don't want that. We want you to, I don't totally Metabo right now. Right? Like it there's something like before the pandemic, they said 12% of the population was metabolically healthy.
And what classified metabolic health is a waste for a woman. Your waist is less than 35. Your blood pressure is one 20 over 80. Your triglycerides were. Under one 50, I think that's too high. Your blood sugar was under [00:27:00] 90. I think. I still think that's too high. So I mean it just, and your HDLs were above 50, so there was a lot and you know, just a couple of those, you're not metabolically healthy.
We gotta have you metabolically healthy. So the first of all those things you
Donna Barber: just named, my only good number is my glucose is always around 80. So
JJ Virgin: what we're gonna do, we can get all this stuff fixed. This is but one, but there's a couple things looking at this that we've gotta really focus on. The one thing I didn't get though was what about your sleep?
I sleep like a rock. Great. How long?
Donna Barber: Oh, eight hours minimum. Sometimes nine I'm. I'm a great sleeper. I run around all day long, whether it's errands, driving, taking the dog, whatever I do so much packed in the day that by nighttime I'm in the jammies by eight lights out by nine.
JJ Virgin: Now in my perfect world when they're [00:28:00] doing a knee replacement and I'll tell you what I did for both my knee and my hip was I, you know, they, they have you do rehab after you do it. That's oh yeah. But that's wrong. You know, when you need to do it, you need to do it before. Yes.
Donna Barber: A friend sent me some videos that I've already been doing now.
To start getting my quads
JJ Virgin: and getting them stronger. Exactly. Like you wanna go in super strong because you're gonna lose some of it. Right. So in the perfect world, you would be right now getting into your best shape ever before you go have this surgery which we've got six weeks, which isn't a lot of time, but at least it's better than nothing.
Okay. And but I, but I do wanna emphasize that. And what I'll say is, you know, we've got to look at your walking and go, all right, we need to add to this. Now, do you have is there a gym near you that you could join?
Donna Barber: There is, I'm just, you know, me, not into exercise. Why we talking stationary bike?
JJ Virgin: That was the
old you, but the new you, the new you is, no, [00:29:00] I'm not talking either of those.
I'm talking about Donna is gonna be lifting weights. Oh. That I'd have to go to a gym. Right. Or you can do it at home, but you're such a social person that I feel like that if you went to a gym and you did a class or you did that it'd be fun for you and you would like. So when I look at this, I think like one of the most important things you can do, so.
When as you age, right. And this is like 40 plus we become what's called resistant, which means our muscles just don't don't work. Like they used to, it's not as easy for us to build muscle. And then our hormones go down and around 50 and then it gets a lot harder. So we can't not do resistance training.
We're just losing muscle every day. If we don't do it. So you've got to do resistance training, like you've just got to do it. So what we've gotta figure out is what will you [00:30:00] love to do? And here's the thing you're gonna do rehab after your exercise, after your surgery, but what would be awesome is we wanna make sure you're being able to stay active.
Now, when you have knee surgery, they actually want you walking on it. Oh, that's what the surgeon told me. He said that afternoon. I'll be. Yeah, I will tell you that, like, and I had this whole negotiation with the doctor, cause I needed to go do something and I'm like, listen, do I need to stay overnight?
Cause I need to go. He's like, right. He's my
Donna Barber: attitude.
JJ Virgin: He's like, come on. And so I literally went in, in the morning. And I got out the next morning and he said, I'll let you go. If you can walk without a walker, I go watch this. But , I, I literally never used the Walker for either of, of the surgeries I started with it.
And then I stopped and I, so it's they tell you that they want you walking. So that's the good news, but that's not gonna help you build muscle. And if you wanna. Everything about your body. It's all about building that muscle. So we gotta get that scale. [00:31:00] And I want you to have that soon because it's gonna make a big difference with how you get through this.
If you're really managing that. And then we gotta get you to find a gym because you know, what you'll be able to do after surgery is they're gonna teach you some things that you can do with. And you'll be better than me. I, when the doctor told me there was nothing I could do to hurt it, I just said, all right, cool.
And I went and did my thing. And then I came in a month later and he goes, all right, well, you can go to the gym and you can start doing squats and stuff. Now I go, oh, I just started. Right. But yeah, you've been doing those. There's a lot of stuff you'll be able to do, like, you know, small leg extensions and stuff.
They'll teach you how to do all this stuff. And I have
Donna Barber: stairs in my house. So even the day I come home, I have to get up those
JJ Virgin: stairs. Yeah. They'll well, they'll teach you how to get up and down the stairs, you know? and the other thing is that that you'll be able to go to a gym and you'll still be able to do all the upper body work right.
That you, that you'll be able to do. [00:32:00] So that's gonna be important for you. So you gotta get, find a gym, join a gym, and ideally. Yay. You'll love it. You're gonna have a great time and, and find you know, what I'd love to do after you heal from the, from all of the from the knee surgery. I'll tell you, once you get about three months out, the best thing you can possibly do is join a yoga class.
Now your, your knees never gonna bend all the way back again. Like it just doesn't do it. However, the it's weird when you first have a knee replacement or a hip replacements, like your body has to, your nervous system has to learn how to integrate this new thing in. Right. And so all of a sudden you'll be walking.
It just does this weird, like it's like poof and you're like, what happened? You know, , you know, so, but yoga has been amazing because it helps you reestablish that. And I think that'll be another good thing for you. And you think yoga is better
Donna Barber: than Tai Chi? Cause I've had friends that do both at say
older folks that
JJ Virgin: Tai Chi you gotta stop saying that dirty [00:33:00] word. I don't understand. Like I just knock it off. Okay. Either one would be great. Okay. I'd love to see you. And I think you could probably start Tai Chi within, you know, probably two months, but we let's get, so let's put on the thing, but they're different.
So yeah. Oh, I know that both mm-hmm so first thing is we're getting that scale and you're gonna get your body composition reported to me, and then you're going. Get your you're gonna go join that gym and because, oh, you know, right after your knee surgery, you'll be able to go in there and do all your upper body stuff.
And once they teach you your rehab, you can go into the gym to do it, and then you'll get out and, and you'll start to meet people. And then if you don't show up, they're gonna pester you, which is what I wanna have happen. Okay. And a lot of times when you join a gym, they give you a personal training session to walk you through, to teach you stuff.
So that would be great too. Okay. Now, So that's that that's, that's the key important stuff. As far as your gut [00:34:00] goes, here's how I want you to think, and this is gonna be super important for you healing. So when you're healing from this, there's a couple things that you're gonna make, make sure that you do.
Did you say you were taking vitamin D D yes. D like Donna D is it a D3 with K1 & 2?
Donna Barber: Mm, I don't think so. Oh boy. And I'd have to go down and look, cause
JJ Virgin: all my stuff's downstairs. You can't. So here's the thing. You really need to, to get high quality supplements. This is because it makes all the difference with vitamin D3
you wanna make sure you've got K1 & 2. Vitamin D as you know, does so many important things. One of the key important things it does is help your gut. So, but another thing it does is help with bone remodeling and it helps with the Calcium absorption. So remember vitamin D is helping you with calcium absorption, vitamin K directs it to the right places.
[00:35:00] So you wanna make sure you've got your vitamin D levels where they should be. So when you do next time, you're doing labs. You should have a vitamin D test too, but you're gonna need a good vitamin D. and then the other thing that's super helpful here is fish oil. Now, obviously, you know, directly pre like, you know, within a week before your surgery and a week after you're not on that.
But then after that you are on fish oil because it helps with bone remodeling. And what type or how much
Donna Barber: strength of fish oil. That's something I do not take.
JJ Virgin: So I've got, I'm gonna, I'm just gonna put together a little thing and, and probably send you a little love, love box. So I'm making a note. The other thing that I love, and again, you gotta follow your doctor's orders on what they can, you can, and can't take pre generally it's all the.
Ginger garlic. It's also things like [00:36:00] vitamin E fish oil, all the things that can make your blood thinner. Right. So I'm very conservative directly pre and post, but then I'm, then I'm gonna throw everything at it. And one of the things that I really love is curcumin. Oh yeah. I take. I take that in a supplement.
And it's also super good for your gut too, by the way. So not only is it great for reducing inflammation because what we're gonna wanna do, the one bummer is, and I'll tell you, I was, I tried to be a martyr. When I went through knee surgery, I was like, I'm not gonna take the pain pills. And I was writing the sugar impact diet.
I was editing the book during that time. And I remember that I would. Like edit a little bit, then the pain would get so bad that I would have to take a little bit of pain pill, then I'd pass out. Then I would sleep for a couple hours and the pain would come back, wake me up. Then I would edit and it was just stupid.
I should've taken enough pain medications to just right. Not, I don't wanna be in any pain if I don't have to. And I will tell you that, that like one of the best things [00:37:00] I did was I got an ice machine. Yeah, I have that. And I used a lot of curcumin and fish oil. However, use the, use their pain medications to start with, because it is, I mean, you know, they saw your bones off, it hurts.
Yeah. Okay. Like they had to show it to me too. They wheeled me in, they go, this is Raul, and he's gonna show you the saws. I go, I don't wanna see the saws. Well, that's
Donna Barber: interesting. My doctor gave me a link to a video because I'm bone on bone where they implant something in between the joint. So you're not rubbing the bones on each other.
So he didn't say anything about sawing
JJ Virgin: anything. Yeah. You don't need to know anyway, I don't want him to, you don't need to know, so okay. You know, just know that it does hurt and don't be, don't be a martyr take, take the pills. Okay. So, you know, good minerals, a really high quality bone formula. So a good calcium magnesium bone formula, vitamin D3 with K2, fish oil curcumin, and then.
As far as the [00:38:00] rest goes, when you are healing from something like this, you need more protein, not less. Now I'm gonna assume what's your weight right now? Well,
Donna Barber: it was 1 65 till July 4th weekend. Now I'm back to 1 68. Ah, and when I met you four years ago, I was 1 61 61.
JJ Virgin: All right. So I'm going to then.
Donna Barber: Correct. Yeah. I'm trying to make notes of all this
JJ Virgin: as you. Reality is here and they can get you a copy of this too, that we've gotta kick your protein up because in order for you to be healing after a surgery, like generally I say like a gram and a half per pound of body weight. Wow. Which means the biggest focus you're gonna be doing is going to be protein.
So here's what I want you to do. And again, I'm gonna send you some stuff too, but the reason he took [00:39:00] you off the shake wasn't because of the shake. It was because of the stuff you were putting in the shake, the berries in it.
Donna Barber: Right, right. It wasn't the cacao nibs. It wasn't the almond butter. It wasn't your protein poweder.
Well, here's
JJ Virgin: the thing, berries. The it's important for you to know that like the, the best thing you can do while you're healing is to get in. Two of these shakes a day, it's also gonna help your gut and here's what's gonna happen. You are gonna do. And I want you to use the paleo shake. So it wasn't the chocolate, the chocolate doesn't bother you.
Donna Barber: No chocolate. I seem to be fine other than craving it all the time. The bad chocolate. Not your shakes. The, yeah, I can do your
JJ Virgin: protein powder. Cause sometimes chocolate can be a trigger. So as long as chocolate's not a
Donna Barber: trigger. Yeah, no, it only triggers my cravings of wanting like a Hershey bar or, you know, the bad chocolate.
JJ Virgin: Well, just eat a dark chocolate.
Donna Barber: What are you doing? Yeah, no, I have, I keep some of that. I keep, and I have JJ Virgin chocolate, protein bars. I have one every
JJ Virgin: day, every other day. They're very [00:40:00] good. So you're gonna do twice a day. Like to me, this is gonna be your easiest healing, plus you're gonna be like, is, is we gotta get your protein way up.
So what we need to do is get the chocolate and vanilla paleo shake. So if you do two scoops of that and you do, I would put two scoops of collagen. Yep. I
Donna Barber: put collagen in the shakes. Yep. Collagen peptides.
JJ Virgin: So
Donna Barber: you're gonna, well, what I need to know is what other additives can I put
JJ Virgin: in, in place of the berries? So here's what I'm giving you.
I'm giving it to you, but there's more, there's more, then you're gonna put in glutamine powder. It's gonna help with healing, but it's also gonna help heal your gut.
Let's see. Hold on. So what you're gonna do is you're gonna make your shake and here's what your shakes gonna look like. It's gonna be two scoops of powder. And then it's gonna be a half a tablespoon. If you're doing 'em twice a day, half a tablespoon of glutamine powder, and then it's going to be a serving of soothing gut elixir. Then, so that those things together are gonna do two things. We're gonna kick your protein up and ideally you're doing, if you.
Two scoops of, so if you're doing four scoops of collagen a day, I know that's a lot, but I want you to heal. I'm throwing it at you. Okay. That's gonna get you in those shakes to 40 grams of protein right there. Wow. [00:42:00] Okay. That's not really enough.
Donna Barber: What about half
JJ Virgin: avocado? We really need to, yeah, we really actually need you to get more like 50 grams 50.
Yeah. So there is a milk called from good karma. Called it's unsweetened vanilla, flax milk, and it has protein in it because they added some now can you handle we'll just see if your gut can do it. It's P protein. So we have to
Donna Barber: make sure I probably can, but I can't handle the seeds, like I used to put flax seeds
JJ Virgin: or chia seeds.
There's no, yeah. There's no, no seed in there. We're not doing any seed. It's all just the milk. Okay. So if we can do that probably then we can get you up to you'll have about 50 grams and that's what cuz
Donna Barber: vanilla flax milk would be in place of coconut milk or almond milk. Oh, yeah, I'm sure I can get
JJ Virgin: it at Whole Foods. Okay. So good karma, unsweetened vanilla flax milk, and you'll see it protein.
Okay. We I'm really looking at how do I get you to like [00:43:00] 106? You do 180 grams of protein a day. Wow. Yeah, you've got some healing to do healing. Wow. I know. So these shakes, I'm looking at getting you to 50 grams and then realize the best you can be eating. Like it would be eight ounces of chicken or eight to 10 ounces of wild salmon.
Do you like sardines? I know disgusting, but are how many
Donna Barber: fish, but doesn't any fish? JJ tells me to eat
JJ Virgin: fish. Wild salmon would be really, so really gut healing are, is fish protein. So if we can get you eating more fish. And so what I wanna see with these fatty fishes is 10 ounces of fish or six to eight ounces of chicken.
And again, we're kicking up your protein. Yeah, I'm good
Donna Barber: with chicken. I just have to get the grass fed, you know, free range chicken,
JJ Virgin: the organic. Yeah. The other thing that you wanna do here is Oh, gosh, hold on. Wait. So in your shake, here's what you're gonna do your fruit in your shake. [00:44:00] Okay. Because this is gut healing and we do different stuff for gut healing.
Collagen is very gut healing, the bone broth protein in my paleo shake, super gut healing. The other thing that gut healing are bananas.
Donna Barber: Yeah. I, I
JJ Virgin: put a half banana. Okay. Yeah. So either a half banana or a half a cup of applesauce. Oh, okay. Those are very, very healing. Okay. Those two. Okay. Got it. And then I want you getting yourself some some bone broth and, you know, get your bone broth, get some bone broth drinking.
Done. I use chicken
Donna Barber: Bone broth because at least twice a month, I make your recipe of lemon thyme chicken. Oh, nice with my crockpot. It is fabulous. I make that a couple of times a month with brown rice and broccoli. I'm a happy kid.
JJ Virgin: Great. Okay. So, oh yes.
Donna Barber: I'm familiar with that bone broth, but I haven't used it in a while.
I guess I better get some more,
JJ Virgin: [00:45:00] so you need to be drinking bone broth, a cup of it every single day. Wow. Okay. Yep. So you know what your shake is two scoops plus two scoops collagen plus glutamine powder, half a tablespoon plus Plus a scoop of soothing gut elixir. Keep your probiotics going. Make sure you're taking a good quality one.
I like I would be taking, I wonder if we have you know, the microbiome balance that we have, but, well, I was just gonna ask you
Donna Barber: about that. because I, and I know we're running out of time, because I'm still spreading the JJ Virgin message to everybody. I come across mm-hmm, a woman and a friend of mine, a little bit younger than me lives in the hood.
Who's super skinny. It wasn't about weight loss. Thanked me for turning her on to you. And she changed some of her eating habits. Nice about your microbiome supplement and told me just the other day, she has never felt
JJ Virgin: better in her life. Nice. It is the microbiome balance and we're actually about we're coming out.
We're doing a bunch of new [00:46:00] stuff. I'm super excited. We've been working a lot on products. And the microbiome balanced products are really interesting product cuz it's got probiotics, prebiotics and bacteriaphages. So it's a really, so I need to get me some of that. Okay. And then like, this is the key stuff.
The that should be helping you. Are you doing any vitamin C extra vitamin C? Yeah. But just one a
Donna Barber: day. And I don't know what. Milligram is without
JJ Virgin: looking at it. So you probably are gonna need after your surgery. Cuz one of the things that helps with collagen production is vitamin C and, but you don't do it pre and post directly cuz it can do some blood thinning.
So just after your surgery, like, you know, five days out, week out, start two grams of vitamin C. Okay. And then the two grams of fish oil. Okay. So, and I'm sending you that, so thank you cuz
Donna Barber: I'm writing it and I know I'm not getting all. Okay.
JJ Virgin: Well you also can get a copy of this. [00:47:00] So there, so I'm typing as I'm doing to send to Aaron.
Donna Barber: Yeah. Well, your staff is fabulous,
JJ Virgin: so I know they'll come through. They are amazing. So you know what to do. Scale fitness, really upping your, when you go through, like when grant was in the hospital, I had him at like 250 grams of protein a day. I was doing special amino acids, everything I remember you were telling, you told us the story,
Donna Barber: you were bringing food into the hospital.
JJ Virgin: Oh yeah. Lugging it in. They thought I was nuts. And then you know, when, like when I did my surgery, I like kicked it all up. And especially whenever I do this, I always do two shakes a day because it's so key critical for healing. Right. So this will super help. 2 shakes a day and
Donna Barber: how much other food. I mean the shakes are in place of
JJ Virgin: food, correct?
Yeah. You're having two meals are shakes. Okay. Two shakes and then do one meal. Okay. Of your, you know, [00:48:00] protein first. So I'm gonna do chicken or fish. Chicken. Yeah. Cuz that's my favorite. But let's get in too like I'd love to see you getting fish in three times a week. The reason being salmon or halibut, it's very gut healing.
Like when I look at gut healing foods, that's a very gut healing food. Okay. Okay. Cause we gotta get your, the healthy gut support product, that soothing gut elixir and the glutamine are gonna calm your calm, your gut down. The glutamine also helps with healing. The collagen helps calm your gut down. The bone broth helps calm your gut down.
So we're doing stuff both the curcumin's gonna help reduce inflammation. The fish oil will help. So we're throwing everything at it and it's gonna help with both issues. Okay. All right. There you go.
Donna Barber: Okay. Sounds easy. If I can get it all put together. One of my dearest friends, studies, acupuncture and kinesiology, and she's been after
JJ Virgin: me for years.
To do
Donna Barber: weight training and
JJ Virgin: resistance training. So, well, you should've listened to her. [00:49:00] I know. So now I have she's I love now. Now you can't say to her. Oh, JJ said it. So now I'm gonna do it. Cause that will make her mad.
Donna Barber: It would make me mad. Yes. Okay. No she's a very special friend. She'll be thrilled.
JJ Virgin: knows who you are and all about you. Perfect. So I just sent that off too, so you know what to do. And then I want, I, as soon as you get your body comp scale, I wanna hear what, where you're starting at. And soon as you join the gym, I wanna hear that you joined the gym, get going now on that, right?
Okay. Promise. No, I promise. Promise. I'm
Donna Barber: I'm promising. Cause I wanna feel good and I wanna get well, so
JJ Virgin: yes. Yes. Yes. The
Donna Barber: knee, the whole reason I finally said yes to the knee surgery is I can't do my walking. That's my favorite thing to do.
JJ Virgin: It'll be getting short walks. I know that's just not right. Well, here's the thing the first three months.
And they say it and for something, all of a sudden, at three months, it's like, boom, something just lifts, but it's three months of wobble. Where it's just kind of weird [00:50:00] and you know, the first two weeks are rough and you just prepare for it. And then, you know, I, you should be able to get off the medic, the pain pills fairly quickly, but don't be a martyr and then start using all that other stuff and just focus on getting strong, focus on getting strong.
Right. Remember
Donna Barber: I lived through them, rearranging my intestines. Yes. And I lived through them putting a bag on and taking a bag off. Yes.
JJ Virgin: This is gonna be a piece of cake. This is way easier. I'd much rather have a new replacement than a bag. Absolutely. yes. Yes, absolutely. All right, perfect. Okay, so you're gonna let me know.
Yeah, no, definitely. I can text you,
Donna Barber: I can an Instagram you, I can email your staff. I have hundreds of ways
JJ Virgin: to reach you. yes. Reach me. Tell me. All right. Perfect. I promise. Best of luck. Okay, thank you, please coming your way. Yes.
Donna Barber: Thank you. Thank you. All right. And thank you so much for giving me your time.
JJ Virgin: You are so welcome, my honor, my pleasure.
And by the way, where'd
Donna Barber: you put the towel? [00:51:00] what
JJ Virgin: towel? The towel. Oh, I didn't think of it as a towel to me. It was a I used it as a it's like it's out on my, I have a big. Ottoman thing. And I put it as like a, what, what do you call it? Kind of like a little table cloth, but it's not a table cloth. I don't think it's like a, runner. I don't think of it as a towel.
Yeah. It's like a runner. It's too pretty for a towel. I know that
Donna Barber: what you left
JJ Virgin: me in your voicemail. I loved it. I was like, what is it?
Donna Barber: That's exactly what you said.
JJ Virgin: It's pretty. What is it? yeah. It's that's what
Donna Barber: you said. Anyway, you deserve it. And thank you. Cause you have been my hero, as you know, since I found that book.
So thank you. You're advising me to do
JJ Virgin: it. I'm gonna do it. I appreciate all the support. You've always given me too. So thank
Donna Barber: you and know how much I love you and I'm grateful for all you do. Okay. All stay well and stay safe and I'll see you soon. Thank you. Okay. Thanks. Bye. Bye.
JJ Virgin: Bye.
I [00:52:00] cannot wait to hear how Donna sails through this surgery. And what happens is she gets involved with her local gym. She's super social. So this should be a great thing for her. And again, we're really talking like today, we focused a lot on what you need to do to heal from a surgery, which means more protein, what you need to do to heal your gut, and then what you need to do to make sure that as you age.
And I'm talking 40 plus, you know, that you hold onto or build muscle because if you're not using it, you're losing it. If you'd like to be a guest on the show, just go to JJvirgin.com/signup and you'll get all the details there. And thank you so much for tuning into another awesome session of beginnings and breakthroughs.
I'll see you next time.


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