Adam Bornstein (@BornFitness) is the founder of Born Fitness, an award-winning writer and editor in the fitness space, and a bestselling author. His latest book is You Can’t Screw This Up: Why Eating Takeout, Enjoying Dessert, and Taking the Stress out of Dieting Leads to Weight Loss That Lasts.
What We Discuss with Adam Bornstein:
- Why are more than 70 percent of Americans overweight or obese despite 40 percent of men and 60 percent of women observing multiple diets per year?
- How common misbeliefs and flawed mindsets around fitness and weight loss are perpetuated by a wellness industry that prioritizes its profits over the people it purports to help.
- How the wellness industry inflates bogus “sciencey” claims in order to fool us into buying routines, diets, and supplements that, at best, do nothing for us.
- What calorie restriction really does to the brain.
- How extreme, all-or-none beliefs make us fail our fitness goals, and what we can do to actually move the progress needle forward.
- And much more…
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If you’ve tried to lose weight and failed, don’t feel bad. Right now, 40 percent of men and 60 percent of women in America are dieting, yet 70 percent of the people in this country are overweight — or obese. It’s not a moral failing, and it’s not due to a lack of willpower. These days, we’re caught between a never-ending buffet of irresistible foods designed to cater to our every craving, and a “wellness” industry geared toward keeping us hooked on its fad diets, supplements, and routines as a way to chase a skinny ideal while fattening its own wallet to the tune of $96 billion per year, globally.
In this episode, we’re joined by fitness sage Adam Bornstein, the founder of Born Fitness and the author of You Can’t Screw This Up: Why Eating Takeout, Enjoying Dessert, and Taking the Stress out of Dieting Leads to Weight Loss That Lasts. Here, we discuss the common misbeliefs and flawed mindsets around fitness and weight loss perpetuated by a wellness industry that prioritizes its profits over the people it purports to help, how extreme all-or-none beliefs make us fail our fitness goals, and what we can do to actually move the progress needle forward. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss the conversation we had with Gift of Fear author and security legend Gavin de Becker? Catch up with episode 329: Gavin de Becker | The Gift of Fear Part One here!
Thanks, Adam Bornstein!
If you enjoyed this session with Adam Bornstein, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- You Can’t Screw This Up: Why Eating Takeout, Enjoying Dessert, and Taking the Stress out of Dieting Leads to Weight Loss That Lasts by Adam Bornstein | Amazon
- The Rules of Fitness Reborn | Born Fitness
- Adam Bornstein | Twitter
- Adam Bornstein | Instagram
- Adam Bornstein | LinkedIn
- There is No Magic Pill, LeBron James, and What It Really Means by Adam Bornstein | Medium
- Adult Obesity | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Obesity and Lipid Specialist Physician | Dr. Spencer Nadolsky
- Layne Norton, PhD | Instagram
- Coke vs. Diet Coke: Which Should You Choose? | Eating Made Easy
- Nine Potential Intermittent Fasting Side Effects | Healthline
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- Mindful Eating | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Jason Feifer | Build for Tomorrow | Jordan Harbinger
- Why We Got Fatter During the Fat-Free Food Boom | The Salt
- The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food | The New York Times
- James Clear | Forming Atomic Habits for Astronomic Results | Jordan Harbinger
841: Adam Bornstein | The Real Skinny on the Weight Loss Industry
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to US Bank for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:04] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:07] Adam Bornstein: If you go back to when we weren't so overweight and obese, so that's going back to like the '50s and '60s, you're looking at anywhere between like seven percent of men and 14 percent of women are on a diet, and you're looking at a pretty low overweight and obesity rate. About 10 percent of people, right? So low amount of people dieting, low amount relative to this whole population, obese or overweight. Today, like 40-plus percent of men, 65 percent of women are on multiple diets per year, and more than 70 percent of people are now overweight or obese in America alone.
[00:00:49] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker through long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers to performers, even the occasional mafia, enforcer, four-star general, or extreme athlete.
[00:01:17] And if you're new to the show or you want to tell your friends about the show, and of course, I appreciate it when you do that. I suggest our episode starter packs as a place to begin. These are collections of our favorite episodes, well, my producer's favorite episodes organized by topics that'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show — topics like persuasion and influence, technology and futurism, scams and conspiracy debunks, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started. Most of you know we've got an AI chatbot on the site. You can search for anything we've ever covered in any episode of the show. That means any interview, any question from Feedback Friday, any promo code from any sponsor, you get the idea. jordanharbinger.com/ai is where you can find it. It's maybe a week or two behind on episodes because it ingests them, so to speak. But yeah, check it out. Let me know what you think and let me know if it tells you that my mom is racist because it did that once and that was weird and not true, by the way.
[00:02:13] Today, something a bit different than usual. I don't cover health or wellness as you all know, but today my friend Adam Bornstein and I will be discussing why the wellness industry is largely, well, it's largely a scam that overcomplicates things in order to sell us routines and diets and supplements. This probably should have been a Skeptical Sunday, 20/20 hindsight, but whatever. We'll also cover beliefs and mindsets around fitness and weight loss that don't serve us but are propped up by the wellness industry in order to make money. All-or-nothing beliefs in how those can make us fail, diets, stress, obesity, what calorie restriction does to the brain, and more. And if you're really well versed in nutrition, psychology of weight loss, you're a fitness guru, whatever, or you're just not interested in this stuff and I totally get it, then this might not be the episode for you.
[00:02:56] Again, I realize this is a departure from our normal fare, but I enjoyed this conversation and I hope you will as well. Now, here we go with Adam Bornstein.
[00:03:07] Look, let's ruin the diet and wellness industry as much as we can in the next hour and change, shall we?
[00:03:13] Adam Bornstein: Oh, I am ready.
[00:03:15] Jordan Harbinger: I figured you might be. You know, you and I have been friends for years and I was like, well, I don't do fitness episodes. I don't really do health episodes and I don't plan to start now with this one exception because the plan is this going to be more of a takedown of the wellness industry as opposed to like a how-to for weight loss. And the reason is because, well, one, people could read your book for the weight loss stuff, but also what we're going to talk about is it's not entirely that complicated. And also I appreciate that you're not trying to be a weight loss dieting guru. This episode is not in service of like you becoming an MLM huckster for some diet.
[00:03:51] Adam Bornstein: Nothing to sell, no backend offer, not pushing supplements, none of that.
[00:03:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:58] Adam Bornstein: I think writing this book started truly nine years ago. The simple question that I asked myself, which was, what if diets never existed? Because it might sound funny coming from me, someone who has been in this industry in different ways for 20 years now. But at some point you look at all the diets and all of the money being spent, and then you look at the results and see that we are getting heavier and sicker and unhappier and more miserable, and you can't help but ask. Is it a coincidence or is like the poison in the pill? And that's what I wanted to figure out. And the answer is kind of, yeah.
[00:04:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. The poison is kind of in the pill. The dieting industry is one of the only places where you see we seem to be adding more and more and getting worse results. Aside from, and this is probably also not a coincidence, healthcare in America, we spend way more than any other country. Our outcomes are way, way more terrible than pretty much any other developed country's healthcare system or just the longevity of the humans that are using it. And I can't help but think that's two sides of the same coin. I could be connecting dots that aren't there as one of my favorite phrases to use on the show, but it seems like those two things are related or extremely similar in any case.
[00:05:17] Adam Bornstein: They're related. So the one thing I will say is that like anything in life, it is probably dangerous and misguided to try and point at one thing.
[00:05:25] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:26] Adam Bornstein: And I say this very importantly because most diets do just that. And you will see it almost formulaic over the last 40, almost 50 years now, where diets will find your villain, whether it's fat, whether it's carbs, whether it's gluten, whether it's sugar, whether it's inflammation, whether it's hormones. We can go on and on and on and on and on. They find a singular villain. They blame every problem under the sun for it so that people overreact to something and it leaves people worth soft.
[00:05:54] So the example is that like from diets, we can see that this magic pill, one thing being the crux of this house of cards is not the solution. And if we're looking at multiple problems that have contributed to us being less healthy and all of us should care about our health, but none of us should be going to such measures that we in a quest to become healthier, just feel miserable. And that's—
[00:06:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:18] Adam Bornstein: —typically what happens, right? That's why I don't like the industry. The wellness industry should be designed to improve wellness. Instead, it is designed to optimize industry. And that was kind of this, I guess, inspiration to write this book of like, how do we remove the shackles from people? And just like from a very, very simple standpoint, if you go back to when we weren't so overweight and obese, so that's going back to like the '50s and '60s, you're looking at anywhere between like seven percent of men and 14 percent of women are on a diet. And you're looking at a pretty low overweight and obesity rate. About 10 percent of people, right? So low amount of people dieting, low amount relative to this whole population, obese or overweight. Today, like 40-plus percent of men, 65 percent of women are on multiple diets per year, and more than 70 percent of people are now overweight or obese in America alone.
[00:07:11] Jordan Harbinger: That's crazy to me.
[00:07:12] Adam Bornstein: So we have gone ahead four to five X the number of people on diets and not just one now multiple diets while at the same time jumping to three-fourths of the population being overweight or obese. And at what point do you just stop there and say like, wait a second, this is so messed up.
[00:07:31] Jordan Harbinger: That to me, it's an observation you can't get away from. I was an exchange student a long time ago in, I went to Europe in the '90s and I was in Germany, and I remember that almost everyone was physically fit. There'd be like one girl in high school who was a little bit overweight or something and every, it was almost like the 1950s, like that's the girl that is overweight. And I know that sounds awful, but it was like, it was so rare. There was only like a couple of people like that. And so it was noticeable. Whereas then I came back to the United States and I brought my host brother, the kid that I lived with in Germany back with me. And he was like, "Oh my God, I've never seen humans that look like this." I was barely batting an eye. I noticed it more cause I'd been gone for so long.
[00:08:15] Adam Bornstein: Right.
[00:08:15] Jordan Harbinger: But my parents were like, "What?" And my brother would go, "But look at this person. Like, I've never seen a human like that." And he wasn't making fun of them or laughing.
[00:08:22] Adam Bornstein: Right.
[00:08:22] Jordan Harbinger: He was just like, "I can't believe what I'm seeing. I didn't know it was physically possible for people to get this big." And granted we were in Michigan, which is where I grew up. I think we're the second-fattest state besides Texas or top five. I also remember this trend when I was a kid where the first villain, going back to what you said at the top of the show was fat, and it was like, oh, now all the cold cuts in your lunchbox are going to be fat-free bologna or salami. And I didn't really understand that back then, but then I apparently that since fat was the flavor in all the food, they just added more sugar into a lot of those same foods. Maybe not the meats in your sandwich, but they added sugar into those things to add the flavor back. And now, you're eating something that would've had a little bit of fat from butter, and now it's just got a crap load of high-fructose corn syrup in it, which is somehow even worse.
[00:09:13] Adam Bornstein: Correct. Well, I mean, it's not even worse. What happens, just like we constantly over-index? So like high-fructose corn syrup in and of itself isn't bad, but when you are dumping truckloads into things—
[00:09:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:22] Adam Bornstein: —in order to make them more enjoyable, and then you start manufacturing foods based on people's fear. And that is what has really happened. We start becoming more fearful of certain foods. We blame them for everything inappropriately. And we teach people to have fear, shame, and guilt. Because that is the beautiful trifecta that allows us to market effectively to anyone.
[00:09:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:09:50] Adam Bornstein: And the moment you can market to people is the moment you can get them to buy. And the moment you can get them to buy is the moment you get them buy-in. Once they buy-in, it's actually very easy to get them to buy again. As long as you actually don't help them out.
[00:10:01] Jordan Harbinger: It's easy to get them to keep buying as long as you actually don't help them out. So basically, the diet that has the secret to weight loss, the best thing that they can do is make it just not actually work.
[00:10:12] Adam Bornstein: Well, here's the trick, right? And this is awesome, is where it started to get super frustrating and it's why it was so hard to write this book because you know, in order to help people change, it's actually really difficult because diet sort of becomes like religion. And at no part in my book, while I tell you, you need to be a vegan or you need to be a carnivore, you need to eat low fat or you need to eat low carb because we have much more agency over what will work for us than you have been told. There is an agenda to push you into something in almost a dogmatic way to make you believe that this is the one and only way to get healthier. So how do you go ahead and, A, make this clear as day, and make sure that I'm not biased and wrong? This was a hunch, it was opinion. You need enough evidence to say this is what's really going on.
[00:10:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't see a doctor in front of your name there, buddy.
[00:10:58] Adam Bornstein: Right, exactly.
[00:11:00] Jordan Harbinger: You're no doctor. You're just some fitness guy with these six-pack abs. Why should I listen to you?
[00:11:04] Adam Bornstein: No doctor. Right. Investigative journalist though, for like 20 years.
[00:11:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:07] Adam Bornstein: And it's like the question here is, you know, when you see something, you just start asking questions and then once you start asking questions, you try to come with better answers. And from the better answers, you need evidence. And what you start to see is that the average diet in the average dieter will work, or they will stick on a diet for anywhere between two to six weeks.
[00:11:26] Jordan Harbinger: That's it. Wow.
[00:11:27] Adam Bornstein: That's it.
[00:11:27] Jordan Harbinger: I thought it would be, I thought you were going to throw months on the end of that one.
[00:11:30] Adam Bornstein: No, and here's why. What happens? Because most diets will push you to an extreme where it's very, very hard to not see results, right? If you cut out all carbs or you cut out all fat, or you start working out six days a week when you are doing nothing, these are such dramatic changes that it would be very, very hard for you to not see something. But from a behavioral standpoint, not from a physiological standpoint, it's very unsustainable and it's not a way to keep on progressing your body. So what happens is you do this for a very short period of time and you see results, but because you're grinding those gears so hard, you're going 150 miles per hour. You burn out, right? Either habitually, you burn out, physically, you burn out. Hunger-wise, you burn out because you're eating 500 calories a day and you can't f*cking take it anymore.
[00:12:21] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:12:21] Adam Bornstein: And then like you eat a loaf of bread and you gain back 10 pounds and this is where they get you. Because suddenly you go, wow. When I was doing that extreme sh*t, look at all the weight I lost.
[00:12:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:33] Adam Bornstein: And then I ate carbs and I gained the weight back. So the problem is carbs.
[00:12:37] Jordan Harbinger: Got to be carbs.
[00:12:38] Adam Bornstein: Instead of saying the problem, why isn't the problem, this diet that made me react so much worse to something that I used to be able to eat—
[00:12:48] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:12:48] Adam Bornstein: —with no problem. So diets push you towards to these extremes where one of two things will happen. A the moment you cannot sustain this plan, right? The moment you have dessert or you have a takeout meal or you skip a workout, you kind of say, "I f*cked up."
[00:13:04] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:05] Adam Bornstein: Right?
[00:13:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:13:05] Adam Bornstein: I f*cked up. I might as well just stop doing it whatsoever. And like there's a great doctor, Spencer Nadolsky who says like, if you're looking at this is like if you got a flat tire, you going ahead and then deciding to slash your other three tires.
[00:13:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Or just crash the car into a ravine.
[00:13:18] Adam Bornstein: Right. It doesn't make sense. But this is what we do because we catastrophize because we are told your body is this very frail and fragile system. And if you don't follow this plan to a T, you've screwed up, right? So people have this screw mentality, or maybe you don't decide to crash the car, slash the other tires, but you've been taught that this one little mistake is so bad that you must punish yourself by dieting harder, exercising more, taking more extreme supplements, which inevitably still leads to the burnout that gets you to say, f*ck it.
[00:13:49] So all of these approaches lead to burnout. And the problem is like you have to get away from these approaches that break you mentally so that you end up failing physically. But because of the manipulation, you think about when did I have success? And it's when I have this extreme approach, so then you keep on returning to the extreme. So the short-term fix, long-term failure is a 50-year experiment in dietary manipulation that we keep on recycling. And now you just see more and more extremes popping up. And this is physics, right?
[00:14:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:14:25] Adam Bornstein: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So for every vegan, there now has to be a carnivore, right? For every like super pro-carb, there has to be a super anti-carb, and each of these extreme factions are pushing people towards more restrictive measures that people will then dabble in, and it just breaks them over and over and over again.
[00:14:47] Jordan Harbinger: It seems like most diets and most health advice, not even just diets, but health advice, in general, that's bad, of course, lives in the black and white, right? It's either on or it's off. So you have these all-or-none beliefs like you mentioned, where you're either on the diet, eating three grains of rice for each meal, or you're off the diet and you're eating two Big Macs and an extra large fry with a Coke, supersized for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And it sounds dumb when you phrase it like that. And yet, I consider myself a decently rational thinker, it's very hard for me to be like, I'm on an eating plan or a fitness plan, or I'm off the plan. And then it's like all hell breaks loose. And it took me years and years before I got a trainer.
[00:15:27] And of course, when I got a trainer, things got a lot easier to get a trainer and be like, oh, I'm just going to gradually modify what I do. Like I'm going to start weighing my food, not cutting back on anything. I just want to see what's in the food that I'm eating. And when I started doing that, I was like, wow, there's 400 calories in this bowl of cereal that I thought was essentially like a guilt-free snack. Maybe I just don't do that. And I started to lose weight, but it was like half a pound a week, but for 10 months. Right? So it added up really, really fast and it almost felt like I didn't need to do much. But that took years to get to because before that I was like, I'm on the diet man. I'm paleo now. I can't eat legumes. What is a legume? Anyway, let me Google this. You know, I was doing that stuff.
[00:16:10] Adam Bornstein: And it's funny because that same approach is actually how we gain weight as well. With very few exceptions, the average person gains about one to two pounds per year. So it's not like we wake up one day and we're 10 pounds heavier. It's that we remember being a certain weight when we're 20 and we wake up when we're 40.
[00:16:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:29] Adam Bornstein: And we're suddenly 20 to 40 pounds heavier. And the interesting thing is, is when you look, there's a study at UCLA that looked at people who diet compared to people who don't diet. And over the course of the year, the dieters over, like I think it was a two-year period, actually saw worse results. And the reason is the same form that we talked about. It's not that when they were on the diet, they didn't lose weight. It's just they were on the diet, they lost some weight. They go off the diet and they gain significantly more weight. So the net gain over the course of a year is actually greater than if they would've done nothing.
[00:17:02] Jordan Harbinger: Just nothing.
[00:17:03] Adam Bornstein: And we still catastrophize. You were talking about the person eating the burger and the Coke and the fries and a lot of like, health pros hate this. But like my job is to help people, right?
[00:17:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:12] Adam Bornstein: I don't care if you think I'm the smartest person, I care if I help people get results, claim back their health, and then can just leave this f*cking game behind. Because I think the diet game is completely rigged. When you are playing a rigged game, there's only one way to win and it is to leave it completely.
[00:17:25] So instead of going in these dogmatic factions, I try and look at myself like behavioral change, right? The type of things that all of us if we want to be in control of our life, forget fitness, just in control of our life. Behavioral change is founded on a very, very basic principle, which is make change so easy that it's hard to fail. And that doesn't mean you don't have any discomfort, but you have to make the changes so easy that it's hard to fail. And then we have it stacked, right? We build because what once seemed really complex becomes easier once we have some success.
[00:17:54] So I look at the person eating the burger and the fries and the sugar-sweetened beverage, the Coke or the Pepsi, and I say, eat your burgers. Eat your fries. Sub out your Coke or Pepsi for a Diet Coke or Pepsi or what it's called like a non-nutritive sweetener.
[00:18:10] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:18:10] Adam Bornstein: Right. Or some people, artificial sweeteners, some people have got big issues with this. That's another thing that's completely manipulated.
[00:18:15] Jordan Harbinger: I was talking to a friend of mine who you probably know. You know Dr. Layne Norton?
[00:18:20] Adam Bornstein: Of course.
[00:18:21] Jordan Harbinger: I was like, Diet Coke, come on man, give it to me straight. Is this bad for me? And he is like, no, just enjoy it.
[00:18:25] Adam Bornstein: And Layne will tell you the same thing. And I've experienced the same thing and I have legitimately seen people who've lost 50 to 75 pounds just by subbing that out because they drink—
[00:18:33] Jordan Harbinger: I bet.
[00:18:33] Adam Bornstein: —three to four of those a day.
[00:18:35] Jordan Harbinger: Oof.
[00:18:35] Adam Bornstein: Right? Those are 30 to 40 grams of sugar. They're loaded with calories. When you have that much sugar, it's not necessarily that the sugar is, the problem is the sugar makes you hungry for more things. It doesn't leave you satisfied, so you end up overeating other food. Sugar in and of itself is not bad if you can control it. When you eat a lot of sugar, it makes you crave more sugar. And the more sugar you eat, the more calories you eat overall. So it's this domino effect of things. People villainize sugar but like it's not the same as cocaine, right? If you're going to make the same argument that like sugar is like cocaine, then you have to make the argument that sex is like cocaine, right? But like we choose to selectively villainize things because it's a wonderful narrative that gets headlines that is just not true. But those people who then sub out those four drinks, the sugar is gone because it's a non-nutritive sweetener. There's no calories. Your microbiome is not being destroyed. That is, again, something that's just fundamentally—
[00:19:25] Jordan Harbinger: Forgot about that.
[00:19:25] Adam Bornstein: —not proven. It's just not. It might be find out 10 years from now if this was the case, maybe, but at this point, and there's a good amount of research, it doesn't. You could make the argument that the diet sodas you drink actually improve the gut bacteria that makes it easier to lose weight, which might be a reason why people who use these artificially sweetened drinks are non-nutritive sweeteners, right? Stevia is not an artificial sweetener. They end up losing weight and they lose a lot because that one habit change is so easy to do. It's so easy to change, they're not completely restricting it. And then it leads to other better behaviors where they're not overeating because they're not flogging their system with 150 grams of sugar per day.
[00:20:03] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:20:03] Adam Bornstein: And not being satisfied by it. So I try and identify those simple things where it's like, still eat your burger and fries, man. Enjoy your life. If the conquest of health causes you to make decisions that fundamentally make you feel worse about yourself, or meaning that you're missing out on life, that is the least healthy thing in the world. I find it so funny that, you know, if someone talks to you about like getting healthier or losing weight, everyone's probably heard the old—
[00:20:28] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:29] Adam Bornstein: You don't need a diet, you need a lifestyle change. And to that, I say, well, like when was the last time you asked any of these people what you want their life to actually look like?
[00:20:38] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:20:39] Adam Bornstein: And that's what I care about. Like I want to know what you want your life to look like, how you want to eat the things you want to enjoy, and that's even like socially, right? Like social interaction is such a huge part of life. And we are very isolated people right now.
[00:20:50] I used to do intermittent fasting, wrote the bestselling book about it. If people ask me if I intermittent fast, I'll tell you no. And people are like, oh, why'd you do it? Was it the science that changed? And I'm like, A, yes, it did. Like most of the claims people make about intermitent fasting are vastly overstated. But B, I realized when I became a dad that I didn't want to be the sh*thead not eating with my son.
[00:21:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:21:08] Adam Bornstein: Because I was waiting until two o'clock for my 16-8 fasting. It was the dumbest thing. Like how many years of meals and moments and laughs was I going to miss out of? And this health sacrifice of not intermittent fasting was null. It was nothing. It was such a good trade off to stop intermittent fasting. So I could have breakfast with my kids every day. And I was like, why is it that we do these things? And it's like, we're just pushed towards behaviors because it is, it's manipulation.
[00:21:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Okay, so for people who don't know what intermittent fasting is—
[00:21:36] Adam Bornstein: Yep.
[00:21:36] Jordan Harbinger: Because, you know, this is not a health podcast by any means. This is essentially you're restricting your eating to an eight-hour window per day. So instead of eating breakfast—
[00:21:45] Adam Bornstein: Or more.
[00:21:45] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:21:45] Adam Bornstein: Some people will do like a 24-hour fast. So the idea is—
[00:21:48] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:21:49] Adam Bornstein: —don't eat for a big window of day.
[00:21:52] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:21:52] Adam Bornstein: Starve yourself.
[00:21:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. Starve yourself.
[00:21:55] Adam Bornstein: You're going to lose weight because you don't eat 20 hours of the day. And I'm like, well, what a shocking finding we have here.
[00:22:05] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Adam Bornstein. We'll be right back.
[00:22:10] This episode is sponsored in part by StoryWorth. I always thought I knew my parents better than anyone, but one day while my parents were staying with us, my dad told me a story that completely caught me by surprise. It happened sometimes. I never knew that he was chased out of a church, which is, you know, doesn't usually happen. I guess they didn't like Catholics or whatever, apparently that was the case. So how many other incredible stories and memories do I just not know about my dad? StoryWorth is an online service that creates a bridge between you and your dad or any father figure you hold dear. And of course, it works for moms too. It's a way to connect through the sharing of stories and memories while preserving them for years to come. So here's how it works. Every week or however often you want, StoryWorth will email your dad a thought-provoking question. You choose from their huge list of options, or you can make them up yourself. They have prompts that get you to dig deep and uncover fascinating aspects of their lives. Questions like, what is one of your fondest childhood memories? Or have you ever feared for your life? All your dad has to do is respond by email, and after a year, StoryWorth compiles all those questions, stories, and even includes photos into a beautifully crafted keepsake book that the entire family can share for generations to come I have truly cherished reading his answers to these questions. I've discovered stories and memories that I've never heard before. It really is amazing how StoryWorth has brought to light new aspects of stories that I thought I already knew well. So I imagine us sitting together, flipping through these pages, laughing and getting to know Dad even more. Possibly also, once he's gone doing so with my own kids. It's a legacy we can all cherish and pass down to future generations, ensuring your stories are never forgotten. So whether it's Father's Day, a birthday, or simply a desire to connect on a deeper level, give the gift of StoryWorth. Uncover the untold stories, create lasting memories, strengthen your bond with the father figure in your life. Visit storyworth.com today and share your journey of discovery and connection.
[00:23:56] Jen Harbinger: Give all the fathers in your life a meaningful gift you can both cherish for years to come, StoryWorth. Right now for a limited time, you can save $10 on your first purchase when you go to storyworth.com/jordan. That's S-T-O-R-Y-W-O-R-T-H.com/jordan to save $10 on your first purchase, storyworth.com/jordan.
[00:24:18] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Grammarly. Do you ever get writer's block when you're working? I talk, read, write, literally all day long for work. But I am only human, a mere mortal, and sometimes even I need help. So I've been using Grammarly's new AI tool. It's really amazing. You have to try this. It's called GrammarlyGo. GrammarlyGo, it's communication assistant that's really powerful, can really help you in a million different situations. You can ask GrammarlyGo to help you improve your writing, make it more persuasive, give you ideas for improvement, or ask it for help generating ideas for whatever you need. Sound familiar? So I even used it to help me write a kind rejection email to somebody who wants to be a guest on the show but isn't really a good fit. All I had to do was hover over the GrammarlyGo icon. I ask it to write a friendly rejection letter to somebody who wants to be a guest on the show. In seconds, it's not even seconds, it drafted for me. I can tailor it how I want. There's a button insert so I don't need to do the whole copy, paste, rigamarole. They know what you're going to do with it. And if you're a creator, you can even ask GrammarlyGo to give me 10 captions for this post, or outline ideas for a backyard party. The options are obviously endless when it comes to this kind of stuff, and if you're still a student, it's going to be a game changer and I'll leave it there.
[00:25:25] Jen Harbinger: You'll be amazed at what you can do with GrammarlyGo. Go to grammarly.com/go to download and learn more about GrammarlyGo. That's G-R-A-M-M-A-R-L-Y.com/go.
[00:25:37] Jordan Harbinger: If you're wondering how I managed to book all these great authors, thinkers, and creators every single week, it is because of my network and I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. The course is about improving your relationship skills and not being gross and cringey and schmoozy and annoying as hell, like people who network. It's a dirty word. There's a reason for that. It doesn't take a lot of time. There's not any gross upsell. I don't want your credit card number and all that crap. Many of the guests on the show subscribe and contribute to the course. So, hey, come join us, you'll be in Smart Company. You can find the course at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:26:12] Now, back to Adam Bornstein.
[00:26:15] So a lot of people, what they would do is they would go, "Okay, I don't eat breakfast. I don't have any calories until, like you said, 2:00 p.m. And then I can eat until seven or eight at night or 10 or whatever the window is." It's funny, I laughed when he said intermittent fasting because that was trending so hard for so long. It had like a better part of a decade where early in 2010 it was like every fitness guy was, only the edge case fitness guys were doing it. And then towards the end of the teens, every fitness person was doing it, like every CrossFitter was doing it. But it was so annoying because friends of mine, for example, who I go, "Hey, I'm coming to Phoenix, man, we got to go out and I know you're sober now. We don't have to have a drink." And he goes, "Ah. So not only am I sober now, but I'm doing intermittent fasting, so I don't eat anything after 6:00 p.m." And I'm like, "Well, I land at 5:45, it's going to be like 6:45. Can we eat then?" "No." So I'm like, "Well, I don't really want to go out to dinner with you if you're going to stare at me. And not do anything." And so we did that and it wasn't that interesting because I was eating and he's like, "Ah, I can't watch you eat that. I'm going to go for a walk. Look, call me when you're done. And I'll come back and we can talk at the table." And I'm like, this sucks. Like I'm on a dinner date with myself. I flew in to see a friend and he can't even sit here because he's intermittent fasting. So it screws with your social life. And it seems like at the end of the day, the reason people lose weight on intermittent fasting is because in part, because maybe they were eating way too much for three meals. Now, they only eat two meals, surprise, surprise, they lost a couple of pounds.
[00:27:45] Adam Bornstein: Right. And that's so much of the health changes are not the scientification of ideas, right? Humans, it's funny, like we're brilliant creatures, but our brains sometimes are wired in a little messed up way.
[00:27:59] Jordan Harbinger: There's a lizard brain, and I mean, science says this isn't true, but there's a lizard brain in there somewhere, right?
[00:28:04] Adam Bornstein: Well, there is, but like a perfect example is our brains react to novel things as opposed to boring things. And social media is the greatest example of this in all time, right? We can't help but stop and look at the car crash, right? Because it's novel, it's different, it's eye-grabbing. And I talk about this like fMRI studies. When you show people something new or different or seemingly crazy, we stop and pay attention. When you show something boring or like seemingly too simple to possibly work, we completely ignore it. So we are like victims of the system, of our own wiring.
[00:28:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Interesting.
[00:28:41] Adam Bornstein: Because the type of things that are going to gather our attention, and again, you can make this akin to the health industry now where like the crazier sh*t you say. It's why a lot of people hate health, right? Like I have this love-hate relationship where I want to help people but I don't want to play this game. I just want to tell people, like do these five things, make them apply to your life and like hopefully you never need me again. I've said for 20 years that my job in health is to like be so good that people like never need me again, right? It's to get fired because if you do your job, like you know what to do and if you want the accountability, if you want this support, that's another aspect, right? Sometimes like compliance is just about knowing that like you've got someone there with you, which is totally great. I have my own like support system, but like the information itself shouldn't be under lock and key.
[00:29:27] It shouldn't be changing the type of things that change your body, right? Us as humans have not physiologically changed much. Why are we going in the wrong direction over the last 50 years when like our bodies are fundamentally the same? Yes, food environment is different, but it's these diets, it's these behaviors. And it is this way that we manipulate people to break their mindsets, create a terrible relationship with food and overcomplicate everything. And I'm just tired of it, right? Like if you want to look at intermittent fasting as a way to do something, don't worry about how many hours you need to fast, right? Don't even worry about fasting at all. Habitually, look at other areas in life where you see that like burnout would happen. And why does burnout happen?
[00:30:03] And I talk about in the book, right? A perfect example is work burnout and work has increased over time. And a major factor, not the only factor, but a major factor is that the workday no longer has boundaries, right? It used to be nine to five.
[00:30:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:17] Adam Bornstein: So what happens is the stress of always needing to be on it. The expectation that you always need to check your email, right? Just like, it is a 24-hour work cycle, just like it's a 24-hour news cycle. And that creates feelings of anxiety and stress. That makes work harder for a lot of people.
[00:30:35] Diet is the same way. We're open kitchen 24/7, right? We don't, in our minds think, "Well, I should start eating it this time and I should stop eating it this time." And anything outside of those parameters, right? I probably shouldn't eat because eating shouldn't be a 24/7 thing. So I say forget the intermittent fasting, but like have open kitchen, closed kitchen rules. And like there's a fascinating study that did just that. I love studies that are so basic done with humans, not lab rats and mites and just get long-term outcomes. And in this study what they did is they told people don't change anything about your diet. What I want you to do is move your breakfast back 1.5 hours. So if you ate breakfast at seven, you'd be eating it at like 8:30. And take your dinner, let's say you eat dinner at seven o'clock and move it up 1.5 hours and so you're eating at 5:30. That's it. These people lost significant amounts of weight and kept it up for years because that one change created boundaries where, yeah, like if you break it every now and then, don't worry about it again. The whole idea is you can't screw this up. Our bodies are very, very resilient. We catastrophize things, but like create a boundary and eat within that boundary, whatever the boundary is.
[00:31:40] Jordan Harbinger: But how is that not intermittent fasting, Adam, there sounds like the same thing with a different name.
[00:31:44] Adam Bornstein: No, no, no. Because like intermittent fasting presupposes the fasting is the magic.
[00:31:50] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I see.
[00:31:51] Adam Bornstein: So you become obsessed with, "I need to fast for 16 hours. I need to fast for 20 hours." The big thing right now is alternate-day fasting. I need to fast every other day. Or they make you stress about calories. Like two days a week, you can only eat 500 calories a day. And I'm saying you don't have to count calories, you don't have to count numbers. The idea again, make it so easy that it's hard to fail. So for me, my rule is I don't take dinner time. I take when I go to bed, right? Because like I can't move up my dinner time an hour and a half because my kids are still in school. They're going to come home and be like, "Dad—" And I'm like, "Sorry guys. Missed, missed dinner."
[00:32:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:32:23] Adam Bornstein: New rules.
[00:32:23] Jordan Harbinger: Too bad you had soccer practice. Can't eat with Dad now. Have fun eating on your own sucker.
[00:32:28] Adam Bornstein: It's about making it practical, right?
[00:32:29] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:32:30] Adam Bornstein: Start breakfast at a time that works for me because I want to eat with my kids. So it's not based on when I woke up, it's based on when I want to eat with my children. And I say, two hours before I go to sleep, I'm not going to eat anymore. So again, like instead of playing by someone else's rules, play by your rules, but create boundaries that make it easier for you to not be your own worst enemy. And intermittent fasting gives you these rules, these times, these restrictions that literally they're people who are like sitting there like looking at their clock and it's like 1:52 and they're like, "I got to wait another eight minutes." And I'm like, it doesn't matter.
[00:33:03] Jordan Harbinger: Stomach's growling into the microphone.
[00:33:05] Adam Bornstein: Right.
[00:33:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:33:06] Adam Bornstein: The stress and the anxiety of diet is why we obsess over all these behaviors that do not really make that big of a difference.
[00:33:16] Jordan Harbinger: I know you're tight with Tim Ferriss, you worked with him for, I don't know, like a decade or something. And one of the ways that I met him, I thought he was such a freaking weirdo. And I can say that because we're buddies now, but I thought he was such a freaking weirdo. Because we were at this event, and it was like, I don't know, 11:58 p.m., right? And I'm in a conversation with, it was a, like a hoity-toity event. I'm talking with like an NFL player and an actress or whatever, and we're having fun. And he walks up and he is like shoveling granola bars into his mouth at like a speed that is highly uncomfortable to watch. I go, "What are you doing?" And he's like, "Oh, I'm Tim dah, dah." I'm like, "I know who you are, and it's an honor to meet you, but what are you doing right now? Like, this is just, it's painful to watch you eat a kind bar at blitzkrieg speed." And he's like, "Well, I only have three minutes left before my fast starts." Or no, sorry. It was like three days left until my cheat day ends. It was one of those things.
[00:34:10] Adam Bornstein: Right.
[00:34:10] Jordan Harbinger: And it was so funny and I don't think he does anything like this at all anymore, but it was really comical and I remember everybody was talking every in the conversation was talking about this for so long because we'd never seen anybody like do the work to eat six granola bars in four minutes or however long it was. It was just ridiculous.
[00:34:29] Adam Bornstein: And essentially, you bring up Tim, right?
[00:34:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:34:30] Adam Bornstein: Because I talk about Tim. I did work with Tim for a long time and a lot of the things that I learned from Tim have nothing to do with health and fitness. We probably disagree on several things, but the best thing I learned from Tim is kind of a paradigm that helped me create a more effective way for food to be healthy. And it was a question that Tim would ask me all the time from a business lens, right? And it was like, if this were easy, what would it look like? And it's a really, really difficult question to answer. But when I looked at health and I looked at the health industry, it was like, if this were easy, what would it look like?
[00:35:01] And the answer is kind of like everything different than what diets tell you, right? Because I found like behaviorally there are three huge barriers, right? You've got cost, you've got convenience, and you have complexity. Diets tell you that you need to buy really expensive foods which don't necessarily have any benefit. They make the plans super complex, like having a shovel down 18 granola bars before your cheat day, hence, right? And they make them very, very inconvenient, right? Where it's like, some will tell you, you have to eat six meals a day. Some will tell you, you have to eat one meal a day. Some will tell you that you have to measure your macros.
[00:35:33] And it's not to say that none of these things can't work. It's just to say that they're so complicated and inconvenient, that it makes it less likely it will work for the long term. And I want to stop that, right? Like if things were easy, you could eat takeout, you could have dessert, right? You could not stress about every single thing that you eat. And I would argue like that's the position that people need to come from, like health shouldn't be about this game where we're trying to get you to buy a solution.
[00:36:04] Jordan Harbinger: That's an interesting point that I had a note about, right? Because a lot of the marketers, and that's just what they are, right? Selling diets and exercise and stuff like that.
[00:36:12] Adam Bornstein: Correct.
[00:36:12] Jordan Harbinger: People keep changing things and making up new stuff, terms, whatever, in order to, well, confuse things or confuse you in order to sell stuff. That's why we see, like scientists hate him, three weird tricks that result in a lower waistline within 24 hours. And those are dumb extreme examples that I bring up, and most of us can see through those, but what we don't necessarily see through is, look, this is a diet that all the celebrities are on. It's the one they don't tell you about. I'm a celebrity trainer. My name's Jordan Harbinger. I'm going to show you how to lose X weight. And then it's always trending, right? It's like the guys in the movie 300 that everybody was like, "Damn, look at those six packs." It's like, here's their workout and their diet. But it's not really that those guys were probably all on different diets with different trainers. They just had to come in looking crispy for the role.
[00:37:03] Adam Bornstein: And different drugs.
[00:37:04] Jordan Harbinger: And different drug. Yeah, different steroid.
[00:37:06] Adam Bornstein: Lots and lots of drugs. I have played the Hollywood game for a while. Lots of drugs that is, the majority of these changes are not natural whatsoever. But like you sensationalize that answer but it's true. And if you ask me, you don't even have to pick up the book for this one, if you are taking information from someone who is fundamentally pushing a message of fear in order to get you to act in general, run. Like the research, even new study that came up last month about this and there was one another like a week ago about fit influencers, about like the top 100 accounts on Instagram, like 60 percent of them make people feel worse about themselves.
[00:37:48] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:37:48] Adam Bornstein: And then this is associated with body image issues, food image issues becoming more unhealthy, right? And like 50 percent of those top 100 trainers, none of them had like any credentials whatsoever. And the message was about fear. And again, it is great marketing. The two primary emotional drivers of marketing, and I know this because I'm a marketer, are fear and greed.
[00:38:11] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:11] Adam Bornstein: Fear and greed will drive people to purchase or act more powerfully than any other emotion, even the good stuff. And if that is the messaging of the people you're taking, they're trying to make you afraid of sh*t, oh man, that is like as big of a red flag. And if you just were to avoid the people who are trying to get you to fear and react and live in fear of these things, I'd argue you'd be way better off because you're not going to fall prey to so many of these things that just really short-term fix, long-term failure.
[00:38:40] Jordan Harbinger: You see it when you know an area better, you know, it's like watching the news and you go, wow, I know a lot about, I don't know, tanks, right? I don't really, but like, let's say you do and you hear something on the news and you go, that's totally wrong. But then you watch the rest of the newscast about things, you don't really know that intimately and you're like, wow, I'm so worried about all these other things. And if you think about it, what if they're as wrong about all of those other things as they were about tanks? The thing you knew a lot about. There's probably a term for this that I'm not getting. That I don't know about, but that's kind of what I see with marketing.
[00:39:13] So Internet marketers will say something like, "The technology is so complex, but we automate it for you." And if you don't know how business or real estate investing or whatever works, you buy this course thinking like, "Oh, they're going to simplify it for me and they're going to do this and that, and the other thing." But if you talk to somebody who's like a real, real estate investor, they're like, "You buy properties and you manage them, and then when that gets to be too much, you hire managers to manage them for you. You don't need all this special software that finds the deal." Like all that is just hype nonsense that's sold by some shyster who knows that if he goes, "Yeah, you just buy properties and manage them well and here's how you find good deals." Like that's too simple. So they want to make it really complex and weird because it appeals to your greed because you're going to make money. But also it appeals to your fear. Like, "I don't think I can do this unless I have somebody guiding me because it's so complicated."
[00:40:05] And I think you wrote about this in the book, you said, "When we learn new things, we get a dopamine hit." And I didn't actually know that, but it makes total sense. That's why like documentaries and why people watch crap on YouTube. So selling new and complex BS diet and fitness info, it actually gets us a little high. And real fitness advice, like, hey, diet and exercise and maybe get some sleep, it's just too boring for most of us to care about on an emotional lizard brain-ish level, it's not interesting.
[00:40:33] Adam Bornstein: And it sucks, right? Because we associate complexity with effectiveness. But if you talk to anyone who is like the best at their craft, they will tell you the reason they are so good is that they mastered the basics, right? And if you are good at something, you could probably look at this and be like, wow, I can do the basics so well that I am capable of doing some more advanced things, but only because I have mastered the basics.
[00:40:59] And diets do not care about the basics, right? I'm happy, you know, I told you this before, like even like one of the most basic things that people can do if you feel hungry, and again, this is going to sound so crazy, like it can't possibly work, is just take longer having your meal, I say in the book like, try and take at least 20 minutes to have a meal. I don't care if you eat longer, it doesn't really matter. Like, oh, if I'm going to spend an hour eating, I'm going to eat way more. That's not what they find. People who take longer to eat their meals eat significantly less, and here's why. The average person takes nine minutes to scarf down a meal. We're all pretty much guilty of this because we're in a rush, or we're eating in front of our computer.
[00:41:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:39] Adam Bornstein: Or we're eating in front of our phone or the tv or listening to a podcast. We're distracted.
[00:41:43] Jordan Harbinger: I feel seen/attacked. Yeah.
[00:41:45] Adam Bornstein: Yeah. We're distracted and we eat really rapidly, or we're trying to like feed our kids at the same time, right? I'm like waiting for my kids not to kill each other, start throwing food at each other and it's just like, "I've got three minutes. I got to eat my meals so I can enjoy this." And then it's like, all right off to go get them ready for bed or bathtime, whatever it is. Hunger works in a very interesting way. In that, you know, your stomach has essentially a satiety center. All right, boring word for you. It's going to send a signal to your brain to tell you it's full but this ain't the freeway. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain. So a lot of us eat so quickly and then keep eating, thinking that we're not full simply because our body hasn't had enough time to digest and send a signal.
[00:42:26] Jordan Harbinger: I see. This is why I feel uncomfortably full, but not right after I'm done eating.
[00:42:32] Adam Bornstein: Exactly.
[00:42:33] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:42:33] Adam Bornstein: And this happens to most people. And like, what happened? I wasn't hungry. It's just, you needed to give your body more time and then, so if our stomach is essentially there being like the navigator, it's the skipper, right? It's the second mate, first mate. Your brain is the quarterback. It's the captain. So your brain is trying to take in other signals to tell you like, "Hey, stop eating," because we're trying to survive. Your brain wants your body to be healthy, but you have to give it a chance to succeed.
[00:42:57] So they have looked at what happens when people will eat a meal where they can't see the food on their plate versus when they can, right? So essentially, are you paying attention to what you're eating versus are you not? Because the real-life example is you're watching TV, you're scrolling your phone, whatever it is. When people can see what is on their plate, the brain is sending that signal like, "Oh, this is enough to make you full." The people who were blinded, couldn't see the food, right? Eating without being able to see what's on the plate ate more than the people who are able to pay attention.
[00:43:24] So if we pay attention to what we eat, so our brain can see what's on the plate and we slow down so our stomach can tell our brain no more, that alone saves people a significant amount. Some studies show up to hundreds of calories per meal which could be hundreds per day, which could be thousands per week and like it isn't rocket science, but I had 500 people do the plan that's in the book, right? Which is all habit-based change.
[00:43:49] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:49] Adam Bornstein: It's not like you're not counting calories and the hardest thing for them to do was take 20 minutes to eat a meal.
[00:43:55] Jordan Harbinger: I bet that sounds painful. I don't even know where I would find 20 minutes to eat a meal.
[00:43:59] Adam Bornstein: Right.
[00:43:59] Jordan Harbinger: With kids.
[00:44:00] Adam Bornstein: I'm not saying it's easy and that's why the point of the book is like I gave people tools, but it's like you don't have to do all of these. The idea of being a hundred percent with your diet is such a myth. Instead of trying to be a hundred percent, the goal is just don't be zero percent. Don't be zero percent and you will be healthier. So if you can apply one tool, You are better off. You blew two, three, four, whatever the idea is, just don't go zero percent. Because most people go zero percent and stay zero percent for months at a time.
[00:44:26] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:44:26] Adam Bornstein: And they come up for air and then they go to another desperate, extreme restrictive diet, lose a little gain more. And this just keeps on compounding. But the real compounding is how you feel about yourself. How you feel about your body, how you feel about your life. And like, if you don't think these diets aren't breaking people outside of the physical, you're kidding yourself because—
[00:44:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:46] Adam Bornstein: —we all care about our health on some level, right? I truly, especially, I don't care if I have a six-pack. I have eaten dessert and I have frosted flakes from every single night. I want to live long, I want to be healthy and be around for my kids. And I want to have the energy to like run my businesses and do things. That's it. And that's most people, but the things that you need to do to achieve those goals are nowhere as complicated of what you're like you're given to like live this extreme lifestyle that you don't even want.
[00:45:14] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Adam Bornstein. We'll be right back.
[00:45:18] This episode is sponsored in part by a ZipRecruiter. If you're hiring, did you know it can take up to 2.5 months to hire somebody? I found that out the hard way many times. When you got projects to accomplish and money to make, ain't nobody got time for that. I've got some advice for you. You should stop waiting and start using ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter can help you find qualified candidates for all of your roles pretty darn fast. Right now, you can try it for free at ziprecruiter.com/jordan. ZipRecruiter has got that powerful matching tech to quickly find and send you the most qualified people for your roles. So you're not wasting your time sifting through a haystack of unqualified people you would never consider that submitted their email using frigging AI tools somewhere. You can check the people that ZipRecruiter sends you, and if one or two really stand out, send them a personal invite with just a click. They can make them apply for the position even sooner. Plus four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter, get a quality candidate within the first day so you can get stuff done. Make that money faster. A lot of you told me that you did indeed find qualified candidates within the first day.
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[00:48:17] Now for the rest of my conversation with Adam Bornstein.
[00:48:22] It is interesting. It's almost like psychological warfare, right? We've constantly bombarded by things. We fall back into our old habits because we're confused. Then, our brains are seeing novelty as reward, so we're looking for the new thing.
[00:48:34] I had a friend, I guess ex-business partner, and he had a new diet probably every two or three days. Obviously, he was overweight and he never stuck with anything and he would break his diet and eat like a whole large pizza for one meal. And it was just really annoying and sad because he would tell you all about this new thing and it was always ridiculously complicated. I mean, it was never like, "Okay, I'm going to eat half portions today." It was always like, "Well, I've got 78,000 moving parts," and it's like maybe just like go for a walk every day instead. And he could never do it. And it was deep shame with him, right? And the shame cocktail that we're all being fed with the marketing is probably a big reason why many of us are not able to lose any weight successfully.
[00:49:17] You give this great analogy in the book where if you had a job and they said, "Okay, we're going to ask you to do everything different about how you do work and also you can't take any days off and we're going to extend your workday by two hours and you can't use a computer to do this anymore, you got to use an abacus or whatever instead of like Excel." You would look at them sideways and walk out the door because you're, "What are you talking about?" And yet when you have to do a diet, it's like, "So you got to do everything except you got to do it standing on your head and you got to cut your portions in half, but you can only eat during the summer solstice or whatever." It's impossible. But we look at that and we go, "Okay, I can do this, I could do this. I got the willpower to do this." It doesn't make any sense.
[00:50:01] Adam Bornstein: And it doesn't work. And I will bet you there's probably going to be, if there's not already a summer solstice diet. That's how stupid the industry is. It's just so ridiculous because we can take any hook. And I saw it, right? Some people have asked me like, why I wrote a book, right? Why in 2023 am I writing a diet and health book when I have audience, I have all this? and part of the motivation is, you know, I love writing books.
[00:50:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:23] Adam Bornstein: But part of it is when I went to sell this book, the publishers were like, "Well, what's the hook?" And I'm like, "Well, the hook is that like run healthy. Unlike these books, no offense guys, a lot of them that you're putting out are bullsh*t."
[00:50:36] Jordan Harbinger: I bet they love that answer.
[00:50:37] Adam Bornstein: Right. We're not helping people. Like, I care about helping people. It's what I've done for 20 years. And I don't care. I don't need credit. I help people behind the scenes. I help people in front of the scenes. I help people. The hook is, man, like the data's right in front of us, right? 40 percent obese, 75 percent obese are overweight. Some people stress anywhere between like 10 to 12 times per meal about what they're going to eat, right? Because they worry about what they're going to eat. They worry about how they feel and they internalize guilt. I'm like, this is wrong. It is so wrong. And I'm like, "Guys, like let's just help people, right?" They're like, "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's really good, but what's the hook?"
[00:51:09] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:51:09] Adam Bornstein: It's the one thing you're going to tell them to change.
[00:51:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:51:11] Adam Bornstein: And I was like, you know what? At some point someone, and I don't know if it's going to be me, someone's got to write a book that fundamentally gets publishers to look at this differently so we can actually stop producing so many diet books. We can just have a few that help people and let it be that. Because there are other people with other books that can like help people feel better about themselves or leave this dieting game. And it was kind of my North Star. But it's crazy because like the more you look at the system, right? Even the publishers, the publishers want to make money and they see that like the books with the sensationalized thing sell more.
[00:51:39] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:51:39] Adam Bornstein: So then when I'm like, no, this book is going to be great, it's going to help people. And they're like, "Well, show me a comp of a book—"
[00:51:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:51:46] Adam Bornstein: "—that didn't have a hook. That was a bestseller, you know?" And I get it because part of the reason I had a New York Times bestseller in 2013 and I stopped writing it for that. And I had this idea to write this book, but it took me forever to report it and research it and do it the right way. But part of it was like, I was guilty of it too a decade ago, right? I had the intermittent fasting book and I overstated claims and I thought it would help people at the time and it didn't. And I felt really, really bad about it because it was part of it at the time but I saw like I was actually contributing to the problem, right? And I was playing the game and I knew partially why I was. Even when it came to selling this book, I couldn't sell the book with the title that it is, You Can't Screw This Up. What I really wanted to call it was the comfort zone, but what I had to title it in order to sell it was the takeout diet.
[00:52:28] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah. Okay. Interesting.
[00:52:30] Adam Bornstein: Yeah, because one of my foundational principles here is like, I loathe the fact that every single diet is like either, A, you can never eat takeout, or, B, when you go to eat takeout. Never touch the bread basket. Don't get the chips. When you order your entree, cut it in half and set half of it aside and ask your server to take the other half away. And don't ever touch dessert and never like drink alcohol. And a lot of these things are choices, right? If you don't want to drink alcohol, that's fine. If you don't like dessert, that's fine. Like that's non-sustainable. That's not enjoyable. That's ridiculous, right? Like for a lot of people, going out to eat is a treat. And diets make us fundamentally in opposition of our food environment.
[00:53:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Like take all the fun out of the thing you use to love doing, forever.
[00:53:11] Adam Bornstein: We're constantly fighting it, right? More people eat out than ever before. Some of this is a byproduct of COVID, and yet more people are unsatisfied after they eat a meal. Because they live in this shame and guilt and like those two things should not coexist. So instead of just constantly fighting against the food environment, why can't I just like, teach people to coexist? So I sold this book knowing that when I was going to submit it, I was going to submit it with the title of the comfort zone, which they didn't want to take, but I had to sell it under a different packaging because that's the industry, right? We could talk about the book industry forever, the marketing industry, the supplement industry, it's like it has to be packaged up a certain way and I'm like—
[00:53:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:53:48] Adam Bornstein: —all that is doing is perpetuating the problem. Whereas like the goal of all of this should be to help people. I can't say it enough and it sounds like goody two shoes and most listeners probably don't know me from like a hole in the wall. But man, like this has been my battle for a long time. That's why I had to write this book. I had to like stubbornly write this book. So it's like someone has got to do something to just like call out the industry, point out throughout the book and point out all these different diets that are just like complete f*cking nonsense. And be like, it doesn't have to be this hard, it doesn't have to be this miserable, and you don't have to abandon everything that you think you love in order to be healthy.
[00:54:25] Jordan Harbinger: I was talking to a mutual friend of ours, Jason Feifer, who's been on the show and he works, he's the editor in chief of Entrepreneur Magazine. Is that right?
[00:54:32] Adam Bornstein: Yeah, that is correct. Yep.
[00:54:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I wasn't sure if he was an editor, editor in chief, EIC, the big boss over there.
[00:54:38] Adam Bornstein: He's the big man. He runs the show.
[00:54:40] Jordan Harbinger: And he worked with you a long time ago at Men's Health, which back then was under this brand Rodale, and they always had these sort of in-house published diet books and it was always like abs for summer. These diet books are not written by experts at all. They're just written by like staff writers and they have the hook that you mentioned and it's marketed like crazy and you get a coupon with every issue for that year of Men's Health and it's just like a profit center for the publisher. And Jason told me, he's like, "Oh yeah, I couldn't believe that they would pump out these diet books by writers that were not experts. The rationale for the diet was just completely made up. Nobody knew if it would work, because it wasn't really tested, it was just a machine." He said it, "And people are supposed to read these things and then devote their health and the rest of the year to this diet." It's just absolutely insane.
[00:55:27] So that element of marketing and dieting and publishing was crazy to me. But you're right, the publishing industry itself is probably a whole different type of conversation because I have a friend who's a really good writer. He wrote a really interesting book. I sent it to a friend of mine who's an editor, a big-time, sort of big-time editor over at a big publisher. I said, "How does this guy get a book published?" And she's like, "Ah, I don't know. I don't have time to read it." And I'm like, "I did. It was really good." And she goes, "Yeah, I don't know. It's not really my area." And then I go, "Well, if this guy who already wrote a book can't get it published, I'm never writing a book." And she goes, "No, no, no, no, you should." And I go, "Well, why? I don't know what I'm going to write. This guy already wrote something good. He can't get it published. Why would I get published?" She goes, "Well, look, your friend needs a book proposal." And I go, "Oh God, I'd have to do one of those too." She goes, "Oh no, you don't need to do that." And I'm like, "I'm so confused. This guy has a book but he doesn't have a proposal and so he can't get published. I don't have a book and I don't need a proposal?" And she's like, "No, we'll just have somebody write a book for you and market it under your brand and you'll do great. But this guy who actually has a good book, he doesn't have a marketing machine behind it other than us. So we're not interested." And I was like, "Wait a minute. That is like the opposite of what I thought books were supposed to be."
[00:56:35] Adam Bornstein: Right.
[00:56:36] Jordan Harbinger: I thought books were written by people that had something to say, and it's almost not true anymore. They're by and large written by people who can just make a million dollars for the publisher of the book. And that's the rationale for even creating it in the first place. So if you're on a reality show and you can make some sh*t up about that show and your life and it's even remote, mildly interesting, doesn't really matter. 90 percent of the copies will never get read. Then you have a book and you get a million dollar advance...profit. And it's probably why most books suck because nobody reads them.
[00:57:06] Adam Bornstein: And how many great ideas and never see light a day?
[00:57:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:57:08] Adam Bornstein: And it's very easy to say, and I'll be honest, hey, maybe my book sucks. I don't think so. Like if you ask me to pick, I always say like, choosing between books is like Sophie's choice, but there's no Sophie's choice here. For me, this book is my favorite one I've written because it's the most honest, the one that I feel will just stand the test of time. I tried to pitch this book in 2017 and my book agent who was phenomenal, told me is like, it's not good enough.
[00:57:28] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:57:29] Adam Bornstein: So I've had people, I surround myself with people, which is a good thing in general who keep you honest. I waited until it was ready and he was like, "This thing is freaking awesome." And still the friction was there. And that's frustrating for me, right? Like industry shouldn't be determined by who has the biggest marketing machine.
[00:57:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:57:44] Adam Bornstein: Industry should be determined by where are the best ideas that create the most greater good for all or for the people who need it most. And yeah, the publishing industry, by and large, and there are exceptions to this, but by and large is driven by marketing and exposure, not ideas. And that's not a good place to be—
[00:58:03] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:58:03] Adam Bornstein: —for society. So you try and create ecosystems that allow these forward-thinking people, the people who are trying to do good, like have platforms. Much of my work has now been behind the scenes trying to do this because I saw like the machine itself was broken, so I had to go build my own to go and give people distribution in a platform because so many of the people who had helped the most and get away from this dogmatic, obsessive, stressful, like people hate health for a good reason. But no one shouldn't care about their health because what allows us to live this gift that we call life. It's what allows us to connect with people and do the things that we'd love to do. It's just become so convoluted and gotten away from like what it needs to be.
[00:58:43] Jordan Harbinger: I want to get back to some of the diet stuff. I know you and I were talking a couple of weeks ago now and you had said scientists have essentially created food that has end-run our brain into thinking we want more food even when we're full. You talked about satiety. Aside from bigger portion sizes, which I think we have all sort of come to accept as fact, what is happening with food, where the technology has exceeded our ability to kind of get past it? I've read somewhere again maybe your book that the biggest sweetest thing a hunter-gatherer would've had thousands of years ago was like a carrot.
[00:59:16] Adam Bornstein: Right. Probably a little sweeter. You got the berries.
[00:59:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Oh, right. True.
[00:59:20] Adam Bornstein: Things like that.
[00:59:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:59:21] Adam Bornstein: But the things that has happened, and this goes back to what you were talking about earlier, right? In the '80s, you had like the, the no fat movement and we poured sugar into this. And this wasn't the first time, but it was kind of a tipping point, if you will, of when food manufacturers went, and like SnackWells is the big one at the time, was like, "Oh wait, we can manipulate food and we can manipulate it so much that people just keep eating it." And people are surprised when the author, Michael Moss, has written about this, where he talks about the "bliss point," which I mentioned in the book. And the "bliss point" is this sweet spot of salty, sweet, and fatty that makes us insatiable. And these foods now make up 60 percent of what are in grocery stores.
[01:00:08] Now, the mistake is to think that you can't eat any of this food, right? Because the poison is in the dose. Our bodies are resilient. The example I say is like, if you were to work out one time, every month would you think you'd be in fantastic shape? And the answer would be no better than doing nothing. But once a month, not doing it. If you eat a couple of bad meals per week, it's not going to have any impact, right?
[01:00:32] In life, I said like most people will eat three meals a day, right? Seven days a week, 21 meals a week. If you had three sh*tty meals and you were 18 out of 21, so you're roughly 90 percent, you're going to be in phenomenal shape, right? But we don't think that we have like the one bad meal and they're like, f*ck it, slash those tires.
[01:00:47] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:00:47] Adam Bornstein: And we go off. But what happens is we eat these hyperpalatable foods and they make us almost a bottomless pit. And there's this fantastic researcher at the NIH named Dr. Kevin Hall. And what he did was this fascinating experiment where he would take people who were eating like a whole food diet and not tell them what to eat, how much to eat, just basically buffet style, eat this food.
[01:01:10] And then they would give the same amount calorically of the foods, but also tell them, eat as much as you want of things like Chef Boyardee and mac and cheese, again, the ultra-processed foods, and without telling them how much to eat without manipulating anything. And these were in two-week stints where it was the same people. The people on the ultra-processed foods ate 500 calories more in a meal.
[01:01:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow.
[01:01:34] Adam Bornstein: And then the craziest part is they would then switch them back to the less processed. So I'm not saying all processing, these are the ultra-processed foods where you are adding in sugar, fat, salt, unnaturally. So sugar, not bad. Fat, not bad. Salt, not bad. Adding it in unnaturally to foods in a specific amount. These people ate 500 more calories per meal. Switching back to these foods that are like minimally processed or not processed at all, they suddenly stop eating 500 calories less, just like that. Again, no guidelines whatsoever, and scientists are still trying to figure out, we do not know yet exactly what it is. Like, is there a way to essentially turn this off? But when we eat these foods all the time, it's easy to see why it's so simple for people to over be overweight because our—
[01:02:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:02:27] Adam Bornstein: The food industry, the food environment is now filled with so many, and it's even why I argue like sometimes you're actually better off going and eating takeout.
[01:02:35] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:02:35] Adam Bornstein: Going and getting some sushi, eating some of the favorite things you want because it's these ultra-processed foods that are most likely the most problematic thing, in general instead of like all of these individual villains, right? The sugar, the fat, the carbs, like independently. So that means if you look at anything independently, sugar's not going to make you fat. A gram of sugar is four calories. No one's getting fat of four calories, right? Carbs, it's the same thing. And most carbs have fiber, which leaves you full, right? Fiber is one of the biggest cheat codes in all of dieting. You eat fiber, you eat less, end of story. That means you can eat whole wheat bread. You can eat pasta, like the things that people tell you don't eat. You can eat potatoes. Potato is literally the most filling food that we have, period. It's crazy to think how many people are like afraid, even eat like a white potato.
[01:03:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:03:21] Adam Bornstein: But like it's something that will leave you more full than almost anything else. But it's these ultra-processed foods, the things that are chemically engineered that we don't need to completely avoid, but probably need to limit the most.
[01:03:33] Jordan Harbinger: I also read, and I think again in your book, that when we avoid certain foods, we end up eating 133 percent more calories than before. Which I was like, does he mean 33 percent? because 133 percent more than twice as much when we're avoiding certain foods. That's insane. So if we're saying avoid carbs, we're really just doubling up on the calories by eating—
[01:03:53] Adam Bornstein: Yes.
[01:03:53] Jordan Harbinger: —more meat or something.
[01:03:55] Adam Bornstein: And who hasn't done that?
[01:03:55] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[01:03:56] Adam Bornstein: Who hasn't been like, they swear off pasta and bread and rice and I'm going to eat no white foods, right?
[01:04:01] Jordan Harbinger: So I have a short rib thing instead.
[01:04:03] Adam Bornstein: Yeah.
[01:04:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:04:04] Adam Bornstein: And then a couple weeks go by and you're like literally at the bottom of a bucket of pasta and you're like, "What have I done? I'm such a horrible human being," but again, we are simple creatures, but sometimes, you know, you can almost laugh about it. We want what we can't have. And when we fundamentally tell ourselves that something is completely off limits, it changes triggering, basically wiring in our brain to make us desire it more. And a much more effective way, is to not put things completely off limits because that's just going to increase the compliance of behavior. If you tell yourself you can eat dessert and you tell yourself to enjoy dessert and you savor it, and when you have it, you don't feel guilty, cravings actually decrease, right?
[01:04:46] This is what the idea of gratitude and being present is all about. Like when people who are in the moment experiencing things differently than people who are clouded by other emotions. And yeah, the idea of just like cut everything out is so funny. We want to talk about the express lane. We wish we had an express lane from our stomach to our brain, especially these parents who could fill up, the express lane to eating more of the foods that you want to eat less of is telling yourself you can never have it.
[01:05:15] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And then you're power-chugging ice cream in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven.
[01:05:19] Adam Bornstein: Exactly.
[01:05:20] Jordan Harbinger: Or so I've heard, or so I've heard.
[01:05:22] Adam Bornstein: Allegedly, hypothetically speaking.
[01:05:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, hypothetically. Let's wrap with some bad diet red flags. Because I think in the beginning at the top of the show, we kind of talked about timeframes or like, this is a six-week diet that's going to get you down to X. Like you're going to lose 25 pounds in 25 days or whatever. A lot of these, what do you call it, front-loaded diets, I guess you would say, a lot of it's water weight, I understand. And also—
[01:05:47] Adam Bornstein: Yeah.
[01:05:48] Jordan Harbinger: —if something stops working after a certain period of time, that's sus, right?
[01:05:52] Adam Bornstein: That was a battle with the publisher. They're like, "Tell them how much weight they're going to lose in four weeks." And I'm like, "I will do no such."
[01:05:57] Jordan Harbinger: Oh no.
[01:05:58] Adam Bornstein: I will do no such thing. I will provide you with a plan of certain amount of weeks so that you can have the training wheels. So you can crawl, walk, run, right? The great example I gave in the book is that like, If you really want to make sense of nutrition and fitness, just look for examples in other areas of life outside of nutrition and fitness where it's not so damn manipulative. If you want to learn how to swim, is it a good idea to start in the deep end?
[01:06:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Nobody's like, you know what? Do a cliff dive into a riptide. That's how you're going to learn how, that's the only way you're going to learn how to swim kids.
[01:06:27] Adam Bornstein: Right. You put your like toe in the shallow and so you know, like the water is safe. You learn how to tread water. Things that fundamentally are super complex, right? You're like, there's no way I should be able to do this run from.
[01:06:41] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:06:42] Adam Bornstein: And like when you put this timestamp, and this is what so many diets that we talked about earlier, it's like you will lose 15 pounds in four weeks. Okay? What happens after the four weeks?
[01:06:52] Jordan Harbinger: You gained 25 pounds.
[01:06:53] Adam Bornstein: Right, exactly. The reason people put these boundaries with parameters and set expectations because that's when it stops working. And that's fundamentally a problem. And again, it's just manipulation because you see, "Oh, man, 15 pounds in two weeks? That's great." Right? It's like the, you know, eight-minute abs. What happens when they come up with seven-minute abs, right?
[01:07:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:07:16] Adam Bornstein: Everyone's just trying to like, keep on pushing it. No. It is like we're moving the goalpost to get people to buy, but that usually just means that, A, to your point, like the slow and steady like wins the race. If you were to lose like half a pound, or I would say like healthy weight loss isn't done in days or in weeks. It's by month. Healthy weight loss is truly one to two pounds per month, like at most, but at the end of the year, if you've lost 12 to 24 pounds, no one's going to be upset.
[01:07:47] Jordan Harbinger: No, that's great.
[01:07:48] Adam Bornstein: And it's such a sustainable way because again, it can be takeout, it could be dessert, but like we create these false expectations, that means we're chasing something that we don't want to chase. And we're willingly entering into something where they're telling us it's only going to work for a certain number of weeks.
[01:08:04] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:08:04] Adam Bornstein: And we just said, we have to stop that.
[01:08:06] Jordan Harbinger: Back to what you said on 24 pounds in a year, 12 to 24 pounds. And this happens in business, fitness, pretty much every area of my life, I can sort of attest to this, you really overestimate what you can do in a year. And you really underestimate what you can do in five or 10 years. If you look at a business, you're like, I'm going to double my business this year. And it's like, that's really hard to do. But if you want to double your business in three years or five years, it's just a huge amount of time to make incremental gains that add up to something.
[01:08:38] Adam Bornstein: And the comparison is we overestimate what we should do in a month of nutrition.
[01:08:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, there you go.
[01:08:45] Adam Bornstein: And underestimate just how much we'll accomplish in a year if we do something that keeps us more patient because I'll leave you with one final thought. There's a study that I referenced. It was the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious journals. And they wanted to do like the Diet Super Bowl, right? They stack up all the big diets, it's the low carb and the low fat, and we're checking out vegan and more meat-based. We're like what is the one that's going to get people to lose the most weight? And you sit here, and this was like a hyped-up study, and you get the results and they find out that the most effective diet was all of them. They were all equal. And the only thing that really determined the results was their compliance and sustainability.
[01:09:23] So I say like when you are picking a nutrition plan, it's kind of like picking a business partner or significant other where it's like if you can't see yourself beam with this person for a year or five years for a lifetime, what the hell are you doing wasting a month or two months on it? Because like you don't need those bad relationships in your life because there's so much more collateral damage. You don't have to pick a dietary camp, you have to pick up behaviors that you feel you can sustain. You don't have to do them all the time, you don't have to cut everything out. But the thing that you'll sustain is will allow you to win. And also more importantly, have your sanity allow you to be social, allow you to not freak out and have these f*ck-it moments. Allow you to enjoy food and enjoy situations. And like that to me is real health. That's the goal of the book and that's really what people need to know. You don't have to buy into a dietary camp. You kind of got to figure out like what you can sustain.
[01:10:16] Jordan Harbinger: Adam Bornstein, thank you very much, man. Really appreciate it.
[01:10:18] Adam Bornstein: Thanks so much.
[01:10:21] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, here's a sample of my interview with someone with decades of experience in protecting people at every level from the top levels of government to victims of spousal abuse. Violence is a reality. If you're not prepared for its possibility, you'll be caught off guard by its eventuality. Learn how to hone your sixth sense for danger, discover how to spot the red flags that signify someone's a likely abuser, con artist, or predator. Here's a bite.
[01:10:50] 16 years ago when I was 20, I got into a taxi cab in Mexico City and it turned out to be a fake taxi. And the guy was driving me further and further away from my destination further and further away, and my brain went through this process. It said, "No, it's probably going to be fine. I know he said he was going to ask for directions, but he's a cabby. He should know that. No, no, no, no, no. But I mean, I've never been kidnapped before, so that can't be what's happening. And then I remembered. Some guy on Oprah in 1994 or something like that, when I was a kid sitting there with my mom who said, never go to the secondary location. And I only realized a decade and a half later when reading the book, The Gift of Fear, that that was you.
[01:11:31] Gavin de Becker: Everybody with a normal functioning mind and body system does have intuition, and what we have in varying degrees is our willingness to honor it and listen to it and learn about it. It's our most extraordinary mental and physical process.
[01:11:47] The stomach lining, as an example, has 100 million neurons, 100 million thought-cells. That's more neurons than there are in a dog's brain. When you hear the word our gut, you know, "I had a gut feeling," it's a very accurate description of what's going on. And these two brains in the gut and in the skull communicate with each other through the body. And so the whole mind-body system delivers intuition to you, which is knowing without knowing why, knowing without having to stop at all the letters from A to Z on the way, just getting from A to Z automatically.
[01:12:20] It doesn't really matter how a thing should be, it only matters how it is and how it is in terms of reality in this moment. And reality is the highest ground you can get to. That's the place where you can see what's coming. And I'm so glad to hear that story and that makes my day. That means a lot to me, particularly as I'm about to hear, I hope how well you prevail because I know we're here having the conversation. So you did well.
[01:12:44] Jordan Harbinger: I slid behind the driver's seat and he reached over toward the glove box and I have grabbed him and threw him back to his seat because I figured he had a knife.
[01:12:51] For more, including the most important thing we can do to cut potentially threatening people out of our lives forever, check out episode 329 with Gavin de Becker.
[01:13:01] Interesting what he said about cravings and calorie restriction. You kind of suspect that that's the case, but I had no idea that calorie-restricted diets make us crave those foods more. I just thought it was hungry, which I mean. Is there a difference? I don't know. Binging that leads to eating disorders potentially is something that's a little scary. I never really thought about that. I didn't realize that restricting leads to tension, which can snap back like a slingshot and cause binging again. I really just thought, oh, when you're dieting, you get hungry sometimes, but it totally makes sense. You do have to be careful with that stuff.
[01:13:32] I recently lost 40 pounds, as you all know, well, 40 pounds of fat, I should say. I gained muscle on top of that. And it was a lot of discipline, but I didn't starve myself. I really took it easy. That's why it took like 10 months to do. I probably could have done it in three and just hated life the whole time, but I didn't want to do that. I did it in 10 months and it was just a little bit of lifestyle adjustments and a hell of a lot of Turkey breast. I think it really is important to, yes, restrict a little bit of calories if you're eating a crap load like I was, but you still need to eat the foods that make you happy. There's just, it's no way to live life otherwise. You just don't need to eat the whole slice of cheesecake for breakfast, maybe. I don't know. I should speak for myself. My diet was not great, obviously.
[01:14:12] Many diets are the equivalent of trying to bench 300 pounds on your first try because willpower, and that's just not going to work. As Adam said, a plan that exhausts you mentally will break you physically, and that couldn't be more true. 80 percent of people who lose weight won't be able to maintain it. That's a sad indictment of the dieting industry. And when you fail on a diet, your self-worth goes down. You feel a loss of control. You get in that screw-it moment and you tend to just throw things away for a while. Throw your discipline away for a while.
[01:14:39] And I think it really is easy to get caught up in results. We don't think of ourselves as healthy until we're done with the diet, right? I had to reframe this myself. I was losing 40 pounds of fat and it was demotivating to be down 20 pounds and go, yeah, I'm down 20 pounds, but oh gosh, I have 20 more pounds to lose until I'm, what? Happy or something That doesn't make any sense. I'm looking at a six-pack abs or a four-pack as the case may have been, and I'm thinking, well, I'm not fit because I can only see my abs when I'm standing up straight and flexing or whatever. It's like so dumb, or they don't show up on days after I eat a bunch of salty meat and it was just moving the goalposts and it was super demotivating. And yeah, I just strongly recommend to take it one day at a time and do your best with it and restrict slowly over time.
[01:15:23] Sometimes, I think with the online diets and the fads, your brain knows the diet is BS, but you just want to believe because you want to believe in the potential. It's like a lottery ticket. You want to believe that what you're doing and what you're aiming at is possible, and you get that dopamine hit from that. But yeah, that dopamine hit is not giving you a healthier heart or a healthier body. Or making your pants fit better.
[01:15:46] All things Adam Bornstein will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com or you can just ask the AI chatbot transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, ways to support the show, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I've said it once, but I'll say it again. Please consider supporting those who support this show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn.
[01:16:06] And the best things that have happened in my life in business have come through my network. I'm teaching you how to do the same thing for yourself in our Six-Minute Networking course. It's a hundred percent free. It's not gross, it's not schmoozy. You can find it on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. These drills are designed to take a few minutes a day. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. Dig that well before you're thirsty, folks. You'll be in smart company where you belong, and you can find it all at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:16:34] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. And if you know somebody who's interested in this fitness stuff or is a dieting yo-yo driving themselves nuts, share this episode with them. In the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you learn, and we'll see you next time.
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