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801: 10 Fitness Secrets Every Busy Parent Needs to Know

TMHS 448: Get Crazy Fit In A Crazy World – With Guest Autumn Calabrese

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli

At a time when so much of what’s happening in the world is out of our control, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious. One effective way to combat those negative feelings is to take some ownership over the things we can influence in a positive way. When it comes to your health and fitness, taking control is one of the most empowering and impactful choices you can make.

And while the term “control freak” often has a negative connotation, Autumn Calabrese wants to change the narrative and help you become a control freak in the most positive, effective way possible. Autumn is a Beachbody Super Trainer and author of Lose Weight Like Crazy Even If You Have a Crazy Life. On today’s show, she’s sharing how structure and flexibility can coexist in your workout routine and a simple, straightforward strategy for making better food choices. 

You’re going to learn about getting in tune with your intuition, how to grow through the uncomfortable seasons of change, and the power of taking back control in your life. Autumn’s mission is to help you feel empowered in your food and exercise choices, and I hope you find this interview helpful no matter where you are on your journey. 

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • The story of how Autumn gained weight as a child.
  • Autumn’s experiences with weight loss products. 
  • How pregnancy changed Autumn’s relationship with food. 
  • The problem with messaging on food packages. 
  • How being a control freak can be a strength. 
  • Why you should have flexibility in your workouts.
  • How industrialized food changed the way humans eat.
  • The power of getting back to the basics of nutrition. 
  • How your palate can change over time, and how to introduce yourself to new foods.
  • What the acronym CRAZY stands for. 
  • How to create flexibility within structure. 
  • Why fitness can set an example for the other areas of your life. 


Items mentioned in this episode include:

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!


Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to The Model Health Show, this is fitness and nutrition expert Shawn Stevenson and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. What can we control? What can we control right now when it seems like so much is out of control? That's what we're going to be talking about today and we got a very, very special guest. She's a fitness icon, health icon and we have a similar background story, a similar intersection that is just bananas, which we'll talk about later and I'm just so grateful to have incredible people who are sharing their voice right now, sharing their experience and their perspective and really helping to bring in some positive programming, some positive resources of information when there's just so much negativity and so much to be worried about when in reality there's so much good that's happening simultaneously and so much opportunity and this is a great time in human history because we have the chance to actually change some of the things that have been going on a...


Just straight decline for many years, specifically when it comes to our nation's health and wellness and this is a time when we need to redirect our attention, our focus, and our resources to getting our communities healthier and as we're going to talk about today, we're going to dive into some nostalgia. Some nostalgia. I know that I grew up very similar to so many other folks here in the United States, with the foods that I was just... It was just an everyday thing for me. I grew up in the fast-food revolution. It went from being... Fast food was like a thing, there's a few fast food places to it being a deeply ingrained part of our culture. It wasn't just going to McDonald's to get your burger and fries, you're not just getting a burger and fries, they got breakfast now. They got hotcakes. The hotcakes and stuff.


What's the difference between a pancake and a hotcake? McDonald's. That's a difference, the only difference but they are serving breakfast now so you start your day with fast food, alright, let me get that McMuffin. It's not just a regular muffin, it's McMuffin and just the permeation into our culture so many different types of processed foods that you pick up through a drive-through window. We're no longer even just going and sitting down in a restaurant or cooking food at home. Many of us were really inundated with this concept of going and picking our food up through a hole in the side of building and it's just a normal thing.


And not to say that again, these things don't have some modicum of value in them but at the same time, what has it done to our culture that shifted so much to being disconnected. Not just from where the food is grown, let alone where the food is grown and moving away from products that actually come from nature and not synthetic and heavily processed foods but even the disconnection from where we're getting our food and the association with the person cooking our food and also the disassociation of the process of where the food is actually... How we're receiving the food, how we're receiving the food.


Every part of the process has been denatured and right now, we can potentially have a revolution in our association with food from farm to table but again, it takes a shift in our awareness and a shift in our culture and I truly believe it's up to us right now, to help make it happen so really pumped about this episode and this conversation and I think you guys are going to really love when we dive in and talk about where we come from and some of the nostalgia but most importantly, some of the most powerful messages for shifting our mindset around food right now and around our health so I can't wait to dive into that.


And I want to share with you guys what I do. I haven't really talked about this specifically but even today, right before I record The Model Health Show, I'm going to share with you guys, what my nutrition is to really fuel my brain, to give me that little extra nutrition to fuel my brain for performance, for memory and just cognitive ability and what I had today, literally again, right before this recording is one of my favorite Nootropics that contains royal jelly and bacopa called B.LXR. Literally had it right before every show, I have my little B.LXR and a study published in Advanced Biomedical Research found that royal jelly has the potential to improve spatial learning, attention, and memory.


Alright, this is the real deal. We got peer-review, clinical evidence, and a study that came out 2011, also found that royal jelly can stimulate neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, specifically, this is happening in our hippocampus. It's the part of the brain largely responsible for our memory.


I don't just do stuff just because, just because it sounds nice like... The Queen Bee, The Queen Bee, she has the royal jelly, no, we've got real clinical evidence demonstrating what this can do for our brains, and also this formula has bacopa, which is one of my all-time favorite things. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled human study, this is the gold standard of studies, this was published in 2016, found that after just six weeks of use, bacopa significantly improved speed of visual information processing, learning rate, memory consolidation, and even decreased anxiety for study participants. This is combined together in the B.LXR. Alright so before the show, that's what I have, B.LXR.


And the reason that I get B.LXR and my bee products from Beekeepers Naturals is because they go the extra mile to ensure that they're literally using third-party testing to make sure there's no nefarious pesticides, heavy metals, anything nefarious coming through the bee products, which today, conventional honeys and other bee products are largely... There's contaminants there and it's unfortunate, it's just because there's so much contamination in our environment so they go the extra mile to make sure that you're not taking in any toxicity with your incredible bee product.


Definitely check them out, it's, that's, and use the code model and you're also going to get 15%. An additional 15% off all of their incredible bee-products. That's right before the show but every morning on the date of recording, I have my favorite Lion's Mane infused coffee from Four Sigmatic. It's another thing geared towards mental performance Lion's Mane has a tremendous amount of data that continues to come out showing that it's neuroprotective so literally protecting your brain against intrusions, even against traumatic brain injuries so cool but also it's been found to help to reduce stress and to improve focus.


So the reason that I use the Four Sigmatic Lion's Mane, is that it's dual extracted so they do a hot water extract and an alcohol extract to make sure you're getting all of the nutrients for your cognitive performance out of the medicinal mushroom and they've got it infused with organic coffee and they also have the elixir that is a stand-alone feature. The Lion's Mane elixir as well. So definitely check those out too. Again, this is my routine on recording dates, this is what I'm doing so I thought I'd share that with you guys today and you can also get an incredible discount over a, that's F-O-U-R-S-I-G for an incredible hook up there too.


So check out their Lion's Mane infused coffee and/or their Lion's Mane elixir. I use both, I love both of them. Again, this is all about fueling our bodies and fueling our brains to be at our very best and there's so many incredible things that we have access to that have been used for centuries. We don't have to turn to these synthetic artificial processed, toxic things that we've accepted as a norm. When we go to the local convenience store and we see these so-called energy drinks and all the toxic compounds that come along with that stuff, we can do so much better.


I just want to make sure we make this available and aware for the public at large to upgrade the ingredients of things to get better results with our bodies and with our mental function but without all the side effects so again, just going to continue to share these things and we've got a crazy... The term crazy is what it's going to be a thread throughout this episode and before we get to our special guest, let's check out the Apple Podcast review of the week.


iTunes Review: Another five-star review titled “incredible podcast” by CSantana809. “Shawn is fun, personable and his science is on point. I'm a biology teacher and a knowledge fanatic. I first became hooked, after listening to Shawn on Mindvalley when he spoke about water. So glad I found this. It is the best podcast I have come across ever.”


Shawn Stevenson: Awesome, that's so powerful. Thank you so much for sharing that review over on Apple Podcast. I appreciate it so much and knowledge fanatic, I love it. It's such a great segue into today's episode and our guest today is a BeachBody Super Trainer and Nutrition Expert, Autumn Calabrese.


She's the creator of the breakthrough fitness programs, 9 Week Control Freak, 21 Day Fix, 80 Day Obsession, and Ultimate Portion Fix. She's helped millions of people gain control of their nutrition. She's also the author of the best-selling Fixate cookbooks and her latest book, Lose Weight Like Crazy, Even If You Have a Crazy Life! , is available right now and she's also the host of the Fixate healthy cooking show with her brother, Bobby Calabrese on BeachBody on Demand and I'm just really excited to have this conversation and hang out with my friend, just such a wealth of information and just...


She's had an impact on millions of lives and I want to continue to bring multiple perspectives because it's not going to be a one-size-fits-all approach for everybody to achieve what's possible for them so I want to bring on different voices, different perspectives, and Autumn's perspective is one that I think for a lot of folks can be very helpful right now because even with her new book, Even if you have a crazy life, just really speaks volumes to what a lot of folks are dealing with so I'm really excited about this episode. Let's jump into this conversation with the incredible Autumn Calabrese.


That's what I see too out there is like, I sit out there. The world is different outside my door...


Autumn Calabrese: It is.


Shawn Stevenson: And people used to... When you sneeze, it was so... People would be polite, just like "Oh, God bless you." Now if you see sneeze people are like "you!"


Autumn Calabrese: How quick do you tell people that it's not COVID if you sneeze. I sneeze and I'm like "It's just my allergies, the wind blew wrong, I'm fine." I'm so quick to defend the fact that I sneezed and I'm like "This is crazy. My nose tickled." I can't believe I'm like; "Don't worry... "


Shawn Stevenson: Is a nose tickle a crime? Oh my God! What is going on? Just basic human decency is kind of going on the back burner.


Autumn Calabrese: Seriously, it's gone.


Shawn Stevenson: Oh my gosh! Well speaking of going on the back burner, you and I, we had no idea when we met for the first time, face-to-face, maybe two, three years ago at BeachBody and we found out of all the places in the United States, all the cities, all the high schools, we went to the same high school at the same time and had no idea.


Autumn Calabrese: No idea and here we are...


Shawn Stevenson: How crazy is that?


Autumn Calabrese: Years later in another state.


Shawn Stevenson: In a dystopian world but now getting to read your book... Because I just assumed even from that conversation, you were just from St. Louis but It was... There was a much bigger story before that, growing up in Cleveland.


Autumn Calabrese: Cleveland, yes. Born and raised.


Shawn Stevenson: Shout-out to Cleveland and so now I know you and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, both being from Cleveland, that's about it and...


Autumn Calabrese: Who else? It's about all we've got.


Shawn Stevenson: Your story was just so incredible, growing up, literally... First of all, your dad. Your dad...


Autumn Calabrese: Bobby Cal.


Shawn Stevenson: Bobby Cal. Everybody knew Bobby Cal because he had the local pizza place. Can you talk a little bit about that growing up in that environment?


Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, I grew up... I always describe it... If people have seen the movie, A Bronx Tale, that's how I grew up. I grew up in a mafia movie for real, like the mafia was in our neighborhood. It was a thing, you had to be careful but we grew up a little Italian neighborhood. Everybody knew my dad, he owned the pizza place, we lived upstairs from it so he owned the building and the apartment upstairs was ours so that's where we were so Dad would be downstairs working and we'd be upstairs, school or whatever and our whole family lived in the neighborhood.


Like my grandparents were a few blocks away, my aunt was a few blocks, we walked everywhere, we rode our bikes everywhere. Everybody knew him. You weren't going to mess with Bobby Cal or Bobby Cal's kids and the neighborhood had an eye on us 'cause everybody knew him. Everybody loved my dad. He was the good guy in the mafia movie, he wasn't in the mafia.


Shawn Stevenson: Just to be clear.


Autumn Calabrese: Just to be clear, he was like Robert De Niro was in A Bronx Tale. He was the good guy.


Shawn Stevenson: So no one was swimming with the fishes...


Autumn Calabrese: He wasn't Chazz Palminteri.


Shawn Stevenson: Okay, alright, just to be clear, thanks for clearing that up and of course, growing up in that environment and having access to all the deliciousness, I'm sure that really... And this is one of the things that Kristen said that we had very similar, just having that access to that food, it's just a part of our lives. Talk a little bit about that. The culture around food and obviously the Italian culture. Can you talk a little about that?


Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, that's just it. My grandparents are off the boat. My grandparents were from Italy. Food is everything in the Italian culture. It's like everything revolves around it. Sunday dinner, at my grandma's house was like 15 to 20 of us, every Sunday. My grandma was in the kitchen cooking and it was pasta and meatballs and the meatballs were fried in lard. In fact, if you ask my dad to this day, it is a crime that I don't cook my meatballs in lard. He gets mad at me for it. "You don't know anything about tradition" and I was like, "I know you're tradition's going to kill you. Dad, can we... Olive oil? Is olive oil okay?"


But yeah, everything revolved around food and the one thing I'll say that was interesting though, is everything was made from scratch still. My grandma more often than not made the pasta. That's one of my brother's favorite things, is hand-made pasta, that's what he does, 'cause he's a chef. The sauce was made from scratch, we always had salad at the end of the meal. A lot of times the bread was fresh from whatever the local bakery was, even my dad's pizza, he made the dough by hand.


We learned how to make pizza dough, kneading it with our hands and letting it rise. So while we had access to a lot of all of those foods, pastas and pizzas and subs, I was... If you see pictures of me when I was a young kid, I was a really thin kid and I ate everything. I ate the pizza, I ate the pasta, I ate the subs, I ate the New York-style cheesecake but I was also very active. But I do remember as a teenager when we left the Italian neighborhood, we moved to the suburbs, I no longer was super active and we weren't actually living upstairs from my dad's restaurant anymore, we were now in the house and my Dad left to go to the restaurant, we had different food in the house.


My dad was re-married at the time and his wife was doing the grocery shopping and all of a sudden, there was a lot more, easy, convenient processed foods in the house. Not so much the scratch foods and that's when I gained weight for the first time. I also went through puberty but there was a change there in what I was eating.


Shawn Stevenson: That was a part of the book when I was like; because for you is 12 years old was the first time you had this realization that... Like an awareness of your body not being the way that you wanted it to be and you set out to lose weight and of course, this is a challenge in our culture today, more than ever, because of our exposure, social media, folks are always... We have a tendency towards comparison, the human mind so it's just like on 1000% now but you being 12 years old and having this epiphany that my body weight... I've gained weight and I want to do something about it.


Can you talk a little bit about that? Because for some folks, just like a 12-year-old little girl shouldn't feel like that but for you, it's just like, this is reality. Not just for you but for so many people and then can you talk about what you did in your attempt to lose weight when you had this epiphany?


Autumn Calabrese: So yeah. I was 12, I obviously was hitting puberty and I had been so used to being the kid that one, was super small, like tiny, I was skinny and I could eat anything I wanted and I never gained weight. So the fact that all of a sudden I was gaining weight, my stomach was getting bigger. I was carrying most of it in my stomach, my face was getting a lot rounder. I noticed it. I noticed that the clothes were getting bigger that I had to buy and I also was a competitive dancer. I was just starting to compete so I could tell in dance class that I was slowing down a little bit, I couldn't quite keep up like I used to, and then...


I tell the story in the book about how my dad made us do this crazy long walk for Thanksgiving every year, like 12 miles, and even though it was crazy in Cleveland, 12 miles in the snow, at seven years old, I didn't struggle with the walk, I hated it 'cause it was freezing but I could do it and then when I was 12 and we were living in the suburbs, he wanted to do that walk but it was a different version, it was a much shorter version, way easier and we did the walk and I cried the whole time because I felt like my... I just...


My body felt heavy, I was struggling, going up even the smallest hill. All of it just didn't feel good so I knew I wanted to try to lose weight. I didn't want to feel like that but I didn't know-how. I was 12. How do you know how to lose weight? You don't and I didn't have anybody teaching me. The first thing I did was ask my dad if I could work in the restaurant to earn some money because I kept seeing commercials. Am I allowed to say product name or you prefer I not?


Shawn Stevenson: You could say it. Of course.


Autumn Calabrese: Okay so I would see these SlimFast commercials, right? And I was like, the beautiful girls and they're skinny and you want to look like the beautiful girls on TV so I saved my $5 and I walked to the convenience store down the street when nobody was home and bought it and I hid it in my drawer under my clothes so nobody knew that it was there and I made that first SlimFast shake and it was so gross. I remember I took a sip and I was like, gagged and I was so determined, I tried another sip and I couldn't do it so I sat there on my bed like crying with this canister that I just saved money to buy and I was like, "Okay, well, that's not going to be it, 'cause I can't drink one of these, let alone three of them a day" so yeah, that was my first attempt at losing weight at 12.


Shawn Stevenson: I wanted you to say the product name because that was the first thing I did too when I was trying to get myself healthy when I had this realization. This was when I was 22 because I was always like this skinny kid in my family and I had gained all this weight because of this condition, the spinal condition that I was dealing with, and when I decided to get healthy, that's what I knew because of the commercials, just shake for breakfast, shake for lunch.


Autumn Calabrese: And a healthy dinner, sensible dinner.


Shawn Stevenson: Sensible dinner.


Autumn Calabrese: Sensible dinner, that's right.


Shawn Stevenson: And man, I had the strawberry.


Autumn Calabrese: Yes, it's so bad.


Shawn Stevenson: One day because I had taken it with me to school and it got a little warm... It's so bad. Think Pepto-Bismol with a little pinch of honey from bees that have been exclusively fed crack cocaine. It's just like, it was bad.


Autumn Calabrese: Oh my God, that's such a vivid description.


Shawn Stevenson: Everything about it was wrong and I quickly transitioned away from it, fortunately, because just even the awareness of, there's got to be something better and wanting to move towards health but also is our exposure and that's what you were exposed to.


Autumn Calabrese: That's what I knew.


Shawn Stevenson: And your exposures changed once you move to St. Louis and this was when you went to live with your mom, right? So let's talk about that transition. What was different about living there?


Autumn Calabrese: Well so my mom, different culture, my mom's not Italian and my mom definitely had much more of the mentality of exercise and eating right, not that my dad doesn't have the mentality of eating right, it's just... It's just different cultures. It was like, this is what we eat this is what I made. He prepared the foods that he was used to eating. Whereas my mom got up and I saw her exercise every day and there was always a salad at every dinner but not like iceberg salad, it was like spinach and bell peppers and things like that and she would make the salad dressing.


And so living with my mom, I just started eating a little bit different because that's what was in the fridge that was what was in the house. It was like, well, mom had skim milk, not 2% milk so okay, I had to get used to drinking skim milk 'cause that's what was in the house. The snacks were healthier 'cause it was my little brother and sister and she was packing their lunches for school. It was just little things that change. She had a treadmill in her bedroom so I would get on her treadmill and walk because that reminder of the fact that I couldn't do that walk with my dad when I was 12, just ate away at me and I was like, "I'm going to be able to walk those... “It was five miles that we were trying to do at that point and I was like, "I'm going to be able to do that. This is ridiculous that I can't."


And I actually quickly dropped weight living with my mom, partially because I was coming out the other end of puberty and hormones were probably settling down a little bit but I was dancing just as much, if not maybe a little bit more taking dance classes, I was working out with my mom, just running around with my little brother and sister and I was eating healthier. I was just eating a lot more vegetables and stuff and a good... I would say a good 12 to 15 pounds fell off me pretty quick and when I saw my dad six months later, it's funny; he didn't tell me this at the time but when I went home, he was worried that I was developing an eating disorder.


So apparently, any time I would eat, if I would go to the bathroom within an hour of eating, I didn't know it but he would go listen outside the bathroom because he was worried that I was throwing up or something. I wasn't. It was just, I just was eating different, I was moving more and I remember him telling me about it like a year or two later and he's like, "You came home and you know you were skinny and I thought you weren't eating or you were throwing up." I was like, "Dad." and he goes, "But I couldn't figure it out because I would watch you eat and you would eat so much food." and he goes, "So I thought for sure you must have been throwing up." and he's like... "But I would listen." and I was like, "Are you crazy? I hate throwing up. That is the last thing... ““Not for me." but he just wasn't used to seeing me that way because he just wasn't... He didn't realize that the food was such a different quality.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, oh my goodness. That's a crazy story but that's the thing too, you got crazy throughout the book so many places and even the acronym that's a part of your amazing brand as well, which we'll get to in a minute but being at Lafayette, shout-out to Lafayette High School, Lancers, gang gang, but you were dancing but from there also, you... It wasn't just a straight line because you figured out a lot of things along the way and have been able to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands and millions of people and this was...


A lot of these things are figured out along your own bumpy road and challenges and so going through injuries, going through different trials and tribulations so getting from this paradigm of trying to lose weight, trying to be fit, trying to fit this image of what you wanted yourself to be and then having things kind of stand in the way, it's something you've been able to do to help other people by understanding the process. So if you could, can you share, when did you have a breakthrough in your thinking about health and wellness? Because even through these processes, as we were younger, we were still just going by what the environment was telling us and a big of this actually comes to a change in our psychology.


Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, it was actually... The biggest breakthrough was when I was sort of pregnant with my son and then right after. I very quickly became aware of, "Hey, I'm growing a human being. Like what I eat, he's eating." So I was aware of it during my pregnancy a little bit but I still during pregnancy wasn't even 100% on it. I remember having a good month-long period where I craved dairy and it was like yogurt, cheese, ice cream and milk. It's like all I wanted to eat and I sure didn't eat it.


But after I had him, because I was a trainer, I had been training. Now, I had a specialty in pre and postnatal fitness so I remember reading in the tabloid magazines about all these celebrities that would lose their baby weight in four months or less.


Shawn Stevenson: The snap back.


Autumn Calabrese: The snap back and I was like, "Okay, well, if they can do it, I can do it and I should do it because I'm the one out there teaching people so I got to lead by example." Probably a little more pressure on myself than I needed but that's where I was at mentally. So for me, it was really about like, "Okay, what are you eating?" And paying attention to it and that's when I really started reading more and learning and it was like I would look at... I looked at the breakfast cereal that I ate every morning. I'm just going to call out brand names, you can bleep them out if you don't... I was eating Raisin Bran every morning. Oh my gosh, it has so much sugar.


Shawn Stevenson: Two scoops of Raisins.


Autumn Calabrese: Two scoops of sugar is what it is, right but I didn't... You know, I'm thinking like, "Oh, it's a whole grain and it's got raisins and it's good for you." Nope. It's loaded with sugar. So I cut out my breakfast cereal that I loved so much 'cause I ate cereal every day and I switched to eggs and asparagus and a piece of toast, something like that was now the breakfast. I looked at those yogurts that I was eating that were named after all the desserts, right? Key Lime Pie and Strawberry Shortcake and I was like, "That should be an indication that you're probably not supposed to eat that." and those things I cut out and switched it to real fruit.


So after I had Dom was when the real shift started to happen. When I took a deeper dive into learning nutrition through my certifications and recognizing like, "Oh my gosh! What is being marketed to us?" "Oh, eat a granola bar, it's a great healthy snack." No, it's not.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, this is so good. Autumn, this so good.


Autumn Calabrese: It's not.


Shawn Stevenson: These are the exact... It's just like levels to all of this stuff and it's so interesting how growing a human can make you tune in to what's real. A very similar thing that happened to us as well and we were just questioning what we're doing right now, is this the best thing for him? Because we're doing something that is based on a diet trend, what do you really need? And just starting to question and ask little different questions and the two scoops of raisin, the Raisin Bran thing... So first of all, the marketing though, it's like the sun had two big scoops...


Autumn Calabrese: Yes.


Shawn Stevenson: The sun doesn't have scoops but for us, I know for me it was, my wife she had the Honey Bunches of Oats.


Autumn Calabrese: Loved those too. Sometimes I mixed them.


Shawn Stevenson: It's got the oats, you'd mix...


Autumn Calabrese: I'd mix the Honey Bunches of Oats and the Raisin Bran.


Shawn Stevenson: Oh my goodness, I feel a little bit verklempt. I feel a little uncomfortable.


Autumn Calabrese: I loved my cereal. I loved... I had all the cereals, all the health cereals I had them. I loved them.


Shawn Stevenson: Wow and then so for me, I was doing, my little, I guess, treat I would have because it was a whole grain heart healthy was the Honey Nut Cheerios so I was knocking that down every night is my thing and then when I was like, "Okay, I need to stop eating the popular brands. I need to get the organic." so I was getting organic Oatmeal Squares, it was almost the same amount of sugar but the marketing, it's like, "It is fiber." but we're starting our day eating processed foods It's just a shift in our mentality. It's not that these things are inherently... Just like with anything in health, everything kind of has its place but what is the best thing for humans? You know what I mean? So it's so remarkable to hear that story.


Autumn Calabrese: I think the biggest thing I remember reading and this has stuck with me for... I don't remember when I read it, it's been years but it was like, if it has to tell you that it's good for you, it's probably not. So if they have to say, "Oh, fortified with fiber." or like, "Oh so much vitamin. Oh it's heart healthy." I'm like "Well, an Apple doesn't say it's heart healthy." Spinach doesn't have a label telling you like "Oh, it's good for fiber." or the Broccoli. I was like oh, that's interesting. The fact that there's all of this messaging all over a box probably means it's not the right thing.


Shawn Stevenson: That's... Oh I freaking love you. That's like... These are things I really haven't talked about out in the open but I think about. I also did write a little bit about this, that people haven't seen yet but the marketing behind these things is what really drives it. It wouldn't be a thing. Stuff in nature doesn't have the marketing campaign behind it. What if Beyoncé was like the spokesperson for spinach? You know what I mean? And I could see her doing the dance...


Autumn Calabrese: Doing the dance with a bag of spinach or an apple.


Shawn Stevenson: And then she's doing the... Put a ring on it but it's like spinach leaves between her fingers, you know what I mean? Whatever or Arnold Schwarzenegger was the sponsor for, I don't know, freaking avocados, guacamole, whatever.


Autumn Calabrese: The athletes that are promoting the drinks or the sodas and you're like, "What if they just promoted something that grew out of the ground? Would our kids go get that?"


Shawn Stevenson: Absolutely.


Autumn Calabrese: Dominic, my son keeps asking me for this one energy drink. What is it? Oh, I forget what it's called. There's some energy drink that some gamer keeps promoting and he's like, "Mom, can I have it?" And I'm like, "Are you insane?" And he's like, "Why?" And I'm like, "It's poison. It is literally... “I hype it up. I'm like, "it'll kill you." I exaggerate it a little bit but it's like, when I start to look at what they're promoting and the amount of caffeine and things that are in these things that I'm like "No, Dom." I gave him a sip of coffee like, I don't know, three or four months ago, a little bit of, he wanted to try my coffee, he had a little bit, a couple of ounces and his heart started racing and it freaked him out and I was like "Dominic honey, mommy drinks basically black coffee and you had a couple of sips, do you know what you would feel like if you drink that energy drink? You don't need it."


But because his YouTuber guy is doing it, gamer, he's like "Well, he's 13 and he drinks it." and I'm like, "Well, shame on his parents."


Shawn Stevenson: Right. Listen, those energy drinks that gamers are having, it makes them feel like they're in the game getting shot at.


Autumn Calabrese: Right.


Shawn Stevenson: That's what it is. It just kind of heightens that feeling of fear and focus.


Autumn Calabrese: Yes.


Shawn Stevenson: That's so crazy. There's so many now. It's just... I remember when it became a thing. We were in high school, actually, Surge energy drink came to the school.


Autumn Calabrese: Oh yeah.


Shawn Stevenson: And they were giving out free cans. What kind of marketing is that? And I remember, I just got into it. I got into Surge and then from there, of course, then the Red Bull came along, all the different energy drinks were from St. Louis, Nelly had Pimp Juice.


Autumn Calabrese: Pimp juice.


Shawn Stevenson: Oh my gosh and it's marketing of these artificial processed things that our DNA has never associated with...


Autumn Calabrese: It has no idea what it is.


Shawn Stevenson: And so this is one of the principles that you really bring forward for the folks that you work with. It's not just... Especially for you, it's not like a big calorie focus and just being obsessed with numbers. It's being obsessed and this is something... It's called control freak, being obsessed with higher quality.


Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, I just... So many people, they don't like those words, they don't like the word obsessed or control freak and I love it because I like putting the positive spin on it. Here's an interesting question that... Okay so I don't know if you run into this but people will literally attack me for eating healthy or telling people to eat healthy. I literally had somebody tell me the other day that I was teaching disordered eating because I said instead of eating the whole pumpkin pie, I was like, "Shrink it down, have a slice and that's it." and somebody was like "Oh honey, that's disordered eating da da da." And I was like, "What?"


But they don't stop to look at over-eating or eating of the junk food as disordered eating. We've come to accept that; that it's not disordered eating to eat a whole bag of chips, like a full-size bag, not an individual size and I'm like, Why do we look at people that eat healthy and go like, "Oh my gosh, you're a control freak, you don't live, you don't enjoy life." but we look at the person on the other side that's eating the food that's making them sick and we're like, "that's the norm and you should just do that and live life and enjoy." and I'm like, I don't know what gives anybody the impression that I am not enjoying life or my food, 'cause I enjoy all of it.


Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, that's a really powerful insight. Because right now, we're living in a time and culture where we have to worry about the perspective of every single person and so that creates this paradigm where we're not really being focused on anything sustainable that has a broad spectrum of benefit. You know what I mean? Because of course, we don't want to get in a place where we're shaming anybody. It's not about that. You can do whatever you want and that's what you repeatedly say, have it, do it.


However, you have to understand that everything has a consequence and we can't swing all the way to the other side of pendulum and say "It's okay, it's disorder... It's not disordered eating to do things like what I used to do, which have three bowls of cereal every night and a banana and then wonder why I'm not getting the results that I want."


And then to the other side and say that me making it a priority to invest in higher quality ingredients to put in our body, to say that that's disordered eating. Where's the rationality here? Because we're so quick to put labels on things today and we're eating everything that has a label on it and then we're wondering why we're in this place of just this, again, dystopian reality where for me... And this is again, something that I see in a parallel with you is just like, let's just get back to what's real, let's get back to what's natural about us.


And another part of that is movement and fitness and I love your approach because even right now during this time, you give yourself permission, I've been keeping my eye on you to do the workout that you feel your body wants right now because we can... Right now, we're at a time where there's a lot of uncertainty. The certainty is we can do the control freak part of like, "I know that I'm going to take care of my body today." But I'm going to have some flexibility in that and saying, "You know what, if I feel I need my spirits lifted, I might do...


Autumn Calabrese: Dance.


Shawn Stevenson: Which you made, is it country heat. Right? You might do some country heat but if you feel like, "you know what, today I just feel like, I feel aggressive, I feel strong. Let me go and lift some weights." You give yourself permission to do it.


Autumn Calabrese: Absolutely. I always have a plan but I'm not so rigid, I'm not such a control freak in the plan that if my body is like, "Hey, I need rest today." that I won't give myself the rest or say like, "I'm just going to go for a longer walk." One of my favorite things to do, probably 'cause of the way I grew up with my dad is to go walk. I will put my headphones on, I will listen to the podcast. I'm always on yours listening to the podcast and I will walk my neighborhood for an hour. I love it. That doesn't even feel like I'm exercising. That's just for my spirit, that's just for me. I get the sunshine and the fresh air and get a little personal development, listening to something, I feel like really accomplished at the end of that.


But yeah, there are times too where I'm like, "Oh yes, okay. It's a lift day, it's time to go." but I have the plan. Control Freak, like right now, I'm doing control freak, we launch it to the general population in a week but I love those workouts but even just the other day, I woke up and I was supposed to do one and I was like, I can't even sit down. I'm so sore, I was like, "So that's not going to happen today." I'm going to foam roll, I'm going to stretch, I'm going to flip-flop my rest days and all will be fine in the world.


Shawn Stevenson: That's it. I love that. I love that structure, having flexibility within the structure. So let's dive in more. Let's talk about control freak. So to have... And I love this because you're taking a position and this is why for my show, I want to make sure that we provide a myriad of options. You've helped so many people lose over 100 pounds. You've helped so many people who have been struggling trying so many different programs to finally be able to get the results that they have been working for and oftentimes, it's these little changes. Little small, when you hear their stories they are these little small shifts, it's not anything grandiose and I think you're the kind of counter-culture to these grandiose diet frameworks that again, for some people, it is the thing that is a game-changer for them but you have a different perspective on that. So let's talk about that.


Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. Look, I think for most people, extremes are not going to be what works so there's extremes out there that... And other people are providing that information, that's just not me, 'cause that doesn't feel good to me. Like, never eat a carb again. Hello, I'm Italian, I want pizza. I'm going to eat pizza and now I'm not eating it on cauliflower crust every time, I'm going to eat the real thing, that's just that. I'm going to drink my wine and not feel bad about it. So for me, it was more about, you guys, there was a time where people just ate and they didn't have to worry about, Oh my God, am I going to get fat? Oh my God, am I going to get... Right?


Shawn Stevenson: There was a time people just ate?


Autumn Calabrese: That they just ate and they didn't worry about it and they didn't have all these diets and they also weren't overweight. So can we get back to that? It's ever since we have really industrialized all the food when you look at... When was fast food introduced and the... I think you talked about it in your book, even the TV dinners like you had your little brownie in there and the mac and cheese ones, raspberry steak was my favorite.


Shawn Stevenson: The mushy steak.


Autumn Calabrese: The mushy steak was so good.


Shawn Stevenson: Oh my goodness.


Autumn Calabrese: It's been since all of that, that all of a sudden we need all these "Diets." So it's like, well, what if we just go back to the basics, that's what I try to teach is like, Let's just go back to the fruits and the vegetables and the lean proteins and the healthier carbs and stuff that comes from mother nature more often than not. Let's stop loading our shopping carts up with food from the center of the aisles and everything in moderation. I'm not saying don't ever eat ice cream or don't ever eat cookies. It's funny when people who go like, Oh well, ultimate portion fix, I just want a burger and I'm like, I had one yesterday. What eat a burger? What's the problem?


Where do you see in my work that you can't have a burger? Eat a burger. In fact, I'm going to have a burger for lunch today that sounds delicious. That's what I'm trying to teach people is, eat the burger but do you need the burger that has three patties and the special sauce and the supersize fries.


Shawn Stevenson: I just showed my son a burger today that had a steak and two burger patties. It was literally a steak and then dripping with all these different types of cheeses so for me, it was just like, oh my gosh, this is revolutionary to put a steak on a burger, not a steak burger, like from Steak 'n Shake which we grew up with. They put a straight up fat steak on the burger with two burger patties.


Autumn Calabrese: Oh my gosh.


Shawn Stevenson: It exists.


Autumn Calabrese: And people eat it. I waited tables, first of all, Steak 'n Shake was the first place I ever waited tables.


Shawn Stevenson: What? That's the vibe we have. Oh my gosh! Shout-out... That strawberry shake, that thing was... Steak 'n Shake.


Autumn Calabrese: Steak 'n Shake was good and those cheese fries but I also worked at Cheesecake Factory for a long time.


Shawn Stevenson: Was this in St. Louis?


Autumn Calabrese: Yes. I opened the one in St. Louis.


Shawn Stevenson: Which one is that? Was that the Galleria?


Autumn Calabrese: The Galleria.


Shawn Stevenson: What? Come on. What? Oh my gosh. That's crazy.


Autumn Calabrese: But I remember I would watch what people would eat there 'cause let's talk about something that's not portion-controlled, their portions and it would be like... I remember taking people's orders and we had a 22-ounce glass so there would be like 22 ounces of sodas is what they would start with and then they'd get the fried egg rolls and they would eat that themselves and I'm like, "Okay, that alone, that much avocado and fried sitting in your stomach is so heavy, I can't even imagine." then like chicken and biscuits and the chicken and biscuits plate was so heavy. I could only carry that plate in one hand, 'cause I swear it must have been at least like six or seven pounds, that plate and then they'd order Cheesecake and I was like, where is that even going? And this was years ago before I was ever a trainer or anything and I just remember watching and being like, something's wrong with what we're doing here. Something's wrong with the fact that this is how we're eating.


Shawn Stevenson: A part of this too is like, like you said earlier, this is this shift and there's these very hyper-palatable foods so because, in nature, there's this natural inclination, your brain is hard-wired to resist any over-intake of something of a particular flavor, it resists it and a good example of that is, even some foods can physically make you stop eating them, there would be a palate shift that takes place, like pineapples, if you start to eat too many, it can actually burn you for some folks.


Autumn Calabrese: 'Cause it's acidic.


Shawn Stevenson: And so you shared in a book, something really cool, which was this study, I think it was University of Buffalo that the research has found... Of course, when we talk about your palate changing, you going from your dad's environment to your mom's environment, at first you were like, damn these bell peppers but your palate changed and it's not just like I force myself to like something, literally, your taste change and so these researchers... And you put this in your book and it's so cool, found that the proteins that we produce, actually have this association with flavors and they start to change. What?


Autumn Calabrese: My mind was blown. When that study was shown to me, I was like, oh my gosh. Because for years you would hear... As a new mom, especially, introduce your baby to a food at least six to seven times, even if they don't like it on the first try, they might learn to like it, that's what we were taught, they would learn to like it but nobody ever really understood why we would learn to like it and you're like oh, it's not because they're just randomly getting used to the flavor. Okay, fine, mom, I'll give another broccoli. No, no, no, their proteins and their saliva are changing so that they like it.


So that was really interesting to me that for people that really struggle with vegetables, 'cause that's always the biggest one I hear is like oh, I don't eat vegetables, is like, you got to try it and you got to try it in more than one way. Maybe you don't like them raw, but maybe you like them sautéed or maybe you look like them baked or... There's just so many grilled or however different ways to try it before you rule it out.


Shawn Stevenson: Right, yeah. So good. Well, this leads us to something that I want to talk to you about, and this really kind of the highlight of the acronym in your book, CRAZY you use it as an acronym. Just kind of parallel in the crazy upbringing, crazy cool upbringing and it starts with a different approach, again. It's not necessarily looking at food in terms of numbers but having a little bit of control, taking some control over the amounts of food that we're eating, and starting to retrain our biology so can you take us through that acronym starting with the C.


Autumn Calabrese: The C is Control your portion sizes because we're so all about oversize, super-size, family size for one person so let's just take those back down to a sensible size so control your portion.


Shawn Stevenson: Why are you doing this? These are things I just don't think... I literally super-size me every time when I went to the drive-through, super-size it. Automatic.


Autumn Calabrese: Supersize it because... I remember watching the documentary Super-Size Me, that poor guy. I was like "Wow!" anyway.


Shawn Stevenson: Morgan Spurlock.


Autumn Calabrese: Yes. That was a hard one to watch, poor guy got green over the course of their days.


Shawn Stevenson: My guy Drew Manning, do you know Drew Manning?


Autumn Calabrese: No.


Shawn Stevenson: You don't know Drew Manning? He's doing it right now, he just gained... I think he's gained about 40, 50 pounds right now, just eating processed food and so yeah, it's tough to watch. It's definitely tough to watch. He was fat Thor for Halloween. This past Halloween so... To see the transformation is pretty remarkable.


Autumn Calabrese: Wow! Okay so C, we're controlling our portions. R is just reducing added sugars because those are so addictive and that's probably one of the hardest ones for people is they don't realize how much added sugar they're taking in. I showed these slides in my ultimate portion fix videos where I'm like, the amount of sugar in orange juice is the same that's in a regular Coke. You set a glass of oranges down in front of your kid and you think you're giving them something healthy and it's like you just gave them a soda and it's been processed so are the vitamins even still there? So just reduce...


Shawn Stevenson: It's fortified. They add it back.


Autumn Calabrese: It's fortified so you're okay. They put it back or you can just eat the orange.


Shawn Stevenson: What?


Autumn Calabrese: You get the fiber, balance that blood sugar. So reduce added sugars. A is what we're going to add in, which is hopefully a little bit more protein, we tend to be out of balance, we're super carb-heavy but not getting some protein in there, and by the way...


Shawn Stevenson: Or it swings the other way.


Autumn Calabrese: Or it does swing with that double burger and stake. Which is too much protein.


Shawn Stevenson: There's a war on carbohydrates, just like a war on fats and so we're swinging in both but the protein is something that doesn't get a lot of attention and it's so important just even building your hormones like we talked about, your flavor changing, those are built on hormones that are built on protein.


Autumn Calabrese: And I think... What I want to be clear about too, is people automatically assume I'm talking about animal protein, I'm not necessarily. I have a whole vegan plan so you don't have to be getting an animal protein, it could be coming from plant-based proteins but we just need protein, we do need it and healthy fats so making sure that it's not an abundance of the unhealthy fats but that we're getting the good stuff in, the nuts and the seeds and healthy oils, things like that so we're going to add-in.


Z is zero deprivation. I am not a fan of that. At no point in your day should you be starving? At no point should you be like, Oh, wouldn't it be nice to just have chocolate, like you can have that and not feel guilty about it. Let's pick the right kind of chocolate. Let's pick real chocolate, not the super processed one. It's interesting, I used to love me a Snickers that was my favorites. I loved the Snickers.


Shawn Stevenson: Oh the Snickers? You know what so crazy, I didn't like nuts in my candy bars, whoever ate... And I know some people are going to be listening like... Mounds? Do you remember Mounds? Almond Joy has nuts, Mounds don't. What? Who was... For me, having shredded coconut in anything was just like... But yeah so I never ate a Snickers or peanut M&Ms. I was so weird but what I went HAM on was the 3 Musketeers...


Autumn Calabrese: I liked that too.


Shawn Stevenson: With the Nougat. What Is Nougat?


Autumn Calabrese: What's in a Butterfinger?


Shawn Stevenson: Everything Butterfinger.


Autumn Calabrese: But a Butterfinger is so good. Clearly, I used to love of good chocolate candy bar. I remember a couple Easters ago, like dipping in Dom's Easter basket and taking out one of those mini candy bars and eating a mini snicker and thinking to myself like, why doesn't this taste right? Why doesn't this taste like a Snickers? But because my palate had changed because I got used to eating dark chocolate, the good quality chocolate, I could taste the chemicals and I actually... This is the saddest part, I went back and got another piece because I was like, I must be... Something must be wrong with that one, 'cause you have that good fond childhood memory of what it's supposed to taste like and I ate another one and I was like "That's... “I was a little disappointed. I was like oh, I don't like those anymore, they're not going to bring me the same happiness that they used to.


Shawn Stevenson: You see the siren was going off right at that time.


Autumn Calabrese: I was... Did you hear me try to talk louder?


Shawn Stevenson: It's the brain. The brain was... It's the sirens going off inside, 'cause I had a similar experience to that. This was years ago but I got... My oldest son, he really wanted a certain pizza for his birthday so I got it for him and his friends or whatever and I had some of it and it's just like the crust, it was just like paste, it just tasted like... It's just like, this can't be... It doesn't taste all pasty, right? But I changed, my body was just recognizing something's off about this. Being that, that's the case, even with the candy bars, Butterfinger, again, this goes back to what you shared earlier with the marketing and the promotion. Do you remember the Butterfinger spokesperson? Bart Simpson?


Autumn Calabrese: Bart Simpson, that's right. It was Bart. He would bite right into that thing.


Shawn Stevenson: Oh my gosh.


Autumn Calabrese: And how do they make a cartoon make a candy bar look so good, that's.


Shawn Stevenson: That's what they do.


Autumn Calabrese: There was something about the way he ate that candy bar, that you're like, I need to bite into one of those right now but the Z is zero deprivation and then the Y, at the end of CRAZY stands for knowing what your why is and that's important. If somebody's dieting, why are you dieting? What is your ultimate goal? And lean on that. Use that to make your choices. That was something I had to do, especially when I was a fitness competitor, I had to constantly remind myself of what my goal was during that time when everybody else was drinking and I wasn't 'cause I was so dialed in or everybody was having dessert and I wasn't.


I had to remind myself that I was working towards the goal of taking that stage so right now... Okay, this is the goal. Do you really want it Autumn or do you kind of want it? Do you want to get up on that stage and not really be able to actually compete with these other girls 'cause you didn't put in the work or not and now I don't eat that necessarily anymore, that restrictive but if I've had a glass of wine or two in the week and I'm like oh, I'm going to have a glass, I'll think twice about it and be like, What's the goal Autumn, why are we having it tonight? Are we having it 'cause we really want it.


What I try not to let myself do is have something because of an emotion. So if I'm like oh, it's such a bad day, I'm just going to sit on the couch, have a glass of wine, that's the time I actually don't let myself do it because that's the wrong reason. If I want a glass of wine 'cause I'm like, "Oh, that that glass of cab just sounds good right now." I'm going to have it but I try not to make my food about my emotions. That's a big one for me.


Shawn Stevenson: There's so many insights that you talk about and that you've helped folks with regarding the management of our emotions and our thought process around food, just around health and I think that it's important today more than ever because the landscape of things is so different and so I want to dive into this and even talk more about the fitness side because that's really where you just kind of took off and exploding, have impacted lives of so many people and so we're going to do that right after this important message to sit tight, we'll be right back.


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Alright, we're back and we're talking with Autumn Calabrese about her new book, I got it right here. Lose weight like CRAZY. Fantastic stories, you've got everything.


Autumn Calabrese: Even if you have a crazy life.


Shawn Stevenson: Even if you have a crazy life, let's be clear.


Autumn Calabrese: 'Cause isn't that the excuse.


Shawn Stevenson: The ingredients, unbelievable. You look at it and you just like, I shouldn't get to have this, this doesn't make sense.


Autumn Calabrese: Shout-out to my brother for that, 'cause he is the chef behind all those recipes and I say all the time that he is an evil genius, literally, 'cause I'm like, how do you do it? Sometimes I try to stump him like I'll be like, make this healthy. It might take him a minute but he figures it out.


Autumn Calabrese: It's quite impressive.


Shawn Stevenson: Shout-out to Bobby.


Autumn Calabrese: Shout-out to Bobby.


Shawn Stevenson: Now, you've got the fitness in here as well, the fitness component and you're just... You're world-class on this side of things and just making things approachable for any fitness level. You provide a good on-ramp so you've got the entire spectrum as well from literally from dance to using weights and everything in between. So I want to talk to you a little bit about the necessity. Just... Okay so I mentioned earlier about your flexibility within this structure, right now, a lot of our structure has been kind of up in the air and so number one, what can folks look to do because I know a lot of people feel the same way of just... And even having these conversations, they've gotten a little bit off track because the gym was their sanctuary or it was just a certain part of their day, even for my wife, it was like drop my son off in the morning, then go to the gym on the way back home.


It's just like now, everybody being here and just, I guess been a constant dynamic, she's had to shift from place to place to place in her day to try to find that sweet spot for her and it's been challenging. So can you talk about what we can do right now to take back a little bit more control over our movement, which is so important?


Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, that's a big one, and yeah, with the gyms closing or even some states, depending on where you are, they're open but maybe you're not comfortable going back to them anymore. This is the beauty of at-home fitness. If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I would have never thought, I was a gym rat. That's where I trained, I trained at the gyms, I loved being at the gyms, even when I started with BeachBody, I still had my gym membership, I would still go do my workouts at the gym, my workouts that I wrote for people to do at home, I would go do them at the gym because I liked that environment.


It's been in the last few years that I've really embraced how much I love working out at home and how much time it saves me. I don't have to drive to the gym, I don't have to park, I don't have to deal with all the "Hey, let's make small talk in between your reps." and I'm like, "No, I got stuff to do." So I think just taking back control and embracing being at home, embracing doing your movement at home, you can do it in a really small space and it's about setting a new routine. We get so stuck in our old routine and the fact that maybe that old routine is gone and maybe we're spending more time dwelling on being annoyed that the old routine is gone instead of redirecting that energy towards, "Let me just set up a new routine." For me, that's been a big one. I've had to just set a new routine up and I've just made it very known.


I get up, I get dressed, I make my breakfast, and feed the dog. I get my son breakfast. My assistant comes and usually as my son is starting school because I like him to get started with school, then I go to my workout space and that is my time. It is the first thing I get done, really before I do any work for the day. That's my happy time, my me time, it puts me in the right mood for the day. It doesn't require a lot, it's 30 minutes and having that plan, like having something like BeachBody on Demand, having a program to follow that gives you a little bit of structure, I feel like that makes us feel empowered again when you take even the tiniest little bit of control back.


Something so small. I tell people all the time, "Fitness is a metaphor for life. If you can do something hard here, you can do it in the rest of your day too." so take that moment and start that routine and take back that little piece of control and then before you know it, you're going to start taking back control of something else and then something else and then the day doesn't feel quite so crazy anymore.


Shawn Stevenson: That's so good, that's so good. Because being control freak, again, it can get this connotation that isn't what it is, which is... And I love it. I love it, taking that stance, of course, because I think we need that conversation because for some folks it's going to be the thing that helps them but it's taking back, even right now, especially and you doing what you're doing with this work right now, taking back a little bit of control because we have as a culture, outsource so much of our control, not just of our days and how our lives are structured but control of our thoughts...


Autumn Calabrese: Yes, our minds.


Shawn Stevenson: Control of the way that our perception of reality and simply by being aware of that, we can start to take back control of what we're focusing on, that starts to change what we're doing in our environment and actually in the book you talk about uncovering for many of us, what's holding us back. Because that's the thing, even right now, for people who are struggling to try to just continue to move forward, it's a time where, of course, there's a lot of uncertainty but I think more than ever, we feel like there's something that's holding us back but for each of us it's going to be different. For some folks, they might feel a little bit... It might be a different stimuli or situation but even pre-pandemic times or even post-pandemic times, if there's a post, I think for all of us to understand, to really look at what's the thing that keeps... Why do we keep hitting a wall? We get to a certain place and then we ended up falling. So let's talk about that.


Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, the title of that chapter is the answers are already inside you and I think that's a big one for people to recognize is if you really stop... You know what's holding you back, it's whether or not you want to admit it and usually, we don't want to admit it, because it means that we're going to have to do something big, something uncomfortable, something a little bit scary to change where we're at and change is uncomfortable. We don't want to do it. So a lot of times we just bury the answer that we already know is the truth. The example that I was using was when I moved to Texas for five weeks with my husband, he got a job transfer and I knew in every bit of my body, I didn't want to make that move but for him and because I was afraid to say I didn't want to do it once I was there, I was afraid to say I didn't want to be here, not I didn't want to be with him, I just didn't want to be there. Shout-out to Texas, by the way, no hard feelings against Texas, I just wanted to be back in LA and I explained that story.


But there was another story I actually wrote before that one that's not in the book and the original story I wrote for the book and then took out was knowing that I needed to get divorced and mind you, my ex-husband is one of my best friends, he's my assistant, you guys so I don't say this in a bad way but I knew after several years of he and I working to try to make the marriage work, that we weren't going to work as a marriage, as a husband and wife and I knew it. I knew it for a good year but I didn't want to say it, it meant my family was going to be broken up, it meant my son wasn't going to have his mom and dad living under the same roof but all of that impacts us, we can't say those things or when we don't say those things that start to impact your health, your mental health, it probably impacts what you do with your food or how you move your body.


Because if there's something going on in your life that isn't making you happy or isn't fulfilling you or is holding you back, everything around you gets impacted so it's scary so that's why when I say the answer is already inside you, you got to stop, you got to look, you got to answer those hard questions and when I say be a control freak, it's not white-knuckling through life, it's taking back control of what you can, things like your fitness, your nutrition, your rest, your sleep but it's letting go of the things that are out of our control.


Like watching the news right now and like my dad again, I'll go back to him, all he does is watch the news all day and I'm like "Dad, that's not changing. Stop letting it... “He gets so mad, he gets so fired up and he calls me so fired up about it and I'm like...


Shawn Stevenson: It's breaking news though, this is breaking.


Autumn Calabrese: This is completely out of your control. Why don't you just worry about the things that are in your control? "Well this is ridiculous." and I'm like, "Oh my God, I can't. It's just an argument I can't have."


Shawn Stevenson: You know, it's millions and millions and millions of people right now are tuned into the same frequency and it's so funny to me that... And I'm glad that you're here, we can talk about this, shout-out to your dad because it's just mirroring what's happening right now. For a while, we started to transition to a place... I think as a culture, we were looking more like The news is just doing the same old stuff that they've always been doing, they're hyping up situations, they're framing things to keep us in fear because if it bleeds, it leads and that's just the hallmark, I know so many people in media now, I know the people, I know the people doing... The anchors, I know these people and it's just a part of the culture, you get something to hook people in.


We are so driven by emotion. We think we're logical, we think we're making rational decisions but the more primitive parts of our brain, the parts of us that have been around longer, they're so prime to fear and to looking for problems, if anybody's wondering; why do we tend to focus on the negative and the negative voices or the push back when we're trying to say something logical and people aren't listening?


Why do we tend to focus on the negative and not the positive? Is how we're kind of wired up to do that so it's taking back control of our minds, because right now we're conditioning our society who are even more so... We abandon the thought of, the news is just trying to hook us with fear and keep us inundated, that's gone out the window. Matter of fact, the news has tripled, quadrupled down on that and I brought this up from the very beginning 'cause I didn't hear anybody talking about it, that they're putting up numbers, the death numbers, the death toll as if these people are stats and freaking stock market ticker, these are people's lives and framing it, just with the primary purpose to show you how bad things are.


Autumn Calabrese: You know what bugs me about that... And I remember hearing you talk about that, like when you first brought it up In one of your podcasts and I was like, "Yes, that's so frustrating." but what's more frustrating is I've never once seen a ticker and how many people have survived, how many people have recovered and I'm like, "Why? Where's that number?"


Shawn Stevenson: It doesn't need.


Autumn Calabrese: But I'm like, Wouldn't that be nice if a guy like my dad who's about to be 70, who isn't in the best of health, could just have a little sense of hope of like, I might be okay, I'm not saying don't be careful or don't be cautious but I'm just saying, Wouldn't it be nice if he had just a little bit of hope that if he steps out his front door, he's not going to die, that's where my dad is at, if I'm being totally honest, that's where my dad is at. He steps out his front door... My dad came to my house on Thanksgiving, it's me and my son with his mask on and I was like "Dad, my house is clean. Take your mask off? How are you going to eat with us if you... "


Shawn Stevenson: You pull it down between bites that was our mandate.


Autumn Calabrese: He finally did. I know and I was like, that doesn't even make sense, once it's down, its down.


Shawn Stevenson: Our Governor... The thing that came out, of course, the document with the recommendations like literally put your mask on between bites and it's just like, Where are we at with our logic but more so like you said, Why can't we have stories of hope and we just had on Bruce Lipton, renowned cell biologist, pioneer in the field of epigenetics, to share with us the biology of fear and what that does to our immune system and it's so crazy how all of this fear that's continuously being pumped into our system and the catecholamines that are produced and the immune suppression, It makes us more susceptible, why can't we have some framing of hope and like you said, folks that okay that number would just do a little bit and by the way, if anybody wants to check it out right now, just Google cases, confirmed cases and you can look at... They'll have it right there as well, the number of folks who've had associated death with confirmed cases of COVID, take that number, the death count, and divide that by the number of confirmed cases and see what you get.


Just do that for yourself to see what this new term of survival rate but right now we've got about 63... As of this recording, 63 or 64 million confirmed cases and around 1.5 million lives lost and so when we're looking at 62 million people who are okay and not to say that there's not long-term side effects for some folks but it's a tiny percentage of what you see, they'll put that on the media, they don't tell you about the 50% of folks who have zero symptoms at all and we're in a place today where you are considered sick until proven healthy and it's a very... It shifted and it shifted just within a matter of weeks, a matter of months, we've never had this paradigm before where we are making the assumption that everyone is ill until proven otherwise and just for us to think about, is this okay? What is the long-term ramifications of us viewing life like this? What is the long-term ramifications of our children having this association?


Autumn Calabrese: Even in talking about taking back control, there's things that I try to not go do or avoid. I try to stay in a bubble, not because I'm afraid to go out but I try to stay in whatever bubble makes me feel the most normal because I can tell you, for me personally, when I'm in those situations where I feel like I'm being presumed sick until proven otherwise... I had an annual check-up at the doctor the other day and the steps I had to go through to get in the front door of the doctor's office was crazy. I just try to take that control back, I try to limit those situations as best I can so that I just have some sense of normalcy. I don't turn the news on.


That probably sounds terrible. People are probably like, "Oh my God, you need to be informed." And I'm like, I get it, I got it, I know where we're at, I understand what's happening, I know what the guidelines are, I'm good and I'm not saying that to be selfish or I'm not saying that to be reckless, I'm just saying that for my own sanity, I have to protect it a little bit and for my son's sanity 'cause he's got really bad anxiety, I have to protect it a little bit so we take back the control, just a little.


Shawn Stevenson: I think that this is a great segue into something I want to ask you about. Because... Just as a culture, we seem like we were going in a direction, we were progressing as humanity but then we went backward, we just... But you even talk about that, sometimes you have to go back to go forwards and so it's just like... Again, it's a shift in our perspective, can you talk a little bit about that?


Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, look, I had so many different experiences in my life that I feel like I was always coming up from behind the apple and I've always had to go back a little bit in order to move forward. I talk about in the book when I was in college, my ballet master was horrible to me, I was just put down on the regular, I didn't have the same training as the other girls in college because of an injury I had when I was a kid with my hip and my lower back and so it was just like I was the target of abuse. By the time I left college, I didn't graduate, by the time I left, I was so emotionally beaten down that I could not bring myself to go to a dance class for almost three years.


When I finally did, when I finally moved to LA and I went to The Edge Performing Arts Center, I was here almost a year before I'd even attempted I would look at the schedule online and I just couldn't go. When I finally went... Mind you I was a dance major, this is what I spent six hours a day doing at college, I went back to a level one jazz class, which if anybody dances, they understand, that's just dumb for somebody that was majoring in dance, I don't belong in a level one but that was all I could handle.


I had to take a step back and taking that step back into that level one dance class, it gave me a little confidence back, slowly but surely, the teacher eventually was like... Even asked me, what are you doing in this class? And I thought he was saying it... My initial thought when he said it was, Oh, I suck and he sees that I suck and he's like, what are you doing here? And he's like, You need to be in the advance class, start coming to the advance class at night, this class is beneath you basically and I was like, Okay so that was my step forward to regaining my confidence but I needed that. I needed to take that step back and I think people need to know that it's okay sometimes.


All these people, we start diets or we start an exercise program and maybe we struggle with it or we feel like we didn't do the best and so we give up and instead of just going back a few steps, we just quit and maybe it's like you don't have to quit, you just have to dial it back a little bit, start over, try again, build at your confidence up one step at a time but we're really hard on ourselves and we don't like to do that, we'd rather sort of make up all the excuses and, "Oh that was... That program is dumb." or "That didn't work." or "That's not for me." And it's like, it's okay to say, "Hey, I feel defeated but I'm going to try again but maybe I got to start a level below where I was before."


Shawn Stevenson: That's so good, that so... It's so affirmative for right now, because I think a lot of folks feel like they're going in one direction with their lives and suddenly all bets are off and collectively, I think... Again, I've said this from the beginning, I think we can learn a lot right now. We can learn a lot about ourselves, we can learn a lot about our society as a whole, because I think... No, I know, many of us were living under an illusion of how things are but in reality, there are these festering issues that have just been plaguing humanity for so long and just getting worse and worse but we accepted them as normal so this has really come along and shaken things up and I think we have to stand up and demand and this is going back to what you said it's like, not making excuses, we have to stand up and demand what world we want to create right now.


Autumn Calabrese: I hope that what's happening right now ends up being a really big health revolution, I hope that people start to realize that their health is in their hands. Like you said, we've outsourced so much, we don't even stop to think that we have any control over our health, it's only what doctors say and don't get me wrong, we love our doctors and we need our doctors but it's only what our doctors say and we're okay with everything that's in our food, we don't question it at all. We don't question why Kraft has to make it one way for Europe but they make it a different way for us and you're like, because those ingredients are banned there and if they're banned there, shouldn't they be banned here, you guys?


So I'm hoping that it starts to wake people up to like, "Woah, I've got to take better care of myself." and we start demanding more from our food, we start demanding the ability to being able to have time to exercise, we demand time to sleep. They're saying people are working more now than ever because you're working from home and you're not turning off the electronics, I hope we start to demand like, I'm done at 5 o'clock or I'm done at 6 o'clock, I'm going to have family time, I'm going to start making my food again, all these things so... It could go either way. It could go either way but I really hope it goes towards a positive...


Shawn Stevenson: But this is the time right now.


Autumn Calabrese: It's crazy. I never could have imagined.


Shawn Stevenson: Even if you have a crazy life, Lose weight like crazy. Can you let everybody know what they're going to find inside of these pages and also where they can find the book?


Autumn Calabrese: You guys, the biggest thing is you're going to see that I'm just normal like everybody else, I've had hard times in my life and I've just worked to overcome them and I'm teaching the little steps that they are not really tricks, they're just steps to overcoming things. You're going to find a nutrition plan that's accessible to everybody that's doable, that's... It is not a diet, it's a nutrition plan, it's just a way of eating for life. You're going to find some really amazing recipes in there. You're going to find two great workouts that you can start to follow at home if you're looking for something to do and if they're looking for more for me, they can find me on Instagram, it's @AutumnCalabrese, they can check out the website, and 9 Week Control Freak is coming so perfect thing to start taking back control long before the New Year hits. Let's do it now. Let's not wait.


Shawn Stevenson: Yes. So good and the book is going to be where?


Autumn Calabrese: The book is... You can get it on Amazon or at any of your local book stores, Lose Weight Like Crazy: Even If You Have A Crazy Life!


Shawn Stevenson: Awesome.


Autumn Calabrese: Yes.


Shawn Stevenson: Autumn you're the best, this was fun.


Autumn Calabrese: Thank you so much fun.


Shawn Stevenson: Autumn Calabrese everybody. Thank you so much for tuning in to the show today, I hope you got a lot of value out of this. So many great takeaways from this episode and one of the big ones for me is redirecting our attention and our intention and to remember that the answers are already inside of us, just like Autumn talked about today. We already know what the solutions are, we already know the things that we quote should be doing for us to get to the destination that we want to be at in our lives, regardless of what's going on in the world, there is always an opportunity for us to grow, for us to have happiness, for us to have success.


It's still available and the answers are inside of us already and it's just shifting our attention and starting to ask higher quality questions, asking better questions of ourselves and for me, I want to direct you guys again to think about this, what is this challenge trying to teach me? What is this time in human history, what qualities are wanting to be developed in my life? Asking ourselves these questions. It might come up that I really needed to practice more patience so I need to practice and cultivate more strength and resolve in my life and being able to have courage amidst pushback.


Maybe you're somebody who didn't like to not have people, not agree with them and just knowing that this time in history, there's a lot of turbulence and it seems like folks can be picking a side, picking a side, when in reality for us, I know a lot of folks listening right now, we're picking the side of humanity, we're not picking a side, we're on the side of humanity and maybe seeing resistance to that, you might ball up and hide out in your shell and get your turtle on, more of a turtle-y disposition when we need to cultivate more courage right now.


So whatever quality there might be just asking, because even though it's a challenging time, you could be developing right now, qualities that are going to help you to not just make it through this but to create the life that you're truly here to live. So oftentimes, the challenges that we're faced with are there to help us to be a better version of us.


So again, the answers are already inside of us, we just need to re-direct our intention and our attention within ourselves because there's so much external chaos happening and I love that she brought up that point today and also controlling what we can control.


There's obviously a lot of things that we even thought were in control, we thought they were in control, they're not. There are only a few things in our lives that we truly have control over. The first being again, our own mind and our own thoughts, we have the ability to think what we want to think, to believe what we want to believe, to have the perspective that we want to have but unfortunately, we outsource that, we give our power away, we provide that ability to think for ourselves to somebody else and often times we don't even realize we're doing it and we're doing that and we allow entities that are geared towards, as we talked about today, they're designed for the sole purpose of keeping you addicted to fear, they're designed for the sole purpose of keeping you addicted to things that make you controllable and easily manipulated.


In between all the messages that we need to have all these things to make us complete, they are messages for their various... This car is going to complete you, you just need the Buick. Shaq got the Buick? Shack doesn't drive a freaking Buick but Shaq's got the Buick. We just need that drug, I just need that drug.


All of the side effects they are listing for two minutes on the commercial, that doesn't matter, the drug is going to help me so that I can sail a boat, because the guy on the commercial sailing a boat, I always want to sail a boat and be happy. All immersed, it's all happening. This is the name of the game but when we realize these things and start to take back control of our attention and focusing in on the things that are going to keep us empowered and uplifted, we can be informed but we don't have to be inundated and we get to choose the inputs because it's not just the food that you eat, it's not just you are what you eat, it's not just you are what you drink, it's not just you are what you breathe, it's you are what you think, it's you are what you think and we get to control because these inputs we're taking in from the world around us is feeding us, it's feeding our minds and it's literally... It's called programming. Television programming. It's never been more true. So you're going to get programmed, nature is going to program you.


Life is going to program you, what do you want those programs to be? Alright, so just a really great conversation to have and things to think about but most importantly, what are we going to do about it? And it's all about action. So make sure to check out Autumn and her incredible work, follow her on Instagram. It’s one of my favorite people and again, shout out to Homegrown St. Louis shot it to the Midwest, shout out to everybody in Cleveland as well and shout out to everyone around the world who's tuning in right now, who's choosing to tune into things that are going to keep you empowered to remind you of how powerful you are to effect change in your life and the world at large. I appreciate you so much, we've got some epic shows coming your way very soon so make sure to stay tuned. Take care. Have an amazing day and I'll talk with you soon.


My brand new book, Eat Smarter is on the way. Eat smarter is the first book to take you behind the scenes and show you how your metabolism really works, demonstrating specific foods and nutrients that control your metabolism and influence things like fat loss and weight gain. But you'll also discover how certain foods and nutrients control your cognitive function and influence things like your attention span and your working memory. Plus, you'll also learn the latest information on how food controls your sleep, and the surprising science around how food controls our emotional stability and how we interact with each other. It's a very special book and part of an initiative to change our health and wellness systems. And right now, when you pre-order Eat Smarter, you also get instant access to a brand new mini course, The Ten Foods Proven to Optimize your Fat loss Hormones for free. It's a $97 mini-course, you get instant access to when you pre-order Eat Smarter. So go to right now, and pre-order the book and get your free mini course. Eat Smarter, use the power of food to reboot your metabolism, upgrade your brain and transform your life.

And for more after the show, make sure to head over to That's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much, and take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.

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