Ep 71 – The Sugar Free Revolution with Karen Thomson

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For us, one is too many and a thousand is never enough. Once I start, I cannot teach myself to eat sugar in moderation. I just can’t do it. You know, I’ve never been successful at it, and I know many people that aren’t successful at it either. And I think, you know, using the term sugar addiction is quite like a broad term and I don’t think everybody becomes addicted to sugar but I think there are those individuals who really are at risk.” – Karen Thomson

In this episode of Pursuing Health, I sit down with the founder of the Sugar Free Revolution, Karen Thomson. Karen grew up in South Africa and battled addiction to multiple substances from an early age.  She found help through an inpatient rehab center, but several years into recovery, she came to realize she still had one lingering addiction: sugar.

Using knowledge from her own journey to recovery, Karen partnered with other rehabilitation professionals to develop a one-of-a-kind approach, treating sugar addiction with an inpatient program using the abstinence model. She paid special attention to the underlying issues leading to sugar and carbohydrate addiction, and identified the need for a support network for those trying to kick an addiction.

She went on to write a book, Sugar Free: 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction, and also began sharing her message at conferences. It was at one of those conferences that she met CrossFit founder Greg Glassman, and they developed a friendship that resulted in the creation of the CrossFit Health Conference.

Karen and her family recently moved to Palm Springs, CA, where she is focused on opening another rehabilitation clinic to help others recover from addiction and live their healthiest life.

I caught up with Karen in Madison, WI, at the 2017 CrossFit Games to talk about how she made the choice to seek help, overcame her own addictions, and why she now uses her own experiences to help others do the same.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Karen’s story of addiction, and how it was rooted in childhood
  • How her experience as a young model led to an eating disorder
  • What it was like to hit her breaking point
  • How Karen treated and overcame her addiction
  • Starting The Sugar Free Revolution
  • Why Karen’s model for inpatient treatment of sugar addiction is unique
  • Finding CrossFit and the importance of a health-minded community
  • Meeting Greg Glassman and partnering with him to help end chronic disease
  • How teaching at conferences led to creating the CrossFit Health Conference
  • Some of the differences between the United States and South Africa
  • How her passion for helping people with addiction and particularly sugar addiction drives her work
  • What Karen eats in a typical day
  • How she keeps her family on board with her healthy lifestyle
  • Three things Karen does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Karen

You can learn more about the Sugar Free Revolution through Karen’s website, and you can follow her on TwitterInstagram and FaceBook.

Links:

Related Episodes:

Ep 26 – James Maskell on Functional and Integrative Medicine and the Impact of Community on Health

Ep 30 – Nadia Johnston on How CrossFit Helped Her to Overcome Eating Disorders and Depression

Ep 35 – Coach Greg Glassman on CrossFit, Chronic Disease, and the “5 Buckets of Death”

Ep 37 – Steph Hammerman on Overcoming Obstacles, Teaching CrossFit, and Crushing Cancer

Ep 42 – Against All Grain’s Danielle Walker on Advocating, Healing, and Celebrating

Ep 48 – Jen Widerstrom: Health, Habits and Why You Are Enough

Ep 53 – Amelia Boone on Achievement and Growing Through Obstacles

Ep 67 – Sobriety Through CrossFit: Brian Reap’s Story

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

This episode is brought to you by MobilityWODDo you struggle to get into good positions in your training and workouts? Are your movement compensations causing you undue pain and grief?  M|Wod’s belief is that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. Join hundreds of Olympic and World Class athletes, College and Professional Teams in the NFL, MLB, Basketball, Hockey, Rugby and Soccer by using MobilityWOD to train and compete at your best.  Visit www.mobilitywod.com to receive receive 20% off your annual membership with code JULIEFOUCHER.

This episode is also brought to you by Thrive Market. By cutting out the middle man, Thrive Market delivers your favorite healthy food and lifestyle products to your doorstep at 25-50% lower cost than you would spend in the grocery store. You can also feel good about giving back because with everyone that signs up for Thrive Market, a free membership is donated to a low-income family, veteran, or teacher, making healthy living affordable to all. Visit http://www.thrivemarket.com/ph to receive an exclusive offer from Thrive Market for being a listener of Pursuing Health: 25% off your first purchase + free shipping + a free 30 day trial!

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.


Ep 70 – USA Track & Field Heptathlete Tiffeny Parker on Beating the Odds

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“I was the first person at the track and, and I was the last person at the track. And for me, it was, it was an Olympic gold medalist telling me that that extra 5% that I’m willing to put in, that’s the difference. That’s the difference between being a collegiate athlete and a professional athlete.” -Tiffeny Parker

In this episode Pursuing Health, I sit down with USA Track & Field athlete Tiffeny Parker.  Tiffeny competes on both the national and international stage in the heptathlon, and competed at the Olympic Trials in 2016. A volleyball player from a young age, Tiffeny got a late start in the heptathalon, but saw early success, placing 4th at Junior Nationals shortly after learning the sport.  She went on to compete at the collegiate level while studying Business and Marketing at Azusa Pacific University.  There, Tiffeny found an ideal training situation, and she developed ties with an elite community of athletes that she would continue to surrounded herself with even after graduation.

Tiffeny has faced many odds on her road to success, including the unexpected passing of her mother, a major life event that she credits with giving her the drive to pursue athletics as a profession. She has also faced injury and athletic disappointment, but has learned to rely on her community and use a positive mindset to aid in unlocking her full potential.  Tiffeny was introduced to the CrossFit world when Chris Hinshaw recruited her to help teach athlete Camille LeBlanc Bazinet how to hurdle during the 2015 CrossFit Games on 24 hours notice. She has worked many top athletes, including Katrin Davidsdottir, Mat Fraser, team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom, and more.  She is currently training in Dallas, TX  as she sets her sights on the 2018 IAAF World Championships.

I caught up with Tiffeny in Cookeville, TN in the spring of 2017 to talk about her track career, how she became involved in the CrossFit world, and what wisdom she has to share from her experiences.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Tiffeny’s introduction to the CrossFit world during the 2015 CrossFit Games
  • What it’s like to work with elite athletes
  • How the heptathlon community parallels the CrossFit community
  • The different approach Tiffany uses to train CrossFit athletes vs. the textbook method for teaching how to sprint
  • Tiffeny’s current training program
  • Her athletic background and finding heptathlon after growing up playing volleyball
  • Coping with the sudden passing of her mother and how it changed Tiffeny’s mindset
  • Tiffeny’s decision to pursue track and field as a professional career
  • Dealing with athletic disappointment
  • Tiffeny’s path to the Olympic Trials
  • Tiffeny on training with a partner vs. training solo
  • What types of athletes Tiffeny is currently working with
  • Three things Tiffeny does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Tiffeny

You can learn more about Tiffeny’s anaerobic training program through her website, and you can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and FaceBook.

Links:

Related Episodes:

Ep 08 – Chris Hinshaw on Regaining Functionality and Endurance Coaching and Programming for the CrossFit Community

Ep 14 – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet on moving forward, engineering, and body image

Ep 53 – Amelia Boone on achievement and growing through obstacles

Ep 55 – Lindy Barber on Overcoming a Life-Changing Injury and Finding Her Flow on Team CrossFit Mayhem

Ep 56 – Katrín Davíðsdóttir and Ben Bergeron on the Process of Creating a Champion

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

This episode is brought to you by MobilityWOD. Do you struggle to get into good positions in your training and workouts? Are your movement compensations causing you undue pain and grief?  M|Wod’s belief is that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. Join hundreds of Olympic and World Class athletes, College and Professional Teams in the NFL, MLB, Basketball, Hockey, Rugby and Soccer by using MobilityWOD to train and compete at your best.  Visit www.mobilitywod.com to receive receive 20% off your annual membership with code JULIEFOUCHER.

This episode is also brought to you by Thrive Market. By cutting out the middle man, Thrive Market delivers your favorite healthy food and lifestyle products to your doorstep at 25-50% lower cost than you would spend in the grocery store. You can also feel good about giving back because with everyone that signs up for Thrive Market, a free membership is donated to a low-income family, veteran, or teacher, making healthy living affordable to all. Visit http://www.thrivemarket.com/ph to recieve an exclusive offer from Thrive Market for being a listener of Pursuing Health: 25% off your first purchase + free shipping + a free 30 day trial!

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.


Ep 69 – From “Obese to Beast” with John Glaude

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“Yes losing weight is important, but you have to understand that the mental aspect of it is, I would have to say, almost more important. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to work on the mental too.” – John Glaude

At just 20 years of age, John David Glaude weighed 360 pounds. After years of struggling with his weight, John was sure he was headed toward a future of significant morbidity, yet he didn’t believe he was capable of changing his course. However, a series of events finally led up to what he describes as his “click moment:” the instant he decided he was going to change his lifestyle. John went on to lose 170 lbs and eventually competed in a bodybuilding competition before he found CrossFit. John has documented his journey on his YouTube channel titled “Obese to Beast” and he continues to serve as an inspiration and resource for others on their weight loss journeys.

In this episode we discuss:

  • John’s childhood and being the “big” and “funny” guy in school
  • His attempts at weight loss throughout his youth starting in middle school
  • John’s high school and college years
  • John’s “Click Moment” – when he decided he was going to make a change
  • His weight loss journey, and using YouTube as a means to learn as much about the process as possible
  • John’s daily habits and changing his focus from nutrition to bodybuilding and his relationship with food
  • John’s transition from bodybuilding to CrossFit
  • Changes in relationships and confidence in his person and personality
  • John’s current daily routine
  • John’s advice to start slow: ‘Once you see results, you will be more willing to make another change.’
  • Three things John does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on John’s health
  • What a healthy life looks like to John

You can follow John on his YouTube page, FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

Links:

Related Episodes:

Ep 07 – Dr. Mark Hyman on Functional Medicine, the Future, and Community

Ep 31 – Robert Porter and his Coach, Patrick Flannery on Losing 90 Pounds with CrossFit and Finding the Right Community For You

Ep 33 – Bob Harper on CrossFit, The Biggest Loser, and Prioritizing Health

Ep 38 – Micronutrients and Quality Supplementation with Oliver Amdrup and Julius Heslet

Ep 44 – 5 Trips for New Year Nutrition and The Healthy Self Reset with ‘BeingBrigid

Ep 66 – Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove on Lifestyle, Healthcare, and Persistence

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

This episode is brought to you by MobilityWOD. Do you struggle to get into good positions in your training and workouts? Are your movement compensations causing you undue pain and grief?  M|Wod’s belief is that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. Join hundreds of Olympic and World Class athletes, College and Professional Teams in the NFL, MLB, Basketball, Hockey, Rugby and Soccer by using MobilityWOD to train and compete at your best.  Visit www.mobilitywod.com to receive receive 20% off your annual membership with code JULIEFOUCHER.

This episode is also brought to you by Thrive Market. By cutting out the middle man, Thrive Market delivers your favorite healthy food and lifestyle products to your doorstep at 25-50% lower cost than you would spend in the grocery store. You can also feel good about giving back because with everyone that signs up for Thrive Market, a free membership is donated to a low-income family, veteran, or teacher, making healthy living affordable to all. Visit http://www.thrivemarket.com/ph to recieve an exclusive offer from Thrive Market for being a listener of Pursuing Health: 25% off your first purchase + free shipping + a free 30 day trial!

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.

Question: Have you ever had a “click moment” where you made a decision to make a big change in your life? Tell me about it in the comments below!