. . . on their book, Eat Live Thrive Diet
by Karen Larre, Carla Garcia and
Mary Anne Weaver
Self-described as a “work in progress”, Danna Demetre, is an author of seven books and speaker best known for the way she inspires people to change their habits from the inside out and live more healthful and intentional lives. She’s spoken across the U.S. at many conferences and retreats as well as internationally over the past 15 years. Often mistaken for a woman in her mid-forties, Danna is unashamed to proclaim she is an “ageless” 67 years old (at the time of this writing).
A former registered nurse, fitness professional, and radio host, Danna and her business partner and co-author of EAT LIVE THRIVE DIET, Robyn Thomson produce weekly video blogs on many health and lifestyle subjects via their website: leanhealthyageless.com and their YouTube Channel of the same name. They also are regular speakers for the Grateful Wealth Conferences sharing insights into the Health/Wealth Connection and challenging their audiences to discover peak performance in both their body and their business.
Danna lives with her husband of 34 years, their dog and 15 chickens on a mini-ranch of sorts in the foothills outside San Diego, California. They have four grown children and five grandchildren. Knowing it is essential to “walk your talk”, she enjoys an active and healthy lifestyle. An avid snow skier, and former fitness instructor, she’s found walking, hiking and exercising in her home gym most days.
Robyn Thomson, an advanced clinical weight loss practitioner, has worked with cutting edge nutritional companies and received training from some of the top doctors and scientists in the industry. Through seminars, workshops, and coaching, she helps people lose weight, improve their nutrition, and get more active. She is in her fifties, loves to ride her horse, Baily and workout. She lives near the beach in San Diego with her husband, Rob.
Truly Alive: Why did the two of you decide to write this book, and together?
Danna Demetre: Robyn and I have known each other for over 20 years. We lost touch after Danna returned from living in Europe for a couple years. We discussed health and wellness business ideas. Robyn has also done a lot of coaching and she’d been on a personal quest for better health, since experiencing major changes in her life that impacted her health and ability to lose weight as she hit her 40’s. Robyn loves to cook healthy recipes, and I invited her to be a guest on my podcast. Our first show talked about the changes she had made to her nutrition to lose weight. As Robyn and I both love to cook healthy, nutritious foods and meals, we decided to do a couple of cooking shows for YouTube, and that was even more fun! One thing led to another, and we kept doing shows on a variety of subjects of interest to “mature” women and discovered that we’d make great business partners. So, we started our business “Lean Healthy Ageless”.
The diet started with a pilot program. We put a couple of hundred women on a program we called a “light detox.” The results that these women were getting were absolutely phenomenal! We agreed that we needed to expand the program to create a lifestyle plan that: (1) helped people figure out what is holding them back from weight loss, (2) inform them how to jump-start weight loss, and (3) educate them about how to maintain weight-loss and a long-term healthy lifestyle.
That’s how we got together…out of all this enthusiasm and accomplishment, we created what is now the Eat Live Thrive Diet. We added to the program, we tested it more, and kept expanding – and then wrote the book!
TA: In the book, you talk about “stewardship of our minds”. Why is this important to our goals of weight loss?
DD: I struggled with weight-loss challenges as a young woman. I started dieting at age 13, and by the time I was in college – nursing school, ironically – I was binging and purging up to 5 times a day. I wanted to lose a few pounds and ended up with a full-blown eating disorder. My attempts to control my weight with bulimia did not work. I did not lose weight, and I was getting less and less healthy. As my physical, emotional, and spiritual began to unravel, I realized I needed help and through a series of circumstances, learned about the power of taking stewardship of my mind. Over time, this changed everything for me.
Habits are driven by our persistent thoughts – and feelings respond to our thoughts. Many of us ask ourselves, “Why do I keep doing the same thing over and over? I don’t want to do it. But I do it anyway.” That’s a universal battle that we humans face.
Knowing what to do when it comes to health, wellness, diet, and weight loss is very important. However, knowing how to get yourself to do those healthy things is just as important. That’s why we teach a simple, 4 step process to identify lies we tell ourselves and replace them with truth.
In this modern era, we understand how the brain works and how neural pathways can shrink or grow depending on how often they are activated. Old, dominant, unhealthy thoughts can literally be squashed by new, healthy persistent thoughts. We teach some really practical ways to create triggers in your life that remind you to practice healthy self-talk. We use CDs and virtual coaching to help people identify very specific messages they are believing, and write themselves new messages – and repeat, repeat, repeat! – because it is in the repetition that we build new neural pathways.
TA: What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
DD: One of the hardest workloads on the body is the digestion of food. In fact, until the discovery of telomeres, the only proven way to increase longevity was to eat less food. That again is because the metabolic load for digestion is so heavy on the body. When we encourage women to have shorter eating windows and longer fasting windows (like 13 to 16 hours), they are giving their bodies opportunities for better cellular regeneration. They also are reducing their fuel source, so they use their fat stores for energy. We have found that for many of our mature women clients it’s been a game changer. It’s something that has reset their appetites and stimulated fat burning.
Robyn Thomson: Our “Eat Live Thrive” eating cycle is a kinder, gentler approach which is important for women in the mature season of life, because fasting can put undue stress on some women’s bodies. Therefore, we recommend starting with 12 to 13 hours and allow the body to adapt. Later, they can bump their fasting window up to 14 to 16 hours a couple of times per week and see how that works. If a woman has adrenal fatigue, fasting for 16 or 18 hours is usually too much stress on the body and can actually be harmful, because it stimulates too much cortisol, a stress hormone which is a fat-storage hormone. The Eat Live Thrive diet is not a program that demands compliance with a hard and fast protocol, but rather encourages each dieter to listen to their own body and modify as needed. We ask you to listen to your body.
TA: In the book, you break up your program into 3 Phases: The Elimination Phase, Discovery and Lifestyle phases. Can you give our readers an overview of each?
RT: Phase 1 is the Elimination phase. This is where you eliminate certain foods that have been known to either cause insulin resistance or food sensitivities. We ask you to remove them from your diet for approximately 14 days. In that time, you will start experiencing weight loss and begin to enjoy amazing energy and vitality. For many, all sorts of other aches and pains often diminish greatly. Additionally, your digestion may improve, and you may experience many other health benefits. Phase 1 also sets your body up to have a clean slate for Phase 2.
Phase 2 is the Discovery phase which allows you to test foods that you’ve eliminated. You add these foods back one at a time and test them by eating them twice a day for 3 days in a row. You are looking for changes in the way you are feeling, such as energy level, digestive health, emotional health, skin issues, or aches and pains. These changes can be indicative of a food sensitivity.
For example, my mother gets depressed when she eats corn. She could then ask herself, “If eating corn causes me to feel depressed, do I want to add it back to my diet?” I’m not saying “never” eat that food again because we don’t like that all-or-nothing mentality. But, if a food disrupts your health and weight loss success, you’re probably going to choose to eliminate it or eat it very rarely.
After the Discovery phase of testing these different foods, you move on to Phase 3, which is the Lifestyle phase. In Lifestyle, you’re going to figure out how much of the foods your body tolerated well you can add back in and still lose weight or maintain the weight you’ve lost. For example: if you tested rice, and it was fine, you need to figure out how much rice you can eat. We’ve discovered that many mature women can only stay lean if they reduce their overall grain and starchy food intake (like potatoes) to no more than 2-3 servings per day. We’ve created two approaches to help our readers develop a sustainable lifestyle. The first is our Keep It Simple method which is based on recommended servings and portion size. We also have the By the Numbers method which is tracking carbohydrates and calories. You can choose which method works best for you or alternate them as you desire.
TA: What are the most troublesome foods?
DD: The most troublesome foods are grains and sugar. Level 1 of Elimination consists of removing all grains and added sugars for 14 days. We know that none of us need white sugar in our diet, but a little bit of pure organic maple syrup, or a tablespoon of organic raw honey within recipes are okay. Additional common food culprits are dairy, nuts, eggs, and soy.
There are some foods we recommend that you never eat at all because they are so destructive to our health, such as inflammatory vegetable oils. Instead of having soybean oil or canola oil, you can use coconut, avocado, or olive oil. We do not test these oils, but rather encourage people to toss them. We simply educate our readers so they can move to the next nutritional level when they are ready – without condemnation.
TA: How does exercise play a part in the Eat Live Thrive Diet?
DD: We know that our bodies are energy machines and we literally fuel up so that we can move and use our bodies. Our bodies have moving parts, and they were designed for motion and activity. We wrote a chapter in the book on fitness, to help our readers discover the best exercises for them and understand how to maximize their workouts. Especially as women age, they need daily activity. Exercise doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to be long. Sometimes for mature women, gentler is better because too much intensity can stimulate a cortisol response and increase fat-storing. Exercise and an active lifestyle are essential if you want to live an ageless, high energy life.
TA: Do you have anything else you would like our readers to know about?
DD: Robyn and I are dedicated to coming alongside all women who want support. We have a coaching program called Eat Live Thrive Academy. It is a virtual online support system that offers live video and/or audio coaching 3 times a week to do coaching sessions with our members. They can ask questions on any subject and about any level of the diet. This is where we can help them customize and fine-tune their eating plan. Additionally, coaching helps them better understand and overcome some of the emotional stumbling blocks that we all face when we are trying to change habits. The Academy is a beautiful community of women. They have a private Facebook group. They not only interact with us, but they interact with each other. Some also form accountability partners. It’s such a delight for us to have that personal connection. We priced it very affordably because we wanted to be sure most women could participate if they desired. If readers want to know more about the Academy, they can learn about it at: www.EatLiveThriveAcademy.com.