Speaker 1: The Living Beyond 120 Podcast has transitioned. Welcome to the Gladden Longevity Podcast, with Jeffrey Gladden MD, FACC, founder and CEO of Gladden Longevity. Our passion is answering three questions. How good can we be? How do we make 100 the new 30? And how do we live well beyond120? Our mission is to share with you impactful and actionable information to equip you to optimize your longevity, health and human performance, as you strive to make 100 the new 30. We thoroughly enjoy our conversations and the opportunity to include you in them and trust that you find them informative, enlightening and thought provoking. As a reminder, the Gladden Longevity Podcast is provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The use of any information and materials linked to this podcast is at the listener's own risk. Now, let's get to today's episode of Gladden Longevity Podcast.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Welcome everybody to this episode of the Gladden Longevity Podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Jeffrey Gladden reformed cardiologist. Today I'm going to be joined by Autumn Calabrese. I met Autumn about a year ago. She's a fascinating individual, and it turns out that she's one of the most viewed super trainers on the Beachbody On Demand platform, I believe she has over 140 million views. Despite that, she didn't start off with 140 million views, she really started off in a very humble way. And I think in addition to that, you're going to be very intrigued by her own personal journey and story around health, fitness, anxiety, depression, gut health, et cetera. And as usual, we'll be diving deep into some of the science, but I'll also be making it very actionable for you as well. So Autumn really opened up to us about her struggles with anxiety and depression, and also about weight gain, weight loss, all of these things happening while she was actually eating what she thought were healthy foods. And in addition to that, in working with Gladden Longevity for the past year, she's learned a lot about gut health to the point where she's actually bringing forward a program onto the Beachbody platform. And also she had some real insights into her thyroid genetics and her thyroid testing that really opened up new vistas for her in terms of her own fitness, body composition, et cetera. I think you're really going to enjoy this episode. If you do, feel free to download, subscribe and share it as well. I'm really excited to be here today with Autumn Calabrese from Beachbody. And she is a very intriguing person actually, she has quite a story that I think we're going to dive into here in terms of her own journey towards health and fitness. And many of you know her as being a guru around fitness and health, but we're all human at the same time. And so just like I went through my own, getting sick and then figuring it out after two and a half years and moving forward with Gladden Longevity, Autumn hasher story too. And I think you'll be intrigued by that if you haven't heard it in a more concise fashion. So Autumn, welcome to the show.
Autumn Calabrese: Hi, Dr. Gladden. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here with you guys .
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah, likewise. So tell me a little bit about how you got started on your journey here with health and fitness and what took you to Beachbody and all that sort of thing. How did that all work out?
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. I feel like it's just been a part of my life since I was a kid and both sides of the health coin actually have been there since I was a kid. Grew up in a big Italian family, all the meals were home cooked. Can't say they were always probably the healthiest, in fact, the only real vegetable I remember eating as a kid was salads on Sundays at my grandma's house made with iceberg lettuce. But I was a super active kid, Energy Galore, was always on the go, ended up as a competitive dancer. That's what I went to college for, so I was always very much into the fitness side of it, moving my body. I knew from a very young age, I wasn't going to have a desk job that didn't really suit my personality. I loved helping people and teaching people. I was an assistant dance teacher through high school and college and things like that. So there was always that teaching side there for me, but the nutrition was always a learning point for me. I was raised by my dad and living with my dad, like I said, we ate one way. My dad owned an Italian restaurant that was pizzas, pastas and subs. And my active lifestyle and some genetics probably worked in my favor for me not being a super overweight kid based on the way I ate. But then puberty hit and I definitely did have that puberty struggle with weight gain and things like that and feeling very uncomfortable in my skin. Went to live with my mom when I was16, my mom ate very differently than my dad. It was-
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: How'd she eat, what was that like?
Autumn Calabrese: Hers was definitely the healthier side of it. Hers was definitely the skim milk, not 2% milk, lots of veggies in the refrigerator, salads every night at dinner, but it was spinach and mixed greens with bell peppers, fruit, just a lot more of the variety things. So coming out the other side of puberty and starting to eat like that, I definitely saw a change in my weight, which is really all I ever, when I was younger, equated it to. I don't think at a younger age, you're equating it to, am I healthy or not healthy? It's just am I a size I want to be or not?
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: That's right. I think that carries through into adult life for a lot of people. They really focus on weight. It's all about weight, weight, weight. And I think you and I both understand that it's really more about body composition than it is about weight. Everybody needs some fat on their body, you don't want to be a bodybuilder with 2% body fat. That's not exactly healthy. But that being said, a lot of times women if they have a body fat percentage around 21%, 22%, 23%, that's considered to be quite healthy. For a man, maybe 15%, 16% would be quite healthy. And you can scooch that down a little bit if you're going that direction. But I think too many people actually obsess about weight and not enough about are they building muscle and optimizing body fat and where it's located, that sort of thing. So it sounds like you were caught up in that weight thing, but you probably have transitioned from that over time.
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, I definitely was. When I really started to transition away from that was actually when I became a fitness competitor in my 30s. I already had been focusing way more on, I was a trainer, I started training in my 20s and I definitely had already been studying nutrition. So I was learning more and more, but I didn't really, to be totally honest, make the switch to it being about body composition and I need fat and it's okay for the number on the scale to go up because I'm building lean muscle until I became a fitness competitor. And I was blessed to have really great coaches as a competitor who didn't believe in starvation diets and things like that. And we actually probably ended up eating more. And that's where I really learned like, oh, when you eat to fuel your body and the workouts you're doing, you get to eat more and you get better results for it. And that's how my nutrition program ended up developing. That's how portion fix ended up developing and coming off of fitness competitions and creating that is how I ended up with Beachbody.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: So you're really a pretty competitive personality is what I'm hearing. You started-
Autumn Calabrese: Yes, I am.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Dancing competitions and then fitness competitions. So what kind of dance were you doing? Was this like ballroom dancing or?
Autumn Calabrese: I did everything. No, jazz, ballet, modern, tap, although I was never good at tap. Jazz was my strong suit, jazz and hip hop that's what I had always wanted to do. But that was never really stacked in the cards for me to do it professionally. I have a lot of misalignment issues that have been there since birth. I have a bulging disc in my lower spine, my hips are very uneven. And by the time I left college, I left college with one semester to go because my back was so bad that I sneezed and collapsed to the ground and was just laid out for two weeks because the amount of inflammation that was around that bulging disc.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: And was that just a function of all the competition and all the training and things like that, or was it a function of you were injured or you were exacerbating an underlying misalignment to begin with or what was going on?
Autumn Calabrese:I think it was probably a combination of many things. It's hard to say because the type of doctors I have access to now is not obviously what I had back then. The only thing I was told when I went to the doctor was I have a bulging disc. If I keep dancing as much as I'm dancing, I would be in back surgery before I was 21. I was 18 at the time. And I knew that wasn't an option. My dad had had back surgery on his bulging disc when I was a kid and it did nothing for him. I really think what it was was ballet for me probably did not help with the excessive arching backwards and the different positions we put our body in. I was dancing six hours a day, I was waiting tables. So it was probably a lot of over training. We did not have at my college, the physical therapy or access to PTs that we probably should have. And I think it was also not understanding the proper way to train my body, to counterbalance what was happening with the types of movements I was doing with dance. So it was a lot.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Exactly. I think that's a critical point too, that too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. And I think it's also really important for people to be aligned. I think a lot of people ignore that. They go for a run, their gait isn't even, their back is misaligned, their SI joints are out of position, one leg's longer than the other. All those things can be evaluated pretty effectively by a good chiropractor or a physical therapist or somebody related to that area. And I would just encourage the audience that if you're going to take up exercise, that you don't underestimate the need to make sure that you're in alignment and that you're doing exercises that actually keep you in alignment in addition to what it is you want to do as an exercise program. So yeah, interesting.
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. I see my physical therapist twice a week, every week. And if I don't, for whatever reason, see him, it catches up to me very quickly.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Okay. There you go. So you are human after all.
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah, I am.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Okay. So then you're in your thirties and now you're doing fitness competition. What does that look like? What were you lifting weights or doing gymnastics or what-
Autumn Calabrese: Oh yeah. No, the competitions I did were referenced as bikini competitions. That's what you wear onstage and you're training a lot. I was training three hours a day, five days a week, mostly weight training-
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Okay. So this is like the swimsuit fitness. This is like the lower level of body building if you will, but it's more like body sculpting competition.
Autumn Calabrese: Correct.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yes, okay. Understood.
Autumn Calabrese :So six months of prep, perfect nutrition, there's no [inaudible 00:12:22], I guess you could [inaudible00:12:24] of course, but the competitive side of me is I'm not taking the stage without knowing I put110% behind what I did. And I competed more multiple times over the course of about two, two and a half years, which I loved it. It was amazing. But-
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: What did you love about it? It sounds like a lot of hard work quite honestly, so what did you love about it?
Autumn Calabrese: I think that I'm driven by that. The hard work, schedules regimens, knowing what the plan is and sticking to it, that for me is my sweet spot. I have no problem with the work as long as I know this is the plan, steps A, B, C gets me to where I want to be. When I know that, there's not a whole lot that's stopping me from doing it.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: No, I get that. So once you have confidence in the plan, you're able to move forward. And I think that's actually true for a lot of people too in the audience, once they have confidence in the plan. I find this is true in health, longevity and performance is that a lot of people end up questioning the plan in the sense that it could even be working with us. But certainly if they're not working with somebody that's looking at the big picture, they start to get a little bit skeptical and then they start to fall off. So I think really one of the things that we do, and I think that you do for your clients is to give them a sense of confidence, quite honestly. We actually understand what's going on with you, and this is really the way forward. So, yeah. So that's interesting. So it sounds like you've taken some of that or a lot of that, and then ran with that forward. So after you were in your 30s doing the fitness competitions, what happened after that?
Autumn Calabrese: It's crazy, everything was going great. I was competing, I had won, I ended up meeting with Beachbody being brought on board with my nutrition program, creating a fitness program to go with it. That program was 21 Day Fix, it was a monstrous success. I think we all had high hopes that it would do very well. It did beyond expectations. It's been one of their top performers for eight years. It's helped millions of people on their fitness and nutrition journey and really understanding how to take a healthier approach and mindset to food and not have this all or nothing and restrictive attitude about it. Everything was going great and from the moment I signed with Beachbody, I was working. 21 Day Fix did amazing. A year after that launched, I was developing 21 Day Fix Extreme. A year after that launched, I was developing the Master's Hammer and Chisel. And a year after that launched, I was developing Country Heat. And by the time I was developing Country Heat, it was my 35th birthday. I was on top of the world, hugely successful programs, life was going great. And then my body did a complete 180 on me out of nowhere. My physique felt great, I felt great, and the week of my 35th birthday it was like a switch flipped. I am prone to anxiety, but all of a sudden my anxiety skyrocketed off the charts, barely manageable, barely functioning anxiety daily. While everything around me was awesome and I should have been in the best mood walking on Cloud Nine, like I had been the last three and a half, four years. I was sleeping into a very deep, dark depression and I couldn't figure out why. I knew I was like, this doesn't make sense. I actually started losing weight, which was not good for me. I'm Small, I don't have weight to lose. So having 3, 4, 5 pounds fall off me when I'm eating the same and training the same was a big indication that there was an issue, which we couldn't figure out what it was. And even though I was losing weight, I was also losing my muscle mass. So I started to look pretty sick and people were commenting that I looked anorexic, I must be bulimic. How can I preach health and fitness when I look the way I do, which made everything that much worse because I knew something was wrong. And I started seeing doctor after doctor, after doctor, and they would run my blood work and they would tell me nothing's wrong. You're numbers look great, healthiest person I've seen in a long time. And I would just come home and cry because I was like, I feel like I'm dying. I feel like somebody is going to find the cancer card or the something card and they just haven't found it yet. Because there's just no way at 35, I should feel this bad out of nowhere, doing all the same things.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Had you had a history of some anxiety and depression in the past too coming through your teenage years or in your 20s or anything like that? Was this really the first time or?
Autumn Calabrese: Not really depression. Although it runs in my family, I hadn't really experienced the depression side of it. Anxiety, yes. But my anxiety, when I would have it, I knew how to manage it. I could always manage it, I could manage it through just my breath work or exercise, things like that. The anxiety was so bad it actually put me in the hospital coming off of a work trip because I couldn't breathe. The pressure on my chest was so heavy that I was like I must, and I was on a plane. So I literally was on a plane from Florida to Los Angeles. So cross country flight, I had to wait. I landed, got in my car and drove to the hospital.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. So this is an interesting point too, that it's not all about physicality. It's really about what's going on between our ears. That's really so critical in this whole journey and figuring that out. I had suffered with some anxiety as well in my story and it would lead to depression and I would just feel like I was going over a cliff and there wasn't any saving it. You couldn't talk yourself out of it, you couldn't think your way out of it. You just went over that cliff. And that was dramatic. And for me, it turned out to be awake up call, but also linked to my genetics and some predispositions that I had genetically and things like that. And once I sorted out what to do about it, that really went away from me. So here you are, you're 35, you're starting to deal with anxiety. What happened next?
Autumn Calabrese :Honestly, it was two years living like that on a daily basis. It was exhausting and it was exhausting to put on the brave face and really not let people know what was going on, because I just felt like nobody was going to understand how good my life was around me that I could have a complaint in the world.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. See, this is a really big misconception is that if the life around you is good, that you have "no reason" to be anxious or whatever it is, fearful or whatever might be driving and even depression. But in actual fact, the way our psyches are built is completely different. Actually our circumstances that are around us, they do contribute somewhat, but they're really a much smaller part of the equation than what we experienced as kids growing up, genetically how we're predisposed, that's basic sense of safety and security. So I think that people really need to know that they're loved. That's really key, but I've also learned that people need to feel like they're actually really secure and those are actually two different things. They compliment each other, but they're two different things. You can feel loved, you can love yourself, but if you don't feel secure, you can still end up with a lot of anxiety. And so that's a really interesting thing for people to understand because your life circumstances, whether they're "good or bad," doesn't really have to define your sense of security. That's really internal work that you can do to get there.
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. And that probably did play a part of it, because just the way I grew up, everything was uncertain. So I think even doing well, for me, it's taken a lot of work to not be waiting for the other sugar drop going it's doing so well, how long can you stay up here? I better work harder to stay up here.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: When does the bubble burst? When does the balloon get popped?
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. Okay. There you go.
Autumn Calabrese: But it was about two years of feeling that way. Seeing a lot of doctors, getting no real answers. And actually probably by the time I was 37ish, because I had been doing so much research on my own, I had actually taken this year long course through the Integrative Institute of Nutrition, trying to learn more about nutrition. And like I said, it's year long and it's doctor after doctor, after doctor leading doctors in their fields, different fields, but all in their fields. And as I was taking that course, little things kept coming up that sounded like what I was experiencing, which sounded like gut health issues. And I was struggling to even find a doctor, which is crazy in LA that I could reach out to about it. I actually tried to go to a doctor in New York, but that doctor was booked for months in advance. I finally ended up finding a natural path here in Los Angeles. She had gone all the way through school, but then went on to study the more natural side of it. And I met with her for two hours and it was the first doctor that actually sat with me for a long time and listened to everything that was going on. Then she took a lot of blood and ran a lot of tests and turns out she had run food sensitivity tests. And when those results came back, she called me and she said, wow, this is really bad. Your gut health is really bad. In fact, it's so bad you are malnourished. Your adrenals are completely tapped and exhausted, your B vitamins are gone. You're eating healthy, but you're not absorbing anything. The crazy part is my sensitivities happen to be towards really healthy food that should be okay for people to eat, but just for me they're not. Eggs, nuts, flax seed are my three big ones. And those were things I ate everyday. So-
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: This is a really important point that you make. This is a very important point because people get hung up on it's a healthy food, but in actual fact, you never really know what's healthy for you unless you go through some testing. To look at food sensitivities, gut health, your digestive system, how well are you able to digest things, et cetera, you have leaky gut and all that. And then when you have those problems, it becomes a positive feedback loop, but in a negative direction, in the sense that inflammation's leading to more problems, to anxiety then you eat glutamate, that all of a sudden your brain gets activated. It really becomes a pretty complex circle of things that can trigger this for people. So just in the audience, you should understand that this is a knot that needs to be unraveled. It's not just, well, I'll try staying away from dairy and gluten and see if that fixes it. It's usually more complex than that, although that's helpful. So anyway, that's interesting. So you figured out that your gut was really not only suffering probably from all the stress and strain that you put on it, but also then contributing to all the anxiety and stress that you were feeling.
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. And that was the first time that I really started to put that connection together. That because my gut health was out of balance, this cascade of other things, not physical, meaning not my physical appearance, were also happening, the anxiety, the depression, the panic attacks. And so I worked with her for a long time to just start to get that under control, take out the foods that were causing the huge problems for me at the time to give my body a chance to rest. Started supplementing with the vitamins and things that I was incredibly deficient in to try to bring those levels back up. And what's interesting is within about a week or two, it took me a minute to even realize it, but within about a week or two of doing that, of getting rid of those foods that were obviously hurting me and starting to put the vitamins back in, the anxiety dropped significantly and the depression. It was again like the light switch flipped where one day it was flipped on, I woke up one day and it was just not the there. And I thought, well, that's weird. I wonder if am I out of the woods, am I over this kind of thing? And obviously slowly but surely, I realized okay, I am heading in a much better direction. I do feel better, the happy me is coming back. And it has not been a short journey.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: No, exactly. The other thing about that too, and there are a number of papers in the psychiatric literature that have been written about the fact that depression is actually a disease of brain inflammation. And certainly when you have gut inflammation and a leaky gut, it's almost synonymous, what's called a leaky blood brain barrier. So the brain is walled off from the rest of the body, by this single cell layer barrier that protects it from toxins and bacteria and other things like that. But when the gut gets leaky, the blood brain barrier gets leaky, and the inflammation that normally the brain can be protected from now infiltrates into the brain. And now the brain becomes inflamed. And that can trigger, to your point, a lot of anxiety and is even a root cause of depression. So it's not just about taking an antidepressant, it's important for people to understand that there really is a link between the brain and the gut through this whole inflammatory pathway. And if you want to fix your brain, yes, focus on the brain, focus on your own psychology, even if you will, security and all that. But actually you need to go back into the gut, which is what you were experiencing. So it's fascinating to hear you say that.
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. It was fascinating to experience it. And for me, it was one of those things I think that was back there in my mind knowing, but until I experienced it, not really fully understanding the impact that our food could truly have on us. And I will say this, because obviously you and I are we work together now because I came to you almost a year ago, it's crazy. Even over all these years of working on my gut health and improving my gut health, it has not been a straight line. It has definitely been many steps forward, but when I came to you last year, I was getting really frustrated again because I was starting to suffer, not quite the depression side of it, but the anxiety was back. And I was starting to have a little bit of hair loss, which is weird for me. I have very thick head of hair that runs in my family. So all of a sudden I was having this little spot of hair that was thinning that didn't make sense to me. My stomach started to feel off again. And my thought was, well, how am I back here? I've been doing all the things and still always learning and researching, I actually heard about you, Dr. Gladden, from Suzanne Summer's book. I was listening to her book where she had interviewed several different doctors. And when I heard her interview with you speaking about longevity, health, performance, the fact that it was all three is what really was like, okay, I need to reach out to that doctor. That's my doctor specifically because yes I want longevity, yes I want health, but I also want performance. Let's find out what's going on.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah, exactly. And they're actually interlinked as you can surmise that they would be, but they're actually interlinked in ways that people don't fully comprehend either, which we can go into, but I want to stay with your story here for a little bit. So you did come to us and you were starting to struggle again. I remember meeting you, talking with you on the Zoom call initially, and then meeting you in the office, et cetera. And how's it gone since you've worked with us in this past almost a year?
Autumn Calabrese: Oh my gosh, it's been a complete 180 and I've learned so much about my body and my genetics and things that I'm predisposed to and things that I would've never thought. In fact, I remember one of the tests that we did was to check the strength of my heart and my VO2 max and I was on the bike. And I remember you telling me I underperformed, which for somebody who was very competitive was a very hard pill to swallow still is. But it was one of those things that was really interesting, because it was like, okay, well, you're training this way and while that's working in a lot of areas, your heart isn't as strong as it should be for your age and for how well you train. I was expecting to come in and get the gold star when you ran all my numbers and I think I got the gold star in maybe one or two areas, but not all the areas.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Exactly. Well, that's part of the comprehensive view. So when we do work with people now, we really create a mosaic of ages for them. There's not just a single age, but there is a hard age, a blood vessel age, a brain age, on and on and on. And I think it is interesting and it was interesting to us when we saw your test results to think, okay, here's really a fitness guru who really does a lot of things and I think we're actually going to be able to really help her, which is great because then she'll be able to help more people too, because you have a large audience. But it was interesting to us that your cardiovascular system wasn't as strong when you came into us as you would've wanted it to be. And just so people know, we measure something called VO2 max, which essentially is answering the question, how much blood can your heart pump. And it turns out that the more blood your heart is able to pump, the longer you live, the less cancer you have, the less heart disease, the less dementia. And you carry that forward for more years than you would otherwise. So it becomes a really important metric of overall health, if you will, is to know what you or VO2 is. And that's measured with a test, it can either be on a bike or a treadmill, we use a bike because nobody falls off a bike like they fly off the back of a treadmill. But you wear a mask and we measure how much oxygen you're consuming, how much carbon oxide you're producing. And from that, we get an incredibly accurate look at the status of the heart, how it performs with exercise, whether or not there's any very early heart disease, whether there's any left ventricular dysfunction, it's called. It's an extremely good test. And I've been board certified in cardiology, interventional cardiology, nuclear cardiology, all those things. And this is really the best test I've ever seen to look at somebody's heart status. So we love that test. And then really one of our goals is to have your VO2 max improve. So I think we set you up with an exercise routine to push you in that direction if you will.
Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. We'll be testing it again in April when I come back to see you guys. But one of the things that was really interesting when we got all my blood work back, I remember you saying you suspected that my thyroid was off. Based on okay you trained this way, but this is how you performed, it's definitely underperforming. And sure enough, we got that back and my thyroid genetically, I'm not making enough thyroid in my brain-
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Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. Let's just talk about that for a second, because most people are not aware of this. So the way we look at thyroid is to look at all the blood tests. But the blood tests are not the most reliable view. We also do a resting metabolic rate where you wear the mask again, looking at how much CO2 you produce and how much O2 you consume in a resting state. And that gives us your resting metabolic rate. And we find that incredibly helpful to see if somebody's actually optimized in their thyroid. Not just okay, but actually optimized. But the point that Autumn's bringing up is that genetically, and I have the same gene that you do here, so DIO2 gene it's called, but we don't convert inactive thyroid T4 into active thyroid T3in our brains as efficiently as we should. And with being heterozygous for that, it's a 40% reduction. If you're homozygous for that, it's an80% reduction. So in other words, you could test your thyroid in your blood and even your resting metabolic rate all day long. And if you don't know about this, your brain still may not be seeing enough of the active thyroid that you need to feel good, for your brain to be energized, for your memory to work properly. And this is one of those little hidden pearls that we've come across and we do routinely on everybody, but it's good for the audience to understand this. That just because you've had your thyroid checked, doesn't mean you really understand what's going on. And I think once we got you going with the right thyroid, you can explain what happened. What happened? Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. Instantly, not instantly, but within probably a week or two, I definitely started to feel better, my energy went up more. And one of the big reasons I had come to see you was because I was gaining weight. So it was these crazy fluctuations. Couple years ago I was losing weight couldn't figure out why, now I'm gaining weight and I couldn't figure out why. And within a couple weeks of being on thyroid and still doing everything else the same, that extra weight that I had gained that I had spent a year and a half trying to get those five pounds off, I couldn't get it off, just fell right off. It just came back off. And honestly, it's actually now over the last couple of months, I've even optimized things more with my gut health. And I have a gut health program launching and I'm back at my lowest healthy weight, not unhealthy weight, but my lowest healthy weight. This is the first time I've been at this number in two years, because for those last two years I was battling all these other things. And by the way, my thyroid has been tested many times in my adult life. And I have always been told the same thing, I was on the low side of normal, but I was good. Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. I was told the same thing and it wasn't until I started taking the right thyroid that the lights came back on for me, which was like night and day. Literally like night and day, not being able to hardly get out of bed in the morning when you've got a practice with 10 offices and 12 doctors and everything you're trying to run to basically bouncing out of bed again. It can be that traumatic. So I'm super happy to hear that that's worked out that way for you. And I think for the audience too, it's not just about thyroid with regards to weight either, it has to do with the right kinds of exercise, the gut health, the diet, the right supplements, all that kind of stuff. If you want to optimize your "weight" or what we would call body composition, it's a multifactorial plan, it's not just one thing. It's just like building a house, you got to have a lot of different systems in that house working well to want to live there. Autumn Calabrese: And that's probably something that I've learned so much over the years and that I really try to teach as we go. And people probably can even see it get built into my fitness and nutrition programs over my years of being with Beachbody is, first it was very much about the fitness and nutrition and then we would optimize the nutrition a little bit more. But more and more in the last couple years, I really try to take into account the self care, the rest, the sleep, the stress management. Because it's one of the first things you said to me too, was no matter how much we work on all this stuff, your stress is too high. And you're managing it okay, because we also tested that, but for the amount of stress that I have, it was until you get this figured out, this will only be so optimal because this is going to dominate it. And that's a big one for me because I run in that stress zone, it's really hard for me to come out of it. Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Right. And that's another thing, a lot of people are driven by stress. If you ask them, no, I love stress, no, I live for stress. No, stress is what motivates me. I've heard that a lot. And I certainly have had my share of that myself. But you can't burn the candle at both ends and expect there to be a candle there. And so really biology always pushes back when you're pushing too hard in one direction. And so it becomes really important when you think about your own biology, physiology to go for that point of balance. It's more like being on a balance, standing on one leg with one leg behind you and your arms out. You're looking for balance, you're not looking for necessarily, how far can you push the system one way or another. So just keep that in mind. I think that will serve you well, if the audience is listening to that. Autumn Calabrese: For sure that's a big deal.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. Tell us about this program that you're launching. So you've taken all this... One of the things I love about your approach to this is that you discover something and then you want to share it with people and you keep iterating and modifying and bringing forward new things to help people. And your own story of course is caught up in that. So tell us about what you're doing with your gut health program. Autumn Calabrese: That's a big one for me because I want to say this, I think it's important for the audience to hear. It's really easy to get sucked up in the mindset of why me and that was me at the beginning, why me? How is this happening to me? I'm still healthy, how do I have gut health issues? And it wasn't until I really flipped that script around for myself and was like, hey, I have a platform. And the more I learned, the more I realize just how many people are suffering from it too. And that my struggle was also going to be a gift to be able to go out there and help other people. And by no means, am I a doctor, but at Beachbody, the beauty is that we have registered dieticians on staff and we have doctors on staff that we get to work with and I've been able to meet amazing people like you, that I get to talk to and learn from, and then go, "Okay, what can I put out that could serve the masses? And by no means, is it an end all be all cure to gut health?" What I try to explain to people is it's a first step, it's just a step in recognizing, "Hey, I could feel better if I start to make some lifestyle adjustments." So that's what we're doing in the program. It's a four week program where we're really trying to optimize the nutrition that we're taking in. We're trying to avoid some of the foods that are known to be the most inflammatory foods or the ones that cause the biggest problems for people. But those couple things that we're taking away are really not the focus of the program. The focus of the program is really about what we're putting in to feed our body, feed our gut bugs, what they need, give them the fiber that they need. It's about finding that balance with our exercise and not overdoing it. I'm somebody that loves to train incredibly hard. I wouldn't take a rest day if I didn't know the importance of it, but finding that balance with the fitness and with the nutrition. But we also focus on managing our stress during those four weeks so that people see that it is a lifestyle. That it is not just about the food that you're consuming, it's about everything you're consuming around you. The little screen in front of you and how much stress that can bring to your life and whether or not you're sleeping well. And trying to give people this four week window into, "Hey, look how much better I can feel if I'm doing these steps. Let me keep going with it and see what else I can do and what else I can learn about my body. "And what I'll tell you is really interesting is we're a week away from launch as of today, we launched this on March 15th, and I already have people messaging me going, "Okay, well, could you create a full menu meal plan that I can just follow and know exactly what to do?" And I have to explain because we have done meal plans, lots of meal plans in the past for people that get a little overwhelmed by it. And I have to say, I can't do this work for you because what you are sensitive to might not be what the next person is sensitive to. So you have to tune into your own body. At a certain point you can't rely on somebody else to just tell you what to do. You have to feel it all yourself. Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: I think that's very wise on your part because I think again, so many people come forward with a diet. But it's really not about the food and the diet, it's really about the individual and how they're interfacing with the food. So I think that's really important for the audience to understand. And I think even though that may be frustrating for the audience to hear that, well, you can't just tell me what to eat. There's actually a real opportunity there for you to actually lean into it, do some sensitivity testing, some things like that, and actually figure these things out because ultimately you have to take control of your own health. Nobody else can take control of it for you, nobody else can take control of your diet. And I think one of the other things for people to understand that I really appreciated about what you were saying, Autumn, was that when you were feeling woe is me, why is this happening to me thing, that you were able to reframe that and look at that as an opportunity. And I think that's how everyone should be looking at their health, their performance levels when they bump into that thing that they don't want. It's like, oh, this is not a woe is me, this is an opportunity. This is the world biology telling me that whatever I was doing isn't working the way that it should at this point in my life, it's time to make an adjustment. And what we do in our teens and 20s and 30s, it changes decade to decade or maybe even every five years. What worked then is not necessarily going to work now. So just because you figured out how to work out when you were 35, when you're 55, you'll be doing things differently in order to maintain your optimal state. So it really takes a growth mindset in terms of how am I going to grow into this and how do I continue to adapt and grow? And how do I see this new bump in the road, if you will, how do I reframe that as an opportunity? Which is what you've done and now you've basically said, "Well, I'm going to share this wisdom basically with more people." So that's a great thing. Cool. Autumn Calabrese: Yeah. I do think that's really important for people to recognize that when something doesn't feel right in your body, it's not, yes, something times we do need a pill. Obviously I need a thyroid pill, but your body is giving you a gift. It's telling you that something is off, I shouldn't feel this way. So instead of going, I have this crazy rash and I can't figure out why and I can't get rid of it. It's not why do I have rash, let me... There's something going on, your body's talking to you. So I hope that that's what people start to take from it too is-
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. Your body's talking to you, the question's are you receiving the message? Or are you just trying to push it down because you just want to, I don't want to have to deal with it. And I get that too. I understand it's a pain to have to deal with stuff, but at the end of the day, if you just switch into receiving mode as opposed to squashing mode, you'll actually learn and grow and you'll be so much healthier for it. And that becomes actually a lifestyle choice in terms of how you take in that information that pays massive dividends for you throughout your life to come. So very cool.
Autumn Calabrese: And there's something that you say that when I heard you say this, I was so relieved to hear you say this as somebody who was going to be my doctor. You said, "You're married to t he question. You're not married to the answer."
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: That's right.
Autumn Calabrese : And that's huge for me because I felt like I would go in and see doctors or I would talk to people and they didn't even want to hear my question. They just wanted to give me their answer that they already knew was the answer. And I was like, "Well, how could you know that's the answer? You haven't heard me yet."
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. That's because professionals and it's not just doctors, it's accountants, attorneys, real estate people, it's any professional, even fitness people, they get married to a set of answers and they stop asking the questions. But really answers always have a shelf life, questions rather are more eternal. They're always there to keep spurring growth and development. And so we love that about our practice. And I think you're adopting that into your own mindset here is what I'm seeing, you're keeping asking the questions. So that's super fun for me to see. That's cool.
Autumn Calabrese : Yeah. I love that. Ask the questions. And I feel like if I'm doing the same thing now that I was doing 10 years ago, I probably have not asked the right questions for myself because I'm living and growing and changing daily, so things have to change within my routine regularly.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: A hundred percent. Yeah. No, that's really cool. Well, I'm excited that you're going to bring this forward and I hope you have massive success with it. What's anything else as you look out into the future that you're thinking about? I know this is coming right now, but do you have something beyond this or you're going to let it unfold?
Autumn Calabrese : You want to know what's crazy, Dr. Gladden, this is the first time in eight and a half years of me being with Beachbody that as I'm launching one program, I don't have the idea for the next one in the back of my mind. And while that stresses me out, because usually I'm banging my boss's door down like, "I'm ready to go with the next one." I'm really tryin g to take the time and be present in this moment and go, there's a reason I don't have the idea for the next one yet. It'll come when it's supposed to come. But maybe I'm supposed to be slowing down. I have had the pedal to the metal for probably 20 years if I'm being honest because it was long before I was with Beachbody. Before I was with a Beachbody, I was working 15 hour days. This might be the universe just saying this one's going to help a lot of people let's get out there and help a lot of people. A nd when we're ready to give you the next one, we will, but you need a minute to breathe because obviously if I'm not resting and rejuvenating a little bit, I can't function and produce at the level I want to do.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Absolutely. Well, whenever you're ready I'm happy to brainstorm that with you.
Autumn Calabrese: I love it. That would be amazing.
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Yeah. We can kick some ideas around, be fun.
Autumn Calabrese : Fantastic. And I'm excited, like I said, I'm coming to see you in a few weeks. We're going to do, I love data testing so I'm really excited to see the new facility and see what -
Dr. Jeffrey Gladden: Oh yeah, a lot going on. Well this has been great, Autumn, really a pleasure to chat with you. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. And even for the people that know you well, I think they probably learned some things about you. I think you were very candid and I really appreciate that as well. Because everybody's on a journey, nobody's path is straight. Everybody runs a gauntlet of some sort, everybody has hurdles to get over. It's just a question of how you face them. So that's really great. So thank you so much.
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