In this episode, Dr. Scott and Tommy examine how to actually form a new habit, in and out of the fasting and health worlds. Long-term changes can be difficult to begin and even harder to see them through to the finish line, so they find what the latest research says about doing just that. It turns out that accountability, encouragement, and making smaller changes slowly over time can make or break the long-term success of new habits.
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Fasting For Life Ep. 68
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:01] Hello, I'm Dr. Scott Watier,
Tommy Welling: [00:00:03] And I'm Tommy Welling, and you're listening to the Fasting for Life podcast, and
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:08] This podcast is about using fasting as a tool to regain your health, achieve ultimate wellness and live the life you truly deserve.
Tommy Welling: [00:00:15] Each episode is a short conversation on a single topic with immediate, actionable steps. We cover everything from fat loss on health and wellness to the science of lifestyle design.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:25] We started fasting for life because of how fasting has transformed our lives, and we hope to share the tools that we have learned
[00:00:30] Along the way.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:40] Hey, everyone, welcome to the Fasting for Life podcast. My name is Dr. Scott Watier. I'm here, as always, my good friend and colleague, Tommy Welling. Good afternoon to you, sir.
Tommy Welling: [00:00:47] Hey, good afternoon, Scott. How are you?
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:00:48] Rock and roll and rock and roll. And I love I love today's episode. I love the topic. I love the conversation. Something that I can relate to 1000 percent over. So I'm excited. And as always, we will talk through a couple of research articles, but more importantly, give some things that we can do in terms of taking some action on today's conversation. So it won't be a heavy science episode. Right. We talk a lot about blood sugar and insulin and fasting and what breaks a fast in our previous episodes. But really, this conversation was was built out of the last challenge that we came through. And it seems to just really wrap up why we see success with certain groups of people versus others. So, yeah, I'm excited to talk through it. So for today, really, it's going to be framed around the idea of how to stick to your health goals. And this can apply to really any goal. But we're going to apply it to specifically our journey, which is fasting for weight loss and health.
Tommy Welling: [00:01:52] Yeah, absolutely. And one of the most important goals, one of my most important goals for me and we're taking a long term approach here. So this isn't about losing five pounds or something like that. This is about long term health and how to maintain that and how to actually get there, especially if you spent a long time like I had going in the wrong direction so we can find ourselves with with with a good amount to lose or a good amount of of kind of health to regain. So sticking to to those goals and how to do that is is super important.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:02:27] And one of the things that we've kind of pivoted away from goal setting a lot more into habit forming. And there's a lot of research and science out there that talks through. And we'll highlight a few articles here in just a second. But the overview thought process of you've heard that twenty one days, twenty eight days, 90 days to form a habit. Right. We've got that neuroplasticity, that reprogramming of the brain to get into the habit. There's that great resource, that book out there, power of habit, atomic habits. There's all these different takes and kind of interpretations of what it is to obtain that long term success that you and I are hopeful on the path to obtain. We've we've hit a certain level of weight loss or health or energy or day to day life quality of life that we experience on a day to day. Right. So whatever that long term result of that long term goal is for you, the twenty one twenty eight 90 day framework can be interpreted, interpreted in a lot of different ways. And recently there was this perspective that the study that was done that showed that the actual average of all of those different time frames was about sixty six days. And the reason it was variable is because what they found is that if you're implementing an easy habit or an easy goal, like adding a glass of water with lemon to your morning routine before you start slugging down the coffee versus trying to run every day after work Monday through Friday, the water is going to be done in about three weeks and it's going to become a habit where the running after work every day are going to the gym every day, Monday through Friday. That's going to take about six or seven months.
Tommy Welling: [00:04:12] Yeah, that makes sense because obviously it's a lot easier to add a glass of water than it is to start running every single day. It's it's a matter of how many different moving pieces are there. How many things did you have to move around to get that glass of water in versus to actually go on that run and make it a successful thing? Right.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:04:30] And never for me if it involves running. No, I'll get on the erg. I'll do the peloton. But running now not going to happen.
Tommy Welling: [00:04:38] Yeah, I was I was never built for it. It doesn't it doesn't matter what what my weight is or cardiovascular athleticism. So it works
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:04:47] Itself in other ways.
Tommy Welling: [00:04:49] It's it's just a matter of of, of the complexity and the the number of layers that you kind of have to work through and other things you have to work around. So I think that's that's really good to understand why it can be so variable, depending on what the exact habit is.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:05:04] And a lot of the conversation will start around the beginning of the year. And I know we're now into the second quarter here, but, you know, the whole New Year's resolution thing and I've done multiple workshops in the past and talk through this where like health lifestyle changes take time. And you were just speaking to that complexity. Right. So. Right. Know when you first make the goals, your motivation is at its highest. But sticking to the changes long term is the hard part. So, you know, the two biggest ones every year, exercising more and eating better. Right. Those are typically what people will say if they make New Year's resolutions or have goals at the beginning of the year. And that's the. A lot of common knowledge that, right, a common experience. Yes, exercise is good for you. That's pretty much indisputable at this point. And then eating better apple versus the doughnut analogy. That's so good for you. Yeah, right. So we can agree. Right. So those are the top two. But research out of twenty twenty shows that 80 percent of people give up on them by the second week in February. Ouch. Well, I mean, yes, I can attest to this, they don't need a research article to prove it. I've done it right over and over and over again, 30 day challenges we did in January. By February 15th, you know, half the group had been reporting that they'd fallen off or what we do in our 10 day challenges. If they don't continue in the continuity portion, people will come back and say, hey, a couple of weeks later, I just couldn't make it stick. Well, yeah, there's reasons for that. We want to talk through it.
Tommy Welling: [00:06:32] Yeah, absolutely. Because when you come in in that motivation is high and you're ready to go, you can kind of power through that. That's a lot of willpower that you have kind of saved up. And a lot of times that's from the kind of lack of of good habits and discipline that that happened right beforehand. We can get to a point where it's like the scales at an all time high because it's January 1st and Thanksgiving was rough, Christmas was worse, and then New Year's. And then now I'm just I've reached this frustration point. And then that becomes that becomes the fuel for the for the willpower and for the next step. Right. But that's only going to last so long, especially as we we kind of undo some of that and we start to go in the right direction. And then our excitement about the new habits kind of goes down really quickly.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:07:22] And it doesn't have to just be the beginning of the year. Right. There could be football season. Sure could be here in Texas, high school football, Friday Night Lights, it could be a new job. It could be more traveling with that new job. It could be a new marriage. It could be the opposite. It could be a divorce, a stressful situation. It could be something that you're going through where like, all right, I'm coming out, I'm on fire and out of the gates. I'm back on track, so to speak. And the biggest thing that we found for you and I, we had it, you, you, you and I, we're kind of on a similar journey. You were a few months ahead of me in terms of putting fasting into our day to day life and actually like an insulin friendly lifestyle, et cetera, was the accountability was having someone on the outside to rely on, you know, and what the research is showing is that it's extremely important for lifestyle changes. If you get a new job, it's really you don't really need a mom or dad or a friend or a brother or a wife or a spouse or the neighbor to come over and say, hey, hey, Tommy, it's time to go to work today. You just got that new job like you really you really need that level of encouragement, like, OK, yeah, I got to get a get up. I got to get my coffee, get in the car, go. Right. Yeah, but it comes to the lifestyle changes. What's been shown. There was a recent study out of Stanford University making checking phone calls every two weeks on exercise programs or exercise programs, increased participants, total exercise by an average of 78 percent. I was like, wait a minute, seven to eight. Now, there's no hyphen in there. Seventy eight percent.
Tommy Welling: [00:09:03] That's incredible.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:09:05] Yeah, I kind of like was like, whoa, OK, so we have we have a new exercise piece of equipment in our house. So now I need someone to call. I need peloton to, like, send me a message every two weeks, like, hey, buddy. And guess what they do. They send you an email of a recap of what you've done and what they think you should do the following week. That's cool. And it's no different than a lot of, you know, coaching programs out there. And, you know, in our continuity group, we do Cunard's every two weeks. So who knew? We just kind of found that that was a time frame that worked. And here's a cool study showing that, yeah, for exercise specifically. Seventy eight percent increase.
Tommy Welling: [00:09:42] Yeah, those chicken points are huge. And I think it's I think it's really good to remember just going back less than two years now when when you and I kind of started going down this path and we were working on our own fasting in the beginning and just texting back and forth, calling bouncing ideas off each other. OK, well, what about what about this schedule for this week? And hey, I'm going through a forty eight and I'm in a really tough spot like help me through this spot right here.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:10:12] Help us.
Tommy Welling: [00:10:14] Right, so that those touch points and the accountability like just, just knowing you were going to get that text like hey how did that fast go. Well I'm going to have to answer that question. So I mean, that's one additional strength piece of that piece of muscle fiber wanting me to, you know, to successfully complete that that fast.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:10:35] And I want to yeah. There's a couple of things here, too. There's the external accountability, right? Like the things we just mentioned, the check ins, the the text messages, the Q and A, that kind of thing. The the the accountability to a coach, let's say, which we'll talk about. But then there's also the internal stuff too. What I like about that study was it showed they did an eighteen month later. Eighteen month. Follow up later on down the road, and it showed that that group had a higher, much higher level of compliance, 18 months post study, so it showed that they continued to keep that habit, even though it's a difficult habit right now. But it found it found that 18 months later there were still sticking to it, which I thought was cool because that's the whole point. Like, you want to put all that time, effort and energy forth just to fall back off the wagon again and then get frustrated and start over like that's where people start to give up. And I was on that path. I just hadn't gotten to the give up point, but I got into a couple of points of really high frustration where it's like, screw it, nothing's working. You know, maybe what was me, right?
Tommy Welling: [00:11:43] Mm hmm. I think that's that's that's really cool that they found that and that they check back in 18 months later. Because if you think about it, if you were going through a seventy eight percent higher compliance rate or actual exercise rate during during that time frame, you got in almost double the reps, double the time, double the number of days. When you went to the gym, you successfully completed that exercise component. So you made deeper, deeper impact into that new habit set. And so so it makes sense that 18 months later, it was much more likely to be around.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:12:20] I love the the little the basic premise that people that write lists when you check something off the list or you tell yourself you're going to do something like a deadline or a new process, a new habit that you're trying to put in, and then you do it. Your brain gets that little dopamine hit that little positive reinforcement over. Yup. Checked it off. Let's keep going. Yep. Checked it off. Got it. You know what to do here. So there was another study in the American Society of Training Development that found that it was an accountability study. And I like to use the word encouragement in replace of accountability, too, like because a lot of times accountability is in the form of it turns into like, hey, I need some encouragement here. Right. Right. And it showed that you're sixty five percent more likely to complete your goal if you commit to someone else and just putting that out there. So we like to say, you know, a vision never will come to fruition. If you never tell to anybody, you'll do yourself. Yeah. You got to get it out there. I got to get out of your comfort zone and put it out there to somebody. And I think that's some of the power of like these these these social media groups like the Facebook groups and big followings and all that kind of stuff, like knowing that someone else out there is putting in the work and doing it. It's like you have that little piece of connection, right? I'm not talking about the people like that are out there selling shoes or sneakers, but even that. Right. Like that, that connection to the old version of shoe that you had when you were like eighteen years old, there's a connection piece. They're like, oh man, I can get my hands on those again. And even though they were still making, you know, converse chequerboard slip on shoes or whatever the heck they were. Yeah, I have no idea what I'm talking about. So I'm going to go back to something that I do feel a little bit more comfortable speaking about.
Tommy Welling: [00:14:00] The like mindedness is what I'm hearing like like knowing that you're part of something that's a little bit bigger. It's not just you. You're not on an island by yourself, but there are other people moving towards a similar path. And like, that's that's really important. I mean, we're social beings. We tend to want to go with people who we trust and we feel like this camaraderie in this connection with and we want to end up in the same or a similar spot as as they are going. So it makes sense that that can kind of be a nice little nudge or kind of a kind of a push for, um, like that encouragement and that accountability for you, even when the times get a little bit tougher.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:14:40] There was one more stat that I want to share, and it was your chance of success can increase up to ninety five percent if you also carry out specific accountability appointments with the person you committed to. And I see this personally in my own life, but also my wife. She has a friend who lives in Florida. They they do a book or a Bible study or, you know, some form of they read and get together. They send each other Markopoulos, like every Sunday into Monday. And it just holds that accountability of, hey, I've just done the work. Even if it's last minute. Right. You've still done the work to then go have a conversation. And that encouragement, that accountability, that like mindedness, there's that place to go. Yeah. To be able to do that. And with fasting, you know, we joke around the first two rules of fasting when you start, ah, don't talk about fasting and don't talk about fasting because you're going to get a lot of resistance because people don't typically understand not just what you're doing, but really, most importantly, why you're doing it, which is really the underlying crux of it all. Like it's it's your why it's you're doing it for a reason. So people tend to push back a little bit when it's different or it sounds fringe like you're just not going to eat.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:15:51] So that's what I love about our community Facebook group and. It's just a place where people can come and ask questions and and go, and that's why I feel like we get a lot of questions, too, and we ask for it. We wanted this to be conversational. So shoot us a message. And for the fasting for life dotcom, you find the Fasting for Life Community Group on Facebook. Facebook is my favorite thing overall, but I love the fact that you have we have these places where we can go. I try to limit my social media time because it's addicting. Like start scrolling. Right? I know. It's a common thing, right, so it's like, all right, no, I've got work to do, let's go. I'm going to go here, get my little bit of encouragement and then I'm going to move on. So finding that accountability. And for me know, we talk a lot about external accountability, right? Finding that that that partner or that person that you can you can know fasting, buddy, typically don't start with your spouse. Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones. You were in the digital medium, but.
Tommy Welling: [00:16:57] Right. I'm smiling because I'm remembering back. A couple of years ago, I couldn't have started with my spouse. She was not she was not on board. When I first when I first started, she wanted me to do other things and keep going with the way that wasn't working. I love her. But she was she was worried that it sounded a little drastic and she wanted me to do something a little less drastic. And that's that that she felt more comfortable with. But I said, I've been doing that and it hasn't been working. So I need to try something, something else. So I'll encourage you to support me in the beginning. I'll let you know if I feel funny or weird, but just just stick with me for maybe a week or two. Let's see how this goes and then we'll take it from there. She said, OK, so she gave me enough or enough room to to go.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:17:39] Yeah, it's not something we hear a lot too. It's hard when you don't have that support. So finding accountability partners is the first thing. And you know, my wife still doesn't fast. She jokes. She's like, I slept. I fasted eight hours because what she does and how her body was recovered. Yeah, right. Oh my God, I'm so hungry. It's ten hours in. But she gets great results like she's lean, she's healthy. Like she's, she's, she's crushing it. Right. So what she's doing is working. So it was cool. One study show that couples who worked worked out together. Have a rate of just a drop out rate of six percent, which is 36 percent lower than those who work out separately. So like working out together, like if I go back to my my when I was in grad school, I used to get up at 5:00 a.m., run to the gym, which is a couple hours away, workout with my good friend and then run home. It was like one point five miles, right? Yeah. Well, and, you know, there are some mornings when that alarm went off at four forty five. Right. Like, I text him to be like, hey, you up? And if I didn't get a response, there are some mornings where I would go back to bed, but if I got a response, you better darn well believe the man I was put in those shoes on, putting those shorts on, either hopped on my bike or or hitting the pavement to get to that gym because I knew he was going to be there waiting for me. But on the mornings. So we would always send that like that distressed text. Right. Hey, I'm awake. I don't really want to do this. It's really early like these. Don't respond.
Tommy Welling: [00:19:15] Please don't respond.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:19:16] Yeah. Yeah. And then you said a little bubbles and you're like, OK, great, I'll go.
Tommy Welling: [00:19:21] And yeah, you know, that that speaks to us not wanting to disappoint somebody else, but we it's much easier and much more comfortable to disappoint ourselves will forgive ourselves a lot faster. And we don't we don't want to disappoint somebody else. This is a great example.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:19:37] Yep. So find an accountability partner is one, you know, understanding the basic premise of goals versus habits. Find a group, find someone that you can do it with. That's why church groups work so well. That's why support groups work. Right. So find a group that you can be a part of. There's a ton of groups out there in terms of health and wellness. Find something that you vibrate with or something that kind of aligns with your values. And then another way to to increase that accountability is design some type of habit tracking. So some type of small thing you can do that has limited resistance. That's easy. It doesn't take thirty minutes every morning. Yeah, maybe it's five minutes at night or five minutes in the evening. I used to use the index card so I'd write down my top three things that need to be done that day. Right. And then that would be. That would be it. There would be those would be my three things. Right. And now it's the morning routine is set in a way where it's all right. Five minutes here, five minutes here. My computer set up the night before. I've got my list of things I need to address, a couple of emails I need to send. Like, so finding those little habits, if it's water, if it's sleep, if it's checking in with your accountability partner, if it's reading whatever that is.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:20:45] But design a habit tracker that works for you. And I would encourage you not to try to build the Taj Mahal on day one. Like, start with, you know, the two card kind of cart if you're going to build like a card house. You ever done that? Yeah, before and before technology. Back in the day, we'd get a deck of cards and literally try to build a card house. Right. So just start with the two that you lean up against side by side. All right. Let's start with that. A tepee for your new habit tracking. Like, just start putting something simple in. And then as you get those winds, the more complex stuff will become easier. So to relate it to fasting, really, that's if you've been intermittent fasting, go to more of a twenty two hour window or a twenty four hour window, do the one meal a day. Right. If you're new to fasting, maybe start out with the 18 hour, 16 or 18 hours and then do that for a few days as you get more comfortable, then push it an hour or two a day until you get to the point where you're seeing the results that you're looking for. But try to come up with some simple thing that you can do to to build in that internal accountability, which is in itself the habit tracker.
Tommy Welling: [00:21:52] Yeah, I think that's all really good, actionable advice, because, you know, wherever you are, you can you can always push yourself to the next level. But sometimes it's not about a new PR, a new personal record. Sometimes it's about staying consistent because that's where that's where we see a lot of folks kind of fall off. Like we've we've seen a lot of people who've done longer, fast, seven, 10, 30 days even, but can have trouble sticking to to like a really tight mohmad or a thirty or thirty six hour fast where it's just the consistency piece. So like you're talking about building in one or two new habits or new tools that will help you stay more consistent is probably going to get you a lot farther on your on your goals, on your journey.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:22:37] And one thing with farseeing to is you can always do some tracking. You can do blood sugar, you can do ketones, you can use the scale, even though some people that's not their favorite thing in the world, you know. So find something that resonates with you and put that in as well. And I know personally, for me, if I have big projects that need to be done or business side of stuff, like I always like to have a coach that's going to hold me accountable. I work better with deadlines. Right, Tommy? So just you and I in, you know, the stuff that we do for fasting, it's like, well, no, if we never put podcast recording on the schedule, it would never get done, right? Absolutely. We love the conversation, but there's a lot of prep that goes into it and we absolutely enjoy it. And we're always like, oh, man, we really love that episode. Right. But like, if we don't put it on the schedule and have that accountability, I don't know if I'd be doing this if there wasn't two of us like that. Right. The monologue man, that's got to be one of the hardest. That's why I think everybody does interviews.
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:23:31] The monologue is like really tough. Right? So I don't know if I ever would have started. So I really like the framework of the accountability and the encouragement. And there's a bunch of different ways to get there. But you just got to figure out what works for you. And with fasting, there's so many positive benefits to starting the fasting process. You want to remove as many of those little speed bumps and hurdles as you can in the beginning. So I really like the framework of finding that accountability, getting a fasting body put in some daily basic habit tracking, do some blood testing or some weight monitoring. Try to keep it simple, though, because that way those habits are going to be built faster, where if you put in this complex habit, like we mentioned at the beginning of the episode, it's going to take longer for that habit to set. Right. Like the working out five days a week or running after work every day. That's going to take you six to seven months to make that a habit. So start small kind of build and stack those as you go, I think is a really good place to start.
Tommy Welling: [00:24:37] Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, if you're if you're just getting started, go find the group or find the link to the community group, sign up for the newsletter. Just get get plugged in, get plugged into a network of like minded people kind of heading in the same direction and you'll find that much easier to kind of make those good farseeing decisions and stay on track for the long term
Dr. Scott Watier: [00:24:58] And for each grade. Right. So the faster our guide go to our website, the Fasting for Life Dotcom, you can just download a faster guide. It'll give you the six basic steps on how to put fasting in focused around the window eating window one meal a day. You can also find, like you said, time in the free community groups of fasting for life community on Facebook. That group is growing and there's so much engagement in there right now. It's super cool. Our moderator Casey is letting everybody in, welcoming them. And there's just a lot of great questions and and insights and a lot of great conversations. So in a perfect world, Tom, you and I would drop a podcast every single day because we see the value in the benefit of not just furthering our journey, but you and I's journey collectively, together with that accountability, but really the feedback, too. So we want to keep it conversational. Reach out to us if you got questions. And for the fasting for life dotcom, find the group, get on our newsletter. And Tommy, as always, thank you, sir. We'll talk soon.
Tommy Welling: [00:26:01] Thank you. Bye. So you've heard today's episode and you may be wondering where do I start? Head on over to the Fasting for Life Dotcom and sign up for our newsletter where you'll receive fasting tips and strategies to maximize results and fit fasting into your day to day life.
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