Episode #085

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Speaker 1: (00:03)

Welcome to the Health Babes Podcast with Doctors Becky Campbell and Krystal Hohn, where we talk about everything health.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (00:14)

Hey guys, I want to let you know that our new book, The Health Babes Guide to Balancing Your Hormones, is out in bookstores and on Amazon now. We try to break down the hormones for you in a really easy-to-understand format and make all the information very digestible. We have some really good recipes to support your hormone levels and some other great tips and tricks you can do at home. So go get your copy now.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (00:39)

So let’s welcome Noelle to the show. Noelle and I are friends; we go way back. I love her, I love her podcast, and I really, really love her message. So we’re going to talk a lot about some things that we don’t really hear people saying that much these days, and I just love your viewpoint on all this. So welcome to the show.

Noelle Tarr: (00:57)

Thank you, Dr. Becky. And the funny thing is how we met. You reached out to me, and you’re like: “Hey, I’ve got a message, and I think I’d be great on your podcast.” 

Dr. Krystal Hohn (01:06)

She’s amazing. That’s what she does.

Noelle Tarr: (01:08)

“Yes. You would be, when can you come on?” 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (01:12)

I have no shame.

Noelle Tarr: (01:12)

So then we just started talking from there, and it was meant to be.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (01:17)

And for those of you who don’t know Noelle’s podcast, I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts just because there are so many. I listen to your podcast all the time. It’s really, really good. So we love it, and we’ll lead people to that and everything else in the show notes. But let’s talk about body image. This is the topic for today. So we know that, as women, we are under an insane amount of pressure to look good, to look like we’re doing everything right, and all that stuff. So, how can we protect ourselves from the pressure? And how can we protect our peace with all this?

Noelle Tarr: (01:54)

Gosh, how much time do you have? So, it’s something that I am developing my viewpoint around on a daily basis because it’s constantly changing. The internet and social media have [not only] transformed the way we view others but also the way we view ourselves. We are constantly comparing; we are constantly looking at other people and what they’re doing and then evaluating [ourselves]—do we measure up? “Am I able to keep up with that?” “Well, she can do that, and she has kids. Why can’t I do that?” And it’s become incredibly toxic, especially in the diet and fitness space. Now, like you, I surround myself [with] and only follow people who aren’t part of that culture. But then you go to your little Discover tab or whatever, or you might just Google something, and the stuff that comes up is so toxic. It is completely centered around one thing, and that is weight loss and the number on the scale.

Noelle Tarr: (03:02)

So, even though there’s been a lot of pushback in recent years—I mean, nobody was talking about body image; seven to eight years ago, when I came out with a few things, nobody was even talking about that as an important aspect of health—now we have so much more of that, like, actually recognizing the importance of physical, mental, and emotional health and how that all works together. I still feel like it’s so pervasive, and it is so hard for women [in their] twenties, thirties, and forties, like all of us, especially aging millennials. I’m an aging millennial. I’m getting to that age where you start to see a lot of physical changes that you’re not really ready for. 

Noelle Tarr: (03:57)

And you have to decide: How are you going to move forward? Am I going to move forward in a way that is constantly shaming myself, going on this rollercoaster of dieting? Am I going to try to keep going after the last 5 or 10 pounds? Or am I going to take this other path?—which is: I want to pursue health. I want to pursue movement and nutrition in a way that actually supports my physiology, even though that might not get the number on the scale to move. Because, quite frankly, there are a lot of things that we do that are health-supportive that actually don’t move the number on the scale at all. And there are a whole lot of things that you can do to move the number on the scale that are not healthy at all. That’s how I spent, I would say, probably my first 7 to 10 years of adulthood, only pursuing the things that would get the number on the scale to move and constantly evaluating myself and my success, the success of my workout program, and the success of controlling my food.

Noelle Tarr: (04:51)

All of that was evaluated based on: Did I get the number on the scale to move today? And it became so incredibly toxic. And that just sets women up for having a terrible relationship with their bodies. So while I’m not against weight loss by any means, I’m not against body changes [either]. Like, I’m proactively trying to change my body right now. I love lifting, and I’d like to get more definition. I want to look more muscular. And that’s totally fine and normal. What I think is the problem as a society is that we have elevated thinness and getting the number on the scale to move above everything else. And as a result, most women end up tanking their mental and emotional health, and sometimes their physical health. Hormones, cortisol, adrenal function, and thyroid health—all of those things take a nose dive when we are chronically starving ourselves, let’s be honest, and overexerting ourselves.

Noelle Tarr: (05:46)

I’m sure a lot of people listening are active, and they’ve already got a lot going on. They’re mothers. So we have to really look at our lives through that lens. And it’s hard. It’s really hard to curate ourselves in a way that protects our peace so that we don’t get so wrapped up in that. It really is hard. So some of the tips that I always give to women who are like, “How do I pursue protecting my health and mental health [while] improving body image?”—because most of us were just raised to hate our bodies, it’s just what happens, and it gets harder and harder—the number one thing that I recommend is first making sure that you take a lot of that stuff out of your feed. Follow people who are actually speaking to health and not speaking to constant weight loss. There’s a way that you can pursue health and pursue the things that you want to, the goals for yourself, whether you have a chronic illness or you do want to improve your stamina and your strength. There’s definitely a way to do that. And there are a lot of people who aren’t focused on that. But honestly, that’s easier said than done.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (06:50)

It is, yes.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (06:51)

Well, that’s why we never talk about weight loss—ever. I think I’ve written one article, and it was [about] attaching histamine to having an issue and why inflammation might cause you to have a little trouble losing weight. But in general, there’s so much to weight and why some people carry more weight than others. So we never advertise: “We’re going to make you lose weight.” No. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (07:20)

It may be the result of lowering inflammation and balancing hormones, right?

Dr. Becky Campbell: (07:27)

But the goal is to be healthy. And that’s how we feel, for sure.

Noelle Tarr: (07:33)

And honestly, I think one of the really important things to note if you’re struggling with your body image is when you start to feel shame about yourself. Note why that is. Usually, it is somebody marketing something. It’s marketers telling us that something is wrong and that we need to lose weight. So whether you’ve got this cellulite, “I’ve got this cream that’s going to fix it, look at how unsightly this is,” or “You should be struggling to lose the last 10 pounds”; which, by the way, what is that anyway? 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (08:01)

When is it the last 10? 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (08:02)

When is the last 10?

Noelle Tarr:  (08:03)

When is it? Exactly. When is that? 

Dr. Becky Campbell:  (08:07)

It’s never the last 10, right?

Noelle Tarr:  (08:07)

Or, “Look at this woman. She’s so happy because she got back to her genes in high school,” which, by the way: You were a child. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn:  (08:16)

It’s so true! You were a little kid.

Noelle Tarr:  (08:07)

But so many women are fixated. Their whole worldview is fixated on, “What was I when I was 18?” You were a child. That’s why your jeans fit the way they did, right? So as we age, we have to be able to recognize that marketing for what it is and say: “That’s not selling me health. That’s trying to make me feel bad about myself.” Shame is such a strong motivator. It will make you do anything. And look, I’ve been there. But it will make you hit ‘Buy.’ If you think this thing’s going to have the answer, you’re going to hit ‘Buy.’ So a lot of times, it’s horrible marketing. Well, it’s great marketing. It’s good from their perspective; it’s good, and it’s effective. But we have to be able to decipher and understand that.

Dr. Becky Campbell:  (09:04)

It’s also all the airbrushing.

Noelle Tarr:  (09:06)

Oh, the filters. 

Dr. Becky Campbell:  (09:07)

There’s airbrushing and whatever—the different things you can do with these apps. And everyone’s bodies turn really kind of weird. And all the same. And it makes everyone else feel like: “Why doesn’t my body look… ?” Because you didn’t have a $25,000 surgery. That’s why it doesn’t look like that. But besides that, even without that, like the cellulite thing, everybody’s airbrushed. You can’t compare your cellulite to the girl on Instagram. She’s not going to post her cellulite. And God bless the ones that do, because that—

Noelle Tarr: (09:42)

Yes. Normalize it. Cellulite is normal. 

Dr. Becky Campbell:  (09:45)

It really is. 

Noelle Tarr:  (09:47)

We all have some. 

Dr. Becky Campbell:  (09:48)

I sure do. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn:  (09:49)

Me too!

Noelle Tarr: (09:51)

I’ve literally had it since I was 12. I have stretch marks from when I had a growth spurt at age 12. And I remember feeling so bad about that as a teen. I was an active teen, and all around my legs and my hips, I had stretch marks. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is so bad”. Why did I think that was so bad? It’s just your body adapting and stretching. How amazing that our skin moves! But it’s those little messages that we even get as teens that last with us through adulthood. “I shouldn’t have any cellulite.” “This is unsightly.” Or, “I shouldn’t have these stretch marks. I need to fix this. How do I get rid of it?” And I understand that. At some point, yes, it might be something you want to change or improve. And that’s totally fine too. If you want to improve your lymphatic flow, go for it. That’s awesome. Definitely support your lymphatic flow. But if we’re feeling constant shame about the way something looks when literally 95% of women have it—the rest just don’t have it yet—it’s a problem. So it’s obviously society or marketing telling us it’s wrong so that they can sell us a product to fix it.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (10:57)

Yes. Agreed. For sure. 

Dr. Krysal Hohn: (10:58)

So what are some ways for listeners to assess their health without the scale?

Noelle Tarr: (11:05)

Yes. I love talking about this because I feel like it gets us to what we all really want. We want to see marketable improvements in our health so that we feel better, move better, can pick up our kids and whatever, run outside, play, and do all the things that we want to do in life. That improves our quality of life. And before I get into this, one of the things that a lot of people assume is that when you get down to the number on the scale that you want to get to, you’re going to be finally happy, right? 

Dr. Krysal Hohn: (11:52)

Nope. It never works that way.

Noelle Tarr: (11:53)

Finally, I’m here. So many women spend so much of their lives just trying. “Gosh, I wish I could just get there. Gosh, I wish I could just get there”. And then you get there, and then it’s still not good enough. So your health is not a destination. It is something that will change throughout your life. And when we have that shift in perspective, we’re not enslaved to [thinking], “I’ve got to get to this number, or I’ve got to see the number on the scale move.” We can instead say: “Oh wow, I have more energy. I’m doing the right things.” Somebody reached out to me once, which just totally broke my heart. It was like: “I’m doing this. I was really working on this, doing an awesome workout plan. I was having more energy, but after three weeks, I got on the scale, and I had gone up a pound. So I stopped doing everything because I felt like it wasn’t working.”

Noelle Tarr:  (12:36)

And that’s the way that most people have been conditioned. So when we can remove ourselves from that and say: “Oh wow, improved energy and strength—like, that’s working. That means it’s actually working and doing something.” So I personally really like energy levels. As the first biomarker, I feel that so many women are struggling with fatigue. And that can be for a lot of reasons [such as] life, stress, and all those things. But if your energy levels are improving, it’s likely because you’ve reduced stress in some way in your life and/or you’re moving more, getting more sunshine, and doing all the right things. You’re moving in the right direction.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (13:11)

And eating better foods, all that. Yes.

Noelle Tarr: (13:13)

Eating sufficient nutrients, minerals, and all those things. Mental health is a really important one. I think most adults at this point struggle with some sort of anxiety, depression, or worry. And it’s, unfortunately, something that, going back to social media, research has shown that the more time you spend on social media, the more depressed you are, which is so sad. Because a lot of lonely people are spending more time on social media, and it’s a cycle. But if you have less anxiety, maybe less spinning in your head, especially when you’re trying to go to sleep, and you feel a little bit more rested, that’s an improved biomarker. And exercise alone really improves those mental health biomarkers, not to mention getting out in the sun and having community support, and all those things that we talk about are really important.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (14:08)

And laughing. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (14:08)

Yes. Having fun. 

Noelle Tarr:  (14:13)

Yes! Having fun!

Dr. Becky Campbell:  (14:13)

We had an interview or something the other day. Afterward, we were laughing so hard. And I’m like, “I feel like I just had a session with a trauma therapist.” I mean, I got so much out—just from the stress that was built up before. We were reset. We’re like, “We’re ready to go now!”

Noelle Tarr: (14:35)

That’s awesome. It’s like a dopamine high. Yes, totally.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (14:40)

It is! We were crying. I’m like: “Ooh. I did some abs with that.”

Noelle Tarr: (14:45)

Yes. Laughing—core work—laughing.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (14:49)

Yes. That’s so true. Well, when you talk about the scale, I always tell patients: “I have no idea how much I weigh.”

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (14:59)

And I don’t get on it because it will—

Dr. Becky Campbell: (15:01)

It does mess with you mentally. And there’s so much that goes with that. There are reasons [why] you gain weight. It could be that you’re gaining muscle. Don’t weigh yourself. Literally, I’m like, “Don’t weigh yourself.” Years ago, maybe I weighed myself, and that was the last time. I don’t care. Because it will mess with you psychologically for sure. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (15:25)

Even the strongest people. Even if you say: “Uh, I’m good.” Eh, not really.

Noelle Tarr: (15:34)

Okay. And I’ll mention the last few. This is, of course, one you know a lot about, which is thyroid numbers. Actually, have a full thyroid panel. See what your thyroid numbers are doing. Digestion is a huge one. So many people don’t actually use this as a biomarker of health. But if you go from being constipated constantly or [having] loose stools all the time—which can be caused by a lot of different things [such as] stress, microbiome dysfunction, infections, and all those things… But if you go to having normal poops, that’s a huge win. That is a good biomarker shift, even if the scale has not shifted. Inflammatory markers, I think, are important to look at. Again, that is, like, your core health. Is what you’re doing improving your inflammatory markers? And if it is, then good; you’re doing great.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (16:22)

Yes. You’re doing good.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (16:23)

So good, yes.

Noelle Tarr: (16:24)

And the last one is just hormone health overall, and that can be so many different things. But in general, for a lot of women, this is the number one problem that I see: Women think they’re doing all the things that are “healthy”—restricting calories, working out, doing a lot of HIT training, high-intensity work—and they end up tanking their hormonal health. So cortisol becomes more chronic. Workouts are stress, you all. And if you’re constantly doing high-intensity work when you’re also a mom, an entrepreneur, or doing all these things, it’s not going to work out for you. High cortisol [levels] impact your endocrine system in such profound ways. Low progesterone and high testosterone, which I see a lot. We saw a lot of this physiological shift, where a lot of CrossFit women were struggling with high testosterone all of a sudden. And when you’re undereating in that phase, which is what so many fitness experts recommend, “Drop your calories, increase your exercise,” it is just a recipe for disaster.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (17:27)

Or stress on top of it so much.

Noelle Tarr: (17:29)

Adrenal dysfunction—yes, all of that—on top of the stress we already deal with on a day-to-day basis, which I do feel has reached a new level. Maybe every generation said this, but I do feel that with 2020 and the influx of the internet and social media, in our culture, we just have this whole productivity [approach]. “That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to be productive; you’ve got to keep going. You’ve got to be [inaudible].”

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (17:56)

It’s always in your face. It’s always in your face.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (17:57)

Yes. It’s about being a boss babe, right? The boss bitch.

Noelle Tarr: (18:00)

“Your kids need to be in… “

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (18:02)

Every sport?

Noelle Tarr: (18:03)

Yes, sports, high producers, academics. You’re taking care of other humans while also trying to change the world and “make sure you’re involved with causes and speaking out when everybody else is speaking out.”

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (18:16)

Oh my gosh! Yes!

Noelle Tarr: (18:20)

Right? The expectations are so high.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (18:24)

Just thinking about it.

Noelle Tarr: (18:25)

But just one of those things is enough.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (18:29)

It’s so true. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (18:30)

It’s so true. You think about it, and you’re like, “Holy crap!” If you really sit down and think about all the stuff that we have to do, even as women and moms, it’s insane!

Noelle Tarr: (18:43)

I know. It really is.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (18:45)

I had a friend on social media say to me one time during one of the movements—I’m not going to specify—”I think you need to make a statement.” And I was like, “No!” 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (18:56)

Mm-hmm. It’s too stressful. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (18:57)

“I’m not doing that. I’m like, “Listen, I’m here to educate people on histamine and whatever [else on the topic of] functional medicine. I have enough going on in my life. I’m not going to make some statement and have 75,000 comments from people’s opinions about what I said. No, thank you.” I won’t read stuff like that on social media. I won’t participate in it. I don’t do anything like that. I think people know where I stand on things [because of] the way I am. And this isn’t what my platform is. So I think you have to be really careful about stuff like that.

Noelle Tarr: (19:34)

Yes. Protecting your peace. You do.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (19:36)

Protecting your peace.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (19:37)

Putting a boundary up.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (19:38)

Yes. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (19:39)

It’s all about boundaries.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (19:41)

Yes, I’m here to talk about how to be healthy, and that’s where things end for me in front of the public. And I think it’s really important too, what you said about social media. It’s not that social media is a bad thing. It’s that what is being fed to you through social media… You have to really know how to navigate that. I don’t spend much time on social media. I actually don’t have any personal social media accounts. But when I’m on there, I’m on there to learn or to laugh. Those are my two prerequisites for a post I’ll read: If you can make me laugh or make me learn, I’m down. But anything else, I’m out of there. I don’t want to watch a bunch of people argue. I don’t want to watch something that makes you feel bad about the way you look. No thanks. So I think you can navigate that; you just have to know how.

Noelle Tarr: (20:29)

It’s interesting that you’re saying that. Now I’m really thinking about it because TikTok is a whole new thing.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (20:34)

Oh my gosh! 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (20:35)

People on there are mean!

Noelle Tarr: (20:38)

They are not the most friendly.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (20:39)

No, they’re not.

Noelle Tarr: (20:41)

And I don’t post, but I have been engaging with content or just swiping and seeing what comes up. So the thing with TikTok is that it’s actually a really good generator of content. It’ll see what you’ve engaged with, and then it’ll keep feeding you that. And I’ll tell you what. What it started feeding me in the beginning were arguments: Arguments in public, arguments between flight attendants and people flying, police officers, or shoppers. And, oof, one thing that’s really popular and that our culture is really obsessed with is murder cases, confessions, and all those things. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (21:53)

It’s all in your face all of the time.

Noelle Tarr: (21:18)

It’s all in your face. So you’re swiping, and you’re seeing it. And honestly, it stinks that as normal humans back in the day, we’ve never been bombarded by so much conflict, hatred, and crime—like, in your face, literally feeding it to you all the time. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (21:45)

Start watching comedians.

Noelle Tarr: (21:46)

Stop telling me this stuff! Yes. I don’t want to see this. It’s not actually healthy for people to constantly engage with this content. It adds to your stress burden.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (21:55)

Some people really love that. I mean, I’ve watched influencers say something really controversial on purpose, and they’re like, “All right, go.” And what they write in their thing. And I’m like, “Ugh! I would rather die than have that on my feed.” So for me, if I want TikTok, it’s all comedians. That’s the only thing—

Noelle Tarr: (22:15)

I love that. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (22:16)

That and narcissism, where people are talking about narcissistic abuse. I’m like, “Huh.”

Noelle Tarr: (22:24)

Wait, didn’t you just… You shared a clip, right? You shared a clip. I think you shared a clip, right? 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (22:28)

Yes.

Noelle Tarr: (22:29)

Yes. You interviewed somebody. That’s why. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (22:31)

We did. That’s how I find them.

Noelle Tarr: (22:31)

It was like, “She likes narcissists.”

Dr. Becky Campbell: (22:35)

Well, I was… Well, I won’t.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (22:36)

That’s a whole other podcast!

Noelle Tarr: (22:37)

You obviously have other narcissists in your life.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (22:41)

I’ve had some interactions around that. Apparently, inside my brain, it knows that I like to laugh. And also that I need a little coaching on that. [laughing]

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (22:50)

Mine’s, like, goldendoodles.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (22:51)

Like, the care bears are back with this new episode.

Noelle Tarr: (23:00)

I love that.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (23:01)

Oh my gosh! 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (23:03)

All right, let’s get back to what we’re talking about. All right, so let’s talk about actionable tips. So we’re talking about improving your views on body image. This is really important. So how do we do that?

Noelle Tarr: (23:17)

It’s a lot. I think one of the things that is really hard is that you kind of have to change your view of health in general—obviously, all those things we talked about. It’s one of those things that you just have to constantly have on cycle. You have to be able to see and recognize when you’re being marketed to and when it’s attempted shame. And also, maybe people don’t have bad intentions. When you’re scrolling and you see somebody post a mirror selfie, why do you feel bad about yourself? And is that valid? So we have to be able to talk through some of those things and almost coach ourselves out of that. And a lot of it is just constantly listening to things like the things I’m saying [that help] bring us back to reality about: What is health? And what do I want for my life? And is losing the last 5 or 10 pounds really pursuing this number on the scale? Is that worth it? What’s it going to get me? Is it going to make me happy? What do I want to achieve in this world?

Noelle Tarr:  (24:18)

So that’s number one. And it’s not to say that you’re never going to struggle. I still do. I still have moments in my closet where I’m like, “Oh gosh!” I have two kids, and my youngest is three. And it’s always a struggle of, “Can I wear that now? Is that bad or good?” And “Noelle, you don’t have to worry about that. It’s cool; you’ve got some new jeans too.” It’s just [about] talking yourself through those things.

Noelle Tarr: (24:45)

Another thing that I like to really encourage people with is to make sure that you understand that food doesn’t have morality. A lot of times, while we know that certain foods are more advantageous for us [because] they’re more nutritious and others are not, what the diet market loves to do is try to make you feel bad for eating something. [They’ll] tell you that this food is bad and you should never pursue it. So it kind of creates an obsession with food. Specifically, let’s say, whatever, a hamburger. Or let’s just even say it’s meat—meat has been demonized for a really long time—a hamburger, French [fries], whatever it is. What was it? It was a lot of stuff for me. It was peanut butter. That was the thing for me that was like, “Bad food!—too many calories in a scoop.” And once you get into that mindset, the food and what you’re trying to avoid literally take over your mind, and that’s all you think about. And then you get into that relationship where you’re like: “I’m trying to be good. I want to stay away from [inaudible].”

Dr. Becky Campbell: (25:50)

[inaudible] good. Ick.

Noelle Tarr: (25:51)

Yes, trying to be good.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (25:52)

Or bad. Good or bad—it’s just like, ick.

Noelle Tarr: (25:56)

Yes. Right. And we say these things constantly in front of our kids, FYI, and they pick up on it immediately. So they are learning, “Am I being a good person or am I being a bad person based on what I’m eating?” which is not a real thing. So then they start to identify, “Am I a good person? I shouldn’t eat that. That’s bad.” And that’s kind of the worldview that they have. So we have to watch our language but also make sure that we’re working through some of those things mentally. And understanding: “Okay, food does not have morality. I can actually eat a hamburger, peanut butter, or whatever, and it’s not a big deal. It’s literally just peanut butter. It’s fine.” And I get it; if you have a peanut allergy, it’s not fine. Don’t eat that.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (26:37)

That’s not the message we’re spreading today.

Noelle Tarr: (26:38)

What I’m trying to get at is… Oh my gosh, for me, when I went paleo, it was almond butter, which to me is really gross. It tastes like chalk. But for some reason, I was obsessed with it because it was like I tried to avoid it. So once I was able to take a step back and be like: “Okay, let’s just make decisions about what foods make you feel really good, and if you want a scoop of peanut butter, have it, but just enjoy it”. Instead of trying to resist, resist, resist. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (27:05)

Enjoy it and just forget about it.

Noelle Tarr: (27:06)

Yes. And then eat literally half a jar—like, what’s the point? So that’s another thing—improving your relationship with food. 

Noelle Tarr: (27:14)

And then lastly, of course, who are your friends, and what do they value? Who are you following on social media? This is why I say a lot of people have good intentions, and you could be following somebody who might be a little bit of a trigger for you or seems to be really aesthetically focused. And if that’s not what you want for your life, then you can unfollow. Just do it. It’s fine. You’re not going to miss out on anything. It’s cool. And really, make sure that you’re following people who support the way that you want to exist in the world and live in the world. That also has to do with your friends. There’s a big culture out there of women who are trying to do too much. I have people like that in my life where you see it. And you’re like, “I just want to get you out of that.” But that’s me, because I see it, and that’s what I do for a living. But you see them in this rat race of constantly trying to achieve more, work out more, and control their calories more. And you see these comments coming out constantly.

Noelle Tarr: (28:13)

So boundaries. Sometimes it’s somebody in your family that’s criticizing you, your body, or your food choices, and those can be triggers. So we do have to set healthy boundaries in order to protect our peace and our mental and emotional health while we work on our own personal relationships. And then, of course, there are some other things that you can do, like mind mapping or changing your brain. If you’ve had this view or even this fear and anxiety around food for so long, some things, like tapping or working through those fears, [may help]. [I know] acupuncture and a lot of those things can help you process a lot of those stress and fear reactions that you have around food or wearing a bathing suit and stuff like that, and, of course, therapy.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (29:02)

Yes. These are all really good points. They really are. Why does exercise improve your health, whether you lose weight or not? This is a really good topic that needs to be discussed.

Noelle Tarr: (29:14)

I love this. And I think it’s such a huge mental shift for people. It’s been an ‘Aha!’ moment. For a very long time, even to this day… It’s so interesting: If you look at the history of fitness, there used to be a lot of dudes lifting weights in the gym. Then we went into this aerobic culture. It quickly turned into “Exercise is for losing weight.” It was never about “Let’s build strength and all and get stronger” until more recently, which has been really cool to see. But still, the most pervasive thought process is like: “I want to get involved with exercise because I need to lose weight.” And that gets us back into that tailspin of: “Is this working? Am I losing weight? What’s the number on the scale?” And all of that.

Noelle Tarr: (30:02)

So once we can actually look at how exercise improves our health outside of that… There was actually a really amazing study that was done. And that’s kind of where this tagline comes from. They looked at people who were overweight. Technically, on the BMI scale, they were overweight. And they got into an exercise program. They were exercising regularly, and many of them, at the end of the study, had not lost any weight yet. And that’s fine. They do or they don’t. Maybe they will or they won’t after an extended period of time. But what they noticed was that there were so many physiological changes that massively improved their overall health. So the whole idea was, “Wow, exercise improves your health whether you lose weight or not.”

Noelle Tarr: (30:45)

And all these people were like, “What? That’s insane!” And to me, it’s like, “Of course it does,” right? So, what does the research say? First of all, all-cause mortality, which, aka, means death. Exercise alone is associated with a longer life expectancy, even at relatively low activity levels. I recently did a deep dive into [the question], “Do pets positively impact your health?” Because everybody says, “Oh, pets help you live longer?” They actually think that pets help you live longer because you’re taking your pet out to walk.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (31:18)

Exactly. Yes. You’re walking, moving your body, taking those exercise snacks.

Noelle Tarr: (31:26)

A small walk with your dog, whether it’s a few times a week or daily, can improve your life expectancy. So that’s how powerful exercise is for all causes of death, period. I mean, that could be enough for us, right? But I think another one that is really pertinent is respiratory function. Exercise has a massive improvement on our lung health—aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Why we’ve seen a lot of this research and these studies happen is [because] if you get sick with the flu or a popular respiratory illness, you have a better chance of surviving, and you have fewer complications overall if you have exercised previously. I think what they looked at was maybe [the amount of] exercise in the previous two years.

Drs. Becky Campbell:  (32:13)

Yes.

Noelle Tarr: (32:14)

If you exercised, you had better outcomes.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (32:15)

With COVID too. I had pneumonia when I had COVID. 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (32:21)

That helped you. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (32:22)

And I didn’t really feel… I kind of knew my lungs were being a little weird, but it wasn’t a giant thing as far as what affected me with COVID. It wasn’t like I couldn’t breathe or anything like that, because I get a lot of exercise, and I’m sure that helped. For sure.

Noelle Tarr: (32:42)

Oh, 100%, it did. I mean, at least that’s what the research says. Cardiovascular disease—we don’t necessarily need studies to tell us this—improvements in heart disease and stroke, and all of those things. Like, those markers dropped significantly. And we say that, “Oh, improve your heart; work out.” But if you actually look at the research—wow!—it is robustly associated with a lower risk of stroke, heart disease, and all these things. It’s really profound, given that this is a huge killer in our society. For anxiety and depression, mental health exercise is scientifically proven, actually, as a mood booster. It decreases symptoms of both depression and anxiety. One of my other favorite ones is insulin sensitivity, mostly because so many people get hung up on carbs when it comes to insulin. I just posted yesterday on Facebook, which is a whole different crowd than the Instagram crowd.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (33:39)

It is!

Noelle Tarr: (33:40)

But I posted just an old meme, which was something like: “Carbs are not bad for you,” which I do believe. But I believe that some people are fine without carbs, and that’s fine too. But in general, carbs are not bad for you… unless you have kickback on it. But yes. But one of the comments that got me that I really wanted to respond to, but I didn’t—because, protect your peace—was, “Unless you have insulin sensitivity, then they’re definitely bad for you.” And I was like, “Not really,” because there are so many ways that we can improve insulin sensitivity that have nothing to do with the amount of fruit that we’re eating. Lowering inflammation, sleeping more and exercise alone—

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (34:21)

Stress.

Noelle Tarr: (34:16)

Yes, reducing your stress greatly improves insulin sensitivity. And you can still wake up and eat your potato or whatever. Do you know what I mean? You don’t have to take all that out. Anyway, a single bout of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity for at least 16 hours post-exercise. So that really impacts how the food you’re consuming throughout the day is being used, and I think that’s kind of a big deal. There’s something called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” It’s called EPOC. It rises. You have more EPOC if you do [things] like higher-intensity workouts. And when I say intensity, I don’t mean like you’re doing burpees over and over again. Intensity is also strength training. So doing a heavy lift is a high-intensity movement.

Noelle Tarr: (35:11)

When you strength train, specifically, you get a higher EPOC in comparison to something like cardio. And that raises your oxygen consumption, and your metabolism actually increases thereafter. So that has really profound effects on our overall metabolic function. My other [favorite]—I keep saying all these are my favorites—is, I think, the most important for our generation, which is bone density. Exercising regularly drastically improves bone density and, of course, muscle mass. Now, I don’t know about you, but I keep hearing that even young women are struggling with osteoporosis and osteopenia. Truthfully, I think it’s because so many women go out and do a bunch of cardio, they undereat, they’re adding all this stress to their lives—

Dr. Becky Campbell: (35:58)

And they’re on birth control. 

Noelle Tarr: (36:00)

They’re on birth control. And that is how the normal modern woman is existing. My grandmother lived till she was 89—she just died a little bit before her 90th birthday—and she died because she fell and broke a hip. This is another big cause of death for older people: The ability to recover from something like that and also [the ability] to have bone strength. And it’s scary for me because my grandmother was definitely not getting up and running miles and doing marathons. She actually lived on a farm—your traditional grass-fed farmer [dealing with] chickens. She did the things; she was living the ancestral life until conventional whatever took over and she started eating margarine, and then it was like: “Don’t do that now, grandma. Stop with the margarine. You’re okay. You were doing it right! You were doing it right!”

Noelle Tarr: (36:53)

But she’s a picture of health and staying active. She lived on her own when she was almost 90, and then she fell and broke a hip. So I think that we’re on the verge of a growing crisis for this generation as it changes and gets older. I did a deep dive on bone density at some point and how different exercise modalities impact bone density. Don’t kill the messenger, but unfortunately, high-mileage cyclists and runners have the lowest bone density because you’re leaching minerals from your bones. Your body is eating your muscles. So what we need is an actual load in order to encourage the bone to uptake calcium. You can’t just take calcium and expect it to be taken and deposited into the bone. It’s no different than eating protein, and now you’re building muscle. You have to actually give your body a load to encourage it to get stronger and start depositing minerals. And/or with your muscles, it’s muscle protein synthesis. So a stronger frame, stronger bones, and better balance—all of that stuff gets so important as we age, and that’s a huge benefit of exercise.

Noelle Tarr: (38:03)

I think that’s it, besides all the normal things: You might feel better, have better energy, and all those things. Those are big things that we can use or just consider when we’re trying to motivate ourselves, because not everybody has a ton of motivation to… Like, this morning, I didn’t really want to lift. I was tired and not feeling it. My husband and I are kind of in a fight, and I’m like, “I don’t want to be around you.” I was in a mood. I was in a mood, but it wasn’t that I couldn’t do it. I was just in a mood, right? But it’s not me killing myself in the gym and punishing myself, right? It’s: “Okay. I can do 20 minutes. I can handle 20 minutes. Let’s get an upper-body lift in. Let’s do something, and let’s just make sure that you’re not in pain throughout the weekend,” because lifting actually decreases my chronic pain. “Let’s make sure you’re not in pain. Let’s make sure you’re doing things to improve your bone density and insulin sensitivity. Let’s just set yourself up for a weekend of success,” and that’s what worked.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (39:00)

It’s true. And a lot of the time, once you start doing it, you’re like, “All right.”

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (39:02)

You feel better. You keep going. Like, “Okay.”

Noelle Tarr: (39:07)

Yes, you do.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (39:00)

One thing that I think is really important that you talk about, and we kind of hit on this a little bit, but I want to ask you this question. With our next generation, how can we teach them to have a healthier relationship with food and their bodies?

Noelle Tarr: (39:22)

Yes, this is a really hard one. I have a daughter who’s in elementary school, and I have a son who’s in preschool. So I just try to have very casual conversations with him, but it’s more so… Well, no, it’s really important for both of them to be honest. But I’m always kind of evaluating: How am I speaking, not only about myself but about their bodies and the foods that they’re eating? So this is really what it all comes down to: How are you speaking about food? How are you speaking about their body? How are you speaking about your body? I grew up in a household [where there] was constant self-deprecation but also tearing yourself down physically like: “Oh, I wish I could just get rid of this.” I mean, a lot of us grew up in dieting households, and that impacts your children.

Noelle Tarr: (40:11)

So we have to be able to—even if we don’t believe it yet—speak positively about ourselves and our bodies every chance we can within reason and try to speak about our bodies in a way that is uplifting ourselves and really appreciating all that it can do, as opposed to: “Well, wow, I have really great… Oh yeah, look at my stomach, it looks good.” Or, “Oh, this looks…” Get your attention off of your physical features and instead focus on all the things that it can do. Do that for yourself, but then also do that for your children. With my daughter, it’s hard because you have family members and people who want to make comments.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (40:52)

Oh yes. There are so many complexities

Noelle Tarr: (40:53)

They want to make comments about what they’re eating. They want to feed them things. They want to make comments about their bodies. “Oh my gosh, look at your cute little waist!” “No, don’t say that to my daughter. I do not want her to think that her waist is ‘cute’ or ‘little,’ because if and when that changes and she goes through puberty, she’s going to think, ‘Oh man, now I’m not worthy anymore.'” So what are we doing when we’re telling kids and talking to them about their body size? I want to educate my child on, yes, how she can take care of her body and make the connection between food and how she feels—and food and what she can do. But I don’t want her to be constantly thinking about: “How does food impact my body?” She’s going to get plenty from the world and all that stuff; she doesn’t need it from me.

Noelle Tarr: (41:39)

So my goal as a mom, and I think what moms can really do, is to take a step back and make sure that you’re saying only positive things about yourself; you’re not tearing yourself up. Watch what you say specifically about, “Well, I’ve got to work this off in the gym tomorrow.” Or, “Gosh, I was so bad for eating that.” All that language—you’ve got to work on it and get it out of your vocabulary. Say it in your head; don’t say it out loud. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (42:01)

Or cheating, right? Don’t you hear people say “cheat meal”? I’m like, “Ugh!”

Noelle Tarr: (42:03)

Yes. Cheating. Or, “I’ve been good today, so I’m going to have this.” Food doesn’t need to be a reward. Sometimes it’s [about] fun or rewarding situations, but you don’t have to “earn it.”

Noelle Tarr: (42:14)

Another thing that’s a little controversial that I’m still dealing with is that our children don’t need to earn certain foods, like dessert. A lot of times parents use dessert as punishment; “You hit your sister, so you’re not getting dessert tonight.” What that message [means] is that you were bad, so you don’t get food. And you don’t get this kind of food because this food is like a reward, so you don’t get it. We’re just reinforcing those ideals of morality, good and bad food, and all that stuff. Discipline your kid; great! But don’t bring food into it. You don’t need to do that. And a lot of times, I’ve been attempting this with my son; we’ll talk about what his dessert is going to be before dinner. And sometimes I’ll bring it out during dinner, and it’s usually small.

Noelle Tarr: (43:05)

I keep things in the house that I would eat and that I want my kids to eat. I don’t have [inaudible] things in the house; it’s fine. That’s another thing: Only bring the things in your house that you’re really okay with your kid eating with dinner. So we had these little cookies or something. And he’ll get all wrapped up in: “I want the cookie! I want the cookie!” And I’m like: “Cool, I’ll bring it out.” So then he’ll eat the cookie, and then he’ll just finish his dinner. It’s not a big deal. We haven’t made it a big deal. He’s not eating a cookie, and then it’s ruining his dinner. It’s just a part of the meal. And that’s been working really well for him because kids like to enjoy food. 

Noelle Tarr: (43:41)

I want them to enjoy food. But I also want them to understand that food impacts your body in specific ways. There are ways to have that conversation. But honestly, when they’re young, they do not care about that. They don’t want you to talk about, “Here’s how this beef liver… ” I don’t even tell them I’m giving them beef liver. I’m like, “How can I hide this?” “But here’s how grass-fed beef is really good for you. It’s going to give you strong bones.” They’re like: “What? I don’t care [inaudible].” 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (44:06)

They look at me like I’m nuts when I tell them.

Noelle Tarr: (44:08)

“I don’t care; I’m five years old. I don’t even really understand the concept of the sky.” 

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (44:13)

They’re like, “Mom, if you talk about the gut one more time… “

Noelle Tarr: (44:18)

So I think age-appropriate conversations are really important. Right now, my daughter, when we are at people’s houses, will say, “Oh, my stomach hurts.” And I’m like: “You know what, bub? That’s probably because we had some of this and it just didn’t really agree with your system.” But we just have to think about, moving forward, how we want to engage with certain foods and how they make us feel. And she’s in gymnastics, which I think every kid should be in some sort of sport at some point because it teaches them so much about body awareness but also how things interact with their body. And I’ll say: “Hey, we’ve got to make sure that we’re eating right—after your workout and right after you train. We’ve got to make sure that we set your training up for success. But we don’t want to eat certain things because you’re going to be flipping upside down, and that’s not really going to sit well.”

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (45:01)

So you might [inaudible], you know?

Noelle Tarr: (45:04)

I like having these really neutral conversations where we can set our kids up for success. But we’re not teaching them: “That’s bad for you. You shouldn’t have that.” Or, “You need to earn your dessert,” already giving them this complex. They’re going to get it from everywhere else. And it’s okay to stop people from making comments on your kids’ bodies. If somebody is going to say something to your child, set the boundary: “Please do not make comments about my child’s body while I am in their presence. You can take me aside afterward and make a comment if you really feel like you need to get that out. But otherwise, don’t make it in front of my child.” [I’m referring to] making body comments [and about] “good” and “bad food.” It’s very simple, but the main thing you can do is be the best example.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (45:48)

Yes. It’s so true. How you talk about yourself is everything. Yes.

Noelle Tarr: (45:52)

It really is. It really is.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (45:53)

Yes. And one thing, just like with my kids… They are a little bit older. So my youngest is 8, and my oldest is 13. And my youngest loves sugar. There are so many different kinds of sugar, like fruit and stuff, that I keep in the house. But he would be a fruitarian if I let him. So I just say: “Listen, I want you to have a little bit of protein, and then you can eat” whatever. He doesn’t get upset; he understands. “The protein is going to help you feel better. I just don’t want you to eat a bunch of fruit by itself” or whatever—Simple Mills cookies, or whatever they are, or something I’ve made. I’m like, “Let’s have a little bit of protein, then we’ll have this.” and it’s not saying “This is bad” at all. I’m just amping up the points about the protein. And they’re like, “Okay, I’ve got to get my protein, and then I’m going to have that.” And I think that’s okay. That works for us. They don’t feel bad at all about what they eat or anything like that.

Noelle Tarr: (46:55)

Yes. One thing I will note too:  Boys are different from girls, and every kid is different, so you just have to figure it out. But I will drop it in there. Kids are weird about protein. They would be fruitarians. And it’s not to say that they’re not going to grow up and come to you. Your kids are going to know you’re an expert, and they’re going to say, “Okay, I don’t feel good,” or “I want to be better at baseball,” or whatever. And they’re going to come to you when they’re adults and making better decisions. But I think it’s kind of normal for kids to want to trend toward more sweet stuff. They’re doing a lot. They are usually running around like crazy. Sometimes my daughter will be like, “I’m hungry again.” And I’m like: “Well, that’s because you didn’t eat your protein. I gave you a meal, and you chose not to eat it.” I don’t say, “You need to eat your food.” But if she chooses not to eat it, then I’m like, “You had the option to eat. This is why you’re hungry. And you just ate a little rice on the side and not the protein that I gave you, so that’s why.” And I give her protein that she likes and that she will eat. Sometimes she chooses not to. So then I put it in the fridge, pull it back out, and give it to her when she is hungry. “There you go, [inaudible].”

Dr. Becky Campbell: (47:59)

That’s so true. You’re like, “Oh, you’re hungry now. Okay, good. I saved this for you.” “You’re welcome.”

Noelle Tarr: (48:06)

This has been another point of contention, by the way—total side note—because my husband could probably eat 4,000 calories a day.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (48:13)

Like a garbage disposal? Mine is a garbage disposal, too.

Noelle Tarr: (48:17)

Oh my gosh. So he’ll eat everything, and I’m like: “This is the thing I was going to save for her, so when she came and told me she was hungry, I was going to bring it out. And you ate it! Now I have to make something else.”

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (48:31)

I so feel you on that.

Noelle Tarr: (48:33)

It’s like, “Wait a second; you screwed up my parenting moment!”

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (48:39)

That’s so cute. It’s so true. Oh, this has been wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing all your knowledge about this topic. We really haven’t talked about it yet. This has been really good.

Noelle Tarr (48:52)

You guys are great. I love that you guys are together. I get to hang out with two girlfriends; it’s so fun! Because when you have three people on Zoom, it’s just… Yes, you guys are great. You guys have such a great connection, and that’s such a blessing: To love who you’re working with, click well, and all that. I love it.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (49:11)

I’m trying to get her and her husband to move here. I’m house shopping for them.

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (49:13)

Becky is going to look at real estate for them. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (49:15)

I’m like, “I found you a place; tell Chris to start packing.”

Noelle Tarr: (49:18)

“Uproot your whole family!” That’s funny. I love it.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (49:23)

Well, Noelle, where can people find you?

Noelle Tarr: (49:25)

My website is coconutsandkettlebells.com. I do a lot of things. I do post recipes. It’s all allergy-friendly, so we don’t do gluten, and a lot of stuff is dairy-free for us. So it’s all allergy-friendly stuff. And then I am on Instagram sometimes at @coconutsandkettlebells and I do have a book, Coconuts and Kettlebells that has some recipes and a workout program and stuff like that.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (49:46)

Your book is really good. It’s really, really a good book. 

Noelle Tarr: (49:48)

Thank you!

Dr. Krystal Hohn: (49:49)

And your podcast. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (49:51)

Yes, your podcast is [inaudible].

Noelle Tarr: (49:52)

Oh, yes, yes, the podcast. Well-Fed Women is the podcast. Dr. Becky’s been on multiple times. Yes.

Dr. Kyrstal Hohn: (49:57)

It’s good. It’s a good podcast.

Dr. Becky Campbell: (49:59)

It is. It’s my favorite. 

Noelle Tarr: (50:02)

That’s awesome. 

Dr. Becky Campbell: (50:02)

Well, thanks for coming on. We had a great time. And thank you, everybody, for listening!

Dr. Becky Campbell: (50:09)

Thank you, guys, so much for listening to this episode. And if you love this episode, please leave a review. It only takes a couple of minutes, and you can find out more about us on drbeckycampbell.com. And you can follow us over on Instagram on @HealthBabesPodcast, @DrBeckyCampbell, and @DrKrystalHohn. Have an amazing day!

The Health Babes Podcast

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