This week on my podcast I speak with Steph Gaudreau, published author and strength and nutrition guru. Her eagerly awaited book, The Core 4: Embrace Your Body, Own Your Power, is due for release on 30th July and on the show we discuss the 4 Pillars she coaches her clients to allow them to live a healthy and joyful life.
The book is based around a program she created in 2015 which originally started as nutrition coaching, but Steph soon realised quite quickly that her clients needed back to basics approach to fundamental areas for health and wellness. Her focus is on women in midlife (which I obviously LOVE!) and she soon realised that these women have spent decades of their lives dieting or trying to fit into a specific look. Steph instead has a vision of what the world can look like if women could start respecting their bodies and accepting the person they can be, if only they could get out of their own way.
She doesn’t want to get this message across by herself. Even though she is a pioneer for this message through her podcast, books and website, she believes we need a grassroots movement to get more information into more women’s hands. And we can all be a part of this movement.
I hope you enjoy the podcast, it really is a fascinating conversation that is so relevant to us all, especially going through menopause.
Topics discussed in the episode:
Core 1: Eat Nourish Foods
- The Core 4 is not a diet book. Steph wants to get women off the diet train. She talks about the WHAT, the HOW and the WHY about food, and helps women realise how food can support them.
- Her approach is “addition before subtraction” – typically dieting is about taking things away, but how about we think about adding food, adding value to our day. By using this approach we can crowd out some of the foods that don’t support us.
- Lots of women, unfortunately, have associations of fear, morality, guilt, and shame around food. Steph looks to encourage a more gentle, neutral approach to eating that is easier to deal with.
- We love shiny new things and crave constant stimulation to stop us being bored, and this leads to many women trying popular fad diets with little understanding of the nutritional impacts on the body. Steph is not against certain diet protocols as we all have to individualize our approach to eating. The concern with rigid diets is that people can take them too far, and we often don’t have a lot of clinical data on how they affect women, especially in menopause.
- Steph would rather see someone be more mindful or consistent 10%, 20% or 30% of the time with their eating habits, than someone who does something perfectly for a week.
- Encouraging healthy eating habits comes from giving them choices and building autonomy. What we know motivates people the most is not negative reinforcement, it’s not positive reinforcement is teaching autonomy, which builds the most competence and confidence.
Core 2: Exercise
- How to get started in exercise. Steph tells us the important place to start is to pick something you like doing because then you will keep doing it.
- She wants all women to give strength training a fair shot and encourages them to believe in their capabilities.
- Especially important for middle-aged women who start losing muscle mass in their 30’s and have an increased risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis. We know these can be counteracted with strength training.
- Strength training not only builds a strong body, it builds a strong mind. After years of being told that women can’t do these things, that strength training is not for us, that women can’t be strong – she has seen with her own clients can deadlift their bodyweight and flip that narrative. Strength training makes you feel capable and makes you wonder what else you can do.
- Do some type of resistance training, cardio without strength is not best for our bodies.
- Keep it simple. 1 kettlebell is enough (Steph often does a 1 kettlebell porch workout) It doesn’t need to be complex. Her new book has a dumbbell workout that can be done at home!
- Strength training 2-3 times per week is all you need to do to make a difference.
- Move with intention throughout the day. Every day. Her book is full of strategies to get you moving every day.
Core 3 – Recharge Your Energy
- Steph wants us to broaden our own approach to energy – as we know sleep important component to this. Yet even if we are sleeping 8 hours what is happening to other 2/3rd of our day?
- Most of us are aware of our circadian rhythm which is usually in sync with day and night times, but we also have an ultradian rhythm which cycles through a 24 hour period. These cycles when we are awake are similar to the concept of sleep cycles and see us with peaks and troughs of energy. These can be exacerbated by food choices (refined sugars etc) but we have natural ebbs and flows.
Steph encourages people to become more efficient with their time to help with productivity. Studies show that working for short periods of time, then taking a break – helps us get more done and feeling less crabby, especially with a mentally demanding job.
- We have to find opportunities to give our brain a break. We are constantly ON! We are not productive with so many browser tabs open in our mind, so she encourages us to create an environment where you can do work without being interrupted.
Core 4 Power of Mindset
- All feelings matter, are valid and have a place. Steph sees some danger with good vibes only mentality, when it’s important for us to have a full human range of experience.
- It’s also important to figure out what is important to you. This often changes over our lifetime as our roles change and we have different seasons of life. Some of us hold onto our beliefs from when we were 20, when it is important to constantly review what matters to us.
- Steph wants us to cultivate mindfulness and awareness to encourage non-judgement of ourselves. How we react to our thoughts is important to stop us hooking into our negative thoughts. She describes occasions where 3 hours later, overwhelmed by thoughts she was unable to get on with her day – she allowed herself to go along for the ride with negativity.
- We talk about self-limiting beliefs and how to overcome them.
- Introducing a deep belly breathing practice to elicit the parasympathetic nervous system, getting us out of the fight or flight mode.
- Start using your hands. By doing something with your hands like drawing, a journal, doing the dishes or laundry, you take the focus from your negative thoughts.
- Core values and strengths can drive you and help you make decisions. Too much energy outside of ourselves can leave you feel terrible, so you can set boundaries say no more often and understand why you are saying no, that fit with your core beliefs.
Steph’s book, The Core 4, was written with the intention that we can approach a healthy lifestyle with compassion for ourselves. We don’t need empowerment because we are already powerful, capable and worthy, we just need to live more into that. She wants women to stop looking for their fittest body or their lowest weight on the scale, and instead start living a big life and taking up more space. Her vision of a global community will encourage girls and women to know their worth without using exercise as punishment, and food to drive fear, but we need to do this together. This is especially true of middle-aged women, which is backed up by heartbreaking data showing that women over 40 are crippled with body image issues. This isn’t just a young woman problem, and it’s a tragedy that we go into the second half of our lives with this burden on our shoulders.
Where to find Steph:
Buy The Core 4 – https://www.stephgaudreau.com/core-4-preorder
Follow Steph on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/steph_gaudreau/
Follow Steph on Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/thestephgaudreau/
Steph’s website – https://www.stephgaudreau.com/