Episode 46 | January 10, 2017

Break the Cycle of Yo-Yo Dieting with Cassie Piasecki

A Personal Note from Orion

I have a confession to make… Over the holidays I indulged in sweets, pastries and all kinds of yummies. If you gained a few pounds over the holidays as I did, it’s not the end of the world. But you know as well as I do, that you’ve got to get yourself back on track or it’s going be a slippery slope!

Health and weight loss are one of the top New Year’s resolutions people make. You start by regularly going to the gym, eating (mostly) healthy foods, but then… life happens. You fall off the bandwagon and go back to unhealthy habits that just don’t let you be at your best.  And the worst part is that these unhealthy eating habits not only affect your waistline but your mood, your relationships, and your health.

I want you to make this the year that you finally stay on the bandwagon and truly commit to a healthy lifestyle and to feeling amazing! Today’s guest, Cassie Piasecki, has helped a lot of women lose weight and actually change their mindset, perspective, and habits around food. A health and fitness expert and the founder of Wow Life Nutrition Program, Cassie and I had an inspiring conversation full of real tips and suggestions to help you develop healthier eating habits that will lead to a healthy and stellar life.



In this Episode

  • [07:07] – Cassie gives some statistics and numbers about weight gain and loss over the holidays, including the scary fact that most people only lose about half of the weight they gain over this time period.
  • [09:36] – The word “restriction” as it relates to dieting doesn’t work for Cassie, and she explains why. In the process, she illuminates the problem with other words with negative connotations that we often use in relation to diets.
  • [11:41] – What language would Cassie use to replace the words that don’t work for her, like “restriction,” “willpower,” and “cheating”?
  • [13:33] – Cassie talks about how she got into the field of health and fitness. We hear about her first attempt to lose weight, which involved learning about portion control. She also discusses how hard it was for her to maintain her weight during the years following her initial success.
  • [16:58] – We hear more about Cassie’s problems with dieting, specifically the issues she had with diet pills. She then discusses her sugar cravings and the related problems.
  • [18:42] – Around the same time, Cassie was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • [20:26] – When Cassie was around 40, she started to get more into nutrition to help her mood and her thyroid.
  • [21:36] – Cassie talks about how she cut out sugar in her diet.
  • [25:41] – We hear about all the negative life effects related to eating poorly, and the concepts of wheels of wellness and unwellness that these effects inspired Cassie to create.
  • [27:18] – Orion steps in for a moment to recommend two books to listeners: Sugar Blues, which explains the effects of sugar, and Wheat Belly, which discusses the effects of gluten.
  • [28:12] – Cassie explains that it’s hard for the average person (without a deep background in health and nutrition) to see personal connections between sugar or gluten and inflammation or disease. Instead, it’s easier to approach the subject from an angle related to mood or sleep quality.
  • [31:25] – Orion talks about her experience growing up in Israel and how it compares to typical food choices in the US.
  • [32:23] – How does Cassie convince people to eat more vegetables? Orion chimes in and offers a tip about starting your day with protein and fat instead of protein and carbs, which Cassie supports.
  • [36:20] – Cassie shares her new food addiction: rice tortillas by Food For Life.
  • [36:43] – Orion talks about her previous episode with Dave Asprey.
  • [37:38] – What are the bad fats that we should avoid? In her answer, Cassie emphasizes the importance of eating mindfully.
  • [40:38] – Cassie talks about the step in between eating a standard American diet and eating a completely clean, mindful diet. She recommends doing it one meal at a time.
  • [42:34] – There’s a lot of emotion tied to food and eating, Cassie points out, and weight gain is often a gradual process.
  • [43:20] – What kind of diet would Cassie recommend for a vegetarian? She talks about vegetarian diets (as a vegetarian herself), especially in light of the question of getting enough protein.
  • [46:45] – Cassie has been trying out going dairy-free, which she says is easy. She also says, however, that she hasn’t noticed feeling any different.
  • [49:14] – We learn more about the “wheel of wellness” and the “wheel of unwellness,” with Cassie giving us a way to visualize these wheels.
  • [52:56] – Cassie shifts into talking about the wheel of wellness, after a vivid description of the experience of being on the wheel of unwellness.
  • [55:21] – Orion asks Cassie for an inspirational success story of one of her clients, and the one Cassie shares certainly fits the bill.
  • [59:03] – Cassie shares her three tips for living a stellar life: 1. Do something active first thing in the morning every day. 2. Eat real food. 3. Find something every day that makes you laugh like crazy.
  • [60:42] – Inspired yet? If so, you’ll be glad to know that Stellar Life listeners have access to a special discount for the WOW Life Nutrition Program. Use promo code “stellar” to save $25 (normal price $199.00). For more information about the program, check out this link.

About Today’s Show

‏‏Hello and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. How are you doing today? I’m feeling good. Life is good. As I’m recording this intro, it is still the holiday season and it is still Hanukkah in my household. We celebrate Hanukkah and we give Christmas gifts. I enjoy the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, what comes with the holidays is some kind of internal permission to eat lots of bad, things for you, things like donuts or christmas cookies or chocolate or some of those yummies that you got in the gift baskets that someone sent you. I’ve been bad lately, I’ve been a naughty, naughty girl. I’m very lucky because we got to speak with a fitness and nutrition expert today that will help you get back on track. We talked about diet and we talked about the mindset around diet and nutrition, what to do to avoid yoyo diets. What happens to most people in the beginning of the New Year is they get those New Year’s resolutions and then one of them is health and I’m going to be healthy his year and I’m going to lose weight and the gyms are packed, man. The day after New Years, you can’t find a machine to work on at the gym. Everybody is so gung ho, they’re going to change their life, they’re going to change their body, and they go to the gym 5-7 days a week and they overdo it and then they go on this crazy diet and then they just give up and go back to their old habits. If you are one of those people, then you should listen to this episode. The first thing I want to suggest to you is to not feel guilty about eating all those yummies because it’s okay, it’s the holidays. Whatever, you can live a little, it’s not that bad. Second suggestion will be to get back on the wagon. What happens when you consume a lot of sugar, it’s super addictive. It’s actually firing at the same areas at your brain that cocaine or methamphetamine or all those drugs are firing in. It’s super, super addictive. First, try to cleanse your body and just get away from sugar. Take your weight loss step by step, take your training regime step by step, do not overdo it. Man, I’ve done it so many times where I go and I’m full force and then couple of months later it’s a total fail because I over did it, I got my body to a place of a disaster and then soreness and I restricted myself so much and so fast that I didn’t give myself a fair chance. Give yourself that fair chance and start by maybe adding some good fats to your diet, maybe a spoon of coconut oil in the morning and a piece of avocado in your breakfast that will make you feel full. If you are choosing good fats for your body, especially coconut oil, it’s a type of fat that helps you reduce bad fats in your body. I know it sounds counter intuitive but it is actually right and you can research that. Coconut oil is a miracle oil. Have that with your breakfast and then slowly but surely start eliminating things that are bad for you and just adding more things that are really, really good for you and what make you feel full and nourished. The people at my gym are those crazy big bodybuilders and fitness models and I cannot compare myself to them. If you go to the gym and you see somebody that you aspire to be like, please understand that they are years in the making, years, sometime decades. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication and most of all persistence to get to the result that you are looking for and to look like them. Don’t compare yourself. The first thing is forgive yourself for eating the bad foods and then take it step by step and do not compare yourself to other people. This is a pretty long episode, I should stop talking and start introducing my guest. My guest is a wonderful person that helped a lot of women lose weight and actually change their whole mindset and their whole perspective and changed their habit around food. She does it in a very gentle way. Her name is Cassie Piasecki, she’s a house and fitness expert and the founder of Wow Life Nutrition Program. Her program incorporates real food, fitness, and the power of community to help women live a wow life. Cassie creates a space where women are successful in adapting long lasting weight loss, good habits, and a total mindset shift. It was my pleasure and honor to speak with her and to connect with her. We had a lot in common since I have a huge background in fitness as well. It was really fun for me to talk to her and I hope it will be fun for you to listen. And now, onto the show. Hi Cassie and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. How are you doing today?

‏‏I am great, thank you so much for having me.

‏‏Thank you for coming. This is going to be great for many of our listeners because we’re at the holiday period and everybody eats a lot and everybody gained a lot of weight. And then there is the New Year’s resolution where people want to get back on track and this is a vicious cycle that happens every year around the holidays, right?

‏‏Right. Actually, I’ll throw some numbers out to you. You want some facts? Some numbers?

‏‏Give me some fact, yes.

‏‏Most people know and they’ve heard this statistic that most people gain 5-7 lbs over the course of the holidays. What’s even more pronounced to me is that the majority of that weight is gained in the 10 days before Christmas. We’re actually at the peak of that right now. Of the weight that you gain, you will only lose half of it over the holidays.

Most people gain 5-7 lbs over the course of the holidays. What’s even more pronounced is the majority of that weight is gained in the 10 days before Christmas. Click To Tweet


‏‏I know. There’s a lot of research out there and that’s actually a new report that just came out and I think that’s from the New England Journal Medicine and it was that most people gain the weight 10 days before Christmas. Whatever you gain, most likely, most people are only going to take half of it off and carry the rest of it with them forever.

‏‏Forever and ever. That’s very sad and we got to work on that. We got to fix that today with you and your advice. I went on a two week vacation, as you know, I got married in Costa Rica and I left my cat with the cat sitter. She didn’t tell us that there was another cat there and abundance of dry food. We only feed our cat holistic food, two cans of food a day. I came back and my cat, oh my God, she had such a big belly in two weeks. We were having her on a diet, she looked fit and awesome and healthy, it’s mostly for health. You don’t really care if your cat is a little bit overweight but you just want her to live a healthy, happy life and then I take her to the cat sitter and she’s got her way. When there is dry food, she’ll find a way to get there. She ate all the food of the other cat’s food. She needs to be on a diet as well.

‏‏It’s her turn. It’s her New Year’s resolution.

‏‏Exactly. The point is that it is so easy to gain weight. It is much harder to lose and to maintain than to gain weight. You can gain weight within a week or two, but then to lose the weight, let’s say the average weight loss is one half to two lbs a week. That takes a long time. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of restriction and hard work and mindset work but you’re going to help us with all that today, correct?

‏‏Yes. I want to start with the word restriction. I don’t like that word.

‏‏What’s your story behind that word? What does restriction means to you?

‏‏There are words that float around out in the diet and nutrition and health and wellness communities like restriction, like deprivation, like will power or phrases like I’m being good.

‏‏I’ve been bad.

‏‏I’ve been bad too. My biggest pet peeve revolves around the word or the phrase cheat day. It’s my cheat day or I’m going to save up for my cheat day. All of those words tend to have a negative connotation behind them. Cheating is looked upon in any other parts of our lives, we’re not going to cheat on our test or taxes, our job, or anything like that, our husbands. Why are we going to cheat on our health and our nutrition? It sets up a negative aspect around diet and nutrition and words like will power. If you think I’m going to have will power and then you go to that party and you over indulge and now you come home and you’re thinking to yourself I don’t have will power, I’m not strong, those are negative.

‏‏I don’t have power. Your subconscious mind don’t hear the word ‘will power’. Doesn’t mean I don’t have power, I’m powerless. That’s not very effective for weight loss or any goal that you want to achieve in life.

‏‏It’s not. I actually teach people that we drop those words out of our vocabulary when it revolves around our nutrition, health and wellness, because I want to have a positive outlook on it. It’s not about what I can’t have, it’s about the wonderful, wonderful things that I can have and I can do. That’s where I start.

‏‏Right. Instead of restriction or will power, what words would you use?

‏‏The word be mindful is very hot right now. I can say being mindful, but I think a lot of it comes down to the women that work with me and the men. The reason that they have success is because they’ve decided that they just want to feel good. We set the intention of what I’m going to eat or drink or do with my body going to make me feel good from the inside-out. When you’re faced with, it doesn’t work all the time, someone’s waving your favorite fudge in front of your face over and over and saying come on just eat it, you only live once. Sometimes you say to yourself if I eat that, it’s being mindful, slowing down a little bit and being intentional with your food choices. If I eat this, am I going to feel like doing XYZ tomorrow? If I eat this, how is it going to make me feel in a half an hour? How is it going to make my skin look? How is it going to make my dress fit? I teach people a lot of different ways to look at it. It’s just getting out of that mindset of deprivation or I can’t have that. You can definitely have fudge, there’s a way to fit fudge into a healthy lifestyle, but you got to sit down, you got to enjoy it, you got to savor it, make sure it’s the exact fudge that you want to have and not just some cheap fudge that you’re not really all that interested in eating for the sake of eating it.

You can definitely have fudge, there’s a way to fit fudge into a healthy lifestyle, but you got to sit down, you got to enjoy it, you got to savor it.

‏‏How did you get into that field of health and fitness and helping people lose weight, have a healthier life, change their mindset? What brought you this point?

‏‏I grew up in a household where everyone around me was very overweight and obese. I was also brought up in a household with a single mother who worked three jobs and my brother. My mom would come home from one of her jobs and pretty much feel horrible that she wasn’t there to help us with homework or whatever we needed. She had to jet off to another job. Her way of showing love for us was to bring us our favorite snack foods, or special treats. It was not uncommon for my mom to come home in between jobs with a bag of Lays Potato Chips and Sour cream and onion dip for each of us and six pack of soda and that was how we were shown love and that was the best that she could do at that time. She was just trying to keep it all together for us. I don’t harbor any ill will or resentments or anything towards her, I really recognized that was the best that she could do.

‏‏That was her showing love.

‏‏Yeah. I grew up pretty chunky and continued to gain weight through my teens and early 20s. My very first attempt at trying to lose weight was when I was 22 years old and I did do Weight Watchers. I was actually very successful and got off all the weight that I needed to get off and it was back in the 80s when it was just when they was starting to come out with some of their frozen food items. But for the most part, what they were teaching was portion control which is something that I really needed to learn at that age, I had no idea, I was handed the full bag of Lays Potato Chips. I was never given just a serving. Weight Watchers really, really worked for me and I was able to take the weight off that I needed to get off and I got into fitness at the same time and actually became a fitness instructor. I pretty much have taught every type, every mode of fitness out there for the exception of Crossfit and Yoga but I pretty much teach everything else, or I did at one time and have settled into a few things which I’ll get to. I got into fitness at that time. From my early 20s until right around 40 years old, I really had a hard time keeping my weight stable. I never popped back up to that initial weight that I started at Weight Watchers but I really had a hard time to maintain that number on the scale. As result, I did basically every diet that you can imagine. I’ve taken diet drugs. I’ve been on every cleanse that you can imagine. I’ve starved myself. I’ve eliminated food groups. I’ve done everything that you can possibly imagine. As a result, I did keep my weight down, even through divorce and then remarriage and pregnancy and all of that. I maintained that number on the scale but to the detriment of everything else, from my moods to my skin.

‏‏It’s not good.

‏‏No. I had the worst skin ever. I was moody, I was cranky, I was impatient, I was stressed out, I had stomach aches all the time.

‏‏Was it the diet pills? Or severe cleanses that created all these side effects?

‏‏Let’s take the diet drugs for example, I would go on a prescription diet drug and you’re not really that hungry. But when you are hungry, I was like, give me all the gummy bears. I’ll take whatever candy, I loved candy. I was a sugar addict. We’d go on these different types of diets and just work my candy into it. There were days where I ate nothing but candy.

‏‏It makes sense because if you’re on low carb and low everything, your brain will look for the easiest source of energy which is simple sugars. Gummy bears make all the sense in the world.

‏‏I could not stop with the sugar. The sugar is really what inflamed my skin, inflamed my moods, made me very, very moody, very impatient. I was basically hungry all the time. We know that term ‘hangry,’ the combination of the hungry and angry. All the while, here I was teaching every mode of fitness that you could imagine, get back in my car and sit down with the bag of gummy bears and my diet drug. It was just not cool.

‏‏You felt like a fraud, in some way, shape or form.

‏‏I don’t know that I felt like a fraud but I think I was so spun out on sugar, I didn’t think anything. I just felt like this is what I got to do to maintain the number that I wanted to maintain on the scale.

‏‏The way other people look at you.

‏‏Yeah. As a fitness professional, we’re definitely held up to a certain standard by all shapes and sizes but that’s a whole other podcast. Anyways, around the early 20s, I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which is a thyroid disease that usually causes people to gain weight and that was something that I always had and took medication for. At the same time, I was also diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Most people have one autoimmune disorder, both of those are autoimmune. Once someone is diagnosed with one, most likely they’re going to be diagnosed with a second one in their lifetime. Within a span of a year two, I was diagnosed with both, but I only take medication and have only taken medication for the Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The Rheumatoid Arthritis is pretty dormant and I attribute that to my health and wellness practices that I have today. But the thyroid thing, it was always there. In the health and wellness industry, I kept hearing that sugar and gluten and processed food can exacerbate the thyroid condition. But again, I was so addicted to candy and carbs and crackers and bread that I just thought, what am I going to eat if I’m not eating this stuff? What am I going to eat?

In the health and wellness industry, I kept hearing that sugar and gluten and processed food can exacerbate the thyroid condition. Click To Tweet

‏‏This is a classic addiction. When people consume sugar, it triggers the same centers in their brain that get triggered when people get addicted to cocaine or methamphetamine. It’s a true addiction. Carbs, when one consume carbs it turns into sugar in their body. Everything you ate was around carbs and sugar and there was a true addiction there.

‏‏A true addiction, a vicious addiction. Probably around the age of 40, which was about 8 years ago. I’m telling you how old I am. Around the age of 40, I really started to get more into the nutrition aspect of health and wellness and I started manipulating my diet because I was fed up with feeling the way the way that I was feeling. I do not like my moods and I would attribute it to stress or raising a daughter or being an entrepreneur but I realized it was really coming from my food. I wanted to see what I could do about getting rid of some of the issues I was having with my thyroid. I started playing around with getting rid of processed food in my diet, getting rid of the sugar in my diet. I played around with it, I didn’t really go full throttle until a few years later when I became a holistic health practitioner and got a nutrition certification, Nutritious Life, and started realizing just what the food was doing to me.

‏‏I just want to ask, how did you cut sugar?

‏‏I was on a trip with my family and we stayed in this lovely hotel in Monterey, California. Right across the street on Cannery Row was one of those stores that had a wall of jelly beans, jelly bellies, and every flavor you can imagine.

‏‏I love jelly beans.

‏‏I went over there and I got my bag and I proceeded to pour.‏‏Burn it?

‏‏You can self-serve yourself. I took the bag and I self-served myself a pound of jelly bellies on a Thursday evening. I took them back to the hotel. My husband’s a physician and we were there for a doctor’s conference. Believe it or not, at doctor’s conference, they walk around and every table at the expo hall is filled with candy and my husband…

‏‏I don’t think the doctors know a lot about nutrition? Honestly, doctors, with all due respect, they don’t know much about it.

‏‏They don’t.

‏‏Many doctors are very unhealthy, unfortunately, with their diet habits.

‏‏He has me. Being the good husband that he is, he knew how much his wife loves candy and he brought me a candy back from the expo every day. This conference was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. On Sunday, we were packing up and I looked down, I finished the last of my jelly bellies. This was a pound of jelly bellies which is something like over a thousand jelly bellies. I was throwing the empty bag of jelly bellies into the trash can and I looked into the trash can and I saw all the candy wrappers. If my daughter hadn’t been in the room, I would’ve sat on the floor and cried. I was trying to hold it together for my daughter, who was with us. On the plane home I thought to myself, you’ve got to get this under control. That is just so uncalled for. I was getting ready to leave leave on another vacation, three weeks later, where I was going to have to wear a bathing suit. Mind you, I was still a very fit and fabulous looking female. I have a wonderful, lovely body that is very strong, performs miraculous feats of fitness all day long. I wasn’t afraid to put on a bathing suit but I thought okay, we’ve got this bathing suit vacation coming up in three weeks, you can do anything for three weeks, you’re a woman for crying out loud. I decided to give myself a self-imposed challenge of giving up all sugar for three weeks and all gluten food and processed gluten type food. I just said to myself, just to see if it makes a “difference.” I did it for the three weeks and after the first week, all of my moodiness cleared up. I could not have been any happier. By the second week, my acne all over my neck and all over my back cleared up. Being 40+ years old and having acne all over your neck is not pretty and it was gone after two weeks. After three weeks, all of the stomach aches were gone.


‏‏I thought to myself, okay, we’re onto something and there was no way that I was ever going to go back to that. I’m happy to say that there wasn’t a lot of weight knuckling to be, people thought, oh my gosh, you must’ve just felt terrible or you must’ve white knuckled it or whatever. The effect started happening so quickly. I was like, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Every day, it was better and better. I redesigned everything and I thought if I can get myself off of this and start eating this whole food, wonderful full fat way of living my life, I know that I can help other women. I want other women to feel this way. When you feel moody and cranky and stomach aches, you’re not sleeping well, your relationships are to suffer because nobody wants to be around someone that’s moody.

‏‏Nothing works in your life.

‏‏Nothing works. It affects your whole entire life. I came up with the concept of living in the Wheel of Wellness and the Wheel of Unwellness and I started teaching this to my clients here in Newport Beach. And then I started teaching it to people all over the United States. Today, I have over 100 women that have gone to the program in the last year and a half and I have women that have lost anywhere from 10-117 lbs.

‏‏Wow, that’s amazing.

‏‏And gotten off their medicine for diabetes. I have letters from doctors stating that their clients are no longer morbidly obese and no longer diabetic. That they’ve cured their diabetes from eating real food, like real fats. Have an avocado every single day if you want it.

‏‏I used to be a fitness professional. I used to be a personal trainer, I taught group fitness. I had the same stories where when people start exercising but also adding that nutrition component to it, they lose weight, they cure high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes. It is so profound, it is so important to take care of your body because when you take care of your body, like you said, everything in your life changes. I read many, many books about nutrition and fitness and all that. I just wanted to recommend to the listeners two really interesting books, one is called the Sugar Blues and that will explain to you a lot about the effect of sugar and how bad it is for you. I bet after you read it you will have less desire for sweets and there’s also another book that is incredible, it’s called the Wheat Bellyand it talks about the effect of gluten and what it does to you. The wheat that we eat today is not what our ancestors used to eat.

‏‏That’s right.

‏‏It’s really, really bad. Those two, sugar and gluten, can really create a lot of inflammation in the body, inflammation in the brain. If people consume a lot of it, it will cost them eventually.

‏‏What I find though is that for you and I both being in the health and wellness industry and self-improvement, it’s easy for us to see those connections and easy for us to witness the changes in other people. I’m finding that the average woman on the street, if I come at her with the information of inflammation and disease, they think oh, I don’t have pain, I don’t have that. But when I come up to them and say when was the last time that you blew up at your husband? Or when was the last time you lost your patience with a co-worker or with your kids or had road rage? I’m not saying that if you eat a lollipop you’re going to have road rage but when they start to recognize that.

‏‏I always have road rage after a lollipop. Just kidding.

‏‏We live in LA and it’s very easy to have road rage.

‏‏You don’t need to eat sugar to have road rage in LA.

‏‏I know. But when I ask them when was the last time you had a good night sleep? And I tell them stick with me for a couple of weeks and if I can get you that sleep back and I can get you to stop yelling at your husband or getting upset at your kids every night, that resonates with them. Once they start to understand, and then they go, oh my gosh, then my doctor told me this. They almost don’t take the illness or the inflammation or what it does to us on a deeper level, they don’t really take that seriously because they don’t feel that that’s happening to them yet.

‏‏Speak in easier terms than inflammation. You say you’re cranky and you’re mean to your kids and husband and there’s a reason for that.

‏‏When we take care of ourselves first and when we feel good, it start with us as women. I’m not going to say it’s up to me to make everybody else feel good so that I feel good, but when I take care of myself first, I’m happier, I’m more positive and my energy attracts energy. If I’m happy and positive and feel fit and my endorphins are up because I worked out and I ate a really luscious, wonderful breakfast and I go out into the world with a smile on my face, I’m going to get treated better by pretty much everyone during the day because that is the energy that I’m putting out. That comes from what I eat and what I did at night and what I did with my body first thing in the morning. If I can get women to understand that, once I do get them to understand that, everything else in their lives change. Their careers get better, their relationships get better, they have more fun, they start to do things that they want to do, their husbands are happier, their partners are happier, they have better sex.

‏‏Yay to better sex.

‏‏I know, right? You can’t sleep well the night before and you got a headache, and you feel bloated, you’re not going to want to have sex. But eat something luscious and feel amazing and sweat, you’re going to feel like getting sweaty.

Eat something luscious and feel amazing and sweat, you’re going to feel like getting sweaty. Click To Tweet

‏‏I grew up in Israel. In Israel, some people are overweight but it’s not as much as in the US because in our culture, I grew up with tons of fruits and vegetables, it’s embedded with the culture, you have a salad with every meal. I came to the US and I noticed that unless people are more conscious about their food choices and they’re more mindful, they eat tons of processed food. The fast food industry is striving, people eat fast food, processed food and no vegetable. It’s so essential to reduce cravings and to get the fiber and to get the vitamins and minerals, you got to have some fruits and vegetables. Less fruits, more veggies. How do you convince people to eat more vegetables?

‏‏I actually start with getting people to eat more fat. The women that I work with, they tended to have grown up with the low fat mentality or no fat mentality. If we’re not eating things with fat, then we’re eating things that have sugar in them. Foods that are labeled fat-free, low-fat, it’s way more processed and usually it’s really high sugar. The first thing that I try to tell them and teach them is fat is your friend, fat keeps you full, fat makes your skin beautiful, fat helps you have a better digestion to move everything else through. That’s a big struggle for women. I can tell people to eat vegetables, and I can get them on vegetables pretty quick. But boy, try to get people away from the low fat, zero fat mentality and also the calorie counting mentality. I want to teach you how to eat for a lifetime. When you’re 80, I don’t want you counting calories. I want to teach you how to eat forever and with ease.

‏‏I tried a flexible dieting with counting calories and eating whatever I want and that definitely did not work for me. I hate counting calories.

‏‏It’s not fun. Who wants to do that?

‏‏No, no. It’s so time consuming.

‏‏It is. I do make recommendations as far as vegetables and getting those greens in. But really, it’s about getting that full fat in because you can still have tons of vegetables. If you’re not eating any fat with it, you’re going to be hungry. Vegetables don’t have a lot of staying power so we need to combine it with some things.

‏‏Correct. And here’s a tip. If you start your day with protein and fat instead of protein and carbs, usually your body will use fat for fuel rather than carbs for fuel for the rest of the day. A good breakfast for example can be an omelet and with a piece of avocado, just for your first meal in the morning. And then eat your carbs closer to your exercise time, before and after. What’s your take on that?

‏‏I totally agree. Protein, fat, first thing in the morning, so yummy, so decadent, so luscious, so satisfying.

‏‏You make me hungry.

‏‏When was the last time we ate one of these traditional diet breakfast and felt luscious? I want you to eat something that feels good to eat. I could have avocado on everything. I’m always going to say go for the avocado, like you. I want people to have fat and protein first thing in the morning, for sure. As far as the timing as to when to put carbohydrates in, I’m so selective. Once we get rid of the processed food, when we look at our carbohydrate choices, they’re very high quality. I do want them to be able to have them around their workout time or during the time of the day when they need that brain power. If they’ve got a pretty hard job that uses a lot of brainpower during the day, if they need to have carbohydrate in the morning to fuel their brain or at lunchtime to fuel their brain, I want them to have that. The choices are very unprocessed, very good carbohydrates that are wonderful, like berries or sweet potatoes or at best when we look at bread it’s things like sprouted grains or whatever.

‏‏The Zikio bread is really good.

‏‏I love the Zikio. It’s my fave. Here’s my new addiction. The same company that makes the Zikio bread, the Food For Life Company, they make Rice Tortilla and I have it every day for lunch warmed up with some hummus and some avocado and red peppers and cucumbers and as much good stuff as I can put into that rice tortilla. It’s so yummy.

‏‏Sounds good. I spoke with Dave Asprey, it’s episode number 38, he’s incredible master bio hacker, I adore him. He’s so great and so smart. Go back to that episode number 38 and it’s about hacking your body and hacking your mind through advanced technology. One of his products is Brain Octane Oil. That is an oil that is 18 times more potent than coconut oil. When you have a little bit of it in the morning, it fuels your brain just the way sugar does. You have less sugar cravings and more brain power. You’re more concentrated. That is one of the good fats that I would recommend as well as coconut oil, as well as avocados. What are the bad fats that we need to avoid?

‏‏Oh, the bad fats. I don’t like to label food good and bad. A food, something like ice cream and cheese, those are things that if you want to incorporate into your day, it’s not an everyday thing, I like to refer to those as conscious indulgences, especially at this time of the year around the holidays, there’s a lot of indulgences going around. We look at those creamy types of fats and say you know what, I’m going to go to this party and I know that the woman there makes the best cake with the vanilla ice cream on top of it, and it’s a once a year thing and I’m going to get a small piece, I’m going to sit down, I’m going to enjoy it, I’m going to savor it, and then I’m going to be done with it, and then I’m going to move on. There’s very few things that I label as bad, don’t ever have them, but again this is for a lifetime and I want people to learn to eat mindfully and whole as much as they possibly can. And then when it’s time to indulge in something like a cheese or a dairy product or something, you make sure that it’s something that you really eat consciously and it happens once in awhile and you indulge in it, you enjoy it, savor it, be done with it and move on.

When it’s time to indulge in something like a cheese or a dairy product or something, you make sure that it’s something that you really eat consciously and it happens once in awhile and you indulge in it, you enjoy it, savor it, be done with it and move on.

‏‏For me, bad fats are margarine, it’s really bad, or french-fries, anything that is fried is not very good for you especially it’s very oily. If it’s too fried, too oily, especially Canola Oil, it’s not that good for you also. Animal fat should be eaten in moderation. A lot of beef fat is not good for us, the fats in the processed meats is not very good. I would steer people more toward avocados, eggs, coconut oil, nuts, olive oil, fish oil, even grass fed butter.

‏‏I love butter. I’m a vegetarian, so I’m with you when we talk about the meats and those types of things. But when we talk about, again, the average everyday person, what you and I are talking about is next level. There is definitely a stepping stone from the typical. Isn’t it so funny that it’s called SAD, the Standard American Diet, SAD. That’s what it’s actually called. The Standard American Diet, and then what you and I tend to have which is next level, there’s that stepping stone in the middle. I don’t want people to get frustrated going from the Standard American Diet to the next level type of nutrition.

‏‏What’s that step that you’re talking about?

‏‏It’s working with me, of course. The step is to start one meal at a time. When I work with my clients, we start with breakfast and we overhaul breakfast. I find that people, when they attempt to try a new diet, they get that book and they go to the grocery store and they buy a $150 of stuff that they don’t know where to keep it, how to cook it, how to store it, what to do with it and they try to overhaul everything. By Thursday they’re at Chipotle eating a Burrito Bowl. That’s frustration and that’s what happens to people time and time again by January 15th. What I find that works is that we start with breakfast, we re-do breakfast and we come up with three to four solid suggestion, and then we master it, we spend some time figuring out how to cook it, how to shop for it, how to buy it some place if you forgot it at home on the way to work, how to travel, how to prep it ahead of time. We master it before we move on to the next meal. I find that my success rate in working with women is much higher because we don’t try to overhaul everything at once. Men I think are awesome at just ripping off the band aid but I think women need to go a little slower because there’s a lot of emotion.

‏‏Women are so sensual. We’re so sensual, we like textures and flavors and there is so much emotion that is connected to food . The way your mom gave you love by giving you those chips, and my mom loves to cooks for me. When I was a kid, it was like I was never obese or extremely overweight, but for my mom, if I didn’t have the second serving, she would get offended, she’s like, “I cooked for you.”

‏‏There’s a lot of emotions tied with food. Most women that come to me, the weight that they are trying to take off didn’t occur in five weeks, they took 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, to get to the weight that they are. If we go a little slower and take five weeks to master all of your meals, learn and do it slowly, what’s five more weeks when you’ve been at this weight for 15 years?

‏‏So smart.

‏‏We go slow.

‏‏I want to ask you something. As a vegetarian, there is the whole, especially in the fitness industry, of getting enough protein. What type of diet would you recommend for a vegetarian?

‏‏I’m octo lavo, I will eat eggs and I will eat dairy, I don’t eat fish, I don’t eat any flesh and I’ve been like this for 20 some odd years. Actually, with the trends that are out there right now with bone broth and getting all the protein, sometimes I’m very tempted to dip my toe back in because I want to have bone broth.

‏‏I love bone broth. I actually love it. It’s actually pretty good, it’s like a tasteless soup.

‏‏I have someone that makes veggie broth for me but it’s missing those collagen things that you can only really get from bones. I do feel like I’m missing out a little bit but then I’ll watch one of my favorite documentaries on Animal Products and then I change up.

‏‏I will not watch that. My husband is a vegetarian. Actually since he’s with me, he’s a pescatarian because a friend of ours who’s a billionaire brain scientist told him that he needs to have some animal product to improve his brain function. Actually since he eats fish, he looks and feels better and functions better. But with him, now that he eats fish, it’s easier. Also, I feel like he’s not getting enough protein. But also, getting enough protein has a lot to do with your body type.

‏‏It does.

‏‏Not all people need as much protein as the fitness industry’s pitching us to have.

‏‏Correct. When you ask me how do I get my protein, I’m very conscious of it and I actually sat down over the course of a week, not too long ago, and started adding up my protein because that’s I would say in the top five things that people ask me that are doing my program, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to my program. Most people are not vegetarian in my program, and that’s totally fine. I went through and added up how much protein I got over the course of the day and without any problem whatsoever, I was meeting my protein if I just wanted to count it by the day, I was meeting my protein requirements by the “book” easily by lunch time.

‏‏Really? How many grams do you get a day?

‏‏Totally. Just by my morning snack, I was up to 28 grams of protein, just my morning snack. A whole avocado has 9g of protein in it. There are building blocks of protein. But if we’re just going to sheer numbers, I have no problem meeting my own personal requirements for protein. I get my protein from things like plant based products, obviously. Things like Organic Non GMO edamame, beans, lentils, the avocados. My vegetables. I will occasionally have dairy but I love almond milk yogurt, that’s nice protein in there. I’m toying, I’m playing with talk about next level. I actually have been going dairy free to see if that would also help my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis as well.

‏‏How is it going for you? With non-dairy?

‏‏It’s very easy to be dairy free.

‏‏No, but how do you feel different?

‏‏No, I don’t feel any different.

‏‏But you feel deprived. Just kidding.

‏‏No, I don’t actually feel deprived either because I eat wonderful, wonderful food.

‏‏I eat dairy in moderation because I did my DNA test and according to my ancestry, I usually tend to not have that in time that breaks down the lactose very, very well but I do enjoy dairy every once in awhile. I don’t want to cut everything unless I have a goal. I just got ready for my wedding and I lost about 10 lbs. I had that container in the refrigerator, I had my breakfast was eggs, pumpkin and a slice of avocado and then I had my, sorry I know you’re vegetarian, but I had my turkey and I measured everything like 3 oz of sweet potato and some veggies and another meal like that and then some fish and veggies at night time. I was not hungry, I was satisfied, I had enough fat and enough food to sustain me. But then I went on my wedding and my honeymoon and my wedding cake. Three tiers of passion fruit heaven and pineapple heaven. We had a lot of cake during the honeymoon.

‏‏And that’s what you should do. It’s your wedding, you are consciously indulging in exactly what it was that you wanted to have.

‏‏And a little more.

‏‏But you are in your honeymoon. That’s a conscious indulgence. It’s when people have the cake and then they go back to work on Monday and then they eat the Costco cookies and then Sally brings in her potluck stuff and they eat that. That’s where we start to have the issues.

‏‏How do you get back on the wagon?

‏‏How do you get back on the Wheel of Wellness?

‏‏Let’s talk about a little bit about the Wheel of Wellness. What is the Wheel of Wellness? How do you get on it? How do you ride on the Wheel of Wellness? I want to ride that one.

‏‏I do. I actually like to start with the Wheel of Unwellness. Specifically, because I’m a woman, and I can speak to it. When we’re on the Wheel of Unwellness, I want you to imagine a ferris wheel at the carnival. It’s the carnival that travels around from city to city, you see those trucks carrying the ferris wheel down the freeway and they get to the place where the carnival is going to be. Some guy with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth is setting up the ferris wheel and you go to get on it and it goes a little too fast and it’s rickety and you just want to get off. Health wise, what that looks like is you had a bad day at work and you go and you pick up the kids from school and the kids want to stop for a snack, you stop at McDonald’s to get them a milkshake, and you order yourself french-fries because you deserve it, because you’ve had a bad day and then you go home.

‏‏I can’t even hear, let’s not go there.

‏‏I see the line as I’m driving down PCH in front of McDonald’s and I think about this all the time. You get home and the kids are fighting and you’re yelling at them.

‏‏They don’t even sell you real potatoes. Never mind.

‏‏We’ll change it to In-N-Out. In-N-Out uses real potatoes. In-N-Out’s french-fries. And then you get home and say the kids are fighting and you’re trying to get dinner on the table but everyone’s fighting, so you just say screw it and you order some pizza. All the kids eat the pizza and you stand over the sink and you eat the remnants, leftovers, because you’re just so mad. You get the kids off to bed and your husband hands you a glass of wine and you think I deserve this after the day I’ve had. You sit down on the couch and you drink your glass of wine.

‏‏And you open a bottle of Tequila.

‏‏And then he says here have another and he pours you another glass, you have another glass. And then you go back to the kitchen to put the glass away and you notice there’s just a little bit left in the bottle, so you drink the rest of that. You get into bed and you set your alarm clock because you’re going to get up and work out tomorrow morning because you’ve got to get back on track. You set your alarm clock early and you lay down.

‏‏But you don’t sleep well at night because usually if you consume a lot of alcohol at night, it can realty affect your sleep.

‏‏You lay down and you do fall asleep right away, but about 90 minutes later you wake up because you have to pee because you drank so much wine. And then you get back into bed and then you’re hot because now the sugar from the wine is starting to metabolize and you’re sweating and you can’t go back to sleep. Your head turns on and you start thinking about the laundry list of things that you didn’t get done during the day, and then you look at the clock and you think I’m never going to be able to fall asleep now. You sleep through your alarm and you don’t work out, the kids come and wake you up and you’ve got to rush and hurry to get them out the door. You’ve got a pounding headache and a little bit of a stomach ache and you don’t eat your breakfast, you get the kids out, you stop at Starbucks on the way home and you get a muffin and the biggest red eye cup of coffee that you can toss down and you go to work.

‏‏I got it. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.

‏‏It’s a cycle.

‏‏What do we do to get back on the good wheel? The one where we don’t eat the leftovers over the sink and we’re really nice and we have a really good relationship because we’re not cranky and there is no men with the big cigar but a really handsome, ripped guy that welcome you to the ferris wheel.

‏‏I’m not going to lie, it’s not comfortable to take that big step off of the Wheel of Unwellness because it’s going pretty fast. But you make a decision at whatever time of the day that it is and you say tonight, I’m not going to open up the bottle of wine, or this morning I am going to get up and I am going to go and go for a walk before the kids wake up. You’ve got to take that one step over and then start to go slowly from there and start to make over one meal at a time. Don’t set yourself up for failure by saying today I’m going to get up and I’m going to go run five miles and then I’m going to eat perfectly clean, what does that mean? I mean if you’ve been eating garbage, how are you suddenly going to eat perfectly clean?

‏‏What happened in your body? Your body craves what’s in your blood stream. If you have sugar and junk and the nasty fried oils and the horrible processed food and tons of sugar that’s running through your veins, your body will want that. It’s almost like a secondary addiction where your body really wants what it’s used to eating. It is a process. Like you said, slow and steady wins the race. It’s not an overnight thing because there’s so many crash diets and like you say, it’s a crash. You’re doing it and you freaking crash and then you gain all that weight plus some again. It’s taking it step by step is the right way and the right approach.

‏‏We can talk forever.

‏‏I can geek about fitness and nutrition with you forever and ever and I really enjoyed our conversation and all the amazing tips and there’s so much more to share, we didn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg but I’m sure that you inspired some people. Before we finish, I want to connect people to their why. Can you just give me a short success story of what happened to people, what was the result and what was the result of the result of them working with you, losing the weight and eating healthier?

‏‏I have a wonderful story. I’m going to highlight one of my clients, her name is Ronda, I’ve never met her in real life. She joined my program about 15 months ago and she lives in Louisiana. She has had multiple, multiple diseases. She is disabled and cannot work. A few months before meeting me, she had just gotten out of being in a wheelchair. A year into the program, she sent me an old Facebook post that she had written where it said that her soul was tired. She told me that of the 24 hours of the day, she spent 20 of the hours either on her couch or on her bed eating food. She threw her hands up in the air and figured well, this girl might be my last ditch effort and for some reason she trusted some girl from Newport Beach and here’s Ronda in Louisiana, we could not live more different lives from each other. And Ronda fought me to the nail, if I said go eat something green, and everybody was talking about Brussels sprouts, she would argue with me why she shouldn’t eat Brussels sprouts. But about a year into working with me, she had not only lost close to 100 lbs, she’s today at 117 lbs.

‏‏Yay Ronda!

‏‏At this time it was close to 100, she posted on our private Facebook group that it was a rainy day in Louisiana and she was going to sit on the couch and watch some lifetime movies and I said no you’re not, not today, not this Ronda. I want you to get up and I want you to go out and I want you to do something. She went out, she stopped at a garage sale and she bought herself a bicycle. She had not rode a bike in over 20 years. That night, she took a video of herself, which is saved on my phone and is on every computer, I’ve saved it everywhere because I don’t ever want to lose it. There was Ronda, her family was recording her riding the bike down the street. As she passes the camera, she says, look at me, I go fast. Anytime that I want to smile, I pull out that 15 second video of Ronda riding her bike. This was a woman who was in a wheelchair, whose soul was tired, who spent 20 hours in bed and on the couch and now she rides bikes every day, she’s lost 117 lbs, she sends me pictures of her sexy neck and collarbone and her gorgeous, gorgeous body and tells me all the things with her new boyfriend getting on a sailboat. Here’s a women who would never get on a sailboat and now is a 117 lbs lighter on a sailboat with her new boyfriend and that is my why and this is a big thing for her and I’m so grateful that I got to experience it with her.

‏‏It’s so nice. It’s just a good inspiring story. I hope listeners got a bit inspired, if not a lot inspired. Cassie, before we finish, two questions. One is what are your three quick tips to living a stellar life? And the second one, I know you have a special offer for our listeners. Where can they find you and what is your special offer for them?

‏‏My three tips for living a stellar life are to wake up every morning and in some way, shape or form move your body, whether it’s going for a walk or going to an indoor cycling class or going for a hike or riding the elliptical, getting on the elliptical in your basement, do something every day first thing in the morning to move your body, even if you have to get up early to do it. The second thing would be to eat real food. I know it sounds like it was all I talked about for the last hour but eat food that your grandmother would recognize.

Do something every day first thing in the morning to move your body, even if you have to get up early to do it. Click To Tweet

‏‏Depends on the grandmother.

‏‏Yes, it does. Real food that has ingredients that you can pronounce, that you know where it came from. My third tip probably to live a stellar life is to find something every day that makes you laugh like crazy. So much of our stress can be alleviated with just some good old fashioned laughter. Find something that makes you laugh and put it on repeat or call the person or listen to it, whatever, and laugh every day. That laughter will make the sun beams come out of your eyes. Those would be my three tips. As far as where people can find me, you can find me on my website which is itsmecassie.com, I’m sure you’ll put in your notes there. The next cycle of the WOW Life Nutrition Program begins on January 15th and for you listeners of the Stellar Life Podcast, if they use the promo code “STELLAR” when they are checking out, they can get $25 off of registration.

‏‏Thank you so much for sharing all this beautiful knowledge with us, for being a light in the world and creating bright foods for many women and men and helping them have their soul awaken and happy and have their bodies working and get back to that Wheel of Wellness. Thank you so much.

‏‏Thank you so much.

‏‏Thank you so much listeners. Remember, take it step by step. Eat real foods, treat your body with love, treat yourself with love, laugh a lot, be in a state of gratitude and have a Stellar Life. Until next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

✓ Make a list of all of the negative terms you use about dieting and food, like “cheating” and “restriction.”

✓ For each negative word on your list, come up with two or three positive words. Consciously work on changing your phrasing to these positive terms.

✓ Set yourself a challenge of giving up all sugar for three weeks. During this time, observe your body and moods closely to see what a difference this makes.

✓ Shake the low-fat or no-fat mentality. Instead, tell yourself that fat is your friend, and focus on eating healthy fats.

✓ Start off each day with a breakfast featuring protein and fat instead of protein and carbs. Save the carbs for later in the day.

✓ Don’t completely deny yourself indulgences! Instead, focus on eating mindfully; indulge when it will be truly satisfying, not just because there are brownies in front of you.

✓ Commit to overhauling one meal a day, starting with breakfast. Only once you’ve mastered how to handle breakfast, move on to lunch, then finally dinner.

✓ Visualize your own wheel of unwellness in detail. Write down what form it usually takes for you, and how events often play out.

✓ Beside each entry on your wheel of unwellness list, write at least two options for positive ways to break the cycle at that point (and get on the wheel of wellness instead!).

✓ For the next two weeks, set your alarm 30 minutes earlier each day. Use that extra time to do something physically active.

Links and Resources:

About Cassie Piasecki

Cassie Piasecki has over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness industry.  She is an AADP Holistic Health Practitioner and Nutritious Life certified.  Between teaching Pilates, indoor cycling, dance, and her personal training clients, she has taught fitness to over 10,000 people!  She is certified through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, the Pilates Method AllianceSchwinn Indoor Cycling, and Yoga Booty Ballet. Cassie is the CEO of GritCycle, and she still teaches indoor cycling in both Costa Mesa and Monarch Beach, CA studios.

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