Free Your Space: Intermittent Fasting Transformation and Fitness Organization

Guests: Cynthia Thurlow and Maggie Little | Season 9, Ep. 368

Cynthia Thurlow is a nurse practitioner, CEO and founder of the Everyday Wellness Project. 

She’s an international speaker with over 10 million views for her second TEDx talk (Intermittent Fasting: Transformational Technique). 

With over 20 years of experience in health and wellness, Cynthia is a globally recognized expert in intermittent fasting and nutritional health.

Cynthia developed this intermittent fasting plan after entering her forties and experiencing a health breakdown. 

Intermittent fasting didn’t just help her lose weight; she had more energy, fewer cravings, and lower blood glucose levels. 

Cynthia has now worked with thousands of women in her private practice to make her unique program of intermittent fasting work for them, too.

As Senior Healthy Living Director, Maggie Little enjoys connecting with people from all walks of life and helping them meet their goals. 

Maggie began her career at the Y in 2012, working as a youth exercise instructor, personal trainer and group exercise instructor. 

In May 2015, she became the Healthy Living Director at the Paul Henson Family YMCA. 

In November 2016, she moved into her current role, providing association-wide resources for healthy living. She also leads the Health Living team at the Kirk Family YMCA.

Maggie grew up in Kansas and Alabama and graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.

She is an ACE certified personal trainer and YMCA certified group exercise instructor. 

Outside of work, Maggie enjoys camping, kayaking and cheering for the Kansas City Royals and Kansas Jayhawks.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “And when people ask, what are your feelings about moderation, not deprivation? I said the concept works. If you can moderate, if you can’t moderate, then you eliminate.”
  • “I believe that if we tune into our bodies talking to us, and instead of trying to lose weight for a wedding or for a vacation, how about we release the weight, or we eat to thrive through life and to have our body function at a high level.”
  • “Being organized helps you achieve your goals, mainly by creating focus around those goals. So, when we think about being organized and we are thinking about our goals, usually we think about our big overall goal, which is great. We have to remember why we want to change and what our big goal is. But in order to get there, we have to take small steps.”

What You’ll Learn:

The benefits of intermittent fasting and tips to start intermittent fasting for beginners. Plus, learn how to get organized for fitness.

This Episode Includes:

  • Cynthia shares her story about how her health declined as soon as she hit perimenopause.
  • After reading a book by Dr. Jason Fung she discovered the power of intermittent fasting.
  • Cynthia began intermittent fasting and saw her health trajectory change.
  • She encouraged her colleagues and patients in her private practice to begin intermittent fasting and saw even more success stories.
  • Cynthia talks about some of the benefits of intermittent fasting like a healthier gut microbiome, more mental clarity, and higher energy levels.
  • She shares her personal day-to-day life and how she incorporates fasting into her lifestyle.
  • Cynthia also encourages the listeners to work with their healthcare providers if they want to start intermittent fasting.
  • Intermittent fasting is not for people who are pregnant, nursing, frail, underweight, or who have an eating disorder.
  • Women who still have a menstrual cycle will need to fast differently than women who have gone through menopause and men.
  • Cynthia ends by sharing three tips to get started with intermittent fasting.
  • Maggie Little from the YMCA shares how to get organized for fitness.
  • The YMCA has a program called Smart Sets where they help beginners learn how to properly handle equipment and set up a training plan.
  • In order to achieve your goals, it’s important to be organized.
  • Pre-planning is critical to achieving your fitness goals.
  • Analyze your time to see where you can better organize it. This will help you fit exercise into your schedule.

Three Takeaways From Today’s Episode:

  1. Teach yourself to stop snacking throughout the day.
  2. Increase your protein servings at each meal.
  3. Start your first fast from 6:00 P.M. at night to 8:00 A.M. the next morning.

Mentioned In The Episode:

Click Here To View Written Transcript of Episode

Dr. Robin

Welcome back to Small Changes, big shifts, building rhythm and resilience. I hope you’ve enjoyed our 30 day Being series, Space, as well as learning how to celebrate. Wasn’t Robin Stevens talk last week just powerful about just being? So today, I want to shift our conversation for the quarter around Free Your Space. In my first book, Wellness on a Shoestring, talks about seven habits to help you live a healthy life. And right in the middle is this golden nugget around Free Your space. It is freeing your mind from the thoughts you have, the toxic thoughts, or freeing your heart from maybe some of the trauma that’s happened to you. And, of course, a lot of us think about how do we clean up our diets.

So today we’re going to start to start with one of the easiest ones. I think cleaning up your diet is probably easier to clean up your mind or your heart. So today joining me is Cynthia Thurlow. She’s an author, international speaker, nurse practitioner, Everyday Wellness Project, and she has a new book out called Intermittent Fasting Transformation. She has over 20 years of experience in health and wellness. She’s a globally recognized expert in intermittent fasting, which a lot of you asked me about intermittent fasting. So that’s why I said yes to having this conversation with her is for my own knowledge. But I know a lot of you have lots of questions about it.

Cynthia has now worked with thousands of women or private practice to make her unique program of intermittent fasting work for them, too. Cynthia, thanks for joining me on Small Changes, big shifts.


Thank you for having me. I’ve been looking forward to the conversation.

Dr. Robin

Cynthia, what is intermittent fasting?


It’s interesting. It’s as simple as thinking of eating less frequently, which is completely the antithesis of most of the information I know I was sharing with my patients over the last 20 years, where you have snacks and mini meals and you eat to Stoke your metabolism. So it’s really as simple as eating less frequently within a specific time range. And the beautiful thing about fasting is it’s flexible. So that time could be between you fast, between as an example, 06:00 P.m. At night until 08:00 A.m. In the morning if you’re starting out as a newbie and could be a 24 hours fast if you are a much more seasoned veteran.

 So the beautiful thing about fasting is it’s flexible and it’s flexible around your schedule, personal commitments, et cetera, but does run contrary to the conventional dogma that I would assume both you and I were schooled in. And probably what we were sharing with patients at the beginning of our career.

Dr. Robin

As I mentioned, we’re starting this whole Free Your Space series around wellbeing, and we’re starting with the nutritional part of it. When I say free your space or shift your nutrition, what is it? What rings true for you?


Well, I think that on a lot of levels. We have been conditioned to believe that we have to eat things that are in a box, a bag or can, that nutrition needs to be complicated, that cooking is too hard. So a lot of what I think about when I hear that phrase is just getting things back to basics, eating more nutrient dense food, eating things that are simply put together.

There’s nothing more delicious than a grilled steak with steamed vegetables and maybe you add in some healthy fats. And so I think that we in many ways have derailed our perception of what nutrient-dense food looks like because we have these bright, shiny objects, these packages and things, convenience foods that really do trick our body into thinking that it’s a whole food nutrition program.

So my motto is generally to keep things very simple, focusing on protein, healthy fats, and the right types of carbohydrates. And this is pretty consistent messaging, irrespective of what gender, age-range I’m speaking to, that we really need to think back to how our grandmothers ate, our grandparents ate, which was much more simple than what our food sources and our foods look like today.

Dr. Robin

It’s been fun to do this show now about eight years and have different people talk, whether a cardiologist or a doctor of osteopathy or a nurse practitioner. And I try to tell my clients we kind of all agree on about 80% probably, probably like life. We have more in common than we do different about this whole food pyramid and how you should be consuming and what you should be consuming. And why is it your Ted Talk had over 10 million views about intermittent fasting? Why do you think we’re all enamored with it right now? Do you think it’s a fad?


I don’t think it’s a fad. In fact, I always like to point out that it dates back to biblical times. It’s part of all the major religions some aspect of fasting for spiritual health or otherwise. I think, honestly, people are tired of gimmicks. People are tired of non sustainable strategies. They’re tired of the potions, pills and powders that the weight loss industry has really literally shoved down our throats over the last 30, 40 years.

And so I think a lot of people come to intermittent fasting out of a curiosity to lose weight, change body composition, and then they feel so good that they stay for so many other reasons. So, yes, in 2019, when I gave that second TEDx Talk, it was the most searched diet strategy of the entire year, which I think fueled a lot of the interest in that particular talk.

But when I speak to women boots on the ground as one example, people are just curious. They want to understand how they will feel, how they will be able to think and interact and sleep eating less frequently. And they’re very, very surprised to know that more often than not, they feel just so much more energy and mental clarity, and that’s what keeps them coming back to it as a strategy.

Dr. Robin

I love that you use the word feel because I believe that if we tune in our bodies talking to us, and instead of trying to lose weight for a wedding or for a vacation, how about we release the weight or we eat to thrive through life and to have our body function at a high level. So what led you to incorporating intermittent Fasting into your lifestyle?


Well, I always say it starts at the end of one. And certainly even though I was a nurse practitioner, even though I have a great relationship with my gym and my mom and my girlfriends, nothing prepared me for perimenopause the five to ten years preceding menopause. And I hit it like a wall. I had a very demanding job. I worked for a very large Cardiology group in the Washington, DC, area. So I was seeing patients in the hospital and clinic. I had two young children. I had a husband who did a lot of international travel.

I probably didn’t sleep enough, and I probably was doing the wrong types of exercise for that stage of life. And so when I say I hit the wall, all of a sudden I had no energy. I started gaining weight. I developed food sensitivities. I just felt awful. And that had never been the way that I would have described myself.

And so in my journey to figure out what in the world was going on, aka perimenopause, and to try to better balance my hormones, part of that brought me to Intermittent fasting.

Out of curiosity, I read a book by Dr. Jason Fung, and that changed everything for me. It gave me the courage to feel confident as a clinician that there was plenty of research to support utilizing this as a strategy. And I felt so much better within the first week of using it as a day-to-day strategy that it slowly began to literally bleed into everything else I did.

So when I was in clinic in the hospital, I started having conversations not only with my patients, but my colleagues. And then it turned into another strategy that I used in my private practice. And so for me, I always say that the end of one brought me to Intermittent fasting.

But what kept me there was the consistent results that I was seeing with my patients, with myself, with my family and friends, people feeling like they got their lives back. I got my husband and all of his friends doing it. And so it’s really gratifying to know that a strategy that is not new or novel, despite what you know, Google trends say, is really something that is very aligned with the way our bodies are designed to thrive.

Dr. Robin

You know, it’s interesting having gone through menopause, and my friends always laugh. They’re like, we want to see how you go through menopause, since you’ve been in the wellness space for at that time, 20 years. And because of some of my strategies, it wasn’t miserable for me. Yes, I had a little bit of shifting happening, but it wasn’t like, oh, my gosh, I need to go get on some hormone replacement therapy, else I’m going to hurt myself or somebody else. So talk about intermittent fasting. What are some of the benefits? Go ahead. What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?


Yeah. So I think it always starts with changes in body composition and weight loss because that’s where the curiosity generally stems from. But I also like to really emphasize the benefits of mental clarity and energy. And a lot of that is a byproduct of as you are beginning the intermittent fasting journey and your body is figuring out how to become metabolically flexible, utilizing both fats and carbohydrates depending on what your body needs.

When you are in a fasted state and you are metabolically flexible, your body can go in and utilize fats as a source of energy. And when you do that, you can free up a special type of fatty acid and ketones. One in particular, beta-hydroxybutyrate, diffuses across the blood-brainblood brain barrier. And our brains love fat.

And so it really provides this incredible source of not only energy, but mental clarity. And so I think that’s always one of the first kind of surprising benefits. I think about lowered amounts of inflammation and oxidative stress. The impact on the mitochondria is profound. And if listeners aren’t as familiar as to what they are, they’re actually the powerhouses of our cells.

And north of the age of 40, most of us have some degree of significant mitochondrial dysfunction, which is aligned with the aging process. I also think about this nerdy science term called autophagy, which is this waste and recycling process really critically important because our body can go in and get rid of diseased organelles mitochondria, things that no longer belong, that could potentially go on to create other health issues.

And so when we are in a fasted state, we get up regulation of autophagy. And that’s a really important concept, really important concept to understand for so many of my patients, they come off a blood sugar medication, so maybe they’re insulin resistant or diabetic. So they get improved biophysical markers, lowered blood pressure, which we know there’s a close interrelationship with insulin resistance and hypertension, a reduction in their lipid profile.

So lots of improvement in lab markers. It lowers our risk of neurocognitive diseases. So I think about Alzheimer’s, which especially in particular is a cause of concern for women in menopause when they have less estradiol signaling. And we talk about type three diabetes, which is actually a manifestation of Alzheimer’s.

There’s also improvement in the gut microbiome. I’m sure you talk a lot about this on your program, but when we think about that, we have this very thin epithelial layer in the gut microbiome, which can be improved upon by eating less frequently. And so I think about if you’re fasting long enough, you can actually tap into some stem cell regeneration in the gut.

And I always remind people that the gut microbiome is closely interrelated with so many health issues. And then lastly, I really like to think about the fact that it lowers our risk of certain types of cancers. And so this is I’m noticing more and more women are increasingly articulating that this is something that is important to them, lowering the risk of certain types of reproductive cancers by taking out the garbage.

And those are kind of some highlights of the benefits of intermittent fasting, but obviously depends on how long you fast, how frequently you fast, what your nutrition is like, how well you take care of yourself in terms of your lifestyle as well. So it’s not the whole picture. It’s just part of the picture.

Dr. Robin

Yes. One big contributor to lifestyle medicine or lifestyle strategies.



Dr. Robin

So what I heard you say is by practicing intermittent fasting, it’s going to help your brain health, your hormonal health, your gut health, and your muscular skeletal health.



Dr. Robin

Your immune system. Yeah. Okay. I think we’ve covered both this system. Who should not intermittent fast?


It’s a really important question. Obviously, I’m not a fan of intermittent fasting for people that are still growing. So teenagers, young adults, if they’re not at full maturation, certainly not a strategy to utilize with individuals that have had a history of distorted relationship with food, whether that be bulimia anorexia or binge eating.

Have I had a few women that have a history of a disordered relationship with food successfully fast? Yes, there are a few, but they generally are working concomitantly with an eating disorder specialist and only if the specialist feels that they are in a position where they can moderate their food intake properly.

The other thing is, I think it goes out saying if you’re underweight. So even if you’re an adult and you’re underweight, your BMI is less than 18. If you underwent a long, lengthy hospitalization like I had in 2019, where I was hospitalized for 13 days, you better believe I didn’t fast for probably three or four months because I just wasn’t in a position to restrict any of my food intake.

I was trying to gain some healthy weight back. But under most circumstances, most people would do very well. Although I always interject that if you are on chronic medication, whether it’s for high blood pressure, diabetes, you’ve got cardiovascular disease, renal issues, et cetera, have a conversation with their healthcare professional.

I think it’s critically important that they are monitoring you more closely because you may ultimately need to be on less medication. And it’s very, very important that that’s being monitored. So I always look at it as a partnership.

I think it’s important that we involve our health care team so they’re aware so they can make adjustments. Maybe they’re going to be checking in with you or monitoring blood work or blood pressure, etc. Or more frequently. And that’s a beautiful thing. I’ve seen some pretty tremendous changes happen, but that’s a general overview.

I made the mistake in my Ted talk of giving an age limit, and I got more angry messages from people saying, hey, I’m exhausted and I’ve been doing fasting for 30 years, so I no longer make that recommendation. I just like to point out if you’re frail, recovering from surgery or underweight, irrespective of your age, not the time of fasting or last caveat, pregnant or breastfeeding.

So if you are growing a human or feeding a human, it’s important to identify this is not the time to restrict your food intake.

This seems to be something on social media that has become a little bit of a lightning Rod because I’m not afraid to stand on that hill and identify that this could potentially impact epigenetic signaling in the body. I was actually on a panel two years ago now with some other physicians, and we all collectively agreed that we have to be very careful in pregnancy and also in breastfeeding, that we are not advocates of fasting.

Certainly when you’re done being pregnant, done breastfeeding, have added, but during those time periods, you really need to focus on the health of your baby.

Dr. Robin

Thank you for telling me, because I think so many times people think it’s global and so there’s that kind of maybe the 80/20 or whether it’s 70/30.

But once again, I want to recap. I love how you said growing a human or feeding how did you hear that growing, feeding a human, growing or feeding a human. If you have a challenging relationship with food, whether, through an eating disorder or some type of food addiction, I think the food addiction could be interesting if it may not be a disorder.

Also, if you’re frail, I love that you said that because sometimes people come in, they think if everything works. I’m like, it doesn’t, chiropractic doesn’t work for acupuncture, doesn’t work for everybody. Intermittent fasting doesn’t work for everybody.

However, there are some major benefits for the average person going through this stuff like that. And I love the word you said in partnership because so many times people come into me and they’re taking five or six or seven medications. And I’m like, we need to be working with your doctor as well, because as you increase your healthy lifestyle, you’ll maybe need less medication and then you become overmedicated. So I’m glad you brought that up.

Speaking of in partnership, I want to thank our sponsors, Community American Credit Union, Advent Health, and the YMCA for helping support this message of small changes, bigger shifts, getting out to the world. Let’s kind of give me the average day.

What’s your day like as an intermittent faster like for you as a practitioner?


Yeah. So I can tell you I’m usually up by 06:00 A.m., I have a 14 year old who has to get on the bus at an ungodly hour, so I have to be up to make sure he is up at six. Usually by 07:00 A.m., I am either at the gym or exercising because I have a 16 year old who can get up on his own and get to the school. But I would say my day really starts with I do a little bit of meditation.

I try really hard to stay off of email, social media for my sanity, but I usually like to get my workout in. And when I’m done with my workout, my husband and I will take our dogs when it’s not raining, take our dogs out for a long walk. I have two doodles and they love the exercise and it’s a great way for my husband and I connect. In

the morning, I get light exposure on my retina. I’m very big on connecting to nature in the morning. In fact, I crave it. That is maybe the blessing over the past two years that my husband and I both twice a day get out the dogs out in nature and it’s been fantastic.

Then I will probably come home. I’ll probably jump in the shower, drink some green tea. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I will of course take some green tea. And because there’s so many benefits with green tea, shower and get my day started. I generally, as a rule do not look at my email before 10:00 A.m.

My whole team knows this. I always say if you need me, text me because I just feel like my mental health is so much better when I focus on self care for myself and my family. Whatever needs to get done before I focus on my business.

And so by 10:00 a.m. I’m usually on email, kind of scanning my email to find out what fires need to be put out. And then my day is pretty fairly structured right now because of the book launch. There’s a lot of podcasting and media work, a lot of IG lives and in between I have clients and team meetings and things like that. I typically try to wind my day down by the time my 14 year old gets home from school and certainly before carpool starts because no one in my house is driving cars yet. They’re not so young humans anymore. They’re taller than me. And then I’m dealing with mom stuff. Dinner, carpool for swim, team for lacrosse and football. And then I typically at nighttime. I do have some rituals that I like to employ.

I come to find that sleep has become an art form in middle age. I tell everyone I did not appreciate sleep as much as I do now because there are many things I like to do. I put blue blockers when it gets dusk out. I try to get off electronics. I try very hard to stay off of my computer at night. I know there are days when I have to work into the evening, but that’s never generally my choice.

After my kids are fed, the dogs get another long walk, my husband and I get to kind of unpack our day. I may take a magnesium soak it certainly depends on what my day is like, what supplements I will take before bedtime. But I genuinely like to be in bed with my blue blockers no later than 930 or 10:00 at the latest, because for me personally, I do a whole lot better getting a solid 8 hours a night of sleep.

And at this point in my adult life, despite the fact my teen teenagers think it’s funny, I do a whole lot better. In fact, I wear an aura ring every day, and so I track my sleep data too. But that’s typically a day for me, unless I’m traveling. Obviously, if I’m traveling, there’s a lot of flux that goes on.

But I usually break my fast during my work day, usually around 10:00 a.m. It’s usually my first meal. I usually have a second meal about four and a half hours later. And then, depending on whether I have lifted weights that day or how busy I’ve been, I may try to fit in a little bit more protein towards the end of the day, but my feeding window usually is ten to 510 to six at the latest.

I just do much, much better ending my feeding window about three to 4 hours before I go to bed. And if I trend all of my continuous glucose monitor data, I do much better.

Like I can have a carbohydrate load in the middle of the day and it has very little net impact on my blood sugar readings. But if I eat carbohydrates, and by saying that’s not anything that’s bad, if I decide to have squash or sweet potato in the early evening, for whatever reason, I’m not as insulin sensitive.

And so for me, I just know that with my level of physical activity, it needs to be a midday load, and then usually the rest of the day it’s focused on protein.

Dr. Robin

When you say protein, I’m guessing you probably have other things Besides animal protein.


Well, I eat a lot of animal protein. I would say I’m carnivoreish – low carb because that’s what works best for me. So, I may have six to 8oz of steak or bison or chicken. I don’t need as much fish just because in my house my husband is very picky about fish and has to be cooked the day of so there’s certainly not a lot of leftovers with two teenage boys.

But for me, my plates are very focused on a good amount of protein and then non starchy vegetables. And depending on how active I’ve been, whether or not I’ve lifted weights, depending on what my sleep is like, I adjust carbohydrates accordingly. But my carbs tend to come from non-starchy vegetables, low glycemic berries, some squash and sweet potato. I’m also gluten, dairy, and grain free, and I’m very happy in that space.

I always have to interject that I don’t feel deprived. Probably my one vice that’s left is dark chocolate, which I can moderate. And my standard response. And when people ask, what are your feelings about moderation, not deprivation?

I said the concept works. If you can moderate, if you can’t moderate, then you eliminate. So, for me in my house, I’ve been gluten-free for over ten years. I don’t have gluten-free cookies or cake or things like that in my house because I cannot moderate, whereas I can moderate with dark chocolate.

So that’s like the one big vice that I enjoy. And I probably have a little bit of dark chocolate every day because that’s my one thing. But I can have a small piece of chocolate and I’m good with that. Versus if you had cookies in the house, it would be a disaster. So much easier just to eliminate the things that don’t work for me or my body.

Dr. Robin

Well, it’s listening. So many people are intimidated by intermittent fasting, whether somebody wants to tiptoe in, what’s your top one, two, three things that they could do today if they wanted to start saying, I’m not one of those people that we talked about. They’re not underweight, they’re not frail, they’re not growing a baby or feeding a baby. What are your top one to three things they could do to get started?


Well, I think the easiest thing to do is to eliminate snacking. And that’s the number one, because once you eliminate snacking, you are going to be forced to restructure your macros. Your macros are protein, fat and carbohydrates.

And what that means is that when you’re not snacking between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner and after dinner, you’re going to have to make sure you have a little more protein in that breakfast, a little more protein at lunch, a little more protein at dinner, because that is the most satiating macronutrient. So, for me, usually step one is no snacking.

Step two is increase your protein intake and your protein portions.

Usually, step three is to go from dinner to breakfast without eating anything. And for our snacking culture, a lot of people and I totally get it. You can from work, you’re stressed. Maybe you put the kids to bed. They’re obviously younger than mine. Put them to bed and you get to do a big exhale. And you sit on the couch and you want wine or you want some chocolate or there’s some other savory thing that you want to ingest.

And so just going from dinner, let’s say 06:00 p.m. Dinner to 08:00 A.m. The following day, you’ve already fasted 14 hours, and you’ve slept most of them. So, I think it’s the small wins. But I do find depending on how carbohydrate-dependent someone is how much-processed food people are eating.

The removing snacking piece may take people a week or two or longer to actually do, because a lot of what is challenging about intermittent fasting is retraining our brain to adopt new habits. It is possible, but when you’re doing something new, it feels a little arduous. It’s like I have to think about everything I’m doing. But you will get to a point where you say to yourself, OK, I’ve had breakfast, I don’t eat again until lunch, I’ve had lunch, I don’t eat again until dinner. And that’s usually the most simplistic way.

 And with the understanding that depending on who you are a lot of people, it takes them four to six weeks for this to feel normal for them. And then as they start succeeding with a 14 hours fast and they can move to 14 and a half hours or maybe 15.

And depending on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, there are times during your cycle when you should fast and times you shouldn’t. If a woman is in menopause or if you’re a man, it’s so much easier. The one caveat I always say is that menopausal, women and men, although they are not similar, they are similar in terms of how there is not as much hormonal flux day to day, week to week, like a cycling female, like a perimenopausal woman.

And so I think it’s always important to interject, like if you are a woman and you are still getting a menstrual cycle, you need to lean into your physiology a little differently than a menopausal woman who has gone more than twelve months without a menstrual cycle. But that’s a really good starting point. And I think I’ve gotten it down to a point where it’s so diluted that I would say start with this.

When you succeed with no longer snacking, then move on to increasing your portion sizes. And what I find is most people overeat carbohydrates, eat the wrong types of fats and eat too little protein. And so when you flip all that, all of a sudden people aren’t having energy dips, they’re feeling satiated, they can push away from the table, they’re not looking for snacks, they sleep better, they have more energy during the day, and they have more energy to ascertain with physical exercise or interacting with their loved ones.

I had one woman who said I had no idea that my meal frequency issues were contributing to my hot flashes. And if anyone that’s listening has ever had a hot flash, it’s not a pleasant experience. And so we know, based on research, the women that typically have the worst hot flashes and the hardest time going from the five to ten years preceding menopause into menopause are the ones that have the most blood sugar dysregulation, the most insulin resistance, or propensity for that.

So I remind women, like, if they’re really struggling with the hot flashes and the transitional periods, no pun intended that eating less frequently can help stabilize that blood sugar and that can contribute to a better sense of control.

Dr. Robin

Well, to our, listeners, you’ve got some seriously Golden Nuggets today from Cynthia. I hope you’ll check out her new book, Intermittent Fasting Transformation. Cindy, what’s the best way for People To find the book?


Yeah. So right now it is available everywhere. So Amazon, Target, Barnes and Noble or your local bookstore. And I’ve really been encouraging People to patronize Your Local Bookstore. I think a lot of our wonderful bookstores have really suffered over the Past two years. If you have an ability to buy something in person, please bring your business to your local book retailer. With that being said, you can also buy it online.

And it’s easiest to connect with me through my website, through my podcast, Everyday Wellness. And I’m very active on social media, although I always forewarn everyone. I’m a little snarky on Twitter, but otherwise, I’m on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. I’m everywhere.

Dr. Robin

I love that. Well, I’m glad you brought up local Bookstores. We have a great one in Kansas City. Rainy Day Books, just a leader around the world, actually, in local bookstore. So go over there and see Roger and Vivian and support them as you get this great book. And it’s a great way to kind of start your spring cleaning as we’re launching our Free Your Space episodes. Cynthia, as we wrap up, do you have A favorite book, song or quote that You’re Following right Now That You Want To Share With Our audience?


I’m trying to think my most recent book that I read and It Was Sitting Right On My table because I’m interviewing this individual on Friday. I would say I just finished Gabby Bernstein’s book Happy Days, and it’s really Been Very insightful. She talks about in her book that books come to you when you are Ready To Hear The message. And so she Talks A lot About Trauma. It’s been a really interesting book to read. I’m actually connecting with her tomorrow. I would say that’s probably been my most recent read.

I tend to be Reading about 100 Things At Once. I’m also listening to a great audiobook. It’s Dave Girl’s autobiography that has been a delight. So my interest kind of span the spectrum. But yeah, I’m Usually Reading five or six Things At Once. But those are my two most recent reads.

Dr. Robin

I love that. Well, I’m going to end our Show With a quote that I actually Said during the show. Life is really simple. We insist on making It Complicated. And Cynthia Has Taken Intermittent Fasting and Broken It Down for you. And so I really Encourage You to go to Your Local Bookstore And Find her book. Intermittent Fasting Transformation. Alright. Hey, we’ll chat really soon. Have a wonderful week.

Welcome back to Small Changes, Big Shifts. I’m delighted today to share with you one of my favorite community partners in the Metro Kansas City that also has a nationwide international presence, the YMCA.

Joining me is Maggie Little. She’s a senior healthy living director. Maggie enjoys connecting with people from all walks of life and helping them meet their goals. Maggie Bright began her career at the Y in 2012, working as a youth exercise instructor, personal trainer, and group exercise instructor. She has worked her way all the way up and it has many hats she’s wearing for the Y right now, and most recently, she’ll be able to share her recent promotion. Maggie grew up in Kansas, in Kansas and Alabama and graduate. Maggie grew up in Kansas and Alabama and graduated from the University of Kansas. How about those Hawks? She is an A certified personal trainer and a YMCA certified group exercise instructor. Outside of work, Maggie enjoys camping, kayaking, and cheering for the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas Jayhawks. Maggie, welcome to Small Changes, Big Shifts.


Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Dr. Robin

Well, Maggie, I’m not sure if you know this, but I’m also on the Y board and so I really enjoy the why. And I try to line my heart and my time with my money and my values. And you guys have three initiatives that you focus on at the YMCA. Can you list those for me?


Sure. We focus on healthy living, social responsibility, and youth development. So those are three main areas of focus. And I know you are on our board and we thank you for all of your service to us. We are greatly appreciative of you.

Dr. Robin

Well, I love the why and everything you stand for. It really pairs nicely with our mission at Small Changes, Big Shifts, as well as the Big Shift Foundation.

So tell me a little bit about why you got involved with the why. In today’s times, you could be anywhere, but you choose to invest your heart and your career at the Y. Why is it so important to you?


Well, it’s so important to me because I started with the YMCA as a member, and that was in probably 2010 or 2011. I had twins who were about a year and a half old. Only one of them could walk at the time, and I needed to get myself back in shape after having twins. And I joined the YMCA out in Bonner Springs, actually, which is a small town in Kansas. And I would go to the YMCA there and push my two babies in their double stroller up the ramp and into the Y.

And I’ve always been athletic, but having that time where they were in a safe environment in the childcare, and I knew they were being taken care of. And close to me, I was able to work out a couple of hours a day, and I just felt like I found myself again and I got to be friends with everybody. And that’s how they asked me one day, hey, would you like to lead a youth exercise program?

And I said, well, sure. That was 2012. It was the Olympics that year. We just kind of tried to shape our program out off of the Olympics. I had so much fun. And then one thing led to another. I got my personal training certification and confidence and enthusiasm for the wide group from there. And soon I was working full time.

Dr. Robin

Well, it sounds like you found a community as well as the family.


Yes. That safety and community and being accepted is something that is so valuable to me. And that’s why I really enjoy working for the Y, because we’re for everyone. Any stage of your life, any stage of your health and fitness training, we welcome everybody into the why, and it’s a safe place for everyone. And I just love that.

So that’s why I continue to work for the Y. And it’s been almost ten years now.

Dr. Robin

Well, that’s why I’m a volunteer. Not quite ten years, but going on it. Maggie, let’s dive into a few questions. We’re in this funny month of April. People are starting to kind of get outside a little bit more, trying to get off some of the maybe covered weight or winter weight. How does being organized help you achieve your fitness goals?


I would say that being organized helps you achieve your goals, mainly by creating focus around those goals. And so when we think about being organized and we are thinking about our goals, usually we think about our big overall goal, which is great. We have to remember why we want to change and what our big goal is.

But in order to get there, we have to take small steps. Just like your podcast in your program, small steps. And so we call that at the YMCA and many other organizations, we set smart goals. So these are small goals. Smart stands for the S stands for specific, the N stands for measurable, the A stands for Achievable, the R stands for realistic. And the T is time sensitive. So what this means is you just take small goals.

It could even be a day, could be your time, it could be a week. But you want to make sure you can measure it. You want to make sure you can do it. And you want to make sure it’s tied to your overall goal in some way. It could be anything.

You know, when we’re talking about fitness, it could be sleep is your smart goal that week. It could be actual physical activity, it could be nutrition. You can choose. But the key is building on that momentum, setting smart goals that lead to your big overall goal, and that will build momentum of success. And you can continue to build week after week or day after day on those small achievable goals.

Dr. Robin

Well, I’m glad you brought up. It’s working out. It’s kind of the mental health. It’s asleep. It’s the people you surround yourself with, community as well as what you eat. So, Maggie, what are a few ways we can organize our homes to help support our fitness goals?


I think one of the biggest things we can do is in preparation. So whether that’s your clothes, maybe setting them out the night before. If you’re a morning exerciser or if you’re exercising on the way home from work or in the afternoon, you’re packing your bag the night before.

And this is including all the little things, the clothes you’re going to need, the socks, your shoes, your earbuds, your water bottle, all of those things. So you do a little pre planning and organization before so that you’re ready. And if you have it set out the night before, you’re likely to just throw on those clothes and hit the door for your morning run or walk or bike ride or grab your bag and throw it in the car with you.

Dr. Robin

Well, it sounds like people are setting themselves up for success.


Yes, that’s the key. I mean, we want to make it easy on ourselves, right? We don’t want physical activity to be a hardship, so we make it easy on ourselves by trying to prepare as much as we can in advance.

Dr. Robin

Well, what do you say to the people that say, I don’t really have time for it? How can we organize our lives so we can have time for fitness?


I would say that what you could do. My suggestion would be to make a list of everything you do on a typical day and get really detailed about it. Do you look at Facebook for ten minutes before you get out of bed and then you brush your teeth, but make it as detailed as possible. Cooking breakfast for the kids. You could even put in parentheses estimate of time that it takes you to do all those things and include your commute.

Include your time connecting with coworkers. You want everything on the list. And then once you have a list from top to bottom of your morning, from waking up until going to bed, maybe circle the parts on the list that aren’t mandatory, that you do or aren’t necessity that you do that day.

But maybe you could do it another day and see how much time you have that you can be flexible with. And that’s a good time to substitute in the behaviors that you want to achieve.

The first step is analyzing how you’re spending your time now and seeing what can be moved or what could be subbed out even every other day. If you want to change some behaviors, look at something that you could do, just a concession you can make every other day to put in a walk, a ten minute, 20 minutes walk, anything like that, and maybe even being aware of the motion.

I was thinking about how many steps you take a day. Maybe you can even count taking 30 steps up and then 30 steps down and start to be kind of those micro minutes, microseconds, micromotions.

Dr. Robin

Awesome. Why is it important to work out in an orderly way and how does it help set our expectations for fitness goals?


I think that the most important reason to work out in an orderly way and to have a plan is namely to reduce the instance of injury. But you do want to look at that overall goal. And if you are going to start, if your plan is to run a marathon, if you haven’t run in a year, you don’t start with a ten mile run, right. So you have to build up to things.

And especially if we’re talking about lifting weights or we’re talking about cardio activity, any form of physical activity it’s good to build on. We’re going to take small steps like I was talking about with the Smart goals to get to that overall big goal.

But so you are going to progress your workout routine and you do that with cardioactivity and you do it with strength training. A great way to do that. The YMCA here in Kansas City, we offer Smart Start.

When you join, you get those for free. It’s three sessions. I think most of the YMCA around the country offer a member orientation type of program. Or you can always consult a personal trainer just for guidance on how to start and be safe so they can give you a plan and they’ll do this in Smart Starts or personal training, an incremental plan. Start here. Next steps are here. B

ut you want to do your fitness routine until you’re comfortable with it and you’re enjoying it and then you want to change it up. So having a professional to go to is important, just so you’re guided and you do prevent that injury.

But always changing and trying new things keeps you engaged. It keeps it fun. So I would say you organize it in a way that you are always changing every few weeks.

Dr. Robin

Sounds like variety is the spice of life.


Yes, it really is. In fitness and many other areas and many other areas.

Dr. Robin

Well, it’s been delight sharing about the YMCA and you mentioned Smart Starts and maybe some other programs. What’s the best way for people to find out about what’s going on, the why, whether it’s locally or nationally?


Well, our local website is Kansas City. and it has information on all of those things. Group exercise classes, smart starts, personal trainings any ways that you’d like to get organized. And then the national YMCA website is okay.

Dr. Robin

Pretty darn easy. Once again I’m delighted to share with you our new community partner, the YMCA of greater Kansas city. I invite you to check out Zo this close to you and hey, I’ll look forward to chatting with you all real soon. Thanks, Maggie for joining me.


Thanks, Michelle. Have a great day.


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