What Now?

The start of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate and adjust the way you’re spending your time and energy. So this week on The Living Experiment, we pull back the curtain on how we’re doing that with one project in particular: the podcast itself.

As a way of modeling a reflective and strategic process you can use in your own life, we discuss our original goals and intentions in doing the show, where we feel like we’re on course, and where we feel we’re losing steam or burning valuable time and energy (mostly with the copious amounts of behind-the-scenes work).

We also invite input from you on our initial ideas for making pragmatic adjustments in ways that won’t undermine the value of the podcast for us and our listeners.

“What Now?” Episode Highlights

  • Dallas and Pilar share what’s going on in their lives, the big changes they made in 2016, and what they’re re-assessing (3:10)
  • Reflections on creating and producing a podcast (7:55)
  • Positive feedback from listeners that confirms the podcast is achieving its primary goal of helping people rethink their choices and improve their lives (11:30)
  • What’s been working, and what we feel needs to change to support a more sustainable process (don’t worry, we’re not quitting!) (13:15)
  • The limitations of using social media for communication and promotion, and why we’re dropping the podcast’s Twitter feed at the very least (25:00)
  • The hours that go into these show notes, and our desire to know if they are valuable to listeners (Let us know!) (33:50)
  • Re-thinking the content of the weekly newsletter (42:15)
  • Modeling the reflective process — scrutinizing goals and objectives and what you’re doing to meet them, deciding what works and what doesn’t, identifying options, and facing fear of change (45:55)
  • The love for the work and fear of self-promotion that Dallas and Pilar share (50:10)
  • Final thoughts on the importance of periodic reflection (56:05)
  • Suggested experiments for the week (58:15)

Think about a task or activity that isn’t serving you, and swap it with something you’ve wanted to try or do more of. You may find that eliminating what isn’t bringing value or satisfaction will free up the time, energy, or money you need to do sometime more rewarding.

Pick one area of your life that feels overworked or an activity you’ve come to dread, and renegotiate the commitment. Give yourself permission to not do a thing you don’t want to do, or do it in a way that’s more enjoyable.

Bonus experiment:

Let us know what you think about our proposed changes to the podcast! We’d love to know if we talked about eliminating something that you find extremely valuable, if you think we’re on the right track, or anything else you want to share.

Share the Love!

If you’re enjoying The Living Experiment, please tell your friends about it (check out the “Share This” widget and other social-media tools on this page). With so many podcasts available, people really appreciate personal recommendations.

We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook — share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.


PLUS . . .

New Year

This week we’re talking about the concept of the New Year — from meaningless consumer hype to contemplative pursuits that really can make a difference.

We explore the potential pros and cons of leveraging the New Year as an opportunity for self-improvement, and we share the approaches we like best for pursuing change in our own lives.

From expert theories of change to the awkward realities of working on a goal that eludes you, we take a thoughtful look at New Year’s conventions, and we offer some experiments to help you establish a better, more self-compassionate plan for your year ahead.

“New Year” Episode Highlights

  • The New Year holiday as the caboose on the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas marketing train
  • Arguments against January 1 as a hard date for making big changes
  • Pilar’s Goal Flower model for setting and achieving goals
  • Accomplishing less instead of more
  • Why uncovering the belief systems that are holding you back may be more effective than simply addressing surface problems like excess weight, disorganization, and debt
  • Dallas’s approach to goal setting (and the holidays)
  • Making resolutions when you’re ready and in your own way, instead of when and how the calendar or culture says you should
  • The shared energy of forming new habits with everyone else in January (or any other time), and the value of using camaraderie to launch into autonomy
  • Creating sustainable change and escaping commercially-driven cycles
  • The Prochaska Transtheoretical Model of change
  • Dallas’s insights on self-sabotage, and Pilar’s thoughts on our inherent “immunity to change”
  • Making small transformations on the road to accomplishing larger goals and avoiding self-sabotage
  • The difference between building sustainable change and making cyclical changes to break up an unsustainable lifestyle
  • The right and wrong motivations for modifying behaviors – love vs. fear
  • The power of conscious language
  • How to embrace the opportunity of the New Year to achieve what you really want
  • Acknowledging universal obstacles to change

Look at the changes you want to make for the new year, and articulate the motivation behind them.

  • Ask yourself: Am I doing this out of fear or out of love?
  • Replace a behavior that has typically been fear-based with one done out of love. It doesn’t have to be a different behavior; it may be the same action, but with a different motivation in play.

1) Make an Immunity Map following the steps in the Experience Life article, “How to Overcome Immunity to Change”.

2) Get on the waiting list for Pilar’s Refine Your Life 6-week workshop series.

Share the Love!

Have you told your friends and family about The Living Experiment? If you dig the podcast, please share it! Every recommendation from you means a lot!

We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook. Tell us about your experiments, and share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.

Sponsor Gratitude

Thanks to our sponsor, Optimize by Heroic, for supporting The Living Experiment. Now you can get Optimize membership (formerly $250) for FREE just by signing up here. And check out the Heroic social training platform, with a goal of creating a world in which 51% of the world’s population is flourishing by 2051 — starting with YOU!

Optimize with Brian Johnson



Health Media

It’s hard to know what to believe. Online, in print, via TV and radio broadcast, the health media delivers a lot of mixed messages and downright confusing data.

And as corporate interests increasingly shape and influence content streams, the more challenging it becomes to discern fact from profit-driven fiction.

This week on The Living Experiment, we explore some of the dynamics that undermine accurate health-media coverage, and offer suggestions on how to navigate this often disorienting territory.

We also suggest some experiments to help you become a better informed and more empowered media consumer.

“Health Media” Episode Highlights

  • The barrage of confusing and conflicting headlines, especially about food and nutrition (4:20)
  • The problem of health experts who resist admitting they got things wrong and refuse to update their conclusions (6:10)
  • The corporate influences at work in scientific research and health media (8:05)
  • How research published in respected medical journals is steered by funders with profit-driven motives (9:45)
  • The unholy alliance between an industry and researchers — and how the results influence policies and nutrition guidelines (10:45)
  • An example of an “authoritative” national institution that disseminates horribly misguided (but media-friendly) “healthy eating guidelines” for kids (11:20)
  • The disturbing shift away from high-quality reporting toward viral, traffic-producing posts, often at the expense of decent coverage (15:50)
  • The pernicious influence of advertising dollars on media content, especially from food conglomerates and pharmaceutical companies (18:15)
  • Prevention magazine’s bold move to remove all advertising from their printed publication in an effort to safeguard their reporting (21:50)
  • The importance of finding trustworthy experts and media sources, and Dallas’s short list (24:45)
  • The problem with imposing conclusions from very specific research on the wider population (26:20)
  • Filtering health data using your own developed logic or philosophy (28:00)
  • Rote, media-repeated phrases like “fruits and vegetables” and “lean proteins” that sound healthy but can be misleading (31:55)
  • A caution about recommended “food swaps” that promote lower calories, less sugar, lower sodium and less saturated fat but are inherently unhealthy (35:15)
  • Pilar’s trusted short list of health sources (36:05)
  • The functional medicine revolution, and the lack of media coverage (or hostile attacks) progressive physicians and researchers receive (38:45)
  • “Half of what we’ve told you is wrong, but we don’t know which half” — the conundrum shared by responsible journalists and medical schools (41:30)
  • The power of lifestyle choices and changes that can limit or eradicate the need for long-term use of medications  (43:45)
  • The value of reading outside the mainstream media canon (including government agencies and associations) (46:10)
  • How health messages on television are influenced by industry priorities (48:35)
  • How advertising drives magazine content, and why ads that disagree with editorial coverage may actually be a good sign (51:20)
  • Looking more closely at “expert” sources (their associations, sources of industry connections or funding, and any boards they serve on) (53:20)
  • Why certain so-called “pro-science” and “watchdog” websites tend to be questionable sources of information (54:20)
  • The wisdom in consulting multiple trustworthy sources and avoiding being whipsawed by headlines, trends and fads (59:00)
  • Self-experimentation for testing health recommendations — tracking what works or doesn’t work for you over the long-term (1:00:55)
  • Suggested experiments for the week (1:06:50)

Read an article or two that peaks your interest from the list of trusted resources (see the Resources section, below) and choose something practical to change as a result. For example, replace margarine with coconut oil and butter.

1) Read Experience Life magazine’s article, “Decoding Health Media” to get a better understanding of the contemporary challenges media consumers face, and how you can overcome them.

2) Notice key words and phrases in health media, on product labels, and in advertising, noticing how they influence your assumptions and choices.

  • Keep your eye out for features and seals that make a product sound healthy even when it may not be.
  • Watch for phrases like “light,”  “wholesome,” “low-fat,” “zero cholesterol,” “air popped,” “contains whole grains,” and “baked, not fried” — then read the label and challenge the underlying assumptions.

Share the Love!

If you’re enjoying The Living Experiment, please tell your friends about it (check out the “Share This” widget and other social-media tools on this page). With so many podcasts available, people really appreciate personal recommendations.

We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook — share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.


PLUS . . .

Eating Out

Eating out offers many potential benefits – tasty food, fun with friends, and a break from cooking – but it can also lead to pitfalls for your well-being.

This week on The Living Experiment we unpack the challenges of Eating Out, including the hidden world of food suppliers, cuisines built for profit rather than health, and misconceptions about gluten-free menus.

We provide suggestions for taking command in making educated food choices – how to identify restaurants that value good food sourcing and think outside the box when ordering from a menu.

To make eating out a life-giving experience, we offer experiments that encourage exploration and creativity in your dining adventures.

“Eating Out” Episode Highlights

  • Getting past “I can’t eat anything” and “I must eat everything” mindsets, and making empowered food choices instead (3:30)
  • Embracing dining as a pleasurable experience vs. an exercise in self-denial and “nutritionism” (6:30)
  • Scoping out and supporting places that make healthy food from good sources (8:10)
  • The value of knowing the types of restaurants that work for your preferred eating approach (9:30)
  • A caution about “greenwashing” — industrial factory-farmed foods as “farm fresh” or sustainably/humanely raised when they aren’t (11:55)
  • What your server can tell you about a restaurant’s real values (12:30)
  • Keywords to try when using mobile apps to search for healthy places in unfamiliar locations (13:30)
  • Items to look for — and avoid — when browsing a menu (15:10)
  • Mixing-and-matching to create an edible meal almost anywhere (18:15)
  • Creative solutions for ordering vegetables when they’re not well represented on the menu (20:30)
  • Clues that a restaurant is sourcing their food consciously and imaginatively — or not (25:15)
  • Industrial supply-chain insights — the reality of where most restaurants get most of their food (26:50)
  • Strategies for gluten-free dining (29:30)
  • How not to be a prisoner of gluten-free menus, and how you can expand your healthy GF options (32:20)
  • The tyranny of the menu, and how to advocate for your own best interests (34:50)
  • The problem with kids’ menus (36:20)
  • Pre-nibbling veggies as a damage-control strategy for iffy restaurant situations (39:00)
  • Deciding about alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with meals (40:15)
  • Dessert as an optional pleasure (45:20)
  • Dessert alternatives (49:40)
  • Suggested experiments for the week (53:00)

The next time you go out to eat, try a new restaurant by asking for recommendations.

  • If you’re traveling, ask a local or use specific search terms in an app like Yelp.
  • If you’re at home, ask a friend for his or her faves (based on your stated priorities).
  • Strive to find a place offering locally-sourced or farm-to-table food.

Ask for food swaps that suit your preferences, and through practice, expand your comfort level in asking for what you want.

  • If an entrée comes with two sides (like a potato or rice or pasta plus veggie), consider swapping out the starchy option for another non-starchy vegetable.
  • If you like the looks of a protein-based starter option, order that and combine it with extra veggies or other sides.
  • Ask about available fresh green vegetables that might not be listed as side options but could be easily and simply prepped for you (per Dallas’s trademark request, “Can you cook me something green?”)
  • Asking for what you want gets easier (and more addictive) every time you do it.

Share the Love!

If you’re enjoying The Living Experiment, please tell your friends about it (check out the “Share This” widget and other social-media tools on this page). With so many podcasts available, people really appreciate personal recommendations.

We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook — share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.


PLUS . . .


This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Mansplaining — that dynamic where men sometimes explain things to women in condescending, clueless, or less-than-respectful ways.

Perhaps a man persists in explaining something that a woman already knows. Perhaps he talks over her attempts to express her own point of view. Or perhaps he holds forth in some way that generally does not honor his listener as an equal.

Mansplaining has become a popular term and a hot topic over the past few years, and because it’s such an common source of stress and strife in our world, we also see it as an important and under-recognized health issue.

So in this episode, we talk about the origins of the word “mansplaining.” We share our personal experiences with it and discuss how increasing our awareness of it can help men and women communicate in more constructive, mutually satisfying ways.

Finally, we serve up some experiments to help you notice how mansplaining might be showing up in your life — and what you can do about it.

“Mansplaining” Episode Highlights

  • Dallas’s eye-opening (and sometimes disturbing) journey through Rebecca Solnit’s book, Men Explain Things to Me (4:00)
  • Defining the term “mansplaining” — via examples and Solnit’s own words (9:00)
  • How the mansplaining dynamic creates a chronic, internalized stress that may manifest as physical illness (11:10)
  • Pilar’s experiences with mansplaining at work (12:55) and in a dating relationship (15:25)
  • The ways that women’s pent-up frustrations may suddenly surface, and why those eruptions tend to have less-than-healthy outcomes (18:15)
  • How mansplaining was modeled and adopted in Dallas’s family (20:10)
  • The problem (for both genders) of disregarding women’s viewpoints (21:25)
  • A recent mansplaining incident in Pilar’s current relationship (23:30)
  • Practical solutions for men and women, beginning with awareness (26:10)
  • Pilar’s perspective shift transitioning from a women’s college to a male-dominated workplace (26:55)
  • Dallas’s key takeaways and the consequences of ignoring half of the human race (28:35)
  • The intersection of three themes from episodes of The Living Experiment — shame, scarcity mentality, and mansplaining (31:00)
  • The value of asking “interested” vs. merely “interesting” questions, and how this can help produce richer, more rewarding conversations (32:45)
  • The physical reactions women may experience in response to mansplaining scenarios  (35:45)
  • An analysis of two responses to mansplaining (toleration or intervention) (36:30)
  • Avoiding lose-lose scenarios (38:05)
  • Finding context for the frustration (39:10)
  • Dallas’s call for men to take responsibility and change the dynamic (41:15)
  • How mansplaining depletes pleasure (42:15)
  • Suggested experiments for the week (43:55)

1) For men: Pay attention to how you speak to women, notice when you’re mansplaining, and own up to it in the moment it happens.

  • The woman may already be frustrated, and you may have already damaged your conversation and relationship. Call yourself out and take responsibility.
  • Behavior change is important, but even more powerful is stopping and acknowledging the behavior in the moment because it defuses harm and allows the tone of the conversation to reset.

2) For women on the receiving end of mansplaining, intervene with the man in a constructive way. 

  • Share how you are feeling, raise the issue, and indicate that you want to advance the conversation together in a mutually respectful way.
  • If you notice anger rising, ask whether it’s commensurate with the situation or a disproportionate response driven by your personal history.
  • Recognize that blasting the man doesn’t help solve the problem of the millennia behind you. He may have no idea that what he’s doing is being received by you as disrespectful; he may have been trying to impress you with his knowledge or share something he thought you’d find helpful and interesting.

1) Read Rebecca Solnit’s thought-provoking essay, “Men Explain Things to Me”, to get a sense of why this issue matters so much, and carries so much social, emotional and political charge.

2) Start noticing mansplaining on television, the radio, or wherever you overhear conversations.

  • Witnessing it occurring around you allows you to observe it more objectively and consider how you might handle it if you were to find yourself in a comparable situation.
  • Seeing examples through the lens of history (watching period pieces, on Mad Men, etc.) can help make you more aware of when it’s happening in your own midst.

Share the Love

If you’re enjoying The Living Experiment, please tell your friends about it (check out the “Share This” widget and other social-media tools on this page). People are always looking for great new podcasts, and your personal recommendations mean a lot.

We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook — share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.




Every season has its gifts, but we live in a culture that prefers to celebrate the bright, “go-go” energy of summer.

Without the haven of a winter recovery cycle to replenish us, though, we get depleted, overstimulated, and overwhelmed.

So in this week’s episode of The Living Experiment, we talk about the important and under-appreciated aspects of the winter season. We explain how you can observe its traditions by strategically adjusting your mindset, sleep schedule, food, fitness activity, and more.

Drawing on ancient wisdom and modern-day science, we suggest some experiments to help you make the most of winter in your own world.

 “Winter” Episode Highlights

  • An overview of where winter fits into Chinese Five-Element Theory – associating everything in nature and our lives with a season and element, each with its own implications
  • Fall associations: Metal (element), grief (emotion), and the experience of emptiness – a big, metal bowl with receptive space
  • Winter: Water (element); fear (emotion); the experience of introspection, dreaming, creativity, and exploration — many “what if?” possibilities filling the empty bowl
  • Spring: Wood (element); anger (emotion); the experience of clear, conscious choice and directed energy — a bamboo shoot emerging straight from the water
  • Summer: Fire (element); joy (emotion); the experience of flourishing, sharing the bounty, including everyone in the celebration — the blossoming of the bamboo shoot in a beautiful display of plenty
  • Change of season: Earth (contains all the elements), empathy (emotion), the experience of sharing from a place of surplus – redistributing resources, then returning back to emptiness with a bigger metal bowl, stronger structure, even greater possibility
  • The “cult of the light” — our imbalanced cultural celebration of the bright, energetic, and productive (masculine “yang” energy) at the cost of the equally-important quiet, slower, introspective, restorative aspects of life (feminine “yin” energy)
  • How ignoring the energetic downshift from summer into winter leaves us depleted and resentful, with nothing to give in our relationships
  • Your body’s clear signals and the subtle, systemic maladies that indicate you’re suffering from a lack of seasonal replenishment and restoration
  • An introduction to Dallas’s seasonal model for health – three key components of sleep, food, and movement
  • The pitfalls of using stimulating screen time to ignore the changing light/dark cycle in winter, which is nature’s nudge for you to become introspective and get more sleep
  • Life-giving activities for the winter, including the Danish concept of hygge that encourages intimacy with yourself and other people
  • Summer movement vs. winter movement – seasonally-harmonious fitness activities
  • How giving yourself a cardio break in winter can actually make you healthier
  • Thinking about winter exercise routines as a fitness foundation for spring and summer
  • Refraining from “should-ing on yourself” – why saying “could” instead of “should” is more empowering
  • High-intensity interval training: Short, hard anaerobic conditioning suggestions for the winter – outdoors or indoors – with appropriate work-to-rest ratios
  • Hearty food ideas for winter using locally- and seasonally-available sources, including high-quality animal proteins and fats; robust, durable, starchy root vegetables; and sturdy, leafy greens
  • Breakfast and the “year-round smoothie conundrum” – replacing cold morning smoothies with hot, healthy, hearty whole foods
  • Slow cookers (the perfect winter kitchen appliance) and soups and stews (the perfect winter meal)
  • Debunking myths about dietary fat and why it’s OK (and healthy) to eat fat in moderation and without heavy carbohydrates — particularly in winter
  • An explanation of dietary cholesterol vs. serum cholesterol and why consuming eggs and meat isn’t the primary driver of cholesterol troubles
  • The synergy of sleep, movement, and food – increased rest + strength and power exercises + a diet of more meat, fat, and starchy vegetables = greater winter health

Progressively adjust your bedtime to get more winter sleep.

  • Starting in November, go to bed a half an hour earlier with each successive month, continuing with this strategy until spring.
  • Resist the urge to maintain your summer sleep schedule, which will likely net you hours less sleep than your body wants and needs.

1) Add more seasonal vegetables to your shopping list.

  • Choices include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, beets, and rutabagas; dark, leafy greens like kale and chard (fresh or frozen); fennel (roasted or in stews); sweet potatoes, squash, carrots (whole, not baby carrots!), parsnips.
  • Heat-caramelized veggies are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth: Toss them with olive oil, add a little salt and pepper, and roast them in an oven or on a cast-iron skillet.

2) Swap night-time TV watching for some other low-key, constructive or creative activity, even if it’s just for a half hour and one night a week to start.

  • Use the time to read, write, journal, declutter an area (like your fridge).
  • Take a bath, do some yoga or stretching, or indulge in other self-care activities.
  • Options like vision boarding, guided meditations or journaling can prime you for rich, insight-provoking dreams.

Healthy-Living Wisdom, Delivered to Your Door

Get your discounted print subscription to Experience Life magazine for just $19.95 — and sign up for their free e-newsletters, too!

Share the Love!

If you’re enjoying The Living Experiment, please tell your friends about it (check out the “Share This” widget and other social-media tools on this page). People are always looking for great new podcasts, and your personal recommendations mean a lot.

We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook — share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.


  • Cat Thompson’s system of the Five Harmonics, an emotion-honoring evolution of Chinese Five-Element Theory.
  • The Living Experiment episodes on “Seasons”, about simple lifestyle shifts that can help you stay in step with nature’s cyclical rhythms, and “Enough”, which encourages a mentality of abundance over scarcity that can reframe your winter.
  • More on the art of Danish hygge (apparently pronounced “hooga”) and cozy, bonding activities to enjoy with friends and family when it’s cold outside.
  • An article from Experience Life magazine on “Overcoming Winter Blahs” that outlines the common challenges we experience as we move into winter and strategies to overcome them. While you’re there, type “winter” into Experience Life’s great search engine for a plethora of articles on winter activities, workouts and recipes.



Shame is universal. It touches every age, gender, and ethnicity — from a child who wets the bed to an adult who messes up on the job.

Shame operates at your core, often playing out in a debilitating combination of aggression, withdrawal, and perfectionism.

But how can you address shame if you have difficulty acknowledging or talking about it?

In this week’s episode of The Living Experiment, we discuss shame openly, flushing it out of hiding and into the light of day.

We talk about where shame comes from, how men and women feel it differently, and how it impacts relationship dynamics. We also suggest steps for moving from shame toward compassionate self-acceptance and insight.

 “Shame” Episode Highlights

  • The life-long and inescapable human condition of shame (3:25)
  • Defining (and differentiating) shame and guilt (6:30)
  • The three primary behavioral expressions of shame (7:25)
  • Secondary and tertiary consequences, including communication problems (7:50)
  • The subtle differences between imposing shame and offering compassionate guidance (10:00)
  • How shame that develops very early in life can manifest in our adult lives and relationships (12:50)
  • Perfectionism as a response to childhood shame (14:25)
  • Shame as a potential outcome of a religious upbringing (15:15)
  • How your own sense of worth influences the way you accept or judge others (17:55)
  • Dr. Marilee Adams’ “Choice Map” and the two paths — judger or learner — we can take in any stressful situation (18:45)
  • Gender-specific shame triggers and responses (23:55)
  • Dallas’s early experience with shame, and the shadow it cast (26:00)
  • Pilar’s experience of shame resulting from childhood sexual abuse (29:50)
  • How (and why) we make sense of irrational thoughts and situations, and why that’s not always healthy (31:00)
  • How shame shows up in human behavior (33:50)
  • Dr. Brené Brown’s outing of the universal, destructive experience of shame (37:45)
  • Shame-based morality vs. the natural consequences of potentially problematic actions, such as over-consumption of porn or food (38:45)
  • The power of acknowledging and exposing sources and feelings of shame (42:20)
  • How Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can help people evolve traumatic experiences (44:20)
  • “De-cloaking” — risking the truth about yourself with close friends, and the positive feedback loop that can create (47:10)
  • How to re-frame and diminish shame with self-awareness and compassion (53:00)
  • Making peace with your life experiences — good and bad — to more fully understand and accept yourself and others for who they are (55:40)
  • How a difficult divorce can catalyze the work of self-discovery (57:25)
  • The vicious cycle of poor communication between men and women – women’s unarticulated desires leading to men’s misguided efforts to fulfill them  — and how to reverse the pattern (1:00:00)
  • Framing failure without shame rather than denying failure happened (1:05:00)
  • Suggested experiments for the week (1:08:20)

Identify and compassionately acknowledge your shame.

  • On a piece of paper, write “I have shame about . . .” and list all of your feelings of shame. On the last line of the page, write, “And it’s OK.”
  • Calling shame by its name and accepting yourself sets the stage for growth.

In the moments you feel shame, change the questions you ask.

  • The next time you’re tempted to go down a path of self-retribution (e.g, why am I so stupid; what’s wrong with me; what will people think?), ask neutral, non-judging learner questions such as: “What just happened?” “What’s useful here?” “What do I want now?” “What would I like to have happen?” “What can I learn?” “What am I actually responsible for?” “What’s possible?” “What are my choices?” “What would be the best use of my time, energy, and attention now?”
  • Embrace shame-tinged experiences as fertile ground for growth and self-honoring rather than self-reproach.
  • Look for opportunities to reframe shame-based experiences from your early life to reclaim your sense of worth as a human being now.

Share the Love!

If you’re enjoying The Living Experiment, please tell your friends about it (check out the “Share This” widget and other social-media tools on this page). People are always looking for great new podcasts, and your personal recommendations mean a lot.

We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook — share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.




Sitting on our butts — it’s something most of us do for hours on end. We sit at our desks and in meetings. We sit while parked in front of screens at home. We sit while eating, drinking and socializing. We sit while driving cars and riding in planes and trains and — well, pretty much everywhere, most of the time.

Given how much of our lives we spend sitting, it’s worth knowing how it affects our bodily systems — not just our musculoskeletal health, but our metabolism, biochemistry, and more.

One expert quoted in The Washington Post asserts that after 30 minutes of sitting, your metabolism can slow by as much 90 percent, and that after two hours, the good cholesterol in your blood stream can drop 20 percent. Yikes!

So in this week’s episode of The Living Experiment, we offer insights into the damage done by prolonged sitting, plus an explanation for why simply swapping sitting for standing isn’t an ideal solution, and some simple, doable ways to keep your body in motion at healthy intervals throughout the day.

“Sitting” Episode Highlights

  • “Sitting (and maybe standing?) is the new smoking” – seeing beyond conflicting and confusing headlines (2:50)
  • Why the real problem is being too sedentary for too long – and why extended bouts of standing, while better than sitting, still spell trouble (4:00)
  • The motion-based muscular contractions required for your circulatory system to return blood to your heart (5:30)
  • The chronic musculoskeletal imbalances that arise from being too still for too long (7:50)
  • Why unseen postural muscles matter, and the importance of their endurance, not just their strength (10:05)
  • The vicious cycle of sitting in a chair and decreasing endurance (11:00)
  • Yoga and ball chairs – litmus tests (and training tools) for postural-muscle stamina (12:00)
  • Mushy abs, a weak back, feeble gluteal muscles and tight hip flexors — the high costs of chair time (12:45)
  • Sitting’s impact on your upper body – a concave chest, shallow breathing, and a craned neck position (15:15)
  • The “medicalization” of poor lifestyle practices and “the tyranny of the diagnosis” that dissuades us from addressing the real root causes of our health problems (16:20)
  • The hormonal and metabolic pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle, and the hazardous combination of sitting a lot and eating a carb-heavy, high- refined-grain diet (17:25)
  • How even very short periods of movement can have giant positive effects on insulin sensitivity (19:30)
  • Potential benefits of shifting to a standing desk or sit-to-stand desk (24:10)
  • The bare-minimum frequency at which you need to be moving (25:00)
  • A shout-out to the “Pause” episode of The Living Experiment, and how to leverage your ultradian rhythms for more regular activity breaks (25:45)
  • Creating a standing desk from available stuff, or advocating for healthier office accessories (27:15)
  • How to incorporate standing or walking into work meetings (28:45)
  • The big picture: Planning your next life move in favor of your health, happiness and satisfaction (33:10)
  • Suggested experiments for the week (35:25)

Establish a rule: If you’re going to watch TV or play video games, stand up while doing so.

  • From a standing position, you’ll find yourself moving around more often – you simply won’t want to stand stationary for the full duration of a one-hour show.
  • If you’re standing while watching, you’ll also be far less inclined to consume passive entertainments for prolonged periods.

Take a look at the environments where you spend most of your time seated – both at work and at home – and evaluate how you might be able to adjust or redesign those spaces to encourage more frequent and regular movement.

  • Create a standing work station in your office by stacking up books or bringing in a platform.
  • Set out a yoga mat, kettle bell, bands, or weights near where you work to inspire you to incorporate movement into your day.
  • At home, assess how your entertainment area is set up: If your living room is designed around watching TV, that’s what you’re going to do. Rearrange your furniture to encourage conversation, reading, cuddling, doing creative projects or looking outside instead.

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