I am so pleased to present this awesome show with my good friend Cynthia Thurlow, health personality, Everyday Wellness podcast host, and best-selling author!

Cynthia is extremely open, honest, and vulnerable in this episode as she opens up about her life, her background, and her quest for health and happiness. She talks about overcoming flawed behavioral patterns formed in childhood, trauma (and the difference between Trauma and trauma), becoming a reformed people-pleaser, what sparked her awakening and caused her to completely change her overly-stressful life, what she learned from the life-threatening medical issue she dealt with, and more. Enjoy this memorable, sensational show with Cynthia Thurlow!

For Cynthia’s website, head over to CynthiaThurlow.com. To keep up with her on Instagram, click here, and to listen to her podcast, check out Everyday Wellness.


Today’s guest is a reformed people pleaser who has made a name for herself in all great aspects of health, balance, and happiness. Her message will impact you. [00:43]

Many people with the best of intentions figure out that it’s more than just what we’re eating that you need to be in good health. [05:15]

It often takes setbacks such as injuries to spur an awakening as to your over training. [12:08]

Is there a personality attribute and a special calling to people to go into medicine? [16:36]

After a busy stressful day working in the hospital, Cynthis overdid the other stressful things in her life. [23:25]

Females are vulnerable to that package of restricting carbs and working out. [26:17]

Is our penchant for overachieving part of the subconscious programming from our infancy? [31:37]

Personality attributes like eternal positive and exuberance can be a crutch to not facing things. [39:35]

If you don’t deal with your stuff, it will find a way of forcing you to deal with it. [40:38]

After experiencing a life-or-death situation, how did Cynthia’s emergence into the future play out? [55:44]

You can work hard 24/7 but what message does that tell the family? If you can’t do it for yourself, think of the impact of what you do on others. [59:02]

Your speech patterns, self-talk and your self-belief can have a tremendous impact on where you’re headed. [01:04:40]



We appreciate all feedback, and questions for Q&A shows, emailed to podcast@bradventures.com. If you have a moment, please share an episode you like with a quick text message, or leave a review on your podcast app. Thank you!

Check out each of these companies because they are absolutely awesome or they wouldn’t occupy this revered space. Seriously, I won’t promote anything that I don’t absolutely love and use in daily life:

  • Peluva: Comfortable, functional, stylish five-toe minimalist shoe to reawaken optimal foot function.
  • Mito Red Light: Photobiomodulation light panels to enhance cellular energy production, improve recovery, and optimize circadian rhythm. Use code BRAD for 5% discount!
  • GAINSWave: Enhance sexual function with high-frequency shockwave therapy. Buy 6 and get one treatment free with code: BRAD
  • Plunge: Sensational custom-designed home cold plunge with filtered, circulating water, custom temperature setting, and sleek design. Save $150 with code BRAD. Also enroll in my Cold Plunge online course!
  • B.rad Whey + Creatine Superfuel: Premium quality, all-natural supplement for peak performance, recovery, and longevity. New Cocoa Bean flavor!
  • Online educational courses: Numerous great offerings for an immersive home-study educational experience
  • Primal Fitness Expert Certification: The most comprehensive online course on all aspects of traditional fitness programming and a total immersion fitness lifestyle. Save 25% on tuition with code BRAD!
  • Male Optimization Formula with Organs (MOFO): Optimize testosterone naturally with 100% grassfed animal organ supplement

Brad’s Favorites on Amazon

I have a newly organized shopping experience at BradKearns.com/Shop. Visit here and you can navigate to my B.rad Nutrition products (for direct order or Amazon order), my library of online multimedia educational courses, great discounts from my affiliate favorites, and my recommended health and fitness products on Amazon.

B.Rad Podcast:

Cynthia (00:00:01): That’s not Tabata, that’s not HIIT. That’s called overtraining.

Brad (00:00:04):
Welcome to the B.rad podcast, where we explore ways to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life without taking ourselves too seriously. I’m Brad Kearns, New York Times bestselling author, former number three world-ranked professional triathlete and Guinness World Record Masters athlete. I connect with experts in diet, fitness, and personal growth, and deliver short breather shows where you get simple, actionable tips to improve your life right away. Let’s explore beyond the hype, hacks, shortcuts, and sciencey talk to laugh, have fun and appreciate the journey. It’s time to B.rad.

Brad (00:00:43):
Hello, I am so pleased to present this awesome show with my good friend Cynthia Thurlow, noted health, personality, bestselling author, et cetera, et cetera. But this is Cynthia Thurlow unplugged, and it was such a pleasure to talk to her in great detail as she became extremely open, honest, and vulnerable about all aspects of her life, her background, her quest for health and balance and happiness. And I think you’re gonna really enjoy this show. And this was inspired by our friendship that’s been building for a while. We’ve done podcasts together where we talked about all the important heavy talking points of fasting, of which she’s most known her expertise for and healthy living and all that kind of stuff that we live and breathe every day as part of our careers. Uh, but you know, as we, as we talk personally offline, I said, you know, we should just turn on the mic and do a podcast about this stuff because I think this, uh, background exposure and reflectiveness and vulnerability is what can provide tremendous value to the listener, especially when we’re already checking a lot of boxes and already do well to choose the right foods and get out there and exercise.

Brad (00:01:56):
And then we’re wondering, you know, what’s next? How can I overcome some of these flawed behavior patterns that might have been formed in childhood? And I think Cynthia coined the term little T So we have Big T Trauma and then we have little t like she relates growing up in her household and how it made her a people pleaser, and how she now calls herself a reformed people pleaser. She talks about her massively overly stressful life where she was excelling in career and a young mother at an exercise machine. And it kind of led to her falling apart and having this amazing awakening, uh, in concert with a life-threatening medical issue that she goes into great detail with. And it’s really going to, uh, rock your world and help you slow down for a moment, reflect on how your life’s working, where it’s headed, what’s truly important.

Brad (00:02:45):
So we have a really memorable sensational show with Cynthia Thurlow. She is the host of the Everyday Wellness Podcast. She has great experts, great shows. She references one with the bestselling author, Gabor Mate, which I really enjoyed. And, and she got really personal there too. She’s known for her bestselling book, the Intermittent Fasting Transformation, a two times TEDx speaker, one of the talks having 13 million views. So she’s at the highest level of, uh, appreciation and expertise in the progressive health scene. But now you’re gonna get to know her like never before. Here we go with Cynthia.

Brad (00:03:27):
Cynthia Thurlow. It’s so great to catch up with you this time on Zoom, but we did have great visiting in Los Angeles, and I’ll direct, uh, the viewers, listeners to listen to that, uh, informative and lively three person podcast that we did at the Dr. Joy Kong Studios.

Brad (00:03:45):
Now, Dr. Joy has her own podcast, so great content out there already. And I thought today since we become tight and talk about all kinds of things besides our obsession with food choices and fasting and keto <laugh>, um, we get a little more personal for the listener and kind of take the conversation in a different direction, get to know you as a person beyond the familiar talking points that we’ve been, you know, hitting so many times with so many shows. And, of course we’ll be integrating that into the conversation. But my reflection these days is that, you know, there’s only so much you can talk about and there’s so many important things that you can do to check all those boxes with your lifestyle habits. And hey, that’s great. And then we kind of enter this gate and say, what? Now?

Brad (00:04:34):
I cut out seed oils. I’m all good there, <laugh>. I don’t have any sodas in the hole either. And that’s important to get to that first step where we’ve sort of detoxed from addiction to digital devices and not enough sleep and and so forth. And I kind of, now I’m teeing you up since I’ve been talking so long before I even let my guest talk, but I imagine that you’re on that same wavelength where it’s like you’ve corrected those high stress patterns and things that you’re gonna talk about from your past, and now it’s kind of time for further awakening and further reflections.

Cynthia (00:05:11):
Yeah, no, thank you. I’ve been so looking forward to reconnecting with you and your community. I think that on a lot of different levels, we get so fixated on food dogmatism, and yet we forget that there’s so much more to healthy living than just what we’re eating. And so much to your point, before we started recording, I was talking about what my life was like pre 2016. And I was mentioning I had a super stressful job. I worked for the premier cardiology group in the Washington DC area as a nurse practitioner. Um, I was credentialed at seven hospitals, yes, seven hospitals. And at any given point in time, I could have been pinging ponging between hospitals and different offices. I had two young boys. My husband did a lot of international travel, and I really thought I was taking good care of myself. And yet, um, I really wasn’t.

Cynthia (00:06:03):
I was over exercising. I probably wasn’t eating the right foods because as many of you probably know, if you’re working in a hospital, you’re lucky if you can empty your bladder, let alone eat a meal. And it was like that for years and years and years until I hit a wall. And so I always say it’s a blessing that I got to a point where my body made it very clear to me that I was not taking as good a care of it as I would like to. And so, I always say it sets the stage for the second part of my life where I acknowledge how important it is, what our sleep quality is like, how we manage our stress, the right types of exercise, um, being surrounded by the right types of people that bring joy to our lives and having healthy boundaries and all the things I had to kind of learn the hard way being a reformed people pleaser.

Cynthia (00:06:46):
And so I could not agree with you more that I think many, many people with the best of intentions figure out that it’s more than just what we’re eating. It is really in terms of looking at what is, what is health and wellness really encompassing. It is multifactorial. It is many, many things that we do for ourselves. And the recognition that if the pandemic didn’t cause you to reflect on your life and determine if whether or not you’re living to your full potential or if you’re happy where you are my husband always says everyone and during the pandemic either became a hunk, a drunk, or a chunk <laugh>. And I think for many of us, it was, it was motivating to just say, you know what? This no longer serves me. Let’s make a change. And so helping people understand that irrespective of what life stage we’re in, we can always make changes. We can always course correct. We can always prioritize ourselves and we can do so with integrity.

Brad (00:07:40):
I wonder if you could become all three during the pandemic, a hunk, <laugh>, a chunk and a drunk. It’s possible. You just put on a lot of muscle, put on a lot of fat, you could party, a lot. So you related quickly those, um, those high levels of stress and engagement in peak performance. And I see this pattern frequently among the goal oriented type A driven, motivated people where we’re compelled to push and challenge ourselves and excel in the workplace and go get your credential at your fifth, sixth, and seventh hospital. Why just one when you can get seven? But it, it does feel like at times that you are, you know, backing yourself in a corner into a corner due to that high energy and those high aspirations and that desire to excel. And I wonder if that’s, you know, how do you negotiate such a difficult, you know, you’re, you’re going against your inherent drive to fill your day with as much productivity and as stimulation as possible, perhaps knowing tiptoeing down that road, like you explained where maybe my house coming at the expense of my, you know, super mom career, wife, dog owner, dog walker, all that stuff that you wanna check those boxes off every day.

Cynthia (00:09:01):
Yeah. And I think for me personally, I grew up with a mom that was very high functioning, very high achieving. When she retired, she oversaw one of the largest medical systems in the United States. And at the expense of her health for many years was only getting three to four hours a night of sleep. And even to this day, five years into retirement, still can’t relax and sit on the couch and watch a movie. She’s just always feels like she has to be doing things. And it really served as a reminder to me that I don’t want to replicate that in my own life. Like, I obviously wanna be successful, I wanna be able to provide for my family, but not the expense of my mental, emotional and physical health. And so I used my mom as a barometer, we talk openly about this, so I’m not sharing anything that she wouldn’t share openly herself.

Cynthia (00:09:49):
But when she retired, she lost 20 pounds. And I think it had a lot to do with the poor quality sleep and the chronic highly elevated stress that she was dealing with in her job. And so it just, I think for many of us, we grew up watching what our parents do, and we assume that that is what we need to be doing. And I, I think in the case of many people, they keep themselves busy. ’cause they don’t want to focus on their feelings. They don’t want to deal with what’s nagging at them. And being busy is in many ways is perceived as something that is, um, something that we should be looking towards as, as a goal for ourselves. And yet, I I think that being busy is a sign that you have, um, you have some work you need to be doing internally. Like I, I oftentimes will, will feel that if I’m trying to keep myself busy, what am I, what am I not dealing with? What am I trying to distract myself from? Are they uncomfortable feelings that I don’t wanna process? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And so in, in the case of my parents, I think that’s why they were driven to be as successful as they have been.

Brad (00:10:50):
Well, it’s also clear that we get an immediate payoff for being busy and productive. And I reference my time as a professional triathlete where, uh, fortunately those times when you get out of balance and you let your work ethic and your competitive intensity get overboard, you get slapped in the face so hard that there’s a lot of incentive to recalibrate and get in touch with your emotions and your, you know, psychological frailties and so forth. But the payoff is fantastic. When I get on my bicycle seat and ride 120 miles and come home that evening and say, I had just accomplished tremendous goals. I’m now gonna kick ass at the next race, everything’s great because I worked myself to, you know, exhaustion. And I think we can’t discount that payoff that you get from being the supermom in your case. And that’s hard to balance with, let’s say our long-term best interests. Were sitting and breathing and taking some time on the meditation cushion to reflect on, you know, what, what are truly your, your values and beliefs and highest priorities. Is it just being, you know, checking the boxes and being busy?

Cynthia (00:12:08):
Yeah. And I think that, you know, after working with thousands and thousands of patients and clients, what I’ve come to believe is I think many people are just completely unaware of the net impact of a lot of their choices until they have an illness, until they, you know, are so tired they can’t get out of bed until they have an injury. You know, obviously you’re an athlete, and I have a lot of female clients that will say to me, it wasn’t until I tore my Achilles, or it wasn’t until I tore my ACL or suddenly I had a rotator cuff injury, that I was forced to slow down. And then you were like, wait a minute. Maybe this is a blessing. Maybe this isn’t something negative. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to slow down or to, you know, take a pause to effectively, you know, in many ways, I think, uh, when the universe or God, or whomever you believe in when they, when you’re forced in your personal or professional life to pivot or turn or have to pause, I think it gives us a tremendous opportunities to show up differently in our lives.

Brad (00:13:08):
Yeah, unfortunately, it takes those, those setbacks to spur an awakening. Although I would love it for people to listen to my account on my podcast of over training and how I got injured or burnt out, and then stay away from it. But it is pretty difficult to manage those attributes, those positive attributes that get you through school, that get you up the corporate ladder, and then also be instructed to, uh, how important it is to sit on a rock and, and stare off into space. It just doesn’t, doesn’t line up well, particularly in my athletic example, like, wait a second, you mean I’m supposed to sit on the couch and watch videos and that’s how I’m gonna rise up the rankings of the best athletes? And the answer is yes. Not to mention slowing down and watching my heart rate. And so, you know, letting guys pass me in practice over and over again knowing that that discipline will pay off on race day. But it, it’s, you know, it’s a constant balance because now we’re socialized to, you know, how much can you accomplish? How many more followers can you get? How much promotion can you get and increase in income? And everything’s more and more, more equals happiness. That’s the, the marketing message that’s been pounded into our heads.

Cynthia (00:14:21):
Yeah, no, and I, I think that, you know, if you had asked me 15 years ago if I would be capable of doing some of the things I’m doing today, I would never have believed it. Because we were conditioned in medicine that you were rounding on patients by 6 30, 7 o’clock in the morning. You stayed really late at night. You didn’t bother to empty your bladder, grab a cup of coffee, eat all day long. In fact, this is disgusting. When I had my first son, I used to walk around with protein bars in my pocket. ’cause my option was to pump because I was breastfeeding him or eat, and there was never enough time to eat. And so I lost baby weight really quickly, and I ended up looking skeletal, you know, a year later because I was chronically under nourishing my body, not even, I wasn’t even aware of how much of an issue it was, but yet when the caretakers and the healthcare providers aren’t taking care of themselves, what does that say about us as a society?

Cynthia (00:15:16):
And this applies to people who are undernourished as well as, you know, how many healthcare professionals out there are not metabolically healthy? Mm-Hmm. And how many of them are obese, overweight, have exactly the same disorders and diseases that we’re treating our patients for, and we really have to serve as an example. So to your point, I can’t show up speaking to perimenopausal menopausal women if I’m not doing the work myself. Otherwise, I’m a huge hypocrite. And to your point, if you would ask me 15 years ago, would I spend, you know, 30 minutes on a PMF mat and doing, you know, gratitude work every morning and meditation before I started my day, I never would’ve believed it. I never would’ve believed it. But now I acknowledge that anything that is stoking or supporting my autonomic nervous system and helping to support my, you know, sympathetic dominance, because let’s be clear, if you’re high achieving, active, athletic, et cetera, you are probably sympathetic dominant, helping people understand that our bodies are trying desperately to find balance. And so part of that is slowing down, you know, not doing as much, saying no to things more often, as I’m sure you’ve found as well in your own career, that you have to say yes to some things and no to many others, that having those boundaries in place are really important for our sanity and not just, you know, our mental and emotional health, but our sanity.

Brad (00:16:36):
I like that Derek Sivers famous viral essay. Hell Yes or No as a, decision mechanism, not applying to everything in life, of course, but something to to think about and reflect. I wonder if in the healthcare industry in particular, those who are called to such incredible service, often extremely difficult, challenging, and arduous, is there a personality attribute there where they put themselves second and that goes hand in hand with their, their calling to, uh, to be a nurse and deal with stuff that might be unappealing to you know, the next person who’s becoming an influencer is their lifelong dream to try different bathing suits on Instagram <laugh>?

Cynthia (00:17:21):
Yes. I think those of us that have chosen to be of service to others, and that’s really what I see as my life’s work. We are more often than not, um, more pro to codependency. We are more prone to people pleasing. Nurses are really good at this in particular. And, uh, you know, I can tell you that when I worked in the er in inner city Baltimore, most of the women I worked with were exactly that way, and I respected them enormously. But it is impossible to people please and and just be codependent your entire life. It really, it’s just, it’s not going to allow you to live a life that is gonna be completely fulfilled. And so, whether it’s teaching or being a nurse or, um, you know, working in other areas of healthcare, I mean, we love helping others.

Cynthia (00:18:10):
That’s intuitively, you know, where, where we kind of, what we kind of lean into, but at some point we have to be able to speak up for ourselves. We have to be able to articulate, and enforce boundaries. And that is something that has been probably, something that’s been evolving for me over the last five to 10 years, being able to say no comfortably and not provide an explanation. Whereas when I was a young nurse at a young nurse practitioner, I desperately wanted my patients to love me. I desperately wanted all my peers to love me, and they did. But at the expense of, you know, me being able to fully embrace who I am as an individual and to be able to articulate my own needs and not just serve others, I think there’s a fine balance for sure.

Brad (00:18:57):
You think it’s more challenging in this medical scenario where we have the stereotypical, uh, physician at the top of the heap who’s been trained, you know, rigorously to be lording over the hospital environment. And then we have a nurse archetype that might be more prone to people pleasing and putting oneself second and not enforcing boundaries whereby the maybe the physician is hurrying through the procedure so they can get out to the golf course again.

Cynthia (00:19:29):
Yeah, I mean, I was really fortunate

Brad (00:19:31):
Or otherwise take care of themselves, <laugh>.

Cynthia (00:19:33):
Yeah, Exactly. Um, you know, I would say that there was definitely a generational divide. There were definitely older physicians that very much looked at me as their handmaiden as a nurse and as a nurse practitioner. But there were just as many, if not more, colleagues of mine that were in, you know, our shared age range that treated me like a peer and a colleague, which allowed me to grow exponentially as a nurse practitioner. And I developed real friendships with them. But, but I do think that kind of traditional medical paradigm in many ways can be very challenging to work within. I can tell you right now that there were physicians who liked seeing how far they could push people, and I don’t mean in a way that was helpful. They would try to trip you up or insult you, or, um, and lemme be clear, 99.9% of the time that was, this was not the case, but I would witness it happening to other people.

Cynthia (00:20:26):
And we used to call the term pimping. You know, if you got pimped on rounds, which meant someone tried to pull the rug out from underneath you, knowing you probably didn’t know the answer to a question they were asking just to embarrass you. And so that in a teaching hospital situation, was definitely the norm. Thankfully, I was employed by a very large cardiology group and the NPs function very autonomously. And for the most part, we didn’t encounter that. But I certainly was witness to it in many places where physicians would put you in your place, every once in a while, they’d make it clear, like, oh, you’re just a nurse. Oh, you’re just an NP. You couldn’t possibly know as much as I do. But thankfully, those, those exceptions were few and far between. I didn’t have to, um, deal with that kind of behavior on a regular basis, but certainly when it happened, I was always just mystified because it’s really more a reflection of that person, whether they’re, it’s their ego, whether they’re insecure or they’re just, frankly, they’re a narcissist and they’re trying to, you know, make themselves feel more important.

Cynthia (00:21:27):
But I always say, you know, let’s, let’s focus on what’s most important that’s taking care of patients and let, let’s leave the personality issues out of it, because that’s what many people lose sight of is it’s, it should be, the focus should be on the patients and not on egos and drama and nonsense for which, you know, healthcare is not immune to those issues. But certainly there were times where I would’ve to just be like, time out. Wait a minute. You know, we’re focused on the wrong thing. Like we should be focused on what’s best for a patient, period.

Brad (00:21:55):
Yeah. I wonder if you get a, a slap for making such a comment, <laugh> in the operating room, like, Hey, let’s focus on the patient instead of egos here.

Cynthia (00:22:03):
Yeah. Well, thankfully, my other than in the er, I was generally doing clinical cardiology, so I wasn’t in the ORs very often. I don’t know if you know this, but ORs tend to be very cold. And in a special area of cardiology, electrophysiology, you had to wear very heavy lead weight. Lead vests and being about 115 pounds wearing that heavy vest just made me feel like I was shrinking by the day, like I was melting. And I used to say all the time, you know, now I understand why all these physicians have back problems because chronically over years, they have all this weight to protect them from the radiation, but over time, it just, it can really wear on their bodies. So thankfully, not a lot of or time where it’s, you know, 60 degrees and I would be frozen.

Brad (00:22:49):
Is there a reason to keep the temperature low during surgery?

Cynthia (00:22:52):
I think a lot of it has to do with the equipment that’s in those areas. Um, and then also probably aseptic, you know, trying to keep things a septic environment where they’re minimizing the ability for microorganisms to overgrow and, and understand that, you know, it’s a sterile environment, so there’s a lot of different protocols that they have to be conscientious about, but being in the OR was never where I wanted to be. So it was always one of those things I would say, great. You can go around there and I’ll, I’ll see you later. I’ll see you in the pacu, which was the post anesthesia care unit where we would see a lot of people.

Brad (00:23:25):
So you were talking about the high stress days of Cynthia back when, and you made a quick comment about over exercising, and I’d like to examine that because after such a busy, stressful day in the hospital and taking care of kids, there’s an inclination to try to quote, balance out your stress and balance out your life and get out there on the roads or go to the gym and sweat and get a good workout, which is a, a, a disparate form of stress and has a lot of inherent benefits toward a balanced lifestyle. You’re out there in the open space and fresh air and sunshine, however, that same tendency applied to the exercise model is just going to stack the stress side of the scale. So what was that experience like for you where you busted out after whatever, a 12 hour shift and then you’re gonna go and put in an impressive workout on top of everything?

Cynthia (00:24:18):
Yeah. Well, I used to be one of those crazy people that would get up at four or four o’clock in the morning, four 30, and I would go to a five 30 conditioning class, which was kind of like a mini bootcamp in this gym. And I had a lot of friends that were also healthcare providers who would do these classes that were, you know, exceedingly, they were hard, they were really hard. I would walk away with sore joints and, you know, a thousand burpees and I hate burpees, and I, I’ve never AP a new another burpee for the rest of my life. I’ll be happy. Or I would take these, you know, more challenging spin classes. And I would do that. I would shower at the gym, I would eat, you know, one of my first mini meals, and I would go to the hospital.

Cynthia (00:24:55):
And so my, my husband would make sure the kids got on the bus, and then I was responsible for getting the kids off the bus. But I would do that two or three days a week. But, you know, I would then go to the hospital, so, you know, super stressful workout, eat a quick meal in the car, drive to the hospital, work all day long, grab my kids off the bus, you know, get them dinner, do all the things. And I would, by the time I got them to bed, and I had a little bit of personal time, I was, I wouldn’t get into bed on time. I’d be at bed, you know, 10, 11 o’clock at night, getting up at four o’clock in the morning. And doing that chronically and habitually for years is, you know, we talk about hormesis and the role of, you know, beneficial stress.

Cynthia (00:25:32):
I was way overboard. I was not doing enough just pure strength training. I was over training and not recovering sufficiently. And, um, you know, this is where I tell people like, a little bit of added horny is good. Too much is really hard on your body, and you raise those cortisol levels and you deplete, you know, you aren’t eating enough carbohydrates. And for me, I do need to eat some discretionary carbohydrate. I’m not anti carb, but I do actually benefit because I’m so physically active from having some carbohydrate. And I think I was, I was doing too much for too long a period of time without enough recovery, without enough sleep, and probably too low carb, and I just crashed, completely crashed.

Brad (00:26:17):
I think the female would be especially vulnerable to that package of restricting carbs and working out and, um, getting down into the lower body fat levels and working like crazy all day.

Cynthia (00:26:33):
Yeah. And I, I think it’s, it’s also, I didn’t at that time know that I should be working out for my menstrual cycle, you know, that was all new. This is, I would say in the last five to seven years, that’s kind of come on our radars, but we weren’t talking about that 10 or 15 years ago. And so, you know, why would I get migraine headaches when I would take those really hard classes, you know, right before my menstrual cycle, why would I have less energy in the luteal phase of my cycle and more during my, the follicular phase? And so it’s fascinating to me now that it didn’t matter what week it was, I did the same level of intense exercise irrespective of where I was in my cycle. And I do think that had a lot to do with why I had this kind of crash and burn situation.

Brad (00:27:14):
Is that coming into the fitness, uh, model these days where the?

Brad (00:27:20):
Training program is designed?

Cynthia (00:27:21):
Yeah, I think there, there are more people talking about, you know, fasting for your cycle, exercising for your cycle, eating for your cycle. And I’m grateful that that research and that information is, is becoming much more available because it explains so much and, and it makes so much sense that there are times in your cycle when certain hormones are, are elevated and you’re gonna have more ability to, um, fast longer, do more intense exercise, maybe get a personal best, versus there’s a time in your cycle and when women are gonna feel like doing less intense exercise, maybe they’re doing gentle yoga, maybe they’re doing zone two training, maybe they’re just walking, versus doing intense, you know, power lifting and HIIT training. And don’t even get me started on the, the hit that people think hit should be an hour’s worth of physical activity. And I’m like, no, that’s not Tabata, that’s not HIIT That’s called over training.

Brad (00:28:14):
Yeah. The Tabata protocol was a four minute effort that was the original, uh, science and, and the studies with the speed skaters in Japan. And, uh, one of the comments from Tabata was that one of his concerns was that it was too difficult for people to complete. And he’s talking about the four minute protocol, not the hour long Tabata class that we see on the whiteboard at many, uh, fitness centers. And so, um, I think the overall misappropriation of the high intensity airable training concept is one of my big beasts with the fitness industry is that it’s inherently exhausting and depleting not to mention someone who’s novice to intermediate rather than Olympic level performer. And even the top athletes at the very elite level don’t train as hard stressfully by comparison to the average novice or intermediate gym goer whose heart rate is way up there in the zones that the elite would not be performing at too frequently.

Cynthia (00:29:20):
Yeah, I mean, I think it goes for saying, if you feel like you’re gonna vomit <laugh>, you’re definitely, you know, you’re definitely hitting that threshold. And, and I, I think that I talk about this openly, you know, this triad that I see a lot of women doing where they’re chronically over exercising, they are under, um, you know, under recovering their bodies, they’re restricting their calories, they’re fasting too long. And, and how that has a negative net impact on not just their health, but there re you know, I’m gonna put in air quotes the results they’re looking for, which sometimes are wildly unrealistic. And, uh, how many women, and I’m sure you probably are from men too, I wanna be as fast as thin as fit as I was at 18. Well, that’s great. That may not be realistic. And I’m, I’m, uh, very much a mindset of abundance and I, I wanna believe that people can, you know, achieve great things irrespective of what life stage they’re in.

Cynthia (00:30:15):
However, some things are wildly unrealistic. I can tell you when I look at my teenagers, um, I can’t beat them sprinting anymore. And, you know, one 17, one’s 15, they’re in this massive anabolic growth phase in their lives. And, you know, they were ex I was trying to explain to them why this happens physiologically. And I said, you know, I’m at a different point hormonally than I was. And I said, it doesn’t mean like I, I think I’m a great outlier as, as an example, as a 51 year old woman. But when I, you know, try to look at 18 year olds, I mean, I’m not trying to keep up with my nearly 18 year old son. I mean, that would be unrealistic. And it’s not insulting myself in the process. It’s just acknowledging I can stress my body much more easily at 51 than I could at 18. And I played high school lacrosse and loved it. And I was the person that would puke if I got pushed too hard. And I used to always say like, that was great, but I don’t wanna be there at this point now I have zero interest in, in, you know, vomiting because I pushed my body chill point of no return.

Brad (00:31:17):
So when we talk about your example and others that can relate, we’re talking about, I would say a narrow sliver of the population that’s in that type A category and has the tension to, to overdo it. Um, there’s another huge slice of pie where people need to get that junk outta their mouth all day long and get up off the couch and exercise. And there’s probably other podcasts to appeal to <laugh> the get up and go audience. But the, the, um, the, the penchant for overdoing it and overstressing it and trying to be super mom in, in in the female example, um, do you think that can be unwound as we go back and reflect on upbringing? There’s these popular notions now about ages zero to seven in your subconscious programming that you’re playing out the rest of your life?

Cynthia (00:32:11):
Yes. I would say that a lot of my personal programming is a byproduct of growing up with parents that got divorced when I was seven. And so at a very young age, I was forced to be well forced. I wasn’t given the choice. I had to be achievement oriented. Hmm. And I became a people praiser because there was a lot of physical and emotional violence in my house. And so the only way that I was able to navigate that environment was to be the good kid and be the people pleaser, because if I didn’t cause ripples or waves or problems, then I was left out of all that negativity. And so I would probably guess that a lot of why I am the way I am today, you know, serious, motivated, goal oriented probably was, was embedded in me at that stage of life.

Cynthia (00:33:05):
But I, I oftentimes like to say that I’m not looking for sympathy. I just talk very objectively and openly about my circumstances. And I view my parents with tremendous compassion and love, and they did the best that they could. But I am absolutely the person I am today because of the environment I grew up in, which was not particularly stable and was certainly not particularly healthy. But I managed to navigate. I always say I’m a survivor, but I do think that those survival tendencies have, have done well for me throughout my life. It’s allowed me to kind of, you know, focus in, like I always say, put the blinders on and focus, and I can do that better than anybody Mm-Hmm. But I’m now at a point in my life where I like to think more thoughtfully about things that I’m doing. You know, what’s the motivation?

Cynthia (00:33:49):
What, what makes me or drives me to be that way, and how can I improve upon it? So I, I think in a lot of different ways for those of us that are, are very type A achievement oriented, active, goal, you know, goal seeking, if you will. I think at the second stage of life was most important to me is improving upon my, I guess my chosen embedded characteristics and personality traits, which for the most part have, have, you know, fared me well for many years. But I, I think I’m always looking to improve upon it. So yes, I’m achievement and goal oriented, but I also like the fact that I have now learned the power of taking a nap. I now appreciate having less on my schedule. I now have admin who forces me to put less stuff on my schedule at least one day during the week so that I can get stuff done in my personal life and not just my business, kind of, you know, front facing life. But I, I think that it’s, it’s an interesting thing to consider that our personalities are really formed at such an early age.

Brad (00:34:52):
Yeah. And I suppose, uh, you talk about little T I don’t know if you coined that term or I don’t know, I’ll give you credit, but little T trauma and there’s big T trauma and there’s little T trauma, but I suppose you could have spun out of that experience becoming a delinquent teenager that didn’t make it through school and, um, was, you know, spending more time jacking cars or whatever. Uh, but you took that unique circumstance and, and became the hard-driving people pleaser. And I suppose there could be a genetic component there, or just who, who knows what, but you can go in a lot of different directions from that story baseline.

Cynthia (00:35:31):
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I mean, what I oftentimes will say is that, um, you know, God gave me the parents that I needed to become the person that I am today. So I speak from a place of gratitude. I don’t see it as poor me, but I do believe fervently that I have, um, you know, I’ve always had very good friends. I’ve had very strong relationships with my grandmothers and several of my aunts and one cousin in particular. And I credit them for me turning out the way that I did because they gave me the foundation and the understanding that I could grow from what I was growing up with them. And I don’t even think I understood at the time how important those relationships were and how much they have really molded me to this day. I just was at a family wedding and I saw several of these wonderful people that I am alluding to that made such a difference in my lives.

Cynthia (00:36:23):
And I tell ’em all the time, you have no idea how important that you were like a lifeline. You were like my life preserver. Hmm. You know, as I was trying to make my way through, you know, when I still lived at home and of course going off to college allowed me to kind of take that leap and, you know, get into a state of mind and environment where things are quiet. And I can tell you I married someone who, you know, provided a lot of like safety and security and definitely reinforced for me, you know, quieting that autonomic nervous system. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, there’s a lot of research coming out talking about how early childhood adverse childhood events, they’re called ACE scores, high scores for women in particular, put them at risk for developing autoimmune conditions and weight loss resistance and deal with a lot of other kind of heavy things.

Cynthia (00:37:08):
And I remind people that, you know, growing up in a house that was very loud and there was a lot of screaming and a lot of not so pleasant things, I have a very quiet house. I take great pride in my very quiet house. And even though I have all boys, we have always had a relatively quiet house because that is, you know, what we have kind of set for our family. And I think that’s made a lot of difference, not just in where I am in time and space in my business, but also personally for me. You know, feeling safe in an environment where, you know, those, those same things that I grew up in were not replicated for my own children.

Brad (00:37:46):
I mean, what more can you ask for many of us? And I think, um, you know, the goal is to always be a better person yourself and perhaps, you know, continue to evolve the, the conversation and the lifestyle from the previous generation, knowing, acquiring more knowledge and having greater insight and greater perspective. So I think that’s there for the taking for everyone, even if they want to recite, uh, an assortment of Big T and little t traumas and, and stack ’em up and, uh, you know, live those out and, and continue to express the, you know, the dysfunction.

Cynthia (00:38:20):
Yeah. And, and it’s interesting, you know, last year I interviewed, um, Gabor Mate, and so he is what I consider to be, you know, one of the forerunners and, uh, you know, the fathers of modern-day trauma discussions. And, and, and his work has been incredibly impactful and pivotal in my life personally. And when I interviewed him, I told him, I said, I could not have done this interview if I had not done the work. Woof. And so, you know, the most personal podcast I had ever done was with him, but it was because I was ready to be able to talk about things openly and without judgment and in a way where I can clearly see why people sometimes don’t make the best of decisions, but you know, your childhood experiences don’t have to be your destiny. You know, you can use them as opportunities to move beyond that and to raise your children differently. I always say, you know, adversity gives us every opportunity. And so that’s how I’ve chosen throughout my lifetime when I’ve had things that have not worked out the way that I wanted them to, I’ve just decided, okay, we’re gonna find a reframe. And it’s not being a Pollyanna, it’s not being unrealistic. It’s just saying, you know, this was put in my path to make me stronger and wiser and to allow me to move forward in my life.

Brad (00:39:35):
Can you elaborate a little bit on that, where it’s not being a Pollyanna so we’re not kind of brushing things under the rug and smiling no matter what? ’cause I think that’s one avenue that, um, quite a few people choose. And I’ve had some reflections in my own life where my default coping strategy was eternal positivity and exuberance and a positive energy. And not noticing and not getting off enough at people who are screwing me around in a business sense or not paying attention to dysfunctional relationship dynamics. Because guess what? Tomorrow’s gonna be better and I’m just gonna work harder and continue to smile and everything will be, everything will be well. But, I realized there’s many stages above that, although I could have worse persona, personality attributes to complain about that eternal positivity and, and exuberance can be a sort of a crutch to not face things like you talked about way earlier in the show.

Cynthia (00:40:32):
Yeah, I, I mean,

Brad (00:40:33):
Busyness, eternal positivity. Let’s make a list of terrible attributes.

Cynthia (00:40:38):
<laugh>. Yeah. you know, I, I think the best example I can give the most recent example that in 2019, I went on vacation with my husband, came home, thought I had food poisoning, and ended up having a ruptured appendix that kept me in the hospital for 13 days. And I had a slew of complications and had a wonderful surgeon who was willing to go the extra mile to figure out what in the hell was wrong with me. ’cause I was not doing well. You know, five days in, they were kind of shaking their heads and saying, we don’t know why you’re septic. We don’t know why you’re so sick. You shouldn’t be this sick.

Brad (00:41:10):
This is five days after your surgery. No, you’re still in oh, five days before.

Cynthia (00:41:16):
No. So when I got to the hospital, um, and I’ll never forget this date ’cause it’s my brother’s birthday. So February 17th, 2019, went to the hospital and they kind of blew me off ’cause they thought I didn’t look very sick. And I kept saying to my husband, when a patient tells you they have an impending sense of doom, pay attention to it. I said, Todd, if they don’t figure out what’s wrong with me, I’m gonna die. And I knew that I knew it. And so I couldn’t sit down, I couldn’t lay down. I was in so much pain, worse the labor pain for anyone who’s ever experienced that, which gives you a sense of how sick I was. And it wasn’t until they got my blood work back that all of a sudden things started to move. They’re like l you have a really high white count.

Cynthia (00:41:53):
We don’t know why. They sent me for a CT scan. I cried in the CT scanner ’cause I couldn’t even lift my arms above my head. My appendix had ruptured at that point. And by the time they had determined that my appendix had ruptured, my entire length of my colon was inflamed. So it was, they call it pan colitis. And the surgeon came in and said, if we take you to surgery now, we’re gonna take your colon. And I said, please don’t take my colon. I need my colon. And my husband said, my wife does not want her colon taken. And I said, can you please give me time? Are you willing to gimme a couple days to see if things quiet down before I go to surgery? And so the surgeon was irritated but said yes. And so they sent me upstairs.

Cynthia (00:42:35):
And you know, two days later I developed small bowel obstruction. And then on day five I was still running fevers. And they were still trying to figure out what’s going on. And they said, you know, we, we at this point, you’re too sick to take to surgery now. We can’t even take you to surgery. Oof. And they started something called TPN. And Brad, you can appreciate this. TPN is called total parenteral nutrition. So day five, I’ve lost 15 pounds, my muscles are being metabolized ’cause my body’s starving. They put me on TPN, which is like a bag of crap. But the bag of crap was keeping me alive. And two days later they diagnosed that I had abscesses in my peritoneum. So the peritoneum is the area of where all your internal organs are kept. And so I had this, I had peritonitis, I had retroperitoneal abscesses.

Cynthia (00:43:23):
They had to take me to surgery to put drains into these abscesses. I still wasn’t done being sick. Couple days later, I developed a fistula. I mean, I was sick of stink. And they said, we can’t do surgery ’cause you’re just too sick. We need you to get stabilized to go home, to just sit and wait and we’ll do surgery later. So I’m discharged from the hospital. I’ve lost the 15 pounds. I look skeletal. I’m so weak and tired, I can’t do anything other than take a shower and lay around. And I remember saying to my mom, who was there, you know, anything about Italian mothers, they’re very like, they’re just all over you. They’re trying to get you to eat. Of course you can’t eat anything ’cause you’re digestive system’s a disaster. And I said, I, I wanna do this talk. And my husband was like, what?

Cynthia (00:44:09):
And I said, all I wanted to do when I was in the hospital was come home, be with my family and do this talk. So 27 days after I left the hospital, I got up and did a talk that changed my life. And so at that point in time, I did that talk to prove to my kids I was okay. That was the sole purpose. I did this talk. I went home. Like a week later, I had my appendix out and I was like, oh, thank God. Well, this is gonna be the most laid back easy summer of all. What I didn’t realize is my brain had not caught up to what my body had been through. And so all of 2019 before I could deal with what I had experienced emotionally, mentally, and physically, my business exploded. And so it’s almost like everything got put on hold.

Cynthia (00:44:53):
Remember we talked about we have ways to distract ourselves from dealing with uncomfortable feelings. Well, the business exploding was the distraction. 2020 comes, now it’s a pandemic. And I tell everyone, just like in 2019, I got so sick, it was a blessing. In 2020, the pandemic forced my family and I to make some really hard decisions. Number one, are we happy where we are? Number two, are we happy in our marriage? This is something I’ve never talked about publicly, but some really hard conversations, really hard conversations. And what we determined was, no, we don’t love where we’re living. Number two, we realized we are 150% committed to one another. And what we need to do from this point forward is prioritize our relationship and not be distracted by other things. And so when I talk about blessings, I talk about that, that, so that sickness, that illness allowed me to go on to do a talk that genuinely changed my life.

Cynthia (00:45:56):
But the most important thing is that when I eventually when my brain finally caught up with my body, I was forced to deal with my stuff. And a lot of people would’ve chosen to drink and deny and like, you know, the hunk, the drunk and the chunk. I mean, or I could’ve just eaten my way through the pandemic or drunk myself way through, through the pandemic. And I dealt with my stuff. And so it’s almost like the universe pulled the w pulled the rug right out from underneath me, okay, you don’t wanna deal with your stuff first. We’re gonna have you get really sick and now we’re gonna have this pandemic where you’re gonna be forced to be just with your family <laugh> for months on end. And you don’t see anybody else other than virtually. And so I think the one thing that the past couple years have taught me is that if you don’t deal with your stuff, it will find a way of forcing you to deal with it.

Cynthia (00:46:48):
And I, I think when we see these maladaptive patterns, whether it’s over exercising, drinking, using illicit drugs, promiscuity, and you, you name it, shopping, whatever it is that people do to, to numb their feelings or they don’t wanna deal with their feelings, it’s just a sign of, of a wound that they have not yet healed. And so for me, it’s healing that wound of the recognition like I felt invincible, Brad, I never, I mean, here I’d taken care of people who are critically and emergently sick for 25 years, and then suddenly I’m one of them and I can’t fix myself. And so you’re faced with your, the potential for finding out like, I could die. And that’s, that’s a huge realization. And I kept saying the most important thing to me is getting home to my family. And so I, I think for a lot of us, it is much easier to numb our feelings than to deal with them.

Cynthia (00:47:40):
It is so much easier. And I completely get it. That’s human nature. And you know, you talk about being such a positive person. I think that’s a wonderful thing. But for me it was many, many years of just not acknowledging how I felt about things. Not as much as I think I’m a good communicator, not acknowledging like I hate living in this area. I don’t feel connected to most of the things that I should feel connected to and, and what do I need to do to live in full alignment with my potential and my family’s needs. And that means we have to change the environment we’re living in. That means we have to, um, we have to course correct. And that’s why, you know, when we were talking before we started recording, I live in a much quieter, less inhabited part of my state. Less traffic, less people. People are nicer. And that has been so good for our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. And that can’t be underestimated. And I’m not saying that people have to go to such great length. I admit that we’re very privileged that we could pick up and move. But by the same token, 2019 into 2020, where the two hardest years of my adult life, without question.

Brad (00:48:47):
Ooh. So back to the original hospital stay and this leeway you had before they went in and took your colon and and so forth, were you leaning on your expertise as a nurse practitioner to roll the dice in that manner? Because I imagine most people they would say, sorry sweetie, here breathe into this mask. Like, they tricked me when I went in for my surgery and I thought he was testing my lung capacity. He was a clever anesthesiologist. He goes, let’s see how strong you can breathe into this mask. I want to count 10 times. And then I woke up, you know, <laugh> hours later. But, um, that sounds kind of, um, risky and brazen however you must have, um, you must have had some resolve. And I wonder if that comes from expertise or were you confused and scared as well and just, uh, wanted to see what, wanted to see if you could course correct.

Cynthia (00:49:42):
Yeah, no, well, I mean, I guess in my mind, even though I was, I didn’t, and by that point I had at least my pain controlled, I had my wherewithal to know that living with a colostomy bag for the rest of my life was not something I wanted to do. And the recognition that removing my colon meant there’s a lot of beneficial things that go on in the colon that my, that my health would lose. You know, talking about production of short chain fatty acids and, and all the things that go on in the colon. And so for me it was patient advocacy 1 0 1. Like what I would tell my own patients? Time out. Like, I want to know that you understand that unless I am dying, I want to try to save as much of my digestive system as possible. Because without key components of your digestive system, things are not gonna work.

Cynthia (00:50:31):
Right. And I, and I said to my husband, I cannot imagine if I even had a temporary colostomy, it would, that would never have been what I would’ve wanted for myself. So I think part of it was some medical knowledge and then two patient advocacy. The one thing I used to tell my patients all the time, you have to be able to articulate what you want or don’t want to have happen. And I was fortunate. I had a, if you can imagine this, a couple female surgeons, the one that came in that first night was not happy with me. But the one that I had from beginning to end, Dr. Britta Chris., I mean, I get emotional thinking about her, but she was 150% in to make sure that I left that hospital and I did well. And when we, when she took my, my appendix out, eventually in April of 2019, I sat in her office when she read my PATH report.

Cynthia (00:51:19):
’cause there had been a lot of cases of appendicular cancer. And she was concerned about that. And she said, if you had been any other 47 year old, I’m not sure we would’ve had the same outcome. Mm-Hmm. And I took that to heart. I mean, I sat in her office and cried. I’m not a very emotional person. I’m obviously emotional talking about this now, but I was so grateful. Like there are no coincidences. Mm-Hmm. Like, yes. It’s unfortunate that my appendix decided to, to rupture. And we have some working hypotheses for why that happened. Hello, Morocco of 2018 when I got terrible food poisoning. That’s probably what got things started. Hmm. But I’m so grateful that I had, I knew the hospital that I was a patient in, I knew the, you know, I knew a lot of the physicians that were seeing me. I had a physician who was a hundred percent on board.

Cynthia (00:52:04):
I mean, and my gastroenterologist, who is like a tiger mom. I mean, she was like, whatever Cynthia wants is what’s gonna happen. I mean, she was 150% in, and I, I felt very supported. And I recognize not everyone feels that way when they, they’re dealing with an illness and being hospitalized. But under the best of circumstances, I had some really crappy nursing care. And that’s a step complicated second conversation. But my, my physician care was stellar and most of the, the nurses I interacted with were amazing. But I had a couple, you know, bad apples. I laugh because probably six months after I left the hospital, I was in Target and I went around a corner and one of the bad nurses was there, and it triggered this massive trauma response in my body. I mean, fight or flight. I was sweating and she didn’t recognize me, which is probably a blessing,

Brad (00:52:53):
Of course not. A random nurse. How are you gonna recognize a random patient? It’s just bed number 17, come on!

Cynthia (00:52:58):
Yep. And so I, my husband looked at me and he said, what’s wrong? And I said, that’s one of the crappy nurses I had. And he said, oh, now I understand. ’cause I used to say that the night nurses were so good that I could sleep at night knowing that I had good care. It was the day nurses that were gonna probably kill me. <laugh>. Wow. And this is coming as a nurse myself, it says a lot. I don’t, I don’t wanna speak disparagingly of my, my profession, but, you know, just like anywhere you have bad teachers, bad cops, I mean, you know, bad trainers there, there’s, there’s always a few in, in every budge. I just happened to have a couple when I was in the hospital, but otherwise my, my care was superlative. But Brad, nothing has ever rocked me to my core. Like that hospitalization did nothing.

Brad (00:53:39):
So when you first went in, did you have appendicitis or was it already ruptured and, and it just took all that time to, uh, yeah. Eventually get it out? ,

Cynthia (00:53:51):
Well, well, what’s interesting is, um, so probably as I was experiencing all that pain, it was because all these stretch receptors and the peritoneum were being irritated. And it’s, it’s my understanding that through the course of all the antibiotics and antifungals and all the stuff they did, my body walled the appendix off Oh, wow. In a little ball. And so my body

Brad (00:54:14):
Made that survived in the 1800s or the 3000 years ago. Yep. Yeah.

Cynthia (00:54:19):
And so when, when she took it, when, when Dr. Chris took it out, she, you know, of course, gave me lots of photos, which it looks like a worm who would’ve known your appendix looks like a worm. And she said, um, you, at, at that point your body had completely encapsulated this appendix, a ruptured appendix. However, it’s not a question of if, but when, when you would’ve had problems again, and you probably would’ve been even more sick. So, you know, for us, it was six weeks after I left the hospital, I had my appendix out and that was a breeze. But, I got re-triggered when they, they took me to surgery. ’cause they didn’t wanna do an outpatient procedure. They asked me to do it in the main OR for anyone that’s listening, if you’re familiar, the, the main or is where the big surgeries go.

Cynthia (00:55:02):
Hmm. And that triggered me because I was like, I don’t wanna be stuck in the hospital. What if something happens? And sure enough, they gave me too much narcotics and I had a hard time waking up. They had to do three rounds of Narcan to wake me up. And my surgery was laughing and said, now you understand why we wanted you in the main OR ’cause you would’ve overstayed the outpatient surgeries hours because it took so long to wake you up. And I think they probably gave me extra narcotics just to make sure I didn’t whip up <laugh> after all my other experiences. But yeah, it was a very interesting process. But the appendectomy was a breeze in comparison to the hospitalization and all my little procedures that I had while I was in there.

Brad (00:55:41):
So you were referencing this as the grand turning point in your life, and now you’re into phase two. And so, uh, the awakening that you experience after, you know, being in life or death circumstances, what does that look like when you emerge and realize you’re gonna survive? You have a colon and now you have open roads ahead?

Cynthia (00:56:03):
Yeah, I mean, I, I think there’s, there’s no fear in my life. I don’t fear anything because I feel like the, the worst thing that could’ve I could’ve ever been through. Um, you know, personally, I, I’ve been through it, you know, talk about being physically sick and then, um, you know, being motivated to reinvest myself in my family and my lifestyle and my marriage. And I, I’d say all the time, like, I, Todd and I choose to be married every day. It’s a choice. A lot of people don’t realize that it’s, it’s not just this passive conduit. You’ve been married for so long and you don’t have to invest in your relationship. And I think a lot of people fall into, fall into that mistake or that mistaken mentality. And so for me, my lifestyle now is filled with, if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.

Cynthia (00:56:49):
I have a lot of healthy boundaries with individuals that I needed to have healthy boundaries with. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> in my family. We spend a lot of quality time together. Not that we didn’t before, but now I have teenagers and, you know, they’re, they’re interested in being around their parents. Is variable day to day, week to week, as I’m sure you know. But I think the way that I I look at my life now is, it’s doing more things that, that bring us joy. And I’m not very focused on people’s opinions of me or what I’m doing or how I live my life. I want to serve my community and serve my listeners and be a great mom and, you know, launch my kiddos. As sad as it makes me to realize that, you know, we we’re on finite time with our kids, that I wanna make sure that the time I spend with them is, is substantive and, you know, filled with joy and allowing them to launch into these incredible human beings that they, they will be.

Cynthia (00:57:48):
This is the first summer that they’ve been doing classes at a, a local university. And so one spent two weeks at Duke and the other one is there right now. And it’s been really good for all of us to have that little bit of separation. I know my 17 year old is very ready to apply to college in the fall. I know my 15 year old is terrified of the idea of going off to college. And, and this has been good for him in terms of growth. But I, I think a lot of what it comes down to, Brad, is being very clear and intentional about where I spend my energy and my resources and, you know, where my focus needs to be. And not worrying about stupid shit. I think a lot of us worry about stuff that really doesn’t matter. And I’ll include in that the rampant materialism.

Cynthia (00:58:32):
That was the world that I lived in for so many years. Not that I, per se, was into that. ’cause we didn’t have, um, you know, the disposable income that a lot of other people had at that time. But I remember it was just keeping up with the Joneses that was the mentality. Bigger houses, bigger cars, more things, more expensive vacations. And that to me was very, um, toxic to be around and, and not aligned with who we are as individuals. So where we are now is beautiful and wonderful, and just much more in alignment with where we wanna be.

Brad (00:59:02):
And the original phase one, Cynthia, and the programming that you received and the, the little tease, um, did not vaporize and vanish forever. So I’m wondering, like, you, you talk about recommitting to your marriage every day. I love that example. I think certain experts have referenced that. It just throws the, um, the cultural programming on its ear where you’re standing up in front of everybody and saying, forever and ever, with, you know, till death, shall we part? And it’s like, wait a second, how about if we wake up every day and say, Hey, you good for today? Or do we need to do, we need to, you know, not take anything for granted? I, I love that, that that spin. But I’m also wondering, uh, do you have to, you know, consciously resist the temptation to go and distract yourself and immerse into overwork over exercise, knowing that’s, you know, an, an element of your, of your makeup?

Cynthia (00:59:58):
Oh, of course. Every day. Every day. But I, I thought

Brad (01:00:01):
You’re supposed to say no at this point, <laugh>, because you haven’t been very vulnerable yet during the show and No,

Cynthia (01:00:06):
No. Um, I’ll, I’ll be completely honest. I mean, it, it is, it is in my nature to be very high achieving. And you know, now I’m just very deliberate. When these three things are done, I’m done. And my team knows that even if it’s a launch, it’s like when these three things are done, then we’re done. Because I much like when I worked in the hospitals and the doctors, and I would say at some point we all have to go home because there will be work 24 7. And it’s the same way as an entrepreneur. I’m sure you feel the same way, that you could work 24 7 if you wanted to. But what does that, what does that, what message does that tell my family? You know, what am I telling my family? Like, I’m not, what are my key priorities? If my key priorities are my marriage and my kids, what am I telling them if I’m just working 24 7?

Brad (01:00:53):
I love how you jump right to that. Because if you can’t do it for yourself, please know that the impact that you have on others. And the biggest example, of course, is your offspring in the home. But even so, everyone, you interact with your circle of friends, if you’re the one that’s constantly, uh, uh, uh, reaching for the phone during a gathering when you’re out and, and socializing, it’s going to have a ripple effect on everyone around you. Including, uh, attracting, like-minded, dysfunctional out of balance, <laugh> fellow entrepreneurs at the, at the summit where we all talk about overworking and, and so forth. And it’s, it’s pretty pervasive. And it’s, it’s scary to me because like you we’re in that age group where we can reference those times of our life where we didn’t have mobile technology, we didn’t have the obsession, I guess with consumerism. Maybe we always did. But it seems like everything’s escalated now to the point where we have to kind of wrap up like you did with your appendix form a, a crystallized solution. I don’t know, how did your appendix wrap up? Did you, did you make like fascia or something to, to encase it so it wouldn’t it wouldn’t bleed you out?

Cynthia (01:02:03):
No, it’s a, it’s amazing. And I actually have the, the photo of this appendix, and I remember saying like, I was so fascinated with this little ball. I mean, it was just all this inflammatory tissue that just hauled it all together. That’s why the fevers went away. The antibiotics did their job, the antifungals. And it allowed me to get from, you know, March 2nd until like April 10th without, you know, I, I did that second Ted talk with a ruptured appendix. I, I like to tell people all the time, I had this drain that got pulled out four days before. I was trying to figure out how I was gonna hide my drain. ’cause I had this fistula too. So I mean, talk about it, show. Um, but I, I think on a lot of different levels that, you know, we, we are conditioned to be a certain way and I’m completely human.

Cynthia (01:02:46):
And when I’m traveling, like if I don’t have my family with me, I will work in my hotel room and I will work a lot because I can, um, like last night I had a webinar and my husband took our oldest to a movie. ’cause I was like, I’m gonna have to do this webinar and it’s probably gonna be 90 minutes. And, you know, then I’m gonna be kind of geared up. And he, he knows me well enough. He is like, you know, let’s just get outta the house. We’ll do something different. But I, I think that one thing I learned from, from watching my mom with her, the trajectory of her career was she worked 24 7. ’cause she was in a very unhappy marriage. And so I always have to remind myself like, eventually the kids won’t be here as a distraction. So if I’m not investing in my marriage now, it’s gonna make it harder to, to weather the kids being gone.

Cynthia (01:03:30):
And now we’re so painfully close to that. Um, not so, not, not so that my marriage is in trouble, but that, you know, I’m, I’m imagining like how different it’ll be, you know, uh, without the boys being home, you know, every day. So I, I, I think that our lives give us opportunities to show up every day and we choose how we wanna show up. I think that’s really what it comes down to. And that’s a choice that we make. And I, I think for me, you know, my biggest takeaways from 2019 into 2020 was, you know, you think that you’re communicating, you’re doing a stellar job, and then the universe lets you know, you’re not dealing with your stuff. Guess what? I’m gonna make you deal with your stuff. And it’s always, I, I look at it as a blessing. It’s like, you know, I was ready for the challenge. It’s like, okay, let’s get, let’s, let’s work on our stuff. And I will probably be someone that will do therapy to some capacity for the rest of my life. Because a lot of stuff going on in my head that I have to get out and articulate and process and, you know, maybe that’s a blessing that I’m very cerebral and very analytical, but sometimes you need an objective third party to just hear you out so you can just get it out and process it and move on.

Brad (01:04:40):
So when you kind of clear out some of this noise and distraction and have the potential to ascend to a more rich and meaningful life, I, you’ve made some interesting comments, previously to me about the practice of manifesting, uh, creating a vision board and stuff that I have discounted for so long until recently. And now realize with great fascination people who are enthusiasts of it and how it can filter into your own life and how your speech patterns and your self-talk and your self-belief can have a tremendous impact on where you’re headed. I love the quip that, um, everything you’ve, you know, accomplished to this point today, we dreamed up beforehand, right? We, we imagined ourselves doing every possible thing. And so it really does work. But I wonder how that fits into your lifestyle these days.

Cynthia (01:05:35):
Yeah,I mean, I have spoken very openly that probably seven years ago, I, I created a vision board and I was like, oh, this is hokey. I don’t really believe in it. And many of the things that are on that vision board have been actualized. And I remember last fall, I got to meet Louis House and I got to be a guest on his podcast and like a big dork, you know, after our interview, which was great. I was like, I’m gonna hold it together. I’m not gonna get emotional. ’cause I felt very emotional. And to his credit, he’s a wonderful person. And so I just said, I have to let, you know, seven years ago or six years ago, at that point, I’ve put you on a vision board, never realizing I’d actually meet you and that I’d be a guest on your podcast. And, you know, he could not have been more gracious. But I remember I was like, I didn’t hold it together. I was like, not supposed to be adore

Brad (01:06:22):
Fan girl. Fan girl.

Cynthia (01:06:23):
Exactly. I was like, I’m so good about not doing that. And he was so gracious about it, and it was, to him it was probably not a big deal. But to me it’s the recognition of how powerful that activity can be. And so it’s the understanding, like, my kids make fun of me. They’re like alignment, manifestation, you know, they think that’s all, you know. And it’s like, guys, you don’t understand. When I’m fully in alignment, I’m capable of amazing things. When I’m not in alignment with my true goals and purpose, then I’m distracted. And so it’s, it’s getting crystal clear about where you wanna go in your life. And I think whether it’s writing it down, putting photos on a, some type of vision board so you can reflect on them, I think that exercise is valuable even if people don’t acknowledge it as such.

Brad (01:07:10):
You know, John Assaraf, who’s a big proponent of this and featured in the movie, The Secret I think was that was called, I had him on my show and he was talking about a vision board he made, and he cut out a really cool looking house that was in some architectural magazine at the top of a hill with orange groves and this feature and that feature, and had it on his vision board. And then he said, you know, later, whatever, a decade later, he bought that very house, not a house like it, but he went in San Diego County, California and bought the house that was on his vision board without him knowing right away until he, you know, went back and looked at the picture. So if you’re not a believer, you hear that story, you’re like, holy crap, <laugh>, that’s like, that’s powerful.

Brad (01:07:54):
It’s like cutting out the, the male model with the five o’clock stubble and the gray suit and putting him on your vision board, and then you go meet that dude and find out he’s a dick. But anyway, <laugh>, I was trying, I was trying. If you’re just joining us, I’m talking to Cynthia Thurlow and she’s giving us her ideal fasting window. Is it 16 eight? Is it 12? 12? No. We’ll, we’ll finish off with a quick, you know, quip about your core contribution and responsibilities. But what a, what an amazing journey we’v`e had. I hope listeners, you’ve, you’ve enjoyed as much as I have, but how is the intermittent fasting transformation and the everyday wellness scene going? You got any, got any new exciting insights for us?

Cynthia (01:08:37):
Yeah, so everyday wellness just hit 4 million downloads, which is really exciting. Um, I’m really proud of that. It’s, it’s probably one of my favorite things I do in my business, being able to It’s

Brad (01:08:46):
One of your favorite podcasts?

Cynthia (01:08:47):
It is, it is. Well, of course it’s my favorite podcast. Okay, good. Yeah. But, but, um, one of my favorite things that I do in my business is being, I think podcasting is like the best form of networking. And so I feel really blessed to be able to do that. And the book continues to sell well, and, um, you know, it, it still kind of amazes me that out of that ruptured appendix came so many blessings. And so I always sit in gratitude and say that intermittent fasting was something that picked me. I never thought that’s what I would really be associated or known for. But I am always grateful, always, always grateful.

Brad (01:09:23):
And what have you learned from your followers and the feedback and the sharing of experience with people who’ve read your book and applied the principles and so forth?

Cynthia (01:09:35):
Yeah, I mean, it’s always humbling, Brad, to be honest with you. When you connect with people who read the book and, you know, they follow your program or they’re inspired to take better care of themselves, and people that have been able to reverse diabetes, that have lost weight, that are sleeping better, that suddenly are able to run a five K or individuals that, you know, had PCOS or metabolic syndrome, and suddenly they’re no longer on medications anymore. And to me, I mean, that’s really doing the work of lifestyle as medicine. And so, um, you know, I just humbly take those, those compliments and I receive them and, uh, just feel very, very, um, appreciative of the blessings that I’ve received and I’ve helped create in my own life. So I mean, it, it probably sounds very trite, but I would just say I just sit in gratitude because, if I were still seeing patients in the clinic or, or in the hospital, I would never have been able to impact as many lives as I can now. And so, um, you know, for that I very humbling, I mean, there’s no other way to put it. As an introvert, as a total introvert, never realized, uh, what, what what I was truly capable of. So it’s exciting.

Brad (01:10:45):
Well, basically you’re keeping people outta the hospital and straight up times thousands and thousands. And the people in the hospital do incredible work. And I think sometimes they absorb a little heat the medical industry or the, it’s called the sick care industry by the, uh, progressive health enthusiasts and all that’s great. But when you’re in the hospital, like you relate with your story and we bond over our mutual ruptured appendix stories and how traumatic they were, um, boy, what a fantastic place to be with the greatest medical care and cutting edge. But like, let’s all try to stay out of there and utilize that place when we really need it. And otherwise, you know, get the right books, listen to the right podcast so we can connect with you listening to that everyday wellness podcast. And, uh, going to CynthiaThurlow.com would be the best suggestion.

Cynthia (01:11:34):
Absolutely. And and that’s where you have access to, to everything, Instagram, YouTube, the podcast. Before Warn, if you see me on Twitter, it might be a little snarky, just depends on the day. I’ve had some people say, oh my gosh, you’re actually kind of like snarky. And I said, never to anyone detriment. But yes, I grew up in New Jersey and I can definitely be snarky.

Brad (01:11:53):
You’re so nice and stylish with all the Instagram posts and the wonderful videos. And then we can go over to Twitter and get, get you at the end little bit of the end of your busy day crafting this stylish. Yeah. Yeah. Cynthia Thermo everybody, thank you for listening. Thanks for being with us.

Cynthia (01:12:08):
Thanks, Brad. Always a pleasure.

Brad (01:12:12):
Thank you so much for listening to the B.rad podcast. We appreciate all feedback and suggestions. Email, podcast@bradventures.com and visit brad kearns.com to download five free eBooks and learn some great long cuts to a longer life. How to optimize testosterone naturally, become a dark chocolate connoisseur and transition to a barefoot and minimalist shoe lifestyle.




We really appreciate your interest and support of the podcast. We know life is busy, but if you are inclined to give the show a rating on Apple Podcasts/iTunes or your favored podcast provider, we would greatly appreciate it. This is how shows rise up the rankings and attract more listeners!

Podcast Episodes
Get Over Yourself

Welcome To The Get Over Yourself Podcast

I clear my throat and set the tone for what to expect on the wild ride that is the Get ...
Peter Attia

Peter Attia: Longevity, Diet, And Finding The Drive

I head to San Diego, via Mexico (relevant shortly) to catch up with one of the great health leaders of ...


The MOFO Mission (you should choose to accept it!) is off and running and lives are changing.

TJ Quillin
Success Stories

MOFO has been nothing short of an incredible addition to my daily life. After a few days of taking this stuff, I started noticing higher energy levels throughout the day (and focus), increased libido (no joke!!), and better sleep (didn’t expect this at all!), not to mention better performance in the gym. I was finally able to break through a deadlift plateau and pull a 605lb deadlift, more than triple my body weight of 198 pounds! I was astonished because other than the MOFO supplement (and it’s positive, accompanying side effects) nothing else had changed in my daily routine in order to merit this accomplishment. I’m a big believer in MOFO and personally, I like to double dose this stuff at 12 capsules per day. The more the merrier!”


28, Union Grove, AL. Marketing director and powerlifter.

Success Stories

“I’ve been taking MOFO for several months and I can really tell a
difference in my stamina, strength, and body composition. When I
started working out of my home in 2020, I devised a unique strategy
to stay fit and break up prolonged periods of stillness. On the hour
alarm, I do 35 pushups, 15 pullups, and 30 squats. I also walk around
my neighborhood in direct sunlight with my shirt off at midday. My
fitness has actually skyrockted since the closing of my gym!
However, this daily routine (in addition to many other regular
workouts as well as occasional extreme endurance feats, like a
Grand Canyon double crossing that takes all day) is no joke. I need
to optimize my sleep habits with evenings of minimal screen use
and dim light, and eat an exceptionally nutrient-dense diet, and
finally take the highest quality and most effective and appropriate
supplements I can find.”


50, Austin, TX. Peak performance expert, certified
health coach, and extreme endurance athlete.

Boosting Testosterone Naturally
Brad Kearns
Brad Kearns
Training Peaks Log In

Privacy Policy

We appreciate your interest and trusting us with your email address. We will never share it with anyone!

Please look for your first message from “podcast@bradventures.com” and move it to your main Inbox instead of promotions or spam.

Brad Kearns Podcast Books

Fill out the form below to download your free eBooks