Nov. 2, 2023

Unlocking Deep Health: Shifting from Scarcity to Abundance in Your Wellness Journey with Amy Lang

Unlocking Deep Health: Shifting from Scarcity to Abundance in Your Wellness Journey with Amy Lang

In this podcast episode, Dr. Fitness invited master health coach, Amy Lang, to the show to discuss her approach to health, wellness, and weight loss, focusing on the need to shift from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance in the pursuit of deep health and well-being. Listen in as Amy critiques traditional weight loss strategies for their often unsustainable nature and highlights her "fundamental five" habits. And stay tuned as Amy stresses the importance of self-acceptance, encouraging clients to explore the underlying reasons for their weight loss goals and align them with their values and priorities.

Amy Lang is a master health coach, certified personal trainer, and host of the Happy & Healthy with Amy podcast. She helps people who want to achieve lasting weight loss create the self-care habits that make their goal easy and inevitable.

• [5:59] “Sleep deprivation affects hormone levels, making it harder to eat healthy.”
• [12:29] Amy shares insights on how to make healthy habits stick, including giving yourself permission to experiment and trusting one's body to know when enough is enough.
• [19:10] Dr. Fitness and Amy talk about fitness coaching, self-care, and mental health. • [22:06] Amy talks about the potential for diet culture to creep into fitness professionals' language and practices, and offers suggestions for mindful language use.

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Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  0:04  
Hello, and welcome to Your Health Moment podcast. I'm your host Max Sturdivant better known as Dr. Fitness. On this podcast, I want to give you the tools to start, continue and never give up on your journey towards health. Now, whether you struggle with your weight, eating the right food, hydration, exercise, or even time management, you're in the right place, and I'm here for you. Now, let's dive right into this episode.

Hey, this is going to be a really exciting show. If you wanted to determine whether or not excuse me your nutrition program is the right nutrition program for you. Your wellness program overall is the right wellness program for you and it's serving you then you're going to be really excited to listen to Amy Lang. She has her podcast, the host. She's the host of the Happy and Healthy or Happy and Healthy with Amy podcast. She's the founder of the Moxie Club, she coaches women in stem on how to achieve lasting weight loss, you know, she's created, you know, with the intent of deep health. So it's not like that surface health that a lot of people do, but it's deeper because she digs underneath the surface to help you uncover things that may be holding you back. Prior to starting the Moxie club Amy worked for... or Amy worked with 1000s of clients over 15 years as the owner of of the Pacific Heights health club in San Francisco. Amy, you're still in San Francisco, right?

Amy Lang  1:57  
I'm in the Bay Area. Okay, so

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  1:59  
in the Bay Area. She loves sharing her work with others. And she's passionate about helping people to go from being yo yo dieters, to people that have a really kind of into what intuitive way of eating and help them to manage and help us all well, we all need this help managing our internal thoughts in the self talk that we do to ourselves. And some of that self talk is not empowering. And being able to know when it's not empowering or not. Amy can help you with that. So without further ado, I want to welcome Amy Lang. And Amy. Thanks again for being here. How are you?

Amy Lang  2:45  
I'm good. I'm good. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited for today's episode, this interview. Yeah.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  2:53  
Oh, well, thank you for that. I'm excited about it too, because I know people listening are gonna get a lot out of it. Because you've spent a lot of time working with people. So you understand some of the ins and outs that go deeper than surface weight loss. So your Instagram handle is habit. Habit whisperer. Did I get

Amy Lang  3:15  
that right? Yeah.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  3:17  
So how did you come up with that Instagram name?

Amy Lang  3:22  
Well, you know, in working with so many clients who had that they've gotten the message that to lose weight, they're supposed to look for a diet, look for the best diet, look for the best weight loss program. And they ended up using a two step strategy of first I want to lose the weight, and then I'll figure out how to keep it off. And what I saw was that so many times what they were doing to lose the weight was unsustainable. So they put their life on hold, if you will. And when they finally lost the weight, then they went back to whatever life that they had put on hold.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  4:05  
Yeah, to me. Can you give me an example of something that's been difficult for people to continue after they've done it to lose the weight? Like,

Amy Lang  4:16  
yeah, so if you if you try to avoid carbs, as an example, you tell yourself, I love pasta, but I can't have pasta. If I want to lose weight. You know, the ketogenic diet is very popular these days. It's, it's like South Beach revisited. And what I found was, if you keep telling yourself, I love pasta, but I can't have it at some point when you've lost the weight. What's the first thing you want to have? Pasta, it's pasta. And so that sort of restriction in your in your brain, you create the state of psychological scarcity. So if there's anything that I could share with people In terms of their health and wellness journey, including weight loss would be that you really want to be coming at it from a state of abundance, you want to shift from a state of scarcity to one of abundance. So if you're thinking all or nothing, as an example, like I have to be on this diet, and then I'm off the diet, it's right, I fell off the wagon, whatever you want to call it. I would say, an abundance mindset would be, well, everything's on a continuum. So today, maybe, you know, I didn't have a salad I can, I can get a little bit more in tomorrow. Give yourself some grace there, as opposed to beating yourself up to your point. So habit was birthed came from this idea of that, instead of using this flawed two step process, first, I'm gonna lose the weight. And then I'm going to figure out how to keep it off. And then you never do the second part. Habits are about thinking, think about like the kind of person you want to be, if you want to be like a healthy eater, a healthy person, what would that person be doing? And what kind of habits would they have? And then how do we start getting those in place today? Like, what can we start doing today? And really coming from this place of I want to take care of myself that I'm worth taking care of which that's a whole nother topic, right to talk about the relationship we have with ourselves in terms of, Am I worth taking care of? Or am I only going to be able to feel good about myself when I get to that goal weight, if you will, because it that's the thought process, that's what keeps us sort of, what's the word I'm looking for, you know, we're, you're still Lord, you're still tempted by the diet, because you're still you have that underlying belief, a core belief in some some ways where like, I'm not good enough until I've lost the weight. As opposed to, well, here's where I am today. And, you know, you can start with just acceptance, like, I love myself. And I'm worth taking care of, I deserve to feel better. And if I do these things, let's say I go for a walk, and I get outside, and I feel a little better. Well, I've taken care of my body. And the body is wonderful, it will respond in kind, right? If you drink enough water. So I always tell people like there's the fundamental five habits. So to avoid that state of scarcity, we've got physiological states of scarcity. And we've got psychological states of scarcity. So if I tell you, you can't, you can't do something. Through the pandemic, we had that happening constantly. You have to wear masks, you can't do this. You have to write all of those things became these rules. I should I shouldn't all this stuff. We create scarcity, in that the physiological scarcity comes from when we actually restrict things that our body actually needs, if we're not getting enough sleep. Like how what percentage of the population is getting seven to nine hours of sleep? Probably not enough, not enough. If you were to look at like the rate of obesity, and the rate at which people started getting less and less sleep, I think there probably be at least correlation, you would see correlation. I don't know if

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  8:36  
I think they're parallel. I think they increase in even in a parallel way. I think. Definitely correlation, though.

Amy Lang  8:45  
Yeah. So people will say, I'm making a distinction between correlation and causation, right where we see that trendline but if you were to look at the science behind sleep, you would actually see that, in fact, we are messing with our hormone levels. So like, ghrelin is the hormone that the hunger hormone, right think Breland think like, we're like, my stomach is growling, okay. So when you don't get enough sleep, guess what your ghrelin levels that that hunger hormone is elevated. And the satiety hormone leptin, which is the one that tells you Yeah, I'm satisfied, I'm full, I'm good, right? That level is, is actually lower than where it would be if you got like a solid, good eight hours of sleep. And so if you're chronically sleep deprived, then you're making it harder to eat healthy, because your body's like, Oh, I'm hungry, I need carbs, I need salt. I need sugar, right? Whatever it is, I need that quick energy fix. So a lot of times, you know, when I look at what a client is doing, we'll look at like the fundamental five that I talked about. And I'll be like, where would you like to start? And so oftentimes it's sleep. It's like, oh, instead of worrying about not doing something, I get to focus on doing more of something.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  10:13  
And I hate to ask this, but what is your fundamental five? Oh,

Amy Lang  10:20  
I set you up for that, right? Yes. Yeah, so the fundamental five are, everyone knows to drink enough water. So I usually say half your body weight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 200 pounds, we're talking about 100 ounces. So if you want to divide that by eight, you'd figure out how many glasses that is, as opposed to people say, drink eight glasses of water. And I'm like, Well, if you're five foot tall, and you weigh 120 pounds, or you're six foot tall, and you weigh 250 pounds, does it make sense that you would need the same amount of water doesn't make sense, right. So that's a combined like that ratio. So half your body weight in ounces of water, I say five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, with a ratio of like three veggie veggies to two fruit. And I want like all the colors of the rainbow, get some green leafy ones in there. It's not to say I don't think protein and fat are important, because I you know, and you can get some protein with the plant stuff, too. But I think at least for the US population, when I look at like the women that I work with the chronic dieters who struggle, oftentimes, it's the nutrients that their bodies are craving, from the fruits and vegetables that they're not getting. Gotcha. So I want to work on that. Seven to nine hours of quality sleep 30 minutes of mindful movement. So I say mindful movement, as opposed to exercise because I think, just like food, like so many people who've been struggling to lose weight, if you associate exercise with, the only reason I'm exercising is because I need to lose weight, as opposed to movement is beneficial for my body. It helps with brain health, it helps with my body's health, it helps with we talked about type two diabetes, a lot of times when it comes to the being overweight, and it will help with your insulin resistance, right or at insulin sensitivity actually. And then the last one is to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're comfortably full. And it's the stopping when you're comfortably full. That's really about learning how to tune in to your body again, to trust it to let you know, like I've had enough. And in a world of abundance, right? You can go to the grocery store and buy all kinds of stuff. Telling yourself you can't have something is very different from telling yourself. I've had enough.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  13:01  
Yeah, it's wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for letting me share. Yeah, I mean, it's, they're powerful insights. And it's really great to give people permission. And it's, it's a softer way to have someone change their habits. It doesn't feel like you force it on them, it doesn't feel like it's a push or pressure, it feels like you gently guide them. So now I know where the habit whisperer comes from. So you're not shouting and screaming, you are gently giving them information and allowing them to take the time to digest it and use it the way they intuitively feel it needs to be used. If I hear you correctly,

Amy Lang  13:49  
it's definitely a process. It's definitely one of those where I think so many times I've run into people who have that all or nothing approach. And I'm like, how do we make this easy? How can we make this easy so that it's inevitable, so that the results you're looking for are inevitable. And guess what along the way, those results you're looking for may change as well. As you learn more about yourself as you gain insight as you kind of go, Oh, I've been doing this all this time. And it got me to where I am now. But where I want to go, maybe this isn't the way I'm gonna get there. This method doesn't work anymore. So I'm referring a lot to like when we beat ourselves up, right? Like we say, like I have to do it this way. I'm really intolerant of anything. That's not what I think of is perfect. And if we look at it that way, a lot of times it stops us from even trying. And I think giving ourselves permission to experiment. Figure out what works for us is sort of the key Eat then getting habits to stick.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  15:03  
Nice. So when you do the initial incest assessment of clients, do you cover anything where you're where you're getting them to explore their internal thoughts like that self talk that they're having with themselves. DEED is how do you help them explore that?

Amy Lang  15:24  
Yeah, well, I mean, I'm sure from your, from all the consultations you've done, you've probably done like the five why's exercise, like why do you want to lose weight that so I do the same thing. five levels deep, sometimes I go seven levels deep. I'm ultimately trying to get to like, like, what? What are your values? What are your priorities? What is the purpose of this weight loss? And and I really want to try to get folks to look at their goals in a bigger context. So when you see it in context, does it align with your values? And oftentimes, if someone says, I want to lose weight, okay, the first time I heard this, it nearly broke my heart. I had a client whose I asked, Why do you want to lose weight? And she said, Because I'm disgusted with my body. That I wasn't the only time I heard that. But I remember the first time I heard that, and I thought, wow, this is the conversation that she's having with herself when she looks in the mirror. You know, and, and I'm like, Well, would you ever say that? So your best friend would like so this. We talked about relationship with self? Like, how do you learn how to be your own best friend, your advocate, your support, or your cheerleader? I can be there. But there's, there's an internal voice, that's more powerful. And so how do we shift it there? Right? And so I asked her, Okay, well, can you think of another way to frame it that would be instead of what you don't want, think about what you do want. So like, why and so she was able to at least get to like, well, I want I want to lose weight so that and gain some muscle so that I'm toned and and I'm, I'm have the endurance and the stamina to be able to do things that I want to do. Okay, that that's, that's more hopeful. There's, there's like an energy pickup there. And so we kept on like, why is that important to you? Right? And so we we kept, I kept asking why, in slightly different ways to understand like, how does this fit into her her life in the context of her life. And ultimately, it became like, I've been sitting on the sidelines, I want to spend time with friends and family. And when I don't feel good about how my body looks, I isolate. I'm, I don't want to be seen kind of thing. And so I'm like, Well, do your friends care? Right? We, we did a little bit of unpacking, I'd say in the initial consultations, especially with moms that I work with 50% of the time, like when I did them more in person these days, I'm online more often than not, but in person, I would ask like, why is this important to you? And I would get that long pause. And then you could see the emotion welling up. And I you know, I'm like, where's the Kleenex box? Because for so long the moms had been putting their own needs on the backburner. And so it really was, you have permission to take care of yourself and think about what's important to you. And so for folks that are listening, like the, if you're a mom, and you catch yourself in that self care is not selfish, like, understanding what your wants and needs are, is really important.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  19:10  
And it's great to have a wellness professional like you to help them unpack these things. Because what I find, as well, when I have the opportunity to talk to moms with guys, too. Yeah, when we really drill down into some of the negative self talk that's happening. We get to explore kind of why and where it's from. And as we start that exploration, we start touching things that they never had permission or a safe place to really talk about. And it turns out that, you know, having a safe place to actually talk Talk about some of the stuff is lacking in a lot of in a lot of people's lives. And it's funny that fitness and wellness professionals are surrogate therapist, frequent frequently. And I guess, but I do what I do now as a wellness coach, because I realized that when people were coming to me as a fitness coach, they were much more interested in, we got much better results, when I gave them the opportunity to unpack some stuff they needed to unpack, when they did that, oh, then the exercise was nothing. But they'd rather have that time with me unpacking things that would help them to do better with their habits after that appointment than us working out for 20 minutes, and then being in the same place that they were when it comes to their habits after they left. So the great thing about giving them the space to really get stuff out that they have not had the opportunity to do in any other environment is just, I think it's a calling. And and I think, as I've gotten older, with my practice, I realized, wow, how how helpful. This is for people. And and I think as wellness professionals, we need to be trained, or and better at actually being present for people and giving them the space to safely say things that it's important for them. And that they need to say.

Amy Lang  22:06  
Yeah, I think from a coaching standpoint, I come at it, and I was taught to come at it more from a place of non judgment. Oh, yeah, right. Non judgement, where my client is the expert on their life. Ultimately, it's their goal is not what I want for them all i want for them as is at some level like to be able to help them. It can I connect with you on a way to help you see what I'm able to see. And, but it's not about me imposing like, I had actually worked with trainers in the past, who were like, Okay, so now that you did this, let's do work on this and I'm playing, how about, like, How about asking me what I want to work on next, right, there was a little bit of that going on. And there are still definitely I do run into some fitness professionals that like, when we talk about diet culture, where there's a, there's still like a certain amount of, of body shaming going on. It's, it's, you know, even like, the expression clean eating, which is could be really good, or could be a sign of, of diet culture kind of creeping in. Where if clean eating means like this is when I'm being good. And I'm looking forward to my cheat days. To me, that's a sign like, okay, we're kind of in that scarcity mindset thing kicking in, and I'm just to be aware of it, like, I'll point it out. I'm like, what does that actually mean? When you say cheat day? Because Are you doing something bad? Like, are you are you doing something wrong? Or cheating is inherently we think of as raw. So just even the language to be careful. To Be careful. I'm not you know, it's not a trigger word for everyone things like should and, and cheat and whatever. But it can be, it can be so I'm always like, what does that actually mean? Are you making it mean about you?

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  24:14  
I love Amy, how you really pay attention to the verbiage that you share? What was your training to because this is really a B, being this mindful of language and how you're presenting this information for people. Most people need training to get here specific training. So what did what was your training to help you to get here?

Amy Lang  24:42  
It's a long and winding road. So I have my bachelor's in psychology from University of Michigan. And I have an MBA as well. So it's in strategic management. So I was I learned from Dr. Deming So he has the whole sort of management philosophy, they're very humanistic. And I was the owner of a health club Pacific Health Club for 15 plus years, during that time, I became a certified personal trainer that didn't really get the language you're talking about. I went through precision nutritions nutrition coaching program that really didn't get there. I went through their master health coaching program, that that definitely covered some of it. I went through Intuitive Eating counselor, the intuitive eating program, I'm actually I would not say that I'm an intuitive eating counselor, though, because ethically like they do not believe that intentional weight loss programs work. Right. And so that, we like that, I think there's a lot of good stuff with intuitive eating as a self care framework for eating, I think there's a lot of goodness. But if we talk about deep health, so I didn't define deep health, I think people, like you said, like, the superficial, the shallow health, that to me is in appearance, that's, that's when we're focused on what we see. What I ran into over and over again, and it's my own story, too, is are you trying to lose weight at the expense of your mental and emotional health. And if that's the case, that's not deep health, that shallow health, I want you to get deep health, I want you to feel good from the inside out. And so it's about losing weight. And and by the way, you're you're getting your mental health is improving your emotional, you know, your well being is all is all moving, they're all moving in the same direction. And that what you're choosing to do what you want to do looks different, because you're coming from a different place. So I yeah, I struggle, like when when people are like doctors tell you, you need to lose weight, and eat more vegetables and exercise. And like, we need some coaching. We just need some coaching is what the best of intentions. Yeah.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  27:22  
Nice. And I really appreciate it. Now, I know you've been working on a book. Can you? Or have you completed that? Is it available yet?

Amy Lang  27:33  
Yes. Yeah. So go ahead.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  27:36  
No, that was my question. Did you complete it? And is it available? Where can I get it? Where can the listeners get this book?

Amy Lang  27:44  
So it's called thoughts or habits to master your triggers, free yourself from diet culture, and rediscover joyful eating? Now, title, that's a long title. So thoughts are habits too. And right, now, we're going through the final stages with Amazon and all the other publishers or whatever, distribution channels. So you can get an excerpt of the book by going to thoughts or habits

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  28:21  
Okay, um, did we put that in the show notes already? So that people if they are hearing it, and they might have not got that right, can find it? We did add it to the show notes?

Amy Lang  28:33  
I think so. Okay. I think so. Yeah. So chapter one is available, you'll get like the table of contents and stuff, too. And if you download the excerpt, then I'm asking for your email address, it means that when when, when the book is actually available, you'll be like the first to know. So that's

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  28:54  
fantastic. Amy, I can't tell you how excited I am that we've had the opportunity to have this conversation. It's been a really big help to me, personally, someone that's actually in the business. And I can imagine the listeners are loving this. So you touched on so many things about really getting to the root of challenges and looking at not looking at weight loss as a surface kind of thing really go deep to, you know, some of the root causes and have a better understanding of it. I think once you understand it from that level from that deep level, I love deep health. Because once you understand it from a deep level, I think you just do better and I do think it becomes more intuitive because now you're just living and you're living your best life. And weight loss is just going to be part of that

Amy Lang  29:52  
journey. Yeah, yeah. becomes a byproduct.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  29:56  
Yeah, thank you. A byproduct of that journey. Is there Something that we really should say that we missed.

Amy Lang  30:07  
I think you covered pretty much everything. We could actually just, there's, you know, all the different topics that I touched on, like we could, we could do like separate episodes just

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  30:22  
on each of those topics. Yeah. So I definitely want people to reach out to you. Because I think a lot of people are going to be really excited to, to get that first chapter of your book and realize that you know what, it's going to be a really great read and really helpful material to move your life forward. And like we were mentioning before, we're all on a health continuum together. And one side will say is, quote, unquote, optimum health, whatever that is. And the other side, I think I call it death. But I call it a very poor health, or, you know, and I think we're on this continuum, and we kind of decide each day where we are on that continuum on to continuum, and I think it moves, you know, when, you know, when we can lose a parent and, and choose not to exercise and not to eat, or, you know, during that time or eat not as well, because of the emotions that we're dealing with at this stage. But knowing where you are, I think, is a part of the learning of that self acceptance. And, you know, I just think that stuff is so important to just being able to accept yourself right where you are, in any given moment, in any given time. And know that there's always hope to go somewhere different on the continuum.

Amy Lang  31:53  
Yeah, actually, there is one thing I would like to share. When I talked about rediscover joyful eating. I didn't actually go into that what joyful eating is, and it is actually built on four pillars. Love, which you just touched on, nourish, which we talked about the habits is nourishing, relationships are nourishing as well, right? There's, there's a lot to nourish, gratitude, and trust. So when you take action from those places, and you have practices that feed each one of those, and that's what I have inside my my program, joyful eating circles. Oh, is that so? We always start with the fundamental five, and we kind of layer things in with that.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  32:45  
Well, I'm looking forward to reading it. And thank you so much, Amy, for being here and sharing this information. I mean, it's great. So I'm gonna get a lot of messages I know about it. Have Amy back.

Amy Lang  33:01  
So I would love to come back. Thank you

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  33:04  
very much for your podcast. So do you dig into this stuff regularly on your podcast? I'm sure. So Amy, can you give everyone your podcast name?

Amy Lang  33:12  
Sure. Happy and healthy with Amy Lang.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  33:16  
Okay, there we go. Thank you for listening to another episode of Your Health Moment. We're really happy to have had you here. And be sure to text me if there's something that you found really compelling. Or there's a topic that you'd like to dive into a little bit more. Have a great day. God bless. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of Your Health Moment podcast. If you enjoyed what you've heard, you can visit our website, for past episodes, show notes, and all the resources that we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me on social media to send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes that you've been listening to. And don't be shy about requesting any other show topics that you might like to explore.

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