Noted fitness expert, entrepreneur and television star Jackie Warner has authored two New York Times bestsellers. She took time to talk with us about her latest book, This Is Why You’re Sick and Tired.
METROSOURCE: Can you talk a bit about the origin of your book’s title?
JACKIE WARNER: I come from a long Southern lineage, from Kentucky. I remember my grandmother saying, “Honey I’m just sick and tired!” … It has a very literal meaning because America has become a sick and tired country for sure. It also has a figurative meaning: that you’re just fed up.
I feel like that message is everything we need right now.
I’ve never written anything better than this particular book, and I’m not just saying that because it’s coming out. … It’s a definitive lifestyle book on how to have incredible energy, find your passion, lose weight and jump-start your entire system.
Sometimes it seems that people know how to be healthy but still end up making unhealthy choices. Why do you think that is?
The bottom line is this: Our brain is constantly looking for three chemicals: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Those three chemicals are what’s released when you have an [alcoholic beverage], when you eat a fattening meal, or when you consume sugar. Anything that is addictive … releases these three chemicals. We are hardwired as human beings to be addicted to things [and to] constantly search for more.
Can you explain the value of the hormones that our bodies stop producing properly when we don’t get enough sleep?
A lot of bodybuilders and male celebrities start taking HGH [human growth hormone] in their early 40s because it’s a youth hormone: Your skin gets better, your muscles look great, you get ripped and lean. Unfortunately, when you’re missing your sleep cycles, particularly your REM cycles, HGH is barely produced. That’s a big problem for weight loss. … Cortisol is a hormone you don’t want too much of; when we have interrupted sleep cycles, cortisol runs rampant. … The more cortisol you have, the more belly fat you will have.
Why shouldn’t people just use prescription sleep aids to get more sleep?
You can heal anything in your system with foods and exercise. Many symptoms of disorders like depression or insomnia can be healed with food, in particular. Food has a very strong pharmacological effect on your system. It can be healing without the nasty side effects [that come with certain medications].
I was really struck by the section of your book that talked about the “fear of missing out” syndrome. Can you explain that idea?
Research is coming out about [the danger of] too much interaction with technology, … the constant craving for social media and needing to stay current with your news feed. We’re starting to see just how much anxiety it is causing. I’m not going to stop doing social media, but we have to do something to counterbalance. Healing foods and exercises are a good balance to our extremely frazzling lives.
How can we be smart about choosing what we put in our bodies?
I’m a huge proponent of non-factory-farmed foods. If you can’t afford to go to an all-organic diet, at least make sure your dairy and meats are from non-factory, free-range farms. … Also, be sure to increase your vegetables. People might be surprised by this, but I hate vegetables. I wasn’t raised with them; I don’t like them; I’ve never liked them. Being a fitness and wellness expert, I know the importance of vegetables to make you look more youthful and to prevent anti-inflammatory diseases. I make myself eat two vegetables a day.
And if you eat what you’re supposed to, you’re not going to reach for the candy?
When I was a child I would go to the local store, get a big bag of candy and eat the entire bag every day. Even in my early 20s, I would come home from work and eat an entire pint of Häagen-Dazs. I was a hardcore sugar addict, and I have to tell you: I never eat sugar now. I never even have a craving … because my foods are balanced and nutrients are worked in.
So how do we kick those “sugar blues”?
Like any drug, it’s not easy to kick sugar. Just so you know, sugar releases the same chemical in a chain in your brain that freebasing heroin releases. It’s the exact same chemical — that addictive. Phase 1 [of kicking sugar] is a total vegan detox. The second phase incorporates proteins (animal meats) and … healthy fats — avocado, coconut oils, things like that. Phase 3 incorporates working out.
What do you hope people will take away from this book?
To stop focusing on looks and start focusing on how you feel. … This will give you energy and purpose. You can’t do it if you’re toxic. You could just drink Starbucks all day, take tons of meds, eat processed foods: it is not the way. You are never going to truly fulfill your dreams if you are living your life like that.
Follow Jackie at @Jackiewarner10.
Jackie Warner’s recommendations do not necessarily represent the opinions of Metrosource. Remember, always consult your doctor before making changes to your health regimen.
Last modified: August 6, 2019