94: Preparing for Holiday Diet Culture Traps

September 30, 2021

Claire’s trade show experience, holiday diet culture traps, and Cadet nearing her college days.

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This is Joy & Claire Episode 94: Preparing for Holiday Diet Culture Traps

Episode Date: September 30, 2021

Transcription Completed: October 3, 2021

Audio Length: 46:41 minutes 

Joy: Hey guys, this is Joy.

Claire: And this is Claire.

Joy: And this is Joy and Claire. It’s almost October. We have to do a countdown because it’s officially the fall. Countdown to the holidays.

Claire: I love it. Yes. Spooky sleigh ride.

Joy: Spooky sleigh ride. Your birthday sleigh ride. The holidays sleigh ride. It’s a lot of fun things.

Claire: There’s an actual, a literal sleigh ride you can take. Sleigh ride to an actual sleigh ride.

Joy: I was thinking about it when I was in Costco… maybe in July? When they had costumes already and that freaked me out. That just seems like yesterday, and here we are. I was walking the dogs earlier today. I’m sure there are some blow up yard aficionados that know that there are some very cool yard… blow up dolls, whatever they call them. Big Halloween pumpkins. Characters if you will. The neighbors down the street had these huge, huge skeletons. I’m thinking like 12 ft. To 14 ft. tall. Actually maybe up to 20 ft. tall. They were very, very tall. Huge. Two of them in their yard. They had a really spooky cemetery. I aspire to that and not one year have we done anything like that. However, Scott and I were looking at the blow-up figurines for our yard. Because almost every year we look too late and they’re always sold out. But they had one that was a Hocus Pocus one with the three witches.

Claire: That’s cute.

Joy: That I would put in my yard. And they had the Beetlejuice sand snake. That’s cute.

Claire: Good one. Our neighbors across the street – I feel like I’ve talked about this before – have this 10 ft. tall blow-up black cat. And then they also have a Santa. But the black cat, I’m going to be curious to see how River does because Luna hated it.

Joy: Oh interesting.

Claire: Because they’re directly across the street from us, and this 10 ft. tall black cat just stares into our front window for like four weeks.

Joy: Well it’s funny because, now that you bring that up, it’s really good training for Cadet to go by all of these – like when we’re going to Target or Costco and we go by the Halloween decoration section. And inevitably a Halloween decoration goes off, and it’s sensor triggered and then it screams at you or whatever. So it’s great training for her. I was like, oh great, she didn’t react to the one at Costco. But we’re walking a few days ago and there’s a scarecrow in someone’s yard. Just a cute little scarecrow. And she just stopped. And was just looking at it and backing away a little bit. I was like, oh crap, we got to work on this. This is definitely something you’re going to need to react to.

Claire: I got to go and find a scarecrow. That is funny.

Joy: Had no reaction to statues. Apparently, it’s very common for dogs to react to statues. So at one of our puppy training classes, we were walking by statues and whatever. They did fine. But a scarecrow. And it’s a friendly looking scarecrow, so we got to work on that.

Claire: I know. Not to Cadet. I was actually thinking of Cadet the other day because Evie and Miles have this remote-control WALL-E. You can imagine it. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It goes around the house like [robot sounds], making all the WALL-E sounds. And River was just kind of looking at it and I was like, I should invite Cadet over to have remote control WALL-E drifting directly at her.

Joy: Yeah, that would be good training. We try to do everything that we can to expose her to all of these random things. The weirdest stuff will trip her up, but once you expose her to it a few times she’s fine. Like the other day we were at Whole Foods. She’s been to plenty of stores. We got to Target, we go to grocery stores. But for whatever reason at this Whole Foods when the doors open, there were a lot of carts moving. And you know how the air, that ventilation system that’s right next to the doors that open and close, and it blows up at you when you walk into the store. And she kind of reacted to that, not in a bad way, but I could definitely see her being like, woah, that was a lot of stimulation. Yeah, we’re on the countdown, so I’m trying to do everything I can to make sure that she’s ready.

Claire: Okay. Give the update.

Joy: So the update is, for those of you who don’t know, maybe you’re new, Scott and I have been raising a puppy for Canine Companions for the past 18-19 months. We volunteer with this organization because I work with a therapy dog, a facility dog who is trained by Canine Companions for eight years. He retired and we really wanted to give back and stay connected to this organization, so we have been puppy raising for Canine Companions. Which means they breed their dogs specifically for service and then they send them out to puppy raisers where the puppy raisers volunteer for 1.5 years, up to 2 years, raising this dog, doing all these commands, classes twice a month, etc. trying to get the dog exposed to as much stimuli as possible. We’ve had Cadet since April 2020. She’s really been a blessing to have during the pandemic. All of our life has been, throughout this pandemic, is just focusing on our dogs, which has been great. So she goes off to college – I call it college because people can kind of understand that – advanced training November 12. Then she will be at Oceanside, California, which is where JT and I trained together. So when I applied to get JT, it’s a very long application process for Canine Companions. You don’t just sign up to get a dog. It is very, very selective. They really don’t just hand these dogs out to anyone because they are worth like $60,000 if you add up all the time and money. But you don’t pay for them. They give these dogs to people in need free of charge. When I applied to get JT, that was a really long process. I lived on campus training for two weeks with the dogs. Training with the best trainers. By the end of it, I knew all the commands and how to handle the dog. They just really set you up for success. So that’s where she will be. And she will be there also with her sister Capri. So we’ve been in touch. We see Capri at some of the puppy classes, so that kind of makes me feel good that she’ll be training with her sister too. So we’ll see. At any time during training, she could be sent home, which would mean that she would be… they call it a “change of career.” So instead of the path to being a service dog, she has a change of career and she just goes and lives her life out with us as a pet. Now if you’re a puppy raiser and you’ve raised multiple dogs, CCI, Canine Companions, really only allows puppy raisers to have three dogs in their home at one time. So puppy raisers will often continue to puppy raise and puppy raise, and so maybe over seven or eight years they already have three release dogs – change of career dogs. So at that time, sometimes Canine Companions will allow a friend to adopt the dog after they’re released. But it’s a very selective, very competitive process to get release dogs. So a lot of people joke, “Oh, I’ll take a release dog.” I’m like, good luck. It’s pretty much impossible to get a release dog unless you’re very close to a puppy raiser and have an impeccable track record of having an animal because they are very selective about who gets those dogs. But in any event, we only have JT. I shouldn’t say “only.” He’s the best. But if she’s released, then we will get to keep her as a pet for her natural life. So that’s kind of the story. I think what’s happening right now is it’s happening so fast where… just yesterday, it was September 1. And now it’s almost October 1, and I’m like, oh my God. The countdown in my mind has started. So Scott and I are already talking like, “Oh my gosh, we’re really going to miss how she drinks water” and “we’re really going to miss how she comes up to you with a toy when you walk in the house,” all these little things we’re really going to miss about her. But we knew this day was coming, and it’s going to be very difficult. So we’re going to fly out there with her, drop her off on Friday, the 12th. Canine Companions does this really great thing where they have a whole matriculation ceremony where the dogs go to college, and they have this cute little vest on. And dogs that are graduating, they have a graduation ceremony. Scott and I were going to go to Disney Land. We’re kind of rethinking it because it would be on a Saturday, and we’re like, do we really want to go to Disney Land on a Saturday? We also wonder if we would just like to come home after we drop her off. Maybe we just want to go home and be with JT.

Claire: Yeah, you are going to want to be home with JT.

Joy: Yeah. So we’re rethinking extending the stay. Because I don’t know if we’re going to have the heart to stay there. Scott brought that up yesterday, and I’m like, I think you’re right.

Claire: I think you guys should maybe have one day where you can go to the beach and eat your feelings and drink your feelings and then go home. Because knowing you – and you should have one day where you can go shopping.

Joy: That’s true. That’s true.

Claire: And then you should come home. But Disney Land, I think would be emotional.

Joy: When he mentioned that when we were on a walk the other day, “You know, that would be Disney Land on a Saturday.” That’s true. And I don’t want to stay until Tuesday. I want to get home to my pets and see JT and start the healing process of home without Cadet. So we’ll see. But yeah, it’s going to be really hard. And every puppy raiser you talk to, I’ll say it over and over again, they’re like, “It never gets easier.” It is very difficult to turn your dog in, but she’s just so special. I’m already excited to get her progress reports. Luckily as a puppy raiser you do get progress reports. So Canine Companions sends you a report every month, how she’s doing, how she’s learning her commands, what she needs to work on, so on and so forth.

Claire: And I know we’ve covered this in a previous episode, but once she gets there – so you’re basically teaching her the absolute basics, and then once the dogs get to advanced training, that’s when they decide what type of service dog they’re going to be, right?

Joy: Yes.

Claire: You haven’t been training her specifically for a specific type of service.

Joy: No. Really what they want puppy raisers to do is expose the dogs to as much as possible. So cars, taking her on car ride. We took her to the mountains, exposed her to wild animals. We have bunnies running everywhere. Making sure she’s not chasing bunnies. Cars driving by when we’re on a walk. Loud noises. Anything that’s really going to desensitize her from anything that would potentially disrupt her work as a service dog is what we’re trying to do. And then we have about 40 commands that we taught her. I believe at college at advanced training she’ll learn 20 more commands that are very advanced, that a trainer needs to teach her to do. Like opening a door, turning on and off a light switch, retrieving something from the ground and giving it to the owner. So that is something that she will do there, but puppy raisers don’t know what path they’re going to be on. She’ll be a service dog for someone with a disability or a PTSD service dog. They do have a hearing program. It’s rare, but a small percentage of dogs make it to the hearing program. So there’s a hearing program that she could become a hearing dog. And the skilled companion team, which is a child has the service dog but the parent is really the main handler if the child is unable to handle the dog. But the dog is really a service to the child. And then facility dog, which is what I had, which is an animal that works in a medical facility.

Claire: And because we always get this question when we talk about Cadet, if people are interested and have been curious about raising a puppy, what resources do you point them to? What would you say are the top few things that someone should know?

Joy: About raising a service dog?

Claire: Like, before you start to apply. What are they going to look for, what do you need to –

Joy: I mean, the basics are do you have a home that’s safe for a dog? Do you have crap everywhere that they’re going to eat? It’s very basic, but they do have someone come and look at your home to make sure that it’s a safe environment, that it’s a clean environment, that the dog’s going to be well taken care of, that you have a fenced yard. Because they do not allow the dogs to be left alone outside. So you really have to switch your mindset to being with this dog 24/7. You’re not allowed to have a dog door with a Canine Companion animal. Again, they are looking at you being with this dog as the top priority. So for them, dog doors mean the dog can just come and go as they please, and these dogs really need to learn to go to the bathroom on command. So I can’t just let the dog come and go as they please because then the dog doesn’t learn that when you take them out they have to go to the bathroom. So things like that. Fenced yard I already said, but really is a place that you can constantly have eyes on the dog. They don’t want the dog eating something in the back yard and getting sick. They also try to protect you as a puppy raiser so that you’re not having a dog that gets sick and you have all these vet bills. Because really unless you have a special circumstance from CCI and you can use some of their funding, you’re responsible for all costs of the dog while you’re raising the puppy. That is your contribution. That is what you sign up for. The time commitment, really, it is 24/7. And there’s a part of me, the one thing I just try to look at silver lining – which really, we’re just going to miss her terribly – but I really miss sleeping through the night. She has never been… [laughing] I know all the parents out there are like, “Welcome to my world.” But the whole time we’ve had her, she is not a good sleeper. She gets up at 2am, 2:30am every night to go to the bathroom, even as a full-grown dog. So I worry about her in college, being like, what are you going to do kid? You’re going to have to – so things like that. And really just having some time to do what we need to do without having to come home within like two hours. We do not leave her in the crate for long than 2-3 hours. We don’t really do much right now without her. There’s a little bit of selfishness within me that’s like, that will free up some time to do some things without her.

Claire: Which that’s by design and it’s a lifestyle for you.

Joy: It’s totally a lifestyle. So it will be different, and we’ll have a little more flexibly. Right now, we rarely go to concerts together. Scott has been going to shows on his own. Now if we go to shows, we’ve been to like one show together. But the whole time, I was like, we’ve got to get home. We’ve got to let Cadet out. You know. So I worry about things like that. I would say just know that it’s a really big commitment, but it really is so fun and so rewarding and you meet a lot of great people that want to know about raising a service dog. Of course, we hope that she can go on and change someone’s life. If she fails, she’ll still change lives in some way, shape, or form because she’s just such an amazing dog. But we of course hope that she passes. But all my friends and my mom are like, “We really hope she fails.” They say it tongue and cheek.

Claire: Your mom.

Joy: My mom really wants her to fail. Because my mom is like –

Claire: I know. For those of you who don’t know, Joy’s mom is just the sweetest, most pure woman on this earth.

Joy: Yeah. So that’s emotionally very hard for her to think about Cadet being gone.

Claire: Aw.

Joy: So anyway, if anyone ever has questions about Canine Companions, obviously you can go to their website and check it out and read about how to become a puppy raiser. They really set people up for success as much as possible, but it is a huge time commitment and money commitment. What I notice from the community of puppy raisers, because I have a lot of friends who are puppy raisers, is that there’s a lot of people that do it that are middle aged and older. So either their kids have left the house or they’re retired. Because it is something that takes up a lot of your time. So obviously, if I had kids there’s no way in heck that I could have done this because it is a lot of time and energy.

Claire: I know with us getting River – if you guys don’t know, our family got a puppy in March/April. Sometimes I look at what you do with Cadet and I’m like, oh my gosh, we don’t spend nearly that amount of time with River. And then I’m like, oh, that’s because River is a family pet, not a service animal. We want her to have good manners and be well trained, but she doesn’t have to be able to go into any facility, go on an airplane. We aren’t relying on her, and no one will ever hopefully rely on her as an extension of themselves. Which really, service animals are an extension of – you can see them as a tool that you use or an extension of somebody to help them with a disability that they have. That’s a whole other level of training.

Joy: It’s pretty amazing to see. And there’s plenty of great stories on Canine Companions. But just as an example – this just had everyone in tears because we went to… and of course, I am the recipient of one of these dogs, so I just know how amazing it feels to get one of these dogs. But now I really get how much puppy raisers… what they go through to raise these dogs. I don’t think you could know that unless you actually raised a dog. Hindsight, I keep thinking I really hope that I kept in touch enough with the puppy raisers. I’m still Facebook friends with them and we keep in touch. I think back like, did I do enough to show the appreciation that I have for them? So we were at a fundraiser for canine companions, and they do this great presentation of how this dog has helped one of their recipients. And he’s just the cutest 8-year-old with autism and he reads this letter about how his dog Miko has helped him be more social and he doesn’t get scared to go to school anymore. Just the most heartwarming, amazing story that he read to the crowd. And Mike is just with him the whole time. And the whole premise of Canine Companions is that people can live independent lives. I can’t think of a better example than this sweet little boy with autism being able to just walk around the whole fundraiser without his parents. His parents were there, but because he had Miko with him he wasn’t overstimulated. He could rely on the dog to calm him down. He had that calming presence next to him. Going to school is easier, going to social events is easier to him. Just things like that. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after him reading his cute story. But these dogs are amazing, and they truly are trained to be with their human for the purpose of independence.

Claire: We don’t deserve dogs.

Joy: We really don’t. So I will just say lastly – and I did not mean to spend so much time on Canine Companions, but I’m also not mad about it – is people will often ask, “How can I train my dog to be a service dog?” And I have previously said this on a lot of episodes. So maybe I’ll post those episodes. It’s not really my recommendation to do it that way, but if you have questions about it email me and I’ll tell you why because I don’t want to explain it again here.

Claire: Right. I’ll give the nutshell version without – because I don’t have an associated soapbox with this. That if your dog is bread to be a service dog from day one, it’s still stressful for the dog but not nearly as stressful. If you try to take a pet and hold them to those standards, it can be overly hard on the dog to the point of being detrimental.

Joy: Well put. Thank you. Because I would have talked for like 20 minutes. And there’s always exceptions of course.

Claire: Totally, totally.

Joy: Because there will always be that one person that’s like, “Well my dog was a perfect service dog.” I’m like, yeah, there’s always exceptions, but as a rule that’s usually not a good idea.

Claire: Right. It’s better to start from the beginning. And easier and easier on the dog. Okay. So as we are heading into the fall – oh I guess I can give a quick update on my experience of going to my trade show. So last week, as I mentioned, I was headed to Philadelphia for a trade show. And for those of you who don’t know, I work in marketing for a large trade show corporation. It’s obviously been two years since we had our last trade show. Our last trade show was our big fall trade show in 2019. The group that I work with, pretty much we have two big shows per year, one in the spring and one in the fall with a smattering of smaller events throughout the year. And so we held our really big one in fall of 2019 and then our spring 2020 trade show got cancelled the night before it was supposed to start. Like we were already set up, we were on site. It was the first week of March. And you guys know what happened. So this was our first time back in a true convention center. The company that I work for has put on other trade shows, definitely around the world and even a handful already this summer in the US. Primarily in Vegas, or there were some in Florida. I think there was one recently in New York. So it definitely wasn’t the first – like, we knew a lot, and I think that helped. We work for this very large corporation that really knows what they’re doing, really knows how to do the modeling that’s required to keep this safe. But you still don’t know what you don’t know. And all that modeling is reliant on people following the rules. And as we all know, that is a pain point of humanity in America right now?

Joy: [dramatic] What?

Claire: What? I mean, there definitely were a few people that got really mad about the mask thing. But it’s like, there comes a point, particularly when you’re somewhere like a trade show where it’s like, listen. There are alternatives to being here. We have a simultaneous concurrent virtual event going on that’s the virtual version of this. So if you feel that strongly about not wearing a mask, feel free to not come. End of sentence. You don’t have to be here.

Joy: Period, the end.

Claire: And even myself working for the trade show organization, they were very clear with us. If you are not comfortable for whatever reason, no questions asked, you do not have to go. So that was really reassuring also, kind of going in feeling like at any moment I could pull the cord and be like, “I don’t want to be here.” Or even leading up to the event. Like the night before, I could have gone to my boss and been like, “Hey, I just can’t shake this feeling of anxiety. I’m not going to go,” and he would have been like, “Okay.” So I got there. It was wonderful. I would say that in the exhibit hall, there was an 80-90% mask compliance rate, which is really good if you think about a group of people.

Joy: Yeah, for sure.

Claire: And you know, at any given time, I did my best to just not stay in any one place for that long. Knowing that typically the x-factor is that time of exposure. Philly was great. I had never been there before. People sent me some recommendations. I did go to Reading Terminal, which I feel like next time I go there I need to have more of a game plan. Reading Terminal feels like the inside portion of Pike Place Market but much smaller. But that sort of like old school, indoor market. And it was very overwhelming. I needed a game plan before I came here.

Joy: I see, so you needed a plan plan.

Claire: You can’t just wander around and hope for the best.

Joy: Got it. Like entering The Louvre.

Claire: Maybe before the pandemic you could. So yeah, there was this donut place. And it’s a lot of Amish food stands and stuff. So I almost went to the donut place, which was highly recommended, but the line was super long and I was like, nah, I’m good. I got to see Megan and Joelle who are wonderful.

Joy: Megan and Joelle, I love them so much.

Claire: Megan and Joelle are two listeners who came on our Iceland trip. They came to Camp TimeOut. 

Joy: They’re the best humans. They’re so great.

Claire: They live outside of Philly, and they were so wonderful. So I was supposed to go out to their neck of the woods and take the train, and it just didn’t work out. And so they ended up coming into town. I got in their car, and they were like, “Are tacos okay?” And I was like, “Are tacos okay?” Tacos are fantastic.

Joy: What? Do you not know me but at all?

Claire: Right. So it was so wonderful just to see them. And that was also so nice. Last time when I was at Expo East in 2019, I got to see Laura Ligos. It’s so fun for me when I get to see podcast people in real life.

Joy: Yeah, you get to see people almost every time you go out there. It’s so great.

Claire: I know, it’s so fun. And a lot of people that I was working with did that. They used the opportunity to show up a couple days early and stay with some friends and family on the east coast. It was really a cool opportunity. I think living in Colorado – if you’re not from this part of the country this probably won’t resonate with you – but I can drive six hours in any given direction, and I’m still going to be in Colorado. Well, not north. I drive like an hour north, I’m in Wyoming.

Joy: You’re in Wyoming, yeah.

Claire: But I could drive literally five hours west, four hours east, and six hours south. I’m still going to be in Colorado.

Joy: Yep, yep.

Claire: And that is not the case in Philadelphia.

Joy: Turns out.

Claire: Turns out. And there’s trains you can take.

Joy: I love the east coast, I really do.

Claire: Megan was like, “Can you take the train out here?” I was like, I don’t know. Can I?

Joy: Can I?

Claire: We don’t have trains.

Joy: Let’s find out.

Claire: So it just was really fun to… and it’s cool to be in an older city like Philadelphia and have that cool old architecture and statues.

Joy: Oh yeah. You can feel the history around you.

Claire: Yeah, very historic. So that was really cool. It was also interesting because Philadelphia has a lot of the same issues that a lot of other big cities are facing. One of those issues is people who are homeless not being able to enter the city. It sounds like to me, and I don’t know very much about this issue, but what I kind of gathered was that during COVID the city felt like the homeless areas were not safe in terms of transmission, so they really broke up a lot of those more congregated areas. So there’s just a lot more people who are physically sleeping on the streets in the middle of the day. I don’t spend a lot of time in cities, so to me that was just sort of like, it can be easy in my life to forget about the issues that I don’t deal with.

Joy: When you don’t see it, right. Yeah. I mean, I can’t speak for every state because I haven’t been in every state since the pandemic, but I have seen California and of course downtown Denver and the surrounding areas of downtown Denver where it’s pretty visible of how many more homeless people are either sleeping just in the grassy area by the capitol or they have tents popped up everywhere. I know that they were trying to get a specific area for homeless people to go in Denver and that kind of caused a stir. I don’t know the answer of how you start to solve that, but it was very also visible in California. People having campsites set up on the side of the freeway. So it’s really unsafe, and I’m sure the homeless shelters are really overpopulated, but yeah, it’s a big problem. It’s a really big problem.

Claire: Yeah, I think it was just interesting. Again, I love traveling for work. And I think I really didn’t realize how much I missed it. I knew that I missed it, but I didn’t realize how badly I needed that separation between work and home that I haven’t really been getting. That’s my thing that I really just don’t like about working from home is that I really want and crave that separation between my home life and my work life. I’ve talked about that a lot on the podcast. So really getting that, like yeah, this is my work time. I can focus. I can be present. Of course, I’m still FaceTiming with my kids at night. Like there was one incident when I was there. Evie had something going on and I was FaceTiming a screaming toddler from the show floor. But I really have missed that. So it was nice to have that back in my life. And it did feel safe. It felt good. And they had rapid tests available on site for staff, so I took a rapid test before I got home. Took another one when I got home. I was really interested, and please correct me someone if I’m wrong, I was under the impression that rapid tests were not that accurate, and it turns out that actually rapid tests are pretty accurate and are more likely to give you a false positive than a false negative. 

Joy: Oh. Chime in. Chime in, scientists.

Claire: Chime in, scientists. But that to me felt reassuring. I was looking it up before I went, and this could be wildly inaccurate but I did do some fact checking on it. Which I don’t like to just spew things that I read on the internet without two-factor authentication.

Joy: [dramatically] What?

Claire: I know. It’s amazing. A podcast who doesn’t actually read things offline.

Joy: Rogan.

Claire: Again, I’m very open to this being inaccurate, so please let me know. But the very broken-down way that I saw it was if 1,000 people were to take a rapid test and 50 of them were to actually have COVID, you would get 53 positive results. 49 of those people would be accurately identified, 1 would be a false negative, and 4 would be a false positive.

Joy: Okay. Those are good numbers. 

Claire: And I was like, I would rather have a false positive.

Joy: One thousand percent.

Claire: And then have to get a PCR and quarantine until I find out it was negative – than the other way around. All that to say, I felt pretty good about it. And now I’m back. And then I’m going to go to Vegas. I hate Vegas actually, but it’s fine. They have great conference rooms. People are always like, “You get to go to these different cities, that’s so cool.” I’m like, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. A conference room and a convention center are the same anywhere you go.

Joy: Yep. When you have to go for work and you’re sitting in a conference center, you might as well be in Hawaii. You can’t really go anywhere.

Claire: The group I work for has a big show that happens in Geneva, and Brandon was like, “Oh my gosh, are you going to get to go to Geneva?” And I was like, it’s not going to matter. 

Joy: Because you’re just working the whole time.

Claire: Because you’re just working the whole time. Yeah, you can show up a day or two in advance if you want to. Which of course I would if I were to get to do that. But a conference room and a convention center are pretty much the same wherever you go.

Joy: Yeah.

Claire: So anyway, that’s my update. I went. I had a great time. I’m going to be in Vegas the end of October. Alright, as we go into the fall, another thing we wanted to touch on is the next season of diet culture B.S.

Joy: We’ve got to prepare. 

Claire: We’ve got to prepare.

Joy: We’ve got to put our armor on. We’ve got to prepare our minds.

Claire: Not prepare our bodies because our bodies are fine the way they are.

Joy: Bodies are perfect.

Claire: It’s only September, and yet I am already seeing – just how Costco had Halloween costumes in June – I’m already seeing –

Joy: Hot tips.

Claire: Crap. Yeah, all these “one weird trick for a flat belly” tips about holiday eating and Halloween candy. Still seeing this B.S. about the quarantine 15. And name it, it’s out there and it’s going to be ramping up.

Joy: It’s going to be out there.

Claire: I feel like diet culture has seasons, the same way fashion has seasons, because it’s an industry made to profit off of you and not something that you actually need. If you need to let that sink in for a second. I feel like the two busiest seasons are prior to swimsuit season – which again, swimsuit season, not a real thing.

Joy: Swimsuit season. Right, right, right. “Got to get that bikini body.”

Claire: Right. Let’s just banish the phrase “swimsuit season” because it’s dumb.

Joy: By the way, I think I put on a swimsuit once this summer.

Claire: One time. I wore a swimsuit one time.

Joy: When I went to Arizona.

Claire: Versus last winter when I wore a swimsuit four or five times when I went to hotels and stayed in a hot tub. This year, I put on a swimsuit one time. And the other one is as you lead up to the holidays and we are all given this messaging that “you better be careful because you are an idiot that can’t control herself around food. You better start stealing yourself now for the gorging that’s going to take place, you idiot.” It’s so demeaning. 

Joy: It’s demeaning.

Claire: You can do it.

Joy: We’re smart people, and it’s very easy to fall into those traps. Here’s a little crossover for us. If you go listen to the Girls Gone WOD feed, I interviewed Molly Bahr who is a licensed counselor and also specializes in intuitive eating and we talk a lot about this. Nothing is black and white. We’re never going to win the battle against the diet culture. It’s always going to be out there. We just have to know where we tend to fall prey to these things. So just noticing if there’s something on your feed that doesn’t sit right with you or makes you question your body or makes you feel bad about yourself, get rid of it. So like right now is maybe the time to just stop following some influencers for a season and see how you feel. You can always hit “follow” again.

Claire: Absolutely, they will always be there.

Joy: Oh, trust me. They will be there doing their videos. And I think that’s something that is really important to realize is we can sit here and get mad about it all day, but it’s never going to go away. So what we can say is educate yourself, be critical of who you’re following, build on the self-love. Not to sound cheesy. Love yourself.

Claire: I also think – this has really helped me when I’m facing diet culture – is that any time I hear a phrase that I’ve always sort of taken for granted, I’ve really been stopping and being like, wait a minute, is that true? A great example is when people use losing weight to be synonymous with either the word “Improvement” or the idea of “getting healthy.” We even get emails about this where people say, “I hear that we don’t need to constantly be dieting, but I need to lose weight to be healthy, so how do I reconcile those things?” More and more research is coming out that proves that your weight is not… not, not, not, not directly correlated to your health, that there are a million other factors that you can look at outside of your health. And yes, those do include exercise and changes to your diet to have more whole foods in them, but not with an eye to weight loss. A lot of time when we think about adding exercise or removing processed foods from our diet, we immediately, automatically equate those with the goal of weight loss.

Joy: Yes. And here’s the other thing I learned from Molly Bahr is, who cares? In terms of if you’re healthy or not. Why are we constantly focused on health? Of course that sounds like a silly statement. But are we also just tricking ourselves to be like, “Well, I still want to be healthy.” I think we were specifically talking about the whole photo of Lizzo and how people – they’re idiots – were coming out of the woodwork being like, “This isn’t healthy.” And it’s like, she feels confident in her body and she can find health how she wants it to be. And Molly was like, “And who cares? It’s none of our business whether or not she’s ‘healthy.’”

Claire: One thousand percent. One thousand percent.

Joy: We also need to step away from this whole “she’s healthy just the way she is,” and Molly’s also like, and who cares? It’s none of our business. It’s none of our business.

Claire: I’m not here to say you shouldn’t want to have a pain free life.

Joy: Of course.

Claire: Getting good sleep, a life where you live a long life.

Joy: Of course but be careful. It’s a slippery slope.

Claire: But I think that there’s so many other things that you can look at. For example, studies are showing that loneliness is as much of a predictor of lowering your life expectancy as smoking is. 

Joy: You know what got me sick? Stress.

Claire: Working out and eating healthy.

Joy: Stress.

Claire: I know. 

Joy: That’s what got me sick last year.

Claire: Totally.

Joy: And actually, overexercising. Everyone needs to kind of take a step back. Take the grips off of the diet and exercise. Take the holistic view of your life.

Claire: And we know that you guys have heard this. But for every message that you receive from diet culture, we want to be there to stand firm in the fact that just question those assumptions. Question the assumption that weight loss is synonymous with anything else. Question the assumption that exercising and eating fewer processed foods has to have anything to do with weight loss. What we often will also hear from people is, “I work out, I eat well, and I just can’t lose weight. Everything else is improving, but I can’t lose weight. What am I doing wrong?” The answer is, you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re doing everything right. If you’re feeling good, if you are moving your body, if you’re eating nourishing foods, and you aren’t losing weight? Okay. That’s fine. 

Joy: Yeah. Yeah.

Claire: Just step away from the weight loss as your ultimate goal. 

Joy: Ultimate goal. Guiding light. Guiding principles. It’s so hard. I know it’s hard.

Claire: It’s so hard. And also, we here at Joy and Claire really never want to speak into absolutes. So I’m not saying that there are never any health diagnoses or situations that will not be improved by lowering your body weight. I know that there are. But I think they are few and far between. And I think they are, at least, fewer and farther between than what we tell ourselves.

Joy: Well said. I just want to point out, something that’s also – we’re just referencing all of our podcasts here – but we’re doing The Great British Bake Off, On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake! show. And last week, a listener actually wrote in and we’re going to mention this on the next episode too, but I caught this and I was like, ah Prue, come on. But even Prue who is a judge on the show. She was eating something and she’s like, “It’s worth the calories.”

Claire: That’s her tagline.

Joy: Oh really?

Claire: “It’s worth the calories.” That’s her tagline.

Joy: Oh I haven’t heard her say that on the show before.

Claire: Yes. Always her, always has been.

Joy: Maybe I blocked it out.

Claire: I think it is one of those things where in the past it would be easy, and not just easy but everyone has done this. Like, oh isn’t that such a cute tagline. It’s sort of because of the age that she comes from. Not like “because of her old age,” but because of the era that she comes from. But I don’t want to just chalk it up to that, like, “Oh, it’s fine that she does that because when she was first getting popular that’s what we talked about.” Because it is the same as anything problematic. We want to call it out now. And when you know better you do better. And I do think it’s problematic that she’ll say, “Oh, it’s worth the calories” being the highest acclaim that she can give.

Joy: Got it. Okay. Yeah. It just really… that caught my eye too. And ear. These are the things that I catch because it’s like, oh… that’s from diet culture and I don’t want to think about food that way. And I actually don’t. I don’t ever be like, “That’s worth the calories.” Yeah. It’s an ongoing thing.

Claire: Totally. Oh, diet culture.

Joy: If you want to send your rants, people, listeners out there, we would love to hear a voice memo. If you just need to confess some things and get it out of your system, maybe the things that you’re either dreading coming up to the holidays, things that you’ve struggled, and we can walk us all through it together.

Claire: Rant to us about the person who’s going to be at your holiday meals who is going to comment about what you’re eating.

Joy: Yeah. Put it in the Burn Book. We can all talk about it. We’ll keep it anonymous, but we want this to be a safe place for you to land. We can get through this together.

Claire: Alright guys, well… that brings us –

Joy: Can I bring up one thing really quick? I know we’re almost done.

Claire: Okay.

Joy: So the other day, I was jonesing for something comforting on TV and I couldn’t find anything. And all of the sudden I turned on Twilight. I was like, this is kind of getting into the fall, Halloween-y movie, vampires. That movie does not age well. Have you watched it recently?

Claire: Was that movie ever good?

Joy: Well let’s just put it this way, I guess it didn’t really hit me how creepy he is. And he’s kind of a stalker. 

Claire: Have you listened to Shit, Actually where she covers Twilight?

Joy: Yes. I had to just call that out again. And by the way, Lindy West, Shit, Actually is such a great book because she really goes through all the movies.

Claire: And she has this newsletter called Butt News. Which at first I was like, why did she call it Butt News? But every time I say it, I’m like, hahaha, butt news. 

Joy: She’s the best.

Claire: She’s so funny. And she reviews a different 90’s movie every week, and they’re so funny. So this past week she did The Blair Witch Project. And it’s hysterical.

Joy: Oh my gosh, I need to read that. I need to read that. So yeah, I got a kick out of that. We were watching it, and Scott was doing some work on the computer, so he wasn’t really paying attention but he’s in the same room as me. He was there. It was on TV. At one point, you know the scene where they’re all playing baseball and running really fast or whatever? And he looked up and he’s like, “What the fuck am I watching right now? Are they playing baseball? What is going on?” I’m like, yeah, this is kind of a weird movie. 

Claire: Now that I notice this…

Joy: Now that I notice this, everyone’s kind of a creeper.

Claire: So creepy. So creepy. 

Joy: Yeah. It’s kind of a shame when you see movies that don’t age well. You’re like, aw man, they just didn’t get that right. They really didn’t.

Claire: Which, by the way, we were reminded by somebody when we were having the conversation a couple weeks ago about movies that did age well and I brought up Ghostbusters, someone was like, “You know, if you watch that again, Bill Murray is pretty problematic.” 

Joy: He’s a perv, yeah. He’s a full on perv in that movie. And I remember watching that – and oh my gosh. Total tangent. But when I watched Labyrinth on my birthday, someone wrote in and was like, the troll king – what was he called? The goblin king. She’s like, “Oh, the goblin king was my sexual awakening as a kid.” I was like, oh my gosh, I don’t know who mine was. Not that you knew what that meant, but you definitely had a moment where you were like, [sound of interest]. 

Claire: Totally. Yes. 

Joy: I’m trying to think of who mine was. The only thing that comes to mind would be Top Gun.

Claire: Oh yeah.

Joy: The volleyball. I just remember being not a teenager, I was definitely a preteen. Just feeling things. 

Claire: Wow, this is an interesting –

Joy: Interesting warm feelings inside. [laughing]

Claire: Oh no. 

Joy: But I had to laugh so hard. Whoever that listener was, I hope you’re listening right now because that made me laugh so hard. She was like, “The goblin king was my sexual awakening.” [laughing] That was so good. Oh man. Such a weird movie. It’s such a weird movie. 

Claire: Super odd.

Joy: We can end on that.

Claire: Alright guys, if you would like, you can support the podcast by going to eattoevolve.com, discount code is JOYCLAIRE15. And despite the 15, it gets you 20% off your first order. They have so many tasty foods. You an order as much or as little as you want. You can get it delivered every week. You can do a one off. All their stuff freezes really well. I’ve been freezing a lot of stuff that I get and saving it for a rainy day. So when you order from Eat to Evolve, you support the podcast. We are so grateful for you guys. Another way you can support the podcast is by sharing us with a friend, by leaving a review, by sharing about us on your social media. All of those things really help us. Even just taking a screenshot of the episode, posting it in your Instagram stories, and tagging us goes a really long way. So thank you so much to everyone who reaches out every week. Let us know what you think. Go comment on our Instagram posts. Anywhere, any place that you can interact with us, that helps us spread the word and get more people into this community.

Joy: Thank you.

Claire: You can find us on Instagram @joyandclaire_. You can go to joyandclaire.com. You can email us thisisjoyandclaire@gmail.com. Don’t forget about our other two podcasts, Girls Gone WOD and back for the second week this week will be On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake! 

Joy: Bake!

Claire: And that is a podcast that goes through The Great British Baking Show. Last week was week one. This week I will be baking a malt loaf, spoiler alert, to talk about from the technical. And I’m trying to figure out what the heck malt extract it. Hopefully by the time you hear this, I will have figured it out.

Joy: Hit me up.

Claire: Because they don’t sell it at King Sooper’s. Alright guys, we’ll talk to you next week.

Joy: Bye, guys. 

Claire: Bye.

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