– Dr. Molly Maloof’s *Spark Factor* book: https://drmolly.co/the-spark-factor-dr-molly-maloof/
– Dr. Molly Maloof’s website: https://drmolly.co
– Dr. Molly Maloof on Instagram: https://instagram.com/drmolly.co
– Dr. Molly Maloof on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mollymaloofmd
– Dr. Molly Maloof on LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/mollymaloofmd
**6:22 — Mitochondrial dysfunction drives disease processes**
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells where energy production occurs. They can become dysfunctional when they do not work as efficiently or effectively.
> Your body needs energy currency to maintain its organ function. Your body needs energy currency so that you can maintain your brain function. And so when people start losing energy capacity, what happens is that literally I believe it’s an actual function of the physics of your cells. So I became—as someone who studies mitochondria—a mitochondrial obsessor. Basically, like I was just patently convinced that mitochondria were the seed of health or disease, mostly related to metabolic diseases specifically is what I’m talking about. But mitochondrial dysfunction can set you up for infection. It can set you up for cancer, diabetes, dementia, heart disease—but the big ones are the metabolic diseases I just mentioned.
**7:19 — Borderline lab tests results aren’t necessarily optimal**
When blood test results come back with markers within what’s considered the “normal” range, that doesn’t necessarily mean the result is optimal. Someone could be on the edge of a range and be on a trajectory that ultimately leads to a disease state.
> When people go to the doctor all the time and they get these labs and their doctors are like, “Well, your blood pressure’s kind of borderline, your blood sugar’s borderline. You’ve got high cholesterol, but you’re generally healthy.” Actually, that’s not true. If you have these symptoms and signs, you’re probably on your way of getting chronic disease, and it’s just going to take some time before you get diagnosed. So doctors consider unhealthy to be fully disease state. I consider unhealthy to be a lot of the gray area between health and disease. So there’s a lot of people out there that are listening to this today that have prediabetes or pre-hypertension, and they’re on their way to getting these chronic diseases but they don’t know it, because their doctors tell them they’re healthy. And it’s not true. One in three people have pre-diabetes, 80% of them don’t know that they have it. Most doctors are not testing fully for prediabetes. because they’re not putting blood sugar monitors on. They’re not doing glucose tolerance tests—they’re doing fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, and that’s not showing the full picture of health.
**13:09 — Challenging yourself is good to a certain extent, but overdoing it can lead to burnout**
Dr. Maloof uses the analogy of energy as currency in your bank. But she says, “Just because you have a lot doesn’t mean you need to spend it all.”
> You really don’t want to overdo your challenges that are voluntary, because you might have some involuntary challenges that are going to pop up. And if you are running on lower energy capacity, you can get sick and you can break down. I did have a couple colds this year. That definitely wasn’t optimal, but you learn about your health through direct experience. A lot of what I write about in the book is, How do you evaluate your health and then how do you optimize it? What can you do to improve it? For me, a big thing that I had to do this year was I needed more recovery. I started changing my lifestyle based on my cortisol tests.
**14:45 – Health is a continual journey—one that constantly changes—not a destination**
We’re exposed to countless things every day that affect our health, and we make a variety of decisions each day that impact our health. It’s constantly in flux, so we constantly need to tweak our lifestyle choices on our health journey.
> Health is a thing that you have to consistently work on because it’s a daily practice and it’s not this thing that you just reach one day and you’re like, “Okay, today I am finally optimal.” Well, no. You’re constantly dynamically interacting with your environment, so that’s going to change your health. So your health practices have to change and adapt to your environment.
**19:08 — Hustle culture can degrade health, especially if you’re constantly stressed**
While having personal and professional goals and striving to achieve them is great, the constant hustle can take its toll if someone is not focusing on health levers like sleep, nutrition, movement, and stress management.
> This is the thing that people need to realize is that you might be able to handle a few sleepless nights here and there, but if that’s chronic over time, that’s when the system starts to break down. That’s when things start to actually fall apart. And the body is designed to actually maintain flexibility of these systems. But it can lose system flexibility when it’s stressed chronically and the body becomes more rigid, and these biomarkers start to shift into higher and higher numbers, and then they won’t come back to normal without real lifestyle change.
**20:45 — Getting good quality sleep is a crucial health lever to mitigate stress**
Following a regular sleep schedule, getting sunlight in the morning, and avoiding too many artificial light sources at night can help you maintain circadian-rhythm alignment, which is key for syncing several physiological processes.
> If you don’t sleep well, you’re going to actually increase your daytime stress. This is what we call a circadian rhythm: your day-to-day experience and your nightly sleep. This rhythm of your wakeup and your sleep is really important to get right because it’s programming your biology from the moment you wake up in the morning and you get that sunlight in your eyes. If you don’t get it, then that’s a problem, because you have these clock genes that are synchronized by light. And if you don’t get that early morning sunlight, then you’re not going to have the most energy during the day. And then if you don’t get that good dark rest at night, then you’re going to wake up with more cortisol in the morning. And so it’s this kind of vicious cycle that if you don’t get sleep right, then everything else is not going to work. I definitely always look at sleep in all my clients first.
**30:58 – Certain tests can provide insight into your fitness status**
Muscle strength, cardiopulmonary fitness, and flexibility and mobility are all facets of fitness that we need to maintain for health and longevity. Dr. Maloof recommends a DIY test to gain a picture of your fitness.
> The thing about fitness is that it’s certainly a product of a bunch of different things, but the biggest markers of fitness are things like flexibility, VO2 max, and grip strength. Another really good test of your longevity through your fitness is: can you go from sitting cross-legged to standing without using your arms to get up? And the more assistance you need, the less fit you are. So I’m all about weight training, cardiovascular training, and then like yoga and tai chi and and just stretching.
**32:28 — Strength training helps support metabolic health**
Strength training is a crucial component of fitness, especially as we age and are more at risk for age-related disease processes.
> Your muscles are power packs filled with mitochondria. So the more you exercise them the bigger that they get, the more that they become insulin sensitive, the more that they can process glucose effectively, the more that you can lower your post-meal glucose and the more you have the ability to fight frailty by prevention. So the best way to deal with frailty is not to wait till you’re frail and start weightlifting; it’s to build muscle strength so you never become frail.
**41:08 — Metabolic health doesn’t equate to weight loss**
People can be thin and have mitochondrial dysfunction, so thin doesn’t always mean healthy.
> Weight is not the best biomarker of health. You actually want to understand your visceral fat and you want to understand your body fat—because your visceral fat is a much bigger predictor of whether or not you’re metabolically unhealthy or healthy. So there are a lot of people out there that are skinny fat, that have high amounts of visceral fat that are not overweight but they’re just as much at risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and dementia than somebody who’s obese. And not everybody that’s obese is actually metabolically unhealthy.
**42:21 — Ultra-processed foods are inflammatory**
Ultra-processed foods are loaded with added sugars and preservatives, both of which can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction. Sticking to whole foods as much as possible helps promote mitochondrial function and better energy capacity.
> When you drink soda and eat fast food and ultra-processed foods, you’re eating what? A lot of fuel that gets burned really hot. But it also causes metabolic gridlock in the cell. So when you over-consume packaged processed foods and fast foods, these foods are not easily metabolized because they’re “Franken foods”; they’ve got all sorts of crappy preservatives, and they’re very highly refined. And you can’t really easily metabolize carbs and fats at the same time. Your body kind of wants to switch back and forth. So when you give it lots of fat and lots of carbohydrates at the same time, it can be problematic for metabolic health. And this can create the conditions of this gridlock in the cell. It can also just cause the mitochondria to become inflamed and also the microbiome to become inflamed because ultra-processed foods are inflammatory by nature, and that’s overheating the body, kind of like overheating the engine.
Dr. Molly Maloof (00:06):
If you are noticing your vision is changing over time, if you notice that your hearing is changing over time, if you notice that your senses are dull, your senses are literally from your nervous system. Your nervous system runs on electrochemical gradients. So if these aren’t functioning properly, it’s a good sign you got mitochondrial changes. And it’s a pretty good sign. You don’t have enough energy.
Ben Grynol (00:32):
I’m Ben Grynol, part of the early startup team here at Levels. We’re building tech that helps people to understand their metabolic health. And along the way, we have conversations with thought leaders about research-backed information so you can take your health into your own hands. This is a whole new level.
Molly Maloof, an original biohacker, friend of Levels, also an advisor and a great partner to our team. Molly has a new book coming out on January 31st, 2023. So depending on when you’re listening to this, hopefully, [inaudible 00:01:19], they’re already got it on pre-order or it’s something that you can check out. The book’s called The Spark Factor: The Secret to Supercharging Energy, Becoming Resilient, and Feeling Better Than Ever Becoming Resilient and Feeling Better Than Ever.
So Molly and Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew, head of Clinical Project at Levels, the two of them sat down and they discussed some of the ideas in the new book. They talked about things like looking to the body for signs, sometimes physical signs, things like hair, skin, and nails. How are some of the signs that we physically see or feel impacted downstream by poor metabolic health or certain lifestyle choices?
And so Lauren and Molly talked about the importance of routine exercise, making time for things, even if they’re simple, like doing 10 pushups or 10 squats in a day. One is better than zero. We often get busy and we think that that becomes an excuse or it’s an easy way for us to get off track and start to feel the downstream implications of not being in our routine, whether it’s related to diet, sleep, or exercise. And so, Molly’s book provides a roadmap and overview of a way to create balance in your own life and supercharge your energy. No need to wait. Here’s where they kick things off.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (02:32):
So excited to have you today. I read your book, Spark Factor, over the holiday break and just loved it so much. And I’m so excited to get to share some of the key takeaways with our audience. And I would encourage everybody to go out and buy it as soon as it’s available. So thank you for being here.
Dr. Molly Maloof (02:49):
Thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (02:52):
I wanted to jump in just with understanding your story in the health and wellness space and specifically how you became a biohacker.
Dr. Molly Maloof (02:59):
I mean, I feel like I was a biohacker as a child because I know when I was hitting puberty, I was just like, “Oh my God. Someday, I’m going to understand all of this.” And I got really interested in health as a kid. I was always into science. And so, I think when I got to high school and I started reading magazines like popular science, I remember hearing about modafinil and I was like, “Oh my God. That’s so cool. You can take a drug that doesn’t make you have to sleep.”
And at the time, I really wanted to try to have to avoid sleeping because I had so many things on my plate. I’ve always been a really active human. And so, I started to take supplements, I started to exercise. I became a runner. I was extremely ambitious as a kid. So I was always trying to find ways to enhance my performance.
And as a result, obviously, as a kid, I didn’t have medical education. So I was like, “I didn’t want to become a doctor and I really want to learn how my body finally works.” And so, it was a lot trial and error. But then, I became a physician. I mean I was in medical school actually. And before I became a doctor, when I was in med school, I was really struggling with my just mental health. I wasn’t fully depressed or anxious. I had a lot of test anxiety and I just wasn’t happy. And I was like, “I’m not really thriving here. This is really hard. And what do I do?”
So I went to a psychologist. And he was like, “There’s nothing really wrong with you. You’re just a stressed out medical student who’s not taking care of herself.” And I was like, “Oh wait. So this is my fault?” And so, I was like, “I guess I just need to figure out how to take care of myself.: So I started studying evidence-based lifestyle medicine.
And I dramatically improved my performance, dramatically improved my test scores. And my peers were like, “What did you do?” How are you doing so much better than you were doing nine months ago? And I was like, “Well, I changed my lifestyle and changed my health. And I’m feeling like a lot better.” And they’re like, “That’s really impressive.”
So I designed a course called Physician Heal Thyself, Evidence-based lifestyle. And I got it added to the curriculum and ended up winning a bunch of awards. And then, I got to my residency, found the actual mainstream system to be really disenchanting. And I was like, “This isn’t really about health. This is about disease. So how do we fix health? How do we build health?”
And so, I got my medical license. I started my own practice. And I started working with startups. And there was definitely an opportunity for early stage companies in health, but not a lot of these companies had doctors to work with because they didn’t have a lot of money to spend on expensive physicians. So I came in as a consultant for a lot of early stage companies and started pioneering things like blood sugar monitoring and heart rate variability testing.
And I was using all these things in my practice before they were really mainstream because I just had an inclination that they were important. And I really felt kind of strong conviction. And so, biohacking myself and my patients was really the beginning of my career and my practice. And then working with startups that were developing biohacking tools was literally part of my job. So I was kind of splitting my time between taking care of patients and working with companies and becoming a biohacker that way. So that’s really my path. And it was a really unique way to get to where I am today.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (06:18):
It’s such an amazing path and, like you said, very unique. And I think a lot of people who haven’t been in medical school don’t realize that there really isn’t very much education around what we would now think of as health and wellness. It’s really is disease focused, really is reactive. And so, I had the same experience as when I was in medical school. My health was actually at its worst or close to its worst. And I was not… Right. And we’re not learning material about how to take care of ourselves despite the fact that we are literally there devoting our entire lives to learning how to take care of people. So it’s a very bizarre paradox, I think, for many medical students and medical trainees. On that note, there are so many different definitions of health. I’m curious how you define health both for yourself and for your patients.
Dr. Molly Maloof (07:03):
I look at health as the ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of adversity. So how well are you handling the challenges that come your way? And are you able to bounce back from them? For example, if you catch a cold or get COVID, did you bounce back or did you get sick? Did you end up with chronic COVID? That could be a signal that you were actually running lower energy capacity before you were ill.
A lot of people don’t realize that chronic COVID is chronic fatigue syndrome. And I was studying chronic fatigue syndrome. I’ve actually dealt with chronic fatigue myself. It was actually right after I left my residency, and I was getting my license. I was really suffering. I had a viral infection. And I was in a really not a good place physically.
And so, I’ve been on this personal journey to understand how to measure and amplify health because when I first started it, I was not very healthy. I was really struggling. I mean, residency took a lot out of me. And I think it takes a lot out of a lot of people who are trying to do it. I was always asking, “What is this underlying theory of health? And how do I understand it?” And really, it took me 10 years to figure it out. So it’s not like it was an overnight like, “Oh yeah, I woke up and I understood all this.”
It took me 10 years to optimize my health. It took me 10 years to get to the point where I look at health as health this capacity. So think about capacity. Do you have enough energy to meet your demands? Do you have enough energy to handle a major stressor? Think about a person who has money in the bank versus a person who’s completely broke. If you’re broke, you don’t have money to make repairs of the house that you’re living in.
But if you have extra cash lying around, you can actually make those repairs and you can buy some new furniture and you can replace that fridge if you need to. And the body’s very similar. Your body needs energy currency to maintain its organ function. Your body needs energy currency so that you can maintain your brain function. And so, when people start losing energy capacity, what happens is that literally, I believe it’s a cellular function of… It’s an actual FU function of the physics of your cells.
So I became a mitochondria as someone who studies mitochondria, a mitochondrial obssessor, somebody who was… Basically, I was just patently convinced that mitochondria were the seed of health or disease, mostly related metabolic diseases. Specifically, that was what I’m talking about.
But mitochondrial dysfunction can set you up for infection. It can set you up for cancer, diabetes, dementia, heart disease. But the big ones are the metabolic diseases I just mentioned. So one of the things that people are always asking me is, “How do you know you’ve got low energy capacity?” How do you know if you’re healthy or not? How do I know? Because when people go to the doctor all the time and they get these labs and their doctors are like, “Well, your blood pressure’s kind of borderline. Your blood sugar’s borderline. You’ve got high cholesterol, but you’re generally healthy.”
And it’s like, “Actually, that’s not true.” If you have these symptoms and signs, you’re probably on your way of getting chronic disease. And it’s just going to take some time before you get diagnosed. So doctors consider unhealthy to be fully disease state. I consider unhealthy to be a lot of the gray area between health and disease. So there’s a lot of people out there that are listening to this today that have pre-diabetes or pre-hypertension, and they’re on their way to getting these chronic diseases, but they don’t know it because their doctors tell them they’re healthy and it’s not true.
So one in three people have pre-diabetes, 80% of them don’t know that they have it. Most doctors are not testing fully for pre-diabetes because they’re not putting blood sugar monitors on. They’re not doing glucose tolerance tests. They’re doing fasting blood sugar in hemoglobin and A1c. And that’s not showing the full picture of health. So this is part of the reason why I’m a big believer that we should be having a different way to approach health. We should be looking at health from a different perspective.
And if you’re walking down the street and you have… Let’s say you wake up in the morning and you are completely exhausted and you can’t get out of bed, you are not fully healthy. A healthy person can get out of bed without having to… And by the way, this may be as this a circadian rhythm thing or this could be just generally low cortisol. But if you really can’t get out of bed in the morning because you are so exhausted, then, you have low energy capacity. If you are not sleeping sound like throughout the night, waking up in the middle of the night feeling complete,… Just if you’re really not sleeping well, that’s a good sign that your health needs some work.
Sleep is a really good biomarker for health. I sleep really, really well. I love, love, love sleeping, but it’s really important for me to get good rest. If you have mood issues, essentially an unstable, erratic mood, mood swings, during the end of this year, I was running a bit lower energy capacity because I was overloaded a little bit this year with work. And I actually took a vacation. And it was game changing for me, but I noticed that my mood was becoming a little bit unstable. And it was literally chronic stress. And chronic stress can literally break your brain. So that’s a signal.
A big one is problems with focus. If you’re chronically stressed out, you’re draining your energy capacity and you’re going to have trouble with your brain function. People who have low stamina, endurance and strength like VO2 max and strength training and just understanding your strength levels, your flexibility, these are all markers of health.
When I was a kid, we had to take these president’s physical fitness tests. And I remember always being really proud that I was in… I was always getting the blue patch, but we don’t do those tests anymore for a lot of kids. So kids have no idea if they’re healthy or not. Dull senses and dull skin, these are really, really important.
If you are noticing your vision is changing over time, if you notice that your hearing is changing over time, if you notice that just generally your senses are dull, your senses are literally from your nervous system. Your nervous system runs on electromagnetic power, electrochemical gradients. So if these aren’t functioning properly, it’s a good sign you got some mitochondrial changes. Your skin should emit light. Your skin is supposed to be bright and emit light. And if it doesn’t, if it’s dull in shallow and gray and green looking, it’s pretty good sign you don’t have enough energy.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (13:16):
It’s so interesting because I think so often people will say, “Oh, here she’s glowing.” And we almost think of that as just an expression. But I think what you’re saying makes sense. There actually is a glow to health. There is a radiance to it that you can see, and people can sense it too.
Dr. Molly Maloof (13:33):
Oh my gosh. I mean my skin is a direct reflection of my overall health. And when I had COVID, I was very gray looking. I mean I looked like crap when I had COVID. I mean just like all the light was gone because it was draining my energy. And I mean, I do have to say that looking at my body and my skin from the big… I did a [inaudible 00:13:53] review of my appearance because I take a lot of photos of just… I use photos to kind of track my weight and my appearance.
And I definitely waxed and waned in my skin health over the last year specifically because I was challenging myself more than I think I’ve ever challenged myself like starting a company, fundraising, teaching at Stanford, writing a book and launching a book, marketing a book and building a new sex therapy protocol for my company and building a team and the number of things that I did this year.
I love the fact that I was able to do it all and not completely break down, which was great. One of the benefits that people should understand about health is you actually have more capacity. But I’m the kind of person who’s always trying to test how much more can I do? What can I actually accomplish? What are my limits? And I think I did reach my limits this year actually. And I was like, “Okay, I know what it’s like to actually challenge myself beyond comprehension.”
But one of my biggest realizations of this year was like, “We should be looking at our energy capacity, kind of like money in a bank account.” Just because you have a lot doesn’t mean you need to spend it all. You need to save some of it. So it doesn’t all need to be spent. So that’s really where burnout can happen. I got a little bit concerned, I would maybe burn out at the end of this year because I was really overwhelming my system. And then I was like, “You know what? Just go on vacation.”
So I took a trip to Puerto Rico and I came back feeling like a new person. So the key is you really don’t want to overdo your challenges that are voluntary because you might have some involuntary challenges that are going to pop up. And if you are running on lower energy capacity, you can get sick and you can break down.
So I did have a couple colds this year, that definitely wasn’t optimal. But you learn about your health through direct experience. And so, a lot of what I write about in the book is like how do you evaluate your health. And then, how do you optimize it? What can you do to improve it?
For me, a big thing that I had to do this year was I needed more recovery. And I started changing my lifestyle based on my cortisol tests. I had high cortisol in my labs. And I was like, “You know what? It’s time to take my own medicine. I’m going to stop drinking as much coffee. I’m going to start doing more gentle exercises. I’m going to start using my PEMF mat. And I’m going to start having more hangouts with friends that are less going out and partying and more just staying in and all of us hanging out and using all of the biohacking tools.”
And it was a definitive shift in my thinking over the last three months that I was like, “If I don’t change my lifestyle, I will burn out.” And I didn’t. I ended up finishing the year really strong and feeling I’m grateful that I was actually able to do my audiobook myself because listening to my audiobook was like, “Oh my God, you have to constantly remind yourself of all the things that you can do to get healthier.”
It’s not like you just remember everything every day going… I’m actually going to be going back to my own book regularly and remembering, “Oh yeah, remember that thing that you know how to do? You should do that.”
Health is a consistent… It’s a thing that you have to consistently work on because it’s a daily practice. And it’s not this thing that you just reach one day and you’re like, “Okay, today, I am finally… I’m optimally well.” It’s like, “No, you’re in constant dynamic. You’re constantly dynamically interacting with your environment.” So that’s going to change your health. So your health practices have to change and adapt to your environment and to your demands.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (17:23):
Completely. And as I was reading your book, I was also taking notes for myself being like, “Oh, I should add this into my routine or change this.” And I think what you said is so true, which is, so often, people get into a habitual wellness routine, which is like they do the same workouts. They’re getting the same diet. And basically, there’s a comfort in that because you’re like, “I’ve decided this is the recipe for me.” But really, we need to update that recipe all the time, not just year to year, but also sometimes week to week or even day to day.
And so I love that point. And I’m curious from your perspective because I think what you described so many people will resonate with, which is basically overall maybe there’s a bank accountant of health. But then, we’re pushing it to the limit, right? We’re like, “Well, I’m only sleeping five hours, but it’s just this week because I just need to do this.” And meanwhile, I’m still doing my interval training and I’m still doing all this stuff, but I’m still kind of hanging in there. What is the line in your mind between essentially having some times of higher exhaustion or stress and then really moving into a more kind of state of I don’t know if we’d call it pathology, but essentially where there’s real dysfunction happening at the cellular level?
Dr. Molly Maloof (18:29):
I mean I’d say in my own personal experience, I definitely… November was a really tough month for me. I worked pretty much the entire month straight. And I wouldn’t say that’s a healthy thing to do at all. I don’t care who you are in the world. It’s just not a sustainable lifestyle to not take time off. We need it. So there is this hustle culture that is really permeating entrepreneurship and permeating the world.
And I’m just not a believer that we should be… Just based on my own personal experience of how… I literally got so close to really being like, “Oh shoot, if I don’t take time off, I’m going to burn out.” Burnout can really creep up on people. And at the end of 2020, before… It was at the end of 2020, I was isolated and alone in the pandemic. And I definitely got to the edge of burnout and I was like, “Oh shoot, this is not good.”
And I think what everyone is waking up to right now is that our hustle culture has created pathology because we are not giving our bodies what it needs to thrive. And we’re not spending enough time with our family and our friends. We’re over consuming food because we’re in self-medicating our stress.
And it’s really hard to get exercise in if all you do is hustle all day every day. So I’m not saying don’t hustle. My roommate who I live with, she works harder than any entrepreneur I’ve ever met. She’s extraordinarily talented and hardworking. But she’s in absolute love with what she does. And she wakes up every day. And she’s just so excited about going to work. That’s pretty healthy.
Now, if you wake up every day and you hate work and you dread work and you don’t like the [inaudible 00:20:25] you work with and you’re really struggling with your relationships, that’s going to wear you down more than somebody who’s in flow state every time they go to work. So it’s very personal. This level of hustle that you need to do, it’s important to recognize that there’s going to be times and phases of your life where you’re going to work harder. And there’s going to be times and phases where you’re going to work lighter.
But the key is that you do need to monitor your health because I met a woman in the last year and she was doing a what’s called a discovery session with me. I have these people who come and they basically call me up and they answer 20 questions. And then, I sit with them for an hour. And I go through their health. And she was not a diabetic four years ago. And she became a full-blown diabetic during the last four years because she was dealing with a lawsuit and she was dealing with an enormous amount of extra stress on her body and her life.
And so, had she potentially been monitoring this, she could maybe have course corrected, but it kind of crept up on her. And this is the thing that people need to realize is that you might be able to handle a few sleepless nights here and there. But if that’s chronic over time, that’s when the system starts to break down. That’s when things start to actually fall apart. And that’s really what the body… The body is designed to actually maintain flexibility of these systems. But it can lose system flexibility when it’s stressed chronically and the body becomes more rigid and these biomarkers start to shift into higher and higher numbers. And then, they won’t come back to normal without real lifestyle change.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (21:57):
It’s really a wake-up call I think for so many people because we’ve normalized so much like you said, hustle culture and really just feeling exhausted all the time and every day being like, “Well, this weekend, I’ll sleep, or when this thing happens, I’ll sleep.” I’m curious and we’re going to jump into a lot more detail around things people can do. But for someone who’s in that cycle of exhaustion but kind of feeling like the stress that for whatever reason it’s hard to break out of that, what is the one thing that you advise people to do first? Is it sleep a full night? What is the one thing to just kind of break-
Dr. Molly Maloof (22:31):
I would say that if you’re really struggling, the thing the thing that people don’t get about sleep that is really sad is that the better equality sleep that you have and the more sleep that you get, the better performance you have during the day. And the other thing they don’t understand about sleep is that the stress levels of your day will become evident in your sleep quality.
So if you’re not dealing with your daytime stress, you’re not going to sleep well. But if you don’t sleep well, you’re going to actually increase your daytime stress. So this is what we call circadian rhythm, your day-to-day experience. And your nightly sleep, this rhythm of your wake up and your sleep, that is really, really important to get right because it’s programming your biology from the moment you wake up in the morning. You get that sunlight in your eyes if you get it. If you don’t get it, then, that’s a problem because you have these clock genes that are synchronized by light.
And if you don’t get that early morning sunlight, then, you’re not going to have the most energy during the day. And then, if you don’t get that good dark rest at night, then, you’re going to wake up with more cortisol in the morning. And so, it’s this kind of vicious cycle that if you don’t get sleep right, then, everything else is not going to work. And so I definitely always look at sleep in all my clients first because it’s fundamental and there’s a lot of undiagnosed sleep apnea out there.
So I would definitely recommend getting a sleep study or at least downloading some of these new devices like Resonea is an app. You can get a home sleep study. It records your snoring if you snore. I would say that you got to look at your sleep environment. You got to look at your room, air quality, your bed, your mattress. If you have animals or a partner that snores, you got to optimize your sleep environment if you want to sleep well.
But then, you also need to optimize your mental health. So dealing with day-to-day stressors, dealing with those relationships that are toxic, dealing with the things that are causing you the most stress that’s keeping up at night, those need to be addressed. And then, when it comes to work, I no longer buy into the idea that sleep deprivation is necessary for optimal performance because , everyone’s always like, “How do you do everything that you do?” And I’m like, “I sleep a lot. That’s my secret. It’s my sleep and I exercise and I eat right.”
And over time, the basics, getting really good sleep, exercising consistently, maintaining good social connection, having a good relationship to yourself, dealing with your trauma, these things over time really add up. I mean, building metabolic flexibility, building, really removing sugar and flour from your diet, those things change your health. But it’s about consistency.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (25:07):
Definitely. And something I love that you talk about in Spark Factor is you say that mitochondria evolved to become social organelles. And I would just love for you to jump into that a little bit more and kind of the impacts of social disconnection as well.
Dr. Molly Maloof (25:20):
Yeah. So mitochondria were bacteria that were engulfed by single cell organisms that became multicellular. And they likely were able to evolve from single to multicellular, from literally being able to harness energy from the environment effectively. So the theory is that the organisms that can best harvest energy from their environment are going to be more able to thrive and reproduce. And this is kind of a conserved over multiple levels of life, which is really fascinating.
So mitochondria are these organelles that we evolved from bacteria. But they are light sensitive because bacteria and think about chloroplasts are the mitochondria of the plant. These are light sensitive organelles. These are energetic organelles. They literally create energy and charge in the cell and they create life. Without energy, you don’t have life.
But they fuse together in this process called fusion, and they break apart in this process called fission. So just like people come together and share information and resources, mitochondria come together and they sense, okay, does this mitochondria have the ability to carry a charge? Does this mitochondria have enough charge left? And they sort of share this knowledge. This is literally information. And then, they break apart in the mitochondria that don’t carry a charge, get thrown out through, the process of mitophagy.
They also reproduce themselves through mitochondrial biogenesis. And when they fuse together, they actually will resonate with one another. That’s how they communicate through resonance. And so, there’s a lot of really interesting parallels, I mean, to how humans behave and how mitochondria behave. We come together. We also sense and integrate our environment. And then, we share that information with other people.
And we have very uniquely conserved functions in society. Different people have different jobs and roles. And mitochondria have different jobs and roles in the cell. So it’s really kind of a fascinating parallel that kind of got me thinking about life itself. One of my students at Stanford was like, “Because I took your course, I’m now literally committing my life to studying life.” And I was like, “Whoa.” If I could go back and do it all over again, I would’ve done that, because I think the most interesting thing in existence is existence. I think the fact that we are alive and conscious is fascinating.
And the question of what is consciousness is really fascinating too. And I believe that energy and information flow and structure is life. This makes a lot of sense to me. And I think that the mind is energy and information flow. And so, the mind and the body connect together. And you can’t really separate them. They’re connected. So going back into what you were saying about mitochondria, social organelles, when mitochondria are not functioning properly, they can self-destruct.
So this is a process of apoptosis, program cell death. Humans that are not functioning properly, that are disconnected, they will also experience suicide. So cellular suicide, apoptosis, mitochondria can do that too. It’s really interesting to think about just how… There’s actually a great doc. I just brought this guy’s book today. And I don’t know if you’ve heard about this guy, he’s from Harvard, his name is Christopher Palmer, MD. He wrote a book called Brain Energy.
And I think his book is the next book I’m going to read because it’s literally all about mitochondria and mental health. And I just published a paper on… Not published. I just submitted a paper with some students from Harvard on this relationship between mental health and metabolic health. And I don’t think it’s really addressed enough.
But when you get your blood sugar balanced, you’re going to have better brain function because you’re going to have better consistent energy flow through the brain. You’re going to have less anxiety. You’re going to have better focus. And to me, I look at depression as the end result of a body that’s been challenged to the point where they don’t have enough capacity to meet their demands and their body goes into a shutdown. And a brain goes into a shutdown. It’s literally an energy conserving mechanism.
And it’s fascinating to me when people look at depression, they’re like, “We don’t understand it.” It’s like, “No. Chronic stress breaks the brain. And some people are more predisposed for this than others. And some people have more malware running in the background because they have more social injury and trauma from their existence.” And so, when you understand mitochondria, you can really understand life. You can really understand health and understand modern chronic diseases because they’re almost all rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (29:59):
I’m so glad that you’re bringing awareness to mental health and to the way that it’s so connected to what people traditionally think of as health, which is more in the physical body. And I think one thing that I’ve just noticed that’s so tragic is it seems like there are times when a very kind of what we think of as high-achieving person commits suicide, and everyone is so surprised and shocked and it’s like, “Well, that person lit up the room. That person had everything going for them. That person…”
And it’s like, “When are we going to stop being surprised and start becoming aware that there are things happening in people’s lives?” And for whatever reason, we’re not sensitive to them. And I think for me, this comes back to social disconnection in some ways, which is it’s almost like we’ve lost our ability to sense the people around us. And we’ve lost our ability to sense ourselves. At least this is some thoughts that I’ve been going through my mind as these tragedies have happened. So I just so appreciate you opening the dialogue and kind of creating that conversation because I think it’s so important.
Switching topics a bit, but still energy related. Something that I found really interesting in the book as well was that you highlighted that, and this is a quote from you, that millennials seem to be losing grip strength, which is a basic measure of strength.
Dr. Molly Maloof (31:11):
Oh yeah. There’s real research on this.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (31:14):
Yeah. It was so interesting to me because that women and men under 30 years old have taken significantly weaker hand grips today than people the same age in 1985. What is going on with that from your perspective? And what does it reflect that we should all be aware of?
Dr. Molly Maloof (31:28):
It’s so funny because literally as you’re asking me this, I’m going, “I have these grip strength tools on my desk.” And I’m playing with them during podcasts because I’m like, “I’m trying to build my grip strength because it’s such an important marker of health.” I have what’s called a manometer over here. And it’s like a type of device that measures grip strength. And so, reality is that in the last, since 30 years, exercise levels have diminished. And this is contributing to obesity because modern car-based lifestyles mean we don’t have to ride our bikes, and we don’t have to walk around. So I don’t drive a car. I can drive, but I choose not to because I don’t like driving.
And honestly, I don’t want to contribute to the environment being destroyed. And even though cars were cool, I just don’t care about cars. So I rode my bike to the store today because I needed was going to make some steak tartare tonight for dinner, and I wanted to get some Worcestershire sauce. And I was like, “Well, I guess I could go ride my bike to the store.” And it was cold out. And I rode my bike all the way there. And I just did a bike ride, but it’s an exercise.
In a lot of European countries, people are more active by the nature of the ways that these cities are designed. So cities are designed for mobility and for walking around, and people just generally don’t need to drive cars as much in environments that are designed for less cars. The thing about fitness is that it’s certainly a product of a bunch of different things. But the biggest markers of fitness are things like flexibility, VO2 max, and grip strength. So another really good test of your longevity through your fitness is can you go from sitting cross-legged to standing without using your arms to get up?
And the more assistance you need, the less fit you are. So I’m all about weight training, cardiovascular training. And then, then yoga and tai chi and just stretching, yin yoga, because if you don’t do these things, your body’s going to lose flexibility. It’s going to lose VO2 max. It’s going to lose your muscle mass as you get older. It’s just natural. This is what happens.
So we have to maintain that muscle mass. We need to feed those muscles. We need to send the signal to those muscles to make more muscles. And that’s eating and lifting. And our heart’s a muscle. And we need to exercise that heart because that’s where we get our oxygen carrying capacity, is from pumping with our heart.
And so, I didn’t do as much cardio last year. And I just decided I was going to start adding cardio back in. I think actually I did a fair amount of cardio, but it was I think around May, June, July that I did less cardio. And then, it was like, “Oh, shoot, I need to start adding this back in.” So I started adding it back in. But I kind of fluctuate between what kind of exercises that I do. But the key point here is that your muscles or power packs filled with mitochondria. So the more you exercise them, the bigger that they get, the more that they become insulin sensitive, the more that they could process glucose effectively, the more that you can lower your post-meal glucose and the more that you have the ability to fight frailty by prevention. So the best way to deal with frailty is not to wait till you’re frail, and start weightlifting. It’s to build muscle strength so you never become frail.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (34:47):
And I’m curious from your perspective, I think it’s clear that everyone should be moving much more than we think we need to. Sure. If we forget about jobs and all those things, in your mind is kind of the optimal that we would be more or less moving in some way through throughout most of the day.
Dr. Molly Maloof (35:01):
I mean, that would be ideal. We’re all knowledge workers at this point. So we’re sitting in front of computers, which is part of the reason why high-carb diets don’t really work for everybody these days because, honestly, people aren’t using the carbs effectively because they’re not using their bodies.
So in between podcasts today, I did 10 squats in the kitchen. And I did some laundry in between calls. And what I try to do is get as much not exercise activity thermogenesis in. And I try to use my aura ring to just really keep tabs on what is my activity levels. What do I need to do by the end of the day? I got a good solid 27 minutes of high intensity exercise today, which is actually the equivalent of quite a lot of moderate intensity exercise. You’re supposed to get about no more than 150 minutes of high intensity exercise per week.
And I’ve already gotten about an hour this week, which is pretty cool. And so, there’s ways to fit exercise in. But the key is that you don’t really want to be sedentary all day long. So trying to break up those calls with, I make tea, I go to the kitchen. I just try to walk around and get extra movement in and try to get a walk in here and there.
It’s one of my friends, Katrine, she does a 30 minute walk every morning and evening. And she’s really fit and strong. She has an hour of yoga every morning. And the key is you got to find a way to fit exercise and movement into your life that works for you. And it’s not going to happen overnight.
When I started my fitness journey about 10 years ago, I was completely… I was basically in bed with chronic fatigue. And the only thing that I could do, I knew I had to change. So the only thing that I could do was I went across the street. And I went to the YMCA. And I did Feldenkrais, which I don’t know if you know what Feldenkrais is, but it’s probably the easiest exercise that anyone could ever do. It involves laying on the ground and barely moving. And so, it’s really effective.
What it did was it got me through the psychological barrier of movement, which is what a lot of people struggle with, is they’re just overwhelmed by going from completely sedentary to high activity is really scary for people because they don’t know what that looks like. And they don’t want to get super sore. And they’re maybe not motivated.
And one of my mentors when I was in medical school said, “For some people, getting to the mailbox and back is an accomplishment.” So it’s key for people to realize that you got to just start somewhere. Maybe it’s like, “I want to increase the number of steps that I do per day.” I had a discovery session with a guy who had chronic migraines, and I was like, “Well, how much are you moving?” And I was like, “Open up your phone. Show me how much you’re moving because your phones track your steps.” And they were pretty good surrogate marker steps. And he had 2000 steps. And I was like, “Okay. So what’s going on here, is you’re not moving your body enough and your brain has probably got some blood sugar dysregulation as a result.”
And blood sugar dysregulation is a big cause of migraines that a lot of people don’t know about. And so in his case, I think one of his biggest takeaways for him was like, “Shoot, I need to move more.” But if you’re only moving 2000 steps a day, it can take a little bit of time to move up. So maybe it’s adding 500, 2000 steps here and there, or what I did was I bought… When I first started weightlifting, I just bought kettlebells. And I just started doing kettlebell swings. And it was like I found an app on my phone, I bought a kettlebell. It was $18 kettlebell. And I just started using a kettlebell. And it was simple and achievable is always better than hard and unachievable.
So start where you’re at and just do your best to start getting more movement. And slowly over time, you’ll find that you can actually do more and more with your body. But I also recommend getting coaching if you need it I’m about to start doing jujitsu because I’m kind of obsessed with learning how to fight. So one of my friends just messaged me today and he was like, “Hey, do you want to join a jujitsu group? ” I’m like, “Yes. Thank God if somebody can organize this for me, because I’ve been wanting to do this when I don’t even know where to start.”
And I love when things like that just manifest. But I’m not going to just go start doing jujitsu without training. You need to get a trainer. So I once had a partner who taught me how to lift weights in a gym. If you don’t know how to lift weights with a good form, you need to get a trainer and learn how to lift with good form because form is the most important thing that you do when you first start a fitness regimen, is you don’t injure yourself because if you injure yourself, you’re going to completely negate the whole purpose of exercising and you’re going to end up getting more deconditioned from not being able to move.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (39:36):
Absolutely. I completely agree with all of that. And I think something that’s really encouraging is the way that the conversation around exercise is divorcing itself from always being within the context of weight loss because I think when that’s the framing, it gets really difficult because there you are forcing yourself to do something that maybe you don’t even want to do, and then you’re like, “Well, on the scale isn’t moving right away.” And it becomes, I think, very difficult for people to feel the results.
But when you really focus on how do you feel in your body regardless of the number on the scale, I don’t know from my personal experience, especially on days when I just don’t feel like exercising and then I do something, and even like you said, if it’s really minor. If it’s stretching, , you feel better.
Dr. Molly Maloof (40:15):
I mean, by the end of this year, I was really struggling with exercise because I was just running on empty because that month of November really took a lot out of me. And I was like, “Oh, crap.” And so, when it came to December, I was like, “Oh, this is really tough. I’m really struggling with getting to the gym.” And I made it to the gym maybe five times in two weeks, which is not as much as I normally do.
But when I got to Puerto Rico for a little vacation, I was like, “You know what you’re going to do? You’re just going to do whatever feels good. Just whatever you feel working outside in your friend’s farm, go work outside. If you feel like taking a long walk, go take a long walk.” But once I got recovered from that stress that I was under, I came back to Austin. And I got to the gym yesterday, lifted weights for 45 minutes. And I went on a bike ride today and two days ago, and my gosh, my brain is just… It’s almost like exercise is medicine, and if I don’t take my medicine, I’m not going to be happy. And so, I’m looking at exercises, like I have to take my medicine or I’m not going to be happy.
To me, it makes a massive difference in my mood if I exercise, because exercise increases your energy capacity directly by sending the signal to your cells to make more energy. So when you have low energy capacity and you’re sedentary, it’s kind of need to ask yourself, “Okay, for me, cutting back on exercise in December was what helped me recover.” But what I really needed was vacation. And when I got back and I felt recovered, getting back into the gym was like, “Oh my God, this is what I need to feel great. This is what’s important for me to feel really good.”
And your body and your lifestyle are going to wax and wane a little bit. So that’s okay. I’m going to be traveling a bit over the next few weeks. But the goal is to try to find something that you can do in whatever environment you’re in.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (42:04):
I agree. And I’ve actually gotten to the point where… And I’m very privileged to go able to do this. But I have the flexibility where I’ll actually cancel a meeting if that’s what I need to do to get an exercise, if that feels right for my body, because I just know if I don’t do that, it creates a backlog of issues for me. And then, even if I was in that meeting, it wouldn’t be good for anyone involved.
So I think I’ve really just prioritized it much higher than I ever felt that I could in the past. For people who are interested in weight management or even weight loss, what is your perspective on how that’s related to energy capacity? If someone reaches optimal mitochondrial health, then, will their body kind of naturally be at the weight it’s meant to be for its healthy itself, or what is your take on that?
Dr. Molly Maloof (42:49):
So one of the things that I want to explain to people is that weight is not the best biomarker of health. You actually want to understand your visceral fat and you want to understand your body fat because your visceral fat is a much bigger predictor of whether or not you’re metabolically unhealthy or healthy. So there’s a lot of people out there that are skinny fat, that have high amounts of visceral fat that are not overweight or obese, but they are just as much at risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and dementia than somebody who’s obese. And not everybody that’s obese is actually metabolically unhealthy, which is really unique.
So it’s not as many people, there’s definitely a smaller percentage. But generally speaking, the key concept here is that you don’t want to be under fat, only over fat. So too low of body fat is actually not good for longevity. But too high of body fat and too much visceral fat is what causes metabolic inflexibility and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. And honestly, your organs getting infiltrated with fat is not going to help them function properly.
So it’s that fat around the organs that’s the most toxic. And the way that I conceptualize this is when you eat, when you drink soda and eat fast food and ultra-processed foods, you’re eating what a lot of fuel that gets burned really hot, but it also causes metabolic gridlock in the cell. So when you over-consume package processed foods and fast foods, these foods are not easily metabolized because they’re Franken foods. They’ve got all sorts of crappy preservatives and they’re very highly refined, and you can’t really easily metabolize carbs and fats at the same time. Your body wants to switch back and forth.
So when you give it lots of fat and lots of carbohydrates at the same time, it can be problematic for metabolic health. And this can create the conditions of this gridlock in the cell. It can also just cause the mitochondria to become inflamed and also the microbiome to become inflamed because of the ultra-processed foods are inflammatory by nature. And that’s kind of like overheating the body, like overheating the engine. And then so, the engine’s overheating and you’re over fueling the engine. And you’re getting all this exhaust blowing off of it because it’s overheating the fuel. That’s what oxidative stress is like.
So oxidative stress is that bad exhaust that’s polluting your cells and your blood vessels. This is one of the biggest reasons why blood sugar spikes are so problematic for health. It’s because they cause a lot of exhaust in the blood vessels. So when I kind of figured this kind of model out, I was like, “Man, why does everyone make this all so hard and complicated? It’s really not.”
If you have a car in the garage that you’re revving the engine with tons of fuel, it’s going to overheat, and it’s also going to produce a lot of exhaust. And that exhaust is going to poison you if you don’t move that car out of the garage. So this is kind of why you need to move your body. And if you don’t move your body, you’re not going to be healthy. So part of the reason why sedentary behavior is not so optimal for health is that it’s kind of like having your car in the garage all day long. Even if you drove it for a half an hour, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to fill the garage with smoke if it’s still sitting there all day long.
So that’s kind of why I want people to realize the mitochondria really are the engines of the cells, the power plants. They create energy. They store charge. They’re kind of like hybrid engines that have battery power as backup power. But in order to actually access that backup power, you need to be able to turn off the gas metabolism. And so, this is why it’s important that you do occasionally lower your carbohydrate intake, occasionally do a little bit of fasting. It’s helpful for metabolic flexibility.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (46:32):
No. That’s really well put. I like that analogy a lot. One last question, which is for you personally, what diet and exercise routine do you follow?
Dr. Molly Maloof (46:44):
I mean, it’s funny because I follow Casey. And I love Casey’s diet. But I definitely still eat meat. And I don’t see myself really stopping anytime soon. But she’s definitely more plant-based than I am. I do eat a lot of plants. So most of my diet is meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits. And that’s really what most of what I eat. And I’m really interested in teas and adaptogens and polyphenols. I kind of go in and out of drinking coffee versus MUD\WTR. I feel okay on coffee right now, but I didn’t feel as good on it a few weeks ago. So I kind of go back and forth between whether or not I’m going to consume coffee or not.
Nutrient density is really the key. And I try to be eat as local as I can. So while I’m in Texas, I’ve got friends that have farms and they bring me wild game and they bring me really lean, delicious beef. And so, I use that in my cooking. But as I get older and as I go through menopause, when I’m older and I don’t bleed as much, I’ll probably cut back on the red meat and focus more on the lighter meats. But because I run lower on iron, I do feel better when I eat some red meat. I try to avoid the processed meats as much as I can and then really focus on trying to limit sugar if I can.
Although my roommate brought home some sugar last year and I definitely started eating jelly beans for the first time and my blood sugar was going crazy on the blood sugar monitor, and I was like… Until I saw it, I was like, “Oh crap, I really can’t be eating these.” It’d been so long since I’d eaten sugar. So I do try to limit the sugar. I do maybe occasionally do a little bit of honey, but not very commonly.
And one of the things that I’m aiming to do this month is really just continue to remove the sugar again, because I think I ate a fair amount of sugar in December because my roommate’s candy situation. And I was sent an enormous amount of chocolate by Hu Chocolates, the company. And so, that’s a little bit of an issue too, is that companies are sending me this amazing chocolate, but most of what I focus on is nutrient dense food in home. And I cook a lot. I can count on two hands a number of times I’ve eaten out in Austin since I moved here. And I’ve been here since June. So I really don’t eat out very often. It’s very rare. I love to cook. And cooking is far more affordable. It’s far more affordable than eating at a restaurant. And so, that’s my preference.
We’ve got a great grocery store here called Central Market. And I love the farmer’s market. So my preference is always getting local meats. And if I’m living somewhere where there’s fish, local fish, I had some lobster on vacation in Puerto Rico. And that was quite fun. But I love eating Mediterranean food, Paleo style. I kind of wax and wane in and out of ketosis less so when I’m under a lot of stress and more when it’s summertime or not really summer, but heading out of winter and trying to lose a little bit of weight, I’ll do a little bit more ketosis.
But yeah, my diet is, generally speaking, Paleo, low carb. I do occasionally eat some beans and grains, but it’s most of the time I don’t. I’m not a really big grain person. Grains don’t really agree with me. So I don’t do a lot of them. But I don’t outlaw really any food except for wheat. Wheat doesn’t agree with me at all. I used to not eat dairy. And then, I reintroduced a little bit of dairy and I’ll do some. But I’m kind of phasing dairy out again, just focusing if I’m going to do any dairy, it’ll be like butter and ghee and maybe a little cheese, but I’m trying to remove the cheese. I do consume a little bit of cottage cheese though for protein. So it’s a lot less dogmatic as it was when I was in the Bay Area. But at the same time, the pandemic just taught me that I need to be a little bit more of a human and a little bit less crazy.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (50:34):
I appreciate that. And I often feel the same because as you’re mentioning, I mean life ebbs and flows and different things come in and out of our lives, and there will be times when I know I just won’t be able to be micromanaging my diet. It’s not-
Dr. Molly Maloof (50:47):
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (50:48):
… [inaudible 00:50:48] possible.
Dr. Molly Maloof (50:49):
Yeah. Although I have to say that having gone from really optimal metabolic health and then the pandemic hit and then I spent some time in the Midwest and I was really challenged by the lack of food that it was up to my caliber of what I typically would be eating, it really brought me down to earth. But also I also gained 10 pounds during the pandemic. And then, I lost it, and then I gained five pounds last year. I’d lost five pounds, gained five pounds. So I look at my body as it’s an interplay with my stress levels and my environment.
And my goal of next year is to slowly get back into the kind of shape that I was in San Francisco. And that means being a little bit more stringent with how I eat and live because I think when you’re under the stress of a pandemic, it’s okay during times of high stress to be a little bit less rigid. But the goal is that when those stresses kind of diminish a bit to get back onto the saddle and get back onto the kind of dietary lifestyle that works for you.
Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew (51:50):
I think that is the perfect note to end on. Very inspiring for everyone who’s kind of looking forward to taking 2023 and making changes to their health. Where can people find you and when will your book be available for everyone to read?
Dr. Molly Maloof (52:03):
Oh, my book comes out January 31st. And so, please, go to www.drmolly.co. And I would highly recommend pre-ordering it, especially if you are interested in Levels CGM, because we get a big discount on the Levels device as well as Lumen and Hanu Health and Othership, the Breathwork app. And then, I’m also giving people my best dress protocols, so my HPA Axis Dysfunction Protocol, burnout symptoms, stress warning signals. And then, there’s a bunch of excerpts from the book on how to use these tools and devices. And also a major discount on my online course that I taught at Stanford, which it’s pretty much most comprehensive curriculum on health you’re going to find. So highly recommend you pre-order it. And then, if you enter the code in the link on my pre-order website on pre-order page, www.drmolly.co, D-R-M-O-L-L-Y.C-O/the-spark-factor, and you’ll find everything there.