October 28, 2021

Why You Shouldn’t Solely Focus on Weight Loss for Good Health

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Cindy Bjorkquist, director of health and well-being programs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Together, they discuss why you shouldn’t only focus on weight loss when looking to get healthy.

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

    • Why we gravitate towards weight loss when looking to improve our health.
    • Reasons why we shouldn’t be so fixated on the numbers on a scale.
    • Other habits to focus on building when getting healthy.
    • Shifting our mindsets to achieve better health.

For more info on the Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being webinars, click here.

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica:
This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast, episode 92. Coming up, we focus what it looks like to set healthy exercise and lifestyle goals that take into account our overall health and wellbeing, and not just weight loss.

Chuck Gaidica:
Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast, a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can improve our health and wellbeing through small, healthy habits we can start implementing right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica, and every other week, we’ll sit down with a certified expert and discuss topics that cover nutrition and fitness and a whole lot more, and today, it’s a whole lot of everything, which is awesome. On this episode, we’re going to dive deep into health goals, and specifically, how we can fight the temptation to solely look at numbers on a scale when really, it’s a lifestyle thing. And we’ve got the perfect person to guide us through this. With us today is director of health and wellbeing programs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Cindy Bjorkquist. Cindy, good to have you back.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Oh, it’s my pleasure, Chuck.

Chuck Gaidica:
You have got such a rich history of not only with Blue Cross, but you’re an instructor, you’ve been a teacher. And that’s what we want to have you help us do today to make us understand this, because I just saw a headline the other day that jumped off to me that I think is so appropriate for our conversation today. Lifestyle is the new medicine. The change of lifestyle can be the medicine that we have to increase lifespan, increase health span. You go along with that?

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Oh, 100%. In fact, I was reflecting as I was listening to your intro, you said a couple of times overall health and wellbeing. And that’s really what the focus is today. The focus is on you as a person, and all the different things of your life, and how that impacts your overall wellbeing.

Chuck Gaidica:
And it’s not just an age or demographic issue. We still say things like, I’m going on a diet. I’ve got to step on the scale. There are still things that we say in our normal lives because we’ve been trained to say them. Should we be retraining ourselves? Or is it still okay holistically to say those things and still encompass a lifestyle change as the umbrella above it all?

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah, I think the point is that a person can’t focus solely on just weight. Weight is so easy to focus on, because you can have a scale in your bathroom, like I do, and you can step on it. It’s visual. That’s easy to focus on. We’re not saying don’t focus on your weight, because when you are overweight or obese, there are things inside of your body that happen that are detrimental to your health. I think this new narrative is along with your weight coming to a healthy level, which you should always talk to your physician about, along with that, there’s all that internal stuff that happens in your body, right? You can’t look at your body and know what your cholesterol level is, or your lipid profile, or your triglycerides. That’s something you have to go to your doctor, they do a test, and then you get those metrics, if you will. Then you have a discussion on all of those metrics and where you need to be in a healthy range.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
But outside of that, Chuck, the thing that’s really turning the industry right now is all the other stuff. And I know you do the other stuff too. You get your exercise, you meditate. So, you bring this mindfulness into your life where you build resilience. There are tons of studies out there, where if I’m meditating or just taking deep breaths, I can actually calm my body down. I can release my brain from chaos. That’s the stuff that is being added to just looking at the scale, all of that other stuff. And that’s what the pure definition of wellbeing is, is you as a person and all the other things that you can do beyond just looking at that number on the scale.

Chuck Gaidica:
And yet we have to admit that we’re living in a world where still to this moment, we’ve got a multi-billion, like $78 billion industry of weight loss, right? That’s the number from 2019. So, here we go through a pandemic, and whatever it is, it turns into however many pounds. They say the average person has put on, because they were maybe more sedentary or not getting out, whatever it is. I think we still are predisposed with the magic pill or the magic diet. Is it keto? Is it carbs? Is it… And so, we still focus on diet. And not that we shouldn’t, but what you’re saying, so much of what you’re saying is so impactful in my brain because I’m thinking, yeah, if I can de-stress, that I probably won’t reach for the cookies. You know what I mean?

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah. Well, why do you think it is a billion dollar industry? Because it’s super hard and it’s super complex. And when you have something that’s super hard and super complex, companies know they can make a lot of money off it, right? So, they’re pretty smart. Half of us struggle, Americans, especially with weight. And so, if I can invent something or get someone to pay money or follow this, then I know they’re going to, one, be there as a population that will want my product, but then also it’s super hard. It’s super hard to lose weight. There isn’t a magic pill. It isn’t something that you can do short-term. It’s a lifestyle change to make your body, your soul, and your mind healthier to be in a better state. And all companies are smart. They do that. I think what people are doing now is they’re recognizing all the other things in your life that you can do to help control your weight or manage your weight, is what they say, or lose weight if you need to.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
And things like sleep, Chuck. Do you know that the research shows that if you sleep better, better quality sleep, that you have a less propensity to be overweight? And so, if you’re trying to lose weight, one of the things that you really should hammer in on is trying to get the correct amount of sleep. Of course, you should be eating healthy foods, and you should be exercising, and there’s also research on meditation, journaling. There’s all the things that you could do under this umbrella of wellbeing, but sleep is out there too. So, there’s just… You have to think of it as if I want to become healthy, and I want to get to my healthy weight, I need to know what’s happening inside my body with all of my bloodstream, and my cholesterol, my triglycerides. And that’s going to come from genetics, but it’s also going to come from what you put in your mouth. That’s as simple as that. But then there’s all that other stuff that you could look at and start really filtering into. And you said it earlier, your lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle to become healthier. It’s not a lifestyle just to stare at that scale every single morning, because that’s not going to happen.

Chuck Gaidica:
And part of the lifestyle you’re talking about, even if we just go in deep on sleep for a minute, we understand that a restful night’s sleep is going to be good for not only our weight. It’s going to be good when we wake up in the morning. We’re sharper. But you’re also talking about really thinking about your lifestyle. So, if you get done with dinner at 6:00 or 6:30 at night, and you’ve got three to four hours of time where you can be nibbling, notching, whatever, snacking right up to 10:30, and then it’s like, oh, I’m tired, I’m going to sleep, well, you may not be getting the restful sleep because you haven’t attacked that lifestyle portion of your evening, where you’re eating right up to the moment where your head hits the pillow, right? So, there are things you can do that can still lead to a restful night’s sleep.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Well, everybody’s different too. So, let’s put that into this whole complexity, is that it’s interesting, and we’ve talked about the show that I do, Virtual Wellbeing. We did a chronotype show the other day, which means everybody falls into all four of these categories of chronotypes. And they assign to animals the chronotypes. But basically, high-level what it is, is that you and I could be completely different. I go to sleep later at night. I have a circadian rhythm, which rhythms my body with the sun, but genetically, I have a chronotype which says, I don’t like going to sleep early, but I get up early, and I wake up like a firecracker. It’s just my personality. You may want to go to sleep earlier, even outside of your circadian rhythm, and then you want to get up later.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
So, we all have this different rhythm. That’s why you can’t assign to somebody to try to go to bed by 10 o’clock or go to bed by nine o’clock. They have to take in their circadian rhythm. But they also have to think about their chronotype. And there’s a test out there that you can take it. But it’s fascinating research that says you’ve got a time, you’ve got these cycles of sleep, and you need to get the quality of sleep when you sleep. It’s not necessarily when you go to bed or how many hours you’re there. Because you could be a bed for 12 hours, but you’re flipping around and you’re not getting quality REM sleep. So, it’s just an interesting topic to say, if I want my overall health to really be better, yes, I need to look at my weight, yes, I need to look at this label called BMI out there, body mass index.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
When I was in grad school, we actually… If you look at a person and say, “What’s your BMI?” there’s ranges out there of healthy and not healthy and overweight and obese. That doesn’t tell you internally what’s going on. It doesn’t tell you the bone structure that you have, small or large, the amount of muscle that you have. When I was in grad school at MSU, we actually did what was called hydrostatic weighing. And we dunked people in water and looked at the water displacement, and then calculated that. And it was a better indication of what their, quote, obesity is, how overweight they were, and put them into categories and stuff. You can’t do that on the general population. So, we do have this BMI indicator out there.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
But Chuck, the issue with that, if people are listening to this and they want to solely go on the BMI, it was actually invented by a mathematician, and it’s for the general population. It wasn’t really anything that said, “Hey, you’re a weightlifter. Go do your BMI, it’s going to give you an accurate reflection of your health.” So, it’s a little bit off, a little bit, but it is something that we use as a gauge. I think most people look in a mirror, and they can see, maybe I should lose some weight. Maybe to be healthier, I probably could become a healthier person, eating healthy. Am I getting my exercise? You’re supposed to get 40 minutes of exercise every single day. And your after dinner example, maybe a change could be if for that person that after dinner, they go for a walk around their neighborhood. That could be a change to better their health all around. So, there’s a lot of things that people could adjust in their lifestyle to actually help with their weight, but actually get them to what we call in my industry thrive. I want to thrive in my life. I want to be the best person I can be, the healthiest person I can be. And then what is that picture? What does it look like?

Chuck Gaidica:
And when you mention BMI, body mass index, right, that’s still something that you may bump into if, let’s say, you apply for a life insurance policy, or you’re being tested for something else at the doctor’s office. So, you may hear those terms, but I’m not quite sure that the average person, to be fair, is walking around saying, “Gosh, my BMI is really causing me to lose sleep.” I don’t know if we’re all… And you’ve said this maybe, what… How many minutes are we in here? 11 minutes into our episode, you’ve said two or three times basically what Socrates said. You are on the level with Socrates, know thyself. And there is wisdom, right? So, you’re talking about things like, have you had a blood panel, which could be the time of the year where you go for your annual physical? Do you know yourself internally so that when someone… Or you start talking to other people, because that’s what we old people do. We sit at dinner and we talk with friends. So, about your cholesterol, how’s it going? But to know thyself is really important, because it’s so impactful when you can understand even some basics of yourself internally under the skin, and then all of a sudden, you start to see those improvements from your next blood test, et cetera. And so, I know you know that you say that’s important because there’s good reason there.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah, and the technology helps us. I know me personally, I can look online from where I get my labs done, and I can see an entire history of all of my lab profile. So, I can go back 10 years and look at my cholesterol. So, when my doctor has it, when I go in faithfully for my annual exam and have that conversation, he’s not going to turn around and say, he or she is not going to turn around and say, well, your BMI is, 30, 25, 27. What they do is they take your height and weight, right? When you go into an annual exam, that person will say, “Step on the scale,” and you step on the scale, and then they measure your height and your weight. They put it back door in their system, which calculates your BMI. They’re not going to say. But your doctor may say to you, “Hey, you know what? Your weight is creeping up a little bit. And let’s think about, are you exercising? Are you eating vegetables and fruits? Do you have a healthy diet? Are you relaxing? Do you have your stress under control?” Because we know if you’re in a stressful situation, constantly in that fight or flight, your body’s going to retain fat. So, there’s so much stuff that goes into that, so that people might know what body mass index is, but it’s just basically height and weight.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
But if a bodybuilder went in and did their height, and did their weight, and this is where the fuzziness is with BMI, they may go into that overweight category when they’re really not, because they have a lot of muscles. So, that’s the flaw in the BMI. But your doctor’s going to look at you, and they’re going to see all your muscle, and they’re going to probably have a conversation with you about not being in that range. Again, it was a math guy, a mathematician, that did the calculation. But I think more than that, it’s people having an assessment of their life. You have to… Wellbeing and losing weight and being healthy for yourself is more about really taking a check of your lifestyle. And you said it in the beginning, what’s going on in my life? What’s going on in my body? Look at your labs with your doctor, get their advice on cholesterol, triglyceride. HDL should go up when you exercise. LDL goes down when you eat healthier. There’s all those things that you need to know.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
But what the industry is turning to is beyond your external weight, on the scale, beyond your internal factors, all those things that we’re talking about in your bloodstream, there’s also that other stuff that you need to do to be healthy. And that’s the exciting area that’s been exploding lately, because everyone… It’s cool to meditate now, right? It’s cool to be able to handle your stress by taking those deep breaths, or by just spending some time, whether you’re spiritual, whether you’re religious, whether you’re… Or you’re just a meditator, taking and calming your body, calming your brain, calming your internal system and fighting that fight or flight that will actually be detrimental to your health down the road. So, that’s what that whole thing is, is all those other things that you can do to become healthier.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, and I think that stuff for some people, depending on how you’re wired, and everything we’re talking about, and you’ve said this in a different way, maybe it’s contextual, right? My diet, my makeup is a little different, so maybe my diet approach could be different. My sleep habits are different. But yet, I think everybody, especially those of us wearing a smart watch of some kind, like now, it tells me when I should breathe, and when I should stand, and it tracks my steps. Now, for me, being kind of wonky, I love that. We visited our daughter in New York city last weekend, and I’m doing 14, 15,000 steps a day just because, right? And I’m thinking, man, this is a great base for me, because while I’m visiting, I’m probably not going to get other exercise, so there you go. And for me, I love seeing those numbers, because it’s encouraging. Well, I really did something, and I didn’t have to work that hard at it because I’m having fun, you know what I mean? It’s helpful for me to see some of those numbers, not to get me down. They actually bring me up.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah, me too. I’ve got a watch the tracks. And yesterday, at the end of the day, I look at it to make sure I hit my goals. I’m a big fan of journaling. I journal all of my exercise to make sure I do that. There’s all that other stuff that I think if people sometimes focus on that, then they would become maybe a different person, so then they could maybe focus on eating right, or getting more exercise so they could lose weight, if weight was their goal. And beyond sleep, there’s things like… We’ve met in person several times. You seem like a real happy person, a generally happy person. So, happiness, believe it or not, is one of those variables and risk factors as well that help with your overall health. And if you’re happy in your life, there are internal hormones and enzymes, things in your body that happens that makes you healthier.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
And so, that’s another fascinating, probably a whole other topic that you could talk about is if you don’t feel happy, you don’t feel joy in your life, then there are things that you can do to rewire your brain to become healthier and happier, because that happiness will lead you to a healthier life. And that’s a fascinating place to be. There are colleges who have courses on it. There are companies that are focusing on this. But how do you take a person who is genetically predisposed to being unhappy, or they’re focusing on the negative, or they’re struggling right now. And this is beyond… When you’re struggling with anxiety and depression for that two week period of time, you need to go seek professional help. We all know that. That’s something that we say to everybody all the time. If you’re struggling, and you’re anxious and depressed for two weeks, that’s that golden two week, you need to contact your doctor and find professional health.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
What I’m talking about is there are people that wake up in the morning, or they lay their head down on a pillow at night, and they just… They can’t find the joy in their life. They can’t find that happiness. And there’s a ton of research on industries that look at CAT scans of brains, that a simple thing like journaling or focusing on the things that bring you joy or happiness in a day, say you just document three things. And I do this every single night. I document the three things that made me happy or brought me joy in the day. And sometimes they’re the exact three things. My son, Drew, my son, Shay, and the dog, Griffey, but now my son got a cat. So, it’s Drew, Shay, Griffey, and Freya, if I get in contact with them in that day.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
But I relive those experiences before I go to bed, or some people journal in the morning. They show that you can rewire your brain to happiness that way. You actually become a happier person. That helps you get that exercise during the day. It gives you that surge, if you will, to say, well after dinner, maybe I will go for a walk. Or you know what? I’m going to choose a salad today with tuna. I’m not going to go get that fast food, which is easier. It’s just another thing that you can think about if you’re struggling with your weight, or if you’re struggling with a lifestyle change, something else you can grab onto is that happiness scale.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And I love that. And I am a happy guy, to be fair. I’m actually… My strengths finder, it doesn’t show happiness, but it shows positivity. I’m just a positive guy, right? And so, I’m blessed, because I really know that there is a difference. And even in my own family, I’ve seen it, where people very close to me were not wired the same way. And I’ve heard other people describe what you’re saying in journaling, whether it’s literally writing it old school, or putting it in the notes in your phone, they have gone to either saying what I’m happy or joyful about, and what I’m grateful for in my day. There are a lot of people living with first world problems. Let’s face it. A lot of us go, oh, that’s a big deal. Well, not really when you’re grateful that it’s… When you start to look at other people’s lives, when you start to understand the context of yours, and what are you grateful for?

Chuck Gaidica:
I’m grateful that my friend made it through surgery in the hospital. I’m grateful for… And I find for me, that’s a very helpful thing. So, I’m glad you’re talking about that, because I know and you know that there’s so much wired to even self image, right? Whether you’ve lost weight or you want to lose weight, you may not be happy with quite the way you look. God made you more of the apple, acorn shape, or whatever it is. And some of us look at that and go, I don’t know. I’m not really pleased by that. And so, that whole happiness and bringing me joy thing can sometimes be tied directly to self-image and what we’re dealing with, and trying to change the lifestyle to make us healthier.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
That’s such a great point. We call it self-affirmations, and I’ve actually taught a couple of classes on this. I love myself. I love myself. I love where I am in my life. I love what’s going on, and that I’m going to live the healthiest I can to be the best person that I am. And those self-affirmations, I think there was a TV commercial of it. It was adorable, of a little girl, or on TikTok, a little girl standing in the mirror and saying, “I love myself. I am powerful.” That’s telling yourself that you’re affirming to yourself that you can do this. You can get through the day, you can do these hard things. And there’s a lot of research on that too, self-affirmations. And I think we talked about that in our earlier podcast, with that VR one, about there’s that VR world where they’re doing research of a VR avatar actually saying positive self-affirmations to yourself.

Chuck Gaidica:
Right?

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah. That’s the same thread, that you need to lift yourself up in whatever way it is to love yourself enough to support yourself in your head, and your heart, and your soul to make the changes that you need to make to be healthier. And you need to understand they’re complex, they’re hard, they’re different for everybody, but you’ve got to get to that I can do it. And that’s that self-care, is another thing that goes along with self-affirmations. You need to take care of yourself before you take care of others. So, there’s a lot of it rolled together. But at the end of the day, you said it eloquently, you need the love yourself enough to be able to give yourself permission to make the changes that you need to make to become healthier.

Chuck Gaidica:
Outside of being really happy, which you sound like you are, you’ve got a fantastic memory, because I’m flashing back to that episode. I don’t know if we talked about it then or not, but you remember the old Saturday Night Live bit with Al Franken. I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. It was all about affirmation, right? It was a takeoff on being a funny, goofy character. But I remember he had one with Michael Jordan. He had all these stars come on board eventually. And they would look in a mirror, and they would talk about, I’m good enough, I’m strong enough, and dog gone it… And I thought there was something there that I don’t think resonated at that time. It was a funny bit. And in today’s world, there are so many reasons where we need to be affirming of where we are, because loneliness is increasing. I saw a stat the other day, blew my mind. You would think, well, that’s a baby boomer thing, or that’s for older people, 50 plus. Millennials are saying just as much, I’m lonely. I’m even lonely when there are people in the room. It’s like, what? Really? And so, there’s so much of this that’s wrapped up in connection and being in tune with maybe vertically with your God or your spirituality, and then horizontally with others around you, right, that can make you happier and more fulfilled. It’s powerful stuff.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah, that alone, being connected. Think of it as the towers of wellbeing, that being connected to other people is actually sometimes more important in the research than what your weight is, that connection factor. For longevity, for mortality, you’ve got to have that connection with other people. There’s research that says you need five friends that at any time, at 3:00 AM, you can call that friend and they have your back. Do you have five people that you can do that with? So, that’s a body of research. But I want to circle back to something you said, because I think maybe one of the big takeaways from this for me personally is for people celebrating who they are, their skillsets, their features. And we talked about happiness. I know when I was in first grade, I got into trouble because I talked too much in class.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, you were the one, yeah.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah, I was the one. I was the one that on the report card, the teacher would say, I think it started in first grade, first, second, third grade, Cindy’s pulling all A’s, but she talks too much in class. So, my parents did not discipline me for that. What I remember about that, which we joke about today, is that they celebrated that feature of myself, where I was just very talkative and wanted to talk… I talk to strangers, Chuck, in Meyer, in the store, just random people. I’ll be on a walk, and I’ll see some guy in a lawn and start talking to him. I just, I love to connect and talk with other people, but that’s a feature of myself that my parents could decide, oh, you need to not talk in class. But they didn’t do that. They just said, “Someday that’s going to come in handy.” Well, it did come in handy, because that’s what I do for a living, is talk. But that’s me celebrating me the things about me.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
And maybe if people did that more today, and they would look at themselves and say, “Yeah, I need to lose some weight. I need to eat better. I need to exercise more. I know I’m not getting enough…” Because aerobic fitness is one of the best predictors of your health. You’ve got to have your heart in shape. It’s got to. We can’t forget about that when we’re talking about happiness and all that other stuff. But maybe if you start celebrating the things about yourself, the joy in your life, the things about you, the characteristics that you like and you want to feel good about, then you’re at a different level so you can actually tackle the things that you know that you should to be healthier. Because that’s the hardest hurdle for people, is just getting going with a lifestyle that they know will help them down the road with their health and thwart diabetes and heart disease and stroke and all that stuff.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
But having a healthy lifestyle for some people is really hard. And so they have to find that golden nugget that gets them to start those things that they need to do, and then sustain those things that they need to do. And that’s different for everybody, but that formula is super important to figure it out. And you got to figure it out now, not when you go to your doctor 10 years later, and they say, “Oh, my gosh, your blood sugars at the level where now you are type two diabetes is knocking at your door.” Then all of a sudden, you’re in a panic, and you’re trying to exercise more, and eat better, and not get diabetes. So, start as soon as you can with the things that you know you should do, and find that way of pumping yourself up to do it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, that’s great advice. And I want to come back to your online webinars, your show, basically, your encouragement that you’re doing on a routine basis. But let me just say something, because you have woven so many threads through our conversation, and one of them is happiness and joy. And I find this encouraging for myself. Happiness can be fleeting, right? I can be happy because the sky is blue and it’s not a cloudy day in Michigan. But joy, if you can start to find joy, right, finding that experimental mixture that you’re talking about, the context of each of us, joy is a little more long lasting, right? Joy is happiness extended. And finding whatever brings you joy, I think can be so good for our health, because then you’re healthy not just today because you’re happy, because maybe tomorrow you’re not happy, but the joy can extend itself. And I love that you’re going down that path for us, because I think that’s encouraging. It’s positive.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
You got to find it and keep it somehow. It’s hard to do, but you’ve got to find it and keep it.

Chuck Gaidica:
So, talk to us about what you’re doing online, because I know this is something people can jump in on, whether they’re members of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or not. But explain what you’ve been doing, and how that can help all of us in this lifestyle change we might be looking for.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah, sure. So, for a couple of years, we’ve been doing a show called Blue Cross Virtual Wellbeing, and you can find it at bluecrossvirtualwellbeing.com. And basically, it’s something that Blue Cross started for anyone. And we’ve got people globally all over the world that are tuning into the show. Basically, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to every single week, give people support in all the things that you and I just discussed and all the things that we’ve discussed in our podcasts in the past. So, it’s how to become healthier and happier, and how to improve your wellbeing, which is all the stuff we’re talking about, to be a better person and to thrive in your life. And so, every week, on a Thursday at noon, we actually do a live show with a different topic for 30 minutes. We hear from people that take it as they walk for their lunch hour, they dial in and listen as they make their lunch, whatever it is. We do it live at noon, two people on camera talking about how you can improve your wellbeing with a different topic every week.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Then we store that on our landing page at bluecrossvirtualwellbeing.com, because then people can watch it at any time. And the topics are relevant to your life, they’re relevant to how to improve your life, and all that umbrella of wellbeing. And it’s live chat, so you can chat in questions. We have conversations. Now, a part of that Thursday show is also something that pertains to what we’re talking about, about weight loss. We started a couple years ago this program called Drop Five. And what it was is it’s kind of what we’re talking about. It’s people who want to lose weight, or they want to maintain their weight, but primarily people that want to lose weight, but the realistic goal is five pounds at a time. It’s not, I want to lose 40 or 50. But we’ve got people who have… They actually tell us how much weight they’ve lost. They’ve lost 90 pounds, 50 pounds, 40 pounds. But it’s five pounds at a time.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
So, you set the goal of five pound increments, and then every Thursday it’s a community, we call it a virtual weight loss community, they all get together, they’re already on the line on a webinar, and then we talk about a tip of the week. So, every single week, we have a tip about how you can lose that weight, how to find your joy, how to be happier, how to eat better, how to exercise, how to meditate. So, it’s things that… Golden nuggets of what you can do to make yourself be a better person to lose that weight. So, that happens on Thursdays. Then Wednesdays, because we talked about meditation and how important that is to your life, every Wednesday at noon, we have a live meditation done by this phenomenal person. Her name is Marissa. She does all the different types of meditations live at noon. They’re between two minutes and 15 minutes long. She stores them on the landing page so you could watch them on demand as well.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
So, now we’ve got this cycle going every week of people coming in and meditating on Wednesdays with us, and then they come to the Thursday show, and they learn how to be a better person for themselves, how to improve their wellbeing, and how to lose weight. And this is resonating because it approaches exactly what you and I are talking about. It’s much more than getting on a scale and writing down a number. It’s all the other things in your life that you can do to support yourself to live a more healthy life.

Chuck Gaidica:
That’s awesome. Well, we’re going to put that in our show notes so people can find that, because I think that’s so powerful. And it’s free 99. It really is something that’s available. And you can go back and find all the other episodes too, right? Like our show.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah, we’ve got… The interesting thing, I did not know it was going to go this way. We’ve got school systems that are taking the meditations and having their kids meditate with them. And in particular, there’s a school system I’m thinking of in Texas that does this. And it’s really fascinating. They have their kids meditate every Wednesday at noon to the show. And so, they get exposed to meditating while snow falls on yaks in a field, or puppies are running around. And they’re really engaged in it. It’s really neat. But yeah, so it’s out there for anybody and everybody. We have families that are coming in that are non Blue as well, because we want the message to go out that, again, it’s complex. Life is hard, it’s complex, but we’re there to help you and your family members try to live a thriving life. And that’s why we made it open to the public.

Chuck Gaidica:
I’m writing a note now, get Cindy’s autograph before she becomes too big of an international star.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Yeah, right.

Chuck Gaidica:
Okay, check. All right, I’ve got that. So, as we wrap things up today, we’ve talked about so much great stuff. Give us a takeaway. What is your advice? We can come find your show, of course, but what other advice do you want to give us? Something we could even start today? What would be a good way of weaving into this lifestyle change potential for all of us?

Cindy Bjorkquist:
I would probably just say to sit back and reflect on yourself and reflect on the things that you think that you should do to become healthier. Just take a crosscheck of yourself. If you’re not getting… And when I say exercise, I don’t mean going for a run. It could be as simple as that after dinner walk, or a walk in the morning, and you can break it up three-day… You can add… Research shows you could do 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at noon, and 10 minutes at night. You can break it up and still get the benefits. But are you getting daily activity? Are you getting out there and getting your heart going a little bit? Are you doing that? How’s your nutrition? How are… The things that you’re putting in your body feed you, your soul. It feeds your body. It feeds your functioning. It feeds your energy.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Are you reaching for the easy things that don’t give you anything when you’re eating it? Or are you trying to consciously think about reaching for fruits, and vegetables, and salads, and whole grains, all the things that you… Are you getting your water? Are you getting your sleep? Just think about some of the things that we’ve thought that we’ve listed today or talked about, and just do a realistic crosscheck, and then maybe set up what’s called a micro goal. Set one micro goal for this week. I’m going to… And then finish that sentence. And then try to stick with it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. My goal is drop five. I like that because you connect the dots on dropping five here and five there, and all of a sudden, as you pointed out, it’s 10, 40, 90 pounds, whatever it happened to be that you needed. That’s awesome.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Can I say one more thing about the Drop Five? We celebrate one of the most important things, I forgot to mention. We celebrate what’s called a non-scale victory. And I think that’s why people are resonating with that program so much. A non-scale victory is people chat into us that now I’m eating fruits and vegetables. Now I’m walking. Now I went to see my doctor, and actually, I know that my triglycerides are out of control. Now I’m meditating. Those are things that we call non-scale victories. And if you celebrate those, then that will lead you to doing them sustainably down the road to lose weight. And so, I wanted to make sure people knew that, is I think that’s why it’s resonating, is it’s not all about, did you lose weight? Did you lose weight? It’s the non-scale victories that’ll improve your lifestyle to get you to the place where you can lose weight. And that’s an important part of that show.

Chuck Gaidica:
That should be the name of our episode. I don’t know why it took us all this time to get to that one. But that’s it, non-scale victories. That’s what we need to connect the dots on. Well, listen, you and Socrates, I’m telling you, you’re right up there on my list together. So, Cindy Bjorkquist, so good to have you with us. Director of health and wellbeing programs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Good to talk to you again.

Cindy Bjorkquist:
Thank you so much. My pleasure.

Chuck Gaidica:
We’ll catch up soon. Take good care. Hey, we want to wrap things up today. We want to thank you for listening to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. It’s brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like our show, you want to know more, you can check us out and we’ll have all kinds of great stuff in the show notes, as always. Check us out at ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast, or you can leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcast or Stitcher. To get new episodes, old episodes on your smartphone, tablet, be sure to subscribe to us Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. You’ll be all set. I’m Chuck Gaidica. Be well.