Podcast 883: Relish Life with Liz Dickinson and Shannon Shearn

If you want to Lighten up – physically and emotionally, then you are going to want to listen to my next guests on Inside Personal Growth, Liz Dickinson, CEO and Shannon Shearn, COO of Relish Life.

RELISH LIFE is a revolutionary program that takes a 360-degree approach to weight release by tackling the root causes of unhealthy eating habits. They encourage people to not just treat the symptom but solve the root cause of your struggle with weight and food.

In this interview, we talk about weight release, lifestyle interventions, medications and therapies.

If you want to learn more about Liz and Shannon and their Relish Life programs, please click here to be directed to their website.

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.

About Liz and Shannon

Liz Dickinson, CEO

Liz Dickinson is no stranger to the struggles that come with trying to lose weight. With each pregnancy, she gained stubborn weight that overstayed its welcome well beyond the baby’s due date. No matter how hard she tried, the weight would always come back.

Shannon Shearn, COO

As a critically acclaimed circus acrobat and elite athlete, Shannon did what it took to maintain the weight to look the part, no matter how unhealthy the path to get there. This led to disordered eating – a common issue in the world of professional athletics – and a loud inner critic who constantly told her she was never thin enough, never small enough, and never quite good enough, either. When she became a mother, her struggle with “bouncing back” and weight gain contributed to her feelings of failure at this new chapter in life, which led to depression and an inability to be fully present for herself, her life, and her family.

 

Greg Voisen with Liz Dickinson and Shannon Shearn

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen and the host of Inside Personal Growth. and joining me from Sonoma County is Shannon Sharon and Shannon is one of the co-founders of relish life, and we are actually going to be speaking with them about their weight, release program, I'm going to call it release you can call it loss I kind of like release better. And Liz Dickinson, another co-founder of the organization and Liz, you are joining us from where this morning, Vancouver, Canada. Okay, well, hopefully it's nice and cool there because Shannon, you can see how she's dressed. She literally was saying it was very, very warm. So, how's Vancouver today.

Liz Dickinson
It was gorgeous yesterday, call today Vancouver's the kind of place that you actually have to have a full spectrum in your wardrobe because you never know where you're going to have to wear in the morning.

Greg Voisen
Have a sweater available so fall is coming. Yeah, well, I'm going to let my listeners know ladies just a little bit about you, Liz, is no stranger to struggles when it comes to trying to lose weight. With each pregnancy she gained stubborn weight that overstayed its welcome well beyond our shores. No matter how hard she tried the way would always come back and intelligent university now. And 2000 is shot finally crack the code with a strict regimen of counting calories. Shannon critically acclaimed circus Acrobat and elite athlete, Shannon did what it took to maintain the weight to look the part, no matter how unhealthy the path was to get there, led this order orders in eating a common issue of worlds professional athletes, and, and a louder inner critic who constantly told her she was never thin enough, and never small enough, never quite good enough either. And we are going to be talking about those psychological issues, and the list of other people that are involved with the firmer doctors that have helped. Liz and Shan and develop relish life. And, you know, relish life is a kind of a new science, um, you guys are revolutionizing how people look at weight release. I not only look at it but emotionally, mentally, spiritually kind of adjust their life. To do that, you have groundbreaking research about the links between stress past trauma, and overall health that affect weight release. What does that research really tell us that you guys have gathered, which most likely drove this initiative to develop this website, and help people release weight because, you know, look, it's everybody from Oprah with Weight Watchers to people who want to get thin. Going down to the store and buying the drinks, right. So you guys there's weight loss is a really confusing weight release is a very confusing area, maybe you can help demystify it.

Shannon Shearn
Absolutely, I mean I can speak to my own personal research and journey and then it can have Liz kind of weigh in because she's much more on top of all the scientific research that we're utilizing and going with but it really all started with me, sort of realizing myself, but he talked about the inner critic and the feeling of not being good enough not doing enough, and not being thin enough, and so it came down to the realization that, wow, it's my head it's the way that I speak to myself that's holding me back. It's not the weight, the weights, not the problem, that'll come off, but I need to fix the, the inner dialogue that I'm having with myself, otherwise I'm going to keep eating. I'm going to keep; you know screwing things up self-sabotaging because that's who I believe I am so it led to me creating program obviously starting to research more and more as I realized how well it worked for me to begin that path and what I needed to do to start that journey. And then really the personal experiences, it worked. I started doing it with my clients, I was a personal trainer and my friends and people are just flocking to me saying, you know, I saw Christie the other day she looks amazing. She's so happy and you know that was the magic that I found, and then, when I met Liz, who had had dove into so much of the nitty gritty of the scientific research that's out there, it just really came together pretty incredibly so all that Liz Why don't you speak to some of something.

Greg Voisen
Liz did your journey does not start with Mio when you, I mean most of the listeners didn't hear that he used to own a company that made a watch that tract of runners. Early on, and I have no, I have no idea what happened to all of that but you were heavily involved in that I presume you got bought out but tell us the story list because you've been around this world for a long time.

Liz Dickinson
Well, Mio was actually my first venture into the weight loss space. When I first developed the watch, I was actually meant to be a watch for dieters it was a watch that counted the calories that you took in during the day and then told you how many calories that you burn during exercise. And the way that I got to the calorie burn data was by integrating, heart rate, and then all of a sudden all these athletes started buying this watch, which was such a surprise to me because it was meant for dieters and actually women like myself. And what were all these dudes doing buying this feminine looking watch and it turned out that it was because it was the first watch that shows a heart rate watch that worked accurately without a chest strap, and this was all novel and new at the time, so that was kind of a hard pivot for the business, and all of a sudden, you know, the rest is history became the world's first continuous strapless heartrate monitor, we ended up, you know, being best sports product in the world we were sold in, you know, all Apple stores and then yes, ultimately Adidas took over the business so that that was, you know, a great, great story and it was a great experience, but what I did learn through that process is actually calorie counting was not the way to lose weight, and despite the fact that I was religiously counting my calories and, you know, was exercising at the appropriate levels using a heart rate monitor. I was not losing weight, and nobody could point a finger at me and say that I was not doing the things that somebody needed to do in terms of exercise and managing my food. Why is it that the weight wasn't coming off? And it turns out that there's a lot of physiological reasons as to why your body hangs on to weight a lot of it has to do with stress, a lot of it has to do with the hormone quarters of cortisol. And if you don't actually deal with those things you can actually get long term damage to your hypo pituitary axis in your brain, and you need drugs, man.

Greg Voisen
How do we break those set points because, you know, I don't know if it's commonly referred to as a set point but it's almost like you get to a point where the body doesn't want to let go? You know when it really goes back to caveman I've studied a bunch of this as well. We were designed as you know species to carry the extra weight for lean times right. And so, you know, you see these people that go on these. It doesn't matter if it's naked or afraid or whatever and they got to be out there for 30 days, the guys come in all beefed up, and then you see him lose all this weight because they gained the weight knowing that they were going to be in a starvation diet. So how do we how do we get beyond that setpoint less.

Liz Dickinson
Well there's a lot of. That's a long discussion but anyway fundamental fundamentally something happens in the body which creates a condition called insulin resistance, where you're just not breaking down glucose effectively and it's not being stored properly in your muscles and that happens to most people, especially after middle age as you get older and also for women, if you've got polycystic ovary syndrome, also women as they go through menopause. It tends to occur. And, you know that that commonly leads to people not being able to shed weight. Later in life but stress, stress hormone cortisol, Aki actually also plays a huge role in maintaining what you think is a setpoint, but was, which is actually an imbalance in your neuro chemistry that causes you to really choose food over bikes and not to get too detailed here because I have other questions, but not to derail this but, you know, glucose level insulin levels when you have those spikes that are over there. Then you actually see a one C levels go up and then doctors say we are diabetics and I'm going to put you on some diabetes medicine or something.

Greg Voisen
So address that if you wouldn't leave, because I think, you know, maybe that's, you know, the reality is, I know nobody wants to do that. But if you look at the epidemic in our world right now with diabetes, it's, it's huge. Any way to address that list based on what the sciences that you guys have in what you're doing.

Liz Dickinson
Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of science, you know, endocrinology has come a long way in terms of its understanding of weight loss and there's a lot of science, science that shows that people that have been overweight for a long time, especially people that have deep stores of visceral fat. They're into consistence get confused and use start, you start being able to sort of recognize if you actually need to store more fat or not. So there's just a whole bunch of things that's happening with leptin and ghrelin and insulin and we could write a whole, we could do a whole. We could do terms of what relish does what we do is we actually put a break on all of that stuff. So, we have a fully integrated approach to weight loss, and it's very important that you look at the thing holistically. So the first thing is we prescribe medications that give you a breather, that allow you to stop with the bingeing stop with the impulse control, you know, start with the impulses like get a control on the impulse impulses, allows you to reframe your relationship with food, and that's when the magic that Shannon does in her entire team of health coaches. That's where they can come in and they can help you make more mindful decisions around the choices of food, and then all of the content that we have from our clinical psychologist Dr Brian Allman, who has created some of the, I would say some of the best in the world programming for stress management for anxiety management for sort of deeply discovering those things which are at the root of why you have all of these issues with stress. And then of course our medical practice. Our doctors who have dealt with weight and people who have struggled with weight and are empathetic, and they understand the struggle that people are going through, so you need this whole team, and we're so confident that we'll be successful, will guarantee weight loss for life. If you join our program

Greg Voisen 19:47
where you state in there in the book and on your websites is when you lighten up emotionally, we shed our baggage or extra weight. Shannon is probably a question more for you, how do you help people as his coach release this emotional baggage, and the psychological issues and if you would speak about the ACES the adverse childhood experiences. I know that when I got my master's degree in spiritual psychology, people would come in with all kinds of aces. And as we went through, we would have to kind of deal with those deep wounds that people were dealing with so are your psychologist prepared at relish life, to kind of help deal with those I mean, I'm Brian knows this because we just had a doctor on which you guys know Dr John ratty, and he was speaking about ADHD, but the site the study that was cited at Kaiser San Diego was about the women who were coming in, who were grossly overweight, but in essence they were coming in and it was because they were. There was sexual trauma and their life because they've kind of found that out by accident right that study was pretty phenomenal. So you know, whether it's sexual or it's whatever it might be, there's a lot of baggage we carry, it's not just, you know, the fact that, you know, I had this issue. What is releasing that baggage look like and on your counseling program because you guys do have a program which, you know you have one starts at $99 and goes all the way up to your three or four tears. So we don't need to speak about that yet but what is it that you guys do.

Shannon Shearn
Yeah, so I mean, like I said we dive into addressing those root causes, so not just the hormones and the cortisol levels and what that's doing to your body but why are your cortisol levels chronically raised where is that chronic stress coming from. And so we, we have a team of both health coaches, not nutritionists and dietitians because most people who are here at this point, they've gained and lost hundreds of pounds already they know how to lose weight, it's just not staying off so they know what to do. We have a lot of teaching opportunities for that nutrition side so to allow the wise, right so people who are just strictly counting calories. Note, why is that not the best option, why do we need to focus on our gut health and eating whole foods and so we do have a lot of learning opportunities for that with our functional nutritionist who's on staff and our health coaches who dive in a lot on that, but we really personalize it to the, the, the needs of the individual so we get to know them, we get to know their ACE scores they have a personal health coach who, who knows all about them has done thorough interviews, and they really personalized does this person need more nutrition coaching, do they need to get more active or is it purely dealing with the emotional side of things, and what we do with health coaching, And then I'll dive into the psychologists, but with the health coaching, we listen, so we're there to listen to what, what they're feeling and what they're going through when they grab those chips, every day, why is that and we help them explore through some motivational interviewing, and our own understanding of what happens to the body in these moments, and we, we help them move through it, giving them power statements, you know, how can you move past that feeling in your head, to not grab those chips, how am I going to feel after, am I going to feel guilty, am I going to feel tired, am I going to feel bloated right so exploring that inner dialogue so it's not the powerful one who's the negative speaker in your head, that the one who becomes more powerful is the best friend voice of voice who speaks to you like your body is a temple and your own best friend, and we cultivate and nurture that. And then along with that we have the psychologists who meet weekly with small groups and the small groups are there to support each other, they get to know each other. They learn all the different facets and explore, everybody's individual needs and the, the facilitators the masters level addiction specialists that, that we, we utilize they're trained by Dr Aman by Brian, and so they're well aware of ACEs and the need for that psychological intervention there so they do a lot of exploration work, they give assignments things to read through every week we have one of Dr Almine psychological interventions

Greg Voisen
Would you say that cycle where somebody craves sugar, salt, fat, right, which is commonly what manufacturers put in these foods to, to want people to get addicted, you're actually asking them before they reach for those potato chips or before they reach for whatever it is that favorite food the cookie or whatever, to ask yourself some questions about the temple of the body, you know, what am I going to feel like afterwards, after this. Right. And you do realize and I'm sure both of you know this that in most cases I'm sure most of your clients are going to say, hey you know what, emotionally I probably feel pretty good because I got that quick high from it. Because of the sugar. Right. But afterwards, they’re not going to say that they're not feeling bloated, but they've been able to deal with the bloat, because I got that quick fix. It's almost like taking, you know, heroin or something right it's absolutely it is it’s; I hate to use that analogy but that is what it is. Absolutely, yeah. So your therapy really varies from medications to hypnotherapy. Right, I use a hypnotherapist myself and I know the subconscious mind. Seriously has some abilities to affect how people can approach this, right, because it's how that inner voice is speaking with you and how it's reprogrammed. How have you found that the combination of these therapies works so well to release weight. In other words hypnotherapy we're talking about we're talking about taking some medications like Liz said a few minutes ago. Either one of you can address this, but you have a wide variety listed on the website of all these things that you offer. How do you determine which ones to choose to use?

Shannon Shearn
Well we, we utilize them all. So that's the magic of what we've created at every level, everybody has access to all of the interventions. And to your point, you know that that heroin pull that addiction for the dopamine release that comes out of having those chips out of having those, you know, chocolate covered almonds that they reach for all the time. That is, a lot of what we, we solve with the medications that we provide. So we're working with medications that help eliminate those neurological needs for the food so they have it and then they're like, Oh, it didn't actually release the dopamine, now I just feel bloated, and so they can listen to that inner voice that's like, no I don't, I don't actually want this doesn't feel good. I'm not getting that same relief than I used to get from it, and they can start to wean off the need for those things and really listen to their inner voice. That way, when they're off the medications they can, they have that already built in.

Greg Voisen
Well, look, you are an extreme athlete, and Steven Kotler has been on the show, I can't tell you how many times about all his books on people and what happens to extreme athletes, right. So my question would be, you know, on the opposite side of the coin. Some people are releasing are getting that high from a run, or they're getting a high from going out on a surfboard and writing, huge waves or they're going up skiing or whatever they're doing. Right. How do you create that same high for that person who says no, I'm not going surfing, I'm not going on a run. I'm going to sit in front of the TV and eat a bag of chips, because that's how I'm getting my high. Right.

Liz Dickinson
Well, it's all about dopamine right, It depends on what your drug of choice is and some people choose running to release dopamine. Some people choose potato chips. The thing is that the people that choose potato chips, unfortunately, tend to end up in a worse outcome with respect to their health than people that choose running, although there are, although that is not necessarily right. I think that what we do is we provide a medication that is a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and that that allows you to break the cycle of whatever it is that you may be abusing to get your high from doping whether it's running or bag of potato chips, and then actually reframe your relationship with that drug of choice and start implementing healthier habits and making healthier choices because you can actually control the conversation in your brain now, It's no longer controlling you.

Greg Voisen
So now that you guys deal with all kinds of people that come to you, you know as varying degrees, I'm a vegetarian. Paleo I'm you know I'm vegan, they've gone on all kinds of programs, none of them, I'm not going to judge any of them, they all what they, they are what they are, how do you address somebody that maybe comes to you and says they're vegan yet. They're eating all the wrong kinds of things because we see vegans. A lot of times that are really quite overwhelmed, sugar, yeah because they got to get the carb somehow right so I know I'm vegetarian so I have kind of the same kind of issues right it's like you're still looking for that carb, right. So do you guys go through a questionnaire Do you extensively look at their background, what kind of diets they've been on before what's worked for them, what's not. How do you address that?

Shannon Shearn
Well a lot of it comes from the health coach, the interactions there so there's throat interviewing, face to face, one on one, because we know a lot of people don't tell the whole truth, when they're filling out a form, so it's a lot easier to get that truth out of them, like, alright, alright so I'm vegan but I do have a milkshake once a week or, you know, whatever those things are. And from there we do provide a lot of learning opportunities so we encourage people to not take things away from their diets but to add things so how do we add nutrients right like you have pizza every Friday night, how do you add some nutrients into that, let's put some veggies on the pizza, let's have a salad, let's, let's celebrate how our body can feel with food as fuel, and as medicine so we teach a lot about eating whole foods and staying away from processed foods. But, you know, to that point, we, we help people, you know, they're addicted to Diet Coke, right, so how do we take six cokes a day and maybe bring it down to like three a week. The Diet Cokes not off limits, but now it's not really a problem per se, with your blood sugar levels because even, we know that aspartame and those things still work against your blood sugar, regulators, so it's really about getting to know them, like I said personally and having that support, and, you know, at the lower levels, they're getting to know themselves a little bit more in signing up for the courses that they feel they need. And that's why we have those higher levels where, you know, maybe you need that one-on-one support that real person who's going to talk to you and tell you, you need this, go do it. So, we have varying levels based on what people feel like, like they need in terms of,

Greg Voisen
so tell us about those memberships, and you, you, Liz alluded to it a bit. There's various levels of membership. It's, it's unique in that respect because you guys actually have a chart up there, and you say, company A company B Company C Company D and then you have relish life. And when you look down relish life, all the boxes are checked. And I would say that is absolutely true, from what I've seen, I haven't experienced the course I haven't gone into it, but from what I know about the other companies, be it. Jenny Craig to Weight Watchers to whatever they are limited, but they're also less expensive, so you get what you pay for. So in this case, at, let's just talk about the $99 one. That's your entry level $99 a month. What do they get?

Shannon Shearn
We promise to deliver all of the aspects of the fully integrated program in every level of membership, it just comes down to level of support, and one on one, interactions. But, at the $99 level, they have what we call our digital package, so every level comes with medications, and access to doctor as much as you need, because we know that the doctors aren't going to just give them medication. All right, good luck. We want them to have access to ask questions and check back in and modify their medication as needed.

Greg Voisen
And then we have most of those medications covered by their insurance or is this an extra cost for them.

Shannon Shearn
It is well it's not an extra cost so it's part of the $99.

Greg Voisen
Oh, okay. Okay,good to know. Yeah,

Shannon Shearn
We can super bill your insurance for it, but we don't work with any insurance providers at this time, although we're, we're working on that. Okay. But yeah, it's all included. And then we have our digital package which is a dashboard of all of our resources so you have a chatbot that sends you the mindfulness, programming, the nutrition support the daily kind of check ins and cheerleading, there's weekly email check ins with a form that come to us and then we have groups at the group meetings. So, not with the psychiatrists and psychologists, the group meetings are with our health coaches and their membership wide so they're not small group, but at this point we're a small company, so they're relatively intimate and we, the coaches guide you through our mindfulness programming. With that, and so they can join some of those group sessions weekly check ins with a health coach, those types of things at that $99 level, and then there's just more and more support the guided groups come in at the next level, And then the small master's level facilitated groups, those come in at the top level and then health coaching is spread out the same

Greg Voisen
And it goes from 99 to 249 Wasn't that 299 299 So 99 199 to 3600 a year or 1200 a year, kind of, you know, and in between two other that's good because it gives people an opportunity to choose that. Now, I know you guys have a complimentary consultation, tell our listeners a little bit about and if they want to take advantage that complimentary consultation. How would they do it, just go to the website. Click the box, sign up, set a time on someone's calendar, right, that's right, probably yours or somebody else's probably mine. Yeah, and is it is that initially a half an hour. What is that,

Shannon Shearn
Yeah, it's just a it's a getting to know you session you get to know what our program is and how it could work for you, we give you some tips and ideas on, you know where to start your journey, maybe, maybe you do need to start with Weight Watchers maybe you need to get to know how to manage your, your intake on your own or maybe, you know, we've actually never had somebody like that but you know we're there to, to be honest about which level of the program you need, which, which kind of support where you're at with your diet. So, we help them sort of think through what is their next approach, where should they start at this point. And, you know, hopefully they, we hope to allow them to walk away, even if they don't sign up with us with some tools and ideas that they can take with them to get started on their journey.

Greg Voisen
Have you started any programs for midsize to large companies, where if they if the purpose in an HR recognizes that or if they happen to have a health officer, some companies do. Not unless they're usually pretty big. Do you are you guys. Accepting kind of memberships at that level where you would enroll, many people within one company.

Shannon Shearn
Our business model at this point is set up to be direct to consumer. Although we are completely open to those types of discussions and engagements and discussions at this point because we want to, we absolutely want to move in that direction, but at this point we're not quite set up in terms of our business model and growth trajectory, really, but we are absolutely excited to reach that phase and to talk to people about how that could look and how starter packages could look so that we can test it out and try it out.

Greg Voisen
Well I think you have all the technology to scale, I mean I'm speaking from a business standpoint so it'd be pretty easy for you to go that trip. Absolutely, and scale it so you're, you know because you've got stuff online, you've got a synchronistic course that people can get to. So, Shannon and Liz, I always like to conclude these podcasts with like three takeaways that people can do today, like right now after they leave, You know, we've talked about your program, we've talked about things that may or may not interest them but then maybe do, what can these people that are listening right now, do that they could take away from our conversation, that might be different, change behavior modification might do something to get them started on the right path toward weight release.

Liz Dickinson
Well, the first thing is I like to challenge people to ask themselves the question, where is the struggle with weight actually coming from. If you can actually get into the real reasons why you're struggling with your weight you have made such a tremendous leap forward. It's the best place to start. One of the first questions we ask people to join our program is, when did you first start to gain weight, why then why not two years earlier, why not two years later, that answering that question, gives you some really rich insight into why you choose food. And many of us do choose food for some very specific stress related incident, if you can get a handle on that, then there are lots of tools online that can help you dig in to sort of the basic reasons as to what is causing that long term toxic stress, and of course Dr. Ryan Allman, our Chief Clinical Psychologist chief behavioral officer, he's got tons of resources online for people that are really looking to, you know, get ahold of that toxic stress.

Greg Voisen
Great question, great question. When did it all start and Shannon to you pass the baton?

Shannon Shearn
Well, I go, You know I go from a more technical perspective so I would say, your tasks, every day, meditate, you know, start to get to know how your inner dialogue, feels and how you speak to yourself. Meditation guided meditations are a great way to get to know that even just one two minutes a day is huge to stop and breathe. We breathe so shallow, all day, so just even just physiologically, taking time to breathe and fill your body with oxygen is huge, and, and along with that, get outside. So, even, even if it's hot, stand out, try and let the sun. Yeah, just be part of your life be present, and then drink water. That's the other one, that's just,

Greg Voisen
Rocky, well water keeps you full walking in Nature keeps you calm and deep breathing and meditation does the same so releases the stress, great and Liz loved your question When did it start because I don't think people often think about when they started to gain weight. It's been a pleasure having you both on inside personal growth, speaking with my audience about relish life and for my listeners, there'll be a link in the blog. There'll also be a transcript to this so you'll be able to download this as well. But if you want to find out more, just go to relish life.com No relativo life, Brett. Yes, sir rally dot life, sorry, and no doubt on that. So we'll repeat that again, actually, relish dot life, l-i-f-e. I didn't even know there was a life link there so I just type it in. It's interesting though when they go to Google, I'll tell you this, if you type in relish life, it's just going to come up, it's the first thing that pops up, so your search engine is quite powerful at this point, so good. Kudos to you guys who's ever done that with the website, loving, yeah, yeah, no, it is it's the first thing. All you got to do is go in your Google search engine and type relish life and you guys’ pipe right up, so good. All right you guys, thanks so much. NAMA state to you both. Thank you for being on today. Oh, thanks for spending a little bit of time with, with my listeners and enjoy the rest of your days.

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