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Interview with Kat Yiannakis of Macros Muscles Mindset

by Shaun Kober
September 21st 2020

In this episode, I speak with Kat about some of the struggles she has faced over the years with disordered eating, how that shaped her current coaching philosophy, and drove her to build her busine... More

Hey guys, just before we get started with today's introduction, I just want to say that the audio quality is a little bit patchy at times due to poor internet connection, poor weather and a little bit of background noise, but the information and the content is top notch high quality. Let's get started. Hey guys, welcome to today's episode of the live train perform podcast. I'm your host, Sean koba and joining me today is one of my friend's cat, Monica's who is a occupational therapist, accredited nutritionist. NLP practitioner, a small business owner and a track and field and crossfit coach. Now, when I sent through her questions for her bio, she told me that those were her big titles and her little titles were legend, Ultimate wing woman and vibe master, I told her she has those titles around the wrong way kat, Welcome to the show. Hello Friends. Hello. Hello. Um so for those who have been following the podcast, I have just recently finished going through the SwiSS Eight miniseries, which is a proactive mental health program designed to allow people to structure in the most important things in their life and that includes sleep, nutrition, discipline, time management, fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimalism for you.

Cut, can you give me some examples of which one of those principles are most important for you and how you've applied them at different times of your life? Yeah, absolutely. So um for me, the most important thing that I look at on a day to day basis, whether it's for myself or for my clientele is sleep and you know, for those that don't know. Um I have a small business called macros and muscles and mindset and the reason that I really like this question is because those eight principles actually resonate with the five factors that we look at in macros muscles and mindset. So for example, when I use that title, we're looking at macro is being nutrition, we're looking at muscles being exercised and recovery and we're looking at mindset, which is the relationship with ourselves and relationship with others. So these five factors quite easily cross over with the principles that you guys have now with sleep, people that are listening to this and know me, I've got to really sleep very strict um sleep routine and sleep hygiene and basically that's because every other factor or you know, principle that you guys are saying is affected by sleep.

Like if I have a crap night's sleep, I, you know, my hormones are off, which means I may be less likely to stick to my nutrition or if my sleep has been crap, I'm less likely to train as well or I might be in a shooting mood and not want to talk to people properly. It really, really affects everything else I do. So yes, sleep for me is definitely one of the, it is the foundation. Yeah, definitely. Um, I just wanted to pull you there for a moment to discuss the tools and the techniques that you use to build a routine around your sleep schedule and your sleep hygiene. Can you touch on that for a moment please? Basically what's happened over the past five years is I've developed two very successful businesses and in 2015 I went through a process of developing a food company which essentially blew up in my face. That happened really fast and I wasn't sleeping, I was doing 80 hour weeks, I was trying to create income for myself and you know putting back in the business which is fit snacks and I found myself in a really weird place and a lot of it was based around the fact that I wasn't sleeping properly and what's ended up happening over time is I have learned and educated myself on the importance of sleep and I have now become so routine with it that I'm able to basically travel with ease and um you know adapt to kind of any time zone because of these tools that I implement.

So for instance I am really strict on my kind of thing is the morning starts the night before. So basically what I'll do is in the evenings at you know nine o'clock or about an hour before I go to bed, I'll dim my lights. Uh put my phone away. Um so I'll sleep with the phone out of the room or at least on like the other bedside table. Um I will do no screen time. So no laptop, no tv nothing like that. I'll tend to read right out or journal and basically bring myself into a calm state and it really helps switch my mind off and as soon as I get into bed I'm out I'm asleep. Yeah, that's amazing and very similar to my philosophy and my principles and things that I've spoken about on my previous episodes on sleep. Um Let's go back to when you were building your business, you're doing 80 hours a week. Um building out your company.

Now, that's obviously a massive responsibility to be building out a company because when you become a business owner you need to invest so much time, energy, effort and money into building that business and a lot of people think that owning your own business is freedom and it can be, but there's a lot of hard work and dedication that goes in behind the scenes and people don't realize that you become your own boss and your own bookkeeper and your accountant and your cleaner and you know the admin clerk and all of this other stuff. Can you talk about some of the difficulties that you face when you were building out your business? Yes, I look with fit snacks, it was something um like I said like it grew really, really fast and You know when I look at my coaching career and what my kind of life pathway has been the last 12 years since I started coaching, it's been a up and down process and the biggest learning curve for me was this time building outfit snacks and part of it was because I entered into an industry that I really knew nothing about, I mean nothing about um you know, food licensing, I knew nothing about how to get into a commercial kitchen, I knew nothing about overheads, um I literally knew nothing, I was just this girl who had long story short, we can go into it, but I ended up in Sydney, I had an idea and I was making these things at this point in time I didn't have a name in my kitchen and selling them to a gym and a cafe and at the same time I was actually working in the cafe, I was working as a coach within that jim and I was doing my online work as well, so I was doing four things and then trying to also make these fit snacks and basically what happened was There was a demand all of a sudden one, I had one stock as to 20 within the space of about six weeks And when you're 24 and you're trying to kind of also build up a coaching business and you're doing something like this, which at the time was like on the side, I was incredibly overwhelmed, I didn't have much support.

Um I was obviously in Perth is actually my original hometown, so I was in the city that I didn't really know well and I was trying to put all this money into this business to try and develop this product. And at the same time, I was also trying to learn about things like, okay insurances and where do I go to get a commercial kitchen? I now need a car. I need to consider, As you said, bookkeeping, I need to learn about overheads. I had to learn all this stuff at the same time as trying to produce this product and do jobs to keep myself supported as well as put the money into the business. So fit snacks didn't actually start with a sum of money. It was literally me just in my kitchen. Um and that was really, really tough because I had, I had no choice but to work to create that income. And it meant at that time, you know, I, I didn't know at that time, I should say the importance of really creating structure and routine in a day to allow, you know, time slots to educate myself or time slots to unwind before going to bed.

Like I would go to bed. So stressed out, I would be emailing till 10 30 11 o'clock and then I'd be up at five to try and train and I just didn't have structure and routine in the initial phases or that initial six months of creating that company. Mm That's an interesting point. Um, If you could go back now to 24 year old cat and give her some advice on how to go through that process again. What is some advice that you would give to her? Um start a business like that with money? Um is actually honestly one of the biggest lessons I learned from that. The other thing would have been and I know this is quite, this might sound weird to some people, but I actually read a book that year towards the end of that year called thrive by Arianna Huffington And she started the huffpost. She basically writes in this book, how her successes in terms of like the business being built meant she sacrificed sleep and she Basically broke down.

And when I was reading this book, I that's when my head switched into wow, I need to restructure things properly because I'm going to go down a pathway like this woman and I'm only 24. Um so I would, you know, tell myself learn a little bit more about actually what I know now, which is structure and routine and the importance behind discipline and prioritize sleep. Yeah, that is very thought provoking and very good advice as well. Um I am a big fan of jocko willing who wrote the book, extreme ownership, which is all about um taking ownership and being accountable for your own actions. But he also writes a book called discipline equals freedom. And this is essentially where um you know me I know you were both quite disciplined, were both quite driven and for us to achieve the things that we want to achieve throughout the day, we both need to be disciplined, we both need to have that structure we dedicate and we allocate time to getting certain things done and I'm not sure if you do this, but I work to an old trade Ian rhythm, which is Basically working in like 90 minute blocks where I'm working with my energy levels when I've got high energy levels, then I'm looking at doing my most creative work and my most energy demanding work.

And then when I've got lower energy levels then I might be doing social media posts and editing videos for YouTube and things like that. Is that something that you use as well? That's actually quite funny. I was speaking to a friend earlier about what I was going to discuss on this podcast and one of them was that I work in 90 minute blocks and then take 20 minute breaks. So for instance, now if we move away from fit snacks because just to give a bit of context for people, I actually am based in new york city now and coaching is my main gig, um I have to do that, I kind of have no choice but to work in 90 minutes or I tell myself I have no choice but to work in 90 minute blocks with a little break and the reason that, is is because I'm up at 450 am I then have to clients that takes up 90 minutes. I then need to walk to my next Do clients, that's another 90 minutes. So I've tried to structure my day to make sure that I've got enough energy for the people that you know, need me, I'm coaching them, so I'll do my morning coaching.

That's face to face in the morning, I'm most energetic and then in the afternoons after I've had lunch, I can sit down on the laptop and the computer and do my online clientele. Work the mindset work and my own personal education. So yeah, I definitely resonate with that as well. Yeah, I think it's absolutely important to have that structure to get things done. One but two, what I do is structure in some downtime as well where you know, everything I'm doing is for a reason, like at the start of the covid lockdown, I ended up buying myself a playstation because I know what sort of person I am, if I'm locked up at home all the time, I'm going to be fucking working, my brain is going to be ticking and I'm going to be working on projects all the time. So I literally bought myself a playstation so I could switch off so I could force myself to have that downtime and a really good um example of good fable that represents. This is that there's two Lumberjacks that are competing in a world, wood chopping competition and start a gun rings out and they have six hours to chop as much wood as possible And one lumberjack smashes away for six hours and the other one works with 45 minutes And then disappears for 15 minutes at the end of the sixth and he does this every hour.

And at the end of the six hours they come together, they weigh all the wood measured. And the first lumberjack, whose work six hours straight, gets a good number, gets a solid amount of weight and then the second one gets more than him and everyone's like, How did you work an hour and a half less and chop more wood than the first person? What were you doing in that 15 minutes? And the second lumberjack replies, sharpening my ax and I think that is an important part of living your life is you need to schedule in some downtime to sharpen your ax and that might be legit downtime, where you're just switching off and doing some meditation or it might be some downtime where you're not working on the or so you're not working um, in the business, you're working on the business and you're educating yourself on all of these other principles and business tools that you need behind the scenes to keep your business running. Do you mind touching on that for a moment? Um yeah, so downtime, I guess a lot of it for me is those periods where I'm walking around new york, so I podcast a lot.

Okay, and that for me is actually downtime despite it being, you know, I'm also learning, I really, I'll walk a little bit slower than normal um but I try to take that as time for myself and then the evenings to me um you know, when I get in, because I do have quite long days, that is time for myself as well. Downtime, I also be time with friends, it might even be socializing um you know, that in itself is also structured into my day, so yeah, it's obviously definitely important. Yeah, cool. Now I just want to touch on or go back to um the swiss principles momentarily, because you did say that sleep was the most important for you at one stage and you've built that sleep routine, that sleep hygiene that you focus on. Have any of the other principles been more important at different times of your life and how have they been important and how have you applied them over those periods? Um That is a good question, So fitness at a period of time was my kind of priority.

Um During school, I was a gymnast, I would go to gym straight after school, I would be on the field in the morning doing track um and that kind of carried on as well into the early years of university and also during periods of training for certain sports later on in life like bodybuilding, which I dabbled in and power lifting, which I've been involved in for a long time. I think in kind of more recent years um nutrition has been in there. I think a lot of people would expect that to be my number one because I'm disciplined with that too. Um and there's big reasons behind that which I'm sure will touch on. But mindfulness is definitely one in the last couple of years that I have really used to better myself, better my relationship specifically with food and be able to work and educate myself better than I kind of ever did at university or at school.

And mindfulness also plays into food. Um and that's one of the things that I teach my clientele. Yeah. Cool, excellent answer. Thank you. And I want to transition into um a little bit more into Macros muscles mindset because you obviously started that business for a reason. Can you talk about some of the reasons why you got into the fitness industry 1? But then move into the structure of mm and how you're running that and why you're doing that? Yeah, I think it's easier if I put the structure of it first. So people kind of gain an understanding of it. So with Macros muscles mindset it's split into two parts. Um the smaller parts are probably like 20% is my face to face coaching. Um I have a very small handful of clients in new york that I've had for, you know, 3 to 4 years, uh and then I have the online clients, This has developed since 2012 when I was finishing my degree in Hong kong, um and it's progressed over the years with my own personal journey and you know, through the education that I've been through, but the online work essentially is focused on um changing behaviors and habits around disordered eating habits, so not necessarily eating disorders.

Um although, you know, some clientele have been diagnosed with that, it's more about um reestablishing our pathways in the brain to better our behaviors around food. So they're the two kind of concepts of macros, muscles, mindset um and you know, when I look at getting into the fitness industry, it was kind of, it was kind of a no brainer, so I Let me think about, let me get the years right here. So I finished high school in 2007, I was working at Cole's, your local coles and quite frankly, I hated working for other people and all I could think about was how much fitness was teaching me or had taught me, I should say pre knee operation, about certain things, I loved that, I could finish school, have my time to train. Um it would teach me, it just taught me all these things about discipline, it taught me about progress, it taught me about structure, it taught me about community.

Um I've gained all these friends from doing gymnastics and track and field and I kind of always had this thing, I was like, I need to try and develop this for myself and create groups of people to come together to basically keep fit. So in 2000 and eight I started university, I was doing occupational therapy, I also did my certificate three and four and fitness and decided to create my own group exercise classes in Perth and initially my first couple of years, so that's um you know, throughout university and in Hong kong and on cruise ships, I was a group exercise instructor and You know, one of my biggest feats with coaching is some of the communities that I developed out of that. So I was running about 22 of my own group exercise classes throughout those years at university, I loved it. I really, I really loved it. Um and some of the things that I look back on now as a coach is the communities that still exist because of it.

So I've come back to Perth seven years after leaving and I had a group exercise class on a saturday morning at nine a.m. In 2000 and 8, 2000 and nine. And at 10 a.m. Afterwards we would go and get coffee afterwards And I've come back 11 years after those classes started and at 10 a.m. On a saturday morning, these women are still getting coffee at 10 a.m. It's unreal. That's amazing. Yeah it's unreal. Like we you know every year on christmas they sent me the christmas party photo and this is the first year I'm ever going to be able to join because I'm in Perth at this point in time. Um You know I got to have experiences, I worked in a prison for two years again, I worked on cruise ships. I really love this community aspect. But what ended up happening once I got to Hong kong and I saw the world in a different light. I realized how much I wanted to be able to travel um as well as be fit and you know teach fitness or educate people and fitness and that's when I created the online aspect of the business and that is you know what's developed and grown and um you know I've now got junior therapists working with me.

Um And it's yes the last couple of years in new york has really taken off awesome. Um Let's talk about uh that transition because you were in new york, you built your business in new york and then obviously the pandemic happened and now you're back in per so everyone's gone through their own ship, everyone's had to pivot their business. And something interesting that I've noticed is that people either survive or they thrive and that depends on their mindset and how they look at their current situation, they either look at it as an opportunity or an obligation and I know you and I know how you pivoted your business, but I'd like you to discuss with the listeners what happened once the pandemic happened, what was happening in new york at the time and then what you saw occurring once you got back to Perth.

So I thrive in chaos. A lot of people know that I I have to admit that you know this process for me in my head as context, I have to come back to Australia every two years to renew my visa. So I was actually originally already coming back to Australia um which made the process for me much easier to prepare for because I was already thinking ahead. So that was pre pandemic. Now I've also had to do that process a few times, so I have had to leave face to face clients um you know on two or three basis for a prolonged period, so again I had already the foresight to think ahead of what I was going to use my time in Australia for obviously I didn't expect to be home for such a prolonged period, usually it's only two months or so. Um and now this is going to stretch out to about eight months now with the pandemic, I have the opportunity to be in San Francisco every 6-8 weeks and I was actually in San Francisco when it went into lockdown, which was pre in New York and I was watching the news and I just was like gyms are gonna shut and I basically sent out this email to all my clientele including the ones that I don't coach face to face and was like guys, this is happening in san Francisco right now, I think you should prepare in advance by some equipment because if new york goes into lockdown we're in trouble.

So everyone kind of jumped on board board equipment and boom, I got back to new york and seven days later every the whole city was shut. Um and you know, a fair few people did lose their jobs. Um People were a little bit, you know, at the initially hesitant and then it kind of became quite a fear um New york became a completely different place. Um and you know, for me, what I saw was there was no people, like if you've ever been to new york, there's just people everywhere, There was no people around, you couldn't go on the subway, you couldn't get into an Uber, there were X's out the front of the whole foods, you could only have 20 people in the supermarket at once mask on your face. Um the city was still relatively cool, it wasn't freezing, but it was cold, so it did have this kind of dim dark Feel to it for 10 weeks and for me my main thing was I don't have an issue being by myself, I'm all about like, social isolation is my olympic games, like it's fine for me.

I was like, okay, I need to consider my clients here first and foremost because people are going to lose their jobs and I need to make sure that they're using training and nutrition as structure in this chaos. And what I did was basically ramp up my communication with everyone and the people that I was training, coaching face to face. I was like, we're going online, you're sticking with the same time slots, you've had the last three years and you're gonna see me, but you're gonna see me through zoom and you know, that's how I helped, I think, you know, make sure that people were just on track because when you're stuck in the house and you can't even go out for an hour walk without someone questioning why you're out, um there's a lot of behavioral things that can start to resurface. So my major focus was for people was, okay, Training is structure and nutrition behaviors are structure because I know for a lot of people that being stuck in the house for a prolonged period could have spun off a lot of binge eating or overeating habits.

Yeah, that's a great point and I've spoken about this on recent podcast as well, is that there's been a massive spike in mental health implications as well. Um so for me, when I went into lockdown, it was all about maintaining my immune system and keeping my immune system healthy and part of that was eating good food and keeping a structured training program and getting some sunshine and getting some fresh air and all those types of things. So, um let's talk about what was happening in new york whilst you were there and then what you saw occurring once you got back to Perth, because I've spoken to you off air about um you know what was happening in new york and people were fucking dying all over the place and then in Perth, it was like everyone was having a party and nothing was going on. Yes, so for context, Perth has had about 112 days community covid free of transmission.

It's unbelievable. The city is open. We don't wear masks, it's, I've come back to a place where it's like, it hasn't happened, right. We're hard boarded from the rest of Australia. You can't get in, you can't get out. It's kind of like the hotel California and I came back and I had to do a hotel quarantine and that was kind of the time where I was able to actually reflect on what had just happened to new york and I'm a very like, on the weekends in new york, I am out, I am doing stuff. I am all over the city, I move around, I'm in central park, I'm doing whatever and mhm, I was really wary whilst I was in new york of watching the news, I don't generally watch the news. Anyway, I was following the new york times um but it was more that I was getting comments and messages from people I hadn't heard of from in a long time asking house in new york and I was like fine, like I'm living my life, I'm like good.

But in essence when I got back to Perth and I was in the hotel room, that city, the city has been thumped, there's no other word like yeah, it's hard to even explain it, but um you know, 800 people a day were dying. There was overflow into Central Park. Um you know, there was seven p.m. Every night people were clapping out on the streets for weeks for the health care workers, doctors were dying, you were hearing about all this stuff and um you know when I got back to Perth and you know, gyms were open, I was just like this is unreal and I kind of came out and the first four or five weeks I really struggled with meeting new people. I've got very good close friends here. Only a few because I left quite a long time ago, but You know, I had conversations at a couple of group events with people I hadn't seen for 10, 15 years and I was just like oh you're complaining about, you've got no act like you've just got no idea and it was kind of a bit of an eye opener, just how um I don't know, I don't know what the word, but kind of just closed off they were to the reality of it, and I don't think it's been until people have seen what's happened in Melbourne that it's like, oh, this could happen here, ignorance is bliss.

Yeah. Yeah, interesting. Um now I want to circle back to something that you mentioned earlier um when you're talking about macros muscles mindset and that is around poor relationship with food, and I obviously know you and I know some of your story and if you're comfortable going into detail on some of the things that you went through and the things that you experience with, potentially disordered eating, if that's what you want to call it, um and how you recognize that what brought your awareness to that, and also the tools and techniques that you use to um basically dig yourself out of that hole into and build those processes and use those tools to get to a place where you do have a good relationship with food and you can start coaching that other people. Yeah. Yeah. So, um this story um I've shared in bits and pieces, I'm really lucky to have been able to run workshops in Sydney and Sf in new york about this kind of thing and how to build yourself up and um get out of these processes, but um yeah, the entire story is it's quite full on.

Um I You have basically experienced seven eating disorders over the span of about 15 years, five of which I'm completely recovered from two of which I live with on a daily basis. and while I say I live with them, um they're very much under control, and you know, when people meet me, they're like, oh, you're so disciplined, um your food so disciplined, and I'm like, yeah, well, if I wasn't disciplined, these things could resurface. So this is why I go to sleep early and why attract my mappers. Um but essentially start from, You know, where it all began and I was 18, I was studying occupational therapy and going through the psych units, we were first year uni. And basically, what happened was I had finished up with gymnastics and training and I found alcohol and basically what I was doing was trying to work out a way to combat the increase in calorie consumption from alcohol and balance it out.

And what this actually eventuated in was something called drunk anorexia. And while I know that sounds crazy, it basically meant that I was restricting my food intake to allow for a caloric intake coming from alcohol. Now That started in June of 2008, um I had made a new circle of friends, there was alcohol on Fridays and kind of just went from there, what ended up happening on, I mean, I know the dates because it's just so stuck in my head, but the 25th of june that year, I kind of made a conscious decision to start looking at losing weight. And we were kind of getting this basis at uni. I was learning about calorie intake and basic nutrition, and I basically said to myself, okay, maybe I need to get back into running because it's been a while and I hope that helps. Obviously it worked. Um I started to track my food. Um and what happened was, what I would try to do was eat and then burn off the calories that I was eating.

So quite quickly, it's spun into something called exercise bulimia. So, the difference here, so, people know is exercise bulimia is basically over exercising to make up for the calories you've eaten. Whereas normal bulimia is where you actually purge your food. Now. I never experienced the purging, but I would MS university classes to do extra exercise or I would do an extra group exercise class to burn off something else that I've eaten and you're just kind of purging in a different way. Yeah, so, I was literally just like, I mean, I've got so much energy anyway, but this was just to another extent, I was just exercising nonstop. And once I realized, hey, wow, this is working my body weight had gone from 65 kg, which is basically where I sit now to 65 kg to about 55 kg in two months. What happened from, there was a very, very quick and scary transition into um anorexia.

No anorexia is where you're then controlling and reducing your food intake so much that your body basically begins to shut down. And my exercising didn't slow down. So I was consuming a very, very little amount of food and my entire body changed. My mind changed. And when I was going through all of this, I was studying it in the psych units and I just said to myself, I was like, I have this thing and I don't know how to make it stop. So I was one of the lucky people that had complete insight into what I was going through and for me it was just this concept of, I don't know how to get out of it because this is happening fast. And part of why what I do now, you know, in this process of educating people is people didn't know how to respond and or asked me what was wrong.

I had people comments and you know, now that I reflect on it, it's like, okay, they were saying these things because they, you know, they were worried or whatever, but it came across so different to someone who's ill. So you know, I didn't want to have this disease. It just happened. And I had someone once come up to me and say that I had nobly knees and I was like, okay, great, great advice there. Thank you. Um I once went down to um Hillary's Harbor, which is an area in Perth. And I actually had a random person, you call out eat a burger. And I had two friends at this point in time um set up a fake Myspace account under the name Captain Anno. And basically they sent this message that um told me all these things I already knew, but was like, you've become an irritable person. You're angry all the time, you're a skinny bitch or you care about is how you look. And when I read this email, because I knew who it was from.

I was in such shock that this was the way people were trying to either tell me that I needed help or that they were trying to support me or my my head just exploded. I was like, people just think this is something about me and how I looked when all I was doing was really just trying to get out of what I had gotten myself into and comment and people like that in your environment, they're not fucking helping. No, it made it worse. Um In fact, it made it worse because I was like, if this is what people think of me, why am I even bothering um anyway, you know, my my family, they love me, I love them. But you know, at the same time they also didn't know how to approach it. Um And that made it hard to live in the house. Um I was well aware that my sister was crying in the evenings about how ill I was. Um You know, my mom had a conversation with me that was very brief, but that there was no support and that's part of why I do, what I do is I just don't want people to think that There's no support with these things.

Um and anyway, eventually what happened was my body weight had dropped on my 18th birthday. I sat down at Kohl's And I bawled my eyes out because I honestly didn't think I was gonna make it to 19. Um That is one of the strongest thoughts I've ever had run through my brain and every year on my birthday, which is actually next week. Um I think about that day because I didn't think I was gonna I honestly didn't think I was gonna make it through By the time I remember rocked around my body weight had gone from 65 to 37 kg. Ah Yeah. Um It was just before my best friend's 18th. I cried when I woke up that morning and crying hurt. Um I my I could feel every muscle in my body working to cry, like it took energy to cry, you know, something so simple, everything hurt, My body hurt and I just didn't, I would just, you know how I was going to get out of it.

And when I got out of bed that day I fell on the floor, I collapsed in a heap. I just, just like, my parents are going to have to bury me. That's literally what I thought to myself. Um and I grabbed my phone, shitty little Nokia that had just gotten internet typed in, eating to sort of help Australia and the Butterfly Foundation came up, which is a non for profit organization. And I rang, I went through a couple of press this button this button and then I spoke to a woman and she said, how can I help? And they were the only words I had needed to hear for months and I just cried and I was like, I'm on the floor and I need to get up and I don't know what to do. And this woman talked me through a couple of things, she told me, think about what I should be grateful for, who am I living for. Um, and I got up and it was just this moment of, I was like, I'm never doing, I was like, I just can't be in this place ever again. And I can actually remember what I ate for breakfast. I went out into the kitchen, pulled myself off a tub of yogurt and a bunch of special k and I just ate and my sister smiled at me.

She didn't obviously know what had happened and she smiled at me and I think it was this moment where I was like, I'm literally going to get better. So you don't have to see me like this ever again. That is extremely powerful cat. Thank you very much for sharing. Do you mind talking about some of the tools? Obviously that was a pivotal moment in your life and that was something that, you know, it was like a penny drop moment where you knew that you had to make a fucking change. Do you mind talking about some of those first steps that you talk? I'm assuming you didn't try and do everything at once. You put one ft in front of the other and made small changes and and completed them consistently over long periods of time. Is that what happened? Or what were some of the tools and procedures that you use to dig yourself out of that place and and start building your path back to wellness. So the tools as such didn't actually come until that year fit snacks because what happened was I came out of this anorexia very fast and I didn't actually have help. I didn't go through therapy at the beginning and this is something I definitely should have done, but I just ate and that became another eating disorder, which turned into binge eating.

And that is now what I work with most of my clients disordered eating habits, um, and overeating. And basically, what happened was I put on a ton of weight. Uh, so I went back from 37 to about 67 kg within about a month. So I put, I put on about 30 kg just from overeating, uh, because I didn't, I didn't know what to do. I didn't know anything but to eat to get better. So you just swung the pendulum really hard in the other direction. Um and you know, on the outside for people was like, look, she's gotten better. She looks like she used to, she seems happier. My university, my brain was functioning. I wasn't failing units anymore. Um, but I then had this other issue and this is the issue that, you know, kind of followed me for a couple of years. It's subsided and it subsided mainly from focusing back on uni, um developing those classes. Um you know, my group exercise classes and getting reconnected with friends and family because I felt better a few years later, I finished my degree in Hong kong.

So the Hong kong polytechnic and again, another pivotal moment or I should say, phase. This is basically the phase of life. I loved it, Hong kong to me is like, it's just a period of time was amazing, but I kind of got back into weight training. Um and I pulled my food back in and I started tracking macros and stuff again now, during this period, I ended up developing something else, which is called orthorexia, which when I look at it now and I think about it wasn't a big deal in terms of disordered eating. It just meant that I was really cautious about what I was eating. I didn't really eat processed foods at all at a very, you know, it's a clean diet. Um, it was annoying I think for people, but it wasn't something that, you know, was a stress or I didn't feel bad, like I felt actually really good. Um, but when I look at it now, in terms of balanced longevity, sustainability, impossible need chocolate in my life.

Um, uh, what then happened was, I worked on the cruise ships and the binge eating returned during this period of time. I had two experiences on the ships. One ship was great. The second ship wasn't, I injured myself. Uh, and I injured myself to the point where I was on crutches and I couldn't work. And essentially what ended up happening was I found myself in a dark place mentally and to kind of cope with this, I returned to food and with the binge eating, you know, I didn't have support around me wifi at that stage. This was 20 Early 2014 on a ship was about a $1.37 a minute. I also wasn't making money to connect with family. I also didn't have the access to books that I do, I do now. Tv was the same Tv show over and over again on the same channel.

I kind of went, I had cabin fever, there's no other word to describe this, this is what I had um and I was also injured, so I was stuck on deck too, which is no light. Um I was banned from guest areas like it was just a ship show um but to cope II and the binge eating, I try to then try and reduce my intake one day and then the next hour spiral out of control. And my initial reasoning to to actually go to Sydney was a medical disembark for mental health and I said to myself, I'll go to Sydney for a couple of months fix myself, go back to Perth the three months turned into three years. But anyway, the process of fit snacks when I was going through a transition of stress and feeling lonely and not having connection meant that I again resorted to food. Yeah, I'm assuming that was a it was a coping mechanism for you that you'd use in the past.

And I think that's a really good point is that a lot of people have coping mechanisms and a lot of the time that coping mechanism is food or alcohol or drugs or whatever, like people use food as a way to treat something. If they're not feeling good, then they eat certain foods. If they are not feeling great about themselves, then they'll eat certain foods and I think it's important to understand that relationship with food because you know, we used to look at food, this was only 100 years ago when food was not abundantly available. Food used to be sustenance, It was what we consume to sustain life. Okay, now the world that we live in now food is abundantly available and we've gone from using food as sustenance into using food for its hedonistic value, which is I'm going to eat this because it makes me feel this way or it's going to help me cope with this feeling or it's going to help me with this situation.

This scenario, can you speak about that for a moment? Your relationship with food and how you've basically change your relationship with food and used food as medicine. Absolutely! So you know that year that if it's tax went to ship, I am so grateful for it because of what it ended up teaching me to create now. Um so with fit snacks and that period of time and how I was feeling, I actually tried to go into different therapies, cognitive behavioral dialect therapy, behavior. Um and it didn't work and I wasn't resonating with it because some of the stuff that we were saying was, you know, this is because you're a gymnast, this is because this and that and I was like this is absolutely bullshit, is basically what I said, this is something else. And it wasn't until I went to a neuro linguistic practitioner where she actually said to me, part of what this issue is is how you're talking to yourself and how you talk about food.

So for example, I used to think about food is good and bad. I don't anymore, I don't use those terminologies with my clients, I use terminologies like nutrient dense or less nutrient dense, I don't think about food as black and white. Um the other thing that she taught me was about the importance of habit loops, realizing, recognizing your habits where these things are happening, what then stems from that and the third standing the upper and lower brain and knowing that there is a part of you that is hormonal and that you need to try and control when it happens. So these were the things I learned and basically in the past five years I've learned and developed them more so and began to work one on one with clientele to create a process in a program that has been incredibly incredibly beneficial to so many people. And so um so awesome to see people come out of this overeating or this weekend binges and blowouts just by using these three things, understanding the brain, understanding habit loops and understanding how to change how you speak to yourself.

So that has been the process that I've gone through and I spent a lot of time learning, working on things, developing these things and then educating myself more to then educate others and part of what I do? You know what I do is because this isn't something that is available to people. Like it seems like it's so hard to be able to talk about this stuff and you know, my client retention rate is incredibly high and part of it I think is because I can empathize with people because I know what it is like to not have something to support you through something like this. You're coaching from lived experience, you've been through the process and you're providing the tools that you've used to get back to a place of wellness. Yeah, 100%. And you know, some of my clients have been with me three years and it's like, yeah, this is a journey, I'm still going through this stuff. Um you know, I might have a binge, might be once every six months, but I know exactly what to do the next day and I'm not going to have the thought patterns I used to have five years ago, I was in a pandemic in Sydney, Oh my God, five years ago, I wouldn't have gotten out of her life, like I really wouldn't have so being able to provide these tools for people, especially in a time that's been so chaotic and unprecedented, um has been amazing.

Yeah, that's amazing, thank you for sharing something I want to touch on. There is something that you mentioned earlier about, um you said you had seven of these, You know, eating relationship issues. Um, And you're still dealing with two. Now, can you talk about some of the tools that you use to deal with those two? Because an example of um, you know, using discipline here, I think discipline is very important because you know, I like to use with my clients, the traffic light system, There's green foods which are fruits and vegetables and um nuts and seeds and um, some meats and a little bit dairy and stuff like that. Green foods, the healthy stuff that are nutrient dense and typically a little bit more lower calories. But then you have orange foods which is eat that stuff sometimes, which is might be your red meats and your higher fats and your dairy and things like that. And then you're going to have red food which are for me, they're your domino foods.

There are things like Pringles, right? Like once you pop, you can't stop if you have some fucking Pringles, you're going to eat the whole box. So for me, it's about removing those things that we know a domino foods that you can't control yourself around that you need to finish the whole box or the whole packet, all the whole tub of ice cream or whatever. And that's a tool that I've used with my clients. Um, is there anything that you used along those lines to maintain your discipline In dealing with these two. food relationship issues that you're still dealing with? Yeah, I mean, this is a different person to person as well. I mean, some of these tools will work for some people, some won't now for myself, for instance, I do track my macros almost every day, whether or not that's in a season for competing in a power lifting competition or it's just my, you know, day to day. Um that to me has helped create a lot of balance. I have an awareness of, I can actually eat ice cream every day and not feel guilty about it, which has reduced the amount of kind of stress that I would have had around if there was a tub of ice cream in my house in Sydney, I would have eaten the whole thing because I had such a bad relationship with restriction and allowance basically.

And a large part of that was my terminology around food, what I do do every morning, um, I'm religious about it, you know, this, I write in my journal every morning and one of the things that I will write down is going to be food related. And that is as simple as saying something like success at the end of the day to me is, and I finished the sentence. So success at the end of the day to me is eating out at dinner and not getting dessert or the success at the end of the day is being on vacation and not blowing out whatever it might be. I try to use some kind of terminology that sets me up for the day to basically keep myself subconsciously aware of what I'm doing. They're basically the two big ones. The 3rd 1 is how a food shop, I don't bring a ton of that kind of stuff into the house and generally what I'll do is make sure if I do it's smaller and it's pocketed. So rather than getting a bunch of maltese is for instance, I will get the small bag because I'm going to feel much better about just having small bag because there is a part of the brain that will tell me to keep going and I don't want to have to constantly control that.

So if I control the part before that, then that's awesome. And then in lockdown I used a lot of my clients use this to, which was the process of an urge jar and basically that was every time you have an urge to eat unnecessarily, which was a lot, you dropped something in the urge jar and you know, if you did overeat tip it out, see how many urges you passed on and you're like, wow, I actually passed on 17 urges, I slipped up once you start again and then you try and beat that, that's how a lot of my clients got through that lockdown in new york that I've never, I've never heard that before, That's awesome. I really like that. I'm just wary of the time cat, I want to start rounding up the episode, but I'd like you to talk about some of your favorite and best resources that you can recommend for. People at home, might be podcasts to listen to, it, might be books to read, audiobooks, courses, whatever any resources that you've used in the past, that you typically recommend to all of your clients or the majority of the people that you speak to, yep.

So the first one, apart from my instagram is which is the instagram is hashtag macros muscles mindset. I'll have that length in the show notes, thank you. Resource that I direct a lot of people to is a podcast available on Spotify called Brain over binge by Catherine Henson. She uses very simple language, it's 15, 20 minutes, She's got a ton of episodes, but the first 1 to 5 are an excellent understanding of the upper and lower brain and the importance of knowing what an urge is. Her is a fantastic. I also highly recommend chasing excellence by Ben Bergeron just because I love his things and his philosophies and he does implement those five factors of health in a lot of his podcasts. Yeah, I love it. You've pushed me on the bed before and I've lived into chasing excellence quite a bit and and thrive. Was the book that you mentioned earlier, You gifted me that when you left Thailand I can't because you were stressed.

Um Arianna Huffington, uh The Power of habit five Charles jugic. Um they're probably the ones that I would definitely look at starting on. If you look, you know stressed out, thinking about sleep, head towards thrive. If you're looking more at understanding habit loops and behavioral patterns, the power of habit is an excellent book. Amazing. I love it. I want to finish off with one or two more questions. Have you ever had any outstanding leaders or mentors in your life that have guided the coach that you are in, the person that you are in terms of coaching? I have to admit mentor wise, it's been more lessons and that's been lessons from coaches that I've had and I haven't stuck with an online coach because I've had experiences where I have had slip ups and they haven't been able to empathize or there's been processes that I haven't liked as a client and basically that's taught me what not to do with my own clientele. So the fact I'm really proud of my client retention rate um and part of that I think is the empathy, the authenticity and because I've had some shitty on bridges before, the name of this podcast is live train perform.

That is live life to the fullest, trained to your potential and perform at your best. What does that mantra mean to you when I look at that title, it kind of to me, looks like it just encompasses fitness as a whole. And when I consider fitness, I consider that mental and physical. So being able to be mentally and physically able to do anything at any time and I believe that is how you can live life to the fullest. Um you know, if you're able to mentally get through something tough, like a hotel quarantine, physically be able to push yourself to do something, whether that's, you know, climbing over the fence to get a ball or whatever. Um and then, you know, performing that doesn't necessarily to me just mean in the gym, that means being able to be mentally or physically fit to be able to get out and speak in front of hundreds of people or writing a book, you know, that's performance as well. Um training is progress, you know, when I look at the word training, I think of steps, baby steps to get somewhere that you want to be and that is basically your life journey.

So you might look at training is okay, Yeah, I'm training or practicing to get somewhere in terms of sport, but you're also training and practicing day to day two, get better at being a parent or get better at being an anti whatever it might be. So, um it definitely to me encompasses fitness as a whole. Yeah, I love it. I just want to finish off with that is the caption for the Swiss eight model, which is be better at life Cat. Thank you very much for being a guest on the live train perform podcast. Always a pleasure chatting to you. Let's catch up again soon. So thank you. If you enjoy the content, please make sure you leave me a five star rating and review, and I will have all of Cats links in the episode. Show notes. I appreciate you guys tuning in and for the support. Much. Love guys Peace.

Interview with Kat Yiannakis of Macros Muscles Mindset
Interview with Kat Yiannakis of Macros Muscles Mindset
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