Lisa Farrar is a fitness nutrition and holistic health coach located in Phoenix, Arizona. I first met Lisa last summer and was incredibly enlightened with her aura and sense of purpose. I felt like she had a lot of really great things that everyone needed to hear and last month we finally took the time to sit down and chat about health and all of the controversies and confusions that go along with the idea of "healthy living".
I explained to Lisa how I am so sick of diet trends and fads, as a normal, average human it seems there is nothing you can do "right" before it's no longer right. "Don't eat fruit, it's all sugar. Don't eat carbs, eat lots of fats. Don't eat meat, you'll die faster." WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO TO BE #Healthy?! Drink water and eat air? HELP PLEASE.
Q: LISA, HOW DO WE WIN AT HEALTH??
"Point blank. any eating plan that isn't sustainable is a waste of time. If you look at all of the different phases that have occurred in the last 50 years, there isn't anything that somebody didn't tout as the end all - and then 99% of them phase out. It makes you really wonder if there is any science to nutrition."
Q: So after studying all of this, what conclusions have you come to?
"The best solution is whole foods. The perimeter of the grocery store is the only place you should technically be shopping."
Q: But how can we be sustainable in this world? Why do we all feel the need to always be smaller?
"Shame on the world for telling us we need to be smaller. Self love is the most important thing we should focus on for our health. If you are not experiencing self love, you are taking steps towards a less than healthy lifestyle. I was so skinny five years ago and yes I loved it, but guess what? Cortisol levels happened. Healthy should be the new body type."
Q: How can we combat this whole skinny = healthy ideal? I'm not "skinny" but I just had a physical which stated I was in the very top percentile of being healthy according to all of my stats and blood work. It's such a frustrating epidemic/mindset!
"If you think about it, a lot of women who are super thin are just skinny fat. They don't have muscle tone. They don't have strong bones. They're thin because they aren't nourishing their bodies. I also think it is impossible to say what the norm needs to be because every single body type is different. What works for me, may not work for you."
Q: So how do you help guide your clients to an optimal level of health?
"For starters, you can't tell anyone what to do. It's not about telling them what to eat or how to exercise, it's about asking questions and listening. This is the first step to helping people become healthy on their own. Everyone has it within them but they have to come to those conclusions themselves."
Q: What if someone asks you exactly what to eat and how to exercise?
"Even if they ask and I give them a framework, it's not their commitment, it's not their decision. They have to be committed for anything to really change. I am simply the support system that helps guide my clients once they have decided what it is that they want."
Q: How do you personally define health??
"Health to me is tiered: primary and secondary.
Primary is your life - spirituality, career, leisure time, friendships, relationships, all of the the things that impact your life that have nothing to do with food/nutrition. If something is out of balance in that primary part of your life, chances are your health isn't going to be optimized. If you have a bad marriage or hate your job, if those things are out of sync, then health will be out of sync. If you think about someone who wants help with feeling better, looking better, sleeping better, it's important to ask questions about everything in their life – to really identify what could be impacting their health.
If someone said I hate my job, etc. my answer cant be you just need a new job – I need them to tell me more about what areas they are struggling with.
I work with the 3 deep questioning model. The first answer never actually gives you an answer but by the third question, you're making progress to towards the root cause."
Q: What is the secondary tier of health?
"Secondary is food. If you are out of sync, good nutrition isn't necessarily going to result in what you are trying to accomplish. Even though you eat great food, you didn't get good results.
My biggest thing is mindset. Mindset is where everything begins. Mindset and focus can have such an amazing result."
Q: What are a few daily habit changes that are sustainable?
"1. small changes. If you try and change too much at one time - it's too overwhelming. Focus on mastering one habit and then add in another. Ex: Don't eat at your desk. Eliminate protein bars. Don't eat late night meals, etc.
2. Only shop in the perimeter of the grocery store (veggies, fruit, meats, fish) Eliminate processed foods from your diet.
3. Meal prep - makes it way easier to make the healthy decision.
4. No more energy drinks, no gatorade, no soda. Drink water, drink sparkling water. Anything that can be used to clean a car engine shouldn't be entering your body.
5. Stop eating out. It's very hard to manage your nutrition when you are eating out on a regular basis.
6. Alcohol. Limit wine and beer. If you're going to drink, vodka is your best choice. However, any alcohol inhibits your metabolic process.
7. Supplements. There is a lot of discussion around supplements and my personal opinion is that you need to research the type of vitamins you take so that they are absorbed by your body. Blood markers are important and this is where you should begin with deciding on supplements, see what your body needs.
8. Eat slowly and chew your food 20x before your swallow. People who eat super fast and eat on the go tend to gain weight. If you want to digest properly, it begins with saliva when you are chewing.
Q: If someone wants to work with you, what are the first steps?
"First is a health history. It's roughly a 45 minute exploratory process. It gives me a lot of changes to ask questions and make sure I am the right fit for the client. If it is a good fit, the health history gives me a better idea of where we are going and then we begin meeting twice a month via phone or zoom. The outcome is based on the dialogue with the client, everyone is different. My work is not a one size fits all recipe. We aren't going to completely revamp your life, we need to understand your goals and how we can create the baby steps to get there, it's typically a six month program."
Q: Why do you do this work?
"My motto is, eat better, feel better, move better, live better. These things all impact how you feel. My mother passed at an early age due to poor health and this really led me on a path of passion for healthy aging. We are in a toxic environment and everything we can do to counteract that, we should do. The only way it's fun to be old is if you're healthy!"
If you'd like to work with Lisa, you can contact her via email to set-up a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU LISA for all of your wisdom and advice for leading a healthier life. You are awesome!