DANI: Hey, it’s Dani. Lucky me, I get to talk with Katy today about household movement hacks. Reaching for natural movement can be challenging in our super comfortable, modern convenience society. And a lot of us have very little interest in chucking it all to live in a cave and sleep on the dirt, but there’s ways to get more natural movement in your everyday life if you just think about it. In this episode of Katy Says, Katy’s going to share some ideas for movement hacks using your daily tasks and some of your household furnishings, even, we’ll get you thinking about your environment and everyday chores in a whole body way. Are you ready?
KATY: I’m ready.
DANI: Excellent. Hack. Hack is an overused word, but we’re going to use it some more today.
KATY: Can we use it obnoxiously?
DANI: It used to mean something – when I was younger, it used to mean somebody who was no good at what they were doing. They were a hack. But now it’s like this cool thing, right? So.
KATY: I always thought about, like, hacking trees down.
DANI: Oh! And another way to use it. Okay. Can I just start?
KATY: Yeah. Do it.
DANI: All right, I’m going to hack into this conversation right now. What is a household movement hack? What would you consider household movement hack – just a quick example in your house.
KATY: I don’t know. You mean – are you asking what do I consider a definition to be, or give me an example of –
DANI: Definitions are kind of boring. I think we get it. So what is something in your kitchen that you do that maybe Mary Jo down the street doesn’t do but that allows you to do your work in the kitchen with more natural movement.
KATY: Well, I cut the legs – I literally hacked the legs off my kitchen table. How about that?
DANI: Oh my gosh.
KATY: That’s four hacks right there.
DANI: There’s so many ways to use this word.
KATY: Yeah. Just to sit down. Just to sit in a – a hip and knee and ankle joint configuration than what would normally be at the kitchen table.
DANI: Was that the first movement household movement hack you ever did?
KATY: Literally? A literal hack?
DANI: Well, yeah. I mean, what was like the first thing you ever figured out in your household, like, okay, I’m going to change this.
KATY: I got rid of my couch. Getting rid of my couch was the first thing.
DANI: That was the very first thing?
KATY: I think that was the – that was probably the first – the first one. Getting rid of the – I mean, gosh. I had two kids in the last four years; it’s all a blur. But I think that when we moved we left all our furniture behind, so getting rid of the couch was, you know, a living room hack. Getting rid of the TV, is that a hack?
DANI: Oh, yeah.
KATY: Right? Because it’s just going to – sitting, no matter how you’re sitting, if you’re in a “good position” or a “bad position” or whatever, sitting in one position and staring at a screen is not – you know – maybe if you can have a TV that changed altitude so your neck was always at a different angle or whatever. But yeah, no TV.
DANI: I suppose you could change your own altitude on that.
KATY: You could. No TV, getting rid of the couch, those were some living room hacks.
DANI: I think we’re just going to go room by room.
KATY: Okay, all right.
DANI: Do you have any household items that you’ve repurposed ever? For incorporating natural movement into your days?
KATY: Well, you mean like the kitchen table? I cut the legs off that, and also I have this beautiful turquoise table but it got bug infested in the legs, so I cut the legs off that so I could have a sitting desk, so that’s another one.
DANI: Is that the one in your pictures?
DANI: That’s a nice table.
KATY: Yeah, that table gets a lot of play. Because it’s turquoise – anything turquoise gets a lot of play.
DANI: Yeah. It deserves to.
KATY: Yeah, so as far as –
DANI: It’s the queen of colors.
KATY: It is. It is the queen of colors. What other hacks – I’m just trying to think of – I’m trying to think of things that I’ve owned that I’ve actually physically distorted. I think that’s about it; I think that’s the only time I’ve taken a saw to furniture, right? Can you think of another one?
DANI: Right, well, but you’ve got other items –
KATY: Sure, sure.
DANI: Like the towel for the calf stretch. I mean, everybody has a towel.
KATY: Oh, oh oh oh. Uh –
DANI: I’m talking about items that you’ve gone, hey, yeah, I can dry my body – or! – I could stretch my calves on it.
KATY: Yeah, or you could just, you know, any time you see the need for a strap, just – what’s long? You’ve got a belt? You got a scarf? You got some – some cord? You don’t have to go out and actually buy a yoga strap to do different stretches or whatnot. So those – those can be done there, you know. I’ve had a – I had a log – you know, you can use logs as balance beams, in the back yard. As far as – I had a log, one time I had a friend who took a small log and cut it in half and made me a wooden half dome. You know, like we use the foam dome to do the stretching? And it was way harder because it didn’t compress at all, and you could flip it over and it was this weird balance wobble board that you know, took 15 minutes to make.
DANI: Yeah, I like that you don’t have to go out and get special stuff all the time. I mean, people get kind of hung up on that.
KATY: Well, speaking of hung up! Ladders, right? So I’ve done all those blog posts on the ladders.
KATY: I’ve taken some different thrift store ladders for our small kids. We had that bamboo ladder because it couldn’t hold, you know, as much weight as an adult, and –
DANI: How much did that first one cost?
KATY: I think my husband paid almost 20 bucks for it, so it was quite expensive for a hack –
KATY: — but we’ve used it for 4 years and our kids have used it as monkey bars, and we’ve had that thing – you can go look at that blog post to see all the different ways we’ve had it. But then I came by, I don’t know maybe 5 or 6 months ago at a garage sale, like an estate sale, 2 wooden ladders for $5. These are full-size, I call them fruit picking ladders.
DANI: Oh, so they’re not like the foldy?
KATY: They’re not foldy, they’re just – they’re super long.
KATY: They’re metal reinforced. They’re meant for – they’re the old fashioned; I call them old fashioned.
DANI: Like, they’re the kind that you’d lean up against a second story window to help somebody elope out of.
KATY: You’d lean it up against a barn. Like, this has barn olden days written all over it. I don’t know how many people –
DANI: Who lives in a barn?
KATY: Well, someone who’s eloping, clearly.
DANI: I guess so. Thank god you have it.
KATY: Yeah, so I suspended them and they’re floating monkey bars between trees, and we did – we just have them out all of the time, and I hang underneath them and scale up and back down at a slight angle, and so, yeah. That’s – that’s. There’s some repurpose. We just took – we have two sawhorses, you know, like old sawhorses, and cut the legs off those to make kid tables for the back yard. So when we have a lot of kids over for community eating or painting, or something like that, when we do – if we’re doing some sort of craft or if we’re pounding a certain food, or having them, you know, mash something or make a tea, whatever class type event we’re having outside when there’s a bunch of kids, we just take two pieces of wood and stretch the out on these modified sawhorses and there’s some low tables.
DANI: That’s a great idea.
KATY: And then you can take them away, right? You can just fold them and put them back up, whether they come in and out.
KATY: I do a lot of that kind of stuff. I try not to buy anything new ever if I can help it.
DANI: Mm-hmm. Okay. So let’s move through the house. I know that you live – your house isn’t huge, it’s little, right?
KATY: Yeah, a tiny house.
DANI: Okay. So let’s go and do hacks by room.
KATY: All right.
DANI: What do you do in the kitchen that’s different?
KATY: Low table, I prepare – we sit and we have a low table, but we actually eat the bulk of the time just straight on the ground. So we actually have a rug – what am I saying – not like a soft rug but a twine rug. Like an extra inch and a half mat that we’ll sit down on.
DANI: Kind of like jute or something?
KATY: Yeah, yeah. It’s some sort of fiber. I don’t know exactly what it is. And I will actually prepare food down on the ground. So it’s not just an eating space – I’ll squat down and the kids will all squat down, and here’s your, you know, bananas to mash or – whatever – your zucchini to grate, or if I’m chopping something, they’re chopping something, they’re 2 and 4 but I let them use knives and boards and we sit down and we make a lot of foods straight on the ground. I don’t have a dog, though. I know I’ve heard people say that I could never – could never transition to doing something on the ground because I have dogs. It’s like, well, that could be definitely a reality. I don’t know if they could go outside or not for food preparation times, but.
DANI: Well, like we – I- I have started chopping stuff. I’ll squat to chop some stuff to get my squats in, and my dogs aren’t allowed in the kitchen, so that solves that problem.
KATY: Okay, so that’s good.
DANI: You’ve just got to have dogs that listen to you and that will stay off your stuff.
KATY: And kids that listen to you! Where do you get those? Where do those – what happens there? So yeah, that kind of stuff. Um…what else? You know, mortar and pestle. You know, like, making things even from more whole if you can – where there’s more movement. You know, movement traditionally has been involved in preparing food forever, and I don’t mean, like, walking to the store and walking back home again. I’m talking about actually, physically processing, mashing, ripping, tearing off. So finding foods – even if it’s spices that you have to mash, or you know, don’t buy juice. If you’re going to have juice, just get fruit and let your kids juice it, or juice it yourself. Try to figure out if there’s a 1-step less processed food that you can get that you have to do some sort of physical labor yourself. Like we had the Hawaii retreat for our instructors a couple years ago, and one of the things I had them do was just, like, here’s a coconut! There’s no tools in sight. If you want your coconut snack – a green coconut – you’re going to have to open it yourself, you know? And it was like,
DANI: Not even a grocery store coconut, but just a green coconut.
KATY: No! Yeah, just fresh. No machetes. You’re like going back even before a tool, you take your rock, and it was an amazing, amazing experience.
DANI: How long did it take those hungry bonobos to open those suckers?
KATY: Well, the person who opened it the fastest just grabbed it overhead and bashed it as hard as they could on the rock and cracked it open. However, they lost the bulk of the juice that way, right? So there’s this brute force, but then there’s also this refinement. And then we also had people – I mean, we had men, we had women, we had people from – I think my daughter was the youngest at 1 to the oldest person who was in their 70s – and it was, for many people, the first time physical work had ever been done to get a calorie.
DANI: That’s awesome.
KATY: Oh, my gosh. Isn’t that crazy?
DANI: That is awesome. That must have been so fun to watch.
KATY: Well, and –
DANI: And participate in.
KATY: It was awesome, and it was like – oh my gosh, I – like, it was a triumph. And that – I’m getting emotional about it right now, because it was like this moment –
DANI: (Sniffs, crying) Stupid coconut!
KATY: It was this moment where there was this balance in nature, where we’re going, your whole life! Your whole life used to be – or might have been – a direct exchange of physical nourishment for physical labor. That’s the discrepancy that this person had been at for 70+ years. And that’s phenomenal. Like, this accomplishment –
KATY: — of like, I didn’t even think I had the strength, but – and it took like 30 minutes of chipping away, and then to drink that – that liquid down. I’ve got a great picture of it, too. It was – it was really fun. And then, you know, things like foraging macadamia nuts. But they’re in their shells, you know? So you’ve got to take little rocks and crack them open. Not huge – go get some walnuts in the shell. Go to your farmer’s markets and get walnuts in the shell, and make that what you do with your kids, or do it with your friends.
DANI: That’s awesome.
KATY: Right? And then – but don’t use a walnut cracker. Use a heavy rock, right? There you go. There’s physical labor. That’s a fun activity, right? All day long, all life long.
DANI: Wow, talk about keeping the little boogers busy, man. That’s awesome.
KATY: Oh, my gosh! Yeah, and that’s a – that’s an old school thing. I grew up, I always talk about, like, I grew up in a kind of rural environment and all the old folks would sit around. We had a huge walnut tree, all the kids would gather walnuts during the season – oh, my god – huge – I mean, I remember, it was like: here’s your bag! And we got paid.
KATY: We got paid like a dollar. A dollar for 10,000 walnuts or whatever child labor violation was at that time. But you would go gather, and they would have the skins on. And you would dry them, because the skins are toxic. And you’d peel the skins off and then they’d dry in the sun, and then all the old folks would sit around with walnut crackers and chat for hours, you know, at a family barbecue, cracking them open and putting them in a bowl, and then everyone would take some bags home. And that was – I did that every year of my childhood is that black walnut tree. Stuff like that, you know. There’s so many things to hack. Man, hacking is getting more and more literal. Just hack your walnuts open. So that’s the kind of stuff that I do in the kitchen.
DANI: Okay, okay. That’s good kitchen hacks. Those are brilliant, really. I’m taking notes, I’m so excited.
KATY: And also, less food – I only buy food for a meal.
DANI: So you walk to get your food every time, or?
KATY: Yep. Yep. I have this relationship with getting food every day. Yes, it’s from the store, you know, or light foraging. But for the most part, it’s just so that I have – the kids have this idea that when we want food, it’s not readily available in our house. It’s just – it’s a hack. It’s a total hack –
DANI: That’s great.
KATY: But whatever – like, I spend – everyone’s trying to fill their whole entire days with activities, it’s like, our activities are just eating. We spend so much energy on getting food, you know? It could be way easier. I could go to Costco and stock my whole house, but then I would – then I would have even less – I would have even more time to fill every day.
DANI: Right. I would just imagine that your relationship and the kids’ relationship with wasting the food is probably a lot different when you have to work harder for it.
KATY: I’d like to say yes, but –
DANI: But they’re little, so they’re kind of in that weird –
KATY: Yeah – we’re just regular, like, we’re regular people who have all the same – like, these are just tiny, little hacks. They’re still all the same – like, my life is not utopia by any means. I don’t want to – I don’t want to portray that this is amazing and it’s just so great. It’s just the activities that we choose to do. I choose to go, like, all right, for the next 90 minutes the activity that I have planned today is go here! Walk here and get this, or berry picking – you know, whatever I try to do. I try to do food related stuff, because food and movement, to me, are baseline requirements. Baseline. So I try to build my homeschool/unschool activities around that.
DANI: And let’s move to another room. We were just in the kitchen. What’s the next room in the house if I walk out of the kitchen?
KATY: You could get to the bathroom quickly.
DANI: Okay. Got any bathroom hacks?
DANI: I know one!
KATY: Yeah, you know one. What’s my favorite bathroom hack?
DANI: Squatty Potty.
KATY: Yeah, Squatty Potty or a squat platform, right?
KATY: I’ve got one of each, even though I only have one toilet now, which is a problem in a house of four people who eat a lot of whole foods, and who are all on a super regular schedule, like we all poop within 30 minutes of each other. So, yeah. It’s tough. So Squatty Potty is one, and I don’t think I have any other bathroom hacks, right? I’ve got toilet paper. I know people would love to say something like, I don’t have any of that kind of stuff, but um…nope, I think that’s my only one.
DANI: Okay. So we’re leaving the bathroom and we’re going – where are we going?
KATY: Living room.
KATY: No couch.
DANI: We already know no couch.
KATY: No TV.
DANI: What else is cool?
KATY: Not really, it’s totally boring. I keep all my exercise stuff in my room, my living room.
KATY: Right? Because if you’re already sitting on the floor, you might as well just grab that dome or strap or Yoga Tune Up® ball or whatever and do a few things while you’re there.
KATY: The hard part was getting down to the floor.
DANI: And you’ve got cushions and stuff, I think –
DANI: — people should know that it’s not just you on a jute rug, but there’s cushions occasionally.
KATY: Yeah, it’s actually a wool rug in the living room. What else do we have? You know, in our new house we – it was already there, like a window box of seats. Like it was just a little, small –
DANI: Oh, cool, built in?
KATY: Bench. A built-in bench, so we just got cushions to put on top of that, so now it solved when other people come over who are unable to sit on the floor who just can’t even fathom doing it, that’s where they all sit. But it also gives us two levels to play with, like we’ll sit on the floor, but we’ll also sit – it’s not very comfortable, like, so you’re still squatting or sitting on folded knees with your legs tucked underneath you, or lying down. So it’s still a flat surface, but raised. So it just – it gives a little more depth to the living room.
DANI: That’s cool.
KATY: Yeah, nothing else in there that I can think of.
KATY: My office.
KATY: My office – the family office, right? So I’ve got my low desk, that dynamic workstation. We have a piece of equipment that my husband found in a thrift store, that I don’t even know what it was, but it’s a standing, rolling rack. It might have been something for the kitchen, like an old – you know what it probably was was an old, um, rolling baker’s rack for a microwave, you know, that came out in the ‘80s. And so it has that and it has the computer on it, and so he can move that around, you know, as necessary and if he wants to look out a certain window or he wants to be working but looking in to the living room, and I think that’s about it, and there’s more exercise equipment in here, you know, like foam rollers and balls. I’m kind of looking around.
DANI: Are there things you can stand on, step on? Move around on while you’re working?
KATY: Yeah, yeah. Um, and that’s about it. And then walk into the – we have a kids’ – what we call the kids’ kind of playroom, and that’s got the monkey bar hack.
KATY: And that would probably be that indoor monkey bar set we’re known for. And then in our bedroom is the sleeping hacks, right? The – we used to sleep directly on the floor, so that’s probably changed from before. We used to have our mats, like a foam mat, directly on the floor.
DANI: Like one of those Costco toppers or whatever?
KATY: Yeah, it was a Costco foam topper, no pillow, right? So that’s kind of known about us is we don’t have that – that level of padding, we try to get more movement meaning we don’t assume the same structural position all day that we also assume through the night, that way we have an environment that allows for different loading during that sleeping phase.
KATY: But we got – so two things happened, and I’m working on a blog post about it. The first was we got mold under the mats –
KATY: — Because we have just pine – straight pine boards, and then we had the foam, it was so thin it would conduct our heat right down and we’re in the Pacific Northwest so it got a little moist, and then we got mold. So we weren’t – I was like, ok, we could roll up our beds, two of them – so all of our family bedding is in the same room – we could roll them up every night or we could make a platform to lift them off the ground. So that’s the first thing we started to do was to make these wood platforms so it was still hard, the same level of hardness, but raised them a little bit, um, so that there could be airflow –
KATY: — underneath, and it’s like a slatted wood, so that there’s airflow to the mattress. But then I started tuning into all of the, um, anti-inflammatory – not anti-inflammatory.
KATY: What’s – what is it?
DANI: Flame – um.
KATY: Flame retardants.
DANI: Flame retardant.
KATY: Well, I guess that’s anti-inflammatory, right? But no. I started tuning into the flame retardant stuff. I had never – it just wasn’t on my radar, like, chemistry, I’m so biomechanics, biomechanics, movement. And I don’t read hardly anything on the Internet, like, I’m just not – I go on the Internet for work and then right back off again. I don’t really spend any time on there. And I was blown away at the amount of research and awareness of the toxicity of flame-retardants, and it’s in everything. And so one hack that we have done is to get rid of things that are affecting our physical health that are non-visible. Like, it’s clear to see we don’t have a couch, it’s clear to see the angles of my knees and hips. Not so clear to see what I’m breathing in, and as it turns out, like what’s in breast milk. So I’m still nursing and they’re finding flame-retardants in breast milk and that children are having much higher quantity of flame retardant in their bodies, like, it’s hugely toxic. So then I started researching other mattresses, but – by law it’s sprayed on every single mattress, so long story short, we found cotton and wool because it’s not as flammable. Untreated pads that we put on our slats. So we still have the hardness of the floor, but now we don’t have any of that.
DANI: How thick are your pads? Just curious.
KATY: About 4” was as –
KATY: And firm. So what I do is I walk on the surface, so you know, so I got a tweet from some guy, he’s like, are we after as hard as possible? I’m like, no, you’re not after as hard as possible. What you’re after is natural amount of hardness. So if I go out in the forest and I hike without any shoes on, I can feel the give of the ground. There’s give to natural ground. There is no give to my hard wood floors. There’s no give to the wood that is underneath the mattress. So when I walk on it – there’s a firm – its very firm. It’s much firmer than a traditional mattress. So it works for us. Truth be told, I actually preferred to sleep on the ground, straight on the ground, with even less support, but I really wanted to get rid of that gas first and all this – I’ll wait and see what else comes around for mattresses. Like, I was fine with the negotiation of an extra inch. So we did that.
DANI: I saw a cool post, somebody didn’t want to deal with the flame retardants, and they wanted something pretty thin so they just went to the thrift store and got a whole bunch of wool blankets and sewed them together, and that was brilliant, you know?
DANI: Good ideas. You’ve just got to think about it.
KATY: You know, and I – if it was just adults sleeping in the bed, I think it’d be easier. But I’ve got kids and what I’ve found is they’re such eggbeater sleepers. They spin. They were just destroying the set of blankets and every night I was uncomfortable because they were pulling everything off because it wasn’t really attached in this kind of traditional bedding, tucking in. So that’s why – we made that transition for right now, and I mean – I – we try different stuff all the time. So we’ll be doing this for a while and then we’ll do another podcast on what else. But I just thought of another hack. I thought of an office/bedroom hack.
KATY: We put a timer on our wireless Wi-Fi, on the router so that it shuts it off – I think it’s at 11 – and it keeps it off and it puts it back on at 5.
KATY: To turn off whatever is emitting from that every single night. Also to get whoever is on the Internet late off of the Internet and get them to go to bed. I won’t say who that is, but you know, it’s just one of those hacks, it’s like, if it shuts off, most of us are like, not going to go and reprogram the $10 timer from Radio Shack. But that’s been huge, and our sleep quality – huge, hugely different if that makes sense.
DANI: I have to tell you, my husband and I tried that.
DANI: After you posted that, and we just unplug it because we both go to bed at the same time, so. And I gave it – the first night was amazing, and I was like, well, I’m going to give this a few weeks to see if there really is a huge difference in the quality and depth of my dreams and his dreams. Just amazing.
KATY: And depth. Depth of sleep. You know, I had a big, weird dream shift right at the beginning, but what I’ve noticed that’s really persisted is that I’m still sleeping deeply in the morning where normally I would wake up around 4:30 or 5:00 just kind of like, I’m awake, how strange. There’s a certain depth there, so everyone can do their own experimentation, but yeah – that was crazy. I think what makes it a hack is that we put a timer on it, right?
KATY: So it’s – I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to walk over and turn it on or turn it off, but um.
DANI: And that’s good. One night we forgot and I just felt like I was floating on the edge of sleep all night and so did he.
DANI: And we woke up and we were like, oh, we forgot to unplug it! So, yeah. A timer’s a good idea. Good hack, good hack.
KATY: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s all my hacks. That’s my list of hacks.
DANI: So – would you consider when you went to sleep on the floor, would that be your most challenging transition to going furniture-free, or is there a different one?
KATY: Gosh, that’s a good question. I don’t know. You know, for me – the challenge is in the decision. It’s in executing it, not doing whatever it is. So I would say probably the one that require – I don’t know. Sitting on the floor was big. So sitting on the floor required quite a bit of physical, like I didn’t have the shape of my body to sit on the floor comfortably. I’ve always had very tight hips when my knees are out to the side. My rotators in my hips have always been tight. Hamstrings not so much, but rotators, yes. So when I first started sitting on the floor, it was really uncomfortable so I had to bolster myself up, you know, with pillows and eventually, because I assumed that position so much my body just became reshaped by it and is now in the shape that is – I’m a floor sitter now. Same thing, though, for sleeping. Not so much the mattress, but getting rid of my pillow. Like that – that required quite a bit of transition time. So that would be a toss-up between slowly getting rid of the pillow, right? Going from a larger pillow to something smaller and smaller and smaller. I probably made 5 steps, 5 different shapes.
DANI: Over a period of how long
KATY: Gosh, I would say – like 18 months, maybe?
DANI: that’s a good, long time.
KATY: Yeah, and I’ve had headaches – like, headaches have always been my thing. And so when I start playing with my head and neck position, I’ve never had migraine headaches but just tension headaches because of tension in my neck and head. So the pillow was – the pillow was big, but I don’t know if that was that much longer than floor sitting. So around that time. It took 18 months, but it certainly is – floor sleeping is way less strange for other people coming into your house and not having a couch. There’s the whole having – fitting into a community of people, too, that’s a different one, so. What was yours? What was your biggest hack?
DANI: I think – I am not allowed to get rid of the couch, so I just got off of it, and I think that was my, you know, just like you say, you’re shaped a certain way, and so I had the bolster. And now, if I go somewhere to somebody’s house and I’m just like not comfortable plopping on the floor of their house and I have to sit on their couch, I just – I think it sucks. I’m very uncomfortable sitting at that angle now.
DANI: On their couch, so. I think for me – and I’m just now getting ready to transition to the floor for sleeping. I have – this is kind of a big question but I think it’d be a good one to wrap this up with. A lot of times in a household there’s only one person that wants to say, hey, dude, let’s sleep on the floor, or get rid of a couch. And sometimes it’s only one person that’s on board. Do you have any suggestions for a household where only one person wants to start living furniture free and they’re the only ones? Because you kind of had everybody – you had two kids and they just kind of had to do it, and your husband is – he’s totally into it, so. I’m assuming that he was like, yeah, let’s do this, that you didn’t have to –
KATY: I didn’t have to convince anybody.
DANI: You didn’t have to convince, you didn’t have to sell it. I think that happens a lot in this community, I’ve talked to a lot of people where just, not everybody in the household is on board.
KATY: Yeah, I mean, I don’t –
DANI: And you don’t want to hand down any – in a peaceful household you don’t hand down edicts, that’s like not healthy.
KATY: Well, there’s – I mean, healthy is an interesting choice of words to describe that scenario. I think it is – I think I would probably pick a different word than healthy, but, um, I don’t know.
DANI: I mean, it’s not healthy in a relationship to say, this – we are so getting rid of the couch, and that’s the final word. That’s what I’m saying.
DANI: You want to figure out how –
KATY: No, I get that, but I was just trying to say, like, it goes right up there, like what do you do if you have a partner who smokes? Or if you are the one who smokes? Like, or, food-wise, what do you do – what do you do in your family, like are you guys pretty healthy eaters, would you say?
DANI: Uh, for the most part. I have to spearhead that.
KATY: Now, see, that’s interesting, because I don’t have teenagers. I don’t have older children. I have little kids, they’ve only known a particular way of life. I don’t know what it’s going to be like when they’re older and are exposed to more things and want to do things differently, so I don’t really have any experience outside of, this is just what our family does. My husband’s just as into health as I am, so – I’ve never really broached this kind of subject. I’m certainly not a marriage – I mean, it seems like it’s more like a marriage counselor –
KATY: — or a partner coun – like someone who counsels someone in relationships, because –
DANI: But then you’ve got to go sit on the couch in their office to talk about it!
KATY: Well –
DANI: I’m just kidding.
KATY: Do you make – like if you’re making a meal, a healthy meal, would you make junk food for the ones who don’t want to eat healthy?
DANI: No. No, and I think that’s a great – I mean, that’s a great way of looking at it.
KATY: Yeah, like, it’s – I would say – I mean, my advice would be: if someone else’s behavior is causing you stress, that is a personal problem to be solved.
KATY: Meaning if your family – and like, I have people like, I’m so stressed, like, I want to be healthy and my partner won’t let me be – well, the only person making you stressed about someone else’s decision to not follow your particular way of life, like, that’s just your –
KATY: –personal amount of stress. You can just feel good about sitting on the floor. I – I wrote a blog post years ago about exercise adherence on the research about why someone does – would start an exercise program and stick with it versus not, but I think that that research and psychology in general is like – I had a friend who was a smoker. And he was a real kind of educated guy, and he got – he got the idea, it’s like, okay, I know smoking’s, you know, killing me. But it was such a long time away that he wasn’t truly motivated to stop more than he was interested in smoking now. Like he was – I had taught a class on what actually was happening mechanically in the moment that you were smoking. It wasn’t that this is eventually lead to demise, right? That’s how we position so much of health is, like, you’re going to die earlier. It’s like, who cares? When it comes to the enjoyment of life, who cares if you’re talking about living 2 years longer or not if it means that your whole life is unenjoyable, right? But if someone is suffering every single day because of their, let’s just say smoking – or because of their sitting on the couch, but they don’t really understand that there’s a direct, in the real-time suffering that they are seeking a solution to – that’s always seemed to be the thing for me. This guy, he came up to me and he was like, I had no idea what was actually happening to me when I smoked. It was always this nebulous, ‘this isn’t good for you, you’ll live a lot longer!’ La la la, and he was like, I didn’t really care about living a little bit longer, but I had no idea that the, you know, 7 doctor’s appointments that I had every quarter and that this particular pain and this particular issue in my body was all tied to my smoking. No one had ever explained that before, it was just always general, like, this isn’t good for you, and don’t you want to be healthy? Like, that word: don’t you want to be healthy?
DANI: So did he figure this out after he quit, or just from education?
KATY: He figured this out after that class, and he stopped smoking the next day.
DANI: Holy cow.
KATY: He was like, like I said, he was a guy – he was a logical guy. It’s just – it’s very logical to also say, “who cares if I die 2 or 5 years earlier?” I mean, that whole – that whole, you know, desire for continued life is certainly – you know, it’s going to be a bigger thing at the end of your life you will be looking forward to those 2 or 5 years.
KATY: But if you’re 12 and your mom wants to get rid of the couch, that’s not a very good argument.
KATY: No, but if it’s – if, if, you know, someone is having to stay home 3 days with menstrual pains, and has to go to the doctor to take hormone pills because of really bad periods. I’m just trying to, like, come up with other things that are related to repetitive, physical position and lack of movement in general. If someone’s suffering from these all of the time, sometimes explaining it – or going, why don’t we try floor sitting for this week to see, you know, how things, how it goes for our family, right? There was screen-free week, right? That was a big, national thing and everyone was like, “screen free week, yay! We’re doing it as a family!” Doing things where there’s only part of your family involved usually doesn’t work very well for sustainability. So I don’t know. I – I don’t have any help there. I don’t have any help there. I have my particular understanding of the problem but I don’t know. Be a role model, don’t get –
DANI: Yeah, I mean, that’s how I think of it and what I tell people is just, all you can do is live by example and then, you know.
KATY: But also, make sure you’re not enabling. Like, you know, I always use the junk food, it’s like, yeah, a lot of kids don’t like health food, either. But that doesn’t mean that you make a junk food dinner because you really – you, if you are the caretaker of your family’s well-being, you’re maybe more – you’re willing to take on the burden of people’s complaints more so. Like, what would happen if you got rid of your couch, Dani? What would happen if you said, “I’m getting rid of the couch,” and they came home to no couch, what would happen? Can you imagine?
DANI: I would probably be in the doghouse for a couple days, and then they’d probably adapt, I guess. Or go out and buy another couch.
KATY: Yeah, so. Like, what’s the cost?
DANI: Yeah. It’s interesting, though.
KATY: It’s interesting, it’s just a – the desire to keep everyone happy all of the time is a – is a – certainly one that I’ve dealt with the bulk of my life, so I don’t know. This is a podcast on something that I don’t even know anything about.
DANI: No, it’s good. And this was very helpful, actually. I mean, you’re not a marriage or relationship counselor.
DANI: But, uh, it comes up a lot.
KATY: Or even, I’m nothing besides someone who’s trying to explain –
KATY: – the mechanical consequences, like, I don’t know. There’s a lot of people who have, like, behavior – behavior’s addictive, period. We have what we call the bad behaviors, or the negative addictions, but you’re just – you just – you enjoy doing the same things you’ve always done over and over again, and when someone wants to change them, you don’t want to, whether it’s, you know, Cheetos – right, Cheetos was our junk food example? Like if you ate an all Cheetos diet or you want to get rid of the couch, you don’t want to add a quarter mile of walking because it requires change and resistance is, resistance is natural – but so are the consequences.
DANI: I like how you said that you’re not always comfortable, but you always feel good.
KATY: Oh, my gosh. I’m physically – yes! Yes.
DANI: Yeah, that’s really – it says it all right there. That was good. Those are good hacks. You’re no hack, I’ll tell you that. Those were good hacks.
KATY: I might be a hack, you just never know.
DANI: No, you’re no hack. And we hacked away at that list, that was awesome.
KATY: That was pretty good.
DANI: It was good. So, thank you once again for the very entertaining time. Um, and just to remind everybody: if you head over to RestorativeExercise.com and go to the Listen page, we have a little widget there, you can record your questions to the podcast. You can write out a form if you’re shy, and you can listen. Use the Stitchr app and listen right there while you’re perusing the site to the latest podcast episode.
KATY: Have you gotten any questions yet?
DANI: I have – I have a ton.
DANI: I have a ton, yeah. So.
KATY: That’s kind of cool.
DANI: Yeah, yeah! It’s – they’re all waiting for you. Anyway. No, they’re good, and we’ll do as many of them as we can. So, thanks for your time, and thanks, everybody for listening.
DANI: Bye, take care.