We see a lot of women at the clinic who are just exhausted all the time. It seems
as though there’s almost an epidemic of fatigue — and yet many women
also say that as tired as they are, they can’t sleep! They’re worn out,
distracted, irritable, and plagued by vague aches and pains they just can’t
MP: Why did you write Spent?
FL: In the last 15 or so years, more and more patients, women in
particular, were coming to see me with this broad spectrum of upsetting symptoms,
like brain fog or fuzziness that coffee or an energy bar didn’t help, decreased
sex drive, exhaustion, aches and pains, intractable bloating, insomnia, or getting
sick a lot. When I delved deeper into their history, almost all were overwhelmed,
worn out, and feeling older than their years. They were running on empty, their
energy account was tapped out... they were “Spent”. Many thought these
exhaustion symptoms were normal, as all their friends complained about the same
things, and so they rationalized it as part of getting older or entering menopause.
MP: What part of being “Spent” is particular to women?
FL: Most of my spent patients are women. I think what is particular
to women is that all these symptoms are often more pronounced in perimenopause and
menopause. But I think what’s more important is the root causes of this fatigue
— women have to give of themselves much more than men, having to take care
of the family as well their jobs. They wear so many different hats and usually put
everyone else first, not taking the time to care for themselves, putting every one
else’s needs before their own. And women in general are much more sensitive
to the subtler changes happening in their bodies. Men usually realize it when they
have a heart attack or some other major problem.
MP: Who do you think will do best by reading the book?
FL: People who are prepared to make the necessary changes to feel
better. There is no magic bullet, no pill that is going to help folks who are spent
get out of the slump. Having said that, I have structured the book in such a way
that almost anyone can get something out of it, even if they make just two or three
changes. The book is set up in daily beats, daily tips on how to restore your energy
and vitality. Some are as easy as wearing an eye pad at night to darken your room,
listening to music, or laughing more.
MP: How long will it take for women to feel different, and to reverse
the affects of being spent?
FL: Depends on how serious they are about making changes and obviously
how spent they are. But if they follow the program, my experience has been most
people will usually feel somewhat better within 1 week, and a whole lot better by
MP: For those with busy lives, what is the first step to beginning
to feel less spent?
FL: Start with breakfast: rethink that first meal of the day. First
of all, eat it if you skip it. And if you do eat it, don’t eat carbs and sugar.
Refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar give you a burst of energy and
your body scrambles to process it by producing insulin; that insulin causes your
blood sugar to drop, and you crash. The cycle of craving, eating, and crashing is
very hard on your body. Each time you crash, your adrenal glands produce cortisol
to help lift you back up. Over time, your adrenal glands exhaust themselves trying
to regulate your changing sugar levels.
Instead, fuel your body by giving it protein and good, healthy fats in the morning.
I’m a big fan of making a smoothie for breakfast. It’s easy on the digestive
system, meaning your body doesn’t have to work that hard to break it down.
Digestion takes up a lot of energy, and by conserving it early in the day, you’ll
have some energy for later, when you need it. I have delicious recipes in the book
that my wife developed — like a Greeno Mohito or the Greeno Colado. Patients
often tell me they go to sleep at night dreaming about their morning smoothie! All
the recipes include a green phytonutrient-rich powder and whey protein, many include
avocados, and most have added fruits. They all contain healthy fats and protein,
which I feel are essential to start the day.
MP: How important are the green foods?
FL: I have been using mixed green powders for the last 20 years
with great results. They are energizing and also supply a lot of phytonutrients,
which many of us don’t get enough of. The problem was the taste. Many people
could not tolerate the taste, so they didn’t take them. Now with the smoothie
recipes, it is not a problem anymore as they are so delicious that you don’t
even taste the green powder.
MP: What are the two most important things to start with?
FL: Stopping sugar and processed foods and changing your breakfast
to a smoothie with protein and good fats are probably the hardest parts of the program
— but the most important. Slowing down in general is also crucial. This can
be done with regular “breathing breaks” or some restorative yoga poses,
or spending more time in nature or just hanging out with friends. The book is full
of simple different ways to accomplish this.
MP: How can women begin to incorporate yoga into their very busy
FL: The yoga poses that I have in the book are restorative yoga
poses, where you use blankets or bolsters to support you in the pose. This way you
get the effects of the pose without having to work in it. They are easy to do, extremely
relaxing and restorative and can be done for 10 minutes at any time of the day.
So they are very easy to incorporate, and the results are immediate.
MP: What are your thoughts about how important it is to pay attention
to the signals of being spent?
FL: I think it is very important to pay attention to these signals
or symptoms of being spent. Instead of suppressing these symptoms with drugs, as
we do in conventional medicine, I see them as a clue of some sort of imbalance in
the body; a sign that the body is out of rhythm. We evolved as people who lived
in harmony with day and night and the seasons. As a result, cycles and rhythms became
imprinted in our genes, which today are still almost identical to our ancient ancestors.
So in our genes and biology, we are still our ancient ancestors, but we are living
at a pace and rhythm that are completely foreign to them. We forget that rhythms
are part of every aspect of our body’s inner workings and govern most of our
physiological processes. When we are out of sync with these rhythms, hormone production
and body functions in general become imbalanced. Our modern lives have thrown these
rhythms off, and that’s why we become “Spent”. The program in
the book is broken down into daily, simple, easy-to-use tips to get your body back
in sync with its rhythms.
MP: I think this is valuable information for women and I thank
you for sharing it with us. So many women can benefit from this.
One of the things I love about this book is that it recognizes that women are different.
We have so many roles and tasks in our lives that it’s easy for us to fall
into patterns where we spend our energy without taking the time to renew it. If
you’re feeling “Spent”, I encourage you to explore this program
as a way to restore yourself.