Episode 185

Solo Q&A: Transitioning Off Birth Control, Relationship Ups & Downs, Wellness Routines, Goal Setting, Overcoming Fear of Flying, & More

I’m answering YOUR questions & giving a little life update on where I’ve been and what’s to come.  Aviva Romm’s post-pill information: https://avivaromm.com/post-pill-reset/#0-is-post-pill-syndrome-a-real-thing- To join the Healthier Together Podcast Club Facebook group, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthiertogetherpodcast. Ready to uplevel every part of your life? Pre-order my new book 100 Ways to Change Your Life: The Science…

I’m answering YOUR questions & giving a little life update on where I’ve been and what’s to come. 

  • my current daily wellness routine
  • a life changing productivity hack
  • nomad life updates & what’s to come in the rest of 2023
  • the times Zack and I have thought about breaking up & what I’ve learned from them
  • the full storytime of my journey transitioning off birth control 
  • my best tips for 1, 3, 5, & 10-year planning in all aspects of life
  • an Eras tour recap
  • how I’ve overcome my fear of flying
  • advice for the best wedding vows 
  • and so much more! 

Aviva Romm’s post-pill information: https://avivaromm.com/post-pill-reset/#0-is-post-pill-syndrome-a-real-thing-

To join the Healthier Together Podcast Club Facebook group, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthiertogetherpodcast.

Ready to uplevel every part of your life? Pre-order my new book 100 Ways to Change Your Life: The Science of Leveling Up Health, Happiness, Relationships & Success now! 

This episode is sponsored by:

ZocDoc: go to ZocDoc.com/Liz and download the Zocdoc app for FREE and book a top-rated doctor today. 

RocketMoney: sign up for Rocket Money today by going to RocketMoney.com/lizmoody.

Cozy Earth: visit cozyearth.com and use code HEALTHIER35 for up to 35% sitewide. 

AG1: visit athleticgreens.com/healthiertogether and get your FREE year supply of Vitamin D and 5 free travel packs today. 

Healthier Together cover art by Zack. Healthier Together music by Alex Ruimy.


[00:00:02] LM: Okay. So let’s just dive right into this. What is your daily routine? I find that my daily routine works best when I have just a few staples, the things that make the biggest difference for me. And then everything else can be a little bit more flexible. So for me, my absolute staple is my must-haves, non-negotiables are my circ walk every single day. That’s 10 minutes outside.

Ideally, I walk around the block. I do a quick little walk in whatever neighborhood I happen to be nomadding in at the time. But sometimes if I’m feeling lazy, I will just stand there. Bella will come outside with me and we’ll just kind of like squint in the direction of the sun for five to ten minutes. It makes a huge, huge difference. It energizes me. It helps with my sleep. It helps balance my circadian rhythm, which just has a huge impact on my entire body. I have a whole circ walk highlight on my Instagram if you’re interested in hearing more about my circ walk.

Oh, I’ve brushed my teeth already at this point. I am a first thing in the morning toothbrusher. It is critical for me. I can’t drink water. I can’t do anything. I just feel like you’ve been sitting with your saliva and all that in your mouth all night. And then the idea of swallowing that stuff grosses me out so much.

This was confirmed, by the way, on my Ask the Doctor Dental Health Edition episode of the podcast. He is also a brush first and then eat your breakfast, then drink your coffee, then do all that type of stuff. so I brush my teeth first thing. I scrape my tongue. I use my RiseWell Toothpaste, my hydroxyapatite toothpaste, which made such a huge difference.

I used to be one of those people where every single time I went to the dentist I would have a new cavity and I’d be like, “What am I doing wrong? Like I’m doing all the things.”

And since I switched to the hydroxyapatite toothpaste, which we dive into this in so much more detail in the Ask the Doctor Dental Health edition of the podcast. But I have had so few cavities. I think I’ve had a few like old fillings replaced. But I’m trying to think, I don’t think I’ve had any new ones, which is absolutely wild.

So I brush my teeth, scrape my tongue, go outside, do my circ walk. And then I try to do my workout first thing in the morning for two reasons. One, it gives me a sense of productivity. Even if I have the least productive rest of my day, I’m like, “Look at me go.” I am applauding myself. I’m so proud of myself that I’ve gotten my workout in that I’m just like I’m very self-congratulating from the beginning of my day. And that feels really, really good.

I feel like this is the reason a lot of people like to make their bed in the morning.I always say that objects and motions stay in motion and objects at rest stay at rest. That momentum is really, really helpful. And so, I think having that the momentum of a win, it puts me in the mindset of the day is already a win, which is just a very, very good place to start from.

Two, if I don’t work out in the morning, I’m just not going to do it. I’m not going to be able to fit it into my day. My day goes in a million different directions from the morning onwards. I will only make myself do a minimum of 20 minutes. Sometimes I’ll go longer. I’ll do 30. I’ll do 40. I’m doing all at home streaming workouts. So I do have a little bit of flexibility with which one I choose on any given day.

But making the minimum, a 20-minute workout, I feel like I can always fit in 20 minutes. I can always kind of hype myself up and be like, “It’s just 20 minutes, Liz.” Even though it is the last thing that I ever want to do, I feel so good afterward. I put on a podcast. I save my very favorite podcast to listen to during the workout so that I can have something to be excited for.

And then I’m just going to like say it. I’m never going to be a person who, during my workout, I’m like, “Oh, my God. Yay. This is so fun. I love it so much.” I just don’t think that is my energy. I hate it to varying degrees. Like if I’m going for a run, I’m cursing every single moment. And if I’m doing the Sculpt Society workout or if I’m doing a weight training workout, I’m having a little bit more fun.

But these are not my favorite moments in my life. So I need to have the podcast to make it fun. That’s a Katie Milkman strategy. It’s called temptation bundling. There’s a lot of really lovely science behind it. Tie something that you hate with something that you love. It makes you far more likely to do the thing that you hate. But then the thing that really helps me work out is afterward, I feel so good. I feel way more energized. I feel way calmer and I just feel more prepared to take on my day.

And then the last thing is that I make my green smoothie. This has been a staple part of my morning routine for I don’t even know how long. I just feel so much better when I’m starting off my day with a ton of vegetables. I put in a lot of protein. I put in a lot of healthy fat. And I just feel incomplete without it. it’s one of my favorite ways to start my day. Chocolate cherry cardamom or chocolate cherry cinnamon and cayenne are my two go-to’s.

I used to do a bunch of different green smoothie recipes. And I still play around with them. But just kind of having my staple that I go to that I make more or less every day has taken some of the decision fatigue out of it. I love my green smoothie.

Then I’ll go shower. I try to end my shower with two minutes of cold water. I put on my sunscreen, and I do my makeup and then I get into my day. during the day, this is one of my all-time favorite tips, don’t do your to-do list the morning of the day. It can feel so daunting and overwhelming to be trying to create your to-do list when you’re also trying to overcome procrastination. And time is ticking and you’re trying to get all these things done.

I’m a huge fan of setting your to-do list ahead of time. Either the night before. Or me and my team member set our to-do list for the entire week on the Friday before. I feel so much calmer going into the weekend kind of already having the next week completely mapped out. We have a huge conversation about our priority. So we can zoom out and make sure that the things that we’re doing every single day are actually laddering up to our overall goals. Make sure that we’re hitting any deadlines that we need to hit. Make sure that we’re using our time really efficiently. So that’s one of my best tips for the actual work day.

And then my other best tip for the actual workday is to time block the workdays as much as possible. So I have a call day on Monday. I do all of my calls. I have back to back to back to back calls. I have podcast days. I have content creation days. And segmenting it means that you’re not task-switching. You’re not asking your brain to jump into this one thing and then turn into another and then get into another mode of thought, which takes so much of our extra energy. It’s so much more efficient it gives you so much more mental clarity and space to block things as much as possible.

You might not be able to do an entire day of one thing. But even if you can do like, “Oh, I do as many of this type of task as possible in the morning. I do as many of this type of task as possible in the afternoon.” It can be really, really helpful.

And then in the evening, I feel like I don’t have a great evening routine. One thing I have been trying to do is when I know I’m not going out anymore and the sun is down, I wash my face then. Because it is such a struggle to wash your face when you’re exhausted and you’re about to go to bed. So I’m like why am I waiting until the moment where I’m actively falling asleep to do this little chore? I guess it’s a self-care thing.

I don’t do this self-care thing. It’s like definitely a chore. And every time I do it I complain to Zach because I’m like, “You don’t wear makeup. You don’t have to suffer like I do.” He washes his face once a day maybe, if that. And he’ll often just use the body wash. Like he used our Dr. Bronner’s on his face the other day and I was gasping, in horror because that would dry out my skin so much. But that’s a little tip.

So the second I know that I’m not going out anymore, I wash my face. I floss. I turn the temperature down on the AC to make it as cold as possible. I like to sleep really, really cold. And there’s also a fair amount of science that suggests you want your nighttime temperature to be about 64, 65 degrees for optimal sleep. You want to help drop the temperature of your body via the ambient temperature in the room. So I set it really cold. Zach complains about it. But I’m like, “Science, Zach. It’s better for you.”

And then make the house as dark as possible. Tell Bella that we’re going to sleep and it’s cuddle time. And then I try to plug my phone in the other room and read on my Kindle until I fall asleep. I don’t have a very extensive nighttime routine. But that’s sort of the gist of my daily routine.

Give us a life update. Where have you been living and where are you headed next? So I feel like this is so much more confusing than it needs to be. I’m like, “Where am I living? Where am I headed next? Who is in charge of my life?” Because I feel like it’s not me at this moment.

But life update. So we have been back nomadding. We were in Park City. We’ve been kind of in and out of California for the whole month of July because we just had a bunch of weddings, and travel and things like that. And when we stay with Zach’s parents, who live in the Bay Area, they can cat sit for Bella. They’re very good with their grand kitten. And it’s very sweet. Um, so that’s really helpful for us. So we’ve been staying with them.

And then in August, we’re heading to Colorado for the entire month there, which is going to be fun. I’m recording my audiobook in August as well, which I’m very nervous about. I’ve heard horror stories from some of my other friends who have written books and who’ve read their own audiobooks. They just say that it’s very, very intense.

And then the email that I got from my audiobook editor did nothing to dispel my nervousness. It was like – it is a very intense process You’re going to be reading all day every day for seven to eight hours a day. You can take short breaks. But we just want to be incredibly honest with you that it is a very, very intense process. And it’s like, “Okay. Okay. I get it.” It’s very intense. I’m doing that for an entire week straight in August. And we will see how that goes.

I heard a story from my friend that she was like crying in the corner of the room because she was just so exhausted. And then, also, you’re reading your own work, which feels really vulnerable and scary even if you’re incredibly proud of the work, which I definitely am. But I’m also like, “Oh, my God. What if there’s a typo and it’s too late to change it?” So that’s happening in August.

And then in September, we are heading to LA. And that’s kind of the beginning of the launch for the book, which is really, really exciting. I’m doing a bunch of press there. I’m doing a bunch of podcast interviews. I’m really excited about that. And then I’m heading to New York for the first two weeks of October to launch the book to do more press there.

And then we have a whole book tour planned all around the country. I’m so excited to meet all of you. Also, I wanted to make it really fun. I didn’t want to just like read from my book or have an interview or something like that. I really wanted to make it feel like a really special, interesting, fun event. We’re calling it One Night to Change Your Life. That’s all I’m going to tell you right now. But I will be announcing more details about that soon. So that should be really fun. And I’m very excited about that.

And then after that, we’re actually thinking about stopping nomadding for at least a little while. I know that we tried to move to LA and failed. And that was just like a whole thing. But Zach and I are both getting somewhat fatigued with Nomad life. We just want to be in one place for a little bit. I did the art of gathering episode with Priya Parker and it just made me crave that type of community. If you haven’t listened to that episode, I highly recommend it. It’s going to make you want to have dinner parties, and theme parties and just hang out with the people that you love in your life in a really intentional and satisfying way.

And talking to her, I was like, “Oh, this element has been missing from my life.” And I really want to bring that back in. And I think that you bring that back in by being in one place and having your community there and building those experiences with that community.

And it’s also, if I’m being honest, just been a really, really fatiguing year. I’m so proud of this book. I literally could not be more satisfied with how it turned out. But the process of writing it, and producing it and everything that that entails has wiped me out. And that’s been with the podcast, with my job on social. And Zach’s been doing his job. And we’ve been nomadding. And we’ve been trying to figure out what we’re doing with our lives. And I think we’re just ready for a little bit of stability and a little bit of calm. So that will be what’s next I think.

We kind of know where we want to be at this point. But we haven’t told our friends, and our family and things like that. So I will keep you updated as things progress. Please send me good vibes. I don’t want a repeat of the LA situation. but I have a good feeling about this one.

Okay, next. You mentioned you and Zach almost broke up a few times. Can you share more on how you got through it? Yes. So the first time we’d been dating for like a few months, Neither of us can remember why. But he tried to break up with me. And I remember it so distinctly. It was a sunny day. I was wearing a purple dress. We were sitting outside on like a grassy lawn. And I talked him into not breaking up with me like. He came there very much prepared to end this fledgling relationship that we were in. And I was completely taken off guard. And then I was like, “No. You can’t do that. Here’s why.” But I cannot remember what that was about and he can’t either because it was a very long time ago.

I would say, in general, a few things. One, people do not talk enough about the fact that relationships have ebbs and flows. I feel like when Zach and I are in our really connected times, it feels unfathomable to me that there could be a period where I feel disconnected from him when we’re not having sex as frequently. When I’m not just like looking at him every single moment and being like, “Oh, my gosh. How did I get so lucky? How do I have this person as a partner?”

But then, of course, inevitably, that time comes again. And then in those moments, I’m like, I don’t feel close at all to the person who felt so connected and so in love.” And I think that’s completely natural. That is just the course of a long-term relationship.

And when we don’t talk about that, we make people feel like it’s not normal and something is wrong with their relationship when they’re experiencing these ebbs and flows. Of course, if you’re in way more ebbs than you’re in flows, and the ebbs last a really long time and the flows are just for a few days, that’s perhaps a bigger thing that you need to address.

But it is so natural and so normal to have intermittent periods of time when your relationship just does not feel its best. Or maybe your relationship just isn’t getting the level of attention that it’s getting at other times. Maybe you have a new job. Maybe your job is really stressful. Maybe you have friendships that you’re really devoting a lot of time to. Maybe you just move. Maybe you have financial stress. Maybe you have a health situation. Maybe you have a new baby. The thing is that you are living your life with your partner. And living your life is going to come with all of these variables and changes.

So, first of all, those ebbs and flows, so natural. I think the question is, when you are looking forward at the scope of your life in any given moment with your partner, if you’re like my partner is contributing to me living the life that I want to live overall. They are enabling me to be the person that I want to be. They’re enabling me to experience the world in a way that I would like to experience the world.

If you can answer those questions and be like, “Yes. 100%. This is my person. I cannot see living life without them,” then you probably are just an ebb and you can either do something to get back to a flow. You know, you can be a little bit more complementary with your partner. You can schedule a date night. You can give them little moments of physical affection. You can lean into whatever their love languages or whatever your love language is and just try to bring back that connection.

For me, just like a long, extended hug does so much for making me feel connected to Zach again, which is so interesting for me because I was not raised in a physically affectionate family. We’re like a family of side huggers. And I have this girlfriend who’s really, really physically affectionate. And she always talks about how she would like put her arm around me on the couch when we were watching TV and I would stiffen up completely. And she’s like, “Oh, my gosh. Am I making her uncomfortable? Whatever?”

Meanwhile, I am so happy. I’m just like, “Oh, my gosh. This is so lovely. I love this physical affection. But I kind of don’t know what to do with it.” And then she’s talked about how she’s been really proud of me over time. We’ve known each other for a really long time. But I’ve become more comfortable with physical affection.

I love it so much. But I’m so weird with it because I wasn’t raised with a lot of that. But lucky for me, Zach is incredibly comfortable with physical affection. And often, even when we’re in the middle of an argument, he’s so good about being like, “Oh, can we hug for a minute? Can I hold you? Can we hold hands? Can we just remind each other that we’re on the same team and we’re fighting for our relationship instead of against each other?” Which is really nice. So I find that a good, long hug can be really diffusing.

So to go back to the original question, when we are in one of those ebbs. In the past, there have been times where, often, I am like, “Well, should we just break up?” And we were long distance for a little bit. And I remember we had some phone conversations that were like, “Is this working?” Things like that. But I have never been able to answer the question would I want to live my life without this person in it with a yes? There has not been a moment where I have been like my future doesn’t include Zach. I don’t want to live my life with this person.

Even in my worst, hardest moments with him, I still feel so lucky that I walked into a bar one day when I was 21 years old and I met this person who I get to live my life with. I just feel extremely lucky that I get to live my life with him. So I think being able to zoom out and reflect on that can be really helpful.

So, yes, we have pondered breaking up. It has come up. The ebbs are natural. But we have always been able to zoom out and say our lives are meant to be lived together at least up until this moment in our relationship.

Okay. Next up. I would love to hear anything about your journey transitioning off hormonal birth control. So I was on the pill from when I was like 15 or 16. I was not having sex. I just went to the doctor. I feel like maybe I had mild cramps or something. But, literally, there was no good reason. They put me on the pill. They just did. And then I took the pill until I was in my mid-20s. And then I got an IUD. And I got the Mirena IUD, which you’re supposed to have for five years. At least when I got it, they said you were supposed to have it in for five years. And then I think I read some online articles. And maybe it’s even been approved now, but do not quote me on this, for up to seven years.

So I left mine in for seven years because I was like, “Well, I guess if there’s less hormones at the end, that’s even better for me.” And also, honestly, the pain of having it put in was so excruciating that, one, I was terrified of getting it out. And two, I just didn’t want to think about the option of having to do something like that again. It hurt so bad.

I went by myself because everybody made it seem like it was just this normal procedure. The doctor was like, “Oh, take like a few ibuprofen. It’ll be fine.” I remember waving goodbye to that because we were both working from home that day. We were living in Midtown Manhattan at that point. So I went like 10 blocks away. Got it in. I cannot describe the pain. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. I almost blacked out.

And then I remember taking a taxi home which was such a splurge for me at the time too. I was walking our Subway and everywhere. So that already was like I’m in so much pain. I’m taking a cab home. And I remember just like writhing in the back seat of the taxi and wanting desperately to reach up and pull it out of my body because it hurt so bad.

And then I also remember for the first few days I was really nervous that I was going to poop it out, which I don’t know if you can do. But that didn’t happen to me. But I was very nervous every single time I went to the bathroom.

So anyways, it was a completely traumatizing experience. 100%. If this was a procedure that men had to go through, it would be like a full anesthesia situation. The fact that we do not respect women’s pain at all in our society is a story for another day.

But I was just terrified of even contemplating birth control or what I would do when my Mirena expired. Eventually, I was like at seven years and I was like, “Okay. I need to do something about this.” I got it removed, which, by the way, didn’t hurt at all. So if you have one in and you’re worried about getting it taken out, let me assuage some of those fears. I don’t even think I felt it. It wasn’t even just like a little bit painful. It literally felt like nothing, which was a welcome surprise.

And I remember being so nervous at the time. I was like there are no good options. Condoms are going to ruin my sex life and we’re never going to have spontaneous sex. The sex won’t feel good for him ever again. Things like that. And then I was like I don’t want to get another IUD because it hurts so much. And I also was worried about the copper one because I really didn’t want the heavy periods and the cramps. And I was really just not wanting to continue to put hormones in my body after having had hormones in my body in some form since I was 15 or 16 years old. I just was like I want to have a break from that.

And I just remember it felt like such an insurmountable problem, which is so interesting to me looking back on it now because it feels so easy. Like birth control feels like a non-issue in our lives. And our setup, if you’re not familiar, is just the Oura ring, which is a tracker ring that I have that I wear. I wear to track my sleep. To do a bunch of other stuff. But my favorite use for it is that it pairs with this app called Natural Cycles that is FDA cleared. It’s amazing. If you use it on its own, you take your temperature every single morning. You put that into the app. And then that puts it into an algorithm and it tells you essentially which days you can have sex that’s unprotected if you are trying to avoid pregnancy and which days that you should use protection.

I was really bad at taking my temperature every single morning. And it was also kind of messing with my sleep because you need to have a continuous period of I think like four or five hours of sleep before you take your temperature. And if you get up to pee or something like that, it can mess with things. But the aura is continuously taking your temperature. So it gets a really accurate read of your temperature and then it sinks it to the Natural Cycles app and it tells me which days are my red days and which days are my green days. And it basically makes it so that I’m doing “perfect use” with no effort on my own.

And then if we have a green day, which means you are not likely to get pregnant on that day, we have unprotected sex. I don’t pull out or anything. Not to be TMI. But people ask about that all the time.

And then if it’s a red day, we use condoms. And that works out really well for us. It’s just such a non-issue in our lives. And I only kind of figured out that it was a non-issue by trying it and realizing like, “Oh, my gosh. I’m way overthinking all of this.”

In terms of the detoxing from birth control thing, a few thoughts here. One, I probably had a slightly different experience than a lot of people did. Because, first, I was on the pill. And then I was on Mirena, which is more localized hormones. And then I left my Mirena in for a really long time. So by the end, it probably had a much lower dose of hormones than it did at the beginning. So I was kind of titrating down if you think about it in that way.

I didn’t have any noticeable symptoms when I took my Mirena out. I didn’t have an increase in acne. The main thing that I noticed was a massive increase in my sex drive. And that took maybe two or three months, if I’m remembering correctly.

Um, I think I got my period back within like a month or maybe two of taking the Mirena out. And honestly, a lot of it has been really fun. Like getting to find out that I’m really horny when I’m ovulating or that sex feels really good when I’m on my period. I didn’t experience those natural changes in my body cycle essentially ever because I wasn’t having sex before I started birth control. So I’d never gotten to be a sexual being in my body without having these hormones altering it.

So it’s been a really exciting experience. It’s made me feel really in touch with myself and the rhythms of my body. It’s also been kind of annoying because like I didn’t have a period for a really long time and now I have a period and now I have cramps. And so, I have some of the more negative effects of hormones. So first of all, that.

Second of all, I think a lot of people have symptoms that they attribute to a birth control detox that are perhaps symptoms that their body was having anyway and the birth control was sort of masking. The birth control was serving to mitigate those symptoms that were kind of would have been there anyway underline. And then when you take the hormonal alteration away, those symptoms bring up and you either need to add in another source of hormonal alteration or you need to address the root cause of those symptoms. And I think sometimes people think that that’s them detoxing from birth control. When in fact, those are things that were going on in their body that they were treating with birth control and then they’re taking away the treatment, if that makes sense.

And I think you can approach that a number of different ways. I am not anti-birth control in any way. I think, first of all, it was a huge part of women being able to take power in the world. And I’m never going to not recognize the effect of that. And women being able to take ownership and decision-making power of their bodies I think is so, so huge and so, so important. And I’m so grateful to the place that birth control has in our society. But I do think that there should be more education about the various options that people have.

And I do think that there are many different ways that we can treat and address hormonal issues that people are struggling with. And sometimes it can be helpful to try to figure out how can I address this at its root rather than simply masking the symptoms with birth control. Although, if you experience a lot of relief and birth control is really working for you, I love that for you too. And I think that’s absolutely amazing.

I will say that I think there’s a lot of money being made right now convincing people that they need to buy things to detox their body from birth control.

I’ve spoken with a lot of doctors about this. I think we talk about this on the Ask the Doctor Hormone Edition with Dr. Aviva Romm, and by and large, our body is very capable of re-stabilizing our hormones after birth control. And if you don’t feel like that’s happening for you, working with a doctor who can test your hormones, who can actually find out what’s happening in your body versus just buying a bunch of stuff online and trying to treat a problem that you may or may not have is what I would recommend.

Okay. I just looked this up on Aviva’s website. And she said, statistically, most women, at least 80%, regain hormonal balance within three months of stopping the pill.

However, it often does take that long. And not all women do find that balance even as far as six months after stopping them. Oh, and she says on here that recurrence of old symptoms, which is basically what I was just talking about, can be a huge thing too.

So she writes, “So, many of stories of women I’ve worked with who come off the pill are actually experience a recurrence of old hormonal imbalances. That is not surprising given that 50% of all women on the pill are on it for non-contraceptive reasons. They are usually put on it for irregular periods, acne, mood swings, heavy bleeding and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance if the pill suppresses. So then when you go off the pill, you’re back to having those symptoms again.”

Anyway, she has an entire article about what to do if you are having a hard time balancing your hormones after you stop hormonal birth control. And it’s completely free. I’m scrolling through now. It’s a complete plan on her website. I’ll link it in the show note. And you don’t have to pay for anything. So if this is an issue for you, I would highly recommend checking that out.

I will also say, just because I wish somebody said this to me when I was much younger, that birth control is a two-person challenge and it is a two-person responsibility.

I remember feeling so afraid to put Zach out by asking him to wear a condom. I was like, “Ugh. I have to take on all the burden of this. It’s my responsibility to be on birth control, all of that.” And again, it’s so great that we have the power to take these things into our hands. But that doesn’t mean that it is solely our responsibility.

If you have a child or if you don’t have a child, that is going to impact both parents forever. And the fact that men have just been like, “Oh, I’m not part of this conversation. This doesn’t have to be my responsibility,” for so many years is absolutely ridiculous.

It’s just insane that women are expected to alter our hormones every single day of our lives. And we feel bad asking a guy to put on a condom because it might dull his pleasure by 15%. When we already have an orgasm gap, that means that men are orgasming significantly more often than women in the first place.

So statistically speaking, perhaps dulling that pleasure a little bit is for the greater good and a balance of that orgasm gap. I just think it’s absurd. And when I brought Zach into the conversation and I explained it in this way, and I said, “It feels really crappy feeling like I have to bear the weight of this burden by myself. And I’m having to think through the pros and the cons of this decision. And it just feels really hard and a lot.” He was more than receptive and he was like, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe that this has been left up to you for so long.”

So it is a two-person challenge and it is both partners’ responsibility. And I would really, really encourage you to think about it that way and to approach your partner about it in that way.

Okay. Tips for one, three, five, 10-year planning. What I would do here is start at the 10 year and then use that to inform the five year, the three year and the one year. So I would create buckets for the things that are important to in your life.

I would say as a baseline, career, relationships, friendships, lifestyles. So that could be things like the house that you live in. The vacations that you take. Things like that. And then maybe health. Write all of those things down on a piece of paper and then picture where you would ideally like to be with all of those things in 10 years. And be as specific as possible.

Like I would love to have friends that have kids that are the same age as me. And every summer we go on a vacation together where we rent a giant house. And all the kids are best friends. And all the adults have late-night dinner parties, and laugh and eat really delicious food. This is one of my personal dreams, if you can’t tell. Just be really, really specific. Because if we aren’t specific about our goals, it is very, very hard for us to reach those goals.

Go through all the categories. Figure out what your dreams are for 10 years out. And then go back to five years. Where do you need to be in five years to accomplish those dreams in 10 years. And then do the same things for three years. What do you need to have accomplished in three years to get the five-year benchmark? Which is going to get you to your 10-year benchmark. And then you can roll it back to one year. What do you need to do in the next year to have your health in the place that you want it to be in three years, in five years, in 10 years?

If in 10 years you want to be fit enough to do all of the hikes that you want to do, say, that can be really good motivation today. This is why you’re working out today because you have this goal of being able to run around, to be able to climb mountains, to be able to hang out with your parents, your friends, your children, whatever it may be in 10 years. It can be really helpful for knowing the why now to see what that why is laddering up to in the future. So that’s how I personally approach planning.

I would also say, and this is another Katy Milkman tip, this type of goal-setting can be made even more effective. You can kind of supercharge its efficacy by taking advantage of what’s called the fresh start effect.

So these are the moments in our lives where we feel like we’re turning a page. Where we feel like we’re starting a new chapter. Because we view our life as narrative – this is science. This is proven. When we have these moments, we’re more likely to essentially view ourselves as new people.

So if in the last chapter we weren’t people who worked out regularly, we weren’t people who saw our friends with the cadence that we would like to. In this chapter, in this fresh start, we suddenly have the opportunity to become these people, which makes our goals that much more likely to stick, which is really, really cool science. And it’s actually easier than you think to take advantage of. It’s one of the reasons why doing New Year’s resolutions and doing a goal-setting exercise like this 10-year, five-year, three-year, one-year thing can be really helpful on January 1st or in January generally.

I actually thought it was so interesting to hear that there’s validity to New Year’s resolutions. But you can create fresh starts in your life. So if you move to a different apartment, that can be a fresh start. If you start a new job, that can be a fresh start. A Monday can be a fresh start.

Honestly, even the act of setting these goals and then knowing what you know about fresh starts, you can be like, “Before, I wasn’t a person with a plan. And now I am a person with a plan. I’ve turned that page. I have a new narrative. And thus, I am more likely to achieve these goals.” So that’s just like a fun little way to boost them.

I find that that zooming out to inform the highly specific zooming in for me is the best way to make sure that I’m making progress in the direction that I want to go.

Okay. Next, recap your Eras Tour experience. I am more than happy to. These were the two best nights of my life. And I say that as a person who’s had a wedding, and graduated from college and released two books. Um, it was amazing. It was honestly so transformative to be in a room with 70,000 people, and every single person knows every single word to every single song. And you are singing those words with them. I have never felt a stronger sense of the power of community or like I was part of something. It almost felt like a religious experience, which feels crazy to say because you’re like it’s a Taylor Swift concert. But singing together and feeling these feelings together, it was just incredibly special.

So the first one that I went to was Glendale. It was night two of the entire tour. My friend Renee, she’s Renee Roaming on Instagram, if you follow her. She’s amazing. She posts the most streamy travel content that I’ve ever seen. So if you’re interested in that kind of stuff, highly recommend. It is a very inspiring follow Renee Roaming.

I think she was literally in her van on like Starlink satellite internet. And she snagged us incredible seats for night two of the tour. I did nothing for that. That was completely her. And I owe her so much for it. I am so grateful for her. She’s like sitting in a campground. And like waiting and texting me as her numbers going down and the Ticketmaster waiting room situation. But anyway, she got us incredible seats.

So we went tonight two of the tour. I flew from LA to Glendale. And then I flew back from Glendale to LA the next morning at like five in the morning because Zach was running the marathon the next day. And if you know me, I’m not afraid of flying anymore. And I want to be clear to say this because I do think that the words that we say matter. And I’m really trying to not say like, “Oh, I’m afraid of flying.” I’m trying to say I used to be afraid of flying. So that my brain can hear that over and over and over.

I used to be afraid of flying. There was a very long time, including when I actually did this, where the idea of flying somewhere one day and then flying back 12 hours later would be truly my worst nightmare. And the fact that I did it for Taylor, it was a really big deal. But I felt like such a rock star.

I remember landing and I felt this rush of adrenaline when I landed back in LA. And like it was all over. I’d had the incredible concert experience. And then I landed back in LA and I was in the Uber heading to go cheer Zach on on the marathon because the marathon starts at six in the morning. I do not know why. It starts incredibly early. So I had to get up so early to do the hour flight to be there to cheer him on at the finish line. And I just felt this rush of adrenaline. And I was like, “I could do anything.” Like it just was so incredibly empowering that I could do this incredible experience and be there for my partner. And I could soar through the air at 36,000 feet. I don’t know. I was so incredibly proud of myself.

So when people ask me how I overcame my fear of flying, which is another question that I got actually, and I’ll get into that more in a second. But, um, Taylor Swift. I can just say Taylor Swift was part of it.

Glendale night 2 is absolutely incredible. I was a little bit nervous going in. I had never been to a stadium concert before. And I have struggled with anxiety for pretty much my entire life. And the idea of being in a space with 70,000 people was really freaking me out having it be that loud. If I would not be able to get places I wanted to get because of the crowd crush and all that kind of stuff.

And it felt so safe. It felt like such a welcoming, kind, beautiful environment. Again, I got to have that incredible feeling of overcoming a fear and choosing my biggest best life over a life of succumbing to the things that I’m afraid of. So I got to have that at the concert and then I got to have that with the plane experience that sandwiched the concert as well. So that was really special.

But Glendale night 2 was incredible because none of the social media about the concert had gone out really at that point. So I went in having no idea. I’d never been to a Taylor Swift concert before. I’m a hardcore Swifty. Like this is my fandom. I love it I embrace it. It’s very important in my life.

But I would say I became that during Folklore. I was a fan for Rep. I was a fan for Lover. My friend and I one of my Instagram posts from a few years ago, whenever Lover came out, it was like us choreographing a dance routine to Lover in my New York City apartment.

But Folklore is when I became like a super, super fan. So I never had the opportunity to see any of our other tours. Or I didn’t even try to get tickets for any of them or anything like that. So I had no idea what the Taylor Swift concert experience was like. And then to go in completely blind, not knowing what she was going to play or sing or what the set experience was going to be like was so, so special and absolutely incredible.

And the thing is, it’s not just like a concert. First of all, like I said, that experience of the crowd and the unity that you feel and that almost like quasi-religious experience of being there is one thing. But then, also, the show itself is not just a show. She’s not just like singing songs. It’s like going to a Broadway show. There are these incredible choreographed, almost theatrical dance numbers. Then there’s ballet. Then there’s the singing. Then there’s this like light show and beautiful art. It’s like going to 10 different types of artistic experiences all packaged into this one incredible show.

And then the next weekend, I went with two of my girlfriends in Vegas. I got us those tickets. They were I think quite literally the worst seats in the entire stadium. We were completely on the side of the stage and in the literal last seat, like the top row of the stadium.

And I will say, even then, it was a transformative experience. People always say there’s no bad seats to the Taylor Swift concert. And I concur completely. I had as good of a time in these absolutely terrible seats as I did in the incredible seats that Renee got me. I don’t know if there’s a moral to this.

If you can go see Taylor Swift in concert in any way, do so. I know that tickets are so annoying to get. I know that scalpers are ruining everything. I know that Congress had some like Taylor Swift hearings after the Ticketmaster incident. I don’t know what came of that. But hopefully, the system will change and people will be able to get tickets to see the artists that they love instead of scalpers getting them all and charging like thousands and thousands of dollars.

But, honestly, those two nights were two of the most powerful nights of my life. And I feel very very grateful that I got to be there. I will say, for what it’s worth, I’m like 99% sure that she’s going to release a special with the concert. So I think everybody will get to see it. But getting to be there was really, really special. And it feels silly to say that it was transformative but it was a far more special experience than I expected it to be in my life.

Okay. Fear of flying. I would love to hear what has helped you on your fear of flying journey. I have done so much on my fear of flying journey. I just feel like I’ve literally tried everything at this point. And I do think it’s getting a lot better. And a few things have been really helping me recently.

I talk about some of the stuff that’s helped me in our how to overcome fear of flying episodes. So if you have a fear of flying, I highly recommend you go check that out. I interview a pilot and ask all the little questions. Like what are the dings and the pings? And what happens when the plane feels like it’s losing altitude right after you take off?

And then I also interview a hypnotist who specializes in fear of flying. But I don’t think I say this in that episode, and it’s been really, really helpful for me recently, which is I worked with a therapist recently who specializes in verifying. I had these flights to Guatemala coming up. And I was really, really anxious about them. It was my first time leaving the country since before the pandemic. And I just wanted to feel better about the trip. And I had my book tour coming up and all these things. I wanted to be able to get on a plane and not feel like I was absolutely for sure going to die and I shouldn’t make plans for afterwards and all of that. And he said to me at one point in one of our sessions that once you’re on the plane, the doors are closed, you’re in the air, you can either relax. You can watch a movie. You can drink a fun drink.

I love ginger ale on planes. I feel like ginger ale tastes so good on planes. You can read a book. You can have a nice conversation with your seatmate. You can look out the window and marvel at the fact that you’re seeing a view that for the vast majority of human history we did not have access to. Or you can grip the armrest the entire time. You can listen for the dings and the pings. You can devote your mental energy to trying to keep the plane afloat with the sheer strength of your mind. And either way, the plane is going to land safely and you’re going to get to where you want to go.

So the choice is really yours in that moment and it’s not impacting the outcome in any way. And I thought that that was really an interesting way to look at it. I am a person who loves control. I think a big reason I have a fear of flying is because it’s something that is so completely out of my control and I find that really scary. And I’m trying to lean into the fact that it is an opportunity in my life to practice relinquishing that control.

I don’t, in fact, have any control in that moment. And that’s okay. And all of the ways that I’m trying to pay attention and to essentially make the experience one of suffering for myself are like me practicing fake control. It’s fake. I’m not holding the plane afloat with my mind. I’m not going to be able to do anything about the dings and the pings. If there is, God forbid, an emergency, I’m not going to be able to go up to the pilot’s area and turn the knobbies and like save all of us. I don’t have that power.

And me pretending that I do is me trying to comfort myself. But I’m not actually comforting myself. I’m making myself feel worse. And when I realized that, it was such an unlock for me. I’m like why am I making myself needlessly suffer?

So that is something that I remind myself of pretty regularly in flight when I have a moment where it’s really turbulent. When we were taking off from Montana to come back to the Bay a few days ago, we had a really turbulent takeoff, which used to really freak me out. Takeoff is probably the time in flight that I’m the most nervous. And I felt myself tensing up and I felt myself looking out the window and trying to ascertain whether these were scary clouds and we should be avoiding them. Or the pilot should be doing something different. Or if I should see something in these flight attendants’ faces or hear something in the pilot’s voice or whatever.

And then I was like, “Even if you do, what are you going to do with that information? Like you aren’t in control right now.” You can stress out right now and feel awful and the plane will land safely anyway. Or you can sit back, you can relax, you can watch a really crappy romantic comedy that you probably will not remember the plot of later and the plane will land safely anyway.

And I was able to relax. And I watched my rom-com. And I enjoyed my flight. So that’s been a really big game-changer for me. Also, I’ve been trying to use some of the techniques of the anxiety episode with Russell Kennedy. So instead of trying to get up into my head when I feel anxiety, I try to get into my body. I tend to feel anxiety in my chest. So in those moments of anxiety on a plane or anywhere else that I’m feeling anxiety, I put my hand on my heart and I really just try to shift my attention to my chest instead of my thoughts and letting my thoughts race. So I’m just kind of like what is happening in this moment? What is happening in my body?

And I’ve truly found that shifting my focus in that way has lessened some of that tightening and eliminated some of the power of the anxiety and made me feel much calmer. So if you do feel anxiety when you fly, I hope this is helpful to you. It’s something that I’m really passionate about because I hate the idea of our fears getting in the way of us living the lives that we deserve to live.

I want to live a big, beautiful life. I want to travel the world. I want to experience new cultures. I want to eat interesting foods. I want to see stunning nature. And it was the thing that I always hated the most about my fear of flying was that the thing that I wanted the most was being impacted negatively by my biggest fear.

And for me, I’m okay with my anxiety. I’m okay with embracing those parts of myself. I was talking to Zach the other day about the period of time when I was agoraphobic in London. And I was saying I really am at a place where I am in a lot of ways grateful for that time. I’m not a person who’s like, “Oh, like just look for the good things and the bad things. There’s always –” whatever.

Sometimes bad things are just bad. And I find it really annoying when people try to like turn everything into a positive but I’m at a place with my anxiety where I do feel like it’s shaped my life in so many positive ways.

I would not have started this podcast. I would not have had an initial interest in wellness. There’s probably so many ways in which I am healthier because I was trying to deal with my anxiety. There’s something like vegetables that I’ve eaten or starting meditation or starting to move my body. Like all these things that are net amazing for me that I would not have been motivated to do if I hadn’t been trying to find a path through that anxiety.

So I am in a lot of ways grateful for my anxiety. But I would feel such a sense of frustration in those moments where I felt like my anxiety was the thing standing between me and the life that I wanted to have.

And honestly, that’s been a huge part of me overcoming my fear of flying too, is that I know I want this big, beautiful life. And so, even if I knew I had to be anxious every single second on the plane, I would want to get the experience of traveling because it is so important to me.

I don’t want to live a life that when I’m in my 80s or 90s I look back on and I say, “That life was shaped by fear. Her choices were shaped by making her life smaller and smaller and smaller because her anxiety was ruling the decisions that she was making.” I know I don’t want that for myself. And I use that every single day as motivation to live the life that I want to live even if that life is sometimes uncomfortable.

And I find that the more that I do that, whether it’s flying or doing other things that I’m afraid of, the more that that discomfort lessens. And I just get to feel all of the good things of choosing the life that I want to live.

Okay. Let’s do one more. I’ll make it a quick one. Let’s see. Let’s do what should I include in my wedding vows?

My number one recommendation would be to include vows. Zach and I did not do that. We were like the second couple in our group of friends to get married. We’d been to two weddings before our wedding. One was my high school friend and then one was somebody in our friend group.

And so, we did not have a lot of examples for what weddings look like. Our wedding was actually in many ways like a reproduction with a little bit of like a Liz and Zach twist on our friend’s wedding that we had been to the summer before. Just because I didn’t know what a wedding was supposed to look like. So I was like, “Oh, she had it outside in Napa Valley. I’ll have mine outside in Sonoma Valley.”

I just didn’t have the examples to begin to make the choices for myself, if that makes sense. Or to know what I wanted. What I didn’t want? What were options on the table?

Anyway, we had not seen very many people do vows. And we wrote ours and they were absolutely beautiful. I was really proud of them. I really like them to this day. I need to dig them up and read them. But we didn’t vow to do anything. Like we just kind of said a bunch of things that we loved about each other and we didn’t say like, “I vow to always empty the dishwasher because I know that you hate that.” “I vow to always feed the cat in the morning so she doesn’t meow and wake you up.” Like we didn’t say what we were going to do. We were just like, “I love you so much. I’m so glad I found my life partner.”

So my main advice for vows is to vow to do things. Although maybe that’s silly, too, because I feel like people don’t really stick to their vows. They’re more just like a sweet moment to affirm your love for each other.

Honestly, as long as you’re speaking from the heart, I do not think you can go wrong with vows. They are my favorite part of a wedding as a guest. They always make me cry. I love getting these little insights into a couple’s relationship. I think it’s so sweet. And I especially love when people really put in those personal touches. When you can tell the things that make their relationship their relationship. So I would think about what makes your relationship feel so special and so magical to you. Why are you excited that you’re marrying this individual, specific, unique person? What are the little quirky elements that make your relationship your relationship?

I just think the more specific and detailed that you are in your vows, I think it’s fun for the people getting married because you’re like, “I see you. We are living this life together. How special that this love, this life is ours.” But then I also think it’s a really fun moment for the guests because you get this little insight, this little voyeuristic glimpse into another couple’s relationship. And I love that kind of stuff. So that’s my advice there.

All right. I think that is all that we have time for today. I hope that you like this episode. And if you did, please let me know. I would love to know if you like solo episodes generally and if you’d like more of them. Or if there are any specific topics that you would like me to get into. These are new to me. So your feedback is very welcome and very appreciated.

And if there is anything in this episode that you think someone in your life would benefit from, please send them a link. Sharing is the best way to support the podcast. And it is so, so appreciated. If you’re new here, if you’re the recipient of one of those links, welcome. I’m so happy that you’re here. Make sure that you are following the podcast on whatever platform you like to listen on. Just go to the main podcast page that’s. The one that lists all of the Healthier together episodes. And you will see the word follow under the logo on Spotify. and then there’s a little follow with a plus sign button on the top right of that same page on Apple Podcasts.

And we have some incredible episodes coming up including one about the pros and cons of being child-free and one all about the future of wellness. So make sure that you’re following so those episodes show up right in your feed because you do not want to miss out.

Okay. I love you. And I will see you next Wednesday on the next episode of the Healthier Together podcast.


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