This week, Jill answers a listener question about maintaining weight while also reducing sugar intake with the Kidney Stone Diet.
Have a question? Leave us a voicemail at (773) 789-8763.
Stop Kidney Stones Once and For All
- Kidney Stone Prevention Course
- Kidney Stone Diet Meal Plans
- 24 Hour Urine Collection Analysis
- Private Coaching
Kidney Stone Diet Resources
Find more episodes of the Kidney Stone Diet Podcast here.
Who is Jill Harris?
Jill is a nurse and health coach that specializes in educating patients on kidney stone prevention. For more than 20 years she’s helped patients understand that kidney stones can be prevented with the right treatment plan. It’s one thing to be told to lower oxalate or drink more water, but HOW do you do it? That’s where she comes in. Through the educational resources at kidneystonediet.com, stone formers can learn everything they need to know to significantly lower new stone risk.
Who is Jeff Sarris?
Jeff’s co-founder of SPYR, a branding agency based out of Chicago, where he and his business partner Dave help awesome people like Jill create online platforms that make an impact. He’s also a certified health coach, Executive Producer of the Netflix documentary Minimalism, and host of the Starting Now podcast.
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Jeff Sarris: Welcome back to the Kidney Stone Diet podcast, the show about reducing your kidney stone risk and living your best life. I’m your host and fellow student, Jeff Sarris.
Jill Harris: Hi, Jeff! It’s me Jill, the kidney prevention nurse. And I just noticed since we just taped a show, I didn’t change my shirt. I really think, like, I’m Cher and Bob Mackie is in the back, which was the designer back in 1972, waiting to put me in a new outfit. That’s what I think. That’s what I think.
Jeff Sarris: No, it’s good. I think I’ve been wearing the same, probably this hoodie, or one of two other shirts in basically every episode, because I’m very consistent in my attire.
Jill Harris: Yeah, well, we love that about you.
Jeff Sarris: Well, no, it’s just, it’s not that whole, like, they always say, what was it? Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs or someone like “Oh, I wear the same thing every day because it’s less decisions.” I just tend to wear, practically, the same things every day. I only have a small selection of things, generally, that I like and I buy a couple of them. But yeah, I don’t know.
Jill Harris: Well, that’s the thing. I’m kind of like that, too. I stick to my look and that’s it because at the end of the day, who really gives a damn what we’re wearing. I don’t care what people wear. I feel like you have to be–you have to be comfortable in the clothes you wear, so you can show up in the world as your best self. And then if that means wearing hoodies, and T shirts, and gym clothes–which is what I like to wear–then what is it anyone else’s business, right? I think you need to be comfortable. Being yourself fully is also wearing what makes you feel totally comfortable with yourself, right?
Jeff Sarris: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, it’s so important. Oh, and I wanted to touch on the kitty from the other episode, you brought that up that people were a little upset that my cat was covered by the YouTube, the next video that YouTube showed at the end. So, hopefully, Alpha will join us again soon. He’s not in here now, but–it’s funny when I’m doing this, like this podcast or the other ones that I do, he knows. He just doesn’t come in here. Otherwise, he’s on my lap all day. Like if I’m ever sitting, he’s just sort of like, “Hello. Like, can I come up there with you?”
Jill Harris: Alright, so I’m gonna tell you this. So whenever that one aired, I started getting emails. I was working on my emails–because I’m always 200 behind–so I’m working on my emails. I’m like, “Oh, I must have put on a great show. Look at this! All these emails and it says from YouTube, I really outdid myself that show.” It was about your friggin’ cat. It was about the friggin’ cat. “Dear Jill, tell Jeff, what the hell? He had his cat, but we can’t see it because there’s a stupid graphic up!” I said, “Okay. I’ll be sure to tell him, Irene.” Jesus!
They were mad, Jeff, and I didn’t blame them. I never look at the video–we do them and we don’t look at them. So when I turned to them, I put that video on, I mean you’re petting the cat and, like, nobody can see it because it’s the next episode. It’s the graphic of the next episode, so I understood. When you’re an animal lover, and somebody’s saying, “Look at my animal,” and you can’t see it. Well, that’s gonna piss some people off for sure.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, so I’m gonna have to get them at some point. Yeah, maybe when we’re going to this question, I might step out for a minute and actually bring him in here, so then I can show him.
Jill Harris Yeah, well, we all know I’m very long-winded, so you’ll definitely have time to do that. You best because people were in an uproar about it.
Jeff Sarris: But yeah, so let’s dive right into this week’s question. This is from Molly. And, again, if you have a question, the number is 773-789-8763, and we’ll feature you on a future episode. But let’s get to it.
Jill Harris: Molly.
Listener Voicemail: Hi, Jill! This is Molly. I am a newer member on your Facebook page. And I live in Oregon City in Oregon and I just had a question. First off, I just am loving your videos, I’ve been watching your podcasts and just keeping up to date on some things as I’m learning more and more. You are so funny. It’s really motivating and really picks me up when I’m feeling discouraged as I’m feeling, like it can be really defeating when you fail at the goals that you have when you’re new to this change. So, I just wanted to thank you for everything that you’re doing.
My question that I have is a little bit more towards how do–about my weight. How do I maintain this change? How do I get on the Kidney Stone Diet if I am somebody who can’t really afford to lose weight. I’m pretty petite and have been my whole life. Of course I’ve been able to eat all the sugar in the world for most of my life and stay thin and so now that I’m having to think about sugar and all those other things in the Kidney Stone Diet, I also don’t want to lose 20 pounds. So, if you could give a little advice on those of us that really can’t afford to lose weight, that would be great, while still setting ourselves up for success with the Kidney Stone Diet. Thank you so much. Bye bye!
Jill Harris: Okay, all I’ve got to say is “Dear Molly.” There’s sometimes you hear a voice in the world and your heart just breaks wide open. So, Molly, for you, my heart just broke wide open. Number one, I’ve done a lot of phone work in my life…a lot. So, I never get to see patients. I just hear them on the phone and you can hear–I feel like, even though I’m getting older, my mind is going a little but my hearing is so great. And so what I hear in her voice is just so sweet. She could be a serial killer, what do I know? But Molly, you radiate such sweetness. It’s just all goodness, so thanks for your call. And I love this question because I do work with a lot of people that have to maintain their weight because they don’t have a lot of weight to play with.
And so my practice is mostly overweight people because mostly in the States, we are overweight. So that’s just part of it. But then there is this smaller segment of people that come to me and say, “Look, I’m losing weight.” And this is common enough for me that I’m very grateful for the question. And sometimes it’s hard for people to get in a forum and say, “Look, I don’t want to lose any more weight.” Because the rest of the world is going “Oh, too bad for you, baby! Hard life you have!” But when you when you are on the slim side and you’ve been told you have to change your diet, damn right that Molly’s nervous that she doesn’t have any weight to play with.
And then what happens if Molly gets sick? There’s another couple pounds that she doesn’t have to play with. So when people come to me and tell me they want to maintain their weight, that is just as serious to me as somebody who’s 300 pounds and needs to lose some. So same thing for me. So, Molly, I appreciate your question and you’re everything good in the world to me, as far as I could tell from that 30-second question. So, what does Molly do? Most people, especially people that are already on the slim side and don’t have weight to lose, you have to pay attention. Twenty-five grams of added sugar–Molly, I heard her. She said I can eat as much sugar as I want and I don’t gain weight.
So, now, we’re telling Molly 25 grams of added sugar. She may lose weight because she’s gonna be less calories because she’s eating less junk. Remember, Molly, it’s added sugar. So don’t be counting where God put it naturally or your spirits above or whatever you believe. An apple, God put it there. A cookie, the plant, the food manufacturer put it there. Ain’t natural, so that’s added sugar. So, remember that first of all. So, if Molly has to pay attention to how much sugar she’s having–added sugar–she may lose some weight. But we’re also telling her, “You’ve gotta make sure you get some calcium.” So some of the sugar that she’s not going to eat anymore–those calories–she’s going to pick up from getting some calcium, whether it’s unsweetened coconut milk, pea milk, dairy, yogurts, whatever. She gonna get some calories now there. So hopefully that will help balance it out.
The #1 Thing to Know About Maintaining Your Weight
The first thing I want to tell somebody who is already at a weight and doesn’t want to lose weight is don’t think they can’t eat anything they want. Mostly, they can. Meaning the oxalate; that’s where people want to start. “Well, I can’t eat this, this, this and this.” Yes, you can. You cannot eat almonds and spinach. You cannot eat those two things. Everything else you can work in. Everything else. You just can’t eat as much as you want. So, for my slim patients that want to maintain their weight, these people are used to eating as much as they want. So they’re doing the same thing as the overweight patients.
The thin patients, though, the underweight or maintaining their weight patients just didn’t have to pay attention to it before. Now they do. So both sets of patients, even though they’re combating two different things, must pay attention to the same logic, the same philosophy. So there’s plenty to eat within normal portion sizes. End of story. So, Molly, even though you’re going to be giving up some extra calories from sugar, find those calories in healthier foods.
Maybe you’ll have some oatmeal instead of cereal in the morning. Typically, it’s more calories. So actually forget about talking about food and pay attention to calories, which I don’t talk a lot here. I do privately with patients. I do in the Kidney Stone Prevention course. But calories that is set on so many specific things with each person. Do they move? Do they not? What are they eating? What are their genetics? A lot of things. A lot of moving parts. You cannot talk generically about specific calories for each person. So, Molly, what basically you’re asking is, “how am I going to make up for the calories that I’m losing from eating all the sugar I want all day long?” You’re going to find those calories in healthier foods. That’s what you’re going to do. That’s what works for most patients. Now, the specifics of breakfast, lunch and dinner that would, you know, take a call with Molly, obviously. But does that make sense, Jeff?
Jeff Sarris: It absolutely does. Yeah, because that is a spot that not everyone is, like, in considering that like a lot of times you have to lose weight, like you said, like most people that’s just like where we are as a society right now. But that is important and I really like that you mention, too, like, if you get sick, if things happen, you do need to have some of that weight. So there’s concerns there, as well, and why it’s so important to to consider this topic for the person that that this applies to like Molly. And getting those calories, getting the inputs that maybe you were dialing back in other ways, that totally makes sense to me. It might even sound, like, a little counterintuitive because this is called a diet. But it’s more our diet. It’s not a diet that you’re on and off again. This is the new lifestyle; the new diet that you’re pursuing from here, moving forward to reduce your kidney stone risk.
Jill Harris: Yes, you know, I’ll tell you about the word “diet.” I loathe it. Now, Dr. Coe and I, several years ago, we were putting all the goals–we were doing an article for his website. We never title our articles until we finish the article. So, we were doing an article and it was all the goals that one needs to do based upon science to lower their kidney stone risk. Lowering sodium; lowering added sugar; getting enough calcium; making sure you get enough fluids to produce two and a half to 3 liters of urine a day; not grossly overeating meat protein; and getting your oxalate down to a reasonable amount.
When we were done with that article, “Okay, sweetie,” he turned to me and said, “What should we call this?” We sat there and he said, “This is something. What is this?” I said, “Well, we can call it the Kidney Stone Diet. I don’t like the word diet, but everybody else does.” Meaning, he said to me, “Is that what you want to call it?” I said, “Yeah, let’s call it the Kidney Stone Diet because these are a set of goals, this is to reduce kidney stones, and people are attracted to the word diet.” So we called it that. I mean, even Harvard calls it that now. So that’s out in the world, the Kidney Stone Diet. The deal is, though, I don’t love it because people have such, you know, so many, so many gross misinterpretations. They’ve been on and off diets their whole life. This is a lifestyle and also then people don’t want to hear a lifestyle. It’s all boring to them.
So what is this? This is the way that everybody should lead their lives. We are trying to reduce kidney stones, and this absolutely works for kidney stones, but if you think about it–all the institutions, the heart, people, the bone people, everybody says lower added sugar. Lower the amount of salt you’re eating for your heart, for your kidneys. It’s really important because if you lower sugar, added sugar, and if you lower salt, your organs are going to work a lot better. We’re already getting old. Shit wears out, people. Why would we want–I always say, “Boy, if you could see the inside of your body, and what a Coca Cola does every hour on the hour to your liver. You have fatty liver disease. What are you putting in your mouth? Your kidneys with your diabetes, heart disease. If you saw what that did to your organs, you may think twice about it.” But all our society talks about is stupid fat.
Who cares about somebody’s body size? I don’t care about that. Does that mean I’m going to love or not love somebody? Come on, people. That’s terrible. It matters. Like when I hear Molly and I can tell she’s pretty much everything freakin’ good and if I could see her in person, I’d give her a big fat hug, with my mask on. That’s what I would do because I get who Molly is just by that little bit of a call. So I’m saying, stop looking at fat and what I look like in a bikini and all that crap, people. I’m talking about eating healthy, so your body works for you. That’s what I’m talking about and that’s what I’m very passionate about. So, yes, I make it cute and adorable and fun and all that, but you can tell this is coming from somewhere–I’ve been sick. My mother’s been sick.
I’ve seen how sick she’s been. My sister’s sick. I have sickness in my family. I know people that are sick. Sick sucks. Eat better. It’s no guarantee, but while you’re going through something terrible, it might get you through it better. So, there’s my two cents. So I don’t love the word diet because people–and this is a whole other video–people think “Oh, I can’t do it.” Yes, you can. I have thousands of patients that do this. Are they special? No, they work their butt off. That’s what they do. They work. And when they slip, because we all do. A birthday comes, I’m not gonna have a piece of cake. What are ya, nuts? I’m gonna have cake. Once in a while at my mom’s house, I’m gonna have a hot dog and crinkle fries. I’m having it and I get right back to work. I didn’t fail. I had something that I don’t normally eat. That’s all this is people. It’s just food. But we wrap everything up with that word diet and food and fat and all of it.
I don’t believe in any of it. You’re feeding your body. You’re nourishing it the best you can, more days than not. You’re not perfect, but the diet industry wants to make you think you’re perfect. And when you fall off the wagon that’s it. You suck. You’re done. It’s not a black and white issue. We practice the Kidney Stone Diet. That’s what we do. We practice. We’re always practicing. People that work with me in the Kidney Stone Prevention course, they’re in my accountability calls with me: “Jill, I was doing so good. Let me tell you what happened this weekend. It’s Monday morning. Oh, well, but I’m back to it today.” That’s all. No shame, no guilt, no woe is me. Back to work. So awesome.
So, anyway, see, the word “diet,” even though we decided to call this the Kidney Stone Diet, we know people are attracted to it–but what I’m trying to push here and educate you on is a lot more than just lowering sodium. It is a philosophy. It is about not beating yourself up when you have a less-than-stellar day. It is learning how to get through obstacles without overeating all the time. Or undereating. Or somebody calling us up and saying look, I eat sugar all the time. Now you’re telling me I gotta watch it. I’m already really thin. I’m nervous. What do I do? So this is so much more complicated. And this is why our culture is in the shape it is in literally because there’s not enough education. Real, not bullshit education, by the way. Sorry, YouTube, I know you don’t like swearing, but that’s who I am to in real life. Jeff’s like, “Oh, boy, we got through another episode where she didn’t say f—. It’s a good day!” Alright, anyway, I’m done.
Jeff Sarris: No, but it’s just the passion that comes through because this is something that’s near and dear to your heart. You’ve worked with so many people for a very long time. Like, is it 22 years now?
Jill Harris: Almost 23 now, yup!
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, wild, but the passion comes through. And I just want to mention also we have the Kidney Stone Diet meal plans on the website. It is a premium service, but that will give the inspiration to go out and sort of pursue the diet, pursue this lifestyle, to reduce your risk for kidney stones, but also to maintain weight, to lose weight, to sort of get you the calories that you need, and get you along that path. I mean, things will be tweaked and adjusted. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all meal plan, but it’s inspiration to show what you can eat, what the opportunity is, and how much there really is. It’s still, like, on the table if you will.
Jill Harris: Jeff, I think why I love the meal plan so much is because people understand, “Oh my gosh, she made a pizza! I can have pizza?” Yes, if you learn how to do it. So those are foods I eat. And so, you know, you tweak a recipe until–the hard part is making it healthy but also you want to eat it. That’s not easy. And so the meal plan takes all that guesswork out. So, I know you’re like, “Well, you’re selling your meal plan,” but I’m just telling you it’s been a lifesaver for a lot of people, even if you just got it for a month, right? So you get a feel for, “Wow, I’m restricting myself way too much. No wonder I’ve lost 30 pounds. This girl in Chicago, she’s eatin’ black beans and she, too, follows this diet. And she tells me right in the recipe how much oxalate’s in it. This is on the plate now!”
So that meal plan and we all know I was not–it was finding the time to do all that because that’s a very laborious project. It’s ongoing, but I’m so grateful I did from a patient perspective. It has brought–oh my God, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, just like none of us know what we don’t know and that meal plan service really bring people a lot of exactly why I do what I do: less anxiety, more comfort, feeling more confident in leading a healthy lifestyle now. So that gift–that’s been a gift to watch how much that’s helped people. I had no idea it would be that big of a deal, you know?
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and you mentioned it’s ongoing because you’re constantly making new recipes adding new ones. So, like, every month it’s just growing. And yes, you know, we don’t like push the stuff hard–everything’s for free. We have as many things for free as we can. There’s a ton of recipes on the website on kidneystonediet.com. And meal plans is just a little more structure to get you through, so it’s a premium service. But yeah, whatever kind of help you need. This show is always free. We’re gonna keep going. We’re alread–I wish I looked it up. What number we’re up to, but we are there.
Jill Harris: In the 50s?
Jeff Sarris: Oh, we’re definitely over 50! I think we already passed 60 off to look when this is over and see exactly what number we’re on. But it’s wild, like, we’ve been doing this for a while. Because once a week–I think we missed one week out of the whole time–but we’re over a year in–well over a year in. I think it was around September that we started maybe 2019. But yeah, I mean, so we’re going to keep going. There’s so much content here. You have the free weekly email on the website and the prevention group on Facebook, so many different things, but also there’s the course.
There’s the consults, the urine analysis, all the premium things on the website if you want to dive a little deeper. I think this is a good spot to wrap, so if you have any questions–first, thank you, Molly, thank you for your question. We really appreciate it.
Jill Harris: Thank you, Molly. That was awesome!
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and if you have any questions that you want answered, the number again is 773-789-8763. And we will feature you on a future episode. So that’ll do it. I totally forgot, right now I’m realizing, I didn’t run and get Alpha, so stay tuned next week and I will hopefully have kitty for ya.
Jill Harris: Hopefully! Thank you, Molly, so much! Thank you for calling us.
Jeff Sarris: Sweet, we’ll see ya!