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Podcast 157: Dr Hazel Wallace Talks Nutrition and Habit Formation

January 25, 2022

This week’s episode is all about things that might just be top of mind for you this January–nutrition, exercise, and habit formation.

By Will Ahmed

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Kristen Holmes is back on the WHOOP Podcast, sitting down with Dr. Hazel Wallace (also known as The Food Medic) for a conversation that breaks down how everyone can live a healthier life.

Dr. Wallace is not just a trained physician, she is also a qualified personal trainer and registered nutritionist. Hazel has spent her career bridging the gap between conventional medicine and nutrition. She believes in prescribing lifestyle changes, including exercise, for those looking to improve their health.

Kristen and Hazel discuss the keys to strong habit formation, the critical role good nutrition plays in your health and wellbeing, and some of the signs to monitor each day to understand if you’re optimizing your nutrition.

Stay healthy and stay in the green!


Dr. Hazel Wallace Nutrition Podcast Quotes & Highlights

2:20 – Hazel’s Inspiration. Hazel talks about how losing her father at the age of 14 inspired her to go into medicine.

6:30 – Small Improvements. “I think a lot of people think it all needs to happen at once or that results are going to happen really quickly. And that’s not what happens. It’s what we do every day and the small things that we do every day that amounts to better health in the future.”

8:42 – Sleep and Metabolism. Hazel explains why sleep is a key component to better metabolic health and how your hormones react to good sleep and bad sleep.

10:52 – Meal Timing and Sleep. “It’s less about what you’re eating, but more about when you’re eating when it comes to sleep,” Hazel says. “When we eat, we are sending a signal to our body that it’s daytime. And so if you’re eating at say 9:00 PM at night, and you’re having a big meal, you are essentially causing a shift in your circadian rhythm, which is going to make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.”

Learn More: How Eating Before Bed Affects Your Sleep and Recovery

13:53 – Finding the Right Diet for You. “Nutrition is very individual when it comes to performance and recovery. There’s no single diet that stands out in terms of what we know from the research.”

17:00 – Gender Differences. Hazel explains how we use carbohydrates and fats during exercise, and notes that women can use fat at higher intensities than men. “It really just illustrates how important our hormones are in determining how we function,” Hazel says.

20:10 – Fasted Training for Women. “When it comes to fasted training, I think it’s super unique because I know a lot of people do well on training fasted, and sometimes I prefer it. The reason that I’m slightly cautious of advising it for women is that oftentimes it can lead to low energy availability, [which can] lead to menstrual cycle disturbances.”

Learn More: Sports Nutrition for Women & Impact of Menstrual Cycle

27:37 – Finding the Best Version of Yourself. “We don’t have to accept mediocrity for ourselves. We don’t have to accept a sub-optimal state,” Kristen says. “There’s so much good information out there that we can grasp onto that we can build behaviors around that enable us to really be the best version of ourselves.”

28:50 – Behavior Change and Habit Formation. “You can’t just tell people to eat less and move more. That doesn’t work. It’s all down to behavior change and motivation,” Hazel says. “In order to build a new habit, it’s hard. It’s not easy. We all have these ingrained routines. You have to disrupt that to a degree and you have to be motivated to do it. What you do repeatedly shapes the person who you want to be.”

31:16 – Eliminating Unnecessary Steps. “If there are too many steps to what you’re trying to achieve, you’re more likely to not do it at all. You want to simplify the process.”

35:45 – Women’s Performance Collective. Hazel is a member of the newly formed WHOOP Women’s Performance Collective, and aims to better understand the difference between men and women through her own research. “Men and women are completely different. We’re not small men and we perform differently. We sleep differently. We use nutrients differently. Even down to the diseases that we suffer from, we experience them very differently.”

Connect with Hazel on Instagram, Twitter, and her website.


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Will Ahmed

Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. WHOOP members include professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, frontline workers and a broad range of people looking to improve their performance. WHOOP has raised more than $400 million from top investors and is valued at $3.6 billion, making it the most valuable standalone wearables company in the world. Ahmed has recruited an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. Ahmed was recently named to the 2021 Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list as well as 2020 Fortune 40 Under 40 Healthcare list and previously named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and graduated with an A.B. in government.