Stress, anxiety and trauma–have you ever wondered how the impact of these mental states can impact our neurology?

Join me today in the 75th episode of the Thin Thinking Podcast as I discuss with my guest, Cat Dillon – a Trauma-informed, registered holistic nutritionist and transformational life coach – the role of stress and trauma on our biology – including our weight.

Cat sheds some cutting-edge insights and some very do-able solutions to what has become an issue for many.

Cat also offers a 30-minute complimentary energy and overwhelm session which you can find here so join us in this week’s podcast to know more about it.

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: Stress, anxiety, and trauma. Have you ever wondered how the impact of these mental states can impact our neurology? Well join me today. As I discuss with Cat Dillon, the role of stress and trauma on our biology and even our weight. This is a fascinating and insightful conversation with cutting-edge information that you don't wanna miss. So come on in.

Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right, the key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist, weight loss expert, best-selling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict, and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills, and insights to help you develop the mindset you need. Not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long-term and live your best life.

Rita Black: Well, hello everybody. Welcome. Come on in. And I hope you are having a wonderful week so far. You know, I don't know if you're, if you heard my podcast last week, but if you are following me, my son finally did go back to school this week. And life is settling back into our more structured school year vibe, which I love, being a Virgo.

Rita Black: So I wanna dive into our podcast today because I have been noticing in my students and clients, and even in our fabulous than thinking podcast community with all that is going on in the world, I am just seeing way more anxiety and way more stress, and you know, people getting triggered and trauma, you know, even just past trauma is just emerging and, and that's impacting people's weight management and just their lives and the quality of their lives. So I think you're really gonna appreciate my guest, Cat Dillon and the knowledge and the advice she has for us to take care of ourselves. Cat Dillon has been on my podcast before. So those of you who listened to other podcasts where I interviewed her, you're in for a treat to hear her again. But if you are new to Cat, she is a trauma informed, registered holistic nutritionist and transformational life coach, helping women in midlife address the root causes of their weight, gut, sleep, fatigue, and mood issues so that they can finally feel more connected, fully alive and balanced inside and out of their bodies. She provides individualized and in depth, nutritional counseling, not only through listening to her client's feedback, but by using personalized assessments and lab analysis, combining various modalities, such as building self-awareness, innate wisdom, intuitive and mindful eating, culinary nutrition, growing a personal somatic practice, lab testing, comprehensive biochemical, gut, immune, and hormone testing, micronutrient and neurotransmitter testing. Cat's comprehensive programs are designed for those who want to find true and lasting solutions and live a longer, better quality life now and prevent health issues down the road as they age.

Rita Black: So welcome Cat. It's so great to have you back. It's always great to have you on the thinking podcast.

Cat Dillon: I'm super excited to talk with you about this Rita. I love talking to you, but this subject is gonna be great.

Rita Black: I am, because you know what, Cat is gonna talk to us about trauma and I, it is just the buzzword of the day. I'm hearing it so much. I think so much as being, and maybe you'll, we will talk about this a little too. I think so much of what's going on is, is triggering trauma in people as well. So I want to, as you know, Cat you and I have over the past few years, we've met on summits and podcasts and you always have a very encompassing practice of holistic nutrition and food and spirit and functional medicine. But more recently you've been talking about the role of stress and trauma on our biology. So, so where did this, for you? You know, kind of just dive in, like, how did this begin? How did you get into this?

Cat Dillon: Yeah, yeah. Well, I will say Rita, I got into this because I was suffering from this pattern of feeling like I needed to take this big, deep breath that wouldn't go all the way through my lungs. It was so frustrating and it wouldn't happen all the time. Like I I'd be running and it would be fine, but just day to day, I'd be doing my things driving or working or whatever. And I feel like that breath just won't travel all the way through. So I did some research. I also panicked. I am prone to anxiety and anxious thoughts. So, you know, I went on this investigation at the time I was studying holistic nutrition. And so that was one of the things that got me into studying further about the nervous system and further about, you know, the mind and mindfulness, but I, I thought there's gotta be something else besides, you know, just it being like, oh, I just need to relax. Right. So I thought, I kept hearing this word, somatic, somatic healing, somatic massage, or somatic somatic, you know, all this stuff about somatic. And at the time I was living in Vancouver and I found this lady, her name is Irene Lyons. And she taught me so much about somatic. And it was really, you know, basically our, what is in our outside world? Right. The environment is actually, you know, expressed, through patterns in our body, things that are happening. It's not, it's not, something's wrong with your lungs. It's like, really what's, what are your experience? What are your experiences? How, how are they showing up in your body? Which is really interesting because we can look at a whole host of chronic symptoms, right. And we can attach a lot of this stuff to it. So then when I came to San Diego, I'm more recently found this mentor Dr. Aimie Apigian, who taught me so much about the biology of trauma and how all of our early life experiences. And some of that being will talk about attachment all that stuff can have a profound effect on all of our emotional regulation, nervous system activity, and reactivity. Even actually Rita. It can even predispose us to having more stress.

Rita Black: Wow.

Cat Dillon: And so the stress becomes our biology that affects our ability to not only process the trauma, but to actually self regulate into, you're gonna be hearing a lot of this finding the window of tolerance. Right. Increasing the resilience, increasing capacity for experiencing stressors later on. And we're, you know, face it, stress is not going away anytime soon, right?

Rita Black: No.

Cat Dillon: Yeah. So it's super helpful.

Rita Black: Yeah. Especially in this world we're living in today.

Cat Dillon: God. Yeah.

Rita Black: Unfortunately. So, so yeah, I've heard about attachment, but maybe for the listeners, you can explain what it is and how exactly it has an effect on us as adults.

Cat Dillon: Yeah. There's so much behind that. I love, I love this. And, you know, it's, it's really not as mysterious when we think about attachment. Sometimes people are really put off by the word it's like, they just kind of just, just don't get it when you understand it. You're like, oh, that's all that, that is. So all it is really is the emotional bond that forms between an infant and its primary caregiver. And so if you think about it, babies, infants share the nervous system with their mom because they obviously, you know, they it's a critical time of their life and they, they can't express like really mom, I really need some food or mom I have to pee. Right. So all of that stuff is really communicated through the nervous system. They cry when they need something. Right. That's that, that's their engagement. So because this nervous system isn't fully developed, this is why the degree of attachment is so important and has an effect on their emotional and cognitive development and even the ability to form stable relationships in the future.

Rita Black: Right

Cat Dillon: And so, yeah, I mean, you think about it. It is like, and I wanna preface this with, if this is triggering for anyone, I'd say like really, you know, kind of, titrate, how you hear this, if this is, you know, do what you need to do with your body. I don't know, you know, it's, it is what it is for a lot of people to kind of talk about childhood attachment may kind of trigger certain people, but, but...

Rita Black: Yeah. For sure!

Cat Dillon: I'll go on, But, we're talking about neglect and abuse. And neglect is actually in the literature. What, what I have found neglect is actually even more disturbing to the nervous system than abuse. Right. Which is really interesting.

Rita Black: Interesting. Because you're being engaged when you're being abused. Right?

Cat Dillon: Exactly. Exactly.

Rita Black: Yeah. Yeah.

Cat Dillon: But it's not only Rita, it's not only the neglect and it's not only the abuse, but it's also happening with like the normal caregiver dynamic. So you'd be shocked to know exactly what can affect attachment cuz I was too and, and, and so when we talk about attachment, we're also talking about neurodevelopment because that creates the wiring for all of this insecurity and overwhelm later in life. And it becomes, I'll say our baseline, like our normal state, which can, can be referred to as that dysregulation. Right. Regulation is our normal human state, but because of all, all these patterns that I'm referring to, it causes this dysregulation. So, so some of those few things I know that I've piqued your interest is like, back in the day when I was growing up or even after. It was, it was common to, just let your baby cry to sleep. It was crying cuz it was like, You thought, well, I'm just raising a, a baby to be very insecure if, if I keep attending to their needs. Right.

Rita Black: Right. Well and I think also because I was definitely in that school of, yeah, my husband and I thought about this all the time with my first daughter, we said, the school thought was get 'em on a schedule. So get them in the habit of, you know, if you cry, cry, cry, cry, but then you get, nobody's coming, you're gonna go to sleep. Right. You know, and then you, and then you, yeah. And then you get on a schedule, right?

Cat Dillon: Yeah. Yeah. And so, and all these things that I'm saying, it's not about like how much you loved your baby or, or cared about your baby's development, it's has nothing to do with that. Right.

Rita Black: Yes. Interesting.

Cat Dillon: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, these are normal accepted practices and couple other ones are, you know, oh, my baby started walking and crawling really, really fast. Well actually, the faster that happens, there's certain patterns that the infant has to go through to develop this, this neural pattern so that there are there neurodevelopment is going as schedule, but it's you, you forfeit those patterns being developed if you do it too early.

Rita Black: Interesting.

Cat Dillon: The other one is really interesting is, you know, spending a lot of time in like those baby buckets or, you know, the car, you know, cribs where your face up. Because it's like the baby is actually really, really exposed to the outside environment too much, too soon. Right. So that has, an effect on the nervous system of the baby. It makes them a little bit too amped up. And the baby needs a lot of tummy time, they say tummy time patterns, the, the reaching, the getting the hips and the feet in action, all of that is imperative to the baby's development of the, the neural capacity. So, you know, the other things that we wanna look at, if mom was overwhelmed, was there stress, was there, like was there money issues was there, and maybe she was going to school at the same time and there was lots of stress. Right. Maybe there was stress in utera. I think we were talking about this earlier.

Rita Black: Yes.

Cat Dillon: Where moms, her adult level of cortisol, let's say in the first trimester is actually really hard on the baby because, the baby gets that influx of cortisol that it has to metabolize.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Cat Dillon: And then we look at, gosh, when I was growing up Rita my dad's, I mean, bless his heart rest in peace, smoking in the house constantly.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Cat Dillon: We were like air freshener every year. You know, all that stuff, pain. It's like, oh yeah, just air it out. Right.

Rita Black: Yeah. Yeah.

Cat Dillon: And all that, all that stuff. I mean, and, and then we look at, even we all know this now from, from a lot of what we read about, you know, being a premature baby or a C-section baby and about the microbiome and the microflora.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Cat Dillon: Even if you weren't breastfed, that is also, you know, it's not only the nutrients, but the bonding. And then, we look at epigenetics, right. This idea that it's the, in the environment, right. Is the stimuli for the expression of the certain genes. It could be positive and it could be negative. Right. And there's even some studies Rita that kids with asthma have, have, there's a big association between the parental stress symptoms and childhood asthma.

Rita Black: Wow.

Cat Dillon: Not interesting.

Rita Black: That is so, so fascinating.

Cat Dillon: Yeah. Yeah. And then we also see this in the ACE study, which is interesting because, I know that a lot of people, a lot of listeners to your podcasts are women that are interested in weight. Well, this childhood ACE study ACE study was the adverse childhood experience study, but it was founded by this doctor, doctor, or I think his name is Filetti. And he looked at obese women and the impact of disease and the impact on, you know, their lives, but also long, long term in society. And they were thinking like, well, okay, if you fix that, you fix that downstream effect to the society, but you also, and of course the cost, the medical costs. And then the risk factors for women and health and stuff. But here's the thing is that women were losing weight. But then at a certain point they got frustrated because these numbers were not looking right. And they found that they had a lot of dropouts for the program. But the most interesting thing was that the most, successful women in the program for the, the program for the weight were actually the dropouts of the program.

Rita Black: Interesting.

Cat Dillon: And so when they later interviewed the patients from the study, they were telling them that, you know, they had experience certain forms of, childhood abuse. And the issue was that the study did not address the root causes of the problem. Right, they didn't address obesity with child and instability. They didn't address, you know, traumas. They didn't address all these things. So through, it's interesting that through that study, they started investigating the life experiences. And they saw the patterns that, that were occurring. Like they showed, not only the sexual abuse, but divorce having divorce in the family. Right. And having mental health issues, whether there was someone in jail incarceration. So you fill in the blank, right. It was like, it's not the weight. The weight was the protection. It was the solution at the time. And you know, we have all those, those issues, right. We, we eat because we want to not feel something we want, we wanna keep weight on to avoid attention, all those different things. So long story short, all of that turned into the adverse childhood study. And they.

Rita Black: Interesting.

Cat Dillon: They find, or they rather found, this is back, gosh, the last couple of decades, but they found a predictable pattern between early life experiences and disease patterns. And I'll give you the statistic here I have in 2008 youths whose parents reported a higher depression, had a consistent, predictable increase of, eosin, eosinophils, which are the driving force in asthma and asthmatic conditions.

Rita Black: Wow. That's amazing.

Cat Dillon: So, yeah, that's super incredible. Yeah. And this is a really, really, when you talk about trauma, it's often a hundred percent of the time you'll, you'll hear it referred to, you'll hear the reference to, I should say to the adverse, the ACE study, and you can look at that online, look at or com. Yeah. And you'll, you'll, you'll find, the markers and take the test yourself and you can find out, you know, what your risk factors are.

Rita Black: Whoa. Okay. Well that, that is so eye opening now. So my next question would be, is so attachment trauma makes us more open to trauma. So is that what you're saying? So, so can you review for everybody what trauma actually is and what the difference is between it and the run of the mill stress and anxiety? It seems that there's a lot to know with regards to identifying what's going on. Right. Like, so we, you know, we, the layman, how are we able to separate these things out?

Cat Dillon: Exactly. Well, stress is, is an adaptive response. We've got the short term stress. It's caught, we've got the long term stress, medium stress, all in all it's caused by an external trigger, but here's the thing, is it it's, it's here, it's resolved. And then the body shifts back to the baseline.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: So we can feel it, we can feel the worry or anxiety and our body sends it's chemical release of a stress hormones, adrenaline, cortisol.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: That adrenaline is that first 15 minutes. It's that surge for us to go go go.

Rita Black: Yeah. Run. Get away.

Cat Dillon: And then there's a long-term cortisol that is lasting forever. We have to metabolize all that stuff out of our system. So a good idea when you're feeling stressed and it's that acute stress is to, to actually move the body. Right. Not only, you know, walking, I mean, walking is great, but to have those like fine motor patterns like punching, right? Like, you know, doing things that you would actually do to actually get away and to escape. Right. Right. Okay. So that's an acute, acute stress, once that event is over the body shifts back.

Cat Dillon: Anxiety, anxiety is more persistent. Anxiety is something that doesn't go away, even when the stress is done. It, it, it it's the same symptoms. You know, you can't sleep, you can't concentrate. There may be muscle tension, irritability, all that, fatigue even. But that the stressor, is, is something that just is constant. Right. And then there's other things like, you know, like really serious anxiety disorder. And of course, you know, that is, slightly different where it, you know, completely is debilitating.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: But that's. And now stress, according to, I think it's the American Institute of stress, 77% of people experience the stress that affects their physical health. 73% have stress, it impacts their mental health. And 33% of people report feeling extreme stress. Now here's the thing is that many people aren't even aware that they have stress, cuz they just have stress so much. It's just wired in that. It's just the way that they are.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: So I think those stats are, are interesting to look at.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: So trauma. Now this is, this is interesting too, because you know, we always, if you've heard about trauma, you've heard about the big T trauma, right? The big T trauma, like, child abuse or neglect or violence or natural disasters, even medical trauma, all that stuff is big T. Right. And then you've got the little T traumas where, you know, maybe you were made fun of or something or, you know, it could, I mean, even being made fun of could actually be a big true, but it doesn't matter. I mean, yeah. My heart goes out to people that experience big T trauma. Absolutely, nowhere around it. However, trauma is anything that overwhelms your nervous system. It's not the event, but it's how your body responded. And here's the kicker. It's how much, support and resources that it had at that time. So when we're talking about attachment earlier and how, when baby doesn't get that attachment or there was neglect or there was an environmental exposure, all those things affect, right. The epigenetics, all of that affect how the body responds. Because it it's, it's almost like Rita that your body has. I'll, I'll give it, you like this. If you have, let's say, a phone, your phone battery, and you know, how, and I was just, this is just happening to me today when I was on my walk and my phone battery. It it's like all of a sudden my, my podcast just died. It's like, it just died. And I'm like, what, what happened? And I looked and it went to low power, low power mode.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: And it just stopped everything. And then, and it, it stopped because it was trying to protect the phone battery. Right. Right. Well, that's exactly it like your body, if it has too much that it can't handle, doesn't have the resources, it doesn't have that resiliency. Your body will shut down.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: And this is what you call the free state. Right? This is the, this is trauma. Trauma is the, where the body goes from flight or fight. In to the freeze because it's shutting down. It has to protect, it has nowhere to go. Right. Because it has to protect its organs. It's, its brain, all of those things. It's, it's, you know, right. Understanding all this, is really important. So, let's see, looking at, trauma. It, if you, if you, if you have to really kind of think about what it feels like, it's like when you're experiencing trauma, it's like, you've gone back in time and you're reliving the incident over again in your body. Right.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: It's the feeling of it all. Like, you don't know why sometimes, like why, why do, why do all of a sudden, I feel like I'm feeling, or it could be, yeah. You know what it is, right. It may be pictures in your mind. Right. But they're also, like I said, a feeling or sensation in your body, a sharp rise of an emotion, some sort of like sadness or fear. And so that's what it is. It's the experience of the survival response and it's the overwhelm and freeze shutdown state. And that is also on the cellular level. And this is what I call the biology of trauma. This is where this comes in is.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: Where the mitochondria, this is your cell powerhouse, right. This is taking a hit. So with this happening, you're getting major oxidative stress. You're getting immune system stress, your hormones, like adrenaline cortisol, even the brain takes a hit. And so when I was explaining to you about that bone battery, yeah. That's exactly what's happening with the mitochondria. It's a, it's like your body is going into the freeze to conserve, prolong the energy that you had before. Right, right. It's it doesn't have it, but it's just gonna shut down.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: And then when I was talking about, I don't wanna confuse anyone, but oxidative stress is really interesting to know, cuz if we have chronic oxidative stress, this is predisposing us to further health insults in the future. So if I can explain it, like all of our body, every process, every metabolic, action that takes place, digestion, respiration, detoxification, all those things. It requires it's like it requires energy. It also, when it requires energy, it also think about it. Think about it like a vehicle, right. It it's got energy going through, but it, it has waste products just like our me metabolism has it. It has to discharge even. If you think even about, well, that's, that's the example I wanna give you. But oxidative stress is the imbalance between the production of these free radicals that you've heard about these buzzing electrons they're damaging. And, and, and they're also looking for pairs they're very unstable. And then also the, the imbalance between that and the ability of our body to take care of them. So it, the ability for the body to actually detoxify them. Right. So if you think about like, you've probably heard this analogy, you, you bite into a couple bites of an apple and there's that browning that takes place inevitably. Right. So you can think about it as rust build up on a car, all of these things. Once it starts, it takes over and you can't get rid of it. So that's oxidative stress.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: And you think about, sorry.

Rita Black: No. Keep going

Cat Dillon: So I was gonna say is there's also, you know, you, there's a term, I love this term. It's called inflammaging it's inflammation and aging. And that's what oxidative stress is.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: Inflammaging you're aging, your body.

Rita Black: Yeah. Cause it, it, from what you're talking about, like mitochondria and all of the, the things that are getting impacted by the stress are the things that are also impacted. Like when you talk about longevity, it's like, preserving the mitochondria and doing and yeah. Inflammation. Absolutely.

Cat Dillon: Yeah. So I, every process, every single process in your body is affected by this, by the mitochondria that are not working.

Rita Black: Right. So you mentioned the trauma, survival response being the freeze. So how can you break that down? Like what are the signs that you may have trauma patterns wired into your body?

Cat Dillon: Yeah. That's a great question. I'm really glad you, you asked that. So a lot of people think that there's two nervous system states, right? There's autonomic nervous system. Okay. It's the fight or flight or freeze. Right. That's it, but here's the thing. There's actually three.

Rita Black: Oh, wow.

Cat Dillon: And so we've got the parasympathetic, which is referred to as a ventral vagal. You've got the sympathetic or I should say the, the, the parasympathetic is that rest, digest, everything is calm, you're at a calm state. You're engaged but calm and collected. Sympathetic is fight or flight. And then the other side of it is the freeze and that's where your body, like I said before, it, it has no place to go, but shut down because it's trying to, to protect itself.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: So that is called the dorsal vagal response. So, yeah, so like I mentioned, the sympathetic is this huge energy rush. It's if you wanna think about it like this, this is a really clear analogy. The sympathetic is, you've probably heard that analogy running away from a tiger. Right? Your heart rates up your blood pressure. Your blood is flowing to your muscles and there's decreased blood flow to your stomach and your GI system for a good reason. Right? You don't wanna be pooping at the same time you're running. Right.

Rita Black: Or thinking too hard. I think your, your frontal lobe.

Cat Dillon: yes.

Rita Black: Also gets your, your conscious mind kind of shuts down.

Cat Dillon: Exactly.

Rita Black: And you're just running on primal instinct.

Cat Dillon: Right? Exactly. But before that, if you think about parasympathetic, let's say you're in the Savannah, but there's a, there's like cave. You are actually in the entrance of that cave and you see that tiger. It's like, okay, I got this. I can always run into that tiger. I'm in control. I don't have to fight to survive. I can stay in that calm state. In that rest and digest in that state of aliveness, without a worry, I don't have to fight or flee. I got this cave. All right. So that's the para pathetic you're in, you have your, your area.

Rita Black: Comfort zone

Cat Dillon: To be. Right. So the sympathetic you've got that huge rush that they're flight or fighting. Now here's the thing is that if the, if you've got that chronic cortisol elevated, right. For a, a long time being in that stress response of sympathetic activation, you know, this is the brain doing this. This is. This is automatically the autonomic nervous system. If the brain decides, then it could get away from danger. It does that action to complete that startle response, then all is well, right. If it feels like it can't survive, if it feels like it can't get away, that is called a thwarted response. And so what that means, Rita, and you see this in life, all over the place, this is the, the, the action where you don't have an action. You can't take in action because there is no place to, to do anything. It's like, I can't get away from my relationship or I can't, all of that. All of those things are called a thwarted response. This happens a lot in childhood.

Rita Black: Yes.

Cat Dillon: Right. We see this, all the time. The freeze. This is the freeze. Right. And this happens a lot.

Cat Dillon: So for some people go, some people have been in such a state of stress for so long. They, they automatically go right into the freeze. They go from parasympathetic, right. To freeze. Okay. Most people, I don't wanna say most people, I should say many people go from that sympathetic to the freeze in a daily basis. Many times a day.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: It's like stressed out, exhaustion, need coffee, medicate, do whatever it is.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: Or it may be for some people that freeze might be I'm shut down. I wanna be alone. It's a heavy state. I don't wanna be around people.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: I'm exhausted.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: Right.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: That maybe I need to eat something because something's gotta pull me out of that. Right.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: It's a survival state.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Cat Dillon: And the thing about that, whereas that stress state, the sympathetic state is, is that, that state of high cortisol. This, because it's been high for so long, we've get that resistance now. And now we're going into a pro-inflammatory state of chronic chronicity. And when we see that, it is also, the pattern of when we see the autoimmune conditions coming in, right. It's this gas pedal, Rita. Constantly. It's like the ga, and we talked about this with the, the early life and the adverse childhood study.

Rita Black: right? Yeah.

Cat Dillon: The gas pedal full acceleration. And at the same time, the breaks, right. It's wired in its chronic patterns of threat, chronic patterns of exhaustion. And all of this going back and forth is really damaging. We talked about oxidative stress. That is the pro-inflammatory, inflammatory reaction creates more damage to the mitochondria. And that right there is decreasing the energy. It's also creating epigenetic changes to our DNA structure that can become even more triggers for epigenetic diseases like cancer...

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: Bipolar, all of those things. And now we're, we're seeing more biological stress on the mitochondria. Again, immune system, stress, hormone, stress, you know, people are complaining, oh, well, my hormones don't work well, you know, it's not, the hormones are, are not the cause. If the end, the result, all these they're not causes. Right.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: I mean, we see the, the gut issues, system, brain inflammation, all that stuff. And big deal is the brain fog. Right. For people wanna know how to, how can I, how can I help my brain? Well, all of this stuff is priming microglia. So microglia are the scavengers in your brain that take away all the crap from the it's like the exhaust system of your brain.

Rita Black: Oh, wow. Okay.

Cat Dillon: And much of the time we have brain inflammation and brain fog because that those, those microglia are being primed. So everything is more overwhelmed. Because the body is prioritizing survival.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: And we see this also with weight loss, people with weight loss resistance, and like I said before, the kind of the pathway of autoimmune conditions we see that all the time. Immune systems being set up for chronic pro-inflammatory conditions. Right. The, the,

Rita Black: Yeah.

Cat Dillon: We see everything from autoimmune conditions, fibromyalgia, Crohn's conditions, even depression and anxiety, weight conditions, chronic, chronic pain, gut issues of all sorts.

Rita Black: Yeah. I wonder if long COVID is also

Cat Dillon: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

Rita Black: Factors into this as well. I have a couple of friends with that and it's, it's definitely being seen almost as a, is isn't it being seen as an autoimmune or acting like an autoimmune disorder, even though it might not be, I don't know. They know a lot about it yet, but it does seem to be behaving that way. So, so given all of this, I mean, oh my gosh, what an amazing, layered, I mean, like, there's just so much here to, to think about, what are some tools that we do have control of that we can use to help our body widen our window of tolerance or increase its resilience, as you say, cuz it, that seems to be what we need to do. Right? Like that's

Cat Dillon: You said it, you said it Rita. So, you know, I like to really bring it back to that phone analogy. Right. Without having, or even in your computer, your laptop. It's funny because as we speak, I I've got my, my, computer plugged in just in case. Right.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: But we wanna start with the energy. We wanna start with charging it up. If you got too many open windows on your computer at the same time or on your phone, it's not gonna work. It's not gonna be as, as efficient. So, and, and so it's, it's time to support that phone and you gonna support your body with getting the energy into the body. So with that, we we'll go back to the mitochondria, go back to the mitochondria. And also we think about it, mitochondria is that cellular powerhouse of the body. It's got, you know, millions and millions of like little factories with the, in all of the cells. And they all make energy. Most people have some level of mitochondrial dysfunction and don't even know it.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: They feel fine until a stress happens. Right.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: So until you've gone through a mold exposure in your house, right? Or a head injury, or you have to take a lot of medications for some reason, or antibiotics for a tooth infection. So overwhelm happens on both. This is the biggest, the piece of this that I want everybody to understand is that overwhelm happens on both the cellular level and the system level. So what that, what that means is that a person can feel overwhelmed on a system level. Maybe they feel the heaviness. They feel the, the low energy and emotional, all those things. Thoughts like I'm overwhelmed. I mean. Who doesn't say that now, and then these days. This is too much right. And the same overwhelmed is also happening not on that psychological level, but also now on the cellular level. Right? It's like, if I can say, it's like how much money someone has it determines how much someone can purchase at the store or like how much they wanna factor in for up the house that they wanna buy.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: So how much ATP that's the currency of energy determines what the body system can do.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: And so that's the, that's the key, it's the cellular energy, but then you wanna also think about the cellular and then this sounds really sciencey, but if you can get around it, if, just think about this is really cool, this analogy, because this is how you can really understand the cell membrane. And you wanna think about the cell membrane. It's like, think about the cell membrane. Like you were life. You wanna let some things in, but not everything. Right?

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: Cell membrane has this barrier. It protects itself like, think about your boundaries. It protects itself from the environment around you. It does this by creating layers in this, in that wall with fat and receptors stuck in this cell membrane. And so this is fat it's made of cholesterol and, and phospholipid. It allows it to be flexible and fluid and it gets to be bendy and not break, like, think about it, if the cell wall is really stiff, it's like, it's gonna shatter and break. But if it's fluid and it's kind of like us, we wanna be flexible.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: We wanna go with the flow. We don't want everything to just us off all the time. Right.

Rita Black: Yeah.

Cat Dillon: And so some things come directly through that, that wall, others attach to the receptors, then, then pass on the signal to the, to the cells for energy. So I hope that really lands. And I hope that you can kind of understand cuz there's a lot to that, but there's a lot that we can actually have so much agency and control with. Because what I can tell you is, you know, we wanna do the things that help keep that cell and the mitochondria healthy. And we wanna also, you know, work on things that are just really basic. And then I'll, then I'll tell you like where, where I would start with people.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: How does that sound?

Rita Black: Yeah, that sounds good. I mean, yeah. So let, so if, if you know, maybe review, so how would you work with someone? Like how, where would you get started with within all of this?

Cat Dillon: Yeah. So basically I wanna start, cuz I know a lot of people are working on doing, you know, eliminating the sugar, right. Getting the trans fats out, trying to get less alcohol in their system, you know, keeping the excess alcohol out, working on the gluten and all that. Definitely one big kicker is gonna be the processed vegetable oil. So eating out...

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: I'm not gonna say don't eat out at a restaurant, but be careful, you know, the fried food's gotta go.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: But also making sure that you're not seeing soy oil, cotton seed oil, canola oil, safflower oil, all of those are oils that heated and not even heated, but just used, are very toxic to the cell wall and to result in, in a lot of inflammation because they have such a high omega six content which is very, very inflammatory and oxidative, `creates oxidative stress.

Cat Dillon: But where I start would be for one looking at what can we do to get a fast win? Like how can we create just a little bit more energy? So someone's actually motivated to do this work. And so I would really wanna support, besides the, the, you know, getting rid of those five things that I mentioned earlier is supporting with some good mitochondrial supplements. And some of those might be if you've ever heard of, NAD, NAD plus.

Rita Black: I have.

Cat Dillon: Is really, really great, that helps DNA repair. It helps immune cell function and all the mitochondrial cell functions. Then

Rita Black: That's like a, you get those like in powder or capsule

Cat Dillon: Form, right? Yep. We can do that. Or a sublingual. We can do patches there's injections. There's a lot of different ways to do NAD. But also a couple more things that you may wanna think about is CoQ10. Especially if you are on a statin, you'll definitely need to be replacing that it's naturally made in your body. Definitely great for energy and mitochondrial support. Selenium is another one. Magnesium is another one. Everybody should be on magnesium, different forms of magnesium for, I mean, look, magnesium is responsible for hundreds and hundreds of cellular reactions in the body.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: The B vitamins, really, really important then Rita, you know, most people are gonna, I, I really wanna give 'em that fast wind for sure first. Then we can work on the diet. We work on diets to increasing the healthy fats, increasing the protein so we can get those amino acids in for the brain stabilize the blood sugar levels, incorporate some really key brain mitochondria power foods. Salmon is great for the omega3.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: I love seaweed as a great powerful food, avocado, nuts. You wanna watch for the mold, so watch for, you know, make sure your nuts are, are, are clean and, and fresh. Olive oils, a really good one. Coconut oil, blueberries, matcha green tea, green tea, or matcha is green tea. Any kind of greens. broccoli is a big powerhouse and I will say the last one is my favorite is pomegranates.

Rita Black: Oh yeah.

Cat Dillon: Yeah. And so then I would, I would wanna work at, somatic work, somatic work to help bring down that internal energy drain the tension against that fatigue. So that would be, that would be really, really great. Some, some, you know, and, and we can go into what that would look like. You know, those somatic exercises are really great because they bring in that felt sense of safety. And so, you know, there's so much behind this and we can, this, this is totally entirely new, different podcast. Right. But I mean, we can just kind of do one, one, exercise to kind of feel like, we get through an exercise, an example of something. So we'll do one. I love this one. It's called, doing a Voo. It's a Voo you're making the...

Rita Black: Oh I love that name, Voo.

Cat Dillon: Yeah. It's yeah. Voo. And so the beauty of that is you're gonna do the, you're gonna take a big deep breath in and on the out breath, you're going to do the sound of the view and kind of just make it go like last, as long as the breath. So what this is doing, it's, it's, it's gonna create this resonation in your belly. It's gonna calm the, the, the vagus nerve.

Cat Dillon: Okay.

Cat Dillon: Just remember V for vagas. And that vagas nerve, it runs from the base of your brain, right? Goes to the heart, the lungs, the diaphragm, your, your digestive tract. And so what it's doing is that it's gonna send a signal that you're not an immediate danger, so it sends the nervous system to calm down.

Rita Black: Oh, wow.

Cat Dillon: So this is a really good one. If let's say I do this for my clients that are, have fear of flying. Oh, it's a real powerful one.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: And the nice thing is that, this can also, create this kind of, if you, if you wanna, we're going to, well, let's just do this one. I don't wanna do too many things here, but yeah. This is gonna really help you just create that base and, and calm and, and, and so that you're feeling that you have, you have some agency and really nice. I really like to do this, so let's just do it.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: We'll do it together.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: And, and, and just think about your out breath is like, like a breath. And cause I kinda know some people think that the Voo is like, it sounds so weird, but just feeling that resonates. It's nice to put your hand on your belly and so we can do it.

Rita Black: So I'm breathing. Okay. I'm just gonna follow you, but I'm breathing all the way deep down into my belly.

Cat Dillon: Yes, exactly.

Rita Black: Okay

Cat Dillon: And this is mind to. This is really good to do before you eat your meals because it sends that calm, relaxation.

Rita Black: I love that. Great idea. I bet. It's great for public speaking too, just before you go on. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

Cat Dillon: Absolutely.

Rita Black: Let's do it.

Cat Dillon: There we go.

Rita Black: Following you

Cat Dillon: Gonna take one deep breath in. We'll do two Voos. Okay.

Rita Black: Okay.

Cat Dillon: So inhale in. Voo...

Cat Dillon: So that's the Voo and there's many different ways to do the Voo. You can do the Voo with something called a push away, which allows you to feel more space in your body, right? For allowing cause a lot of times people have that sense of being shut down or pushed down. It's really nice to push away and allow for more energy to flow within the body. Those are just a few little, little sample.

Rita Black: That's all amazing. Can I just say that just felt amazing. So yeah, I hope you guys followed it along with that or while we're talking, you do a Voo cause it's a good, that's a good feeling. Okay.

Rita Black: Fantastic. Well that is, I mean, that's a great little takeaway right there. I hope you guys all got that. So tell, tell us more about like, if people would like to know more about like, I'm gonna put your website definitely in the show notes, but tell us about anything that you want, you know, how do we get more of Cat and your connection to this and this work?

Cat Dillon: Yeah. Thanks Rita. Yeah. I think that we're gonna put a link in the, your show notes.

Rita Black: Yes.

Cat Dillon: For, for a session. And then, feel free to look at the, my website has lots and lots of free tools and action articles and steps that you can take in your life to really create a calm state and really just work with your biology and work with your nervous system. It's not one, it's not one thing. It's all of it. And...

Rita Black: Cat, I'm sorry. Cuz I want you to explain, so tell us a little more about this session. Tell us a little more about the link, where if somebody signs up, they're going to tell us what happens when they do that.

Cat Dillon: Okay.

Rita Black: The link.

Cat Dillon: Yeah. Okay. So when you...

Rita Black: Voo...

Cat Dillon: So you'll see that show notes has a link and it's a link for a 30-minute session with me. In this 30-minute session. First, what you'll do is fill out a questionnaire so we can get right down to business to see where your nervous system and your biology needs some help. Because it's not just doing one thing, it's doing all of these things that I talked about. It's it, It is getting the sleep for sure. It is getting the sunlight. It is moving your body. Those are really important things, but it's lots and lots of things that we can kind of look at and really look to supporting your body with the protocol that works for your individual nervous system. You might be in that deep freeze, right. Or you might be in that stuck in that sympathetic state. And so we need to have, you know, figure that out so we can do the right thing for your body. Right. It's not a one size fits all protocol.

Rita Black: Absolutely. Now I just wanna, make sure we're clear on this. This is a complimentary session, right?

Cat Dillon: Yes, yes. Complimentary

Rita Black: Okay. So you guys like if you're sitting there, is this, do I pay, do I, not, no. Cat is offering this as a complimentary session, a 30-minute session. So that's amazing. Like that's so generous. And that's a getting your, you know, biquet as my husband would say or dipping your toe into the water of this work, which sounds really fascinating. Cuz you were saying that, especially if you've been had a lot of trauma that you can get results, like, like get life changing results almost immediately. You're gonna the, if you have a lot of trauma, you're gonna see things much more clearly right up front.

Cat Dillon: And so Rita, you know, people are free to, to go to my website as well because there's lots and lots of great tools. There's meal plans. There's some great articles on how to balance your nervous system. And I wanna say that, you know, this is a, this is a journey and it's lifelong. You know, I am, I'm going through the work myself and I'll tell you one big secret is that all of the people that I have studied under, they have all been drawn to this work for their own nervous system for their reason, for their own trauma. So.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: You know, we're not here on this planet to go it alone, find out, find some support. And if I can't give you the support that you need, I am happy to find someone that can support you the way you need it.

Rita Black: Right. That's amazing. And you, and you also mentioned to me that like if somebody's in therapy or anything, this kind of work can actually make therapy work even better. Right.

Cat Dillon: Definitely can enhance.

Rita Black: the effects of therapy because you're moving it into the body.

Cat Dillon: Absolutely. That's the key is moving it into the body. It's somatic,

Rita Black: You don't have to be in therapy, but if you were like, well I'm in therapy already. Well this actually this kind of work could actually amplify your therapy.

Cat Dillon: Yes. And any kind of therapy.

Rita Black: Right.

Cat Dillon: Whatever, whatever therapy doing. Hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, psychiatrictherapy, you know, whatever it is. We work with it together.

Rita Black: That's so awesome. Okay. Well, cool. Well this has so fascinating and it, it, I, I can tell that this is sort of what you are up with is so sort of like on the cutting edge of a lot of trauma, like what, you know, the access people have to trauma because there's so many different ways to approach it, but this just sounds so holistic. Like you're taking into account all the parts. So this sounds great.

Cat Dillon: You said it, you said it, it is holistic and it is, it's the missing piece in, in, in psychology, I believe. In psychology and biology. We're not separate, we're not the brain and the body it's right thing.

Rita Black: Yeah. We're an organism. Yeah. Oh, well this has been so great. So Cat thank you so much for your time and, generosity of like sharing your knowledge with us. You're always so generous. I always love having you on. It's been great to see you. So thank you for once again, being on the thin thinking podcast.

Cat Dillon: Thank you, Rita. And thank you for all that you bring to the world. You really are amazing.

Rita Black: Oh, well thank you. And you guys check out the show notes and definitely sign up for that 30 minute consultation. I'll be signing up now. Okay. Thank you Cat.

Cat Dillon: See you soon.

Rita Black: Okay. Bye bye.

Cat Dillon: Thank you.

Rita Black: Thank you, Cat. It was such a joy to have you on the show and thank you, listeners. Stay cool in this hot world and take a deep Voo breath for me and have a wonderful week. And remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door. The weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it.

Rita Black: You wanna dive deeper into the mindset of long term weight release, head on over to That's, where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release, tips, strategies, and more. And be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind For Permanent Weight Loss.