How will you be treating your gut starting in 2023?


In this episode of the Love Your Gut Podcast, I talk about how the holiday season affects our gut health, extreme restrictive diets, and how to set up your 2023 gut health plan, up for success.


Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • [02:21] Thank you.
  • [02:58] Looking back at 2022.
  • [05:17] Getting through the holidays.
  • [08:05] Restrictive diets.
  • [10:59] Too many changes at once.
  • [14:10] Creating sustainable habits.
  • [18:21] Making your 2023 gut health plan.
  • [25:08] Evaluating your progress.
  • [27:18] Our 2023 focus.


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  • “You overestimate what you can do in a week or a day, but you underestimate what you can do in a month or a year.”
  • “The issue is not self-discipline.”
  • “If you feel like you’re constantly having to start over, then you need a new plan.”


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Dr. Heather Finley

Dr. Heather Finley  00:01

It’s really hard to make sustainable changes, because in our mind, that’s way less sexy, right? There is something in our human nature that like lives for the thrill of the extreme. And we’re almost addicted to it as a society. It’s like, almost if it’s more extreme, it’s better. It’s kind of like, you know, trying to get rich quick versus making small deposits in your bank account over time. You know, you’re you just keep buying lottery tickets, wondering why you haven’t won yet. Versus like, Alright, I’m just going to make small deposits into my portfolio, and it’s going to grow significantly over months and years. And that’s really what we want to do with our digestive health. 

Dr. Heather Finley  00:43

Hey, welcome to the love your gut podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Heather Finley, I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to love my gut when all it does is hold me back. I thought the same thing before I found my own relief from my own gut health issues, I dedicated my life to getting to the bottom of my own gut issues, so I could help women just like you transform theirs. Now I’m here to guide you through your own gut health journey. We do this through identifying your root causes and making sustainable and transformational changes. As a result, you can unleash your true potential. My goal is to empower you with the information and tools you need to love your guts. So it loves you back right here on this podcast. 

Dr. Heather Finley  01:26

Welcome to the next episode of the love your gut podcast, I’m so glad you are here. Whether you are listening to this in 2022, or 2023, this is going to be a great one. And if you’re like me, you’re probably listening to this podcast while you are multitasking. But I want to tell you that this is probably going to be one that if you are multitasking, you’re going to want to come back and listen to some of the prompts at the end. So multitask away. Listen to this while you’re working out or driving or on a walk or washing dishes, whatever it is. But definitely make sure you come back to some of the prompts at the end. Because this really is going to be what sets you up for 2023. And especially sets you up for a happy, healthy gut in 2023. So I want to really start off this episode, actually, first by just saying thank you. Thank you so much for tuning into these episodes. They I’ve gotten such great feedback since I launched this podcast back in May. And this is actually Episode 30, which is really exciting. So if you’re new to the podcast, and this is the first episode that you’re listening to, you have 30 other episodes or 29 other episodes that you can go back and binge listen to over the holiday season if you need support, and there actually even is a holiday episode. 

Dr. Heather Finley  02:57

But 2022 has been an amazing year. I started off the year on January 18, having my second baby and went into maternity leave for several months after. Since then I’m back to work and have launched two cohorts of my signature gut health mentorship for registered dieticians and health professionals. And actually just opened the cart for the next cohort which is starting in mid January. 

Dr. Heather Finley  03:28

So if you are a gut health or aspiring gut health practitioner and you’re looking to deepen your knowledge for an in digestive health, you can definitely reach out about that program. 

Dr. Heather Finley  03:42

We have served hundreds of clients in the got together program this year, which is amazing and exciting and wonderful all at the same time. My team I couldn’t do it without them. It’s been an incredible year of growing and learning and supporting women on our mission to empower women to find relief from their digestive symptoms. And the podcast is a part of that. If you whether you are a past client, former client, current client, aspiring client or none of those at all, I really hope that this podcast inspires you and empowers you to find digestive relief. That’s really why this podcast exists.

Dr. Heather Finley  04:26

And I also launched a new offer this year that is a business mentorship offer for registered dieticians and health professionals. So all in all, it has been a wonderful year and I’m so excited about 2023 and what it brings, and I’m really excited about this episode. 

Dr. Heather Finley  04:47

So buckle up. This is going to be a little bit different than your typical podcast episode because I’m gonna leave you with some thoughts, some journal prompts and a great way to structure your 2023 gut health plan. And I’d love to hear from you, after you listen to this, if you whatever stuck out to you, or if you want to send me your plan, I’d love to see it. I’m always inspired when you all reach out afterwards. 


So we’ll just get right into it. We’ve all been there, but white knuckling our way through the holidays with a looming January 1 and the pressure to do something extreme. This is the worst time of the year when it comes to dieting and restriction all the ads on the radio, the TV, etcetera, are all about detoxes and juice cleanses and diets and it can be exhausting. I know personally, I’m sick of listening to the radio at this point, because of all of the ads for these restrictive diets that are just kind of preying on people’s insecurities this time of the year. Typically, this time of the year, you know, if you haven’t sought help for your digestive symptoms, you might be more miserable this time of the year, you might feel more bloated, more constipated, more stressed. And I really think honestly, a big reason that people experience digestive issues this time of the year is actually because of stress and what that does to our digestive system. But it also could be from schedules being off more alcohol, different eating schedules, different food, there’s definitely a combination of things that contribute here. But really what I want this podcast to provide you with is a fresh perspective on how you can enter 2023 Feeling confident about your digestive health and leaving the diets and restriction aside. I know that everybody, or it seems like everybody is starting a new diet. On January 1, I think it’s one of those things that people just assume that they have to do, because that’s what our society tells us that we have to do each year because that’s what we’re being fed in the media. But what if you didn’t start 2023 with some crazy restriction or crazy diet, and instead you approach 2023 looking to sustainably improve your gut health. I heard this quote somewhere and I’m forgetting where but essentially what it said was that you overestimate what you can do in a week or a day, but you underestimate what you can do in a month or a year. And I think that that’s so true. We are so focused on the here and now. Especially if you feel miserable, especially if you’re bloated, especially if you’re having symptoms, you are so focused on how can I get rid of these symptoms right now? Because you don’t want to feel that way. So that makes sense. But what I want you to think about is what got you here in the first place, and what’s actually contributing to why you’re feeling this way right now. So the first thing that I want you to think about is how have restrictive diets and extremes worked for you in the past, maybe you did feel better, maybe you felt better temporarily. But then maybe the symptoms came back within a couple of weeks. There is a reason that February is historically the busiest enrollment month for the Get Together program. And I believe that that’s because everyone is white knuckling their way through the holidays, they feel miserable, they think I just have to make it through so that I can get to January 1 As if that’s like the day that is going to change everything. And it’s not it’s just another day. And they start some sort of restrictive extreme, and they end up you know, mid January falling off and deciding, okay, I actually really need help. So, you know, you start the new year filled with hope of having more discipline or being able to stick to a better plan and 20 days in, you’re binging the pantry at night because you feel so restricted, and so hungry. And if you can relate to this, there is no shame attached to that we have all been there. And I want you to know that the issue is not self discipline. The reason that you’re having digestive symptoms is not because you need more willpower or more self discipline. The issue is that the more you restrict yourself, the worse you’re going to feel, and the more power food has over you. We see this all the time and clients that we work with, they’ve done all the restrictive diets and they’re like, Yeah, I feel great when I’m doing that. But like, what about my social life? I feel so scared of food. What happens when I’m binging in the pantry at night like this is not sustainable and now I’m more scared to eat than even before because I feel like if I eat one morsel of food that’s outside of the you know, quote unquote plan, what’s going to happen? So I want you to know that we’re human, and we want what we can’t have. So just like if you have a toddler, and you tell them to not touch a hot stove, what are they going to do, they are going to want to touch the stove. So the more you restrict yourself, the more power food has over you, and the worst you are going to feel and I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to feel so restricted and so hungry and so defeated. And so the first journal prompt that I have for you is actually how have restrictive diets and extremes served you in the past. And you can write pros and cons on this list. But most likely, what you’ll see is that, yeah, they have given you the relief, but they’ve also come at a huge cost. And I want you to list those things out. The second thing that I want you to think about is, have you ever tried too many changes at once. I mentioned this earlier, but we see January 1 is kind of like this date that supposedly will change everything as if like on that day, we’re going to have more discipline or more willpower or, you know, no distractions or like all the circumstances are going to be correct. But it’s just another day, just like you’ve probably thought before, I’m going to start over on Monday. No, there’s nothing special about Monday, you can start over the next hour, the next minute, the next day. And you don’t have to wait for the perfect day. And really there is no starting over. Because if you feel like you’re constantly having to start over, then you need a new plan. Because if you have relief sustainably from your digestive issues, there is no starting over. The key to sustainable gut health relief is slow, incremental changes, not drastic overhauls. When you try to change everything at once it starts the mentality of I cannot wait till this is over. We’ve all been there, right? Whether it’s with food or something, something else you’re like, Alright, I just have to do this for 30 days. And then I can be done. You know, maybe it’s even a big project at work where you know, you have like this big push, or maybe you’re in that right now where you’re like, I just have a couple projects I need to complete for the end of the year. And then I can close my laptop, and sign off of everything and not talk to anybody from work for a couple of weeks. That’s how it can feel when you make too many changes gut health wise at once. One of the most life changing books that I’ve ever read is called atomic habits by James clear, I will link it in the show notes. But essentially, this book is talking about the concept of habit stacking. And really that’s exactly what we’re looking for when it comes to digestive health. One way to approach small incremental changes is to actually attach these new changes to habits that you already have. This has been life changing for me and for many of our clients as well. 


Hey there, I know you are absolutely loving this episode. But I am so excited because my book The healthy happy gut cookbook is now available for pre order. This book is designed to help you identify the causes of your symptoms, give you really actionable steps to address them, and help you love food again and get back in the kitchen. So not only is it packed with tons of info, it’s also packed with over 50 delicious recipes that I’m so excited for you to try. When you preorder this book, you not only get the book on your doorstep on December 20, just in time for Christmas. But you also get access to some bonus trainings and a live q&a call with me in December. So we will be releasing more info about that soon. But I would absolutely love it if you would pre order the book and share it with a friend who might need it as well. The link to preorder the book is in the show notes and also on my website. 


So for example, maybe your goal is you’re trying to drink more water. But that’s become very hard. Maybe your routine is that you wake up in the morning, you walk immediately to the coffee pot, you make your coffee and then you’re sitting there thinking oh shoot, I was supposed to drink water before I drink my coffee. So what if instead you put your water cup right next to the coffee pot where you see it first thing in the morning and you think all right while the coffee is brewing, I’m going to drink 16 ounces of water and then I can have my coffee. And so essentially you’re just attaching a new habit with an old habit. We do this all the time with our clients especially with like vagus nerve activation will tell them okay, you can gargle for two minutes while you are in the shower. or you can do this, you know, before you brush your teeth or something, so it becomes just an association. So I’m going to gargle and then I’m going to brush my teeth, or I’m going to drink water, and then I’m going to make coffee or I’m going to go on a walk, and then I’m going to do something else. And so this concept of habit stacking is that you can successfully implement sustainable habits one at a time, and you’re more likely to stick with them, because you’ve attached them to something that you already do. So you create associations. And if you’re really interested in learning more about this, I would highly recommend the book, it is so good. He actually even has a journal that goes along with the book, which I personally use and really love it. So it has like a whole habit tracker in the back. And it can be really helpful. It’s more of a journal than a habit tracker. But anyways, I do think that the book is helpful. But if you don’t want to read the book, what you need to know is small incremental changes is the key here. We’re not looking for a big overhaul. I mean, how many times have you maybe left a doctor’s office or even a big meeting, and you have like a 14 page document of like everything that you need to change, and you’re like, I don’t even know where to start, because I’m so overwhelmed. That’s not helpful, small, incremental changes, even one a week, or one a month, is what’s going to get you where you where you want to be. The last thing that I want to bring up here is that it’s really hard to make sustainable changes. Because in our mind, that’s way less sexy, right? There is something in our human nature that like lives for the thrill of the extreme. And we’re almost addicted to it as a society. It’s like, almost if it’s more extreme, it’s better. It’s kind of like, you know, trying to get rich quick versus making small deposits in your bank account over time. You know, you’re you just keep buying lottery tickets, wondering why you haven’t won yet. Versus like, Alright, I’m just going to make small deposits into my portfolio and is going to grow significantly over months and years. And that’s really what we want to do with our digestive health. We are not trying to overhaul everything at once. We are not trying to just wait for something to happen. We are not trying to do the sexiest thing, because really the things that move the needle are not the sexy things. I know on Instagram, you probably see people doing all sorts of crazy stuff. And there’s definitely a time and a place for maybe some of these like biohacking things, and I certainly do some of those. But it’s because I have all the foundations in place that already need to be there that are actually the needle movers that we want. So those are the things that I want you to think about just to summarize, one is how have restrictive diets worked for you or served you in the past? Number two, what happens when you try to make too many changes at once? And then number three, what is what’s the disconnect between sustainable changes versus extremes? Like, why do you tend to go towards extremes or what makes that appear as if it’s going to work better? So those are the three journal prompts. Now I want to talk to you about how we are going to make your 2023 gut health plan. I want you to just think about what are three things that went well this year. And it could be digestive health related or not. But maybe there was a habit that you stuck to maybe you found a new doctor that you mesh with. Maybe you

Dr. Heather Finley  18:43

found a new relationship, maybe you focus on sleep, maybe you invested in therapy, you’re you could easily find three things that went well, I think it’s important to start here, because it’s easy for us to probably list off all the reasons of things that didn’t go well, or the things that were upset about or, you know, that didn’t work in our favor. Because again, that’s human nature. But you need to have three things that you can celebrate no matter how big, or how small, there are three things certainly that you can celebrate. Number two is I want you to write down three things that you wish to improve for next year. So maybe, and these are going to be broad categories. So maybe you would like to improve your constipation. Maybe you would like to improve your nutrition. Maybe you would like to improve your sleep. Maybe you would like to improve your relationships. Maybe you would like to improve your marriage, whatever it is, write down those three things. Ideally one of them is digestive health related, because that’s probably why you are listening to this podcast, but not all of them have to be because I truly believe that really everything in our life affects our digestion. When we have great relationships, when we have joy, when we are traveling, when we feel aligned in our career, when we feel aligned, and living our values, when we are present as a parent, all the things, our digestive health improves. And so it’s easy to think of digestive health as just like what you eat. But the reality is, everything affects your gut. And in a positive way, I know one of our clients recently on one of our accountability calls, shared that she was really scared to go to a holiday party. And because in the past, she has just avoided holiday events. But she felt like this year, you know what, I feel confident, I’m going to go and, you know, regardless of what happens, I know that socialization is important for me. And she went, and she said, I felt amazing, you know, she went in with a great plan of how to take care of her gut health while she was there, she ate balanced meals beforehand, she made sure she was hydrated. And she said the next day, her gut was great, even though she ate things that she typically wouldn’t eat at the party. And I think she had a little bit of alcohol. She felt amazing the next day, and she said, I had such a huge lightbulb moment that socializing and having fun and laughing is actually a part of my plan, too. And I loved that reflection, because I think it’s so true. It’s so easy to isolate yourself when you don’t feel your best. And in reality, that might actually be the thing that makes you feel better. So write down your three things that you wish to improve. And now I want you to take those three things as kind of your big three goals for the year. So I do this for myself, and for my business each year. Essentially, I have three big goals for the year. And you know, it’s easy to think like, I want to improve relationships, that’s a very big category, or I want to enroll, you know, this many clients into get together, I want to, you know, do this big thing. And it feels like this really huge goal, like how am I going to get there, now we get to break into small tasks. So for example, let’s say your goal is you want to improve your constipation, I want you to write down all the things that you believe are necessary for you to improve your constipation, maybe it’s improving your hydration, maybe it’s improving your fiber intake, or your plant diversity. Maybe it’s improving your meal hygiene, improving your food, fear your thoughts about food, reducing your stress, I just listed off five right there, there’s probably many, many more that you can add to that. I want you to see how if you break down your goals into really small steps, because even like improving your hydration, that’s a pretty broad goal. That could be broken up into small steps, maybe the first step of that is I’m going to drink 16 ounces of water before I drink my coffee. And maybe the second step of that is I’m going to really focus on optimizing my minerals, which I have another episode on that if you’re curious about how to do that. And maybe the second step is I’m going to prioritize water over an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon. And so now you can see that you can assign these goals to the weeks and the months of the year. So that by the time you get to December next year, you’re looking and you’re thinking wow, I’ve created an entirely new habit that has benefited me in so many ways. So you start January by just thinking, Alright, 16 ounces of coffee, or 16 ounces of water before coffee, February, you’re thinking, Okay, now I’m going to optimize my minerals, March, you’re thinking, Alright, I’m going to drop that extra cup of coffee in the afternoon. And I’m going to drink water instead, or herbal tea or something else. And so you break it up into smaller steps. Same thing with improving your fiber intake, it wouldn’t be beneficial for you anyways to go from eating 10 grams of fiber in one day to 30 grams. So maybe you just think, okay, in January, I’m going to focus on 12 grams per day, March 14, you know, or sorry, February 14, march 16, and move it up from there. And so you’re making these small, incremental changes that are sustainable, and you can stick with them. And so essentially, you have your big three goals for the year, your big three goals for the month, based on the the big three overall year goals, and then big three for the week. And if you want to break it down into even smaller tasks, as I mentioned earlier, just to reiterate this, it’s really easy to overestimate what you can do in a week, but underestimate what you can do in a few months or a year. You can look back now In December 2023, and think, wow, look at all the sustainable changes that I’ve made and look at how much better I feel. So the last thing that I want you to do is kind of a self assessment, and a future visualization. So I want you to rate your symptoms. So write your top three digestive symptoms, so maybe they’re constipation, bloating and acid reflux, I want you to rate them on a scale of one to 10. So 10 being the worst they’ve ever been, and one being non existent. And I want you to set a reminder in your phone to evaluate this each month. So just have an automatic like calendar invite or task go off in your phone each month, to remind you to reassess your symptoms. So you can see if what you’re focusing on sustainably is moving the needle at all. Or if maybe you’ve fallen off the habit or have not implemented a new habit, it’ll help bring you back to what you were doing, and how it was actually working. And then the last thing I said, I wanted you to do is a future visit visualization. So I want you to write a letter to yourself from your future self. So write a letter saying, like how proud of yourself you are for implementing these changes, how great you feel, now that you’ve implemented these changes, how proud you are because you knew you know that it took some planning and discipline and consistency. And, you know, if you are thinking about this, and you’re like, I don’t know, if I’m going to be able to do it, I would really encourage you to find an accountability partner, reach out for support, do whatever you need to do tell people your goals, because you’re more likely to achieve them if you speak them out loud, if you share it with somebody else. And if you have the accountability. So I think that that letter to yourself from your future self could be very powerful for you, and then figure out what type of support that you need. So in In summary, in 2023, we are focused on sustainable, incremental changes that are going to allow you to transform your gut health versus quick fads that leave you right back where you started. If you are looking for a step by step plan, and you want to understand a bit more about the symptoms that you’re having, and why you’re having them, I actually wrote a book that will help you do that. And I’m so excited about it, it is called the happy healthy gut cookbook. One of my favorite parts of the book is the habit tracker at the end. And there’s a template for the end of the week reflection. There’s also a template for the end of the day, you can copy this, you can make your own version of it. But it’s essentially a really good check in for some of the Sustainable habits that we work with, for our clients in the gut Together program, and a great way for you to do it yourself. Obviously, if you’re seeking more support, the God together program is there to support you. But if you want a great place to get started in the new year, the happy healthy gut cookbook is not only going to help you understand your symptoms and why you’re having them, but it’s going to give you action steps for how you can address them, and some delicious recipes that you can try as well. So this book will be on your doorstep January 3, just in time to kick off the new year. But in the meantime, I have a super exciting bonus. If you preorder the book there is a link in the show notes, all you have to do is enter your order number and you get your email and you will get access to four video modules that dive deeper into hydration, the gut health foundations so more about how to set the stage for healthy digestion, mindset and more. And so it will give you some really actionable steps that you can start working on now you don’t have to wait till January 3 or first or whatever date it is in your mind. But if you would like to get started, all you have to do is pre order, enter your order number and you will get immediate access to those video modules which I’m super, super excited about.

Dr. Heather Finley  29:31

So I hope that this episode was helpful. I would love to hear from you. Tell me what your goals are for the year tell me what sustainable habit changes you’re going to make. and tag me as you’re working through your gut health plan for the year. If you purchase the book and you use the habit tracker at the end, I’d love to see it in action. And hopefully one day it can be made into its own little workbook for you so have a one wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas. Happy holidays. Happy New Year. Thank you so much for tuning in to the love your gut podcast this year, we had so many amazing guest experts, and tons of other episodes that you can go back and listen to. I’m really excited about the show in 2023. We have some exciting plans for experts and some interviews, so stay tuned, and until then, love your gut so it will love you back. As always, please note that this episode or anything discussed on this podcast is not a substitution for medical advice. And you should always consult your health practitioner before trying anything new.

Please note that this episode is not a substitute for medical advice. And you should always consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes.

I’m giving your gut a thumbs up because you just finished another episode of the love your gut podcast. Thanks so much for listening in to this episode. I hope it was helpful.

I have to jump in and remind you that I have a free quiz that will help you finally figure out why you’re bloated. In order to live a life free of discomfort. You need to figure out what the root causes that’s making you experience these uncomfortable symptoms. The easiest and fastest way to do this is by visiting Take the quiz as soon as you can so you can transform your gut issues and lead a happier more vibrant life.

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