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New episodes every Tuesday and Friday! Before Day 1, we talked to some professionals to learn what exactly we need to do to make sustainable life changes.

We'll be sharing our progress through the Community tab on our YouTube channel page. Make sure you enable notifications to stay up to date!

*Please consult your doctors about any concerns you might have before starting your own fitness journey. We are not healthcare professionals :)

Follow along:
Hi, I'm John Green. You may already know me as a novelist, or a world history teacher, or a podcaster who talks about death a lot, but from here forward, you're going to know me as an extremely healthy human. Well, at least that's the goal.


For the next 100 days, my best friend, Chris, and I are going to do our best to have a healthy mid-life crisis. We're going to exercise, and eat well, and meditate, because that's what my friend, Dr. Aaron Carroll told me is actually proven to work when it comes to improving your health.

Dr. Carroll: 30 minutes a day of what we would call moderate physical activity, 5 days a week. Everything above that, it's good, but there's really not a lot of good evidence that it's providing you much more. Try to pick a healthy way of eating that you can do for the long run; that you can do for greater than six months that will change the way you look at eating, and change the way that you approach your eating in general, sustainably as opposed to diet, which is going to be short term. Meditation will help, certainly, with mental health, but you can make an argument that mental health is related to all-body health. And, I'm sure you're just as concerned about that as physical health, so give it a shot. I think people see tremendous benefit from it.

First, some quick background on Chris. He and his wife, Marina, run an interpreting and translation business here in Indianapolis. He also works a lot with charities, especially those serving refugees, and they've been best friends with my wife, Sarah, and me for more than ten years now. We've raised our kids together, we've vacationed together, we're very tight.

So, one week before starting this complete, but hopefully sustainable lifestyle transformation, Chris and I sat down with some of the experts that are going to help us through 100 days. Like, first we talked to Erica Gallmeyer of Breaking Walls Counseling. She's a therapist who specializes in performance psychology, perhaps the only kind of therapist I haven't previously seen. Chris and I are going to check in with her along the way to make sure our brains are on board with everything we're doing to our bodies. We went over a few topics, including our friendship.

Erica: Do you guys see one another ever being that person to kind of say, "Hey, John. Like, I don't really feel like going today." Or, do you guys tend to push each other?

John: I worry that we might tend to forgive each other. Like, you know, more like in partners in enabling poor choices.

Chris: Right. The thing that frightens me about this is like John and I are hanging out, and maybe we have the kids, and the kids watch a movie. And, we're like, "what do you want to do for dinner? Should we make a salad or grill some tuna, or do you want to order pizza?"

John: Right. Yeah. Exactly, so if Sarah and I--

Chris: So, we get nachos with the pizza.

John: [Laughing] yeah. Do you want bread sticks?
I think the exercise will be hard for me. The diet will be hard for Chris.

Erica: Wow, so you guys kind of have different struggles, maybe?

Chris: I don't see how you don't think the diet will be hard for you.

John: I didn't finish. I also think the diet will be hard for me.

[Chris laughing]

We also talked about our past experiences with diet and exercise.

Chris: We've both had successful eating patterns in the past. Yours have been more successful when you, like, cut everything out.

John: Very rigid diet.

Chris: Very rigid.

John: Yeah.

Chris: And, mine were more successful when I realized, lets be very sensible here, here, here, and here, and then here I can go and like have some beers--

Erica: Like a cheat day, or...

Chris: Yeah, have some beers, eat a cheeseburger. John, for like being 39 years old, is probably in better shape now than when you were 18 years old.

John: Much better.

Erica: You've trained. You've kind of built up for this.

John: Well, that's been like 10 years.

Erica: OK.

John: I started exercising to try to cope with my mental health problems. Like, as a treatment strategy basically.

Erica: Well, that's a great treatment strategy.

And, we also discussed our goals. Erica emphasized the importance of micro-goals.

Erica: You know, you want it to be sustainable change, but at the same time, you've designated a hundred days. I think that can be overwhelming sometimes, and so within that 100 days, you know, you really probably need to set super small micro-goals so that each day, you feel like when you go to bed, "I accomplished something today."

John: OK.

Next we spoke to Kim Bradley, our dietitian. We'd already filled out some worksheets for her, and based on those she gave us food plans. Chris and I really don't want to count calories during this 100 days, so she set up plans by food group.

Kim: You'll see it's going to tell you your goals for your fruits, your veggies, grains, protein, dairy. So, your five food groups. And then, I left a little section for your oils. Below that, it's going to give the serving sizes.

John: Alright, so we're going to have two and a half cups of fruit. At least three and a half cups of vegetables. Ten ounces of grains. Seven ounces of protein, or eight, cause now we're doing two ounces or two servings of dairy. And, we get six teaspoons of our sweet, sweet oils.

Chris: Woah, woah, woah.

Then we had some questions, and a few minor concerns. We had a number of questions actually.

John: Can I drink Diet Dr. Pepper?

Chris: Is cooked fruit like cobbler, pie?

John: That's like less than two quarter-pounders per day.
Chris: Yeah.
Kim: It's a lot to change.
John: So what do you eat for dinner?

Chris: Really an ounce and a half of liquor has the same, like, health content as twelve ounces of a beer.

John: Does that mean, uh, total per week, or does that only count dinners?

Chris: What about a french fry?

John: Chris, I don't think you're treating this like a negotiation enough.

John: That's a very small portion of wine.

Chris: Your brow is sweating.
John: I'm super nervous, man.
Kim: You look kind of mad at me right now. [Laughs]
John: I'm not mad at you. No, I'm more mad at myself for agreeing to do this.
Chris: Yeah.
John: This is on me. This is not Kim's fault.

But, despite our initial protests, we eventually decided that we could handle this plan for at least a few days, and then reevaluate from there.

Next, we met with Dr. Arnold Henry, who specializes in both sport and family medicine, which was perfect for me because I'm gonna be trying sports and I'm a member of a family. We were given many tests. They check our heart rates, looked at our cholesterol levels, did EKGs, checked our reflexes, and all the usual stuff you're suppose to do before starting a new exercise regimen.

John: I wish I hadn't worn my skinny jeans.
Nurse: [Laughs]
John: My bad, sorry.
Nurse: You're good.

We also learned that Chris and I both have some back issues to look out for.

Dr. Henry: Well, lower back is kind of the theme of today, anyway.
Chris: Yeah
Dr. Henry: Now, I've noticed that.

Mine was diagnosed as SI joint dysfunction. So, Dr. Henry gave me some exercises to strengthen my lower back muscles and my hamstrings.

Dr. Henry: You'll be doing the exercises at least three to five times a week, OK?
John: OK.
Dr. Henry: The package shows how many times you'll be doing that a day.

Chris's back was less of a concern, but he was given some other things to focus on.

Dr. Henry: And then last, we-- is the triglyceride level. Basically, measuring how much grease is flowing through the blood. We want that level to be 150 or less. Yours is 184, OK?
Chris: Mm.
Dr. Henry: So, that's a little bit high. Still not high enough where we're majorly concerned about it.
Chris: Mhmm.
Dr. Henry: But, just something to keep watch on.
Chris: What's the best ways to regulate that?
Dr. Henry: Big culprits with triglyceride levels are, um, alcohol, um, cheeses, red meats, fatty foods.
Chris: I mean, OK.
Dr. Henry: OK?
Chris: I know where the main culprit is there.
Dr. Henry: OK, yeah.

And finally, we met with our trainer, Laura Minor. Every week, we're going to see her for an hour on Mondays and another hour on Thursdays, and her philosophy is all about functional fitness.

Laura: So, you're not going to sit on the machine. Um, you're going to be moving your body. You're going to be doing at least two things, everything you do. It's not going to be an isolated motion. So, a lot of circuit training. A lot of, um, cardio and strength combined. Exercises that relate to real life. I tell people, like, when they get their groceries out of the car, they can kick the door closed balancing the groceries. Like, you know, that's real life exercise. Not sitting in the machine going like this.
John: Right.
Laura: That's not how you live.

Laura has a few metrics that she's gonna test us on, and hopefully we'll improve. Like, how close can we come to touching our toes? How many push ups can we do in a minute? You know, stuff that I'm pretty bad at right now.

John: I'm gonna aim to teach you a lot of empathy toward people who hate exercise
Laura: OK. Thank you. This is a win-win then.
[John laughs]

So, now we're ready, I guess. We've struck a highly negotiated bargain with our dietitian. I've learned that my SI joint is not only a thing, but also dysfunctional. I've even downloaded a meditation app onto my phone, because nothing says calm and centered quite like being near my phone. Now, it's just a matter of, you know, like changing my life forever.

I know some of you are going to want to follow along with Chris and me, and we're really excited about that. We'll be posting daily recipes and exercise suggestions in the community tab, but always make sure to consult your doctor before starting any new diet or fitness regimen.

Alright, when I next see you, I'm going to be trying not to puke. Fair warning, I'm a bit of a puker. Thanks for watching, I'll see you on day one.

[Outro music]

John: So, you know how you have the 50 pound bag of chocolate chips?
Chris: The one I make chocolate chip pancakes with, yeah.
John: You make chocolate chip pancakes with that. I will eat like a pound of-- I will like take a big handful of chocolate chips, and just like [gobbling sound effect]. Like, the cookie monster.
[Chris laughs]