HIGH on Energy TV Episode #6: Which Diet Works - The Science of Weight Loss
According to the science, what is the most effective diet for weight loss?
Today we dig deep and nerdy into the science of weight loss. What diet is best?
Is it low-carb? Low-fat? Keto?
Plus, what to consider when the scientifically-proven weight loss diet doesn’t work.
Grab your FREE Endless Energy Checklist to get my top 5 non-negotiable strategies for eliminating fatigue: https://go.kendraperry.net/energy-checklistWork with me here: https://bit.ly/2OZ4kxQ
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to another awesome episode of High on Energy TV. This is episode six, and my name is Kendra Perry, for those of you who might just be meeting me for the first time, and you can find out more about me at KendraPerry.net. And today, we are diving into a topic that I know a lot of people love to talk about. We are talking about weight loss, but what we're gonna do is we're gonna get a little bit nerdy today, and we're gonna actually dive in into the science of weight loss, and we're gonna discuss, when it comes to the scientific research, what is the scientific research actually saying about the best diet for weight loss, because there is a lot of bad information out there. There are a lot of fad diets. There's a lot of books that are promising you a lot of really big results.
Hey, [Maryanne 00:00:51], welcome.
They're promising you all kinds of things if you just do this or do that or follow their program, but what does the science actually say, because I think it's a lot less complicated than people think. And then, we're also gonna talk about what to do when the scientifically proven diet for weight loss doesn't actually work because this happens. Just because you are following a specific diet does not guarantee weight loss and this can be really frustrating. I totally get it because I've been there. I've been the person on the healthiest diet of anyone I knew, following that scientifically proven diet for weight loss and not getting results, and that's when we need to dig a little bit deeper and so we're gonna be discussing that as well today.
So welcome, everyone who is on Facebook Live with me right now. Say hi. I know Maryanne's on here. I know we have a few other people. But all I see is just an eyeball and a number sign, so I don't actually know who's here. So if you're here, say hi. Feel free to introduce yourself and say hey, because I love to know who's here.
Okay, awesome. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna start by talking about some of the most common theories of weight loss. And probably the one that is known the best is the calories in, calories out theory of weight loss, so let's discuss that. So this theory of weight loss is the one that we're all familiar with. I feel like we're told this most of our lives.
Oh, we've got [Pardese 00:02:29], [Peardese 00:02:30]. I think I'm butchering your name. I hope I said that right. But hi, welcome. I haven't seen you here before and I'm really glad you're here. Okay, so calories in, calories out. I know that I was told this most of my life. I remember in high school reading Cosmo magazine and I knew that I always needed to eat less, and a lot of my high school experience was actually spent trying to lose weight and trying to restrict calories and eat less, which is crazy looking back. I'm sure when you look back at photos of yourself in high school you're like, "I was fit as fuck. Why did I think I needed to lose weight?" But honestly, I think I was just doing it because all my friends were doing it.
And so, basically, the theory of calories in, calories out basically is based on the law of thermodynamics, so it basically means that you need to bring in less energy than you expend in order to lose weight. So, basically, this is the eat less, exercise more model. So you wanna take in less calories and you wanna burn more calories. So the problem with this is that people automatically assume that when they bring in less calories than they consume, they're automatically going to lose weight. But this doesn't usually happen, and let's talk about why.
So let's talk about what the science says about what's actually going on when you actually start to do this method. So typically, if you start restricting calories and exercising more, there is a very good chance that you are gonna lose weight but this weight loss only will happen initially. And then, at some point, something happens. Weight loss comes to a halt. You plateau and then you slowly start to gain it back. And in some cases, you gain back extra weight. Nobody wants that. That sucks.
So why is this? So there's actually three metabolic adaptations that are happening when you decrease your calories consumption, and part of this is due to the fact that your body is always fighting against weight loss. This is an evolutionary thing. In the environment before we had fridges, and 7/11s on every corner and we didn't have access to food when food was a scarcity, our body was always trying to gain weight. It always wanted to prevent yourself from actually losing weight, because if you lost weight you could starve to death. So a lot of physiology, a lot of the information in ourselves is really, really fighting against losing weight.
So let's talk about those three metabolic adaptations that happen when you start restricting calories. So number one, it decreases your thyroid hormone. Now, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland on your neck and it's actually the main regulator of your metabolism. So when your thyroid hormone decreases, ultimately, so does your metabolic rate. So as thyroid hormone becomes less, as your thyroid hormone slows down, your metabolism slows down. So that is one of the three metabolic adaptations that happens when you follow the eat less, exercise more model of weight loss.
Number two, it will actually breakdown muscle, and muscle is more biologically active than fat. So that means, when you have less muscle, ultimately, you have less ability to actually burn calories. So the eat less, exercise more model does tend to lead to muscle breakdown.
Number three, it actually causes fatigue. And so, this happens because your thyroid is slowing down and that actually decreases your energy levels. So when you have more fatigue, you slowly start moving less and sometimes this is very gradual, and sometimes this happens without you even realizing it. So we slowly ... our metabolism goes down. We start burning muscle. We start having less ability to burn fat because we have less muscle, and then we are slowly getting more tired, so we are starting to move less, and less and less. And this can be very gradual, and this doesn't happen immediately. This might happen a year or so after you get that initial weight loss, and this is a big reason why there that big fat statistic out there that tells you that 95% of people who lose weight will gain it back, maybe plus more, within a year. And we know that, because if you look at ... if you guys are familiar with the show The Biggest Loser.
Okay, so this is pretty popular TV show. Maybe you know what I'm talking about, but it's basically a TV show where they take overweight people, they put them through an exercise program with a trainer and they restrict calories, and they lose a bunch of weight and then they choose a winner. And I believe that every single contestant of The Biggest Loser, with the exception of I think one, has actually gained all the weight back that they initially lost and sometimes even more.
So that's a pretty big deal, because that is ... The Biggest Loser is the epitome of the calories in, calories out model of weight loss. The other thing that happens, so this is fourth thing. I know we talked about three but there is a fourth thing that happens, is when you start restricting calories your body's like, "Okay, well, we need to get more calories in," so your body actually starts messing with your hormones. It'll increase your hunger hormones and that will actually lead to you craving more food. So as over time, you're slowly exercising less, you are also slowly starting to eat more as well.
So if you guys are on with me live today, say hey. I know there's a few of you out there. And just let me know, give me a thumbs up if you're familiar with this. Have you seen this happen to someone you know? Has this happened to you? Let me know. If I was sitting in the audience right now I would give a thumbs up in the comments because this has happened to me multiple times in high school and in my 20s when I was thinking that this is what I needed to lose weight. It was also what I thought I needed to do to be healthy, because I associated being skinny with being healthy, so I thought by restricting calories I was actually keeping myself healthy. I also was living in the '90s and early 2000s where I was totally afraid of fat. I thought it was really bad and everything I ate was a low-fat processed produce. So I was doing myself a lot of disservices at that time. Totally clueless about nutrition and health. But hey, when you're young, sometimes you just don't know.
So the reason that this approach to weight loss actually fails is because, like I mentioned, the body is actually fighting fat loss. Like I said, this is a very normal thing. Of course, our body wants to fight fat loss, because in the real world, out in nature we wanna carry as much weight as possible because food is scarce. So if we were hunter/gatherers, humans living outside of the industrialized world that we live today, we probably wouldn't be able to be overweight because we wouldn't have that much availability to food.
So why does the body fight against fat loss? Well, it's an evolutionary thing. We talked about that. But there's also this thing called a fat loss setpoint. And so, anyone who's on the cutting edge of weight loss research is talking about the weight loss setpoint.
Okay, so Nicole says, "Hello. Yes, my body crashed after being put on an 800 calorie diet." Oh, my gosh. That is so low. That is crazy. I actually can't believe someone would put you on a diet that low. That's barely enough calories for normal metabolic function, so no wonder you crashed. Totally crazy. There is some really crazy theories out there about what you need to do for weight loss. And if it's restricting calories to that point, it's not a safe thing to do.
Okay, so let's talk about the fat loss set points. So this is biological mechanism that is designed to keep your weight stable over time. So no matter how many calories you burn, your body is always fighting its way back to that setpoint. So that is a big ... the big part of this. So your body has this setpoint, whatever that is, and that can change over time but your body's always fighting to get back towards that. So a big part of weight loss is figuring out, well, how do we lower our weight loss setpoint? And we're gonna talk a little bit about, today, about some of the things that actually interfere with the weight loss setpoint and make it so that that setpoint keeps getting higher.
So when it comes to calories, so if we know that if we restrict calories that we can't lose weight, does that mean that we shouldn't consider calories? Does that mean that calories don't matter? And I think there's two big platforms out there. There's the people that are like, "Calories matter. You absolutely have to restrict them to lose weight." And then, there's the other people who are telling you that calories don't matter, just eat good food.
So what's the truth? Well, the truth is calories actually do matter, but the research shows that if you count them it won't help you lose weight. So this is probably like a WTF moment. You're like, "What the fuck? Kendra, what are you talking about? What do you mean? So I need to ... Calories matter. I need to eat less calories. But if I count them, it's not gonna lead to me losing weight, at least in the longterm? So how does that even work?"
So this is a bit confusing but we're gonna ... let's dig into this. And I just wanna say hi to Kristy. She says, "Hello. Having PCOS, it's difficult to keep weight in check and get what I need." Yeah, so there are hormones that can fight against this. I know with PCOS there is a big insulin resistance component. Your body typically has a really hard time breaking down glucose, breaking down blood sugar. For some reason, the elevated androgens really push that insulin resistance. And then, in turn, the insulin resistance pushes the elevated androgens that drive the PCOS. And so, we'll definitely talk about that in a later episode because PCOS is a big piece of energy, weight loss. It plays a big role in those various systems of the body. So we're gonna definitely dive into that in a future episode.
So the key to losing weight is to eat in a way that naturally lowers your calories without you actually counting them or trying to lower this. And so, this is actually a really big reason why people tend to lose weight on a low-carb diet. It's not because it's low-carb. It's because naturally, when you tend to eat low-carb, you need to replace the carbs with something. Typically people are going to replace the carbs with protein. So they're actually eating a higher protein diet and that's actually what the research actually says, that the best diet for weight loss is a high protein diet. Why is that? It's because protein is very satiating. It's very energy dense. It raises and lowers your blood sugar more slowly. So actually, pretty important for someone who has PCOS to eat a high protein diet.
So a high protein diet naturally makes you eat less, because it fills you up more and it gives your body a higher nutritional need. So all this big low-carb fad out there that says you need to go low-carb for weight loss actually has nothing to do with it actually being low-carb. It's just because, naturally, when people go low-carb they tend to go higher protein. And when the research actually compares low-carb to low-fat, they get pretty much the same results for weight loss. It's really all about that calorie restriction, that natural, non-counting calorie restriction, but also that higher protein content.
So how much protein should you actually be eating in a day, because this is important. And when I work with women, typically what I'll get them to do is use the free app, My Fitness Pal, and get them to track their protein for a week and see how much protein are they actually eating in a week. And what I see in a lot cases is woman aren't eating nearly enough protein.
So what you wanna do ... So the range for daily protein consumption ranges from about .4 to .7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That range really depends on your activity level. If you are a sedentary person, maybe you don't move around in a day, you have an office job like me, or you run an online business, or you're just ... you're not ... you don't have a lot of movement throughout the day, and then you're not doing really intense exercise. Well, probably, you're gonna need protein on the lower end of that. Whereas, if you have a physical job, I used to work in forestry so I was in the bush, running around the forest all day long. And so, in that case I needed higher protein in a day. Or, maybe you're a professional athlete, or your someone who goes to Crossfit every day, or you exercise intensely on a regular basis, well, you're probably gonna need on the higher end of this.
The reason why I tell you to use an app, like My Fitness Pal, [Foodjacate 00:15:20] is another good one as well, is because 100 grams of chicken doesn't have 100 grams of protein. And so, chicken has some fat in it as well, so it's not gonna be just 100% protein and that varies a little bit depending on the type of protein you are consuming. So you do need to track that for about a week and just get an idea of where your protein is at.
Typically, when I recommend protein, I do recommend high-quality, grass-fed, organic, local if possible, animal products because they are significantly higher in protein than vegetarian sources. There are some things out there that have a really good protein profile for vegetarian sources, spirulina is a good example, so is hemp, but it is really hard to meet those protein requirements if you are consuming a plant-based only diet. I'm not saying I don't believe in a plant-based diet. I do believe in a plant-based diet but I do think you need some amount of animal protein in most cases. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and there are some people who do thrive on a vegan diet. I just don't see it very often. So I recommend high-quality animal protein. And what you'll see is that your protein requirement for the day doesn't actually require you to eat a ton of meat, and it probably doesn't require you to eat meat every day. It's just, maybe, a few times a week and then you top that up with the vegetarian sources of protein.
So I talked about, before, that fat loss setpoint. And if you wanna lose weight, the biggest thing, and you wanna lose it for the longterm, you really gotta work on lowering that fat loss setpoint. And so, let's talk about some of the things that cause that setpoint to malfunction. So number one is what's called high reward food. So these are food that are really easy to consume a lot of. They taste really good. They're addictive. They make you wanna eat more. Yet, they have very little nutrition or minerals. So this is that processed food category. So this would be things like chips, or crackers, or ... I'm trying to think, nuts and seeds can be a bit of a high reward. Because typically, when you get nut or a seed, it has a shell and you have to hack that shell open. And so, if you had to hack open a shell of every single nut you ate, you probably wouldn't eat that many nuts. But if they de hauled, so they've got the shell and the haul away from them, you can just consume them, consume them, consume. You could sit there and eat a thousand calories worth of nuts in a 20 minute sitting because they're easy to consume.
So these high reward foods have been processed, so they have a lot of the minerals and nutritional components stripped of them. The thing that's left is the really digestible and consumable and addictive carbohydrates. So a bag of chips is really to consume. You could probably eat three bags of chips. But if you actually had a potato, how many potatoes would you actually be able to eat? Maybe you'd be able to eat one, maybe two potatoes and then you'd be super full because there's starch in that. There are minerals. There are nutrients. There's all these different things in a potato that makes it really hard to eat potatoes for an hour straight, but I bet you could eat chips for an hour straight. So those high reward foods actually do mess with the weight setpoint. And this is a big reason why processed foods need to be removed. Any healthy diet removes these type of foods.
The other thing that messes with weight setpoint is high food variety. So this is eating tons of different foods at once. So think of, you go out for a fancy dinner. Maybe you have bread to start, and then you have an appetizer, and then you have a main course, and then you have a dessert, and then you have a cocktail in there, or something like that. And so, that's a ton of food variety. You've got fats, carbs, proteins. You have multiple different food ingredients. That is a lot for the body to handle and that's for a body to digest. And doing that can actually really mess with your setpoint. So simplicity really wins when it comes to a good weight loss diet. So you wanna stick to simple foods. And when you look at traditional foods, typically, they're eating the same food over, and over and over again and it's just ... it falls into just a few categories.
I'm not telling you to eat the same food over, and over and over again, because that might make you really bored. But you really wanna be sticking to those simple foods. Have you animal protein, your small little bit of animal protein, like chicken, pork, beef, whatever it is. If you're a vegetarian, maybe that's some tempeh. And then, you're gonna have some veggies and you're gonna have some fats, and maybe you're gonna include some legumes, or maybe some gluten-free grains in there. That would be a very simple meal and that would be a very good diet for weight loss.
The third thing that really messes, number three, with that weight loss setpoint is circadian rhythm disruption. So this has nothing to do with diet, but it's really important. This is pretty clear in the research. So if you're not getting enough sleep, this is a big thing. So not getting enough sleep in the night can actually make you quite insulin resistant and that is gonna cause you to gain weight.
So if you want to lose weight, and you wanna maintain a healthy weight, you need to get to bed at a decent time, and I would say no later than 10:30. You need to sleep seven to eight hours every single night. Things that can mess with your circadian rhythm is not getting enough sunlight, a light deficiency, malillumination, just like malnutrition, is a thing.
So if you're not getting enough sunlight, this is probably a big reason why people in the Northern Hemisphere gain weight in the winter, because you don't get sun for a bunch of months out of the year. So I do recommend, for those people, it might be worth it to get a vitamin D lamp. The one I recommend is call Sperti, S-P-E-R-T-I. It's a really good vitamin D lamp if you do live in a northern place and you don't get a lot of light for half the year. You can use a red infrared light. I have a, do I have it next to me, I usually have it right here, but I have a little red light which helps me get more light. And then, of course trying to get outside and getting unfiltered sunscreen-free natural light, and how much you need really depends on your skin tone. I have Italian heritage. I need to get a lot of sun. I'm one of those people who never burns. I get super dark and I actually need a lot more unfiltered sun exposure than my boyfriend who is a ginger, and he probably needs 10 to 15 minutes and he's good. So that will depend on your skin tone.
And then, of course, too much blue light after the sun goes down. So screens, computers, cellphones, these are a really big culprit for blue light and the big thing is because the light, the rising and the setting sun actually sets our circadian rhythm and that blue light mimics the sun of a rising sun, or the light of a rising run. So if you are looking at screens, if you're watching Netflix, if you have really bright lights in your house, you on your tablet, this can mess with your circadian rhythm. So I do recommend avoiding these types of lights in a couple hours leading up to bedtime. If you do need to use them, get those really sexy blue light blocking sunglasses. They are the orange sunglasses and they work really well.
Other things that can mess with circadian rhythm, and of course I'm bringing it back to minerals because you know I love talking about minerals, but magnesium deficiency can mess with your circadian rhythm, copper toxicity is a big one because copper stimulates adrenaline and that can keep you up at night, sodium excess, and then zinc deficiency. All these things can actually mess with your circadian rhythm. So ultimately, if you're following this perfect scientifically proven diet for weight loss, you're not eating high reward food, you're eating simple foods and you're not indulging, or over consuming, because this another thing that will mess with the weight loss setpoint, then you really need to think about minerals and metals and toxicity, and we're gonna talk about that in just a second.
So the next thing that messes with the weight loss setpoint is the over consumption of calories and overindulgence. And honestly, this can happen even when you're eating healthy food. A really important thing is to not overindulge and overeat, but you don't wanna be counting calories. But if you're eating this simple diet of wholefoods without those high reward foods, it's actually really hard to over consume food. When was the last time you were like, "Man, I really binged the hell out of that broccoli"? When was the last time you said that. You said that never, because who can ... who binges of broccoli? You just can't do it. It's just not possible. What do you typically binge on? Well, chips, or pasta, or cereal, or crackers, or something along those lines. It's the high reward foods. So if you're eating this really simplistic wholefoods diet that doesn't have those high reward foods, then it's actually really hard to overindulge and over consume calories.
The other thing that we need to mention is movement deficiency. So this is why it's so important to have regular movement, and this is something that I personally do need to work on because I'm really good for getting exercise in the morning, and then later on in the evening after my workday, but when I'm on my computer in the day I get locked in to projects, or things that I'm working on and I ... I'll just sit there for multiple hours and I know that's really bad for me. Because even if you sit all day, then you go pump it at the gym for two hours, that's not enough. If you were stagnant for that entire day, that is gonna mess with your weight loss setpoint. So regular movement is really important. So if you have a desk job, you need to set a timer and every 30 to 40 minutes you need to get up and do something. And it doesn't need to be a lot, it just needs to be something to get the blood flowing.
So something I have in my office, right over there, is a rebounder. So I have a little trampoline and I set a timer and I try to do 100 jumps every 30 to 40 minutes. So now, I'm not super consistent with this. This is definitely one of my challenges, but something like that, maybe you can't have a rebounder in your office but maybe you could do a quick lap of the office, maybe you can do some jumping jacks, maybe you can just run on the spot, but doing something for even just a couple minutes every 30 to 40 minutes is actually really, really important. If you're not doing that, that exercise, or that gym session that you have at the end of the day, or the beginning of the day isn't enough to offset the negative effects from movement deficiency from not moving on a regular basis. So that is really, really important.
So the final thing that I wanna discuss, and I've eluded this, so in the beginning I said if you are doing, so you're doing the scientifically proven diet for weight loss, which is high protein, low food reward, simple meals, and then natural, organic, all of that stuff, you're getting good sleep, you're moving on a regular basis and you are not overindulging but you still can't lose weight, you gotta think about minerals and metals and toxicity. This is big thing.
So get exposed to a lot of crap in today's world. We are the forefront of the generation that is getting extremely toxic because of all the chemicals, and metals and plastics and everything in our environment. These things are getting into our body. And once they enter the body, if your body isn't able to detox them and if you're someone who has a slower metabolic rate, which is 80% of the population, it's very hard for your body to move these things out. So the body needs to store them.
A really good place to store toxins is actually fat cells. They provide this stable matrix to put a toxin into you where it won't have a negative effect on the body, to some degree, versus it being out in the blood running amuck in the body causing all these issues. So your body will actually push toxins into fat cells. And sometimes, your body is like, "Well, I'm not gonna let you burn fat because the fat cells are full of toxins and if we immobilize all these toxins you'll probably die." So a lot of times your body actually might be protecting yourself from toxicity. This is why I think a effective detox ... or weight loss program needs to include detoxification. It also needs to involve correcting mineral imbalances, because if your minerals are really out of whack, it actually is really hard to regulate blood sugar. You may end up with lots of cravings and it may be really hard for your body to even lose weight and produce energy, because you actually need to have good energetic potential to actually lose weight.
So if this is the case, if you're at this point where you're like, "Man, I've done all these things and I can't lose weight," you wanna be doing something like a hair mineral analysis and a heavy metals panel. These are the best ways to address your mineral status, to address toxic metals in the body and you wanna work with a practitioner to go through some sort of mineral rebalancing detox program, because if you don't do this it will be stuck and I see this all the time.
And so, that's what I recommend. You wanna ... You don't wanna try to do this on your own. A hair mineral analysis is not something that you can interpret on your own. It's a very complex test. Trying to interpret tests on your own without actually knowing how to interpret them is a really good way to waste your money, so you do wanna find a mentor. I hope it's me. I hope you want me to mentor you, because I do mentor people in my High on Energy membership program. Where, basically, I give people a step by step program to help them restore their energy, help them lose weight, help them eliminate brain fog, get their hormones balanced. And then, you can access the testing as an upgrade. Hair mineral analysis, gut testing, metal panels, so that we can make that protocol customized for you because everyone's different, and my mineral imbalances are probably very different from your mineral imbalances.
So the link for that is in the show notes, or just on top of this live video if you wanna check that out. We have about 70 women so far and counting, and it's probably the most amazing community of women I have ever come across. They are so supportive and multiple times a month I bring everyone cutting edge functional health strategies to help move the needle and help them get towards their health goals. Which, for a lot of them, is losing weight and gaining more energy because a lot of people are chronically fatigued these days.
So let's just quickly summarize before we hop off today. Let's talk about what is the best diet for weight loss. So high protein, low food reward, so get rid of that processed bagged plastic food crap. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. High protein, eat high-quality organic animal protein or vegetarian protein, if you don't eat animal meat. Make sure to include some fruits, some vegetables, and if you are eating nuts, seeds or grains, make sure to properly prepare them, because they contain anti nutrient factors that will bind with minerals and pull them out of the body.
And so, with nuts and seeds, you wanna soak them, and then roast them. And with grains, you wanna ferment them and that will help breakdown those anti nutrient factors to make them less damaging to the system and prevent them from actually effecting your mineral status negatively.
So I hope this was helpful, guys. If, for those of you who are with me live, if you have any questions, throw them into the comments box now because I would be more than happy to answer them. I love connecting with you guys and answering your questions, because you guys always have really good ones for me, and remember that we do this Facebook Live every Tuesday at 4:30, and then I release it as a podcast every Thursday. And the last Tuesday of every month, we do a live Q&A. So if you have questions, you can send them to my Facebook page. Just send me a message and I will answer them live on air, or you can always hang out with me, 4:40pm Pacific, on Tuesdays, the last Tuesday of the month is the Q&A.
And guys, if you wanna work with me, if you wanna connect with me, I do encourage you to join my High on Energy group membership program where, for a very, very low price point, you can get full access to me. I will help guide you and coach you. I will bring you the most cutting edge functional health strategies you need to start moving the needle to help you lose weight, to help you get more energy, to help you eliminate brain fog, and just basically get your life back. Because when your health sucks, you don't really have a full quality life.
And if you're not sure you wanna go that far and you just wanna get some basic tips, you can download my free Endless Energy checklist. Again, the link for that is in the show notes or in the Facebook Live description, and that is just my five non-negotiable strategies for getting more energy. So it's where to start, if you don't know where to start.
All right, thanks guys. Thanks so much for being here with me today. I love you all and I will see you guys next week.
Weight gain is no just a simple mathematical equation. Even though our current knowledge of weight loss is starting to shift, many people are still stuck on the calories in calories out method. Research has clearly shown that this method does not work. And even worse, it will likely lead to more weight gain in the long term.
You might have experienced this before. You can lose weight. That’s no problem. But over time the weight creeps back on and sometimes you end up gaining even more weight then you originally started with. What a bummer!
If you are gaining weight despite eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise, it’s not because you are lazy or incapable.
Make me a promise. STOP beating yourself up over this. When we are unable to lose weight, we often feel like a failure. What many women don’t realize is that there are multiple factors involves in weight loss. It is NOT a simple mathematical equation. Your body’s ability to lose fat or gain fat is dependent on several metabolic processes, the food we eat, the type of exercise we do AND the type of environment we live in.
Did you know you can improve your ability to lose weight simple by shifting your environment. This is what I want to discuss with you today; a way that your actions might be negatively influencing your environment and causing you to gain weight.
You might be unknowingly sabotaging your weight loss efforts. There is one thing that women do every single day that almost always leads to more pounds. A simple change can increase you ability to lose weight AND dramatically improve you energy levels. I will tell you all about it in the video below.
Thyroid dysfunction is on the rise. It affects women significantly more than it affects men. Many women have thyroid dysfunction but they have no idea! Why?
Lab ranges for thyroid markers have gotten wider and wider over the years. The most common thyroid marker, TSH, has a reference range of 0.5 – 5.0 but women with results over 2.0 generally have thyroid symptoms. As a result, many women are told that their lab tests look normal and their thyroid is fine. The result is they struggle with fatigue, weight gain and digestive issues. They may be told to reduce stress or be prescribed an anti-depressant instead.
Your thyroid plays a role in nearly every single metabolic process. The bottom line is if your thyroid is not functioning as it should, you won’t feel well!
Shaped like a butterfly, it lies low on the front of the neck and below your Adam’s apple and in front of the windpipe. When the thyroid is its normal size, you don’t even notice it. It secretes several hormones, called thyroid hormones. The main hormone is thyroxine, also called T4, but there are others, including T3 and even lesser known T1 and T2.
The thyroid gland needs adequate selenium, iodine, zinc, B vitamins and antioxidants for optimal function. Unfortunately, many of these nutrients are deficient in the foods we eat. Additionally, the thyroid is incredibly sensitive to inflammatory foods and environmental toxins. Because of this thyroid disorders are on the rise
Hypothyroid, which involves low thyroid function, is incredibly common, affecting as many as 23% of Americans with 80% of those being women. But few of these people are actually getting treated for the condition due to the issues I mentioned above.
Wide lab ranges and lack of knowledge leads to this condition being severely under diagnosed. Your numbers have to get pretty bad before they are detected as “out of range” by conventional lab tests. At this point, a women might be given a prescription for synthetic thyroid hormones. But in many cases the drug doesn’t actually fix the issue and women continue to struggle with thyroid dysfunction.
You might suspect you have a thyroid problem but your health practitioner has told you that everything looks fine. Let’s discuss three different ways you can determine if you thyroid isn’t working
An underactive thyroid tends to produce very specific symptoms. If your thyrois is sluggish, you are likely experiencing several of the symptoms below.
Keep in mind that these tips are not meant to diagnose your thyroid condition. Rather, they are meant to give you some insight into your thyroid health which can help you seek a licensed health practitioner who can legally diagnosed you.
It is usually the experience of these symptoms that leads a women to suspect her thyroid as the cause of her pain. But actually getting diagnosed with hypothyroid can be an ongoing struggle. The good news is there is a simple at home test that can give you some very valuable information into your thyroid function.
Make sure to grab my Cheat Sheet for this post. I’ve included all the important pieces of this post to help you determine if you might have a thyroid issue. You can grab that here!
Since the thyroid regulates the metabolism, body temperature can be a good indication of whether the metabolism is fast or slow. Like a fast running engine, when metabolism is high, body temperature should be high as well. Conversely, when metabolism is slow, body temperature is lower then normal.
You can go out an purchase an inexpensive digital thermometer. As soon as you wake up in the morning, you can take your temperature under your arm pit. Make sure to do this before you get up or you might skew the results.
A normal waking body temperature is between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees farenheight. Anything less than this indicates a possible thyroid issue. If you are below 96 degrees then a thyroid problem is likely.
If you want a cheat sheet of this blog post with all the thyroid temperatures and functional reference ranges for thyroid function, download that here.
The only way to confirm hypothyroid is with blood testing. But you need more than a single TSH marker, you need to the entire panel.
If you have an open minded doctor or work with a functional doctor then it should be no problem to ask for a full thyroid panel. You can come equipped with your list of symptoms and that super low waking body temperature that you have been tracking for the past week.
Most doctors will only run Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) but this maker alone gives little information about the thyroid. It is actually not a thyroid hormones but rather a pituitary hormone. You will also need to request free T3, free T4 and TPO antibodies at an absolute minimum. If you reside in Canada, this might be all you are able to get.
If you reside in the US, then you can also request additional markers like total T4, T3 uptake, TGB antibodies, TSI antibodies and reverse T3.
As I mentioned before, lab ranges are wide and your numbers have to get pretty bad before your result will get flagged out of the range. For this reason, it is important to work with functional lab ranges. These ranges are more narrow and more associated with healthy thyroid function.
For example the normal TSH range is 0.5-5.0 but the functional range is 0.5-2.0. If you are above 2.0 then you might have what’s called subclinical hypothyroid. This means that it isn’t bad enough to be recognized as a diagnosis but you still have the thyroid symptoms listed above. Subclinical hypothyroid still needs to be addressed in order for you to get well.
If you want to a list of the functional lab ranges for each of these markers, make sure to download my Sluggish Thyroid Cheat Sheet. You can do that here.
If you have all the typical thyroid symptoms and have a low waking body temperature, there is a good chance your thyroid is sluggish. It is important to obtain a comprehensive thyroid blood test in order to confirm your suspicions. If your results fall outside of the functional ranges, it is important to find a health practitioner who can help you treat your subclinical hypothyroid.
Letting a thyroid issue go untreated can lead to chronic, unrelenting fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues and obesity. Natural thyroid balancing has the opposite effect. It can boost your energy, clear your head, improve digestive health and help you lose that extra weight.
To discuss your personal thyroid health in more detail and to see if my hormone balancing program is a fit for you, please book a FREE 30 minute call with me.
Many people have recently begun utilizing enemas to improve their overall health. Over a period of many years, excess waste that hasn’t been eliminated can build up inside of your colon. In fact, anecdotal reports say that as much as 10 pounds of waste may accumulate in your body at one time. That’s a lot of excess baggage you don’t want to be carrying around.
When you perform a cleanse with an enema, it helps to remove toxic build-up, which will in turn provide immediate health benefits and relief from certain conditions.
There are many different ways to perform an enema, but today we will be focusing on one of the more ‘taboo methods’—the coffee enema.
If you are new to the idea of enemas, the use of coffee may shock you. However, it can indeed help detoxify your body and remove the excess waste that could be accumulating within your body.
Overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus inside your intestines can cause a wide range of unpleasant symptoms, from fatigue, to brain fog, to a weakened immune system.
However, you should be happy to note that a coffee enema may help prevent the overgrowth of Candida, along with other bad bacteria. (1)
A coffee enema is a great way to detoxify your liver and bloodstream. Symptoms such as bloating, stomach aches, and intestinal disturbances can usually be traced back to an overworked liver.
When performing a coffee enema, the coffee is absorbed into the liver through the intestinal wall where it helps to take on some of that toxic load that the liver is unable to process on it’s own. (2)
Exposure to environmental toxins cannot be avoided, but there are ways to mitigate the potential damages that result from excessive exposure. Detoxes help tremendously with this, as do proper nutrition and regular exercise.
A coffee enema can help to improve the flow of bile. (3) This helps to alkalinize your small intestines, which promotes better overall digestion.
When food that you consume is not properly digested, it can generate toxic chemicals within your intestines. These toxins are then absorbed by your liver. Utilizing a coffee enema not only helps your liver with this load, but it also will improve your digestion to make it so your liver doesn’t have to work so hard in the first place.
Coffee is well known for its antioxidant properties. Many people who perform a coffee enema report a feeling of increased wellbeing and mental clarity, which also helps to provide relief for anxiety. The colon and liver are both parasympathetic organs, which have been shown play a role in anxiety disorders (4), meaning the cleanse from the enema helps to promote overall relaxation within your nervous system which helps ease anxiety symptoms.
Your liver actually plays a very important role in the metabolism of hormones within your body. (5) Estrogen toxicity can actually develop from too much of the wrong type of estrogen accumulating within the liver. This can lead into a wide range of health issues for women, not least of all being a decreased ability to detoxify carcinogens. (6)
When you use a coffee enema with the intent of detoxifying your liver, an added benefit is the removal of these “bad” estrogen hormones that get flushed out as well. This helps to maintain proper hormonal balance for women.
Hormonal imbalances can also cause a wide range of symptoms such as fatigue, depression, low energy levels, and infertility.
Coffee enemas can provide several great benefits for your health, with little to no side effects. Most of the unpleasant side effects can be negated by drinking plenty of fluids and staying properly hydrated. Once you have performed the enema, you expel a multitude of toxins and some water and electrolytes along with it.
If you’re looking for a natural way to detoxify your body, a coffee enema is a good place to start. Other measures to consider include evaluation of your gut bacteria and incorporating some physical activity in your routine.
You don’t have to wait until you exhibit symptoms of illness before performing a coffee enema. Preventive measures are always better than having to find a cure, so be proactive in protecting your health and wellbeing. Your body will thank you.
Always check with your doctor if you’re unsure about the effects of a coffee enema on your body, and whether or not it is right for you.
The past few weeks on the blog, I have been writing about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a condition that causes weight gain, infertility, facial hair growth, acne and irregular menstrual cycles.
If you want to learn more about this condition and its risk factors, you can read the full article here. I also recently wrote about the PCOS diet, lifestyle and supplement protocol that can help you reverse this condition and boost your fertility. You can read that article here.
PCOS is generally characterized by elevated testosterone, irregular or absent cycles and cystic ovaries. But there are many women out there who have regular cycles and no ovarian cysts but are struggling with symptoms of high testosterone.
If you know your testosterone is elevated but you don’t have a PCOS diagnosis, you can still benefit from following the PCOS protocol. But what if your testosterone is “normal” and you are still struggling with the typical symptoms of testosterone dominance? These include;
This is an interesting thing. It is possible to have normal or even lower testosterone but also have a testosterone dominance.
Today I want to talk about testosterone metabolism. If your testosterone appears normal on a saliva or blood test but you still have these typical symptoms of too much testosterone than your metabolism may be to blame.
Let’s start at the top. Pregnenolone is your master hormone. It is the building block for all your other steroid sex hormones including progesterone, cortisol, estrogen, DHEA and testosterone.
Pregnenolone is derived primarily from cholesterol. Yep, remember cholesterol? The big bad cholesterol that clogs your arteries and gives you heart disease?
What the government and general public are finally starting to learn is that cholesterol is crucial, not only for hormone production but also for the health of your brain.
Without cholesterol you cannot make sex hormones. And without sex hormones you are in trouble. 75% of your body’s cholesterol is produced in your liver but 25% comes from your diet. Therefore, getting enough cholesterol in your diet is crucial to your hormones. Cholesterol comes from animal products.
Pregnenolone can be converted into progesterone which can then be broken down to produce cortisol, your body’s main stress hormone. Pregnenolone is also a precursor for Dehyroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA can then be broken down into either testosterone or estrone. Estrone can then be converted to estradiol (your body’s most potent estrogen) which can be converted to estriol.
But hormone metabolism doesn’t stop there. Both testosterone and estrogen are broken down further into metabolites. Today we will focus on the main metabolites of testosterone and what this means for you and your hormone health.
After testosterone is formed, it can be broken down via two different pathways; the alpha pathway and the beta pathway. The beta pathway, also called the Etiocholanolone metabolite, is a less androgenic pathway. This means that when you metabolize your testosterone down this pathway, it reduces the effects of testosterone.
In this case, you could have high blood or saliva testosterone but if you push primarily down the beta pathway than you may not exhibit any symptoms of high testosterone.
The alpha pathway, also know as the dehyrotestosterone (DHT) pathway, is a significantly more androgenic pathway. This means that if you tend to metabolize more of your testosterone down the DHT pathway then actions of testosterone become increasingly stronger in your system.
This is because DHT metabolites bind about 3 times more strongly to androgen receptors than Etiocholanolone metabolites. 5 alpha reductase is the enzyme that pushes the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Everyone will push some testosterone down the DHT pathway but some people push significantly more of their testosterone in this direction meaning that their testosterone becomes extra potent.
What this means for you is that you may have “normal” or even lower testosterone that becomes increasingly potent as it is being metabolized. This is why your testosterone may look normal but your symptoms tell you otherwise.
There is usually an insulin issue at play. Insulin, the hormone needed to regulate blood sugar and fat storage, enhances the actions of the DHT pathway. The more insulin you have, the more 5-alpha reductase you have (the enzyme that pushes DHT production). Women with acne, PCOS and obesity have significantly more 5-alpha reductase than women without these issues.
Progesterone, on the other hand, reduces 5 alpha reductase activity, at least in vitro, according to this study. Often times when I see elevated DHT metabolites in a client, I also see depleted progesterone levels.
Being aware of the DHT pathway is especially important for those struggling with infertility (elevated testosterone is a huge cause of infertility in the Western world), acne and obesity.
If this article resonates with you and some of your recent experience, I recommend getting your testosterone metabolism evaluated. You can do this by getting a urine hormone panel. The best hormone panel that I currently run is the Precision Analytical Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones (DUTCH). This test will not only evaluate your testosterone metabolism but also the metabolism of your other steroid hormones including; progesterone, estrogen and cortisol.
If you are interested in getting a full hormone evaluation to get to the bottom of your ongoing infertility, painful acne breakouts, explainable scalp hair loss or your complete inability to lose weight, please schedule a FREE 30 minute consultation with me. You can do that here and choose the service labeled, “FREE Discovery Session.”
Blood Sugar Management. I feel like a broken record here but having healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day is not only important for your testosterone metabolism but is crucial for your health in every other way.
The Paleo Diet is a fantastic way to manage blood sugar. You should also consider buying a glucometer and actively checking your blood sugar throughout the day.
Before meals, your glucometer should ready 80-90 mg/dl. If it is lower than this, you waited to long to eat that meal or didn’t eat enough at your previous meal. Add more whole foods or include an extra snack.
The post-prandial measurement is a fantastic way to assess your carbohydrate sensitivity. If you are carb sensitive, the more carbs you eat, the more you increase your insulin and make it more likely have a testosterone metabolism issue. 2 hours after a meal, your blood sugar should be under 120 mg/dl (but ideally under 100 mg/dl). If you are above this, you ate way too many carbohydrates or sugar at that previous meal and you need to reduce accordingly.
EPA & DHA. These are fatty acids that come from Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These come from cold water fatty fish and shellfish. I recommend supplementing with a high quality fish oil supplement derived from mackerel, sardines and/or anchovies. EPA and DHA have a positive effect on insulin and also reduce inflammation which can push up blood sugar levels.
Saw Palmetto. This herb can have potent effects on the DHT pathway. It effectively shifts metabolism from the alpha to beta pathway. Be wary that higher doses of saw palmetto can reduce DHT too much and throw of your testosterone levels. If you are using saw palmetto, you should be monitoring your levels regularly.
Exercise. Exercise is known to increase sensitivity to insulin. When your cells are insulin sensitive, you need less insulin. Less insulin has a positive effect on DHT.
Nettle. Stinging nettle tea increases Sex Hormone Binding Globulin in your blood. This can bind to excess testosterone and decrease the levels of testosterone that need to be metabolized, and thus reducing the effects of DHT.
Zinc. According to this study which was performed on human skin in vitro, zinc can have a reducing effect on 5-alpha reductase when used in combination with Vitamin B6. This is promising but there has been some conflicting research. Clinically, I see Zinc boost testosterone production and improve metabolism.
Looking at single hormone markers can be helpful but never gives you the full picture of what is happening. Just because your testosterone is “normal,” does not mean you are in the clear from the potent side effects of too much testosterone. If you are suffering from the symptoms elevated above but your doctor says your levels are “normal,” consider your metabolism. Click here to schedule a free meeting with me to see if comprehensive hormone testing is a fit for you.
Are you struggling with testosterone dominance or any of the symptoms mentioned above? Please feel free to comment with your experience below.
Did you know that magnesium can help every cell cell in your body function better, boost serotonin, reduce symptoms of PMS, improve your stress management skills, help you get more sleep, and do all this without side effects?
Magnesium is amazing!
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is often referred to as the most crucial mineral in our bodies. It is your body’s most potent relaxant. It has been well researched and proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, reduce migraine headaches, improve energy levels, increase insulin sensitivity and enhance daily performance.
Did you know that when pregnant women are having seizures, doctors inject them with magnesium sulfate to stop the seizure? That is how powerful magnesium is.
Magnesium is crucial for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, yet experts have estimated that up to 80% of the population is deficient in this essential mineral.
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of symptoms.
11 Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
The main job of magnesium is to produce energy within our cells. That means that every single function, thought and action is completely dependent on magnesium. With levels of deficiency so high, we need to contemplate our magnesium consumption and make sure we are getting enough.
How Can Magnesium Support Healthy Hormones?
What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?
Firstly, understanding what contributes to magnesium deficiency can help you assess your risk of deficiency.
Magnesium is burned quickly by the body to buffer and alleviate the physical symptoms of stress. It soothes the muscles and calms nerve impulses.
Since it is a water soluble mineral, it is easily flushed out of the body. If you are chronically stressed than there is a good chance that your magnesium levels are less than optimal. It’s important to be mindful of your stress levels and increase your magnesium intake during these times.
My favorite way to increase magnesium is by rubbing magnesium oil on my belly and feet. You can purchase this inexpensively at a natural foods store. Check out the Back to Eeden style of gardening. I just love this!
Sugars And Refined Foods
Magnesium is used by the body to breakdown sugar. This means the more you consume sugar and refined foods, the more you deplete your magnesium stores.
One of the easiest ways to improve your magnesium profile is to cut down on sugar and eliminate refined foods from your diet.
Vitamin D & K2 Deficiency
Vitamin D and K are crucial for sufficient magnesium levels. If you are low in either of these vitamins, your magnesium levels will suffer.
I recommend having your vitamin D levels tested to assess the need for supplementation. Request a 25(OH)D test. The Vitamin D Council recommends levels of 50 ng/ml for optimal health. You can request a test from your doctor or order one directly through ZRT Labs
If you do decide to supplement with vitamin D, make sure to purchase a liquid D3/K2 combo. Age
How to Supplement?
All forms of magnesium are not made equally. Oral supplementation is not the best way to get magnesium as up 60% is lost in the GI tract, even with the best absorbed forms.
My favorite forms are magnesium gyclinate or magnesium bisgyclinate. The cheapest forms of magnesium are the magnesium oxides. These are poorly absorbed and can often cause diarrhea. The best way to get magnesium is through the skin. I recommend magnesium oil or Epsom salts baths (or foot baths if you don’t have a bath tub or live in an area with water restrictions).
And if you live near the ocean, get in the sea!
Getting enough magnesium and protecting your body’s stores of it is an extremely powerful way to enhance your health and your life.
If you have been struggling with muscle twitches/spasms/contractions, seizures, anxiousness, abnormal heart rhythms, numbness and tingling or poor sleep, then give magnesium a try. It may be just what you need to get back on track.