Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 and Mindset Coach
Artificial sweeteners have been the bastard of the nutrition and fitness industry lately. They are getting the blame for cancer, gut health issues, disordered eating and blood sugar spikes. But what is the truth about artificial sweeteners.
The three most popular artificial sweeteners on the market today are: aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. These sweeteners are often found in popular foods that have been reformulated into a “zero sugar” version which often results in a reduced calorie option of the popular alternative. For example, I enjoy Sprite Zero because it offers a “treat” with dinner for zero calories where a can of Sprite is about 120 calories. Sprite Zero contains aspartame to give it the sweet flavor without the calories mounting.
These sweeteners have been on blast by the media about their “harmful” effects for years. The issue with media, is that it is almost always sensationalized to gather attention. Clicks and shares usually mean income for news media so you will often see stories overly sensationalized to garner more attention. You can see this very clearly in the amount of stories on news outlets about terrorism and violent crimes. It has created an attitude that the world is a super dangerous place, but actual studies have shown that crime has been down the last several years.
The WHO (World Health Organization) came out a few years ago and said there MAY be a link between artificial sweeteners and cancer risk. This simple, yet uncertain claim has sparked the media firestorm that has created a line in the sand between nutrition researchers and cherry picking, media outlets that are trying to boost their bottom line. In an great article by Mike Matthews of Legion Athletics, Mike shows a great graphic on where the WHO categorized artificial sweeteners. He stated, “The WHO is placing aspartame in Group 2B. Thus, according to the WHO’s assessment, aspartame is about as likely to increase your cancer risk as aloe vera, carpentry, and eating pickled vegetables.” I’m not real sure about you, but if I find joy in one Sprite Zero per day, I feel relatively safe doing so.
There have been recent studies lately that are showing that there is NO association between these sweeteners and cancer. In a recent news story on Barbend, the study has dispelled the WHO’s previous claims and actually shown that zero calorie sodas may be beneficial for health if it’s used to replace regular soda for weight loss because it aids in weight loss and reduces the overall sugar intake.
The other big concern surrounding artificial sweeteners is their effect on gut health. There have been small sample studies done in rats on the effects of sweeteners on the gut microbiome. The issue is, rat studies don’t always translate well to humans. Most of these studies were feeding the rats toxic amounts of sweeteners that would translate to obscene numbers in humans. A recent article on StrongerU as well as an article on BioLayne, show the limitations associated with the rat studies. Overall, the studies on gut microbiome have been widely inconclusive.
Some social media influencers have argued that these sweeteners promote obesity by increasing cravings. Here’s the thing, this argument also has no conclusive evidence of this. As a nutrition coach, I believe if you maintain a 80-20 diet in nutritious foods and use these zero calorie foods and drinks as a “treat” that subs for the higher calorie options, you’re going to be just fine. I don’t believe that these foods drive cravings more than any other food option. Realistically, this argument could be made about most highly processed, higher carb foods, they also tend to promote cravings because carbs do not offer the satiating effect you receive from protein.
With all of the recent research, I’m not willing to tell any of my clients to stop choosing zero calorie sodas over regular sodas. I would caution that too much of any good thing can be a bad thing. The studies have not shown conclusive evidence of causing harm in small amounts. If you are drinking obscene amounts of these sweeteners, we need to have a different conversation because I would assume you’re having health issues. Those issues would be associated with dehydration NOT the artificial sweeteners. Overall, the benefits of artificial sweeteners far outweigh the potential risks, if used in a reasonable amount.
I didn’t realize I did this until recently.
A fat loss coaching client asked me how to know when they’re “overeating” or if they’re just simply… enjoying a meal.
When they’re dieting, when is it “right” or “wrong” to have that burger and fries they’ve been craving?
Or to go off plan for a day because they're taking their kid to an amusement park?
Or to enjoy a shot and a few drinks with their best friend?
Basically, how do you balance the gray area of enjoying life and staying on your diet?
I emailed them back and said there are two ways I look at meals:
1. Priority = Fitness Goals
I only see it as “overeating” if your intention for that meal is to stay on track with your diet because fat loss/health is a higher priority to you in that moment. Therefore, you’d be “overeating” simply because you had a calorie goal you wanted to hit, but this meal pushed you over. It’s NOT good or bad, it’s just what happened, objectively.
NOTE: you can also "fit in" these high calorie meals and stay on track with your goals.
2. Priority = Enjoyment/Life Satisfaction
I don’t think it’s overeating if your intention is to enjoy the life experience of eating that meal with friends, your S.O., or by yourself. Then it’s just simply… eating. You decided that fat loss isn’t as important to you for this meal, and that’s ok, so you shouldn’t feel guilty because you aligned your actions and intentions around what YOU thought was most important.
So over these next few weeks, give yourself permission to commit to one, but neither are “right” or “wrong.”
The whole point is to make sure it’s a conscious choice, not an impulsive one.
Take inventory on what’s most important to you in that moment, act on it, then move on with your life.
Hope you found this helpful.
P.S. I'm really enjoying this article on "How to Do Great Work".
Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 & Certified Mindset Coach
A little bit of a change this week from my usual blog posts. This week I’d like to talk about stress and mindset. As I’m sure most of you know, Kayli’s dad passed away unexpectedly in July. This event just added to what would be the perfect storm for me, which ended up leaving me very sick and struggling with my mindset.
We lost Kayli’s dad on a Tuesday. The first week, I managed well. By managed I mean, Kayli had all the support she needed and wanted and a partner that was helping her navigate all the things that needed to be addressed. I knew that she would not be able to make a lot of decisions or absorb a lot of the information she was being given, so I stepped in and up and was all of those things for her. The problem was, I put myself on the back burner. I completely neglected my own needs. I was stressed. I was grieving, but I didn’t want her to see that part of me because I felt like it would make it worse for her. I was wrong. It ended up being worse for me.
The second week, Kayli started to move through the stages of grief, but while she was starting to move forward, I was just starting to feel the sadness. Since I stifled my own grief, thinking I was helping her, I delayed my own emotions and left me sad and grieving when she was close to being done with that stage. The exact thing I hoped to avoid, happened. I didn’t want her to have to abandon herself to take care of me. Had we gone through this together and I would’ve been transparent with her about my emotions we could’ve leaned on each other rather than taking turns being each other’s leaning posts.
Since Kayli spent the second week taking care of me, I felt really guilty that she was having to take care of me. My mindset tanked. I felt like a bad spouse. I felt weak. Things just kept spiraling.
The process of having to manage all of the final affairs for Kayli’s dad lasted two and half weeks. That period of time was persistent high stress. Add in an insanely toxic and high stress environment at work and you have “the perfect storm.”
I noticed on July 21st that I started having diarrhea that was difficult to control. I felt like I couldn’t control my bowels. I could, but I was not confident in that. The diarrhea, nausea, headaches and fatigue persisted. It is August 15th as I write this and I’m just now 2 days diarrhea free but not nausea free. It’s been going on that long. I’ve been to 3 doctors because I’m worried about my gut relapsing. Through the process of doctors visits, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that causes your thyroid hormones to wax and wane. Hashimoto’s can be caused by chronic stress and leaky gut syndrome. All three doctors gave me the same unconventional response to help alleviate some of my symptoms, QUIT YOUR JOB.
I was stuck. I couldn’t quit my job yet. Kayli and I just paid for a funeral and we have bills to pay for our home and our business. It just wasn’t feasible. I was stuck in a perpetual loop everywhere I looked. I was stressed so my gut was inflamed, but the gut inflammation and symptoms caused stress. Work stressed me out, but taking mental health days stressed me out because I knew what would be waiting on me when I got back. The cycles kept me in a doomsday mindset. I felt like nothing would get better. I felt terrible about myself. I started having OCD episodes of suicidal intrusive thoughts again. I was panicky all the time. I. COULDN’T. STOP.
Finally, I got a break. On Monday morning at 6:30am I received a job offer asking when I could start. It was the miracle I needed. I accepted the offer and told my boss first thing that morning that I would be leaving effective this week. Suddenly the gut started to feel better. It isn’t perfect yet, it’s still a work in progress, but the gut isn’t where it was. The stress associated with my job had me stuck back in a chronically ill cycle that I hadn’t been in for years. Quitting my job and spending a week being intentional about my time with Kayli and enjoying our time were the meds that I needed.
The take home here is, you have to manage stress. Sometimes you won’t be able to. That’s where I thought I was, but because I didn’t give up and I kept persisting even when things were hard, something shook loose. Stress can absolutely create a mess of your health if you don’t check it. Stay ahead of it. Had I stayed ahead of it, I may not be in this position. Learn from my mistakes.
Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 & Certified Mindset Coach
Antibiotics are one of the miracles of modern medicine. They have been used in phenomenal, life saving ways. When used sparingly and appropriately, antibiotics can be life changing. However, recently antibiotic use has become a quick fix solution to a multitude of conditions and issues in traditional, Western medicine. The use of antibiotics is not without its fair share of side effects. When used inappropriately, your body can become resistant to the positive effects of the drugs and they can cause side effects that can affect your health long term. While this is true for anyone, these long term effects can be more prevalent when antibiotics are used in children 3 and under.
Children under 3 are still developing the most important, beneficial bacteria in their gut that forms their microbiota. Studies have shown that antibiotic use early in life or mother’s antibiotic use during pregnancy or lactation can cause gut dysbiosis of the child. This dysbiosis can have several different effects on the child both short term and long term.
The most common side effect of antibiotic use is diarrhea. While this is a more short term effect, it is the most obvious sign of microbiota disruption in children and adults alike.
Research has shown that early use of antibiotics can have a direct effect on body weight. Studies have shown a correlation between this type of drugs and an increased BMI by ages 4-7.
Interestingly, antibiotic use among young children has also been linked to immunity and food allergies. The studies have specifically noted that dairy allergies have been the most common type of food allergy in young children treated with antibiotics. Children that were breast fed by a mother who was treated with antibiotics during lactation also saw an increased risk for a dairy allergy, most commonly cow milk.
Antibiotic use in infancy is also a risk factor for allergic rhinitis and early onset childhood asthma.
Antibiotic use before one year of age had the highest risk of inflammatory bowel disease development. The risk, while still present, did decline through age 5.
Studies show a correlation between early antibiotic use and type 2 diabetes, however it is unclear if the antibiotics were prescribed over time to treat symptoms of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes or if the antibiotic use was the catalyst. Studies are still suggesting that it is due to the use of antibiotics.
Finally, and possibly the most concerning in my opinion, is that antibiotic use has been shown to increase the risk of certain types of cancers. The risk did increase with multiple rounds of antibiotics over time. Several cancers were listed. Among them: pancreatic, prostate, esophageal, gastric, lung and breast cancers.
The point here is to not fear antibiotics. You should be mindful of the frequency and dosage of the medications. You should also just be aware and be educated. Awareness is key. Don’t walk blindly into anything. Ask questions. Your doctor should have your best interest in mind and should be happy to answer questions. If not, you may need a new primary care physician.
Today's blog consists of 3 of my favorite tips I've accumulated over my years as a fitness coach.
→ Tip 1: Reverse psychology "hack" to make better food choices
One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on inclusive habits instead of exclusive habits.
Inclusive habits suggest adding to their diet (adding protein, adding fruits and vegetables, adding water).
Exclusive habits suggest taking away from their diet (no more carbs, no more fats, no more desserts).
It's a subtle difference, but makes all the difference psychologically⏤nobody likes to be told what they can't do.
→ Tip 2: Three Ways To Remain Athletic As You Age
1. Prioritize soft tissue and mobility work. Too often, we can start doing these once we already feel pain. But if we stay proactive and implement just five minutes each day of foam rolling and mobility drills, we'll keep that athletic edge over time.
2. Incorporate single-leg exercises. This doesn't mean compound lifts like squats and deadlifts don't have their place. But lunges, split squats, step-ups, and single-leg RDLs all need to be included for a well-rounded athletic program. Running, jumping, cutting, transferring power ⏤ getting stronger on one leg will help all of these.
3. Lift FAST on the concentrics. You can use explosive movements like kettlebell swings or the olympic lifts, but you can also just make sure every rep you do is performed with a controlled, powerful concentric component of the lift. Moving fast will keep you fast.
→ Tip 3: Five “hacks” to eat more protein
1. Eat your protein first (in the day and in your meal). Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, so you’re less likely to overeat with this strategy. But on a daily scale, this same tactic can work by front loading protein at breakfast when your hunger is high.
2. Add a whey protein shake before the meal when cutting. When cutting, you can blunt some of your hunger going into a meal by having a half to full serving of whey protein before diving into your food. This also ensures higher quality protein at each meal.
3. Eat protein more frequently. It’s hard to consume large amounts of protein in one to two sittings. So breaking up your total daily protein goal into more meals and snacks will make the goal easier to achieve. For most, three meals and one shake works well.
4. Have a protein shake after training, upon waking, between meals, or before bed. Most people already include a post-workout shake, but it’s helpful to start doing if not. People also assume you should only drink shakes on workout days, yet they can provide a quality protein boost any time of day.
5. Build your meals starting with a protein source. Essentially, every time you’re about to eat, think to yourself, “what is my protein source going to be?” Then base the rest of your meal/snack around that decision.
When you're ready, here are 3 more ways I can help you:
1 - Ask me a question about your #1 fitness struggle.
Just hit reply to this email or blog post. I read every email I get. (And yes, it's actually me answering!)
2 - Work with me directly to get in the best shape of your life and stop breaking promises to yourself.
Every month I open up applications to work with me through my private 1:1 fat loss coaching program. I only work with people that I can help (80+ clients so far). And since you’re here, good chance that’s you.
Click here to apply to work with me.
3 - Check out more of my free content.
Facebook Group: "The Phoenix Method for Body Transformation"
Podcast: Phoenix Rising:Fitness|Mindset|Lifestyle - 100+ episodes where Coach Julie & I share our knowledge to help make your weight loss journey faster & more sustainable!
Blog: Start here - “8 Simple Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism”
Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 & Certified Mindset Coach
Detox has become quite the buzz word on social media. Everyone talks about how life changing detoxes are for your health and fitness. I’m not sure I buy into all of that. Usually the word “detox” means diarrhea, and of course you lose weight because there’s no more food in your gut and you’re super dehydrated. NOT HEALTHY. Most detoxes, especially those that you’ll find marketed on social media, are not healthy nor are they necessary. If you want to do a good healthy detox, here’s 9 healthy, full body detoxes.
Reading those 9 detoxes should have taught you a key factor about your body. Your body is mostly a self cleaning oven. Your organs and systems are designed to move toxins out of your body. You don’t need a detox, you need to optimize your systems, organs and their function.
What exactly is your Metabolism & what does it do for you?
Imagine your body is like a machine that needs fuel to run, just like a car needs gasoline. Metabolism is like the engine of that machine. It's the process in your body that turns the food you eat into energy that your body can use.
You see, every time you eat something, your body breaks down the food into smaller pieces called nutrients. These nutrients include things like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Your body uses these nutrients to do different things, like helping your muscles move, your brain think, and even your heart beat.
Now, think of your metabolism as the way your body converts these nutrients into energy. It's like a factory inside you that takes in the nutrients and turns them into the energy your body needs to function. This energy helps you do everything from running and playing to growing and even sleeping!
The metabolism is always working, even when you're sleeping or sitting still. It's a busy process that happens in every cell of your body. Some people have faster metabolisms, which means their bodies convert food into energy more quickly. Others have slower metabolisms, so their bodies convert food into energy more slowly.
Different things can affect your metabolism too. For example, when you exercise, your metabolism speeds up because your body needs more energy. That's why it's important to eat healthy food and stay active, so your metabolism can work efficiently and keep you feeling good.
So, in simple terms, metabolism is like the engine that converts the food you eat into energy for your body. It's what keeps you going and helps you grow strong and healthy!
8 Simple Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism:
Your metabolism doesn’t slow down due to age until your reach your 60s
If it does slow down it’s due to a significant change in your lifestyle.
The most common reason being you lost muscle & your actions led to a slower metabolism.
1. Stop crash dieting.
- Increases appetite + cravings
- Decreases energy expenditure
5. Drink ½ your BW in oz of water per day.
Blog Post by Coach Julie
Creating a new habit or stopping an old habit can be a daunting task. Studies show it takes 21 days of consistent work to break or create a habit. Throughout those 21 days, it's very important to identify with the habit and have solid mantra to repeat to yourself to help keep you motivated and accountable. Identifying with your new habit takes away any identity you have previous assigned yourself. For example, if you're trying to quit smoking you need to start identifying as a non-smoker. This is an easy example because that is a habit that often is assigned a label or an identity. If you're trying to start working out, your new identity is someone that loves themself and takes pride in their health and appearance. That part is decently easy. It will take effort to believe in your new identity but the mantra aspect takes a little more effort. You want to create a mantra that you can memorize and repeat to yourself with temptation arises. Something you can believe it that is motivating for you to stay on track. I've broken down the steps to creating a mantra for you below as well as an example.
Give it a try and see what you come up with.
How to Create a Mantra for Developing a New Habit
5 Rules to Writing a Mantra
If you’re new habit is improving your relationship with money, your process may look like this:
People like you who read my blogs are of a special breed. You’re likely ambitious, eager to learn, and confident⏤or else you wouldn’t be reading this. Or, anything, for that matter.
If you’re anything like my 1:1 coaching client, Diana, you’ll start off small, stacking wins. Then you’ll nervously, but courageously, push past your comfort zone. You’ll succeed at something you’ve never done before. Then your trust in your abilities will increase, equipping you to overcome hard things in the future with a new sense of mental freedom. This is how you build real self-confidence and escape the comparison trap. If this sounds like something you want professional help with, let’s work together. Whether you decide to sign up or not, with each of these four tools you should increase your chances of success going forward.
You’ve got this.
Give ’em a try and keep me posted how it goes. Would love to hear from you.
Chat soon, Kayli
P.S. This was originally an email sent to my private newsletter. If you liked this post, consider joining the fun.
Blog Post by Coach Julie
You’re probably a little confused right now . . . Let me break it down for you.
I have clients that struggle terribly with allergies and asthma. They’ve tried everything. Expensive allergy testing shows no allergies. NONE. Believe it or not, the problem may not be allergies, it may be issues with the gut.
It may sound crazy that your gut health would affect your sinuses, but the two systems are very intertwined. Both the respiratory tract and the digestive tract are immune barriers, meaning it’s their job to protect the body from outside invaders.
The gut in particular profoundly influences the entire immune system. When gut health suffers so does the rest of your body. This can even result in allergy symptoms that flare up each spring.
Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, is a condition in which the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed and porous, allowing undigested foods, bacteria, yeasts, and other toxins into the bloodstream. The immune system launches an attack on these toxins, which creates inflammation throughout the body. For many people, this happens every time they eat.
This inflammation manifests in different ways for different people. Gut symptoms don’t have to be present to suffer from inflammation caused by leaky gut. It can cause joint pain, skin problems, digestive complaints, autoimmune disease, issues with brain function, fatigue, chronic pain, asthma, and…seasonal allergies.
Chronic stress also weakens and inflames the digestive tract, causing leaky gut. Stress doesn’t just have to come from a stressful lifestyle or lack of sleep, although those certainly play a role. Eating a diet high in sugar, fried and processed foods is stressful to the body, as is an unmanaged autoimmune disease, or hormones that are out of whack. These are just a few metabolic factors that can contribute to leaky gut.
If you need help managing chronic conditions or gut health, shoot Coach Kayli or I a DM. We’d be happy to jump on a coaching call with you to discuss your issues and help you get to the root cause.
Kayli is a certified personal trainer and online coach that specializes in fitness, wellness, nutrition, mindset, mobility and everything in between.