Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 • NCI Certified Mindset Coach
I am now well into Phase 2 of my journey to gut health. Phase 2 is the H. Pylori kill phase. I started the DGL encapsulations on Friday the 22nd. I have been taking just one capsule at dinner. I tolerated the supplement well. The following week I started the mastic gum supplement. I have been taking two capsules every morning before breakfast. These are the two supplements that are specific to the H. Pylori infection and protecting the gut lining.
Keep in mind, I have to maintain the steps that were prescribed in Phase 1. Those steps included diet changes, starting S. Boulardii, starting colostrum, walking after meals, managing stress, getting good sleep, and keeping my workout intensity lower. When we moved into Phase 2, we simply added the two H. Pylori supplements.
Since starting the two supplements, I have had some side effects. These side effects are typical of any treatment of H. Pylori. When you begin a treatment to kill an H. Pylori infection, it is typical to experience some nausea, burning sensation in the gut, heartburn, and in some cases diarrhea. Diarrhea is predominantly present when utilizing prescription medication therapy to fight the infection. I have not been experiencing diarrhea. I attribute this to the supplements. Antibiotics typically disrupt the gut because they kill the good gut bacteria as well as the bad bacteria in the body. This causes diarrhea commonly.
I have been having a touch of nausea and some burning sensation. These side effects have been tolerable. I haven’t missed any work due to illness since I started the protocol. My bowel movements are becoming more complete and more regular. I will maintain the Phase 2 supplements for about 4 weeks. At that time we will proceed into Phase 3 which will be to kill the SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). When we start Phase 3, I will stop the two H. Pylori supplements and I will add in 4 more supplements. I will add in Oregeno Oil, Berberine, GI Detox and BioFilm Defense. Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic, antioxidant and anti inflammatory. It has also been show to help stabilize intestinal flora balance. Berberine is usually a natural alternative to some diabetes medications including metformin. Studies are showing that it has a benefit to gut microbiome and has shown to improve symptoms of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The BioFilm defense helps support healthy levels of biofilm and provides nutritional support for detoxing the gut. It is also an aid for bloating, gas and GI distress. Lastly, the GI Detox is exactly what it sounds like. This is a supplement that will help bind all of the harmful microbes we are trying to flush from the body and get them out of the body. The 4 week mark is Saturday May 28th. At that time I will be making the transition from Phase 2 to Phase 3.
Does this sound like you?
You’ve been crushing your workouts these last 5 days and avoiding all of those favorite high sugar snacks you love.
You’ve been led to believe that the only way to lose weight is to give up the things you love and move more.
I mean everyone has heard the phrase . . .
Eat less, move more right??
That’s how Sally lost all her weight on IG.
But, after day 5 of going to the gym everyday and starving yourself you find yourself with very little willpower to say no.
Anyone can restrict themselves for 5 days.
After a while though you find yourself battling some intense cravings! Missing all those favorite foods you thought you had to give up in order to lose weight. So Tuesday morning when Joe brings in donuts to work and you got less than 5 hours of sleep the night before, guess what happens?
That’s right you cave. You eat the donut and it’s the best tasting stale donut you’ve ever had.
So that’s right, you grab another one. Maybe you stop there or maybe you walk by after another hour and grab a third.
By lunch though you are feeling like crap. Both physically and mentally. You are having a sugar crash from the spike in blood insulin levels as well as beating yourself up for caving.
This usually leads to 1 of 2 things.
You say F it and write the whole day off and tell yourself you will start again on Monday.
You scold yourself and start restricting again and punishing yourself in the gym for the “mistake”.
Both of these lead to the exact same conclusion.
They are a never ending cycle of working your ass off to lose 10-15lbs only to gain it right back.
What if I told you there was a better way? An easier way?
A way to curb those intense sugar cravings for good?
Would you be interested in learning more? If so, keep reading.
If you want to stop this never ending cycle for good you have to send the right signals to your body and brain.
Here are the 3 Ways I help break the Sugar Addiction Cycle for my online coaching clients.
If you would like to take it a step further and have someone map out your fat loss success journey for the next 6 months then click the application for coaching below and let us show you the proven RISE method we have used with 100’s of clients that used to struggle just like you.
Kayli Montoya-Huston - NCI Certified Nutrition Coach & Personal Trainer
Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 • NCI Certified Mindset Coach
We are well into phase one of my gut health protocol. So far this has consisted of moving my diet to a gluten free, lactose free and low FODMAP diet. The purpose of this phase is to bulk up the gut, strengthen it and increase the gut immunity so that it is prepared to kill off bacteria and infection.
I am where I need to be for my diet. In the initial blog post, I was easing my way into it to clear out my pantry and finding substitutions that would still allow me to hit my ideal macros for the cycle I am in right now. I have been able to move entirely to gluten free, lactose free and the FODMAPs are kept to a minimum. Keep in mind the diet is not FODMAP free, but low FODMAP. This has been the biggest adjustment. I have previously completed this type of diet before but it has been quite awhile and there have recently been changes to the diet’s protocols. Learning where FODMAPS are hiding in foods has been quite a challenge. I was able to download a PDF of FODMAP foods and the appropriate serving sizes of select foods that can be consumed if kept to a smaller serving. I also found an app for my phone called, FIG, that allowed me to scan barcodes of products to obtain a detailed readout of what is in the product and which ingredients are not diet friendly. That has been a huge help for me in both adherence and education.
I did have to lower my protein goal now that the dietary changes have been made. I was aiming for 185g of protein per day, but without cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, it was very difficult for me to hit that number. We lowered it slightly to 170g and added 15g to my carbs. This has been much easier to adhere to my macros and the gut health dietary protocol. Lactose free cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are options, however, I have not been able to find them locally.
I did receive the colostrum supplement and I implemented it on March 26th. This was added to the current regimen of the S. Boulardii that I was taking. I am taking one capsule of each per day. So far I have not experienced any adverse effects. The colostrum is a supplement that helps repair the gut lining. This will strengthen it so that while we are fighting infection and the bacterial overgrowth, I don’t experience a leaky gut. Remember the S. Boulardii is to help increase the gut immunity to help head off the H. Pylori.
The implementation of the supplements and the diet has had a remarkable improvement on my situation. I am assuming the inflammation is dropping in my gut. There is really no hard and fast way to know this without lab testing, but judging by the way I feel, I am guessing that is a big component of the improvements. I have noticed that my scale weight does not fluctuate as much as it used to. Inflammation can cause scale fluctuations and even measurement fluctuations depending on severity. I am also experiencing more regular and less painful bowel movements. Previously I would frequently go 4 days without a bowel movement and then have super painful large bowel movements. As of now, this has been resolved. I am having bowel movements nearly daily and sometimes twice per day. Inflammation can cause constipation and vice versa. Inflammation/constipation can become cyclical for sufferers of gastrointestinal issues. I am slowly becoming more confident with my gut. Previously I would eat my lunch at work at a certain time so that I would know I would be able to leave for lunch if I got sick. Now I’ve been finding I’m more confident in eating at random times. This seems insignificant, but my life previously revolved around my stomach. Literally, the fear of being sick and not being confident with my gut determined everything. I am slowly finding freedom from my gut and we are only in phase one.
I am also completing the other necessary tasks to help with digestion. I am training at a reduced intensity, walking after meals, focusing on sleep and trying to manage stress. Because of the work I have put in and being able to be comfortable being uncomfortable, I have seen success with phase 1 of the program. We are now going to proceed with phase 2. Phase 2 will be moving on to kill the H.Pylori infection. I will be maintaining the habits of phase 1 and simply adding on 2 supplements that will kill the infection. I’ll be taking Mastic Gum twice per day with meals and DGL twice per day with meals. Mastic gum supports the gut and duodenal health as well as promoting healthy stomach acid production. DGL stands for deglycyrrhizinated licorice. See why we abbreviate? DGL is a combination of deglycyrrhizinated licorice, aloe vera, slippery elm, and marshmallow root. All of these elements are very protective of the GI tract. The combination helps support the defense mechanisms by stimulating the mass, quality and production of mucus which is a major component of the stomach’s protective lining. You will notice that a lot of the supplements I’m taking are for the gut lining. This is because H. Pylori attaches to your gut lining and can cause ulcers so we have to take care to protect the gut lining. This is why we have to kill the infection before we work on correcting my lack of stomach acid. Introducing acid into my stomach while I have an active infection can speed up the formation of ulcers. When the H. Pylori infection is gone, I will stop taking Nexium (finally) and we will work on improving my stomach acid levels. I will be ordering the supplements and as soon as I get them, phase 2 starts.
I will update you again in 2 weeks and let you know where we are. I don’t know how long phase 2 will last, but I will keep you updated as we go along.
Many of our clients lately have been mentioning thyroid issues. This seems to be a common issue among American adults. Hypothyroidism is the most common condition in the United States. The thyroid affects almost every organ and process in the body. Thyroid dysregulation can be linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, respiration, body temperature, brain development, cholesterol levels, the heart and nervous system, blood calcium levels, menstrual cycles, and skin integrity. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are wide and seem to overlap other illnesses. Symptoms include: weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and hair, and difficulty concentrating.
While doctors prescribe medications to support thyroid regulation, the impact of nutrition, fitness and lifestyle is often overlooked. In some cases, depending on the individual's thyroid levels, lifestyle changes can manage the symptoms and regulate the levels. However, always consult with your doctor on your specific levels and the appropriate action for you. Implementing these supportive actions will be helpful regardless of your medication status. Do not stop taking any medications without your doctor's advice.
I am sure you have heard Coach Kayli and I speak about the importance of macronutrients in your diet, but if you are looking at overall health and wellness, your micronutrients are just as important. The thyroid is no different. The key nutrients to focus on for thyroid regulation are: iodine, vitamin D3, zinc, selenium, and vitamin b12.
Iodine is the key cause of thyroid disease worldwide. Iodine levels in the United States have not been an issue until lately. Americans used to get sufficient iodine supplementation from salt, but most of the salt intake today is from processed foods that lack iodine, resulting in falling iodine levels. Iodine supplementation is NOT advised as it can cause flare ups for people and can stimulate autoimmune antibodies.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hypothyroidism, however it is still unclear whether it is causal or correlative. Vitamin D levels can be increased through increasing your sun exposure or eating foods rich in vitamin D such as: fatty fish, milk, dairy, eggs and mushrooms. Vitamin D can also be supplemented however it is a fat soluble vitamin so it should be taken after a meal containing fat has been consumed. Always check with your doctor before starting supplementation to ensure it will not affect any current medications or conditions. A typical supplement dose of vitamin D is 5,000 IU.
The highest levels of selenium are found in the thyroid. It has a large impact on cognitive function, fertility and mortality rates. Incorporating selenium rich foods in your diet can be helpful to support your body’s selenium levels and thyroid function. Selenium rich foods include: tuna, Brazil nuts, crab and lobster. It is not recommended to supplement with selenium without direction from a doctor.
Like selenium, zinc helps activate the thyroid hormones. If you have hypothyroidism try to focus more on foods like shellfish, beef, chicken, and oysters.
About 30% of people with thyroid issues have a vitamin B12 deficiency. A severe deficiency is irreversible so it’s important for sufferers of thyroid issues to have their levels checked. Foods that are supportive of vitamin B12 levels include: mollusks, sardines, salmon, organ meats, muscle meats and dairy. If you usually practice more of a vegan approach you can find vitamin B12 in fortified cereals and nutritional yeast.
Avoiding goitrogens is an important dietary practice for healthy thyroids. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are goitrogens. They release goitrin when they are broken down. Goitrin interferes with the synthesis of thyroid hormones. If you prefer cruciferous veggies in your diet, heating them will help eliminate the goitrogenic effect.
It is important to note that if you are taking thyroid medications, there are some foods and supplements to avoid or time appropriately so as to not disrupt the function of the medications. Calcium supplements can interfere with thyroid medications and should be separated by at least 4 hours. Coffee and fiber supplements lower the absorption of thyroid medication and should be separated by 1 hour. Chromium picolinate is often consumed for blood sugar control and weight loss, so often supplemented by thyroid patients, however this supplement needs to be kept away from your thyroid medication by 3-4 hours. Flavonoids in fruits, vegetables and tea may also suppress thyroid function and should be avoided in high doses.
This discussion would not be complete without discussing exercise. Exercise is very important for people suffering from thyroid dysregulation. It is important for hypothyroid individuals to help manage weight gain, fatigue and depression. Studies have shown that regular exercise has shown dramatic improvements in thyroid associated fatigue.
Thyroid dysregulation presents numerous challenges due to weight changes, cardiovascular risks, fatigue, mood changes and gastrointestinal upset which often prevents the formation of healthier habits. However, implementing a healthy diet that reduces processed foods, alcohol, caffeine would be helpful to supporting healthy thyroid levels. Focus should be placed on whole foods including: fruits, vegetables, dairy, lean meats, and gluten free grains. Try to limit dietary stress by reducing inflammatory foods such as high sugar foods, highly processed foods, high salt foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Try to incorporate more good fats like olive oil, avocado and healthy fats as these tend to be anti-inflammatory. Avoid eating a lot of food in one setting and try to give your body a break in digestion at night by stopping food intake at 8pm. If you can obtain more organic foods to eliminate toxins such as hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, this will help reduce stress in your immune and endocrine systems. It is also very important to keep your fiber intake at the recommended daily intake of 22-33 grams depending on your age and sex. Fiber is important for digestion, heart health, healthy bowels and helping you feel full, which helps with weight gain. Last, but definitely not least, make sure you are staying hydrated. Staying hydrated keeps your metabolism function efficiently and can reduce your appetite and bloating. Adequate water also improves digestion and combats constipation and fatigue. As a very general baseline, aim for your body weight divided by 2 for the number of ounces you should be consuming per day.
Overall, aiming for healthier nutrition and fitness practices can help with thyroid issues as well as general health and wellbeing. Oftentimes we see if you set your goals to be more healthy, you will find that your desired aesthetic changes will follow that. If you’re struggling with health or hormone issues and need some direction. Click on the link to sign up for a free coaching call with Coach Kayli and she can help you assess your goals and get you on track to a healthier, happier YOU!
Blog Post by Coach Julie
**Please Note: This is my journey. The protocol that I am following is individualized to my situation. I am not a doctor nor am I offering medical advice. Should you wish to seek coaching for your individual situation please fill out the coaching call application and Coach Kayli or I would love to help you.
This is going to be the beginning of a blog series that will also have podcast episodes and social media posts to supplement it. This series will be a case study and a documentary of my journey to better gut health. I have been on a mission since 2008 to figure out what was wrong with my gut and fix it so that I could have a better quality of life. I had not been successful finding answers regarding what was wrong with my gut so that I could start the process of healing and getting better. Now, in 2022, 14 years later, I have the answers I need, the coach to guide me and support me and the protocol that will hopefully put me in the place of healing and a normal functioning quality of life. Through this series I will outline my journey. What we are doing, why we are doing it and how I am doing with the process. At this point, not even I know if the method I have in place will work, but I’m going to document each step and any changes we make along the way.
Let me start by giving you the backstory. In 2008, I started having severe diarrhea. It was so bad, I couldn’t control my bowels. I would have diarrhea as soon as I woke up and it would continue until almost dinner time. It didn’t matter what I ate. I was always sick. My doctor at the time ran a bunch of lab tests to try and diagnose an issue. All labs were normal. I was negative for Crohns’, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac, etc. They couldn’t find anything abnormal. There was nothing they could do. I couldn’t function at a normal capacity. I couldn’t work and I had to do my college coursework via email. This persisted until around 2011.
In 2011, after a procedure by my chiropractor to close my ileocecal valve, the diarrhea stopped. The ileocecal valve is a valve in your intestinal tract that can get stuck open and cause what’s called “dumping syndrome.” After the diarrhea stopped, I began feeling a little bit better, but I had started having nausea. I returned to the doctor. The doctor had previously run abdominal sonograms and ultrasounds but found nothing of note. At the time she had mentioned a test called a HIDA scan to check the function of the gallbladder. This test requires you to lay still on a bed for an extended period of time, which I knew I would not be able to do without getting sick. Now that the diarrhea had resolved, I asked if we could discuss the HIDA scan again. We decided that would be a good course of action. The test showed that my gallbladder was only working at 7%. The gallbladder is usually removed at 50%, it should have been removed a long time ago, but since I didn’t have gallstones and I wasn’t full of sludge and uninsured, I wasn’t an emergent case.
I knew part of the key to feeling better would be removing the gallbladder. I borrowed money from my grandmother to pay for my surgery. In December 2011, I had my gallbladder removed and I asked for an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy at the same time to check for other issues. While they were removing my gallbladder, it actually ruptured. It was actually full of sludge.
Coming out of surgery, I felt much better. I had to avoid certain foods but I felt much better than I had in a long time. I was able to proceed with a better quality of life than I had the 3 years prior to. I also used this as an opportunity to stop smoking.
In 2015, I had a flare up of diarrhea again that wouldn’t stop. I was even hospitalized and given strong medications to help the condition, but instead of healing, I ended up with C. Diff, which is a horrible bacterial infection in your bowels.
I sought help from a GI specialist. Without running any tests, the doctor handed me a prescription for a very high powered anti-diarrheal medication and told me to be careful. He said some people end up with obstructive bowels after using that medication. I decided I would start with half a tablet per day and slowly increase until I found the dose that worked for me. That seemed to work ok. But I wasn’t satisfied with using a pill to mask a symptom. Something had to be causing the diarrhea. I sought the help of another GI specialist in 2016. He completed a colonoscopy and found nothing of significance. He found a had a tortuous colon, which means that I have a sharper bend in my colon than most people so things sometimes don’t move through as smoothly as they should, which can cause pain. Again, an answer but not quite the answer.
I finally was able to get into a specialist program at KU. I was pretty sure that would be my ticket to wellness. KU is supposed to be the gold standard of treatment. On the day of my appointment my doctor came in and said that I had IBS and I needed to continue to use the medication for the diarrhea but because it was causing a little bit of constipation, I needed to add a laxative to that as well. That was not an answer. Those medications counteract each other. I left very displeased.
I have been able to manage my condition so far with diet and exercise, but I still have cramping, pain, bloating, constipation, fatigue and just overall feeling of malaise. I have been living this way since 2016. I struggle with anxiety and depression which could very much be caused by this constant ill feeling.
Toward the end of 2020, I started pushing again to find the answers to my gut issues. My doctor and I ran so many tests. Finally a stool test showed that I had pancreatic insufficiency. I was elated. Finally an answer that wasn’t “it’s all in your head” or “it’s your anxiety.” They prescribed me a pancreatic enzyme to correct this issue. It seemed to work really well, I was feeling pretty good, but I started feeling more constipated than before. I decided to try and stop my anti-diarrhea medication. I was able to stop that and feel ok. No diarrhea returned and I was feeling ok, not quite great yet.
I saw another gut health specialist at KU in December 2021. This doctor hadn’t looked over my medical records that he required before he would see me. He had to ask me what lab testing had been done and after telling him what my test showed and my diagnosis he told me “that is a trash can diagnosis.” He wanted to put me under anesthesia to prove the other doctor wrong and that my pancreas was fine. He said you have IBS and I am going to give you medication for constipation but it may cause diarrhea. This time I actually spoke up for myself. I told him I wasn’t interested in taking another medication and ending up back where I was. I have been chasing my tail for over a decade now. His solution was to take peppermint oil, which I wasn’t super happy with but at least it was natural.
After this disappointing appointment, my wife and I decided to seek the help of a functional medicine doctor. I was getting nowhere so it was time to change the path. I saw the new doctor in January. She gave me a great plan of action but the testing was going to cost me around $700 out of pocket to figure out what was going on, but she thought I had a parasite. The issue is, the tests she wanted me to complete weren't for the gut. I wanted my gut addressed, I wasn’t in a place where I wanted to mess with everything else first.
I mentioned all of this stress to my nutrition and fitness coach, who, like Coach Kayli and I, is a gut health speciailst. He stated that he thought that he and I could do this together for less money and less invasive. I agreed. This is where we are now.
I ordered a GI MAP test online. The mail you the testing materials, you complete the stool test and mail it back to the lab. My results were back within 2 weeks. The results showed high inflammation, H.Pylori and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.) These are things that can be healed and treated. Brandon and I have come up with a protocol that we think will work. The protocol is coming from his experience and his wide network of other coaches and specialists that have completed this protocol before. The protocol I am following has also been reviewed by a functional medicine doctor and my primary medical provider. They approve of the protocol and are supervising me throughout this journey. This is very much a collaboration as everyone involved has been given the lab results and the protocol and knows where we are every step of the way.
The first phase of this journey that is required is the diet. Before we can do anything, we have to prepare the gut for treatment. Temporarily changing my diet will help reduce inflammation which will not only help me feel better but also make my gut more susceptible to the treatment. The diet changes I am implementing are moving toward gluten free and low FODMAP diets. We are also cutting out caffeine and alcohol, although I don’t drink. I will need to eat 3 to 4 hours apart to allow the gut time to recover and digest each meal.
I will also be reducing the amount of intensity and frequency of training. The body needs to dedicate the energy to healing the gut so I will be lifting 3 days per week and not exceeding 7 RPE/3 RIR. No high intensity cardio, only walks, yoga and mobility. I will also be taking 10 minute walks after meals to aid in digestion.
I have also started peppermint oil to help soothe the GI tract and Saccharomyces Boulardii. S. Boulardii is a good bacteria that acts as a probiotic in the gut. This is used to help boost intestinal immunity and also helps with diarrhea. I will also be starting a colostrum supplement. This will be used to help repair the gut lining and make it stronger so that it can treat the H.Pylori infection.
I have not received the colostrum supplement but I have received the S. Bouldarii. I started it on Saturday March 19th. I have tolerated it well. I am having some cramping but it isn’t terrible. No diarrhea or vomiting. My diet changes have started but I am not fully at gluten free or low FODMAP quite yet. It’s a gradual process and I had some groceries that I needed to finish so they didn’t go to waste. I seem to be doing well so far. I will start the colostrum as soon as I receive it. I will continue to move the diet toward gluten free and low FODMAP and will take the two supplements for 2 weeks. After two weeks, if I’ve handled the protocol well so far, we will progress to phase 2, but that phase will be dictated by my progress over these 2 weeks.
“I just want to be toned,” “I lost the weight, but I don’t have the body I want,” “I want to look like I lift . . “
Any of those sound familiar? This is what I hear from most people that come to Kayli and I for coaching. Most people just aren’t happy with the shape of their body. Some have lost weight but still don’t like the shape of their body. Some state they would be happy if they just looked “toned.” If you’ve been following Kayli and I, you know we shudder when we hear the word toned. Toned was a made up word by marketing people to sell fitness and lifting to women. When you say you want to be “toned” what you really mean is you want to gain visible muscle definition. This can mean either building muscle or losing body fat to expose your muscle tissue. This can stop some people, particularly women, in their tracks. Many women become afraid of lifting weights and gaining muscle because they don’t want to “get too big,” “look like a man,” or “get bulky.” What they don’t realize is that because of their hormonal makeup, it is virtually impossible for them to do any of those things. Men have much more testosterone than women. Testosterone is the primary muscle building hormone. While women have some testosterone, we do not have the amount necessary to get as muscular as men.
So now that we have put the worries to bed and I have you super stoked to start growing muscle . . . let’s look at the 10 laws necessary for muscle growth.
Alright friends . . . you are now armed with the laws of muscle building. Go forth and grow!
So you’ve been listening to Kayli and I about how to lose body fat and you’ve adjusted your diet and you’ve started resistance training. That’s fantastic news. Wait . . . you say the scale is up this morning. Oh man that must have been scary huh? Well guess what! I have more good news for you, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it’s totally normal.
Fat loss and weight loss are not linear. It is very common and incredibly normal to see the scale go up and down from day to day. This is why I suggest that you weigh daily. Now, if you struggle with body dysmorphic disorder or the scale causes you severe emotional distress, that suggestion changes. When you weigh daily and record that weight somewhere, you can plot the weight on a chart and you will see the overall trend going down. We don’t care about what is happening in the micro perspective here, it’s the macro that matters.
When you are in a fat loss phase, you should be watching several different metrics. I suggest keeping track of your body measurements, biofeedback, how your clothes fit, and the scale. Oftentimes the scale won’t move but you notice your clothes are looser and your measurements are dropping. This is usually a good indicator that you are gaining muscle mass and losing body fat. None of these metrics by themselves are good indicators of your progress. You must look at all of them together. As a matter of fact, the very definition of a plateau in fat loss requires a consecutive 4 week of no scale movements and no measurement movements. Unless both are stalled for 4 consecutive weeks, you are still making progress.
There are several things that can cause the scale to fluctuate. Your body weight can fluctuate up to 4% from day to day depending on the situation and your body. Water can often be a driver of scale weight. You could have been dehydrated one day which made your body hold on to more water, this can make the scale go up. Your body could be inflamed from a hard workout, this can make the scale go up. You could have undigested food left in the gut which would make the scale go up. You could be full of poop. I don’t mean that facetiously. If you’re struggling with constipation or you didn’t get enough fiber to help you clear out your bowels, the scale will go up. Stress, lack of sleep, eating later at night, eating fried or sugary foods can all make the scale go up. It is important to be aware that in order to gain 1 pound of body fat in a day, you had to eat 3500 calories OVER your maintenance calories. So if you eat 2000 calories per day just to stay at the same weight, you would need to eat 5500 calories that day for the increase in the scale to be due to body fat. So the next time the scale is up 2 pounds from the day before. Ask yourself, “did I really eat 7000 EXTRA calories yesterday?” I would almost guarantee the answer is no.
Since I mentioned measurements, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a swing in the other direction. I mentioned all the different types of metrics that you should watch for a reason. We don’t just watch these to test the validity of the scale. They are important in their own right. For example, say the scale is going down and you’re super stoked about that but the measurements are not dropping. That’s discouraging isn’t it? If you are a person with quite a bit of extra weight to lose and the scale starts dropping but the measurements are not budging and you aren’t noticing a difference in your progress pics, there’s a good chance you are losing fat, but it isn’t going to be the superficial body fat that gives your body shape. You are most likely losing the visceral fat first. This is the fat that surrounds your organs. This is a good thing. Do not let this discourage you. This is why the first 10 pounds lost causes the most impact on your health markers on lab work with your doctor. When you drop the visceral fat, your body can work more efficiently.
I would strongly suggest watching several different measurements of progress. Scale, measurements and photos are all great ways to judge your progress. I would argue that even if those things aren’t moving or changing, but you feel better, you are winning. Oftentimes if you chase health and wellness, the body you want will come later and then you can really enjoy your newer body and actually feel better in it.
If you would like more 1 on 1 help reaching your fat loss goals fill out our coaching application to hop on a free coaching call so we can discuss your goals and see if you would make a great fit for the Phoenix Rising Program.
First, what is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak and fragile bones that are liable to fracture. Normal, strong and healthy bones contain large amounts of minerals, which make them strong. The amount of these bone minerals within our bones is referred to as our bone mineral density (BMD).
Our bones are in a constant state of adaptation, with bone being broken down and remodeled and rebuilt continuously. When bones break down faster than they rebuild, our bone mineral density decreases.
Our BMD is highest when we are aged in our 20s, and then as we get older our BMD gradually declines. If this loss of minerals from the bone is excessive, our BMD will become very low, and we will develop osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a common cause of fractures in older Americans, especially women. In women, the greatest rate of bone loss occurs in the years immediately following menopause.
How can resistance training help?
Resistance training to prevent osteoporosis: Regular weight-bearing exercise in children and teenagers helps produce strong bones; in adults it helps to maintain bone mass; after menopause it can be part of an overall treatment plan that aims to slow the rate of bone loss; and in adults over 65 years physical activity can be used to both reduce the rate of bone loss and avoid injury to bones by improving muscle strength and balance. The strength of your bones also determines the type of exercise that is appropriate and safe for your bones.
Certain types of resistance training have been shown to minimize the loss in BMD, and in some research studies to even produce an increase in BMD. This is beneficial for both the prevention and the treatment of osteoporosis.
If you already have osteoporosis or other medical conditions and have not exercised regularly, speak to a professional about designing an exercise program that is suitable for you.
The best types of exercise for decreasing the risk of developing osteoporosis are:
Exercises such as swimming and cycling help improve cardiovascular fitness and build muscle strength, but are not as effective at preventing osteoporosis as weight-bearing exercise. So if you are already swimming or cycling regularly but not doing any other forms of exercise, you should consider adding weight-bearing and/or resistance exercise to your weekly routine.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Resistance training helps improve your bone health by putting strain on the bones, which helps make them stronger. As your body adapts you will need to increase the resistance to continue to improve bone strength. There is some evidence indicating that progressing to heavier resistances is most effective in preventing the loss of an increasing BMD.
Doing a program of resistance exercises 2-3 times per week has been shown to help maintain and even increase bone mineral density in women who have gone through menopause. Resistance training also helps to build up and maintain muscle mass, which helps reduce the risk of falls.
Resistance Training For All
Since the prevention of osteoporosis is a far better strategy than trying to reverse it, all adults should undertake regular weight-bearing and/or resistance training regardless of their age. In young people this will help to increase their BMD to higher peak levels, which will then reduce the risk of it declining to osteoporotic levels later in life. Continuing with this exercise throughout your life will minimize the decline in BMD that occurs with age and further reduce the risk of osteoporosis in old age.
Not sure where to start or what program to run? That’s where I come in! Let me help you get started in your fitness journey with a safe, effective resistance training program tailored to your body and your goals.
If having someone in your corner every step of the way in training, nutrition and mindset sounds like something you would greatly benefit from then take 2 minutes and click the link below to fill out an application for a 15 minute coaching call with me.
Where we will discuss your goals in great detail and find out if we would make a great fit to work together.
You have probably heard me talk fat loss killers in social media posts and videos, but there are so many moving parts that have to work in harmony to achieve fat loss that it’s important to really highlight the major sources of problems. We have talked about how water, diet, sleep and movement all affect fat loss, the one that most people tend to forget is STRESS.
Stress can affect your fat loss in several different ways. As a matter of fact, it can be the major wrecking ball that takes out the other pillars necessary to keep your weight trending down toward your goals.
First, let’s address what constitutes stress. People use the word stress interchangeably with anxiety, feeling anxious, fearful, nervous, overwhelmed, panicked or stressed out. Usually stress manifests in people’s lives without them noticing, but usually shows it’s ugly face through anger, irritability, depression, tension, headaches, joint and muscle aches, gastrointestinal distress, frequent illness and lack of sleep. Your body cannot tell the difference between stressors or negative emotions. All of these things to your body are simply stress. A fight with your spouse, rough day at the job, lost $20 at the slot machine, feeling under the weather . . . the situations are numerous, but the point is, your body doesn’t know the difference between these situations or if you’re being chased by a lion or starving. All stressors cause your body to automatically go into flight or fight mode to help you survive that famine or fight that lion. To do this, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone. When cortisol is released, glucose is also released into your bloodstream. Glucose is your body’s primary source of energy. Great, your body is now suited up for battle.
The problem is when the threat is gone (great job, you killed the lion), your adrenaline wears off and your glucose wears off, but your cortisol goes into high gear to replenish your energy supply. So what does this mean for you? Let’s break it down
When your glucose level drops, your body craves sugar because your body knows that sugar will give it the quick energy boost it thinks it needs. The problem with this is, when you consume so much sugar after stressful situations your body tends to store as abdominal fat, which is usually one of the hardest areas to lose it. This creates the infinite loop of stress, cortisol, gain weight, crave sugar, eat sugar, gain more weight and round and round the mulberry bush we go.
So maybe you think you’re stronger and smarter than your body so you don’t end up in the sugar cycle mentioned above. Ok, let’s cuss and discuss what that pesky cortisol does to your metabolism. Even if you aren’t eating high fat or high sugar, cortisol slows your metabolism and as an added perk, also raises your insulin, a hormone that contributes to fat storage. Researchers have found that stress could cause as much as an 11 pound weight gain in one year.
So there’s other perks of high stress, anxiety, cortisol (whatever word, be it 4 letter or otherwise, you’re using for it) on your body. (I really hope you’re picking up on my snarky sarcasm toward stress, because it can be a pesky bugger.)
Are you an emotional eater . . . STRESS. Cortisol not only causes unhealthy cravings but can also make you eat more than normal.
Do you struggle to plan meals or prepare meals when you’re stressed? That probably makes you want to hit up that Chik-Fil-A down the street or just grab something easy rather than taking the time to make a healthy choice.
Stress can often mean you’re overworked, have a busy schedule or spend too much time commuting can really cut into your time at the gym or other activities you would usually do. This also makes people cut out meals from their diet.
And last but not least . . . DRUMROLL PUH-LEASE . . .
Remember SLEEP and how not getting enough sleep can cause you to hold on to extra body weight?? Let’s recap, not getting enough sleep can cause ghrelin, your body’s hunger hormone, to increase and also make your leptin levels decrease. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full. So basically when you don’t get adequate sleep, you eat more because you’re hungrier and feel less full.
Ok back to stress. Stress comes in clutch to really round out this terrible cycle by making it difficult for you to fall asleep, stay asleep and get good sleep. So that cycle ends up looking like this>stress=little sleep/poor sleep=increased appetite. It is a nasty cycle, and when you pair that with the research showing that lack of sleep also leads to a decrease in metabolism, you then aren’t sleeping, you’re eating more and your body isn’t burning as much of what you put in.
I’m not sure how you’re feeling about that little cocktail of weight loss disasters, but if you’re 100% not ok with it, continue reading and let’s talk strategies to fix it.
First, we need to say that you will never be fully free of cortisol. Your body does need some, but it produces its own normal amount without you jump starting it like a dead car battery. You have to practice stress management. You can do this through self care, meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises, getting adequate sleep, exercising, journaling, reading, listening to music, and eating a diet of health foods. These things are very important to your mental health, physical health and overall well being. There’s nothing frou frou about taking care of yourself. You have one body and one life, treat them well. Other simple things you can do are drinking water and eating more whole foods. These things help fight cravings but you have to put in the work to keep your mind right in order to hit your goals.
If you have questions or want to discuss your situation in more detail, click the link and apply for a coaching call.
Again - the stuff on the bottom of the pyramid is the most important stuff. As you make your way up the pyramid, you get less and less meaningful impact per time invested.
1. Sustainability And Adherence
The most important thing about your diet? It has to be something you can stick to.
Even with fast weight loss, you'll still be dieting for quite some time. If your diet isn't something you can stick to for at least a few months, you won't be able to get results.
When I first started coaching, I gave all my clients macros - based on my own success with tracking.
What happened? Hardly anyone could stick to their diets.
This is exactly why we spend so much time initially talking about your lifestyle, and what diet structure will work best for you currently. That's how we create a diet easy for you to adhere to.
Now, our goal is NOT to keep you dieting for the rest of your life - so you don't have to be able to see yourself doing this for years... but it has to be maintainable for the course of the diet (typically 3-6 months).
So really, after the diet is over is when sustainability comes into play. The habits you've learned - eat protein at every meal, prepping ahead, focusing on high-volume foods, balancing calorie intake with movement - these are what allow you to sustain your new bangin' body composition once you get there.
Basically, you'll never just be able to eat crappy food constantly and be fit. So while you don't have to constantly be dieting - you do need to implement the healthy behaviors you've learned to sustain your results.
2. Energy Balance
-When you eat FEWER calories than you burn in a day, you lose weight.
-When you eat More calories than you burn in a day, you gain weight.
^This is how ALL diets work. They're simply different ways of getting you to eat less.
For everything else you could possibly want to know about energy balance, check out last week's email.
All your foods are made up of some combination (or at least one) of these “macros”.
our macro intake can have a pretty big impact on your body composition, but it does NOT overrule energy balance. Calories in - calories out is still the most important factor.
The calories per gram varies a bit by macro:
*Protein: 1 gram of protein contains ~4 calories
*Carbohydrates: 1 gram of carbohydrate contains ~4 calories
*Fat: 1 gram of fat contains ~9 calories
*Ethanol (alcohol): 1 gram of pure ethanol contains ~7 calories
Keeping protein high is crucial to building a great body, BECAUSE:
2. Carbs: 5-10% of calories consumed are burned via TEF
3. Fat: 0-3% of calories consumed are burned via TEF
When you eat more protein, you're actually increasing the Calories outside of the energy balance equation, since you're burning more calories via TEF.
Outside of controlling energy balance, increasing protein intake to .8-1 grams/lb of bodyweight daily is likely the most impactful thing you can do to improve body composition. (Although you're good to take protein higher than this, there are no added benefits. So no need to go over the top.)
This begs the question: Does drinking kill fat loss?
Well - no. You can absolutely drink and still hit your fat loss goals. Seriously, don't feel like you need to give up your social life entirely to get in great shape.
Now, your body views alcohol as a toxin. So priority one for your body after drinking is getting the alcohol out of your system A.S.A.P. To be more efficient at this, the body shuts down other processes to clear the system faster. Processes like: Oxidation of fat, hormone production, muscle tissue repair, etc.
Basically, when you drink, your results (losing body fat, building muscle) stop until your body clears the alcohol.
All that being said, fat loss still comes down to creating a calorie deficit. So no need to be afraid of alcohol.
To work alcohol into your daily intake:
*If you're tracking: swap preferably fat, and then carb calories for macros.
-For fat: divide the total calories in your drink by 9. The resulting number is the grams of fat to subtract from your daily intake.
-For carbs: divide the total calories in your drink by 4. The resulting number is the grams of carbs to subtract from your daily intake.
Basically, always keep your protein higher. Carbs and fats are going to have to take a hit. Try to keep carbs as high as possible, as long as possible. Don't let fat drop below 15% of your total calorie intake.
Ok - so this could get really boring. I'm not going to hit you with an exhaustive list of vitamins and minerals. We'll just cover the essentials quickly.
You've probably heard the term nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods are simply foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are key to overall health, gym performance, and even your mental state.
Typically whole or minimally processed foods are nutrient-dense foods. Think - anything that comes from the earth OR lives on the earth. Meats, veggies, fruit, etc.
On the other hand, highly processed foods typically contain very few nutrients. Think - Food that's produced in a factory. Typically a very long ingredient list.
Now, the five most common micronutrient deficiencies are:
^A diet with a good variety of whole foods should cover all your bases here. Consuming dairy, red meat, and getting regular sun exposure will keep you on point.
As far as fruits and veggies - a good rule of thumbs is to eat one serving of fruits and veggies for every 500 calories you consume.
So how important is food quality?
Here's the thing - you could eat only Twinkies and lose weight, as long as you maintained a calorie deficit.
For real. The professor in THIS STUDY ate strictly Twinkies and the like for 10 weeks.
Dude lost 27 LBs, while eating strictly highly-processed, sugar-laden foods. All he did was maintain a calorie deficit.
Now, do I recommend this approach? Absolutely not.
Your health will be awful. You need adequate intake of the nutrients whole foods provide to feel good, perform in the gym, and function properly.
Plus, while dieting, you have to deal with being hungry often. Highly-processed foods are literally engineered to make you want to eat more. They're "hyper-palatable". Not ideal when the goal is to eat less.
Eating mostly unprocessed, whole foods will keep you full longer. Whole foods typically have more volume per calorie (you get more "bang for your buck" as far as satiety per calorie goes). They also generally contain more fiber, which also increases satiety.
So does your diet have to be strictly chicken breasts and tilapia? No way.
But - making 80-90%of your diet whole foods will make the process much easier, and you'll feel better throughout.
From there, you're free to enjoy the other 10-20% of your calorie intake from whatever your heart desires (as long as you work it into your food intake goals) without any negative effects on your results OR your health.
5. Meal/Nutrient Timing
How many times have you heard: "You HAVE TO eat six meals a day to lose weight."
^This is super not true.
The thinking behind this myth was - due to TEF, you burn more calories (via digestion) when you're eating. So eating more often means you're burning more calories.
Thing is - on average, TEF is about 10% of the calories you intake. 10% of a larger meal, or a smaller meal. Whether you eat 2,000 calories in 4 different 500 calorie meals, or in 2 different 1,000 calories makes no difference. TEF at the end of the day will still be 10% of 2,000 calories.
So does meal timing/number of meals matter at all?
Well, yes. It CAN make a difference. Just be sure to prioritize. All the stuff we've talked about previous to this makes MUCH more difference for your body composition. Treat it as such.
A few things to consider:
The most important thing - finding the meal frequency that is easiest for you to adhere to. (Anecdotally, clients usually do best with 3-4 per day.)
“Get ripped in two weeks with the SuperShred-69 fat burner!... And don’t forget to use my promo code.”
-J. Swollzz, Instagram Fitness Model
Most everyone has tried some type of fat burner, detox, etc. expecting dramatic results...and…..nothing.
The problem is, the supplement industry is crazy good at selling on the idea that “the thing” is out there somewhere.
You know, "the thing" that’s finally gonna get you the body you want, without having to put in years of hard work and consistency.
"The thing" doesn't exist.
Truth is, most legal supplements do little to nothing. That's why they're way up here, at the top of the pyramid.
Are any supplements worth the money?
*A Note On Proprietary Blends:
Supplement labels often include “proprietary blends”. This allows for the total amount of ingredients in the blend to be listed, while leaving the exact amount of each individual ingredient unspecified.
Taking supplements containing proprietary blends is much more likely to be a health hazard.
Finally, do your own research. The following is purely informative, not a recommendation. It’s up to you to determine if a supplement is safe to take.
That being said, a few supplements do have merit.
Creatine is an extremely well researched supplement, with the most effective form being creatine monohydrate.
Our bodies use creatine phosphate as a fuel source for the first few seconds of intense or explosive movement/exercise. Think of supplementing with creatine as “topping off the tank”. It allows you to maintain high-intensity exercise for slightly longer.
This means an increase in strength, and overall workload you’re able to handle in the gym, equating to building more muscle.
That being said, the effects of creatine are far from “steroid-like”, but it is a proven supplement to aid building muscle and strength.
3-5 grams/day will do the trick.
We’re all well-versed in/potentially addicted to this one.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. Although considered a psychoactive drug, its use is extremely common and mostly unregulated.
Of all the supplements on this list, caffeine has by far the most noticeable effects. Not only does caffeine boost mood, alertness and mental clarity, it also has some real benefits to your workouts.
Research shows that caffeine decreases perceived effort, increases power output, and improves endurance.
Not that you needed an excuse for more caffeine, but it’s a real performance booster. Just keep your intake reasonable. Ideally less than 400mg per day.
If you’re able to hit your daily protein requirements entirely from whole foods, there’s no need to use a protein powder. Protein powders are lacking many of the micronutrients that quality, whole food protein sources will have.
But, if you’re struggling to meet your daily protein requirements, supplementing with a protein powder can be helpful.
Whey protein and casein proteins have the best amino acid profiles of available protein powders. They're the easiest for your body to absorb and use. It’s debatable which is superior. The body digests whey protein quicker than casein protein.
Whey and casein protein are derivatives of milk. So if animal products are a no-go for you: pea or rice proteins have the best amino acid profiles.
Getting all of your micronutrients from whole foods is ideal.
Ideal, but not always realistic. Taking a multivitamin is a good way to ensure your daily micronutrient needs are met.
We obtain vitamin D naturally through food and sunlight.
The issue? Most of us don’t get enough time in the sun, and the amount of vitamin D is negligible in most foods outside of fatty fish. As a result, vitamin D deficiency is extremely common
Taking a vitamin D or Cod liver oil supplement can be extremely helpful in preventing this deficiency.
The typical recommended dose is 1,000-2,000 IU per day
EPA And DHA (Fish Oil)
EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids. Now, if you eat fatty fish 2+ times per week, you're good on these. If not, a fish oil supplement can help.
Typically, 1-2g EPA + DHA per day is advised.
Again, supplements are the LEAST important factor. You'll rarely see any noticeable difference from taking a supplement. So don’t get caught up in the minutiae of things like supplements, and forget to focus on the things that really make a difference when it comes to changing your body.
Ok, got all that?
A quick summary:
Week Three: The Nutrition Hierarchy
1. Finding a diet you can adhere to and learn sustainable behaviors from is by far the most important factor.
2. You must have a negative energy balance for weight loss. You need a positive energy balance for weight gain.
3. Adequate protein is super important. Carbs and fat intake can be geared towards what is easiest for you to adhere to.
4. 80-90% of your food intake should come from whole foods.
5. Meal timing doesn't matter all that much if you don't have 1-4 dialed in. Eating 3-5 meals per day is slightly more ideal. The most important factor is finding a meal frequency that fits your lifestyle.
6. Supplements typically make little to no difference. A few will help you hit your nutrient needs, and/or slightly improve gym performance.
Feel free to shoot me comment below or send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Coach Kayli