6 Key Ways to Support Thyroid Health

6 Key Ways to Support Thyroid Health

Todays wellness industry is a million dollar market. People get rich off offering solutions to heal autoimmune conditions, support weight loss, and general well-being. This makes it very difficult to understand what can actually help or harm us in the journey towards overall health. It takes a lot of effort to research the science and “Why” behind what works for us and our bio-individuality. In particular, there is a lot of noise about what can help support thyroid help. I have had a lot of women ask me lately about the best ways to support overall thyroid health. There are several things we can do to support our thyroid – I rally up all the goodness below.

1) Reducing Inflammation

We talk about this quite often here on PfW. But it is a key element in maintaining overall health and well-being. You have to reduce inflammation levels in your body to allow your body to heal and function as it needs to. No matter how hard you try to support your thyroid, you might not be able to if you suffer from an underlying health condition.

Figure out your underlying issues by taking stock of your body. What symptoms do you experience? When? For how long?  How long have you had them? Take your answers to google and to the doctor. Get some tests done. Paleo is fantastic for healing, but a more targeted approach can help heal you all the faster.

When you heal your underlying problems, you are naturally supporting thyroid health. 

Reducing inflammation may be easier said than done. Nevertheless some of the things you can do are:

  • Avoid potentially inflammatory foods including ALL processed foods, omega 6 seed oils (Vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, and the like), and perhaps grains and dairy,
  • Consume a nutrient-rich diet full of varied, organic vegetables and fruits,
  • Include organ meats once or twice a month (here’s a supplement in case you do not like to eat liver)
  • Eat more eggs
  • Eat fermented foods daily (here are my favorites)
  • Get some sunlight everyday on your skin without SPF or consider taking a vitamin D supplement
  • Eat wild-caught, fatty fish like salmon or sardines once a week and
  • Consider taking the rockstar superfood cod liver oil which is rich in fat-soluble vitamins A and D as well as the crucial anti-inflammatory molecules EPA and DHA.

2) Limit Using Products That Mess with our Endocrine Receptors

Unfortunately a lot of the topical products we use contain chemicals that can severely mess with our endocrine system. We think a lot about what we digest internally, but not what we are putting on our skin. This is a huge mistake and something I absolutely recommend to take into account when supporting thyroid health as these chemicals can disrupte our endocrine system and in turn our thyroid health. Avoid anything that states it has a “fragrance” in it. This can be overwhelming because so many unexpected things contain fragrances including makeup, dryer sheets, cleaning products and more.

Dr. Isabelle Wentz advises avoiding the following chemicals when it comes to your skincare regime.

  1.    Parabens
  2.    Fragrance
  3.    Oxybenzone
  4.    Triclosan
  5.    Heavy metals

Read her full article on these chemicals, here. 

3) Sleep!

In 1960, a survey of over 1 million people found a modal sleep duration of 8-9 hours. In 2002, polls conducted by the National Sleep Foundation indicated that the average duration of sleep for Americans had fallen to 6.9-7 hours.  Recent data indicate that a higher percentage of adult Americans report sleeping 6 hours or less. In 2005, in the US, more than 30% of adult men and women between the ages of 30 and 64 years reported sleeping on average less than 6 hours each night. This decrease in sleep duration has occurred over the same time as the increase in the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and other inflammatory based illnesses.

Putting away electronic devices or wearing blue blocking glasses before bed can help melatonin production which will help you fall asleep easier as well.

I recommend eliminating any nightcaps that you may be consuming before bed. Sometimes I will eat a little fat in the form of peanut butter and jelly (no, this isn’t technically paleo but it works for me) because it helps me maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Exercising throughout the day can improve sleep quality as well.

To start from the source, take a couple smart moves to improve your bedroom environment

  • Use white or brown noise
  • Make sure your space is as dark as possible, use blackout curtains like these ones, or a sleeping mask
  • Keep your bedroom cool
  • Put those devices away! Seriously! They have an impact on our sleep quality

I have a pretty extensive blog post on other things you can do to destress and sleep like a pro, here.

4) Eat More Carbohydrate

I know – everyone wants to stay away from carbohydrates. I urge you to reconsider.

Carbohydrates + glucose production. Glucose is necessary for the conversion of T4 to T3 in the liver. Without adequate glucose, the liver struggles to make enough T3, which is the form of thyroid hormone critical for healthy thyroid function.

(Now, low carb dieters might be quick to point out that the liver can manufacture its own glucose. Certainly, the liver is capable of producing its own glucose with gluconeogenesis, but that process can become taxed over time, particularly if the liver is already taxed from poor eating habits in the past, mineral deficiencies, stress, or calorie restriction.)

Without sufficient T3, hypothyroidism results. Hypothyroidism is implicated in mood disorders, reproductive irregularities such as PCOS and amenorrhea, in skin conditions, and in weight gain, among other things.  (For more on how to figure out your particular type of PCOS and how hypothyroidism may be at play, see my program PCOS Unlocked or read my post on the causes of PCOS)

Many women, contrary to popular paleo belief, in fact lose weight once they add carbohydrates back into their diets. This is because the carbs help the body produce more T3.

Perhaps the most common and most harmful damage a low carbohydrate diet can cause for women is hypothyroidism.The body needs glucose (carbohydrate) in the blood in order to create T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. Without T3, you cannot burn fat mass, skin quality suffers, and hormone production slows down, resulting in infertility and low libido, among other things.

How many carbs you should consume may seem complicated. It varies from person to person.

Pregnant women should definitely err on the side of eating more. So should athletes.

For that reason, I recommend starting with 100 grams of dense carbs (so starches and fruits) every day.  if that seems like too much for you, especially if you are coming from a very low carbohydrate diet, then simply add them slowly. Once you get started it is very easy to find your own person range or sweet spot.

The main part of the reason carbohydrates have such a bad name is that a lot of carbohydrates are genuinely bad for you: breads, cereals, pastas, pastries, and other processed foods can all cause weight gain and be pretty harmful. The most important part of being healthy and losing weight is the quality of the food you eat, however. So simply don’t eat the bad carbs, and focus on the good ones.

Good carbs are:

  • Starchy tubers such as sweet potatoes, batata, jerusalem artichoke, cassava, tarot, and bamboo. Regular potatoes are fine, too, but they contain fewer vitamins than their sweet counterparts.  Of the sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes are the most delicious, in my opinion, followed by white sweet potatoes and then yams and regular orange sweet potatoes.These starches are composed primarily of glucose.
  • Fruits. All fruits! Berries and cherries tend to have more glucose than fructose, other fruits tend to have more fructose than glucose. This is not a huge point of difference but I have noticed that some women tend to do better on glucose-heavy or fructose-heavy carbs. I personally have an easier time with weight maintenance with fruits than with starches. I talk about this idea more in depth in that Weight Loss program for women I use with my clients.
  • Rice Both white and brown rice are fine, but are fairly nutrient-poor.
    Brown rice contains anti-nutrients in it’s shell, so white rice is more innocuous in terms of nutrient absorption.  Wild rice is another option that I like.  Pink rice is something that my friend Noelle from Coconuts and Kettlebells really loves and is a unique way to incorporate rice into the diet! (By the way, if you haven’t listened to The Well-Fed Women Podcast featuring myself and Noelle, you need to!  We are the BEST and we will explain to you ALL THE THINGS.  Find us here!)
  • Vegetables of course are great, but they do not count for carbohydrate consumption.  I know that most of the carbs in vegetables are glucose, but much of it them are also tied up in fiber, which is broken down and turned into short-chain fatty acids by gut bacteria. For this reason, vegetables alone cannot make up a woman’s carbohydrate consumption.  Instead, starchy tubers and fruits work the best.

Moderate carbohydrate intake is associated with better mood, stress-reduction, and sleep quality.

I see this in my work and in anecdotes, as well as in many controlled studies. Carbohydrate intake boosts tryptophan levels in the brain, and tryptophan is the protein precursor to serotonin. Getting at least some carbohydrate in the diet helps with the vast array of issues associated with serotonin deficiency which include moodiness, stress, and insomnia. People have been shown to sleep better if their dinner includes carbohydrates in it. Kill two birds with one stone by eating more carbohydrates. 

This is especially true for women.

For a look at the details and complexities of the issue, see Emily Deans writing  here and here. The primary takeaway of this point being that while the exact mechanism of carbohydrates boosting mood and sleep quality is unknown, carbohydrates still appear to be a healthy, and in many cases necessary, macronutrient.

5) Focus on Quality not Quantity:

Now, this is the exact opposite of advice I normally give people when they are trying to be healthy. One of my favorite things to say is that people need to focus on the quality of their food, and care less about the quantity.

In general, this is great advice. High quality food is super important for being healthy in the long run. So, yes, if you decide to eat all 2500 calories a day in the form of vegetables and fruits and other paleo delights, you are more than welcome to.

But if you focus on being nourishing and then add in some hyper-caloric foods on top of that – like paleo desserts, or simply regular dessertsgo right ahead.

Instead of setting little strict boxes around various macronutrients quantities, paleo emphasizes overall food quality without restriction (at least these days it does. At one time, paleo was very restrictive but the community has grown to eliminate this dogmatic approach). Because you are able to experiment with higher carb, lower fat, or high fat and lower carb while using high quality foods you are able to understand which foods really work best for you without judgement. If you want to eat starchy carbs in the morning and higher fat at night, you CAN. And because paleo gently forces you to be in tune with your biochemistry it becomes a bit easier to understand which foods may not work for you.

For instance, I went a long time eating higher carbohydrate in the morning because it was what I had been taught on the standard american diet protocol. I also coincidentally struggled with extremely low energy levels in the morning for many years of my life. After understanding how my body processes carbohydrates in the morning, I was able to switch my macronutrient levels and discover I maintain much higher energy levels with a lower carbohydrate diet.

Instead of restricting your intake to just high fat and low carbohydrate, you are given the freedom with paleo to experiment with what actually works with your physiological needs.

6) Exercise:

When you exercise you are activating your thyroid hormones which in turn supports overall function.

Running, cycling, using the elliptical, and other cardio exercises are not the panacea most people make them out to be. They do not burn as many calories as the people who sell them would like us to believe. Nor do they build muscle all that well. They also elevate stress hormone levels if done on a regular basis.

All three of these factors make them inferior for weight loss. Instead of doing cardio, I like to recommend doing a mix of three things: weight lifting, short, intense sprint work-outs, and slow, “happy” movement.

For me, this looks like lifting weights once or twice a week, doing a couple sprint workouts a week, and going dancing at night.

The basic ideas are this:

1) muscles require more energy to maintain. If you build muscle, your body will burn more calories over the course of any given day, regardless of whether you work out.

2) strength training helps improve insulin sensitivity and hormonal health

3) high intensity sprint workouts (like pedaling as fast as you can for 6 periods of 45 seconds) improve insulin sensitivity and hormonal health

4) strength and sprint workouts promote something called “metabolic flexibility” which helps you burn both carbohydrates and fat efficiently

5) exercising too much, like many cardio exercisers do, is stressful to the body. With short weight lifting and sprint workouts you minimize the amount of stress hormone in your bloodstream.

So exercise smart. Lift heavy weights twice a week. Do two sprint workouts a week. Walk or do yoga and dance or any other fun activity as often as possible.

(I talk a lot more about the specifics of fitness in my hardcover book [which you can get here on Amazon], and also in my weight loss program here.)

 

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Not Taking These Vitamins? Here’s Why You Should

Not Taking These Vitamins? Here’s Why You Should

Where to Begin With Supplements

Taking supplements can be an overwhelming task to initiate. There are so many different varieties of vitamins & minerals, brands names of vitamins & minerals, and a lot of variation on mixed feelings about the successfulness of absorption rates. When I first decided to look more into proper supplementation, I must say I was slightly overwhelmed with the synergistic properties.

The fact that some supplements need to be paired with others in order to be fully absorbed was a concept that seemed beyond me, I wasn’t even sure which supplements to take that would work on their own. But! Alas, my wariness did not heed my eagerness to learn more, so I put my nose to the books and have come up with the ultimate basic list of supplements and what they can be used for. As always, I recommend getting your vitamins and minerals from the food you digest but I also understand that sometimes that is not possible in today’s crazy world. Enter the supplement. 

A Note: 

Some of the supplement information I have provided below does not elaborate on the synergistic qualities of supplements. For instance, Vitamin D is excellent for the immune system but also can provide relief from anxiety and depression. If you are browsing through and are not seeing a supplement that you had expected under a particular category, try reading through the other recommendations to see if there are alternative vitamins and minerals that can work for multiple symptoms. 

Negative Interactions: 

Calcium and Vitamin K2: If you are deficient in calcium and supplementing instead you may want to think twice, or do some research on your vitamin K levels. Vitamin K actually helps carry the Calcium into your bones, meaning if you are deficient in Vitamin K2 and supplementing with Calcium then you may not really be doing any good.  

Take this if Your Immune System Needs Help or If You Are Feeling Fatigued 

 

Vitamin D

 

Taking D3 keeps me cold-free all year long (literally, I got terrible colds until I started taking it), and keeps me from being depressed and anxious in winter months. If you don’t take cod liver oil, and even if you do but need more D, this is the supplement to take. Vitamin D is associated with overall improved health, and can help with diseases as advanced as cancer.

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins, and one we are most likely to be deficient in as Americans.  Some estimates say anywhere from 80-90% of the population may have sub optimal levels of Vitamin D in the blood.

This is worrying because Vitamin D plays such an important role in health.  From reducing autoimmune issues and inflammation, to preventing disease, Vitamin D is a nutrient we shouldn’t neglect. Vitamin D has a protective effect on the immune system, helping T-cells and B-cells to to fight immune threats while also preventing autoimmune issues. 

Several autoimmune diseases (including Lupus and MS) have a high range of deficiency and supplementation with Vitamin D has been shown to improve health in these individuals.

Having sufficient Vitamin D has been shown to reduce upper respiratory infections in both summer and winter.  Those with deficiencies of Vitamin D are found to suffer from upper respiratory infections much more often, even accounting for the seasons.  

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is primarily processed through the skin rather than through food.  During the summer, we wear less and tend to spend more time outdoors, and this increases the amount we produce.  In turn, we get sick less often and feel altogether happier.  Vitamin D deficiencies are also associated with lower mood and decreased cognitive function.

However, Vitamin D needs range depending on specific conditions.  Recommendations for average adults age 19-50 are about 600 i/u a day to prevent deficiency.  This can come from sunlight, diet, or supplements, but it may take up to 1500 or 2000 i/u a day, depending on the individual, to keep blood levels about the recommended 30 ng/ml.

Vitamin D foods: Salmon, Mushrooms (cooked), egg yolk, canned tuna, sardines and cod liver oil. 

 

 

Vitamin C

This vitamin is crucial for immune system health, for the manufacture of neurotransmitters, and for adrenal (stress system) health. 

Foods that contain Vitamin C: Leafy greens, other vegetables, and all fruits (yes, citrus, but others too!) all have high quantities of vitamin C. If you are a paleo dieter but don’t go heavy on the veggies you may want to consider upping your dose.

Vitamin C Supplement

Take this for Mood & Sleep Improvement

 

Magnesium

 

70% of Americans do not get the recommended daily dose of magnesium. And magnesium is crucial for more than 300 essential chemical reactions in the body. Without magnesium, these vital reactions simply don’t take place.

Without magnesium, systems malfunction all over the map, from bone growth to adrenal health to the ability to fall asleep at night. Magnesium is also, and perhaps most importantly, one of the primary nutrients involved in the regulation of cellular stress and activity. And when I say stress here, I do mean stress. Any sort of cellular activity is a stress of sorts, because it upregulates activity and requires energy and resources.

Magnesium’s role is simple: it opens channels on cell membranes. When a muscle fiber, for example, needs to tense up and become active, magnesium will open the membrane and help usher in calcium, which helps make it tense. Then, when the period of stress is over and the muscle can relax, magnesium opens up the cell membrane to usher the calcium out of the cell again. The problem for most people is that they have enough magnesium to usher calcium into the cell, but not enough to usher the calcium out.

This leaves them in a chronically up-regulated state, leaving muscles tense, nerves firing, and neurons on high alert. This is why magnesium deficiency is associated with muscle tension, with headaches, with poor adrenal health, and with anxiety.

Without magnesium, the body simply cannot calm down.

Magnesium is very hard to get in a paleo diet (really only in grains) and is CRUCIAL for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. You need it to prevent headaches, relax your muscles, calm anxiety, prevent depression, and fall asleep at night, among so many other things. At one point it nearly saved my life.This is the form of magnesium that is easiest on the gut. Other forms in high doses can cause intestinal motility to speed up enough to cause diarrhea. This one is the best for avoiding that if you have a sensitive stomach.

High quality magnesium citrate supplement

Magnesium Foods

As important as magnesium is, it unfortunately is no longer abundant in the human diet. Research estimates that at least 48% of Americans do not get nearly enough magnesium in their diets. This is in part because magnesium has been depleted from American soils.

Unfortunately for paleo dieters, the majority of foods high in magnesium are not on the typical paleo menu. High magnesium foods include mostly legumes, nuts and seeds: soybeans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, quinoa, black beans, cashews, navy beans, sunflower seeds, almonds. Grains are also reasonably high in magnesium.

Fortunately for paleo dieters, kale, swiss chard, and beet greens are all great sources. Nevertheless, magnesium is probably one of the greatest “risk” minerals for paleo dieters, which is why I typically recommend supplementing.

Take this if You’re Breaking Out

 

Zinc 

 

Zinc is an essential mineral that is not only found in several enzymes–which makes it crucial to lots of bodily functions–but it also, notably, is critical for immune system function. It also plays a key role in the metabolism of RNA and DNA, and promotes plasticity (flexibility) in the brain. It is important for immune health, hormone health, insulin modulation, and brain health. Zinc also has anti-inflammatory properties that resist and combat bacteria, making it wonderful for helping acne relief. 

Zinc foods:

The best sources of zinc are oysters (by almost a factor of ten), followed by liver, beef, and lamb. Turkey and shrimp also have good amounts of zinc. From plants, zinc can be obtained from lentils, quinoa, chick peas, and many kinds of seeds including pumpkin and sesame seeds.

High quality Zinc supplement

Take this if You’re Trying to Heal Your Gut 

 

Vitamin A

 

This vitamin is rare because even though you think you might be getting it every time you eat a carrot (the packaging always says “good source of vitamin A!”), you are unfortunately being misled. Carrots do not have vitamin A in them. Neither do any other plant foods. What these foods have in them instead is beta carotene.

Beta carotene can be converted into vitamin A in your intestines by gut flora (here’s a great probiotic and great probiotic foods that can help with that). If you do not have the right gut flora it just won’t happen. Unfortunately that’s the case for a lot of people today. Gut flora just aren’t as robust as they could be.

So many people are deficient in vitamin A. The only robust source of true vitamin A in the diet is organ meat, particularly liver. Most people cringe at the idea of eating liver. Yet ancestral human cultures prized the liver above almost all other parts of the animal. Presumably this is because they figured out how important it is for health. If you cannot stomach the idea of eating liver a couple of times a month (but you should because it’s delicious), you can try a desiccated liver supplement like this one, which is my favorite.

You can also obtain vitamin A from cod liver oil, which is actually a better supplement for absorbing vitamin A specifically because oil is the right form for a fat soluble vitamin. (Desiccated liver is the best for a lot of other nutrients, though, including the rare and important choline). Most people do well with 10-15,000 IU’s per day. 

This is the healthiest, most nourishing cod liver oil supplement on the market today.

Take This if You Are Combating Brain Fog

 

Vitamin K

 

Vitamin K is rare in the diet today for a few reasons. One is that people do not eat organ meats anymore, and organ meats are one of the only good sources of vitamin K2.

Another reason is that most animals today are raised on grain products and other random bits of food instead of grass. Yet grass is the natural diet for cows, bison, and other ruminants. The highest quality beef comes from cows that eat grass specifically because it enables them to make the right nutrients that they need.

Vitamin K2 can be found in grass-fed butter, but it cannot be found in grain-fed butter. So you can boost your vitamin K (K2, specifically) intake by getting some grass-fed butter in your diet. If you cannot do that, then you may definitely want to consider that cod liver oil supplement I mentioned earlier. Because not only does it have cod liver oil and vitamins A and D in it, but it also has high quality butter oil added, which is rich in vitamin K.

This is how fermented cod liver oil kills three birds with one stone. Most people will do well with 100 mcg/d. 

 

Vitamin B2

 

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is necessary for energy production and normal cell function and growth.

Riboflavin deficiency is common in women of child-bearing age and of a low socioeconomic level. Using hormonal birth control exacerbates that problem. Studies have shown that vitamin supplements remediate riboflavin issues in women taking the pill.

Altogether, these findings suggest that vitamin B2 supplementation in women taking OCs may be important where vitamin nutrition is poor.

B2 foods

Greens, eggs, turkey, other sources of animal protein, and plant protein sources such as beans and legumes tend to be good sources of vitamin B2. With a diet rich in animal products, vegetables, and fruits, B2 should probably not be a problem to obtain enough of. Not many sources of B2 are excellent sources, but there is a wide variety of foods which contain a decent amount of it.

High quality B complex supplement

 

If Your Liver is Needing Assistance Detoxing 

 

Vitamin B12

 

Vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) is an essential nutrient for many things, but perhaps most of all liver support and detox.

B12 foods

Vitamin B12 is fortunately very rich in pretty much all animal protein sources, especially liver. But beef, lamb, poultry, seafood, and eggs all have fairly abundant B12. Dairy also has a reasonable amount of B12 in it. If you are a vegetarian, and especially if you are a vegan, you will need to supplement with B12.

If you struggle already with a slugglish liver or have a condition like estrogen dominance or PCOS, the following supplements help support the liver through Phase I and Phase II detoxification and can be really helpful:

  • Methylated forms of B12 (find it here), B6 (find it here), and Folic Acid (find it here): important for the passing of methyl groups which helps with the excretion of hormones like estrogen and is sometimes difficult in women with PCOS.
  • DIM (I like this one): contains the strongest components of cruciferous vegetables known to help break down excess hormones.
  • Calcium D Glucarate (I like this brand) supports the glucuronidation of  the liver and prevents excess estrogen from being re-absorbed in the bowels.
  • Glutathione (find it here): important for the detoxification of alcohol. Smoking, chronic stress, and infections or inflammatory disorders also deplete this important nutrient
  •  

So there you have it! Where will you be starting on your supplementing journey? Maybe you are sticking to food instead? Leave me a comment and let me know! 

7 Tips For the Most Sustainable Weight Loss Plan Ever

7 Tips For the Most Sustainable Weight Loss Plan Ever

Now that is mid January, the New Years Resolution hype is starting to lose momentum. If you took some of my advice to heart, then maybe you scooted through Resolution season without seeing anyone’s posts about succumbing to the pressure to lose weight or keep meaningless resolutions. If that is the case, I congratulate you! 

But, if you are sticking to resolutions with a healthy mindset, I also congratulate you. It can be healthy to have a resolution to lose weight if your mindset is in the correct space and you are looking to lose weight for the right reasons. And, if that is the case, then I want to share my insight on what I consider the most sustainable weight loss plan ever.

You can read every one of my weight loss accelerating tips in the program I finally packaged together for you, Weight Loss Unlocked, here. In the meantime, here are the basics to get you started, and what I think the most sustainable paleo weight loss plan is.

So what do you need to know to lose weight, and keep the weight off long term?

1) Listen to Hunger Cues: 

Overeating is a problem that can prevent weight loss. You don’t want to snack too much, to eat beyond fullness, or to exceed your daily energy requirements on a regular basis. (I know that that’s easier than done for a lot of people. I used to be one of them. For more on the psychology of how to do this, my best resources are this post and this program.)

Most people don’t know this, but under eating can be just as much as, if not more of, a problem.

Why?

Because even while under eating reduces calorie intake and therefore cause weight loss in the short-term, it causes health and hormone problems in the long-term.This is especially important for women. The female body has many mechanisms specifically designed to store body fat if it thinks it is being starved: this protects a woman (and her baby) from dying if she is pregnant.

If you under eat on a regular basis, your body may think that it is being starved, and it will slow down thyroid function, and therefore fat burning.

In order to experience optimal weight loss in the long run, you absolutely must prevent this kind of damage from happening.

The key to doing so is just being sure to eat when you feel hungry. Don’t starve yourself. And don’t make yourself wait on purpose. Don’t give yourself a set number (say, 1500) of calories to eat in a day. And don’t even give yourself a set amount of food. Energy needs vary day by day. If you feel like you need to eat more, do it.

Once people begin ignoring their leptin signals, they get easier and easier to ignore.   This is because constantly elevated leptin levels cause leptin receptors to become insensitive to the leptin floating around in the bloodstream.  As the body realizes that it’s normal leptin signaling isn’t getting the job done, it incites more eating, more weight gain, and higher leptin levels in hopes that an increased leptin signal will get through. For this reason, obesity is correlated with high leptin levels, even though many obese people complain of constant hunger.

Leptin resistance is a problem for everybody.  Both men and women.  Without fixing leptin sensitivity problems, it’s very difficult to lose weight. It’s even more difficult to enact any kind of dietary restriction. But women, who have higher levels of leptin than men (having higher body fat percentages) and who have HPA axes more attuned to energy conservation, are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in leptin levels.

AKA pay attention to your hunger signs! If you are feeling hungry, eat, and if you’re not feeling hungry then do not eat. This is the best way to keep your leptin signals regular.

2) Incorporate Low Impact Movement :

Our bodies like to move. Low impact movement has been shown to improve mood, health, and sleep quality – to name a few. Typically, low impact exercise is my favorite type of exercise because it includes one type I really really enjoy, walking outside. So when people say “low impact” I don’t immediately cringe like I do when people say “cardio”. Low impact can be walking around your neighborhood or going for a gentle bike ride. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout, it is mainly the things we do that perpetuate movement on our day to day. As long as we keep low impact in our schedules our body will respond appropriately.

The key to weight loss is not to exercise harder, but to exercise smarter. 

Running, cycling, using the elliptical, and other cardio exercises are not the panacea most people make them out to be. They do not burn as many calories as the people who sell them would like us to believe. Nor do they build muscle all that well. They also elevate stress hormone levels if done on a regular basis.

All three of these factors make them inferior for weight loss.

Instead of doing cardio, I like to recommend doing a mix of three things: weight lifting, short, intense sprint work-outs, and slow, “happy” movement.

For me, this looks like lifting weights once or twice a week, doing a couple sprint workouts a week, and going dancing at night.

The basic ideas are this:

  • Muscles require more energy to maintain, so if you build muscle, your body will burn more calories over the course of any given day, regardless of whether you work out.
  • Strength training helps improve insulin sensitivity and hormonal health
  • High intensity sprint workouts (like pedaling as fast as you can for 6 periods of 45 seconds) improve insulin sensitivity and hormonal health
  • Strength and sprint workouts promote something called “metabolic flexibility” which helps you burn both carbohydrates and fat efficiently
  • Exercising too much, like many cardio exercisers do, is stressful to the body. With short weight lifting and sprint workouts you minimize the amount of stress hormone in your bloodstream.

So exercise smart. Lift heavy weights twice a week, do two sprint workouts a week, and walk or do yoga and dance or any other fun activity as often as possible.

(I talk a lot more about the specifics of fitness in my hardcover book [which you can get here on Amazon], and also in my weight loss program here.)

3) Consistency is Key :

I know how challenging it can be to remain consistent. Sometimes a buddy can help you stay accountable. I’m a big fan of noting my progress in writing, usually by making charts or calendars, so I can visually see the fruits of my labor. This can be great if I am being too hard on myself or if it feels like I’m not working as much as I should be; it’s a great reminder of the effort I’m putting in.

4) Do Exercise You Enjoy :

You know how they say if you love your job you won’t work a day in your life? Well the same goes for exercise. If you find a type of movement you enjoy doing regularly, you will stick to it. For me this is biking, kayaking, dancing, climbing and group sports. These don’t feel like exercises or workouts to me, it’s a socialization opportunity and I typically get to see more of my environment when I do these. 

Outdoor sports are one of my favorite easy ways to get in exercise because I also love being in nature so incredibly much. Are there any particular hobbies that you enjoy that you could wrap into an exercise? For instance, if you love flora and fauna, maybe a walk through some botanical gardens could be enjoyable. Or, maybe you feel like you don’t get to see and spend time with your family very often. A good way to squeeze in time together could be an after dinner bike ride.

It is okay to feel like you don’t like any types of exercise. I stand firm in my belief that there is an activity out there waiting for you that you will truly enjoy, you just need to find it.

5) You Must Reduce Inflammation 

No matter how hard you try to lose weight, you might not be able to if you suffer from an underlying health condition.

Thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are super common problems for people trying to lose weight, especially women.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), and leaky gut are all gut health problems. They might not seem like they are important for weight loss, but they are some of the most important. Without a healthy gut, you cannot absorb nutrients well, or have a healthy hormonal response to food.

Autoimmune diseases are also very important to tackle. The best guide for overcoming them, in my opinion, is Sarah Ballantyne’s, here on Amazon.

Figure out your underlying issues by taking stock of your body. What symptoms do you experience? When? For how long?  How long have you had them? Take your answers to google and to the doctor. Get some tests done. Paleo is fantastic for healing, but a more targeted approach can help heal you all the faster.

Then, the faster you heal your underlying problems, the faster you can lose weight.

6) Making the Focus Not Entirely About Losing Weight

An important idea to consider but may go without saying:

The more that you think about who you are as a person, as opposed to the way that you look, the more in control you will be of the whole process.

When you are secure in your values, in your personality, in your relationships and your career and your life, then you are more satisfied with everything. You don’t need to lose weight as badly as you might if you didn’t love yourself, if you thought the way that you looked meant everything. All you really need is yourself.

Weight loss is very, very hard when you want it so bad. This is true for a lot of important things in life, like romance, for example. In both of these cases, the harder you run for it, and the more crucial it seems for your happiness, the more and more it slips out of your fingers.

The alternative is to stop chasing weight loss. Stop obsessing over it. Stop letting it rule you. Instead, if you can increase your comfort with yourself – with who you are – you can make weight loss a side project. It will be an addendum to who you are, but not the whole thing.

Then you can do so light-heartedly, and more easily, without risk of stress or nervous breakdowns or obsessive sabotaging behaviors.

7) Weight Loss Unlocked

Ready for more than just blog posts? After decades of yo-yo dieting, I finally freed myself from being a slave to my weight loss battle.

So, I developed my own personal program for maintaining a healthy weight without fretting at all. I am happy, free, in a fit, healthy body, and eat the foods I want to eat.

I do this using a combination of unique paleo diet insights, scientific studies on female metabolism, and self-loving strategies. Learn all about how I and the thousands of women who have taken my advice do it in the program, here.

In Sum

The key to lifelong weight loss is learning how to heed your internal cues.  Learning your body, understanding its needs, and feeding it nutrient dense food.  There doesn’t need to be a special superfood protocol.  There just needs to be balance.  

Remembering these insights along with all of the 7 steps combined is the best way to maintain sustainable weight loss. It can seem overwhelming at first but after lacing each step together it will start to feel more natural, and I promise your body will follow suit.

Best of luck on your weight loss journey!

Why Paleo May Be Better For Weight Loss than Keto

Why Paleo May Be Better For Weight Loss than Keto

Have you had the opportunity to rest and reset this holiday season? Typically, this is not a priority amongst American families, especially this time of year. Winter used to be a time that our ancestors would hibernate, restoring physical and emotional functions after a long summer season involving plentiful social interactions and physical activity. Somewhere, amid the creation of the industrial age, our focus on periods of rest was completely lost. The desire to pack as many activities into a small period of time become the norm. If only we could step back to when rest was a necessity, but alas that is something we all must work on every year. And, unfortunately, sometimes rest just is not possible.

As we enter the new year, I know we will be bombarded with fad diets and weight loss plans, and for myself personally, the only way I can conquer this season with a healthy mindset is by being fueled by rest. Rest while you can, and we will be better armed to take on this nonsense head on! First and foremost, I want to decipher the differences between paleo and keto, and debunk the myth that keto is better for you than paleo. Controversial, I KNOW! Check out the reasons why paleo is best for a whole encompassing healthy lifestyle, below!

What is Paleo?

The Paleo diet is a nutrient-dense whole foods diet based on eating a variety of quality meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and healthy fats. It improves health by providing balanced and complete nutrition while avoiding most processed and refined foods and empty calories.

The Paleo Diet has become extremely popular in recent years, with some several hundred million google searches on the topic every year. It is an incredible diet for improving energy, mood, and health conditions. Yet it may perhaps be so famous and so beloved because it is an excellent tool for weight loss. Perhaps the best diet for weight loss around today (even the scientific studies say so.)

There is no emphasis on calorie counting in the paleosphere, only eating when hungry and stopping when you are full. Hence why this is such a fantastic option for anyone that may have had a history of disordered eating.

The paleo diet is more than just a diet, it is an encompassing mindset and lifestyle plan. With paleo, eating whole and unprocessed foods is a large part, but also included in this diet are lifestyle modifications to reduce stress and inflammation on the body. These key principles differentiate keto from paleo,  making paleo a great option for those suffering from chronic inflammation, stress, or autoimmune conditions. One of the reasons I was drawn to paleo initially is because getting high quality and adequate amounts of sleep was a pillar. Struggling with insomnia and PCOS, I was looking for help beyond just weight loss, and no other fad diet was providing any successful options.

Paleo helped me maintain my health, sanity, and wellbeing until I was healthy enough to start stemming from the paleo principles into creating a plan that worked best just for me.

What is Ketosis?

I am going to steer clear of giving you a long, technical definition of ketosis. I do however think it’s worth learning the biochemistry if you plan to experiment. In that case, I highly recommend Dr Peter Attia’s posts or Dr Chris Masterjohn’s.

In short, ketosis is a state the body enters when there is an excess of molecules called acetyl groups over oxaloacetate. This happens when there is a shortage of glucose supplied to the metabolic processes that create energy, like when you eat a very low carbohydrate diet. Yet interestingly enough the body will also produce ketones when medium-chain fatty acids enter the metabolic processes.

So then, when there is this excess of acetyl groups relative to oxaloacetate, the body produces something called ketone bodies. Ketone bodies come from fatty acids that the body has liberated from fat tissue, which can be used as an alternative fuel to carbohydrates. This is important because the body (and specifically the brain and heart) literally need carbohydrates or ketone bodies in order to function. When carbs are gone, basically, ketone bodies step in to do their work.

People typically achieve ketosis by fasting or by eating diets very low in carbohydrate (high fat, moderate protein). This calls for at least fewer than 50, and maybe more like 20, grams of carbohydrate a day. This depends on your age, body type, activity level and the like.

You can verify how deeply your body has gone into ketosis by peeing on a stick, which reveals the level of ketone bodies being circulated in and used by your body. Ketosis has blown up recenetly, becoming the top searched for weight loss plan. So what’s the deal?

Similarities Between Paleo and Keto:

Although different, there are a handful of important similarities between paleo and keto.

  • Grains are not allowed, specifically glutinous grains.
  • Both plans emphasis consuming healthy fats like nuts, seeds, animal fats, and coconut oil.
  • Each plan encourages eating quality animal protein (grass-fed, organic).
  • Both plans eliminate legumes like garbanzo, black, and pinto beans.
  • Refined sugar is not allowed on either plan.
  • Both technically encourage eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens, however most non-paleo keto diets do not encourage this because the quantity of carbohydrates in leafy greens.

Key Differences Between Paleo and Keto:

  • Paleo is not a strictly low-carb diet. Although, it is easier to accidentally end up low carb on paleo .
  • A crucial part of keto is limiting and understanding exactly your macro-nutrient quantities. Often keto strips are used to test levels of ketones in the body, a somewhat simpler way to understand if your body is in ketosis or not. This testing can result in encouraging negative patterns for those with a history of disordered eating.
  • Paleo is eating and embodying a lifestyle similar to that of our ancestors to reduce inflammation, promote healthy circadian rhythms, and encourage a healthy physical and emotional lifestyle.
  • Keto is often utilized as a tool for weight loss or to assist in reducing symptoms or effects of medical disorders or conditions. See my post here for more info on this. 

Why Paleo is Better, IMO

Sustainable Paleo Weight Loss:

Because the paleo diet provides general guidelines for an overall healthier lifestyle, people tend to have more luck sticking with it long term. One of the most important things I learned when I embarked on a paleo journey was understanding the composition of my food, how different foods effected my energy levels and sleep patterns, and learning what micro-nutrients my biochemistry needed from the food I was consuming.

I really took the time to learn all about macro and micro-nutrients, the different chemical compositions of foods, and gaining a general knowledge on nutrition. This evidence based knowledge helped me continue to make choices I was okay with, even when it felt like I wanted to eat a million cookies – I didn’t. The fact that I knew I could have the cookies, but that they really made me feel awful, was the clear difference between holding onto paleo as a fad diet versus incorporating it as a lifestyle change.

I know I am not alone in this field too, many of you have reached out to me to share your stories on how understanding our food has made it easier to consume what makes us feel better in the long run. Paleo, for us, is about understanding balance and your bio-individuality, not just loosing weight.

Because You Are Eating High Quality Food, Healing Inflammation, and Eating When Your Hungry:

The best ways to keep any unwanted weight off is to reduce inflammation. If we are inflamed, our bodies lowest priority is dropping any weight. If anything, the body holds on to weight when inflamed and stressed as a way of protecting us. By consuming high quality food and eating when you are hungry, two important pillars of the paleo diet, you are working towards reducing overall inflammation in the body. Kept as lifestyle factors long-term, both of these are easy ways to not only feel better, but to maintain the weight your body is supposed to be.

We have all seen the pinterest keto diet pics, showing cheese and bacon breakfasts, bulletproof coffee, etc. It seems like it is too good to be true, does it not? Well spoiler alert, it is. Keto does not always emphasize high quality foods, and often people will stick to processed foods that are low carbohydrate but high in fat and protein. These types of foods are often full of unhealthy saturated fats and processed chemicals that increase the bodies levels of inflammation. Therefore those on the keto may loose weight from this low carbohydrate approach, but the results often are not sustainable as inflammation is prominent most of the time.

Restriction Freedom:

I am known for my honest opinions on “diet freedom” AKA, this doesn’t exist when you are on a fad diet. With paleo, I believe this is a true possibility. When I first started a paleo protocol, I had all of my food groups planned out precisely, but quantity was not an guideline. I was not limited to one apple a day; I ate as many apples as I wanted which allowed me to grow a healthy and non-restrictive mindset towards food. Food was no longer something I controlled, but rather I consumed when I wanted too, and it had the potential to make me feel good! Which was such an unknown concept to me at the time.

Paleo set me up for a long-term, sustainable healthy relationship with my body and with food, and that is something that I do not believe keto is capable of. I believe this because the obnoxious amount of monitoring that must be completed to understand when the body is in ketosis reallly forces you to track every single detail, which in return is known for enabling restrictive eating habits.

Learning More About What Foods Actually Work For You:

Instead of setting little strict boxes around various macronutrients quantities, paleo emphasizes overall food quality without restriction (at least these days it does. At one time, paleo was very restrictive but the community has grown to eliminate this dogmatic approach). Because you are able to experiment with higher carb, lower fat, or high fat and lower carb while using high quality foods you are able to understand which foods really work best for you without judgement. If you want to eat starchy carbs in the morning and higher fat at night, you CAN. And because paleo gently forces you to be in tune with your biochemistry it becomes a bit easier to understand which foods may not work for you.

For instance, I went a long time eating higher carbohydrate in the morning because it was what I had been taught on the standard american diet protocol. I also coincidentally struggled with extremely low energy levels in the morning for many years of my life. After understanding how my body processes carbohydrates in the morning, I was able to switch my macronutrient levels and discover I maintain much higher energy levels with a lower carbohydrate diet.

Instead of restricting your intake to just high fat and low carbohydrate, you are given the freedom with paleo to experiment with what actually works with your physiological needs.

Focusing on Lifestyle:

Important researchers in the paleo community have shown us the importance of exercise, sleep, and stress reduction in unison with eating whole foods as a trifecta for success. For instance, Sarah Ballantyne, the Paleo Mom, dedicated much of her time pulling together research on why sleep quality is absolutely necessary for a healthy lifestyle.

Figure out your underlying issues by taking stock of your body. What symptoms do you experience? When? For how long?  How long have you had them? Take your answers to google and to the doctor. Get some tests done. Paleo is fantastic for healing, but a more targeted approach can help heal you all the faster. Then, the faster you heal your underlying problems, the faster you can lose weight.

Not Contributing to Negative Society Ideals of Weight Loss:

Paleo no longer is about “Loosing Weight” and more about how to maintain some balance amongst the world we live in today. How do we eat, live, breathe and move in a way that is about taking care of ourselves and our bodies, instead of damaging it to the extent where it looses weight out of pure stress? If you are ready to close the door on unhealthy lifestyle patterns and disordered eating, keto may not be for you.

In Conclusion:

In sum, keto is a restrictive diet approach that lacks informative long term studies proving its sustainable effects on weight loss. Those on keto most often will loose weight at the beginning of the diet; this is typically from water loss not fat loss. While having some positive benefits on physiological symptoms of disorders like epilepsy, we don’t have enough research to know that keto is safe long term. Keto also lacks the lifestyle factors that makes paleo the best and most sustainable option for weight loss. Paleo takes into account your lifestyle, encouraging mindset changes that make a long term impact vs the short term fad diet approach of keto.

I am always in favor of doing what is right for your body, and maybe keto is that option. However, for myself and most women I talk to, paleo teaches you the tools you need to live a healthy life, outside of making loosing weight the ultimate priority. When we step back, is the reason you are considering keto purely for weight loss? If so, I encourage you to understand where this need or thought to loose weight is coming from. Is it your own ideals, or are you listening to what society is trying to tell us to do? If it is the first, then I suggest checking out my program before diving headfirst into keto. You can read every one of my weight loss accelerating tips in the program I finally packaged together for you, Weight Loss Unlocked, here.

Why Keto May Not Be For You

Why Keto May Not Be For You

Here we are, with another popular diet generating a huge amount of buzz, promising things like sustained weight loss, increased energy, decreased inflammation, and more. When a fad diet surfaces I always err on the side of caution, especially when it seems like a magic pill that can take all of your worries away. In my experience, and over all of the years of research I have conducted, a balanced diet with real foods and ingredients always triumphs over a fad diet for long term sustainable weight loss and decreased inflammation. Now I know that keto may benefit some, just like paleo benefits some people. I encourage you to fully do your research before jumping into a diet like ketosis. Ketosis may have serious consequences on your metabolism, weight, and mood. Frankly, keto may not be good for you.

What is Ketosis?

I am going to steer clear of giving you a long, technical definition of ketosis. I do however think it’s worth learning the biochemistry if you plan to experiment. In that case, I highly recommend Dr Peter Attia’s posts or Dr Chris Masterjohn’s.

In short, ketosis is a state the body enters when there is an excess of molecules called acetyl groups over oxaloacetate. This happens when there is a shortage of glucose supplied to the metabolic processes that create energy, like when you eat a very low carbohydrate diet. Yet interestingly enough the body will also produce ketones when medium-chain fatty acids enter the metabolic processes.

So then, when there is this excess of acetyl groups relative to oxaloacetate, the body produces something called ketone bodies. Ketone bodies come from fatty acids that the body has liberated from fat tissue, which can be used as an alternative fuel to carbohydrates. This is important because the body (and specifically the brain and heart) literally need carbohydrates or ketone bodies in order to function. When carbs are gone, basically, ketone bodies step in to do their work.

People typically achieve ketosis by fasting or by eating diets very low in carbohydrate (high fat, moderate protein). This calls for at least fewer than 50, and maybe more like 20, grams of carbohydrate a day. This depends on your age, body type, activity level and the like.

You can verify how deeply your body has gone into ketosis by peeing on a stick, which reveals the level of ketone bodies being circulated in and used by your body.

Who Keto May Be Good For:

Those with Epilepsy disorder.

Those that struggle with seizures have been studied and proven to benefit from the keto diet. This is the only disorder that has been studied and proven to help with symptoms. No other conclusive research has been conducted on keto’s effects for any other condition (studies are happening, they are just in infancy). So tread lightly with all of the articles that tell you WHY keto is good for you, because a lot of this research has not been studied clinically.

When Keto May Not Be Good For You:

  • If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes: Keto can trigger a very dangerous condition in those that have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The body essentially starts to hoard ketones which can cause an acid overload, damaging the kidneys, liver and even brain. This condition can be fatal. 
  • You are looking to not regain weight back: The keto diet is generally known as not being easy to stick to long-term. It is in the same category as other fad diets; people will often use to loose a few pounds, and then quickly see the weight come back after stopping the diet. It is also known that most of the weight loss attributed to keto is from removal of access water, another common reason the weight resurfaces rapidly after stopping the diet.
  • You are not willing to eat lean meats and fats: There is a lot of red meat, butter, and foods generally high in saturated fat and that are common for those to eat on the keto diet. That is part of the allure right? What other “diet” allows you to eat cheese, eggs and bacon all the time? (Note to self, you can not be on a diet and eat this way 🙂 ). A lot of people forget to add in lean meat and healthy fat, resulting in adverse health affects.
  • You are trying to reproduce: Women of reproductive age who are attempting to conceive or are pregnant should probably not undergo low-carb ketosis, as carbohydrates play an important role in A) pregnancy, and B) assuring the hypothalamus that the body has been properly fed. In fact, insulin is actually an important satiation hormone. For women who want to conceive, it may be best to err on the side of caution and make sure you get bountiful carbs.
  • If you have a sensitive reproductive system:  If you have a history of low hormone levels, hypothalamic amenorrhea, dieting, or irregular menstrual cycles, the hormone changes involved in low carb ketosis as well as the uptick in stress hormone levels may hinder your reproductive hormone production.
  • If you have thyroid Issues: People (mostly women) with sensitive thyroid systems may also be in jeopardy from low carb ketosis. Ketosis is well known to down regulate thyroid production. T3 (the form of thyroid hormone that is actually active in cells) decreases, and reverse T3, a molecule that blocks the activity of T3, increases. Ketosis advocates may bend over backwards trying to make this phenomenon seem hunky dory, but I would advise anyone with thyroid issues to step carefully around ketosis. If you have clinical hypothyroidism I would consider consulting a doctor first.
  • If you are stressed out:  People with adrenal issues or a lot of stress are not great candidates for this diet. Adrenal glands may become more active with low carb ketosis, which can exacerbate  feelings of being wired, stress, and all the attending symptoms that come along with it.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping: Low carb ketosis may up-regulate the production of stress hormones, which can have a negative impact on sleep.
  • If you’re an athlete:  If you are trying to gain muscle mass or improve performance as an athlete, keto is not a great option. The bodies preferred fuel source is glucose or glycogen, not fat. So when we force the body to run on fat, whether adipose or dietary, we are inhibiting athletic performance because it is a slower and more energy consuming process to burn fat.
  • If you’re trying to maintain and moderate inflammation: Some of our cells lack mitochondria, meaning they are dependent on glucose from carbohydrates to survive. When in ketosis, we are basically starving these cells that can be found in our blood, retina, corneas, testis and renal medulla. These are not just aesthetic cells, we need our blood and eyes for instance, to be fully functioning.
  • You are not willing to commit to gradual transitions: When you transition off of keto, it has to be a gradual transition or you can damage your metabolism and most likely gain back any weight you have lost. It is not the best idea to jump right back in to processed refined carbohydrates, it is better to slowly introduce carbohydrates. You can start by adding a few carbohydrates to one meal a day, and slowly work up towards incorporating them into your diet.
  • If you struggle with restrictive eating: If you have a history of punishing yourself for falling off the wagon, feeling guilty about food, engaging in cycles of over- and under- eating, or confining yourself to strict dietary rules, I would not recommend ketosis. In order for someone to truly achieve wellness, then psychological health must be prioritized, perhaps above whatever ketosis-based goals you may have (and of course this varies by the individual. If you have brain cancer then please feel free to try ketosis regardless of how much you love your body).
  • If you seek any of these things:
    • Self love
    • Body acceptance
    • Overcoming an obsession with food
    • Overcoming cravings
    • Eating intuitively
    • Eating guilt-free
    • Keto is NOT diet freedom.

Then I would never recommend a set of diet rules – and again, especially one where you can’t eat for days or one where you have to pee on a stick —  to help you.

Side Effects of Keto

I completely understand wanting to try a particular type of eating to see if it may have any benefits for your metabolism, energy levels, and overall well-being. I know that some of you are, or have, tried keto. One unfortunate side effect of keto, as with any diet where you are trying to manipulate your bodies biochemistry, is that there are going to be ways our body lets us know that change is occurring.

  • Keto Flu: There are no solid facts to what is causing keto flu, but it is speculated that keto flu is caused by changing the metabolism and experiencing sugar withdrawal. There are also speculations that the body is purging toxins from fat storage during the transition into a fat burning state. While purging the toxins the body may experience the following:
    • Fatigue
    • Cravings for carbs and sugar
    • Dehydration
    • Loss of appetite
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Heartburn or other symptoms of indigestion
    • Low motivation to exercise and poor recovery from workouts
    • Brain fog
    • Dizziness
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Moodiness or irritability

This is a huge less for little promised returns. Ask yourself, is it truly worth it to hop on a new diet bandwagon, and experience this obnoxiously long list of side effects?

Still Not Sure?

Robb Wolff provides this super handy quiz  that you can take to determine whether keto is a great option for you. I definitely recommend consulting with your primary care physician before making any transitions, even if the handy dandy quiz says keto may be for you. Check it out here: Quiz

I know my thoughts on the keto diet are controversial, but I am coming from a place of love and education, and hoping the best for you. I would never want you to embark on a diet journey that has negative long-term consequences for immediate returns. It does scare me that the long-term research is not available for the keto diet, meaning we really don’t know how it effects our metabolism and biochemistry, ultimately. I have heard that Arctic nations have actually developed a gene that blocks ketosis. Arctic indigenous people have a much different climate, diet and lifestyle than us, yes, but doesn’t it seem a little strange that a culture would develop a gene to block ketois, a state that so many people are trying to live in?

 

How to Stay Fit Indoors This Winter

How to Stay Fit Indoors This Winter

As the weather gets colder and preps us for the holiday season, it becomes easier and easier to stay indoors. In my home state of Michigan, we typically get brutally cold winters accompanied with ice and snow, which I definitely avoided as much as possible when I could. I love exercising outside so much, and not being able to partake in the same activities in the winter month really messes with me. I have a sneaking suspicion this could contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder too. So what are the best winter fitness tips to keep us happy and fit through the colder months?

This year I am going to try hard to continue to move my body in ways I don’t hate (read: hours on end on the treadmill or elliptical). I have made it my mission to try different interesting new exercise classes to see if I find anything I like. For instance, did you know that dancing classes are offered year round? Check out my whole bucket list of interesting indoor activities for staying fit this winter, below!

1) Acro Yoga

I have been told this is a combination of Pilates, acrobatics, dancing, and yoga. If anything, I know it makes a great Instagram photo opportunity from what I have seen. To be honest, I love dancing and the feeling of being weightless and the movement surrounding that, which is why I wanted to try this. A lot of the moves are partner based, resulting in a great way to get your social interaction and indoor exercise all in one.

2) Rock Climbing

I was always a tree climber as a kid, and I wish this transitioned more easily as an adult. The idea of taking on a rock climbing gym is slightly intimidating, it has a CrossFit clique aura around it. Not to mention the equipment, where do I even start? However, my love of climbing and primal desire to get back into this sport are stronger than my fear of rock climbing gym hipsters. I will conquer my fear!

3) Tai Chi 

This long-standing tradition of slow and controlled movements has roots that extend back centuries. I have seen a lot of almost miraculous injuries healed from the power of Tai Chi, and I know this practice is used commonly amongst those that struggle with chronic pain or depression and anxiety. The slow pace does intimidate me, but the patience and strength required for this practice is something I want to learn.

4) Naked Yoga 

Yep, I went there. This practice is something where you need to find a legitimate and qualified studio to practice. It’s probably like a nude beach when you first try it, the awkwardness and trying not to look at everyone. I really would like to become in tune with my body and practice only in this form. I am also hoping the movements won’t be too strenuous, because sometimes sports bras are necessary.

5) Forza

Looking for a combination of self-defense and a workout in one class? Look no further than forza. In this exercise class you use an imitation samurai sword to imitate movements used by traditional samurais. I want to take this class because not only does it sound badass, but you know wielding a large sword like a samurai takes patience, skill and finesse. Definitely looking forward to this class!

6) Silk Yoga

With silk yoga, think of the acrobatic goddesses in cirque de olel that manage to dance in an ethereal manner with only hanging pieces of silk strands. The relationship between the person and the silk is whimsical to watch. I can only imagine how much body strength it takes to lift and lower your body into positions like that. It seems like it would take the same strength as rope climbing, yoga, and pole dancing all in one. Which brings me to my next class…

7) Pole or Burlesque Dancing

These classes were made popular a few years back. A lot of people thought these classes were controversially and objective to women, but the more I learn about them the more empowering they seem to women. This is one of those classes that allows you to bridge the brain body barrier and become in touch with your strength and your sensuality all at once. From those I know who have taken these classes, they see an immediate surge in self-confidence by partaking. These are a beautiful way to become in-touch with your feminine energy.

So these are the most appealing classes to me, what about you? Do any of these strike your fancy? Do you have any interesting classes near you that you are thinking about taking? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Or, if the idea of taking one of these strange classes seems intimidating, you can always start with my program, Weight Loss Unlocked.

In this program I give several recommendations on exercise quantities and types based on the results you are looking to achieve. Definitely start here if you are looking for a way to start incorporating exercise into your life!