Why Eating Like a “Celebrity” Will Ruin Your Metabolism

Why Eating Like a “Celebrity” Will Ruin Your Metabolism

Why eating like a “celebrity” will ruin your metabolism

There was a time in my life, many, many years ago, that I used to buy into “celebrity” diets.  I’d pick up the current People or Us magazine and read how Oprah or some other celebrity had lost extreme amounts of weight–quickly.   The celebrity would claim that all they had to do was eat pre-packaged food, or consume a liquid-only diet, or eat a low calorie diet and/or take a magic supplement to drop pounds rapidly.  I would see the before and after pictures and think, “Wow, that diet really worked, look how fast they lost weight, and see how good they looked.”.

Both the celebrity and I would assume the diet really worked!

What you didn’t see or hear about was how the celebrity, three months later, was struggling to keep off the weight.  Then within the next 6 months to 2 years, the same celebrity would show up in People or Us magazine with all the weight back on confessing they had no will power and they had failed, once again, at keeping their weight down.  Oprah, it’s not you fault!!!

Oprah weight loss

How many of you have seen these headlines in a magazine, TV show, on the Internet or one of the other million of places you are marketed to?

*Learn how insert celebrity name here lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks.

*Or learn how insert celebrity name here lost her baby weight in 60 days.

*Or learn how insert celebrity name here got red-carpet ready.

The story above and all of these statements NOW irritate the crap out of me.  Why?  Because all of them are supporting a system of weight loss, that is not only unhealthy, but will do long term damage to your metabolism.   Celebrity diets are nothing but quick weight loss strategies designed for you to lose weight FAST. Right?  And isn’t this what most people want, to lose weight fast?  Yes!  Yet, although this is what people want, quick weight loss strategies are not supportive to long-term health or a HIGH metabolism.

When you lose weight FAST.  This is what is really going on…

1.  You are losing water

2.  You are losing muscle

3.  You are cleaning out your bowel

4.  You are depleting muscle glycogen

4.  You may lose a very small amount of fat

This is why quick weight loss strategies are ALWAYS followed by the weight returning, PLUS a pound or two more.  You see, when you lose weight FAST, most of the weight you lost is NOT fat; instead you are losing water weight, muscle, muscle glycogen, and the contents that are inside your intestines.  And to make things worse, since most quick weight loss strategies are calorie restrictive, nutrient restrictive, carbohydrate restrictive, protein restrictive, fat restrictive or some sort of combination of all or few of these, these types of deprivation diets are slowing down your metabolism.

How do restrictive diets slow down your metabolism?

Your body requires energy (food) and nutrients to function optimally.  Food to a human is like gas to a car.  Without gas your car will not run.  Just like without food, your body stops working properly.  Unlike a car, your body has a back up system in place just in case food is unavailable.  The sympathetic nervous system, referred to as your flight or fight system, allows your body to start using its own tissue (muscle, tissue, bone, thymus gland, fat), by releasing your stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, in case food is not available so that you can stay alive.   This is a good thing for short-term survival, but NOT for long-term health.

When you deprive yourself of energy (food), your body starts slowing down metabolic functions to conserve energy.  These include, but are not limited to, digestion, detoxification, immune function, muscle growth and repair, brain function, circulation, hormonal production, and heat production.  When less energy is available, your thyroid slows down the production of thyroid hormones to conserve energy.  In addition, the liver needs adequate amounts of sugars (carbohydrates), protein and nutrients to complete thyroxine/T4 (inactive thyroid) to triiodothyronineT3 (active thyroid) conversion.  Lower levels of T3 will decrease cellular respiration telling the body to conserve more energy and decrease heat production and body functions.

As most of you know, celebrity diets do work in the short term.   Consuming less food and nutrients does help with weight loss.  Yet, give the celebrity 3-6 months, or even less time, and they will regain their lost weight and advertising something new for you to invest your hard earned money on.   Remember ALL restrictive diets DO NOT work—long term.  Although its possible to keep the weight off by restricting calories and nutrients, eventually anyone using this type of weight loss strategy will start to experience fatigue, agitation, cold, more susceptible to illness, constipated, sleep issues, hormonal issues, decreased muscle mass and/or thinking power.

What should you do for long-term weight loss?

Increase metabolic rate silly!

What do you need to do to increase metabolic rate? Here are five things you can do now that will help increase your metabolic rate.

1. Eat Real Food.  Consume the right fats, carbs and proteins, in the right amounts and frequencies that are right for you.

2. Rest and Sleep.  Sleep helps with mitochondria regeneration.  The mitochondria are the cells’ powerhouse and where cellular respiration takes place.

3. De-stress.  Stress suppresses metabolic rate and thyroid function.  Remove the stress; increase the thyroid and metabolic rate.

4. Move purposely.   Do movement exercises that you love and enjoy, and that make your body feel good.  You should move to increase muscle mass, flexibility, mobility, stability, strength and power, NOT for quick weight loss.

5. Be happy.  Figure out what you want out of life and go for it.  Happiness is far less stressful than being unhappy.

Bottom line:  Save your hard earned money and your time by avoiding all celebrity diets and ALL plans that produce QUICK weight loss results and guarantees. THEY just don’t work—long term!

If you want to find out how to really regain your health and lose weight forever, by improving your metabolic rate, then check out my new book, “How to Heal Your Metabolism.”

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

 

 

How To Heal Your Metabolism

How to Heal Your Metabolism

Lately, as many of you know I have been deep in reading and researching about the systems of the body, healing the body, nutrients, foods that heal and how they are all related in increasing metabolic function.  I think we can agree that we would all like to increase our metabolism…right?  As we get older we are led to believe that our metabolism will just naturally slow down.  We will have to work harder and eat less just to stay thin and feel good about ourselves.  Do these statements ring true to you?  They certainly did for me…of course, until now.

You see, for many years, I believed the only way that I could increase my metabolic expenditure (increase calories burned) was to add more muscle to my body and/or to exert more energy through increased exercise load and intensity.  However, there is actually a third way to increase your metabolism.  One that is not discussed very often, either because people do not know about it or they just do not understand it.  Are you wondering what it is?  Oh, I bet you are…

Over the last few years of my studies, I have begun to look at the body and its functions very differently.  I have realized that the health of our metabolism is more than just how much we move and how much muscle we have; a healthy metabolism is about what is happening in every cell of our body and the actual respiration of every cell of our body.  Thus, if we can increase cellular respiration we can increase metabolic function.

First, what is cellular respiration?

Cellular respiration is the set of the metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products.

Basically, it is what happens when glucose (sugar) enters the cells and converts to usable energy.  Without getting too scientific, it’s the most efficient way for cells to harvest energy stored in food.

Cellular respiration has three main stages: glycolysis, the Kreb’s cycle, and the electron transport chain.  For all the geeks, here is a basic explanation of each, for everyone else, skip ahead…

  1. Glycolysis is the metabolic process occurring in the cytosol of your cells that converts glucose (sugar) into two pyruvate molecules.  Glycolysis is an anaerobic (does not require oxygen) reaction that has an end production of 2 ATP (ATP is usable energy) molecules. 
  2. Kreb’s Cycle (Citric Acid Cycle) is an aerobic (requires oxygen) reaction that occurs in the mitochondria of every cell in your body.  The mitochondria are referred to as the cell’s power plant because they produce most of the cells supply of ATP (energy). Once oxygen is present, Acetyl Co A is produced from the two pyruvate molecules.  Through an 8-step process 6 NADH, 2 FADH2, and 2 ATP are formed (yes, I know you have no idea what this means…but keep reading, it will all make sense soon).
  3. 3. Electron Transport Chain (ETC) is also an aerobic reaction occurring in the mitochondria.  The ETC transports electrons from donors (like NADH and FADH2) to acceptors (like Oxygen).   When working properly the Kreb’s cycle and the ETC produce most of the cells energy.  The end result is an additional 34 ATP.  As you can see we need adequate amount of glucose, oxygen and a healthy mitochondria to produce sufficient amounts of energy…without these our cells become inefficient and eventually die.

Have I lost you with all this scientific jargon?  Stick with me; things will start to come together soon…

What I want you to see is when everything is working optimally and our cells are getting adequate glucose and oxygen we produce lots of energy (increased cellular respiration).  With increased cellular respiration our metabolism increases.  A great running metabolism means we are meeting our body’s energy needs, we are repairing tissue, we are detoxing properly, we have proper hormone function, we have good energy, we feel happy and life is good.

Did you ever have a friend when you were young who was thin, didn’t workout and could eat whatever she wanted and never gain a pound?  You know, that friend you hated… we will call her Britch.   Britch had great cellular respiration.  It is not the amount of muscle she had or the amount of exercise or activity she did that kept her thin.  Her increased metabolic function came from great cellular respiration.  However, if Britch continued to live her crappy-eating, non-exercising lifestyle her cells would become damaged and her lifestyle would catch up to her.

Many of us would attribute this phenomenon to great genes.   This is partially true since our mitochondria has its own set of DNA.   However, we can help or harm the health of our cellular respiration through the foods we eat, the lifestyles we choose and the decisions we make.  So even if you were not born with great mitochondrial genes you can still improve OR worsen your cells energy production.

Want to know how?

(Please leave credit card number here)

Don’t worry, you know me, I’m here to provide you with FREE usable information…

Here are ELEVEN things that will help increase cellular respiration and help heal your metabolism.

  1. Decrease polyunsaturated fats (PUFA).  As I have discussed before PUFAs are highly unstable and oxidize easily in the body.  PUFAs cause mitochondrial damage and reduce respiration.  PUFAs also bind to the same protein receptors that transport your thyroid hormone, reducing thyroid usage…which, once again, has an adverse effect on your cells respiration.  Some examples of PUFA’s are vegetable oils, corn oils, seed oils, nut oils, fish oils, most nuts and seeds and most conventional meats.
  2. Decrease phytoestrogens (soy). An increased level of phytoestrogens increases free fatty acids (FFA) in the body.  FFA acids are known to inhibit the thyroid function and disrupt glucose metabolism.  Soy, like PUFAs, lowers cellular respiration.
  3. Increase saturated fats. Yes, you heard me.  Increasing the right types of saturated fats like coconut oil, organic butter or ghee, cocoa butter, raw organic dairy, and grass fed meats can be very beneficial for your cells.  Saturated fats are stable. Unlike PUFAs, saturated fats bind to proteins in the correct way.  They are used properly and do not break down causing damage to mitochondria genes (DNA).
  4. Eat the right types of carbohydrates (sugars). I know everyone is scared of the words carbohydrate and sugar these days.  You would think by telling you to consume them, it is like telling you to go jump off a bridge.  We must understand not all carbohydrates (sugars) are created equal.  When I say the right types of carbs or sugars, I am referring to ripe fruits, root vegetables, organic raw dairy, pulp free OJ and some low starch above ground vegetables.  I am not referring to processed cookies, crackers, grains, breads and candies.   Sugar is the bodies preferred source of energy.  When we use the right sugars to fuel our cells they produce the most energy by using the least amount of our own bodies resources.  When we use a less optimal fuel (like protein or fat) our body uses more resources to produce less energy.
  5. Eat the right type of protein. Consuming easily digestible proteins like organic beef broth, gelatin, white fish, eggs, dairy and shellfish help support the liver and thyroid.  Increase thyroid hormone increases mitochondria respiration and increases CO2 production.
  6. Increasing Carbon dioxide (C02). C02 helps increase cellular respiration.  You can increase your C02 levels by living at high altitudes (Denver, you are all set), bag breathing, ingesting or bathing in baking soda and increasing your intake of carbonated water.
  7. The right exercise.  Stressful exercise increases mitochondrial damage.  Long duration cardio is incredibly stressful to the body.  Endurance athletes, although fit, have decreased cellular function, you can see this in their very low pulse and low body temperature.  According to Dr. Ray Peat “concentric” weight training is actually restorative to the cells mitochondria.  This means lifting with a load and relaxing without a load.  Burst training (short burst of exercise followed by rest) is also supportive of a healthy metabolism.
  8. Get more Sunlight. According to Dr. Ray Peat, “It turns out that day light 
stimulates our ability to use oxygen for energy production, and
 protects our tissues from some of the free-radical toxins that are
 produced by normal metabolism, by stress, or by radiation.”   This does not mean lay in the sun for 10 hours/day.  Refer to my blog on Vitamin D to help decide how much sun you need.
  9. Get more Sleep. Getting restorative sleep helps with proper cellular function.  This can mean anywhere from 6- 10 hours depending on the person.  Deep sleep is better than more sleep.  Best hours for sleeping are between the hours of 10:30PM -6:30AM.  When the body is at rest its primary energy source should be fat.  Burning fat while sleeping is far less harmful to the cells than oxidizing it while working out.  Remember to optimize energy production sugars should be used while awake and fats should be used while asleep.
  10. Stop dieting. Dieting, starvation, and detox programs may all help you lose weight fast and help you feel better in the short run.  However, long term they are all doing the same thing…they damage your mitochondria and decrease cellular respiration.  Have you ever wondered why ever time you “diet” it gets a little harder to lose weight?  It’s because dieting deprives our cells of proper energy and nutrients, damaging our cells and decreasing metabolism.
  11. Reduce all other toxins.  Remove as many toxins from your life as possible.  This includes processed foods, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, additives, preservatives, carrageenan, hormones, anti-biotics, drugs, alcohol, environmental toxins, fluoride, pesticides, herbicides, mercury, radiation, etc.  All toxins will disrupt and interfere with proper cell function.  All toxins will lower cellular respiration.

Okay, you got all that?  Yes, I know this is a lot to take in.  And yes, I know some of you may think I am crazy.  This is totally okay with me.  However, what you should know is everything I write about is based on the physiology of the human body, scientific research and my own self-experimentation.   I am not here to tell you what you should or should not do.  My intentions for giving you this information is to only share with you what I am learning, and how it is helping not only myself, but also many of my clients.

Please understand the recommendations I am giving are not person specific.  Every person is different, is at a different state of health and has different needs.  You must also understand that healing the body on a cellular level takes time, a real commitment to wanting to get better and a belief that you are doing the right thing.  There is so much misinformation on health and nutrition out there, it is hard to know what to believe anymore.  In fact, you should question everything you learn, including me.  It is important that you investigate on your own, find out what works for you, ask lots questions, and get help from a professional if you feel you need it.  For more information on how to heal your metabolism…Buy The BOOK.

Happy healing!

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

“Disclaimer:  I am an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, nutritional and lifestyle coach, not a medical doctor.  I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease or physical problem. I do not provide diagnosis, care treatment or rehabilitation of individuals, nor apply medical, mental health or human development principles.  I do not prescribe prescription drugs nor do I tell you to discontinue them.  I provide physical and dietary suggestions to improve health and wellness and to nourish and support normal function and structure of the body.  If you suspect any disease please consult your physician.”

References:

  1. Mitochondria and Mortality.  Dr. Ray Peat
  2. Energy structure and carbon dioxide: A realistic view of the organism. Dr. Ray Peat
  3. Using Sunlight to Sustain Life.  Dr. Ray Peat
  4. The acute phase response and exercise: the ultra marathon as prototype exercise. Clin J Sport Med. 2001 Jan;11(1):38-43.
  5. Systemic inflammatory response to exhaustive exercise. Cytokine kinetics.
Suzuki K, Nakaji S, Yamada M, Totsuka M, Sato K, Sugawara K.  Exerc Immunol Rev. 2002;8:6-48.
  6. Inhibition of NADH-linked mitochondrial respiration by 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal.
Humphries KM, Yoo Y, Szweda LI.  Biochemistry. 1998 Jan 13;37(2):552-7.
  7. 4-Hydroxy-2(E)-nonenal inhibits CNS mitochondrial respiration at multiple sites.
Picklo MJ, Amarnath V, McIntyre JO, Graham DG, Montine TJ.  J Neurochem. 1999 Apr;72(4):1617-24.
  8. Effect of high plasma free fatty acids on the free radical formation of myocardial mitochondria isolated from ischemic dog hearts.
Kamikawa T, Yamazaki N.  Jpn Heart J. 1981 Nov;22(6):939-49.
  9. Acrolein inhibits respiration in isolated brain mitochondria.
Picklo MJ, Montine TJ.  Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Feb 14;1535(2):145-52
  10. Acrolein, a product of lipid peroxidation, inhibits glucose and glutamate uptake in primary neuronal cultures.
Lovell MA, Xie C, Markesbery WR.  Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Oct 15;29(8):714-20.
  11. Thyroid hormone action in mitochondria.  C Wrutniak-Cabello, F Casas and G Cabello UMR Différenciation Cellulaire et Croissance (INRA, Université Montpellier II, ENSAM), Unité d’Endocrinologie Cellulaire, INRA, 2 Place Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 1, France

Is Your Workout Making you Fat?

 

Is your workout making you fat?

Lately, I have been bombarded with calls and emails from women and men, who are doing tons of cardio AND gaining weight! Correct, they are doing loads of cardio exercise (1-3 hours day) and are gaining, not losing weight.

Is this possible? My first thought is, perhaps they are simply gaining muscle? Well, maybe? However, if they are doing tons of cardio, trust me when I tell you, this is NOT an anabolic workout (a muscle-building workout) this is a catabolic workout (a muscle-breakdown workout). Thus, a high amount of cardio usually results in muscle loss, not muscle gain. Have you ever seen a really muscular marathon runner? I certainly have not. Most elite marathon runners look emaciated. They are super lean yet have very little muscle. You see, long distance endurance activities are very catabolic. They end up breaking down muscle — not building it.

Over time, this means:

Lots of cardio=catabolism=Less muscle = lower metabolism = Fat gain

Most people think the opposite:

Lots of cardio = more calories burned = weight loss

Shouldn’t this be the right equation? Well, it would be, however, you are leaving out one very important component — hormones.

Lots of cardio = elevated cortisol, decreased T3 (active thyroid), and increased estrogen (fat storing hormone) = Muscle breakdown + lower thyroid function = FAT gain and muscle loss.

Is it really possible to gain fat while doing tons of exercise?

Yes. Here is what is really going. After about an hour of exercise, your cortisol levels increase and stay elevated until you have finished your extended cardio workout. Cortisol is a major body stress hormone. Exercise is stress. Thus, long duration exercise elevates cortisol for extended periods of time. Elevated cortisol is very catabolic, it breaks tissue down. Once your glycogen stores (long-chain sugar stored in the muscles) are used up, cortisol starts to mobilize (burn) not only fat, but also other tissues: muscle, organ, and bone. The longer your workout session, the longer cortisol stays elevated, the more tissue breakdown can occur.

In addition, about 30-45 minutes after you start your workout your thyroid hormones plummet.  The thyroid senses the bodies increased metabolic needs so it starts slowing many metabolic processes down (immune system, hormones, digestion) to conserve energy.  As thyroid drops, the stress hormones rise so the body can start using its own energy stores (fat, muscle, tissue).

Now, don’t get me wrong — initially the long cardio sessions will help you lose “weight”, since you will be burning fat (AND burning some muscle). But at what cost?  The cost of valuable muscle, bone, and tissue?

You are losing muscle, so your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR/how many calories your body will burn at rest) drops. Although you are burning many calories during your extended workout, you actually start to burn fewer calories while you are not working out.   Which long term means less calories burned in any given day.

Your body starts to adjusts to the longer workouts by becoming more efficient.  Which means an increase endurance fitness level, but an overall slower metabolic rate at rest. Eventually, you find you have to workout even longer to burn the same amount of calories — or you start gaining fat again. Does this sound like something you may be going through? Do you feel you have to work out longer to stay thin — or if you miss a workout the fat and weight gain is a really fast process?

To make matters worse, like I said above, without proper nutrition, during your long cardio sessions, your active form of thyroid (T3) plummets. T3 needs sugar to work properly. If you utilize all your body’s stored sugar (glycogen) for exercise and do not replenish these stored glycogen stores, T4 stops being converted to T3 in you liver. Once T3 can not be converted, your metabolism slows and your body then releases more cortisol and the cycle continues.

If your workout is making you fat…

Here are 10 things you can do to make sure you will be losing fat — not gaining — in your workout:

  1. Shorter workouts: Keep your workout sessions under 60 minutes — especially if you are a beginner.
  2. Lift: Engage in weight training to build muscle, which will increase your metabolism.
  3. HIIT: Try high intensity interval training (20-30 min workouts that are short but very intense).
  4. Eat right: If you want to train for an endurance event, make sure your nutrition is in check. It is imperative to eat the right combination of carbs, protein, and fats before, during, and after the workout to help replenish your glycogen (sugar) stores and keep your metabolism working optimally.
  5. Intensity: Work harder — not longer. Stop using long cardio sessions as a way to lose fat. Longterm, it does not work.
  6. Sleep: Get plenty of REST to help your metabolism heal.
  7. No dieting: If you are dieting while doing long cardio sessions…STOP immediately, this is killing your metabolism even more!
  8. Essential nutrients: A good diet will contain all your vitamins and minerals.  ONLY take supplement if food is not available to meet mineral and vitamin needs.
  9. Ask for help: If none of this works, or you are a little confused, ask an expert for help.
  10. Patience.  Healthy fat loss takes time, and commitment.

Do yourself a favor — allow your body to start working for you, not against you.

Get off the cardio wheel of insanity. There are far better methods for long term fat loss and leanness.

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

* I do want to make a side note that there are many competitive, endurance athletes out there that are lean, muscular and fit. However, 99% of these athletes have never used their sport as a weight loss tool. They workout to compete NOT to lose fat. They eat five to ten thousand calories a day to support their metabolism and all their activity. They train at a very high aerobic threshold, usually 80-85% of their max heart rate, their sport is their life, yet trust me, if they ever stop…they will gain fat!

 

Why I love saturated fat…

My saturated fat story…

If there is one thing you should know about me it is this — I have always been a health freak and a workout queen — and I have loved every minute of it. I knew from the moment I started walking that a sitting job was never going to work for me. Thus, I think I was born to be the athlete-personal trainer-fitness-nutrition freak that I am today.   You know, your basic super hero..

Fast forward a few decades to about a year ago, I was training for 3 or 4 half-marathons, a possible half Iron Man triathlon, and a few 10-hour hikes — crazy, yet normal for me at that time of my life. I thought my body was healthy, so I could do anything…right?

Nope. Unfortunately, at the end of 2010, I incurred a nasty groin strain. This was not my first injury, but this was the first injury that was absolutely relentless — and alarmingly, it was not healing. About the same time, my body started to feel chronically tired, I gained a few pounds, and I was feeling “blah” — not a good state for a fitness professional.

I went to every doctor, massage therapist, chiropractor, orthopedic professional, physical therapist, acupuncturist, voodoo-ist I could find (ok, I didn’t do voodoo, but I considered it). Each appointment would help for a bit, yet nothing seemed to completely heal me. I felt “off”, and I started to become totally frustrated. I am a nutritionist, so I knew I was eating right. I was trying to stay less active (Ok, I did the best I could — I am a trainer for God’s sake). I slept, I drank tons of water, took tons of supplements — tried everything. Yet the damn groin still hurt and I was still feeling “blah”.

This is when I stopped looking for doctors to give me answers and I started my own self-directed research. I found physiologist Dr. Ray Peat, renowned chemist and nutrition expert Dr. Lita Lee, Dr. Broda Barnes, Dr. John Lee, and Josh Rubin (a highly respected colleague of mine and holistic health practitioner). This is when I allowed my current set of beliefs on nutrition and what I believed to be “healthful” to be completely turned upside down. It’s not to say that what I was doing was “wrong” per say, it just what I was doing wasn’t working for me anymore. Sound familiar to anyone? By all health standards, I was eating the perfect diet — lean meats, tons of vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits, organic protein powders, and whole food organic bars. I was eating no butter, no cheese, no milk, no sugar, no saturated fat — no fun. Yet, my current diet and lifestyle, although very healthy by most peoples’ standards, was just not working for me anymore.

For the next 8 months, I was 10 feet deep in research, human physiology, endocrinology, nutrition science — learning about thyroid issues, hormones, inflammation… science, science, science. I think I read more articles and books in the last year than I did in 4 years of college. What I realized was my body was in a chronic inflammatory state — not just from my recent injury, but from years and years of over exercising and “healthy” dieting. I say “healthy” because for years I followed the trends of dieting and thought I was eating healthfully, when in all reality, I was not.

It has only been within the last 9 years of my life that I have really understood what a healthy diet should be. And now, with all my current knowledge, it will evolve again. Yes, things change, we learn more, we get better, we apply what we learn, and we grow. The nutrition and medical industries are constantly changing. As we all know, we are learning more everyday…as to why things that were bad for us are now considered good, and things that were good for us are now considered bad. Just another reason for you to be constantly invested in your own health and well being.

I have been a fitness professional for almost 20 years now, a clinical nutritionist for 9 years, and a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach for the last 4 years. There is never a year that goes by that my practice doesn’t improve and grow. Yet this year, with all that I learned, the knowledge really changed me — it changed how I run my practice, how I live my life, how I view health, and how I eat.

I started including moderate levels of saturated fats, and then gradually increased them more. I started using healthy sugars (including cane sugar and fruit juice), and healthy proteins like grass-fed dairy (milk, cheese, cream), shell fish, gelatin, white fish, and a small amount of grass fed beef. I also began removing many other foods that are currently considered “healthy” by many, including ALL polyunsaturated fats, beans, and grains. I also cut out most nuts and some vegetables (this will be a blog for another day).

This is what happened:

Initially, I saw my weight and my cholesterol rise. Weight gain and increased cholesterol levels — that can’t be good, right? Well, let’s remember, I was in an inflamed state (from chronic overtraining), and the cholesterol was being released to allow me to heal. The additional weight was also in response to trying to heal my metabolism — a metabolism that was damaged from years of overtraining and under-nourishing (omitting saturated fat and the right sugars, and eating far less than my body really needed). In a matter of 3 months, while I allowed my body to heal, my cholesterol dropped over 40 points, my body weight dropped back to normal, and I started to feel that everything was right in the world again (no more “blah” feeling) — all while eating over 2000 to 2200 calories and 50-100g of fat a day (most of that being saturated fat). Interesting, huh?

Yes, I lost body fat while eating anywhere from 50-100g. grams of fat a day, while exercising less than I had in the last 10 years of my life. I never made all the planned runs or the half Iron Man. Yet, I’m sure it was for the best, as my body has almost fully healed. In all honesty, it may take years for my body to fully recover from my HIGH activity level and damaged metabolism.

Believe it or not, most highly active individuals have a damaged metabolism, yet most don’t understand this. They believe it is age that is affecting their metabolism. The truth is, all things that are stressful to your body, including exercise, can affect your metabolism negatively.  Once again, this does not mean you should not exercise. It just means do the right type of exercise, for the right amount of time, and at the right intensity for YOUR needs so that you can get better, rather than worse.

Ok, where was I? Right — saturated fat…

Now, I am not telling you to go out and eat tons of butter, cream, and cheese to try and lose weight and get healthy.  You need to have an understanding as to how, when, and what types of saturated fats you should be eating.  Plus, there is a lot more to healing your metabolism that just eating saturated fats. Is it ok to eat all these things? Absolutely! Should you start eating 100 grams of saturated fat like I do without understanding what you are doing? Probably not.  Saturated fat is a very powerful nutrient. If the proper types are used, in the right amounts, with the right combination of protein and carbs, you can have not only a healing nutrient, but a nutrient that will actually allow you to enjoy rich, great tasting food again.

For those of you who have asked, here is a typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast: 

Two whole eggs cooked in 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup of OJ and 1/2 cup of well cooked russet potatoes (with butter)

Coffee with 1/4 cup whole milk, 1 tsp cane sugar, and 1 tbsp gelatin

Snack: 

6 oz.Orange juice, 1 tbsp gelatin protein, and 3 pieces of 85% organic dark chocolate

1 medium carrot with 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

Lunch: 

3 oz grass-fed beef, 1 cup of bone broth, 2 cups of squash cooked in 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

Salad: Tomato, cucumber, onion with parmesan cheese, sea salt, and balsamic vinegar

Snack: 

Shake: 1 cup of raw whole milk, ½ cup of fruit, 2 tbsp of gelatin, 1 tbsp Greek yogurt

Dinner: 

4 oz wild cod cooked in 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

2 cups of cooked fruit (cooked in butter and cinnamon), 1/4 cup ricotta cheese,

1 cup of cooked peppers and onions with 1 tsp butter

Snack: 

1 glass of 2% milk, ½ cup of OJ, dash of salt

Now, this is a typical day. The calories may increase or decrease due to stress, workout load, and work load. Or I may just want some ice cream (yes, I eat that too…Hagan Daz only…no additives). Personally, I monitor my diet weekly to make sure I am constantly running at an optimal level (I do this by measuring my pulse, body temperature, and get frequent blood/lab work*).

*No need for you to do as much lab work as me, I do it for research purposes only.

The end result is my body feels better. I used to be in a constant state of achiness. I honestly thought it was normal because of all the activity in my life. I lived with aches and pains every day. I never complained. I never really felt “bad” — I guess I just got used to the achy feeling. Do you do that? Would you like to feel better?

At the end of the day, I consider myself a trainer, a nutritionist, and a constant researcher. I read at least 1 to 2 hours every night, more on the weekends, and even more on vacation. I love to learn and I love to share with all of you what I am doing, what I am learning, and how it can help you. My goal is to always get better, to help all of you get better, and to live a long, healthy life of prosperity, happiness, and joy.

Your  Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

“Disclaimer:  I am an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, nutritional and lifestyle coach, not a medical doctor.  I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease or physical problem. I do not provide diagnosis, care treatment or rehabilitation of individuals, nor apply medical, mental health or human development principles.  I do not prescribe prescription drugs nor do I tell you to discontinue them.  I provide physical and dietary suggestions to improve health and wellness and to nourish and support normal function and structure of the body.  If you suspect any disease please consult your physician.”