Your Metabolism 101 (and how it effects weight loss).

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I really had a fun time combing through vintage ads for this blog post. It’s crazy what some medical professionals advised their patients to do back in the day if they were looking to lose weight.

Case in point: let’s talk about your metabolism.

First off, we throw that word around A LOT. How many times have you heard “I have a low/high metabolism so I can/can’t…..” But do we even know what the word means? Metabolism is a simple concept. It basically means how our bodies chemically break down food and turn it into energy. That’s it. Having a “low” or “high” metabolism isn’t something we are born with. Sorry to tell you. Our own habits, behaviors, and eating patterns over time dictate how our body is going to metabolize food and either A) use it for energy, B) store it as fat, or C) use it to build muscle. Got it so far?

A few factors will change our metabolism. Taking certain medications, how much exercise/activity we get, and losing weight will all have a profound effect. But all in all, making sure we eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and get some daily activity will help regulate our metabolism so we use what we eat in the best way possible.

So, why do I make this blog post if the idea is this simple?

I’ve been doing A LOT of nutrition coaching these past few weeks, and I’m running up against the same issues with each and every client. Let me give you an example.

I have a client who is in her mid/late 50’s. She came to me after doing a meal replacement program where she was drinking/eating MR’s (meal replacements) that totaled to about 1000 calories a day at the end. She had gradually started to introduce some real foods, but this program had done a great disservice to her by demonizing carbs and then sending her off after she hit her goal weight with little to no education on how to re-enter a world with a lot of variety. She continued to eat a low-carb/Keto diet (which in my professional opinion is not the healthiest option) into maintenance. As she started to eat more real food and adding calories back into her diet, she started to gain weight. She started to panic, and this is when she gave me a call and said “HELP!”

I have a lot of worries about a program like she did as her team did not properly adapt her body back to eating enough calories to GET THROUGH HER DAY, let alone eat enough to add in exercise. The average woman in her 50’s will likely burn anywhere from 1500 to around 2000 calories a day just living her life. Once you add in activity, that number may rise a bit. She was only eating around 1100 or so when she came to me.

EDUCATION TIME. The body can only burn what it can either A) take in through food or B) what it has stored as glycogen in the muscles. And how do we get glycogen in the muscles? Glycogen is just glucose broken down in digestion, and what is glucose? CARBS. Our bodies can burn fat as fuel in ketogenesis, but again, I have A LOT of qualms about a ketogenic diet. Not even gonna go there right now. That’s a blog post for another day.

So, this poor gal is exhausting herself trying to continue to lose weight, but she’s only taking in 1100 or so calories a day. Her body basically said “NOPE. Sorry. If you can’t give me fuel to burn, I’m going to maybe burn a tiny bit of body fat for while, then I’m just gonna go eat lean muscle mass. So I’ll just hold on to everything I already have here because you’re STARVING ME.”

Sorry, kids. I don’t make the rules. This is just how bodies work.

When she came to me, I told her something she didn’t want to hear. I told her we needed to heal her metabolism because, frankly, it was in the shitter. After over a year of doing MR’s and eating a high fat/moderate protein diet, her body has been turned upside down and every which way but loose. I told her we needed to add back in complex carbs. She was, admittedly, scared. I mean, OF COURSE. In her mind, she lost 50 pounds by eating a MR plan with Keto ideals to go along with it.

But here is the reality. She lost weight NOT BECAUSE she ate Keto for that long. She lost weight because she was in a calorie deficit. That’s it. Plain and simple. There are gonna be people out there that tell you otherwise. Karen with her “health coach” certification who believes in curing ailments with essential oils is going to tell you to do it this way. But I’m asking my clients to take a leap and to TRUST ME when I ask them to do it my way. My nutrition certifications are legit, backed by SCIENCE, and I think I’m a pretty good billboard for eating a nutrient-dense diet.

Weight loss is energy in/energy out. If you do it in a healthy way by eating a WIDE VARIETY of complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats, it’s gonna work. But like I’m doing with with this gal I mention, we often times have to do the hard work first. In her case, we have to get her metabolism back to functioning normally and adapt her body back to eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruit, and starchy veg ALONG WITH her proteins and healthy fats. And this may see the scale go up a few pounds while her body adjusts.

Let’s look at another example.

I have a client, a woman in her mid 30’s, who is a distance runner. She is quite trim, very lean, and eats extremely clean with the occasional indulgence. She is a friend through the running community, and was looking for some guidance as she stated she was constantly exhausted, and had even passed out at work. Her bloodwork came back normal, she she knew it might be her nutrition that was off. She is currently training for a half marathon, and also does resistance training a few times a week. So as far as the exercise piece, she is nailing it.

When I did a 24 hour food recall with her, I was shocked to see how little she was eating. I literally asked her “Honey, where’s your FOOD??!” She is a classic case of under-eating and over-training. And these are the clients I LOVE to get, because I get to form a partnership with them on how to best change their eating habits to support all the badass things they want to do.

As my client, you will always be the expert in your own life. I’m always humbled, each and every time I get a new client, that people trust me to help them change this personal part of their lives.

With this particular client, we actually placed her in Muscle Gain. The girl needs A LOT of food. These two clients aren’t that different, when it comes down to it. Both of them, their metabolism is in the toilet. And NINE TIMES OUT OF TEN when a client comes to me and wants to lose weight, we usually have to ADD food. The best part of my day a few days ago was messaging her to ask how she was doing and she replied she was “full!” and that she wasn’t exhausted by 3pm that day.

A lot of what we do here is trial and error. I spend a lot of time looking at my clients’ food diaries and watching their macros, sleep, resting heart rate, sugar and fiber consumption, sodium intake, and weight to determine what the next steps will be in their journey. Yes, there will come a time when that metabolism catches up and weight loss will stall, but ONLY THEN is the time when we stop, take a breath, and start bringing calories down slowly, so their bodies can catch up to what we’re asking it to do.

First and foremost, having a good relationship with food is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Once you have that, things can begin to fall into place.

That’s how you do it, folks.

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Revolution

I want to talk for a while about what you can expect when you work with WellwomanQC. Sit back and enjoy.

First, let’s talk philosophy. I don’t mean Nietzsche. I mean my personal and business philosophy. When you work with me, it’s going to be different than any program you have ever done for weight loss. While the type of personal training I do may be like others in my community, what you will get is honesty and nurturing, with a little bit of push. I’m not a Kosama girl. I don’t do Crossfit. If you call me looking for something like that, I’ll be happy to refer you to some great studios in town who specialize in this. But I specialize in one-on-one resistance training for women. Sure I will train men, but one of my specializations I did along with my certification is for Women’s Fitness. Most of my PT clients are women in their 30’s and up, who mainly want to lean out and lose a few pounds. It’s what I excel at and, frankly, what I love most.

My clients will tell you I’ll always challenge a little bit, but my main focus is to help bodies get lean with proper form and technique. Corrective exercise and form is extremely important, especially if I’m working with someone who has had some kind of surgery, joint issue, or chronic pain. The last thing I want to do is exacerbate or re-injure. With this, I always inform my clients to be sure to keep me abreast of any move that feels weird, hurts, or if weights are too heavy. I can watch for correct form, but the unfortunate piece is I can’t have an out of body experience: I’ll never know what it feels like to be in my clients’ bodies.

Another piece of my coaching business is proper nutrition. THIS is where it’s going to be unlike anything my clients have experienced before, and let me tell you why.

About 20 months ago, I started an eating protocol with a little company called Eat To Perform. Personally, I was at my goal weight, but I wanted to gain some beautiful lean muscle definition and I was unsure of how to do it. I can’t even remember how I stumbled on these guys, but I thank my lucky stars every day I did. I won’t go into too much detail and give away a bunch of secrets, but let’s just say doing this program absolutely 100% healed my relationship with food. When I came to them, I was eating about 1600 calories a day, trying to lift and run, but couldn’t see any results. What I learned was I was under-eating for all the badass things I wanted to do with my body. Once my food intake increased, so did my results. Let’s see some photos, shall we?

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So this was me after about 3 months of doing Eat To Perform. I was eating A LOT of food. I trusted my coach when she said “once we do a fat loss cycle, we’re gonna see all those muscles you’ve been working on.” She was right.

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This is August 1 of 2018, about 8 months later. I had done a fat loss cycle, then another of what we call a Performance Recomposition cycle: this means eating ALL THE FOOD. I was training for the Bix 7, and needed all of those macros to run 7 miles of hills a bunch of times a week.

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Last but not least, this is me, just about 9 days ago, at the end of my last Recomp cycle. I’m sure what you can see is MUSCLE. I am jacked with the kind of muscle I was hoping to have all those months ago, and all I did was change my nutrition.

The way I coach my nutrition clients is the Eat To Perform way. Last spring, I took and passed their Certification course, and am now a Certified Nutrition Adviser. I coach my clients through whatever their own personal goals look like. Some of my clients are doing fat loss, as they have quite a bit of weight to lose. I also have a few clients who I take a Recomp approach, as they may be training for half marathons and kickbox 6 days a week. It just depends on each person. Everyone is different, and I always tailor that into my approach with each client.

The other thing I try to help my clients understand is that this is hard. Weight loss, getting lean. It’s all a lot of hard work. And I’m going to tell you something right now, and that’s that I 100% get it. I gained 60 pounds with my pregnancy. Three years before that, I took off 25 pounds. Taking off body fat is HARD. Eating healthy is HARD. Weight maintenance is HARD. No one knows that better than I do.

But there also comes a time when you know, deep down in your soul, that it’s time to do something about it. I’m going to tell you it’s not easy. It takes a kind of diligence that you may have never used before. Tracking every bite that goes into your mouth is tedious and boring and time-consuming, but I’ll also tell you I’ve worked in the weight loss, fitness, and nutrition industry for nearly 10 years. Every person who has EVER had success in taking and KEEPING off the weight tracks their intake EVERY SINGLE DAY. Hate to tell you, but it’s true.

I won’t sugar coat anything for you. But I will tell you this. I’m going to be here to keep you accountable every single day. I’m going to be a bit invasive and ask to see your My Fitness Pal diary: not to ever judge you. Christ on a crutch, I LOVE French fries. Like, really really love them. It borders on obsession. And dark beer. Especially milk stouts. So I’m not one to ever judge you on your choices. But the beauty of the way we will do things is through a properly nutrient-dense diet and lifestyle, we will be able to account for those things. Not every day, but every once in a while so you feel like a human being and most importantly never feel guilty about what you eat. It’s food, dammit. One of life’s greatest pleasures. And we should all have a healthy relationship with eating.

What I can promise you is this: think of your weight loss or fitness journey as a house. I’m going to give you the tools in your toolbox. I’m going to give you all the materials and blueprints. While I’m the architect, you’re the contractor. I’ll be onsite every single day, laying out all the plans for your success. I want you to ask the hard questions, and no question is silly or stupid. Success in building your house may take a long time. Like, a REALLY long time (my “house” is ALWAYS going to be a work in progress).It’s up to YOU to build it. This journey is always your responsibility. But I’m gonna be next to you the entire way.

And here’s the thing: You’re worth it. All of it. The hard work, the diligence, and the blood, sweat and tears. I’m ready to help you revolutionize your health.

Let’s get started.

Move On

Some of you may know this about me, but I’m guessing many of you do not.

Before I fell in love with fitness, nutrition and wellness, my passion was performing on stage. No shit! I have a background of many years of performing in musicals, plays, and teaching people how to sing. It was my lifeblood for many, many years. I even had my own little theatre company for a while. I had a nice little career in Cincinnati of performing and teaching when we lived there from 2002-2006.

But as life changed, and I changed, so did my passion for theatre. Sure I still love to sing and be on stage. But in 2010, I had a big shift in how I saw my life and what I wanted to do with my time. I started my Masters program in Behavioral Health, and at the same time, I lost a ton of weight with Weight Watchers. I became a runner, and fell in love with learning about how to better my own life through nutrition and fitness. I knew when I finished my degree, I wanted to plug in what I learned in my program to the nutrition and fitness vein. I wasn’t quite sure how, but I wanted to figure it out.

As fate would have it, 4 weeks into my 40-hour a week unpaid internship my final year of my program, I found myself pregnant with my daughter. It definitely threw a wrench into my plans, but I obviously went with it. I finished my Masters program, with honors, and was 38 weeks pregnant on graduation day. It was a big moment for me.

Because I had waited a very long time to be a Mom, my first priority was to be able to stay home with my daughter for as long as I wanted and not have to worry about entering the workforce. I was lucky enough to be able to do this, and continue to work on taking off the 60 pounds of baby weight that I gained.

By the time my daughter was about 14 months old, I started to feel antsy about finally going after what I wanted. And that was to become a Certified Personal Trainer. My little one was independent enough, was in daycare a few days a week, and it was finally time for me to get out there again.

Well, as you all know, I got certified. I lost the baby weight. I got totally jacked. I even got certified as a nutrition adviser and specialized in Women’s Fitness and Fitness Nutrition. I’ve done a lot in less than 5 years.

I worked for a weight management program in our area for nearly 3 years. Around Christmas time, I realized I wasn’t happy in my job anymore. I missed the training piece of being in the gym with people, and I missed the nutritional coaching piece that I wasn’t doing in my position in this program. It was time for me to move on, and get back to brass tacks of what is really my life’s work, and that is getting people to a place of comfort in their relationship with food, and feeling like a badass in the gym.

Many of you know, this last week was a really weird one. I won’t go into specifics, but I’ll just say I was forced to move on in a way I couldn’t control.

I bring up my past involvement with musical theatre because there is a piece written by the composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The musical is called Sunday in the Park with George. If you haven’t heard of it, Google it. YouTube it. Go find it and experience the beauty of this piece, and then tell me what you think. At the end of the musical, a character sings to George about moving on. She sings “Move On. Stop worrying where you’re going, move on.” It’s a beautiful sentiment at looking where you’ve been, and not concerning yourself with making the wrong choice. Just making the choice is the important part.

I took a huge leap. I’m taking a pay cut. It’s scary for my family right now, making such a big change. But my mental health and happiness is far too important than to have stayed stagnant where I was.

And the best part of ALL of this is, as a small business owner, within the last 5 days, my little dream of working with people to help them find their way back to healthy nutrition and fitness is BOOMING. I owe all of that to YOU. I couldn’t do any of this without the support of all who I’ve come to know in my journey of helping people. It is apparent I am very loved. More so than I ever thought. I have always had my clients’ best interest at heart. I don’t do what I do for a paycheck (although it’s a nice benefit). I do what I do because I LOVE IT and my passion for educating people on how to lose weight and gain lean muscle mass through good nutrition will always be my jam.

Thank you all from the deepest depths of my being. Thanks for helping me move on. It’s gonna be an awesome new adventure.