It's Not a Diet, It's a Quiet - Intermittent Fasting with Laurie Lewis
September 14, 2021 - Episode #76 - It's Not a Diet, It's a Quiet - Intermittent Fasting with Laurie Lewis
It just feels like as a woman, the older we get the harder it is to lose weight!! And then there's all these other things happening to our body that honestly, we don't even want to talk about, but we're beyond frustrated. Well, today I've got a guest and we are talking about not one, but two hot topics, menopause and intermittent fasting. Today is part one of “It's not a Diet..It’s a Quiet” with certified health coach, Laurie Lewis, and yes, next week you will hear part two. I think you'll really be encouraged by this series on the Healthy Harmony podcast.
Here's a snapshot of what we discuss on part one....
Here are some links you may need....
- "We Could All use a Health Coach" NY times article by Jane Brody
- Book a one-hour, virtual health coaching session with Jennifer here
- Book a 15 min phone call with Jennifer here
- You can find out more about our guest, Laurie Lewis here https://fastforwardwellness.com/
Read Full Transcript below
Where else to listen: (note: Google is only available on android devices)
September 14, 2021 - Episode #76 - It's Not a Diet, It's a Quiet - Intermittent Fasting with Laurie Lewis
It just feels like as a woman, the older we get the harder it is to lose weight. And then there's all these other things happening to our bodies that honestly, we don't even want to talk about, but we're beyond frustrated. Well, today I've got a guest and we are talking about not one, but two hot topics, menopause, and intermittent fasting. Today is part one of “It's not a diet..It’s a quiet” with certified health coach, Laurie Lewis, and yes, next week you will hear part two. I think you'll really be encouraged by this series on the Healthy Harmony podcast.
Welcome to the Healthy Harmony podcast. I'm Jennifer Pickett, Dietitian turned Functional Medicine Health Coach. I help spiraling moms overcome the overwhelm through functional wellness coaching for the body, mind, and soul so they can transform their health and live a deeply fulfilled life of freedom and harmony. Let's get real when it comes to your health, you know what to do. I strongly believe that to make the shift from knowing to doing you must apply mindfulness, listen to your body address. What's really driving that behavior. Be intentional and finally practice some self-compassion. The last 24 years of experience have taught me that the absolute last thing a woman needs is a lecture about self-care and another unrealistic diet plan. I recognize the importance of compassionate and intentional health practices. So, you can feel good because guess what? When you feel good, you are more likely to make better decisions for your health.
If you're ready to take control of your complete health, address the obstacles standing in your way and live a life of freedom and harmony you, my friend, are in the right place real quick.
Before I introduce our guest, if you are tired of spiraling and you're ready to overcome the overwhelm, my friend, I've got you. Book a one-hour virtual health coaching session at inspireyourhealthyharmony.com. Have questions for me. Book a 15-minute phone call and I'll look forward to speaking with you.
For intermittent fasting coach and author, Laurie Lewis, menopause dealt a crushing blow. She had brain fog, lack of balance, memory loss, and a sudden gain of 50 pounds of stubborn, hormonal fat. She tried everything she knew to feel better. And what worked in the past made absolutely no difference. So, after four years of struggle, Laurie stumbled upon intermittent fasting and started fasting that same day within a week.
The menopausal fog lifted, and she had more energy and felt more like herself. She lost 51 pounds in 15 months and has kept it off for years now, Laurie coaches, others, and as a certified health coach with the Institute for integrative nutrition, she combines her experience and her knowledge of nutrition with the practice of time restricted eating, to guide her clients. She's the owner and founder of fast-forward wellness. And she often says when asked about intermittent fasting, it's not a diet, it's a quiet let's welcome.
Laurie Lewis today's podcast is a hot topic and something that I'm asked about on the daily. So, I am beyond excited to welcome Laurie Lewis. Laurie, thank you for joining me today, Jennifer.
Hi. Hi everybody. It's great to be with you. Thank you.
A lot to discuss. So, we're going to hop right into it. Now you've got a pretty impressive story when it comes to dealing with menopause and that just dealing you a crushing blow. So, I want to hear about your experience as you went through menopause.
Well, I have learned that up to 25% of women don't really have menopausal symptoms. And I'm wondering who are those women? Because when I go through the checklist, I check off every single symptom I got them all. And so, I remember waking up one in the middle of the night. I was 44 years old, and my brain had the thought, oh, my air conditioner is broken, right? So, my air conditioner was not broken. It was cranking up the cold air, just fine. It was my hormones that were beginning that hormonal flip into peri-menopause and the changing of progesterone and estrogen and testosterone, all our sex hormones. And I think most people, most women have some awareness of hot flashes or night sweats as a symptom of, of perimenopause and menopause. We aren't quite clear when it's going to happen. We definitely aren't clear about all the other experiences that a woman may go through in her forties and early fifties. But for me well, and the thing that people really don't understand is tying them together. And I think the source of it is that we aren't, we don't talk about it. We aren't sent to biology class for older women. We have to be them. We can't say the word menopause in front of a man. God forbid curious people like, oh, men don't want to talk about that.
Yes, I can. I can feel, I can feel the guys right now, like turning the podcast off. They're like, okay, but Hey, if you have a woman in your life, we will tell you, this is for you. Like you need to listen up. I mean, you know, that's just, it's just how it is, but you're right. There's this huge stigma. Like, we're not going to talk about that. And the other thing that really makes me upset is that when a woman does have concerns and she feels like her health is spiraling out of control. And a lot of times there's this, these menopausal symptoms that are taking over, she goes to the doctor and the doctor says, well, you're entering menopause. This is just how it is. So, did you have an experience like that? Did you ever go to the doctor and say, Hey, I need some help?
Oh my gosh. Yes, we are treated, as we're told, here are things that my clients have said that our clients have had doctors have said to them, well, you made it through cancer, just buck up and make it through menopause. How hard can it be? You know, and, oh my goodness. And then another one's, it's a condition and you just have to make it through a condition. And my response to that is erectile dysfunction is a condition also, and there's a plenty, a lot of conversation and effort going into solving that problem. So, I am heartened by the article. I don't know if you know who Jane Brody is, but she's been writing for the New York times forever. And she wrote an article in the New York times recently called we could all use a health coach. I am excited by our role in the world right now, which is whatever your doctor is telling you.
And if it seems fragmented or mystifying or upsetting that having someone to guide you through your journey of health, which I, I navigated myself and you asked about menopause for me and just in a nutshell. So, there was that fateful morning. I woke feeling sweaty. But I, I felt like I had it all. I w experienced depression for the first time in my life and anxiety and memory loss and brain fog, and my equilibrium was off. And of course, my periods were massively irregular and very, very strong bleeding, which is terrifying if nobody ever called you, that's going to happen. And it's only in hindsight that I remember a friend saying, oh yeah, that happens. It's like, oh, I thought I was dying. You know? And so, we're to just we whisper about it. We don't connect the dots. We don't understand what the thoughts are. And we're told to just suffer through. And then the people, the men suck it up. And then, then to make it worse people joke about it and they make us feel like we're crazy, which makes us even crazier. Right? So not feeling like yourself being confused and disoriented and upset. The last thing we need is to have it be a secretive topic, dismissed by our doctors, not given any solutions and left at
Yeah, you're exactly. You're exactly right. And I thank you. And I get fired up about the same topic. I did see that that article that you're referring to, that Jane Brody wrote in that everyone needs a health coach. I'll absolutely loved that article. And I think it's something that, you know, our clients have found as they have worked with us. They're like, oh my goodness. I mean, someone is actually compassionate and listens to me and helps me come up with a plan of action instead of dismissing me. And I think that's the value of a coach. So for those who have not had access to that article, we will definitely link that in the show notes. So you can see it. It's a really good one, but you know, this topic of menopause and women being dismissed and made to feel like either our feelings aren't valid or here's, you just suffer through it. So what, what did you decide to do? I mean, you were dismissed, you know, obviously you've got a lot going on with your body. What was your next step? What was that breaking point for you?
Well, I was, I have been for over 20 years, a person who's had a passion and an interest in nutrition for my personal wellbeing and figuring out the foods that make me feel, feel well. I remember being in, I think it was my late twenties. I've kind of lost track. I'm 58 now that I had the thought that this diet soda and sugar is isn't good for me. I think it was just kind of a mild thought. Like, I think this isn't good for me. And I stopped drinking diet soda from that, any soda at all from that moment on. And I also weaned myself off of refined sugar, which then led to a lack of desire for any ultra-processed food. So that was a long time ago, but I never wanted to be the food police. I w I got my health coach certification at the Institute for integrative nutrition in New York ages ago, simply because I was interested in it.
I never had a desire to have a career change. I liked the work that I was doing, and yet it was a personal interest. So when menopause hit, so peri-menopause for me was about five years and when menopause hit and just so people, if people don't know, so before you start experiencing symptoms of peri menopause, people call that going through menopause. That's actually peri-menopause. But before that you're in a woman is in pre menopause, no symptoms of menopause at all childbearing years. And then when, you know, people say menopause starts, it's actually called peri- menopause, and you can start checking off the list of, you know, painful sex and depression and memory loss, all the list is long. And so it's really wonderful to have a coach or some friends or a therapist to talk to about this. And then for me menopause hit, which means I didn't have my period for a whole year. And there's a moment of one day when that year hits and that's, I'm in menopause. And then from that moment on your post menopausal, now the average time to hit menopause is 51 52 years old. It's kind of a range. And for me, I was, I was early, I was 49 and much to my surprise. I suddenly gained 50 pounds. Now. Peri-menopause was really hard for me, all these symptoms of suffering. So I was so excited. I'm like, I can't wait for my period to stop for all to be over. Yeah.
You think there's hope there's hope here. There's some kind of light, there'll be a line in the sand when peri-menopause ends and I'm free. Well, my, again, the hormones are imbalanced and it's a linked to insulin and cortisol and estrogen and progesterone and testosterone, testosterone, and all the thyroid hormones. And so when I gained 50 pounds, people in my life, including myself, were like, how is this possible? They're like Laurie Lewis, you're the healthiest person. We know all you eat is a arugula and spinach and kale and lots of vegetables and coconut oil. And, you know, and so for me to be such a mindful eater and enjoying a fitness regimen, I was running marathons and, you know, I'm a runner and a nutritious eater, passionate about my wellness to gain 50 pounds was a huge mystery. So I really struggled for four and a half years and felt less and less like myself, which is really disorienting to feel like your, your body and your mind and your emotions have been taken over by an alien.
So the memory loss that equals the feeling off balance, the brain fog and the, the experience, the physical experience of being in pain head to toe was I can say it was, I w I felt great despondency. I was at the point turning the corner where I thought the future really was all downhill from here. Like I actually thought, do I have to subscribe to it just gets worse and worse, and that's not my nature. Right. So I thought, oh, there's a whole world ahead. That everybody seems to agree that it's going to get worse. And do I have to accept that clinging with my fingernails, from the edge of the cliff? Like, no, I know that there are some, there will be an answer. And one night I was home visiting my mom in Colorado, and I had a very tearful conversation with her, just, I was just like a, five-year-old having a temper tantrum, just wailing. And what, and what can I do? I've everything. And that night I did one more Google search of, you know, stubborn, hormonal menopausal helped me, you know, and up popped the words, intermittent fasting. And I was familiar with long-term therapeutic fasting, but I never knew that you could live day to day eating in an eating window, being conscious of when you're eating and then being conscious of not eating so that your body can heal. And I liken it to sleep, that we are a culture, a society of being massively sleep deprived. And that has just incredible ramify health remedies.
I had discussed that every single day, are you the same? Like that is that at the top of the list,
It is. And, you know, with so many of these things, people feel like it's an added stress. It's like, but if you put in place, you know, some steps to sleep earlier, which is, you know, having a sleep regimen, we can go into that. But so for me there, I was reading, watching videos, reading articles, seeing quotes about intermittent fasting. And so I stayed up practically all night, absorbing the information and thinking, well, if I said to my mom, I have tried everything and here is a, another here is access to another thing. And I stumbled downstairs the next morning as the sun was coming up over the peaks. And I said, I think I found an answer. And she inquired and I explained it to her. And she thought that made perfect sense. In fact, I always forget about this. She said, you know, Laurie, when your dad felt like he had some extra weight to lose, he always just, you know, skipped a meal. And I'm like what, He did, you know? And and so I don't think that we have to call it a thing, right? Like a thing that you're doing intermittent fasting. Now, it is helpful because if you want to learn how to have an expert, teach you how to have the best results and how to feel your very best and figure out what eating window is best for you and your schedule and your goals and how you feel. And what, how to fast so you know, air quotes correctly, but really it's human, the human design to pause from eating and to heal while we're fasting. Just like we heal when we're sleeping. It's just, we didn't know, like, what we've been taught is because we have an abundance of food around us. We've been taught to eat all the time, and that's a bad idea.
It really is. And you're so right. So much of this is ingrained. I know the way I was taught as a traditional dietitian was, you know, three meals, three snacks, and, you know, we just know better now, but I love how you put that. It was just put so well, you heal while you sleep and you heal while you fast. And that is such a powerful purpose there in both of those, because the body is just restoring itself, it was designed to heal and restore itself. We've got to give it a chance to do so.
That's right. And when people say, well, how, what do you mean? Well, let's start with the liver, right? So over 60% of Americans have fatty liver disease and don't know, and our poor liver is trying so hard to get the fat out of it. And it doesn't have a chance. And then insulin, we have chronically raised insulin constantly. And so our blood sugar is wacked out and we have a pandemic of type two diabetes and obesity, but even people who are slender, you know, people say, oh, they didn't have any weight to lose. It's like, we want to ward off Alzheimer's and, and lower our, our high circulating insulin and are chronically high cortisol and balance our thyroid hormones. And then there, and raise human growth hormone, which happens a thousand percent plus when we're in a fasted state. And then the most exciting, well, two very exciting things to me.
One is that when we're in a fasted state, we can then tap into our fat stores for our fuel, which is incredibly energizing and feeling the brain on ketones, which is healing for the brain. And then this idea of autophagy, which is a deep cellular repair, deep cellular clean-out that when we are in a fasted state, the body's in a digestive rest and hormonal and metabolic balancing metabolic boosting. And then there's this deep cellular repair, which for me, I won't rob myself of it. It's just like I won't rob myself of sleep, especially after reading Matthew Walker's book, why we sleep? Oh boy, that scared me into never losing another minute of sleep. And the idea of a top of G is incredibly exhilarating.
It really is. It really is. And now I want you to go back a little bit you, you referenced a human growth hormone. And so I want you to get a little bit more into that so that we can have a deeper understanding of HGH.
Well, I'm not a healthcare practitioner or a doctor, so I can't, I won't delve into explaining the chemistry of it, but yeah, from what I've read and understand that human growth hormone obviously drops off as we age, but two ways to increase it are exercise coupled with fasting. I mean, and if you're exercising in a fasted state, you can boost your HGH production a thousand percent plus for women in 2000 plus percent for men. And that's one of the reasons that intermittent fasting the results that people experience can be very different than your experience dieting. And so with dieting, we keep our eyes closely fixed on the scale. And with intermittent fasting, I tend to guide people to have the scale as one data point, if you want to, but I encourage people to put it away because there's this experience of first and foremost healing of the liver, the gut balancing of the hormones, fueling your brain on ketones. So full head to toe healing, lowering of inflammation, but also that when we're in a fasted state and human growth hormone booths where building muscle and bone density while we're fasting. And so the scale can not move, could not move, right. So I get a five month stall on the scale, oh, fast forward. I lost 51 pounds in 15 months, which is slow, but that was my weight that I needed to lose. Like in hindsight, 15 months, wasn't it was a blip in my life. Right? Yeah. So I restored my natural healthful weight. And yet the miracle is, is that within three days. So for sure, less than a week, I felt so much better. I felt like myself, the brain fog lifted. So, so in my weight loss and restoring my health journey, there was a period when the scale stalled for five months. So if you're a scale watcher, you would think, well, it's not working anymore. Right? I'm going to do something else now, except during those five months, I got two sizes, smaller and clothing. Like I could see the area around my rib cage shrinking, like I could feel, especially after 18 hours fasting now, not everybody has to fast that long. You know, I like, I believe that every human being can have an eating window, whether it's a 12/12 schedule, you know, you fast for 12 hours, you're sleep for seven or eight of it. And you eat three meals in a 12 hour eating window. That's proven to extend your life.
I hope you enjoyed that. Laurie's story is very inspiring. And I love how she persevered. I love how she persevered. And she persevered even when she had a really big stall in her weight loss. Remember it took her 15 months to take off that way. And that does, it takes a, just a degree of perseverance and patience. She stuck with it now. Absolutely love that. So please join us right back here next week for part two, as we dig into even more specifics about intermittent fasting. So you can find a rhythm and a routine that works for you. And remember if you need me, my friend, I've got your back book a one-hour virtual health coaching session until then, have a healthy and happy day. Bye ya’ll