Friday, May 6, 2016

Week One Round Up and HORMONES!

Happy Friday friends.

Hope it's been a beautiful week for you. I was able to get my fingers in the dirt this morning and plant a wee window box of herbs. Next thing you know they'll be calling me the urban gardener. Ha. Not likely. Generally my green thumb is more of a gangrene thumb but I'm trying.

Yes that is a church right next door, so hopefully these little guys will get an extra blessing. And as you can see the sun came out just for them this morning so everyone here (me and Herb, Herb, Herb, and Herb) are all feeling especially grateful.

Really this is my way of trying to distract you from the bad news I have to deliver. If you read my previous post you are already aware that my body has not reacted well to some of the foods included on Dr. Dave's plan. Grrrr. Because of that, said body went into an inflammatory state that has caused all sorts of backlash. If you haven't had a chance to read what I've been writing about all week, simply click the MY SOLUTION tab in the bar above and it's all there but the cliff notes version is that when your body takes in a food that it doesn't like (it might be a food or beverage that you personally love like cheese cake, wine, or even tomatoes) it throws your system into panic and survival mode, inflammation happens which creates antibodies, which then signals the body to create fat cells to protect the organs, but then the fat cells create more inflammation and the cycle continues until we can root out these foods that don't agree with us.

Needless to say, weigh in and measurement day today was not pretty in the Masters' household. That said, because I took a course correction on day five and six, I suspect it could have been much worse. I didn't gain inches around my waist or belly. My butt and thighs gained a little but I'm not horribly worried about that at the moment, I'm more focusing on the midsection. And I gained a bit of weight. Don't worry. I'm not.

I am suspending disappointment here because I am not looking for a quick fix or dramatic over-night results. I am looking for the ultimate solution that will create balance and allow my body to find it's natural healthy set point. I know I am not there yet because of the muffin top and feeling crappy, so please stay with me here.

The sort of sad news is that I took a quick look at the meal plan for week two of Dr. Dave's plan and it's not looking good for Shan folks. I mean to tell you I think I have an aversion to just about everything in there, so what's a girl to do? Make it your own bitches! So that's what I aim to do. 

I found that I really liked the trail mix recipe provided but this week calls for Herb Roasted Chickpeas. While no doubt delicious, I am staying away from beans right now so I wanted an alternative and frankly, I wanted something that would speak to my palette, sweet yo! So I found a recipe for Cinnamon Almonds. No sugar or any other kind of sweetener added! Yay for the sugar free warriors out there that are providing us with options. 

It's such a super simple recipe I have to share it here quickly and then I want to talk to you a bit about that above inflammatory response and what is actually contributing to it.


I didn't have enough almonds this morning so I threw in some pecans and walnuts as well. They are cooling as we speak. Hope they taste as great as they smell. Get 'a load 'a me!?! All cooking and prepping and planting, this process might make a domestic outta me yet

I got so much great information from the TRUTH ABOUT FAT LOSS Summit, I think I could go broke just ordering all of the books written by so many of the great speakers I've listened to, but for today I want to talk about Dr. Sara Gottfried and her research into women, weight loss, and hormones. Check her out HERE.

First, let me get straight that I am not advocating for you to run out and buy all the books of the people I mention, I have not read her book, but it sounds amazing. Nor am I telling you to run out and buy Dr. Dave's ALWAYS HUNGRY SOLUTION Book, I'm just letting you know that this is where some of these ideas are coming from and that they make sense (to me) and are helping me piece this midlife middle-aged-spread puzzle together. Got it? Good.

The only two things that I feel like I know for sure is that sugar makes you fat because it spikes your insulin -- which put plainly is your fat  storing hormone -- and fat, the good healthy kinds of fat that you eat (not the stuff currently accumulating around my tummy) has absolutely no effect on insulin. So these are what I am building on along with Dr. Dave's solution for one more week of:

So Dr. S. (Short for Sara Gottfried) says that there are seven major hormones that effect your weight I don't know what all of them are exactly but trust me these are not just old lady hormones I'm talking about here okay? These are hormones that can contribute to obesity in children if shit gets out 'a whack.

Cortisol - the stress hormone
Estrogen - the lady hormone - we don't want it to be too high or too low
Testosterone - the man hormone
Growth hormone
Thyroid - metabolism hormone
Insulin - the fat hormone
Leptin - known as the MASTER hormone (no, we're not related) it's produced by fat cells and it regulates your weight - so yeah, he's a heavy-weight in the hormone world no pun intended.

So Dr. S in her wisdom has come up with a plan that helps to reset these puppies by making dietary changes for differing periods of time. Again, not read the book so don't know the specifics but she has you go Meatless, Sugarless, Fruitless, Caffeineless, Dairyless (I know it should be dairy free and caffeine free but I was constructing a theme, just let me) grainless and toxinless.

Each one of these suspect foods causes a spike in a specific hormone level that then contribute to the perfect storm of stubborn fat that we cannot seem to shift even though we appear to be doing all the right things, eating healthy, counting calories, portion control, spending hours working out etc. For example all you meat eaters out there if you're not eating the happy healthy grass-fed cows you're likely eating animals that are pumped full of growth hormones, antibiotics, crappy food and all sorts - not to mention the fear you take on that that animal felt as it was being slaughtered. Enjoy that steak. Sorry had to. What I'm sayin' is meat can cause a spike in your estrogen that then throws off your progesterone and will cause weight gain specifically for women, guys will see fun things like man-boobs and fuller hips oh joy. So if you are eating meat, make healthier choices for both you and the cows, pigs, chickens etc, cut those portion sizes way back and up your fibre intake so you can get rid of the nasty stuff.

Fruit is not necessarily bad, but in the early stages of weight loss you want to stay away from the tropical more sweet varieties because they are high in fructose (just stay off sugar period, that goes without saying). By lowering your fructose intake this resets your Leptin hormone - remember? The Master Hormone. And think about this. The kinds of apples that our grandmothers ate were tiny tart little green things. The apples we eat today are giant red sugar bombs so go forth and make good choices.

Grainless is a trickier one. Gluten and wheat are just no go's. I will get to WHEAT next week I promise but for now just trust me on this.

Grains can trigger that insulin response we talked about earlier, but they also have an effect on the thyroid. So you want to stay off them when you are resetting your hormones - Dr. S says that for women it's a maximum of 7 days off because if you get into too much of a ketosis state, you become acidic and do you remember what happens when you get acidic? Inflammation! That's exactly right. Additionally carb restriction raises cortisol, our stress hormone which is no bueno! So we want to keep certain good ones in our diet to keep us stable.

The trick according to Dr. S is to find what she calls YOUR Goldilocks position, by getting enough fat to keep you feeling full and satisfied, having the right amount of good carbs things like sweet potatoes and lentils, and the right kinds of lean protein. Essentially she is saying a lot of the same things that Dr. Dave says.

If you're reading this and thinking: "I hate you! I don't want to give up my cheese, bacon, snickers, wine, chips, pineapple, ice cream, cookies, cake, bread, snicker doodles!" all I can say is I hear you. I didn't want to give up sugar. But I'm still here. The world didn't come to an end. I think perhaps the larger take away here is that we can transition away from some of these things slowly, stuff we're sure we can't live without maybe try to moderate. You gotta find and do what works for you. No one can tell you eat this and not that. Because the bulletproof dude is going to say eat meat and drink coffee with fat in it, while Kimberly Snyder and Cynthia Pasquella will say plant based diet only people, still Dr. Tom O'Bryan will say no wheat ever and in fact every grain is suspect. 

If you're still overwhelmed and are thinking that you have no idea what works or doesn't work for you, relax and go back to what we know for sure. Sugar causes your insulin to spike and insulin is the fat hormone, while fat does not affect insulin and instead makes you feel full - maybe just go and make some guacamole. Um but don't eat it with corn chips because corn is often genetically modified and therefore bad. Sorry.

Still love me? I love you. Have a great weekend.


  1. Thank you for all the info Shan, it is really interesting... This trip to health is such a rollercoaster... All I want is to find something that works on a permanent basis. Something that will make it work long term, like forever, something that if I indulge one day won't mean that I have to be on a diet for the rest of my life.
    I always suspected carbs affected my weight in more ways that I wanted to admit. Somehow I always knew that even if I had a big bowl of brown rice it would lead to weight gain, that's why I looked at Dr. Hymann's book and then Ludwig. Since I don't like pulses of any kind except edamame I have been doing this diet totally carb free... No pulses at all. The only thing that I'm not comfortable about this diet and all carb free diets is the amount of meat based protein that they recommend.. eggs for breakfast, chicken, meat or fish for lunch or dinner... and of course dairy... I feel that dairy, with the exception of yoghurt is as you say no bueno.... what I liked about quinoa is that mostly all my lunches where meat free, and it felt great... I am not a vegetarian but I like to keep my meat eating to a minimum, and when I do eat meat is organic and grass fed, and because that is expensive I keep it to a minimum. Fish I can have and it totally agrees with me, but it has to be fresh, and that is also expensive...Also, I have not been that regular with this diet...
    So it really is complicated and it scares me to see that I will keep this trial for even longer. I will keep doing this diet for another week and then like dr. ludwig says add the carbs slowly, see what happens... that to me makes sense...and then... we'll see.. I haven't weighed myself yet.. tomorrow is my weigh day, I suspect there won't be any fireworks, but next week there will be no cheddar sadly...

    1. Oh Natalia,
      It's so true. There should be no harm in a special holiday or occasional treat now and then if you have a diet in place that you enjoy and keeps you feeling and looking your best.
      I hear what you're saying about the consumption of animal products I am eating way more fish that I like or am comfortable with and I do think mentally I do a bit better with a few grains added in. Looking forward to hearing your results and lets see how this new week goes. Hopefully we will start to notice some things shifting. Even if the scale doesn't budge at this point I'd love to see shrinkage around the waist to know that I am doing something healthy for my organs.

  2. You post reminds me of my Insanity workout process....years ago I did the full program and, frankly, killed it (and loved it....still do...all Asylum, T25, Max30....BIG FAN). I don't weigh myself. I never have. I'm tall and, apparently, dense. So the little number girls throw around are just not possible for my body. I normally just use body measurements. I'm a it makes it rather easy. But I bought a scale to track my badass-Insanity progress. Became rather obsessed with it (I'm competitive...I like to win....I'm not a jerk about it...but I do). And then. Smack. At the end of 90 days I gained 5 lbs. I looked good, to me, but that damn number made me SO LIVID. So I told my husband to take the scale away from me forever.

    I detoxed? cleaned out? cleaned up? re-tuned? my diet a while back and the balance for my body was a little easier for me to figure out. Apparently my guts are pretty resilient, although I did figure out a few things that definitely cause inflammation or just don't agree with me, etc. It was totally worth it, because it is possible to be able to fuel yourself well, and not obsess about numbers and meals and such...and just generally feel better day to day. I really believe it, but the process toward that point can really super suck.

    As an aside, you're diet process was more like my workout process. Workouts were the harder part for me, esp. before Tracy Anderson. You're my goddess, because your blog was so influential and informative to finding a great fit for me and my body. Prior to I had to keep trying and adjusting, and testing programs. I love kettle bells...they make my hips thick, which I don't appreciate. I don't practice Crossfit/p90x/pull-up based workouts. They're crazy fun. But my back gets "Hulk-Smash"-ish pretty quick. I really loved Jari Love, but it's sort of boring after a while. I used to teach yoga, which was probably the best of the bunch, but really wasn't a perfect solution for my particular body (I'm crazy, hyper mobile in all my joints. Like a puddle of a person...It's very easy for me to over stretch and de-stabilize). And on and on and on and on. I empathize with that feeling of I'm trying and succeeding, and even enjoying, doing "x"....but the outcome "y" is sort of shit right now, and damn that can be so annoying.

    I hope you figure out your balance point sooner rather than later. I love your outlook. It's easy to have a knee-jerk reaction (did I mention that I might have stomped the scale a few times when it betrayed me and my hard work?); but you're doing such good things for your insides and outsides. The answers will suss out....I really believe it. Sorry to be so wordy...I always have so much to say after your posts. Especially this stuff, which I find fascinating.


    (And here's to us not killing our plants...I'm trying so hard not to be a plant murderer).

    1. Oh god, I know that workout merry-go-round all too well too. Jillian Michaels, Chalene Johnson, Kettlebell goddess workout, P90X - it took so many tried before Tracy.
      I guess this is a lot like that - hence the plethora of recent posts about the journey - I have yet to find my TAM plan for food, but it's slowly coming together. I can feel it. So much more mental clarity. When I wake up, I'm awake! That's new for me. I hate to leave my bed generally. Like ever. Sloth-like over here. I think my skin is improving and I'm not losing as much hair (which also helped start this whole trip well over a year ago).

      I so appreciate knowing that you stomped the scale. That somehow makes me feel all warm and fuzzy like you really could be my best friend in the whole wide world. I get Hulky shoulders too and kettlebell gave me the thighs of a Tour De France competitive cyclist - only with a bit of fat on them since I hadn't worked out a proper diet back then either.

      Totally riding the same wave-length sister. Cannot wait to find my sweet spot - sugarless of course.


  3. Hallelujah for the skin and hair part. I have noticed a huge difference on that front, which is girly and nice. :)


  4. Shan,

    I just listened to a 30 minute interview with Dr Gottfried, I am now so fascinated to hear what else she has to say that I am going order her book.
    Soon it will be time for my annual 21 day clean, and as you know I'm a huge fan of Dr J, but something about a programme designed with the specific intention of re-setting hormones sounds too interesting not to be re-searched further.

    Sounds like you are beginning to see the physical benefits of your dedication! Imagine all the wonderful things which are happening inside you - things that you cannot see.
    When you start moving rocks around on the bottom of the sea bed, it can take a while for the air bubbles to hit the surface... but they are coming! Yay!
    And Yay for Nat as well.

    1. I really like that analogy Sophie about the bubbles reaching the surfaces. Sara Gottfried is the bomb, I really like her a lot.