Category Archives: Education

Is Intuitive Eating For Everyone?


Is intuitive eating for everyone?  I don’t think so.  I may take some flak for saying this, but success with intuitive eating is not something that every person will be able to achieve, but with a lot of work most can.

I myself have been working toward it for years and in all honesty, I am not there yet.  Will I completely get there someday?  Maybe.  Do I have to track every morsel I eat every day?  No, but I do need to track my intake on a weekly basis and guesstimate when I don’t track.

I don’t often discuss the fact that I had an eating disorder in my teen years, but I did and I firmly believe that my disordered eating during those crucial developmental years altered my ability to have normal hunger/fullness cues.  I can’t find the reference (believe me I have tried), but a few years ago while listening to a podcast with Layne Norton and Sohee Lee she mentioned a study that indicated that girls (and I am sure boys too) who experienced disordered eating during their developmental years had diminished ability to experience normal hunger and fullness cues.  Bingo…that made so much sense to me and spoke to my experience.

Please know this can work both ways; some people have an increased need to track their intake in order to make sure they eat enough, while others need to do so to ensure they don’t overeat, and yet others have zero need to track and truly can intuitively listen to their body’s needs.  Throughout all of my years of working with clients, I have seen so many different eating behaviors.  I’ve had clients who have very little appetite in general, those who are not able to control their urges to overeat, and still others who eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.

I have found that both under and overeating issues generally stem from unbalanced Sugar Handling (Hyperglycemia, Hypoglycemia, Insulin Resistance, etc.), so the solution to more normalized appetite tends to be getting their sugar balance in line through eating the majority of their calories from whole unprocessed foods and consuming enough protein and healthy fats for their specific activity levels.  When we eat nutrient dense food that’s been properly prepared, our hunger signals will be more normalized.  This is not to say that emotional issues aren’t at play; I think we can all agree that there can be a heavy tie between emotional state and appetite.

As I mentioned, I have been working toward a more intuitive approach to eating for years with many unsuccessful attempts along the way, however, each failure has taught me something that has improved my experience the next go around.  Now my approach is tiered as I slowly work toward intuitively knowing what my body needs.  I have tracked for so long now that when I do go out to eat I can estimate what is on my plate and do not need to weigh or measure it, but I do loosely track it in My Fitness Pal.  I also have at least 3-4 meals a week where I simply work to build a balanced plate with no need to weigh or measure.

One of the biggest mistakes I made when moving away from tracking was to completely stop tracking versus taking baby steps.  I went from weighing, measuring, and inputting every morsel I ate into My Fitness Pal to a free-for-all (lesson learned).  I am now at the point where I am able to go out of town and simply eat reasonably yet still within my whole foods healthy manner.  I simply make the best decisions I can when we eat out and when I get home I track my meals to make sure I am eating a good macro split that supports my health and the type of athletic training I like to do.

Another key for me has been to make sure that I stay away from processed sugars completely because they send me down a horrible path.  I know this about myself and have made the conscious decision to stay away from them because I literally can’t control myself…it’s like one bite and I’m done for…any semblance of control is gone.  So, when I have something sweet (which is daily) I make sure it is made with as little processing as possible like a smoothie sweetened with dates or an RX Bar.  If we have a birthday coming-up in our family and I make the decision that I want to partake in the treat, I will make a homemade paleo dessert and then I am able to have one serving and be done.

An important piece of the puzzle has also been sleep.  Getting proper sleep is a critical factor in appetite management.  Sleep deprivation is a major contributing factor to increases in appetite.  We need those precious hours of sleep to rest and repair and provide our body with the energy it needs.  If we do not get that sleep, our body will trigger hormones that will increase our appetite because our body needs to get energy from somewhere and if we are not getting it from sleep, then food is the next best thing.

At the end of the day, we are all on our own personal health journeys and I don’t want anyone feeling poorly about themselves because they haven’t been able to master the recently labeled eating style of “Intuitive Eating.”  While I think that eating healthfully with an intuitive eating goal in mind is a good goal to strive for, it is not something anyone should feel they have to do.  We all have our eating pasts and those help dictate where we currently are in our journey.

I used to feel bad that I wasn’t able to experience normal hunger cues and felt guilty about the choices I made as a teen, but I no longer allow those feelings of guilt to take hold of me because they truly serve no purpose.  I can’t change my past choices, but I can make sure that my kid’s have a normal and healthy relationship with food.  I made the choices I made in the past and now I am doing what I need to do in order to remain healthy and give my body the nutrients it needs for health.

As long as we focus on overall health, how we get there versus how someone else gets there shouldn’t matter.  If you are someone who needs to track their intake and the person next to you doesn’t, that’s A-OK.

 

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Filed under Education, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Weight Issues

BEAUTYCOUNTER SAFER SKINCARE

Last month I decided to join the Beautycounter team because whole body health is REALLY important to me and I wanted to be able to refer my nutrition clients to a reputable company when it came to skincare and beauty.  Many of you know about my decades long battle with autoimmune diseases and I want you to know that changing my skincare, make-up, and bodycare products made a huge impact on my health.  I realize it is a financial investment to change out all of your products, but you don’t need to do so all at once…as you run low on a product replace it with a better alternative.

While Beautycounter is not a “natural” skincare company per se, they are extremely focused on quality and safety when it comes to the ingredients they use.  Did you know that,

The European Union bans/restricts nearly 1,400 toxic chemicals, while the United States bans only 11. 2) There has not been a federal law passed governing the personal care industry since 1938. 3) An average woman uses 12 products a day, which can equate to over 100 different chemicals. 4) Of the ingredients in our personal care products, 80% have never been assessed for human safety.

Beautycounter is working tirelessly to change the beauty industry and make it safer for all of us.  How often do you hear of a company trying to make the legislation in their own industry more stringent?  Beautycounter is working to do just that.

BEAUTYCOUNTER’S MISSION

To get safer products into the hands of everyone.

Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.

  • The heart of our movement is safety and performance.
  • Our commitment to transparency is unparalleled in this industry.
  • With Beautycounter, you know everything that is in your products; we disclose every single ingredient.
  • We have the most health-protective ingredient selection process. In addition to adhering to our Never List (the ingredients we have vowed to never use), we evaluate every single ingredient for safety.
  • We eliminate the nearly 1,400 ingredients banned in the EU and the 11 banned in the US and our Never List.
  • We believe our products are some of the safest on the market and we invite you to sample them tonight.
  • We have everything from skin care to body products, color cosmetics, kids products and more.
  • I’d be happy to discuss any of your product or ingredient questions and assist you with your selections.
  • My favorite product(s) is/are… (share reasons).

Even better news is the fact that the products really work.  Since beginning the use of the Beautycounter products I have had several women ask me what I am using on my skin.  Some of my favorite products are:

 

If you plan on doing any holiday shopping on Beautycounter, I want to make you aware of the shipping cut off dates:

US
Standard Ground (FedEx/DHL): 12/16
Priority (2-day): 12/18
Expedited: 12/19

CAN
Standard Rural: 12/1
Expedited Rural: 12/11
Standard Urban: 12/11
Expedited Urban: 12/15

HOLIDAY WEEKEND SPECIALS

Be on the lookout for specials Friday – Sunday!!!

How can you get involved with Beautycounter and help move our mission forward?

  1. JOIN AS A CUSTOMER. Vote with your dollars to support companies working towards change. Start swapping out your products for safer ones with Beautycounter or others you find on ewg.org.
  2. BECOME A MEMBER. If you are finding that you want to order quite a few items, you may want to consider our rewards program. It’s called Band of Beauty and it is fantastic. You will earn 15% back in product credit for all of your orders, plus free shipping on orders over $100 AND a complimentary gift (when you spend $50+).
  3. HOST AN EVENT! If you feel moved by this information and you want to share it with your friends and family, you can host an event or social. I will bring all the products to your home or location of your choice and share this information! As the host, you will have an opportunity to not only spread the word about safer beauty, and you will earn some amazing products for free and half off!
  4. JOIN THE MOVEMENT. Become a consultant. I would love to be your mentor.  Being a consultant is very flexible, and it can fit into almost anyone’s busy schedule because you can begin at your own pace…there is no expectation that you sell a certain amount per month and you will never feel pressured to do so. You get to make significant social impact, while being financial rewarded. If you want to learn more about being a consultant, send me an e-mail and feel free to reach out to me anytime! gretchentseng (at) gmail.com

I would love to have you shop with me on my site…to do so, click HERE.

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Filed under Beautycounter, Education, Skincare

Why I Broke-Up With Stevia

***DISCLAIMER – I am sharing my story in the hopes of helping anyone else who may be in the same situation.  We are all bio individuals and our bodies react differently to different foods.  In NO WAY am I saying you need to avoid stevia because we are all responsible for ourselves and should never blindly follow anyone’s advice.  Do your research and make the best decision for you.***

On Monday, November 6th, I took a leap by making an announcement on my Instagram account (great for accountability) that I decided to cut stevia out for a week, which I knew wouldn’t be easy.  It was meant to be an experiment of sorts to see if I felt any different without it.  When it came to stevia I noticed a few things, the first of which was that as time went by I needed to use more and more stevia to satisfy my sweet craving and then about 6 months ago I noticed that I would feel a big blood sugar drop about 30 minutes to an hour after my morning smoothie which consisted of:

  • 2c spinach
  • 1 1/2c diced zucchini
  • 1 scoop Paleo grassfed beef protein powder
  • 2Tbs Valrhona cacoa powder
  • 1/2tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 1 overflowing scoop Pure Encapsulations L-Glutamine Powder
  • 3 dropperfuls of Sweetleaf liquid stevia (yes, that’s a lot)

My blood sugar would drop, I would feel light-headed, and ravenous hunger would set in.  I would have some nuts to try and quell the hunger (logically knowing that I had already consumed enough food), and would keep myself busy in order to keep my mind off the hunger.

For lunch I would make a giant salad and that would keep me full for quite a while.  When I made my salad dressing I would add about 1/4 dropperful of liquid stevia to cut the bite out of the apple cider vinegar.  My salads have always been epically big, so all of the fiber from the veggies would do a good job of keeping my belly full.

Dinnertime would roll around and I would eat a nutritious, well-balanced meal with my family which would satisfy me and then I would follow the meal with some sort of stevia-sweetened treat such as Plain Coyo yogurt (with some stevia, nuts, and wild blueberries) or a tea latte with stevia and coconut milk.  Sure enough 30-60 minutes later I would be ravenous.  Thinking back on my day I would know I had eaten enough, yet those hormonal urges were hard to suppress.  Sometimes I could get through it by making myself busy and other times I couldn’t help it and would go grab a snack.

Coincidentally for the past 3-6 months my hormones have been all over the place.  I can just “tell” when that is the case because I know my body really well.  Having experienced these sorts of issues for 20+ years I know what I feel like when everything is running along smoothly and I know when something is off.  I have been working with my Integrative PA ,Karen Callagy (she’s awesome), to try and figure out what is wrong.  The symptoms I went to her with were:

  • Intense hunger
  • Hypoglycemic symptoms
  • Light-headed / dizzy
  • Exhaustion
  • Sugar cravings – especially strong at night
  • Sleep disturbances
    • light sleep…get up in the middle of the night to use restroom 1-2x
  • High fasting glucose
    • between 95-105 while eating a ketogenic diet
  • Numbness in arms and fingers – occasional
  • Weight gain while eating same
    • I track macros, so I know my intake hadn’t increased
      • I even cut macros significantly to try and lose the weight and it just wouldn’t budge (12 weeks of dieting and lost 2 pounds)
  • Body composition changes
    • higher fat percentage
    • cellulite increase (even around knees)
  • Puffiness / water retention
    • I felt like my body was wearing an extra layer everywhere
    • i.e. the skin around my legs hurt when I would kneel down…they felt like overinflated balloons
    • puffy face
  • Super painful breasts during premenstral time
    • I actually thought I could be pregnant they hurt so bad the last two months (NOTE – I had a tubal ligation 14 years ago)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pulse would randomly race
  • Hard time getting into deep ketosis
    • blood sugar all over the place

Karen ran a slew of blood tests and nothing came back of note, which was good news and bad because we hadn’t found a reason/solution.  We decided to run another stool test (it’s been a while) as well as a full Dutch hormone panel (I will get both results at the beginning of December).

In the meantime my husband and I went to visit some friends out of town and I didn’t bring much with me in the way of food since we would be in Austin and I knew I would have access to a lot of great options.  That also meant that I did not use stevia while I was gone.  While we stayed up WAY too late most nights talking and catching-up, etc., overall I felt a ton more balanced and my appetite was totally normal (no ravenous episodes).  A little birdie in the back of my head started chirping that maybe I should trial life without stevia.

We came home and the next day I was right back into stevia mode, starting with a smoothie….and the symptoms began returning.  I went about my normal stevia-filled life for another week and then decided the following Monday I would do an experiment and forgo stevia for one week.  Normally I would ask myself to try something for a month, but when you have an addiction of sorts to sweets, the idea of 7 days seemed more manageable for me to tackle.

The first few days were hard, but within two days something interesting started to happen; I was losing weight eating the same exact macros.  In addition, I wasn’t experiencing the light-headed episodes, and wasn’t having episodes of intense hunger.  Hmmmmm.  By day 5 I checked my fasting glucose and it was 70!!!  It went from 95-105 to 70 in 5 days.  By the end of the week I had slept through 2 nights without waking.  Now that’s thought provoking.

These changes led me to doing some more research and got me thinking about the digestive process which we have been studying in depth in my NTP program.  I want to give you a quick run-down on carbohydrate metabolism to help you understand some possible reasons why I was experiencing some of those symptoms as a result of stevia consumption.  If you are not into science, feel free to skip forward, however I find that understanding the “whys” can sometimes help us push forward with behavioral changes (If that is what you decide to do):

When we consume something sweet, as soon as the sweet taste touches our tongue our body begins responding hormonally and releases insulin.  Normally, when we taste sweet that means that we will be ingesting carbs that will eventually turn into glucose.  Once the glucose enters our bloodstream insulin is there to shuttle it into our cells.

What do you think happens when our tongue tastes sweet, releases insulin, and then no glucose appears due to the ingestion of zero-calorie sweeteners?  We are in a situation where our body has been flooded with insulin, but insulin can’t do it’s job because there is no glucose there to shuttle into our cells.  When this happens our body has two choices; one, induce hunger (thus the increase in appetite) to encourage the consumption of calories resulting in glucose in the bloodstream or, if we are in a fasted state, the body realizes that it needs to correct this insulin imbalance, so the adrenal glands fire (stress in the body) and tells the body to form glucose by converting lean muscle tissue into glucose.  LIGHTBULB…perhaps this is why I have been experiencing body composition changes and muscle wasting despite continuing my healthy diet and exercise routine.  According to an article Naturopath Dr. Bruce Fife wrote on the subject,

Sugar stimulates metabolism immediately after eating, non-caloric sweeteners do not. So after eating a meal containing non-caloric sweeteners, more of the calories are converted into fat and packed away in storage.

Apparently our body cannot produce glycogen and ketones at the same time.  When you consume a zero calorie sweetener and the cascade of events follows necessitating the conversion of muscle to glucose, you cannot make ketones.  LIGHTBULB…perhaps this is why my ketones were all over the place.

While doing my research I happened upon a podcast (which I have really been enjoying) called the Ketovangelist and on episode 114 Dr. Bruce Fife makes the case against stevia.  Dr. Fife found that his patients who were using stevia had a very difficult time losing weight and also struggled to get into ketosis despite following the ketogenic diet parameters he gave them.  He began to research stevia heavily and ultimately wrote the book, “The Stevia Deception,” (which I have on order).  The episode really made me think about the possible links between zero calorie sweeteners and the symptoms I have been struggling with. Within the podcast they discuss how stevia extract is produced, the addictive nature of stevia, stevia and weight loss, stevia and digestive health, and stevia as it pertains to reproductive / hormone health.

I appreciate the fact that a few episodes later  (episode 118) the host, Brian Williamson, has Thom King (the founder of the company Steviva) on to make the case for stevia.  I always want to hear both sides of a story and both episodes made some compelling arguments.  Perhaps the strongest argument made during this episode was for the fact that quality matters.  For example, while Dr. Fife sites some influential studies on rodents, this episode mentioned the fact that we do not know whether or not the studies used pure stevia or stevia mixed with malodextrin and other fillers, etc.

I think we can all agree that the stevia we are able to purchase in the store is not the same as the unrefined stevia leaves that the Indians in South America use. That being said, Thom’s company produces their stevia sweetener using a natural water extraction process whereas many companies that produce stevia do so with the use of petrochemicals and bleach agents and then add a slew of fillers resulting in a substance that our body does not recognize.  In the episode Thom mentions a study published on the National Institute of Health website (click HERE for the study) that supports his claim that stevia does not have the same effect on the body that aspartame and sucrose do.  He also mentions experiments he has done on himself (he follows a ketogenic diet and tracks his ketones and insulin) where he has tested his ketones and consumed a diet soda and that kicked him out of ketosis whereas consumption of stevia had no effect on his ketones.

I want to update you on how the last two stevia-free weeks have gone for me.  The following symptoms have either disappeared for me or have been greatly reduced:

  • Intense hunger – GONE
  • Hypoglycemic symptoms – NEARLY TOTALLY GONE
  • Light-headed – ONLY A FEW EPISODES (was usually multiple times per day)
  • Exhaustion – GONE
  • Sugar cravings – GONE
  • Sleep disturbances – SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT most nights
  • High fasting glucose – GONE
  • Numbness in arms and fingers – HAVEN’T HAD IT IN TWO WEEKS
  • Weight gain while eating same – LOSING WEIGHT
  • Body composition changes – CAN SEE CHANGES ALREADY
  • Puffiness / water retention – GONE
  • Super painful breasts during premenstral time – TBD
    • I have had my period yet since beginning this experiment
  • Shortness of breath – GONE
  • Pulse would race – GONE
  • Hard time getting into deep ketosis – HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY IN KETOSIS and a much deeper ketosis than before

Ultimately it is up to you to do your own research and decide for yourself whether or not you want stevia to be part of your diet.  Personally, I plan on eliminating the use of any zero-calorie sweeteners since it has become clear to me that my body does not respond well to them and because I understand the hormonal reactions that occur when we taste sweet and insulin is released.  If I do have something sweet it will most likely be sweetened it with dates or raw honey since they are whole food sources…some coconut sugar may make its way in there too.

I want to reiterate that we are all individuals and how valuable it is for you to learn your body and what works for you.  Be honest with yourself and if you have been experiencing similar symptoms there is no harm in trying a week without zero-calorie sweeteners.

Have any of you had any bad experiences with zero-calorie sweeteners or stevia in particular?  I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

If you are interested in reading Dr. Fife’s article title, “The Stevia Myth” click HERE.

________________

Dr. Fife article source: 6. Yang, Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Yale J Biol Med 2010;83:101-108.

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Filed under Diabetes, Digestion, Education, ketogenic diet, Metabolic Syndrome, Sugar, Weight Issues

8 WEEKS TO SUMMER – WEEK 2 & 3 UPDATE – NEW DIRECTION


Week 2 Macros:

Date:  4/10/17

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 142.5 (Beginning Weight 142.2) = gain of +0.3lbs

Macros: Last Week  – 130C/130P/120F (2120 cals)

_____

Week 3 Macros:

Date:  4/17/17

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 142.8 (Beginning Weight 142.2) = gain of +0.6lbs

Macros: 130C/100P/100F (1820 cals)

_____

This Morning:

Date:  4/17/17

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 142.3 (Beginning Weight 142.2) = gain of +0.1lbs

Macros: Intuitive eating

Sometimes we need to learn to recognize when all signs are pointing you toward a different path.  I ask my clients to trust me when it’s time to place our focus elsewhere and I am doing the same with myself right now.

I have been in a caloric deficit for three weeks now (I cut calories by another 300 a day last week) and I literally haven’t lost any weight or seen an appreciable change in body composition…in fact I weigh more…not by much, but it’s more nonetheless.  It’s no fun to be REALLY hungry and see the scale go up!

Why didn’t my body respond?  There are several reasons:

  1.  I am in the middle of treatment for a candida overgrowth (and will be for several more months)
  2. I am on week 10 of a major kitchen/family room renovation (I am cooking for the family in our laundry room)
  3. I haven’t been sleeping well

Those are not prime conditions for going on a diet.  When you are under stress your body does NOT want to drop any fat.  Its funny…if I client came to me and told me that they had items 1-3 above going on in their life right now I would have told them that this wasn’t a good time to attempt a cut.  Somehow I didn’t think through that one for myself.

My plan from now through the end of my candida treatment and kitchen renovations (hopefully just a few more weeks) is to eat intuitively and continue to train.  I know how to eat and what to eat to best fuel my body and that is what I am going to do.  Eat when I am hungry and eat until I am full.  I plan on eating three square meals a day and will continue eating along the principles of the Autoimmune Paleo Diet.  I have successfully reintroduced tomatoes, several seed and nightshade spices, and eggs, so those will be a part of my diet in addition to the AIP.

I am very comfortable with my current physique, so this cut wasn’t something I needed in order to feel comfortable in a swimsuit for the summer…it was more a fun way to document a cut.  Fortunately I have already done so.  For those of you interested in seeing what the process is like to go through a cut, click HERE.

 

If you would like me to help you get ready for summer, please click HERE to learn more about my programs.

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Filed under 8 Weeks to Summer 2017, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition

8 WEEKS TO SUMMER – WEEK 1 RECAP

 

Here is where I am as of this morning:

Date:  4/3/17

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 142.5 (Beginning Weight 142.2) = gain of +0.3lbs

Macros:

Last Week  – 130C/130P/120F

This Week – Same

 

So…you’ve gotta love going into a deficit for the week and GAINING weight.  My weight actually got as high as 143.4lbs this week.

I have been battling a candida overgrowth for the past few months and have been cycling treatments.  This past Monday I began using grapefruit seed extract and have been experiencing intestinal issues as a result.  I am guessing this is the blame for the weight gain.  You should’ve heard my stomach last night.  It was so loud my husband could hear all the gurgling and wars going on in there!

I was also REALLY hungry last week.  Again, I am guessing that is a result of the candida not wanting to give up.  I know that I am not even close to starving on a 2000+ calorie per day day, so I know logically that it must be the candida as well as my body adjusting to all of the changes.

As for my macros, I did allow myself a refeed on Friday (I hadn’t planned on one) because I was really hungry and it felt like my body needed it.  I woke-up the next morning 0.6lbs less which reinforced the fact that having the refeed was the right call.  This week my plan is to keep the same macros and see what happens.  I actually “feel” leaner despite the weight gain and don’t want to reduce macros at this point.

 

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions as I document this process.  If you would like me to help you get ready for summer, please click HERE to learn more about my programs.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MY DAY 1 RECAP

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Filed under 8 Weeks to Summer 2017, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition

8 WEEKS TO SUMMER

It’s been about two years since I did my first macro-based cut/diet  (click HERE for details).  Since then I have focused my attention on building-up my metabolic capacity as well as trying to add as much muscle as possible…easier said than done.  Click HERE for details on the Reverse Diet I completed after my cut two years ago.

I thought it would be fun to do another cut and document it for all of you to show that I am now able to diet-down on much higher macros than before.  My goal is not to lose much weight, but rather to lean-down a bit right in time for swimsuit season.

I am currently following the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Diet with a few successful reintroductions added back in (eggs, tomatoes, peppers).  This diet has been SUCH a big help in my attempts to control my autoimmune diseases.  I have also been battling a pretty significant candida overgrowth with the help of my functional medicine practitioner.  Next month I should have an update on that since I just sent my latest tests into the lab.

Here is where I was prior to my original cut back in 2015:

Gretchen Tseng FitQuestMom 8 Weeks to 40 years oldDate:  9/7/15

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 143.8

Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1515 calories 120C / 135P / 55F

Friday 1736 calories 180C / 146P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

 

Here is where I am as of this morning (my weight is pretty darn similar in both pictures):

Date:  4/3/17

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 142.2

Macros:

Daily – 130C/130P/120F

As you can see my macros are pretty consistent now versus the carb cycling I did before.  My current macros are also MUCH higher in fat.  I find that I feel better eating higher fat and stay more satiated.  I will most likely add in a refeed day, but will keep my macros as is for this first week.

It is exciting for me to see that in two years I have been able to increase my cutting macros from an average 1553 calories a day to 2120 calories a day…that’s huge.  I am proud of that 567 calorie increase PER DAY!

My workouts are also less intense and shorter in duration than they used to be.  I used to average 90 minutes a day 6 days a week and now I lift between 45-60 minutes 5 days a week and walk at about 3.5-4.0 mph for 45 minutes to an hour twice a week.

 

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions as I document this process.  If you would like me to help you get ready for summer, please click HERE to learn more about my programs.

 

Click HERE to read about my Week 1 Recap

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Filed under 8 Weeks to Summer 2017, Education, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Uncategorized

REVERSE DIET – WEEKS 18-20 & OVERALL RECAP

Wk1 vs Wk20 Reverse Diet FitQuestmom with Stats BAbove you will see a picture comparison as well as stats comparing week 1 (November 2, 2015) versus week 20 (March 14, 2016) of my Reverse Diet.  As promised, I have documented this entire experience with the intention of demystifying the process as well as showing that it IS possible to significantly increase your daily caloric intake while maintaining virtually the same body composition.

I am eating on average over 400 calories more per day now than I was when I began this journey and I can assure you that this is a very maintainable lifestyle, whereas eating 1555 calories was much more difficult for me to get by on…I have no earthly clue how people are able to eat 1000 calories a day.

If nothing else I hope this encourages other women (and men) to EAT.

Date:  3/14/16

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 136.3 this morning (135.1lb the first week of my Reverse Diet).

I am not bothering to include my latest weight chart in this post because in all honesty I rarely weigh myself anymore, so it wouldn’t be a very good graphic.  My clothes fit, I feel good, and I just don’t think about the scale that often at all.

Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 18 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1951 calories 220C / 135P / 59F

Friday 2161 calories 290C / 140P / 49F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1925 calories 200C / 135P / 65F (Rest day)

Week 20 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1991 calories 230C / 135P / 59F

Friday 2161 calories 290C / 140P / 49F (Refeed day) *I somehow forgot to increase 10C

Sunday 1965 calories 210C / 135P / 65F (Rest day)

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +436 calories +105C / -5P / +4F

Friday +369 calories +100C / -10P / +1F (Refeed day.  Heaviest Lifting Day)

Sunday +403 calories +116C / -10P / +3F (Rest Day)

Wk 20 Reverse Diet Fitquestmom (ab2)

Workout Plan:

I am now on week 12 of Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program and the focus the past few weeks has been on lighter weight / higher rep.

I’m on the lookout for my next program and am considering Amber Dodzweit’s The Total Transformation PackageKayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide, or I may just go back to planning my own workouts again with either the help of the Muscle and Strength Pyramids spearheaded by Eric Helms or Mind Pump’s MAPS Anabolic Program.  I plan on taking some time off at the end of this week and will figure out my next fitness move.  

I enjoy mixing it up and setting new goals for myself.  My FitQuest Team and I have a pull-up challenge going on right now thanks to one of my clients and I am joining in on the goal of working toward 5 unassisted pull-ups.  I am happy to report that last week was the first week since my bout with Rhabdo that I have not had ANY Rhabdo symptoms in my arms!!!  I am convinced that the hyperthermic conditioning (using my far infrared sauna) 3 times a week is helping, so I will be continuing that.

Comments:

Bottom line is that I am thrilled I Reverse Dieted for the past 5 months.  It isn’t an easy process because there are times when you get really hungry as your metabolism increases and have to restrain yourself from going over your macros, but the restraint is so very worth it in the end.

I am going to continue my Reverse Diet, but will no longer be documenting it on the blog.  I plan to focus on increasing my fats a bit more because I really enjoy good healthy fats and would like to see mine higher than they are right now.  I do not have a timeline as to how much longer I will Reverse Diet, rather I plan on continuing until I am completely satisfied with my macros.

This is an on-going process and could change depending upon the type of training I do (I may get into some racing or I may not….time will tell) or if my physique goals change.

Thanks for coming along on the journey.

If you are interested in my help with Reverse Dieting or any of your nutrition needs, click HERE for more information on my programs.

 

 

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 8 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Weeks 9 & 10 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Weeks 11 & 12 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Weeks 13 & 14 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Weeks 15-17 of my Reverse Diet

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

REVERSE DIET – WEEKS 15-17 RECAP & RHABDO UPDATE

Week 17 Reverse Diet FitQuest FitQuestMom (1)Week 1 11.2.15 FitQuestAt the very top you will see my Week 17 Reverse Diet progress pictures as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  2/22/16

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 132.1 this morning (134.5 at my week 14 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut 10/26/15).

My weight has been a bit all over the place for the last three weeks.  It was as high as 137.6 and as low as 127.8.  One week I was experiencing some Rhabdo symptoms and could feel myself retaining water (137.6) and by the end of the week with rest and a ton of fluids my weight went down to 127.8.  In the midst of this I caught the flu and was out of commission for 3 full days, but I made myself eat the vast majority of my macros despite not having an appetite and I think that proved helpful in the end.

Week 15 through 17 weight chartLast Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 14-16 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1875 calories 200C / 145P / 55F

Friday 2085 calories 270C / 150P / 45F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1849 calories 180C / 145P / 61F (Rest day)

*I was traveling for work during week 16 and don’t generally like to do macro increases when I travel because I am not always completely in control of what I eat while out of town.  

Week 17 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1913 calories 215C / 135P / 57F

Friday 2123 calories 285C / 140P / 47F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1887 calories 195C / 135P / 63F (Rest day)

*I reduced my protein by 10g per day to help my kidneys since I was experiencing some Rhabdo symptoms.

Week 18 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1951 calories 220C / 135P / 59F

Friday 2161 calories 290C / 140P / 49F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1925 calories 200C / 135P / 65F (Rest day)

*UPDATE – I forgot to mention that I was pretty HANGRY last night before my increase today.  Please know that I am not always able to follow the plan I lay out.  My son got his driver’s permit this past Thursday evening and Friday we decided to drive to a fun candy store where I allowed my refeed for the day to get a bit out of hand! By last night I was warning my husband that I was hungry-grumpy and finally just decided to go to bed to spare everyone my mood.  In general I have been great sticking to the plan this past 17 weeks, but not always.  Overall I have been very consistent and that allows for a few slip-ups here and there. I was definitely ready for the macro increase this morning.

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +396 calories +95C / -5P / +4F

Friday +369 calories +100C / -10P / +1F (Refeed day.  Heaviest Lifting Day)

Sunday +363 calories +106C / -10P / +3F (Rest Day)

NobleAndrews_Gretchen_Tseng_FitQuestMom1Workout Plan:

While out of town I purchased a Groupon to the pilates studio I used to go to 5x per week when I lived in Orange County.  It was fun to take classes from some of my old instructors as well as instructors that were new to me.  I highly encourage you to check out fitness Groupons in any area where you will be traveling…for $50 I was able to take 5 classes!

Prior to going out of town I completed week 7 of Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program.  Now that I am back home and over that terrible flu I am back on track with week 8.

NobleAndrews_Gretchen_178_9625 (1)Comments:

As I mentioned, I went out of town for both business (a photoshoot) and pleasure (my cousin’s baby shower).

While out of town I was not on top of my water consumption (especially during the shoot) and that is the first time that has happened since my bout with Rhabdo.  I didn’t realize just how much that would affect me.  By the time I got back home and began workouts again I was really feeling the tightness in my forearms, overall exhaustion, and unexplained weight gain in the form of water retention.  I have learned to recognize those symptoms and take it easy.  Once I realized what was going on I began drinking 1.5 gallons of water a day and did not do any upper body weight workouts.  As I mentioned, I also reduced my protein macros to give my kidney’s some extra rest and I plan to keep my protein macros where they are.

I also did some research and found that there is some compelling evidence stating that use of the far infrared sauna for hyperthermic conditioning can be helpful to Rhabdo patients.  I am lucky enough to own a far infrared sauna plan on using it as often as I can.  This morning I did a 30 minute session in it after my workout and got in a good sweat.  If you are interested in reading how the sauna can be helpful for Rhabdo patients, click HERE.

NobleAndrews_Gretchen_Tseng_fitquestmom2

I hope all of you have a great week.  Stay healthy…this flu is a nasty one!!!

______________________________

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 8 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 9 & 10 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 11 & 12 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 13 & 14 of my Reverse Diet

Professional photographs by Noble Andrews

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Filed under Education, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Rhabdomyolysis, Weight Issues

REVERSE DIET – WEEK 13 & 14 RECAP

Reverse Diet wk14 FitQuestMom

Week 1 11.2.15 FitQuestAt the very top you will see my Week 14 Reverse Diet progress pictures as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  2/1/16

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 134.5 this morning (133.2 at my week 12 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut 10/26/15).

My weight has been moving-up ever so slightly through the weeks and I am not even a little bit worried about it because I know how many factors come into play.  I have been a bit more stressed than usual lately and haven’t been sleeping as well, so I know that has a lot to do with it.  My clothes fit and I feel lean and strong, so all is good.

FitQuest Reverse Diet Weight Log 14Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 13 Macro INCREASE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1965 calories 200C / 145P / 65F

Friday 2175 calories 270C / 150P / 55F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1939 calories 180C / 145P / 71F (Rest day)

Week 14 Macro DECREASE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1875 calories 200C / 145P / 55F

Friday 2085 calories 270C / 150P / 45F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1849 calories 180C / 145P / 61F (Rest day)

*I reduced my fats by 10g every day for the last week in order to prepare for some work I will be doing this week in Ca.  Nothing drastic, just wanted to lean-out a tiny bit.  I honestly didn’t even notice the difference in my daily meals because before this week I have been having to find ways to reach my daily fat goal and that usually involved adding coconut oil to my smoothies, etc.

Week 15 Macros:

Keeping macros SAME.  I will increase my macros next week when I return from my combo work/fun trip to Ca.  I am guessing I will add 10C and 2F per day, but will evaluate that when I get home.

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +320 calories +75C / +5P / +0F

Friday +293 calories +80C / 0P / -3F (Refeed day.  Heaviest Lifting Day)

Sunday +287 calories +74C / 0P / -1F (Rest Day)

FitQuestMom Abs Balanced Grettie Wk14Workout Plan:

I just completed week 7 of Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program and since I won’t be in town this week I have decided to switch it up a bit.  I created my own leg/Ab workout when I got down to the gym this morning and it was a nice change.  This week I will be doing pilates and when I return I think I will repeat week 7 using the same weight I used so I will be ready for the weight increases that are supposed to happen during week 8 of the program.

______________________________

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 8 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 9 & 10 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 11 & 12 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 15-17 of my Reverse Diet

 

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Weight Lifting

REVERSE DIET – WEEK 11 & 12 RECAP

Reverse Diet Wk12 FitquestmomWeek 1 11.2.15 FitQuestAt the very top you will see my Week 12 Reverse Diet progress pictures as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  1/18/16

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 133.2 this morning (133.1 at my week 10 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut).

My weight was actually 132.4 yesterday and then we went out to eat Blaze Pizza (fit my macros…so good) and I had more sodium than usual.

My week 11 refeed was a bit larger than usual and went over my planned macros for the day, but as you can see all of that stabilized after following my normal macros the following week.  I also wasn’t as good about getting myself to sleep on time last week and that resulted in slight bloating that was fixed as soon as I had a couple good nights of rest.

Weight Chart Wk 12 Fitquestmom

Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 12 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1925 calories 195C / 140P / 65F

Friday 2135 calories 265C / 145P / 55F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1899 calories 175C / 140P / 71F (Rest day)

Week 13 Macro INCREASE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1965 calories 200C / 145P / 65F

Friday 2175 calories 270C / 150P / 55F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1939 calories 180C / 145P / 71F (Rest day)

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +410 calories +75C / +5P / +10F

Friday +383 calories +80C / 0P / +7F (Refeed day.  Heaviest Lifting Day)

Sunday +377 calories +74C / 0P / +9F (Rest Day)

Abs wk12 reverse diet fitquestmom

Workout Plan:

I am now on week 6 of Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program and this week we changed the exercises up a bit which is fun for me because I like variety.

I was supposed to work back on Saturday (which always also involves arms), and chose to play it safe and skip the weights that day because on Thursday I pushed myself with biceps and triceps and was pretty sore.  For the first time since my Rhabdo hospitalization I actually forgot about the Rhabdo during my workout and really challenged myself.  It felt good to not worry that day, so to be cautious, when the soreness came on I didn’t lift anything that had to do arms and focused on abs and sprints instead and as a result my arms felt great by Sunday.

Comments:

Reverse dieting is an interesting experience.  I have been really satisfied with the amount of food I am able to eat and haven’t been increasing as quickly because of that.  In general this time I have made larger increases each time and as a result have been able to get myself up to a nice caloric intake quickly.  During my last reverse diet my increases were on average 5C and 1-2F per week and this time around I tended to go with 10C and 1-2F per increase.  Now I am feeling like slowing it down a bit which is why I went a few weeks with no increases.

I am also happy with where my fat macros are right now and that is why this week I decided to only increase protein and carbs.  With this latest increase I am happy with where my protein macros are and doubt I will be increasing that macro any further.

Let’s see how these new numbers go.  I am now part of the 200C club 6 out of 7 days per week.

______________________________

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 8 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 9 & 10 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 13 & 14 of my Reverse Diet

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Weight Lifting