Before and After · Fat Loss · Health · Hormones · Lifestyle · Macronutrients · Metabolism · Muscle Gain · Nutrition · Results · Reverse Dieting · Transformation · Uncategorized · Weight Loss

Reverse Dieting

Reverse dieting may not be a phrase you’re super familiar with but this is how I help the majority of my clients when we begin working together. It requires a high level of trust because I usually have my clients start out eating more than they ever thought possible to lose weight – BUT that’s actually the reason they were having a hard time losing weight or they were stuck in a weight loss plateau in the first place. They simply weren’t eating enough! With that being said, let’s dive head first into reverse dieting. 

What is a reverse diet? 

This term is something that is really uncommon but it truly shouldn’t be. A lot of times reverse dieting is referred to as “the diet after the diet.” To make it simple, a reverse diet is a way to gradually increase calories over a few weeks or months to allow you to eat more food after you’ve been on a “diet,” or series of diets for that matter (where you are restricting calories or just not eating enough to fuel your body properly). This increase of calories also increases your metabolism and prevents fat gain or regain. 

I know what you’re thinking…”Rachel, that doesn’t make sense. You’re telling me to eat MORE and I’ll finally begin to lose weight.”

Yes. I am! Let me explain. 

When we go through restrictive periods (which most of us have in the past), and when we try these fad diets where we are eating 1,200 calories or less, our metabolism decreases. This is where we start to see weight loss plateaus. Think about it: you can only go so low with your caloric intake, right? Once you do, you can’t go any lower and your body stalls out in a lot of ways. There are also a lot of things going on behind the scenes in our bodies when we limit the amount of fuel we are taking in. We have been conditioned to believe that we are doing our bodies a service by restricting them, but here is actually what is going on: 

  1. We experience hormone changes, and this is where things can start to get out of whack pretty fast. Our bodies begin to either suppress or release various hormones to increase hunger and push us to eat more. Think about it: your body needs more fuel and you aren’t giving it the fuel it needs. So it starts using these hormones to send you signals that it needs fuel. Your body is literally saying “feed me!”
  1. Our digestion slows down because it’s trying to absorb as many nutrients and calories as possible because it isn’t sure when you are going to give it adequate fuel again.
  1. Our resting metabolic rate decreases, which causes our bodies to redirect all focused energy on vital organs to keep us alive. When you are eating a minimum amount of calories, your body has to focus on the essentials because you don’t have any extra fuel in the tank to dedicate to anything else – your body is almost in survival mode. You don’t have adequate energy to dedicate to “non-essential” functions, like hair and nail growth. If you’ve been restricting calories for a long time, you may notice that your hair is thinning or your nails are brittle. This is why. When I was in my 20s and was eating less than 1,000 calories a day, I saw a noticeable difference in my hair. I have always had super thick hair, but I noticed that it was becoming extremely thin. I didn’t know why back then, but looking back I had physical evidence of the damage I was doing to my body by not feeding it what it needed.
  1. You may also feel like you have less energy to exercise or you see a noticeable difference in stamina and endurance, even in day to day activities (cleaning, washing dishes, playing with your kids). This also means you burn less calories through the activities that you do. The good news is though that this metabolic adaptation likely isn’t permanent! Your metabolism can gradually increase as you begin to increase your calorie consumption. And this is where reverse dieting comes into play.

So, how do you know you need to do a reverse diet? 

There can be many reasons to try reverse dieting. For example, if you want to eat more without gaining weight or if you are someone who has  been dieting for a long time and you are ready to maintain your current level of body fat, then the reverse dieting method is right for you. This method is really great for the transition period from dieting to maintenance because it teaches you how to increase calories without going crazy in the process and regaining all the weight you worked so hard to lose. 

If you have been eating 1,200 calories (or less) a day and not losing weight, reverse dieting may be something you can try. Low calorie diets may result in weight loss for some, but it’s usually temporary – it isn’t sustainable. They can also trigger physical and emotional side effects, such as nutrient deficiencies, fatigue,  irritability, anxiety or depression, and obsessive thoughts about food and weight. Studies have also shown that following a 1,200 calorie diet or living a restrictive lifestyle actually boosted levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone known to increase belly fat.

Reverse dieting can also help improve body composition. In other words, you want to lose fat, gain muscle, and maintain your current weight. Increasing calories while keeping activity high is a really effective strategy for muscle growth.

Reverse dieting can be pretty great, right?! So why doesn’t everybody try it?

The mindset! 

Eat more food without gaining weight. That sounds too good to be true, right? And since we live in the glorious era of social media, it can be hard to know who and what to trust. But more importantly, what MOST of us are thinking is that we don’t fully trust our bodies. We have been conditioned to believe that we should punish ourselves for reaching this point (with starvation diets and overexercise), and we’ve tried ALL the things out there to lose the weight and none of it has worked – so something must be wrong with us. And that simply isn’t true. God created your body to work FOR you – not against you. Give it a chance – and GOD a chance – to take care of you. Work with your body – fuel it properly – take care of it – give it what it needs…and I promise you – it WILL respond. 

If this concept resonated with you and you’d like to learn more, I invite you to schedule a discovery call and see if it’s a good fit for us to work together. Click the link below to find a time that works for you. More importantly, I’d love to help you get clarity on what’s holding you back from trusting your body to work for you and not against you. Remember, you have to do the work – there is no quick fix, no magic pill, or end all diet…but when you do it God’s way, lasting change begins to come. 

Fat Loss · Health · Macronutrients · Metabolism · Nutrition · Uncategorized · Weight Loss

Why Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat

“Eating fat makes you fat.” That has been the school of thinking for most Americans for nearly two decades. 

This is a theory and a myth that is making our nation very sick and overweight.

As a kid growing up in the ‘90’s, I remember my parents buying “low fat” products. This craze took off like a rocket. Even though this myth has been dispelled now, so many of us are still fearful of eating fat.

This mindset, however, will get you nowhere with your weight loss goals. 

Incorporating the right kinds of fat into your diet will ACTUALLY help you lose weight and hit your goals. The body requires fat to function properly. Healthy fats provide anti-inflammatory benefits and improve insulin sensitivity. They help our bodies in a multitude of ways including optimal brain function and heart health. 

Our food choices affect everything. They control everything. Hormones, gut health, metabolism, heart health, brain health. All of these are affected by our food choices. 

Take sugar, for example. When you eat sugar, your brain gets a surge of dopamine, the feel good chemical. So when you eat sugar, your brain likes it! Then, when that sugar wears off, your brain is looking for the next hit. You continue to go through this sugar craving cycle. Your brain wants your body to feel good and safe and sugar will make that happen, even though it’s temporary. 

You can see how our addiction to sugar has contributed to our overweight and “low fat” addicted society. “Low fat” does not mean low sugar and oftentimes, if the fat is taken out of something, it’s replaced with sugar. 

Not all fats are created equal, however. I always advise my nutrition clients to avoid trans fat and saturated fats when possible. Keep it simple by prioritizing God-given foods and avoid man-made foods. 

The one thing I want to leave you with is this – You are in control of the weight you gain or lose by the quality and type of food you eat. Focus on healthy foods and the rest will fall into place. 

If you know your mindset around “low fat” foods is keeping you stuck, I’d love to invite you to apply for a laser-coaching call with me to help! We will dig deep on a one-time, 90 minute call to get you those mental breakthroughs so you can hit those weight loss goals you have. 

APPLY HERE

Hormones · Macronutrients · Nutrition · Uncategorized

How Does Nutrition Influence Hormones?

When we think about what to eat to nourish our bodies, hormones may not always be top of mind. But our hormones play a very important role in our bodies.

Hormones are chemical messengers that are part of the endocrine system and help with growth and development, metabolism and digestion, fertility, stress and mood and more.

A number of factors contribute to hormone problems. Things like consuming processed foods, environmental factors and stress. You nutritional habits can be used as a tool to combat the things we can’t control like genetics or postpartum imbalances, menopause and more. 

There are over 200 hormones in the body. Estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, leptin, ghrelin and thyroid hormones are the most commonly known.

Your thyroid hormones, for example, help regulate weight, energy, temperature, growth of hair, skin and nails and more.

Another example you may have heard of is cortisol. Cortisol is released in times of stress and increases blood pressure and heart rate. Too much isn’t good for your health, and it’s often referred to as the “stress hormone.”

While these hormones are needed in your body for certain processes, when we eat a well-balanced diet, we keep them at the levels that serve our bodies best. Everybody’s bodies are different. We have different genetic makeup and different lifestyles that all influence our hormones. Your nutritional habits matter! When you consume the right kinds of foods, you are protecting yourself against out of the ordinary hormonal imbalances. Think of your nutritional habits as putting on your armor of defense! 

So what do you eat to keep your hormones in balance?

Consuming a balance of carbs, protein and fat will help maintain a healthy endocrine system. Eat less processed foods, fried foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners—and drink less alcohol—to avoid hormone imbalances. 

In addition to a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, keeping stress levels low and exercising regularly are all crucial for hormone balance. 

While losing weight might help hormonal issues, be aware of the method you use to achieve weight loss. Simply cutting calories doesn’t work long term. You may lose weight but you also may be doing more harm than good by potentially depriving your body of the macronutrients it needs. 

Hormones impact so much of our growth and development, metabolism, digestion, fertility, mood, energy, appetite, weight and more. Eating a well balanced nutritional plan of cruciferous vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and adequate protein keeps hormones balanced. Not eating enough total calories, healthy fats or fiber can disrupt hormones and may lead to conditions like obesity, diabetes, infertility and cancer. Stress, alcohol, processed foods, and lack of sleep can also throw off hormones directly or indirectly by influencing the gut microbiome, which keeps hormones balanced.

When most of my clients come to me, thinking they are eating a well balanced diet, we dive into the numbers and find they are typically over-consuming carbs and fat and not getting enough protein. Protein is usually the hardest macronutrient to get enough of for women. This is why working with a coach and someone who can give you insight into your numbers helps. You have a target to shoot for instead of winging it and not hitting your goals. If you’re interested in setting some macronutrient goals and benchmarks to help keep your hormone levels in check, I’d love to chat with you about working together. Check out the link here to book a call with me. 

Artificial Free · Clean Eating · Fitness · Gluten Free · Goals · Gut Health · Heath · Macronutrients · Metabolism · Nutrition · Uncategorized

Until I Saw It With My Own Eyes…

I am a certified nutrition coach, so OF COURSE I know that dangers of artificial sweetener. I have studied about all of the negative side effects they bring, the downsides to using them, the long-term effects…but I guess deep-down that I never really believed all of the hype.

 

Not until I saw it with my own eyes.

 

Years ago, I was a chronic Splenda user. I used three packs of it in a single cup of coffee. Yes, THREE. Slowly, I weaned myself down to two packs. Then I started mixing Stevia in with the Splenda until I had finally transitioned to using Stevia alone. It has been years since I have bought Splenda or used it in my house.

 

This past weekend, I traveled to Tulsa for a business conference. I had to fly, so I was very limited on what I could bring with me. I remembered to pack a water bottle, meal replacement shake packets, protein bars…but I forgot the stevia. For five days, I had to resort to using Splenda again. No big deal, right?

 

WRONG.

 

Almost instantly, I had severe bloating and just felt “off.” This is no surprise since Splenda reduces the healthy bacteria in your gut by up to 50%. It also increases the amount of pH in your intestines.

I was also hungry all the time. Now, granted everyone that knows me knows that I love to eat (and I can honestly out-eat almost all my friends!), but I was HUNGRY. I was also hungry for unhealthy foods that I wouldn’t normally eat, such as sweets. This is also a side effect of the artificial sweetener. Splenda can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings (hello, cheesecake!), and stimulate fat storage and weight gain.

Lastly, my eyes were swollen and watered the entire time I was there, which was extremely frustrating since I wear contact lenses. I had to resort my pulling out my glasses in the afternoons because I just couldn’t handle the itchy, watery, uncomfortable feeling any longer.  Now that I’m home, it has almost completely stopped.

 

Artificial sweeteners certainly do live up to the bad rap they have been given. If you have no natural sweetener alternatives, I would highly recommend resorting to sugar before ingesting artificial sweeteners. This pertains to diet sodas as well; if you must have a soda, reach for one that isn’t diet (although I strongly suggest giving them up altogether).

I know that there are others out there that have read the articles, learned the facts, and have done the research, but you also have to “see it to believe it” like I did. I hope that my experience with this will open your eyes and show that it just isn’t worth it to cut corners with your health.

Clean Eating · confidence · Fitness · Goals · Gut Health · Heath · Journey · Macronutrients · Metabolism · Nutrition · Self Care · Transformation

Exercise Will Get You Nowhere

Exercise will get you nowhere…without the proper nutrition. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, if you are spending an hour a day in the gym up to five days a week, or you run five miles every single day, you should be able to see at least some change without having to give up the fried food diet…don’t you think?

 

Not so much.

 

Various studies have shown that changing an individual’s training or exercise session without altering their diet plan at all did almost nothing to change their body composition. Also, there was less than a 2% fat loss overall total.

 

Think about how much it costs to hire a personal trainer. Even if you aren’t willing to fork out the money for a trainer, a gym membership can get pricey as well. If you aren’t utilizing the proper nutrition techniques to accompany your exercise routine, basically you are shelling out money AND time for something that will leave you disappointed, angry, frustrated, and mad at your trainer.

 

But it isn’t their fault at all.

Please don’t get me wrong. Exercise is still absolutely critical when it comes to feeling better, looking better, and performing to your best ability. It helps your energy levels so that you feel like going on trips with your spouse or so that you can keep up and play with your children. Exercise IS important.

 

My point is that exercise ALONE will get you nowhere. You need to implement not only a solid exercise routine, but also a sound nutritional program. Research has shown that participants that combined effective nutritional strategies with the same training plans mentioned above had almost a 10-fold increase in effectiveness than training with no nutritional program in place.

 

The results don’t lie. You cannot cheat the system. You cannot make shortcuts. NOTHING is as effective as solid nutrition and proper exercise.

 

One last note: If your trainer is not encouraging you to seek out nutritional advice, that is a problem. It is almost as if they are giving you a brand new car without the keys. You will continue to stay in the same place because you do not have all of the pieces to move forward.

 

Clean Eating · Fiber · Fitness · Macronutrients · Meal Planning · Meal Prepping · Metabolism · Nutrition · Self Care · working professionals

The “F” Word

Yes, FIBER. The dreaded “F” word that none of us are entirely fond of, are we?

 

BUT, fiber is something that many of us know we need, but yet we really have no idea how much (or how little) we are consuming on a daily basis. Eating a high-fiber diet has many health benefits including lowered blood pressure, controlled blood sugar levels, constipation prevention, and improved cholesterol levels. It also plays a huge role in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

 

So what is the daily recommended amount of fiber?

That depends on several factors, but for the most part, it is recommended that men over the age of 19 should strive for 38 grams per day, while women over the same age should aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day.

 

So how can you add more fiber to your diet?

Fiber is already in many of the foods we eat, such as fruits, peas, beans, and whole grains. Some of my favorite fibrous foods are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, almonds, brown rice, black beans, and chickpeas! Fiber is a form of carbohydrates, so it can be easily located on a nutrition label under the “Dietary Fiber” section. It is just as important to track fiber as it is to track protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your food log, especially if you are engaging in carb cycling and/or intermittent fasting (as we do in the Rapid Results Fat Burner Program!).

Adding too much fiber too quickly can cause pain and discomfort in the stomach, so if you are used to a diet that is relatively low in fiber, just be sure to increase the amount of fiber in small amounts daily so that your stomach can adjust accordingly.

 

While high-fiber diets help aid in digestion, it is also important to note that our bodies need enough fluid to properly process the fiber. Be sure to drink an adequate amount of water daily (minimum half your body weight in ounces each day) in conjunction with high-fiber foods.

 

What are some of your favorites high-fiber foods? Even better, what recipes do you make that can be incorporated into a high-fiber diet?

Busy · Clean Eating · Fitness · Gluten Free · Goals · Gut Health · Macronutrients · Meal Planning · Meal Prepping · Metabolism · Nutrition · Self Care · working professionals

Meal Prepping – Simplified!

I will be honest and admit that after being spoiled with a seven-day, all-inclusive honeymoon in Jamaica with unlimited food options readily available, it is definitely not easy getting back into the swing of meal prepping.

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That is exactly why I am thankful for Prep Dish! Not only has it helped me tremendously, but now I can share it with all of you as well! I am so excited to be partnering with Prep Dish to offer all of my clients and followers a FREE two-week free trial (and who doesn’t like free??)
Prep Dish is a weekly meal plan subscription service developed by chef &
dietitian Allison Schaaf. She does all the planning for you- including easy-to-
follow shopping lists and prep-ahead instructions so you know what to prepare and when to prepare it.
Here are just a few of the reasons why I love Prep Dish:
weekly meal plans delivered straight to your inbox
delicious & easy “real food” based recipe that are always gluten-free
dairy-free & Paleo options available!
Prep Dish answers the dreaded question of “what’s for dinner?”
FREE for 2 weeks! 
(Start your free trial today! Just click here for details)
Prep Dish has allowed me to save valuable time in the kitchen because I have an easy-to-follow list that lists every detail from the grocery store to the dinner table. It allows my husband and I to eat nutritious, stress-free, tasty meals all week, and it has been perfect for our busy lifestyle!
I encourage you to try them out today!
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at info@rachelking.org. 
Fitness · Gut Health · Heath · Immunity · Just Thrive · Life · Nutrition · Probiotics · Self Care · Skincare

Probiotics: All Health or All Hype?

Just Thrive has provided product for this review. No monetary compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinion are my own.

Just Thrive

As someone who has battled digestive issues for the past few years, I am always a little skeptical when it comes to new “miracle” products. I have tried several probiotics in the past and, for the most part, I’ve been left feeling disappointed and discouraged. When I was offered a sample of Just Thrive probiotic, I had high hopes since all of the reviews I’d read were full of positive feedback, but the twinge of caution remained in the back of my mind.

 

I have been taking Just Thrive for one full week now, and I can already tell a huge difference. Not only have my digestive issues improved, but I have also seen a difference in my skin. I have had keratosis pilaris on the upper part of my arms since I was child and have tried every over-the-counter cream on the market to clear it up to no avail. I have also cut out dairy and gluten from my diet, which helped to lessen the redness to an extent, but not completely. In just one week, I have noticed a drastic change in the appearance of arms. The redness has reduced significantly.

 

As an added bonus, I have noticed my immune system is stronger than before. I have a pretty resilient immune system already from eating clean and incorporating Shakeology into my daily diet. But, I do still get the occasional “summer cold.” Last week, I felt as if I was coming down with one, but I was able to fight it off even though others were sick around me.

 

I am now a firm believer in Just Thrive and will continue to take it daily. I have also been reading great reviews on how this product has helped acid reflux sufferers, and I cannot wait to have my fiancé try it out, too! If you’re looking for a high quality probiotic to include into your routine, definitely give Just Thrive a try!

Clean Eating · Fitness · Friday Favorites · Goals · Heath · Journey · Life · Macronutrients · Metabolism · Nutrition · Snacks · Summer · Uncategorized · working professionals

Healthy Swaps for your Favorite Summer Foods

Happy Friday, friends! For today’s edition of  Friday Favorites, I would love to introduce you to some of my favorite summer foods!

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Growing up in the South, summer was always a special time of year. Swimming in my grandparents pool, eating lots of grilled hamburgers topped with tomatoes straight out of the garden followed by homemade ice cream, and catching lightening bugs in the late afternoon are some of my fondest memories. When I made the decision to get healthier and change my eating habits, I did not want to miss out on the fun times by not being able to eat all of the yummy summer dishes. Thankfully, there are healthy versions of all of the foods I grew up on, and they are still just as delicious!

To download your copy of my 5 Healthy Swaps for you Favorite Summer Foods e-book, just click the link below!

5 Summer Swaps

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Acid Free · Artificial Free · Clean Eating · Fiber · Fitness · Goals · Gut Health · Heath · Macronutrients · Metabolism · Nutrition · Prebiotics · Probiotics · Success · Summer

Prebiotics and Probiotics: Becoming a Healthier You

Silver Fern Brand has provided product for this review. No monetary compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Prebiotics and Probiotics

As a health coach, I try to practice what I preach, and this means getting enough water in each day. But let’s face – water can get boring, especially during the summer months when the temptation of lemonade, punch, and soft drinks is abundant!

You can only imagine my excitement when Silver Fern Brand offered to let me sample some of their latest drink mixes! These are not only packed full of fruity flavor (hello – perfect for summer!), but also provides many health benefits. I could not wait to test these out for myself.

After drinking Silver Fern Brand’s Wai Drink Mixes for one week, I can already see a huge impact. Typically, I add a mix to my water mid-morning, and the added 3 grams of fiber suppresses my hunger until lunch. Before introducing these mixes into my diet, I found myself wanting to snack throughout the day, increasing my daily calories and sabotaging my healthy eating. I have also noticed a surge in my energy level. The added prebiotics I receive daily from the drinks provide fiber to the good bacteria in my digestive system, promoting good gut health. This is extremely beneficial as I have developed stomach sensitivities over the past few years. Also, I have dropped a couple of pounds on the scale thanks to the metabolic restoration benefits of the probiotics. I am NOT a proponent of the scale (as I believe that how you feel truly matters more than any number can ever tell you), but this was an added bonus.

Silver Fern Brand’s mission is very much in line with my own: they desire to make an impact on the lives of others by changing the health and nutrition mindset of today’s society. They are creating and re-inventing many products, such as brownie and cookie mixes, popcorn, meal replacement shakes, drink mixes, etc., to be of the utmost nutritional value. Silver Fern Brand makes it easy to live a healthy life while enjoying the things you love. I look forward to trying out more of their products in the days to come – including some yummy German Chocolate Brownies for the upcoming 4th of July holiday!