Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Increasing Body Fat in a Healthy Way

Podcast Episode #337: Increasing Body Fat in a Healthy Way

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Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | Increasing Body Fat in a Healthy WayTopics

  1. Shout out: 21-Day Sugar Detox Sponsors [1:57]
  2. News and updates from Diane & Liz [3:54]
  3. Follow up reader comment [14:21]
  4. Listener question: low body fat [18:26]
  5. Food list for listener question [27:30]
  6. Just start already! [42:19]

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NTA | Podcast Sponsor | Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo





You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 337.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I'm Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and The 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids.

Liz Wolfe: I'm Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a farm in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City.

We're the co-creators of the Balanced Bites Master Class, and we've been bringing you this award-winning podcast for more than 6 years. We're here to share our take on modern paleo living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week's episode, and submit your questions at or watch the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram account for our weekly calls for questions. You can ask us anything in the comments.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let's hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: Today's podcast is sponsored by Vital Choice wild seafood and organics. The leading source of superior, sustainably sourced wild seafood and a certified B corporation. Spring has sprung, and it's time to put a spring in your step with powerful, paleo-friendly fare. Like omega-3 rich wild seafood and mouthwatering grass-fed meats. For good health and taste on the go, grab some of their fabulous canned fish and healthy high protein snacks, like a tin of sardines (perfectly pocket-sized) and salmon or bison jerky. They've got seriously amazing paleo-friendly wild salmon, fish, and shellfish; plus salmon burgers, dogs, and bacon, grass-fed meats and organic bone broths. Check it all out at

1. Shout out: 21-Day Sugar Detox Sponsors [1:57]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, so. Diane. What is up with you this week?

Diane Sanfilippo: Well. I've been home for a little bit since the end of the 21DSD tour. And that's been nice to be home for a little while. You and I are actually in Portland this weekend, so back on the road again for me. But I wanted to just give a quick shout out for a few of the sponsors. We had a bunch of sponsors for the 21DSD tour. And a few of them were kind of our top level sponsors, so I just wanted to shout them out now.

SeaSnax, for those of you who have seen me posting about the lime SeaSnax is my favorite flavor. But I actually love all of them. SeaSnax is an awesome little; it's not a ton of calories so it's not really going to fill you up. But it's a fun nutrient-dense snack to have on the go. It's crunchy, when you want that crunchy, crispy, salty just umami packed snack. I really love them. Sometimes I eat two packs at once. No shame in my game, alright. {laughs}

Kasandrinos extra virgin olive oil. You guys have heard us talk about them for years. Tony has been on the Balanced Bites podcast before talking about olive oil. They're just an amazing company and their product is fantastic. I absolutely love their olive oil. And they've got travel packs now that are super easy. You guys know I'm always traveling with healthy fats, so definitely check that out.

And then Equip Foods and Perfect Keto. You know that they're one of our new podcast sponsors. It's two different companies, but owned by the same doctor who started them a couple of years ago. Absolutely loving the collagen protein; collagen peptides from Equip and Perfect Keto. There's an MCT powder that I really like blending into my matcha latte. That's been my jam since I haven't been drinking coffee since pretty much the beginning of January. So anyway, I just wanted to give those guys a shout out really quickly.

2. News and updates from Diane & Liz [3:54]

A couple of other little, I don't know, housekeeping updates. The 21DSD coaching program opens for early enrollment while we're at the NTA conference. So just for folks who are at the conference, if you're listening now. Actually if you're listening right now, you should probably be paying attention to us in class if you're listening as soon as this episode launches {laughs}. I think that's exactly when we'll be teaching our class. But if you've been waiting to become a 21DSD coach, this is your time. So that will open in March. That opens this month. So definitely stay tuned.

If you're not already on the wait list for that, head over to 21DSD or There's a page about the coaches' program, you can click there, and make sure you're on the email list. And we have a Facebook group as well where we're talking about the program for a couple of weeks, as it's open for enrollment.

And then, Liz, our Balanced Bites Master Class is going to open up again for enrollment in June. Last year, we opened it in January. We got a lot of great feedback, but people said they would love to be able to take the class over the summer, because it is a pretty intense class. It's a ton of information. We've got a practitioner course, and there's also a student course.

So if you're somebody who just loves listening to the podcast, wants to do a little bit more of a deep dive. Wants to learn with Liz and myself for; it's about an 8 to 10-week program. It just depends on holidays and things like that. So if you want to check that out, head over to and there's a page for the Master Class for a wait list as well. But just kind of keep your eyes and ears open, because enrollment is going to open for that in June. And we would love to see you guys in the class. We know people that are just loving all of that content and engaging with us around that.

And that's really; I think those are the big things. I think the only other thing is if you're in Minneapolis May 6th, I will be there that weekend for the Beautycounter conference that you and I are going to be going to. And then May 6th I'm doing a book signing in Minneapolis. So check that out. Join me. I would love to see you there. You can head over to for the details and to RSVP. Oh, and Cassy Joy is going to be joining me to sign books on Sunday. So that's going to be super fun. We'll have a good time. Little mini reunion event.

What's going on with you, my friend?

Liz Wolfe: Oh, you know. I don't know. What did I do recently? I feel like I've already talked about this, but maybe I haven't. I went to Santa Monica somewhat recently with other Beautycounter leaders to meet with corporate and hear about what they've got coming down the pipe. How they're working on things related to their B-corporation status. They've actually recently been upgraded to. B-corp kind of has a grading procedure where they kind of give you a level. Like what level of B-corp you are. They have significantly exceeded their previous rating, which is awesome. They're just always working to make themselves better and make what they're doing for the world and for their employees better. So that's really awesome.

I loved hearing about all the different ways that they're leveraging safer science to make my skin better. {laughs} Which I'm just getting more and more vain as I get older. So there's that. And just got to meet with a lot of really awesome people, and mastermind. Just figure out what the next year is going to look like. So that was really exciting. I know you and I are both pretty passionate about what Beautycounter is doing. Particularly what they're doing in Washington D.C., which is probably coming up right around the time that this podcast airs.

You and I both qualified, actually, for a trip to go to Washington D. C. With Beautycounter to meet with our representatives and do what we can to use our voices to promote more health protective legislation at the federal level. Unfortunately, neither of us can go, because we were previously committed to the preconference class at the Nutritional Therapy Association conference. Which we're really, really excited about. It just stinks that things that we're passionate about have to happen on the exact same weekend. But that's ok.

I was able to go on that trip; was it last year or the year before? I can't remember. But I have been able to go to D.C.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think it was two years ago.

Liz Wolfe: Was it two years ago?

Diane Sanfilippo: I think so.

Liz Wolfe: Gosh I can't even remember.

Diane Sanfilippo: Maybe it was last year. I feel like your kiddo was pretty young, so I don't think it was last year.

Liz Wolfe: I think she was still nursing, but she was over one, and she's almost 3 now. I don't even know dude. But, it was a really amazing experience. And it's good enough, one of us got to experience it and know that it's legit. So that was really cool. But the more I'm with this company, the more I love it.

Let's talk about the preconference class really quick. Should we? Or is that going to be superfluous, based on the fact that we will be doing it as this episode airs?

Diane Sanfilippo: We will be doing it now. But, I will say, if you're like; I can't get in on that because I'm not going to be at the NTA conference or what have you. We are actually taking some of what we're teaching in that class, because it's a business class for nutrition professionals. We're going to be putting that into the Master Class. So those of you who are practitioners who either were in the Master Class from last year, which you'll get this content when you renew for your annual renewal. But if you're deciding to sign up with us as a practitioner this year, this will be a bonus that you're getting this year, as well. So really exciting.

Liz and I have a lot to say on the topic, and supporting all of you who are starting a business or growing a business. And I know just so many of our listeners are in that camp. I know we've sent tons of you to the NTA, or to any nutrition program. So we want to be here to just kind of help you transition from; ok I finished my program, now what. And the Master Class is part of that, giving you tons of tools and resources. But it's also; we never really got into a lot of business stuff in the Master Class before, and we're doing that starting this year. So it's exciting.

Liz Wolfe: I think some of the stuff that we're adding to the NTA conference class that we're doing, and then to the Balanced Bites Master Class. I think what we kind of identified as lacking in the continuing education field available to folks that are holistic health practitioners, was it wasn't the information. It was the ability to communicate it. And we kind of underestimate that sometimes it doesn't matter what you know if you don't know how to translate it, communicate it, and use it with clients. So I'm excited that that's kind of coming into focus for us and we've been able to put some of this stuff together.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right. And helping them get to a place where it is a business, you know. Because not everybody naturally makes that transition easily. Sometimes it's easy to teach them free community courses. Sometimes it's easy. For some it's not. But then it's like; how do I get from there to actually having a business. And that's what we're going to be talking about. So it can be fun.

Liz Wolfe: It's going to be good. And finally; this was not scripted, but I think it's probably about time that I said something about it. I think, within the next couple of weeks, my family will be moving away from my farm in the mystical land of the Midwest.

Diane Sanfilippo: So we'll have to update our intro? That's the big news, we're going to update the intro?

Liz Wolfe: The big news is, we're going to update the intro. So I've been thinking about this for a long time, and almost feeling like; gosh, I'm going to be betraying people. Because people were so excited about this whole new adventure when we first took it on four or five years ago. And I was too. And I felt like I'm going to have to explain myself. Oh, another hobby farmer bites the dust. Like, I didn't have what it takes. Yadda, yadda.

And really, the more I thought about it, I realized what this boils down to is I had a kid. And I have learned about myself that I am someone who can really only do one thing well at a time. And I cannot do a farm and a kid and a business and all of that well. And my husband can't be solely responsible for keeping it all running. So it just is what it is. A lot of people do have the stuff for this kind of lifestyle, and having a farm, and having all of this stuff going on enriches their ability to parent. But for me, I had a kid, and I need to move closer to my mom. {laughs} I need my mommy.

So we're planning on moving. I'm not sure exactly when it's going to happen or how it's going to happen, but we do have that plan. And I'll just kind of keep everybody posted.

Diane Sanfilippo: I don't think I was on the cheering side when you first moved. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I think I was on the; even though I'm not a praying person, I think I was like, I'll say a prayer for you. I hope this goes well. Because you left New Jersey. So I was like; you're leaving my time zone. First of all. At that point. And I was like; I always want things to work out for the best for everyone. But it didn't not work. It was just a period of time in your life, and you learned something. And I think that's the best part.

Liz Wolfe: No. We raised pigs. We raised turkeys. We raised chickens. We raised guineas. We raised cows. We took the pigs to slaughter. We slaughtered the turkeys.

Diane Sanfilippo: You don't have to wonder anymore, what that would be like.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. We did it. We're going to stop doing it now. {laughs} But we did it. We definitely jumped in with both feet and it became what it became. And I firmly believe if this farm was my baby, then I could do it. But the farm isn't my baby, my baby is my baby. So.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: That's where we are.

Diane Sanfilippo: I'm happy for you to come to this decision.

Liz Wolfe: To have internet again? {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I'm really happy for you to have the help that you need. That's so important. The support. If I somehow was down that path and we had a kid, there's no way I would basically let my parents still live in New Jersey for half the year. I'd be like; you're moving. By the way. This has to happen. I don't think I could handle it. Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Well I'm excited for you. Yay!

3. Follow up Reader Comment [14:21]

Liz Wolfe: Yay! Ok. So let's kick off this part of the podcast by reading a follow-up email that came in. This is from actually the same Kara who wrote in for episode 332, which is the one we did on diet culture and negative body image. We had an amazing response to that episode. Sometimes I'm like; we want to talk about this, but do people really want to hear us talk about it? And they do. So.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think it was one of the most responded to episodes we've had.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. And for people to voluntarily come out and respond to something like that. Listen to the podcast, go back, seek out the episode to actually sit there and leave feedback. It's a very intentional thing. So that's cool.

So anyway, if you haven't listened to 332 yet, go back and listen to it now. It's super important. We just really feel like things need to change. So, here are Kara's words. “The morning before I listened to the diet culture episode, I found out that one of these coworkers was pregnant. As I listened to Liz talk about the importance of the attitudes and sentiments we pass on to our children, especially our daughters, I knew it was time to have a difficult conversation. Side note; Diane, your no BS approach gave me the push that I needed as well. I'm not one to sit by quietly. I'm a prosecutor, for crying out loud. So why am I so reluctant to speak up about this one topic?

My newly pregnant friend/coworker and I made a hiking date for Saturday morning; her idea, not mine. I prefer walks that aren't vertical. During the middle of our hike, she commented on how I seemed to have a ton of energy, and that she'd felt sluggish lately. She then made a comment about feeling compelled to tighten up her diet for baby, and hoping that that would give her more energy. I took Diane's advice and brought up how eating the way that I do helped me get out of the afternoon sluggishness struggle. This opened the floodgates.

We had a very long conversation about wanting to have a healthy pregnancy, finding new veggies to try, and how I don't track calories, and how she secretly hates it but can't seem to stop. While we were having coffee after our hike, she even deleted her food tracking and calorie tracking app from her phone. This seemed like huge progress to me. I know it might get a little awkward going forward, especially when all three of us are together. But I know now that I can't keep quiet. Thank you so much for answering my email, and for having such an important discussion. I think we all needed it.”

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it.

Liz Wolfe: I mean.

Diane Sanfilippo: I don't think she was expecting that. I think in that episode I was talking about looking for, first of all, having a conversation just two of them. That was the kind of big; don't let it be a two to one conversation, because that would be too difficult. But then wait for that opening. And she did it. She totally nailed it. She had that opening. So I love it.

I'm laughing where she said my no-BS approach gave her the push she needed. And that she's a prosecutor for crying out loud. I think there's a lot that happens when we finally get honest with people around us. And sometimes it's uncomfortable. But usually, it results in something better if that relationship or friendship is one that is real. So yay. I'm excited for her. I can't wait to hear how this kind of pans out over the following months and year.

Diane Sanfilippo: Today's podcast is sponsored by Perfect Keto. Dr. Anthony Gustin and his teams have created lines of supplements that are super clean and effective, no matter what your dietary needs. I've been blending their MCT oil powder into my matcha latte lately. Not only are MCTs, medium-chain triglycerides, a premium source of energy to help fuel your brain, but there's no added flavor or sweeteners, and it makes your coffee, or matcha, wonderfully cream. Check them out at and use the code Balanced for 20% off. And you can use that code over at their sister company at

4. Listener question: Low body fat [18:26]

Liz Wolfe: Ok, so today we're going to answer a listener question, and talk a little bit more about body image, combined the loss of menstrual cycle, a low BMI, and the desire to increase body fat in a healthy way. This is from Kelly.

“I don't even know if I have a question, or just thoughts, or just feel the really strong desire to connect and say hi and say thank you. I started listening to your podcast about two years ago, and almost feel lucky that I found it later, because I have so many wonderful, interesting, inspirational episodes to be able to go back and listen to between your weekly podcasts. I feel like I have a story that's way too typical through listening to your podcast episodes; habits, and feelings, and mindsets that you touch on that are all too familiar to my journey growing up. I resonate with so much of what you talk about that can happen with body image, nutrition, diets, etc., as we go through our teens, 20s, and 30s. And while there's a sense of ‘I'm not alone'; it also makes me so strongly desire to not have my two daughters; 5 and 7; follow some of those same paths.

I was always active growing up and it was, in a large part, because it was what was always modeled for me. My dad has been a swimmer since he was in high school, and continues to compete in master's swimming. My mom loves to bike, swim, take spinning classes, cross country ski, kayak, etc. I've come to realize that some of these things that were modeled were also internalized for me as pressure to maintain a certain fitness level. My dad would always comment on women that were strong and fit looking, and I came to realize that I really wanted to live up to those standards. I swam in high school and college, competed in triathlons after college, and ended up joining a CrossFit gym about four years ago. And all through that, there has always been a sense of body dissatisfaction.

I was not tall like some of my swimmer friends. I wasn't super lean like some of the triathletes that would race in those two-piece suits. And I had this horrible period of time where I tried to join those step aerobic classes. You know the kind where you look at yourself, and everybody else, in the big wall of mirrors? And at 5'4”, I always felt short and stocky next to the mom's who would have their makeup on, tanning booth tanned skin, and cute tight, perfectly matched workout outfits. And to add insult to injury, I do not have the coordination for that kind of thing. LOL.

But then I joined a CrossFit gym. There, I found a community of people that came from all fitness, or not fitness backgrounds, that had all different strengths and celebrations came from people completing tough WODs together, accomplishing new skills, and discovering new ways of being strong. I fell in love. With the emphasis on strength instead of long distance cardio my natural body type, genes from my dad's side of the family, caused my body to respond in a way that included more defined muscles and lower body fat. I learned about what macros were, and started eating more protein and veggies and less processed carbs. I leaned out.

I got my body composition done last fall, and it said my body fat was just under 10%. My lack of my monthly cycle that started disappearing over the last three years should have been a sign. I've been on hormonal birth control for over a decade, with the exception of the baby making years. But had always been very regular each month. I also get night sweats now, about once a month. There will be a couple of months where I wake up feeling drenched. I like feeling stronger, I like feeling leaner, but just to be transparent, I still feel kind of unsatisfied with how I look at times. And also feel like I have developed this identity now with people, where I am the strong and muscular looking friend, and that I need to maintain that new look, because it's how they identify me. And this can be all so confusing at times.

In all of this, I'm trying to make my way to being a happier person with me, with who I am. PS, I'm buying Robyn Youkilis‘s book when it comes out. But I also want to make sure that I'm physically healthy in the long run. I asked my doctor at my yearly appointment about my lack of my monthly cycle, weight, etc., and she said it's a common side effect of hormonal birth control, and it's not something I should feel concerned about at all. She also mentioned that by being on the birth control for the length of time that I have, it can help reduce my risk for ovarian cancer. I asked if there was any sort of blood work that could be done to make sure my hormonal levels are what they should be, and she said there wasn't anything that could be tested to determine that. So I left with a sense from her that everything is good, but there's a part of me that feels like maybe this isn't the case.

Curious about your thoughts on her response. Is there something I can do to tell if my hormones are ok? Do you have suggestions for increasing body fat in a healthy way? I really love exercise and moving and the happy endorphins that I get in the morning from that routine. I also like lifting and feeling strong. It's such a different mode of exercise than I did for so many years, and it's empowering. And the body image mindset, I'm hoping that maybe Robyn's book and journal that she said is included will help me to nail down where the feelings of unhappiness might be coming from within, that actually have nothing to do with what the scale says.

P. S. Your latest episode with Robyn was fabulous. I listened twice. So much resonated with me, and I loved how she defined the desire to lose weight as a sign that we want something to be different in our bodies, but typically more so in our lives. I loved the way she talked through the “go with your gut” strategy. And when she talked about the space between the afternoon and dinnertime; spot on. Oh my stars, it's as if Robyn gets my life. That moment when I walk in the door after teaching my kindergartener's all day, usually feeling drained, with my kids right behind me with all their homework, and folders to be looked through, and wanting a snack. And I'm thinking about the dishes to be cleaned from lunches, and dinner to be made. And load of laundry to be run. And lunches to be made for the next day. I sometimes just want to open a bag of tortilla chips or chocolate chips and sit on the couch and sit and eat. That space is stressful. I just resonated with what she said so much. And finally, I loved what she said about thinking about what's fun for you. What can you schedule for yourself. Put on the calendar. Just so good. So yay for a great podcast. I'd love to just sit with all three of you and talk over coffee. All the love.”

I might need to take a breath there for a second {laughs}.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think often times we get a lot of information from someone and a lot of backstory, and often we will cut it down a bit. But we left this one, because as we were reading it, we knew that there would be so many of you listening who are nodding along. Because it's like; this is all of your stories.

Liz Wolfe: And it was well written, too.

Diane Sanfilippo: This is so many people's story's. Yeah. Kelly is; it's a huge majority of our listeners, going through the exact same thing. And maybe some of our listeners who have been with us since the beginning were in this place a while ago. Right? I feel like when we first started the show, 70% of our questions were some incarnation of what Kelly is asking here. Or thoughts, and stresses, and all of that.

So it's super important. And the couple of actual questions in what she's describing here. She asked a few things that; this is your break so that you can then tell us what she's actually eating in a day. But she was asking what do we think about what her doctor said, is there testing that can be done for hormone levels. And increasing body fat percentage, because she mentioned her body fat is 10%. And it's no surprise that she would lose her period with the body fat level that low. That's extremely low. And I have a lot of things to say about all of that. But do you want to; should we look at what she's eating, or do you want to just talk about the rest of it aside from that and I can address recommendations? I feel like people want to know what she's eating.

Liz Wolfe: How about first of all I'll just say something about the hormone testing and I'll read what she's eating and we can get into that.

Diane Sanfilippo: Sure.

Liz Wolfe: I don't; why. Whatever. Why a doctor would say there's no way to test that. I just don't; it absolutely blows my mind. It just sounds like she wanted to hustle her out of the room. Because not only are there ways to test that that are just standard procedure, basically, in medical offices. They don't tell you necessarily exactly what you want to know. But it can be tested. You can just go get your hormones checked. It's pretty simple. Pretty normal blood work to order.

If you really want to get something that's telling you a lot and telling you about what's going on in your cycle or if you're anovulatory you can still do it. There's the Dutch test. It's basically a daily pee on a strip test, and you send it in, and they tell you exactly what your hormones look like over the course of your cycle. You can do estrogen progesterone. You can do the full hormone cortisol panel, and I'm actually doing that right now. I'm about three weeks in. There are many ways to test your hormones just to see where you're at. And that's basically why I was doing it.

You can order the Dutch test; basically it's out of pocket. Your doctor is not going to be able to order that for you, and insurance isn't going to cover it. But I find that a lot of people, if they can afford CrossFit, they can afford a Dutch test. Is that going to be a quote, maybe on the Instagram? {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: But yeah. It's just Dutch test. That's probably the one that I would opt for. Particularly since you're talking about amenorrhea and you really want to have an idea of what your cortisol rhythms looks like, and what all of your hormones look like. Not just estrogen and progesterone. And certainly not just estrogen and progesterone on the one day you have your blood drawn. So I would definitely recommend that.

5. Food list for listener question [27:30]

Liz Wolfe: So now that I've had a moment; I'll read what she's eating. “Typical day; especially Monday through Friday. Pre-workout, workout shake. Orange Gatorade, vanilla whey protein, BCAAs. Breakfast egg whites, chicken sausage, veggie scramble, half a cup of oatmeal with cinnamon, salt, splash of half and half. Mid-morning snack Rx bar. Lunch 2.5 ounces of ground turkey, a bunch of cut up veggies, balsamic vinaigrette, low carb tortilla wrap, string cheese. Afternoon snack, epic bar, barney butter, a little packet of almond butter. Handful of my student's afternoon snack that I pass out. This could be pretzels, which don't agree with my stomach, animal crackers, wheat thins, etc. Dinner is some sort of lean protein and a bunch of veggies. Later evening snack almond butter jar plus spoon plus me or rice Chex cereal or another low carb tortilla with PB2.” Which I think is just powdered peanut butter. “Or just slathered with butter. Sometimes a combination of all three because I'm hungry at the end of the day. I usually eat about 2000 to 2200 calories a day, 130-140 grams of protein, 60-70 grams of fat, 200 grams of carbs. If I eat just a carb, like an apple, I feel hungry almost immediately after. I love fats but mostly have it in the form of nut butter or straight up butter. I move or exercise every day. Just being honest. I take juice plus capsules. Drink a scoop of amazing grass superfood mixed in water and have vitamin D and magnesium every day. Sleep 6.5-7.5 hours a night. I'm really 5'3-3/4″, but I just say I'm 5'4″. I've weighed between 125 and 130 for about a year and a half. Before that I was generally in the low 130s. Prebaby years I was about 140. But then breastfeeding happened for both kids, and it dropped my weight a bit.”

Diane Sanfilippo: OK.

Liz Wolfe: OK.

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel like I'm the exact same height, although people feel like I'm taller. I really think I'm 5'3-3/4″. And then when I tell someone I'm 5'4″, they're like; you seem taller than that. I'm like, nope. Maybe taller from doing a lot of pulling exercises that make me stand up taller. Anyway.

Liz Wolfe: I was going to say, your hair was big sometimes.

Diane Sanfilippo: My hair? I mean, I am trying. {laughs} Only when I'm next to you do I feel like I need to really pump up the hair.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So anyway. OK, this is Kelly, right?

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, Kelly. I have a lot of notes here for Kelly. First of all, personality wise, I feel like this should be in our little intake question form about which tendency they are. She sounds like an Upholder or an Obliger, but I think she could be an Upholder judging by the fact that she learned about macros and she's still doing it despite basically not doing well with it. That seems to be an Upholder-y thing to me. Where it's like; someone maintains some expectation that they've put on themselves for a very long period of time. So I'm just being; I'm not a therapist, I just play one on the podcast sometimes.

But I think she's got a lot of stuff going on here where she's imagining a lot of expectations, and some of them may be real. Like, parents do tend to have expectations of their kids. For better or for worse. So she's got a lot of that stuff from her history with her parents and athleticism and all of that. But I think the reality is, at this age she's got two kids and now the focus need to shift from what her parents may have expected of her to what she wants for herself and what's the example she wants to set for her kids.

Because I think that's far more important than what anybody else things of you. It's just living in a way that sets the example for your kids. I know a lot of parents, present company included, perhaps, get anxious and nervous. And especially our listeners who are extremely thoughtful, smart, healthy people, feel concern about things that they're doing and the way that they're parenting. And the reality is, parenting is; so much of it honestly is just what you do and how you live. Because you're modeling for your kids every single day all the time. And I see this come out with my friend's kids. It's like; why are they like that? Because you're like that. It's not because of something you said, it's just what you do and how you live.

So I think if you do want to change those things, anything is possible. So being aware of it is definitely step one, and you're doing that. So you're aware that there is something going on here that you're trying to shift. So that's a really good thing.

When you describe your body weight and the 10% body fat; Kelly, I have to jut tell you. You're not in a healthy place at 10% body fat. 16% to 18% is athlete range. So whatever your body is doing is too far. And this is my reality check for you. That it doesn't matter what people think of you at the gym. Especially if what they think is positive. Because that's actually even more dangerous. Because if you maintain and perpetuate something that they are encouraging and think is positive while you're not menstruating, it's not a good example to set. So you need to change things so that the example you set is positive.

I think it's really alluring for women athletes these days to post a lot of pictures that include skin and abs and leanness and low body fat and all this. Because we're so enamored with this athletic look. And it gets a lot of attention, and it garners likes. It builds up positive self esteem for the entirely wrong reasons. And it perpetuates a body image that's not only not accessible and realistic for a lot of people; it's not healthy. And that's the problem. I think as women, especially, something happened.

I've said this before. There are some women for whom they're extremely lean and lanky naturally. And for them to put weight on gives them that muscular build and visible abs. And this is not about them. If their body fat level is in a healthy place, and they are menstruating and they're healthy, then that's their body. It's really not the majority of women. It's just not what's healthy for the majority of women. I think what we did was we took something that was fairly; I don't want to say easy, but much easier to attain for a male aesthetic, because lower body fat for men is much more natural and less detrimental to their health and their hormonal balance. And somehow we translated that into something that's also healthy and ideal for women.

Again, I really have nothing against someone who is like; I feel great and I'm doing well and I'm feeling healthy and this is how I look. Good for you. So I'm talking to Kelly right now, and anyone else who is really in a situation like this. Because I have been there, you guys. I was at 16% body fat with visible abs, no boobs, and a thigh gap. And I lost my period. And I shortly was followed with adrenal fatigue. And I didn't think I was lean enough. I was trying to lose weight. I don't know what that was about. I was 30 years old, and this was just not a good place to be in. Probably eating about the same amount. It sounds like I'm about the same size and build as Kelly.

So it's very clear that this 2000-2200 calories a day is not enough food for you. It's very clear that when you get to the end of the day, and she made this arrow pointing to a “problem area”, being hungry at the end of the day. It's a problem because you haven't fueled yourself all day long. 2.5 ounces of ground turkey with low carb tortilla and light string cheese. What's going on with this diet? Why are you dieting so hard? You're basically on a body building cutting cycle, and that's not what you're trying to do. You're just trying to live like a normal person, and do some CrossFit. You're on a diet. And you should not be on a diet at this point. There's no reason for you to be on a diet.

So instead of eating egg whites, get the whole egg. Instead of eating chicken sausage, try some pork sausage. You need some healthy fats. Your body is not going to even out and menstruate if you're not getting enough healthy fats. 60-70 grams a day of fat is not enough fat. You're doing great, and possibly more than you need in total protein. But spacing it out throughout the day, eating whole eggs, and bumping up your lunch so that you don't start.

What's going downhill is starting with egg whites and lean protein. Then your hungry again mid-morning. Then you have this child-sized lunch. And I'm saying this, you guys. I'm aware that my words are possibly hurting some people right now. I am serious about the fact that this is not enough food, and I need you guys to hear that. Because I'm sure a lot of you are like; yeah, that sounds like what I'm eating. If you're eating this and you're not menstruating, this is not enough food for you. And it doesn't just mean piling on more vegetables or lean protein. You need fat, and you need to be eating whole eggs. Enough with this dieting. I'm getting a little bit on a tear.

And then getting to evening. This is super common, you guys. If you get to after dinner, and you're like; I'm ravenous. It's because you starved yourself all day long! Your body is still looking for calories and you end up in the almond butter jar because you were starving yourself all day! What do you expect by the end of the night? So start feeding yourself all day long. I mean, even if you open a meal plan in my 21-Day Sugar Detox, yeah, it's called a sugar detox, but I can guarantee you you're going to get a lot more fat in your diet eating a meal plan that's in there. Much more nutrition.

So let's really look at that. Ok. Getting a lot more food in over the course of the day. And not being scared. And honestly, stop counting macros. I don't want you to even know how many calories you ate or how much fat or how much carb it is. Or protein. I want you to eat real, whole, food and just drop this counting. That needs to happen. That shift in mindset is probably going to lower your stress, which will not only help your body with the nutrition that you're giving it and the calories that you need, but lowering your stress around this constant management of your food.

Which, maybe at this point it doesn't feel as stressful because she's just been eating this way for so long. So for most people, once we choose to eat differently and then we just keep maintaining that, it's mentally and emotionally not as stressful. But now it's really physically stressful to begin this place of dieting. But if's something that you've been doing for just a few months, and it still feels like a struggle all the time, that mental stress is a big part of what's going on inside your body. So that's definitely huge.

Her sleep; 6.5-7 hours a night. It's fine, but I'd say why don't you just make an effort to get it to 7-8. I think that would be a worthwhile effort. As opposed to teetering anywhere on that 6.5 range. I know that that's going to be difficult. But focus on the nutrition first. And I don't remember, did she say how many days a week she's crossfitting. Did she say 4 days a week?

Liz Wolfe: I don't know. But she moves and exercises every day, she says.

Diane Sanfilippo: So I think it's important to, if you're going to maintain your movement every day, I have no problem with people moving every day at a minimum walking. And I think, Liz, you'll probably agree with me on that one. Walking is cool. And if you're lifting weights, scaling it back to three to four days a week and making sure that if you are in a CrossFit setting. Let's say it's four days a week that you're not doing intense metabolic conditioning every single time. To the point where you're really pushing yourself to that limit.

And I honestly think that if she follows most of what I'm talking about right now for about a month, her body is going to thank her. You'll probably put on some weight. And I think that you know; a much more reasonable, healthy place to be in terms of your height and assuming your athleticism as I know it, I think 135-140 is a healthier place for you. I know what my body looks like in the 135 to 140 range, and that's lean but healthy. Not too lean. Those are just numbers. I don't know. I think the body fat percentage also can vary. But we want to get your period back. That's really important.

So I wanted to mention; Dr. Jolene Brighten. We had her on the podcast; episodes 299 and 302. Go listen to those episodes if you haven't yet. It sounds like you found us more recently and you maybe haven't caught up to those. 299 and 302 are going to rock your world. And Dr. Jolene is actually; I follow her on Instagram. She's upping her Instagram game lately, and I love it because I just love her. And she is doing a post birth control hormonal recovery program that's also valid for women who are just looking for hormonal recovery no matter what. So I would check her out. Dr. Jolene Brighten. You can check her website and all of that. And probably; if you want to go into whatever her program is, I think she's got a 5-week program. It sounds like that would be a great place for you, as well.

But follow some of this for just a few weeks to a month. And I think you're going to do a lot better. And allow this to be your permission to basically start to shrug off a lot of the expectations that other people are putting on you, that you've also adopted and put on yourself. Because your body is telling you that none of that is working in a positive way if you are not menstruating. First and foremost.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I'm an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body's ability to heal. The NTA‘s NTP and NTC programs empower graduates with the education and skills needed to launch a successful, fulfilling career in holistic nutrition. To learn lots more about the NTA‘s nutritional therapy programs, go to There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, and a brand new NTC venue in Vancouver, Washington. So chances are you'll be able to find a venue that works for you.

6. Just start already! [42:19]

Liz Wolfe: Ok. We have a new segment today. This segment is called; Just start already!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Not to be confused with, just do it already! That was terrible. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Well I think we were going to dive in and call it just do it, but I feel like that's taken. So I'm not sure that we could have a segment called that. Could we?

Liz Wolfe: I don't know.

Diane Sanfilippo: Trademark attorneys listening?

Liz Wolfe: My brain was 0% in that space. My brain was thinking about the scene in Knocked Up. {laughing} Forget it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I only saw that movie once.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, you don't need to see it again. It's good.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} OK. So something we have put off for a while, and are now doing again. Do we need to both have one of these? Do you have one of these?

Liz Wolfe: No. I think this is all you.

Diane Sanfilippo: OK. It's basically for me. So, those of you who follow me on Instagram. And if you don't; what's up? Get over there! {Laughs} I had not worked out regularly since, I don't even know how long. 4 to 6 months, maybe it had been. And you guys know what that's like. I mean whether you had an injury or you just stopped. And you know what it's like when you stop but you didn't want to really stop, you just had to. Your body told you no.

Anyway. I finally got moving again this week. I went to a spin class. Well, ok so this will have been last week. But I went to a spin class. I was sitting trying to think about what would work for me to actually get moving again. And the idea of telling myself to move my body {laughs} or trying to pick up heavy things and put them back down as a starting point sounded too daunting. So, I figured I could get up from my desk and go sit on a spin bike, and someone would tell me how fast to pedal and how much to turn up the intensity or whatever. And actually it worked really great. That was a really good strategy, and I'm really proud of myself for going.

I didn't go too hard, initially. I just kind of broke a sweat and got it going. I felt my heart rate get a little high the first couple of days. Today was the fourth day that I went, and I felt really, really good. And honestly, I'm really proud of myself for going and I'm fully patting myself on the back for it. So if you're in that place, I hope for you also to figure out how to just get started. But I did it. Spin class. Wohoo! I started.

Liz Wolfe: I freaking love spin class. You know this. We got matching shoes.

Diane Sanfilippo: We have the same shoes!

Liz Wolfe: So funny.

Diane Sanfilippo: From like miles away, and a decade apart, we have the same spin shoes. How is that even possible?

Liz Wolfe: So good.

Diane Sanfilippo: It's wild.

Liz Wolfe: That's it for this week, guys. You can find me, Liz, at and you can find Diane at Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don't find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. While you're on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

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