Weight Loss Resistance & Reverse Dieting with Megan Abernathy

Picture of podcast cover art with Christa Biegler and Megan Abernathy: Episode 297 Weight Loss Resistance & Reverse Dieting with Megan Abernathy

This week on The Less Stressed Life Podcast, I am joined by Megan Abernathy. I found Megan on Instagram and felt like her content was a breath of fresh air when people have concerns about body composition and the nuances around it.  We talk about periodized nutrition which includes the concept of reverse dieting and the psychological and physiological side of this and why it's so important.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • What is periodized nutrition? 
  • What is reverse dieting and who is it for?
  • Disguising food relationship issues with nutrition and fitness
  • Red flags that you have disordered eating 
  • You’ve got to earn the right to diet!
  • Metabolic and hormonal adaptations
  • Body appreciation and gratitude

 


ABOUT GUEST:
Megan Abernathy is a Fitness and Nutrition educator with her Bachelor of Science from the Radford University in Foods and Nutrition. She has been passionately working in health and fitness for over two decades. Her specialties are Body Neutral Fitness and teaching periodized nutrition which includes the concept of reverse dieting.
Originally from Virginia, while also spending time living in Portland, OR and Denver, CO. For recreation she enjoys hanging in the hammock, hula hooping, hiking, and paddle boarding. She spent a year living abroad in Japan with her husband, and next month they move to Newport News, VA area and start their mini-homestead!

WHERE TO FIND:
Website: 
https://www.meganmefit.com/
Instagram: @megan_mefit

WHERE TO FIND CHRISTA:
Website:
 https://www.christabiegler.com/
Instagram: @anti.inflammatory.nutritionist
Leave a review, submit a questions for the podcast or take one of my quizzes here: https://www.christabiegler.com/links

WORK WITH CHRISTA:
Packages include:

  • Labs
  • 1:1 interpretation and personalized protocols 
  • Support between appointments with weekly touchpoints
  • Messaging and trainings to get the most out of working together

Past clients, if it's been more than a year since I've seen you, you're welcome to book a call! This is the last time until fall that I'm taking clients. If you want to maximize this season and bring your body into balance go to https://www.christabiegler.com/fss to book a call with me.



TRANSCRIPT:

{00:00:00] Megan Abernathy: If they're dealing with more of the chronic stuff under the hood, then that's where working with someone who is skilled at reverse dieting and nutrition periodization is really important because if you just go all willy-nilly with adding calories in is where we could see some unwanted weight gain, which is probably what's happening with the pro metabolic folks.

[00:00:20] Christa: Stress is the inflammation that robs us. Of life, energy, and happiness. Our typical solutions for gut health and hormone balance have let a lot of us down we're overmedicated and underserved at the less trust life. We are a community of health savvy women exploring solutions outside of our traditional western medicine toolbox and training to raise the bar and change our stories.

[00:00:46] Christa: Each week, our hope is that you leave our sessions inspired to learn, grow, and share these stories to raise the bar in your life and home.

[00:01:03] Christa: All right. Today on the Less Trust Life, I have Megan Abernathy, who I found on Instagram and felt like her content was a breath of fresh air when people have concerns about body composition. So we're gonna get in some real nuance on that. So Megan's a fitness and nutrition educator with a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition.

[00:01:21] Christa: She's been passionately working in health and fitness for two decades, and her specialties are body neutral fitness and teaching periodized nutrition, which includes the concept of reverse dieting on a personal note. She likes hanging in the hammock, hula, hooping, hiking and paddle boarding. A girl after my own heart, she spent a year living abroad in her husband and next month they're gonna move to News Virginia to start their mini homestead.

[00:01:42] Christa: And we were just lamenting about the death of half of my chicken flock. So she was able to like understand this is a real annoyance. After winter you fed them and here they are. But anyway, reverse dieting, body composition. So happy to have you come on the show today, 

[00:01:57] Megan Abernathy: Megan. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:02:00] Megan Abernathy: Yeah. All right. 

[00:02:01] Christa: Well, I always think I gave a little bit of this personal background, but I always think that it's really nice to hear how your personal story has influenced the way you practice. Because if it's not influencing how you're practicing, I mean, how are we getting better? Right? So tell us a little bit about how this.

[00:02:17] Christa: All came to be for you because what you are doing is kind of like the perfect mixture, and I will just say like in this world of slash diet culture versus intuitive eating and haze and all these things that can be very polarizing and just dogmatic. I feel like what we're gonna talk about is a real breath of fresh air.

[00:02:36] Christa: So tell me how this happened for you or how you got into this space. Well, 

[00:02:40] Megan Abernathy: I agree wholeheartedly and my background while I had grown up, you know, you mentioned hula hooping, so I grew up doing ballet, tap, and jazz, which being overweight, I was teased a lot, so it definitely had its negative impacts. But I did love to move and dance and perform.

[00:02:59] Megan Abernathy: I grew up playing piano and violin, so I grew up on stage. So I was a circus performer in Portland, Oregon. Always performing and also personal training by day. And honestly, I had an eating disorder when I was 16, 17, and went into college and kind of mastered it with education a little bit because I became a personal trainer, got my degree in nutrition.

[00:03:22] Megan Abernathy: But honestly, I was so fueled by looking a certain way. Growing up in the nineties, those early 2000 years, it was that heroin chic, the low-rise jeans. We're all still dealing with the trauma. I think anyone on our age group, it was rough and that was what I was influenced pre-social media, but still heavily influenced by the media nonetheless, right?

[00:03:43] Megan Abernathy: Mm-hmm. So disorder behaviors. I literally thought if I become a personal trainer and I get a degree in nutrition, I'll never get fat. That was literally, I thought I broke the code. Mm-hmm. No joke. And so I literally really, 

[00:03:55] Christa: I think a lot of people have 

[00:03:56] Megan Abernathy: that feeling. Honestly, it's so easy to hide disordered behaviors.

[00:04:00] Megan Abernathy: Under the guise of fitness, and this is, that's so apparent to me now, but it wasn't then and I disguised so much of the disordered behavior as willpower. And I look back, I mean it started with Special K diet, swapping food for cereal bowls, right? And that led me into, I was vegetarian for a while, five or six years, and then my chiropractor recommended me not to be, and I slowly got into eating meat and I was paleo.

[00:04:26] Megan Abernathy: Then I found isogenics, which was detrimental to my health in lots of ways, but it was replacing meals with shakes, very similar to the special case. So I was always going from one restrictive space to another. Do you see? Mm-hmm. It was, but always disguised as something. Healthy. Mm-hmm. And I didn't really see that until, honestly, a check engine light went on.

[00:04:47] Megan Abernathy: And that's what I, you can't diet it forever. That's what I learned. And I had done four bodybuilding competitions. Mm. I had won trophies. I was glorified and celebrated, but it was an eating disorder. I had body dysmorphia already, and it just exacerbated it. There should be a warning. You should have to sit down with somebody in a scary suit and sunglasses to be interviewed before you compete in a body building show because it is very serious, detrimental stuff to your thyroid.

[00:05:20] Megan Abernathy: And coaches will just take your money and train you for a show. They don't look at your metabolic point where you are. Is this appropriate? Do you have the muscle mass to even look good? Dieted down? So that's what got me here, is realizing so much of my motivation. While I loved moving, while I loved hula hooping, while I loved walking by a playground and.

[00:05:41] Megan Abernathy: Goofing around. I do love my body. That's where the shift to body neutral fitness came. Once I realized I had an eating disorder, once I realized I had compulsive exercise behaviors. 2020, wasn't it a like wake up call for like lots of people for all different types of things. Mm-hmm. So I think it was really good for all of us.

[00:05:59] Megan Abernathy: So that's what woke me up and I enrolled in eating disorder therapy. And never looked back, got off a hormonal birth control. No one warned me that that was going to be one heck of a ride. Mm-hmm. I hadn't found, you guys hadn't found this community of smart people yet. I was still in the bodybuilding world who didn't really touch much on this.

[00:06:16] Megan Abernathy: So finding the pro metabolic community, finding hormone healing rd. Amanda. And working with some other practitioners that can run labs was really helpful to get me kind of on a, and working with professional eating disorder therapist as well, and like e EMDR therapy and doing a lot of work helped me shift gears to be able to even.

[00:06:38] Megan Abernathy: Talk about calorie tracking or even talk, you know, there's intention and motivation behind these behaviors really is make or break for the mindset and where we see developing of disordered behaviors. Mm-hmm So that's where body neutral fitness is so powerful and looking like, you know what, isn't it amazing to have a body, to have legs, to be able to get in, in and out of your vehicle, to go up and down stairs?

[00:07:00] Megan Abernathy: We sometimes can take that for granted unless you bust a knee or stump a toe and you realize how healthy you are. And you take it for granted. So body and neutral fitness is. Just focusing your attention on how grateful you are to have legs, even if there's cellulite on them. There's 

[00:07:15] Christa: such a rollercoaster and packed into that to unpack.

[00:07:18] Christa: And so you mentioned that a check engine light came on for you, so I wanna go two places. Next. I wanna hear more about the check engine light that came on for you that made you realize like, I've got stuff going on. That was a bit of this wake up call. And then let's talk a little bit about what happens to hormones to your body.

[00:07:38] Christa: In a chronic dieting state, like where you go from one to the next, to the next, 

[00:07:43] Megan Abernathy: to the next, right. So I mentioned in the bodybuilding competition realm, there are really good coaches. I wasn't working with them. So the lack of mentorship and running labs and doing four competitions in the matter of like less than two years.

[00:08:00] Megan Abernathy: Was probably as intense as the biggest loser competitions, which is why I just did a big post on that to reference for this interview. And what we see in drastic adaptations, like the response to an extreme diet is going to be extreme. Mm-hmm. Right. So the wake up call for me was that I was doing all the things that I had done to get the results previous, and they weren't working.

[00:08:26] Megan Abernathy: I mean, I had gotten really, really low for my competitions. Like a thousand calories a day and doing 90 minutes of cardio a day, like deathly stuff. And it's not talked about. Not to mention all the drugs that are done in bodybuilding, which is also should be talked about a lot more, but I, you know, didn't do those things.

[00:08:43] Megan Abernathy: But the, the adrenals, the thyroid, Those are the biggest ones that take the hit the most. But we see, I guess you'll see metabolic adaptations and then you'll see hormonal adaptations. So there's two things we see to these extremes. And so the red flags coming from my adrenals were, I had sores all over my mouth, like canker sores.

[00:09:03] Megan Abernathy: This could also be like iodine deficiencies, like some of these, you know, nutrient deficiencies from being on birth control and just dieting and eating body butter diets for many, many years. I had a shingles outbreak at age 35. So I was having these sores all over my mouth. I had sores all over my ribcage, and I had weight loss resistance, even though I was eating 1400 calories a day, working out every day, strengths training and everyday cardio, doing facet cardio.

[00:09:29] Megan Abernathy: I felt like this was as extreme as I wanted to get compared to my competition preps. And if I was like, do I always have to do a competition prep to get results? Because that was completely miserable and that's what really woke me up. No coach that I was working with mentioned. You know, when I would binge eat all 1700 calories by 10:00 AM mm.

[00:09:49] Megan Abernathy: That maybe I needed professional help, which is probably a hard conversation, but you know who's gonna do it besides someone that I'm paying every week. And I've had to fire clients honestly, because I put my foot down and say, we're not doing a diet phase. You're not ready for one. And I wish a coach had done that for me and said, I know how like uncomfortable you are, but I think we need therapy here.

[00:10:11] Megan Abernathy: To work on your body image because weight loss doesn't actually equate to better body image because now that I've gained weight in my eating disorder and pro metabolic whatever journey, which we'll talk about the nuances of adding more calories and how that can backfire, I'm leaving my greatest fear of my eating disorder.

[00:10:28] Megan Abernathy: Right now, I am like 40 pounds heavier than I was before I enrolled in therapy. But when I look back at videos that I made from my clients, my online training business, I thought I was fat then 40 pounds ago, the same exact complaints. My stomach, my flat butt, the same exact feelings. And so, you know, the body image isn't actually about your body, it's about how you perceive your body.

[00:10:52] Megan Abernathy: It's in your head. And so that's what really woke me up to me, like, you know, hey, I'm only a coach. I have to stay in my own lane. And I think that's a lot of pressure on personal trainers or life coaches. Because there's some stuff we do have, like psychological stuff we do have training in, but a lot of it we don't.

[00:11:09] Megan Abernathy: And some of this runs really, really deep and it's really painful. I think it's just really difficult. 

[00:11:14] Christa: Yeah, I think it's big and mature of someone to realize you cannot do everything for everybody and you don't need to do everything for everybody. And I think that's probably one of the biggest issues in.

[00:11:26] Christa: Our general nutrition profession is that the reason I don't like to touch body composition in my business, which I do a lot of this underlying hormone things, et cetera, is because I do all of that, your body composition can't change the way you want it. If all of that is out of. Order and a mess. And for me, right, it's so psychological, so much weight and what we actually do to achieve body composition changes like gets very much psychological to the point where I'm like, this doesn't feel like my jam.

[00:11:58] Christa: Uh, quite often. So, I mean, it's a big deal for you to say, you know, I don't have to be able to do that. I'm going to, and probably you, it was, um, almost a big hitting a rock bottom for you in some ways, at some point where you decided, oh, I actually can't do this. I am actually going to hire someone who knows what they're doing.

[00:12:20] Christa: But that's a really, I'm sure that came from a lot of discomfort. Absolutely. 

[00:12:25] Megan Abernathy: And disgusted discomfort. They're pretty similar. And that is really where you can move mountains. If you can like use that. You know, I was in M mlm, I was an isogenix for like five years and so I got a lot of that Tony Robbins coaching embedded in me.

[00:12:38] Megan Abernathy: Mm-hmm. And uh, I would, you know, it's definitely important to move on those feelings. I've always looked at my journey as being a wounded warrior, I would say. So I'm able to understand where I fell down and get back up and try to teach people maybe less. The stumble. You know, I can't predict everything, but to learn from my errors.

[00:12:58] Megan Abernathy: So with that attitude, it's easier for me to understand where those boundaries are. But the more I did the work, the more I was able to understand those boundaries. I think that's difficult. And I knew I did take a psychology mindset coaching course. From someone who's incredible on Instagram, coach Casey, Joe Casey with a K.

[00:13:19] Megan Abernathy: And I knew that if I was gonna talk to people who wanna hire me to lose weight and they're, we're gonna do the opposite and we're gonna maybe gain weight, go on a reverse diet, you bet your britches. I better have some psychology background because we're gonna have to. Break down some resistance and some walls mm-hmm.

[00:13:35] Megan Abernathy: To really understand the importance of this process and to help prevent them from getting to rock bottom like I did, because it, it really developed a perfect storm. Right. With that chronic stress. There's an upregulation of your H P A access, right, the adrenals. Then we have the downregulation of our thyroid and our reproductive hormones, and then we have the gut dysfunction, and you and I both know, it's like gut dysfunction, thyroid stuff.

[00:13:59] Megan Abernathy: Thyroid stuff, gut stuff like it's. It's an absolute together. Yeah. With together all this control thrown in there, depleting it, you know what I mean? Jellybean. Mm-hmm. It was all outside of my scope. I was insanely humbled. I thought I knew stuff. Oh boy. They don't really teach the endocrine system much in personal training programs if you didn't know that.

[00:14:17] Megan Abernathy: Mm-hmm. 

[00:14:18] Christa: They don't really treat it, teach it much in my profession either. You have to 

[00:14:21] Megan Abernathy: go learn about it. Well, that's so important, right? Especially in personal training. We're talking about fat loss. Like you're not gonna talk about the thyroid when it's like, you know. So I've learned a lot and I'm grateful for that.

[00:14:32] Megan Abernathy: I've, I, like, I wouldn't even recognize myself four years ago. I love looking back on the memories and looking, I mean, sometimes I'm gutted. To see where I was. I just, right, right now is actually when I woke up, well actually it's really soon, but the 2020 is when I quit. I spent $700 on a 12 week program.

[00:14:47] Megan Abernathy: It was as disordered as you could get, and I quit before finishing that 12 week program. I mean, I'm not a quitter, but that's when I knew it was time to go to therapy, and so I just stopped doing what I was doing and dropped more money on a therapist and it was a really great investment. And, you know, it's still a journey of course, but I'm really grateful.

[00:15:04] Megan Abernathy: But yeah, definitely took a lot of, um, courage. You know, like big swallow. I promoted isogenics. Which was cleansing, you know, 24 hours, 48 hour cleanses. I really believed in it. Like, wanna apologize to my followers every day, seeing what I was doing and promoting and believing in, and just forgiving myself, you know?

[00:15:23] Megan Abernathy: So it's been a big journey with that. So, very humbling indeed, and learning. There's a lot of people smarter than me, and I'm grateful 

[00:15:28] Christa: for them. You don't know what you don't know, and the best thing you can do is apologize or say, I've changed my mind as you grow more. So, so far we've talked a little bit about what happens when we do this chronic dieting through your own story.

[00:15:42] Christa: Mm-hmm. And there's just so many relatable things I hear from your story, right? You go from this restriction phase, and I see this in my business, undesirably, right? People come in and they've maybe worked with someone and done a lot of restriction. I'll hear about their whole. Integrative, quote unquote, or functional, natural alternative, whatever story.

[00:16:02] Christa: And because there's a lot out there about books and diets on how to do things, and unfortunately because food is a beautiful foundation, it is a foundation. But we should be able to digest food. We should be able to absorb food and get the nutrients we should be able to tolerate most foods. But because immune dysregulation happens, Under stress of all types, including dieting and under gut dysbiosis, sometimes our immune system reads foods as not welcome, right?

[00:16:31] Christa: Especially in autoimmune cases. And so this can look a bit messy and complicated and that this episode's not about that. But the point is people will sometimes go into these restrictive, Phases because at first they do it really innocently, like, I'm gonna try this thing. And then they're like, well this is really great.

[00:16:46] Christa: And then I get to see these people who are, are on restriction for very long times. And then they're like, this sucks. And I was like, yes it does. You know? How do you not think it's gonna suck at some point? Usually like, I don't, I guess I don't see those people who don't think that. Right? Yeah. So what happens is, is they are, like you said, similar to.

[00:17:03] Christa: Like almost body building we're very nutrient and depleted when things were not working in, if the causes were in the gut and in stress chemistry and we didn't address either one of those, unfortunately, we're not any further ahead and we're actually more depleted unfortunately. So this is where I think that this pro metabolic movement has really taken a great foothold and it's probably a corner of the internet.

[00:17:23] Christa: I really appreciate for its, Hey, let's pron nourish. Let's nourish the thyroid. Let's nourish the adrenals. Because by the way, Your thyroid's not okay just because your thyroid labs say it's okay. Unfortunately, whole nother topic for another day. The signs and symptoms of your metabolic rate and what's going on with your metabolism are enough to say, Hey, you're that thyroid loves a little support.

[00:17:44] Christa: So this pro metabolic movement has been really appreciated for this nourishment first perspective, which is what you know, you also wholeheartedly believe. But we talked off air before we jumped on today, that there can be some. Issues that are not being talked about except for in the reviews of the books on Amazon, I see 'em really prevalent.

[00:18:03] Christa: Right? There's some complaining about people gaining weight as they start to nourish, so will you unpack that a little bit? 

[00:18:11] Megan Abernathy: Yeah. I think there's so much that is missing when someone reads a popular book. Or a post on Instagram, even if it's 10 slides with a good caption. But we live in a soundbite culture.

[00:18:28] Megan Abernathy: Mm-hmm. 92nd reels. Mm-hmm. It context and nuance are lost and everybody has their own metabolic set point. Right, and more of like a metabolic identity. It's adaptive and, and depending on where you've been, what you've done, what season of life you're in, like menopause, starting a new job, pregnant, just graduated college or right.

[00:18:52] Megan Abernathy: Like totally, you know, all of those make you so unique and so those. You're not able to apply that. So I think per metabolic is getting a lot of flack because people drank a ton of orange juice and ate ice cream before bed. Mm-hmm. And then got really, uh, like gained weight. So I also gained weight and I think it's so important to understand that it's not just calories.

[00:19:14] Megan Abernathy: It's not just blood sugar that are to blame. It's not just the Randall cycle, which is eating too many carbs and fat at the same time, which will just equate to fat storage. And that's something that because I have an eating disorder background, I still am less triggered. But I can be easily triggered by some of this talk in the pro metabolic, because I've had one heck of the last three years with long haulers post the vd.

[00:19:40] Megan Abernathy: And I haven't even recognized my body at all, and so I have to make sure when I read those posts, I don't blame myself for drinking an adrenal cocktail. That's why I'm fat. Does that make sense? It's so easy to fall into those camps. Victimization is not. A good look. I don't play the oppression Olympics, so I tried to catch up on that and realize, you know what I, it's always us, our responsibility, even taking protocols from a coach like it's, or whoever, you know, it's always up to us to have this self participation responsibility there.

[00:20:15] Megan Abernathy: And so what I wanna talk about is, while it's great that this concept of nourishment we need to eat more food is growing in popularity, there's a couple things we need to address. Number one, Do we actually have a situation with just improper tracking or we're not really utilized in a food log appropriately?

[00:20:31] Megan Abernathy: Because if that's the case, that can often lead to improper judgment and we'll make decisions based on that. So some people might not actually be undereating. You know, fun fact, there's a study that showed that dieticians underreported their calories by over 300 calories, dieticians. These professionals.

[00:20:46] Megan Abernathy: So it is common for self-reporting to have mistakes that is well understood. Macro tracking is a skill that like learned over time, your efficiency and your accuracy will improve. But regardless of knowing of that, still the data is encouraged. That like, wow, self-monitoring still has lots of benefits, but there's just a lot of errors we see in tracking.

[00:21:06] Megan Abernathy: So I don't know if we wanna dive into some of the common errors that I see, but the number one thing is predictive maintenance. Equations on the internet aren't going to really, that's not your true maintenance, because that's what I mean by it doesn't, or books or a post, don't understand where your current exercise regimen is.

[00:21:27] Megan Abernathy: Your current non-exercise activities, thermogenesis, otherwise known as neat, your food quality and your t f your thermogenic effective food, right? The more whole foods you eat. The higher metabolic rate can be diet history, which is super crucial. That's why the Biggest Loser study is so important. We see people after extreme chronic diets will burn less calories just at rest than they did before the diet.

[00:21:53] Megan Abernathy: So you have to eat less calories to stay alive, which was hard for the diet. Now you have to just keep doing that to maintain your results, which is why diets get a really bad rep. Cause they're done unsustainable typically. And so that's the issue is there's hormones, GI health, inflammation, the stuff you focus on as well, which is going to.

[00:22:10] Megan Abernathy: Really, really make a big difference on our calories. So I think that's the biggest issue we see. Are we actually undernourished? Or if that is the case, is it from lack of calories? Do we just need to swap some foods? Mm. 

[00:22:23] Christa: Is it the quality of food? I wanna mention something you talked about the under reporting that dieticians have.

[00:22:28] Christa: Yes. That's like kind of well known in our space, but also mm-hmm. Half of the people that go to school for this profession are in dietetic school, have an eating disorder. Right. For the reasons that you said, because when you have an That's me interest, right? When you have an interest, people are like, oh, well this will solve my problems.

[00:22:45] Christa: No, it will not, actually. You will learn nothing useful 

[00:22:49] Megan Abernathy: to solve their problems. Of course. Unfortunately, once you. You see the, like, you know, all the sponsorship and all the lobby and that's like so obvious even back when I went to school in the early two thousands. But, you know, intentions really important.

[00:23:03] Megan Abernathy: I have a study that I could, uh, reference for anyone who's interested to looking that did look at people who track their calories and exercise and what, how it was linked to disordered eating and compulsive exercise. And what was so neat is if people were doing it from a wellbeing, health or fitness and performance.

[00:23:21] Megan Abernathy: Intention there was, it was comparable to the control group, which was not cracking at all. Mm-hmm. So that was so exciting to me and encouraged me coming from my background to know that if I am pulling up chronometer to make sure I'm getting enough protein, making sure I'm balancing out my calcium and phosphorous ratio to make sure I'm getting enough copper and like all of these things, I'm not feeling the same as when I pulled up my Fitness Pal and was just looking at my macros.

[00:23:49] Megan Abernathy: And making sure that I was not overeating carbs or whatever. The intention is really important to hone in on here, but macro tracking still might not be for everybody, but as long as it's coming from a really well, like a nourishment place, it should be pretty safe for most people. 

[00:24:06] Christa: Have a question that may be hard to answer about intention because I think there is what we want and then this shit that's still inside of us.

[00:24:14] Christa: And so it's like I may say like 

[00:24:16] Megan Abernathy: subconscious. Right, exactly. Your subconscious, like what you were just talking about. 

[00:24:19] Christa: Yeah. The subconscious runs everything. So your subconscious mind, 5% of you might be like, I want my intention to be this, but my subconscious. Is actually this, do you sometimes then jump into this with clients and then see some warning signs and then say, you know, I don't think you're quite ready to be tracking this yet.

[00:24:37] Christa: Yes. Okay. Well, what would be some of those warnings? 

[00:24:40] Megan Abernathy: Well, the warnings would be texting me during the day outside of check-ins. With a food, can I eat this? Hmm. Does this fit in? So the beautiful thing of macro tracking, even though I don't believe in, if it fits your macros, because that doesn't mean it's good for your GI health or inflammation.

[00:24:58] Megan Abernathy: You can really, I don't think all calories fit, but that's cuz I have my own health issues and I've learned that works best for me to be a little more picky. Mm-hmm. You know? But I think that being a little bit more afraid to eat foods, looking for my approval to eat foods instead of I'm just kind of giving them structure and I want them to.

[00:25:15] Megan Abernathy: Move within the structure. I think other red flags are also, I think it, it is a little bit more bigger picture. I think what I've noticed from just conversations in my dms to when I was working with clients in the pro metabolic space is they add calories really fast. Because they learned they were undereating and they weren't getting results.

[00:25:37] Megan Abernathy: So they're like, okay, well I have to basically reverse my diet, add more calories in so then I can start a deficit again and get results again. Mm-hmm. And then they are driven by that underneath the hood Drive to just be dieting again. So whatever they have to do to diet again, they'll do. And it's like, that's where I'm like, oh, so.

[00:25:58] Megan Abernathy: You reading 1300 calories in February and now you're up to 1900 calories in May, and now you hired me and you're ready to go into a fat loss phase because you also gained about 20 pounds and now you're mad. Like that's not how reverse dieting works. I don't think that applies to everybody, but that's also a red flag to me because.

[00:26:17] Megan Abernathy: Again, the drive is like to always wanna be in that diet mode to wanna be getting smaller, to control what our body image looks like. And so I, I, I get it, I'm dealing with it myself, but that's where I have to ask, you know, really good questions. Cause that's something I can do that's within my lane. Just get them talking and then just also just help them find professionals like I'm help them.

[00:26:37] Megan Abernathy: I do have a lot of posts about body image that I've put together through my own healing journey, working with professionals, but I just think it's unfair. To people who don't have a background in that. Cause I'm not gonna do my clients the service. That's somebody who has studied psychology or, oh, you know what I mean?

[00:26:53] Megan Abernathy: They can recognize the stuff that I can't. Mm-hmm. So those would be the red flags. It's like, can I eat this? Is this okay? Or, you know, obsessing over the nitty gritty. Mm-hmm. Um, And then also like, just like I need to be in a fat loss phase so I feel better about my progress. Mm-hmm. There's this like chasing this accomplishment of a diet.

[00:27:15] Megan Abernathy: I think it's just another sort of that dopamine high there are cultures on, so I think those are some red flags that I would look for. 

[00:27:21] Christa: Oh, those were super relatable. I've seen all of those. All the time. In fact, I was thinking, I was like, what is the word for obsessed with dieting? We have a lot of terms.

[00:27:31] Christa: I mean, there's like orthorexia being obsessed with like health stuff, right? But there's like having body dysmorphia. I don't know, what would you call this? Obsessed with dieting. Like I, I want to get back into that cuz I'm like so accustomed to it. We don't have to have a name either. I'm just like, I don't know.

[00:27:47] Megan Abernathy: I don't know. But I'll ponder on it. But I know for, for myself, it came from a deep lack of self. Worth and I was just trying to fill that hole. Yeah. With this lie that society has told me since I was probably like right, two years old, conscious to take in the world to look a certain way. So I think that there's so much underlying that.

[00:28:10] Megan Abernathy: So I do think that the cards are stacked up against us as women in this society, but it's up to us to take personal responsibility with those thoughts and wrestle with them. Mm-hmm. And hire professionals to help you learn how to do that. Yeah. Cause you don't, like, you're not born outta the womb to learn how to do that.

[00:28:25] Megan Abernathy: Yeah. Like I think it's so important to know we can't be the solution. So like, I think self-help has benefits, but it has its limits. Like you've gotta hire, books are good, but therapy and therapists are really great. 

[00:28:37] Christa: Mm-hmm. I think that how can every woman or human being not have issues with self-worth?

[00:28:44] Christa: I don't, I don't really see how that's possible, honestly, cuz we're all dealing with just things that struck us all differently throughout our childhood, our entire 

[00:28:51] Megan Abernathy: life. I mean, you talked recently about trauma and stuff, so Yeah, we all have a lot of that. So there is a big correlation to trauma and eating disorders.

[00:28:59] Megan Abernathy: Mm-hmm. And there's actually perfectionism and being a perfectionist is a huge precursor to disordered eating. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And diets. Stuff like that. So those are other things to work, look out for. 

[00:29:11] Christa: Yeah. I see a lot of perfectionism in practice and it's okay. I always like to say like, let's not blame ourselves for being human, but let's look at what we can change or improve.

[00:29:20] Christa: So I want to get into some basic. Definitions, or you've done this beautiful job of sharing your story and helping people really see themselves throughout pieces of your story. For sure. I know it, but I wanna talk about, I wanna get back to some basics before we kind of even get to that wrapping up phase, which is, let's talk about.

[00:29:41] Christa: What is reverse dieting and who is it for now? There's been, we've been, we touched on pieces of it throughout this, but I think that this is for some of the people listening to this, a newer concept. So let's just talk about basically what's reverse dieting. Who's it for? Why is it important? 

[00:29:55] Megan Abernathy: Well, I think defining terms is really important.

[00:29:59] Megan Abernathy: Gotta understand definitions. So reverse sighting is exactly. What it sounds like it's going to be dieting in reverse, so it's systematically and slowly adding calories back in. So a lot of the time clients come to personal trainers like myself, wanting to lose weight, and what I see is they've already been dieting on and off, on and off.

[00:30:27] Megan Abernathy: Like we said, this yo-yo dieting, this chronic dieting. For a long time, for most of their journeys. So they're already in a downregulated, stressed out state. So instead of retting this and by adding more exercise or less calories, first off, I have to see what they're already currently doing. So I. Before I hand them a weight loss goal, or the carrot that I think people are so addicted to, I say, I gotta see what your body's doing.

[00:30:53] Megan Abernathy: What are we maintaining at? What are we doing? And so maintenance is a really important phase that you have to master before even going into a reverse diet. Because if you've been inconsistent with your nutrition, you've been inconsistent with your workouts, then. Being in a routine that you can actually maintain is a huge and massive progress flex.

[00:31:15] Megan Abernathy: It takes so much consistency and so much effort. My clients, I think, get annoyed because it doesn't have that to Ching. The scale went down to Ching like that. Whatever that sensation is that we're chasing when we're dieting, maintenance doesn't have that, but it does have more social life flexibility.

[00:31:34] Megan Abernathy: Hmm, higher libido where it might come back. More performance, you know, just a lot of benefits that we need to kind of, if we're need needing to address disorder behaviors, we're needing to address our body image. So many people think that losing weight will help their body image, and I'm just telling 'em like, no, that's not what the data shows.

[00:31:52] Megan Abernathy: The data shows that it's body appreciation and gratitude towards the body are key variables in this, and that does not equate to going in a calorie deficit. And there's so many ways to lose weight without taking calories away. Like people will slide in my dams and they're like, oh, I, I'm doing a deficit.

[00:32:09] Megan Abernathy: And I started working out again. I was like, well, why would you do both of those dials? At the same time when, that's the fun part of understanding periodization of no, like having a plan and knowing when you're gonna adjust or change the variable. So it's coming from more of an objective, less knee jerk and emotional reaction, right?

[00:32:29] Megan Abernathy: So if I'm feeling fat that day, I'm not gonna change everything that I'm doing because of that. I am in maintenance mode. I'm focusing on protein. I'm focusing on lifting weights three times a week. I'm focusing on my bedtime routine and not being on my phone close to bed doing, you know what I mean? Like it's pretty hard to focus on all those things consistently, and that's what I want my clients or people to understand.

[00:32:50] Megan Abernathy: What this really is, is nutrition. Periodization is not just reverse dieting, it's finding what maintenance is. Because metabolic adaptations are normal responses from the body. They're go, we're going to see that. And so if I, we've been up and down a sporadic, I don't, the, the adaptations of that are also sporadic and so we just need to maintain.

[00:33:10] Megan Abernathy: But even a maintenance phase, we will see plateaus. That's normal around 16 weeks and around 30 weeks. So that's why we have periodization two to mitigate plateaus and also the negative adaptations we see from dieting, leptin and grelin are really important hormones when it comes to hunger and satiety, like fullness and hunger as you, you know, and hopefully your listeners know.

[00:33:34] Megan Abernathy: And so that's something we can also mitigate with some of these strategies is, uh, some of those stuff. Cause you know, if you, you know, eventually you get to a point where you're eating 900 to a thousand calories a day. You're working out every day like the biggest loser folks to get results. So what are the consequences of to go having, just to go lower and lower to try and get to your goal?

[00:33:53] Megan Abernathy: So that's what reverse diet is, or nutrition periodization is looking at some of those people. That's not everybody by any means, but it can, it's a lot of people out there. Would 

[00:34:03] Christa: you say that reverse dieting and nutrition periodization are interchangeable? I would think that they're not. But you have an interesting post online that has like a nice calendar year about periodized nutrition.

[00:34:14] Christa: Will you walk through what you mean by periodized, nutrition and some of the different types of periods or phases that people will be in when trying to maybe play with body composition, have fun and enjoy what they're doing, et cetera, et cetera? 

[00:34:27] Megan Abernathy: Yes. Yeah. So there those posts are panned on my profile, so if you guys wanna check those out.

[00:34:33] Megan Abernathy: So typically how I classify, there's like the fat loss phase. It would be like the burn, like the stressful phase. And then there's maintenance days, which is just easy. It's not really easy coasting, but it should be minimal stress on the body. We're trying to just like support the body and have fun, like you were saying.

[00:34:51] Megan Abernathy: And a lot of people don't have not really been there very much, so we wanna like figure that out. Then we have reverse siding, also known as bulking, perhaps in the bodybuilding world because you do have to eat more food to build muscle. But if you do it and and bodybuilders do sometimes get fluffy in their cheeks and like when they're in their off season, you see that, and that's also because it's what you kind of have to do in order to gain muscle to create the environment of a surplus to where your body will be like, okay, it's good to.

[00:35:18] Megan Abernathy: Grow right now, but that's also stressful in the body. It's important to understand that like kind of both ends are stress on the body for different reasons, right? Growing muscle means you're like, It's really crushing it at the gym and crushing food. Like eating lots of food, which is also stressful on your GI system and all that protein on your, you know what I mean?

[00:35:36] Megan Abernathy: Mm-hmm. So both of those are gonna be like the main three categories. So you're gonna cruise through in nutrition periodization. And when I put my clients in a fat loss phase, it's very rare that that would ever be right off the bat, as I mentioned, because I don't know their bodies, I don't. And so I don't know how their bodies are gonna respond to anything.

[00:35:54] Megan Abernathy: Just because something worked in the past with Coach X, Y, Z doesn't mean it's gonna happen. Now I've gotta understand their physiology, so I need eight weeks of tea. And a lot of people can't even give me that. And I'm like, oh, really? Well, you wanna go in a diet phase, you wanna make this harder? No way, Jose.

[00:36:09] Megan Abernathy: And those are where I have to put my foot down. And clients, some don't like that. Um, they, they have gerd, they have a shoulder injury, but they're like puffy and they wanna lose weight. And I'm like, well, I'm not the coach for you then. Like, you're not ready. Like you said, there's so much stuff under the hood that needs to be in homeostasis, especially for females.

[00:36:25] Megan Abernathy: The body doesn't understand getting shredded for vk. It's just not, not, we didn't get that phone update. This isn't how the physiology works. Right. So I think that's something that's really missing right now. And so the concept is like you've got to earn your right to diet. And that's not just in calories consumed, it's in behaviors cuz you have goals and you have desires and you have to bridge that with actions and behaviors.

[00:36:49] Megan Abernathy: And so we wanna make sure that those are driven from healthy places. Because you, I am not anti-D diet, but I'm anti-D diet culture and so there's a lot of unlearning that we have to do in order to like be, and you can safely navigate the space. I talk to people that, that are practitioners in the space that have been doing similar work as me and they're safely navigating parties, eating foods that they might not have felt okay to do, and they're restrictive ways and they're also still dropping inches and losing weight.

[00:37:14] Megan Abernathy: You know, it can't exist. It just is a lot of work and a lot of unlearning and sometimes people just. It's, it's just hard to do when you have all this other stuff going on in life as well. 

[00:37:24] Christa: Hmm. Talk to us about how maybe long some of these phases would be. Months. It sounds like they're at least maybe two months at a time.

[00:37:32] Christa: Yes, 

[00:37:32] Megan Abernathy: definitely. So I would say hire me. Okay. Wow. Looks like we gotta figure some stuff out. Eight to 10 weeks maybe in maintenance, and then we'll see where we're at. Cause what was that? Are they only eating 1500 calories? Is that enough for them? Sometimes people are gonna need to add calories back in because if they're eating 1600, 1500 calories to create a deficit, that's gonna be a minus 15 to 20% of what you were eating.

[00:37:59] Megan Abernathy: Some people go straight to 20, and I'm like, why would you do that? Start a 15? Like if you could lose weight at eating 15% less? Why would you not try that first? So be like, oh yeah. Like, yeah, try that. Or then try 16, then 17. You see where I'm going with that? So, but some people aren't even eating enough to safely do that.

[00:38:16] Megan Abernathy: I'm like, I can't take 15 to 17% of your calories away right now. And if we were to do that. So it depends on who they are and where they're at. Some people come to me like rock stars eating 2000 calories already, and I'm like, Woohoo. Like this is something I can work with. Right. So then I might be able be efficient enough to go into a fat loss phase.

[00:38:32] Megan Abernathy: Mm-hmm. And that would be anywhere between. Minimum at least eight weeks least, but you're not gonna see much action in eight weeks. Especially like, yeah, cuz the scale is gonna be all over the place. Inches will definitely be a little more consistent there, but I would say maximum 24 weeks in a fat loss phase maximum.

[00:38:52] Megan Abernathy: It's also a really long time my friend. Is in a diet phase right now. Well known coach we're like besties in the dms and she's a com like, and she spend three years since she's been in a diet phase and she, I'm just laughing, so I'm like, why do people wanna be in this all the time? Maintenance is the jam.

[00:39:07] Megan Abernathy: It is so much easier to be in maintenance. Once you're really understand it, you will, you will, it'll just click for you. But a diet phase is appropriate, but we were, I was helping her figure out. Duration 16, 24 weeks are pretty good. Sweet spot. Four months. But in there you'll see diet breaks even within, cuz like 16 weeks, like four months of a diet is so hard to stay consistent, right?

[00:39:31] Megan Abernathy: We're gonna have vacations, we're gonna have parties, we're gonna have things like that. So I, when I was working with clients, so I'm not currently coaching, but we do, uh, diet breaks every two weeks or so. And where we actually take their calories back up to maintenance, almost break their calorie deficit.

[00:39:48] Megan Abernathy: Most of that comes from carbohydrates. Their calorie spike. Of course, I do all the calculations for them, and we do a little bit of trial and error, but the, so they're at a deficit for 11 to 12 days, then they spike their food. It's not called a cheat day semantics matter. It is, uh, calorie spike. It is a re-feed.

[00:40:06] Megan Abernathy: And what that does is by spiking mostly carbohydrates, I do give five grams of fat just cause it makes it easier to fit it in. But that helps negate some of the grelin issues and leptin issues. We'll see with extreme dieting. So we'll, uh, also with some of the hormonal adaptations, so you'll get some carbs.

[00:40:24] Megan Abernathy: The body's like, oh yeah. Two, it needs to be two days at least. Typically three days. Then we go back into the deficit and so we can kind of go back and forth, which seems tedious, but because you can plan it up and like I'm going on a date night or it's my birthday, or I have a barbecue, like we can kind of plan out a little bit more flexible, cuz it's like 400 more calories or maybe 250 more.

[00:40:46] Megan Abernathy: Depends on what it is. Who, who they are. But to give an idea, it's like a lot more wiggle room. So it can just be really fun. And that's. A little scientific, this might be a lot too much data for people, and depending on who people are, you don't always need to obsessively track. There's a lot of training the eyeball and building your plate, and you kind of can really master that skill over time.

[00:41:06] Megan Abernathy: The data shows where if you just track 63% of the year, you can maintain. You'll get the best results according to this, like all the groups and maintain it so you don't have to track every day. But when you're in your fat loss phase, I'm way more stickler on it. But when you're in your maintenance phase, you don't have to track as much.

[00:41:25] Megan Abernathy: And when you're in your reverse diet phase, you probably should cuz it's really easy to overeat, gain more weight than you wanted to. Hmm. So all the phases kind of require a little different diligence, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea for multiple reasons. Everyone says to me, oh, I don't have time to do that, and I laugh at them and I'm like, can you check your screen time?

[00:41:44] Megan Abernathy: How much time are you on Instagram? Because if you want to track your food, then I bet you you have time. Mm-hmm. 

[00:41:49] Christa: Yeah, I appreciate that you shared these little breaks in the fat loss phase because my brain would be like, oh, what a relief. That's a long time to be diligent or consistent on something or whatever.

[00:42:00] Christa: And also it's nice. It's exhausting. Yeah, exactly. And so it's just really nice to see that there's all of that nuance there and flexibility, and that's what you want, because that's like. Real life. I think more, cuz there's nothing, there's nothing worse than being like, well I can't eat this on my birth.

[00:42:15] Christa: Like what a dead life. You cannot enjoy your birthday or a party or whatever. But that's just my 

[00:42:21] Megan Abernathy: opinion. Or you end up binging really hard. Like I like, here's your signs. That's. Yeah. Yeah. So that's something that happened to me, like my birthday's tomorrow. Mm-hmm. And I was reflecting in my memories where I was.

[00:42:34] Megan Abernathy: This was right at the breaking point of that fitness program. And I looked at my emails to see what I said, and I was like looking at what's okay to eat, looking for her approval, like all these things that are red flags now. Because I think from a coaching perspective, we should be teaching our clients autonomy.

[00:42:50] Megan Abernathy: You know how to like think for themselves, make decisions for themselves and self-efficacy, belief in themselves to complete a task. And I didn't see any of that coming from this coaching program. And I was like, whoa. So many red flags. But you know, I didn't know at the time what to be looking for. Yeah.

[00:43:05] Megan Abernathy: But you know, I think for your listeners, If they're dealing with more of the chronic stuff under the hood, then that's where working with someone who is skilled at reverse dieting and nutrition periodization is really important because if you just go all willy-nilly with adding calories in is where we could see some unwanted weight gain, which is probably what's happening with the pro metabolic folks for numerous reasons, not just cuz they're eating too many calories.

[00:43:31] Megan Abernathy: But you know, I think, you know, some of those, um, nuances are high stress. We have that cortisol induced insulin resistance. That's what I had. I think that contributed to some of the weight gain. I saw rights because, you know, having that cortisol is compromising nutrition partitioning. So we're just on, it's like messes up your fuel storage patterns and it has nothing to do with really could be eating the same amount of calories.

[00:43:57] Megan Abernathy: Not even eating extra carbs or extra calories. And here we are demonizing maple syrup and ice cream when it, it might have just been like muscles and motherhood. Margaret shared an amazing post that was showing how high stress situations you actually burn about a hundred calories less per day. And that adds up really fast.

[00:44:14] Megan Abernathy: So she was showing how stressful environments can cause weight gain, and a lot of that could be from this insulin resistance. I just think it's so important to not bully on calories so much when there's so much more going on and we can gain weight eating the same amount of foods as we, were not even adding more calories in because of some of the stuff that we'll see.

[00:44:31] Megan Abernathy: Right. I've 

[00:44:32] Christa: totally done that to myself. Right? Yes. And, and hindsight's 2020 and you mentioned the doing a lot of carbs and fat at the same time. I totally, when I was working for an Edmund and fasting program in like 2017 ish, totally created that situation too. And so I get it, like I get it, and it was like, wow, well if you're gonna eat, I've been better off not doing that.

[00:44:54] Megan Abernathy: Well, if you're gonna eat all your calories in one meal, yeah. I'm like, then, then you're gonna have to eat a lot of carbs and fat at once. And people tell me, I'm like, what? Like if you need 1800 to 2000 calories a day, those are some really big meals. So like get it all down the hatch. You know? So it's like, you know, no better and do better.

[00:45:10] Megan Abernathy: It's kind of where we're all at. And that's, you know, and that's why I'm grateful to be humble and speak that. I think there's some other big things. You know, the biggest thing is do we have accurate data on your food intake and food records? Are we tracking and using those apps correctly? So that's a whole thing to look at.

[00:45:28] Megan Abernathy: But then are we seeing more serious stuff like metabolic syndrome type two diabetes, severe insulin resistance? This is more common than we'd like to see. Right. That's totally outside of my scope, but if that's the case, they might, you know, maybe increase thirst, what we'd be looking for, urination, fatigue, blurred vision.

[00:45:46] Megan Abernathy: Those would probably be some things I'd be looking for, but I have to be asking the right questions. Mm-hmm. Even know that. Right? And these cases often require doctor supervision, lifestyle, food quality, movement. Related adjustments before you'd ever titrate calories. Right? So that's something to think about.

[00:46:03] Megan Abernathy: And then also the cortisol Dews build muscle. Yeah. Build some muscle, which will help with the insulin resistance. So that's super cool. But that the problem with the pro metabolic folks is that God bless them, some of them aren't fit as professionals. And then they're making fitness recommendations. So that's why me and my girl Estelle, who I love so much, is also the pro about fitness.

[00:46:20] Megan Abernathy: We keep talking about, no, no, no, don't stop weight training. If you stop weight training two weeks out of every month, you're pro and and eating extra food. Like, you know what I mean? Like we have to be very careful so you're not up glucose. Absolutely. And so we have to be careful of like down, you know, so if you were going from six bootcamp classes a week, you know, eating 1200 calories a day to then doing a lot of food and.

[00:46:44] Megan Abernathy: No workouts during your LAL phase. Like we're going to see some body composition changes that might be less than ideal. So that's where we, we have to make sure we have fair expectations of who we're working with. But some people just don't have background of fitness and that's not their fault. Right?

[00:46:58] Megan Abernathy: They're just doing the best they can because fitness and exercise are a stressor. And so we want to, uh, look at, but there's a lot of other stresses in our life that we can appropriately dial down. That's not our fitness routine. Uh, we don't have to get rid of it altogether, of course. Mm-hmm. For sure.

[00:47:13] Christa: Okay, so you've mentioned a lot. You've dropped the calorie word a lot here, which is fine. Mm-hmm. But I want to know how you would, so one of the questions I got, When we were gonna come on here and do this episode with someone said, how many calories should I add per week? And there's, you're not gonna be able to give someone a black and white answer, but I'd like you to walk through what are some of the questions that have to be answered before you can answer 

[00:47:35] Megan Abernathy: that question?

[00:47:36] Megan Abernathy: Yes. Step one is, how many calories are you currently eating? A lot of people don't know that. So I think number one is track your food using Kme, MyFitness Pal Kme is more accurate for at least. Two weekdays and a weekend day three to five to seven days, get some data. Just track your food. No judgements.

[00:47:59] Megan Abernathy: Do your best. It's gonna take some practice and you might wanna read a blog or two. Cause there's, I have some, there's lots of blogs like on tips on how to do it. Don't get discouraged. But that's the best way because if you, you don't know what needs improving without the data. So tracking your calories just to see where you're at in the first place.

[00:48:17] Megan Abernathy: Step one, and then we wanna look at your biofeedback is what we call it. Your signs, your symptoms, how's your energy, your recovery, your performance in the gym, how are your cycles? Those sort of things. Cause that would, some of those, if they're negative biofeedback, that might be indicated. We need more food.

[00:48:36] Megan Abernathy: We also just might need. More nutrition. So swapping some of those processed foods out from more whole foods just to get more of that nutrition punch. What's so fascinating though, is what needs to be addressed is if you go from eating a diet of a lot of process, they're like eating out that sort of stuff.

[00:48:54] Megan Abernathy: And then you switch, and now you're gonna eat a ton of spaghetti squash and zucchini and all that stuff is, it's really filling but doesn't have a lot of calories. So it's, you actually eat a lot less calories on Whole Foods, which is good, but sometimes that might mean we're undereating. Does that make sense?

[00:49:12] Megan Abernathy: So it really is very, it's really difficult to pinpoint for each individual, but I would say number one is start tracking step one. Check your biofeedback. Cause no one really knows how a nutrition or fitness program will work for you. You've gotta see how's my biofeedback responding to this protocol?

[00:49:31] Megan Abernathy: And that's how I can make adjustments. And even as a coach with experience, it doesn't mean I already know what to do. Oh, when I see that I do that. Like there's no rule playbook. You know? It's just, as you know, the more experience you have with cases, you can start to see trends and understand. How to mitigate some of it from your past experiences, but no one really knows the answers.

[00:49:53] Megan Abernathy: So it's just really important to understand hiring a coach or a practitioner. The work's just beginning. Mm-hmm. Yeah, for sure. So 

[00:50:02] Christa: I was wondering, you're in this space. I'm not in this space. I was thankful to find you. Who are some of the thought leaders in this reverse dieting space and periodized nutrition that you respect?

[00:50:13] Megan Abernathy: Well, my biggest mentor in this is Sam Miller Science. He okay. Yeah. I did his functional. Yeah, he's amazing. So I did his fancy certification, FM n s or whatever. I mixed, I mix it up, acronyms, but I did that cert last year. That was really helpful. Mostly just to understand my own personal situation, but when he just did a podcast on was so important.

[00:50:35] Megan Abernathy: Like how? Common complex cases are, that's what I was noticing between the mindset challenges that I'm facing that are really deeply rooted to the complicated physiologies and like, yeah, just like, you know, some people have like severe gut issues we didn't talk about, or like hormone downregulation, oxidation, date of stress and inflammation stuff is completely outside my scope.

[00:50:58] Megan Abernathy: But that like, those people should not be forcing food, you know, because their body can't. Properly assimilate it. Yeah. You're not fixing 

[00:51:06] Christa: the new, the 

[00:51:07] Megan Abernathy: nutrient deficiencies cause you can't digest. Yeah. Sam and Sam is really, really keen on all of these nuances. He's really been the key player in a lot of this.

[00:51:16] Megan Abernathy: A lot of the information I even know comes from him. He's been a big mentor in my life. And then another person that I love is of Samantha Joelle, and she runs Level 10 Fitness. She is a wonderful, constant creator and educator and she used to teach at like elementary school or do like gym class. She has really fun cuz she has a fun back.

[00:51:38] Megan Abernathy: Like she really is creative and I love learning from her. So those would be some names to check out, but it's gotten pretty popular. But again, you just really wanna vet people and see how. Well versed they are in it. I have somebody also that's not super big in the scene, but she's my friend Kim. So if you guys DM me and you're interested, I don't know if she's taking on current clients right now, but I've coaches too that are well-versed, that have really good experience with this concept.

[00:52:04] Megan Abernathy: But I can send you two that might not be accounts with the bajillion followers, but are still really good at their job, you know? Yeah, for 

[00:52:10] Christa: sure there's, mm-hmm. And you, and you mentioned this complexity, and I would agree, like people are more and more complex by the year. I think we can surmise why that is, but this is why we still do and will continue to do one-on-one work because without it, I feel like you can't get into the nuance, you can't get into the complexities.

[00:52:29] Christa: And for me personally, we all have different things that like fuel us. For me personally, I can't unsee certain things. So if I open up someone's case or open the box on someone's case, I'm like, I would like to fix all these, not the stuff you do, but like, I'm like, I wanna fix the adrenals and the thyroid and the gut and the liver and I want all those things to work well.

[00:52:48] Christa: And like if I cannot do all of them, they're all related anyway, so it drives me crazy. So I feel like you have to be pretty comprehensive due to the complexity and that's okay. That's okay. But yeah, anyway, so that's cool. Where can people find you 

[00:53:00] Megan Abernathy: online? Megan? I just think I wanna say that that is what is so important in the fitness industry.

[00:53:06] Megan Abernathy: Is that there aren't a lot of people that can handle the complexity at all, and I've hired and fired a lot of them, and doesn't mean that they're not a good fit for. I think if the key here is, do I have an like a optimal physiological and psychological baseline, so how's my mindset, how's my metabolism functioning?

[00:53:26] Megan Abernathy: If those both have a green light, then most fitness professionals are a good fit for you. But if you don't have a good mindset or your metabolism is not working very well, then you might wanna be, you need to be very careful on who you hire in the fitness world. Yeah. Cause they might cause more damage than good.

[00:53:41] Megan Abernathy: And that is something that I, as a fitness professional with a degree in nutrition, so I'm, I, I'm a little bit of both, but I'm not a practitioner and I can't order labs, so I have to stay in my own lane, but I wanna represent, I think we're also the glue, uh, between someone who hired you and then has a coach.

[00:53:58] Megan Abernathy: I can really help them do all the stuff you want them to do. I can, you know, I think personal trainers are really important part of the mix, but they need to be caught up with what's going on with the complexity so they can really be effective in their approaches. Yeah, and appreciate 

[00:54:11] Christa: it. Which it's a great, I need more people like you to refer to because I always think, you know, when I get done with someone, it's really good for them to go work on their metabolic resilience next.

[00:54:22] Megan Abernathy: Right. Yeah, exactly. If you, I refer tons of people all the time to other people. So to find me, I am on Instagram pretty regularly, even though I'm not currently building a business or anything. I have some free downloads on my link tree or a masterclass I did with my girl Estelle. Cause we saw a lot of missing pieces in the pro metabolic world for fitness.

[00:54:43] Megan Abernathy: Mm-hmm. So we were like, okay, we're both fitness professionals. Let's like fill in the gaps here. So check that out guys, if that's of interest to you. But I just wanna close this out saying that adaptive thermogenesis, which is what we were talking about, the metabolism is variant and transient. So it doesn't mean it's broken, and that's good news.

[00:55:00] Megan Abernathy: That's why this conversation is important. Meaning it can mitigate some of the stuff like when diets get bad reps, it's because we weren't approaching it with some of these concepts that we talked about today. Learning about this stuff 17 years into the biz is blowing my mind, wishing that I had known about it in the beginning.

[00:55:17] Megan Abernathy: So by spending time optimizing our metabolism and building muscle and enjoying life, The longer you stay out of a deficit, the better you respond to one and the easier and more sustainable it'll be in that approach. So that's what I wanna say in summary. That's why this stuff is really important, even if it's complex.

[00:55:35] Megan Abernathy: So is all the other topics you address on this podcast. It just takes time to kind of swim in the, in the information, to absorb it all. 

[00:55:43] Christa: Yeah, I love it. Thanks so much for sharing that. So on line, you are Megan, me Fit, I think, right? Yep. With an 

[00:55:51] Megan Abernathy: underscore. Yeah. M E G a n underscore me fit. And you find me on Instagram.

[00:55:55] Megan Abernathy: I have a blog, Megan me fit blog.com that I'm not as up to date as I used to be on. But there's a lot more lengthy space in a blog to I, I like to talk, if you can tell. Yeah, so you can check that out too. I appreciate you having me on, and if your followers have any questions, you can find me on the gram and I would love to see if I can help.

[00:56:14] Megan Abernathy: Yeah. Thanks so much for coming on today. Thank you so much. And I'll be, uh, checking in your stories about your chickens and the whole ordeal. Thanks. 

[00:56:21] Christa: Food sensitivities. Low energy and skin issues can all be caused by inflammation. The root cause of inflammation is immune system imbalance. So how do you bring the immune system into balance to correct inflammatory symptoms like food sensitivities?

[00:56:36] Christa: Low energy, skin issues, and a cascade of other things. No one seems to have the answer to like being sick more often than you should be having consistently low vitamin D, b12, iron, salt, and or sugar cravings. Puffiness in your face or extremities, needing a daily antihistamine losing hair, but your labs are normal.

[00:56:56] Christa: The answer to these things is immune resilience, and that's the overarching goal I have when working with one-on-one clients. So how could I help? Well, I found that you want the answer to everything, so I try to be as comprehensive as possible to be a one-stop shop. Now, that doesn't mean I'm going to focus on weight loss because I'm not, but I will focus on the subclinical things that are often preventing weight loss or causing resistance, just for example.

[00:57:20] Christa: But big picture, I love helping people with these nitty gritty, weird symptoms that are falling through the cracks everywhere else Under that inflammatory umbrella, I wanna help you with as much as possible in the time we have together. So I try to include everything I need to do that, or I'm transparent about what I don't include.

[00:57:37] Christa: So what I usually include are a couple of labs, both gut and nutrient labs. You can always add on more if you want or if it's needed. But I try to keep it streamlined and efficient to start. I also include one-on-one interpretation and step-by-step personalized protocols. We will tell you exactly what to do and what you can expect for results and timelines and support between appointments.

[00:57:59] Christa: I have weekly office hours messaging and training so you can understand the basics and ask advanced questions in our face-to-face time. You're welcome to take as much or as little as you want. You can think of it like an all you can eat buffet, but. You can graze here or there as needed, as you need support between appointments.

[00:58:17] Christa: And if we don't hear from you, we'll even check in to make sure things are going okay and that things aren't falling through the cracks. If you're a past client and if you're needed anything, you're welcome to book a call too. If it's been more than a year since I've seen you, and if I need a context of anything that's going on with you right now, I am taking clients currently the last time until fall.

[00:58:38] Christa: So right now I'm accepting calls. We'll ship out our. Testing or your testing in May and really get started in June. So if you want to maximize this season and bring your body into balance, you can go to krista bigler.com or check the show notes and click on that program page to apply and book an intro call.

[00:58:55] Christa: Sharing and reviewing this podcast is the best way to help us succeed with our mission. To help integrate the best of East and 

[00:59:02] Megan Abernathy: West and empower you to raise the bar on your 

[00:59:04] Christa: health story, just go to review. This podcast.com/less stressed life. That's review this podcast.com/less stressed life, and you'll be taken directly to a page where you can insert your review and hit post.

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