Archive for September, 2015

Why I created a weight loss program

tumblr_mw80uuX0by1s6evqlo1_500If you follow Nutrigal, you know I’m an advocate of self-acceptance and being kind to yourself. You also know that I believe diets don’t work. Why then have I created a program for weight loss? The truth is I wish to provide a program that would have helped me all those years ago when I hated my body and went on every diet in the book only to gain the weight back and suffer the devastation of messages in my mind telling me I was a failure and a lazy person. I developed this weight loss and nutrition program to help people like me. It is for women who want to feel better, eat better, and if they need it, lay the groundwork for healing their body.

Clients tell me they just want to stop being bitchy to their husbands and family, or they want to feel enthusiastic about buying clothes again. They want to feel vibrant, not old and frumpy. My new program will change your relationship with food, your health, and your life forever. It is not just a weight-loss program. I want you to feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.

The new program offers weekly group support and ongoing online peer and professional support. I want you to end the diet cycle and stop fighting against your body. I want you to love yourself into wellness by setting achievable goals, not impossible ones. I want you to understand how your body works so you can work in harmony with it. My new program will not leave you high and dry after you lose ten pounds. It takes into account where you are in life and which hormones need balancing for you to feel well, sleep well, and have more energy.

WorkbookI decided to call my program the Body Beautiful Weight-Loss and Nutrition program for Every Body. Some of you cringe. The name reminds you of diet programs that body shame you into signing up. That is not my intention. When you love something, it becomes beautiful in your eyes. I believe every body, and everybody is lovable but when you feel disheartened, uncomfortable going out in social situations, or you stop doing things you love because you are ashamed of your body, then you certainly do not feel beautiful. I believe that every body is beautiful but not everybody feels beautiful in their body. I believe the power of loving your body, exactly how it is right now, is the best way to move towards health and wellbeing. Perhaps you haven’t given your body the time and attention it deserves because you don’t know how. Body Beautiful will show you how to get a good night’s sleep, feel satiated after you eat, have more energy, and stop feeling like weight gain and failing health is inevitable.

The Body Beautiful program does not expect you to stick to your personalized meal plan right off the hop. You will not be expected to be perfect about the program and lose weight quickly. No, each week you will create your own goal, which may be as simple as eat more protein at breakfast, or clean out your fridge, or prepare food for one hour on the weekend. Body Beautiful provides the instructions for these types of goals. When making a goal, I want you to be 80% confident that you can reach it. Each change is designed by you. You will not be given a plan and dropped into the lake. You will not be alone.

In the weekly sessions, you will learn how to work with your body’s needs. Is everyone’s plan the same? No. Your plan is your plan; your goals are your goals. Body Beautiful sets you up for success, not failure and that is why it is different. You will have all the tools you need:

  • know what to order in your favorite restaurant.
  • know what to shop for in the grocery store.
  • have recipes that I will show you how to fit into your plan.
  • have a 120-page workbook that will be your bible for the twelve weeks and beyond.
  • cook for your family and eat the same foods except with Body Beautiful you will save time and energy because you will know exactly what you need to do to prepare for the week.

5523742266_love_watermelon_xlargeWhen women sit across from me, debating whether they are willing to invest in themselves, what usually comes up is fear. On one hand, they have tried so many different eating strategies that their doctor says they are risking their health. On the other hand an inner voice is telling them they can’t do it, it’s too hard. It doesn’t have to be so difficult. You only need to show up weekly to your group with your weekly goals. The Body Beautiful group will be cheering you on. The whole group experience becomes fun, empowering, and life changing. There is no finger-wagging, shaming, or disappointment – just, okay, what have we learned and where do we go from here?

So there you have it. I hope you will join me on October 6, 2015 to start your journey to fun, confidence, and health. For more information, please click: Tell me more about the Body Beautiful Program


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The war in your gut that is preventing your Weight Loss

zombie-clipart-royalty-free-zombie-clipart-illustration-1118531Maybe you’ve just read my blog about the hormone Leptin and how it’s sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Now I need to give you a heads up about another hormone that affects your weight, calorie intake, and those darned sugar cravings. Most importantly, I want to tell you what you can do about it.

Ghrelin is a wonderful hormone that says, “Hey feed me. It’s time to eat.” Ghrelin gets your gastric acid juices flowing in preparation to eat. Found mainly in the gut, ghrelin increases before a meal and, when all things are right in the world, decreases after a meal. The gist of it is ghrelin makes you hungry and leptin lets you know you are full. Studies suggest that people with more body fat are more sensitive to the signals of ghrelin. When you crash diet the blood level of ghrelin rises and you experience cravings for high-calorie, sugary foods. From an evolutionary standpoint, this is actually a good thing. Ghrelin says, “Hey, we aren’t getting what we need. Go eat some carbs.” Ghrelin also favours the storage of belly fat since crash dieting and yo-yo dieting give the message to your system that you are starving, you better store some fat, just in case. The effect of ghrelin is one of the main reasons crash diets lead to weight gain.

When functioning properly ghrelin stimulates hunger before a meal and drops afterwards, letting you know you are full.

Excess fat may increase sensitivity to ghrelin because there may be more receptors for this hormone in a person who is overweight. This person may be getting stronger “I’m hungry!”messages than a leaner person gets.

Dieting increases levels of ghrelin causing cravings for high-calorie foods, which if indulged, lead to thwarted weight loss efforts.

Elevated levels of ghrelin also encourage the accumulation of belly fat or muffin top. This type of fat storage is correlated to hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and fatty liver.

Your gut affects your brain chemistry, hormones, and your weight.

Many scientists call the gut the “second brain.” This makes sense if you think about it. We absorb almost all of our nutrients in the small intestine and it is these very nutrients that allow our brains to make chemicals that determine our mood, the way we focus, and how motivated we are to do things. The chemical messengers in our brains determine everything we do. If our gut health is compromised, so too is our brain – ultimately, our hunger and satiety hormones will stop working properly.

Ghrelin helps manage Inflammation in the Gut.

When we eat a high processed-food diet, colonies of bad bacteria in our gut have a party and multiply. These nasty bacteria produce a toxin called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) that causes inflammation in the intestine. One of the jobs of ghrelin is to fight inflammation in the gut and clear your body of LPS.  Unfortunately, once the ghrelin hormone is elevated it signals that you are hungry for high-calorie foods, and so the cycle continues. We have already learned that people with a higher percentage of fat cells are leptin insensitive and so their brains do not get the message that they are full. When leptin and ghrelin are imbalanced, the mechanism signalling satiety is switched off and the mechanism signalling hunger is switched on. No wonder the cards seem stacked against us when we try to lose weight.

Zombie apocalypse in your gut. It is quite possible there is a war going on in your gut. On one hand, you have the super hero Ghrelin trying to make your gut better by reducing inflammation and preventing the gut from allowing toxins to enter your blood stream. On the other hand, these sneaky little critters produce LPS. LPS has been linked to blocking leptin (the satiety hormone) from entering the brain, disrupting the hormone insulin, favouring fat accumulation in the abdomen, and decreasing ghrelin to further the survival of the bacteria.

Hormones never act alone. There is a delicate balance between hormones, gut health, and body fat. Remember, your fat cells produce hormones and are affected by hormones. Bacteria in the gut have a direct effect on hormone health, how you absorb your nutrients, and your ability to lose weight.

Symptoms of the Zombie bacteria in your gut:

  • Waking up without hunger
  • Restless sleep, not waking up feeling rested
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Intense cravings for high calorie, processed, sugary foods
  • Strong desire for everything to taste sweet
  • Being satiated after a meal but hungry 20 minutes later

Follow these 5 steps to rebalance your gut flora and hormones:

  1. Eat a fibre–rich, whole foods diet. Aim for 40-60 grams of fiber every day— beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains (not whole wheat), some fruits, and lots of vegetables.
  2. Balance your meals to promote blood sugar and hormone balance. Start by limiting sugar, processed foods, and limiting your total fat intake to 30%.
  3. Take a good probiotic and digestive enzymes as recommended by your health care professional. This friendly flora can improve your digestive health and reduce inflammation and allergies.
  4. Test yourself for food sensitivities.Eliminate the most common food allergens for 12 weeks – dairy, gluten, yeast, eggs, corn, soy, and peanuts. After 12 weeks, reintroduce them, one at a time, to see if they cause symptoms. This is an effective way to identify the foods that may be causing problems in your gut.
  5. Get your vitamin D level checked and treat accordingly; Vitamin D puts a lid on inflammation in the gut and your entire system.

Many people come to me with digestive complaints, chronic fatigue, insomnia, night sweats, thyroid problems, and unexplained stubborn weight gain. No matter what their complaint or symptom my bottom line recommendations remain the same: heal your gut, eat whole foods, balance your blood sugar, eat more fibre, remove excess sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods. Isn’t that a no-brainer? Not really. When you are up against a wall, and you’re so darned tired that eating breakfast is a chore, then you need support. For precisely this reason, I’ve developed my 12 Week Body Beautiful Weight Loss & Nutrition Program for Every Body. Click for more details. The next program starts Wednesday October 7th from 6 – 7 p.m. Let’s not let the zombies win!

Blog References:

  1. Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
  2. Mark Hyman, MD


  1. ^Ghrelin-Driven Weight Ghrelin-Driven Weight Gain is TRying to Protect Against Digestive Inflammation  Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol.  Hyland NP, Chambers AP, Keenan CM, Pittman QJ, Sharkey KA.
  2. ^The Story of Ghrelin and Obesity  PNAS  Ralf M. Nass, Bruce D. Gaylinn, Alan D. Rogol, and Michael O. Thorner.
  3. ^Ghrelin Raises Desire for High-Calorie Foods  Annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, in San Diego, 2010.  Tony Goldstone, et al.
  4. ^Food Cravings, Pleasure, Ghrelin, and Stress Eating   Michopoulos V, Loucks T, Berga SL, Rivier J, Wilson ME.
  5. ^Ghrelin Links NPY and Growth Hormone Activation  PLoS ONE  Guillaume Osterstock,, Pauline Escobar, Violeta Mitutsova, Laurie-Anne Gouty-Colomer, Pierre Fontanaud, François Molino, Jean-Alain Fehrentz, Danielle Carmignac, Jean Martinez, Nathalie C. Guerineau.
  6. ^Ghrelin is Intimately Involved in Digestive Tract Repair  PLoS ONE.  Wu R, Dong W, Ji Y, Zhou M, Marini CP, Ravikumar TS, Wang P.
  7. ^Ghrelin Helps Combat LPS Toxicity  Soriano RN, Nicoli LG, Carnio EC, Branco LG.
  8. ^Ghrelin Helps Protect Against Stress-Induced Leaky Gut  J Neurotrauma.   Bansal V, Ryu SY, Blow C, Costantini T, Loomis W, Eliceiri B, Baird A, Wolf P, Coimbra R.
  9. Lin, H. (2004). Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 292:852-858.
  10. ^LPS Tries to Knock Out Ghrelin Activation   Stengel A, Goebel M, Wang L, Reeve JR Jr, Taché Y, Lambrecht NW.
  11. ^LPS Causes Insulin Resistance   Osto M, Zini E, Franchini M, Wolfrum C, Guscetti F, Hafner M, Ackermann M, Reusch CE, Lutz TA.
  12. ^LPS Toxicity Inhibits Leptin Entry Into Brain  Brain Res.   Nonaka N, Hileman SM, Shioda S, Vo TQ, Banks WA.

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