Episode 25: Back to the Basics: Your Metabolism

PYP 25 | Metabolism And Weight Gain


Are you having a hard time losing weight? Metabolism and the food we eat go hand-in-hand in determining our health and the type of life we get to have. World-class nutritionist Haylie Pomroy discusses some of the questions about metabolism and how our food and lifestyle choices are crucial to our health. She also talks about years of experience being in the health industry that has guided her to create a program that can help get your health, weight, and life back on track.


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Back to the Basics: Your Metabolism

One of the favorite things that I get to do every day is answering thousands of questions from all across the United States and the globe. I want to answer some questions that you guys have given to me. The first question is, "Are metabolic differences genetic? Can they be genetic? Can weight gain or these disease propensities be passed on familially?” Absolutely they can. It's whether our body manifests or expresses those genes that we carry. Individuals, we see families that have weight history, cholesterol history and cardiovascular history.

I had a gentleman who came into my office who was 35 years old and was on cholesterol medication. He wasn't overweight. He maybe had a few pounds to trim off around the waist. I'm always wanting to fix everything. He said, "Don't worry about it. My cholesterol is familial. Everybody in my family has it." I said, "Not on my module." I was like, "You're way too young to be on Lipitor." He was having physiological effects from it, some memory and cognition issues. I do believe that there are things that we carry forward with us genetically, but it doesn't mean that we as the person here have to express them. It's a good question.

Someone asked me, "Must I give up coffee?" You must have read my book. I suggest that you give up coffee for the 28 days of rehab. Coffee does stimulate the adrenals in a way. If you have a healthy metabolism, it's fine because your body doesn't just produce one hormone with the adrenals. It produces cortisol. If it's balanced and you don't have a slow metabolism for all the cortisol caffeine stimulates, it also stimulates another balancing hormone called aldosterone. Individuals, that metabolism isn't broken down. I'm not a huge advocate of caffeine, quite frankly, from a lot of health perspectives. If your metabolism is good, most people tolerate caffeine very well. If your metabolism is broken, you get more cortisol than you do aldosterone. It's very difficult to lose weight.

We have some great tips. I tell people to look at things like feverfew for headaches and hydration. Usually, it takes about three days. I always say this. If it's hard to get off coffee, that means your body is dependent on caffeine for energy. Wouldn’t you rather have the energy naturally? “I'm going to take it away from you.” There's Pero. There are all kinds of great, good alternative things nowadays. Pero is not gluten-free though so be careful about that. I do have you set coffee aside for 28 days if you have a slow metabolism. Your body doesn't have the ability to use caffeine in a balanced way. You have a tendency to produce way more cortisol than aldosterone if your metabolism isn't efficient.

The other thing that we want to look at is caffeic acid, how it works in the way the liver both detoxifies toxins that are ultimately stored in the fat if we can't get rid of them and also how the liver determines where or where not to put sugars. Does it store glycogen in the muscle to develop healthy muscle or does it store it for fat? If the metabolism is off, we put the coffee away. If an individual has a situation that they can't get off a coffee, you do it and you do The Fast Metabolism Diet. You do the very best that you can.

This is a loaded question, "Why don't doctors know this stuff?" This is why I own my own business and employ doctors is because I'm very opinionated. It's also because my personal health struggles led me to knock down doors and barriers. I've been practicing for twenty years. Several years ago, I was banging down doors on doctor's offices to get answers and get a foot in the door. Years later, they're banging down my doors. I've been flown to Brigham and Women's Hospital. I've worked with Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic. Several doctors fly me in to consult on their most difficult cases. I honestly think that they're very busy and they don't have the time to neurotically sit into all the research that I do. I finally found a place where my neurosis has a home.

Food is medicine. Food is our first line of defense. Culturally, it's used in many ways. I do believe that the health crisis that we're in is going to force a lot more doctors to know this. I get stacks of charts on my desk and they go, "Help them out, could you?" It's also about you guys advocating for your own health. When you get 3 to 7 minutes with your doctor if you're lucky and you don't walk in the door, I always tell my clients this. I don't know why I love the number nine. I said, "When you walk in the door, I want you to always introduce yourself. I don't care if you play golf with them on Sunday. I want you to tell them something unique about you so that they don't forget you, whether it's, ’Did you know my favorite color is purple?’ and they write, ’She's a little crazy,’ or that you just had a child or a grandchild who graduated from college. Make them know who you are when they walk in the door.”

I work at a practice where we see over, not me personally, our practice is over 300 patients a day. They're busy. Although your concerns might be your primary focus, your concerns aren't always theirs. I always say, "First and foremost, let them know who you are. Let them know something interesting about you. Make them go, 'She has beautiful eyes,' something that stands out. Walk in the door with 9 questions and 1 request." I always say, "Share something about yourself and ask them nine things about why or what's going on with you." I promise you knowing being in a family medicine practice. We have endocrinologists, nephrologists, functional medicine docs, DOs, cardiovascular and breast diagnostics in our office. They don't always know that you're interested in getting healthy. When the questions start to get long, that's when they pass them over to me.

PYP 25 | Metabolism And Weight Gain

There are phenomenal doctors out there who are practicing functional medicine who are fully aware. There are tremendous. I went to an event, a fundraiser for the Cleveland Clinic and cardiovascular. It was incredible and amazing. They were raising money for their facilities. The very next day for breakfast, they were speaking and this cardiologist stood up and he said, "We are the best at cardiovascular diagnostic. We are the best for intervention. We are the best for surgery. We are the leaders. We're pioneers in treating heart disease, but there is a way that you guys can never end up under my care. That's by taking control of your diet. We want to prevent the intervention."

"What if I don't have a metabolism?" As long as we are breathing, there is hope to speed up the metabolism. Every day, our bodies are healing. I was using the analogy with my kids about a paper cut. I said, "Isn't that amazing? Look at how fast your body healed. Can you imagine what went on inside?" In my brain, I'm going, "Are they getting enough vitamin K? Is it going to heal fast enough?" What I'm hearing from you is that your metabolism is very slow that no matter what you eat and do, your body isn't burning through food and fat. It's pooling blood sugars and lipids in the bloodstream. Take the time to heal yourself. Take the time to look at ways to use food.

My program is very strategic because I'm in a clinical setting. We have in-house labs. If someone goes on my program and their cholesterol doesn't get better, I look the fool. There's a little bit of pressure, but because of that, I expect true clinical results from this program. It was a stretch for me to go out and publish a book because I've been in practice for two decades. I know my clients need me and I didn't realize. I had no idea what an impact it would make when I open the doors. It's been overwhelming. We've had many incredible people who have had life-changing experiences. It's because they took the time to take care of themselves. It doesn't have anything to do with me. You have a metabolism. It just needs to go to rehab.

"What about artificial sweeteners?" If it's fake, take a break. I got asked a question by a magazine. They said, "What is the number one thing you could have people do to make an impact on their health?" I said, "Don't ever touch artificial sweeteners." Probably, one of my biggest pet peeves. I'll make brownies, cupcakes and hot fudge sundaes at my house, but you will not see artificial sweeteners go in my kid's mouth. Did I say I make brownies? We absolutely do. I'm completely opposed. I'm very against them.

I cannot believe with all the science and research that's out there that we still have that stuff on our shelves. It is disheartening. I have a science background in case you didn't notice. Being a scientist for these many years and seeing the studies that have come out over and over again, not only does it slow the metabolism. Not only is the potential there for cancers. Not only is the potential there for diabetes. I don't think there's ever been a study that shows that there are no side effects from eating artificial sweeteners. There are a lot of things you'll find in my cupboard, but not that.

"What about someone who is gluten intolerant?" The program, you can completely do it if you're gluten-free or if you have celiac. There are a couple of recipes and I noted them in the cookbook. There's a barley recipe that's not gluten-free. I sometimes advocate certain types of sprouted grain breads. Those aren't always gluten-free. You want to watch for those. As a matter of fact, it depends on why you're gluten-free if you're celiac and your gluten intolerance is autoimmune-based. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder, which I'm super familiar with, unfortunately. If you're celiac, it is important that you keep an efficient metabolism. It is important that the anti-inflammatory aspect that your body's immune system receives this tender, loving care. It is critical.

This is a great one, "Are vitamins and supplements an important part of the program?" I grew up taking a lot of vitamins and supplements. My mother is an acupuncturist. She has a PhD in Reproductive Endocrinology. Her first Master's was in Optical Physics and her second was in Oriental Medicine. I am a huge advocate of vitamins and supplements. I know I shared with you that I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. I have a bleeding disorder called antiplatelet antibodies. Since I was nineteen, I've used vitamins and herbs, Chinese herbals, vitamins and supplements as an integral part of my health. I still go see a hematologic-oncologist every six months. I love to wow and press him with my beautiful labs.

I got to stop taking prednisone. I didn't have to do another bone marrow biopsy since I've been 22 years old. For me, they've been a very integral part of my life. “Do they have to be part of the plan?” Absolutely not, but they can too. I use micronutrients therapeutically. In my clinic, I have a natural pharmacy if you'll call it. Sometimes we'll use Suntheanine or theanine to help shift individuals who have depression or seizures at fairly high levels under medical supervision. I've seen it work profoundly, clinically and I grew up with it. That's where I stand on vitamins.

PYP 25 | Metabolism And Weight Gain

"I'm over 70 years old, can my metabolism change at this age?" Absolutely. I had a client who I spent some time with here on the East Coast who came to me at 73. We went down 27 pounds pretty fast changing a few things. I whipped him into shape good. He's 83. Even ten years later, I'm still after those last 5 or 10 pounds because I think he needs it at this age. Age is not at all a deterrent for being healthy. Before I left here, I needed some words of wisdom, a little bit of confidence boost.

I stopped by and saw my grandmother who is 97 years old. She has an immense amount of health, which I am so happy for. She is very funny though because she is very aware of what I do and stuff. There's a woman who sits at the table across from her all the time. She said, "When you get back, can you work on her for a little bit?" I was like, "Sure, Gigi. No problem." In our practice, we have pediatrics that have broken metabolisms, so 70 is nothing.

"How much exercise is required for success?" My dream, my fantasy is that you'll do one day of cardio, one day of weight-bearing and that you will sincerely do one day of non-sexual, intimate physical contact. What I mean by that is it's so healing to have the body stimulated. It increases blood flow and feel-good hormones. Massage is a great one. I always say, "Touch yourself off and/or pay others to do it, but please do it." What I mean by that is we need that physical stimulus. For many of us, the only stimulus we get is pulling our pants on every day. That's not always the most pleasurable experience. We need that.

“Do I have a lot of people who lose weight and don't exercise?” Absolutely. I firmly believe that moving and stimulating this body that we have is very important. I'm a huge advocate for physical therapy, too. Get after your doctor on this one. If you don't have the ability to exercise, if you've got pain or if you've got lack of movement, get into a physical therapist. Lie there and say, "Hailey said I'm supposed to do something to cause micro-sculpting in my muscle." They will take you through certain muscle movements that you won't hurt yourself with, but that you'll stimulate those hormones for repair.

On Monday and Tuesday, lie there and say, "I'm supposed to do something to get my heart rate up." They will take you through a series of exercises that can help increase blood flow. On the third day say, "Now, I'm supposed to do something to stimulate my physical body." Maybe they'll put you in a far infrared sauna a heat sauna or maybe a Whirlpool. I want your body to receive. Many times, we look at exercise as tearing down or depleting us. Shift a little bit mindset-wise and think about receiving. Think about that cardio allows your body to reduce stress, weight-bearing allows your body to sculpt the bone and the muscle and being touched evokes pleasure.

The last question, "Do I have clients that stay on the diet for more than 28 days?" Absolutely. You could eat this way for the rest of your life and build on your health every day. There is not a nutrient that you would be deficient of. We have all kinds of plans for people. We call it Phase 1 Unwind Stress, Phase 2 Unlock Stored Fat, Phase 3 Unleash The Burn and then I have Phase 4 Living Your Life on Fire. There are all kinds of ways that as a community, we're constantly tweaking, playing with food and adding new recipes.

If you have more weight to lose, you stay on the program and cycle through it. Some people take breaks. We have ways that some people say, "I'm getting ready to travel.” We flip-flop the days because it's a lot easier to travel. That's why I put Phase 3 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes people say, "I'm traveling Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,” and we'll flip-flop the phases. There are tricks and ways like I talked about that we're putting in from a supplemental perspective to show you how to deal in the real-life world.

My dream is that you'll sit down. We've got super simple meal maps in there, individuals who like to make fancy food or super easy food. I do a lot of freezing. I make meals and stuff like that. I made every single recipe myself both in the book, which is 66 and 200 that are in the cookbook. I wanted to make sure they were easy and tasted good. Thank you so much for asking these incredible questions and having a curiosity for your health.


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