Finish eating two hours before bedtime. If you go to bed with your body still digesting food, you keep your body in a sympathetic state. Once in a sympathetic state, your body has a hard time resting and will not digest food. Poor sleep and undigested food forces your body to store more fat.
So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mindy Pelz.
Dr. Mindy Pelz, D.C is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, nutrition and functional medicine expert who has spent over two decades helping thousands of people successfully reclaim their health. She is a recognized leader in the alternative health field and a pioneer in the fasting movement, teaching the principles of a fasting lifestyle, diet variation, detox, hormones, and more. Her popular YouTube channel (just reached 15million lifetime views) combines the latest science with practical lifestyle tools every person can use to reset their health. She is the host of one of the leading science podcasts, The Resetter Podcast, and the author of three best-selling books; The Menopause Reset, The Reset Factor, and The Reset Kitchen. For more information, please visit https://drmindypelz.com/.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was blessed to be raised by a mother who was a health nut. Early on in my life, she taught me the importance of reading ingredients. This served me incredibly well, until I hit my teenage years when rebellion against your parents peaks. During my late teens, I decided to ignore her healthy ways and do the opposite by eating more of a fast-food, standard American diet which led me to a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. After searching for answers to this debilitating condition, I came back to the principles my mother taught me, which is the quality of food matters.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
Being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, I went searching for answers, only to find the medical community unsupportive and only offering me medications as a solution. Looking for other answers, I ended up finding a holistic doctor who changed my diet, and put me on several supplements. The conventional doctors told me it would take years for me to heal, and within weeks of a more holistic approach, I was 80% better. This was the catalyst to me wanting to pursue a career in natural health and turn around and help others that might be lost in our sick-care system being given poor prognosis and very limited answers.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
I was blessed to be born to a mother that taught me I could achieve anything I put my mind to. Throughout my life, but especially in chiropractic school, she was a non-stop cheerleader, who reminded me constantly of how capable I was at building a life of my dreams. Everybody needs a positive voice in their head and as I exited school and entered private practice, her voice allowed me to believe in myself and push through the hard times.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
When I first started educating people about health on my social media platforms, I decided I would test out a new feature that Facebook had, called Facebook Lives. I did a Facebook live everyday for 90 days on different health topics. During those 90 days, Facebook put out a new feature, which was filters that would add cartoon graphics to your live video. One day I was doing a video on the seriousness of toxicity. I had just played with this new filter and hadn’t realized that I didn’t turn it off before going live. As I started the live video, I was fired up and passionate about my topic, only to discover that I had a unicorn horn coming out of my head with sparkles and cartoons around me. My audience was not amused and they thought I was being condescending. I’ll never forget it, and I learned that you can’t please everyone, mistakes are going to be made, and always double check your filter before you go live.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“You never know how far reaching something you do, say, or think, will effect the lives of millions tomorrow.” — BJ Palmer
This resonates with me because I have dedicated my career to empowering others to live the healthiest life possible. When you are on a mission to change people’s lives, you can come up against hurdles and people unwilling to change and so I love this quote because sometimes people may not seem empowered or grateful in the moment, but you never know the impact your advice will have on their life or the lives of others around them. This quote helps me stay on mission and not get discouraged by the critiques of others.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Because of the excitement I have seen around fasting and the scientific evidence that fasting could help the world overcome chronic disease, I am hosting an international fasting day in January of 2022. This is a day where the world can give up a meal or two through fasting, and donate the money that they would have spent on the meal to their favorite charity. It’s a win-win. The person gets the health benefits of fasting, and the money goes to a good cause. It’s a way to start educating the world about the healing power of fasting. My intention with this day is to bring together a bunch of fasting experts, celebrities, and health influencers who are all passionate about the art of fasting.
For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?
I received my doctorate of chiropractic 25 years ago, and built one of the largest wellness centers in the bay area. I am currently a fasting expert and have spent many years researching the science behind fasting. Millions of people have poured to my platforms to learn how to use fasting as a healing tool.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?
That’s a great question. The way I look at a healthy weight, actually has nothing to do with weight and more to do with healthy blood sugar levels. You want to see your fasting blood sugar levels between 70 and 90. Your BMI can be on the higher end and if your blood sugar is within that range when you are fasted, that is good evidence that you are healthy. The other indication of metabolic health is if you can go without food. I’ve seen plenty of skinny-fat individuals who look great in their jeans, but their blood sugar is so erratic that they can’t go long without food or a meal. To me, that is a worse indication of metabolic health then their BMI.
How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?
If a person is living in a body that has consistent energy all day, is free of aches and pains, has great mental clarity, and is sleeping effectively, then their weight is not as relevant as their blood sugar levels. Now, if they are carrying extra weight, and they crash in the afternoon, are struggling to sleep and have lack of focus, then they are metabolically unhealthy, and they need to drop some weight and become metabolically flexible.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?
Again, with my experience, I am more concerned about their blood sugar and insulin levels than the number of weight from a scale. Weight is a misleading measurement because some people may have more muscle than others. So if someone is declared “underweight” but their blood sugar and insulin are within a normal range, I’m not overly concerned about their weight in regards to health.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?
When someone has stable blood sugar levels that do not go up and down dramatically in a day, they are going to find that their overall performance in life, work, and relationships is going to be better. They won’t be having afternoon fatigue and energy crashes, their brain will work clearly, their moods will be stable, and they won’t be packing on extra pounds.
Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”. If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
- Start intermittent fasting. When you compress your eating window and elongate your fasting, you tap into a fat-burning fuel source that helps you drop weight.
- Get off refined flours and sugars. One of the biggest mistakes that dieters make is thinking that calories count. There is no evidence that calories make you fat; ingredients make you fat. The most fat-producing ingredients are foods high in refined white-flours and sugars.
- Swap out your oils. This is an easy change once you are aware of it. You want to eliminate all bad oils and replace them with good oils. Bad oils make you insulin resistant, like no other ingredient can, and yet the taste difference for good oils is very minimal. It just takes being aware that oils such as cottonseed oil, canola oil, corn oil are taking you down a path of insulin resistance.
- Finish eating two hours before bedtime. If you go to bed with your body still digesting food, you keep your body in a sympathetic state. Once in a sympathetic state, your body has a hard time resting and will not digest food. Poor sleep and undigested food forces your body to store more fat.
- Stop stressing. Creating a toolbox to handle stress is key for anyone wanting to lose weight. When your body i s under stress it thinks it’s running from a tiger and has no need to drop weight. I see this in my community all the time, where people do all the right things, but still can’t lose weight. Often, what they don’t realize is that they just needed to stop stressing.
The emphasis of this series is how to maintain an ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?
This is what I love about fasting, is you get off the yo-yo dieting experience. When you learn to fast you tap into the fat-burning fuel source. This fuel source will burn energy from your fat and the main way you can train your body to do that is through fasting.
What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?
The biggest mistake is counting calories. There is no evidence that counting calories works. All it does, when you lower calorie input, and increase exercise output, you change your metabolic set point. This will work temporarily, but the minute you increase calories and exercise less, you put weight back on. This is why fasting is getting so many incredible weight loss results because you are operating a completely different paradigm that doesn’t require counting calories.
How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
What most people don’t realize is that their gut microbiome controls their cravings. One of the strategies to succeed at your new diet is to make sure that you are feeding the bacteria in your gut three categories of foods: polyphenol, prebiotic, and probiotic foods. If you have a diverse amount of bacteria, your cravings will change. For example, people know they should stay away from sugar, but they continue to eat sugar because these bacteria in your gut send messages up to the brain, telling the brain to eat more sugar. When you change those bacteria, you change the craving signals that they send to the brain, and now it is a lot easier to stick to a new eating style.
On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?
The first would be not being afraid to fail. In my fasting communities, I constantly remind our fasters that there is no such thing as a failed fast. If we give ourselves grace, we learn to burn energy from the fat-burning energy source, we experiment with new types of healthy foods, and we look at food as body nourishment, not as something to satisfy our taste buds, over time we will start to see that our body gives us different signals on how much and what types of foods it wants to eat. When you work in alignment with the body, it will lead you to good healthy habits that keep you at your ideal weight.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I am on a mission to teach people to fast because fasting lowers inflammation, repairs worn-out cells, moves people out of insulin resistance, heals the brain, changes cravings, and powers up our mitochondria so that our cells are producing more energy. The act of fasting is healing itself, but if you take that and realize that while you are fasting, you are also avoiding toxic foods and chemicals, you are killing two birds with one stone. Fasting is our way out of chronic disease.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
One of my heroes in my life has been Serena Williams. I have followed her since she was a young child and have been so impressed at how focused and determined she has been at achieving extraordinary feats in her sport. I’d love to show her the tool of fasting and how fasting could take her performance on the court to a whole new level. I’ve worked with other celebrities in my career on fasting, and many of them are using fasting for performance enhancement and it’s amazing to see their results.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can find me at my website, drmindypelz.com or my YouTube channel where I really teach fasting (youtube.com/drmindypelz/).
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.