Pamela Barton of Butterfly Holistic Nutrition + Lifestyle: “Sleep well”

Sleep well: Another very important player in healthy body weight is sleep. Almost half of all adults in North America do not sleep well enough. It’s not just a matter of hours of sleep but also the quality of sleep. If we are not feeling rested upon waking, our day will not start off great. […]

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Sleep well: Another very important player in healthy body weight is sleep. Almost half of all adults in North America do not sleep well enough. It’s not just a matter of hours of sleep but also the quality of sleep. If we are not feeling rested upon waking, our day will not start off great. Adopting the proper sleep hygiene is crucial that sleeping will be a success.

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 Pamela Barton.

Pamela Barton is a registered holistic nutritionist (RHN) and lifestyle coach and the founder of the Metabolic Energy Reboot ™ system, a coaching program for abundant and sustainable energy levels and productivity. Pamela’s work incorporates the H.E.Al principles for Holistic Energy alignment. Achieving BLISSS is the foundation of her work with hormonal imbalances, autoimmune conditions and weight loss.

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?

Yes absolutely. I grew up in the suburbs of Hamburg in Germany in the 1980s/1990s. The east and west part of Germany was growing together again and there was no global influence on life in general yet. We were a “traditional” German family who came together as often as possible to see each other in what we thought back then was a busy life. I graduated from High School, went to a Canadian High School for a year and pursued a career in business administration, import and export and general office management and organization. I climbed the corporate ladder in the first 15 years of my career before calling it quits to follow my soon-to be husband to Canada, where he lived and worked.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

After settling in Canada we started our family and I stayed home with the kids. Looking back at my fast paced career in Germany, I was living a not-so-healthy lifestyle that soon caught up with me when I gave birth to my first child. All of the sudden I found myself immersed in all kinds of health symptoms, postpartum depression, an under functioning thyroid and burnout looming, all while trying to figure out how to be a parent on major sleep deprivation. It was not pretty back then and I soon realized that if I wanted to thrive I had to make some big changes. I dove into some research on what could help me with my hypothyroidism, stress, sleep issues and mood swings. It became my mission to be as healthy as I possible could, to be a great role model for my daughter. I came across nutrition research and evidence, showing me the importance of diet and lifestyle habits as key factors in my recovery. I was hooked and wanted to know more and dive deep into this topic. I soon decided to go back to school — this time in Canada, to become a certified holistic nutritionist — for myself and to help others, who are needlessly suffering.

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?

Since we had no immediate family support where we are living, it was me and my husband from the get-go who were trying to figure things out along the way. While he supported us financially with his salary, I could go to school and start my business afterwards in order to become the person I aspired to be -for myself and for others. Without his support, the help with our kids and holding up the ship, I wouldn’t be where I am today. None of what I do today would be possible if it wasn’t for his support. We are sticking together to be able to make a difference in people’s lives and allow them to live their greatest vision of themselves without being held back by how they feel.

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?

I guess the most interesting mistake to me was, to think that people would come running to me as soon as I opened the doors to my business. I was naive to think that the passion I have for what I do and the interests I had would be everybody else’s as well. That was a steep learning curve and I guess I hadn’t anticipated that when I first started.

I had to go through some major mindset shifts to not feel like a big failure — which I often did and sometimes still do.

My biggest takeaway from that was that things take time, that success comes to those who don’t give up when it gets rocky and to those who have a crystal clear vision on how they want to serve the world.

This is a big concept and requires work on a daily basis.

My business venture led me to a personal growth that I didn’t expect and now have come to love.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

I am a big Audrey Hepburn fan and I love her quote: “Nothing is impossible — as I’m possible”

This is the motto for my business as well as in my work, helping my clients see that they can achieve the health outcome that they set out to achieve.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I just finished my most exciting program yet, called the Metabolic Energy Reboot ™ system, which helps busy entrepreneurs, CEO’s, leaders and especially women around menopause transition to have sustained energy levels all day long.

This program benefits everybody who feels they are not functioning on their highest levels, who feel tired in the morning, mid-afternoon and can’t sleep at night. My clients feel stressed and they know that fast food takeout is probably not the best choice for everyday dinner. Many people I spoke to rely heavily on caffeine, sometimes prescription drugs, alcohol at night, and are addicted to sugar to make it through the day.

The Metabolic Energy Reboot ™ system helps to bring back natural energy by rebuilding the microbiome, repairing the stress response and resetting sleep. The approach is backed up by science and my personal coaching rounds up the course material.

My next program will be a deep dive into hormonal health (for men and women) through nutrition and will be an extension of the Metabolic Energy Reboot ™ system but can also be done separately. This is intended for everybody who struggles with hormone imbalances (estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, insulin etc.)

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?

I have extensive knowledge in the field of nutrition and lifestyle habits. My work is founded on everyday examples and helps find strategies that work for people. All my work is backed up by science.

I have given talks on various subjects concerning thyroid health, autoimmune conditions, hormones and metabolic issues.

I was able to rectify most of my health issues and have helped many people over the course of the years who didn’t know what else to try.

There are many bite-size videos on my you-tube channel to explore.

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”?

When we look at some common narratives, people talk about BMI and what the BMI ideally looks like. It’s a reference range to make disease predictions but also people categorize people based on these set criteria we hear about.

Approaching it holistically, for me, a healthy body weight is given if

  1. you feel good in your body and
  2. experience no symptoms that are commonly associated with weight issue, like pain when moving due to being overweight, diabetes type 2 etc.

A healthy body weight always starts in your head, on how you perceive yourself and how you compare yourself to others.

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”?

I guess having a conversation about it would be a good first step. Being as unbiased as we possible can about what we think we should look like and how we feel. Perception is always the biggest variant in categorizing “too overweight” or “too underweight”.

And then of course we have all the medical parameters who would classify us into these categories, so that we can fit medical protocols.

Again for me it comes down to on when we feel our best. Most people feel their best somewhere in the middle of the extremes. Being “too overweight” definitely comes with health issues and daily symptoms, as well as being “too underweight”.

We all have our narratives but being completely honest with us on how we feel inside and how happy we are with our weight will give us a good indication on where we stand.

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?

In both cases you would not have a lot of energy. If your body struggles with too much weight, you feel tired, exhausted, don’t like to move much, most likely have many symptoms like high blood pressure, heart problems, liver issues, joint pains and you might take medications. You definitely do not feel your best. These issues can be like ticking time bombs for disease manifestations and shortened life spans.

If you are underweight you will also not feel your best, you tire quickly, you might not have enough energy for exercise or you exhaust yourself quickly, you run on empty all the time due to lack of resources in your body and very often we see nutrient depletion due to lack of food or eating the wrong foods which can essentially lead to disease manifestations and shortened life spans as well. Being underweight in women will also pose risks to fertility and bone health (osteoporosis) and more.

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?

The best example that I can share is that people are generally more energetic, optimistic and ready to solve challenges when they feel comfortable or nearly comfortable in their skin. It’s a natural response if the body is aligned.

If you do not have to deal with symptoms that can arise from too much or too little body weight, you can free up a lot of energy that you can actually spend on things you like to do. It influences how your day goes, your actions and your thoughts. It is much easier to stay balanced in general when everything is aligned, including the weight. I call this BLISSS, Body, Love/Self love, Intuition, Stress/Sleep management and Spirituality alignment. The foundation principles of the H.E.Al concept I mentioned earlier.

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.

1) Narrative and Mindset Holding on to body weight is often tightly linked to our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and the body image cultivated over the years. Only if we get a crystal clear picture of what we are telling ourselves and how we have designed our lives to be, can we start resolving the issues that are holding us back.

I worked with a lady recently who was trying to lose weight and she said that with previous weight loss attempts, all of a sudden people started noticing her and complimenting her on her efforts. She realized that she didn’t like the attention she was getting and felt she was better off putting on weight again, so she wouldn’t draw so much attention to herself. She was very aware of her situation but for many people this is a subconscious process but nevertheless strong enough to make sure the weight is not coming off. And vice versa, if you need to gain weight you subconsciously sabotage these efforts due to your believe system. And there are many belief system out there that can make our efforts futile, like “I am not deserving it”, “it’s too dangerous getting noticed”, “I have to be strong if I look differently”, “will I still like myself?”, “people will expect more of me”, “my friends or my partner will be jealous and turn their back on me” etc.

Finding and articulating your unique and strong WHY you want to change and keeping a healthy body weight will be your driver to go on when things get rough.

2) Make your own food

I am not kidding! Making your own food has many benefits. Not only are you taking responsibility for how you feed yourself, using more whole foods in the process, will give you nutrients and sustenance that you need when your body needs to work hard.

Learning how to cook simple and basic meals with whole foods goes a long way with maintaining proper body weight and letting you thrive.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours each day in the kitchen, there are effective and easy systems you can learn to make your kitchen time a success.

Here is an example how home cooking vs. outsourced feeding helps you to change.

I was working with a lovely gentlemen who said that he hated to cook. He would order take-out each day for dinner, would go to a fast-food restaurant for lunch and had cereal for breakfast to make it quick. It was daunting for him to spend time in the kitchen and he claimed he didn’t have time for it.

After showing him ways to make his kitchen time worthwhile, how to shop for the right foods and discussing a meal plan with him, he made feeding himself a priority.

Lo and behold, he very quickly resolved some long-term inflammation he experienced, lost weight quickly and felt more energetic and optimistic.

His realization was that being in charge of what goes into your own body vs. letting other people (restaurants etc.) decide on ingredients and portion sizes was far better for him and his health.

3) Adopt health promoting habits

Forming new habits and sticking to them is easier said than done. We easily fall back to previous behavior and our comfort zone.

Working on habit changes requires daily practice. It needs to be trained like a muscle. Baby steps are usually leading to better outcomes. Don’t expect your life to change overnight but never lose sight of your goal either.

Working with someone to set up healthier habits is well worth it.

Having an accountability partner goes a long way and is the only way for many to be successful at reaching their goals.

I also want to mention here that being kind to yourself is absolutely crucial. Don’t beat yourself up, just give yourself a gentle nudge if you were slipping and move on. Having the right mindset and a strong why will help you in forming your success habits.

4) Stress less

This is a big one. We definitely need to look at stress closely to determine how to deal with it.

The body has a what I call a “Priority List”. The first priority is to keep you alive. To mobilize energy in your muscles, so that you can defend yourself from the tiger that is about to eat you. Our bodies are designed to keep us alive. They work very hard FOR us, each and every day, not against us.

So if you feel that your body is failing you, think again. If you are still alive, your body is on your side. (Perspective is key!)

When we are stressed, our body is doing its’ job. It’s protecting us, releasing a cascade of hormones to help us stay alive.

Other bodily functions require priority attention as well, like the heart, the lungs, the liver etc.

Guess where losing weight is on this priority list…I am sure you guessed it, it’s way down towards the bottom. Weight is not immediately important to our survival and will be dealt with later, when we are not stressed.

So now we are chronically stressed, all the time…. And our body takes care of the higher priorities, not getting to the ones lower on the list.

Dealing with our stresses is crucial if we want to do any bodywork. I usually start with stress perception and my clients tell me how they view their “stress world”. Then the work begins to remove triggers, change perception and do body work to help the body understand that there is no imminent threat to our lives. This is truly healing for many.

5) Sleep well

Another very important player in healthy body weight is sleep. Almost half of all adults in North America do not sleep well enough. It’s not just a matter of hours of sleep but also the quality of sleep. If we are not feeling rested upon waking, our day will not start off great.

Adopting the proper sleep hygiene is crucial that sleeping will be a success.

Ruling out any sleep conditions like sleep apnea etc. is always a good idea when there are long standing sleep issues.

I always recommend to work with someone to improve the sleep quality. Foods, behavior, thoughts, hormones and lifestyle can all play a role in not sleeping soundly.

The body uses our sleeping time to do some house cleaning. It is repairing, restoring and rejuvenating our body during this time. If not given enough time to do so, the work is not complete and the new assaults from the next day come on top. This often causes an overburdened body who has too much to deal with. Toxins, cleaning “debris” and anything “to deal with later” often gets stored in fat cells. If not enough fat cells are available, the body will produce more to use as storage. Again — a good thing if you think that the body is protecting you and putting harmful compounds in a protective fat cell.

Not so good if you are striving for weight loss and better body weight.

A healthy and restful sleep will ensure that the cleaning up can be done properly and no additional fat cells will be needed and in fact, some fat cells might be eliminated in the process. Yes, sleeping can help you slim down, if done properly.

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?

Don’t diet! Period. Diets always fail in the long run if it feels like a chore. Many diets are not sustainable in the long run. You got to eat what fuels you and what you enjoy. My recommendation is, change your diet first to nurture and repair your digestive system, maintain it later with what you have learned.

When doing the work, we learn a lot about ourselves and how we like to eat, what we like to eat and how often we want to eat. It’s a journey to discover what works but once you have found your groove, it’s effortless to maintain your body weight.

Always operate from a mindset of joy, your strong WHY and your new found trust in your body. This will guide you in maintaining your weight.

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?

Common mistakes:

Number 1, above all else is PRIORITY and EXCUSES.

They actually go together. We are very good at excuses (justified or not) but essentially what we are doing is putting other things on a higher priority.

For example once the diet is over, we can’t wait to get our hands back on the foods we felt deprived off, only to feel guilty again afterwards. And why? Because the foods we enjoy — the emotional connection associated with them has a higher priority than our wish to lose weight. And we have good excuses readily at hand to justify our decision. It’s human.

I have heard a lot of excuses (some good ones too), especially from women, who often put other people above themselves.

What CAN we do? Actually a lot.

Make yourself a priority no matter the circumstances!

Learn how to navigate your life with the changes you want to make.

If you hear yourself making excuses, stop them in their tracks and rephrase them towards a more positive, loving phrase and remind yourself that you want to change and why. It gets easier the longer you practice.

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?

My recommendation on how to integrate them are:

  1. Commitment and priority — your strong WHY. Find your motivational driver
  2. Educate yourself on why the healthier approach would be more beneficial for you. We can act better if we understand the information around it and why certain foods help us and others don’t
  3. Get a coach — anybody who can hold you accountable while you transition. Someone you trust. People with a mentor or coach are 10 times more successful in achieving their goals
  4. Find a partner in crime — be serious…the reward is not a visit to the fast food place after a successful week but rather a longterm commitment to help each other succeed.
  5. Work gradually on habit changes, don’t make all recommended changes all at once. One thing at a time.
  6. Regular reminders — why, why now, why is that important?
  7. Be loving and kind. If you are generally heading in the right direction you are fine. We all have slip-up days. Forgive yourself and move on, nobody is perfect but your goal is 🙂

Common blockages are:

  1. Having a different priority. Other things are more important, procrastinating thoughts like “I don’t have time now, I do it later”, basically all our excuses can be in the way of making any progress.
  2. We don’t really understand why we should change and put all this effort in it. There is no urgency and often we don’t understand how our lives would change for the better
  3. Trying to implement strategies we found on the internet and do it alone. Tackling healthy body weight most often fails if we are not really committed, are trying to do it alone, without support and adopting a trial-and-error approach. Too much time will be wasted trying out what works and it can get very lonely and many give up along the way
  4. Wanting too much all at once. Unrealistic expectations. Wanting to lose too much weight in too short of a time is often destined to fail. Impatience can terminate the efforts pretty quickly.
  5. Lack of support and/or self-love. If you don’t have a loving and supportive community around and if you are still unsure about your worth, best intentions often can come up short. The wish to belong will often overpower good intentions to change.

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?

  1. Work with a professional
  2. Join an accountability group
  3. Set small milestones, expand from there
  4. Celebrate your wins (think of how to do that before you start)
  5. Remind yourself of your strong WHY. If it’s not there, you might want to revisit your goal.

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.

My Metabolic Energy Reboot Community is designed to inspire, support, teach and implement healthy living habits. It’s designed to let people live their lives how they intend to, without being held back by how they feel.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all would live our life’s purpose with energy and vitality? I am all for making changes so that that can happen. Let’s do it together and support one another in achieving our greatest goals, no matter what they are.

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 🙂

Great question. There are so many very inspiring people out there, most of them unknown to the public, but if I were to chose someone, I would like to have breakfast with Oprah. I would love to discuss with her how to bring people together for the greater good and to inspire a movement that makes a difference. Maybe one day this dream of mine will be a reality.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My website is for more information. If you would like to watch my masterclass of the Metabolic Energy Reboot (TM) system, you can head to

Check out my Facebook group H.E.Al- from tired to energetic and connect with me on LINKEDIN.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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