Today we have another AMAZING guest—who is a very good friend of mine—Stephanie Fusnik.
I had SO much fun recording this. Stephanie is someone who I would consider to be a menopause master and I wanted to get Steph on here because so much of our client base and most of my following is women. Obviously, there is a level of relatability and understanding that I won't have surrounding menopause and female issues as it pertains to weight loss, so I wanted to get a female on the show who is an expert in this area so that you can walk away with a ton of value.
Steph and I had a great conversation around menopause, perimenopause, and the misconceptions that people have around those issues. Steph went DEEP and broke things down in a way that guys are going to get a ton of great information.
I have a feeling you all will really enjoy this episode!
04:14 About Today’s Episode
07:32 About Stephanie
14:59 Where to start
21:46 Demographics and Calorie Intake
25:33 Timeline and the scale
38:14 Getting Started with Habits
Transcript (click to open)
Stephanie went to school thinking she would be a Phys. Ed. teacher, but quickly learned that it wasn’t for her. She got into personal training and loved it—especially working with clients who had issues with chronic diseases.
She then got her master’s degree and began working in chronic disease exercise management programming. She was consistently working with clients who were doing “everything right,” eating less and moving more, but not losing weight, which pushed her to get into metabolism research, nutrition coaching, reverse dieting, etc.
As time went on, she also discovered when working with women how much of a challenge menopause and perimenopause presented for her clients because of the hormone changes.
Stephanie explains that when going through menopause and perimenopause, a woman's ability to combat stress is substantially decreased.
Estrogen, in particular, has many roles in a woman's body, like promoting muscle growth, which makes it more difficult to gain muscle mass as Estrogen decreases. Estrogen also has an effect on the ability to access stored energy, making working out in a fasted state more difficult for women going through menopause and perimenopause. Additionally, things like reduced calories and carb-cutting exacerbate issues associated with low estrogen levels.
Inflammation also naturally increases during menopause and perimenopause—and will be increased by eating less and moving more. Blood sugar level, calcium absorption, and hunger cues are also all affected by the changes in estrogen levels.
As progesterone levels decrease, you can experience migraines, hot flashes, low sex drive, and weight gain/loss issues. Eating less and moving more will then cause cortisol levels to increase, causing progesterone levels to further decrease—because progesterone cannot be produced by the body when cortisol is high—because the body will take the precursor for progesterone and give it away to cortisol.
Progesterone dropping is often the cause of aggressive weight gain for women in menopause and perimenopause.
Where to start:
Stephanie typically asks her clients what food they are most afraid to eat—which is very often bread or pasta—and then dares them to eat that food with dinner and enjoy it.
She does this to help them realize that it’s just food, and often her clients will note that they slept well, or had good energy after eating X food. She then works on incorporating those foods, again, typically carbs, meal by meal, starting with breakfast. Just note that there will be some water retention to work around when incorporating carbs.
Jared has a similar approach with his clients, sometimes asking them to eat a food item they fear every day for a certain period of time. Then, as that client drops or maintains their weight while enjoying this food item they struggled with they realize that it’s not so bad.
Stephanie also points out that the worry you have surrounding eating a certain food causes more of a cortisol response than simply eating, enjoying that food, and moving on does.
Stephanie also utilizes bedtime snacks in her program. She suggests having a carb and a protein together—which improves sleep and reduces hot flashes—because her clients are no longer having cortisol spikes during the night.
Demographics and Calorie Intake:
Stephanie has been working in health and fitness for a long time and has yet to meet someone who legitimately needs to eat 1000 to 1200 calories a day. For reference, Stephanie works out twice a week, eats 2400 calories a day, and is 5’ 5”.
The process of getting cortisol levels under control and achieving balance takes time but is very beneficial for women going through menopause and perimenopause.
The fastest reverse diet timeline Stephanie has personally seen with clients is 7 weeks, but those situations involved people who were already in a reverse diet-type process. A typical timeline is around 3 months.
Stephanie has an evaluation with her clients, creates a timeline, and provides them with a checklist of things that need to be achieved before they move from a reverse diet to fat loss.
Jared, very typically, has to start people with a reverse-type phase but often deals with people who, despite dropping weight, are eager to jump to fat loss.
Jared has clients who struggle during the reverse diet phase because they are eating more and are losing inches, but not weight. When these clients see scale hasn’t moved they are unable to enjoy their progress.
Stephanie points out that this is something we all do. She has looked in the mirror and thought she looked great, then hopped on the scale only to be disappointed that her weight is up.
As a coach she knows that you can’t get caught up in the number on the scale, you have to focus on how you look, feel, etc.
When Stephanie has clients who are frustrated or feel like they had a bad week, she asks them for 5 things that have improved since starting their program. This helps them realize that they are making progress, it's just a bad week, and that they are moving closer to their goal.
Stephanie will typically ask people to focus on a single thing. Focus on one thing and then after you crush that habit, you can add the next one.
There is a lot to learn—and unlearn—when you’re trying to make habit changes and going slow is beneficial to avoid overwhelm.
Both Jared and Stephanie also notice that clients who want to rush to their goal are typically not as successful as those who are willing to allow themselves time to adjust and change.
It comes down to doing boring work. You need to eat, eat your carbs and protein, and exercise appropriately.
CONNECT WITH STEPHANIE:
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‣ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vitalityoet...
‣ TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@stephfusnik
‣ Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/96976...
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