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Is My Body Not Responding Because Of Perimenopause?


0:00:03.3 Kim Schlag:
Welcome to episode 95 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I’m your host, Kim Schlag. On today’s episode, I’m talking with Midwestern mom, Gina. Now, Gina is getting ready to turn 47, she has had success with weight loss. Actually in the not too distant past, she has had some success, but this time around she is really struggling. And she is wondering if it is because her body is not responding because of perimenopause. So we’re gonna break that down for you today. If you listen and you’re like, “Ooh, this sounds like me,” I want you to check out the brand new course that I have just released. As I’m speaking to you, it is Thursday, April the 1st, the course has been live for just a few days, we’ve got a good bunch of women who’ve already hopped on this exciting offering and you have a few more days to do the same. Monday April 5th at 10:00 PM this offer closes, and I won’t be opening the course back up again until the fall. So if you are ready to lose weight in perimenopause, get on it now. Kimschlagfitness.com is where you can go to find out all the info on that. Alright, let’s hit it.0:01:09.8 Kim Schlag: Well I am so glad we could make this call happen. A little bit of technical difficulty but we powered through.

0:01:17.8 Gina: [chuckle] Yeah, thank you.

0:01:17.9 Kim Schlag: Remind me where you’re from. Actually, I don’t even know if you told me where you’re from. Where do you live?

0:01:22.2 Gina: I don’t think I did. I live in Kansas City, Missouri.

0:01:26.6 Kim Schlag: Oh, okay, got it. I lived on the other side of the state for several years. My husband went to Wash U for graduate school so we lived in St. Louis for a couple of years. I love Missouri.

0:01:36.1 Gina: Yeah, we just actually moved back from St. Louis, we were there for a year and a half because of my husband’s job now we’re back so, yeah.

0:01:42.7 Kim Schlag: Oh okay. Did you live downtown? Or were you out in the suburbs? Where were you?

0:01:47.8 Gina: No, we lived in Imperial, just south.

0:01:48.0 Kim Schlag: Okay, got it. Good, nice. Yeah, that’s a great city. Really family friendly.

0:01:54.0 Gina: Yeah.

0:01:55.7 Kim Schlag: And are you originally from Missouri?

0:01:57.8 Gina: No, Western Kansas. Lived out by Dodge City. Went to high school in a little Podunk town, Kingsley, so…

0:02:05.3 Kim Schlag: Alright. And tell me some more about you. There’s you, your husband. I know you at least have a daughter, you mentioned your daughter in one of your emails to me.

0:02:15.0 Gina: Yeah, she is graduating college this May and we have a son who’s 24, he’s been out on his own for a couple of years. He’s managing one of our big movie theaters over here, so…

0:02:26.6 Kim Schlag: Oh okay, got it. And…

0:02:29.8 Gina: We both work for B&B theaters, so it’s a small family-owned theater chain. We have about 50 theatres in nine states and so he’s managing the one in Liberty, so…

0:02:43.3 Kim Schlag: And how is that’s going for you guys now during COVID? Are theaters open where you guys are?

0:02:49.2 Gina: It’s not great but we’re going. [chuckle] I was furloughed for probably six or eight months, and then got back on. He did the same. They’re probably… You can only do 50% capacity right now, so it’s kind of hard to have run that business, but we’re making it.

0:03:11.8 Kim Schlag: Good.

0:03:12.5 Gina: We’re making it, yeah.

0:03:14.4 Kim Schlag: I’m glad to hear that.

0:03:16.7 Gina: Yeah, yeah.

0:03:16.8 Kim Schlag: So tell me more about the question you emailed me about. So I have kind of an idea of what we wanna chat about today, but kinda start from beginning. Where you’re at with things, what you want some help with. Let’s hear it all.

0:03:26.6 Gina: So, I think my major frustration has come from… Well, the last couple of years I’ve kind of… I’m at the age where I’ll be 47 in a couple of months. So I’m at the age where I’m like wisdom really does come with age. [chuckle] And so I know that I need to be more patient, take things slowly. I kinda know… I’m kinda knowing all the things, I knew all the things but now I’m kind of like, “Okay, this is what you have to do to make the progress that you want.” So last year was the first time I started macros counting, ever. And I had great success for my first cut, and then I did a reverse into what I thought was my maintenance and trying to find out it was an unintentional bulk of about 5% without wanting to be bulking. [chuckle] So I added that fat and not really… Probably not the muscle during that time. And so when I look back at pictures which are a big trigger for me and I don’t like doing them, but I did take some back when I started and I took some recently, and you can’t see a change in my body.

0:04:39.7 Gina: So I think what I need to figure out is… I think I kinda have, for the most part know the nutrition part, what needs to be done, I think. I’m still trying to figure that out with my own body, you know how everybody’s different, you gotta tweak little things here and there. But then the workouts, I don’t know if I’m… I thought I was doing some decent progressive overload and I did see the newbie games. I think with just the muscle I had in my body already, I think you just had that… I can’t remember if it was you that had the podcast, there was somebody who was all science-y talking about the actual muscle that you have when you first start doing it. It’s just kind of… The nutrients and stuff are going into it making it look larger, you’re not really actually building muscle yet. So I think that’s all I was doing ’cause I could tell mostly my biceps and my shoulders up in this area. But I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong, ’cause I feel like in a year, I feel like I gave myself a lot of time. I feel like I was very patient, and so I just… I guess I just get frustrated because I’m like, “Okay, either I’m doing something wrong or my body is not responding because of whether it be perimenopausal or whatever, metabolism, whatever.” So that’s where I’m at. I’m just kind of in a spot where I don’t know what the heck’s going on. [chuckle]

0:06:05.7 Kim Schlag: Okay, great. Well, we can totally get to work on getting to the bottom of this. Let’s talk me through this, we’ll talk about both pieces separately, we’ll talk about the work out piece, we’ll talk about the nutrition piece. Let’s talk nutrition first, because it is the driver of fat loss. No matter what a person is doing with their workouts, let’s say they’re not even working out, they could still get to their goal weight, it might not look like what they thought it was gonna look like ’cause they haven’t done that muscle building piece, but they should still be able… They will still be able to get there if the nutrition piece is dialed in. It sounds like you have a lot going on in your mind as far as you feel pretty clear on what you should be doing if that… Here’s the piece of with nutrition. You have to have a really good plan, you have to know what you’re doing, and then the execution of it is actually harder than most people give it credit for, so we’re gonna talk through here and see what was the plan you followed and see, was it a good plan, was it too restrictive, too many calories, not enough calories, so then you were binging, whatever it was.

0:06:58.3 Gina: Yeah.

0:06:58.7 Kim Schlag: And then we can talk about the execution of that plan and the answer to why you’re not making progress is gonna be found either in the plan itself, your execution of the plan or your expectations were off. And I don’t think it’s that one ’cause you gave yourself a whole year. Some people are like, what’s wrong? And it’s been 42 point 3 days. [chuckle] I don’t think it’s the last one for you. The answer is gonna be found in one of those first two. Either the plan or somewhere in the execution of it. Talk me through, what was the plan as far as your macros?

0:07:27.4 Gina: Well, last year when I started, I wasn’t ready to do the whole what I call restrictive and just eat chicken and broccoli and that type of thing. I thought, “Okay,” when I heard about the macros like that, “Okay, this sounds like something I can do, not super restrictive, I can fit whatever I want in there, just as long as it fits in there.” I thought that would be better for me, and then I figured later I could kind of piece some other things in, which is what I did. I feel like it did work for me, and then now that I’ve gotten… I tried again in October to do a little cut, my body wasn’t responding. Now I’m starting to put in some veggies and some fruits and trying to be a little more smart with my choices for my body.

0:08:19.1 Kim Schlag: Before recently, you weren’t really doing too much with vegetables and fruit?

0:08:26.1 Gina: I don’t like veggies. [chuckle]

0:08:28.1 Kim Schlag: I can so relate! I did not either.

0:08:28.3 Gina: I know.

0:08:31.7 Kim Schlag: Okay, you heard that on my podcast before.

0:08:32.8 Gina: Yeah.

0:08:33.6 Kim Schlag: Yeah, I totally was not a vegetable eater. You weren’t eating vegetables, fruit before then. In the fall, what were your macros? What did you set for your macros when you were struggling not losing weight?

0:08:44.6 Gina: And that’s what I think… I figured out that there’s… Now that I know there’s a range, there’s a range for maintenance. It’s not just… Yeah, yes. That way I could go off of it. I feel like maybe I was at the top of that range and I was trying to cut from the top of my range, and it wasn’t enough for my body to respond because…

0:09:06.8 Kim Schlag: What was the top end of your range?

0:09:11.8 Gina: Well, I think my maintenance was 2000.

0:09:16.2 Kim Schlag: Okay. And how tall are you?

0:09:17.5 Gina: I’m only 5’3.

0:09:19.7 Kim Schlag: What do you mean only? I’m 5’3 as well.

0:09:22.1 Gina: I’m only 5’3. [chuckle]

0:09:23.0 Kim Schlag: Actually, I’m 5’3.5 [laughter]

0:09:27.3 Gina: I used to say that! [laughter]

0:09:27.5 Kim Schlag: It’s super important for us short girls we need to get our halves in there. You’re 5’3. And how much do you weigh?

0:09:35.0 Gina: This morning, I weighed 174.

0:09:38.5 Kim Schlag: 174, got it. And I’m gonna do some calculating while we chat here.

0:09:42.7 Gina: Okay.

0:09:44.3 Kim Schlag: You were at 2000 and 2000 for your maintenance calories, is what you’re saying.

0:09:47.7 Gina: Yeah.

0:09:49.1 Kim Schlag: And…

0:09:49.5 Gina: Well I only cut to 1750. And then I tried to do 1650. And I wasn’t going to add any more exercising ’cause I was already super hungry, and I know those are the two levers basically that you have to pull.

0:10:06.2 Kim Schlag: Okay. I will tell you, 1750 should be solidly deficit calories for you, it should be. At 174 pounds, 1750 should be solidly in your deficit, which then… That’s the first piece. We’re gonna look at, what is the plan. It’s not like you’re trying to tell me, “I’m trying to lose weight on 2300 calories. What’s the problem?” I’d say the problem is, you’re trying to eat too many calories. That brings us to the next piece, which is the execution of hitting that. I don’t know if you have your log handy, but the next piece I would have somebody look at is, okay, out of every 30 days, how many days did you hit that amount of calories exactly? That would be the next question because the place that some people… Let me start again. It is really easy to almost hit your calories, not quite hit them, it feels like just as much work as though you were hitting them.

0:11:03.7 Gina: Oh.

0:11:04.6 Kim Schlag: And then you’re spinning your wheels like, “I’m doing all the things, but it’s not working. My body is not responding.” And the issue is actually you’re probably at 70% compliance with your nutrition, and to see really good results, it’s gonna take 80 at minimum. And so that’s my gut instinct here is that you were getting close to 1750 and maybe you were hitting 1750 or even 1650 many days in a month, but not enough days to get the progress you want. Does that resonate with you? Or do you say, “No, 100% I was hitting those calories without question.”

0:11:37.7 Gina: In October, I probably wasn’t even though I… When I was tracking, I feel like I’m pretty right on when I track. Just because I know this… I know I can’t cut without tracking. I know I can maintain.

0:11:56.5 Kim Schlag: Yeah.

0:11:57.8 Gina: I figured that one out.

0:12:00.1 Kim Schlag: You successfully maintain.

0:12:02.2 Gina: I did that for the last six months and I haven’t tracked much at all. So that was good. [chuckle]

0:12:10.1 Kim Schlag: Great! That’s huge. That’s fantastic, Gina. That’s really fantastic. Okay, tell me this. Do you use a food scale?

0:12:15.7 Gina: Yes.

0:12:17.4 Kim Schlag: You use a food scale. What types of things do you weigh during… On a normal day?

0:12:24.5 Gina: Well, anything that I don’t normally eat that I don’t know, that’s actually what it should be. I’ve already done this, so I know this breakfast is right on because I’ve weighed it once before and I just know it. Does that make sense?

0:12:37.0 Kim Schlag: Give me an example.

0:12:38.8 Gina: For breakfast, I’ll have protein oatmeal. I already know that my half a cup of oatmeal is however much. I know that’s legit in my system. I know when I put it in MyFitnessPal, that is right on.

0:12:57.1 Kim Schlag: Got it.

0:12:57.1 Gina: But if I have…

0:13:00.2 Kim Schlag: But when you made it, you wouldn’t be like weighing the oats, you’d be measure-cupping them.

0:13:02.8 Gina: Yeah.

0:13:03.9 Kim Schlag: Got it. And what about things like oils and… Yeah, what about oil. Would you weigh the oil, teaspoon the oil?

0:13:13.2 Gina: I actually don’t really use oil.

0:13:17.9 Kim Schlag: No? Okay, interesting. Those are some of the big things that I look for. If people are eyeballing it a lot, your calories can add up just enough to kick you out of your deficit. Even though you know like, okay, half a cup of oatmeal, if it’s X number of calories. Interestingly, and you should try this, anybody who’s listening should try this, go get a half cup measuring cup and measure out what you think a half cup of oatmeal is.

0:13:42.9 Gina: Okay.

0:13:44.3 Kim Schlag: And then look at the serving size on your oatmeal and weigh it, and you’re gonna be surprised. It doesn’t come flat to the top and it certainly isn’t a little bit rounded. [chuckle]

0:13:51.9 Gina: Yeah.

0:13:52.0 Kim Schlag: It’s under a little bit. That might sound like pretty small potatoes, but little things like that…

0:14:00.5 Gina: Adding up.

0:14:00.6 Kim Schlag: Adding up over the course of the day can really add up. Now, here’s the thing. If a person is doing that and making progress at a great rate, totally fine. If somebody’s like, “I’m losing weight at a rate that feels really good to me, and I’m measuring cupping things,” great! Go for it. If a person is struggling, these are the places I look to dial in.

0:14:20.5 Gina: Okay.

0:14:21.2 Kim Schlag: I would suggest you use a scale to weigh pretty anything that is not…

0:14:26.6 Gina: Okay.

0:14:27.5 Kim Schlag: You don’t need to weigh your egg. [chuckle] If you’re having one egg, you’re having one egg. And if it has a bar scan. If you’re eating a protein bar that has a scan code just weigh it. Your greens, you don’t need to be weighing your lettuce, that would be a little bit woohoo. We’re getting [laughter] how much lettuce. You can eat the whole bag of spinach, it doesn’t matter. But really anything else, even your banana…

0:14:49.2 Gina: Okay.

0:14:49.4 Kim Schlag: Your apple, weigh those things. I put a banana in my shake every day, and it’s interesting to me, I try and guess how many grams it’s gonna be.

0:15:00.7 Gina: Yeah.

0:15:00.8 Kim Schlag: And I’m getting better ’cause I’ve been doing it every day for weeks now, but I still don’t get it quite on looking at a size of banana. Even though we might only be like 40 calories off on the banana and 30 calories off on the oats, but if you do that everyday…

0:15:10.7 Gina: Yeah. Okay.

0:15:13.3 Kim Schlag: Across time, that can really make a difference. That’s the one thing I would say. Then talk to me about things like weekends. How are you doing with weekend eating, like going out with friends or parties or holidays and those kinds of things?

0:15:27.8 Gina: My weekends are actually pretty good. We try to go out to eat maybe once a week on Sundays after church or something, so I don’t have to cook again. And I will try to do my best to choose something that’s… Usually it’s a salad with grilled chicken, but I’ll keep the cheese on it and maybe a couple of croutons or whatever, but I won’t have the dressing. I try to keep that at a minimum and then just go ahead and cook the rest of my meals. I don’t think my weekends are a big deal. I do like me some popcorn, obviously in the movie theater business so I’ll have [chuckle].. There’s a certain popcorn that I get that doesn’t have much calorie fat stuff in it, so I will have that on a Friday night or a Saturday night when we watch a movie at home or something, but… I’m trying to be right on.

0:16:22.9 Kim Schlag: And is that kind of thing… When you’re at work, are you eating popcorn at work?

0:16:28.4 Gina: No, I work from home now, so that’s a good thing.

0:16:31.5 Kim Schlag: Okay. [chuckle]

0:16:32.0 Gina: I’m in the accounting office. When we were attached to a theater though, that was a problem. [chuckle]

0:16:38.2 Kim Schlag: Okay.

0:16:38.5 Gina: But not anymore!

0:16:40.8 Kim Schlag: ‘Cause that’s the other kind of thing that can really trip people up. It’s food amnesia. We think in our log it says we ate 1750. But we’re not counting the handful of popcorn as we walk down the hall [chuckle] to go to the bathroom at the movie theater. We don’t count that. We forget it. It’s not like we’re lying. We just… It’s gone. And we do the same thing, if we pick a couple of nuts out of off, our kids eating something, we pick a couple of those. And then we’re making dinner, and we eat three spoonful of the dinner as we’re prepping it for our family. And those little things really add up. And we don’t remember them. And then there’s this… I’m literally doing it all just right! And so my challenge to you, Gina, if you will accept it, is going to be to go for the next 30 days, anything you eat, it has to be logged before you even taste it. Before you even put it in your mouth, even if you’re about ready to take a handful of nuts…

0:17:36.3 Gina: Yeah.

0:17:39.7 Kim Schlag: Weight it, put it in your log, and then it’s there. Do you accept my challenge?

0:17:43.0 Gina: Yes, I do. I’ve caught myself because I’ve listened to you talk about that, and I’ve caught myself if something gets on my finger or something, I would go in to just lick it off your finger, and I was like, “Nope, can’t do that, go rinse it down the sink! [laughter]

0:17:56.8 Kim Schlag: Yeah! And some people are gonna be listening being like, “Wow, guys, how obsessive are we getting?” It’s the little things that matter. Just like if you were trying to save enough money for your first down payment on your house. These little bits of things you used to spend money on when you didn’t have that goal, it didn’t matter then. It matters now that you’re trying to scrape every nickel and dime. And when you’re really trying to lose weight, these things matter. It is not my goal for people to have this level of tightness with their calories forever. It’s gonna be for this period of time that you’re gonna be working on weight loss. And I suggest that people chunk a short period of time, like “I’m gonna do this for 12 weeks, and then I’m going to have maintenance, which is going to mean a lot more calories.” Though I still want people to… At that point, I still don’t want you going back to old habits of like lick my pinky everyday, but you’re just gonna have more calories to play with. And having two handfuls of popcorn every day, you’re gonna be able to fit that in easy.

0:18:51.4 Gina: Alright. [chuckle]

0:18:56.0 Kim Schlag: So tell me about… Before we move on to exercise tell me about this transition you’re making to eating more fruits and vegetables. How is that going? How did you make the choice to do that? Like why? Tell me.

0:19:07.0 Gina: I have been trying to fill my life full of podcasts and people who kind of think the way that I want to be. And so I heard a couple that was talking about just making a veggie and fruit tray and just having it at eye level in your refrigerator at all times, and then just pulling it out at every meal. Whether or not I eat it at every meal, I’m not. It’s normally at dinner, but I eat more than just a fistful of like say, cauliflower, or broccoli, or whatever.

0:19:38.2 Kim Schlag: Good.

0:19:40.8 Gina: So I’m getting it in, not every meal, but I’m getting it in like at one meal ’cause I…

0:19:46.2 Kim Schlag: Hey, that’s huge progress for somebody who wasn’t eating vegetables at all before. And are you finding that you’re enjoying it or are you still at the tolerating phase?

0:19:55.3 Gina: I’m tolerating, ’cause I have to do like a tablespoon of whatever little dip, hummus or light ranch or something, just to… Just a little bit of something to… [chuckle]

0:20:06.4 Kim Schlag: Yeah. I really admire that Gina. It’s not an easy transition to make, and other people listening to us who grew up maybe just loving vegetables might be like, “What the heck are these ladies talking about?” But I’m telling you, it was a real concerted effort for me, just like it is for you right now, to you say like, “I am going to be a person who eats vegetables.” And if that means putting the dip on it… For me, dip never did it, I had to find… I started putting garlic powder on everything, and garlic paste was my big go-to. Garlic paste, and then roasting it in the oven, or putting it on the grill, and I could eat anything cooked like that, I realized. And now, I have to tell you, it’s seven years later and I genuinely like vegetables. I do. So…

0:20:45.2 Gina: Oh, there’s hope.

0:20:47.3 Kim Schlag: There’s hope for you. We’re gonna talk in a few years and you’re gonna be like, “I eat vegetables all the time. I do.” I tell you, when I was in my 30s, I pretended to eat vegetables ’cause it felt so ridiculous, I’d be out with my girlfriends and everybody’s getting these big salads, and I’d be like, “That’s what we’re cooking, salads?” And so I would put some salad on my plate or whatever, and pretend to eat it, and I’d be eating the croutons and the cheese, and then eat all the other stuff ’cause I’m like, “Who the freak eats lettuce? What is wrong with you?”

0:21:09.6 Gina: Yeah, right.

0:21:12.9 Kim Schlag: So, yeah. So I totally feel you there. I’m telling you, this is gonna be a habit that pays huge dividends. Your health is gonna benefit, your weight loss is gonna benefit because once you start really liking vegetables and can pump your meals full of that, it’s a really good thing. So I’m very happy for you that you’re making this effort.

0:21:29.9 Gina: Thanks.

0:21:30.4 Kim Schlag: Have you found fruit you like now? That’s usually easier.

0:21:33.4 Gina: I actually eat a banana every day, but I’m more like green grapes and cantaloupe, watermelon type of stuff. I don’t really like apples. I don’t know if it’s the skin. I can always take it off, but I hear there’s benefits to that, so I try to make myself eat one every once in a while. But I’m trying, I’m just not very good at trying stuff or knowing how to eat them like vegetables or whatever. I wanna eat vegetables, but not know that I’m eating vegetables. [chuckle]

0:22:07.6 Kim Schlag: I totally hear you. Yeah, and that’s a good place to begin. I’ve really gotten into putting spinach and okra into my smoothie, and it’s worked very well. I could eat a big bowl of spinach and a salad now, but still, I’ve been very sick in recent months, and I did not want a salad. The last thing I could even tolerate the idea of eating that much salad, and that’s why I started putting it in these smoothies, and I get a crap ton of spinach in there. And somebody told me to try frozen okra. Weirdly enough, it has zero flavor in a shake. You can get frozen okra and throw it in there, zero…

0:22:43.0 Gina: That’s odd. That’s so odd.

0:22:43.1 Kim Schlag: I’m telling you, you should try… For somebody who wants to sneak vegetables through…

0:22:44.4 Gina: Okay, okay. [chuckle]

0:22:46.0 Kim Schlag: You have to make a shake that tastes really good. Look for my recipes on Instagram, it’s on my feed. But you put some of that in there and then you’re gonna get a lot of the nutrients from that. I would never in a million… I don’t even know how to prepare okra to actually eat as okra, but I couldn’t… I had no idea it was in my smoothie, so there’s an idea for all you veggie folks out there. [chuckle]

0:23:04.5 Gina: Yeah. Summer time will be great for that because I find in the winter time, I don’t like my shakes, smoothies as much ’cause they’re cold. So I like to eat my stuff, so I’ll have to figure that out and see…

0:23:16.4 Kim Schlag: Yeah. I wouldn’t ’til it gets warmer out there. Alright, so let’s talk about exercise then. Tell me what you’ve been doing and tell me your… I think you had a specific question about exercise, did you?

0:23:28.8 Gina: I don’t know. But what I am doing is I like to lift weights. I’m just at home, I just have up to 30s. I have a bench, adjustable bench. So I’ve been trying to progressive overload it. I’ve been putting in the Strong app so I could keep track of how much I’m lifting and when I’m lifting and all that stuff, so I can see if I’m making progress or not. But basically, I used to do my legs, my lower body twice a week and upper body twice a week, I think. And then I heard somebody say something about… ‘Cause I have… I’m larger on the bottom. I have muscular… I am muscular, but I’m larger on the bottom, and they’re like, “If you want to change the shape of your body, focus on your upper body, so you get your upper body bigger, basically, in the process while also doing lower, and that way your shape will be different.” I don’t know if that’s true or not, but…

0:24:33.0 Kim Schlag: Well, that’s partly true, but it depends on how they’re telling you to do. That is true. If you want to have a smaller looking waist, you can build yourself broader shoulders and back, and that can definitely give that appearance. Did they tell you to cut out one of your lower body days? That was what I’m wondering. Are you…

0:24:47.3 Gina: Well, I did that myself.

0:24:50.0 Kim Schlag: Got it. I wouldn’t cut out a lower body day for that, you could just add in some more upper body, and that’s really gonna be a lot of patience. Like that, “Oh, that.” And this is the difference between losing weight and building muscle, losing weight in the grand scheme of things is a much shorter term proposition than building muscle. To change the shape of your body, as in like you want broader shoulders narrowing down, that’s a several years project. That’s not gonna be like you look in four, or five, or six months and be like, “Where is my shape?” It’s gonna be over years. I will tell you, my legs were always in my mind, my problem area. I’m a short girl with short legs, and I always felt like my legs looked bigger and my hips looked bigger. It took me years of a combination of going to fat loss phases and building muscle in my legs to get that lean tone, my legs didn’t look too big to me definition. That was not a short-term proposition. So the chances that you’re doing something wrong aren’t as high as you just haven’t done it long enough yet to see the results you’re really looking for.

0:25:52.5 Gina: No, and that’s fine, I understand it’s a huge, long process and I’m not quitting anytime soon, so I’m not quitting ever, actually. I just think I need to figure out what my body responds better to and do that, because on the other days, I’ll do a push and a pull, and then on my fourth day, I actually have been, just because I don’t know what I’m doing, alternating my push or my pull. One week I’ll have two pushes and one pull, and the next week I’ll have two pulls and one push. I don’t know, with what I have here, obviously, I can go a little further with the upper body than the lower body, and I don’t know what I’m gonna do going forward. I would like to build my gym out, but I don’t know what I’m doing. [chuckle]

0:26:42.1 Kim Schlag: And actually, what to get to build the gym out? Is that what you mean?

0:26:47.4 Gina: Yeah, I think I have an idea of what to get, but I’ve never lifted a barbell in my life.

0:26:52.9 Kim Schlag: Oh God, so you’re talking about, once you have it, you don’t know what to do.

0:26:55.8 Gina: Yeah, right.

0:26:56.3 Kim Schlag: Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. I hear what you’re saying. Okay, so as far as… Push-pull legs is definitely a valid split. There’s nothing wrong with doing push-pull legs. I do think you might wanna get some more volume on your lower body, so you could also do two lower, two upper, ’cause then you’re still working your upper body plenty. That’s one possibility to go back to your upper-lower split, you could keep doing your push-pull legs. Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with that split. And then, as far as learning what to do with the barbell, really getting some good coaching, if you have the ability to get an in-person coach, that would be fantastic. If not… I never had an in-person coach to learn how to use a barbell. Ever. I learned that… I got my online coach. My very first online coach, I actually hired a woman… She was teaching women in a group format how to do power lifting, and I’m like, “I wanna do that.” I just… “I wanna do that.” And so, I did this with this group, and I learned online.

0:28:01.4 Kim Schlag: So, there’s plenty… I have a ton of videos on my YouTube channel, literally talking you through every barbell lift, like, “Here’s how to sumo deadlift.” Literally, from ground one, like, “Here’s what to do with the barbell, here’s where to start.” Benchpress is the same squat. I have in-depth tutorials about all of that. If you’re gonna go that route, the way I always tell people to learn a new move is, “Sit down and watch the video, watch the whole thing multiple times, and then try it with little to no weight, very little weight.” Now, it’s gonna be hard to deadlift from the… You can’t deadlift from the floor, ’cause you have to put some bumper plates for that, by 10-pound bumper plates, which gets your barbell up to right height to pull from, but you’re only lifting 65 pounds. That’s very different than trying to lift the 45-pound plates. With a barbell bench press, if you’re talking about using upper body, you can just lift the bar. With a squat, you can just lift the bar.

0:28:56.6 Kim Schlag: I’m really excited that you’re thinking about getting into doing the barbell lifts. I think it can really be empowering for women to try that. When you start doing it, people typically really take to it, and you do seem to be a person who’s really taken to strength training, so I bet you’re gonna love it. Don’t be intimidated by it. You can absolutely… If you’ve learned how to do these… And the reality is, if you know how to squat and deadlift with dumbbells, the transition to doing it with barbells is not going to be a huge leap, it’s not, as long as you have lift from doing those. And then, as far as seeing these changes in your body, just remind yourself this is gonna be a really long-term project. It’s gonna be a combination of both fat loss and muscle gaining, so you’re changing the shape of your legs is likely still more fat loss on your lower part of your body, which just takes longer. It just does, and you will likely go through cycles of deficit and maintenance over the years, until you’re finally at a point…

0:29:51.2 Kim Schlag: And I really do think at some point we just need to say, like, “I’m really happy with this and this is my body,” but that might still take… Like I said, I’ve been at this for seven years and I haven’t, every minute of those seven years, constantly been like, “Well, what else can I fix on my body?” But this is where the weight training can come in. I have very much been like, “What can I do next? Now can I finally get my first pull-up? Can I get two times by body weight demo? Can I… ” All these different goals that you can set for yourself, and you like the focus, and as you do that, your body gets to be more fit and more strong and more toned and all of those things. What were you laughing about?

0:30:28.7 Gina: Pull-up.

0:30:29.2 Kim Schlag: Pull-up. Are those…

0:30:31.5 Gina: Yeah, see, last year, I worked on my push-ups, and I’m still working on them, because I am trying to figure out the best way to do it. For a while, I was just doing the down motion for however many counts, and then I was only doing the up motion. That got me stronger, but still, when I was trying to do a push-up, I felt like my lower body was sagging at the bottom and I couldn’t stay. I could go all the way down, I can go all the way up, no problem, but I couldn’t…

0:30:56.2 Kim Schlag: Wait, did you… Now I’m confused. Are we talking push-ups or pull-ups?

0:30:58.1 Gina: Push-ups. I’m… Yeah, I was starting with push-ups, ’cause I started that last year. ‘Cause those two, to me, are tough things to do. So now, I’m doing the stair thing, like you… I think it was you that mentioned the stair thing. So, I started at a fourth step and now I’m on a third step, so I’m getting there. But then, I want, I want, I want to do pull-ups. So, for Christmas, I asked for one of those power towers so I could have something just to work on. And the first time I tried, which wasn’t too long ago, just hanging is awful. My grip is awful.

0:31:37.9 Kim Schlag: You’ll get better. I promise you’ll get better.

0:31:41.7 Gina: I’m just gonna be content with trying to work on hanging for a bit, just because I have so much extra body weight that I’m like, “I’m never gonna get this up here.” So, it’ll take me a long time, I know it will, but I’m committed to getting that at some point in my lifetime.

0:31:57.3 Kim Schlag: You hit on a good point. One of the things that does make pull-ups easier is losing weight. As you lose weight, you’re pulling less. That does help. And hanging is a great first step. Did you buy the really long bands that you can do, chin-up assistant bands?

0:32:14.3 Gina: Not yet, but I heard you say that the other day and I need to get some. So I will do that.

0:32:19.2 Kim Schlag: Those will be a game changer. I’m gonna tell you, you can use those for your push-ups too. You can hook those over your pull-up bar, do what’s called band-assisted push-ups, and this is for people who are down low like you are, like third step. You could start using these. If you’re just starting guys, if you’re way up, really up high like a counter top height, you don’t need to do the band assistants yet, but as you get closer to the floor, what you do is you tie this heavy band up to the pull-up bar, get into the band around your hips, get on the floor to do your push-ups, and it’s giving you that little bit of assistance, practicing on the floor. What it will do over time is you’ll use a thinner and thinner band, so it’s not giving you that much assistance. And it’s another really great way to get stronger at your push-ups. So those bands can help with that, and with your pull-ups. They’re great for pull-up training.

0:33:05.9 Gina: Awesome, that sounds great. [chuckle]

0:33:08.2 Kim Schlag: And focusing on those kinds of things in the gym can really be the difference between a person obsessing about their weight and just doing to do with their nutrition and really being excited, like I’m excited to get back in the gym and see, “Can I use just the purple band today?” And I really, it’s one of the reasons I really promote strength training in women, besides the fact that it does change the shape of your body, it changes your focus to something that: One, you have more control over, and two, that it’s just way more empowering than, “What size are my thighs today?” [chuckle]

0:33:39.3 Gina: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and I think I’ll be fine. I just, I’m so frustrated ’cause I have so much to lose and it’s been sitting there for a while and I’ve been trying. And I just, I think even just losing 10 pounds of fat would be a huge thing for me, and then I could do that three chunks at a time or whatever, however long it takes, but I think that’s just where I am, but I know that I need to be really strict during my cuts, so I’m going to do what you said on the grams because it didn’t even cross my mind about the half cup oatmeal. Didn’t even cross my mind. So stuff like that could be, and I just started weighing my bananas, ’cause you know they’re all different sizes. [chuckle]

0:34:19.3 Kim Schlag: They are. They are, and again guys, I know it seems little, but it’s the addition of these things throughout a day that can add up, ’cause ideally when you’re in a calorie deficit, you’re only in 250 to 500 calories lower than your maintenance, which you know how fast it is to eat up 250 calories through things like 30 calories extra on a banana and 20 calories extra on the oatmeal, and then I put extra milk into this. All these little things, they add up. There’s not a single food you can’t include when you’re going to lose weight, but making sure that you account for what you’ve eaten is the key to figuring out, “Am I actually in the deficit that on paper I think I’m in?”

0:35:01.0 Gina: Yeah, and I definitely don’t wanna do that forever. I’m saying that yeah, just like you, for my cut, this has to be this way for me. I have to figure out exactly what I’m doing or I’m not gonna have what I think is success. And then after that, like I said, I got my maintenance thing. I figured that out, but, so that’ll be nice once I can cut and then I can maintain easily, and it’s just this cut thing is confusing me. It’s just harder this time than it was last time, and I guess I was trying to figure out what exactly had changed or what I had done differently, which I feel like I’m not doing things differently.

0:35:44.8 Kim Schlag: Were your calories at 1750 when you lost a year ago? What were they at then?

0:35:50.5 Gina: Yeah, I think I actually started at 1650 and I ended up at 1750 during my cut just because I had… I was, yeah, for some reason. I can’t remember if I was super hungry and just wanted to see if 100 calories would be enough to keep me going. But yeah, I was at 1750. So I think when I tried in October, I think I was just irritated that I couldn’t cut at the same amount, and so I don’t think I was as meticulous as I am right now. So I’ve just started another cut one week ago, so I’m seeing a little bit, but I’m gonna now.

0:36:32.0 Kim Schlag: Fantastic.

0:36:33.2 Gina: Do the grams with the oatmeal. [chuckle]

0:36:34.3 Kim Schlag: Message me back in, so 30 days and my biggest piece of advice I give to people who are tracking calories is to pre-log your food the night before. So decide exactly what you’re gonna eat. So I’m gonna have 120 grams banana. I’m gonna have whatever it is, put that all in. Get it set exactly how you want it to be, including things like, “I’m having popcorn Friday night,” so you know I’m having X amount of popcorn, put that all in. The next day when you’re ready to do it, if you’re gonna change anything, change it before you eat it, so you don’t remember and then really weigh everything out. It does not take that long. It really does not take that long to do all of that, and what it does is save you time of years of being frustrated with why am I not losing, right? So 30 days of doing that, hit those calories and keep a calendar that says, ‘Yes, I did it today,” or I was a little bit over, so you can really look and see did I hit at least 80% to 90% consistency with these calories and then let’s touch base again.

0:37:35.6 Gina: Yeah. And do you think the calories… ‘Cause I’m doing the whole macros, you know the protein, the carbs, and the fat. Is it more important to hit all the macros and be maybe 50 calories under or is it better to do calories?

0:37:51.9 Kim Schlag: Your macro should add up to your calories. Right, so I typically do not macro count. I actually am right now in the cut I’m in because the coach I hired, that’s how he does it, and I really wanted to see, he’s one of my business mentors and I wanted to work with him, so I’m counting macros right now. Your macros will equal up to your calories. They will. In the end of the day, if you just, if your total calories is 1750 and you hit 1750 and you get in, what’s your protein grams you’re shooting for?

0:38:17.3 Gina: 148.

0:38:18.0 Kim Schlag: Okay, so if you get your protein 148, you hit total calories 1750, that is enough. What research shows us is those two things are enough to cause fat loss. If your fats and carbs are different day-to-day, it doesn’t necessarily matter. For a lot of people, they prefer counting macros and it keeps them on track more to know I need, I need X number of grams of fat and I’m gonna hit that. If you add those up and you get, it makes your total calories. I would not hyper-focus on carbs versus fats. I would hyper-focus on total calories and protein.

0:38:47.5 Gina: Okay. And do you touch on that with your new course coming out for menopause, ’cause you know that.

0:38:53.4 Kim Schlag: Which piece of it?

0:38:56.5 Gina: Like how your body responds as you age, with the carbs and stuff.

0:39:01.2 Kim Schlag: Absolutely. Absolutely, I’m gonna hit that hard, ’cause so many women are told they need to eat low carb. So I’m gonna kind of myth bust there. And again, when I tell you guys fats and carbs don’t, with the ratio in doesn’t matter to fat loss, I’m not saying they don’t matter to you as an individual, and this is something I cover in the course to figure out, “What do I need?” Because, here’s the thing, if you are somebody who does a ton of running or high intensity training, you might feel like crap with lower carbs. You might need to eat… Even moderate carbs might not even be enough for you, you might need higher carb. If you’re somebody who, in over a period of time, notices you’re really struggling with hunger and you’re low fat, one of the things we can do to help you besides getting your protein up is giving you more dietary fat. So those things are very important to an individual’s success. They’re not the key to fat loss, but they could be the key for an individual sticking with their calorie targets.

0:39:54.1 Kim Schlag: And that’s something I’m gonna be covering in the Menopause and Weight loss course is those specifics. It will be in the course itself, so guys who are listening too, the way the course is gonna work, I’m pre-recording videos. You’re gonna get a new module each week. It will be dripped each week, you’ll get a new module, you’ll watch it. It’s not just gonna be a watch and learn, it’s gonna be a watch, learn, and do. There’s gonna be action steps for you to take. And then every week, I’ll be coming live to talk to all of you and talk in depth through whatever issues, questions, struggles, you’re having. There’s gonna be a Facebook group, we’ll do that in there, and then we can all chat in the Facebook group as often as people would like to tackle specifics. And if a person is telling me like, “This is my calories and this is my protein, but I’m super tired,” ’cause guys, in menopause, we’re so super, super tired. And again, I’m gonna question, “Are you going low-carb? Maybe you need to bring your carbs up.” So that’s where we play around with carbs and fats to help us reach our physique goals, but also, “I just wanna feel good” goals.

0:40:58.3 Gina: So if I go through this next 30 days, I’m meticulous and whatever, and I’m still not seeing too much of a change, do you feel like that could be something partly perimenopausal stuff going on, hormonal? Or do you…

0:41:13.5 Kim Schlag: Here’s the real deal of weight loss in menopause. It does nothing about perimenopause, nothing about the change in hormones, stops your ability to lose weight. The role that it can play, as our hormones drop… A couple of roles that it plays. One, it shifts the pattern of where we hold our weight. We tend to hold our fat more in our belly, super fun, but it’s your excess fat. It’s not saying, “You will now have excess fat on your belly,” you can still lose that fat, and you’re not gonna necessarily gain fat… You won’t gain fat just because you’re in peri-menopause. If you gain fat, it will likely show up in your belly. So the distribution is different. Okay, you’ll still lose it. So that’s one way it can wreak havoc on us. The other that is really important is, we typically just don’t feel so well. We’re tired, we’re not moving as much, so we’re burning fewer calories over the course of a day, ’cause we’re not moving as much. Maybe we’re stress eating. We’re over-tired, if you’re not sleeping well, because you have hot flashes, or because you just have that insomnia that can come with menopause. If any of those things are happening, it can mess with your hunger and cravings.

0:42:19.9 Kim Schlag: So when I talk about hormones, it can mess with those hormones that help you either feel full, your satiety, or crave things and feel really hungry. What do we do if we’re craving and feel really hungry? We eat more. [chuckle] So if we’re eating more, it’s about the calories, but in the end, we have to come back and tackle, what do we do about our sleep? What do we do if we’re trying to manage our sleep, but it’s not working? I have a whole module about those guys, we wanna attack both angles. How do we help you get better sleep? But in the end, it just might not happen to them. It did not happen for me. And so how do we help you lose weight even when you are sleepless, because you can, but we have to tackle very specific things to figure that out. So that’s where menopause comes in. It messes with your sleep, it messes with where you store fat, it can mess with your hunger or your satiety, “Am I stress eating?” And so we tackle all of those hurdles, but at the end of the day, it is still about getting in a calorie deficit. And so if we can get a person in a calorie deficit, they will lose weight whether they’re perimenopausal or not. So no, nothing about perimenopause will specifically be keeping you from losing weight.

0:43:29.3 Gina: Okay, good to know. I just need to…

0:43:31.2 Kim Schlag: Empowering to know, because… And here’s the thing it’s gotta click for you ladies, if you think you can’t lose weight because your age or perimenopause, you will not lose weight, because weight loss is incredibly hard. It is more hard to do than people give it credit for, and so what often happens is they think, “It is hard, it’s going really slow, so something is wrong with me,” when reality is, that’s literally what it feels like. It is just that hard. And the things we talked here today about being more precise are overlooked, because what they’re hearing is, “hormones, hormones, hormones.” Do you see what I’m saying?

0:44:06.3 Gina: Yeah, I do. Yeah. Awesome.

0:44:08.9 Kim Schlag: Alright, let’s stay in touch. It was great talking to you, Gina. Thanks for being brave and coming on here with me. I know I gave you a little bit of anxiety. I really admire that.

0:44:18.4 Gina: You make it easy.

0:44:20.1 Kim Schlag: I’m so glad. We’ll talk soon.

0:44:21.8 Gina: Alright, thank you.

0:44:22.5 Kim Schlag: Okay, bye-bye.

0:44:25.3 Gina: Bye.

[chuckle]

0:44:26.2 Kim Schlag: Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today, I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.

If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people. Thanks so much.