Welcome to Inspiration Sauce – my new interview series where I delve into some fun conversation with some of the most interesting and inspirational midlife women I know.
Women who have touched my life and healed my spirit in some way or another, women that might do the same for you.
Since this site is all about health and radiance for midlife women, I originally envisioned interviewing herbalists and health coaches for this series.
But then I thought, why stop there?
After all Holistic Hot Sauce is about much more than wellness for our external bodies. Here, I explore my own journey (and YOURS) to healing and wellness from the inside out, and how to turn up our inner pilot lights so we can shine that beacon out to the world.
Inspiration Sauce will highlight women that are blasting that beacon of light out into our (sometimes) bleak world. They are making a real difference – not just in the lives of countless women but to our planet as a whole.
In my typical style of playing it fast and loose, I’ll be varying the format of these interviews. Sometimes they’ll be in text form (like today), others I’ll offer you an audio or video experience of the interview.
Kick Off Interview With Nutrition Coach Amy Grams
I decided to kick off the series with a solid focus on wellness and interview Nutrition Coach Amy Grams. I met Amy a little over a year ago, and I was I felt an immediate affinity because she’s on a similar mission to mine – to help women feel more energized and sparked up so they can live into the fullness of their own potential.
Plus, I was totally inspired by the recipes she puts on her blog every few weeks. I’ve cooked up more than a couple of these already and I’m always like – yeah, that’s a keeper.
This woman is a cook! With her solid grounding in nutrition I knew it would be a blast to chat with her on this interview. We share a lot of the same ideas about how to use foods to give us the energy and balance we crave.
And then when I saw she’s launching a new program “Rev Up Your Metabolism After 40”, I knew I wanted to share it here – since, damn – who among us doesn’t want to do that?
I mean, I pride myself on being pretty together with my nutrition – but I’ve still noticed some of those unpleasant midlife “what the F happened to my metabolism” symptoms she mentions….like:
- Secretly unbuttoning the top button of your pants to let your belly fat pooch out
- Dragging yourself out of bed in the morning and praying for a nap at about 3 p.m. every day
- Craving sugar, caffeine and salt
I mean, “HI!” The needing a nap at 3 p.m. really hits home. So, let’s take a look at what Amy has to say.
Sarah: Tell us a little about your back story Amy. You’ve said that you came to your passion for nutrition well into adulthood. What was your epiphany?
Amy: After 15 years working my way up the corporate ladder, the effect of stress started to wreck my body. I had chronic heartburn, indigestion, insomnia, exhaustion and rosacea.
After coming down with the flu and, six months later, still not fully recovered, I stumbled upon acupuncture. After a few treatments and some mysterious Chinese herbs, my flu finally resolved itself. This ignited my fascination and curiosity about nutrition and natural healing.
How could acupuncture and Chinese herbs cure something that six months, antibiotics and many trips to my doctor could not?
I started reading and researching and making changes in my diet and lifestyle. My results were remarkable – my heartburn went away, my digestion improved, my energy soared, I lost 15 lbs. and my rosacea completely disappeared.
I experienced first-hand how powerful diet and lifestyle choices can be. I fully appreciated for the first time that when given the right nourishment, our bodies can heal just about anything.
S: You work with busy women over 40 to help them ‘reboot’ their lives. What does this mean?
A: So many women get caught up taking care of everyone else that they lose themselves, their health and their happiness. When you break that pattern – and changing your diet and lifestyle choices is a great way to do that – amazing things can happen.
Women feel empowered to make other changes in their lives. I love to watch and support this process!
S: Your upcoming program is called “Rev Up Your Metabolism After 40.” That sounds like something most of us would want. What exactly is this program, what does it entail?
A: Rev Up Your Metabolism after 40 is a 4-week teleseminar series designed to help women experience the power of their own body. While it’s true that metabolism slows after 40, it doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to gaining weight year after year and feeling frumpy and sluggish.
In this program, I teach women two powerful tools that rev up the metabolism:
- My 7-Day Ageless Beauty Detox, which is a food-based liver detox that allows you to clean up the toxins that slow down metabolism and send the body out of balance. It’s amazing what the body can do in just 7 days when you feed her the right foods. Once your liver releases all that stored gunk, your body can heal and return to balance. You feel so amazing once this happens and weight often just drops off (among other juicy results)!
- The Fabulous 4 Fat Fighters, which are a set of daily practices that create a fat-fighting metabolism after 40. During the program, I reveal what the Fabulous 4 Fat Fighters are and walk the class through a process to integrate them into their daily lives. This allows you to leverage the results from the detox and ensure that you don’t revert back to your old ways. I give you a “way of being” you can follow for life.
S: So how exactly does a teleseminar work? Do we call in on the phone? Go online?
A: We’ll have one class per week for 4 weeks. To attend, you can either call in to a conference line or go to a website reserved just for our class, where you’ll be able to listen from the comfort of your home or office as I teach the class.
You can also ask questions during the class and, after it’s over, download a recording to your phone, iPod or computer to listen to the class again and again at your leisure.
S: I think we’ve all noticed how easy it is for the pounds to creep on once we get into the midlife years. It doesn’t seem to make a difference if we are still eating and exercising exactly the same as we used to when we were younger. What are some of the biggest reasons that a woman’s metabolism slows down after 40?
There are many. Some of the biggest factors include:
- Perimenopause, which for most women creates a condition known as estrogen dominance. When estrogen is out of balance with the other sex hormones, it actually encourages fat storage, especially in the belly.
- Stress. Such a huge one! And ignored by so many women who just try to “push through.” But the stress response is a real, physiological process that exacerbates the hormone imbalance that occurs during perimenopause.
Also, the stress hormone cortisol – produced in spades during stress — not only breaks down muscle tissue (reducing body mass and therefore lowering metabolism) it also triggers the body to store fat, in particular belly fat.
- Poor digestion.As we age, our digestive systems get less efficient, producing fewer digestive enzymes and stomach acid.That means we don’t absorb as many nutrients and that in turn can affect hormone production, which again exacerbates the hormone imbalance created by perimenopause. The longer we live on this planet, the more likely we are to develop food sensitivities, which can cause a chronic state of inflammation, deplete your energy and weaken your immune system.
- Toxins. Every day, new chemicals are approved in the U.S. by the Environmental Protection Agency. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink all have toxins.And while our bodies have a built-in detoxification system, our diet and lifestyle choices can reduce its effectiveness. If our liver can’t remove a toxin, it wraps it in fat and attaches it to the liver, making it very difficult to lose that fat.Also, many toxins mimic hormones in the body, which means they further throw our hormones out of balance.
S: You’ve said that stress can cause belly fat in midlife women? How can this be, and what are a few techniques to manage stress in order to reduce that unwanted flab?
A: When you’re under stress, your body produces the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol in turn triggers a whole host of physiological changes, among them that fat and muscle tissue are broken down and converted into glucose (aka blood sugar).
Glucose is your cells’ primary energy source. So the surge in blood sugar is intended to give you the energy to outrun the proverbial saber-toothed tiger.
But the problem is that most of us aren’t really in a life or death situation. We’re flooded with glucose and yet we’re sitting in front of our computers, barely moving. So our cells really don’t need all the glucose. And the bad news is that any glucose not needed immediately gets converted back into fat, with a special preference for the belly.
So managing stress can naturally lead to a flatter belly…without actually changing your diet (although that helps too!). There was a fantastic study published last year that showed that women who followed an 8-week mindfulness meditation program actually experienced a reduction in abdominal fat, without making any other changes. How cool is that?
I believe meditation is the number one way to manage stress. Meditation produces the “relaxation response” which in turn literally undoes all the negative effects of stress. It reduces heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, calms anxiety and helps improve focus, willpower and so much more. I’ve simply never heard of a negative study or side effect of meditation. Even better, it doesn’t cost a thing and you can get results in 15 to 20 minutes a day.
S: What ABOUT all those hormonal changes that are happening to women at 40 and over? Can the Rev Up Your Metabolism program help women with ‘hormones wreaking havoc’ syndrome?
A: One of the goals of Rev Up Your Metabolism after 40 is to bring the body back into balance. The program reduces stress and restores blood sugar balance, both of which have a significant impact on hormone balance.
As a result, you’ll have less PMS, easier periods and, if you maintain the habits I teach you, an easier menopause. Metabolism is intertwined with hormone balance so by improving one, you improve the other.
S: How can this program incorporate into a woman’s life if she is crazy busy? Is it doable?
In addition to being a single mom, I’ve worked in Corporate America. I get how crazy busy life is for most of us. I don’t teach anything I haven’t been able to incorporate into my own life.
In addition to giving you with a step-by-step system, the program also provides you support and accountability, not just from me but from the other women taking the course.
But you certainly have to make a commitment to try some new things and make some changes. Change can be tough but the rewards are so worth it!
S: Is it necessary to give up all of your vices when doing this program? What if that’s too hard? Can we still get a benefit if we want to continue drinking coffee for example?
A: For the 7-Day Ageless Beauty Detox, I ask the class to give up some cherished things like wine, coffee, chocolate and wheat. That can be tough (I always mourn the loss of my morning cup of coffee)! But it’s only for 7 days! I remind the class (and myself) that you can do just about anything for a week. Especially when the benefits are so powerful.
I also give some strategies for making the transition easier. I’ve done this many times myself, so you get the benefit of my experience.
S: What sorts of results can we expect after completing the program?
At the end of the program you can expect to:
- Lose 5 to 7 lbs., especially from the belly
- Eliminate cravings for sugar, caffeine and salt
- Enjoy clearer, younger looking skin
- Feel energized and revitalized
- Feel less congested and “phlegmy”
- No longer experience those mysterious aches and pains when you wake up
S: Wow, that sure sounds great! But how can we maintain this after completing the program?
A: One of the reasons I chose to make this a 4-week program, instead of just a 1-week detox, is to provide the class with the tools to leverage their results and create a healthy lifestyle you can follow forever.
I want women to fall in love with how they feel when they nurture their bodies. In addition to the Fabulous 4 Fat Fighters, I teach the class several other tools and habits that will allow you to create and maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle.
I incorporate the science of habit making, which allows you to leverage your brain’s natural and innate preference for ritual and routine.
S: On one of your free webinars you talked about the five nutrients to boost metabolism. What are those nutrients and why are they important?
In the last class, I’ll cover the top 5 superfoods to create a fat-fighting metabolism. Your body needs specific nutrients to digest and metabolize food, fight disease, detoxify and create energy. You can get by without these, but it’s kind of like tying one hand behind your back.
These nutrients include:
- Omega 3 fats
- B vitamins
What are the 5 superfoods, you ask? Hey, a girl’s gotta keep some secrets for the class! 😉
S: Wow, thanks Amy. This is so much useful information right here. And I have to say, I’m jazzed about this class! I’m definitely in need of a cleanse! Do you have any final tips for women who would like to feel more energized, lighter and less stressed?
Make time for yourself every day to eat well, exercise and manage stress. Do it first thing in the morning to make sure it gets done.
We all give lip service to these practices, but few of us actually do them. Or we do one or two, but never the full package. Over time (and especially once you pass 40), this depletes you in so many ways. It’s time for women to stop doing for everyone but themselves.
Don’t be afraid to tell your family that this time is sacred and INSIST that they support you. Be specific: tell them what you need them to do (or not do). And then follow through!
By making the decision to put your health and wellness first, you send a powerful message to your spirit, your friends and family and your co-workers about how important you and your contribution to the world really are.
Aaah… I just love that last bit! I’m sure y’all can see why I wanted to feature Amy here. Her message resonates so closely with mine.
If Amy’s Rev Up Your Metabolism After 40 program piques your interest – check out out now! It starts on January 31 – in just a few days. You can also learn more about Amy and check out some of those delicious recipes over on her site, Nutrition Accomplished.
What do you think? Got questions for Amy? Thoughts on these topics? Suggestions for who I can interview next? Let ‘er rip in the comments below!