Know your limits

You are not a doctor or psychologist. You cannot diagnose or treat anything. Your goal is to make sure that the FASTer Way is a healthy and effective option for your clients. If you feel like it isn’t the best fit either before or during the program, then be sure to kindly, gracefully and gently let the client know. Keep your eyes out, be proactive and then remember your limits. Make objective recommendations and refer when necessary.

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Adrenal fatigue

Your adrenal glands are endocrine glands located just above the kidneys. They produce several hormones, including hormones involved in stress response like cortisol and adrenaline. When you experience normal stress, your adrenal glands produce these hormones to help your body prepare for stressful situations by making sure your body has the energy it needs.

For example, cortisol causes the body to break down proteins into amino acids and turn them into glucose via gluconeogenesis in the liver. In nature, it would be signalling your body to make as much energy as possible when food was scarce or when predators were frequently around. Cortisol also causes the release of free fatty acids, which can also be used by your body as a fuel source.

During periods of prolonged stress, the adrenal glands stop producing hormones in the quantities the body needs. People with adrenal fatigue feel exhausted, fatigued and fuzzy-headed. They have a hard time coping with normal levels of stress, both physical and emotional. More frequent and severe illness is also a sign of adrenal fatigue; what would be a mild cold for a healthy person can completely knock someone down who has adrenal fatigue. Other symptoms of adrenal fatigue include anxiety, depression, insomnia, weight gain, joint pain, and low sex drive.

If a client has been diagnosed and is suffering from adrenal fatigue, there are a few modifications they should follow for the FASTer Way to Fat Loss. First, if they’re suffering from severe adrenal fatigue, they shouldn’t participate in the 24-hour fast. When adrenal hormones are low, fasting can actually exacerbate adrenal fatigue. These clients should also scale back on the intensity and/or length of workouts so they don’t stress their bodies further. The FASTer Way normally gives the body a healthy amount of stress that it needs to build fitness, but for someone with adrenal fatigue this stress can be too much, which is why modifications are necessary.

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hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is another syndrome where hormone imbalances produce big changes in the body. The thyroid gland, located in the throat area, produces the hormones T3, T4, and calcitonin. T3 and T4 are heavily involved in metabolic regulation, which is why patients with thyroid hormone imbalances often gain a lot of weight that they just can’t seem to lose.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are very similar to adrenal fatigue. With low T3 and T4 levels, the body’s metabolism slows down. That’s why weight gain is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. People with hypothyroidism also commonly feel cold all the time (again due to a depressed metabolic rate), and they feel tired all the time. They can also experience muscle or joint pain and stiffness. Hypothyroidism can lead to changes in mood as well, including mood swings and depression.

Clients with untreated hypothyroidism should modify the FASTer Way to Fat Loss in a similar way as clients with adrenal fatigue. If your client is being successfully treated for hypothyroidism, she can follow a 16/8 fasting schedule (16-hour fast with an 8-hour feeding window). Again, it’s important for these clients to make sure they aren’t under eating, especially on low carb days.

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VEgans

It's definitely possible to participate in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss if you're vegan! In fact, because we suggest avoiding dairy, vegans are a step ahead of many clients in some ways. Vegans should follow the same macros and calorie goals as non-vegans. They should plan ahead carefully for low-carb day, since many vegans tend to have high-carb diets. Vegan protein shakes, peanut and other nut butters, tofu, and tempeh are all great protein options that vegans could use to meet their macros.

Consider purchasing the FWTFL Vegan Cookbook.

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Pregnancy

Exercise

A general rule of thumb for those exercising while pregnant is to not start anything completely new. So, if a woman has been exercising prior to pregnancy then it is perfectly fine for them to continue during pregnancy. Depending on how far along they are, sprints and speed burst training may be challenging, but they should be able to do modified versions of all strength training workouts, if they’ve done those types of workouts prior to pregnancy. If someone is unsure, have her consult her doctor or midwife.

Carb Cycling

During pregnancy the food cycle will need to be altered a bit. Most pregnant women should avoid low calorie days. Their developing baby needs lots of calories to grow and develop! However, they are able to participate in the regular calorie days and low carb are modified. They should also make sure to account for the added calories their baby needs when programming the MyFitnessPal app.

Intermittent Fasting

Most women will have no trouble with intermittent fasting during pregnancy. However, it is extremely important that pregnant women get their calories in every day. So, if they are unable to do so in an 8-hour window, then it is okay to lengthen the eating window a bit. Under eating has serious consequences when not pregnant, so it is critical that pregnant women are not under eating, as the consequences will not only affect mom, but baby as well. It is best to let pregnant women know that it is crucial they learn to listen to their bodies. If they are truly hungry during the fasting window, then by all means, eat something.

Overall, pregnant women can go through the FASTer Way program with great success with just a few small adjustments.

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breastfeeding moms

The FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a fantastic way to get back in shape after having a baby. However, many postpartum moms are concerned about starting the program while breastfeeding. Here are some commonly asked questions about the FASTer Way and breastfeeding.

How does intermittent fasting affect supply?

Because you are still eating the same amount of calories each day, intermittent fasting doesn’t have a negative effect on milk supply. Your milk supply is most commonly affected when you restrict your caloric intake. However, through the FASTer Way, we will set your daily calories and macros to a level that is more than sufficient for both you and baby. The fasting aspect of the program should not play a significant role in your milk supply.

How does carb cycling affect milk supply?

Since our carb cycle requires you to focus on the specific macronutrients you take in every day, you are going to be eating more of the essential nutrients your body needs than when you just track calories. The carb cycle also allows your body to get plenty of each macronutrient, without completely cutting one out. This again is eating the way God intended, and fueling both your body and baby’s body well!

How does going gluten-free and dairy-free affect supply?

Women in my FASTer Way program do this to varying degrees, however, I highly recommend going through the 6 weeks gluten and dairy free. Because gluten and dairy are both highly modified during food production, they can be inflammatory for many of my clients. For those who don’t go completely gluten and dairy free, they typically end up cutting way back on both gluten and dairy and still see phenomenal results. Most find this greatly improves their quality of life while having no effect on milk supply. In fact, most new moms are told that too much dairy is likely to cause some gas and discomfort for their baby, so this type of lifestyle is truly beneficial for both mom and baby.

What kinds of things should you pay attention to when breastfeeding on the FASTer Way?

Here are a couple of ways to keep an eye on your milk supply: regularly check your baby’s weight and rate of wet and dirty diapers. If your baby continues to gain weight and have a normal amount of diapers, then your supply is doing well. Obviously, if you pump, you will be able to keep a good eye on your milk supply and make adjustments as you see fit.

I do make some slight modifications to the food cycle for ladies who are postpartum (no low macro days and low carb days 100 grams of net carbs are recommended), but overall the program is completely doable at any stage of life. Remind breastfeeding clients to monitor their milk supply throughout the 6 weeks and to make you aware of any changes. If they are are continually hungry, an adjustment will need to be made and water needs to be above the recommended half their body weight in ounces rule. Keep in mind, many have seen an increase in milk supply once they switch to a whole food diet, so the program as a whole may go a long way to improving milk supply for those that are struggling. They will also not participate in the 24 hours fasts or a juice cleanse only day. If they would like to purchase the juice cleanse and have two juices over the course of a few days, while eating current macros, that is fine. 

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eating disorders

As a FASTer Way to Fat Loss coach you will need to be mindful of those coming to you with a history of eating disorders, or signs of a developing eating disorder. While you are not a doctor, and cannot diagnose anything, it is important that you have a general understanding of what to look for so you can give wise counsel regarding the program.

While anorexia and bulimia are the most commonly known eating disorders, there are several other types of eating disorders, including: binge eating disorder, orthorexia, AFRID, Pica and Rumination. You do not need to be an expert regarding any of those eating disorders.

However, if a client discloses that they’ve struggled with an eating disorder in the past, consider the following before allowing them to participate in the FASTer Way program:

How long have they been in recovery? 

If they are still in treatment, or less than a year out of treatment, it is highly recommended you do not allow them to participate until they are a little further removed from their disorder. Although the FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a completely safe and healthy program, for someone in eating disorder recovery, fasting or other components of the program could cause a relapse.

Do they have accountability and support?

Do they have family members who will check on them to see if anything in the program is triggering old behaviors? Are they still checking in with a counselor? Do they have someone who can call them out if they see them sliding back into old ways? Having a good support system is key to a successful recovery from an eating disorder.

Should they complete the program in its entirety?

While most components of the program will be incredibly beneficial for someone far removed from an eating disorder, it is highly recommended that they do not participate in the 24-hour fast. That could easily become a trigger for disordered eating. In place of the 24-hour fast, have them do a low calorie day instead. They might need to consider skipping the tracking of their food altogether, if that is going to trigger them, and instead focus on eating healthy, whole foods.

During the program

  • Keep an eye on overall caloric and macro intake each day. If you see a client consistently under eating, have a quick chat with them and let them know they need to bump up their calories.
  • If someone continues to under eat, and seems preoccupied with:
    • Perfectly hitting macros
    • Never missing a workout
    • Looking at food as a reward and exercise as a punishment
    • Living in a constant equation of having to get rid of everything they take in

...gently recommend they get some help from their doctor or a counselor. This will likely be met with resistance. If you know the person well, it may be appropriate to talk to a family member about your concerns. If not, make the recommendation and let them know that you don’t feel the FASTer Way is the appropriate program for them.

Encourage Intuitive Eating

Take it case by case

Know your limits. 

Again, you are not a doctor or psychologist. You cannot diagnose or treat anything. Your goal is to make sure that the FASTer Way is a healthy and effective option for your clients. If you feel like it isn’t the best fit either before or during the program, then be sure to kindly, gracefully and gently let the client know. Eating disorders are serious and getting someone to admit they have one is incredibly difficult. Keep your eyes out, be proactive and then remember your limits. Make objective recommendations and refer when necessary.