“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
Let us gather all the health and fitness advice that’s been thrown at us over the years. The “Conventional Wisdom”. The Food Pyramid. My Plate. Calories in, calories out. Eat less, exercise more. The Biggest Loser.
Then, step back and take a good hard look at it. It’s what we’ve been taught. It’s ingrained. We’ve been following it for decades. Why isn’t it working?
I’m a sugar addict. Most of us have a sweet tooth – with varying intensities. Sugar is addictive. It targets that opioid reward center in the brain just like alcohol, nicotine, heroin and crack. And a “Sugar-Crackhead” is an accurate description of how I felt when I was craving some. Oh you might not have seen it to look at me, but it was going on in there.
This addiction actually serves a purpose in our perfectly designed human body. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate and craved seasonal items such as fruits, gourds and tubers in the summer and fall because they needed to put on extra weight for the winter to survive. The long summer days increased their appetites as well, to ensure they ate as much as possible. Seasonal foods and winter famine are no longer issues in our modern day world. And with electric lights extending our daylight hours, to our bodies, it LOOKS like we are in an ENDLESS summer and winter NEVER comes. It’s no wonder obesity is an epidemic! My Program gets you back in that seasonal rhythm, without packing on the pounds for winter.
“We don’t get fat because we overeat; we overeat because we’re getting fat.” — Gary Taubes
Sugar and the resulting insulin spike have SO much to do with our current health problems. As our bodies are trying to bring our blood sugar down, in what it detects as an emergency, the rest gets sent to “storage” and our cells don’t get fed the nutrients they had asked for. So they ask again. If you eat more sugar, then Spike ⇢ Insulin ⇢ Emergency ⇢ Storage ⇢ Not Fed ⇢ Ask for More. Repeat. You are hungry all the time. That is a metabolic breakdown.
“No amount of willpower can stand up to the force of dysregulated appetite hormones and hungry opioid receptors in your brain.” —Mark Sisson
Do you ever have to battle your willpower? Who usually wins? Have you ever had leftover birthday cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it was there? Did you know that a pint of ice cream is NOT a single serving? Are you ever NOT aware of treats someone brought in to the employee break room? Have you ever rewarded yourself with a sweet snack after a workout? How about ditching a diet because you crashed every afternoon as your blood sugar tanked, and you couldn’t sustain the hunger? Any feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness associated with all that? Um, that was me. My Program will help you calm the cravings and thoughts to merely a quiet whisper. And when you do wish to treat yourself, you will do so thoughtfully, mindfully and free of emotional judgement.
Did you know that our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived lives that were virtually FREE of obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dental decay and other modern afflictions?
Did you know that the ONLY creatures currently on the planet that have those afflictions are fed by us? (Humans, pets, livestock or those animals who rifle through our garbage)
Do you SEE the connection?!? These afflictions AREN’T just part of the natural “process of aging”. They AREN’T inevitable just because your mom or Aunt Sally had them before you. They AREN’T things that you “just have to live with” or may debilitate you later on in life. They ARE results of diet and lifestyle. My Program helps you Reset back to where your immune system works at its BEST and you will learn to fuel with nourishing foods that don’t muck things all up. Our bodies KNOW inherently what to do. We just need to get out of the way!
Did you know that we become more sensitive to stress as we approach menopause? Estrogen and progesterone are active players in fat storage and how we react to stress (cortisol). As our estrogen decreases in menopause, we put on more belly fat, our sleep gets disrupted, and our muscles begin to waste. Recall how weight fluctuates with your period? In menopause its more of the bad and less of the good. No bueno. My Program uses this knowledge and puts it to work for your benefit.
“Perhaps a less familiar idea is that our lifestyles can actually BE medicine.” — Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
How do you feel? When you awake in the morning are you rested and energetic? Or do you feel not enough coffee in the world could revive you? Do you feel stressed out and frazzled? Do you feel like curling up on the couch with the curtains pulled to binge watch Netflix? Do you exercise or over-exercise? Do you have the energy to go outside on a beautiful day? Do you ever feel guilty for doing something that takes care of YOU? Do you ever speak or berate yourself with harsh words that you would NEVER utter to a friend or loved one? My Program is geared to get things back in alignment, back in the natural rhythm, pampering the inner you and bringing vitality into your life. Wouldn’t it be a joy to feel like a carefree kid again, raring to go outside and on a new adventure?
• This is not a “diet”. We won’t be weighing, measuring, counting calories, food journaling, menu-following, or eating at scheduled times. But you WILL learn how to listen to your body and feed it nourishing foods.
• You will likely lose weight. It’s a side effect. Your body will be changing in many different ways and may look nothing like it ever has before. We don’t really care what the scale says however. You will learn to judge your successes in other ways. My Program is customized for all stages of your journey.
• No gym membership required. Nor fancy home equipment either. The fitness portion of my Program can be done by all ages and any level of fitness, darn near anywhere. We lose muscle mass with age and it’s true that you “use it or lose it”. We are going to NEED our strength as we get older!
• You are going to get some sleep. Lack of sleep can derail even the most perfect eating plan. And quality sleep is needed to get your body back to its proper state. This is the MOST IMPORTANT key to health and wellness as far as I’m concerned, and you will be amazed by the benefits. (Join our Smoother Health Community below to receive my FREE Best Sleep Guide in the Resource Library!)
• You will find improvements in unexpected places. People all over the globe have been surprised at the different ways their health has improved after adopting the changes used in my Program. For example, I had severe seasonal, food and drug allergies that affected EVERY aspect of my life. I no longer have them since I healed my gut following this Program (that’s where SO many health problems begin!)
• You won’t go hungry. We eat foods that are filling and satisfying. Our hunger signals actually WORK again without sugar and insulin messing them up. Back when I was feeling like a Sugar-Crackhead I would have NEVER believed that I could ever skip a meal or even two! I do it all the time now and I don’t feel hungry, and my body is still being fed.
• You won’t need “special” food. Would your family object to juicy grilled steaks for dinner? How about a nice omelet with bacon in the morning? Ya, I didn’t think so. My kids have never objected to that. Have an Instant Pot or Crock-Pot? Bam, simple simple. I emphasize quality and unprocessed foods in my Program, so the nutrition is actually absorbed rather than…well, you know.
• It’s not just eating, sleeping and moving. We delve into a whole lot of other things in my Program, with the ultimate goal of graduating you to a healthy, vital way of living that is totally sustainable – through holidays, vacations, digressions and life stressors that pop up. Your body will be back to functioning properly, as it was designed to do, so these former BIG deals (aka derailments), won’t be anything really. You’ll effortlessly get back on track – guilt and shame free. Results for Life!
🎶🎶 “Here’s the story… 🎶🎶
🎶🎶 of the Health Coach lady…” 🎶🎶
I’m Coach Cherie Ó. The spelling of my name throws people off. You don’t have to go all French. Just think of Steve Perry singing “Oh Sherry” and then flip it.
You’ve already learned a little bit about me. Despite being a confessed sugar addict, I really wasn’t an obese child. My older sister was my role model and my best friend. We had a great childhood, and together we would create shows or plays with skits and dance numbers that we would perform for family. My mom supported this wholeheartedly and even let us do dance lessons, water ballet, summer camps and Children’s Theater. It was great!
I’ve ALWAYS loved sweets. If one was so good, two were better, and three or four…I gobbled until they were gone. After school I would raid the kitchen. Cinnamon toast, cereal, the goodies (Ho-Hos, pudding, cookies) meant for our sack lunches that we BEGGED my mom to get and PROMISED we would make them last – 💥POOF💥 – gone. I just couldn’t resist! When Girl Scout Cookies arrived my mom had to hide them to keep them from being devoured. We found the spot, after a massive whole house search, and snuck to them whenever we could to partake. Geez, I could write a BOOK of my sneaky treat escapades!
It all finally caught up with me when I went to Japan as an exchange student my junior year of high school. My first home was with a well to do family and it’s tradition for visitors to bring a gift of tea cakes or confections, and we had a lot of visitors. When I would go downstairs to turn the water heater on for my shower, those leftover goodies would call to me, and I would sneak one or two back up to my room. “Ojīsan” would also slip me cash so I would pop in at the local market and buy cookies, candy, ice cream and BREAD – oh, they had the BEST bread shops!
So guess what? I got REALLY fat. Like, thank goodness my school uniform was “roomy” and I only had to let the belt out. I could hide behind it. On non-school days, I had to wear what I had brought from the US – which got tighter and tighter. I actually avoided doing some things because I didn’t have appropriate clothes that fit. I did buy some pants and a baggy top, but your typical Japanese person isn’t exactly tall AND fat, so it wasn’t easy to find things. My mom, bless her heart, mailed me some “larger” clothes. The sad part is, I don’t ever look back on photos from that once in a lifetime year, because I don’t like to see ME in them.
After I got back to the States, I yo-yoed my way back to various stages of “normal”, and continued on as we all do. Marriage, kids (it’s a license to eat when you’re pregnant, right?) and so on. I had periods of Slim-Fast, Jane Fonda and Tae-Bo workouts, Lean Cuisines, some Yoga Booty Ballet… After a lot of years of that, temporary successes followed by weight gains, it kind of all stopped working.
In 2008 my sister was diagnosed with celiac disease, something neither of us had ever heard of. As we learned more about it, I discovered that gluten and dairy were likely the cause of my, dare I mention: gas, bloating and loose stools. When I eliminated them (no pun intended), the symptoms stopped! I had tough decisions though – were the Peanut Butter Chips Ahoy cookies or the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream worth the 3 days of discomfort to follow? At the time, they were.
Another issue I had was that I was plagued with allergies! It started with allergic rhinitis, very common in Oregon in the summer, then a severe reaction to cashew nut chicken – which got me carrying an Epi-Pen. After a reaction from a Sulfa drug I took, I could no longer be exposed to the fumes or dust of the medication, or even other drugs from the same family – like furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, sulfasalazine. And I WORKED as a pharmacy technician for 20 years! If exposed, I would be covered in a rash that resembled a sunburn, including my eyes and nose. One time my skin even peeled! I was also hypersensitive to perfumes and fragrances. I knew when one customer had walked in the door before I ever laid eyes on her. I had to constantly be “on guard” – which is exactly what was going on inside me.
I was also seriously working out at a Gold’s Gym back then, 5 nights a week. I started lifting heavy things instead of focusing on the elliptical so much, and I got some nice muscles out of it. I looked better than I had in a long time. When you exercise hard, you can eat more sweets, right? I hadn’t made any changes to my eating habits and the late nights at the gym affected my sleep time. When my workout buddy moved, I lost my motivation, stopped going and gradually the hard work no longer showed.
That’s me with my dad from back then, and those are our pet names for each other. It was from a shaving commercial when I was a toddler – one’s skin is smoother and one’s softer. In 2010, I lost him to cancer. He was only in his 60’s, which seemed far too young and yet not THAT far from where I was. His mother, whom we call MeeMee, just passed away at 104½! I expected that we would ALL live as long as her, so my dad’s death really shattered those beliefs and frightened me of my own future.
In 2011, I went to Hawai’i with my dear friend and our two freshly high-school graduated daughters. I was years overdue for a REAL vacation, and just being out of the pharmacy did wonders to calm me. I was trying to be gluten and dairy free but I had put on weight again. Looking back at the photos, I realized I had to do something and make a serious commitment to a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t want to be sick, or plump, or hyper-anything.
I Googled “gluten and dairy free diet” to see what my options were. Result: The Paleo Diet. Holy crap, there WAS such a thing?!! I immediately went out and bought a Kindle and downloaded my first book on the subject. My journey into health began at that moment. Ancestral Health was the key and I found an amazing resource in Mark Sisson at marksdailyapple.com. I lost 20 pounds, effortlessly. My allergies faded away. All the gas with its related symptoms vanished. The aches, pains and inflammation – gone. My teeth and gums were healthier. I had ENERGY. I didn’t have intense hunger or cravings. I slept great and awoke ready to start the day. I never knew that I could feel that good!
Isn’t that a great ending to the story? Sorry, we aren’t done yet! A funny thing happened in around 2015 – I started gaining weight. Was it heartbreak? Overwork? Stress from a water leak and later remodel? Was it the wine? Or the Primal approved “treats”? Was it the late nights watching Netflix? Menopause? My new Fitbit? Lack of exercise? Loneliness? A European vacation? A new romance? Selling my house? Quitting my job? Moving abroad? YES!
So what did I do? I focused on what my hormonally changing body needed under these new circumstances. I went right to the root of the problem, addressed the key things (insulin resistance, stress, sleep disturbances) that affect women MORE in the Second Half, and the weight started dropping off – like I had finally hit the release valve.
The cravings are gone. My mind is calm. My energy is fantastic. I no longer obsess about food. I eat once or twice a day. Sleep solid every night. I’m not hungry and I don’t feel deprived. It’s so simple and easy. Foods no longer have power over me. I have the power.
I was able to lose 30 pounds EFFORTLESSLY this way and I feel AMAZING! I am back to the real size of me, where I am comfortable, confident, happy and I feel YOUNG, like I’m in my 30s again.
I finally decided that since I spend so much time talking about it and living it, why not teach it! I received my certification from the Primal Health Coach Institute and formed Smoother Health Coaching, in memory of my dad. Now I help others who are starting out or starting over, or just need some guidance on their own health journey so they get it RIGHT this time, for good!
I work with women in their Second Half of life, dealing with hormonal changes that seem to have made it all go haywire – with belly fat, loss on energy, health decline, and feeling like they are getting old too quickly. I LOVE seeing them transform from doom and gloom, to starting fresh – back in control of their bodies, the youngster in them brought back to life, and feeling sexy and strong to enjoy their days to their fullest.
If you’ve gotten this far and can relate to my story, I would be honored to work with you on your health journey. It is hard to imagine that such simple changes can make all the difference, but it’s really just going back to basics. Our basics as human beings. Incredible transformations are possible when we let our bodies operate the way they’re designed to.