Have you ever experienced where you’re doing all the right things and you’re feeling good? But then something happens and your body starts working against you, you start gaining weight, and all of a sudden you don’t have energy and you don’t feel amazing anymore? What the heck happened?

My guest today is going to talk about her story and how she went through all of that and everything she figured out. We are really going to dive deep into figuring out why this happens.  Why does our body seem to sabotage us? When our hormones get imbalanced, our thyroid quits working, and our adrenals no longer can handle our stress, we want to get mad and blame our body. What we need to do is have some empathy and grace for our body and really look at what’s going on. There’s ways to get evaluated and to figure all of this out.

What my guest has realized and what a lot of women have realized at this point, is that what we have been told by conventional medicine for the past 20 years to make us healthy, is really stressing our bodies and not helping. Low-fat diets, the no-fat diet, processed vegetable oil products like margarine,  high intense calorie exercises, and eating less and exercising more, that mentality was really destroying our bodies. 

My guest explains what you should be doing instead. We’re understanding that it didn’t really work for us or it worked for a little bit, and then we rebounded. That’s a really common scenario, where it’ll work for a while, and then your body will say, “No, we’re not doing that anymore.” 

We also go on a tangent about what birth control pills, Mirena IUDs, and other medication that’s given by doctors to “help you,” but in reality is oftentimes causing new issues and more root cause issues. The more that we know about how our bodies are functioning and responding to things in our environment and the things we’re putting into our bodies such as medications and food, the better you will be able to get in tune with your body, listen to it, and navigate what’s going on.

It’s important to understand your journey because you’re never going to be stagnant. You’re never going to have the same hormone levels every day, day after day. Women are very cyclical, but we are also seasonal. We are also seasonal in the fact that we go from reproductive to perimenopause to menopause. So understanding these transitions can be multiple years in the making. If you know how to optimize your situation, you’re going to feel so much better and your life is going to be so much more enjoyable. That is why I’m so committed to bringing you all of this information. The more that you can soak in, understand, and connect the pieces of the puzzle together, the better you’re going to feel and the better your life is going to be. You can share this with your friends, mom, sisters, and all of the other women in your life. We can all live amazing lives together. We don’t have to be miserable, struggling, and in survival mode. We don’t have to deal with infertility and all of these yucky symptoms. It’s all so unnecessary. But until we realize what’s causing all of this stuff, we can’t fix it. 

On this podcast, we are going to talk about…

  • How Karen got into hormone health. 

  • What she did wrong when it came to her hormones. 

  • How chronic stress was affecting her. 

  • What she did moving forward. 

  • What helped heal Karen’s gut. 

  • Karen’s group coaching program. 

  • How birth control affects our hormones 

  • Why as women we need to stand up for ourselves. 

About Karen Martell

My guest Karen Martell is the host of The Other Side of Weight Loss podcast. Karen is a certified hormone specialist, transformational nutrition coach, and women’s weight loss expert. She’s the founder of the revolutionary program, On Track, a woman’s hormone balancing and weight loss program. She’s super passionate about all of this. 

She’s going to talk about how she struggled with her own health issues and how she was determined to bring her knowledge to others with a bold new approach to women’s health and weight management. Karen’s passion lies in helping women breakthrough weight loss resistance and find their weight loss code through diet variation and hormone optimization. Karen is a health leader and researcher determined to revolutionize weight loss for modern women. 

Welcome, Karen to the Gutsy Gynecologist Podcast! 

Karen: I’m happy to be here Tabitha. It’s so exciting!

Dr. Tabatha: There’s just so much that women don’t know about, we need to really bring the truth, right?

Karen: It’s so true. I was just talking to somebody who came to me recently and said that she wanted to become a hormone coach. I told her to please become one! There are not enough of us speaking about this right now. It shocks me how little women know about that transition time between perimenopause and menopause.

Dr. Tabatha: They just don’t know in general about reproductive health or how their hormones function and it’s really nobody’s fault. We don’t’ talk to or educate people enough on the topic. I remember in sixth grade having a one-day class about sex education and not understanding it fully until I went to medical school. And the focus in medical school is very much disease-oriented. In medical school we focused on how to treat and use our band-aid approach to treat endometriosis, fibroids, and cancer. There was really no emphasis on how the hormones should be functioning every day, during your cycle, and how your diet, movement, and stressors impact your hormones. I’ve really seen a shift in the past 30 years and I love your story. It is really powerful and I think you’re a perfect example of what is happening to women in this country. 

How Did You Get Into Hormone Health?

Karen: It started after I had my first child. It was my first pregnancy and that always seems to be the trigger. I was 33, had my daughter, and lost all of the baby weight. I was well on my way to having a fantastic year after. I stopped breastfeeding and then just suddenly, out of nowhere, I was getting all these symptoms. I started gaining weight and I hadn’t changed anything in my diet. I was also getting severe insomnia where I couldn’t sleep all night long.

I was raising my daughter by myself at this point in time which wasn’t fun. I was having horrible digestive issues. My stomach would look like I was three months pregnant by the end of the day. I was also getting severe, sudden menstrual migraines that would last for 10 days around my period. All of this developed within like a month. Then, of course, I just focused on the weight like most women do. I was asking myself, “How do I get this weight off?” It just kept piling on and I was getting to the heaviest I’d ever been. I started working out harder and eating less. I  was researching every diet under the sun. I went vegan, I was doing detoxes, I hired a personal trainer, and I was doing a CrossFit type boot camp six days a week. I was doing all the wrong things. 

Dr. Tabatha: Exactly. You were doing the wrong things and perpetuating it because that’s what society was telling us at the time. You followed the no-fat diet, exercise more, and eat fewer calories approach that doesn’t work. 

Why Were Those The Wrong Things To Do?

Karen: I tried everything and nothing worked. It just kept getting worse. I kept putting weight on and all of those symptoms kept getting worse. I first went to the doctor and she put me on an antidepressant and a sleeping pill. 

Finally, I realized that something was going on with my hormones. But I was 33, no one would have told me that. However, I went to my friend who was a naturopath and I said, “Could you test my hormones?” He did and  I did a saliva hormone test and it came back that my DHEA and my cortisol were both tanked. So there I was in adrenal insufficiency working out like crazy doing high amounts of cardio and barely eating. Which is exactly all the wrong things to do.  

I had to fully step back. I didn’t even think I was a stressed-out person because I associated stress with that person that was always on the go. I just didn’t think that was me because that’s not my personality. I was still always just a chill person. But there I was running my own business as a single mother of a toddler, not sleeping at all, working out like crazy, and dieting. 

Dr. Tabatha: I really just want women to hear what you’re saying because this is important. Just because mentally you can handle those stressors in your life does not mean your body physically is handling it well. We’re all overstressed and we think it’s normal because it’s so common. When in reality, our body just physiologically cannot handle all that stress. Your adrenal glands could no longer keep up with all your exercising and stress and it tanked your sex hormones and messed them up.

It’s such an important point because we didn’t see this 40 – 50 years ago. Our grandmothers were not running their lives the way that we are now and this is a legitimate issue that’s wreaking havoc.

What Was All This Chronic Stress Doing?

Karen: I had very low progesterone and high estrogen. I had a history of high estrogen because I had endometriosis and ovarian cysts, so that wasn’t surprising. However, I realized that my estrogen is definitely too high in comparison to my progesterone. Later down the road, I found out that I also had hypothyroidism. I may have always had it, but my pregnancy probably triggered it and definitely amplified it. Then when my adrenal system went, it just tanked the thyroid. It was causing so many problems with my menstrual cycle and weight gain. 

I had to fully step back. I quit doing all of that exercise and started only doing yoga, I started asking for help, and I fixed my digestive system. I found the Paleo Diet, which was a lifesaver for me, because it really helped with my blood sugar, and inflammation. It helped fix my digestive system completely. I never lost any weight from it, but it definitely changed my body composition. I felt so much better, but the weight didn’t start coming off for a long time. Thankfully, I quit gaining though. 

I had to heal myself. It wasn’t just physical. There was a lot of emotional crap that came up at that time too. I never liked my body. I was bulimic in high school and I was obsessed with my weight. I abused myself and my body. I was an alcoholic and a drug addict for many years before I had my child. I have been sober now since she was born, but there was still so much healing to do when it came to my body. I really feel like the emotional stuff had to be healed alongside the physical. 

I see women all the time where there’s this missing piece where they’re not dealing with a lot of the emotional stuff that they’ve had to deal with throughout a lifetime. I believe my thyroid is a big energy center, it’s your voice chakra. Just like how your pelvis and dealing with PMS or endometriosis is calling your attention to that energy center. I had to go through and heal a lot of that. That’s when the weight finally started to come off.

Dr. Tabatha: I’m so glad that you brought that up because I couldn’t agree more. I think that is key. You cannot heal a body you hate. You have to heal that relationship and accept your body where it’s at. You have to say, “I’m sorry that we’re in this mess, but we’re going to fix it,” as opposed to resenting and blaming your body. 

I hear that all day long with my patients and I used to do it myself. I would tell myself that I was so fat, weak, and question why I couldn’t do certain workouts or handle stress. That’s not what your body wants to hear. 

Karen: That’s not going to make your body heal. It does the opposite and it’s terrible. I came out of that whole experience realizing that I can’t be the only one. I couldn’t have been the only woman that was eating right, exercising, feels like she’s tried everything, the weight isn’t coming off, and has all of these hormonal problems, but still only looking at the diet and exercises for the solution. . That is like 98% of women out there right now. They jump from one diet to the next looking for the next best one and searching for the next best exercise program. We really need to open this up because we’re in an epidemic of hormone dysfunction right now. We don’t see men being affected as much because we have so much going on with our hormones, but men are being affected as well. 

Dr. Tabatha: Yeah, exactly. You can see the man boobs and having too much sex drive. There’s a ton of research now that people are having issues with gender identity because of the Xenoestrogens in our environment. These hormone imbalances are really becoming rampant. 

I just want women to step back and look at the truth of how they’re treating themselves. You would never talk to your daughter the way that you talked to yourself, right? It breaks my heart that we are so hard on ourselves and we talk to ourselves the way that we do. We would never do that to any other human being that we like or even don’t like. Heck, I’m nicer to strangers than I am to myself and yet we expect this body to heal. 

Watch the video version of this blog post here.

Where Did You Go From There?

Karen: The emotional and physical aspects hit me at the same time. When I took that step back and started doing yoga, which really brought me into my body, it helped me to connect to my body. I started seeing a therapist, and shortly after that I started seeing an energy healer. It was super profound and I’ve seen her for like seven years. I had to uncover all this garbage from my past that I think was making me really sick. I healed, got better, and did really well for a good solid 10 years. Then my early 40s came and I went into menopause and I was like, “Oh you’re kidding me!”

With going into menopause early and then also having what I call a thyroid storm happen where I realized finally that I had hypothyroidism, I was put on the Canadian equivalent to armor.  I suddenly felt the best I had ever felt in my life. I was losing weight effortlessly, I was able to eat more, and I felt fantastic. 

Then about six months in, suddenly I was the most depressed I’ve ever been. I gained 10 pounds in a month, I couldn’t get off my coach, my skin was itchy, my breasts were inflamed, my period suddenly became irregular, which it’s never been in my life, and I just felt like garbage. I was like, “What just happened?”

This took me on a journey of years of figuring out thyroid issues. I had a high reverse T3. I was put on the wrong medication and I had to figure this out for myself because nobody here even had a clue about how that works or how reverse T3 worked. My doctor certainly didn’t have a clue. I had to go figure all of this out on my own and figure out why I was hitting menopause shortly after that. 

I really feel like it was meant to be because I had been dabbling in hormones. I’d become a nutritionist and doing general help with hormones, weight loss, digestive problems, and autoimmune conditions. I had to go figure all of that out and start researching and then it was just like, “Wow, women have no idea about their hormones.” Even though I had been quite educated up to then about the thyroid and hormones, I was only scratching the surface. I went on this deep dive for the last probably five years of my life now on hormones and thyroid. I’m determined to get that information out to other women because they don’t know what to do with their hormones. They don’t realize they’re going into perimenopause at 35 and there are things that you can do to stop that.

Dr. Tabatha:  I think the work you’re doing is so important. Women need to realize what they’re feeling and why. They need to know how their hormones are being impacted by everyday situations. You’re a shining example of, it’s working until it’s not. You literally do everything that you can to stay in homeostasis and to maintain balance, but it will rob other systems and have such a high burden. Eventually, they’ll say, “No, we’re not doing this anymore.” You really do have to take that comprehensive approach and look at everything. You have to look at your adrenal glands, thyroid, and gut. 

What Helped You Heal Your Gut?

Karen: I had done the low fat, whole grain diet. That was the era I grew up in. My mom was a fitness fanatic and she worked at a weight loss center. There was no fat in the house. There were only whole-grain carbohydrates. That’s it. That was the exact wrong diet for me, my body type, and my genes. It was not meant for me. 

When I discovered the Paleo Diet, it was like, “Oh, my God, this is it.” And it still is. I still follow a Paleo-based diet. I think that women really need to know that just because it worked for me, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for them. We’re in this time right now where the ketogenic diet and the fasting diets are all the rage. I tried that and I watched my thyroid tank. I tested it before and I tested it one month after I’d been on keto and my metabolism went down. I didn’t feel good.  

I have women tell me, “Oh, I’ve been, you know, doing one meal a day and fasting for 24 hours every single day.” And I’m like, and you’re wondering why you’re 10-20 pounds overweight, you’re losing your hair, and you can’t sleep. Then there are some women that go on it because they’ve got insulin resistance or really high estrogen and inflammation and they go on a ketogenic diet and it’s like how paleo was for me. It’s a miracle and they feel the best they’ve ever felt in their life. 

So depending on what your hormones are doing is what diet you should be leaning towards. That can change. A lot of the time people do really well on keto and then in the long term, it actually starts to reverse and it starts to cause more harm than good. So people have to be open to changing their diets as their hormones are changing. Be open to that because we really do start to identify with whatever diet is working for us at that time. 

People don’t want to hear that the Keto Diet is bad for their thyroid and there are these doctors saying, “No, it’s all good. It just means your thyroid is functioning better.” Actually, no, that’s not what it means because the person’s losing their hair and they feel like garbage. Clearly, this isn’t working for their thyroid. So you just have to be open-minded when it comes to what diet you’re doing. 

I do think that primal-based diets tend to be the best for hormones because you’re taking out the inflammatory foods. You’re taking out grains, gluten, and dairy and it really helps to lower inflammation, which then helps to lower inflammation in your gut so that your gut can heal. I feel like even if it’s just to start to heal the gut for three to six months. Then you can toy around a little bit with those other foods and see how your body handles them. 

Dr. Tabatha: I couldn’t agree more. I think that it’s very much individualized. What diet is best for you is based on your ethnicity, genetics, and where your ancestors come from. So many of us just need to get back to the basics and stop eating out of boxes and bags and eat actual food. If it had a mother or grew out of the ground and it hasn’t been genetically modified then it’s probably okay. But I think that we want to skip that and we want something special, over the top, and whatever the latest fad is. We forgot to do the basics.

Karen: We look for extreme diets because we feel like the more extreme it is the faster it’s going to work. A lot of the time it does quickly work, but can you sustain that?

Dr. Tabatha: You made an important point. Sometimes with strict keto, you drop the weight, but you gain it back because your body will only do it for so long before it says enough is enough. It thinks you’re in survival mode and that you’re not thriving. Eventually, it will turn down that metabolism and your thyroid will say, “Nope, we’re not keeping up with you anymore. We’re not doing that anymore.” So I couldn’t agree more. You need to know if your thyroid is struggling or if your thyroid is being attacked. Those things have such a profound impact. 

Can You Tell Us About Your Group Program?

Karen: The group program has been going for five years now. We’ve had 5000 people go through the program. It’s a very comprehensive program that teaches women about what happens to their body as they go from perimenopause into menopause. We have women that are anywhere from in their 30’s to their 60’s that are well through menopause but are still suffering. We also have women that are having a lot of hormonal dysfunction in their 30s and wonder what the heck is happening?

It takes them through a step-by-step diet. We have a weekly meal plan that is a carb cycling program. Your carbs will go up and down because it’s very important to keep the body guessing.  You’re changing things up all the time because your body adapts to whatever diet you’re doing and your caloric intake is also going to adapt. So if you’re on a 1,200 calorie-a-day diet, it’s going to work in the beginning, but then your metabolism is going to meet that and go, “Okay, we’re going to lower the metabolism, there’s not a lot of food coming in.” Now suddenly you stop losing weight and so now you have to go down to 1,000 calories, and then 800 calories, and so on. You can’t do that. 

In the program I cycle the calories and carbohydrates. There are days where there’s a higher carb intake, so you’re signaling to the body that there’s still plenty of food around. Then there’s fasting three days a week with different amounts of time in that fasting window. Sometimes you may fast for 16 hours, 20 hours, or even occasionally 24 hours. But then the next day, you’re going to have a full day of meals. I really encourage women to follow that. It’s very hard for them because they’re coming from this background of fasting every single day for 20 hours a day. But how was that working for you? You wouldn’t be here if it was working.

So I get them to follow that system because it really does work because by the end of the week. You’re still in a caloric deficit but you haven’t signaled to the body that you’re in starvation so it doesn’t lower the metabolism, doesn’t hurt the thyroid, or the adrenal system. I’ll tell women, if you have an underactive thyroid problem that is under-medicated or you haven’t gotten to the root of that hypothyroidism, maybe you’ve got adrenal issues that haven’t been dealt with. You shouldn’t be fasting then. You shouldn’t even be trying to lose weight. You need to fix those problems first.

I take them through all of that. Such as, what does stress do to your hormonal system? At what point in this journey is it safe to start taking bioidentical hormones? When can you just take supplements, change your diet and your lifestyle? That typically works when you’re still in your 30s and early 40s, but after that, we’re getting into ovarian dysfunction and there’s no amount of dieting or supplements that bring those hormones back. Doctors will not tell their patients that. So women are going to their doctors in their 40s and saying, “What’s happening? I can’t sleep and I’m having hot flashes.” They get their hormones tested and are told it looks good because they sit in a range from 200 to 2000 and tell you you are good to go. 

This is normal aging and so the program teaches women that no, you don’t have to suffer or put up with any of these symptoms. The earlier you get on top of this, the better it’s going to be and you’re going to really enjoy those years rather than suffer through 10 – 15 years of perimenopause. We teach women about hormones, bioidentical hormones, and what to ask their doctors. I even have you, Tabitha, listed in my list of doctors to see because it’s really difficult for women to find people that are knowledgeable when it comes to hormone replacement.

How Birth Control Affects Our Hormones

Dr. Tabatha: I think that’s an important point. We rely on our gynecologists to take care of our hormones but gynecologists are surgeons, they aren’t hormone experts. I was not trained in the intricacies of the endocrine system, thyroid, and adrenals and how it’s all interconnected until I did functional medicine training. I had a basic understanding. I knew just as much as the family practice doctor or the internist. There was nothing above and beyond as a gynecologist. Yet, we expect them to know stuff that they’re just not trained in. 

So the sooner women can understand it and not be mad about it, but go find someone who actually has been trained in hormones, you’ll just be so much better off. Trying to get your conventional doctor to interpret the labs the way they should be, which is not based on the lab values written on that lab result, it’s just going to cause more frustration. They’re not comfortable giving you the bio-identical prescriptions and honestly, it’s not worth the fight.  

Karen: Yes and they’ll give you birth control before they give you any bioidenticals.

Dr. Tabatha: Yeah and I’m sorry, but synthetic hormones and birth control is probably one of the biggest reasons that we’re in the situation that we’re in. Hormones are not the answer. I am a proponent of bioidentical hormone replacement because we as women, didn’t used to live and thrive after menopause. In 1900, the average lifespan was 49. We didn’t have to live a whole other lifetime in the menopausal state.

You would never ask a man to live without his hormones, be happy, thrive, run a business, and take care of families, but we expect that of women. I think that’s a really sad way to look at it. Yes, it’s a natural state, but we’ve advanced so much as a society in such a quick time that our physiology has not changed to keep up with how we’ve changed as a society. We have the ability to safely keep you suspended in that nice 47-year-old body for a while, why not do it? It’s safe if you know how to do it appropriately. 

Karen: Yeah, women don’t realize the history and the research that’s been done around bioidentical hormones and their safety. It shows that women that replace their hormones have a 30% reduction of all-cause mortality. So you are healthier and safer to replace your hormones than not replace your hormones. Some women immediately think, “Oh, but what about breast cancer?” Actually, research shows that it reduces your chances of getting breast cancer.

Doctors are not trained in bioidentical hormones. I have interviewed doctors on my own podcast who I could tell were really against hormone replacement. I just felt like saying, “Okay, so if your penis started to shrivel up, it feels like you are having sex with a broken piece of glass, because I’ve heard that from women, you’re an emotional disaster, your marriage is going down the toilet, and you’ve gained 20 pounds. Don’t you think that they would take some testosterone therapy if they knew this would all go away? They would jump on that. Let’s just remove your balls just like a hysterectomy if you’re bleeding too much because you’re in perimenopause. It would never happen and something really needs to change. 

Standing Up For Ourselves

Dr. Tabatha: Women need to stand up for themselves and their quality of life and say enough is enough. They need to seek alternative help. There are doctors and practitioners out there who understand this and it’s just a completely different way of thinking about your health. The health care system is a “sick care system.” They’re focused on disease and bandaid medicine. They’re not focused on having a good quality of life, especially after menopause. It’s just like, “Oh, you’re getting older, just deal with it.” You get put on new medicines and those just cause new symptoms. It’s really not the answer.

Karen: No, and we have to quit looking to the doctors for the answer because they’re not trained. Like you said, you weren’t trained. We have to quit looking to them for the answer. I always say you can try. I have a lot of clients that will take my recommendations and go to their doctor and say, “I want to try natural progesterone or I want to try natural estrogen.” And some of the time the doctor will say sure, but a lot of the time doctors will tell patients to go on the Murena and that’s better, or here’s an antidepressant. 

Dr. Tabatha: If you haven’t heard my podcast episode on Mirena, that’s a synthetic progestin that very often down regulates your ovarian hormone production. They tell you that the progestin is only working on the lining of your uterus and keeping that from overgrowing, but more often than not, it goes systemically. There’s a lot of blood flowing in your uterus and your ovaries are literally about an inch and a half away from your uterus with a big fat artery in between. So that synthetic progestin is going straight to your ovary and telling it, “Oh, we have enough of this hormone, you don’t need to make your hormones anymore.” So what we see is progesterone and estrogen goes down, unless you have other issues. Testosterone also goes down. You gain weight, you get depressed and anxious, and you have no libido. And it’s all from that IUD that’s supposed to help your periods. However, some women love it and they swear by it. 

Karen: They love it because it doesn’t let them bleed. They’re so happy not to have a period and want to stay on it. Look, ladies, you think you’re scared to use bioidentical hormones? Well, guess what? Progestin, which is in your birth control and in your IUD, is the drug that increased breast cancer in the WHI study. That’s the one that’s going to give you breast cancer. Not guaranteed, but your rate does go up. And the Depo Vera shot, oh my god, I just had somebody recently tell me that she had been on it for 23 years. It has a black box warning on it and it just boggles my mind! 

Dr. Tabatha: Yeah, we need to do that podcast because it’s so important for women to understand what they’re consenting to put in their bodies.

Karen: Yes and all the teenage girls that are being put on it. I had one woman write to me after that podcast aired and she said, “Can you recommend any book that I could give my daughters that they can read about because there’s no information like this out there.” There’s no teenage geared book but I said you could try Dr. Jolene Brighton’s book or Sarah Hill’s book, Your Brain on Birth Control, but that could go over those girls’ heads. right? But how many women take their teenage daughters to a doctor for birth control? For me, it was at age 14 for acne. 

Dr. Tabatha: Oh, yeah. I did all the time for my patients, but when you know better, you do better. It breaks my heart that that’s how I practiced. It breaks my heart that that’s how all gynecologists practice. So the fact that the majority of us women go on birth control pills at some point, many often for decades, and we completely negate that fact, when we look at risk of breast cancer and diabetes. We just pretend like it’s like a sugar pill or something like it’s nothing. And literally, we’re putting synthetic hormones in our bodies for years, shutting down our own production, and we’re acting like that might not have any impact.

I promise that will never be researched or tested. There would be too many lawsuits. Our society would blow up if that were the case. So it will never be touched. And honestly, the birth control pill is a feminization thing. I needed it to go to college and not get pregnant again. But I wouldn’t have stayed on it so long if I had known all the implications of what it was doing to my body. So my point is, to just be educated about what you’re putting in your body so that you can make the informed decision for you and quit being told that it doesn’t have any effect and it’s safe. That’s just a lie.

Karen: It’s a very big lie to be putting our little girls on it and then they stay on it for 15 – 20 years. We’ve got estrogen receptors on every organ in our body. So you have to think, you are depriving your body of your estrogen. It’s not just about reproduction either. This is about how every organ in your body functions. Estrogen and progesterone will impact that. So to remove these hormones, it’s to down regulate them, because you’re getting these synthetic ones in. We don’t know how much damage that it’s causing because you won’t be able to put that together. You won’t be able to say, “This is why I got breast cancer, osteoporosis, low libido, depression, or anxiety. You will never be able to say this is because I was on birth control.

Dr. Tabatha: Yeah, they will never do that study and they will never compare. 

I do case reviews for Fab Fertile. They are a fertility group that deals with premature ovarian insufficiency and diminished ovarian reserve. We just did a case today of a 27-year-old woman who was on birth control pills from the age of 14 to 24. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure and told that she needs donor eggs to get pregnant with IVF. I’m like, “You have been on birth control pills your entire reproductive life and you just got off of them. Of course, your ovaries aren’t functioning, they’ve never functioned. You’ve always told them to be quiet. So we need to support all of your systems and get everything in balance and give them a chance to come back online.” 

I cannot believe there are fertility specialists out there telling this woman to use a donor egg at 27 without even looking at her comprehensive health. We just have it wrong in this society. Conventional medicine is failing us women. I’m glad she found Fab Fertile and we’re going to do the work. They’re going to heal the gut, check the thyroid, and get her adrenals balanced so that her sex hormones feel safe enough to actually be produced and come back online. Your body’s not going to reproduce if it’s in survival mode. 

We could go every direction, couldn’t we? There is so much when it comes to women’s health. 

Karen: Yeah, and how we’re looked at in society when it comes to our aging, it’s terrible and that has to change. We shouldn’t have to deal with any of these symptoms of aging, like hot flashes, insomnia, and weight gain because all of that can be remedied. What needs to happen is that women need to feel okay about aging. Men feel great about aging. My husband doesn’t get Botox, he has gray hair, and a little potbelly and he thinks it’s awesome. But women are told, “No, don’t you dare age. You need to do Botox, get breast implants, and make your face look like it’s completely distorted.” Because God forbid you age, get some wrinkles, or gray hair. That has to change. 

Dr. Tabatha: All this work is internal that we need to do. We need to support each other. I love everything you’re doing.

Tell My Listeners Where They Can Find You 

Karen: If you head over to my website you can check out the group coaching. I also do private coaching, but mostly group coaching now. There’s also a hormone quiz that you can take that will also give you kind of your top imbalances just from the quiz. It’s not written in stone, but it’ll give you an idea of what could be out of balance for you right now. That will come with a sample of the meal plan that comes in the group coaching program. So you’ll get a two-week sample meal program that’s called The Hormone and Metabolic Reboot Plan. This is what I was talking about with carb and calorie cycling. It’s a paleo-based meal plan that goes between paleo and keto. However, I always encourage everybody to make it their own.  

Dr. Tabatha: I love that. That’s awesome. And you have your own podcast they can tune into, right?

Karen: Yes and Tabatha will be coming on in the next month or so. It’s called The Other Side of Weight Loss. We’ve got almost 200 episodes with five-star reviews and we were rated number one of the top 20 weight loss podcasts of 2021. So, definitely check that out. There’s lots of information on hormones, weight loss, and a holistic view of women’s health.

Dr. Tabatha: I love it. I love everything you’re doing. Keep it up. Women need to hear this! 

Karen: I love everything you’re doing too!

That’s a Wrap 

What a great episode. I hope you got so much out of that. I know we went off on a couple of tangents, but I just figured that information is so important for you. If you haven’t heard me talk about it before, I just wanted to get that out there since she’s passionate about it as well. 

There are answers to your weight issues and hormone imbalances. There are better birth control options and an easier way to transition through perimenopause into menopause or hold off on menopause and do bioidentical hormone replacement. It’s my goal to give you informed consent. I want you to know all of the options, risks, benefits, and alternatives because so often, a lot of those pieces are missing. It’s really important that you have all the facts. 

I hope you enjoyed this and please share it with all the women in your life because we need to band together, get educated, and support one another to live amazing lives. We shouldn’t have to struggle. That’s not how God created us to be. 

If you feel like you want more support, you can join my group, The Renew You Sisterhood. It’s a private Facebook membership group, where you get daily inspiration, motivation, and accountability for what you are eating, how you are moving, and how you manage the stress in your life. It’s really amazing when you get into a group of other women who are on the same mission of reclaiming their health and optimizing their health. You can go so much farther because the saying is true, “You are the sum of the five people You hang out with the most.” So if you want to be healthy, you need to hang out with other people who want to be healthy or who are healthy. That’s just how it works. I would love to see you in the sisterhood!