Join me for a casual conversation with my friend Kristen Kelly whom I met through HA recovery 7 years ago! We review our experiences coming to terms with an HA diagnosis, what recovery looks and feels like now versus then, and our reflections on how recovery has changed our lives for the better.
In this Episode:
- 2 very different paths that led to period loss
- Being honest with yourself and navigating PCOS misdiagnosis
- Challenges of going straight from recovery into pregnancy
- How to approach eating and exercise post-recovery
- The rabbit hole of toxic-free living and how to approach this mindfully
- Learning patience, acceptance, and appreciation for your body regardless of what size or season you’re in.
Link Episode 1 My Recovery Story
Link Fertility Friday Podcast – https://fertilityfriday.com/
Kristen Kelly 00:00
For most of us, maybe especially people who have HA routines, as I said, it becomes so important, and it can be really hard to break them, but then once you do, it becomes a lot easier. And I know for me being on the other side, I could never imagine going back to what I had been doing. I’ve been deprogrammed, if you will, with the “I must exercise this amount, I must eat this amount,” I don’t believe that anymore. So why would I do that? Really took a lot to get me to stop having those beliefs. That was the hardest part. And for me, it was living a different way and seeing what happened. Wow. It’s not what I believed would happen. It’s the total opposite. I think that that was an interesting thing.
Lindsey Lusson 00:38
Welcome to the Period Recovery and Fertility Podcast. Here we discuss the challenging, rewarding and life changing process of recovering your period and finding freedom with food and exercise. Whether you’re hoping to regain your cycle to get your health back on track, or you’re ready to become a mama, this podcast is for you. While the recovery process isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, it’s my hope to bring you both information and inspiration during your own recovery journey. I’m your host, registered dietitian and fellow HA woman, Lindsey Lusson.
Lindsey Lusson 01:11
Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Period Recovery and Fertility Podcast. I’m really excited about this episode, because a lot of times when I’m bringing on guests, they’re either an expert in women’s health in something semi-related to HA but not exactly, or they’re a past client of mine, and so someone might be fresh out of recovery. Well, today I’m bringing on my friend Kristen, who I actually met. Oh my gosh, has it been seven years? Like, 2017? Yeah, coming up on seven years. And we went through HA recovery together, we have kids similar ages, and so what I thought would be fun for this episode is to share with you guys what recovery looks like six to seven years later. What can you go back to a normal life, like, what it feels like? What are our reflections? So let me just start by letting Kristen introduce herself. Tell us a little bit about, who you are, what you do, where you’re located, and maybe even some tidbits about how you fell into HA?
Kristen Kelly 02:05
Oh my gosh, well, first of all, I’m so excited to be on your podcast, I have to say. I mean, you honestly were the inspiration for me taking a leap and starting my own company and everything. So I just want to say how I got inspired. I have been watching you grow this community and everything. But yeah, so my name is Kristen. I currently live in Boston, Massachusetts. And as Lindsey said, we met back in 2017. I had got married in 2016 wanted to start a family and I knew it was going to be rough because I hadn’t had a cycle for 20 years. Now that was partially because I was on the pill for a large majority of it. But I had gone off the pill, I think, when I was like 23 or 22, and my cycle was MIA. And thankfully, and I can get a little bit more into my history and everything. I mean, while I was on the pill and leading up to my wedding, I had started to learn a little bit about HA. I actually had heard Nico. So, Dr. Nico Sykes, who wrote “No Period, Now What?” I had heard her on a podcast and it was like a light bulb went off. When I first heard about HA, I was like, “Oh my gosh, that is what I have.” Because, rewinding a little bit. I was never diagnosed with HA. I was diagnosed with PCOS. I was put on Metformin, and I was on Metformin for a long time. And again, always thought I was going to need some kind of fertility treatments to have kids, heard her on a podcast, again, as I was gearing up to get ready to have children and all that, I was listening to, it was actually–Oh, gosh, what was the one? She wrote the Fifth Vital Sign?
Lindsey Lusson 03:41
Oh! Lisa Henderson-Jack. The fertility [indecipherable]. Yeah.
Kristen Kelly 03:44
Exactly, yes! I was listening to that, and that’s where I heard the interview. Anyway, long story short, so I heard so much of myself when she’s talking about HA, I was like, I definitely had this, realize I had to go through the whole recovery process, did it and ended up pregnant in about two months. But as you said, That’s how I’ve met you, Lindsey. And, yeah, it’s been now I guess, the whole recovery journey. And we can get into this. I’m sorry, if I’m kind of all over the place, the recovery journey. I was very fortunate to have gotten pregnant early. I think some people have a different experience, but for me, it was a difficult process. I think I gained and I’m not sure if we can talk weight and stuff, but a decent amount when I was pregnant. And it was again, it was a very, for me an emotional experience, right? But it felt like okay, I’m gaining all this weight for this purpose of creating a human. And then when I came up the other side, it was funny, because after I gave birth, I was I had developed intuitive eating, having gone through pregnancy. And when I came with the other side, you know, your body kind of naturally starts to go back to where it wants to be. And so you are almost on the other side. But you know, it was funny because I settled into this size, which was way above when I ever would have thought was okay, and I thought I looked great, right after having a kid I was so proud of my body. And I felt so awesome about myself. And so kind of going through that experience of being at a higher weight and feeling like, dude, I look phenomenal. And I have this kick ass kid and I’m just so high on everything, it made it a lot easier. And I think it gave me the chance to kind of heal my metabolism. And so I just think I was very fortunate in kind of how that whole journey went. So that I was able to almost get over it while I was pregnant. But I know for a lot of people can be the opposite, because it was a very emotional thing going through the weight gain of pregnancy. And all that I mean, again, “over the like, recommended range” it was, it was definitely, I felt bad about it. But then again, coming out the other side, I was like, “Hell yeah.”
Lindsey Lusson 05:47
Yeah, no. And I think that that’s an important point, I had a pretty similar experience, I usually see the body image stuff show up for people pretty strongly in one of two places. And my experience was very similar to yours, either during pregnancy and just being like, “Oh my gosh, like I’m not having a belly only pregnancy, I’m gaining weight,” and really struggling with it in pregnancy, or feeling fine during pregnancy and really struggling postpartum. So those are kind of, I see both my experience is really similar to yours. But it is very purposeful, in gaining weight for pregnancy, the metabolic healing the nutrient repletion that goes on, you’re gaining and maybe even over-gaining the recommended amount or pregnancy. It’s all very purposeful. You always feel that way. And sometimes that happens for people, maybe if you’re listening and you’re not trying to conceive yet, you might be in that weird gray area of still weight restoring, figuring out like your body relearning what it setpoint weight range is, and you’re not pregnant, and you don’t necessarily have that, earplugs excuse, I know that I hear that for a lot of people being like, “Oh, well, if I was just pregnant, then I wouldn’t care, but it can really exist during pregnancy, too.”
Kristen Kelly 07:04
It’s funny, actually, one of the things I don’t think people talk about, and one of the reasons I think I found pregnancy as hard as it did is like I said, I did gain a lot of weight, especially early on, I think I was sort of still in the body recovery, weight restoring phase, while also being [in] early pregnancy. And so there’s also such a focus between the belly shots, like we had that pregnancy, that HA support group and I love that group. I’m seeing Kailyn next week, like we’re getting our kids together, I love the group so much, I almost had to take myself out of the group because I felt like I was–there was such an emphasis on belly shots and thumb shots and weight gain. And the what to expect boards or any pregnancy board and it’s supposed to be this cute thing, like all your belly shot,. You’re struggling with this whole concept of gaining weight, and then you’re comparing yourself like, “Oh, but this is how I look. And that’s how they look. And they have this cute belly and I don’t,” and so that was actually really hard, a lot harder than I was expecting. There was never a situation where everyone is so uber-focused on your belly, than when you are pregnant, and your doctor is weighing you all the time and I tried to do the way backwards thing. And then I, of course, thought of my chart.
Lindsey Lusson 08:14
You have be hyper-diligent if you’re going to do one and–I did it for the first time with my third pregnancy and cannot recommend it enough. I thought it was incredible. I had the best body-image experience through my third pregnancy not knowing my weight, and ironically ended up getting the least amount of weight with my pregnancy because I didn’t know the whole time and they, when I was getting induced, my nurse was like “What was your pre-pregnancy weight?” And was like, “I don’t know.” She was like, “Well, what did you weigh at your last appointment?” I was like, “I don’t know.” And she goes, “Oh, well in your chart, it says this number so I’m just gonna write that down.” Fan-freakin-tastic. But all that to say, I think that when somebody is going from HA to pregnancy and still on a body-image healing journey like those–the dysmorphia follows you into pregnancy, I remember–and I didn’t help myself, I remember my first pregnancy getting on Instagram and searching for the hashtag “#15WeeksPregnant” and I’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, yes, I am twice [indecipherable] that.
Kristen Kelly 09:17
Yes! And the baby center pictures. by the way. I love baby center, but they would have this picture but like “Dude, who looks like that?”
Kristen Kelly 09:28
And like, with size inclusivity I hope that this will eventually spill over into the perinatal area of being more inclusive about–okay, most people who are pregnant don’t just look like a belly-only pregnancy, right? And that’s okay. And that’s normal. I wish, again, I didn’t help myself out because I was seeking out this information and trying to feel valid, but only feeling worse. But I also feel like diet culture or having an ideal body, it’s the same in pregnancy, right? Like in [indecipherable] for everyone, but having been through pregnancy now and knowing just genetically where my body is happy, I think that I built up all this fear that, “Oh my gosh, it’s gonna be so hard to lose the pregnancy weight.” And I know for some people it actually is, I know people that gain weight while they’re nursing instead of lose weight, everyone has different experiences. But I think that probably the reason why it’s so hard for those of us with HA, just doing personality traits and background is we love control, and we [indecipherable]. And when you’re pregnant, you can’t control what your body is going wanting. I guess you could but you can’t healthfully control the way that your body gains weight, you definitely can’t control how the weight gain is distributed during pregnancy. I remember being, “Why are my thighs pregnant too.” And it’s like, “Oh, because you gain weight all over. It’s not just your belly.” But I think that that hindsight is always 2020, but when you’re in it, it sucks, because you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t control this, I feel out of control.” I think that that’s one of the hardest things that people have to learn to cope with.
Kristen Kelly 11:02
Yeah, and I think in general, pregnancy is so hard because there’s so much riding on it. And in the sense that, to your point, there’s so much you can control not just with your body, but with the actual pregnancy itself. There’s so many rules with food, where you can’t eat soft cheese, you can’t eat deli meat, and there’s reasons for that, and I love expecting better because I’m one of those people that very much needs to have, like, “Why? Why can’t I eat deli meat?” Because, oh, by the way, you can. There’s a risk of this, the risk is very small, you can make an informed decision. And but it’s one of those things where again, people get so worked up about “I accidentally had a sandwich” or all these things because you just want what’s best for your child, but again, it’s a whole–it’s a scary time. And so it makes sense why people, maybe, do try to control, because it’s one thing you can.
Lindsey Lusson 11:51
I’m glad that you brought up the the restrictions with pregnancy, right? Some are real, right? You should eat food that is cooked all the way. You shouldn’t drink alcohol during pregnancy, right? Like, there are real recommendations that are made for the safety of baby and for mom. And I think that this is a place where someone with a history of disordered eating can take things really far and really extreme. I know there was one prenatal book that we have talked about, that shares some really, really great researched information, but does it from a very matter-of-fact, slightly fat-phobic lens that I’ve personally heard from clients that is incredibly triggering.
Kristen Kelly 12:40
Oh my god, I read that book. And it was incredibly triggering. And actually, this is kind of interesting. And a little funny is that so with my first pregnancy, I was still in this sort of need to control everything, still afraid of carbs, like all that kind of fun stuff. And so I think one of the reasons also that I probably gained so much–not so much more, but I think I gained significantly more than I did in my other pregnancies is that I wasn’t really trusting my body. So I wanted to eat carbs. And I was like, no, I’m just going to eat the protein and the fat because this book says that I need to just eat the vegetables and just eat when it’s like–no, I need to eat the mashed potatoes and the mac and cheese and that’s fine, right? Because that’s what my body needs. Clearly, I need the sugar and the carbs, I need the energy. And that’s okay. And I think that that was one of the things that again, in my second and third pregnancy, just being not as focused on I have to eat this certain way, and if I don’t, it’s not going to be good for my baby, because–that’s the other thing. It’s positioned in this way where it’s for the health of your baby, and what is more important than that?
Lindsey Lusson 13:38
Right, yeah, like shaming you for wanting macaroni and cheese because that’s going to be bad for your baby when in reality, okay, well your mental health and your relationship matter too. And I think what you just touched upon paints such an important piece of an intuitive eating journey. If you are constantly trying to eat the right things, you can potentially be moving past the point of hunger, eating past the point of fullness without really honoring the craving and that can cause people to potentially move outside their setpoint weight range. And again, understanding that setpoint weight range is going to fluctuate during different times in different seasons but I definitely see that in a lot of people that are trying to do recovery the “healthy way” and kind of missing this whole piece of “Well yeah, but it’s also about honoring your body’s need for food for fun and for connection and, yes, nutrition matters but food is more than just the perfect nourishment for your baby. It’s okay to have the mac and cheese and potatoes during pregnancy especially, I know you didn’t have a lot of nausea during your pregnancies but there were weeks, and by the second third pregnancy, I was like, “Pretzels and pancakes until week 14.” I was just like, “This is what we’re doing and I’m not going to feel guilt about this, I’m gonna get back to a place where I can have more fresh foods,” but I think it’s really hard if you’re reading this very like dogmatic view of prenatal nutrition, and you feel like absolute sh*t and all you can eat as a bagel. It’s probably, not intentionally, but implied shame around eating bad foods for your baby.
Kristen Kelly 15:20
And I think, again, this thing where people sometimes just focus on the micronutrients at the expense of the macronutrients. Also, there are nutrients in a lot of these foods, like you can eat bread and it does have nutrients in it that you need. And we come from having been very [indecipherable] this whole journey. I would listen to paleo-podcasts and the intermittent fasting, like, all that kind of sh*t, and you start to believe these things about food, and that rice is bad, and all this crazy stuff. And then when you get into the other side, where you just start eating normally, and you’re like, “Wow, why did I believe that?” I don’t know. They were sold a lot of kind of BS.
Lindsey Lusson 16:09
Well, I know you know this because you’re on TikTok, but it’s just like that. I mean, this is honestly, like a pathway into HA for so many people. It’s just like getting overly obsessed about the details of nutrition, while missing the whole zoomed-out picture. Are you eating enough calories, carbs? Eating enough, macronutrients will probably take care of the micronutrients for you. And trying to be overly obsessed with getting in enough vitamin C, while restricting carbs is probably making you more unhealthy and more malnourished than if you were to not be eating [indecipherable]. And I know that’s like a hard truth. And so maybe this is also like a really great segue to tell a little bit more about your story and halfway into HA, because when I think about our stories, it’s like our recoveries have mirrored each other and we’ve been there for each other during recovery, but my background and how I developed HA is actually pretty different from yours, and if you’re listening and you don’t know my full story, episode one on the podcast tells my whole recovery story and how I dealt with an eating disorder and how I recovered from my eating disorder [indecipherable] purpose, still struggled with period loss and infertility. But anyways, Kristen, why don’t you share a little bit [indecipherable], because I know formal eating disorder isn’t part of your story. And well, several, several people that I work with also don’t have formal eating disorder as part of their story. So there’s lots of different pathways that can lead to this [indecipherable] regulation of hormones and infertility. And so share a little bit about how you got there.
Kristen Kelly 17:39
Yeah, honestly, it’s funny, because I probably had HA for 20 years. So I obviously didn’t know that at the time. I mean, if we backtrack, as a kid growing up, I was a naturally thin kid and didn’t really have to think about it, and then probably whatever, 12-13 started to gain some weight, and I felt really crappy about it. And my mom of course, saw me–and by the way, at the same time, I was at a school where I was like not cool at all, my best friend, also Jen, left to go to private school because she was so [indecipherable] that I was like by myself at the school. So I was gaining weight again, nothing near my setpoint is supposed to be anyway but I was gaining weight, didn’t feel great about it. So fast forward three years, still no cycle, and was with my friends and we were actually with, again, Jen, one of my other friends down in Florida, and they were like, “Oh, we’re all synched up like with them, too.” And I was like, “Oh, I haven’t had a cycle in, like, three years.” Jen goes, “That’s not good. You should go see a doctor about that.” It’s interesting. So I went to the doctor, they did the standard tests, they did the bloodwork bloodwork was normal, they did the ultrasound to make sure you don’t have polycystic ovaries, and then they did the MRI. And the first doctor I saw said to me, “I think you might need to gain weight” which was bizarre to me because, actually it was a normal BMI. So it was interesting that she said that and I was like this makes no sense, because I had been like way under-reading for so long. And because I was in New York City It was super stressful. I started right as a financial collapse was happening, I was worried about my job, went through all this stuff. Anyway, so I was like, that doesn’t make sense. So I ended up going to see another doctor and she was like, you have PCOS because I had, again, my skin was not great. Now ironically, I think it was from over-exercise is why my skin was not good because I find that the stress of over-exercise and too much cardio actually makes me break out. And then the two criteria, right? Not great skin, acne and no cycle, poof, you have PCOS. So, when I heard that I was like yeah, this still doesn’t sound right so I went to see another doctor she also diagnosed with PCOS. So like, okay, so I went on Metformin, and was on that and then also went back on the pill and was on that till I was again like probably 2016 or 2017 Like I said, and that’s when I started to listen to these podcasts to try to like just understand okay, like I’m gonna have kids I’m probably gonna need to have like, whatever fertility treatments all that kind of fun stuff. And that’s how I learned about HA and when I heard all this stuff, I was like, wow, this is me in a nutshell. One of the things though that I have, since discovered, because throughout this whole time, I very much excessively over-exercised. So I was working out one to two hours every single day, excessively all cardio, like it would be elliptical, it would be spinning. I guess I’d throw some Bikram yoga in there, but like–.
Lindsey Lusson 20:19
I know I’ve heard you’re saying that you were spending so much money on spin classes in New York.
Kristen Kelly 20:23
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because each class was like, 25, 30, 35.
Lindsey Lusson 20:28
Kristen Kelly 20:28
35. And then actually, some of the classes are up to like, 40. I mean, it’s crazy. So yeah, so I was spending way too much money. But I think one of the things for me is that I think that the main contributor of the cycle loss was definitely the over-exercise component. I think my body had kind of gotten to a point where like, it actually was forcing me to eat closer to a normal amount. In my head. That was way too much. Yeah. But like, now I’m like, “No, I was probably eating less than,” you know, but it’s still in my head too much, but I was exercising so much. I think a big part of it was the over-exercise. But anyway, long story short, I ended up quitting exercise, just walking. And when I learned how to “recover,” I was like, “Great, 2500 calories, let’s do it. “And easily went way over in the beginning and got my cycle back really quickly.
Lindsey Lusson 21:17
Well, one thing that, it sounds like you didn’t encounter that I do hear about sometimes when people have the PCOS history, and you probably just have like the wherewithal to be like, well, this never made sense for me anyways. But the reconciling of like, oh my gosh, well, like what if it isn’t HA, and what if I’m eating all these carbs? And I’m gonna make my PCOS flare out of control?
Kristen Kelly 21:38
So it’s funny, I think deep down. I think most people probably know, that PCOS is such an easy thing to like, you want to have the control, you want to eat, you want to eat the way you’ve been eating? It’s an easy thing to say, no, no, I really have that. That sounds better. Right? Then the “solution” is all the stuff that is acceptable to me. My number one thing is I wanted to have a kid. So I was like, I can either sit here and be like this. I mean, if I wasn’t trying to have a kid, I probably would have said that. I’d be like, Oh, no, no, it’s really this. But I was like, Well, this is my goal. I’m gonna do what I want to achieve my goal. And so it was I think that’s why it for me it was easy. But I stayed on that form. And by the way, through recovery, it was like my little crutch. So I stayed on that through recovery. And I went off it my doctor told me to stay on it through 12 weeks, which I guess probably shouldn’t have. In hindsight, I kind of kicked myself like, I wish I wasn’t taking like unnecessary medication during a pregnancy. I did stay on it as a crutch just in case even though in my gut, I knew it wasn’t. But I think it’s your point. It’s so easy because you believe PCOS? Oh, look, look, you got to keep doing what you’re doing. If you believe it’s HA, then oh, shoot, I have to do all the things that my head, deep down goes against everything that I have tried and worked against for so long, like to control weight to control food. And now I’m being told to do the opposite. No, no. Okay. I like that PCOS diagnosis. That sounds better.
Lindsey Lusson 23:02
It sounds a little bit more in my safety zone. Well, we actually have a coach on our team who had the PCOS, misdiagnosis as well also took Metformin all through her first pregnancy. But it was funny because she also was a client before she was a coach in our program. When we started working together. It was like restricting carbs, restricting carbs like no sugar, [indecipherable] my PCOS worse. And once we finally kind of got over the hump of, well, let’s entertain the idea that maybe it’s not PCOS, once she started incorporating carbs, and even sugar back into her diet. She was pregnant immediately carried to term, like two losses before that. And so it’s hard though, because, you know, I think that just like you were talking about how like, you get all of this misinformation on nutrition, and it’s basically just like tattooed in your brain for it to be, you do have to really push back and try, there’s a lot of unlearning, that has to happen. Like,
Kristen Kelly 23:54
oh, my god, that was well, and one of the things that was so interesting, and like back to kind of this exercise idea is because, like I said, for so long, I was an engineer, right? I’m a math person, math makes sense. And we’ve this much you work out this much. Right? Even though that whole net idea, like when I was like very much calculating everything knew exactly what my net number was. That didn’t translate to anything on the scale. Right? The math didn’t math. It didn’t work. But I still it was so ingrained in me. It just went against everything that I believed. And so I think that that was one of the things that was so hard and then when I ultimately, stopping the quote, unquote, like exercise where now I do I mean, I walk a lot because I love to kind of get outside and just, go for a walk and like, listen to a book on tape or listen to a podcast. I really love doing yoga like I love doing that kind of stuff. It’s funny, I think because I’ve been like in that cardio–if I do cardio, I actually really love it. But like I swear to God, it destroys me. I have no energy to like play with my kids or anything. So, I’m just not in a season of life of doing cardio even though I do love it. hopefully, eventually I’ll be able to do it again because I do enjoy it, but I’m not doing it because I think it’s gonna affect my weight. I’m doing it like if anything, it’s going to probably make my week. But I’m doing it because it feels good. And sometimes I do I will I get I like sort of feel in my legs like, oh, okay, I really need to like whatever go for a walk, go for a run like you can feel it, you’d have like, intuitive movement is like a real thing.
Lindsey Lusson 25:20
I worked out one time on vacation, which I wanted to do. And I was glad that I did. And then the rest is just didn’t feel right. And so today, my routine self wanted to be like, wake up at 5 AM Go to the gym, get back into your routine. But when I paused it really thought about it, I was like, you have been staying up till midnight 1 AM The past three nights, what does your body really needed this moment, and it was to sleep. And that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to get back into an exercise routine. At some point. I think most people listen to this podcast or routine enough and help me recognize that the health effects of being an exercise routine are really important. And that has nothing to do determinate of your health. And so you’re right, feeling that urge to move when it’s coming from a place of being in tune with your body and Health Promotion instead of punishment or trying to change the way that your body looks is very different. Yeah, and I think I can speak for both of us, like probably exercising less than we ever have. And not feel like–I remember just always feeling like–oh my gosh, we’re taught a lot this in school as dietitians that weight management is something that you actively have to work at every single day for the rest of your life. And I just don’t believe that to be true. Even just looking at–the numbers don’t add up if you’re expending X and eating next and you’re maintaining or even gaining weight because I do feel like the body can fight back to in those severe restriction mode. Yeah, it just doesn’t add. It doesn’t work.
Kristen Kelly 26:55
Yeah. Well, it’s funny because, I don’t consider myself exercising, I guess I technically am because when I take my kids to school, I usually choose to walk them to school. So it’s like a three-mile round trip walk. And I will do that and I’ll walk and pick them up. So I probably get five miles of walking a day, but in my head, it’s not exercise. Like it’s just like getting out because it feels good.
Lindsey Lusson 27:17
I think that that’s just something that diet culture ingrained in us too. And being like, oh, well, in order for it to count. It has to be done at a gym or it has to be a level of intensity when really we look at the research on exercise like the American College of Sports Medicine, for improvement of cardiovascular health, they say 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, moderate exercise, getting your heart rate from anywhere between 100 to 140 beats per minute, right? So 150 minutes is a 30 minute walk five times a week, that’s 50 minute walk three times a week, right? Like we’re not shooting for the moon here. Yeah, I’ve been conditioned to believe that it has to be five days it has to be a high intensity interval training class or it’s a peloton class for it to be real exercise.
Kristen Kelly 28:01
Well, on my honeymoon in the Maldives, I remember I had to go to the gym every morning. At the expense of hanging on–being on the beach. Like we actually like it was actually really great. We like made a whole bunch of friends with these other like couples and like they would have like a boozy, like brunch and stuff. And I’d be like, okay, goes, we’ll go to the gym. And it’s like, you know, there’s time to do it. And like you could do maybe one day and the next day, but like, it doesn’t have to be every day like it was every day. And I’ve looked back and I’m just like, why? It just makes me sad. And I wish I could go tell my younger self. There was so much time that I wasted in the gym instead of being with friends and people. And yeah, I mean, I think to your point, like being in an exercise routine and having routines in general, I think routines to your point are really really helpful. I think that they just like you see it with kids you see with adults, I think routines are really really good. But like the rigidity and and again, one of the things that I didn’t have was the balance. I mean, it was like it was cardio, intense cardio every day, seven days a week. [indecipherable] And my younger brother, he went to the Olympic trials, swimming. I mean, he’s like a legit athlete. He wasn’t even working out. Like I was working out. He was a distance-freakin-swimmer, like, he was so good. And he would be like, you know, you’d probably like lifting weights every once in a while, or maybe take a rest day. And it’s like, but it’s just it’s funny because now I’m just in this point in my life where, like you I have three kids who are kids with the same age and it’s a lot and so for me like I just I’m not going to usually get the time to be able to go do an actual workout I sometimes can do yoga with my kids like under my lap or whatever. But the walking is a nice way to kind of just get moving and everything and feel good about it, and it’s great
Lindsey Lusson 29:50
I have to really speak some truth to my trying-to-conceive clients about they’re like, oh, yeah, well, I can’t exercise like this while I’m trying to get pregnant but like once I pregnant are, once I’m done having kids or whatever, then I can go back to doing you know, my 90 minutes, seven days a week in the gym, and I’m like, I’m just gonna bring you down to earth for a sec. Like, you will not have time. And you would think that in like this, like very, like, weird, ironic theme that like, HA recovery is such great prep for motherhood, because you might have kids that just eat chicken nuggets, and you have to be okay with that to be okay with having snacks with them, you have to be okay with like your 5 AM workout getting interrupted by a baby, having to wake up at 5 AM, and now you need to take care of them. Right? It’s just such a great like prep for while routines are helpful, and a lot of us thrive in routines, and that’s not a bad thing. There always needs to be flexibility in your routine for understanding that there’s more to life than just exercising and eating clean or counting calories.
Kristen Kelly 30:56
Oh, 1,000%. That’s in my mind, such an important thing. And, your kids are gonna come out and have their own little personalities. And I mean, my oldest will not eat anything except for chicken nuggets and pasta, that is her diet. And I used to joke, it was like the Regina George and Mean Girls, I can’t go to talk about them on an all-carb diet, like minus the chicken nuggets, but she doesn’t even eat anymore. Now she’s literally just eats pasta. But like that is my daughter’s diet. And that’s fine. And you could try to get her other stuff, but she’s not always going to. And by the way, she can have the processed food, like it’s okay, if she has some processed food here and there. Because I think that’s another thing, especially when like you’ve ultimately crossed into like raising a kid, you’re told so much like, there’s so much prescription for, like what to do to have a child that whatever is like the greatest smartest kid that that you can ever be, and like, they have to eat this perfect food. And they have to have this perfect routine. And they have to, also, your kids probably not going to fit into that perfect thing. And so I think that that’s there’s so much with the HA personality that then like can translate to like being a parent, because a lot of the stuff that you’re going to try to do, because we all want our kids to be the most successful, the brightest, the smartest, the happiest that they can be. But we actually don’t have that amount of control that we think we do. And the people that are selling us, these, whatever plans to make sure that your kid gets into Harvard when they’re like 12 it’s just probably not going to work. And it’s okay. Your kids’ gonna be fine.
Kristen Kelly 31:05
Have you seen that meme floating around on Instagram, I think where it’s like, some dad that like had a tweet. And he was like, my kid just got a face tat go ahead and formula feed, it doesn’t matter. [indecipherable]
Kristen Kelly 32:39
I love that. I love that. Oh, that’s funny.
Kristen Kelly 32:42
[indecipherable] so much pressure to like, don’t feed your kids processed foods or feed your kids sugar. And I also thinkit’s worth mentioning here that–understanding that kids are over 240 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than type two diabetes. And so while as a parent you have you have autonomy to feed your child, however you see fit, whether that means sugar every day or sugar once a week, or like whatever you feel is best for your family. We also need to understand that like the language around how we communicate food and body to our children has to change if we want that statistic to change.
Kristen Kelly 33:17
Yeah, well, and I even with my first like I said, I kind of come up the other side and like was definitely much more in like a much freer Intuitive Eating space. But I remember when six months hit with my first I was like, Oh, I’m only gonna give her like initially right? And that that lasted all probably like three months or whatever. And then I was like, here you go, like, have whatever, like, here’s the here’s some crackers. But there was still it’s like, you almost get sucked back into like, oh, I have to feed them the perfect food and like all this stuff. And it’s like, I’m trying to put that onto her. And like, I’m not even doing that for myself anymore. So I had to almost like unlearn that with her. And it was much easier the second and the third because then it’s like, there’s all these memes where by the second and the third, you’re just like whatever.
Lindsey Lusson 33:55
Fries on the floor. Yeah.
Kristen Kelly 33:57
French fries on the floor. Like, again, you’ll be fine. Again, this is kind of getting off topic. But the HA mindset, I had it seep in with products where it’s like I had to only use the clean products and only use the clean makeup and only use clean everything.
Lindsey Lusson 34:13
To that point I read the book, “It Starts With the Egg” this summer. I could just feel my brain going, I must change out everything, it is literally to the point where I’m like, oh my gosh, like is the plastic and our Nespresso pump thing seeping carcinogens into our coffee [indecipherable]? Like, I think that some of us just have that personality type to take things to an extreme. So whether it’s food or whether it’s you know, having toxic free living, like kind of and I tell us a lot to like my fertility clients is I’m like, you got to do the best that you can and understand that like the stress that you create around toxins or dyes or sugar like that impacts your blood sugar, inflammation, your overall health and well-being probably moreso than the actual foods and products themselves.
Kristen Kelly 35:03
Yeah, and I was the same way I read it starts with an egg before having, I think it was my second or third. And it was the same thing where I got like super paranoid about it. But then, one of the things that for me, like will drag me back to reality is like, I’m obsessed with like, my Aloe yolk. Yeah, and they’re like, really super high and pee fast. And just like, okay, and actually, this was hilarious, too, you know, of course, had to get like the super expensive prenatal vitamins. I think I did, like the seeking health at one point. And it was like eight vitamins a day. I mean, and it was some absurd amount of money, but again, have to do what’s perfect for my child, like I had stuff. But it was interesting. So the California I think it’s like prop 165, found there was like really high levels of lead in it. And it’s because there’s high levels of lead in spinach and in sweet potatoes, apparently, like, it’s just, it’s, again, unfortunate, like the nature of like, oil. Yeah, yeah. And so they found that there was actually high levels. And it’s the point where, like, it needed a warning label, it literally said on the side of it, this will cause this could cause birth defects or something. And I’m like, Are you kidding me right now. And so it was kind of a wake up call that like, also, by the way, I could throw them out. But then if I’m eating spinach, and sweet potatoes, which are like super healthy, I’m gonna like be ingesting like this same amount of toxin or whatever. Like, it’s, this is an unfortunate reality of just the world we live in. And you can kind of like, go a little bit crazy. Or you can try to make peace with the fact that like, maybe you can switch out some things for things that are important to you. But then like, also, you can do the stuff that like, makes you feel good. And like that’s fine and do the best you can at the same time. Maybe don’t go crazy about it, because that’s really not going to probably move the needle that much. Right.
Lindsey Lusson 36:45
Yeah, exactly. And also thinking about like, quality of life. Like I have a friend who lives in Denver who’s like, very crunchy, free-living, and she’s like, but I’m still gonna get Botox.
Kristen Kelly 36:55
Oh, yeah, they’re just there was this, I need to send this to you. I saw yesterday, it was like, again, it was a real or it was a TikTok video, and it was like your friends who are obsessive about all this, like things like clean, toxic, free, blah, blah, blah, blah, like [indecipherable].
Lindsey Lusson 37:12
Yeah, yeah. It’s not for everyone, but I also almost love that balance of reality of like, do what you can what’s important for you, but also like, go on and live your life if you want to get Botox. If you want to have ice cream every single night, like have ice cream, right? Like, it’s short, like, you can’t just live in this box of rules around products and food and lifestyle recommendations and like expect to have a full life if you’re just obsessed with like, having to do everything to the nth degree. Yeah,
Kristen Kelly 37:43
and I think a lot of it is like the fear too. It’s like, if you can, like, kind of approach it from the standpoint of okay, like, maybe I’ll switch this out, but like, take all the fear of oh my gosh, if I don’t do this, like almost like think like, well, what is gonna happen, like, probably not a lot, but also if you want to switch it out, because you feel better about it. Great. And I mean, I do use, like, Seventh Generation cleaning detergent, and I have like my Piercey stain remover, which by the way, it’s like frickin awesome. But then again, it’s like, I’m gonna use my conventional makeup, and I’m gonna dye my hair and do all this stuff, like, where my alo pee fast pans, and I frickin love them, like, you know, yeah, the best.
Lindsey Lusson 38:17
Well and then we talk about even, like, just go a step further, like piggybacking off of that, like social determinants of health, right? When I look at it, like, HR, right, it’s like, you know, how much we move the products we use, the foods that we eat, we think like, all of these things make up such a large percentage, when, in reality, it’s, you know, quality of sleep access to healthcare, like there’s so many things that play into health outcomes, that I feel like we we just really miss it, because like, we’re just, we’re focusing on the things that we think we can control when in reality that might just be like, 10% of the pie chart.
Kristen Kelly 38:50
Yeah. Oh, 1,000%. But I mean, again, it’s, I think, like, natural to try to want to control things and because you think like, oh, but if I can control it, like I should be, but it’s like, at what cost? And I think that that’s where people a lot of times, like forget, they’re not sort of aware of how how it can be negatively affecting them. And probably not for the outcome. Like it’s like a trade off. It’s like everything, there’s there’s a balance, right? There’s a there’s a cost and a benefit. And like, in some cases, if the cost is way out benefit benefit, like, I don’t know, this is why I love Dr. Emily Oster, because she I feel like just tends to try to quantify things and think through things in a very non-scary way where it’s like, okay, let’s look at what the data says like you had coffee during your pregnancy. You had Tylenol during your pregnancy. Okay, so let’s look at like what the research says scary headline. What’s the data? Okay, there was no new data. This is literally just a compilation of these like other research studies, which by the way, were a lot flawed and we don’t know cause versus effects rate correlation causation, like anyway, I like things when they are quantified.
Lindsey Lusson 39:56
Yeah, and even still, like you were talking about even if there is like clear research that is leaning one way that you as a individual get to make an informed decision, right? Like, has I want to apply this information to my life? Or do I not? Do I want to know that my yoga pants have, you know, whatever chemical in them and awareness, you know?
Kristen Kelly 40:20
Right. No, exactly, we live in this sort of fear-based society where people can make money off of selling us fear. And so if you can understand like, well, this is the data, is there now, maybe an increased risk of something happening? Yes. Do you want to do that? Still? The answer might be yes, the answer might be no. And you can make that informed decision. Right. And it’s like, you know, I was talking about, like, exercise, I really love doing cardio, I know, if I do it, it’s gonna, like make me probably feel like shit for the rest of the day, I can still decide to do it right then or I can decide not to do it. Like, it’s like, you know, kind of same thing with again, this intuitive eating, you can have this, whatever, whatever you want. And then, you know, it’s gonna make you feel a certain way. And many times, that’s, that’s worth it. And then sometimes you’re like, Alright, I’m just not gonna feel great after and that’s okay, too. Like, I don’t know.
Lindsey Lusson 41:07
That’s definitely like how I approach alcohol, it’s like, okay, most of the time, I’m going to drink the amount that helps me to feel my best or not, like, I’m going to make that informed decision, and then sometimes I’m like, you know, is it worth having that third glass of wine, I know, it’s gonna interrupt my sleep, I’m no longer gonna feel great the next day, if you’re in the moment and want to go for that, or like, it would help you to feel connected to those people more, it is your choice.
Kristen Kelly 41:35
I think a lot of times too, like it can be especially like, for me, like kind of coming out of the hole like HA thing. I mean, a lot of things for me as well. And I think she’s talked about just like rewiring your brain is that she talks about that, I think, right? But just like almost like trying to sink into like new patterns, where it’s like, okay, I used to be a pattern that every day or a habit that every day, I would go to the gym at this amount of time. And I would do this. And now it’s a new pattern where I’m gonna do something else, I’m going to go for a walk, I’m gonna do a yoga, I’m gonna do a stretch and do something else. And you kind of get into that new routine. And I think for most of us, maybe especially people who have ha like routines, as I said, it become like so important. And it can be really hard to like, break them. But then once you do, it becomes a lot easier. Yeah. And I know for me, now obviously, like being on the other side, I could never imagine going back to what I had been doing. You couldn’t pay me, ever, to do what I had been doing. I think part of it, because it’s like, I’ve been deprogrammed if you will, with this sort of like, I must exercise this mountain must eat this now. Like, I don’t believe that anymore. So why would I do that? Really took a lot to get me to stop having those beliefs. That was the hardest part. And for me, it was living a different way and seeing what happened–I mean, like, wow, it’s not what I believed would happen. Like it’s the total opposite. I think that that was kind of an interesting thing.
Lindsey Lusson 42:57
I mean, that way you described is like, what I try to tell my clients who are trying to come out of eating disorder recovery, as–this is not an official term, I’ve made this up, but the point of no return where you have unlearned so much information, and you have learned so much counter-information and your lived experience, right? Like I think that that’s huge. One thing to like, read about this abstract concert concept is to experience it firsthand, and to see the fruits of your labor. But this point of no return where it’s like, I just don’t believe that anymore. Like, I don’t believe that that works. That hasn’t worked for me, even if that seems to be working for that person on Instagram, or TikTok, or that person who tells me all about you know, their new, whatever lifestyle, like I have so much like evidence, and I have so much, you know, good things going on in my life that I don’t see myself ever going back to a restrictive overexercise intentional pursuit of weight loss, like that type of thing. And I really believe that every person can get here, I do think that the journey is going to look different for people, I think it’s gonna take more time and more energy for different people, depending upon their situations and their influence, but I do believe that everybody can, can get to the side where it’s not easy and fun. And that doesn’t mean that you’re never triggered, right? Like, I don’t think that either of us are saying that. Right. But that you again, just have such a different perspective. And I think that that’s what, if I could sum it all up, that’s what like recovery looks like for me seven years later, and you can’t unlearn the information about intuitive eating this statistics on “95% of diets fail, two out of three people end up not only gaining the weight back but gaining even more weight” right, like you can’t unhear that information.
Kristen Kelly 44:42
Yeah, and it’s interesting you were talking about like being triggered and I as I said, I literally almost had to take myself out of a pregnancy support group because I was triggered all the time, right by people literally pictures of a small like belly only pregnancy that was so triggering. And now like I couldn’t care less I see like a cute little belly and like, oh my gosh, look at that, right. Or if someone’s talking about like their diet, it literally like doesn’t faze me. And it’s the type of thing where it’s like, I never thought it would be like in a place where That’s where OB, and honestly, if I hear people talking about like their crazy diets and stuff, and like, I feel bad for you, right, and because I literally used to feel exactly what you would said, which is, I’m going to do this, had a kid, and then I’m gonna go back to what I was doing before. And, if I saw people who were able to recover, well, not really recovering. Again, that was very triggering to me, too. Or if I use fertility treatments to get pregnant, I get I felt like annoyed that I hadn’t thought to do that almost. And then now I’m so grateful that I had to go through this, because coming out the other side, again, like, I literally never thought it’d be possible to get to a place where I can just exist, how I want to exist, eat when I’m hungry, like walk when I want to walk, do what I want to do. And just kind of my body doesn’t know what it wants to do. And like I do your point, you’re talking about this weight management thing. And again, this is obviously based on my lived experience, like I fully believe that that sh*t doesn’t work. I mean, I think part of it is also the intuitive eating where you’re just also like tuning into how you feel, because you feel when you feel good. And you know, when you don’t feel good. To your point, I’m so grateful for it, because I happen to have three girls, and I would not ever wish on them, like I want to be there to explain to them like, this is how your body works. Like you don’t need to micromanage every single little thing. And, you know, hopefully I can be a counterbalance. At the end of the day, there’s only so much control you have over your kids, like you can try to give them the information. And they can probably sit there and say you don’t know anything, especially when they become a teenager.
Kristen Kelly 46:43
Kristen Kelly 46:48
But I still want–I think that having me try to sit there and explain to them like this, people come in all body sizes, and you know your size. Like, if you really try to control it, it’s probably not going to work, like maybe it works for a little bit, and then it’s not and then you’re just kind of in this, I’m gonna call it a prison of obsessing over what you eat and how much you exercise. And it’s not going to change anything like you are who you are. And you can either learn to love it and embrace it, or you can fight it. And it’s a lot nicer when you don’t fight it.
Lindsey Lusson 47:18
Yeah. I also think too, and I tell this to a lot of my clients who like I think a lot of times people start into recovery and they’re like, Okay, well I’m okay with, you know, gaining five pounds or 10 pounds. And they have this kind of like predetermined amount of weight or a predetermined number that they are okay with. But if they weren’t over that number, then like, in their minds, like the world stops turning, everything crumbles like I am unlovable, I’m unworthy, like it is the end. And when I always tell people is that, like, you’re probably going to have to go past that number. And it’s going to be the best thing for your recovery. Because once you finally break outside of this, like little box that you’ve put yourself in, you realize that your body can exist and be okay, and healthy and even thrive outside the confines that you’ve set for yourself. And once you can do that, I think is when you can really start to adopt a intuitive approach to food and movement. And recognizing that regardless of where my body ends up, like, I don’t have to love it, but I can be okay with where I am. And I think that that’s so important. And I think that like to your point about never thought that I could be in this place where like, you know, I don’t have to try so hard and do all the things but like, you’ve probably also gotten to a place through all of your pregnancies through HA recovery where like, you have probably existed at a variety of different body sizes. And it’s been okay, and so now like, the pressure doesn’t exist for you to be size X or weight X, because you’re okay with that you can just be here, and, like, when we’re 75 we’re not gonna look the same as we do when we’re almost 40 You know, like, like, just kind of the freedom that I think exist. And that too is really important.
Kristen Kelly 48:58
Yeah. And again, it’s like, the body is so freakin smart. And it’s really kind of crazy. And I think it’s a little nuts. When we sit here and think, wow, I can outsmart how many years worth of like, evolution or whatever, like, No, you’re you. And I guess one other little pet peeve is when people would always talk about like, binging like during recovery. And it’s like, You’re not You’re literally like your body is trying to make up for lost energy. And it is doing what it has been through how many again years of evolution programs to do to keep you alive. And we look at it like it’s like a moral failure, or someone like tries to like diet or, or eat this little amount, and then they’re hungry. And it’s like, you know, I’m greedy or something’s tear and you’re like, No, you’re a freaking human being right? You’re trying you want to be a robot like that’s not how people work. But it’s funny how again, there’s so much morality placed on food and hunger is looked at as almost like a weakness and it’s just it’s kind of crazy. And honestly, it’s funny because I feel like I do eat a lot and I kind of weird. It’s like a badge of honor. I fight more than my husband or my little brother again,
Lindsey Lusson 50:08
I think it’s good. Like, especially as a mom, I mean, I think about like the era that we grew up in. And it was very, like, I saw something on social media other day, it was like, can we cancel white lunch for ladies? Like how many like male dominated functions–is there an Emeril night lunch served? Like, imminent thing, but I got that, like, so cool as like a mom of girls for you to be like, yeah, like, I’m going to eat a burger and fries, or I’m going to my daddy. Like, I think that that’s like a really healthy thing for, especially like, if your girls are active, like men need a lot of food, you know, moms need a lot of food. Like, that’s, I think that that’s like a positive thing.
Kristen Kelly 50:46
I think sometimes when you’re trying to control things, so much like this happens with I think, also whether it’s like school, and you’re trying to get good grades, or it happens with work, and you’re so fixated on being everything perfect, that it really lifts you up. And I think that there’s something about that, too, when it comes to like the food in the sense that when you’re trying to control so much, again, you see something and it’s like you go you’re like it did all that and when you just kind of like let loose like I’m gonna have sound like whatever you kind of just like the let loose in the control a little bit. It’s not it’s not a big deal. Like I don’t know, I just think like this uber-fixation on control really can mess us up sometimes. I mean, if we just let go.
Lindsey Lusson 51:24
in the context of like food and moderation, it almost always backfires. Almost always. And that’s something that we talk about in learning, intuitive eating, it’s just the idea of who food habituation, right? If you haven’t had it, 14 years. And even if you’re allowing yourself to have the donut for the first time, there’s 14 years of restriction. And if there’s still a lot of language of, “Oh, my gosh, don’t eat this, this is going to make you fat, this is going to make you have [indecipherable] symptom. This is so unhealthy,” right? Like if all that is spiraling around in your head, and you’re physically having the donut, you’re going to be more triggered to binge, but not because you know, sugar is addictive, not because you know, you lack willpower, but because of the perfection and the rules and restrictions that have been ingrained in your head. And now you’re going against something that you’re just set up for failure. And so if you were to go into the same situation with a different mindset of doughnuts are not bad, there are foods that are health promoting, and there are foods that are maybe not as health promoting, but they taste good, and they’re fun, and I have a donut today, I can have six donuts today, I can have one. And regardless of how much I eat, that doesn’t change who I am, as a person, I can have a doughnut tomorrow, and the next day and the next day. And then when we start to have like that flip in how we approach eating and food, the moderation comes on its own.
Kristen Kelly 52:48
Well, that’s the thing that I was also gonna say, and again, if this is triggering for your listeners, please feel free to edit it out. But, you know, I spent so much of my life trying to control my size. And in the beginning it “worked,” right, because like, in the beginning, it does, I was also like, 18, 15, whatever. And then as I got, further down, I was so, again, so rigid with my food rules, so rigid with my exercise. And then after kind of coming through this journey, now, I also have three kids at home, but like my setpoint is, probably is lower, or my weight is lower than it was when I was like really tightly tried to control it. Because it’s weird, it just settled. And, and I’ve been higher and lower, but like when when you remove the the crazy, like fixation, your body just kind of does what it wants to do. And that’s what I meant by like the trying to control so much. I just think it can be very counterproductive. And again, not that it’s like good or bad that it’s lower. It’s just it’s an interesting takeaway, that when I was like, so fixated on trying to maintain this size, I couldn’t. And then when I stopped, it was like, anyway, it’s weird.
Lindsey Lusson 53:59
I mean, I actually like that you brought this up. I think we’ll leave it in but to also make some context for listeners because I feel like this is like the dream that everyone wants to get to, but this is often what people expect. Okay, I’m six months into recovery. “Why am I not in my setpoint range? Why am I not back down to that size that I thought was the setpoint range? Why do I still hate my body?” [indecipherable] This seven years later that Christmas? So like, if you’re six months into recovery, 18 months into recovery, just have grace with yourself. It’s nice that you can exist and be happy at variety of different sizes. setpoint right weight ranges dynamic. Kristen and I genetically have been privileged like–my mom is small, like our family is small. We’re not like, rails but like we you know, the genetically when I think back to like what my kind of size was before I started dieting, which was at a young age similar to you, but like I’ve just never there’d been a big kid, like, that’s just not my genes. And I do want to highlight that, like I have worked with, and I hope I will continue to work with clients in, you know, medium to larger size bodies and recognizing that I don’t feel like people need to be a certain size to be held to be their best and understanding too and also just having like a little bit of like Grace with the idea that like, if you don’t like like where your body ends up, if you don’t genetically, like your setpoint weight range, be their best selves through recovery, starting their own businesses, like all the things so that means a lot to me. And yeah, I guess I want to be like what we had to work so hard to have like in our community, and I want to be that for people, whether that’s just over Instagram or over a podcast or if you’re a client of mine. So I appreciate that, and this is so fun, just having like full circle and letting you tell your story and share your wisdom, so thanks for your time today.
Kristen Kelly 55:57
Of course. Thank you so much.
Lindsey Lusson 56:00
Thank you so much for tuning in and listening. If you found this episode to be inspiring or helpful, please share on social media and tag me @food.freedom.fertility. Also don’t forget to leave a rating and review.