Maybe you’ve heard of Haylie Pomroy or the book she wrote called The Fast Metabolism Diet. She’s a celebrity diet coach and registered wellness consultant with over 20 years of experience in helping people “achieve ideal health while enjoying real food,” as her website states. With all the talk about metabolism in the news lately, we were curious about her expert perspective.
WomensHealth: How did you end up in this field?
Haylie Pomroy: I have a degree in agriculture and I was on my way to veterinary school when the autoimmune disorder I was born with really took a turn for the worse. I took a medical leave of absence and began my obsession with the biochemistry of the body. I turned towards food to rebalance the metabolic pathways that were causing my autoimmune disorder to become out of control, and to not only survive coming off many medications, but to thrive and flourish in a healthy way.
WH: What was your reaction to the NYT article about The Biggest Loser contestants?
HP: I was very sad, but it was also very sad watching the show. I know that there is no way that we can get more out of our bodies by doing less, depriving our bodies, or stressing our bodies. For a moment in time, [our bodies] might relent and release weight, but we’ll never forget the trauma both physiologically and psychologically that [our bodies were] put under in order to achieve that loss.
My philosophy is to nurture the body so that it doesn’t need the weight. Our bodies are way smarter than we could ever hope to be, and if we listen to the body and what it needs, we can then stimulate the metabolism. Every single metabolic pathway is nutrient dependent and nutrients come from food, not lack of food.
WH: What are some ways that women can rejuvenate their metabolism?
HP: Women need to make sure that they’re getting enough rest, nutrients, and a reduction in stress to facilitate a fast metabolism. They also must have a significant variety in food and food groups. They must focus on foods that support the adrenals, the liver, and gallbladder based metabolic pathways. These are critical for proper hormone balance. Women have a unique sensitivity to hormone metabolism at many different stages in their lives. It is important to feed those metabolic pathways and listen to the body to create a homeostasis or balance. If it is easy to gain weight, your body is out of balance.
WH: How can women maintain weight loss or jump-start it when they feel stuck?
HP: I have four different very short nutritionally intense programs that help the body figure out why the scale is stuck. It is always about first defining why the scale is stuck and then applying food as the catalyst for getting unstuck. They are called the Burn and I have a quiz on my website you can take to see what foods would be most useful for your body.
WH: Are there any particular metabolism issues that women face?
HP: Yes, women go through very dramatic hormonal changes throughout their lives. Whether it’s the onset of their periods, pregnancies, pre-menopause, menopause, post-menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin, or leptin issues, women and their bodies constantly have to create a new norm, and within that norm, fat and metabolism play a critical role in hormone metabolism.
WH: What are the biggest obstacles that women face when trying to lose or maintain weight?
HP: I think the biggest obstacle that women face is creating a nutrition plan that is right for their body at that time. Being in clinical practice for the last 22 years has shown me one thing and that is until you become the front and center of your healthcare, and that you above all else listen to your body and feed your body in a way that stimulates the metabolism, you will never achieve true results.
In my community, we start with at minimum 12 different foundational programs that can be customized for the uniqueness and the powerful diversity we find in women’s bodies. For me, the word diet means Did I Eat Today? Did I eat to achieve the weight loss I deserve, the health I desire, and the success I crave?
WH: How can women stay motivated when they’re frustrated in trying to lose weight?
HP: I think it’s critical to be part of a supportive community. This is why I strive through social media, to blog posts, through forums, to be available and accessible to our community. We are a community that falls in love with food, celebrates all food can do, that appreciates the power we have on our plates. My community celebrates food because it can be the reason for weight loss. There is nowhere in nature or in health that you can see that doing less and depriving the physical body could net you anything good. The diet industry is riddled with shame and guilt and there is no place for any of that in any health program. Weight loss, true weight loss, lifelong weight loss, should be a side effect of a health program.
WH: How do you coach clients who have successfully lost significant amounts of weight to maintain that new weight?
HP: It is not uncommon that after the scale has changed for the better that the metabolic pathways, hormones, and physiological responses in the body need time to set a new equilibrium or new norm. I am a stickler for looking at the body’s chemistry, body structure, and environment for which we place our bodies in – whether that’s work, home, hobbies, etc. We must make sure that the new eco-system we place our new bodies in is conducive to that body flourishing. Our bodies interact with everything around us and everything around us interacts with our bodies. We have to create a new norm.
WH: Is long-term weight loss possible or will it always be a battle?
HP: Long-term weight loss is absolutely possible. One thing that I see happening though is that we think that the number on the scale is simply a destination. Metabolism is a process that’s adapting and adjusting every day. We would never go to the dentist once a year for a teeth cleaning and expect to have healthy teeth if we didn’t brush our teeth at least twice a day, yet many people spend less time preparing food in the kitchen than they do brushing their teeth. Food is what provides the nutrients that stimulate the metabolism and metabolism is in a constant state of flux. The scale tells you only about your weight and absolutely nothing about your worth. You must feed your body to health.
WH: Can you talk a bit about the Fast Metabolism Diet? How did you conceive it and prove that it works and isn’t harmful? What’s different about it compared to other diets and programs out there?
HP: The Fast Metabolism Diet is a strategic 28-day plan to nurture the body back to health. It uses targeted nutrients at strategic times to evoke a metabolic change in a body that’s stuck or has become sluggish at burning fat. It incorporates healthy whole foods and all of the food groups but in a way that rotates between rest and restoration and rebuild and burn cycles. It celebrates food. The recipes are delicious and decadent. It is based on the science that pleasure stimulates the metabolism and that the body needs more, not less, for true repair.
I think one thing that makes it stand out is that it’s something you can incorporate for a lifetime of sound nutrition as well as meals that families can share and enjoy. So many diets are isolating. Diet food is not typically something you would photograph or share at a BBQ or serve at a dinner party. There is also no calorie counting, which has nothing to do with supporting metabolic pathways. It is also customizable whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or a meat lover. It’s all about creating health.
WH: Would this particular diet or the other ones mentioned on your site, like cleanse and detox programs, fall into the category of extreme dieting? Why or why not?
HP: No, I’m not an advocate at all of extreme dieting. I believe that all the food groups serve a unique purpose for our bodies. I believe that we can use targeted nutrients for a strategic amount of time to provide intense repair for specific metabolic pathways. We have programs that last two days to two years or two decades. Even our cleanses and shakes are food based. Substance promotes action, not lack of, which could not be truer when it comes to nourishing the body.
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