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Top Takeaways

  1. Many woman are experiencing weight loss resistance, where, through the best efforts in dieting and exercise, weight loss is not being achieved.
  2. Hormone dysfunction, toxins, and stress are the main contributors to hormone dysfunction.
  3. Because our body loves homeostasis, many times weight loss plateaus occur due to the body adapting to a diet or exercise regiment.
  4. Our livers are so overloaded with outside and internal toxins that they are unable to process excess hormones and estrogen, and instead dump them back into our system.
  5. Estrogen dominance is one of the number one reasons woman can’t lose weight.
  6. Karen Martel highly suggests doing liver and estrogen detoxes so that the liver can free up to tackle burning fat.
  7. When you don’t have adequate sleep, signals from ghrelin and leptin, hormones that regulate when you are hungry and when you are full, become compromised, causing you to want to eat, and to not recognize when you are full.
  8. You don’t want to compromise sleep in order to work out. This can actually cause low blood sugar, which increases the body’s desire to eat.
  9. Lack of sleep can cause insulin resistance, which means that no matter how well you’re eating, it’s all going to be stored as fat.
  10. Counting calories is proven not to work, where if you are always fighting hunger to stay within your allotted calories, your body will lower its metabolism to match that.
  11. It is important when on a Keto Diet or fasting, that you cycle the amounts of carbs that you are taking in, in order to prevent harming your thyroid or lowering your metabolism.
  12. Carbs are necessary for your thyroid and adrenals function efficiently, as well as for the production of serotonin, which allows your body to sleep properly.
  13. The carnivore diet, a diet of strictly meat, has been used to help those unable to go into ketosis do so, as well as reverse autoimmune disorders in others.
  14. Only a couple of glasses of wine a week will raise estrogen levels by 25%.
  15. Karen strongly suggests quitting drinking if you are looking to lose weight or have weight loss resistance, as it greatly affects sleep and metabolism, and puts strain on your liver.
  16. For woman with sugar addiction or those going into perimenopause, going on a Keto diet can be greatly beneficial, helping them lose weight, and restoring the body with healthy fats.
  17. Karen suggests eating vegetables with most diets including Keto as they provide beneficial fiber to help digestion.
  18. Karen also suggests that if one diet plan is consistently not working, or has lead to a plateau, to not be afraid to try something different or to shift what you are doing.
  19. You can learn more about Karen and her work at
  20. You can find her podcast, The Other Side of Weight Loss, on iTunes
  21. Karen also offers one on one coaching, and has a membership option that is all about weight loss resistance and primal meal plans.


Wendy Myers: Hello everyone. My name is Wendy Myers. Welcome to the Myers Detox Podcast. Today, we have my friend Karen Martel on the show, talking about how to break through weight loss resistance. I know so many women today, including myself, definitely in the past, have found themselves killing themselves trying to lose weight.

Wendy Myers: Waking up at five o’clock in the morning to go do high intensity cardio, or they’re starving themselves, or eating low calorie, going to bed hungry, working out for hours and hours and hours every week, going on HCG diets, or doing other fad diets, and just are not able to lose weight, or keep it off permanently.

Wendy Myers: In today’s show, we’re going to be talking about what causes weight loss resistance, what are some of the top issues that cause weight gain and prevent weight loss. We’ll talk about toxins, the liver’s role, and how when women can help to clear their liver, help support liver function, how that can dramatically impact weight loss, and talk about the keto diet.

Wendy Myers: Things that really important to know about the keto diet, pitfalls, and tips, and why you do carbohydrate cycling, and how the keto diet can lower fertility and cause some lower thyroid function, and cause some other problems. So many of you guys listening to this show are interested in heavy metal detoxification, how heavy metals are impacting your health, and if heavy metals are causing your symptoms.

Wendy Myers: Well, I created a two-minute quiz that you can take at to discover your potential levels of heavy metals in your body, and then you get a video series following taking the quiz that will give you some tips and tricks on where to begin your detox journey, what you can do about any heavy metals that you discover you may have on the quiz. So take it at

Wendy Myers: Our guest today, Karen Martel, is a certified transformational nutrition coach and weight loss expert. After a lifetime of struggling with her own health issues, Karen is determined to bring her knowledge to other women. She has a bold new approach to women’s health and weight management.

Wendy Myers: Karen’s passion lies in helping women break through weight loss resistance and find their personal weight loss code through nutrition, corrective digestive issues, optimizing hormones, and managing chronic stress. She’s the founder of the OnTrack primal meal planning and weight loss program, and host of the OnTrack Podcast and video cast on YouTube.

Wendy Myers: She is a health leader and researcher determined to revolutionize nutrition for modern women. You can find her at Karen, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Karen Martel: Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here, Wendy.

Wendy Myers: So we are going to talk about weight loss resistance and plateaus, and I think so many women feel like they’re fighting this losing battle with reaching their 30s, 40s, or 50s and just not being able to lose weight at all, or as easily as they used to. So, what’s going on? What is weight loss resistance exactly?

Karen Martel: Yeah, we’re seeing a really crazy epidemic right now in women of weight loss resistance, and maybe it’s because I’m in it myself, but there’s just … I hear it all day long, of this exact same story, which is, “I’m eating right,” and so it’s always different, because I’m in the paleo primal world, I get the, “I’ve been on keto for X amount of time, or paleo for X amount of time,” and people will lose weight maybe right in the beginning, and then it just stops.

Karen Martel: Or they never lose any weight. So they feel better, they’re getting all the benefits of these great diets, and they’ve completely overhauled what they’re eating, and they still can’t lose weight. And it’s super frustrating. They exercise. And this was me, this was me 10 years ago. I was doing everything, I was doing the boot cams, I had the personal trainer, I was working out harder than I’d ever worked out, and was eating. I never had food addiction, I ate super clean, I tried multiple different diets, and the weight kept coming on, coming on.

Karen Martel: And we’re just seeing more and more of this, of weight loss resistance. So it’s not so much … You can have it in the sense of, you could just be on any diet, and you lose weight in the beginning, then you plateau, which is very, very common. But weight loss resistance is different in the sense that it’s women that are really trying to, they’re putting the efforts in to lose weight, they are doing what is supposedly right, whatever diet that is, and they’re not seeing the weight loss results.

Wendy Myers: Yeah, this was me for sure when I was … After I had my baby, and I was like, “Okay, it’s time to lose the baby weight.” And I just felt like I was doing everything right, and eating perfectly, and exercising literally six to eight hours a week, and just thinking, “God, I would be an Olympic athlete right now if I was doing, going to all this effort when I was in my 20s.” And so, let’s talk about, what is the number one cause of weight loss resistance?

Karen Martel: So, number one I see is hormone dysfunction, especially … Mine triggered as soon as I had my first child, too. It was after that that, over the next few years, that this started to happen to me. We see it often in women. The pregnancy is just … It steals the nutrients, the baby’s stealing all the nutrients out of us that we had left, kind of thing. And we start to get a lot of … We might have had it before, but it’s like it tips it over the edge.

Karen Martel: And so, it’s hormone dysfunction, is by far, number one that I see. Close second to that, of course, is just toxins. Our world, our environment, and you know this so well. It is super toxic, and that’s playing a role, then, on our hormones, right? So they’re all tied in together. It’s like this waterfall effect. Same with digestive system. If your digestive system isn’t working well, which nobody’s is these days, because of the stuff that we’re eating, and antibiotics, and that ties into the hormone dysfunction as well, and the toxins.

Karen Martel: And so it’s kind of all of these little markers, but basically, it’s hormones, stress levels, which is also hormones, the toxic lifestyle, and that can just be simply environmental toxins. And then, oddly enough, it is sometimes just a matter of … See, when it comes to plateaus, it’s a matter of your body adapting to what you’re doing, and so a lot of women don’t realize that the answer is not lower your calories farther, work out harder. That’s actually, usually makes it worse.

Karen Martel: And so I see a lot of that, too, as we get stuck in this tunnel vision of, “This is the best diet,” because maybe you lost weight in the beginning. And they don’t realize that in our bodies, really, we adapt. Our body loves homeostasis. And so that can also be a huge factor, especially down the road. Especially for those women that, like I said, lost weight, maybe, in the beginning, and then they hit that plateau and it’s super important to shift things around. We can talk about that later, if you want.

Wendy Myers: Yes, yes. And so, can you talk about liver function and how important liver function is in regulating your hormones and in promoting weight loss?

Karen Martel: Yeah. The liver has so much to do with it, and it’s funny, because I have a group program where I put this group that I have, my membership ladies, on liver cleanses throughout the year, and it’s always the thing that will always get them past any sort of weight loss plateau. It’s like, it’s like, “Oh, I lost such and such.” One lady just … We did a January liver cleanse. She lost 18 pounds in a month.

Wendy Myers: Wow.

Karen Martel: I was like, “Oh, whoa.”

Wendy Myers: I would like to do that.

Karen Martel: Right? That’s not normal, but I was like, “Okay, obviously, your liver needs some assistance, so you need to continue working on your liver. Don’t stop.” That kind of thing, right? Because our liver, once again, going back to the environmental toxins, the food toxins, our liver is overloaded having to deal with all of this outside and internal toxins that are going through our body, that when it comes to filtering our hormones, which, our hormones are processed through our liver, it’s like your liver, it’s like it can’t keep up with it all.

Karen Martel: And so the hormones just get dumped back into the system, right? And then there’s gut stuff, too, where there’s certain gut bacteria that will help break down things like the estrogens. We have a ton of external estrogens in our environment right now that we’re constantly ingesting. If we’ve got any sort of synthetic perfumes in any of the stuff in our household, which most people do, right, whether that’s your shampoo or actual perfume, cleaning products, all of these things are estrogen mimickers inside our body.

Karen Martel: And so if your liver’s not working well, and your gut’s not working well, you’re not going to be able to break down those toxic estrogens in the body and get rid of them. And estrogen dominance is one of the number one reasons I see women can’t lose weight, right? So, I always say, if you’re going to do anything, at least do an estrogen cleanse.

Karen Martel: That’s something that every woman, and every man, as well, my husband does them, because we’re starting to see more and more men going down the estrogen pathway instead of a testosterone pathway in their body, and we’re seeing the male boobs, and things like that, and they get the love handles. And my husband notices when he takes the estrogen cleansers that that, it reduces those areas for him and brings up his testosterone.

Karen Martel: So, for women, we want to bring down the estrogen levels in order to help our body and help our liver to lose weight. And even just a normal liver cleanse, or liver support, can help, because it’s going to help to get rid of those toxins, take the burden off of everything, and pick up our metabolism.

Karen Martel: Right? Because once, if you have a toxic liver, your metabolism is also going to slow down because of that. We want it to be revved up and burning the fats that we’re eating. If it’s being overloaded, that’s not going to happen.

Wendy Myers: Yeah. Yeah, and our liver metabolizes excess estrogen, it recycles estrogen in our body, and so many people, I believe that their liver is their weak link, because our livers have to break down sugars and fats and then make cholesterol, and break down all these toxins that it just can’t keep up with the amount that we’re bombarded with every day in our environment.

Wendy Myers: You’ve got to really, for anything you’re doing, weight loss, or you want to detox, you’ve got to really hone in on that liver and help it to cleanse and give it assistance.

Karen Martel: Yeah. You almost can’t expect to lose weight if you’re not addressing the liver properly. If it was up to me, I would put every woman I know on a liver and estrogen detox right off the bat, and then continue to do that every couple of months. And it depends, if you’re a drinker, you might need to do it more. You might need to take daily support for your liver.

Karen Martel: I have a great paleo cleanse powder from Designs For Health that’s like a daily powder that you drink that supports the phase one, phase two pathways in the body for liver detoxification, and you can drink that every day, and women will notice huge benefits from that. I’ve had women say, “I have no more PMS, I can sleep better, I have no more hot flashes.” It really, really makes a huge impact on it.

Wendy Myers: Yeah, and I’ve seen women come to my practice that are wanting to lose weight and whatnot, but they’re drinking alcohol every night, they’re taking a lot of different medications that attacks the liver, even though they might need to take them, but there’s usually a way to reduce medication usage or dosages.

Wendy Myers: Because a lot of them are toxic to the liver, or put a burden on it. And they’re eating sugars, and they’re not doing any liver cleansing. They’re doing all these, all in, they’re dousing themselves in perfume every day, and just doing all of these things.

Wendy Myers: It’s not surprising why you may not be losing weight, or waking up at five in the morning, reducing your amount of sleep that you’re getting every night, to work out, and doing these high intensity workouts. So, let’s talk a little bit about sleep. What is the importance of sleep in weight loss?

Karen Martel: Well, if we’re lacking sleep, I always actually think of it … I go back to my old drinking days. I haven’t drank in over ten years now, but back in my old drinking days, you know when you go out and you party for the night, and you’d wake up in the morning, and the last thing you want to eat, right, is broccoli and a healthy piece of meat or whatever it is. Right? You don’t want to eat healthy.

Karen Martel: That’s when I would go to fast food, every single time. Because you want grease. You want carbs. And now, ten years later, once I had my babies, and I saw what it felt like to be on only three to four hours of sleep every night, it was exactly the same feeling, minus the nausea.

Wendy Myers: Yes, yeah.

Karen Martel: Right? All you want to eat is carbs when you haven’t sleep, right? And there’s different reasons for this, but there’s two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, that are activated when you’re not getting enough sleep. So, leptin is the signal that you’re getting hungry. I always get the two mixed up. And ghrelin is signals to you when you’re full. Nope, it’s the other way around.

Wendy Myers: Yes, yeah. Grehlin makes you want to eat.

Karen Martel: Grehlin makes you want to eat, leptin tells you when you’re full.

Wendy Myers: Yes, yes.

Karen Martel: Yes. So both of these signals are compromised when you’re not sleeping well. So you’ll actually, A, you’re going to want to eat. You’re going to be more hungry, right? And then B, the leptin signals gets faulty, and then you don’t, not getting the signal when you’re full.

Karen Martel: I don’t know if you drink now, but I just remember, I’d want to eat constantly, and if I’m tired, it’s the same feeling. I want to eat all day long, and I don’t want to eat things that are good for me.

Wendy Myers: Yeah, yeah. It’s crazy. I hear women waking up super, super early to go work out. Maybe it’s the only time they’re able to do that, but you don’t want to compromise sleep to work out, to try to lose weight. It’s like the worst thing in the world you can be doing.

Wendy Myers: It’s even shown in research that women who get five hours sleep or less a night, they have the blood sugar levels of a diabetic the next day, and that makes you want to eat to raise your blood sugar, also.

Karen Martel: Yeah, they actually … You’re right. It shows that women are actually leptin resistant, I mean insulin resistant the next day. That’s how much your blood sugar will go up if you haven’t slept well. And so if you’re constantly doing that, you may have insulin resistance just simply from the fact that you’re not sleeping, and if you’re insulin resistant, it does not matter how well you’re eating, it’s all going to get stored as fat.

Wendy Myers: Yes.

Karen Martel: Your body’s not going to be processing it. Not only that, your cortisol levels. We’re seeing that, that’s another epidemic, is women with these high, crazy amounts of cortisol, and so, like you say, women are getting up, going out to do cardio first thing in the morning, thinking, “This is how I’m going to lose weight.” Well, you’re better off having an eight hour, nine hour sleep.

Karen Martel: You’re going to lose more weight doing that than you are missing out on sleep and getting up and doing that one hour run in the morning. You’re going to be gaining weight doing that, rather than losing.

Wendy Myers: Yeah, and so, let’s talk about carbohydrates. So, given the conversation we just had, that there’s a lot of lifestyle factors that we need to be thinking about to set ourselves up to lose weight, let’s talk about calorie counting and carb counting, which is, it’s something you have to think about when you’re wanting to lose weight. You do have to reduce the amount of food that you’re eating. But what is your take on the calorie versus carbs counting?

Karen Martel: Oh, yes, I have a take on that. So, calorie counting is actually proven, 100% not to work in scientific research. If you actually look at the research, when they’ve done studies on reduced calorie intake, and the rate of which they regain the weight, so, not to say that you’re not going to lose weight on it, but it’s about the regain that happens, because something happens inside our body.

Karen Martel: So, you’re right to say that we have to take it into consideration. Clearly, if you’re eating 3,000 calories a day, and you’re sedentary, you’re going to gain weight. But where we see it going wrong is, we are being told, especially as women, that the only way to lose weight is to cut our calories and work out more. And it amazes me, with all the information that we have out there right now, Wendy, that this is still what 90 plus percent of women think they need to do to lose weight.

Karen Martel: And it is so wrong, and so bad for us, and so harmful to our bodies to think in that way. So, what happens in the beginning is, you can cut your calories, and right away, you’ll probably lose some weight. This is what usually happens. For that first few months, you can lose some weight. Now, basically, you’ll plateau.

Karen Martel: One of two things will happen. You’ll either plateau, or you can’t stick with it. Why? Because you’ve put your numbers into a little calculator online that spit out at you that you should be eating 1,200 calories or 1,500 calories a day to lose weight. And if you’re hungry, and you’re going against that signal, which, I did it a million times over, I’m sure you have as well, I know every woman has, where you’re, “I’ve already eaten my such and such calories today, I can’t eat anymore.”

Karen Martel: And you’re fighting hunger constantly throughout the day, because you had your half a cup of rice already, and your little chicken breast, and your little broccoli, things like that. Or even on a ketogenic diet. This is what I see right now more than anything, is women going, “Wow, my keto calculator told me I need X amount of carbs,” which we’ll get into, “and X amount of calories. I can’t be eating this much,” and yet, they’re going hungry.

Karen Martel: And if you’re going against that signal of being hungry, then it’s a matter of time before your body’s going to lower your metabolism to match that. So even if you’re not going to go hungry either, let’s say you’re okay with 1,500 calories, ketogenic diets, they really squash hunger.

Karen Martel: So what happens is women start to eat less and less on the keto diet, so they’re fasting every day, and they’re all proud of themselves, “I fast every single day,” and so they have this little eight hour, six hour window of eating, and they’re maybe eating 800 calories a day, and at first, that’s going to work.

Karen Martel: But over time, your body’s going to go, “Okay, there’s not a lot coming in right now.” And we always have to think that our brains, our bodies are oiled on the inside. It doesn’t know that there’s food everywhere around. So if you’re only taking in this small amount of calories, or on the first thing that I was saying there, like, let’s say it’s just any diet, and you’ve just reduced your calories, and you’re hungry, same thing.

Karen Martel: Your body’s going to go, “There’s not a lot of food around, let’s slow down the metabolism to match this. Because A, we’re starving, or B, there’s just not a lot of food around.” Right? So it’s going to slow down your metabolism. And so what do women do? On the keto hand, they’ll start to reduce calories more. They’ll start to take out more. They’ll start to reduce their carbs more. And it just, it’s putting fuel on the fire when that’s happening.

Karen Martel: And I know it, because I’ve worked with thousands of women. I know this because I’ve seen it over and over and over again happening. So, calorie counting can work to a point, and it’s a good tool to be like … Like I had a woman doing keto, and she couldn’t lose any weight. So I said, “Well, let’s count the calories for a week, and see just how much you’re eating. Just in case we’re out to lunch, right?” And she realized she was eating a thousand calories a day in just macadamia nuts.

Wendy Myers: That’s my favorite snack.

Karen Martel: I know, right? She was like, “Oh, shoot. I guess that’s maybe the problem.” But it can be a great tool just to see, “Okay, am I out to lunch on this or not?” But the most important thing is, if you’re going hungry, then it’s not going to work. And then if you’re going too low calorie, even if you’re not hungry, it’s still signaling to your body that it needs to slow down the metabolism, it needs to slow down your thyroid.

Karen Martel: It just happens. And people, there are so many people out there, doctors and keto professionals, that are saying, “Oh, no. Fasting doesn’t hurt your thyroid. Keto doesn’t hurt your thyroid.” And I’m sorry, but it does hurt many women’s thyroid, and I see it over and over again. And there’s a way to do keto where it’s not going to hurt your thyroid, or have a lot less chance of it hurting thyroid, and that’s by doing carb cycling with it, right?

Karen Martel: So you can do different things, or do a high calorie day with, and then do a fasting day, so you’re changing around, but you’re signaling to your body that there’s still lots of food. That there’s plenty, basically, around. And same with carbs. It’s not always the answer to lower your carbs, ladies. And it’s not the answer to lower your calories. It could be just the opposite, and to actually eat lots of calories one day and then eat very little calories the next, or do a fast the next day.

Karen Martel: That’s what works best, is when you’re doing complete opposites, so that you get the benefits of a fast, you get the benefits of low calorie, of losing the weight without harming your body or lowering your metabolism.

Wendy Myers: Yeah, because I bragged on Dr. Mercola also about this, about how, yeah, you keto and do intermittent fasting and whatnot for a period of couple to three months, but after that, you have the point of diminishing returns where it can damage your metabolism and it can, it causes problems like thyroid issues.

Wendy Myers: And you can’t just do keto forever, you know. It’s a means to an end, and it’s a great concept, but a couple times a week, you need to eat higher calories and eat carbohydrates, healthy crabs, to kind of keep your body healthy, like you said. So, how does it, keto diet, damage your thyroid function?

Karen Martel: Just simply, well, two things. One is the lack of, what I was saying, when you’re not having a lot of calories coming in, and you’re signaling to the body that there’s not a lot of food around, your thyroid will down regulate, so that means it’ll slow down. Because the thyroid is running your metabolism. So your body doesn’t want this really great functioning thyroid burning up all this fat if it thinks that we’re in a famine, which that’s what you’re signaling to it.

Karen Martel: So that’s the first thing. It’ll just down regulate the thyroid. There are scientific studies that have showed that no, it doesn’t, when people fast, and I just take from what I see in my clients. And so it’s kind of to each person, right, is what’s going to work for them. And I’ve seen keto work for lifetime. Not their whole life, but I’ve seen people doing well on keto for years, and it’s their thing, and that’s great.

Karen Martel: But I agree with Dr. Mercola that it can, you need to just be okay with it being for three months, as well. Because some people don’t do well past that. Some people do well on three months, six months, seasonal, things like that, right? But you’d have to really pay attention to what’s going on inside your body.

Karen Martel: Now, with the thyroid, your thyroid also likes carbohydrates, so does your adrenals. So giving that boost of carbs that it needs, that it feeds your thyroid, feeds the adrenal system, is important. We also make serotonin from carbs, so that’s your happy hormone. That’s how I say, the serotonin is your happy hormone. So women, for instance, would do really well adding in things like sweet potato or potato to their dinner time, because it actually helps to boost their serotonin, which helps them to sleep at nighttime.

Karen Martel: So it’s not the devil that people really think that it is, and it’s about founding that balance that’s going to work for you, and not having that tunnel vision of, “This is what I need to do, because this is what everyone else is doing.”

Wendy Myers: And what is the amount of carbs what people should be eating if they do a keto diet? Because I know you have to start out at very low amount to get in to ketosis. What does that look like exactly, to get into a state where your body is burning fat instead of sugar for fuel?

Karen Martel: You know what, Wendy, it is so different for everybody. I’ve seen women that have gone into ketosis and have great ketone readings at 50 grams, right? And so that’s kind of standard. Mark Sisson and the guys that wrote the keto book, in his book, it’s like, “You want to be 50 grams, total grams, or under.” And that’s what I go with women, because I’ve seen too much damage when you go too low.

Karen Martel: But, that said, I’ve seen women that have done 10 grams of carbs a day, and cannot get into ketosis for months and months and months. And I have a number of women that I’ve now put on carnivore diet in order to get them into ketosis, and these are women that, no matter what they’re doing, and some of them, one of them, for instance, was highly insulin, where she’s type two diabetic, highly insulin resistant.

Karen Martel: And she’d been doing keto for six months and never gone into ketosis. And she was on 10 grams of carbs a day. She went on carnivore, and in one month, she’d reversed her insulin resistance. Isn’t that strange?

Wendy Myers: What is the carnivore diet?

Karen Martel: Carnivore is just meat only. So absolutely zero plants. You can’t even have spices. There’s theory that it’s the oxalates, it’s the different poisons, basically, that are in plants that can affect different people. There’s a woman, I forget her last name, but MaKayla McPherson I think it is, who is kind of … She’s been on many podcasts, who reversed all of her autoimmune, severe autoimmune condition, by doing carnivore.

Karen Martel: So it’s just something that … It’s just another tool in the toolbox. It doesn’t work for everybody, but the point of it is, there is no set standard for, okay, do I have to do 10 grams in order to get into ketosis? No. It’s going to be different for each of us depending on how insulin resistant are you, or what is your body doing?

Karen Martel: I usually see it being insulin resistance that stops somebody from getting into ketosis, and then they have to really lower their carbs, if not completely eliminate them.

Wendy Myers: Yeah. Yeah, and like you said, everyone is different, and what works for their body, and you have to try different things, and see what works and doesn’t work, course correct. And so how long does, on average, does someone need to do that low carb diet before they’re getting into ketosis?

Karen Martel: I always say three weeks at the minimum. Six weeks is about the average that you see, where people really start to turn the corner and start to burn the ketones. But some people can take up to three months before they start burning ketones, so it’s different for everybody. But the average is three to six weeks.

Wendy Myers: Yes. And so that, then, you’re going to, training your body to burn the fat, the unwanted fat on your body, rather than using carbohydrates to use that for fuel.

Karen Martel: Yes, yes.

Wendy Myers: And so, one of the things I always talk about, again, going back to the toxins, is that when you have a lot of toxins in your body from the air, the food, the water, the beauty products, the plastics, all these things that we’re exposed to, that if you’re having trouble shedding the fat, it can be because your body has to use that fat as a storage receptacle for all these toxins. And so, doing liver cleanses, doing infrared saunas, things like that, can really help you to sweat this garbage out, so your body then releases the fat.

Karen Martel: Yes, exactly. And even your fat will produce more estrogen.

Wendy Myers: Yes.

Karen Martel: So the heavier you are, the more estrogen you have.

Wendy Myers: Yeah, it’s just this catch-22. The fatter you are, the more estrogen you have, and then the harder it is to lose weight. It’s really important to control your weight once you get to the weight you want to be at, or in a certain range.

Wendy Myers: You got to really fight to control it and keep it in that level, because it’s very easy to gain that ten pounds a year or so and just kind of keep not thinking about it. But you can really get yourself in hot water, where it makes it really, really difficult to lose weight later in life.

Karen Martel: Yeah, and we’re seeing, of course, more and more drinking. Alcohol. And women can get away with it when they’re young, and unfortunately, ladies, you can’t when you’re older. And it’s like they hold onto that glass of wine with their death grip. “No, no one’s taking this from me.”

Karen Martel: That’s probably the number one question I get asked when I run my either paleo or keto programs, is women saying, writing me, “So, Karen, is it okay that I just have one or two glasses of dry red wine?” Or, “Could I just have just straight vodka, because there’s no carbs in it?”

Wendy Myers: Tequila.

Karen Martel: No. Tequila, another one, yeah. Well, you know, I understand, I get it. I used to be a drinker. But no, it produces more … So, let’s go back to the estrogen. They say even a couple glasses of wine a week will raise your estrogen by 25%.

Wendy Myers: Wow.

Karen Martel: So we’re just, we’re throwing more fuel on that estrogen fire, and it’s crazy. It ages us so much faster. And this is all the toxins in the liver, right? You’re toxic, you’re going to age faster. So, you’re throwing alcohol into there, it just, our bodies, it doesn’t like it. And the older we get, the more harm it does.

Karen Martel: I always hate to be the person to say it. I just told someone this morning that I was having coffee with them, I said, “I really want to do a podcast about the effects of alcohol on women,” I said, “But I don’t want to be the bad guy, so I have to get someone else out to interview someone that can talk about it.”

Wendy Myers: Yeah, because I’ve tried every different combination to lose weight. I’ve experimented different things, diets, and then this amount of exercise, and trying to do it while drinking alcohol. You just can’t. You cannot lose weight while drinking alcohol. Just the calorie content alone, the fact that it instantly turns into sugar in your body. It’s just not going to happen.

Karen Martel: Yeah, it’s so detrimental on so many levels. It’s going to mess with your sleep. It’s going to mess, then, with your insulin, your cortisol, your liver. There’s so many levels that it’s hitting that’s just like, if you can, at least down to a minimum, but I’ve seen the quitting drinking work across the board almost. If you’re stuck, quit drinking for a month and see what happens.

Karen Martel: And don’t even look past the month. Just be like, “I’m going to test this out, I’m going to test Karen’s theory out. I’m going to quit drinking for one month and see,” and then at the end of the month, you can determine whether or not it’s worth continuing not drinking. Right?

Karen Martel: My sister quit drinking, she lost 10 pounds. She hadn’t been able to lose weight for probably three or four years, and it was just like the puffiness, she dropped the ten pounds, she looked … Her skin cleared, her eyes cleared. I was like, “Whoa, and she’s not even a heavy drinker.” She’s a weekend warrior kind of person. And I was like, “Look at that. Boom.”

Wendy Myers: Yeah, and it affects your sleep, too. People drink because they’re trying to kind of relax at the end of their day, and they feel like it helps them sleep, but you actually end up waking up in the middle of the night, and releases acetyl aldehydes, which is what yeast candida releases, and it’s this additional toxin your liver has to process, so you end up waking up in the middle of the night and not sleeping as well when you drink.

Wendy Myers: You may not feel like, actually wake up, but you don’t get that deep, restorative sleep you’d normally get if you didn’t drink.

Karen Martel: And then you go and you eat McDonald’s, like I used to do, all the next day, and sit on your couch, and do nothing.

Wendy Myers: Exactly. So, let’s move on to the keto diets that you were talking about. Why some women flourish on keto, and others don’t. Can you delve into that a little bit more?

Karen Martel: Yeah, because keto is, we all know it’s such a fad right now. It’s so huge. It’s the number one diet in North America right now, the most Googled diet, and I provide keto plans for my members and for my clients, and I use it all the time, but it really … I always say you have to find your weight loss code as a woman.

Karen Martel: And so that’s going to mean, look different for each one of us. Now, the keto is awesome for women that have really bad sugar addiction, and that … It’s like the alcoholic who you can’t just give a little bit to all day long, right? They have to completely cut out sugar, because it’s such an …

Karen Martel: They actually say it’s as addictive as cocaine is. When they’ve looked at what it does to their brains, sugar and cocaine light up the brain the same way. So you’re getting the same pleasure from eating sugar as you are from drinking, or from doing cocaine. So, it’s very serious for some people, and it should be taken very seriously.

Karen Martel: So, keto’s this awesome, really awesome tool to help women break that sugar addiction. Because there is no sugar on it, and that’s what they have to do. They have to just completely eliminate it, and it works really well for that, and it works really well for women that are in menopause.

Karen Martel: I love using it for people, women in menopause, because our hormones are shifting and changing, and we need to lower the amount of sugar that’s coming into our bodies, and that extra good fat, and most women right now that are going through menopause were raised in the no fat era like I was. I don’t know if you were. Were you?

Wendy Myers: I was, but I completely ignored it. There’s no way in hell that’s happening.

Karen Martel: Yeah. I had a mom that was … She called butter Vaseline. Butter was the devil in my house, so what we’re seeing now is women that grew up in that era, they never had any of these good, healthy fats, which has played a serious toll on their hormones, right? So they’re going through perimenopause, and amongst other reasons, like the toxins and the stress and stuff, but just for that factor alone, it’s really messing with their hormones, right?

Karen Martel: So women coming into perimenopause, going on keto is amazing for some of them. Because it can really help to lose the weight. They’re getting all those good fats, they’re not messing with their fertility signals, because … We’ll get into that. But it can work really, really well while they’re transitioning through that. I’ve had multiple women tell me it’s got rid of their hot flashes, by going keto, so great.

Karen Martel: Now, the younger you go, then what starts to happen, going back to the keto really squashes hunger, which means that caloric intake starts to lessen, and when your body thinks that it’s starving, it actually will start to shut down fertility. And so you have to be quite careful with it, and that’s where I would go on, lean on more on the side of cyclical ketogenic diets, or seasonal, right?

Karen Martel: So, if you’re going to be doing keto, that you’re going to have those some days you can fast, so you can lose some weight, but other days, you do high calorie, or you do one day a week of high carbs, right, carb cycling with it. So that you’re just constantly signaling to the body that hey, everything’s okay, you don’t need to shut down my fertility.

Karen Martel: And it can be great for that, right? If women have an underactive and undertreated thyroid problem, you need to fix that first. Some women, it’s kind of a mixed camp. There’s some that really have flourished on keto that are hypothyroid, and then there’s some that just, it just makes everything worse. Their hair starts coming out, they don’t lose any weight, they feel super tired. And so it really depends on the person, but you have to be very careful.

Karen Martel: If you’ve got adrenal issues, and you’ve got thyroid, which usually go hand in hand, you want to make sure you’re addressing those things first, before you hop in on this super low carb plan, and just make sure you’re on the right medication, that your temperature’s up, and then monitor your temperature throughout your ketogenic journey.

Karen Martel: I always tell all my members and clients that. Get your thermometer and once a month, take your temperature, and just make sure nothing’s happening. I have a woman right now on carnivore who’s got thyroid problems, and I’m making her take her temperature every week so we make sure that her temperature doesn’t suddenly dive, because if it does, it correlates with your thyroid functioning going lower.

Wendy Myers: Yeah, that’s great. And so, some women also have trouble with all the fats on keto diets. If your liver isn’t working optimally-

Karen Martel: Gallbladder.

Wendy Myers: -Or you’re not making enough bile, which helps to digest fats, you’re going to run into some trouble with all these fats. Can you talk a little about that?

Karen Martel: Yes. I see that, too, because once again, growing up in the era of no fat, a lot of women, they eat really lean meats, or very little meat, and no fat. And so it actually will down regulate your production of hydrochloric acid. So when suddenly these women shift to a ketogenic diet, and they’re eating red meats, and they’re eating butter on everything, and their body does not like it.

Karen Martel: I just had a woman message me today and said, “I’m getting diarrhea. Is this normal?” And I’m like, “Okay, here’s what you got to do.” Because your body’s just not used to that, right? So there’s different little tips that … You can take ox bile, which is like our own bile.

Karen Martel: It will help to break down those fats, and your body will get better at it. But, once again, if you’re putting some attention on your liver, which is also going to be putting attention on your gallbladder, the functioning of that is going to help your body to produce the bile that it needs to break down the fat.

Karen Martel: So, taking things that can stimulate the gallbladder, and if you don’t have a gallbladder, then your liver now has to take over for the bile production, which makes it a lot harder. So a lot of women without a gallbladder will definitely get diarrhea when they go switch to a ketogenic diet.

Karen Martel: So you really want to make sure that you’re supporting your liver, that you’re eating bitters that will help to support the production of bile. Ann Louise Gittleman, you probably know her, she wrote a great book about … It’s called Radical Metabolism. But she’s got lots of awesome tips in there. I have a podcast with her, and she’s got lots of great tips to help your body produce a little bit more bile, and support your liver and gallbladder. So her book is a good tool to have.

Karen Martel: But yeah, you just want to make sure that you’re supporting both. So you can just take the ox bile, hydrochloric acid, and a full spectrum digestive enzyme to help in the beginning to start processing all the fats.

Wendy Myers: Yeah. Your body will start getting the clue, that, “Oh, I got to start ramping up production here, of bile, to deal with all this fat.” So your body does adjust. But I think a lot of people have trouble with digestion, and could really help with digestive assistance no matter what diet they’re on to improving hydrochloric acid, and improving their digestive enzymes, and ox bile’s super helpful.

Karen Martel: Super helpful. And even just eating. Don’t be afraid to eat the vegetables. There’s a lot of ketoers out there. If you’re carnivore, that’s one thing, but don’t be afraid to eat vegetables if you’re on keto, because that’s where you’re going to get your fiber from. And that’s leaning on the other side, where you’re going to be constipated, because suddenly, you’re not having any fiber coming in. So it’s important to be eating those things.

Wendy Myers: Yeah. I remember, I was doing Atkins when I was first experimenting with diets. It’s a keto diet, basically.

Karen Martel: I did that, yeah.

Wendy Myers: And not as great with all the processed bars and things that they sell, but I was reading about carbohydrates, and it said that artichokes, Oh my God, have 17 grams of carbs, and I just thought, “I’m sorry, I’m eating a freaking artichoke. This is so healthy.” [crosstalk 00:42:06] Yeah, I’m not worrying about the net carbs that a fricking artichoke has. This is nuts. I’m going to eat my vegetables and not worry about it.

Karen Martel: Yeah. I feel the exact same way. Whenever I do keto, I eat plenty. I’ll eat beets, I eat carrots, and I’m sure some people are like … But I stay in ketosis, and so everything’s fine. It’s okay to eat a carrot.

Wendy Myers: Yes, yes. Well, Karen, thanks so much for coming on the show, and talking to us about weight loss resistance and plateaus. Because I know so many women that are listening to this podcast, it’s 80% women that listen, and so many of us are … Feel like we’re fighting this losing battle. I get exasperated too. I’m just like, “God, what do I need to do?”

Wendy Myers: And you get tired. You get tired of feeling like you’re doing all this effort, and really having to focus more so on weight loss to maintain a trim figure as you get older. And that’s what this podcast is about, is helping to give you guys the tools and the insight and the experts knowledge base, like Karen, here, to help you guys figure out this puzzle that is your body and do what works for you as an individual.

Karen Martel: Yeah, and I just want to say, if you’re suffering with weight loss resistance, don’t follow the masses. Don’t be afraid to just shift what you’re doing, or try something different, or if you’ve hit that plateau, it’s okay to have done keto or any other diet for a period of time while it worked for you.

Karen Martel: And then that might be signaling to your body that it’s time to do something different. It’s time to do a cleanse, or it’s time to add in some carrots, some artichokes. Whatever it is. Just be open-minded to shifting what you’re doing, because I think we really get into like, what’s the next best thing? And it’s important that we see that we have, there’s so many aspects to what it takes for a woman nowadays to lose weight.

Wendy Myers: Yeah, yeah. And so, so many women also beat themselves up, and really punish themselves about they’re not doing, they’re not … They need to be eating less, they need to be exercising more. A lot of women damage their body doing the HCG diet, and doing other kinds of things that harm their body, and then eventually, their metabolism is trashed, and then no matter what they do, they have trouble losing weight.

Wendy Myers: So we want to help. This podcast, and Karen, and myself really want to help you to avoid that fate, because it’s not enough just to do certain diets. You have to do them correctly, and you have to be aware of your body and how it works. It’s more complicated than calories in, calories out.

Wendy Myers: So Karen, thanks for coming on the show. Tell us where we can find you and work with you.

Karen Martel: So, I’m at My podcast is called The Other Side of Weight Loss, so you can find that on iTunes, and you can work with me one on one coaching as well. I have a membership option that is all about weight loss resistance, meal plans, and I stick with the primal meal plans.

Karen Martel: We do keto, paleo, and autoimmune paleo. And then tons on hormones and detoxification, and have lots of awesome tools inside the membership. And then I also just have kind of one off courses, too. I’ve kind of got something for every level, wherever to meet somebody at.

Wendy Myers: Fantastic. Well, Karen, thanks for coming on the show, and everyone, thanks so much for tuning in to the Myers Detox Podcast, where we provide you with solutions on heavy metal and chemical detoxification with regards to supplements and protocols and how your body detoxes, what prevents detox, and biohacking tips and tricks. So thanks for tuning in, and I’ll talk to you guys really, really soon.