Jan. 18, 2022

Why What's On Your Plate Can Help You Lose Weight with Cheryl McColgan

Why What's On Your Plate Can Help You Lose Weight with Cheryl McColgan


It was an essential tool we used to lose nearly 200 pounds and keep it off. If done right, a low-carb or KETO diet is a powerful tool to not only lose weight but it can also boost your energy, clear up brain fog, and more. Admittedly, it’s not for everyone and is often trashed by critics calling it a fad diet that is unhealthy, unsustainable, and too restrictive.

Our guest disagrees. Cheryl McColgan is is the founder and editor of Heal Nourish Grow. She came to low carb and keto in 2015 after a particularly difficult time in her life in which she was gaining weight, not sleeping well, and overly stressed, despite lots of healthy behaviors. 

Once she began low carb, there was a huge shift in her health and outlook. Not only did she lose the weight she gained, but long-term anxiety, depression, sleep, and brain fog greatly improved.

At 48 she’s feeling better than ever and uses her experience and extensive research into keto to educate and coach others to greater health and wellness.

In this episode of The Fit Mess, she offers strategies to improve your diet, your sleep, your habits…and why using the language of a healthy person will train you to become one. 

What We Discuss with Cheryl:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 1:46 Why Jeremy started keto
  • 2:54 Why Zach started keto
  • 4:15 Unexpected benefits
  • 5:50 No halfway with keto
  • 8:44 Cheryl’s health journey
  • 10:12 Changing habits
  • 13:55 Replacement behaviors
  • 16:31 Making a mindset shift
  • 19:19 How meditation helps
  • 20:20 Why Cheryl started keto
  • 25:22 Is Keto safe?
  • 30:16 Why Zach had to stop keto
  • 34:18 Benefits of fasting
  • 41:13 Keto for vegetarians
  • 44:13 Summary


Guest Website

Athletic Greens

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[00:00:00] Jeremy: It was an essential tool. I used to lose 70 pounds and keep it off if done. Right. A low carb or keto diet is a powerful tool to not only lose. But it can boost your energy clear up your brain fog, and a lot more, 

[00:00:13] Zach: admittedly. It's not for everyone and is often trashed by critics calling it a fad diet. That's unhealthy unsustainable and too restrictive. Our guests disagrees Cheryl McKagan is the founder and editor of heal, nourish grow. She'll share why she's a keto advocate and offer strategies to improve your diet, your sleep, your habits, and why using the language of a healthy person will train you to become one

[00:00:40] Jeremy: 

[00:00:40] welcome to the fit mess. Thanks so much for listening while you're doing whatever it is you're doing right now. I'm Jeremy and he's Zach And together we're two vulnerable guys helping you overcome struggles to achieve your mental and physical wellness goals.

[00:00:51] Zach: And if you're sick of your own shit and you're ready to make a change, you're in the right place. 

[00:00:55] Jeremy: God. 

[00:00:57] Zach: I know we all need it. I was really just talking to myself. But today, today, we're talking about healthy habits to improve your sleep, replacing bad habits with good ones and why intermittent fasting and the keto diet might be worth considering if what you're eating now, isn't helping you reach your health goals and Jeremy , you've done keto.

[00:01:16] Jeremy: Yeah.

[00:01:16] I will never forget Zach. You were actually the one that introduced this to me a few years ago. I was in the beginning of my wellness journey. I'll never forget sitting by a campfire with you just having our coffee. We were camping. And and seeing you showed me your weight loss trend on whatever the app was, you were using to track your fitness.

[00:01:34] And I asked what the fuck you were doing to drop so much weight so quickly. And you mentioned that keto was what you're doing. And it started me on the path to fewer carbs and more movement. And eventually that, that loss of 70 pounds and now, years later it's been, I think, four or five.

[00:01:48] There was still about 20 pounds that I want to get rid of. And for the last few years I keep going, oh, why can't I just, I just got to get motivated. I got to exercise more. I got to do something. And if I just look at my own history, I go, oh, well, that worked. Why don't, why don't I just do that again? So I'm easing myself into it.

[00:02:05] As a vegetarian, it's not an easy thing to do, but I'm just trying to limit the amount of carbs I'm doing again, what I did the first time, starting with hitting a target of no more than a hundred grams of carbs. I haven't heard that target yet, but I'm working on it. I'm easing my way into it.

[00:02:21] But but Yeah, it has been super successful for me. And I know it was for you too.

[00:02:26] Zach: Yeah, no, I, I really loved Quito and.

[00:02:28] We are not a proponent of any particular diet. As a matter of fact, we don't like diets. We like, eating healthy and eating right for yourself and eating for a lifestyle. Right. , you're not going to go eat one way for a month and then go back to your crappy eating.

[00:02:40] Right. It's just, it's about balance and sustainability. However, the chemical changes that happen in. I eat keto, when I eat less than 30 grams of carbs a day, caused, reduced inflammation in my body, it removed my brain fog on top of the fact that I lost a ton of weight. And I got like really cut.

[00:02:59] And I saw my abs for the first time. That was a cool bonus, but , I just felt awesome. And I actually committed to eating keto for the rest of my life. At that point. It turns out I've got a genetic marker that prevents me from eating keto because it spikes my cholesterol to a point that's a little bit dangerous, but you know, that's unfortunate for me.

[00:03:19] Keto is all.

[00:03:20] Jeremy: And we, and we should say if this is something that you're seriously considering, it's, don't take our word for it. It's definitely worth talking to a medical professional and getting your blood work done and making sure that it's something safe for you to do because it, it was, it was dangerous for you, but, but you figured out a way to correct that course and, and things are good for you now.

[00:03:38] I'll never forget the, like you said, the clarity that I had in my mind, I was able to focus in ways that I never could. And my entire relationship with food changed. Like I would have to force myself to eat twice a day because the one meal I would eat after working out in the middle of the day, I was full and I wanted to make sure I was getting enough calories.

[00:03:59] So I would eat a second meal at dinner just to make sure I was getting the calories. Yeah.

[00:04:04] But additionally, I would walk by, the snack trays in the office, where there would be all kinds of just garbage that before. Of course, you'd just grab, a handful of wheat dens or whatever the thing was.

[00:04:14] And that food that, that processed boxed, garbage food didn't even look like food anymore. The concept of thinking I'm going to eat, that was just erased because my body just had grown so accustomed to not eating that. 

[00:04:31] Zach: Yeah. Yeah. And, but also don't get me wrong. Like even on keto, right? You still have like calories count. They always count. Even on keto, you can eat too many calories. It's hard because the way, the way keto works is it actually keeps you full and satiated. So it is hard to go over your calories, but at the same time you can, and I got to tell you like the, when I did keto, the first time I did keto.

[00:04:59] It was not a common name. Nobody talked about Quito. I had to scour the internet for, all the information on it. And now there's like keto products out there. And if you look really closely at them like that keto product is only keto. If that's the only thing you consume for that day, 

[00:05:17] Jeremy: Right. 

[00:05:18] Zach: right?

[00:05:18] It, it has like under 30 grams of carbs. But that's all you can eat for the day to stay in ketosis. And there's a very, again, we'll, we'll get into some of the more details, but like Quito is, it's very binary. You're either eating keto or you're not. I overheard somebody once talking about brownies that they made and they're like, and they're keto brownies.

[00:05:38] And I was like, oh cool. That's awesome. And then she's like, yeah, I'm trying to eat keto ish. And I was like no, no, no, no. You're either eating Quito or you're not like there's no middle ground with this diet. So like, I subscribe to the 80 20 rule where 80% of the time I eat good, healthy food, 20% of the time it's garbage.

[00:05:56] That's not how you do keto. You have to be all of this.

[00:06:01] Jeremy: it's not how you do keto and it's not how you get into ketosis if, if you're, bending those rules and, and fudging outside those numbers. But I will say from my experience, even being above, the keto numbers, eating a lower carb diet certainly helped me. I mean that it, it kept burning the fat the way that I needed it to maybe not as fast as, as if I had been, super strict and under 25 30 grams. But I do know. And there, there will be endless debate and, I'm not going to be dogmatic about this. Like, I'm not telling anyone how to eat. I'm telling you that in my experience, the fewer carbs I eat, the healthier I am and the better I feel.

[00:06:39] So you can get super extreme with that. Or you can just cut them back a little bit. In my case, it helped us. If you haven't done that, I would recommend maybe giving it a try, certainly talking to an actual expert to make sure that you're doing the right thing for your own. 

[00:06:57] Zach: Again, you just, Quito Quito is just weird because. Again, even if you're doing like the whole, if you're, if you're doing what you're saying, like eating a hundred grams of carbs per day, the rest of your calories have to come from somewhere. And if the rest of your calories are coming from fat and you're not actually in ketosis, then you might have a bit of an issue.

[00:07:15] So definitely talk to medical, professional dietician, somebody who is well versed in keto, and maybe even ask some background on your medical history to know whether or not you should be doing this. Like if you're a type one diabetic. Don't do Quito. It'll send you an ketoacidosis would be a big problem.

[00:07:34] So like big warnings here, but if you're type one diabetic, it can be very dangerous, but that's the only population where keto diet is dangerous off the bat.

[00:07:46] All right. Well, so since we've now rambled about our experience with keto and all of our warnings and issues with keto let's talk to somebody who actually knows what they're talking about, 

[00:07:54] Jeremy: that's a good idea. 

[00:07:55] Zach: right? . Let's get the expert on here because that's not what we are and you know what? She might even tell you something different than what we just told you. So she's the expert listened to her, not us. Our guest today is Cheryl McKagan. She's the founder of heal nurse grow. And we asked her about her own health journey that led her to where she is today.

[00:08:14] Jeremy: That was Cheryl McKagan from heal, nourish grow. You can learn more about her and her work in the show notes for this episode at the fitness doctor. 

[00:08:22] Zach: I loved talking with her. I just, it's so refreshing to talk to somebody when they're telling you, keto is good. Fasting is good thing. Right. And, and her, her take on, think and talk like a healthy person, right. This is all just really, really good stuff. 

[00:08:38] Jeremy: And I want to point out again, something she said that I think is important is that there are tons of critics of this diet, but there, there maybe aren't enough critics about the current American diet, because that's not doing anyone any favors either.

[00:08:51] So, you can criticize all day long, fill in the blank here with diet of your choice. The thing that we're told to eat everyday. Isn't exactly right. Either. So good idea to check with your doctor. Good idea. To get some blood work done and find out exactly What you need to do. Maybe even find a functional medicine doctor, which is something I'm considering doing, because I just feel like that there's a lot of bad information about what we're told to eat from a lot of different sources and so experiment play around, but do it safe and do it with guided supervision so that you don't hurt yourself.

[00:09:23] Zach: So one of the things that's part of my diet even today is athletic greens. And it was part of my diet when I was eating keto because it's keto. started 

[00:09:32] Zach : taking athletic greens because I really needed to have a sufficient. That tasted great, gave me all the things that I needed. , and I didn't want to have to take 10 pills a day or, spend all of my time cooking all the meals.

[00:09:46] I try and get my nutrients from food, but let's face it. We don't get everything we need every day from food. So athletic greens was a great solution for me. It tastes great. Gives me everything I need for more energy, better gut health optimized immune system. 

[00:10:00] If you're keto, paleo vegan, dairy-free gluten-free athletic greens has covered, , it has less than a gram of sugar and there's no nasty chemicals or artificial anything. And it actually does taste good. And for what you get, it's less than $3.

[00:10:13] Jeremy: Which is far less than the amount I'm paying to swallow my fistfuls of vitamins every day.

[00:10:17] Zach : Exactly. and right now is the time to incorporate better health and athletic greens is a perfect start to make it easy.

[00:10:24] Athletic greens is going to give you a free one-year supply of immune supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athletic greens.com/fit mass. Again, that's athletic greens.com/fit. Mess to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.

[00:10:43] that link will be on the show notes and it's plastered all over our website@thefitness.com.

[00:10:48] Zach: And don't let the conversation about nutrition and good health habits.

[00:10:52] Jeremy: Be a part of our Facebook group where you can join us and fellow fitness listeners for monthly challenges, accountability to reach your goals and connection with our community. That link is on our website, the fitness.com, where we will be back next week with a brand new episode. Thanks for listening. 

Cheryl McColgan Profile Photo

Cheryl McColgan


Cheryl is the founder and editor of Heal Nourish Grow, an ultimate wellness, healthy lifestyle and advanced nutrition site. She helps others develop the confidence and habits to create lasting change and greater health by sharing her wealth of knowledge and over 25 years of experience in psychology, addictions studies, fitness, low carb nutrition, yoga, health and wellness.

Coaching others to reach their personal version of ultimate wellness is her passion.

Cheryl came to low carb and keto in 2015 after a particularly difficult time in her life in which she was gaining weight, not sleeping well and overly stressed, despite lots of healthy behaviors.

Once she began low carb, there was a huge shift in her health and outlook. Not only did she lose the weight she gained, but long term anxiety, depression, sleep and brain fog greatly improved.

At 48 she’s feeling better than ever and uses her experience and extensive research into keto to educate and coach others to greater health and wellness.

She posts keto food ideas daily on her Instagram stories and recipes, research and wellness content at HealNourishGrow.com.
She is the featured chef for August 2021 at US Wellness meats. Her recipes have been featured by outlets such as the local news, Kevin’s Natural Foods, Cut da Carb, Choc Zero and Women’s Health Magazine and she is a frequent speaker at keto and wellness events. Her first cookbook with Switched On Media Group will be released November 2021.