Written by Christopher Kelly
April 20, 2017
Christopher Kelly: Hello and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast. My name’s Christopher Kelly and today I’m joined by coach Tawnee Prazak.
Tawnee Prazak: Hi Chris, how is it going?
Christopher Kelly: Excellent. Thank you very much. I am delighted to have you. I think that everybody listens to this and knows who Tawnee is. I’m sure that my listeners are a subset of the listeners for the Endurance Planet podcast. So everybody knows who Tawnee is but just in case you don’t know who Tawnee is, Tawnee is a coach she’s a triathlete, she’s a strength and conditioning coach, she has a masters level education and physiology and strength and conditioning. I’ve learnt so much from your Endurance Planet podcast. I think that was one of the original podcasts I listen to. It was definitely rub off. It was Ben Greenfield. Ben Greenfield at that time was a total fire hose of information. I didn’t know what to make of him, whatsoever. You know what I mean its like and then as time went by
Tawnee Prazak: He’s too smart for his own brain sometimes.
Christopher Kelly: Oh I know and I’m not I’ve got to this point about 6 months down the road of listening to the Ben Greenfield podcast I thought blame me I’m actually doing most of this stuff now what happened I guess the beginning was just the fire hose and now I’m doing it all. But your podcast I found to be incredibly approachable and consumable. I just took on some of the things you said particularly the adaptation thing and that just helped we saw so much so I’ll just start by thanking you for producing that podcast because it certainly helped me and many of my listeners and the people that we’ve work with so much over the years so thank you.
Tawnee Prazak: Oh thank you so much I appreciate that you know it’s funny I never really knew I never had a specific direction I wanted to take Endurance Planet then I took over in 2011 but through my own experiences and then working with so many athletes with some work experiences we’ve just kind of got into the space of holistic nutrition and holistic training techniques if you will for athlete which is kind of a niche thing already within a niche sport so it’s super interesting it’s super fun and I love the information that we’re putting out and likewise to you Chris I mean let’s not forget that you reached out to me first and foremost back in the day when I desperately needed some help in my own healing process with gut and all that crazy stuff. Would you guys talk a lot about on the show so thanks to you that you got the ball rolling for me on that.
Christopher Kelly: I’ll tell you what happened with that no I’ve been listening to you on the Endurance Planet podcast and much of what you’ve said have been really helpful to me and I applied all that and that gave me great results and then I discovered the functional medicine piece and got maybe as good a results again on top of what I already achieved and at that point I wanted to reach out to all the people that helped me get to the first half of the way and say hey you really need to check out this functional medicine thing because I’m sure that you’re going to get the same result as I did. And so I reached out to you I also reached out to Sarah Ballantyne who is the Paleo Mom and she ended up doing functional medicine too when I met her at the ancestral house in Persium not long after that and she was like you know what you said about hormones you’re totally right I really did need to do this test and figure this stuff out and so I know that she’s doing great now too so I guess it’s just don’t be a jerk right like when you find out about something then sharing is not being a jerk I think when it’s really useful
Tawnee Prazak: Sharing is characters, sharing is caring. Well plus when you’re passionate about it and let’s face it I think that you have a knock for this stuff you find your calling in a weird way and you’re good at it because you’re also really relatable to people and I think that’s usually kind of the feedback I get too specially with the podcast is that I’m on the average person’s level I always try to be and sometimes people think I’m sound a little unprofessional on the way I talk but I think more people can relate to that sometimes instead of being too scientifical all the time
Christopher Kelly: Yeah, you’re not one of these people that dawns in invisible white lab coat right.
Tawnee Prazak: Definitely not, dude come hang out with me for a week in my house and you’ll see that is absolutely not true.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah we absolutely appreciate that. Well I wanted to start by taking you back to 2007 when you first got into triathlon so tell me about your approach to triathlon in 2007.
Tawnee Prazak: Well I have to say no matter if its triathlon or anything I’ve always been an all or nothing person and that’s been a blessing and a curse. So I’ve had to learn to manage that in recent years because it’s definitely screwed me over a few times at the same time I think it’s very much responsible that sort of approach and mentality. It was helpful in making me a really good triathlete. It was helpful in me launching my own business and becoming a successful entrepreneur instead of just going more of the status quo route and going back to school when it’s kind of a weird time to even think like I’ve already graduated school and I have a job and I want to go back to school now to get my masters. So it’s definitely helped me in ways but with triathlon when I found the sport I’ll never forget the day it was my first triathlon in July. I did the race. I loved it. And I never looked back I mean I just wanted to be part of endurance sports for the rest of my life. I’d found it. And I just went full blown into it and I raced really, really hard all distances everything from sprint to iron man, all the way to 2014 non-stop. Pretty much no downtime racing 10 to 12 times a year to me has still kind of even though I would maybe say otherwise pretty much all race in my head.
Christopher Kelly: Right.
Tawnee Prazak: And thing take a toll because at the same time as I mentioned I was also building my business as a coach finding my own path as a young female in her 20s. And that was always something I probably underestimated in terms of the toll that took. I only really at that time would measure the training stress but not the stress of all the rest of my life.
Christopher Kelly: Right.
Tawnee Prazak: Especially even before I met my now husband and I was on my own doing all this stuff and thankfully my husband came into my life and he’s small business attorney and so he was like the biggest blessing for more than one reason help me organize everything but with triathlon eventually like it got to the point where I was just so burnt out. I loved it more than anything. So my love for it didn’t die but my body was so worn down but everything was a struggle and that just made it not fun. And it was sucky to have it not be fun anymore because I wanted it to be fun. I’m like why I am I not getting better I’m getting worse. And I did what you often see happen in the overtraining syndrome. I actually had a few of my best key performances right before the epic crash. Beginning in 2013 I PRed in the 70.3 distance I think I landed on the podium at Oceanside 70.3 which is super competitive race. That was a really good start of the year I was on cloud 9. And then by the end of that year I had lined up for me the 70.3 world championships and 2 weeks later another full iron man. And I put everything into training for those races with crap results like it was bad. Oh man, I’ll never forget how bad was it so that was the sign where it was time to call quits for a while even though I didn’t and I still continue to race until 2014. And that’s not it. The race results, the burn out in terms of sports specificity is one thing. But there was a lot of other stuff going on behind the scenes that I knew wasn’t right and that related more to my health whether it was hormone health or gut health or even just mental health because that’s a symptom of when you’re totally overtraining burn out your head just kind of crazy even though you’re like why am I like this I don’t know why I’m like this right now. So it’s been interesting journey in that sense with someone who has so much passion but you push a little too far and you kind of pay the price of that.
Christopher Kelly: Also yes tell me about what your life was like at that so what type of approach did you take to your diet at that time like just before the crash?
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah so that opens a whole canoe that’s an interesting paradox and all this so before I got into triathlon in 2003 I actually developed anorexia and this was my freshmen year at San Diego State University where I actually entered school with game freshmen 15 and some and decided I wasn’t really happy about that and went to complete opposite direction through turn of events and lost a lot of weight very quickly and very unhealthfully. I lost dozens of pounds in a matter of months and it’s just snowballs again but all or nothing kind of personality.
Christopher Kelly: Right.
Tawnee Prazak: That ended up being a really interesting time because I was very, very open to the diagnosis of anorexia and very willing to accept it and very quick to take action and realized this is not how I want to live. But at the same time even though I made a relatively quick recovery the eating disorder behaviors never really quite left me for a decade. I always had disordered patterns I would say even into sport. Now on one hand sport was a great blessing for me because it taught me to feel my body and be strong and the only way to do that is to eat appropriately so on one hand instead of chronically under filling and using exercises as weapon to keep a low body weight all of a sudden I want to be this competitive, high-performing, strong athlete so therefore you need to eat like that and that was a super helpful thing on that front. But at the same time and I see this a lot in endurance sports people use the training as an excuse to have disordered eating pattern or even orthorexia where they’re obsessed with healthy eating because they’re this athlete that needs to be, everything needs to be perfect. I was definitely that person so there was times in the beginning where it was a lot of sugar base feeling because that’s what endurance athletes did so I do all the gels and carb load and all that. But if you think about it there was probably still an energy deficit relative to how many calories I was burning on the regular so even though I was high carb and high sugar you would think like oh how could there possibly be a problem with weight balance and energy availability well you can still be too low in calories even on a higher carb diet. And then through the world of nutrition and how it was evolving and what I was doing through Endurance Planet I started learning more about low carb higher fat and then pour on some healthy fats and so I sort of made that shift I was once terrified of fats. Oh my gosh I would like have to be completely in the know of how much fat was put into a meal before I would eat it. It was ridiculous.
And then I went to opposite direction where high fats became the biggest [00:10:02] [Indiscernible] efficiency but again I went too far with that in that direction where I was still in probably lack in energy balance especially now being too low carb for the amount of training I was doing. So yeah definitely some mistakes along the way and I think there was times where I probably had better balance with it and I also even was able to eat out freely and not be too orthorexic about it but I knew there was always a piece of me that felt like I never let go of the eating disorder literally until around I think it was 2015 or so is when I kind of had that epiphany and just have this big cathartic experience where I just goes like we need to put in this once and for all. And I did successfully, thankfully.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah it’s one of the things that we love the most about you here at NBT and something about Tommy and Amelia wife and I’m sure there’ll be other people in the future to specializing and not specializing you are the, one of the few people that we know that have not just taken one piece of this health and wellness and performance thing and that’s just hang on to it and now we find it really boring which has got back from the low carb breaking range conference and it’s 3 days of talks just about restricting carbohydrates right and we start to think but what about social isolation and circadian rhythm and sleep and stress and all this you know there are million other things that we’ve got in our playbook and nobody else seems to be considering all those things whereas you are totally on top of that and you know about not specializing too much because it’s not helpful which I think is amazing.
Tawnee Prazak: I’d even given time for time coaching clients and where I coaches bare holistics it’s not just about training plans and writing workouts and stuff it’s very much related to nutrition and all this and for say 10 athletes I probably go 10 different directions in terms of how I like to guide their nutrition. It just depends on the person and I feel like I’ve all over the map to some degree with my history with all these stuffs so everybody needs to be treated individually and it’s I know you and I have even had a conversations about this especially like speak into orthorexia where for someone like me if you take my background of all the restriction and the things that I put my core body through that if you put me into like a restaurant and I order say a piece of kilo and pie or something in a way that’s a victory. I don’t care if there is dairy, gluten, carbs, and fat and sugar in that piece of pie. The old me would have not been able to even master up the courage to order let alone take a bite of something like that. So they do that successfully and have zero anxiety related to it. It’s a victory where there’s a whole other huge population in this world where we needed to do the opposite take that piece of pie away because they’ve gotten too greedy with it and they’re going in the opposite direction with developing onset of diabetes and we need to teach them the opposite and go low carb and all that other kinds of stuff that you guys talk about on the show so it just depends on the person’s experience.
Christopher Kelly: Right, yeah absolutely. How did you get the diagnosis of anorexia I always wonder how that goes down because I could just never imagine somebody putting themselves forward to someone that was technically able to make that diagnosis in order for it to happen and it seems like it’d be something to be quite secretive so how did you get the diagnosis?
Tawnee Prazak: It’s a really good question actually and I don’t even know if I have a very specific answer or I don’t necessarily recall like a moment where it was like Tawnee this is what’s going on. But I came home first spring break to my parents’ house and they looked at me and they were like oh my god where did our daughter go like she was once pounds heavier than this and now she’s weights away. So they right away were like something’s not right and obviously you know kind of in the room of like what it was. So I cried and they cried and we all decided that yeah this is obviously a problem and then I actually moved home that summer. I took a leave quickly and I think I didn’t even have to miss any school the school is great to work with in that sense but I quickly started to see a nutritionist at the time I general practitioner and a psychiatrist and a psychologist actually all in one summer.
I think between the general practitioner and the psychiatrist those two gave the official diagnosis of anorexia and then we kind of just went through the process. I never thankfully got to the point of meeting hospitalization because again I was actually very open to it and willing to accept it. I wanted to recover. So we’re able to do with me living at my parents’ house again for a while and just having more freedom in developing in better relationship with food again that’s kind of how that process went. And I thought it was very successful. I still need a control over food but at least be able to start to eat more calories again even if those calories were still like all the quality of foods that I was eating was completely under my control. It was helpful whereas I think sometimes I hear with hospitalization they’re trying to feed them foods that maybe they just don’t want to eat.
Christopher Kelly: Right, right.
Tawnee Prazak: So I don’t know. I don’t know too much about that world. I have worked with a couple of girls who’ve been through that. It’s definitely a whole different approach than what I went through.
Christopher Kelly: And what was the treatment then did they tell you to stop exercising completely?
Tawnee Prazak: That was also something that they were pretty liberal about like I think I was great because nobody was that restrictive on me no one said you can’t do this because the last thing I needed up was more restrictions no matter what it was. And so I did still exercise and my parents would even let me exercise. I think I wanted to not get any deeper than I already was. So I was still trying like I would go mountain biking for example. I wasn’t, that something that requires some strength and skill a little bit so I was doing things that I had always grew up doing things I still love doing snowboarding again for example or something else. I wasn’t someone who was kind of compulsively exercising trying to burn a million calories a day and measuring at that point nothing like that. It was still kind of outdoor activity types of exercise running with the fog, things about nature.
Christopher Kelly: So less structure, less formalize, no training plan?
Tawnee Prazak: Oh, totally. Yeah, no back then there was no training plan. My only background in structure sport before triathlon was volleyball in high school but between volleyball when I finished senior year and then all through college I didn’t do any structure. I didn’t even know anything about training like the way we do it now.
Christopher Kelly: Right. And how does this relate to amenorrhea? Was that something that went away once you started eating properly again?
Tawnee Prazak: Oh, yeah and that was a huge struggle and so you have like two big [00:16:13] [Indiscernible] eating disorder background and then doing endurance sports. I mean it’s really no surprise that I developed amenorrhea and I was so ashamed at that for so long. I was so embarrassed and especially as the more I became I don’t want to say like somebody but you know a host of a podcast, a coach, and expert in the field to think that I was suffering on the inside and how amenorrhea terrified me.
It made me feel like if I opened up about that I would lose all credibility and I realize now that was a horrible way of thinking that once I’ve had finally opened about my history it’s actually helped people like you’re talking about originally people can relate to it. And we’ll all make mistakes and have our issues like nobody’s perfect and that was my issue. So anyways actually my menstrual history is an interesting one I know we’re getting so tamer right here but I know I was put on birth control in high school for a stupid reason it was literally just to regulate a somewhat irregular period. My period wasn’t even that irregular but she’s like hey you can make sure to know when your period’s going to be every month if you go on this pill. And I didn’t know anybody
Christopher Kelly: How was that not malpractice I’m sorry it’s just
Tawnee Prazak: I know. I know it’s horrible. It’s so horrible so that happened then with the eating disorder. I think I stopped the pill because I was always kind of savvy to be like what I don’t know if want to be on a pill to do things that my body should be doing. So I think I quit it for while don’t remember exactly because I went as of around 2003 or 4 I definitely lost my period. And then when I get into triathlon it wasn’t coming back and I was getting worried about that so I remembered going to my doctor I recently even just requested all my records back from the early 2000s. They encouraged me to go on the pill. I think I might have gone on it for a brief stance for a while but then I got off because I just knew it wasn’t right. And so basically between the years of 2006 I would say all the way through 2012 I would have maybe 0 to 1 periods a year so not good.
And it’s interesting I will say the more I become an expert on this now I do understand that you’re not going to be if there’s any females out there who don’t have a period right now if you’re not planning to work on getting your period back there is some reason to believe that going on a contraceptive or a birth control pill to get a period can be better than missing that many years with no period. Thankfully I feel like I’ve gotten pretty lucky with it. My bone density’s always been fine. I’ve had scans. At this point I’m still young so I don’t know if there’s damage that’s down the road for me but I feel like I’m in a pretty good place. I’ve always done load load-bearing exercise for that matter and you know for example I’m not suggesting that if you have amenorrhea you just let it go for years and years and years because that’s better than going on a pill. There is an argument to say that going on oral contraceptive might actually be helpful to at least give your bodies some of those important sex hormones estrogen and progesterone that you lack in so definitely work with the professional on that though.
Christopher Kelly: Talk about some of the problems associated with amenorrhea because they’ll be some people listening myself included that fairly naïve dumb even so you could argue naively that oh well maybe this is kind of convenient especially when you’re traveling and doing a lot of sport and stuff and you don’t have a period. It sounds great, right. But talk about why it may be a problem.
Tawnee Prazak: I hate that way of thinking because putting aside the period itself females go through two phases per cycle of the follicular and luteal phase and the luteal phase is when most of us start to have kind of crappy symptoms and if you’re an athlete that’s usually when you’re going to see your performance even in training not be as good as it will be and the follicular phase actually when we’re more like men. And I don’t like to compare women to men but it’s our low hormone phase so we’re able to kind of bust out our best training in races and then when things shift that’s when it’s like ugh. So I do get that mindset of like oh it’s kind of nice not to have one but it’s definitely not how you want to think about it because there are definite problems whether they’re short term or long term you’ve face some risks having that cycle and surge of estrogen and progesterone throughout a month it’s super important obviously we know for bone health but also for cognition and other actually there’s reason to believe that if you go low in hormones for a long time it’s associated with risk of disease down the line in your life.
You know you don’t want to be messing with that kind of self-cognitive degeneration or cardiovascular disease. They’ve had some associations with well hormones and that so it’s not something you want. You’re playing with fire if you decide that hey it’s nice not having my period I’m just kind of go without it. And also as it relates to athletes I would feel victim to this mindset too because I always like I said I had good bone density some like I don’t have the female athlete triad I’m fine I’m good. The female athlete triad is an energy deficiency, a bone density issue, and then the absence of menstruation. But thankfully the International Olympic Community has come up with something that makes this issue more applicable to all the people suffering and it’s called the relative energy deficiency and sports syndrome and its acronym for that is RED-S and that means that it’s not limited to just one of these three symptoms that the female athlete triad represents. It can be any of these menstrual function bone health, lack of energy, cardiovascular health. And it also can tie on men who suffer from the same thing but obviously they just don’t lose a period or don’t have a period. Men can suffer from the same kind of hormonal imbalance they just manifest in a different way. So when it comes to amenorrhea you may not feel like there’s a problem in the moment.
You may feel great but there’s repercussions down the line that you need to be taking care of yourself also of course I didn’t even mention fertility. I mean obviously if you’re not getting a period you’re not going to be pregnant. I mean you may not want to get pregnant right now but down the line when it is time say when you meet that special someone and it’s time to get busy on that department and you’re struggling and potentially struggling for years because you spent so long without a period and you’ve been trying to get it back you don’t want to get through that. That’s tough. It took me several years. When I made the decision to really put the stuff at the forefront and make it 100% my effort it was 2013 and I still like I said I didn’t go all-in in that sense because I still wanted to race a little bit. I didn’t have a normal monthly period until 2016 so I still went 2014 and 2015 with having periods and definitely more normal than they were in prior years but it took over 2 years for it to get completely back to normal what you would expect from a normal menstruating female. And thankfully I wasn’t trying to have kids at that point. But I can imagine the heartache you’d go through if you’re making the decision to get your period back and it takes you then years to do that for fertility purposes.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah, I absolutely understand and it’s interesting to connect the dots. I did an interview with Dr. Ann Hathaway few weeks ago and she talked about the critical role of estro dial in women’s cognition. So it’s an important trophic factor in the brain so once women go through menopause they can suffer from cognitive decline due to the lack of estro dial. So presumably that could happen earlier if you have the absence of the menses and so this is something that’s really important. But tell me what you know about the causes of this. Is this really just an energy deficiency or is it just too much exercise and what causes this thing?
Tawnee Prazak: There’s a lot that goes into it. So it’s not just one variable which does make it more complicated but also in a way can make it more easy because you can really analyze your own life get serious about what you’re doing and it may not be food. I’ve worked with females who have amenorrhea that are eating totally adequate calories for what they need. But if there are other variables that play that can very easily take away your period. In fact you can be at a perfectly normal body weight according to standards like BMI. I don’t like to use BMI that much but in this case it is kind of helpful metric to have available for example stress I would say of all the things stress is the biggest next to food. And this can come in as you guys know like so many forms.
Christopher Kelly: Right.
Tawnee Prazak: It can be a mental stress, emotional stress, training stress. There’s so many sources of stress in the modern life that we all live and as I’ve mentioned kind of an intro about my own journey. It’s no surprise I lost my period if I’m this hardcore training athlete probably lack in energy availability and also trying to start my own business I mean come on, right.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah.
Tawnee Prazak: So what I change anything I don’t know I mean but I think that we have to be able to recognize these things. I don’t think I recognize how much stress I was under for a lot of years especially when you eventually aren’t stressed anymore and you’re like holy crap I really was stressed.
Christopher Kelly: So what was your solution then you know we talked about this many times before on the podcast. Stress is not something you can do away with and even if you could you would just invent something, right. So how did you fix this? This is tough problem to crack.
Tawnee Prazak: When I made that commitment back in 2013 they shut down hardcore training the way I knew it. It didn’t just happened overnight where I woke up in December and there always like it took years for me to find a new way and a new me and a new way of living. I had a lot of soul searching. I mean my case is going to be unique to me and everybody is going to be slightly different. But it meant developing a different relationship with exercise and sport specially one that wasn’t wrapped up in performance so much or the need to train every single day. Otherwise I would feel guilty and crappy and also developing a better relationship with food that wasn’t necessarily being manipulated by my trainee and also from a work front. I didn’t want to be such this person who was about being busy all the time and always being a yes person. I needed to learn how to say no and do less and take breaks between appointments. I’d go from a podcast to a workout to school to clients and then to the gym at night to teach classes because I was also doing personal training and it was just like oh my gosh I was fried, totally fried.
Christopher Kelly: Right.
Tawnee Prazak: And so just learning how to slow down a little. I know that’s hard when you’re trying to make ends meet from a financial perspective or career perspective but you have to put yourself first because if you’re not doing well you’re career and your finances are probably going to suck anyways because you’re not going to be able to do the work you need to do.
Christopher Kelly: Well I was going to ask you how slowing down affected your productivity overall did they get worse or did it stay the same or maybe even improved when you slow down.
Tawnee Prazak: It’s funny John, my husband had me track my coaching hours a while back as exercise for me to do to figure what I was charging was appropriate to how much I was working because I put in so much effort to my clients and I don’t think these things necessarily affected my overall productivity because I look at it this way the more focused and the better I was from a mental perspective less stressed out, the more I was able to do quality work when I sat down to do work versus feeling like your scatter brain multitasking, frazzled and all that which really is not great for productivity whatsoever so I don’t even care like if you put in 40 plus hours a week of work but it sucks like you’re just distracted, who cares? You can put in 20 hours a week being a total Zen master about it and low stress and get in probably even better quality.
So if anything my business has continued to roll the less I do in that sense but because my productivity kicks ass and I’m organized and I have a good grasp on everything I’m doing these days it’s been super beneficial for business. It’s the best for business. Let me talk a little bit more about some other reasons though that amenorrhea could be a cause so stress is one of them of course over exercising as we talked about and that’s very relative in individual for some people and this is where girls want to get why can she do all that but I can’t. I get you know. So for some girls a little bit over the edge may be fine for somebody else so over exercising it’s a lose term but it’s definitely a cause just depends on your situation, too low carb and we’re seeing this a lot and the space these days where a lot of people are doing low-carb diets and girls who aren’t even athletes necessarily or maybe their work and they’re fitness enthusiasts but they go low carb and they lose their period the hypothalamus is smarter than that. I really truly believe that out body can sense when it’s not getting all the macronutrients and it adjusts our hormone and the output accordingly.
Christopher Kelly: Just to clarify that context here then so are you talking specifically about triathletes or is too low carb only a problem for obstacle course races or crossfit competitors or did you have someone in mind that you were thinking about when at really anyone.
Tawnee Prazak: I really do believe it’s anyone especially if you look at a book like Nicola Rinaldi No Period: Now What? You know a lot of the women that are in her book and her community are not necessarily training athletes. Yeah they probably work out a lot and maybe they even work out to the point of what an athlete would train like but a lot of these women that are suffering from this these things are not athletes. I honestly do believe that diet alone can be the number one factor of what can cause amenorrhea even in the absence of training or sport and not categorizing to anyone specific type of athlete or even athlete at all.
Christopher Kelly: And do you think you could @@ apart so I know there might some things special about calorie restriction as a whole and there are low carbohydrate diet may facilitate that calorie restriction. It’s very difficult to restrict calories when you’re on a high-cut diet because you’re hungry all the time whereas when you go on a low-carb diet most people report an anorexic effect right they can go daylong and not be bothered about food and so do you think it’s something specific about the carbohydrates or is it just the energy restriction that’s causing the problem?
Tawnee Prazak: The way I understand it is that it’s not necessarily just the energy restriction. I think that again if you’re looking at what actually controls as to get a menstruation in the first place they hypothalamus and the signal to the pituitary which releases hormones and signaling the genotropin-releasing hormone and the downward effect from there I really do believe like what we eat send a direct message to the hypothalamus and if you’re restricting one way or another you’re not sending the right message to the hypothalamus and that has a downstream effects that eventually can really end menstruation. Again I think it’s so individual because I do know women and they’re normally and I reach out to them that our handling of low-carb diet well and they are eating enough calories for the record.
They’re not the one that’s having the loss of appetite effect and align that to occur. There are some women who do find on a low-carb diet and get a menstruation. If you’re that person, great. I’m not going to knock that whatsoever. But I just seem more commonly especially the @@ and especially the type of clients I have coming to me are women who have tried doubled with his low-carb stuff for good intent to really get away from process crap and trying to eat more cleanly and then all of a sudden bam period goes away. So I think there’s more to it. I think our body’s smarter than that and that’s why I also think guys are a little bit more resilient to this. If you’re thinking about it from our fertility perspective like the body is not going to want to support pregnancy if it has something stressful is going on and that could be even include the absence of the right diet.
Christopher Kelly: Right, no I totally buy that idea carbohydrates, summertime, good times, maybe now is the good time to reproduce it. It completely makes sense and maybe there may be gender specific differences because reproduction is a far less expensive thing for a man to do, right. I mean it sounds awful but biologically it’s true.
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah, it’s funny I’m reading Kate Shanihn’s book Deep Nutrition right now and she is talking about in her book that women on average take 3 years to build after nutritional reserves after building a baby. I mean think about that. We put our bodies are doing so much work to make sure that that baby turns out well and can take up to 3 years to recover from that in the sense from nutritional reserves standpoint. Yeah, you’re right women definitely go through a lot more for fertility perspective and also I have heard the opposite argument so from evolutionary perspective you have to imagine that there were women that did not have abundant carbohydrates year round to eat and they were still getting pregnant.
Christopher Kelly: Right.
Tawnee Prazak: So I’m not saying that even this is just like to have to eat carbs in order to have fertility and menstrual cycle. There’s definitely reason to believe that you can menstruate on if you look at it from evolutionary perspective on a lower carb diet and that was probably the case for a lot of women just depending on the season. But I think the modern women there’s so many other variables that we talked about stress and if you’re adding a stress of a low carb or any restrictive diet for that matter it might just be too many of these variables building up that are working against you.
Christopher Kelly: Right, you all ecstatic load.
Tawnee Prazak: I mean likewise I think a low-fat diet is equally as horrible when you really don’t need to have any restrictive diet, balance. And if you want to be lower carb I’m sure you’re on board with this, cycling is the way to do it. If you want to have the benefits of fat adaptation and metabulk efficiency or any of that kind of stuff whether you’re an athlete or not you can cycle your carbs and still get the benefits without screwing over your hormonal balance.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah, I mean absolutely that’s the idea for me since it’s a little bit of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and we know from other types of formatics stresses like exercise for example that more is not necessarily better and it’s about the recovery and not just the doing home.
Tawnee Prazak: A couple other reasons under courses we talked about rapidly weight loss but also you could have completely normal body fat as I mentioned so again that’s why it’s important to kind of look down this list and also you need to this list that I’ve written down so the rapid weight loss can definitely trigger the loss of a period even if you know say you’re weight loss led to a relatively normal weigh and the weight that all of your friends are at. But if it was rapid that definitely sends kind of a stressful signal to the hypothalamus again the history of the eating disorder, low body fat of course, and also trauma. In fact trauma even if you have a normal cycle you could totally have enabulatory cycle or delay your ovulation if you have a trauma that month and that could be as simple as maybe a stressful travel or something like that. It doesn’t have to be a death necessarily. So our bodies are very sensitive to the things that are going on in our worlds.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah before we leave the low-carb thing I have one more thought you know I had so much luck restricting carbohydrates down for my 12 gels per ride plus Gatorade mixed in the bottles followed by pasta reload once I got home. So do you think that more carbohydrates are necessary and is that compatible with all the fat adaptation stuff that you talked about on Endurance Planet podcast?
Tawnee Prazak: Okay, so our carbohydrates compatible with
Christopher Kelly: So I feel like on the Endurance Planet podcast you told me to restrict carbohydrates which I did which got me great results with the fat adaptation plan but now I’m worried well maybe I’m not worried personally perhaps a woman listens to this may have felt that message and now she’s saying crap you told me to restrict carbohydrates and now you’re telling me that I need to eat carbohydrates so I’m not going to get amenorrhea.
Tawnee Prazak: This is a really good topic and we started talking about this on Endurance Planet before I even understood a lot about it. It was back in 2013 when we talked about Ben that you know when he was really getting into keto and that was the first I never heard of it so he comes on the show talking about keto like what is this like so I wasn’t incredibly savvy and all that until I then started researching at more and I have a better understanding of it now and the way I see it at the end of the day you want to develop the fat adaptation. So you’d maybe want to have depending on your health levels going to a lower carb phase for some of your if you chose green lights to go extremist keto that actually might work out perfectly fine but you don’t want to stay like that. You have to bring if you’re training or if you’re a female you have to bring back an adequate carbohydrates times well with your training and racing to feel the body to avoid continual spiraling downwards in terms of your health. I really do believe that. And it’s very rare for people to do well on a long-term keto diet and again they’re probably out there for sure Chris I don’t know where you’re at in your journey if you’re still doing it.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah she made that clear I’d been eating. And so I’ll tell you want we bashed the keto diet a lot on the podcast lately for specific contexts, right so obstacle course, racing, cross fit, anything with a lot of high intensity. But I just got back from 3 weeks in Colorado which was in many cases a bit of a few dessert and also with the snowboarding like the keto thing just works amazing. I didn’t mentioned keto and sort of anything like that but I went back to a level of carbohydrates which I know is probably going to be ketogenic for me and it’s amazing like especially cat skiing for example. I used to be that guy that was either the rice crispy treats in between each run and you’d be doing 12
Tawnee Prazak: I know. For me it was Sneakers.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah like 10 runs in a day inside and then I think that I didn’t like cat skiing anymore because I’d always fall asleep. I thought it was something to do with the motion of the cat. And so for people listening that don’t know what cat skiing is imagine a truck with attracts and that’s taking you to the top of the hill and that gets you access to all this amazing terrain you’ve otherwise wouldn’t have access to. And now I don’t have to eat anything at all and if something tasty comes up then maybe I will eat it but otherwise I’m just not thinking about food, not bothered about food. And my energy at the beginning of the day since and at the end of the day and I’m just having so much more fun than I ever would before. So in that instance I think the keto thing was great but overall I’m eating a mixed diet now.
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah, totally I agree I’ve been snowboarding a lot this season because this has been absolutely epic and because I spent the time developing fat adaptation in my past and I haven’t gone the complete opposite direction of back to fully high-carb diet necessarily and if you want to talk about how I got my period back and still stayed fat adapted I definitely have some information on that.
Christopher Kelly: Yes, give it to us so that I want to know the solution.
Tawnee Prazak: I mean like seriously I’m not going to lie I mean like I’ve mentioned before I will be that person to say that if I have a dessert at a restaurant on a rare occasion that’s a victory from overcoming the restriction and orthorexia mindset. Sometimes you get a lot of advice for people saying to how to get your period back is just saying go eat fries, go eat milkshakes, go eat everything and I’m like I’m not down with that. I want to at least still keep it healthy. I’m all about keeping your nutrition healthy and whether that’s 80/20, 90/10 in that kind of ballpark you can do stuff healthfully. So what I did mostly I think for me at that time like what was really working against me was mostly the training so the stress of training so decreasing that and even from a mental perspective because I was pretty unhealthfully hung up on my performance. And as soon as I said I’m shutting it down that was in September of 2013 I got my period back by December. In the meantime I was definitely being more liberal and less calculative with my macronutrients.
So I wasn’t necessarily going to fast-food restaurants or burger joints and doing all that stuff I did not do that once in fact. But I was just letting lose a little bit, not worrying so much about every single like quality or numerical value of every bit of food that was putting down my face even though I was also training less as well. So that common nation of training less and worrying less about food at the same time and worrying less about macronutrients is what did it for me. And we’re still talking about it very nutrient dense diet that was probably still airing on the side of high fat. I did have to go probably through a bit more of a carb phase if you will just to accept the tone. But then once you get your period back I’ve loved just kind of out of curiosity on my fitness pal on the last couple of years or so and even when I trained for Boston and maintain a menstruation I’m on a normal menstrual cycle through that. And my sweet spot with carbs these days tends to be around 90 to 120 grams a day. I know right. I’m a hundred and forty-ish pounds plus or minus of you and I’ve actually gained weight in the last year on purpose. I held steadily at about 135 for years. And that’s the other interesting thing with me too like despite all this menstrual chaos my weight was pretty steady for a good about years at around 135. I was never, never super, super skinny in that sense.
Christopher Kelly: Right.
Tawnee Prazak: But recently I’ve just decided to let a little more caution on because it’s nice to be womanly sometimes.
Christopher Kelly: So how tall are you?
Tawnee Prazak: 5’7 and a half-ish.
Christopher Kelly: Okay. Yeah so not short by any means.
Tawnee Prazak: No, not short but not as tall as I wish I was sometimes.
Christopher Kelly: And you managed to maintain menstruation all the way through, you qualified for the Boston marathon and got through it.
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah, so again like I’m very good like I log this last year for example I remember I did a day where we put in like 10 or 12 miles this was not marathon training necessarily but we put in 10 or 12 miles and automatically I ended up consuming like 250 or 300 grams or carbs that day. And so I’m very good about being into about it now you load up a little bit training and then I will refill appropriately. And the problem was in the past where I wasn’t refilling appropriately after those bigger sessions and that’s what led help me have success when I trained for marathon that allowed me to qualify for Boston was just making sure at the right time the carbs were piled on. And we’re still talking gluten-free, clean carbs, sweet potatoes, all that kind of stuffs because I was still dealing with healing gut issues throughout this whole journey as well. So it’s really, you cannot allow like I think people look for this perfect macronutrient ratio and then they don’t want to stray from that whatsoever regardless of what their training is. And that’s what pulls you over. Plus again like the tress of just worrying about your macronutrients that’s why even if I have people who want to be go to the lower carb level keto I don’t do keto and measuring and stuff because I’m find that for most people it just becomes the slippery slope of a stressful thing.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah, it’s useless.
Tawnee Prazak: But you know that’s really how I did it was just making sure that I was refilling carbs after bigger sessions regardless it was mandatory for me going lower carb on regular days and this day and age like a normal week for me is like 50% walking. So I think it’s appropriate for me to have lower carbs and be totally okay with that and I think actually when I allowed myself to gain a little weight recently like I definitely allowed a little bit more liberal carbs even in the absence of hard workouts and I’m so totally and if not healthier right now so it’s cool of me.
Christopher Kelly: That’s great. Good for you. So were you taking on any carbs during your long runs and if so what type of carbs?
Tawnee Prazak: You can. The interesting thing with me is even having all the gut issues you can always has worked really well with me. I know you told me your and I know you have a couple of stories about your
Christopher Kelly: Yeah, you can overdose on anything including you can and the results are a lot of fermentation and [00:42:41] [Indiscernible] but you really have to take a lot of you can before that happens.
Tawnee Prazak: That has not happened to me thankfully and surprisingly I was always did really well with the honey solution even though that’s technically kind of a fat them up food that my gut has much been sensitive to 5 months in the past. That interestingly always worked out well for me. This is run specific. If I’m not talking about the bike anything is gained I mean whole foods like all wrap up bars that home-made bars or leftovers or I can’t even it’s been a while but I mean I would eat anything on the bike like wrap up chicken pies that had for dinner the night before I mean it just didn’t matter. But running I know we’re all a little bit more sensitive and so yeah you can as always worked really well.
I also even on running I would do fine if I had like some nuts I’m able to digest some solid foods like moderately like that and then even some of my like guilty pleasures on running I would get these like coconut macaroons made with clean ingredients like maple syrup and stuff and they would sort of mashup as the run would go on in my little zip lock bag and I would just squeeze them out of the bag and eat that as I feel suitable well so I’m kind of weird with my feel I really like to try anything and keep it as whole food unprocessed stay away from sports nutrition products as much as possible and that’s you can has kind of the only thing that’s been a big staple for me again that comes from our past like you Chris having done gels and all that crap in the past and oh gosh I remember hating gels so much and all the sugary drinks because my pallet just didn’t like it. It was just miserable that you put all that stuff down you know when you’re talking about doing that for 5 to 10 plus hours, ugh miserable.
Christopher Kelly: You know what I never I always have a sweet teeth and I never any problem with it. But yeah I’m not sure like I think they’re caffeine trying to accumulate the meaningful quantities as well that was having an effect of my sleep or maybe other stuff as well but gels yeah I’m so happy to be free with gels.
Tawnee Prazak: I will mention this too even putting aside macronutrients if you’re looking to regain your period and you want to train as well here is a simple formula that you can do to see if you’re kind of in the ballpark of what you need to be doing. So we look at energy availability so if you’re having less than 30 calories per kilogram of lean body mass so you have to do some kind of calculations on where you’re at then that is usually associated with suppress sex hormones and likely amenorrhea. If you are having more than 30 calories per kilogram of lean body mass there’s a good chance you’re going to be in the clear and if you’re still having amenorrhea you might want to look to other places. Now again that’s not a stepping stone like guarantee you if you have amenorrhea or not but it’s just a good benchmark to have.
Christopher Kelly: That’s really helpful. I’ll put that in the show now that’s really, really helpful.
Tawnee Prazak: Okay, I’ll send you it’s actually from a study. I’ll send you the link to the study that they did. They measure a bunch of exercising female athletes on and figured that to be a big key factor and all this.
Christopher Kelly: Talk to me about gut health because I know that that’s something you talk about a lot on the Endurance Planet podcast and wondered whether that was something that you needed to address and was helpful for resolving the amenorrhea.
Tawnee Prazak: So here’s the thing this is not necessarily a scientific position on it but I truly believe and I’ve seen this happen in clients that are especially female runners. Female runners tend to have gnarliest guts like I went through you know not the good way gnarly. I think that when my gut issues were so bad and anything I was eating at times would elicit loading gas sustention, uncomfortableness, all of the above it actually caused me to under-eat because the less I eat [00:46:14] [Indiscernible]. So even if I kind of wanted to be better and I wasn’t necessarily restricting for eating disorder or disordered purposes when I eat less it felt better like I didn’t go through that shell every day. And I know women who go through the same thing and they’re like I swear don’t have eating disorder I’m not trying to under-eat but I just I can’t eat that much because it hurts. And so I totally can relate to that. I’ve been there.
I mean specially when I was in grad school I’m going through all this midnight classes you guys I was suffering like oh God it was horrible being in class and eating by that time I got which is bum. As soon as I started healing my gut and I can handle eating normal foods again like I’m talking like I couldn’t even eat sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts or any of those things I would just blow up, beets none of it like all the things that we love. Once I started healing and I can eat those foods again it just opened doors from a psychological perspective and mental perspective and then also hormonal perspective when you don’t feel like I don’t know what to eat like you go the restaurant like I don’t know what’s going to settle with me or not. That’s a horrible way to live. So even putting a side healing symbiosis the protocols of self-limitation and then testing and retesting which I have done all that because I’ve been keeping track of how much I spent because at this point its thousands of dollars. It’s all worth it. And I really think a large part of it is when you are free from that hell from a mental perspective. It kind of opens a door for other reasons. Now of course there is a relationship between healing your gut and hormonal balance and the two can go very much hand in hand for sure but I don’t have the science on that right in front of me right now.
Christopher Kelly: That’s okay now tell me what you did then did you think there was anything that was particularly important for healing your gut?
Tawnee Prazak: Well I’m pretty sure it started as leaky gut and then kind of snowballed into [00:48:01] [Indiscernible] other infections and bacterial overgrows and things of that nature along the way so I mean when was that you first contacted me wasn’t it 2014?
Christopher Kelly: Yeah, it would have been around then yeah that sounds right.
Tawnee Prazak: So at that point that’s when I first started doing tests for this stuff and I’ve done countless tests since then and probably countless protocols so it’s hard to really just narrow it down and I’m talking about this with the mutual client Greg White to name names on just the idea that when you’re looking at a protocol like you want to work specifically with the practitioner who’s going to be able to look at the laundry list of everything that you’re presenting and be able to put together plan that’s right for you. I tried to avoid giving like blanket advice of saying this would work this one doesn’t and kind of stuff. But I will say I think through my experience and again like largely thankful to you some of the other great practitioners I worked with along the way testing is important.
So if you feel like something’s not right in the gut don’t let it go another day. Just do stupid test like there it’s kind of expensive but trust me it’s so worth it like there’s nothing more worth it in the world in my opinion. So once you heal the gut doors start opening in terms of healing everything else even performers like I had a pretty crappy years still in 2014 and once my gut was getting into a better place bam I’ve qualified for the Boston marathon and my first ever open marathon. So once those things are moving and grooving a little bit better then things start to happen in the positive way in your life. And even things as simple as like we’re talking about work productivity even the brain @@ and you’re able to be more focused just on your day to day level.
Christopher Kelly: How do you think it compares like the functional medicine piece where you’re doing testing and healing the gut to a traditional training plan do you think it’s possible to say which is best you know sometimes I think that screw the training plan that’s what we do to training plan is because we can make people healthier and so much faster in that way and the training plan and I am not go to jumping jacks I don’t care. This is going to make you faster do you think that’s true or do you think that’s going to be completely individual?
Tawnee Prazak: This is by far the most complicated part of my job when I’m coaching athlete’s fulltime because they want the performance they want to train hard and get the results. Meanwhile they don’t want any of these pitfalls to happen to them or they’re actually trying to recover from that issue amenorrhea or whatever it may be so I’m trying to sit here like manipulating all these variables to give them workouts that will allow them to get results to some degree but also knowing that hey health is a huge factor and variable. And so to answer your question personally I think the health stuff and having a healing protocol trumps everything in my opinion but that’s just because I’ve been through so much at this point. I would have not given that same answer 5, 6, 7 years ago I would have said the complete opposite so it depend on what the person really wants.
I think some people are willing to sacrifice health for performance on a regular basis. I’m okay with really pushing yourself in a race and probably being unhealthy in the process for a 24 hour period, fine whatever I don’t care about that. But if you’re doing it every single day for your training and you’re just continuing to hit yourself harder and harder and harder and throw yourself into the ground I can’t get on board with that. So I try to keep my athletes in check sometimes I think like oh am I pushing this person a little too hard and is going to have repercussions but I’m so good at monitoring their other variables and talking to them about stuff and also mostly I’m working with people and telling them how they need to like not do so much like they’ve come to me and be like I have a tendency to overtraining I can’t do that. And so I think that you can kind of have a ball but yeah if I were to choose I would definitely say I think that if health is an issue and some of these issues that we’ve been talking about today are something that’s going on in your life I think it needs to be priority number 1 because you’re never going to get the performance that you want out of yourself if your health in any way, shape, or form is suffering.
Christopher Kelly: Right, including on a shay foundation. Do you think there’s a difference between endurance athletes and strength athletes I’m just wondering what types of people you work with and I’m wondering if that amenorrhea is a particular problem for endurance athletes.
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah you know it’s a good question that’s why I think like if you even look in the cross fit world the few anecdotal pieces I have of evidence of girls who’ve lost their period have usually been the ones who are doing kind of the hardcore cross fit combined with a chronically low carb diet. So I think it is still possible to kind of mess up your hormones in that sense and let’s face it cross fit workouts can be super gnarly and intense as can obstacle racing and stuff.
Christopher Kelly: No I have no idea but I could totally imagine that.
Tawnee Prazak: Oh man we used to just wreck ourselves in the gym with this gnarly strength workouts and it was so fun but I mean not necessarily conducive to wellness. The endurance stuff is a different piece. I think endurance sports buy nature kind of put anyone’s hormones more at risk I mean just endurance is depleting. Now not all endurances I actually posted an article that outside magazine did this guy did some research. I think he might have even like this on my Facebook page but this guy did a through hike of I don’t know hundreds of miles to Colorado measured all of his testosterone by markers before and after and everything actually improved after he finished this through hike in nature so obviously that’s an endurance and vents I’ll send you link to it. It was really it was awesome for sure I’ve got into backpacking last couple of years so that’s been my new level of endurance.
But you think about all the other benefits or something like that you know and all that great stuff and also just the shear nature of having to climb a lot with a heavy pack on your back and so there are instances of endurance that I think can be conducive for health but if you’re looking at the traditional triathlon, marathon training and running all that kind of stuff you have to be very careful I mean it’s well established and documented that the stuff is very depleting. Is strength different, I think it is? In fact right now I’ve recently started to train for standup paddle boarding and potentially going to do some races this summer and it’s a completely different piece as far as how it makes me feel. I can go and do an hour workout at my math heart rate a hundred and 50 or so and feel phenomenal. I feel like I could go take on the world after that and it’s the opposite of sometimes when you do a run or hard bike or something you come home and all you want to do is lay on the couch and sleep for the rest of the day. So there’s definitely a difference for sure.
Christopher Kelly: That’s absolutely amazing. And so is that what you planned to do in the future then are you ever going to be back to triathlon or do you think you’re going to stay with this standup paddle boarding and more strength by stuff and backpacking, what are you going to do?
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah it a next level stuff so you know last year we’re in Boston and that was great. It was check out off the bucket list. It was epic. But I kind of just knew to step away from the traditional endurance sports as I knew for so long. You know I’m still so obviously so involved and so in love with it on so many levels but in my own journey I just needed to expand. So it’s kind of been this goal lately since 2015 to do something new every year. So 2015 it was backpacking. Last year it was SCUBA diving. This year it’s more standup paddle boarding and my husband and I are also taking sailing lessons right now. I’m just trying to expand.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah.
Tawnee Prazak: I mean I’ve always been the person who loves outdoors like get me outdoors and I’m stocked. Get me into some activity or sport and I’m a happy camper. That part of me will never die. So I’m just trying to expand it and not be so specific with the training and the performance and the variables in my own world I deal enough with that with my athletes.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah, yeah no so I worked with Tawnee for a short period last year where you’re telling me we did that one among consultation. Yeah and you told me oh you need to expand and do some different things. Now and I completely agree with that and there’s a funny story that went with that. And one of the things you told me to do is swim in the ocean and for some reason I just can’t make that happen in my life which is just completely ludacris because I live so close to the ocean. But I made a reality after we have that confrontation. You know I put my wetsuit on, went down to the ocean, and it happened to be a rainy day and I though yeah I’m not going to ride my bike anyway it’s rainy day maybe I’ll swim in the ocean.
Tawnee Prazak: Oh my gosh I can’t believe you got that far you didn’t do it.
Christopher Kelly: No, I did. I did do it I did swim in the ocean but then I found out for multiple people afterwards you do not swim in the ocean on days that it rains in Santa Cruz because they just opened the sewage and let it run straight into the ocean.
Tawnee Prazak: It’s like that I’m looking into.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah, and I got so lucky that I didn’t get sick. Yeah I think sunny days and long dry periods before you go in the ocean round here unfortunately.
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah it’s same way for sure around here. It’s kind of like when you’re on a paddle board too you actually see it sometimes when I’m out there still even waited there so after a heavy rain but you can just see the mock that kind of accumulates. You don’t really see it like that when you’re swimming out there but ugh it’s kind of sucky. It’s kind of sad too.
Christopher Kelly: Definitely right now tell me
Tawnee Prazak: I recommend that to all my clients like most of my athletes you don’t want to specify or be specific to one sport but having [00:56:46] [Indiscernible] is going to make you better at your one sport.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah I know. I totally agree you want to be a well-rounded human and talk to me about how getting a dog could help you be a well-rounded human because I think I’m going to do this too this is Tawnee’s favorite bio hacks so tell me how that’s worked out for you.
Tawnee Prazak: Oh my gosh it’s been a blessing. I grew up with dogs I grew up with [00:57:05] [Indiscernible] and they have always been a blessed super active dogs I come from active family so that’s always made it easy. The dog of my dreams is a Vizsla. He’s actually sleeping below my feet right now. Vizsla which if you guys know anyone knows that they’re also super active dogs. They are great runners. They’re great partners. And they’re also known as Velcro dogs like even if they get to be big they love to be on their humans not just next to you if you’re humans like on their human. Our little guy Finley is living up to that reputation and it’s been another part of my journey in life where it’s taught me to slow down a little bit, no take the time for him, not be so wrapped up and checking e-mail every 30 seconds and stuff and enjoy taking walk with him and sort of feeling like every time I step up the door it needs to be a better workout or something you know just walk away now and enjoy nature and watching how cute he is about stuff and also interestingly learning about the health of a little guy.
So you’ll appreciate this. He was a C-section puppy because he wasn’t a planned puppy and he was single potent he was the only one and the latter I suspect because he was a C-section puppy we’re dealing with the same thing that happens with humans of not going through the vaginal cannot get all that good beneficial bacteria he’s had some gut issues already if you can believe it. And some food allergies so I’ve had to work hard I’m actually making his food home-made from scratch right now nothing I was getting was working and I’m not an expert in canines or felines by any means so I’m not trying to say that but I’ve hired a holistic vet to help me along the way here and because I had a more conventional vet and as soon as somebody’s little issues or pop me up he want to put Finley on medications and stuff and I was like dude this puppy is like a few months old I’m not going to put him on medications already like there has to be obviously I know nothing about this stuff to know that there has to be option and turn off you know changing his diet and doing some other things and we’ve gotten it all under control.
So that’s be you know like taking care of a baby you just want to make sure your little one’s okay and you don’t want to see him and he was getting this gnarly little rash that has completely since cleared up which has been amazing to watch but that becomes a priority. And it really kind of like last time I spent like forever in the kitchen making his food and I don’t even care like I think before it would of kind of stress me out to think that I’m quote and quote waiting time when I should be doing something else that’s going to make me money or whatever and it’s kind of like no this is for him this is a life and we’re raising this dude and it’s so enjoyable to have him around. I can’t even say like how much fun it is it’s a blast. The worst part was the first month December when he was not sleeping through the night and John and I lost a ton of sleep. I’ve never been sleep deprived in this sort of situation I mean you can probably relate to this when Ivy was little but man I was this zombie in December like it was not a good month for me.
Christopher Kelly: Oh well.
Tawnee Prazak: Thankfully we’re past that but other than it’s just been all good and I’m sure you know this as well I’ve heard that if you have a dog in the house before you have a kid that actually helps build a good microbiome for a future baby once you have a lot so I can see that how knows what it’s
Christopher Kelly: Yeah I talked about that I interviewed Lauren Peterson she’s a microbiome researcher from George Weinstock lab and she recently got a dog too and I meant to talk about that in the podcast and we never did but they are looking it at in a research setting to see how adding animals in particular dogs changes the owner’s got microbiome and it does seem to have favorable improvements and if everybody does this touching the dog it seems to be a factor in a good way so
Tawnee Prazak: I don’t know yeah we’ve had him for 3 months now I don’t know but I’m feeling damn good right now like better than ever digestion’s great. But I think a lot of that’s mental too having a little loyal buddy’s great.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah that’s also more tell me do you have any space for coaching clients at the moment?
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah, I actually have more space for consulting and it’s actually what I’m noticing more people like come my way end up preferring as I have I do one on one consulting with people and I have different options but basically if you want to hire me to specify one or several of the areas without a day to day training plan that’s what’s my consulting id for so we do nutrition coaching I even can guide a training plan for you or what your needs are depending on where you’re at on your journey like I said nutrition ad what else the health stuff. I do a little health coaching and I can help with little bit of like gut issues if people have those and kind of put the holistic approach to work there. So yeah definitely and we can include some in your show that’s what people want to get in touch.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah absolutely I’ll make sure to get that from you and is there anything else that you want people to know about?
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah last fall I realize that with consulting or coaching it’s not within everybody’s budget so I wanted to roll out something that would be more cost friendly if you will and accessible to the masses so we rolled out what I’m calling my inner circle community. Basically I’ve put all my coaching resources, things that I send my clients, things that I’ve written for my clients are to this website called Life Post Collective and also we’re doing new webinars every month live webinars where we can interact to forums a whole bunch of show. All my recipes are out there. And so you can join that. We give the first month free and then after that its 10 bucks a month. We have a lot of people working hard on that. So it’s basically kind of in a way I guess you can consider it group coaching. You get full access to me to the forums so I’m really happy about that because I know not everyone can afford coaching and I know as a coach Chris you know this too we wish we could make our rates cheaper sometimes.
Christopher Kelly: Right.
Tawnee Prazak: But you know we all going to do we going to do right. So it makes the inner circle community really fun to have because people can get the essence of what I prescribe for this holistic health and wellness and fitness tuff without having to make a huge financial commitment.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah I know that problem. So the issue is it’s not about the time that you spend on the phone it’s all the wok you do and the research you do offline right so people sometimes expect to just turn up and have all the answers when the truth is like 12 hours a day on slack pulling out research papers and dissecting them and putting pieces together in order to have the knowledge that you do when you show up on the phone and of course people don’t know that right. They don’t see what goes on behind the scenes. They don’t see others made and so you can understand when they don’t want to pay for all of your time just the amount of time that you spend on the phone. So I’m really glad that you’re finding ways to make money that’s not totally dependent on the amount of hours that you can sell.
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah for sure I was talking to our mutual friend Brie Wieselman about that recently. It’s one thing to say oh I have a 30 minute consultation or something but then you look at the other 3 hours of what has @@ to just that one person and all the research. The other thing I wanted maybe I didn’t make this quite clear but I do endurance sports coaching of course but through everything we’ve talked about today like you Chris it’s put me down this new path of functional health and wellness so I’ve done a next level of education in that world and I now work with people who are dealing with similar, same, different, related issues and as far as finding health and wellness and balance whether you’re an athlete or not. So it’s not just endurance sports coaching anymore its definitely functional health coaching, holistic coaching and all that.
Christopher Kelly: Very cool so if there’s a woman listening to this and they have lost their period do you think you can get it back for them?
Tawnee Prazak: I have a very good success rate so far.
Christopher Kelly: Awesome. That’s pretty.
Tawnee Prazak: You know what it is I will say it and I will kind of wrap it up here but I think that a lot of times too I’ve talked about this with other women who have been through this doctors can be matter of fact at least the general practitioners and a traditional medical office setting they’re so matter of fact about it and they don’t often relate well to females who are going to this horrible mental struggle, psychological struggle it’s not just a physical thing there’s so much emotion in it. And I think one of the reasons I’ve had a lot of success with women is because I can relate and I may not be a medical doctor I’m not claiming to be one but if I can be a shoulder that you can cry on a little bit or just completely open up to I think that helps more than people realize in this whole healing process.
Christopher Kelly: Yeah absolutely I totally agree and if you have the ability to elicit change in a person then that’s a powerful skill right that maybe the doctors don’t have.
Tawnee Prazak: Yeah for sure.
Christopher Kelly: Also well this has been fantastic Tawnee it’s so nice to finally get to interview you for the podcast when you’ve spent so much time putting up content on the Endurance Planet podcast that’s helped me so much so I thank you very much for this.
Tawnee Prazak: Oh thank you. It’s been great. It’s always a pleasure to chat and catch up Chris.
Christopher Kelly: Cool, thank you.
[1:05:41] End of Audio