What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
● Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
● Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
● Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:
● Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
● Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
● Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too!

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you’re not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don’t want to happen. So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
dash salt & pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old

Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!


There are so many things we should know, need to know, about our bodies so that they are running efficiently and we are feeling optimal. Unfortunately, today’s doctors are rushed and under many insurance constraints.  They therefore often can’t or they won’t run full panels to tell us what is really going on inside. We don’t have the ability to see what is going on, how our bodies are working, until it is too late. The standard care of practice’s goal should be prevention, but we often only learn about our health concerns after something major like diabetes, heart attacks, or strokes occur. We need to prevent these diseases from happening, not get treated because they already happened.

As an example of what I am talking about, during my annual physical two years ago, I mentioned to my doctor that I was concerned about all these symptoms I was experiencing. I was fatigued, had a lot of hair loss, could not lose weight despite eating sugar free and processed free, would get dizzy upon standing, had low blood pressure, was always cold, and had ongoing, undiagnosed, GI issues. All of these symptoms should have been a red flag that something was going on. Instead, she ran the standard TSH thyroid test, and a standard iron test. My TSH was way above optimal but she said it was fine, my iron was on the low end but again no concerns, and made no suggestions for my symptoms. I begged her to run a more in depth thyroid panel, she agreed to run the Free T4 one time only, and nothing more. My Free T4 was below optimal range but within the Western standards. I finally took it upon myself to dig deeper, and after several additional doctor visits, I finally had a lab run the full thyroid panel, a more in depth iron panel, and a celiac panel (something she would not even consider). Well, I quickly learned from my results that I am in early stages of Hashimoto’s, I have Celiac Disease, and my ferritin levels are way too low, even for Western standards. These are all things she should have been looking out for had she listened better instead of being rushed, and tested better.  Knowing this information helped me change my nutrition plan, I had to remove wheat, barley, and rye. I also kept sugar out and removed dairy. I took the appropriate supplements and made a huge impact on my body and health. If I had not, I would have continued down a destructive path that could have led to ongoing pain, weakness, inflammation, possible heart disease, and/or cancer.

You need to be an advocate for your own body. If something feels wrong, then follow up on it. Ask your doctor what tests can be run to rule in or rule things out. If your doctor can’t or won’t do any additional testing or provide you the answers you need, then you can get your own lab tests done. Ordering the right lab tests can help you prevent, slow down, or reverse certain diseases like Anemia, Autoimmune Diseases, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hormonal Imbalances that can lead to PCOS, Endometriosis, Female Cancers,  High Homocysteine levels that can lead to Risk of Stroke, Insulin Resistance that can lead to the aforementioned  diseases as well as ongoing Inflammation in the body which impacts your Immune System, and possibly even Cancer.  Functional Medical doctors are a great resource as they look at the whole body and search out the root causes of symptoms and can recommend the right labs to order and help you interpret them. Health coaches can help point you in the right direction to discovering what is at the root of your symptoms by listening, asking the right questions, and leading you to the right tests to ask for and then helping you with the right nutrition and exercise to reverse the symptoms. Don’t just take no for an answer. You have options. Only you know your body and if something feels off, take the initiative to do something about it before it is too late.

To learn more about ordering your own lab tests, you can visit https://yourlabwork.com/jklwell

To find a Functional Medical Doctor, visit https://ifm.org>find-a-practitioner

To work with a Health Coach, visit https://jklwell-healthcoaching.com


Traveling soon? Perhaps a long-awaited vacation? Business trip? Something completely different?

No matter where you’re going, you’re probably going to appreciate some quick and easy healthy food ideas. These can help you stay on track and help you bring, and find, real food. While these tips can all be used right here at home, this is extra-important when you’re traveling. Traveling can throw your regular healthy habits off when you’re skipping time zones or even just being in a different place.

As a health coach, I have a senses of pride when my clients skip junky convenience foods. Let me give you some great strategies that can help you do this while you are on the road.

Pro-tip: When booking your hotel room, ask if you can have one with a mini-fridge. This will help you store some of your healthy snacks and groceries while you’re there.


Well, this is important because not only will it keep you from becoming a “hangry junk-seeker”, but it can also hold you off until you’re able to stop at a proper grocery store for say…actual real food!

Hear are a bunch of my favorite on-the-go snacks to have in your bag and/or cooler:

  • If you’re going to have a cooler, or eat them within a couple of hours, try fresh fruit or boiled eggs (don’t forget the ice packs)
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds (I love walnuts and pumpkin seeds)
  • IDLife Nutrition Bars or Organic Bars of your choice
  • Sliced veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, etc.) with a dip (hummus or guacamole) you can even buy single serving packs at Costco
  • Find good quality protein bars or make your own before heading out
  • Good quality, whole food, no sugar added granola
  • Savory snacks like roasted chickpeas or kale chips
  • High quality protein powder to make your own smoothies (I like IDLife Nutrition vegan vanilla bean). Be sure to also pack a mini-blender, like a Magic Bullet, if needed
  • Freeze avocados and then travel with them in poster tube. Only do this in the US as traveling with avocados can be against some FTC rules and regulations.
  • And don’t forget your drinks. Bring some water with you. If flying, choose water in the airport or on the plane.


Of course, you can always Google your destination and search for grocery stores or healthy restaurants. But there are a couple of websites and apps that may be helpful for you.

  • FindMeGlutenFree – A website that searches for gluten-free restaurants around the US
  • HealthyOut – An app that helps you find restaurants that cater to your dietary preferences, be they gluten-free, low calorie, low-carb, etc.
  • FoodTripping – Designed for road trips, this app helps you find alternatives to fast food


Travelling often comes with unnecessary junk food that can derail your healthy lifestyle. Planning ahead and being prepared can be simple, and help you keep your health goals on track even when you’re out and about!

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Yes, it seems everywhere you turn, health and wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and veggies.

You totally get it.

Yes, they’re full, and I mean FULL, of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.).

Yes, people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer, healthier lives. Not to mention protecting their bodies and minds from just about every chronic disease out there.

Yes, eating more vegetables can help you maintain a healthy body weight, and even lose some fat (as long as you don’t bread and fry them, or cover them with cream sauce).

Your question is not “Should I eat more fruits and vegetables”, but “How can I actually do it?”

Believe me, as a health coach, I am chock full of amazing, creative, and delicious ways to help you eat more fruits and veggies.

Before we dive in, always start from where you are. If you are not used to any fruits and veggies, try for just two a day. Build up from there. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need to overhaul your entire diet in one day. Wherever you’re at now, I challenge you to increase it by two per day.

Now let’s dive into my helpful ideas on exactly HOW to add more fruits and veggies to your diet!


OK, this one may be, shall we say, “sneaky”, but I am all about your health so hear me out.

Some dishes are super easy to enhance with a a bit of strategically placed produce.

  • Add 1/2 apple, a handful of frozen spinach, or extra berries into your smoothie
  • Dice or shred up an extra bit of carrot, broccoli, zucchini, or pepper into your soup
  • How about chicken, tuna, or salmon salad? Dice up a stalk of celery and throw it in
  • Love to bake? How about substituting 1/4 cup of the sugar for 1/4 of unsweetened apple sauce?
  • Used to having a small salad? How about making it a bigger one?
  • Making tomato sauce? Add in some extra mushrooms  or peppers


  • Use veggies as your sandwich bread by making a lettuce wrap
  • Don’t be afraid to spice them up! Try sauteing them for 10 minutes with a drizzle of oil and flavor them with pepper, garlic, ginger, or cumin
  • Replace white rice with cauliflower rice. Make a fried cauliflower rice meal using coconut oil, cauliflower rice, carrots, onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms and egg and add some coconut aminos for flavor.


  • Why not throw a banana, apple or clementine into your lunch bag?
  • Ditch the chips and dip – instead try some carrot, celery, broccoli, cucumber, or cauliflower with a dip like hummus, guacamole, or babaganoush?
  • Love sweetened yogurt? Try whole fat plain Greek yogurt and some of your own berries
  • Need some protein? Add some sugar free all natural almond butter to a green apple or a green tipped banana


Take two of these suggestions and try them tomorrow. Just add two more fruits and veggies to the number you are at today. Two more.

And if you’re not an instant fan, well, try again. Research shows that sometimes it takes our taste buds several tries before actually liking a new flavor. Try it, you might find some new faves.

Got kids? These suggestions will work for them too. It will be even more fun if they have mom and dad trying it with them.


Are willpower and self-control the real solution to low energy and high weight?

Maybe not…

It actually might be your hormones.

And we’re not just talking about sex hormones here, we’re talking about the hormones that directly affect your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite. Things that actually control your energy and weight.

Let’s go over a few of the critical links between your hormones, and how they effect your energy and weight. The links may be stronger than you think.


Having healthy, happy hormones is all around the “health waves” these days.

And for good reason! Your hormones are part of the master control system of your entire body.

Hormones are compounds made by one part of the body that are used to communicate with another part. For example, insulin is made in the pancreas. When your blood sugar gets too high, insulin is released into the bloodstream. Then it goes to your muscles and other cells to tell them to absorb the sugar out of the blood. If there is still too much sugar in the blood, it tells them to store it as fat.

Your hormones control not only your blood sugar, but also your metabolism and your appetite (plus a host of other things). You probably know that having health blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite is a foundation for your optimal energy and weight.

So how can your hormones get out of whack to zap your energy and pile up the pounds?



In optimal health, your hormones would work great, and you’d have ample energy and be at a great, healthy weight.

But often there are problems with this whole setup. One common issue is that there may be too much or too little hormone released to have the desired effect. This is known as hypo- or hyper- “hormone” (i.e. hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism).

Another common issue is that even if the right amount of hormone is released, the cells they communicate with can start ignoring them. This is known as “resistance” (i.e. insulin resistance).

As you can imagine, if your hormones have such critical jobs, including controlling blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite, they can definitely cause issues with your energy and weight.



Your metabolism is key for controlling your energy. Metabolism itself is basically how much energy (calories) you burn. One of the main players of this is….you guessed it! Your thyroid hormones.

Your thyroid releases hormones that affect the metabolism if all the cells in your body. If it’s too low and your metabolism goes down (hypothyroid), you may feel cold, hungry, and tired. If it’s too high and your metabolism is too high (hyperthyroid), you may feel hot, jittery, and lose weight.

What you actually want is an ideal metabolism, ideal energy use, ideal temperature, and, ideal weight.



Your weight may be controlled by hormones more than you think! Insulin controls your blood sugar and whether that sugar is going to be stored as fat or not. When your blood sugar is too low, you may start craving sugar or carbs.

You also have hormones that control your appetite! How hungry and full you feel are controlled by the hormones ghrelin and leptin. When those get out of whack you may find yourself wanting to eat because your body thinks you’re hungry and not satisfied… even if that’s not true.

Craving food (especially sugary food) and not feeling full are going to be huge drives for you to eat more. Even if your body doesn’t truly need it, the hormonal signals tell you that you do.

And don’t forget that stress hormone cortisol. When it is too high for too long, it tells your body to store fat. And not just fat, belly fat!



Your body is very complex and uses hormones to control  huge number of functions. They control your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite, amongst others. These directly affect how much energy you feel, how much you weigh, and even where your body fat is stored.

Here are a few “hormone stabilizing” tips that might help you with your energy and weight:

  • Get regular exercise to use up excess blood sugar before your insulin has your body store it as fat
  • Try stress-relieving activities like deep breathing, meditation, or even coloring to reduce your (belly-fat inducing) cortisol
  • Support your thyroid with iodine-containing sea vegetables, fish, legumes, or even an egg
  • Balance your blood sugar with extra fiber from raspberries, avocados, or flax seeds
  • Reduce your blood sugar spikes by replacing your juice or soda with fruit-infused water
  • If you need some support with your energy levels and/or weight, contact me, Jodie Lin, for a strategy session to see how I can help you.





Every year people start out with New Year’s Resolutions, hopes and promises of a healthy and happy new year. Many resolve to start a “diet and exercise” program. As we all know, most New Year’s Resolutions fall by the way side after 2-3 weeks. Life gets in the way and people resume old habits. Here are my tips on how to get around this and stay healthy in 2018 and for your lifetime.

  1. Make a New Year’s wish. This year my family and I made wishes for everyone. Mine was for health and happiness for my family. How we go about achieving this health and happiness is up to us to choose every day that we wake up and face the world. It can change each day as long as we continue to work towards health and happiness.
  2. Instead of diet, plan to change your nutritional lifestyle. This is long term, and something that you can continually work on. The word diet suggests that it is temporary. “I will eat this way so I can lose weight and then will go back to my usual habits”. Then when we mess up, we tend to  think “I can’t do this, I already slipped, never mind”.  As soon as we slip up one time, we decide we failed and stop trying. A lifestyle change allows us to acknowledge the occasional mistake but keeps us moving forward because there are no set timelines, it’s forever, so we can keep working on it. Having a bad day? Eating that sweet treat? Fine, acknowledge that you needed this and why, try to  figure out a healthier way to handle that urge for the next time, make sure your next meal is healthier,  and keep going. Nutritional lifestyle changes also allow you to make small tweaks to your diet as you move forward which is easier to adjust to, rather than it having to be an all or nothing approach.
  3. When thinking healthy nutritional lifestyle changes, consider swapping out your prepackaged foods and processed foods for whole foods. Sounds hard I know as we often have to eat on the run. If you need something quick, look to something like Teddy’s Meal Tubes (TM) or a Larabar that is nutritional and portable, or prebag snacks like nuts to keep on you at all times. Store some in your car, your purse, your pockets, so you don’t get “hangry”. If you are somewhere without those snacks and need something, try to find an item with the least amount of ingredients. Removing the preservatives and the fillers is a big step towards healthy eating.  A lot of “diet foods” have hidden sugars, sodium, unhealthy fats, and so called “natural flavors” that will derail your healthy plans, cause sugar cravings, and can make you even hungrier 10 minutes later.
  4. Learn to read those ingredients on labels, understand what they mean. There are so many different names for sugar and sugar substitutes, as well as other unhealthy preservatives and fillers like mineral oil, food dyes, natural flavors, and food additives. Know what you are eating. Look at both the actual ingredients as well as the nutritional facts. Do you know that some companies opt not to put the actual amount of sugar grams in the nutritional facts? One company, when asked, stated that if it is less than 5g of sugar, they are not required to list it in the facts. Make sure to read everything. Know what you are putting in your body.
  5. Speaking of sugar, the best recommendation I have is to cut sugar out of your diet! I don’t mean the sugar coming from fruits and vegetables, I mean the added sugars. Although the obvious sugars include cookies, cakes, and sodas, the less obvious are high fructose corn syrup, tapioca syrup, honey, agave, maple syrup, fruit juices, or the sugars that sneak into the processed foods. Try to keep those added sugars to less than 24 grams or 6 teaspoons a day. Anything more than that will impact your blood sugar which can lead to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and non-alcoholic fatty liver syndrome.
  6. Stick to natural sweeteners, like the ones I just mentioned, if you need them, keeping it less than the 24g a day, rather than turning to artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to have a negative impact on your brain, keep your sugar cravings at all time highs, and don’t fill you up causing you to eat or drink more of the sweetener containing food or drink. Personally, I like an all natural stevia.
  7. Eat your fruit, don’t drink it. When you juice, you remove all the nutrients from the fruit, leaving just the sugar. Having a glass of OJ is like having an IV of sugar go straight into your blood system. You are missing the fiber that helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar, giving your body time to adjust to its presence and send it where it  needs to go. Drinking your fruit all causes you to miss out on the all important task of masticating your food.
  8. When grocery shopping, make sure to shop the perimeter of the store. That is where you will find your whole nutrition, your vegetables, fruits, dairy, eggs, and meats. The center aisles contain the prepackaged processed foods whereas the perimeter contains the healthy, natural, whole foods that you can eat plain or use to make healthy meals.
  9. Exercise is very important to your health. Although it only accounts for 20% of your weight loss whereas nutrition accounts for 80%,  exercise keeps your muscles like your heart and your bones strong and healthy.  Take daily walks or runs. Use weight resistance to improve your muscle strength. Find a great HIIT class to keep your body using energy for up to 24 hours post work-out. Just keep moving.
  10. Remember to take your vitamins and minerals. In this day and age, many, if not all of us, are deficient in some sort of vitamins. In our part of the world, we are missing Vitamin D. We do not see enough sun, which is the best source  to create the amount of Vitamin D that we need. The best source of all vitamins and minerals comes from food and sun. If you can’t get the quantity and quality you need, first find out why, perhaps you are not able to absorb it from food due to an ailment that you are not aware of. If there is no underlying health reason, then look for safe, pure, vitamin and mineral supplements. Make sure they are clean and not made with added sugar and fillers.

That is it in a nutshell, have a goal to make a nutritional lifestyle change, learning new habits such as eating whole foods, shopping the perimeter of the store, remove unnecessary sweeteners from your food, keep your body moving, and make sure you have the vitamins and minerals you need.