Former Vegan, Cardio Junkie Now More Fit & Healthy Just Weight Lifting (Eating More, Exercising Less)

by Mike Mutzel


Dr. Elly Michelle works with a lot of women who've experienced hormone issues and mental cycle changes from overexercise and under-eating. She discusses how scaling back on the cardio, prioritizing weight lifting and eating healthier whole foods can improve hormonal health, fertility and body composition.



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Show Notes

03:10 Dr. Elly ate no meat for 10 years Becoming vegetarian eventually grew into an eating disorder.

03:52 Chronic low estrogen impacts bone health. Dr. Elly had osteopenia by age 24. Her low hormone state was likely due to her prolonged eating disorder.

05:00 Dr. Elly began strength training to put on muscle to prevent osteoporosis. As she became stronger, she craved meat.

07:37 You can be spiritual about eating meat. You can support the portion of the meat industry that holds the health of the animal as a priority.

09:15 Dr. Elly had a duty to improve her health as a role model for her patients, and that meant eating meat.

10:45 From eating a plant-based diet, Dr. Elly experienced poor hormone health, poor thyroid health, low energy, digestive issues, anxiety, lack of muscle and low libido.

16:30 Menstrual cycle hormones are protective of long-term health. Estrogen has protective effects on bone health, heart, and brain. If your menstrual cycle goes away, you are not producing enough estrogen.

21:10 PMS is primarily reflective of a hormone imbalance.

25:35 Ovulation is required to produce progesterone, an anti-stress hormone.

28:00 Lack of menstruation or ovulation is common in the female athletic population. Irregular periods do not mean that you are ovulating.

29:00 Estrogen dominance is when estrogen is unopposed by progesterone, not necessarily an over-abundance of estrogen. Often, women do not detox the estrogen they make, causing it to stay in circulation longer and become harmful. Excess estrogen in tissues can cause more fat storage.

33:30 You can experience having periods, but still be in a low metabolic state. Your hormones are responding to your environment. They are not to blame.

35:05 Estrogen imbalances contribute significantly to anxiety. Hormones contribute to your sense of wellbeing.

38:00 Someone who is in optimal health, will be fertile. Calm and joyful socialization helps to optimize hormones and fertility.

43:01 Estrogen phase 3 is the detoxification that happens in the intestines when it comes in contact with bacteria. Regular bowel movements are important for detoxification and removal of hormones.

45:00 Strength training supports your metabolism. Cardio increases stress hormones and can suppress appetite.

48:00 Look at strength training as a life change for long term health, rather than aesthetics. Lifting weights changes your body favorably. It is challenging to let go of expectations of what your body should look like.

52:43 Basal body temperature first thing in the morning (for women) is a measure of metabolic health. Lower body temperature can result in chronic low metabolism. This also allows you to track ovulation. Once the body has ovulated and you are making progesterone, your body warms ½ to 1 full degree Fahrenheit.

55:30 Most women ovulate on about day 14 of a 28-day cycle. The fertile window is 5 days before and 5 days after ovulation, because sperm can live 5 days inside a woman’s body.

58:20 Anxiety is linked to severe COVID outcomes. Anxiety can be the driver or the result of hormonal imbalance.

01:01:20 Take your recovery and sleep as seriously as you take your training.

01:04:10 Fasting may not be a good strategy for those of us with hormonal imbalances or fertility issues. Extended fasting is stressful.

01:08:55 Training for figure or bodybuilding competitions for women can possibly lead to a harmful mental and hormonal state. Listen to your body’s wisdom.

01:14:03 Libido is a reflection and expression of health for both men and women. Libido is highly emotional and psychological, especially for women.

01:15:43 Testosterone and estrogen are drivers of libido for women.  Estrogen is responsible for sexual lubrication in women.

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