Interview with Kristy Alford, author, blogger, fitness and nutrition expert. Read to the end for a chance to win a copy of Kristy’s book.
Maggie: Kristy I’m so excited to be speaking with you! As one of the voices in the dietary world I follow, I love being a part of your facebook group and learning from your wealth of wisdom. Can you tell us a little about your origin story and how you first began educating in the areas of fitness and diet?
Kristy: My father was always a bit of a health nut and was eating grated carrots 50 years ago because it made him feel better. So his influence definitely sparked my interest in health. I started trying to lose a bit of weight and it led me down the low carb/keto path. At that time I thought it was the best thing ever and wanted to tell everyone about it. But as most people know and I found out, unsolicited health advice is usually not welcome, so I figured I would start writing about it instead and that’s how the www.slimbirdy.com blog was born.
I figured people who were interested or who were looking for help would find it. I’ve been writing it for 6 years now. Then as my health started to deteriorate from low carb, I went searching for more answers and found them with Dr Ray Peat and the communities that follow him. Now my health has improved remarkably and my writings are now based on my experiences with Dr Ray’s theories.
Maggie: Can you give me a brief overview of your fitness methodology?
Kristy: My approach to fitness is very much influenced by the desire to maintain metabolic health – meaning not doing any exercises that will lower my metabolism.
Not many people realize that running and many forms of cardio style fitness actually lowers metabolism – you know when people are almost congratulated for their low heart rate because supposedly it means they are fit? Well it also actually means they have slowed their metabolism because their body is conserving energy to use it more efficiently. This initially sounds great and it probably is for sports performance, but for weight loss, health and your metabolic rate, it’s a bit of a disaster.
Even lifting weights that are too heavy, doing long work out sessions, not eating before workouts and many more things, actually all contribute to a metabolic decline.
I purposely formulated a workout to facilitate a high functioning metabolism and long-term health, which is called One Ten Toned.
Maggie: What you would you say are the best benefits of utilizing your particular methodology?
Kristy: My whole approach is much more relaxed than any other I’ve come across. Sessions are super short to avoid raising stress hormones and nothing is so arduous that you hate it. So people enjoy doing it much more and are likely to keep doing it.
Also you feel kind of refreshed after a session, rather than too exhausted to move, because you’ve stimulated your muscles just enough and gained those benefits without wiping yourself out. It’s also simple to follow, you do it at home so you don’t have to go anywhere and you only need minimal equipment. It’s also super cheap. And all exercises have been selected to be gentle on the back, knees and neck.
The ebook www.onetentoned.com has 30 days of exercises, which you just repeat and increase weights as you get stronger, and is only US$6.70. So no gym membership required, no ongoing app charges. It’s a program for life.
Maggie: What are some best practices for those that want to begin exercising in a way that supports metabolic processes?
Kristy: Here are five hints that will help if you do nothing else:-
Maggie: What are some common mistakes first timers to your fitness methodology might make?
Kristy: My exercise plan is pretty fool proof if the recommendations of light weights to start are followed. As the plan is really simple and easy to do, sometimes people overestimate their abilities and start with a heavier weight than recommended. While they may be easily able to get through the 10-minute session with it, the muscle pain over the ensuing three days can be excruciating!
So from experience, starting slowly is recommended to avoid pain!
Maggie: What are some of the biggest myths about fitness that you’d like to bust?
Kristy: The biggest myth is that fit people are healthy.
So many stories I’ve read in the research for my book, where long distance runners are losing their periods and body temperatures are at all time low meaning their thyroid is failing, fitness models have dieted so hard that they can’t sleep and feel moody, irritable and lacking in energy, where super fit people are dying of a heart attack at age 50 and more. To look at them you would think they are the perfect specimens of health. But it’s all a lie.
Maggie: While I know I asked you to focus mainly on fitness, can you speak a bit to your dietary worldview and influences?
Kristy: Yes as I mentioned, Dr Ray Peat is the guru when it comes to optimizing health, he especially focuses on women’s hormones, which are so important because they are more fragile than men’s and quickly react to damaging dietary habits like intermittent fasting, keto, low carb, low fat and low calories.
All focus is on nourishing the body in many ways that include food and exercise but it’s so much more than that, encompassing sleep, rest, healthy relationships, mental stimulation, adequate sun exposure and reducing stress from every source.
Maggie: And what has been the positive impact of that way of eating for you?
Kristy: This style of eating and approach to health helped me undo all the symptoms I was left with after 10 years of a low carb/keto diet, which included:-
Body temperature at 35.3C (95.5F)
Obviously then feeling cold all the time – cold hands and feet
Low pulse – 60 bpm
My hair was falling out
Weight was coming back on
Blood tests showed I was heading for pre diabetes
Low white blood cell count – so low immunity
So all of these were reversed and while weight loss with this style of eating is a bit more difficult to nail down, I have managed to do that as well. This is all detailed in another of my books called the Zen Beach Diet which explains everything as well as gives everyone an idea of what to eat and how much to eat.
Maggie: So what projects do you currently have in the works? I think I saw something about a new book! How is this unique and different from things you’ve created in the past?
Kristy: I’ve put all these question together because there are no new projects in the works due to the fact that over last November and December I worked super hard to complete two books I’d already half finished. (An opportune moment between part time jobs!)
These are the dessert recipe book called Sweet Treats and the Zen Beach Diet meal plan book. So I will be in promotion mode for these for the next 12 months.
They are different in that they both follow the Dr Ray Peat style of eating and both are filled with recipes – which I haven’t done before and which everyone was asking me to do. I often get asked ‘what do you eat in a day’ or ‘please can you give me the recipe for that.’ So now they are all available in these books, which are beautifully photographed by my husband who is a professional photographer. You can find his work at www.adrianalfordphotography.com
They are so beautiful that I’ve had a quite a few requests for the Zen Beach Diet to be a printed book as it features gorgeous beaches from around the globe, however it’s only in ebook form at the moment which enables me to sell it around the world.
Maggie: Regarding past programs or books, any you highly suggest we check out?
Kristy: To get your health on track and just settle into a manageable plan of health, I would definitely recommend my Zen Beach Diet and the One Ten Toned book. These will set you on the right path to a peaceful approach to health and weight loss where you’re just doing manageable things consistently and not trying to run around burning off the weight or trying to starve it off which doesn’t work because it ultimately damages your body. Instead we take a relaxed, nourishing approach to help you cope with the stresses of life. They are both available here: http://slimbirdy.com/book/
Maggie: Anything else my audience needs to know?
Kristy: I guess I just want everyone to know that in the past, I was the person who never continued on with an exercise program. I received a free gym membership for a time and still didn’t go. I had done yoga in the past and loved it and was given a yoga mat as a gift but for whatever reason I still didn’t do it. So I could have just felt like a failure and given up, but what I discovered is that it just wasn’t right for me. For some of the other things I just didn’t want to do like boot camp or running etc, now I know they actually damage my health, so I don’t even feel guilty any more that I don’t want to do it! But some kind of movement is essential for health and so is a bit of weight training and whether it’s my short program or something else you enjoy, just do that and leave the intense stuff for those who have a goal other than health.
Maggie: Thank you so much for spending your time and energy answering all my questions. I am so excited to present this to my tribe and see what questions they may have to offer as well!