By age 9 Shirley was already considered overweight!

Throughout her life she continued to struggle with her weight. Between the ages of 30 and 66 she tried 29 different diets and weight loss strategies including hospital programs, Weight Watchers and attending weight loss clinics to work with dieticians. In almost every instance Shirley lost weight by following their diet programs, but sadly she always regained the weight and several kilograms more. Frustrated, she would simply move on to the next weight loss option. Decade by decade she became more obese and by age 61 her weight topped 150kg! At the age of 66 Shirley was struggling to walk. Her right hip had deteriorated to a point where the only option was a total hip replacement. Shirley required the use of a frame to mobilize and often had to drag her right leg. Needless to say, the pain and lack of mobility resulted in a poor quality of life for Shirley. Shirley’s medical consultant felt that the surgery was simply too risky given Shirley’s medical conditions and that the likelihood of achieving a successful (lasting) outcome was lessened by her obesity. The prosthesis would almost certainly wear out in a short period of time under the load of 150kg. Shirley’s Medical Conditions:

  • High blood pressure (medicated)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes (medicated)
  • Osteoarthritis (multiple joints)
  • Right hip joint completely worn out

Shirley had a daunting task ahead of her, lose 30kg or she would likely die. Shirley was referred to the team at Body Genius at the age of 66. The goal was to lose as much weight as possible to help improve her health so that her consultant and surgeon would agree to let her have a total hip replacement. After our initial consultation, the team at Body Genius met to discuss Shirley’s case. Our first step was to have Shirley take several of the Body Genius questionnaires. Her results were as follows:

Digestion 36 60 X 154
Pain & Illness 22 42 X 91
Food Quality 44 X 73 190
Blood Sugar 32 60 X 108
Fungus & Parasites 54 80 X 255
Thyroid 76 X 137 263

The results were pretty clear, Shirley’s gastrointestinal system was not healthy and this was leading to additional problems, which included abnormal blood sugar levels, possible Candida, pain, illness, and dysfunction, and likely thyroid challenges. It was difficult to know precisely when these challenges began. More than likely Shirley had been suffering from ‘poor gut health’ since she was a little girl. But as the years had passed the problems had compounded and Shirley was now suffering from Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis and immobility.

Body Genius – Initial Action Plan

Our first and most important step was to improve Shirley’s eating habits. She had already been keeping a 30-day food diary for us, so we could clearly see the types of foods she had been eating, quantities, macronutrient ratios, and her eating patterns. After analyzing Shirley’s food diary we asked her to begin by removing all processed foods including the bulk of her breads, cereals, pasta and other processed carbohydrates. Likewise, dairy and beans were removed from the diet, as these foods are known gut irritants. Fruit was temporarily removed to help stabilize blood sugar levels. Most foods were cooked thoroughly to make it easier for the digestive system to break them down and assimilate them. Our second step was encouraging Shirley to get active. We asked Shirley to wear a pedometer and quickly realized that Shirley was only taking about 2000 steps per day (the average person takes 10,000 steps per day). It was obvious that Shirley was leading a sedentary lifestyle that was contributing to her ill-health and obesity. Shirley began to work closely with a Body Genius Performance Coach. The coach met with Shirley twice per week for 1 hour at her home and worked through various strategies which included grocery shopping, meal preparation, meal plans and how to become more physically active in her own home. Within 2 months Shirley was taking 5,000 steps per day and performing other strengthening exercises.

Total Hip Replacement

Shirley lost 24kg over the following 4 months and had a right total hip replacement. The next year or so was intense for Shirley as she worked closely with the Body Genius physiotherapist to complete her rehabilitation program. Shirley also continued to work with her Body Genius Performance Coach who continued to progress her strengthening exercises, assisted with her mobility program and kept her on track with her eating plan. Shirley had progressed from using a walking frame (pre surgery) to a walking stick and now, for the first time in 5 years, was walking unaided!

Joining a gym at 68

Shirley was hooked. Her motivation and commitment to becoming healthy was at an all time high. And at the age of 68 Shirley joined a gym for the first time in her life. Guided by her Body Genius Performance Coach, Shirley began to perform functional movement patterns, balance exercises, and metabolic conditioning sessions. She hadn’t been this fit and healthy in almost 50 years.

75kg lost. 6kg to go!

Shirley success over the next 4 years is nothing short of miraculous. By age 72 she had lost 75kg and now for the first time in 50 years weighed 80kg. She had lost half her bodyweight! Throughout this six year period Shirley had blood work done on multiple occasions to test for cholesterol, triglycerides, vitamin D, kidney function, liver function, Celiac disease, thyroid function and various other markers. Shirley’s cholesterol levels had shown a steady decline over this six-year period. Her blood sugar levels had normalized and her doctor had been able to reduce her diabetes medication. The team at Body Genius also asked Shirley to retake several of the questionnaires at various times. The results from March 2011 were as follows:

Digestion 36 60 X 154
Pain & Illness 22  X 42 91
Food Quality  X 44 73 190
Blood Sugar 32  X 60 108
Fungus & Parasites 54 80 X 255
Thyroid 76 X 137 263

Despite having lost nearly 80kg in body fat Shirley continued to suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms. Her food intake was nearly perfect with 95% of her diet coming from whole foods. And yet her questionnaire scores and her list of symptoms were far from perfect. We had to consider several options as to what may be causing these ongoing symptoms:

  1. Gluten intolerance or Celiac disease
  2. Fructose intolerance
  3. Fungal infections such as Candida
  4. Leaky gut (Intestinal Permeability)
  5. Heavy metal toxicity
  6. Other challenge

Despite Shirley’s blood work coming back negative for Celiac disease, we were highly suspicious that she had gluten intolerance. As such her nutritional plan was cleared 100% of any gluten containing foods. Shirley was advised to have ‘treats’ that were gluten free as well and to be very careful of any sauces (i.e. soy sauce) that may have gluten hiding within. Shirley’s nutritional plan was also carefully structured to help minimize fructose load at each meal. This meant that certain foods were removed altogether, such as dates, and other foods were only eaten in specific quantities to help control fructose load. Shirley’s nutritional plan looked like this:

  • Sugar was very minimal and ‘treats’ were selected carefully
  • Gluten free (all grains including rice had been eliminated)
  • Dairy free
  • Legume free (no beans)
  • Low fructose load at each meal
  • 50-70% of all foods were being cooked thoroughly to aid digestion
  • Specific supplements were being used to aid digestion

The Body Genius naturopath also performed a hair mineral analysis and repeated several blood tests. Based on these results a few natural supplements were implemented to assist with the healing process. The primary focus of the Body Genius team was to continue to work towards a healthy ‘gut’ for Shirley. At the age of 72, and to the amazement of Shirley’s doctor, she has been able to cease use of her diabetes medication, which she had been taking for nearly 12 years. Likewise, her cardiologist has stated that she will likely be able to come off her blood pressure medication in the next few months as well. Shirley continues to work with her Performance Coach on a weekly basis. She maintains an active lifestyle, enjoys exercising on a daily basis, and continues to improve on all her functional performance tests. Shirley remains highly motivated and along with her new body and improved health she enjoys a high quality of life. Shirley has been truly inspirational to the entire team at Body Genius.

Results may vary.

“I have now been working with the team at Body Genius for nearly 7 years.

During this time period I have lost 75kg and my health has improved significantly.

My Performance Coach, Rob Macpherson, has been incredible.”