Know your Metabolic Rate (BMR)

A recent report just came out on the winners of the very popular TV show “The Biggest Loser”.
It’s that train wreck show we cannot help but watch. Vastly overweight people are put through grueling workouts, separated from their families and underfed for months on end until the last one standing (literally and figuratively) that has lost the most weight claims their prize and is thrown back into normal life.

A study followed 14 contestants and reports that over 6 years 13 of them regained all the weight back.
Can you even imagine what this must do mentally to a person? It must have taken a huge leap to even enter the show, then to be filmed looking their worst whilst exercising off some 14000 calories a day and eating very little. The glory of returning the normal life a semi-celebrity only to be right back where you started.

One of the main reasons that nearly every contestant put the weight back on is due to the body’s ability to adapt to an extreme environment and it is the same reason most people that do their own or a commercial diet can pretty much expect the same result.

BMR or RMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate. Used interchangeably BMR/RMR represent how much energy your body needs just to exist at rest. Just lying in your bed exerting no energy there is an absolute amount of energy that needs to exist. Your organs and systems all have an energy requirement that tick away even when you are at rest.

If for example, your RMR is 2000 calories per day, that means you need 2000 calories just to exist. Your activity, lifestyle, and exercise are then additional energy requirements.

If you go onto a VLCD (very low-calorie diet) that were very popular in the 70’s and 80’s and eat 1000 calories per day you will most certainly lose weight …. At first.
For 4-6 weeks your body might indulge you and burn off stored energy (not always body fat) to make up for the lack of food intake. After a point your metabolism will simply adjust to less food and your RMR will reduce so that now what you used to need 2000 calories to do you now need only 1400 calories a day to do.

The diet ends (as all VLCD do) and now you burn few calories. You go back to eating normal way (because the diet didn’t teach you how to maintain your weight loss) and now the weight comes back plus a few extra pounds to boot.

What to do ?? Go back on the diet of course (urghhh) now you RMR is 1400 calories per day drops to 1000 calories per day. You have also at this point lost muscle which itself is metabolically active and burns calories even at rest.

You can see the issue. A study followed women who had been on at least 10 low-calorie diets and on average they were all 20 lb heavier.

It does not have to be this way and at The Shrink Shop, one of the very first things we do is test your Resting Metabolic Rate. It only takes 10 minutes to know how many calories you use at rest. Your nutrition program and exercise routine is based around protecting and even promoting your RMR so that the weight loss you achieve can be maintained long-term.

There was a landmark study done after World War 2 called The Minnesota Starvation Study which proved this very thing. We have known that the body can and will adapt to severe deprivation in as little as just a few weeks and we have known this information since the 1940’s !!

The Biggest Loser is indeed a testament to the contestant’s determination and willpower but they did indeed lose but not in the way the name suggests

Just sad and unnecessary.

We have the Metabolic machine in Eagle, Idaho and in Santa Monica, CA.  Let me know where you live and I will try to locate a similar device in your area.

Ladies over 35 hormones running wild

Ladies, it can all start in your mid 30’s, your hormones start to run wild, creating chaos with your mind, mood and body

Women deal with periods, PMS, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, PCOS, perimenopause until finally menopause. Men just get old!

Ladies we deal with so much, for decades no two weeks are the same with constant body fluctuations. In our 30’s and 40’s what looms on the horizon is the dreaded “Change”. Menopause the official step into maturity. The reality is, however, is that the tricky time is actually before we enter menopause and can last several years. So here is a little overview on what to expect and how to maybe make things a little better.


As women, we have 2 hormones dancing around each month, Estrogen and Progesterone. As we age both start to decline but it is progesterone that declines most rapidly. Although both hormones are dropping it is the greater decline of progesterone that increases the ratio between the 2 hormones and leaves us with estrogen dominance.

The reason we call it Estrogen dominance is because although estrogen is declining the gap between estrogen and progesterone is even greater because of the progesterone drop.
Estrogen dominance can be absolutely miserable because of mood changes (the glass becomes half empty and anxiety can set in), PMS that seems to last weeks with greater water retention and bloating and noticeable weight gain around the middle


Bloodwork may show the decline in both hormones and I have seen some clients treated with estrogen therapy, this, however, can make the situation worse, making a lady, even more, estrogen dominant.
The answer depends on you. Many ladies are against any type of hormone therapy. For those ladies, it is best to keep a low carbohydrate diet as estrogen and insulin are the devil’s playmates and will add to your waistline. For the other ladies, it is well worth exploring the use of a bioidentical progesterone.
I will speak only of my experience as I started using progesterone when I was 47. The water retention that was driving me crazy subsided in just a few days and my mood lifted almost immediately.
I am a pretty cheerful lady and that was the worst. My thoughts we a little depressed and my drive and motivation was stuck in park.

Knowledge is key ladies and I am not trying to sway you in either direction but if you have started to notice some changes but know that you are not menopausal due to a regular cycle it may be a good idea to get a hormonal blood panel from your doctor and have “that: conversation.

If you want a little help finding the right doctor let us know and we can maybe help you with that and if you would like a nutrition plan based on these hormonal years then please get in touch as this subject is one close to my heart.

If sleep is an issue as it is with so many, click on the image below or go to Amazon and search The Shrink Shop sleep Formula.  Much more than melatonin.  12 all natural potent herbs to get you to sleep and to keep you asleep.  Absolutely our favorite product

Ladies over 35 I know its all getting a little cra cra but I hoped this explained why your hormones are running wild and how to help

Fat our Fabulous Friend

In the 1970’s and 1980’s all we knew were calories and Fat has twice the calories of protein or carbohydrates so that was reason enough to swear off eating any. But back in the 1970’s and 1980’s we were all STARVING!

This is why
When we eat protein or carbohydrates they are broken down into their smallest form so that they can enter the blood. A piece of chicken cannot enter the blood as chicken it has to be broken down and all proteins are broken down into single units of amino acids and in this form they can enter the blood.
A bowl of pasta cannot enter the blood as pasta shells it too has to be broken down into its smallest form, that being single units of glucose.

This breakdown of nutrients starts in the mouth for carbohydrates (which is why they are sweet when we break them down with our teeth. Chewing starts to break the chemical bonds and we get our first hit. Proteins and carbohydrates enter the stomach and are broken down quite a bit there, they then continue on to the small intestine where more digestion/breakdown takes place and nutrients get taken up into the blood.

Fat, however, has a different path. Those egg yolks, that butter or avocado enter our stomach of course but they remain there unaltered. If there is no breakdown/digestion going on then that fat food sits there unchanged leaving us feeling pretty full. Fat then goes on to the small intestine where is starts to get broken down into fatty acids. Even then fat is unique as it doesn’t enter the blood at this point like our proteins and carbohydrates. Fat gets digested by bile that comes from the nearby gallbladder and it enters our lymph system where it does the rounds before entering the liver and eventually, it enters the blood.

That is one hell of a detour.


What we want to take away is that when we include fat with our meal it stays in your stomach longer and unaltered which helps us feel full. It is the reason that when we go to that fancy French restaurant and they bring out our meal and we think it’s a child’s portion, we surprisingly feel very full after eating so very little. The French are known for their rich foods and sauces (and small portions) and maybe that’s really why they can stay so skinny (because it is not the red wine – don’t believe that hype!)

Let’s get this party started! Who, What, Why

Ladies and Gents born after say 1985, this blog is for you.  Once we get into our mid 30’s things start to change.

What worked before isn’t working anymore, taking your shirt off or wearing a bikini becomes more uncomfortable and it seems like your body is working against you.  Before you resign yourself to “middle age” please start reading and watching this blog.


Everything that is happening to you can be explained and its really quite fascinating once you start to figure out what is going on and what you can do about it.  I will tell you right now that counting calories and adding minutes to your cardio will do very little to help.  Intake and expenditure are important but its a little like focusing on what color to paint a room when the house is built on sand.

Who am I?  Joanne Lee Cornish, you can read full bio in the sidebar.  I was a pro bodybuilder and although I hate to dig up old photos I probably will just to show you I know what I am talking about 🙂  I am 50 and I was an Independent trainer in Gold Gym Venice, CA for 24 years.  I think few will dispute that I made my mark there and was classed as one of the top trainers in the most famous gym in the world.  Outside of Golds I had (and still have), a nutrition business called  The Shrink Shop (hence the name of this blog) Although the name suggests weight loss, my niche is really conditioning and that may be adding muscle and/or losing fat.

I’ve been designing meal plans for over 20 years but about 10 years ago I wrote a seminar series called “If Diets Worked We’d All Be Skinny” it was a 6 part series where I explained everything from childhood obesity to bloating, hormonal weight gain, alcohol, sleep, stress and of course nutrition.  Well, seminar #1 I presented to about 6 of my friends who were kind enough to turn up to support me.  By seminar #6 we were at capacity with people standing in the hallway taking notes.  I was asked to repeat the whole series which I did but we had to move to a larger location.

Does that mean I’m so great?  not really.  What was obvious was that people were really interested in understanding what was going on with their bodies, behaviors and were looking for solutions they could implement with confidence.  This was a game changer for me, as i really find all this stuff totally fascinating but I hadn’t realized so many people felt the same way.

This blog is intended to be informative and fun.  If you have any questions or ideas please let me know

The Shrink Shop was founded on the belief that given clear, valid information, people will make better choices all by themselves.

So let’s get started!

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