Diet Rules to Break (and Follow) for PCOS Weight Loss [Podcast]

PCOS Podcast 89 - Diet Rules“I just felt like something was wrong with me. I didn’t realize there’s something wrong with the rules and the process that I was following. It just felt like I was flawed and here I was trying to lose weight and the only thing I was losing was self-worth and self-confidence.” -Cassie Bjork

Many dietitians are telling you what Coke (and other big food corporations) want you to hear. It’s not necessarily their fault. Outdated interpretations of unscientific data set many of the diet standards we are taught from childhood. Cassie Bjork is not your average dietitian. She is a globally recognized industry leader and one of my go-to experts for weight loss. In this podcast she explains why low fat, low carb, calorie counting diets and exhausting work-outs are not helping you lose weight. It’s time to consider the big picture including what you eat, thyroid, stress, and sleep too. Listen (or read the transcript) as we discuss:

  • Questions to ask your dietitian
  • The physical and emotional power of surrender
  • Why counting calories doesn’t work
  • Why you must eat fat
  • the truth about cholesterol


Mentioned in the podcast: 10rulestobreak.com

Complete Transcript Follows

All PCOS Diva podcasts are available on   itunes-button

Cassie Bjork is a globally recognized industry leader in weight loss, a highly sought-after speaker, and the #1 international best-selling author of Why Am I Still Fat?: The Hidden Keys to Unlocking That Stubborn Weight Loss. For over ten years, she has helped tens of thousands of women and men achieve the bodies and lives they want—not by starving or skimping, but by eating foods that fuel effective and sustainable weight loss.

Cassie is the creator of the Rule Breakers Weight Loss Coaching Program that uses her proprietary methodology to help members lose weight and keep it off — FOR GOOD. She and her team identify the missing puzzle pieces for health and weight loss (which conventional doctors and nutritionists often miss), providing members with a full picture of how their bodies function, and addressing the issues hindering metabolism and weight loss by solving each individual’s physiological puzzle. She is also the founder of the VeroVive™ vitamin line at RFvitamins.com.

Cassie is a Registered Dietitian, but not your stereotypical dietitian. After nearly a decade as a licensed dietitian in the state of Minnesota, she relinquished her certification in 2018 so that she could be free to teach what gets results—rather than being mandated to adhere to the outdated approaches promoted by governing bodies under the influence of Big Food.

Cassie speaks widely and contributes a regular column, “Real Talk with Cassie” in Paleo Magazine. Virtually every major media outlet—including CBS, ABC, WCCO, FOX News, CNN, TIME, Parade, Cosmopolitan, SELF, SHAPE, Women’s Health, and HuffPost—has covered Cassie’s debunking of dieting lies as she shares the truth about food, weight loss, and overall health.

Complete Transcript:

Amy:                                     Hello, everyone. Today we’re going to be talking to one of my favorite registered dieticians, but she’s not the typical registered dietician. She’ll have an opportunity to explain that for you in just a minute. I just wanted to say, the reason why Cassie Bjork really resonates with me is I think we came to a similar conclusion. I know when I was looking to help women in a greater way, I considered going back to school to become a registered dietician. You know, after looking at the curriculum and what was being taught, I realized that that was not the philosophy that healed me. I was looking for something that was more holistic, more aligned with the food approach that helped me become a diva and I ended up going back to school to become a health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Amy:                                     It really was very much an integral part of helping me become a PCOS Diva and teach me this philosophy of thriving with PCOS. When I had the opportunity to meet Cassie, gosh, like three or four years ago we were at a workshop together and hear her personal story and what drove her to become a dietician and then really expand to do the work that she’s doing in the world. I knew that I had found a kindred spirit. Cassie is a globally recognized industry leader in weight loss. She really is one of my go-to experts for weight loss. She has a fantastic bestselling book called, “Why Am I Still Fat?: The Hidden Keys to Unlocking That Stubborn Weight Loss.” As I said she’s a registered dietician but not your stereotypical dietician.

Amy:                                     After nearly a decade as a licensed dietician in the state of Minnesota, she relinquished her certification in 2018 so that she could be free to teach what gets results rather than being mandated to adhere to the outdated approaches promoted by governing bodies under the influence of big food. Welcome, Cassie, to the PCOS Diva Podcast.

Cassie Bjork:                       Thanks Amy. I’m so excited to be here. I’m a Diva too so I think that’s why we get along so well.

Amy:                                     I know. I have to go back, I don’t know, maybe it was about a year ago where was it the American Heart Association came out with guidelines about coconut oil. I was so frustrated with the fact that now coconut oil which I still use on a daily basis in my smoothies and in my cooking is now characterized as the villain fat. I saw a very influential PCOS dietician post on Facebook, “Okay, ladies, we need to put our coconut oil away and use it for our skin and not in our diet.” I think the next day you came out with a fabulous article about debunking this whole coconut oil myth. I think soon after that was when you relinquished your certification. Tell us in your words what is your story about giving up that hard-earned dietician license.

Cassie Bjork:                       Thank you. That’s so funny that you brought that up, about that coconut oil article. I’ve always been one that’s known for busting myths and looking back to what the actual evidence and scientific data shows. What’s so interesting about when the American Heart Association released that report last year is that it wasn’t actually news because they had no new evidence. What they actually did was a review on past studies or they called it existing data which we already knew wasn’t even based on science anyway. They’ve never had a good reason to tell us not to eat saturated fats, healthy saturated fats like coconut oil. That one drove me nuts, and I think it drove a lot of people nuts because within just minutes it had thousands of shares.

I think it’s important to get these messages out there because there’s so many things that we believe about food, and nutrition, and weight loss, and PCOS that just aren’t true and aren’t based on actual science. To dive in a little bit, I guess back where I started, I became a dietician because I had this passion for fitness and helping people and I knew that food … I mean, I think probably most of us can agree that food is really powerful and it’s one of the answers to living life to our fullest potential. That was my focus and that was the bullseye. I wanted to learn the rules about food and how it works, so I can help other people eat healthy and follow those, “rules,” too. Actually, I was always like a rule follower as a kid.

I was raised Catholic and I knew that there were rewards to following the rules so I followed them. When I went to school to be a dietician, I did the same thing and almost right away … I was in my early 20s so maybe I didn’t know how to listen to my intuition as well as I do now, but I did everything they told me to do in school and in the textbooks, and I bet maybe you probably definitely a lot of your listeners can relate to this, eating low fat and low calorie. I downed those 100 calorie snack packs and I worked out like a maniac. I was pounding up miles on the treadmill and doing cardio a couple of times a day and then what was crazy, Amy, and this was so unexpected for me, is I gained weight. Not just two or five or 10 pounds, I gained 20 pounds and it wasn’t muscle.

I did what I was told to do is I double down on these dieting rules. I worked out harder. I ate less, and I just told my body it’s going to follow these rules and it’s going to obey except it didn’t. I got hungrier and moodier and heavier. My waistline expanded. This is like where my whole journey started where just there was so much shame around this and so much blame around this. I just felt like something was wrong with me. I didn’t realize there’s something wrong with the rules and the process that I was following. It just felt like I was flawed and here I was trying to lose weight and the only thing I was losing was self-worth and self-confidence. It wasn’t until I got a call from my mother. I was still in dietician school.

My father had to be rushed into immediate major heart surgery after he collapsed while running a race in my hometown. This was like this huge wake up call for me because my father was the picture of health. He was physically active. He also ate low fat and all the things that you can imagine we are told to do to stay healthy. His heart had failed him. The thing was he was following all these same dieting rules that I was. I’ll never forget, being in his room at the hospital when the hospital dietician came in and she told him to keep doing all the things he’d already been doing. Eat low fat, eat low calories, stay active. I was in school to be a dietician, I didn’t say that I was but I just said to her, “You know, he’s already doing all of those things.”

Cassie Bjork:                       She said, “Good. Keep doing them.” I was like, “Okay, that’s what landed him on your operating table.” That was the moment, the wakeup call for me like the beginning of my journey of me figuring out what was actually going on and trying to figure out this on my own because what I was being taught wasn’t working for me, wasn’t working for my dad. I saw this life and death possibility of this protocol that I was learning in school and of course that’s really when I dug in to the research and found that most of these, “rules,” that we’ve been told about food and dieting and weight loss, they’re flat out wrong and they’re outdated, one. They’re heavily influenced by large companies and industries who stand to gain from putting up misinformation. Most of all, they’re not working. They’re not making anyone healthier.

Amy:                                     I think that a lot of people can absolutely resonate with your story in one way or another. I know, I refer to that era as the SnackWell fat-free era because I used to love those SnackWell-

Cassie Bjork:                       The green packaging.

Amy:                                     Right, right. That’s when I was really suffering from PCOS the most too when I was eating fat-free, high sugar, lots of sugar, fat-free frozen yogurt, bagels, fat-free cream cheese. That’s what I subsisted on. How did you shift your thinking especially now that you knew that the diet was making your dad sick? How did you recover from that Standard American Diet? How did you help your dad recover?

Cassie Bjork:                       I think when I was really diving into the research on all this, when I was questioning all these rules and I was reading out the nutrition research I could get my hands on, I was really dumbstruck by what I discovered. I was reading that cholesterol wasn’t the villain that we were told it was, in fact it’s actually an essential nutrient and high fat diets weren’t unhealthy at all. In fact, they appear to actually be more beneficial than high carb ones because of how they regulate blood sugar and insulin. I learned that there’s a lot more that goes into metabolism than just calories and there’s other important factors like hormones and thyroid and stress and sleep.

I was reading all these and it brought up a lot of really big questions for me like, why is the foundation of the government’s dietary recommendation the food pyramid why is it carbs? Why was I seeing on my dietician license exams that a 100 calorie pack of crackers is healthier and more preferable than an avocado which is a real food? I just started to think about stuff like this like, why has our nation consistently been getting more overweight and disease-ridden if these approaches were supposed to work? It just seemed like everything that I’ve been learning in school was backwards.

That’s really when I started to shift things for myself and every new piece of information I was learning seemed to really buck the rules that I was learning in dietician school. I started to let go of all these old mentalities that I was learning and instead of counting calories, I started to eat more calories and eat more fat instead of eating less. I actually put the brakes on exercise a little bit too because I’ve been doing so much of it and that’s when I had been gaining weight. It’s almost like once I started to relax into this not obsessive lifestyle and just let go, that’s when things started changing for me. That was the craziest and just to …

Spoiler alert, to flash forward, the craziest thing now for all of our clients that go through our weight loss coaching program is they’re like, “I get to eat more and exercise less and actually enjoy my life and live and eat the foods that I love like bacon and butter and have dessert and I’m losing weight.” They’re like, “How is this even possible?” Because it’s so backwards to what we’ve been taught for so long.

Amy:                                     I think we all get caught up, I call it that diet deprivation and denial mindset and just the art, I call the art of allowing. When you just allow yourself to have some of these foods that you truly love and that satisfy you on a deep level, it’s healing on so many different levels. The other thing I wanted to say is the exercise piece and I write about this in my book that like you, my cardio, I would run … I know I went a year where I ran every single day of the year. I was proud of that fact. It was this battle mentality with my body and I got shin splints and had to really give that up and had to start walking. I couldn’t understand, so I ran all the time to try to burn the calories, but then once I started walking, the weight effortlessly came off that was so stubborn and I couldn’t lose. It just seem so counterintuitive.

Cassie Bjork:                       It does. I remember back when I used to run marathons which I don’t do anymore because I don’t think they’re healthy to do all the time like I was doing back then. I remember just thinking to myself, I remember I was leading this running group and somebody asked me, they said, “How is it that there can be all these marathon runners that are overweight.” I mean, there’s not a lot of runners that are overweight but there are some and it’s like, when you’re burning that many calories, how do you cross the finish line not thinner than you were when you started training? I think it’s just one of those things that so many people don’t realize because we’re still told eat less, exercise more, and that’s the key to metabolism and weight loss.

Even though that’s old information, that’s still being ingrained in our heads and something that you just don’t hear a lot about is inflammation and how when you’re pounding on a pavement like that and putting in all of these miles and not really taking a break which is what happens when you’re training when you’re running all the time, there’s this inflammation in your body that is compounding. When you don’t take a break from it, it’s like your body has to put all of its energy and resources into healing and that’s how weight gain can actually happen as a result no matter how many calories you’re burning.

It’s like there’s these little fires or this big fires in your body that your body is always going to focus on putting out first and that’s why we don’t have energy and we can actually gain weight from exercising which is so counterintuitive. It’s so backwards from what we’ve been told for so long but we’re seeing that’s exactly what happens.

Amy:                                     I’ve wanted to ask you for your advice. A lot of women are going to their doctor’s offices, they’ve been given the PCOS diagnosis, they’re given the birth control pill and sometimes the diabetic drug Metformin. Then they’re often referred to a dietician or a nutritionist for nutrition counseling afterwards. A lot of these dieticians they’re your typical follow along with the American Dietetic Association’s guidelines. They’re told women with PCOS should go on a low carb or no carb diet. Women just aren’t getting the results that they need in order to start healing their PCOS. When you’re given that referral to a dietician, maybe you can arm people with some questions that they can ask or just some advice on how to move forward with the dietician.

Cassie Bjork:                       That’s such a tricky one because dieticians definitely are not all cut from the same cloth. There’s so many different approaches. I think one thing that I’ve been personally tapping into a lot more is how does it feel. I think a lot of people when they walk into a room and they meet someone else you start to chat about your health and you start to see what their approach is. You have that feeling inside of you that either feels really good and really right or something about it just doesn’t quite feel right. Something doesn’t resonate and something just feels tight in your chest. You’re maybe putting your fist up a little bit kind of in defense mode.

I think that’s something to really pay attention to because I know that’s happened for a lot of our clients when they’ve met with a dietician in the past who has been telling them information that just doesn’t quite seem right or maybe it’s the stuff you’ve heard over and over again that hasn’t worked for you and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the different results. I think that’s just the big picture. A little bit of woo woo right there, but I think that’s really important to pay attention to. The other thing is just like I mentioned, pay attention to is what they’re telling you is something you’ve already done in the past. If they’re telling you to count calories which I think a lot of dieticians are still recommending this for PCOS even to this day.

Amy:                                     Carb, carb load and carb-

Cassie Bjork:                       Yeah, eating more carbs and eating less calories and exercising more. I totally disagree with that and I think that a lot of women who have PCOS, they’ve already tried that before. They’ve done a lot of their own research, a lot of times that’s the first step you come across because it’s just so prevalent, there’s so much mixed information out there and I think it’s okay to question those things and to do it respectfully. I think that’s the one thing that can be really scary when you’re talking to a healthcare professional whether it’s your doctor or a dietician is questioning things and it doesn’t have to be like, “Hey, look at this study that I read. I don’t think I should be counting calories.”

Cassie Bjork:                       I can just be questioning and saying, “I’ve tried that before, it doesn’t seem to work for me. I have heard some information about doing the opposite of that. What do you think of that?” I think just starting that conversation because ultimately you are in control of your health and it can be easy to blame your doctor, blame the dietician. It’s up to you and if you are going to see a healthcare practitioner that doesn’t have an approach that resonates with you, you don’t have to go back to them. You can go see somebody else. I think that’s the really exciting empowering thing about all this information that we have at our fingertips and on the internet and on podcast like yours is that we are so much more empowered and we don’t have to continue following the advice of a practitioner if it doesn’t resonate with us.

Amy:                                     That’s great advice. I talk about being a diva at the doctor. It’s not in a rude way. It’s just standing up and advocating for yourself and making sure that your voice and your needs are heard. It’s the same thing.

Cassie Bjork:                       Totally.

Amy:                                     Maybe you could tell us a little bit more about the industry, the dietician industry, maybe some other reasons why you stepped away.

Cassie Bjork:                       I wanted to circle back to that a little bit. I’m totally happy to dive in and talk about what happened with me. I also want to just preface this by saying that I think that my situation with licensure and all these that we’re going to go into I think it demonstrates a significant problem in the industry and in the credentialing process and in governing boards, and I don’t think that every dietician will run into what I ran into. This might be one of those outlier situations, and it could also be the beginning of more like this. I don’t know and I don’t have the answer, but I just want to share that whether you’re a consumer listening to this or even a professional in the healthcare industry.

I just want to share what happened to me and hope just to spread the awareness because the thing is the day that I earned my certification as a licensed dietician, this was one of the most important days of my life. I worked really, really hard for that credential and the authority that I believe that it gave me, I was like ready to use it. I was gung-ho. I was ready to help people with their health and weight loss goals and then what happened was just a few years into my career something really unexpected happened. The Minnesota Board of Nutrition and Dietetics, they served me with papers to cease and desist my approach to weight loss.

Then from there, I fought for almost six years to keep my license and it was earlier this year that I finally surrendered it. Just to recap, at the beginning, remember I was confused what we were taught in dietician school and I followed the rules and I had gained the over 20 pounds, and I questioned those rules. I set out on this journey of discovering what the research actually showed and it brought up all those big questions. To my pleasant surprise as I applied all the new information that I was learning to my own life, that’s when my life began to change. That’s when my energy levels went up, my cravings disappeared, the pounds came off, and I knew I was onto something.

All of these research that I did back in the day, that became the foundation for our Rule Breakers Weight Loss Coaching Program. Then what happened was over the next eight years we would help thousands of women lose weight and keep it off for good and not by starving and skimping and doing all these things that we’ve been told for so long but by actually eating things they love and feeling the sustainable weight loss. What’s really interesting is that our approach worked and our clients shed weight, they gained energy, they healed chronic ailments. They tapped into these new level spiritually, physically, emotionally. The only reason our approach worked, I believe, is because it rejected these outdated rules of traditional dietician training.

Cassie Bjork:                       These were the very rules that I was obligated to uphold as a licensed dietician. The board didn’t like what I was doing. They didn’t think I should be talking about thyroid or hormones or supplements or really anything other than low fat, low calorie food. They wanted me to just stick to these rules. There’s a fork in the road, and I had a choice. I could change how and what I teach or I could relinquish my license. It wasn’t an overnight decision. In a lot of ways it wasn’t even really my decision, it was really forced upon me in a lot of ways, and I really fought to keep it because I thought it was really important, and I worked really hard for it.

Cassie Bjork:                       When I was at that fork in the road there was this side that was like, I can just limit all my capabilities and limit my knowledge and teach what’s not aligned with me and what I don’t believe is true, or I can keep doing everything that I know is right and actually be able to help people and just not have that license anymore. I could have continued to fight, I didn’t actually lose my license, but since that very license wasn’t aligned with what I stand for, that’s why I decided to give it up.

Amy:                                     You have to have personal integrity in this business. You know what, I find for me it comes into play when I have probably in a daily basis people reach out to me to promote products for them. You know, they’re willing to throw lots of money at me to promote their whatever supplements or product it may be, but 99% of the time I reject that because it’s not aligned with my personal rules I guess that I’ve set up for myself. It makes me able to sleep at night because I do that. I don’t know. Your journey with this reminds me about the choices that I make on a daily basis to align myself with my own rules.

Cassie Bjork:                       We want to be following people and listening to the advice of people that we can feel integrity, you totally can. I think what was so interesting about all of this too is well, first of all, my program I mentioned earlier it’s called the Rule Breakers. I just thought it was funny that maybe that was a happy accident that we called it that at the time because we’re breaking all these dieting rules and then that’s why they came after me. Also, it’s just like kismet in this way that my businesses had grown to the point where we were scaling and we were growing so much. We’re growing like gangbusters, and it was like fighting this battle was hard for six years but when it came to be like this point where I had to make this decision it was like, of course.

It’s just so in line with what I believe and nothing is going to be stopping us now. It was almost like it was worth it at the beginning to try to fight to keep it, and there came a point where it was like, what am I doing? What is the real motivation behind this? Maybe it was just because I was stubborn. Maybe it was because I was proud that I earned that license, but it became this natural, it just felt really natural and really light to just release it.

Amy:                                     I think that’s important for all of us listening and that’s part of health is releasing the things that are weighing us down and letting those go so we can expend our energy on things that are more productive.

Cassie Bjork:                       I love that you used the word energy because I don’t think I really realized how much it was weighing on me. I knew that it was, there was a lot to it. I had to go to court multiple times. I was filling out all these interrogation forms and going through just this whole process. I had three attorneys on the case. I could have won. My case was pretty good and my attorneys were really good, and I think part of it was like to prove a point like I can do this and what I’m doing is working. It was almost like they were trying to embarrass me and shame me while I had this amazing program that was working because of all the reasons they were trying to shame me.

Cassie Bjork:                       It was very confusing for me in ways but then it was like I was putting so much energy, even the energy that I didn’t even realize I was expending, it was like always there hanging over my head. It almost felt like when I gave it up it’s like I don’t know like a little bird that had a rubber band around its wings or something.

Amy:                                     I love that, that vision.

Cassie Bjork:                       It’s released.

Amy:                                     I think a lot of women listening too that are struggling with trying to conceive, in that surrendering I think when I was taking on coaching clients, I really encourage women to just take the summer off from trying to conceive and just let it go and surrender. Often it would happen that they would get pregnant just by letting that negative or not that it’s negative, but it’s just constantly on your mind and weighing you down. If you can let that go and let yourself fly and soar again, miracles happen.

Cassie Bjork:                       I love that. I mean, that’s what happened to me in my weight loss journey and we see this happen for so many of our clients. It’s almost like I was trying so hard to control it. I was counting every single calorie and I was burning more than I was taking in. I had this whole schedule planned out of the things I would eat and when I would work out. Controlling it actually was backfiring, that’s when I was gaining weight. Then when I just let all that go, and I started to eat in a way that I would fuel my body and I relax about it, I even started to have dessert, it didn’t make sense to me back then. I was like, how is this happening that I’m losing weight now that I’ve stopped trying?

Cassie Bjork:                       We see this happen with every single one of our clients and they just get so excited and confused and just perplexed like how could this be happening. I think a really big part of that is that when you just let go and remove that stress like we’re putting the stress onto our bodies and we know that stress can cause weight gain independent of nutrition and exercise and anything else. Just being stressed out can actually increase your blood sugar levels and cause weight gain just by being stressed. I mean, that’s not even talking about stress eating and the food choices that we might make when we’re stressed out in attempt to numb and to compensate for that.

Cassie Bjork:                       I think it’s just a beautiful thing when you can just release and surrender that your body knows what to do and your body can take care of you but it’s when we’re trying to control and force, it just doesn’t seem to work in any area of our life including conception, including weight loss.

Amy:                                     I mean, I think that’s one of the rule breakers that you must have which I’d like to talk about. I really want to have you back on the show so we can talk about weight loss specifically but was wondering if you could give us maybe a little tease of some take aways from this.

Cassie Bjork:                       Yeah, definitely. I always like to think of it like anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight and has struggled to do it has probably asked themselves, “What am I doing wrong?” I learned the hard way and most people do that most of these rules we’ve been told about food and dieting are just flat out wrong. There are certain rules that deserve breaking and that’s actually why we call our weight loss program Rule Breakers because what it means is that in order to lose weight and keep it off and to be healthy like actually healthy, we got to break the rules that never served us in the first place and really get to the truth about food and about our bodies and about metabolism and weight loss and life.

Let’s see. A few of the sexiest rules that I think we need to break, one of them I’ve already foreshadowed quite a bit is just stop calorie counting. We want to break that rule of calorie counting. I think I like to explain this like when you’re in a quest to boost your metabolism and to lose weight and keep it off, you don’t want to be counting calories. It’s like if you had a fire going and you keep putting wood in the fire to get it to burn, if you take away the wood, it stops burning. Your metabolism is like that. When you take away the food and you take away the energy, it slows down. It tries to conserve its energy and that’s why anybody who’s ever tried counting calories knows that you just feel awful.

It’s hard to think and you get headaches and just cravings and low energy levels. You just feel tired and irritable and hungry. Then you don’t even obtain the desired results because if you lose weight calorie counting, you just gain it all back anyway when you eat because now your body doesn’t trust you and it’s trying to compensate even more so you feel horrible and awful about yourself. Maybe you lose a few pounds but you gain it all back, and it’s just this battle that you’re destined to lose. Eat more. I have this free training, it’s actually called, “Eat More to Lose More.” We want you eating more food to lose more weight because what we need to do is fuel your metabolism.

I think that when it comes to eating fat, I think that’s another huge rule we want to break is that whole eat low fat rule. This is one that probably frustrates me the most because that’s what that dietician told my father after his heart surgery was that she told him to eat low fat even though I think that’s what landed him on that operating table in the first place. We got to eat the right kids of fat. I talk about fat, I’m talking about butter. I’m known as the dietician who tells people to eat butter to lose weight, real butter, not margarine. Coconut oil we talked about, avocado, even dark chocolate, that can be a source of healthy fat. It’s okay to have dessert too.

I think that whole balance in life can be daunting and hard to achieve because we’re so used to restricting and trying to control but I think earlier Amy you referenced this a little bit. I wanted to circle back to this too was when we take things completely off limits, we want them. When someone sets a rule, we want to break it. I think that’s the thing that’s really cool is when you’re like, “Oh yeah, I mean, I can have dessert if I feel like it.” Then you take a bite, and if it’s not even worth it, you put it back down. If it’s worth it, you have it and then you’re satisfied instead of having it be like this thing you can’t have, this thing you can’t have and all of a sudden you eat like 12 of the desserts. I think there’s that whole, the mindset is super, super powerful.

Amy:                                     I totally agree with that. I have this little story in my book about always grabbing a Snickers bar at the grocery store and putting on the conveyor belt, shamefully sticking it in my purse and then eating it on the way home, stuffing the wrapper under the seat and pretending it never happened. There was nothing really satisfying about that experience at all. Once I started allowing myself to have some really delicious dark chocolate every now and then and really savoring the experience, you don’t need as much. There’s so much more pleasure in just allowing yourself to experience that pleasure and the pleasure of something really delicious is important.

Cassie Bjork:                       I love that. It’s funny because even over the past 10 years when I’ve been doing this and having my Instagram and my Facebook, what I’ve been posting has changed. I remember when I used to have dessert I wouldn’t post it. I’ll be like, “I’m supposed to be this dietician setting a good example. I’m not even going to show anybody that I’m doing that.” There was definitely some shame associated with it. “I hope nobody sees me in public.” I remember being with friends being like, “If people recognize me,” especially in Minnesota, I’m like, “If anybody sees me eating this dessert they’re just going to think I’m a fraud,” but there’s so much power in owning your choice just like you’re talking about that Snickers bar at the check-out.

Now, when I have dessert I’ll post about it and say, “I don’t have dessert very often and I’m really excited and I’m going to enjoy every single bite of this dessert that I’m having right now.” It’s this intentional choice because you enjoy it so much more than when you’re trying to sneak it and like, “Maybe I’ll have a bite, maybe two.” All of a sudden, it’s gone and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t even remember eating that, I didn’t even get the satisfaction from it.” That’s what it’s all about, is making these intentional choices and owning them.

Amy:                                     I love that, you know what, you’ve inspired me to start posting my desserts.

Cassie Bjork:                       I love it. I love that.

Amy:                                     The other thing that I just wanted to mention too is when I was eating low fat, it was when I was really struggling with PCOS. I remember getting my cholesterol markers back and my cholesterol was really low, and I remember the naturopath I was seeing at the time said, “Listen, you don’t have the building blocks to make the hormones that you need because you don’t have enough cholesterol and you need to eat more healthy fat in order to build that up.” As women with PCOS, we need I mean, your cholesterol shouldn’t be or triglycerides shouldn’t be sky high, but it’s okay to have some higher cholesterol markers.

Cassie Bjork:                       Totally, that’s another one of those really big misconceptions. When I was 20 years old I was told that I had high cholesterol and that I should go on a statin drug.

Amy:                                     Oh my god.

Cassie Bjork:                       I know, I didn’t know what to do. This is before I was really learning all this and I didn’t go on the drug and I’m so glad that I didn’t because I still have technically high cholesterol, but when you really look at the break down, there’s nothing wrong with it. Your body actually needs cholesterol. Your body will produce more cholesterol but doesn’t get it from the foods that you’re eating. Whenever we hear, I mean, that’s another rule to break is to avoid foods that contain cholesterol like egg yolks. I mean, that’s the healthiest part of the egg and we don’t need to be just eating the egg whites trying to avoid the cholesterol. That’s another just huge myth out there.

Amy:                                     Yeah, thanks for mentioning that because I see a lot of women posting on just their egg white omelet or whatever.

Cassie Bjork:                       The yolks are the best part anyway. I’m so grateful to be able to enjoy foods like butter and egg yolks. It makes the whole experience so much richer and it’s so good for you. We need those healthy fats. We need cholesterol.

Amy:                                     Right. I’m going to have you back on. We’re going to talk more about weight loss and we’re going to talk more about maybe other types. I’d love to get you to weigh in on the keto diet and some of the other diets for PCOS- paleo, keto. We can take a look at that.

Cassie Bjork:                       A lot of new ones and different ones that have come out lately, so I’d love to come back and share my thoughts and experience working with clients on all of those.

Amy:                                     Okay, excellent. In the meantime, if somebody wants to learn more about your work, where can we find you Cassie?

Cassie Bjork:                       Cassie.net is where everything is. I’m on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and it’s all cassie.net spelled out. Also, we talked about a few of these rules to break. No more low fat diet, no more working out till you drop, no more starving, but if you want I have a whole guide where I outlined all of these rules to break and you can grab that guide at 10rulestobreak.com. The number 10 and then rules and then the word to and then break.com. You can find that full list of 10 rules to break.

Amy:                                     All right, we will make sure we have that in the show notes as well. Thank you so much for coming on. It’s been a long time coming. I know I’ve been wanting to have you on for-

Cassie Bjork:                       I know, and I love connecting with you, Amy. I don’t see you enough so it’s great to be on. I just so appreciate what you’re doing to empower women on their journey. It can feel so lonely sometimes. It can just feel like we’re in this alone but it’s podcast like this and online communities and just being able to connect with other women who are going through the same thing that I think just gives us so much hope. Thank you so much.

Amy:                                     I love that you ended us on a hopeful message too, so yeah, that’s what PCOS Diva is all about. Thank you, Cassie and thank you everyone for listening. I look forward to being with you again soon.

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