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The Thermo Diet Podcast Episode 64 - Tiffany Williams

The Thermo Diet Podcast Episode 64 - Tiffany Williams

In this episode of The Thermo Diet Podcast Jayton Miller sits down with Tiffany Williams, a Functional Nutrition Therapy Practitioner and Fertility Awareness Method Coach. They talk about what fertility awareness is, why you should avoid hormonal contraception, and what some perks of this method are outside of being a natural birth control method. Check it out and let us know what you think!

 

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Full Transcript:

Jayton Miller:
Welcome back to the ThermoDiet Podcast. I'm your host, Jayton Miller. Today, I have on the podcast with me, Miss Tiffany Williams.

Jayton Miller:
Tiffany Williams is a functional nutritional therapy practitioner and she actually coaches women with fertility awareness. So in this episode, we talk about natural birth control methods. She actually taught me a lot that I hadn't looked into myself, and I'm really excited for y'all to be able to dive into today. So without further ado, this is Tiffany Williams. Let's get into it.

Jayton Miller:
Welcome back to the ThermoDiet Podcast. I'm your host, Jayton Miller. Today, I have Tiffany Williams on the podcast with me. How are you doing today, Tiffany?

Tiffany Williams:
I'm doing well. Thank you. How are you?

Jayton Miller:
I'm doing very well. So for those of you who don't know Tiffany, she is currently doing her own coaching program for women who ... Now, is it just fertility awareness or is it kind of like a breadth of things?

Tiffany Williams:
It's a bunch of things, so if you have period pain, if you have PCOS, endometriosis. I'm a functional nutritional therapy practitioner, as well, through the NTA. I'm currently working towards my fertility awareness educator certification.

Tiffany Williams:
I'm kind of blending those two things together, because they do really marry each other. Nutrition and fertility really go hand-in-hand. So, putting those two together to help women heal their cycle issues.

Jayton Miller:
That's awesome. Do you mind telling listeners how you kind of came into this sphere?

Tiffany Williams:
Yeah, sure. I started dating my boyfriend about three years ago, and I decided that we did need some sort of birth control. So, I went to my gynecologist. I decided to go with an IUD because I have tried many different types of birth controls through the year.

Tiffany Williams:
I've been on the pill, several different types of pill. I've been on the ring. I decided in IUD might be better, for some reason. So, I got the IUD inserted. A couple months later, I found out that it was dislodged, so I had to get it removed.

Tiffany Williams:
I had decided before I got it removed, that I really wanted to look into natural birth control. I went to Google and I was like, "Is there such a thing?" And then I found out about fertility awareness method, particularly the book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

Tiffany Williams:
I immediately jumped on that. I brought that with me to my appointment, when I was going to get my IUD removed. My doctor removed the IUD and he was like, "All right, so we should put another one in" I was like, "No, I think I'm actually going to try this thing called the fertility awareness method." I showed him my book and he was like, "Okay. Well, I'll see you back here in three months, when you're pregnant."

Tiffany Williams:
I was just like, I can't believe that he was just so passive and not helpful at all. I did feel really discouraged by that, but I decided to keep going and keep learning about it.

Tiffany Williams:
Unfortunately, I feel like fertility awareness is so niche, that I didn't have any friends that were doing it. So that, I feel like also kind of deters you when you don't know anyone else who knows about it.

Tiffany Williams:
Everyone's like, "Oh, you're just going to track your temperatures? Is that really going to help you avoid pregnancy?" But it does.

Tiffany Williams:
I've been doing that for around three years now. No pregnancy scares, none at all. And I finally decided that I was going to become a fertility awareness educator.

Tiffany Williams:
I'm going through FEMM, which stands for Fertility Education and Medical Management, their program. Which is a little different from what Taking Charge of Your Fertility teaches because it teaches you want to track your BBT at your cervical mucus and your cervix height, but FEMM teaches cervical mucus and LH testing. So, it's a little bit different.

Tiffany Williams:
There are many different forms of fertility awareness-based methods, but it's important to know that they are all really effective. It just takes some work to learn and understand how to track your biomarkers, which would be that BBT or basal body temperature, cervical mucus, which across the board, pretty much every fertility awareness-based method is going to track cervical mucus. It's one of the most important biomarkers. And then things like LH, cervical height, progesterone strips, et cetera. It really depends on the method, but across the board, everyone's tracking their cervical mucus.

Jayton Miller:
Okay. So generally speaking, what is fertility awareness?

Tiffany Williams:
Okay. It's the tracking of the biomarkers. Those biomarkers tell you where you're at in your cycle. So at the beginning of our cycle, FSH from our pituitary ... There's like a feedback loop that happens. So FSH communicates with our ovaries. I'm forgetting words. Communicates with our ovaries and it stimulates a follicle to start maturing. And as this follicle starts maturing, it produces increasing amounts of estrogen.

Tiffany Williams:
In increasing amounts of estrogen, you'll start to see cervical mucus. The cervical mucus, there's two different types taught in the method that I teach. Something called EL mucus, which could be described as a moist type mucus, where that stretches less than half an inch and ES mucus, which would be described as egg white mucus. That stretches way more than an inch. It's very slippery. It's very lubricative, very stretchy.

Tiffany Williams:
The ES mucus is the mucus where ovulation is about to occur. So, when we have that increasing amount of estrogen, that feeds back to our pituitary and the pituitary releases LH or luteinizing hormone. It's the luteinizing hormone that makes ovulation happen and the corpus luteum to form.

Tiffany Williams:
We really want the corpus luteum to form because that's where we make progesterone for the rest of our cycle. And so progesterone, when it dominates in that luteal phase or the phase that's right after ovulation, you're going to have very little to no mucus because progesterone actually produces a very thick, dense mucus. It's almost like a plug that happens in the cervix.

Tiffany Williams:
That mucus is anti-microbial, it's thick. Sperm can't make it through. And even if it did, there's no egg to fertilize at that point because after an egg ovulates, it's only alive for around 24 hours.

Jayton Miller:
Interesting. How long does that last phase usually last?

Tiffany Williams:
A healthy luteal phase will be anywhere from nine to 18 days. It's funny, because it just depends on the methods. Because if you are following Taking Charge of Your Fertility and based on BBT rules, an 18 day luteal phase, if it's characterized by 18 high temperatures, that could indicate pregnancy, if you have those 18 consistent high temperatures.

Tiffany Williams:
However, if you are not following Taking Charge of Your Fertility rules, an 18 day luteal phase is okay, but if you're having longer than that, that might be cause for concern.

Tiffany Williams:
If you're having shorter than nine days, that is considered a short luteal phase. That could signal that there's a progesterone insufficiency happening or ovulation maybe didn't occur or there's something called a luteinized unruptured follicle.

Tiffany Williams:
I don't feel like many people talk about this, but that's where the egg is kind of stuck in between ovulating and not ovulating. A little bit of progesterone will be produced, but it'll be a low grade amount and it won't be enough to support a healthy luteal phase. So, between nine and 18 days is a healthy length for a luteal phase.

Jayton Miller:
Okay. So what are the fertility rules that you mentioned?

Tiffany Williams:
Yeah. For BBT, you'd want take your temperature or basal body thermometer, basal body temperature in the morning. This is your waking temperature. This is before you get out of bed to use the bathroom, before you take a drink of water. You want to take your temperature every morning.

Tiffany Williams:
In your follicular phase, which is that first half of your cycle, which would be menstruation up until ovulation, your temperature is going to be on the lower side. It generally should be in the high 97 range. I've heard people say 96. I've heard people say 97 ... sorry, 97.6 or 97.8. In that range is okay.

Tiffany Williams:
But then in your luteal phase, you should be in the 98 range. Up around 98.6 is where you should be in the morning.

Tiffany Williams:
If in your follicular phase, you're in the 96 range. And then in your follicular phase, you're in the 97 range, there could be something else going on, like low thyroid issues or low metabolism happening.

Tiffany Williams:
As far as the other rules, that could be happening with cervical mucus, you have to track it every day. Also, you always record the most estrogenic sign of the day.

Tiffany Williams:
I was describing EL mucus just being moist or ES mucus being super stretchy and lubricative. If you have EL mucus in the morning and you have ES mucus at night, you're going to record ES mucus. You're going to record the most estrogenic sign.

Tiffany Williams:
Once you start seeing that moist or that egg white type mucus, you are in your ovulatory phase. So, until you're out of that ovulatory phase, if you're avoiding pregnancy, you should be either avoiding sex or relying on another contraceptive method, like a barrier method.

Tiffany Williams:
There's also something called a peak day. That would be the last day you see egg white cervical mucus. This is something that's brought up in, I'm pretty sure ... I want to say all, but I don't know every fertility awareness-based method. I just know a couple and the one that I practice in particular.

Tiffany Williams:
But for peak day, you always have to do a count of three days of possible fertility after that last day of estrogenic mucus, because ovulation can happen. It can happen either three days before that peak day or three days after. It might be dryness for three days after that peak day, but ovulation could occur in those three days.

Tiffany Williams:
There's also LH. Sorry. I'm talking a lot, but it's just all of these biomarkers have to be used together because I think there's a lot of misinformation out there.

Tiffany Williams:
I think there's a lot of people that do natural cycles and just do their BBT, but it really doesn't account for ... If you're seeing estrogenic cervical mucus, but your thermometer is telling you that it's okay to have intercourse and you're avoiding pregnancy, there's a chance that you could get pregnant.

Tiffany Williams:
So, it's important, if you're doing BBT, also tracking your cervical mucus. And then on top of that, there's something called LH, which is luteinizing hormone and testing that during your ovulatory phase, to see if you get a positive. Because then that's letting you know that there's an LH surge about to happen, which means that you may be ovulating in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Tiffany Williams:
There are lots of women that like to rely on LH testing. I don't think LH testing alone is reliable by itself. It also doesn't tell you if you've ovulated and it's not a guarantee that you will ovulate, so yeah. You just have to use them all together. You can't just do one. So yeah, that's my two cents.

Jayton Miller:
Yeah. That's a lot of information. It's kind of interesting. So why do you think that this is more advantageous than something such as regular contraception, like the pill or something like that?

Tiffany Williams:
Because it increases bodily autonomy. When I was telling you that I went to my doctor and told him that I wanted to do fertility awareness, it's just like, it gets brushed off, but it's a chance for you to learn about how hormones are affecting you and what your hormones are doing throughout your cycle. That's not something that your gynecologist is going to teach you about.

Tiffany Williams:
I'm not going to say it's for whatever reason. I honestly don't think that doctors have enough time to sit you down and talk about that stuff, because they're trained in medical school that they only have about 10 minutes with patients. So it's like, I don't think that we can really expect our doctors to educate us like that and we need to do it ourselves, honestly.

Tiffany Williams:
Fertility awareness is also the perfect, off-the-grid birth control, I always like to say, because it can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it. Like cervical mucus, it's going to happen. It's your body. It's for free. It's happening. It's going to tell you if you're fertile or not.

Tiffany Williams:
And then if you want to do added LH strips or a BBT thermometer, BBT thermometers aren't that expensive. Mine was, I want to say $3 from a Rite Aid, but you can find them for cheap on Amazon if you shop at Amazon. You can find them for $15. It's really cheap. LH strips can be a little pricey, but it's really up to you.

Tiffany Williams:
It's not something where you have to spend $30 every month, on a patch or a pill or whatever. It's not something where you have to make an appointment with your doctor to get an IUD removed or get a shot or a patch removed.

Tiffany Williams:
It doesn't take that long either. Because I think a lot of people think that, "Oh, I have to take my temperature every morning. That's so annoying," but if you take a pill every morning, how different is that? It's not that hard. It might take one minute longer, because then you need to chart it. Either you put it in an app or you put it on your paper chart.

Tiffany Williams:
I think that women need to know how their bodies work, and fertility awareness is a great way for women to start learning about their bodies.

Jayton Miller:
Definitely. You had mentioned earlier, progesterone and the role that, that plays. Can you kind of go into the difference between progesterone and progestins and how they play a role in this as well?

Tiffany Williams:
Yeah. Progesterone is actually really wonderful. Progesterone maintains the uterine lining. It's a hormone of relaxation. It helps normalize blood sugar levels. It's a natural diuretic. And of course, like I was saying before, it thickens cervical mucus, which that's how it prevents ... that's one of the many ways that it can prevent pregnancy.

Tiffany Williams:
But then, when we're talking about progestins, they were originally made by biochemists, because there was an issue that progesterone can't be given orally. So, yeah. So they were invented because it can't be given orally, but then progestins can.

Tiffany Williams:
Unfortunately, progestins have properties of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. So, you're not just getting progesterone. You're getting those other effects that testosterone and estrogen would also give you.

Jayton Miller:
So it works on those receptors?

Tiffany Williams:
It's interesting that you say that because progestins actually don't bind to those receptors. They can't bind to progesterone receptors. So, it's weird that it's promoted as something that would relieve cycle issues like PMS, when it literally can't bind to progesterone receptors.

Tiffany Williams:
So it's just like, looking at the research on that, I'm just so curious why it was presented as this kind of cure-all for female hormone issues.

Tiffany Williams:
As far as testosterone, I'm not sure if it links to testosterone and estrogen receptors. I'd have to do a little bit more research on that. But for sure, it doesn't for progesterone.

Jayton Miller:
Wow. That's really interesting.

Tiffany Williams:
Yeah. But yeah, so progestin can raise blood pressure, while progesterone doesn't. Like I was saying before, it lowers it. Progestins do not have the ability to convert into other steroid hormones, where progesterone can be used as a precursor to those other steroid hormones. So progestins overall, they don't have the same effects that progesterone has. If you can't even link to the progesterone receptor, how would it?

Jayton Miller:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tiffany Williams:
Yeah.

Jayton Miller:
Interesting. So what are the risks that are usually associated with using something that's progestin rich, like a hormonal contraception, I guess.

Tiffany Williams:
Yeah. Pretty much a lot of the complaints that you hear from people who take hormonal contraceptives. So, the high blood pressure, the high risk of blood clots, moodiness. Sometimes women will even get ... If you didn't have PMS symptoms before, and then you go on the pill, you'll start to get PMS symptoms. So, it's just the complete opposite of what you would want from actual progesterone.

Tiffany Williams:
While I don't necessarily encourage progesterone or hormonal replacement therapy, unless it's necessary ... I don't know where I was going with that. If you were to do it, doing a progestin is not the way to go. A natural progesterone is where you want to go.

Tiffany Williams:
There are plenty of women who have PCOS or extremely heavy periods and their doctors will be like, "Oh, take progesterone."

Tiffany Williams:
And while they're being told it's progesterone, it's actually progestin that they're given. And they're usually not told to only do it in the second half of their cycle, which is where you would want progesterone to be. They're told to take it the whole time.

Tiffany Williams:
So, they're getting these crazy symptoms while they're trying to solve their PCOS or their heavy bleeding or their PMS and they don't understand why it's not working. And then they're just being blamed for not trying hard enough on their diet or whatever.

Tiffany Williams:
So, natural progesterone is the way to go, if you do decide to do hormonal replacement therapy. But it's really, really important that you keep your blood sugar balanced, because if your blood sugar dips too low progesterone can't ... adrenaline keeps progesterone from being able to attach to a progesterone receptor. And even if it does attach, it can't reach the nucleus of the cell like it's supposed to.

Tiffany Williams:
So, it's really important that you get that blood sugar balance and your stress in order, before you even attempt doing any type of hormone replacement therapy.

Jayton Miller:
Definitely. Yeah. I mean, the more that I learn about the human body, the more that blood sugar stabilization and regulating blood sugar throughout the day becomes more and more prevalent and more and more important. So, it's kind of fascinating that it's important even for fertility awareness too. What are some of the benefits that you've kind of experienced from doing this method?

Tiffany Williams:
Well, I no longer get crazy, horrible moods. I feel like when I was on the IUD or the pill, yeah, I had a lot of mood issues.

Tiffany Williams:
Yaz was the first pill that I ever tried, which I don't know if you've heard of Yaz. I feel like many people have, but I think it was taken off the market at some point because there were so many horrible side effects that were happening. Honestly, I thought I was going crazy when I was on that pill. It was so bad.

Tiffany Williams:
I no longer have to take a pill every day. I don't have to check my IUD string. I don't have to wonder if my IUD is going to dislodge.

Tiffany Williams:
This is just a side note. Around the time that my IUD dislodged, two of my other friends who got IUDs, the same thing happened to them. What are the chances that something like that would happen?

Tiffany Williams:
But yeah, it's hormone-free and my periods have been way better than they have been in the past. I just think that's so wonderful because I know my body way more than what I did before.

Tiffany Williams:
So yeah, if you're experiencing symptoms with hormonal birth control, fertility awareness is a great option if you want a natural birth control.

Tiffany Williams:
Because I think a lot of people are told that they could do a copper IUD and it'll be fine, but copper IUDs are full of biounavailable copper, which can bring other minerals out of balance. Copper IUDs are also known to cause very heavy, painful periods.

Tiffany Williams:
Do you really want that? If you've never had painful periods, if your periods have always been a regular flow, why would you opt into something that would give you just excruciating periods?

Tiffany Williams:
Why not go for something where there's no hormones involved? Well, aside from the ones that are already happening in your body. You don't have to have a foreign object in your uterus. That's why I love fertility awareness.

Jayton Miller:
Definitely. I think those are all very valid reasons. Do you have any other kind of resources or information that people can utilize if they want to learn more about this?

Tiffany Williams:
Yeah, definitely Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, I believe her name is. I think that's a wonderful place to start.

Tiffany Williams:
But if you start reading it and you're like, "I don't feel comfortable yet. I'm kind of confused with what I'm seeing ..." Because cervical mucus tends to be kind of a stopping point for a lot of people, because they're not sure if the mucus that they're seeing is a white mucus or if it's just the building up of estrogen or whatever. Work with a practitioner. It honestly doesn't cost too much. Most practitioners have fairly low prices, as far as fertility awareness is concerned, because it's something that they really want to teach to women.

Tiffany Williams:
I'm also fertility awareness educator, if anyone's interested, but yeah, that's pretty much the best place to start. That's the book that everyone starts with.

Jayton Miller:
Sounds good. And then also follow you on Instagram as well, correct?

Tiffany Williams:
Oh, yeah. Yeah, at Sage Flow Holistic. Or sorry, Tiffany Williams FNTP, and then SageFlowHolistic.com is my website.

Jayton Miller:
Heck yeah. Well, for all those of you listening, make sure to give her a follow, check out her website. Tiffany, I really appreciate your time on here today. Thank you for the abundance of information. I look forward to having you on again sometime.

Tiffany Williams:
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on here. It was wonderful.

Jayton Miller:
Thanks for listening to the podcast. If you haven't already, make sure to hit the like button, subscribe and leave a comment down below if you want us to cover a different topic.

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