high school genes

High School Genes

Are you longing for your high school genes? So is… ambereen Strategy, 44

My body isn’t responding to diet and exercise the way it used to. High School Genes

Designed for women who feel like their metabolism might be slowing down, and whose bodies are no longer responding to the exercise and diet levers they’ve always pulled, this protocol rejects the destructive—and false—calorie-in-calorie-out theories that have plagued too many of us. Not about a single definition of beauty or any other food-shaming/fat-shaming BS, it’s focused on balancing the hormonal, metabolic, and immune systems throughout the body that can leave us looking and feeling less than our best when not running smoothly. The partnered supplement regimen, based on the personal and professional experience of hormone/weight expert, gynecologist Dr. Sara Gottfried—who herself struggled with weight loss nearing her fortieth birthday—is an indispensable tool to women, particularly in perimenopausal or postmenopausal states, who know the struggle, too. The hero of the protocol for Dr. Gottfried is berberine, a supplement she’s found to be very effective when it comes to addressing a sluggish metabolism–along with a team of micronutrients (i.e. green tea catechins, Chinese cinnamon, alpha-lipoic acid) that further support healthy insulin and glucose metabolism.

shop this this vitamin regimen
Step 1


Dr. Gottfried came up with her Hormone Reset Diet after twenty years of taking care of 20,000 patients, refining it with them and testing it out on herself—to incredible results for weight loss, lowered blood sugar levels, and waistline inches dropped. The food plan is designed to reset the seven hormones of metabolism: estrogen, insulin, leptin, cortisol, thyroid, growth hormone, and testosterone. The basics, along with delicious recipes that follow the rules, are below. Read more from Gottfried here about how the diet serves as a salve for a broken metabolism.

Foods to eat:

  • 1 pound of vegetables per day (focus on non-starchy vegetables, particularly if you are trying to lose weight)
  • 4-5 forkfuls of fermented vegetables daily to lower blood glucose
  • Wild-caught salmon, Alaskan halibut, Oregon steelhead, shellfish
  • 50-75 grams of carbs per day
  • Lentils and other legumes
  • Ample filtered water

Foods to avoid:

  • Red meat and pork
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar and sugar substitutes (stevia is okay)
  • High-fructose fruit (limit to 25 grams per day of fructose)
  • Caffeine (a little green tea is okay if you need it/aren’t sensitive to caffeine)
  • All grains (including corn and gluten-free grains)
  • Dairy (organic ghee is okay)
  • Toxins (from BPA plastic, non-stick pans, non-clean beauty products, etc.)






Lunch & Dinner

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High School Genes
High School Genes


Sara Gottfried, M.D. is the New York Times bestselling author of Younger, The Hormone Reset Diet, and The Hormone Cure. She’s a graduate of Harvard Medical School and MIT. Dr. Gottfried’s online health programs can be accessed here.

Why she developed the protocol

I struggled with weight loss after the birth of my daughters. At age thirty-eight, I went to my doctor, who smugly told me that weight loss is just a case of simple math—which, it turns out, is totally wrong. The High School Genes regimen is for women who experience their metabolism as slow, less forgiving than it used to be, or nonexistent. Most women find that around/after forty, it’s just not as easy to drop the five or ten pounds as it used to be. This regimen will help you unearth the intelligence of your innate metabolism, i.e. the efficiency at which you burn calories.

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If you answer yes to more than three questions, the protocol is a good choice for you—if you answer yes to three or more questions on multiple protocols, we recommend choosing the one that addresses your most acute need. (Learn more about: Why Am I So Effing Tired, The Mother Load, Balls In The Air.)

  1. Do you gain weight easily, and/or have difficulty losing weight?
  2. Do you sometimes experience rapid weight gain, particularly at the waist, hips, and butt?
  3. Do you crave sweet foods? If so, have you tried to stop eating them but found that you couldn’t? Is it difficult to stop eating carbohydrate-rich foods, such as chocolate, ice cream, or french fries?
  4. Have you been told your blood sugar is higher than normal, or do you know that it is greater than 85 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)?
  1. When you go without eating for more than four hours, do you feel shaky, anxious, or irritable?
  2. Is your waist measurement 35 inches or greater (at the belly button) and/or do you have a BMI greater than or equal to 25?
  3. Have you been told that you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that includes irregular periods, acne, increased hair growth, and sometimes infertility and cysts on the ovaries?
  4. Do you have, or suspect you have, an underactive thyroid?
Step 2


Hormone imbalances can have a huge impact on our weight and ability to lose extra pounds (not to mention everything else about how we feel). Decoding them, and working with them, rather than against, is paramount to our health as we age.

Step 3


Beating yourself up pre- or post-eating is rarely (if ever) effective, and almost always destructive. There isn’t a one-step, magic fix-all—you would have found it already—but some self-love and targeted perception shifts can go a long way toward a healthier, happier, much more balanced food mindset.

Step 4


Hardcore exercise doesn’t have to be your thing: Dr. Gottfried readily admits it isn’t her cup of tea, and for most women who are struggling with weight loss resistance she actually recommends more adaptive exercises that don’t raise cortisol levels. Her favorites include barre, dance, and yoga. You can read more re: Gottfried’s exercise philosophy here, and below, some of our favorite means of movement with an eye toward boosting the body’s detoxifying lymphatic system for health benefits you can see and feel.

High School Genes

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