It’s that time of the year again, the weather is turning colder and the days are shorter and we reach for comfort food and many of us find it harder to fit in the regular exercise we need. Then we often begin to put on a bit of extra weight. To manage this it helps to understand our bodies and our minds and how we function at a basic level.
We evolved our physiology and metabolism as cave people and our two big threats were cold and starvation. Our basic physiology has not changed much. When we are threatened we automatically activate our Sympathetic Nervous System and go in to fight, flight or freeze mode. This has a huge impact on our digestive system because digestion slows or even stops.
Also it is important to understand that our bodies see diets as starvation or famine and desperately try to retain fat. If the diet is “successful” we lose weight short term. When it is over we put it all on again and more to protect us from future famines. So we get the yo-yo effect, which steadily puts on more weight. I avoid calorie counting because it emphasises the famine feelings.
When we diet we also restrict the foods we eat often upsetting our digestive system even more, leading to inflammation and possibly food allergies caused by a leaky gut. This is all exacerbated by lack of understanding of what is a balanced diet and the modern life pressures to buy packaged and take away foods, which increase inflammation.
Modern life is overwhelming for many people and overwhelm prevents the hippocampus in our brain from functioning as it should. In effect the hippocampus is our brain’s librarian that sorts information in so it can be stored in the prefrontal cortex. The overwhelmed librarian calls the security guard (amygdala), which triggers the sympathetic nervous system and prevents proper digestion.
I start by reducing the stress and anxiety levels in clients then help you to alter your mindset around eating, drinking and exercise.
- Maintaining a healthy gut biome is critical to sustained weight loss and management. We must have good bacteria in our gut in order to digest food and a lack of them causes inflammation. We cannot sustainably lose weight and have inflammation.
- It is important to understand what is in a balanced diet. Many so called healthy foods actually harm our guts. Many plants like grains have protective chemicals like lectin – these include grains, pseudo grains like quinoa, nightshades plus modern grains also contain roundup.
- Alcohol- why do you drink as much? Sort that out first rather than just doing guilt. This is dead calories and increases inflammation.
- Intermittent fasting helps the gut – 12-14 hours between meals at night does this or things like the 5-2 diet where people eat normally 5 days a week and reduce intake for 2 days. I find the 12 hours is easy to fit in.
- Stressed and anxious people are either fight and flight runners who drastically shed weight or like most of us, you retain and increase your insulation from the world.
- People who have been sexually abused especially as kids unconsciously insulate themselves and also unconsciously often become less sexually attractive. This is totally unconscious!
- The insulation also affects people who were bullied. Some of them become much bigger unconsciously to help stand up to the bullies.
- When I work with weight loss clients, it takes 5 sessions over around 3 months and it is slow but remarkably effective and the weight loss and new lifestyle is retained.