"ADDRESSING THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM"
After this whole year of having far less physical activity than we’re used to, having 24/7 access to the kitchen, plus the stress hormones we’re producing, many of us are fighting the battle of the bulge. Have you heard this one? “Someone snuck into my closet and took all of my clothes and replaced them with a smaller size.” Ahhh haha! I hear ya, honey! This month I invite you to go on a journey with me! I'm NOT looking to lose weight (because I don't ever want to find it again)! I want to release weight forever! You with me? Releasing weight isn’t accomplished by just eating less for many of us. We need to consider that it may have something to do with: 1. ADDRESSING THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
The endocrine system is fascinating and intricate. Maybe you’ve heard of an underactive thyroid which is called Hypothyroidism or an excess of cortisol production brings on Cushing’s Syndrome. These conditions, and others like them, can be culprits when it comes to weight gain.
Stress can play our hormones like a violin as well. It can severely slow down our metabolism by sending resources to handle the more urgent stress state. Our aging bodies can also begin to produce less estrogen or other hormones that we desperately need to maintain our fat-burning capabilities. To get an idea of how your endocrine system is behaving, why not schedule a Meridian Stress Analysis (MSA) screening as soon as possible. Start taking away the roadblocks to a more optimal functioning metabolism.
2. GUT HEALTH
In just the last decade, science has zeroed in on how important it is to maintain a healthy microbiome. Our large intestine is where trillions of mutually beneficial microbes compose our gut microbiota. Together they strongly influence our metabolism, how hungry we are, and how we digest food. Of course, antibiotics can prevent and slow down this good bacterial growth we want to foster. It’s no secret that most people overuse antibiotics, and one of the fall guys is our metabolism. A quality prebiotic and probiotic (in addition to fermented foods) can help us to develop a healthy microbiome. Additionally, eating enough diverse fiber (meaning fruits, vegetables, and plants of different colors), and eating less refined sugar and meat positively impacts the microbiome.
3. MANAGING EMOTIONAL STRESS AND PRACTICING MINDFUL EATING
Who of us has not felt stressed out this past year? A global pandemic, frightening race riots, wildly erratic economy, and not to be forgotten, toxic national elections...left us running for comfort. When we’re under high stress, we tend to eat to fill emotional needs, eating even when we’re not hungry. We need to be aware of what we’re putting in our mouths. Give yourself a reality check once in a while and write down everything you put in your mouth for a week. It will change your life!
We can’t change our circumstances right now, but we CAN change our reaction to them. When we are aware of anxiety, muscle tension, and the increasing ‘funk,’ we must address it rather than let it build. Work hard at keeping a healthy routine. Regular healthy meals, good sleep habits, staying social and connected with friends, and addressing challenges head on rather than let them build up. We can practice relaxation behaviors like stretching, massage, Epsom salt detox baths, journaling, taking personal time, prayer, and regular exercise (but I’m going to talk a bit more about that in a bit).
4. RELEASING TOXINS
As we go about our merry life, we are inadvertently exposed to environmental toxins such as heavy metals, chemicals, medications, pesticides, herbicides, and additives. If that isn’t enough, our very food supply can provide us with a nice cocktail of antibiotics and hormones. Many of us also battle a heavy viral, bacterial, yeast and/or fungal load, not to mention parasitic infections. The toxins produced can really drag down our organ health, inflame our body, wreak havoc on our hormones and nervous system, and ultimately drastically impact our metabolism. I’m going to focus more on this subject in a future article but I have two quick suggestions for right now.
Identify what hidden toxins are in your system. Again, a simple MSA screening can go a long way to finding this out.
Get things moving. Increase your fiber if you’re not eliminating at least once a day. Increase your water intake. You can also double down on removing toxins through infrared sauna sessions and exercise by literally sweating it out.
5. GETTING PROPER EXERCISE
Of course, the more physical activity we have, the more calories we burn. If we add a bit of weight-bearing exercise into the mix, we also add muscle which burns more calories. (Don't forget that Pilates, ballet, etc. are weight-bearing exercises, ladies!) But there is much more to it than that. Exercise incorporates all of the above points. It helps release damaging stress and toxins and rebuild the microbiome in your gut. Here's the cold hard truth: people who do regular aerobic exercise increase their metabolism-promoting bacteria and microbiome diversity. Exercise also helps us to stabilize our blood sugar and lipids and regulate our body fat. So, we have a plethora of reasons to “just do it.”
I feel that I need to wrap up this very self-motivational article by saying that I’m in this with you. I go through the same struggles and search for solutions. Half of the battle is getting motivated to action. Let’s track down our triggers and start releasing unwanted weight. Let’s do this together. Keep in touch and let me know how you’re doing!
Tracy Abraham, President of Amplify Health & Wellness