I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s this thing called COVID-19 running amuck on the planet right now…
Okay, of course you’ve heard, but did you know stress levels have tripled since the beginning of the pandemic in adults of all demographic groups, and the rise is much higher than after previous traumatic events?
So, if you’re a little stressed these days, I feel morally obligated to enlighten you as to how it is negatively affecting your fitness and fat loss goals, as well as what to do about it.
Here’s the deal: stress itself can cause inflammation that affects our gut health and ultimately, our mood.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
“Gut health? What’s that got to do with anything?”
A whole helluva lot, actually.
What if I told you that just by giving your gut a little (much needed) tender love and care, your:
– Fitness goals would come much easier—and faster.
– Self-confidence would increase.
– Sex appeal will get a boost, (no really, I’m serious).
Would you be interested?
I thought you might be. By the end of this article, you will get three key takeaways when it comes to:
– The gut and how it affects your brain.
– How poor gut health can hold your fitness—and confidence—back.
– What you can do to ensure your gut is helping, not hurting you.
The Gut-Brain Axis.
That’s a fancy term. Now what the hell does it mean? Let’s zoom out a bit first with some foundational stuff:
– Your brain has ~5 billion (yes, billion with a b) neurons and produces ~100 neurotransmitters.
– Your gut, on the other hand, has around ~500 million (a fraction of what your brain has) neurons and produces ~40 neurotransmitters.
Okay, big whoop, who cares?
Follow and trust. Neurotransmitters are things like dopamine and serotonin: these bad boys affect your thoughts, your feelings, your instincts and mood.
“So you’re telling me my brain produces only 60 more neurotransmitters than my gut?”
Yes—ever wonder where the saying trust your gut came from?
Truth is, in many ways, your gut acts like your “second brain”—while your brain controls most of the functions in your body via your central nervous system (CNS), your gut has its own nervous system called the enteric nervous system (ENS).
The ENS in your gut is in constant communication with your brain, and many of these “conversations” if you will, consist of both cognitive and emotional messages, which can affect
your food and exercise choices, for better or for worse.
That’s why whenever you feel like you’re forgetting something on the way to the gym, you might feel a tug of anxiety that’s pulling straight from your gut.
So what happens when our gut isn’t working as well as it could? Gut dysbiosis.
Remember how stress and inflammation go hand-in-hand?
Well, when you’re experiencing heightened levels of stress, you’re unconsciously inviting a wave of inflammation in your gut, which then causes gut dysbiosis.
That’s a sadistic chain of events, eh? Oh, but it gets worse…
Once gut dysbiosis has sunk its claws in, your body will produce a significant immune response to combat it, which will cause high levels of inflammation that overflow into other areas of your body, (sore knees, anyone?).
Now here’s the good news. Reducing the inflammation produced in your gut can improve its hold over your CNS (your brain) which will lead to:
– Less stress.
– Better decision making, (especially when it comes to nutrition and exercise).
– Overall mood improvement.
Which begs the question. Okay, how do I reduce the inflammation produced in my gut?
I’m so glad you asked.
I’ll be the first to stay in my lane of expertise and say I am not a registered dietician. However, I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that nutrition is the key to a healthy gut which has
implications on your mood, fitness, fat loss, etc.
Unfortunately, many popular diets are high in refined sugars and processed foods that can destroy normal gut functioning and actually increase your risk for mood disorders.
In many of these cases though, just reducing your intake of these foods can help. But more often than not, it’s not enough.
Even foods like kale, spinach, and fermented foods (kim-chi, pickled herring, etc.) that may be associated with a healthy gut may not be the best option for you right now and could actually cause more harm than good.
“Okay, great. So what do I do?”
If you want to literally feed your gut, there is one nutrient it loves more than anything: buteric acid.
What food do you (more than likely) have in your fridge right now that is chock full of buteric acid?
How do you think it got its name? Butter, buteric?
Now I’m not giving you permission to throw half-a-stick of butter in your coffee every morning because there’s 9 calories per gram of fat in butter, and butter is a fatty food.
But I am giving you permission to add more butter into your nutrition plan, because your gut will thank you for it.
Constant stress, anxiety, depression, and other mood related symptoms you may be experiencing as a result of poor gut health (gut dysbiosis) and the inflammation that comes with those feelings is your body’s “check engine” light, if you will.
While there are a myriad of gut health supplements, taking one or several may be as beneficial as taking medication without knowing why.
In order to get the clearest picture on where your gut health is at, and what to do about it, you need a gut health assessment, which is something I offer as a part of my online consultation
process where we analyse your metabolism as a whole.
If your body’s “check engine” light is on, then it’s important to look under the hood and get to the root of the problem.
Because life’s too short to have the body you want be held back by stress.
PS. Preparatory to creating a coaching strategy for each client I first ask them to complete the newly designed “PMF health and metabolism assessment questionnaire” – which give’s me a considerable insight into the physiological health of the client – it’s 11 pages long.
This insight allows me to focus on creating daily and long term goals, mindset habits and creating a healthy lifestyle. We also assess metabolism and then proceed to create a training plan, diet and supplementation support.
Please click the link below for further details and to book a consultation:
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