It has been a long two and half months since my accident and while I am mostly healed, I feel it has really thrown me off my normal routine, which means sharing less information with you. I am not sure why this is the case but I am starting to get my writing mojo back. However, I have been taking time to get out more, meet people and generally enjoy myself.
Last week I sitting in a room for two days with some amazing like-minded people. What we are like-minded about is not relevant – let’s just say it was about business and my work but it would not matter if it was a group of donut-eaters celebrating their love of donuts or a bunch of people discussing how to have a good nap.
When you are in a group of like-minded people, it provides confirmation that you are not alone and the conversations are always a source of inspiration.
A lovely woman sitting beside me discussed a program she is developing for women. The soon-to be-launched Better Body Systems for Busy Women from Trish Krause, CNP, helps a specific demographic of women, generally successful, older and ready to rock their lives but do not feel that great about themselves because they are overweight and do not feel like their younger selves any more.
What inspired me about what she said and what she does is that it is not her goal to turn women into skinny minnies. Instead, it is her goal to teach them to be the best person they can be and be happy with who they are now. As humans, we set ourselves up for failure by creating impossible images we feel we should aspire to. This occurs so commonly with weight loss. If we look at any typical weight loss program and the choice of people that are used in the advertisements, we can certainly see why people aspire to such near-perfect images.
But there is a reality to life that as sh…t happens to youmn in life – it changes your body or your face or your mobility and there may be a point where that is just who you are and your former self is gone. But who is telling us this is a bad thing. We can blame the media or other people but in reality it is us who are saying that we are not good enough.
Trish’s goal is to change this so that clients learn to love what it means to be who they are now not matter what they look like. In other words, they learn to embrace their awesomeness.
She does help them lose weight but it is more about seeing success with a broader set of eyes. They may be a size 20 and never be the size 8 they think they should be. Maybe they will be a size 12 or 14 and isn’t that just as good? Weight loss is not everything – we have many other values that make us great.
As I work with people and practitioners sharing information about restoring gut health, I have to be clear that based on a person’s past, there may be limitations as to how far they can come back to normal or optimal function.
Currently, gut health researchers are looking at the connection to obesity. In other words, depending on an individual’s gut health history, they may not have a gut that allows for the kind of weight loss they think they need. Both mouse studies and volunteer studies have shown that obese mice or people have more of a type of bacteria called firmicutes and those who are lean have more bacteroides bacteria.
It seems that firmicutes are much better at getting energy from the food we ingest. This means that that individuals with more firmicutes are getting more calories from their food than those who have higher levels of bacteroides.
Don’t assume that firmicutes are bad and bacteriodes are good. It does not work that way. This ability to increase calorie extraction may be a protective mechanism to help protect us from starvation when food is scarce. The fact that we live in a society where food scarcity is no longer an issue may be something our gut bacteria is not aware of.
Studies have shown that fasting increases bacteroides – so no food is coming in and up they go. Periods of going without food was common when we were hunter gatherers. Consuming food that built-up firmicutes allowed us to get more calories from food and store ae fate to use for energy later.
If you think going on a fast is a quick fix for this – it’s not. Eating after a fast quickly raises firmicutes. Instead, eating a consistent diet of foods that bacteroides like is a better way to go with no highs and lows in how much we eat.
What does bacteroides like? Carbs with fibre. One of their favourites are legumes. Add a legume a day to help increase bacterioides.
I will be talking more about bacteroides and firmicutes at a later date as this relationship between the two types of bacteria is still unclear. – there is more to learn.
What it is important here is that there are players in your body that are determining how you may respond to any health issue and you may have no say in the matter.
Whatever the situation in your gut – changing your gut composition is not easy. Some people can do it with dietary changes. But for others, depending on other factors such as genetics, hormones and what happened in their past, they may struggle.
And when it comes to weight loss, they may only be able to go so far – and only be a size 12 and not the size 8 they want to be or maybe the best they can do is to be a size 16. Whatever the case, we all need to be happy and embrace our awesomeness as appearance does not determine value.
For your eating pleasure, a recipe that you and your bacteroides will enjoy.
- An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest, Peter J. Turnbaugh1 et al, Nature 444, 1027-1031 (21 December 2006
- Diet, gut microbiota and immune responses, Kendle M Maslowski & Charles R Macka, Nature Immunology 12, 5–9 (2011)
- The Intestinal Microbiota and Obesity. Kallus SJ1, Brandt LJ. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012 Jan;46(1):16-24.
- Gut Microbiota and Inflammation, Asa Hakansson et al, Nutrients. 2011 Jun; 3(6): 637–682.