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Holistic Health Series 10 - Real Weight Loss 4 - The Emotional Link
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Holistic Health Series 10 - Real Weight Loss 4 - The Emotional Link...cont

Column #92, 22nd May 2010

For those of you who want to enhance their heath, vitality and performance levels, this Holistic Health Series of articles should provide lots of valuable information.  If one of your goals is to be positive about body composition and includes weight loss, this article will form part of your approach to Real Weight Loss.  This is the fourth in the weight loss series and the second article to discuss the Emotional Link.

Emotional Link

So far we have discussed how if we are Mindful of what we are eating and putting in our bodies, then our relationship with our food and our ability to utilize it will improve.  This is all despite what many advertising campaigns and fad-diet media would have you believe.  The Bookshop Conundrum describes how we are too dependent on such radical diets and have lost our way when it comes to listening to the body.  On an individual level we might be eating foods that are detrimental to our health but believe they are good for us.  Conversely we might eat a healthful food, but believe it is nutritionally poor.  Remember it has been suggested that the cardboard cereal box holds more nutrition than the actual cereal inside it.  We need clarity to apply the correct nutritional information.

Finally in the previous article we began to see how the food we eat really does have a direct effect on the way we feel.  This may be mood, emotion, motivation, clarity, concentration and more.  Sugar is a probably the main offender and is so chemically powerful that it is compared to a drug in terms of its addictive nature.  The chemical shift in the brain and body is what contributes to cravings, a little like cravings for cigarettes when giving up smoking.

Fat – The Emotional Layer

The aim here is to be progressive in our approach to real health.  Apply quality research, science and information to the way you live your life. Whilst I might suggest that we ask more questions of the conventional approach to nutrition and weight loss and learn more about the importance of fat and the role that it plays, weight loss is still considered an important aspect of health and performance.  At the right time, for the right reasons, in the right way, we can achieve real weight loss.

Pioneers in integrated anatomy are discovering more roles of fat tissue (adipose).  It actually has very important structural properties and communication roles.  All life is energy and this produces a vibration.  In many cases the subtleties of this vibration goes undetected in a conscious manner, but subconsciously the body is reading this information continuously.  Just like the information we constantly process through our eyes.  It has been said that the fat layer is an effective communicator within the body and even between bodies.  This means that physical health such as hydration and emotional health such as happiness can be sensed throughout the body and organs.  In addition this can be applied to communication between two people.  It seems we’ve all experienced moments when we sense that somebody is looking at us or that there is someone behind you, where you could not see or hear them.  If we did not use our eyes, ears or even nose, how did we know they were there?  Which sense did we use?  A mother and child share this similar connection and to say this is of immense importance is an understatement.

So we can see that the body, with all its layers, tissues and organs, whether that is bone, muscle, liver, skin or fat, is a complex system of systems.  Are they working in harmony, together in integration? Your goal may be to reduce body fat, but should not be to dismiss its function and importance, or to think negatively of it (as we are predominantly encouraged). These last two articles have described briefly how fat is an essential tissue and how it will affect and be effected by the emotions and thoughts of others and ourselves.

Below is an overview that relates weight loss to holistic foundation principles.  Next week we will discuss the implications of Toxicity in achieving Real Weight Loss.

Holistic Approach to Real Weight Loss

Keep in mind with this holistic approach to weight loss the goal is to treat the whole individual and establish foundation principles that enhance health.  To safely and efficiently enhance health you should consult your health practitioner.  At 'Functional Health and Performance, we run Nutrition, Lifestyle and Exercise programs to do just that.

  • Breathing
  • Mental and Emotional
  • Hydration
  • Nutrition
  • Movement and Exercise
  • Toxicity

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Holistic Health Series 11 - Real Weight Loss 5 - Fat and Toxins

Column #95, 19th june 2010

Understanding fat is essential when understanding how the body detoxifies itself.  For those who want to enhance their heath, vitality and performance levels and get the most out of detoxifying the body….read on.

If you have read the previous 4 Real Weight Loss articles, you will hopefully be aware of how influential body fat can be and how misunderstood this tissue is by society and health practitioners alike.  Always work alongside your health practitioner, but ensure that you are considering the accurate and current information out there for your health.

You are the Answer

In keeping with this, what do we know about this mysterious layer under the skin?  We all have it, so what does it do, it must have a role.  Traditionally we know it is a source of stored energy, it insulates us and provides protection.  Traditionally also, it is repeatedly blamed for all manner of disease and illness.  Let’s look beyond this and see if, once again, we have simply been preoccupied with treating the symptom and ignoring the cause.  If your goal is to reduce body fat, then ask the question - why is there ‘too much’ there in the first place?

When working with weight loss clients each week, the first step is always to find out about the individual situation.  100% of the time results will come when we look holistically at the situation and work hard on factors such as Stress, Sleep, Hydration, Exercise, Nutrition and Toxicity.  Never is the issue just about calories in versus calories out and the need to go on a milkshake diet:  If we wanted to cause more problems….this is what we’d focus do.

Fat – The Detoxifier

The adipose (fat) layer also stores toxins.  Therefore lets thank it for doing this job instead of allowing all the toxins that we put in our bodies to have a detrimental affect on our vital organs.  It is via our nutrition, environment and lifestyle decisions that the toxins are in our body in the first place and storing them in fat is the body’s protective response.  Logically therefore, if we want the body to naturally reduce bodyfat all we need to do is decrease the need for it to be there to store toxins (nutrition, lifestyle and exercise principles).

Flooded with Toxins

If you can identify with this situation the last thing you want to do is to radically reduce body fat without some appreciation of what your body will then have to do with all the toxins that now flood your body…….If it couldn’t handle and process them before, it’ll struggle even more if all you do is exercise yourself into the ground or nutritionally starve yourself with a fad diet.

Healthy Focus

We could say that focussing on the fat is counter-productive.  The negative attention body fat is given in the media and in society is testament to that in my opinion.  Maybe we should focus on healthy nutrition and lifestyle principles and all our detox and fat loss goals will occur naturally.  This hardly seems radical, but this approach is largely underestimated and under used in comparison to the grab-the-next miracle cure supplement or fad exercise approach.

BioSignature for Fantastic Results

I receive many emails and queries about fat loss and detoxification, looking for the quick fix.  The idea that we might need to step back and take a holistic and whole view of how we are living and eating seems all too much for many people and feels like a lot of effort for limited returns.  This is a social/behavioural question in itself, but there is nothing wrong with wanting fast and effective results.  The trouble is that not many practitioners know how to implement holistic programs for safe, effective and often rapid results.

Finding out your BioSignature will identify imbalances in your physiology and biochemistry and potential levels of toxicity.  Following the program will enable your body to detoxify and rebalance its systems, enhancing health and function.  Your goal may be weight loss, or it may be strength gains for performance and your BioSignature will give you insight and answers in order to be successful.  Combining this with eating right for your Metabolic Type and you have a powerful approach.  As you are individual in every way, you need to assess for success.

Next article will look in detail about the modern day problem with environmental toxins and the potential effect on Estrogen hormone imbalance.  More of a problem than you may think for both male and females.

Holistic Approach to Real Weight Loss

Keep in mind with this holistic approach to weight loss the goal is to treat the whole individual and establish foundation principles that enhance health:

  • Breathing
  • Mental and Emotional
  • Hydration
  • Nutrition
  • Movement and Exercise
  • Toxicity

This is an overview that relates weight loss to holistic foundation principles.  Over the coming weeks we will delve further into each of the above factors related to weight loss.

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Customise your Nutrition with Metabolic Typing

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Great North Run Training 2008
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Great North Run Training

Column #51, 30th August 2008

In a series of fortnightly articles we have been discussing the myths and contentious issues that exist in the health and fitness world.  In fact I have consequently been asked an excellent question.  My favourite so far.  Simple and straight to the point.  “How do I complete the Great North Run?”  Quite a daunting task if you’ve never experienced 13.1miles on foot.  There are thousands of us currently preparing for the run and all have a training routine of some sort.

We all have different motivations for the race/run too.  You may be looking to set a personal best or looking forward to participating purely for the enjoyment, achievement or fundraising aspect.  Whatever is driving you to take part and no matter what stage you are at in your training, I will share with you some fundamentals that all levels of athletes need to pay full attention to.

Reaching your Potential

A big mistake often made when preparing for the Run and in fact, many sports, is to simply look at what the activity entails and then train this exclusively.  Yes, you will need to be gradually building up the road miles as part of your training, but this alone will inevitably lead to reduced performance levels, injury and your system breaking down.  There are certain key factors that should be the base of your conditioning.

What you Eat, How you Move and When you Sleep.

Consideration of these three factors will ensure you are in your best condition to train and not just complete the run, but beat that personal best.  It seems obvious, but I have found it alarming how many of us who are looking for enhanced health and performance, actually drastically negate these areas.  Sometimes it seems that we don’t fully appreciate how important it is that we eat the right foods at the right time of the day, recover correctly and sleep at the right times and have a stable structure and efficient movement patterns.  Often it is a simple case of priorities, which are our own to develop.

Eat, Move and be Healthy

A fantastic book that I recommend to establish a holistic approach not just to the Run, but your pursuits and life in general is ‘Eat, Move and be Healthy’ by Paul Chek.  As a CHEK Exercise Coach I urge you to embrace these factors to prevent breaking your body down and to build a strong system that gives rise to sustained energy levels, a rock-solid immune system and boosted performance levels.  Your conditioning program will also be enhanced by the support of the trainers at BodyGuards Personal Fitness Gym, who embrace this approach (contact below).

More Myths?

In two weeks time we will look at this approach in more depth with regards to the run.  In the meantime, what topics, trends, exercises, and advice do you want some clarity on?

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Great North Run Training 2008: Eat, Sleep and Move for the Run
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Great North Run Training 2008:  Eat, Sleep and Move for the Run

Column #52, 13th September 2008

There are many resources across the region for you to tap into in regards to building your half marathon training program for the Great North Run.  Ideally - with a few weeks to go - you are putting the finishing touches to your conditioning.  Whether this is the case or you’ve left it a little too late, there are certain key factors that should be the base of everyone’s conditioning.  Quality Eating, Sleeping and Movement.

Eat, Sleep and Move

Consideration of these three factors will ensure you are in your best condition to train and beat that personal best.  This may seem obvious but I frequently find these areas are actually drastically underestimated.  Do we fully appreciate how important it is that we eat the right foods at the right time of the day, recover correctly and sleep at the right times and have a stable structure and efficient movement patterns?

Emotional Nutrition

Again there is a wealth of information on eating right for sports performance and it would be easy to spend 500 words suggesting an organic, fresh, local, seasonal diet free from processed foods.  This is general and good advice, but of course we know all this already.  I’m going to take a different tack.

Somehow, socially and culturally we have managed to line up – without exception – all the food groups, in a nutritional id-parade and demonise them all.  Nothing has escaped; Atkins – ‘too much meat’; Vegetarian – ‘not enough meat’; Bread – ‘too many grains’; Chocolate – enough said.  What this means is that regardless of the actual nutritional value of the food/nutrient that you eat, any feeling of guilt associated with it will cause your body to treat it with caution.  Even if it is ‘good’ for you, you will not digest and assimilate it efficiently and put it to good use because you have informed your body that it is an intruder.

This is in no way discrediting the progress we have made in nutritional science and I am in no way advising a diet of anything and everything.  For example, for those of us with intolerance to grains, eating bread may well cause havoc to our systems.  Yet, in addition to following sound nutritional advice, greater understanding of human function is demonstrating that we are truly emotional beings.  The response we have to a nutrient is not as simple as ‘lock and key’.  Our emotions vibrate through our cells and influence how they act.  Our tissues and organs have intelligence and they have the power to communicate to each other.  The mistake we humans make is that we all to often listen to our central processor – our brain.  The information in here on which we are basing our decisions on is derived from what we see and hear in society and culture, which may not be accurate or true to our self.

This point ultimately highlights the need for us to find time to source, prepare and enjoy our food.  Being in tune with what you eat will educate you into what you do well on and what not so.

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Great North Run Training 2008: Eat, Sleep and Move for the Run....continued
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Great North Run Training 2008:  Eat, Sleep and Move for the Run....continued

Column #53, 27th September 2008

No doubt you will have tapped into the many resources across the region in regards to building your half marathon training program for the Great North Run.  Even with final preparations under way, there are certain key factors that should be the base of everyone’s conditioning:  Quality Eating, Sleeping and Movement.

Eat, Sleep and Move

Consideration of these three factors will ensure you are in your best condition to train and beat that personal best.  Can we gauge how important it is that we eat the right foods at the right time of the day, recover correctly and sleep at the right times and have a stable structure and efficient movement patterns?

Restful Sleep

Do you feel fresh when you get out of bed in the morning?  Good quality, restful sleep is a foundation of good health and one to embrace if you want to perform well in next week’s GNR.  Furthermore it will be fundamental for post-race recovery.  I feel that it is worth offering such seemingly ‘obvious’ advice, because many people’s answer to the above question is “no” and this may be a major cause of dysfunction and disease.

Alarmingly, this below-par feeling is considered the norm.  It seems strange that after several hours of lying down doing nothing, we would get up and actually feel tired, sluggish and possibly worse than when we went to bed.  Whilst acknowledging some of the reasons for feeling like this in the morning are accepted as a trade-off, some of you out there will be in search of that good quality, restful night’s sleep and frustrated at not being able to achieve it.

Let’s consider the ideal situation.  Your body follows a natural circadian (daily) rhythm that dictates when you should go to sleep and wake up.  Ideally you will be asleep by 10.30pm and arise at around 6.30am.  Whilst this may vary slightly, these times are important as they coincide with hormonal levels that control what happens in your body.  For example when you mentally and physically repair.

Given our culture (working hours, shift patterns, socialising, late-night TV etc) we experience a lot of disruption to this natural – ‘yet inconvenient’ – rhythm that we have evolved to.  Disruption will most likely cause a breakdown in your function in some way or other (energy, performance, concentration, mood, injury, rehab, illness).

Solutions to the problem come in many forms.  Practically we have some control of the factors that may be disrupting our natural rhythm.  Encouragingly, there are many further actions you can take to restore your sleep, including nutritional timing and content, relaxation methods, breathing techniques, hormonal balance, stress management and herbal and nutritional supplements.  The approach taken all depends on the causes that are specific to you and you will benefit from investigating these further.

Restful sleep is essential for your body to deal with what’s gone before and prepare for what’s to come.  Good luck for the run and please send me some feedback on your experiences and any questions you have about Sleep

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Great North Run Training 2008: Feedback and Solutions
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Great North Run Training 2008:  Feedback and Solutions

Column #54, 11th October 2008

Congratulations to all those who participated in the Great North Run last weekend.  I’ve had some great questions and feedback from friends and clients who took part.  Now, after a well-earned rest, if you plan on entering next year’s race or any other race across the region, you may want to reflect on the process you went through.

Eat, Sleep and Move

During the preceding weeks of the run, we considered these three important factors.  Now we have experienced the training, the motivation and the commitment required to participate, can we gauge how important it is that we eat the right foods at the right time of the day, recover correctly and sleep at the right times and have a stable structure and efficient movement patterns?

Feedback and Solutions

I invite you to send me your feedback (see contact below).  I want to know your strategies for the run.  Were they a success?  Could it have gone better?  Did you exceed your expectations? Please share your success stories with us all.  If things didn’t go quite according to plan in your training program or your performance, you are in the perfect position to change it.  You’ve got the experience to build on.  The essential factor is that the changes you now make and strategies you develop are right for you.  What is the best approach to enhance your health and performance levels?

Movement and Structure

Although I develop a holistic approach with my clients, the most common questions about performance in the Great North Run are about the physical, training and conditioning side.  This is not surprising as it will have a major impact on performance.  Furthermore I think we can all easily identify with the physical side and judge progress on it, from feeling the pain of an injury to feeling fitter and stronger after a workout.

In terms of looking at movement and structure to improve performance, we are aiming to develop movement patterns and to some extent posture, so that we can minimise the risk of injury and also make the action of running as efficient as possible.  In this way we can be pain-free, train to reach our potential and be as resourceful with our effort and maintain energy levels.  Your body will thank you.

As individuals, everybody has different requirements to ensure correct movement and structure.  If you have suffered an injury through performance or want to build on your success, an essential part of your approach is to assess components such as functional movement screening, posture, pelvic alignment, spinal curvature, structural balance, core imbalances and more.  Based on your results you will be better placed to carry out your corrective performance program.

Don’t forget to send me your questions on any aspect of this article, your run performance and of course, your success stories.

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