Are you Really Doing Everything Right?
First off, I feel that “doing everything right” is a bit subjective. We tend to identify our problem areas (sugar or gluten, for example), and then when we get rid of those foods, that feels like a big accomplishment! So we must be doing everything right! While those foods (and others) can certainly be contributing to problems, removing them alone may not be the panacea. Or, you’ve read how paleo healed someone from their lifelong struggle with Crohn’s. You try it and it doesn’t put your Crohn’s into remission. You’re doing everything right and have been so strict! Why didn’t it work for you?
Couple things here: first off, one man’s healing food is another man’s poison. Ok, I kind of made that saying up, but the sentiment is true. Let’s take eggs, for example. Local, fresh eggs with richly colored yolks from pastured soy-free chickens have been called one of nature’s perfect foods: high in omega 3s, a good source of protein, B vitamins, and lecithin. And yum, eggs are delicious. But if you have a sensitivity to the protein in eggs (either the yolk or the white, or both, very common actually), every time you eat an egg, it’s sending your immune system into a tizzy and causing inflammation in the gut and elsewhere. Your body perceives this as a stress, and it contributes to an imbalance in cortisol (your main stress hormone). Over time, as you’re happily eating eggs, maybe unaware of this sensitivity, the intestinal inflammation is causing leaky gut and malabsorption, and you’re experiencing an increase in foods you no longer tolerate. Plus, the overall stress is upsetting cortisol balance, contributing to fatigue and possibly weight gain. No wonder you’re not feeling better!
Or let’s say you’ve been “eating clean.” You’re eating organic and local, nothing processed or from a box, and you’ve probably even ditched the gluten and dairy. But maybe you’re not registering those few glasses of wine you’ve having each week (or each night). Or maybe your mindless grazing habit during the day isn’t occurring to you. Or maybe you’re underreporting your sugar consumption. I see a lot of “that didn’t even occur to me” in regards to mindless snacking, sugar and/or alcohol.
Here are 4 main reasons your plan isn’t working for you
–you’re still eating foods you may have hidden sensitivities to. The most common are gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, sugar, alcohol, and corn. Many people give up gluten and dairy and expect that to be a cure-all. It isn’t. Give up all the aforementioned foods for a month and then see how you feel. If you feel better, you likely have a sensitivity to one of them. Add them back in one at a time to determine which one is the culprit.
–you don’t have lifestyle factors in place: you’re not sleeping 8-9 hours; you’re working 60 hours a week with no stress relief; your stress level is high, causing cortisol imbalances that prevent weight loss and worsen digestive issues.
–you have an underlying imbalance or deficiency. The most common complaint I hear from the “i’m doing everything right but my plan isn’t working” camp is no weight loss. The scale isn’t budging. Why? Hormone imbalance (female, stress hormone, thyroid hormone); dysbiosis or digestive pathogens/parasites that need to be addressed (do GI stool assessment to identify the problem, then kill off the offenders); or some kind of toxicity (congested liver detox pathways).
–OR, in the case of weight loss, you’re eating too much! Or you’re exercising too little (or too much). Or you’re not eating right for your physiology– we all have different requirements for protein, carb and fat. It can be a lot to navigate, which is why working with a nutritionist can help!
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