Have you ever felt that you were graciously given more fat cells than your BFF? And if so why? And even when you manage to get rid of the flab, it seems to magically appear again!
We believe that today everyone is getting fatter due to lack of exercise, possibly eating junk including high volumes of sugar-laden treats. But the question remains what is making us fatter and is it possible that some people are just blessed when it comes to being skinny… do they have less fat cells, are they just predisposed to ‘being’ skinny?
The sad fact is that it has been shown that all that happens to fat cells in our bodies is they increase. From birth to adulthood our fat cell number increases stabilizing around adulthood… Now we may work extremely had at ‘burning fat’ through exercise and limited calories but what actually happens to these little critters? Fat cells or as they are fondly scientifically referred to, adipocytes are basically variable. Their size is expanding and contracting based on the volume of donuts finding their way into our pie hole… More donuts, more weight gain, and fewer donuts, possibly weight loss. Now like any cell in your body, fat cells do go through their life span and do die, which got me excited as that may mean I don’t HAVE to replace them, not so, our body loves us and is willingly producing replacement fat cells just to ensure we never run out…
But here comes the scary bit, yes, with fat we can count on there being some part which makes us go “OH dear!“. Whether you have had liposuction, or bariatric surgery or gone on a very low-calorie diet, your fat cells are either removed or shrink in the process, BUT fill out again to get back to the previous ‘balance’ of fat as they were previously, or new fat cells are produced to get all back in equilibrium, hence most people gain the weight back within a year.
Let me not stop the bad news there, there are studies that show that when the do-gooders go on diet on a consistent basis going through a cycle of up and down in weight, there is an INCREASE in the number of FAT CELLS with weight regain making it EVEN TOUGHER to keep weight down and maintain weight loss… my shattered nerves… a double-edged sword of our body working for us and against us at the same time… “But how does that work?” you may cry out in frustration!!? Well, it has been shown that our fat kindly secretes proteins and hormones (yes – fat is like an organ in your body, it HAS A JOB) and these have an impact on energy metabolism. Now go on a diet, or lipo or whatever you decide to do to fight fat and these fat cells do reduce in size, with that there is a train of thought that says that now these fat cells, though slimmer, is in a fair amount of distress as their job may be compromised… red flags go up and they send masses of signals to increase our appetite and leading from that FAT STORAGE!!!! Now, of course, this is not an absolute fact but a hypothesis, but it is enough to make any dieter weak at the knees…. and possibly lead to eating for the 1st team rugby squad again…
What are we to do? We eat ourselves into a bigger frame, clothes become tight and diet becomes our middle name, no matter for how long but with absolute determination we take on a regulated plan in food and exercise or go to the extreme of bariatric surgery. But armed with this knowledge of our fat cells being kind enough to ensure we get back to where we were we HAVE to question weight loss! Basically, we could be working against our natural state of being which gets us back to the beginning over and over again, fighting fat on a cycle of on diet off diet with every journey assisting us in adding more to the stockpile residing on our hips…
In the perfect world, we would say, “Just don’t get fat!!” Yeah right, what happens if we are ALREADY FAT!!!?? There is an old saying that ‘Knowledge is power’, yes, true, but for me applied knowledge is power if we know that yo-yo diets are a massive problem based on our bodies’ drive to an important equilibrium then STOP these. Pick a plan and STICK TO IT. Then make damn sure you do NOT gain the weight back… So the answer lies NOT in the weight loss but rather in MAINTENANCE. Simply put, to prevent reaching Heffalump status we HAVE TO make sure we are aware of every morsel that crosses our lips FOREVER. Get to the weight and measurements you desire and guard it carefully, note not obsessively but carefully. Learn to eat intelligently once the weight is gone and be diligent about reigning in on wrong choices continuously. I have found with many of my clients that they maintain quite well if they have learned to apply 80% to 20% weeks. We all know weekends can be ‘WEAKends’ when it comes to consumption, set a rule that for 2 days of a week you are lenient but for the rest of the week stick too good practice when it comes to food and exercise. So let us say you picked a regulated diet plan that only allows lots of water, black coffee and tea and no cooldrinks for your allowed fluid intake… keep this rule for 5 days out of 7, if you have adapted to it, consider doing so for life. We drink way too many of our calories! If your plan to lose weight included NO refined white starches then keep this rule applicable for your week and let it go over weekends if needs be. You WILL control weight by just applying some basic rules once you are done losing the weight, I am not saying stay strict forever, or not have a life, BUT do not go into the process of being ON DIET and OFF DIET or you will feel you need to catch up for the days of being on diet and soon you will notice the skinny jeans turning into fatty jeans again.
If you are overweight, decide on a plan of action, stick to it, get to goal and then STICK TO THAT to ensure you do not end up fatter than before!
Ever wondered what a lack of water does to your body besides feeling thirsty, how about angina (heart) pain, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, leg ache, colitis pain, and migraines are ALL warning signals of dehydration… Are we dying of thirst?
My mind shudders if I think I spent the first 38 years of my life possibly living on a single glass of water a day if that! Most of my life I was in effect dehydrated… NOW my intake varies around 2.5 liters to 3 liters a day as much realization and appreciation of water grew over the years. Possibly my want to rid my body of the excess non watered fat drove me to accept my coaches’ demand to increase my water intake daily. THANK GOODNESS for that journey and that awareness created within me. I reached a point where if I didn’t have water close by I felt anxious. I became DEPENDENT on my intake and have been since then.
This led me to research the WHY behind the IMPORTANCE of water in our bodies and also made me aware of the fact that our pharmaceutical giants don’t agree that WATER is a saving grace pre ANY illness… I wonder why???!
Nerdy as I am, my investigation continued and I eventually focused in on the requirement of water in digestion realizing that as my water intake improved on a daily basis so did my weight loss… it has been shown that as water passes into the intestine it is absorbed immediately, and within a half an hour that an equivalent amount is pumped into your stomach to be used for food breakdown… yes digestion of food DEPENDS on water, and enough of it. With water, digestive enzymes and digestive acids allow food to be broken down for it to pass into the intestine for the next stage of digestion. Water provides the one and only natural guard against the relentless stomach acid produced in safeguarding the walls of your tummy. Now let’s take this one step further. Let’s say you are not the greatest water drinker, the acid ravages a war against your stomach walls and the route to pain relief… ANTACIDS added to that the milligrams of aluminum present in some antacids and the continual use of this to resolve the pain has been linked to brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease.
Should we be drinking water? For sure!!!
I have had clients share their concerns with constipation when taking on a regulated diet and my very first question to each of them is: “How much water are you ACTUALLY drinking a day?”, usually it is followed by a frown then a sheepish look of disdain as they realize they have not got even close to their required amount… a week later I ask how the blocked tunnel is behaving and they start grinning… most say that since they actually measured their water intake the use of the tunnel has been in perfect working order…
Your body has protective mechanisms in place, one being to ensure water is squuueeeeezed out of the excrement making it’s way down the intestine, after all, waste not, want not. In steps DEHYDRATION… without water, getting this mass of byproduct down the tunnel becomes a little, how do I say this? HARDER! Then lunchtimes food is on its way, again minus the required water, at this stage, there is sufficient pain in your lower left abdomen for you to cry CONSTIPATION!! In goes any medication to rectify the rectal anus situation with the associated chemical load for your body to deal with… all it takes is WATER! Drink that and wave laxatives goodbye…
I can go on to share the same type of stories regarding the lack of water, that is dehydration and how it has an impact on the emergence of hiatus hernia, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, neck pain, angina pain, and headaches… the list goes on. I can keep listing the negative effect of dehydration and the importance of water over and over again, but many people will argue that no answer to health challenges can be this simple… well I would like to add that if water was taken efficiently throughout our lives our health and balance within our bodies would not be at risk as we age AND we would look younger than ever as even our skin needs every drop supplied! If it is that simple to keep yourself healthy in a world of fast food and preservatives, why not drink up? And I AM referring to water, pure water, not cool drinks or coffee and tea, ANYTHING that has an added element in it is NOT water.
If we understand the basics that our body requires water in every cell, organ, and tissue, it helps regulate temperature besides bodily functions. We lose water consistently through digesting, sweating, breathing and quietly through transportation of every vital element required to live. Besides air, water is right up there to support your ability to live.
How on earth can you determine if you have enough water in your body? One way is to pinch and hold the back of your skin for a couple of seconds, release it and if it falls back to normal, know that your hydration is good, if not, then pay attention to your water intake.
Going through the detail above, lets look at a few obvious signs of dehydration which are the following:
When water hits your mouth, mucous membranes in it and your throat light up and continue to keep your mouth moist for some time after. Without sufficient water in your body, your mouth is your first indicator.
If we understand that the cartilage and spinal discs are 80% water we will also understand that without water the bones end up grating against each other. With the right quantity of water in your body, your shocks would be in perfect working order, keep water in your body and joints will ease up.
Without water, our eyes end up bloodshot and dry due to tear ducts drying up. If you feel this, do drink that glass of water.
WANT FOR WATER
Ever felt that you more water than you can possibly get in? Maybe with a slight hangover on waking up? When alcohol dehydrates our body demands copious amounts of water, the brain sends the signals… The brains want for water may be that it is largely made up of it, listen to its instruction to ensure safeguarding it.
If you are struggling to shake off illness, or possibly find yourself consistently struggling with colds and flu’s, start upping your water intake. This allows for the continuous flushing of toxins. Water allows the organs responsible for filtering to do their work, if there is an absence of water your organs end up pulling water from your blood, this then is causative of other problems, other health challenges which can be avoided, drink up!
A lack of water leads to a lack of sweat and therefore your body’s ability to not get rid of impurities. Skin is your largest organ and it signals when there is not enough water in your body, if it is dry, it is a problem and sign of dehydration.
Simply and politely put, no water in the colon leads to no lubrication, leads to constipation… if there is no water the digestive process cannot take place, besides constipation, we start lacking the vitamins and minerals needed in our bodies.
LESS TOILET BREAKS REQUIRED?
Not needing to take those loo breaks may be a clear signal of dehydration, besides this, the color needs to be just right, a light yellow, if not, water needs to be your first go to. If you are prone to urinary tract infections, water needs to be your best friend forever. Increase your water intake and keep it at least at 2 liters a day.
When your body is lacking water, your blood gets hijacked of water resources, this leads to a lack of oxygen which basically ends in wanting to sleep and fatigue. Does that late afternoon crash start taking over the day? Then do drink up – water preferably.
WEIGHT LOSS STRUGGLE?
Is your body crying out for food? It may think it NEEDS food if it is not hydrated. Midnight snacking? This happens due to water demand first and foremost, not food, but our bodies interprets it in this way.
It is imperative to include water as part of your daily intake. If you struggle with water, decide to take it on as a new habit, start with a minimum of 8 glasses a day and slowly increase to at least 2.5 liters a day. Place a reminder on your phone, start making it a habit to have water consistently throughout the day and sooner than later you will find 2.5 liters easy. It is after all for your health and wellbeing!
Picture this, I sit down for a strictly regulated diet meal, fighting the plump – and possibly my genes once again, across the table sits Jane, the one who never ponders her weight or what she eats, skinny as hell, loves exercise and radiates overall wellness. Jane has elected the 4 cheese pizza, not giving a hoot about her gene pool or the impact of mozzarella on her thighs. All that goes through my mind is: “Was I born FAT to die FAT – what genes did I inherit!!?”
Society seems to understand my questioning, we all know that some people can eat like hippos and never look like one and then there is the REST OF US…. we tend to look at a glass of red wine and the double chin sets in just in case we take a sip. This unbalanced scale [I am Libra, I LOVE BALANCE!] tipped in favor of those who eat without abandon without the consequences made me search for reason, I mean surely if I can intellectualize this imbalance I can beat it??? Either that or I need to be reborn…
We are told that our size is determined by the amount of food we manage to consume, those little buggers we call calories have a massive impact [no pun intended] on our waist size… But, could it be that our environment and our genes could influence this? What about our thoughts, if one of the laws of the mind is WHAT YOU FOCUS ON GROWSdo we really want to be thinking 24/7 about our expanding waist size.
THOSE CALORIE CRITTERS
How do these buggers end up being stored, burned or bypassing our digestive tract to the poop hole without negatively affecting us? At the end of the day, research shows that all of these are affected by your genes, your excitement on a treadmill and of course how much energy used while sitting on the couch binge-watching Game of Thrones… If your binge-watching is greater than your excitement for time on the treadmill chances are you will make good friends with the stored calories on the WAISTLINE.
Right here, the balanced scale ends up OUT OF BALANCE for me, the closest enjoyment and excitement I have for exercise is watching Charlie Hunnam [drop dead gorgeous lead actor of King Arthur for the uninformed] swinging his sword around. I don’t mind taking on a yoga position watching this man move but naturally, that is not enough to get the scale of critters in critters out, weighing in my favor. So what is left? Possibly decreasing the volume of calories that go in during my day and so too whilst watching dearest Charlie taking on his hero’s journey may be the trick to balancing that scale? If only weight loss was THAT SIMPLE…
THE GENE FOUNDATION
Scientifically speaking, a gene is a unit [similar to the calorie critter I mentioned above if it is NOT in YOUR FAVOUR!] which is kindly and lovingly transferred from your parents to you as a baby to ensure that the neighbors know who the mother and father are of said offspring…
Made up of approximately 20 000 to 25 000 genes with a copy of both Mom and Dad within us, surely the ‘FAT’ gene should be irrelevant? I have sat in my office seeing client after client who puts the blame of ‘kankles’ squarely on the family genes. Could this be the case, could I truly lay blame to poor ‘fat’ genetics for my personal struggle with weight gain? There are over 400 different genes that could be blamed for plumpness! Within that, there is only a handful that are the Kingpins of FATNESS… So what do these genes DO?
Genes affect appetite, satiety, food cravings, metabolism, our addiction tendency when it comes to using food for ‘coping’ with stress and so too where we pack on the weight ON our bodies. But, there are more variables to this… oh dear, no simple answer exists, in fact, when it comes to the understanding of our bodies and how it works, I have heard we have the heavy-handedness of a butcher attacking it with a chainsaw… extreme? Maybe. But have you seen how conclusive findings with regards to medical science change more often than the weather patterns?
Your gene influence on your personal plumpness varies from 25% to 70 or 80%. Finding clarity may involve taking on some introspection, take a careful look at YOUR HISTORY and if these play a role, chances are you are on the higher end of gene influence. I would, however, like to add; we CAN AND DO feed our GENES, we influence our tipping of the gene scales with what goes in! If like me you feel FAT is a constant battle, when you are tired of blaming your hormones, lack of exercise, metabolism and the myriad of options available, have a look at your genetical background, I always joke when it comes to it, always saying that my family and I came from the wrong side of the railway line when it came to health genes. Sometimes there is truth in it, we just need to be willing to investigate. Let us have a look at a couple of factors that can indicate that the genetic scales are not in your favor.
*note… this is not to promote complacency or blame, as I stated above, we can feed the gene monster or starve it.
Let us start with our parents, and their parents, it is not enough to only look at your parents. If your parents, and their parents, not necessarily all of them were overweight or struggled with health challenges attached to obesity then your chances of having the same struggle and possibly reaching obese status goes up to 80%.
You find yourself exercising like a machine and eat rabbit food in an attempt to rid your body of fat and NOTHING happens… FRUSTRATING for sure! I went through a period where I exercised for 4 months 6 times a week eating lettuce leaves and managed to move only 2kgs. At this point, I decided I was fat for life and there was no point. [I was wrong – there is ALWAYS a way to beat the genes!!].
The next question to ask and answer truthfully is, have you been overweight most of your life, and I am not referring to the cuddly baby fat, or the weight as a result of living on JUNK FOOD 24/7. No, the overweight I am speaking about involves living on an average daily intake but ALWAYS ending up in the plump zone?
Then, you have a friend who swears by XYZ diet, you do the research and there are millions having success at it. This is not the first time that said friend has politely recommended a plan of action for you due to the battle you find yourself in. In quiet desperation, you ONCE AGAIN take on another clearly healthy regulated diet and NOTHING HAPPENS. You end up losing water weight and ‘think’ all is good this time, only to come to a standstill somewhere along in your journey. Again, frustration is the name of the game and you once again GIVE UP.
If these 4 pointers sound familiar it may be your genetic pool is NOT in your favor. This is an honest conversation, so let us continue it, maybe it is not your genes that are the problem and sometimes we find ourselves completely UNAWARE of our own actions. I have worked with people who start a regulated diet and come back to me a week later shocked at how their awareness had escalated in the week, they had gone from openly admitting they don’t understand their weight gain to realize their walk to the fridge or pantry consumed most of their waking hours and only after being on a regulated consumption did they notice it. It may not be the genes when we realize that we have food available in our environments consistently, it is easy to go-grabba-whatever-is-available in a totally unconscious manner. It may not be genes when you gain weight after a birthday week [yes, the older you get the longer birth-days become], your birthday leftovers extend for at least a week and you happily oblige consumption instead of wastage. It may not be genes when weight gain is evident every December and January sees more of you based on the fabulous holiday meals with family. Finally, it may not be genes when you start a regulated diet and end up cheating by day 3, attacking the pantry like a homesick child and devouring the biscuits you bought for your child’s school bag. It then becomes easy to blame the chosen diet AND the GENE abnormality…
It is safe to say that if you don’t resonate with any of the discussion above you may be like my friend Jane, eating without abandon or a seconds thought to the calorie critters associated with her intake, you may, in fact, be laughing at this article convinced that me, your friend just needs to stop watching Charlie and get my butt into a gym. I may just agree with you, I have never been satisfied with accepting the standard, I have always believed we were born perfect made by perfect. If we have a couple of plump issues, embracing a healthier take on life may resolve the issues and yes we can celebrate what our bodies can do by living said life in a more vibrant and exercise-driven way. Simultaneously, for some of us, it may just NOT BE THAT SIMPLE, and that is OK. If we understand it, we can live a vibrant life all the same with a few tweaks here and there to put the gene scale back in balance.
BUT, WHAT ABOUT EPIGENETICS?
Now we talking! As I stated, I am not pro accepting that which is, and for many years I battled with the fact that my genes are as they are. I became truly excited at the study of our genes and the associated possibility of these little bugger ‘expressing’ in a new way. Epigenetics. There is hope for the FATSOME in me…
Why did I get excited? Well, if you understand that ‘YOU are WHAT you eat‘ and that our environment AND our thoughts have a direct influence on WHO WE BECOME, AND that we are energy beings continuously evolving then genes are just the ride into untold possibility. Taken from the article above, the section below explains it in a sciency way but makes sense to basic understanding:
“Here are a few important points about epigenetics:
Epigenetics Controls Genes. This is achieved through (a) nature: epigenetics is what determines a cell’s specialization (e.g., skin cell, blood cell, hair cell, liver cells, etc.) as a fetus develops into a baby through gene expression (active) or silencing (dormant); and (b) nurture: environmental stimuli can also cause genes to be turned off or turned on.
Epigenetics Is Everywhere. What you eat, where you live, who you interact with, when you sleep, how you exercise, even aging – all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications around the genes that will turn those genes on or off over time. Additionally, in certain diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, various genes will be switched into the opposite state, away from the normal/healthy state.
Epigenetics Makes Us Unique. Even though we are all human, why do some of us have blonde hair or darker skin? Why do some of us hate the taste of mushrooms or eggplants? Why are some of us more sociable than others? The different combinations of genes that are turned on or off is what makes each one of us unique. Furthermore, there have been indications that some epigenetic changes can be inherited.
Epigenetics Is Reversible. With 20,000+ genes, what will be the result of the different combinations of genes being turned on or off? The possible arrangements are enormous! But if we could map every single cause and effect of the different combinations, and if we could reverse the gene’s state to keep the good while eliminating the bad… then we could hypothetically* cure cancer, slow aging, stop obesity, and so much more.”
With that said, maybe being born with a gene foundation that embarrasses a toad is of no concern. Maybe just maybe we have a say. This is where controlling the controllable is paramount. No matter who we are, we have the tendency to look externally to blame our expanding waistline, science, however, informed us we could look internally to blame, [even worse in my opinion as we end up blaming ourselves and our family for that muffin top]. Instead of an attitude of blame, maybe the manner in which to take on this personal jail of the gene pool is to CHANGE IT. First, in the thoughts we have about it, then in the actions that WE CONTROL. Trying to fight the environmental impact can be done to a lesser degree, here the focus SHOULD BE control the controllable. After all, as an in-utero baby, we have no control over what our mothers eat, smoke, drink or do. The health challenges she works with and those that came through your Dad’s genes you have ZERO control over… it cannot be changed. Then your environment as a baby you too have little control over, whether Mom decides to have a cesarean or natural birth, to breastfeed or bottle-feed is of ZERO concern to you, you are truly capable of only taking control of the NOW. YourNOW WILL have an impact on your offspring and the quality of life you live as you age. That and that alone will be up to you to decide, within reason.
WE have the ability to decide if you overeat on the calorie critters, binge watch Game of Thrones, chose a chicken salad over a pizza or light up that next cigarette. WE decide to focus on a healthy, vibrant life versus focussing on the obesity epidemic worldwide and how we are ‘destined’ [NOOOO] to fatness based on our genes. WE decide how much sleep we get, how we alleviate our stress levels if we stop at a junk-food joint for supper [it is junk for a reason] and the amount of water we drink daily. WE decide on an exercise regime, or NOT. WE can decide to jail ourselves in the blame game, the available arsenal to justify the current circumstance we find ourselves in, is endless, media, health advocates, nutritionists, dieticians et al give us daily ammunition to lock that jail door There is SO MUCH we CAN control but it is MUCH EASIER not to. To do that which is difficult is as easy as not to do it, it takes the same amount of energy whether in the instant of choice or, for that matter, later on in life.
THE GET-OUT-OF-JAIL-FREE CARD
It has been said that our attitude affects our altitude… I got so involved in looking for the reasons for my CONSTANT BATTLE AGAINST OBESITY that even I fell into the trap of the blame game jail. How did it serve me? Well, I only got fatter. With that, the continual woe-be-me struggle elevated my victim status to my gene pool being guilty until proven otherwise. Even I got tired of my hacking the food industry, the endless useless diets, the defunct gene pool dilemma, and the ridiculous suggested exercise regimes. Sadly it took over 40 years of my life to come to terms with controlling the controllables. My attitude regarding health and living to age 100 in a vibrant way was my doing and ONLY MY DOING. This clarity IS a get-out-of-jail-free card. For some it may seem like DUH… in fact, it was for me too, but, if what I am saying is simple and can have duh status, why do we STILL sit with the obesity epidemic, ladies having tea blaming diets that don’t work, writers writing about the A-Z of sugar evils? Informational purposes for sure but in some aspects, our addiction to the doom and gloom of how we find ourselves in a useless quagmire of ill health and obesity keeps us RIGHT THERE.
My saving grace was dropping the cognitive dissonance I had embraced [this for those needing clarity, describes feelings of discomfort that result when your beliefs run counter to your behaviors and/or new information that is presented to you – basically you start living the lie you believe to suit your circumstance. – ouch], realizing that me, and only me, will result in a different outcome.
Over the past few years, a smoke-filled tidal wave of cannabis hit the shelves proclaiming a cure-all miracle, I watch hope escalate and sometimes go up in flames when what is promised is not delivered. Now some individuals love the idea of a bit of pot to resolve a health challenge, but most are questioning Cannabis– CBD as that magic formula. Time to get to grips with what it is all about.
WHAT WE SEE TODAY IS WHAT WE GET, OR IS IT?
The Cannabis as we know it has changed slightly from the one smoked around a campfire. It contains 2 chemical components which are primary to the apparent effect thereof. One is the THC, TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL [try to say that fast…] which is the happy side of the drug, then the CBD, CANNABIDIOL, the one which is not the cause of outward happiness but rather inward ease. These are the components removed by heat or activation to maximize potency. The CBD, when taken in, is stored in the lipids of our fat cells where its responsibility is to work with the immune system and our mental state. There it resides for days to weeks and can affect brain activity – basically driving is not a great idea if this replaces your cup of coffee in the morning before hitting the road to work.
Now let us look at how the potency of this drug has grown over the years, from the ’60s where flower power was reigned by smoking a bit of pot along the way. Cannabis then had a THC content ranging from 0.5 to 3%, by the ’90s it rose to around 6 to 8%. Today there is a rainbow spectrum of concentration, from 20% THC to more than 90% [ever heard someone mention that CBD quality is important?]. The supposedly helpful CBD, however, has been reworked in favor of the THC ingredient, with THC claiming the first spot these days at around 95% of the medical marijuana and punted as a quality CBD oil by some ‘quick-in-quick-out’ suppliers.
Basically, cannabis potency, as we used to know it, has increased significantly. Specifically speaking the THC component, releases huge dopamine kicks from the brain and as my mother always used to say, “too much of a good thing ain’t good“. After all, our physical bodies are all about balance, and yes that includes the brain… let us not close our eyes and mind to the one side effect which is an addiction, it seems ok at age 70 but what about our teenagers? It is a Schedule 1 drug, the funny thing is so is heroin and LSD. Interestingly enough, in communities where cannabis is like coffee and tea to you and me, they found that it actually impacted the immune system negatively.
WHERE THERE IS SMOKE THERE IS FIRE
If you have possibly been looking for answers in a personal health challenge, I am almost positive that someone somewhere has, or will still advice the use of CBD. It has been promoted EVERYWHERE, from health coaches to health shops, to naturopaths based on the fact that it is a cure-all product, there to help with sleep, apparent mental focus, fewer aches and pains all that without the usual high. Logically thinking, we all KNOW that cannabis effects the brain, regardless of a label of CBD or marijuana. When people are encouraged to take it willy nilly without the proper and precise dosage instructions and not made aware of ‘how to’ come off it, therein lies the danger. Side effects include but are not limited to somnolence [sleeping all the time] and sedation, suicidal behavior and hepatocellular injury [yup, your liver is not taking this weed thing too well!].
Let us take a look at that pleasure kick we get from dopamine again. Firstly, dopamine is our friend, a neuro compound that regulates movement, emotions, attention, and learning. It identifies the rewards and then motivates action towards the rewards. It is our pleasure reward system. The THC in cannabis instigates the release of dopamine from the brain, whooopwhoooooop… Now, let us do this for a period of time, a couple of weeks, months and or years, and we end up with one serious imbalance, in fact, our brain becomes numb to the commands and dopamine levels drop, this starts affecting cognition, memory and causes learning difficulties. Then added to a study has shown that the use of this drug has an influence on epigenetics, resulting in it having an impact on generations to come. What we do in effect FOR OURSELVES, is not so, it carries on and on and on…
And here comes the hitter, if like me you may not be a socialite, kinda like your own space, taking this on a regular basis showed an increase in panic disorder, bipolarity, depression, anxiety and social phobia leading to overall decline in mental health; it may seem like a full-blown party to start with but may end up as a one-man-band. Remember I mentioned the high potency of the THC component, well, a 2015 study in Lancet Psychiatry looked carefully at the first time episodes of psychotic actions of over 400 adults in South London and 24% were tied to the use of ‘high-potency cannabis, ie. 25% THC content cannabis. With this, aging of the brain has been identified with the long term use of cannabis. Then let us look at the effect on our heart, it both raises blood pressure and heart rate, again a study on a group prone to coronary artery disease showed with over 4000 patients that cannabis triggered acute myocardial infarction [basically – heart attacks]. I am almost certain for each negative study there WILL BE a positive one, the problem is we are not aware of the negatives and this is by no means indicating that I am for or against its use, only my absolute dog-headed determination to become aware of the full picture. In the short term all seems well and dandy, it is the long term effect that ALWAYS INTERESTS ME.
As a side note, the same can be said for any medical intervention we use, take statin drugs, for example, a drug purported to relieve and prevent heart disease, but start using this delightful devil and all hell breaks loose in a body. Both my parents were on statins for close on 20 years and both passed as a result of heart disease, in that time, every other possible medication was added as a result of the domino effect statins had on their bodies.
The same could be said for cannabis, it starts as a seemingly healthier alternative, but is it? Or is it purely a great alternative for the here and now, regardless of the outcome in 10 years? I know of people personally using it that will not go without, I also know of people who used it for medicinal cures and are no longer with us. With the evidence stockpiling over its efficacy or not, some say that the negative side effects outweigh the positives.
Looking at the rise of cancer and the use of CBD related to this is also interesting, in a 2012 case-control study, marijuana users ended up with twice the chance of testicular cancer. It was shown in a 2016 review that THC and CBD could ‘swing’ both ways, causes regression or progression of breast cancer in mice. Then a 2004 study showed the risk of brain cancer increased by 2.8 fold for those using marijuana at least once a month. The nail in the coffin so to speak showed up in a 2007 study sowing that THC was, in fact, an activator of cancer-promoting receptors and CBD gave only modest protection.
FASHIONABLE – WITHOUT QUESTION!
There are truly specific cases in which the use of this guided, specified, controlled and quality checked can be of benefit for a handful of health challenges, this I am not arguing. But, [sorry there is one] labeling cannabis and all the ways and means of consuming it, whether by; ‘delightful’ joint, THC infused soda [wtf – yup, it is in that too], skin products [really!? yes, really], a brownie, vaping and or dabbing a concentrated THC resin – into one bracket with zero standardization and quality control, never mind the MISLABELING [most often not mislabelling rather missing quality control, incorrect ingredient mix and misinformation is the culprit] is a cause for HUGE concern. Place this mix in a ‘clean’ bottle with a pretty label and just like that, you have a product for the desperate and unaware public legalized by many countries worldwide. Ever wondered about the contamination? It was found that 80 to 90% of the retailed cannabis sold in California included a not so helpful dose of pesticides, fungus, and molds.
The vital part of this discussion is; anyone stepping into the ‘use zone’ needs to ensure it is done under a doctor’s supervision to ensure it can be adapted to YOUR situation, and correctly terminated when required. Become informed about the latest studies, not just those in favor but those that show both sides of the coin, take note of the sweeping claims and investigate the full truth [little of that is available and even when available depending on your situation you may turn a blind eye, each to his own and I cannot stress how I, or anybody for that matter cannot feel the pain and relief thereof, so, that being said, the call to use or not to, sits squarely on an individuals shoulders – not the government, not the supplier]. Get informed, read up on SAM, which is an organization encouraging medical research but frowns upon outright legalization.
Clear the understanding in your own mind that yes, it does have a role to play, in many cultures, it was used with great optimism and effect, but today concentrates and extracts are by no means the same mix.
Di Forti M, Marconi A, Carra E, et al. Proportion of patients in south London with first-episode psychosis attributable to use of high potency cannabis: a case-control study. Lancet Psychiatry 2015;2(3):233-8.
Lacson JCA, Carroll JD, Tuazon E, Castelao EJ, Bernstein L, Cortessis VK. Population-based case-control study of recreational drug use and testis cancer risk confirms association between marijuana use and non-seminoma risk. Cancer 2012;118(21):5374-83.
Ladin DA, Soliman E, Griffin L, Van Dross R. Preclinical and clinical assessment of cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents. Front Pharmacol 2016;7:361.
Efird JT, Friedman GD, Sidney S, et al. The risk for malignant primary adult-onset glioma in a large, multiethnic, managed-care cohort: cigarette smoking and other lifestyle behaviors. J Neurooncol 2004; 68(1): 57-69.
Ryberg E, Larsson N, Sjogren S, et al. The orphan receptor GPR55 is a novel cannabinoid receptor. Br J Pharmacol 2007;152(7)1092-101.
Wise Traditions. In food, farming and the healing arts. A publication of The Weston A. Price Foundation. Vol 20 Number 1. Spring 2019. p24-37
Some people realize that one diet does NOT fit all, some people realise that whats right for the goose, may not be right for the gander… me on the other hand, spent most of my adult life believing, truly believing, if a diet worked for X person, then it will for sure work for me. 30kgs later, I realised one diet fits all was a load of bullsh*t.
Yes, it was a light bulb moment, though, maybe not as sudden as flicking a switch, more like a slow-burning ember that gets a gust of wind and lights up EVENTUALLY, I am slow like that. Sadly, even though I fully realize that I AM an individual with individual body requirements, somehow the idea that one diet DOES NOT fit all did not dawn on me until I walked that path and paid dearly for it.
My journey started at over 90kgs the first time I took on RIDDING my body of FAT, it was a wholesome eating plan which got me on the right track and I lost 30kgs over a year, as I reached my goal I fell pregnant with my first child, 2 pregnancies later I was tipping the 90kg zone again. Slowly the weight crept up to 106kg. At this point, I decided that feeling like a wounded buffalo was not for me. I started following the same food protocol which I had successfully used before and started exercising 6 times a week. My weight did not budge and I resided to being FAT AND FURIOUS for life. I had OFFICIALLY given up.
A friend introduced me to a shake diet and I decided to give it a shot, I was desperate and had never thought my weight was an issue until someone I had not seen in a while saw me, their jaw dropped non politely to the floor, truly, I heard the echo as it hit the floor, and in an instant if the earth could politely have swallowed me up I would have gone without putting up a fight! I started the shake diet with MASSIVE SUCCESS. At age 39 I gained my body back, moving to a wonderful 65kgs over a 6 month period. I never felt more like a lithe cheetah, 40kgs lighter, happier and more confident than a second hand car salesman.
Then, LIFE HAPPENED, AGAIN – she does that…. This was an interesting journey, but one in which sadly I spent 5 years questioning my worth, value, ability and leadership skills. Life literally sucked it all out of me and I ate my way out of the hole I found myself in. In that time, I moved home, got divorced, gave up my Art Degree, lost both my parents in a matter of 9 months, lost the work I loved and thrived in for 7 years and beat cancer. It was a shocker and I carefully reminded myself of the mirror I broke a couple of years prior which may have caused the quagmire of bad luck, though some would say that I had thought it into manifestation, so made it my REALITY [a different subject and sadly I tend to agree for parts of it]. Regardless, this time brought me back to packing on 40kgs plus to my small frame.
Long story I know, but at around this point that burning ember sparked, I decided to make friends with food, [for the fatties like me out there, we AIN’T friends with food – do not try kid yourself]. I decided to do the Hormone diet, the Metabolic diet, the HFLC (High Fat Low Carb) diet, Keto diet plan, the Cinderella diet, the 14-day diet, the Blood type diet, etc, etc… I was determined to become friends with food, I ONLY got fatter. Now some would argue and state that I did it WRONG. Sorry to disappoint folks, I have actively worked in the health and wellness industry since 2011, coached people to rid their bodies of over 8000kgs of FAT in that time, I understood what it means to stick like a postage stamp! Now spending time for 5 years questioning ALL I AM, then failing hopelessly with my supposed BFF food… did NOT HELP. I had not found the answer in that relationship-building process. In fact, that BFF food, lied, undercut, cheated and abused me and hampered every possible means of progress.
Some people, you know who you are, have had massive success in weight removal in the programs above, some have even said to me you just need to do X, Y, and Z and just like that weight will melt off you based on above programs… YOU JUST NOT DOING IT RIGHT… ARRRRGHHHHHH – KILL ME NOW. At a point, I decided that exercise will be my only saving grace, my NEW BFF, bugger food, even though I have always believed you can NEVER outrun your fork. The minute this buffalo decided to start walking the proverbial sh*t hit the fan. Knees started swelling, ankles ached, and shin splints set in. “Let us exercize” they said, “it will be fun” they said… not for this buffalo!
Back to the drawing table, I went, these diets worked for EVERYONE, after all, one diet fits all!?? The more fat I ate, the fatter I got, the more variety my diet got the more my joints ached. Then I checked my blood type, I am a keen supporter of Peter D’Adamo of course, and my blood type told me to steer clear of Avo, Banana, Butter and chicken [which when you eat salads, chicken is a firm favorite in most food-based diets…] – all of these foods were top of my list when I followed the listed regulated diets above, excepting banana, when I effentually took a look at the blood type dieting guidelines, I realized, – WHAT WAS I THINKING!!? Besides the fact that with my blood type I basically had to survive on tofu and lettuce.
Needless to say, I felt like a total failure. Self-esteem shattered. Confidence equivalent to a teenagers first kiss. Broken. Now the embers spark was well lit. The light bulb moment.
I started my investigation and realized that both the diets I had resounding success in was 50% Carbohydrate- GOOD ONES ONLY [Check out my course on Coach : no diet in which I explain the constant companions], 30% Protein and 20% GOOD fats and fiber. Both the diets required eating breakfast [intermittent fasting, I forgot to add that to the list above, but this one goes out the window if I look at my success dieting history]. Both required a large quantity of water a day. What I realized, not being a lover of cooking and baking, preparing and weighing [sorry Mom, I am no good at it and love foods starting with ‘RESERVATIONS‘ of a table for you Madam?], that the choice of my shake diet was the best way to go. The interesting thing about this diet is I helped all sorts reach success with it. Possibly the reason being that it IS BALANCED nutrition, 3 to 4 meals a day, with the correct fiber and water balance for your body. It was also not only shakes but food so it covered the best of both worlds.
Sadly I needed to go through the wringer to get back to it. I had to walk journeys highly recommended by all as “This diet will work for you, it works for everyone after all!!” Then failing, feeling that failure, QUESTIONING MY GENE POOL [Possibly alien, the verdict is still out according to my children] and fattening up in the process. I am one of the lucky few in my opinion that found the RIGHT RECIPE for me. Some never find it and do literally GIVE UP and GET FATTER. Fat not being the problem of course, the health challenges as a result of fat, now therein lies the TRUE problem. The second TRUE problem is our perception that one diet fits all. Herein lies the failed attempts, the yo-yo dieting, the health compromise, the breeding of low self-esteem.
Hear he, hear he, hear he… take note of the punters, the converts, and the believers and the naysayers, listen only to your heart when making your choice to go fat to fab, [and listen to your gut as well, it will let you know in possibly unflattering ways] YOU will know what is working if you gaining fat be weary. Look closely at your regulated dieting history – it tells a story. Look closely at responsive emotions over your lifetime, some may have a direct impact on your gaining and losing of fat. Draw a timeline and look, more stress, less stress, more sleep, less sleep, more exercise, less exercise, YOU GET THE PICTURE. Then, like a puzzle piece, put it all together and chances are you will be able to identify what regulated diet would be the right course of action for YOU, not your sister, brother, mother or bestest friend, but rather for you. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL! Bugger the latest science, use it as a guide but tomorrow they MAY tell you how grass-fed cattle are killing you too…
How do you know what is the right diet for you, simple, IT WORKS, YOU WILL MOVE FAT OFF YOUR BODY... Whether you drop size, centimeters or kilograms – SOMETHING WILL MOVE!
Take a special page out of my flabby book, it is NOT about the diet, it is NOT about the diet being to blame, it is our closer inspection AND introspection of WHAT WORKS FOR US that leads to a regulated diet success!
If you find yourself caught up in the decision of a regulated diet or exercise, eat right or give up… It may be time to assess where you are and what and why you need the answer. Wading waist-high in decisions can be the one reason why we do NOTHING.
If like me you have found yourself staring at the less than satisfactory reflection of yourself in a shop window, convincing yourself that your value is not directly proportional to your size, digging deep to be ok with your XXL pants size while smiling broadly as a perfect size 10 stands next to you asking to advise on crop top versus chiffon blouse eating a muffin simultaneously, continue reading.
If any of this rings a bell then the next actions may too. With an absolute realization that the fat pants are having a dent in your self-esteem regardless of learning to ‘love yourself regardless of your shape and size’, you surround yourself with your bevy of friends to have a REAL discussion on your dilemma. Here comes the challenge, half of them spend time convincing you that you ARE GREAT JUST AS YOU ARE [not] and the other half start advising on better health. Debbie, for example, has done the Keto diet plan and she shook 15kgs from her frame and can only highly recommend it. Sally says no way, exercise is the only way to go, yes watch what you eat but you need to get a personal trainer AND exercise like a beast [YOGA is maybe an effort for you so the idea of sweating every day is making you cringe inside]. Pam pipes up that she got hold of Garcinia, a ‘magic pill’ that fabulously fries fat and eats and drinks whatever comes her way [not that she has ever struggled with fat and generally only takes it to make her bikini fit better than the previous summer]. Level headed Anna stays quiet, so you prompt her on her opinion as she NEVER seems to discuss fighting the bulge and she NEVER seems to eat at gatherings anyway, she claims without a blink of an eyelid that she never thinks about food, eats what she wants when she wants without it affecting her… [kill me now… – yes, there are Anna’s out there]. More confused than ever, you find yourself in a quagmire of opinions about how YOU should go about slaying the fatty dragon wrapped around your body.
No clearer on your direction to gain control of your thighs slapping together, you leave slightly demotivated. As you drive home, you try to convince yourself not to be ‘shallow’ and base a successful life on how you look, after all, everyone loves you regardless. Right here the devil and angel within start a full-blown battle… You are torn between handing over your thighs to fate versus acknowledging how you need to take control of the situation before your life span gets reduced or your size becomes unavailable in the shops. You end up leaving the arguing to the angel and devil and hit the bed to sleep on the way forward.
Morning comes, and you have decided now is the time to act. You realized that regardless of the love you feel from those around you, your self-esteem is teetering on broke and because you DO love yourself you are aware something needs to change. You also realize that YOU and only YOU can make a decision about what works best for you. Like a charging elephant [yes, the size of this beautiful beast was intentional] you decide to lean on our good friend GOOGLE to determine a direction. This IS where you WILL find the answer… [or not]. After typing out a string of searches regarding weight loss and fat loss and diet types and and and… you find yourself on a page about ‘cute puppy pictures’ and realize you lost the plot completely. Too many blogs later and countless email sign up landing pages later you throw your hands in the air… bugger it. Fat for life seems to be an easier answer, just then you get offered a muffin and you see it as a ‘sign’ that you should NOTGO ON DIET after all… 3 months down the road, 5kgs heavier, you sit through the same debate.
Now, this seems like a long sad story but I really wanted to paint the picture. If you are someone that struggles with weight, this story would resonate for sure. I would like to give some FURTHER advise to the hefty out there [this is not said in a nasty way, rather in a loving way as this IS familiar territory for me too!] for the roadmap to choosing a way forward.
THERE IS NO ON-OFF SWITCH
The world we live in allows us to live ‘easy’, as easy as it is for most people to switch a light on and off. EVERYTHING is literally at our fingertips. Ask and you shall receive has never been as real as it is in our current day and age. With this immediate gratification in mind and foundation of expectation, we not only expect regulated diets to be easy but FAST as well! And if it isn’t, we blame the diet. Generally, if we find ourselves desperate for answers we may just reach for something which is portrayed as THE ANSWER but is not necessarily OUR ANSWER. We are pushed by the ‘miracle possibility’ sold to us, YES, THIS miracle pill WILL WORK! And it will work FAST. Herein lies the fault and flaw to the entire process of selecting a regulated diet, we lose our power by handing it over not to the diet industry but to our assumption that ‘fast and dirty’ could work. We spend fleeting moments ‘deciding or choosing’ our regulated diets, charge forward to using/doing the regulated diet to crash and burn 2 weeks after starting [if we get that far]. The most important items to succeeding at fighting the flab are:
An inspired DISSATISFACTION with how your body fits on YOU
A clear understanding of what you are ABLE to use as a regulated diet based on your CURRENT LIFESTYLE
The clarity in the realization that there are no QUICK FIXES, no on-off switches, it took months or years to pile on, it may take as long to drop.
It has little to do with the diet you chose, it has everything to do with you STICKING TO THE DIET YOU CHOSE.
Accept the fact that not only do you have to live on a regulated diet to attain success physically, you will also need to do work on your MIND to accept and embrace the transformation.
GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME
We spoke about instant gratification. Heres the thing, when it comes to fatty fatness, it likes sticking around, if you see adverts for fat melting away like ice cream on a hot day, take cognisance of the fact that the brain is also made up of fat, and your body will protect it as best it can… also ask is it fat burning or muscle disappearing. Your body will protect fat at all costs ESPECIALLY if it is out of balance (fight or flight is important here), threaten your ‘survival’ through extreme regulated diets and your body’s resources [that would be the fat slapping thighs] will be locked up in two ticks. Now I am not saying you won’t rid your body of fat fast, there ARE actually healthy ways of dropping the fat fast, but use the brain and do the research. Generally, you can trust the company that shows the ingredient list and has scientific studies to back the product. So too, there will be not 1 or 2 reviews but many, check them out. Basically, fast IS possible, but check the chatter first! Personally, I have used a diet that managed to drop fat fast off my body, it was sound science, fantastic reviews, and properly planned. Those regulated diets that arrive by post with no support claiming magical fat disappearance not disclosing ingredients are NOT the answer. In fact, all it will make you do is dent your already wavering self-esteem when the magical fat-burning doesn’t happen to you… ever felt alien before???
Now, if you are on the larger side of life, be PATIENT with yourself. Acknowledge where you are and realize you can make the difference, over time… Write down how you feel currently, why you have reached this point of inspired dissatisfaction, it may be not fitting into a favorite dress, not being able to tie your laces, not being able to walk upstairs without sounding like a wounded buffalo, no matter what it is, write it down. I find 10 key points are a great start, keep that list with you wherever you go because just like we sometimes need reminding about a hair appointment, we sometimes need reminding why we are saying no thank you to a muffin too. This will keep you on the journey of reaching your success. We forget how awful that reflection was in the shop window when a choc chip muffin gets waved in front of our noses. Besides writing it down, record it to your phone, on the way to or from anywhere, listen to it, keep reminding how sh*t it felt to be that buffalo. You may have heard this before, motivation is like brushing your teeth, you need to hear it daily. Our prime instinct is to move AWAY from pain TOWARDS pleasure and that list will keep you on your toes when it comes to critical decisions on your journey.
Then take a look at the time it will take to lose the fat. If it is a long journey, let us say a year, it may seem forever, but we all know that obesity is the leading cause of illness, disease, and death. If we drop the fat we not only live longer but better too. Take that year and see how incredibly short it is in your lifetime. Zoom out and see your entire lifetime and realize that that year is over in a blink of an eye and with that, you can live a life filled with vitality to a ripe old age. If you have the tendency to worry about a birthday coming up that may interfere, know that you still have many more birthdays. A celebration? There will be many more IF you look after your health.
CHOICES MAKE US
This is not a willy nilly decision, a knee jerk reaction, it needs as much focus as deciding where and when you intend planning a vacation, how much you will spend, how you will get there. Choosing a regulated diet requires the same focus. This is where we get it all wrong, I will say this again, DIET’S ARE NOT TO BLAME it is our CHOICE of a regulated diet that is to blame. I have met with clients that loath a shake as a meal but opt-in on a shake diet, or that cannot stomach high fat but take on the keto plan OR someone who has a health issue but then decide to starve their bodies of essential vitamins and minerals which are key to healing themselves first. Point is, you need to sit down and firstly assess your daily processes, identify your strong points and work with those when choosing a diet. Let me elaborate, let us say you are incredibly busy and generally live on coffee and water during the day and the first meal down the pie hole is supper time. Would choosing a diet which requires planning, fresh-cooked meals 3 times a day preferably weighed out portions be the answer? If you said no to that option well done. Now it may seem simple but in pure desperation, people will attempt to move mountains and literally opt for the complete opposite of what they should in the hope that it will make some amazing difference. As a standard, it is human to stick to what is familiar and move away from the unfamiliar, you are possibly no different. Let us get back to the example above. The best possible regulated diet choice would be something that works within your strengths. As liquid is the primary input for the day, possibly a shake diet would be PERFECT for them, with a regulated meal in the evening. In that way, familiar stays fairly familiar and their strengths are worked with to lead to success.
The same can be said of exercise. Now yes, there are people who succeed to do a 360-degree roundabout when they move from passivity to doing exercise but it comes with the correct understanding of your own capabilities. Personally, I am not a fitness fanatic, a good yoga session is adequate for me, a walk even better. For some people struggling with weight they know they thrive on exercise and always have but for some reason, office, work, excess fat has prevented them from getting active, these individuals can start incorporating exercise once again and chose a regulated diet that fits within those parameters, here my only advice is slow and steady wins the race. If you are carrying excess weight you could damage joints along the way, try to shift some weight before doing MAJOR EXERCISE, stick to swimming or an easy stroll and work your way back to the gym.
Closing off, choosing and taking on a regulated diet is not a form of punishment, it is a journey based on your strengths and endpoint requirement. If you are feeling deprived or ‘punished’ as a result of your regulated diet chances are you have chosen the wrong diet for YOU. Take your time, be truthful to yourself and your regulated diet journey may just become a lot simpler. Besides the journey to your success, if you chose the right diet it BECOMES A LIFESTYLE instead of a LIFE SENTENCE and you can steer clear of the ‘haters’ when it comes to diets knowledgeable of the fact that you can make the RIGHT choice for your journey.
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