One of the things I enjoy doing is hosting workshops on how our body, biome (gut), and brain (B3) are all connected. World-renowned nutritionist Dr. Shawn Talbott developed this program and people have seen fantastic results that are sustainable. They key is here sustainable because it should be a lifestyle change. For the sake of the workshop not to be too lengthy, I focus primarily on the nutrition aspect, even though it’s only one (but very important) element to your overall health. The others include: stress management, sleep, exercise, and supplementation.
This subject holds close to my heart because when I was in college, I ballooned up to 220 lbs (see this link: https://www.wisithj.com/2017/10/22/the-peril-of-limiting-belief/). I was in my early 20s, but was always tired and had inflammation in parts of my body. I knew that it wasn’t a healthy or sustainable way of living. I clearly recall that when I would get stressed out, I would reach for comforting foods such as ice cream, chicken wings drenched in ranch sauce, and the likes.
I didn’t know about the gut/brain connection back then. But when I slowly but surely lost my weight (about 70 lbs in 1.5 years), I was no longer having those cravings when I became stressed out. Instead I wanted to eat an apple and go workout. When I started, I never intended to lose that much weight. I never knew it was possible. I just started doing the small stuff. I cut out the soda and alcohol. I started walking more (I wasn’t a runner then). Once those substitutes were sustained, I moved onto changing out the cheeseburger to turkey burger with whole-wheat buns. Then I changed out the fries to yogurt.
I enjoy hosting this workshop because it is applicable to anyone and everyone. You can start now, regardless of where you are.
For the workshop, we talk about how to increase thermogenesis (the production of heat) with your diet. If you eat the right way, your body will burn more calories and give off heat.
Controlling your cortisol level (your body’s primary stress hormone) is a way to help with that. Too much cortisol will increase muscle loss, which will reduce thermogenesis since muscle helps burn more fat. With that said, lifting weight helps reduce the loss of muscle while losing weight. This helps increase thermogenesis.
Balancing blood sugar is an important one because if your blood sugar is high, you will stop burning fat and will burn blood sugar instead and store the fat. If your blood sugar drops too low, you will feel hungry so things like fast food looks really good, and you will probably eat everything on sight!
The key is to eat a balanced diet, according to your basal metabolic rate. You can go on Google and search for “basal metabolic rate calculator” and enter information such as your age, height, weight, sex, and how many times you work out in a week to get your number. This number is how many calories you would burn in a day if you were to do nothing.
So…what should I eat?
We will focus on the quantity and quality.
First, the quantity: This is where the helping hand comes in. Your hand is a great tool to help break down foods into proper rationing. If you go to a restaurant, and the serving comes on a huge plate, you do not NEED to eat everything on the plate. Break down the serving into proportions and take the leftover home. Ideally, you want to have 5-6 well proportioned meals and snacks in a day.
Next, the quality:
Consider your carbs carefully. Get carbs from whole grains, fruits, and veggies. The general rule of thumb is that foods that are in their ‘whole’ (unprocessed) state are better. Example: Whole apple > applesauce > apple juice. Always look for “whole grain flour” when you are selecting your grains at the grocery store. “Wheat flour” indicates that the grains have been highly refined. If you’re out and about and there are no labels, go for the darker, thicker, chewier breads over the white and fluffy breads.
Protein should come from lean sources like chicken and fish. The general rule of thumb is that any form of protein can be used to ‘balance’ out a refined carb. Protein and carbs should be consumed together. Example: a bagel for breakfast isn’t the best choice because it has a poor glycemic-index, until a protein is added (such as smoked salmon, eggs, or nut butter). Be mindful that some foods can be masked as protein! Bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are some examples that need to be treated as added fat.
Fat, well…the good kind of fats are from seeds, nuts, olive oil and canola oil. The general rule of thumb is to add a small amount of added fat at each meal to be used as ‘metabolic regulator’. This helps slow down the rise in blood sugar while control your appetite craving and help increase the fat burning.
This diet nourishes your microbiome for longevity because it has a lot of the right fibers. You will starve out the bad bacteria by skipping the processed food. The fibers will help grow the good bacteria. The signals, related to mood, relaxation, appetite, etc. to your brain will change. Your mood will be better. Your energy level will be higher.
There are things that are hard to address like leaky gut, which is a low-grade inflammation through the body. The gut lining doesn’t have good integrity. Things can pass through and get into your blood stream instead of staying in your gut so your body attacks it. If you get better gut integrity, it will make metabolism metabolizes. This can be fixed with the proper diet and supplementation if needed.
Exercising is also an important factor to an overall healthy lifestyle so I will briefly talk about it. You want to do aerobic exercises (such as running, walking, swimming, hiking, and cycling) for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week. If you don’t have time, you can do this on your lunch break or park farther away from work to walk more, or take the stairs up to your office. Get creative! You also want to do strength training, either using weight or your own body, to build muscle mass. Muscle is good because it helps with thermogenesis as mentioned earlier in the blog post.
We covered a lot in this short time and you may feel overwhelmed. Just remember to take baby steps. When I was 220 lbs, there would be no way I can make all of these changes at once. And you don’t have to. Make small changes until they become your habit then continue to strive forward. Get friends involved and make it fun. Remember, this should be a lifestyle shift. You don’t want to yo-yo after getting your results.
If you want to know more about the B3 supplementation, please visit this link: https://www.amare.com/10181/Projectb3
Everything from Amare Global has very clean profiles and ingredients. All products are guaranteed even if fully consumed. Be mindful of what you put in your body. Not all supplements are equal. The cheaper alternatives often times have larger scoops because they contain fillers and artificial ingredients. With that said, if you have any questions or if I can be of any help, please contact me!
If you were to do everything outlined in this blog such as clean eating according to your BMR (basal metabolic rate), and skip the supplementation, you will still see great results. I hope you all crush it in 2019! To your health, my friends!