The Root Cause of Stress

The Root Cause of Stress

 

The word stress is thrown around quite loosely and as a condition, it is real…. often having a bigger impact on our health than any of the external factors we’ve discussed in the past.

I’ve seen this stress in every case I’ve worked with- a constant, underlying primordial fear based response to the environment around us. And I have been questioning the root cause of it for almost 2 years now and this is what I believe is at the root of it.

It’s the loss of the Collective. We as humans were meant to exist in a tribe. To work together towards the greater good of the tribe out of feelings of mutual love, trust and connectedness. In return, as a whole, the tribe always had your back. You could make mistakes, fail and the tribe would always hold the space for your learn and grow. This is how we are designed as a species.

Somewhere a few thousand years ago, this structure was broken and we started living in smaller and smaller units called families where each unit was forced to fend for itself. In the event of real or perceived threats and calamities you are expected to turn to these 1-2 people- most of whom are stuck in survival mode themselves and you don’t receive the support you need as an organism, as a being.

This is the reason the body end ups always staying on guard. There’s this constant message that the body is receiving that your survival is under threat. None of the passive aggressive people around you can help (sometimes they are the abusers) and as a being you feel you really need to figure out a way to make way out of this big holocaust- this big catastrophic event where anyone who had your back is missing. And you are left wondering, you know what was that great big event that occurred that took away everyone? Like where is everyone right now? That’s the question everyone is asking, where are those real connections, and where in the world is my Tribe?

It’s this loss of the collective, this loss of a sense of belonging that puts in you a flight or fight mode because every person you meet, you are questioning is this person friend or foe. And the other person is doing the same. Your body is the armor for your soul and having to stay in this state of high alert 24/7 starts wearing it down. Its painful for both the mind and body.. and to numb this pain, this lack of connnectedness we get addicted to food, alcohol, media, work, toxic relationships etc.

So what do I think is the solution?

I think one beautiful way to deal with this stress is to start finding your tribe, start finding your community where you feel like you belong, where you can open your heart, where you can be vulnerable, where no one’s going to attack you. Where, even if there’s a threat from outside, there are others who got your back.

If you think I am wrong about this, ask yourself, how many relationships do you have in your life where you can be truly completely transparent and honest and vulnerable without having to ever be defensive ever? And then you know you have a good relationship. If you are defensive, if you’re putting up a fight, if you’re constantly making justification for your existence, if you’re worried about being judged…then, you know, you’re not in your tribe.

I just think its so important that you have spaces and you have people who you are not bound to by any social ties, not related by blood but all that they do is make you feel safe. These are the people that are going to be your tribe. The people that are going to have your back. These are the people where can you are free to go miserably wrong, have really large failures and these people will still be there for you without drama. Because that’s our design- to fail, learn and grow. The tribe is essential for you to feel safe in this process. And this one of the things I really, sincerely want to do- create tribes for you and me, create safe spaces only driven by a common goal of learning and growth and nothing else.

Simply so that you can tell your body to stand down and take a break and allow yourself to heal. Because when you heal, I heal.

If this is something that resonates with you, reach out to me and we’ll see what magick comes forth.

I am part two such Tribes- The Thrive Tribe and The Heart Coherent Tribe- both extremely safe places, if you want to be part of the either of these, let me know and we’ll figure out how to get you in.

Top 6 ways in which obesity can harm you

Top 6 ways in which obesity can harm you

As I founder of functional nutrition centre I have often asked my clients the crucial question – ‘Why do you want to lose weight?’ The answers vary from ‘I want to look good’ to ‘I cannot take the back pain anymore’. Rarely does anyone tell me that they want to ease the strain that they are putting on their body every day. Yes, obesity wreaks havoc on your body and is proof of bodily functions gone wrong within. I think returning your body processes to optimum is the number one reason you should be shedding those extra kilos immediately.

effects of obesity

Being overweight puts a lot of stress on your organs and sets you up for misery that will come sooner than you think. This might sound harsh but it is the scary truth that reveals itself once you know your body.

This post will educate you on the workings of your body the relation of obesity with various illnesses and health risks. Bear in mind that most of the below health risks are not the effect of obesity but go hand in hand with it. Some of them are even the cause of obesity. For example, insulin resistance or Type 2 Diabetes leads to weight gain and not the other way round.

But first, let’s define what being overweight or obese is. This is determines by your BMI or Body Mass Index. Calculate your BMI using the following formula:

 

 

For Asians

BMI of 18 to  23 normal

BMI of 24 to 25 is overweight

BMI of 26 and above counts as obese

 

Health Risks

Obesity is closely related to increased risk of type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, sleep apena, heart stroke, asthma, certain cancers, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In fact, obesity is said to be linked with more than 50 different health problems.

Why Being Overweight is related to so many health problems? 

Extra fat in your body puts strain on your cardiovascular system. Fat makes your blood thick and your arteries stiff which causes high blood pressure. Although being overweight increases all these problems it is not at the heart of all the illnesses. To know the real cause we must get to the root of weight gain itself.

Obesity is not the normal way of a body. A lot of people think that obesity is just a matter of too much eating and too little exercise. While these factors do play a role they are not enough to get you on the path to become obese. Consider the case of childhood obesity.

There are more than 10 million cases of childhood obesity in India alone! Cases of obesity are seen in children as young as 2 to 5 years today. Clearly, it’s not the result of too much food and too little exercise. Something else is going on here. Weight gain is actually a case of your cellular metabolism gone wrong.

child obesity

The truth is- it can happen to anyone. Toxic load in our environment, stressful lifestyle, sedentary jobs, food allergens, poor diet and nutrient deficiency are all to be blamed for the metabolic syndrome. All these external factors lead to insulin resistance, poor metabolism and adrenalin stress in our body. It is the seed that grows into a host of other chronic illnesses including obesity. Obesity is hence a marker of metabolic dysfunctions in your body and the start of many chronic illnesses.

 

Diabetes and Obesity

There have been numerous studies linking weight gain with diabetes. In fact, experts have coined the term ‘diabesity’ as diabetes and obesity go hand in hand. The famous Harvard study that studied 170,000 people over the span of 10 years found that obesity increases the risk of diabetes by 20 times! However all these studies measure risk of diabetes by correlating obesity with presence of diabetes? It doesn’t necessarily mean that obesity is the cause of diabetes. In fact it may be the other way around.

diabetes and Obesity

Insulin resistance is at the heart of type 2 diabetes. Insulin acts as a gate pass for glucose to enter into cells for its conversion into energy. Insulin resistance happens when your cells refuse to take in the glucose and shut off to the insulin in your blood. This is caused by poor lifestyle factors, consuming too much sugar or genetics. This extra glucose in the blood is then stored in fat cells causing you to gain weight.

Insulin resistance points to a metabolic syndrome in the body and it usually precedes weight gain. This means that if you are overweight there is a good chance that you are already suffering from metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. This is more likely if you easily put on weight on your waist.

 

Hypertension and Obesity

Hypertension is the measure of pressure that blood applies to the inner walls of your arteries. Abnormal glucose metabolism increases the LDL (Low-density Lipid) in blood causing the blood and arteries to thicken. This leads to high blood pressure. More cholesterol in your blood also means that the heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body and leading  to increased risk of heart attack.

blood pressure and obesity

 

Cancer

Observational studies have shown that obese persons are at a higher risk of many types of cancer. This includes endometrial cancer (cancer of uterus lining), liver cancer, brain tumor, gall bladder cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

The exact mechanisms of how obesity causes cancer are yet to be discovered. As of now, there are only theories that best support the evidence of higher incidences of cancer in obese people.

One of the theories is that the chronic low-level inflammation that obese people often have leads to DNA damage that leads to cancer. Yet another link is the excess estrogen produced by fat tissue in obese people. Excess estrogen is known to be associated with breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer.

Fat cells also produce adipokines, hormones that can mess up the growth stimulation and inhibition mechanism of cells. Increased level of insulin in the blood is also known to help certain cancers.

 

Stress on Organs

All the extra body mass obviously puts strain on the organs of your body which are meant to handle much less. Increase in fat tissues means that your heart has to pump harder to reach through more blood vessels in your body. Fat deposits also diminish the lung’s capacity to hold air according to studies.

Extra weight also causes structural burden on your skeleton. Obesity usually leads to osteoarthritis, back pain and joint pains.

 

Mental Health

The relation of mental health and obesity is again the story of chicken and egg. We do not know for sure which one comes first.  People with mental health issues have a two to three times higher risk of obesity and people with obesity have a 30% higher risk of mental health issues.

The reason of overlap could be the common risk factors such as stress. Cortisol levels are known to be higher in both obese and depression patients. Inflammation in body and increased stress can lead to a flight or flight response in body which can cause both depression and weight gain. Depression and obesity can lead into a vicious cycle where loss of self-esteem can lead to binge eating which leads to more weight gain. Mental health issues associated with obesity include anxiety, depression, PTSD.

obesity and mental illness

Social Health

The social effects of obesity may not be acknowledged medically with a term, but they are just as damaging. Not being able to fit into your favorite dress and gaining weight every week attacks your self-esteem. Constant low energy takes away your favorite activities and hampers your daily routine. Repeatedly failing to lose weight despite your intention is enough to lose confidence and give-up on life itself.

Many people with obesity become averse to interaction and avoid social events. Obesity affects not just your relations with the outside world but also your relation with yourself. Emotions of frustration, guilt, self-loathing and self-victimization are common because of the illnesses and stigma attached to obesity.

 

Conclusion

Obesity is a result of metabolic processes gone wrong. This root cause is common to many other illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular complications and mental illness. This is the reason that weight gain goes hand in hand with so many health problems and many times is a marker for chronic illnesses to come.

In next blog we will talk about the root causes of weight gain and how to make sure your body functions run smoothly for a lifetime.

Caffeine : How and why should you quit it?

Caffeine : How and why should you quit it?

Coffee is the favorite wake-up drink for millions and a go to necessity  for even more.  Caffeine is the primary ingredient in coffee and many other beverages like tea, chocolate, cola soft drinks, energy drinks and even some medications. Most people are unaware of the harm their morning cup of coffee is doing to them.

In this blog we will talk about what coffee does to your body and how you can quit it with minimal withdrawal symptoms.

Coffee, effects of coffee; how to quit coffee

But first, let’s clear all the confusion there is about caffeine on the internet. Like any other topic on nutrition and health, there is an overload of contradicting information on coffee. Before you make up your mind on what is true, consider this fact:

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth after oil!

You can imagine the commercial interest vested in this commodity. It’s no surprise than many articles and organizations say coffee is safe (Some even claim it prevents cancer!). The FDA recommends upto 400 mg of coffee despite it having no nutritional value whatsoever. Of course, the FDA also considers it is safe to consume upto 50 gm or 12.5 teaspoons of daily sugar which is more addictive than cocaine, but that’s the topic of another blog.

 Caffeine has no nutrients that we cannot do without. In fact, it just gives you a temporary high that masks your nutritional and psychological problems, only to cause a slump in your mood later. In fact it messes up many delicate balances in your body.

 

Why should You Quit Caffeine

Visible and felt effects of caffeine include alertness, better concentration, frequent urination, increased heartbeat and of course the ‘feel-good’ high.

This is what is going on under the surface every time you have caffeine:

  • Nervous System

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. This is what causes alertness and even inability to sleep if consumed after evening. Caffeine competes with adenosine (a sleep inducing molecule) and binds to adenosine receptors in your brain to cause alertness and loss of sleep.

Caffeine stimulates dopamine production in your brain .It also increases the serotonin receptors triggering reward systems in your brain. This is what gives you the happy feeling when you consume caffeine.

 

  • Endocrine System

Drinking coffee re-creates the stress conditions in your body. Here is how this happens.

Caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland to produce adrenalin in your blood. This is the natural fight or flight response of your body. The body releases stores of glucose, increases heart rate and shoots up cortisol levels to prepare for the fight. This response aided us in fighting off threats in ancient times. However, triggering this response without any real stressor leads to a cascade to problems and takes a toll on your body.

effects of coffee, caffein is bad

The Vicious Cycle of Caffeine

Because of release of glucose stores during this process, caffeine leads to high blood sugar which calls for higher insulin in turn causing a slump in your sugar levels soon after.  The low sugar level causes further mood dip and lethargy forcing you to reach for another cup to begin the next cycle of adrenalin rush. This vicious cycle messes up your delicate sugar levels in your blood.

Studies have also shown that caffeine affects estrogen levels in women, increasing the risk of hormonal imbalance and altered ovulation. Pregnant women need to be even more careful as caffeine crosses into the placenta and can affect the functions of fetus as well.

 

  • Digestive System

In line with the stress response triggered by caffeine, it diverts energy and attention away from your digestive system. Caffeine also stimulates stomach to release more Hydrochloric Acid. Morning cup of coffee on an empty stomach is hence disastrous. It reduces the amount of acid available for digestion throughout the day and breaks the natural rhythm of your GI tract.

 

How to Quit Caffeine

As you may have concluded by now, the fake high of caffeine is really not worth all the trouble it causes to your body. The regular stress response takes a toll on your body and eventually leads to weight gain, insulin resistance, dependency and many more problems.

But how do you quit it? Caffeine is after all a mild drug that causes dependency. The typical withdrawal symptoms like headache, energy slump, lethargy, muscle pain, irritability can all be minimized by managing your blood sugar levels and taking right supplements. Here is how it works.

Lack of caffeine as a stimulant in your body will cause an energy slump in your body. It is essential that you take the right food that gives your body a steady supply or energy. Converting glucose to energy also requires the right nutrients, vitamins and amino acids. Therefore you should also supplement your low GL diet with all the required supplements.

Slowly your system which was fuelled by adrenalin response will start running on natural processes for energy conversion.

Thrive with Health

Thrive with Health

A steady flow of energy also means there will be no more energy slumps in your day. Soon, you will not feel the need to go for that 5 pm coffee cup.

 

With right diet, supplements and a deeper understanding of your own body, caffeine can be easily eliminated from your day to day life. Getting rid of this psychoactive drug will clear your way for the other 7 steps in Thrive’s Weight Loss Protocol.