Starving yourself to lose weight isn’t good for your body, and a super hard-core exercise program may not be the answer, either. These are extremes, but most people’s needs fall somewhere in the middle.
So let’s take a closer look at something that’s becoming an epidemic in Western culture, as it very well may apply to you.
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a bacterial community to keep YOU healthy.
Yes, you have a village of microorganisms living inside you. It’s known as a symbiotic relationship. You rely on each other for survival. This community is called your microbiome, and it lives in your intestinal tract. To conceptualize the importance of this microbiome, there are actually more bacteria in your body than there are are human cells! So you are, in fact, more bacteria than human!
When this community is in balance, it helps you with digestion, absorbing and producing nutrients so you can create energy and function. It helps to keep your hormones, nervous system and immune system balanced. It affects appropriate feelings of hunger and satisfaction. When it’s out of balance, chaos can ensue, and the sky is the limit as to what can go wrong.
How does the microbiome get out of balance?
Overuse of antibiotics may be the biggest cause. Even if you don’t take antibiotics, you likely ingest them indirectly through the food you eat. Up to 80% of the antibiotics sold in the US are fed to livestock that eventually becomes our food.
Antibiotics kill bacteria, and they don’t discriminate, so you lose the helpful ones, too. Unfortunately, the bacteria we consider “bad” are so adept at repopulating you eventually get an overgrowth which leads to an imbalance.
Chlorination and fluoridation in municipal water supply also do a number on gut bacteria.
The resulting imbalance leads to inflammation, which can cause weight gain all by itself. It also causes a permeability issue in your intestinal lining known as leaky gut.
This leads to your immune system reacting strongly in a negative way to many foods that are usually considered to be healthy. This creates another negative cascade of more health problems.
As if this weren’t enough, the bacterial imbalance also causes a hormonal imbalance. This can affect metabolism, mood, sleep, ability to think clearly, skin issues, and more. It can lead to those hunger pangs you get even though you know you’ve had plenty to eat.
Sometimes this imbalance can be sneaky. You may not realize you even have digestive problems, because you don’t have the typical symptoms like heartburn, gas, or bloating you most often hear about.
So if you’re eating a reasonable diet, exercising and still can’t lose that extra weight, why not try healing your gut? It just may be the answer you’re looking for.