With all of the good intensions in the world, do you sometimes feel that your body is just not on your side? You watch what you eat, go on a diet, sweat it out in the gym yet still you feel that you’re not any closer to achieving the body you want. Often what women don’t realise is that these actions can be a way of our body responding to our environment and our lifestyles, triggering an advanced mechanism for survival in our bodies. Commonly this ends up with the outcome of fat storage and holding onto more fat than we would like, or deserve for our efforts!

Firstly what’s important is to try and let go of the frustration surrounding this feeling. This is definitely easier said then done. Embrace that this is a sign of something being out of balance which needs attention in order for you to move forward. The real power is in having an understanding in what is creating this issue for you, as well as being prepared to work through it. Today’s post is designed to do just that, to help you navigate your way through these common issues and give insights into how to put you back in control. At QOL we truely feel for women who feel this kind of frustration and are so passionate about teaching and sharing knowledge on how to overcome these issues.

1. Sweating the small (or big) stuff.

I think it is amazing how stress can have such a profound impact on how we feel and how it affects our ability to achieve the body composition we want. Stress, or our ‘perceived stress’ sits right at the top of the list as one of the major players which create a struggle in our ability to make changes in body composition.

I am sure that you are no stranger to hearing the impacts of stress on our body. I believe it is important to dial in on a simple yet deeper explanation of what is happening on a physiological level, to give you an understanding and hopefully motivate change.

Our bodies have an incredibly intelligent design and if we are in danger in a life threatening situation the body dumps glucose or sugar into our blood stream. This enables a massive burst of energy to either run, fight and hopefully survive. Simultaneously blood shifts to your peripheries and away from digestion to also support the mechanism of running away. The consequence of this when the glucose dump of energy isn’t used is both weight gain and increased cravings. Additionally your digestive function slows which can lead to constipation. Undigested stools sitting in your system typically result in higher calorie absorption as well as more toxic loads and possibly even digestive overgrowths.

The problem is so many of us these days experience this type of response to the ‘perceived’ stress. Constant 24/7 contact via our mobiles, emails and lifes frustrations can trigger this cascade. It is important to remember that this reaction is always controlled by how we interpret and perceive the world around us.

Other things to consider which add to our levels of stress hormones are things such as over training, sleep quality and quantity, food intolerances, digestive issues and over consumption of caffeine. What’s important to know is that our bodies can’t differentiate between these stressors. It all goes under the one banner which is why cortisol levels (stress hormone) can easily accumulate in our body.
We will delve a little deeper into this later, but typically once we feel our clothes tightening from the above reaction we generally turn to restricting calories. This further perpetuates the situation by creating more stress, and more feelings of frustration and feelings of your body not being on your side.
A technique that Dr Libby talks about a lot in her book “Exhausted to Energised” that is the fastest way to overcome this situation is deep diaphragmatic breathing. This is where you breathe deeply allowing you stomach to rise and when you reach the top of your breath allow it to fall. She give the example that if you were actually running from a tiger you wouldn’t be able to breathe this way. The carry on effect is less cortisol output and a feeling that you are ‘safe’ where survival mode is no longer needed. Ideally schedule in time in your day when you stop and do 20 deep diaphragmatic breaths.


2. Going on a Diet

Similar to the previous situation dieting and under eating is just another recipe to kick into survival mode. If you give your body the impression that food is scarce, it will down regulate your thyroid slowing your metabolism, shifting the focus to storing body fat to save for a rainy day. Back in the day this might have been useful for a famine or a war but it is of no use to us now that food is abundant. In particularly, as women we are taught that restriction is the key to weight loss. Short term this will work initially until your body triggers its survival mode.
Add to this, lack of essential macro and micronutrients can effect liver detox pathways, cellular energy and cell health.  What is important to know is to achieve an amazing lean physique and have increased energy you actually need to eat a good healthy varied diet and a lot of food. We prefer an approach where you eat regular meals throughout the day including protein, vegetable and fats for the best blood sugar and metabolism response. Exact parameters around calories intake is tough to give in an article. It’s best done through one one coaching to take into account lean muscle, body fat percentage, activity levels as well as current calories. This is something that you can get through working with us.

3. Liver Overload 

So many things these days can overload our liver. From environmental toxins, pesticides, chemical laden beauty products, plastics, antibiotics, alcohol, too much coffee and the contraceptive pill. There’s definitely a lot to consider in this but I also believe we live in a time where better choices and options are abundant.
When the liver is overworked it can lead to cells dying off and being replaced with a fat cell which is known as fatty liver disease. The side effects of this as well as the liver being overworked can range from poor thyroid function, oestrogen dominance, sugar cravings, poor cholesterol profile which as a result all lead to weight gain.
The first step in this equation is to limit the amount of ‘liver overload’ coming in. The next is to support your detox pathways and gut health & increase your fiber intake. Detoxification is broken into 3 phases. To put it simply phase 1 & 2 break down the toxins from fat soluble to water soluble and in phase 3 the toxin is excreted from the colon. I have listed the vitamins, minerals and nutrients involved in these processes to help you ensure you support your liver.
  • Phase one
  • B Vitamins
  • Glutathione
  • Folic Acid
  • Antioxidants (curcumin, green tea, milk thistle, via c & e)
  • Phase two
  • Amino Acids (taurine, glycine, cystine, glutamine)
  • selenium
  • Phase three
  • Possibly probiotic

4. Low Fat Diets 

For the most part I think women have clued on to the fact that eating fat doesn’t make you fat. However, it is definitely worth mentioning as we still see some remanence of this when we initially start coaching clients. Fats create satiation and are the essential foundations of hormonal balance as well as being essential for cell health. Low fat diets result in increase hunger, cravings, hormonal imbalances, premature ageing and reduced brain function.
Additionally The era where low fat was a craze created more obesity and heart disease issues than any other time in history. Largely because when fats were stripped out they were replaced with sugar and or salt. The thing that is important to remember with fats is to avoid processed vegetable oils, trans fats and instead opt for things such as avocado, coconut oil, butter, olive oil. nuts and seeds. Of course also ditch the low fat products found on the market.

5. Undetected Thyroid Issues 

Thyroid issues can either present as hypothyroidism (slow) or hyperthyroidism (fast).  The first presents as a slowed metabolism and weight gain amongst other symptoms such as cold body temperature, brain fog, poor memory depression, slowed digestion, dry skin and muscle weakness. The later can actually present with weight loss, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhoea, rapid or irregular heart beat, fatigue and hair loss. Although it is hypothyroidism which is typically associated with weight gain it is important to know that often this condition can swing between the two.

The drivers of thyroid issues can stem from stress, oestrogen dominance, autoimmune issues and or being deficient in either iodine, zinc selenium and magnesium and iron. The important thing is to test your levels of these nutrients along with thyroid hormones and thyroid antibodies. One aspect which is commonly overlooked is testing reverse T3. What can happen is your hormone levels can all appear to be within a normal range but high levels of reverse T3 cancelled out the metabolism boosting effects of regular T3. If you can relate to the above symptoms it is definitely worth testing this and working with a specialist in this field.

Overall this post has been a huge brain dump of information which I hope you find super helpful. If you do feel overwhelmed with trying to navigate your way through this take a deep breath and know that you will find the answers. For one on one support and coaching we are always just a phone call or message away.

Until next time


The Queen of Lean

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