MY OVERALL POINT OF VIEW ....
Our body is an interconnected whole being living within a larger environment. In order to improve one part of our body (for example our hormones), all other parts must also be considered (how well we are detoxifying, how our gut in functioning) as well the environment it is living in (how we sleep, what we eat, how we train, our thoughts).
Unfortunately, our modern diet, lifestyle, and environment is affecting the expression of our genes and leading to pathologies, which in turn cause disease and symptoms in our bodies.
In my professions and in my personal pursuit of health, I have dealt with two types of approaches to health. The first approach looks something like this.
1/ You have stomach bloating after each meal everyday. You decide to take a pill which relieves it. Life goes on. But eventually you get another symptom (sometimes from the first pill or from not addressing the first problem) to which you find another pill. Life continues. Come 60 years of age - your pre-breakfast routine looks more like sorting out bag of skittles, as you try to remember which little blue tablet does what.
2/ You have stomach bloating after each meal everyday. Straight away, you think, something isn’t right. You get curious about why you are getting this. You start seeking out answers via health professionals, online, family and friends. It’s your health and you need to feel your best to show up and be the best versions of yourself everyday. You are committed to finding a solution and doing whatever it takes to address it - because you are worth it! ( NOTE: I want to work with YOU !!!!! )
CUE A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE APPROACH
If we look at the two scenarios above functional medicine would support the second scenario.
It's about investigating and looking for the root cause as oppose to just suppressing symptoms with medications and surgery. It involves the use of functional lab testing to investigate how body systems are functioning within an individual. If these body systems are not functioning as they should this eventually gives rise to disease and symptoms.
Functional medicine is:
- health orientated (not disease oriented)
- patient centred (not doctor centred)
- focussed on biochemical individually (vs everyone being treated the same)
- holistic (vs specialised)
- focussed on preventative (vs early detection of disease)
- cost effective (relative to the expense of treating/managing disease)
I appreciate that the lab tests dont tell the whole story, but provide insight into a glimpse in time. This information together with your history, signs and symptoms, paints a better picture as to your overall health and how to address any issues found.
I have had the privilege of learning how to integrate a functional medicine approach and interpret functional tests with my clients, from Chris Kresser, who is the founder of the California Centre of Functional Medicine, and one of the most respected health guru's in the functional medicine arena.
Food is a source of nourishment to our bodies. It provides us with nutrients that are essential for vitality and function. For the vast majority of our existence we prepared, enjoyed and nourished our bodies from food sources that mother nature provided us with. It allowed us not only to survive but to thrive; free from modern day diseases and conditions.
In todays world we are faced with a surplus of easily accessible food yet we are becoming more and more undernourished. We have lost touch with where our food comes from. Our busy lifestyles have us acting out of convenience versus from a place of nurturing. Advances in agriculture and food technology has meant we have seen the emergence of processed and packaged food like substances that are devoid of nutrients and contain ingredients that are harmful to us.
We cannot recreate our ancestral ways but we can do our best to:
- Know where our food comes from (eating a sick animal doesn't equate to good health for the consumer)
- Support local, sustainable food practices, including growing or producing your own food sources
- Spend time preparing real food at home with yourself and your family
- Choose real, nutrient dense, whole foods. And minimise temptations of packaged and processed goods at home and at work.
- Use eating as a event of pleasure, connection and nourishment for yourself and loved ones.
- Know that healthy doesn't have to equal tasteless, boring or restrictive.
There really is no one-size-fits-all approach. The key to long-term success is personalisation. We have different genes, different gene expression, different lifestyles, health issues, activity levels, and goals.
I'd like to introduce to you the Goldilocks rule as it relates to training.
Currently we have the "too much" group of people - They live at the gym six days per week and consider a 6km run as a recovery day. They believe in the no pain no gain notion. And they are usually body image obsessed. This mentality is leading to a subset of exhausted, injured and fit but unhealthy group of individuals.
Then we have the "not enough" group of people - They work and sit for 8 hours a day, drive to work, and get home and sit on the couch. Occasionally they make an appearance at the gym because they "know they have to do something". This mentality is yielding unconditioned, injured, pain riddled and overweight individuals.
- One hour at the gym will not offset a day of inactivity
- That movement of daily life is just as important as a structured exercise program
- Training is a celebration of what your body can do not a punishment for what you ate
- There are two enemies of the human biology - repetitive motion and not enough motion
- Movement creates a cascade of biochemical processes that alter the state of your physiology
- Exercise "breaks the body down" and rest and recovery "build the body up" BOTH are equally important
- Movement is required for a healthy, efficient and functional metabolism; it effects hormone release and hormone behaviour; it also influences muscles, bones and tissue health and promotes neural growth and longevity.
- Different types of exercise styles in the right dosage (yoga, strength training, functional training, body weight training etc), lead to different outcomes
- Biasness towards one particular style of training will make you strong and skilled but only within that style. It carries consequences in the long run.
“Those who think they have no time for movement will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”
What exactly is JUST RIGHT? The environment we live in as an every day person is, non repetitive, variable and instinctive...it's different every time.
As an organism we demand variable movement to enhance health and performance. We also want to produce strong, powerful and safe movements in reactive environments. In order to avoid unnecessary injuries we need to create robustness and resiliency of the tissue. Variable yet specific movements achieve this.
If you are like me and want to achieve all of the qualities above for longer H E R E is your solution and your coach. Yes it's my husband and I might be biased but he provides by far the most sustainable, enjoyable, realistic and effective methods and program design. What's more you can access him from the comfortability of your home or use his brilliant program design in your gym as he has an online practice with easy to use application.
Getting enough sleep and quality sleep, managing stress and having pleasure and connection in your life is as important if not more important than nutrition and training. Sure they are less fancy, and most of the time actually harder to implement but nailing these areas will give you more bang for buck in terms of overall health.
Know this, you cannot out eat or out train an unhealthy, unhappy or tired mind. So it is best to:
- Have a bed time routine. Yes you valued a physical bed time, sleep duration and a nightly routine for your children. Value it for yourself as well. A big part of this routine is reducing the amount of screen time. Exposure to light emitting devices are having numermous negative health implications including disrupting our hard wired biological clocks and hormone network.
- Mitigate Stress. Stress is inevitable. How we mitigate the effects of stress is what is important. Animals in the wild instinctively know how to "shake off" the high stress of life threatening situations and return to a relaxed state where they are alert and aware without sacrificing their health. While humans have the same instinct within, our modern lifestyles, don't lend us the same capabilities to "shake off" the stress we encounter. This is leading to devastating effects on our overall health. Breath work, being outdoors in nature, practicing gratitude, feeling connected or a part of something greater than yourself are really important strategies for mitigating everyday stress - choose one to start with.
- Find things that bring you pleasure and joy and do it more often.
"Health is, the ability to live out your dreams" -
And remember, when it comes to creating change, don't let perfect get in the road of good, just start.
You've got this !