© Wellness with Aleyna 2022
3 Gut secrets that will help you lose weight
I believe a healthy body and mind starts from the gut, and here I cover how our gut health may impact our weight loss and weight maintenance.
The gut is so mysterious that scientists and doctors are still conducting research to uncover the mystery of the unknowns. Gut health is becoming a very popular topic and what we do know is that it has an immense and miraculous effect on our wellness.
You have probably heard that we have trillions of bacteria in our gut, that are predominantly housed in our large intestine. You may also have heard or read somewhere that our gut bacteria help us in:
- Digesting food
- Regulating our hormones
- Regulating our blood sugar levels
- And help synthesis of vitamins in our body
You’re probably wondering, as I did when I experienced weight gain for the first time, how on earth does the bacteria in our gut impact our weight?
So here I want to share what I like to call the 3 gut secrets to weight loss and weight management, I’ll explain some of the theory from the research so far, share my personal experience, symptoms to look out for and provide some practical tips that you can action immediately if this is a concern for you:
So far, we know from research the top 3 gut secrets that impact weight loss and management all stem from our gut microbiome.
- Food digestion – So we already know that majority of our gut bacteria is in our large intestine lining, impacting our nutrient absorption and how energy is stored in our body. Studies have shown there to be a correlation between those with less diverse gut bacteria and obesity or weight gain. When we say diversity of gut bacteria it means having a variety of species in our gut, which we get through our diet and probiotics. Without diverse gut bacteria our body cannot digest some foods. Such as fibre, however our gut bacteria does. By digesting fibre, the gut bacteria produce chemicals that support weight loss. The absence of this could result in weight gain.
- Chemical that help us feel full – Our body produces hormones like leptin that help us feel full and ultimately impact our appetite. Some studies have suggested that our gut bacteria can impact how much of these hormones are produced. For example, one study had participants eating 16 grams of prebiotics per day for 2 weeks which resulted in higher levels of hormone with participants experiencing less hunger. In case this is new to you, prebiotics are plant fibres that help stimulate the growth of good gut bacteria.
- How fat is stored – A diet with too much fat, sugar and simple carbohydrates may cause inflammation and elevated fat tissue in our bloodstream contributing to weight gain. A study of 292 people found that those who were overweight had lower bacterial diversity in their gut and high levels of C-reactive protein which is an inflammatory marker in the blood.
I think it’s important for me to highlight that in relation to inflammations in our body, although there are quite a few studies in this space, the impact of gut microbiome and its impact on inflammation and weight gain is relatively new and continues to evolve.
Overall, if I were to summarise the main takeaways from these, I would say:
- Diverse gut bacteria help digest fibre (which our body cannot digest on its own) that produce chemicals supporting weight loss
- Gut bacteria impact production of hormones that help us feel full
- Lack of diversity in our gut microbiome contributes to increased fat tissue causing weight gain
The research on microbiome imbalance focused on weight loss and management emphasises the importance of the diversity of gut microbiome. I also want to emphasise Richness of microbiomes to be just as important, which is the quantity of good gut bacteria. Together, diversity and richness of gut bacteria results in a resilient body with healthy weight loss and management.
My personal experience
Now you might say, well Aleyna this all sounds great but you also said its fairly new research. This is where my personal experience comes in.
I want to share my personal experience of how gut microbiome imbalance impacted my weight – causing me stubborn weight gain that’s was extremely difficult for me to lose.
So, I have never really been overweight (please don’t hate me for saying this, it’s probably an odd sentence to start from – but hear me out…), growing up I’ve always played sports and genuinely love working out. Having a Turkish background, I predominantly had a healthy diet as I grew up eating Mediterranean food. So, I had naturally maintained a healthy weight throughout my life with a healthy lifestyle – that at the time was totally unintentional.
However, after having a significant microbiome imbalance, caused by years of stress and repeated episodes of getting sick, taking antibiotics and then catching a parasite during my travels, I experienced a vicious cycle of gaining weight and couldn’t lose it – no matter what I tried! And believe me I tried everything you can think of, from following various diets to seeing 3 different dieticians, joining fitness challenges, doing juice cleanses and nothing worked! The weight gain was so stubborn for the first time in my life that I felt horrible about myself.
I spent thousands of dollars trying to find a solution and nothing worked!
It caused me to go into a spiral of experiencing lethargy which prevented me from doing what I love doing the most which is working out. Mind you working out is also my stress management and mitigation strategy. So, as you can imagine I was in a vicious cycle, leading to mild depression and social anxiety that lasted for 3 years! At times I was so depressed that I isolated myself and turned to food because I was lonely. When I would go out I felt so insecure about myself that I started to get social anxiety with friends I had known and loved for years. Which then of course led me to isolate myself and turn to food again and then start a new diet that just would not work! Every day started to become a new day of a new diet or approach.
Until, I discovered the root cause which was my gut health. As I focused on healing my gut and gaining a diverse and rich gut microbiome the weight came off naturally. I gained my energy back to work out which ultimately positively impacted my mental health and I was back to feeling great again.
This is where the theory of everything in our body is interconnected became a real-life experience for me. I honestly cannot express enough, the importance of the connection between our gut health and mind and to everything in our body, including our weight!
If you have tried everything you possibly can to lose weight or maintain it and you continue to struggle, plus if this is combined with physical discomfort such as bloating, gassiness, constipation, diarrhoea and brain fog, mood swings, lethargy, then you may have a gut microbiome imbalance affecting your weight. If you unsure you can complete this grumpy gut self-assessment to identify whether you have a microbiome imbalance.
Once identified you may like to address the root cause. Here are 3 practical and simple steps to take to start your healing process and assess how you feel:
- Eliminate sugar and simple carbs for a period of time – this is not permanent as I want to encourage a balanced approach, however it is critical for the healing process
- Increase prebiotic, polyphenol rich food in your diet and take probiotics.
- Take proactive steps to better manage stress in your life, such as working out, meditating or breathing exercises and journaling
When you apply these 3 simple yet very practical steps, you will notice within 2-5 days the gut microbiome to be noticeably altered. You will notice this with the elimination or ease of symptoms you identified in the first instance such as bloating. If diet and lifestyle changes are maintained you could even make a permanent transformation.
If you are unsure of how to follow these practical tips, or think you may need further help in identifying any root cause, then I can help you. Book an obligation free discovery call today for us to discuss your current state, your weight and wellness goals and how I may be able to help you.
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