I Can’t shift the belly fat?
Have you, like me, noticed throughout your 40’s that belly fat is creeping on and getting harder to shift?
Do we really need to live off lettuce and air and workout even harder as our metabolism has clearly decided to dial down a notch or two? Or has it? Is there something else we have missed?
Here are some of the most common reasons that I have found to be responsible for the bloomin’ belly fat and the surprising connection with your gut bacteria.
Gut bacteria imbalances
Your gut bacteria have a far reaching effect on many body systems like ripples through your body even reaching your brain, influencing your mood and behaviour, so if you have lost your mojo and motivation this could be the missing link for you.
The gut bacteria may not directly cause you to instantly drop weight but its their effects inside the gut that affects how much energy you can absorb and also affects how hungry or full you feel. I have noticed that when I eat my “healthy gut diet” that I feel much more energised, have less bloating and feel less hungry.
Stool testing for clues
As science continues to evolve the studies looking at how the gut microbiome influences weight gain is flourishing. You may have heard about a rather unpleasant sounding treatment of a “fecal transplant”? One early study done on mice, watched two groups of mice to see how they gained or lost weight depending on which transplant of each specific bacteria composition they received. They split the mice into two groups; Group A were a normal weight compared with Group B which were obese.
Fascinatingly, the “normal” weight mice gained a huge amount with the fecal-implanted bacteria from the obese mice that were teeming with the strains commonly found in obesity. In comparison, the bacteria that were implanted from the normal mice into the obese mice resulted in weight loss. The bacteria they received literally made the normal mice fat, but how? It changed their gut ecology and affected their appetite control hormones and they basically felt hungrier and overfed to the point that they were obese!
Stool testing shows us that the composition of your gut bacteria can have a huge affect on how you feel and the kind of strains of bacteria that flourish under certain conditions depending on your genes, diet, lifestyle, medication, environment, and even the time you eat.
I have seen some great examples of stool test results that demonstrate a depleted microbial balance and some that show an overgrowth of bacteria. Both of these imbalances will cause a myriad of symptoms in clients from IBS, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation, weight gain, brain fog and hormone imbalances. For more information about how we can work together and use stool testing to gain greater insights into your gut ecology you can get in touch for a friendly chat or learn more about my Gut Transformation package.
As we get older, and especially once we enter perimenopause, we make less digestive enzymes and are less able to breakdown some nutrients without a little extra help. You may have noticed that some foods seem to trigger bloating and reflux – this is a clue that you may not be making enough digestive enzymes.
This results in two problems, firstly, you aren’t getting all the goodness from the lovely food you are eating and you end up feeling tired which could be a reason for skipping exercise resulting in weight gain. Additionally, when it comes to fat soluble nutrients such as vitamin E, A, K, D, if we aren’t able to absorb them the result can be poor immunity, anxiety, depression, low mood, dry skin, vaginal dryness, fatigue. Any of those symptoms sound familiar?
The other problem is that improperly digested food ferments in our digestive tract. This can lead to acid reflux, burping, bloating and farting! Fermentation is a natural process but it does produce large amounts of hydrogen and methane – so if you know you are gassier than normal and feel bloated after eating this could be whats happening and results in you feeling thicker around the middle, a bigger belly than you would like and sometimes embarrassing smells and noises.
We know that getting into the menopause phase of life means a change in hormones. Hormones are powerful messengers that instruct our body to perform certain functions. One of these is the ability to store fat and release energy from fat stores for us to use. When our hormone balance is disrupted, belly fat and fat stores increase and diet is the biggest influence on this process, what was once working, doesn’t work for us anymore. This is why I created my healthy eating programme Eat Better Feel Better which has been hugely successful helping women lose on average 7lb’s over the four weeks. The great news is that this way of eating is simple, easy to do and works and it is NOT a diet. It is simply a shift in the composition of our diet that is needed at this time of our life. Hit the link to find out when the next programme starts.
Leaky gut to fatty liver
Your gut bacteria do an amazing job of breaking tiny proteins and starches down that can be re-utilised and shuttled from the gut into the hepatic portal vein to the liver for us to make more hormones, store vitamins, for detoxification and getting rid of the unwanted stuff. The liver is the processing plant for excess hormones, medications, glucose, fats. If the liver is burdened with too much to process i.e. stress, broken sleep, sugar, alcohol, and relocated bacteria! then it becomes less efficient at processing resulting in a backlog which creates means more fat stores.
The relationship between the gut bacteria and the liver is still not well understood; however, “leaky gut” can play a role as increased bacterial translocation into the liver can slow down the livers ability to process hormones and is even implicated in liver damage and disease development.
By taking care of our gut microbes and keeping our gut lining strong and healthy and avoiding “leaky gut” we can access the hidden power to improve our body’s ability to process and release fat stores.
What You need to do ..
Of course, eating a healthy diet, getting a good night sleep and regular exercise are important. You can’t expect to eat takeaways, crisps and cake and watch Netflix for hours on end and not lay down belly fat but, once you have removed these influences, if you still have stubborn belly fat, there are some nutrition superstars that you will want to know about.
I will let you into a secret, you can train your gut bacteria to do a lot of the hard work for you, but you will need to learn which food to avoid, which to eat and what to do to maximise results and you will need the right teacher! ME! 😉 Subscribe to my free monthly newsletter to get recipes, tips and advice directly into your email inbox – I promise not to do anything silly, spam you or share your email or send you hundreds of emails! the next newsletter is coming out soon with a delicious new recipe so hurry up and Subscribe here
Healthy Gut Diet
Your gut contains trillions of bacteria. These bacteria are little busy bodies, creating energy from the food you eat to nourish your gastrointestinal cells which keep your insides nice and healthy. You know when your gut feels off and is bloated and uncomfortable, your mood drops and it seems far easier to not go to the gym, not bother to make your healthy superfood salad and to generally hide away feeling rubbish.
By improving the gut ecology and balance of bacteria we bring harmony back to a huge eco system that often goes undervalued and overlooked. The gut microbiome weighs around 3 Lb’s in weight; so that’s 3 Lb’s of weight that we can take off to start with 😉 and we can get their help to shift belly fat!
There are certain foods that must be included in the diet every day to begin the process of modulating your gut bacteria to promote the release of energy and fat stores and you can do this from as little as 7 days! Obviously lots of the good stuff which I know you already know about i.e. green leafy veg, salad, fruit, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, quality protein, but there are more specific actions you can take.
In my Healthy Gut Diet talk which I presented live in June, I share critical steps you need to take, what foods to include every day and how to kick start this process to improve your gut health and gut bacteria balance with some surprising foods you can enjoy every day that your gut bugs will love! If you missed out on the live event you are in luck as I recorded it for you! Just hit the link below and drop me a message and ask for the recording.
Already have gut problems?
There are some caveats; if you already have an existing gut issue we would need to pick our way through this process more carefully and getting a personalised, nutrition plan by working with me on a one to one basis is the very best way to get all bases covered. It may only take one consultation and is the best way fast track your health and help you to reach your health goals.
I would love to know if you have any questions, drop me a comment back below and I will reply.
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The information contained in this blog is provided for information purposes only. The contents are not intended to amount to medical advice and you should not rely on any of the contents without first seeking advice from a professional. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog without first seeking individual advice through privately consulting with Evie Whitehead registered, qualified, Nutritional Therapist. dipION, mBANT, CNHC. Evie Whitehead disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents.