I had an interesting conversation with a client last week. In truth, however, it's one I have pretty frequently.
A client will come in with this frustration, this one main challenge they are trying to get through, and they pin it down to this one main problem.
However, as we are having conversation and getting to know the person and their body better, we might hear other topics mentioned, like that motor vehicle accident they had, or the autoimmune that is in the family, or the thyroid disorder or the diabetes and cancer.
Now, when I work with someone, I'm always watching for the timeline of events, where triggers and stories can be identified that help to understand why the body is creating the expression that it is. Sure enough, weight loss may be the frustration that brings them in, but inevitably there are all the things underneath.
The interesting part is that nobody has tried to address those underlying things, and the evolutionary nervous system that primes you for readiness and results in the outcomes of the body wasn't effectively dealt with at the time of each impact.
Now the downline problem is the lack of weight loss and so the person can see the the lack of weight loss and gets very frustrated about the lack of weight loss and then goes to seek answers on that lack of weight loss and how to lose weight and the entire focus becomes about this lack of weight loss.
If we really want to have effectiveness with any health goal, what we have to do is learn to build resiliency, so that each event is handled at the time, that the trauma naturally and normally stimulates an acute use of the fight or flight cascade, and then we consciously and purposely acknowledge this stressor and allow and witness the body to restore it to the parasympathetic rest and digest functioning, which is the normal functioning to operate our days.
When the triggers are from long ago and this resiliency and adaptability was not built, but was pushed down and ignored as so many of us were taught, then we need to take the time to restore the nervous system's idea at the earliest trigger.
What has happened is that over time we have forgotten how to deal with feelings as they come up. Certainly we might enjoy comfort food, or a diversion of alcohol or fun, or something else that distracts us, but the insult that made changes to the nervous system wasn't handled.
Comfort food is not nourishment during a time of trauma. In fact it can often be the exact opposite. In a time of trauma, no matter how big or small, everything changes in the very act of eating. Digestion decreases, food nutrients may be overlooked or incapable of absorption by the body, and no nutrient is used as efficiently as needed by the body.
In this way, we create a very unstable and unsustainable environment for health. Doing this repeatedly impacts the body's outcome indefinitely.
My suggestion is that we understand how to build resiliency and in effect "scale our health" just like businesses work to "scale" their businesses, to learn to create such a wide blue ocean that threat ceases to exist, to store up resiliency so when the waves come, they are less damaging.
In the case of individuals where these waves have caused damage over a long time, we need to first stop the continued threat. This might mean adjustments to food and lifestyle. It might look like concept work and mood restoration and mindset training. It might look like parasympathetic training and an understanding of how to nourish a body that is NOT currently in a resilient state. I use the word "currently" on purpose, as one should never assume that if the waves HAVE been crashing in, they are not without hope. Resiliency can be built, and the efforts towards balance are always worthwhile.
One of the best evidential ways I can suggest to assess your resiliency is through HRV assessment, or, at our office, a FIT Pillar assessment. It can tabulate an energy reserve score that you can work on building upon using strategies provided during your appointment .
What ended up being successful with this man in particular was that we finally addressed the whole him. We finally addressed the nervous system that had set off a poor metabolism, a poor metabolic reactive response when these triggers were happening, when these stressors were happening. They were building on and building on and decreasing function in things like the endocrine system and the eliminative systems and the cellular function of just creating energy and using energy and using nutrients so that all of these functions could happen. It's just this snowball effect where the dirt just keeps on collecting on the outside of the snowball and so we have to kind of unwrap it and get down to the snowball that it started off, with the person inside. To me, health restoration is never about dealing solely with the package presented in front of you.
I am entertaining my thought that this is part of the gap, this is part of what's gone missing for us is not addressing and honoring what the nervous system has been trying to do for us. the nervous system is this evolution. It protects us, it's constantly looking for threats and so this is how our bodies then are given the message of what to do in order to protect ourselves. If the nervous system has sensed stress and there wasn't any adaptation to it, it puts up protective processes, like it changes our hormones, it increases our inflammation, it slows the metabolic functions, it slows digestive functions, it slows all the functions that we don't need if we're in a state of emergency and then we haven't been trained well to develop resilience to get out of that state of emergency, then we see these things down the road whether it's weight loss or IBS or IBD or cardiovascular conditions.
This is a big reason why we are an advocate for our exclusive training programs, where we spend a longer therapeutic window with our clients. It is important to address what's going on, what are you focused on, what hasn't worked for you in the past, what are the outcomes you're looking for, what kind of support are you needing to help you get there and what is that monitoring and evaluation piece so that you can practice what's working? In this way, you're reducing symptoms and at the same time priming yourself, "scaling your health", if you will, ready to live every day proactively instead of reactively to all of the stressors that come up.
Until next time!