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  • Kate

You Are What You Absorb

I used to think it was as easy as calories in = calories out. All you had to do was obsessively count calories in your food and track calories expended during exercise and make sure you didn't eat more than you worked off. It's a math equation! Easy ✔

<< WRONG >>

Now if this is what you believe, trust me, I know exactly how you feel. You are probably shaking your head at me. You may think I'm totally crazy. And you probably think there is no way this isn't true because "you've lost weight counting calories." This is what EVERYONE has told you for years, right?! It is what you have believed for years. Heck, it is what I believed for YEARS. It probably took me a year to get over this one. It was a brutal breakup, but I'm much better for it.

And think about it, did you lose the amount of weight that your calculated calorie deficit told you should lose, like ever? Your body doesn't act like a calculator or a checking account. Your body is FULL of chemicals and chemical reactions - it is more like a science lab. Everything has to REACT and breakdown and be used efficiently. Although calories are part of the story, they are not the WHOLE story.

The truth is, you are what you ABSORB.

{AND you are what you eat ate, but thats for another day...}

...And, by the way, Skinny does NOT {necessarily} mean Healthy....I just wanted to throw that reminder in here as well. I'm talking about HEALTH.

As research with health, nutrition, and wellness continues, we are discovering that it wasn't quite as "simple" as we really thought. Hormones, gut health and permeability, and how we individually digest is extremely important. Leaky gut, SIBO, food intolerances/allergies, autoimmune diseases, IBS, thyroid problems, insulin/leptin resistance, not having enough/too much stomach acid, and so on...we have SO many issues with digestion in this country. It starts with our gut, specifically our gut bacteria. We have over 100 TRILLION bacteria in our bodies, mostly in our gut. We are more bacteria than we are human (kinda gross...) We need healthy gut flora to adequately absorb the nutrients efficiently, but unfortunately we have seem to have and feed the bad bacteria in our systems more frequently. These bad guys cause cravings, inflammation, and improper absorption. Get this -> research says that if you FEED bad gut bacteria (for example: artificial sweeteners, high sugar, processed and refined foods), you extract MORE CALORIES from your food and store them as fat! That's right. It's not JUST what you eat, but what and how much you absorb from them!

Which could also mean that you are eating all the "right" foods and still not absorbing all the available nutrients if you have gut imbalances. Unfortunately, it goes both directions...

So what do you do?? Well, this isn't something I can "blanket" answer simply.

These are individual problems and therefore require individual solutions.

I'd suggest the following as a starting point:

#1 - Limit the sugar, refined, and processed foods.

#2 - Eat a fiber-rich, whole foods diet.

#3 - Probiotics: Probiotics are a type of good bacteria (score!) which will aid in digestion and help repopulate the good gut flora in your system. Fermented foods (sometimes called live foods) deliver probiotics to the gut. Most people think of yogurt...but you have to be careful with these products. First, make sure the yogurt says "live and active cultures." Secondly, check out that sugar content - most yogurts, even the "healthy" looking ones are infused with sugar which will counteractively feed the bad bacteria. Try to add live foods like greek yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha.

#4 - Consider specialized testing. This issue is not something to be overlooked. If you have GI problems, experienced weight loss resistance, or even are curious about your gut bacteria, I encourage you to look into this matter and research. You will probably have to find and work with a functional medicine practitioner to effectively test and treat imbalances with your gut. Check out to search for a practitioner.

Jumping back to the calories in ≠ calories out...this is a complex topic, and I certainly cannot cover all of the information in one dinky post...but I WILL continue to circle back to this notion. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep this in mind and research it yourself. Think about the HEALTHIEST person you know (again, does not mean the "skinniest" -- which is sad I feel like I have to bring that up, but with most women, I have found that these words are unfortunately almost synonymous). Are they obsessively counting their calories? Are they constantly worried about how many grams of carbs are in their foods? Is this behavior really HEALTHY? .... No! They probably eat whole, real foods that properly fuel their bodies and their day. They may limit their intake of certain foods, but for the purpose that it does not provide them nourishment - not because they are worried about diet rules. Isn't that what we should all strive for?

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