The X Factors

When trying to improve a person’s physique, there is a potential myriad of reasons as to why they have experienced weight gain.  Improving their health is always paramount, so this month I will talk about two main areas to focus on when trying to improve both health and physique.

Toxins

Toxins are everywhere in our modern world; in our food, our water, the air we breathe and even the beauty and cleaning products we use. This is obviously not good news for our bodies.  More chemicals in our foods usually implies that they contain smaller amounts of nutrients. Good quality nutrients are needed for every function our body goes through, from digestion and liver detoxification to how well we sleep and how much fat we burn.  With fewer nutrients, our bodies are therefore struggling to function properly.

Unfortunately the bad news does not end there because more chemicals coming into our body puts excess stress on our detoxification system as it has to work harder to excrete the extra toxins.  But with fewer nutrients being consumed, this means double the workload (and double the stress) for our bodies to go through on a daily basis.

Eating organic foods, particularly meat, are a good start in reducing the chemicals coming into our system.  I do not believe that you have to eat entirely organic, but choose your battles; foods that are high on the pesticides list include strawberries, apples, potatoes, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

Another good example is chlorine.  We all know chlorine is added to swimming pool water in order to kill bacteria and stop the spread of disease.  Our tap water also has high levels of chlorine, meaning that the good bacteria present in our digestive system are also being killed off. This is not a good situation to be in as good bacteria enable digestion and allow our bodies to absorb the nutrients we need to function.  Without good gut bacteria, our entire system will start to fail.  Filtering your water is therefore a simple way to start reducing the amount of harmful chemicals and toxins you absorb.

Malnutrition

This often comes as a surprise to many people, but I have found that one of the major causes of excess weight gain is malnutrition.  First, many people consume ‘empty calories’ like sugar, which is not linked to any macro nutrient such as protein, carbohydrate, fat or fibre. You are therefore consuming calories but not supplying your body with nutrients used to build muscle, repairing damaged connective tissue or aid the digestive system.

Another area of malnutrition is the lack of specific macro nutrient consumption, such as protein.  In my experience, this is more evident in females, whose calories derive largely from fats or carbohydrates.  While neither of the latter would be labelled ‘bad’, an imbalance of macro nutrients can result in many downfalls in terms of health and physique.  For example, protein strengthens the immune system, aids detoxification and both builds and repairs muscle and connective tissue, all of which play important roles in improving health and consequently altering physique.

Small Changes

As I have mentioned in my previous articles, your journey towards an improved health and physique should be taken one small step at a time.  Life changing results do not have to come from seemingly life altering actions.  Simple but positive steps which are repeated time and time again result in a new, healthier way of life.