Brenna Murphy, N.D.
Confession- everything I know about life in the early 1800’s and farming comes from reading Little House on the Prairie. But that is what I picture when I think about the lives bodies are built for. Pa spent his days plowing or planting or harvesting. Ma did each day’s proper work: “wash on Mondays, iron on Tuesdays. Mend on Wednesday, churn on Thursday, clean on Friday, bake on Saturday and rest on Sunday.” Sure they had the occasional locusts and blizzards, but overall their lives were long periods of calm routine. They ate fresh, nutritious food, got lots of fresh air, and spent most of their time in the rest-and-digest parasympathetic state. They were able to shift into sympathetic fight-or-flight mode just long enough to survive, and then return to a state of calm.
Contrast that with our lives today. Sure we have hospitals and antibiotics, and a broken leg is a mild inconvenience. However we also have cell phones, email, traffic, baseball practice, job performance evaluations, and a 24 hour news cycle. Our periods of true relaxation are few and far between. And since our brains respond the same way to an unexpected meeting with the boss as they do to a bear attack, we may as well be in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. Our survival mechanisms are constantly ramped up: blood is directed away from our digestive system to our muscles, we run a higher blood sugar for ready fuel, and our immune systems and our brains stay on high alert. Since modern life typically involves being stressed while sitting, we experience this as: indigestion, weight gain, anxiety and autoimmune disease.
Or as we call it, the Vicious Tired, Fat and Feel Like Crap cycle.
Food low in nutrients and lives high in stress put us in a sub-optimal B vitamin state, which compromises every metabolic pathway in the body. This includes thyroid hormone production. Thyroid activity basically reflects our body’s horse-power; it determines if you are driving a Lamborghini or a Yugo. Low thyroid activity means slow brain activity (brain fog), slow metabolism (easy weight gain), and poor digestive function. High stress also effects our adrenals- small glands that sit like fedoras on our kidneys and which are the seat of our fight-or-flight survival response. Initially stress increases production of the adrenal hormone cortisol, which triggers the increased heart rate, increased blood sugar and decreased digestive function. Long term stress leads to underproduction of cortisol, which exacerbates fatigue, weight gain, and often paradoxically causes insomnia. High cortisol, low cortisol, low thyroid, poor digestion and poor sleep all exacerbate anxiety which increases stress which depletes B vitamins which compromises thyroid and adrenal function……
This is just the beginning of a process that eventually leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and tissue damage. This cycle causes fatigue, blood sugar imbalances and generalized malaise, which is why we call it the Vicious Tired, Fat and Feel Like Crap cycle.
This vicious cycle can be broken!
The first step is to identify your imbalances with functional evaluations.
The second step is to restore function and balance.
The third step is to optimize (or awesomize) your health.
Follow us here to learn more about how you can figure out where you are in the vicious tired, fat and feel like crap cycle and how you can break it.