You are working on being healthier and you’ve checked all the boxes: you sleep 7-9 hours; you’ve eliminated processed carbohydrates and increased your healthy fats; you’ve started walking regularly…but the weight isn’t budging? Maybe it’s time to check your gut health.
I’m not going to get too super scientific here, but this topic does require the slightest bit of scientific information to enlighten you on the various bugs we have inside our gut. In our intestinal flora (microbiome) we all have gut bugs and they are responsible for either storing fat or burning fuel for energy. Your intestinal flora is dominated by two types of organisms, firmicutes and bacteroidetes. If you are overweight it’s likely you have more firmicutes, which isn’t helping your quest to lose weight and here’s why: firmicutes convert food to energy and promote fat storage in the body. These bugs also help produce serotonin, a feel-good hormone, which can be associated with boosting your food cravings causing you to eat even more and creating a vicious cycle of eating and fat storage.
A better bug, bacteroidetes, has the opposite effect by breaking down fiber and plant starches into energy for immediate use rather than being stored as fat. You may be wondering, how can I get more of these fat-reducing gut bugs, and are these bugs the same as what you find in probiotics? Yes, there are probiotics that help colonize your good gut flora and I’ll get to those in a minute. First, let’s explore the natural ways to increase your good gut bacteria.
Weight Loss For Peri‑Menopausal WomenApply Here
YES, IT'S DIFFERENT
Because what used to work doesn't anymore.
The good news is that there is actually a LOT you can do to turn this pesky bug situation around. When you incorporate more vegetables, into your daily meals, which contain fiber and resistant starches, you increase bacteroidetes and reduce firmicutes in your gut because bacteroidetes feed on fiber and resistant starches. Also, the added benefits of fiber include increased satiety making you feel fuller longer, regular bowel movements, and improved weight loss.
I recommend 25-30 plus grams of fiber a day (the average American gets only 15 grams). Visiting your local farmer’s market or produce aisle is also a great place to start. For those who think vegetables are boring, remember to add some yummy olive oil or butter to them which is sure to increase the flavor. I just had a flash-back of roasted brussels sprouts in olive oil with bacon crumbles from dinner last week! Yummy!! For recipe ideas, here are some books I’d recommend:
I mentioned probiotics as an option so let me elaborate. Your gut controls almost every aspect of your health, including your weight. Eating vegetables, fermented foods, and adding a probiotic can help. So which probiotics? Look for ones that contain some of the following: bifidobacteria, enterococcus, and lactobacillus. These bugs have been shown to have a positive effect on your intestinal flora by re-colonizing the gut with those fuel-burning bacteria.
Rotate with a different probiotic every 3 months to get the maximum benefit. Just like you need to switch up your exercise routine, your gut needs exposure to different good bacteria to keep working well.
Check out these probiotics:
Sign up for Dr. Tracy's FREE 3-Part Video Series
How to Balance Your Hormones for Weight Loss
If you’re a woman over 40 still struggling to lose weight (and keep it off), it’s time to get informed and get empowered using the latest science-based tools and strategies behind weight loss.