Excess, that is the problem with this country. It is our demise and it is taking us under in the form of excess body fat, diseases like heart disease, cancers, etc. We take things that are good and exploit them. Well if exercise is good, if I do more than it is even better for me, right? Oy! When we understand that life is about balance. Balancing hormones for a favorable body composition, balanced exercise to promote these hormones, balanced sleep, balanced ‘stres’, the list is never-ending. Today some of the heavy hitters creating problems with not only your waistline, but future health are excess or chronic insulin, inflammation, cortisol. These are all essential to the body, they are tools for survival, but like I said we don’t take full advantage of them. Acute levels of these are warnings signs that the body needs help, that disease is coming. Just like elevated cholesterol (which is called upon by the body to promote healing) is usually an indicator of trouble in the body, not the actual cause of the problem. By consuming large quantities of processed foods laden with polyunsaturated fats and omega-6’s we’ve created an imbalance in the body. This along with all the other factors we are going to discuss, causes inflammation in the body. Inflammaton=disease=early death. Plus we are constantly spiking insulin levels with these foods that are often dripping with either grains, starches, or sugars, that we crave hours later, sending ourselves into a cycle drowning us in insulin until we are resistant to it. This has adverse effects on the body, besides messing with your brain, it causes weight gain in your mid-section and further promotes a fatter you by taking away from your muscle (simple: you’re gaining fatter, while also losing muscle=FATTER). Furthermore we’re usually stressed to the max. We’re stressed about worked, we’re stressed about the weight we’ve gained, we’re stressed because we have so much to ‘do’ (we’ve become a nation of human-doers rather than human BEings) and not enough times, we’ve got kids to run here and there, we’ve got to wake up early to head to the gym to make up for our poor eating skills during the day, we have to portray that Jones’ family to the world, whatever we can create stress about anything (stress is mostly in your head), although we’re releasing more and more cortisol. Cortisol levels are supposed to be higher in the morning (if you’re sleeping enough, which we’ll get too) to deal with stresses in life (in olden days we needed to escape that saber tooth tiger), and now we just keep it coming , requiring more to deal with our ‘stressful’ lives. What do we need to do to help with our poor eating habits? Exercise of course! Wrong, exercise is beneficial to the body. Strength, resistance training and occasional sprints are key to maximizing the effects of growth hormone and testosterone on the body. However, that’s not how we operate. More exercise=more calories burned=better=wrong. Oh how we love to hit the treadmill or the pavement and get our run on for miles at a time. Is that really fun for anyone, I know there is the occasional weirdo out there that enjoys running and if that works for your spirit have at it, but I think I could find another hobby. All these trends like bootcamps or zumba (really you think you can wiggle off your extra fat) over and over, and the running place more stress on the body and if you’re following along that means more cortisol and more inflammation (plus all that pounding can really not be good on your joints, especially in the pathetic excuse of shoes that we have to run in-the shoe business is monopolizing on you, barefoot is where it is at-again we think more cushioned shoes and sole are going to mean more support-wrong). Ok so far we have excess insulin, inflammatory foods, stress, and exercise making you fatter and unhealthier, but then on the other spectrum we have too little (the opposite of excess). We have too little sleep. Sleep help restores these hormones that you are throwing out of whack (and it could actually help with your appetite). Sleep is such an overlooked aspect of health (check old posts for relevance) and here we now don’t get enough. When we starting putting on extra weight then we usually respond by restricting food intake, not we’re not getting enough, putting ourselves in starvation mode, messing up our hormones and our body fat even more (because you’re likely to lose muscle and then you’re going to gain the weight back because you can’t starve yourself that long and you’ll gain fat back, but you’ll have less muscle so now you’re fatter than before even if you weigh the same). Wow, all this kind of makes my head spin, but this is how most live and this is why obesity and diseases are so prevalent in this country. Solution for America=balance=control insulin=reduce stress=stop over-exercising=stop eating pro-inflammatory foods=MORE sleep! For more on our fat-burner weight loss programs check out bodychange.net.