The accumulation of visceral fat is directly tied to the emotions we hold onto and the concentrations of heavy metals and other toxic chemicals that enter our bodies.
This “deep” fat is that which wraps itself around our inner organs, creating insulin resistance and putting us at risk for heart disease, dementia, stroke, and diabetes. It is a form of adipose tissue, which is “involved in several physiological functions, including metabolic regulation, energy storage, and endocrine functions.” [X] It helps with regulating and secreting hormones, keeping blood sugar levels stable and insulin sensitivity high, and also helps to clear toxins out of the body. When the body is being bombarded with pollutants, it makes it difficult for it to for on protecting and strengthening other organ systems. [X]
Heavy metals and toxic chemical concentrations are related to how we react to and store emotions within the body. When harmful foreign substances enter our bodies, our organs will not know what to do with them other than to clear them out as quickly as possible. This puts the body under a certain amount of stress.
As we continue taking in these substances on a regular basis (pollution, mercury fillings, tap water, processed and inorganic foods, chemicals in plastic, etc) our bodies may not be able to keep up with the cleansing process. This causes the chemicals to get lodged in other places of the body, wreaking havoc on our health. Heavy concentrations of toxic foreign substances can lead to gut and nervous system issues, along with inflammation throughout the body.
As the gut is continually harmed by the things that are not healing and nourishing to it, it will work harder and harder to keep the body moving, leading to more stress and eventually damage.
As the nervous system becomes affected by pollutants and heavy metals, it can lead to synapses firing incorrectly in the brain sending false signals to the rest of the body. [X] This could lead to brain fog, anxiety and depression, low energy and libido, and eating disorders such as, for the purpose of this essay, binge eating.
As our gut and nervous systems break down, so too does every other system throughout the body, especially our immune systems.
Our immune systems are directly tied to our gut health. In fact, up to 80% of our immune system functioning is tied to the gut, since the gut houses the largest density of immune cells. With a healthy gut and microbiome, we are able to properly digest food and send nutrients where they are needed throughout the body to keep us healthy and happy. [X]
As our immune system breaks down, we become susceptible to outside environmental toxins even more-so, and can even become allergic to things of the natural world such as some molds, pollen, and dandruff. Things that people raised on an organic farm, away from city life and pollutants, would have little to no troubles adapting to. [X]
As we become more sensitive physically, so too do we emotionally. How many times have you woken up on the wrong side of the bed, only to snap at your loved ones for saying, “Good morning!”?
There is a reason “tired and cranky” go hand in hand. Often when we aren’t feeling our best, we begin to take everything that’s happening very personally, and we react to the smallest things as if they were the worst things that could have possibly happened to us. Things such as dropping something, fumbling with keys, or accidentally spilling a bit of that morning coffee.
These minor things have a large affect, not because “the world is against me today;” Rather, it is because something is going haywire internally, leading to little support in adapting to the external stresses.
If our bodies are burdened by heavy loads of toxic chemicals and not properly nourished, our nervous systems will not be able to react well to any stressors that come its way. The nervous system will be on overdrive trying to heal itself from buildup of toxins, pollutants and chemicals, while it is bombarded with more emotional and experiential stresses to sort through. This is the same thing we see in hyperactive children. Those who do not receive proper nourishment and emotional support often begin to feel unable to handle or process anything going on inside or outside of themselves. This causes them to lash out and become incapable of sitting still. Much of the hyperactivity is rooted first in an imbalanced microbiome. If the child was unable to breastfeed, was born a C-section, and/or eats an unhealthy diet full of processed and refined foods, then they are more likely to end up being diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their life. Another cause could have first come from a traumatic experience which can effectively kill off the good bacteria in the gut, further leading to physiological and emotional imbalances. A great book to read on this subject is “Brain Maker,” by David Perlmutter, MD.
With a healthy gut microbiome and proper nourishment, most, If not all, emotional and physiological problems would go away.
I briefly mentioned emotional weight at the beginning of this article. I’d like to go a bit deeper into how these all correlate.
When our gut microbiome is compromised, we are improperly nourished and have difficulty processing what goes into our bodies. The gut and brain have difficulty communicating, and our nervous system is taking on more than it can handle.
The nervous system takes signals from the external world through our senses and feelings throughout the body. Our emotions are reactions to the feelings we experience throughout our bodies and in response to external stimuli. For example, if you feel something very hot, your body reacts by pulling away and it could cause rise to the emotion of fear.
Many people are feeling unwell physically or in a situation,they tend to hold onto the emotional responses and not show them. When we are experiencing many feelings at once, internally and externally, without a sound internal structure to process our feelings, we are more susceptible to storing the emotion. Often when we are feeling unwell, we begin to become fearful or sad. These emotions slow down the immune and nervous system responses, allowing more toxins and foreign substances to enter and store themselves within the body. [X] This can in turn cause literal weight gain, because now that the internal defenses are down, the adipose tissue has to work hard to corral all of these toxins and store them somewhere before they can cause further harm. [X]
Holding onto emotions causes stress within the body, can lead to overeating, and lead to chronic inflammation. The increased stress and inflammation makes it difficult for the body to process nutrients and remove toxins, therefore leading to their storage within our bodies, especially as visceral fat. Instead of holding onto pain, memories, and our emotions, it is best to let them express themselves in the moment, accept and honor them, the let them pass.
Feelings and emotions are temporary. They move in waves. Many people are not taught how to process and release their emotions and carry the tendency to store them within the body. This causes tension and, consequently, more havoc on the nervous and digestive systems. Anxiety, stress and depression can actually kill off the good bacteria in your gut. [X] The more we feel negatively, the less internal defenses we have and the more susceptible to external stimuli we become.
We all have the capacity and capability to heal. This is why our bodies work so hard and run themselves down! Our bodies are trying to support us! We need to support them and their functioning to allow for the healing to happen.
There are many ways in which we may do this, and they all work synergistically.
Food & Water
I fully believe in the power of an 80/20 approach to eating. 80% of the time, eat as healthy as possible. Organic, Non-GMO, Plant-based, and Whole Foods are the name of the game. 20% of the time, eat whatever you want.
If you can eat like the 80% category 100% of the time, even better. However, 80/20 is a great way to remain healthy without feeling like you are depriving yourself.
Also, stay hydrated. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day (i.e. 150lbs/2 = 75 lbs. This equates to 75 oz of water). It is best to drink water that has been purified and has not been sitting on shelves is plastic containers, which could leech a host of chemicals into the water including (but not limited to) BPA & BPS. The plastic also is harmful to the environment, and therefore should be avoided for the sake of this planet’s health as well.
It is also best to avoid tap, as it is also full of added chemicals and harmful bacteria that could lead to gut permeability, such as parasites, lead, and excessive amounts of chlorine and fluoride. [X]
By drinking fresh, clean water we help our bodies clear out debris and toxins that could otherwise get stuck, leading to constipation, digestive and emotional distress, and infections.
Movement is an essential part of life, as it ensures our bodies are functioning properly and our lymph system is continuously cleared out (this needs to be done on a 24 hour basis). Movement is also a great way to strengthen the immune and nervous systems, along with helping us release emotions that could have become stuck within the body.
Meditation is an amazing way to come to understand our own bodies subtle energies, and also to bring awareness to the things that we would otherwise pay no mind or sweep under the rug. Meditation quite literally forces us to sit with ourselves and pay attention to what is going on in our internal worlds. By getting to know our own inner workings and learning to process through everything going on inside of us, we make it much easier to process emotions and feelings as they comes to us in our day to day lives. We strengthen our minds and our nervous systems by training our bodies and minds to remain relaxed within the “rest and digest mode,” or parasympathetic nervous response. The increased oxygen to the brain and body also helps to improve alertness, cognitive function, and even burn fat.
As humans, we are social creatures by default. Our ancestors relied on each other to survive. To be alone meant to be cast out from the tribe and left to die.
It is very important to take time for ourselves and be alone, but it is equally as important to develop of community of loving, supportive family and/or friends that we may feel safe in expressing ourselves around.
There is nothing (in my experience) more transformative and powerful than feeling completely safe, seen, heard, and unconditionally loved. This is the type of support we need to supply each other. If we all did this simple thing for each individual, set our egos and personalities aside to help one another and be there through the hard times, the world would be a much more beautiful and accepting place to live in.
If you are having difficulty finding people who will love and accept you unconditionally, then I suggest learning to do this for yourself. Love and accept yourself fully. Forgive yourself for whatever causes you to judge or shame yourself. Allow the past to be in the past and work towards building a loving and supportive relationship with you. In doing this, you will learn more about who you are, what your interests are, and how you can give this same love and support to those you meet.
However, I must warn you: the more you learn to live in the frequencies of love and kindness to yourself and others, you will too attract those who have more emotional baggage and pain than you may feel capable of handling. If this is the case, really take time to evaluate your own energy levels and set boundaries accordingly. In applicable situations, suggest those individuals who rely on others to save them to seek professional help. It is a beautiful thing to want to help people, but we must honor our own capabilities and help in the best ways we as individuals are capable. We can’t help everyone personally, but we can still be loving, kind, and accepting of everyone wherever they may be on their own journeys.
I have personally found developing a deep sense of purpose to be an incredible tool in healing. By holding a purpose deep within my heart, it acts as a fire that moves me forward and encourages me to continue on the healing path. The more in tune I become with my own body, and the more I begin to heal, the greater my ability will be to fulfill and work towards my life’s purpose.
It is much more difficult to work towards dreams, desires, and goals and enjoy the journey when I feel tired, weak, or am in pain. If I feel good physically, it becomes much easier to take each day at a time and do the things I love. This in turn uplifts my emotional well-being and spiritual well-being, as I am now able to work towards something much greater in my life, a purpose, all because I take the time to support myself.
A purpose and healthy lifestyle go hand in hand, like the infinity symbol, yin yang, or a pb&j. They are constantly feeding and nourishing each other, bringing each other to greater heights.
If purpose and a healthy lifestyle are the peanut butter and jelly, then faith is the bread. It is that which holds it all together and keeps it from falling apart.
Developing faith is something very personal. I acknowledge not everyone will feel too turned on to this idea, simply because of the stigma around religion.
Having faith is simply developing a deep trust in something. It’s that force that allows sugar pills to work better in the long term than pharmaceutical drugs. On a grander scale, it’s a knowing that everything that happens does so in perfect timing and as it is meant to. Having faith also includes the trust that with the proper input and devotion, we may create and manifest that which we wish to see and experience in our own lives.
This is something that takes time. It involves training the mind and constantly focusing on that which you wish to believe and/or achieve. It is how we are able to manifest desired outcomes (see my articles on manifestation for more information on that [X],[X]).
It took me a long time to develop faith. For me, it involves waking up every day to count my blessings and surrendering to whatever comes my way. It is knowing that whatever happens is simply as it is, and I can choose to react in whichever way I desire. I ultimately choose how I interact with the world. I can learn from it and continue growing, or I can allow it to eat me alive. The former sounds a bit more appealing, so it is what I choose to do.
Faith comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be a grand gesture or small reminders to ourselves throughout the day that everything is temporary, and whatever happens we will get through it. Everything is changing and moving. Our attitudes and mindset decide which direction our lives will go.
Faith is simply a firm belief. A place to rest our focus. Be rewriting our own beliefs to be constructive and positive, we start to see changes happening in our lives that are an energetic match to those beliefs.
Ask yourself, what beliefs do I hold? Where do I rest my faith? Do I have faith that I can do anything I set my mind to and that all is as it should be? Or do I believe that the world is working against me and I’ll never live to truly see the sun?