Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Men Who Made Us Fat Forgot Something...

By Coach Cj Swaby

The Men Who Made Us Fat ( a documentary on BBC1) has been an eye opener for many. It serves as a Tour De France of how the United States and the UK have ended up in the state we are in. Obesity and related diseases are at an all time high. Now we are not just talking about  the visually obese, but also what is called "skinny fat". This is where visually thin or "normal" people have organs that are drowning in visceral fat. The question the documentary seeks to answer is, how did this happen? and who is responsible?

The material exposed is not readily available in mainstream society, but for those on the cutting edge, the information has been doing the rounds for numerous years now.  One such front runner is Mike Mahler.  He has aggressively promoted the health benefits of hormone optimisation on a physical, and psychological level for some time now. He knows the dangers of  Frankenstein-foods  wreaking havoc with your hormones and health. Despite what some experts will tell you, the connection has been established.

But there is another aspect  of  hormone optimisation that isn't readily explored. While Mike was over in London earlier in June, we managed to have an in depth conversation about the  potential role of unresolved emotional trauma  swiftly  killing dead any chance we have for optimal health.  Now you can  read below the result of that thought provoking  conversation.

CS: Mike, thanks for joining me. It was great to have you and Brooks Kubik over for Dinosaur Training and Beyond Workshop in London this June. It truly was a Landmark event. There was something that you talked about in your hormone lecture that really got me thinking.

Bruce Liptons book, Biology of Belief was a breakthrough in explaining how our thoughts actually can alter our DNA and genetic expression. In your lecture you touched up the importance of unresolved emotional trauma in hormone optimisation. Can you explain where you were coming from with that?

MM: Thanks a lot CJ and a real pleasure working with you in London. Regarding the unresolved emotional trauma and how it affects hormone optimization it is something I have been thinking about for a long time. 

I was molested when I was five years old repeatedly and at that age you don't have the coping mechanisms to handle such abuse so it is common to suppress the memories to deal with at another time. I suppressed the memories until I was thirty years old and then had total recall. It was quite difficult to deal with and caused a lot of stress in my personal life. 

Just because the memories are suppressed does not mean they're not affecting you. The unconscious mind sends way more message to the conscious mind than the other way around so I think our repressed memories have a similar effect. The worst part is the unresolved emotional trauma is influencing your behavior without you being aware. It is like having a parasite in your mind that is guiding all of your behaviors and you're completely oblivious that it is there. 

Having an optimal hormone environment essentially means you're in a thriving state. This is why people with optimal hormone profiles have high sex drives as the drive to procreate is a sign of health. If you have no sex drive at all, it is a sign that you're unhealthy and will make the gene pool worse by contributing to it. Another common sign of hormone optimization, is zeal for life. Walking up every morning ready to conquer and take charge of your life. I have had mild to moderate depression my entire life and only conquered it fully when I addressed my unresolved emotional trauma and learned how to optimize my hormones. 

There is no way you're going to be in a thriving state with unresolved emotional trauma. When something is unresolved it is stressful. When we know we have a problem and we do something about it, it is empowering. When we have a problem and we fail to take any proactive actions it is stressful. Unresolved emotional trauma is often a problem we're not even aware we have and that is very stressful. When you're under a lot of stress you're pumping out the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine constantly and nothing will ruin your overall hormonal profile more than constantly high stress levels. Stress literally kills and has been linked directly to dementia and alzheimer's disease. 

CS: I know that you have personal experience in that domain, does the available research support that as well?

MM: Honestly, I am not sure if there is any research out there that supports my theories on the matter as most of the research I have come across is on how training, sleep, and supplements affect hormone levels. The closest I have seen is in Kelly Lambert's excellent book "lifting depression" in which she talks about the importance of optimizing the ultimate stress management hormone DHEA in order to conquer depression. When DHEA is optimal cortisol is in check and testosterone is protected in men and progesterone in women. Testosterone is the ultimate anti-depressant for men and progesterone is the ultimate anti-depressant for women. When men are under a lot of stress, testosterone plummets and same for women with regards to progesterone. 

I have always had low normal levels of DHEA and I think a lot of that had to do with my unresolved emotional trauma. When i came to terms with it, it felt like a big burden was lifted from my shoulders. My mood is great consistently and I wake up ready to take charge and conquer every morning! There is really no better feeling. I got over the abuse by embracing compassion fully. Not just in regards to helping people but helping animals as well. I found talk therapy to be a waste of time as it was just a process of constantly repeating the trauma and that just puts on in a negative state. Talking about thing is important but eventually it has to lead to proactive actions. Otherwise, you're just spinning your wheels. 

CS:  How can unresolved  emotional trauma manifest itself on a physical level?

MM: Yes unresolved emotional trauma most certainly manifests physical symptoms. GI tract issues such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and Crohn's disease are common with people that have been through unresolved abuse. The GI tract is often referred to as the second brain and for good reason. The neurotransmitter serotonin is in abundance in the GI tract and you need optimal levels of serotonin in the gut for optimal functioning. Optimal serotonin is critical to experience life fully. When your serotonin levels are very low, you feel numb and can't enjoy life. Most of our immune system is in the GI tract as well so people with unhealthy GI tracts will definitely get sick more often. Emotional stress in the brain will always affect the gut so if people with GI tract issues have to resolve trauma issues to get back to being healthy. Supplements such as probiotics, glutamine, digestive enzymes, and betaine HCI all help but do not take the place of underlying issues for the problems in the first place. 

CS: How can someone who has had emotional trauma resolve that on a psychological and physical level?

MM: I think you have to accept what happened to you and as I said previously but not let it define your life. We're far more than the things that happen to us. We can take whatever negative we have been through and find a way to use it to be better people and provoke positive actions. I am not a professional counselor or life coach, but my personal opinion is that the only way is to embrace compassion fully. 

Strive to be someone that makes other people better for just knowing you and being around you. Instead of dwelling on what happened to you and asking why, use it to help improve the lives of others. This can come in many forms but obvious ones are finding high quality charities to donate time and money to. I really like Lifequest transitions which is a fantastic organization that helps soldiers with PTSD and the Nevada SPCA here where I live which is a no kill shelter that helps abandoned animals. In addition to supporting great causes you will meet some fantastic people. Who we are has a lot to do with who we meet in life so make a point of meeting as many great people as possible and strive to be a great person personally. Not someone that is ego dominant and acts for accolades but someone that strives to achieve excellence in actions without worrying about the results. Something my favorite spiritual text "The Bhagavad Gita" emphasizes! 

CS: So I guess once that emotional trauma has been resolved, then that clears a path for hormone optimisation and greater health?

MM: definitely and I can say personally that when you resolve the trauma you will feel like a new person ready to live fully and take charge of everyday. 

CS: Why do you think that unresolved emotional trauma is so under played in current health issues? Is is lack of knowledge, or an inability to come to terms with the reality of the situation?

MM: I think we look for complicated solutions to relatively simple problems and as a result we overlook the obvious. When someone has a poor hormonal profile, especially a young person, the obvious question should be what is the root cause. Often, people just jump on hormone replacement and try to improve numbers on a piece of paper instead of taking the time to explore the main reasons for the cause in the first place such as poor diet, lack of sleep, personal life stress, financial stress, job dissatisfaction, and unresolved emotional trauma. Of all of these factors I think unresolved emotional trauma is the most powerful component as it will affect all the other areas more than the other way around. Meaning, you may have unhealthy eating habits, engage in unhealthy relationships, and other self-destructive behavior from unresolved emotional issues. 

CS:  I know from a personal experience throughout the death of my brother in particular that my health suffered. I lost weight. I was highly stressed, and emotionally erratic.  It wasn't until I got a handle on managing that stress,coming to terms with my brothers death and got back into physical training that my health improved, and my peace of mind returned.

Would you say that tackling emotional trauma is a multi-pronged attack? or is there one specific thing that will make the main difference above all others?

MM: I can't the imagine what you went through when you lost your brother. My brother and I are super tight and I would have a very hard time moving on if I lost him. I do believe tackling emotional trauma requires a multi-pronged approach. It starts with self-inventory and understanding why you do the things you do. How well calibrated are you? Meaning how close is your perception of yourself to reality? All important things to know. Then how much of your time is occupied with positive actions? Working out, healthy eating, time with friends and family, vacations, helping others in needs, and on and one. Occupy yourself with positive activities and avoid being self-absorbed and you will do great. 

CS: Mike, I've been to your lectures and listened to them online. How can people get access to this great information?

MM:Thanks a lot for the support, and your readers are more than welcome to visit my website at www.mikemahler.com. I have tons of free info there and also have a comprehensive hormone lecture that they can download at: http://www.entheos.com/academy/courses/The-Importance-of-Optimizing-Hormones

CS: Thank you for your time Mike.

MM: My pleasure Cj.

You can download The Men Who Made Us Fat at BBC I Player  HERE

If you want a comprehensive overview of hormone optimisation you can check out Mike Malhers website at www.mikemahler.com


rocofit said...

Powerful interview and surprising topic from two top trainers. It's nice to see someone being brave enough to talk about the emotional side of fitness and the effects it has on us physically. Am learning a lot from the both of you. Thank you for this.

Coach Cj Swaby said...

Thanks Rosa, coming from a switched on Coach such as yourself I really appreciate it. I definitely think that its an area that needs to be fully explored if we are to talk about real health - just hope that we can add to the conversation.

Cambridge said...

Absolutely fantastic article, one of the best i have read, agree with all above comments. Thanks boys x