I can’t believe my book “When Calories & Cardio Don’t Cut It” is almost finished. I never thought a cover and formatting would be the hardest part. I’m in the midst of yet another read through and thought I’d share a little of what the book it about. It has nutrition and all that, but includes a lot of interesting observations, like the ones that follow. Hope it makes for fun reading.
STRESS & CHILDREN
When a pregnant lady is stressed it can lead to low birth weight and an increased risk of diabetes as an adult. It is now known that extreme stress during childhood can affect height and growth.
A lady from the Victorian era has two sons and loses the 13-year-old in a skating accident. The mother is so traumatized over the death that she ignores her 6-year-old son. She did not touch or hold her son and when she did speak to him it was only to compare him to her dead child proclaiming how perfect the 13-year-old had been. The father did not interact with his child which may be a product of the era or of the man himself. Due to severe emotional stress the child grows to only 4’10”.
The surviving child was J.M. Barrie the acclaimed British writer and author of Peter Pan, the story of the boy who never grew up.
King Frederick of Sicily in the 1300s wanted to know what the natural language would be if children were not influenced to in any way. This lunatic King took infants and kept them alone in separate rooms. They had plenty of food and were comfortable with good blankets but they had no human contact whatsoever. His goal was to see what language would develop. None did because all the children died. Lack of human touch and interaction is a deadly stress in itself. Without it, processes essential to development will not occur. Atrophy occurs instead, throughout mind and body.
Lack of development is seen in children raised in severe isolation and we also see it in some adults who isolate or repress themselves. Both succumb to the stress of loneliness.
STRESS & ANGER
I am English and the English are said to be a little repressed. A British “stiff upper lip” refers to a lack of emotional expression. Behind closed doors I am not always sure it is a fair depiction but at times there does exist among my countrymen and women a grit determination to rise above the vulgarity of emotional displays, even when the displays are not embarrassing or difficult in any way – even when they are fun. Opting for aloof detachment is not unlike deciding to be lonely.
A rat is given a little electric shock, just a very mild but repetitive electric shock; it does not hurt, but it is annoying after a time. Another rat is experiencing exactly the same thing but this second rat has a piece of wood to chew on. The hormonal stress response to the electric shock is a lot less in the rat that has the piece of wood. That rat has a way of relieving its stress. Given that some degree of stress is unavoidable, we all need a piece of wood.
We all need an outlet. As children it might be biting finger nails or pulling hair out. When people deliberately cut themselves it is usually to relieve themselves of some other sort of pain. We may scream, we may break things, we may punch things. Women tend to call their girlfriends and talk for hours and hours (Gentlemen, this is a good thing, so let it happen). Men are more likely to go to a boxing gym, drive a car dangerously fast or gamble. We are all trying to find a piece of wood to chew on. When we recognize this we can create environments that relieve stress. Running has always been a good one for me, and playing with my pets puts me at ease. Cooking, music, massage, sex, hot baths, beach walks, mountain hikes, charity work and meditation are all good pieces of wood. Everyone has to find their own and it doesn’t necessarily matter what it is – just so long as you find it.
The failure to find a good way to counteract your stress can lead to desperate and destructive behaviors. And a body that seems to be at war with itself.
STRESS, SEX & REPRODUCTION
Stress impacts on a lady’s menstrual cycle and the sex hormones of both men and women.
Stress immediately causes a drop in circulating testosterone. The brain shuts down LHRH (luteinizing hormone releasing hormone) which shuts down FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) which, in turn, decreases circulating testosterone.
Exercise, although hopefully enjoyable, can also be a form of stress. The endorphins we relish when we exercise can also cause the brain to shut down LHRH. Exercise can certainly give us a euphoric feeling but excess exercise leads to male athletes with lower testosterone and female athletes with menstrual irregularities.
If LHRH is shut down it will affect a man’s testosterone and the woman’s follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which is crucial to the menstrual cycle. Enough stress from any source can cause this to happen.
The very act of sex is controlled by the nervous system. When stressed we shut down our circulating blood supply so the skin might seem gray where once we had a healthy flushed complexion. In the same way, if blood is taken away from the very area needed to perform sex then a gentleman may have performance issues in the bedroom.
Most men wake up ready to perform, with plenty of blood in that area. A morning erection is the result of sleep. During sleep we are in a relaxed state and we switch from the SNS (sympathetic nervous system) to our PNS (Parasympathetic nervous system). The nervous system takes its foot off the gas pedal and moves to the calm and relaxing PNS.
Tantric sex works with the nervous system by finding a balance between the gas pedal and the brake. If we can control the sympathetic nervous system and thereby sustain a relaxed state during actual sex, then it can last longer.
In women the hormonal chain of events needed to have a regular menstrual cycle and to get pregnant can be greatly affected by stress. If you think of it like dominoes standing in a line, you have to push the first one hard enough so that all the others will fall. In a similar way if the hormone LHRH is not pushed hard enough then the other hormones are not released properly, and the menstrual cycle is affected.
Women do not just have female hormones; every woman has androgens (a group of hormones related to masculine traits.) Fat cells contain an enzyme which breaks androgens down and converts them to estrogen. If we do not have enough fat then we do not have enough of this enzyme and therefore androgens are not broken down. Now we have less estrogen and too many androgens. This is the wrong balance needed for pregnancy. It is also one reason why super-lean ladies often do not have regular menstrual cycles.
All of this relates to why ladies who are desperately trying to get pregnant sometimes do not. Everyone has heard the story of the couple that tries for years unsuccessfully to get pregnant. Eventually, they give up or choose adoption. And then along comes the “miracle” pregnancy. Although pregnancy is itself a miracle, this phenomenon is not. When the pressure (stress) to get pregnant is removed, the hormones return at full strength and pregnancy becomes possible.
Hope you enjoyed this little forerunner to my book “When Calories and Cardio Don’tCut It” Release date September 1 2018
ABOUT THE BOOK
Calorie restriction and heart pumping cardiovascular exercise have been the mainstay of weight loss programs for decades, but this approach doesn’t explain why body shapes change and weight gain seems unavoidable for those racing towards middle age. An age, where many of us are exercising more diligence and accountability than we ever did in our youth.
Providing explanations and solutions for;
- Fat storage that is accelerated with age, fat patterning that changes with age.
- Fat cell breakdown and the one thing that people do daily that halts it completely.
- Girls enter puberty leaner than boys but leave their teenage years with more body fat. The same influencers work against us we approach middle age.
- Unnecessary weight gain during menopause and man-opause.
- Gyms are full of people who never change, and chronic dieting will result in an apple waistline.
A fascinating look at the major influencers that impact body composition and fat patterning. It explains how these players pay little heed to our obsessive tracking of intake vs expenditure and it will show you how you can control them to work in your favor.
We live in an exciting time where age need not dictate your wardrobe or your weight and the options we have are a lot more fun than tracking calories or counting down minutes on a treadmill.