CarolynRoss/Shutterstock
Source: CarolynRoss/Shutterstock

You may be one of many people who have been focusing on your weight for most or all of your life.  Maybe you have reached the conclusion that it’s time to leave the diet treadmill behind and refocus your efforts on improving your overall health and well-being rather than continuing to focus on the next fad diet. 

If so, it’s important to know that you can be healthy no matter what your size.  Getting healthy will give you many of the things you want but can’t achieve by dieting – feeling better about yourself and your body, being more comfortable around food and reducing cravings and behaviors that cause shame or guilt.

Working with clients in my private practice and offering training programs to eating disorder professionals all over the country, I’ve discovered there is a lot more to living a healthy, joyful life beyond the number we see on the scale.

There are many factors involved in creating healthy habits that support your overall health and well-being. How you feel about your body is one of the greatest keys in how you treat your body.  When you feel good about your body, you treat your body kindly and with love. When you don’t feel good about the skin you’re in, you’ll choose or default to habits that support this negative image you have of your body. So, your first step in health and wellness starts with understanding your thoughts and feelings about your body. The purpose is to recognize negative or limiting beliefs you may not be fully aware of that could be keeping you feeling low on self-esteem and low on vital life energy.

Beyond dieting: staying healthy in the long run…

New research suggests a hidden factor in health for those who struggle with food and weight issues: the microbiome. The microbiome is a collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body. Your body contains many forms of helpful bacteria in the intestinal tract. This collection of organisms (or microbiome) is known as intestinal flora, and consists of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and yeast. Together, they aid the body’s digestion, nutrient absorption and support your overall immunity.

Normally, there is a balance in the number of and types of bacteria and yeast strains in the intestines. When these proportions become imbalanced, health problems, like “leaky gut” (damage to the intestinal wall), weight gain and obesity, can develop. By rebalancing intestinal flora, you can support your body in reaching a healthy weight and ensuring you absorb the nutrients from your food.

Although interest in probiotic foods has grown tremendously over recent years, not all probiotics are equal in terms of improving your metabolism or preventing health issues like “leaky gut.”  A recent review article looked at the relationship between probiotic strains and cardiometabolic diseases, like obesity. The findings of these studies found that certain probiotic strains were specifically associated with reductions in weight gain, body weight, BMI, and fat mass. The 8 probiotic strains found to be beneficial for those struggling with weight or food issues are:

  • Bifidobacterium animalis (available in supplements; found in kefir and some yogurt)
  • Bifidobacterium lactis (available in supplements; found in some yogurt)
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (available in supplements; found in most yogurt)
  • Lactobacillus casei (available in supplements; found in some yogurt)
  • Lactobacillus gasseri (available in supplements)
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (available in supplements)
  • Saccharomyces boulardii (available in supplements; found in some kombucha)
  • Streptococcus thermophilus (available in supplements; found in most yogurt)

To rebalance your intestinal flora, you can add the above supplements to your diet or eat probiotic foods like yogurt or kombucha. The health benefits of probiotics extend far beyond boosting your metabolism. They actually can affect your energy level and your overall sense of well-being.

The probiotics listed above are the most effective in maintaining a healthy gut and improving overall health and well being. You deserve to feel good about the skin you’re in and to lead a life full of energy and robust health! Start by developing a positive attitude about the greatest machine you’ll ever own – your body! 

You are reading

Real Healing

What Black Women Need to Know About Eating Disorders

Binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia are often undetected and untreated.

Responding Wisely to Food Addiction Relapses

Relapse is a part of recovery

8 Probiotic Strains Proven to Help Improve Your Health

Improving gut health - beyond dieting