A Flying Kickstart to Healing.
The thing about healing a compromised metabolism, is that it isn’t usually simply just about learning the rules, figuring out what you’re doing wrong, making the necessary changes and then sitting back and reaping the rewards. Although that would be nice.
Even though one good way to deal with illness – or overall metabolic dysfunction – is to approach it under the banner of ‘general stress reduction’, there isn’t – unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) – just one way to attend to stress.
In fact there also isn’t only one way to understand stress, which can make things a little confusing, especially when on one level stress is something that is avoided, and from another perspective – depending on the definition being used – it is a necessary part of life, unavoidable per se, maybe even beneficial.
Hence the word stress takes on new significance depending on circumstances, context and intended meaning. Which feeds into this conversation with regards to some of the more complicated and mystifying aspects of metabolic function, and what might prevent improvement.
For starters, it is important to acknowledge that fixing a damaged – or under performing – system is more than simply a matter of science. Even though it’s true that the influence derived from a more rational physiological approach cannot be underestimated, there will always be a certain artistic – even somewhat spiritual – element to healing.
Regardless however, it’s worthwhile distinguishing between the kind of scenario which allows for the normal functioning of metabolism in the face of stress, and one which (for a variety of possible reasons), is failing to meet the demands placed upon it, and moves in the direction towards surviving in a kind of emergency ‘stress state’, eventually leading to far from optimal results.
With these ideas in mind, it starts to become easier to see why there is so much potential for uncertainty and ambiguity in relation to the interpretation of symptoms and other physiological changes which can become noticeable, especially during a period of illness or significantly sub-optimal metabolic performance.
Which is then also in part, why it isn’t really a great idea to approach healing and recovery with the mindset that because certain things can be seen as being good for you – and other things bad for you – all you need to do is do more of the good things and everything will be peachy.
That’s not to say that it never happens this way, it’s just that there is no guarantee that things will be so straightforward, and in many cases this kind of black and white protocol-like strategy is often more damaging than it is helpful.
Many things, for instance, which have the ability to support thyroid function and energy metabolism in general, can – when circumstances start to change – become a part of the problem, helping in ways to push things back on route towards more stress rather than less.
This can be particularly true when years of exposure to stressors of many kinds has created an unstable system effected by systemic levels of inflammation, large amounts of polyunsaturated fats stored in tissue, a limited capacity for glycogen storage, as well as – amongst other things – an overstimulated nervous system combined with a variety of hormonal vicious circles and a propensity for dysregulated blood sugar.
Under circumstances such as these it can often be counterproductive to attempt to move too quickly, and it is far from uncommon for the excitement which often comes with improvement to lead to a kind of one step forward three steps back cycle which can be especially disheartening.
From this point of view, it’s possible to understand a little better why it is so dangerous to promote a belief system based on the premise that weight loss is the default for health improvement, and weight gain is necessarily something to try to avoid at all costs.
When the toxic metabolism inhibiting substances stored in the fat get released into the blood stream too quickly – even as a result of what might under different circumstances be seen as a metabolic movement away from stress – the long term result can be greater injury to the system, which then can be far more difficult to repair.
Weight gain can at times on the other hand, come from improvements in muscle size and quality, as well as the storage of a less inflammatory, more pro-metabolic fat composition. It can also be the initial result of a settling down of nervous system excitation and a continuously high stress hormone state, and as such can be an indication of improvement in overall metabolic health.
In fact, it is far from uncommon for the issues responsible for what might be considered excessive weight gain, to be roughly the same factors driving a chronic inability to gain weight, and in both cases metabolism can be one of stress.
One safer approach to healing involves a type of trial and error experimentation with a combination of many different possible stress reduction methods and the simultaneous and gradual increase of fuel and nutrient consumption, in an attempt to suppress the stress related substances and ramp up thyroid systems as well as improve glycogen storage capacity.
Using pulse and temperature as an indicator is helpful because – when done consistently over a period of time – not only can it provide a great deal of insight into whether or not metabolic function is improving generally (fueled largely by effective thyroid and energy system activity), it gradually enhances confidence in the innate ability to be aware of how this feels. That alone can help to quiet a certain amount of nervous system hyper-vigilance.
It’s important to take digestive issues seriously as the ability to heal problems experienced in a variety of places throughout the whole system – and which often appear to arise in a completely unrelated fashion – is heavily influenced by factors which at the very least are exacerbated – and oftentimes initiated – by interference with digestion.
In reality there is no way of separating the disease states which result from chronic and systemic inflammation, hormonal imbalance (including thyroid insufficiency) and blood sugar dysregulation for example, from the impact that bacterial overgrowth and excessive endotoxin production has on digestive performance and liver function.
Sometimes it can take quite a bit of time to figure out what can then appear to resolve itself overnight, and other times what looks like a major ‘setback’ might be a sign that you are heading in the right direction, maybe just a little too quickly and forcefully.
You might just need to pull back a little, maybe mix it up. The art form can’t be taught, but it still helps to have an understanding of the principles. There are no guarantees, and results that seem not to go your way do not in truth mean you have failed.
Although you could say that much can be gained by being the person who practices one kick 10,000 times, there is still something to be said for – at least every now and then – being the person who practices 10,000 kicks once.