Most people we meet through the gym express complicated feelings about food and often live with chronic digestive issues. We thought it would be helpful to offer some insight about the effects of nutrition on the body and mental state. 

According to Dr. Nicole LePera, very few of us meet the nutritional demands of our body. Instead, we tend to eat based on how we feel about the day–sad, bored, excited or lonely. Sometimes we make food choices out of necessity, habit or obligation. Many of us are tied to a moral outlook on food–the “good food vs. bad food” battle. In her book, How to do the Work, LePera emphasizes that all of this input around food disconnects us from the actual needs of our bodies. This is learned behavior. As babies, we were driven by our basic needs, but as we grew older, we were modeled other reasons to eat and drink. We stopped listening to our bodies.

With over 500 million neurons and an extensive network of nerve cells along the gut wall it’s no wonder our stomach has been labeled our “second brain.” According to Dr. LePera, these neurons found in our gut are like the neurons in our brains. These cells are constantly in communication with various regions of the body, signaling the release of hormones and sending chemical messages. This enteric nervous system or ENS gathers information about the microbiome or “good bacteria” in the gut and sends messages to the brain about how we’re doing as a person. If our bodies are chronically deprived of nutrients our microbiome becomes imbalanced and everything else in the body including hormones, mental state, energy level, and our ability to deal with stress are affected. On the flip-side, stress and trauma can affect how well your body absorbs nutrients too.

The quickest way to improve your gut health, says Dr. LePera, is to eat whole, nutrient-dense foods. The direct line between the gut and the brain makes each meal an opportunity for healing and nourishment. She also suggests not thinking of deprivation when cutting out processed and unhealthy foods from our diets and instead view it as an exciting opportunity to improve our physical and mental well-being one bite at a time. 

(Lepera, Nicole, How To Do The Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self. Harper Collins, 2021.) 

There you have it! What you put in your body can literally tear down or heal everything else in your body including your mind. Lifestyle affects so much of how we see the world. At BRF, we want to encourage a lifestyle where you thrive and enjoy the world around you. That’s why we developed the Smart Start and Smart Nutrition Programs!

1. Your complimentary “Smart Start” allows us to assess your fitness and nutrition goals, perform a 3D body scan and fitness assessment.  

2. “Smart Nutrition” is a step-by-step nutrition plan with a licensed dietitian.  Shop, prep and eat!  It’s that easy!

Be “Smart” with your fitness and health goals.  We are your support system mentally and physically. Check out these programs today. Your body deserves the best!