Why Our Brains Love Routine New healthy habits that produce weight loss don't just simply drop into our laps, they happen because we've made a few tweaks and established new norms.

There’s a term of art used in business called, kaizen. It means constant and never-ending continuous improvement, and it’s a great philosophy to live by.

Specifically, it’s the idea of constant and never-ending continuous improvement even while everything, the entire day, all the moving parts are constantly in motion! This philosophy can be applied to life.

Every day, find something that helps bring about change by moving in a positive direction of improvement. This can be accomplished with little steps, as has been illustrated throughout time by great philosophers like Lao Tzu who said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Every single step in our journey through life builds on the one before, and even if we take a few steps backward along the way, it’s no big deal—just start the forward movement again.

Motivational speaker Wayne Dyer once said, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” Apply this to the way we look at food, exercise, or even ourselves. Is exercise seen as a struggle, or is it seen as something that will lead to good health, resiliency, confidence, and strength?

Routine is important because our brain loves routine. Routine has a positive effect on our lives to the point that when we break our routine for a number of days, we tend to feel a little “off” or less grounded. When we do something repeatedly, like practicing an instrument, the neurons in our brains establish connections to other neurons to create a larger, more powerful network that allows us to become better and more efficient at playing that instrument. This is why it benefits a musician to spend much more time practicing an instrument than performing.

Starting every day with a morning routine is important to get our bodies and our brains off to a positive start. Here’s a routine I personally recommend, but modify it to whatever feels right individually:

  • Get up 15 to 30 minutes earlier than usual. Sit in a quiet, comfortable place and relax. Take a slow deep breath in through the nose and fill the abdomen with air, hold onto that breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through the mouth. Repeat this up to five times while being mindful of how the body feels.
  • Express gratefulness for the gift of life; thank the body for allowing us to participate in life.
  • While in this mindful state, create the day (visualization). Rather than stumbling into each day reacting to whatever is thrown at us, instead we visualize and create how to see each day progressing and what we want to accomplish that day.
  • Do some stretches and basic exercises (sit-ups, pushups, trunk twists, etc.) to jumpstart metabolism and get blood flowing.
  • Make the bed to put closure to the night before and set the stage to start a new day.
  • Make lemon water or water tonic with supplements and drink it before breakfast.
  • Make a healthy breakfast of protein (most important), vegetables, and healthy fat.

Incorporate daily exercise and movement. Not only is exercise important physically, but an active body also creates an active, sharp brain. The brain sits at the center of everything—it regulates hormones, mood, personality, and weight; it’s even how we relate to the world. While routines are important, stimulating the brain with new activities is equally important. Regular exercise and a healthy gut go a long way toward keeping the brain healthy and avoiding many neurological diseases.

And finally, remember to make change, we keep focused on what we do want rather than what don’t. Our brains function from two major inputs: body form (slumped or straight) and what we put our focus on. By putting focus toward positive goals (“I want to get healthy” vs. “I don’t want to get sick”), we’ll draw those positive outcomes to us.

Learn more about the ten tiny habits that make up a healthy morning routine, how to bring about change by tuning into Module 4 of The Down5 Pounds Challenge.

Participants who have implemented the strategies learned in the 5-Day LIVE Weight Loss Challenge have reported less pain, fewer headaches, more energy and weight loss. However, The Down5 Pounds Challenge is not the promise of a cure and does not constitute medical advice. To learn more about The Down5 Pounds Challenge: How to Curb the Midlife Madness Overtaking Your Gut!, please visit our website at learn.getwell-now.com. For questions or To dig a little deeper into your own unique biochemistry or learn about root cause healing and functional medicine, visit us at Get Well Now and schedule a Discovery Call.

About Dr Pucci - Dr. Doug Pucci, Founder, Pucci Wellness Center, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition. Contact (201) 261-5430.

Footnotes:

Food 101 is about food, and specifically how food is metabolized into energy. Why excess energy from simple carbohydrates induces a stress response that produces fat.

We begin to examine the food we eat and separate the “good” from the “bad” in each category (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). There are so many myths about food, fad diets, dietary strategies, and so on, that we want to tease these apart. All too often patients become paralyzed about what to put in their mouths or on the table.

Gaining Weight, Eating Too Often and Still Craving the Wrong Foods? is a primer on some of the ways that even a good dietary plan, such as keto, paleo and vegan, can go wrong.

The gut is not a sterile or empty environment. Indeed, it is filled with life. Learn about the GI Effects test from Genova, and the gastrointestinal tract. This test gives us indications for five broad categories that affect digestion and colon health: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, metabolic imbalance and infection.

Gut Health and Weight Loss is a look at why starving ourselves to lose weight isn’t the answer. And for most people, an excessive amount of exercise isn’t either.

Fiber is Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome is about the life teeming inside and the fuel it craves. We’ve always known that fiber-rich foods are important to good health, but scientists are now finding out why.

Why A Diversity Of Probiotic Strains Matters? How to know whether the probiotics we’re taking are right for us? Is yogurt really the best choice? Dr. Pucci explains why diversity matters.

Stress Eating and Healthy Weight is about avoiding the tendency for takeout and a few suggestions for stress management techniques.

Toxic Stress is Causing Leaky Gut is about how cortisol stress begins to erode our barrier system, the lining of our mucosa, when toxins permeate the gut.

Foods that Trigger Immune Reactions is about the pro-inflammatory nature of modernized grains, fats and dairy and why these trigger an immune reaction.

Food Scores Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) App application to learn which of our produce is ranked highest in pesticide use and which is adhering to pesticide free guidelines.

Answers to Listener Questions A ton of questions came up during the LIVE taping. Register for The Down5 Pounds Challenge to review the complete list of answers related to food, what we eat and why.

Easy Breezy Morning Routine is about the 10 tiny habits that will create change and even transform the day.

Common Foods That Trigger Immune Reactions Food sensitivities can lead to leaky gut and autoimmune disease

A lot of people come into my treatment room asking which diet plan is best. “Should I follow a paleo diet?” “Should I do Keto?” “How about the Mediterranean diet?” These are common questions, but there is really no one diet that is right for every person. All three of these diets—paleo, keto, Mediterranean—are all good ways of eating healthy. However, the most important thing to understand is that food is not neutral; it’s either going to be anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory, and the triggers differ from person to person.

Gluten is a classic example of a food trigger for autoimmunity. The vast majority of people have some degree of reactivity to gluten. And because so many people consume so much gluten every day, there’s a high probability they’re having an immune reaction to gluten without even realizing it, possibly attributing their symptoms to other things or just accepting them. The reality is that they most likely have developed “leaky gut syndrome”, or intestinal permeability. Some of the more typical symptoms of leaky gut include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Cramps
  • Brain fog
  • Autoimmunity
  • Digestive problems or discomfort
  • Skin problems
  • Mood swings

So what is leaky gut, and what causes it? Intestinal permeability, more commonly referred to as leaky gut, occurs when the gut’s barrier system has been breached. There are a number of things that can cause leaky gut, such as prolonged or repeated use of medications including antibiotics, NSAIDs and antacids (whether prescription or OTC), food allergies, chronic stress, inflammation, yeast overgrowth, parasites, pesticides, and more.

By far the most common food source causing leaky gut is gluten, but other inflammatory foods like dairy, alcohol, and sugars are also high on the list. Once the gut barrier has been breached, everything from endotoxins and bacteria to heavy metals and environmental pollutants to move into the body’s circulatory system. Think of the gut barrier like a window screen in your home that’s meant to prevent unwanted outdoor invaders like mosquitoes from getting into your home. If the screen is weakened and develops holes, mosquitoes and other pests will breach that barrier and cause damage.

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The same type of thing is happening in your body when your gut barrier is breached and unwanted particles and toxins are allowed to circulate freely throughout your body where they don’t belong, causing the immune system to view them as foreign invaders and repeatedly attack them. The immune system’s heightened state of alert creates a constant state of inflammation, overstressing the immune system, which can then inaccurately attack healthy tissues. This is the beginning of autoimmunity.

In some cases, like with someone who has Hashimoto’s thyroid, there may even be a cross-reaction, which is when the immune system can’t differentiate between gluten and thyroid. When that happens, the immune system reacts to gluten, which causes inflammation, and then the immune system goes on to attack the thyroid.

There are a number of foods that more commonly trigger immune reactions, although gluten is by far the highest on the list. Some other typical culprits are:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Grains
  • Sugars

Here again, different foods can cause immune reactions in different people, and the type of reactions can also differ from person to person. Keep in mind that any food, however seemingly safe, can trigger an immune reaction if a person has become sensitive to it at some point.

New food sensitivities can develop as a result of leaky gut—when food particles move through a permeable gut barrier and into circulation, the immune system will recognize those particles as “unfriendly invaders” and attack them, creating a reaction against that food. So every time that food is eaten, it activates the immune system which creates inflammation and causes the body to launch an inflammatory “attack” response. In addition, these “invaders” can also bind to different organs and tissues; when the immune system sees that those tissues and organs now look different or recognizes the familiar “invader” attached to them, it will attack the tissues or organs themselves, which also leads to autoimmunity.

It’s important to note that while autoimmunity cannot be cured, it can be better managed to control progression. At that point the goal is to calm down the body’s aggressive immune response as one autoimmune expression generally begets another. At the same time, we want to heal the intestinal permeability known as leaky gut. A number of things can be taken into consideration and corrected, including diet, stress levels, potential infections, and so forth. Once gut health has been restored and inflammation has been reduced, many patients experience fewer food sensitivities or have a better sense of what is the primary culprit.

Dr. Doug Pucci is a functional medicine practitioner who was honored in 2020 to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition, for his pioneering work. He provides comprehensive testing for health biomarkers, advanced discovery into brain/body well-being and personalized nutrition for a diversity of people and symptoms.

For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com