Updated: Feb 2, 2020
What you eat and regular exercise is of course important. But when was the last time you really looked at HOW you eat?
Weight loss can be stubborn and if you are like most women it feels natural to resort to the equation:
weight loss = more exercise + less calories
While that will work...the equation is incomplete and slightly flawed. I have mentioned on many occasions that calorie deprivation is not an approach that leads to sustainable change. Sure, you may get into that special dress with some radical celery and water protocols, but eventually ... it all catches up and you're back to square one.
For this short post I am not going to provide a nutritional dissertation on the importance of healthy fats, whole foods and carb management. This post is all about the silent factors that are impacting your ability to lose weight and digest because of HOW you are eating.
Our Guts - We really take these poor little guys for granted.
We all know that suffering from digestive problems can result in excess gas, bloating, reflux, stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, tiredness, lack of focus, skin problems and the list goes on. Our guts are often taken for granted which can seriously hinder our daily functioning and make us miserable. Your gastrointestinal tract (GI) tract acts as your body’s food processor and if it’s blocked, overloaded, shut down by hormones or polluted with toxins such as food additives, pesticides and preservatives it is going to let you know how it feels.
Inefficient digestion increases the reabsorption of waste and toxins, increases physical inflammation, reduces good intestinal bacteria that is essential to healthy immune systems and among other things, contributes to stubborn weight loss.
How to change HOW you eat.
Common themes that I see with the majority of my clients and weight loss efforts are a result of bad planning, inconsistency and how they eat.
How you eat is as important if not MORE so than the food you are consuming because the biological process of eating involves your:
emotional state - governs what is or is not being secreted to help you digest
physiological readiness - there is a process required for eating and it needs to be respected
self-awareness - the relationship we have with food is deeply rooted and feeds more than our bellies
Here are three things to incorporate into your daily routines that will slow you down and boost your weight loss and digestive efforts. And before you start reading ahead (which you probably already have) - I want you to STOP yourself from thinking these are little 'motherhood' statements that you already know. I can tell you that ALL health coaching clients I see do not do this. Heck I don't always do this!
Try these suggestions for a week in an intentional way and you be the judge of whether they are true. But don't sell yourself short because they don't appear to be ancient secrets!
1. Chew Your Food and Breathe
The best way to ensure that we are helping make it easy for our bodies to digest our food is to chew A LOT so that our food mixes with our digestive juices so it can be easily digested and better absorbed for optimal nutrition.
Believe it or not chewing is one of the most important aids to our digestion and it’s also one we often take for granted so much so that we sometimes just swallow our food whole, forgetting to grind our teeth altogether! Focusing on how to chew your food properly (up to 20 times per bite) will help you extract the maximum nutrients from your food and get your digestive juices flowing right AND help keep your weight down and your tummy flat.
Breathing. I'm serious. It is easy to forget to breathe between bites, slowing down the intake and allowing your stomach to receive the food. Oxygen is a BIG necessity for digesting food and ultimately reducing weight gain so go ahead and put that fork down between a few bites and take a deep breath.
2. The 20-Minute Meal
The speed of eating has a huge impact on what your body does with the food it is receiving. Chewing and breathing will definitely act as a mindfulness tool, however speed is usually driven from other conditions such as rushing, stress, starvation, fatigue etc. In my little booklet 5 Tips to Stress Less (please contact me if you want a copy), I talked about the impacts of stress on the body and how it can contribute to weight gain and poor digestion. Our bodies are not meant to eat and digest in a hurried, stressed out state. Chemically in that moment of frenzy we are producing hormones and other physical reactions that generate a flight/fight/freeze response. When was the last time you were terrified and thought..."Gee, I could really use a burger right now". It doesn't happen!
Stress and hurried eating releases a hormone called cortisol and shuts down your digestion. You need to give yourself a TIME OUT when you eat.
3. The Power of the First BURP
This little physiological gem is more than an activity for contests and reciting the alphabet! Burping is one of the most useful signs your body gives you that you have had enough to eat.
To properly digest food, your stomach needs air. Typically, to digest well an average stomach should be 2/3 full with the rest filled with air. The problem however is that it take 15 mins or so for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full...so that's why it is so easy to keep eating.
Luckily your body has equipped you with an early warning sign - the first burp! The first burp occurs when your stomach has reached the 2/3 fill stage and starts pushing the air up the esophagus - making you burp!
So when you eat, STOP after the first burp. Who cares what's on your plate, your stomach and weight will thank you for it.
Remember: Simple doesn't mean easy.
These three little tips are just a few simple ways to manage weight and digestion by changing the way you approach your meals and eating habits. By incorporating these into your daily routines, you will:
Sense intuitively when you are full
Gain way more satisfaction from eating
Develop a healthier relationship with food
Although these may sound simple, it can be challenging to incorporate new habits into daily routines that are easily taken for granted. So give yourself a chance, make a plan and experience the benefits first hand.
Want more? I invite you to learn more about what hypnotherapy and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) can do to transform your health and life, permanently delete limiting beliefs that are holding you back and propel your momentum FORWARD through regular coaching and support. Please visit the Mindpower Resource Download Store for hypnosis downloads as well as my Events listing for more information.
Chantell Tunney, RHC, C.Ht., MNLP, DSHomMedWith over 20 years of clinical experience in health and mental wellness, I specialize in facilitating the removal of the limiting beliefs and negative emotions that get in the way of living life to its fullest expression.As a board certified clinical Hypnotherapist, Master NLP Practitioner and registered Health Coach I integrate a variety of tools and techniques that support lasting change. To complement my practice, I draw from my experience as both a healthcare executive and clinician. In addition to private practice I work with corporate clients and community partners as a facilitator, educator, speaker and writer specializing in using communication and self-awareness as the buiding blocks for inevitable success.