Happy Monday, sweet readers! How are you adjusting to the time change?
Today, I’m super excited to welcome Laina to the blog for a really helpful post about getting ready for bathing suit season— the healthy way! Take it away, Laina…
Bathing suit season is looming (in fact, over here in sunny Santa Cruz I’ve already made it to the beach a couple of times!) and with it comes the collective pressure to lose weight and tighten up. While crash diets and intense exercise regimes may work in the short term to lose a few pounds, we all know that the weight rarely stays off, and the whole process is usually so emotionally and physically grueling and stressful, no matter what our size, we’re not even happy!
Most people want to know what they should eat (and how much) in order to lose weight and get the body they want. But what few people realize is that HOW you eat is almost more important than WHAT you eat. Without making a single change to someone’s diet, I can almost always help them achieve some weight loss (assuming that there is legitimate weight to lose) just by making this one simple change.
Slow down, take a breath, and relax.
The impact of stress (including stress around eating itself) on digestion and metabolism is huge! Thanks to our club-wielding Neanderthal ancestors, our bodies have been geniusly programed to respond to stress in very specific ways. Namely, blood and oxygen is directed away from the stomach to the head and limbs to support quick thinking and acting. During a time of stress digestion may be greatly diminished or even completely shut down as the body assumes that all metabolic energy is needed for survival. When a tiger is chasing you, the body is smart enough to know that digesting lunch is low on the priority list. Unfortunately, the body can’t discriminate between running-for-your-life stress and running-late-for-work stress.
Along with reducing digestive efficiency, nutrient absorption and metabolic power, stress also stimulates the production of the hormones insulin and cortisol which have been linked to an inability to lose weight and body fat, an inability to build muscle, and a tendency to gain weight around the midsection. In essence, a body under stress can sabotage even the healthiest of meals.
The temptation to stress around food and diet is powerful. We stress ourselves out daily about what we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat, what we wish we could eat and what we wish we hadn’t. Whether it’s the healthiest garden salad or the most decadent chocolate cake, your body will actually digest and metabolize more efficiently (that means more nutrients absorbed and more calories burned) if you can manage to slow down and relax. Added bonus: the food will taste better too!
Laina is a Holistic Health Coach based in Santa Cruz, Ca and specializing in Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind-Body Nutrition. She works with clients in both the physical and emotional realms of eating to help break unhealthy patterns and nurture a new kind of relationship with food and body that supports vibrant, embodied living. Check her out atwww.HungryForChangeNow.com.
Have you found that stress affects your weight? What do you do to keep your stress levels low? Share your tips in the comments!