Have you been eating well and exercising regularly and still holding onto extra weight? Or are you feeling confused about why you've hit a weight-loss plateau?
Well, did you know that the amount of stress we feel throughout our day has a direct affect on our metabolism? Yes, I said it! Despite how "good" we're being, we will likely hold onto extra weight if we don't eat in a relaxing environment. Crazy, huh?! Well it all comes down to our two autonomic (unconscious) nervous systems: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic.
In order to better explain the concept I like to use this example of a deer in the wild...hear me out, I promise it will all make sense soon.
When a deer is eating in a nice big, peaceful meadow, it's parasympathetic nervous system is engaged. This nervous system is responsible for the digestion of our food and the assimilation of our food into usable nutrients for our body. Now the thing about these two nervous systems is that they work like a switch, meaning that when one is turned on, the other must be turned off.
So now introduce a lion to the scene...
The deer now needs to switch gears into fight or flight mode, which also flips the nervous system switch. This turns on the deer's sympathetic nervous system in order to use all of it's energy to survive rather than digest.
You might be wondering how this applies to us since we don't have lions chasing us on a regular basis.
Well here it is. When we eat our meals in a relaxed state, we turn off the stress response. This stimulates oxygen and blood flow which increases our metabolism. This means that you can burn more calories eating the food you love! Are you curious how to keep your parasympathetic system turned on? All you have to do is eat mindfully, that's it!
Here are 3 tips to eat mindfully:
- Take three deep breaths before you begin your meal.
- Eat slowly and enjoy every bite.
- Enjoy your meal without any distractions (work, iPhone, computer, television, etc.)