Stress and Weight Loss: The Slow Down Diet Part 1

stress and weight lossYou may not realize it but how you eat is just as important as what you eat. Stress and weight loss go together.

Your state of mind, and distraction while eating all play a much greater a role a greater in weight and digestion and metabolism than was once known.

If you eat while you are stressed out or distracted you are:

  • Not assimilating the nutrients you are taking in
  • Slowing down your metabolism
  • Eating more than you normally would
  • Telling your body to store everything as fat

Did you know that your digestive system has a “brain” in it?

Its is called the enteric nervous system and it’s a system of over 100 million neurons that are embedded in the lining of your GI system.This “stomach brain” communicates with the central nervous system (i.e. your normal brain) via a series of connections and nerves.

When you are stressed out (bear attacking you, thinking about how pizza will make you fat as you are eating it) you release stress hormones into your body via your HPA (hypo-pituitary adrenal)axis . It doesn’t matter if you are really in danger or not…the body perceives it the same. Stress and weight loss do not go together.

If your body thinks you are in danger it will go into survival mode. That means it will shut down all processes that are unnecessary, including digestion.

When you are shoveling food in at your desk on a conference call you signal stress to your body without even realizing it. As a result, the vitamins and nutrients in your meal are not being broken down or assimilated in the manner in which they should.

This may cause you to feel “not as full” or give you digestive upset – regardless of the number of calories you actually took in.

When you are stressed out, your brain will not fully register what you are eating and you may snack, drink, or binge on something later because you are not actually satisfied. So stress and weight loss (or lack of) are definitely connected.

Yes – I know this seems silly. You are eating it…of course you know it is there. But really being aware of it takes more effort. Smelling it, really tasting it, savoring it. After all – that is what makes a meal nourishing vs. just caloric fuel.

I know this is harder to do than ever in our busy lives but if you are trying to be conscious of what goes in your body – being mindful when you eat is just as important.

In The Slow Down Diet: Part 2, I will get more into facts and specifics about the cephalic digestive response (CPR) and how stressed eating makes us overeat and crave sugary foods

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