Are You Accidentally Sabotaging Your Weight Loss?
Well for one thing, you’ve probably bought into what most of us have been told - just eat less and exercise more. And it’s possible that you may be exercising too much and not eating enough. You’ve probably heard that when the body doesn’t get enough nutrition, metabolism slows down. But here’s the more likely culprit – You’re a busy mom or professional.
See if this rings a bell: You’re packing the kids lunches, checking your Facebook, applying your makeup, swapping a load of laundry and ingesting a bowl of Special K, all at the same time. Your “meals” are typically a protein bar on the way to work or soccer practice, or a sandwich or salad eaten at your desk. Or perhaps when it comes to eating you’re on a mission to get through the meal ASAP – after all, after all there’s way too much to do. Maybe your kids are grown, yet you find you’re still eating like you’re in a race against the inevitable toddler-induced meltdown.
You may not FEEL stressed when you eat like this, because it has become a way of life for so many of us. However, studies have shown that when it comes to weight loss, HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat. The reality is that the eating scenarios above create stress chemistry in the body, namely an increase in the production of cortisol and insulin, two powerful hormones that tell your body to store fat, stop building muscle, and decrease calorie burning. Not really what you are going for!
And here’s where things get really interesting. Stressful THOUGHTS can create the same stress chemistry. For example, guilt or anxiety about what you are eating, self-judgement and body shame, struggling with your appetite, feeling deprived… all of these lead to stress chemistry. Here’s the bottom line, worrying and stressing about your weight actually causes your body to store and retain weight. (Uh oh, right?) Put that together with rushed, multitasking meals and you have the perfect storm for sabotage of all your hard work.
Here are a few simple shifts you can make to maximize your metabolic potential and increase the ease with which you can reach your goals:
- EAT when you Eat: Commit to one meal a day where you actually sit down and enjoy the meal without distractions. Even taking 10 extra minutes to savor your morning smoothie at the breakfast counter can make a difference.
- Take Your Vitamin O: O2, that is. Take a few deep, slow breaths before every meal. This oxygenates your digestive tract, relaxes your mind, and turns off the physiologic stress response, effectively boosting your metabolism.
- Release the Judgement: Allow yourself to have pleasure with food, and ditch the “I’m good” or “I’m bad” mentality around food and exercise. And always remember that you are beautiful and valuable right now, no matter what your shape or size.