The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Monday, February 05, 2007

Breathe More, Burn More

The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure Energy and Weight Loss by Marc David

The Metabolic Power of Relaxation

Although stress is a normal part of living, the stress response is designed to function for a few minutes in life-threatening situations (e.g. running away from the saber-toothed tiger). When exposed to chronic stress such as trying to juggle a full-time job, family obligations and keeping a home in order, the prolonged physiologic stress response begins to wear us down. Stress causes a shift in the central nervous system to shut down the digestive system. You can eat the healthiest meal, but if you do it while answering the phone, reading emails and preparing for the big meeting, your digestive system is not prepared to metabolize it optimally. It has been shown that stress hormones block the assimilation of calcium and increase its secretion. Thus, stress has an effect on bone density.

The answer is vitamin T: Time. Relax. Increase the amount of time you spend at a meal. Try to allow yourself at least 30 minutes for lunch and dinner. If you cannot eat at your desk without “unplugging,” then find another place to eat your lunch. Make a conscious effort to become a slow-eater. To help you relax and become a slow-eater, practice conscious breathing. Metabolizing your food requires oxygen and conscious breath will increase your oxygen intake. You need to get your metabolic furnace turned up to burn your food. Before you begin eating, take 2 or 3 deep breaths. This will signal your body and your brain that it is time to shift into a relaxed state and allow your digestive system to come “online.” Breath is a vital part of our diet. Consciously consume oxygen at every meal. When you breathe more, you burn more.

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