Editor’s Note: This post is written by contributor Gina Ryan. Gina is a licensed nutritionist and Wellness coach from Hawaii.
Looking at the metabolic flame most of us are aware of exercise and the increased oxygen it brings to the body and increasing metabolism. Yet not so many are aware of the same oxygen advantage during relaxation, deep breathing and eating.
Most of the energy produced by the body comes from the simple combination of oxygen and food. Look at it as when you breathe more you burn more. So while running while eating is counterproductive, breathing deeply and consciously while eating will increase your metabolic speed, ease digestion and relax you simultaneously.
Making the change to slower eating and fueling metabolism just takes practice
First try to set the stage for this type of change in eating behavior. We can easily fall back into old patterns so setting the stage simply helps to remind us what we are doing.
* Set the table, yes even (especially) if you eat alone
* Decorate the table with flowers and or candles -beauty has a calming effect
* Play relaxing music (turn the TV off -we are going for stress reduction here)
* If eating out find a comfortable relaxing atmosphere
* Eat with others who inspire and nourish you
* Sit with awareness of your posture -you want to be able to breathe deeply-sit up straight
* Opening a window lets in fresher and more fully oxygenated air
* Decide to let go of the daily tasks and worries even if just for the mealtime
Now to breathe!
At the start of your meal just check your breathing. Slow, fast, deep, shallow? No need to change it right now -just notice. Then during the mealtime put your fork or spoon down and check in 2-4 more times and now deepen your breath for 3 breathes before you go on with the meal.
By doing this exercise consciously for a few weeks you will build a new habit. Your body will delight in the increased oxygen, the more relaxed pace and you will have a better time digesting and metabolizing each meal. Even if you have a short lunch break you can do a number of the previous suggestions to get a fuller deeper connection with your meal and breath giving you enhanced metabolism.
When we are stressed we shut down our digestion leading to lower metabolism and digestive difficulties. Decreased calorie burning due to the stress hormones cortisol and insulin may be hampering your weight loss efforts as much if not more that the amounts of foods. Slowing down is the answer.
Going slower takes time, one of the essential nutrients we seem to think we can keep cutting down on. We simply can’t. Life takes time. Living fully means being in our lives, in our bodies and caring for all the things that keep us in optimal health. If you feel resistance to eating slower or being conscious of your breathing during meals, simply take note of this. This change can, for some, be confrontational. Be compassionate with yourself.
The way you eat is a metaphor for your life and they way you choose to live it.
What does your style of eating say about you? Are you in control? Who is that in your head telling you what to do? Do old voices from the past come up around meal time? This is your life -you are now aware that you can have optimum metabolism by slowing down during meals. You can now look at the resistance as a challenge -a way to get beyond some old or outdated mode of relating to food and meals. Slowing down, breathing and eating is about reclaiming your time and the right to live a healthy joyous life.
How do you find breathing affects your eating? What about the speed at which you eat. Try consciously eating slower and let me know how you feel.