So many things can affect your metabolism, reduce your digestion and impact your calorie burning…which can lead to poor health, digestive issues and weight issues.
The following tips will provide you with strategies to support your body to speed up your metabolism, turn on your digestion and burn calories more effectively, which will give you better health and vitality, better gut health and nutrient absorption, and greater oxygen into your system for more efficient calorie burning.
1. Slow down when you eat
- It is crucial that you take time to enjoy your food, slow down with meals and be present with what you are putting in your mouth.
- Your brain cannot multi-skill and needs to be present when you eat. Slow down and bring your attention to your food and take time to enjoy what you are offering your body. Your brain can then acknowledge that you are in relaxation mode and can flick the switch to parasympathetic nervous system dominance (rest and digest) which will support the digestion of your food.
- Slowing down when you eat also allows you to actually taste what you are eating and have more pleasure from your food…and believe it nor not, pleasure is a crucial element of metabolism.
- It takes an average of 20 minutes for your food to get from your mouth to your gut, so slowing down when you eat also allows time for your body to analyse what is entering your digestive system, which provides more time for nutrient absorption. Our body and cells are extremely intelligent, however cannot function effectively when under stress. So ,when you eat quickly this brings on a stress response which can shut down digestion and can cause an increase in cortisol and insulin which will also trigger your body to store fat…not ideal.
- Just as a fire needs oxygen to burn wood, so too does your body to burn calories, which is why you not only need to be in a relaxed state when eating, but also need plenty of oxygen to help your digestion and calorie burning.
- Because we are so busy and are all moving at such a fast past, our bodies are constantly in a stress response and our breathing is generally faster and shallower. You may notice that when you get a fright, you hold your breath, and when you are panicked you breathe really quickly and at these times your digestion is shut down. Unless we are getting good oxygen to our cells and gut, our digestion and our calorie burning capacity are reduced significantly.
- The best way to shortcut the physiologic stress-response to bring you into a relaxed state when eating is by conscious breathing.
- Take a few slow deep breaths before, during and after your meals. Breathe in slowly through your nose, hold your inward breath for a few seconds and exhale slowly. This alerts your brain that you are no longer in stress response and your brain will stimulate parasympathetic dominance (rest and digest).
- Your digestive system is hungry for oxygen and certain parts of your stomach lining consume more oxygen than any other tissue in the body…so it makes sense that you need to provide your body and your gut with plenty of oxygen when eating.
- The more you eat…the more you breathe.
3. Choose Quality
- Wow…this is a biggie. Elevate the quality of your food and you elevate your metabolism!
- Quality means real food wherever possible. The more processed foods you eat, the more chemicals, toxins and artificial additives you consume which create inflammation, damage and confusion within your body. If your body does not recognise a substance, then it will most likely store it in fat.
- No matter what food you eat, choose the highest quality of that food. If the brain senses that there are deficiencies in the incoming food, it will respond by prompting you to eat more which will lead to overeating and quite often fast eating.
- The more quality foods you eat…the less quantity you need to feel satisfied.
- When you choose quality real food and take time to slow down and enjoy what you are eating, savouring every mouthful, taking some deep breaths while eating…you will feel your body thanking you, and your digestive system will be extremely happy.
4. Be present – Awareness has a profound impact on metabolism
- Live 100% in the now, don’t let your mind wander while your body is functioning in automatic. Your mind and body need to be working as a team which will give you full metabolic power.
- If you are not present when you are eating, your brain and your enteric nervous system (gut brain) cannot communicate, and this communication is absolutely crucial for faster metabolism and heathy digestion.
- The head phase of digestion (cephalic phase digestive response) is estimated to be up to 40% of our digestive response to any meal… which means we need to have full awareness of what we are eating.
- If you are occupying the brain with other things while eating (watching TV, driving, working, glued to the computer etc), then you are missing a crucial part of digestion. Your brain cannot multi-skill and will not be able to stimulate your ‘rest and digest response’ if you do not bring presence to your eating.
- Your digestion begins in your head as chemical and mechanical receptors on the tongue and the oral and nasal cavities are stimulated by smelling food, tasting it, chewing it and noticing it. This awareness of your meal initiates the secretion of saliva, gastric acid and enzymes, gut-associated neuropeptides, and production of the full range of pancreatic enzymes. Image how hard it is for your body, when none of this happens due to having your mind occupied on other things.
- Without this awareness, your food will land in your stomach without being processed efficiently by your digestive system…and it will sit. You will not have absorbed any nutrients from this food and it will most likely be stored in fat as your brain has no idea that you have eaten…
- Bring awareness to your eating, slow down and taste your food, get absolute pleasure from what you are eating (yes including snacks), taste the flavours, feel the texture, delights in the smell and savour every morsel, taking a few deep breaths before, during and after your meals. By doing this, you will create the perfect conditions for your head brain and gut brain to coordinate the digestion of your food, speed up your metabolism, absorb the beautiful nutrients and increase calorie burning capacity. WOW all of this from just slowing down with food and being present…beats restrictive diets… don’t you think?
- When you slow down and are truly present with your food, it is much easier to connect into your body wisdom. You will automatically eat less, will not feel like to you need to take a nap after your meals, you will not overeat, feel bloated, will have less digestive issues…and will not get hungry again soon after eating.
- Allowing your body, the space and grace to function as it is meant to, will be a game changer for your health, digestion and weight issues.
5. Eat with your body’s rhythm
- Our body is all about rhythm. Everything is moving to a rhythm, your lungs for breathing, your brain, your hormone cycles, waking, sleeping, digestion and elimination…every cell, vessel and organ in the body.
- So, the times you eat will be extremely important, if you are wanting to support your digestion and metabolism.
- When you wake in the morning your body temperature automatically rises which means your metabolism is awake. We are programmed to entrain with the rhythms of the sun, so it makes sense to eat a good breakfast to increase our metabolic rate even more and to provide your body with the nutrients it is already preparing to process.
- If you do not have a good breakfast (with good protein and good fats included), and skip breakfast instead, you will be slowing down your metabolism and this will slow down your calorie burning capacity. Eating a good healthy breakfast is one of the best ways to support weight loss and to stop afternoon binge eating.
- Your metabolism will be at its peak when the sun is highest in the sky (12noon – 1.30pm) so, this is the best time to support your body with a good meal (this should be your biggest meal of the day). More good protein, good fats and good carbs will further support a strong metabolism along with supporting your cells nutritional needs.
- Your metabolism then takes a dip in the afternoon, which is why you can often feel tired between 2.00pm – 4.00pm…and is usually the time you head for the caffeine or chocolate hit thinking you will get some extra energy. This really does not give you the energy burst you think it does…it actually gives your adrenals a whack, which is what we often mistake as an energy burst and in the long term is very damaging and can lead to adrenal exhaustion.
- Mid-afternoon is really about stillness, resting and recharging your batteries which is a natural metabolic enhancer…rather than heading for foods that will be hard to digest due to our metabolism not being active.
- Your body temperature starts to rise again around 4.00pm to 6.00pm which means your metabolism is on the rise and this would be a good time for your snack or early dinner.
- By 9.00pm your body temperate is on another downward trend in preparation for sleep…so this is definitely not a good time to eat.
- If you eat late your body will be in digestion mode instead of regeneration mode while you are sleeping. This will then mean you will still have food in your stomach when you wake and you will not be hungry and most likely will skip breakfast. This in turn, will throw your whole body rhythm out, your metabolism… will become sluggish, your digestion will be affected and calorie burning will be most likely at its lowest….again, not ideal!
6. The power of thought
- If you are thinking about work, a recent argument, or all the things you need to do while you are trying to eat, you will be creating the stress response in your body which results in a shutdown of your digestion and poor metabolism.
- The power of thought can have a profound effect on your metabolism and digestion. Our relationship with food is one of the most fundamental building blocks of nutritional metabolism and is the sum total of our innermost thoughts and feelings about what we eat.
- Your body metabolizes your meals in response to your unique thoughts and what you think and feel about food is as important as the foods nutritional value, and will determine the effect on nutritional absorption and body weight.
- If you sneak a piece of chocolate cake (and like a naughty child) hide around the corner eating this as quickly as you can, while thinking how bad your are and how it is going put on weight, and then go into self-attack for not having the will power to not eat it…WOW, this can have a disastrous impact on your metabolism, digestion and calorie burning capacity.
- Your body is amazing…it can take sensory, emotional, and thought input and convert this information into physiological responses. In other words, the thoughts you have about what you are eating will play out in your body. If you have any negative thoughts about your meal or the food you are eating, this will impact how your body receives this food.
- If you feel guilty about eating something, inhibitory responses will be initiated in the digestive organs and you will not be able to fully metabolise what you are eating, which means it may either be stored in fat, or, the food will be eliminated without any nutrients being absorbed.
- You could have the most nutritious meal on your plate, but unfortunately if you are not present with your food and are not excited about what you are about to eat…then it is very unlikely that you will metabolise this meal. The result of this is that many of the nutrients that the meal is abundant in will be excreted rather than absorbed
- Give your body the best opportunity to function as nature has intended. Be present when you eat, be excited and positive and enjoy what you are eating, slow down to savour every mouthful and feel your body’s response. If you have chosen to eat something that you feel is not as supportive for your body, change your thoughts to how your body will find whatever nutrients this food has to offer and how your body will discard what it does not need. Be present with it, enjoy it and do not feel guilty or beat yourself up about your choice.
If you follow these strategies, your whole world will change. You will experience more energy, your digestive issues will reduce, your health will improve and you will be setting up the foundation to restore optimum health, natural body weight and vitality…
…and the big bonus is that you will be developing a much healthier relationship with food…one that will support you and your children for the rest of your lives.