Guest Post: 2 Ways to Start Losing Weight Today
Thanks to Coach Leslie for this awesome guest post!
#1 Reduce Stress by Slowing Down- Think about your typical lunch break or dinner. Are you constantly eating on the go? Multi-tasking during the meal? Engaging in gossip? These are all ways in which we feed the stress response. Stress is the opposite of relaxation. Eating under stress is not only commonplace, it’s socially acceptable and often a prerequisite for managing a job, a family or having a life. When moving through life too fast we inevitably eat fast, which destroys our metabolism and creates digestive upset. It results in meals eaten under a physiologic stress-response, which diminishes our calorie-burning power.
The slower you eat, the faster you metabolize. Metabolism is the process in which your body turns what you eat and drink into energy. So, let’s talk about the connection between stress and metabolism. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for bodily functions that happen automatically like breathing, our heart beat and our digestive activity. There are two branches: The Parasympathetic and the Sympathetic. The Parasympathetic is also known as the rest and digest response. This is the optimal state for digestion. When the parasympathetic is activated our metabolic power goes up.
The Sympathetic is also known as fight or flight. This is our stress response. When we are stressed out our digestion shuts down. The classic textbook example is that if a lion was chasing you after lunch, you wouldn’t be concerned about digesting your sandwich. The sympathetic nervous system would act effectively to shut down digestion, direct blood flow away from the belly and out to your arms and legs for quick moving and up to your brain for quick thinking. This is a brilliant mechanism in place for our survival. While most of us do not have to confront lions on our lunch hour, we do encounter stress. On a physiological level your body doesn’t differentiate between a lion chasing you and your boss yelling at you or getting tense in a traffic jam. One is life threatening the other is not, but guess what…on a physiological level they are the same, they both trigger the body to shut off digestion and store fat. This decreases our metabolic power.
You may have heard of a hormone called cortisol. This is the hormone that is released when we are stressed out. Studies show that increased cortisol in the system leads to fat accumulation. People who tend to gain weight primarily around the belly likely experience chronic low level stress. Excess cortisol production has this strange effect of fattening up the belly. Make sense? So as cortisol goes up, it tends to create fat accumulation in the belly. So you see people who may have skinny legs or skinny arms and they tend to gain all their weight in the belly – stress.
Your task is to do something of great difficulty: RELAX! Some people use anxiety and stress to motivate themselves to lose weight. For example: if I don’t lose 8 lbs, I’m not going to the reunion. If I don’t go to the gym 4 days this week, then I’m not going to get a massage. Does this work? No! It might work once or twice, but it doesn’t really work. It’s not sustainable. The point is, worrying and stressing about weight loss is totally counterproductive. To boost metabolism, you must RELAX! Taking 10 deep breaths before you eat can release the feeling of stress and allow the digestive system to kick back in.
#2 Reduce Sugar- I know, that you know, that sugar is “bad” for you. But WHY does it cause you to gain weight? Our body works overtime to produce insulin to accommodate large amounts of sugar (lowers our blood sugar). Our body doesn’t know what to do with the excess insulin, so its turns it into fat which usually goes right to the belly. I’ve always hated reading food labels, but as I’ve become more aware of what’s in my food, I’m quick to check the sugar grams and I’m SHOCKED at the amount of sugars in things that I considered health foods. We know where to find sugar…candy, soda, sweet tea…but did you know that sugar hides in some sneaky places like energy bars, tomato sauce, salad dressing (even balsamic vinegar), white bread (even wheat bread)?! The average woman that eats about 2,000 calories a day should only be consuming 25 grams of sugar, but the average American consumes 82 grams per day! Say you drink one cup of apple juice; you’ve just reached your sugar limit for the day. Any sugar you eat on top of that will be stored as fat. Until you take an honest inventory of your sugar consumption and cut it down, you’ll keep the weight on.
My clients have seen some fast results losing that last 10 pounds when they’ve reduced sugar and stress. Take it one step at a time. If you’d like some help to reach your health goals, I’d love to chat. www.coachlesliej.com
Coach Leslie J. Salling is a certified health and mindset coach. She believes that our wellness and quality of life is built on a foundation of strong physical and mental health. Through one-on-one coaching, she empowers her clients to take steps every day to strengthen their mind and body so that they can live their purpose full out. She is also a blogger, LEO wife, and mom of 3 boys.
Connect with Leslie @ Coachlesliej@gmail.com, FB: Leslie J- Health and Mindset Coach, or Insta: Coach_LeslieJ