This week marks the start of perhaps the craziest and fastest month of the year. As you keep up with the craziness this month, I challenge you to remember to slow down even though everyone and everything around you suggests the opposite.
Think of it like this: slow is the new sexy.
Eating slowly promotes relaxation. Your goal is to be in relaxation response while eating. So ultimately anything that relaxes you can be considered positive — not just for your mental sanity but for your physical health and physique as well.
When digestion is shut off, you feel it big time in your body – bloating, sluggish, and all other kinds of unmentionables.
In addition, when you’re in a stress response, you do not burn calories effectively and you produce excess cortisol, a hormone responsible for weight gain especially around the mid-section. If you’re trying to maintain or lose weight, your body’s calorie-burning capacity is key!
You can thank our cavewoman ancestors for this evolutionary response. When you’re stressed out, you’re body enters the “fight or flight” mode because it thinks you’re under attack or in danger even if you really aren’t. For the cavewoman trying to outrun a bear, this response was KEY to any chance at survival.
When in fight or flight mode, or stress response, your body is focused on one thing only – your survival. What does your body do? It shuts down non-vital body functions like your digestion and your ability to calorie burn effectively.
Because no cavewoman was thinking, “Gee, I wish I was 5 pounds thinner,” while trying to outrun a bear!
Just as stress has a negative impact on your digestion and metabolism, relaxation has the opposite affect.
Relaxation promotes optimal digestion, effective calorie burning, reduced anxiety, and overall a more calm and happy you.
By hitting the pause button to slow down using the below 6 tactics, you will trigger the relaxation response in your body which aids in proper digestion and calorie-burning power to have you feeling lighter, sexier and happier leading up and through the holidays.
1. Eat Slower
Even taking 5 or 10 breaths before eating will trigger a relaxation. Response in your body. I get it, you’re busy. And you likely look at your food as fuel to get you through your busy jam-packed day. Trust me, you can even do this in your car or at your desk. How long does it take you to eat? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Can you make it even 5 minutes longer? Slow down, enjoy and give your body the best environment (relaxation) for ultimate digestion, metabolism and better energy.
2. Enjoy the Moments
Life is simply made up of a bunch of little moments. If we race through life, we miss these moments and wake up wondering “Where did the time go?…” Even if for just 5 minutes a day or 20 minutes a week, completely unplug – no phone, no music, no multitasking, no TV, no computer. Maybe just the first 20 minutes of your drive to work or your after dinner walk you spend without distraction. Notice the trees, notice your breath, notice your body. To truly savor the moments, jot them down – just a sentence or two – in a journal or notebook for a week or more.
3. Fun Movement
Get your blood pumping with yoga or some other movement that you enjoy such as dance or even a walk in nature. Fast crazy exercise has its place, for sure, but if your body perceives it as stressful and you hate it, then you’re triggering stress response. And you just read that a stress response actually hinders the calorie burning process… Key takeaway here – enjoy the movement you do, don’t make it a punishment.
4. Deep Breathing
See here and here for how and more reasons why this rocks. Oxygen is an essential, if not THE essential metabolic nutrient you can give your body. The deeper you breathe, the more you digest your food and effectively burn calories.
5. Dine in Style
This doesn’t mean you have to go out to a fancy restaurant. Prepare a nice meal from real, quality food. Light candles, use real plates, play some music, turn off the TV and relax into a no-rush dinnertime. Be sure to practice item #1 too!
6. Take Naps
Sleep is the ultimate form of self care (along with quality food). Remember the 20 minute ( or 2 hour) power naps you were so good at in high school and college? Get back into the snoozing habit. When you sleep your body goes into repair mode and perhaps the best benefit is you awaken brighter, happier, rested, and ultimately the best version of yourself. And what’s not sexy about that?
No time for a power nap? Try a little savasana instead.
Slowing down promotes awareness in your body and in your mind and only by slowing down can you relax into life and truly enjoy the little things.
Let me know in the comments below: How will you slow down this month??
photo source here