A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Your Secret Weapon For Weight Loss (Plus FREE Weight Loss Coaching Session for all HSM Readers!)

By Jena la Flamme

In our rush to embrace anything and everything that might get us down to our ideal weight, we often overlook one factor that—in my seven years coaching clients to lose weight —I have come to believe plays an enormous part in how easily and quickly we are able to slim down.

When we think about food affecting weight gain or influencing energy levels, we tend to think in a reductionist manner, breaking food down to scientifically quantifiable components. The angle that often gets overlooked is the quality of how we eat: do we eat slowly, savoring each bite, or do we shovel the food down our throats? Are we harried and rushed, or do we take the time to enjoy our meals?

Why does this effect weight loss? Because the stress response—the famous “fight or flight” response involving adrenaline and cortisol—that gets activated when we are in a rush, or thinking anxiously about all the difficulties and stresses in our lives, is about as helpful to your digestive system as a big tub of Ben & Jerry’s is to your thighs.

When we are in the stress response, all our body’s resources go into preparing us for immediate action. Digesting food properly and absorbing the nutrients as efficiently as possible are among the lowest priorities when your body thinks there might be a saber-toothed tiger around the corner. Studies have show that you absorb a significant degree less of the nutrition in your food when your stress levels are activated while eating, therefore craving more food, and eating more.

In contrast, when you sit down in a relaxed manner, with even an extra fifteen minutes allotted for eating, your body can relax into the experience. Stress can wait until after the meal as you savor your food, and enjoy company in a cozy social atmosphere.

Now, all of your body’s attention can go where it is supposed to while you are eating. You take in more of the life-giving nutrition of the food.

And what does that translate into? More satisfaction from fewer mindless calories. It’s not about deprivation, it’s about enjoying what you actually eat so much that you don’t need to shovel your face with more of it after you’ve had a decent serving.

Over many years, I have found that my clients who take the time to relax and enjoy their meals, and savor each bite, achieve amazing weight loss results, without feelings of deprivation or self-restraint common to so many diet approaches.

Jena la Flamme is the founder and owner of the Jena Wellness Center, www.jenawellness.com. For readers of Hip Slope Mama, she is offering a free “Lose Weight Without Self-Deprivation” Coaching Session (normally $157). Call 212-260-6064 and mention the Hip Slope Mama offer.