Confession: I took a page out of the media handbook and hit you with a headline to get your attention. Weight gain is not as simple as “thinking it into existence.”
But I CAN tell you this: what you think about your food changes your ability to absorb and utilize nutrients.
Have you heard of the cephalic phase of digestion?
This phase is crucial to how our food is utilized. How and what you THINK about your food impacts the way your body absorbs and utilizes nutrients. In fact, researchers have shown that 30-40% of our digestive response is due to the cephalic phase, which is our awareness of what we are consuming.
This is what your brain needs to know:
- Does it smell good?
- Is it colorful?
- Does it look appealing?
- Are you grateful for it?
- Does it appear to be a threat to your survival?
- Will you feel nourished and safe with this meal?
The crazy thing is, you’re not even thinking these things on a conscious level. But your body picks up on it. In fact, there is an interesting component to this phase, called the “cephalic phase insulin response.” Simply thinking about carbs, or even fantasizing about a piece of cake or candy you are restricting, can cause your body to produce excess insulin. This is just another reason I like to focus on the principle of ADDITION over RESTRICTION… and another reason I hate dieting. Stress is stress to your body, whether it’s a perceived stressor or a real stressor.
So, this holiday season, be intentional about pleasure. Get excited to sit down and eat a nourishing meal with those you care about. I always say, “a body in stress will not digest,” and this reminder is needed even more so during the holidays.
When you sit to eat, slow down, breathe in between bites, and chew your food. Remember – the only part of digestion you can control is the amount of times you chew to assist in the breakdown. Be sure to allow your senses to take over; that’s when the magic happens. Food heals. It brings peace.
Food is crucial for survival. We must create a relationship with food that makes us feel safe.
If not, we make what is intended to be a restful and healing experience a stressful and inflammatory experience.
Your body will let you know which is which.
If you need help with any of the above, reach out! Optimizing digestion is a big part of what I like to work on with my one-on-one clients. We also dive into this a bit in my Feast 2 Fast program, which re-launches early in January. It looks like another weight loss program, but I assure you, it’s all about incorporating real food into our real lives – and allowing room for the fun food we get pleasure from.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good food, good people, and lots of good JOY!