I truly believe that there is a healthy, ideal weight or weight range for all of us. It’s a weight where things work properly, our hormones are in line, and we have enough energy to get through our days. I think this ideal weight is and looks different for all of us! But, I think it makes us feel the same. I think we feel invigorated, excited, alive, and energized! It’s crazy goodness.
While this ideal weight or weight range will leave us feeling our best, it may or may not look like the picture we have in mind exactly. It's not a specific number, size, or look. It might be something different than that “perfect body” we idolize or have been striving to achieve.
In this case, I ask that you please be open your ideal weight potentially looking a little different than the weight you had in mind. Be open to your own, real version of beauty.
When striving to find your ideal weight, consider incorporating these 3 tips to get moving in the right direction today.
- Take 10 slow, deep breaths before a meal.
This helps remind you to slow down, enjoy your meal, and get out of the stress response. Personally, I have a tendency to eat quick and worse, distracted. Sometimes, I don't remember that I just ate. Other times, I've been know to think about my second cookie while eating my first.
By taking 10 deep breaths, you can bring your body back into the relaxation response and out of the stress response. It's in this relaxation response where digestion ramps up, metabolism is on fire, and we can better burn fat. As Marc David talks about in the Slow Down Diet, evoking the relaxation response will help make any meal more healthy, simply because you can digest it better and extract more nutrients.
To try this today, simply pause before each meal. Sit in a comfortable position while you inhale for 2 count, hold your breath for 2 count, and then exhale for 4 count.
If you forget to pause before you eat, no worries! Stop during your meal (or even after) as soon as you do remember or notice you're eating to fast.
Note: The other end of the spectrum is the "flight or fight" stage (stress). In this stage, it's harder to enjoy our food, digest our food, and obtain all possible nutrients. In simple terms, stress increases cortisol levels in the body which increases insulin levels in the body which tells our bodies to stop burning fat, stop building muscle, and start storing fat for later use. We are much more likely to gain weight over time if we continue eating while in this stage. It's much easier to be relaxed when you're not starving! Try to focus on hunger cues and eat before you get hangry.
- Put down your fork between bites.
This tip is similar to the first tip in that it helps you slow down while eating, connect with the environment around you, and notice whether or not you're enjoying your food! Ideally, you've created an amazing eating environment and/or have great company with you while eating. When you put down your fork between bites, take a moment to appreciate this environment and where you are.
To practice this tip, all you have to do is put down your fork between every or every other bite! Yes, super simple. If you're not sure what to do without a fork in your hand, then remember it's ok to talk and connect with your table mates! Or even to simply savor the flavor of your food (I like to do my food happy dance). You can also take some deep breaths, enjoy your eating environment, connect with a good song, or relax into the quiet. The only things I don't recommend are phones, tablets, or electronics at the dinner table. These can cause a disconnect from reality and even a negative distraction.
You may surprise yourself and be truly satisfied when you finish your meal or even walk away from the table with something still left on your plate as you continue to practice this tip.
- Don't share food.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year and half figuring out what is actually best for my body, but it took me until recently to realize that sharing food on one plate is actually a trigger for stress.
When sharing food, such as a piece of cake, entrée at a restaurant, or snack between meals, there is a natural, albeit maybe slight, sense of rush. We want to make sure we get enough to eat, are full enough when it’s over, and are completely satisfied with the food. A perceived “threat” on these desires, as non-dangerous as it may be, is a natural trigger for the stress response, also called the “flight or fight” response. In this flight or fight response, we have trouble properly digesting our food, don’t obtain as much pleasure from what we’re eating, and are more likely to store fat.
On the other hand, if a perceived threat (like the threat of not enough food) puts us in the flight or fight stage, then safety puts us in the relaxation stage! It’s in this relaxation stage where we optimally burn fat, digest food, obtain maximal nutrients, and enjoy what we're eating! By choosing to not share food, you remove the perceived danger and promote the relaxation response. What are other ways to feel safe while eating? Create a pleasurable eating environment and allow yourself to get pleasure from food. The easiest way to create this safety is to enjoy the eating experience.
How can you practice this tip today? For the most part, this is pretty self-explanatory. However, if you still want to share food, simply ask for it to be divided and on separate plates. Have your own portion of food so that you can fully enjoy the experience, knowing you will get as much food as your body needs. If it's too much food for you, it's ok to throw it away.
How else do you create a pleasurable eating environment, bring in relaxation to your day, and support your healthy, ideal weight?
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