Natural Weight Loss Tip - Eat Slower

by : Jonni Good

You've heard for years that you should eat slower if you want to lose weight. But is this good advice? Yes, and I'll show you why.

Stress is so much a part of daily life that most of us don't even notice it even more, at least consciously. However, there are certainly parts of your body that do notice, and one important part is our digestive system.

Eating a meal on the run is a signal to many organs and glands in your body that you are under stress. Eating fast can mean chomping down a sandwich or burger during lunch, eating a bagel while driving to work, or just rushing through your evening meal so you can go watch your favorite TV show. Because you're in a hurry, your body will think you're under stress at the same time that the food hits the stomach.

So imagine that food sitting there in your tummy, while at the same time your heart rate is speeding up, your blood pressure is rising, and certain hormones that are released in response to stress begin coursing through your body.

In addition to the adrenaline, noradrenalin and cortisol that is now flooding your system, your blood flow is also redirected away from your digestive system to give more blood to your brain and muscles.

Why does all this happen? Because the physical parts of your body can't tell the difference between a real threat, (lion charging, bus running a red light, etc.), and a false threat (your class starts in five minutes so you grab a hot dog and eat it on the way to school).

Being late, not having enough time, and feeling under pressure to do something more important than eating are all real problems, no doubt about it. But they are not life-threatening problems.

Unfortunately, your body doesn't know that, so it shuts down your digestive processes to save energy for the all-important fight or flight response.

Of course, you aren't going to fight - or flee. However, you might end up with a high risk of heartburn or other digestive upset, and your metabolism is going to slow down.

And sadly for those of us who are trying to lose weight, the stress hormones we talked about earlier will make you fatter, even if you don't eat more.

One of the key stress hormones is cortisol. Cortisol is not a "bad" hormone - your body needs it for a variety of important functions, such as regulating your blood sugar level, keeping your energy level up and your immune system functioning well, and helping your body heal.

However, chronically high levels of this hormone, will tell the body to store more fat - especially around your middle. And many Americans complain of chronic stress. That's one of the reasons why there is such a strong connection between obesity and stress.

Chronic stress can also release higher levels of insulin than your body needs, and some diet authors believe this can also lead to more fat deposits, although this has not yet been proven.

Worrying about what you eat can also increase your stress level. It seems unfair, but a constant anxiety about what you should be eating - or whether or not you already ate too much, or about how "bad" you're being because you're now eating some potato chips or ice cream - will bring on all those metabolism-slowing stress hormones.

So if you do eat something that isn't "on your diet," be sure to enjoy it! Simple pleasure and taking your time will reduce the number of extra calories that end up on your butt.

So, if you want a quick way to get your body burning that extra fat, just slow down when you eat. Take some deep breaths before you begin eating and let go of any issues or problems that are plaguing you. Chew slowly, and pay attention to the flavors and textures of your food. Be sure to enjoy the process of eating. (Eating is supposed to be enjoyable, remember?) Then you won't have a stress response telling your digestive system to shut down, and your hormones won't be working against your weight loss goals.