Do you ever wonder how the French manage to stay so thin despite doing everything we’ve been taught is wrong?
We’ve all heard about them. How they eat lots of cheese, croissants and drink wine every single day. Even on their lunch breaks. Not to mention, they smoke regularly, don’t exercise very much and eat lots of high-fat foods.
So what are they doing differently than the rest of us?
They’re eating their food in a relaxed state and they enjoy every bite and every moment of it.
The rest of us aren’t eating food when we’re relaxed and at peace. We eat when we’re hurried and stressed. In fact, we’re always stressing. It’s zapping our energy, causing us to daydream about food and to gain weight.
We stress about food.
:: This ice cream is fattening. I really shouldn’t be eating it.
:: I’m eating this cupcake even though I know it’s bad for me.
:: Should I eat the yolk or just the egg white?
:: I hate running on the treadmill but I had to eat that cupcake last night so I need to burn it off.
We stress about day to day activities.
:: I want so bad to go out with my friends but because I can’t drink, I should stay home so I’m not tempted.
:: I don’t have time to make the Whole 30 meals for today, so I’m just going to have to hold out and not eat anything until I get home for dinner.
We stress about what other people think.
:: I feel so gross, I need to find a cover-up so people don’t see my wiggly bits at the pool this weekend.
:: I can’t possibly go to my high school reunion! I don’t look anything like I did back then.
We stress about deadlines at work, our relationships, our homes… We stress and we stress and we stress.
But here’s why stressing out is such a big problem:
1. Stress Causes Nutrients to Exit the Body.
The moment you feel stress, your body immediately excretes much-needed nutrients.
You can eat the healthiest high-quality foods in the world and follow a perfect exercise routine, but if you’re stressed, your body will get rid of the nutrients instead of using them.
Take calcium, for example. It gets pulled straight from your bones and into your urine. All the calcium supplements in the world won’t make a difference.
2. Stress Causes Digestion to go Down and Fat Storage to Go Up.
Chronic stress causes your body to go into a fight or flight response. In other words, all your energy gets pumped to your arms and legs… and none to your gut.
This is meant to be a good thing. Stress was designed to help us in life or death situations. We need it for survival!
Unfortunately, though, our lives have become so stressful overall that what was meant as a survival tool is causing us to gain weight as well as a whole slew of chronic diseases.
3. Stress Signals the Body to Store Fat.
Stress also causes an increase in the hormone, insulin. Insulin has 2 main jobs:
- lower blood sugar
- store fat
The problem arises when there’s an excess amount of it. The body signals to store any extra carbs ingested… to fat. Also, if there’s nothing to process (as in the case for artificial sweeteners), the insulin is there with nothing to do. So it resorts to its second job… storing fat. So all those highly processed carbs you’ve eaten (like white pasta, bread and sugar), they’re all getting stored as fat.
4. Stress Causes Weight Gain In the Mid-Section.
Cortisol is released in significant amounts in response to stress. And it stores fat right to your belly!
If you have a high-stress job, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The bottom line is that worrying about gaining weight causes you to gain weight. Any anxiety you have about eating causes you to gain weight. And keep it on.
So you can see why obsessing and stressing over food is counter-productive to help you lose weight.
In the next post, I’ll be talking about strategies you can do to help you combat stress and help you get the most nutrients out of any food you eat (“good” or “bad”!)