I grew up with two older brothers and all three of us loved cereal. In fact, we all loved it so much that I had to keep boxes hidden in my closet and eat my bowls in secret so they wouldn’t down them all in one sitting.
I always ended up eating my bowl as fast as I could before they walked in. I barely breathed while I shoveled spoonful after spoonful into my mouth and kept an eye out for the unwelcome intruders.
In hindsight, the whole experience was more stressful than it was worth. I barely had a chance to enjoy my favorite food!
And now I know that the minute we feel stress, nutrients zip right out of our body, I like to blame my brothers for training me to eat all wrong.
Thankfully as an adult, I’ve been practicing a few things to retrain myself to eat properly in a way that reduces stress and helps my body assimilate nutrients the way it’s supposed to.
Here are some simple tips for you:
1. Breathe Before You Eat.
Try this quick breathing exercise before your meals to calm your body and mind.
- Breathe in gently until your lungs are 2/3 of the way full.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds.
- Release all the air our slowly.
- Repeat five times (more if necessary)
Personally, I like to count to four slowly as I breathe in, and again as I hold my breath and once again as I release it. The counting helps me to focus and be present in the moment.
2. Breathe During Meals.
Practice breathing consciously while you eat to allow your body to digest your food properly.
Pay attention that you sit with a straight spine so your breath can flow in and out without restriction.
Make a point to breathe slowly and fully, at least five times during your meal.
3. Take Enough Time For Meals.
Rushing to eat your food doesn’t give your taste buds a chance to register you’ve eaten or your brain to realize your body has been fed. The result of a rushed meal is more cravings – and more stress than you started with.
Work towards taking a full 45 minutes from your first to last bite of food. And longer if you can!
4. Get More Oxygen During the Day.
Would your believe your metabolism is fueled by oxygen? So without oxygen, your food can’t be metabolized.
If you work inside, crack a window. Or if that’s not an option, take a breathing break. (Why not?! People take smoking breaks all the time. Breathing breaks are far more beneficial.)
Also, whenever possible, eat your meals outside in fresh air.
If you’re like me and have a long history of digestion issues and have already tried a multitude of things that haven’t worked, a lack of oxygen may be why.
So take the time to breathe. And given time, you won’t even have to remind yourself to do the exercises because they’ll be second nature.