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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Eating on the Go is Making You Fat

How relaxing and pleasing it sounds to sit down for a nourishing meal, to have the ability to enjoy every bite, engage in stimulating conversation about the days events and connect to the ones we love. It sounds amazing because that is how we where intended to eat and enjoy our foods. Eating isn't all about just physical nourishment, but it is also about emotional and psychological nourishment. Culturally, for thousands of years eating has been an event meant to connect, inspire and nourish people and families at the deepest of levels. In our go-go-go ways of living we have lost that connection with eating and often tend to view eating as a necessity to get nutrients and nothing more, we have lost the connection with eating's deeper meaning and purpose. Is it any wonder then we find ourselves as a culture addicted to "emotional eating?" It isn't surprising because we are no longer gaining the emotional satisfaction we where meant to gain from our meals and eating so it is natural to seek it in other ways.

Most meals today are eaten on the go. Meals are eaten in cars, while doing other tasks (aka working at your desk while chowing down your lunch), grabbing dinner on the way to kids practice or evening meetings, any of this sound familiar? Not only does this eliminate all the other aspects we where intended to get from eating (emotional and physiological connection and satisfaction) but it is in fact making us fat! Everything in our health and well being works together as a synergistic whole. We where meant to take time to nourish ourselves at meals not only to satisfy us on all levels, but also because our digestion is a process that takes time and works best under relaxing conditions and because it reduces stress hormones in the body that lead to weight gain. When we bypass the natural ways of the body, we end up with unwanted consequences, in this case, unwanted pounds.

Here are 3 ways Eating on the Go is Making You Fat...

1. Increased Stress Hormones = Increased Fat

When we eat in rushed and hurried ways we put our body in a state of stress. Being in a state of stress increases the body's hormone Cortisol. Cortisol has been termed the "stress hormone" because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress, which disrupts the normal pattern of cortisol in the body. This disruption of cortisol not only promotes weight gain, but it can also affect where you put on the weight. Some studies have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area rather than in the hips. This fat deposition has been referred to as "toxic fat" since abdominal fat deposition is strongly correlated with the development of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and stroke.

2. Decreased Digestion = Increased Fat

Digestion is one of the most important processes in the body, consuming 80% of all available energy. It is also the strongest link to healthy metabolism and a naturally balanced weight.  Eating in a state of stress, aka rushing around to your next activity, activates the "flight or fight" response in your central nervous system, causing digestion to shut down because your central nervous system shuts down blood flow, affects the contractions of your digestive muscles, and decreases secretions needed for digestion. This means your mean is not digested well, meaning more of it gets stored as fat instead of effectively processed. Eating in a state of stress can also cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal system, and make you more susceptible to infection.

3. Increased Emotional Eating = Increased Fat

Eating is meant to be a time we nourish ourselves physically as well as emotionally. When we don't take the time to make a meal, sit down and enjoy it with the people we love or even just ourselves, we do not get the emotional nourishment we are intended to get from our meals. This leaves us emotionally deficient, and anytime we are deficient in anything we seek it elsewhere. This is one of the areas that contributes to the cycle of emotional eating. Emotional eating quickly increases weight because it is not food we need, but excess and excess is always stored as fat.

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