Food Is Not Your Enemy


Relax to Lose Weight
June 2, 2015, 9:29 am
Filed under: Healthy Lifestyle, weight loss | Tags: , , , ,

New Yorkers work hard. We love to be busy and talk about how busy we are, and then we grouse about how stressed out we feel. If advice is offered to some of us type As about how to scale back and find a little time for ourselves, we will explain why we simply can’t do that, that it’s not possible to change anything, and that we just have to continue on and somehow survive on five hours of sleep and takeout Pad Thai.

And then we wonder why we can’t drop the 20 pounds we’ve put on in the past two years.

The fact is, stress makes us fat. And actively releasing that stress and relaxing can help us lose weight, in a way that all the steamed broccoli and skinless chicken breast in the world can’t.

Stress activates a biological response that makes us feel hungry (which is why so many of us stress eat). Carbs and sugar are particularly appealing when we’re stressed. And stress leads to increased storage of belly fat.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to counteract these forces conspiring to make us fat is to practice deep breathing. If you take a deep breath, you stimulate your vagus nerve, a nerve connected to your fat cells, stem cells and all the organs and tissues in your body. Stimulating this nerve turns on the production of hormones that calm your nervous system, reduce the stress hormone cortisol, kick start your metabolism, and regulate your appetite, according to Dr. Mark Hyman, a leader in the field of functional medicine. The simple act of taking deep breaths essentially leads to an increased level of fat burning.

So make some time on a regular basis to meditate, do yoga, or simply sit and breathe, without distraction. Even five minutes a day can make a difference. And who doesn’t have time for that?

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