One of the main reasons people have such a hard time losing weight and why we live in an obese society is that people are not eating their meals in a parasympathetic state. I have reviewed practically every diet book or plan ever written and not one person has ever mentioned how important this is or even linked this to a cause of weight gain.
Sympathetic State vs. Parasympathetic State
Sympathetic state: Your Sympathetic nervous system is what causes the “flight or fight” response which allows your body to adapt to stress or anxiety. In today’s society people are in a constant state of stress due to finances, raising a family, negative news stories, traffic, work pressures and many other things.
When your body is in a sympathetic state it continuously releases adrenaline into the bloodstream to deal with the stressful situation. Once the stress reaction is gone, it leaves the body exhausted and hungry. When the body is in a sympathetic state the digestive tract stops working and can even treat food as a toxin.
Our body is not designed to eat when we are in a fight or flight situation. It is designed to run or get away from the stressful situation. When people eat in a sympathetic state the digestive system is shut down and does not work properly which leads to a poorly digested and assimilated meal. The ability to breakdown, absorb and process food is completely restricted which may cause weight gain, digestive upset, gas, degenerative conditions, and even bloating.
Here are some examples of eating in a sympathetic state:
-Eating while in the car driving
-Eating at your desk at work
-Eating while working on the computer
-Eating after a stressful work situation
-Eating while talking on the phone
-Eating while arguing with someone
-Eating while depressed or anxious
-Eating at a sporting event
Parasympathetic state: The Parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxation, healing, repairing and recharging your body. When you are in a relaxed state or parasympathetic state, your body is not dealing with stress and is able to break down, digest and absorb the vital components of the meals you eat.
The fastest and easiest way to put your body in a parasympathetic relaxation response is through deep breathing. Research has shown that deep breathing can almost instantly calm the body and mind. Deep breathing causes the bodies muscles to relax, the lungs to expand and the heart rate to drop. Eastern cultures have used this technique for thousands of years to reduce stress, prevent weight gain and achieve physiological balance within the body.
Deep breathing can be done anywhere and anytime before meals to activate and support your digestive process. It should also be practiced after every stressful situation you encounter.