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similar to insulin resistance. We all fall somewhere on this spectrum in any given moment. Each of us has the power to modulate our experience of both by realizing the power we have to tune in to a deeper part of our- selves.

But first, let’s understand how stress is the barrier be- tween you and stubborn weight loss.

How Stress Impacts Your Metabolism The top five factors:

1. The body shifts into survival mode under stress and your digestive tract literally shuts down. This means that there can be a shortage of the necessary enzymes, bacte- ria and acids required for proper digestion, absorption and metabolism. Clearly, when the body does not receive the nutrition it needs to function properly it will remain “hungry.” You might be reaching for food out of malnu- trition even if your intake is excessive! Secondly, all that rancid and decaying food – poorly digested stuff that is sitting in your gut, leads to gut permeability, dysbiosis (an imbalance in gut flora) and inflammation. This “leaky gut” syndrome is responsible for a plethora of conditions run- ning the gamut from weight gain, hormone imbalance and autoimmune conditions to bloating, cramping and so- cially uncomfortable odiferous gas.

2. The stress response un-regulates the sympathetic nervous system and increases the dominant stress hor- mone, cortisol. Cortisol not only increases insulin which can inhibit weight loss and actually increase belly fat, but also disengages your brain circuitry. An increase in corti- sol dampens your ability to receive pleasure and satisfac- tion from food. Stress literally hijacks your brain! This makes complete sense. There are times when we need our stress hormones to protect our life from grave danger such as running from a bear and we certainly don’t want to perceive that delectable looking plate of savory food as being more salient than defending our life! The problem is that in this modern lifestyle we don’t necessarily face blood-thirsty animals or the type of threat that warrants this chronic state of heightened reactivity.

3. The stress response increases the excretion of valuable nutrients we need for our brain to tell us when we have eaten enough or that we need more or less of certain nu- trients.

or out of control food cravings, who lack essential fats, micronutrients and certain B vitamins. While we can cer- tainly boost our nutrition status via eating whole foods and appropriate supplementation, it is equally as impor- tant and effective to diminish our cravings by getting to the root of the issue and calling out our stress! Manage stress properly and watch as your levels of calcium, mag- nesium, chromium, selenium, zinc, B Vitamins stabilize; your antioxidant status improve; and your food cravings vanish. Stress washes these away but leaves disease


ashore. It is no coincidence that stress goes hand in hand with osteoporosis and blood sugar imbalances- two major conditions present in our culture, which de- pend on proper mineral status, among other important nutrients, for healing and prevention.

4. Levels of potentially inflammatory cholesterol, glu- cose, triglycerides, sodium and insulin increase while valuable hormones necessary for weight loss and lean body mass, such as human growth hormone and thy- roid hormone, decrease under stress. If you want to get rid of that stubborn belly fat you will need to prevent oxidation and inflammation from running rampant!

5. Stress can be real or perceived which means it is solely part of our unique dispositions to interpret one thing as stressful and another as not. Another person may find that the same thing which causes you stress may not elicit the stress response for them. Because so much of our world is construed by our thoughts and judgments, it is of the utmost significance to appreciate the value our thoughts have on our health. You literally can increase your metabolism by inspiring your daily life with a positive outlook or a peaceful agreement within yourself not to speak negatively or cast judgment. Each time we say something such as “I’m too fat,” or “I will never control these cravings,” or “I’m never going to manage my annoying bloat”, our stress hormones and cortisol flood the system and weaken our fat burning capacity.

Tune In To Let Go…

The next time you eat, ask yourself if you are about to eat under stress. Note how you feel by checking in with your breath - is it shallow or deep? Get in touch with your heart rate and see if you can find a way to use your breath to slow it down and relax your pulse.

Is your mind racing and do you have stressful thoughts running it? Are you excited about your food or are you feeling guilty or concerned about what is in front of you? Do you feel calm or restless?

I often see patients who complain of binge eating

All of these questions are the beginning of embarking on an understanding of how you relate to food. The funny thing is, how we each relate to food tells us a lot about how we approach life and what we want out of it. The next time you catch yourself eating under stress, follow these guidelines:

Start each meal with 3 deep belly breaths.

Observe your thoughts about yourself and the food you are about to eat. Remember, judging your food as good or bad essentially begs the idea that you too are either good or bad. While a diet based on whole, fresh, real, organic, local and seasonal foods is best, there will be times when you will want a treat, a “recreational food” or you will be offered a food you may think of as

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