Stressed vs relaxed eating by Louise Pitot

As an Eating Psychology Coach I’m not here to fix anyone, that would imply they are broken and make it all about me. My goal is for my clients to reach their best potential as a human being, instead of just focusing on the smaller issue at hand.

Our issues with food and body often have little or nothing to do with food or body. They are symptoms of something deeper. They are doorways to profound and compelling issues. Food is a doorway, and as an Eating Psychology Coach I work as a detective to make connections. I need to see beyond the client’s basic challenges with food and health, and explore the messages within them. Work is about helping the client evolve.

Mind / Body Nutrition is a field that looks at who we are as eaters. It’s the psychophysiology of how digestions, assimilation and calorie burning are influenced by who we are, stress, relaxation, beliefs and more. What we eat is only half the story, mind / body nutrition looks at the other half of nutrition. Who we are as eaters. It’s a new frontier that includes how our world impacts our nutritional metabolism in a very real, scientific way.

There are many dimensions to Mind / Body nutrition, one of them is stressed vs relaxed eating. Here’s a simple scientific mind-cookie: Excess insulin and cortisol signals the body to store fat, not build muscle and hold onto weight. A chronic low-level stress response has this as an effect. It decreases our calorie burning capability and gut health in general.

Sympathetic Nervous System: When a stress response is activated, SNS is switched on and shuts down digestion.

Parasympathetic Nervous System: When the PNS is activated, it creates a relaxation response which puts the body into optimum digestion and metabolism.

Therefore, stress decreases nutritional value of food. My job is to help you move out of stress/survival based reactions and patterns into relaxation based, heart centres ways of being. Personal power = metabolic power.

Some effects of stress on gut health:

  • Decreased blood flow to gut – 4x less

  • 20 000 fold decrease in enzymatic output in gut

  • Nutrient excretion

  • Decreased oxygen uptake in the gut

  • Die off of healthy gut bacteria

Some main mistakes when we eat:

  • Posture

  • Eating when upset or stressed

  • Distraction – phone, TV, thinking about everything except what you are eating

  • Eating on the run

  • Eating too quickly

  • Shallow breathing

Easy relaxation tips before eating:

  • Atmosphere – candles, music, decoration

  • Sit up straight

  • Vitamin O: The entire process of digestion is to break food down into microscopic morsels then send them to the cells to be combusted with oxygen. Over 95% of all energy generated in the body comes from the simple combination of oxygen and food. Without Oxygen your food is literally useless.

  • Deep breaths before and during eating.

  • Take time to eat

  • Use mealtimes to let go of all your worries. If you really want to, you can resume worrying after your relaxed and nourishing meal is finished.

Relaxed eating will allow your body to:

  • Increase gut bacteria

  • Increase enzymatic output

  • Increase blood flow to the gut

  • Increase absorption and assimilation of nutrients

  • So much more