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The Metabolic Power of Slow

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A beach with fine sand a bit of grass and an image of Marc David

So many of us are looking to increase our metabolism. We want to calorie-burn better, we want more energy, a stronger immune system and a more powerful digestion. So it’s logical to assume that in order to have these things, we need to push harder. We need to work more, move faster, get all pumped up and push the pedal to the metal.

It seems to make sense that a hotter metabolism happens when we get into the highest gear possible. Oddly enough, though, nothing could be further from the truth. In this fascinating video from IPEtv, Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating reveals how slowing down can be a powerful metabolic enhancer.

When we move slower and step into a physiologic relaxation response, digestion is enhanced, our energy level increases and our calorie burning capacity is improved. Once you incorporate this practice of slow into your daily world, you’ll never look back. Tune in and learn more!

YouTube video

Below is a transcript of this week’s video:

Greetings friends, this is Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s Topic: The Metabolic Power of Slow

More specifically – I’m going to share with you how the literal act of slowing down can be a powerful metabolic enhancer. I know this may sound counterintuitive – which is why few people adopt this life-changing practice. But I’ll say to you that once you incorporate this practice of slow into your daily world, you’ll never look back.

So many people want to increase their metabolism. They want to calorie-burn better, they want more energy, a stronger immune system and more powerful digestion. So it’s logical to assume in order to have these things that we need to push harder. We need to work more, we need to move faster, we need to get all pumped up and we need to push the pedal to the metal.

Oddly enough, nothing can be further from the truth.

A bunch of years ago I wrote what many people consider to be a game changing book in the nutrition and eating psychology field – The Slow Down Diet. The book covers a lot of ground and is a very fascinating read, and one of the key concepts I introduced at the beginning was all about slowing down, and how this is a very powerful remedy for so many of our nutrition-related health challenges, symptoms, dis-eases, and eating concerns such as overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and any unwanted eating habit.

What strikes me today is how the message of the metabolic power of slow is more important than it ever was.

Oftentimes, so much of what ails us as a nation and as a world can be best understood when we look at some of the bigger forces that move us. More and more, the world is addicted to speed. We like fast Internet, fast cars, fast service at the restaurant, fast money, fast weight loss – you name it, and we don’t have the time to wait.

And this love affair with speed is killing us.

When it comes food and the body, our high-speed living creates some tremendous disadvantages:

Most importantly, we eat too fast. On average, if I poll a room of 100 people and ask, “How many of you are fast eaters, how many are moderate eaters, and how many are slow eaters?” … about 70% of people consider themselves fast eaters, 25% are moderate, and 5% are the slow ones.

Fast eating is considered a stressor by the body. Meaning, it’s not natural, it doesn’t work, the body doesn’t like this behavior.

We literally will go into a stress response when we eat too fast.

The physiologic stress response is a graded response, meaning we can have mild, moderate, or extreme stress physiology activated in our system. Depending on the intensity of our stress, to some degree we will go into digestive shutdown. Enzymatic output in the gut is dramatically decreased, blood flow to the gut is approximately 4 times less in the stress response, the muscular churning of stomach and intestines can slow down or even come to a halt, nutrients are excreted – oftentimes in significant amounts, and the effects of cortisol and insulin – two hormones that shoot up in the stress response – can even slow down calorie burning capacity.

So you can be eating the healthiest food in the universe, but if you eat fast, you won’t be getting the full nutritional value of that meal. Your habit of speed eating has not served you very well.

In addition, eating fast and its attendant stress response invariably puts us into some degree of digestive upset, because we have food in our system but we’re not metabolizing it. This can lead to bloating, gas, and a queasy feeling in our gut. What’s more, the most common digestive side effect of stress-induced digestive shutdown from eating fast is heartburn.

There’s huge amount of people who face the challenge of heartburn every day. If that’s you, please consider that you don’t have a deficiency in Prilosec or other heartburn medications. Your body is talking. It’s saying something. In this case, it’s telling you to slow down.

Lastly, the act of eating fast completely de-regulates our appetite. It takes the body approximately 20 minutes to realize it’s full – this is a wonderful lesson brought to us by research that happened several decades ago in the dietetic field. This research is essentially saying this: the body needs time to scan a meal, to determine its nutritional profile, and to indeed see if we need to eat more, or if the meal is done.

During a stress response – in this case caused by fast eating – the brain has significantly less ability to register taste, aroma, satisfaction, and nutrient profile. The net result is that we could eat a lot of food, but the brain will still register that we’re hungry.

And so we eat more food, and we think we have a willpower problem, but the real problem is we eat too fast.

The bottom line here:

You can do yourself a profound metabolic favor by slowing down.

Food will taste better, your appetite will be naturally regulated, you’ll digest better, you’ll assimilate better, you’ll calorie-burn better, and you’ll notice life and all its beautiful and subtle details that we tend to miss when were moving at high speed.

If there was a pill that did this – everyone would be buying it and someone would be a billionaire. Fortunately, slowing down is free.

It’s time to reclaim your natural pace. It’s time for us to eat more like human beings, and less like stressed-out creatures who are running out of time.

Slow is the new sexy.

I hope this was helpful, my friends.

Please email us at info@psychologyofeating.com if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you. Thanks so much for your time and interest.

In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment!

A beach with fine sand a bit of grass and an image of Marc David

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