Pleasure and Calorie Burning

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A woman running near trees and an image of Marc David

When it comes to food, we all have our favorite dishes – those special flavors that hit us right in our happy place. But we live in a culture which tells us to be afraid of our cravings. We’re taught that those foods that we love to eat are dangerous, and that we’d be better off avoiding them entirely, because once we allow ourselves a piece of cake or a plate of spaghetti, we might never be able to stop. We’re caught in the middle between our desire to treat ourselves with foods we enjoy, and our fear that allowing ourselves to take pleasure in food will lead to unwanted health consequences. In this uplifting new video from IPEtv, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, suggests that it’s time to end this inner battle, because we’re not doing ourselves any favors by treating food as our enemy. Tune in and learn why letting yourself enjoy food again will unlock your metabolic potential and help you find a real balance that nourishes your body, heart, and soul.

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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Greetings, friends. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Let’s talk about how pleasure helps us calorie burn. Hmm. Who woulda thunk of that? How pleasure helps us calorie burn.

So here’s the deal. We are living in a world right now where people have some pretty intense struggles with food and body. And that’s a straightforward fact. You know this. Now, because of how so many people are feeling challenged around weight and body image and overeating and binge eating and emotional eating and more, food is often seen as the enemy.

And when food is seen as the enemy, pleasure is often seen as the enemy. Why? Because if I’m getting pleasure from food, my goodness, I’m going to want more of it. And then if I want more of it, I’m not going to stop eating. And if I don’t stop eating, I’m going to keep gaining weight. And if I keep gaining weight, no one is going to love me. And life is going to be miserable.

So people can have a fear of pleasure even though they want it.

Now, this is pretty interesting because when we fear pleasure but secretly crave it, it’s kind of like having one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes at the same time. It just makes a lot of smoke and there’s a lot of smelly, burning rubber. It’s confusing. And it doesn’t really get us anywhere. So it’s time to see pleasure in a more complete way.

Here’s what I mean. Pleasure is a literal and scientific metabolic enhancer. All creatures, every organism, all humans, everything on the planet is programmed at the most primitive level – if you’re a living being – programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. When a lion is eating a deer, it’s not hating on the deer. It loves the deer. It’s looking for pleasure, the pleasure of food.

Now, pleasure has psychophysiological purpose. I’m going to tell you how pleasure helps you calorie burn more efficiently. So the body optimally digests, assimilates, and calorie burns in the physiologic relaxation response. That is simple science, my friends, that we have known since the 1930s. You have to be in a relaxed state to be in your optimum nutritional metabolism.

Now, check this out. Pleasure catalyzes a relaxation response. And the relaxation response is where you optimally digest, assimilate, and calorie burn. Pleasure catalyzes a relaxation response. What does that even mean? You come home from a rough day at work. Somebody gives you a nice massage. What’s the first thing you do? “Ahh.” Or you’re feeling really tense and you play your favorite music. And you relax.

So pleasure tells the body to relax.

It literally drives our body into a heightened state of digestion, assimilation, and day-in, day-out calorie burning. That’s crazy. That’s amazing. Now, okay, you are probably thinking, “Oh, well, that means I can have all the pleasure I want. And I can eat all the garbage I want. And that’s okay.” No! Come on. You’ve got to be smart.

The sun is good for you. The sun is the greatest thing in your life. Does that mean you should roast yourself out in it for hours and torture yourself to a crisp? No. Pleasure is in intelligence. You have to learn how to do pleasure with wisdom and experience. But you can’t sweep it under the rug. You can’t think that pleasure is your enemy. It’s your friend.

And you have to learn how to befriend it because you learn how to befriend it… And this is your dance with the food, the dance with your body. You experiment. You learn. And you let the joy of life come into your body when you eat because when you do, it changes your metabolism.

And when you change your metabolism in that way, you start to calorie burn your food more fully. You’re giving yourself all that you want. You’ve given yourself your optimal metabolism. And you’re giving yourself your best experience of food and of life. How good is that, my friends!

And how amazing that that’s the magic of life!

A woman running near trees and an image of Marc David

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