Regardless of what plan of attack you have for putting yourself in a caloric deficit to lose fat, one missing factor I often see is that of correct digestion.
Nowadays with all sorts of fads and social media frenzy’s people boast about being able to eat all sorts of foods and still lose fat. Yes, this may work for some people because if you cut calories, you will lose weight, but rarely is it OPTIMAL. And rarely are the ‘quick fix’ diets going to work in favor of your gut health.
I see many people who are able to consume foods such as ice cream, donuts, pizza, and other popularly labeled ‘unhealthy’ foods and still lose weight. But then I also see their rants of how full they feel, the stomach aches they get from this food, the lethargic feelings after eating such large amounts of carbs. So you have to be able to look at this with common sense, how could that be GOOD for your body?!
Let’s use logical thinking here.
Eating in moderation is a skill many have yet to master but regardless of how much you are consuming, how is that food making you FEEL? Do you think it’s optimal to eat a food for the pure emotional comfort/short term satisfaction or a food that may not provide that comfort but provides you with a feeling of vibrance and energy? What is up with trying to eat the biggest amount of food (making you feel like crap) for the lowest amount of calories?! You’d probably be better off having half that piece of REAL cake you actually want and are attempting to ‘eat around’
Most of this has to due with digestion. Many people don’t realize that digestion is a process that starts long before the stomach and bowel but actually begins in the mouth. Here’s a simple diagram to illustrate the process.
Sit Down and Relax
when trying to reach a deficit we often find ourselves eating on the go, trying to fit in healthy meals at appropriate times and whenever possible. Eating in the car, while walking, while doing a million other things. Unfortunately this is NOT what you want to be doing while trying to promote good digestion. If your body is not relaxed or in the parasympathetic mode whilst eating then you are in the sympathetic or ‘fight or flight’ mode. Digestion is promoted while we are RESTING, causing an uneasy gut when we choose to eat in a hurry.
something we do so subconsciously but often works AGAINST us instead of for us is the process of chewing the food. Most people inhale their food without properly chewing it thoroughly (15-20 per bite). When you begin to chew properly you will notice a number of things
1.) You will feel more satisfied
2.) You will have less gas
3.) You will have more normal bowel movements
When we chew – we are actually breaking down the food using the digestive enzymes in our saliva that are intended for breaking down the food to a certain extent before it enters the stomach and small intestine. This will lead to overall healthier digestion and better nutrient absorption.
Correct intake + Right Balance
Women should aim for 20-25 grams/day
Men should aim for 30-35 grams/day
Soluble Fiber – not digestible but dissolves in water to form gel, promotes feeling ‘full’ and decreases blood cholesterol
Insoluble Fiber – prevents constipation, decreases amount of time it takes food to digest
You want to make sure you get a balanced ratio of fiber and not the whole daily allowance from one or the other (will likely result in either constipation or diarrhea)
Don’t Abuse Alcohol
The entire process of digestion is conducted by enzymes which live in each different organ involved in the digestive system and the muscles as well. Alcohol has proven time and time again to actually interfere with gastric acid secretion (crucial to digestion) as well as impairing muscle movement in the stomach, small and large intestines, leading to frequent diarrhea. This basically prevents your body from absorbing the nutrients you ingest from your food and increases transport of toxins across intestinal walls.
This may feel like a lot of information, but before you rule yourself as having some sort of digestive disfunction – check to see if you’ve got the rest figured out. It doesn’t matter how much great food you’re eating if the WAY you eat it is wrong. Start today by counting how many times you chew, aim for 15 per bite and see how you feel 20-20 minutes later…
Some great resources I have used in studying digestive and gut health are….
Shawn Stevenson (many tips on sleep and digestion as well)
Austin Stout (Integrated Muscle and Health LLC)
If this is all new to you and you have questions, you’re in luck! Our first Group Training program opens for enrollment on Friday, April 15th. Check it out here and leave us your email if you’re interested!! (If you already receive emails from us, this is different so you’d have to sign up on this page).