Today I want to talk about what I like to call the Enjoyment to Calorie ratio. I use it to not only help me make decisions about what I am going to eat but it also reminds me to enjoy my food. Eat mindfully & to focus on listening to my body.
So what is the Enjoyment to Calorie ratio?
Well it’s not really about calories.
I’m not into counting calories and most new research coming out seems to support the idea that different foods are digested by your body differently and have a different effect on your body. A calorie of broccoli does not have the same effect as a calorie of choc chip cookie. But anyways what I really mean nourishment rather that calories but enjoyment to calorie ration sounds better
All I’m really getting at is eat food that you really enjoy. Or that really nourishes your body.
But if you are craving chocolate, candy or ice-cream. Then make sure you get yourself a super high quality ice cream. Make the effort to go to your favorite ice-cream parlor. Get your favorite flavor and actually enjoy it. No foods are restricted. No foods are “bad” but you have to be eating something you enjoy, no guilt. No eating in secret.
Also if someone has a box of donuts and your not actually a really big fan of donuts but hey there are there. Stop and think what’s the enjoyment to calorie ratio here. These are not going to nourish my body or provide me with enough enjoyment to justify making my body digest these for me. So maybe Ill skip the donuts this time and choose something I really love later on.
Why is actually enjoying your food important?
Well what you think about a food and how you feel while you eat the food actually has some pretty massive effects on your metabolism and how many nutrients you actually absorb from the food.
Yep you heard right.
How you feel about the food and how you feel while you are eating the food can affect all aspects of how you actually digest the food. What you actually think about the food can be as important as the nutrients in the food.
A really interesting study was conducted by researchers in Thailand and Sweden. They joined forces to determine how cultural preferences for food affected the absorption of nutrients and minerals. In this case iron from a meal. What they did was feed women from both countries Thai food first and then Swedish food. The results were really fascinating. Even though all meals contained exactly the same amount of iron the Swedish women only absorbed about half as much iron from the Thai meal as the Thai women. And when eating the Swedish mean the Thai women also absorbed significantly less iron than the Swedish women.
There are numerous chemicals in your body that control how satiated you feel, what you crave, your moods and a whole range of other functions that affect how and what you eat. One is neuropeptide Y, which is elevated whenever we are deprived from pleasure or from food. So when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating through restriction of a certain food, or a low calorie diets your body actually responds chemically. Demanding that you find away to increase pleasure. Usually through food cravings.
On the other side when endorphins are released in your body. They actually stimulate fat mobilization and help your body achieve greater efficiency in calorie burning.
Stress & Digestion
Stress. Anger. Anxiety. Negative self talk. These actually turn on a chemical stress response system in your body. You suddenly have a greater amount of cortisol & insulin surging around your body and this signals your body to store fat and to stop building muscle. It sounds almost unbelievable but guilt, anxiety and all that negative self-talk actually has a physiological effect on our calorie burning capacity.
So what can we do to help us maximize calorie burning & nutrient absorption when we eat?
Here are 3 really easy tips I want you to try as your challenge for today!!
- Before eating take a couple of deep breaths. Deep breathing has been shown to trigger the relaxation response in your body, which will help digestion of your meal. Your body can’t have a relaxation response and stress response happening at the same time.
- Try mindful eating. So in our busy lives today I know this can be tough but just for today (at least) when you are sitting down to eat be present and just eat. No computer, no phone, no book. Just eat and actually taste your food. This will help you start the actually hear what your body needs and signal all those good pleasure chemicals in your body so you will actually realize when you have had enough food and are full.
- When you go to eat any food today but especially snack food ask your self does this food have a high enough enjoyment to calorie ratio to make it worth eating? And if the answer is yes then really enjoy the food. If the answer is no, skip it this time and opt for something you actually really enjoy instead.
I would love to know how you go with this one. It is a game changer!!
Let me know in the comments or in the facebook group what you think of today’s challenge!!