In the dictionary metabolism means “the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life.” With this understanding it would make sense to speed up our chemical processes in order to increase metabolism and we could do that with exercise, drugs, supplements or a combination of superfoods. In reality while these can be useful they are not a reflection of metabolic reality. The reason for this is because metabolism occurs not only in the body but simultaneously in the mind, emotion and spirit. Research shows that there is a connection between what we think and feel and the chemistry of our body, stress, relaxation, pleasure and depression have profound effects on the chemical processes. Everything we experience with our senses impacts the nervous system and goes through a form of digestion, assimilation and elimination. We metabolise our fears, dreams and fantasies, our ups and downs, our jealousies and joys, the beauty that surrounds us, the betrayals we have suffered in addition to the food we eat. Is it then no wonder how many digestive complaints we have today?
We can all think of a time when our metabolism was transformed by an experience or emotion, for example can you recall a time when you where sitting at home feeling quite exhausted when the phone rings and it is someone you love or some good news and suddenly you are re-energised and full of energy without having to drink any coffee or take any drugs. The shift in your emotions can ignite your metabolism in an instant!
Therefore metabolism is more than just about chemical processes, … “metabolism is the sum total of all the chemical reactions in the body plus the sum total of all our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences” Marc David
In his new book, The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss, Marc David, nutritional psychology expert, defines eight universal metabolizers, whose power is activated when we slow down. They are:
- Relaxation – breathing deeply before you eat and during reduces the stress response, which can shut down digestion, and activates your parasympathetic nervous system which allows for the full digestive force to be initiated
- Quality – eating quality real food is the best nutritional strategy we can employ, as the higher the quality of our food the better the nutrient value the less food we actually need
- Awareness – when you eat, eat… don’t watch TV or read a book, bring your senses to your plate, see, smell, taste, feel and touch, experience the fullness of the food on your plate and it will be much more satiating
- Rhythm – bringing ourselves into the natural circadian rhythm means that our digestive fire is highest at midday, therefore it makes sense to eat our largest meal then, rather than at night as our natural rhythm prepares for sleep
- Pleasure – when we are able to find enjoyment and pleasure from our meal we are able to absorb more from it
- Thought – what we think affects our physiology, negative thoughts about food can inhibit digestion, whereas positive thoughts can enhance digestion
- Story – our inner story holds important information about how to unlock our metabolic power. Each time we eat, a specific personality or archetypal character sits at the head of our inner table, this personality has a great effect on our eating experience and metabolism of our meal
- The Sacred – love, truth, courage, commitment, compassion, forgiveness, faith and other sacred qualities are potent metabolic enhancers
Metabolism is a journey, it is dynamic, an ever-changing chemistry whose outcomes are not always predicatable. It is a reflection of how you treat your life, in other words how you treat your body – how you nourish it, feed it – is the way you treat yourself. If your body is seen as special then you will see your life as special, if you invite toxicity into the body, then you invite it into your personal world. Your style of living creates your health, and if you choose not to see this you are choosing not to see how your choices create your reality.