I consult in different countries across the world. The one common symptom that I see amongst Indians living in India and also expat Indians living in other countries is their poor relationship towards food. We tend to label foods as good, bad, horrible, fatty foods. When you have a poor relationship with anything it’s not the ideal way of living and when it’s not ideal, it’s also not ideal for your digestion, for your hormone function, for the way that your mind functions and your body functions. It impacts your sleep, the way that you move, the way that you eat, everything.
Change Relationship with Food?
We need to first change our relationship with food. Consider a good piece of chocolate cake. We’ve all enjoyed it while growing up. Now we label a chocolate cake or a piece of chocolate cake or an ice cream as something that’s bad or something that’s going to have a bad impact on your weight and your health. Subconsciously every time you eat that piece of chocolate cake or that ice cream, it’s going to behave exactly that way in your system. It is going to be difficult for you to digest it and it is going to make you fat. We need to change our mind-set, belief system, our attitude and the way we think and the way we relate to food.
The Swiss eat on an average six to eight pieces of chocolate every single day. They’ve grown up with that. Their body adapts to it completely well. They have a good relationship with chocolate so it doesn’t impact them. Now if they had the same relationship that we have, that every piece of chocolate is going to make me put on weight, then that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Look at the French community. They have butter in almost all of their meals and they enjoy their desserts and sugar and everything else. But they truly enjoy what they eat which means in their mind they don’t believe that, this kind of food is going to make them fat. Also, they do everything in moderation. We tend to overeat. If you compare Indian portions with European or especially French portions we tend to eat a lot more in lesser time. We eat a whole Indian meal in 10 minutes or 15 minutes. They eat six to seven courses of meal or food over a period of one to one and a half hour.
When you think about food you need to understand that your body has two nervous systems; one is your sympathetic nervous system and one is your parasympathetic nervous system. We need to understand how this works because then we are going to understand the impact of stress on our weight, on the way that our body breaks down food and how when we eat food or desserts without stress we will not put on weight. This is why when we eat food under a stressful situation everything goes wrong. You have indigestion, flatulence, you put on weight. Your body cannot breakdown, assimilate nutrients. It stores most of your food as fat because these two systems cannot work together. This is why I tell everyone do not have working lunches. Do not have meetings around lunches or dinners unless it’s a non-stressful meeting. You should always keep your meal times for yourself where you can truly enjoy your food and eat it mindfully because the moment your cortisol which is your stress hormone goes up it impacts your insulin levels, it impacts your pancreatic juices your digestive enzymes, the way your body assimilates nutrients and a way that your body converts carbohydrates proteins and fats into energy. So you should never eat under stress.
Eat Guilt Free
Avoid eating under guilt. If you want to eat an ice cream or a chocolate or dessert, eat it. But eat mindfully and truly enjoy it because if you have guilt or resentment about putting on weight it produces cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. When you’re constantly stressed or you have all this guilt related or emotional stress; where does your body get cortisol from after a point? Your adrenal glands are supposed to pump out cortisol but because of a high level of unnecessary stress your body very intelligently then convert progesterone which is a woman hormone into cortisol. This is a problem. Oestrogen and progesterone work hand-in-hand. If you have high oestrogen you have low progesterone. If you have high progesterone you have low oestrogen and that’s the cycle that all women go through before their menses, before premenopausal and during menopause.
Oestrogen is a woman hormone. Men need it too but in smaller amounts. The problem is when you have excess oestrogen in your body you cannot lose weight. You put on weight in your butt area, your hips, your thighs, your abdominal regions and in some cases your breasts as well. So if you want to eat something eat it in the right quantity so that you are psychologically happy and don’t feel you are in a state of deprivation. Your cortisol levels are down and you still manage to lose weight the right way. You need to change your mind set from what you knew to what is really correct right now. Eat more if you exercise more eat less if you exercise less, that is the paradigm of weight loss and if you want to eat something, eat it in the right proportion and without guilt.
The idea is eat everything mindful enjoy it. Do not eat when your stress. Calm down take a few deep breaths, it will actually move you out of the sympathetic nervous system into the parasympathetic nervous system and prepare you to digest your meal the right way. Guilt and resentment are the two poisons that will be the obstacles to your weight loss and will actually manifest a lot of other ailments diseases and conditions in your body.