It is inevitable, at one point or another, most people have digestive issues:
- You eat and find yourself running to the bathroom.
- Or, you go days without going #2.
- You’re getting ready for bed, and you exhale with relief, as you unbutton your pants and your belly is finally free.
- You feel like you weigh a million pounds because you are so bloated and full, even though you didn’t eat very much.
- You decline social dates because you don’t know how you’ll feel
- You eat before you go out, because you don’t want to risk eating something that could give you a stomachache
By the time you get into your 30’s and 40’s, sometimes earlier, your body starts feeling the accumulative effects of a busy lifestyle, varying eating habits and the standard American way we often find ourselves living.
Have you heard of the Standard American Diet?
Well, its (SAD) and full of processed foods, processed and harmful oils, artificial dyes and preservatives. These are not real foods, and when you eat them, your body doesn’t know what to do with them, and so it creates inflammation.
Collectively, if you consider the foods you are eating, and the environment you are usually eating in, ie. running in from soccer or work, starving, grabbing what you can find, or ordering a pizza, and then inhaling it, it can spell disaster for your digestion.
Your body perceives this stress in the same way that it would if you were running from a tiger.
When this happens, your body is in a sympathetic state, or “fight or flight mode”.
In a sympathetic state, your body is going to shift all of its resources to provide the body the energy it needs to get out of immediate danger.
One of the ways it does this is by shutting off your digestion (and your libido, there’s no time to procreate when you’re being chased by a lion, but this is a WHOLE other topic!). Your safety is the body’s priority.
Most people today have some symptoms that are the result of chronic stress. Diarrhea, IBS, constipation, gas, bloating, fatigue…these can all be the result of certain “stressors” on the body.
Chronic stress is the state we get into when we are constantly dealing with non-stop stress day in and day out.
Some examples are when:
- a car cuts you off
- your dog throws up as you’re walking out the door
- your child has to pee, again, just as you’ve picked up all the bags and are heading to the car
- you eat a food you have a sensitivity too
- you take multiple prescription medications, or are on antibiotics
- you are late for a meeting, or suddenly have to update Zoom before it will let you in
- you throw your back out so every time you walk it hurts
For most people, it is impossible to get rid of all stress, and that really isn’t the goal. The goal is to learn to deal with these things, so that when they happen, your body is able to deal with them and then is able to reset itself to normal, without staying in that heightened state for too long.
You now know that it is important to shift the body back into a parasympathetic state, or “rest and digest” mode, so that it can function in a more peaceful and healthy way. This is especially important when eating.
How do you do this?
Here is an essential step that you may be missing at mealtime:
It is essential to slow down and take a minute before you eat, to breathe and allow your body to get it’s digestive juices flowing.
I always tell my clients to teach this to your kids too, it is a wonderful tool!
This can be as simple as pausing before you pick up your fork to think about the food you’re going to eat. Be thankful, thankful for the animal/vegetable, the manufacturer, nutrients, whatever you want to be thankful for, and just breathe.
If this is too hokie for you, pick something that works for you, and calm your body for a minute. There is an app you can download called Breathwrk, and it will walk you through inhaling and exhaling for 60 seconds. Try it, you might be surprised how you feel after just 1 minute.
Another benefit of this is that once you are in a calmer state, you will be more likely to chew a little slower and longer, which will really help your digestion as well.
When you eat in a calm state, your body is more likely to be able to break down your food, allowing the nutrients to be absorbed and maximizing the nutrition for your entire body.
If you find that you are doing “all the things” and your digestive issues won’t seem to resolve, please reach out to me and we can chat further.
As women, we tend to silently suffer thinking that “it will pass”, but before you know it, years go by and we are still struggling to feel good. Often, there simply is an imbalance that needs to be addressed, and once it is, you can feel so much better, with more energy, clear thinking, and the frustrating bloat will be banished!
Imagine the day you can eat without even thinking about your belly…and saying “YES” to going out with friends without worrying where the nearest bathroom is!