These food habits create digestive troubles and may lead to belly fat and weight gain.
While most women focus on the types of foods they eat when they want to lose weight, when it comes to weight loss, food habits are just as important as food choices.
Food habits refer to how and when we eat our foods.
Digestion is key to health and weight management.
How and when we eat can either helps us digest our foods properly or hinder our digestion.
The result of a hindered digestion are digestive troubles like gas, bloating, reflux acid, indigestion, slow digestion and constipation, and the build-up of impurities. This can lead to other issues like leaky gut syndrome, weight gain and belly fat.
Food Habit Mistake # 1: Eating a late dinner
Most people eat a late dinner. Honestly it’s difficult not to do otherwise. You work until 5 or 6pm. Then you either get in traffic or you’ve got to take the bus or train home. By the time you’re home it’s 7 or 8pm and you want to spend time with your family and that usually happens around a meal which is usually not ready until 8:30 0r 9pm.
Believe me I get it!
However, all these reasons don’t erase the fact that eating dinner late disturbs your digestion and the ability of your body to metabolize and get rid of impurities.
There’s a term in Ayurveda to describe these impurities, AMA.
Ama are the substances in your body that have not been sufficiently and properly digested and end up in their partially digested form in places they shouldn’t be. Like undigested proteins seeping through the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, waste, pesticides or even drugs getting stuck in the lymphatic system or the large intestine.
Ayurveda contends that our body’s ability to digest food properly decreases during the evening time. So when we eat dinner late and we eat a heavier meal, it takes longer to digest. That means that by the time we go to bed, the body is still digesting food. Sleep further slows down digestion. The result is partially digested foods.
The partially digested food matter will then be absorbed into the bloodstream towards the liver. Partially digested foods make the liver work harder.
Partially digested foods also impede on the function of the colon and can cause constipation. More impurities are created.
One of the ways the body tries to deal with the build-up of impurities when the liver and the colon can’t do their job properly is by storing them in fat cells. Dr. Chaudhary, M.D. says that’s a major reason why toxicity often contributes directly to excess body fat.
A 2017 study from the University of Pennsylvania confirms Ayurvedic wisdom, late night eating increases weight gain and hunger and slows fat metabolism.
Food habit mistake # 2: Eating while distracted
There are 2 ways that eating while distracted hampers your digestion.
First, when you eat while being distracted, you’re less likely to be aware of how much you’re eating. That makes sense right? So it’s easy to overeat. Overeating also slows your digestion. And it leads to weight gain.
Second, when you’re reading a book, watching a movie, or being on the computer, you’re emotionally reacting to what you’re sseing.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you have an emotional reaction to what you read or watch. You can get upset, sad, angry, frustrated, etc. These are internal stressors.
Have you ever tried to eat when you’re anxious? So you know it feels like lead in your stomach
Guess what happens to your digestion when you’re stressed? Digestion stops. And when digestion stops, food is not properly digested.
Food habit mistake # 3: Drinking a glass of iced water/tea with food.
There’s a lot of controversy around this one!
I recently found out that drinking cold drinks while eating is suggested as a weight loss strategy.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ice water may be beneficial to digestion because cold water is more quickly absorbed by the body than room-temperature water.
The truth is there hasn’t been any research to back this claim.
Ayurveda contends that digestion is like a fire.
What happens when you pour water on fire?
Yes, it dies.
Drinking cold drinks while eating also “interferes with digestion both by moving enzymes outside of their optimal temperature range and causing vasoconstriction in the gastrointestinal tract. [..] Common sense concludes that in the long term this can wreak havoc on the gut.”
And that’s the thing. Imbalances such as weight gain, digestive troubles and other health issues don’t happen overnight. Because of this it’s hard to connect lifelong habits with symptoms.
According to Ayurveda, we are all different and we react to different food habits and food choices differently.
Are you experiencing digestive troubles and/or weight gain?
Are you doing one or more of these 3 things?
Then I would encourage you to do something differently for a period of a month and notice what happens.
Please leave me a comment or a question!
In Yoga we say that knowledge and experience are the two wings of the same bird.
Want to know more about Ayurveda, weight loss and dieting, click here to find out why diets don’t work.