So I’ve been obsessively watching this Weight Loss for Women Online Conference the last two days—did you hear about this? It features lots of big name speakers from the blogging/paleo communities, like Mark Sisson, Diane Sanfilippo, Sarah Fragoso, Stefani Ruper, and Katie the Wellness Mama (yes, I’m pretty sure her last name is “the Wellness Mama”).
Yesterday was Day 2 of the conference, and I got totally wrapped up in the talk on the psychology of eating with Marc David and Emily Rosen. (Each video is only available for free for 48 hours, so you might still be able to catch it if you go NOW!)
I’ve heard these guys speak before, and was completely enthralled then too. Emily has actually gained and lost 100 pounds multiple times, and researched her way through the whole thing, so she’s definitely earned her expertise in the area.
When you factor in the whole mental aspect of weight loss, everything becomes so much more complex—and then you look back at the old “move more and eat less” philosophy, and it just sounds sort of ridiculous. Of course it’s not that easy, or we’d all have it figured out by now.
If you don’t have time to watch the video, I can summarize it for you really easily:
Stress is bad. Stress while eating is really, really bad. And if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s catastrophic.
Here are some of the main thoughts I jotted down while listening (only because I’m an obsessive note-taker and started doing it without thinking):
–We all naturally seek pleasure in eating. When we’re stressed (even if we don’t “think” we’re stressed), the body is desensitized to pleasure.
—When we can’t get pleasure from our food, we naturally eat more in a subconscious attempt to find it.
–Being in a state of stress and/or having a lack of “awareness” during meals leads to an inability for the body to take in nutrition. So even if you eat the healthiest meal in the world, your body can’t fully benefit from it if you’re also stressed.
–We think our weight loss failures are a lack of willpower, but our physiology will always beat out our psychology. We can’t override the body’s natural tendencies with simple good intentions—aka willpower is not enough, and not the problem.
—Stress wipes out healthy gut bacteria. Marc mentioned a study in Russia, where Russian fighter pilots had their gut bacteria measured before and after a stressful mission. The study found that one stressful event can wipe out 90% of healthy gut bacteria.
–For people who are “doing everything right” and still not losing weight, the culprit is almost always stress.
What to do:
Emily talked about doing some deep breathing before meals, to force the body to switch out of stress mode and into relaxed, weight-loss-friendly mode. Just 6-10 long, slow breaths is all it takes. (Isn’t it wild that breathing can do that?)
There were some other really interesting points in the talk too, like Marc and Emily’s take on the fight or flight thing. They claimed that it’s actually fight or flight or FREEZE—which gave me a huge lightbulb moment.
Do you ever have times when you have so much to do that you can’t do anything? You’re totally paralyzed, have no idea where to start, and end up on the couch in front of the TV? That’s the freeze response—or playing dead in nature, which looks like apathy in our daily lives. It usually comes right after a super stressful time.
Anyway, I could go on all day, but you should definitely check out the video, and the entire conference, if you’re interested in this stuff. I seriously eat it up (pun intended).
In other news, I wanted to formally introduce you to my new gym-slash-diaper bag (it happens to be perfect for both equally-stinky purposes):
Perfect for rolling around in the car, getting jammed into a tiny locker, and then stuffed into a closet at home. (Or maybe everyone else is kind to their gym gear?)
Then there are the pockets—honestly, so many (13!) that it’s almost overwhelming, and puts my organizational freak tendencies on overdrive. (Must use ALL THE POCKETS.) There’s even a removable divider in the middle (it attaches to the velcro strips you see below) that’s designed to keep your clean clothes separate from your stanky stuff.
(But I could also see it being great for separating dirty diapers from clean baby clothes and bottles…just saying.)
Before every workout (or outing with kids—same thing), you should always read your gym bag for motivation.
The other thing I love about this bag is its size. It holds quite a bit of stuff while somehow staying extremely compact. NOT that this is a diaper bag, but I’m reminded of the fact that my diaper bag inexplicably bloats to giant duffle bag proportions after I insert one small travel container of wipes.
One final underrated feature: the Accel can sit up. It’s structured. I hate when you’re trying to dig in a bag and it’s just flopping all over the place.
I know it’s a little early to be thinking Christmas (nah, I just said that to fit in—I’d put our tree up tomorrow if my husband would let me), but this bag would be a great gift idea. There’s the versatility factor (I will NOT say diaper bag again…) and it’s a great way to encourage fitness without giving a gift that seems to subtly say “it wouldn’t hurt for you to get a little more active.” (That’s you, home workout DVDs.)
Plus, LiveWell360 is a respected name in the gym bag world, so giving this bag as a gift serves the dual purpose of simultaneously impressing people with your fitness knowledge. (haha!)
P.S. Use this link to get 15% off your purchase!!
Naturally, the bag photo shoot eventually morphed into a fall family shoot…
Any other tricks for managing stress eating?
Do you ever notice yourself having the freeze response in life?
Do you have a favorite gym bag? What do you love about it?
Disclaimer: LiveWell360 sent me a complimentary bag in exchange for my honest review. They didn’t tell me what to say, and I received no additional compensation.
Have a great weekend!