Updated: Feb 26, 2021
Here's a little weight loss secret that is rarely talked about... because it’s totally free and the single most natural thing in the world.
Get ready… take a deep breath and here it is…the secret is… breathing!
You might be rolling your eyes thinking "well I'm already breathing...", but there are many ways you can incorporate more oxygen into your healthy living routine that can aid in your weight loss goals.
A lot of people don’t know that oxygen is actually a key nutrient to speeding up your metabolism. Yet, oxygen is almost completely ignored in most nutrition books. We can talk all day long about every diet you've ever been on, but have any of them focused on oxygen? This is because diets try and grab you with something flashy or "new", but often don't have your best interest at heart.
So, what's important about oxygen when it comes to weight loss?
Most experts focus on carbs, proteins and fats but ignore the one key nutrient—OXYGEN—that helps to burn all of those nutrients in the body better. The bottom line on oxygen is that when you breathe, you burn more energy.
Think of the analogy of building a fire. When you build a fire you need two things: wood for fuel and good air circulation. The same is true in your gut! You need food for fuel and oxygen to stoke your metabolic fire. This is one of the reasons why physical exercise is so powerful—it increases the body’s oxygen intake and teaches the body to use that oxygen to burn fat even more efficiently.
How can you get more oxygen?
Your body needs oxygen for everything, but there are ways to help boost the oxygenation in your body which is not only super healthy for you, but can help with your metabolism and weight loss.
1. Sleep. Millions of adults in the US have sleep apnea, which basically means that you stop breathing periodically while you're asleep. This can lead to a myriad of issues such as extreme fatigue, anxiety, stress (because you're not relaxed while you're sleeping, depression, and even weight issues. It makes sense when we remember how important oxygen is for your metabolism. If you're not breathing properly at night, it can REALLY affect how you feel each day! Not to mention, being exhausted all the time makes it more difficult to plan healthy meals and exercise.
2. Drink Water. Water is important to keep all of our body's systems functioning! It even affects the way you breathe because your lungs need water to help you breathe the best you can.
3. Check your iron levels. Iron is essential for red blood cell production, which carry oxygen througought your body. When your iron levels are low, it can make you feel pretty crappy. Fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and more! You can ask your doctor to do a blood test to let you know how your levels are looking.
4. Exercise. You probably already know this, but it's great to mention that any kind of exercise will help bring more oxygen into your system. It doesn't have to be super strenous, even stretching in the morning can give you a boost!
5. Do breathing exercises. I love to suggest a 5-5-7 breath (in for five, hold for five, out for seven) to help with stress and anxiety as well!
6. Let your stomach out! Most women (but men too!) feel such a pressure to be thin that they end up sucking in their stomach constantly. It becomes something that we almost don't think about. However, sucking in your stomach for long periods of time affects your breathing. You're not allowing your diaphragm to sink low enough to fill your lungs completely! Also, the muscles in your back, shoulders, and neck have to take on extra work to help you breathe without engaging your stomach muscles. While this has a huge effect on your oxygen intake, it can also cause you to get shoulder and neck pain. If you struggle letting your stomach out, try practicing when you're by yourself. You can lay, sit, or stand, but be sure to let your stomach take up all the space it needs! Breathe deep into your belly, and notice how much better you feel!
7. Breathe while you're eating. Take a few deep breaths before you eat. This is great to signal to your body that you are ready to eat, and it will bring oxygen into your system to get ready to burn those calories! You might try putting your utensils down 3 times during your meal to take full, deep breaths. You'll enjoy your food more, eat slower, and breathe better!
I hope these tips will help you as you work on bringing more oxygen into your body! Remember, health comes first... and then the weight comes off. Learn to take care of yourself, eat, and exercise in a way that serves YOU and your specific needs. Your version of a healthy lifestyle won't look the same as anyone else's. Not to mention, strict diets are known to slow the metabolism, stress us out, and cause an endless cycle of dieting.
I help my clients develop real habit change (based on YOUR body) and small steps that make healthy living so much easier. I focus on you. Your thoughts, your actions, your beliefs, your goals, your dreams! It's all connected!
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