When it comes to weight loss products, it’s almost impossible to find anything out there that actually works and is safe. From diet pills to fad diets to liposuction or gastric bypass surgery, there are a lot of things people use to try to lose weight that can actually end up harming them.
We’ve written extensively on the blog about how to lose weight naturally – the importance of eating fresh, raw unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables and berries and cutting out processed foods like white sugar, white flour, and packaged foods. But there are other aspects of the human body that you can influence naturally to help you lose weight – like your breath.
Can Breathing Exercises Actually Help You Lose Weight?
Ever since the people started practicing yoga over 5,000 years ago, humans have been very conscious of breathing and understood how powerful good breathing techniques can be for quieting the mind, producing a relaxation response in the body, improving physical performance and endurance, and even improving sexual experiences!
Yet today, very few people actually pay attention to their breath outside of a yoga class. Even though hundreds of studies have shown that shallow, constricted breathing can produce excess stress in the body, weaken the immune system, and signal your body to store extra fat. Whereas, deeper breathing can actually relax your body, get rid of stress, help your immune system function much better and signal your body to increase its metabolism and burn more fat faster.
Yoga teachers have known for years that students who practice yoga regularly and especially the deep breathing techniques tend to lose fat and become very slim. I mean, have you ever seen a yoga teacher? I’ve never once seen a yoga teacher with excess body fat! And I’ve taken hundreds of different yoga classes.
How Does Deep Breathing Help You Lose Fat?
When you do deep breathing exercises such as yoga on an empty stomach, your muscle tissues and liver can become depleted of glycogen. Because your muscles must have fuel to continue operating, your pancreas will begin to secrete glucagon which also signals your fat cells to let go of excess fat as your body begins to use it for fuel. So when you regularly go through deep breathing exercises, especially when physical activity like yoga is involved, your body will naturally begin to release excess fat and metabolize it.
Yoga teachers have also known for thousands of years that deep breathing helps improve digestion and aids the body in removing excess waste products from the digestive system. This is one of the key problems with overweight people is that they have poor digestion and their bodies hold on to excess toxins and waste products as well as water. Simply by helping improve digestion and eliminate these waste products, you can begin to release excess weight.
Another important aspect of deep breathing exercises and weight loss has to do with the relaxation response. When you’re body is stressed, your brain tells your adrenal glands to secrete cortisol, the hormone that signals the fight or flight response. We know that when your body releases cortisol, it also releases excess insulin which makes your body want to store extra fat and makes you crave more sweet foods like carbohydrates. Simply by doing deep breathing, you can relax your body, get rid of the stress, and eliminate this vicious cortisol-insulin stress cycle that stimulates excess fat retention.
Just Do Your Breathing Exercises!
You don’t have to go to a yoga class to do deep breathing exercises. You can start from home, right now! The key is to focus on your breath, inhale for at least 5-10 seconds, hold it for 2-5 seconds, and take 5-10 seconds to exhale. This will get you into an excellent deep breathing state. For every person it will be different, so you have to experiment and see what works best for you.
An important part of deep breathing is that when you inhale, your belly should expand first, then your lower chest and then your upper chest. This helps circulate your air to the depths of your lungs and helps most fully oxygenate your body. When you do deep breathing exercises, try to maintain it for a minimum of 5 minutes. Simply doing deep breathing for 30 or 60 seconds will be great for your body, but it’s not enough time for your body to turn off the stress response and begin to relax completely.
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Whether you learn from yoga, personal practice, a teacher, or a training product like Breathslim doesn’t really matter – the key is to make sure you are practicing deep breathing exercises regularly to help stimulate your body’s relaxation response so you can burn extra fat instead of store extra fat.
What I like about Breathslim is that it teaches you correct deep breathing techniques and posture and makes you do it every day! Most people fail to lose weight because they don’t practice good habits EVERY DAY. Just because you ate a salad yesterday or did breathing exercises last week doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it today. By practicing every day, you make it a habit. And your habits are what will help you lose weight or make you continue to gain weight.
Are you happy with your health habits?