Metabolic Power of Awareness

The other day I wanted to be with my Boys and give them AND me a treat, so I asked them to reserve Tuesday afternoon to go and get an ice cream with me.  Yes…you heard me correctly….I LOVE ice Cream…it is my all time favorite treat! When I want a dessert….it is ice cream, and more times than not…it is vanilla. LOVE vanilla.


Anyway…..our favorite place to get ice cream is Marble Slab and when we walk in to the ice cream parlor that day and see the array of ice creams and toppings, my taste buds are triggered.  The boys place their order and while I am waiting, I am envisioning the most delectable combination….why eat ice cream if you can’t get it exactly the way that brings pleasure to the palate. I’m not going to waste these precious calories filled with sugar on something that is just mediocre…It MUST be utterly delightful.


Well, it is now my turn and I place my order…as I watch the ice cream and toppings being put together; I begin to salivate, my jaw tingles, my eyes get dreamy, and my stomach begins to yearn! I finally get the ice cream in my hands; I take my spoon and get the perfect combination of ice cream, toppings, and fudge and place it in my mouth. I feel the coolness of the ice cream, taste the first bite of chocolate, and as my jaw meets, I feel the crunch of chocolate chips and taste the burst of chocolate flavor. I sigh and think…this is heaven! I take my time with each bite, I enjoy the conversation with my boys, and relax into my favorite treat.


This is AWARENESS!  Metabolic Power GALORE! My metabolic power was at 100%. I was totally aware of my treat. I involved all my senses, I enjoyed each bite, I breathed and relaxed into the moment.


After an event like that…there is no guilt. There is only PLEASURE. If and when you decide to treat yourself…there must be PLEASURE. The way you get pleasure is through AWARENESS.


Here is how it works and how you too can operate at 100% metabolic power:


When you have an experience like the one described above, that is the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR). *CPDR is a term for the pleasures of taste, aroma and satisfaction and the visual stimulation of a meal. It is the “head” phase of digestion.


Digestion begins in the mind, the receptors on the tongue and the oral and nasal cavities are stimulated by the smelling of food, tasting it, chewing it, and noticing it.  Awareness at the meal stimulates the secretion of saliva, gastric acid and the enzymes associated in the gut. Blood rushes to the digestive organs, the stomach and intestines begin to rhythmically contract…..the body prepares for incoming food.

This AWARENESS actually INCREASES our digestive response by 30-40%!

You do the math…would you like to increase your ability to burn more calories? Then be AWARE at your meal.

AWARENESS also decreases appetite. When you eat, do you watch TV, mentally phase out, work at your desk, or read a book?…then look down at your plate, all the food is gone…and you are left wondering….where did the food go? I’m still hungry.

When we eat too fast or are preoccupied with something else, the brain doesn’t notice that we have eaten (you skipped the CPDR) and it wants more. The brain doesn’t remember anything. SO we reach for more food.

Most tend to think they have an over-eating problem…..there is not an over-eating problem….It’s AWARENESS at the meal. That is all you need to begin eating the portion sizes that your body is looking for.


You also have a BRAIN in the belly and it is known as the enteric nervous system (ENS). Become in-tune with the brain in your belly, it will direct you on what to eat and how much to eat. How does that happen? *There are more nerve cells in the belly than in the spinal cord (over 100 million). Scientists have found that there is more communication traffic going from the ENS (belly brain) to the head brain.  SO in essence your belly is the command center for what your body needs, NOT your head brain.


The gut is the barometer of our emotions. So when you say you have a GUT instincts about something, more times than not, you are RIGHT.


Here are 3 exercises that will help you to gain Vitamin -A (AWARENESS) 


Stay awake at the plate! Notice your food, see it, touch it, taste it….BE PRESENT.

Notice the nutrients, colors, textures, your environment, and the people with whom you are having conversation with.  Be AWARE. If your mind floats off to never, never land…bring it back to present.  It will take practice.  But as with anything else you are discovering on adopting a healthy is possible and the results are worth the practice.



Here is another way to use your BELLY BRAIN.

The Belly Brain (ENS) knows what foods are good for your body, what foods digest well, which ones you are sensitive to or allergic to. It understands which foods give you energy and which deplete your energy. It knows how much is TOO much. It has spent your lifetime gathering this data.


Learn to listen and hear the body. Before meal time…tap into the gut wisdom. Breathe long slow deep BELLY breaths, at least 5-10 times; this will get the oxygen flowing to the gut.  Ask yourself (the gut) “Is this good food for me to eat right now?” “What amount of food is best at this moment?” “Is this a good combination of food choices?”  Tune in and let the answers come effortlessly. Follow the wisdom of the Belly. If is says no….make a different choice…but if it says YES..then enjoy with completeAWARENESS.

It is OK and completely normal to feel awkward and uncertain. This is new territory. Also know that mistakes will occur…you may make a food choice that your body doesn’t agree with or that wasn’t healthy for it. That is OK, mistakes are learning experiences.


Eat to the point of energy! In other words…stop BEFORE you fill up.

  1. Set the intention to eat to the point of energy
  2. Observe energy level throughout the meal
  3. Observe satisfaction level
  4. Observe satiation level
  5. End the meal when you can leave with more energy than when you started. You stomach will not be full…it will feel empty.

Through-out your meal, be aware of your energy level. As you know…when you eat past the point of fulfillment, even just ONE bite…you are sluggish and sleepy and do not perform your best.  When you stop eating beforethe point of fullness, you will be alert with the tummy slightly empty; however, this energy will come in handy as you continue on with your day.


Key Lesson:  Listen to your body, it is filled with wisdom.

I urge you to give these exercises a try this week and see what happens. 


To conclude…In the past 2 weeks you have been practicing relaxing during a meal i.e. breathing,  and increasing the quality of your food and NOWthis week you will add AWARENESS to the meal. Continue practicing every step so they become a habit.


There is no DIET on earth that can give you the Metabolic Power that you have at your fingertips….you just have to TAP into it. 


You CAN do this!


Enjoy being AWAKE at the PLATE! 




If you are currently not involved in one of Ashly’s programs and want to learn more about discovering your metabolic power contact Ashly.

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