So I just had my dinner, and I'm lying there right now, with my laptop on my belly, my head propped up on a pillow, and most importantly, my feet resting on the headboard of my bed.
Why are my feet elevated?
Because of something the legendary Vince Gironda once said, and it really does work.
In his book, Unleashing The Wild Physique, Vince Gironda said,
“After each meal allow your food to digest thoroughly by lying or sitting with your feet propped up on a high footstool. This allows one third of the blood in the body to concentrate around the stomach for maximum digestion, and it also allows the food to remain there longer.”
Your legs are a big part of your body, and a lot of blood pools around your legs. When you elevate your legs, a lot of the blood from your legs is redirected to your upper body.
This is why when someone feels faint or light headed, you lie them down and elevate their legs to get more blood flowing into their head.
You'll see how well this little trick works when you've eaten too much and feel like your belly is about to burst and you feel tired and sluggish.
If you lie down and elevate your legs immediately after your meal, the increased blood flow to your gut speeds up the digestion process and makes digestion more effective, so you clear out all the excess food from your gut quicker.
Sure, Vince mentioned that, “…it also allows the food to remain there longer.” He was referring to food remaining in the STOMACH for longer, but not necessarily in the rest of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the small and large intestines. If food stays in the stomach for longer, it is broken down more by the stomach acid, so its passage through the rest of the GI tract will be a lot quicker, and absorption of nutrients more effective.
My personal experience is even if I've had a carb-heavy meal and feel super-tired after a meal, lying down with my feet elevated helps me feel lighter and more energetic, MUCH quicker than if I try to just get on with my day without using this trick.
Try this out, and let me know how you get on in the comments section below.
Why This Is Especially Helpful If You've Had A HEALTHY Meal
If you've had a healthy meal with a good source of meat, eggs, or fish, and a big serving of raw or near-raw veggies, then you want to extract as many of the good nutrients from this food as possible, and the way you do this is through effective digestion.
That's what digestion is for – extracting nutrients from food.
If you EXERCISE immediately after a meal, you are taking blood away from your gut where digestion happens, and to your muscles.
HEAVY exercise immediately after a meal is ALWAYS a bad idea. This applies to both high intensity training, and steady state cardio (i.e. moderate intensity training).
This ties in well with my previous article, titled, Should You Eat Before Or After A Workout?:
Light exercise, such as going for a brisk walk (i.e. low intensity training) is perfectly fine after a meal. In fact, one study found that going for a 30 minute walk after lunch and dinner is an effective weight loss strategy1.
But if I had to choose between elevating my legs and going for a walk after a HEALTHY low carb meal, I'd choose elevating my legs, so I can maximize nutrient absorption from my food.
What Should You Do After An UNHEALTHY Meal?
There's a whole load of stuff you can do after eating an unhealthy meal.
- You can take apple cider vinegar (ACV) to improve your insulin sensitivity2
- You can take a gel-forming fiber like psyllium husk powder to delay nutrient absorption3
- You can exercise to increase glucose uptake by your muscles.
The above three methods can help water-down the negative effects of an unhealthy meal, but I advise you to NEVER USE THEM.
Because it conditions you to think that having a bad meal is OK.
If you think you can undo the effects of a bad meal by taking ACV, taking psyllium husk, and doing 40 air squats, then you'll have bad meals more frequently.
I've fallen into this trap myself, and I've found that it works in my favor if I do nothing differently after a bad meal.
Know that no post-meal tactic will help you if you are ALWAYS eating unhealthy.
And if you are following the 80:20 principle, where you eat well 80% of the time and eat what you like 20% of the time, then what you do after an unhealthy meal won't really matter that much because you won't be doing it that often.
I hope this feet elevating tactic helps you. Give it a try, and let me know how you get on by posting a comment below.
Remember though, no such tactic will help you if you are eating the WRONG foods for losing man boobs. I reveal how to eat right and train right to lose man boobs, here:
- Hijikata, Y. & Yamada, S. Walking just after a meal seems to be more effective for weight loss than waiting for one hour to walk after a meal. International Journal of General Medicine 4, 447-450, doi:10.2147/IJGM.S18837 (2011).
- Mitrou, P. et al. Vinegar Consumption Increases Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake by the Forearm Muscle in Humans with Type 2 Diabetes. J Diabetes Res 2015, 175204, doi:10.1155/2015/175204 (2015).
- McRorie, J. W., Jr. Evidence-Based Approach to Fiber Supplements and Clinically Meaningful Health Benefits, Part 2: What to Look for and How to Recommend an Effective Fiber Therapy. Nutr Today 50, 90-97, doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000089 (2015).