Deciding to take the step to getting healthy can be overwhelming as you often wonder where do you even start. There is so much information out there that trying to add in all these new foods and lifestyle changes can lead you feeling defeated before you have even begun.
I believe that you first need to look at the things that can be sabotaging your ability to lose weight and get healthy. These three things should be looked at if you are just getting started or you have already been committed to a healthy lifestyle for years
1. NOT EATING ENOUGH
I find this as one of the biggest misconceptions in weight loss.
It seems simple enough that if you start eating less you’ll automatically lose weight, But when you see how the body treats that you will think again before drastically cutting calories
Your body needs to be in a state of balance. If you’re cold your body starts to shiver to get warm, if you’re tired your body starts to slow down as it craves sleep. When you start to deprive yourself of food your body compensates by also slowing your metabolism. Since calories are being consumed sparingly the body will start to expend energy less in order to preserve the few precious calories it has.
This can grind weight loss to a halt as the body is now trying to desperately hold on to what it has making each pound loss a longer and longer process. The flip side is when an abundance of food is then introduced back in (which will eventually end up happening after trying to restrict food for too long) your body with an already lowered metabolism will very readily convert the new influx of calories into body fat.
Your body has been starved and it doesn’t know if it will be getting food again so it quickly converts the sudden influx of food into stored energy aka body fat.
A reduced calorie diet usually then follows and the same process continues over and over as that incremental bit of weight gain each time adds up to quite a lot over the years.
2. LACK OF SLEEP
We live in a society where it has almost become a badge of honor to proclaim how little sleep we got the night before but look how it doesn’t stop me!
This will certainly stop your weight loss pursuits though.
Lack of sleep can have a big impact on your hormone levels, primarily the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that when out of balance and secreted too much can cause weight gain and a lower metabolism as another “preservation” mode.
When you get very little sleep, especially in the 4-5 hour mark your body is assuming there is some kind of stress going on. It doesn’t know if there is a some sort of physical threat or famine or that you’ve been up all night watching a Keeping Up With The Kardashians marathon.
Your body basically assumes something negative must be happening if it’s keeping your from sleep and those constantly elevated,unbalanced cortisol and stress hormone levels will severely sabotage your weight loss pursuits
- Try for at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night and remember that sleep and exercise will help to metabolize and burn off those stress hormones
- Create a wind down routine so your body get accustomed to recognizing when you start to slow down for the day
- Avoid T.V and electronics a few hours before bed. Blue light from our electronics can disrupt natural melatonin levels in the brain leading to unnatural circadian rhythms and very disrupted sleep
3. REGULAR DAILY STRESS
This will be related to the sleep issue but it’s becoming apparent that chronic stress is responsible for an immense amount of diseases and illnesses.
At the moment 43% of adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. And here is a list of just SOME of the effects of stress on the body:
- heart disease
- weight gain and obesity
You can see how weight gain and obesity seem almost secondary to these other horrible conditions but the effects of stress are two fold in weight loss pursuits; stress creates effects in the body that will allow weight loss to become excruciatingly hard while at the same time causing weight gain itself.
Reducing stress in your life is not only beneficial for your waistline but your entire overall health and wellness.
There are some simple steps you can take to help reduce and remove stress from your life including:
- Adequate and consistent sleep
- exercise and yoga
- a whole foods based diet
- elimination of junk and preservative laden “foods”
- recognizing what stresses are in and out of your control
- deep breathing exercises
This only scratches the surface of things you can do to reduce stress but hopefully it encourages you to explore all options in taking back your health and wellness.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
There are other things involved with getting underway in weight loss but if you keep these 3 things in your back pocket it will help set you up for success.
- Not deprive your body of food but focus on fresh, whole foods consistently to allow your body to keep fed, nourished and your metabolism high
- Not deprive yourself of sleep. Allow your body to rest and repair rather than force it to elevate its stress hormones and set you back
- Try and remove or at least manage sources of stress in your life. Your weight loss pursuits and your overall health will be all the better for it.
Jamie Logie is a personal trainer and nutrition and wellness specialist who runs regainedwellness.com and the Regained Wellness Podcast. You can get the free Healthy Eating Starter Kit ebook by going to regainedwellness.com/guide