Are Sleep and Stress Hindering Your Weight Loss?
You’ve been watching what you eat and exercising regularly, yet you just aren’t getting to your weight-loss goals. Could there be other factors at play? Experts say yes, and if you don’t know what they are, you’ll continually be frustrated with your lack of results.
Culprit #1: Lack of Sleep
Not only does a good night’s sleep make us feel better, but it also helps our bodies function better. Why is that? Well, it all goes back to hormones.
The amount of sleep you get is in direct correlation to the levels of two key hormones: ghrelin and leptin. Both of these are associated with your feelings of hunger and being satisfied. Experts suggest getting 7–9 hours of sleep each night to stay on an even keel. When you do that, your hormones will regulate, and that means you’ll feel fuller faster and not nearly as hungry.
In addition to the hunger-related hormones, when you are sleep deprived, your body releases more cortisol, which signals energy conservation and can lead to the body storing fat for fuel. Clearly, that’s not a good thing when you’re trying to lose weight.
Culprit #2: Too Much Stress
Hormones are sensitive little buggers, and they can get out of whack pretty easily. This is especially true when your stress level is high. When we experience stress, our body kicks into the fight-or-flight mentality, conserving energy and sending mixed signals to the body.
For some people, stress makes them not want to eat at all, but for a majority of us, it does just the opposite, leading to emotional binge eating. And most of those eating spurts are not carrots and celery! Instead, a body in stress is attracted to carbohydrates, a storage fuel that we retain to get us through the lean times. Remember, we’re all essentially cavemen, and it’s hard to fight that basic biology!
Say you have one or two high-stress days in a month, but you’re normally eating right and exercising regularly. In that case, you probably won’t notice a change on the scale. However, since most of us experience stress at work, we reach for a candy bar and soda at 2 pm to get us through the afternoon, returning to our desk and sedentary lifestyle right away. Compound days and weeks of that lifestyle, and it’s no wonder you’ve put on a few extra pounds.
What You Can Do
The best way to combat issues with stress and sleep deprivation is to, obviously, remedy the situation. And the easiest way to do that is to create a schedule.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily.
When your body gets used to sleeping 10 pm – 6 am, let’s say, you’ll find you probably don’t even need an alarm clock to get up. You’ll fall asleep easier and wake refreshed.
Follow a diet plan.
Scheduling your eating helps to reteach your body to only eat when it’s hungry. Keep a food journal and see how and what you’re currently eating so you know where to make changes. Also, if you plan out your snacks, you’ll avoid high-carb, high-sugar options during those stressful moments.
Exercise provides a world of good, including regulating hormones. When you work out on a regular basis, you’ll find that you sleep better and make smarter choices when eating. While you certainly may eat more to keep up with the calories you’re burning, you will likely find you’re eating higher quality foods.
Hang in There!
At Bodify, we understand that life happens. You do everything you’re supposed to do and still you’re frustrated at not reaching your goals. CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared treatment that works even if you’re stressed and not sleeping as much as you should. When you’re ready to take hold of your life and make a change, start here. We’ll be looking forward to welcoming you.