You’re exercising, counting calories, watching your fats an sugars, not eating late at night, and despite all of this effort, you’re still not losing weight.
You may be doing some things that are sabotaging your success without realizing it. Here are 7 areas to evaluate and recommendations for how to turn them in your favor.
1. Get 7 to 8 Hours of Sleep
In a recent study, researchers found that the women who slept less than 7 hours per night were 30 percent more likely to gain 30 pounds over the course of the study.
Another study showed that, compared to women who slept 7 hours per night, women who slept less than 6 hours or more than 9 increased their chances of gaining 11 pounds.
Here are a few of the reasons research has found for this connection:
(1)Sleep duration has an effect on the hormones that stimulate our appetite. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep for even one night can induce insulin resistance, increases levels of the hormones cortisol and ghrelin, both of which increase hunger.
(2) Shortened sleep can decrease levels of leptin. Leptin is the “satiety hormone” that lets our brain know that we have enough fat stored for future use, so we don’t need to eat more or convert food to fat.
(3)Shortened sleep causes the body stress and activates a survival mode with a steady release of the stress hormone cortisol especially during the evening. This causes increased glucose production and increased fat storage.
(4)Not getting enough sleep leaves you tired, often without the energy to exercise or get the movement you otherwise would, which means you burn fewer calories.
(5) Sleep deprived people are awake longer and usually later, giving them more hours to eat when willpower may be at the lowest ebb.
(6) Sleep deprivation moves your body into survival mode, which slows your metabolism to make resources last and encourages fat deposition.
Therefore, sleep deprivation leaves you stressed out and hungry, with less willpower and more hours that you are awake to eat, and with your body getting the signal to continue to eat and convert that food to fat!
Seven to eight hours of sleep are the ideal for most adults. If you sleep less than seven hours one night, try to take a thirty minute nap the next day. Research has shown this may help to reverse some of the hormonal effect of sleep deprivation.
2.Avoid Chronic Stress
Studies have proven that stress not only makes it difficult to lose weight, but actually contributes to weight gain.
A recent study discovered that stressful jobs, along with other demands that increased stress, resulted in higher body mass index (BMI) levels in both genders.
We all know that when we are stressed we reach for comfort foods, choosing the cupcake over the carrot sticks and celery. We’re also usually in a hurry, and tend to look for quick solutions for our hunger rather than planning and preparing a healthy meal.
Our adrenal glands react to stress by secreting cortisol. If we are living in a condition of continual stress, our levels of cortisol become elevated. This increases glucose production and causes the body to break down muscle and store fat. A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found for women, "stress-induced cortisol secretion may contribute to central fat."
This continual cortisol secretion can cause our adrenal glands to burn out from overuse. This causes a lack of cortisol and results in poor sleep, insulin resistance, and thyroid fatigue, all of which contribute to weight gain and prohibit weight loss.
Seek out natural ways to manage the stress in your life. Exercise regularly, employ relaxation techniques, use deep breathing exercises, increase your spiritual and emotional strength through meditation and prayer, and have regular chiropractic adjustments to help your body manage stress more efficiently.
Since your adrenals use more vitamin C than any other organ and stress depletes this vitamin, increase your consumption of vitamin C through foods and supplements.
A recent study discovered links between toxins and fat gain. Symptoms of toxicity mimic some of the symptoms of adrenal malfunction: insulin resistance, hormone imbalance, and thyroid malfunction.
Toxins attach to fat cells and cause them to release a continual stream of Leptin (the satiety hormone). When there is too much Leptin in your system too often, the receptors ignore the message, causing you to never feel satisfied. Toxins also facilitate the release of cytokines that damage the Leptin receptors in the hypothalamus and the brain no longer burns fat for energy.
Eat plenty of protein, good fats, and sulfur-rich foods every day. Make sure you're getting 35 grams of fiber from food and (if necessary) a supplement.
Cut down on your consumption of sugar and processed foods. Buy organic or grow your own vegetables and fruits whenever possible. Drink 64 ounces of water each day to facilitate flushing toxins from your system.
Regular chiropractic adjustments can help the body release toxins. Adjustments also help improve nerve communication and metabolic function, making it easier for the body to process foods and eliminate toxins more efficiently
4. Stay Hydrated
The average adult’s body is about 60% water. The body needs water for almost every function, including metabolism. When you don’t drink enough water each day (64 ounces) your metabolism slows down and your body cannot effectively burn fat as fuel.
Your body produces more cholesterol to prevent water loss and toxins build up in your body as there isn’t sufficient water to flush them out. Cells are depleted of energy and your feel tired (muscles are over 70% water). You also feel hungry, because your body doesn’t distinguish between hunger and thirst, so you eat more, when what your body really craves is water!
Drink water throughout the day. Being fully hydrated will help the muscles to work well and our metabolism to run efficiently. Coffee, soda, tea, packaged fruit juice and alcohol are diuretics, pulling water out of your system, so when you consume them you will need extra water to balance their dehydrating effect. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and before each meal to satisfy your thirst and decrease your hunger.
5. Keep Your Menu Varied
Sometimes when we diet we tend to rely on the same foods day after day, or even several times a day. This type of repetition often exaccerbates food intolerances.
Food intolerances and allergies are immune responses in which the body perceives the food as a threat. Food allergies are usually more obvious because they result in a definitive reaction when you are exposed to even a small amount of the allergen (i.e. severe itching, rash, migraine, or even anaphylactic shock), whereas food intolerances may only become obvious if you are repeatedly exposed to a significant amount of the allergen in a short period of time (such as eating a certain food several times a week).
Food intolerances can result in conditions that make weight loss difficult, including chronic inflammation, bloating, fluid retention, leaky gut syndrome, and irritable bowel.
Common offenders include eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, strawberries, seafood, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, wheat, and artificial sweeteners. If you eat these occasionally, and in small amounts, you may be unaware of your body’s reaction.
Sometimes it’s not the foods themselves that are the culprit, but the chemicals that have been added to them. You may be able to digest beef, but intolerant of the dye added to keep it looking pink on the grocery shelf. You may be fine with lettuce, but not the preservative the restaurant mix has to keep it looking fresh.
Repetition can also be a trigger. Many people find that when they diet, they tend to eat the same foods repeatedly. This can exacerbate latent sensitivities and lead to inflammation, insulin resistance, and leptin resistance, resulting in an inability to lose weight or even a weight gain.
To decrease your chance of developing food intolerances, avoid having the same menu. For example, if you are eating a salad every day, rotate between kale, spinach, and greens.
The best way to determine intolerances is an elimination diet. Eliminate all suspect foods for one week and see if your weight starts dropping. If so, add one item back every few days so that you can discover which one was the trouble maker.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from food intolerances, Dr. Greenwood can help you identify them and identify natural solutions to help your body overcome the conditions resulting from these intolerances
6. Exercise to Burn Calories
A study in the Journal of Obesity found that “the effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat is negligible”, but high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) “significantly lowers insulin resistance”, increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and increases fat loss.
While high intensity aerobic exercises build the heart, they require large amounts of carbohydrates and promote the overproduction of insulin. Because such exercises increases stress on the individual, it increases cortisol levels, which leads to fat storage.
Utilize HIIE exercises, such as burst training, that involve short, intense 30 to 60 second bursts of activity, followed by a few minutes of recovery time. Run up the stairs full speed, then walk quickly down and repeat. Or utilize a hilly terrain. You want to push yourself for a total of four to twelve minutes at your full capacity. As a rule, if you can sustain full speed for more than one minute, you’re not working hard enough.
Although you are increasing cortisol during those bursts, you’re not sustaining the increase over a long period of time. You’re also raising lactic acid, which increases human growth hormone (HGH). Studies have shown that HGH helps reduce fat gain, increases fat burning, and stimulates fat breakdown.
7. Resolve Subluxations
Subluxations are misalignments of spinal vertebrae which impinge nerves and hinder the communications of the nervous system. For the body to work efficiently, the body needs to communicate freely via the nervous system.
Subluxations may also cause pain limiting your range of motion and making exercise difficult or extremely uncomfortable.
Be examined by a chiropractor to determine if you are suffering from a subluxation complex. Chiropractors are the only professionals who have years of training to become experts at correcting subluxations. They will work to correct the subluxations with manual adjustments.
Chiropractic adjustments are helpful in any weight loss program. They improve metabolic function, making your body more efficient in burning calories. Adjustments also help improve flexibility and increase your range of motion, making exercise easier.
Ready to Lose?
If you want help in losing weight, call 417-725-6655 to set up an appointment with Dr. Greenwood. He'll help you determine the weight loss program that’s right for you.
Dr. Hunter Greenwood DC ND MTAA is a chiropractor and naturopathic physician, certified in acupuncture and acupressure, with over 30 years experience locating and treating spinal subluxations. He utilizes the Thompson Pnuematic 440 table, the most advanced adjusting table in the world. This table utilizes air pressure to cushion your body and help the adjustment be more effective, giving you the most comfortable and precise adjustment possible. Dr. Greenwood practices at Chiropractor Plus, 1361 West Mount Vernon Street in Nixa, Missouri.
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