Sometimes it seems like you just can’t lose weight no matter how healthy your meals are or how intense your workouts. These major obstacles could be holding you back.
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It’s happened to me that I just can’t lose a pound even if I eat healthy food and exercise consistently. Has this happened to you too?
While it’s true that a healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for weight loss, perhaps you’re not considering these other important factors.
Make sure you take them into account!
The Most Devastating Obstacles for Weight Loss
1. Lack of sleep
If don’t get enough sleep, you won’t lose weight. I’m not kidding!
Lack of sleep directly impacts the hormones that control your sensations of hunger and fullness: ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin is the hormone which makes you feel hungry so you know when it’s time to eat. When you don’t get enough sleep, your ghrelin level increases and it makes you want to eat more.
On the other hand, leptin is the hormone which lets you know when you feel full. But guess what? Lack of sleep lowers your leptin level so you never know when you’ve had enough food.
Does getting enough sleep seem more important to you now?
Here are other ways in which lack of sleep keeps from losing weight:
- It spikes cortisol, the stress hormone, which signals your body to conserve energy. In other words, it makes losing fat harder to do.
- It reduces your glucose sensitivity, which makes you prone to getting metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
- It decreases your production of growth hormone, which means you’ll have a harder time losing body fat and you’ll age faster.
- It makes you feel tired, which gives you cravings for high-energy foods. You could end up bingeing on cookies, fries, or ice cream.
- It affects your mental clarity and decision making, so you’ll probably end up thinking cheeseburgers and pizza are a good idea.
Not getting a good night’s sleep is harming you in more ways than you can imagine!
We’re all living in a vortex of stress every single day. There’s work, career, family, and relationships to take care of. But the craziness can take its toll on your health and your weight.
When you’re stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones keep you anxious and alert, ready to take on any situation.
Unfortunately, this makes you crave foods high in fat, sugar, or salt because your body know they trigger pleasure chemicals which relieve anxiety.
But the worst part is that excess cortisol also makes your body conserve energy, and this means it’ll be harder for you to get rid of all the unwanted fat.
You may be on a healthy, rigorous diet, but it makes no difference if you’re also stressed all the time.
Excess cortisol can also increase your glucose level and blood pressure, making you prone to diabetes and heart disease.
And finally, stress makes you feel too tired to go the gym and work out. Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?
How to Beat Lack of Sleep and Stress
Lack of sleep and stress are nothing more than the consequences of a hectic lifestyle. There’s no easy fix, but it’s possible to improve your health with a few simple changes in your daily routine.
In order to sleep better and beat stress, you’ll have to change some of your daily habits. You’ll need to put in the effort, but it’s absolutely worth it!
It might seem counterintuitive to work out when you’re feeling tired, but exercise is the best way to relax and improve your energy levels. Working out decreases stress hormone levels and makes you feel less anxious and relaxed.
You don’t even need that much exercise to feel better. Even a 20-minute walk will do the trick!
Eliminate or cut back on caffeine
I’m aware you might need coffee to function, but that’s just the problem. Too much caffeine also increases your cortisol level, so it’s better to cut back or eliminate it completely.
Caffeine also gives you highs and lows. You might feel more energized at first, but you’ll crash later and feel the need for another fix.
Try to drink no more than two cups of coffee a day, and don’t even think about having an energy drink.
It’s also a good idea to cut back on sugar, alcohol and nicotine. These are stimulants which don’t help you relax or sleep better.
Drinking water is a great way to keep your mind clear and alert. Try to drink 8 glasses of water a day and you’ll notice the difference.
Eat a healthy diet
You shouldn’t rule out healthy food just because lack of sleep and stress are ruining your efforts. It’s still necessary to avoid foods high in fat, sugar, and salt, and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
A healthy, varied diet will keep you from developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies which could alter your hormones. Also, increased fiber intake will improve your digestion and keep your insulin and glucose levels in check.
And don’t forget about eating good fats! You can find these in avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, eggs, and fish.
Try to sit down and eat your meals slowly. If you take at least 20 minutes to eat, you’ll give your body a chance to level your hunger hormones so you’ll feel naturally hungry and full again.
For health’s sake, you should really take 5 to 15 minutes of your time every day to relax.
You can do deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or simply go out and take a walk.
This helps even your stress hormone levels and decreases the negative effects on your body.
Sleep 8 hours every night
Exercise and a healthy diet will help you sleep better at night, but there are other things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
Turn off all your devices at least an hour before bedtime. Instead of checking social media and watching TV, you can read a little.
Working in a closed space all day long will do a number on your internal clock. Try to get outside for at least 30 minutes every day to reset your natural rhythm.
At night, your bedroom should be as dark as possible. Hang heavy curtains or wear a sleep mask.
Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
Beat the Obstacles and Lose Weight
Whenever we think about weight loss, we tend to focus only on eating less and moving more. But forgetting about sleep and relaxation can be a huge mistake.
As you can see, getting enough sleep and beating stress are just as important as working out and eating right. A healthy diet and exercise are no use if you don’t fix your stress level and lack of sleep!
In order to change your hectic lifestyle, you need to build new, healthy habits. This is not always easy, taking small, daily changes can make a huge difference. It’s never too late to start living a healthy life!
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” -Chinese proverb