Are your “healthy” habits causing weight gain?
You may not realize that many of the “go to” activities many of you turn to when you’re feeling fat are actually keeping you from losing weight. Worse, they may even be causing weight gain.
Research shows that certain weight loss strategies tell the adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol is a big problem because it signals our bodies to hold onto fat no matter how we eat or how much we exercise.
How many weight loss sabotaging activities are part of your everyday life? Below, are three common habits that can derail your efforts. Once you know what’s stopping you from losing those extra pounds, we can help you get started on lasting, natural weight loss with new ideas to calm your body’s stress reactions:
3 stress-causing patterns that keep you from losing weight
- Do you make everything a priority – except sleep? The latest science is confirming what we’ve said for years — sleep has a big impact on weight loss efforts. Skimping on sleep burdens your body and quickly leads to chronic stress — which means persistently high levels of cortisol that encourage your body to hold on to every extra ounce of fat.Plus, when you don’t get enough sleep, the body increases levels of the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin, and decreases satiety hormones like leptin that make us feel full. Less sleep also affects insulin regulation and the way we store fat. These hormonal effects have a powerful influence over your ability to lose weight. And when you’re tired, isn’t it likely you’ll grab a “pick me up” full of sugar and caffeine? This produces more stress— and more weight gain.It is recommended that women get seven hours of sleep each night. But with our fast-paced life it’s more and more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. That is why it is recommended that you try Passiflora which is a natural anxiety herb. Cut out all sugar at night and caffeine.
- Are you getting too much exercise? Unlike our emotional self, our physical self doesn’t separate “good” stress from “bad.” Anything that activates our fight or flight response can have stressful effects. One good example is exercise. Even with all of its benefits, excess exercise can cause you to retain weight by putting your body under stress.Thinking that “less is more” when it comes to exercise doesn’t mean you’re not disciplined or not trying as hard as you can. Cutting back to regular— and reasonable, or even gentle — levels of exercise may help stabilize your cortisol levels so you can lose weight.More and more, it is suggest that women re-evaluate vigorous exercise routines. Thirty minutes of exercise a day may be more effective for weight loss than a full hour. New research also supports the idea that exercising less — such as four times a week compared to six — helps burn more calories.
- Are you skipping meals or drastically cutting calories? Eating more to lose weight sounds crazy to most of us. After all, we’ve had it pounded into our heads that it’s all about “calories in, calories out.” Is it any wonder women tend to skip a meal or go an entire day without eating?Unfortunately, during long periods without eating, cortisol is released to mobilize glucose, amino acids and fat to prevent low blood sugar. Doing this on a regular basis keeps both cortisol and insulin high, which means extra sugar gets stored as fat — primarily around the belly.And by not eating, you’re depriving your body of the key nutrients it needs to function. Certain nutrients such as vitamin D, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, l-methylfolate and chromium are important for your body to support weight loss.To avoid unnecessary stress on your body, eat three balanced meals a day, as well as two snacks. Timing is important too: eat breakfast within an hour of waking and dinner at least three hours before bedtime and a nutritious snack at 10 AM and 4 PM. Eating this way can give you more sustained energy throughout the day.
Putting it all together for weight loss
Whether you’re just starting to consider a weight loss plan or frustrated by trying and failing to lose those 10 extra pounds, reducing the amount of stress and especially the amount of cortisol in your body can have a lasting effect on your
Five great secrets for dropping your belly fat
Belly fat is a major concern for women. Not because we all want to have six-pack abs, but because we want to feel good in our clothes, and in our bodies. We don’t want to look pregnant if we aren’t and we don’t want to wear “mom jeans” to cover up the bulge.
But belly fat is persistent for many reasons. Even when we amp up the exercise routine, add more crunches, and limit our calories, it stays with us through it all.
It’s time to revise how you think about belly fat and take a look at the physiology that makes your body prone to maintaining extra padding around the middle. Because once you understand the biology of stubborn belly fat, you can make simple targeted changes in your life and watch it melt away. Since belly fat has been linked to health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, the health benefits of losing it go way beyond having a trim waistline.
Belly fat food & drink to limit or avoid
- Fruit juice
- White bagels and bread
- White crackers
- White pasta and rice
- Sugary treats (even fat-free versions!)
What’s causing your belly fat?
Let’s start by looking at the three most common physiologic causes of stubborn belly fat. All three of these imbalances result in extra padding around the belly — for good reason — and once you remove the physiologic block, the body releases the extra weight.
Insulin resistance: After a few years of eating a high-carb diet (including sugar and alcohol), your cells can reach a state where they no longer respond to insulin. This leads to elevated blood sugar and quick conversion of sugar to fat. The best place to store quickly converted fat? The belly.
Adrenal imbalance: During times of stress, the adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline to mobilize quick energy for a “fight or flight” situation. Yet modern stress rarely requires actual fighting or fleeing so these extra calories end up being stored as belly fat.
Sex hormone imbalance: As early as the age of 35 our estrogen and progesterone levels can begin to fluctuate. And in an effort to preserve fertility for as long as possible, the body hangs on to extra fat in the belly because this fat can make estrogen.
It really seems like your body is working against you, right? But there are solutions that functionally reverse these metabolic challenges.
Our best secrets to cutting belly fat
- Know your carbohydrate limit. We recommend eating 16 grams of carbohydrates at every meal and 7 grams per snack. This means taking a good look at the foods (and drinks!) you consume each day. This reduced carb load will address your insulin resistance almost immediately.Bonus step for the overachievers: exercise in a way the builds muscle. Weight training, yoga, and interval training can build muscle, which is a great way to help insulin do its job.
- Lighten your stress load. We know you’ve heard this advice so many times it’s becoming a cliché, but reducing stress truly lowers cortisol levels and makes a big difference in how fat is deposited in your body.Bonus step for the overachievers: sleep more and spend more time in nature. Sleep is one of the best ways to lower stress and studies show it also helps keep your hunger levels and weight in check.
- Balance your hormones. Hormonal fluctuation is an inevitable part of life, but you can ease the burden on your body by supplementing with hormone-supportive herbs. Try black cohosh, red clover, and kudzu for estrogen imbalances and passionflower, chasteberry, and wild yam for progesterone imbalances.Bonus step for the overachievers: add healthy fats from foods like salmon, walnuts, olive oil and avocado to your diet so your body has the building blocks it needs to make hormones.
- Build healthy gut flora. Recent studies are showing that the bacteria in our guts can play a large role in our weight. Populate your gut with healthy bacteria that can help you digest and metabolize your food by taking a high quality probiotic.Bonus step for the overachievers: eat more fiber. Good bacteria thrive on fibre, while the not-so-good bacteria thrive on refined carbs like sugar.
- Add metabolic boosters. Metabolic boosters can support a healthy metabolism and increase your calorie and fat burning potential. Our new formula M-Boost contains Indian sphaeranthus and mangosteen — both are thought to regulate the accumulation of fat and increase the body’s natural fat burning process. Take a good antioxidantBonus step for the overachievers: Exercise is a great way to boost metabolism, especially if you’re doing it at least four times per week.
Portion of this article was taken from the Medical Journal on Woman’s Health