Today’s blog is our third in a 6 part blog about strategies to kick start your weight loss journey.
In part 1, we talked about how our thoughts have a big impact on our health behaviour and your weight loss. You can review three useful mindset-related strategies by reading part 1 (https://unboundedufitness.com/strategies-to-kick-start-your-weight-loss-transformation-today-part-1/)
Check out part 2 to learn more about easy to implement strategies related to your social and physical environment (https://unboundedufitness.com/strategies-to-kick-start-your-weight-loss-transformation-today-part-2).
In today’s blog, we are reviewing our third category of 6:
1 Shift your mindset
2 Create a supportive environment
3 Prioritize Self Care
4 Increase Output
5 Decrease Input
6 Self Monitor/Track Progress
Prioritizing self-care is essential to a successful weight management journey. Sometimes it seems like you are doing everything right but still might not be losing weight. It can seem like a bit of a puzzle. You are eating well. You are moving lots throughout the day. You are drinking lots of water and limited or no sugary drinks. You are sticking to your exercise program. At this point, it is easy to feel extremely frustrated, lost and defeated. It is easy to give up.
If you look a little closer at your life and your behaviour, you will often find that you aren’t practicing self-care. You really aren’t caring for yourself. Maybe you aren’t sleeping. You definitely aren’t managing your stress. And maybe are drinking a little alcohol (or often a lot of alcohol).
To tip the scale in the right direction, it is crucial that you sleep well and manage your stress in healthy ways.
Make Quality Sleep Your Priority
Many of us fail to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night but mounting evidence shows that inadequate sleep can make it difficult to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Too little sleep has been shown to cause changes in hormone balance, metabolism, and appetite regulation that tend to promote weight gain1-3. Aiming for 7‐8 hours of quality sleep each night and finding some time to unwind or relax daily will greatly improve your health and well‐being and will impact your weight loss journey. To help make sleep a priority consider:
- Listening to relaxing music or using an app like Calm to put you in a peaceful state before bed is a great idea. It will clear your head and calm down your whole system.
- Stopping drinking caffeine after noon. Caffeine blocks your “sleep receptors,” and keeps your brain whirling all night long, so kick that afternoon coffee habit to sleep peacefully.
- Not watching TV or using tablets or computers in bed. Sleep experts say that it’s hard to get to sleep if your screens are flashing lights in your face just before bedtime, especially if you’re watching violent or intense programs.
- Sleeping with temperatures between about 65 degrees Fahrenheit/18 degrees Celsius. Experts say that this is about the best temperature to get the deepest sleep.
- Buying the best bed you can afford. A good mattress makes all the difference!
- Going to bed and getting up at a consistent time every day. This takes work and can be frustrating when you first try to implement it. But, it makes all the difference.
Find Healthy Ways to Manage your Stress
There is growing research demonstrating an association between chronic stress and your waistline4-6. An important part of your weight loss transformation will be putting strategies in place to manage your stress. Consider
- Participating in a regular exercise routine, including resistance training, aerobic activity, and other less intense forms of active recovery.
- Meditating for 10 minutes upon awakening.
- Getting outside for some fresh air or a walk/other outdoor activities.
- Reading a book or magazine or listening to an audiobook. This should be something non-work related to take your mind off work-related stress.
- Consider talking to a mental health professional if you are anxious and stressed.
- Visit or talk to friends who lift you up.
- Go for a massage or spa day.
- Have a hot drink like a caffeine-free herbal tea.
There are so many healthy ways to manage stress that are in line with your weight loss goals. These are just a few suggestions to point you in the right direction. Give a few a try.
- Jean-Louis G, Williams NJ, Sarpong D, Pandey A, Youngstedt S, Zizi F, Ogedegbe G. Associations between inadequate sleep and obesity in the US adult population: analysis of the national health interview survey (1977-2009) (2013). BMC Public Health, 29;14:290. doi: 0.1186/1471-2458-14-290.
- Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Role of sleep and sleep loss in hormonal release and metabolism. Endocr Dev. 2010;17:11-21. doi: 10.1159/000262524.
- Yang CL, Schnepp J, Tucker RM. Increased Hunger, Food Cravings, Food Reward, and Portion Size Selection after Sleep Curtailment in Women Without Obesity. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 19;11(3). Doi: 10.3390/nu11030663.
- Roberts C, Troop N, Connan F, Treasure J, Campbell IC. The effects of stress on body weight: biological and psychological predictors of change in BMI. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Dec;15(12):3045-55. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.363
- Chao A, Grilo CM, White MA, Sinha R. Food cravings mediate the relationship between chronic stress and body mass index. J Health Psychol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2018 Oct 14. Published in final edited form as: J Health Psychol. 2015 Jun; 20(6): 721–729. doi [10.1177/1359105315573448]
- Masih T, Dimmock JA, Epel ES, Guelfi KJ. Stress-induced eating and the relaxation response as a potential antidote: A review and hypothesis. Appetite. 2017 Nov 1;118:136-143. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.005. Epub 2017 Aug 5.
Do you have concerns about life being cut short or being made difficult by poor health or disability? Do you struggle with managing your weight? Do you have pain that limits your ability to complete your everyday activities? Dealing with chronic health conditions, pain, or being overweight/obese can be taxing; adding a fitness routine and healthy lifestyle changes to your life may seem impossible. However, we have Kinesiologists and Exercise Physiologists that specialize in working with clients who are challenged with dealing with pain and with chronic diseases, like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, MS, arthritis and obesity; we help individuals with chronic disease safely incorporate exercise and other healthy habits into their lives. We help individuals improve their health and fitness, have more energy, limit their pain, improve their quality of life, take their lives back and have fun doing so.