For those of you who haven’t seen my four-part series on Facebook Live on weight loss and why most diets fail, I want to share with you the secret sauce to weight loss that most of us ignore.
When we look at the latest fad diet, there’s a missing ingredient that is vital when addressing weight loss. These fad diets don’t address the bio-individual needs of a person. They set you up to follow a cookie-cutter approach to weight loss, and don’t take into consideration sleep, exercise, planning for the week and food intolerances. Those foods that cause inflammation in the body, when not addressed, will prohibit you from losing weight.
Personally, when I eliminated dairy, gluten, and sugar from my diet, I had more energy, my brain fog went away, and the natural side effect was weight loss. The pounds just melted away. That’s why it’s so important to know your food intolerances and begin a program to remove those foods, to gain optimal health. Then you learn to cook and eat according to what works for your specific needs, and not succumb to following a diet that may be hurting you instead.
The last part of my weight loss series I talked about the “secret sauce” to weight loss, that most people ignore - sleep and exercise. For making this blog post brief, I’m going to address sleep today.
Sleep can make or break your ability to lose weight. Sleep will revitalize your immune system, balance your hormones, rev up your metabolism, so you can burn fat easily, increases your energy during the day, and improves brain function.
So, the question remains - What is the ideal number of hours of sleep?
For most it ranges between 7-9 hours a night. But, with our busy schedules, etc., we’re averaging far less than that. Closer to 5-6 hours a night. Scientific studies show that only one percent of people can function optimally with lower than five hours of sleep.
Not getting enough sleep will dramatically affect your ability to lose weight. Being sluggish, tired and often irritable, causes you to crave sugary foods, salty foods and other processed or fried foods that are bad for you. These foods are not feeding your cells; they’re depleting your cells.
Sleep deprivation raises cortisol, your body’s stress hormone. So, you’re always in that “fight or flight” response mode to things, like heavy traffic, being late for work, etc. Sleep deprived people have a weakened immune system and tend to catch more colds and viruses.
In addition, when you lose sleep, it causes you to want and crave more caffeine and sugar, which adds to the burden of not being able to get a good night’s sleep. It helps in the short run, but then you crash and burn, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
And last, but not least, not getting a good quality sleep increases your Ghrelin Hormone, which is the hunger hormone, causing you to overeat. Then, on the flip side, it decreases your Leptin Hormone, the feel-full hormone, the hormone that tells you that you have had enough to eat, prohibiting you to reach for that second serving.
Does taking sleeping pills such as Ambien help?
Scientific studies have shown that with just six months of taking a narcotic sleeping pill nightly increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 32%. In addition, if taken longer than one-year, that goes up to a whopping 82%! Besides this alarming statistic, sleeping pills don’t offer you good quality sleep. It’s better to try to get some quality sleep without relying on narcotic sleeping pills, which can be addictive. If you must use them, use them sparingly.
What natural remedies can help aid us in getting a good night’s sleep?
First, you want to assess what you might be eating and doing throughout the day. How is your caffeine intake? A cup or two in the morning should be OK, but if you’re relying on it throughout the day, and especially later in the day or at night, that’s going to disrupt your sleep. At night, try an herbal tea instead. Or, there is a product called CALM, a magnesium powder, which you can mix in a glass of water, hot or cold. Magnesium is an essential mineral that supports regular blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is required for producing and storing energy. Magnesium also aids in the relaxation process. You could pour an Epson Salt bath offering a soothing relaxation ritual before going to bed.
There are some natural supplements such as Melatonin, Magnesium, Valerian Root, 5HTP, and Rhodiola. Dr. Danial Amen’s Restful Sleep product, has a combination of the above. Another good product is J.J. Virgin's Sleep Candy.
Disconnect from the computer, television, tablet, cell phone, at least one-half to one-hour before you go to bed. These devices emit light of a blue wavelength, which tricks our brains into thinking that it is daytime. Numerous studies suggest that blue light in the evening disrupts the brain's natural circadian rhythm cycle, our sleep-wake cycle, which are crucial for optimal function of the body.
Bottom line, make sleep your No. 1 priority in your weight loss goals. It promotes a healthy lifestyle, as you gain the energy and endurance to tackle stress better, gain clarity on your why, your intention for wanting to lose weight, and take the necessary steps to understand what your body needs to find health.
Finding My Way Notes of Inspiration, a compilation of quotes and notes of inspiration taken from my first memoir Finding My Way, Facing My Journey With
Courage, is now available on Amazon! This new volume contains a series of quotations from my previous work and words of wisdom for a variety of circumstances. Each page offers advice covering a number of important topics, including keeping your body healthy, taking time to self-nurture, the importance of removing negative energies, and much more. This book encourages you to keep learning and growing. Every setback is just another opportunity in disguise! Take a moment out of your day, sit down, and engage with the advice presented in this book. These small lessons are the perfect encouragement to contemplate your own life and the changes you would like to make. This would make the perfect gift for the holidays!
Contact me for a free Discovery Session to explore how I can support you on your journey towards losing weight, while gaining a healthy lifestyle, and how to become your own health advocate.
To your health and happiness,