cortisol

The Toll Stress Can Take on Your Weight

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If you’re anything like me, some days (more like every day!) you find yourself wishing for more hours in the day. Our obligations pull us in 10 directions at once and sometimes it seems like we can’t even catch our breath. While life can often seem overwhelming, managing this daily stress is key to weight management! Studies have shown again and again that chronic stress leads to weight gain and obesity. The science around stress and our bodies can be confusing, so let’s break it down piece by piece: 

Stress causes the body to to produce the hormone cortisol, which plays a big part in blood sugar levels. Cortisol causes the body to become what is known as “insulin resistant,” as well as increases the body’s blood sugar level. When our bodies can’t process insulin, our blood sugar levels are inconsistent. Chronic stress, or stress over a long period of time, can lead to insulin resistance, which can ultimately lead to obesity and diabetes. 

While chronic stress wreaks havoc on our insides, it can also affect how we make our food choices. People who are stressed are much more likely to choose sugary, carb loaded foods than those who manage their stress well. These types of foods have become a coping mechanism for people in times of stress or high-emotions. This over-consumption of sugar and carbohydrates is one of the main contributors of America’s obesity and diabetes rates. When we consume more carbs than we need, our body automatically stores the excess sugar as fat. This sugar consumption runs in a vicious cycle as well: when we consume high-sugar snacks and meals often, our bodies begin to expect and crave them. So your morning pick me up of a latte and a cream cheese covered bagel causes your blood sugar to spike, then dramatically crash, which then leads to a candy bar before lunch, and chips before dinner just to keep from crashing again. 

 

It is VERY difficult to maintain a healthy diet while under chronic stress. So learning how to manage your stress can be a great first step toward getting back on track! If you feel like your stress is never ending, try a few of these tried and true tricks for managing it: 

  • Get 8 hours of sleep each night: getting enough sleep is so important for our bodies. It’s how we recover from a hard workout, recharge for the next day, and keep our metabolisms up. Getting those 8 hours is also critical for managing cortisol levels in the body. Our bodies are much more prepared to handle stress when we’re well rested. 
  • Meditation and deep breathing can do wonders for our stress levels. It may sound silly, but try to sit with both feet on the floor, sit up straight, and close your eyes. Really focus on your breathing and eliminate any thoughts from your mind, good or bad. Spend 5 minutes like this, breathing deeply. Breathing deeply helps slow your heart rate and blood pressure, alleviating the effects of stress. 
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise! Moving our bodies helps produce endorphins, which are basically the opposite of cortisol. Endorphins trigger a feeling of positivity within the body, combatting the effects of stress. Exercise is also great for mood improvement, better sleep, and improves self-confidence. Make sure to set aside some time every day to sweat and get your frustrations out! Making time in your schedule specifically for exercise reduces the chance that you’ll skip your workout, so make sure to plan ahead. 

 

Stress is inevitable – we all live crazy, busy lives and have more obligations than we can keep up with. Learning to manage your stress will have a huge impact on hormone control and your weight!

If you are looking for ways to better manage your stress and increase your weight loss, I CAN HELP!  My online program are designed to make healthy eating simple, taking the stress out healthy eating!  They are designed to increase your energy and improve your sleep therefore reducing stress and they definitely will promote sustainable weight loss!  I would love to work with you to finding and creating a healthy balance in your life!  Check out more info a the link below!

The Impact of Poor Sleep Patterns on Weight Loss

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When people are trying to lose weight they always focus on diet and exercise first for obvious reasons.  Many will work hard to get on track with their food choices and find more time to get in the gym but eventually the results slow down or stop.  There are many other factors that play into successful weight loss and maintenance and sleep happens to be a very big one!   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived.

Not sleeping enough—less than seven hours of sleep per night—can reduce and undo the benefits of dieting, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In the study, dieters were put on different sleep schedules. When their bodies received adequate rest, half of the weight they lost was from fat. However when they cut back on sleep, the amount of fat lost was cut in half—even though they were on the same diet. What’s more, they felt significantly hungrier, were less satisfied after meals, and lacked energy to exercise. Overall, those on a sleep-deprived diet experienced a 55 percent reduction in fat loss compared to their well-rested counterparts.

Within just four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin (the master storage hormone) becomes completely disrupted. In fact, the University of Chicago researchers found that insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30 percent.

Here's why that's bad: When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from your blood stream and prevent storage. When you become more insulin resistant, fats (lipids) circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin. Eventually this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver. And this is exactly how you become fat and suffer from diseases like diabetes.

Many people believe that hunger is related to willpower and learning to control the call of your stomach, but that's incorrect. Hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin is a hormone that is produced in your fat cells. The less leptin you produce, the more your stomach feels empty. The more ghrelin you produce, the more you stimulate hunger while also reducing the amount of calories you burn (your metabolism) and increasing the amount fat you store. In other words, you need to control leptin and ghrelin to successfully lose weight, but sleep deprivation makes that nearly impossible. Research found that sleeping less than six hours triggers the area of your brain that increases your need for food while also depressing leptin and stimulating ghrelin.

If that’s not enough, the scientists discovered exactly how sleep loss creates an internal battle that makes it nearly impossible to lose weight. When you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise. This is the stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain. Cortisol also activates reward centers in your brain that make you want food. At the same time, the loss of sleep causes your body to produce more ghrelin. A combination of high ghrelin and cortisol shut down the areas of your brain that leave you feeling satisfied after a meal, meaning you feel hungry all the time—even if you just ate a big meal.

The bottom line: Not enough sleep means you’re always hungry, reaching for bigger portions, and desiring every type of food that is bad for you—and you don’t have the proper brain functioning to tell yourself, “No!”

The connection between sleep and weight gain is hard to ignore. Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who are sleep deprived are a third more likely to gain 33 pounds over the next 16 years than those who receive just seven hours of sleep per night. And with all of the connections to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and cognitive failure, the need to sleep goes far beyond just looking better and seeing results from your diet and exercise efforts.

While there’s no hard number that applies to all people, a good rule of thumb is to receive between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, and to make sure that one poor night of sleep isn’t followed up with a few more. It might not seem like much, but it could make all the difference and mean more than any other health decision you make.

So if you are ready to finally get back on track with weight loss, diet, exercise and SLEEP and most importantly learn to keep it off forever then join us for our next 6 week online program below!  I promise you will not regret it!  Click below for more details.