People trying to lose weight spend most of their time online searching for the newest workout trends, best eating plans, or even the most effective supplements. STOP the madness, you need a couple more besties that also happen to be health & nutrition experts and personal trainers. Oh! That is us! As your new best friends, let us take the guess work out of your online quest for answers. We know that for a long time diet and regular exercise have been the main focus for people trying to lose weight. Some people even follow weight loss programs that leave their bodies feeling extremely hungry and unsatisfied.
Here at HellaBella, we believe that total health and wellness is not just exercise and nutrition. It is a combination of healthy habits that contribute to your overall mental, emotional and physical well-being. Our Five Pillars of Wellness include sleep, water, stress management, nutrition and exercise. A healthy balance in all of these areas will provide your body with every tool it needs to succeed in the goals you have set for yourself. Think of the Five Pillars literally holding up your house. If one Pillar crumbles, it puts immense stress on the other Pillars and eventually leads to destruction. Not to be dramatic, but they truly do impact one another.
We are going to start with the BIG THREE: sleep, water and stress management. Notice we didn’t start with exercise and nutrition. We will get there, but without aligning these three things first, even the best fitness and healthy diet routines will stall or fail.Researchers have identified these three areas as most important to losing weight.
Let’s look at these a little closer.
- Sleep – According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 35% of people are sleep deprived. Considering that the statistic for obesity also lies at this percentage, it is only wise to read between the lines. According to research that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, sleeping less than eight hours can undo all the benefits you get from dieting. When your body is deprived of sleep, its ability to properly utilize insulin becomes completely disrupted. When this happens, fat cells in your body remove fatty acids and lipids from your blood stream and prevent storage. As you become more insulin resistant, fats begin circulating inside your blood, pumping out more insulin and eventually, this excess insulin ends up building and storing fat in all the wrong places. As if that’s not enough, sleep loss also creates an internal battle that even makes it much harder to lose weight. When you are sleep deprived, you body’s cortisol and ghrelin hormone levels rise. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is normally associated with fat gain. A combination f these two hormones leads to shut down of the brain areas that leave you feeling satisfied after a meal. This means that you start feeling hungry even after having a big meal.
- Water/Dehydration – You have always heard that you should drink up to 9 glasses of water every day. However, unknown to many people the more water you drink the better your chances or losing weight. A study conducted in 2010 by the Virginia Tech reported that obese dieters who were already following a calorie controlled diet and added two glasses of water before each meal lost more weight compared to those who didn’t drink water. When you are drinking several liters of water each day, you have fewer chances of consuming soda, juice, flavored tea, and milk-based coffee, which normally takes the place of water when we are thirsty. In addition, drinking more water, especially ice-cold water, helps you burn more that 400 extra calories every single day! In general, our desire to keep hydrated is normally very weak compared to hunger signals. This is why we always end up grabbing food whenever we feel slightly hungry. Therefore, the next time you start feeling a little hungry, sip some water until you are really hungry for food.
- Stress Management – If you really want to lose weight and avoid weigh gain, one of the best steps you can take is to manage your stress. This is for the simple fact that stress can make your weight loss journey even more difficult. First and foremost, stress causes you to stress eat. This is a type of emotional eating that contributes to consuming excessive calories. In addition, when you are stressed the types of food that you mostly crave are typically high in fat and sugar. Stress also causes your body to produce more cortisol hormones. When stressed, you tend to sleep less, which leads to chronic fatigue and rising levels of the hormone ghrelin. As we mentioned earlier, these two hormones will cause you to feel hungry even when you don’t’ really need to eat.
The connection between sleep, water, stress, and weight loss is very hard to ignore. Our lives are on the go and in demand, which leads to some stress, less sleep, and even forgetting important things like water. However, you can combat these things by practicing yoga, meditation, carrying your water bottle every where, starting your day off with a glass of water, and getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Although this might not seem like much, when practiced consistently, you will see the results!