That Will Drastically Improve Your Results
Weight loss is an industry. From juice cleanses to slimming amulets, everybody claims to have “the secret” to dropping pounds.
But, if there was a secret shortcut, why are 42.4% of Americans obese?
Whether we like it or not, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re currently on a weight loss journey, it can be frustrating to hear so much contradicting advice.
On top of that, the advice we hear from doctors is often way too vague. Start exercising regularly. Eat more fruits and veggies. Limit your portions. It’s not that those aren’t valid points, but that they’re not specific or actionable.
Here’s the good news:
There are useful science-based “secrets” for losing weight. And you probably haven’t heard most of them!
So, whether you’re just starting your journey, you’ve hit a plateau, or you’re just looking to boost your results, this article is for you. Let’s dive right in!
1. Sleep Comes First
A good night’s sleep is just as important as diet and exercise. Sadly, most of us are happy to sacrifice zzz’s for some extra hours of productivity.
But here’s the kicker:
Sleep deprivation increases obesity risk by 89% in children and 55% in adults.
Here’s how getting less sleep is keeping you from losing weight:
- Sleep deprivation reduces insulin sensitivity. Cells can no longer absorb blood sugar effectively and increases your risk of diabetes and obesity.
- Evening concentrations of stress hormone cortisol increase. This change favors central obesity, which, in turn, is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
- Ghrelin levels go up, which promotes hunger, fat deposition, and growth hormone secretion. Even a single sleepless night can increase ghrelin and feelings of hunger!
- Leptin, which signals energy balance to the brain, decreases. Low leptin levels make it harder to feel full, even after you just had a meal!
These are just some of the neuroendocrine changes that happen when you don’t get enough sleep.
But the quality of sleep matters, too. REM sleep decrease also leads to changes in leptin, cortisol, and growth hormone, as well as to central obesity. So, it’s time to get your sleep schedule back on track!
How To Get Better Sleep
Some strategies to improve sleep quality include:
- Be consistent with your bedtime. Regular bedtimes help your body to regulate sleep-promoting hormones and make it easier to doze off.
- Avoid blue light before bed. The blue light from screens imitates sunlight and tells your brain it’s still light outside. Falling asleep becomes more difficult, and your sleep quality also gets worse.
- Establish a bedtime routine. No matter how small, your nighttime ritual signals to your brain that it’s time to rest. Yoga, stretching, journaling, or reading a few pages of your favorite book are all great options.
- Banish violent content. Remember when you were a kid, and you weren’t allowed scary movies? It’s time to bring that back, at least before bed. Avoid watching the news, too. Negative content only stresses you out and makes both falling and staying asleep harder.
Not only will these tips improve your weight loss results, but they’ll help you feel healthier, happier, and more energized throughout the day!
2. Lift Weights to Prevent Starvation Mode
Don’t be afraid of the weights! They are your best ally against starvation mode.
When you lose weight, your body might react by slowing down metabolism. It happens because your brain actively opposes the loss of fat reserves. Through various hormonal and metabolic changes, your body reduces energy expenditure.
This shift is what we call “starvation mode,” and it means you need much less energy to maintain your weight. Shaving off fat deposits becomes harder, and you hit a plateau. Even worse, it could mean you gain back all the weight you lost!
Weight lifting to the rescue! Resistance training helps you build additional muscle mass, which, in turn, increases your energy expenditure since muscle consumes more calories, even when you’re at rest.
3. Amp Up Your Good Bacteria
It’s no secret that gut health = overall health.
Did you know you’re always communicating with your microbiota? This “crosstalk” promotes metabolic health and prevents obesity. Bacterial dysregulation, on the other hand, can lead to increased fat tissue.
Taking Lactobacillus-containing probiotics has been shown to reduce the body weight, body fat percentage, and body fat mass of overweight volunteers. The probiotic supplement brought about metabolic changes, which translated to losing weight.
But Do I Need to Take a Supplement?
While the research has focused on pro and prebiotic supplements, there are many other ways to balance your gut flora:
- Eat a diverse diet. The microbiota quickly changes when you alter your diet. Consuming different food types (both plant and animal), however, keeps your gut bacteria diverse and healthy.
- Try fermented foods. Fermented products like yogurt, kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut contain Lactobacillus ssp bacteria. People who regularly eat yogurt enjoy balanced gut bacteria, as well as lower levels of inflammation-associated Enterobacteriaceae.
- Don’t forget prebiotics. Prebiotics are foods that your gut bacteria can feed on. This way, they encourage healthy bacterial growth. Even better, prebiotics can reduce obesity risk factors like insulin, cholesterol, and inflammatory proteins.
4. Protein Is Your Best Friend
A lot of weight loss advice focuses on what you shouldn’t eat. But what about what you do want on your platter? Add healthy foods, and you’re less likely to crave fatty/sugary snacks!
Research proves that a high-protein diet:
- Improves appetite control (even when restricting calories)
- Increases satiety
- Cut obsessive thoughts about food.
- Reduces late-night cravings
Aim to get 25% of your daily calories from protein, and you’ll enjoy faster and easier weight loss.
But, make sure a high-protein diet is suitable for you:
Consuming more protein puts a larger acid load on your kidneys, which can increase the risk of stone formation. What is more, the changes in the acid-base balance might increase the risk of bone loss. This is why high-protein isn’t ideal if you have underlying conditions or if you’re over 65.
For an otherwise healthy adult, however, amping up protein helps reduce appetite and calorie intake, speed up metabolism, and keep you satiated for longer!
5. Consider Your Mental Health
One in four people in the world is affected by mental health problems. Disorders like depression, generalized anxiety, and phobias are all associated with weight gain and obesity. Undiagnosed conditions can stomp your motivation and ruin your progress.
Improving mental health, on the other hand, goes hand-in-hand with successful weight loss. A stable mental state is critical for both losing weight and maintenance.
But there is more:
19.9% of Americans fit the criteria for food addiction.
The Yale Food Addiction Scale [YFAS] is similar to the criteria used for substance dependence — tolerance, withdrawal, loss of control. The substance isn’t tobacco or alcohol, though, it’s high-fat/high-sugar foods.
If you’re seriously struggling to control your appetite, you experience binges or suspect another mental health problem; it’s time to talk to a professional.
And, if not, remember to still treat yourself kindly.
Losing weight shouldn’t involve losing your mind!
Weight loss is a life-long health journey. There are no shortcuts to achieve lasting results. But, by focusing on science-backed strategies, you can supercharge your progress and increase the chances of keeping the pounds off!
What is your favorite little-known weight-loss tip? Share it in the comments below!