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Feb 3

4 Common Roadblocks to Weight Loss Success

Hello Friends! It’s already February. Is your weight loss resolution still going strong? Have things been going the way you hoped? Making long-term lifestyle changes for the purposes of weight loss or general improvements in your overall health requires more than just “eating better” and daily physical activity. If you’ve been struggling the past couple of weeks, read on to find out what other factors may be blocking your path to success.

1. Sleep – Are you getting enough? Chronic levels of sleep deprivation cause the release of cortisol, which among other things, is a fat-storing hormone. Furthermore, research has shown that the biggest spike in plasma levels of growth hormone (a hormone that helps to burn fat) occurs during deep sleep (see ref. 1). A recent sleep study also showed that disrupted sleep patterns are linked to weight gain (see ref. 2).  I know it sounds like a luxury, but the research tells us that you’ll definitely benefit from getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night!

2. Stress – Are you feeling overwhelmed? Emotional stress, physical stress, financial stress, relationship stress – regardless of the origin, the body does not differentiate between sources of stress. They all cause the body to produce cortisol (the same hormone mentioned above), which catabolizes (breaks down) muscle, worsens insulin resistance, and promotes the storage of fat (see ref. 3). Take a step back from your life and take note of your stress levels – they may be holding you back! If that’s the case, it’s time to implement some stress-reduction and/or relaxation techniques to help you cope successfully, rather than at the expense of your health. Try out a yoga class, practice deep breathing techniques, learn how to meditate, take a walk outside or ask about acupuncture for relaxation purposes…do whatever it takes to give your fight-or-flight response system a break.

3. Social support – Do you feel alone on your quest for improved health? Do you have a friend or family member who’s also looking to make some significant lifestyle changes to improve their health? Join forces. You’ll not only have some added support, you’ll also have the motivation of living up to your end of the bargain. When the going gets tough friends, family members, fellow dieters, coaches and healthcare professionals can be a huge asset to help us. By sharing our experiences with others, we can work through problems and find out how others have made it through similar situations and roadblocks.

4. Emotional support – Stop Beating Yourself Up! When phrases of negative self-talk (e.g., I’m such a failure, or I can’t do this) come creeping in, emotional encouragement from the aforementioned social supports can help us keep things in perspective. People in your support system don’t think you’re a horrible person if you happen to eat a cookie or skip a workout. Rather, they know and can assure you that these are the natural and expected ups and downs of weight loss and long-term change. They can also help us understand why we may have indulged more than we should have, and can work with us to create a plan for success next time. Remember, having emotional support and a positive attitude is just as critical to getting the pounds off and keeping them off as diet and exercise. Losing weight and staying healthy is more than a physical change; you have to change the way you think about your new (and improved) life.

Summary – The key to improving health is changing the way we eat, move and think. Getting adequate amounts of sleep, implementing effective stress reduction techniques, finding social support, and embracing a positive mental attitude are not only helpful, but critical steps in making the newly adopted diet and lifestyle changes permanent for you and the people you care about!

If you are interested in getting more information about how to improve sleep, reduce stress, increase relaxation, or would like to book an appointment for a complete nutrition/lifestyle consultation, please contact Dr. Christine Reinhart at Able Body Health Clinic.

References:
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC297368/?tool=pmcentrez
2. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090611071357.htm
3. http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20070702/stress-unlocks-fat-cells-ups-obesity?src=RSS_Public