I recently read an article about “why you may not be losing weight” and it made me think of my own weight loss roller coaster I experienced throughout my 30s. The three points that I truly believe people don’t take into account are: processed foods, workouts, and sleep.
1. Processed Food- Highly processed foods like bagels, chips, pretzels, and baked goods are void of nutrition and full of empty calories. When your body is deprived of nutrients your brain will keep craving food to get your nutrient intake up, no matter how many calories you’ve already consumed. Eating highly nutritious food satisfies your cravings and will keep you fuller longer.
2. Your eating habits cancel out your workouts- If you exercise every day and are still overweight, this is probably the culprit. So many people fall into the trap of thinking, “I worked out today, so I can eat that burger and fries.” A 45 minute moderate workout will burn between 300-600 calories depending on the person and type of exercise, so adding in a 1,500 calorie meal because you worked out that day will only lead to weight gain. In this example, you’re still consuming at least an additional 1000 calories. (FYI: A pound of body fat is roughly equal to 3500 calories. So you’ll want to create a 500-calorie deficit each day to lose about 1 pound per week.) Eating healthy, low glycemic index meals along with exercise will help you meet your weight loss goals.
3. Sleep: please go to sleep- This has been proven many times over. People who sleep less than 8 hours each night tend to weigh more, most likely because lack of sleep causes an imbalance in the two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, that regulate your appetite. Sleep also allows your cells to renew and your body to repair, and gives your mind a much needed rest. Next time you have a sleepless night, notice how hungry you are the next day, as opposed to a day when you had a full night’s sleep. Turn off all electronics and dim the lights an hour before you want to fall asleep to calm your brain and signal to your body that it’s time to turn in.
Our weight and overall health is an accumulation of choices we make every day that add up over the years. Some of them are good, some maybe not so good, and some we don’t even think about at all like sleep. If you replace the bad choices with the good, chances are you will come closer to your weight loss goals more efficiently.
Sarah Kuretzky, MA, CPT, CHHC