5 Things I wish I Knew when Starting my Weight loss Journey
Week 3 – Stress Matters
"I'm doing everything correctly, yet I got on the scales yesterday and... nothing."
I think we have all been here. We eat nourishing foods, we exercise, and we stay consistent, yet we cannot seem to lose excess body fat. When you give full effort, you expect consistent results.
Unfortunately, fat loss isn't so linear. Your body is a chemistry lab, not a bank account, and the strictly calories-in-calories-out model is outdated because it fails to account for all the variables that can affect fat loss.
There are several culprits related to stress, which are often overlooked that can prevent fat loss. If you're putting in the hard work and not getting results, consider these three obstacles that could be stalling your progress.
We live in a fast-paced society. Call your best friend and complain about how busy you are and I bet she'll tell you she's busier. Stress can benefit you and even save your life, but what rewards you in the short-term is detrimental over time because you aren’t supposed to always be "on."
In the 1990s, researchers from the Department of Psychology at Yale University discovered that the stress hormone cortisol triggers excessive abdominal fat deposits in both men and women. These findings showed that the secretion of cortisol was associated with both chronic stress and an increase of abdominal belly fat.
A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found for women, "stress-induced cortisol secretion may contribute to central fat and demonstrate a link between psychological stress and risk for disease."
So, find some ways to “turn off”: meditation, breathwork, getting out in nature, spend social time with friends or find a way to add play back into your life.
Take a break. Schedule time for self care. Start with 5 – 10mins a day and make it a habit.
Lack of Sleep
Next week I will address the hormones that become out of whack when you don't get enough uninterrupted, high-quality, restorative sleep. Researchers at the University of Chicago found even with perfect nutrition and exercise, you're at risk for weight gain if you don’t get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep each night.
So, turn off the Netflix a little earlier tonight and get some extra sleep.
Without fail, you're the first one at the gym when it opens (or that just me?) and you hustle for that whole hour. So why can't you lose weight?
Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle and its benefits are well established. But there are some people (ahem) who take their level of fitness to a more extreme level. Intense exercise can leave you in a state of physical exhaustion and if you do this on a regular basis you may be doing more harm than good. There is a fine line between training hard and over training.
When we work out our body releases cortisol and we are under stress. Our body cannot tell the difference between doing a thruster or sprint workout and being chased by a bear. Both are stressful, and we have already touched on what excess cortisol can do to the body. Overtraining can also negatively affect the hypothalamic-pituitary axis which can cause a host of other issues which is a whole separate post just in itself.
So, if you slept poorly, yelled at the kids, fought with your spouse, worked a hectic 10 hour day, skipped lunch and displayed an impressive expression of road rage on your commute home from work, is a high intensity workout really what your body needs at that moment?
Remember, not every day at the gym is a test day and our programming at Madlab reflects that. So, train hard but train smart and maybe skip the post workout 10k run you had planned (or again was that just me?).
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