Are your “healthy” habits causing weight gain?
You may not realize that many of the “go to” activities many of you turn to when
you’re feeling fat are actually keeping you from losing weight. Worse, they may
even be causing weight gain.
Our experience shows that certain weight loss strategies tell the adrenal glands
to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol is a big problem
because it signals our bodies to hold onto fat no matter how we eat or how much
How many weight loss sabotaging activities are part of your everyday life? Below,
Women to Women co-founders Dixie Mills, MD and Marcelle Pick, NP, best-selling author,
identify three common habits that can derail your efforts. Once you know what’s
stopping you from losing those extra pounds, we can help you get started on lasting,
natural weight loss with new ideas to calm your body’s stress reactions:
3 stress-causing patterns that keep you from losing weight
1. Do you make everything a priority – except sleep?
The latest science is confirming what we’ve said for years — sleep has a big impact
on weight loss efforts. Skimping on sleep burdens your body and quickly leads to
chronic stress — which means persistently high levels of cortisol that encourage
your body to hold on to every extra ounce of fat.
Plus, when you don’t get enough sleep, the body increases levels of the “hunger
hormone”, ghrelin, and decreases satiety hormones like leptin
that make us feel full. Less sleep also affects insulin regulation and the way we
store fat. These hormonal effects have a powerful influence over your ability to
lose weight. And when you’re tired, isn’t it likely you’ll grab a “pick me up” full
of sugar and caffeine? This produces more stress— and more weight gain.
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Dr. Mills and Marcelle both recommend that women get seven hours of sleep each night.
But we know that with our fast-paced lives it’s more and more difficult to fall
asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. That’s why we formulated Serinisol
with sleep-promoting minerals, phosphatidylserine and calming passionflower. These
targeted ingredients in Serinisol help lower cortisol levels, promote relaxation
and improve sleep.
2. Are you getting too much exercise? Unlike our
emotional self, our physical self doesn’t separate “good” stress from “bad.” Anything
that activates our fight or flight response can have stressful effects. One good
example is exercise. “Even with all of its benefits, excess exercise can cause you
to retain weight by putting your body under stress,” cautions Marcelle.
Thinking that “less is more” when it comes to exercise doesn’t it mean you’re not
disciplined or not trying as hard as you can. Cutting back to regular— and reasonable,
or even gentle — levels of exercise may help stabilize your cortisol levels so you
can lose weight.
More and more, we suggest that women re-evaluate vigorous exercise routines. Dr.
Mills says “Exercise is still an important component in weight loss — but maybe
not too much exercise.” To answer the question about how much exercise is enough
Dr. Mills notes that thirty minutes of exercise a day may be more effective for
weight loss than a full hour. New research also supports the idea that exercising
less — such as four times a week compared to six — helps burn more calories.
3. Are you skipping meals or drastically cutting calories?
Eating more to lose weight sounds crazy to most of us. After all, we’ve had it pounded
into our heads that it’s all about “calories in, calories out.” Is it any wonder
women tend to skip a meal or go an entire day without eating?
Unfortunately, during long periods without eating, cortisol is released to mobilize
glucose, amino acids and fat to prevent low blood sugar. Doing this on a regular
basis keeps both cortisol and insulin high, which means extra sugar gets stored
as fat — primarily around the belly.
And by not eating, you’re depriving your body of the key nutrients it needs to function.
Certain nutrients such as vitamin D, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, l-methylfolate
and chromium are important for your body to support weight loss.
To avoid unnecessary stress on your body, Marcelle recommends three balanced meals
a day, as well as two snacks. Timing is important too, with Marcelle’s ideal eating
schedule including breakfast within an hour of waking and dinner at least three
hours before bedtime and a nutritious snack at 10 AM and 4 PM. “You’ll notice almost
immediately that eating this way gives you more sustained energy throughout the
day,” says Marcelle.
Whether you’re just starting to consider a weight loss plan or frustrated by trying
and failing to lose those 10 extra pounds, reducing the amount of stress and especially
the amount of cortisol in your body can have a lasting effect on your weight. Our
Personal Program for Weight Loss Resistance
with a focus on restoring adrenal balance supports your body and promotes a healthy
metabolism with the proper nutrients, phytotherapy and guidance for eating real
food. It’s much more effective than attempting to exercise hard every day or cutting
out entire food groups.
We think you’ll be surprised at the results you see from a few simple changes! And,
we’re here to help.
Chaput, J., & Trembly, A. 2012. Adequate sleep to improve the treatment of obesity.
CMAJ, 11;184(18):1975-6. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.120876.
Rosenkilde, M, et al. 2012. Body fat loss and compensatory mechanisms in response
to different doses of aerobic exercise—a randomized controlled trial in overweight
sedentary males. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 303(6):R571-9. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22855277.
Hunter, GR, et. Al. 2013. Combined aerobic/strength training and energy expenditure
in older women. Med Sci Sports Exerc., Abstract http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23377831
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Last Modified Date: 02/27/2013