I hear it all of the time. “I’m eating right, I’m exercising… but the weight isn’t coming off. I don’t know what else to do!”
While important, diet and exercise aren’t everything. Mainstream thinking tells us that if you work-out 1 hour 7 days a week and starve yourself that your dreams of fitting into your favorite jeans will come true. Maintaining that lifestyle takes time and frankly isn’t much fun.
What if I told you that breaking through that weight loss plateau is not only achievable, but can be accomplished without training for a marathon or fasting?
Other lifestyle factors affect your body’s ability to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Try these three secrets so you can stop the frustration with your weight and start living your life feeling beautiful and confident with more time for your hobbies, work and loved ones.
Secret #1: Make sleep a priority
Anything less than 7-8 hours of quality sleep per day wreaks havoc on our metabolism… particularly hormones. Studies show that less sleep increases the hormone that causes hunger. Alternatively, longer, quality sleep activates the hormone that tells you to stop eating. Not getting enough quality sleep might actually be sabotaging your efforts and causing you to gain weight.
How do you get more rest? Create a habit in which you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day… even weekends. Eliminate the TV, phone and computer from the bedroom. Consider making your pets sleep in another room. Try meditation or breathing exercises before bedtime to help quiet the mind.
Bottom line, making sleep a priority results in a happier, leaner you.
Secret #2: Detox
We are bombarded everyday by pollutants in food, household cleaners, medications and the air we breathe. According to recent estimates, 3.93 billion pounds of toxic chemicals have been released into the US environment . Our bodies must break down and eliminate (detoxify) these pollutants to minimize the negative effects.
If toxins accumulate in our tissues, one of the many side effects includes an impaired metabolism. What does this mean? In simple terms… you may not be able to lose weight efficiently and effectively. It might affect the way you sleep or your ability to handle stress.
What can you do to help support your body’s natural detoxifying abilities? In addition to minimizing your exposure to external toxins, such as commercial household cleaners, it is important to eat a ‘whole foods’ diet rich in organic vegetables and fruits and limit processed foods as well as food intolerances to help boost the body’s natural ability to excrete pollutants.
Once detoxification occurs, the body no longer struggles to keep up with the barrage of pollutants and diverts its efforts into a more steady state, allowing it to relax and release excess weight and stress.
Secret #3: De-stress
Stress is good… in small doses. It prepares the body for ‘fight or flight’… it keeps us on our toes. However, many of us live in a constant state of stress. Our stress hormones remain in overdrive.
Stress hormones give us energy to get through a given situation. However, when the hormones don’t shut off, they increase our appetite to ensure we have energy to get through the situation at hand. This coupled with the fact that many of us use food to dull our feelings or sense of anxiety makes it very difficult for the body to release and let go. We have tricked it into ‘thinking’ it needs the energy to survive as well as for comfort. We created a scenario where our body no longer works for us, but rather against us.
Making time for yourself, incorporating regular exercise (i.e. yoga or Pilates), as well identifying potential foods that affect your mood and trigger a stress response are all important strategies to start managing stress and ultimately helping you break through that weight plateau.
In conclusion, think of these secrets as the three legs of stool. All three must be in balance for the stool to function properly. Keep your body in balance by implementing and practicing all three!
 US Environmental Protection Agency. 2010 Toxins Release Inventory National Analysis Summary. Epa.gov Web site. http://www.epa.gov/tri/NationalAnalysis/index.htm.