Join Betsy’s this summer on a weight loss journey with our six-part series, The Best Summer Weight Loss Guide. In Part Four, we look at some of the small changes in your daily lifestyle choices that may help you meet your weight goals even sooner–and keep the weight off!
Simple lifestyle shifts
Cater your workout: Are you hitting the treadmill but not dropping pounds? Beware: Too much cardio can spike muscle-eating stress hormones, like cortisol, and hinder thyroid hormones, leading to fatigue and slowed metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories at rest), says naturopath Natasha Turner, ND, author of The Hormone Diet (Rodale, 2009). Plus, long, moderate-intensity aerobic workouts tend to lower levels of the satiating hormone leptin, making you ravenous afterward, says Jade Teta, ND. In contrast, both experts say, strength training along with short, intense cardio sessions stimulates fat-burning hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone, bolstering metabolism. Try 30- to 45-minute workouts three times weekly, combining intervals (cardio bursts punctuated by brief rests) and strength training. On “off” days, walk for 30 to 60 minute.
More Zs < lbs
The less you sleep, the more you may weigh. Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found that regular sleep loss is linked to elevated amounts of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers appetite, and reduced leptin, a hormone that tells your body when it’s full. The study showed that just five hours of sleep—well below the recommended standard of eight hours—is associated with a higher body mass index. And the benefits don’t end there. Deep slumber also boosts melatonin and stimulates growth hormones, which help skin, bone and muscle regeneration and cut down belly fat. The prescription to a great night’s sleep: no fewer than seven hours nightly in a pitch-black room between 68 to 70 degrees. Can’t get to sleep? GABA, magnesium and melatonin supplements can help.
A fat that burns calories?
It may sound … unsightly … but the key to burning calories and even losing weight might be something called brown fat. Unlike white fat cells, which store calories, the brown stuff burns energy and produces heat. Research published in 2012 showed that a hormone (irisin) released in response to exercise can turn white fat cells into brown fat. And now, researchers are finding that spending time in the cold can activate brown fat and even cause new cells to grow. How? Feeling cold activates the brown fat, and it then fuels itself in part by taking fat from the rest of the body. How cool.
Beef up your self-talk
When you are trying to change bad habits or make changes in diet or lifestyle, experts agree that the way you talk to yourself about these changes can make a big difference in your chances for success. Instead of telling yourself, “I can’t,” try using the phrase, “I don’t.” Surprisingly, studies show that people who say “I don’t eat sugar,” have greater success at avoiding this pound-packing substance than those who tell themselves, “I can’t have sugar.”
See how empowering “I don’t” becomes the next time you have decided to give up something or begin something for your better health. Think, “I don’t skip workouts,” as opposed to “I can’t skip my workout.”
At Betsy’s, our mission is to help you meet your health goals by always taking your health and your budget to heart®. We look forward to working with you this summer to make your weight management goals a reality. See you soon.
Read Part 5: Conquer Belly Fat
Article copyright 2017 by Delicious Living and Sabinsa Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider about any health concerns and before beginning a diet or exercise plan, especially if you take medications or have a known medical condition. For example, anti-anxiety medications may be contraindicated with GABA or supplements that support relaxation/sleep.