We are fat, and getting fatter. Just look around at the supermarket, at the food court in the mall, at your partner or kids, or, gasp, in the mirror. And, once again, we’ve made a New Year’s resolution to finally lose that excess poundage.
Chances are, we also know what will happen. We’ll diet valiantly for a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months. Then will come a birthday party, or a super-stressed day, or one of those moments, and there goes another year’s resolution down the drain.
So what’s the solution? How will you find a way to get healthy and fit, this time for real? By doing what works for you!
Here are 5 very common sense approaches for tackling this weighty situation:
1. Get enough sleep. This may surprise you, but it’s almost impossible to lose weight if you are even five or ten percent sleep deprived. If you don’t get a full night’s rest, your fat cells make less leptin, the hormone that signals to the brain that you have sufficient energy reserves and therefore don’t need food. Too little leptin, and you get the message it’s time to refill the tank. At the same time, the stomach produces too much ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. Just what you needed, right?
There’s a simple way to know if you’re getting enough sleep: can you wake up on time without your alarm clock? Keep going to bed ten minutes earlier each night until you can. To help get to sleep, remember to turn off all electronic devices an hour before bed time – that means the TV, computer, tablet, iPod, smart phone – and make sure your bedroom is dark, so get a mask that really blocks any light. Once you start to get the amount of sleep that your body needs, your weight will start to drop off.
2. Get enough sunlight. Everyone is so scared about skin cancer that when they do go outside, they’re covered in clothing and/or slathered in sun block, so no one is really getting enough Vitamin D, which produces the serotonin that makes us feel happy. Unhappy people eat more. Try to get twenty minutes of sun in the early morning or late afternoon, with as much exposed skin as possible, without sun block. If you live somewhere that gets little sun, especially in winter, you can get a light box, use full spectrum light bulbs, and (Grandma was right) take your cod liver oil (or Vitamin D3 supplements).
3. Learn how to deal with stress. What are you doing to bring balance into your life? Do you ever really relax with friends and/or family? Are you getting 30 minutes of exercise a day? It will definitely help with your weight.
Nearly everyone these days has overworked adrenal glands. When the adrenals are responding to chronic stress, they secrete too much cortisol (the “stress hormone”). It works like this: stress makes you crave comfort foods, let’s say ice cream, which provides a temporary lift in mood by increasing blood sugar and serotonin levels. But a few hours later, your insulin levels soar, causing blood sugar levels to plunge. Your body increases cortisol production to keep up the blood sugar levels in the brain, which requires another cycle of self-medication. The caffeine in soft drinks, coffee, tea, and chocolate, and smoking, all increase stress in the body, lower blood sugar, and make you hungry, because cortisol increases your appetite. Here’s the worst part, cortisol deposits fat around your waist, and abdominal fat is strongly correlated with cardiovascular disease, like heart attacks and stroke. My best advice for lowering your stress level is to learn to meditate. If you do not know how, I suggest finding and downloading guided meditations online.
4. Double the number of meals you eat! Sounds crazy, right? But if you take the food you usually eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and split your normal portion for each meal in two, you wind up eating a little protein every few hours. A steady supply of protein helps you stop exhausting your adrenal glands and your pancreas, which is trying to produce insulin for those big carb meals we love to eat. By the way, it’s best to eat carbs (preferably the whole grain variety) at breakfast and lunch – always with some protein.
5. The heart of the problem: your emotions. A large chunk of the weight loss dilemma is emotional eating. Before you plunge into that bowl of chocolate crunch, ask yourself: Are you hungry? Are you depressed or anxious? Can you address your emotions in a more appropriate way? Dealing with repressed emotions, especially traumatic experiences we have buried, needs some deep inner work. Find a therapist or teacher who can help you uncover the hidden reasons you can’t lose weight.
Put a little attention on these five easy steps and you will lose weight easily, once and for all!
These tips were written by Deborah King, a true idle of mine! She is a spiritual teacher, master healer, and New York Times bestselling author of Be Your Own Shaman, takes you on a one-of-a-kind journey into the powerful esoteric world of healing. Her first best-seller, Truth Heals: What You Hide Can Hurt You, explores the relationship between the suppression of painful emotions and their impact on health and happiness. Check her out! You won’t regret it 🙂