Paying Fitness Forward

with Raeanne Sisson

Paying Fitness Forward - with Raeanne Sisson

Sleep + Stress = Fat (or Loss)

Picture credit: http://elitechoice.org/2008/11/18/sleep-like-a-baby-in-an-egg/

 

Is your lack of sleep making you fat? Is your stress level making you fat? There are numerous scientific studies out there showing that this may very well be the case. I have a number of friends who “go, go, go” and as natural care givers they don’t put themselves first. Most of these people are women, and I want for them to be healthy, fit and happy! But there may be two components that are being overlooked in their efforts… SLEEP and STRESS.

 

In all of the readings I have done, I have seen a lot about hormones and hormonal effects of weightloss. If you read the Metabolic Effect Diet or the Paleo Solution, you will see where they mention hormones (not just cortisol either, but a LOT of different hormones play a role).

A quote from metabolic effect’s blog:

 Hormones determine how much and what type of calories will be burned. Most people’s bodies are programmed to burn sugar and conserve fat. This is an ancient survival mechanism that evolved to help our ancestors survive periods of famine. For almost all of human existence food was not guaranteed and those who were able to conserve fat easily fared better. However, there are and always have been environmental signals that told the body to burn fat. Light and sleep are the major determinants.

Just to test this out, and as a firm believer in getting enough sleep, I have been sleeping 7-8 hours each night for the last 2-3 weeks and guess what? STEADY LOSSES!!! This all DESPITE the fact that I may have over indulged here or there, and my ratios of nutrients are way different than ever before which also may be helping.

Take a peek:

 

And this week’s nutrient ratios:

HERE is an article I read today about an actual study that was done on a group of individuals and the roles that certain lifestyles took in weight loss. And find below the tidbit I found most interesting:

The study involved two phases: during the first phase, participants were asked to lose at least 10 pounds over six months. If they succeeded, they moved to the second year-long phase of the study, which tested a complementary acupressure technique against more traditional weight-maintenance strategies. Findings from phase two are not yet available.

During the study’s first phase, all participants attended weekly meetings at which they were weighed and advised to reduce calorie intake by 500 calories per day, adopt a low-fat, low-sugar diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, increase physical activity to 180 minutes a week, and keep daily food records. People who kept more food records and attended more meetings were more likely to lose weight during this phase of the trial.

Participants also were asked to report levels of insomnia, stress and depression, and to record how much time they slept and spent watching television or using a computer. The research team found that sleep and stress levels were good predictors of weight loss, but depression and screen time were not.

People with the lowest stress levels who also got more than six hours, but not more than eight hours, of sleep were most likely to lose at least 10 pounds. In fact, nearly three-quarters of this group moved on to the second phase of the trial, and were twice as likely to be successful as those who reported the highest stress levels and got six or fewer hours of sleep per night.

Participants who qualified for the second phase were divided into two groups: one received monthly guided instruction in the Tapas Acupressure Technique, which involves lightly touching specific pressure points on the face and back of the head while focusing on a problem (i.e., maintaining weight loss). The other group also met monthly with a trained interventionist and a support group, but used more traditional nutrition and exercise techniques to keep weight off. Both groups met for six months and then were followed for another six months to see which group kept more weight off. Results of that phase of the trial should be available in late 2011 or early 2012

More reading on sleep & weightloss:

http://www.metaboliceffect.com/topic/37-nutrition-lifestyle.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain

http://robbwolf.com/2010/12/31/easy-ways-to-be-a-sleep-viking-in-2011/

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