Are you trying every single approach to manage your weight, but not finding one that works to keep the weight off? Do you find that it’s tough to lose, or that after you lose, the weight just creeps back up? Well, you are definitely not alone. There are tons of products available that are aimed at weight loss, but sometimes, the key is in your lifestyle. Besides knowing the basics of weight management, it is important to know what other factors affect your weight that may be setting you up for an unreasonable struggle with your weight. Here’s a list of 4 key issues that commonly undermine our efforts to control our weight, and what you can do about them.
Healthy eating features a variety of healthy foods. If you are already eating healthfully, keep in mind some of the secret pitfalls:
Whether your diet is wonderful already, or needs some help, there are a few quick guidelines to always follow. Ask your health coach or Dietitian to help find solutions that work for you, and read this article to learn more about dietary habits that help you lose weight.
When you're under stress, you may find it harder to eat healthy. Also, during times of particularly high stress, you may eat in an attempt to fulfill emotional needs — sometimes called stress eating or emotional eating. And you may be especially likely to eat high-calorie foods during times of stress, even when you're not hungry.
To prevent weight gain during stress and reduce the risk of obesity, get a handle on your stress. When you feel less stressed and more in control of your life, you may find it easier to stick to healthy eating and exercise habits.
Stress, alone, can raise stress hormones, offset your body’s natural balance, and make controlling your weight and other health conditions more difficult. Protect your body from the effects of stressors by sleeping and eating well. If you try stress management techniques on your own but they don't seem to be working, consider seeking professional help through psychotherapy or counseling.
Research in adults suggests that, sleeping four hours a night, compared with 10 hours a night, appears to increase our hormones regulating hunger — ghrelin and leptin. These hormones increase our sensation of hunger, and make us less sensitive to the feeling of fullness. In particular, we become more likely to crave higher calorie, high carbohydrate, and more processed foods. Observational studies also suggest a link between sleep restriction and obesity. Other studies have found similar patterns in children and adolescents.
Another contributing factor might be that lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity. So if you are a new parent, or have trouble sleeping at night due to work, a medical condition or lack of routine, then this may make controlling your weight more difficult. You may want to seek help from your provider or a health coach to help with troubleshooting your sleep needs.
How much physical activity you need depends partly on whether you are trying to maintain your weight or lose weight. Walking is often a good way to add more physical activity to your lifestyle if you are not typically active. But if you are already active, then you may need different types of exercise to help you sustain your weight loss.
Having a healthy lifestyle is wonderful for your overall health, but the main habit that helps put everything into place and make your weight goals achievable is your routine. If you have a regular routine for eating at similar times, waking and sleeping at similar times, and daily habits aimed at physical activity and helping you keep stress in-check, then your weight will naturally fall into a maintaining or losing pattern. Gradually, you may still need to adjust your routine to keep losing weight, especially if you hit a weight plateau. Talk to your health coach or Dietitian for ways to get out of a weight plateau.