1. You Are Stressed
When we’re stressed, we have more cortisol in our bloodstream. This hormone makes your body crave fuel, particularly high-sugar or high-fat foods. “But the emotional impacts of stress plays a role, too,” ex plains Dr Rick Kausman, author of If Not Dieting, Then What? ($25.13, from Books Depository). “We have a finite amount of emotional energy and we find it harder to take care of ourselves. We can fill the gaps in that self-care with non-hungry eating so, for example, we reach for a chocolate biscuit because we’re trying to get some pleasure. But if we do that most of the time it can lead to weight gain,” he says.
What To Do:
When life gets tough you have a certain amount of emotional energy, just as you have a certain amount of physical energy. Have a biscuit and enjoy it, but stop at one. If you can’t face a demanding workout, go for a gentle swim or walk. “Being kinder to yourself helps you listen to your body better,” says Dr Kausman. “So if you’ve been eating more than you need, being kinder and less stressed means you will be able to recognise your body’s signs of fullness sooner and will eat less.”
2. You Are Not Getting Enough Sunshine
A US study found healthy levels of vitamin D could help weight loss. Women with healthy levels who ate a reduced-calorie diet and did 45 minutes of activity five days a week lost an average 8.6 kg in a year. Women on the same diet and exercise regimen who didn’t take vitamin D lost 5.4 kg.
What To Do:
“This study suggests women trying to lose weight may want to have their D levels checked and replenish their vitamin D either through supplements or sun,” says USbased researcher Dr Anne McTiernan. “They could then have their vitamin D rechecked after a few months to make sure it’s risen to a healthy level.”
3. You Expect Too Much Too Soon
Aiming to lose 10 kg in a month, or to shrink from a size 18 to a size 10 for an upcoming wedding is unhelpful – and usually unsuccessful – because quick weight loss involves cutting back dramatically on calories intake. This can leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained. “Unrealistic weight-loss goals can’t be maintained because they involve deprivation,” says Dr Kausman. When we eat less, our metabolism – which helps us burn calories and lose weight – slows down to conserve the smaller amount of foods we are eating. Deprivation also affects us emotionally. You’ll crave foods that you can’t have, setting yourself up to binge.
What To Do:
Don’t focus on a number on the bathroom scales. “Instead focus on looking after yourself and allow weight change to happen as a result,” advises Dr Kausman. “So eat more slowly and mindfully and do things that you enjoy and get you moving. Move away from goals that leave you feeling like you’ve failed.”
4. Your Mobile Phone Is Sabotaging You
Some electronic devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, may boost your appetite. They emit a blue light, and research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says it increases hunger and this can happen within 15 minutes of being around blue light. “A single three-hour exposure to blue-enriched light in the evening acutely impacted hunger and glucose intolerance,” says researcher Ivy Che ung, from Northwestern University in the US. Hunger levels rose and so did glucose intolerance, which can be a precursor to diabetes. Researchers say this may be because blue light alters levels of our sleep hormone, melatonin, which usually rise at night when it is dark. Blue light upsets this balance, which may lead to an increase in hunger and glucose levels.
What To Do:
To avoid hours of blue light exposure while you sleep, make sure your bedroom is free of televisions, mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
Text: Bauer Syndication