Weight Loss with HEALTHeME

Weight loss and good health made simple

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stress Less, Sleep More, Lose Weight

Chill out.  Lose weight.
Think getting enough sleep and managing your stress level have nothing to do with weight loss?  Think again. 
 A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity found that being stressed out and sleep deprived may, in fact, prevent you from losing weight.
During the study, 472 obese adults participated in a weight loss program that involved regular exercise, keeping a food journal, counseling sessions, and a healthy diet. At the end of the study, 60% of the participants lost at least 10 lbs. As you might guess, the people who lost weight, followed the diet and exercise programs, kept a food journal, and attended counseling sessions. What you might not guess is that the people who lost weight also got 6-8 hours of sleep each night and kept their stress levels low.
Recent research has found that some people cope with stress by eating, especially eating high fat, sugary foods. Overeating can make people feel good and counter the negative effects of stress. But, overeating also leads to weight gain.
Other studies indicate that when people aren’t getting enough sleep, they eat more calories. These extra calories are a sure way to derail your weight loss efforts! Need more encouragement to get some shut-eye? One study suggests that good, quality sleep may help your body regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and body temperature. 
So, if you want to reach your weight loss goals, you might want to consider things like gentle stretching, yoga, meditation, journaling, dimming the lights before bed, and having a technology cut-off time (a set time to turn off lap-tops, cell phones, and TV's). These simple things won't just help you manage your stress level and sleep better; they will help you live a healthier life.