When it comes to losing weight, what you are eating and how much you are exercising is certainly important; but, our bodies are complex, and numerous factors can affect our weight and how easily we can shed those extra pounds. If you are looking to trim down, it is important to have as many ducks in a row as possible to support your goals and achieve optimal results—remember that seemingly small things can produce big results when you add them together. Here are three important considerations besides diet and exercise.
Finding ways to cope with stress is paramount to successful weight loss. Not only will it put you in a better state of mind, where you care more about your health, feel more optimistic about your weight loss efforts and reduce the incidences of engaging in self-sabotaging behavior, such as emotional eating, but it will also positively impact you on a physical level as well.
When we feel stress, it causes myriad changes in the body that can derail your weight loss efforts, such as promoting fat storage, increasing cravings for unhealthy foods, such as sugar and refined carbohydrates, and increasing appetite. Research has found that high-stress levels have been linked to weight gain, particularly in individuals who are already overweight.
The benefits of sleep are often associated with the brain and cognitive function—getting too little sleep it can impair memory, concentration, alertness, and overall brain function. Over the years, research is finding that it impacts various aspects of our health and body. Strong links have been established between sleep and weight.
Research has linked the amount of sleep with the degree of obesity; it has also found that sleep appears to affect our weight on numerous fronts. Not getting enough shut-eye appears to increase the production of the hormone that stimulates appetite and reduces the production of the hormone that helps register feelings of satiety or being full. It also appears to increase our predilection towards sugary foods and refined carbohydrates—researchers believe this is the brain’s way of getting a quick energy boost that it sorely needs when we do not get enough sleep.
Furthermore, the amount of sleep we get appears to affect how our fat cells function and how our body uses insulin—a hormone that can impact our level of body fat. You should be getting between seven and eight hours of sleep a night.
Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been getting a lot of press in recent years; it appears to impact our health on numerous fronts and low levels have been linked to increased risk of a host of conditions from heart disease to cancer. It seems that a lot of cells are relying on it to do their jobs properly; one study on obese adolescents found a link between vitamin D levels and severity of obesity—the lower the levels, the heavier the child.
Another large-scale study of older women found low vitamin D levels were linked to weight gain over a period of several years. It is unlikely that getting enough vitamin D is some magic weight-loss bullet, but it appears to be one of those ducks mentioned earlier. Vitamin D appears to affect weight in many ways from affecting fact cell functioning to aiding in the production of hormones that burn fat for calories.
Before you start taking supplements, however, it is important to get your levels tested to know how much you need to take. Your current level will be very important in determining how much you need to take to up your levels.