There is a massive, huge link between weight loss and your body’s healing ability.
We don’t pay enough attention to this aspect of our lives these days because… you know… who has the time for that, right?
We have jobs, kids, household problems, financial problems, relationship issues, so much stuff going on… who’s got the time for “healing”…
However, IF you want to get back in shape and lose weight, a very, VERY important thing to remember is that the recovery aspects of health are just as critical in weight loss as are your diet and exercise.
Of course, your diet, i.e. nutrition is always the most important…
But we would put the lifestyle, recovery aspect as the second most important thing.
And in this topic, that’s exactly what we are going to see…
The first major lifestyle issue is our lack of sleep
Research is showing that people today are sleeping much less as compared to average sleeping time 50 or 100 years ago.
We are sleeping anywhere between 1 to 4 hours less than our previous generations did, and as you are going to see, this has a dramatic and sometimes direct consequences on our health.
The second major lifestyle issue is of course, Stress
Everyday we hear about stress management being important, but hardly anyone practically does anything about it.
But what’s really fascinating here is that these two issues, sleep and stress, both of them arise from having a constant ‘ON’ switch within us.
We are always in an ‘ON’, active mode these days; seldom relaxing or rejuvenating.
And this is slowly degrading our body’s ability to calm down, which directly affects our sleep… which affects almost EVERY aspect of our lives, specifically our… weight!
Yes, this research study has proven that sleep indirectly fuels our obesity problem.
In fact, here are some brain scans of parts of the brain that are activated when people are not sleeping enough versus when they do sleep enough.
See the fourth set of bars in the above picture… the researchers observed that when people aren’t sleeping enough, the part of the brain called the amygdala and other areas of the brain are extremely active.
And here’s what this means and what the implications are.
So, the red box, is the sleep deprived subject, and what the chart is actually showing is subjective hunger rating.
So when people didn’t sleep enough and were sleep deprived, the researchers found that their hunger hormones become deregulated.
So this group of people actually begin overeating by 600, 700 or even 800 calories a day when they weren’t sleeping enough!
That’s because the hunger hormones had gone completely haywire.
They found that the children who slept fewer than 10 and a half hours a night at age 3 – so when they were babies, they had a 45% higher risk of becoming obese by age 7 compared to children who slept more than 12 hours a night.
Meaning, the children that sleep fewer hours as babies, were much more likely to be obese when they are older.
The second study examined 1,037 children from birth until they were 30 years old and they collected information from the parents on the average number of hours their kids slept between the ages of 5 and 11.
What the researchers found is that every one hour reduction in sleep during childhood… was associated with a 50% higher risk of obesity in their 30’s.
So the children who were not sleeping as much when they were only 5 years old or 7 or 9, every hour of reduction in sleep during childhood raised the risk by 50%.
The point here is that science has shown an explicit link, a co-relation between lack of sleep and being overweight.
The exact reasons behind these observations are not clear yet.
Maybe in the future we will get a better idea… but for now, we do know that sleep definitely affects your weight.
And if that wasn’t enough, there are half a dozen other health related side effects of sleep deprivation.
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Diseases
- Skin issues
- And of course, obesity
Now let’s look at depression for a minute.
A study done in the year 2000, (with 10,000 people) concluded that people with insomnia (lack of sleep) were 5 times as likely to develop depression as those without it.
And, in fact, insomnia is one of the first symptoms of depression.
And about skin issues and premature ageing?
One of the things that happens when you don’t sleep enough is that your body releases more Cortisol.
Now we are going to be talking about Cortisol soon because it’s really critical for losing fat and being healthy.
So, when your body releases excess Cortisol, it can actually break down the skin collagen, which is the protein that helps keep your skin smooth and elastic.
Want healthy, glowing skin? Go to bed on time!
Kidding aside, sleep is incomparably, incredibly important.
Now, in the next couple of topics, we are going to talk more about sleep later… and how to sleep like a baby every single night, but for now…
Hammer it in your head that sleep is much more important than we think.
And both these issues, lack of sleep and stress, they are fuelled by our “modern lifestyle”.
Fast, competitive, distracted, with sky high expectations from everyone around us… this is what’s slowly killing us all.
So if you feel like you are spending too much time in the ‘ON’ mode… and not enough time in the ‘OFF’ mode; you are spending too much time working, putting in extra effort and not allowing yourself enough time to recover, that’s the road to these 2 evils.
And that brings us to the second modern killer, Stress.
The problem is that we’ve all heard of Stress before. We know it needs to be managed – stress management is very important.
We should live in the moment and meditate and try and not to get stressed out…
… but we all know that it is significantly hard to do.
Let us just show you what being stressed out chronically, what it exposes you to.
So if you are chronically stressed, even if you are eating right and you are doing everything right, what’s going to happen is you’re your body is going to be releasing insane amounts of Cortisol, fueling your obesity!
And the worst part, most people who “eat right” never think about this, and soon they continue yo-yo dieting, all the while thinking that the “diet was the problem”!
Chronic headaches and migraines are on the rise in startling numbers and stress is linked to not only tension and headaches but even migraines.
We could relate a dozen other health issues in addition to these. GI and digestive problems, heartburn or acid reflux, Alzheimer’s, accelerated ageing, premature death, they are all linked to stress.
Stress = a slow death. Period.
Now, think about a totally opposite environment.
Think about the people you know who are the most happy, they are the most carefree, right.
No, it doesn’t mean you have to stop caring about things or stop taking life seriously.
It just means you have to actively focus on the stress management aspects of your life, getting enough sleep, doing whatever kind of stress management, making sure you spending time laughing more often than being serious.
To summarize the topic, these two facets, stress and lack of sleep internally damage your body, leading to weight gain and chronic diseases.
So now, the big question… how do we really fix these two issues?
And that’s what we are going to see in the next topic…