The answer is yes, IF YOU FOLLOW THESE 10 TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR OVERALL HEALTH (because healthy bodies don't like to carry excess baggage!)
TIP # 1: GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
Studies show that most people need AT LEAST 6.5 but probably closer to 9 hours a night! Curious about just a FEW side effects of sleep deprivation?
- It creates all kinds of stress in the body, and when the body is under stress it needs more fuel...enter the cravings for over-processed foods high in unhealthy fat and simple carbohydrates that create a quick burst of energy (and I’m sure you know what happens next!)
- It also blows your Cortisol through the roof— a hormone triggered by stress that literally creates extra stubborn fat deposits especially around the midsection (the most dangerous body fat of all)…so you basically gain weight even if you exercise well and eat all the right foods.
- It can also change your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which slows down the number of calories you burn even during basic life-sustaining automatic functions like breathing…now you can’t eat as many calories as you used to be able to eat without gaining weight.
- And people who are sleep deprived tend to exercise less because, frankly, they feel yucky! But then the cravings for over-processed foods to keep their energy up kick in again...it’s basically a perfect storm.
- To make matters worse, it also dulls frontal lobe activity in the brain — studies have proven that sleep deprivation does exactly the same thing to your reaction time as consuming alcohol!
- And on top of everything else, the frontal lobe is the section of the brain that regulates impulse control and decision-making....when you're sleep deprived you simply don’t have the mental capacity to make sound decisions
So if you're one of millions of Americans who struggle with this silent BUT HUGE contributing factor to not just weight gain but POOR HEALTH, here are some proven techniques to ensure a better night’s sleep:
- Create a bedtime ritual like meditation, reading, showering, or bathing.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule by waking up and going to bed at the same time.
- Turn the lights off (did you know America's love affair with sleep deprivation began when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb?). Darkness actually causes your body to release melatonin, your natural sleep hormone. Having the lights on suppresses your ability to manufacture this hormone.
- For at least an hour before bedtime, turn off your TV, computer, and cell phone (they stimulated your mind to the point that you simply can't relax!)
- Steer clear of caffeine (chocolate, tea, coffee, soda) after 2PM (did you know caffeine stays in your system for about 6 hours?)
- Avoid alcohol and heavy meals close to bedtime. It's actually harder to fall asleep after a full meal and it can cause reflux, heartburn, and snoring (just to name a few side effects.) And contrary to belief, although alcohol may initially cause you to feel groggy, it digests much the same way as a simple carbohydrate and can also give you a quick burst of energy interrupting your sleep cycle later that night.
Remember that the bedroom should be your favorite safe haven...reserve it for sleep and sex only!