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  • Dr. Nancy

8 Lifestyle Habits that Help You Lose Weight

Many people go on diets, eat only certain types of food, and exercise. Sometimes you get the results that you want, which is great! Sometimes you don’t, which can be extremely frustrating and demotivating.

This is because there are many things that can impact how much weight you lose – from how stressed out you are to your personal biology. Weight loss actually does involve a lot more than just counting calories and cutting back on certain food groups.

Find your calm.

Your biology, emotions and the environment you live in can impact your body’s ability to regulate your weight. Here are 8 daily habits that can impact your overall health and body weight, as well as helping you reach your goals with a bit more ease!

1. Sleep

Sleep is not a luxury. Rather, it is a necessity. Sleep impacts so many different areas of life.

Your body cannot heal or grow without ample quality and quantity of sleep. Sleep affects all of the organs, tissues and cells of the body. Mental function, digestion, hormonal balance, physical performance and immune system function are all influenced by sleep.

There is strong evidence that insufficient sleep leads to metabolic disruption including insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. It also promotes unhealthy food choices, eating habits and obesity.

Strive for 8 hours of quality sleep every night. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day.

2. Calm Down

Stress is at the root of most disease, including weight gain. Most everyone who is trying to lose weight knows about stress eating. Stress eating is how some people handle their stress.

Chronic stress often triggers eating of comfort foods that are high in fat and sugar. These foods hijack the brain and activate the reward pathway, causing a surge of dopamine and serotonin.

You can have all the willpower in the world. But if the brain reward system is being activated in a way that causes you to have a battle against your willpower, then it can be very difficult for you to control your stress eating.

Meditation can help to calm down the stress response and binaural beats are my favorite option to achieve this result efficiently.

3. Hydrate

Water is really the unsung hero of health and wellness. It is involved directly or indirectly with every cell and function in the body.

Proper hydration helps to improve metabolism and energy production. It is also a critical component for the essential elimination of toxins and waste products.

Drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day can help you to lose weight, as well as a decrease your appetite and food intake.

4. Purify

Something that you may not often think about is the toxicity of your environment– from literal chemicals to emotional toxicity. The chemicals in your cleaning supplies to the formula within your facewash could actually be sabotaging your weight loss.

In this day and age there is no way to ensure that you are breathing clean air, drinking clean water or eating clean food. The cleaning products we use in our homes and our personal care products can also contain chemicals and additives that are easily absorbed through our skin.

Even in the emotional sense, being constantly surrounded by negative people can make it more difficult to lose weight. Constant negative critique or pessimism – from your looks to your hobbies – won’t help you on your weight loss journey.

5. Breathe

Our over-stimulated and stressed out population has become chronic, shallow, mouth breathers. Instead of breathing deep and slow through the nose, driving the diaphragm down into the belly, we breathe more rapid and shallow into the chest through the mouth.

Fast, shallow breathing only brings air into the upper part of the lungs where very little oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange occurs. This communicates a stress response to the brain (see #2 above).

The American Lung Association recommends practicing breathing exercises for 5-10 minutes per day.

6. Keep Moving

Movement, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), is a missing link in weight loss for many. NEAT is the energy expended for everything we do when we’re not sleeping or exercising.

This includes activities like mowing the lawn, walking up a flight of stairs, vacuuming, gardening, golfing and walking the dog. It also includes your daily 10,000 steps!

NEAT has the potential to burn far more calories than the treadmill or exercise bike. So, don’t underestimate the power of movement when it comes to weight loss.

7. Sun

Exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning helps to synchronize your Circadian Rhythm. This syncing solidifies your sleep schedule and resets your stress.

A study from University of Alberta researchers has shown the fat cells that lie just beneath our skin shrink when exposed to sunlight. And sunlight is required to convert cholesterol into vitamin D, which has also been linked to weight loss.

Aim to get 20 minutes of direct morning sunlight.

8. Gratitude

Happiness or unhappiness can make a difference in the amount of weight you can or can’t lose.

A mind that is rooted in shame, worry, fear, self-criticism and guilt creates a brain and nervous system that supports pessimism, worry, anxiety and depression. This neurology holds you hostage and keeps you paralyzed from following through with positive choices by constantly bringing negativity to your awareness.

Relax, this is not a death sentence and you are not doomed to live in negativity forever. In the same way that you can create a brain rooted in pessimism, you can redirect your neurology to support positivity.

Focus on positive feelings and keep a gratitude journal. Gratitude wires your brain for optimism resilience, and self-esteem. You will become deeply rooted in optimism and positivity. And as a bonus, your stress level will decrease.

Weight loss is heavily tied to your daily lifestyle habits. It occurs effortlessly when your body is balanced and optimized. Your metabolism is an adaptive and reactive system that thrives when diet, exercise and hormone balance are aligned. One size doesn't fit everyone.

It is also important to note that what worked for you in your 20’s and 30’s may not work for you in your 40’s and beyond.

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