3 Sneaky Sabotagers to Weight Loss?

With Halloween and the winter holidays right around the corner, we may be setting ourselves up for a crazy battle of temptations and anxiety with food.  Now for some statistics to make it even more real:

Did you know that 100% of the US adult population is projected to be obese within two decades??!!  Not just overweight – obese!  With 2/3 of the U.S. adult population already overweight or obese, the trends are not good. Normal weight people are a minority. Unless current behaviors change dramatically, we are heading for a health catastrophe. Don’t panic … yet!

This crazy fact comes straight from Dr. James Hill, founder of the National Weight Loss Registry, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center located at the University of Colorado Medical Center, and professor of pediatrics and medicine.  When I read this, I thought there is no way those statistics can be right.  I have no plan to be obese in 20 years.

So what can we – you and I – do to reverse that trend and stay at a healthy weight? If you are jumping to the answer of “eat a healthy diet and exercise” you are mostly right. But exercise and diet are not enough. We must also recognize other factors that cause weight gain:

What are those 3 Sneaky Saboteurs that Hinder Losing Weight?

1) Stress

  • Releases cortisol, a hormone that slows your metabolism
  • Increases food cravings, especially of sugary, fatty foods
  • Promotes fat retention, especially in the abdominal area

 

2) Sleep

In the 1970s, U.S. adults averaged 7+ hours per night. We are now down to the low 6s. When we sleep too little (6 hours or fewer) we:

  • are awake longer and often therefore snacking more
  • create an imbalance of appetite-regulating hormones, with the hormone that stimulates hunger pangs taking over
  • are possibly dealing with sleep apnea, which shows a correlation between weight gain and lost, interrupted, or insufficient sleep. The cause and effect are still in question.

 

3) Sugar

  • Our average intake today is 90 pounds per person per year. That is triple the number of sugar pounds consumed 50 years ago.
  • The American Heart Association recommends women ingest no more than 9 teaspoons per day; men are not to exceed 11
  • Current average is about 28 teaspoons per day.

 

What are ways to attack the sneaky saboteurs?

1) Stress

Reduce stress by building in activities or habits that soothe you. Exercise, read a book, take a bath, play with your pet. RELAX ALREADY!

2) Sleep

In the 1970s, U.S. adults averaged 7+ hours per night. We are now down to the low 6s. When we sleep too little (6 hours or fewer) we:

Sleep at least 7 hours per night, preferably 8. More than 8 is not necessarily better though, so don’t feel compelled to snooze 9 or 10 hours. Unless you’re a teen reading this, then 9-10 hours might be a cutback.

3) Sugar

Reduce sugar intake. Focus on ingredient labels to know what sugars are in packaged foods. Worry less about the sugar in fruits or sugar you put in your coffee. Where sugar adds up is as an ingredient in other foods. And it’s cleverly disguised too so check for any words ending in “lose” and starting with “something Latin sounding.” Examples: sucrose, lactose, dextrose.

And feel free to donate your leftover Halloween candy to various groups who will send it overseas to our troops – including our own Doylestown local Jules pizza http://www.julesthincrust.com/.  Take that you sneaky sabotagers!!!

About Barb

After spending many years in corporate human resources and organization development, I put my passion for health and wellness at the center of my professional life and went back to school for a second degree in Kinesiology. In 2008, I became a personal trainer and never looked back!
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