January is the time of year where we’re eager to get our New Year’s Resolutions into motion. If you overindulged this holiday season, you’re likely looking to get your body back on track and feel good again. But before you radically change your lifestyle or turn to a fad diet, there are a few simple shifts you can make to bring your body back into balance.
While exercise, diet, and lifestyle all come into account when it comes to your health, there are a few weight gain culprits you may not have considered:
1. Lack of sleep
Insufficient sleep can cause poor brain function, a weakened immune system, negatively impact mood, and even cause weight gain. When we are sleep-deprived, we often have sugar and carb cravings, and our appetite increases. Sleep-deprivation also heightens anxiety, which can cause you to self-medicate with excess food and indulgences.
To get your sleep rhythm back on track, I recommend limiting your caffeine and sugar intake - when insulin levels are unable to keep up with the amount of sugar in your blood, your sleep becomes disrupted. By eliminating dessert, coffee or alcohol before bed, you can help to lower your blood sugar, and in turn sleep more restfully. It’s also a good idea to limit screen time before bed, as the light emitted from cell phones and computers can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm, or internal ‘clock.’ A few can also help you sleep more restfully, such as magnesium, GABA, 5HTP, passionflower and melatonin.
Stress not only causes our health to deteriorate, it can amplify existing health concerns and even cause weight gain. Stress affects cortisol, the body’s natural ‘fight-or-flight’ hormone. When we’re in a stressed state, our insulin rises, our blood sugar drops, we have cravings and we often overeat. This state of “survival mode” means that burning fat is not top priority, rather the body will conserve it instead leading to that dreaded belly fat. In prolonged times of stress, we can become out of touch with hunger signals and the foods our bodies’ need to function optimally,
Ensure you practice managing your stress with picking up a creative hobby, going to a yoga class, listening to a guided meditation on YouTube or getting regular massages or acupuncture treatments. It’s also a good idea to incorporate