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Weight-Loss Series Part 4- Could This Be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss?

March 18, 2011

In the last of the 4 part weight loss series comes a very important discussion about common pitfalls that are sure to thwart weight loss efforts.  Now that you’ve created a compelling reason to make a change and get healthier, you’ve cleaned your cupboards out and thrown out all your dead food in exchange for real live whole foods, and you’re moving your body regularly and breaking a serious sweat once in a while, there might be a couple more tweaks we must make so all your hard work will pay off in spades.

1. SLEEP.

A lack of restful sleep is a major sabotage for a ton of folks who are trying to lose weight.  If you aren’t getting at least 7+ hours of uninterrupted sleep every night then the chances are that you are chronically sleep deprived.  The major problem is that studies such as this one show that even 1-2 nights of 5-6 hours of sleep can leave even a healthy individual functioning as a type 2 diabetic! Sleep deprivation leads to insulin resistance and poor sugar clearance that leads directly to weight gain, as well as lowered testosterone (not to mention a ton of other stuff like impaired learning, low energy, lowered immunity, etc). This will kill anyone’s efforts to lose fat, gain muscle, and perform at your best no matter how you eat move and think.  When researchers put test subjects in environments without clocks or windows and ask them to sleep any time they feel tired, 95 percent sleep between seven and eight hours out of every 24. Another 2.5 percent sleep more than eight hours. That means just 2.5 percent of us require less than 7 hours of sleep a night to feel fully rested. That’s 1 out of every 40 people.

Here’s a few tips for a more restful and better night’s sleep:

  • Get to bed on time! This means no later than 10:30 pm.  Your best hours of sleep come before the stroke of midnight since you will get more quality non-REM sleep so your mind and body can recalibrate and recover.
  • Wind down an hour before bed and practice e-fasting.  This means no T.V, internet, or cell phone for at least an hour before you shut it down for the night.  Electronics can disrupt body rhythms and suppress the release of the hormone melatonin, which promotes sleep.
  • Make sure that your room is pitch black when you go to bed.  This is important because whether you know it or not our body is very sensitive to light. We are chronically exposed to light toxicity from being indoors all the time and that can screw up your natural sleep/wake cycle.  It’s a good idea to turn the lights down at night, and when it’s time for bed make sure that there is no light pollution in your room. This includes your cell phone, alarm clock and street-lights. Do yourself a favor and take the TV out of the bedroom, and get yourself some black-out shades. You will instantly have a more restful sleep.

2.    Toxic Chemicals.

Toxic synthetic chemicals are highly fat soluble therefore when the body is exposed to these substances it then gets busy creating fat tissue as a storehouse for those toxins that cannot be processed and eliminated from the body.  This nasty toxic load that is stuffed in our fat tissue screws up our metabolic hormones that regulate our appetite, body temperature, and our ability to burn adipose tissue for fuel.  The following list represents sources that contain the most concentrated amounts of chemical calories:
  • Prescription and OTC medication
  • Heavy metals (polluted farmed fish, water, some vaccines, dental amalgam)
  • Chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides
  • Growth hormones, antibiotics and steroids in industrialized meat, dairy products & poultry
  • Food additives, preservatives and coloring agents
  • Environmental pollution
  • Chemical leaching into foods from packaging materials
  • Artificial sweeteners

By simply eliminating packaged foods, this will prevent you from eating chemicals from packaging, preservatives, and most additives.  Artificial sweeteners happen to be some of the most destructive agents to your body, especially in an individual trying to lose unwanted fat.  Dr. Kratka has a great summary of toxic foods in his top 10 never eat foods.

Check out monteray bay’s pocket guide to find out how to safely choose seafood to avoid excessive amounts of heavy metal consumption.

Other recommendations:

  • wash your produce, and choose organic whenever possible especially with fruits and veggies that you eat the skin
  • choose organic, free range, hormone free, pastured/grass-fed, wild beef, fish, eggs, poultry, turkey, and pork.
  • choose skin care products that are paraben free, and organic.  The rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth then don’t EVER put it on your skin/hair/body!
  • Use glass containers instead of plastic containers for your food

Lastly, talk to your medical doctor who consults you about the medication that you are on about the possibility of getting off of them.  If they do not want to help you get off your meds, then find another doctor who will. 95% of medications that are prescribed today are due to poor lifestyle and are recommended to be taken for LIFE! It is NOT NORMAL to be on a daily medication.  Ask yourself or your medical doctor if the pills that you take are treating your symptoms or are they correcting your problem? There has NEVER been a pill that has been invented that will ever make you healthy, nor will any ever correct your problems that are due to poor eating, lack of exercise, or toxic thoughts.  Drugs sabotage health!

3.    Liquid Food.

Part of the healing process that follows weight loss is returning the normal digestive processes to your body.  The digestive process starts even when you think about food. Enzymes begin to be secreted, hormones are made, motility in your gut fires up etc.  It is a very important process for absorption and break-down of your food.  Some steps are eliminated however when you eat things like shakes or smoothies.  The worst part of it is though that liquid food will spike your blood sugar and insulin more readily than solid food because it is easy to cram a ton of calories in a glass.  In someone who is metabolically normal this is not much of an issue, but this is to be avoided at all cost in someone who is trying to lose weight.  Ditch the shakes,  they are a processed food anyways and sub in some real food.

4.    Starving Yourself

Conventional wisdom says to lose weight “eat less and exercise more”.  So millions of people are starving themselves and running themselves into the ground…..and guess what? They are only getting fatter.  What? How could this be?  Well, our body is perfectly designed to adapt to a calorie deficit or famine. We have protective mechanisms like fat storage to ensure survival when food is scarce.  However, we have no genetic defense against over-eating or calorie excess. Our body stores excess sugar and calories into our fat tissue for a later time, but since we have figured out how to abuse our body’s brilliant design to store energy by exhausting our insulin and hunger hormones, things get screwed up. Once the metabolic damage is done, it becomes difficult to burn fat and thus the crazy eight of up and down weight fluctuations.  The worst part of this is when you do starve yourself and do tons of cardio exercise the weight that comes off is largely muscle rather than fat.  This is a totally unsustainable lifestyle that is sure to lead to mad frustration and yo-yo results. Watch this video to help understand what happens:

Gary Taubes, the author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, showed us that you don’t get fat from eating too much, you eat too much because you’re getting fat.  The only way to break-free of this unhealthy process is to follow the food and exercise recommendations from part 1 and part 2 of this series. This is your path to salvation, sustainable weight-loss, optimal health, and how you can take your life back and start to live the life you are supposed to live.

5.   Goal Setting

In most cases it typically take a while for extra weight to add up and start accumulating in your body.  So, naturally it should take some time to start to come off of your body.  Getting healthier, losing weight, or doing anything sustainably takes time, effort, and above all persistent consistency.  Health and wellness is a meritocracy, and something that takes time and effort.  In other words, just like financial investments, health investments are compounding and ever little bit counts.  It is necessary to set goals for your progress otherwise if you said “I want to lose weight” then even losing 1 lb means that you’ve achieved your goal.  Set SMART goals, and don’t just measure your progress by what the scale says. In fact, throw the damn scale out the window.  The goal is to gain health, not just lose weight.  Set goals that are positive, affirmative and focused on addition such as “I exercise 3 times per week” or “I eat a vegetable at lunch and dinner 3 days per week”.  I love to make rewards for myself too when I’ve achieved a wonderful goal. Choose rewards that are exciting to you and not designed to derail your progress like a Dairy Queen binge! It’s OK to screw up once in a while though, don’t be so hard on yourself if you didn’t achieve all your goals this week.  Get back on track the next week, and set yourself up for success! If you want to eat more veggies then cut up some fresh veggies and put them in the fridge so you’ll be inclined to grab those for a snack. Or put your walking shoes by the front door so you can’t pass them by without reminding yourself to take your 30 minute walk. Lastly, have an accountability partner that knows about your goals and will help you stay on track.  We are so much more likely to follow through with a behavior if we know that there is someone who is counting on you to do it!

Watch this amazing story to help give you some inspiration to go get some! I can’t help but tear up every time I watch it.

There you have it, the ultimate 4 part recipe for success to get healthier and gain some lightness this spring.  I am more than happy to answer any questions for anyone who is having trouble or has specific issues that they need help with. Post your questions in the comment section of any of the 4 parts of the weight loss series and I will do my best to help you.

Your health coach,

Dr. Ryan Hewitt

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