The flights are booked, the hotel reservations made, and you’ve planned the itinerary – or embraced the lack of one! You’re looking forward to the soft sand and blue waves. Except… you’re looking in the mirror and you don’t like what you see. You’ve been working hard and not taking care of yourself, and you’re far from beach body ready. You’re considering a meal-replacement plan or a crash diet to achieve that vacation body, but you remember how miserable and “hangry” you get.
But there are alternatives to unhealthy diets – ways in which you can tone up, while optimizing your health. A standard western diet is unlikely to provide you with all the nutrients you need, often leading to disease, inflammation, and obesity. Why not work towards a longer-term goal and get fitter for life, not just for the beach?
#1 Sleep Well to Lose Weight
Although it sounds counterproductive, making sure you get enough sleep and rest at night can aid in losing weight – now there’s some welcome news! Practicing good sleep hygiene alongside sticking to a healthy diet and keeping active is the key to achieving and staying at a healthy weight. One study demonstrated that individuals who slept for less than seven hours a night were more likely to show a change in weight. And in a sleep-deprivation study, adults gained an average of 1.8 pounds during the study.
But how does sleeping make you lose weight?
When you get enough sleep, your body releases the hormone leptin, which suppresses hunger signals and convinces your brain that your stomach is full. Leptin does this by counteracting the effects of the hormone ghrelin. You may have experienced intense hunger on short sleep – in the case of inadequate sleep, your leptin levels are lowered, and your ghrelin levels are raised – often leading to poor food choices, as your tired brain finds it harder to resist the lure of donuts and sugary coffee!
Often your cortisol levels are raised when you’re sleep deprived, and this hormone is not only responsible for keeping you ready and primed in times of stress, but it can also contribute to hunger pangs. Lack of sleep can also affect your resting metabolic rate – the baseline number of calories you burn. In contrast, a study on athletes shows that increased sleep at night can reduce fatigue and improve endurance and ability!
Finally, poor sleep can increase your insulin resistance, resulting in higher levels of insulin in your bloodstream. Increased insulin in your bloodstream provokes hunger, and signals for calories to be stored as fat.
- We recommend at least seven hours of sleep a night.
- Schedule your evening meal at least four hours before going to bed.
- Ban all electronics from your bedroom – the blue light emitted from modern screens can affect your circadian rhythm.
- Don’t do high impact exercise late at night.
- Cut out caffeine after 4pm.
#2 Calm Your Mind and Lose Stress Weight
While it’s almost a badge of honor in the US workplace to be stressed, periods of intense or long-term stress have a serious effect on your body, including on your weight. While certain stressful situations can cause weight loss, often it contributes to weight gain.
As explained in #1, the cortisol hormone is responsible for keeping you ready to react in times of stress. While high levels of cortisol are useful in the event of real danger, it’s not ideal to have high levels constantly – it affects sleep, increases appetite, and often affects your immune system for the worse. Daily stress exacerbates the production of cortisol, which in turn provokes food cravings and subsequent weight gain.
How do you lose stress weight?
While it may be tempting to hit the treadmill or sign up for an extra spin class, overtraining and high-impact exercise can trigger higher cortisol levels. Instead, consider increasing the range of exercise you undertake, incorporating weight training and yoga into your fitness plan.
Above all, the best way to tackle weight gain related to stress is to reduce your cortisol levels – either by undergoing a large life change (such as changing careers), or using the coping mechanisms listed below.
- Learn to meditate. There are a number of fantastic guided meditation apps out there that can help you relax and embrace mindfulness.
- Drink plenty of water – avoid sugary drinks and caffeine.
- Only do high impact exercise in the morning.
- Try Youper – an AI assistant designed by mental health professionals to relieve stress and anxiety.
- Consider finding a therapist if you’re dealing with long-term stress or other long-standing mental health issues.
#3 Embrace a Low Carb Diet to Keep in Shape
Okay, low-carb diets have had a bad press recently, owing to their perceived difficulty and the idea that they’re fad diets. But the ketogenic and paleo diets are sustainable, in contrast with meal replacement crash diets or severe calorie deficits, provided you change your mindset. You can achieve the beach body you want, while improving your health in the long term.
The Ketogenic diet was designed over a hundred years ago to help children with epilepsy reduce the number of seizures they were experiencing. Though the diet has a host of neurological and physical benefits, one attraction for jaded dieters is the way in which it leaves you feeling fuller for longer. Experienced ketoers are often able to embrace intermittent fasting (IF) – fasting for a number of hours during the day to enhance your metabolism of fat.
In order to follow a ketogenic diet, you need to eat low-carb, medium protein – and high fat. The thought of high fat may put you off – particularly if you’re used to a low-fat diet regimen – but not all fats are created equally. Although hydrogenated fats are bad for you, there are many healthy fats found in real foods such as avocados, olive oil, and salmon. In turn, on the ketogenic diet, you avoid carbohydrates such as grains, potatoes, and processed sugar.
The Paleo diet is based on the premise that humans are not meant to eat so much processed food – and that we’re healthier if we subsist on what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic era. This is a time before farming and industrialization of food, so the diet is focused on vegetables, fruits, grass-fed meats, and nuts – following a pattern of hunter-gathering. On the paleo diet, you avoid dairy, grains, processed sugar and artificial ingredients.
Both diets place an emphasis on real foods, avoiding overly processed ingredients.
- Ditch the processed foods.
- Stop eating grains, pasta, and bread.
- Reduce sugar consumption.
- Introduce highly nutritious vegetables and high-quality natural fats.
- Remember to eat at a calorie deficit. Here’s an excellent Keto calculator to help you figure out your deficit and ratio of protein to fat.
- Don’t punish yourself if you make a mistake – just pick yourself up, and keep going.
#4 Enrich Your Body with Infusion Therapy for Weight Loss
When tackling high levels of stress, a lack of sleep, and a change in diet, we are here to help. At RevIVe Wellness, we offer an assortment of options to help you reach your goal. We utilize a functional medicine approach to reach your ideal body weight, as well as FDA approved weight loss medications and specialized intravenous infusion treatments to boost energy and burn calories. By opting for intravenous vitamins and minerals, you can help your body by taking in a range of nutrients more directly than if you were consuming and digesting them through food or oral supplements
The immediacy of IV infusion therapy combats nutritional deficiencies, enhances your metabolism helping you burn fat, improves sleep, and aids recovery from exercise or stress. We also offer a variety of other infusions, which can help with stress and depression, exercise recovery, periods of sickness, PMS, headaches, and jet lag. We’re here to give you a helping hand in optimizing your health, and giving you confidence on the beach!
If you’re interested in accessing weight loss IV in Chicago, RevIVe Wellness are dedicated to providing intravenous therapy for weight loss. Make an appointment by calling 847-213-0990 or email us at [email protected] We can help you achieve your health goals by supplementing your healthy lifestyle.