Tight deadlines, bills, your kids—whatever your source of stress, having too much of it may make it harder for you to drop unwanted pounds, especially from your middle. And it's not just because you tend to reach for high-fat, high-calorie fare when you're stressed, though that's part of it. It's also due to the stress hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of fat your body clings to and enlarge your fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more visceral fat.
Want to burn more fat? Sleep more because the impact of sleep on weight loss is significant. The importance of sound sleep is the #1 non-negotiable – it is the time your body requires to heal, rest and power up for the next day. By not getting enough sleep, you are putting stress on your body and increase the hormones that make you even more tired – which leads your body to STORE fat instead of burn fat! Besides feeling excessively tired, lack of sound sleep also spurs bad carb cravings and caffeine which can become a vicious cycle that millions of people are currently stuck in. Tips: Stop all technology at least 30 minutes before bed, invest in a great bed/pillow, use blackout curtains and try doing something calm and restful before bed like reading. Sip on some sleepy time or chamomile tea 60 minutes before bed for the calming effects of the herbs.
Fighting constantly with your S.O.? It’s time to address your issues head-on. "Research has shown that cortisol, the hormone that's released during stressful activity, is linked to fat storage,” says Gina Guddet, couples counselor and co-author of Love Metabolism. “And poor communication between couples is the most common type of stress that you tend to experience."
Have you ever decided to skip a meal to cut back on your daily calorie count? Despite saving a few calories in the moment, this strategy almost always backfires. When you skip breakfast, or any meal, you'll begin to experience excessive hunger that can lead to craving unhealthy foods—and lots of them. You may also eat faster than you normally do after skipping a meal, causing you to miss the warning signs that you're full and resulting in overeating.
Real talk: It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain. "Do what you like because it’s good for you," Dr. Seltzer says, noting the way exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.
I am the woman who has struggled with weight since College. I am the woman who has never felt comfortable in a pair of jeans. I am the woman who gained 20 pounds my first year of marriage. After seeing pictures of our first Christmas together I decided to join a gym and eat low carb. I lost the 20 pounds and then got pregnant with our first little boy. I am the woman who gained 58 pounds during BOTH of my pregnancies. I am the woman who struggled through fad diets, running, starving myself and never seeing any benefit from it. In January, my family moved from South Carolina to Knoxville, TN. We left our support system, our church, our friends, and our family. My second little boys first birthday was quickly approaching and I had not lost but 10 pounds of baby weight. I was tired, lonely, and well.....depressed. I followed Amanda on Instagram for at least a year thinking how amazing she was, but, I could never look like that, Right? WRONG! After my little boy turned 1 in April, I took the plunge and signed up for my first round of FWTFL. I was determined to do whatever I needed to do to be healthy for my boys, my husband, and for myself! I did sprints with the stroller parked under trees, I planned workouts during nap time, I preplanned my macros and my meals. Honestly - It was the EASIEST program I had ever been a part of! I learned so much about myself. I am a STRONG momma. I am a HAPPY momma! But, most of all, I am a HEALTHY momma! I have lost a total of 30 pounds and 35.2 inches! I have learned so much about my body and health, and I can't wait to see how far I go! I LOVE the FWTFL lifestyle!
Cut back on carbs: Remember how insulin has the biggest impact on fat storage? Well, carbs have the biggest impact on insulin. ”Too many carbohydrates leads to a spike in the hormone and then to more fat storage,” Seedman explains. Not only should you cut back on carbs, but your insulin will spike even more from processed ones, so cut any carb that’s not a whole grain or from real produce completely. And don’t worry: Carbs are traditionally thought of as your body’s main source of energy, but your body also has the ability to fuel from fat, so if you’re increasing your fat and protein intake, your body doesn’t need as many carbs to run. You still need some amount of carbohydrates to regulate certain biological processes, like your muscles’ ability to stay hydrated and maintain structural integrity, so don’t cut the macronutrient completely, Seedman warns. For a high-fat, low-carb diet, aim for at least .5 of your bodyweight (so a 200 lb person would eat at least 100 grams of carbs per day), he suggests. For a more balanced calorie-restricted diet, that number jumps to .75 to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Do more HIIT: High intensity interval training (HIIT) is as close to a magic pill as we have (except it involves a whole lot more work than just swallowing a capsule—sorry). Not only does it surge your body to max intensity during the workout, but because you’re working so hard, your body can’t deliver enough oxygen in the moment, explains personal trainer Jeremey DuVall. Your muscles accumulate a “debt” of oxygen that then has to be repaid post-workout. This throws your body into a phase of fat burning for hours after you’re done sweating, known as post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. Plus, super intense circuits like this activate muscle-building hormones like growth hormone and IGF-1, he adds.