Nutrition and exercise are not the only building blocks when it comes to losing weight quickly and safely. Believe it or not, sleep has a huge influence on how you lose and maintain weight.

Poor sleep has been proven to lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions. 

How does lack of sleep affect me?

Before we talk about how a lack of sleep and affects your weight loss, let us take a moment to discuss how serious sleep deprivation is. Did you know that if you get six hours or less of sleep you triple your risk of having a car accident? 

When you are sleep-deprived you take ‘microsleeps’ where you close your eyes momentarily. The scary thing about this is you may not realise that you fall asleep for a few seconds. You are more distracted when you get inadequate sleep, especially when doing something like driving. Your hand-eye coordination is also poor when it comes to steering. 

Sleep deprivation makes you hungry

Lack of sleep affects your body’s ability to regulate the neurotransmitters that are central to appetite. The neurotransmitter ghrelin promotes hunger, and the neurotransmitter leptin contributes to feeling full. Your body naturally increases and decreases the levels of these neurotransmitters throughout the day when you have enough sleep. 

When you are sleep deprived, these neurotransmitters do not function normally and signal to your brain that you need to consume calories. Studies have also shown that sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to choose foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates

Sleep affects your metabolism

Although sleep cannot increase your metabolism to burn more calories, not getting enough sleep can hamper your metabolism’s ability to function correctly which can lead to weight gain.

Lack of sleep leads to metabolic dysregulation and gets in the way of your body processing insulin properly. When your body doesn’t respond to insulin appropriately, it has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, which means it ends up storing them as fat rather than burning them for fuel.

In addition, too little sleep triggers a cortisol spike in your body. This stress hormone tells your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours. This encourages your body to hang onto fat rather than burn it.

How can I get the best sleep for weight loss?

If you are looking to lose weight quickly and safely, we recommend getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. 

Getting enough sleep in, to complement your weight loss efforts, is simpler than you may think. You can follow these best practices to ensure you get a good night’s sleep every night.

  • The first thing you can do is set a specific bedtime for yourself and stick to it. It is best to go to sleep and wake up at about the same time every day. If the times that you go to sleep and wake up fluctuate, you can wreak havoc on your body and seriously affect the quality of sleep you are getting. 
  • The second thing you can do to get a better night’s sleep is to practice good sleep hygiene. This includes regulating everything you do before going to bed. 
  • Our advice is to abstain from any intake of tobacco, alcohol, and sugar at least two to three hours before going to bed and to stop your caffeine intake around six hours before bed. We also recommend that you refrain from strenuous exercise in the hours leading up to your bedtime. 
  • The last, and possibly the most difficult thing you can do to get better quality sleep, is to ditch technology before bedtime. We advise eliminating all blue light from smartphones, tablets, and computers one to two hours before bed. These technologies signal to your brain that it is time to be awake and stimulated. Cutting out the use of devices before bedtime lets your brain know that it is time to sleep.

For more helpful information and simple tips to lose weight quickly and safely, stay tuned to our blog.

This may be news to some, but preserving muscle mass while losing weight is just as important as any other aspect of your weight loss plan. Why? Because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat at rest. Not to mention, muscle also gives your body shape and functional ability.

Muscle building can support weight loss as muscles are highly metabolically active tissues. The more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate (BMR) will be. A higher BMR means you burn more calories at rest, thanks to your muscle mass.

Why Is Muscle Important?

The loss of muscle mass while losing weight is the quickest way to enter a yoyo weight loss/gain situation. In fact, losing muscle mass can actually be quite dangerous.

If you have too little muscle, you can’t burn enough calories to lose weight. The more muscle you lose, the harder you will have to work to lose weight. You will have to exercise twice as hard to make up for the fact that you don’t have the calorie-burning muscle to help you.

If you want to consistently lose weight and then maintain your goal weight, preserving muscle mass is key.

Protein Intake

The great news is that preserving your muscle throughout the weight-loss process does not mean lifting heavy weights at the gym. A great way to lose weight without compromising your existing muscle mass is to boost your daily protein intake. Increasing your protein intake from the recommended 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight to 1.2 to 2.4 grams per kilogram of body weight can help you retain muscle. In this case, however, it is important that you restrict your calories by about 30% to 40%.

As a macronutrient, when you want to increase your protein intake to maintain your muscle mass, it is essential that you turn to whole food sources first. Only look at protein powders and supplements if you are having trouble meeting your protein intake requirements through the food you eat. Great whole food protein sources include eggs, nuts, beans, Greek yoghurt, seeds, cottage cheese, lentils, meat, and seafood.

When people choose calorie restriction to lose weight, they often cut out the wrong calories. Cutting down on the macronutrient protein is a sure-fire way to lose muscle mass. It is important to cut down on the right calories.

Careful With Cardio

Whilst cardio is a fantastic way to help you lose weight; it can get you into trouble when it comes to maintaining muscle. 

Too much cardio eats away at your muscle, meaning you’ll have to do twice the amount of cardio just to burn calories. 

A far better approach is to mix cardio and strength training together but to do so on separate days. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular way to both build and preserve muscle while getting in enough cardio to shed pounds.

If you would like to learn more about how you can preserve muscle mass while losing weight, contact us.

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about the ever-popular term ‘ketosis’ and the ketogenic diet. 

But what is ketosis? Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that happens inside your body when it does not have enough carbohydrates to burn to produce energy. As a result, the body will burn fat and produce ketones in the blood to use for energy. The process of ketosis can be induced by following a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet, also known as the ketogenic diet.

How does ketosis work?

When you eat fewer carbohydrates, your insulin levels go down, and fatty acids are released from your body’s fat stores in large amounts. A lot of these fatty acids end up in the liver where they are turned into ketones. However, unlike fatty acids, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain as glucose would.

While glucose is preferred in terms of energy for the brain as certain cells can only use glucose for fuel, it is a common misperception that the brain cannot function without dietary carbohydrates. 

The majority of your brain can use ketones for energy when your diet is low in carbohydrates. Interestingly, through a process called gluconeogenesis, your body can make use of protein and other molecules to produce the glucose that the brain needs in order to function during ketosis. In this way, your brain’s energy needs are completely fulfilled.

Can it help me lose weight?

Following the ketogenic diet – which is designed to reach a metabolic state of ketosis within your body – has proven to be effective when it comes to safe and quick weight loss. One specific study found that people who follow a ketogenic diet can lose 2.2 times more weight than people on a low fat or calorie-restricted diet.

Certainly, a large pro that comes with the ketogenic diet is that people tend to feel less hungry as a result of the ketosis process. It also means it becomes less important to count calories. Of course, the biggest benefit offered by the ketogenic diet is rapid weight loss. People often report that once starting the ketosis process, weight loss happens almost immediately in the initial phase once starting the ketosis process.

Does it have any other benefits?

Ketosis is not only great for losing weight safely and quickly, but it also has other positive effects on your body. For one, it can decrease your risk for heart disease. It can also improve insulin sensitivity, particularly in the case of type 2 diabetes.

What is the ketogenic diet?

Generally, in order to reach a state of metabolic ketosis, you would need to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day. However, the exact amount of carbohydrates you should include in your diet to achieve ketosis varies between individuals and can even be as low as 20 grams.

The kinds of carbohydrates you would need to avoid to promote ketosis include grains, legumes, potatoes and fruit. You would also need to cut our candy and sugary drinks.

Your macronutrient goals should be a caloric intake of 70-75% of fat, 15-20% of protein, and 5-10% of your calories should come from carbohydrates.

Before you commit to adopting the ketosis way of life and eating, it is best to check with a doctor or registered dietician that the ketogenic diet is a safe option for you.

To learn more about ketosis and its benefits for safe and quick weight loss as well as a free consultation, contact us.