If you're one of the many readers who set their 2020 Vision for health and have been following along in this 8 Weeks series, you should be right about the halfway mark. And starting to see and feel some positive changes in your body. Kinda makes you want to keep going, doesn't it?
So far I've covered how detoxing is a great way to clean out your body's filtering systems – colon, liver, kidneys – and start fresh and clean, working towards achieving your health and weight loss goals. I also explained the importance of choosing clean, single-ingredient foods and eating them in a way that stabilizes blood sugar and why this is so important not only for weight loss, but for overall health as well. If you missed these earlier articles, you can get up to speed by joining my 8 Weeks is All it Takes group on Facebook and watching the weekly videos posted in the announcements section.
Moving on through weeks three and into four, we're going to dive into unpacking the three different body types and identifying which one best describes you. As well, we're going to explore how stress and sleep directly affect your weight and overall health.
When it comes to body type, you'll fall into one of these three categories - ectomorph, endomorph or mesomorph. An ectomorph is someone who can lose weight easily and never seems to gain an ounce. An endomorph is just the opposite, someone who has to work harder to lose weight and can gain it back quite easily. A mesomorph is someone who falls somewhere in the middle and can lose or gain weight just about equally well. And as you may have guessed, everyone's metabolism is different. Think about a bicycle. Ectomorphs are lean and fast, much like a road bike. Mesomorphs are similar to a mountain bike. A bit more resistance than a road bike, but will get to the destination relatively quickly when you ride just a little harder. Endomorphs are like the cruiser bikes. No gears or anything extra to make pedalling easier, but when you put in the effort and stay the course you will get there.
That last bit is important to note. You will get there. Regardless how fast (or not) your metabolism is, or how quickly (or not) you lose weight, if you just keep “riding your bike” and moving forward, you will arrive at your destination and see results.
Body type is only one determining factor in reaching your health and weight loss goals. Stress and sleep carry a lot of weight here too. No pun intended. Let's do a little survey. On a scale of one to 10, if one is nothing and 10 is maxed out, what number would you give your current level of stress? On the same scale, how would you rate the way you've been sleeping? Ideally, you want to be low on the stress and high on the sleep. Unfortunately the opposite is true for most folks.
Stress triggers a chain of reactions that, if not broken, is extremely detrimental to your health. Cortisol is released into the blood stream which causes the body to store belly fat. Blood sugar levels spike resulting in insulin spikes as the pancreas works overtime to try and bring the levels back in line and restore balance. Adrenaline is also released into the body, digestive function is slowed, sleep is compromised and blood flow is diverted away from vital organs to our extremities. Stress, whether real or perceived, equates to danger and these things are set in motion to prepare us to be able to stand and fight or turn and run away. Problem is, stress is not so much situational like when our ancestors had to run from a tiger or fight off attackers. They escape, stress is gone, body goes back to it's original state. Today, most people who describe themselves as being stressed say it's just “there” and they don't see any way to change it. With no escape, the body remains in this heightened state, constantly working overtime.
Lack of sleep also comes with some side effects. Without enough hours of good quality sleep on a regular basis the body cannot properly metabolize the food you give it. So even when you're eating good quality food, you're missing out on some of the nutrients. In addition, the hormones that tell us when we're hungry or full (ghrelin and leptin) become imbalanced with lack of sleep, causing us to make poor food choices. Lack of sleep also lowers immune function, affects moods, concentration, focus, coordination, decreases your productivity, and increases internal inflammation.
So what can a stress-out, sleep deprived endomorph do to lose weight and increase overall health? First, although you can't change your body type per se, any body type can increase metabolism with good quality food and eating to stabilize blood sugar. Truly, you'd be amazed what this can do. Next, set yourself up for a good night's sleep by turning off all screen time 30 - 60 mins before bed. Dim the lights and opt for reading, taking a warm bath, listening to music, etc., to wind down and prepare your body for sleep. And if you have a lot going on in your head, quickly jot down on paper everything running around in there, effectively emptying your mind and allowing you to fall asleep more quickly and have better quality sleep. Finally, identify where your stress is coming from and put it into perspective. We mistakenly think that everything needs to be done yesterday or the world will come to an end. Know your limits, prioritize, and ask yourself, “Will anyone die if I don't ________?” If the answer is “no”, let it go. And to break up stress and allow your body to come back down, get out and run like a tiger really is chasing you. You'll be amazed at how great you feel.
Kelowna Nutritionist STOP dieting, start living! Lose the Bloat, Melt your Belly, Love Your Life!! Last thing, last time, believe it! Sign up to receive my bi-weekly FIT Nutrition blog, and get started today.