Do you feel like you’re constantly chasing weight loss?
Do you struggle to lose weight, despite trying hard to diet and exercise?
Many people strive to lose weight, however, most people don’t know the best way to go about this and end up falling short of their goals.
When it comes to fat loss, most people opt for less calories and more exercise but, there are actually many things that you can do aside from these common practices which are far more important when it comes to losing weight.
As a nutritional scientist, I’d like to tell you about some healthy and effective methods that can enhance weight loss – even while you’re sleeping!
Why You May Not Be Losing Weight?
It’s often forgotten that body fat has to do much more with the health status and biological factors of our body than simply how much exercise we get or how many calories we eat. That’s why we all know that one person who stays effortlessly thin without having to work hard in the gym or on their diet – their biology is just so different.
When it comes to your weight, everything from genetics, bacterial balance, nutrient consumption, and lifestyle factors such as daily stressors are taken into account.
These factors can all work cumulatively to make you feel like your jeans are a little too tight or you just can’t drop to your goal weight – even though you’re dieting and exercising, and feel like you’re doing everything right.
I’m not going to tell you that eating well and exercising isn’t right. It definitely is, but I’d like to discuss fat loss on a much deeper level that you’d typically only hear from a nutritionist.
Optimizing Your Biology
Making sure your body is functioning well can actually make a way bigger difference than calorie reduction or exercise could ever accomplish on their own.
Imagine a car with a busted engine. No matter how much time and money you spend putting fuel into that car, it’s simply never going to run properly.
Your body works the same. Until you focus on how it’s running on the inside, then diet and exercise often won’t be enough to get you the results you’re looking for.
I know this, because I frequently work with clients who have been trying “traditional” ways to lose weight for years, before coming to me and shifting their perspective to be a more scientific one.
Without calorie counting, without carefully-planned small meals, and without spending hours on a treadmill, together we are able to successfully produce weight loss, simply by shifting from an external view, to an internal view.
This may sound complicated, and be a whole different perspective to what you’re used to. But, don’t worry, today you’ve got a scientist on your side and I’d like to show you four quick tips that you can use before bedtime in order to not only enhance your weight loss overall, but to continue burning fat even while you’re sleeping.
Four Tips Before Bedtime For Quick Weight Loss
1. Fast for at Least Three Hours Before Bed – During the night, your immune system goes into a surveillance mode where immune cells are able to circulate the body to check for and repair any damage that is potentially harmful1-3. Unfortunately, this particular process is disrupted by digestion, and in this way, eating before bed hinders your body’s repair and adds biological stress that contributes to excess fat storage. By avoiding food for at least three hours before bedtime, you’ll allow your immune system to get to work on repairing your body and preventing unnecessary weight retention.
2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure – Blue light has shown to interfere with both quality and quantity of sleep, which can be problematic as insufficient sleep has been associated with increased body weight, food cravings and overeating4,5. Try to swap in a good book for watching television or reading online posts. If you’re finding it hard to quit technology entirely in the bedroom, you can download apps that filter out blue light, such as Flux, to reduce the impact on sleep.
3. Avoid Caffeine Entirely Before Bed – It may sound like a no-brainer but, as a stimulant, caffeine isn’t the greatest idea before bed. Many people build a tolerance to caffeine’s effects and feel they can drink it throughout the afternoon or evening without disrupting sleep, however, caffeine consumption has shown in numerous studies to decreases stage 3-4 and EEG slow wave sleep, which are vital for achieving restorative rest6. Caffeine has a half-life of between 3-7 hours, meaning that even if you don’t feel the stimulating effects, there’s still about 50% of the caffeine in your system after this time has passed, leaving you susceptible to sleep disruptions. Remember, many teas and soft drinks also contain caffeine and can, therefore, disrupt sleep, so swap out all caffeinated beverages for water or caffeine-free herbal teas.
4. Keep Simple Carbs to the Evening – Although you may be used to waking up to breakfast cereals and bran muffins, eating foods that contain simple carbohydrates for breakfast causes a blood sugar spike early on. This spike will quickly mess with your body’s blood sugar cycle and set you up for a roller coaster of highs and lows in energy and sugar cravings throughout the day. Of course, it’s best to minimize simple carbohydrates altogether, but if you do plan on eating them, be smart about it. Reserve simple carbohydrates for the last meal of the day before bed, so that your body has the entire night to rebalance blood sugar. In fact, some studies have even shown this method to potentially improve blood sugar control the following day7-9.
There you have it! Four simple tips before bedtime for quick weight loss.
It’s important to recognize that the tips I’ve detailed above actually involve alterations to common daily activities which, most people don’t realize, are actually negatively impacting their health and weight loss goals.
By simply changing these few factors before bed, your body can become a lot healthier and you can start to see improvements in your weight and waistline!
- Lorton D, Lubahn C, Estus C, Millar B, Carter J, Wood C et al. Bidirectional Communication between the Brain and the Immune System: Implications for Physiological Sleep and Disorders with Disrupted Sleep. Neuroimmunomodulation. 2007;13(5-6):357-374.
- Friese R, Diaz-Arrastia R, McBride D, Frankel H, Gentilello L. Quantity and Quality of Sleep in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit: Are Our Patients Sleeping?. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. 2007;63(6):1210-1214.
- Irwin M, Mascovich A, Gillin J, Willoughby R, Pike J, Smith T. Partial sleep deprivation reduces natural killer cell activity in humans. Psychosomatic Medicine. 1996;56(6):493-498.
- Dashti, H., Follis, J., Smith, C., Tanaka, T., Cade, B., & Gottlieb, D. et al. (2014). Habitual sleep duration is associated with BMI and macronutrient intake and may be modified by CLOCK genetic variants.American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 101(1), 135-143.
- Killgore, W., Schwab, Z., Weber, M., Kipman, M., DelDonno, S., Weiner, M., & Rauch, S. (2013). Daytime sleepiness affects prefrontal regulation of food intake. Neuroimage, 71, 216-223.
- Roehrs, T., & Roth, T. (2008). Caffeine: Sleep and daytime sleepiness. Sleep Medicine Reviews,12(2), 153-162.
- Nilsson A, Östman E, Holst J, Björck I. Including Indigestible Carbohydrates in the Evening Meal of Healthy Subjects Improves Glucose Tolerance, Lowers Inflammatory Markers, and Increases Satiety after a Subsequent Standardized Breakfast. The Journal of Nutrition. 2008.
- Nilsson A, Granfeldt Y, Östman E, Preston T, Björck I. Effects of GI and content of indigestible carbohydrates of cereal-based evening meals on glucose tolerance at a subsequent standardised breakfast. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2006;60(9):1092-1099.
- Nilsson A, Ostman E, Knudsen K, Holst J, Bjorck I. A Cereal-Based Evening Meal Rich in Indigestible Carbohydrates Increases Plasma Butyrate the Next Morning. Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140(11):1932-1936.
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