With the new year approaching I figured it would be the perfect time to arm you with three tips on preventing weight gain in the new year. If you missed out on Part I, click here.
1. You Consume Too Much Processed Food
As a Rokiskyfitness reader you know that exercise, community and sleep play a huge role in body composition. But our nutrition and what we consume is still the most important factor. Granted, if you sleep and exercise well you will be able to get away with a mediocre diet. However, if you don’t sleep well and exercise regularly then you must follow a healthy diet 90 percent of the time i.e 9 out of 10 meals. The best way to eat healthy is through the consumption of nutrient dense food instead of empty calories like processed food. Pasture raised eggs, beef, chicken, turkey and wild caught fish are excellent choices. And of course fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients with minimal calories, including starchy vegetables like potatoes and squash (Read More). In addition to these foods, legumes like lentils and beans are good choices too. When it comes to grains I recommend sprouted grains, oats, rice and quinoa.
There are certain facts we must accept in this life. One of them is that our body isn’t ours, it was given to us. We had no choice in the matter and we can’t go back and change our genetics. Nevertheless, we have the ability to optimize our body and turn a bad situation into a good one. This can only occur if you eat, sleep and move often. Your lifestyle choices will impact your mood, energy and productivity. There is no debating this, if you don’t eat real food, sleep and exercise then you will not be performing at your best. For example, if I don’t get to bed by 9pm or sleep for at least 7.5 hours then I am not at 100 percent the next day. Yes, I am able to do my job and perform, but I know I am not at my best.
In last weeks post I wrote about a study that showed sleep restriction (4 hours a night) promoted weight gain. In the study, the authors hypothesized that the weight gain was due to increased ghrelin levels and late-night eating (1). This study triggered my Alice In Wonderland and sent me down a research rabbit hole. Let’s face it, we are fighting an uphill battle in the obesity fight. As humans we are wired to eat and a lack of sleep is only making that worse. Recent research has shown a correlation between a lack of sleep with increased consumption of sugary, caffeinated beverages (2). In the study, Short and sweet: Associations between self-reported sleep duration and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adults in the United States, they analyzed data from 18,799 adults who self reported sleep durations and completed two 24 hour dietary recalls. Out of the 18,799 adults, 13% slept five hours or less. The group of people who slept five hours or less had a 21% increased in sugary caffeinated beverages. Granted, the lack of sleep could have been a contributor to the increased consumption of caffeinated beverages. And usually most caffeinated beverages contain sugar so that could account for the increased intake. But I don't think that is the reason why. I believe a lack of sleep is rewiring our brain causing us to crave sugary foods and there are studies to back this claim.
In my experience as a trainer I have come to realize that losing weight and getting in shape is very challenging for the everyday person. Especially in America where work comes first and sleep second. We are encouraged to burn the midnight oil and told that that sleep is for the weak. Unfortunately, this couldn’t further from the truth. Lack of sleep is making people weak and fat. .The latest statistics from stateofobesity.org state that 38% of adults are obese and of that percentage, 8% are extremely obese. To put this perspective, 1 in 3 adults are obese. Yes, exercise and diet play a huge role, but they aren’t the only things that matter. After all, sleep determines what we eat and how we perform in the gym. However, we have forgotten how influential sleep can be. But don’t worry, by the end of this post you will know the importance of sleep and how it influences your hunger.
"Be natural and yourself and this glittering flattery will be as the passing breeze of the sea on a warm summer day"- William Sherman, General from the Civil War
Last week I was listening to the School of Greatness Podcast with Lewis Howes and I came across an episode with sports psychologists Dr. Michael Gervais (HERE). The episode covered a range of topics on high performance mindset training. The two talked about the importance of meditation and having a mentor. But the thing that caught my attention the most was when Dr. Gervais talked about the importance of being yourself and how it is the key to a happy life. But he was quick to mention the challenge that comes with it. And I agree, it may sound easy on paper, but being yourself is one of the hardest things to do. It is much easier to be the person that others want you to be. But you must have the courage to go on your own journey and find yourself.
Our ancestors evolved living in tribes and small communities until the creation of cities and modern society. For the last 200,000 to 300,000 years we lived and interacted with others on a daily basis. Our mind and body adapted to learn how to survive in a small community. In tribal life, everyone had a purpose and a job to do. This dependence on someone else wired us to be social and help one another. This behavior trait was advantageous for us back then because it allowed us to survive dire situations. Currently, the need for help from others to survive has greatly been diminished. This has left us clueless, searching for our passion and purpose. The majority of us live alone and can survive in today's world by ourselves. But this environment can also do harm and lead to a lack of purpose due to you not being needed. This lack of purpose and need by others has caused the use of social media to skyrocket.