The TWO biggest predictors of weight regain are.....

You likely have heard me say it before…or you've heard it elsewhere…

The two biggest predictors of weight regain are….
excess STRESS & a lack of SLEEP

According to quite a few clinical journal articles and one very profound professional training I attended a couple of years ago - stress and sleep are among the leading causes of weight regain.

In the training I attended, a bariatrician (obesity medicine physician) shared with us that in his practice and in a review of the literature many people fail to cope with stress and struggle with getting enough sleep. This can be due to many varying personal and professional reasons.

High psychological stress and a lack of sleep can stall your weight loss and cause weight regain. In my private practice, these two predictors play out frequently among bariatric patients. However, it's not as simple as that. There are other issues too.

Let me share..

Ultimately, the hormones behind stress and sleep are the cause, but the behavioral indicators are stress and sleep.

See, when your stress levels are raised, your adrenal glands release CORTISOL into your system. Elevated cortisol levels are responsible for lower immune function and bone density, increase in weight gain, increase in blood pressure, can interfere with learning and memory, and can impact cholesterol levels and heart disease.

How does CORTISOL cause weight gain exactly you might ask??

It interferes with your appetite and sends signals to the body to store fat - this is called the glucocorticoid contribution to obesity.

And guess what?? Cortisol is also impacted if you don’t get enough sleep. In many of the articles I’ve read on "how to lower cortisol levels" - they talk about stress reduction in addition to making sure you get enough sleep.

Those who struggle with high stress may also be at risk for not getting enough sleep (insomnia) due to high stress situations.

So, how’s YOUR sleep patterns?

We all know that the generally recommended amount of sleep is approximately 8-hours per night, yet there have been studies that show when you sleep less, you’re actually at an increased risk to eat more too!!

When tired, that 3 o’clock slump can hit you pretty hard, and may end up sending you to the vending machine, eating your friend's gummy bears, stealing some M&Ms off your bosses desk, or at the very least going for a cup of coffee.

And… another recommendation the research suggests, is to stay away from caffeine in the afternoons because guess what???

It can also impact your ability to sleep in the evening, further impacting this cycle.

See, when you don’t get enough sleep, fatigue sets in. You can be irritable, disrupts hormone patterns, and in an attempt to self-regulate, your body changes the way it releases appetite-controlling hormones, and can increase cravings or cause you want to eat to stay awake.

So, now that you know ALL of this.. what can you do about it??

First of all, getting involved in a stress reduction plan is key. Secondly, making sure that part of that stress reduction plan is getting enough sleep.

What is a stress reduction plan??

Simply put, it’s self-care. This journey involves you taking care of you and you getting educated about yourself, your needs and things no one every taught you.

Get back to going to your hospital/local support group (or find one that supports your needs).
Go to therapy - talking it out does amazing things!!
Move your body as exercise is a great way to release stress.
Make sure you’re drinking enough water, and put down the excess caffeine.
Set boundaries and remove yourself toxic situations that involve toxic people.
Take "breathing" breaks.
Journal it out.. Journaling helps you get your emotions out on paper, to release them.
Eat only when hungry (avoid eating when head hungry and get help with emotional eating).

And there are so many more I can name…

There are many ways you can get yourself involved in working on you to help you keep the weight off for good. Stress is a part of life, and learning how to reduce it, deal with it, and process through it are great benefits.

Use these to help you move forward and try one at a time. Monitor your stress levels by keeping a mood journal or diary, and do your best to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

Stay tuned also, as we continue to talk about stress and sleep in the coming weeks…