In “Weight Loss Tips – Take Care of Your Body (Part One)” you learned about the importance of hydration as it relates to weight loss. We also learned about milk as an ideal drink that can help to increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat as part of a weight training or exercise program. Rather than focus on what you can drink to improve weight loss, Part Two will outline things you can do.
Get Enough Sleep
Most of us take sleep for granted. Because we aren’t conscious when we’re asleep we are ignorant of what’s happening to our bodies and don’t realize the effects of sleep on regulating, regenerating and maintaining good overall health.
Substantial medical evidence suggest that there is a direct relationship between sleep and one’s body weight. Researchers propose that how much and the quality of your sleep may affect hormonal activity tied to your appetite. When you don’t get enough sleep the levels of hormone responsible for making you feel full (Leptin) go down. Lack of sleep also drives the levels of hormone responsible for increasing your appetite (Ghrelin) to go up. The two combined hormonal reactions set the stage for overeating when you are awake.
It doesn’t take a big change in your sleeping habits to turn this around. If you can add a few extra hours per week into your sleep time you may notice a decreased craving for sugary, calorie-dense foods.
Move Around After Every Meal
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends most adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Unfortunately, not all of us can find the time to accomplish this on a consistent basis. If we can’t be consistent, we can’t be successful.
Luckily, you don’t have to run at a 5K pace for those 150 minutes! As long as you elevate your heart rate for at least 10 minutes at a time you are getting cardiovascular benefits. So instead of scheduling 30 minutes of time over five days in the week, set aside 10 minutes after lunch and dinner to get your 150 minutes each week. It could be as easy as walking around the block a few times, getting on your bike and taking the dog for a walk, or rollerblading to the grocery store for a loaf of bread.
You can choose any major meal of the day but I find lunch and dinner to be the most beneficial times in the day to get moving. If you are a morning person you may choose breakfast as a time to add in your 10 minutes. But for most of us, especially those who work in an office environment, moving around for 10 minutes after lunch or mid-afternoon can help with energy levels and productivity before the end of the work day. Dinner is typically when most of us have our heaviest and most significant meal. Getting up and moving can help with digestion and ensuring you are not going to sleep feeling full. As outlined earlier, a good night’s sleep can help with overeating and food cravings that can lead to weight gain.
In addition to exercising your heart and lungs, moving around after a major meal helps with digestion and burns calories.
As you can see, the strategies to take care of your body are small changes that are doable and can be realistically introduced into your daily routine. The changes are small but the benefits are significant!