Stress, Sleep Predict Weight Loss Success

Woman on ScaleGetting six to eight hours of sleep a night and managing your stress can double your chances of winning at losing, according to new research published today in the International Journal of Obesity.

Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research enrolled nearly 500 overweight men and women to a 26-week diet and lifestyle intervention program (see program elements below).  The average weight loss on the study was 14 pounds and 60% lost least 10 pounds.

When the researchers looked at reported levels of stress and sleep patterns, they found striking differences in weight loss.  Those who had the least stress and sleep 6-8 hours a night were twice as likely to lose at least 10 pounds compared to subjects who had the most stress and reported being sleep-deprived.

“If you want to lose weight, get adequate sleep and try to reduce stress by not packing too much into your day, making time for exercise and trying other mind-body techniques to relax. Chronic stress causes neuroendocrine changes that shift to increases in visceral fat storage and subsequent health risks for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Charles Elder, MD, MPH., lead researcher and head of the Integrative Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore

We’ve written several articles recently about the sleep: weight connection but being sleep-deprived and living with high levels of stress is a real diet double-whammy. That’s because both lack of sleep and stress activate neurological and metabolic pathways that result in increased cravings,  appetite and metabolic shifts that leads to higher blood sugar levels and increased storage of body fat.

What you can do now?

One of the best things you can do for to manage your weight is learn to say No. It’s probably the single-best tip we can encourage and once you do that, your stress will decrease and you’ll have time to get more zzzs.

Six Steps to Win @ Losing

* Eat 500 fewer calorie per day to lose  ½ to 1 pound per week.

* Eat a healthy, low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

* Exercise at moderate intensity most days.

* Add time time little by little until you are exercising 30–60 min every day and at least 180 minutes per week.

* Record everything you eat and drink and minutes of exercise every day.

* Set short-term goals and create action plans to reach your goals.


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