The concept of losing weight has become an obsession in us all. We are bombarded with images in the media which portray beautiful female and male models. The promotion of these body images creates social pressure that makes us feel insecure about ourselves. So, what is body image? According to Nationaleatingdisorders.org,
“Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:
- What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
- How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight.
- How you sense and control your body as you move. How you physically experience or feel in your body.”
In regards to women, a shocking 5% naturally have the ideal body image that is shown to us on billboards and in TV commercials. On the other hand, 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies in the United States. These issues of self-esteem are known to lead to more serious problems such as depression and anxiety. More so, eating disorders are common in people aged 12 – 25. That age group makes up 95% of those who suffer from eating disorders.
What does this tell us about our expectations? Well, they tend to be a bit too high. It’s a great idea to want to be fit and show off your body at the beach. But, the idea we have in our minds is usually the result of hard work and dedication, aimed towards physical fitness. Not only that, but many of the body images shown to us aren’t even real. They are manipulated using image editing software. Image editors now make their models look less skinny because social pressure also affects them, making them appear unhealthy in images.
Our habits are some of the main reasons why we don’t burn fat at the rate we would like to. It could be that you’re not getting enough sleep or that you’re too stressed. It could also be that you have the wrong ideas about diet and that you don’t exercise enough. In the end, there is a multitude of reasons why we don’t lose weight the way we’d hope.
The first step is motivation. You need to know that being in peak physical form is not an easy task. If you go into it with half-baked goals, you will end up being disappointed with the results. Some people opt for the easy way out and get liposuction. Yet, there are newer technologies such as Coolsculpting which are emerging, making a good name for themselves. Let’s take a look at 4 effective lesser-known ways that can help you achieve your weight loss goals:
- Reduce Stress Levels
On the surface, it doesn’t sound like something a personal trainer would recommend. The concept of relaxing more sounds like it would have the opposite effect on your body. Yet, research has found that lack of sleep and high-stress levels can be detrimental to losing weight.
To fight stress, the body creates a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol also increases the levels of insulin in your body and makes you hungry. That’s where stress eating comes from. The more you stress, the more you end up eating.
Stress eating, or any type of emotional eating, is a trigger that leads to weight gain. the first step is to recognize your triggers and find out when your emotions are making you eat more. Then, you can learn to control them and fight the effects of stress on your body.
- Sleep More
Equally as neglected as reducing stress, proper sleep is often not recommended as one of the key factors in weight loss. Because burning fat is usually thought to go hand-in-hand with high energy exercise like cardio, sleep is written off as a less important strategy. In reality, the truth is quite different.
A study performed by Annals of Internal Medicine aimed at analyzing the link between sleep and weight loss. In the study, 10 healthy adults who were overweight based on their height were monitored in a clinic. During that time, they exercised regularly and were given meals which induced weight loss. They found that those who slept more than 8 hours per day ended up losing more weight than those who slept less than 8 hours a day.
If you neglect sleep, you also end up craving more food. This is because leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that control hunger. Lack of sleep interferes with those hormones. Shape.com states,
“The less leptin you produce, the more your stomach feels empty. The more ghrelin you produce, the more you stimulate hunger while also reducing the number of calories you burn (your metabolism) and increasing the amount fat you store. In other words, you need to control leptin and ghrelin to successfully lose weight, but sleep deprivation makes that nearly impossible.”
Next time you consider skipping a few hours to get some extra work done or watch another episode of your favorite Netflix series, keep in mind that you’re undoing the progress you’ve made.
- Look Into Coolsculpting
This technology is not exactly new, but it’s effective. Coolsculpting freezes the fat cells in your body using a cold suction vacuum. Then, your regular bowel movements expel those fat cells. Some of you reading this might immediately close yourself off to procedures that are not natural. So, why am I mentioning this treatment?
For various reasons. Number one, it’s non-invasive. What that means is, no one sticks a needle in your gut and sucks the fat out like in liposuction. It’s painless, with minimal discomfort due to the cold feeling of the machine. The side effects are practically non-existent, with minor swelling for a short period of time post-treatment.
It is advertised right off the bat as a procedure which works best in those who are looking to improve their current bodies, yet have already taken it upon themselves to diet and exercise. If you are already overweight and are looking for drastic weight loss like that of liposuction, you will end up disappointed.
The effects of Coolsculpting are for perfecting the body you currently have, usually by ridding you of stubborn fat which doesn’t seem to go away. The best part is that professionals and researchers all agree that it works. As long as the conditions of the individual are in accordance with the treatment, you’re clear. Once you have a session, you tend to see results as early as 4 weeks afterward. Again, the difference is not meant to be huge; usually minimizing your belly fat by about 1.5 inches.
When combined with other natural approaches to weight loss, coolsculpting can be very effective.
- Eat More!
At this point, you might be thinking I’m crazy. Well, what I’m telling you now is backed by science. You can indeed eat more to lose weight, it just depends on what you eat. If you walk away after reading this and think that you’ll lose weight by loading up on french fries, you’re wrong.
If you cut back on calorie intake too much, it ends up having negative repercussions. Skipping a meal makes you hungrier and therefore you end up eating more. Furthermore, you will end up losing muscle mass, so in the end, you’ll look skinnier but have the same gut.
If you consume foods which are high in nutrients and low in calories, you fill yourself up with quality foods. This allows you to eat a lot because what you’re eating has good nutrients in it. An example is a food which is rich in protein. Eating lots of protein cuts hunger and boosts your metabolism. Not only that, but your body actually burns fat by digesting protein. People refer to this as the thermic effect. In layman’s terms, the thermic effect of food represents how much energy your body uses to digest and metabolize it.
Another great food to load up on is fiber. Fruits, veggies, nuts, and beans are a source of fiber. High-fiber foods are usually low in calories, which is exactly what you need to eat a lot of to lose weight. Check out some high-fiber diets and their benefits.
In the end, each one of these tips has its own set of benefits. Incorporating more than one at a time in your life could provide the best results. Even though these are lesser known, it’s important to remember to mix them with consistent exercise as well. Remember that getting that toned body takes a lot of time and effort. It’s better to not try and skip any steps and lose weight naturally. You’ll have the best, most long-lasting results.
What other lesser-known tips are you familiar with? Let us know in the comments!
RD Neha Kava
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