Things have been pretty exciting for me lately! I was interviewed for a segment on the Today Show that aired yesterday about why some people gain weight or don’t lose weight after starting to use a fitness tracker! I was particularly excited about this segment, because it emphasized why calories are only one factor when it comes to weight loss. I often see people counting calories in an effort to lose weight, but it’s important to consider diet quality and these other specific factors:
1. Sugar and carbohydrate intake: When we eat excess sugar and carbohydrates, it raises blood sugar and insulin levels. Elevated insulin levels can lead to increased fat storage making weight loss more difficult. Start by eliminating sugar sweetened beverages, and limiting desserts as first steps in this area. Then examine your intake of breads, pasta, and cereals as these often not only are high in carbohydrates, but in the case of cereals and breads, have added sugar as well.
2. Sleep: Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to increased appetite, increased carbohydrate and calorie consumption, and weight gain. It’s also that much harder to make good food decisions when you’re sleep-deprived. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep. More can be even better if that’s what you need to feel rested.
3. Stress: Chronic stress leads to elevated levels of a hormone called cortisol that facilitates the storage of belly fat and makes it harder to lose weight. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are all good ways to help manage stress. In addition, having meaningful relationships and hobbies can also be really helpful for stress management. Managing stress should be a key part of any weight loss effort.
The video is no longer available, but check out the written article on the Today Show for this segment about using fitness trackers to lose weight.