Why Sleep Is The #1 Factor Holding You Back from Healthy Weight Loss

There is a majorly overlooked factor affecting your weight loss. There is a good chance you have no idea what it is. And, you need it if you want to get healthy – and stay that way! Can you guess it?

It’s called sleep.

Now, I see you reading this thinking, “Ok Jen, I know I have to get a few more winks, but sleep is what’s really holding me back from healthy, permanent weight loss?”

And my answer would be, “Yep. It’s perhaps one of the most critical factors when it comes to weight loss.”

Women tend to worry about calories and counting reps at the gym, but that’s just one small part. In your 20s and 30s, you can get by with haphazard health habits, but in your 40s and 50s (and 60s), your habits catch up with you – both the good ones and the bad!

Lately, I’m seeing that women are at their wits end with weight loss. They are focusing on all sorts of tricks or gimmicks to lose weight hoping and trying to do their best, and then it doesn’t work. And once they realize those things don’t work, they don’t know what the heck to focus on instead.

This is why I want you to consider sleep if you really want to lose weight and keep it off. It’s just as important as eating your veggies and moving your body.

Let me break it down into 3 simple ways. Here we go…

The Miseducation of Sleep

If you are anything like me, you can go all day long on 5 hours of sleep, if needed. You’ll get it all done – career, kid activities, dinner, kids bedtime, etc. When you are finally settled at 8 or 9 pm, you just want to relax. You crave that downtime which usually involves catching up on a favorite TV show or movie or finishing that last bit of work. (And that usually involves a snack or a glass of wine.)

You have every intention of maybe just watching one show, and it easily turns into three or four episodes. Next thing you know, it’s midnight. You finally haul your butt to bed and sleep for five or six hours, wake up exhausted, and the whole cycle repeats.

This exhaustion is directly linked to what you eat and how you operate during your day.

  • Do you experience sugar cravings?
  • Are you drinking tons of coffee to make it through the day?
  • Need a 3 pm pick-me-up because your energy is crashing?
  • Craving salty or sweet at night?

These are all signs that your body is exhausted. The problem is most women are taught to think that weight loss has to do with willpower; if you could just say “no,” you’d lose weight and keep it off. And yet, the reality is that we are failing to see what lack of sleep does to your brain.

Sleep, Snacks, and Stress

I’m going to get super science-y for a minute but I promise you it’s worth it. This is the thing that changed it all for me…

We know from research and Magnetic Resonance Imaging that when you are sleep deprived, your frontal cortex gets impaired. What does this mean? Your frontal cortex is the “decision-making center” of your brain. When this is compromised, you are less likely to make good decisions which makes it all too easy to choose the snack foods.

You literally don’t have the energy or the brain power to push away those feelings. Plus, junk food looks even more desirable to a sleep-deprived brain compared to a rested one. The snack food companies already know this research. In fact, they design their snacks for you so that you’ll eat the maximum amount of it without getting sick of it!

Your hormones are also disrupted when you are sleep deprived. Even just one night of minor sleep deprivation can create significant stress on the body.

In order to combat that stress, your body pumps out cortisol. This is what your body produces for that “flight or fight” mode. The problem with this is now you are living in a constant fight or flight state even for the most mundane, everyday activities. Your brain can’t differentiate between real and not so real danger – it only responds.

Plus, there are two hormones that control your hunger. They are called leptin and ghrelin. These need to be in control if you want to lose weight, but sleep deprivation makes it impossible. This creates those sugar crashes and taxes your body on a hormonal level.

I know…you are thinking about stress and sleep in a whole new way, right? I told you this was the game changer.

Choose to Snooze

What is it about that nine to midnight window that becomes the witching hour for us adults? Is it that there is no one is there to parent us and literally tell us to go to bed? I think so.

We choose to live in a depleted state. It’s fine to have one night of staying up. But this is chronic for women – this is every single day. Sleep is a restorative process and we need it to manage all the goals we have in our life, including weight loss.

If you are trying to live with energy to thrive and putting so much attention on what you are eating (or not eating) or logging miles on your fitness app, but yet self-sabotaging by burning the candle at both ends, then it’s time to take a look at your sleep.

We get so focused on minutiae – omitting food groups, no more red meat, cutting out dairy, etc. that we often make weight loss harder than it needs to be.

This is why I encourage you to get more sleep. Now, this may mean giving up something you like to get something you love. Women are so good at tolerating, suffering; we can handle a lot and cope with so much but there is a cost eventually.

So what can you do?

This week, go to bed 30 minutes earlier. That’s it.

Ask yourself this…

What if it helped your weight loss? Is it worth the challenge? What if that could be the thing to help your body restore itself?

Give yourself one week and see how it goes. Pop a YES in the comments if you are committed to this sleep challenge this week. That’s it – just a simple yes.

Remember, food is one small piece of weight loss. It’s much more holistic and interconnected than you realize.

Want to learn more about expanding your awareness to what weight loss really takes?

Join me for The Weight Loss Code!

(I literally created it based on what we just discussed.)

The weight loss industry is a 50 billion dollar business and it’s designed to prey on women’s lack of knowledge. They get you focused on juicing 3x a day, only eating kale for lunch, and excessive workouts instead of paying attention to what your body really needs for healthy, permanent weight loss.

This free Masterclass Series brings together 22 of the world’s leading voices on weight loss and women’s health.

Exclusively designed for women over 40, The Weight Loss Code is going to teach you all the simple ways you can be more gentle with yourself, decrease physiological stress, and get the real weight loss strategies for real life.

Plus, I’m throwing in some sweet prizes and the opportunity to join the exclusive Facebook Group so you can ask your personal questions and get the support you need.

Want in? Grab your spot here. Now, go get some sleep.

About the Author:

Jennifer coaches busy, successful women with imperfect lives who want to look and feel amazing from the inside out. With her tried-and-proven weight loss method—ENERGY to Thrive™—Jennifer takes the fascinating science of physiological transformation and breaks it down into six empowering steps.

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