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Table of contents

  1. Physical Stress and Weight Loss

    1. 1.1 The Science of Sleep and Weight Loss

      1. 1.1.1 Why is it important to get enough sleep?

      2. 1.1.2 How does sleep impact weight loss?

      3. 1.1.3 Why is it important to get up and go to bed at the same time each day?

      4. 1.1.4 How does using my phone in bed effect my sleep?

    2. 1.2 Body Composition and Weight Loss

    3. 1.3 Digestion and Weight Loss

    4. 1.4 Exercise and Weight Loss

      1. 1.4.1 What are the benefits of exercise when I’m stressed?

      2. 1.4.2 Why shouldn’t you work out at night?

  2. Mental / Emotional Stress and Weight Loss

    1. 2.1 Cravings and Weight Loss

    2. 2.2 Stress, overwork and weight loss

      1. 2.2.1 How does stress effect productivity?

      2. 2.2.2 How does stress effect my health?

      3. 2.2.3 What should I do when I get a second wind at night?

      4. 2.2.4 Should I talk to someone about how to deal with my stress?

      5. 2.2.5 What are the benefits of hobbies for productivity?

      6. 2.2.6 How does multitasking effect productivity?

      7. 2.2.7 What effect does negative self-talk have on stress?

      8. 2.2.8 What effect do behavioral changes have on stress?

      9. 2.2.9 What are the symptoms of burnout?

      10. 2.2.10 What should I do if I need coffee to get through the day?

      11. 2.2.11 Why should I give up the productivity of using my phone in bed?

      12. 2.2.12 What should I do if I can’t shut my mind off at night?

      13. 2.2.13 After a long day, why shouldn’t I indulge in a treat before bed?

      14. 2.2.14 What is a good sleep hygiene routine?

  3. Chemical Stress and Weight Loss

    1. 3.1 Diet and Weight Loss (macronutrients)

      1. 3.1.1 How does stress impact the side effects of sugar?

      2. 3.1.2 Does healthy eating impact stress?

      3. 3.1.3 What effect does coffee have on weight loss?

      4. 3.1.4 Is it okay to have a glass of wine before bed?

    2. 3.2 Supplements and Weight Loss (micronutrients)

      1. 3.2.1 Do multivitamins help with stress?

      2. 3.2.2 Does the timing of my prescriptions affect my sleep?

    3. 3.3 Detox and Weight Loss

  4. Environmental Stress and Weight Loss

    1. 4.1 Systems, Habits and Weight Loss

  5. The Impacts of Stress and Weight Loss on Productivity & Performance

  6. Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

    1. 6.1 Habits that Backfire

      1. 6.1.1 Will I sleep better if I eat less at night?

      2. 6.1.2 Why will a pre-bed treat meant to help me fall asleep backfire on me?

      3. 6.1.3 What’s wrong with working out before bed?

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1. Physical Stress and Weight Loss

Did you know that different physical stressors like sleep, body composition, digestion, and exercise impact weight loss?  

1.1 The Science of Sleep and Weight Loss

1.1.1 Why is it important to get enough sleep?

Studies show that lack of sleep is linked to chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, diabetes, kidney disease, and more. It also affects cognition and your ability to think.

During sleep, your brain consolidates memories and clears toxins from brain cells. Sleep is also necessary for the regulation of our emotions and how we respond to challenges in our daily life.

According to one study, people who are sleep deprived respond to low stressors the same way that people who have had adequate levels of sleep respond to high stressors. In other words, you’re more likely to overreact when you’re sleep deprived.

Researchers at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute stated that sleep affects almost every tissue in the body. It affects stress and growth hormones, the immune system, breathing, appetite, cardiovascular health, and blood pressure.

Lack of sleep increases your risk of heart disease, infections, and obesity, according to the researchers. This is because during the night, your breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure rise and fall, which is a process that is important for heart health.

Also during sleep, the body releases hormones that control your energy reserves and repairs cells. However, these hormones can also affect your weight. Lack of sleep increases a person’s risk of diabetes, even if they are otherwise healthy.

Sleep deficiency can also change the way your body responds to vaccinations. Research shows that people who get enough sleep develop stronger protection against the flu virus after being vaccinated.

Sleep helps you maintain a healthy balance of hormones in the body that control hunger. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes you feel hungry while leptin tells you when you’re full.

The balance between these two hormones can be thrown off by lack of sleep. Your ghrelin levels increase while your leptin levels decrease, which makes you feel hungrier when you have not slept enough.

Additionally, sleep also affects how you respond to insulin. Research shows that lack of sleep may cause higher than normal blood sugar levels, increasing your risk of developing diabetes.

1.1.2 How does sleep impact weight loss?

Researchers from one study have concluded that the amount of sleep you get contributes to your ability to maintain fat-free mass. Additionally, lack of sleep compromises your ability to lose weight during typical dietary interventions, such as when you reduce calories and eat healthier foods.

When subjects got a full night of sleep, more than half of the fat they lost due to dieting was from fat. However, when they reduced their sleep, only one-fourth of the weight the subjects lost was from fat.

This is because sleep is important for the regulation of hormones that contribute to appetite and metabolism. As noted in the study, the sleep-deprived subjects felt hungrier and produced higher levels of ghrelin, which is a hormone that makes you feel hungry, increases food intake, and stores fat.

Higher levels of ghrelin in the body have been shown to promote the retention of fat and increase glucose production to support the fueling needs of tissues that depend on glucose.

That’s the science behind why sleep can help you lose or maintain weight. Getting a full night’s sleep might be one of the easiest “diet tricks” up your sleeve!

So, if losing or maintaining weight is a priority for you, consider making sure that you are getting plenty of sleep along the journey toward your final destination

1.1.3 Why is it important to get up and go to bed at the same time each day?

Setting a bedtime routine might sound juvenile, but your body clock enjoys a set schedule. Waking up every day at the same time, even on weekends, is a great way to  “re-set your healthy internal clock”  and cortisol levels.

Your circadian rhythm is responsible for your wake-sleep cycle. It works by reading environmental cues to determine when it’s time to sleep.

For example, during the day when you are exposed to light, your brain sends signals to your body to promote alertness so that you can stay awake and be active.

When night comes, the lack of light initiates a process that involves the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that causes you to feel sleepy.

Keeping this process balanced and aligning your circadian rhythm by developing a bedtime routine is an important part of getting better sleep.

Adopting a bedtime schedule can help you sleep better at night. Going to bed at the same time every night (and waking up at the same time each morning – even on weekends) helps you synchronize your circadian rhythm, otherwise known as your body’s sleep clock.

Research shows that your circadian rhythm is influenced by environmental factors, including a disruptive sleep partner, light omitted from electronics, and even the air temperature.

Synching your sleep schedule with your partners is worth your time as sleep is crucial for proper health, especially over many years.

1.1.4 How does using my phone in bed effect my sleep?

Blue light is a type of light that is omitted from your electronic devices, including your phone, TV, laptop, or iPad.

Research shows that blue light and other lighting (including daylight) keeps you awake by altering your circadian rhythm.

Specifically, light signals tell your brain to stop producing the hormone melatonin. This can make you feel alert when you should be sleeping.

According to one study, light has a strong and rapid effect on the timing of the human circadian rhythm.

One way to balance your circadian rhythm is by reducing your exposure to light at night. You may also want to reduce your overall screen time during the day, too.

One study found that watching TV for more than two hours per day was linked to problems falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and waking up early without being able to fall asleep again.

1.2 Body Composition and Weight Loss

Are you frustrated that your scale weight isn’t changing despite focusing on healthy eating and exercising for several weeks or even months? We know this is hard and might even make you want to quit your healthy habits, but there is usually a perfectly acceptable explanation for it!

It’s important to keep in mind that when you lose weight, your body composition changes and this may or may not include a reduction in pounds on the scale.

Measuring your body composition is the best way to determine your actual fat loss rather than weighing yourself. This is because when you lose pounds (or even gain pounds), it can be a reflection of water weight rather than fat loss.

Many factors contribute to water weight fluctuation, including what you ate that day, your bathroom habits, whether you are hydrated or dehydrated, medications, hormone fluctuations, and “that time of the month” for women.

On the other hand, body composition measures your fat mass versus your fat-free mass. If you truly want to know how much fat you’ve lost and not just water weight, then consider adding body composition measurements into your weight loss calculations.

1.3 Digestion and Weight Loss

Digestion is an important yet often overlooked part of weight loss. After all, your digestive system is where food is broken down and turned into energy, so it needs to be working properly in order for you to lose weight.

Chronic inflammation can cause digestive problems, such as bloating, intestinal gas, diarrhea or constipation, and problems absorbing important micronutrients.

1.4 Exercise and Weight Loss

1.4.1 What are the benefits of exercise when I’m stressed?

Have you ever felt really connected to your body? You build that connection with your body when you work out.

That’s because exercise has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, boost energy, support your immune system, and improve your mood, due to its anti-inflammatory effect on the body. That sounds pretty good, right?

Well, research shows that people who exercise are better able to manage their stress levels. Whereas people who report having high levels of stress are more likely to get sick, which can affect your productivity levels.

Exercise alleviates the direct effect of stress on important body systems, such as the dysregulation of hormonal axes.

Research shows that exercise helps lower cortisol levels and boosts the production of feel-good neurotransmitters to help you feel happier, more relaxed, and better able to concentrate.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that overexercising isn’t beneficial either. Working out too much induces oxidative stress, impacts immunity, and reduces your ability to function properly.

Overexercising may also lead to burnout, which is a term used to describe extreme fatigue and hormone dysfunction. Unbalanced hormone levels may increase your appetite, lead to obesity, and counteract productivity.

Have you ever been in the position where you are working out and not losing weight? Well, this may be one of the reasons.

As you can see, exercising (and in proper amounts), can be extremely beneficial for your overall health, and your stress levels in particular.

1.4.2 Why shouldn’t you work out at night?

While the benefits of exercise are undeniable, fitting in your work out late in the day might be causing more harm than good.

In fact, exercising at night can boost your heart rate and make it hard to fall asleep. Exercise is best done in the morning to help jump start the day.

According to one study, exercising at night may affect your heart rate during the first three hours of sleep. Evening exercise may also raise your cortisol levels so that you feel more anxious and alert instead of feeling calm and relaxed.

Morning exercise helps you naturally balance your circadian rhythm by supporting healthy cortisol levels. Cortisol is usually highest in the morning and then levels off throughout the day to keep us alert.

Exercising in the morning tells your body when it’s time to wake up and be active by boosting cortisol. Evening routines should focus on reducing cortisol and boosting melatonin to tell your body when it’s time to sleep.

If you’ve been in the habit of exercising late in the day, you may be surprised by the positive affects you’ll experience when you shift things around a bit and switch to working out in the morning.

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2. Mental / Emotional Stress and Weight Loss

2.1 Cravings and Weight Loss

2.2 Stress, overwork and weight loss

2.2.1 How does stress effect productivity?

You may think that stress is what keeps you being productive; however, studies show that stress may affect your reception and perception of the things around you, including your ability to learn, make decisions, pay attention, and use judgement.

Even though you might think you are doing just fine and getting a lot done, people around you can see right through that!

Living with stress will ultimately backfire for your productivity.

It will leave you feeling like a failure and like you can’t do anything right! It’s a constant battle of trying to get in front of things instead of always working from behind the 8-ball and playing a never-ending game of catch-up.

Stress is much more than a feeling of overwhelm and being overburdened with everything going on in your life. In fact, stress can cause structural changes to your brain by decreasing its weight, which can affect your memory and cognition.

Stress may also activate your central neurotransmitter and neuropeptide systems, autonomic nervous system, and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. This leads to changes in your ability to process data. Activation of these systems may also result in the release of glucocorticosteroids, which can cause long-term cognition and processing effects.

Research shows that chronic stress can lead to adrenal fatigue. There are three stages of adrenal fatigue, and many people who feel like they perform just fine under stress are experiencing stages one (alarm) and two (resistance).

During stage one, your body is in an active stress response. Your cortisol levels are elevated, whether you realize it or not. Symptoms include being “wired yet tired,” heart palpations, nervousness, and anxiety.

Stage two occurs when cortisol levels have been elevated for an extended period of time. Under normal circumstances, cortisol has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

However, when cortisol levels are continuously high without any relief, it has a detrimental effect on the body and can increase the risk of obesity, thyroid and adrenal dysfunction, fatigue, depression, and insomnia.

Turning something like this around can seem almost insurmountable, but before life finds a way to force you to stop, let’s get you to choose it so that you can thrive in productivity, thrive in balance, and ultimately create the life that you desire!

2.2.2 How does stress effect my health?

When you’re stressed, your body has a reduced ability to fight infections. Additionally, as you age, you are also less likely to build appropriate immune responses to stress.

Research shows that psychological stress affects people in a similar manner as the chronological aging process. Aging coupled with stress increases immunological aging, making it harder to stay healthy.

Chronic elevations of cortisol can cause the immune system to become overworked and resistant, which compromises its ability to function properly.

As a result, an accumulation of stress hormones and overproduction of inflammatory molecules further dampen the immune response.

Immune cells have receptors for certain hormones and neurotransmitters on their surface that communicate with immune cells and prepare the body to launch an immune response if necessary.

During periods of stress, these immune cells change their responsiveness to signaling to hormones and neurotransmitters. This causes immune cells to become overworked, and leads to negative changes to immune responses.

Telomeres are structures found at the end of our chromosomes. Their job is to protect our DNA. Research shows that telomere length can be used as a measure of biological aging.

Telomere length is also linked to social, psychological, and physiological factors. Studies show that chronic stress is linked to shortened telomere length and an increased risk of disease in older people.

2.2.3 What should I do when I get a second wind at night?

Getting a second wind at night to get more done can affect your productivity the next morning, as well as your mood the next day.

You’ll also jeopardize your weight loss goals and immune system’s ability to repair itself.

Our key weight loss hours are from 6am to around 2pm.  If you’re not up and going, fueling your day, the calories you take in after 3pm will most likely land on your hips.

If you think of working out at night after work or dinner to burn those calories think again. Spiking that cortisol at night will decrease your immune and effect your productivity and mood the next day.

Additionally, research shows that sleep may help relieve stress-induced decreases in immunity. According to one study, even one night of poor sleep can significantly increase neutrophil levels and decrease neutrophil function in healthy adults.

From a cognitive perspective, sleep is important because it is responsible for recharging and “cleaning” your body. While you sleep, your body cleans toxins out of your brain cells to help improve cognitive function while you are awake.

According to one study, both total and partial sleep deprivation cause changes in cognitive performance. Sleep deprivation impairs working memory and attention, and it also affects decision-making and long-term memory.

Additionally, sleep loss activates the sympathetic nervous system and causes your blood pressure to rise. It also increases cortisol secretion and may affect your immune system response. Metabolic changes, such as insulin resistance, have been linked to sleep deprivation.

2.2.4 Should I talk to someone about how to deal with my stress?

If you feel like “you” is at the bottom of your to-do list, you are definitely not alone!

Honestly, it’s not even all that unusual if YOU are the one that keeps yourself there. After all, there’s so much else to do.

This “martyr syndrome” is a common affliction of high-achieving women. Keeping yourself at the bottom of your list might make you feel more important and the thought of doing something for you would take away from that, right?

But talking to someone or doing something that you enjoy does not take away from your importance or from all of your achievements. In fact, it might even help you to cross off even more of those achievements at the end of each day!

Finding someone to talk to can help you manage your stress levels. It doesn’t have to be a psychotherapist; a friend, family member, co-worker, or mentor can be just as beneficial.

Research shows that talking to someone can help reduce stress because emotional similarity buffers stress. The authors of one study concluded that finding someone to relate to your problems to can help reduce stress and cortisol response.

On the other hand, when left untreated, stress and high cortisol levels can make you less productive. It also makes you more prone to illness.

According to one study published in the journal Neurology, high cortisol levels were linked to low performance levels, especially in women.

Other research shows that cortisol levels can be controlled by practicing healthy habits, such as getting adequate sleep, meditating, socializing, and exercising.

2.2.5 What are the benefits of hobbies for productivity?

Do you miss the days when you had hobbies or enjoyed reading books or learning something new?

Trust us, we get it! There’s already so much to do that the thought of doing something you enjoy can feel like it’s just something else to squeeze into an already packed day.

However, taking time out of your busy schedule to do something you enjoy is a great stress-relieving tactic, which has stress-reducing psychology and physiological advantages.

Your body contains both Yin and Yang states of health. The relaxed Yin state balances the adrenal Yang state. When you participate in something you enjoy, it balances your hyper adrenal state that oversecretes cortisol and makes you feel stressed, anxious, and fatigued.

The idea behind balancing your Yin and Yang states dates back to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and it involves controlling the secretion of hormones. Yang refers to the sympathetic nervous system and the secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine while Ying deals with the parasympathetic system and cortisol release.

While the body has a continuous need for Yang to create motivation to save you from life-threatening effects, we also need Yin to act as a buffer for stress. Participating in something you enjoy when you feel behind helps bring more Yin to your hyperactive state, which makes you feel calmer, more focused, happier, and more relaxed. It also helps combat adrenal fatigue.

2.2.6 How does multitasking effect productivity?

Constantly doing all of those things at once actually makes you LESS productive in the long run and ultimately less connected to those you love, including yourself.

Even though your apparent level of productivity while multi-tasking is probably a point of pride for you, there’s good reason why you might want to rethink that.

However, research conducted by Stanford University shows that multitasking is less productive than doing one thing at a time. The researchers determined that people who regularly juggle several streams of information cannot recall information, pay attention, or switch from one job to another as well as those who handle one task at a time.

Additionally, research shows that multitasking damages your brain and lowers your IQ. A study conducted at the University of London determined that people who multitasked experienced declines in their IQ that were similar to the declines that would occur if you were to stay up all night or smoke marijuana.

In fact, research from the University of Sussex determined that people who spend time on several devices has less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for emotional and cognitive control.

Those effects don’t sound like positives for your productivity, do they?

But we get it; if you’re not multitasking you’ll never get it all done. If that’s how you feel, never fear! We’re not saying go cold turkey and turn it all off.

However, if you’re ready to cut back on the frenzy of constant multi-tasking, and enjoy the reduced stress and increased productivity that comes with it, now is a great time to do that.

2.2.7 What effect does negative self-talk have on stress?

Are you guilty of treating everyone better than you treat yourself? Do you participate in negative self-talk or keep yourself from things that you enjoy because you feel you’re not deserving? Do you give grace freely to others but never to yourself?

As high-achieving women, it’s not surprising that we are our own harshest critics.

Yet that mindset can be detrimental to our stress levels and may even become a self-fulfilling prophecy as far as our productivity is concerned.

It might seem silly, but let us explain why being kind to yourself is so important!

Research shows that participating in self-care can help you improve your quality of life.

According to a study published in the journal BMC Medical Education, medical students who conducted self-care activities reduced stress and improved both physical and psychological quality of life.

Students who participated in self-care activities also exhibited better resiliency and lower risk for higher levels of distress during their medical education.

Although it might seem like second nature to ignore your needs, avoiding self-care can lead to burnout, which is a psychological state characterized by reduced personal accomplishment, emotional exhaustion, and cynicism.

Additionally, research shows that there is a close link between burnout, anxiety, and depression. Practicing self-care can help prevent you from landing in this situation so that you’ll be more productive doing tasks that need to get done.

If you can relate to this, let’s change the way you talk to and treat yourself!

2.2.8 What effect do behavioral changes have on stress?

You like to think big.

You don’t just set out to lose weight; you set out to lose 100 pounds.

You don’t just decide to start running; you decide to start training for a marathon.

That BIG thinking is what propels change for you.

And you fully expect quick results. Afterall, you wouldn’t start if you weren’t going to get some immediate payoff.

We totally get it!

It’s the common mindset of “go big or go home,” right?

If you can’t make a big change, you probably feel like it’s not worth making any change at all.

Did you know that adopting an all-or-nothing attitude can actually cause more stress? This is especially true when it comes to behavioral changes that require a lot of effort to initiate.

Much like a fad diet, adopting stress-reducing behaviors should be a permanent change and not a temporary fix.

Jumping head-first into new behaviors will cause you to give up and return to old habits, just as fad diets will surely cause you to fall back into old eating methods.

Quick, abrasive changes tend to be hard to maintain. Many people become impatient when they don’t get the results they want as quickly as they want them. Can you relate to that feeling?

If so, we want you to realize that small tweaks to your habits prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, which can help you stay on track and make lasting changes.  And isn’t that the goal after all?

If this “go big or go home” mentality resonates with you, and if you are beginning to recognize the negative impact it can have on your stress, you should definitely plan to make this paradigm shift a part of your journey.

2.2.9 What are the symptoms of burnout?

You may feel like if you start one more thing you just might give up. There is just nothing left in you. Does that sound familiar?

If you find yourself at this Landmark rest assured, the Health In Action Milestones ARE NOT about starting a new organizational routine or exercise routine or nutrition cleanse. Rather, they are about taking stock of your basic needs and taking time to feed what has been depleted within you.

So, it’s time to SET YOUR INTENTIONS of “Filling Your Tank” for this Landmark.

I often say to my clients, I can’t send you to a spa for 3 months to get you rejuvenated and back on a road to health. Yet I get that many of us would love to do, and we might even think that we NEED a hail Mary like that. Maybe you’ve even convinced yourself that something like that is the only way to turn this ship around.

But you know what? That’s just not real life! Often times when we do go away on vacation or to a spa we come back and invariably within a day, a week, or even 10 days later, we’re right back where we started.

So instead, we’re going to focus on sustainable strategies to fill your tank little by little each day so that you will be able to start seeing small improvements in your health, wellbeing, productivity and progress in real life.

Remember: “Small changes lead to big results.” – Unknown

2.2.10 What should I do if I need coffee to get through the day?

Do you rely on a cup (or 3) in the morning to get you started, and then another one in the afternoon to get you past a mid-day slump?

If you do, you are not alone! Caffeine is the go-to energy device of choice for countless people.  And if everybody is doing it, how bad can it really be, right?

Well, honestly, it’s not all bad. In fact, drinking one cup of black coffee each day is great for getting more antioxidants in your diet.

However, it’s when you get into the multiple-cups-per-day habit that you start running into issues.

Drinking more than one cup per day is not advised as it becomes a diuretic, leaches key nutrients (like calcium) out of your bones, and is dehydrating to your muscles and skin, It can also make you wired and tired.

Caffeine is also a nervous system stimulant, which means that drinking several cups of coffee per day can make you feel anxious and jittery, reducing your ability to relax.

And obviously, none of those things are positives!

Beyond that, drinking coffee too late in the day can affect your ability to sleep. Some research indicates that caffeine can stay in your system for as long as 10 hours. This means that if your last cup of coffee was at 3 PM, then you may still have caffeine in your system at 1 AM!

Additionally, research shows that caffeine can reduce your total sleep duration, increase the number of times you wake up during the night, and decrease your quality of sleep when you finally fall asleep.

Get that helping antioxidant boost with a cup in the morning, but then switch to something that’s caffeine free (ideally ice water) after that.

See, we’re not telling you to ditch the java habit all together. Go ahead and have that AM cup of coffee. But then find alternatives throughout the day so that you can be healthier and sleep better at night.

2.2.11 Why should I give up the productivity of using my phone in bed?

Some people like to fall asleep with the TV on in the background or by scrolling through their news feed on their phones. However, this can make it harder for you to fall asleep.

Did you know that light signals tell your brain to stop producing melatonin, which can make you feel alert when you should be sleeping?

Research shows that light has a strong and rapid effect on the timing of the human circadian rhythm. One study found that watching TV for more than two hours per day was linked to problems falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and waking up early without being able to fall asleep again.

Blue light, or the light that is omitted from your electronic devices, reduces the production of melatonin in the brain, which is the hormone needed to tell your body when it’s time to sleep.

Light signals tell your brain to stop producing melatonin, which can make you feel alert when you should be sleeping. One way to balance your circadian rhythm is by reducing your exposure to light at night. This means turning off your phone and the TV to get some brain-restorative shut-eye!

2.2.12 What should I do if I can’t shut my mind off at night?

You probably know this scenario well…

You climb into bed at night but realize you have little hope of falling asleep quickly. Instead, your mind is racing with the thousands of thoughts you didn’t have time to think through during the day.

So, you start running through everything that’s on your mind – from the things you forgot to do to everything on your to-do list for the next day.

Your mind is busy working, but your body is shut down and you have no energy to get up and do anything.

This can happen because we don’t keep up with managing stress throughout the day.

In fact, this lifestyle habit can be contributing to a number of negative things in your life, such as:

  • Being snappy with those around you.
  • Feeling frustrated with people around you who aren’t doing what you ask.
  • Struggling with your weight.
  • Having trouble finishing tasks, or finishing them with numerous tasks, because you are not as focused.
  • Being more susceptible to cold and infections than others that you know.

Research shows that when we are stressed, the adrenal glands overproduce catecholamines, which are hormones that have neurotransmitter functions in the body. These catecholamines also activate the parts of your brain that is responsible for fear or threat.

When left untreated, chronically high catecholamine levels can lead to long-term memory problems. It also impairs your attention span and other important cognitive processes.

These catecholamines also push down inhibitory neurotransmitters (such as GABA and serotonin) that bind to receptors in the brain and make you feel calm, relaxed, and happy.

This type of overdrive can happen even if your cortisol levels are low or if you are in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, such as when your body is shut down but your mind is racing.

And so, you end up depriving yourself of much needed sleep because your brain just won’t shut off.

If you take the time to acknowledge that there are things you need to clear off of your plate before bed, you might be able slow down your mind long enough to get some proper shut-eye.

2.2.13 After a long day, why shouldn’t I indulge in a treat before bed?

You made it through a long day. The kids are in bed, the kitchen is cleaned, your work is done, the house is quiet, and now you deserve a treat!

Perhaps you spent the day starved for affection and acknowledgement and you feel the only worthy reward is to feed that need with ice cream or a cocktail.

For every deprivation you experience throughout the day, there’s probably an equal and opposite binge waiting for you at night.

But this path can have negative consequences on your health, stress and sleep.

Nicotine, alcohol, and eating before bed can disrupt your sleep and limit the amount of time that your body has to recharge itself.

If your nightly indulgence involves alcohol, you should know that it can negatively impact your sleep. According to one study, having a few drinks before bedtime might help you sleep initially, but these effects wear off after three days of continued use.

Additionally, the calories and sugar from the bedtime snacks and alcohol you consume increases your risk of weight gain by inducing an insulin spike, which is essentially a fat-storing hormone that sends excess energy to your adipose tissue.

Research shows that that nicotine and cannabis may also cause sleep problems.

One study indicated that smoking cigarettes may lead to the severity of obstructive sleep apnea because it alters sleep architecture, arousal mechanisms, and upper airway inflammation and neuromuscular function.

Another study found that when compared to a drug-free group, marijuana users were more likely to experience sleep disturbances.

Keep in mind that sleep deprivation is harmful to your health because it prevents important rebuilding and repairing processes, especially in the brain.

During sleep, your neurotransmitter systems and synapses rebuild and repair themselves so that you can handle the effects of the next day’s stress. When you don’t sleep well, you’ll wake up feeling burned out even before the day has started.

Consider exploring other things that make you feel good and help you relax at the end of the day. You can do this by exploring all things that you consider a “treat,” such as sex, going for a walk in nature, reading a book, playing a board game, or listening to music.

You do not need to deprive yourself of the treats that you crave and deserve, you just may need to reframe what you view as an indulgence after a long day.

2.2.14 What is a good sleep hygiene routine?

Getting ready for bed involves calming down catecholamine neurotransmitters (dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine) that make you feel anxious and building up inhibitory neurotransmitters (GABA) to decrease cortisol and promote feelings of calmness and relaxation.

Also, during this time, your leptin levels should start to increase to help you feel full and not hungry. If you find yourself feeling hungry at night, then it could be a sign that your cortisol levels are high and your leptin is low. This is a good time to start getting ready for bed by following a calming routine.

Research shows that taking an amino acid blend that is deficient in tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine may help reduce catecholamine synthesis. You can also promote relaxation and reduce cortisol levels by participating in a calming exercise, such as yoga or meditation.

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3. Chemical Stress and Weight Loss

3.1 Diet and Weight Loss (macronutrients)

3.1.1 How does stress impact the side effects of sugar?

Grabbing that handful of M&Ms from a co-worker’s desk, a late-night bowl of ice cream, or even your favorite caramel macchiato each morning might feel like the fuel that keeps you going, but is it really?

You might think that sugar is helping you cope with stress, but it’s a short-term solution that will surely backfire in the long run.

And we’re not just talking about the extra calories!

Those sugary snacks and treats that you crave the most when you’re stressed may actually be making you even more stressed in the long run.

Research shows that when you are stressed, high levels of cortisol enter your bloodstream, causing you to feel anxious, unable to concentrate, and tired. Are those feelings familiar to you?

Well, then you might be interested to learn that sugar exacerbates these feelings to make you feel even worse by inducing inflammation in areas of your body that balance cortisol and other hormones, such as your pancreas (where insulin is produced) and the adrenal glands.

Sugar causes blood sugar levels to spike and your body struggles to produce enough insulin to clear glucose from your bloodstream. Your blood sugar levels will inevitably drop, adding to the exhaustion and mental fog that you already feel from the high cortisol levels.

If you’re a serial snacker, or if you rely on a sugar boost to get you through a mid-day slump, you might want to make ditching that habit one of the landmarks you pin to your roadmap.

Without the extra sugar or processed foods, you’ll put less stress on your body so that you can more easily reach your final destination.

3.1.2 Does healthy eating impact stress?

You probably know what to do when it comes to eating healthy, but get tripped up on the why and how, right?

For example, it’s probably safe to assume that you know an apple is a healthier choice than a handful of potato chips.

But making those healthier choices often become just another burdensome chore that you don’t have time for, and you probably wonder if it really makes that much difference.

Can you relate to that?

Knowing something is good for us doesn’t mean we fully grasp the payoff. Nor does it mean that we know how to fit it in to an already packed schedule.

Eating healthy may require you to eat differently than your family or take time to prepare certain foods, but it’s an effort that has immense payoff.

Think about the extra time you take to organize your day because you know it will go that much more smoothly. View this the same way, except this time the payoff is that everything will go much more smoothly!

And we’re not talking about changing your entire diet! Instead, we’re encouraging you to focus on foods that will help you reduce stress and sleep better.

You’ll be supporting your health and reducing stress at the same time.

In fact, research shows that certain foods help stimulate different metabolic pathways.

For example, foods that are high in B vitamins help support energy levels and boost your mood to their ability to assist in carbohydrate metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis. Other foods, such as those that contain omega 3 fatty acids, can help control inflammation that leads to cortisol and hormone dysregulation.

Foods that are high in electrolytes, such as potassium, can help reduce high blood pressure, which is often linked to high cortisol levels. Avocados and bananas are a good source of potassium. These foods also regulate hydration levels to keep you hydrated.

Research shows that focusing on eating the rainbow can help you get a wide variety of unique nutrients and antioxidants into your diet that aren’t found in quick, processed food. These nutrients help reduce inflammation and balance hormones that make you feel stressed.

Do you recognize the impactful results including certain foods in your diet can have on your day-to-day life? If so, you should consider this an important part of the journey toward your final destination.

3.1.3 What effect does coffee have on weight loss?

Is coffee the fuel that keeps you moving forward each day?

Do you rely on a cup (or 3) in the morning to get you started, and then another one in the afternoon to get you past a mid-day slump?

If you do, you are not alone! Caffeine is the go-to energy device of choice for countless people.  And if everybody is doing it, how bad can it really be, right?

Well, honestly, it’s not all bad. In fact, drinking one cup of black coffee each day is great for getting more antioxidants in your diet.

However, it’s when you get into the multiple-cups-per-day habit that you start running into issues.

Drinking more than one cup per day is not advised as it becomes a diuretic, leaches key nutrients (like calcium) out of your bones, and is dehydrating to your muscles and skin, It can also make you wired and tired.

Caffeine is also a nervous system stimulant, which means that drinking several cups of coffee per day can make you feel anxious and jittery, reducing your ability to relax.

And obviously, none of those things are positives!

Beyond that, drinking coffee too late in the day can affect your ability to sleep. Some research indicates that caffeine can stay in your system for as long as 10 hours. This means that if your last cup of coffee was at 3 PM, then you may still have caffeine in your system at 1 AM!

Additionally, research shows that caffeine can reduce your total sleep duration, increase the number of times you wake up during the night, and decrease your quality of sleep when you finally fall asleep.

Get that helping antioxidant boost with a cup in the morning, but then switch to something that’s caffeine free (ideally ice water) after that.

See, we’re not telling you to ditch the java habit all together. Go ahead and have that AM cup of coffee. But then find alternatives throughout the day so that you can be healthier and sleep better at night.

3.1.4 Is it okay to have a glass of wine before bed?

If your nightly indulgence involves alcohol, you should know that it can negatively impact your sleep. According to one study, having a few drinks before bedtime might help you sleep initially, but these effects wear off after three days of continued use.

Additionally, the calories and sugar from the bedtime snacks and alcohol you consume increases your risk of weight gain by inducing an insulin spike, which is essentially a fat-storing hormone that sends excess energy to your adipose tissue.

Consider exploring other things that make you feel good and help you relax at the end of the day. You can do this by exploring all things that you consider a “treat,” such as sex, going for a walk in nature, reading a book, playing a board game, or listening to music.

You do not need to deprive yourself of the treats that you crave and deserve, you just may need to reframe what you view as an indulgence after a long day.

3.2 Supplements and Weight Loss (micronutrients)

You might think that your regular diet is fairly healthy, but we bet you’d be pretty surprised if you took a step back and really examined the foods with which you’re fueling your body.

If you tracked everything you ate over the course of a week, you’d probably be surprised to see just how many vitamins and minerals you are missing.

It’s hard in today’s busy, fast paced world to get all that we need through our food.

These nutritional gaps can make you feel sluggish as they play a large role in energy metabolism and brain health. Your body can’t function at its best when you’re deficient in needed vitamins and minerals.

A little bit of supplementation in the form of a multi-vitamin can go a long way to support you to your goals!

Nutritional deficiencies play a large role in energy metabolism and brain health. Your body cannot function at its best (or even at all) if it doesn’t have what it needs to operate at a cellular level.

When you’re stressed, consider taking targeted supplements in addition to cleaning up your diet and avoiding sugary foods. This can help fill in any nutritional gaps that may be responsible for feeling sluggish.

A mulitvitamin is a good place to start, but keep in mind that not all supplements are the same. Supplements should be tested for potency and quality. Otherwise, you might be spending money on ingredients that aren’t effective or absorbed properly.

SolVit® Multi Energy & Immune goes through extensive testing to ensure all ingredients are highly potent and in their most absorbable form.

Our formula contains alpha lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, and acetyl L-carnitine to boost energy production, and micronutrients and phytonutrients from broccoli seed extract, resveratrol, green tea, and more to keep your cells healthy, renew the energy production cycle, and combat fatigue.

Committing yourself to improving your overall nutrition by taking a daily multi-vitamin is a pretty easy commitment to make!

3.2.1 Do multivitamins help with stress?

3.2.2 Does the timing of my prescriptions affect my sleep?

With everything going on in your life, the fact that you remember to take your supplements or prescriptions at all has to be good enough, right?

After all, you’ve obviously made your health a priority and you’re doing the best that you can.

It makes sense that you may think when you take your meds or supps is inconsequential as long as you DO take them, but that’s just not the case.

Taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor is an important part of the treatment process. It’s not good enough to take your medication when you feel like it. For maximum benefits, you must take them as prescribed.

This is because some medications contain time-released technology to deliver medication over a certain amount of time. Taking them as prescribed (such as at the same time every day) ensures that your medicine is administered as intended.

Other medications need to be eaten with food or on an empty stomach to avoid GI issues. Some medications interact with certain foods and supplements or may affect things like your sleep and appetite.

If you’re guilty of just taking your meds or supps any time that you remember, it’s time to focus on being in charge of your health and life!

3.3 Detox and Weight Loss

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4. Environmental Stress and Weight Loss

4.1 Systems, Habits and Weight Loss

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5. The Impacts of Stress and Weight Loss on Productivity & Performance

Living with stress will ultimately backfire for your productivity.  

It will leave you feeling like a failure and like you can’t do anything right! It’s a constant battle of trying to get in front of things instead of always working from behind the 8-ball and playing a never-ending game of catch-up.  

Stress is much more than a feeling of overwhelm and being overburdened with everything going on in your life. In fact, stress can cause structural changes to your brain by decreasing its weight, which can affect your memory and cognition.  

Stress may also activate your central neurotransmitter and neuropeptide systems, autonomic nervous system, and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. This leads to changes in your ability to process data. Activation of these systems may also result in the release of glucocorticosteroids, which can cause long-term cognition and processing effects. 

Research shows that chronic stress can lead to adrenal fatigue. There are three stages of adrenal fatigue, and many people who feel like they perform just fine under stress are experiencing stages one (alarm) and two (resistance).   

During stage one, your body is in an active stress response. Your cortisol levels are elevated, whether you realize it or not. Symptoms include being “wired yet tired,” heart palpations, nervousness, and anxiety.   

Stage two occurs when cortisol levels have been elevated for an extended period of time. Under normal circumstances, cortisol has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.   

However, when cortisol levels are continuously high without any relief, it has a detrimental effect on the body and can increase the risk of obesity, thyroid and adrenal dysfunction, fatigue, depression, and insomnia. This is why stress management is so important.   

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6. Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Weight gain and weight loss resistance are very common symptoms among people with chronic health disorders. Contrary to popular belief, an inability to lose weight or keep it off is not a sign of a character flaw but instead flaws in your metabolic, immune, or neurological health. 

Fat shaming is culturally accepted, particularly in the alternative health spaces and against women. The truth is, overweight and obese people may have some of the healthiest diets and lifestyle practices you’ll encounter. They have to — should they dare to eat “normally” they would quickly balloon out of control. 

1) Instead of beating yourself up if you can’t lose the weight or you have mysteriously gained it too easily, consider if any of the following underlying causes may apply to you. 

Nine possible reasons why you can’t lose weight — none of which are due to being lazy or undisciplined: 

You are a veteran lifelong dieter.The multi-billion-dollar diet industry coupled with unrealistic cultural body image standards have turned low-calorie dieting into a way of life. That works great in your youth, but as you age your metabolism fatigues from constant famines. 

The human body responds to famines by progressively lowering metabolism and increasing fat storage hormones. As a result, each low-calorie diet can make you a little bit fatter than the last one once you resume normal caloric intake. This explains why diets have such low long-term success. 

This phenomenon was most poignantly illustrated in a study of participants from the The Biggest Loser reality TV show. Six years after participating in the show, researchers found they were burning 800 fewer calories per day and the majority of them returned to their pre-show weight and had to under eat by 400–800 calories a day just to not gain weight.

2) Your hunger hormones are out of whack. Conversely, if you routinely eat ample sugar and desserts and processed carbohydrates (breads, pastas, white rice, etc.), you likely have leptin resistance and skewed hunger hormone function that causes constant food cravings and hunger. Minimizing or eliminating processed carbohydrates and exercising regularly helps improve leptin sensitivity so your hunger cues and fat burning returns to normal.

3) Your thyroid isn’t working well.One of the most common causes of weight gain and weight loss resistance is hypothyroidism, or low thyroid activity. And the most common cause of this is Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and damages the thyroid gland. This is why many people do not lose weight even after they start taking thyroid medication. It’s important to address the underlying causes of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism to improve your health and lose weight.

4) You are chronically inflamed. Chronic inflammation skews hormone function, metabolism, and gut health in a way that can promote fat storage and prevent fat burning.

Many people enjoy easy weight loss by following an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. Nutrient-dense foods void of inflammatory triggers also manage pain, gut problems, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and other health issues.

5) You’ve had a brain injury or have compromised brain function

Many sufferers of concussions and brain injuries find they suddenly gain weight after their injury and are not able to lose it. Brain injuries cause inflammation in the brain, which can not only impact brain function, but also disrupt metabolic, hormone, and immune in a way that promotes promotes weight gain and inhibits fat burning. Brain injury victims also often struggle with fatigue, exercise intolerance, depression, and other symptoms that interfere with appropriate fat burning and storage.

6) You have mold illness. Mold illness is increasingly being identified as an underlying cause of many health disorders and symptoms, including weight gain and weight loss resistance. Almost a quarter of the US population is susceptible to mold illness. Toxicity from mycotoxins, the byproducts of molds, can seriously impact metabolic, immune, and neurological health leading to unexplained weight gain and weight loss resistance. This refers not just to the dreaded black mold but also the more commonly found strains of mold caused by leaks and water damage in buildings. 

7) You were born with an obese gut microbiome. Researchinto the gut microbiome, our trillions of gut bacteria, show they impact virtually every aspect of our health, including whether we are more likely to be thin or heavy. 

Studies on both mice and humans have shown that obese subjects inoculated with the gut bacteria of thin subjects went on to quickly and easily lose weight. 

Factors that impact your gut microbiome “signature” in a way that promotes obesity include being delivered via C-section, being formula fed versus breastfed, and frequent antibiotic use in childhood.

8) You are a victim of childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault or have PTSD.After more than two decades of trying to understand why most obese people regained the weight they lost, an obesity researcher made anaccidental discovery — the majority of his study subjects had been sexually abused as children or sexually assaulted right before the time their weight gain began. This can drive complex PTSD and the genesis of a food addiction to cope. 

Likewise, researchers have found a correlation between food addiction and PTSD in women.

9) You have a brain-based disorder that promotes food addiction and an eating disorder.For many people with weight issues, food becomes the source of torturous addictive behaviors that can then morph into eating disorders. It is increasingly being found that addictions and eating disorders are linked to brain-based disorders such as ADHD. Skewed neurological function triggers the obsessive thought patterns that lay the foundation for addictive eating and eating disorders. 

Look for the underlying cause of weight gain and weight loss resistance to develop self-compassion 

6.1 Habits that Backfire

6.1.1 Will I sleep better if I eat less at night?

You rush through your day and skip right over breakfast and lunch only to be so ravenous that you try to get your daily fill of calories all at dinner.

It’s a time-saver, right?

Why stop and eat when you’re busiest and most productive if you can just load up later in the day?

Or maybe you eat smaller meals during the day and then feel deprived at dinner time, so you overdo and eat either more than, or worse than, you actually want to.

You might even justify it to yourself because you deserve it after such a long day.

Conversely, you might feel guilty for losing control and struggle to break out of this routine.

Let’s take the emotions out of the situation and look at the science for a minute.

Overindulging in dinner at night to make up for calories that you missed during the day can wreak havoc on your hormone and insulin levels. It’s also incredibly taxing on your digestive system.

If you eat a big snack before bed, your digestive system will be hard at work trying to digest your food. This can lead to GI issues that makes it hard for you to sleep.

When coupled with a stressful day, skipping meals can throw your body into a raging war against cortisol and insulin levels – two hormones that are easily controlled by working smarter, not harder.

Research shows that cortisol has a direct influence on appetite and cravings by binding to receptors in the hypothalamus in the brain. It can also increase your cravings for reward-driven foods, which can lead to obesity.

Eating a big meal at night signals your body to start working again when it’s really time to wind down. Hard to digest meals can interrupt your sleep by making you feel heavy, bloated, and uncomfortable.

Eating throughout the day also stabilizes your blood sugar levels to help you sleep better. Avoid the digestive upset, indigestion, and insulin spikes that accompany heavy meals by making your last meal of the day a light one.

Have you fallen into the routine of eating a big meal at dinner time, or overindulging after just nibbling throughout the day? Do you now recognize the positive impact that changing that routine can have on your sleep patterns and health in general?

If so, add “eat a smaller dinner and more throughout the day” to your roadmap as a landmark to pass during the journey toward your final destination.

6.1.2 Why will a pre-bed treat meant to help me fall asleep backfire on me?

You made it through a long day. The kids are in bed, the kitchen is cleaned, your work is done, the house is quiet, and now you deserve a treat!

Perhaps you spent the day starved for affection and acknowledgement and you feel the only worthy reward is to feed that need with ice cream or a cocktail.

For every deprivation you experience throughout the day, there’s probably an equal and opposite binge waiting for you at night.

But this path can have negative consequences on your health, stress and sleep.

Nicotine, alcohol, and eating before bed can disrupt your sleep and limit the amount of time that your body has to recharge itself.

If your nightly indulgence involves alcohol, you should know that it can negatively impact your sleep. According to one study, having a few drinks before bedtime might help you sleep initially, but these effects wear off after three days of continued use.

Additionally, the calories and sugar from the bedtime snacks and alcohol you consume increases your risk of weight gain by inducing an insulin spike, which is essentially a fat-storing hormone that sends excess energy to your adipose tissue.

Research shows that that nicotine and cannabis may also cause sleep problems.

One study indicated that smoking cigarettes may lead to the severity of obstructive sleep apnea because it alters sleep architecture, arousal mechanisms, and upper airway inflammation and neuromuscular function.

Another study found that when compared to a drug-free group, marijuana users were more likely to experience sleep disturbances.

Keep in mind that sleep deprivation is harmful to your health because it prevents important rebuilding and repairing processes, especially in the brain.

During sleep, your neurotransmitter systems and synapses rebuild and repair themselves so that you can handle the effects of the next day’s stress. When you don’t sleep well, you’ll wake up feeling burned out even before the day has started.

Consider exploring other things that make you feel good and help you relax at the end of the day. You can do this by exploring all things that you consider a “treat,” such as sex, going for a walk in nature, reading a book, playing a board game, or listening to music.

You do not need to deprive yourself of the treats that you crave and deserve, you just may need to reframe what you view as an indulgence after a long day.

6.1.3 What’s wrong with working out before bed?

We all know that exercising is good for us. It has benefits for our health, our weight, our sleep and our stress.

But sometimes it can be difficult to fit into our busy schedules, so we squeeze it in whenever possible. If night time is the only time we can do that, how could that be bad?

Or, maybe exercising at night is how you choose to wind down.

Or, night time might be the only private time you get before starting second shift with the family.

While the benefits of exercise are undeniable, fitting in your work out late in the day might be causing more harm than good.

In fact, exercising at night can boost your heart rate and make it hard to fall asleep. Exercise is best done in the morning to help jump start the day.

According to one study, exercising at night may affect your heart rate during the first three hours of sleep. Evening exercise may also raise your cortisol levels so that you feel more anxious and alert instead of feeling calm and relaxed.

Morning exercise helps you naturally balance your circadian rhythm by supporting healthy cortisol levels. Cortisol is usually highest in the morning and then levels off throughout the day to keep us alert.

Exercising in the morning tells your body when it’s time to wake up and be active by boosting cortisol. Evening routines should focus on reducing cortisol and boosting melatonin to tell your body when it’s time to sleep.

If you’ve been in the habit of exercising late in the day, you may be surprised by the positive affects you’ll experience when you shift things around a bit and switch to working out in the morning.

Conclusion

Many people are rightfully concerned for their health with the spread of deadly viruses, such as the flu and the coronavirus.

The best thing you can do is to be as prepared as possible. This includes taking measures to boost your immune system health, take preventative measures against exposures and continuously monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

You can boost your immune system health by reducing your sugar intake, focusing on organic lean protein (without antibiotics), and organic/GMO free fruits and vegetables for cleaning out your digestive system daily. Taking supplements that boost immune health may also help.

Washing your hands often, practicing social distancing, wearing a face mask, and use immune-boosting antibacterial oils are among a few of the things you can also do to limit your exposure.

Take measures today to boost your immune system health, take preventative measures against exposures and continuously monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for up to date guidelines and alerts.

For more information about health-promoting tips and products, please visit https://solarispremium.com/.

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