It is SO important, it deserves it’s own blog post. It’s the secret ingredient I rarely see discussed when people are talking about losing weight and getting healthy, but in my experience, it tends to be the most overlooked aspect of success in my own weight loss. Case in point: the past few weeks.
This weekend, as I wrote about yesterday, I drank quite a bit on Saturday night and I didn’t get any sleep. The result was an increase of 3 lbs on the scale. Did I actually drink 3 lbs of liquid? Of course not, but the body reacts to alcohol by retaining water as the liver works to rid the body of the toxins. That means a gain in water weight, and typically it comes off with good adherence to a low-carb/no-sugar diet and getting a lot of sleep. I have gone days with little sleep after drinking, and I always found that it took up to 5 days for the extra water weight to go away.
Well, this week, I got 10 hours of sleep on Sunday night and a solid 7.5 hours last night, and this morning, I’m back down to not only my pre-weekend weight, but actually even lower. I hit 182.0 lbs today. That makes getting back into the 170’s a real possibility.
So many people who are trying to lose weight do so through overloading on exercise. At the most basic level, weight loss happens when you expend more calories than you take in, so I guess if you can exercise enough, you should be able to lose weight. The problems arise when you consider the quality of the calories and their effects on the body as well as the number of calories physical activities actually burn as compared to the calories you eat. That’s why I say all the time that it’s very difficult to out exercise a bad diet. Another little ditty I preach quite often is “You lose weight in the kitchen; you get fit in the gym.” I need to come up with something that talks about how necessary sleep is to weight loss.
My quick ingredient list for successful weight loss
- Paleo Diet (or Whole30, Keto, Atkins, low-carb, etc)
- Portion control: eat a sensible amount
- No snacking
- Intermittent Fasting (IF) if possible
- Exercise: 30 minutes every other day (or every day if you can handle it)
- A minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night (this varies person to person: I need 7 while someone younger may need more and someone older may need less)
- NO SABOTAGE: that means no cheat days, cheat meals, cheat snacks, etc. If you are serious about losing the weight, this is a small price to pay. You need to change your relationship with food. Going back to a bad boyfriend or girlfriend from time to time is not healthy. Neither is going back to bad foods.
So, to sum up, do the things in the above list, but importantly, GET ENOUGH SLEEP!!!