I met with one of my clients this week that wanted to review her food journal. This client shall go by the alias of Sally.
Within the first few minutes of our conversation Sally mentioned how crazy her schedule is with work and how she’s finding herself reaching for junk food during the day because she’s super tired.
She was having a real tough time reeling in her self control and she was pretty frustrated.
Instead of talking with Sally about food or her nutrition journal we talked about sleep & hormones, and the effects it’s playing on her results.
See, hormones in large part, control metabolic function (your metabolism). And they can work with you or against you.
Fat Storage Hormones
Insulin & leptin are 2 of the most popular players involved in fat storage but cortisol could certainly be included in the top three.
When you are sleep deprived, your body’s internal environment is in a state of stress.
The release of cortisol is the result.
When the body is in a state of stress it doesn’t know whether or not that stress is due to lack of sleep, lack of food, or being stranded on a deserted island. It just knows that something is wrong and it needs to live.
So it releases cortisol. Cortisol is a fat STORING hormone. This hormone is being released by the body to save you. Thanks cortisol!
The body only has 1 priority. And that’s to live.
So when we introduce the body to stress, it wants to make sure we store fat incase we are in a starvation situation. This storage will act as a protective reserve.
Work on Your Stressors
Fortunately, most of us will never be trapped anywhere for extended periods of time without food, but many of us are and will deal with the stressors of life.
Dealing with these stressors has to be the focus before we can even have a serious conversation about the diet.
Sleep is essential for a proper functioning endocrine system. I function great on 7 hours. Some people need 8-9. But I assure you that anything in the 5-6 range is likely to have a major impact on your fat loss results UNLESS your macros are really dialed in. But even that’s not a guarantee.
A few of my tips for better sleep:
- No social media 1-2 hours before bed time
- No caffeine past 4pm
- Workout. Hard. 3-5 times per week
We keep such crazy schedules (especially in the tri-state area) but we gotta realize that the extra sleep is going to make us more productive, have more energy, and get better fitness results.
Sure we might have to work a little less or have an hour less of escapism time but the extra effort to make sleep a priority is worth it. I’ve finally turned the corner myself and started taking my quality sleep time more seriously.
I encourage you to do the same.