Keeping excess weight off can seem like a constant struggle. Sticking to a diet and exercising regularly is a good start, but there are other factors that play a role. Things like a vitamin deficiency or lack of sleep can actually signal your brain to store more fat, which keeps you from shedding the last few pounds. Here’s what to look out for!
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is not found in many foods. Our body is able to produce vitamin D through sun exposure, but because we spend the majority or our lives indoors, more than 50% of us are deficient in this vitamin.
Not only can a deficiency lead to unintentional weight gain, but one study also showed that taking a vitamin D supplement together with a healthy diet and exercise can actually boost weight-loss. This is due the ability of vitamin D to reduce the formation of new fat cells, while suppressing the storage of fat. It’s also associated with higher testosterone levels, another hormone that helps with weight-loss.
To get enough vitamin D, make sure you get about 30 min of sun exposure every day!
When you stress, your adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol. When there is too much cortisol in the body, you are more likely to gain weight due to a slowed metabolism. Cortisol also causes you to crave more sugar and the more sugar you eat, the more you will gain weight. It’s known as the stress hormone, and as you already know stress can make you do all kinds of things that lead to weight-gain. You’re likely to eat more fast foods and sugary treats, exercise less, and even skip healthy meals.
According to research, 1 in 3 people don’t get enough sleep. And it seems the sleep that we do get is not of high quality. But what does inadequate sleep have to do with gaining weight? It’s all thanks to your hormones. This time, the two hormones at play are leptin and ghrelin, both of which regulate hunger and appetite.
Leptin suppresses your appetite and helps the body to use up energy. Ghrelin, on the other hand, increases feelings of hunger. When you don’t get enough shut-eye, the body produces less leptin and more ghrelin. So you can see what the outcome will be. You will be hungrier and have a bigger appetite, but your body will expend less energy, which will ultimately lead to weight gain.
If you have been struggling to lose excess weight despite being on a balanced diet and sticking to an exercise regime, then it could perhaps be due to a lack of sleep, vitamin D deficiency, or simply stress. By making a few lifestyle changes, you could soon be on your way to shed the last few pounds!