Fat Loss Series 3/6

Stress and Sleep

How does stress and lack of sleep stop fat loss?

Not managing stress and sleep properly can negatively effect hormones which essentially help the body grow and adapt into the bodies and Physqiue we wish to achieve. Stress as you know can effect us in many different ways and there are many variables that can cause stress daily. If we’re not careful stress can be a killer let alone preventing fat loss goals. Some of the factors that affect weight loss like genetics, hormones, and your age are largely out of your control. But you do have control over many other factors like your sleep and stress levels.

The Science of Stress

Stress is one of the most underrated factors that can have a huge impact on your ability to lose fat. When you’re chronically stressed, this can negatively impact your fat loss goals because of how it affects your behavior .But stress can also cause a problematic hormonal cascade throughout your body. One that impacts your hormones, sleep, and mood, which can also result in an inability to lose fat. So if you’re not losing fat, despite doing what seems like everything right, this article is for you.

Non-overweight men and women who are vulnerable to the effects of stress are more likely to have excess abdominal fat, and have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. There are many variables which can cause stress however one of our "weekend rewards" can trigger very damaging stress which is continuous alcohol consumption or weekend binging as it increases insulin and fat storage on the waistline. Boozing will cause the hormone cortisol which increases the break down of muscle and interferes with sleep quality. This all leads to the decrease in production of growth hormone which helps with deep sleep, recovery, muscle growth and fat loss. So all those weekend warriors who love to binge drink….you’ve been warned!

When it comes to stress and controlling it, choosing the wrong foods, liquids and making the wrong decisions will ultimately happen more often when our brain chemistry is wrong. If we want to reduce our stress and improve our sleep & fat loss goal’s we need to ensure we have a healthy brain that functions optimally, focusing on happiness and the correct intelligent nutrition & lifestyle choices. It is all interlinked.

Stress, sleep and fat loss are optional. You have to decide on whether you wish to take them seriously. In other words, the Health of our brain dictates our thoughts, feelings, decisions and results both psychologically and physiologically.

By feeding the brain the wrong types of fats and cholesterol from processed & refined foods you are literally messing with the neurons and neurotransmitters of your brain. The celebral tissue of your brain will start to become starved of what it really needs and this means stress increases even more! so don't make it worse by eating a bad diet. If you’re under constant stress your digestive system is in distress too. This can lead to bloating, gas, digestive disturbances, weight gain and even obesity, which leads to new stress and therefore a vicious cycle. There are two things you need to do. The first is identify your key stressors and the second is deal with them!


Stress is sometimes subtle and thus hard to find what's causing it. This in turn makes it hard to identify what’s stopping your fat loss goals. Stress does come in the more obvious forms of a deadline at work, alcohol consumption, bad diet or drug problem. However things like too much caffeine, too much strenuous exercise, commuting, planning a wedding, becoming a parent, or running your own business can all be the causes of damaging stress. Always wanting certain materialistic things or maintaining a certain lifestyle can increase your stress. What is causing you stress?

Anything that raises your cortisol levels too high for too long will likely prevent you from being a fat burner machine and instead a fat storage machine.

If you’re struggling in your fat loss journey, it’s important to identify any areas that could be causing stress. Here are some general categories that stressors usually fall into. Use this as a starting point to flesh out anything in your life that could be causing you stress.

· Emotional stress

· Physical stress

· Chemical stress

· Social stress

· Family stress

· Work stress

· Decision stress

· Isolation stress (thanks COVID-19!)

Once you’ve identified the major stressors in your life you can work to either eliminate them entirely or reduce their influence.

This will take some time and dedicated effort on your part. But if those stressors are getting in the way of your ability to lose fat, it’s worth putting in the extra effort. De-stress your life, you’ll see an improvement in all areas of your health and not just fat.

The science of sleep

Sleep provides several benefits.

During sleep, the body releases growth hormones, which fix damaged muscle fibres, including the skin. Sleep also reduces the body's amount of stress hormone cortisol, adjusts the hormones that control appetite accordingly and boosts the immune system. And get what...improves fat loss.

Just like regular exercise and a healthy diet, getting enough good sleep is an essential part of looking after your physical and mental health. Here I’ll take a look at some of the health benefits of sleep and explain why getting enough sleep is so important. What are the benefits of sleep?

Good sleep Improves your attention, concentration and decision making such as diet, training and lifestyle. If you are in a better mood you will be more relaxed and not reach for the cookie jar. Getting enough sleep has a lot of proven health benefits. Scientists have learned more and more as they've gained a better understanding of the benefits of sleep psychologically and physiologically. During sleep, your body releases hormones. Some of them keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Lack of sleep deprives you of these hormones which are associated with high blood pressure and a decreased heart function.

When it comes to fat loss and blood sugar regulation sleep helps regulate your metabolism. That's the way your body converts food to energy. It helps to provide a healthy digestion and a breakdown of all the foods that need to be transferred into muscle and the rest rid of waste.

Sleep regulates your immune system. When you don't get enough, irregular immune system activity can cause inflammation. You may not notice excess inflammation. But it can have an effect on your body. Chronic inflammation damages structures and increases your risk of many health conditions. Research suggests that people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight or obese. Poor sleep appears to disrupt the balance of ghrelin and leptin. Those are hormones that control appetite. If you want to lose fat, don't forget that good sleep is part of the equation. Adequate sleep helps with hormonal balance. That keeps your heart healthy, reduces stress, and helps keep blood sugar consistent

Sleep helps you maintain your physical abilities. Studies show sleep deprivation leads to short-term balance problems. That's called postural instability. It can lead to injuries and falls. Even mild instability can cause problems during sports or exercise. A good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert. This helps you focus and get things done.

It's easier to exercise when you're energetic and alert. So that's an indirect benefit of getting enough sleep. Being engaged and active throughout your day feels good. And being more active all day makes another good night's sleep more likely.

While you sleep, your body works hard to repair damage. The damage can be from stress and other toxins your body is exposed to. Your cells produce certain proteins while you sleep. They form the building blocks of cells. This let's cells repair the day's damage and keep you healthy. Sleep is not just important for muscle repair and fat loss. While you sleep, your body is hard at work. It restores hormonal balance, repairs itself, and keeps the circulatory and immune systems functioning properly. Your brain forms and stores memories. Quality sleep allows you to be energetic and alert. It allows you to lose weight, exercise, work, learn, socialize, and do all the things you enjoy. Hope you enjoyed my article! Next week is on hormones.....

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