Most people I meet who are overweight, over eat. It’s also likely that some of the foods they eat can’t be absorbed and/or digested by their body. So their mind body system is underfed, malnourished and stressed out. It’s no wonder they complain of fatigue and anxiety and crave simple carbs and fatty foods.
As a psychologist, I look to food second to explain the symptoms a client describes. First I ask about their current life situations. So often it is both that lead to the distress they feel in their body and mind. This fact generated this post and I could write hundreds more on this topic. But I will start with a couple of suggestions you can incorporate into your life right now. Why wait!
First, did you know that a lack of magnesium in your system can lead to anxiety, insomnia and many other problems? Magnesium enhances your metabolism and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Our bodies use it in over 300 metabolic processes. It’s an easy supplement to take and it’s found in many foods. I wrote all about it here.
Secondly, another easy way to counter fatigue, handle stressors better and therefore feel less anxious at the end of the day, is to eat a breakfast of protein, a lunch of mostly protein and some carbs and a dinner of mostly complex carbs. Many vegetables are high in complex carbs and protein. Yes! See my Pinterest boards for mindful eating, mind body tips, and healthy recipes, for more information about this truth.
In getting back to the order of eating protein and healthy carbs I described above, I refer you to a new book that speaks to a “reset diet,” The Adrenal Reset Diet. Personally I shy away from books with diet in the title. I heard the author Alan Christianson, naturopathic doctor, speak about it first and was in agreement with what he said, then I read a magazine article about it.
In fact, without knowing about this, about 2-3 years ago I changed to eating protein only to start my day, and again at each meal, with the least protein at dinner because it was a huge salad with legumes, fish or fruit. I love salad, so this wasn’t new, but I instantly had more energy and focus in the morning and afternoon. Even the 3:00 PM drop wasn’t dropping like it once was!
This is what Dr. Christianson says about the basis of his approach “We gain weight not because we’re lazy or indulgent, but because our cortisol rhythms are disrupted.”*
I add to that that if you have insomnia or disrupted sleep, your cortisol pattern is off kilter! Your adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol which regulates sleep rhythms, your fight, flight, freeze response, but how balanced your nervous system is, when in stressful situations and ultimately how much energy you have available to use during the day. Eating protein gives you energy over a few hours, as opposed to the quick release of energy from carbs followed by a drop in energy as your blood glucose level wains.
Interestingly, Dr. Christianson recommends taking 200-600 mg of magnesium daily with food and vitamin D, 2,000 IU daily (or get tested to find your best level) to go with the Reset Diet, to help reset your cortisol rhythm.*
Research has shown that people who are overweight are also not getting enough sleep at night; 7-9 hours is what adults should be getting nightly. The body needs this time to rest, this includes your digestive system, and your brain needs time to reconsolidate and store the events of your day. Fatigue and anxiety can result from not enough sleep, among other negative outcomes. The point is, restful and long periods of sleep is now one of the factors that needs to be in place in order to lose weight and keep it off.
As a final stress, fatigue and anxiety reducer, meditate! Regular meditation, even 8 minutes/day is shown to make your life more manageable, calm, focused and you sleep better. I teach meditation for mind body health and I see how much better my student are after just 4 weeks. I have a class starting Feb. 26, this coming Thursday that combines mindfulness and journaling and I’d love to have you there. Registration and more info are on this page. If you’d like to take a class or have me teach your classabout a variety of meditation techniques go here for more about it.
Meditating will make losing weight and being energized easier for you and the other benefits from it will keep you practicing long after you’ve lost the weight, so you’ll have an easier time keeping the extra calories and weight away!
I’d love to hear back from you in the comments below or by email. Questions, experiences, worries- all are welcome. I want to help you!
*Source: “The Adrenal Reset Diet, adrenal health could be the key to unlocking healthy weight loss,” Vera Tweed, Amazing Wellness magazine, Winter 2015
Photo courtesy of Abdone/Dreamstime, ID 133721