Lifestyle Factors – Sleep, Stress, Toxins, GI Health
Many lifestyle factors will greatly affect the efficacy of a logical and structured weight management programme, which is why we should consider a client’s sleep patterns, stress levels, toxin intake and gastrointestinal health.
Poor sleep will decrease the release of growth hormone, increase cortisol release, decrease androgen production and will decrease the intensity and volume of the training sessions. Looking to assess and improve a client’s sleep pattern will help support the weight management programme:
- Do you have trouble falling asleep at night?
- Do you have difficulty waking up in the morning?
- Do you sleep less than 8-9 hours a night?
- Do you wake up once or more during the night? If so how many times on average
- Do you sleep in a room with any light or noise?
- Do you wake up feeling tired?
- Do you wake up only with an alarm?
- Do you go to bed later than 11 pm?
- Do you get up earlier than 6 am?
- Do you use medications for sleep?
- Clear the room of electrical equipment
- Use black-out blinds
- Ensure the correct temperature
- Follow good pre-bed procedure
- Dim lights an hour or two before bed
- Practise Stress Reduction Techniques
- Follow the Exercise Programme
- Evaluate the macronutrient balance of the evening meal and the time
- Hydrate, but not too close to bed
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, sugar prior to bed
Excessive stress will raise cortisol levels, leaving the body in a catabolic state, raising insulin levels, and causing a variety of problems in relation to fat loss. Clients can take an Adrenal Stress Index test to evaluate their stress levels under the oversight of a trained practitioner, but even without this a stress questionnaire may show up that stress is or will be a barrier to optimal weight management.
Causes of Stress
- Relationship stress
- Parental stress
- Work stress
- Training stress
- Unseen factors (Dehydration, Dysglycaemia, Tobacco, Alcohol, Caffeine)
- Identify Stressors
- Stress Reduction Techniques
- Assess Sleep
- Eat at Regular Intervals
- Decrease refined CHO intake
- Exclude all intake of hydrogenated and trans fats
- Avoid caffeine
The body will store its toxins in the fat cells of the body, just as fish store their toxins in their fat cells. When we lose bodyfat these toxins will be released into the blood stream and the detoxification processes of the liver will have to be supported with nutrients in the diet to assist the liver in processing these. A diet rich in micronutrients and ideally organic will help to overcome this problem.
Trying to decrease the toxin intake will also help the body to be healthier:
- Decrease pesticide and insecticide intake
- Decrease preservatives and additives
- Filter the toxins from water
In order for the body to break down, absorb through the intestinal wall, and eventually utilise the nutrients from the food we eat, the GI system must be functioning properly. Low levels of stomach acid or other digestive enzymes, poor fibre intake, limited water intake, or a damaged gut wall may cause valuable nutrients in the food to be passed out of the body unused. A specific practitioner can help evaluate for signs of poor digestion, and there are many foods, such as peppermint, flax seeds, essential fatty acids, aloe vera, pineapple and papaya which can help support the GI tract to function better.