Can it really be true? That you need to sit down or lay down to lose weight? In my expert opinion, absolutely yes! This might sound like a strange concept, but I’ve worked with hundreds of people who need to lose weight, and I consistently tell them to find time to sit or lay down, every day. My aim is to help clients address the underlying causes of their symptoms, including weight gain, and this strategy can be an important part of the complex puzzle. But why?
Hormones that cause weight gain
The simple formula that we used to hear – “eat less, move more” – really doesn’t work for most people long term. Especially for women over 40. When I work with clients, so often I need to help them address the “hormone effect” on their ability to lose weight. In fact the conventional advice of “move more, eat less” can sometimes make things worse, because it causes more of the hormone cortisol to be released.
What is important to know, is that cortisol is one of our stress hormones and its purpose is to keep us attuned to the fight or flight response. Back in caveman times this saved lives! Imagine, back in the day, there was a big sabre toothed tiger or a bear sitting behind you; your body doesn’t want to stay put – it wants to run, or it wants to turn and fight. To do that you need to raise your heart rate, you need to get blood to your muscles; to get going and get moving it is both the hormones cortisol and adrenaline that are released make that happen.
When we release cortisol we are pumped and ready for action. We are definitely NOT in a relaxation state – we are not digesting our food properly, and we are not balancing our sex hormones.
When we go on a traditional diet, skip meals, restrict calories and do high intensity cardio, we could end up releasing far too much cortisol. Unfortunately this hormone tells our bodies to store fat, especially around the tummy, to provide instant fuel for “fight or flight” when we need it.
Retaining that high cortisol mode can cause your body a real struggle to lose weight and keep it off. So it’s often an amazing thing for people when I tell them to eat more and sometimes move less! I don’t mean no exercise, but more of the right kind of movement, alongside restorative exercise such as yoga and pilates, as well as relaxation. Especially for us ladies over 40!
So how can we reduce cortisol levels?
So, one of the reasons I tell people to lay down to lose weight is to find some way every single day to reduce your cortisol levels. My favourite way to do that is:
Lay on the floor and enjoy a guided meditation or simply, deep breathing (you’ll find me doing this most mornings!)
I also love the following apps:
Whatever it is, pick something that that gives you 10 minutes of complete calm and relaxation. In some cases, amazingly that can help to kick start weight loss, where before you might have struggled or not been able to keep it off – even if you have been doing loads of gym work and restricting your calories!
I implore you to really take care of yourself and listen to what you need: body, mind and soul – helping yourself to drop those cortisol levels can be the difference between you having weight loss success or not. Let me know what you think! Have you ever heard of the concept of cortisol and the effect it might be having on your ability to lose weight?
Unpicking the underlying causes of weight gain
I do work one to one with people on weight loss, it’s one of my specialist areas, and there are many complex reasons why people can struggle to lose weight – from high cortisol and hormone imbalances to thyroid problems, insomnia and nutrient deficiencies. Sometimes you might be getting your macronutrient balance wrong. In other cases, you’re not eating enough and doing the wrong sorts of exercise.
I also work a lot with patients who have had bariatric surgery and guide them through that process of being able to get weight off and keep it off, in healthy way long term. For those who’ve had bariatric surgery, it’s about using the surgery as a tool alongside a lifetime of healthy eating.
I love re-educating people on how to lose weight long term and eat well for life, in a way that doesn’t feel like dieting.
So, let me know what you think. If you’d like to apply to work with me do get in touch, or you can register now for my next group weight loss programme which starts in May 2019. Please drop me an email or message on Facebook. I’m going to have a limited number of places, but we are getting great results from the first group who are now continuing onto my weight loss membership programme.