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Seven years ago, at the age of 44, Dot Thompson weighed 325 pounds (pounds) and found herself tired and struggling against heartburn, back and knee pain, and wasting weight. ;insomnia. "I did not feel well," she says. The woman from Centerville, Virginia, made an appointment with her doctor for a physical examination. After blood tests, her doctor told her that she was suffering from hypertension and prediabetes and that she was at risk for heart attack and stroke. "It was the kick I needed to change things," she says.
After getting her doctor's approval, she decided to start the ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low-carb and protein diet that puts the body in ketosis, a metabolic state that causes the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. energy, and often leads to rapid weight loss. In her diet, she cut out all the grains, sugar and processed and packaged foods, and ate green leafy vegetables, fat cuts of meat, salmon and eggs. She cooked with fats like butter, ghee, tallow and duck fat.
Thanks to his diet changes, Thompson lost 150 pounds.
Although the keto diet played a role in weight loss, she understood throughout her career that health was not limited to the simple sale of cookies against kale. Changing one's state of mind, adopting healthy lifestyles and leaving a very stressful job were just as important to him. "Everything I tried in the past did not work," says Thompson. "What I really had to focus on (that was it) was to live more of my life."
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When controlling stress hinders weight loss
Throughout Thompson's weight loss journey, stressors have threatened his success. Last year, she became the main caregiver of her mother, who fell and broke her hip twice in the space of six months. Thompson's health was put to one side and, as a result of stress, Thompson took back 35 pounds. "As difficult as it is (taking care of my mother), I still have to make my health a priority, and I have not done it," she says. "It's really hard to make good habits, but it's so easy the bad habits come back.
Despite the challenges she faced, Thompson realized that changing her state of mind was just as important as changing her diet and the key to lasting weight loss. "It was actually the hardest part when I started losing weight, and it's a little bit now, too," she says.
One of the reasons was that she had to overcome her hyper-focus and fear of scale and instead look for more meaningful measures, such as her energy level, lost height, and amount of muscle mass. "For me, right now, he's back in the spirit of using all the tools I used to distract myself from the scales and put it in a proper perspective. It's difficult because all you hear about weight loss involves getting on a scale, "she says.
Nevertheless, Thompson discovered that creating healthy new habits and staying consistent was the key to maintaining weight and improving other markers.
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Making changes in diet started a better sleep schedule
A former insomniac who slept only two or three hours a night, Thompson discovered that changing his diet and eating habits allowed him to enjoy six to seven hours of quality rest a night. For example, if she wanted a glass of wine, she would eat it earlier in the evening so that her sleep would not be affected later.
She also discovered that using blackout blinds, keeping the room temperature in her room and getting ready to go to bed an hour before wanting to lie down helped her to be better off. asleep.
In the absence of adequate sleep, the levels of leptin and peptide YY, two hormones that promote satiety (feeling of fullness), decrease, while ghrelin – "the hormone of hunger" – increases which can lead to overconsumption and weight gain, said Caroline Apovian, MD. Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine at Boston University in Massachusetts. "People who sleep less than seven hours a night (tend to have) have a higher body mass index (BMI)," she says.
A study published in September 2013 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who slept less than five hours a night had an increased risk of developing obesity by about 40% compared to those who slept seven to eight hours. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults sleep approximately 7 to 9 hours.
Thompson also discovered that making the phone display darker at night and turn off his devices when the sun went down, or at least one to two hours before bedtime, also helped him to get his phone off. asleep. It is true that the blue light emitted by televisions, tablets and smartphones removes melatonin, the hormone responsible for the regulation of sleep-wake cycles. A study published in October 2013 in the journal International Chronobiology We found people who wore glasses that blocked the blue light produced more melatonin, slept and got better performance at work than those who did not have any while working at night.
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Browse one of your social media feeds and you'll be bombarded with politically charged news, succulent food photos and other seemingly "perfect" lives, all of which can boost levels of stress hormone cortisol. A study published in March 2018 in the Journal of Social Psychology found that people who closed their Facebook accounts had lower levels of cortisol and felt more satisfied with their lives.
The use of social media also promotes unhealthy body images and can make people feel bad about themselves, says Dr. Apovian. According to a study published in March 2019 in the journal Body imageafter talking with attractive peers on social media, women reported feeling more dissatisfied with their bodies.
Instead of letting herself be carried away by social media, which, according to Thompson, would have negatively impacted her ability to relax at night, she instead did some relaxing activities, such as knitting and reading.
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Learning to manage stress has also helped her lose weight
When Thompson decided that she needed to make her health a priority and lose weight, she was working in a very stressful job that required her to spend 15 to 18 hours a day, as well as weekends. . She found herself eating at her desk, taking a soda or snack to keep her energy level and ordering for dinner. "I was very unhealthy and I was very unhappy with the work," she says.
After talking to her husband, she realized that the only way to get healthy would be to quit her job. Although it was a tough decision because Thompson was the breadwinner and insurance provider of his family, it was the best decision for his health and happiness.
Over the past year, while Thompson was struggling with caregiver stress, she realized that she needed to ask for what she needed, such as asking her husband to prepare dinner or suggest coffee instead. as appointments with friends to not compromise his weight loss efforts.
Stress and lack of sleep both lead to increased levels of cortisol, a balanced diet and weight gain. "Stress modifies all those hormones that promote a higher body weight," says Apovian. A study published in February 2017 in the journal Obesity High levels of chronic cortisol have been found to be associated with being overweight and overweight, including dangerous visceral fat, around the waist.
Recent research may indicate a cause that deserves further scientific exploration. A study published in April 2018 in the journal Cell metabolism, which was performed in mice, suggested that glucocorticoids, or natural steroid hormones, increased with chronic stress and could cause the transformation of a type of cells known as progenitor cells into fat cells and the weight gain.
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The exercise helped her reach her goal after losing weight
When Thompson started her weight loss journey, she tried to do some exercise. But after being injured, his doctor suggested that he concentrate primarily on eating well and losing at least 50 kg.
When she reached her goal and continued to lose weight, she incorporated light exercises, such as walking and yoga, and made it a point to include more activities on a daily basis, like getting up every hour to walk for 10 minutes. "It happened to me to be able to move much more easily," she says. Eventually, she would challenge herself to walk longer, faster and further, to work up to a race and to participate in endurance events.
However, when Thompson recovered 35 pounds this year, her hip started hurting her and she started working with a trainer and a physical therapist. Although she aims to participate again in endurance events, she is realistic about what she can do now and focuses on the activities she loves. "If you do not like the exercise or physical activity that you practice, you will not want to do it," she says.
The National Weight Control Registry shows that people who exercise at least 2,500 calories a week maintain weight loss, says Apovian. "They stop doing exercise, they put on weight. Prioritizing exercise means doing organized exercise and doing it (faithfully), like brushing your teeth, "she says.
According to a study published in March 2019 in the journal Obesitypeople who lost 30 pounds or more and kept it for more than a year found that physical activity was more important to maintaining weight loss than diet. In other words, a diet can help lose weight, but exercise seems to help you maintain this weight loss.
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Drinking plenty of water has helped keep it on track by making healthy choices
"I drank Coca-Cola all the time – it was my water," Thompson says. Over the course of a month, Thompson decided to drink half his weight in ounces, mostly water, with unsweetened iced tea or flavored, unsweetened carbonated water.
Studies show that drinking plenty of water is one of the keys to losing weight. A study published in the July-August 2016 issue of the journal Annals of Family Medicine finding hydrated by drinking water and eating fruits and vegetables rich in water can help manage one's weight, especially for overweight or obese people.
"Some people who are dehydrated can not distinguish dehydration (or thirst for hunger), so they will eat too much. And if you drink enough water, your stomach will fill up and help you feel full, "says Apovian.
National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommend women to consume about 2.7 liters per day and men about 3.7 liters per day of all drinks and food, and more to people who are very physically active or living in hot climates.
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Why not do keto or any diet is not a miracle solution to lose weight
Although Thompson continues to follow the keto diet and incorporates intermittent fasting and "carnivore" or "all meat" days into her diet, she does not do so under the supervision of her doctor.
However, working with a doctor when trying to lose weight with any diet – but especially with the keto – is a good idea because it can ensure that you will not be dehydrated and that your potassium level will be optimal says Apovian. "Your doctor can monitor you so that you can do it properly and in good health and that there is less chance of recovery," she says.
Thomspon said that throughout her journey, she learned that long-term weight loss is about making small, consistent changes and being nice to yourself. "Weight loss is 99% nutrition, 3% physical activity, but 100% mental. The mental part is much more important than anything else, because it's so easy to say, "Just once" or "I'll start tomorrow."