Controlling weight is a balancing act: eating enough to fuel your body and getting the nutrients it needs. It’s important to watch portion sizes and eat foods that are low in calories but provide your body with key nutrients like fiber, iron, and protein.
In one study, normal weight women who misperceived their body weight were more likely to engage in unhealthy weight control behaviors than those who accurately perceived their weight.
4. Avoid Stress
Stress is a big contributor to weight gain. It’s important to try and find healthy ways of reducing stress in your life, such as incorporating self-care techniques or talking with a therapist.
Stress shuts down appetite by triggering the adrenal glands to pump out a hormone called epinephrine, which triggers the fight-or-flight response and revved up physiological state that temporarily puts hunger on hold. But once the threat has passed, cortisol levels drop and a person’s appetite returns.
People who are stressed often turn to highly palatable comfort foods high in fat, sugar, and salt which can cause a person to eat more than they need and lead to weight gain and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Talking with a therapist can be helpful in learning to manage chronic stress and reduce elevated cortisol levels.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for good health and weight control. Insufficient sleep interferes with your body’s glucose and insulin levels, upsetting the balance of hormones that signal satiety and appetite. Lack of sleep also triggers the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes you more likely to eat high-calorie foods. Ensure that you’re getting enough sleep by sticking to a regular schedule, eliminating distractions before bed and making your bedroom a restful place.