In this post I want to explore a statement I hear all the time from patients who come in to see me:
“I can’t seem to lose weight, when I eat way less than my skinny friend.”
I get this all the time, and in this blog post are some of my thoughts on why this situation can happen.
There are a couple of reasons that your skinny friend can eat a more unhealthy diet than you. The first thing I often say to this is that life isn’t fair.
But the good news is that there are lots of other reasons why you aren’t losing weight when your friends are, and they’re eating the same thing.
Gut health and sleep
Your gut microbiome is the bacteria in your gut that tells your body and your brain to do everything, including how to digest your food.
Another thing you need to realize is that you can sleep to lose weight.
People think you have to do something to get healthy. What they don’t realize is that if you do nothing (relax and sleep), this is just as important as your exercise and nutrition plan. People don’t know how to relax anymore, and they’re not getting the delta sleep that they need.
It’s interesting because this also ties into hormones. When you don’t get a good night’s rest, your body is not resetting. At night you produce a lot of hormones that are responsible for your metabolism. Hormones like:
- Growth hormone: Secreted in spurts in deep sleep.
- Cortisol: Cortisol causes weight gain. Should be low at night when you’re sleeping and higher during the day. If it’s staying high at night you’re going to gain weight.
- Melatonin: Hormone that we put out at night when night time comes. There’s a place in your brain called the pineal gland that secretes melatonin.
And interestingly enough, your gut bacteria produces more melatonin than your pineal gland does.
Do you see how this is all connected?
Your gut bacteria determine what you weigh. That’s why some people can eat junk food and somehow overcome it with their particular microbiome, when other people can’t.
So when people come in to see me with fatigue or weight gain, my first question is always: How’s your gut?
Vitamins for sleep and gut
- Vitamin C
- Relora: For sleep and decreases cortisol at night
The way to keep your gut happy is by taking prebiotics and probiotics, and by staying away from foods that cause inflammation. Things like:
If you’re struggling with weight gain, you need to think about hormones, gut health and your sleep. They all tie together and affect each other.