What if you could tie in good sleep, weight loss, and renewed energy? You can, but it might sound counterintuitive to what you’ve read and heard your entire life. Here’s the key. Don’t ditch carbs completely.
Yes, you read that right. While we’ve always heard that fewer carbs are the key to weight loss (and this is a great strategy), you should still include complex “low and slow” carbohydrates at every meal, all while increasing the number of carb servings at each meal throughout the day. Start with eating a small amount of carbs for breakfast and then have the most carbs at dinner. Shocked? Here’s how to make sense of that.
Let’s start by taking a look at the science behind the suggestion. We’ll begin with cortisol, whose levels ideally peak in the morning and fall throughout the day. When cortisol drops, it can affect your mood, and you can become edgier. Carbohydrates can increase your cortisol levels, decreasing that “hangry” feeling.
Let Your Body Do the Work
Sleep yourself skinny? Recent studies support this dream of getting slim passively. There’s growing evidence that longer sleepers (compared to individuals who don’t sleep nearly as long) are slimmer, with lower body mass index (BMI) levels, and typically perform better. In spite of exercise and diets that should result in weight loss, your body could actually conserve your fat, at the expense of your lean muscle, without the right amount of shuteye.
Carbs for Better Sleep
If you have a hard time getting adequate quality or quantity of sleep, pay special attention when eating carbs. Eating the largest portion of carbohydrates in your evening meal will calm you with some serotonin and help you get a better night’s sleep. If you’re in the habit of decreasing your carbohydrates at night to help prevent weight gain, and you’re not sleeping well, this small change may improve weight loss. More carbs for weight loss? Who knew?
All carbs are not the same, however. Choose low and slow. That means low Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) foods that are released slowly. Quinoa, brown rice, legumes, and sweet potatoes are good examples. Crackers and chips are not good examples – but you probably already knew that.
Eat for Sleep
If you are struggling to sleep and lose weight, there’s a chance that the very thing you’re doing to reach your weight loss goal is sabotaging both that and robbing you of the ability to fall asleep quickly and get a deeper, more restful night of sleep.
As mentioned, eating carbs boosts your natural production of serotonin, which is your feel-good hormone. Unfortunately, women have lower levels of it than men, and having too little of it can make you feel depressed. The right amount helps keep you calm and will improve your readiness to sleep in the evening.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short.
Many diets indicate that you can lose weight quickly by removing carbohydrates, and often you might see the results that they predict. However, it could sabotage you later. That’s because for every one-part carbohydrate stored, three parts of water are stored. Eliminate carbs, and you’ll lose water weight. After a short time, driving your carb intake too low can disrupt your sleep and cause cravings you can’t out-willpower. That’s why dinnertime is a good time to eat more carbohydrates, and we recommend you eat around 4 hours before bedtime to see the best results.
Still with me?
I know it’s often the exact opposite of what you may be doing. But if you’re both sleepless and your weight loss has stalled, what have you got to lose? Women usually come back within a week and tell me they can’t believe how much more energy they have and how much happier they are! We love eating carbs, but the trick is not to go for the breadbasket or the chips to do it.
Sleep Better and Lose Weight With PLATE
Prime Women’s weight loss app, Plate, is specifically geared toward women over 50 who want a healthier and fuller life. It focuses on portion control and eating a controlled balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. That’s right – we include carbs in the program because we know how integral they are to both losing weight, maintaining weight loss, and feeling better overall. It makes it easy to incorporate healthy carbs into your daily routine and follow portion control that makes sense and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Even better? We’ve recently incorporated a coaching aspect into the Plate app – so you aren’t alone on your journey to better health and wellness; you’ll have guidance and someone to answer your questions along the way. Plus, we frequently add delicious new recipes to keep you from getting bored with the same old thing over and over.
Find out more about PLATE and how to become a member on Apple or Android.
Give it a try.
If you’re still skeptical, try one or two of these suggested foods for an entire week and see what happens:
Tonight, have a sweet potato with your dinner. If you prefer, have some brown rice or quinoa. Make a butternut squash soup or have chili made with beans. Finish with a small cup of berries. You’ll find that you sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed.
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