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When you think about weight loss, the two primary factors that come to mind are nutrition and exercise. Sure, they play a major role in weight loss, but there’s more to sustainable weight loss than just nutrition and exercise.

Many people tend to oversimplify weight loss: “Eat less and workout more.” This is also what most crash diets promote.

However, eating less and exercising more doesn’t necessarily lead to sustainable weight loss. With crash diets, you’ll lose some weight, but you’ll soon regain most of the lost weight within a couple of months or years.

If you are serious about losing weight and keeping it off, then you need to tackle the issue holistically.

With this post, I would like to present you with four less well-known strategies to losing weight and improving your overall health. These strategies are, perhaps, as crucial as nutrition and exercise.

Secret 1: Reduce stress

One of the easiest things you can do to lose weight is to be happy. Sweet, huh?

This is because chronic stress and anxiety inhibit weight loss. When you are stressed out, your cortisol hormone levels spike. Research suggests that high cortisol level makes the loss of extra fat difficult and that this increase in cortisol can lead to weight gain too.

Cortisol also messes up with your hunger hormones. This usually leads to overeating and cravings. Needless to say that this is definitely not an ideal scenario if you want to lose weight.

So, aim to reduce stress in your life. Methods such as the remembrance of Allah, meditation and exercise can help you reduce stress in your life. However, one of the best things you can do to reduce stress is to send salawath to our beloved Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).

“Whoever supplicates to Allah by exalting my mention (i.e., sending salawath), Allah will exalt his mention (i.e., send salawath) ten times and remove from him ten sins and raise him ten degrees.” (Sahih Muslim)

I mean, just imagine, Allah, who is As-Salam (the source of Peace, Safety and Perfection) sends peace upon you! What would be the effect? Subhanallah!

Secret 2: Sleep better

I’ve discussed this in an earlier blog post, but if you aren’t sleeping well, then you are probably not doing enough for your health.

A study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes found that those who slept circa 8 hours a night lost 56 percent more body fat compared to those who just got around 5 hours of sleep a night. What’s interesting is that in this study, both groups followed the same diet.

So the simple truth you should know about sleep is this: less sleep leads to more body fat. If you really want to lose weight and want to know what might be preventing weight loss, then monitor your sleep patterns and remember to sleep well. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep daily!

Secret 3: Eat mindfully

What do I mean by eating mindfully? By this, I mean being engaged in what you eat. Savour, observe the texture of, and most importantly, thank Allah subuhanawuta’alafor each and every morsel of your food!

So, mindfulness in eating means no TV, Internet or reading while you eat. Eating while watching TV is shown to increase one’s food intake by almost 30%! Therefore, how you eat is as important as what you eat.

Mindfulness is an important Islamic concept. The success of this dunya and the Aakhira depends very much on it!

Secret 4: Change your mindset

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

This quote basically summarises the importance of our mindsets.

If you believe that you can lose weight and you are confident about it, then these positive thoughts can lead to constructive behaviours, increased motivation and energy levels.

On the other hand, negative thoughts such as, “I’ll never be able to lose weight”, will discourage you from taking any appropriate measures to improve your health and to become lean.

Question: Which of these “secrets” will you implement today to achieve a lean and healthy body?

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