Archive for March, 2012

Less Sleep = More Weight

We’ve talked about the importance of sleep in the weight loss/weight maintenance puzzle.  It’s one of those pieces to the puzzle that’s often overlooked.  However, this is a big mistake as more and more science continues to mound that supports the sleep/weight gain theory.

So here’s the simple message — sleep more, weigh less … with most research suggesting the 8 hour mark being ideal for losing and maintaining your body weight.

But just when you think the "chapter" in this story is closed, another interesting study comes out …

… showing that as little as 80 minutes of less sleep per day adds up in terms of the calories you eat.

Check this out:

The study was recently presented at a conference.  The two groups of participants were divided — one group slept their usual time, while the other slept approximately 80 minutes (just 1 hour, 20 minutes) less per night.  This went on for eight nights.  The following days, subjects were allowed to eat as much as they wanted.

The other piece to the puzzle – the group who slept less didn’t burn any more calories, so they weren’t waking up 1 hour and 20 minutes early to go out to Mohr Results Boot Camp or do any other type of workout.

And boy did they – this small amount of sleep "deprivation" — just 1 hour, 20 minutes, resulted in the subjects overeating 594 calories extra (the equivalent of nearly 7 cans of soda!).  All else being equal, this amount of calories would lead to over a 1 lb weight gain each week! 

Wow.

All for a little shut eye.  Now the exact reason this happens is still being determined.  There are some data that suggest specific hunger hormones, namely ghrelin, are affected.  Or maybe it’s as simple as when you don’t get enough sleep, you have to eat more to boost your energy the following day to stay awake.  Maybe since you’re awake for longer, you’re eating more.  Regardless, this weight gain/sleep connection has been shown time and time again.

Here’s a similar study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that compared 2 levels of sleep — 4 hours vs. 8 hours — and measured food intake the following day.

They learned after just a single night of getting just 4 hours of sleep (sleep deprivation) the subjects at 22% (an average of 559 calories) more the following day compared to the group who got just 8 hours of sleep!

While this short term study was small, it definitely opens the door for more research on this topic to see if continued sleep deprivation (defined as 4 hours in this study) and subsequent overeating could be a major cause of obesity.

Bottom Line:

Burning the candle at both ends and thinking just "1 night of lack of sleep won’t hurt me" is false.  Sleep is an easy part of the equation to control — even aiming for just 1 more hour each night will help.  Every little bit of additional sleep helps!

Now go lay down!

Do You Suffer from a SLOOOOW Metabolism?

I am currently in San Antonio speaking at an event for the Wounded Warrior Project…

…more on that later.  But when I was on the plane yesterday, I got "cornered" by the person next to me after asking what I do and why I’m going to be in San Antonio. 

Her response?  "I have the slowest metabolism in the world … it’s so annoying because my brothers and sisters both have SUPER fast metabolisms and can eat anything they want without gaining a pound.  What would you do for someone like me?"

We didn’t delve into a 2 hour counseling session — the length of the flight — I told her I would instead answer it on an upcoming blog so she could check it out.

I planned on covering this topic anyhow, so timing was good.  Then before I delved into this, I happened to read an article from a friend and trusted resource, Tom Venuto, on this very topic.

Why reinvent the wheel … Tom said everything we would have said ourselves.

The Slow Metabolism CURE <<<=== is a slow metabolism holding you back?

7 SIMPLE Ways to Cut Calories (without counting foods!)

It’s easy to lose weight.

Eat less than you burn. 

But general weight loss isn’t what we’re after — it’s actually fat loss.  So preserving as much muscle as possible (or gaining) while losing fat.  And it is possible to gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously.

So then it gets a bit more "technical" — sure, you can lose weight by eating just 1 Snickers bar each day; however, the quality of the weight lost is not anything most would want.  Who wants to be a skinny person without any burn fat without dietingmuscle or tone whatsoever?

Without getting into those technicalities in today’s blog, we wanted to highlight some simple ways to cut calories … without counting foods, weighing foods, measuring foods … or, really, making any tough changes at all!

Here it goes.

  1. Eat with your non dominant hand.  Simple, right?  So if you’re right handed eat only with your left or vice versa.  Why this works…it slows you down.  And the more slowly you eat, the less you’ll eat.  Pretty simple and pretty straightforward.  Here’s another benefit — it will work your brain more, which is never a bad thing.  Give it a try!
  2. Don’t let your foods touch on your plate.  OK, this isn’t some weird OCD thing.  It’s all about portion control.  Like I said, not changing WHAT you’re eating … this one simply helps you cut down the amount you’re eating.  And that’s a fantastic first step with changing behavior.
  3. Put your fork down between every bite.  Similar to the first suggestion, this allows you to slow down when you’re eating.  It takes around 15-20 minutes for your brain to sense that it’s full … well if you’re inhaling your food, you’ll eat way more than you need to within that time frame.  Let your brain tell you you’re satisfied before your stomach "tells you" you’ve eaten way too much and feel sick.
  4. Chew your food more.  We have a Medical Dictionary in our office from 1903.  In there they suggest chewing each bite 39 times.  My grandpa used to always say chew it 54 times (granted, he had no teeth).  But chewing each bite more will not only allow you to better taste the food, but it will also have the added benefit of slowing you down when eating.  A win win.  So now that you’re putting your fork down between bites, you’ll have time to chew each bite more thoroughly.
  5. Power down.  This is one of our biggest pet peeves — cell phones at the table, particularly when people are merely at the table together but not even close to engaged because their eyes are buried in their phones.  But aside from that, when you’re distracted you eat more.  Whether it’s your phone, a book, or the TV … distracted eaters eat more.  Instead, fully engage with the person (or people) at the table with no other distractions.  We have a habit every night of asking Ella what the best part of her day was.  Now, granted she’s not quite 3 yet but she still often gives a legit answer — playing, jumping on her trampoline, hitting her sister (yes, that was an answer one night — but we’ll keep trying) etc.  And we’ll keep asking that until she moves out, even if as a teenager she thinks it’s silly.
  6. START your meal with salad. At restaurants there’s always a bread basket at the table.  But if that was swapped with salad … or when you’re home start each meal with a salad, you’ll eat less overall.  Granted that salad can’t be loaded with cheese, creamy dressings and bacon … but that’s a different issue.  Veggies take up lots of room in your stomach (a good thing) so you eat less of the "heavier" calories.
  7. Make veggies or fruit the biggest part of your meal.  Enjoying stir fry?  Great — use veggies as the base, add your protein on top and whatever else.   Want oatmeal in the AM?  Fill the bowl with berries, first, then add the cooked oatmeal on top of that.  See how this works?  Again, the veggies and fruit then becomes the main part of the meal and the rest just fills in the gaps. 

There you have it.  Seven simple ways to cut calories … yet we didn’t ask you to weigh or measure one single food item.  Easy, right?  Give it a whirl. 

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