Weight Loss Secrets

Losing Weight May Be As Simple As Going To Bed Earlier!

I like to sleep.  And not just any sleep but good, quality sleep! Getting a good nights sleep is as important to your health as eating, drinking and breathing. Not only is getting a good nights sleep important for keeping your body in optimal health, but did you know that if you're trying to lose weight, the amount of sleep you get may be just as important as your diet and exercise? Yup! But, I’ll talk more about that a little later on.

As I began to write about this topic, one of my favorite movies, While You Were Sleeping came to my mind. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock who is mistaken for the fiancée of a coma patient. Now long story short, while this guy is “out for the count” lying in a hospital bed, Bullock's character actually falls in love with his brother. And at the end of the movie when (Bullock) is asked, when, had this happened, she simply answers, “It was while you were sleeping.”

Just like in the movie where a whole lot of action was taking place while the coma patient “was out,” the same can be said for us as well while we are “out” during sleep. I would say that most individuals go to bed at night because they are tired, and well…it’s just what we do at night, right? But I wonder if they realize all that is going on in their bodies while they lie sleeping? Most people tend to think of sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down. But that is not so!

During sleep your brain is actually engaged in a number of activities necessary to life and even closely linked to quality of life. But what does sleep have to do with losing weight you might ask? Well, let me tell you. There are two hormones in your body that play a very important role in controlling your appetite and satiety (being full to satisfaction); ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is released in the stomach and signals your brain that you are hungry. Levels are high before you eat, which is when your stomach is empty, and low after you eat. Leptin is released from fat cells. It suppresses hunger and tells your brain when you are full.

When you do not get adequate sleep, your body makes more ghrelin and less leptin, leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite even when your body doesn’t need food. Along with ghrelin and leptin, your body has a third hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that may also increase your appetite when you do not get adequate sleep and is associated with fat gain.

Isn’t it amazing how our bodies work? I don’t think most people would put lack of sleep and weight issues together—but it’s right there in black and white isn’t it? When we are tired, our bodies make less of the hormone leptin and more of the hunger hormone ghrelin. As a result, our sleepy brains urge us to find an energy pick-up in the form of calories. And I guess it’s a no brainer that if our appetite is increasing then we are going to go on the prowl for something to eat.

Willpower isn’t exactly high when you are sleepy either. If you are eating late at night, you are more likely to make poor food choices. According to a 2011 study published in the journal Obesity, night owls consume an average of 248 more calories per day than those who go to bed earlier.  So, not only does a lack of sleep mess with our hunger signals, but it’s a given that less time in bed simply gives us more hours of the day to eat.

Think about this. We all know that the first meal of the day is called breakfast. If you divide the word you will see it is made up of two parts, “break” and “fast.” To fast means to go without food. So “breakfast” means to break the fast you’ve been observing since you went to sleep the night before. If you are a night owl like I mentioned earlier and into midnight munching, and then you eat breakfast later that morning, I’d say your breakfast isn’t breaking much of a fast.

During the day, your body uses some of the calories you eat for fuel and the rest gets stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. At night while you sleep, your body converts that glycogen into glucose and releases it into your bloodstream to keep your blood-sugar level steady. Here’s the exciting part—once the stored glycogen is gone, your liver starts burning fat cells for energy. BUT, it takes a few hours to use up the day’s glycogen stores. If your “fast” isn’t long enough your body may never get a chance to burn any fat before you start reloading (eating) your glycogen stores again.

So, now that you’ve been armed with this knowledge, maybe it’s a good time to create and stick to a healthy bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Give yourself enough time in bed to get seven to nine hours of sleep. Being consistent each night and even on the weekends will help reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle.

I hope this blog has been enlightening for you, especially if you have never made the connection between lack of sleep and possible weight issues. If you would like to discuss this further, please call me at (616) 516-1570 or click on the “contact” tab to schedule an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you!

4 TIPS ON MAKING WISE CHOICES FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

Christmas is just over a couple of weeks away (at least it was when I started this blog). Now, when it gets posted is another matter. Anyway, there I sat wondering about what I should write about this month and various subjects came to mind. However, I gotta admit, I was struggling on landing on any certain subject. I mean, I know this site is called, Thinking Thin Lifestyle, but, “for crying out loud, it’s Christmas time!”

I coach people who are interested in weight loss and leading a more healthy and fulfilling life. But you know what? That doesn’t mean that I too can’t be tempted by the same Christmas cookies, various culinary offerings or busyness that go with the holidays as you are. I might have the knowledge of making wise choices but I still have to make myself choose those wise choices. And, I’ll admit, that sometimes can be hard. But in the long run, I know it pays off.

So, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season I thought I would give all of us a condensed refresher course on four tips to keep in mind. It’s not a bad idea either to write these tips on a card and put it somewhere in your house where you will see them on a regular basis. These tips are useful not only during the holidays but throughout the rest of the year as well.

  1. Eating - Eat a balanced diet. A diet that focuses on providing all the nutrients that your body needs. This includes macronutrients like protein, whole carbohydrates and fat along with micronutrients which include vitamins and minerals. In other words, steer clear of the Drive Thru signs. This can be challenging when you are “on the go” all the time. When you feel hurried and harried the temptation can be great to forsake your nutritional needs for convenience sake. NOT a good idea! Before you walk out your door in the morning, take a few minutes to plan out your meal schedule. AND, tuck a couple of healthy snacks in your bag to help curb those cravings.
  2. Exercising - Along with nutrients, the food we eat contain calories. And if we have more calories coming in than what is being expended the result will be weight gain. And with the convenience of online shopping today you can’t count on walking those calories off at the mall. Use the stairs, park farther out in a parking lot, force yourself to take a walk around the neighborhood, run around with your kids or grandkids, anything to keep moving!
  3. Sleeping - Especially around the busyness of the holidays it can be easy to become sleep deprived with all of the extra activities tugging at our time. Studies have found that poor sleep is associated with weight gain and a higher likelihood of obesity in both adults and children. Poor sleep can also increase appetite, likely due to its effect on hormones that signal hunger and fullness. When thinking about weight management one doesn't tend to point to quality sleep as a contributing factor. However, along with eating right and exercise, it does play an important part of weight maintenance. So much so, I believe I might just dedicate a whole blog to the subject in the near future.
  4. Stress control - Stress? During the holidays? Say it ain’t so! Okay, everybody take a nice deep breath. It’s going to be all right! You know, we all love the Christmas carol, Silent Night. But we also know that, “All is calm, all is bright” is not necessarily so during the holidays. People can get a little “testy” around this time, can’t they? You need to be aware that during stress because of increased levels of the hormone, cortisol, we are more tempted to reach for those “comfort foods” that are usually sugary or fatty leading to weight gain. So, in addition to implementing the three tips listed above, take some time to de-stress yourself. Separate yourself from all the clatter the holidays bring. Listen to calming music, watch a funny video -- laughter is a great way to release tension, or practice a progressive muscle relaxation technique such as can be found at this site. http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm.

You know, holidays are going to happen as well as other chaotic and busy times in your life. We shouldn’t look at them as roadblocks on our road to a healthy lifestyle. Instead, we just need to learn how to navigate through them and not get sidetracked by what we think are obstacles in the road. And if we happen to hit a big pothole (succumb to temptation) along the way, no biggie. We get a “wheel alignment” and get right back to driving straight toward the goal of a healthy lifestyle.

I understand how this can be difficult for some individuals. They seem to find themselves hitting more potholes in the road than they want, making it hard to stay on track. Does this sound like you? If so, I would encourage you to call me at (616) 516-1570 or schedule an appointment by clicking on the “contact” button you see on the screen. I would love to work with you. To help you discover that with a little different focus and way of thinking you can achieve success and reach your goal of managing your weight and living a healthy lifestyle. And until we meet again, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday!

Weighing in on the Weight Loss Industry

weight-loss-collage

I saw a quote the other day that went like this, “You’re not rich until you have something that money can’t buy.” How do you take that? After pondering on that for a little while I came to the conclusion it must mean that even though money can buy a lot of possessions, fun, ease of living, and so on, sometimes the things you really want and even need just can’t be bought with cold hard cash.

If you think about it you can come up with a lot of things in your life where this statement holds true. For me the most important things that come immediately to mind are my health, family, and peace of mind. You certainly cannot buy that so I guess if I apply that statement to myself it means I’m rich even though my bank account says otherwise. Now I can’t think of anybody that I currently ‘hang’ with that is rich to where I could ask them what they thought about that quote but it would be interesting if I did.

Now wait just a moment! I just thought of someone I know who IS rich, Oprah. Everyone knows Oprah! (okay, I might be talking tongue in cheek here) but, whatever! Now if there is anyone who has the cold hard cash to buy ANYTHING that her heart desires, it would be Oprah right? Well, Yahoo ran an article this week about Oprah losing 26 pounds on Weight Watchers. Oprah. Losing weight. Again!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Her struggle is real AND public which makes it all the more hard and I don’t want to make light of it. But, no matter how large her bank account is, the one thing that seems to be out of her reach is maintaining a consistent healthy weight that she can be happy about. If you have or still do follow her you will know that she has lost weight many times using various means. And I guess you want to say, “You go girl” because she keeps on trying. And really you don't ever want to give up striving for something that is good for you.

One of my friends used to say, “Hey! When they invent the magic solution that works for weight loss you can bet that Oprah will tout it from the rooftops! (and then buy the company)”

But alas, no such miracle product is out there so can we all just take a moment to commiserate together that some genius out there by 2016 has not invented the one thing/one pill /one drink that would just melt the fat away while we sleep and keep it off FOREVER!

Have you ever wondered just how much money has been spent by people looking for that magic bullet that would miraculously help them shed those unwanted pounds? Well, according to Marketdata Enterprises, a research firm that tracks the industry showed that the U.S. weight loss market totaled $64 billion in 2014.

Now wouldn’t it be interesting if someone could find out the statistics on how many of those dollars spent were from first time users of a product or service compared to people who tried multiple products or were repeat users?

I’d say the weight loss industry has a good thing going as far as making money wouldn’t you say? That is not to say that for some, these products or services such as Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, etc. haven't helped people lose weight. On the contrary, there are people who would swear by them. BUT, let’s be honest, if after stopping whatever program or product they used to lose the weight, if they went back to their old style of eating you can bet they put their weight back on and in some instances probably gained even more.

And should I even bring up the advertising that some of these companies use to hook (oh, I’m sorry, I meant) encourage people to try their products. The next time you see an advertisement for a product make sure you read the fine print that flashes for about two seconds on the bottom of the screen or pull out your magnifying glass to read it toward the bottom of an article. Now that’s where the real truth will be hiding.

So, I guess the point of this whole blog would be that no matter how much money you have to hire a personal trainer, private chef, or buy countless weight loss products you just can’t buy or hire weight loss. And even though you might not have a lot of money, when you yourself make the move to decide to get in shape and lose that extra weight you have been carrying around for too long and then maintain that healthy lifestyle you will find out that you are indeed rich because you attained something that no amount of money can buy.

If you are tired of buying products or services that promise so much but deliver so little I would love to help you discover that YOU have the ability to make the necessary changes to attain what money cannot buy. And also to work with and encourage you to discover how weight loss can be achieved with a different focus and a different way of thinking.

Please call me at (616) 516-1570 to make an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

IS GRAY HERE TO STAY

Fall has come and gone. The beautiful colors of autumn have been raked up and disposed of. Days have gotten shorter and darkness falls before dinner. We know that the brutal cold winds of winter are soon going to be whistling through the bare brown branches and we will have to hunker down for the long haul. While some people see this time as a festive time with the holidays starting, others can only look ahead to the long bleak days ahead as a colorless non ending existence.

Ugh! The gray days of winter. How are we going to get through them? That can be a typical thought of many people around this time of year. But for some, that thought can be felt more like depression. How can you tell if you have more than a mere case of the “winter blues” or “cabin fever?”

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD)

During the fall and winter months, some people suffer from symptoms of depression that can appear gradually or come on all at once. These symptoms often fade away as spring arrives and stays away throughout the summer months. For some people, this is an indication that they may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SYMPTOMS

Depression symptoms can be mild to moderate, but they can become severe. There is no specific diagnostic test for the illness but it is understood that symptoms can include but are not limited to:

*fatigue
*lack of interest in normal activities
*social withdrawal
*craving foods high in carbohydrates
*weight gain
*irritability
*trouble concentrating

HOW COMMON IS (SAD)

An interesting fact is that women tend to suffer more than men. It typically starts showing up in early adulthood although it can occur in children and adolescents also. It is more commonly
seen in people who live in cloudy regions. Altogether, approximately one half million people in
the United States suffer from winter SAD, while 10 to 20 percent may suffer from a more mild
form of winter blues.

WHAT CAUSES SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?

The specific cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder remains unknown but some suggest that
your biological clock (circadian rhythm) gets out of whack. The reduced level of sunlight we experience in the fall and winter may cause the winter onset of SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

A drop in Serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood could be a culprit that may trigger depression due to reduced sunlight. Also, Melatonin levels can be disrupted due to the season
which can play havoc with your sleep patterns and mood.

WHAT DO I DO IF I THINK I HAVE SAD?

Sometimes physical problems can cause depression. But other times, symptoms of SAD can be a part of other mental disorders. I can evaluate your pattern of behavior and identify whether you have SAD or another type of mood disorder. If you do find that you do indeed have Seasonal Affective Disorder here are some common sense home remedies that might help.

5 HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT SAD

1. GET SOME LIGHT
Try to increase your exposure to light. Get as much natural light as you can
between 6:00 am. and 8:00 a.m. Go out for a walk, or at least sit by a window.
If you can’t get out in the morning light, at least get out on your lunch break.
Even if it’s cloudy, the natural light will do you some good.

If you can’t get outdoors, try a natural full-spectrum light. One of the most
effective treatments for SAD is daily exposure to a specially designed light
box. Make sure it provides enough intensity of light to positively affect SAD
symptoms.

2. EAT RIGHT
It is thought that if your levels of Serotonin decrease it can make you crave
carbohydrates. Some have suggested that eating tryptophan rich foods may
increase the body’s production of Serotonin and help you feel better. Although
there is no solid research that supports this, you might want to try eating more
of these foods to see if your symptoms improve. What could it hurt? Some foods
rich in tryptophan include turkey, seafood, milk and egg whites, asparagus and
spinach. Fruits such as apricots, apples and bananas are also a good source.
Research also shows that taking Vitamin D can make a noticeable difference.

3. LIMIT ALCOHOL AND CAFFEINE
Alcohol is a depressant which can bring your mood down even lower and while
Caffeine may give you a little boost for the short term it can also cause anxiety,
muscle tension and stomach issues.

4. EXERCISE
Try walking, jogging, biking, swimming, anything aerobic, but get moving. Even
better, try to exercise outdoors or at least by a sunny window.

5. GO ON VACATION
Try to take a trip during the winter months to someplace warm and sunny.
For most people with SAD, it takes two or three days of bright sunshine to
start reversing their symptoms.

If your symptoms are mild, hopefully some of these natural home remedies listed above can bring you some relief. However, if the feelings of depression are or become overwhelming, do not hesitate to give me a call. There is help out there for you! You are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, yet, the good news is it is highly treatable.

Dieting? Right Now…I Can’t…No Way!

Well we are in full swing with the Holidays again and I got to thinking how many people get into full swing with their Holiday-eating-mentality. You know, the kind of Holiday-eating-mentality where you throw caution to the wind, and don't think about "eating right" or "dieting" until the end of the year. Or is it moreso at the beginning of the New Year?

Is that you?

Research shows over and over again that so many of us aren't even thinking of the word DIET right now. When is the last time you've seen advertisement on tv (at this time of the year) with some Company touting their weight-loss services or products! You don't.

It seems we turn off our mindful eating and all our good intentions and plunge hopelessly into mindless eating at this time of year. Let's face it, it starts with the temptation of Halloween candy (which if you think about it is plentiful all year long but for some reason the little Fun Size candy throws our capacity to think rationally into an eating frenzy) and it last until the last drink is drunk or the last meatball eaten on January 2nd!!

It's as if we re-engage our brains on January 2nd and think: Ugh. Gluttony. Extra pounds. Disgust. What's-the-name-of-that-diet-again-I-have-to-start.

And the vicious cycle of emotionally beating ourselves up about how we "must be good" starting in January continues.

May I (gently) suggest there is a better way of doing this......this...eating thing, this dieting thing? That we can enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and NOT let our emotional eating derail us.  That way you don't have to think about the "diet" you have to start in January.

Can I just (strongly) suggest that you can eat right, eat good, eat healthy now. You can mindfully make choices that will impact you emotionally and physically right now. That the diet you are on is the "diet" you should be on EVERY STINKIN' DAY.

I hope this is the Holiday season where you choose to do things differently. Because it is a choice. Remind yourself - this week, this very day - how often you are mindlessly eating and start to engage your brain when it comes to food choices.

Choose to think about dieting in a different way. Choose to think about "dieting" right now, and don't say you can't. Because you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Have an Anxious Brain? Feeling Depressed?

Check out interesting information at www.hendersoncounselingservices.com
under the "Depression/Anxiety" tab

Diets, Food, & Lifestyle Change

overweightThink of all the interesting food plans or diets you’ve been on in the last….let’s say, in the last year. Are you still able to maintain that food plan? If not, why?

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon when someone else loses weight and you want to mimic their success with the food plan they were on.

Or you hear of a diet - for example, I just heard recently of the Inflammation Diet - and because you have some physical alignment, you convenience yourself that THAT diet will eliminate any physical woes you experience. So off you go to research it, convince yourself that you could tolerate the foods they’re suggesting, and then make a trip to the grocery store to stock up with the ‘right’ kinds of food.

Real change comes from within. NOT THE FOOD PLAN.

Don’t get me wrong the right diet-of-life can significantly make you feel better, and lose weight.

If your ultimate goal is a significant lifestyle change, like weight loss, think lifestyle change, not short-term diet.

Various popular diets can help to jump-start your weight loss, but permanent changes in your lifestyle and food choices are what work in the long run.

Dieting & Depriving Yourself

deprivedWouldn't it be wonderful to ban the word "dieting" from our vocabulary.

The word alone always implies something you go off of at a certain point rather than developing a healthy lifestyle of eating throughout your life.

People always feel they have to be good during their diet, and, often part of that thinking is that you have to give up certain foods....for the rest of your life!!

Here's the good news: making treats totally off-limits could sabotage your weight-loss goals, research from the University of Toronto suggests.

Dieting women who were deprived of chocolate for a week had more intense cravings than those without any food restrictions, and they consumed twice as much chocolate as they usually did when they were finally permitted to eat it.

The smarter strategy is to allow yourself a small portion of the treats you love. You won't feel so deprived, or obsess about what you can't have!

To Eat Carbs or Not – That is the Question!

I don't always get it right. Especially when daughter-in-law brings over delicious Fall treats, or, your Mom makes the best apple pie on the planet. Thanks Mom!

But a recent discussion with a friend and my daughter got me thinking about how much I know - or don't know - about 'good' carbs and 'bad' carbs.  I thought I knew what good carbs were, so I had to do a little poking around just to make sure.

So here's to all of you who need a fresh reminder....I found this at GoodCarbs.org and thought I'd pass it along.

What are ‘good’ carbs?

example of good carbs

The simplest answer to this question is this: good carbs are unprocessed carbohydrates in their ‘all natural’ state – or very close to their natural state. In other words they have been minimally altered by man or machine, or not altered at all. Most diet and health experts agree that green vegetables are the ‘ultimate’ good carb foods. In fact, most ‘leafy’ fibrous vegetables and many fruits are considered among the best carbs to eat. Beans and legumes are also generally included on the ‘good carbs’ list, as are many raw nuts and seeds. Finally, whole-grain foods – including whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas – are considered by most experts to be among the good carbohydrate foods (although there is some disagreement over this).

Good carbs generally have these healthy characteristics:

 

  • high in fiber: helps you stay full longer (and avoid overeating), provides sustained energy, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps to remove toxins from the body
  • low glycemic index: stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin production
  • high in nutrients: natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes, & other phytonutrients promote health and help to prevent chronic disease
  • low ‘energy-density‘ (except nuts & seeds): helps you feel full without a lot of calories, provides sustained energy, promotes healthy weight loss and long-term weight maintenance
  • greater ‘thermic effect’: naturally stimulates metabolism and promotes fat loss

Many popular weight loss diets incorporate good carbs into their eating plans because they are so effective at lowering insulin production and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Also, because of their high fiber-content, good carbs make you feel fuller and help you to avoid overeating – a major problem for many people trying to lose weight safely!

To sum it up, the following food types are generally considered to be good carbs and should make up most or all of your carb intake:

  • whole vegetables
  • whole fruits
  • beans
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • whole cereal grains

Note: Some nutritionists include ‘healthy’ dairy products like low-fat milk and low-sugar yogurt on the list, but there is much disagreement over this so we’ll leave dairy foods off for now.

What are ‘bad’ carbs…

In general, bad carbs are refined, processed carbohydrate foods that have had all or most of their natural nutrients and fiber removed in order to make them taste better, easier to transport, and more ‘consumer friendly.’ Most baked goods, white breads, pastas, snack foods, candies, and non-diet soft drinks fit into this category. Bleached, enriched ‘white’ flour and white sugar – along with an array of artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives – are the most common ingredients used to make ‘bad carb’ foods.

One of the big reasons why bad carbs are harmful is because the human body is not able to process them very well. Our hormonal and digestive systems developed over the course of millions of years. Yet only in the past 100 years or so have humans had access to these highly-processed carbohydrates in abundance. Our bodies simply didn’t have time to adapt and evolve to handle the rapid changes in food processing and diet.

Because of this, most of the processed carbs we eat wreak havoc on our natural hormone levels. Insulin production, especially, is ‘thrown out of wack’ as the body attempts to process the huge amounts of starches and simple sugars contained in a typical ‘bad carb’-based meal. This leads to dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose levels – a big reason why you often feel lethargic after eating high-sugar, unhealthy meals.

Also, it’s important to realize that many processed carb foods provide large amounts of ‘empty’ calories – calories with little or no nutritional-value. Eat enough of these empty calories and your body will quickly turn them into extra bodyfat, as anyone with a weight problem already knows all too well!

The regular consumption of large amounts of high-sugar, low-fiber, nutritionally-poor ‘bad carbs’ eventually leads to a much higher risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other long-term problems. It’s becoming more and more clear that the abundance of processed carbs and unhealthy trans-fats found in so many foods is a major cause – if not the biggest cause – of many of our modern chronic health problems!

 

Vitamin D & Weight Loss? Hmmm

Happy September Everyone!  Insert "heavy sigh" right here - that's my usual attitude about September. Sorry, it just is. Shorter days. Colder weather. Less sun. Oh boy.

Ran into this article - another great reminder about maintaining (or getting started) with a vitamin regiment.

"Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that Vitamin D levels in the body at the start of a low-calorie diet predict weight loss success, suggesting a possible role for vitamin D in weight loss."

Got your attention?  Read on....

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php