Ready, Set, Sleep

We’ve all heard the saying that abs are made in the kitchen and, to a certain extent, this is true. But let’s not leave out back fat and flabby thighs. All of our body is effected by what we eat and drink. But our food habits are just a piece of the puzzle that leads to success. There are other pieces that need your attention. Do you know what one of the most important is? Sleep.

It’s one of my favorite things to do. It seems to be the first thing people sacrifice when life gets busy and it’s understandable. When you sleep, you don’t get anything done. But that’s not exactly true. Your body and mind need this time to recuperate, renew, and heal. But that’s not all.

Studies indicate that sleep is critical when it comes to losing weight because it affects hormones that influence your weight loss. Leptin and ghrelin are controlled by your fat cells and when they get out of whack, your body is sure to feel it. When things are functioning as they should, your fat cells produce leptin and you don’t feel hungry. When your fat cells produce ghrelin, hunger is stimulated.  This is the natural balance of our hormones and everything works fine when the body has what it needs. These hormones we never think about need to be controlled when attempting to lose weight and guess what helps this happen? Right. Sleep.

So what happens when we don’t get enough sleep? It all begins with insulin. Sleep deprivation cause your fat cells to slack on their job. Lack of sleep triggers your brain to need more food. In short, insulin sensitivity drops and things start getting wacky.  When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones react. As a result, your body senses the imbalance and it begins to feel a little stress and, boom, there it is. Trouble trying to sneak in through the back door.

When this imbalance starts taking place, cortisol enters the picture. Why? Because lack of sleep releases cortisol. Now you’ve got nice little hormone cocktail that’s going to make a mess of things. Why? Because cortisol activates pleasure centers in the brain, which might make you want some cookies or ice cream. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin, too, which makes you feel hungry. So, it is possible to feel hungry having just eaten because of these hormones. It is a never-ending cycle that can mess you up if you don’t get it under control.

Sleep is underrated. It does a body good and your job is to find out just how much you need. Don’t try to make yourself one of those people who can go on four hours of sleep for days. One day when you don’t have to get up, go to bed at a decent hour and sleep until you wake up. Notice how rested you feel and go to bed early enough to make that happen on a regular basis.

Your body will love your for it and getting that diy tummy tuck won’t be so hard to do.

 

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Sources:

National Institutes of health:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18564298

Mayo Clinic
Journal of Clinical Endocrinoloy and Metabolism

NewsMaxHealth:
http://www.newsmax.com/health/Health-News/sleep-blood-pressure-diabetes/2013/11/06/id/535194/

 

 

 

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Whatever It Takes

Let’s face it – things get busy and difficult sometimes. Life is the thing that gets in the way of many dreams and goals. At the end of the day, it takes a lot of determination to keep pushing toward something when you’re tired. There’s plenty of advice about how to plan your day and achieve success.

I’m not going to argue with any of those tactics. In fact, I’m going to say whatever it takes to get you up and moving is the thing you need in your life – no matter how silly you may think it is.

Case in point: I’ve been struggling with a little boredom when it comes to my exercise routine. My shoulder is injured, so I’ve been concentrating on lower body work. It gets kind of boring. The other day, I was looking at some of my old playlists and found a gem I’d forgotten about… it was my funkadelic list and I thought I’d give it a try since it has been literally years since I’ve listened to it. Boy, am I glad I did. I know why I made that list because it makes me want to move. I love it! I know it’s cheesy and the music is really outdated but… I don’t care. It works for me.

So the takeaway today is to find something that makes you want to move. Find something that inspires you and cling to it. Hold on to it with delight and let yourself get lost in it. Let it make you feel good and forget about the world.

The body you want is easier to work for when you want to move – especially on those days you don’t feel like it.

So, let it rip! Here’s to Zapp, Brick, Wild Cherry, Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, Earth, Wind, and Fire and more for giving me music that makes me want to move.

If you have any songs that get you ready to move, I’d love to know what they are.

 

The Smell of Success

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Over the years, it’s worked out that I have one main t-shirt I wear when exercising. This particular shirt is my favorite to wear because it’s loose and thin. It’s also old. And it stinks. It might smell good after a wash but there’s always an underlying odor that I smell almost every time I wear it. No matter what.

I’m not too worried about it. I only wear the shirt when I’m working out, so basically no one else sees it – or smells it. But I’ve come to realize the shirt and it’s body odor mean something to me. When I’m taking it off and it’s sweaty and stinky, I know I’ve done something good. That stink is my fat and I’d rather have it on my shirt than on my body. It is the smell of success. I’ve come to not really enjoy that smell but, rather, appreciate it.

Then, there’s the case of my shoes, which have seen better days. They probably stink, too, but I’m not going to get too close to find out!

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It’s all good because these things show that I’m working and improving and I hope you are, too.

If you have any items that demonstrate your efforts and you’d like to share what they are, I’d love to hear about them.

Till next time, be proud of your sweat!

 

The Surprise of Success

Success looks different to everyone. Our goals, in many ways, define us and they are as unique as we are. Success comes in many shapes and sizes because goals differ and this is an awesome thing. You should celebrate your successes, however small, because they provide inspiration. Short-term goals are magic. Set them, reach them and be inspired to do more. You have to believe in yourself enough to keep going because those around you won’t always get it. Your success is an intensely personal thing (especially if it’s related to changing your body) and it’s up to you to reach for it. No one will be as disappointed as you are if you don’t achieve success, so get with it. You can do it and two keys that make the journey easier are effort and concentration.

Success comes from above-average attempts.

Set a goal and then try to do a little bit more every day toward that goal. I don’t care what your goal is. Let’s face it, average is average. Whether it’s doing 50 sit ups, 60 minutes of cardio or writing 300 words a day, you should push yourself to do a little more than you did the day before. If you managed three sets of 10 sit ups one day, aim for three sets of 11 the next. One day, you’ll realize you’re doing more than average and you’ll be closer to your goal, which puts you that much closer to your trim tummy.

Success comes with focus.

I once read that you don’t get what you want, you get what you focus on. No matter what your goal, you’re going to need to make sacrifices. Period. If your goal is worth sacrifices, make them. Make that goal top priority. Don’t get distracted or you’ll fall into the average and mediocre camp because you’ve lost your focus. Do what it takes to be successful and stay on track. If it means staying away from the Internet for a few hours, do it. If that means waking up an hour earlier than usual to workout, do it. It won’t be difficult all the time and it will get easier the more you do it. However, to reach this point you must commit and follow through and that comes with a never-ending focus.

Your attempts and your focus propel you to the next step.

You’re on a journey. To reach success, you have to stick with it (whatever it is) long enough to see results. Sometimes, this isn’t easy. If you’re on a fat loss journey, sticking with it is one of the most difficult things in the world. However, time gives you the opportunity to improve and, with improvement, you can do more and become more focused. Nothing inspires like success and every attempt is a step in the right direction.

Savor every successful moment, regardless of how small it may seem. Your attempts may seem modest in the beginning, but every effort builds your muscle, strength and endurance. You’ll find with more focus, you’ll become more in tune with your body and mind and each effort will be its own reward. The small victories will fuel your desire to succeed and do more.