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/

 

 

 

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!

 

What Are You Waiting For?

Each new day, opportunities arise. They will slip by if you let them. They do not knock loudly and they don’t seem to wait around for very long before something else takes their place. Generally, we call these distractions because that’s what they do. They take your eye off the prize. Don’t let this happen. Each day is precious. Don’t waste them.

Here we are in another year and while a part of me hates the pressure of New Year resolutions, another part relishes in the idea that I can begin again. As soon as NOW.

So, yes, here is another post about making healthy resolutions. Don’t view resolutions as negative things but rather things that will inspire you. They’re not awful and if they are, try looking around for some better ones! Resolve to be healthier and happier! Screw resolutions that suck and make you feel like crap because they are unrealistic. Instead of having a list of a bunch of don’ts, try a list of a bunch of dos. Because health and fitness are good things and you will love the results they bring.

Especially this spring when tank tops and shorts come around. Make this spring something to look forward to by working on your body and that homemade yummy tuck now. Here are some quick resolutions that will yield fantastic results:

Move more.
Exercise more.
Eat healthier.
Drink more water.

Don’t overload yourself with resolutions that sap your fun and energy. Try small things and add a bit every day.

Looking for some exercise that will help you see results? Try Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day-Shred. It’s a quick workout that will change your body. No joke.

I’m currently on Level Two and it’s a tough but rewarding workout.

Not for you? Tell me what is. I’d love to know!

Resistance

Thanksgiving is over. For those that want to maintain weight or lose weight, those words come as a relief. No doubt the holidays are fun but for someone counting calories, Thanksgiving can bring chaos. The holiday is over; it’s a new day and new days are great for new beginnings. But…

One could say we are only midway through the eating season. It’s not yet December, which welcomes Christmas, another holiday people like to eat and another holiday that adds stress to those attempting to avoid bad foods.

Temptation is real and if it were easy to resist, things would be different. For some, temptation is dreadful. Food tastes good, you only live once, just for the holidays…. the excuses to eat are in abundance this time of year. Excuses are so thick, you can simply pluck them from the air.

But you don’t have to. You can resist. What, you say? Resist? It might be the hardest thing in the world for some of us to do… resist something that tastes good. Where’s the reward in resisting? If there were a reward that felt as good as eating delicious food, it might be easy to resist, right? Right.

So how do you do it? I don’t have any magic answers. I only know I feel more in control of my body and my actions when I’m exercising and trying to eat right. The two hold hands in my world. Let me explain… When I exercise (especially in the morning), I’m starting my day great. It helps me set my mind and my attitude to one of success because I’ve done the most physically difficult thing I’m going to do. From there, I feel as though I’m armed for the day. I’ve worked out and I don’t want to blow it. If I eat that piece of pie that might be 350 calories, I’ve completely negated my workout. Looking at things from this perspective helps me stay on track.

What I’m telling you is that, for me, exercise is oil that keeps the gears of my weight loss routine running smoothly. I can say no to a slice of cake if I know it costs 27 minutes with Jillian. That stuff is hard and it’s just not worth it. Exercise is much more difficult than eating. Period. Think about it that way for a while and you might actually restructure your thought processes toward food. And it might be worth it.

Or, I could be totally off. Let me know what your thoughts.

The Value of Small Victories

It’s nice to have a long-term goal and it’s even better to have short-term goals to make the journey that much more enjoyable. In between those short-term goals are small victories that are worth recognizing because they represent the changes taking place.

For instance, at some point in your exercise regimen, you will realize certain moves are easier. You will find that instead of just trying to make it to the end of your workout, you actually try to do one more push up than you did yesterday. You’ll realize that you can go deeper into a lunge and you actually want to squeeze out one more squat in perfect form.

If you stick with a routine long enough, this does happen and it is the very reason you should stick with a routine. Why? Because it’s magic. This feeling of accomplishment, even if it is improving your form, is proving that the process does work and it’s giving you a reason to workout tomorrow.

Your journey will be filled with non-scale-victories and you should celebrate them just as you celebrate any other success. Use them as motivation.

Do you have a small victory you’ve experienced recently?

Share it with pride! 🙂

The Number One Reason Why You Should Work Out

If you’re working on losing fat, staying fit or giving yourself a tummy tuck the old fashioned way, you might struggle with motivation. Motivation can be hard to muster before work when you’re still groggy or after work when you’re tired and this might make you put off exercising for one more day.

Here’s why you should never do that:

Because the difficult thing to do is also the most rewarding.

Most days, working out is the most challenging thing I do. I get up early, I push myself through it and I tell myself it will be worth it. And you know what? It is. There is never a workout I regret – the only workout I regret is the one I didn’t do.

Don’t give yourself time to talk yourself out of doing it.

Reshape your thinking and know the reward is in the effort.

Third Day In

I just completed day three of Jillian’s 30-Day Shred. I’m on Level One and I’m just glad I made it through. Here’s what I’m experiencing: soreness in my quads, glutes, calves and chest.

If you haven’t done any kind of workout for awhile, the most difficult thing is going down to the floor to do one exercise and getting back up to do another. Then going back down and getting back up. From push ups to squats to crunches to jumping jaacks…. the entire routine is like this. These kinds of exercises are fantastic for building a strong core and terrific abs. So, if youre used to being on a bike or doing aerobics without any kind of floor work, this will be a shock. But, as always, a good one.

We’ve got about six weeks until Thanksgiving. Do you want to join me in making some radical transformations by then?

Good Habits Lead to Results

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Ah, the lovely song of the alarm clock gently waking you… Okay, maybe not. Maybe it’s more like, the alarm is going off already? It’s a jolt and most often for me, an unwelcome one. But there it is, every morning. I always set my alarm early enough to work out regardless of when I need to wake up. Crazy? Maybe, maybe not. If it goes off fairly regularly, it turns into a routine and routines can be good things.

I’m a sucker for routine. I have a high tolerance for repetition and I love getting into a grove.

Exercise in the morning sets the tone for the rest of my day. When I get that early workout in, I feel as though I have a reason to make healthy choices for the rest of the day. Before the day gets started, I’ve already done something good for my body and that will help me stay on track (sometimes!). I’m far more likely to make healthy eating choices because I don’t want to blow those calories I burned earlier. The two actions go together. I cannot stress how important this is to me. Like I said, I’ve done it this way for years. It’s a good habit that helps me stay where I want to be.

I should add I’m not one that loves to exercise. That is, I don’t wake up just dying to do it. I make myself do it because I know I won’t regret working out and always regret not working out. I’ve done it long enough and I know myself well enough to know that getting up to work out before anything else works for me.

You may be thinking you’re not a morning person. To be honest, sometimes I don’t feel like a morning person because it takes me a long time to get around and finally get moving. For me, however, exercise far more likely to happen in the morning than it is in the afternoon. That’s my groove.

The key to success is finding your groove. You hear people say this all the time but you really have to make an effort. You may have to exercise before work for a few weeks and begin seeing results before you decide that it can work for you. That’s exactly how it happened for me. Once my body got used to the routine, it wasn’t such a mental battle to get up and get moving. But if the morning is out of the question, find that time of day where you can make that time for yourself and do it long enough to create a good habit. That means stick with it long enough to see results because once you see that trim tummy, you’re going to realize the power is yours. It always has been. That’s an awesome feeling!

What are some of your good habits?

 

 

Alarm Clock photo credit: Derek Jensen