Everyone experiences a restless night now and again, due to a wide variety of reasons. In fact, the CDC has determined that one in three adults do not get enough sleep. What is considered enough? For adults between the age of 18 to 60, it’s an average of seven or more hours a day. For those one in three people, the associated risk of frequent lack of sleep includes chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and frequent mental distress. So how does the amount of sleep we achieve impact us in terms of weight loss? Keep reading to learn the potential long-term effects, as well as tips to achieve adequate rest.
How Poor Sleep Affects Your Mind and Body
Dieting requires more than healthy eating. You must have the right mindset and be physically healthy in order to maintain the necessary lifestyle to lose weight. When we lack sleep, these are two areas significantly affected. Commonly, the ability to function properly goes down the drain. Your memory can suffer, reaction time decreases and our ability to regulate emotions becomes difficult.
In addition, sleep helps regulate our body temperature, and releases essential hormones. The lack of sleep affects the production of these hormones, which can lead to premature wrinkling and sagging skin, as well as feeling colder than usual. Our immune system is also compromised, resulting in an increased risk of infection or disease. Finally, our appetite can go into overdrive. Our ability to determine if we are satiated is affected, causing us to eat more and gain weight.
How Poor Sleep Can Affect Your Diet
Unfortunately, all of these side effects take a toll on our ability to properly maintain a healthy diet or meet weight loss goals. When we are tired, we often mistake our discomfort for hunger, leading us to eat too much or unnecessarily. This makes portion control difficult and cravings hard to control. Impulse can become particularly hard to overcome.
It can also deal a harsh blow to our metabolism. Too little sleep can cause a spike in cortisol, a hormone that signals our body to conserve energy. Therefore, our body will reduce its normal use of whatever fat is available, and preserve it. Similarly, our body also becomes less sensitive to insulin, which turns sugars, starches, and other foods into energy. Unable to process fats effectively, or body will also store the incoming fats in excess.
How to Get a Good Night’s Rest
While at times it may not seem likely, getting a good night’s rest is not impossible. Specific conditions can make it difficult, but several lifestyle measures can help you get back on track.
To prevent the previously mentioned side effects, try to follow these steps on how to sleep better:
1- Follow your natural sleep-wake cycle – By following your body’s natural circadian rhythm, you will sleep a similar number of hours each night, so that you consistently wake up feeling refreshed and energized. To help, avoid sleeping in, even on the weekend. Similarly, do not go to bed too early, or you may wake up in the middle of the night. If you are struggling during the day and must nap, do not sleep for more than 20 minutes.
2- Be cautious of your exposure to light – A naturally occurring hormone, melatonin, is controlled by light exposure and regulates our sleep-wake cycle. When it is dark, your brain secretes more melatonin. To stay awake for adequate hours, expose yourself to direct sunlight, especially in the morning. At night, use soft lights and do not use devices within one to two hours of your bedtime.
3- Exercise regularly – Regular exercise for just 10 minutes a day can drastically improve your sleep. The more vigorous, the better the benefits. However, you should not exercise too late into the evening, or it may have a re-energizing effect.
4- Eat well – How you eat overall is important, but especially leading up to your bedtime. Do not consume caffeine, alcohol or sugary drinks that may interfere with your energy levels. Drinking too many liquids may also make you have to urinate frequently during the night. Spicy or heavy meals can cause heartburn or indigestion, and make staying asleep difficult.
5- Wind down before bed – Many people work themselves into a fit when they can not fall asleep. Instead of making sleep a goal, try to calm your mind down. Do this by limiting your activity levels before bed, and staying off of stimulating technology. For additional help, try learning to meditate, with the help of the app Headspace.
At Solutions Weight Loss, we understand that there is more to weight loss than a diet.
With our licensed and friendly medical staff, you will have the encouragement and guidance necessary to help you reach your goals.Contact us today to schedule an appointment, and get started on your path to a healthier lifestyle.
Diet trends come and go faster than we can start them, but that does not hinder our curiosity. Consistently, they are chalked up to eliminating food groups or a restrictive food intake, setting us up for a mid-diet burnout or dangerous eating habits. Although some plans may achieve the desired results, they are often short-lived and lack practical healthy lifestyle choices. If you are ready to give yet another diet a go, we are happy to present our Mediterranean diet 101.
Consisting of well-balanced and relatively non-restrictive foods, the tried-and-true Mediterranean diet sets you up for a healthier, extended future. It focuses on the type of fats you eat, rather than how much. Online nutrition program, Real Living Nutrition Services, breaks down the difference between the three main fats found in our food. Along the way, you will learn about what food contains and how it has an impact on your overall health. As one of the few diets that will leave you both happy and healthy, it may be the right plan for you.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet encapsulates the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the 1960s. But why should you try the Mediterranean diet over other plans? To start, it was not developed in a lab, but evolved over 5,000 years based on a natural way of living. While the diet consists of a few basic rules, the meals created can be adapted to any local and seasonal food availability.
Elena Paravantes a Greek-American Registered Dietitian, founder of OliveTomato, and Culinary Nutritionist specializing in the Mediterranean Diet, explains that, “the diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables and olive oil, moderate amounts of carbohydrates, and small amounts of meat.”
Equally important, it is not just a weight loss plan, but promotes healthy living. The Mayo Clinic calls the diet “heart-healthy”, as it is associated with lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, thereby reducing your chance of heart disease. It is also said to reduce the chance of diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. For these reasons, most major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a similar diet. Notably, the base of the Mediterranean diet food pyramid consists of physical activity and interactive mealtimes. The Mediterranean lifestyle considers this aspect important, as it encourages healthy socialization.
Mediterranean Diet Meals
So what areas of your diet will change? Like the DASH Diet and Ketogenic Diet, it begins with a set calorie goal. A typical Mediterranean diet will range between 1,200 to 1,500 calories daily. This list will inform you about what you should and should not consume, as well as the recommended daily servings.
Meat and seafood – The ‘bad’ cholesterol previously mentioned is due to saturated fats ‒ which are the highest in red meat. The Mediterranean diet replaces meat with plant-based foods, although red meat can be enjoyed a few times a month. Eggs and poultry are better than red meat, but only in moderation. Instead, fresh fish or seafood is recommended up to twice a week, cooked in olive or canola oil.
Fruits and vegetables – As the base of every meal, an average of nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables should be consumed every day. At least one meal a day should include a salad or other leafy greens, so get your kale on! Other fruits and vegetable servings can include olives, figs, cherries, dates, tomatoes, grapes and melons, among others.
Grains – Unlike most diets, and a relief to many, bread is a staple in every Mediterranean meal. The only stipulation is that they are whole-grain. These contain tons of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Other grains and pasta are also regularly featured, from five to six servings a day. Whether it is dipped, smeared, or twirled on a fork, enjoy your carbs!
Nuts and seeds – A popular snack, raw nuts or seeds contain high doses of healthy fats, fiber and protein. You can have three to five one-ounce servings of raw nuts a week. The most popular are almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts and sesame seeds. A fresh pesto or tahini is perfect for dipping whole-grain bread!
Dairy products – Approved dairy products are few and should be consumed in moderation. Try to stick to unprocessed and low-fat cheese and yogurt. For example, Greek yogurt, feta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Other dairy products are eliminated, or can be replaced with olive oil, which is much more flavorful and rich in monounsaturated fats, omegas and antioxidants. Seven to 14 tablespoons is recommended weekly.
Seasonings – One large hurdle for many to overcome is the use of salt. Often consumed with pastas and grains, large amounts of salt can increase your blood pressure, putting you at risk for heart attack, stroke, dementia and kidney disease. Instead, the Mediterranean diet utilizes fresh herbs and spices, which have a variety of health benefits.
Beverages – If you have a hard time coping with a lack of your favorite dairy, take solace in the occasional glass of wine ‒ with your doctor’s approval. The Mediterranean diet allows up to five ounces of wine daily. Like any good diet, at least six glasses of water a day is recommended. If you want a little pick-me-up, a small unsweetened coffee or tea is fine.
Sweets – Unfortunately, sweets have no place in a Mediterranean diet, including sweeteners. If you are craving something sweet, a fresh and juicy piece of fruit will keep you full. A large grapefruit, nectarine or apple can go a long way.
Conveniently, most Mediterranean meals require little preparation. For example, our easy Mediterranean omelet. Like all dishes, it contains the freshest ingredients and consists of a range of flavors. Many assume that Mediterranean meals are strictly Greek, but they include foods from many countries, such as Morocco, Spain and Turkey. Don’t be afraid to look further! If you have a hard time discovering dishes, Healthline offers a helpful example of a week’s worth of Mediterranean meals.
If you are still feeling uninspired, Dr. Newsome would love to assist you in your diet plan decision. Start your weight loss journey with the care and knowledge of a physician who understands the frustrations and challenges of weight loss. Contact us at Solutions Weight Loss, the preferred Orlando weight loss clinic.
Yes, it’s summer in Florida again!
Not that we ever really bundle up in fall and winter, but this is the time of year when we’re all conscious about those dreaded words, “swimsuit season.” So if your anxiety levels are rising because those few extra pounds are stubbornly staying put, here are 10 ways to lose weight fast!
“Good news,” says world-renowned fitness and nutrition expert Jay Cardiello. “The secret to quick weight loss doesn’t mean you need to spend more time in the gym.” Writing for Shape magazine, Cardiello provides helpful tips, accompanied by a fast-paced video, “The Weight-loss Workout Formula.”
Cardiello bases his workout on metabolic conditioning or interval-training workouts, which he says win for burning the most calories during and after your workout, since they combine multi-joint exercises and cardio. The master of fitness didn’t claim this would be easy – just fast! And no, Cardiello does NOT advise cutting calories to mere survival levels for this program. He recommends 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily, and keeping a food journal.
Modifying your food intake – rather than slashing calories – is also behind the step-by-step diet plan created by fitness site Thrive/Strive: “How to Lose 10 Pounds in One Week Without Starving.” The program is essentially a carb detox, high-protein diet, with a big emphasis on hydration. For example, the first step before breakfast is the classic glass of lemon water to kick-start the metabolism.
The basic breakdown is fruit and nuts for breakfast (after drinking the lemon water); a protein-dominant lunch (NO BREAD); fresh spinach salad drizzled with olive oil for a snack; two hard-boiled eggs and green salad for dinner; and a liter of green tea after dinner (although not too close before bedtime, for obvious reasons). Green tea is full of antioxidants that will help clean out your system, like the lemon water. By speeding up your metabolism, green tea will help your body burn fat while you’re sleeping. How sweet is that?
Just in case you need to be reminded of what not to eat, our blog post of October 2017 – “7 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight” – lists all of the usual suspects: fried foods, high-carb foods, pizza (sorry), soft drinks, fruit juice, alcohol (especially beer) and any food with added sugar. You already know this, but the post explains exactly why each is bad, and how any one of them can seriously undermine your weight-loss efforts.
Speaking of undermining your weight-loss efforts, our blog post of February 2018 has a self-explanatory title: “9 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Lose Weight.” These mistakes can be categorized as focusing on what you can’t have as opposed to what you can, improper nutrition (not enough protein and fiber, for example), and lack of hydration and exercise.
Either of these programs can get results if followed faithfully, and boost your self-confidence at the pool or beach! However, Cardiello acknowledges, “Losing weight is a 24-hour-a-day lifestyle that consists of proper sleep, nutrition, hydration, and fitness.” Once you reach your summer weight goal, make sure you maintain it by committing to a healthy lifestyle year ‘round! If you need help, Dr. William E. Newsome and our expert team at Solutions Weight Loss can discuss your options for a personalized, medically supervised weight loss program. Schedule a consultation to learn more about what we offer.