Getting Enough Sleep for Optimal Health?

A child sleeping.

Image via Wikipedia

Sleep is typically the last thing on a person’s mind when they are thinking about their overall health and fitness, but really sleep should be the first thing. Not getting a good night’s sleep can be a huge setback to anyone trying to lose body fat or put on muscle. Lack of sleep is a stress on the body, so when you consider the effects of stress on muscle and fat you may be surprised how much of an impact your sleeping habits may be having on reaching your goals.

As I mentioned in a previous article about stress and fat loss, your body will have a tendency to produce cortisol under stress and this hormone is directly related to fat storage. So how does lack of sleep impact the body? Well first of all when you sleep your body uses this segment of time for the repair process. This is especially important when you are active and your body is undergoing a fair bit of exercise related stress.

A Harvard Health Publication suggests six reasons to not skimp on sleep.  For one, sleep impacts learning and memory functions as well as metabolism and weight loss. Sleep has a direct impact on what’s called memory consolidation and with regards to metabolism sleep deprivation has a direct affect on some hormones that control appetite. Not only that, but sleep deprivation can alter the way your body stores carbohydrates.

Among other things sleep deprivation has an impact on mood, safety, cardiovascular health and the body’s immune function. So sleeping 4 to 6 hours per night can be very destructive not only to your health, but also your goals of losing weight and body fat.

Living an active and healthy lifestyle requires management of various factors in your life. Everything that you do has a direct impact on how your body will react. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together and understanding the relationship between what you input to your body and the output or returns is essential for your overall health and well being.

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Lose Your Belly Fat Overnight

Excess adipose tissue around a male's mid-section.

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Everybody is trying to get rid of that tricky belly fat that just won’t seem to go away. We were told to do sit ups. We were told to buy electrodes to put on our skin that will miraculously shape and tone your six pack.  We were told to wear crazy outfits that would sweat off the fat while all we had to do was lay there and do nothing. Can someone please come forward and show me when any of those things has worked and who they’ve worked for.

The truth about your belly fat is that it’s not going away without a fight. It wants to be there and it’s in love with your mid-section. Some think that it’s a ancestral genetic trait to store body fat at the mid-section as this makes it easier for the body to carry. The close the weight is to your center the easier to move it. I mean you don’t really see people with enormous ankles or fat wrists. No one has extremely fat forearms or very fat calves. Well they do , but not without the rest of their body being just as fat. The bottom line is your body likes to keep storage in the tummy, hips and butt.

So how do we get rid of it? Well, here are a few things you should consider if you are to lose your belly fat overnight.

  1. Get a good night sleep. All those late nights out clubbing or late nights in front of the Television are killing your goals. Sleep is essential for your body’s repair process, which if you exercise needs to happen regularly. Sleep loss also limits fat loss by decreasing leptin which is a natural appetite suppresent. Have a look at these articles.
    1. http://ezinearticles.com/?Effects-of-Sleep-on-Fat-Loss&id=135138
    2. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101004211637.htm
    3. Drop the late night alcohol consumption. Well I prefer to drop alcohol in general if your goal is to lose body fat. It does nothing positive for you in any way. Not only does it destroy your ability to uptake nutrients because the alcohol takes precedence over all other substances as your body looks to remove this poison as quickly as possible. Also the excess calories intake doesn’t bode well if you’re trying not to store calories.
    4. Cut out the late night snacks…at least the junk food snacks. If you’re going to have a late snack, try low glycemic foods like cottage cheese, milk and some fruits like berries. Those are good low calorie snacks that will keep you full and help you avoid sending your body into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism.

 

 

Obesity in Asia Part II; Global Solutions

 

Obesity Campaign Poster

Image by Pressbound via Flickr

 

We all know that the globalization of food and general western ideas is spreading across the world from Africa to South America and Asia. Here in Asia I have watched as numerous fast food companies have developed strong footing in the region, the latest company being Krispy Kreme Donuts which just opened a brand new location in Bangkok’s most famous shopping mega-complex Siam Paragon. The march is on by the fast food giants and they are selling the world on early onset of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

The rapid growth of wealth and prosperity in this region coupled with a lack of health initiatives and educational programs has allowed the quick injection of these companies along with their marketing genius.  The kids are recognizably fatter than before. Many long term expatriates have said that they can clearly see the difference in size of Thai people today versus 10 years ago or even 20 years ago. In general the world as a whole lacks proper educational programs and funding to combat the spread of this global phenomenon. Read more of this post

Top 10 Weight Loss Tips from Personal Trainer Rich Thurman

Hey guys, back again with some tips for weight loss. I don’t like to use weight loss so much these days, but people still like to hear the word. It seems to make people happy to say they lost weight. I typically say it’s not about the quantity of weight but the quality of it. If you maintain your weight but add lean mass and lose body fat then most likely your clothes will be fitting better. Dress size is a better indicator for most people. Anyhow, for all you weight loss junkies out there. Here are my top 10 tips for weight loss. Read more of this post

Carbs Don’t Make You Fat

The media as told us to throw out carbs; that carbs are bad for you and that they will make you fat. What the media and most fad diet programs out there have not done is defined carbs. Carb is the abbreviated version of the full word Carbohydrate. Can carbohydrates make you fat? Yes of course, but so can sitting around doing nothing all day. To understand how carbohydrates work we have to first understand what carbohydrates are. Read more of this post

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