Hello Sleep, Goodbye Baby Weight!


Depressed housewife and an iron.
Bored woman with closed eyes and hand on her forehead is leaning on the ironing board.

As a new mom it is so hard to make proper food choices when we are on the fly nursing, changing and trying to get the baby to sleep!  The water weight that sheds off us after giving birth is fabulous but the jiggly-wiggly belly left behind, not so much! I meet so many moms who are not only sleep deprived but who are feeling blue because they are in a total funk in terms of eating and fitness habits because they simply do not have the time or energy for it with everything else going on.  A tummy which was firm is no longer, thighs were leaner, hips smaller….it’s depressing.  But here is the thing…just by getting sleep you can change SO much of this and start feeling like YOU.

The lack of sufficient sleep adversely affects the neuroendocrine response and metabolic effects of caloric restriction.  In other words it is harder for us to shed weight but we also can gain weight when we are not getting proper sleep and accumulating sleep “debt”.

Some interesting facts:

  • People who slept less than six hours a night experienced an increase in their body mass index (height-to-weight ratio) more than those who slept seven to eight hours.
  • Women who slept five hours a day, or less, gained more weight than those who slept seven hours a day, according to a 16-year study.
  • People who slept less than eight hours a day had larger increases in body fat than those who slept more.

How does sleep affect our bodies?
Our bodies’ major activities, including temperature regulation, hormone secretion, and brain chemistry production, run on a 24-hour cycle. When our bodies aren’t in a regular sleep pattern (think jet lag), hormones that regulate whether we feel full or hungry get out of whack, so all of our normal cues for eating are altered. An undiagnosed medical illness might also cause poor sleep habits. Someone with an underactive thyroid gland, for instance, will feel fatigued and gain weight. And someone who suffers from sleep apnea will wake up repeatedly during the night.

How does sleep affects eating?
When we’re tired, or feeling fatigued, we don’t always make the healthy food choices:

  • We’ll snack right before we go to bed to relax.
  • We’ll have a quick pick-me-up snack during the day, when we’re feeling sleepy or fatigued.
  • We won’t stick with our healthy eating plan. When we’re tired and sleep deprived, we tend to make poor food choices, and rely on higher calorie comfort food.

How to catch more zzz’s?
We live in a hectic world with many responsibilities. Trying to juggle work, family, chores, and recreation, it’s no wonder many of us think: “I can’t waste time sleeping.” We also live in stressful times, and often our mental stress prevents sleep, even when we set aside seven to eight hours. This is a real double whammy for weight loss: we eat to relieve stress, but also can’t sleep because we’re too stressed out!

So what do you need to do?  GET SOME SLEEP!  Address it and take your health to a new level!  It is very possible.

 

 

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