For so many years the passion I have had as a practicing chiropractor, and then as a coach, mentor and consultant to chiropractors around the world, has meant that four to five hours sleep a night became the norm for me.
My daily routine started at 4.30 each morning either running or swimming or at the gym. As my working career started as a physical education teacher I have understood that one of the key pillars to maintaining good health,is solid daily exercise.
As we entered the new millennium I started to personally experience the phenomenon called,‘weight creep’. It can be one of the challenges of getting older, even though vigorous exercise is still part of your daily schedule.
How does this happen?
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You eat the same quantity of food, you continue to exercise in a similar manner, but you just may not be as quick any more.
Most people don’t suddenly put on weight and become over weight. It’s a gradual process. You gain a kilo one year, two kilos the next, and suddenly,your belt no longer fits and you’re out shopping for new pants.
When this happens, we are told that the problem is a lack of exercise or indulging in too much sugar or consuming too much fast food.
However, we can still be very careful with our diet and eating wholesome food and exercising daily. So, we wonder, what in the heck is going on?
Something most people don’t realize is, the quality of your sleep is just as important for maintaining your physical body as any other aspect of your lifestyle.
Many studies now show a direct link between lack of sleep and weight gain. So, why is it that poor sleep causes us to add kilos?
Brain scans show that cake and similar morsels literally look more delicious when we haven’t had the sleep we need. This is because we make more impulsive eating decisions when we’re tired.
A lack of sleep changes our body’s physiology, resulting in the production of hormones in ways that promotes hunger. After a poor night’s sleep, our bodies secrete more ghrelin, a hormone that increases our appetite. We also produce less leptin, a hormone that tells our brain that we’re full.
Just one night of poor sleep has been shown to cause your food intake to ’blow out’. And the more you deprive yourself of sleep, the harder it is for your body to rebound back to normal.
If you have been struggling with your weight, keep in mind that the quality of your sleep is just as important as good nutrition and daily exercise.
The Harvard Medical Review last year commented that daily walking is the new ‘wonder drug’. This simple activity embraces not only your physical body, but also your mental and emotional well being as well.
Another very useful habit I have made part of my weekly routine is fasting two days a week. Two eggs with greens in the morning and salad for lunch and the evening meal. However, do not fast on consecutive days.
Finally, the ‘Weight Creep’ Phenomenon can be reversed and you can shed those extra kilos once you manage your food intake, exercise daily and get 7 to 8hours on average of good sleep each night.
This change of approaching food intake and getting 7 to 8 hours on average of good sleep each night really works. I personally followed this path four years ago and shed 14 kilos in 7 weeks and then stabilised to now being 10 kilos lighter. Through this time I continued my normal exercise routine.
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