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Nature's Sweet



 
                 Sleep and Weight Loss by Jonny Bowden

Suppose I told you that there was one action you could take right now that could improve your chances of losing weight permanently, and that taking that particular action wouldn't be painful, expensive or difficult?

Now that I've got your attention...

Suppose I also told you that you wouldn't need any special equipment to do it, you wouldn't have to take any special pills or metabolic enhancers, and that you could do this particular activity right in your own home? In fact, right in your own bed.

Not only that, you wouldn't have to learn any special new skills — you already know how to do this particular activity as well as anyone else on the planet.

Interested? I thought so.

Well, there is such an activity, and it's called...

Sleep.

Yup. Plain old fashioned, garden-variety nighttime shut-eye. Deep, undisturbed, warm, fuzzy, refreshing sleep. The kind most of us don't get nearly enough of. And, strange as it may seem, not getting enough can be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, not to mention your overall health.

Big time.

Here's why: On top of the kidneys are two little walnut sized glands called the "adrenals." These glands secrete important hormones — one of the most important of these being cortisol. Cortisol is also known as a "stress hormone." It's secreted in times of emergency, along with a related hormone we all know about called adrenaline. Although cortisol is needed by every cell in the body, problems arise when we secrete too much of it. Our active, complicated, over-committed, time-crunched lives cause us to produce a virtual flood of it; only now are we beginning to fully understand the consequences and health implications of this situation.

Excess cortisol is, in effect an "emergency warning system", that tells the body that something's coming that's going to require a lot of energy. Stress hormones are the body's way of preparing you for action, such as running from or fighting off a predator. That's why stress hormones are known as the "fight or flight" hormones. Among its other missions, cortisol signals the body to store fat. It tells the body to break down protein (muscle) for energy, but hold onto fat for dear life. Consistently elevated levels of cortisol can lower your metabolic rate, and can also lead to brain aging and cognitive impairment. (Now you know why you don't think so clearly when you're overtired and overstressed!)

While most people are aware of dozens of "stressors" in their lives — jobs, families, relationships, bosses, traffic, and all of the other usual suspects — many people do not know that one of the biggest stressors of all is not getting enough sleep.

Followed closely by dieting.

Ironic, isn't it? Dieting — especially of the very low-calorie, low-protein kind — raises the very hormone responsible for fighting fat loss!

When you don't sleep enough to feel fully and completely rested and refreshed — and who among us does? — you also interfere with the nightly secretion of another hormone — HGH (Human Growth Hormone), which is secreted during the deepest levels of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. HGH signals the body to hold onto valuable muscle and to burn fat.

Beginning to get the picture?

When people ask me to characterize my "Shape Up" program in a few words, the phrase I usually use is "holistic weight loss." Here's why: The biggest problem with conventional weight loss programs is that they treat the topic of losing weight as if it's a math problem — all you have to do is count the calories (or fat grams, or carbohydrate grams) and bingo, you're home free. Sorry, Charlie... it's not that simple. Your weight is intimately related to everything else in your life. Your stress levels are a big player in this game, and they in turn are influenced not only by how much you sleep, but by your relationships, your connectedness to your community, your friends, your family, your spiritual center, even your pets.

So the next time a stressed out friend asks you for a suggestion about the best way to lose weight fast, maybe you ought to say...

"Hey. Take a nice warm bath, put on some Mozart and get a quiet, peaceful nap. Have a nice cool glass of water. Relax. Treat yourself like a queen for awhile and take a break from worrying."

You wouldn't be far wrong.
                                                
                                               Visit the Jonny Bowden Solutions website.


Copyright © December 2005  Jonny Bowden and Low Carb Luxury



       

 

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