Category Archives: hunger

productive day #2!

Wheeeew! Being productive is getting exhausting! I may have to slow things down a bit today 😉

Yesterday morning started off with a strength session (go, self!) and then a quick shower before throwing dinner in the crock pot. I dashed out the door with my hair in a frizzy mess and worked until after 7pm (I didn’t get to break away from the nephrologist until 4pm — I was GROWLING for lunch!). I got in the door at 8pm and the smells of Thanksgiving infused the house. YUM! Mr. Prevention had even followed directions for our brussel’s sprouts. Impressive. The crock pot and I are officially bonding, I would say…another successful crock pot meal 😀

8 am:

8 pm:

Note: You can’t judge a crock pot recipe by looks alone!! 😉

Cranberry Pork Roast from A Year of Slow Cooking and Bean Town Baker

1 (2.5-3 lb) pork tenderloin (I used 2 1/2#), trimmed
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 1/4 cup white sugar + 1/4 cup Splenda granular
1/2 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup diet cranberry juice made with Splenda
1/2 small lemon, thinly sliced

Directions:

Use a 4 quart crockpot. In a plastic zipper bag, put dry spices and cornstarch and add meat. Shake to coat. Put contents into your slow cooker.

Add cranberry sauce, or your fresh cranberries and sugar. Put in raisins and garlic. Pour in cranberry juice, and top with lemon slices.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (I cooked mine for 12 hours), or high for about 4. The longer you cook the meat, the more tender it will be. Serves 7 (about 5 ounces after being cooked).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 374 calories; 7.8 g. fat; 128 mg. cholesterol; 261 mg. sodium; 28.3 g. carbohydrate; 1.1 g. fiber; 46 g. protein

Result: It was an early Thanksgiving in the Prevention household! What a nice surprise! We loved this dish – it was so tender, and because of the low and slow cooking time with the long duration, the meat shredded with a fork. Mr. Prevention preferred this pork to the Slow Cooked Char Siu Pork I made last week. I liked both, but I definitely appreciate the leanness of the tenderloin cut – very low fat!! If you’re looking for an early T-day treat, look no further…it’s the perfect fall delight!

And Mr. P managed to put the Brussel’s sprouts in the oven…

1 lb Brussel’s sprouts tossed in olive oil, 1/4 cup pecans, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes at 350° F. Sprinkle with 1-2 ounces of Gorgonzola and bake another 3-4 minutes. DELISH!

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I emailed lots of fellow RD and bloggers yesterday morning to see who would be interested in collaborating on a RD Q&A. I’ve had an amazing response and I look forward to adding a tab on my blog about becoming an RD, the schooling involved, what internships are like, job outlook for RD’s, career paths for RD’s, and our best advice for those entering the field. I get questions weekly from readers who are interested in nutrition, and I hope that joining forces with other RD’s and bloggers will help those interested! So look for that in a week or so! I’m excited!

Question: What did you want to be when you were a little kid?

I remember wanting to be a professional figure skater…and now I play ice-hockey. My, how things change! 😉

Bon voyage to my parental unit who are off to the shores of Puerto Vallarta for the week. I am green with envy! Off to work I go…!

Have a fabulous day!

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Filed under blog, blog topic request, crock pot, dietitians, dinner, doctors, exercise, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, hockey, hunger, meat consumption, physical activity, physicians, protein, recipe, sugar substitutes, travel, work

better late than never…

A late post today!

So you remember those YUMMY no-bake cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and cranberry white chocolate chip cookies I made for Mr. P’s company bake sale that I posted about yesterday? Well, he forgot them on the kitchen table and left without them in the morning. I grocery shopped, baked, cleaned, packed in baggies, and loaded in a shopping bag, placed right in front of his keys and wallet. Still, he walked out without them. Needless to say, my yesterday started on the wrong foot (really wrong foot). I drove the cookies to my office in the town we both work in, completely out of my way, and jetted off to a meeting an hour away. Good thing I can put the pedal to the metal…this girl was on time. Mr. P got his cookies and I got to my meeting on time. Crisis… averted.

After the meeting and before I started my late, long work day, my co-worker (Hi Christin!) took me to my new favorite place: an Amish market!

1.99 pounds of steel cut oats for $1.17!!!

Blackstrap molasses for $1.75!!!

1/2 pound of banana chips for $0.88!!!

Colby for Mr. P and Apple Cinnamon Cheddar to share 🙂

Fresh spices: cayenne, cumin, sage, cinnamon, rosemary, Spanish paprika, chili powder, and poppy seeds for $0.89 to $1.98 for ~2/3 cup or 1/5th pound 😀

Fresh churned peanut butter on-site for $1.54! Cheaper by the pound than Skippy Natural!

And I got all sorts of fresh pastas in fun shapes and some chocolate-covered goodies for Mr. P. His birthday is Saturday, after all. So fun! Thank you, Christin 😀

It’s fair to say my day improved from there…despite walking in the door at 8pm and making some bad choices for dinner.

Obviously by 8pm I was ready to eat my arm off and Mr. P had taken it upon himself to order pizza on my late night. So I came home, had 1 slice of pizza, 1 leftover Buffalo Chicken Bite, 2/3rds-ish cups of Mr. P’s leftover pasta from a dinner out, a few gummy butterflies (i.e. gummy bears), and a glass of wine. …All before I got my heels off my feet. Vegetables who? Fruit what? Whole grain why? Oy!

THIS is why I meal plan and love leftovers!!! And THIS is why it’s so important to not get to the point of HUNGRY because nothing good ever comes of it! …at least not for me. Obviously. But it was still probably better than stopping for fast food. Which, by the way, sounded really appealing during my 70 minute commute home…since I’m baring all here. 😉

Question: What was your last amazing food bargain?

I seriously feel like I hit the JACKPOT yesterday! 😀

Almost Friday!

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Filed under budget shopping, dining out, dinner, fast food, fruits and vegetables, grocery store, herbs, hunger, marriage, self-control, stress, Uncategorized, wine, work

Saturated fat…bad? Or better?

Last month, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute negated an association between saturated fat intake and heart disease. Further, the study suggested that the limiting of fat intake is attributing to the rising obesity and diabetes rates in America. This report evaluated dietary data from a total of 347,747 subjects from 8 countries in 21 studies, over 25 years.

As the study points out, when fat is strictly limited in the diet, carbohydrate intake increases which can cause detriment to weight and blood glucose levels. Food is made up of 3 macronutrients – fat, protein, and carbohydrates. While (complex) carbohydrates should comprise the majority of the diet (50-60% of daily caloric intake in an average healthy adult), limiting fat (which is often found in high-protein foods), typically causes an increase in carbohydrate intake. This imbalance in macronutrients can cause an increase in weight and triglycerides, as well as an increased risk for developing diabetes. Additionally, excess carbohydrates are much more readily stored as fat when compared to fat and protein. The notion of “fat equals fat” couldn’t be further from the truth. A higher fat, moderate protein diet can increase satiety and better stabilize blood glucose levels when compared to a typical high-carbohydrate American diet.

For this very reason, I am a huge advocate of carbohydrate counting for weight loss. Not only is carbohydrate counting mathematically simpler than calorie counting, but it forces a balance in the diet. If I put a patient on a 1,600 calorie diet, for instance – they will put more emphasis on the totals rather than the components whereas carbohydrate counting creates flexible opportunity for the patient to balance their meals with protein, carbohydrates, and fat without meticulous calculations. Further, carbohydrate counting emphasizes portion control and regular meal times.

Whether I agree or disagree with this study, I think it surfaces some valid take-home messages regarding the make-up of our diets. Personally, I am a supporter of “diabetic” meal planning for patients looking to lose weight and use this approach on many of my patients.

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Today at work was TASTE TEST DAY! The recipe I chose to make this week was turkey goulash. I am a huge fan of this recipe — quick, easy, delicious, and a crowd pleaser. It’s also a traditional dish in Oklahoma.

And everyone loved it! The emails flowed in as the afternoon hours passed on…

Hey Nicole,

THIS WAS AWESOME AS ALWAYS…….THANKS SO MUCH!!!  The things you cook/bake are so good, is hard to believe these are healthy, you do a great job!

Have a good afternoon!

Joanna

Thank you, Nicole, for such an awesome job you do on the taste test. They are always so good! 🙂

Christina

Question: What do you feel the role of saturated fat in the diet should be? Less is more? Some is okay? Doesn’t really matter? Do you know anyone who is “fat phobic” despite the common knowledge of healthy fats (mono and poly’s) in the diet?

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Filed under blood glucose, carbohydrates, diabetes, diet, dietitians, food journal, healthy cooking, heart health, hunger, low-carb, MUFAs and PUFAs, obesity epidemic, protein, recipe, reduced-calorie, research study, saturated fat, weight gain, weight loss, work

A friendly reminder of “foodship” before you eat to oblivion

Is anyone else sick of the talk surrounding how to “manage” the holidays? Even if I racked my brain ALL day, I’d struggle to come up with a new suggestion that would alleviate any stress surrounding the holidays, weight, and healthful eating. We all know what to do…so why don’t we (always) do it?

I had one of those most insightful sessions with a patient the other day. Our entire session was spent discussing the psychology and dysfunction behind why we do what we do when it comes to food. She recalled sitting at a luncheon and plowing heaps of food into her mouth despite being uncomfortably full. She said she felt as though food was going to lurch from her stomach it was so full – filled to capacity, literally. And yet when she realized there was a dish she hadn’t tried, she got up to help herself. She described eating to the point of exhaustion – mentally and physically. She had over-consumed to the point of being ill. And yet, 20 minutes later, she gives in to the ice cream and pie that she wanted to taste. She proceeded to consume large portions of dessert, despite having already been physically ill from eating too much. And she left the luncheon feeling completely confused by her actions, and moreover, the constant cycle of this behavior. WHY do we do this?

I don’t feel there’s any physical explanation as to why this happens; I feel this is wholly mental. Rather than focusing on calories, or journaling intake, or exercise, or adequate hydration, or food choices, I’ve decided to approach this behavior by confronting the behavior and not the food. My suggestion to my patient was to keep a log of her hunger cues and to listen to her body’s needs.

For example…

If you’re reaching for an apple…

STOP.

Question: Are you HUNGRY? Yes or no.

If no, WHY are you going to eat? (circle one: everyone else is, looks good, bored, sad, excited, tired, celebrating, meal time)

If you’re not hungry, do NOT eat the apple.

Wait 10 minutes.

Reassess.

Question: Are you HUNGRY? Yes or no.

If no, do you still WANT that apple?

If yes, eat the apple.

If no, do not eat. Ponder your reasoning behind wanting to eat in the first place? What can you do to change this?

If this sounds crazy, chances are you’ve never struggled with your weight or over-eating. Consciously or not, this type of behavior happens day-in and day-out for most all of us. This type of behavior is mainly subconscious, but destructive and dangerous to health and body weight.

Most anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that I am a HUGE supporter of the “Fit-Over-Fat” theory. And familiar with the “Health At Every Size” (HAES) concept, have probably heard of Linda Bacon, professor of nutrition at City College of San Francisco and author of “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight [1].”

Linda Bacon supports “intuitive eating” – a means of consuming food that is in tune with hunger signaling (i.e. eating when you’re hungry and quitting when you’re satisfied). There are few individuals out there who can deem their diets flawless. Anyone and everyone should aim to incorporate healthy eating and lifestyle patterns to consume the right amount of the good and work to eliminate the bad. As a nation, we are so hyper-sensitive about weight status, clothing sizes, and weight loss…it’s nearly impossible to get excited about simply making a change because it’s the right move for your health and relationship with food and exercise. Maybe you’re like myself and just wish to escape from food from time-to-time to improve your “foodship” – your relationship with food.

The above scenario I would consider a classic case of poor foodship. The exercise detailed above is meant to hone in on signals for eating and to initiate a pattern of intuitive eating rather than the constant, mindless eating so many partake in.

While food, nutrition, and weight comprise my job each day, I would also consider food and nutrition a hobby. I guess you could say food is a HUUUUGE component of my life whether I’m shopping, preparing, eating, or thinking about food…everything seems to come back to food.

Some individuals place little emphasis on food; my mother doesn’t think about food, “crave” food, over-indulge in food, or talk about food. It’s just not a focal point of her life, unlike mine. Which leads me to my next thought — those with little emphasis on food have not only good “foodship” but also healthier weight statuses. I think this also ties in to Linda Bacon’s “intuitive eating,” don’t you?

I’m sure others have heard the saying, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.” As an RD, I feel over-consumed by food from all angles of my life, and I can’t help but feel over-whelmed sometimes. And I can’t imagine others don’t feel the same – weight loss gimmicks smothered across magazines in the check-out lane, commercials and advertisements in all of our media, TV shows devoted to weight-loss…it’s every where. Every day. All day long.

So, question…do you feel there’s just TOO much exposure and emphasis surrounding weight-loss, dieting, food, etc.? Do you think your “foodship” could use a make-over? Do you think much of our country’s obesity can be attributed to poor relationships with food and lack of “intuitive eating”?

Can make this holiday season more healthful by utilizing intuitive eating? Will your holiday season really be less fulfilling and special if you don’t leave your celebration with unbuttoned pants? Probably not. 😉

Merry Christmas to all and to all a healthful holiday!

[1]. Jameson, Marnell. Do Extra Pounds Always Equal Extra Risk? The Los Angeles Times. October 12, 2009.

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Filed under diet, fit over fat, food journal, health at every size, holiday, hunger, Linda Bacon, obesity epidemic, self-control, stress, weight gain, weight maintentance

Seriously? …Seriously? (and pssst…a Giveaway!)

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What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?” -Erma Bombeck
I’m talking to my mom on my way to work this morning, requesting my favorite coffee creamer while she was grocery shopping. Mom just happens to mention, “Well, the store was out of pecan pies, so I got pecan pie cups. Good portion control, right?” Where do I begin with the wrongness of this all.
  1. Pecan pie should be homemade.
  2. Pecan pie cups? Give me a break. No pumpkin PIE is the equivalent of Christmas without a Christmas tree littering gifts beneath it.
I feel so shafted already. Pecan pie is a once-a-year-can’t-live-without-it STAPLE. 
Holds. Me. Together. All. Year. Treat.
As un-healthy as that little tantrum is, I could’ve verbally berated husband last night after he decided he NEEDED (yes, NEEDED) Buffalo Wild Wings. Let’s not be confused here, I love anything involving wing sauce — it’s a guilty pleasure. Just look to the right there and you can see that SEVERAL of my “must-try” recipes contain wing sauce. However, BW3’s is 30 minutes away from home and I had a headache and a wonderful, healthy pad Thai dinner planned. But no, husband NEEDED wings. So, off we go at 8:30pm (had to wait til the game was on!), only to arrive and find that both the restaurant and inhaler-requiring bar were filled to capacity and there was a 40-minute wait. On a Tuesday. One would think they were GIVING AWAY $0.40 wings, my goodness! After flashing him a stink face and a blatant, annoyed eye roll, we left BW3’s for a silent 30-minute commute back home.

I am a man. I do NOT want to watch games (football, basketball, or otherwise) that I care about in a bar watching a TV without volume and obnoxious patrons taking away from my viewing experience. Which leads me to the acceptance of a sad truth: I am old. On a Tuesday evening after an 11-hour work day, I want to be a homebody. I want to be in my warm house, in my cuddly clothes, enjoying healthy, homemade food, watching and listening to my sporting pleasure! Last night being Fighting Illini men’s basketball.

Is anyone else a huge homebody, especially once the fall and winter seasons encroach?
My crankiness subsided this morning when I opened my office door to a package from Newman’s Owns Organics (not to be confused with Newman’s Own). I’ve heard a lot about Newman’s Owns Organics (NOO’s) and I was interested in sampling some of their products. Well, let’s just say I received an early Christmas gift this year! Check out the loot…

Thank you, Newman’s Own Organics!! ❤

Food models, mess, lunch (upper right), Zevia (upper left)…and the loot, scattered! My office is atrocious!

 An array of cookies…chocolate, Arrowroot, and chocolate chip!

 Choooooooocolate! Need I say more? Note: that dark chocolate bar
on the left is opened…I wonder who did that!!
 
 Fat-free AND low-fat Fig Newmans…love the play on words : )
 
 Dried fruit…prunes, apricots, apples, and berry blend. The apples are delicious! They are completely all-natural in taste, not all pumped up with sugar!!
 

For my afternoon snack, I had 2 original Hermits. Um, DELICIOUS! They are so moist and rich in flavor…love them!! Favorite taste from Newman’s Own Organics thus far!!

 
Mint rolls — Peppermint, Wintergreen, Ginger, and Hot (not pictured, oops!)
 Newman’s O’s — Chocolate and Mint!!
 
 There was a 3rd bag, but one of my patient’s ate them. Thumbs up! Especially excited about the protein pretzels!
 
 Soy crisps! Can’t wait to try!
 
 Hot, Wintergreen, Ginger (yum!), and peppermint mints. The ginger ones are delicious!!!
 

And Newman’s Own Organics even sent something for the puppy — dog treats! Lily gives the salmon and sweet potato treats a high-five (and my dog gives high-5’s, no joke!)

And since ’tis the season to be giving…a GIVEAWAY for you all! And because that box weighs about 25 pounds!!! THANK YOU, NEWMAN’S OWN ORGANICS!!!
NEWMAN’S OWNS ORGANICS GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!
There will be 2 winners as there’s plenty of goodies to go around…

Giveaway 1: The Cookie Monster
Newman’s Own Organics Champion Chip Cookies (Chocolate)
Newman’s Own Organics Ginger Hermits
Newman’s Own Organics 54% cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
Giveaway 2: The Smorgasbord
 Newman’s Own Organics White Cheddar Soy Crisps
Newman’s Own Organics California Prunes
Newman’s Own Organics 54% cocoa Espresso Dark Chocolate Bar
How to enter? Lots of ways! 
Enter up to 4 times by doing one, two, three…or all of the following:

1. Post a comment with your giveaway selection preference below (1 or 2, see above)
2. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with a link back to your tweet, 
or follow me @PreventionRD
3. If you’re a blogger, post about this Newman’s Own Organics Giveaway with a link back to this post on your blog. Leave a comment below containing your blog/post link!
4. Email me a favorite, healthy recipe at Mrs.RD44@gmail.com
Entries will be taken through Sunday, November 29th at 12pm (Central Time) and the winners will be announced on my Sunday blog post!


Sampled thus far: 70% cocoa organic chocolate bar (super yum!) and organic dried apples. Mmm!


A patient this morning had to fast for a late lab appointment and by the time he made it over to my office for his nutrition appointment, he was so hungry he had a headache. I handed my country bumpkin of a patient Newman’s Own Organics salted pretzels, and that country bumpkin chowed down. And believe you me, I’d have heard about it if he didn’t love’em! Thumbs up, Newman’s Own Organics!!
Looking forward to Pad Thai tonight and an early departure to Chicago tomorrow morning! If our flight is delayed, we’ll be missing Thanksgiving dinner. Wish us luck, O’Hare doesn’t have the best of records when it comes to flight delays.

Have a wonderful, safe, healthful, and relaxing Thanksgiving!

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Filed under dessert, Giveaway, holiday, hunger, marriage, Newman's Own Organics, pets, restaurant, travel

Diabetes, Cheerios, and Late Night Eating…

…you betcha, it’s a smorgasbord today!

First up: a break-down of diabetes prevalence across the United States. Sorry the below map doesn’t enlarge any bigger, but you can go here to see the enlarged version. Of course I found this interesting as I work with a largely diabetic population.



Among those 30 and older in the US, 13.7% of men and 11.9% of women have diabetes. A third of this estimated number are going undiagnosed. Colorado, Minnesota, and Vermont have the lowest rates of diabetes while the southeastern states have the highest rates — Mississippi having the highest rates of all. Lead author and epidemiology research fellow, Goodarz Danaei at Harvard stated, “The Southern States have a very dangerous aggregation of risk factors for heard disease: obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes [1].”

With more than 70,000 diabetes-related deaths each year, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death [1]. You can clearly see that Oklahoma and Texas have much work to be done in diabetes prevention, especially among the men, compared to neighboring Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and New Mexico.
In other news, a federal court panel has ruled that five pending lawsuits against General Mills for claims touting the cholesterol-lowering benefit of Cheerios will be consolidated into one multi-district case. The FDA administered a warning to General Mills regarding their claims of Cheerios “lowering your cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks” and “clinically proven to lower cholesterol.” A specific rate of risk reduction is not allowed, according to the FDA. Plantiffs states that General Mills made false claims which led them to eat the cereal as a way to lower cholesterol [2].

The FDA stated in May that eating Cheerios was “not generally recognized as safe and effective for use in preventing or treating hypercholesterolemia or coronary heart disease [2]. Shame, shame, Cheerios and General Mills!

Last up: light night eating produces weight gain. I found WebMD’s take on evening eating and weight gain, which was in consensus with a post I made back in September. Similarly, recent research performed at Northwestern University found that eating at night led to twice as much weight gain, even when total calorie consumption was the same among mice. The science, however, is still unknown [3]s.
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, and director of nutrition for WebMD recommends consuming regular meals, as well as consuming 90% of your daily caloric needs before 8 pm. Eating every three to four hours helps regular blood sugar and control hunger and cravings [3]. I concur, for what it’s worth. :O ) 
And yesterday’s diabetic diet…

Breakfast:
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (2 carbs)
1 cup skim milk (1 carb)
1 tsp turbinado (1/2 carb)
1 tsp Splenda brown sugar (1/2 carb)
1/2 ounce pecans, chopped (0 carbs)
cappuccino with 2 Tbsp sugar-free International Delight
     Total: 4 carbs

1 cup whole wheat pasta (3 carbs)
4 ounce chicken breast (0 carbs)
3/4 cup marinara (1 carb)
1 ounce Parmesean cheese (0 carbs)
     Total: 4 carbs

Snack:
12 baby carrots (0 carbs)
small apple (1 carb)
     Total: 1 carb

Dinner:
1 cup mashed potatoes (2 carbs)
3 fingerlings of Biggest Loser “Fried Chicken” (2 carbs)
     Total: 4 carbs

Snack:
3 graham crackers (1 carb)
1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter (0 carbs)
     Total: 1 carb

[1]. Bakalar, Nicholas. Diabetes: A State-by-States Breakdown. The New York Times. October 13, 2009.
[2]. Scott-Thomas, Caroline. Lawsuits Against Cheerios Cholesterol Claims Combined. Food Navigator. October 13, 2009.
[3]. Zelman, Kathleen M.  Is Late Night Eating More Likely to Pack on the Pounds? WebMD.

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Filed under blood glucose, breakfast, cholesterol, diabetes, diet, heart health, hunger, hypertension, law suit, news, weight gain

Blog topic request: sleep and diet

Our friend Lena requested a blog topic: sleep and eating. She asked, “How does sleeping tie into what/how you eat? Is there really much of a connection?” Lena, I’m so glad you asked!

Yes! There most definitely is a connection between sleeping and what and how one eats. There has been a lot of recent research focused on sleep and diet/weight/nutrition with the ever expanding obesity epidemic.

What’s the deal? There’s lots of theories and ideas, let’s discuss.

Scientifically speaking, hormones such as leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol can become out of whack with insufficient sleep. Leptin is the hormone playing a central role in fat metabolism; ghrelin is a hormone counterpart to leptin, which stimulates hunger — increasing before meals and decreasing after meals; cortisol is a hormone commonly referred to as the “stress hormone”, which helps the body use sugar (glucose) and fat for energy (metabolism). A lack of sleep triggers a wave of reactions in the body that begins with the hormones mentioned above. This results in the body waking up exhausted and craving fat and carbohydrates, says Dr. Joseph Koninck, director of the University of Ottawa’s Sleep Research Laboratory. There is no doubt that the hormones which control appetite are effected by insufficient sleep [1]. So, sleep more!

Basic math would also lead any logical person to the conclusion of less hours awake leads to less hours of eating, and thus, less calories consumed. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Those staying up late to watch TV, catch up on emails, or surf the Internet are more often than not consuming high-calorie foods. When you eat late at night, Dr. Koninck suggests one’s sleep is more fragmented due to the body’s digestion process. Lack of deep sleep can also cause a drop in the “satiety hormone”, leptin. This can cause excessive hunger the following day, even after eating. All the while, ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”, is rising…setting one up to overeat [1].

Stanford University connected a lack of sleep to the rise in obesity back in 2004. Their 15-year study of 1,024 volunteers with sleep disorders found that individuals sleeping less than 4 hours a night were 73% more likely to be obese [1]. If you don’t have time to sleep, you certainly don’t have time to cook or eat properly, right?

Think YOU’RE getting enough sleep? Maybe not!

In 2006, University of Chicago researchers found that while adults may be in bed for 7.5 hours, the average woman slept for 6.7 hours, while men enjoyed a mere 6.1 hours of rest [1].

How much sleep does one need? Follow these steps to find out…

1. Set a bed time. Calculate back 7 1/2 hours from the time you need to get up to figure out what time that bedtime ought to be.

2. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every day. Make note of what length of sleep leaves you feeling refreshed and awakening without the use of an alarm clock. This is your optimum length of sleep — likely between 7 1/2 and 9 hours each night.

3. Keep a journal. Track when you go to bed, when you get up, any restless periods, when you ate and exercised before bed, whether or not you napped, and if so, for how long.

4. Keep on this schedule! Your body and waistline will thank you!

Key points to remember:
– exercise 30 minutes daily, but not within a few hours of your bedtime
– keep your bedroom a place for sleep and sexual activity only
– get into a pre-bed routine (i.e. bath, music, reading)
– DO NOT check email, watch TV, or play video games before bed — it can leave you sleeping restlessly or unable to get to sleep
– cut out caffeine in the afternoon and evening hours
– DO NOT go to bed on a full stomach OR hungry
– use alcohol in moderation, and not as a sleep aid!

I have to say, I may ace this test. Mark and I climb into bed around 9:40 every night. My alarm goes off at 6:22 am, which is when I get up, so long as Lily has a restful sleep, too. Generally, I feel refreshed and ready for the day. While I still require one dose of caffeine and an alarm clock, I think we happily master the sleep routine.

What time is your bedtime? Are you often tired? What gets in your way of getting more sleep?

[1]. Beun, Chown, Julie. Dozing to diet: Sleep as a diet aid works, research shows.

Canwest News Service. September 18, 2009.

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