I messed up and have missed the last couple of blog posts. I spent 4 days in Arizona at a conference listening to talks on exercise of all kinds, nutrition, social media, etc. I learned a LOT and have been trying to collate and process everything…not to mention catch up on everything I missed while I was gone. I’m going to use some of the information I learned here in the next few weeks.
I’ve written about diet in a previous post. Here I’m going to take a step further. Diet is only one element in the metabolic health of your body. Like a diet, you have to pay attention of other elements other than caloric intake and output in order to see results – quality of nutrients, when you eat, etc. Which brings me to the word of the day:
Now when I walked into the session and heard this, I may have mentioned that I grew up with the slogan “speed kills”. I assure you , this has absolutely nothing to do with amphetamines or their cousins.
Sleep, Psychological Stress, Environment, Exercise, Diet
Notice what’s at the end. Yep. Lets look at the first three which may make all the difference in the world in reaching your fitness goals. I’m going to try to keep it as simple as I can. You can look some of this stuff up yourself or write me.
I don’t know if you’ll be ready for this, but poor sleep “hygiene” increases the risk of obesity and diabetes via insulin resistance and altered neuroendocrine control of appetites. It’s a mouthful and sounds impressive, doesn’t it. What does it mean? Basically, when you don’t get enough sleep, the mechanisms in the body that regulate appetite and insulin resistance go whonky (a technical term). The result: excessive food intake and decreased energy expenditure.
There are things you can do to help your sleep: stimulus control (decrease light, don’t do electronics 1 hour before sleep, etc); relaxation techniques; carbs at dinner, but don’t go crazy (they contain seratonin); acupuncture; supplements – 1-3 mg melatonin or 450 mg valerian root.
There are three basic reactions to psychological stress: 1) Alarm reaction (flight or fight), 2) Resistance/Adaption, 3) Exhaustion. Cortisol, the stress hormone released under these conditions (among others), is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on. If you read more about cortisol, you’ll find it a little confusing, but the basic information I’ve read is that you should try to keep cortisol levels even rather than high and low.
Our environment also plays a part in metabolic health. We are constantly exposed to toxins: plastics, pesticides, cleaning agents, and many others actually affects obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Some things we have a hard time avoiding and many we have just started taking for granted. You can save money and cut down on toxins by getting your own water bottle and refilling it rather than buying water. Try to eat foods grown locally and naturally to avoid pesticides. Be careful with cleaning agents and pay attention to what you’re using. Often you can substitute caustic, toxic substances with baking soda and vinegar…among other safer products.
Now to exercise. You don’t have to kill yourself with exercise. More isn’t always better. Pay attention to your body, learning when and how much to work and when to rest. I’ve already had some posts on this subject and plan more, so do some reading, start paying attention to what you’re body is saying about the work load.
Diet. The big, scary “D” word. As I wrote in my last blog post, don’t freak out over diet. Be smart and know that one diet doesn’t fit all. Again, pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods. There’s something called HEC that you need to pay attention to: Hunger Energy/Emotions Cravings. One of the best articles I’ve read lately about a fat loss diet can be found here: http://www.metaboliceffect.com/new-rules-of-a-fat-loss-diet/ It promotes common sense. Read and see if you can buy into at least some of it.
That’s it for now. Be good to yourselves. Start taking your lives back.