Is Lack of Sleep Getting in your Way of Losing Weight?!

This week we have a guest blogger who is one of our business partners located right here in Trainer’s Club

Is Lack of Sleep Getting in your Way of Losing Weight?!

by Lila Ojeda, MS, RD, LD, CSCS

Trainer’s Club Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and Personal Trainer

www.LO-Solutions.com 503.789.9707


Did you know that NOT getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain and/or lack of successful weight loss? Recent medical research has discovered that sleep-deprived individuals have higher levels of a hormone called ghrelin and lower amounts of another hormone called leptin. So what does this mean? Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating hormone (i.e., makes people feel hungry!).  More of it means more hunger even after you have eaten.  The hormone, leptin, does the opposite. While high levels tell the brain it feels full, low levels (as found in those not getting enough sleep) make the body crave more food. Another study, the Nurses Health Study (of nearly 70,000 women), found women sleeping 5 or fewer hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain (33 lb+) and 15% more likely to become obese during the 16-year study period than the women who slept at least 7 hours per night.  Bottom Line: lack of sleep doesn’t just make you tired, cranky and feel “off”, but does something similar to your hormones, and yes, we do need 7-9 hours of restful sleep/night.  This is not easy to do without the necessary know-how tools, and also in a society that seems to pride ourselves on getting less and less sleep, and more and more accomplished. TIP: Start by making slow, steady changes and do-able goals so they’ll last a lifetime. For example, start going to bed just 15 minutes earlier until you’re at a reasonable bed time.

From working with clients for over 10 years and at OHSU for over 8 years, I have seen time and time again that lack  of sleep not only screws up the body’s hormones and natural rhythm of the body, but it also directly affects FOOD CHOICES. Ever notice how lack of sleep makes you crave more sweets, especially carbohydrates like cookies and muffins? This is because these will give you quick energy to keep you going – short term! In about ½ hour or so you’ll either bonk or crave more sweets to keep you going, creating a vicious cycle.  What you really need are healthy food choices every few hours to stay alert and maintain steady energy. However, when you’re tired, you may also feel too overwhelmed to make conscious, healthy choices, and not have the energy necessary to pre-plan or even think about your next meal or snack, creating a LACK in Mindful Eating and overall Body Awareness.  When working with clients I recommend specific tips and ideas for their particular lifestyle, some being: Cooking FOR the leftovers, Preventative Eating (eat before you feel ravenous!), Never leave home without your food (stash healthy bars and nuts in your car), to name a few…. I often hear people say, “But I don’t want to think about food!” Well, you only have to think about food IF you want to be healthy, feel good, maintain a steady good mood, lose weight, improve your energy, have a killer workout because you pre-fueled, and GAIN muscle because you ate properly afterwards.

So, what are you to do if you’ve been trying to get more sleep and it’s just not working? Give me a call because together we can BREAK this cycle by creating personal eating goals, structure where necessary, and a sleeping routine that works for your busy life.

For 10 Sleep Tips, go here: http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips

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