weight loss

How sleep can keep you reaching for the junk food

Everything about the human body is interconnected and eating habits are no different. Sleep plays an important role in not only what you eat but how much and when you eat it.

Lack of Sleep Changes Your Hormones

We get our energy from sleep or from food. People who get less sleep tend to snack on high-fat, carbohydrate-rich foods, possibly looking for the energy that they didn’t get from sleep the night before.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your hunger and satiety (fullness) hormones, including leptin and ghrelin get released in different amounts, making you more hungry and less full!

Sleep Gives You the Advantage

Getting adequate sleep 7-9 hours per night for adults, lets you work with your body rather than against it. Stress, long work hours, family obligations, an uncomfortable mattress, and insomnia are only a few of life’s challenges that may get in your way of a good night’s rest.

Here are 4 simple steps you can take to promote good sleep hygiene and get a more restful sleep:

· Turn off the screen. Televisions, laptops, e-readers, and smartphones all give off light that can interfere with your natural sleep cycle. Shut off the screens an hour before you want to go to bed to help your body recognise that it’s night-time and it should be preparing for sleep.

· Limit caffeine and alcohol. While some may believe alcohol can help you sleep, it changes your body’s sleep patterns and can lead to wakefulness. Try to avoid caffeine after lunch and alcohol at least four hours before bedtime.

· Create a bedtime routine. Help set your circadian rhythms with a relaxing bedtime routine. Read a book (not on a screen), try some gentle meditation or yoga, or take a warm bath to help relax your mind and body. As you do your routine regularly, your body recognises when it’s time to prepare itself for resting. If you find yourself dreading bedtime because you feel discomfort or pain in bed, it might be time for a new mattress.

· Go to bed at the same time every day. Try to keep the same sleep schedule every day of the week. Your body prepares to sleep and wake up long before you do. A regular bedtime helps it stay on track, which in turn helps you in your quest for a healthy lifestyle.


weight loss

Weight loss

When people start a weight loss diet, many lose weight initially then stall. Why is this? Your body stores energy as fat and glycogen. Whereas fat stores can vary dramatically from person to person, your body can only store so much energy as glycogen. Glycogen requires water to be stored. In the initial stages of diet/caloric restriction and exercise, your body depletes these glycogen stores (it needs the glycogen for energy.. its the bodies first go to source), reducing your bodyweight from the elimination of both the weight of the stored glycogen and the weight of the water. Note that nowhere in this process is the much-desired loss of fat! hence the saying that the initial weight loss is water loss. For every gram of glycogen stored, you store anywhere from 3-4 grams of water with it. Carbohydrates which are the initial source of the glycogen when eaten, if they are not needed for immediate energy use they are then stored as glycogen and if these cells are full as fat. On most calorie controlled diets the amount of carbohydrate you consume is significantly reduced, so the body resorts to the stored glycogen as its first energy source, releasing the attached water. Its also why many people have a shock if they have an off diet day and eat a diet rich in carbohydrates and suddenly put on a couple of pounds overnight. If you reduce your calories by 2000 calories a week, the first 2 weeks some people if they have a lot of weight to lose can lose up to 10llbs. If they continue with reducing their diet by 2000 calories per week, over the next two weeks they may only lose 1 or 2lbs since a pound of fat contains approximately 3500 calories.
If you continue with your 2000 calories a week reduction, while initially you will see a reduction in weight loss and fat reduction, this will slowly slow down since weight loss is not linear. This linear assumption does not take into account the bodies natural mechanisms that kick in, with less calories being consumed the body becomes more efficient and learns to survive on less calories. Depending on the overall composition of your diet, if your body has depleted it stores of glycogen and then fat it will start looking to protein as its fuel source, individuals will start to lose muscle mass as the body breaks down muscle tissue to use as its protein source.
When losing weight its very important to take a good multi vitamin since the guidelines of 2000 calories per day also ensures that you obtain the required amount of vitamins and minerals to stay in good health.
Also don’t overestimate how many calories your body actually needs. Every person will have an individual calorie requirement, if you have a smart watch many of these will now tell you how many calories per day you have burned based on your Basic Metabolic Rate ( BMR) and what movement/ sports it has calculated that day. Looking at my results over the last month I burn just under 2000 calories per day, but that includes jogging twice a week, spin class once a week and daily dog walks, if you don’t exercise you may naturally need less calories per day.

The benefits of strength training and exercise for health, losing weight and blood sugar levels

Exercise both aerobic and strength training  is important to overall health both now and in the future .

Having strong muscles is important, firstly the mitochondria ,the power houses of cells which convert glucose into heat and energy are found in our muscles.  Strength building exercises together with interval training will increase the number of mitochondria and in turn increase resting metabolism. Fit people tend to have a raised metabolism for two reasons, a higher level of lean mass and a greater number of mitochondria within the cells.   Interval training  has been shown to provide the greatest increase in mitochondria in the muscle cells, however do not undertake an  intensive exercise program unless you are currently exercising, you will need to increase your activity slowly.

The uptake of glucose from our blood stream is faster from trained muscles, this is important for those with insulin resistance or type II diabetes to remove the glucose from the blood stream as fast as possible.  When you exercise your body uses the glycogen stored in the muscles, the hour after exercise is the prime time for these depleted stores to be refilled and for those with blood sugar problems such as insulin resistance and type II diabetes, this is the time to consume your daily carbohydrates, since the blood sugars will be moved into the muscles to be stored as glycogen.



1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3248697/

2. http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/286/3/R505.figures-only

3. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4613-4609-8_8