Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Weight Loss Talk

I'm always dieting. Always. Losing weight has been on the top of my New Year resolutions for the past five years. Five! My plans to lose the weight this month are being sabotaged. And by own son. Well, not really! but I thought this would make a rather dramatic introduction and I've run out of better excuses.

This morning he was up by three thirty with only Darth Vader questions on his mind (he's been so into Star Wars lately) and he just wouldn't go back to sleep. Not for anything. Anyway, he's not the reason for this rambling. Sleep or lack of it is the major cause of my panic attack.

In general I am a very light sleeper. I am one of those people who is content with only five hours of sleep a night (research shows that women who sleep 5 hours a night are more likely to gain weight than women who sleep 7 hours a night - so you see the reason behind my panic attack. I am already doomed by fate). Hence, I have got to have those five hours of deep sleep. If I don't or if the rhythm is broken for any reason I honestly tell you that I can feel my hormones shift and this is so not good for my plans to lose weight.

Research suggests that lack of sleep is a major cause of obesity. It may all have to do with two hormones - leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, and Grehlin, a hormone that increases food intake and is thought to play a role in long-term regulation of body weight. Sleep deprivation lowers the levels of leptin and raises levels of grehlin.

Others suggest that when you are sleep deprived then you have lower energy to go out and exercise. You are tired most of the day and your body starts to crave high energy fixes along the day. You end up snacking on chocolates or high energy foods (usually high in fat) that give you that instant shot of energy to go on. The down side is that a few hours later these same foods cause you to crash again so you reach for those wrong foods again. And so the cycle goes on.

Today that my sleep cycle has been interrupted and I am aware of the fact that my body is going to be slower and downright tired (not to mention cranky and angry which is always an excuse to reach for my beloved bag of crisps) by midday. It is going to be a challenge sticking to my diet. Even when I have slept properly I crave sweets and fast foods. Lack of sleep will only double it and the challenge of resisting the impulse to give in to my cravings is my task for today.

So, based on all that and after much surf googling, I've come to find that theses are the foods I should be having on days like this. They give a steady stream of energy and will keep me going for longer before I need to recharge again.

1. Oatmeal (porridge) which I will have for breakfast.
2. Lentils (I will have that for dinner as a soup - it's cold outside and this will be wonderful). To decrease the undesirable side effects (like gas and a bloated tummy I add a lot of cumin). I will post the recipe later on today.
3. A small banana for my snack although I sometimes go for apples, grapes, peaches, and pineapples because they are great energizing snacks.
4. Almonds (go easy on those: but they are packed with the good fat and if you stick to only 12 almonds that's only 83 calories. Almonds are great for alleviating crankiness and creating a calm mental state.
5. Low fat yogurt or cheese (but I am going for low fat yogurt because I am planning to make a Middle Eastern dish for lunch today that has all my ingredients in it to give me the energy I need for the day - I will also post the recipe for that one today.
6. Water.

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