So, how’s the new diet going so far this year, now that we're into August? I can just imagine how many of us set new intentions at the beginning of the new year, decided on new foods, and pondered which diet to try. Oh, and let's not forget the new goals for exercise. How much have you lost since you started? Do you have more energy? An even bigger question is: Are you getting enough sleep?
If this is your day, your new diet might not work very well: 4-7 hours of sleep (interrupted), skipping breakfast, drinking 2-3 cups of coffee to get out the door, rushing to work, stressfully attacking all work tasks of the day, eating your lunch in ten minutes, or eating in the car, emotionally toughing through work or client challenges, getting home late, eating while in a stressed state and/or in front of the TV or your electronic devices, winding down with alcohol, then dropping into bed only to soon hear the alarm telling you to get up and do it all again.
Stress and lack of sleep can mess with your hormones (male or female) and overall bodily healing. Unbalanced hormones do not promote weight loss but can promote weight gain. During deep sleep, your brain's "glymphatic" system flushes out harmful toxins, decodes and recodes, preparing itself to support your body for another day. What do you think you can do to better your sleep?
Hear me out! Portion control is not just for food. It applies to our time also—how we manage the hours of the day and night, including restful and healing sleep.
1. Establish a regular bedtime and wake time. When you sleep, your body gets busy with healing all areas within, including your brain. It is critical to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep daily so that your brain and body can work efficiently for you.
2. Reduce caffeine; you can do it slowly as you ease into your new sleep routine.
3. If you are not sure where to start with diet, start with portion control. The Japanese have a saying and philosophy for long life. It is “hara hachi bu.” In that culture, they believe and practice eating only until one is 80 percent full. In America, this is not the case. We tend to enjoy ourselves with super-sizing, “pigging out,” and second and third helpings. Studies indicate that the less people eat, the longer they live.
Before you continue with what you might consider a new and restrictive diet, consider your health as the main focus. Don't concentrate on "weight loss," rather concentrate on "health gain." So mind your portions: eat less, reduce sugar, reduce caffeine/stimulants, eat more plants, and sleep more!
Bonnie Crutcher is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners as a Holistic Health Coach. Bonnie has created a weekly weight-loss program for women called, “A Regular Gal” and a family program called "Smart & Healthy Families Challenge." She conducts workshops on health, and coaches clients one-on-one with her six-month program, or on an as-needed basis.
Disclaimer: The content of this column is not intended to be medical advice. Always seek the advice of your medical doctor before engaging in any diet program or exercise routine.