Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Week #1 - Extra! Extra!

Well, we are just starting this little blog, so we're going to experiment with what people want. So far, I'm thinking a food and exercise tip for the week, a recipe for the week, a myth buster or informational post for the week, and some personal stories about successes and/or struggles. Most of all, we want this to be fun, informative, motivational, and something anyone can find, read, relate to, comment on, and just enjoy.

So - for the first informational piece. Did you know that there is a hormone that is released into your stomach every thirty minutes causing you to feel hunger? This hormone is called ghrelin. From Wikipedia (gotta love Wiki, even when it may not ALWAYS be 100% accurate, it usually offers some good food for thought):

"Ghrelin levels in the plasma of obese individuals are lower than those in leaner individuals. Yildiz and colleagues found that the level of ghrelin increases during the time of day from midnight to dawn in thinner people, suggesting a flaw in the circadian system of obese individuals. Professor Cappuccio of the University of Warwick has recently discovered that short sleep duration may also lead to obesity, through an increase of appetite via hormonal changes. Lack of sleep produces ghrelin, which stimulates appetite and creates less leptin which, amongst its many other effects, suppresses appetite. In the fetuses, it seems that ghrelin is early produced by the lung and promotes its growth. Those suffering from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa appear to have high plasma levels of ghrelin."

TRANSLATION? Well, there are a few things here. First of all, this hormone makes you hungry. The nutritionist who told me about it said that one way to ward it off and stop negative side effects is to EAT SIX SMALL MEALS A DAY. I'm going to cover that suggestion later.

Second of all, GET ADEQUATE SLEEP. Now, I realize that my primary audience here are mommies, like me, who are trying to lose those 15 (or more) pounds that came with those sweet bundles of joy that fill our every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moments. I struggle with getting enough sleep. My little girl is still waking up every four, five, or six hours on a regular basis. But we need to find a way! I have heard time and time and time again that SLEEP INFLUENCES WEIGHT LOSS. At a recent Weight Watchers meeting, the team leader told the ladies there to weigh themselves the morning after they had A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP and the morning after a poor (or short) night's sleep, promising that they would BE AMAZED AT THE DIFFERENCE! I haven't done it yet, but I'm going to. I'll let you know what I find.

More importantly than weight loss is the overall benefits of sleep. In a study done back in 2001 (when I was in Virginia attending school -- I can't find the source right now), they tested 100 college students. They were looking to see if sleep influenced their success, responsiveness, ability to perform, etc. What they found is that inadequate sleep for three or four days in a row showed the same inadequacies and responses as those produced by drinking too much alcohol! I think that can explain a few of the mindless things I've caught myself doing with/to my children!

I have also read that there is a connection between lack of sleep in children and ADHD.

So, one of my first steps to improve my overall health and lose the weight I need to lose is to re-evaluate the time I spend AFTER the babies are in bed; time that I COULD be sleeping (like I could be right now instead of writing this post) and re-evaluate morning and afternoon nap time. We spend a lot of time making sure that our babies get enough sleep and have all of their needs taken care of; now let's focus on US, ENLISTING THE HELP OF OUR HUSBANDS if we have to (maybe take turns waking up and getting the baby, even if you are breastfeeding and are the only one that can actually FEED the baby, and putting it back down to sleep) and making sure that WE ARE GETTING ADEQUATE SLEEP, not only for the weight loss factor but also in order to HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY to play with, tend to the needs of, and love our babies like they deserve.

So - I'm signing off this first post of this first week and getting myself off to bed! Good night, ghrelin!



LOVE IT, girl! I will be using this for ideas and motivation . . . just give me a few months to have baby #4! I too have "more than 15" to lose but want to get on it and LOSE IT FOR GOOD! Thanks for the great idea and motivation. Love you!

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