Lack of sleep negatively affects weight loss

October 6th, 2013

Lack of sleep can disrupt plans to lose weight by increasing your appetite and signaling your body to retain more fat.

Our bodies are designed to receive roughly six to eight hours of quality sleep per night, and skimping on those hours cannot only negatively affect your mood, energy level and alertness, it can also negatively affect your weight-loss results.

While you sleep, your body works to repair muscles that were damaged during your workouts. Exercise, especially weight lifting, puts stress on the muscles, which causes the muscle fibers to tear.

Just like when broken bones heal, muscles becomes stronger than before, which is why you see improved strength over time. (They also heal more tightly and compactly, which is why stretching is important).

Workouts are when you damage your muscles; sleep is when they heal and become stronger.

During sleep, the body releases hormones that regulate major functions. When you do not get enough sleep, the secretion of these hormones is changed.

Lack of sleep increases the production of cortisol, known as the stress hormone, which is responsible for your “fight or flight” reaction to all stressors: mental, physical and emotional.

Since it is a survival hormone, cortisol stimulates glucose production and triggers a hunger response in the brain, while at the same time signaling cells to store as much fat as possible — a double whammy for weight loss.

Lack of sleep also lowers leptin levels, which control appetite. The less leptin in your system, the more revved your appetite will become.

When the body lacks sleep, it also has a difficult time metabolizing carbohydrates. This results in high blood-sugar levels, which then increases insulin production. That increase in insulin is a signal to your body to store unused energy as fat.

This increase in appetite at the very least can test your willpower, but most often it causes you to consume excess calories. These calories, combined with your hormones telling your body to store as much fat as possible, are a recipe for weight gain.

People in a state of sleep deprivation over long periods of time not only have a higher risk of obesity, they also have increased chances of diabetes, hypertension and memory loss.

While sleep helps improve the effectiveness of your workouts, the quality of your sleep is improved by the quality of your workouts.

Working out is great for reducing stress, which can cause you to lie awake with racing thoughts. Exercise also releases dopamine, which helps relax the body. According to research, exercise can actually increase the amount of time that you spend in the deepest stages of sleep, which is when your body grows, repairs muscles and tissues, and boosts your immune system.

For best results, don’t work out within three hours of going to sleep. Exercise produces an immediate endorphin rush that can keep you awake, if too close to bedtime. From seattletimes.

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Social media fuel dangerous weight-loss goal

October 4th, 2013


In this Aug. 22, 2013, photo, Sara, a 22-year-old client of Castlewood Treatment Center, looks over the yard at the center in St. Louis. Treatment centers like Castlewood are seeing a growing number of girls and young women who are trying to achieve something known as thigh gap in which the thighs become so thin that they do not touch. Sara has dealt with eating disorders since high school and said that the thigh gap phenomenon added to her problems while in college. Photo: Jim Salter

Experts in eating disorders are concerned about an Internet-fueled trend in which teenage girls and young women pursue an elusive and possibly dangerous weight-loss goal: to become so slender that their thighs don’t touch even when their feet are together.

Specialists say achieving a so-called thigh gap is risky and virtually impossible. But some exceptionally thin models have the gap, which is upheld as a beauty achievement on countless Tumblr pages, blogs and other social media sites.

“The issue of focusing on a particular body part is very common,” said Claire Mysko, who oversees teen outreach and digital media for the National Eating Disorders Association, an advocacy group. “What is new is these things have taken on a life of their own because of the Internet and social media.”

When the vast majority of people stand with their feet together, their thighs touch. A tiny percentage of people have thighs so slim that they don’t come together. The “thigh gap” refers to this space.

Studies suggest that peer pressure from social media plays a significant role in eating disorders. A 2011 study at the University of Haifa found that adolescent girls who spent the most time using Facebook had a greater chance of developing a negative body image and an eating disorder.

“The intrusion and presence of social media in our lives really does make it very difficult,” said Nancy Albus, chief executive officer of Castlewood Treatment Center, a suburban St. Louis facility that focuses on eating disorders. “The important distinction about thigh gap is it gives you an actual visual to achieve, this visual comparison of how your body does or doesn’t stack up.”

Dr. Vonda Wright, a Pittsburgh-based orthopedic surgeon and fitness expert, said the spacing between a person’s legs is based mostly on genetics. And even extraordinarily thin people may not have a body type that can achieve a gap. You have to be both skinny and wide-hipped, she said.

Besides, Wright said, it isn’t a goal worth chasing. Most fit people won’t have a thigh gap because their thighs are muscular enough that they touch, she said.

“Skinny does not mean fit or muscular,” said Wright, who works with Division I athletes. “I cannot think of one athlete I deal with” who has a thigh gap.

Experts say it is impossible to know if the pursuit of a thigh gap has caused any deaths, nor is it known how many eating disorders are blamed on the phenomenon. But Mysko said experts believe that “exposure to online images of extreme beauty standards and the drive to compare does increase the risk of developing eating disorders.”

Sara, a 22-year-old Castlewood client, said thigh-gap sites were a contributing factor in her struggle. She spoke on the condition that she be identified only by her first name to avoid the stigma associated with eating disorders.

Always a high achiever, Sara was captain of her high school swim team in Minnesota and a straight-A student. In college, she graduated near the top of her class, even while hiding her secret.

It was in high school that Sara developed anorexia. By college, she was purging and excessively exercising. She was a frequent visitor to thigh-gap sites.

“It helped to normalize what I was doing to myself,” Sara said. “I never knew before that I wanted a thigh gap. It felt like it was some type of accomplishment that people would want to achieve.”

The sites offered photos of slender-legged models, testimonials on how to achieve the gap and tips such as chewing food but spitting it out before swallowing.

Grotesquely, some of the sites showed pictures of Holocaust victims “for motivational purposes” or martyred those who died from eating disorders. It seemed to make her own struggle OK, Sara said.

“I would say, ‘Well, I’m not that bad.'”

Her therapist, Kim Callaway, said she often encourages clients to avoid social media and even delete their Facebook pages.

“It’s not uncommon for people to be on Facebook talking about what they ate today, posting pictures of their meals or writing about how they’re 10 pounds lighter than they were a month ago,” Callaway said.

“The ability to be instantly connected to everybody and see what they look like and see them blog or talk about what they are eating and what they do for exercise — this makes it a lot more difficult for those with eating disorders,” Callaway said.

The National Eating Disorders Association is fighting back with its own site,, which promotes positive body image and encourages healthy attitudes about food and weight.

Sara is getting better after about four months of treatment at Castlewood. She’s moved out of the treatment center to an apartment, though she still gets outpatient therapy.

“I want to recover,” she said. “And I don’t want this to be my life anymore.” From seattlepi.

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Kim Kardashian’s Post-Baby Weight Loss Diet Revealed

October 4th, 2013

Kim is eating healthily for the sake of her body and her baby, picking foods that help her get her body back into shape without sacrificing any of that on-the-go energy she needs as a busy new mom. Get all the details on Kim’s healthy and yummy diet here!

Kim Kardashian looks healthy and slim three months after giving birth to her daughter North West, and it is because she is dedicated to a diet that is healthy for her and her baby! The new mom isn’t going crazy with extreme weight loss measures, but she’s focusing on key foods that are really delivering results!

Kim Kardashian’s Diet Revealed For Post Baby Weight Loss

Kim reportedly tried cutting out all carbs, but a source revealed that Kim has now found “carb cycling,” — cutting back on eating carbs every other day — to be more effective, and better for keeping up her energy and health for breastfeeding Nori, reports OK! magazine.

“She’s really focusing on foods high in fiber from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., like whole-grain breads, cereals, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables,” a source tells the magazine.

In addition to targeting specific food groups in her meals, “she is snacking twice a day on toasted pita bread with two tablespoons of reduced-fat hummus,” says the source. “But on days when she is limiting the complex carbohydrates, then she will swap pita for things like celery, carrots, cucumber, and hummus to dip into the hummus.”

Kim definitely has a helpful advantage to help her stick to her healthy choices. Her mom “Kris Jenner has a chef who will come in and cook,” says the source. “That way they have fresh things prepared in the fridge and ready for Kim so that she doesn’t have to sit there and try to figure out what to eat.”

Kim Kardashian Breastfeeding North West

Kim has also become conscious that Nori will be getting the same health benefits from her diet, since she is still breastfeeding.

Kim’s trainer, Tracy Anderson, explained that a diet of healthy foods is more appropriate for a nursing mom than anything extreme. She told OK!:

“If you’re nursing, this is not the time that you can really diet because you have to keep enough calories so you can have a healthy milk supply. I think that a trend I’m seeing is a lot of women will nurse and diet and they don’t realize that it’s not okay for the baby because you’re not giving the baby breast milk that is full enough.” From hollywoodlife.

Did You Diet?