Spring has finally sprung, and we can all look forward to longer days and a warmer climate. Having just returned from a very relaxing Easter holiday with our boys in the sunshine, we crashed back down to reality and hit the ground running, only just managing to keep up with the hectic pace of our family/work life! 8 loads of washing in 2 days, boys back to school plus a full diary and a paperwork back log has come as a shock and we are looking forward to the weekend! This experience is shared by many I’m sure, but is this stress good for us and what is really what is happening to our body?
When our bodies are in overdrive, we naturally release more adrenaline and cortisol - two (essential) stress hormones which enable us to get up and keep going. However, adrenalin will only allow you to override exhaustion in the short term.
Too much work, too little time, juggling family, friends and taking your ‘A’ game to work can put you into overdrive without you realising it. As we discovered, when we are in “overdrive,” our bodies naturally produce more stress hormones. This surge of hormones is actually ‘empty’ energy. If you do not support yourself with diet or the suitable rest periods required to replenish natural energy, fatigue or illness will be waiting just around the corner!
Stress also increases the production of cortisol, commonly referred to as the ‘stress’ hormone. These small increases can have some positive effects; heightened memory, lower sensitivity to pain and a burst of increased immunity. However, higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol have been shown to have negative effects including impaired cognitive performance, suppressed thyroid function and an increase in abdominal fat which, no matter how many abdominal crunches or hours in the gym you put in, will never shift.
So, this weekend try and find some time to relax unwind and bring your stress levels down. If you are in the middle of a new training regime in a bid to shred a few pounds and thinking of pushing yourself a little harder, perhaps it’s time to look at ways of saving energy and reducing calorific intake!
Here are few simple tricks for you to try:
Have your sandwich on a salad
Take the bread from your lunchtime sandwich and savour only the best bread at the weekend! Two big slices of bread with mayonnaise can tally up to 550 calories.
Opt for black
A grand latte with no added sugar has 220 calories, while a cup of black coffee has 2. If you typically drink two cups with some sweetener, you're saving at least 400 calories when you switch to black
Cook your meals at home
Although eating out at restaurants on holiday was nice, we were so pleased to return home for some home cooking! 2 of the first things we cooked this week are included in this newsletter, please try them out. According to a study in 2014, cooking at home means you consume about 140 fewer calories than people who typically ordered in, dined out, or heated up pre-made meals.
Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep
You'll cut at least 300 calories. Research shows that sleep deprivation not only slows our metabolic rate, but also increases our appetite for sweets. One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who slept 4 hours per night consumed 300 more calories than people who slept a normal amount. Well-rested individuals are also much more likely to exercise, and even a short workout can burn 200 calories.
Perhaps you have also noticed a desire to eat more when you’re tired? According to Matthew Walkers book, Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams this is no coincidence! Too little sleep swells concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry while suppressing a companion hormone that otherwise signals food satisfaction. Despite being full, you will still want to eat more. It’s a recipe linked to weight gain in sleep-deficient adults and children alike.
Worse, should you try to diet but don’t get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile, since up to 70% of the weight you lose will come from lean body mass, not fat. Turn these facts around and you realise that plentiful sleep is powerful tool for controlling your appetite, your weight and keeping your body trim.
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