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A Great Night's Sleep

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hey Everyone,

Today I wanted to remind you to neve underestimate the importance of a good night's sleep when trying to lose weight. Today on SparkPeople I read a good article on getting a good night's sleep and it got me to thinking about what I do to ensure I get all of the rest I need.

Everyone who has ever read one of my blog posts knows I love scientific empiricle data. None of this unsuppported data for me. But everyone has their own bio-rhythms, thier invidual ebb and flow. I'm one of those people who needs more than 8 hours of sleep each night. My number is around 8.5-9 hours nightly. I can get by on less, and often do, but I'm less productive and frankly a little grumpy.

Fortunately I don't suffer from insomnia. If you do have cronic insomnia then I strongly urge you to see your family doctor. I do, however, have borderline sleep apnea caused by being overweight. This is the primary reason I want to lose weight is so I sleep better and lower my blood pressure. I also have a very comfortable bed and that fact alone helps me to sleep better.

If you are struggling with getting a good night's sleep I would like to suggest the following.
1. Eat dinnner early, at least 3 hours before your scheduled bed-time. This will give your body a chance to digest the meal and your body won't spend all of the energy you're supposed to be getting from sleep digesting food. Also, drink plenty of water with your meal. Water, unlike other liquids, helps the stomach and large intestine digest food more easily.
2. Work out after your meal. After you clean the kitchen, go for a walk. Take at least 30 minutes and walk. Exercise helps in digestion and also relaxes the body. A walk of only 30 minutes ( I go an hour) relieves restless legs at night also.
3. Stretch: This helps relax the body and prepares your brain for sleep as well.
4. Take a hot bath: Athletes do it to help get lactic acid out of the muscles after working out. Aside from the fact that a hot bath relaxes the mind and body it also helps relieve leg cramps.
5. No TV: The blue light from television and computer screens has been scietifically shown to increase Beta wave activity in the brain which stimulates the rest of the body.

If you are having trouble sleeping after all of this, try eating cherries. Their is a chemical in cherries that help in seritonin production and will help you sleep. Also, never go to bed thirsty. Four ounces of water will keep your body going throughout the night and help you to wake up refreshed and ready to tackle your day.

These are just a few of the things I do. I hope they work for you too.

Until next time,



Stress and our Relationship with Food - Part 1

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hey Everyone,

With the holidays fast approaching I am seeing more and more entries on SparkTeam pages as well as general message boards about stress and food. More specifically "Stress and Eating" and "Emotional Eating."

Today I want to chat with you about Stress. Tomorrow I'll deal with the food aspect, but for now I want to share with you a few of the things I have learned over the years about dealing with stress.

What is Stress? I believe "stress" is a state of disempowerment. Stress is a part of our everyday lives and each of us deals with it in our own unique way. I would submit to you that most of us don't handle stress well. One way of coping with the negative effects of stress is to eat. Eating makes us feel better by raising blood sugar levels which in turn increases endorphin levels in the blood. For those of you who don't know, endorphins are those "feel good" hormones we also get when we exercise. I won't get into how hormone effect the pleasure centers of the brain, but I would like you to accept the fact that the impact both food and exercise have on the brain is the same.

Stress also effects the brain and has many side effects. A certain amount of stress can be good for us if we use it the right way, as motivation. However, most people use it the wrong way and engulf themselves in the negative effects. If you get one thing from this blog today I hope it is the understanding that WE CREATE OUR OWN STRESS. It is how we deal with events in our lives that determines how much stress we put upon ourselves.

Too many of us make excuses for our stress make excuses for why we don't deal with the events of the day and heap more and more stress on ourselves. Men and women deal with their stress in much different ways. Men tend to externalize their stress, by getting angry or upset. They tend to explode then put their stress behind them. Not the most constructive way to do things. Women on the other hand tend to internalize there stress. They keep it bottled up and keep "soldiering on" as my grandmother used to say. Women cope with situations until they just can't go on any longer then they break down. It all comes out at once, not so much like a gyser, but like a river that just keeps flowing. They want to talk about it over and over again. Understand please that I'm not talking necessarily about "feelings" I'm concentrating on stress and how it's dealt with.

Wouldn't it be better to deal with underlying issue or event causing the stress instead of dealing with the stress itself?

People comment to me all the time about how calm I am. My response is almost always the same, "Really?" Because I think of myself as a very passionate and emotional person. I get excited about so many things. Perhaps Enthusiastic is a better word. I'm enthusiastic about working out, writing, sports (especially football) and helping people. But to the world around me I suppose I am just this calm, easy going guy who doesn't get all wound up about stuff. When people around me are acting like maniacs (like at my homeowner's association meetings) I am the calm voice of reason.

I don't get "stressed." Why? Because I don't accept stress as an empowering force. Stress saps energy from me. Energy I could be putting toward something more constructive. I don't internalize the negative events of my day. I deal with those events immediately, then put them behind me for good. I don't dwell on negative things. I don't ruminate in the bad things that happen to me. I feel that internalizing this type of emotion is destructive and I CHOOSE not to put energy toward this behavior.

Any lifestyle coach will tell you to achieve more make a list of everything you want to get done then do the hardest more least appealing items on the list first. Don't delay or put them off to the end. Deal with them first and put them behind you immediately, then move on. What do you get from this? First, a sense of accomplishment, of self-satisfaction. Second, reduced stress. See how that works? You just turned something stressful into something enjoyable. You channeled your energy away from something potentially draining you of power into something that empowers you.

Tomorrow, I'm going to explore how coping with stress using food and how to change that habit into an action that empowers you.

Until next time, JUICE to you all!

Jonny Mac

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADEIT3 11/25/2013 10:35AM

    Such an important topic, and you are so right, how we learn to cope with the stressful events in our lives has a lot to do with overall health. One of the things I've discovered as I've lived my life is that there are two types of problems that cause stress. One has a solution, and for that I like to put honed problem solving to the test. Problems are a challenge to face and resolve! But there are some situations with no good solution - most of them having to do with loss. And there, learning how to take those sad or angry emotions and just let them be can keep our hands out of the cookie jar! Of course, AA has known this for years - they call it the Serenity Prayer!

Thanks for posting! These are such important topics for folks like me who live highly stressful (work) lives!

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Eat for the Weight You Want to Be

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hey Everyone,

Seems like a simple enough concept, right? If you weigh 200 or 250 pounds or more it's because you eat enough to support that weight. So, if you want to weigh 165 pounds (guys) or 125 pounds (ladies) then doesn't it make sense to eat what a person who weighs that much would eat?

Whoa, Nellie! Hold the phone! It can't be that easy, could it?

Well, yes AND no. Here's what happens to many of us when we start thinking this way. We fall into the Calories IN vs Calories OUT trap. That's right, I said trap. T-R-A-P! If I exercise enough to create a calorie DEFICIT then I will lose weight, so the bigger the deficit the FASTER I will lose the weight! Right?


In order to understand why this is stinking thinking you need to know about blood chemistry, the role hormones play in weight loss and weight gain, and how the energy in fat cell is metabolized in the body. The Weight-loss Supplements Industry has grown to a multi-billion dollar industry because people don't understand how their body works. This is why people who use supplements to lose weight gain the weight right back when they stop using the supplements.

I don't have the space to give a lesson in Biochemistry 101 here. You are welcome to do some of the reading yourself on Stress Hormones, Insulin and the Pancreas, the Role of Carbohydrates in the diet, How Metabolism is Regulated in the Body, and other areas. The body is a very complex organism and each organ and gland acts and reacts with the others to regulate how are body functions. If you want premium performance you need to use premium fuel mixed just right.

Where am I going with this? Here it is. It's not only how much fuel you put in the tank, it's what's in the fuel that counts. In other words, it's not just the calories (a measure of heat not weight) you eat, it's the balance of nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and fats you consume and how they are combined with other things like minerals that make your body work at peak performance and efficiency.

My suggestion today is to see how you are combining your foods. Are you eating lean proteins like fish and chicken with both green AND yellow/orange vegetables. Are your meals balanced between Carbs, Proteins and Fats. Is your diet rich with foods containing high HDL's and low in foods containing lower concentrations of LDL's.

So, when I say eat for the weight you want to be I mean eat the right foods, in the right combinations, to give you the most energy to exercise and burn the most calories you can.

More on this later. Until next time, JUICE to you all!

Jonny Mac

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUNNYCATS 11/20/2013 6:09PM

    emoticon emoticon

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BLUEGUITAR 11/20/2013 3:34PM

    Dear Sailor

You have a very cheery mood today. I loved your blog. and your right it's all about checks and balances you could say. eat for the weight you want to be, is a great way to put it. I think most people know what they should eat. maybe not in the right combinations. but I think most people eat for emotional reasons, we all know that's wrong but it does happen. they just have to figure out how to get over it. not around, not under, but over. anyway it was a great up lifting blog, happy I stopped by.


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SAMMI-SAM 11/20/2013 2:30PM

    I am on a calorie deficit only eating 1350 calories per day. If I go on the treadmill I usually eat my exercise calories back. This has worked for me for 1 year. In the beginning, I was on 1200 calories & this did not work. I had to increase my calories to lose.....

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Sleep and Sleep Apnea

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

(In the voice of a hypnotist) Sleep. Sleeeeeep. You are getting sleepy. You are falling into a deep sleep. Sleeeeeep.

Something we do every night, right? One of my goals is to actually get 8 hours of sleep per night. I'm achieving my goal so why do I wake up so many mornings still tired? Because I have sleep apnea. Apneas are those periods when you stop breathing for between 10 and 30 seconds or longer. The apneas interupt the sleep cycles causing you to awaken slightly thus interupting the sound, restorative sleep we need each night.

According to the article I read on Sparkpeople this morning I have all of the symptoms of sleep apnea. I have a large neck (nearly 20 inches), I have partially restricted sinus (I presume is because I'm overweight), I snore, I have borderline high blood pressure and I'm more than 20 pounds overweight which is what I think is causing the snoring. It never occurred to me that the size of my neck was contributing to my snoring or my sleep apnea.

So, now I have another reason to lose the weight. As if I needed more motivation than I already had.

If you have read some of my other blogs you may have read about "health markers." One of my health markers are my physical measurements and one of the areas I measure is my neck. I've been measuring there mostly because of vanity, I show my obesity prominently around my neck as many men do. Fortunately for me, it's also one of the first places where my weight loss shows.

I dropped 2 pounds last week and I'm already down a pound this week since I started working out again. Going to trust in the program and take it one small step at a time and try not to hurt myself by doing too much too fast.

That's all for now. JUICE to you all.

Jonny Mac

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GORIANA 11/19/2013 12:20PM

    keep pushing.

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VERO_DEN 11/19/2013 11:50AM

    Yep, one small step at a time. You can do this!

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What a Great Day!

Monday, November 18, 2013

I love this program. I was up this morning at around 6:15 had my morning coffee and contemplated what my day was going to be like.

I had a lot to accomplish today. I had to go to the office. Keep two appointments, drop by the Homeowner's Association, and run a couple of other errands. Then I thought to myself, where's my workout going to fit into this schedule? How am I going to achieve my goals if I don't schedule my workout? So, I made an appointment with myself to workout today between 3-5:00 this afternoon.

Why didn't I think of this sooner? It was one of those "A-ha" moments. If I plan my work at the office and delegate (like my boss is tells me at least twice a week to do) then I can be finished by 2 p.m. Plenty of time to work out and still have an evening appointment if a client needs one. How easy was that.

So today I completed Day 1 of the Couch to 5K program. Ran 6 minutes at 4.5 mph. Might not seem like much to some of you, but I haven't run 100 feet total in the past 10 years. Can't wait until tomorrow. I also got into the pool today. Only swam a couple hundred yards but it felt good to be in the water. One of the other swimmers even told me I had a "nice" stroke.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIANER2014 11/18/2013 6:06PM

    Awesome job on your run!
emoticon emoticon

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UMBILICAL 11/18/2013 5:43PM

  SP is great.

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