Breaking the Food Seduction, Chapter 10
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Chapter 10 – Step 5: Exercise and Rest
Exercise, rest, and sleep are very important when you decide to start down that path to getting healthy. If you are not getting enough, then it is very easy to give in to temptation.
A New Way of Thinking About Exercise
You often think about the calories burned while we exercise, but the reality is that exercise does not burn as many calories as youe think. Running a mile on the treadmill will only burn about 100 calories, equivalent to a small order of French Fries.
While your body burns calories while you exercise, it is more efficient at conserving energy so that the energy burn while you exercise is only a modest amount. In order to benefit from exercise, it is necessary to make it a part of your daily routine. And to get the most benefit, there has to be changes in the way you eat also.
Exercise does more than burn calories, it is like a giant reset button on your body. A good workout will block appetite swings, reset your mood, and help you sleep better. This will help you resist temptation and put you in a different relationship with your body.
Exercise can help have an antibinge effect, you may find that you will no longer want to stuff yourself with food. This is because exercise will make your body more sensitive to leptin’s appetite-taming effect, (as we learned in chapter 8). It will also tire you muscles just enough to settle them down so you don’t feel so fidgety.
When you have a good workout, it lifts your mood and you will feel more than just a number on the scale. You will feel better than how you feel when you sit around all day doing nothing; exercise will motivate you to stick with healthier habits.
Exercise may help you sleep better, because is your muscles are tired sleep will help repair them. You will have more restful sleep when you exercise than when you are sedentary.
The fortune- telling effect of exercise: if, when you are new to exercise, and you feel tired after a workout, this is how you will feel in your old-age. However, as you make exercises more a part of your daily routine, you will increase your stamina and be able to work out for a longer time and go a further distance; you will feel energized rather than fatigued. Then, this is how you can expect to feel as the years go by.
Exercise will also improve insulin sensitivity, causing a drop in the levels in the bloodstream. Any kind of aerobic exercise will be beneficial.
So, exercise will burn calories, reset the appetite, mood, sleep cycle and insulin levels. How do you begin? Slowly:
1. Be patient with yourself.
Start slowly, especially if you have been sedentary for a long time, are over 40, have extra pounds, or any health conditions; then you are not ready for vigorous exercise.
See your doctor before you start any exercise, who will be concerned of your heart and joints. Push it too fast and hard can have some not so good results, take it slow and increase your activity gradually. However, do not be a wimp either. Your body will need to recognize that you are putting forth an effort, just make sure you follow your doctors advice
2. Make it Fun
Find something you enjoy doing. If it is too much for you to exercise in one long stretch, you can break it up throughout the day and still get the benefit. The key is to make sure you keep doing it consistently, make it a part of your daily schedule.
3. Do It With Other People
Make an exercise appointment with a friend and it will help you make sure you stick with doing the workout. Find someone to make an exercise pact with and then support each other.
Letting Stress Go
Instead of turning to food to relieve stress, try to relax your mind by relaxing your muscles by practicing ‘progressive relaxation”, that is, relax your muscles in a specific sequence. When your muscles relax, the mind will follow. You can do this anywhere and at any time, doing so will help you feel more in control of your emotions and less likely to turn to food as a stress reliever.
Here is a five-minute technique:
~Sit comfortable and close your eyes, if you are able to do so.
~Focus on your breathing and intentionally slow it down, as if you were sleeping. As you breath in, imagine that the air is gathering all your stress and then carries it away as you exhale.
~Breathing in, imagine the air flowing into your nose and up and around the cheeks and forehead. As you breathe out, the stress in your face leaves as you exhale.
~Now work your way down your body slowly and intentionally, a bit at a time. Imagining that air gathering all the stress and carrying it away as your exhale.
~Breathe in and out and release the tension in each part of the body. Start from the head and work your way down to your toes.
~Breathe slowly and calmly.
~When you finish, sit still for a few minutes before you get up.
To give this exercise a variation, you can tighten each muscle for a few seconds and then relax it.
Here is an exercise that Andrew Weil, M.D. taught Neal Barnard:
A Breathing Sequence of 4-7-8
Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, on the slight ridge about a half-inch behind your front teeth. Leave your tongue there as you breath in through your nose for a count of four. Then hold your breath for seven counts. Open your mouth slightly and exhale for a count of eight, letting your breath make a whooshing sound past your tongue and teeth (p. 126)
Repeat this 4 times at whatever pace is comfortable for you
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is one of the best stress relievers. Here are some keys to get a good night’s sleep:
*Physical activity – getting your muscles tired through exercise helps prepare the body for rest.
*Stretch and Yawn – this helps your body prepare for sleep.
By intentionally doing these things, whether you physically feel tired or not, will help you sleep better – start about 1/2 hour before bedtime and go through the motions about 4 times and see if you experience an improvement in your sleep.
*Nap during the day if you need to - this may help you feel a bit less “wired” at bedtime making it easier to fall asleep.
*Win the lottery – don’t you wish – but worries do affect your sleep. Until that lucky day happens, learn to deal with the stresses of life.
Things that interfere with sleep:
*Caffeine – this shouldn’t be a cause for concern, unless you do have trouble sleeping. Then be aware that the half-life of caffeine is 6 hours. If that is an issue for you, limit the time of day for that last cup of coffee or whatever is giving you a dose of caffeine. You can choose decaffeinated beverages or make a gradual transition to reduce caffeine to minimize the withdrawal affect.
*Alcohol – Stimulants in alcohol are aldehydes, which can accentuate anxieties and interfere with sleep. These kick in a few hours after your drink. Alcohol can also lead to low blood sugar with can cause issues with sleep. Also just one drink a day can increase the risk of breast and colon cancer.
*High-protein foods – It is best to eat those high-protein foods earlier in the day rather than for the evening meal. High-protein foods can disrupt the brain’s ability to produce serotonin, the mood-regulation chemical that can help you sleep. Have a starchier dinner so the natural sugars will stimulate more serotonin production in your brain, which can cause you to sleep more soundly.