ARE YOU OVERWEIGHT?
If you're overweight, you're likely adding to your sleep problems - especially if you've got sleep apnea - which overweight people are more susceptible to. In addition you may be marching yourself straight towards serious chronic health problems such as heart disease, stroke or diabetes - a condition nearing epidemic proportions among Americans. While each of these conditions may require some degree of genetic predisposition, they are greatly helped along by the two sins of modern Americans - over-eating and under-exercising.
We at iSleepless are against dieting. We've seen too many people slim down dramatically only to regain all the weight - and then some - a few weeks or months later. So, as far as we're concened, dieting is not the way. In addition, it makes you feel frustrated and deprived which only adds to the pain - and increases the likelihood that you'll gain back more weight than you lose.
AN IMPORTANT WARNING: If you've been taking the herbal supplement EPHEDRA to help you lose weight - and you've been having trouble sleeping - you should know that EPHEDRA is a stimulant and is responsible for sleep problems in many people who take it. Also it can create serious problems with high blood pressure and diabetes. We recommend that you check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements - especially ephedra which seems to be dangerous for some people!
THE ONE ABSOLUTELY IMMUTABLE, UTTERLY SIMPLE, UNWAVERING, UNCHANGEABLE, INDISPUTABLE FACT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WEIGHT CONTROL:
IF YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT, YOU ARE INGESTING MORE CALORIES THAN YOU'RE EXPENDING.
It's very simple.
YOU ARE EATING MORE CALORIES THAN YOU ARE BURNING UP. Simple as pi -, er..., celery. And so is the solution.
YOU'VE GOT TO EITHER INCREASE YOUR EXPENDITURE OF CALORIES - that is, burn up more calories - i.e., move your body around so it burns up more calories - OR REDUCE YOUR CALORIC INTAKE - that is, eat less - especially less sugary and oily, fatty, fried foods - preferably, ideally, BOTH these actions.
A while ago I happened to see two incredible photos in a magazine - I think it was Prevention. I was flipping through the magazine - backwards, as it happens - and so the first picture I saw showed a typical, all American couple - man and woman - sitting on a hillside, dressed in the All American sporty mode of shorts and sneakers. They looked young, fit, healthy and perfectly appealing. But then I flipped to the page before this photo. That showed two unbelievably fat people - repulsively fat - obese - extremely obese - sitting in a bleachers attending some sporting event. They did not look appealing at all. They looked repulsive - not like people you might strike up a conversation with - at all. They were just too fat - too repulsive - and very unfriendly looking. And certainly it would not have been easy - perhaps impossible - to get by them if your seat was, unfortunately, in their row.
Amazingly enough, these were photos of the very same two people! It was almost unbelievable! The obese couple had actually gotten their act together in an extraordinary way and had slimmed down and shaped up so that they were like two completely different - very attractive, very healthy looking, active, vibrant - people!
How did they do it? Very simple. They changed their entire approach to living. They started doing all the things we're told to do - in all those magazine articles, tv shows and books, etc., that you're already familiar with: Eat more veggies, get more exercise, etc. And they stopped doing all the things that create fat in people - eating oily, fatty, fried and sugary foods AND being sedentary. Thus they created their own "miracle."
The first step was making a decision to make a change - a profound, life-changing decision. Once they made that decision, they went about their business methodically - figuring out what they had to do to make a difference. They got into the habit of eating healthy foods - and they got into the habit of exercising. For them that meant walking and hiking - something they found they enjoyed. They didn't do anything more radical than those two things: eating healthier foods, giving up oily, fatty, fried and sugary foods, AND exercising regularly in a way that they enjoyed. Bink! They turned into these attractive, healthy, youthful people.
We all know what to do to lose weight. You know what to do. You know precisely what to do. You simply have to start doing it! And when you do - what a difference that will make in your life.
Here is our FIVE STEP PLAN to help you lose weight:
1. MAKE A PROFOUND, COMMITTED DECISION TO LOSE WEIGHT. Make the decision when you're ready to make the changes that are required to lose weight.
2. EAT MORE VEGGIES, especially greens - like lettuce, spinach and broccoli - fruit, grains and complex carbohydrates (like beans, squash, bread, rice, potatoes and pasta).
3. EAT LESS MEAT, CHEESE, BUTTER, SUGAR, SODAS and oily, fatty, fried foods and sugary foods - (like sweetened breakfast cereals that are caked with goo! - pop-tarts and other junk food). But do eat a variety of healthy foods - a full variety. We're against cutting out things like nuts, let's say - as nuts have all kinds of nutrients and vitamins that are good for you, even though they are not generally low-calorie. As with everything, just eat a reasonable, moderate amount.
4. TRAIN YOUR BODY TO GET FULL ON LESS FOOD. Portion control is a crucial part of a healthier life style. You can train yourself to eat less and still feel satisfied - completely satisfied - by stopping eating once you're full - the minute you're full. You simply stop eating. (You don't have to waste food - you can always wrap it up and take it for later.) So long as your belly capacity is large, you're going to eat TOO MUCH in order to feel full. Cut down on your portions - not by depriving yourself - but by STOPPING AS SOON AS YOU'RE FULL - and you'll start shrinking your tummy capacity - and that will help you to feel full on less food. Believe me, you will feel much better once you do this. We know because we did it ourself.
5. GET UP, GET OUT AND MOVE THAT BOD AROUND!! The more sedentary you are, the harder you're making it to lose weight. You've got to get out there and move around! Park the car far away from wherever you're going so you're forced to walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get up and get the pencil rather than asking someone to hand it to you. Constantly staying in motion really burns the calories. Take a dance class - or aerobics - or whatever you'd like - so long as it keeps you moving, moving, moving! It's physical action that helps you to lose weight - almost effortlessly! If you can physically stand up and put one foot in front of the other then you can take a walk. So get out there and walk - around the block - along a path - in the mall - around the house, if that's your only option - but walk you must! - at least a mile or two a day! (A mile is nothing - takes 20 minutes - barely counts as anything - unless you're not used to walking - in which case it's a magnificent achievement - truly!)
(Note: Wearing comfortable shoes makes a big difference in your desire to get out and walk. Get yourself a pair of really comfy walking shoes/sneakers. It'll help you to get moving - or at least it will help you to not avoid walking because your feet hurt. We've seen so many sedentary people with uncomfortable shoes on. No wonder they don't want to walk! Get comfortable shoes and it's a whole new beginning for you...)
We have a friend who has a true weight problem. Occasionally she goes on a diet only to find she gains more weight than she loses. When we spent a summer weekend in the country with her, we were somewhat surprised to see how extremely sedentary she was. All weekend long it was, could you please pass me the 'this', hand me 'that', toss me the 'other thing.' She never got up off the couch to get anything! No wonder she wasn't losing weight!
We admit that it's hard to lose weight - we've had our own battles with this. There can be many factors involved. For instance, there can be significant psychological issues that contribute to over eating. If this might be the case with you, we urge you to consider SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP .
There are many programs that help encourage you, too - such as Weight Watchers and many others. Do avail yourself of all the help you can get! The main thing is, to recognize the importance of overcoming the obstacles - because the health factors are too serious. Just the other week the New York Times reported that there is now scientific evidence that being overweight takes years off your life! Just think of that unbelievably fat couple who slimmed down and became healthy and youthful and full of energy - and so much more attractive in the process - just by making one profound decision - and then sticking with a healthy way of life. If those two fatties can do it - you can too! If you must have a diet to follow, here is one we can suggest.
FEAST A DAY DIET
In this "diet" - a very rough term as we use it - you actually do eat a feast every day. The trick is, though, that you're going to eat the feast spread throughout the day.
So, for breakfast, you're going to have the "bread" part of your feast - toast or cereal, fruit juice (there's your fruit cocktail part of the feast), coffee and tea - all fine. No problem. Just eat a reasonable amount of each. No more. No extra portions. Just medium, reasonable portions.
In mid-morning you can have a piece of fruit for a snack. (No pastry or sugary thing here!) For lunch you can have, let's say, the soup and salad part of your feast - a hearty soup and hearty salad (with plenty of greens in it) (but watch that salad dressing - yes, you can have it, but don't slather on the mayo). Hey - you're not supposed to starve! Then, believe it or not, you're actually allowed dessert! Sure. What kind of a feast would it be without dessert? Why should you be deprived? The diet won't work if you feel deprived. But, of course, your dessert is going to be small to medium - and reasonable. That's all we'll say about that. You know what small to medium is - and reasonable.
Then you're allowed a modest snack in mid-afternoon - something like pretzels, let's say. With dinner comes your "main entree" - meat, pot and veg - as they say in the Red Maple Diner. No dessert this time - you had it already - at lunch - remember? No more bread - you had that at breakfast. But help yourself to a fine portion of meat (not fatty, of course), potato (not fried, of course) and veggies (ditto). Some herb tea to finish it off. And voila - you've had a feast - spread throughout the day. This "diet in the mind" actually does work - especially if you also take a walk after each meal. Get out there and move that bod around! Just one more reminder, as you cannot afford to forget THE ONE ABSOLUTELY IMMUTABLE, UTTERLY SIMPLE, UNWAVERING, UNCHANGEABLE, INDISPUTABLE FACT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WEIGHT CONTROL: IF YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT, YOU ARE INGESTING MORE CALORIES THAN YOU'RE EXPENDING - or - YOU ARE BURNING LESS CALORIES THAN YOU ARE EATING. Find a way to reverse this - to eat less calories or burn up more - and voila - you're sure to lose weight. And that will help you with so many problems - including, we hope, sleep.
We wish you Sweet Dreams - and Good Night...
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