For almost 19 years, I’ve been working on my body. I’ve lost and maintained a 100 pound loss with the help of healthy eating, exercise, and endless support from loved ones.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever fully processed what I accomplished, and truthfully I don’t know that I ever well, either. The truth is, when you have a lot to lose, the mental side of weight loss feels more challenging than the physical… at least most days.
My loose skin will never allow me to sport a “tight, toned” anything. And sometimes I’m OK with that, despite the fact that so much of the media out there tells me that I need to take care of that problem- there’s a pill/exercise/program/surgery for that. I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t seriously considered some of these options. I always imagined that when I reached my “goal weight,” I’d finally be just like all the others- skinny, tan, perfect hair, clear skin, and a fast metabolism…
I hate to tell you this, but it doesn’t ALWAYS work out that way. I’ve been told 1000+ times to lift weights so my skin will firm. To do crunches so I will finally have abs.
And I’ve tried, to no avail. To be honest, lifting weight and crunches haven’t ever been attractive to me. I’ve given them their fair shot, and they still make my workout routine on a yearly basis, but I find myself bored and unable to stick with it. I like my walking and elliptical time- and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about exercising, it’s that I MUST listen to my body/mind when I’m struggling to get into any sort of exercise. If you’re stuck, I encourage you to find what you enjoy and go with that- it’ll keep you going much stronger/longer. Some people like to torture themselves with exercise… but that’s just not for me.
I used to apologize for my routine, but I’m realizing more and more that the best thing to hear is : You’re doing it right. You are moving, so you are doing it right. Change when you’re ready, but for now love what you do and most importantly… love YOU!
Sounds appealing, right?
Although mixing in a mid-day nap won’t actually make you skinny, recent research studies point out there is a definite correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain. I am sure that many of you are not frequent readers of USA Today or the Annals of Internal Medicine. So, let me share with you what they recently brought to my attention regarding sleep and weight loss.
A single sleep study was performed on seven healthy, lean, young adults and the results are astounding. After just FOUR consecutive days (Finals week ring a bell, anyone?) of being permitted to sleep approximately 4 hours a night, the fat cells’ ability to use insulin properly dropped by 30%! Consequently, the cells became insulin-sensitive, resulting in the formation of less leptin.
What does this mean? TWO KEY WORDS: Insulin and Leptin… do these words mean anything to you? You may be thinking, “Why on Earth would they?” But, what if I switched those two key words to HUNGRY and FULL?! One of insulin’s many jobs is to trigger the release of leptin in your body. Now you may not have realized this until now, but I am telling you leptin is your friend. What that wonderful little hormone does for you is flip that hungry/full switch on and off. Low levels of leptin tell your body it’s starving and increase your appetite, which is why it makes perfect sense that a decrease in leptin has an association with increase in food consumption and weight gain. So, when your stomach is roaring during your test after pulling that all-nighter even though you just treated yourself to Mickey D’s breakfast as a “reward” – it is actually your body saying, “Hey, maybe you should have gotten some sleep last night!”
What’s also important to recognize is that in addition to your body’s inability to accurately sense if you’re full due to those low leptin levels, those who are tired have an increased appetite as well as a slowed metabolism due to their lack of sleep. When combined, these effects are ultimately setting you up for a downward spiral.
So, as finals approach, shoot for 7 to 8 hours of sleep! It will not only help your ability to focus and retain information, but also assist in maintaining healthy weight and prevent you from feeling hungry all the time.
Stay tuned for upcoming tips on how to develop healthy sleeping habits in my next blog!
I remember the first time I heard of this while attending UND. I just laughed.
“Me? Love this?! Umm… OK. Let me get back to you.”
You see, I lost 130 pounds, and although a very large part of me has gone away (literally)… I still have a lot of reminders of my former self.
My skin hangs. And stretches. And it’s covered in stripes that used to be red, angrily declaring that my skin was being asked to take on more than it was capable, and are now (thankfully) a flesh color.
It’s not pretty, and most days it doesn’t make me proud.
At times I happily claim it as my “weight loss trophy.” But then there are those times when I’m with people who don’t know my story… and all I can think about is the possibility that they might think that I have really odd-shaped rolls and a very “unkempt” body.
The truth is that I go to the gym most days of the week. Exercise is such a great release and escape for me. Make no mistake- I work out! And for years people told me that if I lifted weights and did sit-ups they were SURE my skin would “bounce back.”
Well… I tried that… and it didn’t.
Option 2 was surgery to remove the excess skin. It’s a very dangerous procedure, and the thought of them slicing and dicing, and then stitching me back together like a rag doll is extremely nerve-wracking.
So. Here I sit. With my loose skin.
About a year ago, I made a conscious decision to quit weighing myself. It had become a way for me to determine my mood and the kind of day I was going to have. If the number was up, it was going to be a bad day. If the number was down, I allowed myself happiness (and an extra marshmallow or two).
I wanted to stop doing that to myself. I wanted to feel “normal.” I wanted to feel FEELINGS.
It was really hard at first, but a year later I feel much more confident in my abilities to make healthy decisions (without an electronic device as my moral compass and guide). My clothes fit just as good as they did a year ago. (In fact, I probably wear them more confidently not having to worry about the number of pounds that they are encasing.)
One of the most important changes I’m working on now is learning to Love My Body. ALL of it: accepting my “flaws” as unique bits of beauty; exercising because it feels good and gives me strength, not because I saw a bigger number than I was comfortable with and need to try harder; eating healthy foods because they taste good, not because I “screwed up” the day before; looking in the mirror and smiling at what I see.
Pardon the cliche, but life is really short. I’m 27 and often wonder when that happened (and you will figure this out the older you get, too!).
I’ve spent far too long dwelling in the negative, forgetting to appreciate what I have and what my body does for me. The truth is, it’s been awfully good to me.
How about you? Do you want to cut yourself some slack and Love Your Body? Do you make healthy choices because you Love Your Body?
Written by: Katie Olson
Would you rather spend a few more minutes sleeping than wake up in time for breakfast? It might be time to change your habits. Eating breakfast can actually help you manage your weight. When you sleep your body goes into a fasting state, which is why we call it “breakFAST.” When your body goes into a fasting state your metabolism slows down and your body tries to conserve the stores of nutrients that it has previously stored. Eating a healthy breakfast will help jump start your metabolism and give your body and brain energy to get going for the day. Being in college, it is important for your brain to have energy for your full day of classes and studying. This will help you stay awake and focused throughout the day, which for some students is hard to do. It is also important to have a balanced breakfast. Having a source of carbohydrate, protein and possibly a fruit is ideal. Having a variety will help you stay full and satisfied until it is time for lunch. Some examples of a balanced breakfast are listed below.
- Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit and 1% Milk
– Low Fat Greek Yogurt with Whole Grain Granola and a Banana
– Scrambled eggs, Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and a Fresh Fruit
– Whole Grain Waffles with Nut Butter and a cut up Banana on top, and 1% Milk
– A Whole Grain Bagel with low fat Cream Cheese or Peanut Butter and 1% Milk
– A Whole Grain Cereal with cut up Fresh Fruit and 1% Milk
Do you want to increase your physical activity, improve your food choices, and lose 5-7% of your body weight?! If you said YES, be sure to register for the Diabetes Prevention Program!
The results are REAL. A previous participant talks about her experience with the Diabetes Prevention Program…
“As a result of reading the food labels and attempting to eat fewer than 33 fat grams per day, I lost 58 pounds. Because of the weight loss, I am no longer taking pain medication for my knee. In September 2012 my glucose was normal, so I am no longer prediabetic!” – Eileen Tronnes Nelson, UND Staff
Register soon to receive a special incentive of a $125 return from a grant and Work Well for the first 10 UND staff/faculty members who register. The upfront cost is $189, but with the return it was only $64 or $4 per week. PLUS, get your metabolism tested for free as part of the program. The program starts on January 14th, and classes are on Monday from 4:45-5:45 in the UND Wellness Center Room 121. If you are not one of the first 10 people to register, you can join the class for a price of $189.
For more information visit UND.edu/workwell and click on Programs and Diabetes Prevention. To register, contact Molly Soeby at 218.230.0070.
Registration deadline is January 10th!