Category Archives: SEX: Sleep and Exercise

Diet vs. Exercise

From the red corner… weighing in at three meals a day plus snacks and beverages… said to have the potential to change your life… is Diet! From the blue corner… weighing in with sneakers and dumbbells… considered a champion of fitness… is Exercise!

Which of these contenders will win the title of Weight Loss Champion of the World? Which of our contenders—Diet or Exercise—will help you lose weight, keep that weight off, and stay healthy and fit for the rest of your life? Let’s find out!

diet vs exerciseRound One: They’re circling each other, calling out random numbers of calories. Exercise calls out 100 calories burned by walking a mile. Oh! Diet lands a solid hit with not consuming one half cup of spaghetti noodles to save that same 100 calories. The crowd roars! So much easier to eat fewer noodles than walk a mile.  Ding ding!

Round Two: Exercise takes an early lead! She barrels out of the blue corner with determination! Going to the gym for one, two, three, four hours a week! Diet stumbles, but is back on her feet. Exercise has burned off a lot of calories with that gym move. Is Diet down? No, Diet’s up! One of those hours spent in the kitchen instead of in the gym could have saved even more calories by cooking meals with lots of vegetables and prepping healthy snacks.  Ding ding!

Round Three: Exercise jabs at Diet. Diet throws a hook, bringing up studies that show diet helps you lose more weight than exercise in the short term. Ooo, that had to hurt. Exercise shakes it off and runs at Diet. Exercise has Diet trapped in the corner. Exercise is pummeling Diet with studies showing that 90% of people who lose weight and keep it off exercise regularly. Ding ding!

Round Four: Diet springs from her corner calling out calories like she did in Round One. Exercise just can’t compete with Diet’s speed cutting calories! Exercise is reeling, trying to keep her feet! She pulls back for a big swing! When cutting calories alone you lose muscle as well as fat, but BAM! With exercise you build muscle and burn more fat than with diet alone, leaving you leaner if not lighter. Diet is catching her breath against the ropes. There’s the bell!

Without a knockout, the judges can’t declare a winner! Diet and Exercise will have to share the Weight Loss Championship belt! Diet is awarded 80% of the belt and Exercise is awarded 20% of the belt. That’s right, folks, Diet gets the leather, and Exercise gets the buckle: Diet is a huge part of weight loss, but Exercise keeps it together.

Be a Champion of Health yourself by keeping both of these champions in your corner!

 

Run in such a way as to get the prize. …we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 1 Corinthians 9:24b,25b,26 (NIV)

 

 

Creative Napping (Part 2)

google nap podIf the Google Corporation has nap pods and Japanese businessmen are paying to take naps in special nap stores, then napping is certainly worth a try for you and me. Here are a few more ideas to work those energy boosting minutes of down time into your day:

  1. The Lunch Nap. If you work outside the home, use your lunch hour wisely. Pack a lunch so you can eat quickly and then close your eyes for a few minutes. If your work space lacks privacy, sleep in your car and set an alarm. I repeat, set an alarm.
  2. The Carpool Nap. Arrive twenty minutes early to pick up the kids, put on sunglasses, and lean your seat back. If you’re worried about oversleeping, hold your keys in your hand and rest your hand on the steering wheel. When you drop your keys, the sound wakes you up and your nap is over. That or the sound of the honking horns when the pick up line is moving and you’re not.
  3. The Coffee Nap. Caffeine takes about twenty minutes to affect the body, so that instant alertness you feel with your first sip of coffee in the morning is all in your head. That bean-brain delay is perfect for a Coffee Nap. Simply drink coffee and close your eyes for twenty minutes. The benefits of the coffee and the benefits of the nap will kick in together and leave you tap dancing through the rest of your day.

japanese nap storeIf you don’t like naps, there is another way to boost your energy: exercise. If you’re at home, clean a bathroom or carry things upstairs to put away or do some jumping jacks. If you’re at work, get yourself moving over your lunch or coffee break. Go for a walk, climb some stairs, or do a squat every time one coworker complains about another. (Unfortunately for some of you, that will equal about three hundred squats an hour.) Any kind of exercise will get your blood flowing, wake up your brain, and make you feel more energetic.

Whether you prefer napping or exercise, your body will be reset and ready to finish your day.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest in hope. Acts 2:26 (NIV)

Creative Napping (Part 1)

Naps are controversial. Some people love naps because naps boost your energy and creativity and make you feel refreshed and ready to finish the day. Some people hate naps because naps can sap what’s left of your motivation, leave you dragging, and make it hard to get to sleep at night. We’re going to define the energy boosting kind of naps as Sexy Naps. Sexy Naps are 10-30 minutes in length and therefore only involve light brain sleep, not REM sleep. If your 7-8 hours of sleep at night is your beauty sleep, a Sexy Nap is you “freshening up”.

nap.jpgBut how, Katie? How do I take a Sexy Nap amidst my busy schedule and my unrelentingly present and needy children? Like all great problem solvers of history—such as Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Winston Churchill, who were habitual nap takers—we’re going to get creative. We should probably nap first, but we’ll press on.

  1. The Play Nap. Little kids really like it when Mommy plays with them, so get down on the floor and play. Drive some cars, dress some dolls, do a puzzle, and work yourself into a horizontal position on the floor. After ten or fifteen minutes of play, inform your child that your car or doll or yourself is tired and is going to sleep for a few minutes, but they should win the race or meet the prince or finish the puzzle while your character self is sleeping. Close your eyes and hope for the best. Even if you’re drooling, most kids are happy that your body is next to theirs and they will play over and around you while you snooze. As for keeping your nap short, that’s a no brainer: they’re your kids. When have they ever left you alone for more than ten minutes.
  2. The Episode Nap. Snuggle up on the sofa with your kids and put on an episode of a show they like. Lay your head back and close your eyes. The kids might wiggle and comment during the show, but you are resting and rest is good. Most kids will wake you up when it’s over to ask if they can watch another one. My husband has the Episode Nap perfected for Saturday afternoons. He lies on the floor with a pillow over his groin and falls asleep watching with our boys. When the show ends, he is invariably jumped upon (hence the pillow protection) and gets up ready for the rest of the day.

It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. Exodus 31:17 (NIV)

 

http://michaelhyatt.com/videos/the-value-of-naps-from-a-scientific-perspective?utm_source=Michael+Hyatt+Newsletter&utm_campaign=1cc5b87675-rssdaily2&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d1fa5823d7-1cc5b87675-251202785 The Value of Naps

 

March Ab-ness 2017

It’s that time of year again! Trees are budding, basketball tournaments dominate sports news, and the multiple clothing layers that have hidden bodies from sunlight since mid-October are being stripped away one at a time as the temperature rises. We do not sweat t-shirt weather because we are participating in March Ab-ness and by the time we’re down to one layer, our core will be strong.

For those of you who are new to March Ab-ness, here’s how it works. Choose a core-strengthening goal for the month of March, do it, and see how great you feel and how much better your pants fit in April. It can be a certain number of crunches crunched, minutes spent planking, or even second sucking in your belly. (Sucking in is contracting the muscles and technically, that counts as exercise.)

coreMy goal this March is 3 minutes per day of ab exercises for a total of 93 minutes of core building. I find that having a daily goal and a grand monthly total helps keep me on track. If I miss a day here or there, I can make it up and still stay on par for the month. If three minutes sounds like unattainable agony for you, aim for one minute. Let’s be honest: for most of us, even ten seconds a day is an improvement and an ab-worthy goal.

core-fruitA bikini is not in my future, Katie, so why should I participate? March Ab-ness is not all about looks. It’s about strengthening your core. “Think of your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re hitting a tennis ball or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it.” Your ab muscles and back muscles work as a team; if one side weak, the other side will try to compensate which can lead to injury or pain. In fact, core strengthening exercises are often prescribed to relieve lower back pain.

core-snowmenSome more benefits of a strong core are better balance, better posture, and better performance in sports, chores, and the bedroom. That’s right, ladies, a strong core improves your tennis swing, your vacuuming, and your love-making. You can read more about the benefits HERE.

If you’re going to participate, consider leaving a comment below with your goal to encourage others (and me!) to make this March a core-changer.

 

The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. Exodus 15:2 NKJV

 

Images courtesy of: mixtapecomics.com (ab exercises-I love this picture, by the way…finally, someone else who exercises in baggy shorts!), bizarrocomics.com (snowmen), offthemark.com (fruit)

Move it or Lose it Brain Cells

brain33My brain works out several times a week. It seems to enjoy it—especially the surge of endorphins—and man, when it feels stressed, it can’t wait to get moving. I wish I’d taken a before and after picture so you could see how much my brain has bulked up since it started working out.

How does my brain work out? Easy. It tells my limbs to move: my legs walk or dance, my arms lift weights or push me up, and sometimes it gets all four limbs flailing in unison in the pool. The limbs get my heart pumping and the extra blood feeds and cleans my brain. My brain is getting more fit every day.

“(The brain) is an adaptable organ that can be molded by input in much the same way as a muscle can be sculpted by lifting barbells. The more you use it, the stronger and more flexible it becomes” (Spark). We usually think about exercise’s benefits to our muscles and lungs, but studies are proving over and over again that our brains benefit greatly from exercise as well.

move-it-or-lose-itLet’s take learning, for example. A few schools in Texas increased recess for their kindergarten and first grade students. With an hour of recess per day, those students’ grades and behavior improved. When Naperville Central High School near Chicago beefed up their physical education classes, their students not only became physically fit, but they finished first in the world on an international science exam.

How does this brain-exercise connection happen? Dr. Ratey explains it well and thoroughly in his book Spark, but I’m going to sum it up in three words: exercise births neurons. Your brain makes new neurons all the time, but when you exercise, your brain puts the neuron factory in overdrive. Your brain is then swimming in neurons looking to make a connection and you are primed to learn, process, and remember. Add to that the extra blood flow bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the brain and what you get is a cocktail of neurological growth serum.

Learning is not limited to school scenarios: exercise helps the brain battle depression and addiction because the brain is primed to learn a new reaction to old situations. Exercise also boosts the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, three neurotransmitters that help regulate thoughts and emotions and keeps us flying level. Studies have shown exercise to be as effective as medication in treating depression and that exercise reduces the risk of depression. I’m not saying “cure” and I’m not telling you to dump your pills if you take them. I’m saying give your brain a workout because your brain is capable of amazing things and regular exercise is proven to help.

sparkWhen my brain works out, it’s even protecting itself against the natural effects of aging. As your brain ages, the production of new neurons slows down and the cells it has die more easily than when you’re young. The brain can actually shrivel and shrink over time. Exercise is one of the few ways to combat this trend because it boosts neuron production and makes your cells harder to kill. It’s like car maintenance: if you drive your car all the time, you’re going to maintain it. The older the car gets, the more prone it is to breaking down, but if you keep it well maintained, the car will last a long time. Exercise equals driving the car: the body is forced to maintain the cells because you’re using them. If you stop using your cells, they rust away and die. “If your brain isn’t actively growing, then it’s dying” (Spark).

Working out makes my brain work better, feel better, learn better and react better. We are ‘use it or lose it’ creatures, so get your body moving so you don’t lose your mind!

 

 

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 (NIV)

 

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061219122200.htm Exercise Appears To Improve Brain Function Among Younger People

 http://www.today.com/parents/want-kids-listen-more-fidget-less-try-more-recess-school-t65536 Want Kids to Listen More and Fidget Less?

Spark, John J. Ratey, MD and Eric Hagerman. Little, Brown and Company, New York 2008

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1aNERoMndU Kim Bevill TED talk

Images courtesy of Dr. Odd (Brain), 

Sleep and Weight Loss

 

sleepWhen you sleep seven to eight hours at night, your body has the time and rest it needs to mentally process your day, repair cellular damage, hunt down and remove toxins, and wake up with energy for a new day. When you’re deprived of sleep—even short a few hours a night—your body can only partially recoup. You’re left feeling run down because you are run down and we tend to try to fix ourselves with sweets, junk food, or caffeine for an energy boost.

Sleep does so much more for your body than making you feel awake. “Sleep is the key to being rewarded for your diet and fitness efforts”(Shape.com). We start our health journey with sleep because sleep is going to make all of our other healthy decisions easier to make and more effective. What is the key to weight loss? Eat less and move more, right? Maybe not.

sleeping-babyEating: Studies have shown that sleeping less than 7 hours per night makes you crave high calorie foods, buy more food, and take larger portions than a rested person. Lack of sleep increases cortisol, the stress-related hormone, that ends up making you feel hungry all the time, even when your stomach is full. Fatigue affects your brain, activating the pleasure seeking cerebral section (donut, anyone?) and slowing down the good decision making (inhibition) center making your donut desire seem like a good idea. And if one donut is a good idea, two must be a really good idea!

sleep-icon-wojt55pMoving: Regular sleep helps you burn more calories even when you’re not moving. Sleep is when your body builds and repairs muscle making any exercise you do more effective. Sleep helps your body regulate hormones like insulin and gives them time to do their job. The result is that sleepers burn more fat than non sleepers, even if their calorie intake is the same.

Sleep to lose weight? That seems too easy. Many of us think weight loss has to involve hours of sweaty torture at a gym, but the secret turns out to be snuggling under the covers in blissful repose. Now that is my kind of weight loss plan.

 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24 (NIV)

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

 

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/sleep-weight-loss Six Ways Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight

*http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/why-sleep-no-1-most-important-thing-better-body Why Sleep is the No. 1 Most Important Thing For a Better Body

Images courtesy of: Julie Says So (sleeping baby), Happyologist (quote), ClipartBay sleep icon

Escargot Go Go!

snail-tshirtRight or left? Chicken or fish? Stairs or elevator? Sneak a piece of chocolate now when your kids might catch you and you’ll have to share or later when they’re asleep but you’ll probably end up eating the whole bag?

Decision making is part of life and a new study could shed light on how exercise helps us make decisions more quickly. I say could because the results might take a while: scientists are studying snails to try to pinpoint the link between exercise and decisiveness. That’s right, folks, snails. You know, the first animal you think of when you hear the word “exercise”.

snail-exercisingThe scientists put the snails into uncomfortably shallow water,  “forcing” the shell-haulers to walk around the tank looking for deeper digs. Then they put the snails on dry land to see how long it takes them to make a decision (right or left? stairs or elevator?) and act on it. Apparently, snails who have been walking for a couple hours decide faster than snails who’ve been been soaking in deep water for hours. Why study Speedy Gon-mullusks? Their nervous systems are simple and straightforward so scientists can draw conclusions quickly.

snail-quoteThe thought of snails with sweatbands and Spandex shell coverings is funny, but do you have a better reason than that for bringing this up, Katie? Barely. I mean, yes! And here it is: if exercise can improve the mental capacity of a snail, then imagine what it can do for us! Exercise-even walking at a snail’s pace-not only strengthens bones and muscles, helps fight heart disease and a host of other medical woes, improves sleep, and boosts energy, it also  increases blood flow to the brain which helps the brain work better and-as the snails will testify-faster. Some of us feel like snails when we exercise, but this escargot study is showing that it’s not the speed that counts, it’s the fact that you’re moving. If you don’t want to exercise for your body, do it for your neurons.

One more cool thing and then I’ll share a snail joke.

strong-road-radio-hostI learned about this snail study on a radio show called The Strong Road (think Car Talk but about the Bible). I was a guest on the show on Sunday September 18th (you’ll need to know this when you look up my interview in their archives). The snail story was part of their (tongue in cheek) Biggest News Story of the Week. You can listen to the show anytime on the APH Radio app (download, look for The Strong Road, then choose 9-18-2016) and more info is available on The Strong Road Facebook page.

We talked about my Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating book and how the Bible plays into weight loss. I come in around minute 16, but they discuss the book earlier than that as well. They seemed to get distracted after reading the first word of the title: “We have a special guest coming up on the show today. She’s written a book called Sex….I love it already, who cares what the rest of the title is.” Funny guys. I have a new favorite radio show to listen to while I cook!

And now for the joke, courtesy of http://www.manandmollusc.net/jokes.html.

A guy goes to a Halloween party with a girl on his back.
The host asks him, “And what are you?”
The guy says, ” I’m a snail.”
The host says “And who’s that on your back?”
“That’s Michelle!”

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 145:8

 

http://www.popsci.com/scientists-forced-snails-to-exercise-to-see-if-it-affected-their-decision-making

Images courtesy of: www.popsci.com (snail), http://www.pinterest.com (t-shirt, quote), https://www.facebook.com/thestrongroad/photos (The Strong Road radio host)