Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Melissa's tip of the week is designed to help you and your family live happier, healthier lives, through exercise and good nutrition.
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Things that make you fat 

Part 2

Last week, we spoke about beauty products, paper products and feminine care products, and the main endocrine disrupters BPA and phthalates.  This week, I want to continue the discussion of unexpected things that are making you struggle with your weight.

Not Getting Enough Sleep--
Did you know that proper rest is crucial to weight management?  When you’re short on sleep, it’s easy to lean on a large latte to get moving. You might be tempted to skip exercise because you are too tired, get takeout for dinner, and then turn in late because you’re uncomfortably full.

Your brain is your locus of control, but if you are too tired, you are setting yourself for bad decision making.  It dulls the activity in your frontal lobe, so being too tired is kind of like being a little drunk.  You lack the mental clarity to make good decisions.

You might also notice more cravings for high glycemic index foods like snack foods, cookies, crackers, and sweets.  That's because your body is trying to find enough energy to keep going, because it's deprived of sleep.  And because your decision making is dulled, you are even more apt to just give in.  A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a correlation between sleep deprivation and increased nighttime snacking.  And those individuals were choosing high carbohydate sugary snacks, 

Sleeping with a light on at night can also add a few inches to your waistline, according to a study published in October in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Mice exposed to dim light at night gained 50 percent more weight over an eight-week period than mice that spent their nights in total darkness, even though all the mice had the same amount of food and physical activity. How does this apply to you?  If you sleep with too bright of a clock next to you, or keep the lights on, it's disrupting your sleep, inhibiting you from getting into the deeper sleep that your body needs to feel fully rested in the morning.  This sets you up for the above cycle of being perpetually tired, seeking extra energy through sugary snacks.  And back on the roller coaster you go.  So get enough sleep, make sure the room is dark, and rest well!


4 cups
 (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds) 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
large shallots, peeled and halved
(1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
2 tablespoons (1-inch) slices fresh chives
Cracked black pepper (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes.
3. Place half of squash mixture and half of broth in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture and broth. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with chives and pepper, if desired.
Reverse plank is used in both Pilates and Yoga.  This exercise is great for total body conditioning.  Every muscle is contracting, just like they do in side or front plank, and extra focus is on the triceps, as well as the back of the body.  Try it:  get your body lifted off the floor, being sure to lift the hips so they aren't sagging down.  Look up toward the ceiling (where the eyes go, the body will follow), breathe, and hold for 15 seconds.  Do 3 to start, increasing the hold to 30 seconds each over the next few weeks.

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