Losing Sleep Makes You More Emotional

You’ve certainly heard before how important it is to get adequate sleep. It affects your choices in food, causing you to crave comfort food. But now Matthew T. Feldner, a health science specialist at the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Menlo Park, California, has co-authored a book, Sleep and Affect: Assessment, Theory and Clinical Implications. The book explains that lack of sleep will cause you to respond to stressors with more emotional arousal.

I guess that is no surprise. You know that when something has kept you up at night… a sick child, worry about a big presentation or anything that keeps you staring at the ceiling, the next day, you have your cranky pants on.

Some things are unavoidable, like a sick child, but others are bad habits. Worrying about anything while you’re supposed to be sleeping is not helpful. Keep a pad of paper (or worry journal) by your bed and jot down anything that is on your mind. Release it on paper and resolve to pick it up in the morning.

One of the most effective things you can do to relax and sleep is breathing… I know you already do that. But I mean relaxation breathing. Try this: inhale and on the exhale whisper, “La, la, la, la…” for the length of the exhale. Don’t force the breathing. Let each inhale come naturally.

If you’re worried about your partner hearing you, simply do slow deep abdominal breathing. Place one hand on your abdomen, inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your ribcage expand, making your belly expand outward. Exhale through your mouth, using your abdominal muscles to push your belly button towards your spine.

You can use either of these breathing techniques when you first go to bed or if you wake up in the middle of the night.

And don’t forget your bedtime ritual. A 15-30 minute routine before bed will help prepare you for sleep. Make sure it doesn’t include anything with screens (TV, phones, iPads, laptops) because those light-emitting screens alter the melatonin production, altering your sleep. Sleep well tonight…Beautiful woman sleeping in white bed

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You Can’t Have That!

What is the quickest way to increase your desire for a specific type of food or foods? What makes you crave them the most? Being told you can’t have that!

I recently experienced yet another episode of anaphylaxis. It was the terrifying, throat-closing, I can’t breathe or swallow kind of episode. I was reacting to a new medication that was supposed to bring my very low blood pressure up to the normal zone. But because of this crazy, unpredictable mast cell disease, my mast cells saw it as an invader and responded with the anaphylaxis.

After following up with my immunologist in Boston, she advised that the continuing difficulty swallowing, the coughing and choking while eating (3 weeks after the anaphylactic episode) was due to laryngeal edema. So she recommended 5-7 days of liquids only, to allow the throat to heal. She also made some medication changes.

It’s funny how when you are sick, any plan seems great… and drinking liquids not to choke sounded perfect. By day 3, I was sick of just drinking. I had had enough protein shakes to last forever! And I was not satisfied. And I got hungry more quickly. I dreamed about “real food”.

I kept reminding myself that it was time-limited. In a week, I could eat {chew} real food again. My brain or intellect clearly knew this  but my mind or emotions were conflicted. They were missing the yummy real food I normally cooked. I was craving all sorts of foods. I talked about them, visualized them and made plans to cook/bake them as soon as I could.

But a funny thing happened when the week was up and I was able to actually eat. I did begin slowly incorporating real food back in, but the allure was gone. The cravings were gone. I could eat anything I wanted and I found myself turning to the foods that my body seemed to need, like eggs, veggies and whole-grain gluten-free cereal.

It’s just as I have taught so many times before. When you cannot have something, the desire or craving increases. The off-limits food because sacred. It becomes part of your thought process way too much and too often. Because when you can’t have it, you must!

This is again, one of the main reasons I love Mindful Eating as the process for learning to eat not only in a healthy way, but to feel your best and lose weight, if you need to. No foods are off limits, so cravings are not triggered and never do you hear, “you can’t have it.”

I’m pretty sure some of you have experienced at some point the deprivation followed by cravings. Is anyone willing to share what was “taken away” and what you craved? Strawberry milkshakes

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5 Ways to Jump Into Spring

As I was sitting on my couch early this morning, sipping my organic coffee, I reveled in how much snow has melted in the past two days. I now finally believe it… spring is around the corner. Let’s jump into spring and so you can feel healthier and more energetic. Winter be done!

The days are longer, brighter and warmer, so take advantage of that. If you’re here in the Northeast, that means 30-40 degree days from the frigid single digit and teens. Heat wave!

Here are some easy ways to jump into spring that will revitalize you:

  1. Begin adding more local, in-season fruit and veggies. Investigate your local CSA’s or just frequent stores that carry local produce. Until the produce is readily available, buy lots of colorful produce to liven up your meals and snacks.
  2. Try out some new recipes that focus on clean eating, using whole foods. Either Google recipes, use Pinterest or sign up for my newsletter that includes a recipe. (on the side of each page of my website)
  3. Begin de-cluttering. Start small and manageable. One drawer, one countertop, one closet. You will feel so accomplished that moving on to more will be achievable. And if it feels overwhelming, set a timer for 15 minutes and just work until the timer goes off. Each day, do 15 minutes more until you have accomplished your goal.
  4. Spend more time outdoors. It is a natural de-stresser. Take a walk, even a brief one and you have not only gotten some exercise, but released neurotransmitters that naturally decrease stress.
  5. Buy yourself some flowers. Every grocery store now carries beautiful, affordable flowers. Gift yourself with a lovely bouquet each week and arrange in a vase to enjoy all week.

Before you know it, summer will be here and we will be complaining about how hot and humid it is. Enjoy each moment. Today, I will enjoy the brilliant sunshine. What is your favorite part of spring?Beautiful flowers in vase isolated on white

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How Will Clean Eating Help You?

So many eating plans, diets, doctors recommended food products, that knowing what to eat has gotten a bit complicated. If you’ve heard the term clean eating, you might be wondering what it is or how will clean eating help you?

Let me define clean eating as beautifully described by cleaneatingmag.com. Cleaning eating is consuming food in it’s most natural state or as close as possible. It is definitely not a diet but a lifestyle approach to food.

I guess whatever you call it, clean eating, eating whole foods, cutting out processed foods, the end result is fueling your body with good nutrition that makes you feel good.

You know that shaky, yucky feeling you get midmorning when all you had for breakfast was a cup of coffee and a white bagel with cream cheese? Your body quickly metabolizes white flour into glucose and since cream cheese is fat, not protein, your body needs more fuel sooner.

Switch that out with a breakfast of 2 egg omelet loaded with veggies and tea and your body will be pumping till lunch time. Just make sure to drink plenty of purified water to keep hydrated.

Although clean eating’s recommendation is to only buy foods with an ingredient list of only one or two ingredients, that can be difficult. I say to buy as little packaged foods as possible and when you do, 6 ingredients or less. And if your grandma couldn’t recognize an ingredient, beware.

My newsletter this month featured a recipe from clean eating. If you missed it, here’s the link.

Listen to your body. It tells you when you feed it clean food and when you give it junk. How do you want to feel?omelet with vegetables

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