Welcome to my blog! My name is Isabel, and I'm currently a student at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, attaining a Masters of Science in Nutrition Communications. I'm also an avid health-nut who is allergic to absolutely everything- wheat, soy, corn, dairy, and eggs, and who loves to work out! I am currently in school learning how to better communicate to the public why and how they can become healthier and happier. So hopefully you can learn something too! Anything that you want to see on my blog or any questions you have please leave me questions and I will do my best to answer! I'm just getting going, but I soon hope to post recipes, fun fitness tips, and other exciting nutrition and fitness tips! enjoy!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Go Ahead, Relax!

How often do you take time for yourself to relax?
My answer: Never.
Do you get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep?
My answer: I try to.

In this day and age the norm in our society is to be over-programmed and super busy- but is this always good?
A recent article published in the Los Angeles Times discusses how important relaxing and getting enough sleep are for both our minds and our waistlines.
The study was published in the International Journal of Obesity and followed 500 adults (average age of 55 years) who had an average Body Mass Index(a measure of the ratio of height and weight- a commonly used evaluation for Body Mass) of 37.7 (BMI of 30 and over is considered obese) who were instructed to do three things:
1. Keep a food diary (this is a really important and effective way to track what and how much you're eating, and has been found to boost weight loss).
2. Exercise for 180 minutes per week (this means 30 minutes, 6 days per week).
3. Sleep between 6 and 8 hours per night. 
(Participants in the study also attended counseling sessions where their progress was mapped).

What did the study find?
1. The adults that were most successful in losing 10 pounds in 6 months were those that slept between 6 and 8 hours on most nights. This is partially because they had reduced stress levels caused by their increase in sleep;  high stress levels have been shown to prevent or slow weight loss.
2. The adults that lost the most weight also kept food diaries and exercised about 180 minutes per week.

What does study this show?
1. Sticking to a plan is important- keep your food diary and make sure you exercise (this can be going for a walk on the beach, jogging, cycling, or even interval training- whatever works for you!).
2. Getting enough sleep is just as important to whittling your waistline as eating right and working out.

The takeaway message: 
It can be hard to get enough sleep, especially if you live in this society. Don't try to make drastic changes in anything (eating, sleeping, exercising). The key to effective weight loss/ improved health is to make small incremental changes that you can sustain.
Doing things like: getting 30 more minutes of sleep per night, walking for 10 more minutes on the treadmill, trading high sugar cereal for the lower-sugar options can all be beneficial and over time will lead you to make better and more sustainable choices.
Take it slow!

- Healthy Gal

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