The Complex Relationship Between Sleep and Weight

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This blog is guest written by Sheila Johnson at https://www.wellsheila.net .

Are you struggling with stubborn body fat while suffering from insomnia? Or perhaps you’ve gained a few pounds and aren’t sleeping as well as you used to. It’s easy to write these connections off as coincidence, but there’s a complex relationship between weight and sleep. Not only does your weight affect how well you sleep, but sleep also impacts your ability to maintain a healthy weight. Wild Flowers Grow invites you to read on if you’re ready to get better sleep and lose weight. 

How Weight Affects Sleep (and Vice Versa)

Excess weight is linked to sleep disorders

Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes the airway to become obstructed during sleep. Because sleep apnea reduces sleep quality, it can lead to further weight gain due to sleep quality’s impact on appetite, exercise, and metabolism.

Poor sleep makes you hungrier

Sleep deprivation causes the body to release more appetite-stimulating hormones and suppresses leptin, a hormone that tells your brain when you’re full. If that’s not bad enough, insomniacs are also more likely to reach for high-fat, high-sugar, and high-calorie foods.

Poor sleep makes it harder to exercise

People are less likely to exercise when sleep deprived. Even if you work up the will to hit the gym, workouts tend to be shorter and less intense when you’re not well-rested.

Poor sleep leads to weight gain

There’s also research that suggests poor sleep lowers resting metabolism and increases insulin resistance, two things that make it even harder to lose weight.

These facts are scary, but you can break the cycle of insomnia and weight gain.

How to Sleep Better with Excess Weight

Before you get serious about losing weight, you need to address your poor sleep quality. These are some things you can do to sleep better when you’re carrying extra weight:

Get a supportive mattress

If you’ve gained weight, your old mattress might not be as supportive as it used to be. Many heavier individuals find foam mattresses don’t provide enough support to align their spine, which can lead to back pain and difficulty sleeping. If you’re on the heavier side and tend to toss and turn most nights, switching to a larger size innerspring mattress for more support could be the perfect solution to help you achieve better sleep.

Avoid eating and drinking before bed

Overweight people are more likely to experience acid reflux. To reduce nighttime heartburn, stop eating and drinking three hours before bed. If you’re a side sleeper, sleep on your left side.

Exercise more

Exercise is proven to improve sleep. Vigorous aerobic exercise like running or HIIT is best for sleep, but even moderate-intensity exercise makes a difference. However, avoid intense exercise right before bed. If you’re looking for a nighttime workout, try a mindful yoga routine instead. Better yet, making yoga a regular activity can enhance your ability to feel more relaxed since it’s a great stress reducer. If you need some extra motivation, use discounts to splurge on some new activewear from stores like Nike or Finish Line. 

Talk to your doctor

Sleep apnea and snoring may go away with weight loss, but in the meantime, it’s important to address sleep disorders that leave you waking up groggy. Talk to your doctor about sleep apnea. You may be prescribed a sleep study and a PAP machine.

Weight Loss Tips for Better Sleep (and Health!)

Now that you’re sleeping better, it’s easier to conquer your weight loss goals. There are tons of weight loss tips out there, but these simple tips are at the core of any weight loss plan:

Eat filling foods

Controlling your appetite will be a challenge at first, so avoid empty calories and instead, focus on filling foods like proteins, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.

Find exercise you enjoy

Consistency is the most important thing when it comes to exercise, so find something you can commit to. Again, yoga is fantastic when you’re starting a weight loss journey because it’s low-impact, beginner-friendly, and adaptable to every body.

Focus on the dos, not the don’ts

It’s common to approach weight loss by taking things away — junk food, calories, lazy nights on the sofa. Instead of focusing on what’s off-limits, work on building healthy behaviors. Planning your meals, eating more vegetables, and getting active are positive goals that build you up.

It’s hard to find the motivation to get healthy when you’re not sleeping well. Unfortunately, poor lifestyle habits also make it harder to catch quality rest. If you’re stuck in the cycle of sleep loss and weight gain, use these tips to get your sleep and your health back on track.

Image via Unsplash

This blog is written by Sheila Johnson at https://www.wellsheila.net . For more info and to contact her directly, head over to her website and see what she has to offer! 

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7 Yoga Poses To Banish Stress

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Stress and mood swings are in high gear — especially depression and anxiety, which appears to be on the rise.

According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people around the world have depression16.2 million adults in the United States (that equals 6.7 %!) have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Nearly 50 % of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

And, if you think, “that’s not me, ” it is also estimated that 15 % of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.

It is also true that not all levels of challenges may show up in this way. It is no coincidence that self-help books, natural mood stabilization supplements (i.e. CBD oil), and even stress balls are everywhere. Even your local convenience store sells them.

You probably know someone who is struggling with the oppression from the cloud of stress raining down on her. Maybe it is even you. It can feel exhausting at it’s best and debilitating at it’s worst.

There are many reasons that stress can impact you. How you perceive a situation, your unique chemical breakdown in the brain, and even the foods you choose to feed your body — it is much more complicated than it appears. And, you are a human living a very different experience than the human next to you. Exercise does seems to be a prescription that helps most.

Looking at depression and anxiety specifically, it is really a result of long-term stress and mental fatigue. This is exactly why certain styles of exercise are so effective. Running, for example, has been linked to being just as effective as psychotherapy in treatment.

But, not everyone likes to run or should be running. You may respond better to exercises that bring you into a parasympathetic state and help to lower your stress levels. If part of your main struggles revolve around too much stress and/or adrenal fatigue, practicing a stretching or yoga program may be the perfect combination.

If you feel stuck and struggle with seeing an end to the depression, nervousness, fears, and worries, then a meditative stretch may just be what the doctor ordered. Yoga, in particular, helps by calming the nervous system, decreasing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, slowing the breath and relaxing the muscles. Gentle body movement can boost the brain’s dopamine level and provides endorphins (dopamine is the precursor of serotonin). Yoga redistributes the blood flow, oxygenates the entire body and improves the function of the circulatory system.

Even though this light activity can give well-needed relief, choosing specific poses or stretching positions can enhance the effects. Here are 7 to help decrease stress:

(Click on each title below to discover how to perform each exercise)

Mountain

This is a good warm-up exercise because it revitalizes your system and lifts your spirit. It also creates a sense of empowerment and stability (two areas that significantly decrease with depression and anxiety).

mountain_pose

 Reverse Warrior

Reverse Warrior pose helps relieve lower back pain and creates an alignment throughout the body. It stimulates blood flow to all parts of the body. Since it calms your soul, it also helps to alter your mood. Reverse Warrior helps to improves self-esteem and perseverance.

reverse_warrior

Downward Dog

Downward dog enables fresh blood to flow into your body. It strengthens your abdominal muscles and improves your digestion. A calm belly is a happy belly. It also stretches the neck and cervical spine, releasing the stress in them, thereby reducing anxiety and calming your entire being.

downward_dog

Cobra

Cobra pose stretches out the abdominal area/core and awakens the fire within your soul allowing you to concentrate and focus better. It increases energy and decreases anxiety as it strengthens the back.

cobra_pose

 Shoulder stand

Shoulder stand is an inversion pose and that allows for blood to flow into the brain, bringing you a feeling of vitality. It also helps to relieve irritability by quieting and nourishing the nervous system. If you have neck issues, be careful with the pose or don’t do it at all.

shoulder_stand

 Fish

This pose is used to counterbalance the shoulder stand, so follow shoulder stand with fish. Fish pose helps stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands located in the brain — therefore also regulating emotions and provides a sense of well-being.

fish_pose

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose helps calm your brain. It gently stretches your lower back and hips, enabling your body to relax even more. Peace and calm take over your entire being, helping you deal with your stress better.

childs_pose

Learning new ways to exercise and to open up your energy, to strengthen the right muscles, and allow your body to connect into the mind may be exactly what you need to help ease some of the stress. 

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I love inspiration through story-telling! If you liked this article, then you will love my other blogs.

Click here to get my Free 10-day body reset detox guide. You will become part of my tribe and get weekly blogs delivered straight to your inbox (along with a free gift and other insider tips that only my tribe will get)!

Love Your Body With These 10 Simple Tips

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“I would never wear a tank top. My arms are too flabby.”

As she stood there glistening with sweat and begrudgingly completing her arm exercises, she looked me square in the eyes and said…

I would never wear a tank top. My arms are too flabby.”

Yet at the age of 65, she was more in shape and had more strength than she ever did. Her arms were toned and you could see the muscles working diligently with every arm curl and every weight lift. But, the voices in her head still told her that her arms were too flabby.

Those voices. They can noodle around the brain and wreck havoc on the most positive of outlooks. They can pop up out of nowhere at the most inconvenient times. And, they can demolish dreams in the blink of an eye.

It’s those voices that hold you back from being great and, just as you are riding smoothly through life, those voices can throw a stick in the spoke and cause you to hurl uncontrollably through the air.

Thoughtful Action

The actions you take have mighty power and the words you speak can make or break your confidence to take action. But, it’s the thoughts you think that can cause hurtful words and stop your good intentioned actions dead in their tracks — ultimately, leading to a lack of self-trust, self-confidence, and self-love.

I am going to be real with you — I don’t believe in the fake positivity. I don’t believe in just telling yourself that you are enough or that you are going to have a great day or that everything is all rose-colored and filled with unicorn dust.

Sure, that stuff helps, but it is not enough.

Those old thoughts and beliefs that hide in the shadows are stubborn. They are not fooled by the superficial words and inspirational memes on social media. Rather, they are healed and transmuted by changing the way you think and feel about a situation.

They are also healed and transmuted by the actions that you take to prove to them — to prove to yourself — that other ways of thinking, feeling, and speaking are possible.

Because without taking action, change in what you think is possible, what you believe is possible, and how you feel about your power in the situation will continue to elude you.

To learn to truly love yourself, you need to be willing to step out of old routines and what you know.

You have to being willing to create a shake-up in your normal pattern and step out of what is comfortable. This challenges you to believe in yourself, learn that you can do what you once thought you couldn’t, and to discover parts of you that have been lying dormant.

Let's try it once without the parachute

Here are 10 ways that you can take action and change your inner thoughts about your body image and how you see yourself—

Taking Intentional Action

  1. Try new activities to loosen up your inhibitions, such as Zumba, African dancing, hula hooping, or belly dancing. Try competitive sports or rock climbing or skiing. Get involved in a competition that pushes your limits and gets you out of your comfort zone.
  2. Use your body to do something, such as build a shed, score a field goal, carry an elderly neighbor’s groceries, instead of treating it as an object to be looked at. You are an incredible physical being with capability beyond your imagination. Get to using it!
  3. Indulge in your sensual side, by getting massages, using exotic perfumes, or wearing sexy lingerie (even at work). Only you will know how you are indulging in your sensual side.
  4. Wear clothes that allow you to move freely, such as comfortable shoes, flowing skirts, stretchy fabrics. And don’t worry about labeled sizes, only about how they fit and how your clothes make you feel. Sizes vary from brand to brand and are often purposefully lowered to entice.
  5. Learn about the wonders of the body, by reading books and magazines that are positive influences towards the body. Learn how the body works, why it is such an incredible vessel, and read uplifting exerts that create an appreciation for the skin you live in. This is most freeing and empowering!
  6. Try yoga or mediation, two good practices that teach you how to be in your body in a way that isn’t critical or analytical.
  7. Practice good posture, as an instant shot of body confidence. Standing up tall, squeezing your shoulder blades back, and looking eye level at others creates so much confidence. You can also try the power pose for a burst of confidence building testosterone. Try it out!
  8. Quit believing that people are looking at you and sizing you up, because we as humans are very egocentric creatures. Most of the time, we are focused on ourselves and the thoughts in our head. We have no clue what you are doing. And, if others are judging you, it is most likely because they are insecure themselves.
  9. Live your life in a non-judgement zone, by praising others and their accomplishments and their awesomeness instead of beating them down. Live in a gab-free, gossip-free, non-judgement zone and, instead, learn to support those around you. Good energy bounces back good energy.
  10. Hire a professional to help teach and support you, if you truly have no idea of where to start or you just need some guidance to help you become successful. To achieve anything great in life, being mentored and coached by someone who has walked in your shoes can be a sigh of relief and exactly what you need to finally make the progress you deserve. Also, having someone to cheer you along your journey is a huge boost to the self-image!

It was a hot summer day that was only relieved by a fan, a sprinkler, or a tank top. The air was thick and the sun unforgiving. It was also on that day that my 65-year old client told me that she wore her first tank top in years!

She took a chance and had a moment of “who cares” clarity and slipped into her tank top, showing the world, and herself, that she could do it. And, learning that she looked and felt amazing showing off her newly toned arms.

You have one chance to truly experience life without constraints and with full freedom.

You have one chance at living this life with pure engagement and happiness.

Your life deserves to sparkle, my beautiful friend.

Feel the summer sun on your bare arms and let your body move and dance when the moment inspires you. Embrace your life so that you can look back at any moment and say, “Wow, life is amazing!”

“And, so am I.”

Want more?

Join my Patreon and become part of my garden of wild flowers! Not only will you be part of the exclusive content that I ONLY share with my Patreon members, but you will also be helping a community of holistic health like-minded people push forward!

And, if you are not getting my weekly emails…

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I love inspiration through story-telling! If you liked this article, then you will love my other blogs.

Click here to get my Free 10-day body reset detox guide. You will become part of my tribe and get weekly blogs delivered straight to your inbox (along with a free gift and other insider tips that only my tribe will get)!

10 Ways To Improve Your Body Image

“My arms are too flabby. I can’t wear sleeveless shirts!”

” My legs have cellulite and are too pasty white to wear shorts”

“My stomach is so fat and disgusting. I could NEVER wear a bathing suit in public!”

Do you ever catch yourself saying these things, to yourself or out loud?

Men and women both focus so heavily on their outer image and appearance — in some cultures, women more than men. It has often ruled how we feel about ourselves and our self-worth. It has changed how we behave around others and in our relationships. When said too often, it changes us and our physical health completely — allowing others to see what we perceive.

girl-3180072_1920

How you present yourself to the world makes a statement. It helps dictate how you feel about yourself, how you act, how professional you come across, how people interact with you, how much internal energy you are creating, and how you are expressing yourself and your values. But, presenting yourself one way and creating an inner dialogue that states another can be damaging — causing a disconnect in your authenticity and your true belief in yourself (and the trust of others around you).

What your inner dialogue is saying and what you verbally express out loud is part of your body image. If your body image is weak, you are more likely going to be prone to mood swings, depression, anger, fatigue, jealousy, self-hate — which can lead to not exercising enough, eating the right foods, taking care of your stress levels, and comparing yourself to unachievable ideals, just to name a few.

So, is your body image healthy or does it need some tuning up? Take the assessment below.

Do I have a healthy body image?

Yes          No
_____    _____ 1. I see my body as something that I need to fix.

_____    _____ 2. My goals for my body are controlling my life.

_____    _____ 3. I aspire to look like someone else.

_____    _____ 4. I berate myself if I backslide.

_____    _____ 5. I worry about how I appear to others.

_____    _____ 6. I define success in terms of appearance.

_____    _____ 7. I am a slave to the scale and the mirror.

_____    _____ 8. I deprive myself of pleasurable activity because of my appearance.

_____    _____ 9. I look at my body reproachfully rather than appreciatively.

_____    _____ 10. I frequently indulge in negative self-talk about my body.

If you answered mostly “yes” or you have an alarmingly high amount of “yes,” check out the tips below to help you boost your body image today!

woman-591576_1920

10 Tips To Boost Your Body Image

  1. Try new activities to loosen up your inhibitions, such as Zumba, African dancing, hula hooping, or belly dancing. Try competitive sports or rock climbing or skiing. Get involved in a competition that pushes your limits and gets your out of your comfort zone.
  2. Use your body to do something, such as build a shed, score a field goal, carry an elderly neighbor’s groceries, instead of treating it as an object to be looked at. You are an incredible physical being with capability beyond your imagination. Get to using it!
  3. Indulge in your sensual side. Get massages, use exotic perfumes, wear sexy lingerie (even at work). Only you will know how you are indulging in your sensual side.
  4. Wear clothes that allow you to move freely, such as comfortable shoes, flowing skirts, stretchy fabrics. And don’t worry about labeled sizes, only about how they fit and how your clothes make you feel. Sizes vary from brand to brand and are often purposefully lowered to entice.
  5. Learn about the wonders of the body. Read book and magazines that are positive influences towards the body. Learn how the body works, why it is such an incredible vessel, and read uplifting exerts that create an appreciation for the skin you live in. This is most freeing and empowering!
  6. Try yoga or mediation. They are two good practices that teach you how to be in your body in a way that isn’t critical or analytical.
  7. Practice good posture. It is an instant shot of body confidence! Standing up tall, squeezing your shoulder blades back, and looking eye level at others creates so much confidence. You can also try the power pose for a burst of confidence building testosterone. Try it out!
  8. Quit believing that people are looking at you and sizing you up! We as humans are very egocentric creatures. Most of the time, we are focused on ourselves and the thoughts in our head. We have no clue what you are doing. And, if others are judging you, it is most likely because they are insecure themselves.
  9. Live your life in a non-judgement zone. Praise others and their accomplishments and their awesomeness instead of beating them down. Live in a gab-free, gossip-free, non-judgement zone and, instead, learn to support those around you. Good energy bounces back good energy.
  10. Hire a professional to help teach and support you. If you truly have no idea of where to start or you just need some guidance to help you become successful, hire a professional. To achieve anything great in life, being mentored and coached by someone who has walked in your shoes can be a sigh of relief and exactly what you need to finally make the progress you deserve. And, having someone to cheer you along your journey is a huge boost to the self-image!

sparkler-677774_1920

Your life deserves to sparkle!

We have one chance to truly experience life without constraints and with full freedom.

We have one chance at living this life with pure engagement and happiness.

Judgment creates negativity and negativity feeds bad body images. Don’t let yourself succumb to such smallness and miss out on life’s wonders, my beautiful friend.

Feel the summer sun on your bare arms and let your body move and dance when the moment inspires you. Embrace your life so that you can look back at any moment and say, “Wow, life is amazing!”


Are you tired of feeling stressed out and overwhelmed as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning?

Get my instant download of the “5 Simple Morning Tips To Instantly Create Your Distressed Day” (It’s Free!)

woman-3170568_1920

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