Sleep is extremely important. Deep sleep (REM- Rapid Eye Movement) is the best sleep to be in, so our bodies can not only heal themselves more efficiently, but burn more calories. One of the best ways to achieve REM sleep is to go to bed at the same times every night and get around 8 hours. Although this may be difficult to achieve, it's worth it in the long run. So, what should we eat before bedtime if we are craving something to fill our bellies?
First we should answer a couple basic questions:
Do we still burn calories while we sleep? Yes.
Do our bodies burn fewer calories while sleeping? Yes.
Does muscle mass affect calories burned while sleeping? Yes.
With these three basic questions answered, we can attack the foods that are to be eaten before slumber. Although we do burn calories while sleeping, we must consider what sleep is doing. Sleep is repairing the body and readying it for another day of work. If we can give our body some added protein before the rest period, our bodies will have extra building blocks to repair tissues.
Ice cream, cereal and other late night snacks not only spike your sugar levels and decrease the quality of sleep, but they just fill your body with sugars that are often converted to fat.
Goal: If you must eat something before bed, try and stick with something that is lower in carbs and higher in protein. A spoonful of peanut butter, cottage cheese or greek yogurt may do the trick. Eat just enough to where you are satisfied, but not "full." This will help you make it through the night and increase REM sleep.
Eating a healthy dinner with plenty of quality foods (veggies and proteins) will help prevent junk food cravings when it comes time to sleep. Also, increasing muscle mass through the strength training programs will help you burn more fat throughout the day and at night. There are plenty of these programs here on Interval Athlete!
The benefits of sleeping well and eating well far outweigh any crash diet or crazy diet program. When was the last time you regretted getting a full night's sleep?
Calories. What are they? Merriam-Webster states, "the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius." KCal or kilocalories refer to nutrition. So what does this mean when it comes to eating calories?
Everything you eat, whether healthy or unhealthy, contains calories. Every food and drink contains energy. The energy may be used very quickly or slowly, based on how complex the energy systems are in the food or drink you consume. Sodas, sweets and other sugary things provide a lot of energy in very little amount of food/drink. This energy typically gets used up really quickly and can spell disaster for your body over long-term periods, causing your body's blood sugar to rise and fall like a roller coaster! Glucose levels (blood sugar) that rise and fall like a roller coaster increase one's risk of diabetes! Not only doesn't your body hate the rollercoaster effect of high sugar spikes, but calories that don't get used gets stored as fat. The more unhealthy foods that you eat that are packed with calories, the more energy your body stores as fat. Increased levels of fat are often associated with higher rates of heart disease and morbidity.
Healthier food's calories (whole wheat foods, lean meats, vegetables, etc.) are utilized over a longer period of time, allowing your body to maintain a healthier energy level. Consuming healthy food decreases your risk of diabetes and allows you to perform better during exercise and have sustained energy levels. Eating healthier food not only helps you keep constant energy throughout the day, but is decreases your risk of diabetes and heart disease!
How many calories should I consume a day?
A simple way to figure out a rough estimate of calories consumption is below. However, the best way to determine an EXACT amount of calories to consume is consulting a Nutritionist / Dietician :
Not Active = Weight in pounds x 12
Active = Weight in pounds x 13 or 14
Very Active = Weight in pounds x 15+
Example: 150lbs x 14= 2100 calories
Weight Loss= Eating 300 Less calories a day, while performing cardio 4-6 days a week
Weight Gain= Eat 300-500 Extra clean calories a day while lifting heavy 4-6 days a week
Not everyone likes to track their calories, but it is necessary to get results. Calorie tracking helps you realize whether you are eating good or bad. Many of the foods we think are healthy are often saturated in fats, cholesterol and loaded with calories! After a few weeks of tracking calories, it becomes habit. Results start revealing themselves through a thinner waistline and more energy throughout the day! Download a calorie tracking app today and get started on your journey of a healthier lifestyle!
1 Corinthians 10:31
What is the best milk and should I even drink it? Most people just associate milk with taste- often rating them from the "best" to the "least" : Vitamin D(aka-Whole milk), 2%, 1% and then Skim. Those who often buy skim or 1% most likely have goals of weight loss and maintaining weight as they are lower in calories. Consumers purchasing Vitamin D milk and 2% tend to like the taste of milk and aren't as worried about the calories consumed by milk. On the other end of the spectrum, some oppose the drinking of milk as they claim milk has health risks associated with it- so who's right and what are their reasons?
Glass Half-Full on Drinking Milk
Here's some of the nutritional content that milk offers:
Milk is known to contain calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, potassium, and magnesium. There are many other vitamins such as B12, B6, A and riboflavin that are found in small amounts in milk. Calcium, vitamins C & D help to strengthen bones and teeth while the other vitamins help to regulate sleep, coagulate blood, improve mood, immune function, hypertension and relieve muscle pain.
Glass Half-Empty Thoughts on Drinking Milk
Apart from being lactose intolerant (or a milk allergy) there are several things to consider when drinking milk. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. In milk's case, its calcium. When milk is drank in excess, it can leave calcium deposits in the arteries and lead to kidney stones. Even when consumed in moderation, milk is suspect of creating a higher risk of prostate, testicular, ovarian and breast cancer. Milk is said to increase the insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1), which has been linked to the growth of cancer cells. There are also several things to consider like added growth hormones and antibiotics that are given to the cows.
"So, what calcium sources are most healthful? A moderate amount from a variety of plant sources seems to be best. There’s plenty of easily absorbed calcium in dark leafy greens, such as bok choy, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens, as well as broccoli, dried beans, figs, almonds, calcium-fortified juices, and soymilk and other non-dairy milks. Plus, these foods contain other cancer-fighting nutrients that aren’t present in dairy products." - Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
The Skim on Drinking Milk
The National Osteoporosis Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend drinking milk. The question that is being brought into the light with current research is "just how much." It appears that with light consumption of milk the definitive benefits outweigh the perceived negative aspects. While the negative aspects are strong in their research and the committees backing them, nothing has been proven. So, if you diet is rich in the greens listed above, you could opt out of regular milk and go for unsweetened coconut/almond/soy milk. While the milk change might mix up some of your morning meals, it is easy to adjust to. Make sure to supplement your diet with quality vegetables on a daily basis if you are going to opt out of normal milk!
Below are some direct quotes from Moomilk and Fitday websites
that summarize the different kinds of milk
"Whole Milk is 3.5% milkfat, which is why it tastes so delicious and has a rich, creamy texture. After babies stop drinking mother’s milk, they usually drink whole milk until they are at least two years old. The fatty acids in whole milk are important to the development of the brain and the nervous system.
2% Lowfat Milk has the benefits of less milkfat, but still tastes great. It is fortified with skim milk and has 10 grams of protein per cup. Two percent milk is almost as popular as whole milk.
1% Lowfat Milk is made by reducing the milkfat content even more. Like two percent milk, it is fortified with skim milk, making it vitamin and mineral rich. One percent milk is great for people on diets and women and girls who want a concentrated source of calcium in a delicious drink.
Skim Milk, also called nonfat milk, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods of all. It has as much fat as possible removed, less than ½ gram per serving, and 45% less calories than whole milk. Yet skim milk still supplies all of the nutrients of whole milk.
Buttermilk, despite its name, is typically made from nonfat or lowfat milk. It is a cultured sour milk made by adding certain organisms to sweet milk. It is very popular in cooking. How about some buttermilk biscuits or buttermilk pancakes or…
Chocolate Milk is milk plus cocoa and sweeteners. It is usually made from lowfat or nonfat milk. The chocolate doesn’t add any fat, just calories (about 60) and a little caffeine (about 5 mg per cup, the same amount in a cup of decaf coffee).
Acidophilus Milk is made by adding a live bacterial culture to milk after pasteurization. It is easier to digest for some people." - MooMilk
"Raw Milk - Raw milk is animal milk that has not been pasteurized--the process of heating a food (usually liquid) to a specific temperature for a defined amount of time, and then immediately cooling it. Raw milk can contain dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter jejuni, and Yersinia enterocolitic. These strains of bacteria can cause serious illness or even death.
Soy Milk - Soy milk is produced by soaking and grinding soybeans with water and then straining them. Soymilk is certainly the most popular non-dairy milk alternative and it contains high-quality protein, no cholesterol and is low in fat.
Almond Milk - Almond milk, which has become increasingly more popular in recent years, is made from ground almonds that have been mixed with water. Many people opt for almond milk for its nutty taste. It's also low in calories--one cup (unsweetened) contains only 40 calories. It's rich in magnesium, potassium, vitamin E and heart-healthy fats. Almond milk is very low in carbohydrate (1 gram per cup), which makes it a good choice for diabetics. One downside to almond milk is that it contains very little protein (about 1 gram per cup), so if you drink only almond milk, be sure to get enough protein from other sources. Also spotted on shelves are milks made from other nuts.
Rice Milk - Rice milk is made from boiled rice, brown rice syrup, brown rice starch and water. Commercial rice milk often has thickening agents, sugar and flavorings added to it. Rice milk is a good choice for those with food allergies because it contains no soy or lactose. However, it provides less protein and vitamins A and C than other milks.
Coconut Milk - Coconut milk, made the ground meat and juice from coconuts, has traditionally been sold in a can and contains a staggering 550 calories a cup and more than two days worth of saturated fat. However, some new coconut milk beverages (like the kind from So Delicious) contain only about 50 calories a cup but still has about 5 grams of saturated fat (25% Daily Value).
Goat Milk - Goat milk is commonly consumed in many countries around the world and contains the same amount of calcium as cow milk. Its flavor has been described as sweet and salty.
Sheep Milk - Sheep milk, although not popular in the U.S., is commonly consumed throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region. Sheep milk contains more vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium than cow milk. Both sheep and goat milks may be more easily digested than cow milk because the fat globules are smaller.
Hemp Milk - Hemp milk is made from ground hemp seeds mixed with water and has a creamy, nutty flavor. One cup unsweetened contains 70 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbohydrate, and 2 grams of protein.
Flax Milk - Flax milk is the most recent milk to hit the supermarkets. It's simply cold-pressed flax oil mixed with filtered water. One cup unsweetened has 50 calories and provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but contains no protein.
Oat Milk - Oat milk is made from oat groats (hulled oat grain broken into smaller pieces) and water. Sometimes other grains and beans are added. Oat milk is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D and riboflavin, and one cup provides a surprising two grams of fiber. Oat milk does tend to be higher in calories--130 calories for one cup (unsweetened)." - Fitday
Often times when we wake up we go straight for coffee and don't eat anything at all. We rush straight into the day without food or water. This leaves our bodies catching up for what it really needs- nutrition and hydration. Throughout the night, our bodies burn fuel and breathe out water. Therefore, it is imperative that we bring our bodies back into the state of equilibrium as we merge from the deep slumber.
Things to Consider When We Wake Up
Drink a large cup of water
Our bodies are made up primarily of water. Start your day off right by giving it the primary fuel of operation: water. Drinking a glass of water in the morning not only helps with thirst and hunger but also helps you to better regulate and digest the food that you are going to eat.
Eat quality foods
Yet again; we are faced with the issue of being pressed for time when we wake up. If you grab for the quickest "meal" (i.e. donuts, muffins, etc.) you are setting yourself up for failure before the day starts. You will end up spiking your sugar and crashing shortly after you eat those quick pick-me-ups. We often try and stabilize this crash with large doses of coffee or energy drinks. So what should you eat? Protein.
Eggs, peanut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese with fruit are great options. You start the day off with ingesting necessary building blocks and keep your sugar from crashing.
Plan appropriately for the day
Make a basic meal plan to help keep your diet on track. Having a basic layout for what you will eat will help to prevent fast food downfalls or binge eating. Schedule a time for exercise and actually do it!
If you stick to these three basic rules, you will start each day off on the right foot and reach/maintain your goals!
Spring is here!
If you approach any goal, especially fitness goals, they can quickly become overwhelming if not approached properly. The thought of changing eating habits, making time for working out and putting forth an effort that you aren't typically used to can be daunting. When you try and shove all the goals and complete lifestyle changes into one short period, you increase the likelihood of setting yourself up for complete disaster!
The One Thing to focus on: Drive.
Intrinsic Motivation: What brought you here in the first place? Why do you want to get there?
What moves you? Write these down and put them in a place you frequent. Don't let the opinions of other influence your goals to get in shape and feel great!
No matter the goals in life, accomplish them one at a time.
Long term goals are accomplished through short term accomplishments!
Contact us for a free evaluation that will give you a good idea of where you stand physically, how you can get in better shape and feel awesome! If you have problems with setting goals or how to accomplish them, we can help with that too!
Quality Nutrition = Quality Training
Eating smart not only makes your feel better and exercise more efficiently but aids in a lifestyle that is less prone to disease and other health complications.