You Snooze…You Lose! (Weight, that is)

It's "Wellness Wednesday" with Lindsay Vastola. She is the founder and president of Body Project Fitness & Health providing customized fitness training and “everyday eating” coaching. Her mission is to help men and women who “have no time for fitness” incorporate a healthy lifestyle amidst a busy schedule. Lindsay is an International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) certified personal fitness trainer and has more than ten years experience in fitness, weight training, and sports conditioning. Visit Body Project at

We live in a time when adding the word “Diet” to anything becomes an instant fad! The cookie diets, grapefruit diets, cabbage diets, Mediterranean diets, no-nuts diets, everything-nuts diets, rice diets, liquid diets…and it goes on, and on, and on. How is the average person (basically, any of you who do not hold a Ph.D. in nutrition) going to sift through all of the nonsense and figure out what is the best way to get healthy? Yes, most of it is nonsense. These “plans” often take one thing that is good for you (grapefruits, cabbage, nuts, rice…) and take it to the extreme. We are inundated with nonsense from the media, our friends, our Hollywood superstars and daytime talk-show hosts.

My husband and I recently took a short trip to Europe over New Year’s, and I returned home with a striking realization. Not once did I have a conversation about working out, how fat anyone felt after the holidays, or how much fat or carbs was in the food we were eating…and believe me, we spent a lot of time visiting and celebrating with copious amounts of amazing food. Here in the U.S., it would be almost strange if at a party or get-together someone didn’t mention what new diet they were trying or what new supplement they were taking.

During the trip, I realized that at the root of our country’s obesity epidemic is that we are literally obsessed with food. We are one of the few countries that require all food be labeled with nutritional values. How many people actually know how to read the Nutrition Facts and more importantly, how many actually understand what those nutrition facts mean to them? So, though we know more and are provided with more information, we have one of the highest obesity rates in the world.

My point: simply…be accountable for your own health. Do not rely on what clever food marketing companies come up with you sell you their food that will magically make you lose weight. Eat close to the ground…this is the kind of food that our bodies want, love, and crave.

With that said, here is a diet I think really makes sense and those of you who know me, know how much I hate the 4-letter word. THE SLEEP DIET…funny though…this really is not a diet at all!

What you have to do:

  1. Sleep 7.5 hours each night
  2. Eliminate caffeine after 2:30pm
  3. Do not drink alcohol 3 hours before bed
  4. Ideally, go to bed at the same time every night

**Test this without making any conscious changes to your eating or exercise habits – change ONLY your sleep habits.

Why it works:

  1. Hormones: “During deep sleep, your brain secretes a large amount of growth hormone, which tells your body how to break down fat for fuel,” explains Michael Breus, MD, sleep expert. “Deprive your body of deep sleep, and when extra calories get stored as fat, there isn’t enough growth hormone to break it down. So your body takes a shortcut and packs it away in your butt, thighs, belly — wherever you tend to put on weight.”
  2. Calories: On average, women eat 221 calories extra when they do not get adequate sleep. 3500 calories = 1 pound of fat…in just about 2 weeks, you can easily gain a pound…so in one year, you could potentially gain 26 pounds just because you are not getting enough sleep!
  3. Energy: This is a no-brainer. Sleep more = more energy = more effective workouts = intuitively eat better = weight management.

Sleep tight! (maybe those jeans won’t feel so tight!)

Your partner in health and success,

Lindsay Vastola


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