Is Sleep Making you Gain Weight?

Busy schedules, kids activities, homework, housework, volunteering, PTO, Church, Community organizations, paying bills and working…  Our days seem to keep getting more and more full as each one passes.


The days begin earlier and last later into the evening as we try to fit it all in…  What is the cost of our decreased sleep?

A lack of sleep can contribute to an increasing waist line as well as other diseases and ailments, but how?

Lack of Sleep Changes Hormone Levels in the Body.

 Hormones direct our bodies and make the many systems work. When we are sleep deprived those hormone levels are affected and our body doesn’t work at optimum  levels.

These upset hormone levels make sleep-deprived people hungrier.Sleep_deprived_hormones

Awake More Hours = More Time to Eat More Calories

When we spend more time awake, we have more time to shovel more calories into our mouths. Our bodies are designed to work best with 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

When we begin forcing 30 hours of activities in 24 hours it is easy to slip into auto-pilot as we are working through everything.  The mindset of auto-pilot causes us to shovel unknown amounts of non-health promoting foods into our mouths.  Mindful Based Stress Reduction classes can assist in learning to remain mindful about foods, activities, stresses, and life in general to prevent the mindless eating that causes so much havoc on our bodies.

Short Sleepers are 30% More Likely to Gain 30 Pounds.

The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, of 60,000 women who were followed for over 16 years found that women who got 5 hours or less of sleep per day were 15% more likely to become obese and were 30% more likely to gain 30 pounds over the course of the study than those who slept 7-8 hours per day.

Also, those sleep deprived found that the tiredness reduced their will to exercise and burn off the calories.

Lack of Sleep is a Stressor

People lacking sleep have added stress on the body. Stress releases cortisol and other hormones that add to weight gain around the middle. Visceral fat, the bad stuff that contributes to heart disease and diabetes.

High levels of Cortisol lead to the continual need to eat more high-calorie foods which in turn lead to being overweight or obese-due to increased caloric intake. People who stressed eat, not only to feel better when they are stressed, anxious, and depressed, they are actually propelled to eating more by the stress hormones.

Glucose Metabolism is Impaired

According to the 1999 study at the University of Chicago, restricting sleep to 4 hours for just six nights impaired glucose metabolism.  Impaired = Slowed.  It takes much more insulin to maintain the body’s blood sugar levels.

Lack of Sleep isn’t the only Problem

Lack of sleep is not the only reason why people gain weight/fat, develop heart diseases, diabetes, and other diseases, but research definitely points to the fact that it doesn’t make it any easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Lack of Sleep

After walking Relay for Life this past weekend and only getting 4 total hours of sleep between Saturday morning and Sunday night, I can attest to the fact that I DID eat more, I did find myself craving foods, and it is taking me time to balance my system after the abuse of the weekend. I am thankful that Bill stopped in to walk an hour for me.

For more information or coaching opportunities, contact me.

Make it a GREAT day!

Are you HUNGRY? Angry? HANGRY? Are you Sure?

When dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain drop, people tend to feel irritable, depressed, and moody.

But, you also need to determine if you are actually hungry!  First, drink a big glass of water and wait a few minutes to see if you are still hungry. Many mistake thirst for hunger.

Next, are you physically hungry, or is it an emotional hunger – a craving? Check out the table to evaluate if you are really hungry.


When you are physically hungry, you will fit the criteria along the left column.  If you are noticing symptoms from the right column, there are things you can do to work through the cravings, and even some to help eliminate some of those cravings.

Cravings aren’t all your fault, so don’t blame yourself. The “food industry’s” hyperpalatable foods paired with our memories of good feelings or feelings being cared for by comfort food can make those cravings even stronger, but not incurable.

I used to crave breads, pastas, Dr. Pepper and Oreo cookies. I do still occasionally feel the urge, but 7 years ago when I started eating healthier and making better, healthier choices most of my cravings all but went away.  Today, when I attempt to drink a soda, its too sweet and I can’t finish it. Smile

Once you determine that you are suffering from some emotional eating, it is time to figure out what your triggers are, what your health goals are, where your commitment level is, and THEN we can build a plan to begin improving your health and allowing those cravings to become less intense so you can survive and Just say NO.

NOW: for a solution to the issues given at the top of the page – as to why you may find yourself angry or hangry…


By eating proteins you increase levels of these neurotransmitters, improve your mood, alertness, mental functioning, & your ability to cope with stress.  Don’t reach for a Twinkie – reach for a handful of nuts or another healthy protein option like Greek yogurt, a healthy protein bar, or an organic jerky.

Make it a GREAT day!

Be a Healthy Supermarket Superhero (15 Tips)

Many of my clients find themselves in a quandary when it comes time to head into the Supermarket.  A commitment to healthier living can be made or sabotaged when one steps into the grocery store.

Today’s article is meant to help you, not only survive, but become a regular Supermarket Superhero! Your energy levels will begin to increase, your health will improve and you will be supporting your commitment to healthier living.


1. Never, EVER, go to the store Hungry!  Studies show we buy more groceries and are more prone to impulse buy when we are hungry. I have fallen into this trap more than once.  I head out to the grocery to pick up a few things on my list, I get there and everything looks good and finds it way into my cart.  Don’t fall for this one!

2. Find a store you like and get to know it, intimately. It is best NOT to pick a “superstore” for your weekly shopping – they have WAY too many things you don’t need.  Learn the layout of your store so you know your way around – when you know where everything is you don’t need to spend extra time in the store going up and down extra aisles, being tempted to purchase foods you are trying to avoid.

3. Avoid the crowds. Busiest shopping times are 4-7 PM, and after church on Sundays. Monday & Tuesday seem to be the magic days with fewer shoppers to get in your way. Just like knowing your store, when you can get right in and right out, you are less likely to be tempted to purchase extra crap.

4. Be mindful, stay focused with a list. Mindfulness is the new buzz word, and very good one!  Mindless eating & mindless shopping are our enemy. When we allow ourselves to drop into autopilot it begins to cause havoc on our new healthier choices and sabotages our attempts at staying on track.


5. Avoid the aisle-ways! All the “good foods” are on the outside perimeter. Fresh fruits & veggies, meats, fish, & your dairy products are outside the aisles. When you enter the dreaded aisles, you find all the highly processed foods… loaded with fat, salt & sugars. Only enter the aisles if you need to grab something on your list.  (See item 4)

6.  Not all sales are really good deals. For years I was tempted and coerced into buying foods I didn’t need and more food than I could eat due to good deals. Make sure it is a product on your list, and if it is perishable, don’t buy more than you can honestly use before it expires.

7. “Bulk” sale pricing can be tricky. Unless you need more, don’t buy more.  When we have a BULK of foods, especially foods that aren’t good choices, we feel better about consuming more of them at a time. Many stores advertise 10 for $10 but that doesn’t mean you need to buy ALL 10 to get the discount. (unless the sign says otherwise)

8. End caps are good MARKETING and NOT deals. Stores know our habits. They know we will not be able to resist the attractive packaging on the displays and we will cave and buy whatever they put there thinking it’s a special bargain – when most time – it’s NOT.

9. Take the high road or the low – NOT the middle.  When you find yourself needing to venture into an aisle know that the items at eye level are there on purpose. Manufacturers even pay fees to get their items placed there to optimize the fact you will see their products rather than others. Better bargains & healthier choices are frequently found on top or bottom shelves.

10. Compare labels – not all sour cream is alike. Generic & store brand items may be the same, but they may also NOT be the same. (See linked story on Sour Creams).  Learn to read the Nutritional Labels, pay attention to ingredients.

11. Compare brands & check prices. All things being the same from tip 10, generic & store brand are usually cheaper.  Make sure the prices on the shelf correspond to the correct item. Sometimes things get moved around.

12. Freshness is good – try the reach around. If the use by date or use by date on the product is too close for comfort, choose products from the BACK of the shelf.  Stock is rotated to put the oldest up front so the mindless shopper will grab it first. When buying yogurt, ALWAYS check your expiration dates before you get to the cashier – save yourself some time. I usually grab my milk from the back of the bottom shelf – making sure the expiration date is later than all the others.

13. Shop to keep food safe and fresh. There are many tips to go with this one…  Grocery shop last (don’t want frozen foods thawing), pay attention to sell by dates, grab frozen and refrigerated things LAST, bring insulated bags for cold stuff, bag cold stuff together, pack cold stuff in the car LAST so it is FIRST taken out at home and put away,

14. Resist the urge, just say no to check-out impulses! This is one of the reasons we don’t shop during peak crowd times.  Don’t allow yourself to be tricked into grabbing that conveniently placed saboteur at the check-out lane. Sweet, tempting, poor choices are frequently placed right at the check-out just in case you have managed to avoid them the rest of your trip.

Plastic or Paper Money

15. Ditch the plastic & go for paper.  Money that is! Studies have shown people who use cash to pay for their purchases less likely to buy on impulse when they see how much it actually costs. Paying with a $100 bill is much more visual than swiping the card through the machine and punching in your card number.




Finally, the most expensive food out there is the food we throw away! Be very mindful about what you buy and how much you buy. No need to throw all that paper in the trash!

Make it a GREAT day… and Happy, Healthy Shopping all you Supermarket Heroes!

Find a Friend–Lose Fat 4 Life

I have seen many people struggling to improve their health and lose weight, but seem to fall off the proverbial wagon. These people seem to have tried everything out there… alone.

Research has shown us time an time again that working with a partner or a team of like minded individuals increases the success rates and can also provide that “little something” needed to keep you on track and help with long term success too.  I have included a few articles with the information at the end of this blog article.


Having fought the weight monster and won, I understand the battle, the challenges, as well as many different techniques work for different people.  My goal, as a Lifestyle Coach is to provide you with ways and means to reach YOUR GOALS and then maintain them.

For this reason I offer many different options to provide you with the synergy of a group.

I am now offering Group Coaching on a weekly basis. Tuesdays in Bonita Springs and Fridays in Fort Myers at lunch to provide my clients with the support of my coaching as well as others also looking to improve their own personal health.

I am also offering a Walking Club 2x per month through Your Life Enrichment Center – 2nd Thursday of the month at Estero Community Center Park & the 4th Thursday of the month at Lake’s Park in Fort Myers.

I will be offering 2 3-day 60-mile training walks per month in order to ramp up to an October event date.  We will begin with shorter walks and tips for staying healthy and ramp up the mileage as our event date approaches.

I am offering a Muscle Reset Stretching class twice a week. Today’s lifestyles don’t allow for our muscles to be stretched and moved as our bodies are designed.  Hours at the computer, on the couch, or driving places do not allow our muscles to be worked as they were designed and can cause a lot of pain in our bodies.  By focusing our attention on specific stretching techniques we can discover greater relief and move easier on a daily basis.

For more information you can contact me or check out my Facebook Page The Healthy Grease Monkey. 


How social support can help you lose weight – American Psychological Association

Among those recruited with friends and given SBT plus social support, 95% completed treatment and 66% maintained their weight loss in full. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)”

Two-thirds of those who enrolled with friends had kept their weight off six months after the meetings ended. In contrast, only a quarter of those who attended on their own had achieved that same success.”

Choosing a Weight Loss Buddy,Teaming up is more fun, and it may even help you shed more pounds. – Web MD

Shafran, who also hosts Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy, an Internet radio show focusing on weight loss, says people fail not necessarily because they’re following a bad weight loss plan, but because they lack a good support system.

"It can be the deciding factor that makes a diet work — or not work," say Shafran.”

Could friends and family hold the key to successful weight loss? – Yahoo Health

Better yet, the results seemed to stick. At a 16-month follow up, a majority of the group participants had kept the weight off and their blood pressure down.”

How your friends make you fat—the social network of weight  – Harvard Health Publications

There are, of course, many reasons why people gain weight, and the Arizona State study provides only one possibility. But it also provides another motivation for each of us to make healthy choices—they help not only our own waistlines, but those of our friends and family, too.”

What is the Healthiest Vegetable? (Its not a Potato)

Healthiest Veggie

Seven years ago, when I began changing my lifestyle to one where I consciously decide what I eat, how I eat, and how much I eat, I began looking for places where I could get “More Bang for my Buck.” 

At the time, we were a one income household, had a brand new baby, and cutting costs was a MUST! Knowing that nutrition and health were important and knowing how fabulous I was feeling from my new found choices, I began searching for foods that were tasty AND nutritious.

Having tried the South Beach diet a few times prior, I knew that baked potatoes were not the best answer for me, in fact were a very pour choice for me, so I turned to my new best friend… The SWEET POTATO!

My first thought was “in a crock pot with brown sugar, cinnamon, & marshmallows” then I realized that wasn’t the best way to “improve” my health… sugar and high fructose corn syrup are not the answer, but sweet potatoes and cinnamon were a good choice.

Today, I wish to introduce you to the AMAZING sweet potato and a few recipes that are wonderful with these little power house vegetables. (YES, VEGETABLES)

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, based on percentages of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for six nutrients, SWEET POTATOES are and excellent choice!  To be honest, my husband was a bit leery at first, but now he is a sweet tater fanatic just like me – although he won’t admit it.

Healthiest Veggie w answer

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes 

These can be served with butter and organic sour cream, with butter and cinnamon, or just eaten plain.  Yummers

Easy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

— Just  like French Fries but tastier and healthier!

Sweet Potato Brownies

— The jury is still out on this one. I liked them, but they need to be cooked much longer as they are a very gooey brownie.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes-Easy & Nutritious

This is a tough one.  Hope you can handle it. Smile

We LOVE Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and since they are so packed with excellent vitamins & healthy minerals, we include them regularly. In my quest to choose healthy foods, this one ranks right up there AND my family loves them too!

We grill chicken at least twice a week and these are a favorite as we roast them on the grill while cooking up the chicken boobs.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes


  • Coconut or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic Salt
  • Organic Seasoning (we use Kirkland’s-bought at COSTCO)
  • Sweet Potatoes (these were from my friend’s family farm in Lousiana)


  • Wash potatoes well
  • Chop potatoes into 1/2-1 inch pieces
  • Coat skillet with EVOO or Coconut oil ~2 TBLSP
  • Arrange in a single layer on an iron skillet
  • Sprinkle Seasoning & Garlic Salt over potatoes
  • Roast over low heat on the grill until browned
    • The natural sugars caramelize and taste great
    • My 7 yr old thinks these are the best french fries

Roasted Sweet potatoes cooked

We have made these on the stove over medium heat (when we run out of LP for our grill) and we have made them over an open camp fire, in a bigger skillet. 

We have also been known to mix in some red potatoes with them for a little variation. (We are eating protein with the meal so a carb isn’t as bad)

Super easy, super tasty, super healthy!