And if you have read Lights Out: Sugar, Sleep and Survival" by T.S. Wiley, you will likely recognize that the title of this blog post is a play on the book's title. The book which claims that "when it comes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression, everything you believe is a lie."
The book is pretty good. And I highly recommend you read it. For a whopping $11.48, you can grab it at Amazon. Here is the blatantly obvious link again. I recall that when I first read it a few years ago, I simply borrowed it from my local library. Either way, it is an awesome read for right now when the skies are grey and you feel like flipping on every single light at your house to keep your sanity.
Don't do that, however. At least not close to your bed time. Let's talk about why.
What is the best thing you can do for yourself when the weather turns lousy and it is clear we are headed closer to winter?
Go for an invigorating run, right? Turn on the lights to stay awake, right?
Well, not always. Just to be clear I am not telling you NOT to go for a run if this is what you love.
But whatever you do, tune into the season and get yourself some sleep. This is what "all the cool kids" did way back before we had way too much sugar and readily available electricity to keep us awake and insane for as long as we pleased.
O.k., I am not suggesting you need to pretend you live in a cave:-). But truth be told the best way for keep in shape when the skies turn grey is to tuck into bed earlier. T.S. Wiley suggests getting to bed 30 min earlier every week from your usual ("summer party time late") until you get as close to 9 hours as you can.
Why do you need sleep more than you need exercise to keep your waist slim?
Because lack of sleep, especially when combined with "chronic cardio," is a recipe for disaster: rising cortisol and inability to properly regulate blood sugar, also known as the largest contributor a "muffin top." Especially when you are a woman.
What?? 9 hours of sleep? Are you kidding me? HOW? I can only START catching up on everything after my kids go to bed....
Yes, I hear you. And I am guilty of this also. Guess what time I was writing up this blog post:-)?
Here are a few things you can do if you do wind up in front of your computer late at night:
1) install f.lux - it is a free program that will track the time of the day in your time zone and will turn your computer screen a comforting orange glow after sunset. This may sound a bit odd to you but it really works. Blue spectrum light (such as light emitting from TV screens/ computer screens) disrupts your melatonin which, in turns, disrupts your circadian rhythm and your ability to fall asleep at night. Which messes up your metabolism and your ability to lose weight and keep it off. Not fun and so totally not worth it.
2) If your handheld device is keeping you up late, you can don on goofy looking orange glasses to achieve the same effect. You might look dorky catching up on your email but you will sleep a lot better. Yep, a whopping $8.10 can actually buy you better sleep. Not bad.
3) Dim your lights at night after dinner and, overall, stick to orange hues. Light a candle. Blues are awesome for when you need to get going in the morning. Save them for that. Orange is what you need at night to keep your melatonin levels where you want them.
Not so hard, really. And, just to clarify, I am NOT suggesting you give up on your exercise during Fall/ Winter. The right amount and type is exercise is healthy and fantastic for you. What I am saying is this: if weight loss and metabolic health are your priorities, shift your workouts away from prolonged cardio and towards short "bursts." And walks. Lots of casual walks whenever your fancy strikes you and especially whenever the sun comes out. Skip the running gear as it simply takes too long to get into: just catch some outdoor light whenever you can. And use the shorter daylight time to catch more sleep. You will stay trimmer and will be less likely to crave sugar or get sick over the holidays. Sounds like a win/ win situation.
Which brings me to a quick announcement. I will be blogging less frequently now also because I feel the need to slow down and pay attention to my own body and catch up on my sleep.
As the days are getting shorter, I am getting more focused on my core priorities:
1) Pay attention to my own body, mind and spirit to stay healthy through the holidays;
2) Focus on the most effective way to help others when my work days are shorter.
Right now, I am focusing on one-one-one client work. Which does mean fewer blog posts and fewer newsletters. If you are interested in working with me one-on-one, email me to schedule a complimentary skype/ phone chat. That way we can get to know each other better and see if we are a good fit.
I look forward to hearing from you! Please email me with any questions or feedback. I love your feedback and I read every single email from you. In the mean time, more sleep for me means less frequent blog posts (so more sleep for you too:-)) and a more rested and focused nutrition coach. Yours truly.