Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sleep Is Key To Weight Loss

By Rey Vetangelo

Meditation has long been upheld as a pillar of physical and mental health by eastern medicine and traditions. Western medicine and scientific theories have previously scoffed at the old adage, "Mind over matter." However, recent studies by professionals in both the medical and scientific worlds have begun to understand the truth behind the benefits of meditation.

Meditation is defined by Webster as, "the act or process of spending time in quiet thought." The goal of meditation is to achieve a completely relaxed state of being where your body is functioning properly and your mind is free of thought and worry, allowing both your mind and body to re-charge from the stress of life.

Starting your day with oatmeal (cooked, not instant) is a great way to add whole grains to your diet. You can also use barley and brown rice in place of white rice and refined pasta. You can include wheat germ and ground flax seed in your diet by adding them to your oatmeal, soups, stews, and even your breakfast smoothies.

Unfortunately getting little sleep is common and sometimes even something we find ourselves boasting about. While the immediate reaction of telling your co-worker that you pulled an all-nighter may be satisfying, but in the long run your metabolism will begin to function in a less effective manner.

This calm state additionally provides an opportunity for reflection and introspection. As you are relaxed there is less activity in your amygdala, which is directly involved in how we experience negative emotions. During meditation you are less prone to feelings of guilt, doubt, and fear. Free of those emotions, you can examine life from a clearer perspective, potentially gaining new insight into old experiences and your own natural emotional reactions.

Your body, much like your brain, benefits significantly from the practice of meditation. Though sleep provides much needed physical rest, science has begun to discover the significant benefits of guided, deliberate periods of waking rest, or meditation.

When you are sleep deprived, the hormone ghrelin, which tells you when to eat, is more prevalent in the body. At the same time there are reduced levels of the hormone leptin, the hormone that tells you to stop eating. This hormone imbalance wreaks havoc on your diet, which could result in significant weight loss if these negative sleep habits were routine. Also while you are sleep deprived your metabolism moves more slowly.

Interestingly, meditation also increases some other interesting results. It has been shown to positively affect the areas of the brain that handle self-esteem, social interaction, and creativity. By meditating, we allow our minds to work more efficiently which gives us greater clarity as we examine our own behavior and the behavior of others. We develop an increased ability to examine how a given situation may affect us and then make decisions based on careful consideration instead of base reaction.

Although sleeping to lose weight, may seem like a headline from a magazine, it really works. Be sure to make the changes that you need to in order to get the proper amount of daily rest, so you can avoid gaining weight, which could require weight loss surgery, if not managed properly.

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