Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sleep Deprived

I'm not much of a sleeper.  Well, I take that back...when I do sleep, I sleep very deep and very soundly for about an average of 5 hours per night.   According to the experts that is not enough.  There is evidence that in order to maintain good health, the average adult needs 8-9 hours of sleep a night.  In addition there are studies that show that getting sufficient sleep is integral to weight loss. 

My own experience is conflicted in this case.  While I don't get the number of hours of sleep that I'm supposed to, I always feel rested when I wake up.  I've always been an early riser, usually getting up between 6-7 a.m., even if I go to bed at 1 or 2 a.m.  In fact I would say that is it often a struggle for me to stay in bed and go back to sleep.  Once I'm up, I'm up.  On the other hand, I do sometimes think that what I feel as hunger is actually me being tired.  I have become so disconnected from my physical self that I misread what my body is telling me.  Wait, this is the aha moment of my journey.  I finally figured out that what I am feeling is often anger, sadness, stress, tiredness and a plethora of other feelings, but I'm feeding it like it's hunger. Food is my comfort. 

I'm telling you honestly that broccoli is not comfort food.  Mac and Cheese is, or pizza or any number of unhealthy choices, those are comfortable.  So now I have realized that in addition to not eating when I'm actually hungry, I am eating the absolute wrong foods to feed every other emotion that I am not feeling.

So, how to solve this issue.  It's not rocket science.  It's a matter of taking stock when you go to grab something to eat.  Am I eating because I'm hungry?  Pretty simple huh?  Ha!!  The issue for me is that I have to admit that I'm feeling something else and that it's so overwhelming to me that I don't want to feel it.  Not easy at all.  The big one for me is stress.  Anytime that something at work is stressing me out I immediately go to the cafeteria and find some big muffin or Cinnamon roll and eat it as quick as I can.  Or I used to.  In order to be successful, that coping skill and behavior has to change.  BTW, nothing makes me feel better than a big ice cream cone. 

So, back to sleep....no pun intended.  If I'm sleep deprived or angry or sad or stressed I will be more susceptible to making bad food choices.  So it is necessary that in addition to taking stock of why I am eating I am also trying to ensure that I sleep more so that I'm well rested.  I'm taking steps to reduce my stress level.  I might take a walk around the block at work when things get really thermal nuclear, or exercise, play with my dog, talk to a friend.  When I'm angry I go work out on my heavy bag.  It's great exercise and I get to punch whoever is pissing me off the most at the moment, if only in my imagination.  When I take care to do all these things in addition to my eating plan and exercise regimen it ensures more success in my endeavor.

Thanks for listening. 


  1. You've probably crossed one of the biggest hurdles in your path..why you eat. No behavior can be changed until you figure out the why. Congratulations!

    It took me a while to figure out the sleep thing, but once I did lots of other stuff fell into place..congrats again!

    You're getting good at this :)

    1. Why thank you Deeg. It has been and continues to be a big learning experience.