Healthy Mama · Healthy Mom

Sleep-The Most Important Exercise

Yes, I just said most “IMPORTANT” exercise. That’s because it is.

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Unfortunately, people do not talk about the importance of sleep very much. But, you can bet your “bottom dollar” that it is a very important factor to having a healthy life.

I was just talking the other day with a women who was telling me about how awful her sleep was. She then began to tell me that she was working out all the time, trying to eat healthy and doing “everything she was supposed to be doing”, but still suffered from insomnia. I told her, “all that stuff is great, but if you don’t sleep and are always exhausted, what’s the point of all that other stuff?”

More people than you think suffer from sleep disorders, whether as a permanent disorder, or a seasonal thing.

Sleep Disorder Statistics:

50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder.

48.0% report snoring.

37.9% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month.

4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.

Drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.

Insomnia is the most common specific sleep disorder,  with short-term issues reported by about 30% of adults and chronic insomnia by 10%

3–5% of the overall proportion of obesity in adults could be attributable to short sleep

(https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep/sleep-statistics/)

How does lack of sleep affect you?

My third born son, Josiah I don’t know about you, but if I don’t get enough sleep, I am a pretty cranky person. I aint gonna lie. Sleep not only affects my mood, but obviously my energy during the day. With 4 kids and a myriad of responsibilities…that just won’t work for me! Sleep is a treasure to me, and it should be to you too!

“Those who report poor quality sleep also report poor quality health.

Overall health was highly associated with sleep quality.  Sixty-seven percent of those with less than good sleep quality also report “poor” or “only fair” health, with 27 percent reporting otherwise “good” health. Low life satisfaction and high stress were also related to sleep quality. Groups that reported poorer sleep quality were those with an annual income of less than $20,000, those with education levels of high school or less, and Americans between 30 and 64 years old compared to younger American adults ages 18-29.

Women are more likely to report insomnia symptoms; men are more likely to say they snore, supporting previous data that have shown women are more commonly diagnosed with insomnia and men with sleep apnea.”

(https://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/lack-sleep-affecting-americans-finds-the-national-sleep-foundation)

Why is sleep THE MOST IMPORTANT EXERCISE?

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Me getting my “sweat” on

In my opinion, exercise and sleep go hand in hand. Yes, exercise is very important, but if you don’t have the proper amount of sleep, then it doesn’t work; you just don’t have the energy for it. You could work out and eat healthy, but if you don’t sleep enough….it’s defeating the purpose. The only thing you’ll end up doing for yourself, is wear yourself out!

I think as mama’s especially, we need to get our health priorities in check first. Before we start a new diet, or go on a new workout plan, we need to get our sleep down first.

Nevertheless, Sleep and exercise go hand in hand.

“People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, a new study concludes.

A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity.” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/study-physical-activity-impacts-overall-quality-sleep)

If you don’t sleep well, you don’t exercise well. If you don’t exercise well, you don’t sleep well.

Yes, there needs to be a balance, but like I said before…you need to make sleep a very important priority! Especially when you have a husband and or kids to tend to. When I’m sleep deprived, I am cranky, short, easily agitated etc. That just doesn’t work If I am trying to be loving, kind, patient…

Now, before children, I was able to take naps. Does anyone here remember NAPS???? I do….vaguely. Nowadays, I would be lucky to get 5 minutes! I guess that’s just the mom-life.

But, back to the subject…

Sleep is so very important.

Some Practical Tips…

If you are like me, I get a “to do list” going round in circles in my mind, right about bed time.  My husband always says, “ok…lets go to sleep now”, turns over and is literally asleep! It drives me nuts, because usually, I have to “wind down”. I need to slowly turn my brain off. I usually read a book, watch a show (usually for about 15 minutes before I pass out), read emails etc. before actually falling asleep.

Even with my exercise and eating right, I still struggle with falling asleep sometimes. Maybe this is you too. With all that being said, here are some tips for falling asleep AND having a healthy nights sleep…

  1. Limit your “screen time” before bed. Studies show that “The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive.” (Helpguide.org) It is generally a bad idea to watch a show (like I do sometimes), read articles, scroll Facebook etc. It does nothing but stimulate your brain, not relax you.
  2. Exercise during the day. Exercise is a great way to achieve weight loss and to give you that “burst of energy” during the day, but most importantly, it allows you to sleep better at night!
  3. Control your exposure to light at night. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert.
  4. Watch what you eat. Watch the caffeine intake mamas! Caffeine, sugar and carbs can be a bad thing in excess. “Cut back on sugary foods and refined carbs. Eating lots of sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, and pasta during the day can trigger wakefulness at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Also, don’t eat a heavy meal at night.” -(help guide.org)
  5. Clear your mind before bed. Stress can be a huge factor in lack-of-sleep too. God tells us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” Phil 4:6. Praying as you are falling asleep is awesome. It is one of my favorite ways to fall asleep.

There you go! Now you know my “shpeal” on sleep, and how incredibly important it is for your health as a whole. I hope that this post was encouraging!

Be sure to “like” this post, and share it so that others can learn about how important sleep is! Thanks!

God Bless!

-Z

 

 

Fitnessness · Fitnessness

My Fitness Journey Through 5 Pregnancies

fitness journey 2

My Fitness Journey Through 5 Pregnancies

Yes, you heard right…5 pregnancies! Although I only had 4 full-term pregnancies, I’ve learned a lot about nutrition and fitness in the past 9 years.

I wanted to share some pregnancy photos with y’all, so that you have a better idea of where I started from, and hopefully encourage you to be healthy in your pregnancy.

My second pregnancy was actually my first full term pregnancy (be sure to watch out for my post about My Miscarriage).

Enter pregnancy #2…

1st pregnancy

This is me only at 6 months along! I gained so much weight right off the bat! I had no idea that I needed to be active and eat nutritious food for the health of my baby and me. People told me, “you need to eat for two!”. I believed them.

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Jesse at 2 months old. My heaviest weight.

I had gained so much weight with his pregnancy, that after I had him, I wasn’t able to lose weight. At that point, I was about 25 pounds over my healthy weight, and I didn’t know any better! While I was nursing, I was always hungry, and because everyone told me that I needed eat a bunch of carbs to be able to make milk for him…I ate a bunch of carbs! Not healthy carbs either!

6 months after I gave birth to my first, I got pregnant!!! I know right?!?!?

I had no idea that you could get pregnant while you were nursing!

But, alas…I was pregnant!!!

Pregnancy #3…

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About 6 months along with #2 full-term pregnancy.

I had no idea what I was doing, and I sure as heck did not understand nutrition during pregnancy. This was my heaviest of all pregnancies. I had gained almost 50 pounds (for my 5′ 4″ self, that’s a lot!)!

Then there was pregnancy #4…

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The most embarrassing swimsuit choice ever!

About 6 months along with #3 baby

Although this picture doesn’t do me (or that hideous swimsuit), any justice….I actually was smaller during this pregnancy. This is where I began to understand that I needed to be active and eat nutritious food for health. I started to read articles about how staying fit during pregnancy was very important, and began implementing some of things I learned.

Let me just tell you…I barely made it to the hospital with this guy! This was not only the easiest pregnancy, by far, but the easiest labor too! I barely made it to the hospital in time to deliver! I arrived at the hospital, and then 7 minutes later…he was born!

I attribute the ease of this pregnancy to the implementation of nutrition and health (although not perfect at the time).

Pregnancy #4…

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By this pregnancy….I began to understand the importance of nutrition and exercise. I was exercising regularly and eating fairly nutritious at that point, and feeling a lot better.

Enter THM (Trim Healthy Mama). This lifestyle of eating really changed my husbands and my health in so many ways! We both felt better, had more energy and were over-all, looking thinner and more trim.

For the first time ever, we were able to eat decadently and not feel guilty or “nasty” afterwards. We began seeing so many benefits that we couldn’t deny.

We love THM, and will be lifetime “THM’rs”.

Fortunately, this pregnancy and labor went pretty easy as well.

Pregnancy #5…

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4 months along with pregnancy #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now pu-lease tell me you see the difference! I was like 16 weeks along here, and was ripped! After 4 pregnancies…I finally got the point of how important physical fitness was to a pregnancy! I was actually still lifting weights and doing quite a bit of cardio for all of the pregnancy. This was by far, my most healthy pregnancy.

Here is me about 6 months along with #5, and with pregnancy #2. Same amount of months-completly different figures!

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6 months along with pregnancy #5.
1st pregnancy
6 months along with pregnancy # 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the difference?!?!

So…I definitely am a big advocate for fitness during pregnancy. It is beneficial, not only in the way you feel and look, but in the ease of labor! My labors were so easy after I began exercise during pregnancy!

Note: I didn’t use any pain meds or epidural’s in any of my labors! Maybe it is because of my phobia of needles, or just the fact that my pregnancies were healthy, and I really didn’t need them. Regardless, I didn’t use any, and I believe that most women are stronger than they think. If you’re thinking about going “all natural”….DO IT! You’ll be happy you did!

Now that I am done with babies (God-willing haha), I am still on my journey to be healthy, and to be the example of what health looks like to my kids.

I am not perfect…FAR FROM IT. I still have stretch marks, skin that is not as “elastic” as I would wish, wrinkles, grey hairs, and many other imperfections,  but I strive to be as healthy and active as I can be.

So, here is encouragement to all you mamas out there…Don’t give up!

Keep up being active, and especially eating nutritious foods! If you haven’t hear of THM…I highly suggest you toking into it! It’s an amazing lifestyle!

You can do it! I believe in you!

God Bless!

-Z

 

Fitnessness

20 Minute Workout for the Holiday bloat…

Feeling the bloat from the holidays???

I don’t know about you…but I sure do! Holy shmokes! The last couple of days I have had to make my yummy Easy Protein Smoothie (check out my Recipe page), because I really haven’t been feeling good. That Smoothie is jam-packed with nutrition…its kind of a mini “reset” button for your health. And…great thing about it…it keeps you “regular” ;). You’re welcome. 🙂

All those sweets and treats….and BREAD! Amazingly delicious bread! I love bread. My one weakness! The bad part is….I make REALLY good bread. Lets just put it this way…for a while there, I made bread all the time….and we ate it all the time. My waist was not happy.

 

Try This awesome workout 3 times a week…

Long story short….After the holidays, and all the yummy food and treats we’ve had…It’s now time to focus back on our bodies. Time to get back into the routine of some good ole fashion workouts! Here is a great little 20 minute workout, that will get you sweating and melting the holiday weight off!

All you need is 10 lb weights and 5 lb weights. Make sure to keep your form nice and neat. Feel free to give me some feedback, and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more workouts!

 

Disclaimer:

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. This is particularly true if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity. Do not start this fitness program if your physician or health care provider advises against it. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately.

This site offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.