TODAY’S POINT OF BALANCE: Some good ol’ fashioned randomness this Tuesday evening, in the form of three articles I found recently:
As a person always looking for the secret to a good night’s rest, this article from The New York Times called “The Claim: Counting Sheep Helps You Fall Asleep” got my attention.
What scientists found in their studies was “that subjects took slightly longer to fall asleep on nights they were instructed to distract themselves by counting sheep or were given no instructions at all. But when they were told to imagine a relaxing scene — a beach, for example — they fell asleep an average of 20 minutes sooner than they did on other nights. Counting sheep, the scientists suggested, may simply be too boring to do for very long, while images of a soothing shoreline or tranquil stream are engrossing enough to concentrate on.”
I am not surprised by this study. My mind races at night when my head hits the pillow: I start thinking of what I didn’t do today, what has to get done tomorrow, what’s on the agenda for the next day, and so on. To ease my mind to a calmer place and to get myself to sleep, I must simply clear my mind and focus on my breathing. Just that simple act is effective for me. When I start counting sheep, or counting backwards by 3s from 300, the task itself is tedious, and who really wants to do that much math at 11PM?
Get ready for front-of-package nutrition labeling: In “One Bowl = 2 Servings. F.D.A. May Fix That.”, also from The New York Times, “the F.D.A. is now looking at bringing serving sizes for foods like chips, cookies, breakfast cereals and ice cream into line with how Americans really eat. Combined with more prominent labeling, the result could be a greater sense of public caution about unhealthy foods.”
I am all for this. Think about when you give yourself a treat of a bowl of ice cream at the end of a long day. The standard serving size for ice cream is a 1/2 cup, but how often do you just take ONE scoop of rocky road? The typical serving is probably closer to at least a cup, if not more. With more realistic and prominent labeling, I would personally make better decisions about what items I would buy at the store even though I already check nutrition labels on a regular basis. This change may allow for those who aren’t already doing so to be more informed about what they are putting in their bodies. Always a good thing.
Listen to your body, not your mind: Rational Or Emotional? Your Brain On Food from NPR hit a nerve:
“After you’ve lost weight, you have an increase in the emotional response to food,” says Columbia University Medical Center researcher Michael Rosenbaum, who studies the body’s response to weight loss. He says you also see “a decrease in the activity of brain systems that might be more involved in restraint… After significant weight loss, leptin levels drop. This seems to signal to the brain a need to seek more food.”
I was discussing this today during a business meeting: I find that maintaining my weight loss is so much harder than losing the weight. When you are focused on dropping some pounds, you give yourself rules to follow, calories to count, foods that you cannot eat. But when you reach your goal, you want to relax and not have to worry so much about these things. So you have that treat that you used to pass on when you were in “dieting” mode, and you start to let yourself have it a bit too much… all of a sudden that number on the scale starts to move in the wrong direction. But who knew there was a hormonal shift in my body that motivated my food thoughts in such a way! Even more the reason for a healthy balance in life and all things (ice cream included) in moderation!
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: I just hit the jackpot on Restaurant.com and got $300 in gift certificates for only $24! You know a restaurant review is on the way!