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The Sleep Diet


Yours truly just got back from Hollywood. Christina Ferrare and Michael Burger, hosts of Home and Family, a talk show on the Family channel, found my Web site and invited me to do a 15 minute segment detailing what they dubbed "the sleep diet." Since most of your were at work at 1 p.m. last Friday, I'll share the comments with you here. 

In my opinion, sleep ranks with great food and terrific sex as one of life's greatest pleasures. Your body slows down to rebuild and replenish. Brain waves fall to just 5 cycles per second, down from over 14 cycles per second in the waking state. Your metabolism falls to its lowest rate, your basal body metabolic rate. 

So, given these facts, how can you burn fat while you're sleeping? 

Because your body burns 65% of its daily calories keeping your basic body functions going. While you're dreaming, your body is converting that hated fat into adenosine triphoshate (ATP), the chemical energy your body uses as fuel. 

Think about it. Your heart is still beating, right? Your breathing slows, sure, but you're still breathing. Your body is building new tissues. If you've ever remodeled a house, you know how much energy it takes to rebuild! All these activities are burning fat while you sleep. 

That means as average adult female like me, whose total energy needs equal about 2,000 calories a day, will use up to 1,400 calories in a 24 hour period to maintain normal body activities. 

Since this upkeep requires such a large amount of your daily caloric intake, a slight increase or decrease in your basal metabolic rate can have a BIG impact on your weight. A 10 percent reduction in the resting metabolic rate equals a negative energy expenditure of over 50,000 calories per year. That translates into a weight gain of over 14 pounds annually. (You can check my math. A pound of flesh generally equals 3,500 calories.) 

Of course, if you raise your basal metabolic rate just 10 percent you can lose 14 pounds a year working out, eating, sleeping, reading, digesting, etc. 

So, how do you raise your basal metabolic rate? Exercise will raise the rate 20% for up to three hours after you work out. But eating the right combination of foods can turbocharge your metabolism even more, boosting it 30% above the resting rate for up to 10 hours after you eat. 

That means you can eat the right foods a couple of hours before you go to bed and burn fat all night long (as long as you snooze just eight hours! Do the math!) 

What are the right foods to eat at bedtime? Well, boys and girls, it's not milk and cookies. Sugar is the worst thing you can ingest before bedtime because it will cause a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows while you sleep. Many wake up feeling slightly queasy. 

If you are a slow metabolizer (I call them the "colds" because their hands and feet are always cold), that meal needs to consist of 40% lean protein, 40% complex carbohydrates and just 20 percent fat. 

And we're not talking about a lot of food right before bed. I'm talking two to three ounces of protein. One of my favorite night time meals is two soft boiled eggs, two pieces of dry whole wheat toast, a half a grapefruit (no sugar!) and a glass of ice cold water. (It takes calories to warm that water to body temperature.) 

Fast metabolizers, who I have dubbed "hots" because they sweat even eating ice cream, should eat 30 percent complex carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 40 percent lean protein. These people need to eat dairy products, which the colds have to avoid. They can have cottage cheese or cheese and crackers before bedtime. Salami and eggs will work for a hot a few hours before bedtime for these speedy metabolizers. 

Not eating after 6 p.m. is really not a good idea. Your body needs constant nourishment. The best thing to do is to eat small amounts throughout the day. And that means right before bedtime, too. 

Freud once said ignorance is no excuse for dumb behavior. In the Meltdown interpretation of those words, ignorance is a choice we make to prevent ourselves from making difficult changes in our lives even though we really know better. Now you have no excuse not to get healthy! 

Did you know: 

The average human body contains enough: 

  • Iron to make a 3 inch nail
  • Sulfer to kill all the fleas on an average dog
  • Carbon to make 900 pencils
  • Potassium to fire a toy cannon
  • Fat to make 7 bars of soap
  • Phosphorous to make 2,200 match heads
  • Water to fill a ten gallon tank  

    This matter is copyrighted. That means you have the right to copy it ... as long as you credit me and/or Meltdown International Inc.. Let's educate the world!!!


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