challenge #23Welcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.
 Sweet Dreams–Challenge # 23
Whew! Christmas is over and we had a wonderful time with our kids. Now for our update on our holiday weight management for week 5 from our baseline pre-Thanksgiving weight: Vicki +0.2#, Bill -1.2#. And I, for one, am looking forward to going back to our regular eating routine. We had a couple of days of too much food, too many cookies, and too much alcohol. We are almost to the end of the holiday season with only one more weigh in. Our goal is to weigh the same or less than we did the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

On to the challenge….Do you have trouble falling asleep? Does your mind keep running, stressing you out and waking you up at night? Do you get up feeling like you never slept? Well, according to a survey done in 2007 by the Anxiety Disorders Association of American you are not alone. Seven out of ten adults say they have problems sleeping. The majority of adults with a stress-induced sleep problem experience it at least once a week and more than half have a problem several times a week. It’s a vicious cycle. Stress and anxiety affects your sleep and the lack of sleep affects your stress and anxiety levels. It is interesting to note that women are significantly more likely to have sleep problems. (There is no mention of menopausal issues???)

There numerous tips and strategies to help you sleep more soundly by reducing your stress and anxiety. We already exercise regularly and although we have a TV in our bedroom, we seldom turn it on. We pretty much go to bed at the same time every night and get up about the same time except on Sundays when I don’t have to set the alarm.

We decided to add to our nighttime ritual a couple of relaxation exercises and end our day with meditative breathing. We started with a simple basic exercise from Tai Chi, the constant bear. This is a stationary position that involves shifting your weight from leg to leg, gently turning your body, breathing as you shift your weight, and rhythmically moving your arms. My first Tai Chi teacher, Mark Lord, would tell us to practice 100 of these every day and so we did 100. Since we both practice Qigong we added another relaxing move we learned while practicing Qigong in Vancouver. We simply sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed both our knees in a circular motion 49 times, making sure to rub both the inside and outside of the knee. We closed with an app I have on my iPad, Breathe2Relax. With this app you can set the background photos, the music, and set the length of your inhales and exhales. After 16 breaths, it was time to turn off the iPad and drift into slumber.

Vicki’s Observations:
• I started wearing a Fitbit about a month ago and one of the reasons I got it was to track my sleep. It turns out I am sleeping better than I thought. It generally takes me 6 to 7 minutes to fall asleep. My problem is staying asleep and even that wasn’t as bad as I thought.
• I sure felt more relaxed when I went to sleep from doing the exercises and the breathing app and I didn’t wake up as often. According to Fitbit, my sleep efficiency improved.
• Something I have learned from the past is to keep a pad of paper and a pen next to the bed. That way when I wake up in the middle of the night and think of something I need to do, I write it down instead of waking up multiple times trying not to forget whatever it is that is so important at 2 AM (or so it seems). I may not be able to read in the morning but at least I went back to a more peaceful sleep.

Bill’s Observations:
• When we began this challenge Vicki told me that after we did our moves and breathing exercise it was time to turn off the light and no more iPad. It was a challenge the first few nights but the positive results were worth it.
• I had a deeper and more restful sleep than normal and felt much more rested when I woke up.
• In this age of technology we have way too many things to keep us from sleeping in a restful state. Put away the phones, iPads, tablets, and turn off the TV 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime and you will sleep better.
• Your body and your mind need to be prepared for sleep and this challenge will give you the tools to do just that.

Don’t underestimate the power of adequate sleep because lack of sleep does affect your weight. So along with eat smarter and move more, add get enough sleep.

With the New Year starting this week Bill and I review our 23 challenges and pick those that made the most positive impact on each of us and several that need more effort.

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?

The road to success is always under construction.
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
Challenge #7 Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record.
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating.
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation.
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment.
Challenge # 13 Switch it up.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction.
Challenge # 15 Little bites.
Challenge # 16 Drink your water.
Challenge # 17 Count your chews.
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet.
Challenge # 19 Start your day right.

Challenge # 20 Holiday moves.

Challenge # 21 Limit TV time.

Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman.

Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, "Health and Lifestyle Program."
Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.”