Health Diary Week 8: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

The Big Grump!

Image: Waldiwkl from Pixabay

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Hi and welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

So here we go…

… I’m back to obese! I’m not completely disheartened though – as I said before, there will be ‘ups’ and ‘downs’. And, there were positives – despite gaining back 1.8 lb, I appear to have lost 0.5% fat. I was surprised my fat percentage reduced, because my physical activity was lower than usual this week (5 hours 45 minutes), with 2 hours circuit training, only 1 hr 45 minutes on the exercise bike and the rest just general walking about:

My Week 8 results (back to obese)

Another positive – after two months there’s been shrinkage in body measurements. The biggest change was a reduction in my thigh by 6 cm and calf by 4 cm (I wonder if this can be right – it seems a lot!). Also, my waist is 2 cm and hips 1 cm smaller, reducing my waist-hip ratio slightly – I was hoping for better results here, as I wanted to lessen my risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes[1], but as it is I’m still in the ‘high risk’ zone. I really need my belly fat to shift – it just doesn’t seem to want to!:

Image: Marta Cuesta from Pixabay (thought I better not traumatise you with an actual picture of my belly flab!)

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s have a look at what food was on my plate, the healthy and not so healthy choices and identify any tweaks I could make to improve my nutrition…

So, why do I think I gained weight?…

Poor Sleep, Snacks and Alcohol:

Well, at the end of last week and into this one I felt very grumpy – my mind was over-active resulting in late nights and disrupted sleep. This ultimately led to constantly feeling tired and the dreaded ‘comfort-eating’ – I snacked more than usual with some bad choices. The thing about sleep deprivation is it makes you hungrier – increasing appetite-stimulating hormones, reducing appetite-inhibiting hormones and activating calorific food-craving brain regions[2, 3] – not a good combination! On top of the usual snacks, I ate fudge (sooooo much sugar!), cheesy nachos, crisps, salted peanuts and a mince pie:

Top: Friday’s ‘Girls’ movie night in’ snack feast! Right: Cheesy nachos. Left: Mince pie & Port (Christmas Tree decorating tradition).

Thankfully I was feeling happier by the weekend, which was very social and boozy (more alcohol calories!). Being in a better mood made it easier to make some healthier choices – I took veg sticks and reduced-fat hummus and salsa dips to our ‘Girls’ movie night in’ to reduce calorie intake. And, I only ate one of the cake slices – pleased with myself about that. But for dinner, I had chip shop chips (very high saturated fat). This was accompanied by a couple of slices of very tasty pizza made from scratch by Instagram’s @baldveganchef. As a house guest, I was treated to more delicious home-cooked food over the weekend – I’d honestly rather eat Ben’s food than go to a restaurant:

Images & food by @baldveganchef. Left: Tagine with lime & coriander millet and red cabbage & beetroot slaw. Right: Sweet potato toast with cheesy greens & garlic mushrooms. All plant-based & gluten-free.

Summary

So, in summary, it seems lack of sleep and consequent tiredness was probably the main culprit of this week’s weight gain by increasing poor snacking and reducing activity levels. Despite this, there were still some encouraging results that I will focus on to keep me moving forward into next week.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up.

Week 9>>>
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References

1. World Health Organisation, 2011. Waist Circumference and Waist-Hip Ratio Report of a WHO Expert Consultation. Geneva, 8–11 December 2008 [online]. Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/44583/9789241501491_eng.pdf;sequence=1.
2. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016. National Institutes of Health matters: Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain [online]. Available from: www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/molecular-ties-between-lack-sleep-weight-gain.
3. Hanlon, E. C., Tasali, E., Leproult, R., Stuhr, K. L., Doncheck, E., de Wit, H., Hillard, C. J. and Van Cauter, E., 2016. Sleep Restriction Enhances the Daily Rhythm of Circulating Levels of Endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoylglycerol. Sleep [online] 39 (3), 653-664. Sleep, Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4763355/.

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