Sweet advice to lose weight
10 June 2006
1 - First with the news
Copyright 2006 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved
The latest diet plan has a seductive and delicious approach, as Beth Tyrrell reports
RELAX. Lie back in your bed, close your eyes, breathe deeply -- and lose weight while you do it.
The Hibernation Diet is the latest food plan to take the pain out of weight-loss and boost your energy levels.
Best of all, it will bring a little sweetness into your life -- because the secret of the diet is honey.
"Lots of animals feed themselves up over the summer, sleep through the winter and come out slim and famished," the diet's creator Stuart McInnes said.
"Why? Obviously, they live off stored fat. What we're forgetting is that, though we don't hibernate, we do the same thing when we sleep. We live off our fat stores.
"Or we should do but, because of our confused and often incorrect information about how, what and when to eat, we actually stop our bodies from using up those fat stores at night, so we deny ourselves the benefits that hibernating animals get."
But there is a difference between hibernation and sleep. Hibernating animals eat special foods in preparation for their big sleep -- foods that keep their hormones in a delicate balance and allow their body to survive on stored fat alone, without affecting their bone or muscle mass.
With a few changes to your diet and fitness regime, you can balance your hormones to make the most of your sleep -- and wake up refreshed and slim.
"Those first hours are when you sleep the most deeply and when your overnight repair systems are at their busiest," McInnes explains.
WHAT TO DO
According to the diet's creator, your blood sugar levels are just as important for a good night's sleep as they are during the day.
Your brain uses energy while you sleep and, if your blood sugar levels are off-balance, it will release stress hormones into your system, degrading the quality of your sleep and preventing your body from carrying out its essential repairs. When your body is healthy and carries out these repairs while you sleep, it uses energy from stored fat.
This helps you lose weight while you sleep. So to keep your blood sugar levels and your hormones balanced, consider the following:
DOING THE MATHS McInnes explains how it works. "We'll assume you sleep for eight hours a night. An average female of, say, 5ft 6in and 9.5 stone is probably burning about 60 calories an hour. During your slow wave sleep, you are burning 240.
"But, if you introduce three resistance routines a week, you will increase that to 600 calories each night in that four-hour period.
"During lighter sleep, you will still burn 50 per cent more calories than otherwise, so
you'll total 960 a night or 6720
a week -- doubling your fat metabolism.
"Compare that with one full hour of pounding your heart out on the treadmill.
"That will result in 1000 calories used. But 500 of these come from carbohydrates, including converted muscle, 200 come from muscle stores, so have no effect on body fat at all. A miserable 300 come from body fat stores, equivalent to 33 fat grams of loss."
RESISTANCE EXERCISE * Aerobic exercise is excellent for general fitness, but resistance exercise increases muscle strength and muscle burns calories even when you are resting. "Resistance exercise kicks
the process of the Hibernation Diet into overdrive, giving
your body an extra incentive to work harder at night on repair and recovery -- that means burning more night calories, so
it speeds up weight loss," McInnes said.
* Talk to a qualified personal trainer at your gym to organise a workout that will suit your specific needs.
HONEY AT NIGHTTake a tablespoon of honey at night, either in a warm drink, a smoothie or straight from the jar. What's so special about honey? "It has the same amounts of glucose and fructose," explains McInnes.
"So your liver takes in the fructose and the fructose regulates glucose in the liver. That keeps your blood sugar level balanced all night, with no sudden highs or lows.
"Your liver has stores to keep your brain fuelled, so you don't need stress hormones.
"This means your recovery hormones get on with their job -- and they use up your fat stores to do it."
LIGHT POLLUTION * Get complete rest by maximising your sleep hormone -- melatonin. "The pineal gland in the brain releases the sleep hormone melatonin when darkness falls," McInnes says. "This sleep hormone needs total darkness to bring all the benefits of sleep recovery and to optimise our fat-burning opportunities."
HEALTHY EATING * Stick to the basics of healthy eating -- plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and few processed foods.
* Quality lean meat three times a week and plenty of fresh fish, both oily and white, will keep your body supplied with protein. Eggs are also good, but only two or three a week because they can raise cholesterol.
* Healthy carbohydrates should be eaten every day -- balance your sources and include plenty of fructose-filled fruits, vegetables and honey.
The Hibernation Diet, by Mike and Stuart McInnes and Maggie Stanfield, is published by Souvenir Press.
For more information, visit www.hibernationdiet.com
After a busy night repairing your body, you will need a healthy breakfast - so don't even think about skipping it. Choose a healthy carbohydrate such as muesli, porridge or wholemeal toast, fruit and a protein source such as a poached egg or cheese.
Snack times, 11am-5pm
Before leaving work and also when you arrive home from work, you should keep your blood sugar level stable with a healthy snack, such as crackers with cheese or honey, a handful of seeds or nuts, or a piece of fruit.
Take control of your health (and wealth) by packing your own lunch. Choose nutritious soups, wholegrain breads, salads, healthy cheeses and fish.
Your evening meal should be rich in vital nutrients and contain lots of fresh fruit/vegetables, but it should not leave you feeling heavy and bloated. Be careful about portion size and try to take a walk or do a little resistance work a couple of hours later.
No choices - you must take one or two tablespoons of honey in the hour before you go to bed. Then make like a honey bear and hibernate happily for the night.