This week we get some amazing news: Exercise less and sleep more to slim down!
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
Jonathan: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor and Carrie Brown back with another Smarter Science of Slim podcast. Carrie, what’s going on?
Carrie: How are you dear chap?
Jonathan: I am doing very well. We have a new microphone.
Carrie: We do? Yay!
Jonathan: Yay! We like our new microphone.
Carrie: It’s very black and sexy.
Jonathan: It is sleek.
Carrie: And shiny.
Jonathan: And shiny. We like it. Well you know what else is sleek and shiny, Carrie? I always try to do these transitions and some of them work better than others.
Carrie: And sometimes Carrie just looks at him blankly like, “What are you thinking?”
Jonathan: Well what is sleek and shiny is how much better we can look and feel by doing some things that most people would not associate with wellness.
Carrie: Okay, I like that kind of sleek and shiny.
Jonathan: Because it’s like, “Man, when you do these things, it’s just like things start to fall into place, you’re feeling good, muffin tops start to go away even though you didn’t really change anything about your eating or your exercise.” Carrie’s like, “Tell me sleek and shiny!” A couple of things – we’ve covered these in other podcasts but I really want to drive them home because I’m not sure they’ve set in because of the way our society is structured. Let me give you a very concrete example. Carrie, are you ready?
Carrie: Okay, I’m ready.
Jonathan: Okay. I won’t use you as an example. So let’s say you go into work, water cooler or just go somewhere and someone who isn’t really your friend just someone you know and you tell them, “Hey, guess what? I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning, 4 a.m. put on my running shoes…” Carries like “I’m not sure I’d ever…” It’s a fictional story, it’s illustrative. “I put on my running shoes and I went out and I jogged for two hours.”
Carrie: At this point my eyes would be like the size of dinner plates and I’d be going, “Who is this dude?”
Jonathan: No this is you saying this.
Carrie: Oh, I’m saying that?
Jonathan: That’s what I’m saying.
Carrie: I’m hyperventilating now.
Jonathan: Imagine you said that to someone at work, what do you think? And assume they didn’t know that you were like ‘anti-exercise’ person, but what would they say? What would they say besides…?
Carrie: Their eyes would glaze over and they’d go, “Who is this woman?”
Jonathan: Okay, let’s not use Carrie as an example, failed example. For someone who has not openly, on podcasts, stated that she thinks certain things on exercise. If you dear listener, were going to work and were to say these things, most people would probably say, “Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. Good job.” Like, “Wow. That’s an impressive thing you did.” They’d pat you on the back and they’d be like, “Yeah. Do more of that. That’s a good thing.”
Carrie: I wouldn’t be doing that but yeah.
Jonathan: Shush Carrie. You’re ruining it. Now imagine another scenario, not you. Imagine dear listener that you came into work the next day or the next week or you overheard someone else and they were like, “You know what? I slept in for two hours this morning.”
Carrie: Whoot whoot!
Jonathan: “I got an extra two hours of sleep and in fact for the past week I’ve been sleeping more than I ever have in my entire life.”
Carrie: Go you!
Jonathan: Yeah. Except if you say that to your boss especially, they’d be like, “Well, I need to give this person more work. I don’t know what’s going on here.” The reason I tell this story is we live in a culture that in some cases rewards us for things that are very, very harmful and counterproductive to our fat loss woes like depriving yourself of sleep. Sleep is therapeutic. We’re only starting to understand how… people say they’re sleep-deprived.
If you listen to this podcast you know how not eating food is poisonous. It is, it could kill you. If you don’t eat food for long enough you could die. If you don’t sleep long enough for a long enough period of time your body would make you fall asleep. But conceptually if that didn’t happen you would also die. Being sleep-starved is as detrimental to your health as not breathing, as not eating, as not drinking. It is a fundamental human need.
Carrie: Go sleep!
Jonathan: Go sleep. The reason that is so important Carrie, is it’s so under our radar like it’s so not at the forefront of our mind how important sleep is that — I just recently made this connection. We continue to get questions from a great deal of our listeners, our wonderful, brilliant, beautiful women, who are premenopausal, going through menopause, or postmenopausal, and they have expressed that maintaining the body shape they want now seems way harder than it’s ever been in their entire life.
Jonathan: What I also hear consistently is that getting a good night’s sleep is very, very hard for these individuals. Now there’s two things happening. Is it because you are a certain age that you can’t lose weight? Could it be because you’re sleeping four hours a night? I don’t care what age you are. If you sleep four hours a night you are going to cause hormonal chaos in your body. I’m not saying this to blame anyone but I’m just saying here’s how… it’s sad, it’s heart breaking.
Carrie: This is how it works.
Jonathan: This is how it works but it’s heartbreaking because here you have my mother who is “I’m going to try even harder with my eating. I’m going to just…” She’s not cutting calories or anything like that she knows better but she’s taking the smarter approach and she’s like, “I’m eating non-starchy vegetables, eating nutrient-dense proteins, eating whole food fats, eating low-fructose fruits, doing my eccentric exercise, trying to take 10,000 steps a day.” But then imagine if she’s like, “But I can’t breathe.” I’m like, “Wait, Mom, you can’t breathe?” None of that stuff matters. If you can’t get enough air into your lungs, it doesn’t matter. We need to start seeing sleep that way.
If you need to prioritize stuff, this is going to sound odd coming from me. But people say water is foundational because if you don’t drink… Air is obviously priority. If you don’t breathe you die in five minutes or something like that. Then you’ve got… if you think about how quickly you would be debilitated, water would be next. Then you can go 30 days without eating. If you went 30 days without sleeping, you would die. The body will make that not happen, you will just collapse. Studies have been done.
I forgot the longest anyone’s ever stayed awake but then you become delusional, you start seeing things, you literally go crazy because your body knows. It’s like running a car till it’s completely out of gas and red lines. Your body won’t let that happen. Think about it, air, water, sleep, and food. Exercise is like down on the other, it’s like if were on a football field and you’re on these things down here on one goal line and then exercise is like way down on the other goal line.
Carrie: Breathe Jonathan breathe. You remember that thing that was – wow you’re excited.
Jonathan: Think about that. Think about the maybe weird analogy I gave earlier of, Sally walks into the office, talks about how she stole two hours away from her already sleep-deprived life to go add more stress through exercise. Please don’t do that. That is all I can say. Please don’t do that.
Carrie: You tease me for going whoop, whoop for sleep but that’s where it’s at.
Jonathan: Also I could certainly imagine our lovely listeners saying, “Okay, great. Now you made me feel bad that I’m not sleeping enough. Thanks. So what do I do about it?” At a macro level, think… because the inability to sleep, I’m not a sleep expert but I too have quite a bit of struggles as you can tell I’m kind of a…
Carrie: Driven is a good word.
Jonathan: Driven and passionate individual so it’s hard to turn that off but the idea and I have as much trouble with this as anyone else and I know Carrie is probably in the same boat… it’s not always about trying harder and doing more. Like Stephen Covey would say you try and saw down a tree and you’re just like saw, saw, saw, and the blade is completely worn down. It’s like rubbing the dull end of a butter knife against the tree but you’re just like, “Oh I just need to saw harder.” What you need to do and what you would get so much better results is take a step back, sharpen the saw of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and then just go back to cutting the tree.
The way I have found for me personally, sleep becomes easier is when my mindset gets a little bit more along the — It’s the global paradigm we talked about Carrie working with your body rather than against it. This whole idea of fall asleep, you idiot like that’s like working against the body. If you had time in the evening to wind down and you felt organized and in control of your life and you’re much more Zen and peaceful and then you fall gracefully asleep. I know this is easier said than done but if you’re doing double shots of espresso and five-hour energy and checking email until 10:30 at night, it’s going to be harder to fall asleep.
Carrie: It’s that blue light. Computer screens, it keeps you awake.
Jonathan: Again we’re not experts here on how to get sleep. There’s been massive amount of research done on ways you can enhance your sleep, calming techniques, Zen techniques.
Carrie: Our point is just get more sleep.
Jonathan: Get more sleep and in fact, don’t feel bad about it. That’s the other challenge though. If you get more exercise, no one – well, some people in your life who may be poisonous might be like, “Oh, you want to exercise, you think you’re better than me?” But generally speaking you’ll have, “Good job. It’s like your New Year’s resolution to exercise more.” If you say, “My New Year’s resolution is to sleep more” people will laugh in your face and that’s wrong.
Carrie: Except me. I’ll be cheering you on. I’ll be going, yay sleep!
Jonathan: I really want to celebrate this. Literally we’re recording this on the 12th of September so it will likely air before the New Year. I would encourage you to make your New Year’s resolution to sleep. If you are not getting at least minimum seven hours’ of sleep at night that means like you get up at 5 a.m. you need to be asleep by 10 p.m. You get up at 6 a.m., sleep by 11. You can all do math.
The reason I say that is if you’re committed and you say, “I’m going to sleep more”, then instead of spending an hour at the gym doing cardio maybe you spend an hour doing research on the internet about how to sleep better. Maybe you start doing yoga, maybe you start doing Tai Chi, maybe you start doing this restorative activities we talked about in previous podcasts because they help to quiet your mind, they help to quiet your soul, they help to calm us down especially us Americans. It’s not like P90X all the time. Calm. Sleep.
Carrie: I’m so on this train.
Jonathan: Work with your body.
Carrie: However, let me note people that I do not sleep a lot either. It is something I struggle with but I totally get why it’s more important and I am also working on getting more sleep than six hours. I’m like, “Alright I’m ready, and off we go.” ButI understand now also that that’s not necessarily the answer to weight.
Jonathan: So we talked about why this is important emotionally. Physiologically what’s going on here when you don’t sleep? One of the most conspicuous things that’s been showing in studies is the hormones associated with, there’s two things. If we’re exceedingly hungry, if you’re starving the chance of you making a smart food choice is much lower than if you were not starving. In addition to that if you were in emotional distress, had a long day at work, it’s much harder to stay SANE. So if you were extremely hungry it’s hard to be SANE and if you’re extremely stressed it’s hard to be SANE.
Carrie: Yes, yes, yes.
Carrie: Yes, we are very agreed on that.
Jonathan: When you don’t sleep that is a huge stressor on your body. You may not feel stressed but just like for example, if you were to drive your car at 130 miles an hour without stopping your little engine temperature gauge is going to get into the red. Things need time to recuperate so if you don’t give them time to recuperate it will compound over time and you become extremely stressed, things like your cortisol levels, thyroid hormones, sex hormones, all that stuff starts to get out of whack. Because of that you are in this huge state of stress that drives just your emotional state becomes like it would be if you had any other stressor. Your body doesn’t really differentiate, it’s just stress. I am just stressed. I just release these hormones. So that makes it very hard to make smart choices in life, food or anything else.
Jonathan: Then, our hormones that control hunger so lepton, ghrelin, things like that, these become horribly dysregulated. This is conspicuous in studies. Let’s say you take 2,000 SANE calories to make you totally full and satisfied on a day you’re well rested. If you are not well rested it won’t. That same number of calories literally will not satisfy you because the hormones, whose job it is to tell your brain, “I’m satisfied”, are dysregulated. We talk about diabetes as hormonal dysregulation, long term when you don’t sleep you cause a short-term hormonal dysregulation.
Think about it almost as a clog, it’s like a short-term clog. A clog is a metaphor we generally use as something that builds up over time. If you are sleep-deprived, you are essentially creating a little mini clog. So you are stressed which will cause you to want to make poor-quality food choices in the first place and then you will be hungrier than you should be or need to be because your hunger system is broken. Now you have someone who is predisposed to making inSANE food choices who needs more food in general to not feel like they’re starving. Not only do we gain weight because our weight regulation hormones get all out of whack when we don’t sleep, then we’re set up separately – so it’s like a double whammy to make terrible food choices which compound that problem.
Jonathan: So you can start to see how if you’re not sleeping enough and you’re like, “But I’m just going to try harder with my diet”, it’s like trying to run faster with a parachute strapped to your back. You’d be better served just cutting the parachute off your back or trying to drive faster with your foot on your brake. If you’re not sleeping enough you can push the accelerator of your body as much as you want by exercising more and eating smarter or eating less if you’re in the old model. Until you take your foot off the brake a.k.a. you sleep more you’re just going to burn your engine out. Boom the analogy worked. What do you think about the analogy, Carrie?
Carrie: I think I need a nap.
Jonathan: Well talking about sleep at this level of energy and intensity for this duration of time has also caused me to need a nap as evidenced by my vocal cracking that just happened. Sleepy.
Carrie: No, but I must say that I now never go to bed hungry ever because I’ve learned. If I go to bed hungry I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night and then my sleep even if I do manage to get back to sleep afterwards it’s just not the restorative sleep that I needed.
Jonathan: Brilliant concrete example Carrie. Listeners, please don’t do this because this would demonstrate the calorie myths on a macro scale but people do this, right? Its 8 p.m. or 10 p.m., we’re hungry, we’re like, “Well, I can’t eat because if I eat past 6:00, which we talked about in our previous podcast, bad things will happen, plus it’s more calories and of course if I eat calories, I’ll get fat.” So they don’t eat those foods and then they sleep poorly and —
Carrie: That does all make them just as you told us that it would do.
Jonathan: Yes, but sometimes this sounds like bad news. This is amazing news. What we just said is, “Actually no eat that and sleep.” Eat more, sleep more.
Carrie: I love that.
Jonathan: Exercise less, eat more, sleep more. Glorious.
Carrie: I love podcasting with you. You have the best news, every week its good news.
Jonathan: Folks it makes sense, right? When we eat more of the right kinds of foods we do all kinds of hormonal goodness and we do less but smarter exercise, we causes all kinds of hormonal goodness. When we sleep more it causes all kinds of hormonal goodness. I realize that’s the opposite of what we’ve been told but don’t we want the opposite of what we’ve gotten?
Carrie: Yes we do because we do know and we’re all very sure that that doesn’t work. We know that.
Jonathan: And if we doubt it here’s the answer. Try it. Try just on a whim, try getting eight hours of sleep, eating more but smarter, and exercising less but smarter for seven days. I guarantee you, guarantee you that you will feel and look better than you ever have from stressing out, sleeping less, starving yourself, and exercising excessively.
Carrie: I love it. I’m in.
Jonathan: Sign me up.
Carrie: I’m all in.
Jonathan: I love it. Carrie, I’m ready to eat more, exercise less, and to sleep.
Carrie: Me too. Time for a nap.
Jonathan: Well folks remember, this week and every week after, do just what we said eat more, exercise less, sleep more, and live better. Chat with you soon.
[Audio Ends 21:02]
Jonathan: Wait, wait! Don’t stop listening yet.
Carrie: You can get fabulous free SANE recipes over at CarrieBrown.com.
Jonathan: And don’t forget, your 100% free Eating and Exercise Quick Start Program as well as free fun daily tips delivered right into your inbox at BailorGroup.com.