Cheryl Pattyn
Cheryl Pattyn

Do This 6+ Hours A Day…

Zzzzz….

Did you know that sleep is one of the most important functions of the human body? 

It resets your hormones and allows your body the much earned rest it needs to to repair and function optimally. 

You might be thinking, “What in the world does sleep have to do with my overall health and fitness?” 

The simple truth is that if you want to lose fat, be healthy, build muscle or be able to bring it in your workouts, then you need to build good sleep habits. 

Since sleep is so important, here’s a list of sleep tips that will help you optimize your sleep so you can look, feel and perform your best. 

Sleep Tip #1 

First, let’s myth-bust. 

You constantly hear that you need to get 8 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. 

You see, your body goes through different levels of sleep on a cycle. There are periods of time when you’re just a hair away from being awake and times when you’re so deeply asleep it would take a firecracker on your pillow to wake you. 

For most people, these “sleep cycles” tend to last 90 minutes — give or take a few minutes. If you constantly aim for 8 hours of sleep, you’ll almost always set your alarm to go off when you’re diving down into deeper stages of sleep. 

Instead of waking up feeling absolutely awesome and ready to take on the world, you wonder who glued your eyelids shut and just how many times you can get away with setting the snooze. 

That doesn’t make for a very good morning! 

Instead of aiming for the age-old standby of 8 hours, try sleeping for the following amount of hours: 

MINIMUM —–> 6 hours 
GET THIS DAILY —–> 7 1/2 hours 
TRY GETTING THIS AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK —–> 9 hours 

Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that you need to get 9 hours of sleep every night. That kind of sleep is more for world-class athletes. 

What I am suggesting is that you get a MINIMUM of 6 hours, aim for making 7 1/2 the norm, and try your hardest to get a few nights of 9 hours occasionally. 

If you wake up feeling great, then you nailed it and found your sleep cycle. If you feel OK but not perfect, test out an 85-minute sleep cycle or a 95-minute sleep cycle instead. 

You’ll know you’ve found your magic number when you wake up feeling great. From then on, aim for getting sleep based on that number and enjoy feeling great every day! 

Sleep Tip #2 

Good sleep isn’t just about quantity; it’s also about quality. 

If you aren’t getting the best sleep each night, it’s time to troubleshoot some of the most common problems. Let’s look at a few different things that can lower your sleep quality and leave you dragging your arse the next day. 

Melatonin is a hormone that drives you to sleep at night. If yours is low, you might end up counting sheep ’till the sun comes up. There are some simple things that might be effecting this happy little sleep hormone. 

Light in your bedroom can reduce sleep quality dramatically. Even a dime-sized fiber optic light on the back of your KNEE in an otherwise pitch black room still decreases melatonin and increases cortisol production. 

Yowza! 

That’s right. Your photo-receptors — cells that detect light on your skin — send a signal to your brain that it should turn down the production of sleepy little melatonin. With that little amount of light, the photo-receptors assume the sun is rising and that you want to rise with it. 

When light sets off the process of waking, melatonin drops as cortisol — another hormone that gets your body going — starts to rise. When melatonin drops and cortisol rises, no more quality sleep for you… period!

Knowing this, we should conclude that melatonin obviously likes darkness and makes us fall asleep while cortisol obviously likes light and makes us wake up. Which give you a few tools you can use to make sure each hormone is highest at the right time. 

First, get some room-darkening shades or put a dark blanket up over your windows — especially if you live in the city! 

This will ensure that your happy little melatonin will be tucked in and enjoying the dark. 

Second, reduce unwanted cortisol even further by following these guidelines… 

Cortisol increases in proportion to the amount of electromagnetic frequencies (or EMF’s for short) around you. 

Unfortunately, almost everything in our modern world produces EMF’s — light sockets, electrical outlets, your cell phone and your cell phone charger, wi-fi internet waves, radio waves, etc. 

You can’t get rid of EMF’s, but you can reduce them without turning into the boy in the aluminum foil bubble. 

To optimize your sleep, unplug all the electronics around your bed. Get rid of your bedroom TV, take an hour before bed to read and decompress (this will help the melatonin, too), and make sure your alarm clock and cell phone are on the other side of the room while you sleep. 

Sleep Tip #3 
  
Do you best to go to bed when the sun goes down and get up when the sun comes up. 

I realize this step may be impossible because of your job, family, or whatever. If you can’t do this right now, no worries. Just follow the above two tips and keep this one in mind for the time when you can use it. 

Think about the way we developed as a species. Did we stay up all night? Did we watch the boob tube (TV) until right before we went to sleep? The answer to both of these questions is an absolute, “NO!” 

Our ancestors went to bed a couple hours after the sun went down and woke up when it came up. 

So, why are we so disconnected with nature’s messages around us? Why do we stay up sometimes until the wee hours watching goofy shows and then complain about being in a brain fog all day long? 

We do it because it’s the way we were raised. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, my family watched TV shows together until right before I went to bed. When I got older, I kept the same habit. The problem is, it isn’t a good habit. 

Before moving on, I want you to know I’m not asking you to go to bed at 7pm and get up at 7am — that’s completely unrealistic. 

If you go to bed a few hours after the sun goes down and wake up when the sun comes up, you’ll still get all the benefits. 

Over the course of an average year, following a sunrise/sunset pattern will look something like this (depending on where you live): 

– In the summer you should go to bed around 11pm and wake up with the sun. 
– In the winter you should go to bed around 9:30pm and wake up with the sun. 

If you can roughly follow this guideline and flow through the seasons, you will dramatically increase the quality of your sleep which will help you look feel and perform even better. 

As far as waking up, If you’re fortunate enough to not need an alarm clock to wake up, good for you. Sometimes I have the opportunity of waking up naturally, and I love how great I feel on those days. 

However, I can’t expect everyone out there to shun their jobs and lives in order to optimize their sleep. Simply do the best you can and take advantage of the times when you can wake up naturally. 

Good Luck! Now, go get some sleep! 

QUICK LESSON RECAP: Sleep a minimum of 6 hours a night and aim to make 7.5 hours the minimum. Work on finding your own unique sleep cycle (usually around 90 minutes) and use this when planning a nights sleep. You will know you have nailed your sleep cycle when you wake up feeling great! Sleep in a dark room and avoid electronics for a minimum of 30 minutes before bed. Try to go to bed within 2-3 hours of the sun going down.

Boom goes another easy habit that will change your life 🙂

Cheryl Pattyn
Cheryl Pattyn

Avoid These 5 Toxic Household Items…

Avoid These 5 TOXIC household items…‏

 The TRUTH is… 

These TOXIC substances which kill your health and stall fat loss are found in many of the household items in your very house. The reason these are so bad for you is because of a little thing called Obesogens.

According to Wikipedia, “obesogens are a class of chemical compounds that disrupt the normal development and metabolism of lipids.” 
In other words, when you ingest obesogens via food, air or topically through your skin your body will tend to store more body fat and/or make it harder for you to lose the fat you already have!

So, what the heck do you do about these obesogens?

Unfortunately these days it is impossible to eliminate 100% of the obesogens you are being exposed to. 

So… in order to decrease the effects these environmental obesogens are having on your body go down the following list, one step at a time and eliminate each of these obesogens from your life! 

Here is a list of the top 5 things you need to eliminate from your household to minimize excessive exposure to obesogens: 

Drinking Or Eating Off Of Plastic Materials – That’s right, plastic is one of the major players on the obesogen game and for optimal results it’s use should be minimized. Try using glass cups and storage containers rather than ziplock bags and rubbermaid. 

Avoid Store Bought Air Fresheners – Most store bought air fresheners contain these chemical obesogens in them. Instead of chemical ridden air fresheners try using natural fresheners that you can get from your local health food store. Better yet… Light a candle. 

Avoid Packaged Or Processed Foods – You have probably already tackled this one but most packaged and processed foods contain significantly higher amounts of obesogens than their less processed counterparts. Going organic is essential to minimize the contact you have with environmental obesogens! Check out the Sharing Organic Link at the bottom of the newsletter!

Ditch The Non Stick Pans – Although extremely convenient, non stick pans off-gas poisonous chemicals known to be able to even kill birds! Do your best to trade up to cast iron or stainless steel so you can avoid these obesogens. 

Stay Away From Chemical House Cleaners – Chemical house cleaners like windex contain a plethora of obesogens. It’s time to choose… Shiny spot free windows or rapid fat loss. On a more serious note most local health food stores sell natural cleaning supplies that eliminate the use of toxic chemicals and do a pretty good job. Try replacing them one at a time so you don’t have to break the bank.  I personally have been using Enjo for about 6-7years so all I clean with is water!  More more detail on Enjo click here!  Lynn is a wealth of information when it comes to cleaning with water!


Remember, one step at a time. Don’t take this information and get all freaked out.

Simply focus on one category at a time until you have replaced all of your toxic fat promoting supplies with the obesogen free versions. Good luck!?


QUICK HABIT RECAP: Obesogens are chemicals found in many common household items. They mess with your lipid metabolism and hormones and the result is a decrease in your health and fat gain.  Make a habit of avoiding the 5 main obesogens above including; eating or drinking off of plastic materials, store bought air fresheners, stay away from packaged pr processed foods, do not use non stick pans that contain teflon and do not use chemical based house cleaners.
Cheryl Pattyn
Cheryl Pattyn

Sometimes Less Is More!

Sometimes less IS more.

Last summer I began the process of eliminating tons of stuff from my home by clearing out my cold storage room, my closet, my 8 yr old’s closet, the pantry and bathroom drawers.  I did this in stages for about 3-4 weekends in a row.  There were things packed in boxes that had not be unpacked from 2 houses ago, clothes that aren’t being worn or out grown in my sons case, and just STUFF in the pantry and way past expired pepto in the bathroom. This year it will be the TOYS!

Sometimes I ask myself “Where did all this stuff come from?”

As a society we have been falsely led to believe that what we need in order to be happy is more stuff…more clothes, more money, more toys…but, for me its about learning to be grateful for what I have, teaching my kids that more doesn’t  = better, and to that keeping up with the Jones’ is not going to make me happier, only more stressed out and feeling inadequate.

It’s no wonder so many of us are “stressed out.”  More stuff equals more stress because now we are in charge of taking care of, organizing, and maintaining all of our stuff.  We have so many things to manage on a daily basis, it’s way more than we humans are mentally and physically equipped to handle.

Our wonderful bodies are designed to handle stress. And it’s a good thing they are, because that’s what kept our ancestors from being eaten by hungry lions in the wild. There’s a brilliant mechanism in our body called the “fight or flight” response where our bodies pump out hormones, such as cortisol, so we can appropriately respond to any threat.

This can be quite convenient and helpful in situations where our life is being threatened (like being chased by a lion), so the problem is not during situations like these. The problem arises when our bodies feel threatened all day long, day after day with rush hour traffic, a cluttered house, an overflowing closet that you cannot find your favourite shirt in for work.

Our version of the lion looks like this:

 “How will I get the house clean today and get the kids to soccer practice?”

“How will I get dinner on the table today with all the other things I have to do?”

“How will I pay my bills this month?”

And on and on it goes.

It has been said that 70% of doctor visits and 80% of serious illnesses may be linked to stress. Wow! A scary statistic at first glance, but one that gives me hope because it shows me we have so much control over it.

Something I hear from potential clients and fellow parents is…

“I just don’t have the time to cook meals, exercise, or take care of my health.”

Hmmm…and to that I ask the very important question:

Why?

Why is it that we feel we have enough time to shop for the latest gadgets, but not spend some time in the kitchen making the very stuff that will help us feel great each day?

Why is it that we feel we have enough time to drive all around town taking our kids to every event imaginable, but we don’t have enough time to fuel them with the nourishing food they need for their growing bodies?

Why is it we feel we have enough time to respond to every post on Facebook, but not enough time to go for a walk outside to exercise our muscles, heart and mind?

I don’t pose the questions above to judge you in any way. The questions above were the very questions I asked myself when I find myself  stressed out, overwhelmed, and feeling like I just never had enough time.

So what am I  spending my time doing?

That’s a great question.

The following strategies below are things I implemented in my life. I am not suggesting you do all of them (or any for that matter), but what I can tell you is that these very simple changes have brought me a sense of peace and calmness.

    1.  I cleaned out my closet. Now you may be asking “Why .  If your mind is cluttered with “stuff,”  this dramatically affects your stress levels and how well you are able to take care of your health. If I had not worn an item in the past year, I got rid of it. I made many donations to local charities that accept used clothing and took some other things to Goodwill.  You know how I felt after this?  Awesome!!!!

 

    1. I cleaned out my calendar. This is definitely a tough one, not because of our jobs, kids, or commitments, but because of our nation’s addiction to being BUSY. Why is it every time we ask someone, “Hey, how are you?” they almost always answer…”BUSY!”? I have released my attachment to being busy in order to feelproductive. I know what the critical few priorities are in my life and whenever I find myself crazy busy, I have to stop and assess what exactly I am doing. Take a long, hard look at your current schedule and see exactly where you are spending most of your time. Are those your priority items?

 

  1. I spend less time on the internet. Why in the world was I checking Facebook every second? What did I think I was going to find there???  What did I think I was going to miss?  I’ll tell you what happens if you don’t go on Facebook for an entire day…ready? Nothing! Nada. The world just goes on without you. Sounds kind of harsh, but it’s true. I currently don’t have my work email on my phone and let me tell you it feels good.  If clients need to contact me they text me – it’s as simple as that really.  And when I am away on holidays I don’t do FB unless I absolutely have to.

How are YOU feeling right now?

Stressed, overwhelmed, busy, feeling like you just have way too much to do?

If the answer is YES, it may be time to take a long hard look at where your time is going and re-direct that time to the things in your life that matter to you the most.
Core Takeaway:

Imagine how much less stressed out you would feel and much more you could get done if all you owned was the stuff that you really need, the stuff that brings you joy…imagine how much better you’d feel if your life was not BUSY but instead filled with the most important things, like supporting and being with family.
I urge you to look for ways to simplify your life and feel less “busy.” And remember that I am always here to support you with tips, recipes and more.
Cheryl Pattyn
Cheryl Pattyn

The Truth About EGGS!

The truth about EGGS (should you be eating them?)‏

 I don;t know about your family, but each Sunday morning its a big ol’ breakfast of eggs. bacon, hash browns and whatever else my husband decides to make!  And I love having having omelettes for dinner – great way to use up leftover veggies in the fridge!

You see, I like eggs and tend to eat a fair bit of them.  I mean, who doesn’t love a good omelet, egg sandwich or poached egg, right?

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard a time or two before that you should be careful of consuming too many eggs as their cholesterol content is rather high.

I’ve even heard the recommendation that eggs should only be eaten once per week to avoid cholesterol issues. If that’s the case, I’m probably due to die rather soon.

Fortunately, it’s not.

You see, for years we have been told that cholesterol intake should be kept to a bare minimum as doing so will help to decrease blood cholesterol levels and promote overall health, and although the theory of lowering dietary cholesterol intake to lower internal cholesterol makes logical sense, the theory doesn’t quite pan out, as our bodies are, generally, more complex creatures than our logical minds give them credit for.

Fact is, when dietary intake of cholesterol is decreased, the liver compensates by producing more cholesterol, leaving total cholesterol levels relatively unchanged. In the same way, if cholesterol consumption is increased, the liver produces less cholesterol, and again, total cholesterol values will not be substantially altered.

Now that’s not to say that we should go hog wild with our intake of cholesterol, but it does mean that one can expect cholesterol levels to remain relatively stable over a wide range of dietary intakes.

Given this information, you may be wondering why the body would ever produce more cholesterol if cholesterol is so “bad”, and that’s a good question.

The truth is, cholesterol actually acts as an antioxidant against dangerous free radicals within the blood and is also necessary for the production of certain hormones that help to fight against heart disease.

When there are high levels of undesirable substances in the blood (caused by the dietary intake of damaged fats, highly processed “unhealthy” foods, and large quantities of sugars), cholesterol levels rise in order to combat these substances.

Blaming heart disease on high cholesterol is like blaming infection on high levels of antibodies (special proteins produced by the body in order to defend against foreign bacteria and infectious agents).  If the body allowed cholesterol to fall in the presence of large amounts of free radicals, our risk for heart disease would increase, not decrease, and fortunately our bodies won’t let that happen.

So, the answer to decreasing blood cholesterol levels is not avoiding omelets and not necessarily decreasing dietary cholesterol intake, but rather improving ones diet overall by eating healthier in general and avoiding the other harmful types of foods mentioned.

Combine that with increased physical activity and both you and your cholesterol levels will be in even better shape.  On that note, get crackn’!