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Carolyn’s Workout Diary: Sleep and weight loss

On week two of her six-week Refinery clean eating and exercise programme MiNDFOOD associate editor Carolyn Enting is posed her toughest challenge yet – sleep.

Carolyn’s Workout Diary: Sleep and weight loss

As I write this I’m almost two weeks into GetRunning’s six-week Refinery programme which promotes clean eating, exercise and sleep.

Sleep you say? I’ll get back to that in a bit.

During this six-week challenge I’ve sworn to drink 2litres of water a day, cut alcohol consumption on weekdays and limit myself to four units of wine over the weekend. I’m also eating clean (wholefoods only) and exercising up to five times a week. And I’ve stuck to it but boy, am I just a little tired (partly because of the super early morning starts to fit exercise into my day) but I’m feeling mostly fantastic.

It’s elating as my clothing begins to feel looser as the fat begins to melt away. And it really is. My unofficial weigh-in on my home scales posted a 1.9kg loss after 10 days following this programme.

The Refinery clean eating programme is all about eating real food in order to feel great and lose a few additional kilos. The D-word is banned. This is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.

One of the most startling things I’ve learned on this programme is why toxins (sugar, alcohol, fizzy drinks, processed foods, caffeine and cortisol) are making us fat.

“Because the body spends valuable time trying to eliminate these toxins from the body, it has to process the toxins, and it reacts to them rather than work as efficiently as it should – digesting, processing, rejuvenating itself which makes it harder to lose weight and have the energy you need to be at optimum performance,” says GetRunning Refinery Sports & Exercise Nutritionist Sarah Sinclair.

And that’s before you begin to start counting calories!

There’s also a good reason why I’ve felt a bit lethargic during this two-week period. After seven-days on the programme I felt rather fluey. How could I possibly be getting a cold, I thought, after being so healthy?

According to my GetRunning trainer Gaz Brown it’s because the body is detoxing.

“It’s a good sign and that feeling can last for up to two weeks,” he says. “You can have anything from flu-like symptoms through to a full-blown cold through to the body just wanting to sleep.”

This leads me to sleep, which is by far, my biggest challenge. It is also something I didn’t even consider when I took this on.

Those of us on the Refinery have just been set the challenge to log seven to eight hours of sleep per night. This means hitting the sack at 9 to 9.30pm. Crikey, I haven’t been to bed that early since I was at primary school.

Sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health. Lack of sleep is linked to diabetes, a higher rate of disease and obesity, says Sinclair.

“If you are thinking about trying to lose weight, you also need to plan on getting enough sleep,” says Sinclair. “Studies have shown that people who are more rested lose more fat – in fact 56 per cent of their weight loss – compared to those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass.

Well, if I can lose weight sleeping I’m all for trying it!

Photography: Fiona Crisp

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