The importance of enough sleep….zzzzz

Sleep serves to re-energize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain, and improve learning and memory.  Most of the sleeping we do is characterized by large, slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and slow, deep breathing, which help the brain and body to recuperate after a long day.

Inadequate sleep causes a reduction in concentration and perception due to the brain not adequately benefiting from the restorative nature of sleep.  An increasing number of us are chronically sleep deprived because of our modern lifestyles. If your sleep account is in deficit, it will affect your daytime energy, emotional balance, and your weight. Sleep plays a vital role in physical health, memory, emotional well-being and longevity. 8 hours of sleep is recommended for optimum health.

Lack of sleep influences your digestive system, immune system, vitality and your weight.  It affects your “famine response” hormones, it increases ghrelin and decreases Leptin, affecting your appetite, you are tired and start to crave higher calorie foods.  A further affect on your body caused by lack of sleep is an increase in cortisol – the stress hormone which activates the reward centers in your brain that make you want food – and not the healthy foods we should be eating.  Lack of sleep leaves you hungrier, less satisfied after meals and with no energy to exercise.

The cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.   Unhealthy choices during the day can result in restlessness at night. Try the following actions to help you achieve 8 hours sleep a night – including weekends.

Work towards a  natural sleep and wake cycle.

  • Get enough sunlight during the day to stimulate the production of melatonin . Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert.
  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time everyday. Choose a bedtime when you naturally feel tired.
  • Avoid sleeping in on weekends if you need extra sleep at the weekend take a daytime nap but keep to the same wake up time. Limit naps to 15 to 20 mins in the early afternoon.
  • Avoid sleeping after supper, if you feel drowsy get up off the couch and do some exercise or light household chores, do not sleep on the couch!

Preparing yourself for bedtime.

Make your bedroom a place for sleeping,

  • Remove clutter, re-locate desks and work items, put clothing away, remove the TV, make the space condusive to sleep.
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible or use a sleep mask.
  • Make sure its not too hot or too cold, adjust your bedding to ensure you are sleeping at a temperature that encourages sleep.

Change your habits:

  • Cut out the late night coffee , avoid alcohol before bed, that nightcap that you think is helping you relax is affecting your sleep cycle- stimulants disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Avoid bright screens an hour before bedtime – ipads, cell phones, TV. Listen to music or a podcast instead.
  • Avoid eating large meals late at night

Some nights it is inevitable that we are not going to get enough sleep, the key is to make up for it on the following day and catch up on the lost sleep.  If you are in a situation where you only get a few hours sleep a night consistently, start to make the changes that will give you the chance to get more hours of restorative sleep.


Decide on a bedtime and wake-up time that works best for you.

Spend some time each day outdoors in the sunshine.

Replace caffeinated drinks after 5 pm with alternate non-caffeinated beverages.


Low Glycemic Index

Low Glycemic Index Foods We talk a lot about changing to a healthier diet, making better choices  and eating more vegetables.  Change we know is hard, especially when we have developed the habit of eating certain foods that are not healthy choices.  I know that I should eat more vegetables and higher grain content bread, but I am not really sure why ? What is the benefit?  The benefit is that these foods have lower “Glycemic Index” values meaning they break down more slowly in your digestive system. This reduces the size of glucose spikes and allows time for your body to burn the fuel and not store as much as fat. It also keeps your stomach full longer before emptying and reduces hunger before you next meal. Read More


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Triggers and Food Cravings

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Changing Your Shopping Habits.

Mission Thin Possible is a program coaching the adoption of permanent life change slowly, one small step at a time. This applies to our food shopping as much as anything else. We need to replace bad shopping habits with good shopping habits. If you never have your poor choice snacks and other high calorie foods in your home, you are more likely to eat a healthier option. Read More


Change the look of your plate

An effective way to reduce our food calorific intake is to reduce fats in our diet. Life style change starts with small steps. The standard American diet is one rich in red meat, dairy products, processed and artificially processed sweetened foods, fats and salt.. It is time to turn this around and make the change to a diet high in vegetables, fruit, lower fat content protein sources like fish and chicken, and to introduce more whole grains. We do not need to add extra oil or fat to our diet. Most diets have sufficient fat without having to add extra. Fat is contained in dairy, chicken, fish, nuts and vegetables like avocados. Last week we encouraged the move from a full- size dinner plate to a smaller 9” salad plate size.  This helps put smaller portions on your plate and to reduce food intake. The next step is to look at your plate and make small changes to what is on it. Divide your plate into 4 quarters.  2 quarters or a half of it should be filled with vegetables.  Quick, convenient and simple – use frozen vegetables that just need reheating or chopped salad that you have already prepared in advance. Use fresh cut vegetable sticks like carrot, celery and peppers.   This leaves ½ the plate for protein and carbs combined. Read More

Portion Control

To lose weight we must achieve a slight negative energy balance. We must consume a little less food, our fuel, than we burn to run our body’s systems and perform physical activity. One major reason for weight gain in our modern society is that portion size over time has been distorted.  Read More

Sugar, Sugar

    Human physiology evolved over millions of years on a diet containing very little sugar and no refined carbohydrates. Sugar cane was originally a fodder crop used to fatten pigs. Sugar gained popularity  as a "spice" in the 1600's when it was introduced into the Caribbean driving the slave trade. Sugar has never been a benefit to our modern world. Here in our 21st century our society is in the grip of a health crisis directly linked to the addictive effects of refined sugar and fats, comparable to the health scourges of tobacco and alcohol.  Sugar causes dopamine release in our brains similar symptoms to drug addictions. Sugar is a leading contributor to Obesity and is highly addictive and the cause of poor food choices like soda pop, candy and  chocolate,but we do love our sugar! Read More

Soup, Soup and More Soup.

Low Calorie Soup

Almost No Calorie Soup

You have seen several adds on TV and in magazines for ‘ bust that belly fat” shakes, vitamin powders, purges, detoxes and the list goes on and on. They are mostly a combination of hype, fasting, chemicals and a very good way to make money from people desperate to lose weight and willing to try anything. Fasting too hard eventually causes your body to slow down its metabolism, and to fight against your weight loss, and create insatiable hunger when you stop crash dieting and increase food intake. The only sure way to succeed in weight loss, in a healthy, long term, permanent way, is to maintain a daily eating plan that you can sustain as a lifestyle. The recipe for vegetable soup below is an easy, convenient way to increase vegetable intake and reduce calories that can be good for the whole family. Read More

24 Hour Food Diary

Download a new Food Diary Page.


The hormone Leptin works together with the hormone Ghrelin produced by cells at the top of your stomach when it is empty. These are our hunger hormones. The combined effects of Ghrelin and Leptin drive us and tell us to search for food or leave food alone. A low Leptin level also slows down your metabolism at times that food is in short supply. Your fat cells which are your fuel storage, produce Leptin when full. Leptin acts to make you take actions to alter your total food intake to maintain your daily energy balance. In our modern world we tend to eat our meals at convenient times. This is far different than foraging and grazing for food all day as we would probably do if living off the land. The result is significant highs and lows in our hunger level, driving us to over-eat. Part of a successful weight loss program must be to reduce the peaks of hunger to allow slow steady weight loss to take place at a rate that will let our bodyweight set point adjust itself. Read More