If you are overweight and overfat, there are many causes and not just one. Its important to look at all of the causes you may have too much body fat and a weigh scale number that makes you frown. How’s your sleeping habits lately?
What exactly is circadian rhythm? ScienceDaily.com explains it this way:
“Daily or ‘circadian’ rhythms including the sleep wake cycle, and rhythms in hormone release are controlled by a molecular clock that is present in every cell of the human body. This human clock has its own inbuilt, default rhythm of almost exactly 24 hours that allows it to stay finely tuned to the daily cycle generated by the rotation of Earth.”
“This beautiful symmetry between the human clock and the daily cycle of Earth’s rotation is disrupted by exposure to artificial light cycles, and by irregular meal, work and sleep times. This mismatch between the natural circadian rhythms of our bodies and the environment is called circadian desynchrony.”
Okay…so how is circadian desynchrony making you fat? I will state right now that the primary cause of weight gain and body fat gain is having consistent daily caloric surpluses. Simply, you eat more calories than you burn too many days.
Having said that, why do you eat too much too often? There are many reasons….but let’s get back to circadian rhythm.
Dr. Cathy Wyse, working in the chronobiology research group at the University of Aberdeen, addressed circadian desynchrony in a research paper. She focuses on how the human clock struggles to stay in tune with the irregular meal, sleep and work schedules of the developed world, and how this might influence health and even cause obesity.
“Electric light allowed humans to override an ancient synchronization between the rhythm of the human clock and the environment, and over the last century, daily rhythms in meal, sleep and working times have gradually disappeared from our lives,” said Wyse. “The human clock struggles to remain tuned to our highly irregular lifestyles, and I believe that this causes metabolic and other health problems, and makes us more likely to become obese.”
“Studies in microbes, plants and animals have shown that synchronization of the internal clock with environmental rhythms is important for health and survival, and it is highly likely that this is true in humans as well.”
The main problems areas sited in the report are shiftwork, artificial light and the 24-hour lifestyle of the developed world. According to the report, circadian desynchrony is now an inevitable part of 21st century life.
Having done shiftwork before, I agree that it throws your body out of wack big-time.
Dr. Wyse goes on to state:
“The reason for the relatively sudden increase in global obesity in the developed world seems to be more complicated than simply just diet and physical activity. There are other factors involved, and circadian desynchrony is one that deserves further attention.”
“Our 24-hour society has come at the high price of circadian desynchrony,” concluded Wyse. “There are many factors driving mankind towards obesity but disrupted circadian rhythms should be considered alongside the usual suspects of diet and exercise.”
Here are my recommendations on how to stay healthy and fit no matter what your schedule may be:
Note: Walk as much as you can every day. It will help you stay active, feel better and keep your blood circulating.
1. Plan, plan, plan your eating. When I did shift work, I controlled my body weight much better when I planned and packed my meals with whole, natural foods like oats, fruits, vegetables, low-fat yogurt, lean meats, salad greens, water and tea. When I didn’t pack meals, I almost always ate fast foods because of convenience. That spells weight gain and health trouble, if left unchecked.
Its always important to drink enough water every day. Keep a full water bottle with you at all times. Drink half your weight in ounces every day. If you weigh 140 pounds, drink about 70 ounces of water every day.
Water also helps your body flex muscles, remove wastes, cushion joints, carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells and helps convert food into energy (although water doesn’t provide energy).
2. Fit in exercise with short, intense workouts. You can’t skip exercise just because you have a crazy schedule. You only need 20 minutes to get in a hard workout, whether it be strength or cardio training.
3. Somehow, you must get in enough sleep—7 or 8 hours on most nights, days or whenever you can get it in. Too much sleep deprivation will mess up everything—energy levels, metabolism, high blood pressure, etc.
If you have trouble sleeping some days, don’t eat fat-filled foods. When you’re tired and cranky, its easy to reach for ice cream and sodas instead of celery and fruit. Resist the temptation. Drink 20 ounces of water before you eat anything and it will help you eat less.
4. Life is full of changes and adjustments. To get a lean body and maintain it, you MUST continually adjust your workouts, eating and activities. Don’t use excuses to not keep your body healthy and lean.
Sleep well, live healthier!