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Monday, October 25, 2010

Tip: Turn off the TV for more reasons than you think!

I knew that plopping down in front of the TV in the evening wasn’t burning many calories, especially when I added what I thought was my requisite bowl of popcorn, but it never occurred to me that when I leave the TV on in my bedroom it could lead to obesity. A new study says that leaving even a dim light on when you sleep at night messes up your circadian rhythm and leads to obesity. Read the full article from the LA Times at,0,5456627.story.

Since reading that article, I’ve been turning off all the lights and even wearing a sleep mask at times, especially a few nights ago, when the moon was full and the sky was clear, and the glow through the blinds was as strong as early-morning light. Every time I woke up to pee, I couldn’t resist peeking out of my window at the magic moonscape below, but then I put on my sleep mask and slept again.

As an aside, when I was married the first time, so many years ago I can’t even count, our only television set was in the bedroom. Our routine soon became this: Eat dinner in the dining room or in bed and watch television until we fell asleep. Is it any wonder, then, that both of us gained weight? My husband at the time had dropped about forty pounds or more before we met, and I was young and uninformed. I had no idea how easy it is for people who have lost weight to gain it back, much faster than those who haven’t lost weight. It has something to do with hungry fat cells begging to be replenished; I won’t go into it. I will only say that by the time my marriage broke up, my husband was quite the blimp. His weight wasn’t an issue in the breakup, although his health was beginning to suffer, and we both were still in our twenties. He did lose that weight later, I’m happy to report, and his health improved, I’m sure.

In my second marriage, I insisted on no television in the bedroom, and now I can see what a wise decision that was. That marriage ended in divorce, too, and again, the television didn't play into it.

Somehow, however, I ended up with an extra television set in my house when I moved to Woodstock, Georgia, and the only logical place to put the extra set was in my bedroom. I almost never turn it on, but there it sits, willing to lull me to sleep when need be. I know now, though, to turn it off before I fall asleep, if I watch it at all. I don’t want to mess up my circadian rhythm and undo all the good I’ve done with my body and my health.

Speaking of health, I mentioned recently that the severe cramps I used to experience in my legs and hands had stopped, and I wanted to credit the weight loss. Since then I’ve been thinking of all the healthy foods I’m eating, and I’ve changed my mind about why the cramps have stopped. I eat a good deal more vegetables than I used to eat, especially as a salad, almost every day, and in almost every salad, I put a large portion of spinach. I looked up spinach and found the following information: This food is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol. It is also a good source of niacin and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Potassium rang a bell with me. Didn’t someone tell me I needed to correct my electrolyte balance, if I was experiencing muscle cramps and that potassium was a big help in that direction? I looked up potassium next and learned that it helps your muscles and nerves function properly, helps you maintain the proper electrolyte and acid-base balance in your body, and helps lower your risk of high blood pressure, and spinach is a potassium-rich food. Voila! My healthier diet is naturally taking care of some of my health issues.

I weigh myself on Mondays, so here’s today’s report, and I’m still on track. This food plan of mine really works.

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 208
Goal weight for this week: 207
Actual weight this week: 207
Goal weight for next week: 206
Total pounds lost: 37
Goal weight: 150

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