Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews

Posts in the fitness category

What You Need to Know About Balance After 40

by Suzanne Andrews

Did you know that balance is not natural? That's right -we must work on balance to keep it as we begin to lose it as early as age 40. Another thing to note is the exercises you've been doing to improve your balance might not be enough. Keep reading and I'll explain: (I'll keep it brief)

Maintaining and improving balance is an important factor in enjoying a healthy lifestyle, strengthening your body and preventing injury. Most falls occur within the home, (from my experience as an occupational therapy clinician, the bathroom is the number 1 place to fall.) These injuries include broken hips, wrist/shoulder fractures and brain injuries. 

Not only do these injuries result in long hospital stays and painful recoveries, they also cause loss of independence, decreased daily function and loss of the ability to participate in social activities. Lack of proper balance can inhibit daily activities that we often take for granted such as getting in and out of bathtubs, climbing stairs and using a car. It is important to be proactive in your health and prevent balance injuries before the happen by participating in an exercise program that strengthens “spinal stabilizers”, (back and abdominal area) your legs and specific balance exercises to increase your “proprioception”, (your brain's ability to sense where your limbs are positioned in space).  Since your proprioceptors weaken over time, it is vital to strengthen this sense, just like you strengthen your muscles. 

You won't find these balance exercises in most DVDs as these specific balance exercises are therapy based. Therapists will place you on "uneven surfaces" to strengthen your balance muscles and your proprioception. Why? Because when you are on an uneven surface, you activate all your balance muscles by challenging them. That's why in the Get Stronger Bones DVD, you will see the most advanced version demonstrating on an uneven surface.   

If you're not ready for that, it's advisable to start either seated on a chair - and yes - you can strengthen your balance muscles sitting if done to medically proven exercises. If you're beyond chair exercises, you can do the modified standing version using a chair for balance when necessary. Happy balancing and if you have any questions about your exercises make sure to message me - (link below).

 
 
Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Alzheimers & Exercise

by Suzanne Andrews

Can exercise slow the progression of Alzheimer's or delay its onset?

Contrary to age old beliefs, aging does not have to come with loss of memory, mental decline and decreased brain functioning. Scientists now believe that decreased mental capacity comes from diminished stimulation to the brain. 

 A healthy neuron is linked to literally tens of thousands of other neurons, creating a hundred trillion connections – each with the ability to perform 200 calculations per second! But neurons don’t only connect with other neurons, they connect with muscles at a little meeting place called the neuromuscular junction and this is vital to your ability to move.

The great news is you can stimulate fresh neurons in old age because brains have what is called ‘plasticity,’ the ability of your brain to change, grow and to adapt to the challenges you feed it. Mental decline due to age usually is often a result of physical inactivity and a lack of mental stimulation. 

The word exercise means to ward off.  How appropriate: because when you exercise, your blood circulation increases: sending more oxygen and brain feeding blood sugar (glucose) to your brain. This results in a domino effect of increasing blood vessels in your brain. Your choice of exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous.  Although one that is specifically designed for the brain will give you better results. Studies have shown that people who are reasonably active have a significant advantage regarding memory over people who are sedentary. Occupational therapists (therapists who specialize in improving people’s cognitive (brain) and physical function) have also studied specific exercises to find that certain types of exercises increased both brain functioning and decreased brain attack by 57%. 

 

Specific exercises have even shown to be successful as a preventative measure to Alzheimer’s disease. Even more interesting is that couch potatoes are twice as likely to develop dementia.  In order to reap the benefits of increased brain power, mental alertness, and neuron growth, you need to exercise. 

Maintaining a fit brain and a sharp memory requires regular exercise in the same way that physical fitness does. One of the best ways to exercise your brain is to challenge it with novel experiences. Something as simple as taking a different route to work will exercise your brain, as will listening to new music or eating something for dinner you've never tasted. To challenge your brain even more, perform short tasks with your non-dominant hand. Do Brain Power exercises, where you’re crossing midline with your arms, performing box steps with your legs to use both hemispheres of your brain. 

To exercise your brain on a regular basis, make it a point to change your self care routine in small but meaningful ways every day. For example, brushing your teeth with your non dominant hand. This will bring different areas of the brain into play, improve cranial blood flow, and strengthen neural connections between different areas of the brain. The regular practice of brain fitness exercises can even help to stave off dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

4 Functional Fitness Tips to Increase Your Energy (Part 2)

by Suzanne Andrews

Missed Part I? Click here to read it

Functional Fitness Tip 4: Take power naps. 

I've always take a power nap when time allows as it helps me power through the rest of my very long and active day.  

Of course, your fatigue could just be a sign that you're not getting enough sleep. Most adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, but most of us don't get that much. You can make up for lost sleep by taking power naps. Power naps can refresh you and improve your mental clarity and focus. To benefit, set aside 30 to 60 minutes for a restful nap during the day. Wear ear plugs or a sleep mask if lights or sounds disturb you. 

Functional Ftiness Tip 5: Reduce stress and anxiety.

Have you ever felt emotionally exhausted? In times of stress, we tend to worry more. All of that worrying takes energy, so it's no wonder that stress is linked to low energy levels. Tell a trusted confidant about your worries and fears. If you've been harboring unspoken anger or keeping secrets, now is a great time to bring your feelings into the open. Keeping your emotions bottled up only stresses you out more, leading to greater exhaustion. Share your burden with someone else to get some perspective and lighten your load. 

Functional Fitness Tip 6: Stay hydrated.

Fatigue is a symptom of dehydration, and is more common than you'd think. Many adults suffer from mild to moderate dehydration. If you're an athlete, frequent dieter, or diabetic, you could face an elevated risk of dehydration. Try to drink 64 oz of non-caloric beverages each day. Most of this fluid intake should come from plain water. Sugary sport drinks are rarely necessary, and caffeinated drinks can leave you more dehydrated. For the best results, find a portable drink container you like, and sip water from it throughout the day. If your energy level quickly rises, you'll know dehydration was keeping you tired. 

Functional Fitness Tip 7: Address underlying health concerns.

A low energy level can be an indicator of a more serious condition. Fatigue is associated with depression, diabetes, malnutrition, sluggish thyroid, and a score of seasonal ills like colds and flu. I have a slow thyroid and combat low energy with medication and regular exercise.  The medication is not enough and workouts that require hard core moves are too much.  Low impact cardio and strength does the trick.  If you suspect you may have a medical condition, ask your doctor to perform a thyroid test, blood glucose test, and routine blood work (CBC). The results will help you identify and treat the root cause of your lethargy, or rule out diseases so that you can look elsewhere for a cause. Healthiest blessings!

Would you like to lose weight and boost your energy doing low impact workouts that leave you exhilarated and not exhausted? Try Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews Total Body Strength and Conditioning.

 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

3 Exercises to Avoid if You Have COPD

by Suzanne Andrews

In pulmonary therapy we advise people who live with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) to perform specific exercises to strengthen their breathing capacity.  While therapeutic exercises are very effective, there are exercises to avoid if you have COPD.

  1. Lifting Heavy Weights or Pushing

While it’s important to strengthen your muscles when you have COPD because weak muscles need more oxygen than strong muscles, you should never lift super heavy weights.  Also be mindful of holding your breath when you lift heavy objects.  That is called the Valsalva Maneuver and can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure to dangerous levels. Instead, exhale through your mouth when you lift light weights as tolerated. 

FUNCTIONAL FITNESS: COPD & ASTHMA WITH SUZANNE ANDREWS
  1. Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercises are when you push against immovable objects. 

  1. Outdoor Exercises in Extreme Heat or Cold

Extreme temperatures can interfere with your ability to breathe because it affects your circulation.  COPD exercise increases your circulation and that’s another reason why pulmonary exercise helps strengthen your breathing muscles. 

If you have COPD, exercise might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s very important to add pulmonary exercises to your daily activities to slow down the progression of COPD and improve your quality of life. To motivate my patients, I monitor their heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen during their exercises. Keep a pulse oximeter handy so you can see how your oxygen level increases as you get fitter. 

 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

6 Steps to Weight Loss Over 50

by Suzanne Andrews

Has the dreaded "middle age spread" added inches to your waistline? If so, you're not alone. Sedentary jobs and slowing metabolisms cause many middle-aged individuals to gain weight.
It can be discouraging to find that the foods you ate in your youth without a second thought are now making the scale creep higher and higher. But you don't have to take it sitting down! Here are some effective weight loss tips for people over the age of 50.

   1. Skip the crash diets.
When you were younger, your hormones did a lot to keep you healthy. After the age of 50, you will need to focus on good nutrition to get the same effect. Avoid starving yourself or limiting your diet too strictly.

You need vitamins and minerals now more than ever. Eat a variety of colorful vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.

Increase your fiber intake to at least 30 grams a day for optimal digestive health. Dehydration can lead to stiff joints, aches and pains, so make sure you're drinking 64 oz of water each day as well.

   2. Protect your bones.
Calcium deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density and full-blown osteoporosis. Generally Men and Women over 50 and men require 1,500 mg of calcium daily to stave off the loss of bone density. 

IMPORANT TIP:  Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption. Men over 50 and postmenopausal women require 400-800 i.u. of vitamin D every day. At the age of 65, this requirement increases to 600 - 800 i.u. per day.

   3. Combine cardio exercise with strength training.
Cardio exercise will strengthen your heart and lungs and keep your joints supple. Strength training exercises counteract muscle and bone deterioration, and can prevent fractures at vulnerable sites like the wrists and hips.
Ideally, adults over 50 should engage in weight-bearing cardio exercises, such as walking or dancing, for 20 - 30 minutes, 4 - 5 times a week. They should also do strength-training exercises 3 times a week.
The appropriate amount of exercise varies according to each individual's level of wellness and fitness. I find that starting my day with a workout sets me up to stay on course the rest of the day.  While it's not' always easy to get up early, the good health results are worth it. 
If you've been diagnosed with low bone mass (osteopenia), get your doctor's approval before doing exercises that require you to bend or twist your spine. That's why in the Get Stronger Bones DVD all the exercises are osteoporosis safe and done at the correct speed for building bone density.

 

   4. Take injuries seriously.
Injuries can affect anyone at any age, but older adults need to take steps to ensure that a simple strain doesn't turn into something more serious.
Exercise is an important part of a healthy weight loss routine, so you don't want an injury to keep you on the sidelines. Exercising too is not recommended and it doesn't produce the best results as your working momentum more than muscle!
If you experience acute pain during or after a workout, take a break and assess the injury. A strained muscle might require a few days of rest, massage, gentle stretching, and an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen.
Sore joints might need rest, anti-inflammatory medicines ad  any bone injury should be looked at by a doctor. Also, if you have a disease that decreases your body's healing abilities or weakens your immune system, play it safe and go to your doctor for advice.

   5. Get plenty of rest.
Adequate sleep is important for many reasons. It allows your body to rest and renew itself, keeps stress hormones at a minimal level, and helps your muscles and joints
recover after a workout.
While insomnia is a common complaint among older people, it's not a normal part of the aging process.
If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, adding regular exercise to your daily routine can help. Daily exposure to sunlight has also been linked to improved sleep quality.
If you think you might need a sleep aid to help you sleep, try a natural alternative like yoga instead.  Yoga is great at helping people sleep better. Sleep aids make people forgetful and groggy the next day.

   6. Set realistic goals.
Weight loss is possible for people young and old, but the sad truth is that it might not happen as fast as you'd like once you reach a certain age.
Don't expect a rapid reduction in weight. Instead, set a goal of 1 pound per week. Keep a food and exercise journal to track the number of calories you consume and
burn each day.
If you're doing everything right and still not losing weight, talk to your doctor to find out if underlying health problems or medications could be interfering with your weight loss.

You can stop dieting, start eating and start living with Suzanne Andrews Functional Fitness DVDs!

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Baby Boomers: & Getting Fit

by Suzanne Andrews

If you're a baby boomer and practice a regular exercise routine, you're one of the twenty percent who do what the other eighty percent don't. If you're one of the eighty percent, you're about to find out several astounding motivational reasons to get a move on.

The number one reason you should exercise is people who do exercise don't need as many pills, machines, doctors, nurses, therapists, specialists, co-pays and prodders as people who don't exercise. If you don't like having all those hands on you at the airport, just wait until you get to the doctor's office. Eeesh!

Some biologists have said that aging has been programmed by evolution to avoid over population of the planet. By exercising you can decide to be one who sticks around longer and let somebody else de-populate for a change. From the age of 45-75 years with weekly adherence to a fitness program, a well preserved 65 year old can outperform a sedentary 25 year old.

As we get older, the tissues that comprise the heart, lungs, arteries and veins weaken. Exercising slows that deterioration by keeping higher levels of blood, oxygen and hormones flowing. Due to increased heart function, nutrients feed all your tissue cells so they can replace themselves instead of dying off and not being replaced.


A study was done for NASA in 1966 to find out the effects of prolonged space travel on humans. Five 20 year old men were assigned bed rest for 20 days. Their aerobic capacity was measured before and after the bed rest of 20 days. All experienced a dramatic loss in muscle tone and aerobic capacity. They became out of shape. After only 8 weeks of serious training all five were able to recover and even surpass their previous starting level of fitness. They got back into shape. Now if you are thinking "yeah, they were only twenty, I'm over fifty," the follow up study gives you food, or exercise, for thought.

The study was repeated 30 years later with the same five men now 50-51 years old. Baseline cardio and fitness levels were measured and were again assigned 20 days of bed rest to simulate "out of shape". Two entered a walking program, two did a jogging program and one chose bicycling. Their exercise programs were slowly increased to a level of intensity for 4 and 5 hours a week exactly like was done 30 years earlier for six months. Then it was time to re-measure their aerobic and cardiovascular fitness levels.

It is no surprise to report that all five middle aged subjects had restored their baseline fitness levels to what they were 30 years before as healthy 20 year olds. So if you think that exercise and fitness is for kids, think of yourself as a 20 year old with 45 years of experience!

Own Younger in 30 Days on DVD!

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Yoga & Weight Loss

by Suzanne Andrews

 

   How would you like to get rid of weight, aches, anxiety and stress from your life with easy, gentle mind body techniques?

   Yoga has become a prominent part of many popular workout routines. It's commonly touted as a cure for everything from stiff joints to breathing problems. But will yoga help you lose weight?

   Meditating seems counter-intuitive to someone who wants to build strength and shed pounds. But yoga has many qualities for weight loss that other programs miss. Here are some of the ways yoga can help you lose weight and increase your sense of well-being.

   Stress Releasing Yoga Burns Calories.

   Yoga puts you in touch with your body's needs. when you practice yoga, you learn to clear your mind of the distractions that prevent you from really listening to your body. By getting back in touch with your needs, you can learn to differentiate between hunger and cravings.

   The more you learn about your body and its amazing abilities, the more you will want to take care of it by avoiding junk food and radical diets.

     Yoga is a real stress-buster. By practicing mindful breathing and quiet meditation, you can bring your mind and body to a peaceful state. This decreases anxiety and can even reduce your body's production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol sends our bodies into self-preservation mode, which translates to increased fat storage.

   Learn to relax and breathe during yoga and you will eventually learn to incorporate those skills into the rest of your life.

   Yoga Helps You Snooze to Lose

   By producing more lean muscle mass, yoga can help you burn more calories even at rest which a great way to speed up your weight loss.

   Yoga Makes You Mindful

   Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons yoga teaches us is the lesson of mindfulness. Yoga practitioners learn how to be "in the moment", focusing on their breathing and their posture rather than worrying about work, family, or other stress triggers.

   You can apply this mindfulness to your weight loss plan as well. Learn to focus on your food and your enjoyment rather than choking down your meals while watching TV.

   By taking your time and keeping your mind on your meal, you will tend to eat less and be more satisfied.

   Remember: you don't need to contort your body into a pretzel to benefit from yoga. As the original modifier of yoga poses who lost 60 pounds, I've seen the benefits of gentle stress release and weight loss yoga first hand.  It just goes to show that slow and steady can help you win the weight loss race.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 See a preview of  "Beginners Dynamic Yoga for Stress Release and Weight Loss" to learn all you need to know to begin loving yoga and improving your well-being today. 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Color Yourself Slim!

by Suzanne Andrews

Do you eat when you get stressed? You're not the only one. I talk to many clients every day who reach for comfort foods and sweets when they're under a stressful situation. I've also been known to reach for a chocolate bar. If you're trying to lose weight, stress eating can really throw a curve ball in your weight loss plan. I started thinking, "What if you could do something that you enjoy and resulted in something beautiful every time you got stressed?"

Since I draw, love to come up with motivational sayings, and I'm a rehab therapy practitioner,  I thought I'd put all those experiences together and create a coloring book to help people lose weight with an alternative to eating when you get stressed. 

Today I'm sharing a page as my gift to you.

Enjoy and post it here when you're finished coloring it!

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Six Best Steps to Cleanse and Detox Your Body

by Suzanne Andrews

It seems like you can't turn around these days without hearing about a new colon cleanser or detox diet.
These products and systems claim to remove built-up toxins from the body, promoting better overall health. Some involve fasting, while others involve strict liquid diets.
After numerous studies, there is still no scientific evidence that such approaches are beneficial. According to Dr. Michael Picco, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, detox diets and cleansers can actually have harmful side effects.
Despite the claims of companies who sell such products, the human body is actually very efficient at filtering toxins. You have a liver and it works very well.

However, there are several simple, natural steps you can take to ease your body's burden. Here are some proven ways to rejuvenate your body inside and out. 

Exfoliate to Renew Your Skin
You may not know this, but I'm also a licensed esthetician, and that's why I know that exfoliation is a quick and easy way to remove dead skin, improve circulation, promote the growth of new skin cells, and give your complexion a natural glow.
It can be done with an exfoliating skin cleanser, a natural skin scrub made from brown sugar and olive oil, or even a gentle soap and a damp washrag every other day.
Give yourself an overall glow by exfoliating your whole body. Purchase (or make) an exfoliating body wash, or purchase a long-handled body brush and scrub it over your body in circular motions before you bathe.
Both techniques will help clear your pores and get rid of dead skin cells.

Learn to Breathe
Do you ever catch yourself holding your breath? Do you tend to breathe in short, shallow bursts? If so, you can decrease your body's stress level by practicing slow, rhythmic breathing.
This technique, called 'conscious breathing', helps you provide more oxygen to your body. This, in turn, helps your body carry out its tasks more efficiently.
Pick a quiet time, such as before you rise from bed in the morning. Take a slow, deep breath inhaling through your nose. You should see your stomach rise first, followed by your chest as you breathe in, then slowly exhale.
Repeat this for up to 10 times depending on your tolerance level. Over time, you will learn to breathe more correctly throughout the day.

Practice Daily Stretching
Stretching and yoga are beneficial to the mind and body. Not only do they relieve stress and keep the muscles limber, they promote blood flow and circulation.
The experts at WebMD recommend stretching all major muscle groups at least 2-3 times weekly. Stretch until you feel a gentle tug, never to the point of pain.
You can go online to find a good stretching routine or, if you have health concerns, ask your doctor to recommend one that's right for you.

Sweat Every Day
Much as we try to avoid it, sweating is actually great for your body. The best way to work up a cleansing sweat is through aerobic exercise.
As you sweat, your body releases stored fluid. Replace this fluid by drinking plenty of water.
After a week or so of daily sweating and hydration, you will begin to notice improvement in your skin tone, stress level, and sleep quality.

Reduce Consumption of Pain Medication
Our livers were designed to filter toxins from our blood, but there's no need to make them work overtime. Be kind to your body by reducing the amount of over-the-counter painkillers you consume.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver damage even when used as directed.
The liver function of the test subjects was three times higher than normal after just four days of routine acetaminophen use.

Use Fiber and Water to Promote Digestive Health
Fiber and water are the healthiest colon cleansers available. They are also some of the most effective. Fiber is a difficult substance to break down. It makes your digestive system work hard, keeping it in good shape.
Water is essential for our bodily functions. Good hydration means better skin, better joints, and better filtration of toxins.
For optimal results, try to consume at least 30 grams of fiber daily, and at least six to eight glasses of water. When it comes to cleansing and detoxing your body, there's really nothing better than water. You'll know you're on the right track when the urine becomes nearly clear.

 Questions or comments? Visit me at: Healthwise Exercise.com


Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

 

 

 

Evening snacking stopping you from losing weight?

by Suzanne Andrews

4 Steps to STOP Evening Snacking

    You may have heard the old wives tale about eating after 8pm: Don't do it, they say, because the food you eat will be stored as fat. While that's not true, night time eating is a real problem for millions of people who just can't seem to stop bingeing before bedtime.

 I’ve often asked myself why do I start the day with such resolve and by evening it’s gone?

    People who suffer from Night-Eating Syndrome (NES) feel especially compelled to eat a lot of high-carb, high-fat foods at night. They might even eat more food after dinner than during dinner. Many eat very sparingly throughout the day, but eat a lot at night.

    Some sufferers find themselves unable to sleep because they cannot stop thinking about food. Afterward, they may feel guilty and disgusted, fearful that another binge will soon occur.

   NES was studied in 2009 by a team at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Their findings, published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, linked this newly designated eating disorder to stress, low levels of melatonin, and elevated levels of cortisol throughout the night.

    Sufferers were also more likely to have other eating disorders, sleep disorders, and mood disorders such as depression.

    If you suspect that you might be suffering from Night-Eating Disorder, speak to your doctor about available treatments. In the meantime, here are four effective steps you can take to get your night time binge eating under control.

    Step 1: Eat a late dinner.

    Sometimes real hunger exacerbates the symptoms of NES. Make sure you never go more than three hours without a small meal or snack. This might require you to move your dinner to a later time, especially if you tend to stay up late at night.

    If you eat dinner at 6pm but don't go to bed until midnight, you've gone six hours without eating anything. This long stretch without food can make you more susceptible to bingeing.

   Step 2: Get rid of temptation.

    People who binge at night almost exclusively crave foods that are high in sugar and fat. These "comfort foods" cause the brain to release serotonin, a chemical which improves the mood and makes it easier to fall asleep. This is especially tempting for those who struggle with insomnia resulting from obsessive thoughts of food or stress.

    To reduce temptation, get rid of all the foods you commonly binge on: cookies, baked goods, ice cream, or any other foods you feel compelled to eat at night. Don't keep these foods in your house. You're far more likely to binge on readily accessible foods than to drive to the store and purchase them.

    Step 3: Exercise at night.

    Some people avoid exercising at night because it makes them feel too energetic before bed. But if you time it right, you can reap the appetite-suppressing effect of exercise and still get a good night's sleep.

    When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins which give us a general sense of contentment and well-being. Try ending your workout one hour before bedtime, and follow it up with a warm, relaxing shower. This could leave you feeling too content to succumb to a nighttime binge.

    Step 4: Trick your body into feeling full.

    There are other ways to trick your body into forgetting about food. Sometimes a warm drink will leave your stomach full and satisfied. Try drinking low-fat, caffeine-free hot chocolate before bed. Hot herbal teas are another good choice. If you must snack, choose high-fiber foods such as raw fruits or vegetables.

    Other night time eaters brush their teeth when they feel a binge coming on.

    Try brushing your teeth with a strong, minty toothpaste. Then follow it up with some equally strong mouthwash. Your teeth will feel so clean that you won't want to dirty them again. Plus, the Sodium Laureth Sulfate in toothpaste makes food taste less appealing by suppressing the taste buds that detect sweetness.

    If you've ever tried to drink orange juice after brushing your teeth, you're familiar with this effect.

    Note that some over-the-counter sleep aids, such as diphenhydramine, have been linked to increased hunger and cravings. If your nighttime eating is interfering with your sleep, let your doctor know. They may be able to prescribe medications that don't have this side effect.

 Healthiest blessings,

Suzanne Andrews

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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