Welcome back to week 10 of our 12 Week Weight Management Programme. We are pleased that you have decided to continue with your weight management journey.
How did you get on last week? Did you cook at least one meal with fresh ingredients?
Everyone has their own lifestyle – or the way they live and organise their life. Lifestyle is affected by many factors, including if we:
- work or not
- the hours we work, such as night shift or long working hours
- live alone or with parents or with young children
- are spontaneous in our life - do we do things on the spur of the moment or do we prefer to plan things and be organised
- like structure and order to life or are we happy with a lack of structure?
When thinking about our lifestyle we need to be aware of challenges when we're trying to manage our weight.
One of the routines that can affect our weight is our sleep pattern.
Research has shown us that our sleep routine and our eating behaviour interact with one another. We know that irregular sleeping and eating patterns have an impact upon our weight and our ability to manage our weight. So, it's not just what we eat that matters but also when we eat it.
A regular sleep routine is very important if we're to eat regularly. When our sleep pattern is disrupted then our eating pattern is also disrupted.
These top tips can help you to sleep and have the benefits that good quality sleep brings.
Develop a soothing bedtime routine is important. At bedtime avoid tasks that are stimulating, for example:
- replying to emails,
- trying to solve family problems
- thinking about your finances
- using your mobile phone; the bright light can be stimulating
A relaxing routine, such as soaking in the bath and reading or listening to music helps to separate the tasks which can cause excitement, anxiety or stress.
Create a good environment for sleep
Where you sleep should be:
- free from interruptions.
Computers, televisions, mobile phones and all work-related documents should be removed from the bedroom.
Your bed, mattress and pillows should be comfortable. Noise should be blocked out as much as possible, blackout blinds, ear plugs and an eye masks can all be helpful.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine at bedtime
Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that disrupt sleep because they make you more alert.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, colas and chocolate. It remains in most people’s bodies for 3 to 5 hours after consumption.
Nicotine makes it difficult to fall asleep, causes problems waking in the morning and can also cause nightmares.
If you smoke, find out how to get help to stop smoking.
Avoid alcohol before bedtime
Many people think alcohol helps them sleep. Alcohol actually disrupts sleep and can lead to a night of poor quality, restless sleep.
If you have concerns about the number of units of alcohol you're taking in a week:
For most people physical activity makes it easier to fall asleep and helps them to have a sounder, more refreshing sleep. If you're doing vigorous exercise which stimulates your muscles, heart and brain, it's best to finish this 2 hours before bedtime so that your body has time to relax.
Know what type of eater you are
This week we'd like you to think about 2 particular types of eater. Some people think of themselves as being:
- a comfort eater (also known as an emotional eater)
- prone to binge eating
Some people find that comfort eating can trigger an episode of binge eating. Do you recognise any of these?
Comfort eating (emotional eating)
A comfort eater is a person who associates eating as a way of dealing with their emotions. They've learned to link food with helping to deal with painful emotions or feelings. For this person, intense feelings equal eating and they want to get comfort from what they eat. This has also been discussed in Week 4.
The comfort eater will benefit from learning other ways to soothe them self and to deal with their emotions. It's helpful to begin by labelling the emotion then identify what has caused the emotion to surface. Was it an argument, because of loneliness or some other reason? A decision can then be made about what to do next.
Practising relaxation and mindfulness will help to manage emotions.
It's important to remember that binge eating can refer to 2 different groups:
- people with binge eating disorder
- people with binging behaviour
Binge eating disorder
Some people suffer from a recognised diagnosable condition called binge eating disorder.
If you think this describes you, you should discuss this with your GP.
People with binging behaviour describe that:
- from time-to-time they feel they lose control of their eating behaviour
- once they start to eat, they feel like they can't stop
Sometimes they try to live by strict rules of things they can and can't eat, and experience strong cravings for items on a 'not allowed' list.
Eventually they can't resist the craving and this leads to them over eating, or having a 'blow-out'. They sometimes describe this as having a binge.
This pattern of behaviour is often accompanied by intense feelings of guilt and shame and can trigger comfort eating.
If you recognise yourself in any of the descriptions, you are more likely to successfully achieve your wellbeing targets if you make some changes to these eating behaviours. The hunger scale could be part of the solution.
Record how you are feeling on your lifestyle diary and what you have eaten. Start to consider what else you could do when feeling the same way instead of turning to food.
Setting your goals
It's time to set new goals for next week. When setting your weekly goals you should:
- decide which day next week you will be coming back to this programme, this will be the day you can review your goals
- consider the areas for change we have discussed this week
- look at your lifestyle diary/journal/app/photos and choose areas where you feel you could make a small change over the next week
- ask yourself what you can do more of, what you can do less of and what would help you me make these changes
- add 1 or 2 new goals - we recommend 3 to 4 weekly changes goals are the most you should ever set yourself
If you don’t meet your goals every day, that’s ok. It’s important to keep returning to what you've written down. We’ll review them next week.
Your can use our goal-setting tool to record your goals for the week, or print out our blank weekly journal (PDF, 42KB) to fill in yourself.
For next week
During this week:
- consider if you suffer from a binge eating disorder or if you use food as a way to deal with emotions, what can you do differently to help you change this
- think about the areas of your lifestyle that make it challenging for you to manage your weight and think of possible solutions to these challenges
- complete your lifestyle diary