The importance of sleep

We all know that we should be getting 8 hours of sleep per night, but when I was younger I relished in the idea that as I was getting older I was able to stay up a little bit later at night – but now I cherish every moment I get!

I go to bed at ridiculous hours for no reason at all, set my alarm for 6AM (aiming to physically get up by 7AM) and probably get an average of 6 hours sleep; i’m guessing that i’m not getting enough sleep. During the week I am at a constant fight with myself at night between talking to people for a couple more hours on Facebook or to get my ass to bed – my social life has proven to be the winner.

One night the other week I went to bed the earliest I had in years because I was so exhausted: 9PM! Honestly, I could say it was one to the best sleeps of my life – even though I woke at 3AM (I guess because my body clock expects me to get up 5hours after I fall to sleep)… I didn’t mind waking up that early anyway because I love the feeling of knowing that I have several more hours of sleep left!

So in an effort for me to hit the sack earlier I looked up the benefits of sleep and how it is bodylicious:

Sleep helps to repair your body.
Your body produces extra protein molecules while you’re sleeping that helps strengthen your ability to fight infection and stay healthy. These molecules help your immune system mend your body at a cellular level when you are stressed or have been exposed to compromising elements such as pollutants and infectious bacteria.

Sleep helps keep your heart healthy.
Your cardiovascular system is constantly under pressure and sleep helps to reduce the levels of stress and inflammation in your body. High levels of “inflammatory markers” are linked to heart disease and strokes. Sleep can also help keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels (which play a role in heart disease) in check.

Sleep reduces stress.
A good night’s sleep can help lower blood pressure and elevated levels of stress hormones, which are a natural result of today’s fast paced lifestyle. High blood pressure can be life threatening and the physical effects of stress can produce “‘wear and tear” on your body and degenerate cells, which propel the aging process. Sleep helps to slow these effects and encourages a state of relaxation.

Sleep improves your memory.
That ‘foggy’ feeling that you struggle with when deprived of sleep makes it difficult to concentrate. This often leads to memory problems with facts, faces, lessons, or even conversations. Sleeping well eliminates these difficulties because, as you sleep, your brain is busy organizing and correlating memories.
One of the great benefits of sleep is that it allows your brain to better process new experiences and knowledge, increasing your understanding and retention. So, next time you hear someone say “why don’t you sleep on it,” take their advice.

Sleep helps control body weight issues.
Sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite. Studies have shown that when your body is deprived of sleep, the normal hormone balances are interrupted and your appetite increases. Unfortunately this increase in appetite doesn’t lead to a craving for fruits and veggies. Rather, your body longs for foods high in calories, fats, and carbohydrates.
So, if you’re trying to lose those stubborn few pounds that just keep hanging around, consider the benefits of sleep on weight control and make sure that getting enough sleep each day.

Sleep reduces your chances of diabetes
Researchers have shown that lack of sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by affecting how your body processes glucose, which is the carbohydrate your cells use for fuel.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School reports that a study showed a healthy group of people who had reduced their sleep from eight to four hours per night processed glucose more slowly. Other research initiatives have revealed that adults who usually sleep less than five hours per night have a greatly increased risk of developing diabetes.

Sleep reduces the occurrence of mood disorders.
With insufficient sleep during the night, many people become agitated or moody the following day. Yet, when limited sleep becomes a chronic issue, studies have shown it can lead to long-term mood disorders such as depression or anxiety.

The benefits of sleep are extensive and can make a difference in your quality of life, as well as the length of your life. Therefore, it is vital to place a priority on getting ample, consistent sleep.

After this week is over (have so many assignments due at uni) I will be getting heaps more shut-eye, it’s too important to miss and is definitely bodylicious!

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Bodylicious weekly workout

It’s getting so hot so quickly and beach season is already here! I really need to amp up my fitness to get my body bikini ready. I have devised a workout schedule that is going to get max results but is flexible enough to fit in with my life.

I have a timetable sheet posted on my bedroom wall that tells me what I have to do, how many times a week and a section to “tick off” what I have done. With this I am able to decide when I choose to do these exercises and how many times per week. Here’s how it goes:
5-7 times a week = ab workout ~ crunches, v-sits ect…
5-7 times a week = stretching
4-7 times a week = walking 20mins+
4-7 times a week = running or interval sprints 20mins+
3-6 times a week = dancing 15mins +
3-5 times a week = skipping 15mins +
1-4 times a week = boxing 15mins+
2 times a week = arm weights 10mins+ (toning exercises only)
1+ times a week = miscellaneous workouts (e.g. swimming, Pilates)

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To be or not to be vegan.

Here’s a little background on me: I am currently not vegan nor vegetarian – I have never even tried to be any of the two. I come from a family of big meat eaters, my dad used to own a butchers when I was a toddler and I can hardly recall any dinner without a piece of meat… besides those nights where all we cook up is eggs on toast.

Recently I have grown interest in becoming a vegan due to the health benefits it has, and as a personal protest towards slaughterhouses. I watched a clip on YouTube called: “If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls, Everyone Would Be Vegetarian” spoken by Sir Paul McCartney. When watching it I cried at the way these animals were bred, treated and slaughtered. I’m not saying that I was oblivious to the fact that a steak is a piece of a cow that died so I could eat it – i’m talking about the inhumane ways these poor animals died were murdered.

I also just bought the book “Skinny Bitch Box Set” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin which is a straight-forward, no nonsense book about adopting a vegan diet in order to become as skinny as those bitches, lol. In the box set there was also the cook book “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch” which had some really delicious looking foods and great alternatives to meat. Reading through the book it spurred me on to try to adopt this lifestyle.

I’m just worried as to fully commit to becoming vegan as meat is such a big part of my family’s meals. My family is very understanding and loving – but we have had conversations in the past about veganism and vegetarianism, where we all agreed it was “weird”… on that note, why does veganism in particular have such negative connotations when it’s clearly healthier, more environmentally-and-animal friendly? Is it because it is not the social norm, because few understand what it really is, because people just want to ignore what is happening within the meat industry, or is it because other vegans have tried to influence people into making choices they clearly aren’t ready for? I don’t know, but this negative label that has overshadowed the good in veganism needs to be lifted… Okay back to my original question: Has anyone ever had this problem or had to deal with breaking news to your family? Comment below if you have any suggestion!

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Model beauty secrets

Sarah Stephens: winner of 2006 Girlfriend Rimmel Model Search, 2008 Victoria’s Secret model, has graced the covers of magazines like Vogue Italia and is the face of Seafolly.
Sarah keeps in shape through meeting up with a personal trainer three times a week to do intense cardio mixes and lightweight training. If she has a job coming up she gets into a boot camp mode and exercises everyday – “I’ll crunch [abdominal crunches] ’til I can crunch no more.”
Her favourite 3pm snacks include blueberry protein smoothie, veggies and hummus, nuts, an apple, or air-popped popcorn.
Her beauty regime involves exfoliating her skin every night with St Ives apricot Scrub and moisturising twice a day with Cetaphil Moisturising Cream as it doesn’t block pores. She uses Moroccanoil Treatment when her hair is still damp from a shower, to keep her locks glossy. I love Moroccanoil too!

 Sonya Kukanis: modelled for Rusty, Becca Cosmetics and Sportsgirl.
Sonya stays in shape through exercising four to five days per week. She says she has to work hard as her body naturally changed as she turned 20, so she had to change her diet and exercise as well. She does cardio, weight training, Pilates and loves group fitness classes.
Her favourite 3pm snacks include crackers, cucumber slices and balsamic vinegar. When she’s on the go she sips down a banana soy smoothie and loves carrots dipped in hummus . Every now and then she follows the Dr Joshi’s Holistic Detox, and admitted that her ultimate indulgence is chocolate!
Her beauty regime includes cleansing and moisturising everyday; and exfoliating her body once a week.

Rebecca Breeds: Australian television actress that has been in Blue Water High, Water Rats, but mostly known for playing Ruby on Home and Away. She is currently the brand ambassador for fitness label: Running Bare.
To keep in shape Rebecca tries to exercise every day, even if it’s just skipping for 20 minutes at home. Cardio dominates her exercise regime and tries to do as much yoga as possible to improve her posture. She says that planning is essential to her exercises as it helps her avoid late-afternoon snacking!
Her 3pm snack is an apple and a cup of tea. She follows her grandmothers saying “Once past the lips, straight to the hips” which she says is harsh but true. Her diet is all about portion control, low GI foods, lots of protein and limitation of sweets.
She doesn’t follow a huge beauty routine, but always puts on sunscreen and moisturiser after her shower – and to keep her hair healthy and strong she uses Moroccanoil Treatment too!

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Bodylicious means no more excuses

Not enough time, it’s too cold, too tired are all excuses we have used that deter us from our exercise plans or going to the gym. I read an article in Cosmopolitan Health that gave some really good scenarios and ways to overcome them! So, if you have been spending more time talking about how you would love a better figure, rather than actually getting one (like me), it’s time to ditch the excuses for good!

It’s raining: I always used to get a sigh of relief when waking up to rain as I could cocoon myself within the mass of a doona and go back to sleep, because it was a “sign” for me not to run…
If it is a light sprinkle, it can be quite refreshing when running – however if it is a down-pour staying inside is probably your best bet. But don’t go running to bed just yet, there are plenty of activities you can do indoors whether at the gym or in your home. Do some weights, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, yoga or Pilates – your options are pretty much endless! If all else bores you, amp up some Gaga and dance, 30 mins of dancing can burn up to 840kjs!

You have a cold: Another excuse that makes us throw in the towel. No one feels like anything besides hopping into bed, watching a few DVD’s with a bowl of chicken noodle soup – but studies have shown that regular exercise will boost immunity making you get better quicker! “If all of your symptoms are above the neck – say a runny nose or sore throat – then it’s OK for you to run” says Lee Rocker a personal trainer at Curves. It is best however to keep the exercise light; like a brisk walk, yoga or Pilates… and remember to increase your water intake.

You’re sore from the last workout: Good, and so you should be! It should make you proud to know that you are actually making changes to your body and that should spur you on to continue. Recovery is a vital part to any workout routine – so when you are really sore you should change your regular session to a light exercise as it will improve muscle recovery, as it gets the blood to flow to the muscle, which also removes waste products and aids in muscle repair. On days like this you should take up brisk walking, light skipping, swimming, or heavy punching drills to get the body pumping and you moving! Unless you are injured, taking time off doesn’t help the situation.

There isn’t enough time to workout: This is one of the most common and difficult excuses to dispute. You work long hours, have a hectic home life and are socially booked – there’s just no time for exercise! WRONG. Even the busiest people can fit in their daily exercise. Swap going to the pub after work for fitness or go to bed earlier so you can workout before work – its your health; you need to stop making excuses. You should swap meeting friends out at lunch for a gym class or even pole dancing lessons (my friends and I have always wanted to do one!)

You’re tired: This is my main one; i’m too tired = CBF’ed!!! I always find that once I start to get ready for a workout, my body starts to get pumped up – so by the time i’m out the door i’m ready to go! But if you’re so tired that you feel like you can’t even lift the remote, exercise will actually help. “Exercise gets the blood pumping and also spikes a feel-good hormone called dopamine.” How to get started: jump into your workout gear as soon as you get home so you’re less likely to wimp out, then commit to just 10minutes. Seriously, it’s not that hard! Once you get going push yourself further and further pas the 10minute mark – you might even end up doing more exercise than one of your regular sessions!

You went out the night before: Your head is pounding, you feel dirty and almost sick to your stomach… oh yes the hangover has hit! All you want to do is to get rid of it – don’t go to your normal remedy of fried, greasy foods (if I do say so myself it actually makes you feel about 50% better) instead get moving! Have a shower to was away your shame and blurry memories of last night, brush back your hair and move your ass. The hormones released through exercising can actually lessen a headache and will restore energy. Just make sure to rehydrate with lots of water! My own tip when I have a massive night out (you have just smashed through enough shots to tranquillize a lion) is to stop by the convenience store before going home and get some Powerade so you can start to rehydrate yourself. So drink that on the way home – then once home drink a bottle of water, then brush your teeth, ALWAYS brush your teeth – there’s no worse taste to wake up to than alcoholic dried-up mouth… or you can be sensible and not drink as much.

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It’s Bodylicious!

Welcome to my new blog Bodylicious! I have narrowed down what I want to focus on when blogging: diet and exercise – so I felt a new blog was in order.

This blog will contain all things to with diet, nutrition, fitness, and beauty. Bodylicious (as you may have guessed) is the combination of the words: body and delicious. It is my mission to transform myself into a healthy, fit and gorgeous individual… because quite frankly I eat crap all day, everyday and I have the athletic ability of a walrus. Fact.

 Follow Bodylicious!


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