diet

The Hibernation Diet: lose weight while you sleep

Thursday, January 5, 2006

It's a dream come true! As you grab some shut-eye, a spoonful of honey may help you work off kilos.

It's the stuff that weight-loss wishes are made of — shedding kilos while tucked up in bed and waking up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

The new Hibernation Diet claims we can all do it, by following some simple rules and enjoying a few spoonfuls of honey before bed!

The diet, created by British pharmacist Mike McInnes and his son Stuart, a nutrition expert, promises to help us sleep and lose weight at the same time by using our biology and working with our bodies, rather than against them.

"The Hibernation Diet is about recruiting your own natural recovery system for weight control," Mike says. "You don't have to fight your body every step of the way to get a healthy weight. You need to learn how to make it work for you."

The key is kick-starting our body's recovery mechanism at night — speeding up fat-burning metabolism, easing stress hormones and helping us get a better night's sleep. Which is where honey comes in.

First of all, are you a candidate for the Hibernation Diet? Ask yourself these questions ...

Do you wake regularly during the night?
Do you have night sweats?
Do you experience acid reflux during the night?
Do you get up to go to the bathroom during the night?
Do you feel nauseous in the early morning?
Do you wake up exhausted?
Do you have a dry throat in the morning?
Do you get night cramps?
Do you feel weak in the early morning?

If you've answered yes to any of these questions, it could mean you haven't fuelled up your liver for the night. Instead of burning fat and repairing muscles, your body has produced a tidal wave of stress hormones while you've slept.

How does the Hibernation Diet work?

The diet's creators say there are three keys to burning more fat while we sleep:

  1. Honey

    Honey has long been prized for its therapeutic properties. The Hibernation Diet creators claim the fructose and glucose in honey also provides a fuelling mechanism for the body at night — keeping blood sugar levels balanced and letting your recovery hormones get on with burning fat stores.

    They dispute the idea you shouldn't eat late at night, insisting that a spoonful or two of honey will actually help you lose weight.

    "We're not going to give you carte blanche to stuff yourself with takeaways every night," Mike says. "We're talking here about nutrition — giving your body the right fuel to work with."

    How much honey should you eat? The Hibernation Diet recommends taking a generous spoonful or two of honey at night — either as a warm drink, a smoothie or straight from the jar.

  2. Healthy eating

    The Hibernation Diet isn't all about honey. Mike and Stuart also advocate a healthy, balanced diet void of highly refined, processed foods — that means no white bread, pizza, burgers, chips, beer and sugar. They suggest eating foods that provide the nutrients our body needs, without excess additives.

  3. Resistance

    The Hibernation Diet recommends two to three bursts of resistance training each week. You don't need to go to the gym to do it — use light hand weights or packs of sugar, rice or dried beans. Some yoga and Pilates DVDs have resistance exercises included.

    Have you ever tried the hibernation diet? Did it work for you? Leave your comments below.

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