What happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep

We all know that a good night’s sleep is important. If you got too little sleep, you feel futile and weak the next day. But there are many more consequences of a short night’s sleep. And some of them are pretty terrifying! Hopefully, this article is a true eye-opener for you because this is what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep:

You’re more likely to cause an accident

If you’ve slept badly, you concentration tends to be lower than usual. Also, your reflexes are worse and you process information at a slower rate. So, a major setback on your driving skills. Not only in the car, you can also be a hazard on the road when you’re on a bike or even walking. (For example, last week I almost walked under a car after a short night’s sleep.) According to the Foundation for Scientific Research on Traffic Accidents, fatigue and tiredness play a role in 10 to 15% of road accidents. That’s quite a lot!

You’re more hungry

You burn a lot of calories in your sleep. But, more happens with your metabolism at night than you may think. If you don’t sleep enough, the hormone ghlerine is created. This is a substance that generates appetite. If you slept too little, you’ll be less full during the day. (And then snacks tend to become very dangerous…)

Your skin becomes older

Look, your skin won’t look 10 years older overnight. But, if you get too little sleep for longer periods of time, the aging process of your skin speeds up. However, there are also some short-term effects on your skin. Lack of sleep can make your skin dry (because your skin gets hydrated at night) and acne can occur. They don’t call it a beauty sleep for nothing…

Your immune system becomes affected

During your sleep, important proteins are created. These are used for a lot of things, for example, the construction of antibodies. An insufficient night’s sleep causes less of these proteins to be produced, which means that you are more susceptible to diseases. Did you know that you are three times more likely of getting a cold when you sleep less than seven hours a night? Another reason to go to bed on time…

In the long run you are at risk of severe illnesses

Do you lack sleep way too often? Then you seriously have to take care of yourself. Sleep shortage can have serious consequences. It makes you less sensitive to insulin, which could cause diabetes. You can also get increased blood pressure and you have a greater chance of having a heart attack. This doesn’t sound all too good…

Wow, these are all quite serious consequences if you don’t sleep enough. I also read that if you need to catch up on sleep, it’s better that you go to bed earlier than sleeping in in the morning. Are you doing everything you can to get enough sleep?

Source (header): Weheartit

How to eat less sugar?

Last week we talked about how nowadays sugar is everywhere. When you walk through the supermarket and take some random products, there’s a very large chance that there’s sugar in it. Once, sugar was only used to sweeten food or drinks, but that’s no longer the case. Not eating sugar is a really big struggle for me. Especially since it’s in all of my favorite cheat snacks ;). But, I decided to eat clean, healthy and really decrease my sugar intake. In this article I will tell you all about sugar and give you tips on how to eat less of it.

What does sugar do to your brain?
When you eat sugar, your brains releases dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical which makes you feel really good. Your brain gets addicted to this feeling and tells you to take more sugar. Sugar stimulates the same part of the brain as several kinds of drugs. You can experience some real heavy withdrawal symptoms when you decrease your sugar intake. This proves that sugar does more to your body than you know. If you want to read more about how sugar affects your brain, read this article from Fit Girl Shelley or this article from Fit Girl Annegeke.

So how can you decrease your sugar intake? I’ve collected some great tips I want to share with you.

Beauty sleep
Taking enough sleep is one of the simplest and most important ways to decrease your hunger and cravings. Research shows that when you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases an appetite increasing hormone called ghrelin.

Replace sugar for other flavors
Experiment with some different flavors instead of sugar. For example:

  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Orange
  • Coconut

Choose savory snacks
Savory snacks are better for your body than sweet ones, because these don’t have the same (addicting) effects. Some healthy examples include:

  • Hummus with cucumber and bell pepper
  • Carrot or celery with nut spread
  • A boiled egg

Choose naturally sweet foods like fruit
There are a lot of fruits that are good for your digestion and for burning fat. For example:

  • Strawberries
  • Apple
  • Kiwi
  • Berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and mulberries

Read labels
Even products from which you don’t expect to contain sugar, contain it. (Such as crisps!) Sugar also has a lot of nicknames; here are some of them:

  • Dextrose
  • Caster sugar
  • HFCS
  • Fructose
  • Fructose syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Glucose
  • Glucose syrup
  • Syrup
  • Invert
  • Granulated sugar
  • Molasses
  • Cane sugar

Drink unsweetened drinks
No soda and ‘fruit juices’ of course; freshly pressed juice is good for you every now and then, but most juice packs contain loads of sugar. Also, try to drink your coffee and tea without sugar or spice up your water with some fruit or fresh herbs.

Cook with fresh products
Cook with pots and pans and fresh products. Prepacked products probably contain sugars and often too much salt as well. Go back to basics and create your meal from scratch.

Resist the sugar replacers
Some sweeteners are really bad for your body. It’s better to use natural sweeteners like stevia. On our website you can find plenty delicious recipes without using artificial sugar.

Check out the recipe of this fingerlickin’ good cocochoco almond muffin!

Avoid sugar in your comfort food
If it is your cheatday, try to avoid eating everything sugary that comes along. It’s better for you to choose salty food instead of sugar or else you need to go cold turkey again when your cheatday is over. Believe me, you’ll really notice some serious sugar cravings after a wild party with Ben & Jerry!

80/20 rule
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? This rule means that 80% of the time you’ll track what you eat, 20% of the time you can eat what you want. You can compare this rule with having a cheatday every week.

Don’t go shopping for groceries when you’re hungry
When you’re hungry you will for sure buy all the bad foods you’re craving for. If you shop when you’re full, you can think more logically and will probably only buy what’s on your list ;-).

Do it together
Find a buddy who is willing to change their lifestyle together with you. It’s always nice to have someone who supports you in your Fit Journey. You can work out together and keep each other motivated.

Are you going to apply any of these tips onto your lifestyle? Or did you already cut back on artificial sugars? Share your tips & tricks with us!


Why the A4 waist challenge is ridiculous

It feels like every few months, there’s always a new ‘fitness’ related challenge or trend taking center stage. Just last year, it was the ridiculous belly button challenge, and now? It’s the A4 waist challenge. Apparently, the newest way to decide if you’ve got the ideal body is to hold up a piece of paper against your waist. Makes sense, doesn’t it? 

The challenge started in China and was mostly present on the popular social media site Weibo from around February. Women are asked to take a selfie of them standing and holding an A4 paper (8.3 inches) in front of their waists. If your waist is smaller than the width of the paper, you’ve passed the test. Who needs to check BMI and body fat percentages, when we’ve got this test?

The challenge has of course gone viral, but thankfully, a great deal of it is negative. If you search the tag on Instagram, there are hundreds of pictures already up. On one hand, you’ve got the posts of girls actually participating in the challenge.

If you’ve got a naturally thin waist, kudos to you! If you’ve got anything else, you deserve the same cheer. It doesn’t matter what size your waist is, as long as you are healthy and happy.

Women come in all different shapes and sizes. No challenge out there, not the thigh gap challenge, or the belly button challenge or this A4 waist challenge comes even close to indicating anything worth knowing. This trend is trash, just like all other internet trends because they push this idea of the ‘perfect body’. Newsflash: there is none!

4 everyday habits that make your boobs sag

Gravity is a force that sadly can’t be reckoned with, especially when it comes to boobs. Small or big, they won’t stay the same forever I’m afraid. But there are a few every day habits which could be speeding up the process. Breast tissue ages two to three years faster than the rest of your body so you might want to quit any of these habits that are impacting the perkiness of your pair! 

Some people just have damn good genes when it comes to boobs. But whether they’re big or small, they’re mostly made of fat on top of your chest muscles and supported by your skin. It’s then down to the collagen in your skin that keeps it supple and this affects how much it creases and stretches over time. This is why collagen is one of those words banded around all of the time in adverts for anti-wrinkle cream! It make your skin appear ‘younger’ because the inevitable is, with every birthday your body naturally makes less of it. So even if you’re like me and part of the, “my boobs aren’t small, they’re low in fat” crew, boob droop is as much about your skin as it is about the volume of your boobs so listen up.

1. Crash Dieting

Yo-yo dieting which leads to big fluctuations in weight in a short period of time can leave the ladies empty. When you lose a large amount of fat (the filling of your boobs) without giving your skin the time to adjust and shrink with them this could result in your boobs feeling empty. Gradual weight loss reduces the chance of this and moisturizing your body all over, every single day will help keep your skin hydrated and elastic so that it’s easier for the skin to bounce back.

2. Wearing an unsupportive bra

So many people wear a bra that doesn’t fit them properly. The more that your boobs are moving around daily, the more the skin is strained to keep ’em in place. Dainty lace bras might be the latest fashion trend but if you’re going to be moving around then it’s probably not the best style to wear as you’re skin will be doing the job that the under-wired bra was invented for. When it comes to working out, did you know that your boobs actually move in a figure of eight motion when you run?! So yes, running and other high impact exercises that involve jumping up and down cause extra stress to the skin but don’t think that gives you an excuses to stop with those jump lunges just yet Fit Girls. Oh no. The benefits of exercising really outweigh the cons and keep you healthy and youthful in other ways. The solution? Get yourself multiple sports bras that make you feel extremely secure and minimize the ladies jumping too!

3. Smoking

It can’t be avoided mentioning when talking about premature aging of the skin. An effect of smoking is that it decreases the blood flow to all parts of your body. For your boobs, let’s just say this means that the skin is less well nourished as less blood is going to the skin’s surface increasing the rate at which it ages!

4. Sun exposure

An elderly woman who looked at least 20 years younger than she was, once told me the sun was a woman’s worst enemy. That sounds extreme but she chose not to sunbathe for most of her life, revealing this to me as THE secret to youthful skin! Exposing the skin on your chest to UV rays without sunscreen stretches out the collagen and leads to extra sag.  Now I’m not suggesting that you stay inside all through summer or jump from shadow to shadow when the sun is out but leaving your skin unprotected from sun’s rays will damage your skin. Not to mention of course that you might get burnt and then the damage is more than aesthetic.

Get to work on your pair by trying Yola’s boob boosting exercises to help keep your pair perky. Fit Girls take care of their body in every sense of the phrase, it’s just not about what your boobs look like. So if you’re guilty of any of these habits, it’s probably time you ditch them because they’re not doing your health much good in other ways! 

Healthy Habits and My Journey to Healing

When I grow up (matured more and had even more life lessons and insights) I would like to heal the world. Or even those around me. In order to do so it’s perhaps time to share some more of my healthy habits and my journey to healing – short version.

Break patterns and bad habits
Before going on a weeks surf and yoga trip in Morocco I stopped smoking. Don’t tell my parents or daughter but I started at a very young age and smoked for about 20 years!
Before stopping the cigarettes I drank. Sometimes excessively. At one point I stopped going to places and events where I would drink out of habit. And yes, life was so much more fun at that time but you later realize it’s self destructive.

Face your fears
The period before quitting the bad habits I surely faced my fears and fed my soul. Acupuncture, wall climbing, snowboarding, surfing and yoga gave me the courage to face my biggest fear, which was in the end my past. To release myself from this heavy burden I sat down and faced it. I talked, listened, cried and found the words to say. It was then and there where I released myself from the heavy luggage and armour to carry on without it – lighter, brighter and free!

Find your passion
I used to get frustrated when I would read “find your passion” because I didn’t know what mine was! I was too busy with my patterns and habits, taking care of my daughter and working a full-time job. But as soon as I let go of my heavy luggage, the breaking of habits soon followed and I simply (re)discovered my passions and little joys – writing, cooking, yoga and going on road trips. Recently I discovered my newest passion, which is giving massages. This might be one of my baby steps to heal the world 🙂

Please comment
I would love to read about how and when you broke your patterns, so please comment below and also drop me a line if you need a gentle push in the right direction or need to stay on it.
Ask me questions, tell me anything – it’s all good! Follow me on Instagram.

Why slimming pills are a big NO-NO

Slimming pills. We’ve all seen the ads and endlessly repeated commercials for these miracle pills. But in fact, it’s a miracle that these pills are still legally sold in every pharmacy and supermarket… I wrote this article because I care about you Fit Girls and don’t want you to destroy your body with this kind of crap.

If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is
If there really was a pill that makes you fit and healthy, everybody would be. If you search online for slimming pills you find testimonials from ‘people’ that say they lost 10,5 kilograms (aprox 23 lbs) in just 2 weeks. You can imagine that this can’t be good for your body, if it’s even true… Also, the before and after pictures almost never look like the same person. And still, if this pill does work, and all the before and after pictures are real, it still destroys your body instead of making it healthier.

Awful side effects

There are so many side effects to slimming pills you will never find on the package. Here are some examples of side effects:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Agitation
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleeplessness
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver damage

A 24 year old woman named Cara even died after overdosing on Forza raspberry ketone slimming pills. She experienced a seizure, followed by vomiting and fits. Before falling unconscious, she admitted that she had taken the pills. Sadly, she never regained consciousness and passed away that night after 44 resuscitation attempts.

According to a case report, Cara’s death was caused by a fatal excess of caffeine in the bloodstream; an ingredient present in high quantities in Forza and many other slimming pills. Each pill contains 200 mg caffeine (a can of Red Bull contains 80mg).

source: Cosmopolitan

You won’t change your habits
Long term weight loss requires a difference in your eating and exercising habits so you can live a healthier lifestyle. Taking a pill as a quick-fix method does not encourage you to gain a better understanding of how foods and exercise affect your weight. You are less likely to check food labels, record your food intake and fit in your work out, if you think a pill is going to do the work for you. Taking pills forever is not sustainable and once you stop, you’ll be back to your poor habits and initial weight.


An experiment
To prove my point I went to the drugstore and bought some famous brand slimming pills. I read the instructions and the next day I took one pill just before breakfast. Just 2 hours later my heartbeat was really fast, I was nauseous and felt really shaky.

So please don’t ever take these pills! Let’s build some muscles and get fit the right way.

How to get fit the right way
If you really want to get fit, you’ll need to work very hard. There is no ab fairy and you won’t get fit in a week. Working out and building a better body is an investment in yourself. You must be willing to sacrifice some things in order to become fitter and healthier. Do you want to know how I made some adjustments to my lifestyle? Read my article from fastfood to Fit Girl here.

Feel free to follow my fit journey on Instagram. And ask me any question you may have.