When you are on a weight loss journey, a lot can happen along the way. Things can derail you and bump you off track on your way to having better health. Worse, you could go back to where you started and have zero improvements.
There are plenty of people who have managed to cut down on their food intake, avoid cheat days, and practically spend every free hour they have working out in the gym. But they complain that they are not losing enough weight fast enough. They’re not seeing results and it’s disappointing.
Truth be told, there is a lot more to weight loss than just nutrition and exercise. Mental health, sleep, recovery, rest, and stress management are huge factors that greatly affect weight loss, as well as our overall health.
Rest, Recover, and Reflect
Starving ourselves and tiring ourselves out too much is more detrimental than helpful to achieving our weight loss goal. Under-eating will deprive our body of calories it needs for the energy to do a proper workout. If we do not eat, we will have zero nourishment, and zero energy to exercise.
Spending a whole day at work doing stressful things and skipping meals, then heading to the gym for a workout is a recipe for disaster. We need to give our bodies time to rest and recover. On days like this, it is best that we skip the gym, go home, eat well, and go to bed. In everything that we do, there has to be a balance – our body has to be nourished and well rested for us to be able to deplete energy from it.
When we have our gadgets on all the time and refuse to give in to tiredness, it is impossible for us to feel well-rested. Relaxation techniques like meditation as well as low-impact movements like yoga contribute to toning down our stress levels.
Enjoying being with just ourselves as company, practicing being alone, getting massages, and appreciating the beauty that is around us are all good for calming our stress response.
Some Shuteye Sheds the Pounds
We are a nation that doesn’t prioritize sleep. And not getting enough sleep is adding to the pounds and inches that we are trying so hard to lose. There are two hormones at play that affect our sleep patterns. Melatonin is the hormone that puts us to sleep, and cortisol rises in the morning to wake us up, and get us out of bed. Having too much caffeine, working out too hard, and not sleeping enough causes our cortisol to rise and our sympathetic nervous system to activate. That in turn keeps us awake, stressed, and definitely not losing weight.
We need to activate our melatonin at night by having a bedtime routine to get us out of the “tired but wired” zone where our bodies are weary but our brains will not just shut down. We can do this by keeping a schedule, stretching and de-stressing before bed, keeping the lights low, our gadgets off, freeing our mind of unnecessary stressors, decluttering our room, and using white noise to put us to sleep.
Where food nourishes our bodies, rest and sleep refresh and energize us. It is important to always keep that balance.