It’s amazing how even a few less pounds can prove less taxing. I remember I had lost about 16 pounds before I went on vacation in April. That didn’t seem like a lot of weight. But then when I was getting my dive gear ready, I noticed it was harder to lug around. That’s because instead of a regular weight belt (in scuba diving, you need to carry extra weight because of the buoyancy of your body and wet suit), I had the weight in my BC (the buoyancy compensator vest you wear that holds you tank and other gear).
Man, it was really more cumbersome to carry and move the gear with that extra 16 pounds of weight. That’s when the light bulb went off that that was how much weight I had lost and was no longer having to lug around on my body. It was instant perspective.
It’s easy for me to lose perspective, especially when I am intently focused on something. I have been somewhat compulsive in my weight loss pursuit and I have had decent results.
But what I have found of late is that I am physically tired and less motivated. I still really want to lose weight, but I honestly have not had as much energy of late.
I think there are likely two main reasons … and I am the cause of both of them.
First, I think I’ve overtrained in the first 12 weeks. I am doing the MobileFit program at the YMCA and the computerized training program charts your progress. Well, in a nifty little bar graph that shows the recommended training compared to actual exercising, my actual has been much higher than the recommended amount.
So after 12 weeks of extra training, I think my body is just saying it’s tired and wants to rest.
And therein lies the second challenge — rest. I truly, truly, truly love to sleep. But actually falling asleep is challenging for me, mainly because I just don’t seem to be able to end my day with any regularity on the same schedule. Even if my body is tired, my brain is still often zooming along concerned with matters of work or life. And if my brain is tired and I’ve played tennis or worked out after leaving the office, then my body doesn’t seem to want to settle down.
I also have been working a bit of an irregular work schedule the past few months, working the night shift one night week. I was able to get into a routine when it was the same night each week, but when I started switching up the days, it really seemed to throw me off.
And when I eat dinner at 6 p.m. but get home from work at midnight, then I am famished and wide awake. That’s not a good combination …
And it creates a cycle of erratic bed times and eating times that seems to run counter to my weight-loss mission.
I have confounded and sabotaged my metabolism over the years — by not eating early in the day, not exercising consistently and never getting on a regular sleep schedule.
That one seems to always elude me.
Experts say that lack of sleep can certainly alter metabolism, as can our activity level and our eating.
Research has shown that sleep deprivation can interfere with cortisol and insulin production and use and impact our overall hormonal balance.
So rest and sleep are an important part of successful weight loss.
Even anecdotally I have proven that. During my last vacation, I was extremely active physically and started each day by getting up around the same time (especially if we had a morning dive trip scheduled) and, for the most part, I was in bed asleep at a regular time almost every night. I got eight hours sleep every night, did a lot of exercise and even though I indulged with food and drink since I was on vacation, I had one of my best weight loss weeks.
While the exercise and activity was key, I am betting that the regular sleeping pattern paid dividends too.
But I just can’t seem to do that in my regular life. Even though otherwise my daily schedule is fairly structured.
So I guess that’s something I need to commit to also, just like my eating and exercise.
My body seems to need to rest. It’s craving it these days. So I guess I’ll give in and try to have a more regular bedtime and perhaps count my hours of sleep just like I do my calories and my hours of exercise.
It certainly can’t hurt.
And at least I won’t be so tired.
And if you catch me napping on the recumbent bike at Y, give me a nudge, will you …