Personal story: This past Thursday sucked. I was lethargic and grumpy. I found myself ravenous, wanting to eat everything in sight.
That’s not all. My workout STUNK. I did manage to complete 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, but it was horrendous. You know that feeling when you are walking toward heavy wind? You put your head down and you try to fight that resistance that just takes all your energy out of you. Well, that was exactly how I felt during my workout.
Being a wellness coach and actually teaching this stuff, I wasn’t blind to what was really going on. I knew exactly why my food choices were poor, my workout was awful, and I just wasn’t at my best.
Here’s what happened: I stayed up way too late the night before watching the final Presidential debate. Then, I got up at 5am to start my day and shortly after that I hit my wall. Everything started going downhill, beginning with the unusual urge to eat again shortly after breakfast.
Basically, I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. When we don’t get AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep, what happens is that our cortisol levels rise and our leptin, serotonin, and dopamine levels drop.
This is not good news for our healthy choices throughout the day. High cortisol levels make us feel exactly how I felt. You can have all the willpower in the world, but you are fighting a hard fight when your cortisol levels are out of whack. Your body wants and needs sleep, but if you don’t give it that, it’s going to resort to craving comfort foods. What’s more, your workout will stink, just like mine did.
Ideally, we want the opposite. We want our leptin, serotonin, and dopamine levels to be high and our cortisol levels to be low. You see, the first three biochemicals I mentioned regulate our appetite, make us feel good, and ultimately help us make healthy choices that can feel effortless.
Most people think they just don’t have enough willpower or motivation to make healthy choices, but it’s really not entirely true. Because our sleep, food, mood, and exercise habits are all connected – when one is poor, it brings the others down. This eventually leads to all sorts of health issues.
Instead of having to rely on willpower (something you should save for other things, not food or exercise choices), when you get a good night’s sleep and your leptin, serotonin, and dopamine levels are high, it’s going to be much easier to create a healthy day, keep the weight off, and move forward toward your goals in an effective and productive manner.
You see, when you get a good night’s sleep (quality and quantity), you will make better food choices, be in a better mood, do better work, make fewer mistakes, be happy and cheery, and your workouts will not only be more enjoyable, but they’ll be more effective. This will result in reaching your health goals much faster.
So, how do you make healthy choices easier?
- You sleep between 7.5-8.5 hours a night
- Eat healthy, whole foods in an appropriate quantity
- Lower your stress
- Exercise on a regular basis
When you have these four things going on, you won’t have to MAKE yourself choose right, it’ll come easy and naturally as a result of a balance in your biochemical makeup.
How is YOUR sleep going?
If you want to shed some unwanted pounds, it’s really important that you sleep well. This will lead to eating healthy, the desire to move your body (because let’s face it, when you get a bad night’s sleep, physical activity isn’t appealing), and you’ll be less stressed and grumpy.
If you’re not getting enough sleep or the quality of your sleep is low on a consistent basis, I’d love the opportunity to help. A great place to start is by checking out my 6-week online ReINVENT Your Health course.
This is no cookie-cutter program. Instead, you will discover strategies that work for YOU specifically to improve not only your sleep, but your food, mood, and exercise habits as well. If one or more of these areas could use a boost, consider this course. Each week we laser-focus on one of these areas.
My last course of the year starts January 20th and I would love to see you in it.
You can all the details about the program and register here: http://www.transformationwellnessforwomen.com/reinvent-your-health/