has to be sleep, right?
Sweet, precious, healing, rejuvenating sleep. Elusive (for me, and many others) sleep. I feel like no one should even attempt to make a serious run at weight loss/fitness gain until they are rested. Before I began my committment to SP and a slow and steady change in lifestyle last January, I focused on getting as much sleep as I could. I have maintained this effort by going to bed (95% of the time) at a decent hour, and getting up early. I have tried different combinations to assist me in my quest for sleep - right now it includes melatonin. Once upon a time, for a brief time, I used a prescription sleep aid until the insurance company decided it would no longer cover it, and I decided I was not going to spend $300.00 per month on it. I am not going to lie - when I called the insurance company and they told me they had discontinued coverage of prescription sleep aids, I let myself have a tiny little cry
. Ultimately, I was fine because I had no desire to develop a strong dependency on any prescription drug, but for a person who struggles to sleep, finding something that actually helps give 5 or 6 hours of unbroken sleep, giving it up is sort of hard. Last night, I went to bed at 9:30pm, by 1:30am I was wide awake and the battle was on. I slept off and on and when it was time to get up at 5am for my 5:45am workout date with friends, I went into wimpy mode and did not go. I slept fitfully until 7:30am. All day I had low energy, very little motivation, and made less-than-great choices in food and beverages. I did not eat or drink anything completely void of nutrition, and I did not eat or drink large quantities, but I also didn't do myself any particular favors, either. I know very well that when my body does not get enough sleep, it goes into search mode for alternate forms of quick energy i.e. simple carbs, especially sugar, and caffiene. This, of course, backfires by ultimately making me even more tired while being kind of wired - not a nice combination. I can guarantee you, based on loads of past experience, I would have had a much better day had I bit the bullet and exercised. I don't think constantly shortchanging sleep (especially not on purpose) in favor of exercising is a good plan, but sometimes it is just the thing to help turn around the vicious cycle of "didn't sleep well so didn't exercise so had very little energy so turned to sugar and caffiene so now I can't sleep well". I can tell you that tonight, I will go to bed at a decent hour and, despite the amount of sleep, or lack thereof, I will be keeping my exercise date(s) tomorrow, and I will be tending to my responsibilities, and I will be mindful of eating more protein (and less starch), drinking more water (and avoiding caffiene because I don't drink coffee anyway, so it's not as hard for me). As we all know, choices are like dominos - one leads to another and another and another, beginning with the very first choice of the day: get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and take my heart for a spin first thing. Because, in the recipe for less excess weight and greater health, sleep may be the first ingredient and nutritious food may be the second, but exercise is right up there, as well.