This is an #OwnYourShit post. Me taking responsibility and accepting the consequences of my own actions with no blame, guilt or shame and sharing my experience with you so that you can know it it is not just you. Shit like this happens to us all and we are not alone.
These last couple of months I have NOT been practicing what I preach, and now have to pay the consequences.
I tell my clients… and everyone else because I’m just bossy like that, their top 5 priorities for both weight loss and general optimal health need to be plenty of quality sleep, stress management, attitude/mindset, nutrition and exercise/movement. Check out this blog post for more in-depth info on why I number these in this order.
The first 3 can be interchangeable for some people depending on their current lifestyle and from personal experience, I believe that sleep, stress management and mindset/attitude need to be things we need to prioritize first because when we don’t have these 3 at least somewhat working together, it makes it triply hard to get the nutrition and exercise/movement component in as well. At first we can push through with willpower and motivation for the nutrition and exercise component, but neither of those last forever so we need to work on the root of the problem(s) first.
Case in point. I know my body, and for me, my first priority always needs to be sleep. While my body needs less sleep than many people, it does prefer about 7 hours and I tend to push it as far back as I can. I mean seriously, I have a bazillion classes to teach, clients to train, walks to take, iron to sling, ice cream to eat, coffee to drink, programs to create, yoga to take and a hubs to hang out with. I look forward to each of these every day and sometimes sleep sounds like a waste of time when I am this excited about life…but in truth it is time that I desperately need to rest, restore and recover so that I can continue to effectively do all the things above.
The last 6-8 weeks or so I have been averaging between 5-6 hours of sleep a night…on a really good night maybe 6.5. Not good when my body NEEDS to have 7 hours.
When it first began happening, I would think, I am not going to do this for long, I can hang. I’ll grab a nap during the day and just grab another cup or two of coffee. I’ll be fine. But a 20-30 min nap 2-3 times a week does not compensate for losing 7-14 hours of sleep per week over the course of several weeks, and while adding MOAR COFFEE, because #AlwaysCoffee makes me happy, it still does not compensate for the lack of sleep.
For the first few weeks it was not too bad. Once or maybe twice a week I might have a continuous meal or down a couple of diet ginger ales and a sleeve of crackers with peanut butter throughout the afternoon, or eat a second protein bar (in lieu of the candy bar I’m craving) after I’ve already had one 30 min or an hour earlier. I would think, Eh, that’s not terrible, I can handle it.
So what happens after that few weeks? The consequences hit me over the head like a sledge hammer. Not only am I sleep deprived, my stress levels increase from both the lack of sleep and the dis-ordered eating and worrying about it. What are those consequences?
I’m wired, but tired all the time from… dare I say it, too much coffee (the horror?) I am more clumsy than usual, my mind is not working as fast as it should, my coordination is off, my form is off and my workouts are a bit sloppy, I am not as strong as I usually am, my attitude is not as positive, my cravings have gone through the roof for salty, fatty, sweet foods that I no longer eat very often anymore, I am bloated and have inflammation in joints I normally do not have inflammation in because I have been consuming foods that I KNOW from experience create dis-ease in my body.
Two nights in a row this week I ate burger and fries and 2 scoops of ice cream for supper. That’s not normal for me and what’s worse is that the food was really not tasty and I ate it anyway. I don’t do that when I am feeling good! I eat food that I like and that tastes GOOD! I was having these seriously strong cravings for things I don’t usually enjoy. I was also having this issue where I would eat until I was full physically, but my mind kept telling me I wanted/needed more. Sometimes I pushed away, but a couple of times I ended up eating waaay too much and being miserable. Sheesh. Do I really need that?
See this pic of my sausage fingers? It is painful and my fingers feel like they are going to split open. My toes too, because my feet are swollen as well. This happens when I consume foods that are fatty, carby and salty. Like when I had 1/2 a bowl of queso dip, tomatillo sauce and 1/2 a bag of salted tortilla chips as well as 2 diet giner ales and half a sleeve of saltines and not near enough water. All of this was after my #BAS (big ass salad) that I have every day.
Every bit of these issues, I believe stemmed from me being a recovering perfectionist. I have been taking way more time than I should trying to make sure that what I post either on Facebook, Instagram, in my newsletters, or here on my blog is perfect…..only to scrap the entire thing at the last minute and then just post whatever the fuck comes out quickly. (This post took me over 2 hours because I felt I had to continuously go back and edit?) I have also been working on a couple of new online offerings for you and again….that perfect thing. So I spend too much time editing and deleting and not enough time creating, and then stay up to late and don’t get enough sleep.
Time to get back to what I KNOW works and to take my own advice. Big Rocks First! I need to do the things that give me the most bang for my buck. For me that means SLEEP! So, last night, while I went to bed later than what my bedtime should be, I set my alarm for an hour later than I usually get up, woke up at same time anyway without the alarm going off so I just disabled it and turned over and snuggled with the hubs for almost 2 hours before my back told me, and the dogs insisted that I get up!
What did I not do over the last few weeks when all of the dis-ordered eating was going on? I did NOT add in more cardio or try to work off all those extra calories that i consumed. That would have just made things worse and put even more stress on my body than it already had due to lack of sleep.
Ok, I’m not going to lie, this was tough for me to write. While I am only human and I know that things like this are going to happen from time to time, I am still a recovering perfectionist. Also, after all, I am a healthy lifestyle coach and am supposed to be able to do all this shit right? That inner voice in me wants to say “What are people going to think if they know that sometimes I am not perfect?” GAH! I had to get over myself and accept that I am only human and an imperfect one at that. Normally, I KNOW this. But, when I don’t get enough sleep it affects my mindset/attitude and adds even more stress which makes me want to stay up and fix shit and make sure it is right, which adds more stress which fucks with my mindset and all this fucks with my cravings and exercise to. See the circle?
Today, I have shared with you one of my vulnerable stories that makes me cringe to admit is happening to me and that I have let go on as long as I have. And yet, like I disclosed to my readers last week in my newsletter, telling our stories is healing for us and sometimes it also helps others to heal by listening to someone else who has the same type of struggle. Last week in my newsletter I also shared one of my stories about how I came to be where I am today and asked my tribe to share with me some of their stories. I was surprised at some of the common themes and phrases that continued to come up with many of the stories I received back from my readers. To see if you connect with one of these themes that kept coming up as well as getting a couple of my insights on them AND the inside scoop for one of the reasons I have been neglecting my sleep sign up for my newsletter that goes out early this evening.
Questions or comments? Feel free to do that below…or shoot me an email if you prefer!