If you're familiar with the story of creation in Genesis, you know that God was super busy for 6 days. He created the sun, the moon, water, birds, animals, man... it's almost like He created everything (oh that's right, He did).
But there's an even more important part of this story that many of us forget...
"On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work." - Genesis 2:2
Of course He rested. If you had worked that hard for 6 days straight, wouldn't you rest too?
Unfortunately, many of us don't. Most of us neglect the fact that our bodies are designed for rest. That's right. God designed us to rest after hard work.
"But Isabel, I have no time to rest! You know there's work, the kids, the house, the (insert your most stressful situation right now). How could I possibly rest?"
As much as I completely relate to the overwhelming demands of this life, you and I have no choice but to rest when our bodies tell us to.
An inadequate amount of rest and relaxation is one of the top reasons I see many people (especially women) fail in their weight loss efforts. They are burning the candle at both ends, and their bodies hold on to excess fat for dear life because their bodies think they're in a major crisis. Unfortunately, this is how many of us are living day in and day out.
There is also a hormonal response to this lack of rest... elevated cortisol levels.
Cortisol is our "stress" hormone and when cortisol levels are high, you can experience symptoms like...
- Rapid weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Mood swings, anxiety, and depression
- Impaired cognitive function (fuzzy brain)
- Dampened thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Poor sleep
Could you be experiencing the negative side effects of high cortisol and lack of rest right now?
If the answer is "yes," here are some simple strategies you can begin using today to help you get the rest your body was designed to have every day.
#1 - Admit to yourself that you're only capable of so much every day.
In a world where we have been told, "You can do it all!" you may be at a point of complete exhaustion just trying to keep up. Today, I want you to pick one thing you are going to stop doing right now. This one thing may even actually be good, but you may not be at a point where you can fit it in at this moment.
I used to lead a women's prayer meeting every Tuesday morning (a wonderful thing, to say the least). But I had to admit to myself that there was no way to successfully homeschool my kids, work full time, and take care of my health with events scheduled on weekdays. So, I switched this weekly meeting to happen once a month in the evenings. Does that make me a bad person? I sure hope not... LOL. I just needed to be honest with myself and realize that I just can't do it all.
#2 - Sleep no matter what.
I tell every client who comes to see me to make sleep their #1 priority... even more important than their nutrition and exercise. Yes, you read that right. When someone tells me they get 1-2 fewer hours of sleep to be at the gym by 4:30am, I tell them their health priorities are a bit out of order. Giving your body the adequate rest it needs will result in greater weight loss and improved health than going to the gym every day for an hour (yes, I promise that is true).
I had one client who told me she was getting to the gym every day by 5am to work out for an hour and actually felt like she was gaining weight instead of losing it. After a few more questions, I realized her body just needed more rest and less stress. So I told her to sleep the extra hour and fit in a 15-20 minute workout later in the day (sometimes she would do this right at her desk at work). What happened after just a few weeks? Her body started to burn off unwanted fat because it was getting what it needed... a good amount of exercise and adequate rest!
#3 - Refuel with sunshine.
I'm going to give you a prescription today that is better than any prescription your doctor has ever given you (ok, maybe): get 15 minutes of sunshine every single day. I want you to get yourself outside no matter what the temperature is and soak in some sunshine every single day. Not only will this ensure you get an adequate amount of Vitamin D each day, it will also improve your mood and combat any fatigue that may plague you during the day.
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies today, and I really believe it's because so many of us spend too much time inside. Some common signs of Vitamin D deficiency are chronic fatigue, bone and back pain, depression, and hair loss. What great news that most of these can be greatly relieved by just getting ourselves outside each day.
At what point during your day can you break away for 15 minutes and take a quick walk outside in the sunshine? I'm going to admit that this one was definitely a hard one for me as I'm often just going from one thing on my schedule to the next, but when I realized how critical it was to my health, I started factoring in an extra 15 minutes each day during my lunch break so I can soak up some rays outside.
Are you giving your body the rest it needs? If not, implementing even just one of these strategies this week would make an incredible difference in your health and weight loss efforts.
And if you're looking for meal plans to help you transform your health, look no further than the New Life Promise plan!