Sunday, March 11, 2012

The importance of lifestyle.

You cannot ignore lifestyle in your quest to become a better, fitter, healthier you.  You can nail your nutrition, you can exercise like a demon, but you are doing yourself a great disservice if you then go and sit on your butt for 16hrs staring at a computer screen, or if you are sacrificing your sleep time to stare at a television for a couple of hours, or even to go work-out at 4.30am in an already over busy schedule.

Our lifestyle is really just a collection of habits, things we do automatically without really thinking.  While most of us dig in and change our exercise and nutrition habits, we forgot about the other stuff.  Sometimes we might make changes to our lifestyle as we do this without really considering the consequences.  The two areas suffering in my life:

Incidental Exercise

Now, most people I know seem to increase their incidental exercise as they go on a ‘health’ kick.  Riding a bike to work, taking the stairs, parking in the far corner of the carpark, etc.  But some of us (i.e. me) seem to decide somewhere in the back of the mind that since we workout, we need to “rest-up” throughout the day so we aren’t too worn out.  This is especially the case for people on low calorie diets, or people who are not getting enough sleep (that is me!).  My work (PhD) is fairly untaxing, but as a mother I do have a fair bit of housework to do.  I don’t workout on days when I do a big lot of housework.. because I am already exhausted!  Yes, I am a big BABY!  This is going to change from right now!  It is the exercise you do between workouts that is going to burn fat – what is the point of building up your metabolism if you are just gonna sit on your ass?  It’s like installing a V8 engine in your car and then just letting it idle all day in a bid to use up all that extra petrol you have: you would use a lot more petrol if you actually got out and drove it! 


It is fairly common knowledge these days that sleep is vital to weight loss.  Lack of sleep increases cortisol production which means we retain fat ‘just in case’ (after all, if we don’t have time to sleep then we must have some kind of emergency going on!).  I hear of so many people who decide to ‘fit in’ their hours exercise at 5.30am or 9pm at night and rather then ensuring they make up their sleep, they just do without!  Early morning exercise is great.. but you need to head to bed early and not sit up half the night watching television or facebooking!   Caffeine is not your friend either, so other then a cup in the morning – ditch it!  It totally messes with your sleep cycle and sleep is hard enough to come by!  My problem is the late night ‘relaxing’ where I sit up in the quiet post-bedtime and watch some television and facebook till midnight.  Not only does this encourage extra food consumption, it eats into valuable sleep time preventing the repair of muscles, making you less likely to have the energy burn calories the next day, and just simply makes you feel like shit.

Goals for this week:

1.  Increase Incidental Exercise

2.  Increase the amount of sleep you are getting!

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