It’s often said sleep is essential to weight loss. Studies show getting less than the requisite 7 to 9 hours per night correlates with bigger bellies. It increases your output of the hunger hormone ghrelin, makes you less diligent about the foods you choose and increases your desire for comfort from ice cream, mac n cheese and fat. Your body perceives lack of sleep as stress, causing it to pump out the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol also encourages your body to store fat — especially in your middle.
It’s true. I have my hungry days for sure after a big training day, but some are seemingly inexplicable. Today is one of them – following a cruddy night of sleep from Sunday to Monday. Now, the day after the day after – Tuesday – I’m paying for it.
This morning, I woke to my alarm (never have my alarm go off, I’m always up before it) and stumbled to teach without putting any food in my belly. Upon my return, I had 3 eggs, spinach, cheese, sundried tomatoes. Still hungry. Had a second breakfast 30 minutes later of gluten-free cinnamon-raisin bread and peanut butter. I was still hungry. I am still hungry – so I had half of a Quest bar too. Then I declared myself done. For now.
Frankly, I know my body is just tired and seeking out energy. I’ll feed it lunch – but at some point, I don’t want to make myself sick either. A nap is in my future. Hopefully it’ll calm down my hungry day. Lesson learned…again. When the dog wakes you at 3am, go back to bed. Don’t use it as an excuse to fit in the missed swim workout from the day before.
Think before your skimp on sleep to fit in your workout — are you doing yourself more harm than good? Can you hit the pillow sooner the night before? Can you carve out a lunchtime workout or an evening one?