So you know nutrition and becoming metabolically flexible is a major passion of ours. But what makes for true and sustainable success when it comes to practicing the nutritional habits we recommend? Before we do anything else, we have to make time for adequate sleep and stress management. Period. Then end. You will hit a roadblock and get frustrated with not seeing or feeling results unless you make these a priority. We have seen it time and time again with all of our clients who choose to forgo sleep, and try to stretch their daily and weekly bandwidth. You don’t lose the last 5-10 pounds, you still have that afternoon crash, you don’t make those gains in the gym, and you continue to have those cravings.
So when it comes to prioritizing sleep, where do we start? We start with sitting down and looking at our schedule. When do you want to wake up in the morning? Have that time in mind and roll back to a minimum of 7 hours (ideally 8-9 hours). So if you want to wake up at 6am, that means you have to be in bed, asleep, by 11pm. Then consider how long it takes for you to wind down and then fall asleep. That could be an hour of doing some calming activities with low light exposure, then another half hour to fall asleep. So then this means (for our example), you would have to start your bedtime routine by 9:30pm AT A MINIMUM. If you are shooting for 8 hours, then that will be 8:30pm is your wind down start time. And then you keep moving backwards from there as to how to structure your full day, in order for these things to actually happen. So what time is dinner, work/meetings, movement, time with family or friends, other meals, etc.? Having a set, yet flexible schedule, is so important in attaining your health goals, because we know that sets your sleep routine up for success. And sleep is KING. It is the foundation to having optimal metabolic health, which is what helps us reach all of our health goals.
As for stress management. Just by being more in tune with your schedule and weekly structure, your stress levels will drop. We promise you that. When you have a schedule and know when you’re going to do things, you’re less likely to overbook yourself, and you are more prepared. Both of these are a load off the shoulders (and mind). Secondly for stress, start with becoming more aware what triggers stress for you. Things to be aware of in terms of stress showing up are: a tense body, shallow breathing, tight chest, high shoulders, constipation or diarrhea, poor or excessive appetite, poor sleep quality, and reactive and emotional to relatively small things. Once you become more aware, we can start to process, look at why we do these things, and how can we better control or manage our reactions to these things.
We are just scratching the surface here. There are many more specific actionable things to do to work towards better sleep, and to manage stress. But we suggest you start with these things mentioned here and then experiment further. If you want to know more about sleep, check out our podcast here where we dive into the subject, or sign up for a free clarity call by clicking here.