When you have started a diet in the past, how much sincere and attentive focus did you give to preparing for your diet? Isn’t it true that usually you are getting the food together a particular diet requires, buying yet another tread mill (or hauling out the old one covered in dust from the last diet), getting another gym membership, planning that last big blowout gluttonous meal you’re going to eat because you are going to have to starve for the next eight weeks.
The above really isn’t an exaggeration. People spend a lot of time preparing everything else for their new diet program except the body!
If you are to succeed in keeping weight off, you must take seriously the preparation of the whole person–body, mind, and soul, right? Of course you do!
In the next few articles, I will focus on two very important and related components of preparing your body for weight loss programs: sleep and stress.
Think about these two questions. Question 1: “What are your chances of actually losing the weight you want to lose? Question 2: What are the chances you’ll keep that weight off for at least five years? If you have been on the fad diet band wagon even once in your life, you already look at those two questions warily and with some doubt about your success. I would venture a guess and say that most of us have tried more than one diet that promised fast results with very little if any hunger and no exercise, right?
Take a look at most fad diets or weight loss programs, and you will find missing two very important components. These fad diets and online diet programs fail to give enough, if any, importance to an important key that could more than double your chances of losing weight and keeping it off.
What am I talking about? How getting a good night’s sleep can make all the difference in your weight loss success.
Actually, we can place stress alongside sleep as the two are so very important to each other. If you are under a lot stress, most likely you aren’t getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to more stress. Now try to take seriously any diet program when you have that kind of stress/sleeplessness cycle, and you are asking for failure.
Evaluating and, perhaps, changing our sleep patterns or lack thereof is not a short term fad diet fix. Remember: It’s not about a diet; it’s about a way of life. If you are going to lose the weight you want to lose and keep it off, you must stop thinking in terms of another “diet,” and start thinking in terms of a way of life. You need to establish a pattern of life where YOU are in control instead of being at the mercy of what goes on at your office or what is going on in your family.
Having counseled countless couples, singles, married, divorced and you name it people during nearly 20 years as a spiritual leader and guide, I am not suggesting that we don’t have to deal with life’s issues and challenges. Quite the contrary. I am suggesting that you deal with those issues by taking the necessary steps to take control of your daily patterns and habits which will lead to a healthy psychological and physical wellbeing.
In other words, if you are eating right, exercising regularly, and getting a good night’s sleep each night, you will be better equipped emotionally and physcally to take on stress. Here are some thoughts on why sleep and stress are so important.
If you consistently deprive yourself of sleep it can lead to a state of sleep deprivation. Typically, everyone goes through periods of sleep deprivation in their life. Remember staying up all night, maybe more than one, when you were in finals week in college? Or if you have a child, you definitely have experienced, or are experiencing now, periods where you deprive your body of sleep.
But there is a great difference in intermittent times of going without sleep because we choose to and patterns of sleep deprivation brought on by illness or, most common, stress.
Be sure to look for my next article in this series which deals with what happens to the body when it doesn’t get enough sleep. These articles will lead to a thourough understanding of why the body needs rest and relief from stress and I will show you concrete steps you can take to make sure you are getting the best night’s sleep possible.