I turned 38 yesterday by catching up on work, playing around with my new dermaroller, and going to Korean BBQ for dinner with my husband and our friends. It may not have been the most exciting of days, but it was the sort of day I needed: quiet and relaxing.
My plan was to get all of my steps in before dinner because I knew it’d be hard to get them all in afterwards, but the day flew by. Dinner came and went. At 9 pm, I was still about 6,000 steps short.
I wasn’t worried (although I probably should have been). I’ve walked thousands of steps before by doing laps around my living room, so I figured I’d just suck it up and get pacing. Unfortunately, I messed up. My little guy wanted to lay in bed with me to fall asleep. I wasn’t in the mood for bedtime drama, so I took the easy route and I gave in.
It worked. He fell asleep easily… but, so did I.
One minute, I’m laying in bed, thinking about how many laps I’ll need to walk to get 15,000 steps before midnight. The next minute, I’m waking up, it’s 6 am, and I’m still wearing my contact lenses. Obviously, I didn’t hit my step goal. Talk about a great start to this challenge!
Its ok though. I’m not discouraged. I’m not throwing in the towel. I’m just going to start over again today. No biggie. That’s the great thing about getting up in the morning (even for us non-morning people): a new day brings new beginnings and new opportunities for change.
Speaking of change, I listened to Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s latest podcast episode on sleep today. Dr. Chatterjee is the author of the book, “How to Make Disease Disappear,” which
I’m obsessed with inspired my goals for this latest attempt at my 15,000 steps challenge. I’ve known for a while that sleep is important, but it wasn’t until I read Dr. Chatterjee’s book that I really understood just how much sleep affects my overall health.
Sleep impacts everything. For example, there was a study done in 2011 to measure how sleep deprivation affects muscle mass growth and recovery. They took a group of people, put them on a diet, and then split them into two smaller groups: one that was supposed to sleep 5.5 hours a night and another that slept 8.5 hours a night. At the end of the study, the people who slept less had 60% less muscle mass than when they started. The other group had actually gained 40% more muscle mass. Back when I did my Experiments 1 and 2, I didn’t even consider how sleep might impact my efforts in the gym. I focused solely on my workouts and the number of calories I ate. I was certain my experiments failed because I didn’t eat enough protein or work out hard enough, but it’s entirely possible my poor sleep habits were to blame.
This is the main takeaway I got from Dr. Chatterjee’s book: the body is interconnected. There isn’t just one thing that will cause you to gain weight, get ill, or feel bad. It’s everything. It’s all the different choices you make and how they interact with each other in your body. It’s genetics, environment, what you eat, what you think, how you feel, what you do, and what you don’t do.
That’s why there’s no magic pill and there likely won’t ever be.
After listening to this podcast episode, I’m convinced that my sleep goal is the first one I need to tackle after getting my step goal back on track. Not because I think it’ll help me lose weight or gain muscle, but because I know it will impact my ability to meet all the other goals I’ve set. I need to set myself up for success and getting enough sleep is the first step.