Posted by: cmittermeier | April 17, 2016

Cortisol, Sleep, and Speeding up Recovery

So, the last day of the drive from San Diego was through an ice storm, and quite frankly it was nerve racking.  I got out of the van shaking and more than a little weak in the knees.  That night, I slept till 4:30, then couldn’t fall back alseep till just before it was time to get up.  The boys certainly didn’t mind sleeping in for an extra few hours!  Monday had me a bundle of nerves, my son made one accidental boom and I was in pieces. That night, worse than the first – this time I was up at 3:00AM and never got back to sleep.

Understandably, I begged God for a good sleep.  As the day wore on, I kept doing what I knew could help get a decent nights sleep.  Throughout he day, I took it easy, doing my best to not reawaken the fight or flight.  I took my adrenal tea, I made sure to take my vitamin D at dinner, and I took a small dose of melatonin before bed before following our standard routine.  I am thankful that it worked.  Excluding tonight, I have been asleep about an hour earlier and sleeping straight till just a bit later than my normal wake up time.  

I have been walking a bit every day, slowly at first, and maintaining a quieter atmosphere.  My eating was staying on track, and I worked very hard to keep up with my tea.  By the weekend I was almost fully back to myself.  I’m not ready to race around the block yet, or to start the new exercise videos, but I should be in a few days.  Recovery was going well.

I have been down this road many times, and I have learned from it.  I was keenly aware of the various pitfalls I used to fall prey to.  Racing too fast back into things, pushing too hard – been there, don’t do that.  I made sure the volume levels were low, went over and over with the boys “be quiet, no fighting, GO OUTSIDE”.  In the evenings, I found things to keep my mind occupied, but not overly busy.  Too little mental is a bigger trap for me – it is then that my mind will race into worst case scenarios.  Too much mental is a lesser, but still, a trap – instead of worst case I’ll go ’round and ’round with you’re no good talk.  There is a sweet spot to it, a sweet spot I have fine tuned over many decades.  That is one of the biggest gifts of this last round of the shakes. Yes, my adrenals do not bounce back instantly when I have a very stressful day. I need a while to recover, but with all that I’ve learned it is a shorter time with no avoidable set backs and that is a good thing, worthy of a pat on the back (cue the, “yeah me” smile).  

Ah yes, dropping the set backs was a lesson that took many retests to learn!  Yes, life’s equivalent of “take all antibiotics till you are finished, do not stop even if you feel better” is real.  Oh, far too many times in the past I dropped the tea a day or so too early only to realize how much it was still needed.  And today, as my eating slipped in the evening, I realized how with my weight loss journey that rule needs to be lived as well.

This is not to say I can’t have a set back, its about how you handle it and how hard you work to avoid it.  Lets work it from the analogy of the antibiotics.  If you miss a dose, the rule is take the missed dose unless it is time for the next dose – in which case, just take the next dose and continue.  With of course, the first rule is work hard to avoid missing a dose.  So it is with a set back in weight loss. You do your best to do what you were supposed to do but if something happens, you don’t just give up and go on a bender. Missing a dose does not mean you stop taking the medication!  Similarly, you know full well if you waffle on, waffle off, all you will do is yo-yo a small range of pounds.  No permanent losses will be made. In fact, you make it harder to loose weight in much the same way your infection becomes resistant to the medicine you were taking.  You have to push hard to stay on program.  Period.  

No set-backs, in the context of weight loss, is about not dropping the program even when you begin to slip up.  I made mistakes on our trip, I ran into things I didn’t plan for and I did not handle them all very well.  When I came back (until tonight) I followed the same protocol to get it under control as I did to get physically back on track.  I am not completely out of the woods, tonight I went far off track.  I will work hard tomorrow to get a long walk in the morning and I will talk more with the nutritionist about tonight. Those things are like taking the missed doses.

Into every life there will be curve balls.  There will be things that get me shaking, and things that get my eating off track.  I just need to keep learning how to shorten the recovery time.  I am glad for the insight into the no set-back idea, and even more appreciative of the antibiotic analogy.  Those are the insights that take a weight loss program and turn it into a lifetime plan.  My prayer tonight will be that it help one of you.

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