Just a few years ago, I was exercising intensely twice a day. And I could never figure out how I was actually gaining weight! I would visit my dietician in tears – how could it be that I was burning off more energy than I was consuming and still unable to shift my weight?
Even now, when I find myself getting hyped up about a new exercise program or fun class at the gym and doing more exercise than usual, I feel more frantic and my body seems to hold onto more weight.
But when I exercise moderately for 30 minutes a day (no more!) and enjoy rest days? My body loves it. My clothes fit comfortably, and I feel calmer too. Happy days!
This is why so many of us also tend to lose weight when we’re on holidays – because we’re resting. We eat more than usual and still lose weight? It always brings so much confusion to my patients in clinic.
Why do you think it is? You guessed it – it’s your body telling you again that it prefers to be rested.
I harp on about the devastating effects of high cortisol in my own body, and I believe that’s the reason intense exercise never served me. Studies have actually shown that intense exercise can increase cortisol levels. And high cortisol does not allow fat to be burned. It also impacts thyroid function.
It’s certainly not my favourite hormone, though we do need some cortisol to function well. It’s a difficult hormone to keep well-balanced, especially in this world.
I also harp on about the importance of rest. I truly believe that a rested body is a healthy body. I commit to rest daily – whether my schedule allows it or not. I make the time and I make it a priority, or else my health suffers.
Now don’t get the wrong message here. As a health practitioner, I know how incredibly beneficial exercise is for the body. It’s especially crucial for the cardiovascular system. It keeps you strong and fit, and it releases those happy hormones – endorphins.
What I’m saying is that exercise is an important part of your routine – just not too much. Why do we feel the need to overdo it? Why do we need to push our bodies to the extreme? Our bodies were not designed for that.