This past Friday I took my first scheduled "rest day" since the beginning of January. Somehow I managed to fit in some sort of physical activity for 47 days straight. My minimum daily exercise has been the 25 minutes it takes to do a level of the Shred, but for many (especially weekdays) I've been incorporating an additional 30 minutes of intense cardio at the gym. I hesitated a little when declaring this day of rest. Part of it, I'm sure, was fear of breaking a good habit. I don't want this rest day to lead to inconsistency. I'm learning, however, that rest is important both physically and mentally. On Thursday, after 15 or so miles on the stationery bike my body was telling me "ENOUGH". Earlier that morning I had a headache, a stomachache, a small cough and a general feeling of fatigue. I could barely make it through my 6 am Level 1 Shredding. I've read enough articles and blog posts on overtraining to know it was time to stop before I hurt myself.
The day off felt good, but it was great to get back into it last night after returning from a short trip to Central PA. I did Level 2 of the Shred, ate lots of veggies for dinner, and went to bed super early. Today I managed to fit in Jillian Michaels' Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism in it's entirety (55 minutes including warm up and cool down!). Had I not had a day off, I'm sure my body would not have been happy with that work out. I think what it boils down to is that we can take care of ourselves in many ways. I can push myself to become stronger, but I also need to be sure I'm rewarding my body with proper rest. I don't think I'm going to let myself go another 47 days without it and hope to be able to incorporate one day of relaxation in every 7-14 days. Has anyone learned the importance of rest the hard way? How many rest days do you give yourselves?
I also want to add a quick thanks to everyone who's been sending such kind words of support my way after my involvement in the "Oz 100". It's really amazing to me to see people responding to that particular episode so positively. I finally got a chance to watch the whole thing and couldn't help but get choked up during a few of the segments. It reminded me again of who I once was versus who I am now. The new me was always inside, but losing weight really helped me bring that part of me out. Visiting York this past weekend—the town where I hit rock bottom and reached my heaviest weight—I passed countless fast food restaurants, convenience stores, diners, and donut shops where I so often fed my emotions. I felt such an enormous disconnect from that life I used to lead. That girl would never dream she would one day be sitting in the studio audience representing weight loss success. But there I was, and here I am and I couldn't be happier.