One Small Thing

Why skipping your workout is actually good for you

Beating yourself up for not showing up for a spin class or for enjoying every lick of that dulce de leche ice cream cone can do a number on your mind.

Many of us constantly keep a tally of all the healthy and not-so-healthy habits we’re busily fostering each day, but it's time to stop. Read on, because, you’re going to feel a whole lot better when you’re done.

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Woman hitting snooze on her alarm clock

1. Skipping a workout

This is a sign that your bod may need a rest. I’m not giving you excuse mongers another reason to get cozy with your couch and Netflix, but I am saying, that you just may need a little rest.

The key is to know when your muscles need to recover versus when you just want to scroll through your Instagram feed.

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How to do a perfect plank: 'Biggest Loser' trainer Dolvett Quince shows how

Play Video - 3:23

How to do a perfect plank: 'Biggest Loser' trainer Dolvett Quince shows how

Play Video - 3:23

If you’ve done a super strenuous workout the day before, like a long run or heavy lift, your body may need to recover to actually have a better workout the following day. When you overtrain, you can put yourself at risk for decreased immunity, disrupted sleep and poor exercise performance. At rest, our muscles recover, rebuild and repair. This is where what you eat comes to play as well. A happy medium in most cases is to take your workout down a notch and go for a walk or do a light yoga session.

RELATED: The 4 best exercises for a healthy heart

2. Indulging

You may think having willpower is key to your weight loss (and health) success but I’m going to squash that idea and tell you to indulge. That’s right, go find your favorite chocolate chip cookie, garlic bread or grandma’s risotto now.

RELATED: Try Joy Bauer's tips to lighten up brunch and her healthier eggs benedict

Indulging may be your waistlines new best friend. Making conscious indulgences is part of being an empowered eater and can keep you motivated, reduce stress and less likely to binge later. And, oh yeah, it can also make you happy!

3. Stress

More than half of American working adults report feeling concerned about the stress in their lives. We know that stress is not good for our health or weight. However, there is a slight silver lining to this evildoer.

Research has shown that short-term stress can actually have health benefits. This brief period of stress is called the fight-or-flight response, and is how our bodies are wired to react to immediate threats or danger. Think Superwoman. During this time, your body’s immune system is boosted to prepare for possible injury as a means of protection.

RELATED: 17 exceptionally easy ways to relax — from people who know how to chill

Don’t go picking a fight just yet — this added bonus only happens from short periods of stress, not from the chronic stress which most of us live with. Although a tiny bit of stress can be good, too much is not. Commit to working on your day-to-day stress with meditation, aromatherapy or exercise, and at the same time reap the benefits of the short periods of stress.

4. Fat

You love a good piece of cheese or peanut butter sandwich, but you’re trying to avoid fat. Well, guess what? Fat is your friend and it can help you lose weight. We need fat to burn fat, to stay satisfied and for our fat soluble vitamins do all of their good work. Just make sure you maximize the fat you eat by consuming the good kinds such as coconut, avocado, grass-fed butter, nuts, seeds and olives.

5. Sleeping in

Are you patting yourself on the back and looking around for a gold star every time you push yourself to get up at 5 a.m. to get that workout in or squeeze in an extra hour of work? Are you beating yourself up when you don’t? I’m giving you permission to sleep in tomorrow.

Even when you’re able to roll yourself out of bed in the morning your body is not giving you high fives. Sleep is equally as important as diet, when it comes to overall health and weight loss. If you’re properly rested, being an early bird has its benefits, but if you’re lacking sleep then whatever you’re doing with that extra hour in the morning is not worth it.

RELATED: Restore your blood sugar and your mood this weekend

Lack of sleep is associated with decreased immune function, lack of sex drive, weight gain and a whole host of health conditions including heart disease. So, set that alarm an hour later at least a couple mornings a week and you’ll be doing something you’re likely to feel the benefits of stat.

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