After I gave birth to Dawson, I was determined to quickly lose the weight that I gained during my pregnancy. I experienced postpartum depression after Connor’s birth, which led to excessive weight gain on top of the weight I gained while I was pregnant with him (a grand total of 71 pounds heavier than I was the day my pregnancy was confirmed). I knew that if I didn’t work to get the weight off that I gained with Dawson, I was likely to slip into a downward spiral back toward depression.
So, as soon as I was given the ok from my OBGYN, I hit the gym hard. I used the MyFitnessPal app to track my calories. I completed several races. In just a couple of months I lost the 33 pounds that I gained during my pregnancy with Dawson.
But, after having 2 sons, my body did not look like it did before I was pregnant with Dawson. I may have weighed the same, but my hips looked bigger, my arms and thighs wiggled more, I could not run as fast as did before (and I was NEVER a fast runner!), my stomach was softer, my arms were thicker, etc. I lost an additional 17 pounds, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be.
To be honest though, at that point I started to get tired. It started slowly, but eventually I just got tired of going to the gym every day, tracking calories on my phone, budgeting for races, and taking time away from my family to focus on myself. I wanted to enjoy ice cream with Connor. I wanted to come home and cuddle on the couch with my boys after work instead of going to the gym. I was coming to terms with what so many of us want to deny: I was running on fumes and just wanted a break. My flame had burned out.
For awhile, I took a break from the gym. I deleted MyFitnessPal from my phone. I stopped running. I quit blogging and didn’t post much on my social media accounts. For the first time in 2 years, I had a period of time where “healthy living” meant spontaneity – not tracking every ounce of water I drank or scheduling time to train for a race.
During that time I fortunately didn’t gain any weight back (I will admit that I did eat a TON of ice cream though). I did go to the gym every now and then. I would run or go for a walk once a week or so. It was a breath of fresh air some days to not “have” to work out, but other days I did miss the routine that I had once created for myself.
Over the past few weeks I have started to slowly and gently ease into a new healthy lifestyle that does include eating well, along with consistently going to the gym and race training. I enjoyed my little break, and in retrospect I probably should have given myself one a long time ago. I’ve learned that if I don’t allow myself moments to unwind, reflect, and refresh then I will without a doubt crash and burn.
These past few weeks I’ve enjoyed walks with my family. I’ve started posting more to social media. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal again. And, here is my first blog post in a few months. By gradually increasing my tracking and training, I now crave it like I haven’t in months. I have the desire to get back to the gym daily and try new classes. I cannot wait to cross the finish line of an upcoming race.
I still have many, many goals for myself. I would still like to lose those last few pounds that I’ve been hanging onto since Andy’s wreck. I want to tone and strengthen my muscles. I’m determined to set some new PR’s in the near future.
I share all this to let you know that giving yourself a break isn’t quitting. I feel like the spontaneity that I gave myself took pressure off of me that I didn’t realize I put on my shoulders. Now, I am so much more passionate and determined, and I’m once again fueled to hit the gym hard and train.
When my husband and I started this blog 2 years ago it was to serve two purposes that are just as important to us today as they were the night we were up way too late getting this blog up and running: 1-This blog is to serve as a way for he and I to motivate ourselves to be a better, greater us. It has been great for tracking progress and is a great source of accountability. On difficult days when I don’t feel like I can run any longer, I look back at old posts and see that I can do something that seems impossible because I have done “impossible to me” things before. This blog documents our trial and error as we attempt to lose weight, gain muscle, run faster, etc. 2-This blog is to encourage and motivate our readers. If two ordinary, flawed people like us can achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves, ANYONE can!
Reader Question: How have you overcome healthy living burnout? What advice would you give to someone coming back from a fitness break?