I had my first post-surgery appointment with the doctor yesterday and he confirmed that I am recovering remarkably well. He gave me permission to slowly go back to my regular workouts, and assured me that my body will let me know if I am doing too much.
In the past when life got stressful, the first thing to go would be my energy for workouts. That would be closely tied with my eating for comfort rather than wellness. Pretty quickly, even the idea of working out would be emotionally and physically draining. This would often be the beginning of my wellness spinning out of control, resulting in my regaining the weight I had recently lost—and then some.
The first time I really saw this change was in the summer of 2010 when my husband was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was an incredibly scary time when my vibrant and active husband suddenly became so pain-ridden he couldn’t get out of bed without assistance. It was several weeks before we got a diagnosis, and several more before treatment gave him some pain relief.
Instead of using that incredibly stressful time as an excuse to stop my personal care, if anything it motivated me to take care of myself even more because I knew if I wasn’t feeling good, I wouldn’t be able to take care of David. The best way I could help him, was to take care of myself.
That doesn’t mean it was easy. There were days I had to make myself go workout, even if it was for 10 minutes. Fortunately, getting started was often the hardest part and once I did my 10 minutes, I usually was able to keep going and get in my full workout.
And I reached out for a lot of support. Not only were my friends and family incredible during this time, but I also leaned on the transformation.com community—a free on-line support site focused on physical, mental, and emotional fitness. (I still participate in the Fabulous Friends accountability group, and would love to have you join us if you are looking for support in meeting your wellness goals.)
As a result, I not only survived this extremely stressful situation, but I thrived and used that time as an opportunity to move towards who I am truly meant to be.
This time, it was me who was facing the medical challenge—fortunately a much-less serious one than my husband continues to face with remarkable aplomb. In addition, because it was happening to me, I found it much easier because I was more in control and could tap into my inner confidence in my personal wellness and wellbeing. It was easier to be focused on what I could do to speed my recovery—following the doctor’s orders to take it easy, and getting in four walks a day and drinking lots of water. I also know the benefit of eating healthy foods and the impact that has on how I feel.
I also have the personal experience that exercise relieves stress, and now I use stress as an excuse to workout rather than a reason to avoid it.
While it may feel like the very last thing you want to do, focus on the stress-relieving benefits of exercise and how much better you’ll feel afterwards. And when you do the workout and are in that better-feeling place, notice it, focus on it, and celebrate it so that you can remember it the next time you are trying to convince yourself to go workout.
Figure out the minimum that you can do that will make you feel like you’re making progress. Even a walk around the block has benefits and will help clear your mind, and it’s a lot easier to convince yourself to at least get that walk in. And if you really can’t motivate yourself to get a workout in today, forgive yourself and focus on doing what you can do to take care of you, even if it’s putting away the bag of potato chips, or saying “No” to the cookies.
The results will be worth it.
Together we can do it!