Woww who knew taking a week off working out would feel so damn good? To be completely honest the thought of not hitting the gym for a whole week kind of kicked up some anxiety and fear of gaining some weight back, feeling blah, losing motivation but mostly gaining weight or losing muscle. But did I ever need to take a step back from the fitness world…
Now this is something I really don’t do often. Obviously I take rest days but I have not taken a whole week off from working out in a really, really long time if not ever. I don’t do this often because working out does more to me then just keep me in shape and looking toned. It increase my confidence and self-esteem, my mental health is better, I have more energy, I’m happier. I am just an all around better person when I have my quiet time in the gym, lifting weights and not talking to anyone. I’ve talked about this a lot on my instagram as well. BUT the past couple weeks or so I really felt like I needed to just take a step back, and focus on just living my life for a little while. I felt the need to unplug, stop worrying about my workouts and what I looked like so much and just CHILL.
Lemme just talk to you guys about WHY I felt the need to do this because it’s really important and I want to get this message across. So in my “Health and Fitness Journey” Blog post under the About Me section on my blog, I talk a lot about mental health struggles, body weight issues and all that fun stuff that I have dealt with in the past. So I used to totally obsess over the amount of food I was eating when I was younger. Like I was OBSESSED. I would only eat things that had less then 100 calories, no fat, I wouldn’t touch any ice cream or sweets at all. I would never eat chips, fries, or any high fat processed food because I was terrified of being bigger. I remember trying to make myself puke a few times because i had eaten too much and I wanted so desperately to be out of my body and erase what I had eaten. I would do unhealthy amounts of cardio for the SOLE purpose of burning food off. It wasn’t good to say the least.
Anyways, I don’t know why, but lately I have been obsessing over my workouts, forcing myself to workout and do cardio when I really don’t want too and only doing it because I felt like I ate too much and punishing myself for it. I have been counting calories (I never do and haven’t done in years) and obsessing whether I have eaten too many, checking myself in the mirror too often, looking at my stomach every chance I got and obsessing over what I looked like. I’m always very health conscious and aware of how I’m feeling and what I have put in my body but this was different. I have been weighing myself daily, and panicking if I see the scale move a little bit in the “wrong” direction. Just doing things that are very, very unlike myself and things I have already overcome in the past.
SO…a couple weeks ago I ate Mac and Cheese, like a whole box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese which is SO frikon good. If you haven’t tried this brand of mac and cheese already then I highly recommend it, its 70% organic ingredients, not as processed and full of weird crap like kraft dinner and tastes WAY better. Anyways, I ate the whole box which I usually do when I buy it because the box is fairly small and I don’t eat it often so when I do I down the whole thing. But this last time I did, for some reason I panicked and had super crazy, anxious, disordered thoughts like “omg Raquel your so stupid, you should have had something healthier, your probably going to gain weight back, now you should go to the gym to burn it off etc, etc.” Just beating myself up sooo much about it which is so not like me. I mean I have not have thought this way about food in a really long time. And then all of a sudden I thought to myself “What if I puked this up, and then it would gone and it would be like I didn’t eat it….” This immediately scared the HELL out of me and right away I noticed these thoughts and stopped myself from spiralling into believing any other crazy thing my brain was working up. Thinking like this made me really take a step back and gave myself almost like a pep talk to get me thinking more rational. I literally was like “okay raquel, you have come this far, you are NOT going to go back down this path and hate yourself. You are going to accept you ate a bunch of mac and cheese, SO WHAT. You are not going to punish yourself with an extra workout or calorie restriction, but you are just going to go about your day as you normally would and continue eating healthy the next day.”
Now in saying that, this is not an easy thing to do when these kinds of thoughts and feelings are happening. It has come with years of practicing self-love and ups and downs with my mental health, battling thoughts like this and learning how to notice them. I am not sure why I started to obsess again and have disordered thoughts, and there is nothing I can do about them. I can’t control them but I CAN and DID control how I reacted to them. I chose to step back and realize what was happening with my mind and chose not to fall down an unhealthy, obsessive path where self-love and self-care is lost. I am not willing to go back down that road. Ever.
So after this happened, after talking to my boyfriend (he always knows what to say and how to talk me down), after taking some deep breaths and writing my thoughts down in my journal, going to bed early and taking time to relax, I decided to take some time off from the gym. Because I truly believe that I needed to after having disordered thoughts, obsessing about my weight and the scale, obsessing over calories and not focusing on how I feel. This to me, was a sign that I needed to chill. This is my body and mind telling me I needed some time off to focus on living my life and spending time with people I love.
Of course I kept up with my nutrition because that is so important in feeling well mentally and physically and you need to constantly nourish yourself so everything works properly. I was fairly active just swimming in my boyfriends pool, walking around lots at work and stuff but I have not been to the gym in about a week now. I am not stressing about gaining weight or losing muscle because I know I will get back to killing my workouts and lifting weights and being strong as hell when my mental health is back in check. Don’t get me wrong, the gym definitely helps my mental health but once I start obsessing, I know its time to take some time off and just live life, be me for a while. This may not occur with everyone, but having previous struggles with body image, anxiety, OCD, depression, sometimes things in my head get a bit whacky and out of order where I need to tune in and focus on whats going on. Which is totally okay. Thats allowed to happen, your not weird or crazy, you just have to allow things to fall back into place and re-set.
I wanted to share this because I want you guys to know that there is more to life then counting calories, tracking macros, spending hours in the gym, weighing yourself and looking a certain way. Life is too short to skip out on things because your worried your going to eat too much or indulge and ruin your progress. Eating healthy and exercising is important, and should be a top priority but it should not RUN your whole life. Taking a step back when you realize your getting too obsessed and it starts effecting your life is really, really important and I am very grateful that I did. It reminded me that being a certain weight is NOT worth it if I am deprived, lonely, empty and if its costing me my mental health. You are worth more, and you deserve more.
Happy Wednesday Friends.