I weighed myself the day after my son’s birthday party in late September. Ugh. Could’ve lived without that. I looked down and stared at the number. It wasn’t just the number, though … it was also that I just wasn’t feeling healthy. My weight represented the cycle of a complete lack of discipline and willpower that I somehow found myself in.
Several years ago, my husband and I did an intense workout and eating plan together and we lost a lot of pounds and inches. Soon after we finished the program, we found out we were expecting.
I backed off of the intense workouts throughout my pregnancy, and then — wouldn’t you know it — it was someone’s birthday at the office. One piece of cake won’t hurt, I thought.
And then I worked overtime another day, so I deserved to relax and enjoy two (or three) pieces of pizza for dinner.
Soon after that, it was my older son’s birthday. What kind of a monster wouldn’t share pizza and cake with the kids to celebrate their child’s birth?
And there are children starving in other countries, so I couldn’t possibly waste my child’s plate of nuggets and mac and cheese. It isn’t enough to save for later, so I’ll just finish what he didn’t eat, I told myself. And we should all have fruit snacks for dessert, for a fun treat.
And so on, and so on.
While all of that’s happening, you miss a workout. Then two. And then it’s been a week, and then a month.
I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy and the doctor gave me the all-clear to head back to the gym.
Now it’s three years later.
I couldn’t be farther from my prior fitness level right now if I tried. It’s hard to imagine how you once had the priority and the time to do a grueling workout program every morning at 6 AM and make healthy meals while juggling varying work schedules and raising young kids. You wonder, what the heck happened? For me, it was a series of little things that snowballed and ended up obliterating what I worked so hard to achieve. And now here we are.
The hardest part of going back to the gym is quite possibly having to buy a few new pieces of workout gear because you can’t fit into the old ones.
Or maybe it’s looking in the mirror and trying each article of clothing on and feeling discouraged, wishing that you hadn’t thrown out your larger-sized clothing to begin with.
Or maybe the hardest part is walking back into the gym after being gone for so long, wondering if your body is going to take a lot longer to get back to where you were because you’re older now.
Just thinking: next month, I’ll start something next month; let me check Pinterest for healthy recipes first, then I’ll go back; maybe when the baby is a little older. And then another month passes. And another. And then before you know it, you’re celebrating their third birthday.
Or maybe the hardest part is knowing you’ll be at the gym next to people who are already so fit and healthy. What if I fall on the treadmill or it takes me days to recover from all of the soreness? What if someone remembers me and how I used to look?
All of these things are hard when it comes to going back to the gym, but probably the hardest of all is getting out of your own head and just doing it, just going and getting that first workout out of the way.
It wasn’t easy: I was self-conscious, I hated how I looked and, even worse, I hated how I felt. I was low on energy and I felt sluggish.
But I did it. I put on those larger-sized workout clothes and I laced up my shoes. I met my husband there and we dropped the kids off in the childcare room. I forced myself up the steps to the cardio room while my husband hit the weights. I avoided mirrors and got on the treadmill and turned it on. I walked. I’m no longer a spring chicken, but I walked for 30 minutes.
And it felt great.
The hardest part is over: the first trip back. Now it’s done, and I feel a whole lot better about the rest of it.
I caught my reflection in a display case on the way out. And you know what? It was different, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Get out those workout clothes, lace up those shoes, and get back out there! You’ll be so glad you did.More On