So I started back to working out this week.
Well, ok, I was never completely not going to the gym. I was still going, on occasion, over the last number of months, but my visits were so unfocused. Most of them were just walks on the treadmill or bikes on the stationary bike as a means to read my scripts or let my mind wander. I would do some occasional all-over body work outs, but I never planned what I would do in advance, and they were usually based on repetition, lower weights, and brain pudding blahs. I just decided what moves felt good to me in that moment and would do them. Doing this helped clear my thoughts. It gave me an hour to just kind of, let my mind sort through what it needed to. I usually left with new ideas or some new clarity. So that was fine. Mentally, I feel like these sessions helped. But physically? They were doing nothing. Maybe they weren’t backtracking my progress in my health/weight journey, but they sure as heck weren’t progressing it.
Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had some interesting shifts of thought.
See, I haven’t tried to gain weight since the end of last summer. I marked the end of the summer with this post, outlying all the steps I knew I had made with food and my recovery. I’m happy to say that all these steps have stayed. The food fears I challenged that summer have become more and more frequent, to the point that I honestly feel I am in a good place with food “fears” in general. I don’t see food as good or bad. I see all foods as having something beneficial for us. Yes, even you white wheat.
However, even though I feel like I’ve been eating well – and heck my tolerance for relaxation has grown exponentially – there has been no weight gain since the end of the summer.
I haven’t wanted to. I haven’t tried. If I had wanted to work at gaining weight, there would have been much more struggle.
Proud that this is now part of my “normal eating”
Since the summer I have fell complacent to the stage I am in. I’ve learned that I can sit a lot and eat a pretty normal day of eats and that that does not mean I will gain weight. Even all my cinnamon buns, scones and late night brownies have consciously been in an effort to support a normal, healthy diet – not a weight gain diet. Don’t get me wrong, continuing to work for “normal eating” has been very important and has continued to be work each day. But that “work” has become stagnant.
The other week, however… I felt that little voice inside me perk up for the first time since August. That little thought that maybe… maybe…. its time to start trying again?
I feel I am in that quasi-semi-recovery stage where I feel relatively normal. The “what’s” are rarely the struggle. Rather, it is the “how much-es.” Conquering food fears is the first big step. But that step won’t actually make for weight gain, as much as our thoughts try to tell us. It’s the amount of food in a day that is the next big step that needs to be taken. The step that I feel, maybe, I’m almost ready to take…
Though I may not follow Canada’s Food Guide, it has been feeling really good to focus on getting in all the food groups
I don’t know?
I feel like I’m standing right at the edge of a stair. My toes even hanging off. I’m SO CLOSE to taking that step off and just going for it. But something… as usual… is holding me back. Something in me just doesn’t feel quite ready to just go for broke and jump in. Something in me is still waiting for that validation that says, “yes… you should.” Something in me still does not trust my own judgement. Something in me is still waiting to find an ally to stand beside me on this journey.
But as these thoughts continue to percolate, so have my thoughts about working out.
I decided this week to get back to planned work outs, focused on muscle and strength gain. No more of this random cardio toning stuff. I was just going to give it a try and see how it felt.
So the other day I did a leg work out, and it felt so…. good. It was short. It was focused. I felt controlled. I felt strong. 4 exercises, 4 sets. I focused on weight and form rather than adrenalin. I was safe and did not let anxiety take the reins. Unlike my previous gym sessions, it actually felt like I was working toward something, and that I was taking care of myself through it.
I would like to try a 3 day split, focusing on specific muscle groups each day. I want to actually keep track in a notebook so I can continue to keep my eyes on progress and gains.
Now that I write this, I do feel nervous. Maybe this isn’t a good idea. But, I’d like to try. If it feels wrong in my gut, then I will have to stop.
I would really love to work with a personal trainer. I think it would be really good for me in terms of accountability and keeping me from getting out of control. Not to mention connection rather than isolation in the gym. But a) I don’t think I can afford one and b) I would really need to find someone who I trusted and that really understood my specific circumstances. I would need someone who understood that I am wanting to gain, and not lose weight. I would need someone who understood that I need to learn that less is more, and that I have trouble believing “enough is enough.” They would need to know my history in going too far and doing too much. They would need to take this seriously and really make me trust that the plan they make for me will work toward strength gain.
With this new goal to start strength training again, my thoughts on food have changed. These last couple workouts I’ve had have left me feeling so strong and empowered that I want to give my body the proper fuel it will need to make those workouts work. Unlike in the past, I do not want to see workouts as a way to burn calories or validate what I put in my body, but rather, I truly feel like I want to surplus the energy I expend with fuel to make me stronger.
I don’t yet know? Like I said, I do feel nervous as much as I feel excited.
Some people are probably going to feel very against what I’m saying here.
But I also know that many people have continued to be active even while trying to gain weight. If the addictive mentality has been worked past, I do think physical activity can empower one to progress in their recovery. It gives that feeling of strength and confidence that can work in a positive way.
I feel like my mentality has shifted so much in this past year – like I said, I can sit on my bum all day long now without guilt. Right now I do feel safe in beginning this new regimen. Which also means I have an eye on those signs for when it is not feeling so safe.
I’m not yet saying, “here we go.” I haven’t yet decided to take plunge off the stair and say, “yes, I am going to start trying to gain weight again.” I’m not sure what I’m waiting for. But I do feel really… really… close. I guess its scary to say it because once I say it, I have to go for it. But there is something about these thoughts that is also making me feel… excited. The thought of gaining weight is starting to fill me with more feelings of right and compassion rather than wrong and fear.
Linking in late for some Thinking Out Loud.
Does strength training make you feel empowered? Motivated?
Have you ever continued with physical activity while “needing” or wanting to gain weight?
My journey with hypothalamic amenorrhea continues. My journey recovering from an eating disorder……