As previously mentioned, we are on a a pause; the length of which is still yet to be determined. During this time, I have decided I need to bring some normalcy (and sanity) back into my life.
Over the course of my adult years, I have regularly had an on-again off-again relationship with the gym. I started to remain more regular with my gym attendance over the two years leading up to our first (DE)IVF cycle and it became a lifestyle for me; one which I really enjoyed. I felt stronger and healthier than I had in years. That being said, my weight still fluctuated as it would be an understatement to say that I. LOVE. FOOD. But I was healthy and was not overweight in any sense of the word.
After our first failed cycle, I began doing some reading and found that maybe I shouldn’t be pushing myself so hard at the gym. I spoke to my RE about it and was informed that I could do more body weight style exercises but I should slow down on my cardio and weights. Unfortunately, I struggle when it comes to balance and I started to get it in my head that if I couldn’t do what I wanted at the gym, there was no use in going at all. I spent nearly 8 months being extremely sedentary and eating all of my emotions. Very quickly I started to notice changes in my body; I was no longer balancing my love for food with keeping active. It got to the point that walking up a set of stairs was making my heart rate increase quite a bit – something I hadn’t experienced since my high school/college years.
I have been ashamed of how sedentary I’ve been, how much weight I’ve gained (I would need to lose 20lbs to get back to where I was when I used to think I needed to lose weight!!!), and honestly, where I’ve let my mental health get to. You see, I began really taking the gym seriously after struggling with migraines and headaches for a spell of FOUR MONTHS STRAIGHT(!) – every hour of every day without relief. After seeing my family doctor every other day for weeks, and then a CT scan and referral to a neurologist, it was discovered that I was actually just suffering from tension headaches. Awful, horrible tension headaches caused by stress. Rather than choosing to medicate constantly (which would barely even touch the pain), I worked out and the tension began to ease. So even when I started to wane in my interest with the gym, within a week I would get a headache that would send me back to work out.
Undeniably, physical fitness does such amazing things for my mental health. Silly me, let this coping mechanism go by the wayside during THE most stressful time of my life; and my mental health suffered considerably. My anxiety has increased, I have struggled with feelings of mild to moderate depression, and, as previously mentioned, my relationships have suffered as well; compounding the aforementioned issues. I have tried a couple of times to get back to the gym between our December and March cycles, as well as following the most recent failed March cycle; however, nothing seemed to work for me.
I was struggling with some significant anxiety related to the gym because, as it was later pointed out to me, it felt like just another area of life in which I had failed. Prior to (DE)IVF, I had always been a leader at the gym amongst my girlfriends; creating workouts and pushing them to keep going. While I had relegated myself the my couch for eight months, my girlfriends had actually kept going together and were well beyond my current fitness level. This has been rather difficult for me to accept.
So nearly a month ago, I made the decision to switch gyms and it has made a WORLD of difference. I feel like my girlfriends struggled with this decision but they have come to accept that it was what I needed to make the change in my life. The new environment has been motivating and I am 100% happy with my decision. Since starting, I have been attending the gym 5 days per week and have already noticed a significant change in my mental health and physical fitness level. Now, in saying this, I still haven’t lost one pound on the scale – in nearly four weeks – which at times is extremely frustrating; however, I am stronger and happier. I know the rest will come in time.