Have you been having a rough time staying on track with your weight loss efforts? I’ve been there too! Even though I’m a personal trainer, I struggle to stay motivated and keep my eye on the prize. But I never quit. You shouldn’t either! Here’s what to do if you fall off the weight loss wagon.
For those of us who weren’t raised with healthy habits modeled, it can be easy to fall off the weight loss wagon.
What I mean is that everyone who has ever tried to lose weight has encountered some sort of hurdle somewhere in their journey. Even me.
I’m a personal trainer – but I’m not the perfect picture of one.
I’m writing this post to be accountable for the fact that I have recently fallen off of the weight loss wagon. (I generally try to provide really useful content for you guys, but I also want to make sure that you know I’m human, so this is my little rant/confession for the week.)
Sometimes You Fall Off The Weight Loss Wagon
Some of you know my story. You can read the long version if you want but for the purpose of this post I’ll try to keep it short.
I decided to become a personal trainer after having really bad postpartum depression after my first baby. I tried two different anti-depressant medications before realizing that what I really needed was a better diet and a lot of exercise. It was the only way I felt good naturally.
I wanted to make sure that I would never experience depression again. Plus I wanted to help other moms understand that they had options when it came to postpartum depression.
So after a couple years of working with my own personal trainer, I decided to make the ultimate commitment to health by pursuing my personal training certification.
Well, as I’ve told you all in my post about getting certified, I failed my first test by one point. Later I decided that I still wanted to try to get certified, and I passed my test at 7 months pregnant. (Even though being pregnant wasn’t really in my plans, I knew that I could still be a trainer down the road.)
Ready to Shed The Baby Weight
I was absolutely ecstatic. I was a personal trainer! Unfortunately, I was headed in the opposite direction of health, considering I was gaining weight (and losing willpower) in my final weeks of pregnancy. But I was super confident that I could “bounce back” and I felt like I had all of the right tools to lose all of the baby weight within a year of my baby’s birth. I was super motivated in the weeks postpartum, and as soon as I was given the go-ahead, I was back in the gym.
For several weeks I was super focused on getting healthy again, and I shared my 8 week postpartum pics with you guys so that I could have these awesome before and after pics later. I had a big plan to have all of these amazing results (since I am a personal trainer and everything) and I did great for awhile.
By diet alone, I got down to 156 lbs, which was about 7 lbs under my pre-this-baby weight. (I weighed 130 lbs when I got pregnant with my first, and 163 lbs when I got pregnant with my second.) I was super stoked, and I felt confident that I could combat postpartum depression naturally through diet and exercise.
Things Just Don’t Always Go As Planned
Now, I have been known to fall off the weight loss wagon before. It’s actually been a depressing cycle. I thought that becoming a personal trainer and running a fitness blog was the ultimate way to protect myself against that. But let me tell you – I still struggle – a lot.
Here’s the story.
I weaned at 4 months this time. (You can read all about my breastfeeding issues here.) I just couldn’t hack it. I was spending 3-4 hours per day pumping alone. It was exhausting and it was sucking the life out of me.
That ended up being way harder than expected because it resulted in another influx of hormonal changes. Actually, I think it caused what is known as, “post-weaning depression.” This is an actual thing, and looking back, I think I experienced it with both kids. My depression basically took over for about two months. But knowing what I know about myself (I NEED regular exercise to function on a basic level), I knew that I had to keep getting out of the house and going to the gym. So I did.
But I still went a little crazy, questioning my whole career and my dedication to this whole fitness thing. It was one big back-track. I gained, lost, and regained about 5 lbs during this time.
Taking a Literal Fall Off the Weight Loss Wagon
Just when I felt like I was getting myself out of a depression, I had a back injury. It was the exact same back injury I suffered after my first c-section. And although I felt like I’d been focusing on regaining my core strength, it happened again. I was simply lifting my baby from a lower-than ideal position and quite literally fell over in agony. (Tip: Don’t lift with your back. Lol.)
Some doctors and physical therapists said it could have been a herniated disc and others called it back spasms. (I saw several doctors between both injuries.) But all of them said it was related to having a recent c-section and possibly related to my epidurals. Basically, because my core muscles were stretched from pregnancy and later messed with during surgery, my back was compensating and was overworked.
In both cases, I spent time at the ER or Urgent Care. Both times, I couldn’t lift my baby and cried in pain when having to sit or walk. My husband and mom had to take time off just to help me with the kids. I was all drugged up on pain killers and muscle relaxants for about two weeks. I was in bed all day and needed help to get up.
Why Is This Important?
I thought that I could make myself immune to a fall off the weight loss wagon. But in fact, I am still human. It feels like I have lost a solid three months of progress. (I have actually ended up sitting at about 161 lbs after all of this.) I wanted to share this all with you to show you that I just like everyone else, but also for a few other reasons.
Firstly, you NEED to take your first year after having a baby easy. I thought I was being kind to myself this time around, but I also somehow managed to put a lot of pressure on myself to lose a bunch of weight. I don’t care who you are, just listen to your body and if you feel burnt out, rest.
Secondly, I have decided to focus on creating a program that will help others avoid this type of thing. I know a lot of moms who have done what I have (go all out after having a baby) and it backfired. I also know a lot of people who jump into exercise programs before strengthening essential core muscles. The result is pain, injury, long-recovery time after workouts, or burnout that results in giving up. So I am in the middle of creating a program designed for core rehabilitation that is meant to segue into a more extensive exercise program.
Lastly, I want to give you a little wake-up call. I want to remind you to slow down and pay attention to your body. You have needs that aren’t always displayed physically. You need to practice self-care or your efforts may suffer long-term. If you don’t want to slow down and suffer any setbacks, take care of yourself!
What To Do If You Fall Off The Weight Loss Wagon
Most people (us normal people) will struggle with weight loss for some time before we’re satisfied. That’s okay – it’s totally normal. But I can tell you from experience that the worst thing you can do after you fall off the weight loss wagon is to wallow in self-pity or dwell on your mistakes. You won’t always be motivated, and you won’t always feel good about yourself. But throwing the towel in and having a bad attitude isn’t going to feel better.
Keep your chin up and make one small healthy decision at a time. You’ll be back on your way to health in no time.
I thought about giving up, but I remembered who I am and what I need. Now I’m challenging you to do some reflection on what you need. What you want on a superficial level is different than what you need, so look back in your history and do what makes you happy and feel good.
There. That’s enough spilling my guts for the day.
As always, I love to read your comments and emails so don’t hesitate to get in touch.