Moving home, let alone moving countries (I have just gone from Australia to Scotland), away from all your friends and family, can be a stressful and emotional time in anyone's life. For me I felt like I was fairly calm on the exterior, but internally my body appeared to be dealing in its own way.
Whilst parting ways with all your belongings (other than what your suitcase can hold) is refreshing and humbling, the emotional aspects of leaving family and friends doesn't go away. In preparation for this, my body decided it was the perfect time to gain 3 kilos which to me was a huge giant disappointment and made me feel like a failure.
At the time this gained weight was infuriating to me because I was working my arse off cleaning and packing and prepping my house, selling everything, continuing to work, saying goodbyes, remaining emotionally stable, and running 5-6 times per week (to meet a weekly mileage target; which resulted in an injury) along with weight training. How on earth was I gaining weight with that exercise regime? Stress, emotions, hormones, slight dietary adjustments, and being too damn hard on myself!
Once I got to Scotland I knew I had no excuses. I was away from everyone and had the opportunity to reconfigure my whole daily routine, from what I ate, to how I thought, to how I exercised. Each part of my daily life was given a fresh start. I put my weight loss skills in to practice and started again (not as big as last time, but nonetheless as important to me). First was my eating. I re-evaluated and experimented with each meal to see what worked for my gut and what didn't. I kept a diary of how I felt before, immediately after, and hours later how my body, in particular how my gut responded. I realised how many extra goodies (yes you can have too much honey and dates) were in my diet just because they were healthy. It was time to cut back. I re-evaluated my diet, created a detox program that I would personally trial, and then came up with a maintenance system that worked wonders (check them out here).
Next was my exercise. Upon arrival to Scotland I was still in love with my running and beating my times, distances, any targets I set myself (and to this day I still am because I love what running does for the body and the mind). However, my body at this stage was less fond of it. I was sporting numerous aches and injuries in my groin, hip flexors, ITB, shoulders, and neck. I was hobbling around in agony when I wasn't running, and when I was running each landing was painful to the stage of clenching my jaw for the majority of it.
So why did I run in pain when I should have known better? I had this idea in my head that I had to lose the weight my body had designated me to gain (which in hindsight was a wonderful lesson the body gave me to tell me to slow down, be gentle and kind to myself) and that to do this I needed to be running X amount of miles per week in X amount of time.
It got to the stage where I was beginning to cry just walking from a car park to a shop, and to where my sleep was affected because of aches and pains. So I sorted myself and my head out and re-invented my exercise workout. My weekly training kinda looked like this (although it changed week to week): I began including long (1.5-2 hours) hikes outdoors (3x per week), with yoga (1-2 x per week), and full body HIIT kettlebell and weight sessions (2x per week). I allowed myself to do what felt right for my body on that given day and my body was so darn thankful for this it began to let me lose the weight it had gained. If I needed rest, I rested.
By placing too much physical stress on the body it can initiate the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, which has been shown to cause weight gain. Hence why stress = weight gain, and how rest is ESSENTIAL to allow our body and our muscles to repair so we don't STRESS. I realised how big of a thing it was mentally, and how wonderful the mind is at presenting physical symptoms to us when we choose not to listen to the mental ones.
So my lesson? When already in stressful situations, my body likes less additional stressors. I have the power when it comes to deciding what and how to exercise and that it is totally okay to change my routine when I need to. This isn't to say I wont get back to running, I will. Definitely. I just will let my body dictate when the right time is.
The last part of my mini weight loss routine was the inclusion of more grounding and meditating practices into my daily life, and the addition of some of my mindfulness training when it came to eating. And guess what all these changes amounted to? My body ended up losing that 3 kilos, rather quickly, plus a couple extra 'thankyou for being so kind to me' kilos. I even got to do my happy dance a few days ago in a pair of jeans I had only ever worn once before.
Has anything like this happened to you before? Lost weight through being kinder to yourself or taking your workouts down a notch? If you feel like this resonated with you please share a comment below or contact me via Facebook or my website. Cat x