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03 August 2012

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Amy Jane (UntanglingTales)

It's amazing to me how being healthy in my mind changes the way I take in information.

When my world feels like it's falling down around my ears, everyone but me is the expert, and there's no way I can go wrong doing *anything* different that I'm doing now.

(In such a state, the vastly contradictory messages that fly at us create a fierce cognitive dissonance that my broken self wears itself out trying to reconcile.)

Then at times like now, when I'm strong, I can just take it all in and use what's useful while tossing the rest.

What a difference perspective makes on the weight of each new tidbit.

MrsDarwin

I lived this post this weekend: I ran my 5k on Saturday, then spent the rest of the day eating. Because I was HUNGRY. But I sure had lovely muscle definition right after the run!

MelanieB

My biggest barrier to exercising is well, just not wanting to exercise. I'll freely admit to being a lifelong bookworm and couch potato. But also I feel like I never have an opportunity to develop habits when everything changes so rapidly from toddler to pregnant to newborn to toddler. I feel like the past seven years I've been waiting for life to settle into some kind of predictable routine and I'm beginning to see that the only thing I can predict is that the unexpected will arise. Given that it's so hard to motivate myself to try to make long term changes in habit when I know they are just going to be disrupted right at the point where they begin to become habits. I love the suggestion about only five minutes a day or 20 minutes twice a week. That actually seems achievable! At least until I think that in about six months I'm going to be recovering from major surgery while adapting to living on a newborn's schedule again. I know any small gains I make will be thrown out during 4-6 weeks of recovery and that any interest in exercise will probably lag even longer than that.

Heather

Melanie, you might find that a six-month base of moderate exercise gives you more energy during the newborn phase and helps you bounce back from the birth quicker! Also, you might find that exercise becomes enjoyable, which would give you a bit of an incentive to start back when you can. Just a few random thoughts, hope you don't mind my butting in!

bearing

@Melanie: "I know any small gains I make will be thrown out during 4-6 weeks of recovery..."

I don't think this is an accurate assumption. #1: many gains you make might be mental. #2: there is also the experience of fitting it into your schedule, setting goals, gaining support from family... #3: your recovery will probably be influenced by your level of fitness during pregnancy.

I think your observation is spot on that always waiting for life to settle into a predictable routine can be a major obstacle. There are many things that people put off until "the time is right" -- and sometimes this is the right decision, but that's much more likely when there is a specific and realistic vision of what the "right" time looks like and when it will be. I think you could compare it to people waiting until "the right" time to have their first child...

Sometimes the habit that needs to be worked on is the habit of rolling with disruptions :-)

Dorian Speed

For me, and I am in no way a weight loss success story, exercise DOES seem to help in that it reduces my stress level and I'm a stress eater par excellence.

MelanieB

Bearing, I agree about putting it off into the right time and the gains of mental habits. I think so far I've been very much focused on the mental habits necessary to housekeeping and prayer and rolling with the disruptions in those areas and I can see how it would be the same in the area of exercise. The only period in my life that I deliberately implemented an exercise routine (other than the constant walking during my two grad school years when I didn't have a car) was when I was pregnant with Bella and I took a prenatal yoga class. But after the c-section I became very paranoid about what was an appropriate level of activity during recovery from surgery and that fear has sort of stuck with me.

I think perhaps what I need to get over that block is to have someone help me outline a plan for getting back into some kind of a routine that is appropriate after a c-section as well as something that will work during the various stages of pregnancy. Like I said, I do appreciate the idea of beginning with five minute intervals. That feels very doable to me. what still feels too overwhelming is figuring out what specific kind of exercise I should be doing during that five minute period.

Bearing

Melanie, I have never had a c-section. Maybe some other readers who have and who manage an active lifestyle (you know who you are) might have some advice about this. You might also peruse books about serious fitness that are by women and for women -- I have 3 or 4 at home, I am going to look and see if they have anything to say about postpartum recovery to activity that includes cesarean recovery.

I can tell you that after my natural deliveries my midwife recommended staying out of swimming pools for 6 weeks, and since lap pool swimming is my primary fitness activity AND I didn't like swimming for the last month, it wasn't an insignificant training gap and is maybe comparable to an 8 week rest period for someone whose fitness program was something simpler like walking. I started back 2 weeks after birth by going to the same gym I swim at (I was still practicing the habit of "showing up," see?) and walking just a few minutes around the track. Worked my way up from there --
I forget how many weeks it took me to get this far -- till I was walking 40 minutes, the length of a swim workout (practicing the habit of "finishing my session," see?) When I was cleared to get in the pool again, I had enough cardio fitness that I could swim slowly for the whole 40 minutes, and then it was a trivial matter to work my way back up to where I was. The *most important* gains you make with exercise are the habit of showing up for the start of your session, and the habit of still being there at the end. I don't think I can stress that enough.

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