#TBT Why I stopped working out…

This week I’m in Maui taking a much needed break from work and my typical workout routine.

Taking time off from my vigorous workout regimen was something I rarely did in the past because I thought it was the only way to maintain my weight and feel good.

However, through my personal health journey I have learned to value rest days and breaks from my typical workout routine more than diet and exercise because of the massive results they can help you achieve.

So for this week, check out this Throwback Thursday blog about why I stopped working out the way I used to and how it helped get my health back, and back to feeling like myself again…

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I stopped working out because my body told me to.

As a former fitness competitor, personal trainer and someone who genuinely likes to be active to sweat it out and use exercise as an escape, this wasn’t easy to do.

I resisted it BIG time.  I talked myself out of it many times before I actually embraced what my body needed from me the most.

The signs weren’t very clear at first.

Over the course of 2 years I had slowly gained 15 pounds as a result of working from home fulltime and being exposed to toxic mold that then triggered a slew of health issues such as estrogen dominance, severe leaky gut and Hashimoto’s.

I was excited to see a few pounds drop on the scale initially within the first few weeks of remediating the toxic mold in our home, starting WP Thyroid medication for my Hashimoto’s and transitioning to an Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet.

But then the weight stopped coming off and I was stuck again.

The needle on the scale only moved slightly, despite all of my efforts with diet, sleep, exercise, supplements, toxin removal and meditation.

All of my old beliefs around calories-in versus calories-out resurfaced, and I started to question whether my diet, supplements, exercise and meditation where working…

Maybe I’m eating too much
Maybe I need to workout more or harder
Maybe I need to take more supplements  

I continued to push along as I had been hoping this was just maybe a plateau of sorts. If I just got over the hump, I would see results on the other side.

I turned up the volume on my workouts, put my head down and pushed onward.

And 30 days later, the scale still hadn’t moved.

I racked my brain, did more research and re-confirmed I was doing all of the right things.  I was eating the right types of food for my body, getting to bed before 10pm, meditating once if not twice a day and religiously taking supplements to support my hormones, immune, digestive, detoxification, energy and nervous system.
My workout routine was the one constant in the equation that hadn’t changed.

I was still hitting the gym to lift weights 3-4 times a week, doing hill sprints on Fridays, running 2-4 miles a few times per week, and hitting a yoga class on Sundays.

Most people would consider this a normal, healthy exercise routine loaded with all kinds of health benefits.  And yes, under the right circumstances it certainly is. However, it wasn’t what my body needed at the time, and that’s what it was trying to tell me.

Exercise is typically a good stress, unless the body is already under a lot of stress.

In this week’s video and blog, I share more about how exercise got in the way of healing my body and getting the results I wanted, and how to assess if it’s standing in your way too.

When we exercise, our bodies respond by building stronger bones and muscles.  We also get the added benefits of eliminating toxins through the lymphatic system and sweat, among other things.  All of this is obviously good.

However, when the body is already under a tremendous amount of stress from external or internal factors and existing health issues, exercise can deplete it even more.

Exercise demands a lot from our bodies in terms of nutrients to rebuild muscle tissue, to build bone density, and for oxygen and blood delivery.

Exercise also elicits a sympathetic “fight or flight” response, also known as a stress response, that signals the production and utilization of the stress hormone known as cortisol.  When we are in fight or flight mode, the body sends all of its resources outwards for quick moving and thinking, leaving little to no resources available for healing.

You have to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy.

Due to the amount of stress my body had endured from being exposed to toxic mold and the domino effect it had on my hormones, my body was nowhere near healthy.  It needed time and space to heal in order to support weight loss.

By forcing myself to workout in my same old ways, I was creating a higher demand of resources and stress that my body simply couldn’t accommodate.

I had to take a step back, evaluate the burden of stress that my body was already dealing with, and take action empowered on reducing the stress even more. By doing this, I created space for my body to heal so I could receive the results I desired.

I stopped working out when I realized I could lose more weight that way.

As soon as I stopped working out in my old ways, my body instantly responded.  My energy went up and my weight slowly but steadily started to come off. I overall just felt better about myself and in my body.

I’m not the only one who has experienced weight loss without working out.  One of my clients recently lost 40 pounds without having a workout routine by simply focusing on improving his health and reducing the burden of stress on his body…

“The most dramatic change for me has been my weight, down 40 lbs since working with Jenn. The next biggest change has been with the quality of my sleep. I sleep through the night much more often than before.” – David

Often times, we think more is better.  This belief is something that has been ingrained in our modern day culture.  But more is not always better. In fact, I find that less tends to be better in a lot of cases.

The moral of this story is NOT to necessarily stop working out. It’s to listen to what your body’s needs.

There are many ways to move your body and receive the health benefits of movement without placing too much of a demand on your body.

For a few months, I shifted my focus to include more restorative type of movement and exercise such as yoga, long walks with my dog and by simply getting up from desk and moving about more during the day.

As soon as my body had healed and it was ready to take on more intense exercise, it let me know.

Now that my weight is back to my normal, my hormones are balanced and my energy is strong, I’m working out with a trainer twice a week, running and sprinting again.

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If you suspect that exercise might be getting in the way of having better health or you want to assess the possible burden of stress on your body, then schedule a complimentary Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session here today!

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