Why I Took A Break From Working Out

Hey Guys!  Today I want to share something a little personal with you.  I know it’s been a month since I went on vacation, but I want to share why I didn’t work out while I was there.  I’m sure some of you are probably thinking I’m crazy because it’s vacation right??  So why would I??  But, why would I not? 

I always try to stay active on vacation.   I work hard and I don’t want a week off to affect that.  A week of laying around being lazy and eating all of the good food sounds awesome.  But, that also will undo a lot of the progress I made leading up to that week.  On vacation last year I was up at sunrise every day and either in the gym or walking the beach.  Then all day long I was finding things to do instead of just sitting.  Jeremy said I exhausted him because I was on the go all week.  But, this year I did the exact opposite…I didn’t do anything. 

I decided to take some time off from running/working out.  I had already decided this before I went to the doctor about my foot.  That diagnosis just confirmed it.  I didn’t even pack any tennis shoes because I knew I would be tempted to run or go to the gym.  (And I was as soon as we toured the gym.  It was so nice and I wished I had brought shoes.)

From April until the second week of July I was working out or running every day.  There were only a handful of days that I actually took an entire rest day, but it was only because my body was so run down that it just would not let me do anything.  And, it wasn’t like I didn’t try to work out on those days either. 

I was also obsessed with what I was eating.  I was super strict about everything that I was putting in my mouth.  With the exception of the one night a week that we would go out, I was eating extremely clean, and probably not near enough.  And, even when we would go out, I would really stress about what to order and then be very picky about how much I ate.  There was no balance.

I was in a place that was very unhealthy mentally.  I don’t know how I got there and I didn’t know how to get out of it.  I really don’t have any idea where this came from.  I wasn’t working towards a goal of any kind, I was just trying to be healthy.  And, honestly, until I couldn’t run, I didn’t realize it was a problem.  It had become like an unhealthy obsession, and if I didn’t run or workout I would feel extremely guilty about it, and then watch what I ate even more closely.  I kept pushing myself and I wasn’t enjoying running or working out at all.  I was putting so much pressure on myself to get up every morning and either run or do at least an hour workout…or some days do both and it was causing me so much stress, both physically and mentally.  Seriously, every day that I ran I also did some kind of circuit when I got done.  Some days were longer than others, and it was just too much. Even “rest” days were at least an ab workout or 15-20 minutes of weights and squats.  Then I would stretch for a long time. 

My running was terrible.  My foot had been hurt since the first of April and it was gradually getting worse.  Since I’m so stubborn, I just kept trying.  (I have learned my lesson now!)  I did have to slow down to where I was only running a few times a week, instead of five or six, and not many miles.  But I was still pushing myself to do it.  I actually was feeling guilty and was mad at myself thinking that I was just being lazy because it was so hot.  Or that my foot was fine and I was just using it as an excuse to not run. 

I was just not in a good place and I was starting to crack from all the pressure.  I needed a break in a bad way!  Vacation was the perfect place for that because I didn’t have my running shoes or workout room staring me in the face every day making me feel guilty for not using them. 

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It took getting away from my house and my normal routine for me to snap out of this obsession and get my mind right. 

I took off 12 days and was surprised that a) I didn’t gain any weight and b) I was still in the same place, strength wise, as I was when I left. 

Sometimes you just need a break. That’s an understatement for where I was at.  I needed a wake up call!

Somehow I had started to let it consume me.  I made sure to get up early every day and get a run and workout in before I did anything else.  I was exhausted because of course we stay up too late and I was getting up super early and was definitely not getting enough rest.

I won’t lie, there were days on vacation when I woke up early that I really thought about going to the gym.  There were also days that I woke up early and wanted to go walk the beach.  And, there were a couple of times that I really, really wanted to go run the jogging trail, especially after a girl that I met told me how awesome it was. 

Instead of focusing on working out I enjoyed my break.  I loved laying at the pool or beach every day, and I ate a lot of good food and didn’t worry about it.  

It was exactly what I needed.  I am glad that I took that time off.  It helped me to get my mind back to a healthy state.  I have been able to come home and not feel the pressure to run or workout.  I am enjoying my workouts now, and am not pushing myself until my body is completely exhausted.  I’m taking actual rest days and letting my body have it’s rest.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and it feels really good! 

There’s got to be a healthy balance both physically and mentally and going forward I’m going to work hard to keep that balance.  

I wanted to share this with you today in case there is someone else out there that is in the same place I was.  It’s not good for you, and even though it’s hard, you’ve got to figure out a way to take a step back and look at what you’re doing to yourself.  It’s all about balance!

Happy Sunday Everyone! 

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12 thoughts on “Why I Took A Break From Working Out

  1. Brooklyn Murtaugh

    I’m so happy for you that you got the break you needed, and were able to snap out of the obsession.
    In high school I lost a lot of weight and was working out for 4 hours everyday and eating way too clean. Everyone kept complimenting me so I thought I was doing the right thing.
    I now know that wasn’t the right thing and I was taking things too far, even if others didn’t notice.

    It can be tough to get to a healthy place where health and fitness don’t take over, but I’m so proud of you 🙂

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

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      Tara

      Thank you! 🙂 I totally get how you felt in high school. It’s so hard when you get it in your mind and then you can’t kept thinking about it.

  2. MomOf2

    Thanks for writing this! I needed to hear it. I’ve definitely lost my motivation for working out, feel like I *have* to, obsess about it all day until I finally just get it done. I’ve been feeling unbalanced about it and truthfully unhappy. I’m on vacation this week and nowhere near any weights or a gym so I’m hoping to reset too. Gotta make a plan for going forward because when I’m not being crazy about it all I really do enjoy working out, running and being active!

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      Tara

      You’re exactly where I was! I hope you do reset and can come back and enjoy it! I like the idea of a plan and when I can start running again I’m going to be sure to plan out my runs and workouts and make sure to take rest days. I enjoy being active too, but when I’m pushing myself I definitely don’t enjoy it and my mood reflects that.

  3. Lesley

    Good for you for getting away from it all and resetting. It’s hard when we’re bombarded with so many messages of needing to eat clean, organic, gluten-free, etc. Take your time getting back, and the running will be there whenever you’re ready.

    1. Profile photo of Tara

      Tara

      I agree about all the messages on social media. Sometimes some of that is motivating, but others it makes me feel guilty.

  4. Mackenzie

    Tara, thank you SOOOO much for sharing this. I can relate 100% to every single thing you said. I have had those moments of wakeup calls where my workout regimen gets suddenly disrupted by maybe a family member stopping by, or something comes up, and I get guilty or anxious about not being able to get that workout in. That guilt is such a red flag. I also find that when I am over-working out, my mood tends to be worse and I retain tons of water, which messes even more with my head! When I’m just doing the normal workouts, 6 days a week, allow myself to rest and listen to my body- that’s when my mood tends to be best and my body responds the best. Right now with this new nursing jobs there are times where I have to take two days off a week because I physically cannot move after those 12 hour shifts sometimes.. and I have learned that it’s OK to take more than 1 rest day a week. It’s such a mental adjustment! I am very thankful you were able to truly ENJOY your vacation and relax. Thank you, thank you tons for opening up this convo. I am still trying to find that fine balance, so I definitely needed to read this today! XO

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      Tara

      You are so welcome! I’m so glad you can relate! I totally get those guilty and anxiety feelings if I can’t get a workout in. I’m sure you’re getting in a good workout just by going to work! And yes, it is so mental. It’s hard to get out of that mindset of when you have to work out and how much. That balance is so hard to find, but I’m working on it too!

  5. Stephanie ReadsWell

    We cannot enjoy the vacation if we are not completely active and involved. I too like taking breaks from the busy work schedules. Even a small walk refreshes my mind.

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      Tara

      A break from a busy schedule is awesome! I like walks too in the evenings after a stressful day!

  6. San

    Sometimes the best you can do for yourself is take a break and re-evaluate. I am glad you were taking the time on vacation to make that break…

    1. Profile photo of Tara

      Tara

      I really did love that break, and I really needed it! It definitely helped me to put things in perspective!

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