Health and Wellbeing Exercises

Preventing lapse from becoming relapse: what to do when you get out of your health and fitness routine

No matter where you are on your health and fitness journey, there will come a time when you experience what is called lapse. Lapse is a break from your routine when you can’t or don’t, for whatever reason, keep up your ordinary physical fitness schedule and/or you depart from making healthy food choices. Maybe it’s travel, illness, a visit from out of town family or friends, a social event, or something at school or work. Whatever it is, lapses can be difficult to rebound from. However, it can, and it must, be done in order to prevent entering relapse. Relapse is a return to previous behaviors and food choices that did not serve your health and fitness goals. Since it’s like starting over from scratch, coming back from a relapse is infinitely more challenging than recovering from lapse so it’s very much to our benefit to recognize a lapse and act on it as quickly as possible. That’s where I’m at personally right now. I’ve experienced a lapse and I’m working to come back to my routine and get myself back on track. I’ll share with you how it happened.

June 6, 2017 was my 34th birthday! Yay! Happy birthday to me! I love birthdays and I’ve loved my 30s more than any time in my life so far, so I was really pretty excited about this one. After all, I have two beautiful baby boys, an adoring and hardworking husband who is an incredible father and my best friend, I’m in the best shape of my life physically, mentally, and spiritually, I’m working as a fitness instructor (meaning I’m literally getting paid to do what I love!), and I’m working toward my Health Coach Certification so that I can help other people become the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves! Also, did I mention, I just love birthdays!? Then. The universe delivered my “gifts”, if you will.

First, my husband was gone. This actually wasn’t as terrible as it sounds. He’s a USMC Reservist so he has annual training every year on my bday and while I don’t love that he’s gone for the actual day, we have learned to find work arounds and he still manages to celebrate me and make my day feel special. Still, he was gone and not slated to return for 2 weeks. The first night he was in the field, my oldest son spiked a fever. He also had a little cough that didn’t sound like anything more than allergies. I honestly wasn’t super worried, I thought, “Okay, summer cold. Boo. But it should pass quickly and we will be in the pool in a couple of days!” Oh, how completely and utterly wrong I was. David’s “summer cold” was a 105 degree fever by that next evening with 10 month old baby brother Deacon coming in at 103.5 to add to the festivities! The fevers came down a couple of degrees with medicine but even so, those were high fevers! I cancelled my yoga and fitness classes for that night and the next morning and called the pediatrician as soon as the office opened to have them seen. She said they had a “virus” and that it seemed David was already recovering and she expected Deacon to be fine within absolutely no more than 48 hours. To top it all off, hubs called from the field to ask me why I had made a $1000 withdrawal and overdrawn our account. I hadn’t??? As it turns out, our account had been hacked and someone had managed to steal $1000. They used an old PayPal account of my husband’s and first cracked the password. Next, they made multiple attempts to withdraw $1000 until it finally went through. Fortunately, it was obvious that it was not us who had initiated the charges and our bank took care of the whole matter for us very quickly. Even so, it was a lovely added stressor while already dealing with hubby being away and babies being sick.

Fast forward 48 hours. We are back at the doctor’s office because not only is no one well yet, they seem to be worsening. David was tested for strep throat, which came back negative, and sent for chest x-rays to look for pneumonia, which also read negative. These answers were encouraging and Deacon’s fever actually did begin to finally come down. However, by this point I was already a week into sick babies with Daddy gone and I was starting to feel unwell myself. This was on Friday and all our doctor could advise was to keep them hydrated and check back on Monday if David still had a fever. By Monday, David definitely still had a fever. He also had no appetite, a very serious cough at this point, and was experiencing strange bouts of lethargy where he couldn’t or wouldn’t even get up and would just momentarily flutter his eyes open at me. Fortunately, he was drinking plenty of liquids. Deacon was in between bouts of fever but was starting to cough. My husband’s command had so far refused send him home from the field since no official diagnosis had been made other than “virus”. I was starting to freak out just a little. Of course, back to the pediatrician we went. This time she listened to David’s lungs and declared it pneumonia. We started him on a strong antibiotic and my husband was (finally!) sent home. After 48 more hours, David was fever free but still coughing and Deacon had a new bout of fever and was waking up crying from his sleep. Back to the doctor for Deacon on Wednesday where he was diagnosed with a double ear infection. We got Deacon started on antibiotics and on Friday we returned to the pediatrician one last time for a check up to confirm that David was recovering well from the pneumonia and to make sure that Deacon’s lingering cough was still just a side effect of the same sinus drainage that had caused his ear infections. We got the all clear for David and were told to “keep watching” Deacon. Finally, as of yesterday, June 19, both boys seem to be well again. David’s appetite has returned full-force, he is his ordinarily playful, energetic, and engaging self, and he’s enjoying being back with his playmates at school. Deacon is still a bit stuffy and his cough is hanging on, although I think his crankiness is due to cutting a new tooth. He is otherwise just as sweet and happy and full of mischief as always.

So, where’s the lapse part? Well, during all of that, I was spending my time and energy in exactly the way I needed to, taking care of my sick babies and making sure we found a way to get them well and happy. However, as any parent among you can attest, taking care of sick little ones doesn’t leave much left over in terms of time and energy to do basically anything else at all. So my lapse happened on several fronts. On the professional front; I made it to most of my classes although several got canceled when fevers spiked especially high and my blog, Facebook and Instagram went entirely unnoticed. On the food choices front; we still ate fairly healthy foods mostly prepared here at home, although I heavily self medicated with chocolate and cookies. And on the self care front; we slept and I kept going through the day to day stuff, but we were not on any kind of schedule and we were not getting the kind of sleep that leaves you feeling rested and restored. So now that everyone is more or less well, I’ve had time to do the above damage assessment. It’s certainly not terrible but it seems that getting back on track is easier said than done. My energy still feels a bit low in general and I’m experiencing some fatigue, plus, getting back to things means acknowledging everything I DIDN’T do, which is daunting in and of itself. However, I’m ready to do this, start feeling good again, and get to enjoying this beautiful summer with my family! Here’s how I’m gonna do it!

First, I am back to my regular teaching schedule! If you’re local, come get yo fitness on with me!

Second, I am cutting out the added sugar for at least 3 days. For me, this means I’ll eat only naturally occurring sugars from fruit or dairy (P.s. dairy means milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc… not ice cream, but nice try!) I am already super careful about my food choices so this isn’t too difficult as long as I stick to eating what we keep around the house anyway. I was really going out of my way to buy sweet treats when the kiddos were sick because sugar is my go to when I’m stress eating. Plus, Sonic is right by the pediatrician’s office and who can say no to a 3 year old who wants an ice cream slush after a visit to the doctor!? But now that things are back to normal, I feel capable and motivated to make this change again. Honestly, cutting out added sugar is hands down the thing that makes the most noticeable difference in how my body feels and even how much emotional stability I experience. For example, when I’m stress eating sugar, I feel physically off balance and I notice that my temper is shorter than when I’m actively choosing to limit my intake. Stay tuned for desserts recipes to see how I satisfy my sweet tooth with healthier choices!!

Third, I’m recommitting to my online work and posting schedule so that I can continue to connect with you and keep building my professional presence. That means a minimum of two blog posts a week, a yoga pose or video each day, and a making contributions to my online communities.

Finally, it means smiling and breathing and taking it all in stride. It means knowing that the ability just to check in and create a game plan is half the battle. It means kissing my husband and my babies and, at last!, heading to the pool!

Don’t forget to do your own check-in! Maybe you have your own lapse to turn around from or maybe are on track and feeling great! Wherever you are, it’s important to stay mindful in order to continue being successful in our endeavors to live in healthy, fit, happy lives. Let me know how your journey is going by commenting here on the blog, on FB or IG, or by sending me a message from the Contact Ashley page!

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