Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Fighting Back by Getting Fit

Earlier this week I shared what brought me to the breaking point. Headaches, backaches, and complete exhaustion had taken over my life. I knew I needed to do something, but getting started seemed overwhelming.

I made an appointment to talk to my doctor about my headaches which were becoming more frequent and less manageable. I didn’t feel comfortable taking “migraine medicine” and wanted to see if there was anything else I could do.

As we talked she mentioned a study that showed exercising three times a week (rigorous) was just as effective as many of the prescription drugs used for migraines. I felt like these migraines were taking over my life so I told her I was willing to try it.

I was nervous about starting an exercise plan. First, I HATE to exercise. I’ve always considered myself an active person, since I chase after seven kids every single day. But planned physical activity- no thanks! I’ve always been thin, or at least thin enough, so I didn’t think I needed to lose weight.

Also, since my back surgery I’d been hesitant to start any exercise program because the one time I started I ended up in bed with horrible back pain for three days.

Because of my back surgery I decided I needed professional help in the exercise department. I went to our local Y and signed up for a free lesson to learn how to use all the machines.

After sharing my concerns about exercise and my back I was guided through many of the machines and given an exercise plan.

I came home from the gym with a plan. I would use the machines three times a week to help strengthen my core (which would help my back) and then use the treadmill or elliptical for cardio three days a week, which would help with my head.

As it came time for me to go for my machine day I got nervous. I did not want to hurt my back doing something incorrectly. After talking with my husband we decided it would be best to hire a trainer to help me strengthen my core so that I didn’t further injure my back.

Let me stress something, yes I hired a trainer, but it is not necessary! Had I not had back problems I would have never hired a trainer to help me. You can get in shape on your own. In fact in a few weeks I’ll be showing you some awesome exercises you can do in your own home without any special equipment.

Now, on to the important stuff.

Exercising is hard work.

For the first three weeks I complained like crazy at every session with my trainer. I’m surprised they actually kept me as a client. Getting started is the hardest part, so don’t give up before you get into a routine.

Exercising takes accountability. 

You can’t do this alone. You need someone who is going to help you stick to it. For me it was my husband, Erin, Andrea, Crystal, and my trainer. They all knew this was hard for me and they made sure I kept doing it. They also gave me lots of encouragement to keep going even when I wanted to quit.

Exercise is painful. 

You will be sore, especially for the first few days or weeks. When I started I constantly asked my husband and my trainer when it was going to stop hurting. Every day for the first few weeks I woke up with sore places I didn’t know existed! Eventually you will be less sore.

There are still days when I do a new exercise or work on a different area and I feel sore the next day. But it isn’t the same soreness I felt when I started in April.

Exercise looks different for everyone. 

For me, I alternate strength training and cardio. For others it could mean a spin class, zumba, pilates, yoga, walking, running, cross fit, exercise dvd’s, or even jumping on the trampoline.

Exercise takes time. 

I’ll admit that I went all in, but I was desperate. My exercise (and drive time to the Y) takes an hour and a half every day. To get that extra time I wake up earlier. The Y has free childcare so my kids have a place to play when I’m in the gym. Once we start school in a few weeks I’ll need to readjust my schedule to find that hour and a half a day, but I’ll make the time.

You have the time. 

I’m a mom of seven, who homeschools, works part-time, and has kids in sports and dance. If I can find time to exercise so can you.

You will grow to love it. 

My trainer told me during the second week that one day I would love working out. I laughed out loud.

I said, “I’m committed to doing it, but I’ll never love it.”

Three months later I’m eating those words. I look forward to exercising. When I don’t do it, I feel tired, lethargic, and cranky.  I’ve even exercised while traveling, even if it meant getting up before 5am to do it!

Exercise works. 

After I had been exercising about a month I realized I’d only had one migraine since I started. Now, three and a half months later I’ve only had two migraines since May! Before I started exercising I was getting at least one a week.

My back doesn’t hurt. Even after a twelve hour road trip, six hour flight, and sleeping on floors and couches I’ve had no back pain.

I’ve lost weight. I didn’t start exercising to lose weight, but I did. I’m sure part of the weight loss is due to diet (which I’ll discuss in my next post) but it is also due to exercise.

I’m stronger. When I started exercising I could hardly do a girl push-up. Today I did sixty real push-ups at the gym! My goal wasn’t to get strong, but now every day activities like picking up a toddler are a breeze!

I need less sleep. I was always one of those people who needed eight hours of sleep. Since I’ve started exercising I usually wake up without an alarm clock after five hours of sleep. At first I fought it and tried going back to sleep, but after a few days I realized my body didn’t need any more sleep. So instead of losing an hour and a half every day because I was exercising I’ve gained an hour and a half!

I no longer get the afternoon coma. Before I started exercising I would hit comatose state at about three in the afternoon every day. Now I have energy all day, from the time I wake up, until I go to bed.

I’m not exceptional. 

I’m just your average, every day mom who wanted to change her life. I wasn’t a former triathlete, cross trainer, or marathoner. The only thing exceptional about me was my commitment to change. If I can do it, so can you. It might not look exactly the same, but you can have similar results.

Anyone can do it. 

You don’t need a trainer or a gym membership to exercise. If you haven’t done any physical activity for a while I would recommend discussing your exercise plan with a physician before you get started. All you really need to get started is a good pair of shoes. 

There are lots of other people who have done it too! 

I’ve been inspired by many of my friends who have made dramatic changes in their lives. They all had amazing success and did it totally different. I’m including links to their sites so you can be inspired too.

Lynn | Couch to 5k

Andrea | Lost 40 pounds with diet and exercise

Amber | Exercise & Healthy Eating on a Budget

Crystal | 30 Day Fitness Challenge

J.D. Roth | Crossfit

Ruthanne | Running

After 109 days I’ve lost twenty pounds, am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life and feel amazing. I have crazy energy and feel like a different person. I am a different person. It’s hard for me to believe that spending an hour a day exercising could produce such dramatic results, but it has.

I don’t believe I would have had such dramatic results without making significant changes to my diet. I’ll be sharing those changes next week.




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  1. Erica Miller says:

    This makes me want to get up and exercise lol but its 1030 at night. I have always hit an afternoon coma and usually stay that way until bedtime on many days. It’s awful and I miss out on a lot of enjoyment in life because of it. I come from a low energy family, but really the problem is poor lifestyle habits that drifted through the generations. I would LOVE to know what it’s like to actually have energy and feel good. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 3 years ago and it’s made the fatigue problem even worse. I am looking forward to reading more 🙂

  2. Hello! I think you were me, now! Does thst make sense? Your post sounds like me (except back pain and headaches). Seems like just getting started and making the commitment are the hardest. So proud of your journey! Thanks for sharing your tips.

  3. This was exactly what I needed to hear!!!! I have never really exercised. Truthfully,I never thought I needed to because I am thin. But I could use some extra energy 🙂

  4. I agree with so much of what you have written here. I am a migraine sufferer myself, and once I switch from just walking to running, my migraines did decrease. Yes it is a struggle to make time for it every day, but just like you now I find I crave it. Today for instance is our first day back to homeschooling, and I normally run in the morning but on the first few days of school I find i need to be around until everyone adjusts to the new schedule, and I am so wanting to be out their running!

  5. As a severe chronic pain sufferer of 12 years I truly understand the importance of exercise. Last year, I decided to get off the opioids~no easy task. This year, I started incorporating exercise and mediation into my life.
    Every day I do a series of modified yoga or other form of cardio. The exercising releases endorphins that help with my depression disorder. (I’m still on anti-depressants) I also mediate which has helped me with my anxiety and stress disorder.

  6. Way to fight it and breakthrough! Such an encouraging story my friend and one that will impact others for sure! Like you my husband had migraines and with our lifestyle changes he hasn’t complained or had to take a handful of Ibuprofen in months. So much of how we feel revolves around what we eat and how we move. And once you get started into a routine you don’t want to stop!

  7. Regular exercise is good for increased energy. So is cutting out caffeine. Really. And, to help with migraines, I’ve heard that fish oil (capsules taken 2-3 times a day) helps a lot.

  8. Isabel Acosta says:

    Early this year I was diagnosed with High Blood pressure and I had been having severe headaches for almost a year. My Dr would not say Migraines, he really just wanted me to start to workout and get healthy and not rely on medicine to get rid of the headaches or pain in my back. Well once I was put on meds for my BP I decided I HAD to make the effort for myself and my family. So I started out slow on my treadmill (which I have had for over an year and just slacked instead of using it). I have been working out 5 days a week for at least 30 mins. I now am running 2 miles a day 6 days a week. I love it, when I took a week off for our family vacation it was really hard to think about starting up again but once I did it was easy. I love my early morning run it is ME TIME. I feel centered and it helps me get through my day, on weekends I would hate it bc I was not on a schedule, so this past week I decided to add one day of the weekend and continue to push my self. I now work our for 35 mins I am gonna get to an hour a day before the end of the year.

  9. Your story just makes my heart so happy! I too used to hate exercising, but came to a place in my life where I had to start. Now 5 years later – I cannot imagine my life without it. I love how strong I feel, how centered and clear headed it makes me, how easy everyday tasks have become, and how I can put my stress, anxiety, or frustration into my workout and feel it melt away. The bonus is modeling to my children, and teaching them that exercise is an important part of life. I truly feel that I have been blessed with the understanding that God wants me to be healthy, to respect my body, to make sure I use it regularly according to His design. Good luck to anyone considering starting a program – you can do it, the hardest part is starting!

  10. Congrats on making a positive change for your health! Thanks for the inspiration to make the time to take care of the bodies God has given us.

  11. Great story. I would disagree about not hiring a trainer. It is one of the best investments I made. They teach you proper techique which means working out is much more effective and without injury. I had the best results in the shortest period of time when I invested in a qualified trainer.

  12. Oh wow – you are funny. This is the first time I’ve been to your site and I read your story about how you and your hubby met. Priceless. I’m sitting next to my hubby laughing out loud after a long day. Thanks. I am a military wife, homeschooling Christian mom of 6, food allergy master, and I think you just talked me into working out again.
    Thank you! … I think

  13. I am diabetic & pregnant, on a very strict but healthy diet to keep my blood sugar under control. I am currently at 28 weeks and have barely gained 3 lbs (though I was 25 lbs heavier starting out than I was with my last pregnancy, and the baby is gaining appropriate weight, so the Drs are not concerned). I was talking to the nurse about continuing this “diet” after the baby comes, because my blood sugar is doing great right now, and she said it is perfect for breast feeding and “is even better when you are exercising” So I need to get back on some kind of exercise routine. I have walk videos and very light hand weights. I guess (since it is almost 10 pm) tomorrow is as good a time as any to get started 🙂

  14. i don’t love exercise either but i do enjoy walking and i do that frequently. i do need to amp up my “workout” though. i would love to lose 10-15 pounds and if i lived close enough to a gym i would hire a trainer. and i would probably grumble and complain too.

    i have one coke a day at home (just read your coke post too) and i really don’t want to cut it out *whine. but you KNOW i don’t eat healthy at all. meat and potatoes all the way.

  15. oh and i want to see those exercise videos too. quit playing around at disney and get it done!

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