Please note: I am not a doctor, and am sharing my own advice based on my own experiences. Be sure to listen to your doctor’s guidance first and foremost when you are recovering from temporary illness or injury.
I know you’ve been there.
You’re KILLING IT!
Following your meal plan. Getting those bike rides in. Eating all of the healthy things.
You plan carbs to fuel your rides. Protein to recover.
You have GOALS! You have a plan to achieve them! You have been following the plan!
Then, suddenly, you are sidelined.
Maybe you have an old knee injury that is acting up. Or, you get sick and can’t ride for a while, and you don’t feel like eating much of anything. And when you do? You aren’t making the healthiest choices.
Or maybe, like me, you have a surgery scheduled. This is a current photo of me actively recovering from said surgery. I have dubbed this my “recovery sweatshirt”. Ha!
Whatever your particular circumstances, SOMETHING has happened that is going to potentially keep you off the bike, and/or alter your meal planning.
This can feel SO devastating. It can feel like you have no choice other than derail your progress.
Or, if you were already not making the progress you wanted, you might feel even WORSE! It can seem like there is no way that you are EVER going to reach your goals, and you might as well give up.
If any of this sounds familiar, take a deep breath and read on for five quick tips on how to recover from illness or injury.
Tip #1: Take All of the Effort You Have Been Putting Into Meal Planning and Workouts and Put it Into Your Recovery
Now, I was fortunate enough in my most recent situation to have my surgery scheduled for a particular date.
This gave me the opportunity to go into my surgery as healthy and strong as possible to maximize my recovery efforts.
Guess what? I felt like absolute…well…sh*t. There’s truly no better way to explain it.
Even though I felt like I was SO prepared? Getting my rides in, eating according to my meal plan? Laughing and joking with the amazing nurses and enjoying my little heated blanket in the pre-op room? I mean LOOK at my smug little “this is going to be no big deal” smile.
I wasn’t prepared.
NOTHING could have prepared me for the nausea/vomiting I experienced post surgery.
The only thing that really, truly prepared me was my mindset going in. I knew that I needed to take all of the effort I had been putting into my rides, my workouts, my job, my family…and put it towards my recovery.
There’s no way that I was going to be in any shape anytime soon to take care of anyone else if I didn’t take care of myself first.
I honestly think my family was a little shocked at just how little I was able or willing to do. And not in a mean way! I was just SO not myself.
Every single day after my surgery I focused on giving my body what it was asking for. Everything else just had to wait. Which brings me to my second tip…
Tip #2: Listen to Your Doctor AND Your Body and Give it What it Needs
No one knows your body like you do. Only you can know what it feels like to actually be in it.
If you are 100% focused on tuning into your body and what it needs you are going to recover that much quicker.
From the conversations I had with my doctor I really felt like I was going to be back to myself within a day or two.
Here I am over a week out and I am STILL not 100%. I am definitely getting there! But, it has taken me a little longer, and that’s OK.
I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if I had pushed my body to do more than it was ready to do.
I took my doctor’s advice regarding managing pain. I called my doctor when it was particularly bad and I needed advice.
If it hurt to do things? I didn’t do them. I know this sounds obvious but I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have been sick or hurt and just powered through only to cause bigger problems down the road.
If you’re anything like me you can TOTALLY relate to this. I was bored. I was impatient. I wanted to be better…you know…IMMEDIATELY.
I knew that I would only set myself back if I didn’t listen to my body and my doctors advice, so I followed it. And I absolutely AM getting better, and I know it’s because of this.
Tip #3: Rest and Hydration Are Your BFFs
This tip is applicable for almost any illness or injury. You absolutely have to rest, and you have to stay hydrated.
It was driving me NUTS to not do anything. One morning this week my husband, Chris, walked into the room just to see me sitting in a chair staring out the window. I told him how frustrating it is to not do anything!
I also knew that the area where the cyst was removed needed to heal. The small incisions on the outside were nothing compared to what I was feeling on the inside. It honestly felt a lot like my c-section recovery, which, if you have had one of those, you know is NOT FUN.
So I rested my body. I got up and moved around from time to time because standing was actually one of the most comfortable positions.
And, I drank SO much water. And hydration mix. In fact, the photo above is what I brought to the hospital with me in the hopes that I would be able to snack on these items on the way home (remember, I had NO idea that I might be nauseous)!
You need to stay hydrated for your body to heal. It can be one of those little things that you forget about with everything else that’s going on, so please make sure that you keep your hydration front of mind during any sort of recovery.
Speaking of food and drink…
Tip #4: Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over What You’re Eating
Call me naive, but I had thought that I would be launching right back into my usual meal plan right after my surgery.
After I instantly hurled up the crackers and ginger ale they gave me in the hospital, though, I knew this wasn’t going to be in the cards for me.
For a day or two I was pretty much existing on a bland diet of white toast and crackers. I needed food in me for my pain medications to not make me nauseous (wasn’t taking ANY more chances there!) and this was for a bit the only food I wanted to eat.
Also, as you may know, surgery can really mess up your digestion, and that also happened to me (of course).
I made a point to eat what my body was asking for. What it could tolerate. And, I didn’t give myself a hard time about ANY of it.
Last night was the first night I really felt GOOD about food, and I ate a burger and fries and it was amazing.
Maybe that wasn’t the best choice for my recovery? But I was HUNGRY and beating myself up now over it is certainly not going to be at all helpful.
Tip #5: Be Careful and Mindful About Getting Back on the Bike (But DO Get Back on When You Can!)
Now, this is a tough one. I want to ride my bike SO badly right now. Like it’s KILLING ME. I even got a couple new pairs of bike shorts in the mail yesterday for an upcoming review and I am ITCHING to try out those suckers like you wouldn’t BELIEVE!
It’s too soon, though. I know it is. I can feel it. There is still a little too much pulling going on in my core.
My doctor said that I could ride when I feel I am ready, when it feels good, and I know that day’s not today.
My big outing today is going to be to go to the supermarket for the first time since my surgery and walk around pushing a cart.
I think, if all goes well, a bike ride might be in the cards tomorrow! I will start with a very short, indoor ride, and see how it goes. I will see how it feels. And if it feels OK, then the next day I might go a little longer and further.
One thing that sometimes can happen is that we can be afraid to get back on the bike, so to speak. Afraid we will do damage. Afraid we won’t be as strong as we were before.
Be honest with yourself, listen to your body, and get back on the bike when it’s time.
A Final Note
I know first hand how frustrating it can feel to be sidelined by illness or injury, and I am guessing you do as well.
At the end of the day it is important to realize that this is just a season where it might be harder to get on your bike and follow your meal plan.
When you make your primary focus YOU, and your recovery, you are going to heal and feel better that much quicker.
Some days are going to be better than others. Sometimes it feels like you’re taking two steps forward, then two steps back. Or, it might feel like you’re not progressing, and it’s never going to get better.
Stay positive. Trust that it WILL get better. Listen to your body. Know that this is just temporary, and the more your focus on your recovery the sooner you will be able to get back on the bike and focus on weight loss.